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

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles | 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/4/11:

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

7/5/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/6/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week of July 8, 2011:

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

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

7/8/11:

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

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

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

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

7/9/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/10/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/12/11:

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

7/13/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a Must Read!

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

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

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

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

As always, “to be continued….”.

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

Pain persists as do I.

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles | 215 Comments

Week of June 24, 2011:

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

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

6/26/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

6/27/11:

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

6/27/11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6/28/11:

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

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

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

6/29/11:

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

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

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

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

Moving towards my goals….slowly

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6/18/11:

Well, I have done my knee strengthening and stretching exercises for two weeks. Some are every day and some are every other day. Today, I awoke and I just didn’t want to do them. I did any way but this will happen. I wonder if it’s because I am gaining a little more strength now and I am probably pushing myself a little harder. It takes about 30-45 minutes to do every thing. I am also doing a little more walking throughout the week. It’s nothing “impressive” by “normal” standards but considering that I was solely using those electric carts at Wal-mart about 6 months ago, it shows that I am coming back after a prolonged period of “in-ability” to do some “normal” activities.

Yesterday, we decided to check out some of these health clinics that do have “reduced fees”. We have had many people tell us to try them and we just didn’t know where to start and/or we were concerned that we wouldn’t qualify or even be able to “afford” the cost, in spite of the fees being reduced. Well, we still have the last fear because, in spite of the fact that for a “household of two people” we are considered “middle class”, we are really struggling financially; especially since the beginning of this year. Mostly, because all of our money is going out for monthly expenses and debts we are paying off.

There is a health clinic directly adjacent to our community garden. I thought it might be one but I wasn’t sure if it was just for marginalized people; like new immigrants, or for “the rest of us”. We stopped in person and we picked up the paperwork. Now, we are beginning the process of finding out just what “reduced fees” will entail for someone like us. Both of our fears are that even with reduced fees it might be something we simply can’t afford. However, we are going to move forward on it. What has pushed us is the fact that when P went to the annual Men’s Health Expo last Saturday, he was examined by a dermatologist who discovered some “suspicious” growths on his neck and face. One may be a “basal cell carcinoma”. I think, I noticed this in the past year. I thought it might be something but I watched it and it never changed in size or oozed anything so I thought it was akin to my psoriasis that is along my scalp line.

I thought about it later and decided that this might be a good time for me to apply for this clinic as well. They can do the financial counseling at the same time; if they will allow that, and then I am “registered” with this health center and I can then go there without having to go through all of this at that time. I’d like to get a Pap smear; something that I haven’t had in a long time. I would also like a general gynecological exam; also, something that I haven’t had in as long. I could ask about the vaginal dryness, the excessive bleeding and also the overactive bladder. I don’t know if I would necessarily want to start taking a lot of prescription medicines for all of that but, at least, discuss it with a medical professional.

Since the  health clinic’s parking lot was nearly full we had to park about 30-40 feet away from the entrance so we parked near our garden plot. It meant walking up a graded hill which I was able to although I can feel how weak I’ve become whenever I exert myself, even a little bit. I have been reading this book about “Treat Your Own Knees” more and I am now seeing that I probably could move forward on working towards improving my balance and endurance. Walking is the best way to improve your endurance. P brought home a lot of information from the Men’s Health Expo including some on a walking club that meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month at P Mall. This coming Tuesday is the third one so if I can get myself up in enough time (it meets from 8:30-10:00 a.m.) then I will try to go with P. Of course, I won’t be able to go as far as he can but it will get me started also in a walking program. We had already talked about walking in the early morning hours at a mall since the weather has been so hot. Now, might be a good time to begin doing that; especially while P is not working regularly. It gets him back to exercising regularly like he was doing this past winter and some during earlier this spring—and, it gets me started as well. The author of “TYOK” reminds starting out with 7-10 minutes and then building up time and not being concerned about distance. So, am I take that the author means “going the time” is more important than “going the distance”? It would seem so! Good for those of us, like myself, who move at a turtle’s speed.

6/20/11:

I weighed in this morning at 266.4 lbs. I am amazed since I have really been eating way over the BLC recommended calorie limit and also a lot of those calories are higher in sodium!! Besides that, I had a “snack attack” last night before I went to bed. I was eating a lot of carbs!! I think what triggered that was eating homemade fudge this past weekend several times a day. Well, I can only attribute this to the fact that all of this strength exercises are paying off. I am building muscle and that is burning some calories.

I decided that to put my level of strength training up a notch and go to the advance level. I was wondering if that would mean additional exercises but instead it is doing more of the same ones I have been doing. It will be a struggle but I am up for it. So, for starters, I think what I will do is do 2 sets of 15 rather than 2 sets of 10. Then, when that starts to feel okay, I might increase it to 3 sets of 15.  After that point, I will have to decide whether I want to keep it at that or move up to a higher weight. I am only using 3 lbs free weights but the repetitions do “burn” towards the end of the second set. If I do decide to increase the weights, I don’t think I will go beyond 10 lbs. I think, by that time, it will be sufficient for where I want to end up.

Then, I took a look at how many calories are in some of my activities. I will need to be “busy” moving around for about 45-60 minutes every day doing stuff around here if I want to burn up the 201 calories they are recommending. So; that is what I tried to do today. Another day P was home so I just tried to keep busy around here and I managed to do that throughout the day. It did help though that I got up around 11 a.m. ( I didn’t have a very good night’s sleep last night because of the pain in my right leg). I did some laundry, loaded the dishwasher twice, then made some meals from our dwindling food “supply”. It isn’t all that dire since we still have quite a lot of good food left to eat but if we don’t get some money within three days; we will definitely be eating “lean”. So, for now, we are still eating well.

I made homemade chicken noodle soup. It wasn’t as “fatty” since I added in the white meat rather than boiled the whole chicken in the stock water so P didn’t like it as well as when I do the former but I thought it was good and it was probably a lot better for us too. I made up the last of our meat from the freezer: New York strip steaks. I did them in the broiler. They tasted very good. I made the M.O.M. potato salad and the CL cold broccoli salad to go along with the broiled steak. It was a very good meal especially considering we are really eating down our grocery supply and yet it still was OP (”on plan”).

6/21/11:

Today is the summer solstice. The news reported that we will have 14 hours and 22 minutes of daylight. The solstice itself is at 1:16 p.m. Starting tomorrow, we lose 1 minute of daylight until December 21st, when that will be the shortest hours for daylight. So, tonight it probably won’t get completely dark until 9:30 p.m. I prefer the longer days rather than it getting dark around 5:30 p.m. during the winter plus I also think it keeps me in a better mood. I never thought I “suffered” from S.A.D. until this past winter when I really did feel morose a lot of the time.

Neither of us slept well last night. I could really tell that my quad muscles were swollen. It was my day to do the quad strengthening exercises plus I also include my other strengthening exercises, which I have two that are squats, and I was up on my feet a lot yesterday. So, I ended up tossing and turning for quite some time besides taking more EX Tylenol before I was able to fall asleep –again shortly before 4 a.m. Paul said he didn’t fall asleep until 2 a.m. Well, today he was going to the DOL (again-this is the 5th time!) and he is going to see if he can find out why he hasn’t received any unemployment benefits in spite of the fact that he has certified for three weeks now and the system is accepting his certification. It is money we could really use right now. Also, he needs to get some form that states what his income is so he can apply for financial assistance for his doctor’s appointment for the basal cell carcinoma on his neck.

Well, P was told that his claim has been under investigation since June 15th. He finally got a hold of the woman who left a message and she said that since he is self-employed she doesn’t believe he qualifies for unemployment benefits. Well, he has been getting them for the past two years so it seems “odd” that is an issue now. The people at the DOL told him to keep certifying. He said he is inclined to believe them first. All we are hoping is that this gets resolved asap. We have a couple more bills coming out of our account by the end of this week and I would hate to have overdrafts that we couldn’t do anything about.

It was then that P told me that this morning he vented at L, his friend and C’s Mgr, about hating being self-employed, etc. L told P that even the “staffers” had to take another cut in pay recently. P usually keeps quiet about how he feels, even to me, so this really surprised me and I hope that it surprised L because it’s not like P to complain openly to someone at CM because he has always had them in such high regards. It probably wasn’t a very “good” thing to do but certainly understandable given the circumstances. I know that P is resisting having to take another job other than this. The past two years have been a “demotion” of sorts by going from being full time employee with benefits to a sub-contractor but he has had work and some weeks he has done very well.  In spite of the slow recovery in this area, this has been the slowest P has had since 2009. In fact, this is as bad as we have had it since 2004-2005; if not worse, because we have been constantly “short” on money.  “Something” has definitely got to change for us. Neither of us are quite sure. Whatever it is, I sure hope that it is soon. Very soon.

6/23/11:

I am out of Tylenol PM so I haven’t been able to fall asleep before 4 a.m. each day. I did lay down when P went to bed, which was around 11 p.m. but I only dozed off for 10-15 minutes. So, I decided that I would get up and make a recipe from a diabetic cookbook which I bought in the past year or so and which I have just begun making some recipes from. So far; everything that I have made I have really liked. Earlier “today” (actually yesterday since it is 1:45 a.m.) I made a whole wheat crust pizza with vegetables. The “twist” was putting an ample amount of shredded cheddar cheese in the dough. I didn’t have the reduced fat but it was a nice touch that really made the crust itself tasty. I would definitely make it again since it was really quite easy but for a “treat” I would add real meat instead of veggie “meat”; which is all I had actually. I even think P would eat it. He had a small piece today and thought it was really good.

Well, I just finished making oatmeal raisin scones. It called for “pulsing” the oatmeal into a fine meal. I have a very small food processor which I am not even sure that I have used before so I put the flour and the oats into my blender. It worked out fine. It also called for buttermilk. I finally got some a few weeks ago and it got pushed to the back of the refrigerator so it was half-frozen but that also kept it fresh since it was past the expiration date. One thing I have found out from these older cookbooks is that buttermilk is a key ingredient if you want fluffy baked goods; like pancakes and, of course, these scones. I used mixed dried berries because I had eaten the last small box of raisins. It still turned out really good. I had two hot from the oven with lots of “butter”. Yum. Yum.

[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.]

Self-treating my bad knees …surprise, it’s working!

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6/10/11:

Today, I just wanted to sleep in. I got up around 5 a.m. but rather than stay up, I took some more Tylenol PM and had breakfast. Within a couple of hours, I was really sleepy. However, I had to go to the bathroom a couple of times before I really stayed asleep. Well, I have been doing both my quad strength exercise along with my stretching exercises from that book for a week now. I do the stretches everyday, the quad exercise every other day and I have also included (since I am already down on the floor) ab crunches; the ones I used to do 14 years ago! I finished off with doing the upper body strength exercises BLC online recommends.

I think about the benefits I will get from doing all of this–and keeping it up! The shoulder work will give me a better posture so I’m not slumping over (which I do). The abs will also protect my lower back but it will also give me core strength so I can stand longer and, of course, look a lot better through my middle. Then, the knee exercises will strength and elongate my upper thighs through stretching which will allow me to do “endurance” exercises longer and be able to really push myself to perform the exercising at peak muscle capacity.

All of this is exciting. I can barely wait. I think the best way to “test” my endurance will be to just go to Wal-mart or any larger indoor facility and walk around. I say Wal-mart because there is enough to look at that I could take my time and check out every aisle if I wanted to. When we went the other day, it was nearly empty of customers. That would be a perfect time to do some “shopping”. It would allow me to see how long I could last and how far I can expect to go. It might also build up my endurance as well. In fact, this is an excellent idea for “planned exercise”. It might also desensitize me from feeling that since we don’t go to Wal-mart very often that I should “spend, spend, spend”. I was thinking about how Dad spends an hour in one of those carts and all he buys is breathe mints and batteries. Well, I will run this by P and see what he thinks. After all, it is air-conditioned and they also have a McD’s so if I get too tired or want to sit down for awhile, I can always buy a soda or Happy Meal.

This past week, I have decided to take a little different approach to my weight lose efforts. Since I am focusing on establishing this new habit of daily strengthening and stretching exercises, I am just going to “relax” a little on counting calories. I’m not going to use this as an “excuse” to overeat but if I go over a couple hundred calories I’m not going to worry about it—for now.

Well, I threw “caution to the wind” and I had 4 servings of pasta along with the rest of some pre-cooked meat and tomato sauce. That is a lot of calories, carbs, fat and sodium. I ended up having around 3000 calories for the whole day and over 4000 mg sodium. I won’t be losing weight doing that. At different times during the day, I was both hungry and also “just wanted” to eat. Have I decided again to go on a “maintenance” food plan? I did this over Memorial Day weekend. At least, that made more sense. I like to feel like I can “celebrate” the holidays. I have a lot more work to do on my sabotaging thoughts. I’m not fooling myself regarding this. I like to be more relaxed in my eating especially when it comes time for restricting calories. I just hate it. If I could eat 2500 calories a day and still lose weight I would do it.

Well, I can see some of my stress-induced eating as well today. I awoke around 5 a.m. and I was nervous about how we were going to pay two bills ($173.77) which is due tomorrow and then GP ($187.+) which is due on the 16th. I did go back to sleep within a few hours and slept well but when I awoke sufficiently I called a number I had for GP to see if I could make payment arrangements. I haven’t had to do this in years. In fact, it’s been so long, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had to do it. Well, I was really relieved to see that they have it incorporated in their automated system so I didn’t even have to negotiate with a csr. The system offered June 30th and I took it. What a sense of relief I had after that. The remainder of the day felt a lot better after that.

P called and had some news. A had an ultrasound and the baby is a boy. P is thrilled to death. I reminded her that she had nothing to do with it. P said she doesn’t want another girl to compete with S. I don’t see that as an issue but maybe P does. P told me that A has given away a lot of S’s clothes to her friends who were also having babies. I would have preferred if A would have saved some of the things that I bought S simply because some of the stuff was really nice and could have been used for another girl, had she had another girl. I think some of P’s concerns are just plain silly. It sounds like the baby is healthy which is a great relief for A since she had surgery early on this pregnancy.

Mine/our primary concern was praying that A would follow through on this pregnancy and not have an abortion. She came really close but we were praying daily and God intervened. I want to be as supportive of this pregnancy as I/we were of her pregnancy with S. After all, it isn’t just enough to pray that the child isn’t aborted, there needs to be support (emotional and financial) besides. I am well aware of that. I/we have given generously  with S and I hope to do the same with this baby. I guess if A wants to pass on what she feels she doesn’t need any more, it was a gift and that is her “right” to do so.

I got online almost immediately and went through the newborn boy clothes to see what is available. I decided to start with a Garanimal 24 piece layette set in shades of blues and greens. There are little knit caps, footed sleepers, socks and gowns. His birth is expected November 3rd. So, S will be 20 months old. So, as I buy I am going to have to keep an eye on winter/cold weather clothes. It sort of feels a little “weird” to shift gears and buy the newborn sizes too but that is where it all starts. For me, this helps me feel close to them even if I won’t see either of them “who knows when”. At least, I know they are getting clothed. A likes my choices so that also helps.  Being a Great-Aunt is as close as I am going to get to being a Grandma so I am enjoying every moment of all of this as much as I can (long distance).

I had 97 cent shipping so when that comes I will include that with the things I got for S earlier this week. I think it will help A feel more positive about having another child if she sees that he will start out as well taken care of as S has been. I doubt whether anyone will consider giving A another shower. That is one of the “down sides” of a second (subsequent) child. They just aren’t heralded into the world quite as grandly as the firstborns. So, I want to make sure that A knows that someone does realize this and helps out (as I can). I know that it has been quite an emotional roller coaster for A so I hope this will be a “celebratory pause” for her. When she sees the little boy things I think it will help her envision him being here and wearing them. I know as a new mother that is one of the things that helps cement the “reality” of the coming birth. It did for me. I used to go in and take each little outfit out, look at it, touch it and then put it back in the drawer.

6/12/11:

Well, P went to the Men’s Health Expo again yesterday. It costs $25 and he gets a lot of basic exams for that cost. He had the prostate screening, a full blood profile (fasted for that), oral mouth check, blood pressure and weight check; the main ones. His blood pressure was 120/70, which is really surprising because it used to be around 106/60 for the longest. It has been in the past year that his blood pressure has risen. I am not sure why either. His BMI is still 29% which is the highest percentage for being overweight. If he were to gain additional weight he would be obese. I find that really hard to believe because ever since I met him he was so thin. He has gained some weight but it is all in his stomach and chest area; which is not the best place to gain it either. For the most part, he eats really healthy. He has begun walking in the past year but he hasn’t kept it up on a regular basis in the past couple of weeks as it has gotten a lot hotter. His goal is to lose around 35 lbs. I hope that he will be able to. I am so glad that there is something like this for him to go to. It covers the basic checkpoints of most annual physical exams. The cost is amazingly low and affordable for us.

Recently, he had his vision checked and he now needs prescription reading glasses since one eye is different than the other. Well, right now, we don’t have $200 for that. Besides the cost, P is “notorious” for misplacing his glasses (and cell phone) all the time. Last week, we got a value pack of 3 of stronger reading glasses. I told him to leave one pair in the car, one pair at home and the other I put up in case he loses one of those two. He said it helps his vision so we are going with that for now.

Somewhat even to my own surprise, I announced first to my Beck Diet Group and then to P, almost simultaneously, that I’m throwing my hat in the ring to start the formation process to join the lay order of the Carmelites. From my understanding of P has shared with me their primary focus is a life of contemplative prayer. Since prayer, especially the rosary, and also reading the Bible have become an important part of my spiritual life the past couple of years; I think it would be a “good fit” for me. I told P to go ahead and share the “news” with his Director, D, who has approached me a couple of times in the past 18 months about joining them, and then we will see what will happen after that. P gave me some of the books he was given when he began. So, the “journey begins”.

I am trying to create a new habit of making sure I get my quick exercises done upon awakening. I can do the stretches in bed before I rise and then I do the quad strengthening every other day and my abs every day. It doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes tops. What I look forward to is not having to feel self-conscious about my pot belly. I haven’t decided exactly when I will really start throwing myself into harder aerobic work-outs. Ideally, I would like to make sure that my quads really are a lot stronger so that my knees are “protected” when I start up some of these dvds again. I will get a lot more out of them and, hopefully, my knees will be able to handle the stress. I think, I am just going to play it by ear and see how my knees are reacting to each new layer of added stress. I am still using a lot of Icy Hot on my knees and legs during the night when I go to bed. I am just trying to be patient with this process because I feel like I if I lay down a good solid foundation of strengthening the essential muscles then I can really make up for lost time once I do begin to do the more daunting workouts.

And, it is not easy to be patient either. There are several people in the Beck Diet Group that have lost over 60 lbs already. I don’t know how long it took them but even so with me coming in with so much to lose, it seems daunting to me that I will ever be where they are at. There are three of us who are in the upper 200s.  For me, it is just a matter of dealing with some “obstacles” (my eating out so much, eating too many calories, being able to be more active) more effectively. I think, once I do that I will be “on my way”.

The main obstacle right now for me is to be able to get my muscles strong enough to support my body (and weight bearing joints) so that I can work off some of the extra calories that I am eating. Once I can achieve that level of fitness, even if it is no more than as a beginner, I can really move forward. In the meantime, I am tweaking my food plan. It is evolving in what feels like a “natural” progression. I have been eating no-sugar desserts; like cookies, ice cream treats and puddings, for the past two months. I will say that I am just getting plain sick of the lack of sugar. That sounds silly to say but it is the truth. I miss sugar. For awhile, fruit helped satisfy my sweet tooth but even that has passed. I am assuming that at some point I will begin to reintroduce sugar back into my food plan; either on a one-time basis, like for birthdays, holidays or celebrations; or I will allow myself a small amount within my food plan. For the time being, I am going to just follow this because my fasting blood sugar still remains over 100 mg/dl when I have had a lot of carbs and/or sugar, like last night when we had delivery pizza and I had a regular Coke with it. This morning, my fasting blood glucose was 108 mg/dl. Certainly better than the 118 mg/dl that it was two months ago but it needs to be in the low 90s before I can feel that I can add sugar back into my food plan on a more regular basis. I am willing to wait. Now, when I do have some sugar, it does seem very special since I don’t have it very often. I just make sure though that I only have a little bit so I don’t end up setting off a binge.

I am hoping that once I get more active, the weight will come off more predictably and more quickly. I am going to try the BL Fitness Program for one thing. I will also work out to both RS dance dvds and JM Shred dvds. I would love to see the kind of results that they do on the tv program! I could drop all or most of my weight by the end of this year. That would be phenomenal! Again, their emphasis is “building muscle/burning fat”. They don’t show much about the diet except having the chef make some low cal cupcakes or low cal entrees. I am beginning to think that it is important, if not more important, that I really push the “building muscle/burning fat” ratio more than the psychological skills of the Beck Plan.

I mean, once I identified some of the sabotaging thoughts that I have had in the past that were preventing me from losing weight and also keeping it off, it actually became easier to catch myself when I was thinking along those lines. I have also discovered that although you do need to have good habits overall there still is “wiggle room” when it comes both to a food plan and working out. For example; just go to our garden during the hottest part of the day so I guarantee to sweat irregardless of whether I am actually doing much, I will lose some body fluids. Also, if I do some of the housework around here and keep at it until I get tired, more than likely I am burning some calories. I have been doing that in the past couple of days with pretty good results.

6/16/11:

Well, I am continuing with the exercises and stretches. It has been 12 days thus far. I am now beginning to notice that my right knee is not hurting as much although my left one is at different times depending on what I am doing. I am also noticing that I can do the exercises without my knees really hurting like they did at first. I can also put the left knee on top of the right knee when I am sleeping on my side and it is “okay”. Before, my right knee just wouldn’t tolerate any pressure on it. Another side note: although I have been eating way more than I should be if I really want to consider myself dieting. I think, I must finally be building some muscle and being active enough, at least some days I am, that I am maintaining my present weight within a lb or so. I think what this points to is that when the time comes and I am ready to really kick some butt in my work outs and reduce the amount of calories I am eating: I will start seeing some good weight lose!! I’ve decided that I am going to try one of these work outs one month after I began this knee strengthening exercises. So, that would be July 4th. I will see how I do and then decide whether I can continue to do those or I need some more knee strengthening exercises.

Unfortunately, our tomato plants look horrible. I had P dig up the two smaller ones which still haven’t gotten any tomatoes yet. I sprayed them the last time we were there. I rinsed out the spray bottle I used but maybe I should have put it in the dishwasher. I am wondering if there was a residual of the former contents in it and that was what killed the plants. We were told to be on the lookout for large green worms that eat tomato plants and I thought I would get a jump start and spray them. Well, I picked off all the dead limbs and leaves of the last two that both have a small green tomato on. I’m not holding out too much hope for them though. If there are some medium-sized tomato plants left in the nurseries this weekend I might just get two new ones and start over. I feel that with this heat, we should still be able to get some fresh tomatoes this summer.

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

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