A little update

So you may have noticed that I let the weekly blog fall by the wayside.  There are a number of reasons for this, not least the fact that the whole raison d’être for it – to be accountable for what I was eating in the hope that it would make me eat better – simply didn’t work.  I lost no weight at all.

My last blog post was probably a bit of a cry for help, looking back on it.  I got a bit scared by how totally out of control I was and I couldn’t see any way out.  My cry for help worked.  I was contacted by an old family friend who had stumbled across my blog several months earlier when she was searching for a beef shin recipe.  As luck would have it, she is now a dietitian and offered to help me change my eating habits for good.  I spoke to her and she completely turned on its head everything I believed and understood about food.  I realised that I needed to completely change my eating habits if I wanted to eventually lose weight.  She told me that diets make you fat which I’ve heard a hundred times before, but suddenly I saw the truth in it, given that I’d been dieting for 5 years and had put on around 5 stone. My immediate goal wasn’t to lose any weight, but simply to not put any more on.  Over the following few weeks, I put into practise everything that we discussed – I started eating a small breakfast to kickstart my metabolism, I started snacking (something that I just didn’t do before), I upped my fruit and vegetable intake enormously and reduced my portion sizes, particularly of white carbs – and I found that without counting any calories or points, without really thinking that much about it or trying to lose weight, I lost about half a stone in 3 weeks.  Moreover, I was excited and happy and I felt really well and healthy.

Which was ironic, given what happened next.


The other reason that I’ve been rather quiet is that my health suddenly took a turn for the worse.  It turns out that if you have chest pains and shortness of breath for a couple of weeks, you probably shouldn’t ignore it – who knew?!  I did ignore it and ended up in A&E on a Sunday night nearly 5 weeks ago with my poor mother rushing down from Yorkshire in a blind panic.  After lots of X-rays and CT scans (ever had one? They make you feel like you’ve wet yourself) and blood tests, it turned out that I have multiple pulmonary embolisms (embolisms? embolis?? no idea) on both lungs, which probably resulted from a DVT, and I was really rather poorly.  I spent just under a week in hospital which was pretty miserable – days and days of getting nothing but bad and depressing news (repeatedly: “you could have died!” – yes, yes, I get it), being prodded, poked, injected and syringed several times a day from 6am until midnight, being fed absolutely god-awful food (the mashed potato tastes like FLOUR – how???) and getting next to no sleep.  Hospitals truly are not conducive to recovery.

Eventually, they decided that my blood was thin enough for it to be safe to leave hospital and I was sent home with a load of injections to self-administer (a very low point was overdosing on these and ending up back in A&E again) and very little other information.  I have to be on a blood thinner – warfarin – for at least 6 months which is utter pants.  It’s a horrible drug which reacts with absolutely everything including, importantly, Vitamin K rich foods which lower the drug’s effectiveness.  “What are Vitamin K rich foods?” you ask – well.  They’re the green leafy vegetables that I had been filling up half of my plate with just 1 week earlier.  The thing about Vitamin K is that it clots your blood and stops you from bleeding profusely, which is a great thing – for you.  For me, not so much.  I want thin, bleedy blood OR I MIGHT DIE (I was told today that it’s sick to joke about this…whevs.)

So having completely changed my eating habits and having increased my vegetable intake by a good 200%, suddenly I found myself freaking out if there was a lettuce leaf in my sandwich or a broccoli floret in my salad.  Like, ACTUAL MELTDOWN.

In desperation, I went to see a dietitian (not the lovely dietitian referred to above, just for the avoidance of doubt) about Vitamin K.  I’m fairly sure she was insane – when I told her that I wasn’t sufficiently organised (or, indeed, motivated enough) to get up earlier every morning to heat up food to take into work in a flask, she became faintly hysterical, telling me that if I’m not capable of being organised enough to heat up food in the morning, HOW ON EARTH AM I EVER GOING TO MANAGE A RELATIONSHIP AND HAVE CHILDREN???????!!!!!!  It was bizarre and not especially relevant…I think it’s safe to say that I will never see her again.  That said, she was fairly helpful on the Vitamin K thing and told me that I CAN eat it, I just have to eat the same amount every day.  Apparently I can also drink a bottle of wine if I want to, but I just have to make sure that I drink a bottle every  single day.   For the next six months.  Roll back a couple of years – no problemo!!  Unfortunately I’ve worked hard to cut down my drinking and drinking every day just isn’t going to work for me, so now I’m teetotal for the next six months, which sucks ass and effectively ruins my social life because I really am shallow enough to think that if I can’t drink, a good time cannot be had.

I’m also not really supposed to lose weight.  Or do sporadic exercise.  If I suddenly want to take up swimming…that’s right!  I have to do it EVERY DAY.  This is what I mean about warfarin being a little bitch – there can be no spontaneity in life.  Everything has to be the same, day in, day out and the blood monitoring is constant; I’m at hospital twice a week at the moment which is a nightmare and makes me tired and miserable.

It’s all quite overwhelming and I’m finding it all a bit of a struggle, but I’m getting there.  It’s still early days and there’s so much to get my head around and so many changes to make.  I have to be super organised (but yay – I’ll be prepared for having kids!!) and think about and plan everything.

For the first two weeks after I came out of hospital, I avoided Vitamin K foods completely because the internet is confusing and so Americanised (seriously – why can’t Americans WEIGH anything?  What’s with the obsession with CUPS?) and it’s just so hard to ensure that you really are eating the same amount every day.  With the help of a few twitter people (thanks here go to @applelisafood, @EvidenceMatters and real life friend @ginandcrumpets) I think I’ve got to the bottom of it and am nearly brave enough to start filling half of my plate with vegetables again.

So that’s where I’ve been.  And here I still am.  Phew.


16 thoughts on “A little update

    • Getting there but the learning curve has been steep and stressful. The amount of information given out is pitiful. It’s a wonder anyone stabilises on this drug! Maybe most people don’t worry about it as much as me but I’m a bit of a perfectionist and what to get everything RIGHT. I’ll get there. Xx

  1. I had been wondering what was happening with you when your posts had dried up!

    You’ve had a hell of a time by the sounds of it but seem to be getting on top of it, though it looks like it’s been tortuous getting there. And a large dose of that black sense of humour of yours is perfect to help you through 🙂

    Also I’m delighted you’ve found your dietician family friend, who sounds like a very sensible and wonderful ally.

    • The black sense of humour upsets people. I don’t think I’ve really grasped the severity of what happened but perhaps I don’t need to. And yes – family friend is great. I hope that it will turn my life around. Fingers crossed.

  2. Brave stuff – glad to hear you’re coming out the other side.

    Walking might be a good idea for your exercise? Its pretty easy just to walk round the block for 30 mins or so. Download some podcasts, audiobooks or something to listen to if you feel it would help.

    I found it quite useful as it gives you 30 mins to relax a bit at the end of the day and clear your head.

    • I do need to walk more – I’m doing about half an hour a day on the day that I go into the office at the moment, but should increase that. It’s not the right time though as I’m worn out. But soon I will.

      • You don’t need to walk far – its more about picking up the speed when you do so you’re a little out of breath. 30 mins a day should be plenty as long as you push yourself a little.

    • The timing of this is HILARIOUS as I’m sitting here in floods of tears having completely lost the plot over something which, next week/month, will definitely seem totally trivial. No heroes here! Thanks though. I’m trying. Really trying but it’s HARD. xxx

  3. Hi there

    Just wanted to wish you luck with everything. What a load of crap to have dumped on you, especially when you had just got your head around eating well! Aaagh! I will ask about warfarin as the other half is a nurse so might be able to give a few pointers. Also, although we’ve never met I’m just round the corner, so if you ever need anything, just shout!
    The other Francesca in Tel Hill!

    • Oh, and thanks for this. I’m getting there with it all but unfortunately my spirits are pretty low and I have zero energy etc. We should meet up for a coffee or something at some point – always good to know people close by! x

  4. ps. I’d love to have a word with your dietician friend (would pay appropriate rates, of course) – she sounds amazing. Could you pass on her details, if at all poss?

  5. Hi Fran,

    I’ve been keeping up with your blog for so long now, it gave me the motivation to kickstart my own weight-loss, I piled on weight at uni and am five months into the process of losing it, 42 pounds down and still counting.

    Sorry to hear about your health issues, I wish you a speedy recovery, my grandfather is on wafarin and has been for a long time, it must be quite an adjustment.

    Good luck and I just wanted to let you know how your journeys have inspired positive change.


    • Hi Laura, sorry for the delayed response. I haven’t looked at my blog for a long time! Your weight loss is incredible – really impressive. I’m glad that I managed to motivate you, although I’ve no idea how! Well done and for god’s sake, don’t do as I did and let it all creep back on!! Fran

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