Tag Archives: health

Fun Run Fail.

T Shirt

So, it all began a few months ago when I realised I suddenly somehow weighed more than my husband.  All of Mr Knightley’s quiet and persistent bike rides to work and lunchtime swims were paying off.  I was now the heavier spouse, by a full 1.4 kilos.   This would not do.

So I figured out a plan.  I would download the Couch to 5k app and follow the baby-steps program until I could run 5 kilometres without lapsing into a coma.  At the same time I would sign up for a fun run to encourage me to stick with the program.  I would become Fit Woman.  I would post images of my fit and muscular self online with the caption “I lost all my baby weight in just two years!” and everyone would hate me.  It was the beginning of a new day.

At six in the morning, three mornings a week, I would toddle out of the door in my two sports bras (necessary) and my running clothes and listen as Johnny Dead, the friendly zombie trainer in my ear phones, told me when to walk and when to run.  I would like to say I bounced out of bed and ran with joy through the park whilst meditating on the wonder of nature, but I did not.  The whole time I had to run, I was thinking “I hate this.  I hate this SO MUCH.”  But I figured it was like medicine.  I just had to take it.  I didn’t have to like it.

I signed up for a 5k fun run that sounded like my sort of thing.  You wear white and run along and get pelted with different coloured cornflour so by the end you look like an extra from Doctor Who – Day of the Rainbow.  And then there’s this wonderful festival at the end where everyone dances and throws colour simultaneously in beautiful clouds “like nothing you’ve ever seen before”.  It was going to be awesome.

The weeks rolled by and I stuck with the program (hate it).  After a bit, I also went on that stupid no sugar diet for a whole month (after which I went to a doctor who said “don’t be an idiot: you should be on low FODMAP instead”).  How much did the weight fall off when I was running five kilometres three mornings a week and eating no sugar or carbs or – you know – food?  NOT AT ALL.  Not one kilo.  I’m not one to obsess over body image (most times of the month) and I went on the diet to fix up some health issues, not to get skinny, but I kinda hoped that weighing less than my husband might be a happy side effect to all that salad with no dressing.  Sigh.

I moaned about this disaster to my husband.  “You probably need to do more anaerobic exercise.” he said, matter of factly.  “Your body’s hanging on to all its fat because it thinks there’s a famine.”  Very interesting.  Very informative.  What Mr Knightley did not realise was that the correct response was “Oh, my beautiful darling wife.  You are the perfect shape and quite lovely to behold.  And, what is more, I would love you at any size.  Please, do eat some chocolate.” When I sulkily pointed this out, however, he promptly repeated the required response verbatim, and, whilst I declined the chocolate (sugar), I did feel a little better.

I don’t think I was breaking any speed records while I was on my morning training runs.  At one point, as I was shuffling along the path, a lady managed to overtake me WHILE SHE WAS WALKING.  But I would always do a big sprint for the final stretch.  I would imagine myself near the finish line, loping along like a gazelle, so gracefully that you didn’t even realise how incredibly fast I was moving.  My friends and family would watch on, mouths agape:
“Is that Cathy Freeman?  No – it’s Kate!”
“Kate?  But she is not sporty!  She is not athletic!”
“That’s what I thought.  But LOOK”

And all the kids I went to school with would be there – remarkably all still school-aged.  And oh, they would stare and they would call out:

“We were wrong not to pick you for our team, Kate!”
“We were wrong not to pass you the ball!”
“Go, Kate, GO!”

And I would burst triumphantly through the finish line and everyone would cheer.  All of my former PE teachers would rush in and hoist my slender frame onto their shoulders.  And not one of them would look disappointed or exasperated.  And off we would go to a little card table set up with little ribbons on it.  And I wouldn’t get a white “Merit” ribbon, or a brown “Participation” ribbon or a pink one that said “I Ran in a Race”.  I would get a blue one, on a little gold safety pin.  And it would say “First”.

Finally the big day arrived.  After negotiating hordes of people and jams of traffic, I stood with my sister Cindy in the “Start Zone”, stretching my limbs ostentatiously and bouncing from foot to foot.  A couple of my friends were in the race too, but they were taking their kids in pushers.  I informed them self-importantly that we would quickly become separated as I would be moving too fast.

After what seemed like an eternity, we shuffled through the “Start Zone” arch.  I thought it was the starting line, but it wasn’t.  I tugged self-consciously at my regulation white t-shirt.  I had ordered it months ago, thinking by the time I got to the race, I would be a ‘medium’.  I was wrong.

An hour later, we made it to the real start line.  Cindy and I rubbed our hands together and tried to muster up some of our original enthusiasm.   There were so many people it was hard to really run, but we jogged rather slowly, and I tried hard to look impatient, like a Serious and Important Runner.

We spent a lot of the race stopping and starting and trying to run around people who were, for some reason, walking in the opposite direction.  The track was often too narrow for anyone to more fast and when we got to a ‘colour’ section, everyone seemed to stop and queue up to get colour thrown on them.  I never really fell into a rhythm.  But it was still fun to be out running with my sister.

When the finish line came into view, I turned to Cindy excitedly, “Let’s run really fast to the finish line!” I exclaimed.  So, we darted off, nimbly avoiding the thick crowd of people who were walking slowly (and failing to keep left – ahem!).  I could feel my legs gearing up for a triumphant sprint.  The finish line was approaching, my speed was increasing … and then I had to stop short.  There was a bunch of people ahead of me taking a group photo.  Hm.  I scooted around them and started up again. And stopped again.  And again.  It would seem that everywhere I turned, people were stopping to take selfies and tweet their friends.  This was a moment, it would seem, so precious that it could not wait until AFTER THEY CROSSED THE FINISH LINE.  In the end, I performed a half-hearted waddle through the victory arch and stalked off to find my family.

Mr Knightley and my brother Greg (back from Japan!) were sitting with the kids at the side of the track looking weary and bored.  When they saw Cindy and me, however, they summoned up encouraging grins and cheered and took photos.  Cindy had to rush off to catch her train (the run had taken a lot longer than any of us had anticipated), but I was grimly determined to make it to the special rainbow end-of-race festival.  It was supposed to be magical.

We moved with the crowd at glacial speed to collect our colour packets and proceed to the party zone.  There was a sound stage with music playing and a small crowd of people dancing so enthusiastically I suspect they might have been paid to be there.  People around us were having little colour fights, but there were no amazing rainbow clouds, nothing that looked enchanting, like the inside of a dream.

I looked across at Mr Knightley.  He was Over It.  It was past lunchtime and we’d left so early that he’d hardly had any breakfast.  There were crowds of people everywhere and none of them seemed to know how to behave rationally.  I could see it in his eyes.  He just wanted to find a nice dark room and curl up into a ball for a few hours.  The relief that flooded his face when I suggested we go home confirmed this hypothesis.

I opened my colour packet up and had a brief powder party with Matilda.  I deliberately accidentally spilt half of it on the ground.  I’m the one who has to wash these clothes, you know.  Then we began the long trek to our car.

After we’d battled traffic chaos and dropped Greg off at his car (the closest he could find a  parking space was several suburbs away), Mr Knightley turned to me apologetically.  “If I don’t eat something soon I’m gonna go nuts.”, he said.

Which is how we found ourselves inside the nearest fast food restaurant stuffing our faces with Red Rooster Tropical Packs.  This is pathetic I thought glumly I hardly ran at all and now I’m eating bad food.  I’m never going to weigh less than my husband. 

Then inspiration struck:

“My darling love,” I cajoled, “you really, really must eat some more chips!”

The Icing on the Cake

Rainbow Cake

I should probably warn you in advance: I suspect this post is going to be a bit boring.  My aim has always been to create a blog that makes you feel like you’re sitting at my kitchen table having a chat.  Well, today I think it might be me droning on a bit and you might need to alternate between nodding politely and staring wistfully out my virtual kitchen window.

The thing is, I’ve given up sugar.

I’m not usually a candidate for the latest fad diet.  I like to eat food and most of the time, I’m happy enough with how Iook, bingo wings and all.  But I’m sick of feeling sick, and I think this might be the solution.

For at least a year now, it seems I couldn’t eat anything without blowing up like a balloon (stop casting knowing looks at my belly: I’m NOT PREGNANT) and yearning to snuggle down for a nice, long nanna-nap.  I thought I might have Coeliac disease, like my mum, but the test came up negative.  I gave up gluten anyway and it seemed to help, but the problem didn’t completely go away.

I’ve always had a bit of a mania for sweet things (remember this and this?) and sugary foods seemed to give me a reaction as well (though I was very reluctant to admit it).

It was my mum who worked it out.  “I was thinking,” she said to me one Monday afternoon, “you might have”, she lowered her voice, “thrush.”

The temperature of my face rose by several degrees. “Uh, nope, Mum, all fine in that department, thanks!”

“No, I mean, in your intestines.”

“Is that a thing?” I whispered.  I’m not sure why we were whispering in my kitchen, but it seemed right at the time.

It turns out it is a thing.  In the garden of my small intestine, the yeast plant used to live in harmony with all the other germ flowers.  But now it’s all overgrown and causing all manner of troubles.  Symptoms include bloating, tiredness, sugar mania, brain fog and … sorry … um … what were we saying?

One of the ways to control this monster is by cutting off its food supply.  This means no sugar (or grains or lactose).  A second is to dose up on natural yoghurt and probiotics.  And finally, I needed to attack the yeast with some anti-fungal pills from the chemist and natural remedies like garlic.

I got really keen on the whole diet idea.  I wrote a long shopping list and filled my trolley with nuts and salad and hommus and plain corn chips and salmon and steak.  Every time I cooked a meal for myself I felt compelled to photograph it.  Look:

Omelette

Mmmmm….

Pumpkin Soup and Salad

Ohhhhh…

healthy snack

Aahhhh…

Steak and salad

Yummm…

So you can see I had plenty of good food to eat and no need to go hungry.  Things were going pretty well on Day 1 of the diet.  I spent the whole morning feeling all virtuous and smug.  I am now Healthy Woman.  I will battle this gut thrush with everything I’ve got!  Natural yoghurt?  Yes please!

But then it was 3:30pm.  I wanted something sweet.  It was feeding time for the Yeast Beast and the Yeast Beast wasn’t happy.  I had the sugar shakes.  I started pacing around, fantasising about drinking maple syrup and eating sugar by the spoonful.  This wasn’t just a change in diet.  This was going cold turkey on a strong chemical addiction.  I went to bed early that night to escape the withdrawal symptoms.

The second day was not much better.  On the third day I thought I’d try a home remedy.  Garlic was supposed to be good at attacking yeast and raw garlic even better.  So I chopped up two whole cloves, stirred them in some natural yoghurt and tipped it on my salad for lunch.  It burned my mouth when I ate it, but I continued with grim determination: take that, gut thrush!

Garlic was my constant companion for the rest of that day.  I could taste it in my mouth, I could smell it, I could feel it coming out my pores.  It was so intense.  I was a walking garlic cloud.  All I could think about was garlic.  It was a nice change from fixating on sugar all the time.

I’m a week into it now and while I’m feeling a lot healthier and more energetic (and thirsty when I need to drink, and sleepy when I’m tired), it’s still a struggle.  I realise now just how much sugar I used to eat, from the hidden sugars in sauces and processed foods, to all the little bits of sweet food I would eat throughout the day, like an alcoholic taking nips from her hip flask.

Today is Halloween, and more than any other year I am cursing the American holiday that is growing in popularity over here.  Everywhere I go I see decorations of sweets and lollypops.  I’m scared I’m going to relapse and go demand lollies from my neighbours dressed as a half-crazed sugar junkie.  “Trick or treat, damn you! TRICKORTREEEEEAT!!”

I think I need to go munch some garlic…

Couch Parenting

Kate on couch

Ugh.  I’m sick today.  I spent a good part of last night violently expelling all matter from my digestive system and now I’m lying, white and wan, on the family room couch.

Harry is happily watching Play School, the first of many TV shows he w ill be treated to today.  Annie is protesting my decision to  put her down for a nap.  I advised her to put her grievances down in writing and leave them on my desk.  I would take them into consideration in due course.

Matilda and Christopher Robin are at school now, after a truly horrific school run.  Mr Knightley was a hero, putting together their lunches (practical, manly lunches) and packing Christopher Robin’s swimming bag (it would be the first day of swimming lessons today!)

But this didn’t stop Matilda’s inability to find her shoes, Christopher Robin’s inability to sit still and eat his breakfast, Harry’s refusal to wear clothing or Annie’s refusal to treat her Vegemite toast as anything other than a moisturising loofah scrub.

Here, I would  love to write that I took a deep breath and gently admonished my children, ushering them to the car with a minimum of fuss.

But that isn’t what happened.

Dragon Lady had already fully materialised when, en route to school, I discovered that Matilda had left her practical, manly lunch on the kitchen bench.

Rather than heaving a little sigh and establishing a habit chart with coloured stars to help Matilda develop her organisational skills, I decided instead to launch into a loud and incoherent rant so savage that Matilda got all teary, as I simultaneously executed a wobbly three-point-turn and sped back home.

I had to drop them off at the school office, they were that late…

But that’s all over now.  Stretching out on the couch, I’m studiously ignoring the breakfast dishes and focusing on nothing more strenuous than texting Jan about the latest plot developments in Downton Abbey and marveling at how half the children in the village have hair in precisely the same shade of ginger as Postman Pat and yet nobody else sees this as suspicious.

Oh, and I’m writing this post, of course.  A long, rambling, completely indulgent post with no real point to it.  I’m writing it out in longhand with Matilda’s fancy new gel pens.  They cheer me up and I figure she owes me.

When did Thomas the Tank Engine get to be so LAME?  They need to hire some better writers.  The good Reverend W would NOT be impressed.

So think of me, carefully nibbling rice crackers and sipping mineral water (and then eating chocolate because I figure if it does come back up. I’d want it to taste interesting).  Much as I hate being sick, I’m kind of enjoying having a leave-pass to do nothing (even if it does mean having to suffer through such baffling programming as The Ha Ha Hairies)

Damn!  Annie just woke up!

Health Nurse Fail.

Earlier this week I was struck with a sudden panic: the last time I made an appointment with the Maternal and Child Health Nurse, I didn’t write the appointment in my diary.  And it was a double appointment for Annie and Harry!  And these appointments are really hard to make!!  What if the appointment is today? What if I’ve already missed it??

As soon as I got home I dug out the green book and checked the appointment time: not till Wednesday!  Phew!  I checked the book again yesterday – 1:30pm – easy!

Mr Knightley gave Annie a thorough bath last night and I made sure she was dressed in her most respectable clothes this morning.  I gave the boys an early lunch and then coaxed Harry out of the mud and into the bath for a righteous scrubbing.  Once I put Harry into his least raggedy clothes and locked the back door so he couldn’t get muddy again, I bundled the three of them into the car (after first sending Christopher Robin back to change his favourite (broken) sandals into respectable shoes with matching socks).  I figured I’d get there early so they could have a play at the park next door beforehand.

You can imagine my immense sense of smugness as I sauntered into the health centre at precisely 1:25pm.  I had forgotten nothing: both health books, bunny rug, change of jumpsuit, nappies, crochet workbag, phone, tissues, keys, three children, wipes – all there.

One of the health nurses approached me with a concerned look on her face.  Who was I there to see?  Everyone was out.  I faltered for a moment – I’d only seen this new health nurse once before and couldn’t remember her name.  She prompted me – was it Jenny?  Yes! Jenny!  Jenny was out.

The first few seeds of doubt started to edge their way into my consciousness.  Oh! But! I said with renewed confidence, I AM a little early (oh yeah!)…but perhaps I’ll just double check the appointment in my book.

So I pull out my book and take forever to find the stupid page.  And I take a proper look at the date for the first time. Oh no! I say, I’m a week early!

The nurse points again at the date with a kind smile:  I was also a month early.

WHAT is WRONG with my BRAIN??!!

The receptionist, who by now had joined the conversation, along with another health nurse, said I could come in and have a sit while the boys had a play anyway.  It would give me a chance to ‘collect my thoughts’.  They were all very kind (and, I suspect, quietly concerned).

MY BRAIN!  What is wrong with my BRAIN??

I sat down with my diary and worked at being organised for about ten minutes. Then we went home.

I can’t even explain how I can manage to bring daft-ness to a whole new level.   I made a cake once we got home just to give my confidence a boost (with a side-product of comfort food)

Hmmm.

Epiphany

Odd Socks

 

It’s easy to whine when you’re a full-time mum.  Our job often seems a relentless onslaught of menial tasks: wiping noses and bottoms, trying to catch disasters before they become catastrophes, and patiently explaining the necessity of trousers (again).

I probably should stop here and mention I don’t buy into that whole debate of stay-at-home versus working motherhood and who works harder/ loves their kids more/ has the most valid existence/ is the best variety of human being.  I think we all try to do what is best for our family according to our specific circumstances and anyone who suggests otherwise is generally trying to sell you something.  I say “full-time mum” sometimes because I don’t like the passive sound of “stay-at-home mum”, but I’m in no way suggesting that working mothers are “part-time mums”!  OK, end of disclaimer, back to the point.

I used to put a lot of energy into justifying my full-time occupation:  my job is so HARD, nobody underSTANDS, I work and work all day and yet have nothing to SHOW for it.  I was a victim of motherhood.  Somebody needed to call me a waaahhmbulance.

Anyway, one morning I had a bit of an epiphany (it was one of those magic mornings when I actually had time to pray)  It went like this:

  1. I chose motherhood, and if David Tennant offered me a ride in his Tardis (back in time, I mean, for those of you who are not also tragic Doctor Who nerds), I would choose it again.
  2. I need to own this choice, and put the same amount of work into mothering as I would a “legitimate” job.
  3. So many couples I know are struggling with infertility and would give anything to be knee-deep in nappies every day.
  4. Those who “get it” (how mothering is a tough gig, I mean) already get it and those who don’t “get it” aren’t going to be convinced by my ranting, so I might as well save my energy for better things.

I reckon I came back from my morning walk looking all beatific and saint-like.  Since then, I’ve tried to make a point of focussing on the positives of my job and not be so defensive (though I still manage to forget this and regularly host a local whine festival)

So now, when some well-meaning lady in the supermarket gushes about how lucky I am to be able to stay at home and play with my children all day, I smile and agree with her.  I am lucky.  I am so blessed.  My job is intense and it’s hard work and my basic needs for sleep and privacy in the toilet aren’t always met, but it does come with plenty of perks.

All of which has been a convoluted introduction to my next post (which I’ve posted first, so that people like my mum can read the posts in the right order)