Don’t Stop Me Now (I’m Having Such A Good Time)

I think it’s fair to say that this year I’ve had quite a new experiences and taken on quite a few new challenges.

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  • First time at the ballet (The Nutcracker)
  • Took up cycling
  • Went horse riding
  • Levada walking in Madeira
  • Haggling in Marrakech
  • Moving house!
  • Salsa dancing
  • Visited Tenerife, Morocco, Madeira, Malta, Crete, Menorca and Mallorca
  • Performed Vivaldi’s Gloria with Caldy Valley Voices at Chester Cathedral

I don’t think being in my fifties is holding me back! In fact, a recent survey by TENA Lady showed that when asked, 55% of women said that the best thing about getting older was that they would have more time to embark on new hobbies.  Many however, say they are deterred from doing as they wish by bladder weakness.

One of the most unwelcome things about being past menopause and in your mid fifties, is the occasional ‘oops’ moment, when a trickle of urine escapes when you sneeze or cough too hard.  This has been a taboo subject for years, but goodness knows why.  Most of us experience it at some stage, whether we have given birth or not.

Depending on how it affects you, urinary incontinence can be just the teeniest trickle, to a couple of teaspoons, and how you deal with it can vary too.

TENA Lady have a range of products to protect you against leaks; from the lightest panty liner, to a more secure pair of knickers (called Pants Plus which are breathable, discreet and comfortable enough for everyday use) should you need the extra protection.  All TENA products offer triple protection from leaks, odour and moisture, helping you stay dry, secure and confident

I’m hoping that yoga and Pilates classes have strengthened my pelvic floor to the extent that I will never have a significant problem.  However, as one in three of women experience bladder weakness at some stage in their life, it’s good to know there is something you can do about it and there is absolutely no way it should stop you exercising – even dancing, running or aerobics shouldn’t be out of bounds.

I’m lucky that my yoga and Pilates teacher, Helen at Bodywork Pilates is 100% committed to teaching us the importance of working our pelvic floor.  We don’t just go through the motions in our classes – we learn how each move benefits the body.  Strength and stability is key to keeping yourself if tip top condition as you age, and this applies just as much to the muscles that hold you together internally as it does to the skeleton that keeps you upright.

I’m loving being 56.  My mantra in life is to keep learning, keep doing and be excited about new adventures.  I’m always planning my next trip!  Coming up in the next three months (apart from the HUGE moving house adventure) is a rail tour of Andalucia, a trip to see Swan Lake and seeing Queen with Adam Lambert in concert.

Happy days.

*this post is sponsored

 

 

 

 

 

Slimming World Progress

IMG_2008Another one and a half pounds off this week – making 12.5 in total.  Very close now to that one stone milestone and I’m determined to get it!

I’ve not been cooking much the last two weeks because of the moving house cleaning and painting frenzy that’s been going on, but I did manage to make the Slimming World crustless quiche (pictured).

So, with the house due to be on the market by Thursday, I have the ideal opportunity to get out and about again and burn some calories.

I’m getting that ‘back to school’ feeling which I think makes this time of year very special.  It’s a time for new beginnings, the start of Autumn/Winter fashion in the shops and an excuse to buy a new pencil case (or maybe a new house if we get an offer on ours).

Feeling positive about the next few months!

 

 

 

 

Slimming World Week Six

It’s been six weeks since I started at Slimming World and so far I have lost eight and a half pounds.  Not brilliant, but OK considering I had a holiday in Yorkshire where wine and cake was consumed!

The strategies that are working for me so far are:

  • Drinking on one day a week only
  • No snacking at all
  • No food between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • lots of exercise: swimming, cycling, running, walking, yoga
  • Having Old Jamaica sugar free ginger beer instead of alcohol
  • Eating more green veg than I ever thought possible

I could do better if:

  • I cut out the bread I am having for lunch as laziness has overtaken me when it comes to preparing soups, plus nothing feels like lunch except bread.
  • I made more SW recipes instead of just adapting my normal day to day menu plan
  • Stopped eating lunch out and made more of an effort to prepare food to take with me on the go.

I’m still learning what works, but have to say I’m finding it much easier to order a black coffee when I’m out and not look at cakes.  I do feel my social life is slightly impeded but I guess it’s all in a good cause and I want to be healthier and happier after all!

 

 

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Half a Stone Under My Belt

 

 

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Three weigh ins and I have lost seven and a half pounds.

Although I have not been hungry, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

My main issue is craving food which feels good – butter on my Jersey Royals or asparagus.  Butter on toast.  Honey in my yoghurt.  The added extras which make each meal a pleasure.

Oh and of course, no wine.  At all.  Not that difficult this week as we have not been out for dinner, but faced with a wine list in a nice restaurant next week I’m not sure I won’t cave.

Now, I can hear you saying ‘but you can have all these things on Slimming World if you count the syns’.  Yes, all well and good, but when just one glass of wine is maybe 10 syns and uses up all your daily allowance….well you get my drift.  As you can see in this picture, I’m on the mineral water and he’s on the Magners.

This last few weeks drinking has been limited to one night and having Bacardi and Diet Coke.

Drinking carbonated drinks containing sweetener goes against everything I’ve been led to believe about health.  I very rarely touch them and for most of my adult life, Diet Coke has been like the antichrist.  However, in the spirit of the plan, I tried it (and enjoyed it).  Not sure I will continue long term though because I just know it’s unhealthy.  On the flipside of course, being overweight is unhealthy too.  I figure I’ll just keep the diet drinks to a minimum and I should be OK.

I’m making it a mission to do at least 10,000 steps five days a week and cycling on the other two. I don’t have a Fitbit so I’m using the app on my phone to track it.  Once a week I’m swimming too and of course have my weekly yoga class.

Next week’s challenge is a birthday trip to Yorkshire, staying in a cottage next door to a pub.  Red alert!  I’m taking some basics with me, but not sure how the old willpower is going to cope when faced with the inevitable cream tea!

 

 

 

Feel Good Challenge with Highland Spring

Highland Spring is on a mission to encourage healthy hydration. Because when you’re 100% hydrated, you’re much more likely to be on top of your game – mentally, physically and emotionally.  I was asked if I’d like to take part in the feel good challenge and of course, I said yes!

For me, as a heart attack survivor, it is vital that I stay properly hydrated not only because it reduces the number of premature atrial contractions that I get, but it keeps my energy levels up.  I’ve learned this from experience and if my heart is playing me up, the first question I ask myself is: have I drunk enough water today?  If not, I top up immediately.

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Green tea, herbal tea and good old PG all count towards the two litres I drink a day, but  most important of all, is plain water, just as nature intended.  I know some people don’t like to drink unadulterated water, but luckily I enjoy it: iced, lukewarm, sparking or still – any will do.

During my spa break last month there was huge emphasis on hydration: we were encouraged  to drink water and herbal teas – there were jugs of water provided, topped up with fruit or cucumber: delicious.

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Research shows that 66% of Brits don’t feel they always drink enough water on a daily basis so Highland Spring have provided some top tips on how to keep hydrated and feel good.

Did you know?

•         Drinking water can make you happier: brain scans show that when you’re properly hydrated the parts of your brain associated with anger, fear and alertness are de-activated.

•         Lots of us visit the doctors for fatigue each year, when actually the problem could be due to dehydration. Keeping hydrated can help give you the energy you need!

•         When you’re hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. It’s much easier for your body to pump blood through the blood vessels to muscles

•         Staying hydrated before and during exercise helps avoid cramp. Hydration levels are affected by how long and how hard you are exercising, so if you are sweating or in a warm environment you might need to drink more than usual

For my personal challenge, I decided to have water with me on the go at all times.   Not difficult as it’s easy to slip a small bottle of water into your handbag, or fill up a re-usable water bottle for the gym.  I’ve also been taking a small bottle in my pocket for my weekly country walk.

Do you think you could find a way to add some extra water into your life?

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It’s All Good!

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Saw my consultant this morning and it’s great news!  No evidence of dissection in the head or neck, or of  TIA.  So after weeks of worrying myself sick, I can get back to normal.

I know not everything is fixed as my heart is not right, but this is such a huge deal for me that I feel like I can make a new start.

One thing stuck on my mind through all this.  Janet Street Porter was on TV and was saying ‘If I don’t like doing something, I stop doing it immediately’.  I thought to myself, blimmin’ heck, she’s right.  If I’m not finding joy in something and I don’t have to do it any more then just stop!

This has led me to ditch a number of things that were just not working for me any more and now I have the all clear, then I am going to focus on what I really enjoy.

The things bringing me joy at the moment are blogging, travel, gardening and being creative with crafts.  So for now, that’s where I’m putting my focus.  I’m planning to go back to badminton, Pilates and yoga too.

One good thing to come out of all this is that I’ve significantly increased the amount of walking I’ve been doing because it was the only exercise I was allowed to do.   I’m loving getting down the country lanes and will build on this.

I’ve also reviewed my diet and in a bid to be as healthy as possible, have made a few more positive tweaks, so again, this is something I can build on.  You may have noticed I’d stopped whingeing about being fat – that’s because I had bigger things to worry about – so I should try and keep that mind set that food is fuel and also medicine.

So, onwards and upwards!  Where’s that travel brochure……..

A Plea To Be Treated Holistically

I’m struggling with a few things at the moment and don’t know how to sort it out.  I have a number of medical problems that are being treated individually, but they seem to contradict one another in terms of treatment and what I really need is for someone to sit down and look at the whole blimmin’ lot holistically rather than treating each thing in isolation.

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If you read my blog you’ll know that I’m waiting on the results of the MRI/CT scan I had a couple of weeks ago for a suspected dissection to the carotid or vertebral artery.  I have a hospital appointment on Friday but I anticipate that this will deal with the one issue only. I’m guessing we will have a chat about stroke risk and how I can mitigate it.   What about all this other stuff though?

You also know about my heart attack, caused by SCAD.  Since this happened I’m left with premature atrial contractions which are irregular heart beats.  I’m told this is not serious or life threatening in most cases but I am prescribed a beta blocker for it.

Now the trouble with beta blockers is that they slow you down.  Not a bad thing you may say.  However, combined with my next problem, an underactive thyroid, then that makes me doubly slow.  If I have a few days of action, then I may spend the next couple of days in bed, good for nothing.

Well can’t you take levothyroxine for your thyroid? Well yes, but guess what, if I take the recommended dose I get more palpitations and I twitch incessantly at night.

So, if beta blockers make you slow and PACS are not dangerous, why take the beta blocker? Good question – I asked my GP to refer me to a SCAD specialist, which he duly did last November – nothing has happened.

I’m also told I have high cholesterol.  Must be down to diet you say.  Have you seen how much porridge I eat? Did you know that an underactive thyroid can raise your cholesterol? Would taking the correct dose of thyroxine sort it out? Who knows as I can’t tolerate it.

Why not take a statin then?  Great idea.  But don’t statins make your arteries more flexible?  Isn’t the reason I had a SCAD the result of over flexible arteries in my heart? Oh yeah! Back to the drawing board on that one then.

As you can see, I don’t know what to do.  If I put it in the hands of the professionals, which one’s advice do I follow, because I can assure you they all want to treat me with something different.

They want to fix whatever I have presented with and of course that makes sense, but I, you see, want to be treated as a whole person.  Who will look at all this stuff and make some sort of judgement call?

Who knows.   I don’t.