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Meet the Author

It is Okay Not Knowing

Filed Under Keeping It Real, Permanent Weight Lose | 1 Comment

It is okay not knowing and not having all of the answers. I don’t. I have some answers to some questions but I honestly do not have all the answers. I never will and I am okay with that.

I am closing in on the second year that this online blog has been available for me to not only connect with my own thoughts, dreams and desires but also to (bravely) share them unedited for total strangers to read. I am sure the fact that I am not able to see any/all of your faces is a protective “shield”, much like many of our Super Heroes had, and which I am very grateful for. I will say that my intent today is the same as it was nearly two years ago: making peace with food. I will freely admit that I didn’t really know what exactly that meant or exactly how to go about it but like most journeys I set out with the intention of finding out. I am grateful to say that I am beginning to find out what that means.

Here are a few things that I found out along the way. 1) Trust myself and what my inner (hopefully higher as well) self is telling me. 2) Be open to other people’s suggestions but measure and weigh their opinions carefully. 3) Although this may sound like a conflicting statement: In the end, you are the best judge of what is best for you! 4) Once again, this may sound like it conflicts with the previous statement which seemed to conflict with the preceding statement before that but; you may hear a truth about yourself coming out of another person’s mouth. Does that make sense? It will when it happens.

For example, I was really feeling torn about some of the choices that I had either seemed to avoid making or had abandoned until one night when I was pouring my soul out to my husband, P., he said very calmly (he usually is anyway): “St. Teresa of Avila once told the nuns she was in charge of, ‘God’s will is going to happen regardless of whether you want it to or not.’  I so needed to hear that! I have made no secret that I have a chronic twelve year history of insomnia. At times, it gets worse but my mind never seems to go to sleep. Even when I sleep, I think. Lately, it has gotten a lot worse. I have been ruminating over so many different things in my life, including about the mechanics of losing weight. When I heard those words, my shoulders dropped and I relaxed. You mean if I get it wrong, it will happen anyway? Yes, “if it is meant to be.”

So, what does that mean? I have heard that saying as much as most of you. The question to ask is: is this in my best interest?  If it is, then the next question is: does my heart long for this? If it does, then the follow up question is: do I have the courage to reach for this, no matter what? If you have three resounding ‘Yeses!!”, you can almost be certain that it is God’s will.  The real litmus test is the outcome: if something happens in spite of repeated efforts, failures and obstacles beyond any one’s comprehension, you KNOW it is God’s will.

For me, this amounts to less controlling, less anxiety, less fretting, worrying and obsessing and more relaxing, more believing and more “letting go” than this recovering control freak could ever phantom or imagine. As I have shared in the past two years, most often something didn’t happen because of my efforts and not because of lack of effort. Does that make sense? From here, it makes perfect sense! I have discovered already that I have been my own worst enemy. Bar none!

So, as I round off this year and look forward to a new year and a clean slate, I can say this: I am okay with not knowing. I don’t know when I will be my end goal weight. I don’t know what that end goal weight is sitting right here even but I do know is that I am willing to step aside and let things happen that are “meant” to happen. One day at a time.

Giving Thanks for Having Choices We Can Make

Filed Under Keeping It Real, Non-Food Rewards, Slow Starts & Relapses | 3 Comments

It is just days before one of the most identifiable eating holidays of the year: Thanksgiving.  For those of us who can “afford” buying the turkey and the “trimmings”, this is a day we all look forward to “pigging out”. For those of who are both in need of losing weight but are still “attached” to eating all of the delicious dishes that accompany such an extravaganza; it is a day fraught with anxiety and elation, even a combination of both, as we make our way through the buffet line.

A few years ago when I decided that “now” was the time that I make some serious changes in my dietary habits, I decided, along with many other weight lose friends, that I would “re-do” the traditional turkey meal. It also coincided with my adult child visiting me who has been a vegetarian for half of her life. In the past, as she was making the transition from being a carnivore to a herbivore, when she did the “rounds” of visiting her relatives and extended family (her father and I are divorced), she would tell me that she would end up eating buttered buns and mashed potatoes. I used to feel that was so “sad” since I was thoroughly enjoying my second or even third helping of turkey soaked in gravy along with green bean casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes and, of course, the piece de resistance: pumpkin pie with a huge dollop of Cool Whip.

Since those days, my beliefs on what constitutes a Thanksgiving meal has shifted. One reason was the fact that I had discovered that my excess weight was causing me some serious health problems. I had a new perspective to consider: is eating all of this excess really worth the impact it has on my health? The obvious answer is “No” but the question also asks of me, what about my emotional and even spiritual health? How is this largess impacting those two parts of my being?

Okay, I realize that is getting “heavy handed” over “one meal a year” but for anyone who is truly struggling with their relationship with food, that one meal of the year is just the tip of the iceberg. We all know it isn’t just one meal because it bleeds over into several days that follow. Black Friday brings us front row center to all of the food court “temptations” at our local Mall. Then, there are the “leftovers”. If you drive by McDonald’s on Black Friday and the weekend after Thanksgiving, you will see their drive through busier than a “one arm paper hanger” . There is something about having eaten turkey for a couple of days that makes you want to have a Quarter Pounder with cheese. There just is!

Suddenly, what starts out as one meal ends up being several wrong turns down dead end streets. Even more importantly, it puts all of the emphasis in the wrong place. Thanksgiving need not stop at extra food and extra calories. It has the potential to be so much more….if we allow it to be. Today, I make choices that celebrate both my good fortune in being able to purchase food to share at my family table but also that I can choose to make that meal more representative of the other meals that I have throughout the year and not just “that one day”. In fact, in spite of this being a quintessential American holiday tradition, a “day of thanksgiving” can be universal, if we only allow it to be.  It is also about being thankful for having choices we can make.

This year Thanksgiving follows on the heels of a national election here in the U.S. For most of us,  we feel pretty much the same way we feel after a Thanksgiving meal: uncomfortably replete and just wanting to find the nearest place where we can “veg out” and put the experience behind us.  However, I am reminded that, although there are obvious flaws in the way our system works, we do have the freedom to elect who governs us.  My husband and I had many lengthy discussions about this freedom that we have. It will have been 40 years since the first time that I was able to exercise my right to vote. I will admit that, in the past, I “had made up my mind” long before the two individuals were squaring off at their first public debate.

This year was different. This year I decided that my vote would speak for more than myself: I wanted the person to sit in that office who would best represent and do the most for the greatest number of people. My individual vote no longer represented “what was best for me” but what was “best for the rest of us”. Now, I have mentioned in my past entries that I am one of the 42 million Americans who does not have health insurance. I would benefit from having health insurance but, unfortunately, as I have told my friends, “I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid (usually people who subside on government programs), I am too young to qualify for Medicare (usually for our senior citizens 66 and older) and I am not disabled enough to qualify for Supplemental Insurance through Social Security.” However, I did not want to make my vote be “a one issue” vote either. It took a lot of thought, prayer and deliberation for me to make my decision but, ultimately, I knew that the person I choose to best represent the American people(s) was the person I wanted to “stand behind”. Although it was a tough decision, I am thankful that I also exercised the freedom of choice to make that decision.

So, what does this have to do with making choices regarding food and eating? Actually, a lot more than I realized at the time. I have come to realize over the past couple years as I change regarding my relationship with food, that everything in my life is a matter of “exercising my personal choice”. Rather than bemoan the fact that I may have to choose to not eat that extra piece of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving or, if I do, know full well what that will mean to my blood glucose, I can celebrate and give thanks for having the freedom to make that choice. I can choose to make choices that support renewed health and well being, including mental and spiritual well being.

I am slowly learning that my weight lose journey is not “all about me” but it does clearly impact everyone that I come in contact. If you recall your American History, the first Thanksgiving was made possible because the Native Americans shared their maize crop among other food staples with the starving new settlers who has just survived one of the worst “first new years” of their existence. Unfortunately, it was a lesson of brotherhood got lost over time but it is never too late while we are giving thanks for the abundance of choices we all can make on this day as well as the other 364 days of the year that we also extend our hand to someone who could and may benefit from the choices we make today.

After all, we do have a choice.

To Answer Some of Your Questions

Filed Under Keeping It Real, Readers Q/A, Response to Readers | 988 Comments

Dear Readers:

I wrestled with this a lot because I want you to know that if you took the time to post a comment regarding some aspect of my blog that I truly want to respond. However, please see this from my perspective. I am struggling to write new posts as I go through this journey of weight loss and dealing with a near life time dysfunctional relationship with food as well as read all of your posts and monitor them. Whew! It has mushroomed and I regret that I need to spend more time writing new posts since that has been one comment that I see frequently vs some of the more technical comments, questions or concerns that many of you, dear readers, have.

So, once again, I must direct you to contacting tech support regarding questions about format, how the RSS feed looks on your particular electronic device and so on. I think any blog tech support could assist you especially if your platform is not Word Press, which is what mine is.

Also, I would love to be a “guest” blogger on some of your similar blogs but I simply have to draw a line somewhere and my first committment is to keeping my blog the best that I can do. That requires my undivided attention and composing posts that are informative, hopefully useful and ideally somewhat “entertaining and enjoyable”. However, thank you for asking. I appreciate the gesture more than you know.

As for having “guest writers” on my blog, I will have to decline on that as well. Managing your writing so that it would fit into my “vision” would be an added “responsibility” that I do not wish to take on at this time. I will keep this in mind. A word to the wise though: if you sincerely wish to pursue this then give me a legitimate e-mail address. I have already checked a few of yours out and they were bogus. Don’t take me for a fool nor waste my time. Shame on you!

So, keep the questions and comments coming. I love reading your input. I listen. I really do.

Thank you for walking this journey with me, fellow sojourners.

9/24/2012

Addendum: After reading many of your comments since I posted this entry, I felt that an update might be in order. I will try to answer some of your questions here.

1) I do not control how my blog presents itself on your electronic device. My suggestion would be to contact the source that you are using and bring up the issues you are having with them. I am sure that their tech support should be able to assist you regarding that.

2) Although I appreciate the offer of either guest-hosting your own blog or having you guest-host on mine, I am finding that to do what I am doing here and maintain the quality that I am aiming for takes all of my free time as it is. Again, I thank you for the offer(s) but I must decline for the reasons just stated.

3) For those of you who comment on the videos, photos or any other visual aids that you have mentioned, I want you to know that I have not presently included any of these to my blog. This blog was created for the sole purpose of chronicling my weight lose journey as my life itself unfolded. Although I agree that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, I have decided against including any of that aforementioned at this present time. However, I have been saving photos taken of me which I will include at a future date so stay posted.

4) Again, I would appreciate it if you didn’t try to piggy back my efforts with your SPAM, your opinions on non-related topics and your own rants about “anything and everything”. Please take personal responsibility as a reader and when you leave your “footprint” please let it reflect itself as something that others would also benefit from. You are your best advocate and judge.

5) For those people who do have legitimate comments regarding improving my blog; I thoroughly do wish to hear those. Please be specific regarding this. Keep your comments short and to the point. I am good at reading between the lines. That is the best that I can do regarding interaction for the time being. I know some of you have requested a live link to a forum or other group discussion. I too would love this but my time is limited and although I have been a part of that in the past couple of years I find that “takes away” from doing this blog. Perhaps, at a future date…..

6) For those people who are seeking advice about how to start their own blog, design themes, etc. you can contact the tech support at Wordpress.com and I am sure that they will be glad to help you.

7)

Again, I do want to genuinely thank all of you who took the time and effort to read my blog and left a comment. I am glad we connected on some level. I am writing about my life and there is no script so for those of you who wish some additional information, my suggestion is to make a simple and short statement to what exactly you are looking for and I will do my best to either provide it on future entries or direct you to where your questions might be answered.

11/25/12:

For those of you whom I have not sufficiently answered your questions that you presented in your comments, I have set up an e-mail address where you can send me your questions and I will do my best to answer them or direct you to where you can get them answered. Word of caution: since SPAM seems to be part of the fact that I do not have you be registered or a user of my account to be able to leave a comment, I would greatly appreciate it if you did not abuse this. If it turns out that way, I will dismantle it. Here is an e-mail that you may contact me regarding questions or concerns that were not addressed in this post. peacewithinfirst@gmail.com

It’s More Than “Doing The Time”

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles, Keeping It Real | 3 Comments

I had an “a-ha” moment this past weekend. I was watching a series of interviews that Lisa Ling did with some prisoners; how they got in, following them when they got out, etc. and I was really struck by something that I felt I had in common with them: being a “return offenders”. One of the prisoners who broke his parole after 17 days said he felt a lot more stress being out of prison than inside. He said that life was too fast “out here” and in prison he had a “routine” where here he had “endless hours where he was bored”.

This [online diet]group [that I formed and lead] has been together since January 2nd and already I have seen some people go and whom didn’t leave narry a good-by note. I want to believe that they are doing well on their own and they are continuing to lose weight but I also “worry and wonder”.

This is unsolicited “advice” but take it if you need or toss it overboard but “stay close to the boat…or the sharks are liable to get you.” Don’t stray too far from “what works” for you. I know that I have and I also felt “convicted” as I watched that program about these prisoners that I too have been “imprisoned” myself only the bars that I see is the extra pot belly and larger than life thighs that I carry on my body. Those are my “prison bars”.

Lisa Ling asked the prisoners’ if they thought they would end up returning and surprisingly two of the ones said “Yes, I believe I will.” They knew in their “heart of hearts” that it wasn’t just about “doing the time” but also embracing a “new way of life”. One man, who was trying hard to “stay clean” said that when he sees one of his old “gang buddies” he waves but then he walks away really fast.

If we want to be truly free of our own “prison”, this extra weight, then we also have to do more than just “do the time”—following a specific food plan and exercising, etc.–we have to be willing to “embrace a new way of life” so we never have to be imprisoned again by our extra weight.

Something to think about…

Claim a Quality Today

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 1 Comment

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“IT IS EASIER TO CONFESS A DEFECT THAN TO CLAIM A QUALITY”

–Max Beerbohm

I am well aware of my many faults and if I don’t remind myself of them, I know that someone (usually a person I am not particularly fond of) else will. In fact, I am sure that you also grew up with plenty of “fault finders” in your life. It started when we were being disciplined about not washing our hands before reaching into the proverbial cookie jar and followed us as we took our first steps of independence as we ventured out into the world as we entered grammar school. “Don’t do this”, “You can’t have that”, “Who do you think you are?”; the list goes on unendlessly until we finally stop trying to reach beyond our grasp. The day when we stop trying is a sad day indeed.

I remember when the tide changed for me. I had asked my supervisor why I/we never seemed to receive any feedback as to how we were performing at our given job. Her reply echoes what most of us are used to: ” If you aren’t getting any feedback, it means that you are doing everything well. So consider yourself “lucky” if we are silent.”

Really? I don’t think so. People need positive reinforcements. We need to know we have done well. Although I can measure my progress in some tangible ways like moving that much closer to a particular goal, I can not always accurately measure whether my effort was “over the top” or that the obstacles I overcame was amazing in relation to the resources I had at the time. Those very “intangibles” are often the fuel that propells to push myself beyond anything I could ever imagine myself doing.

That day marked me beginning to make a list each day of what I had done “right”. Instead of becoming my own worst critic (which is the rule for most of us), I became one of my most ardent “cheerleaders”. You might ask “How accurate can our own personal assessments be though?” My answer is “How accurate were our personal assessments when we were being self-critical?” As I found out, the “self truth” lies somewhere in the middle.

Like most things in life, it will take some time and practice before you begin to find a balanced self-view but it is a habit well worth cultivating. I have found that the best way to begin this self-assessment is to set a realistic goal, work towards that and after you accomplished it, review the process and your progress towards attaining your goal. The more that you do this the more self-knowledge you will have as you learn both your personal assets and your “areas needed for improvement”.

Soon, you will find you seek less advice from others but turn more to yourself for how you need to proceed in achieving a personal goal. Now, when I read or listen to others (including experts in any given field) I do a “checks and balances” against my own personal experience. Did mine parallel theirs? If not, what was different and what was alike? Answers to those questions enable me to then fine-tune my personal journey as I take the next step.

So, starting today, I encourage you to begin to “claim your qualities” as you become all you wish to be.

What’s Money Got to Do With This?

Filed Under Dealing with Obstacles, Keeping It Real | 42 Comments

As a recovering emotional eater of 17 years with OA, I have learned a few things about myself during that time. When I attended 12 Step meetings on a regular basis, I used to introduce myself as having a tri-core addiction: bad relationships(codependency, compulsive spending and binge eating.) Wow! So, I have had my work cut out for me.

I am very pleased to say that through diligence and hard work, I am in a mutually happy and committed healthy relationship. In fact, this August we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. If you have heard of the saying, “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your Prince Charming”, well, then you know part of my “story”. Having a great marriage and relationship just “didn’t happen”. I am fortunate that I met a man who also believes that. He works on our relationship equally. Has it been easy? No! Has it been amazing? Yes! Has it been worth it? Absolutely.

There is a school of thought that life presents us with lessons which we are “destined” to learn until we Master them. I am inclined to agree with this based on my personal experience. Some may call this “karma”. Some may simply call it “life”.

As for food and money: these are works in progress. I have been in serious debt (try $65K or more) in the past on more than one occasion and I did not have the means (or I thought that I didn’t) to be able to see my way out of that thick forest. I have also been so deep into my compulsive eating that I didn’t know what true physical hunger was.

Presently, my finances are extremely restricted because we are living on one income and my husband is self-employed. Since I have been down this road before (more times than I care to admit), I have learned a few things about how to navigate through these “uncertain waters”.

So, where do you start to “tame these beasts”? You start exactly where you are at today.

First thing you do is clarify your situation. How “bad” is “bad”? Not being able to buy your favorite latte from across a busy coffee shop counter is not a “financial crisis”. It is an inconvenience but you will survive.

If you are having trouble paying your basic bills then you are where I have been.

1)Don’t panic. If you are in a state of heightened emotions you are usually more prone to make mistakes and sometimes these can be costly. For example, do not think that living on credit cards is a good idea. It isn’t because if your income takes a downturn and you don’t have any way of paying those monthly committments you will have two problems instead of one: endangering your credit and your peace of mind.

2)Live within your means. This sounds simple but for most of us who have been accustomed to filling up the “empty spaces in our soul” with “stuff”, whether it is material goods or extra food, this will turn out to be liberating at some point in our journey.

3) Go through your monthly “expenses” at least every 3-4 months. I have been doing this for several years and I still find things that I really don’t need and can live without. The final determination is that “expense” worth my peace of mind? If I can answer that truthfully with a “Yes”. If I can’t live with that expense and still have peace of mind, it goes.

4)Declutter your closets, your kitchen, your garage and most importantly your life. In the past 16 months, I have donated close to 2 dozen large lawn Hefty bags of large sized clothing and other “material stuff”. Surprisingly, my walk-in closet is still quite full. I plan on giving away every larger size as I continue to lose this extra weight. I am leaving no back door for me to regain that weight.

5)Do not “define” yourself by your “stuff”. This is really scary for those of us who like to “keep up with the Jones”. Initially, we will feel insecure and “unsettled” because then we will have to ask ourselves an important question (that we have been avoiding all along anyway)” Who am I really?”

How do you begin to take a handle on your finances? Start with these simple steps I have listed here. I have more to say on this topic but this is enough for now.

HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 1 Comment

NEWS ALERT!  DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE WILL BE A SHORT SUPPLY OF TWINKIES IN THE NOT SO DISTANT FUTURE. YES, THIS IS CORRECT! HOSTESS BAKERY CORP., THE COMPANY WHICH HAS SUPPLIED YOUR NEVERENDING NEED FOR THAT DELICIOUS AND DELECTABLE SPONGE CAKE WITH SWEET CREAMY FILLING, IS FILING BANKRUPTCY DUE TO OVERALL POOR SALES.

YES, THAT IS CORRECT. THE TWINKIES THAT WERE PACKED IN YOURS AND MINE “BRADY BUNCH” AND “MORK N MINDY” METAL LUNCH BOXES WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST. SO, IN THE MEANTIME, STOCK UP WHILE THEY ARE STILL ON YOUR GROCERY STORE SHELVES LEST YOU ARE CAUGHT WITHOUT YOUR STASH OF CHEMICALLY ENHANCED CONFECTIONS. WHO KNOWS, IF YOU HOARD A COUPLE EXTRA BOXES, MAYBE SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE, WE MAY SEE YOU ON ANTIQUES ROADSHOW PONDERING WITH THE REST OF US OF WHAT THEIR “TRUE VALUE” REALLY IS.

BON APPETITE AND HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

AND HERE WE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THEY WOULD SURVIVE EVEN A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST. JUST FALSE HOPE AND NASTY TABLOID FODDER.

(P.S. This is a true story although any resemblance to any real characters is just plain stupid!)

INQUIRING MINDS JUST HAD TO KNOW.

What gives?

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 54 Comments

Week of July 26, 2011:

7/26/11:

My first “official” weigh in for this new birthday goal is 270.0 lbs!  That is 4.2+ lbs. from last week. Not exactly what I had hoped for as my first weigh in. I did add a comment section of what I thought “might” be contributing to that weight gain. I ate D’s on either Thursday or Friday of last week, I had horrible sleep for several nights in a row so I was having the “middle of the night” munchies, eating foods like potato chips or high calorie nuts and I also had high calorie sweets like chocolate covered almonds and extra-large homemade chocolate chip cookies. Then, we ate out twice over the weekend. Add to all of the additional calories and sodium I am also constipated. I don’t think I have had a BM since early Saturday. That is very unusual for me.

I mentioned that I had been in a “holding pattern” but it is self-imposed. I don’t have to be in this spot and yet I am. I hate to admit that although I have the Beck response cards right in front of me on the edge of the computer monitor screen, I rarely read them. I “allow” myself to eat out frequently and although I have been consistently exercising every day for over a month, I am still eating way more calories, along with hidden sodium and possibly hidden fats, without discretion. What gives?  It is like my mind and my actions are not in sync. I know what I “should” be doing but I am not doing it. Why?The only answer that I can come up with is simply I have done this for so long, that I don’t know how to do anything else. No wonder I am back and forth all the time. This is getting to be repetitive, demoralizing and embarrassing. I mean, I am sharing this with other people. I feel like the Emperor who thinks he is wearing a full regal garment when he is actually standing butt naked in the midst of a crowd.  Dear readers, this is not sensible eating, consistent “dieting”, nor even addressing a lot of issues. I am on auto-pilot.  It amazes me that I have even managed to lose nearly 30 lbs in the past year because the way I eat it doesn’t even seem possible that I have.

OY! I think I just walked blind-sided into this booby trap ensconced in “denial”. I know better but I was not even trying to use any of the Beck CBT skills to make better choices or even say “No Choice”. So, the next question is where am I really at with using the Beck CBT skills in assisting me to lose weight?  I would venture to say I am almost back at “square one”. This is very humbling. I can not deny the fact that I was basically thinking that I had this figured out and that I was doing better than I really was doing. Why? Well, I think that there is a part of me that simply doesn’t want this to be this hard. I want to have it both ways. Well, if I want to not practice these skills then I will be at this weight indefinitely. Do I really want that? The obviously answer is “NO’” but on the other hand how badly do I really want to lose weight and how much am I willing to commit to doing what it takes to get there? It might be a question that I ask myself every day until I am doing what I need to do to see the kind of results that you would expect from someone who is very serious about losing weight.

Well, I was able to stay in bed from 10:15 p.m. last night until 6:30 a.m. today. I have not been able to sustain that kind of prolonged sleep for so long I don’t even remember when it happened last. My guess is that it could have been months. I did get up multiple times to go to the bathroom but it “released” 4.4 lbs of sodium-induced water weight so it was “worth it”. Now, to start out today on a good foot and recommit myself to practicing my Beck skills. Already, I am hungry less than 2 hours after my breakfast! I think that is because I went over 75 grams of carbs and my blood sugar has risen so that sparks my appetite. If I start getting busy then, of course, that burns off some of that sugar pooling in my blood and the appetite decreases. I am really more aware to how my body processes carbs/sugar than I would have ever been before I “discovered” I had elevated blood sugar. Now, to really take to task sodium in my diet. I am eating double of what is currently recommended!!

After P hands in his invoices so he can get paid, then he goes to D’s to eat (and kill some time while his check is being cut). Usually, he brings me home a meal as well. Again, it is a lot of sodium but this is really “cheap eats” at a time when it really helps. I have been dividing the meal in half and then freezing the second one to be eaten later. We both are so amazed at how much food you get for $5.50!! You get enough to make two complete meals out of for one thing and it is the kind of food that we both love to eat: home style Southern cooking. It also goes to show you how huge the portion sizes are from most restaurants. I spent quite a bit of time trying to work around my D’s meal. More than likely I will end up going over my recommended daily calories. I am just hoping that I can stay under my recommended sodium. I’ve decided to aim for under 2500 mg sodium for awhile so I can start releasing a lot of that sodium-induced water weight.

7/27/11:

Well, it took me three days but I managed to do just that—keep the sodium down (which isn’t as easy as you would think, at least, for me) and the sodium-induced temporary weight gain is no more. It is a dilemma though and one that I hope I can also work on when I restart “sweatin”. 7/28/11:

Yesterday, once P got his check from C’s, we went to GC for an early supper. Then, we went to Ls. I got a large bag of organic potting soil and P got the “replacement” hardware needed to finish assembling the wooden media rack. Wow, it was really warm out. It was in the mid-90s but still felt warmer than this past weekend. We ended up watching t.v. for the remainder of the night and it was the third night in a row where I was able to sleep through the night, except for a bathroom break around 3 a.m. until early morning!! All I can say is “Wonderful! Wonderful!”. Today, I made another large stock pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I also made a “wonderful” breakfast for myself. I did a “repeat” of the “pork” (aka turkey) sausages, scrambled eggs with chopped spinach and garlic herb feta cheese crumbles, the homemade carrot-prune muffins and mandarin orange slices.  Yum!!

I ended up putting the small but very “substantial” pineapple based fan on the traditional end table along with the olive colored based lamp (which I got this past winter and I had as a printer stand since then) next to our loveseat. P really liked the placement of that in our living room. Granted, we could easily use a living room about 4-5 feet wider to accommodate all of the furniture in there but it will have to do for now. I just wanted a place to “house” all of his odds n ends that he leaves lying around on the furniture. The end table has a deep drawer where I would like him to just put some stuff in there (out of sight-out of mind and everything just looks neater as a result!). With the wooden media rack now assembled I transferred the remainder of our dvd collection onto that. For the time being; it is staying in the dining room until I get the second bedroom finished. We could get another 35-50 dvds before we needed to get another media rack of some kind.  I also put the glass top demi-lune sofa table behind the second loveseat. It does cut off some of the space in front of the front door so I am not sure that it will stay there indefinitely. A couple of years ago I had it in front of the patio door which I might end up doing again. It is also possible that I might either put it in either of the two bedrooms. We’ll see where it looks like I might have some “freed up” space once I rearrange some of this furniture.

Every time that I am able to add one more piece of furniture or decorative item that makes this seem more like a “home” rather than an “rental”, I am very happy. [When my arthritis wasn't so bad (about 3 years ago) I was able to both paint and wallpaper 3/4ths of our large apartment. I have always loved the floor plan of this apartment. It has generous closet space including a large walk-in closet in our bedroom and a separate laundry room off of the kitchen. Five years ago, all of the apartments were remodeled with new flooring and cabinetry. This two-bedroom unit also was able to get new appliances and a new central air conditioning unit. We have an open porch that overlooks a heavily wooded area where we can see lots of birds and even an eagle once in awhile. Although we have lived here nearly eight years, we have never really tired of our "home". It meets all of our needs.]

It is easy to forget that too until I look into some of the apartments where the walls are all beige and there are few wall decorations. I just couldn’t do that even though I am sure at different points in time, I probably ran a risk of breaking the “rules” of what you can or should do to alter the interior appearance of our apartments. We have had some leasing management who were fine with painting although they did balk at some people who wanted renovate the showerheads, etc. until last year when they replaced all the plumbing with more water-efficient ones (water has gotten very expensive here in the past couple of years).

The irony in that is from the time I left my own home I owned, I have decorated almost every apartment I rented. Some more than others. It usually depended on how much money that I had at the time. Plus, back in Minnesota, the choices among second hand stores, were very limiting. I didn’t do much shopping outside of the local area plus I didn’t have access to a pick up where I could have brought much home. So, the combination of all that really made for “slim pickin’s”. I have done more since we have been down here simply because there is such a “wealth” of second-hand or discounted “resources” to draw from. I have gotten several really good pieces of gently used, second-hand traditional furniture from G. That alone has really been a real “blessing” because it is difficult to find really nice furniture that isn’t either out of my price range or if within my price range then cheaply made. Then, all I have had to do was tie it in with the wall color and accent it with decorative items. I would love to see what Pa’s reaction would be; if she would ever actually get down here to visit. I have gotten a lot of compliments from different work men as they have come here to do something to the apartment. Although he was here late at night and only stayed overnight, P’s brother, L, thought our apartment was really nice. That’s nice to hear. I don’t entertain much so not many people do see the inside of our “home”.

Well, as I have said before: I just need to keep editing what we do own so what is left has a place and it is something that I really use/need/want so I can “justify” the space it does take up. It’s a process. At this point, I would love to be able to split up some of this stuff in another “residence” just so I could use it without it make our existing space cramped.

[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.]

Stuck in a Holding Pattern

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 36 Comments

Week of July 19, 2011:

Once again, I am up past midnight. I took a nap from 4-6:45 p.m. so I figured  that I wouldn’t be very sleepy. I was right. It’s not the best pattern that I’ve gotten myself in but I am sure that once I set a few other things in place I will feel more like going to bed earlier than what I have been doing. I decided earlier tonight that I was going to make my yearly birthday goal “big and bold”. I would like to lose the remainder of the weight I have by my 59th birthday, exactly one year from now. That averages 2.7 lbs per week though! It is doable provided that I really get down to business. Between the information and help available on BLC site and the Beck Diet strategies; I can do it.

7/21/11:

My 58th birthday really ended up being quite “lovely”. It was quiet but I was okay with that. I ended up ordering pizza from PJ’s and I even managed to stay within 500 calories of my recommended range. I don’t feel that was a bad “celebration” at all! We watched AGT and I was able to talk with T for over an hour. However, yesterday just plain sucked! We went to bed around midnight. I awoke around 2 a.m. P redid his resume so it was reflecting his past experience in music. He checked with both the office at our church and with our current Music Director about the position. Our current Music Director even said he would put a good word in for P but he told P to not wait on applying. Well, I was thinking about that when I awoke so I came in here and drafted both a resume and cover letter on Word. I wasn’t sure on a couple of the dates (I was only off by one year) so since it was getting closer to when I “thought” P would get up I pushed myself to stay up a little while longer so I could do some “fact checking” with him. Well, after he proofed the resume/cover letter I sent it via-email to our church’s office.

As I told P, I feel like these kinds of opportunities don’t come along very often and since this has only been advertised internally (that we are aware of) I felt the pressure to get on this and not delay. In fact, I was very tense about getting this done and sent right away. I awoke thinking about it. This would really put P “front row center” if he got a position like this in our church. It would also mean a steady paycheck and an opportunity for Pl to step outside of what he has been doing. I also feel that should he get something like this it would also mean that I would need to be there to show my support if not even be in the choir itself which would mean an every week commitment. Although S did say that they would be calling him this fall, who knows how busy P could be? Maybe, that is all he will need to start bringing in more money but fall is about six weeks away and until then we have to think of every possible way he can bring in more money. This seemed like a genuine opportunity.

So, pushing past when I “should” have gone to bed I ended up sleeping poorly when I did and I awoke very irritable. After having something to eat, I decided I couldn’t stay up any longer and I went to back to bed for a couple of hours. It was a really good nap. I tried to stay up but I just couldn’t. I was so tired I felt nauseous. I slept for a couple of hours. Well, I did awake in a much better mood. We watched some of our summer programs and then P went to bed. I decided to come in here and play some online games before I return to bed. Besides my sleeping suffering today so did my food plan! I am just going to have to say “No!” to having any kind of nuts around here. I thought that I could try again but I can’t seem to leave them alone. Although they are high in monounsaturated fats, they are also high in calories and I just can’t seem to stop at one small handful. I had already eaten close to 1600 calories before I returned to bed. Not exactly how I wanted to start the first day of my year long countdown to a “New Me!”. Not at all!!

I have always handled these kinds of problems when they arise since I am the one who makes the majority of our financial decisions. It is an arrangement that has worked well for us as a couple although there are times when I am concerned that should something happen to me, P would really be lost as how to go about handling our finances. In fact, I have been thinking about making a record of account numbers, passwords, etc. to keep in our safe so if I were unable to deal with this for any length of time, he would be able to make sense of it. That is a good thing that I should consider working on asap.In the meantime, I always share with him what is going on and how it has been resolved.

[I also see the "irony" of this as well since I am a self-professed "recovering" compulsive spender. I used to say that I had a tri-core addiction: bad relationships, food and money. Well, I have a very good relationship and marriage right now, which I am very grateful for, but the other two areas are "works in progress". We are still snowed under in $65K in debt from some unwise decisions we made six years ago, that we are currently paying back. I still have over 125 lbs to lose before I see a "normal" weight.  There is such a long road ahead for me/us. I get so weary from it all sometimes.]

Although BD, who recently had the heart attack, invited both of us over for dinner, I reneged at the last minute. I am self-treating my back again, which seems to be an ongoing problem that is not really going away as I would have thought it would have,  and that, at the moment, I was in no mood to “be social”. I always feel so bad about doing this because I do it a lot.  I realize that things like this happen in life so I “should” be able to just “let them go” and move on. I am getting better about it but I still balk at switching gears a lot of the time. I guess there is a part of me that is wanting to feel sorry for myself that life has to be so damn difficult at times. I want to just pout and make a scene rather than shrug it off and actually turn to something like a nice dinner with another couple and “forget about it”. [P returned and told me that BD has done a complete 180 degrees. He now walks 3 miles every day. He has become a vegan and he doesn't eat any sugar. Wow! For someone who had a mild heart attack, he really took things quite seriously]

This is the first time that I have identified my thought processes on this so I consider that a “breakthrough” of sorts. Now, to just put an alternative way of handling it into place from now on. Tonight would be a good start but, again, I’m not in the mood. Which Dr. Beck would say “do it anyway” whether you are in the mood or not. She would be correct in saying that too. So, for now, I see the root of my reaction(s) to these kinds of upsets and that is progress. Maybe, I will get to a place where I can shrug it off, clean myself up and move past it. Today probably isn’t it but that is only because I have chosen not to take this one step further. That is my weakness at this moment.

I love having revelations like this because they also show the work that is happening beneath the surface while I am working on my physical self. It is moments like this that really test an emotional eater “in recovery”. I didn’t turn to food to “comfort” me or ease the tension I felt. In fact, I was relatively calm during the whole conversation(s) I had with different reps. I take notes while I am talking because invariably I will have to repeat what I said several times because once I am transferred the previous person doesn’t fill in the following person as to why I am calling. That alone escalates my frustration.

I just got a phone call from the W.I.A. person. I am not even sure if it was my career counselor. I can’t remember what her voice sounded like. She sounded nervous though. I just told her that I had some health concerns this past spring that didn’t “allow” me to finish the final exams.  I also told her about my future plans to return to a college degree program (none of the “free money” government retraining programs won’t cover those). She sounded nervous when she asked me if I had found a job or whether I wanted her to close my file. I told her to go ahead since my plans now include taking out a student loan and returning to school so I really won’t be needing their assistance any more. I also don’t want that “over my head” either.

I also told her that when I pass the final exams for the MOS program (I have until late this fall) I would send her a certificate of completion. I feel that is only fair since it was paid for through the program. I think their concern is the fact that I haven’t found a job as a result of that training. They have to show that their program is effective when requesting government agencies’ funds. I guess, since I haven’t completed the final exams nor gone out and sought work with that upgraded job skill, I can’t really say if it was worth it or not. I wasn’t sure if it was something that I really wanted to do or not. I knew that it was a “time filler” for me. The one person that I feel that I have “let down” through this whole process is P since he has shouldered the entire responsibility of working and paying the bills. I feel some “guilt” regarding that. He has been incredibly sweet during this whole time. He is amazing.

That is why I try to really help him when it comes to looking for work like using my writing skills to draft a more powerful cover letter, deal with the headaches of our finances, stretch our food budget and provide moral support when he is feeling down himself. I know that those are my strengths right now. He also recognizes them as such, acknowledges it to me and that makes all the difference in how I see our “situation” and how I feel about myself. I think if he were critical of how I have conducted myself this past year or so I am not so sure how “good” our relationship would be. I am sure that I would feel a lot worse than I do already. It really brings home to me just how we do bear each others’ shortcomings at different times during our marriage and how fortunate we are that how we have handled the aggravations of life have spoke as much as each of us as individuals and how well we work together as a couple.

7/23/11:

Well, in spite of the fact that I ate/drank over 3000 calories yesterday, including eating 800+ calories in finishing off a large bag of potato chips, I weighed 264.6 lbs this morning!!  I was half expecting an increase because my food plan has included delivery pizza, regular soda, potato chips, chocolate covered almonds, etc. the past 4 days or so!! IF ONLY I could eat 1800 calories a day, I do believe I could break the 260s before the end of this month. If I could weigh 259 lbs on August 1st, I would be a “happy camper”. What do I attribute this to? My “educated” guess: is that I am eating lots of fiber along with these foods that are high in fat (foods like whole wheat bread, cheerios, whole fruits, popcorn and nuts); I am starting to gain some “serious” muscle and therefore, burning more calories; I am drinking lots of non caloric liquids and chewing a lot of ice; I am logging everything I eat so I am aware of what, when and how much I am eating; I am really trying to reduce the amount of sodium that I have.

[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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