Category Archives: Health

A nervous day

Its been a long while since I last did a proper blog post. Like so many bloggers and writers out there, I just sort of dried up and could not think of what to put down in writing. I found it a bit easier to vlog ( video blog ) but even then I have had times where I cannot think of something to vlog about. Its pretty much the way my mind works these day and has been for a good few years now.

Today, saw the first telephone contact with the new therapists. The reason for this is that recently there has been an increase in mood swings, anxiety attacks and panic attacks, hyper vigilance PLUS a new development compared to previous times, which at this time, I cannot divulge, but is a concerning development for me. It is due to this new development I decided to self refer myself and to act proactively and nip this in the bud before things got too bad, unlike the last time in 2013 where I ended up in a really ‘dark’ place mentally speaking.

Last week should of been my first phone call with the therapist but thanks to the gas engineers being at our house fitting new smart meters, the call had to be abandoned and rearranged for this week. Like so many people will have done before something like this, I had built this up in my head, so that the closer it got to the call, the more uptight I was getting.

Bang on time at 10am the phone rang and it was a young girl from the therapists who was a trainee counsellor. All she need to do this week was get details to pass to her supervisorabout what has been happening and what prompted me to self refer to them. She seemed really nice and caring, as you would expect, which really helped put me at ease. I answered all the questions she asked and additionally volunteered more information. I will not bore you with the questions she asked but anyone who has been though this process will know exactly what the standard questions of the GAD7 and PQ9 plus a couple of other forms are, including if I had suicidal or self harming thoughts, which thankfully I haven’t. Even though the girl was really nice, afterwards I was still left feeling drained and really down. Since it’s about 4 years since my last therapy session, I forgot how the after effects feel. Pretty crappy to be honest. If it wasn’t for the fact I was run of my feet busy for the rest of the day, I would of locked myself away for the rest of the day and not resurfaced until the evening, just to get some alone time and to process everything.

The girl ended the call after arranging another call tomorrow at 18.00 to speak to me about which direction they can take the sessions, and what sort of help they can provide moving forward. Hopefully there is something they can do for me.

Wish me luck.

Had to put this down in words

depression

I just thought I would put this down in words while I’m on the laptop and its in my head as I know, like everything else, I’ll just put it on the back burner and forget about it.
It comes to something when you are dreading going back to work, even after just one day off. You prey for the days to go fast so that your next day off comes around quickly. Well thats how I feel at the moment. I feel up and down health wise. I still feel I’m not right with this bug or whatever knocking me for six every day and making me just want to sleep and sapping me of all enthusiasm to do the normal stuff in life. Theres also the stress, and depression stuff that coincides with that at the same time which seems to double the tiredness and downers.
I know Denise is having a hard and busy time at work so she’s pretty run down as well. I hate seeing her like that. It’s not the normal Denise I know and love. She also has worries about her Dad who’s in hospital after having a knee replacement.
Then on top of that there’s Georgia with her health problems ( I.B.S ) which is upsetting her and getting her anxious about going to school. As a parent, its horrible seeing your child so messed up and unhappy about stuff. I know we will eventually get her diet sorted out to figure out what she can and cannot eat and get her feeling a bit better, or a lot better hopefully, but for now its hard watching her get so upset about it.
I am so looking forward to when we all start feeling a lot better. I hope it’s sooner rather than later but for now, like everyone else has to do, we will try to keep smiling and soldier on.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Take care everyone
Steve

A visit to the docs. Things are not right.

What a week and a half I have had. Last Sunday I woke up to find I had blister type things on my face. They were right across the right hand side of my face. I decided to keep and eye on it to make sure they didn’t get any worse, which sods law, they did. Right down my cheek from just below my eye down to my chin. This also meant they were in amongst my whiskers. They were sore. I rang the docs and managed to get an appointment pretty quickly for after work. I was expecting them to say they were bites or an allergic reaction to something.

When the doctor took one look at them she rushed out and down the corridor. I heard her urgently asking another doctor to quickly come and have a look as it looks like another the same as the other one earlier. The two doctors came in and the second doctor took one look at my face and confirmed that I had in fact developed Shingles. You could of knocked me down with a feather. I never even considered that option. I was all for it being bites. How wrong I was.

I got prescribed tablets to combat it and warned to try and avoid coming into contact with the elderly, people who are pregnant and people   who have a low immune system. I had to tell him my job involves going to elderly peoples homes. They seemed quite sure I would be ok with these customers as long as I didn’t get too close initially. I did as requested.

Since then it seems to of got better. They scabbed over and become very itchy and sore, but not weeping, which is good. As well as taking my tablets I have been using antiseptic cream on my face to try and sooth it. Today I was told I will no longer be infectious.

I have read that Shingles can be caused by being run down. Recently, for quiet a few weeks now, I have not felt my normal self. I have felt totally out of sorts. Virtually every night I have been finishing my dinner then going to bed absolutely shattered. I’m talking about 7.30 at night sometimes.

As well as always being tired, I have been losing weight without trying even after eating pizza, or pie and chips, and having ice cream every night. I also have been feeling really sick every morning. Sick to the point where I physically want to vomit at the very thought of having some toast. Yesterday morning I had a quarter of a slice of toast. I’ve also been peeing a lot even though I’m not drinking a great deal. I know there is a history of diabetes in my family but all tests I have had in the past have come back negative.

Like I say, things are not right and I want to know why.

Due to the way I’m feeling recently, I have been to the doctors and requested a full blood test. That was done today. I should hear back within 2 weeks, unless something serious is discovered, then they will get in touch straight away.

I am sick of feeling like this. I need to find out what is causing it. Its been going on way before the Shingles started. Lets hope, they find a reason why this is happening.

I need to write this down about how things have turned bad

Sorry guys, I felt I had to do this post. Even if its a way to just vent my feelings a bit. Its about depression, anxiety and feelings, so please feel free to skip this blog if you wish. If you do read it all, I thank you.
I also realise that this may be grammatically all over the place but I just typed it as it came into my head. I hope you understand.

Due to things happening at work, which is involving an investigation due to a complaint I made and is currently ongoing, I am being left with a massive mental problem. A lot of you may not think it is massive, and in truth, it may not be massive, but in my head, it is huge.
Because of these ongoing things, which at this point I cannot go into, I am not suffering from horrible anxiety attacks which give me painful chest pains. As if this isn’t enough, my brain has basically been turned to mush recently.
A lot of the time I get chest pains or get anxious for no reason at all that I can think of. It just comes on.

On a normal day, when I want to do normal stuff like housework, tidying up, cleaning, washing, answering emails, make phone calls, etc, my brain decides it cannot process anything. Its like my brain just goes into some sort of knowledgeless mode as if it does not know how to do the most common and simple things. It sort of switches off, and I am left bewildered, confused and frustrated as I know I know how to do these things but my brain has decided otherwise and flicked itself into its own version of ‘safe mode’. The only thing I’m missing is a crash report to submit to the brains tech support.

Everything there is to do has a counterintuitive effect.( I hope thats the right word to use ). I know some things I need to do have dead lines, but my brain cannot help me perform these tasks, and because of the deadline, I get more anxious and my brain gets more mushed up, and so on. Its like a snow ball effect. Also normal everyday tasks, I know I can do them normally, and the fact I struggle to do them currently, builds up frustration as well. Again, with the snow ball effect.
So many times, I have had things to do, and my brain just seems to switch off, and I go into a kind of daze, in a world of my own, oblivious to whats happening around me.
My eating is all over the place. I am supposed to be on a diet, but cannot even focus on that at the moment. And as bad as this may sound, and this is totally out of normal character for me, I can go for days without even washing ( apart from brushing my teeth ). I have no interest in it.

Sometimes in the blink of an eye, I go from not being able to function or do anything, to going on a mad cleaning spree or doing something in the garden to tidy up, etc etc. I have mentioned this to my doctor and he is happy I an not starting to become bipolar. Thats one good thing I suppose.

Yes, I have been given meds. Citalopram ( anti depressants ) to be precise, and have also just been prescribed Propranolol (Beta Blockers) for the chest pains etc which I have yet to get from the chemist, but so far the Citalopram does not seem to make any difference apart from make me want to sleep all the time, which my doc says is unusual for that drug.

At the end of all this, because of everything going on, I am left feeling very down, frustrated, anxious, and not sure who I am to a certain extent. This is not me. Not me as I know myself anyway. Even typing this post is giving me chest pains.

There may be some things I have not covered but I may remember later, but that is the way my head is working, or not working at the moment.

If you have read this far, I thank you so much for your time and really appreciate it.

Advice needed for my diet

If anyone can offer and moral support or help it would be great

My health and fitness journey so far with Myfitnesspal and Fitbit

I have written this in the hope it helps someone. Even just one person. Hoping it helps to show people that things can be better. Things can improve. It is possible to improve your life, even if it’s only a bit. Maybes its just enough to make things more comfortable, bearable and easier for you.
How I got back problems in the first place.
When I was about 21 ( about 1989 ), I was very slim and tall, and enjoyed playing football ( soccer to you Yanks ) and going out for a few beers now and then. I was a bus driver. A job I really enjoyed. I got to drive around all day and meet people and have good conversations with some of them. Now, some of the busses had drivers seats that were twisted. Not loads, but enough so after driving in it for 3 or 4 hours, you could feel it. As this was a daily thing, over time, it started giving me pains in the lower back. Yeah, there were reports submitted and seats changed, but some drivers were, how can I say this nicely, rather large, and used to just drop themselves into the seats, which resulted in them getting damaged. This treatment on my back over the years left me with a bit of a weak back, which was susceptible to back pain and aches. Moving forward a good few years to about 12-15 years ago, I was coming down stairs at home with socks on my feet, and slipped. I ended up bouncing down the stairs on my heels, which jarred my back really bad. This is the point where I did the damage and I got my prolapsed disk in my back.
Being a new starter to using Myfitnesspal in a serious way, I thought I would tell you about my experience so far.
Last November I had yet another flare up in my back. I suffer from an inoperable back condition which, over time, is getting worse. This is not helped in the slightest by me not bothering to look after my body and just basically eating anything I want and at whatever time I want, even if its 2am when I’m sitting up watching T.V while on yet another period of sickness from work.
At the beginning of December 2014,after the last major flare up in my back which left me screaming the house down in pain and bed ridden for about 6 weeks, and after that, pretty much struggling to even walk any distance, I decided enough is enough. I decided I had wasted enough time wallowing in pain and walking around, stooped over like an old man. I’m only 46. I shouldn’t be in this state. Life shouldn’t be as bad as this. I decided, thats it, I AM GOING TO CHANGE THIS. The only way I can describe it is like a switch being flicked in my head which suddenly changed my attitude. I went from being miserable, depressive, and wallowing in self pity, doubt and worry, to I can do this, the only person who can help me is me, and I don’t want to end up in a wheelchair ( which is the way it looks like my body is heading in reality ) I need to sort my stuff out and refocus and look ahead with a positive mindset and take charge of my own wellbeing and life.
I have never, ever had such a strong feeling of positiveness before. I have no idea why it hit me so hard like a bolt out of the blue like it did. Sure, I was sick of the pain, depressive feelings. Sick of being a useless invalid, and not being able to do normal Dad stuff with my daughter, like run around, play, all the normal stuff most people take for granted. I couldn’t do anything for the fear that my back could go so daily. Theres no two ways about it, the fear and pain, ran ( and ruined ) my life
I already had a Fitbit One sitting in a drawer doing nothing so I searched it out, found the charge cable and sleep wristband then went about logging into my Myfitnesspal account that I opened a couple of years back but didn’t bother using it. I read posts and blogs about peoples successes and stories. Many of which have been really inspiring, and I recommend anyone to go to the blogs if they are feeling a bit down about their progress. I set about adding friends on Myfitnesspal. People who, when reading their statuses, their bio’s and blog posts, really inspired me, or people who have health issues like myself and have done massively well. The more I read Myfitnesspal and got interacting with the new friends I have made, the more positive I was feeling. Its like having a virtual extended family, who’s sole goal is all the same. To lose weight, become fitter and healthier.
I have to tell you, when you have gone years of being totally unfit, not being able to see a bright future and feeling a total burden on your family, to suddenly having this massive burst of enthusiasm and hope, and then your extended virtual family on Myfitnesspal show you so much love and support, gee you on, pick you up, give you good advice and re-motivate when you have a bad day, the feeling is so so good. You get to realise, you are no longer alone. There are others out there, who are approachable and friendly who can help you in your times of need.
One of the other great things about Myfitnesspal is the food diary section. This shows the nutritional content of almost everything I eat or drink. I can see at a glance how many calories I have left for that day and also plan ahead for meals or treats if I want one.
I have done slimming clubs a few times before but only been successful once and lost 3 stone (42lbs), but put it all back on a lot quicker that I lost it. Over the years, I have started to view slimming clubs as nothing more than money making machines, that feed on peoples guilt and insecurities. I really have a problem with paying for the privilege of being put under pressure to conform to the clubs diet rules of what you can eat and what you cannot and heaven forbid you gain a pound. You near enough get made to explain in front of the class the reason you gained.
On MFP I am so much happier. I have so much more freedom to eat basically what I want to eat, as long as I plan my food and keep within the nutritional goal I have set. So far in the 6 weeks I have been managing my own intake and exercise, I have only gained twice. Bear in mind, I now weigh myself every day so that I can track my weight over a period of time and see if any times show where I might gain weight. Also just out of keen interest to watch my weight change. I feel so in control of my own destiny using Myfitnesspal. If I gain weight, I know exactly why I have and I know the next day is a new day. I don’t have to be made to feel guilty in a class of people. I have seen loads of people, including myself, offering encouragement to others on Myfitnesspal, when they have had a day where they went over their calories etc. Like I said, we are all in this together for all the same reasons. Families ( even virtual ) need to stick together.
I have learned so much already about the foods I eat, and the rubbish I used to pile into my body.
Add to that, my Fitbit. It is one of those little pedometers that measure your steps, distance, floors climbed etc, sleep quality and duration and even wake you in the morning with a silent alarm if need be. I have since moved to a Fitbit Charge wristband which I prefer as I can wear it on my wrist so that I can see it better, rather than the One, which clips to your waistband ( or bra if you are a woman ). The fitbit monitors all the activities you do during the day and syncs it automatically to the Fitbit website. One there you can set yourself daily goals to reach, and try and beat each day. There are also challenges you can do and invite your Fitbit friends to join in with and compete against for the pure fun of it. Again, I have found most of the Fitbit users I have come across are really friendly. I have a few who I am friends with on Fitbit and Myfitnesspal at the same time so we can support each other in all aspects of our health journey, whether it be the fitness side of Fitbit or the nutritional side on Myfitnesspal.

Its now the 18th January 2014. Nearly 6 weeks into this, and I have lost 21 pound already. I would recommend anyone, to try doing this. Just get yourself a fitness tracker like a Fitbit for example, and join the Myfitnesspal family

All in all, having the support of my virtual families on Myfitnesspal and Fitbit, I have come along on this journey and not felt alone at all. My enthusiasm has paid off as my wife and daughter have also decided to join me on this journey to discover our new slimmer, fitter selves. This is a journey I know I will succeed in. I look forward to reaching the finishing line and shaking hands with the new smiling, healthier me.

A personal milestone. What a great feeling.

calories

I’m buzzing at the moment. The reason being is that I’ve hit one of those little personal milestone goals yesterday. One of those goals that urge you on and give you motivation, and make you realise that you hard work is paying off. My personal little milestone is that I am now in the 15 stone bracket. I’ve not been in that for a few years now. Also its pleasing as I seemed to platau around the low 16’s for a while, or at least it felt like it. going to 16st 3, to 16 st 1, then to 16 st 4, back to 16 st 3, then to 16 st 1, then back to 16st 3 and seemed to hang around that mark. Then this week I went back to work for the first time in 2 years. I have always got to work about an hour early. I like to get there, have a coffee, get set up, pc loaded etc, then go for a smoke. But as I don’t smoke now, apart from an ecigarette, I go for a walk around the car park and building. I didnt walk at my normal slow, lazy, relaxed way. I kept up a pace that was not slow, but not power walking speed. It was a nice comfortable fast walk for me. All the time, I was paying attention in what my body was telling me, and in particular, what my back what telling me, and at the same time, keeping up a pace that would keep my heart rate up and start a sweat. Apart from the weather being icy cold and windy, I really enjoyed it. It was refreshing, and peaceful, being by myself.
This week I even had my first ever session on an aerobic step. I only did 12 minutes following a beginners session on YouTube, but that certainly got the heart rate going and legs aching.
This extra stamina work seems to have paid off, as my weight dropped to 15 st 12. What a feeling that was, seeing that 15 on the screen of my Aria scales.
A lot of my clothes are already starting to seem a bit looser fitting.
I still feel so motivated and focussed at the moment. Its a feeling I intend to keep going.

My new Fitbit has arrived

Today I received my new Fitbit Charge in the post.

image

I’ve been considering buying this for a while now. I decided to get this rather than the yet to be released Charge HR as this was on a special offer ( 25 pound off)  and also,  I don’t really need the heart rate monitor that’s on the HR,  as I don’t do anything that is even close to cardiovascular,  or running etc.  So hence,  I just went for the basic Charge. It seems nice.  I’ll do a review once I have had a chance to use it properly.

My Fitbit One friendship is rekindled

As the New year looms, and a lot of us are thinking about how much food and drink we have consumed over the festive period, and are considering our New Years resolutions. A lot of people decide to diet and become healthier. To a lot us, it is these resolutions that, sadly, we also break after only a short time. Others have other more personal reasons to lose weight and get healthier. I am one of the people in this second group.

My own personal journey started back in 2012, in a failed attempt to better myself. It was smack bang in the middle of what turned out to be a really bad 2 years in my life and couldn’t of come at a worse time to make a decision like losing weight and getting fitter. It was in this period that I bought my first ever fitbit. I went out and bought a Fitbit One. A small electronic device that you clip onto your waistband or bra. Its surprising how much you become sort of attached to an inanimate object like the fitbit and enjoy having it watch and log your every move 24 hours a day. It even watches over you while you sleep like some sort of electronic stalker. Like I mentioned, this was back in 2012 and because of other issues, my Fitbit got suspended from its duties through no fault of its own for an indefinite period. Shut away in my drawer, only seeing the light of day when I went to get socks or underwear, only to be ignored and locked away again, day after day.

fitbit one .1

Moving forward in time to the present. Things are much better. My head is a lot clearer, and after a rather nasty flare up of a chronic back problem that I have, I decided, that I have had enough. I am sick of being a slave to my back injury and because or it, being unable to do any keep fit. Not even swimming was recommended by my doctor. As is typical in the vicious circle of life, this not being able to get fit meant I was putting loads of weight on and at one point I was heavier than I have ever been. Not by much but still the heaviest. That extra weight, and having a sedentary lifestyle only led to me starting to think negatively about my weight. Not being able to do any activities with my daughter, being worried about every single thing I do, ( even down to brushing my teeth ) in case it flared my back up again, being mindful that there is a strong family history of diabetes, and to top it all off, also feeling like some sort of overweight lump and having to buy XL clothes.

One day early this month, I woke up and thought to myself, I have my fitbit lying patiently to be allowed out of the drawer and be reunited with me and also I have a Myfitnesspal account doing nothing. I am going to start getting my life back. I think I have spoke about it that much that Marc ( www.marccorn.co.uk ) has gone and got himself a Fitbit Flex and is doing the same sort of thing as me now. I wish him the best of luck.

My little Fitbit was brought out and charged up, and straight away I got the ‘Hi Steve’ message on the screen. My Fitbit holds no grudges thankfully. It even gives messages of support every now and then.
I logged back into my Fitbit account and myfitnesspal and input all the current details like weight etc and set about planning the new me. I spoke to Dee about it and she too was onboard with the idea so I charged her fitbit up and updated her accounts as well. I makes a lot of sense to do this together. We can both encourage each other and give support and advice. ( and I’m sure my Fitbit is happy its got a work mate to help keep us motivated and to log Dee’s data as well as mine.

One thing I have bought, which I’ve considered for a while and now have bought are the Fitbit Aria scales. The measure your weight ( obviously ) as well as BMI and body fat percentage. I managed to get a good deal on these at the local supermarket.

Aria scales white

I will do reviews of the Fitbit One, Fitbit Aria Scales, and possibly myfitnesspal on separate posts.

So far, in about 3 weeks I have managed to lose a couple of ounces short of a stone in weight. I am chuffed. I am more focused and in the zone about this getting healthier, than I have ever been. Its normally myself that buckles first in our house, if we do diets. Not this time.

You will see updates on my twitter ( @wrighttimesblog ) and on The Wright Times Facebook page and on Google+ about how I’m doing.
The more I read about this and learn from other myfitnesspal users, the more clearer it gets. For some reason, I don’t see this diet as something bad, or a chore. I am actually enjoying it. I have never really enjoyed a diet before.

If anyone has any questions about any of this just ask. I am not a health guru or a dietician so don’t ask what foods to eat. I can only tell you about what I’m eating and doing.

Take care everyone and have a fantastic New Year.

Loving my fitbit and myfitnesspal

Well I’ve had enough. Had enough of being overweight and being in loads of pain with my knackered back.I have dug mine and Dee’s Fitbit’s out of the drawer and connected them back up to our myfitnesspal accounts. Dee wasn’t too impressed with having to log our foods, especially when it’s made from scratch so had to log the ingredients individually. That will get easier as once they are logged, its just a case of ticking the box to add them.
Using my fitbit is good fun.

fitbit

For anyone who has used a Fitbit knows, it tracks you sleep, and how many floors you climb up, and steps you have taken and distance walked etc. Linking it to myfitnesspal means all the data from the Fitbit transfers automatically across to myfitnesspal so means all the data for weight and activity is gathered in one place. You can even pair it with a mobile app to keep track on your mobile phone. ( ios and Android )
I just weighed myself, and in the last week I have lost 3lbs. I’m happy with that, but also seeing it on the website as a graph makes a big difference. Its a mentality thing, but it helps with the motivation.
I’m just wanting to get my life back, where I can do activities with Gee, such as playing football of cycling etc. At the moment I can’t do any of that as my back will go so easily.

So, fingers crossed, this mindset will continue and I will lose weight and not end up in a wheelchair when I get older.

If any of yu good guys out there are on Fitbit or myfitnesspal, drop me a line with your usernames. On myfitnesspal I am stevew_68