Tuesday, 25 March 2014

99. Lifestyle // Wake Up Call

Today's post is fairly personal and, for me, a pretty serious subject. If you're fed up of 'oh I need to lose weight and get fit' style posts then, yeah, this one isn't for you. But I really want/need (for my own sake) to share this with somebody. 

Over the last few months, I have suffered from a number of health problems; from just achy legs when walking, to breathlessness and some other not-so-nice issues, but on Thursday afternoon I was sent to A&E - in absolute agony and with a fever - with suspected gallstones. 

For those of you who aren't aware of what gallstones are, they're stones that form in your gallbladder and are made up of cholesterol. If they get trapped, they cause intense abdominal pain, particularly in the upper right-hand side of your abdomen. It can also lead to inflammation of the gallbladder, which is also very painful. 

Gallstones and, in general, gallbladder problems are caused by chemical imbalances of bile and cholesterol, but are more likely if you're overweight (guilty as charged) and eat a very fatty diet (once again, guilty...)

After several hours in A&E and a few tests, I was informed that I had a blood infection which was - most likely - due to an inflamed gallbladder, however I won't get my full blood results back until later this week, and will have to see where to go from there. I was prescribed antibiotics and strong painkillers, advised to book an ultrasound scan of my gallbladder and told - very bluntly - to change my lifestyle

Alcohol, fatty, oily and processed foods, dairy and cigarettes are now off the menu, if I want to be able to control my symptoms and stop this from returning. 

I guess this was the shock that I needed to scare me into making some big changes. For far too long, my diet has been atrocious - takeaways, red wine, huge amounts of refined carbohydrates and very little exercise - so it's no wonder I've got myself into this mess. 

After a couple of chats with two friends who have also suffered from gallstones and/or gallbladder problems in the past, I came away feeling positive and motivated. They advised me to simply watch what I eat, to eat little and often, to cut out the crap and to take better care of myself - and wait for the rewards to come rolling in (or dropping off, in the form of lbs). 

Since Thursday, I had been practically bed-bound and lost my appetite completely, unintentionally. However, from Saturday afternoon on wards I began to feel myself again and was able to eat a couple of meals and get my energy levels up, as the antibiotics began to kick in. 

I now feel OK. I'm not going to lie and say that I feel fantastic because I don't. I'm still in pain, my sleep is disturbed and I have bouts of dizziness, but I know that I'm getting better, and if I want to keep heading in the right direction I need to make a few a lot of changes...

No more comfort eating and quick, easy junk food. No more sitting on my backside all day and then wondering why I don't have a six-pack. No more 'oh go on then' when I'm offered biscuits, sweets or a cup of sugary tea in the office. 

It's time to take responsibility for my health. 

Starting BMI (going by my home scales): 36.8 - morbidly obese
Starting waist measurement: 37"

I plan to do a post every week or so, to let you know how I'm getting on both weight-wise and health-wise, and whether there have been any updates. There is no end date for this journey and there are no specific goals other than to feel better both physically and emotionally. 

Wish me luck.


  1. Best of luck lovely! I know how hard it can be, I used to be severely obese, I can't remember what my BMI was now but I weighed in at 19 stone 7lbs!

    I joined Weight Watchers and over the course of a year lost just under 9 stone .... if you get stuck I can really recommend Weight Watchers, it worked for me!

    Best of luck xx

    1. Hello hun, thank-you so much for your supportive comment, it's lovely to hear from someone whose been through a similar process.

      Congratulations on losing 9 stones. That's fantastic and incredibly inspirational! Thanks for your support xxxx

  2. I wish you best of luck as I went through a similar situation... I didn't have gallstones but I did have to get my gallbladder removed due to an infection which was caused by severe stress. God, I don't even want to remember in how much pain I was...
    And as you said, just watch what you eat and it'll get better...You'll quickly figure out which food doesn't work well with your body, if you haven't already (especially egg, products with lactose, fast food, oily food, a lot of people can't stand fresh fruits and salads as well)...Also try to keep your stress at minimum and be relaxed...

    Hope you don't mind this long comment :)

    1. Hey chick!

      Thank-you for the lovely comment (the longer the better in my opinion, oo-er!) and all the advice. As someone whose been through something similar, it's really helpful.

      Thanks so much xxx

  3. Very brave blog, Becci and I hope you achieve what you are setting out to do. Can I offer a little dvice about how to get there?

    A lot of perfectly good aims (giving up smoking, losing weight etc.) are not achieved and can result in an increased feeling of 'failure' or hopelessness. Even when we have been give such a jolt as the lifestyle advice you have received, it may not be enough to make us keep to the 'good' path we have set ourselves (e.g. although we know smoking is extremely bad for our health, we still continue to smoke or to give up for short periods before relapsing - again!).

    On reson is that the targets we set ourselves are too nebulous or are unrealistic: 'give up smoking' is too big a thibg to deal with in one go; 'lose weight' is imprecise - how much? by when? And when we fail to achieve one of these targets, we feel bad and maybe binge a little on the basis of 'what-the-hell' - a classic vicious cycle!

    Any target we set for ourselves need to be specific, time-limited and achievable. In essence, we can break any big target into a series of smaller targets: 'I will lose x pounds in y weeks' could be one mini-target within a larget target of 'I will lose x stones in y months'. Equally, cutting down smoking over a defined period rather than going from x cigarettes per day to zero overnight. Smaller steps that are achievable a) make you feel good as each goal is reached and b) cause less pain if the target is missed - it is just one step: we are still travelling forwards!

    I'm sure you've thought of all this and I don't want to be preachy, but I was just concerned that trying to change so many lifestyle aspects at once is *so* difficult. Anything that makes it easier to succeed is, hopefully, helpful.

    Best of luck with your journey.

    1. Thanks for the comment Paul, I really appreciate it and I take all of your advice and warnings onboard. I'm about 10 days into my lifestyle change now & I'm 5lbs down, I've had 2 glasses of wine, a couple of sneaky bits of chocolate but no oily, greasy or processed food, so it's going really well.

      As you say, it's hard (if not impossible) to give up all your vices at once, so I'm still smoking at the moment but hope to have given up by the end of this year. Like you say, I need to take it one step at a time and that's exactly what I'll do :-)

      Thanks again x