Days Three, Four and Five and Yes I’m Still Alive!

I haven’t managed to keep up-to-date with my LBLUK blogging because I have been so so busy…sleeping. I have honestly never felt so tired in all my days! The surprising thing is my hunger pains have diminished and it has become much much easier to eat smaller, less appetizing meals. So much so in fact that now I no longer crave my usual treats. I think my stomach has shrunk. Which makes me dread the fact that tomorrow when I dive into normalness again, I might not actually be able to consume as much as I had hoped. Prevention.

So even though now, as I write this, I have just finished my last official LBLUK meal, I feel no weight lifted off my shoulders, no sigh of relief – to be honest I am surprised at how little I feel. I can’t believe that I am typing this but I think I might actually have managed to adapt. Shock! My father told me how proud he felt today – “because it was a difficult task to put your body through” but I feel undeserving of his pride. After all millions of people live on lite

rally £1 a day or less, and that’s not for just food & water, that is all they have. I had the choice to live on a £1 a day for a week, many people have no other choice. I am content with what I have achieved but there is absolutely no glory in my accomplishments. In fact I would say it’s shocking that some would say “oh I couldn’t do that!” because in this country everyone can.

I urge you all to try it – set yourself the task, if you feel that it is beyond you (which it’s not) then all the more reason you should have to give it a bash. Choose any week, choose any charity, set up your own sponsor sheet and stay committed. Whinge about it, tell us all how hard it is for you (which I have obviously done!) after all for many, including me, it is a complete lifestyle change.

So enough of this hard-hitting seriousness, let me tell you what I ate for days three, four and finally five. Day Three’s breakfast was something of a giggle to create – Chapati (100g flour & water fried) which managed somehow to smoke out my entire downstairs house without me noticing (whoops) Mum says I used the “dodgy” pan. I have this with 2 tablespoons of jam and it went down pretty well I must say. Lunchtime was a Vegetable Rice dish – packet golden rice, onion, mushroom and carrot with vegetable stock cube to add some taste. *Dish of the week ladies and gentlemen* ^^^^^ Tea time saw me attempt a bean burger and chips, the chips were divine but there were no burgers just crumbly-burnt-kidney-bean-bits. >>>


Day 4 – brekkie = classic porridge with jam, lunch = more vegetable rice, dinner = chilli sin carni, again, but this time everything was cooked well.s, the chips were divine I will say but the burgers were not burgers more crumby-burnt-kidney-bean-bits.

AND FINALLY today – brekkie = Chapti (managed not to burn the house down this time) lunch =potato salad, which was so yuck that most of it went in the bin – even on £1 a day I still manage to waste food, grandma would be displeased, dinner = bean burger and chips, which actually worked!!!!

I’ll let you know how I feel once I am able to consume my usual crap tomorrow. Toodles!

Day 2 and I’m Feeling Sleepy

It is quite remarkable to feel the effects of not-eating slowly draining out your body. I have random bouts of total exhaustion and hunger sickness, and when I think about what I have eaten during the day it doesn’t seem like I should feel undernourished.

Every day I make sure I eat breakfast/lunch/dinner, with a small treat  if I have money left over. I’m not being silly about the process and starving myself, I make sure I eat things that will keep me going, like porridge and kidney beans etc. But because I’m not filling myself up and my body lacks sugar, my movements feel heavy, I feel slow and frankly really moody. I’ve come to realize that food not only effects your physical well-being it can also change your mentality.

I have always had quite a complicated relationship with food. I have gone through various stages in my life where food has played various roles, acted as comfort, just eaten when bored or sometimes my indulgence in fatty foods like cheese left me feeling very guilty. I was brought up with a very healthy diet, home-cooked meals every dinner-time, soup lunches at the weekend and we rarely had sweets or fizzy juice in the house. I learnt to appreciate food and its natural taste without all the additives that many children are used to. I don’t like to put extra salt on my meals – I don’t know why but I see it as an insult, not only to the cook but to the food as well.

When I had my body brace I found large portions a challenge, and eating became more difficult for me as my body was restricted by how much it could take in. More recently my diet has gotten slightly worse, it is by no means bad, but I tend to indulge more in takeaways, treats and quick fixes. This leaves me feeling the hunger guilt – for example after a long day I would try and enjoy a big bag of crisps with red pepper humus, and then immediately after demolishing the whole bag I would feel terrible.

I think it is this snack-when-I-want mentality that has made my body react the way it has. My body wants more and expects me to eat something quickly to fill a hole, but I am unable to so my body has went on strike. I know things will probably get much easier as the week goes on so I am optimistic that this experience will enlighten me not only in terms of my own necessities. But the much worse circumstances that millions of people across the world live in every day of their life.

On Tuesday I ate porridge and jam for my breakfast again, veg & potato salad for lunch (only without the tomato and the peas because they were truly awful – so really all I had was carrot, sweetcorn and potato 20p) and for my dinner I had chilli sin carni (47p).  My dinner was fairly enjoyable, it was a concoction of  rice, kidney beans, red plum tomatoes, chickpeas, sweetcorn and onions. I under cooked the kidney beans and managed to overcook the rice so it wasn’t amazing but it was stomachable. Because I had taken out some veg from my lunch meal I had 24p left on my budget – so as I was working all day and needed the sugar boost on my break I purchased a chocolate bar for 23p. I still feel like this was cheeky, but it was within my budget and I felt like it was necessary so heigh ho!

 

Here’s a picture of what I face for breakfast – doesn’t it look yummy! Oh and there are my toes!  x

If you are wanting to donate to this worthwhile cause here is my link: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/jooleea1
Peace x

10 Day Idealist Challenge with Estee Lauder

 

As I popped into Boots yesterday, to continue with my weekly rummage around the beauty counters, I was approached by a very friendly Estee Lauder employee, Fiona. She was keen for me to try out this new Estee Lauder wonder product ‘Idealist’. So she invited me to take part in a 10 day test challenge of the serum, which claims to “minimise flakiness and pores”. The deal was that I would receive my 10-day sample (usually worth around £7.50) for free if I wrote a “diary” about how my skin was coping with the product and if I can notice a day-to-day improvement. My skin is usually quite dry around the T-Zone and I often get very rosy cheeks, especially after a few drinks (ahem!) So according to Fiona this serum will help my skin exfoliate for itself, whilst giving me a more even-toned appearance. Result!

I cannot lie. As much as I want to say this serum is a fraud and a rip off (priced at a gobstopping £50! eek!) after just one day I can feel the effect. I was advised to apply the serum in the morning, underneath my daily moisturizer, and to notice the immediate softness to my skin after application. The smell is divine, my skin feels tighter and looks clear – I am yet to feel a huge difference to the larger pores on my forehead and chin, but I am hoping that will improve over the week. I am due to return to Boots on Thurs of next week, so I am hoping that because of my helpful participation they will offer me a bottle for free! Doubtful but I can pray, because this poor student cannot part with £50 for a 50ml bottle! A pound a millilitre people!

I’ll use my blog to keep my “Idealist” diary up-to-date – but so far no problems, just worries that a naive, push-over of a Julia will come over all gracious on Thursday and end up spending way too much money! Common sense hold me back please!

Peace! x

Scoliosis?……..Anyone?

When I look at my body in my full-length mirrors  I do not see a symmetrical frame. I do not see a hour-glass figure with perfect breasts and rounded hips. I do not see a potential athlete, gymnast, model. What I do see is scoliosis.

scoliosis Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, which, depending on the severity, can create a lopsided effect or even a deformed appearance. It is estimated that 80% of all scoliosis conditions arise in teenage girls, but most of these girls will never know about it. It is in no way a recent discovery, but it is certainly an under-publicised one.

Before I was diagnosed with the condition I had never heard of it. At the age of 12 I noticed I had a slightly raised hump on the right side of my back. It didn’t feel right. The first thing I did was tell my mum, who then swiftly got me a doctor’s appointment. After my GP told me it was an over-developed muscle,  I felt better. It wasn’t until I noticed that I could only feel a breast plate on one side of my torso that the bag of worries began to fill again. This time I was referred to the Royal Infirmary where I learned, after scans, x-rays and examinations, that I had a 27 degree curve called scoliosis. Neither me, my mum or, concerningly, my GP knew about scoliosis.

But I was lucky; I was living in the right place. The Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh is a centre for excellence in the treatment of scoliosis.

Some people aren’t so lucky; I spoke with Cynthia Klingman, from Washington State over Facebook, and she was told in 8th grade that she had finished growing and would no longer need her back-brace. Apparently there was nothing more that her doctor could do for her. Her curve then developed from a 42 degree curve into a 71 degree curve, which she has recently had surgery to correct. She is now thirty.

She feels that surgery was definitely the best option for her, but just wished that it had been offered to her sooner. She says, “As hard as the recovery may be, I know that had I not done this, I could be severely disabled in the next ten years the way my lower curve was trending. It’s a long recovery, but I see myself being able to go back to life with less pain by next year.”

Boston%20Brace It certainly isn’t reassuring that the medical ‘experts’ are still learning from their mistakes and are not fully sure how to deal with some scoliosis patients. Luckily, my curve did not need surgery, and was prevented from worsening by means of Boston back-brace, which I wore for nearly two years of my teenage life. Not an easy feat but something that I managed to deal with well, but in my own way. I felt embarrassed about my brace, and only told the people I truly trusted. I didn’t want everyone to know because I didn’t want to be treated like an outcast. During my brace-life I wasn’t aware of the number of girls with scoliosis, and I certainly didn’t know about the many support groups there are. Looking back, I now wish I had.

Facebook-icon A Facebook  page called ‘Scoliosis “How to Look Good Twisted”’ brings people with scoliosis together, and provides a safe-place for people to talk about their experiences. People who have undergone serious surgery, and are lying in hospital beds are able to access the page and express how they are feeling, This is so helpful for the people who are awaiting the same fate. Problem stories about misdiagnosis or unsuccessful treatment are not rare.  

But how can someone with, say, a 51 degree curve not know that they have scoliosis?

Teenage girls often feel very self conscious about their bodies. They are watching their bodies change naturally and if they notice something strange they may feel uncomfortable asking about it. Who would they talk to? They may be too scared to find out what has to be done to fix it. They may have other more important issues in their life. They may ignore it. The list goes on and on. The issue that is a cause for concern here is that the earlier the diagnosis, the more choices there are in terms of treatment.

I spoke with M from E. Anglia, an older woman who has had severe scoliosis all her life. She has impaired breathing because of her curve and has to use mechanical assistance whenever she sleeps. This means she misses out on things like travelling abroad, as quality of air on planes is not sufficient. She did not receive any treatment for her scoliosis, but is inspirational as she contributes to the Scoliosis Association, giving talks and sharing the knowledge she has with others.  sauk-logo She says, “The problem with adolescent onset of scoliosis is that it may not be spotted by the parents, and of course, you can’t really see your own back, can you? Also, people might decided not to bother the doctor, and just hope it will all go away. This type of scoliosis can progress very quickly, so they must be encouraged to seek medical advice as soon as possible.”

Before I started researching for this blog, I was unaware that scoliosis can affect breathing, pregnancy and also about the process of recovery for a person after having a spinal operation (this is still not a ruled out possibility for me) . Most importantly I learnt that every case of scoliosis is different, and I hope by writing this piece people will look out for scoliosis, be aware of what it is, understand those that have it and never postpone going to the doctor.

I was lucky to get the diagnosis when I did. Many people are not so lucky. If you look in the mirror and see what I see, please don’t just leave it. 

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