Saturday, 12 November 2011

Cutting the fat - week 2

Week 2
Loss – 1.5 kg.

Yes, I am aware that this was a very long week.

Unfortunately due to a nasty case of the flu I was out of action for a few weeks, and I wanted to save the updates until after I’d managed a full week of being able to eat and exercise properly.

This is a good loss, but I’m not sure how my being sick factors in here.  My diet wasn’t perfect this week, but it was better, so who knows.  We’ll just have to see how I go next week.

Getting back into the exercise after such a break was also a challenge.  They say muscles have memory but that sure doesn’t seem to apply to me.  I’ve taken a few weeks off, and it’s like starting at square one again!  I couldn’t even do a single push-up.  It was like a terribly sad scene from the Biggest Loser, a fatty in her tights and singlet lying spent on the ground after doing half a sit up, with out the benefit of a super hot personal trainer yelling “C’mon Voyager, don’t be beaching yourself now!”

In this exercise routine I devised for myself I did allow for situations like this – somewhat – and I took them.  I really wanted to stick to it though; otherwise I’ll just keep doing less and less until I give up.  That I did – gave myself one day off this week, but otherwise I got through.  I had to take a lot of breaks, so it was slow going, but I feel better for it, and will try and go harder next week.

I’ll be aiming for another half kilo next week.  Can I do it?  Of course.  Will I do it?  Errr…

Well, keep thinking positive thoughts,


Monday, 10 October 2011

Help! I hate my best friend's girlfriend!

What do I do, now that I have to lie to the one person I could always be honest with?

 I’ve been wanting to blog about this for awhile but I’ve had no idea how to approach this sensitive problem.  So I turned to the internet for help.

I like it.  Especially the line graph, that’s eerily accurate.

My best friend is male and has known me for years.  He may be neurotypical, but I’ve never felt like I’ve had to explain myself to him for any reason.  Such friendships are rare these days.

Him getting a girlfriend – and changing the friendship dynamic – is something I was going to have to deal with at sometime.  The self entitled part of my personality doesn’t like it but realistically, it’s well within his right to do so, and I was just going to have to be supportive.

Well, recently that’s precisely what happened.  The BFF took me aside and told me about a girl he’d met, let’s call her Ali, and that he wanted the three of us to hang out.  He told me that she’s an older woman, attractive, and they had been hooking up.  He then showed me this text message:

Hey babe, buying scarves 4 all the bite marks u left on me xx ;)

Ewwwww.  Ok, WTF?  Even I know sharing sexy texts with your best mates is bad manners.  But it did at least give me a mild warning for what I would be subjected to the next day.

So, the next day at BFF’s place, I’m awaiting her arrival, hoping I make an ok impression.  Given that I would be spending a lot of time around this girl, it would make things awkward if she didn’t like me.

Then when she arrived I did, I’ll admit, nearly screw things up immediately.

Ali:  *sensuously* hey babe, like my new scarf?

Me:  *hysterical laughter*

The BFF shot me an alarmed look and I remembered I wasn’t supposed to know why that was funny…oops.

We were introduced and then she started talking.  All I could think was “please God, make it stop.”

Look, they say it takes one to know one, right?  I knew straight away that this girl was all sorts of issues.  Now I am the last person to place blame on someone for being mentally ill.  What I don’t like is when someone is mentally unstable, does nothing about it, and then inflicts their illness on others to get attention.

Ali’s conversation has a certain pattern – we talk about her being injured/ill/overwhelmed.  Then we hear about how she heroically over came set obstacle.  Then we hear an ‘interesting’ fact about something she’s good at.  It’s always on her – if conversation moves away from her, she brings it back somehow.  And it’s always the heavy stuff.  In the space of about 3 hours, I found this about her  -

-          she’s asthmatic
-          she was hospitalized for whooping cough for two weeks
-          She had surgery on her hip and couldn’t walk for six months
-          She’s dyslexic
-          She has OCD (allegedly)
-          She has celiac disease (allegedly)
-          She has ehland syndrome
-          She has chronic hiccups (allegedly)
-          She was once hospitalized for a nervous breakdown (oh I’m sorry, that is not something you should find out about someone you’ve just met!)
-          She has had various breaks and sprains that impacted her detrimentally (too many to name here)

Basically, the girl’s self esteem is so poor she needs attention and validation constantly.  See, this is also what I know about her, that the BFF told me because she never talks about these things.    She is 25, but still lives at home.  She moved back there shortly after her last nervous breakdown and still hasn’t left.   She went to business college after high school, and has had countless office jobs but never for more than a few months.  This is probably why she had to move states and apply for university – had to go by open foundation because her grades from school weren’t good enough.

Ali’s life has been hard, I can admit. By portraying herself as a tragic heroine she creates more positive image of herself than the reality  - due to her physical and mental illnesses she’s an adult who never really grew up and learned to be independant.  I know so many like her.  Heck, I was her. Like me, she’s probably angry at herself for not working things out like most people our age have.

 Yet still she refuses to acknowledge her limitations and she puts herself in situations where she can’t win, because you’ve gotta love a girl for trying, haven’t you?

Ummmm…no.  Like I said, I can’t blame Ali for her hardship, but I can blame her for creating drama.  Now, let’s think back to that slide show from the lovely folks at college humour.  I would change one thing on their presentation to suit my circumstances, on slide three.

“You make my friend angry with your bull**** shenanigans.”

“then I have to deal with him.”

More like,

“You make my friend worry with your bull**** shenanigans.”

“Then I have to deal with him.  Not.  Cool.”

I suppose I should address the ‘allegedly’ I put on the list of Ali’s ailments.

I think she’s…well, not lying.  I believe she’s exaggerating within believable limits, if you will, to make some of her issues sound more serious.  If I didn’t have a medical background - and have some of these problems myself – I probably wouldn’t pick it up.  Although the fact that most of her problems seem to be self diagnosed should tip my friend off that Ali’s biggest health issue is her hypochondria (or Munchausen syndrome, I can’t tell at this point.)

But the BFF eats this all up and worries about her.  Then I have to listen to him worry.  Again, not.  Cool.

Later, I took the time to think about my feelings, and to figure out if my rising distaste for this girl was fair.  Was it just jealousy that I have to ‘share’ BFF with her?  Are my standards for a suitable girl for him just too high?  Or am I intimidated by her, that she openly and eagerly talks about her mental health battle, yet I don’t feel as though I can (and should) share mine?

I don’t know what our other friends think, and I’m too afraid to ask in case I am just being petty.  But one thing is for sure – I have to deal with her somehow, in a constructive way that doesn’t create tension with her or BFF.

Now, if I could just figure out how to be constructive.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cutting the fat: Week 1

After one week I am down 1 kg.

Nnnnnnot bad.  Luckily this regime hasn’t got my daily routine too out of order.

My weight loss could be more, but I haven’t exactly been careful with what I eat. Sticking to my diet is fine when I first wake up, but the later it gets, and the less awake but unable to fall asleep I become, the less I’m able to listen to reason concerning what effect eating a sizable snack has on my metabolism.

Sticking to my conditioning regime hasn’t been that difficult.  I’m going to stick to the same routine for a few weeks or so before I think about changing my reps.  I’ve just got to make sure I get it done early in the day because longer I leave it in the day, the less motivated I feel.

My biggest issue by far however is my knee.  Now we all know that cardio exercise is great for weight loss but I’ve had to ease up on the running since the reemergence of pains in my knee similar of the last time I tore my meniscus.  Naturally, I’m worried.  This doesn’t affect my conditioning regime but it really bothers me that I can’t work on my leg strength or cardio fitness at the moment.  I going to have it checked out in a few days and see if it’s an easy fix.  I am aware it doesn’t work like that but hey – a girl can dream!

Just keep swimming,


Sunday, 18 September 2011

I experience the C in OCD

I’m aware that I haven’t talked at all about my OCD on this blog yet.   The main reason for this is that I really don’t have the words to explain it.  The things I feel compelled to do might seem mundane but to me, these intrusive images, compulsions and the feelings of anxiety if I can’t carry them out are very upsetting.  I feel the less I talk about it, the less I think about it, the better.  This is important for my diagnosis, mind you.   People with OCD are aware of the unreasonable nature of their thoughts and actions, separating this from being just another feature of Asperger syndrome.

So within this just-ignore-it-and-it-might-go-away tactic I live by, not acknowledging my compulsions means that I do indulge them with in reason to settle the violence in my head. Usually this doesn’t cause me too much grief.

Then this morning I lost my tape measure.

Allow me to elaborate…I have many compulsions, one of which is to measure my waist.  I might do this between five to fifteen times a day, when I get up, when I’ve been to the toilet, after my conditioning regime, before and after I eat…basically, any time I feel (unrealistically) that I’ve done something that may make a difference to my waistline.

Anyway, when I woke up this morning I opened my bedside drawer to find…no tape measure.  I sat there, confused.  I measured myself last night, didn’t I?  Then what?  Did I throw it on my desk…no.  In my underwear drawer…no.   Or did it disappear into the black hole under my bed?

My reasonable self was telling me to get on with business so I started to tidy my room, hoping it will show up.  But one tidy room and no tape measure later, I came to the conclusion that I will have to do without it for the foreseeable future.  A bizarre but not unfamiliar uneasiness is growing in my mind, but I had assignments that had to get done somehow.

In the end, I didn’t accomplish a lot that day.   I can’t even talk about the things that were going through my head but let me assure you they weren’t pleasant. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies.  Every time I sat down and opened my books, I would spring up five minutes later and start pacing.  I did a lot of pacing.  My roommate noted that I looked ‘wired’ and offered me a beer.  I burst into tears, first because I couldn’t measure its effects, then at myself for having such a moronic thought.

I found my tape measure cleaning out my craft shelf that night and silenced my thoughts by measuring up a storm.  I can’t describe the cleansing feeling this had on my head – suddenly I was thinking clearly and logically again. I laughed with my roommate about my emotional blowout that day, which I blamed on ‘womens troubles.’ (I’m not kidding – he totally bought it too!)  It’s ridiculous that I continue to let these compulsions control me, I know.  Unfortunately with OCD, as I said before, knowing this is part of the problem – not the solution.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cutting the fat - step 1

Like I said last time, I'm trying to get fit.

The first step to getting my fabulous physique back?  A killer exercise regime.

It turns out that coming up with a workout schedule is a whole lot more fun that actually doing it, but whatever.

I’ve tried to come up with some exercises to target different parts of my body.  Apart from aesthetics, getting stronger, particularly in my core and lower body, would make life a lot easier.

Like many people on the spectrum I have issues developing and maintaining basic muscle tone.  Many gym exercises are damaging to me because I don’t have the strength to support myself so other parts of my body try to compensate.  If I’m going to do this, I’ve got to be informed.  I unearthed some of my old exercise sheets from my physio and have come up with the following for strengthening my back.

-          superman hold – 30 seconds
-          reverse leg raises – lie on stomach, lift one leg behind without moving hips, hold for 5 seconds, place back down.  Repeat 15 times on each side.

That’s the back.  Now, for the core…I don’t carry a lot of weight around my midsection so I consider it one of my best features.  It’s popped out a little of late, so even though it’s not really a problem area, it’s the one that’s got me the most freaked out.  My stomach muscles are hardier than my non existent back, so I’m tempted to do 500 crunches but that’s no good for my back.  But I will still be brutal.  Here is my proposed ab routine –
-          40 sit ups, fingers to knees
-          40 crunches
-          40 side crunches, 20 on each side
-          5 V ups (that’s all I can do – will be looking to increases that.)
-          Dish hold – 30 secs
-          50 dish rocks (optional, depending on how my back feels)

As for upper body – there's no benefit for me really – I just love toned arms!  My goals are to accomplish ONE pullup and chin up and to be able to do 40 ‘man’ pushups.  So far I can do about 15, but I’ll do as many as I can and make up the rest of the 40 with ‘girl’ pushups.  Then I can increase the number of ‘man’ pushups every few weeks.  A major concern also is what can only be described as my congenital lack of tricep muscles.  I’ll definitely be looking to develop those.
-          40 pushups
-          20 tricep pushups (on knees)
-          20 diamond pushups (on knees)
-          20 tricep dips
-          5 hand stands held as long as possible
-          2 30 sec tuck handstand hold on bed

So that’s it, my conditioning regime.  I’ll aim to do that 5 times a week. 

Cardio is going to be harder because my right knee is threatening to cave in.  This means no running, and biking is out as I don’t own one and I don’t have a gym membership.  I have however been learning how to skate recently, and as my physio technically didn’t say I couldn’t do that, I’ll settle for 3 practice skate sessions a week.

That’s the plan, anyway.  Time will tell if I stick with it, but I have a good feeling.

Happy travels,


Friday, 2 September 2011

Thoughts on an Aspergian friend - Limited by ourselves

Recently my Mum ran into the mother of a friend from school.  I hadn’t seen her for awhile, but at the time we and our parents had bonded over the fact that we were both on the spectrum.

We were similar in a lot of ways.  We had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome around the same time in year seven.  Both of us were gifted academically but struggled with our concentration and motivation.  We had no idea how to deal other teenagers, and were each others only friend, ostracised and bullied by all other students and teachers.  Then from about year nine onward, we drifted apart.  Personality wise, we were chalk and cheese.  She was happy to languish in her anxiety and depression problems.  She never wanted to go out, talk about positive things or put effort in her schoolwork or relationships.  She saw no reason to be giving back to the world that had hurt her so much.  As for me, I wanted to try and fit in, learn how to study properly and create a network of neurotypical friends.  She saw my foray into the world of ‘normal’ people as a betrayal and I thought she was being a coward.  After high school, we lost contact.

I knew that we graduated from our respective university degrees at the same time, and I was worried about her.  I can’t see her having the presence of mind to search for jobs, practice for interviews or take the time to write a professional looking resume.  It doesn’t help that she has graduated from a program that has very few jobs available, and I just don’t know how she would handle the corporate world.

As Mum relayed back to me what her mum had said, it seemed my fears were accurate.  Turns out her lack of pro-activity was not just a phase.  Seven months out of the degree, she is unemployed, living at her parents’ house, with no car, no money of her own, and no friends.  The problem, her mum lamented, is that she really isn’t qualified for her dream job.  Her grades were not good enough to get into the post graduate program that she needs.  But she won’t consider another direction, or get a lower position to work her way up.  She did take a counselling job, but she kept getting in trouble for discussing her own mental health problems with clients.  She was told to adhere to the guidelines set out for her, she refused and they let her go.  Her view of life is just too rigid.  Modifying her behaviour would help her out of her rut but she won’t change.  If I’m a Voyager, she’s more of a Houseboat.

Let’s look at where I am comparatively for a minute.  While I feel like I’ve learned some life lessons that she has yet to realise, I would not say I’m faring a whole lot better than her.  Since my early teens I’ve tried denying I had a problem, desperate to live the ‘neurotypical dream.’  The result was a breakdown in which I was forced to face the reality of my disability, and get realistic about my future.  The Houseboat – yes, I’m making that stick – needs to start thinking this way too, hopefully sans nervous breakdown

Having Asperger syndrome might have seemed quirky and subtle while we were at school but both of our futures are in question now.  All of the other kids with AS that I know are still in school, so I can’t compare any further.  In the meantime, I worry.  We may be intelligent, and certainly capable of being valuable employees.  But are our impaired social skills preventing this intelligence from being applied to finding and keeping a job?

I want to change to become easily communicative.  I want to change her so she wants to change her outlook.  But longing to be normal has done no good for me in the past.  All I can do is hope that somehow, someday, we’ll find a way to be ok.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Cutting the fat

I, Voyager, am going to get fit.

There, I said it.  Now I can be held accountable by the power of teh interwebz.

I’ve mentioned before that I have weight issues, and how it causes me all manner of problems. Yet I’ve been struggling with it for over a year now, so what’s changed?  Why am I suddenly so driven to tighten up and what makes it different from all the other times I’ve vowed to lose weight?

It’s not just aesthetics.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I hate the way I look, but I always have.  When I was a teen doing dance and gymnastics I felt like an elephant even as I would strut around the gym in my shortie shorts and crop top.  I felt my early appearing breasts and shapely hips meant that I was overweight compared to the willowy, long waisted girls in my gym and dance classes.  I thought that these girls were healthier just because they appeared thinner.  Of course, this wasn’t true.  .As an insecure teenage girl I felt like any different body shape to mine was better.  Even so,  I was taking care of my self with my exercise and eating right.  And you know what I see now, looking back? 

My body when I am fit is, dare I say, nice. 

I have hips, a round butt and large breasts but now I know those things aren’t bad for you.  My comparatively tiny waist and flat tummy compliment them quite nicely.  Unfortunately, due to the layers of fat  I’ve laid down, I can’t appreciate my shape anymore.  I’m not getting the most out of my body, and that has to change.

Yes, this body of mine is a god given gift.  Looking fly would be awesome, but several things have been going on for me recently which have convinced me that I have to start treating this body like the gift it is.  I had an accident last month which resulted in a broken wrist, broken ankle and a concussion.  I was bed bound for awhile, and of course I couldn’t do any exercise at all.  Now that scared me.  I was already overweight, and now I can’t walk?  Dragging myself around was a real pain, and I couldn’t help wondering, when I started hobbling around again, if supporting my ample weight was slowing the healing process.  Luckily I didn’t really have a net weight gain – not walking meant I couldn’t visit the fridge whenever I felt like it!  As a result, my fitness is at floor level, and I’ve noticed the difference.  I need more to get me through the day.

My goal out of this is to lose 30 kilos.  It’s a lot – almost a whole person, but this is best case scenario.  If I lose 25, I’ll be at the upper end of the healthy weight range.  Anything between 20-30kg will have me feeling like my old slammin’ self again.  It’ll be a long hard journey but, as blogger handle suggests, I’m ok with pushing into difficult territory to reach my goals.

Thinking those strong, beautiful thoughts!