Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Good v Bad Knees

The world is an unfair place sometimes. 

It does not always follow that if you work hard you get rewarded, that if you are a good person then good things will happen to you, that eating well everyday will not save you from cancer, that being kind to animals will save you being eaten by a shark, smiling a lot will make you happy.

This is how I feel today, that the world sucks! Terrible way to start a blog post, sorry. 

You see, I have bad knees, really bad, I can barely walk some days and I need to lose weight, which I need good knees for. The reason I have bad knees, is that I needed to lose weight and I used my then good knees that are now bad knees.

About 6 years ago, I started running and doing long distance walking. I did this because the one hour daily walk was not enough to make me lose weight. I had to up the ante. So I started doing two hour walks, then walking home from work (17kms). I then started meeting up with my best friend and would walk the ten km bridges walk two or three times a week. Then we started to run it. I was also running every second day, five kms plus the days in between walking. Power walking, not just a stroll. 

I was still fighting the weight, doing Jenny Craig and religiously going to see my counsellor every week for a weigh in. Great, thats half a kilo lost this week. 300 grams the next week. What!!?  I put on 400 grams how can that be? Oh, yeah, I had a few G&T's. Week after week of this, in fact I did it for a whole year. Eating 1200 calories a day, week in, week out. Agonising over every calorie and feeling guilt for every indiscretion. 

To counter balance the indiscretions (and I am not talking about two pizzas and five meat pie blowouts, I am talking a few chips and a couple of drinks) I added in going to a gym for three times a week. Working one on one with a personal trainer for one full hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For months and months and thousands and thousands of dollars.

I was fit. Very fit. I was toned and had great muscles, especially in my legs. Oh the squats I could do. On a bosu board, crunches and rowing and lifting weights. She was tough my trainer, if I rang to say I was skipping a session she would say thats ok, we can pick it up 5am tomorrow morning. I very rarely missed a session. 

So, you would think with all this hard exercise, and a 1200 calorie a day diet, I would have looked Kate-Moss-amazing? Sure my skin glowed, I looked really healthy, but, and here is the but that makes me weep, but, I was still a size 16 at best. 

No matter how hard I worked at it, I was still going to be a big girl. And this breaks my heart, and I really did work very, very hard. I had to push myself sometimes way past the point of comfort. It was never something I looked forward to, it was something I had to do and quitting was not an option. It simply had to be done. The only thing I did get pleasure from was challenging myself to get better and go further, to run longer distances, and beat the day before record. I entered the city to surf fun run and completed the 12.5 kms. 

And this was the time and place my knee started to play up. It was sore towards the end of the run but I was determined to finish. And I did. The pain was not too bad, but I eased off on so many runs a week, and cut down the walking to a few times a week. I still did a few walks from my office in the city to home, but I had to slow the pace. I continued at the gym and my trainer, worked with my knee, building strength in it and trying not to aggravate the situation. But it got worse and worse and my head started to pipe up about all this intense hard work I had been doing and really, what had it got me? Damaged knees and still a fat body.

How do you come back from that?

Now, everyday both my knees are aching and painful and stiff. I can't lay on my side as my knees grind and put pressure on each other, even with a thick pillow between them. So I lie on my back, and can't sleep. Well I can, and I do, but not well. I find myself a few hours later, rolled on my side with a knee so stiff and sore it almost makes me weep.

I get up from sitting and my knees won't work properly. I hobble, like I am 100. I went out in the city the other night and had to walk a mere 300 metres, it killed me. Working in the garden is an exercise in pushing through the pain. I do it, but pay for it dearly.

Now I need new knees. An operation my Dr does not want to do until I am older. I will need to lose weight before the operation so that the recovery is better.

How do I do this without good knees? If I could not lose weight on a diet and all that exercise, how on earth will I do it with bad knees? Guess I better start liking water and ... I was going to say bread, but that's a carb ... better just be drinking water.

It's a consumer world and I want my money back, as the product did not do what it said it would do on the box.

See, told you the world was unfair!

PS: I know that there are so many others out there with problems 100 times worse than this. I know that having a pity party will not help. I just wanted to get this out of my mind so me and my knees can move forward.

PPS: The bright side is that in the event of a world disaster, I will live the longest as I have a superior metabolism.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hoarders ... my own reality TV show

In my mind, this is how my junk looks.
(In reality, it looks rather neat compared to this)

How can you still be getting stuck in life at my age?  Honestly! When will I grow up already?

When I was a kid, I always imagined a 50+ woman to be on top of it all. Her routine would be well and truly worked out. Her house would be organised and function like clockwork. Perfection would have been worked out so that everything she did was effortless.

So how can you get to my age and still have a spare bed covered in washed clothes that never quite made it to the wardrobe? How can you have a pantry that is disorganised and in need of a grand cleanout after only living in this house for six months? How can I have boxes of unknown and lost things in two rooms of my house, stacked on the veranda, stuffed in no order at all in one of my stables? Cupboards still with stuff at the old house?

I blame the fact we still have not moved properly. We still have a quarter of a house at the old place. And you know what? The stuff I still have there, if I have not missed it yet, then do I really need it? Is it really important. There are still flat packs of Ikea wardrobes on the veranda, yet to be made into three dimensions so I have storage. We still have both son's stuff stored here.

Here's your sign.

This weekend I am doing my very own hoarders makeover. I am getting a great big tarp, spreading it out on the lawn. I am getting trestle tables and a whole pile of plastic storage crates. I have labels and black markers at the ready. There is a film crew coming to record my tears and tantrums. There will be a bossy lady yelling at me 'do you really need this!'. (not really, she will be in my head only)

I will drag out every box, pile and bit of stuff from all the places I have them stashed and I will go through each and every item. I plan on getting rid of at least a third of it, so if you want stuff ... come visit me Sunday afternoon ... it will be on the verge.

I will stack all the keeping stuff into plastic boxes, label it so I can find what I want (like all our birth certificates, marriage certificates and important documents that I know are somewhere but I can't find) and store them in a neat order on shelves in the storeroom set up in one of my stables.

Only then, can I end all this chaos in my mind. I can end trying to keep tabs on my junk. It is a terrible infliction, and I don't know why we do it to ourselves. My son asked me why I get so stressed about stuff I can't see? I never thought of it like that. I just know that I have these mental tabs on where it all is and it's bugging me like hell.

Living simply, starts this weekend.

... and they all lived happily ever after ...

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Farmhouse Mentality

It may be just me, but I suspect it is not, but I always seem to have a busy, monologue going on in my head. Like counting when I am watering the pot plants "1,2, 3, ... 15, 16 ... and onto the next pot. 1,2,3 ...." That way they all get an even amount of water (is that OCD?). Or when I am loading the washing machine "OK that's one sock, there is its partner, good. Next sock, turn right way out, there is its partner, good". Picking tomatoes - "That's a good, one, and that one. That one is a bit green, must find that recipe for green tomato pickles, wonder how many tomatoes I will need, do they all need to be green, how green is too green." Vacuuming the floor - "damn dog hair, it's everywhere, I hate the floor being this grotty, what's that mark? Oh its a scratch, can't be too worried about it as there is a big gap in the floor, oh and another leaf blown in, never mind, this is a farm after all ..."

Ok, so now I am guessing this might just be me.

This raises my new mantra/voice in my head. "This is a farmhouse". Well it's not really, we are not actually living on a farm as such. It is a few acres, much larger than your suburban block, but still only 16 kms from the city centre. We do have stock - well chooks and dogs, and paddocks set up for horses, but none have come yet. (Is it really true, that if you build it, they will come?)

It is a farm house, however. It was built in the sixties, with a Metters Warren No.1 stove, a fireplace in the lounge, wide verandas and stables. So lets say it is rural in character. It has wooden floors, that are polished jarrah and divine. There are bits of board missing, and patched over, knots and holes and deep scratches - it is a floor with a robust history. And made to cater to wet pawed, border collies. And booted husbands, with cheeky grins.

Which is why I can (try to) sidestep my perfectionist tendencies and cajole myself to believe that a dirty (ish) floor is ok as this is a farmhouse. Same goes for a kitchen bench covered in zucchinis of varying sizes, tomatoes in varying colours, eggs with a little, umm, err, varying dirt on them, secateurs, and a big bunch of basil. 

The farmhouse mentality however, is having a hard time convincing my perfectionist mentality that tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling down the hallway is rustic, not revolting. That the dining room table covered in egg cartons, bags of oranges and a box of garlic is self-sufficient abundance not anarchy of order. That ash and twigs scattered around the fireplace is cosy not careless. That a laundry of piled washing (both done and to do) demonstrates a priority of time spent in the vegetable garden, which is neat and weeded and prolific.

I wonder who is going to win this mental battle - Farmhouse or Perfectionist?

I know which one I WANT to win!