One step forward, two steps back

Judith Wills / 11 April 2014

After a bout of labyrinthitis, diet blogger Judith Wills finds that the effects of ageing can sometimes make it harder to stick to an exercise and healthy eating regime.

The diet and health plan was all going quite well until last Sunday, when I swung my legs out of bed for a bathroom visit around 3a.m. And nearly fell to the floor, hit by a huge wave of dizziness. I staggered around like the proverbial drunken sailor (having not had a drop to drink the previous evening) with the room and the darkness spinning around and truly making me feel like I was on an old sailing ship.

Back in bed, every time I moved my head the feeling returned and I lay, worried and sleepless as I knew exactly what it was, having had it before around 10 years ago. Labyrinthitis. All sufferers will know how debilitating it can be – and this week it has ensured that I have been unable to exercise and have done very little office work. I haven't felt like cooking so we've been living on our rural version of fast food – a pizza in the freezer, intended for Son who then didn't want it; a frozen fish pie which was the surplus from a family dinner, and so on. Oh, and bread and baked potatoes and pasta – all the quick things I've been trying to cut back on for the last couple of months. The only good news is that the condition really puts you off alcohol – so it's just tea and water for me, for now.

There's not really much of a cure with labyrinthitis – usually it just fades away after a few weeks or so with each vertigo attack becoming a bit less severe, is the hope. The doctor offered me seasickness pills last time but I couldn't take them as they make my brain too dopey to do any work.

Oh, sometimes I hate getting older. Not that this condition is the preserve of the elderly, but as I've aged it does seem more difficult to stay on top of one's health and fitness – that old one step forward, two steps back.

Wild cherry treeBut I'm not going to let it get me down. I know it will go. And I'm sitting here typing, so that's a good sign. Also, I managed to go into our little paddock/orchard area this morning where the huge wild cherry tree is in full magnificent blossom, which can't fail to bring joy.

And a kind neighbour has brought us in two local mutton – yes mutton, not lamb – shanks which I think I will be able to slow cook tomorrow with onions, garlic, herbs and some of the wine we've been saving (cooking drives off the alcohol so that's fine). I'll do a photo next week.

One thing I did manage to read was a review of the most widely available vegetable juice drinks, which have been gaining in popularity in recent years. So just in case you are, reluctantly, wondering if you should join the veggie-drinking hipsters for your health's sake, if not for your palate, you may be pleased to know that my deep-rooted dislike of juice of all kinds is well-founded. The tested juices had much higher sugar content than you'd ever imagine (often containing added sugar to make them palatable) and can also be high in salt. As I've said for many years, juicing removes most of the fruit's fibre and is a poor man's way to get your plants. Eat them all whole – and drink water. Next week I'll tell you some of my favourite ways to get more veggies in your diet and actually enjoy them.

Follow Judith's diet and wellbeing blog by subscribing to our free fortnightly health newsletter.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.