Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ice Ice Baby

It's funny how one small little thing can make a difference, isn't it? 
Getting caught up at work yesterday made a big difference for me, mentally.  It has been so busy that my workspace has been pure clutter and chaos and it litterally gives me a headache because I've wanted so desperately to have some sort of order around me but day after day I was working alone and too busy to catch up.  So finally yesterday it was a little quieter at work and I got a helper in the afternoon and I finally made a little headway.  My boss covers me when I'm out, so he knows how crazy it's been and he been sensing my stress. So him coming to help was just what I needed.  I ended the night at work with a contented sigh instead of looking at a mess that would be waiting for me the next day.
The lower carb menu is going really well, I like how I feel.  I guess I wasn't really aware that I'd been eating that high of a carb content to make a difference in how I feel, but I certainly feel like I have more energy.  Mentally, there have been a few times when I have thought about how good something would taste, particularly my husband's sesame seed bagel with peanut butter he ate next to me this morning, but for the most part, I like the foods I'm eating this week and feel pretty darn good.  This is why I have always found low carb dieting to be easy, and why I will keep using it. 
Another little thing I did today was, for the first time in a long time, I put a little extra effort into how I look.  I have not cared or paid attention much lately, but today when  I got to work I looked in the mirror and was surprised at how much I needed a little TLC.  My skin was so dry it was flaking, my eyes looked tired and my hair was not stellar.  So I pouffed this and smoothed that, put a little lotion on and glossed up my lips.  I felt so much better.  Not necessarily because it made me look better (it did help a bit) but because I was sending an ever-so-subtle message of self-love to myself. 
My new glasses came in today too, and I still need a little time to adapt to the lenses, but I love having a stronger bifocal so focusing on smaller things up close is a lot less of a strain.  Ahhh.  I feel a little lifted. 
The other thing I decided to do today was to get a bag of ice for work.  I love ice in my drinks, so much so that I drink at least twice as much as normal when I have ice in my drinks.  And since I have cut way back on soda this week (none at home and only 4 cans all week so far) I decided to get some iced tea to have and the ice is making it extra tastey.  It is a mental game, I know, but ice just makes it feel more special.  As much as I love soda, I think I could drink it a lot less if I had ice around for water or tea.  I've been wanting to cut back on soda for a long time now, and maybe doing it as the same time I'm restricting in other ways isn't the best timing, but it really doesn't bother me right now.  It probably helps that my stress level has come down too.  I don't know if I'll always be as good about drinking less soda, especially since my mindset has always been well I'm restricting in other ways, this is like a little treat that I'm allowed to have and it doesn't affect my weight.  It is part of the good ole diet mentality that I am trying to do away with.  It is not healthy for me and it does not provide any nutrients, it is purely a mental ( and sensational) satisfaction.  Oddly enough, my new dentist didn't ask about soda consumption or yell at me for drinking it.  I kind of wish she would have, maybe it would have made giving it up all the easier.  No matter, not only have I cut back on my own, but I've also been flossing religiously since my cleaning.  Its the first time in my life I've flossed this many days in a row, and when I do, I can see why it's so important.  Who knew all that yuck was hanging out in between your teeth?  Yikes. 
So those are my small things that added up to big ones for today.  I feel a lot better mentally and even physically (and today I even feel better aesthetically ha ha).  Its been a while since I have felt calm and content.  I will take that, with a side of ice!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Food Slips and Refires

So last week I ended up getting so stressed out that I comfort ate, in a big, bad way.  Compulsive eating.  It included Subway (not that big of a deal for an occassional meal) and Nestle Crunch covered ice cream drumstics, of which I had two.  I felt momentarily better, as the carbs rushed through me, numbing me ever so slightly and making me feel full.  I actually ended up being uncomfortably full.  And mentally distraught.  The stress I had during the day and after, did not go away because of the food, and I added more bad feelings on top of it because my stomach felt much like the rest of my life lately, too much.
So I decided it was time to go back to a ketogenic diet for a quick reset, and planned on starting Monday (yesterday).  This is starting to sound all too familiar; back to the old dieting mentality.  Ma Monthly is about to knock on my door, and my crazy-eating brain was in full swing over the weekend, coupled with the idea that I was about to start (gasp!) restricting again on Monday, my weekend was a odd mix of really healthy food and control, and the total opposite end of the spectrum, ending my Saturday with a frozen custard treat from a local shop.  Ugh.  I don't even like custard, it's way too rich and sweet for me, but I have a hard time stopping eating it until I am so "sweeted-out" that it makes me want to gag.  It took me two days to finish the treat and boy did I pay for it!  Ugh.  Don't do that again please, spoiled, naughty, hormone-whacked out inner child, OK? 
So I did indeed go ahead with my refire on Monday.  I am eating eggs scrambled with chive-flavored cottage cheese, and some veggie bacon for breakfast. It is pretty yummy with the cottage cheese in there.  I am having cottage cheese and a cucumber for lunch, a welcome change, no cooking, no reheating, just fresh, creamy and I love cucumbers.  For dinner I am having zucchini-noodle spaghetti with veggie beef crumbles.  For snacks I am having jicama with Yumbutter (cashew butter and almond butter mixed with chia, flax and goji berries), greek yogurt, and cheese. 
The biggest difference I am noticing is that I am hungry so often.  But I know it's because the food is cleaner and easier to digest, so that's good.  Plus, I am noticing that, when I wait to eat until I am genuinely, stomach-growling hungry, when I finally do eat I get a wonderful food-buzz.  I don't really experience that when I eat by the clock instead of when I am physically hungry.  It's a nice feeling, like my body is thanking me for the food because it really needed it, instead of no response because it wasn't ready. 
I think I have more energy too, which is something I have been in short supply of lately.  Not that I was eating totally off the charts in general, but I was getting super sick of food, sick of trying to find things to eat.  In some ways, going back to lower carbs is easier to plan out. 
Whatever comes of this week, I am planning for some struggle on Friday when I go for my first dental repairs.  After my husband's first appointment, they put a temporary (plastic) cap on his tooth and he was supposed to eat soft food for 2 weeks until his next appointment to get the permanent one put on.  Soft food that isn't carb-heavy?  I guess most of what I'm eating this week would qualify so I don't get a free pass afterall.  Oh darn!  I sure do like carbs.  I was imagining mashed potatoes dripping with butter or creamy mac and cheese.  Oh well.  I have eaten all those things before and they'll be there again sometime. 
I am not sure how long I'll continue restricting.  Whenever I refire I feel like it should be for a shorter time because the sugar cravings typically leave me within a day or two, and the longer I "restrict" the more a chance there is that it will have a negative mental effect. So, I am going to play it by ear.  Right now it feels good and I am going to not go off the rails, even when I'm stressed, which seems to be every day I work, lately.  I like the food and I don't feel deprived, that's a big deal. 
So that's my update.  Work is still crazy busy and stressful, food is better, energy is better, and I am looking forward to getting started on my dental work.  Not the most exciting news ever shared but there it is all the same.
Hope you are well and enjoying some nice weather!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It's Another one of THOSE days, eh?

Some days just have a feel.  It's hard to change it too, isn't it?  Yesterday, I didn't want the feel to change.  My alarm malfunction led to 22 blissful extra minutes of sleep which contained a very euphoric dream (about exercise of all things) and after waking I still felt really calm, happy and miraculously rejuvenated.  Oh how I wish I could feel that way every day!  My day at work was finally (finally!) mellow enough for me to get caught up on some much-needed catch-up and a little cleaning and organization.  It made for a nice day, and after work went smoothly too, I even had a little extra time to sneak in a nice soak in the tub.  Ahhh!
Today has had an edgy, restless feeling to me, despite it being early still.  I was early getting the kids ready, but later to work than I like to be.  So far it is fairly quiet.  I walked around in my work space to try and warm up my cold hands, and when that wasn't working I decided to do some squats.  I do not do deep-knee because of my knee surgery, but I feel like my weak glutes were begging for some TLC and it felt good to get the blood into my lower body.  It has been so long.  After, as I was helping a customer look at eyeglass frames, she wanted to see one on the top row.  I am only 5 feet tall and the top row is easily reachable, I don't even have to have my arm completely stretched out.  She was taller than me and she wouldn't reach up to get it.  It's not uncommon for older ladies to not want to reach up there and get a frame, but I just chalked it up to meekness or it not being ladylike or something.  Today I was pondering my legs and how I wish they were stronger but I hate what it takes to get there, and how I feel for days after, and when I had the encounter with this lady it made me appreciate what I have.  I can easily stand on my tiptoes to get something up high.  I have balance and strong calf muscles from a lifetime of short-girl reaching of things from tall'ish areas. All my body parts that I need for reaching a thing are intact and still working. As I paced around some more, not really sure if it was for warmth or a quasi-attempt at some cardio, or just to think, I focused on my legs and the act of walking and how, for the most part it is effortless.  I have been tripping on my feet lately at work, and blaming it on the new shoes I got in late fall, but really, I've been not picking my feet up as much as I need to to not trip, just out of lazy habit or just not really thinking about it.  Every time I trip I resolve to be more aware of my step and to pick my feet up a little more but I have not been successful.  At any rate, I am gratful that I can still walk and it even feels somewhat graceful when I do (except when I am tripping, ha ha).  I can take the stairs.  I can ride a bike.  I can run if I want to, and jump and kneel and bend and twist.  I am damn near invicible aren't I?!  I jest.  But truly, I take these things for granted or complain about what I don't have, which makes me feel bad, when really I should focus more on what I do have. 
It was a lesson that was echoed in my next transaction, one of the most difficult repair jobs that we do, some places won't even do it on-site because it is tedious and requires maticulous cuts and the right amount of pressure at the right angle.  It is one of those types of jobs that I just swear inside my head when they are presented.  FML not one of these.  And to make matters even trickier, she has a really thick lens due to a high prescription.  As I was on my third attempt, praying things would line up right and irritated that my luck felt soured by the mere fact that she chose my shop to come have this repaired at, I looked at her uber-thick lenses and wondered what if these fell apart while she was driving?!  Then, I was gratful that I could fix them for her, that I have the skill and patience to do it, and I was ever so gratful that I didn't have a bunch of other customers waiting for me because I would have been stressed out for making them wait.  I reconsidered my idea about the mood of the day being hard to change. The truth is, I can change it with the perspective I choose to look at things. 
To help with some of my restlessness, I searched recipes and found a few that I am going to try out next week.  So a plan is at least in place.  I have needed a change for some time.  If they turn out good, I will post the names of them.  For lunch I am going to have what I like to call a Salad Bar salad.  The kind of salad I would put together if I were at a salad bar; greens, onions, tomatoes, black olives, and sunflower kernels.  I would typically ladel ranch dressing over it in a restaurant, but to keep things a little more healthy I'll use a yogurt based ranch dressing.  It sounds so good to me I wish I had it right now.  That's something I haven't said about food in a while, so that must mean I am craving fresh, crunchy veggies. 
Though I have been distracted by other things lately, I feel like in a small way, they helped open some things up for me so that I could come back to this focus on my body and health in a more positive way.  That may sound strange, but learning about my ancestors, many of them farmers, many of them dying early from now-manageable diseases, makes me think empathetically about what their life was like.  To see wars and travel so far to a strange place, having to do physical labor in such a harsh landscape (at least in winter) and at times the German immigrants were treated pretty poorly in this country.  It makes me gratful for their struggles that have made my life not only possible but pretty darn great.  It also makes me have compassion for others I encounter every day.  We are all a huge mass of people who are descendent from immigrants, each one of us and them have a story.  Everyone has struggles.
The mind is really the place to start, for me, trying to direct my mind toward a positive message or lessen I can take away from situations that, on the surface, look stressful or annoying.  When my mind is healthier I naturally want to do better things for my body.  I have been a little lost in other worlds and lazy lately but I think I'm ready to focus on this again.  My goals have not changed, I still want to work towards a lasting vitality, flexability, balance, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and higher HDL levels.  I am still pursuing my geneology research, but not at the cost of giving my body what it needs.  There is time, and room, for both. 
Spring is coming soon, our weather has been teasing us with it, and I am looking forward to warm spring and summer days with flowing skirts and strappy sandals, and days at the beach!  Who's with me?



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gliding

So, yeah, teeth stuff, I slacked off again and didn't blog after my dentist appointment, but it actually happened.  Oh there were a couple points that I didn't think it was going to, not because of my own anxiety but because of people not being where they were supposed to be (to cover me at work) and then once I got there, my blood pressure was higher than it's ever been and I thought they were going to cancel my appointment.  I'm talking like 162/105 high.  WTH????  And they took it 3 times.  Of course, after the first time, I was so freaked out about my numbers being that high that I couldn't settle down.  They explained that the wrist versions always read a little higher but I'm normally in the 135/80 ish range so I was worried.  I tried to relax by reminding myself that I don't have clogged arteries but there was that little thing in the back of my mind the whole time. I told them my biggest anxiety was about the pain, still they jabbed and prodded around like clumbsy burlars on the first raid.  They were a little  messy too.  It is a new office so I just brushed it off as them trying to find their groove.  They agreed to examine me and do a cleaning despite the high blood pressure reading.  I think for me, things poking into my gums (and the thought of it) bothers me more than them telling me that I need to have 6 cavities filled, 2 of which will need either crowns or root canals.  One of them is my farthest back tooth and the tooth is positioned super close to my jaw bone, so they think I may either need to go to a specialist to take out some of my jawbone so a crown won't interfere, or just have the tooth pulled.  Ummm, is there a plan C??!  Yikes.  I know one thing for sure, I won't let this sort of thing happen again if I can help it.  It's not like I planned to go 12 years between visits, it just hasn't been a financial priority.  Between my husband and I, even with decent insurance, we will be paying around $2,500.  We haven't even started with our kids!  This is why people like me don't go to the dentist unless there's a problem.  Thank goodness tax returns will be coming soon!
All of my lofty goals of meal planning fell flat on their face this week.  Friday was an overly stressful day at work, including a theft from a drugged-out guy with a warrant out for his arrest, and here I am trying to help customers and give a statement and it was really busy besides.  After I got home I decided to have a glass of Polish cherry wine on the rocks.  I did look for recipes, low-carb vegetarian recipes.  They are starting to all look the same to me, black bean salad, egg fritatta, egg this, bean that, and an occassional tofu dish thrown in for good measure.  I'm sick of food.  Can I just go off eating altogether?  So I am having egg white patties on a sesame bagel for breakfast and BLT salad for lunch.  Blah.  By the time I got to the grocery store, I completely forgot that I wasn't having veggie burgers for dinner this week and forgot to get anything.  So I am getting creative, which sometimes means a second bagel with cream cheese or extra yogurt cups. Yawn yawn yawn!  Where is the flavor?  I actually ended up craving cucumbers pretty hardcore over the weekend but was too lazy to run out and get some, but I took it as a sign that my body wants more produce.  Not getting much of it this week.  I guess the take away is that I haven't made the food the priority and my body has been dragging.  I feel like there is a connection. 
I did have my eye exam done last week too.  It was a very strange experience with the oldest eye doctor I've ever met.  And being in the field, that says a lot!  But I go where my insurance covers, and unfortunately that is not my own workplace.  I was suspecting I need a stronger bifocal and I do, my eyes strain when looking at stuff close up for too long, and it's bad enough that it has started giving me headaches.  Ah, the beautiful aging process!  I think some of my tired feeling may have something to do with the eye strain so I ordered a new pair of glasses. Fortunately, being in the field, I get a handsome discount on glasses for myself!  I do not take that for granted.
Somehow this morning my alarm (iPhone) didn't go off but luckily my husband woke me up.  Right before I woke I was having the most lucid dream, I was going for a walk and the weather was really nice, and I was feeling so good that I started running.  My body was gliding and my heart felt really warm and good.  At one point I came across an empty pool and decided to glide across.  Every part of the dream felt euphoric and good and easy, and in every part of the dream I was exercising.  Maybe that's my brain's way of telling me it needs me to do more than look at geneology stuff in my free time.  Other than taking the dog out for a walk last weekend, February has been a bust where exercise is concerned.  I don't have that light, airy feeling I once had when I was focusing more on both. I miss it.  I'm not eating crap but I am really uninspired by what I am eating and it doesn't really do much for me nutrient-wise or energy-wise. But at least that is fixable. I don't think I've lost any footing, just focus.  With spring right around the corner, convincing myself to get out and do more will be so much easier.  I think then, I truly will glide. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Time to Wake Up

I love routine.  Don't get me wrong, getting out to do different stuff is nice, but I am definitely a creature of, and a slave to, routine.  Maybe it's because I feel sometimes that I am slow to catch on to certain patterns so when I do, I try to keep it rolling the same way.  I am still trying to perfect my morning routine of getting my kids ready for school.  We usually have that down pat about the last week of school before summer break! 
My routine has been foggy lately.  I do spend much more free time on family tree stuff, which means some other things are getting less focus.  I know there will be a point when I feel satisfied with the information I have gathered, but right now there are a few more puzzle pieces missing for me, this is the stuff that is finally making me feel whole; connected to a part of me that I pushed away, ignored or was just generally estranged from without really understanding why.  It is also making my desire to eat compulsively lessen even moreso than it already was, so I think that it has been therapeutic as well.
I have been noticing myself feeling sleepier/tired/drained more of the time and I can't help but wonder if it is partially because my menu the past couple weeks has been much less reliant on veggies than it was a few weeks ago.  I do notice how much strain I put on my eyes by trying to look at documents (in German script) on my iPhone, and I am having an eye exam on Thursday to see if I need stronger bifocals.  No shame in my game, I would rather use a tool that's available than struggle and suffer.  I am, as usual, thinking about finding new things for my main meals, hopefully with more veggie content.  Sometimes it's hard for me because I want a hot meal but I'm touchy about reheated food.  I may have to get creative!  If you have some killer recipe/meal ideas feel free to leave them in the comments.  The thing is, there are so so many recipes out there these days that it is overwhelming to wade through them all!  You almost have to zero in on an ingredient you want to use first.  I don't have any particular ingredients in mind.  How do you plan your meals for the week?  I usually plan on planning things by Friday, procrastinate until Saturday morning (right before I go shopping) then I get frustrated and wing it or eat the same thing even if I'm sick of it. 
This week?  Think Thin Berry Oatmeal with hemp hearts and chia seeds added for breakfast, and (yawn) taco salads for lunch and (double yawn) veggie burgers for dinner with the same old nuts and yogurt for snacks.  I really need to shake it up next week, I am getting so very bored with my food. 
You might guess that since I've been feeling more tired, I am not doing anything else good for my body.  Sigh.  I don't stretch, I don't hit the bike or go for a walk, I just sleep until 5am and then jump right into the morning chaos.  I have been totally slacking, but yesterday I had a bit of a disappointing experience.  One of my regular customers whom I've gotten to know quite well, came to tell me that she had her heart calcium scoring done and it came out with horrible results.  She then went through two stress tests and it was determined that a part of her heart is not working properly, she has a lot of calcium (read, plaque) and she has to have a procedure done.  She is very scared due to a botched surgery she had some years ago.  She was tearing up as she told me, and I began to do the same.  I put myself in her shoes for a minute, because her story could have easily been mine with my family history/ previously high cholesterol and blood pressure.  It made me feel aweful that I have allowed my focus on health to wax and wane, as if I am invincible because one test or two tests came out good.  I have to remind myself of the things that didn't come out as good as I wanted, my good cholesterol and my blood sugars.  Granted, both are still in normal ranges, but on the less desirable end of the spectrum.  The thing that helps both of them is exercise.  I have to work on bringing my focus back to long-term health. I know right now what estrogen I have left is buffering my heart, but it won't be there forever, and I definitely don't want to have to deal with diabetes.  I am hoping that, by the time I hit my next physical exam at the end of the year, both of those things will have been bettered.  It is a goal, something I lost focus of after my own heart calcium score came out so good.  Sometimes it takes looking at the luck we already have, in comparison to how bad some others have it, to make us realize what we've been taking for granted.  I am going to try to make time for focusing exercises for at least five minutes a night, maybe before bed.  It will be five minutes that I dedicate to thinking about my body and my health and my long-term goals; five minutes I tune out all the other stuff going on in my day and focus on the pillar where all of it takes place, my body.  I think it will lead to good things and help remind me that tunnel vision is usually counter-productive because it means the exclusion of so many things.  Plus, it is one nice little way to add a little structure and routine into my night.
Hey it's not Monday anymore.  That, for one thing, is a great way to start a new day right?  Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Being the Outcast is not so bad

January had a very overbooked feel to it for me.  At work, we were busier than in what is typically our busiest month (December) so much so that there were several occassions where I had to leave things undone at the end of the day, which I really don't like to do.  At home, there were extra meetings, appointments and repairs/upgrades to our appartment.  Despite having a week off in January, I have been feeling like I am still trying to catch my breath.  Maybe what I am really looking for is calm.  Peace. 
I am still spending a lot of time on geneology, searching for missing links and trying to make sense of documents written in German when I don't speak one word of it!  It feels almost like an obsession for me at this point, like it is drawing me in, and I do feel like there must be a reason behind it, there is one family in particular that I desperately want to find out more about and keep hitting dead ends.  It is frustrating but I feel like it's a challenge to try and find out more about them.  So I have spent time on that.  It has been a bit of a distraction, but I think in the long run it will be very rewarding.
That being said, I haven't been focusing on food much at all.  I eat, I wait until I'm hungry, then I eat again.  I am having issues keeping my veggies fresh, and by the end of the week I end up dreading eating my meals.  It is something I'll have to nip in the bud early on otherwise I get into situations like I have with my lunches this week.  I made a nice tofu stir fry with water chestnuts, those little baby corn thingys and even straw mushrooms.  It sounded so awesome.  I flavored it simply with soy sauce, which I happen to love.  When I got to work on Monday and had my first taste of it, I nearly lost my lunch.  It tasted so off, tinny like the can the veggies come in, and just plain, not appetising.  So I had to waste a whole week's worth of lunches because there was no way I was going to eat that.  Plus, reheated tofu has a texture of the sole of a shoe.  Yech!  So this week for lunch I am actually having 4 cheese pizza hot pockets.  So healthy, right?  SMH!  So, more planning is needed for next week.  And maybe a purchase of some of those "green bags" that help keep produce fresher longer.  my greens/lettuces are really getting limp fast, I think it's my fridge at home. 
I did get a package of sugar-free shortbread cookies on Monday and brought them to work.  I have eaten a total of 4 of them.  It was a total impulse buy with very little thought put into it, but since it happened, I am happy to see that they really have no power over me.  I even forgot they were in my cupboard at work this morning until my stomach started to growl.  I think right now, I am more at a point where food is not that interesting to me so when I have to eat I just go for convenience.  That means I will have to be even more diligent about keeping productive things around me.  Reaching for cookies, even if they are sugar-free, is not the end of the world, but offers my body no nutrients with which to flourish. 
Anyway, another project I am about to dive into is going back to the dentist for the first time in (gulp!) twelve years.  Yep, I am not a huge fan of the dentist.  In the past, we were never financially secure enough to go.  Isn't it pathetic that we live in such a wealthy nation and things like good dental care and eyeglasses are a luxury?!  But that's a rant for another time!  As part of my lack of self-love and self-care, my teeth have been a thing I have been very lazy and laid-back about and now they are needing some TLC.  It is something I have been thinking about doing, but a recent cracked tooth helped finally motivate me to make the call.  Once my dirty little secrets are all out in the open, the work can begin and I can move on.  It feels good to think about moving from the work portion to the maintainence portion, just like the fantasy that is common in weight loss.  I know for me, the poor care I've taken of my teeth is another expression of my whole body shame and disapproval I've allowed to encompass me in the past.  Now, I feel like doing this one thing, a thing that should be just a normal thing that people do, is sending myself a huge message of self-love.  I want to keep my own teeth as long as I can.  It is one more thing that will enhance my life, I just have to get through a little embarassment and shame on the first visit.  I think it will be another growing experience, as silly as that may sound. 
Next up?  Eye exam.  I know that probably sounds funny since I work in an eye office, but we who work in the field are the worst about getting real exams.  We test each other's vision and make lenses, if I can tell I need a stronger bifocal I order it that way.  At least that's only been 2 years and I am in a situation where, if something were going wrong with my eyes, I have help right next to me.  I don't get my exam done at work though, due to having a different insurance plan through my husband, so it is something that needs to be scheduled, which is always a challenge!
So that's what I'm working on right now.  Taking care of some of the periphery health stuff that I've been ignoring for a while.  Now that my focus isn't on "being skinny" but maintaining health, these things cannot be ignored.  I have had many doctor visits for other parts of my body, uterus issues, knee issues, exhaustion and peri-menopause issues, heart calcium scoring, breathing tests, cancer tests, degenerative disease and thyroid tests.  Fortunately, everything has come out squeaky clean (except the peri-menopause/hormone levels which can't be helped).  Now it's time to work on the easier stuff like teeth and eyes.  Well, hopefully the teeth will be easy.  Like everything else, the longer I let these things slide, the worse the outcome is going to be.  Taking care of it now gives me a better chance of keeping my teeth longer. 
I still have a distant goal in mind of getting off the Diet Coke.  I have not had any in the house this week, just at work, but I am finding that I am drinking more than usual at work.  My mind is like a sassy child when it smells restriction.  My soda consumption is going to be a tough thing to get under better control, but maybe that's the key, allowing myself 2 a day instead of telling myself I am going to quit altogether and should never have it.  I throw my hands up right now, but I know I will put focus on that goal soon.  I love drinking iced tea in the summer, if I haven't already cut down by then I will try to switch at that time, having soda only as an occassional treat.  If I can have an entire package of buttery shortbread cookies in my posession and only eat a few within the course of a days, I'm sure I can eventually ween myself off Diet Coke.  My teeth,bones and pocketbook would be all the better for it!  It may not change the way I look but that's not the point.  And maybe that'll be just the thing to make it work and stick, just like this new way of eating I've adopted. 
I am in a good place now.  I know this journey happened when it was supposed to for me, even though I find myself wishing I'd known how or what to do earlier on.  I think I did know, but I was afraid to let go of certain things that I am now starting to free myself from.  When you are a part of a crowd, encompassed by it, it begins to feel like the only place to be and it's hard to break from the crowd and go your own way.  The sucky part is that, this self-guided side trek is the key, its the answer everyone is looking for, it winds through murky, muddy, swamp water and sometimes it seems to grab you like quicksand, but that inner battle is what leads to peace.  Smaller pants sizes do not lead to peace and they don't calm the inner demons.  A new workout DVD or gym membership is great, but it doesn't fix the inside stuff that trips us up on our way to a goal.  It feels magical to break the obsession with food, but realy the power is in awareness and breaking cycles of thinking (or rote actions) that don't serve us.   Dieting didn't work for me, I moved on from it and I've never been more content or at peace.  I wish everyone would stop dieting and just move toward happiness.   In my experience, the two are at polar opposites, and one is definitely more enjoyable! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

I've Gone Missing in the Past

Well well well.  I had the week off of work and, well, I was "busy" relaxing and being a geneology nerd.  Seriously, I spent entire days tracking my lineage on 2 different sites.  One thing it has done, without any outside effort, is to bring me closer to both of my parents, as we have all been communicating much more frequently.  My mother has been very involved in tracking our lineage on her side, and we bounce information back and forth to help each other out.  Once I signed up for a (free!) FamilySearch.org account, it auto-populates what it can with records such as birth, death and baptism records, I was amazed at my lineage.  Now, anyone can alter the information in the Family Search charts, so more research is needed on some of the things I found, but it is certain with documents and literature, that one of my great (tenth great to be exact) is Mary Towne Estey, one of the women who was tried and hanged at the Salem Witch Trials.  There are movies about her, her sister and her mother, Johanna Blessing.  It is a branch of that lineage that leads to royalty.  Knights, Barons, Kings and Queens from several countries including England, Poland, Kiev, and Hungary.  Now, this is where I take it with a grain of salt because I did not research all of the lineage leading up to them.  It is a little nutty to think about it, there is lineage from before 900's (kings of various countries) depending on which ancestor I look at.  But then I bring myself back to a nice, grounded place with this:
My Great Grandparents

My great Grandfather passed long before I came along, so I didn't get a chance to know him, but my great grandmother lived a long life, and I was nearly ten by the time she passed.  I can't say I remember much about her, but I have felt a great deal of warmth, comfort and even girl power/pride when I look at pictures of her because she seems like a lady who did not sit quietly and just do what she was told.  I have a copy of this photo printed out on my dresser, in a very fancy lead crystal frame that I got for my own wedding but never used.  I talk to them as if they are here with me, and in a way, I feel like they are.  It is something very healing, something I never expected to make me feel the way it does.  I am really happy I'm taking this journey now, while my parents are still here, and most of my aunts and uncles are too.  I did lose an aunt to brain cancer earlier this month, it would have been one of the grandchildren of the folks in the picture, my dad's sister.  That is the second of my dad's siblings to pass from brain cancer.  Scary stuff!
On the other hand, the other most major killer in my family is heart disease.  I got my results from my Calcium Scoring test, the test that measures how clogged your arteries are.  I got the remarkable score of 0!!! No clogging, no lesions, no calcification in heart, lungs or any other structures nearby.  These results were completely unexpected as I have a history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol and have been overweight since I was 8 or so.  I actually shed a tiny tear of joy when I got the news.  As of right now, I have a pretty much clean bill of health!  I can't tell you what a gift that is!
Friday the 13th, after ending an extraordinarily busy day at work, and with enough stress coursing through me to change the number on that heart test, my son and I decided to participate in a 5K event downtown in my city.  When it started at 7pm, the temperature without windchill was somewhere around 6 degrees above.  There was a little wind, and after having freezing rain prior to the drop in temperature, the trails/streets/sidewalks were so icy!  We walked most of the way, which was my original intent, but my son, being 13, felt self-conscious when we were last, so he insisted we run to catch up to the others a few times.  Let me tell you, my knee was reminding me why I'm not supposed to run.  While I was running, I got a familiar, warm, good feeling and my brain filled with delightful thoughts of taking it up again, really trying to find a way, but if I get a trainer, and the right shoes...But I woke up the minute I stopped running and felt the swelling start to encompass my knee.  I lost about 40% of the cartilage so it is not a good idea for me to run. At any rate, we finished in about an hour, which isn't too shabby for walking, on ice, in the f-f-freezing cold!
Yes, he does already tower over me at the age of 13.  I am only 5 ft!


We did feel pretty good about ourselves afterword, and decided that Saturday could be a lazy day because we sure did earn it!  To be fair, except for the following Thursday when I went trapsing through a cemetery of knee-deep snow looking for family graves, most of the days on my vacation last week were pretty lazy.  Lets just say, some of meals consisted of chips because I was too enthralled with what I was researching to actually take time out to cook.  So getting back to work/schedule/routine today was actually not such a bad thing for me!  I lost my I-need-to-get-up-early-and-workout-because-I-need-to-fix-my-health mojo, and I am not quite sure how to get that back, but maybe once my Monthly Madness goes away I will have more energy and get back to it.  I don't like how sluggish and bloated I have felt this week with the extra salt (and sleep) I've taken in.  I am sticking to the things that had been working before, taco salad for breakfast, and chopped southwest salad for lunch with nuts and dairy for snacks.  I don't expect super impressive results but that's kind of what this plan is about, managing life without ruining my health.
My son said he'd like to do more 5K's when the weather is nicer and I think that would be a great thing for both of us.  I'd like to get to a point where walking that long doesn't kill my knees, back and hips, but it did comfort me a little to hear him complain about the same parts of his body, then I know it's not just because I am old and out of shape!
I don't have any words of wisdom tonight, just a quick catch up since I've been gone longer than I anticipated.  I will try to not let things lapse so long from now on.