First of all, I weigh the exact same weight that I did one year ago. There, I said it. Does this mean I am a failure at weight lose? Well, if you measure weight lose by inches, pounds and clothing sizes; then, yes, I am a failure at losing weight. However, if you measure weight lose by the infrequency of how I binge, how more self-accepting I am of myself and my body image than I was a year ago and how I want to eat more healthy than I want to eat “trash”; then, I would say that I have lost “something”. It might not be actual physical poundage but I have lost a lot of the obstacles that landed me where I was morbidly obese, miserable with myself and acting against my own best interest.
What then did I lose this past year? I lost a lot of my former character defects: pleasing others, perfectionism, rationalizing, minimizing, categorizing, cowardice and, sometimes, denial (on a good day). Although it seemed to me that I was either treading water or spinning my wheels throughout most of this year I also began to notice some significant changes in “me” and some of that change came by surprise. I think this quote says where I ended up:
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou ‘canst not then be false to any man.” —William Shakespeare.
Today, I have the courage to say to you, dear readers, that Plan A did not go like I had thought it would. When I began this journal regarding my weight lose, I honestly thought that I would check in once a week (probably) and “report” how much weight I had lost, whether I passed on that piece of chocolate cake or ate it in secret, how many miles I walked or ran and the poundage of what I was lifting on any given day. Well, as a person who “used to” suffer from OCD, that is how I thought it would be as well. I am great at keeping records of what I ate, how many minutes I exercised and whether or not I was following along a predictable line but as I really got into this; it took on a life of its own. It began to “own” me and not the other way around. Oh, did I also say that I am a recovering “control freak” too?
What I learned in this past year is that my body is boss. It knows what is best for itself and it will “take over” even the most persistent attempts that I have in making it do “what I want it to do”. For example, during the summer of 2011, I decided (in a burst of extreme effort) that I was going to tackle my weight lose through extraordinary expenditure of energy via Power walking on my motorized treadmill followed by Power lifting of my free weights as well as hundreds of body sculpting exercises. Not only did I push beyond pain, I embraced it. I said, “Bring it on!” and I did. How dumb! How stupid can a college-educated person be? As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”. I was chasing down pain medicine with bags of frozen peas afterwards. Within four months, I had re-injured an old groin injury (say, I said “old”, as in I didn’t learn the first time) and for almost two weeks, I couldn’t even put any weight on my left leg. I hobbled around but I then decided that I wouldn’t let that stop me; I would do a “work around”, so I proceeded to figure out a way to continue to brutalize my body while nursing this re-inflamed older injury. Then, my “bossy” body told me in no uncertain terms: “Kill it kid. Time Out!”
So, I turned my attention to “helping others”. I had also been a part of a “buddy challenge” in an online diet group. Once that challenge had run its course, I decided to grab the reins and lead a new one on my own. I soon discovered that I was in my “element”. I just plain loved it. It was a blank slate so I got creative. I made up some really fun ways of moving your body that everyone (including some grand kids that joined for the fun of it) found quirky but effective. Some ideas came to me while I was actually doing something else: like folding clean laundry and getting tired of doing that, I began tossing rolled up socks into a laundry basket. Soon, the basket got farther and farther away and so I had to sharpen my aim. Then, I timed myself. How many rolled up sock pairs could I toss in the laundry basket in 5 minutes? Silly but effective in breaking a sweat. It also took some weight off of my leg that was “mending”. For a person who had recently lost his leg to diabetes it also gave him some much needed movement in his upper body.
Then, the buzz saw hit a knot in the wood! Group dynamics. There are two kinds of fat people: people pleasers and “heel diggers”. The former will say “Yes” to anything and everything, irregardless of whether they can, will or want to. The later will say “No” to anything and everything for the same reasons. When they butt heads, watch out! The first group minimize what it will take to do something. The second group will catastrophes what it will take to do something and, therefore, elect to not do it. In the long and distant past, I was a mediator. It kicked in almost immediately until I realized that, just like myself, these were learned behaviors for these people and until they either realized this about themselves and then were willing to step even one foot away from this center of comfort they had created, they were going to be this way. That was then that I had to release my desire to control and my need for everything to turn out in a neat perfectionist planned way. Some “excess weight” just got lost at that junction.
After the first of the New Year in 2012, I decided that I wanted to start my own sub-group based on some of the things that I had learned about myself and my relationship with food. My adult daughter thought the title was magnanimous but I settled on “The Way”. What I wanted to share with others was the same objective that I had when I began this diet blog two years ago: I wanted to find “the way” to a “normal” relationship with food. In words that I have often said: I want to make peace with food. Much to my surprise, the response was overwhelming. Within a week’s time, I had over forty people who had signed up for my group. I was ready to begin.
Within the first two weeks, I had to settle a “she said, she said” online fight; remind someone that taking another person’s work is not nice, it amounts to “stealing” and if she didn’t rescind I would take action (which I did); and proceed to “fall in love” with some of the brightest, clever, endearing “angels” I have ever had the pleasure to meet on the internet. They taught me so much about how the human spirit can soar like an eagle and plop like a big turd while at the same time embracing a new way of life that was both wonderful and frightening as well. I love giving so I rewarded their efforts with “prizes’ for the most weight lost, the most amount of miles walked and for having the most team spirit. I also learned about how some people will never seem to give themselves a break and how they can’t accept good things from anyone no matter how much they earned it. I learned that I had to quit being so hard on myself and love myself right there and then because if I don’t love and accept myself, how can I expect anyone else to? I left some excess weight at that door as well.
I had to drop my perfectionism when I had to tell my dearly loved group that I would have to “step down” in mid-summer (and mid-challenge) because i was broke from all the giving and I was not following my own “rules”. It was one of the hardest things of recent that I had to do but I knew it was the right thing to do for me and “them”. I had full confidence that if they looked at themselves in the mirror honestly, they would realize they “knew the way” to permanent weight lose as much as I was beginning to.
What I later admitted to both my husband, P., and a friend, was that while trying to save others, I had nearly lost myself. It took a lot of courage for me to stand my ground (one emailed me and pleaded with me to return as their group leader, which I graciously declined) and for me to look at what had happened to me in the meantime. What started out as a sincere and genuine desire to lead others to permanent weight lose and a more sane relationship with food ended up with me “losing myself”.
Besides being financially broke(r)[ not a word but even more broke than I had been when I started], I was also trying to keep things together with my food plan by eating foods that I would never consider in the past two years: separated chicken parts ( say what?), HFCS (the empty food filler from Hell) and counting ketchup as a vegetable (echoes of Reagan’s school admonition). I had slid in my standards. Why? I had stopped remembering the cardinal rule” “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.” I was gasping for air but there was no one to see it, feel it or respond to it. I also had to stop looking for someone else to rescue me. The cavalry was not coming that day nor would it ever.
Although it has often been said that “no man is an island”, when it comes to losing weight or making any other kind of life changes, sometimes, believe it or not, it is best to go it alone. I would never have traded anything for the experiences that I have had in the groups that I have been a part of. I have laughed, cried, loved and cherished all of those people but I made their happiness more important than my own. Did I say I also needed to learn balance in my life? Yup!
So, now that I had that year of being detoured, I am back on finding my own way. Once again, the insides are a whole lot skinnier today than they were a year ago. Now, I just have to get the outside to match the inside.
…to be continued.
After I emailed you about this book last night, I went on Amazon.com to see how much a gently used book would cost since, as I said, all of the copies were currently checked out, and my wait time was more than 3 weeks. One thing that I would strongly stress, so you can get a better idea of whether the book or item is worth purchasing is to check out and read some of the customer reviews on any given item. The reviewers are people like ourselves who buy an item for usually a specific need so their perspective is from an average person’s point of view. I have had a long history purchasing from Amazon.com and I review everything that I have ever purchased from them so I wanted you to know you can pretty much believe what these people are saying.
Having clarified that, I read about a half dozen reviews on this book you asked me about. According to the reviews that I read, the biggest complaint that they had about the book was that the author was pushing his own brand of supplements besides the food plan and that the cost was several hundred dollars per month. Other than that, it does sound like it is similar to many of the other whole food food plans that are “out there”. The other criticism the reviewers had was that the author spent nearly 2/3rds of the book talking about how lower income people are prone to diabetes because they can’t afford healthy food. So, what else is new, right?
Here are my thoughts after having read the reviews. The main one being is that it is also rather insulting for the doctor/author to talk about how lower income people can’t afford to eat healthier foods and yet somehow he must expect his readers to be able to afford $500+ a month on vitamin supplements. Once again, it sounds like another wealthy person out of touch with real people’s lives; which one man who was 73 years old wrote a really good review to that affect. This older man was still working and he simply stated that he neither had the resources to make some of the “gourmet recipes” or the time since he was still working past retirement age. In my opinion, anyone who is working full time at that age is doing so not because he wants to but because he has to. However, I am still going to wait for it from the public library unless it gets to be longer than two months and then I might buy a used copy after the New Year’s.
D., I have over 1 dozen diet books sitting on my shelves which I have decided to donate to the public library. Obviously, it is not that we who wish to lose weight and reclaim good health don’t know enough; it is simply that we haven’t learned to effectively put it into practice. I know why I don’t. I am really enthused the first couple of weeks while I am losing weight. Then, once the weight lose starts to taper off or I get tempted to eat something not on my food plan, I slip. Sometimes, the slip is short-lived and I can get right back on my food plan. Other times, I seem to wander off simply because I lose my focus or I forget the initial reason why I wanted or needed to lose weight in the first place.
Everyone “out there” can agree that eating healthier does cost more and according to what I have recently read, it is going to cost even more in 2013. P. and I have already noticed the prices already going up on many of our food items we routinely get. P. and I have been trimming our monthly budget for the past four-six years. We both said that we were going to split where we purchase favorite food items between stores if the price is cheaper somewhere else. It will mean some extra planning and another shopping trip but that is what we will do. I don’t use coupons simply because most of them ask you to buy in volume and with just the two of us, it really wouldn’t pay; in our opinion. I also don’t shop those “big box” warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club for the same reason. We tried those ten years ago and just simply found that it was more wasteful for just “us two”.
I am sure that this debate about how to balance our food budget along with the cost of other things we routinely spend money on will continue. However, I have said this before and I still believe it: you either spend the money at the grocery store or you spend it at the doctor’s office. We are lower income although I am not feeding underage children. However, if I were they would be eating how we eat. My Mom used to say, if you don’t like what I fixed, then “go hungry”. I will say that I didn’t like some foods when I was growing up. I did try some things that I didn’t like and some things I slipped to our family dog under the table. However, I wasn’t fat. In fact, I was thin. I didn’t see the doctor very often growing up except for routine shots, etc. I wasn’t a sickly kid. My parents had one main income for a long time so I know it was a struggle to “provide for us” but we were healthy.
Now, forty plus years later, both my younger sister and I have “lifestyle” health issues: she is a heavy smoker, has high blood pressure and she has elevated blood sugar. She routinely eats lunches from fast foods and convenience stores. She takes a blood pressure medication that she (and I both) knows she wouldn’t have to if she would quit eating such salty foods. She has diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome. She misses a lot of work for this last two digestive conditions. She has been told they are “diet-based” conditions that can be remedied by changing what she eats. Now, at age 56, she is obese, which she wasn’t always.
As for me, I have morbidly obese for 29 years.I was able to lower my higher blood pressure by monitoring the amount of sodium that I ate and only having caffeinated beverages “half of the time”. Losing weight has been the more difficult thing for me to do. I “dieted” myself all the way up to 301.8 lbs. eight years ago. I was already experiencing congestive heart disease. I could feel the fluid in my chest and the difficulty breathing I had as a result every time the humidity rose. Losing 40 + lbs helped but after repeated injuries I simply lost my motivation and my ability to physically move. I have managed to maintain that initial weight lose, which I am really grateful for that, because I am not so sure that my body could tolerate that extra weight if I were to regain it. In fact, I know that it probably couldn’t.
Again, the old adage of “You are what you eat” applies to most of the lifestyle diseases/conditions that most of us struggle with. I asked my sister if she ever considered packing a lunch rather than grabbing a greasy slice of pizza and a cup of coffee at a convenience store. She didn’t answer me. Maybe, she has never considered doing so. I know, from my own personal experience, that we can lose weight and reclaim our health if we are willing to change our personal habits. I used to think that it took big sweeping changes but the more I do this the more I realize that even making some simple changes can really make a difference. So, now I am doing that: making smaller changes.
P. has recently lost 22 lbs in the past year. He has never dieted before in his life. In fact, he is not a person who actively pursues anything related to fitness or health but he just didn’t like how he looked or felt a couple of years ago. I asked him what he felt attributed to this recent weight lose. He said that he has become more aware of “portion control”. He allows himself one day a week (Sunday) to have his favorite Kit Kat bars. He still doesn’t exercise much because he is in the car all the time driving and he just says he is too tired at night but he says that he wants to lose 20 lbs more. I told him that I was very proud of him and that I was also going to try and put into practice what he has been doing. I said, “You did this right under my nose, without me even realizing it or making a big fuss about it.” I think he is on to something.
Once again, I have made it my promise (and I break these all the time with myself) that I will be a “normal weight” for my 60th birthday which is 35 weeks away. In order to do that I need to lose 100 lbs or 2.78 lbs per week. If I succeed, it will be the first time since I was 27 years old that I saw that weight. In fact, I have the Levis jeans from back then when I did weigh that. If I make that goal next summer, I hope that I will be able to get into those same jeans and wear them on my birthday.
The only thing that is stopping me from realizing that personal goal is the choices that I make each and every day. As I have said, I am always open to trying anything new but if I have learned anything through these past years: each of us has to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t. Now, that is “continuing education” that I have a feeling never ends.
” to be continued….”
“I really need some help. I have lost something and I don’t know what. It may be the want too. I want to lose, but not the doing to get there I guess. So afraid and I know I will gain the weight back if I don’t at least stay on BLC. I feel like I am leaving you all down. Can’t seem to get it back. I do for a day and then lose it again. I am so sorry to bother you. You must feel like a mother duck with all her ducklings following her around. I know you can’t help me if I don’t want to change. I really do deep down inside, but it seems so hard for me. What is wrong with me? is what I ask myself sometimes. Why can’t I do it ? I think I want a quick fix. The magic bullet and it “ain’t ” gonna happen” –comments from one of the group members of the online diet group I lead.
I personally believe that at the root of this kind of “dieting” (because that is what it is—not a commitment to long term healthy eating) is that it sets you up for yo-yo weight lose and regain as well but does something even worse: it quickly erodes what self-esteem you are trying hard to bolster with “quick fixes”.
Another aspect of lack of motivation is being “lazy”. No one likes to address this since it is something most of us don’t want to admit that we are “guilty of” but quite often we simply want (again here it is) a “quick fix”. We want all the glory without the “guts” it took to achieve a much desired goal. One of the things that I love about watching the Olympics is seeing the “supreme sense of satisfaction” that these athletes have on their faces when they cross that finish line or make that last winning effort that pushed them to that medal status. There is nothing that feels (or tastes) better than “VICTORY”.
When I did really start to seriously take the issue of losing weight to the next level? When I realized that no one but myself is going to make it happen. I have chased a lot of elusive “diet programs” that cost me thousands of dollars only to regain the weight. Besides, draining my pocketbook, they also drained what precious little self-esteem that I was trying to hold onto.
Today, I sit here and I can tell you that every pound that I have lost and then kept off meant I had to make a choice. The better the choices; whether it was to forego the double cheeseburger for a baked potato (like last night at Wendy’s) or to be satisfied with a tall glass of ice cubes while watching t.v. instead of the “Snicker bites” that I was thinking about during the commercials. The choices I make today will show up on the scales on Monday. It is both that easy and also that hard.
Today, try replacing self-pity with self-responsibility. I like to tell myself: “If you don’t steer the ship, don’t be surprised if you end up drifting somewhere you don’t want to be.” I know where I want to be. I have been doing this long enough that I also know what I need to do. There are a lot of things about this weight loss “effort” that I would like to skip but I have come to the realization that “quitting is no longer an option.” I know that I will not be satisfied until I have crossed that finish line. It may take me longer than I want but I will not be satisfied until the “job gets done”.
Bruce Jenner recently told Oprah in an interview that for 6-7 days a week for 6 years he trained to win the gold medals he has now in his possession. At the time he EARNED those medals(no he did NOT win them!) he was considered “the best of the best”. That is the heart and mind of a true champion. Know what you want. Stake your claim and then GO FOR IT.
NOTE: This online blog is intended solely to share my personal experiences with others who are also working on losing weight and keeping it off. They are my opinions and do not reflect anything but that.
This [online diet]group [that I formed and lead] has been together since January 2nd and already I have seen some people go and whom didn’t leave narry a good-by note. I want to believe that they are doing well on their own and they are continuing to lose weight but I also “worry and wonder”.
This is unsolicited “advice” but take it if you need or toss it overboard but “stay close to the boat…or the sharks are liable to get you.” Don’t stray too far from “what works” for you. I know that I have and I also felt “convicted” as I watched that program about these prisoners that I too have been “imprisoned” myself only the bars that I see is the extra pot belly and larger than life thighs that I carry on my body. Those are my “prison bars”.
Lisa Ling asked the prisoners’ if they thought they would end up returning and surprisingly two of the ones said “Yes, I believe I will.” They knew in their “heart of hearts” that it wasn’t just about “doing the time” but also embracing a “new way of life”. One man, who was trying hard to “stay clean” said that when he sees one of his old “gang buddies” he waves but then he walks away really fast.
If we want to be truly free of our own “prison”, this extra weight, then we also have to do more than just “do the time”—following a specific food plan and exercising, etc.–we have to be willing to “embrace a new way of life” so we never have to be imprisoned again by our extra weight.
Something to think about…
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
“AS FOR THE FUTURE, YOUR TASK IS NOT TO FORESEE IT BUT TO ENABLE IT.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I used to be a person who made “to do” lists that I carried around in a day planner which I would then look at often to remind myself where I wanted to be. However, as life took me on unexpected twists and turns, I abandoned my “to do” lists because I felt the future seemed so uncertain that I didn’t believe that I could actually plan for it. Much to my surprise, control freak that I was for a very long time, began to slowly ease up on my tight grip of trying to control how events turned out. I still don’t like surprises in almost anything but I have learned to “go with the flow”. If I end up someplace other than I had planned, I quickly “size up” the situation I am in and decide how I am going to deal with the immediate “here and now” knowing that what action I take will ultimately determine how the future is being shaped.
So, what does this have to do with emotional eating? Well, for me, it meant that I had to work more at acceptance of what “is” and letting go more of what “isn’t”. When I practice this I have more peace within my soul. When I have more peace within my soul, I have less need to fill in the blank spaces that exist there with extra food, “more stuff” and “being busy”.
By the way, I live with someone who does not accept life on life’s terms as easy as I have learned to do. I watch him get frustrated, resist what is going to happen whether he likes it or not, and ultimately wear himself out with all of the energy he has expended “swimming upstream”. I have a lot of compassion for him. Things could be so much easier for him “if only” he worked with life instead of against it.
Fear causes us to want to control and hold on tightly.
Worry means we feel we know the outcome before the process is completed and because of our demands we want it the way we want it, not how it might “best be”.
Trust causes us to relax and release whatever the Universe wants to bring to us and for us.
Patience allows us to wait while this “flow” moves through us, around us and in us.
I am reminded of a wonderful line in the movie “Out of Africa”. Meryl Streep’s character has been trying to mold the African wilderness to become a working tobacco farm. She even has a local river dammed and rerouted so that it will bring the necessary water to her farm. When Mother Nature washes out the dam and the river begins to flow its natural course, she sighs and says, “Let it have its own way as it always has.”
I don’t see this moment in the film as admitting defeat but more of accepting that some things just aren’t meant to be nor will never be. Some cynics would say “Mother Nature always wins.” I would like to say that Mother Nature is so perfect and complete that it doesn’t need to either “win or lose”, according to our arbitrary standards. It just simply is.
So, now all I plan for are the “intangibles” (but very real nonetheless) like loving more, forgiving more, experiencing more and believing more.
What has any of this got to do with arresting emotional eating? Everything! Think about it.
In our talks one on one, within a group like here, and especially to ourselves, our speech does a great job of identifying who we are, what we aspire to, what our fears, our hopes and our dreams are. Once I had this “revelation” decades ago, I literally stopped cold turkey ever talking to myself again in a negative, put-down or self-dergatory manner. I can attest to the fact that the direction that my life was going began to change after that as well.
Then, whenever I heard another person use negative talk towards themselves or others, depending on the circumstances, I “corrected” them gently but firmly. One of my favorite sayings to my husband, P, is “why put yourself down when you know the rest of the world is more than happy to?” If anything, it did make him pause a few minutes before continuing. Well, now P doesn’t put himself down quite as much but now he has resorted to hitting things so now I have to remind him that his hands are his “work” so if he breaks his hands, he won’t be working and well, you know the rest… this is a work in progress.
My sister has felt that the rest of the “crew” she works with (all men since she works in a very male-dominated field) thinks she is a “joke”. I have to wonder, what exactly is she doing or telling them for them to think or believe this? I am reminded of several different “sayings” that I tell myself and others.
**WE TEACH OTHERS HOW TO TREAT US!** (Now think for a minute or two on that one)
**NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR EXCEPT YOURSELF** (Eleanor Roosevelt said that one)
**WE BECOME WHAT WE BELIEVE**
I believe so strongly in the power of self-talk that I make sure that I am very careful about what I say to myself and also to others. I wasn’t always this way but as I became more aware of the power of “words” (Shakespeare said “THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD”)I have since learned to choose my words wisely (even in the heat of the moment).
So, today instead of counting calories, counting steps or miles, counting reps, etc…. how about beginning to count your words?? They carry a lot more weight and are definitely worth losing the wrong ones.
As a recovering emotional eater of 17 years with OA, I have learned a few things about myself during that time. When I attended 12 Step meetings on a regular basis, I used to introduce myself as having a tri-core addiction: bad relationships(codependency, compulsive spending and binge eating.) Wow! So, I have had my work cut out for me.
I am very pleased to say that through diligence and hard work, I am in a mutually happy and committed healthy relationship. In fact, this August we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. If you have heard of the saying, “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your Prince Charming”, well, then you know part of my “story”. Having a great marriage and relationship just “didn’t happen”. I am fortunate that I met a man who also believes that. He works on our relationship equally. Has it been easy? No! Has it been amazing? Yes! Has it been worth it? Absolutely.
There is a school of thought that life presents us with lessons which we are “destined” to learn until we Master them. I am inclined to agree with this based on my personal experience. Some may call this “karma”. Some may simply call it “life”.
As for food and money: these are works in progress. I have been in serious debt (try $65K or more) in the past on more than one occasion and I did not have the means (or I thought that I didn’t) to be able to see my way out of that thick forest. I have also been so deep into my compulsive eating that I didn’t know what true physical hunger was.
Presently, my finances are extremely restricted because we are living on one income and my husband is self-employed. Since I have been down this road before (more times than I care to admit), I have learned a few things about how to navigate through these “uncertain waters”.
So, where do you start to “tame these beasts”? You start exactly where you are at today.
First thing you do is clarify your situation. How “bad” is “bad”? Not being able to buy your favorite latte from across a busy coffee shop counter is not a “financial crisis”. It is an inconvenience but you will survive.
If you are having trouble paying your basic bills then you are where I have been.
1)Don’t panic. If you are in a state of heightened emotions you are usually more prone to make mistakes and sometimes these can be costly. For example, do not think that living on credit cards is a good idea. It isn’t because if your income takes a downturn and you don’t have any way of paying those monthly committments you will have two problems instead of one: endangering your credit and your peace of mind.
2)Live within your means. This sounds simple but for most of us who have been accustomed to filling up the “empty spaces in our soul” with “stuff”, whether it is material goods or extra food, this will turn out to be liberating at some point in our journey.
3) Go through your monthly “expenses” at least every 3-4 months. I have been doing this for several years and I still find things that I really don’t need and can live without. The final determination is that “expense” worth my peace of mind? If I can answer that truthfully with a “Yes”. If I can’t live with that expense and still have peace of mind, it goes.
4)Declutter your closets, your kitchen, your garage and most importantly your life. In the past 16 months, I have donated close to 2 dozen large lawn Hefty bags of large sized clothing and other “material stuff”. Surprisingly, my walk-in closet is still quite full. I plan on giving away every larger size as I continue to lose this extra weight. I am leaving no back door for me to regain that weight.
5)Do not “define” yourself by your “stuff”. This is really scary for those of us who like to “keep up with the Jones”. Initially, we will feel insecure and “unsettled” because then we will have to ask ourselves an important question (that we have been avoiding all along anyway)” Who am I really?”
How do you begin to take a handle on your finances? Start with these simple steps I have listed here. I have more to say on this topic but this is enough for now.
Here is what I am doing to bring this part of my life back within my reach of “control”.
1)Find the best pain medication regimen that will allow you to deal with most of the pain while having the least amount of health side effects. I have found that what once worked two years ago or even one year doesn’t work in the same way now. Right now, I am trying to avoid resorting to bio-logics (which are the ones that have very serious side effects like possible cancers and tubercolis. I want those to be the very last measure I take.
2) Guided relaxation, meditation and biofeedback. I can not emphasize how important this “overlooked” area is in handling ongoing and chronic pain. I try to spend at least 1 hour per day first thing in the morning doing relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
3)Find an exercise program that will allow you work “through” the pain as you cope with it. Although I have learned how to work “around” specific injuries, I have never really tried to work “through” pain. I am now learning that with yoga. I had heard about yoga being the “key” for the “lock” of arthritis a few years ago but having done yoga when I was a teen (and a hippie) I figured that my aging body would not be able to do the poses. I was so wrong! There are several excellent dvds and books out now for the older people so that, with props, we too can do yoga and receive the benefits of increased strength, endurance and flexibility; all which arthritis specifically is robbing me of in my body.
4)There are many “therapies” that you can do at home or have a professional do as well that are very beneficial for immediate relief of chronic pain: hydrotherapy (plain English: a hot bath or shower calms and sooths the nerves that scream for attention when in pain), deep tissue massage therapy (believe it or not, we can even learn to massage our own selves when we can’t grab someone else who will—I took a class on this long ago), chiropractors and even acupuncturists are skilled in dealing with sources of pain and ceasing their impact on our daily lives. Do not underestimate a good night’s sleep either. Granted, it is hard when you are in pain to sleep but when it has subsided make sure you get quality sleep. Having a rested body helps to deal with pain more effectively because it is stronger from the added rest stored in your tissues.
5) It goes without saying that “You are what you eat”. Although there is a lot of discussion and debate about the importance of the role food has regarding inflammation, there is one “truth” out there: our body is a living, breathing entity and it needs the proper nutrients for it to remain healthy and to repair itself when it is injured. So, it goes without saying, that you need to “feed your body” the kind of “fuel” that will make for “optimal performance”. You don’t see a hospital feeding its patients Twinkies and Ho-Hos to “get well” so neither should we think we can do that for very long and expect to have anything but disastrous results. I have found that significantly reducing added sodium and sugar in my food plan does impact the degree of my inflammation and therefore the pain I feel. This is still a theory in the medical community but more and more studies back this claim. I have found it to be personally true.
I hope that these 5 points will help all of you deal more effectively with the pain that you do experience so you don’t have to turn to extra food for a distraction and short term relief because we all know by now, food is not the answer. It never was and it never will be.
If you are like me, you often watch programs showing someone who lost a lot of weight and you are full of awe and wonder. Last night was no exception. I turned on the t.v. to see the 7 year journey of a woman who had lost close to 400 lbs. None of us here has that much to lose but let’s face it: that is an impressive amount of weight to lose. This young woman, A., had one characteristic that we could all emulate: COURAGE.
Had she not had gastric bypass surgery at 617 lbs, she would have been dead. She survived the surgery but she still had to deal with life and life’s “thorny” problems. She lost her job because of her excess weight. Since she was unemployed, she moved back in with a critical mother and a passive father (whom she had a special bond with).
After losing 200 lbs and now able to move around freely, barely able to get through the “normal-size” aisles in the classrooms; she decided to return to school and enrolled in a community college. She loved children and she wanted to open her own daycare someday. A.’s dreams were as BIG as her heart. That took COURAGE to not give up on herself and her goals.
During this 7 year journey, she had two “excess skin removal” surgeries. This allowed her to walk better. By the time she was around 250 lbs she was able to walk to the local Mall and buy clothes off the rack for the very first time. Temporarily she moved in with a loving aunt so she could put some “distance” between herself and her critical Mom. Her aunt took her clothes shopping. Finally, A. was able to buy clothes that expressed more “of her age” and less about her weight. She “rocked” a metallic jacket. She went out to a local bar, shot some pool and even had some “shots” herself. Anyone who has felt self-conscious about being social while being a larger person knows that it takes COURAGE to get back out there.
Half-way through her weight loss journey, her father, whom she adored, got cancer. A. made the decision to move back into a home with a critical mother (who was obese herself) that played the “diet police” while A. lovingly cared for her dying father. She was a devoted daughter to the end. She continued to work her program in spite of all of the tension and her own personal grief. What COURAGE!
The last ten minutes showed A. coaching a junior softball team. She was either near 200 lbs or just under that number. She truly was living the life she wished to live. There were several “attributes” that I saw A. exhibit during the filming of “her story”: patience with the process, tolerance of some misplaced criticism especially by her mother but also sometimes by her doctor, hope to continue to dream and create a life that expressed who she “uniquely is” as a person, and finally, she had COURAGE.
I once read that “courage is not the absence of fear but acting in spite of having fear.” If you are here because you want to believe you can create that NEW YOU this year then I say, “Have Courage. Dream Big.” If you feel fear, and we all do, remember F.E.A.R. is nothing more than “False Evidence Appearing Real”. In other words, you CAN do this! Act in spite of your fears and because of your dreams.
When making choices today that will determine what your tomorrow will be like, ask yourself this.. do I believe that I can do what others have managed to do? If so, now is the time to say NO to anything that stands in your way.
***This is my intellectual property. Please respect that and do not pirate. Thank you.****
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.]keep looking »