Goal weight: What’s yours?

Are goal weights just fantasy? Do they even make sense from a health perspective?

Everyone who has ever struggled with being overweight has a perfect weight they’d like to be.

For me, being a tall woman with a large frame, my goal weight is around 65 kgs /145 pounds.

Despite the fact that, as an adult I’ve never been that weight, I still have the idea firmly stuck in my head that if only I can reach that weight, everything will be roses, I’ll be perfect, my life will be incredible.

All thanks to a number on a scale.

It doesn’t make sense when you think about it logically. Thinking about it logically, what really makes sense is a) not allowing yourself to get obese in the first place and b) if you are obese, eating well, including fasting in your lifestyle, and heading in the right direction for health.

In other words, it doesn’t really matter how slowly you lose weight. It also doesn’t really matter whether you reach a “goal” or not. What matters is that, this time next year, you’d doing better and feeling better than you are right now.

Having an unattainable goal weight stuck in your head might just be making you miserable. That’s not the key to long life or happiness at all. Time and again, when we interview centenarians, they say “being content” was key to their long life. They all seem to be genuinely happy, thankful people.

So stop fixating on your “goal weight” that may or may not happen. Instead, think of some ways that you can make your life better in a genuine way, that may not have anything at all to do with weight. Go for daily walks with a friend or loved one, volunteer at a charity, write and share something useful and positive, fast for a few days and focus on your own wellbeing and spirituality while you do so.

It doesn’t matter how you make your own life better. Everyone’s version of happiness is different. Just like everyone’s goal weight. Which might or might not ever happen.

So smile. Be content. Be happy. Enjoy the sun when it shines.

Life is too short for numbers on a scale anyway!

Defeating allergies: Everything is inflammation

Stop the inflammation, and you cure the allergy. That’s it. That’s what I learned.

If you read my last post, you’ll have read how I’m “allergic to everything”. Or I was. I think I might be cured now. So I want to share what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and how it has helped me.

WE’RE THINKING ABOUT ALLERGY WRONG

I think that the medicines that doctors give us for allergies just hide our problems by covering up / curing the symptoms. They don’t actually cure the underlying disease.

It’s like fixing a sunburned face by covering it up with makeup. Sure, you might not look red, but you’re still red underneath. And by covering the burn up and not allowing it to cool down and heal, you’re actually making the problem worse!

You’ll look better for a little while, and you might fool some people if the makeup is really good, but damage is still happening, underneath the makeup.

A lot of the drugs our doctors give us for inflammatory illnesses are the same. They don’t solve the root cause – inflammation. So while you might feel better for a time, they’re only ever going to be a stop-gap measure. Plus, some of the side effects they come with might just make things worse. Plus, all the while you’re not dealing with the underlying issue, that issue could be getting worse.

If you have a toothache you might feel better by taking some painkillers, but unless you visit a dentist and get that tooth drilled and sorted, that yucky tooth is going to keep on rotting away and getting worse. You have to fix the problem.

ISSUES OF INFLAMMATION

The more we learn, the more we realise that a huge number of modern illnesses are actually symptoms of inflammation.

Some of these are the problems I was suffering from: hayfever, asthma, eczema, allergic itchy eyes, and high blood sugar. Obesity / overweight is also inflammation- related, and there’s a lot of evidence that epilepsy and such disorders as arthritis, autism and multiple schlerosis are too.

We can ease the symptoms with a stack of different drugs that are available – and don’t get me wrong, some of these drugs are very, very good – but unless we fix the inflammation, these issues will never get resolved.

So you need to fix your inflammation if you’re going to get better. I wanted to get better.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT – AND DON’T EAT

I realised that I was insulting my body in a whole stack of ways. I’m sure you’ve read online, like I did, about all these “superfoods” I was supposed to be eating and all these amazing diets I was supposed to be following.

I couldn’t afford the superfoods, and I was bad at diets. They weren’t going to work. Plus, I suck at taking supplements – I keep forgetting to take them every morning.

Thankfully, what really works is not eating at all. That’s right: fasting. Water fasting gives your body time to clean house and clear your system out, dumping all the rubbish you’ve collected over the years. It sends inflammation running in the other direction!

I also quit anything that might be irritating my skin and eyes. I quit all shampoos and conditioners and hair products, only using a bit of coconut oil for styling, and now my hair is great.

I’ll talk about what I did for my eyes and skin in separate posts. But once again, the answers were simple and cheap. I’m actually saving money getting well! 🙂

Diet-wise, I’m on a modified keto diet, and I’ll talk all about that and how much better I feel as well. The diet I follow is affordable and easy, with no expensive supplements or “superfoods” – and I don’t bother with choosing expensive organic foods, although I do prefer fresh and local when possible.

Th solution to inflammation is to stop insulting your body. Don’t hurt it with things that cause it pain. Nurture your body with food it appreciates and care it needs.

Then let yourself bloom again.

 

Allergic to everything? My allergy journey…

My doctor had a medicine for everything and none of them worked!

THE BEGINNING…

I’m an allergic person. I was diagnosed with eczema younger than I can remember, and some of my earliest memories involved my mother slathering my skin down with hydrocortisone and calamine lotion.

I used to cry when we went to the beach because my skin hurt so much in the salt water. It wasn’t good. Together with mild asthma, I was in bad shape from the beginning. The doctor prescribed a ventolin puffer and syrup to add to my list before I was out of junior primary.

When I became a teen, my skin improved, but I added dry eyes and hayfever, as well as a severe allergy to dogs to my list of issues. I hated all this. More prescriptions followed – eye drops for my eyes, a nasal spray to use during exams in spring so I could “cope”. Special shampoo that wouldn’t irritate my scalp. Antihistamines to add to the nasal spray for the hayfever.

As a result of brain injury from an illness, I was also diagnosed epileptic in my early twenties. More medicines. I’d be on them for life, I was told.

I was also told there was no cure for any of this. It was just “the luck of the draw.”

BLOOD SUGAR RISING

Fast forward to late last year (December 2019). My regular yearly checkup showed up rising blood sugar. My doctor – a new doctor who I really don’t much like – didn’t seem much worried by this. She said I’ll probably develop pre-diabetes soon, to be followed by diabetes. It can be managed well, she said. I’ll just have to “watch my sugars”.

In the meanwhile, she’d also prescribed me three courses of prednisone for non-stop allergic issues, more antihistamine eye drops, some eye ointment, and she’d doubled my antihistamines plus slinging me on a new antihistamine “to try”. Oh, and three types of hydrocortisone in different strengths for my skin, plus a different ventolin puffer, another puffer I can’t remember the name of and a different nasal spray. Then there were the iron tablets because my iron was low and my regular anticonvulsant for my epilepsy.

I left, depressed, and bought all the medicines she’d prescribed. That night I went home and cried in bed, my partner hugging me. I was miserable.

As usual, nothing got much better. I was feeling terrible, exhausted and sick every day, and getting real close to calling life quits.

THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY

Someone once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I think it might have been Einstein.

Yet that was exactly what I was doing – the same thing over and over – and expecting I’d get cured of my sickness.

Sure, every so often I’d try a different drug in a different strength. But it was the same thing. I was expecting to find a cure in the doctor’s office, while it was painfully obvious that no cure could be found there.

Perhaps what really drilled this home for me was the fact that my new doctor I disliked so much was talking to me about diabetes – and she was morbidly obese and almost certainly diabetic herself. If she couldn’t avoid diabetes for herself, it was unlikely she’d be able to help me avoid the same fate.

SIX MONTHS ON…

So here I am, six months on (May 2020).

I found a different path. After months of research, I changed what I was doing. It didn’t work. It had never worked.

Here’s what’s happening in my life now:

  • WEIGHT LOSS: I’ve lost ten kilograms in weight so far (21 pounds) and am no longer obese. It’s likely my blood sugar has normalized – when I get it tested I’ll post my results, but I’m feeling better and my energy levels are through the roof.
  • ASTHMA CURED: I don’t have asthma any more and don’t need a puffer any longer.
  • ECZEMA BEING CURED (STILL “IN PROGRESS:): My eczema is significantly improving, and my scalp is nowhere as itchy and sore. My hair is improving in texture and moisture as well.
  • EYE PROBLEMS SOLVED: My itchy, sore, dry eyes are improved so much I may be able to wear contact lenses again soon. My eye glands (meibomian glands) are functioning normally again., possibly for the first time in 30 years.
  • HAYFEVER CURED: I’m completely off antihistamine medication – eye drops, antihistamine tablets, nose spray.
  • EPILEPSY IMPROVED, POSSIBLY CURED: Best of all, I’ve reduced my anticonvulsant (epilepsy) medication by half, with no ill effects. It may be cured, but I’m taking things slowly reducing my medication on this one!

I’ll talk about how I’m doing all this in upcoming posts. And I’ll be clear: I am NOT a doctor and have no medical training.

However, I’ll also point out that no doctor could help me. I’ve been to dozens of doctors through my life. All they offered was more drugs that didn’t work. Their offerings masked disease rather than cured it.

It was clear to me that the only person who could help me was not going to be a doctor.

So read on, and I’ll share what I’m doing and how it’s going. You might want to give it a try too, especially if you’ve been down the path I’ve been on.

I’ve thrown out almost my medications I was on. Only low strength hydrocortisone and my epilepsy meds remain still to toss, and I’m getting there.

Sometimes you need a new path in your life. I sure did!

FIT: What exercise makes sense?

The takeaway: Do what makes you happy.

The first marathon runner, according to legend, was a soldier named Pheidippides. He ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to report the victory, a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, then promptly dropped dead after giving his message.

That might be inspiring to some people, and it sure is a great story, but it doesn’t make me want to go out and do a marathon!

Humans are built to sprint, run, jump, walk, and carry significant amounts of weight. Like all animals, we’re built for movement.

Even very elderly people in good shape are able to do all of these activities. Fauja Singh is a centenarian (currently 109) who has competed in numerous marathons, as well as shorter distance events. And, as any parent will know, from the moment a baby first starts to crawl, there’s no stopping them!

WHAT EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR YOU?

Medical evidence is clear: exercise is healthy for us. The evidence also seems to suggest that pretty much all exercise is good for us, as long as we don’t overdo it.

If it hurts, stop. If you feel pain of any sort, stop. If you have an injury, stop. If you get hit by someone or something, stop. And, of course, get advice from your doctor before starting any exercise routine, especially if you are older or have any health complaints.

DAILY EXERCISE

Walking is a great exercise. If your workplace is close enough, try walking to and from each day, or get out at lunchtime and walk during the break.

Lifting weights is also terrific. It doesn’t cost much to buy a set of weights for home use. I have various sets of weights that I use five times a week, and I’ll run through my daily routine in another, upcoming post.

Buying a set of weights is a lot cheaper than a gym membership. You can start with just one set, and build up from there as you develop strength and a range of weightlifting activities you enjoy and are comfortable with.

My “starter” set is 7 kgs (15 pounds) dumbbells. I use them for everything from overhead presses and biceps curls through to weighted lunges and weighted squats.

As you become stronger, you can buy heavier sets of weights one set at a time, while keeping your first set for exercises that are more challenging or require greater numbers of repetitions – I still use my original 2 kgs (4.5 pound) dumbbells for side raises and front raises.

The main thing with any exercise plan is to develop a routine, so you know what you are doing and when. It will soon become a habit that you will enjoy and gain a lot of reward from.