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Wanted: Target (and the self-discipline to achieve it). Saturday April 29, 2017

When I first started Moodscope Hopeful One was a regular contributor. He and I both followed the thorny path of carers to Alzheimer victims. We agreed that self-respect helped us – dress well, keep your head up, face the world bravely (if not brazenly). I have slipped badly, depressed, scruffy, drinking too much and comfort eating.

Panic has set in, because, inevitably, I've put on weight. As I have two vertebrae described as 'equivalent to a ruined Greek temple' the last thing they need is to cart extra kilos about. So, as a lifelong 'good doer' (referring to animals, really, who put on weight for minimum input, therefore economic) I need little food.

'Targets' have always been clothes. 'On view' every week in my 'Open' garden I could not let it down, so dressed well. There were always holidays in exotic places, (Club Med 'tops'), weddings, parties, giving lectures – always that 'incentive' to keep 'Trim' (never 'slim', unattainable).

I went, aged 40, to Lucie Clayton's grooming course, and was top student. People were flattering about my choice of dresses 'Debenhams, 30 years ago' I'd say, proudly. I can still get in them, if a tad tight. I loved high heels. I was asked once if I was a dancer, because I walked so well – no hope. I have long hair, and endless ornaments gained round the world, never used. If the 'dress' target does not work, then keeping fit must be the 'goad'. Already, after a winter incarcerated with my husband, and the extra weight, I have back and sciatic pain.

But – this morning, for mass, I put my unkempt hair up, and made sure it looked nice from the back. I sat, and stood, very straight in church. It's a start. Then it's my husband - sunk in gloom. He used to love white cotton shirts – I dig them out, plus tie. His hair is still thick, his beard trim – we could still be a presentable pair. Some people put pictures of themselves when they looked nice on their mirrors. Anybody got any tips?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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LP Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 8:48am

Morning TG,
You've had a heck of a time. When I started on Moodscope you were digging in the garden when you couldn't sleep. So much has happened since then.

Maybe think of it as Springtime rather than self discipline time!
A hair cut always lifts me.

Putting the old clothes that I dont wear into a binliner and only keeping items I feel pretty good in also gives me a boost.

A short but nice walk increases the number of steps I do which feels better than a more sedentary day.

My mum has the same with her vertebrae and weight. A physio has given her a set of light excercises to strengthen and loosen her. She's getting a back brace to wear.
It was great to hear about your posture, it makes a big difference.

I have my favourite meals, but try to replace the bulk of carbohydrate with a vegetable alternative. Small amounts of brown rather than white carbs in general, although in France the bread and pastries are sooo tempting! Not dieting (boo!) just lightening a little. :)

I noticed during the Easter break that I'd had some alcohol for several days in a row and in general my intake had crept up a bit. When I noticed that I fancied some wine on the back to work Tuesday evening it worried me. In a couple of days was able to nip that in the bud thank goodness. Reigning it in a bit would be a tip I'd say unless it's serious or even if it is!

Are you getting a bit more sleep these days TG?

Anyway, nice hair, nice clothes, nice walks. Nice naps when you can and nice but light food and drink, all should put a bit of a spring in your step! It'd be good to hear if anyone's tips today give you that feel good springtime boost. Sunshine and smiles to you and all. LP xx

Mary Wednesday Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 8:51am

(I tapped this out painstakingly on my phone, only to have it all disappear, so (at my PC), for the second time... Sorry it is so long, but it's a big topic and I could talk about it all day....

Oh Gardener, I am not sure I can help much because I am in exactly the same boat, but I can at least share some things that help me.

I am a great fan of Slimming World. Partly because the eating plan is healthy and not at all faddy (basically lots of lean protein and vegetables and fruit with measured amounts of bread, cereals and dairy. Potatoes and rice is unlimited), but also because the incentive of getting weighed each week (and paying for it) really helps to keep me focussed. When tempted to reach for the cheese sandwich or merlot, I try to remember how good I will feel when I step onto those scales and see I have lost a couple of pounds. Of course, this does not always work, and sometimes I want (in that minute) the sandwich or glass (bottle) of wine more than the weight loss.

I analysed when I eat and drink unhealthily and found it was mostly late at night. While going to bed early would solve this issue, it would also cut into my creative time and limit my conversations with a couple of dear friends in America (that six hour time difference is a real bummer). So, I still indulge my night owl propensities and stay up late.

In my experience, losing weight has nothing to do with self-control and everything to with planning and putting into place strategies. I found that the weeks I wrote everything down that I ate, were the weeks I did best, so now I have a little book which lives in the kitchen. Every mouthful is recorded as it is eaten (well, meals and snacks - not literally every mouthful). I find it helpful to have on hand healthy nibbles. My favourite is pastrami wrapped round gherkins, but a friend of mine, every morning, chops up one large bowl of fruit and another of vegetables. When feeling peckish, she has some fruit with yoghurt of some vegetables with low fat hummus she has made herself. It works for her. I managed to keep myself from the wine bottle last night because I had a 1am call with my darling Raz. I can't afford to be inebriated when talking with him as I never know if our conversations will be a highbrow analysis of the religious subtext of the Ghost scene in "The Scottish Play" (as it was last night), or the very silly planning of a short book entitled "Mr Tickle goes to the Dildo Factory"! If I could talk to him every night I would stay stone cold sober, if mentally exhausted!

I think it's fantastic, and admire you tremendously for it, that you made the effort to dress for Mass, and get Mr G smart too. As an Image Consultant, I know I transform lives. Maybe it "should not" be so, but dressing well (and walking tall) gives an enormous boost to one's self confidence, and to how positive one feels. I read once that a British officer, in a Japanese POW camp, said that he could tell when one of his men were not going to make it, when they stopped trying to keep clean and as smart as possible in those terrible conditions. Once they stopped taking any kind of pride in their appearance, they had given up and would die.

It is a slow business, losing weight after 50, but it is possible, and oh, it is so nice to be able to do that skirt up again! I have some beautiful clothes which I cannot get into at present and so I am with you on this journey. I wish you all success and I shall be supporting you from my small corner of Cambridgeshire. We never be skinny cows, but slim and trim, here we come (eventually - maybe by Christmas - although I'm aiming to have lost a stone and a half by late July)! Cheer me on and I'll be rooting for you!

Every good wish, Mary

LP Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 8:56am

I'm in ladies! :) LP x

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:38pm

I have also found slimming world very helpful when I just couldn't seem to lose the weight I put on with the medication I had for my last manic attack on my own. (Olanzapine). I was pretty reluctant to join a slimming group but the woman who runs my local group is a good laugh as well as being very supportive. However for anyone who really does hate the idea of going to a slimming group you can also join slimming world online. One thing I like about slimming world which Mary didn't mention is that they have a decent research arm. My favourite finding is that putting yourself on a guilt trips after unplanned cake consumption is counterproductive. Apparently you lose weight much quicker if you just to say 'oh well it happened' and then get back on the plan again. Lovely? to see the picture of your garden by the way Gardener. It's stunning. Love TF x

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:40pm

There wasn't meant to be a ? after lovely above. It is a really lovely garden.

Brum Mum Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 9:03am

Dear Gardener thank you for the photo of your beautiful garden. Thank you also for your post. As someone who has never been great with looks, I am very impressed by the effort you have made for mass. It sounds like you have a wonderful wardrobe and jewellery collection with memories of happier times. I am going to take Mary's advice on eating. I'm not sure how much comfort this is but getting you and Mr G to mass looking dapper is a wonderful achievement. Thinking of you across Le Manche (or should that be La Manche)??

The Gardener Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 9:31am

Bon jour - after yesterday's huge response to Frankie's so emotive blog I thought everybody would be exhausted. Mary, not a 'cop out', but no slimming organisations work (hate regimentation) because I have a life-long intoleration to all dairy products (except butter) so finding a balanced diet without yogurt etc is very difficult. Used to do it on loads fish, fruit and good brown bread - will try again. Mr G is having nights when he goes 'out of control' usually about bedclothes, and the eternal cry that I don't look after him properly. But, I'm coping - going to plant ornamental gourds all over the place - any unoccupied piece of ground - to sell in my shop in winter. Brum Mum, it is 'La' Manche - the french for 'sleeve' which is how they see the shape of it - no way would they call it the English Channel!

Mary Wednesday Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 9:36am

I quite understand your dislike of Slimming Groups. I have mixed feelings myself, but it's a way of being accountable for me (I have no self-discipline at all). The fish, fruit and brown bread sounds ideal. And - (although we hate it), measuring out that glass of wine.

The Gardener Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 9:32am

Mary, I will do the diary - very useful - and NOT lie about the size of the glass of wine!

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 11:23am

Hi all, just to let you know for anyone that has missed it, Frankie has continued to reply to all your comments. What tremendous support everyone gave her. Thank you all. Carolinex

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 1:02pm

Hello TG, when I find I've slipped a bit (daily throwing on the first stretchy, uncomplicated thing that my hand touches) I eventually realise that I feel like a bag lady. It dawns on me that I am not very high up the order of importance if I can't even blow dry my hair and just let it dry as I go. Next time you have a respite time, could you kickstart with a hair cut, and maybe a manicure? Having someone else physically care for me is a fresh page for me. My other thought is a meal plan. If I don't plan meals then I slip into eating irregularly. This is two pronged...I then find I want/need to make up for meals missed in the evening and can't satiate the hunger and, whilst it takes a week or so to kick in, my mood falls about like a drunk. I plan meals weekly and it kind of keeps me straight. Through the day I have 2 apples, a banana, 2carrots and a nut pile by the kettle. It's enough to stop me becoming biscuit shaped...I would live on them if I didn't! Finally, looking gorgeous once a week at plenty :-) Love ratg xxx.

Vickie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 2:37pm

Hi TG,
Your efforts to prepare for mass inspire me so I think you have taken a step forward. I echo RATG's suggestion about going out and having someone do you hair and nails. Little things can help us take the next step. Take care

Nicco Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 5:04pm

Hello TG - Although I'm not a carer, I do have a spinal disease (Scheuerman's, among a few other things inc M.E., fibromyalgia, diabetes, etc.) so I have similar thoughts to you re trying to be presentable, keeping as fit as I can, food, etc., and I echo LP's advice which has helped me, ie, making small changes that can be sustained. I also have an exercise bike which I use when certain tv progs are one (usually word games as they keep my mind focused on them and off the pain!) I'm not so good at regular walks which I must try a reschedule into my day when I'm able (actually able to get up, washed and dressed, that is!) Vickie is right - little things can take us to the next step. Nicco. x

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:24pm

Hello dear Gardener; first of all, I would say that you shouldn't beat yourself up for slipping up - you are under an incredible pressure and many others would have given up months, if not years ago so well done for that!

RE: tips - I put on a stone when on steroids, and as I suffered a chronic fatigue condition I couldn't exercise and my lifestyle changed dramatically to a much more sedentary one; I took up the 5:2 diet - very popular here. You eat 500 calories only on two days, then what you like the other five days - I have never eaten so much ice-cream since starting it! On fasting 500 calorie days (600 calories for men) you eat a small portion of something in the morning, then nothing until the evening. Yes, you feel hungry, but once you have got used to that it becomes a way of life. Now, if we have to travel far we use that day as a fasting day which means that we can get further with fewer stops - a double bonus! On fasting days we have soup and/or salad in the evening - if we are still hungry, we go to bed that little bit earlier - another bonus! The other great thing is that the weight comes off gradually. I lost a stone in six months, whilst still on the steroids! I still do it as I find I feel so much better as a result. Yes, sometimes you eat more on non-fasting days, but evidence suggest only 25% more at most, since your stomach shrinks gradually so you don't need so much. We also switched to using smaller plates, so you couldn't physically put so much on the plate. Eating slowly also helps and really taking time to savour the food. I am a complete fan of it (can you tell?!!!)

Good luck with it all - oh and how do I get to see the photo of your beautiful garden which you have talked about so often?


Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:43pm

On the email click the view in browser option.

Leah Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:36pm

What a lovely photo of your garden, no wonder you are so proud.
I have this image of you as very classy slim woman wearing Coco Chanel clothes even when gardening. I am thinking your extra weight is a few kilos . I have found writing everything down that I eat guilts me into stop eating so much. My problem is my medication stops me from losing weight easily. I have accepted I will never be slim and trim I aim for healthy and curvy!!
Everyone has given you lots of tips and advice, I like you just the way you are - I feel your standards are so high that Ben your slipping would be far higher than anything I could ever achieve. Then again in the colonies we are a bit more relaxed in the fashion stakes!! Take care . With all your responsibilities I feel just showering and dressing every day is a major achievement. Look after yourself xx

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:47pm

Gardener My comments are above in reply to Mary. Frankie have finally responded to yesterday's blog. Thinking of you both. Love and hugs TF xoxo

The Gardener Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 8:04pm

Thanks so much to all of you - general consensus seems not to give targets which are impossible to achieve. Leah you are right, just a few kilos - but if they go stealthily on its more and more difficult to obtain the routine and will power to knock them off. Nicco, you seem to have a very up-beat attitude, despite the extreme problems - cortisone seems to still have the same 'puffing' effect - our organist has hamster like cheeks - 50 years ago we had a tractor driver who had a kidney transplant - cortisone, same puffed cheeks. Thanks Leah - my surroundings, which are easier to control than my person - are a terrific 'boost'. Took my secateurs to the old garden, transferring it to super arrangements in church, which I shall see tomorrow. 4 years dealing with Alzheimer now - doctors hid nothing, Mr G would treat me like a sponge - wants all my attention, and then some, day and night. Then people say I must have a 'life', hah. I'm not making excuses, but I get up at 7.30 to prepare for nurses - Mr G, if he has not been difficult during the night, starts in bemoaning his fate, and often asking for doctors, from 6.30 a.m. Much as I can do to put on yesterday's clothes and scrape hair into a scrunchy. But having been referred in better days as 'chic' and 'classy' it would be nice to get a little bit back. And Leah, again, I've got some super clothes in the 'colonies' because the super Aussie girls are a good healthy size, whereas in UK if you are over size 12 you are regarded as gross, whilst here in France my bones are twice the size of most of them - I tower over them in church, and I'm only 5ft 4. Right, mass tomorrow, lunch out on Monday - efforts will be made - at least I'm clean, new shower super.

Molly Sun, Apr 30th 2017 @ 3:09am

Wanted to say so much more but not having a good day, but I do want to comment on that lovely picture xx

the room above the garage Sun, Apr 30th 2017 @ 10:05pm

Hello Molly, I hope something in your day worked, love ratg x.

Molly Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 5:55pm

Thank you ratg, I appreciate it xx

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