I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking this week. It’s a bit self-absorbed, but hell – that’s why I blog. I’ve made it through six months in London – which, when I wrote this post, seemed like years away – and it’s rapidly approaching three years since I joined the gym and started getting… Well, better.
But as usual, it’s not just about the weight I’ve lost in that time. Back when that first photo was taken, I was pre-diabetic. I had high cholesterol, sleep apnea, heart palpitations and a fairly crippling addiction to prescription painkillers – because (as you can see from the top of the knee brace) I couldn’t walk. Doctors didn’t expect me to walk without crutches – at the very least – for the rest of my life. Not exactly a great place to be when you’re 22.
On the night that second photo was taken, I tripped over a rug in four-inch stilettos. I may have gained the ability to walk, in heels, but I’m yet to quite figure out the whole ‘cool’ thing. Working on it.
Anyway, part of the reason the illness side of things has been on my mind lately is because I’ve not been too well generally. I’m a coeliac, so I can’t digest gluten properly – but for some reason, I’ve been getting the kind of symptoms I see when I do have gluten, even when I don’t… For the best part of three months.
I mean, look at these photos taken 45 mins apart, either side of a salad, for Pete’s sake:
I’m really not kidding when I say ‘bloated.’
I also have some kinda strange hormonal things going on, related to a bit of a dodgy reaction to a contraceptive injection way back in 2008 – which, long story short, means I haven’t had a regular monthly cycle in five years. Once every couple o’months I’ll become a hormonal mega demon horsebeast – much like last Saturday, when I spent the evening lying in my knickers watching The Notebook whilst crying into a slice of gluten free carrot cake as big as my head – but that’s kinda it. I’ve seen doctors for both these things, and I’ve been met with a shrugs all round. Everything looks normal. Give it another six months.
If I’ve learned anything – through being told I wouldn’t walk again, to deadlifting 150lbs; through being told all those symptoms but offered no real way out; through realising the reason they wouldn’t offer me a gastric band was because my BMI was too high – it’s that sometimes, you’ve gotta take matters into your own hands. Kind of.
Now, being a super-connected and very kind gent, the lovely Tom Dyer introduced me to Steve Grant, a nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner here in London, to see if he had any ideas. (If you like free stuff, I recommend signing up for his newsletter here – because there’s a very interesting free eBook in it for you. Bargain.)
I went in this week for a consultation, and was amazed at the detail he went into, which I guess I should’ve seen coming, given that he counts athletes and movie stars among his clients. Then you’ve got me: blogger, professional food-journal avoider and biscuit enthusiast. Hmm.
Anyway, after almost two hours, he’d pretty much assessed my entire life, inside and out. He also measured my body fat all over using something called biosignature modulation – with an overall measurement of 24.7%. That, for me, is pretty astounding, because technically that falls right on the margin between ‘fitness’ and ‘average.’ I have never considered myself either of these things – and if you’d said to me three years ago that I’d be there, I’d have laughed you under a pizza delivery bike.
So, I’ve got to make some changes: I’ve been told off about my sleep routine, which seems pretty fair given this blog post has been cobbled together from things I wrote at 9am and 2:30am respectively. And I’m down to a fairly narrow (although, given I’m inclined to be creative in the kitchen, still delicious) food list in order to stop this crazy business until I can figure out exactly what it is. I’m ditching alcohol for a bit, cutting down my caffeine intake (sob) and making sure to eat plenty of good fats. Yum.
In short, it’s basically what I usually do, taken to its logical conclusion. It’s good stuff, but… Better. And I think Steve and I are going to get along, mostly because he said two things: firstly, it’s not about the numbers. It’s not about that body fat percentage (even though it’s nice) or the number on the scales. This, I can get down with. And secondly, he’s a big fan of science. Yeah, science.
So with that in mind, this’ll be a really interesting experiment for me, and a challenge I think I’ll actually kinda relish – especially if it sorts out the fact that I’ve been feeling under the weather for such a long time now. It might not fix everything right away, but to my mind, positive steps are better than no steps at all. That’s the mindset that got me on the treadmill, almost three years ago – and it’s one I strongly believe to be true.
Your capacity to do things like this – be they just getting going and starting to shift the pounds, to making the last tweaks to your lifestyle when you’re pretty much done – is entirely based on positive thinking. For me, personally, having experienced good health, I know it’s one of the most valuable things in the world – and that’s why I’m keen to iron out these last lil’ things so I can bask in feeling healthy, happy, and… Well, just great.
So – I’ll report back in the near future, and in the meantime, I’ve signed up for Instagram, where I’ll be posting some of the tasty creations I’ll be coming up with on my super-clean, super-healthy new routine – so if that’s your bag, you can follow me by clicking here!