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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.]