Tag Archives: eating habits

Tahini, tahini, all the way…

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Okay, so last week I graduated from the Couch to 5K program. In the second half of the week, I tried to do one of the Couch to 5K+ podcasts. One question I have to ask is –

Does it ever get easier?

This new podcast is intended to get you running with a bit more rhythm, a bit more speed. I just thought I’d try it out to see how I got on. I knew after that, I would probably go back to Week Nine of the original program and stick at that for a little while – just to get my strength and stamina up.

It was tough, I will admit that. But… That doesn’t mean I didn’t do it! Yes, I did it. Again, I did have the old ‘life flashing in front of the eyes‘ thing a little bit but it didn’t actually stop me. What it did make me realise was that I am taking an unfair view of my own progress. I’ve heard it said that in order to be constantly at the cutting edge of one’s own progress, it will always seem hard. So with that in mind, I decided to go back to the drawing board just a little bit.

Today I decided to give myself a pat on the back and go back to one of the earlier podcasts so I could see just how far I have actually come. So I went back to Week Four which is the first week that features longer blocks of running, and by that I mean blocks of five minutes and three minutes.
I knew if I went back to Week One it would be a bit too simple. And I didn’t feel like I wanted to waste half an hour. Does that sound bad?!

The results? Better pace, better speed, plus I found myself really looking forward to the running segments. So much so, in fact, that I (on the spur of the moment) decided to change the half hour programme slightly and add a HIIT component to it. That is High Intensity Interval Training. Now people who are good at this stuff and do it all the time Will know exactly what HIIT is but I didn’t when I first came across it hence why I’ve explained it out.

As Week Four alternates sections of walking and running I upped the intensity slightly by sprinting (or at least trying to!) for the last 30 seconds of each running block. This was quite easy to do, timing-wise: I just waited for Laura to say “You’ve got one minute left” then I waited a little bit and I went for it!

Oh, and why the tahini?

So glad you asked! Tahini is a great source of magnesium, and boy do my muscles need it afterwards! I’ve put a good dollop of this in my pre-running “Milkshake” and I find it really helps to stop my calves from disowning me.
My conclusions? I am a really happy bunny! It’s proved to me today how far I have come as a runner. Laura said last week that apparently I can actually call myself a runner now.   I’m quite pleased with that, especially as I have never been able to give myself any label that had anything to do with any sport!

Another thing I’ve learned this week when sprinting make sure you are wearing the correct, er, underwear. Yes, I’m talking the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder! I’m no skinny Minnie (and never will be) so Newton’s laws have a few things to say about my running. And while I didn’t exactly give myself a blackeye today, I realise that (as a goth) that to be truly effective, running bras need to be a bit like a corset: you need to be able to pack it all in! I mean, you don’t buy them just to be comfy, you buy them to keep those puppies battened down!

As I’m now on alternate days doses of 10mg Citalopram, and my oh my, is it helping…
Anyway, I now look forward to being a “runner”!

So for any new runners out there, just remember this: it’s not about how far you’ve run, it’s about how far you’ve come.

One heck of a week!

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WARNING: for those of a sensitive disposition who choose to be offended by anything and everything, today’s post contains scenes of shameless self publicising.

It really has been an incredible week. So much has happened. On Tuesday, my first published book, “Our Little Miracle” appeared on Amazon. Here’s the link… http://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Little-Miracle-Thérésa-Hedges-ebook/dp/B00XK1AIDK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431691790&sr=8-1&keywords=our+little+miracle

Ebook_Cover_HR

Right, that’s the shameless self publicity over and done with!

I celebrated with a rather large bowl of ice cream (’cause that’s how I roll) which led to the inevitable ice cream toothache. Unfortunately, the wretched toothache turned into a face-ache that lasted the entire night, right through to the morning and well into the next day. The only respite I got from it was from taking some paracetamol, which I hate doing. I would get at the most two hours relief from it: the first hour it would be dying down as the tablets kicked in, then two hours of pseudo-relief and then in the final hour it wound itself back up again as the tablets were wearing off.  This actually continued into the next day as well which meant that the most I was only getting three hours sleep. I decided to go and see the dentist.

However, in the midst of this dental drama, I went to see my doctor to see how I was getting on with coming off the Citalopram. She was very pleased with my progress and suggested that I can now go down to 10 mg each day. Hurray!! She was also extremely pleased with how I’m getting on with the running and the exercise (more about that in a minute).

There was one amusing misunderstanding when she asked me how I was getting on with the weight loss side of things and was I having any problems and I said yes, I was still having a problem with not drinking enough. She looked at me extremely perplexed. “How do you mean?” she asked me and I replied to that of the eight glasses of water a day I was supposed to drink, I was managing about four or five but at least now I was getting closer to the eight recommended. She sighed with relief “Oh!” She replied “I thought you meant alcohol! I knew that couldn’t be right, as I know you don’t drink!” But we had a little bit of a chuckle about that.

And then she weighed me. That was the bit I was actually dreading. It turns out my weight hasn’t changed over the past month which, actually, it’s a good thing as at least it’s not going up any more. The doctor said that I may not appear to be losing weight because quite simply I’m losing fat and gaining muscle because of all the aerobic exercise I’m doing. That’s a relief!

Another good bit of news I had while I was about the diabetes test I had last time. I have spent a quite anxious month waiting for the result. I got the results. I’m not diabetic! I gave a loud sigh of relief and said ‘Thank God’ (and I wasn’t blaspheming). I guess I kind of suspected that I wasn’t,  but it is a fear that hangs over the family. Thankfully I have managed to dodge that particular genetic bullet. She said “Oh dear, you were worrying about it were are you? I would have phoned you if there had been a problem.” I said I know but it was just nice to hear her say it out loud!

On to the dentist. I have a lovely dentist. I haven’t had to have anything done for three whole years but this visit was different. Luckily I phoned for an appointment and got one at less than two hours later. I was so relieved and I got there and found that the problem had been a wisdom tooth.

I didn’t even know I had any wisdom teeth! Not because of my general lack of wisdom, but simply because I have a very small mouth (contrary to popular opinion). I was just very glad to have this raging pain dealt with once and for all. As much as I hate injections, I was actually really, really looking forward to this particular one. And as soon as they gave me the injection I said to the doctor the dentist actually I’m good now thank you very much!

Luckily he knows my sense of humour as well as I know his and the drilling started. Part of the problem with the wisdom tooth is that, because of the lack of space, it hadn’t come out fully so was still half in my jaw which explains why I had this excruciating pain in my jaw because I suppose the problem went right up into my jaw. I now have a temporary filling containing lovely, lovely clove oil.

I’m going back after the weekend to get the permanent one put in. Now this may seem quite irrelevant to a general rant about antidepressants but bear with me. I did look into this and I’m not saying at all that’s medication causes bad teeth. Obviously not! No! But previously I had been using an amazing home-made toothpaste which all the time I had been using it had been completely foxing my dentist. He kept complaining jovially that my teeth are too good and what the heck was I doing that he had nothing to do!

It is an amazing toothpaste. Here is the recipe for it

http://shazzie.com/blog/how-to-make-toothpaste/

it’s made by the lovely Shazzie Love. Seriously, you have to try this – it’s great stuff and cheaper than you’d think.

Of course, during the depression, if I wasn’t that fond of leaving the house I certainly wasn’t going to have the motivation to make my own toothpaste. And that I think is possibly where the problem started. I’ve done a little bit of research, and it seems that Citalopram and other SSRI medications can cause dryness of the mouth (I now finally know the meaning of the American phrase cotton mouth or cotton wool mouth) Couple that with my lack of drinking (water!), and you have less saliva to wash away all those nasty little bacteria which lead to dental cavities. As I’ve said the tablets themselves do not not not cause dental cavities. But the combination of the lessened amount of saliva plus the er, slide in personal hygiene which I’m sure a few people have experienced will lead to problems with your gnashers.

And so now, I’m back on that particular case. I will just say to anybody on medication for depression please please please drink water, chew gum, use this toothpaste, anything to look after your teeth. I realise now this could have been avoided. if you’re in this situation, please avoid it if you can.
Anyway, one light note about all this is that obviously the dentist had to ask me if I was on any medication. I told him that I was on Citalopram. He had obviously heard of it and seemed very surprised. “You’re the last person I would be expecting to be on antidepressants!” he said.

And don’t forget the embarrassingly hilarious after-effects of the injection… It’s as close as a non-drinker ever gets to drunk dialling!

One such message I sent to the hubby was (sic)

“It’s raining and I’ve got av pretty pink hooid!”

And it sort of continued in that vein.  Luckily I never sent the final message, which was to tell him that I was home and was about to start preparing for the dinner we were having with friends that evening. Or, as I put it…

“Im home an I’m going to sstart cutting thinggs up. like a pirate. ah-ah-arrr” 

And then, of course, there is today. The final day of week five of Couch to 5K. Today is the day I had to do a serious run.

And I did it!

20 minutes running without stopping. Just like Laura the lady on the App says by week five you’re building on a lot of work so everything has led up to this points – being able to run that little bit longer. I was so pleased, no, scratch that, overjoyed that I think my eyes started sweating too.

So there you go, that’s my week. The week in which I did I became a published writer, became a more accomplished runner, and which I got the motivation to start making my own toothpaste again.

Have a great weekend everybody!

I know I will!

*sigh*

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I thought I’d cracked it.  I thought I was done with it.

But no.

The insomnia is back with a vengeance. And because of this, I can’t cut down my dosage, just yet.

Bizarrely, I’m watching what I eat, how much exercise I do… Ah, well, thereby hangs a tale.  I got bronchitis a few weeks back, and that’s slowed me right down.  In fact, if I were going any slower, I would actually be in reverse.  Come to think of it, I think I may well be in reverse.

Has anyone else had major weight gain problems with medication?  I’ve put on over 2 stones (about 30 pounds) in the past year, and even though now I’m working off more than I’m eating, I’m still gaining weight!! How??!

I have started exercising again – slowly. Too much of anything – even laughing – and I go into a coughing fit.  Now there’s another delight I’d like some feedback on.  I’ve had a tickly cough, off and on, since I started the tablets.  Of course now it’s gone turbo because of the bronchitis. I am not so much a funk machine as a gunk machine – not impressive when you’re trying to survive even one song on Wii Just Dance.

Ah, the Wii, my friend. My buddy. My harshest critic at the moment.  I was doing some yoga on it the other day and it said “Now return to your original position.”

So, the next day, I did.

Curled up in bed.

I was going to get up, but somehow I just passed out again.  Not helping the insomnia!  Actually, the other day I only got 3 hours sleep (thanks, students!) but got up at ‘a reasonable time’, thinking that getting up early on 3 hours sleep would somehow kickstart my system, and that by bed time, I’d be so tired that I wouldn’t so much fall asleep as fall unconscious.

Nah-ah.

I was still wide awake at 4am and starting to resemble that twitchy little rodent in the Ice Age movies.

And heartburn?  What the heck?! I’ve been good.  Honest. I’ve not eaten late, or too much (I don’t think) but I go to bed and suddenly I feel like I’ve been gargling lava.  Apparently it’s to do with the cough. You cough, you get all GERDy. You get all GERDy, some of it slips down the wrong way and you get an irritated larynx. You get an irritated larynx, you start getting a tickly cough.  Stop me if you think you can guess what comes next…

I also did as the doctor advised me and stayed off the chocolate. I looked into this. Apparently it’s something to do with anxiety levels. Luckily, I’ve been fine.  I’ve not been craving it or anything.  So clearly I’m not addicted to the stuff, thank goodness.  And then, with it being Easter, I did indulge a little bit, with half a bar of some dark plain chocolate with orange and almonds.  Very nice.  But I don’t think I should ever eat much (ordinary) chocolate again. I couldn’t find the ultra-thin package in the freezer and threw something of a wobble as a result. The hubby gave me a play-by-play. It seems it was the kind of strop a 4-year-old throws at a supermarket checkout… I’m fairly sure he embellished for effect… Hm.

I have however been having a bit of raw chocolate at the weekends which hasn’t had any effect on me at all.  I think I know where this is going.  There’s a difference between raw cacao and ordinary cocoa.  The raw stuff is way gentler. It’s getting easier to find these days too.  Just ask in the nearest health store.

If you want a quick recipe, here you go…

3 tabs coconut oil, 2 tabs RAW cacao powder, 1 tab coconut sugar (powdered). If you want to swap 1 tab cache for milk powder, go ahead (I’m allergic).

Another quick recipe – the oddly named Cocochocofudgies

INGREDIENTS
1/2 block Creamed coconut
6-8 dates, soaked (no need to soak if they’re fresh, obviously!)
Aprox. 2 heaped tablespoons raw cacao or carob

METHOD
Melt the creamed coconut in a bowl in a pan of warm (not boiling). It doesn’t take much, to be honest. In fact, if it’s a hot day where you are, that’ll probably be enough!

Put the dates in the blender and whizz till smooth. Add the melted creamed coconut, mix thoroughly and then add the cacao till you have the right choccy taste for you. It varies. The amount of cacao depends on how much of a chocoholic you are!

Spread onto a tray, about 1/2″/1cm thick and mark lightly into squares. Put in the fridge to set. That’ll be the coconut doing that…

Beware – this is very moreish!

Hmm… Feeling peckish now…

Mood Swings and Roundabouts

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Okay, so my brain and my body have gone swapsies this week….

With depression, I found personally that initially your brain is ill, feels bad and takes your body along for the ride. Then you get medicated. It helps your brain heal, or at least puts the horrors on hold while your brain gets the time off from them to heal. Meanwhile, while your brain is busy, the cat’s away and the mice come out to play with what’s left… Energy changes, weight gain/loss, memory goes up the swanny, and lots of other fun things (fill in the blanks).

I have tried to counter all this by changing my eating habits and getting loads more exercise. I (bizarrely) love running now… So… you get to a point where your brain is almost there, and so is your body. The two meet in the middle and yay! You can start cutting down the meds. Your brain knows it’s time to start flying free, but has actually quite liked the freedom the tablets gave. Your body doesn’t quite know what hit it.

Hence the raging insomnia which kicked in with me, and now the combination of raging insomnia, raging over-sleeping and, well, just plain raging. It’s like that scene in a teen movie where the teens have promised to be good while their parents are away, and you cut to the scene of the ill-advised wild party then cut to the next scene where the parents return and see in horror what has happened to their beloved homestead. I’m at that final scene. I’m the parent, and my body is the house. Which, I suppose, makes the tablets the teenagers. I never said it was the best analogy… And I definitely never said there was any party!

Putting it another way, my brain has (mostly) healed and my body is sulking, because I’ve started taking away its comfort blanky. My body and my brain don’t seem to be on the same page at the moment. I’m starting to experience the same behaviours that I had at the start: not wanting to leave my room – or even my bed, wanting to shut down and hide. But whereas at the beginning it was because my brain was desperate to be left alone, to stop thinking, to stop existing, now it’s my body that wants all these things…

BODY:     Oh leave me here, please, this bed’s nice and warm, plus I just prefer it here.

BRAIN:    No. Come on, get up. There’s lots we want to do.

BODY:     Not me. I don’t want to do any of it.

BRAIN:    Come on. Out of that bed.

BODY:     No. My bed will miss me. It’s got a memory foam mattress and I don’t want it to forget me.

That’s one of many situations you find. Your relationship with food gets weird again. Initially you ate rubbish because it made you feel good. Well, perhaps not good, but it was comforting. Nobody ever got solace from a lamb’s lettuce. Your brain had left the building and your body was fending for itself, Lord of the Flies style. And possibly it was another cat’s-away situation which enabled your body do  a little more to add to the damage.

Now, on the other hand, it’s the body that’s on the rampage, wanting to be self-destructive all by its lickle self (not so lickle, at the moment!)…

BRAIN:    Come on, Body. I’ve made you a delicious kale and pineapple smoothie, Yummy and packed with nutrients! It’ll make you feel fantastic!

BODY looks up from its nest of crisp packets, chocolate smeared all around its mouth, its hands clutching at various sweet wrappers.

BODY:     Huh?

Whereas before Brain felt bad and dragged Body along, now Brain feels better, but Body thinks it’s calling the shots and is repeating all those behaviours. I feel like a healthy brain trapped in a depressed body. Weird.

Oh well, better go play ‘Here-comes-an-aeroplane’ with that smoothie…

Wish me luck!