Pain persists as do I.

Posted by lettucelose on December 10th, 2011 |Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles |

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.]


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