My journey from 59 to ………

Archive for the tag “diet”

Time for an update. 

I was going to write a really long post giving all the details of the kidney stone surgery but I’ve decided against it. 

I’m just going to give a quick overview so ……..

New Year’s Eve – surgery to remove remaining stones. Stent inserted. Hospital were brilliant, slept for what felt like days afterwards. 

08/01/16 back to have the stent removed, not a pleasant experience, I’m halfway through my second course of antibiotics but I’m just feeling (8 days later) that all my bits are starting to work properly again. 

Good news is that the report from one of the scans they did when I couldn’t wee seems to show that my insides are in good nick. 

It also shows there’s still a stone in there and as far as I’m concerned it can stay there. If it moves and gets stuck again I’ll go with the loads of drugs route, I only want another stent if there’s no real other choice!

Anyway, this has all been going on since last September and has had a huge impact on my fitness, nutrition and ‘brain’. 

Having reached a sort of meltdown when the first course of antibiotics didn’t work I am now confronting everything and pulling myself back from the edge. 

I’m the heaviest I’ve been for years, but I’m nowhere near the heaviest I’ve ever been. 

I’m the unfittest (if that’s a word) too, but again nowhere near the levels I was at 7 years ago. 

All of this has mucked up the planned start of my targets for this year. I’m going to stick with trying to cover 2016 kilometres and averaging 3 training sessions a week (but I’m writing January off!)

The fat has got to go!!!!

I’m going to post a blog each week describing nutrition, training, activities etc. I probably won’t post about these on Facebook so if you want to follow them just check in regularly or subscribe to the blog. The posts will really be for my own benefit to make me accountable but if it helps / amuses anybody else that’s good. 

I faced the scales this morning. Let’s see what next week brings …… 

Just added this for your amusement – my text conversation with my nephew this morning!



Success breeds success!

I’ve put on weight.

There, I’ve said it. I’ve now faced up to it and I knew it was time to take it on again. Not a problem, done it before, just need to sort myself out and do something about it.

So I talked to Darryl (my trainer) about it.

We both know I know how to lose weight.

Darryl has told me, several times, that if I stick to the Ancestral Solution I can lose up to 3 lbs a week.

“Yeah, right”

As I’ve told him, this may be true for a young person but not for me. It gets much harder as you get older. Weight loss slows down. My weight loss plateaus all the time. I lose weight, but slowly.

But I decided I’d give sticking to the plan religiously a go. I’ve been eating ancestrally for well over a year but ive been eating more and more other stuff too!

Week One
Stuck to the plan about 80% of the time. Result? I lost 3 lbs 🙂

Week Two
Stuck to the plan about 95%. Result? I lost another 3 lbs! 🙂 🙂

Week Three
Stuck to the plan about 95%. Result? Lost yet another 3 lbs! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I have NEVER lost weight like this before!

And how does ‘Success breed success’?

Every time I’m tempted to eat something that’s not ancestral I think of how well it’s working ….. and I don’t want it!

So it’s not a question of self control or will power, I don’t want it.

There are sweets in the house that I’d normally shove down my throat as fast as possible, but I don’t want them!

Can’t believe it, but I like it!

There is a downside however. Darryl is right ………….. again.

The Ancestral Solution combined with the right supplements and exercise program works!

I want to be right. I like being right. But then, if I was right, I’d be 9 lbs heavier!

If you want to know more about it visit their website:


There’s a free book you can download!

And have a look at their blog:


I’ve found a new use for trifle.

I should probably say that I’ve found A use for trifle.


I don’t like trifle. I think it’s the consistency. Slimy, wobbly stuff. And it’s got custard in it, I don’t like custard either. When I was given custard as a kid it always seemed to have a skin on it, yuk!

So, we have a high calorie, high sugar content, slimy, slippery, wobbly goo that I dislike and will not eat. What possible use could it have?

Ray likes trifle!

I’ve discovered that when he has a really bad hypo (two since my last post) and is in danger of sliding into a diabetic coma, it is really easy to shove trifle into him to bring up his sugar levels.

And, I don’t like it so it can be in the fridge and I won’t eat it!

This is particularly important (to me) as I’ve managed to put some weight back on and it’s time for me to sort myself out ….. again!

Now, I’ve got reasonably good self control. I can go round the supermarket and not buy ‘bad’ stuff. I can go for a coffee and not buy cakes etc. I can go out for a meal and eat sensibly and I’m happy drinking water.


if it is in the house ………………. I will eat it!

I may try and hide it from myself, but my body will work out where it is and take me there.

I will lose control of my hands, they will grab whatever it is and force feed me with it, my will power stands no chance, the body takes over.


I have to find stuff that is full of sugar, liked by Ray and that I would not eat even if there was nothing else available and I was thinking of gnawing on my own forearm.

So far the list consists of winegums, turkish delight and trifle.  Other suggestions are welcome!

My ‘homework’ from Darryl was to write down everything I ate and drank for a week. I did it, very honestly, and I’ve handed it in, but I’m not expecting a gold star (but I might get a silver one!).

I’ve made quite a good start, I’ll let you know how successful I’ve been soon.


Thinking of forearms, did I tell you about the day I was stuck in a traffic jam and my thoughts were rambling about as I drummed my fingers and watched the muscles in my forearm move? I suddenly thought that if it was on a bbq there would be more meat on that than on a chicken wing so it would get eaten first. Don’t know how tasty it would be though. I wonder what you’d marinade it with?


 Nine weeks today I will be 60!

Time for an update on my challenges.


All are going well and I’m ahead of schedule with all of them.

I’m particularly proud of how far I’ve travelled on foot. 1,215 miles! Add in the cycling and this map shows how far I’ve travelled:


I’m hoping the weather forecasters are wrong, I really don’t need three weeks of snow at the moment, but if it comes it is NOT going to stop me, I WILL do this.

That’s enough for now, need my sleep, I’ll be out pounding the pavements again tomorrow!



There are times when even I can feel old, and right at this moment is one of them.

Walking the 21 km today and doing 2 lots of steps were fine, well I’ll admit to various parts of me hurting and aching (my back and my left ankle for some inexplicable reason).

But, after about 30 minutes of being at home, having to deal with another hypo, trying to move Ray from the bathroom to his bedroom and then get him to eat sweet stuff has taken it out of me. In order to get him to cooperate I have to be very calm, gentle and encouraging. Now there’s a challenge for me! But it’s done!

Remember what I said about if it was in the house I’d eat it ……… this is the time for  a binge.

What have I got? Are you ready for this?

Poached salmon, dressed crab, crayfish tails and a lobster tail. (Went to the fishermen’s co-op on my walk.)

Don’t think it’ll hit the spot like sweeties, and it shouldn’t all get eaten at once (I’ve also got stir fry) but we’ll see what happens ……


OMG, heard a sound from the other room, he woke up and wanted to know if I’d taken his empty bottles to the recycling dump, and then went back to sleep!!!!

There are more questions than answers ……..

Well there are with me around, although I do have a tendency to over think things.

So …….

Why does a half marathon that you walk at night have a medal like this?

Could it be so you can see it in the dark? Enjoyed my first half marathon though, and could have kept going. Been asked about doing the Shine full marathon in September, mmmm, what to do?

Why do I love finding ‘new’ muscles?

Well this picture may have something to do with it:

Muscles don’t wobble. Muscles let me eat more. Muscles look really cool. I like muscles!

But this leads on to one of my random thoughts.

I was bored, stuck in a traffic jam recently, watching the muscles in my forearm moving (doesn’t everyone do this?) when I thought “If my forearm was amputated and cooked on a bbq it would get eaten ‘cos there’s a lot more meat on it that on a chickem wing.”

Doesn’t everyone have thoughts like that?

The Olympic torches are bigger than you think.

But they are great to pose with! No, unfortunately it isn’t mine and I had to give it back. 😦

Why is there nothing I would eat in the healthy snacks aisle?

Well, why????

Why, when I am going up and down those steps (like I did 8 times today) do I see other people doing the same ……. but they tend to be men in their 20s and 30s?

Whilst the women of my age tend to be dressed in ‘nice’ clothes and lunching in Leigh? Bet a lot of them would love to be doing what I’m doing, but they’ll never admit it!!!!!

BTW I’ve just been and collected my uniform to be an Essex Ambassador (voluntary work) for the Olympics. As I only wear gym kit it’s a huge addition to my wardrobe although pink and purple aren’t really my colour choices!

I also do voluntary work (I’m on the Independent Monitoring Board) in a prison. Variety is the spice of life, but the only ‘uniform’ for that is a belt with a pouch!!!

Reading this back, it’s quite understandable that I’d rather be running up steps and hurling heavy weights than dressed in a frock and lunching!!!

Talking of weights, my traps hurt. A lot!

It’s either the 10 sets of 20 single arm swings with a 16kg kettlebell, or it’s the 3 sets of 15 clean and press with the 15 kg barbell. Each time they twinge I go ouch, then think of the muscles (see above) and smile!

Talking of kettlebells ….. why do I see people using little baby ones?

Oops, I’ve cut off the left hand side of this but you get the idea. This is from Dragon’s Door and is their recommendation of what kettlebells to get.

So, the lightest ‘real’ kettlebell is 18lbs, or 8kg. I won’t say any more about that!!!!

Yes, I do use the ones they recommend for a ‘strong lady’. Am I really so much stronger than so many people at the gym?

People really need to be taught how to use kettlebells properly!!!!

Why am I so tired?

Because this week’s random challenge is to get up when it gets light and go to bed when it gets dark, just like my ancestors would have done.

It’s getting dark so, feeling like a reverse vampire, Night Night!

Oops, forgot to ask, should I do the Shine Marathon?

Please leave a Yes or No answer!!!!!


Well, just after I posted this I had to call an ambulance cos Ray was having a really bad hypo attack. Over an hour later his blood sugar was high enough for them to go (thanks girls, you were lovely) and he’s really angry and aggressive with me for calling them!

Ho hum, such is life!!!!!

The not so secret progress of Gill aged 59¼

So, I’m now 3 months into my challenges and it’s time for an update.

I’m really surprised at how quickly the time has gone and, despite some pretty atrocious weather, I’m slightly ahead of target at this point!

Mount Everest – I’ve now climbed 3924 feet (27.1%) which is more than Mount Snowdon. Makes you realise just how big Everest is!

I’ve walked 394 miles and cycled 88 so I’m past Lands End and heading up through England. (27% done). Have to admit that I’m probably more surprised by this than anyone else could be. Blue Badge? Walking sticks? How has my life changed!

59 miles of the River Thames (27.5%) has been covered, fortunately there’s no wave machine on the rowing machines at the gym. I used to hate the rowing machine but now I can keep going on it for ages. Shows how my fitness levels have changed.

I’ve lifted 272456 kg which is 42,904 stones!!! (27.2% of my target). Wow!

I’m now in a pretty good routine. I do my resistance training (the weights) every other day and I’m to be found wandering the streets clocking up the miles, climbing the steps and sculling (?) the rowing machines in between. I’ve invested in waterproofs so the rain isn’t going to stop me!

Not the most flattering photo but at least it kept me dry!

So the targets I set myself are going fine and there’s not that much that even I can say about them! I could tell you the routes I walk, I could say which rowing machine I prefer and why …… but it’s not very interesting!

Regular readers (lol!!!!) will remember that when this all started Darryl said he’d be setting me random challenges to stop me getting bored. They’ve certainly succeeded! Not only have I enjoyed doing (most of) them some of them have continued to have an impact.

I think I’ve changed quite a lot over the last 3 months.

For the first time in over 40 years (aargh) I am riding a bike. I’ve now reached the point where I could probably survive without stabilisers (if they’d ever made them for people my size) and I will go on quiet roads. But, I’m too scared to do busy roads …… tend to end up on the pavements but I think everyone I meet understands why and doesn’t complain.

I’m now a better / more considerate driver. Everybody should be made to go for long walks or cycle rides on roads without footpaths. You can tell the drivers that have. They slow down as they approach and then pull round leaving you space. Other drivers seem to speed up and try to keep as close to the kerb (and me!) as possible.

If I meet up with any Chinese people coming to the Olympics I’ll be able to say ‘Hello, my name is Gill Castle’. I can smile and they will feel very welcomed and happy. If, however, they answer in any way or ask me any questions it will become completely obvious that I have no idea what is going on! But the thought’s what counts, isn’t it?

I’ve met so many new people and learned so much about what other people are doing and the reasons why. There are so many interesting people and stories out there and walking slows you down so you see and hear things. I love hearing little, out of context, snippets of conversation as I wander about. Lets my imagination run riot as I make up all sorts of backgrounds and scenarios for the people I see.

Remember I was challenged to try yoga for 2 weeks? Well I’m still going. As I’m a bit of a bull in a china shop it’s really good for me to do something that slows me down, makes me concentrate and really makes me work on my balance. I love the relaxation / meditation aspects and I’m getting better at shutting off. I even think I may be getting a little tiny bit more flexible.

I do my resistance program before yoga and I’m really interested in seeing how high my heart rate goes then and how low it drops in yoga. Current record is 165 and 59, but I’m working on it.

I always wear my heart rate monitor when I’m training. I know it’s ridiculous but it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it unless it’s being recorded. My latest fascination is seeing how quickly my heart rate drops when I stop training. I’ve always been a bit of a data geek! I started by looking at it after 30 seconds and then again after a minute. Might tell you more when I’ve got more data. I love the graphs of my heart rate that I get from my Garmin, it’s great how I can pick out exactly what exercise I was doing at each point.

Nutrition. 3 weeks ago I was challenged to stick to ‘The Ancestral Solution’. See my last blog. I am still eating like that, I really like it! We’d agreed that I’d now do 85% Ancestral but, at the moment, I’m doing much better than that. I haven’t eaten anything not on the list (apart from a protein bar when I woke up because I was so hungry) but I have had skinny cappuccinos and I’m more than happy with those. I’m eating far more frequently needing food every couple of hours and I now seem to carry food with me wherever I go. I am a bit worried about what I’ll do when I go to the Olympic Park though. McDonalds and Coca Cola? How can that be healthy? The thought of it actually makes me feel a bit ill now ……

I’m halfway through this week’s challenge of using a foam roller for at least half an hour a day and I can already see and feel the difference.

Well obviously I can feel the difference because foam rollering hurts! People who know me know that I don’t do ironing but foam rollering is like ironing but instead of heat, pressure is used to sort out the bumps and knots. It hurts, but it works and the more you do it the easier it gets. Have a look on You Tube for foam roller exercises. Now I’ve used a foam roller before but the first exercise Darryl’s given me to do is a new one for me, lying on the roller so that my head is supported and my spine is on the length of the roller. Then I have to relax and let my body drop either side for 5-6 minutes. This seems to have made a huge difference to my posture.

When I’m walking along, wearing my rucksack, I’m very aware that I tend to tense and hunch my shoulders so, at regular intervals, I make a deliberate effort to lift my shoulders then drop them back into the correct position. Since doing this exercise on the roller I’ve noticed that when I’m walking and try to ‘put them back’, they are already there!

I’ve also noticed that I’m sleeping better, I’m calmer (most of the time!) and my body shape is continuing to change (oh I love discovering a ‘new’ muscle!)

This week several other people have commented that I’ve lost weight – so it’s not just me thinking it!

So 25% down, 75% to go. How do I feel about this? Excited and looking forward to it. I’m loving pushing myself and making myself go out there and get on with it even when I don’t feel like it.

The random challenges amuse, entertain and push me out of my (increasingly wide) comfort zone. They really do help stop me getting bored.

Now I know that I am chronologically considerably older than most of the people who are reading this post, although I very much doubt if I am in many other ways, but I now believe that everybody should have a goal(s) that they are trying to achieve.

What’s your next milestone?

What’s your next challenge?

Leave a comment telling me, I really want to know.

If I can do this …… and I can, and I will ……… what can you do???????

I wasn’t trying to lose weight!

The latest random challenge was to completely follow the ‘Ancestral Solution’ for two weeks.

This is a way of eating recommended by the trainers at Club One Hundred. http://www.clubonehundred.com/ancestral_solution.php

This was a real challenge for me because I’d relied on calorie counting for such a long time but this was completely different.

I’ve followed most of the principles for a while but not gone for the full works before but, you’ve got to give everything a go haven’t you!

On my long walk to training that day I’d paused at the bottom of ‘those steps’ to check my phone and read Darryl’s latest blog on breakfasts http://clubonehundred.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/introducing-the-alternating-ancestral-breakfast-for-ultimate-wellness-11/ and thought I quite fancied trying that. Didn’t realise that I’d be changing everything!

So my challenge was for two weeks to only eat what my ancestors could have eaten i.e. foods that would have been available locally in season or foods they would have stored. And only to cook ‘properly’, no microwave!

First some research to find out what would be available.

Fish, meat, eggs, nuts, berries, seeds, apples, strawberries, asparagus ……. Asparagus? I’ve never had asparagus? What do you do with it? I’ll find out!

Next thought was that most of these things are very high in calories and fat. Yes, it’s ‘good’ fat but even so ……

But then I decided this was my challenge and I was going to do it. Sod the calories and fat, I’d ignore them.

Another concern, would I get constipated? I’ve been nut bound in the past and didn’t like it. But …. read the line above!

So, off I set to do my shopping …….

I also bought bags of different nuts and seeds plus vegetables and set off home.

I’ve discovered that the secret to eating like this is to be organised. I always have small bags of seeds, nuts etc in my bag for when I am out. When I cook the steak, for example, I cook more than I’m going to eat so some is available for the next day. I wouldn’t say friends have got used to it but they’re not that surprised when I pull a bag of cold steak and a load of nuts out of my rucksack and proceed to eat it!

OK, I haven’t stuck to this 100% for the two weeks, but I wasn’t far off it. I’ve actually enjoyed eating like this and I feel better for it. My belly has shrunk and I’ve lost weight, even though that wasn’t the plan, I was doing it for fitness! Nearly 2 lbs in week 1 and another in week 2. I’m sure that would have been more but there was a jaffa cake incident and a penguin problem!

Downsides? I missed my skinny cappuccinos. My digestive system has become very efficient, almost too efficient, but D assures me this will settle down!

After talking it over with Darryl I’ve decided I want to continue to eat like this. I’m eating mega amounts and really enjoying it but I need occasional treats. We agreed I’d go for 85% Ancestral with 15% treats. That’s taken the pressure off and the last 2 days have been completely Ancestral with one skinny cappuccino each day. Now that suits me perfectly! The rest of the time I drink hot or cold water with the occasional green tea.

I’ve had some lovely meals, here are a few examples:

Sorry about the photos but I’ve got fed up trying to line them up!

Oh, and I’ve had to learn to cook! I’ve discovered that steak does not need to be incinerated, in fact it tastes better when it isn’t. It does however need to be cooked and a plate full of blood doesn’t work for me. I did eat it because I was in a hurry and was ravenous but I had to keep my eyes closed!

So, I’ve got no idea how many calories I’ve eaten, it must be squillions with stacks of fat but I’ve lost weight, my belly fat’s reduced, it’s fuelling all my exercise (haven’t had sugar cravings) and I feel great! Already looking forward to tomorrows meals!

Why is it so difficult to eat what I want?

Eating at home is easy, so are packed lunches, but eating when I’m out and about’s a nightmare.

“Why?” I hear you ask. Every town centre, shopping precinct, place of interest etc. is littered (ha ha) with places to eat.

Let’s take Lakeside Shopping Centre as an example (other shopping centres are available) http://www.lakeside.uk.com/Dining/Food-court

Loads of places you can eat, right? Well there may be for you, but not for me. I choose not to eat starchy carbs. It is a choice, it’s not because I have a medical condition that dictates what I eat (feel really sorry for those people) but I try to stick to it because I feel so much better for doing so.

Anyway, that means I don’t eat bread, potatoes, pasta, rice etc. Now look at what’s available, can you see my problem?

It’s not that I don’t want to eat, I love food and I’m willing to pay for it, but nobody wants my money!

I eat meat. I eat fish. I eat vegetables. I eat fruit. I eat nuts.

So why is it so difficult? Why does everything have to be wrapped in some type of bread or served with potatoes or rice. Why can’t you have part of what’s on the menu, not the whole thing? Why can’t I just buy healthy food?

I like going out for a coffee (yes I know that’s not ‘healthy’ but I never said I was perfect!) and would like something to eat with it. What is there? Sandwiches, wraps, muffins, biscuits ….. need I go on? I end up sitting in a corner eating a small packet of fruit and nuts, or seeds that I carry in my bag.

I would buy food in these places if only they would sell stuff that I eat!!!!!

There’s a small cafe I go to where, if they have the ingredients, they will cook me whatever I want. Well done them, they deserve to do well in these difficult times because they are providing the customer with what they want, not pre-prepared stuff.

Mary Portas has taken on the shops, wonder if she’d like to take this up next!

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