Exercise Log 2 – Days 24-30

Week two of exercise! I’m not setting any records here for anything, but I am not sitting on the sofa (or at the computer) either, so… #winning, right?

Mon – 30 mins teaching my son to ride without stabilisers (he did it!). The backs of my thighs may never be the same again.
Tue – Planned recovery day
Wed –
Thu – Run 3.9km, 31:34
Fri – Planned recovery day
Sat – Family walk, 3.57km, 1hr 45
Sun – Run 3.9km, 29:55

My Dopamine Receptors Are Fucked

They must be, because life has just felt totally crap of late. I am SO short tempered and fucking miserable. It’s been 11 days since I stopped eating sugary foods and life is definitely not in technicolour.

Sugar, over time, and as you eat more and more of it, has a similar effect on the brain to class A drugs. You need a bigger and bigger hit to get the same response because your dopamine receptors increase decrease in number to take up the additional dopamine reduce the take up of the additional dopamine produced when you enjoy a pleasurable chocolate bar (or line of coke). When you stop taking said substance, you have all these hardly any receptors and no surplus dopamine. While you wait for your extra receptors to wither away back receptors to grow back to normal numbers you feel like total crap. Which of course increases your desire for the said substance. Welcome to addiction.

Today we went out for lunch. Feeling totally disillusioned with my spectacularly average career and our total lack of money to buy a much needed bigger house for us and our three kiddos (we had spent some time this morning looking on rightmove to see what we could buy – nothing), I fully intended to eat a massive slice of glutenous cake and a giant hot chocolate with whipped cream.

When I actually got there however I was just so angry about my arthritis that I had a jacket potato and a decaf tea. Go me. I felt relieved I had avoided a stupid sugar binge, but still pissed off because, you know, no sugar.

I don’t know how long this is going to last, but the only thing keeping me clinging onto the straight and narrow is the teensy chance that I can heal my foot enough to run without totally fucking up the joint forever and ending up in a wheelchair or something at 50.

We came home and I moped around a bit more, wishing I could just scoff a massive pile of chocolate without it slowly destroying my body. And then I went for a run. And had a shower. I feel better, but still pissed off. Thank god for wine because I swear it is what I spend the day thinking of (dumb, right? Surely this is the path to addiction transferal I hear you say. Hopefully I am too much of a lightweight for that).

The career thing – eugh. I passed my eleven plus. I have a masters degree with distinction in software engineering. I am, as defined by society, clever. But in the workplace I am just not a leader. Although I could see what was going wrong and what was working in all the jobs I did, I was never enough of a personality to take the lead and make a difference.

Secretly, I want to be a writer – a proper writer. I probably always have. But I have so much in the way of daily distractions and overwhelm I can never fit the writing in that I want to do. It just seems like a totally unachievable dream.

I hope I break out of this funk soon, because I am not sure how long I can keep up the willpower.

Irritable

I’m on my eighth day of no sugar. Primarily I am feeling:

Irritable

I am so bad tempered. Yesterday I was just so fed up and my fuse was so short – there wasn’t even anything wrong, I just felt angry. I know it isn’t hormonal as I’m in the first half of my cycle (god help me if I get to the end of the month and still feel like this because my PMS has been dreadful the last two months). It seems that this is just a phase while my neurotransmitters sort themselves out, but it’s bloody awful. The last two days especially have been bad. My internet research tells me my mood will improve considerably after the two week mark. This is probably what prompted me to:

Quit Facebook

I deactivated my account. I didn’t bother to tell anyone, I just deactivated it and haven’t gone back. I was so fed up with it. It’s such a pointless waste of time. I have kind of missed it, but I have also noticed how much time in between doing other stuff I was just wasting scrolling through my feed. Hurrah! Free of it all. And on a more positive note:

My appetite seems to have diminished

When I first stopped eating sugar, I ate MASSIVE meals. I was starving. I made sure I ate enough that I wouldn’t want to snack, but to fill my bottomless pit of a stomach required huge portions and several courses. Before I was eating these massive meals, I was just eating massive quantities of sugar.

Well, that seems to have rapidly tailed off. I am not craving sugar so badly in the mornings now (in fact, it seems like ages ago I would stop at the shop every day to buy two chocolate bars after breakfast, although it has only been a week), and I’ve noticed that I am feeling more and more full on less food. It’s like my body has realised that it isn’t as hungry as it thought it was. Another bonus is that:

Food tastes better

It really does! It almost feels like I can taste more than I could a week ago. For lunch today, for example, I ate a massive tuna salad and the first few mouthfuls were total bliss. I don’t even like tuna that much, but it was all I could find to go with the few wilted salad bits I had left in the fridge. Everything just tastes really nice. Which is great. And I have also noticed some progress on my:

Rashes

Okay, so my breast rash (man, it just sounds so embarrassing even saying it), I think is looking better. The top photo is today, the bottom is a week ago:

And more surprisingly, because I wasn’t even really thinking anything would change, is that the so far incurable fungal infection on my toe looks loads better (today on the top, last week on the bottom). I haven’t put anything on it, or done anything else to my diet other than cut out sugar:


Finally, I am still working on:

Exercise

I did a run today, 3.94km in 31:34. It’s not fast, and the wind was f*cking freezing (considering it’s the end of April), but I almost cannot believe that I can actually even do this. At the end of last year, my toe joints were so bad that I couldn’t put my shoes on without pain. I was limping, not walking. Today, I ran. Yes, there was a bit of pain in my feet, especially the right foot, all the way around, but the fact I can run at all is incredible.

I am still taking all the supplements and the joint pain in my thumbs in now negligible. I can still feel it if I try to stress the joint, but it’s not affecting me daily like it was (I couldn’t undo lids, or get the seatbelt on the kids without pain). I think the lack of sugar has also made a difference. I know that sugar is inflammatory, so I should have cut it out before, but you know how it is. Life, right? Anyway, no sugar and the supplements meant I ran further than I thought I would today and it felt amazing. I can’t wait to go out again.

Day 24

Day 5 of no sugar. My headache is subsiding. I felt quite down in the dumps today though. I’m sure I’ve read that sugar affects dopamine receptors, so perhaps some down time is to be expected while everything regulates. Today’s good news is that the rash on my breast seems to have faded. It has been much less itchy today and the skin doesn’t look anywhere near as red. Thank goodness for that – even a small improvement is better than anything I’ve seen in the last year.

Day 23

Four days of no sugar. The mornings are hard. That’s my prime chocolate eating time and I get what feels like a desperate physical need for something sweet by 10-11am.

My headache has been worse again today – peaked at about 2pm and I was going to take a tablet, but it tailed off within an hour or so. It’s now the same kind of background headache I’ve had since day 2.

Late afternoons and evenings have been fine and my motivation is much higher then. I really need to make sure I don’t let the temporary cravings overwhelm me. As long as I focus on getting through to lunch and NOT snacking before then, everything seems to be okay for the rest of the day.

I wasn’t as tired today, and I am feeling like doing a bit of exercise, but otherwise not much else to report. Skin takes 28 days to renew (longer when you’re older), so I won’t see any big changes there (if I see any at all) for probably four weeks.

The benefit of being older and having failed so many times before is that I know two important things:

1. Nothing changes immediately
2. You have to be in it for the long haul to get the real benefits

Exercise Log 1 – Days 17-23

I have started moving a bit more, so I’m going to log exercise. This is my first week, which started out with a long walk that I was surprised I managed.

Mon: –
Tue: 6.4km slow walk with family
Wed: –
Thu: –
Fri: 2.41km slow bike ride with boys
Sat: 2.21 walk/run with C, 23:16
Sun: 2.11km run with C, 15:15

My worst foot has hurt a bit. The pain used to be a normal kind of pain, but in the last few months it has morphed into a really vicious burning sensation when I bend it too far or put my full weight on the joint. I fear for what is happening in there.

I don’t want to make it worse, but I am feeling like I need to move a bit more, so we’ll just take it easy for now and see how it goes.

The bike ride aggravated my thumb joints. The run hurt my toes when I tentatively tried a mini sprint and the long walk left me with a sore foot for around 24 hours. Osteoarthritis is so bloody debilitating. I’m going to take it slow and easy and see if I can manage regular exercise without making things worse.

The important thing is that at the beginning of this year I wouldn’t have been able to do anything I’ve just done, as I was limping even when walking. Progress is progress, no matter how small.

Day 22

I’m 3 days into giving up the chocolate and treats and it has been manageable. My cravings were bad this morning and yesterday morning. The afternoons are easier. I’ve made sure I’ve eaten a decent meal at breakfast and lunch to try and curtail the urge to snack.

Yesterday the headache set in, but it hasn’t been bad enough for me to take a painkiller. I’ve still got the headache – it will probably be about day 5 before it goes away properly.

I haven’t been as irritable as I have on previous sugar-withdrawal occasions, but I have been extremely tired. And the rash on my breast has been, if anything, worse.

On the plus side I have also felt somehow better. I’ve wanted to do some exercise for the first time in months (helped greatly by my arthritic joint pain easing somewhat). Going for a run (well, a walk with a few jogs), felt both reassuring and fragile. My foot is still so bad, but the rest of me loved that loose, easy feeling of running along.

Did I mention that in a fit of delusion last year I entered the Great South Run? It’s a 10 mile race I’ve done twice in the last seven years. I know I am crazy thinking I might be able to train for it in my arthritic state, but I am thinking that maybe I could start and see where I am in a few months. Think positive, right?