On Tuesday 13th April I intend to attempt a 12-hour challenge. I will wheel one mile, on the hour, every hour for 12 hours.
I am hoping to call at a different pub, cafe, or other business to rest at your outdoor seating. I will be there for around 40 minutes (less if it was an uphill mile) and then set off to the next business.
I have two main aims:
to raise money for my chosen charities (Young Minds and Diabetes UK)
to support local businesses as you reopen and give you the chance to share your great services and accessibility.
All I am asking for is somewhere to rest between miles. I am not asking for freebies, I genuinely want to support you to get back up and running after lockdown and to have a place to rest. Ideally, I would get out of my chair into a high-backed chair but that’s not essential for every stop.
If you are interested in hosting one of my stops please message me on facebook or email Carol@WheelieMum.org.uk
Back in early February, I was constantly pushing to achieve my biggest distances over the most possible challenging terrain I could find. The week before I had completed my first marathon distance and so in snow and ice and strong winds, like the wally I am I took myself off into the Pennine foothills running on ice in gale-force winds. The wind was so strong that despite being normally within my capability the wind was pushing me backwards down the road.
I was tired but didn’t feel anything untoward other than a bit sore until the next day. The next day I had no use of the arm, I gave it another 24 hours to be sure it was more than just a bit of muscle soreness but it got worse and so I made a physio appointment. I went private to ensure a speedy assessment to avoid doing more damage waiting for an NHS physio and of course I wanted to get back to training ASAP.
That first appointment was heartbreaking. When I made this video I honestly felt downtrodden. Like I’d ruined all my hardwork so far and was almost guaranteed to gain weight. Her assessment had been that it wasn’t the should but the trapezius but that full recovery was likely to take 18 months.
She had given me really basic exercises to do and no wheeling or hand biking. I spent the week doing her rehab religiously several times a day, by the time I went back the following week I was much stronger and in less pain, though still very much struggling.
The physio still felt Hadrians Wall was out of the question and wanted several more sessions but with my financial constraints, she did agree to give me a suit of exercises to work back up to fitness and agreed to discharge me, advising against pushing too hard.
We are now at the end of March and whilst I have still yet to get back up to the distances I was doing I am getting PBs over 5kms, half marathons and all distances in between. I am easily within the minimum pace Great North Run and confident about completing Hadrians Wall.
This has been a very strong lesson in building up challenges gradually and listening to my body. It has definitely helped have a personal trainer to take over where the physio left off. She did recommend I find a sports therapist and have semi-regular sports massages as I increase the training, something I still need to act upon.
Please, if you experience anything untoward with your body get suitable medical help straight away. Had this been a shoulder injury and not the trapezius and had I left it and not listened to advice I could easily have created a lifelong issue. As laypeople we just don’t know what a symptom means, most things have several potential causes so get the trained medical professionals to tell you what it is in your case.
Join the family and get a little more active during April. I am inviting you to join the community and complete 30 somethings during April. We have a facebook group established to encourage each other and joining is totally free. If you want a beautiful bespoke medal they will be available at a small cost with any excess money going to the charities (Diabetes UK and YoungMinds)
What will you do? 30 Miles 30 Days of 30 Wall pushups 30 up and down the stairs Something else.
I am going to visit 30 parks and open spaces within the month. You can choose anything that is wthin your ability. You do not need to be disabled and powerchair users are welcome too. What you do is entirely your choice.
Download your record card for your 30 day challenge:
Like many people I felt utterly unable to lose weight. I have been overweight my entire live. Add to that at the time I finally got started with weight loss I had been a powerchair user for around 17 years and couldn’t move independantly. I had reached the point of being able to transfer without the hoist but that was about it.
I was under the misconception that we need to exercise to lose weight, this just is not the case, of course it helps and helps us in lots of other health ways too but it’s not essential.
Weight loss is simple but not easy!
If calories in (what you eat) is less than calories out (energy you use) then you lose weight.
The biology of weight loss really is that simple, however the phsychology is not.
I made this video about this but in this post lets go through is in more detail
My Diet Pre Weightloss
I wish I could blame the pandemic but honestly my diet has been like this for years. A typical day:
Breakfast: Bacon butty Lunch: Sandwich Dinner Pie, peas, chips (fries) Snacks: crisps, sweets, cake Drinks Apple juice and Pepsi Max
When I say crisps I mean a full multi pack within a day and similarly with the sweets. Whilst my meals alone would put me above my necessary calories, it’s the snacking that was my problem and made up most of my calories, especially during the night. I do not sleep well and so would eat sweets and crisps pretty well all night.
Meaning I was getting over 4000 Calories
A Typical day now
Breakfast: 2 eggs with one slice of toast Lunch: Tuna (full tin) tbs low fat mayonaise, salad Dinner: Chicken, broccoli, sweet potato Snack: banana, and plain yoghurt Drinks: Water with calorie free flavour drops, Pepsi Max
Around 1200 Calories
Why Did I Gain Weight
I have always been overweight and as an adult will have always been in the obese category however there are definitely a few points in my life where it got worse:
The first big one and when I probably switched from weight not really affecting me happened at University. A terrible thing happened and a mixture of not wanting be attractive to men and the depression following the event meant that I gained weight, I ate and drank to excess, I would have my dinner in college and then go round to my friends and have pizza or toasties all washed down with plenty of beer.
Even before that though, as a child food was my coping mechanism, I would get up in the night to eat cheese or pickled onion sandwiches, I would sneak sweets and pop into my room. I guess the secretive eating was a clear sign this was all unhealthy but it’s something that never really went away.
Moving forward and into disability and immobility food was my coping strategy and so at each of the large changes in my health there was food as the coping mechanism and escapism. Now, though, I also had lots of boredom and inactivity. I couldn’t move much for large amounts of my later 30s and 40s and so I would eat not just as a stress releif but also from boredom.
This is how the feels of not being able to address my diet happened. I ate to excess every day. It was no longer just because I was upset or in pain it was what I did, especially at night. If I was awake I was eating.
Having now identified the reasons I gained the weight I needed to overcome them.
In August I had a heart scare, this was mid pandemic with all the research showing the hugely increased risk that being obese brings in a Covid world. Thankfully this was enough to get the motivation I needed. At first, I wasn’t thinking about weight. My mind was all on my sugar consumption and switching the nighttime snacking to be healthier. I did not have a weight loss target. I just wanted to feel generally healtheir. My disabiling conditions were affecting me less than they have for years and so it was good timing to get started.
For me, the first few weeks of weight loss were all about making achieveable incremental changes. I swapped the sweets for crackers but the crackers I chose were very high calorie and so then when I realised I switched to grapes, at that point I did start to lose weight but again grapes are quite high sugar/calories and so then I switched them to strawberries before starting to reduce them. When it came to reducing the night time snacking I increased my evening meal size to avoid feeling hungry at that snacking time. Once that was addressed I could turn my attention to meals and gradually bring the calorie content down.
I decided I needed some help early on, eventually, this didn’t work out but I went to see my doctor about 2 weeks after the heart scare and asked for help. He gave me 3 months of slimming world but with Slimming World but at that time they were going back to in person meetings something I didn’t want to do and so I subscribed to weight watchers, which I did for about a week but I didn’t like the whole free food thing. I realised it was still possible to over eat whilst staying within my calories and ultimatly I decided to go it alone and use MyFitnessPal to track my calories, this is something I still use.
Whilst I did not use the help my doctor offered and he didn’t offer anything else it was still an important step in my move towards addressing my health. It was the first time I’d said out loud that I was obese and wanted to lose weight. This was very important for me. I didn’t want to tell people I was losing weight and then fail. Getting to September instead of telling people I was losing weight I took up a 30 miles in 30 days challenge and told people about that. Of course, some friends did make fitness / weight comments in response to me getting more active. I responded positively without confirming I was attempting to lose weight but when we look at photos from the start and end of September it was becoming obvious.
The thing I most want to stress is the importance of working through your whys. Why am I overweight? Why do I need to lose weight?Mine were a mixture of depression and messages I’d had about my ability, the inability to move.
Had I not addressed the mental health of this already or if this was more complex I no doubt would have needed therapy to be successful. I want to stress this. If you are struggling to get going do not be afraid to get some therapy to work through the reasons for your weight gain. If you have a largish amount of weight to lose do also talk to your doctor. Here in the UK there are vastly varying levels of support available, in some areas there are integrated services with councilors, nutritionist, PTs or physios and doctors offering a coordinated services, making success more likely.
My why for losing weight was painfully obvious due to the heart issue, if you are younger it may take more work to look for the reason that is important enough to keep you motivated. In a future post I want to talk about all the risk factors of obesity but want to do more research for that.
I do believe we can all lose weight with the right support. Motivation is all very well but losing weight is a long term project and so we do need to move beyond that as we progress, seeing results helps make the actual loss become part of the motivation but also getting routines established so that eating healthy is just what I do in the way that eating sweets was just something I did.