Tuesday, 29 July 2014

My Obsidian video

I was delighted to see the excellent job that Cris and his colleagues at Obsidian had done in compiling my case study video.

As you've seen, this was shot after 7 days at the resort. A day further on my total weight loss was 7lb. By 'concert day' I'd added a further 9lb loss to that total.

So, so happy and grateful.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Determination helps me through

... as one of my friends has pointed out, this was a line in a song that I sang in a concert last night (Noel Coward's If Love Were All, if you were wondering).

About ten days ago, I was a bit annoyed with myself for getting a target wrong. Let me explain...

When I left Obsidian on 13 June, having lost 7lb, I was 12 stone 6. I reckoned that getting to under 12 stone would be enough to allow me to fit into a particular concert dress on 19 July. I set this as an achievable target during a session led by the splendid Marco during my stay in Spain. In fact, I actually well achieved that (by last night's concert, I weighed in at 11-11 - making a 9lb weightloss in around five weeks).

With ten days to go, and weighing in at about 12-1, I extracted said dress - and wondered why it was still far too small. When I checked, I found that my recollection had been faulty: the last time I'd worn it was in May 2009 - when I'd not long been coping (badly) with my plantar fasciitis, hadn't yet put on too much weight, and was around 11-3. Disappointed, I reckoned I'd have to borrow a dress or (worse) buy another one, as a loss of some 12 pounds in ten days seemed unlikely (not to say unhealthy).

However, a further four pounds came off in that time, and perhaps the exercise and mostly vegetarian diet are changing my shape; because I triumphantly wore said dress, and was delighted that it looked good. I actually felt confident in a stage outfit for, I would say, the very first time in five years.

I had to publish a silly photo to share with my Obsidian friends on Facebook, so this was it. Caption really should be (if you know your James Cagney films): "I made it, Ma - top of the world!".

So, after a wonderful concert, many happy times and much encouragement, I will now pause and reflect, focus on my next goals, and keep doing what I'm doing. Because there is another way, and it's working.

Monday, 14 July 2014

A milestone achieved

Am I allowed to be just a little smug? This morning - six weeks tomorrow since I travelled to Obsidian, and 31 days since my return - I have (a) got below twelve stone for the first time since 2011, and (b) have therefore lost a stone since my first day at the resort. I have a further 18lb to go to reach a 'normal' BMI, so just under halfway through.

It's a bit disconcerting to realise that my weight today (167 pounds, or 11-13) was actually my HEAVIEST point on previous journeys in 2006 and 2007, but hey - that's the way too many cookies crumble.

However, here is one other interesting observation. During the last fifteen years, my blood pressure has constantly been a little on the high side. Not dramatically so: most of the readings were in the region of 118 to 130 for the systolic reading, and between 80 and 95 for the diastolic. That latter reading caused several medics to say "it's not quite high enough to use medication, but it's higher than I'd like it to be..."

On my first assessment at Obsidian, my reading was in that sort of range: 131/95. The day that I left, it was a highly satisfactory 114/76. Today it was *drum roll*... 102/77.

Now, what's even more interesting is that this reading is way, way lower and healthier than it was when I was much lighter than I am now. Today I'm 167 pounds. In May 2008, I weighed in at 150 pounds - and my BP was my highest that I have ever recorded: 142/109. That's when I was just one pound heavier than my healthy BMI target today.

I can only judge that the removal of most sugar, alcohol and (probably) gluten from my diet, a 5K walk nearly every day, and around 75% vegetarian food, have been responsible for this change - which is, in fact, far more important than the fact that I am gradually reclaiming half my wardrobe.

It's all about so much more than the pounds.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Reviewing Obsidian

A quick update to share my review of my time at Obsidian. I love using social media to appreciate services, places, holidays or anything else that deserves a bouquet, and my TripAdvisor review will, I hope, encourage others to try 'the Obsidian way' for themselves.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

After Obsidian: three weeks on

We all know what new eating and fitness regimes are: difficult to keep up. The briefest of looks through this blog will demonstrate just how 'life happens' and our best intentions and desires are scuppered, whether by ourselves or by external events, whether reasons or excuses. In my case, it's been a bout of extremely painful plantar fasciitis lasting two years - 2008 to 2010 - and a severe ankle sprain in June 2013, just as I was at least getting myself back into a regular walking habit, which is still painful twelve months on.

After seeing (and more importantly, feeling) the extraordinary difference made by my Obsidian experience in just eight days, and having experienced the new possibilities afforded by increased vegetarian eating and the delights of juicing, I knew that I needed to make this as easy for myself as possible. So... what has changed?

  • I have kept up my near-as-dammit 5K walks almost every day. OK, so a Norfolk countryside is a lot less tough than Spanish mountains, but it's still done. You can see the evidence on my Runkeeper account. In the 23 days since my return, I have had just three days on which no walking has happened, and two others when I've walked less than 4.5K. That's included some rainy days, by the way.
  • I have eliminated my Assam tea entirely, and am perfectly happy with an assortment of Redbush, fruit and herb teas. The last time I had 'normal' tea was on the flight to Obsidian on 3 June.
  • I have not missed dairy products, and much to my surprise find a real liking for soya milk (which I have on occasional [gluten-free] muesli, and in one or two juices.
  • I have been cooking mostly vegan recipes from Obsidian, using chicken and fish on average once a week each.
  • I have drunk (and enjoyed) three glasses of (half diluted with water) white wine in the time since my return, and haven't missed it the rest of the time.
  • I have reduced my regular carbohydrate in evening meals by half (1 ounce instead of 2 of pasta or rice, 3 ounces instead of 6 of potatoes).
  • I bought a juicer, which arrived five days after my return. Since then, most of my breakfasts have been (post-walk) juices. If I'm in a real hurry, it's gluten-free muesli, fruit and soya yogurt, which I love.
  • I have started treatments with an excellent local sports masseur (James Witham) to try to deal with my continually problematic right ankle. This was inspired by my session with the wonderful Gilly at Obsidian.
Now, for the first ten days after my return, having implemented all the above, I was getting a bit piqued that my 12-6 weight (down from 12-13) hadn't moved an ounce. Very irritating! However, I persevered; and suddenly the downward journey began again. Today, 23 days after my return, I've shed a total of a further 5 pounds; this morning I weighed in at 12 stone 1 pound - a total weight loss of 12 pounds.

I have reclaimed a skirt, a top, a jacket and some t-shirts from the 'keep-and-hope' section of the wardrobe. I don't have to change out of jeans and into baggy trousers in order to sit down and be comfortable; the jeans are OK to sit in. I seem to have left at least one chin behind at Obsidian. My wedding and engagement rings, while still not removable (not that I want to, you understand) can now be moved on my finger rather than cutting off circulation (I was truly afraid that they would have to be cut off and resized). 

My next target is to get down below 12 stone, and to fit into a concert dress for a performance I'm directing and taking part in on 19th July, and I'm on course to do that.

I will add more reflections on this journey - especially the 'learning' and 'moderation' aspects, which are what has made it so achievable for me - very soon. In the meantime, the photo below was taken (outside a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Norwich, in fact) after I'd had a new haircut and highlights - and my nails painted! - wearing one of those 'rescued' jackets, and feeling SO MUCH BETTER.