Hoop Physio

Hoop Physio – neck, sternum & rotator cuff rehabilitation of sports injury

Happy New Year! Here’s what I’ve been up to, most of the last couple of years, since crash-landing on the parkour gym tumble-track in June 2013, folding in half at the neck and faceplanting into my own torso – technically I shouldn’t still be here, let alone walking around, blogging, breathing etc… thanks to yoga for life for the extra bendy spine.

Issues have been many, varied and changeable – pain, stability, vomiting, swallowing, speech slurring, pain, holding head up, walking in a straight line, sitting upright, pain, clumsiness, dropping things, pain, pins and needles, pain, insomnia, boredom, muscle atrophy, nerve signal, sudden eye deterioration (possible vertebral artery insufficiency – having another MRI to investigate neck scarring, discs and positioning in the next fortnight)… strength, dizziness, vertigo, more pain…

I’m about halfway back together now, following sternum surgery and physiotherapy, fixed braces for a year which helped by aligning my bite and reduced neck muscle aggravation by stopping me grinding my teeth, lens replacement and vitrectomy in both eyes just before Christmas, and a very recent gym referral.

Last year I started messing around with my hula hoops, and developed a separate set of exercises that addressed a lot of my issues with muscle tone, flexibility, nerve signal, stability and grip. A few people got interested in trying them out as well, so I’ve just finished making this video tutorial and session run-through to share.

Sitting at the computer editing and rendering the finished version was harder than filming it, pain-wise, but I hope it’s worth it – someone else might need the physio inspiration, you never know.

New Year’s Resolution for 2016 – keep doing more of this stuff, and maybe change my career… 🙂

L xx

So, I expect you’re all wondering how that DIET is going?

🙂

Been abandoned? Been swept quietly under the rug?

Nope! 🙂

I’m happy to say that so far, I am winning against the Evil Pasta (same calories as sugar!! Boooo!)

Since the summer I’ve lost the weight I wanted to lose, and a bit more. My only secret, I guess, is just counting calories and watching portion sizes of starchy carbs. I wouldn’t eat 500g of sugar all in one go as a meal, so it makes sense not to eat the same weight in uncooked pasta, which has virtually the same calorie-count. If I cook a portion of pasta for myself, I’ll weigh out 75g dry before cooking, have a small dollop of tomato sauce and mix in some tuna, basil leaf and a few chopped olives. Jacket potatoes or sweet potatoes are good too – or a thin-based veggie pizza. Also I make fritattas – like a Spanish omelette – just two eggs for protein content cooked with onion, peppers and mushrooms, occasionally sliced potato or a small handful of cooked pasta to bulk out. Very filling.

I do still eat otherwise – I’ll have one day off dieting every few days, but find that I’m not that hungry or craving anything anyway, now I don’t have to haul extra weight around. And diet shake mixes (I use Tesco’s own brand) are more digestible and effective for me, when mixed with soya milk instead of cow’s milk. It raises the protein content of the drink, at the loss of carbohydrate content. I have my shakes for breakfast, and sometimes before bed if I’m hungry then. Never go to the supermarket on an empty stomach now – bad for the wallet as well as the scales…

Latest thing I changed was switching from regular tea to Roobois (Redbush) to cut down on caffeine. Now I’ll have a coffee once or twice a day for caffeine, instead of caffeine in pretty much every drink.

Still hula-hooping for exercise and for fun. Was outdoors the other day hooping for an hour in a scarf and mittens 🙂 Maybe not in the hailstones that we had earlier though…

So, next thing I’ve got to look forward to is Christmas! And I am going to eat! It’s not a big deal really, only a day or two – same as if I was taking a day off my diet to get a Chinese takeaway, or make any other roast dinner. It won’t be any different from when I made Thanksgiving dinner for DS-10 last month to teach her a bit of an American history lesson.

It’s weird, the main feeling I get from losing a bit of weight when I need to, is re-gaining a sense of self-control again. Like I don’t really notice it slipping when I’m depressed, just that I know I’m comfort-eating – and when I get that more positive feeling of self-control returning, I know I’m not depressed any more. Mood-wise this year hasn’t been great up until recently, gaining new scars and waiting for more surgery. So besides always hoping that the next eye repair will be the last – anything else that I can do to improve on my inner self-image in the meantime is a bonus.

Now, bring on dinner! I’m ready for ya 🙂

Snack time

Here’s what I choose from if I get hungry for a nibble on my diet:

  • 1 banana: 100kcals per 100g (average banana is between 125-140kcals)
  • 1 satsuma, mandarin or clementine: 26kcals approx
  • 1 apple: 50kcals per 100g
  • 1 square Tesco’s value plain chocolate, or 1/10th of a bar: 52kcals
  • 1 Options Hot Chocolate/Turkish Delight flavour: 39kcals
  • 1 Ainsley Harriott Cup Soup: Between 87 and 92kcals depending on variety
  • 1 fat-free Activia fruit yoghurt: Between 50 and 75kcals per pot (125g)

To me, that’s plenty – considering that to burn off that 1-inch by one quarter inch square of chocolate is 500 steps on the step machine (1kcal burnt per 10 steps) and for most of the day I’m working on the computer, writing by hand, drawing or painting, and doing the odd bit of housework or lawn-mowing. In other words, mostly sitting around. Interspersed with some driving errands, 30 minutes to an hour or so with the hula hoop on average 4-5 times a week, and once in a blue moon going near that step machine.

I don’t buy cereal or bread anyway, so those things aren’t an issue. Neither is alcohol, or soft drinks, or fruit juice. If I skip my diet shake made with soya milk for breakfast, I’ll have the fruit then instead. IF I’m hungry at lunchtime, it’ll be a Cup Soup, and yoghurt or another piece of fruit. Then I eat my dinner (anything I want, up to about 600kcals) between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. After that, if anything, I’ll only have maybe a hot chocolate, satsuma or apple, or nibble of chocolate before I go to bed, with a decaf tea with sweeteners and a cardamom pod added – cardamom is good for digestion. I drink as much tea or coffee as I feel I need throughout the day, but try to include a pint of plain still water as well, especially if I’m hooping that day.

If I go to my mum’s for Sunday lunch, I’ll take that as my day off. If I take DS10 to the cinema, I get a Happy Meal with her afterwards, and that counts as my day off – if we’ve already had dinner earlier. I’m allowing for one day off dieting a week, but if there isn’t a particular occasion such as Sunday lunch or going out, I’m not bothered, and just stick to my usual diet routine.

So I’m not on any diet guru plan, or food combining, or training programme, just learning my calories and sticking to the idea of eating dinner earlier in the evening. In other words, not a diet I see ‘the end of’, but a diet pattern I want to continue as normal after losing the weight again, containing all the foods that I like.

I guess I’m lucky that the only person I have to cook for as well is DS10, who doesn’t eat the same as me anyway, and still prefers her cheese with a bit of pizza base and tomato sauce attached. Plus the handful of vitamins and supplements we both take. I watched the US show I Used To Be Fat earlier, and the whole family had pretty much bullied their daughter about her weight for years until food was her only friend – but she really blossomed after eventually leaving home for college. I think there’s a myth surrounding the idea that eating together as a family is a healthy thing – in celebrations and reunions, yes, it definitely is – but every day, with each individual’s life containing different patterns of work, school, snacking – I think it can do as much harm as good, particularly when some have issues around foods, allergies, exclusions, is on a diet – it’s an added stress that’s completely unnecessary. The feeling that you’re being watched in your everyday eating habits two or three times a day, or judged, or teased, or controlled by what’s put in front of you, just adds extra stress hormones to the mix.

And when you’re stressed, or upset – it’s nearly impossible to enjoy or efficiently digest your food. Adrenaline blocks effective metabolism.

The happiest and most chilled-out families I know all eat separately. There’s no regime. No issues over who eats what or when. It’s no-one else’s business how each of them choose to graze, or regulate themselves, or exercise. And none of them are overweight. So maybe there’s something in that, too.

🙂

Pasta is evil…

Did you know that there are the same number of calories in 176g of uncooked oven chips/fries as there are in only 75g of uncooked dried wholewheat pasta? (Approx 240kcal). White pasta is even higher – 270kcal for 75g, the same as white rice. Basically, for weight, it’s nearly the same as golden granulated sugar:

SUGAR: 400kcals per 100g, or 4kcals/g ~ UNCOOKED WHITE PASTA/RICE: 360kcals per 100g, or 3.6kcals/g ~ UNCOOKED FROZEN OVEN CHIPS: 136kcals per 100g, or 1.36kcals/g.

Today I fit into my next size down of jeans (woohoo!). I’ve lost nearly 12 lbs so far, after my first three weeks on a diet. The other day, as well as not eating meals after 6.30pm (I allow myself a later apple or satsuma if I get hungry), sticking to 1000 calories a day, including a diet shake in the morning made with soya milk, and also hula-hooping on my rollerblades for exercise – I decided to buy some itty-bitty food measuring scales for dieters so that I could weigh things like pasta and oven chips before cooking, instead of using guesswork, if I wanted to eat them. You can imagine what a surprise it was to look at the comparative calories per weight of both! I was probably consuming at least three times as much pasta per meal before I went on a diet. It was quite a shock to realise that one pasta bolognese meal in the past potentially contained all of my daily recommended calories in one go, for someone not on a diet.

Okay, pasta expands when cooked (depending on how al dente you like it). If you eat a lasagne made with three sheets of dried wholewheat pasta, weighing in at only 60g, and consider the calorie content of added sauces and cheese, it’s probably comparative to a small unsatifying spag bol. One of my faves was lasagne with chips/fries – like you get in a typical pub menu – so I bought some of those tiny circular Pyrex ramekins and made little lasange pots, with two layers of broken-up lasagne (about half a sheet in total fit per pot, or 10g) and a dollop of the sauces between, and a teaspoon of micro-grated Red leicester on the top. I cooked one, with 165g of oven chips on the side, covered the other pots uncooked with cling-film and froze them. So for about 36kcals worth of pasta, less than 100kcals worth of made-up non-vegetarian bolognese sauce, only 60kcals worth of white sauce (one-eighth of a jar), and about 10kcals worth of cheese, and 225kcals of oven fries, I get dinner for less than 500kcals without losing out on what I enjoy.

A bit like ordering a Happy Meal instead of the grown-up version – which is what I do if DS10 and I get munchies after going to the cinema. A cheeseburger Happy Meal, with a diet drink, is less than 600kcals. Chicken nugget versions are even less.

I’m not a four-legged herbivore with multiple stomachs, and therefore not designed to munch my way through a row of garden salad every day (not without terminal depression from loss of healthy neurotransmitter production, and attacks of anti-social wind anyway). And I’m not a gym-bunny burning 3000kcals a day (I’m sat here writing on my computer, for Chrissakes – what did you think I do all day?) – although now I do sometimes wear rollerblades around the house all afternoon, and twirl a hula-hoop outside, while the neighbours tolerate The Noisettes and Gorillaz at a sociable level from my kitchen window – so pasta on an industrial scale is to be avoided.

The most my muscles need to do is keep me upright. Like I said, it’s all about the physics. What burns off has to be greater than what goes in.

So if you’re on a diet, unless you’re hitting that gym really hard, keep the pasta content on the down low – like I said, think lasagne instead of penne

And sometimes multi-tasking. I had to re-do my highlights last week – so I moved my twist-stepper in front of the mirror while doing the hook-and-plastic-hat thing. By the time I’d finished I’d done 500 steps…

🙂

The two-week wobble

Yesterday, I got notification of my first royalty payment from Amazon Kindle! To celebrate, I made cookies. Which I’m only allowed to eat so long as I don’t eat anything else. They are chocolate-choc-chip-macadamia-cranberry made with 1/3 wholewheat flour, so technically quite balanced. I think four of those totals probably about 1000 calories (!).

I’m doing all right on the diet otherwise – managing to keep away from late-night mealtimes, and currently comfortably losing at the steady 1lb-per-week rate after dropping an initial few pounds immediately, as usually happens. A couple of weeks in is usually a weak point. I had my day off (a sensible Sunday lunch) and didn’t crack after that, and the reward of seeing the scales creeping backwards when I weigh myself every day is motivation enough – not to mention the clothes I’m looking forward to fitting back into. I have some really cool stuff collected when I was working and earning the occasional dress and shoe-shop…

Last week I was working for Sophie Neville again, finishing her book trailer for Funnily Enough. I’d followed a tutorial online by Declan Conner to format an illustrated version of Sophie’s eBook on Amazon Kindle, which has turned out really well – all the cartoons in it are her own, and I’m very inspired to do an illustrated eBook myself, having seen how great it looks in colour on the Android screen (Kindle app for Android available free from Amazon, or the Android app store).

This was done using Windows again, and the music is from an AVP copyright-free music library CD, that I already had knocking around. Sophie wanted a combination of cuts and transitions, which suits the quirky style.

I tried to do some watercolour painting last night, but it turned out more water than colour. That’s what you get for using children’s paints costing ÂŁ1.99 – sigh. I was trying out an idea for a book cover on one of my other stories – but it turned out looking like a Comic Relief Red Nose instead of a menacing big red button. Karmically this is probably good news, in some alternate universe.

Today, I’m procrastinating about more everyday things, like the car needing maintenance. And avoiding editing one of my film scripts to mail out, as I’ve decided what my writing needs is an agent to do the selling for me. I’m not into selling. I’m into earning, but not ‘selling’. Selling implies that what you have to offer is not in fact necessary for survival, or is a gamble, like a luxury item or high-risk investment. Although what is high-risk about a two-quid electronic novel (or ten-quid paperback) could be a mystery, and as for necessary to survival – well, I’m not Ray Mears. But you might learn a lot about what it takes to get by in the nightclub scene.

😉

Today, I will mostly be reading…

Hot Island Nights

Sarah Mayberry, for Harlequin (UK) Mills & Boon

…This one above, in paperback from Tesco’s, special promotions inside the cover. Wow. I’m only up to Chapter 5, and will probably have gone blind by the end, so luckily it’s one of their shorter books. It’s definitely taking my mind off food anyway.

Nice weather to read in the last couple of days, out on the hammock between gardening and hula-hooping and diet shakes. Saw the doctor, who was able to show me that last time I was weighed at a check-up in December 2010, I was 5kg less than now, so it was as I suspected – gradual re-gain of weight lost previously.

I super-glued the incision where the keloid scar was and it’s started healing up in a nice neat line instead of a ropey random-shaped blob like before. As I said, don’t do this at home. If you must fidget while watching TV, do knitting or something. Not DIY surgery. I’ll probably still need to get it checked afterwards at some point, unless God is in a good mood and the whole mark vanishes without trace. I was lucky to have already had it biopsied – just sorry they didn’t take the whole thing out at the time.

So I’m dieting, hula-hooping, catching up with the housework gradually, and started on writing my own straight romantic fiction efforts. Yes!! Finally, I came up with two ideas which have potential. I think giving up on the idea of dating in real life helped. Gave me licence to be totally inventive, and not worry about being judged (not until submissions time, at least). Mills & Boon are running their New Voices contest again next month, and I’m debating whether or not to enter a competition with a public vote (I don’t have that many friends to round up!) or just go for the straight submissions route. I’m tempted to go with the latter. Maybe because it would be the real response when it came, that I could work with immediately on whatever the feedback is. I have a feeling about it of ‘start as you mean to go on’ in the working professional writer sense.

In the meantime, thinking of putting together my ideal hula-hooping playlist. So far, the best of Santana, and Justin Timberlake are getting me going, and have also found remixes of Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, the Beastie Boys, the Noisettes, and Faithless are great stuff to hoop along to. I have a need to test out the hooping potential of De La Soul. My instincts tell me there is something very hoopable in those tunes. Oddly enough I couldn’t get anything out of Madonna. The rhythm was all wrong. She’ll have to incorporate it into her assimilated repertoire of fashion crazes to come up with the right beat.

For custom hoops and jamming, wiggle your way over to Hoop Express and get inspired! 🙂

Day four in the Diet House

Luckily, I’ve found something I wrote when dieting in 2009, that confirms I was losing 1lb a week – so I know what the expected progress is. It’s strange, because I remember in terms of dress sizes, there was a ‘suddenly’ moment when I fit into jeans two sizes smaller than I started out, but realistically, that moment happened about four months in to dieting. It’s about making a permanent lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

I did wake up starving today, with my stomach making those noises it can only make while hinting that it ought to have food inside. So I’m sitting at the computer now with my strawberry diet shake, made with coconut milk in today (another low-calorie alternative I’ve found more digestible than dairy). I’ve taken my vitamins – I take loads, including multi-B, Evening Primrose, and Omega fish oils.

Mostly what I’ve been obsessing about over the last couple of days, is books and storylines. I’m doing all right with a few sales here and there and a few words written here and there on my sequels, I’m not making any money yet – so for me it’s definitely going to be about finding something of mainstream-publisher interest to write about.

While avoiding interfering with further surgery on myself – I did attempt to remove a keloid scar with nail scissors. Please don’t do this at home. There are very understanding doctors out there! Looking forward now to seeing what new kind of scar appears from under the scab. I pierced my own ears aged 12 – successfully, the holes are still functional – but I do know the risks. My rogue keloid scar was the result of squeezing a spot which then refused to heal for two months – so it’s been a reminder not to abuse my skin, and for something so small, the cause of quite a lot of negative thinking recently. Strange how tiny things can cause us so much aggravation. In a ‘how stupid was I?’ way.

It’s just one more thing that makes me realise, I’m not cut out for a relationship yet. If I’m still customising myself, in terms of image, body-weight, whether I’m someone with a large appetite for food or a small one, what I do for a job, what I choose to write about, what I wear, what I watch and listen to, or what I identify with, I can’t be pinned down yet as a defined human being that another would recognise as being their mate. I don’t fit into a paperback demographic of a potential partner.

I wonder how closely our concepts or imprinting by fiction influences us while looking for a love interest? I wouldn’t know, not having found one yet. But perhaps my own voice gives that away by looking for stereotypes, or trying to fit into one. My only examples are in fiction. But if fiction is all escapism, those examples don’t even exist in the real world.

Like today, waking up starving, wondering whether a diet shake was enough incentive to get out of bed. What’s it like for people who have someone to meet up with, to get out of bed to spend time with? To go to bed with, for that matter?

I can ask these things now without having a meltdown because I’m not looking for one. But the not-looking seems to have opened a whole new series of questions. Stuff I hadn’t even thought about before while just being depressed that I didn’t have the one thing I always wanted. And now don’t want. Not because having the expectations that I would get it let me down, but because I’VE let me down, by not being the person I want to be who gets a relationship. I’m not thin or tidy or organised or earning a decent living or having a regular social life, or energetic or being a model parent while DS10 summons demons alone in her room, instead of doing normal teenage things like hanging out with gangs of predatory girls between WHSmith and Superdrug, ogling boys. At least then I’d have something to empathise with other parents about.

But I’m happy so long as she’s happy. If the other demons arrive, they can help with the housework.

Summer tum…

Gremlins-GizmoSounds like a polite way of saying ‘jungle bottom’ but in fact, this post is not about explosive disorders of the digestive system. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is about that realisation upon seeing your holiday snaps, when you are shocked nobody tried to roll you back into the sea while enjoying your beach break.

For me, this started with vague recognition that once more I was only wearing my baggy jeans. Then, a couple of months before giving up my job, starting to feel more tired – and in the last month, those aches and pains returning. No, it’s not age. It’s pasta. And stuff I don’t normally eat, like bread and cake and cookies, creeping back in.

So I climbed back onto the scales, and yes – I’m currently only half a stone short of the weight I was when I decided I needed to lose, and lost nearly two stone, two years ago. It’s crept back on, as so many dieters warn – a combination of comfort eating through stress and depression, lack of motivation, and having no social life to maintain a figure for.

Not that I’m not vain in my own solitary way. I like pretty things, but I am a fully-aware slob. What I’d like to achieve in my ideal world isn’t supported by the reality, and seems to be restricted by hours in the day, the fact I have only one pair of hands to do things with, and lack of people in my life for daily support (or delegation).

But I did lose the weight before, a combination of slim-fast/supermarket equivalent diet shake powder, not eating late at night or just before bed, and Chinese take-out once a week. I didn’t exercise. This worked – not sure why, except I had a combination of strange theories all running concurrently.

One, was the diet shake (calorie-controlled) theory. Weight loss is all about physics and chemistry – burning more fuel than you put in, forcing your body to burn from its reserve tanks. So put less in. I found mixed with cow’s milk it was indigestible, so I used economy soya milk instead, which my body coped with far better. I also cut out sugar in hot drinks and switched it to calorie-free sweeteners (Sweetex was my preference). Any sustained brain tension from artificial sugaring I outlet in writing crime fiction, where twists, turns, paranoia and conspiracies are deemed normal. In fact I quite enjoyed that part.

Two, was a word-of-mouth diet myth, via Hollywood. Don’t eat after 6pm. That way you body has burnt its daily intake by the time you go to bed, so you won’t lay down fat while you sleep. It does work, and it’s best not to eat your heaviest meal late in the day. Think of it as the Gremlins or ‘Mogwai’ Diet. If you eat too late in the day, you might turn into a monster.

Three, eat a big meal once in a while to stop your metabolism slowing down and going into ‘famine mode’ where your body compensates for shortage of food by reducing its burning capability. I went to the Chinese once a week and always ordered the same thing – sweet and sour chicken and special chow mein, and applied the same rule about not eating late at night, so it would be between 6 and 7pm.

Four, don’t take up an exercise routine you aren’t going to maintain. I’d done martial arts in the past, didn’t enjoy bruises, and actually felt too unfit to exercise – I had hip pains anyway, and stood around for my job in nightclub security. So I opted to do nothing. I’ve never been a sporty type, and was a skinny child who read books instead of going outdoors to play – so I knew it didn’t contribute in my youth.

I got from a UK size 14 down to a size 8-10 in about 5 months. All my aches and pains disappeared. It was gradual, and had plateaus of about a fortnight where nothing happened. My diet stopped when one week I couldn’t get diet shakes, and made a batch of cookies, and suddenly just wanted to eat loads of sugary things – and it crept back on again. I’d left one job to do another, was having a depressive phase again – I’d achieved what I wanted, but had no friends to share or to celebrate it with, or to keep me focused, so I just clocked it up as something I was capable of but that hadn’t gained me anything in the real world. Still no social life, still no boyfriend – just me on my own fitting into the smaller clothes in my wardrobe. I think I bought about 15 pairs of shoes to celebrate by myself, but only two of them have probably been worn outside my house. Lack of occasion to wear them more than lack of confidence.

So this time, I hula-hoop now, having already taken it up several months ago – again, on my own, privately, in my own garden. So I have exercise that I enjoy as my added back-up. I need to diet financially as much as for my health – before I saw the holiday photos, I was on the verge of going to my doctor about chest pains – because I can’t afford the weekly food shop, let alone pay for any health or diet club, or take up any out-of-home activity. So it’s just gardening, housework and hula-hooping on the agenda.

The last time I dieted, I had lots of hopeful aspirations about what being slimmer might bring, like a relationship and the confidence to have a social life – now all I’m thinking is it might prevent further illness and an overdraft I can’t repay. I still don’t have those other things, but I guess a realistic reason is as good as a fairytale one. And I really don’t want a man right now anyway. If I don’t currently recognise myself, anyone attracted to me at the moment is unlikely to want this particular look switched for a skinny one. Besides, dating seems to involve eating and drinking fairly often, which would get in the way of dieting. I can’t jump out of planes or do extreme sports for a dating activity, my eyeballs would fall out… (See ‘About Lisa’). So I’m cutting out dating as well as calories. Sorry guys, you’ll have to do without me… LOL 🙂

And I still have my smaller clothes it’d be nice to wear as well.

🙂