Finding Clothes to Fit and Getting Fit

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Dealing with Obstacles, Denial is Deeply Rooted | 263 Comments

Week of August 23, 2011:

Since I ate 400 calories over my high calorie limit and I was way over on my sodium, I was not sure what to expect when I weighed in. I did walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes in one session in the evening but I still expected that I might show a “sodium-induced” gain. Much to my surprise, I even lost a little bit more. I weighed 258.8 lbs. This was before I had even had a morning BM too. After I had lunch, I actually not only went once but also ended up going two additional times. I had a lot of cooked cabbage mixed in with some fat free kosher beef franks  (one of my “new favorites”)  and carrots for  lunch and all that roughage really did a number on my lower intestines.

However, I got dressed. P and I went to GPC. It was the first day of fall semester. Oy! It was crowded everywhere. However, it seemed to run rather smoothly, certainly a lot different than ATC. According to the woman I spoke with, she believed that I would get financial aid including a small Pell grant!! I had to do some walking and my knees tolerated it quite well, to my surprise. When I left there I really felt like I could have hope that this could work out. The admissions rep suggested that I apply for spring semester which begins in January. I was okay with that. I really didn’t want to “suddenly” have to make the transition to being full time student within a matter of days. As I told P on the way to Wal-mart, I felt like I could actually walk this campus by then, including without my cane (or at least all of the time) if I continue to lose weight and strengthen my legs. I wouldn’t feel the physical barrier that large spaces have been to me in the past couple of years. In fact, we walked all over Wal-mart and took our time. I wasn’t exhausted when I left there. After we prayed our nightly LOTH and another rosary towards our 54 day novena, I even got on the treadmill and walked for 20 minutes non-stop. Now, that does bother my right leg but I think it is because I have to really use effort to keep on the moving tread. I wonder if I would feel this way if I were walking on solid ground. Anyway, I managed to walk the equivalent of 3 miles or 6000 steps. Amazing! I can’t even remember the last time I was able to do that. Again, I didn’t feel like I was also dragging that “extra 43 lbs” that I have managed to lose in the past year.

While I was standing there in line at the admissions office; I won’t say that I felt tiny, because I’m not, but I didn’t look half bad in the cut off knit pants and form fitting t-shirt I was wearing. By winter, I should be able to walk without a cane (most of the time) and I should be able to get around a lot easier. Immediately, I began to ponder on what I would wear as a full time student going to day classes along with kids that are my twin nieces’ age. Well, as long as I don’t try to “act their age” or “act like their Mother”, I will be okay. January is our coldest month here so I probably will be wearing jeans, turtlenecks and a short jacket. I also think that active wear still could be a “safe bet”. Depending on our income by then, maybe I can scour the thrift stores and Old Navy for some appropriate clothes. It would be awesome if I could be 30-40 lbs less by January. That would bring me very close to 200 and with me working out like I am, I will be a lot more fit as well. The best foot I can put forward is to be myself and just relate to each of my peers as just that–my peers, at least while I am in school.  It could be fun and after all more than likely these will be my peers when I am out there in the work force. I can only imagine! (eyes rolling and a little chuckle)

I logged my food for the day. I was able to get under 2000 calories which is my daily goal for this week. Since I got up so late I didn’t even bother to eat breakfast. I just went straight to eating lunch and then I counted McD’s as dinner so I had quite a bit of calories left over to eat for the rest of the night. I didn’t really get hungry again until around 9 p.m. so, as I have been doing for the past week or so, I began eating up the “leftovers”. Can I do this everyday? Well, I don’t know. I just want to be able to try anyway since I will eventually have to get used to eating a whole lot less as I go down the scales. I didn’t have any “spread” and, once again, I was surprised to see that my fat intake was much lower. I am also finding out that if I eat a lot less fruit, I am less hungry as well. Again, it gets back to what spikes your blood sugar.  I am really discovering all kinds of things as I move through this process. I do need to remember that when I am eating more baked goods, which I have been doing in the past month or so, I am also eating more (trans) fat because of the margarine I am using so I need to be mindful of that as well.

Another reason why I would like to wait until winter is that I would really like to have lost enough weight where all of these habits will have really become fully engrained. It is going to take a lot of stamina to be a student and possibly work part-time as well. I do think that I will be able to bring a lot of the food that I both make and eat with me so I am not gaining weight by eating from the vending machines. Now, they have these book bags that are on wheels. We bought one for P last year and he uses it for some of his tools for his work. I could pack a lunch and a couple of healthy snacks, put a cold pack in with it then just buy a soda or a bottle of water. I know the pitfalls of school cafeterias and vending machines and I don’t want to undo all of the work that I have worked so hard at.

8/24/11:

In the past week or so, I have gotten into the habit of  going to bed around 2:30 a.m. every night. Then, I get up anywhere between 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. I guess, there’s no harm to that since I really don’t have anything planned for the day most of the time.

So, in the meantime, I am trying to “catch fire” on going through my existing clothes and getting that whole “project” finished. I have been trying on some of the clothes that I was unsure about how they fit me. I am pleasantly surprised by some of the things so far. I am giving away my favorite denim jacket which is kind of hard since that was always my “security blanket” that I wore over everything when the weather was cooler. I tried on a really “polished” looking (and I think it was kind of expensive, I don’t remember the exact cost but the construction and fabric tell me it was close to $100) camel-colored outer coat. For this climate, I could pretty much wear it from the cooler nights of late fall up to the early spring. It is big on me now when I recall it being tight on me before even though it was a size 3X. [Now, some catalogs have a size 22-24 as their 3Xs, which is what I think this is] I was very pleasantly surprised on that! It is machine washable so I could try to wash it on hot water and then have it dried at the laundromat. I won’t do that though until it gets much cooler so that when I do that and it “responds” I won’t nix myself out of a really nice “dressy” outer coat to wear.

I also shortened two ankle-length skirts. One I have never worn simply because it was too tight. Sizing has changed in the past 4-5 years. Now, a 4X is a 26/28 and a 3X is a 22/24. It used to be a 26/28 for a 3X. I am not sure why this change came about. I do see a lot of people who write reviews on the online sites “complain” about this all the time. Now that I am aware of this anything new that I buy I buy one size larger especially if the style is more form fitting.

With the right kind of blouse or sweater these skirts could really do well throughout the late fall and winter months. One thing that I really need to do is start “investing” in some belts so that I can belt some of these blouses and lighter sweaters to take some of the “bulkiness” out of them and show my emerging waistline. I think, I am really going to enjoy dressing up this fall/winter season a lot. FINALLY, many of the clothes that have been hanging there for several years are going to be worn. Last night, I tried on a black short sleeve dress I had bought a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize that it was made from 100% silk. It is a 24WP. I was expecting that I would need to hem that as well but it actually had the right proportions for me. I do remember reading somewhere that if you have a short waist one way to get a better fit in clothes is to buy from the Petite line. Well, they were right. This was the correct length; just below my knees, and it fit really nice through the waist. It was a tad tight through the abdomen area but if I wore a really good control top pantyhose and/or lost another 10+ lbs it would be no problem.  By the time I might need to wear it, I think this “minor” problem should remedy itself. I was considering on removing the short sleeves though just because I think sleeveless would look dressier still but I will wait until it is time for me to actually wear it. I think that by the time I finished really going over my the clothes in my closet I am really going to enjoy wearing what is left.

Although I initially was going to give away my long black leather coat, I have decided to keep it (at least for this coming season). It is very narrow through the body [which will mean it will take a lot more weight for it to actually be baggy on me] and it will keep me warm during the really cold months this winter. I do need to replace the buttons [which I was in the process of doing last year] but that is an “easy fix” and it is well made. In fact, I may even want to reconsider giving it away period. After I lose all the weight, I might even want to “invest” in having it altered.

The shorter leather coat is still tight on me. What gives? I am afraid that will probably take another 15-20 lbs before it starts to seem “loose” [read:comfortable] on me. However, it is a keeper for the winter months. There were times last winter that I wore my denim jacket simply because that fit better when I would have prefered to wear the shorter black leather coat. Now, FINALLY, I should be able to wear that instead. Both of those really have a thick padding also! I never realized that before. Again, it goes to show you how well things were made “back then” (I bought the long coat in 1997 and the short one in 1999). Again, I usually go for less trendy and more classic styles so how old they are isn’t as much of a problem.

I also just tried on a sleeveless black sheath dress that I used to wear quite a bit when I first met P. Quite frankly, I didn’t have a lot of clothes “back then”.  However, I got tired of wearing it as an ankle-length dress (once again, what is with all of the larger sizes always being ankle length?), especially here where it is usually is warmer more than it is cold. I shortened it a couple of years ago when I was trying to figure out a way to wear something black for a Christmas party. Well, I was still carrying a lot of extra weight, especially through my middle. To say the least, shorter dresses on “apple” figures are not flattering at all. I felt like one of those chubby dolls with ringlets.

I held my breath as I was trying it on because I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was expecting that to be the case today but, once again, as a result of losing 43 lbs (so far) it has “dropped” in length by a good 4-5″!!! I am going to put a really small hem in it (maybe tonight) and then I will have a black sleeveless sheath dress to wear for “when the occasion arises” and I need to. The fact that this is a lighter weight knit material is also an “added bonus” during the hotter months. Actually, when I think about it, what a “gold mine” I discovered with finding this stuck in the back of my closet. It would really come in handy right now. Although I am not certain whether we will be attending a funeral this coming Friday(P may not be able to get off work), I now actually have something is both appropriate for the occasion, the weather and my size!! That hasn’t happened very often in the past for me, that is for sure. I think in baseball they call that a “Triple Play”.

Well, ideally, that will be with everything that will end up in my closet. I will have the right outfit for the occasion, weather and my size. This is a “big deal” for me since more often than not that was one of the deciding factors in why I declined to go somewhere. If I had had enough sleep and my joints weren’t bothering me too much then if I didn’t have something that I felt comfortable wearing, I would end up not going. Well, hopefully, when I finish with all of this, I will have crossed that off as one of the “reasons” why I turn down social occasions.

I was sharing these thoughts with my BDG and one of them later commented that they thought that was “interesting”. I am never sure how to read what “interesting” means so I am not sure what that person meant. Any one who has had to struggle with not having the right garment for the right occasion, weather and their size not to mention deal with having social anxiety then simply would not know what I “meant” by my comments.  If you have, then you do.

Once again, to my surprise, I found yet another dress (which I never worn) that would also be appropriate to wear to a funeral (if P can go and I decide to go along with). This is a heavier knit but it has a real nice drape to the skirt part of the dress. It is v-necked with butterfly sleeves. It feels stretchy when I put it on. The original length is not bad, it hits me mid-calf but in the interest of losing more weight, I decided to shorten that by 3″. I decided to stop there since I now have 5 separate items to hem, which will keep me busy for the next several days.

Well, “mystery of mysteries”, I am gaining weight the past couple of days rather than losing like I was doing so well there for two weeks. I took a look at the amount of calories and the sodium I have been having, which I think is the main reason. Monday and yesterday were both within my recommended calorie range. Well, I have four days before I weigh in “officially”.  I will do all I can to nudge those numbers downward. It wouldn’t be surprising if I stayed the same given the fact that I lost almost 10 lbs the first two weeks but to gain is something I wasn’t expecting, especially in light of the amount of exercising that I have done in the past couple of days. I mean, Monday was fantastic that I walked 3.0 miles total!! I haven’t done that in so long that I can’t even remember when. Although I wasn’t very hungry yesterday and I really didn’t feel like actually fixing a decent meal, I still made sure that I ate at the bottom of my recommended calorie range. I thought that was important so that I wouldn’t have this wide swing in both appetite and calories and, ultimately, have difficulty getting “centered” again. It is very tempting to “starve it out” or over-exercise when the numbers go up on the scales but I want to develop a “sane relationship” with the scale, my weight and my body image. So, again, I am going to aim for the lower range of my recommended calorie range, continue doing my “planned” exercising and try to drink more water in the next four days and, hopefully, this will correct itself by Monday. If it doesn’t by Wednesday then I will really have to take a look at what else might be happening; like, could it be premenstrual bloat, muscles “swelling” or just not enough water (instead of all the diet soda I drink instead?).

I made a big breakfast which took me awhile to finish. It was “big”. I decided to adapt the “classic buttermilk” pancake mix from a 40 year old cookbook to a healthier version. I used organic whole wheat pastry flour and honey instead of table sugar although I kept the 2% milk for the nominal fat content. It wasn’t bad although I managed to almost burn them. I also did a “repeat” with the ground turkey patties: seasoned it to taste like pork sausage (although not as greasy but just as tasty) and had eggs. That should keep me quite full for some time today.

Wishful thinking takes over and I start daydreaming about how much I could “possibly” lose by the end of this Buddy Challenge. One number “flashed” in my eyes: 243 lbs.  Of course, that is 15 lbs “south” of what I weighed this past Monday. That would be 25 lbs total then for 8-9 weeks. It is possible but I would really have to bring my calories down to the lower level and I would really have to work out even harder than I am now. Well, ideally, I would like to lose 40 lbs by Christmas. I don’t know why I chose that. I guess, it shows that I am losing without it seeming like I could be slacking.  Well, as I said, I will follow my body’s “lead” as to what I can actually do physically since that is more than half the battle. Ideally, I will be walking 30 minutes 6x a week within the next month and a half. Coupled with eating healthy and less should bring about the results that I hope to achieve. Again, it would be a dream if I could push pass 200 and get into Onederland for the New Year’s. It would definitely be a testimony to how well I do through the holidays though.

I pulled out a few more clothing items to either give away or to put in my “alteration” pile. I have just a few more things to try on and then I will be done with the fall/winter dressier clothes that I have hanging in the closet. I am seeing quite a bit of space so I hope that I can put as much of my clothes that are in the plastic bins hanging up. I think between losing weight and having them there in front of me I will be more apt to wear some of them. I used to really enjoy getting dressed up but after I really got past a size 22/24, it became more of a chore. As I became heavier, I also began to withdraw more. Then, when my arthritis started flaring up and I was in chronic pain, I became a recluse. It seemed to happen so uneventfully that I didn’t notice until I started seeing that I was getting out of this apartment twice a month. It is a wonder I am not stark raving mad. Like many things in life that seem to evolve on their own, it just plain happens.

I am hoping that now with losing what I have, I will rekindle my love of clothes again. I think that I have enough clothes right now that should see me through just about any situation: school, “work”, play, church, special occasion. I hope that I can afford to buy some new jewelry, some belts and some new shoes. I am glad to see that flats are still a strong fashion statement. I have tried to wear something with even a small wedge heel (like a new pair of sandals I bought earlier in the spring) and anything that pitches my weight forward puts pressure on my knees. That might change when I lose more weight but until then I need to wear flats. I quick checked PL online (our nearby store closed this past spring, much to my surprise!) and there are quite a few really nice flats and they are having BOGO right now too. I could really “do well” with that; if only we weren’t so tight for money.

[Side note: in the book "Beck Diet Solution" Dr. Beck suggests that a person find a non-food reward to give themselves each time they lose 5 lbs. I decided from the get go I would choose new shoes. I think that I lit on new shoes because they are usually cheaper than clothes and I am hoping that they will "last" beyond this whole weight loss journey. I have bought about 6 pair so far. Believe it or not, I have bought 1/2 size smaller. I usually add "fill ins" in the heel area (suede padding that forms around the heel area) since I have feet shaped like ducks. Medium width across the toe box and very narrow heels. This is so much fun!! I don't need an excuse to buy new shoes but it certainly makes it sweeter, now that I have an "excuse" to do so]

Well, I walked on the treadmill but I decided to stop at 15 minutes because both of my knees were really feeling it. If they respond to the EX-Tylenol I am going to take, I might try for 10-15 minutes later tonight. I just might have to do what I did before: break it up into two different sessions. Well, I am walking on knees that have been “bone on bone” (as it is often described) for 8 years. I am neither crazy or courageous. I am simply without health insurance. I do the best with what I have to work with. It is just “that simple”.

Some of the women in this Buddy Challenge work out to a dvd called “Chair Dancing”. It is geared towards the elderly, obese and those with joint problems. If I weren’t so broke I would buy at least one of them. When I get some money that is what I plan on doing. I read some of the reviews and I noticed that many people who have broken legs or are post-op use these so they can continue to be active so it can extend beyond being “unfit”. I saw a stationary exercise “bike”(just the pedals) at Wal-mart for $24.77 which I also want to buy when we have some extra money. I think I may have to supplement some of the walking that I am doing on the treadmill with other things simply because I have a feeling I will only be able to take this so far.  Well, keeping my workout varied will keep it from getting stale. I don’t think it would be very interesting to walk on the treadmill longer than 30 minutes anyway. Loud music helps to distract but when every step hurts then it is time to do other things as well.

I had a BM (finally!) so that should help “release” some of those “retaining pounds” my body seems to be hanging onto. My stomach feels a little iffy so maybe it was my “big breakfast”. I seem to be having Well, I am just finishing up my take-out meal from D’s and I am at 1891 calories. I would like to stay there if possible and not go over except for another cup of skim milk. I did walk another 10 minutes on the treadmill. So, from now on, I am going to try to do 15 minutes in the earlier part of the day and then 10 minutes later. I dropped back to 1.5 mph simply because my knees were really feeling it today. I did take some EX-Tylenol which helped temporarily but I am really starting to have trouble with my stomach taking all of this additional medicine. I really need the added boost though in aerobic movement. The pedometer that I wear does calculate how many calories I burn (I either forgot or I never checked it before) and by the time I am walking on the treadmill 25 minutes I have burned “aerobically” 120 of the 145 calories I have burned today. BLC recommends that I burn 196 calories per day so I am getting very close to their “ideal” for me at this time.

It would be nice to have knee surgery. I know that it would make a major difference in my ability to be more active. I could throw myself into working out! I have the drive and desire.  I would even consider allowing myself to be a test subject for a new joint replacement study if there were one that was looking for willing participants; especially if it were free. I realize that is risky but if I came into already having strengthened my leg muscles, eating healthy and having lost some of this extra weight; I would think I would be minimizing my part of the “risks” that usually go with “less than satisfactory surgical results”. One woman in this Buddy Challenge needs to get her BMI down to 40% before her doctor will do the surgery. For me, that might be another 10-20 lbs so that would definitely be within a doable range for me.

When I think back just thirteen years ago I was walking 15 miles a week and now I can’t even walk more than 20 minutes on the treadmill, it is just hard to believe that I am the same person. Once my right foot got injured in the fall of 1998 I had to scale back on my regular daily walking. From there, it just became a matter of treating that injury to cutting further and further back in my walking. The last time I walked any distance was when we flew to Atlanta to check out P’s school and we walked the length of the airport, which is 8 miles.  Granted, when I laid down that night, both legs were swollen from hip to toes but I still did it. Now, look at where I am at!

8/26/11:

Well, it is hard to believe this but I spent a total of 7 hours on the computer; mostly, revising my Favorite Foods list on BLC (5 hours). The computer seems to run slow on that part of that site. After I weighed this morning and I had gained back 8 lbs of the 9.8 lbs I have lost so far during this Buddy Challenge, I knew that I had to reevaluate what I was doing regarding my food plan, etc. One of the things that I decided to do was to clearly designate serving sizes on the foods I have listed.

For example, on the restaurant servings, I make sure that I show that it was an entire entree but probably at least 2 servings. I think, I want myself to stop and consider whether I really want to just go ahead and have it even if it is double what I “should be” eating. This past week, I had made my now favorite homemade pizza. I did make two personal pan-sized pizzas but I really loaded them this time: ground chuck, lots of vegetables and cheese. The original recipe is vegetarian and I believe the cheese is a lot less. I am unclear about that since it has both 4 oz of reduced fat cheddar cheese and then 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. 4 oz seems like “a lot” of cheese (I eyeballed it from the 8 oz package) whereas 1/4 cup barely covers the top. I do know that one package had 1/4 cup = 1 oz of cheese so that would mean 4 oz “should be” 1 cup, right?? I would really like to feel confident about that but right now I don’t. The original recipe calls for the cheddar cheese to be added to the crust which I did twice but left it out the last time and this time. I would rather have the cheese on top of the pizza since I think that is where it is most noticed.

Another thing, which may/may not have affected this temporary weight gain, is the fact that I have had a lot of fiber in the past several days; again, thanks to all of the whole wheat products I eat. I would point to the vegetables and fruit but, surprisingly, on a few days, I didn’t even have any fruit! I have also observed (again to my surprise) that when I fore go fruit entirely I really am not very hungry at all. Boy, I wish I had known this when I was following SBD. It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary cravings. Great discovery! Now, I wonder how far I can take that without hurting myself.? Well, besides revising my Favorite Foods list, I made sure that I had my measuring cups and spoons on “ready alert” so I could make sure that what I was eating was exactly what I thought I was eating.

I was busy again today going through the clothes hanging in my side of the closet. I am finished doing that. I have a pile of clothes sitting on the loveseat in the living room where I have been hemming things that were just “way too long”. I tried on everything that I “thought” might fit me. I also decided to give away some things which either just didn’t flatter me or were “somewhat” duplicates of other items I kept. Now, I know that what I have left does indeed fit me and the small section that doesn’t is only the next size down, which I could be wearing in a few months. I have noticed that I have a lot of black separates. OY! i forgot that I also have a section on P’s side that I need to go through. I still have some plastic bins to go through that are scattered around the bed and lined up against the walls of our bedroom. At least, now, I feel like I am making progress. By evening, I sit down and go through some of my recorded programming while I am hemming something. It all has a nice rhythm right now and I think it seems to be moving right along.

8/27/11:

I decided last night that from now on, I am going to split my strength exercises into Upper and Lower Body. I have been tired after doing the Upper body lately and I have missed twice as a result of that. I don’t want to do that because it takes a lot longer to tone and firm up the muscles in your legs. So, the very first thing I did was my lower body strength exercises. Then, I began a dinner rather than have a bowl of cereal or toast for a very late breakfast. By the time P came home, I gave him a short list and a gold ring that I have. Gold is at a high right now (I think $129 an ounce) so I went through my jewelry box to see what was left. There’s not much left either because I have been either selling or giving away all of my finer jewelry for the past five years. I still have a 14K crucifix but we decided we would wait on that. Let’s see how our finances are. I think Jesus would understand. Food and fuel first.

Over the past several years, I have gone to my jewelry box when we were really strapped for cash and sold some of my fine gold or semi-precious stoned jewelry. This was my very last quality gold piece that I could “offer”. We ended up filling the car with gas and buying groceries.

[side note: A few years ago some of the Hispanics in our parish wanted to make a crown for one of our Virgin Mary statues so I donated several fine pieces of my personal jewelry to that "cause". It was sent back to Mexico so a jeweler could fashion it. Although I had some very beautiful rings, I had stopped wearing them when my arthritis in my hands caused my joints to remain permanently damaged and larger. I only wear my wedding set now. My hands, once one of my best features, just now are  "my hands". Oh, well. It was sad to see them go: I had a 1 carat sapphire with diamond ring, a ruby (my birthstone) and diamond ring and a gorgeous emerald and diamond ring, to name a few favorites I donated. However, I knew that the jewel-encrusted solid gold crown for Mary would be equally beautiful. It was and is.]

When I get some extra money, I am going to be returning to Amazon.com and order some dvds and/or books on lower body exercises. I think I need to find some new ones that actually might be more effective. If anything, add them to what I am doing already. One of the women in the BDG commented on how I really had the mind-body connection in synch. I would say that I am really listening to my body. If something feels tense then I make a mental note of it. If something feels too easy, I think about how I could make it more “intense”. I really want to end up at my goal weight where I have symmetry in muscle strength, endurance and, hopefully, “appearance”. I made sure that I stretched today too. I haven’t done that in the past but it will help with flexibility and also warm up my muscles so I don’t injure myself.

My “hot spots” right now are the muscles are either side of my neck, both knees but in different places(on the inside of the left knee and on the back of my right knee) and down the back of my entire right leg (both the thigh and calf). I have really tried to both strengthen those areas and then treat them as I am “stressing” them when I walk on the treadmill. I think from now on that I am going to first use topical means rather than take additional EX-Tylenol simply because that seems to upset my stomach. I think, at some point, it could be beneficial to receive a massage in some of those really tense muscles or be able to get into a hot tub or warm water and allow those muscles to relax. Maybe, if we can get enough extra money, we could seriously consider joining the newly opened LA Fitness near us. They have a pool and I think that would be really beneficial for both of us. I know P would like that as well.

[We have an in-ground pool here at our apartment complex but the adults sit on the sides under the shade trees while all the 8-10 year old boys jump into the water.  We just don't like to have to be on the "look out" to see who might jump on us next.]

I have really come a long way in a relatively short period of time. It will be three months on September 4th that I began doing just the pillow exercise to strengthen my quads. When I mentioned it on the BLC Buddy Challenge group, some of the others had done this as well, usually after knee surgery. Well, hopefully, by the time I get knee surgery, I will be fit enough to recover fairly quickly. I am also focusing on strengthening the backs of my thighs as well so the strength is even. The same goes for my arms. I only do the biceps curl once a week simply because my biceps are a lot stronger than the triceps, which are really hard to shape up. I might start including that exercise more frequently once I increase the weight again. Right now, I am waiting for my shoulder muscles to be strong enough to “move up”. I’m not there yet.

I just want to keep trying different types of exercises in different ways so that I can get each muscle group as fit as possible. I have listened to some of the other people’s ideas and written them down. Right now, we are just fortunate to meet some of our basic bills but as soon as we get a little extra money I am going to get some different dvds and books. I really want to take all of this as far as I can go. It makes a huge difference in not only how I look but also how clothes fit me, as I have found out this past week as I have been trying on different clothes. I used to have a lot of self-doubt about how far I could work out because of my joints but I know believe that I can find enough different exercises to “work around” my knee joints until the time comes when I can get the surgery that I need. Then, hopefully, no more pain and a lot more mobility.

8/28/11:

P got an e-mail from one of his choir members saying that today at the 10:30 a.m. Mass a potential candidate for the Music Director was “auditioning” and she was encouraging everyone who could to attend so they could give their opinion. [P had applied for this position but he doesn't play both the piano and the organ, and with the "times being what they are", our church is hoping to find someone who can play, sing, direct, et al] I went to bed “early” although it took me 90 minutes to fall asleep. When I did get up, I pushed myself so we could go and, sure enough, he did both play the organ and piano besides singing. P and I thought he was good. I felt he showed the kind of respect towards the kind of music the 10:30 a.m. Mass uses: more sacred music. We have new hymnals and P said they reminded him of St. Alphonus and Sacred Heart. The old ones were beginning to look “shot” anyway. Some of our parishioners didn’t like them but I say “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and “beggars can’t be choosy”. I actually liked them but the “divas” in our choir wanted 4-part harmony which these hymnals don’t have. I like them because the songs have the melody and I find them easier to sing. Oh, well, again.

I have expressed a desire to join the choir (again). I tried it back in 2006 or 2007 but I found the rehearsals really intimidating. The former Music Director,B, was a real taskmaster. He was a professionally trained opera singer at some time in his musical past and it showed. I am sure that I would have eventually stepped up to the plate but, at the time, I just shrunk from the “challenge”. Now that P and I sing a hymn everyday when we are praying the LOTH, my voice has had some “practice”, I would like to give it a try again. I used to sing 4th seat first soprano at one time. I don’t know why I stopped singing because I was told I had a good voice. I have no explanation.

However, I have always said that I know what kind of demands both the rehearsals and the weekly Mass attendance involve. It is probably the most labor-intensive of all the ministries but it is such a visible part of the Mass and I have really not been a part of a group effort like that in a very long time. I feel now might be a good time. The only other thing that would stop me would be when I have my arthritis flare-ups. I know that it is a commitment that I have to “be there” all the time and I am not sure if I can do that at this time. If not now, will I ever be able to?

In fact, I have really decided to get more involved overall in other activities as well. I have never shown an interest in joining his Carmelite community simply because I didn’t want the monthly commitment. I have had such a time dealing with excessive bleeding, sleepless nights and then chronic pain that, over a period of time, I just ended up withdrawing from so much. There has been so much that P ended up doing alone that I really felt like he was probably feeling like “why was he married” when he was attending so many things alone. I feel bad about that and I would like to begin to make that up to him, if I can.

I have also realized that I have done myself a disservice not connecting with more people in the limited social contacts that we have. I have often wondered how I would “fare” without P, should something happen to him (God forbid). I have really been very withdrawn for quite a long time. P has done a great job in blending work and church activities so that he has a wide circle of social contacts and “friends”. I can’t say that about myself. I recognize that I need to change that too. I think that the time has come for me to reach out more and try some different social activities.

For one thing, I am feeling better about myself in general. I am beginning to see a compelling reason to work hard at both losing weight and getting back in shape: I feel better physically and I am able to move around better as well. I probably could even go without my cane if I am walking on level ground. I still need it though to help me get up if there is nothing that I can pull myself up with. I don’t have either the muscle strength nor the full use of my weight-bearing joints to climb stairs without a cane and usually I need to hang onto a railing as well. It just simply isn’t there—yet. Plus, I can’t dismiss the fact that I am 2 years away from being 60 years old. A lot of “normal” 60 year old begin to have trouble rising from chairs, etc. The extra weight just compounds that age factor. It really makes me want to get down to my goal weight by my 60th birthday. I sure hope that I can do that. It does make me wonder how I might do when I have lost another 40 lbs. For one thing, it would be less to “move around”. Period. It won’t change my knees but it will take less effort to move a lighter body around. This is the BIG payoff!! I’ll get less fatigued and I might even be able to do some things with more ease since I won’t have to put such stress on my joints. That alone is one of the best reasons I can think of to really push to get more of this extra weight off.

I was telling P how I just feel “liberated” being able to not only go down one whole size (mostly size 24W) but that I actually look better in these clothes than I did when I first bought them. I decided to wear what I would consider one of the last summery looking outfits today at church. I had bought the pants when we lived in Minnesota. I always had to wear them with a top to cover my pot belly and it was “pronounced”. I also think they were kind of tight on me. Well, today I wore a sleeveless top that tied at the waist. My pot belly was still there but it has flattened out quite a bit. I do a reverse curl that I got from the BLC site, which really helps strengthen the lower abdomen muscles.

Since I consider my pot belly to be my worst body part I would say that is a major triumph. I just need to keep pushing my abs as hard and much as I need to until I can feel really confident about how I look in anything that skims that area. The same goes for my upper arms since I have really had heavy arms since I gained all this extra weight. Again, I have been pushing the upper body exercises as much and as many as I can think of to do. They too are starting to look more toned. All of this extra work is beginning to show. I have only been doing extra thigh and butt work since my birthday which was about six weeks ago. They too are showing some tightening. In fact, I think between the ab work and the butt work, I am fitting into pants that I might otherwise have to wait to wear until I had lost another 15-20 lbs.

Well, I plan to just keep at this. I actually consider the strength exercises the easiest to do too since it is really murder on my knees to go very long on the treadmill. I am going to break up my time on the treadmill and do 3-10 minute sessions. Ideally, I am going to do them in the morning, afternoon and then evening. I felt like I “hit a wall” trying to walk more than 15 minutes. By 7 minutes, my knees are really killing me so 10 minutes should be doable. Starting tomorrow, that is my plan. Maybe, within a month or so, I could increase that to 4 and then 5-10 minute sessions. It would be hopping on and off the treadmill a lot but so what? It is aerobic.

I have always considered September 1st to be the start of fall (not like the “official” 21st) and, for me, that means the beginning of wearing fall-like clothes. Granted, it won’t get truly cold here until closer to Thanksgiving but I am talking more about the switch in colors from brights and whites to more autumnal colors. Well, I never really did get my spring clothes out and hanging up in the closet as I had planned to do around early April but now that I have sorted through a lot of clothes, I will say that there is a lot more room for the next season’s clothes. Not only will I know what I can wear but it should also be ready to go (other than maybe some light ironing). So, now, I will be packing up the spring/summer clothes and I am so hoping that what will remain will be a lot less because I would like them to fit on the shelf above my side of the closet without them being stacked two-high. I would actually like to be able to fit a lot of little things in some of those plastic bins, whether to put them in the hall closet or the  laundry room; just to make both of them a little less cluttered and more organized.

I do think doing this has also increased my confidence because I have clothes that fit and are also appropriate for the occasion and the weather. After church, we went to CB. I don’t have the appetite that I used to have and I did my best to choose wisely from the choices available but still I wanted to continue eating until I was stuffed. We haven’t eaten there in almost 2 1/2 months. I think that is the longest that we haven’t eaten there. It blew my entire day’s calories. Anyway, after we did our weekly Bible reading and our novena, we went to the laundromat and while our clothes were drying, we went to our garden.

Although no one else was heeding the “advice” of our master gardener, D, to clear out our gardens and start the fall/winter ones; I knew that we needed to simply because we don’t have much that is really producing. I kept one large tomato plant because there were both blossoms and green tomatoes on it. The rest of our battered vegetables we pulled up. We have learned first hand why organic produce is so expensive. We have not used any kind of fertilizer to protect the plants from the elements including bad as well as good bugs. What grows grows. What doesn’t goes into the compost.Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can pick what I want to eat straight from my garden without washing it. The size are smaller (again no added chemicals to artificially expand the size or growth period) but the taste is out of this world.

This past summer the only vegetables that survived this ungodly heat we, and the rest of the country has had, was our sweet potatoes (we had a bumper crop) and the cantaloupe.  Both were “divine”. The cantaloupe were so sweet and juicy. I made Thai sweet potato peanut soup with lots of my sweet potatoes. Now, as the weather is finally cooling down our tomatoes (and the rest of the community gardeners as well) have a chance. None of us want to budge. I think D realized this since no one moved any of their tomato plants to start our fall garden as he had wanted us to.  The “silent majority” spoke. Our fall is more like a moderate summer right now. We want our tomatoes to have a chance.

Much to our surprise, we had some tomatoes turning and some additional ones besides since the last time we saw them. D had mentioned that the excessive heat had stalled some of the tomatoes and he was right. I don’t blame the others in hanging in there with their tomatoes. We left the last tomato plant which has grown even since we last was there. We removed the strawberry plant and put that into a container which will be put on the porch from now on. I might either cover it during the winter or even bring it into our apartment when it gets colder. We dug up the rest of the soil. It is always as hard as a rock. We found a couple of left over sweet potatoes and we cleared out the Swiss chard. We tossed a non-producing green pepper plant.

Then, after we broke up the really hard porous soil, we added 50 lbs of organic soil and a small bag of organic compost. We will plant our fall/winter garden soon. I am hoping that this richer soil will be what our garden produce needs. I am beginning to wonder if the other that we had was depleted although we did manage to get some produce out of our plants; just not like I have experienced in when I was an organic gardener back in Minnesota.  After that, we “treated” ourselves to a McDonald’s cone and shake, respectively. When we returned home, we both showered. I was able to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes besides. Then, I logged my food for the day, posted on 3FC and joined P to watch some HIC re-runs while I was doing my upper body exercises.  A nice day overall.

I am so glad that we got the garden cleaned up though. The soil looked so dark and rich looking compared to the hard flat dirt we have had. I had such a feeling of accomplishment when I got that done. I hate procrastinating on anything and I have a few things that I have been doing just that on which need me to “wrap them up” asap. Ideally, I would like to finish the two bedrooms by Halloween. No special reason for choosing that date except that is about two months away and that seems like a fair enough time for me to finish them. Let’s hope that I do. It would also mean that I could really focus on the upcoming holidays instead of thinking about the two unfinished bedrooms that need to be “pulled together”!

Well, tomorrow afternoon I have a scheduled appointment with the career counselor at NH. I have no idea of what the outcome of this will be. I really don’t. I want to be as honest with her as I can be since I really think that had I been honest last fall and said that I really wasn’t interested in doing something clerical (again) that I would have looked harder at other programs W.I.A. could have funded and I might not be in this situation.

P “surprised” me the other night when I was telling him about my conversation with T about me returning to college. He mentioned about the possibility of me attending an art school where I could take something like web design. That was so “uncharacteristic” for him to come up with some suggestion that I really didn’t know what to say. It just seemed very sweet and caring. So, I am going to check out a couple of the art colleges nearby and see what they have to offer, etc. The AIA is not even 3 miles from here. Well, if they will finance my education and accept me; why not?  Thirty years ago I was a fine arts major. What happened? I listened to my practical Mom and my even more practical ex-husband then boyfriend. That was when the extra weight came on, the depression set in and it took me until 1992 to begin to straighten out the “crooked path” I was on. How very sad!

No one, I mean no one, knows you like you know yourself.  As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”

8/29/11:

Today I met with the career counselor at NH. It went as I had expected it to. I was asked to sign an employment assistance agreement at the end of our meeting. Unfortunately, part of that agreement is that I look for work that would utilize these computer skills I learned last winter. As I told P on the way out, I knew that I was “settling” (to use T’s words from the other night when we talked) when I took this course and now I am going to be held accountable to that choice, in spite of my “protestations”. However, I know that I need to find my niche whatever that might be and although this feels “unsettling” right now I know that if I push through it I might actually find something that I will really enjoy doing, whether it is going to school (which I haven’t completely ruled out) or a job of some kind. I will say that this woman was trying to throw out some ideas and not necessarily think only in one linear way. I thought that shown a kind of strength and intelligence was refreshing to see given so many people seem to go “by the book”. I will do my best to work on this very neglected area of my life.

In fact, the more that I think about it, the more I realize that one of the reasons why I began overeating was because I was unhappy. However, I was unhappy for a lot of reasons back then. I did take care of many of the reasons why I overate but I still have some “reasons” today that I need to really work on. One thing that I do know for sure is that happy people do not need to turn to food. When I am busy decorating, watching a favorite old 1930-1940s movie, hand sewing, listening to some favorite music, etc. I am not thinking about overeating food. When I was listening to myself talk today the thing that really stood out was the fact that I had jumped from job to job, learned them and actually excelled at them but they weren’t something that I necessarily pursued except for working at home. If it hadn’t been for J finding S800 I would never had really realized that “desire”. I need to find my “bliss” in this area and ideally I will also be paid something for doing it as well.

Well, after that we dropped off a large bag of my clothes to a different clothing donation center, American Kidney Foundation. It was closer so “why not?” So, I suggested going to GC for an early supper. (supper in the Midwest is before 6 p.m.) Then, I also suggested that we fill the tank with gas, get the car washed (and us vacuum the inside) and then have the oil change. It has been several months past due since P had the oil change. There is never really a good time for it so I said “Let’s do it!”. Maybe, cleaning out our garden and getting it ready for the winter garden set this in motion but I could tell P was relieved to get this stuff done.

We said our evening LOTH and nightly rosary then I retired to here, walked on the treadmill twice for 10 minutes each time, logged my food and reported in to my two groups. I weighed in at 261.4 lbs this morning. What could I account for that “re-gain”? Well, for one thing, we ate at CB yesterday and I am only approximating both the calories and the sodium content. I haven’t been able to find a website with their menu on or the nutritional data so I am using other sources and that is not accurate. I could be off the sodium content by as much as a thousand mg, which would show up as a 2-3 lbs weight re-gain.  I do feel that the temporary weight “re-gain” is not an accurate measure of my weight but then again it is for that “moment” in time.

I am really glad that I am losing some weight and firming up.  I am feeling much more positive overall with my body image. I don’t even have to hold in my gut when I am sitting in the car. What I wore today really fit well on me. I have come to the point in exercising where it is really showing when I wear clothes. I can wear more form fitting clothes and I look firm underneath. None of this is due to Spanx either. It is all of those ab work, etc. Although, it can be tiring to do this, now when I am seeing the results, I have more motivation to continue and put aside the “excuses” not to do it. I just wish dieting itself were easier for me. That is why I need to keep adding more and more exercises to do so if I can’t do one thing for a longer duration, at least, I can make up for it by doing multiple exercises.

I had an idea though tonight that I am going to “explore”. It has just been in the past week that I really “realized” that this pedometer does indeed track calories burned and also separates the aerobic steps from just plain ordinary moving around steps. It gave me the idea of trying to calculate more accurately just how many calories I am burning doing certain activities. This will really help me narrow down just how many actual calories I am burning a day rather than an “estimate”, which I was doing in the past. I also posed a question to the BDG: since I know how many calories I am burning, does this mean I can “negate” that many calories from my food plan?

I believe that might be what some of the BLC people attempt to do: burn enough calories so they are actually in the negative. Now, I read someone say they had burned over 2500 calories yesterday. Since it takes me walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes to burn 88 calories that would mean she would have had to walk half way from Atlanta to Minnesota! Unfortunately, this is one of the “downfalls” with the image that BL has: everyone sees these extremely large people getting put through a very demanding physical program and then thinking that they can do that at home. They are medically supervised. We, at home, are not. Yet, like this woman above, and even myself to some extent, go ahead anyway, thinking we can make it happen at home.

I have been slow to admit this here but I have really pushed my own body beyond the comfort zone and I have paid a price for that. Just recently I have begun taking 2 EX-Tylenol arthritis pain formula pills (1300 mg total) before I walk on the treadmill followed by icing my left knee which swells up immediately and sitting on a heating pad for my tight hamstring on my right thigh. This is just plain nuts!! I have been doing this for two months now. I will admit that I love being active again. It has just been too long but my body simply won’t do what I want it to do, no matter how strongly I want it.

Since we got such a late start with everything and I was just too tired earlier in the evening to do my lower body strength exercises, I am going to do those on my day off (Wednesday) so I am in the same rhythm as the rest of my strength exercises. I wanted to start doing 3-10 minutes sessions on the treadmill but I did get 2 in so starting tomorrow that is my plan. Besides all of this, I am also going to resume purposely drinking more water, just so I can flush out all this added sodium I have picked up. I asked P to bring me home D’s tomorrow as well so I am looking again at another restaurant meal and another meal that I have resorted to “estimating” both the calories and the sodium.

This is just plain “crazy”. Since I see this, why am I doing it then? I came across someone’s “signature” which read “You can’t over-exercise bad eating habits.” Amen to that! So, why am I doing that? No sooner do I think I am “okay” then I realize I am not. It is disappointing and frustrating.

I hate to admit this but when I was finished with this meeting with this career counselor one of the first things that I thought about was that I probably wasn’t going to be working any time soon and I was glad about that but then the somber reality of how we are struggling to make all of our bills. I feel “responsible” for being part of the problem and not yet the solution. I think even P’s patient nature is beginning to wear thin. I don’t want to prolong this any longer than it need be, which if I were really honest, I probably have by not taking that certification exam right away in the spring and then really “pounding the pavement”. Well, in my defense, when I was having an acute flare-up, which I was during that time, I was not thinking about anything but just getting through the night. I just wish some of this would straighten out so we could make progress and not sit here “spinning our wheels.”

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

By George, I think I can do this!

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Calorie Counting | 2 Comments

Week of August 16, 2011:

I am amazed but I weighed in today at 260.6 lbs. All I need to do is lose one more pound and I will have broke the 260s! I was wondering if I would be able to do that for this next week’s weigh-in. I would be thrilled to death if I could. Although last summer, I “thought” I was in the 250s, since the scale seemed to bounce all over the place, I really don’t know for sure. This new scale does not budge easily so when I see results like this, I know that they are accurate. Yesterday I decided that on my non-strength building days I would add a second session on the treadmill. I did 15 minutes in the afternoon and then did 10 minutes in the evening. I am going to try and do that every other day for the time being. If it becomes “too easy” then I will do that also on the days that I do my strength building exercises.  Again, it just gets back to keeping the body stressed enough so it will force it to burn calories just a little bit more and harder.

Also, I can say that I have “officially” passed the 40 lbs lose mark. I am going back to when I was my heaviest which I believe was just over 300 lbs. I can’t believe that I got to that place but I did in the past couple of years. There was a time about two years ago where I was definitely filling out size 26/28s. I remember how I looked when I sat down. All of the weight that I carried in the front of me just pushed out. I felt very unattractive no matter how many clothes that I bought. Well, I have gotten rid of a lot of those clothes and I am now going through the size 24s to see which ones fit me. I have some 22s that I believe I should be able to fit into later this fall as long as I continue doing what I have been doing.

I had another idea about how to alter some of these larger sizes. I would like to hang onto the clothes that are well made, both in construction and in the material that was used. I have also decided that I am either going to learn how to alter clothes on my own or seek out a class to learn how to do that. I also  had the idea that I could actually use some of these larger-sized clothes as fabric to cut from to make a new skirt or dress out of. Whether I will actually go to that length will depend on how much money I have to spend on new clothes and whether I am still motivated to do so. I do know that as I reduce my size I am definitely going to begin wearing more clothes that are form fitting. I am already in the process of doing some minor adjustments with what I have right now.

In fact, the more that I am toning my body, the more I realize how this is as important as losing the weight itself. I have been covering up my body for a very long time. That gets to be a certain mindset and one that needs changing as much as the numbers on the scales. It is important that I begin to change my body image while I am losing so that when I do arrive at my goal weight, it will seem like I was there “all along”. I have listened to enough people talk about having some difficulties in adjusting to their new weights and/or body image. I want to work on those residual problems as I am going down the scales. I guess, I want to take on all the aspects of returning to a former body size and not wait until then.

One of the biggest obstacles that I need to work on is overcoming the almost reflex action of avoiding social situations. I have social anxiety. It was really exacerbated by gaining so much weight and really feeling self-conscious about it. I also think that it didn’t help when I began using a cane. Whether that was the right decision to do or not, I did, and now I am wondering when I should stop using it. P came up with the suggestion of bringing my cane along “just in case”. Since I am going to start switching to bigger purses, that is what I am going to start doing. I can fold my black one up and I think it should fit in my purse. If I feel that I am getting too tired to walk without it, I can always pull it out. I am not sure why I am so skittish about anything social. I recently missed going to a memorial and also Mass. Granted, I didn’t sleep well because my back was hurting me but I do know that in the back of my mind I was nervous about both.

It would be awesome if I could break into the 240s by the end of this BLC Buddy Challenge but we will just have to see how my body responds to what I am doing.

8/18/11:

Well, I broke into the 250s this morning! I weighed in at 259.4 lbs. So, I have lost 9 1/2 lbs since beginning this Buddy Challenge 10 days ago. Granted, the first 3 lbs were ‘water” but the rest has been “honest-to-goodness” real weight lose. I still can’t believe it but obviously my body is in a good place and starting to respond to what I am doing. It shows that when I decrease my calories and increase my activity, I lose weight. I knew this but I just wasn’t doing it. What makes this even more poignant is that when I keep my sodium around 2000 mg it also helps a lot. I also think that the slow and steady increase in the stress of the kind of workouts that I am doing is beginning to pay off.  Another benefit of increasing the intensity of my work-outs is that it curbs my appetite. I just haven’t been as hungry in the past week or so. What I have been is very tired, almost to the point of exhaustion.

Well, my plan is to just keeping on doing what I have been doing. As I said above, I would love to break into the 240s by the end of this Buddy Challenge. That would be another 10 lbs in 6 weeks. All I can say is that I will do all I can between now and then to make it more likely to happen. In fact, I am in such a good place with all of this it would be awesome if I could keep up this pace right on “down the line”. At this point, I have lost almost 41.5 lbs. I have lost half of what Bill lost to get to his maintenance. I am quickly encroaching on where B and J are. J lost 70 lbs to reach her maintenance.

I still have a long way to go though. I want to be 135 lbs so that is 125 lbs to go. Wow! That is still a lot of weight to lose. I have gotten to where I don’t focus on that as much as having a good day and doing what I know I need to do for today. Then, that prospect doesn’t overwhelm me or intimidate me as it once did. That is one of the more surprising “developments” recently. There was a time when the very thought of tackling this weight issue was just too overwhelming for me. I couldn’t stay on a reduced diet for longer than a few days before giving up or giving in, whichever way you want to look at it. Now, I find myself just plodding along.

I didn’t go to bed and/or sleep until 6 a.m. yesterday so I was so tired the whole day. I decided not to push myself so I didn’t exercise. I waited to see if having some food would help. It didn’t so I just ate within my calorie range and stayed lower on my sodium (which I can see is KEY) and then watched some t.v. last night. I still didn’t go to bed last night until 2 a.m. I didn’t intend on that. It was more because I was responding to some e-mails including ones where P has lined up some personal “jobs” for tomorrow, which is instant cash for us. I got an e-mail from the Career Counselor at NH. I sort of rolled my eyes when I saw it because it just flooded me with some feelings of inadequacy regarding the one area in my life which feels so “crummy”. I did revise my resume and sent that to her. She wanted to see me in person as well so I told her early afternoons next week sometime would work. As I told P, I am not putting a lot of stock into this because I know that they might have to do this so they can say that they “worked with me” regarding finding employment. According to their contact person last fall, he said that they “track” our job search efforts, they don’t offer job placement, which WIA insisted they had to do in order to receive funds from WIA. Well, we’ll see what comes of it but I will go just in case she does have something she can offer me that I could check into.

I have really struggled (and resisted) the idea of going to college for four years. It just seems like such a long time for a person of my age. However, I do see from time to time “spots” on the national news or even on the Internet where older people are either starting a different/second career and/or returning to college for the same reason. They all seem “very happy” working in their “golden years”. I guess, my work experience has been mostly unfulfilled, both in the inter-work relationships I have had and, of course, the pay was “below standard” (and certainly for me holding a college degree). Maybe, it is my past experience that is coloring my view about doing this and prejudicing me. I think so.

Anyway, there is another part of me that thinks about what would happen to me if Pl were to die or even become unable to work? It is one thing not to be helping to provide “something” now but it would be crucial if he couldn’t work due to disability or an accident and although I would have quite a bit of money if he died because of his life insurance (provided they wouldn’t contest it), I am well aware that I also need to foster some contact with other people as well. So, I am holding my breath on this one but I am going to go to their D campus and check things out. Maybe, if I am “lucky” I will qualify for some kind of financial aid so I can pay for the schooling. I also really do like the fact that it is so close and we/I wouldn’t be going through the horrible mid-town traffic. It certainly has given me something to “hope for” anyway.

Well, I got my 15 minutes in on the treadmill. It actually went a lot easier although my right knee started to lock up a lot the last 90 seconds or so. Maybe, that was a good idea to fore go exercising yesterday. I will have to remember that. Now, all I need to do is my strength exercises. Again, I am “working on” clearing out the leftovers in the refrigerator. I came up with a pretty good way of  getting my vegetables in and eating up some leftovers. I had quite a bit of cooked cabbage leftover from one of my D’s take-out meals so I sliced up two fat free kosher beef franks and heated that up together (the sodium in the two skinny wieners are 1040 mg!!) along with some baby carrots. I’m having red grapes for “dessert”. It really makes me feel good that I can both eat healthy and really enjoy it at the same time. In fact, I am really feeling proud of a lot of the choices that I have been making lately. Obviously, they are good ones because the weight is finally going down.

As I told P last night at this point the weight I am is “pre-P”. I am almost certain that I weighed around 265 lbs (and didn’t waver much either) the first few years we met. I was always trying to diet but I sabotaged my efforts more often than not. I really didn’t know what healthy eating was back then. The only thing that I could think of was having a salad and foregoing dessert. I have since learned that it is a lot more than that. I don’t recall being “between” 265 and 245 lbs. It seems like when I gained weight back then it was in 20 lb increments. So, I am now finally charting a new path for me as I write this. The last time I was 245 lbs was in the mid-1990s, if I remember correctly. So, we are talking about 15 years at the least. I began college at the University of MN in 1983 and I weighed 232-235 lbs then. I felt huge back then because that was the most I had ever weighed. Now, I would be thrilled to death to weigh that. As for Onederland, I haven’t been there since early 1980s. Again, my weight jumped from 190s to 200s to 220s to 235 within a matter of one season–from April 1983 to September 1983.

So, I am now on the verge of returning to what I weighed decades ago. I feel that mentally and emotionally I am finally ready for the change. So, now, it is just “putting my hand to the plow” and not looking back. I think the real key right now is “not looking back”. It is not about dwelling on the fact that I once weighed 301.8 lbs., which now seems staggering to me, but to look forward to a more “normal weight” within a year. I am really glad that I am taking the time to really scrutinize the clothes that are remaining in my closet. Ideally, when I finish with all of this (which seems to be taking forever) I will be able to confidently say that whatever is in my closet flatters me (at that point in time) and I truly do have clothes that I can take off the hanger and not worry (too much) about how they look on me.

Well, I have done all of my strength exercises for the day. I am still finding the mid-abs the most difficult to do. That is also where a lot of my weight is right now too. I have accepted that it will probably take me losing a good 60 more lbs before I can actually consider curling up enough to touch my knees with my elbows. In fact, I might not be able to do that until I am within 20-30 lbs of my goal weight. Well, that is the reality of losing weight. You really have to get the extra weight before you start seeing the muscle definition emerge. Although I could do this every day and I was doing that in the beginning, I think I will just leave my ab work-out “as is”(doing it when I do my strength training every other day–that is still 4x a week) for the time being.The results won’t be as obvious until I do lose some more weight and the main thing is to continue to strengthen them.

When I do get more weight off I might consider at that time begin doing some of the more challenging dvds that I own, like the Pilates. Now, that will be challenging. By the time I am able to do that I should actually be seeing a “normal figure”. Maybe, when I hit Onederland I can seriously begin doing the Pilates workouts that I have. Again, I have been around enough fitness centers, seen enough programs, read enough books and so on, to know the “drill” on getting into shape. It takes time and persistence. To get those enviable bodies like the ones we all see on t.v. and in the magazines, you got to put the time in. Well, fortunately, I have the motivation. I also remember what it felt like to feel “strong” and limber. I would like to regain that if possible.

Right now, I think that doing 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights is enough for my upper body. I find that my neck tenses up so that is saying that I am not quite at a place where I have the strength through my neck to move with a heavier weight. The main thing is to have “good form” and just continue. I can always go up to 3 sets of 15 reps as well. The author of “Abs n Arms” also said that you should switch off and on between a lighter and heavier weight just so you stress the muscle differently; so, I will consider doing that as well. Again, the middle of my upper back towards the right side, where I bruised it last winter when I fell in the shower, acts up after I have done the abs.

I took the opportunity to try on a dress that I wore once (maybe twice) when I first met P. I remember wearing it to Ph’s baptism which I think was 10 years ago. Although it is polyester, it feels like a thick silk and it is a bright teal and purple print. It is in the sheath style which I also like. It is a size 24W and it is “almost”loose on me!!! I am thrilled beyond words. This style is “in” right now and it will wear well throughout the fall and winter months for me. I would like to see if I could find a matching shrug to wear with it when the weather gets cooler. [In fact, I did find one in Jessica London online: either in royal blue or purple---I actually think the purple might be better with it--make the colors pop!] Again, I only want to keep the clothes that truly fit me (or I can alter later to fit me then) so when I go in my closet, I will feel like anything I choose will look good on me. What a change that will be from the past.

I am continuing to eat up leftovers and I still have more to go. That is great since that definitely keeps us from going to the grocery store every other day. Plus, I seem to really have hit my stride when it comes to home-cooked meals. Right now, I am having pork and vegetable stir fry plus a whole wheat strawberry muffin. Well, I made my daily goal of getting a lot of different vegetables in.

So, we ended up going out after all to GC for an anniversary meal. I am really feeling a comfort level with eating out and still staying close to my food plan. I did go over on the sodium, which is almost a “given” when eating out, but it was only 2 lbs and I don’t “officially” weigh-in until Monday morning. Both of us were just so tired that we came home. I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then logged my food.  I stayed up late to watch one of my favorite “reality” shows: House Hunters International. As I was sharing with P, the trend has changed quite a bit this past year with these new episodes. Now people are moving globally for new jobs. Before it was for adventure or to retire early. Even our local news mentioned that the majority of the jobs being offered right now at job fairs are abroad. I think, it caught the person reporting by surprise as well. It just means that this recession and this unemployment has really changed the landscape in a way that truly only the “strongest will survive”; in what ever way works for them. We just have to figure out how we are going to be able to survive. Beyond week to week and month to month. That’s all.

Well, although I went way over my daily sodium, I only gained 2 lbs so I think that if I really watch the sodium in the next two days, I should lose that by Monday morning. I don’t know if it is realistic for me to expect to lose any more after having already lost 9.4 lbs in two weeks. I would like to lose another pound. This sounds like a selfish and competitive reason but right now I am ahead one other person by a few pounds and it is possible that she could have a really good weekend and “overcome” my current “first place” position. If I can push myself tomorrow, I am going to try and even do a RS work-out at some point. We’ll see if I can get P away from his ghost shows long enough for me to do that. It would be awesome to say that I have lost 10+ lbs in two weeks.  Well, if I don’t, it is still a very respectful “show”. I am strongly motivated to keeping this up too.

This is what I have decided to do for this coming week to “intensify” my efforts: I am going to attempt to remove (1) 100 calorie item from my daily calorie intake. The most obvious one for me is my use of margarine on toast or muffins. I do think the fat adds something to the warm bread but I do have butter spray which has no calories at all so I am going to get in the habit of using that. I will share this with the rest of the group because it might incite someone to consider doing it themselves. I shared today how I began working out again. All I can do is share and if they want to pick up on some of your ideas, fine, but on the same hand, if they don’t want to, I have to just respect that too. It is definitely their lose.

8/21/11:

Once again, I had leftovers for lunch and then we had a “fresh” meal for dinner: baked pork steaks, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.Surprisingly, I was still able to stay within my high range for calories and even stay well under my sodium range with eating a bag of fat free microwave popcorn and a light beer. All of the numbers were withing the recommended range as well. In other words, this ended up being a really good day overall with my food plan. I suggested that we watch a couple of our own movies instead of just surfing the t.v. channels and really not “engaging” in anything particular. I think, we find that relaxing so we both ended up mellowing out by the end of the night.

8/22/11:

Tomorrow is the third weigh-in for our Buddy Challenge and the second where we are measuring weight loss and subsequently the body percentage lost as well. I am about 2+ lbs ahead of one person but she knows how to drop weight quickly so it might be interesting to see how she will fare tomorrow. I have really worked hard this past week. I have really tried to keep my sodium down as best as I could. However, I have noticed that my appetite has really increased as I have increased the intensity of my activity. I feel like it doesn’t take more than an hour or so before I am hungry again. Unfortunately, I hope I haven’t been fueling that since the past couple of days I have really eaten a lot (now all) of homemade whole wheat muffins I made earlier this week. Sometimes, I just run out of ideas of what to eat. I was also constipated yesterday which is unusual for me since I usually go to the bathroom almost right away when I get up.

I also walked 20 minutes in one session on the treadmill and I did most of my strength exercises as well. CT, who is in second place this past week, may pass me this week. She seems eager to “compete”. She mentioned right off the bat how I would be a “contender”. It would be “fun” to win this Challenge although “victory is fleeting”. I won one last year and who remembers that? I doubt any of them do. I guess, it would depend on whether I would stay with this group after this challenge or not. I probably will. I feel like I have fallen in although it is interesting how the conversation flows. In some respects, I feel like I am almost virtually ignored. However, when it comes to posting in these groups, timing is everything. If you post too early or too late then people may miss it and assume that you aren’t posting. I posted for this past weekend because I didn’t get on until close to midnight. Now, tomorrow all I have to do is weigh in.

I have tried to increase some part of my exercises’ intensity on Sunday night; sort of an informal “Last Chance Workout”. Tonight, after it quit storming, I walked for 20 minutes straight. I varied the speed between 1.6-1.8 mph. I actually think that 1.7 mph seemed comfortable enough to me that I might begin by doing that as my “base speed”. If I can, I would like to do 1 20 minute session earlier in the day and then 1 10 minute session later in the evening. I tried that last week with 1 15 then 1 10 minute “session” last week  but I think I only did it once. As I said, I have really felt like I have been consuming more energy than I am accustomed to. I have been sleeping an average of 9-10 hours a night, which is great after all of that missed sleep this past spring. Today my appetite just seemed hard to tame. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I think some of the choices that I made might have contributed to fueling it too.

Well, tomorrow and this week is a whole new week and that is how I want to look at it. I would like to aim for eating no more than 2000 calories. Considering that I ate 2500 today means I may have my work cut out for me. It is evident that I need to eat more vegetables and fruits. I still have some red grapes and pineapple so I have no excuse not to. I just didn’t eat them. As for vegetables, I was sort of hit and miss on that this past week. I had some really good days but I was also trying to eat up a lot of leftovers which left me sometimes eating a lot of grains. What I have decided to do is try to reduce each day by 100 calories. Now, for me, all that would mean is to reduce or stop using margarine. Then, I will go down my food plan and look for other places to cut. I am already eyeing the skim milk that I drink when I take my evening Tylenol PM. I either have to stop drinking milk the rest of the day, have half as much or try to find another way to take those pills. Other ways I can reduce my calories is by eating half of something: one slice of bread rather than two, one slice of lunch meat, one-half of a muffin, etc. I won’t do that though until I start needing to get below 1800 calories.

I can see that if I am going to crank the activity level, I am going to have to be eating a lot smarter than I have been. I really have to eat quality nutrients in my food because my body needs the superior fuel. I went without vitamins for almost two weeks and it makes a difference for me especially since I was also bleeding during that whole time as well. My “outside” goal is to just get all of this down to a “system”. If I can get a well-established habit of exercising without fail six days a week, eating a really healthy and well-balanced food plan, then I am hoping that my body will respond well and I will lose weight. Granted, it would be nice to be in the 240s by the end of this challenge. That would mean 10 more lbs in about 6-7 weeks, depending on how you count the calendar weeks. That is about 1.6 lbs per week. It sure seems doable, especially what I am trying to do now. Well, we will just have to see how things work out.

Well, I hope to find out something about whether I can count on going to school this fall or winter by mid-week or so. If that is a door that is completely closed to me then I will just have to really hunker down and do a real blitzkrieg for job searching. Perhaps, this career counselor can shed some much-needed light on my “situation”. It doesn’t help that hundred of thousands of well-deserving and qualified applicants are out there looking for work as well. In fact, both P and I are becoming increasingly worried about how we will continue to “survive” just based on what has/hasn’t happened in the past two months. It is very real and it is very scary.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

A New Self Image is Emerging

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Non-Food Rewards, Permanent Weight Lose | 135 Comments

Week of August 9, 2011:

Well, yesterday began Day 1 of a two month BLC (Biggest Loser Club) Buddy Challenge. I can say by the looks of my eating patterns in the past couple of weeks, if not months, that I really needed to be pulled back and take a “reality check” on my so-called weight lose efforts. This past weekend was a perfect example. I decided to do some baking which I  really enjoy doing. I haven’t made cinnamon rolls from scratch in probably 25 years!! I “forewarned” P that this might be considered the “baker’s dozen” meaning that this is the “trial batch” where I see what I need to do to “correct” any problems. It went well except for a few minor hitches which are easily corrected the next time that I make them. I just thought the whole process was enjoyable. Just kneading dough by hand “alone by itself” was a neat experience. Plus, the smells were just wonderful. What really made it a “perfect” baking day was that it was “pouring down” while I was in the kitchen. Paul was used to having cinnamon rolls with icing that was more like frosting. He had a couple but I did expect him to eat more. I ended up eating the majority of them, which had to have been thousands of calories over 36 hours.

I think that the next time that I make them; I will either “half” the recipe or make them up to one point (before the next rising of the dough) and then freeze the rest; whereas, I can bring out a couple as needed. Either way would help in doing “damage control”. I think that I am also going to have the option of making an icing from Splenda. In fact, now that I have begun this “Buddy Challenge”, I am going to revert to using more Splenda in both my cooking and eating. If I had made an icing using Splenda I would have saved the majority of the calories which come from the icing.

Well, I will say that a couple of things that I have learned  is that I really don’t like no sugar dessert products except for the ice creams. However, those dessert items with sugar in them are too loaded with calories to really include them in my food plan right now. So, I am returning to using Splenda. After briefly reviewing that Splenda cookbook N gave me back in 2006, I have decided that I am going to resume using that when I can. I was excited to see that the author and chef included several recipes for pies which is my all-time favorite when it comes to desserts. I think that I will be able to “indulge” myself, within reason, with some former favorites and not sabotage my food plan as I have done too much this past year.

I feel really fortunate that I am finally at a place where exercise is actually impacting my weight lose efforts. I am hoping that I will be at 30 minutes of walking, whether on the treadmill or even outside by the time I am half way through this “Buddy Challenge”. One thing is that it will allow me to have a few “mistakes” if I go over my calorie range. Well, it will be a “challenge” but one that I really hope that I can rise to the occasion on. I haven’t really completely applied myself since June 2010. I put my personal goal as losing 20 lbs in the next eight weeks. I have no idea if that is possible but I was able to lose 25 lbs in 4 weeks last summer and I have managed to keep that off with going up and down 10 lbs besides.

I do think that I have established some good eating habits for the most part. I think part of the deterrent for me has been I couldn’t match the eating with some good exercise habits. However, I have felt that I have made some significant progress in the past two months with starting and sticking with this strength exercises. I have finally been able to resume walking on the treadmill in the past couple of weeks. Now, to keep up the exercise and burning calories along with staying within the recommended calorie range. That will be my own personal challenge as I move through the next two months. Ideally, it would be nice if I managed to do that from  here on out so that I could start to steadily lose weight until I make it to my goal weight.
I think that I can do it. I think that what I need to do over and over until it sinks in is realize that not only can I do this but I have everything I need to do this. I think what I have needed all along was to believe in my abilities to do this like so many other things. I have simply believed it wasn’t possible and so I either didn’t try hard enough or I would try for awhile, lose my motivation and then slack off. It does mean applying continual pressure on myself to keep at it even when I don’t feel like it; like so many things in life that presents obstacles.

I do credit being in this Beck Diet group with regaining some of my lost confidence. It is very positive exchange of support, ideas and just plain talk on a daily basis. In fact, when I slack off and don’t post at least every other day, I really know something is missing in my whole approach to things. I am a little envious of those people who have already lost close to 70 lbs. There are a couple who have and even one person who has reached her end goal. I so would like the reducing part of this dieting to be over. It reminds me though of when we were in the last couple of years of paying off the car. I remember P saying that he was wondering if we would ever own that car. Well, we were six months past the due date on the loan which added enough interest to make two monthly payments but considering that we had both been laid off from our jobs, it still was a euphoric release of “We Did It!”

Although I am still somewhat skeptical about returning to college and going into an entirely different field with not any real clear idea of “where, what and when” I will get employed doing this or for how much money; I know that I can’t continue to do what I have been doing. I have realized for almost six months, if not longer, that I need some focus in my life. I have researched this as much as I felt I needed to and this still has more pros than cons. When I called the registrar office though I was told that I would have to self-finance my own education. Now, with the new legislation in July 2010, the individual higher education colleges are the ones who determine how financial aid is appropriated.  Although I am accepted to every program that I apply, I do not have the self-funds to return to college. I could ask my Dad to co-sign a loan but he is in his 80s and I am nearly 60; it is just something that I don’t want to ask him to do.  P was turned down because my financial “situation” is his as well.  Nearly 18 months has been in this kind of limbo for me. I always hit a dead end.

P is starting to get service calls from S; going out to customers’ homes. One thing that is really nice about that is the majority of S’s customers live around or north of here; mostly in A, etc. For almost five years P has had to go as far south as G (about 50 miles out of the city) for C’s. As a result, he has put a lot of miles on our car. If he could begin to have more work within 20-25 miles north of here, he would be facing less traffic (especially going through the downtown connector) and I think it would just make the commuting part of his job go a lot easier.

I started wearing my pedometer yesterday so I could just see how many steps I actually was doing and although it didn’t seem like a whole lot, I ended up yesterday doing 1.5 miles! It is hard to believe but I have already logged 1 mile of “walking” today!! My “daily goal” is to walk, at least, 1 mile. Considering that most days I am in this apartment all day it is really going to take some doing to get even a mile in unless I start pacing up and down the halls. I do think that when the weather is less hot and humid I just might venture out and walk around the apartment complex. Hopefully, by then, I will be able to tolerate the hills. I’ll have to start being “creative” in how I can get that in because once the stuff is done around here, I won’t have as much “reason” to get up and “do stuff”. I do look forward to that day though because I just feel so stymied by both of our bedrooms.

[I realize that the ones who engineered these pedometers were thinking of able-bodied people so it is probably laughable to think that I am excited about walking the equivalent of 1 mile but, for me, walking involves a significant amount of pain to do weight-bearing activities so it is what I can "tolerate" in terms of pain as well as getting back in shape.]

I have really been thinking about how to make more headway with all of my clothes. I tried on some the other day since I thought I was going to wear a certain outfit to Mass on Sunday. I will admit that some of the clothes that I am sending to Goodwill are ones that just plain make me look big. In fact, most of them I paid on average $80 for a dress or $160 for a suit and I have never worn them!!  I honestly am becoming more attuned to how I actually look in my clothes. I am also realizing that just because the outfit looks good on a 6′ woman who is probably a size 6 doesn’t mean that it will look good on a 5′7″ obese woman(who was a size 26-28W at the time). In fact, more than likely, it won’t. I spent quite a lot of money (money we really didn’t have especially since most of these I never wore)–thousands of dollars. The only consolation I am getting from this is that someone who is a large-sized woman will be delighted to have such “never worn” clothes at deeply slashed prices. I could have taken them to a consignment shop and gotten a few dollars out of it but they have such strict stipulations; current season, well-known labels, hangers, freshly dry cleaned, etc. that I just wanted them out of here. Period!

Yesterday I wore one of my favorite pair of khaki pants (which I cut off at the knees when I accidentally ripped them on a rocker) with one of my newer active wear t-shirts which has some spandex in it so it is more form fitting. All I can say is I don’t mind seeing my reflection in the glass doors. It has made me more aware of the fact that I have another criteria to consider as I am going through these clothes: clothes that not only fit but also flatter. That brings some new elements to ponder as I go through my clothes. Does this outfit or item flatter my newly emerging figure and where do I draw the line on that?

I have two pair of heavier cotton twill pants that I used to wear quite a bit about a decade ago. Of course, at one point, I “outgrew” them but I hung onto them. Well, finally they fit through the hips and through my pot belly but they are huge through the thighs (which is a problem I have with most Plus-size pants-they assume everyone has a lot of weight in their thighs which I don’t–I am more of an apple than a pear). So, do I keep them if they are like that or send them on their way?? How “picky” should I be about all of this? Especially in light of the fact that I am unemployed, will be returning to school within the month and I certainly won’t have a lot of discretionary money for clothes (although I know me well enough that if I want something I will find a way).

I just had an idea! Maybe, what might make them “work” is if I shorten them to just below the knees since them the “wideness” in the thighs won’t be so apparent. That is what I am going to do. I am also going to send anything that is really summery to Goodwill. Although we will have quite warm weather through most of September, I can still wear some of the clothes that I have now that are more trans- seasonal in both color and fabric.  I did that last year and although when this year rolled around and I wondered if I had done the right thing, there really is no point in hanging onto summery clothes when September 1st is three weeks away. I just don’t go enough places to have so many clothes that I only wear “on occasion”.

Well, I think that if I can go without the cane, I really should try to do so. I usually put it in my grocery cart when we go out. Again, let’s see how my legs can support me moving forward. Maybe, by the time we start back with Friday night Bible study I will be able to walk without it. Like P said, I could also carry it with me, “just in case”, which I think is a good idea. I will just have to start carrying either a tote or a bigger purse. Another thing that I have been waiting on is the fact that my shoulder and upper back muscles were pretty weak before I started doing all of these exercises. Even carrying one of my larger purses was a “task”. I was weak all over and that also contributed to me having difficulty in getting around.

Another thing that I didn’t realize is just how other people :perceived” me. I think I am so used to expecting to be “overlooked” that when I got “noticed”(lots of spontaneous grins) at church two weeks ago when I finally wore the dress and shrug that I bought for Easter 2010; I had to rethink about what was I saying about how I felt about myself by the choice of clothes that I wear. I am sure that most of the people must have thought I didn’t care about myself. I do but probably not in the way that reflects a more positive body image. The next thought is “should I/when should I” ditch the cane I use for walking? My legs are getting strong enough where I don’t have the pain that I used to constantly have. I guess, I will have to see how all of this new walking goes and if I can walk without leaning onto something.

One of my “concerns” is that I have been using that cane for nearly two years and  a lot of people see me with it. If I get rid of it, what will people’s reaction be? I have a feeling some will be happy although many will attribute it to me losing weight. How much has losing weight helped? Well, what has helped me more is the fact that I have been doing these strength exercises and building up my leg muscles more so they can start doing the work the cane has been doing for me. Although, I will certainly see what another 20 lbs lose will do for me. I might be pleasantly surprised. I don’t really know what to expect since I haven’t been below 245-250 lbs in several years. So, some things to think about in the upcoming days/weeks/months.

Well, I just spoke to P and he told me he is now waiting on his check to be drafted so he can go and cash it then get D’s for both of us. I suggested that since he is so close and it is both really good tasting food and amazing portions for the price (double portions for $5.50 a meal). I am really getting hungry though. I have been sucking down pop and chewing ice and it is not filling me up. I really don’t want to start snacking because even half of a meal from D’s is around 800 calories and quite a bit of sodium. Yesterday, I stayed within my calorie range and I would like to do that as well today—if at all possible. I just had another idea (since I am so hungry). Maybe, I could make something else within the next hour and then when P comes home, I can divide up D’s and have some of it tomorrow for lunch. At least, that way I can adjust my breakfast accordingly. I think that is what I might do because I don’t think I can comfortably wait for another couple of hours.

P also told me that one of the other technician’s, J, who has had factory training, approached him and he would like P to learn more about piano prepping so that he can focus on voicing which is done after that. Both B, the owner and P’s “former boss”, and J wanted to know if P would be willing to come in 10-15 hours a week to do this. J would be supervising P’s work. We are both absolutely “floored” by this offer. We have had many discussions in the past couple of years about what P would like to be doing and this is exactly what he had been hoping for. Not only that but it would also mean regular hours/money we can “count on”. We are both “amazed” and very grateful!! As I said to P last night, “Do you think it is possible that the tide could actually be turning for us?” Let’s hope so.

Well, I decided to wait and eat D’s after all since P is probably now on his way home in the next hour or so. However, I did make a small snack to tide me over. Right now, I am at 1300 calories so I could have half of the meal and still come in just under my 2100 calories or very close anyway. I have been hungrier today but my “strategy” has been to eat smaller meals more frequently; which is quite a departure from what I have been doing recently. I know the drill by now. The second and third days are tough because now I am not going on the fumes of the previous overeating (like this past weekend). However, it still means that if I am going to keep all of this up I am going to have to be as diligent as I can be.

I have returned to the group to read some of the posts. Much like the Beck Diet group there is a lot of banter about what is happening personally in their individual lives. I am familiar with some of their personal stories since I posted there for several weeks last summer. There are a lot more sick (and older) people in this group though than probably any other on BLC. I think in the Beck Diet group there are younger people; certainly, younger than I. In fact, I might be the oldest one that in that group! As I told P, I would hate the thought of trying to diet well into my 70s. It would really be hard to be motivated. I don’t even want to think about being this heavy when I am that age. I just hope that I’m not. However; if I am, I know that I won’t stop “trying”. Even being 50 lbs less is still a lot better than where I was about 15 months ago.

I am really looking at everything more critically at the clothes that I am deciding on whether they can continue to “work” for me as I am losing weight and firming up my muscles. Also, how I might be able to “stretch” its use beyond now. I am also thinking about what I journalled earlier (above) about being aware of whether a particular outfit or clothing item “flatters” me. I decided to shorten a navy knit skirt that I have practically “worn to death” in the past few years. It was one of the few things I owned that I felt looked good on me (all things considering) and seemed to be quite “forgiving” as my weight went up (usually more than down). I just think that certain lengths can be matronly.

In fact, when I look at many of these 26/28W they all seem quite matronly. At the time, I must have bought them more on how they looked on the model than how they would look on me.  I haven’t tried on any clothing in a store in close to 20 years. Everything I have owned in the past 15 years I have bought from a catalog or an online website. Part of the reasoning was because I hated to try on clothes but I was also avoiding seeing just how they looked on me. Had I faced in a mirror how I looked in those sizes I might have actually decided back then to “do something” about my extra weight. Denial runs deep. Now, as I am being more selective and I can see these clothes for what they really are, I do see things more clearly. Everything was either in black or brown, the tops were usually tunic length and boxy and the skirts were all ankle-length.  They served one purpose–cover up the body. It now makes sense why I focused so much attention on my hair, skin and nails. They were really the only areas of my physical self that were covered up!

I do want to reinforce the work that I have done with my body and that includes wearing clothes that accentuate it. In fact, case in point: I noticed that one of the women  in this BLC group, whohas lost over 70 lbs and has even gotten into “Onderland”, but she still dresses like her former fat self. The outfit she was wearing in the picture makes her look ten years older and she is 5 years younger than me! That is what I am talking about! I know, I have done this myself (unintentionally too). I bet she doesn’t even realize it. I know that I didn’t.

No, I know that I am doing the right thing by getting rid of anything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t flatter my newly emerging body. I do not want to have any excuse or reason to return to these larger sizes. I mentioned what I was doing to this group. Another person mentioned that she felt that her too large sized t-shirts were comfortable and she didn’t want to part with them. Oh boy, do I remember a part of knit pajama bottoms I used to wear. I was newly married and they were huge, even on me, but oh they were comfortable! It was everything that I could do to part with them. Well, I do understand what this woman is talking about because I have a couple of t-shirts that I like to wear around the house that are quite big but in the interest of supporting my new weight lose (now around 40 lbs) I really do need to give them away (if they are in decent enough wear) or toss them.

Well, I packed up the sweaters that I had hanging in our closet and put the plastic bin up on the shelf on my side of the closet and…..I think I pulled a muscle in my upper back. The same area that seems to give me trouble. Now, I have a stiff neck, a sore shoulder blade and shoulder joint going down into my upper arm. I will definitely treat it for the next couple of days. However, I can be careful and continue in our bedroom. I just will wait for P to lift anything up onto that shelf. I may use the time then to continue to try some clothes on and see how they look on me. I am also trying to “let go” of some of the clothes I was wearing when I met P and, quite frankly, only made me look like a square box. I never felt very pretty in some of these clothes but I just felt more relieved that I could actually find something that fit me (sort of).

I think about the show “What Not to Wear”. I have begun recording it. One of the points that the host, Stacy London, always makes is it is better to have a few clothes that really fit you well and flatter you than a bunch of clothes that do absolutely nothing for you. I’ve got my work cut out for me.  I will say this though: there are some clothes that are really well made, “better quality” and which I was lucky to find. I am going to hold onto them until I am absolutely certain that I can’t do anything with them before they go to Goodwill.  Wow! I just realized that I have set myself some new standards to “live by”.

8/10/11:

At least, I have dropped 1.8 lbs so far. Of course, I know that all this was the sodium weight I had from overeating this past weekend and also the extra sodium the past couple of days. Still, I am now at where I was last week. Now, it is any one’s guess what I will be able to lose the rest of this week. Yesterday was a “challenge” as I knew it would be. I haven’t eaten two days in a row within my calorie range in a very very long time! Credit for that first of all. I was hungry all day and night long so I ate every 3 hours just so the hunger wouldn’t get too overwhelming and begin overeating to compensate for that. It seemed to work because I managed to get to bed by 1 a.m. and only be over my high calorie range by 148 calories which is very good, all things considered. I was also running to the bathroom throughout the whole day but I only went once during the night and I managed to sleep 9 hours!! (I only had 5 hours the night before and I didn’t have a nap yesterday either)

Today is going a little better although I am hungry even after eating an apple and a piece of string cheese. I have had about 1200 calories so far today. When you think that this is only the third day, I realize just how  “daunting” of a task it can be to lose even 20 lbs. Well, all I am going to do (I have to!) is focus on today. Right now, I have plenty to do around here that should keep me busy for quite a few weeks. I do hope though that I can get it all done by the first of September, simply because I will be studying and taking classes so I don’t need to have all of this as well to add any other “pressure”.

It is late night again but this is my third day on this Buddy Challenge and the most that I have gone over my calorie’s is by 148 calories. Amazing; considering what I have been eating in the past weeks and months.  It really makes me feel like I might actually be able to start seeing the numbers on the scales go down more than a couple of pounds. Finally, some money came in today. P got his unemployment, paid from CM, S and tomorrow he has a “personal”(from his own website) job. Yay!! The best news we have gotten in quite a very long time happened yesterday. One of the techs at CM is going to show P the ropes on piano prepping starting with a S tomorrow. This is hands-on experience. The kind he has been hoping(wishing?) for a very long time as well.

We went out to eat at A’s. I mentioned “celebrating” this good news but it doesn’t take much to get us to go out to eat. We just enjoy doing it so much. Fortunately, I hadn’t eaten too much prior to it and I was able to stay very close to both calories and sodium content as well. We went grocery shopping afterwards. I hate to say this but I don’t get out a lot and when I do I have a tendency to forget about how much things cost when I am putting them in the cart. As I told P, “You do better when I am not with you because I see something I would like to try and it ends up in the cart”. I know that if I had more money, I would be trying just about anything that is “new” or I find “interesting”.  Well, I also did my upper body weight workout but I decided against doing the lower body. doing the abs probably would have aggravated my upper back, which I am taking additional EX-Tylenol for. Wearing the pedometer and trying to find ways to move around this apartment including doing some “interval” walking on the treadmill besides walking around in the grocery store has again put me  at 1.75 miles today!!  That is three days in a row! It makes me wonder if I can keep this up but so far so good. Of course, let’s see what impact it is having on my overall weight lose.

Speaking of which: I wonder how much I “should” expect to lose for the rest of this week. What I have lost so far has mostly been the sodium “bloat” from overeating this past weekend. I think, I would consider myself to be doing what I “should” be doing if I could lose another 1.5-2 lbs. Then, I think, I would feel like I am on the right track. If I don’t then I am going to have to consider either stepping up my exercise which I am not sure how far I can take that right now and/or dropping down 100-200 calories per day. I am sure that at some point I will get to that place where I will have to make some tough decisions like that. I just hope when that time comes that I will be able to do that because I am hoping that it will be coming from the activity part of this plan. I could see myself going down to 1600 calories but I would really hate to go down to 1400. I just think there is too much temptation to cheat and binge. I don’t want to do that.

I am feeling both excited and a little impatient but if I keep concentrating on having “good days” every day those “good days” will begin to add up and their impact will be seen and felt.  I don’t know if I am going to be able to lose enough to break Onederland by Christmas but if I could lose 40-50 lbs that still would be awesome. I was already thinking about asking others if they would be interested in a pre-holiday challenge since we all know that we usually don’t do well during the holidays. I am hoping that this coming holiday season I have learned to make some Splenda pies, etc so I can really enjoy having my desserts without feeling like I am “missing out”. Well, even if no one else does want to, I hope to continue on with this on my own. Well, that is a long way from now. For now, I have to focus on today and what I can do to make it “happen” for the next 24 hours. Right now, I am starting to get hungry again. It is 1 a.m. and if I were “smart” (as P often says) I would go to bed.

I will say that right now I feel really confused about what I should do next. P had to go to his monthly guild meeting so I got back on the treadmill and walked another 10 minutes. That was a good thing. If I weren’t concerned about injuring myself or doing too much I believe that I would  have done another 10 minutes as well. After all that is one thing that can only benefit me. In fact, since this is Thursday and I have been walking now for about 10 days, it might not be a bad idea to try this again tomorrow. I wasn’t expecting to jump up my time on the treadmill just yet but since it seemed like my knees did “good enough” I just might try doing 20 minutes tomorrow as well. Ultimately, this is where I will be able to burn some calories that I am consuming and where I need to be heading as well. I am so glad though that I chose to deal with my uncomfortable feelings by doing something non-caloric and physical. What a change that is for me!!

I also just didn’t feel like making a formal dinner. Instead I finished off the NS Klondike ice cream bars. It upped my fat consumption which is not so good  but they are also gone now so I won’t have any other choice but to choose something else to eat tomorrow or the next day when I have a craving for something sweet. Maybe, this would be a good time to try using the agave nectar in place of the sugar in some of these recipes and see how that turns out. Anyway, I just feel really disoriented right now. I hate to admit this but I wasn’t crazy about going to school anyway but the fact that I am not contributing any money to our “situation” doesn’t make me feel very good about my efforts (or lack thereof).

8/14/11:

I broke the 265 lb mark and I weighed in at 262.6 lb. However, yesterday I weighed 265.2 lbs. Then, yesterday I was finishing up leftovers and I ate over 3000 calories with over 4400 mg sodium. I feel like I need to go to the bathroom. I didn’t go yesterday so maybe tomorrow I will have more than one BM. I sure hope so. So, maybe in the next week or so I will break the 260s and get down into the 250s. I would like to be in the 240s by the end of this “Buddy Challenge” but I am not sure if that is realistic. I guess, it will depend on how closely I can stay within my recommended calorie range and how much I can increase my activity level. I surprised myself this past week. I was able to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes straight and the past couple of days I increased that to 15 minutes straight and 20 minutes in two separate sessions.

So, based on that I am going to increase my time to 15 minutes straight starting tomorrow. I am almost wondering if I will able to increase the weight of my hand weights by the first of September. I think what I should do first though is increase the sets or reps; like, 3 sets of 10 or 2 sets of 15 then increase it one more time so I end up doing 45 reps. Maybe, I should try 2 sets of 15 tomorrow and see how that works out. In the past couple of weeks, I added ankle weights to my lower body workout so I would increase the tension. I think I will continue with that and maybe increase one more set of 15 reps. I also might consider getting a kettle bell for one particular exercise (kettle bell swing) which supposedly is enough to cover a lot of different exercises and also work all of your muscles. I am just not sure how heavy I should go. I was thinking about 10-15 lbs. to start with. I think I will consider doing this seriously in September: up to a 5 lbs weight (which I think my silver weights are that) and a 10-15 lb kettle bell.

I have journalled recently about the reaction that I got when I wore that pretty dress with the bright pink shrug. I was worried that I might be “too big” to wear such a dress but it did look really pretty and it will only continue to look prettier as I tone my muscles and lose more weight. I am going to continue to try some of the clothes in my closet right now and see if they too need to be shortened. I have slender calves and I really should “show them off”. I think I have a good sense of style. I just need to practice more often. Tomorrow I will wear that navy blue outfit to church with black patent ballet flats and my hair down. However, as I lose more weight and continue to tone my waist, I am going to begin wearing some belts rather than wear my tops loosely as I have been. It’s all about “nudging” the eye to think I have a figure rather than just a “box”. I think, shortening the skirt will also help until I can find some belts in my size. (I might even consider making some if possible!)

I came across an article about Kate Middleton’s younger sister, Pippa. Although she is not as pretty as Kate (who is stunning!), Pippa does have a good sense of style which, of course, the magazines et al have picked up on. I feel that, at my best, my style is very similar. Again, I just need to tweak it. Surprisingly, Pippa seems to “prefer” flats or really low heels. For someone who is 27 years old, that is definitely a departure from what we usually see in the print media and on t.v. I was able to C/P a lot of photos of her so I can ’study” the separate elements of how she puts together an outfit and use that as my “guide”. I feel I really need to break free of the way I was dressing not that long ago. I am tired of being thought of as only a “pretty face”. Granted, I still am obese (and I will be for another 100 lbs) but I am getting more toned so I want the way I dress to reflect that as much as possible.

Well, I have got it started with, at least, three outfits so far. More will follow as I go through my closet and leave hanging only those that will support the “newly emerging” body image that I am projecting from now on.  One thing that I am going to “switch out” right away is the size of my handbags and sunglasses so they are more in proportion to my physical size. Fortunately, I do have some bigger ones so this will be quite easy to accomplish.

8/15/11:

I had a fitful night for sleeping. P was really crowding me while we were sleeping and when we make love my back really hurt afterwards. It is our mattress. It is just plain shot. I didn’t go to church but he brought me the host come to take instead. Then, we prayed the LOTH and did our weekly Bible reading. Afterwards, I made some pasta along with some of my leftovers. This time I made sure that I split it in half so that I didn’t overeat it “by accident”. I haven’t done that with pasta in a very long time. I just love spaghetti and meat sauce too much. Then, I did my calculations for my food and I walked 15 minutes at one session on the treadmill. Listening to 60s music really helps a lot. I finished my strength exercises around 11:30 p.m. I don’t like to wait this long but it is just the way it happened.

Tomorrow (or sometime later today), I will need to post my weekly weigh-in. I started in weighing heavier than I usually do although I knew it could be attributed to excessive calories last weekend and probably some added sodium. I wasn’t sure how much weight I would lose after that initial flush. After all, I have been at this for quite some time. So far, it appears that I have lost nearly 6 lbs. I have been faithful in getting more physical movement in, doing my weights and staying as close to my calorie range as possible. I decided to buck my hunger and make a bag of microwave popcorn. It didn’t put me over much on my sodium so I am hoping that it won’t significantly affect my weigh in.

I would definitely say that my working out has now finally begun to impact my body’s ability to burn off the extra fat. I decided to take it up a notch. Wow, it was a lot harder to do 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights than I thought it would be. I reread the information about how many reps a person should aim for and the author of “Abs n Arms” said around 50 so I think my final increase will be 3 sets of 15 before increasing the actual weight of the hand weight. And, of course, I went an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill. For now, it is just a matter of keeping it up. I plan (and hope) to exercise 6x a week while I am in the reduction phase of my weight lose program. I can say this right now: it was nice when I had a day off. Interestingly, that was the day I really went over on my calories too. Part of it was simply because I didn’t measure some of the portions I ate. The other part was that I had some really good tasting leftovers to eat and that made it easier to “eat more” also. Well, this is going to be my “lot in life” for quite some time whether I like the idea or not. I am hoping though that I can get my activity level to the point where I can actually stay around this calorie range. I don’t know if that is possible, given my physical limitations of endurance and/or whether my knees especially will allow me to do that but I am going to give it a try.

Here’s some “numbers” to show where I am and how much weight I need to lose to say that I “accomplished” these mini-goals. I will need to lose 30.18 lbs in order to say that I have lost 10% of my original weight. I have already accomplished that although since I didn’t put my original weight on my BLC tracker when I rejoined it doesn’t show that. However, I have already accomplished that. (It was 271.62 lb.). In order to lose the next 10% of my body weight, I will need to be 244.62 lbs. which is about 18 lbs from now. In order for me to say that I am “only” 100 lbs overweight, I will need to reach 235 lbs. That is 27 lbs from now. In order for me to be in Onderland, I will need to lose 63 lbs. How long will all of this take? It depends on how much I am willing to really apply myself to this goal.

If I had weeks like this past week, then I would say that it could be possible for me to be in Onederland by January 1, 2012.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Denial continues to be stronger than “Getting Real”

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Denial is Deeply Rooted | 22 Comments

Week of August 2, 2011:

I weighed in today at 266.6 lbs. So, I am still .8 lbs more than when I recommitted myself to a new goal of being 135 lbs by my 59th birthday. Not exactly moving in the right direction. I do think that it is a combination of all the stress that we have been under and the excessive, ongoing heat that the whole country has been experiencing. However, it has only been two weeks and I am moving forward well on my strength exercising for one thing. I decided that starting August 1st I would “test” my legs to see how I would fare on the treadmill. I did 5 minutes a short while ago. I could feel the same areas that I have had pain in the past hurt but the 5 minutes went relatively quickly so I take that as a good sign. I thought what I would start out by doing is 5 minutes morning-afternoon-evening. It doesn’t seem like much right now but I can build on that as my knees can tolerate it and as my leg muscles overall become stronger. In the past month, I have added five new exercises for my lower body; targeting the outer hips, back of my thighs, inner thighs and my gluts. All of these muscles are very important in supporting my body as I move. I want to shoot for 30 minutes every other day; ideally, non-stop and then add on a couple more days to bring that up to 5x a week I am walking for 30 minutes.

With something like this, you really have to plan and look long term. This is not something that I am going to be able to accomplish overnight. So, it is hard to say when I will be doing those 30 minute sessions 5x a week. It might be closer to Christmas. Who knows? However, once I am at that point, I should really be seeing some changes in how I am losing weight and how my body is shaping up. Yesterday, I increased my reps to 2 sets of 10 reps with the 3 lb weights. I just bought those for my birthday and the first time that I did them, they felt really heavy. I just can’t believe how weak I had become. It’s sort of “shocking”. I used to easily “lift” 40 lbs with my arms 30 years ago. Again, my decision will be to move up to 2 sets of 15 reps. At that point, I will probably buy a 4 or 5 lbs weight and start back again at 1 set of 5 reps, etc. I will stop though at 8 lbs since that was the recommendation of the author of “Abs and Arms”.

Right now, I am sticking with 2 sets of 15 reps for each individual exercise I am doing. For my abs, that is a total of 120 reps. I have decided to stick with that since with abs it is more about being able to move closer to your knees, etc. and I am not “there” yet. I think, once the abs become easy though then I will move on to some of these really challenging workouts that I have seen on t.v. I think by the time I am ready to try “Hip Hop Abs” or “Zumba” I will have been able to really strengthen my lower body so I can do all the movement with a lot more ease. It is really about becoming stronger and stronger.

Well, those 5 minutes caused my knees to both hurt more and to swell up!  I am really surprised that it took so little to do so. I did take some EX-Tylenol at dinner and then eventually I laid down for a nap but it shows that although it was “easier” last winter to get in 30 minutes per day(within 4 weeks, if I remember correctly), I’m not sure why it isn’t now. Well, I stopped at 5 minutes. It seems meager but I will do another 5 minutes tomorrow, etc. etc. and then I will add another 5 minutes. It is less than I originally thought I could “tolerate” but as the author of “Treat Your Own Knees”, he was more interested in building on time since that really defines “endurance”. That hardly seems like “enough” to call aerobic but I am also moving around the apartment throughout the day doing the dishes, making meals and straigthening up; some days more than others. It will have to be “enough” for now. That is all I can do and I want to do it “safely”.

P went to Eucharistic Adoration today. He ran into our Bible study leader, E, and she mentioned that one of our “members” just lost her job. I was surprised and I felt upset about it. This woman is a R.N., I think, and I thought the medical profession really needed nurses. This recession has really has been difficult for us. We have managed to hang on by the skin of our teeth but we need twice the monthly income we are getting and had I been continuing to receive unemployment we would have. I try not to beat myself up about some of this because it certainly isn’t what either of us wanted to have happen. We were already struggling financially before this all began. We did not “need” this to happen to us. I keep reminding both P and I that we are not alone in this but we both readily admit that we are bone weary from such a long time of struggling financially.

Although I don’t want to discourage P I said to him that since LK at C’s mentioned that it was just between him and Pl about P working at S what would stop L from cutting back on giving P work since he knows that P is getting some from S? P trusts L 100% so that would just break his heart if L would do something like that but when they talked earlier this a.m. L was mentioning about how he had heard that once the unemployment runs out this time there will be no additional unemployment. Well, I don’t think that is so. P has a claim established for a full calendar year until May 17, 2012. It also depends on just how much he makes as well. As long as he is making some money he is building up his unemployment. His weekly benefits are about $47 less but it is still over $xxx. We are grateful for anything. The one thing that we have been praying for is a steady weekly paycheck from an employer so we would be very happy to relinquish that unemployment should P be offered a full time job.

8/4/11:

Well, I am quite proud of myself that I didn’t even go on the computer yesterday so today I ended up spending nearly 4 hours catching up on my e-mails, “correspondence”, posting with the Beck Diet Group and logging my food for the past two days. Still, I managed to get some productive things done yesterday as a result. I made the M.O.M. whole wheat pizza again (third time). This time I added ground turkey crumbles as the meat. I decided to not add the cheddar cheese to the dough as the original recipe calls for since I really couldn’t see how that added to the flavor (and still added to the calories, etc). I tried this time to add less toppings on the pizza so as to keep the calories down and the sodium as well. I managed to do the first but with the kind of toppings that I put on additional sodium was almost a given. I like to have black olives on. Had I had some peppers and mushrooms, I could have added that without all the sodium. Another food items I need to have on hand.

I also made homemade fudge. Considering that we had quite a weekend eating a huge bag of small chocolate candy bars, it seems kind of “dumb” but I told P that I want to see if I can learn restraint around one of my “trigger foods”. I want to see if I can truly eat only one per day (or even every other day). I think that it would add to the confidence that I can handle slippery slopes better than I previously believed I could. We will see how this “experiment” works out. The past three days I have tried harder to eat closer to my BLC recommended calorie range. I have also begun walking on the treadmill. After my knees almost immediately began hurting the first day, I decided that I would walk only 5 minutes each day this week and then add 5 minutes each day the following week and so on. If my knees can tolerate the increase then I could possibly be walking 30 minutes per session 5x a week within 6 weeks. That is what is recommended to get the real fat/calorie burning happening.

[I never saw this as being a way to sabotage my dieting efforts by making homemade fudge and then trying to "test" my reserve but it is, isn't it? Why have I not been able to see this? Why haven't I been able to see the connection? It is like part of my brain is in a fog and the other part works.]

Six weeks will take me to mid-September so there is plenty of time to reduce by the time the holidays come up. I remember quite well how all the aerobic walking I was doing in the fall of 2007 really helped me through the holidays that year. I didn’t even gain any weight even though I both stopped walking and I ate whatever I felt like. I believe I can count on my body to deliver me this time as well. Although I do plan on exercising better judgment when it comes to the food choices I make.

Well, I am breaking up my time on the computer by going through our closet and pulling out clothes that I will probably not wear in the next season or two. I am trying to focus on keeping only those clothes that I will really wear; either now, the near future or next spring/summer. In the next day or so, I am also going to try on certain clothes as well so I can see where I am at in terms of sizes and what I can/can’t wear this coming season.[Side note: Some of these I ended up ruining my credit over since I bought a lot of clothes that I really couldn't afford and I have been hanging onto them for 6 years!!] Fortunately for me, I usually gravitate towards more “classic-styled” clothes so they will be fine if I wear them in the next year. Still, my goal is to clear out as many “non-contenders” as I can. Ideally, I would like to have some empty plastic bins when I get done so I can use them in the laundry room to “contain” some of the odds n ends on those shelves.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

What gives?

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 54 Comments

Week of July 26, 2011:

7/26/11:

My first “official” weigh in for this new birthday goal is 270.0 lbs!  That is 4.2+ lbs. from last week. Not exactly what I had hoped for as my first weigh in. I did add a comment section of what I thought “might” be contributing to that weight gain. I ate D’s on either Thursday or Friday of last week, I had horrible sleep for several nights in a row so I was having the “middle of the night” munchies, eating foods like potato chips or high calorie nuts and I also had high calorie sweets like chocolate covered almonds and extra-large homemade chocolate chip cookies. Then, we ate out twice over the weekend. Add to all of the additional calories and sodium I am also constipated. I don’t think I have had a BM since early Saturday. That is very unusual for me.

I mentioned that I had been in a “holding pattern” but it is self-imposed. I don’t have to be in this spot and yet I am. I hate to admit that although I have the Beck response cards right in front of me on the edge of the computer monitor screen, I rarely read them. I “allow” myself to eat out frequently and although I have been consistently exercising every day for over a month, I am still eating way more calories, along with hidden sodium and possibly hidden fats, without discretion. What gives?  It is like my mind and my actions are not in sync. I know what I “should” be doing but I am not doing it. Why?The only answer that I can come up with is simply I have done this for so long, that I don’t know how to do anything else. No wonder I am back and forth all the time. This is getting to be repetitive, demoralizing and embarrassing. I mean, I am sharing this with other people. I feel like the Emperor who thinks he is wearing a full regal garment when he is actually standing butt naked in the midst of a crowd.  Dear readers, this is not sensible eating, consistent “dieting”, nor even addressing a lot of issues. I am on auto-pilot.  It amazes me that I have even managed to lose nearly 30 lbs in the past year because the way I eat it doesn’t even seem possible that I have.

OY! I think I just walked blind-sided into this booby trap ensconced in “denial”. I know better but I was not even trying to use any of the Beck CBT skills to make better choices or even say “No Choice”. So, the next question is where am I really at with using the Beck CBT skills in assisting me to lose weight?  I would venture to say I am almost back at “square one”. This is very humbling. I can not deny the fact that I was basically thinking that I had this figured out and that I was doing better than I really was doing. Why? Well, I think that there is a part of me that simply doesn’t want this to be this hard. I want to have it both ways. Well, if I want to not practice these skills then I will be at this weight indefinitely. Do I really want that? The obviously answer is “NO’” but on the other hand how badly do I really want to lose weight and how much am I willing to commit to doing what it takes to get there? It might be a question that I ask myself every day until I am doing what I need to do to see the kind of results that you would expect from someone who is very serious about losing weight.

Well, I was able to stay in bed from 10:15 p.m. last night until 6:30 a.m. today. I have not been able to sustain that kind of prolonged sleep for so long I don’t even remember when it happened last. My guess is that it could have been months. I did get up multiple times to go to the bathroom but it “released” 4.4 lbs of sodium-induced water weight so it was “worth it”. Now, to start out today on a good foot and recommit myself to practicing my Beck skills. Already, I am hungry less than 2 hours after my breakfast! I think that is because I went over 75 grams of carbs and my blood sugar has risen so that sparks my appetite. If I start getting busy then, of course, that burns off some of that sugar pooling in my blood and the appetite decreases. I am really more aware to how my body processes carbs/sugar than I would have ever been before I “discovered” I had elevated blood sugar. Now, to really take to task sodium in my diet. I am eating double of what is currently recommended!!

After P hands in his invoices so he can get paid, then he goes to D’s to eat (and kill some time while his check is being cut). Usually, he brings me home a meal as well. Again, it is a lot of sodium but this is really “cheap eats” at a time when it really helps. I have been dividing the meal in half and then freezing the second one to be eaten later. We both are so amazed at how much food you get for $5.50!! You get enough to make two complete meals out of for one thing and it is the kind of food that we both love to eat: home style Southern cooking. It also goes to show you how huge the portion sizes are from most restaurants. I spent quite a bit of time trying to work around my D’s meal. More than likely I will end up going over my recommended daily calories. I am just hoping that I can stay under my recommended sodium. I’ve decided to aim for under 2500 mg sodium for awhile so I can start releasing a lot of that sodium-induced water weight.

7/27/11:

Well, it took me three days but I managed to do just that—keep the sodium down (which isn’t as easy as you would think, at least, for me) and the sodium-induced temporary weight gain is no more. It is a dilemma though and one that I hope I can also work on when I restart “sweatin”. 7/28/11:

Yesterday, once P got his check from C’s, we went to GC for an early supper. Then, we went to Ls. I got a large bag of organic potting soil and P got the “replacement” hardware needed to finish assembling the wooden media rack. Wow, it was really warm out. It was in the mid-90s but still felt warmer than this past weekend. We ended up watching t.v. for the remainder of the night and it was the third night in a row where I was able to sleep through the night, except for a bathroom break around 3 a.m. until early morning!! All I can say is “Wonderful! Wonderful!”. Today, I made another large stock pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I also made a “wonderful” breakfast for myself. I did a “repeat” of the “pork” (aka turkey) sausages, scrambled eggs with chopped spinach and garlic herb feta cheese crumbles, the homemade carrot-prune muffins and mandarin orange slices.  Yum!!

I ended up putting the small but very “substantial” pineapple based fan on the traditional end table along with the olive colored based lamp (which I got this past winter and I had as a printer stand since then) next to our loveseat. P really liked the placement of that in our living room. Granted, we could easily use a living room about 4-5 feet wider to accommodate all of the furniture in there but it will have to do for now. I just wanted a place to “house” all of his odds n ends that he leaves lying around on the furniture. The end table has a deep drawer where I would like him to just put some stuff in there (out of sight-out of mind and everything just looks neater as a result!). With the wooden media rack now assembled I transferred the remainder of our dvd collection onto that. For the time being; it is staying in the dining room until I get the second bedroom finished. We could get another 35-50 dvds before we needed to get another media rack of some kind.  I also put the glass top demi-lune sofa table behind the second loveseat. It does cut off some of the space in front of the front door so I am not sure that it will stay there indefinitely. A couple of years ago I had it in front of the patio door which I might end up doing again. It is also possible that I might either put it in either of the two bedrooms. We’ll see where it looks like I might have some “freed up” space once I rearrange some of this furniture.

Every time that I am able to add one more piece of furniture or decorative item that makes this seem more like a “home” rather than an “rental”, I am very happy. [When my arthritis wasn't so bad (about 3 years ago) I was able to both paint and wallpaper 3/4ths of our large apartment. I have always loved the floor plan of this apartment. It has generous closet space including a large walk-in closet in our bedroom and a separate laundry room off of the kitchen. Five years ago, all of the apartments were remodeled with new flooring and cabinetry. This two-bedroom unit also was able to get new appliances and a new central air conditioning unit. We have an open porch that overlooks a heavily wooded area where we can see lots of birds and even an eagle once in awhile. Although we have lived here nearly eight years, we have never really tired of our "home". It meets all of our needs.]

It is easy to forget that too until I look into some of the apartments where the walls are all beige and there are few wall decorations. I just couldn’t do that even though I am sure at different points in time, I probably ran a risk of breaking the “rules” of what you can or should do to alter the interior appearance of our apartments. We have had some leasing management who were fine with painting although they did balk at some people who wanted renovate the showerheads, etc. until last year when they replaced all the plumbing with more water-efficient ones (water has gotten very expensive here in the past couple of years).

The irony in that is from the time I left my own home I owned, I have decorated almost every apartment I rented. Some more than others. It usually depended on how much money that I had at the time. Plus, back in Minnesota, the choices among second hand stores, were very limiting. I didn’t do much shopping outside of the local area plus I didn’t have access to a pick up where I could have brought much home. So, the combination of all that really made for “slim pickin’s”. I have done more since we have been down here simply because there is such a “wealth” of second-hand or discounted “resources” to draw from. I have gotten several really good pieces of gently used, second-hand traditional furniture from G. That alone has really been a real “blessing” because it is difficult to find really nice furniture that isn’t either out of my price range or if within my price range then cheaply made. Then, all I have had to do was tie it in with the wall color and accent it with decorative items. I would love to see what Pa’s reaction would be; if she would ever actually get down here to visit. I have gotten a lot of compliments from different work men as they have come here to do something to the apartment. Although he was here late at night and only stayed overnight, P’s brother, L, thought our apartment was really nice. That’s nice to hear. I don’t entertain much so not many people do see the inside of our “home”.

Well, as I have said before: I just need to keep editing what we do own so what is left has a place and it is something that I really use/need/want so I can “justify” the space it does take up. It’s a process. At this point, I would love to be able to split up some of this stuff in another “residence” just so I could use it without it make our existing space cramped.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Stuck in a Holding Pattern

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 36 Comments

Week of July 19, 2011:

Once again, I am up past midnight. I took a nap from 4-6:45 p.m. so I figured  that I wouldn’t be very sleepy. I was right. It’s not the best pattern that I’ve gotten myself in but I am sure that once I set a few other things in place I will feel more like going to bed earlier than what I have been doing. I decided earlier tonight that I was going to make my yearly birthday goal “big and bold”. I would like to lose the remainder of the weight I have by my 59th birthday, exactly one year from now. That averages 2.7 lbs per week though! It is doable provided that I really get down to business. Between the information and help available on BLC site and the Beck Diet strategies; I can do it.

7/21/11:

My 58th birthday really ended up being quite “lovely”. It was quiet but I was okay with that. I ended up ordering pizza from PJ’s and I even managed to stay within 500 calories of my recommended range. I don’t feel that was a bad “celebration” at all! We watched AGT and I was able to talk with T for over an hour. However, yesterday just plain sucked! We went to bed around midnight. I awoke around 2 a.m. P redid his resume so it was reflecting his past experience in music. He checked with both the office at our church and with our current Music Director about the position. Our current Music Director even said he would put a good word in for P but he told P to not wait on applying. Well, I was thinking about that when I awoke so I came in here and drafted both a resume and cover letter on Word. I wasn’t sure on a couple of the dates (I was only off by one year) so since it was getting closer to when I “thought” P would get up I pushed myself to stay up a little while longer so I could do some “fact checking” with him. Well, after he proofed the resume/cover letter I sent it via-email to our church’s office.

As I told P, I feel like these kinds of opportunities don’t come along very often and since this has only been advertised internally (that we are aware of) I felt the pressure to get on this and not delay. In fact, I was very tense about getting this done and sent right away. I awoke thinking about it. This would really put P “front row center” if he got a position like this in our church. It would also mean a steady paycheck and an opportunity for Pl to step outside of what he has been doing. I also feel that should he get something like this it would also mean that I would need to be there to show my support if not even be in the choir itself which would mean an every week commitment. Although S did say that they would be calling him this fall, who knows how busy P could be? Maybe, that is all he will need to start bringing in more money but fall is about six weeks away and until then we have to think of every possible way he can bring in more money. This seemed like a genuine opportunity.

So, pushing past when I “should” have gone to bed I ended up sleeping poorly when I did and I awoke very irritable. After having something to eat, I decided I couldn’t stay up any longer and I went to back to bed for a couple of hours. It was a really good nap. I tried to stay up but I just couldn’t. I was so tired I felt nauseous. I slept for a couple of hours. Well, I did awake in a much better mood. We watched some of our summer programs and then P went to bed. I decided to come in here and play some online games before I return to bed. Besides my sleeping suffering today so did my food plan! I am just going to have to say “No!” to having any kind of nuts around here. I thought that I could try again but I can’t seem to leave them alone. Although they are high in monounsaturated fats, they are also high in calories and I just can’t seem to stop at one small handful. I had already eaten close to 1600 calories before I returned to bed. Not exactly how I wanted to start the first day of my year long countdown to a “New Me!”. Not at all!!

I have always handled these kinds of problems when they arise since I am the one who makes the majority of our financial decisions. It is an arrangement that has worked well for us as a couple although there are times when I am concerned that should something happen to me, P would really be lost as how to go about handling our finances. In fact, I have been thinking about making a record of account numbers, passwords, etc. to keep in our safe so if I were unable to deal with this for any length of time, he would be able to make sense of it. That is a good thing that I should consider working on asap.In the meantime, I always share with him what is going on and how it has been resolved.

[I also see the "irony" of this as well since I am a self-professed "recovering" compulsive spender. I used to say that I had a tri-core addiction: bad relationships, food and money. Well, I have a very good relationship and marriage right now, which I am very grateful for, but the other two areas are "works in progress". We are still snowed under in $65K in debt from some unwise decisions we made six years ago, that we are currently paying back. I still have over 125 lbs to lose before I see a "normal" weight.  There is such a long road ahead for me/us. I get so weary from it all sometimes.]

Although BD, who recently had the heart attack, invited both of us over for dinner, I reneged at the last minute. I am self-treating my back again, which seems to be an ongoing problem that is not really going away as I would have thought it would have,  and that, at the moment, I was in no mood to “be social”. I always feel so bad about doing this because I do it a lot.  I realize that things like this happen in life so I “should” be able to just “let them go” and move on. I am getting better about it but I still balk at switching gears a lot of the time. I guess there is a part of me that is wanting to feel sorry for myself that life has to be so damn difficult at times. I want to just pout and make a scene rather than shrug it off and actually turn to something like a nice dinner with another couple and “forget about it”. [P returned and told me that BD has done a complete 180 degrees. He now walks 3 miles every day. He has become a vegan and he doesn't eat any sugar. Wow! For someone who had a mild heart attack, he really took things quite seriously]

This is the first time that I have identified my thought processes on this so I consider that a “breakthrough” of sorts. Now, to just put an alternative way of handling it into place from now on. Tonight would be a good start but, again, I’m not in the mood. Which Dr. Beck would say “do it anyway” whether you are in the mood or not. She would be correct in saying that too. So, for now, I see the root of my reaction(s) to these kinds of upsets and that is progress. Maybe, I will get to a place where I can shrug it off, clean myself up and move past it. Today probably isn’t it but that is only because I have chosen not to take this one step further. That is my weakness at this moment.

I love having revelations like this because they also show the work that is happening beneath the surface while I am working on my physical self. It is moments like this that really test an emotional eater “in recovery”. I didn’t turn to food to “comfort” me or ease the tension I felt. In fact, I was relatively calm during the whole conversation(s) I had with different reps. I take notes while I am talking because invariably I will have to repeat what I said several times because once I am transferred the previous person doesn’t fill in the following person as to why I am calling. That alone escalates my frustration.

I just got a phone call from the W.I.A. person. I am not even sure if it was my career counselor. I can’t remember what her voice sounded like. She sounded nervous though. I just told her that I had some health concerns this past spring that didn’t “allow” me to finish the final exams.  I also told her about my future plans to return to a college degree program (none of the “free money” government retraining programs won’t cover those). She sounded nervous when she asked me if I had found a job or whether I wanted her to close my file. I told her to go ahead since my plans now include taking out a student loan and returning to school so I really won’t be needing their assistance any more. I also don’t want that “over my head” either.

I also told her that when I pass the final exams for the MOS program (I have until late this fall) I would send her a certificate of completion. I feel that is only fair since it was paid for through the program. I think their concern is the fact that I haven’t found a job as a result of that training. They have to show that their program is effective when requesting government agencies’ funds. I guess, since I haven’t completed the final exams nor gone out and sought work with that upgraded job skill, I can’t really say if it was worth it or not. I wasn’t sure if it was something that I really wanted to do or not. I knew that it was a “time filler” for me. The one person that I feel that I have “let down” through this whole process is P since he has shouldered the entire responsibility of working and paying the bills. I feel some “guilt” regarding that. He has been incredibly sweet during this whole time. He is amazing.

That is why I try to really help him when it comes to looking for work like using my writing skills to draft a more powerful cover letter, deal with the headaches of our finances, stretch our food budget and provide moral support when he is feeling down himself. I know that those are my strengths right now. He also recognizes them as such, acknowledges it to me and that makes all the difference in how I see our “situation” and how I feel about myself. I think if he were critical of how I have conducted myself this past year or so I am not so sure how “good” our relationship would be. I am sure that I would feel a lot worse than I do already. It really brings home to me just how we do bear each others’ shortcomings at different times during our marriage and how fortunate we are that how we have handled the aggravations of life have spoke as much as each of us as individuals and how well we work together as a couple.

7/23/11:

Well, in spite of the fact that I ate/drank over 3000 calories yesterday, including eating 800+ calories in finishing off a large bag of potato chips, I weighed 264.6 lbs this morning!!  I was half expecting an increase because my food plan has included delivery pizza, regular soda, potato chips, chocolate covered almonds, etc. the past 4 days or so!! IF ONLY I could eat 1800 calories a day, I do believe I could break the 260s before the end of this month. If I could weigh 259 lbs on August 1st, I would be a “happy camper”. What do I attribute this to? My “educated” guess: is that I am eating lots of fiber along with these foods that are high in fat (foods like whole wheat bread, cheerios, whole fruits, popcorn and nuts); I am starting to gain some “serious” muscle and therefore, burning more calories; I am drinking lots of non caloric liquids and chewing a lot of ice; I am logging everything I eat so I am aware of what, when and how much I am eating; I am really trying to reduce the amount of sodium that I have.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Heart Attacks and Eating Healthy

Filed Under Non-Food Rewards | 27 Comments

Week of July 15, 2011:

It is about 12:30 a.m. but since I haven’t gone to bed yet, I still consider this Thursday. I finally got out of this apartment for the first time in two weeks-14 days!! It was 14 days ago that we went to  Wal-mart, I walked around it like I have been doing only that time it left me barely able to walk to the car and it took me another day or so to “bounce back”. It came as quite a big surprise to me then. I haven’t walked very far anywhere since then so I am not quite sure how I would fare now. Maybe, it was a fluke or maybe not. I won’t know until we go there again, I walk around the store again and then see how my knees and legs handle it. I will say though that I have a very “sensitive” inner thigh muscle that seems to be acting up like it has been “pulled”(strained). All yesterday I could feel it being really tense and painful. I iced it for quite some time then put some Icy Hot on it before I went to bed. Today, it seemed fine.

Well, we ate at GC. I was careful with my portions but, unfortunately, when I got home and tallied up both the calories and sodium content, I was left almost speechless. I picked one piece of  a lot of different things. Some of the food items I had never tried before and others were favorites but ones that I knew were high in either calories or sodium so I made sure that I picked smaller portions or just one serving. Even so, I ended up having over 2000 calories(which put over my 2100 high limit) and 4500 mg sodium!! It is a good thing that I didn’t eat much before but I was too afraid to eat anything else afterwards even though I was hungry later in the evening. Crap!! I told P that lately as I have tried to eat less sodium, it seems like all I do is run into problems with my food choices; particularly when I eat out.

After we ate, P followed up on a job lead that L from CM gave him. L suggested that P try S and see if they needed any extra help. It was either luck or L knew something as an “insider”. S is right across the street from GC so I sat in the front under the porch on a bench while P talked with one of the S’s personnel. She told him to stop in early next week and they could offer him some work including being available there on Saturdays. I think we were both speechless. We are so accustomed to things not seeming to “open up” for him that this came as a complete (although very welcomed) surprise.

I also had P’s lab results printed out so when he does get to see a doctor he can present that as well. He called BD after about a 6 week absence and he found out that B had a heart attack recently. I didn’t realize that he was P’s age for one thing. He also is not your typical heart attack profile. He is thin and he doesn’t smoke or drink except his triglycerides were also as high as P’s. When P heard all of this he was visibly affected by this. I think finding out that his own triglycerides are so high really now has hit him after hearing about B’s news. Well, I can see a few places where we can “tweak” our food plan. I read the information about cholesterol that came along with his lab results and I will do all I can to check both of our “diets” from now on.

For starters, I told P that I plan on us both eating the fat free microwave popcorn and going back to Smart Balance “margarine”. As long as it looks like we can afford it, I also want to eat fish twice a week with three times a week as our end goal. I will look for a lower sodium and low fat hot dog. I now will get egg substitutes and try them. P really loves his soft boiled eggs and when I do have eggs I like my yolk as well but I could use egg substitutes in my baking for sure. I could still use the egg yolks in recipes like potato salad but just use half as many so I get some of the flavor and texture but not all of the cholesterol. Again, with these M.O.M. diabetic cookbooks and my own ingenuity, I think we can eat “healthy” and still have delicious food.

As for both of us, we need to get back into a regular, consistent aerobic exercise routine. When we got home and after it cooled down some, P went for a walk. Later in the evening, I had a chance to review the information and I will be more mindful of what makes up some of the fats in both what remains in the refrigerator and cupboards. I also plan on looking for a OTC fish oil capsule that is smaller, doesn’t taste fishy and you only take once a day. If it is small enough maybe even I could get in the habit of swallowing it whole.

The other good news is that my body is getting toned enough where it is actually beginning to show in my clothes. An outfit that I have worn for several years now, an abstract empire waist top with solid knit capris, now almost seems to be too big for me. I am going to send it to the laundromat and, hopefully, it will shrink some. Since there is less of me, both have gotten noticeably longer in length. I don’t mind putting them in the dryer now that they have gotten bigger. I can “afford” to have them be a little more “form fitting”.

7/16/11:

Well, we both went to bed around 10 p.m. last night. As usual, I awoke several times but I managed to stay in bed until 4:20 a.m. before I finally got up. I decided to go ahead and make P his chicken noodle soup. However, I do have the tendency to eat the majority of my calories when I am up earlier and it seems like I have “time to kill”. Not exactly what I want to do either since when I do awake I still sometimes have quite a bit of the day left not to mention I don’t always get in all of my food groups when this happens. I seem to favor carbs at that time. I didn’t sleep for long and I do plan on returning to bed in a short while.

I did my lower body workout laying in bed. When I clear the floor space enough I will probably try to do it more often on the hard floor although I do think I am still getting some benefits since I can feel and see the difference already. I can feel my leg muscles getting stronger lately. I feel more secure when I stand in the shower, which was a big reason why I fell last November. A lot of the joint pain has subsided especially as I have added the hip exercises. I know that I was weak in that area as well which might have contributed to the pain in my right hip. According to the book, I can do the quad strengthening exercises every other day for two-three months and, then at that point, I think drop down to 1-2x a week for “maintenance”. So, if I want on August 4th, I can probably do that. I could also give it another month to be on the safe side too. I guess, I will make that decision at that time. It really doesn’t take long so it isn’t a big deal if I go until September 4th.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Middle of Summer, It’s Hot but I’m Not

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles | 3 Comments

7/1/11:
Well, “yesterday”, once again I didn’t get up until almost noon. I immediately did my strength exercises plus the four new lower body ones as well. I am able to do all of the lower body ones laying in bed which really helps me avoid the hassle of getting down on the floor (and then getting up). That still is hard for me to do. Then, I did my upper body strength exercises. It takes me about 35-45 minutes.  Also, I pause often to rest a very tight hamstring muscle in my right thigh as I move through them. When I reread one of the new lower body exercises I realized that I had done it wrong the other day. That might explain why my lower and middle back hurt!!

I am very proud to say that for the month of June I never missed a day for my strength exercises and actually instead of doing them 3x a week, I did them every other day so that added 2 extra days to my workouts. It is paying off too. I can see the change especially through my lower abdomen, which has always been a source of embarrassment for me. That alone is incentive enough for me even if I have such a long way to go before I can actually touch my elbow to my knees (for example). I need to lose probably 40-50 lbs before there will be less through my middle but in the meantime I can still tone up what is there and, at least, I look a lot better in my clothes as a result.

P has really shown a strong interest in volunteering at a hospice he heard about when he went to the Men’s Expo. I don’t usually see him get that interested in something so suddenly. I told him to go ahead and check it out since I expected not to sleep well last night (which I didn’t). He came home so excited and surprised in how eager they were to have him volunteer there. I told him that it really takes a “special calling” to volunteer where you know the outcome is only way and that is death plus the end of life is not always so pleasant either; both on the family and the person dying.

Right before we went to bed, Pl checked his e-mails and he got his results back from the fasting blood lipid panel he had done. His total cholesterol is 224 and his triglycerides are 774. Anything over 500 is considered very high risk for cardiovascular disease. I told him not to worry and get a good night’s rest but I can see that both of us really need to start towing the line when it comes to exactly what and how much we are eating. I want to go to the library this weekend sometime anyway and I want to print out these results so he can discuss them with a doctor at the time as well. I would hate to see him get started on some heart medicine but until he loses the weight and changes his eating habits that might be the best thing to do.

It truly brings it home to me as well that you can’t rest on your laurels. Compared to the way I used to eat, I am doing great but I know that I could do better and that is what I need to keep pushing for–now, for both of us! One thing I am so glad that I have stuck with is these strength exercises which has really enabled me to start walking for longer periods of time. After we watered our garden (which sorely needed it), I suggested our “favorite haunt”: GC. I felt that I was very aware of the choices I needed to make and actually if I hadn’t had 2 hot dogs for lunch I would have been okay with my sodium for the day. The one thing that I did though that I “regret” is that although I wasn’t particularly hungry when we got home I ended up having an apple with some SF peanut butter (to finish up the jar) along with two small bowls of regular microwave popcorn and an alcoholic beverage. I wasn’t even hungry for any of that so I just am not sure why I did that. I’m certainly not happy with myself that I did that especially after weighing this morning and having already lost 3.2 lbs since Monday! That will put me back a couple of pounds until I eat less calories and sodium!

Well, as soon as we got home, I took 2 EX Tylenol and iced both my knees. My knees and my thighs are sore but unless I wake up tomorrow hurting all over like I did on Tuesday then I would say that my legs are getting used to this a little bit more each time. I have only been doing the strength exercises for my knees for one month and that isn’t even every day so I am probably pushing myself too fast and too soon but I do rebound (even if it takes more than 24 hours) and I do know that moving around for 45-60 minutes is also burning some calories, which I really need to do to get this weight off. So, we will see how the month of July progresses. Ideally, I would be able to tolerate walking that long and possibly even being able to walk farther. The longer that I can walk the more I will build up my endurance and the more calories I will be able to burn.

7/4/11:

Well, our 4th will probably quite uneventful because it usually is. I am going to bed in a few minutes. I must have pulled a muscle in my left thigh on Thursday because I was unable to walk on it without the knee locking up on Friday. In fact, it happened almost a dozen times; each time more painful than the last. It became painfully and noticeably swollen. I spent the past couple of days icing it and taking additional EX Tylenol. I can now walk on it although the quad muscle right above my left knee is still sore and tender. I didn’t do any other exercises this past weekend so I have a day to “catch up”. I have also overeaten by several hundred calories and, of course, hit the ball way in left field with my sodium! OY! And, I would have liked to have lost 2.5 lbs this past week. I am just not sure if that will happen. We’ll see how later today’s weigh in goes.

7/5/11:

I hate holidays or, at least, the fact that there is always the expectation that you “must do something” to celebrate and usually we don’t. Fourth of July was no different. I slept poorly the night before (going through that again) and I didn’t finally fall asleep (for longer than an hour) until nearly 7 a.m. So, of course, I didn’t get up until 1:45 p.m. I awoke feeling irritable. More about the fact that this is reoccurring again and that it screws up what I had hoped to do for the day. I hate to admit that before long I was going all over “unpleasant” topics and somewhat venting on P about it. I later apologized profusely but he was so diplomatic about it and said he had forgotten.

Well, what I did do was redo P’s professional resume. I told him (and I mean it) that I am really impressed with how it lays out. He has consistent employment history going back nearly 28 years. He also now has four solid work references as well. At this point, I do not have the up-to-date work or personal references that would really “impress” any one if I were actively seeking work. I haven’t worked full time in nearly two full years. In my defense, I had stayed with my previous employers on average 4 years and I went from one job to another without more than a week’s space but since I was laid off this time, I have really “floundered”. I worked as a tax professional, which I enjoyed but then between getting bronchitis then all of the RA flare-ups, I have been chronically depressed for the past 9 months. Not a mood conducive to looking for work. I honestly don’t miss it one bit either. If I never worked again for anyone it wouldn’t bother me in the least bit.

Last week I decided that I would return to school for some updated training with the presumption that I will get a job in that field. It is a sound move in that respect but my heart isn’t in it 100%. That may turn around once I resume studying but right now I am more concerned about the added demands that it will make and how it will change my daily schedule. Also, the reality is that I will have to borrow additional monies to go to school which means that, once again, we will be relying on P to make enough money to meet all of our expenses. That is rather daunting since his income has not been stable enough to know how much he will be making from one week to the next. Still, I do recognize that the longer that I wait to decide whether to go to school the longer I am not  contributing towards the resolution of this situation. I just don’t like being put in this “position” at this time in my life. I am not sure why I am so resistant to this but I am.

I would like to lose 2-3 lbs this coming week. I did end up having some foods that were more calorie dense than nutrient dense over the long weekend but in terms of my overall eating I had a pretty good weekend for being around here a lot, not able to be very physical and dealing with a lot of time on my hands. I am going to return to bed in a short while. P has to take his Mantou test for TB for this volunteer position at this hospice center in R. He is really excited about it. I really hope that this is something he can really “enjoy” doing. I told him that it really takes a special person to be able to volunteer for such an endeavor and I am sure that he will only benefit from the experience.

So, instead of transferring a lot of these winter clothes into the plastic bins, I am just going to put them into the larger lawn Hefty bags and send them off to the Goodwill. I have no intention of returning to wearing size 26W again and all the reasons that I thought were good enough to hang onto those clothes don’t seem to make sense to me now. I see this as a “major change of mind” regarding how to handle moving down the scale and away from this former self-image.  So, I guess, I felt an “announcement” was in order even though to P it probably doesn’t mean as much to him as it does to me. It has dawned on me in the past couple of days that I am really tired of still being in the 260s even though I have said that I am dieting. Right now I would like to be 250 lbs by the end of this month. That would mean losing 15 lbs which is a lot so that means that I need to step up my work outs in both intensity and frequency. Well, let’s see if I can accomplish that. That is my short term goal for the month of July: weigh 250 lbs by July 31st.

This sounds absolutely crazy but I would really like to be 250 lbs by the end of this month. That is 3 weeks and 5 days away. I weighed 267.4 lbs today. I am thinking that I am probably carrying 5 lbs of water weight at all times. So, that would mean an average of 4 + lbs a week. I think, it would be a matter of really exercising a lot; both with the strength exercises and doing aerobics. I do think that my quads are strong enough where I believe that I could do RS or JF aerobics and, hopefully, hang in there for 20-30+ minutes so I really burn the calories. Well, I won’t know until I actually try so that is what I am going to set out to do this month. I just plain want to see those numbers actually and really go down and stay down. I am tired of hovering around in the upper 260s and low 270s.

Another one of the women in one of my online diet support groups hit her goal weight this past week. It seemed rather high to me: 170 lbs for someone who is 5′5″. It would be considered “overweight” for me in terms of BMI. However, the number on the scales is just one health indicator. A person could be very muscular and weigh more but have significantly a lot less body fat. When I have exercised in the past, I was able to wear some size 20s even though I weighed around 235-245 lbs but you really have to be fit and be active to have that kind of muscle tone. Still, for one of the few times when I felt envious of someone else, I widh it were me. I would still have another 35 lbs left to go but I would be so pleased to have made it that far!! That would be a huge deal for me! Huge!

I don’t know if she was pleased with this. I will admit that I was a little jealous. I feel like I have so far to go—well, in actuality, I do!

Well, anyway, I am determined to break through the 200s by the end of this year. I had a set back this past week because I must have pulled a muscle in my left leg because it was both visibly swollen and I could barely put any weight on it for 1 1/2 days. I have laid off any kind of exercise for 5 days but I am coming back strong tomorrow. I am wondering if I have a very tight groin muscle because I can feel it in my inner thigh and I was doing inner thigh crossover leg work that day before we went to Wal-mart. I wasn’t feeling too great going into the store and I really felt bad coming out.

7/6/11:

Another day that I awoke feeling really anxious and afraid. I wouldn’t say that I am having a panic attack because those are much more severe and they are usually quite physical but I am afraid. We took out a loan to cover some car expenses and other “emergency” expenses. I wrestled with making that decision for an entire month but trying to be sensitive to P’s desire to not run to his Dad  to help us out really was what pushed me to agree to it. I just wish we could have had other options available for us. The necessity of paying that off asap is another stressor that we really don’t need right now. I am just worried that we are going to exasperate his Dad enough where he might say “this is the last time” and then we really won’t have any other place to turn to. I said to P last night, “I am afraid to wonder how much worse it could possibly get.” Add to all of this the fact that P has a skin cancer and abnormally high triglycerides and we have some valid reasons to be genuinely concerned about a lot that is going on in our life right now.

After talking with the IRS rep yesterday I was so drained. I know what he was saying was factually accurate but it would have made a difficult situation even more difficult had we made quarterly payments on P’s self-employment, both of our unemployment benefits and the money he was making from C’s; after all, we have been making about 2/3rds of what we were making together and probably this year is might even end up being half—–we don’t have a lot of wiggle room to be paying all of that when we are trying to keep the electricity on, etc. It is a lot to take in some days and I am just having a couple of those kind of days. I just wish all of this were behind us and we could get back to a better way of living.

I started back doing my strength exercises. I now definitely think that the combination of everything that I am doing is aggravating my knees because they hurt afterwards. I only did the one quad exercise today so that surprised me. I thought it might have been because I was also doing those squats before. I need to do my upper body too. P went to take his Mantou test for this volunteer position that he is really psyched about (in a way that is both surprising and refreshing—where is he getting this sudden interest from?) and then to hand in his invoices. Once he gets his check he’ll bring back D’s for me (after he has eaten there) and then he will deposit his check (for the past couple of weeks of work!). I appreciate the time alone though. I am probably going to return to bed since I went to bed around 3:40 a.m. and I awoke at 8:40 a.m. I like to take a nap when our building is quiet and it is overcast, like it is today. I also feel more relaxed after having taken a shower first thing this morning, shaved my legs and stripped the bed of the sheets. I did a load of laundry. I might just focus on watching some of the tv programs that I have recorded.

*****************************************************************************************************

Well, with clean sheets on the bed and having had a warm shower I returned to bed for a really nice long afternoon nap and I awoke in a lot better mood. P brought me D’s, which now I immediately split in half and refrigerate half of it since D’s gives huge portions, and then we prayed the evening prayer again from the Liturgy of the Hours. It is going quite well. I have been doing this since July 1st. I hope to add in morning prayer within a few days so then I can pray that upon rising as well. I would like to feel comfortable enough with it that I can join in the communal prayer when I go with P to their July Carmelite meeting which is coming up in about 10 days. I am not used to all of this added social interaction so that I am nervous about it. Fortunately, there will be a few people that I should know from meeting at other occasions. I am a little concerned about not getting up early enough either but it might just be one of those things where I will have to make a point of doing so and if I am tired then I can always come home and take a nap.

[Note: The Carmelites are a community of lay Catholics who have made a public profession of faith to follow the bylaws of the International Order of Calced Carmelites. It does involve a period of discernment, spiritual preparation and then becoming active in a lay community. The main focus of the lay community is "contemplative prayer". The Liturgy of the Hours is the "prayer of the Catholic Church". It includes the Psalms, readings from both the Old and New Testaments, Canticle of Zechariah and Mary, intercessory prayers, Lord's Prayer. It is primarily prayed by priests, deacons, the religious and lay religious. It is highly encouraged that any practicing Catholic pray it.]

Side note: I have decided to include the whole panorama of my life in this diet blog. I think it is important to you, the reader, and myself to show that I am not on a weight loss journey in isolation but while I am busy living my life. I want to be as truthful and honest about my efforts, my struggles, and God willing, my eventual triumphs. I hope that by sharing other aspects of my life, both the strengths and weaknesses, you will get a more three dimensional view of who I am as I work at losing my extra weight.

*********************************************************************************************************

Paul has been sleeping out in the living room on the floor while I am trying to totally recoup from hurting my legs almost a week ago. I resumed doing my exercises today. It is always hard to come back even after such a short absence. I noticed what muscles I am using (and possibly straining) which I need to be very careful with! I waited until almost 10:30 p.m. to do my upper body strength exercises so I was rushing through them and now my middle of my back hurts. Can’t do that anymore!

I really overate today too. It didn’t start out that way but it seemed like once I started eating I felt hungrier and I did a bit of snacking this evening that was more “emotional eating” than actual hunger( although I was somewhat hungry). I even debated whether I should make myself a PBJ sandwich. Looking back on the amount of calories that I consumed, that would have been a better choice. I ate nuts (lots of them) mindfully but I still ate them and they carry a lot of fat (good fat), calories and sodium along with a wine cooler which has at least 135 calories. So, tomorrow I will do my best to make better choices all the way around. I wonder if this might be PMS induced eating. I seem to have a few days during the month, about a week before any kind of period, where I am especially hungry.

If I am going to choose to snack in the evening then I need to find things that are really low calorie so I can do “damage control”. Lightly salted dry roasted peanuts are not a snack item you can go “nuts” over (pun intended). I have a couple things in mind right now. I am out of diet pop but I do have some light cranberry juice cocktail. It is only 5 calories for 8 oz. I added some water to dilute it a little and it is a good beverage to have. I could also have some fat free microwave popcorn which is both low in calories, sodium and fat. Also, raw vegetables, which I have done during the day, are another good choice. They are crunchy and if you use a good dip they actually are a very healthy snack. Low fat cheese and hard boiled eggs are other great snack ideas. So, all I have to do is make sure that they are readily available and that I can grab them quickly when I feel like the munchies.

Week of July 8, 2011:

So far, the month of July has all about treating “injuries”. However, having said that, I do want to say that only within one month’s time, I have seen a noticeable increase of strength and toning in the body parts that I have been working on. So, just imagine what I could be writing a month from now? I only know that it would mean a more toned body with additional muscle tone and, hopefully, with some weight lose. Almost two weeks ago I made the goal of  wanting to reach 199 lbs by Christmas Day.  I still think that it is possible. I will admit that I am struggling to stay at a lower calorie range like BLC recommends but as long as I keep up the work outs that I am doing and add in some additional aerobic exercises, I believe I will see my body start to use up some of that “stored energy” (fat) and the weight will go down.

Right now, my average daily calories are around 2500-2600 calories. If I can do a RS workout from start to finish 4-6x a week, I will be burning enough calories to bring that amount down to the recommended range. Add in any spontaneous movement that occurs and I could definitely see those numbers go down. Did I mention just how start I find it to sit for eight or more hours with my stomach growling because it is so “empty”. Shrinking my appetite is and probably will be my major challenge as I lose weight. No amount of extra celery sticks or plain water fills me up long enough to get through each day. I “bite the bullet” many nights until I either go to bed to avoid eating or I “cave in” and have something to eat which then leads to eating more.  I just have to continue to be patient with building the muscle so that it will burn the fat. Once that happens, I might see the weight really come off. Of course, that doesn’t mean that gives me the “excuse” to eat like crap until then but just be mindful that eventually as I do both I will see a difference and not only in how my clothes fit but also on the “all important” scales.

7/8/11:

Well, I am still feeling the pain in my middle of my back. I think this is from doing the upper body weight routine too quickly and thus straining the back muscles that I am trying to develop and make stronger. OY! So, I am treating it with Icy Hot, EX Tylenol and plenty of bed rest. It is hard to stay upbeat when I keep having stuff like this slam me all the time. In fact, I started to get down on myself and then I actually argued with myself. I think I sometimes feel “guilty” that I get up in the morning (or early afternoon depending on when I go to sleep at night) and after I have breakfast, (sometimes) load the washer and dishwasher, do my exercises (unless I am self-treating a self-inflicted injury) I end up spending almost the rest of my waking hours playing online games.

I finished P’s professional resume. Well, then I compare my previous work history. There was a time when administrative assistants were “invaluable”: you depended on them to run your office but now with more supervisors and managers having computer skills, they are now doing a lot of their own correspondence, e-mails, taking phone calls and even filing their own work; all thanks to the ease of personal computers. I was underpaid and underemployed way too long doing that kind of work. I was able to “get by” even with minimal computer skills but now fast forward to this decade [and especially this recession] and I need to come back stronger with better and more current job skills if I want to seriously compete in this job market; yes, even at my age. The past three jobs that I have had since I met Paul were all jobs where I was trained for the use of proprietary software or machines. Outside of those jobs, I don’t have much to show for marketable job skills. It was a good move to take an update on MOS this past winter. However, there is this nagging I feel that tells me “why am I settling for so little in my life?” I believe I am capable of so much more but what?

Right now, to bring some much needed added income, I could get a retail job (short term) if I could only stand for longer periods than 30-45 minutes but I can’t. My knees start to swell up and pretty soon I am shuffling around when I walk. I have already seen this happen twice in the past couple of weeks when I walked around Wal-mart. I need joint replacement surgery in both knees asap. I now have a clearer understanding of my own anatomy and why I have had the mobility problems that I have had; thanks to that book “Treat Your Own Knees”. I have fluid on both of my knees which then cause my knees to not be as bendable. I could go for routine aspiration of those fluids but they would return probably as soon as I walk out the door or, at least, the very next morning I awoke. So, I am looking at two separate surgeries which could take me 1-2 months of recuperation time besides.  Now, that I have seen the limitations of this “Treat Your Own Knee” program regarding my knees; if anything, this has confirmed the need of having both knees replaced. [in 2003, I was told by an orthopaedic surgeon I needed my right knee replaced then. He also told me he had never seen anyone as young as me with such advanced arthritis. He told me I had the bones of a 74 year old woman. I had just celebrated my 50th birthday! I opted not to have surgery then because I knew we were moving in 6 months and I felt that I couldn't afford to take time off to recuperate from major surgery. Who knew that I would end up losing my health insurance and, well, the rest is history?]

Well, in the meantime, I will continue with the quad muscle strengthening exercises and the quad/hamstring stretching exercises until September 4th (which would be three months—the maximum he recommended) then I will do them once-twice a week thereafter. It does allow me though the ability to stand more stably on my legs. However, it doesn’t get rid of all of the pain. That still is there. It sucks!

7/9/11:

Well, I was able to get through one day and one night where I stayed within my calorie range (although at the very top of it), not eat during the night at all and get up at a “normal hour”. I was empty and I was awake. Now, that I have eaten and gone to the bathroom, I am getting sleepy and tired again. That’s the way it works. I shared with a diet “buddie” the non-mysterious way to lose weight: eat less and exercise more. I am sure that she will be somewhat taken aback by my candor but I just posted on my Beck Diet group that was one of the core reasons why I am glad I am a part of that group: these people, especially those who have recently lost between 70-80 lbs, all have done the exact same thing. They have worked it day in and day out, irregardless of how they felt about what else was happening in life. There really are no secrets other than it is a daily struggle, some days more than others, and hard work is rewarded by a lot of weight to be lost. It is a very poignant reminder of just what I am up against the next year or so.

I know that I am tired of my own “excuses”. I am tired of being stuck (or feeling like it anyway) in the 260s–and at the upper end too!  I have also realized–quite soberly–that all of the tough stuff that you hear people talk about is true. If you really want to see those numbers go down, there is going to be some effort on my part. Period. If I want to have toned abs then I am going to have to do the tedious and mundane crunches needed for that. There are two people in the Beck Diet group who have recently lost 70-80 lbs respectfully. They admit that it takes discipline and it will probably take a certain level of discipline to keep that weight off. It means that sometimes you will have to turn down dessert and have a sandwich or salad instead. It will also mean not eating   when you might want to or exercising when you just don’t feel like it. I saw the good fortune of being in such a group where there is the single minded purpose shared by all of them.

So, I weighed in today at 268.2 lbs. I really lost awareness this past week in just how way overboard I went in terms of calories, etc. I returned to make some corrections on some alcoholic beverages I drank (since I found out the accurate calorie amount) and I had no idea that I had eaten over 5000 calories one day! In fact, I had several days where I was over 3500 calories and 5000 mg sodium. No wonder I weigh what I weigh today. Well, God willing, I will return to a lesser weight within a few days but I need to keep at this and not flip flop back and forth, which is unfortunately, my prevailing characteristic for the past five and a half months!! Just think; if I would have applied myself during that time I could have lost as much as 40-50 lbs by now!! I have done a lot of pissing around and I am mad at myself for it too. I should know better but it seems like it takes awhile for me to wake up to exactly what I need to do and to keep on doing it.

Well, let’s hope that I can have another good day followed by another good day and so on from now on. In fact, what I could say is treat this like “sobriety” or as they call it in OA, “abstinence”. Just For Today I will follow my food plan and only be focused on having a good day regarding that. Yes, exercise is important but I have already discovered how I can only take that so far because of my joints. I can continue to work on building muscle and trying to get in some cardio work as best as I can but the bottom line is I have to have a good food plan until I can really kick my cardio up a notch or two.

Whenever I have these kind of “revelations” I feel so dumb. It seems so obvious but yet I keep trying to reinvent the wheel at the same time. I guess, it just takes awhile for me to allow this to sink in so that I can put it into practice. It also is not the most desirable answer either. I mean, it sucks when you want to eat more and you have hit your calorie limit for the day. It sucks that, for now, I am probably going to be limited in just how much physical activity I can do. I can’t even do that much for housework any more. I can go like gangbusters for about 3-4 hours and then I am hurting so much in my knees and hips that I have to sit down and recuperate.

Just this alone brings up so many different things that I have to consider when making choices about everything from what kind of work I can apply for (anything but prolonged standing) to whether I can walk a college campus (doubtful). And, I have discovered (not surprisingly) that it has affected my cardio health as well. I get tired easily because I am not as active as I could be if I had joints that didn’t give me so much trouble.

Well, we spent a quiet day indoors away from the continuing heat. I have been indoors long enough though. I want to “break out” tomorrow. I haven’t left this apartment since Thursday, June 30th, and today is the 9th. So, after a late afternoon nap, I made us supper and then I got to work on “editing” the contents of the under sink cabinets in the bathroom. I asked P to clean the inside of the refrigerator. It wasn’t that bad but I thought it would be a good time to do it since we were eating up most of the contents. Less to move out. I threw out a couple of things but nothing more than $5 total. However, in the bathroom, I threw out everything that was expired or had oil in it and I hadn’t used it in “years”. That was half of a kitchen trash bag. Now, at least, I know that what we have in those cabinets is current and that I will use it. I am glad that I kept myself busy. It kept me from thinking about food or the fact that I am really trying to stay within my calorie range. I also got some much needed straightening up done as well.

I did stay within my calorie range although since it was 1 a.m. Sunday (technically) I broke my fast and made myself a PBJ sandwich and had a small glass of skim milk with that. The milk will count on Saturday’s calories since I usually have a glass of milk to take my Tylenol PM but the PBJ sandwich will count on Sunday’s. We plan on going out to eat at GC for dinner so that will be my big meal for the day. I always get into trouble when I eat out because it usually is more calories than I had “counted on” and also the sodium. The best way to deal with that is to make careful choices and expect a 2 lb sodium-induced weight gain the next day. Also, the rest of the day try to eat lower calorie and lower sodium foods, if possible. There was a time when I ate enough where I wasn’t hungry for ten hours or more later but as I eat less food when I am there, I find that I am hungry within a few hours. It is a challenge and it is one that I will have to do day after day after day, in all kinds of circumstances.

7/10/11:

Well, I ended up returning to bed around 8:30 a.m. and sleeping to 4:30 p.m.!! I awoke twice to go to the bathroom and fell right back to sleep. Even then, I really didn’t want to get up. I did go to bed last night around 2 a.m. but I awoke a couple of times and ended up getting up around 6:30 a.m. So, all total I had ended up sleeping nearly 12 hours. It does seem like a symptom of depression but I just get better sleep, if I am going to get any at all, when I can move around while in bed. P was over 3/4ths the bed last night. We’d benefit from a king size bed. I hate to do that to P because he spent the better part of the day doing things alone: going to Mass alone, going to the grocery store alone and then eating alone. So, I made sure that the rest of the “day”, I spent it with him. We prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, read our weekly readings from the New Testament, prayed our Sunday rosary and then settled in and watched t.v. for the rest of the night.

Before we ate, I did my scheduled strength exercises. I now think that it is the ab work that is aggravating my middle to upper back. I tried all of that on the hard floor. I have been doing it on the bed most of the time but lately I just wanted to see if there was more resistance doing it on a harder surface. I think there is but I really don’t know if that meant I actually put more effort into it since there was less “give” from the surface. That might have caused my back to hurt.  Either way, it is still an ongoing problem. I made sure that I did the upper body work very slowly and consciously–no quick jerks like I did about 5 days ago. P mentioned that he thought I was doing a lot of exercises.

Well, I added 4 lower body ones in the past 7-10 days. I only do these every other day so it will take awhile to begin to see a difference but already both P and I am noticing how much easier it is for me to get down and up from the hard floor. This is a huge difference because before it seemed almost impossible for me to do so. I think it is more overall strength that I am developing. I would say that between losing more weight (which I just plain have to do!) and building more muscle, I might even be able to stay overnight at the women’s retreat in October! That would be great. The only thing is I would have to make sure that I brought my milk along with me so I could take my Tylenol PM before I went to bed. Some things never change.

Again, today I was able to stay within my upper level of calorie range although with eating those favorite hot dogs of ours it jacked up the sodium by 1300 mg! I am going to be on the look out for a lower sodium hot dog. Period! We love to eat those a lot because they are a quick and easy supper so I know that it is in both our best interest if we eat one that has significantly lower sodium. Besides, really scrutinizing the sodium in the foods that we eat around here (again for both our sakes), I am also going to reconsider all of the no sugar and artificially sweetened foods that I have been eating. Since April I have made a very strong effort to avoid added sugar in everything from cereal to peanut butter and, of course, desserts. I will say that I did have a couple of “serious breaches” when we bought a large bag of chocolate candy bars and then I made homemade fudge two separate times but other than that I really towed the line.

The benefit was that it really kept my physical cravings in tow. However, I noticed that when I really wanted something sweet eating a no sugar chocolate chip cookie did not “satisfy” that in any way. So, when all of that was eaten up, I tried (carefully) some reduced sugar peanut butter and one bowl of sweetened cereal. I think, that now I may have stumbled onto something. IF I eat something that has been sweetened with less sugar, I don’t get the same kind of physical cravings as when it is sweetened as “usual” for that particular item. The peanut butter tasted great but I didn’t feel like consuming more of it. One serving was enough.  Is it a “revelation”? It might be. The next question is just how much sugar is enough and how would I go about getting that level of sweetness that is satisfying but doesn’t trigger those physical mouth watering cravings that too much sugar can produce?

Well, that might be my next step of this weight lose journey of mine. How can I satisfy my sweet tooth in a way that still allows me to enjoy that occasional treat and not overeat? I started out by eating a lot of fruit. In fact, a couple of months ago I was eating as much as 4-5 servings of fruit a day. Then, I read somewhere that you shouldn’t eat any more than 3 servings per day so I cut way back. I also decided to load up my grocery cart with a lot of  processed soy products; like Boca burgers, etc. Well, I still have some of those left but once I finish them, I just don’t think that I will purchase them again, except maybe during Lent, and maybe even then I might know of some other recipes that are delicious than that. My tastes have changed and they just “demand” more from the taste of the food I am eating. I have bought some new cookbooks. The most promising ones that I have liked have been the diabetic ones. I noticed the low sodium/fat/sugar right away but still the recipes do reflect an “effort” to make some of the old favorites as palatable as possible and for that; I am pleased. And, that is where I am at today. I am slowly sifting through the recipe and the foods available at the supermarket to find ones that I call “keepers”.

I think I have discovered what most people have discovered when they start cutting back on the higher fats/salt/sugar foods; no fat/no sugar and no salt are not very palatable for very long. The ones which I come back to enjoy over again are those that still have some fat/salt/sugar in them; just not over the top. I am undecided whether or not I will continue to buy no sugar products. I bought quite a bit from Joseph’s Lite Cookies. They were good and you could eat more without the GI issues that a lot of no sugar products cause. However, most of them simply had no taste. So, this is the point I am at right now. The foods that I am going to eat primarily are also ones that taste good and I would want to eat again. It will be interesting to see which foods make the cut and which don’t.

I think what this really opens my eyes to is the fact that I am not going to lose weight just back cutting way back on salt/sugar/fat because I will lose interest in eating those pretty quickly. I think that is the biggest complaint most people have about foods like that. That is when I get cravings for fast food. I once quit a diet program simply because I really wanted a real beef hamburger. So, the really key element in “moving forward” for me will be how to achieve foods that taste good, are reasonably healthy to eat but will also allow me lose weight so that all of my “numbers” are in the normal range.

I think it has finally sunk in with P that he needs to do something about his health. I feel for him because sometimes you just don’t know where to begin. It doesn’t help either that we really can’t get into the pool here because all the kids are in and then all of the adults are fully clothed and watching them. I feel awkward because of my weight but I am sure that P just would like to get in there and cool off but preferably at night. I think that we will just have to drive to a Mall and he can walk and I can just sit there until he comes back. Like he said, who feels like even going out in this oppressive heat? In a way, it is “nice” that he doesn’t have to get out into it right now for work (as long as he is getting unemployment). He realizes though that he needs to get back to exercising and ideally not wait until fall when the temperatures start cooling down again.

What I did was go through my Favorite Foods list (on the BLC site) and delete a lot of foods that were high in sodium and no sugar. Until I am either closer to my weight, I am at goal weight or in a long time;  I don’t think that I will be buying or eating some of these foods. The hot dogs we eat are one example. Two of them are disastrous to my daily sodium intake. As for the no sugar; although, I enjoyed some of the Joseph Lite products, for the most part when I want something sweet, I really want something sweet and they just simply don’t have any taste whatsoever.

I decided to wash up the rest of the dishes and then make another one of the recipes from the “Month of Meals” (MOM for short) cookbook. I didn’t have egg substitute so I guessed at how much actual eggs that would be. I’ll have to read one of the labels in the store and see. I might have put too few eggs in the recipe. I also substituted agave nectar for the artificial sweetener. I did have Truvia which I don’t like the taste at all so this was another “guess-estimate”. I also used skim milk since one of P’s 2% cartons was frozen (pushed to the back of the refrigerator). I also didn’t have all raisins so the dried fruit I used was golden raisins, cranberries and cherries.

Anyway, in spite of all the changes I made, it turned out really well. I’m not sure if I did the math correctly but I would definitely make it again. I would try it with the egg substitute just to see how it would set up and how it might taste differently. I am really looking forward to getting these other two MOM cookbooks. I am wondering how some Southern favorites will end up tasting. Now, that I have actually used agave nectar in a recipe and it doesn’t seem like it altered the taste much, I might venture out and get a cookbook that uses that.

7/12/11:

Well, I made it to 265.8 lbs! I regained the 3.2 lbs I lost right out of the gate when I decided on the goal of losing 70 lbs in 25 weeks + 6 days. So, now I am .4 lbs away from that initial weight lose. So, I want to be very careful in how much sodium I have and how many calories I have. Last night,  I made bread pudding from the diabetic cookbook. I ate it in 3 sittings. It was so good and tasted so like “normal” food. That is probably why I couldn’t leave it alone. I calculated how many calories were in each serving and I actually cut the calories in half!! I will see if I added enough eggs though. I don’t know the ratio between egg substitute and whole eggs. However, if I can stick with how I made this recipe then I would say I really managed to pull this off in a very tasty way!

7/13/11:

I slept poorly last night. Not to mention, this is the 13th day I have spent in this apartment without going out. Of course, it was 97 degrees yesterday so there wasn’t much incentive. The whole country has been under an oppressive heat wave and we are no exception. Still, in spite of the cool “artificial” 70 degrees in here, I would like to “get out”.

Again. I got up every hour on the hour to go to the bathroom but I also felt restless. I think in the back of my mind I was preoccupied with some of the short term deadlines that I have hanging over my head that I know I have to address asap. Although I have been in a state of limbo (probably self-imposed) I have decided that (by default, at least to me it seems) I am going to enroll in a specific program of study at a small community college for fall semester. It was my first choice in March 2010 but when I found out that W.I.A., which I was working with at the time, told me they would not “fund” a degreed program I gave up on it. I somewhat regret doing that because as it turns out the other funding, like the Hope and Pell grant( which is what they were hoping would cover the majority of my schooling costs) fell through because of disqualifying people like me who already hold a college degree so, in essence, a full academic year went by and I am one year less from moving towards receiving that new degree. As a person with a Bachelor’s degree which is 24 years old, everyone I speak with “assumes” that I can either land a plum job and/or “financially afford” to self-fund further education. Wrong on both accounts!

I still like the fact that the technical college across the campus has a more practical course of study but I think that an actual college degree in this field will carry more weight once I am interviewing. I still haven’t wrapped my mind around changing a career but, like P said, maybe once I get back into studying it I will feel more enthused about the whole idea overall. It is an up and coming field though—so it is very “forward” in terms of where our world is going in the way we handle information in the health care field. I should be able to find something for a job. The possibility also exists that once I get this A.A. degree that I could try for the four year degree in this while still working in the field itself. I just have to get over the idea that here I am approaching age 60 and still haven’t got “the career” sector of my life in order. At least, this time I will be coming out of the matriculation process with some specific and au courant skills that will apply to the job market. In other words, I will probably be more prepared to get a better job than ever before. If its any consolation, which it hasn’t been up to maybe right now, there are many other people in my age group who are re-inventing themselves so why not me as well? I can’t argue with that line of reasoning.

The main concern I have at this point is that I have sat around this apartment for sixteen months and done “nothing”, including contributing any measurable amount of income. I also was concerned about removing myself from the active job market while pursuing education but even that argument has fallen by the wayside. I doubt whether I would have found anything substantial should I have found something for a job in the past year plus now that it appears that our country (possibly the whole world) is falling back into another “double dip recession”, employers are scared to hire many new people so I might as well be in school.  Also, in those two years, maybe I will have lost all of this weight, which could be another drawback to getting hired. I might even have had knee surgery. In other words, I might be at my very best physically and maybe even sharper regarding my ability to get a really good job. P and I have both been unemployed and underemployed the majority of our lives. It would really be nice if we could begin earning enough money so that we could really begin to not only relax about money but pay off all of our existing debt and begin to aggressively save up for our older years. There would be a lot of satisfaction in that if we could achieve those “seemingly” remote goals. I haven’t lost hope that we won’t be able to turn all of this around even if I’m not sure how that will happen exactly.

I told P this morning that I have decided to not come to his monthly Carmelite meeting until an actual meeting rather than the social hour that they are having to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel. I guess, there is a part of me that wants to take all of this slowly and at a less hectic pace. I have been praying the LOTH with P since the beginning of this month. I really enjoy doing that but again right now I really don’t even know what and who the Carmelites are. I think I would like to pick his brain on that some more. I also feel like I have so many other stressors in my life right now that I don’t want to have to deal with my “social anxiety” on top of all that. Next month, he is giving a talk about Mary and I told him that I would like to be able to hear it as well. They do discussions on specific books that they study throughout the calendar year and I would like to be able to participate in that as well, if possible. I look forward to book discussion because I really like our Friday night Bible study for that reason as well. In the meantime, I can continue doing what I am doing and preparing to merge into the actual community. I told P that I really wanted to feel like I could follow along well with the LOTH so I wouldn’t be holding the group back. I have picked that up fairly quickly so that puts my mind at ease.

Well, P is bringing me back D’s but I am already close to my daily calorie limit already! I hate when I both stay up too late and get up too early because most of the time that means I end up eating 1/3 of my daily calories during that time. I have been e-mailing one of the BLC members for the past several months. It sounds like she is home alone, like me, with a lot of time on her hands and struggling to lose weight with some personal and health challenges. Not that much different from me actually.  It is so easy to get over involved in other people’s lives. I have to remind myself to pull back from time to time.

Well, it is really hard to separate how things around us affect us and how we turn to food for every other reason than to feed our bodies. It is difficult to be disciplined day in and day out as well. I have my birthday “dinner” coming up and I do know that I do not want to end up blowing all of the hard work that I have been doing in the past week or so. I probably will order dessert. I would like to try a different restaurant than the ones we usually go to simply because it would be nice to see what else is “out there”. I don’t know if I will like the food but it is fun to take a risk once in awhile. I plan on wearing a dress and shrug that I bought to wear for Easter 2010. I can’t believe this but I have not attended Easter Mass two years in a row. It comes at a time when my arthritis flares up, I have allergies and often I am depressed because of feeling so crummy. It was snug back then although it still looked nice on me. Well, since that time I have lost 35 lb and I have toned up my body so I think I should feel quite pretty in that when I wear it this coming weekend.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

This is a Must Read!

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Dealing with Obstacles, Moving Beyond Technical Difficulties | Leave a Comment

FYI: For those who have been following my diet blog, first of all, I am both surprised and humbled that any one would be interested in reading about my obviously flawed attempts at weight loss this year. However, I did want to mention to those whom have left comments how I have been quite “moved” by your comments. Thank you so very much!

The fall of 2011, this diet blog was part of a techno bug and I was unable to add any entries into it. I alerted the site administrators and they promptly did a “fix” so I am good to go. I am transferring all of the older entries onto this “fixed” blog one month at a time. Please be patient as I get “caught up” chronologically with my ongoing weight loss journey. I am setting aside time each day to do the “mechanics” of this so all of this will make sense.

In the meantime, once again, thank you for taking the time to share your comments and suggestions. All are appreciated and valued.

As always, “to be continued….”.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

Pain persists as do I.

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles | 215 Comments

Week of June 24, 2011:

We are still waiting on the outcome of how P’s unemployment benefits “determination”. One year ago, he went through this and he ended up having to appeal their initial decision. It was turned over and then he received the arrears. We are hoping that that will happen again although we hope it won’t mean going through another appeals. In the meantime, we are (were) broke. Our last bill for the month came out today and we didn’t have the money to cover it. P was able to earn enough money yesterday and get paid the same day so we could “cover” his monthly life insurance premium.

Right now, the summer months are unusually slow for P. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernacke, announced that we were going to have a slower (than he expected) continued recovery. We are weary from the past seven and a half years. We have struggled to keep ourselves going. All I can say is that we need to come up with something before the end of July that will stop all of this borrowing of money and allow us to permanently and securely get ourselves back on our feet and stay there.  The main question is: what?

6/26/11:

Paul said that his Dad called early on Saturday morning to 1) make sure we got the money and 2) to see if it was enough. I am touched at his concern. It seems that since his second heart attack this winter and the fact that he (finally) realizes that what he thought was “helping us” tax wise (the annual check from the partnership) was in fact a “tax liability” to us (since we have nothing else to offset it and therefore are paying the highest tax percentage on it); he seems more open to helping us without “20 questions” and no hesitation at all. I am not saying that he ever refused before, because he didn’t; it is just that now he asks fewer questions. P said he feels terrible that he can’t reciprocate but I remind him that we have been praying constantly and unceasingly for all of our families’ needs and if that is “all” we have to offer, it is still something. Well, added to the fact that we are also paying 4% on the loan his Dad set up for us when we got into that credit card debt back into 2005 and we have been ensconced in debt ( almost drowning in it, in fact) ever since then.  Well, whatever has “motivated” his father to be more generous in his support, I did thank him when I spoke with him briefly right before “Tax Day”. I meant it then and I mean it now. I don’t feel that we “deserve it” or that it is “owed to us”. Just simply grateful he has been willing and able to help us as we struggle through this time period.

I hate to say that all of this disciplined eating and using up what was left in our cupboards and refrigerator had a boomerang effect. We went out to eat at A’s Friday night then bought groceries. You would have thought I hadn’t had a care in the world two hours earlier. I also paid due bills so our services wouldn’t be disconnected. Saturday night we went to Mass and I suggested that we eat at GC afterwards. Well, as today wore on I started doing the math in my head and realized that the money was going out pretty fast (as it does when you need to pay up overdue bills). I hate to admit this but a certain “don’t give a damn” attitude and my diet was definitely out the window. I finished up the homemade fudge we made Friday. I also ended up eating emotionally as I realized that no sooner were we “flush” but now after paying the last of a few very large bills, we would be right back where we were—-flat ass broke! P yelled a couple of times in disgust. I felt “guilty” since I was the one who suggested eating out last night.

I decided to check our checking account balance to see the “damage” and, to my surprise, the DOL did make their decision and in P’s favor! There were two separate deposits totaling $1012 in our account. He had just gone to bed about 10 minutes earlier so I went in and asked him to come here so I could show him. I told him that I couldn’t wait until tomorrow since he was so bummed out when he went to bed. It was much needed and at the 11th hour as well!

Well, tomorrow morning, P is going to return to that NF Health Clinic and hand them the paperwork they require to be considered for reduced fees/financial assistance. I am hoping that they will accept the DOL’s wage inquiry as the only source of proof of income. I read over the list and it said that you needed to show a birth certificate and last year’s income tax return for dependents but I “argued” (to P) that since he is only going in for himself, I am hoping they won’t request that to qualify—-and, I am also hoping, that it will mean a significantly reduced (if no fee at all) for him to be treated for the lesion on his neck. Here’s hoping that “lightning strikes twice!”

[Side note: He needs all of that in spite of how the instructions read. I do our income taxes since I have worked as a tax professional in the past so I gave them our tax papers but they weren't satisfied with how they were "done". I then went a step further and I requested official documentation from the IRS. Once that came in the mail, we presented those to the Health Clinic financial counselor but she still wasn't satisfied. I just shook my head in disbelief. Again, we can not "escape" the fact that according to government financial guidelines in determining "ability to pay", we should have the extra money to pay, even though I have clearly shown and documented where our income goes and that we really don't have the discretionary income for extra medical costs. Her final decision: we pay 70% of the medical treatment. Considering that this is skin cancer, I fear the costs could be significant. We cancelled any further appointments until we can come up with the money needed for P to get treated for his skin cancer. The dermatologist who saw P in June said that this is a slow growing skin cancer so he said take care of it but don't panic. Well, let's hope the doctor is correct because it will have to wait to be treated.]

Well, the other day I got P started in doing the same strength exercises as I am doing. He has been somewhat reluctant but he is doing them. He moans and groans but I know that once he begins to start to see some “progress” his “tune” will change. As for me, I have moved up to the Advance level of the strength exercises. I am now doing 2 sets of 15 reps. For the past week, I have been doing the lower body workouts on our bed. I realize that it is a softer mattress than we would prefer but it does allow me to do them without having to get up and down on the floor, which is still difficult for me to do.

6/27/11:

In spite of the great news from late last night, I slept very poorly. I couldn’t fall asleep until nearly 6:30 a.m. I ended up needing to take a 3rd dosage of Tylenol PM to fall asleep and even then I got up a few times. I hope, tonight I will be a lot more relaxed and that I will fall asleep (and stay asleep) earlier in the evening. I will certainly try. Well, I weighed in at 268.8 lb (before a BM-which usually means that I can lose another .4-.6 lbs) this morning. Considering that I really overshot the mark for several days this past week, it is more of a testimony to the fact that I am clearly building muscle and that it is burning up more calories as a result. My “plan” this coming week is to start doing more “sweating” when I am doing some cardio so that I can burn even more calories on the non-strength exercises days. My “plan” is to start out every other day with a day of rest during the week. I am hoping that as I become stronger and more fit, I could increase that to 5-6x a week. Ideally, I would like to truly eat between 1800-2100 calories “moving forward” and then continue to build more muscle and burn more calories. Well, that is my “fitness goal(s)”. They can become a reality the more I work towards them too.

6/27/11:

In spite of the great news from late last night, I slept very poorly. I couldn’t fall asleep until nearly 6:30 a.m. I ended up needing to take a 3rd dosage of Tylenol PM to fall asleep and even then I got up a few times. I hope, tonight I will be a lot more relaxed and that I will fall asleep (and stay asleep) earlier in the evening. I will certainly try. Well, I weighed in at 268.8 lb (before a BM-which usually means that I can lose another .4-.6 lbs) this morning. Considering that I really overshot the mark for several days this past week, it is more of a testimony to the fact that I am clearly building muscle and that it is burning up more calories as a result. My “plan” this coming week is to start doing more “sweating” when I am doing some cardio so that I can burn even more calories on the non-strength exercises days. My “plan” is to start out every other day with a day of rest during the week. I am hoping that as I become stronger and more fit, I could increase that to 5-6x a week. Ideally, I would like to truly eat between 1800-2100 calories “moving forward” and then continue to build more muscle and burn more calories. Well, that is my “fitness goal(s)”. They can become a reality the more I work towards them too.
6/27/11:

So, all the homemade fudge is gone. I realize that it is a diet buster but it was a “sweet distraction” last week as we were moving towards the fact that we knew we had to do something to be able to meet all of these bills on time. The timing of everything was “near perfect.” It establishes a new unemployment claim for P again which will be good for another calendar year. It is a back-up to whatever monies he can make and. hopefully, we can both make “moving forward”.  It would be nice not to have to go to his Dad again for the rest of the year but I won’t rule that out as a possibility. I think we are both hoping that we will be able to get enough income where we won’t have to—at least, for a few months. So, in the meantime, we will try to make the best decisions that we can and “ideally” increase our income, from whatever source we can find.

I hate to admit that I am still an emotional eater and that I do still allow myself to eat “off plan” from time to time. I have really struggled with my food plan since I rejoined BLC and joined this Beck Diet group on 3FC. I realize that others struggle as well in their own way but I guess I just feel like I would like to be able to see the scale go down and not just stay at the same place for so long. Ideally, had I been able to stick to 1800-2100 cals. per day and exercised like it is “recommended” I might have been able to see a 25-30 lb weight lose by now. Well, I am now hoping that “the approach” I have been taking will also “pay off” by the end of this summer.

And, that “approach” is to get the quad muscles that are supposed to support my knees strong enough where I will be able to resume a more vigorous exercise program. Which, in turn, will continue to get me more “fit” and will make my metabolism work more efficiently and burn more calories. I think the approach of building muscle also does the same thing since muscles burn more calories and, therefore, will burn body fat. The end result will be I will get leaner in a more efficient way. I began reading the BLC Fitness Program book and it promotes interval training as the best way to get fit and lose weight. I think, that once my leg muscles are strong enough to do some of the quick movements on my feet, I will be doing that.

I am just playing this all by ear so I really don’t know when I’ll be starting this. As I have instructed Paul, I have used the rule of thumb of letting my body tell me when it is time to increase the intensity of my work outs. When something starts to feel like it is too easy then it is time to take it up a notch. When doing the 2 sets of 15 reps becomes easier then I will either do 3 sets of 15 reps or I will move up to heavier weights. Since I am more concerned about strength than bulk I will probably do the former—or, at least, do it first before I consider using heavier weights. Since I have arthritis in my shoulder joints, I think it is more important to have really strong supporting muscles first before I add more weight. I want to avoid injury as much as possible. Already, I have gotten some irritation of my shoulder joints when doing these exercises. It usually goes away within 48 hours but I know that I am working a sensitive area so I feel I am being cautious.

I think it would be nice if I could lose 50 lbs by the end of this year. I would like to lose more but that allows time for me to get up to speed regarding working out. I would love to be 199/200 lbs for Christmas. That would mean a drop in nearly 70 lbs!! That would be very ambitious. That would mean 2.7 lbs per week for 26 weeks since Christmas is exactly 25 weeks and 6 days from today. Right now, that seems daunting, especially after all of the stammering and stuttering that I have been doing for the past five months where I have “maintained” a weight lose of 11 lbs. Well, I won’t know if I can do it until I try. This will be my caveat: I will do everything that I can within my physical capabilities to make that a reality.

For starters, I am really going to have to watch what I choose to eat when I eat out—every time! No more Cowboy burgers at A’s! After I saw how many calories and how much sodium is in one of those, I thought, “that did not taste good enough for me to consider doing it again”. I have allowed myself to make some mistakes like that too much in the past five months and if I really do want to see Onederland for Christmas then I can’t do that any more. I would also say that I am going to have to really hold off on making any more fudge for some time until I am firmly established in a more vigorous work out program.

I also think I am at a place where I would like to add some other toning exercises besides the ones that I am doing on my strength days. One of the things that I look at when I am watching the BL contestants as they lose weight is how their bodies are responding to the weight lose. One thing that I notice is how elastic their skin is. The two sisters who lost weight and ended up 1st and 2nd place this past season had one of the best “results” I’ve seen (and I am sure the show has seen) regarding that. Both of them are about my height and frame. They also started out at my highest weight (for this year). I am hoping that I will also see the same results.

I have heard that your thigh muscles take the longest time to tone up so I am going to start including some lower leg toning exercises besides the squats that I am doing now; especially around the hips and buttocks area. I have wide hips with a big butt. So, I want to work on toning up the muscles in that area from “now on”. By the time I lose the weight all of that will come together. It will also help me wear smaller sizes as well. Definitely sooner than if I were just reducing calories alone. Already, I am looking more toned. It is has a psychological boost too. If I look better in my clothes then it just makes me more motivated to continue to work on reducing the calories and working out.

P wanted to go to A’s for dinner so I thought “Why not?” He loves their house sirloin. I decided that I would opt for one of the lesser calorie dishes. Then, I saw a new frozen drink that I decided to have. I couldn’t find it on their website so I compared it to something similar at McD’s. I have done this when trying to calculate calories, etc. on foods I can’t find listed. Actually, I am usually pretty close on the calories but usually way off on the sodium! The drink was so good and filling that I only ate half of my meal. It was a good thing too because when I got home and saw the sodium in that I would have overshot my sodium for the day. I told P about my decision to “raise the bar” on my weight lose efforts and “attempt” to lose 68 lbs by Christmas Day. It scares me to even think that I could do such a thing but I put it out there.  That’s quite a difference than the 2.2 lbs I’ve lost for the past 5 months. A huge difference!!

So, do I think it is doable? Well, yes, if I follow the BLC “recommendations” to the best of my abilities. That means eating smaller and more frequent meals for starters. Avoiding almost all processed and junk food. If I can, try to follow or model my meal choices based on their meal plan. it also means actually burning the 203 calories each day that they recommend. I now have a heart rate monitor that does just that. Well, I’ve just spent the past hour trying to figure out how this heart rate monitor works. It also calculates how many calories you have burned when you are active or exercising. It is rather late so it will probably make more sense when I actually start to use the functions and see how they compare to each other. If I understand how this works then this is as close to a “Body Bug” ( which the tv contestants wear) as I can get for the money. Well, I want to be as accurate as I can be so I can adjust both my activity level and my calorie intake so I can lose the amount of weight I hope to lose. I put down that I want to aim for 2.5 lbs lost per week. That puts me at 2252 calories according to this monitor. More importantly is making sure that I am burning enough calories to accomplish the weight lose. I just might have to see how this works the first couple of days, weeks, etc until I understand how I can use its “results” to assist me in losing weight.

I am really struggling with a lot of pain when I try to walk longer distances than 40-50 ft. At this point, I can’t even walk a third of one city block. I simply can’t. I knew walking into Wal-mart that I was going to be “hurting” because I had been hurting before I even got there. I just had no idea how much. I made it around the majority of the store but by the time I rounded to the produce section I was walking very slowly and I was in a lot of pain. I rested while P checked us out and then I did manage to walk to the car, which was in the middle of the parking lot. When I got home, I applied ice to both knees and I took 2 EX Tylenol. Both knees are still sore but a lot better than they were. I figured that we were in there about an hour (P thought so too) so that was continual walking for an hour. Ambitious considering where I have been but between staying at the top of my calorie range and doing that walking, I really felt I had a really good day overall. Now, to do that “times” 25 weeks and 5 days!!

It just felt so good to be able to “indulge” my/ourselves today too. I know that Pl felt that way as well. He was the one who suggested that we go to A’s. I bought some health and beauty items, some candles (we’ve burned all of our other ones), a new Jane Fonda “Prime Time” exercise dvd ($10) and a reflective vest for P to wear when he walks in dusk or dark. Of course, it all adds up but it really felt nice to be able to get some items we both need and a few that are just plain nice to have.

6/28/11:

Well, that walk around Wal-mart was quite an onslaught on my joints! I awoke twice during the night where both my neck and my upper back were very sore. The only thing that I can think of  is that as my legs get more fatigued I have a tendency to use my upper body to propel me around and so my back was probably tensed up from the “overload”. I ended up going to bed around 3 a.m. but other than getting up once or twice to go to the bathroom, I really slept soundly; another possible reason why my back and neck hurt. Our mattress is quite soft and not very supportive hence not getting the support I need for both my back and neck. As I moved around during the day, it did get better.

I decided to start a whole new weigh in chart since I am hoping to ramp up my weight lose efforts. I spent more time than I had wanted to programming this new watch. Supposedly, it is going to keep track of how many calories I burn. I am not sure I have it set correctly for that but I will soon find out when I actually begin doing a specific cardio workout starting tomorrow. I weigh in every day and I am hoping that I can get “serious” about both keeping the sodium down but also keeping the calories burned up as well. I lost 1.8 lbs since yesterday so I am off to a good start. I kept the sodium a little over the recommended 3000 mg and, TG, I only ate half of my A’s meal because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen that lose. I am really going to have to be very careful about the choices I make when I eat out. Period! Quite plainly, I am just sick and tired of going up a couple of pounds and going down a couple of pounds. Blah. Blah.

So, today, I also added 4 additional lower body exercises. Quite by accident (or it felt that way) I realized that maybe some of the pain that I am experiencing in my hip area really has more to do with the fact that my inner thigh and hip flexor muscles are underdeveloped also. Wouldn’t that be nice instead of needing a new hip? Yes! After doing them, the area that seems to hurt was hurting so I really might be “onto something”.

6/29/11:

Well, regarding my weight lose, things are going as I would like them to: I have lost 2 lbs since Monday. It would really be nice if I could lose 5 lbs each week for a while simply because it will probably be more difficult as I get closer to 199 lbs but I will take whatever happens.  I lose another .6 lbs and I have met my weekly goal. However, I would like to do better, if I can. That will mean getting more active and staying more active. It will also mean watching the sodium and keeping the calories no more than 2300, at “worse”. Can I do it? We’ll see. Can I sustain that? We’ll also see.  If I want to truly be 199 lbs on Christmas Day, then I need to put some concerted effort in that. I’m not too weary from all of the stop/starting kind of dieting I have been doing but once I really hunker down, I am sure that the discipline needed will get to me sometimes. I hope that I will be able to turn to non-food ways of dealing with that added stress.

I was just thinking about what I could weigh as I begin a new year for Bible study, which starts in mid-September. I might even be attending school as well. I could be 28 lbs less. That could be one size smaller for instance. I might even be a size 20. I can say right now that I will probably be wearing more athletic clothes to classes once I am more toned. I just think they will feel more comfortable and I will also look like I “belong” in them as well. Not to mention, they are also a lot cheaper to buy. So, that is my goal for this fall/winter: buy “cute, comfortable and cheap” casual clothes. (say that three times). I can take in the dressier clothes as I move down the scales. That is my wardrobe strategy “moving forward”.  IF I come into some extra money where I can buy some pretty dresses, which JL has some in this season’s catalogs, I will try to buy them in the sizes I hope to be next spring/summer: 12/14s?? Well, let’s see!

I finished cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen. I am definitely pooped. And, that is what I hope to do every day. I want to be tired enough to want to go to bed earlier for one thing but also it means that I am being active enough where I am making myself fatigued. Cardio for the “couch potato”. I also vacuumed the living room. I asked P if he would sleep out there tonight so I can try and get some decent sleep. Here’s hoping that I do. I would like to ease back into getting to bed before midnight again instead of this 6 a.m. routine.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

keep looking »