I’ve started something that many people do at the beginning of the year for a week or two, maybe three if they’re really dedicated to it. Yes, I’ve joined the gym. Why have I done this seven months into the year? Well, it’s due to a number of things. One, I’m tired of having a silhouette resembling Alfred Hitchcock. Two, some customers have said that I’m tubby and that the exercise of going up and down the stairs in the pub might shift a few pounds. Three, my podiatrist told me I was damaging my feet being “seriously obese”. Four, I had a heart scare the other month, resulting in a ambulance ride to A&E. Five, I’m going to be topless later on in the year,when I start visiting the swimming pool.
That being said, I’ve set out a plan of going to the gym three times a week first thing in the morning, when there aren’t many people in the gym. I start with around half an hour on the treadmill while listening to the latest episode of my favourite podcast. This is a great way to clear the backlog of podcasts and to get my heart rate going. Then I hit the weights and work on my arms, legs and abs. Once I’ve got this routine going I’m planning to go to the gym Mon-Fri Tuesday and Thursday would be just using the treadmill only, until I can swim (I can’t yet as I have a new tattoo).
I have also stopped my habit of just eating junk and eating three to four times a day, I’m now eating two meals – one main and one sandwich-type meal. I’ve cut out the sugar-loaded fizzy drinks and sweets that I love, and I drink an average of seven pints of no added sugar orange and pineapple squash per day.
I’m not sure I can see any difference in my appearance, though Mrs Bob can. I can’t, however, deny the facts and the facts are I’ve dropped a couple of kilos in the first week which I’m happy with. After getting the equivalent weight in sugar out of the cupboard to see, I am pleased that its actually quite a loss.
So let’s see if I can get myself back into shape, well a shape other than round. I’ll keep you posted as to my progress on here, wish me luck guys and girls
Stay Safe X
Many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty processing everyday sensory information that most neurotypical people take for granted. Any of the senses may be over or under-sensitive, or both, at different times. These sensory differences can affect our behaviour, and can have a profound effect on a person’s life.
Sometimes an autistic person may behave in a way that you wouldn’t immediately link to sensory sensitivities. A person who struggles to deal with everyday sensory information can experience sensory or information overload. Too much information can cause stress, anxiety and sometimes physical pain. This can result in withdrawal, challenging behaviour or as a worst-case scenario, a meltdown. These issues and senses are as follows, but not limited to:-
- Objects appear quite dark, or lose some of their features.
- Central vision is blurred but peripheral vision quite sharp.
- A central object is magnified, but objects on the periphery are blurred.
- Poor depth perception; problems with throwing and catching; clumsiness.
Things that might help include the use of visual supports or coloured lenses, although there is very limited research/evidence for such lenses.
- Objects and bright lights can appear to jump around.
- Images may fragment.
- Easier and more pleasurable to focus on a detail rather than the whole object.
- Difficulty getting to sleep as sensitive to the light.
- Light hurting your eyes or causing headaches
- May only hear sounds in one ear, the other ear having only partial hearing or none at all.
- May not acknowledge particular sounds.
- Might enjoy crowded, noisy places or bang doors and objects.
You could help by using visual supports to back up verbal information, and ensuring that other people are aware of the under-sensitivity so that they can communicate effectively. You could ensure that the experiences they enjoy are included in their daily timetable, to ensure this sensory need is met.
- Noise can be magnified and sounds become distorted and muddled.
- May be able to hear conversations in the distance.
- Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.
- Some people have no sense of smell and fail to notice extreme odours (this can include their own body odour).
- Some people may lick things to get a better sense of what they are.
Smells can be intense and overpowering. This can cause toileting problems.
Dislikes people with distinctive perfumes, shampoos, etc.
- Likes very spicy foods.
- Eats or mouths non-edible items such as stones, dirt, soil, grass, metal, faeces.
- This is known as pica.
- Finds some flavours and foods too strong and overpowering because of very sensitive taste buds. Has a restricted diet.
- Certain textures cause discomfort – may only eat smooth foods like mashed potatoes or ice-cream.
- Some autistic people may limit themselves to bland foods or crave very strong-tasting food. As long as someone has some dietary variety, this isn’t necessarily a problem. Find out more about over-eating and restricted diets.
- Holds others tightly – needs to do so before there is a sensation of having applied any pressure.
- Has a high pain threshold.
- May be unable to feel food in the mouth.
- May self-harm.
- Enjoys heavy objects (eg weighted blankets) on top of them.
- Smears faeces as enjoys the texture.
- Chews on everything, including clothing and inedible objects.
You could help by:
- For smearing, offering alternatives to handle with similar textures, such as jelly, or cornflour and water.
- For chewing, offering latex-free tubes, straws or hard sweets (chill in the fridge).
- Touch can be painful and uncomfortable – people may not like to be touched and this can affect their relationships with others.
- Dislikes having anything on hands or feet.
- Difficulties brushing and washing hair because head is sensitive.
- May find many food textures uncomfortable.
- Only tolerates certain types of clothing or textures.
Today, I’ve done something that, just a few short months ago, I never thought I would do. “What did you do?” I hear you ask. Bungee? Abseil? A parachute jump?
Hell, no. This is much worse than all those things combined. I went to a local literary festival called “Ways with Words”. They had a ticket-only event called a Poetry Breakfast, which was essentially a group of poetry lovers reading their favourite pieces of poetry in an ‘open mic’ format. I bought two tickets.
This was the first event like this I had ever been to, and it was also the first time I’d ever read a piece of my work in public. I took two pieces with me – one from my last anthology, Scribblology V2 and one from my upcoming third anthology (which has two working titles, “The Grand Leveller” or “The Black Lodge” but that is still up in the air).
The main thing is that I managed to stand up in front of the mic and read confidently. I’m so proud of myself for managing to take this step, and as a result I’m now looking at other events and competitions. I’ve even offered to appear on a podcast that had asked for submissions and have been asked to guest on another podcast about autism, so I guess this ride has finally started for me.
As with every expedition or journey, it begins with those first tentative steps in the right direction. The only thing holding me back is fear or doubt, but I’ve learned that these chains will keep you captive unless you break free. So, grab your emotional bolt cutters like I have, break free and join me on your own version of my rollercoaster!
Stay Safe X