Sunday, 17 April 2016

You didn't think you could run 30km either

If you had asked the Kate of 2013 if she would ever have imagined that she'd be so anxious about a fun run she'd entered, she would think you were crazy.

There was a time just a couple of years previous to that, that I didn't ever imagine I'd consider entering a fun run, full stop!  But since then, of course, things changed, and weekends where I didn't have an event on, were rare.

Yet here I find myself, the night before my first event of this year, just that: anxious and apprehensive.

The fact that it's mid-April and this is my first event (other than parkruns) is strange in itself.

Like previous years, towards the end of 2015, I sat down with a beloved blank Excel spreadsheet and the Australian Running Calendar, and wrote down the dates of all of my chosen events to plan towards for 2016.  I wrote down the early bird entry fee cut off dates for each one, wrote down which distances I planned to do, then budget consciously went through the list again, colour coding each event by ones I definitely wanted to do, those that I wasn't 100% on, or probably couldn't do, and those that I couldn't do.  I then put them all in my calendar, and put the early bird entry fee cut off dates in my To Do list on my phone, that would send me reminders a week out.  #rungeek

I'm often pretty slack with entering events, and sign up the week before, which usually costs $10-$20 more.  I desired to be one of those runners who was money savvy and signed up before early bird prices ended.  With so much pre-planning and organising, I had no excuses, and I signed up for the first event for the year, the Resolution Run in January before the early bird cut off date. *thumbsupemoticon*

That was in October.

As the date loomed closer, apprehension started kicking in.  A small part of it was just due to my decreasing running and general fitness.  Thanks to my knee injury in February 2015, I hadn't done much running at all that year.  I also didn't exercise as much generally, and slowly but absolutely surely, my fitness decreased.  I was worried about making the cut off time, and battling whether to downgrade my distance and working out if I should run/walk/run.

But much, much moreso worrying me about fronting up to the Resolution Run, was social anxiety.  Because, you see, in the past, when I had been at my biggest, I would have huge social anxiety about being out in public.  I've talked on here before about how I'd avoid trains
Mish with a non socially anxious Kate
and crossing by foot at traffic lights, in front of stopped cars.  I sat on a couch with Mish Bridges in early 2014 and told her and an audience about how I'd hide behind poles in nightclubs when I was young: directly because of my weight.  I was at my most recent lightest at the time of this chat, and we spoke about how amazing it was then to feel comfortable enough to catch trains again, to do anything, because I felt confident.

And yet here I was again, getting more and more socially anxious, as the year got on.  

Now this is being 200% raw and honest here...but there was an exact moment where I knew it had gone too far.

It was the 2nd January this year, and I was in a busy area (West End in Brisbane), having coffee with a friend, Tracey.  We'd planned to go to a quiet cafe where tables are sort of hidden away, but it was closed because of the New Year holidays.

We ventured across the street and tried to choose another cafe.  We walked up and down a small section of the street, trying to choose, and the more time we spent, the more anxious I was getting.  I wasn't in a great head space that morning; I'd lost my wallet including all of my cards and $500 including Christmas present money, the night before, and I was a bit rattled and upset about it.  I wasn't wearing clothes I felt confident in, because I'd been out looking for my wallet that morning, and wasn't really thinking about my coffee date. So I already wasn't feeling crash hot.  Because we'd been planning to go to the quiet cafe (The Three Monkeys, for anyone in Brisbane who knows it) :)  I was expecting to just to slide in, to a quiet table out the back and catch up with Tracey.  I wasn't expecting to be walking up and down in front of a few cafes, with dozens of gorgeous young couples sitting outside, seemingly staring at me.

We chose another cafe, which happened to be very loud, and very, very packed.  As we walked in, I was following Tracey, and I found myself putting my hands up, to cover my eyes, like a freaking Kardashian or something.

Wow.  I wasn't hiding because the paparazzi would see me because I'm famous, I was hiding because strangers having all day breakfast would see me because I'm fat.

I shocked myself so much that day.  I never thought it'd get so bad that I'd feel the need to physically shield my face...

Anyway, this is sort of where I was at, the week before the Resolution Run (it was on the 10th January).

As it got closer to the 10th January, I considered pulling out.  There was no way I wanted to: I'd paid for it and it's one of my favourite events.  Of all the events I was considering bailing on, it was the one I'd actually been good enough to pay for so far in advance.  If only I was my usual slack self, I very well may not have registered yet.

I went to pick up my race pack the day before, thinking at least that way I still had both options open.  I downgraded from the 11km to the 5.5km while I was there, thinking that might help.

I deliberated all day and my stomach was just completely in knots.  I was so anxious.  I tried to picture myself at the event.  The running community is so small, and I knew I'd see so many friends and people I know.  I was worried how much my worsening fitness and lack of recent running would affect my speed, and getting up at the crack of dawn and standing in a large crowd with clothes that I was bursting out of was just not encouraging thoughts.

In the end, I decided not to go.  I reasoned that no event was worth that much anxiety, whether I'd paid for it or not.  It was the first year I'd missed it, since my first one in 2013, and I was disappointed, but a lot more comfortable and calm on the day thanks to my decision.

After that, I decided to think very carefully about paying early bird fees, wanting to make absolute sure that I'd want to do upcoming events.

I skipped a few other events I love doing: two Fun Run Pinks, International Womens Day Fun Run, Mooloolaba Twilight Run, and the Twilight Running Festival.  The last couple of months I've hidden away more than usual.  I haven't shielded my face since that week - don't worry - but still, I haven't been my usual self when it comes to events.  The more weight I put on, the less I want to get out and exercise.  

I've noticed myself getting more and more out of breath, and my fatigue issues I spoke about in my previous post have caused me to skip so many boot camps.  I usually go 3 times a week: this year I've been going once a week or once a fortnight.  I haven't done parkrun since late January because of this, too.  It's the least exercise I've done since 2012.

I feel (and am) huge and cumbersome, and the flexibility and fitness I had worked so hard for, is a memory.  I don't want people to see me at this weight, and the few (all black) clothes that still fit, are not at all flattering.  

I went to see The Sound of Music with my Dad on Thursday night, at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC, a large state theatre).  We were seated on the top balcony, and had to walk up a few flights of stairs to get to our door.  It truly wasn't many stairs at all, but I was so out of breath, that I was just about to make an excuse and tell Dad that I needed to catch the lift the rest of the way, when I realised we'd reached the top.  We were pretty early, and there was hardly anyone inside yet, so it was really quiet.  I tried to turn my body away from my Dad, so that he couldn't hear how heavy I was panting, as we sat down.  I was ridiculously breathless.

I saw some photos of a friend running at an event last week, and I shocked myself when my first thought when seeing the photos, was "wow.  I can't ever imagining doing something like that."  (Running in an event).

For someone who's done 83 events (I just checked my nerdy running spreadsheet), that's a bit of a shock to think that way.  And it's not me being negative: I can just truly not imagine myself being at a point where I could run a distance, like I saw my friend do.

Of course I intend to try anyway, and turn this all back around, but if you're in a similar boat to me, you'll understand, it feels like a humongous feat.

Enter my friend, Courtney.  I'd mentioned that the Gold Coast Bulletin Fun Run was the next event on my list, and we agreed to do it together.  To be completely honest (sorry Court, nothing to do with you), I didn't think much about it.  Even though I agreed, I was mindfully non-committed.  It felt like so far in the future (it was just last month), and maybe I even thought Court may not end up being able to make it or something.  

She then emailed me to say she'd entered.


So I entered.  

And it's tomorrow.  I'm actually not that anxious about it, I'm just a bit blah and apprehensive.  I'm worried about how I'll fair, considering my knees, my lack of recent running, my fitness, my breathlessness, my anxiety, my random sore ankle I have today (?) and the fact I had a lot of trouble walking today (fun back issues) and had to roll to stand up, and limped around.

I don't have to run, so I can walk it all if I want.  And another beautiful friend, Mel, saw my Instagram post the other day about how I was nervous, and she immediately texted me, signed up and said she'll stick with me the whole way. :)  So I'll have both Court and Mel by my sides: #teamawesome, so I'll be fine.  I have my all black clothes laid out :/  Even black underwear, bra and crop!

I haven't done this event before but have always meant to, so that's exciting.  And we checked: you do get a medal. :)

And I reasoned to myself before: it's *only* 5km - it's just parkrun!  It's not like I'm going out there to do a 10km or half, and have to run!  In saying that, my breathlessness of late with small distances could make 5km seem like a marathon!  But I'm sure it won't be too bad.

So I have calmed down a lot.  That's not to say I'm looking forward to it, but it's not like Resolution Run.

Maybe I've popped my 2016 event cherry by planning this tomorrow - because this week I also signed up for Mothers Day Classic, and got offered to be in the Singapore Airlines team for City2South, so I'm signed up to that, too.  With MDC, I'm doing the same that I did last year: their "I Can't Be There, But..." option.  It's so so so amazing that they do this: you can sign up, and do the event yourself, anywhere, at any time, with any distance, and they mail you your medal.  And it's a cheaper entry price, too!  MDC this year is the morning after my brothers
Court and I in my happier running times
wedding, and I'm on clean up and airport driving duties, so I reasoned it'd be too much for me to get out and participate in the Brisbane event.  And this option suits my social anxiety very much!  I joined the team Rina's Runners, for our friend Rina, for anyone reading this who knows of the team. :)  

And City2South is in June, so I have a few extra weeks to pep myself up for that.

I was telling my GP the other day about tomorrow's event, and how I was feeling about it.  I'd told her the week before about the time I ran my 30km event, and how I wrote on my hand: "You didn't think you could run 1km either" to help me get through the run.  Because at one stage I didn't think I could run 1km.

When I said how I was doubtful about my ability, my GP reminded me of what I wrote on my hand, and it was the best thing she could have said.

So tomorrow I'll remember, that I didn't think I could run 30km either, but I did.

And one day soon, I'll write on my hand "You didn't think you could walk 5km either".

I'll check in after the event.  Follow my Snapchat for the live feed. :)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Sleep study FAIL

As if I hadn't been poked and prodded enough the week earlier, last week I attended one of those overnight sleep studies.

It was never something I ever imagined I would need to do.  I've had sleeping issues off and on, but nothing that dramatic or long lived.  One of my 57 goals for this year is "Sleep more", and I've been doing what I can to work on that.  I've got a list of mini goals that comprises of
the usual things we all know, plus bits and pieces from research I've been doing.  (If you have trouble sleeping, I really liked this article).

Anyway, despite me actively working on this, I've been having issues.  I've been falling asleep between 2pm and 5pm.  It's only when I lie down (TV taping catch ups or on my laptop on the weekends) ie. if I'm active or even just sitting up, there's no issues at all. And then after 5pm, I can lie down to my hearts content, and not even be sleepy at 2am.

I've also been finding it incredibly difficult to get out of bed in the mornings.  I'm not a morning person whatsoever; I get completely motivated late at night - but even still, this waking up problem has been in overdrive; it's been quite out of character for me.  It doesn't matter if I've had 4 hours sleep or 10 hours, I can't seem to get up.  This hasn't helped my boot camp or parkrun attendance records - more on that in another post.  

But most of all, both things are just very frustrating, and strange.  Never before have I been the type to fall asleep just by lying down.  My Dad kindly suggested that I'm getting old.  Thanks Dad!  Yeah, I am, but I'm not that old!  And besides, the 2pm-5pm thing is suddenly new, and like clockwork.

I researched (aka Dr Googled) these symptoms and I matched myself up with Adrenal Fatigue.  It was a textbook diagnosis! ;)  The time of day and everything.  I mentioned it to my GP - but apparently Adrenal Fatigue isn't something that's believed in by the medical community - it's more something that a Naturopath or Homeopath would diagnose.

I didn't care about the symptoms having a label, I just thought it would give us a reason.  I just want to fix them.  She agreed I had some type of Fatigue, and gave me a referral for an overnight sleep study.

For some reason I didn't question the need for this, or ask about alternatives, I just went
along with it.  I think I had too many other health happenings that had priority focus to think too much about this.

I got an appointment, and then the day was here.  They didn't give many instructions at all.  I had to show up at 7:15pm, they would 'release' me at 5am, I could bring any alcohol I usually drink before bed (I don't drink lol), and I must be clothed in bed.  That last instruction was a-ok!  Lol, far out.

I Googled so much, trying to find out more info, but there wasn't much out there, including on the sleep study's website.  I just wanted to know what would happen and how it all worked, but I could hardly find anything.

All I knew about sleep studies were that they looked something like this:

TV shows and movies aren't far off, because this is what I looked like:

Just with bigger boobs

But in reality I didn't know what to expect, and was not looking forward to it. 

I hate with a passion staying the night outside of my own bed.  I avoid it at all costs and have done since I was a kid.  I don't let it control my life, ie I still go away etc., but as much as possible, I don't.  One thing I hate is having to bring everything along with me: clothes, toiletries, I hate hate it.  

Since I had to be up at 5am, I thought it'd be a perfect opportunity to go straight to boot camp.  So I turned up to sleep school dressed in my boot camp clothes, and brought nothing else.  I told myself I was just going to a doctor on my way to boot camp, but would
happen to lie down and sleep in between!  Not having to use the sleep study as a hotel (with packed clothes and toiletries) helped my mindset.

How did it go?  Well, you can read the short version, or the less short version of how my night unfolded.

Short version:

It.was.horrendous.  Use my experience as advice.  Never, ever do a sleep study.

Less short version:
I showed up, and a guy at the front desk asked for my questionnaire that I was meant to have pre-filled in.  I handed it over, and he said to come and sit with him behind the desk for a "nose test".  He hadn't said his name, who he was, what the nose test did, or anything.  I sat beside him and I had to put a mask (like an oxygen mask or CPAP mask shape, but with a rubber seal along the edges, and a stick inside with a bit of soft material of some sort on the end.  He said to stick the material stick up one nostril, and then press the mask over my nose and mouth, pushing hard to seal it, and then breathe in through the open nostril only.
The white box

Breathing through one nostril while covering the other and your mouth: this little exercise was not good for claustrophobia. :(  I started panicking and almost took it off, but I pushed through.  I had to then do the same with the other nostril.

He then showed me to my room, and asked what time I usually went to sleep.  I said 12am-1am, and he was horrified.  I said I'd try and go to sleep earlier of course, but I had to wonder, what they expect...?  It was 7:30pm....

He said the latest he could come in to 'hook me up' was 10:30pm, and he then said I was free to relax or watch TV or anything I wanted until then.  I would have preferred to be down the road, at home, for these 3 hours, but anyway!
It's just a work's just a work hotel

The room was pretty big, and it looked just like a hotel room, with a big TV and air con.  There were no walled windows with scientists in lab coats looking in, so I assumed there must have been cameras instead.  I wouldn't know, because the guy didn't tell me anything.  (I asked later and he said there were no cameras, they measured everything through the electrodes he would attach later).

I lay there, angry and hating the world, and told myself to just pretend I was in a hotel for work overnight.  I texted a friend who I know uses a CPAP machine, and who I'd expected had done sleep studies before.  She replied and said that she'd done hers at home.

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS WAS AN OPTION?!  I can't describe how angry I was all day
leading up, and while I was there - my control freak independence was feeling stifled - and then while I'm there, I find out you can do this at home??  Augh!
At 10:30pm, NNSA (No Name Sleep Analyst) came in and said he had to hook me up.  The only words he spoke were answering me when I asked if there were video cameras, and saying "4" when I asked how many sleep patients were there tonight.  


He put belts around the top and bottom of my chest, and then stuck an electrode to each leg.  He plugged the other ends into a white box thing, then handed me the white box and told me to follow him.  I had no idea where we were going.

We went to a First Aid looking room, and NNSA asked me to take my hair out.  I know it sounds petty and stupid, but I was so upset about this.  I'd braided my hair because I was sleeping, then going straight to boot camp, and then straight to work - I didn't bring a brush - braiding takes time - I don't like being told what to do with my hair haha - just no, dammit!  If he'd explained why he wanted me to take it out, I would have understood.  In the moment it kind of felt like this was my only controlled thing, and now it was being compromised.  Fine, I'll come to a sleep study, I'll sleep in a strange bed, you can measure my breathing or whatever, but you can't make me take out my hair!!!!

I thought maybe it was because tiny bits of hair were in my face, so I asked him if he wanted me to pull my hair back with my hands.  He said "no, just take your hair out".  Begrudgingly, I took it out, still not knowing why it was needed.  On the inside I felt like my 3 year old niece looks when I make her let me put her hair up!  Us girls are very protective of our hair!

One of the two belts

He then said he was going to scrub my skin to get rid of dead skin cells, so that the electrodes would stick better.

Man, I wish my blog allowed me to use emoticons...

He used the word "scrub" correctly.  He scrubbed the shit out of my dead skin cells alright!  He scrubbed so hard that my skin felt red raw.  He started on my forehead, and then scrubbed at certain points all over my face, and then all through my scalp (that's why he needed my hair taken out - I wouldn't have minded if he'd told me!)

It was hurting so much - if I wasn't so built up angry about the whole night, and perhaps a little more emotional, I could have cried.  He pressed so hard.  About 20 spots all over my face and scalp.

Stupid blue plastic thing
He then got hot wax / glue, and individually attached the end of about 20 electrodes and stuck them to my head, in the places he'd scrubbed.  The other ends went into the white box.

He then got soft plaster looking "stickers", and pressed them over the hot wax glued electrodes on my raw skin, to help secure them.  He was putting the stickers all through my hair.  I asked if they'd pull my hair out in the morning, and he said no, that my hot shower would take them out easily.

I said I was going straight to work (via BC)...he was a bit astounded and said that I needed to have a shower!  He said they had a shower there that I could use, and I said I didn't bring a towel or any toiletries, because I wasn't told I would need said shower.... Grrr the instructions for this place really need to be revised!

After about an hour of scrubbing and hot wax Tuesday night fun, NNSA walked me and the white box back to my room, put some kind of monitor on my finger, some tubes up my nose, and another tube with a stupid blue plastic thing that hung over my mouth.  He told me to lay still, placed a walkie talkie next to my shoulder/face, and told me to follow his instructions.  He left the room and through the walkie talkie, told me to do things on command, like look side to side, cough, move my legs, clench my jaw, things like that.

He came back to get the walkie talkie, and said to go to sleep!  I asked if I could move around with all of the cords, because I'm a really restless sleeper, and he said yes, but to try and spend at least 1 hour in each position.  Eg. an hour on my back, an hour on each side, so that he could get good readings.

I said ummm I'll be asleep....I won't know what I'm doing.  He said he'd come in and tell me.  I didn't argue that I would have already have moved by the time he told me not to....

He left my room around 11:30pm.  I was hating every minute.  That stupid blue plastic thing was leaning on my mouth, the cords were bumpy on the back of my head, and I wanted my own bed.

I tried to go to sleep about 1am, and... couldn't. 

I told myself the sooner I get to sleep, the sooner I'll be able to get out of that place.  I tried everything I could do (within the limitations of being attached to 20+ electrodes) but I was just wide awake.

Every time I opened my eyes, I could see a light flashing.  And that stupid blue plastic thing resting on my lips was grating my nerves.  If NNSA had any microphones hooked up, he would have heard me swearing.

I considered quitting, and going home.  I dearly wanted to, but I kept telling myself that I may as well try to get some benefit from it, and not put all the head scrubbing and hot wax gluing to waste.

But try as I might, I couldn't sleep.  There was an intercom next to my bed, and I buzzed NNSA at 2:50am, and he came into my room.  I said that I couldn't sleep, and asked him what the minimum time was that they needed people to sleep for, to be able to get data.  He said 5 hours.  Seeing as he was supposed to be waking me up in a little over 2 hours, I asked him if there was any point me being there still.  He said that they could still get some data from 2 hours, even though the minimum was 5....


So I continued to try.  I gave myself a time limit; if I hadn't slept by 3:45am, I was walking out.  I'd given up on boot camp by then, but I still had to work.  I can cope with 3 hours sleep, but cannot do 1 hour.

I closed my eyes again, try try try...nope.  I continued to open my eyes, getting more annoyed by the flashing light, so uncomfortable with the electrodes digging into the back of my head, counting the hours left.  I wondered if NNSA could read my thoughts.  The electrodes on my legs had been accidentally pulled off for ages.  I kept telling myself to try and just get 1 hour; make this horrendous experience somewhat worthwhile...

I yanked the stupid blue plastic thing to rest on my nose instead of my lips, thinking they could have designed these tubes better!  What a waste of plastic.  At one stage through the night, I picked up my phone and Googled "sleep study can't sleep" and found many identical stories to mine.  In one of them it explained the importance of that stupid blue plastic thing, in that it was to measure breathing from the mouth....  Whoops!  I pulled it back down.

3:45am rolled around and I buzzed NNSA again, and I quit / he kicked me out at 4am, after he'd unhooked me.  He left all the stickers in my hair, and wax / glue all over my face.  There's no way I could have gone straight to boot camp or work!  I took this delightful selfie as I left the place:
Ready for boot camp and work!

I said goodbye as I walked past the office where NNSA sat, and he barely looked up.  I drove home and showered and washed my hair 3 times, and slept 5am-9am, in my own bed that had never felt so comfortable, and went to work late.

I was so tired that night, and went to bed around 7:30pm.  I was so, so mad.  What a waste of two nights.  And I didn't even have any data to make it worthwhile!  NNSA said I'd still get a report, but I doubt there'll be any revelating results on there, considering I didn't sleep at all.  I sleep better in loud hospitals and uncomfortable planes.

I might try and do the test at home, I'll see what my GP says next time I'm there.  But there is no, no way in the world I will ever do one of those tests again.  Obviously, a couple of weeks later, I've calmed down about it, but the horrendousness at the time was real. :)

My Mum thinks it's just that my circadian rhythm is out of whack.  She's probably right; I sleep 4-5 hours, and then one 10 hour sleep on the weekend if I can.  I go to bed so late, because I'm so highly motivated late at night.  It's pretty obvious when I now think of it.... I wish I'd spoken to my Mum before my GP!

At least I got some interesting selfies from my annoying night, so not all was lost. ;)

Saturday, 9 April 2016

When seat belts don't fit

One of the things I've been wanting to share with you lately, is something that at the time I thought I'd just keep between myself and a couple of friends, because it's entirely embarrassing.  But I will share here though - this is about The Seat Belt Situation.

I've mentioned seat belts dozens of time across my social media since embarking on this weight loss journey.  I'm talking specifically, aeroplane seat belts.  In short:

Before I lost weight, plane seat belts would be so tight on me that it'd leave semi-permanent red marks across my tummy.  When they were just too tight and I just couldn't hack it, I'd undo it and drape a huge cardie or jumper over the top to hide.

As I lost weight, the seat belts fit better.  I would delight as the flappy bit at the end
Technical term: "Flappy Bit" noun
of seat belts grew longer and longer
, the more kilos I dropped.  I shared photo after photo on Insta, and have dozens more on my phone.  I said to myself that I think it will never 'not be' a novelty.  I'll be 86 and will have a secret little smile to myself when I do up a seat belt with ease, with room to move.  Things like that I don't think you'll ever stop appreciating.

As I've started putting on weight again, the flappy bit has slowly gotten shorter and shorter in length...

A few weeks ago, I flew to Sydney for the day.  The flappy bit has been long gone, and I was expecting to have a tight fit of the belt.  I breathed in, didn't do up.

I was the first passenger on the plane, which was helpful.  Even still, I turned around to check no-one was watching.  I sat back, as deep into my seat as I could, breathed in again, and pulled.


I tried again, raising a sweat and my heart rate, but it wouldn't reach.

The dread spilled over me.  It had actually happened.  The seat belt wouldn't do up.  I was horrified, as even at my biggest, it would always do up.  I may have not been able to breathe, but it would do up.
Row 29

I took this photo and sent it to my friend.  (It reached a bit closer than the photo: I needed 3 hands to show just how close it was).  I couldn't believe it.

I then realised - it was probably where I was seated!  On some aircraft types, the seats are narrower the further down the back of the plane you sit.  I was in Row 29!  If the seats are narrower, then the seat belts could be smaller.  Maybe?

I went with that, anyway.  It made me feel the tiniest bit better.  I tried to relax, as I was seated in Row 19 that afternoon.  It only *just* didn't do up in Row 29, so I should be sweet in 19!

I tried to just relax and keep smiling, but on the inside it was like someone had punched me.  (Well if you think of it metaphorically, I had punched myself)....

My day itself was a bit upsetting.  In between flights, I had to don safety gear, including a white coat - like a lab coat or factory coat.  I was with a group of people and they gave us a big pile of coats to wear.  I tried to be inconspicuous while I furiously scanned my eyes over the size of the coats before anyone smaller got their hands on them.  I chose what at mega quick glance appeared to be the biggest coat, and I put it on.  

It went on, but the buttons didn't do up, but I kept looking busy and like I hadn't noticed.  It went on, and that's all that mattered.  I had a high vis safety vest underneath, and my normal clothes of course.  The white coat didn't do up, but it was on.  I silently hoped it wasn't supposed to do up (safety wise), and carried on putting on steel capped boots etc.

About 5 min. later, the lady who was in charge, walked past and handed me another white coat.  It was a flurry of activity in the room so no-one would have noticed if she had, but even still, she didn't say a word or even make a face.  She looked into my eyes only and kept walking to help other people in my group.

I looked down, and the coat said "XL".  This beautiful lady is a fair bit larger than myself, so I instantly realised she got it.  She had quietly left the room and gone to fish out this bigger one for me.  She didn't need to say anything, it was an unspoken thing.  While joking around with the group, I swapped coats, and gratefully did up the buttons on the new one, that now did up.

I was so completely grateful for this lady.  I was crushed having two "I've put on weight reminders" in a space of a few hours, but I just sucked it up and cried a bit on the inside, and just focused on how grateful I was for what she did.

Row 8: love
That afternoon I headed back to the airport and jumped aboard for my Row 19 seat.  Which surely would have done up...

It did, just. 

The following week, I again flew to Sydney, again for the day.  I was seated in Row 8 in the morning and Row 10 in the afternoon, so I wasn't too worriedHoping I could leave the Row 29 incident as a distant memory, I jumped aboard, and Row 8 did up.  It may have cut off my blood circulation, but it did up.

Coming back that afternoon, I was really not concerned.  Row 19 did up, Row 8 did up, Row 10 surely would, too.

It didn't.

*insert expletives here*

How?  Why?  What?  Seriously?

My row / seat belt length theory was squashed - either that or I happened to have been very bloated the morning of Row 29 and the afternoon of Row 10. :/

I (unexpectedly) happened to know the person sitting next to me, and she was there already when I got onboard, so it probably didn't help that we were chatting away while I was trying to do my belt up.  There was a limit to how much I could breathe in, pant and fight the belt, while trying to appear calm and at ease chatting, while I attempted to buckle myself up.

My theory was further disproved the following week, when I flew to Sydney again, in Row 27 going there, and in Row 8 coming back: and both times it did up.

Anyway - whether it doesn't do up or it *just* does, either way it's a sure sign reminder that I have to continue pushing away and never give up.  

It doesn't make this kind of thing feel any better, knowing that it's your own doing.  If anything, it makes it feel worse.

I've made no progress in the past few weeks - depending on how you look at it, I've gone backwards.  But I haven't given up.  And one day soon, I'll be posting photos proudly on here once again, with flappy bits everywhere.