Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2015: Week 13

Compared to the week before and the week before that, it wasn’t too busy a week.

I was working on Sunday and Monday. On Monday afternoon I had a massage at the Oberoi Spa – which was lovely, as usual!

My sister arrived on Monday night with her two boys – V1 is 4.5 years old and V2 is 7 months old. I hadn’t seen them since I was in London in October. They had flown Etihad so by the time they got home from Abu Dhabi it was after 11pm. We had dinner, played with the kids for a bit and went to bed.

On Tuesday afternoon, I went to see a hypnotherapist. I met her at the IBWG lunch a few weeks ago and decided I was finally going to get some help about my fear of descending stairs and escalators (and anything downhill with nothing to hold on to). I’d mentioned her name to a friend and she said she’d heard really good things about her so I was quite keen to get it done. I was at her office for about an hour and a half. She initially asked me all kinds of questions – how long I’d been in Dubai, what I did for a living, who I lived with, were my parents together, where were my siblings, what I did in my free time, whether I drank and smoked, whether I’d had hypnotherapy before (I had two sessions in 2011 when I was starting to lose weight). We talked about a lot of things. And then the hypnotherapy began. I was conscious the whole time while she spoke to me and responded when she asked me to. At times she would lift up my arm and drop it, to see how relaxed I was – or she would touch my shoulder or forehead. When the session was over, I felt good. We were on the first floor so she told me to take the stairs down and see how I felt. So I walked to the stairs and walked down – without holding on to the bannister. I didn’t freeze at the top, I just walked down like it was the most normal thing in the world. I went back up and told her. She asked if I wanted another session the following week but I told her I’d see how I got on and if I needed another one I’d be in touch with her after her holiday. And then I left, taking the stairs again without holding on to the side. I couldn’t believe myself.

I had a session with Trevor on Wednesday morning, and then worked the rest of the day. That evening I had a piano lesson and then met the rest of the family for dinner at PF Chang at The Dubai Mall. I hadn’t been there in ages. We had some hot and sour soup, dynamite prawns and spring rolls to start with. For our main course we just ordered the Mongolian beef and some rice. It was quite a filling meal.

On Thursday night I met up with a couple of friends at Calabar. I got there at about 7.30 and the place was packed – inside and outside. We had a space at the bar so we were comfortable but I’d have rather been outside. We had some wine (hooray for happy hour) and then ordered some pepper beef, volcano rolls and beef sliders (which I didn’t eat). We decided to go to La Petite Maison for a drink afterwards. Of course one drink became five and I got home at around 1am. I felt awful the next morning.

On Friday we were home until the late afternoon. My sister and I took V1 to Oasis Centre, which he loves. We went to Baby Shop (crowded and horrible) to pick up a few things and then wandered around. We took V1 to Fun City and then to McDonald’s. I hadn’t had McDonald’s in months but had some chicken nuggets and French fries.

I was home all day on Saturday. My sister and mum took V2 to the doctor as he’d been unwell for a few days. Dad was out playing poker. V1 decided he’d stay home with me. He was watching a movie, I was doing a bit of work. Everything was under control. And then. His movie finished and he ran into his room. Ten minutes later he still hadn’t come out so I went to see what he was up to. And then he started hollering for his mother. He hollered for an hour. In his room, in my room, in my face. I told him I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say when he was screaming so he would calm down for a few minutes, say what he wanted to say (mostly ‘Where’s Mama?’ and ‘Tell Mama to come home’) but as soon as I would respond he would start hollering again. He didn’t want chocolate, he didn’t want Oreos, he didn’t want to go for ice cream, he didn’t want to play with his iPad. Oh. My. God. Finally I told him I’d call his mother if he brought his iPad to my room. He said ‘I won’t bring it until you call her,’ and I responded with ‘I’m not calling her until you bring it.’ This went back and forth a few times until he brought his iPad to my room. I called my sister – there was no response so I pretended I was speaking to her – and then I told Vinay she was on her way home and that he had to teach me how to play ‘Memory Game’ on his iPad. By the time she got home with V2, he was so engrossed in the game, he barely looked at her! Men. Honestly.

That evening my sister, V1 and I went to the Dubai Mall to do some shopping. We picked up a bouncer from Mothercare and then went to Koton and Debenhams. I tried on a few things – I needed something to wear to my birthday drinks the following week and actually managed to find something (thank goodness). We were home for dinner and it was an early night for us all.

I love my life.

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Week 8 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

Another good week, I think!

I feel like I’m spending most of my time at the gym (when I’m not at work) or at least thinking about it! I’m thinking about when I need to do the laundry so that I have enough tops, bottoms, towels, etc. I’m thinking about what time I need to sleep in order to be able to wake up. I’m thinking about what the *latest* possible time is I can get there to have a decent work-out.

I had my regular session with Gus on Tuesday – it was TOUGH (but I wasn’t crippled afterwards like the first time). He seemed to think my body has already changed – and sometimes I do think so, but there are other times when I feel that my goal is as far away as it ever was. More squats, upper body work, more squats… I didn’t tell him that one night I actually dreamt I was doing squats. It will all be worth it, I keep telling myself. He asked me to keep a food diary for the week – which I’ve been doing.

Aside from my Tuesday morning session, I managed cardio sessions on Monday, Thursday and Friday before work. As a result, I was in my pajamas by 7.30 on Friday evening – and totally shattered.

I also had my Sunday morning yoga class – and that’s where I’ve noticed the most changes. I thought it was a hard class – and I also think I was able to do more than I’ve been able to in the past. My legs are a lot stronger than they used to be.

On Friday afternoon, I had my third session with the hypnotherapist. She asked me what had happened since our last session. I told her what I’d been doing – exercising, watching what I eat, how I’d been feeling – amazing when compared with our first session, how I actually feel in control of things for the first time in a long while… ‘Do you actually need me today?’ she asked. Funnily enough, as I was walking to her office, I kept thinking that I felt great – I didn’t need any more of this… She said it takes people between 2 and 6 sessions to start feeling like they’re back on track and I was already there. That felt good!

The food side has been going well too. I was out for dinner on Thursday – I had one glass of wine with my meal. Three weeks ago, that glass could easily have been at least a bottle. I also had dessert which I haven’t had (or wanted) in ages. But that was the only sweet thing I’ve had all week. I’ve managed to avoid carbs at night and haven’t had bread in two weeks. Oh wait, I had a bite of focaccia on Thursday evening but it did nothing for me – I realised I haven’t missed bread at all.

I still haven’t weighed myself – I think I’m scared I might be disappointed if I haven’t lost any weight! I have had to tighten my belt by one notch though – now I’m just waiting for the rest of my body to catch up!


Read more updates here.

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Week 7 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

Another interesting week!

After my first session with Gus which left me crippled, by Monday morning I was starting to feel how I would normally have felt after a workout – some aches and pains, but able to walk. I had my second session with the hypnotherapist on Monday afternoon – it lasted about half an hour but I learned a lot. I’m not going to go into what happened, but it has made me realise that things I used to believe when I was younger are not real… What I will say is this: Philip Larkin was right. They do f*** you up, your mum and dad (‘This Be The Verse’).

I had my second session with Gus on Tuesday morning before work – and it was much better than the first session! I told him how much pain I’d been in and he said that the good news is it will never feel like that again… And he was right. My second session, although longer, seemed somehow easier. I did a 20-minute warm-up on the bike, followed by some weights for my upper and lower body, and then some great stretching. And I could even walk the next day! He told me that the three sessions on my own should be just cardio – and at least 45 minutes long.

I went back to the gym on Friday morning and had a yoga class on Sunday morning. It was a really good class – I was able to do more than I could before and even my teacher commented that I looked stronger. Result!

On the food side, it has been going well. I haven’t had bread in over a week, I haven’t had carbs at night (apart from a couple of sushi rolls on Thursday) and I’ve been eating my banana and teaspoon of almond butter for breakfast. The alcohol side, hmm. I have cut down on the alcohol – but I’m still over the quantities I should be having! I think, for me, that’s the hardest part.

I haven’t weighed myself this week – but a couple of people have told me that I look like I’ve lost weight. On Friday I actually had to go out and buy a belt (which I don’t usually wear) because the waist of my jeans was way too big. So something is working. Let’s hope next week is even better!


Read more updates here.


Week 6 update: 10 kilos by Christmas

My week 5 update was posted at the end of August – I was away for almost 3 weeks after that, and now it’s time to get back on the wagon. I’m saying this is week 6 because the last 3-4 weeks have been a blip. I was in Lagos, and I was incredibly lazy. Not intentionally though – I did take my gym stuff thinking that I’d get to work out at least a couple of times a week, but it never happened. Now I’ve decided that unless I’m training for a marathon, I’m never taking my gym stuff on holiday with me! So my routine on holiday was: wake up, move from my bed, to my sister’s bed, to the sofa, to the car, and then back again in reverse order, sleep. Not good. And that doesn’t even include all the eating I did – Lebanese, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Indian – you name it, I ate it.

So. Back to reality.

Last week was… interesting.

A few weeks ago I’d bought a Groupon deal for three sessions of gastric band hypnotherapy. I made my appointments for the three sessions and had my first session on Tuesday. I had no idea what to expect.

The hypnotherapist is young – she must be in her mid 30s. I expected to be hypnotised, told never to eat again, and be sent on my way – three times. Instead, she asked me about my eating habits, what meals were like when I was a child, what my relationship with my mother was like, how stressed I was, and any other issues going on in my life. I felt like I was in actual therapy. Let me say that I woke up on Tuesday feeling a little… cranky. I was tired and just felt upset for no apparent reason. And then having this person ask me all these questions about my childhood and relationship with my parents and food made me more upset. She must be used to her clients shedding a few tears in their sessions because she didn’t seem surprised. At all. After I felt a bit more ‘normal’ (if that’s possible), she made me sit in the most comfortable chair in the world. I lay back, closed my eyes and listened to her talking, telling me what to visualise, and to count back from 500. It wasn’t a full session – it was more for her to figure out what my trance level is – how long it would take me to fall into the trance, etc. When we were finished she said I had a great trance level. To be honest, I didn’t feel any different while I was in the trance – she asked me questions, I answered them. I felt like I could have gotten up and walked out of her office if I’d wanted to. She said the real hypnosis sessions would start the following week. I still don’t know what to expect.

The second interesting thing was that I got a call from LA Fitness offering me a free session with a personal trainer as part of my membership deal – would I be interested? Oh, yes please. They said one of their trainers would call me within the next couple of days to arrange a date and time. The trainer, Gus, did call and we did set up a time – and I had my first session on Friday morning before work.

I met him at the gym at 8am – we spent the first 30 minutes in the office, talking about what I wanted to achieve, my eating habits, my non-existent exercise habits, my sleeping habits and work. He said he could guarantee I’d lose 10 kilos by Christmas if I had two sessions with him each week and changed my diet. That’s great – but I don’t have that kind of money to spend each week on a trainer – so he said I could probably do it with one session a week but did three other sessions at the gym on my own. Yes, I can do that. The changes to my diet: no bread, have a banana and a teaspoon of almond butter for breakfast, nuts as a mid-morning snack, protein for lunch, no carbs at night. Hmm. No carbs at night, trainer’s delight. OK. Get 8 hours of sleep each night. Does anyone get 8 hours of sleep a night? I’m lucky if I get more than 6 hours. ‘Let’s hit the gym,’ he said. ‘Wait,’ I said. ‘We haven’t talked about alcohol.’ (If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it properly.) He asked me what I normally drink when I go out – usually white wine or vodka with soda. ‘Ditch the wine.’ Dammit.

We went into one of the studios where I spent the next 15 minutes alternating between sets of 20 lunges and 20 squats, with weights. Then walking lunges across the room – forwards and backwards. We then went out to the weights area in the gym where we did some upper body work (incorporating more lunges and squats). And then the session was over. Did I want to train with him again? I made an appointment for the following Tuesday. By the time I got to the office my legs felt like jelly and I knew I was going to be in serious trouble this weekend. Each time I sat down or stood up it felt like I was doing another squat. My body was in shock.

But the pain on Friday was nothing compared to the pain on Saturday. It’s always worse the day after, isn’t it? On Saturday my thighs were on fire. And not in a good way. I wanted to weep each time I moved – I felt like my thigh muscles had turned into razor blades inside my body. I could barely walk. I felt like Bambi – shaky and unsteady. It was horrible. Looking back at what Gus said – how am I supposed to fit in three sessions on my own at the gym if I can’t even get there? On the positive side, I stayed away from carbs on Saturday night – almost unheard of for me.

I woke up on Sunday still in pain – but nothing like the pain of Saturday. And the pain was reduced further when my cousin gave me a couple of Nurofen capsules on Sunday night when we were at the pub. God bless her.

Hopefully this will get easier!!


Read more updates here.