Man-flu strikes! (Sun 29 – Sat 5 Dec 2015)

download (82)So the two key features of last week were parliament voting in favour of military action in Syria and me having to deal with the dreaded man-flu. For the former, lots of angry exchanges on social media but I felt it was a necessary thing – war is horrible but sometimes it is the only way; well meaning appeasement in the thirties did not lead to peace. And on the man-flu, OK it was just a cold but a pretty bad one. Indeed, partly to deal with such grimness, me and Dave have booked a holiday in Gran Canaria for the end of January as well as Berlin for Easter – yaaay!

Man-flu

I felt a slight cold feeling at the end of my holiday but I think sitting on a packed plane for 4 hours breathing recycled air caused it to really come on. Sunday it incubated and then fully developed over the next few days. Indeed, Monday night I lay in bed shivering and generally a really bad night’s sleep which was pretty much he same story for the next five nights. Main problem was a sore throat, coughing, and bringing up loads of phlegm every morning. Some of the crap I was coughing up made sure I didn’t forget I was just a lump of biological material. Struggled into work, indeed being up and about felt good in itself. Strangely I thought I was getting better by Friday but then in the afternoon I went to bed and basically spent a delirious period until the next morning. My recovery really only started on Saturday.

New strategy to exercise and lose weight

Previous Sunday back from holiday and I should have gone to the gym. But because I did not feel 100% I decided to concentrate on emptying my holiday bag and sorting out the washing. As the man-flu kicked in during the week, there was no way I could make it to the gym. And this reinforced a decision I have made. A definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again but each time expect a different result. I’ve been going to the gym now for about 3 years. I ain’t got a stunning body and I ain’t lost weight. The latter is the most important thing that I could do for my health. So I have decided to cut down heavily on going to the gym and instead try to do more cardio exercise with my measure of success being my weight.

So last week, even with man-flu, I did some long walks including on Tuesday walking all the way home after work (Vauxhall to Olympia; hour and a half) and on Friday walked from Dave’s to the physio at Charing Cross hospital (Victoria to Hammersmith; two hours) but I think the latter linked into me collapsing into bed on my return.

And the good news on weight was that on Tuesday I weighed the same as before I went on holiday, 13-9! Great news after my holiday excess and lack of exercise as well as a good jumping off point for my new weight loss drive.

download (83)The other key component (beyond increased cardio exercise over going to the gym) is a bigger emphasis on diet. I do need to eat less generally (plus reduce alcohol intake) but I also need to significantly increase the amount of protein I eat plus much more fruit and veg whilst decreasing carbohydrates and sugars which I love. More meat and two veg dinners – these used to be so easy to find but are actually now quite rare with so much food being carbohydrate heavy.

ENT referral and physio

Saw my GP on Tuesday morning (7am appointment – how brilliant is that?) but it wasn’t about my man-flu, I knew that was just a passing infection I had to work through. The appointment had been made to get renewal on all my meds but I also raised about the headache over one eye I keep getting on and off. Is it migraine as another doctor has suggested? I’m not sure and my GP agreed to refer me to an ENT specialist in order to check on my sinuses. I had a CT and MRI scan done a couple of years ago for research and then the doctor commented on how blocked my sinuses are. I think I suffer from chronic sinusitis and at last I’m going to get it checked out.

Also saw my physio on Friday about my ongoing achilles / calves problems. He is adamant I need to keep doing exercises to build up my calf muscles but not sure how I am going to achieve this if I cut down on the gym. He also advised against starting jogging still and agreed that weight loss would help.

Work stuff including International Tech for Good and Wayfindr success

images (34)Three office days were Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. Kept an eye on my work emails whilst on leave so I didn’t feel too overwhelmed on my return. Lots of meetings and primarily around digital – strong emphasis on shifting Tech for Good from being UK-focused to doing more international stuff. Good news that one of our Tech for Good projects has been awarded a $1m grant from Google – have a look: wayfindr And ongoing prep for the digital development day being done with Microsoft next week. Should have gone to a debate on Wednesday evening about how best to do research to prove the effectiveness of new apps and digital tools. But the impact of a long work day and man-flu meant I just didn’t have the energy. But a nice energetic team meeting on Thursday including people suggesting ways to use digital to explain our grants better and increase donations.

Cinema: Brooklyn

To celebrate my return, Dave and me went to the cinema on Sunday to see ‘Brooklyn’. This was based on a very good book by Colm Toibin. And it was a very good film. Slightly syrupy but with a very fit male lead and all about choices to be made that change your life. Basically a young Irish woman goes to America in the fifties and then has to make a decision whether to stay or return. No choice I hear you say. But in the book I am sure she decideds to go back. Although pleased to say in the film she made the right decision and stayed in the States.

Books and reading: Joel Dicker and Neil Bartlett

Monday afternoon to the crazy Book Exchange to exchange some books I had read and get some new ones. A not bad little haul including a Dr Who comic book and a Big Finish CD adventure. Above that, two books read last week.

Joel Dicker, ‘The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair’ The third of my five big books to be read on holiday. About 600 pages and from a publisher I respect for its alternative novels (Quercus); also great reviews. Basically a classic American thriller but written by a young man from Switzerland. Really did feel like a classic American novel but I also found it confusing and a bit too multi-layered. Decent enough but I was glad to get to the end of it. If I could compare it to a cake it was like one with everything in it (cream, alcohol, fruit, marzipan, jam, etc) – ultimately all just too much.

download (84)Neil Bartlett ‘The Disappearance Boy’ Neil is a British gay writer and I read this, his latest novel, for the Velvet Page Book Club on Thursday especially because Neil would be attending. Unfortunately work and man-flu again meant were by the time Thursday night came I was just shattered and unable to go. The book itself was intense despite being quite short, almost a novella. Clever and I could relate to the bits about Brighton (though that did not endear me to it). Not the easiest read but a rich one – like eating a well-made old-fashioned homemade fruit cake.

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