Saturday, August 19, 2017



Another fairly poor night's sleep, not unusual for me plus see reasons detailed below, but of course the Duromine might have contributed. My weight continues to go down a bit each day which is awesome.

Yesterday before dinner I decided to do some exercise. I already had more than 10,000 steps but my Fitbit wasn't registering me as having done my 30 mins for the day, presumably walking around shopping centres and on gentle hills doesn't get my heartrate up high enough to count. I tried a bit of Just Dance but found it a bit hard on my shoulders, too much arm work (my shoulder pain varies a lot with things other than too much computer - cold weather, being sick, or that time of the month) so I switched to Kinect Adventures. I did a game where you are on a virtual conveyer belt and have to dodge obstacles as they appear. Squat and duck to get under, jump high to get over, dodge from side to side. Really intense exercise. I was puffing and panting, sweating, heart rate up to 150 at one point. Totally normal for my level of fitness.

The thing is, the medication has given me energy and motivation to exercise, but hasn't magically made me fitter or given me extra endurance. So half an hour of that was really tough, and then I realised after my shower how sore my legs were! All the squatting and jumping. I was stiff and sore for the rest of the evening, and it was one of the things that might have kept me awake a bit last night. Sore this morning but better once I started moving around.

Tim's plane home last night was delayed due to the weather - it's still really windy today - and he wasn't going to get home until nearly midnight so I decided to go to bed at my usual time of around 10:30. Just as I was drifting off there was a loud high pitched electronic beep. About 10 seconds later, again. I got up and tracked it down. The smoke alarm was telling me it's battery was low. Every 10 seconds, a horrible screech that echoed around the house. Problem was, even standing on a chair I wasn't even close to reaching it. The kids didn't seem to wake up. I decided to just go back to bed and wait for Tim, but I of course I couldn't sleep. Poor Tim got home after a day that started at 5am, after a long week, and had to deal with that.

A bit of nausea after breakfast again, and worse after lunch. I went for a brisk walk to get some steps in, won't be over 10,000 but should be over my current goal of 7,500.

We spent most of the afternoon with the pool guy here doing the handover. It took two and a half hours! Explaining all the switches and how to balance the pH of the pool and everything. Most of that time Tim and I were standing outside with him, and as the afternoon wore on it got sooooo cold. By the time we came in I was an icicle. BUT it's (nearly) all done. Sort of. We have to spend the week adding more acid slowly, then test again next weekend. Not that we want to swim anyway! We all put our arms in at various times to feel the spa jets or lift the filter and it was so so cold. The water feature looks great, it was getting dark when  I took a photo, I'll take a better one tomorrow and post then.

One problem came up though, the heat pump isn't wired up to electricity yet! The plumbing is done but not the electricity. Pretty sure no one told me I had to get that organised. But anyway, I'll call our electrician on Monday. So we still don't know how that is going to sound, or if we need to move it to pacify the neighbours.

You may remember we got a big skip bin two weeks ago for our big clean up. Well it's still sitting out the front. I've talked to the guy three times and he keeps saying he'll pick it up, yesterday he said he would today. But it's still there! What is it with Sydney tradesmen?

And our tiler in the past couple of weeks has promised Monday, then Thursday, now next Wednesday. Sigh.

Oh well, we have a pool with a working light and beautiful waterfall and it looks lovely when I'm not freezing my toes off.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ducks and drums


Busy day. I slept poorly last night. The Duromine might have contributed to that, but it's just as likely my silly brain being over-vigilant because Tim had to get up really early for a flight. There was extra stress too, he got a text last night that his flight had been cancelled and he'd been put on a later one, and he called them to see if there was anything earlier and was given the run-around and never actually got confirmation about what flight he was on! Just 'they would call if there was a problem'. So it's typical for me to wake frequently under those circumstances, to check the time.

I felt fine in the morning though, I haven't felt tired at all today. And my jelly legs are back to normal!

I had a full-size breakfast (omelette) then spent the morning out shopping. I went to the further-away big shops to get things I can't get locally -- like mascara that doesn't make my eyes explode, and books -- then grocery shopping. By the time I got home at 1:00 I was starving! I made myself a big stir-fry of vegetables with some cashews and garlic, but only ate about a third of the bowl. It's like my stomach has shrunk, or been stapled. I still get hungry, even ravenous, but a small amount of food satisfies me. The best thing is that when I'm not hungry I'm not obsessing about food or craving junk or sugar. I do still think about food and plan my meals but I'm not being driven to eat all the time just out of boredom or whatever.

Still slight nausea sometimes after eating, and I burp and feel better.

It is dangerously windy here today, driving home there were four lots of branches on the road. I had to change lanes to go around them. Tim's flight was ok getting away, I hope planes are still landing to bring him home again and not too bumpy! I walked up to Aiden's school in the afternoon to see his assembly, it was a bit scary walking under trees, branches dropping everywhere. Maybe I should have worn a bike helmet. But I was determined to get some exercise in.

On the way, almost opposite our house, were a lovely family of ducks.
Such cute little babies!

I went to assembly because Aiden was playing drums. He's been having lessons before school all year, for some reason they've teamed drums and ukuleles. And for this performance also the choir. He was the only one playing 'real' drums - i.e. a big drum kit, the others were playing little bongos. Or ukuleles, as the case may be. And there were two separate groups of choir/bongos/ukuleles who did one song each, but Aiden stayed on for both! Very exciting. But. I literally couldn't see him at all once they were all on stage. He was at the back, with everyone else standing or sitting in front of him. And he is very little. I could hear him though. I'm very pleased that he was chosen for the more complicated instrument, we are a musical family. It might have helped that we have a drum kit at home! (and three guitars, keyboard, ukulele, accordion, two violins, clarinet...) Not that he ever practises at home, of course. Jasmine hardly ever practices either. And I can't play anything - I only sing!

I had some fruit and yoghurt in the afternoon though I wasn't really hungry yet, and I'll have a nice dinner tonight of small steak and salad. I feel it's going really well. Duromine doesn't magically melt the fat off, but I'm definitely getting hunger suppression with minimal side effects. I do the rest.  

I also joined a Dietbet, where you have to lose 4% of your bodyweight in 4 weeks. I find the groups there very supportive. No trolls, just people cheering each other on. 

Jelly legs


Report on Day Two...
The Duromine didn't seem to affect my sleep at all. It was the same pattern as it has been most nights for a while now, get to sleep fairly easily, stay asleep until 5 am, an hour of restless tossing and turning and short periods of drifting off, then another hour of lying awake before I get up. And none of the 'cotton mouth' that a majority of users seem to get.

It was my day at TAFE. I always do a lot of walking on that day, over 10,000 steps just getting from place to place, but today it seemed harder than usual. Hills were exhausting. I chose to walk up three flights of stairs instead of taking the lift, normally that wouldn't challenge me much. Today it left me with jelly legs and out of breath! Unfortunate if I get less energy rather than the boundless amounts most people seem to get! I've been on the forums and it has happened to a few people. Like all side effects it should pass - I hope.

The actual promise of the diet pill is as a appetite suppressant. It seems to be doing that, a bit. I've eaten lots of small meals and snacks over the day. I definitely get hungry. But I can eat a smaller amount and be satisfied. And I haven't been tempted by junk. No apparent cravings.

A possible alternative cause of the tiredness is that I actually started eating healthy on Tuesday, a day before starting the pills (because you have to take them first thing and I didn't get them until late morning) so this is day three of no sugar or junk food. Could be withdrawal? Or the lower calories, but I am definitely still eating a reasonable amount of food. I want to eat a bit less, still getting too hungry between meals.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the weakness will pass. I'm due to increase my dosage after the first week, so that will be interesting to see if the appetite or side effects change. I can always drop back to the lower dose if that works for me better.

Here is the nice bench I sit on at lunchtime at TAFE, about the only pretty spot in the rather grim campus.
Oh, good news, my friend Sarah is back in class. She is working part time but her schedule changed so she is in one of my classes now. Yay! She is the English one. Looks a bit like Adele. So that was nice.

(Edit: Tim says he is crushingly tired the past few days and blames it on current pollen count or pollution from burn-off, so my jelly legs and lack of energy could be environmentally caused.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day One


For the record, I weighed in this morning at 83.8 kg.

I had my usual restless sleep last night, waking for a long time from around 5am then drifting off for a while into night sweats and frustrating dreams, then waking about 6:30 with a bit of a headache, when I got up and took my first pill. I mention the bad sleep and headache to show they predate taking the Duromine are not a side effect (necessarily) if/when it happens again. My night sweat frustration dream was funny, I couldn't find the diet pills and then was trying to weigh myself and had to wait in line for all my relatives to weigh themselves first and then the scales kept giving me crazy numbers like 2.5 kg or over 200 kg so I had to keep trying over again. Silly. I don't enjoy these dreams but I'm very glad I don't have scary nightmares instead, I can deal with a bit of frustration.

Early morning was much as usual, I never want breakfast and have to make myself eat so that I don't get suddenly ravenous mid-morning and make bad choices, no change there. Slight nausea after breakfast of homemade yoghurt with passionfruit and chia seeds. I've made a careful food plan for the next few days, just in case I lose all interest in eating - still have to nourish and fuel my body!

BTW the skin around my eyes is still sore and dry and inflamed after three days. I tried putting some soothing cream on but it stung like fury, which probably means the skin is broken. But then this morning I tried slices of cucumber on my eyes. So nice! And with lasting effect. Sometimes the old remedies are the best. Apple cider vinegar worked on my foot wart when none of the commercial preparations or freezing did.

When my Fitbit finished charging, I went and did some exercise. Half an hour of Just Dance (Xbox active game) then 10 mins Tai Chi to cool down. I felt a tiny bit lightheaded during dance and kept my eye on my heartrate (132bpm was the highest, which is fine, right in the zone. When I looked it up just now it said I should be able to talk but not sing - well I was trying to sing along to a couple of songs and really struggling so that was about right!) and made sure I was drinking. That is a lot more exercise than I usually do (ie mostly none) but I can't decide if the Duromine has actually given me more energy or if it's a kind of placebo effect, where I'm determined to make the most of any possible extra energy... whatever, I did it.

I was definitely hungry by lunchtime, certainly not 'no interest in food'. I had a nice stir fry of pork, cashews and vegetables. Again, a little nausea after eating, not too bad. I went for a walk after lunch, to the shops and back, 30 mins gentle exercise. My legs were tired, maybe after already exercising this morning, I found the hills hard. But that is a bit more exercise, a bit more fat gone!

But all this exercise meant less time to study today. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to.

I was hungry in the afternoon and ate my afternoon tea of fruit and cheese, and now dinner is cooking in the oven and I'm definitely hungry again!

Verdict after most of Day One: I've eaten less and exercised more with minimal side effects so that is a win. But I'm not sure how much is due to Duromine and how much to the general pattern of the first day of a new diet, when motivation and hope are high. Certainly no dramatic changes in the way I feel. Still interested in food. Which is not a bad thing! But I'll withhold judgement until I have a few more days under my (shrinking) belt.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Diet pills


When I last saw my doctor, she was concerned about my weight and arranged for me to visit the dietician and exercise physiologist. She said if that didn't work, the next step was diet pills - specifically Duramine. I was rather horrified by the whole conversation - firstly that I was fat enough to qualify for subsidised dietician visits, and secondly at the idea of medication. I rarely even take aspirin, turning to 'drugs' is not my natural impulse. But I did some research.

Durmine is amphetamine-based, an appetite suppressant that also gives you energy. Side effects can include insomnia and anxiety. Also 'cotton mouth' ie very dry mouth no matter how much you drink, although that and other side effects should fade after a few days or weeks. When I was about 14 (I thought I was fat, ha!) I stole one of my obese aunt's diet pills, I assume similar to Duramine. For three days I wasn't hungry (I ate at meals so people wouldn't worry) and was full of energy but had a lot of trouble sleeping at night. And I remember an episode of Family Ties where Alex takes a diet pill given by a friend of Mallory, so he can stay up and study. He instead spends the night frantically cleaning the house and even breaking into a neighbour's garage, then sleeping through his exam and missing it. A cautionary tale. I found plenty of people online who hated the side effects and thought it wasn't worth it.

But there are also lots of good stories on the internet chat rooms. People who have had little or no side effects (or thought they were worth it) and lost lots of weight, and kept it off after going off the medication. People who felt the risks inherent in taking any drug were outweighed (forgive the pun) by the health benefits of no longer being obese. Motivating weight loss, energy to exercise, food cravings gone. Short-term insomnia instead of long-term sleep apnoea. No diabetes or joint pain. For some, it really worked.

Well, going to the weight-loss specialists didn't work, in fact I have put on weight. So I did some more research on the diet pills available, and went back to my doctor today. Or rather, the new doctor, as they change every six months. Ugh, she was slender and stunning. I worried that I might have to convince her to prescribe it to me, but after looking at my history, BMI etc, she was quite willing. She did ask if the previous doctor had discussed other options with me. I thought she was going to say medication was a bit extreme and I should try more other things first. But no. She brought up the most extreme solution of all - surgery! I am fat enough that a doctor suggests weight loss surgery could be an option in the future, if Duramine doesn't work. How depressing is that. How long have I been kidding myself that 'I'm not really that fat.'

So I got a prescription for the lowest dose of Duramine (15). You have to take them first thing in the morning so they disrupt sleep as little as possible, so I start tomorrow. Excited/scared/hopeful. I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, August 13, 2017



It looks like I'm allergic to my new mascara. I've been using a fairly expensive department-store mascara for many years now but I'd run out and at the end of last week I grabbed a cheaper (but well-known) brand at Big W. The first time I wore it, the next morning I woke up with gunky eyes but didn't connect the cause and effect. I used it again yesterday and this morning the skin around my eyes is swollen and dark and very sore and I probably look even worse than I feel. Can't even cover it with makeup, I'm not taking that risk. Luckily my eyeballs feel ok, it's just the skin. I won't be wearing mascara again until I find my favourite brand, and my eyes have recovered.

I've been spending most of my time studying, working hard. Nothing particularly exciting happened in my face-to-face classes, I was really tired after a horrible night's sleep and struggling to stay awake. Speaking of dozing off in class, Jessica stayed awake this time but continued to stay in her own little world with little contribution. At one stage we spent about half an hour researching on our computers. Jessica sat the whole time doodling in her notebook, making no attempt to do the work. The teacher called on her first, causing a long awkward period of ums and ahs before the teacher moved on to the next person. I can't help wondering how all this is going to end. I have no idea what is going on in her life, or why she comes to class but actively avoids learning anything.

The swimming pool remains in limbo. We haven't had the handover so things like the filter and water feature still haven't been turned on, and I've put some chemicals in but it's not balanced so not safe to get in. And we haven't been able to resolve the heater issue. The tiler, despite his constant promises of 'next Monday' and 'by the end of the week' over and over, hasn't been back to clean up. We've picked up all the broken tiles and tuna cans etc but we want him to pressure-wash the rocks he's left covered in ... something. On our last contact I said if we had to get someone else to do it I'd be sending him the bill, got a prompt reply with a new promise, won't hold my breath.

We have started preparing the dirt for planting, but can't do much because we don't know if the heat pump will have to be moved, if the pressure washing will kill new plants etc etc. Waiting for other people, as usual.

Aside from those same complaints as always, and the sore eyes, everything is pretty good. We had family over as usual yesterday with a couple of extras, got to see one of the babies I don't see as often, my goodness Samuel has grown! Nine months old now. I got to hold him which was lovely, I don't get cuddles from little Ashleigh any more as she is going through a 'only mummy and daddy can come near me' phase. I think I'm going to enjoy being a grandmother one day, I love cuddling babies but I love being able to give them back!

Monday, August 7, 2017

We need to talk about my weight


I thought I'd halted the upward creep in my weight but this morning I was 84.6 kg, which must be up there with my highest ever. It's not just the scale; my pants are too tight, and my stomach is alarming. There is no mystery about it, I've been eating too much junk and fast food. I know it's unhealthy long-term, but it's also nasty short-term. Several times I've got mouth ulcers from too much sugar. I don't understand why I give myself permission. I've definitely got worse since seeing the dietician twice, I think I rebel against outside advice or maybe panic at the thought of deprivation.

Well if if it has to be my decision I'll make it my decision. I've eaten healthy nourishing foods today, plenty of vegetables, water... and some chocolate. I'm focussing on the healthy things that will do my body good rather than the stuff I shouldn't be eating.

I spoke to the pool people today, apparently the guy who does the handover is away all this week! So we have to wait. They did advise me to pour in a bottle of chlorine, and to fill the pool a bit more. So I ran the tap, and remembered it three hours later. It took 24 hours to fill to where it was but three more hours was enough to take it nearly over the edge! I stopped it just in time. Not sure if I should drain a bit out, or how I would go about that.

Then tonight Tim started the bath running for Aiden then went to pick up Jasmine from her dance lesson. I could hear it running and went up soon after to turn it off. Water overflowing! I had to bucket some out before I could get my arm in to pull the plug. No damage done. Kind of funny, pool and bath in one day.

The only other thing of note today was I did the shopping and was loading the bags into the boot of the car when the door sank down a bit without me noticing. I turned to swing a heavy bag in and brained myself on the door! A passing shopper stopped to ask if I was ok and say I needed to wear a hard hat. No blood, but I've got a sore spot above my left eye.

At least I got home in time to watch Game of Thrones!