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

Posted by lettucelose on December 12th, 2011 |Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles |

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.

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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.

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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.]


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