So, my quest to lose weight has already been interrupted by what one might simply call “real life intervening”.
The first hurdle I came up against was that I had to go and look after my mother while she had, and recovered from, a hip replacement operation. She lives 200 miles away from me, so that necessitated going to stay with her. So although I was the chief cook, my principal job was I was to create food that would both tempt her to eat and aid her recovery. I wanted to make sure she had the food she was used to eating. While she was less mobile (and yes I know they get them walking quickly after a hip replacement, she still wasn’t very quick with her sticks), I didn’t want to risk giving her anything unusual that might cause any digestive disturbance.
I don’t have children myself, I just enjoy my nephews and nieces and hand them back at the end of the day. I suspect anyone with children faces the same hurdles. It’s hard to be completely in control of your own diet while pandering to the likes and dislikes of others. Unless of course you like cooking separate meals, but that’s just a lot of extra hassle I personally can do without.
Looking after her was quite instructive in a few different respects.
There had been a long delay between the decision to have a hip replacement and the actual operation taking place, and in that time she had become quite severely disabled, to the point that she was hobbling gingerly from room to room with the aid of two crutches. When I arrived to take her into hospital, she came to greet me and standing up she was a good couple of inches shorter than I was.
The first thing I noticed is that almost immediately after the operation she looked a whole lot better. Before the op she’d been taking huge quantities of pain killers, yet almost immediately afterwards the colour was back in her cheeks and the dull grinding pain that she’d been suffering for months had gone. As she put it, the pain from the operation is nothing like as bad as the pain that the hip was giving me. A point which I shall remember if in the future I require the operation myself.
She chose to have an epidural instead of a general anaesthetic, because the recovery time was quicker. The following day the surgeon asked if she’d heard him hammering the new joint in and at that point she was completely convinced that she had absolutely no recollection of any part of the operation. And, given her progress, I’m certain she recovered quicker as a result of that choice. The only negative thing I’ve since learned about an epidural is that it makes your blood pressure drop. I was beginning to freak out as I watched her blood pressure dropping every time they took a new observation, but now I know it’s completely normal and indeed it stabilised back to normal levels about 12 hours after the operation.
Once the visitors started to flood in, almost everyone said to her “You’ve lost weight”. I know she didn’t eat a whole lot in the hospital (despite the food being unusually excellent for hospital food). But I didn’t expect her to have lost a noticeable amount of weight. Until suddenly I found myself standing next to her, looking her in the eye (she always had been taller than me). I realised at that moment that it’s posture. One of the key points to looking slimmer than your friend is to stand with better posture. Stand taller, shoulders back, boobs out and then you will look 10 pounds lighter without having lost an ounce.
The biggest challenge that we never quite figured out is how to put on the compression socks easily. The nurse made it look so easy and I just worried about hurting her.
So the good news is my mother is doing really well. She’s doing her exercises religiously and the physio is really pleased with her (although the first time she went she had to be taught how to walk with walking sticks). In a couple of weeks she’ll be driving again, but until then she’s slightly suffering from cabin fever (“I know how grandpa felt when they took his driving licence away” – Grandpa was 94, partially sighted and a danger on the roads!)
For anyone who would like a start on looking thinner by improving your posture, here’s a quick pilates technique which you can try.