Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seeking Peace and Mental Time

189. That's what the scale said this morning. I have been giving a lot of thought about my previous progress, and have succumbed to thoughts of what if I had stayed on track? and,I was doing so good back then. But the more I lose myself in thoughts of the past success, the more aweful I feel. And I have come to the conclusion that, I cannot move forward in a healthy mental state if I am comparing myself to anyone else, including myself from 2 years ago. It isn't fair to me and it isn't helpful. 189 is 189, it's not a failure or even a setback, it is a place from which to start. Now that my classes are finished up for the semester, I have some time to focus on myself and my family more, yesterday I finished a book called End Emotional Eating by Jennifer L. Taitz. It has a lot of exercises in it, which I don't think I'll physically take time to write down in a notebook, but I did have a few awakenings about myself. For one, people are preconditioned to be more sensitive to certain emotions. For me, it is guilt and shame. I actually had to look up the difference, both are emotions that I have a really hard time controlling my response to, and both of them have sent me seeking food for comfort. Bigtime. I actually discovered shame as a huge issue for me when I was listening to a song over the weekend, and one of the lyrics is "I'm ashamed of all my somethings." I have heard the song a million times, but for some reason, it caught in my throat and I got really choked up. I have a lot of shame, but I don't always identify it's origin or delve into these uncomfortable thoughts. I numb myself with food instead of exploring it. I feel guilt over the littlest things, and whatever I did that made me feel guilt also causes shame, and then I eat until I feel like I want to be sick. I also struggle with feelings of not having any time to myself. Last semster really destroyed me. I would get up at 5:30 and get myself and the kids ready for the day, work 9 hours, most of the time I work straight through my lunch break, then pick up the kids, do their homework with them, get them fed and in bed, do a little homework and go to bed. The weekends are consumed with my own homework (lots and lots of papers in the classes I chose), taking care of the household stuff like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning up after the pets and helping the kids get their homework done, and baking/cooking meals for the week. I am exhausted just typing it. It wasn't that I couldn't do that all, but the fact that I never got a minute's time to myself, to do something soothing and relaxing, and it really added to my stress. I ate like there was no tomorrow; donuts nearly every morning, chocolates, chips, candy, you name it. I even ate some chicken one day. I knew the whole time I was doing it, that it was suicide, and that I would have to fix this, but I honestly felt too drained on time and energy to try. One good thing about last semester was my class on the philosophy of happiness. I learned about Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. It totally opened me up as a person, and made me focus on what matters, rather than putting so much stock in that which is constantly changing. Divinity is within, but you can only tune into it if you rid yourself of all the noise around you. Turning off the noise of reacting emotionally is something I am getting better at, and I am learning to accept where I am right now, this moment, instead of focusing on what was, whether good or bad. Right now I am not as healthy as I would like to be. Right now my body is reacting with pain because I have been treating it poorly. One of the other lessons I learned from reading the book about emotional eating, is how mentally messed up we get when we restrict things. It is not a new concept. But what woke me up was how I reacted not to dieting, but to changing to plant-based vegan (which, at this point I can't identify with due to all the junk food I'm eating on the sly). I went vegetarian more than a year ago, on my own, because I don't like meat. I was getting a good deal of protein from dairy. Then, when my husband decided to go vegan, I felt guilty (there's my friend, guilt again) for eating dairy when it truly is not good for the body (so much antiboitics in that stuff, not great for humans to have coursing through them) so I made the switch. It worked for a while, but some of the food I made was bland and I just didn't put the effort into enjoying it. Truth is, I do enjoy all of the vegan food I make/try, but the mental block was there about restrictions. So I ate things that I was ashamed of, which is ridiculous because they are still vegetarian but not vegan. That caused shame, and you guessed it, comfort-seeking. So my lesson in this is, I am what I am. I am vegetarian. I don't have a problem with that. Maybe someday I will kick the dairy. Most days I don't eat dairy, but sometimes I just don't care enough. I am not living my husband's life, I don't have to live up to anyone standards but my own. And just as soon as I believe that, I will be fine! Danced today. The cortisone shot in my hip is wearing off after extensive holiday cleaning, so it bothered me a little but I realized it won't get better until I do, so I am trying to find ways I can be active without bothering it. My knee, however, feels pretty damn good, and that is a huge victory! I am not calling this a restart or a do-over. I am making new efforts to find peace.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Been So Long

It has been so long, I am not sure I know how to blog anymore. I feel like my life has been spiralling out of control lately. This happens to me whenever a semester starts, and this time I am taking 3 classes, 2 of which are writing emphasis (read: write papers until you want to scream, then do 5-6 online discussions, read a few hundred pages and watch a few videos, then do some research and have an intellectual conversation about many subjects of which you have very little interest) while working full time in an office undergoing a major remodel-rebuilding project, trying to plan a move cross-country and raising two special-needs kids who seem to be the "bad kids" in their classrooms. Trying to go plant-based vegan has been a true challenge. Sometimes I think I have my mind wrapped around it, but most of the time, between what I can't eat (for being vegan) and what I can't eat for being iron-deficient, I fall into a category of not caring, and eating whatever I want. I am still vegetarian, but giving up dairy is tough for me, especially because I have been eating a lot of chocolate since school began. I simply don't have the time to devote to it. My husband's schedule also changed, so every morning he leaves the house at 5:30am, which means, I haven't been to they gym in months, there's just no way I can make a 20-minute workout worthwhile. Logic is telling me that I can workout at home, but I am not listening. I am almost back up to the weight I started at when I had such success. It kills me, and I lament over it often, dwelling on the past, how I just dug in and did it, and got so far and felt so good. But what I have come to realize is that, beating myself up and trying to figure out what motivated me then only makes it harder for me to get back to a good place now. Last week was my first time I had a couple days off to get a little bit of extra homework done, and it was the first week of the semester that I could finally read something I wanted to read, a book about being mindful about eating, and why we make excuses and beat ourselves up. It is called, "But I deserve this chocolate" and I was hoping so hard that it would give me a whole bunch of aha moments, but it just didn't. I get what the book is saying, that we sabotage ourselves with our own thoughts, and I totally agree. The biggest takehome message I got from it is that you have to live in the moment. You can't think about fixing things some other day or freak out about the past and how good or bad you did back then. True. I keep beating myself up that I was once down to 152, and now I have gained at least 30 of those pounds back. That was then, when I didn't have a job or school, when I had a whole mess of free time and it fit into my life so easily. Ever since my knee started really getting bad a year ago, my opposite hip began hurting too, I was compensating for the bad knee by walking differently and putting all my wieght on it when standing. Now my hip is getting to the point where I am suspecting there is damage or a tear in it. So I need to find out if I will need another stinking surgery. I really don't want another surgery, but it is really irritating me, and I don't even want to think about using it for exercise until it is fixed. I was trying to put it out of my mind, hoping it would fix itself if I lost weight, but just this week, two separte people asked why I am limping, and I didn't realize I was. Sigh. I just want the health issues to be done for now. The energy spike I was hoping for in being treated for the iron/vitamin D deficiencies hasn't happened and I know I'll feel better if I get back to healthy eating and exercise, but I am just one big self-inflicted roadblock for myself right now. The one thing that has made me feel the most calm and centered lately has been learning about Buddhism, and the letting go of things that cause you an overabundance of emotions. I am still a work in progress. I will get back on track someday, I'm just not sure how or when. Hope you are well. Sorry it's been so long.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Doing Good

I have been doing well, despite my lack of blogging lately.  I am finding it easier to push myself in the gym, and am not having a negative reaction to the exertion.  
I have been really successful with food as well, turning down junk that I really wanted, even in the face of stress.  I don't really know what magic potion I used, but I have been using a lot of self-talk lately, and trying to focus on the goal instead of the temporary trigger.  I'm happy it's working.  I am always glad to back to a point where I don't think (obssess) about food as much, it makes the process much easier.  
I think I've struck a reasonable balance right now, I'm not constantly thinking about diet and exercise, but I'm getting things done.  My supplements are kicking in and I am feeling relaxed right now, which is a blessing.  
Things are good, I feel pretty good.  I'm slowly making progress through healthy changes.  What more could a girl ask for?

This is How it Should Feel

This is a post from last week.
Yesterday was the second day in recent time that I slept straight through my alarm, before that, it had been years since that's happened to me.  So I didn't get a chance to workout at all.  The extra sleep felt necessary and good.  I made sure to set my alarm a lot louder today, to avoid having the same thing happen, and even though I got less than six hours sleep, I went to the gym anyway.  I trained chest and shoulders today, and it turns out I was able to really push myself, and as my workout progressed, I found myself wanting  to push harder, one more set, one more move.  My shoulders were so dead by the time I was finished, that pushing the door open to leave the gym felt like a chore.  And that happy, post workout buzz hit me on the drive home, like an affirmation that this is how I should feel after working out.  I was still tired, and still am, but being tired from a reduced amount of sleep is a way better feeling than being exhausted because your body doesn't have what it needs to function properly.  
I have been going through a lot emotionally.  I was a little upset when my coworker got fired, but I got over it.  Other than not being able to take any time off, it is just a downer that he is now looking for a job in this crappy economy. There is a lady who works the reception area in my office, who was showing signs of a heart attack, so she had it checked out, got a stint put in, and came back to work.  She was fine, except for a nagging head/neck ache.  The next day they found bleeding in her brain, and after an operation she was kept from recovering by several seizures and a stroke.  Now 3 weeks after this all began, she is finally able to start rehab, but can't walk or talk well at all.  She is 63, and the main caretaker of her 52 year old husband who has advanced stages of Parkinson's disease.  It has been weighing on my heart so heavily, more than one comfort food sessions has happened because of it.  There are other things happening too, my kids acting out and breaking expensive things at the babysitter's house, having to clean up decaying baby birds that have fallen from the nest in our patio rafters, and the second cancer scare of the year for me.  I had my first mammogram ever on Monday, and they called me back Tuesday to say they discovered an area of calcification and needed more X-rays.  This news came less than an hour after my husband opened up a conversation about the gap between us.  So I went in for more photos, this is no big deal, I didn't experience any pain like so many women do, but the waiting for the results nearly killed me.  I reexamined my life and thought about what my life would be like if the results were not good.  I thought about my kids a lot.  And when the nurse came back in, she didn't have an answer, but needed still more photos.  And after more photos, they had to call a second nurse in to help get the position right.  They said what they were looking at was so tiny, and sometimes it is on the skin instead of in the tissue.  They finally got acceptable photos I guess, and a nurse came in to tell me that my calcification has "characteristics of being benign", and to have a nice day and schedule another in a year so they could compare the results.  I felt releif and doubt simultaneously, but my coworker made a good point about liability.  If they were uncertain, they would have ordered still more tests.  So I am breathing a sigh of relief, and hoping things start changing for the positive.  Other than a cholesterol screening in December, I don't have any more Dr appointments to contend with.   The iron and vitamin D supplements seem to finally be starting to work and I'm staring to sleep really good and have more energy during the day.  My diet is on-point again.  The hormonal cravings are still something I contend with EVERY SINGLE MONTH, not just craving salt, sugar and fat, but just craving eating in general.  The good thing is, it doesn't last forever.  
I've been really happy that my husband's schedule hasn't fluctuated too much yet, and I'm secretly hoping it stays this way. Despite not enjoying waking up so early, I do like having my workout behind me so early in the day.  It is getting noticeably darker in the mornings, and I'm dreading moving into the time when the lack of light and the cold drive me indoors for my cardio, but I'm lucky to have options other than walking up and down my hallway in my apartment!  This has been a wild, wild journey.  It makes me laugh at times, and sometimes it'd like to make me cry in frustration, but it is Never ever boring!
Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Good Day for a Story

My energy made a comeback this weekend, and it was so very welcome!  I even had enough energy to bring my kids to an amusement park, and stand in long lines.  In the blazing sun.  I got way too much sun this weekend, but I starting to feel the days getting shorter, and I'm stating to think of all the things that might be our "last chance" to do them before we move to California next April.  
This morning, when my alarm went off, it was a pleasant surprise that I didn't even question whether or not to get up, I felt good, so I got up and hit the gym.  My husband's schedule accommodated it, and I couldn't waste the opportunity.  I trained back and biceps. I think one of the reasons I love to train back is because it is probably the muscle group that I have the strongest mind-muscle connection, and can really visualize.  And maybe that comes from looking at my husband's muscular back, it helps me picture the muscles I'm using.  I didn't hate training biceps as much as usual today, probably because I actually had the strength to do it, instead of leaving the gym feeling depleted and regretful.  I felt that awesome post-workout buzz today, and let out a huge, happy sigh.  As I started home to get ready for work, I thought about my weight regain and all the obstacles I've gone through recently. Without irritation or judgement, I thought, I was on my way to being a really great success story, but these things knocked me off my course.  And then I thought about some of the great stories I've read in my day and I realized that just because you put a book down for awhile, doesn't mean the story won't go on, it'll still be there waiting for you when the time is right.  I don't know if that's now or later or somewhere in between, so I'm going to stop sweating it and roll with the punches.  Today I had energy, and I used it wisely.  I don't look any different or have a different life than I did yesterday or last week, but today was still a triumph because I didn't let it slip by with regret.  I didn't change the world, but I change my day.  And my outlook on tomorrow.  My story will never be finished.  And that's ok with me.  Who doesn't like a good mystery?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Same Old

I am still here.  Work has been insanely busy, and my coworker got fired, so blog time is rare these days.  I am still having a lot of issues with exhaustion and weakness, which makes it hard to convince myself that I should get out of bed and do something.  I have been going a little easier on myself lately because of how I felt last time I worked out when I was exhausted.  That was a bit of a disaster.  This weakness to me, is very similar to the feeling my muscles get after brutalizing them in the gym, weak/shakey/exhausted, except that is how I feel all the time. 
Last night my son and I walked a 5K, and several times while we were walking, I was amazed at the fact that I used to be able to run that entire distance, and now it felt like torture just walking it.  My weak hip was annoying the crap out of me, and I just felt like I wanted to collapse from complete lack of energy, but I tried to put on a brave face for my son.  He had already walked 4 miles earlier in the day, and he was a trooper the whole way, until the last half-mile when his feet hurt.  It was fun to have him along, we even ran a teeny tiny bit, for me it was more like shuffling, praying that I would not re-injure my knee.   And I was certain I would sleep good after that, but I didn't.  Woe is me.  I pushed myself to go for that walk because my work requires us to show up at at least one event they put on, and my son was looking forward to it.  But my heart and energy were definitely not behind it.  
This morning, still in the grips of a melatonin hangover, when the alarm went off at 4:30am, I simply could not do it.  I fell asleep holding my phone (which I use as my alarm).  But I woke again 6 minutes later and decided I should go do something.  I'll never regain my strength lying in bed.  So I went to the gym and trained shoulders and did a few hip strengthening things as well.  I am not going to say that it was easy or that I felt great afterword, but I did something.
My husband may be having to switch to an earlier shift at work, which would have him leaving the house at 5:30 am, and my gym doesn't open until 5am, so I have had to start thinking about an alternative plan.  I may be able to work out at night, assuming when school starts that my husband will help the kids with homework.  Or I could join a gym that opens earlier.  The though of getting up even earlier is not welcoming.   I thought about getting a video I can do at home, like the Jillian Michaels one every one is so fond of.  And then today, after feeling not great after another weight session, I thought about the option of just doing cardio for awhile until I feel better.  These are things I need to figure out whether his shift changes or not.  And if I don't start feeling better soon, I may request more blood work.  Sigh.  I am so sick of dr appointments. 
Such is my sad tale today. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sometimes I Should Listen

I did not have a workout in me today.  DID NOT.  But I did one anyway, reasoning with myself that I will almost always wake up feeling like I want more sleep.  Still, I was telling myself I should do cardio instead but then I remembered that I went to the trouble of juicing a pre-workout blend last night, when my energy seemed non-stop.  So I got up and went to the gym.  It took a lot of effort to convince myself to get out of my car.  
I trained back and biceps.  I have always loved the feeling of a back pump, the blood filling up the muscles makes it fell all warm, the way a good stretch feels.  My first set for back felt good, but then I tried to add some weight and I couldn't ignore my body anymore because it was screaming, I SHOULDN'T BE DOING THIS TODAY!  But I kept going, with moderate weights, hoping that good, awake and feeling good vibe would kick in.  After I finished T-bar rows, I looked in the mirror and noticed how white my face looked.  Then I looked at my nail beds and pressed my thumb and finger together.  Normally, the nail bed will be a nice pink color and when you press your thumb and finger together they will run slightly darker red and once released, return to the normal rosy pink.  For me, my nail beds were white and when I pressed them the barely got a slight shade of pink and as soon as I let go, they were stark white again.  My iron was super low, and I was feeling it.  Even though I take a daily supplement, it seems to be taking longer than I expected to make up for the deficit.  It makes me feel very tired and weak.  
I finished up my back workout, and really relied on my mind to help me push through.  I closed my eyes and imagined my back looking strong and muscular and it really took those sets to another level, even though I wasn't using my heaviest weights.  By the time I got to biceps, my time was getting short and I was really feeling shakey, so I just did 3 sets of 21's and left.  I felt not good.  There have been plenty of times when I haven't felt like working out and did anyway, this may be the only time recently that I ended up regretting a workout.  
I took my iron on an empty stomach, which helps it absorb better, but really irritates my stomach.  It is one of those trade-offs I wish I didn't have to make.  Tomorrow I will do cardio.  And now that I'm thinking of it, next time I feel completely drained, I'll do cardio instead. At least it is something and far less taxing on the system.  
I did get in a pretty awesome leg workout at work yesterday, as crazy as that sounds.  I was hiding behind the door in my office, doing lunges and squats.  Fortunately, my knee wasn't bothered by any of it, and that little micro-workout energized me.  
I keep looking forward to the time when I get my energy back, consistently, but I'm doing what I can in the meantime.  I'll be doing a lot of stretching in the next few days, and maybe some more physical therapy.  This weekend I'll be window shopping for bikes and might get in some swimming with my boys.  And lots and lots of sleep.
Hope your week is going good!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just Simple

I am starting to act a little like a drug addict where my vitamin D is concerned.  I waited all weekend to be able to take it and get my usual rush of energy and glow.  But as luck would have it, the kids and I are in the midst of some sort of virus that feels suspiciously like Chicken Pox.  I was disappointed that it wasn't like a miracle drug yesterday, but I woke with crusty eyes and a headache, my body feeling as if I'd been dragged behind a moving vehicle.  Needless to say I didn't get to the gym, and spent the extra long day at work, counting the time until I could go home and rest.  And that is a very unrealistic dream of mine, because I rarely rest when I'm home. 
This morning, I had great intentions, I set my alarm for 4:30, planning on making up for the workout I missed yesterday.  It was 6:18am when I finally woke up, I never heard the alarm.  I haven't slept that deep in years!  I guess I needed it.  Luckily I still had enough time to get myself and the kids ready for our day.  But when I got to work, I was feeling all stiff and cold, my body aware of how much better I would have felt if I'd gotten in some sort of workout.  I might be able to do something at work if this slow pace keeps up.  Waking up late really has a way of throwing me off my rhythm. 
Oh well, tomorrow's another chance.  I will make my alarm louder so I don't miss it again.  I'm still trying, still on track and still just getting something done nearly everyday.  Sometimes that is as complicated as it needs to be.
Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eating a Rainbow

I feel really good today.  The kind of good you aim for every day and rarely ever achieve.  And it is against logic because I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night, due to being too active right up until bedtime.  That is insane to say, too active
I went to the gym this morning too, and had the best shoulder workout I've had in so very very long.  I feel like this is totally accomplishable again.  I feel...better than normal.  It is really hot and humid out and I actually like it.  I feel like a whole bunch of toxins are exiting by way of my pores.  Whenever I hear someone complain about this weather I want to say, think about the water weight you are losing without having to put any effort into it!  It's like a gift, a sauna without the gym fees, and it leaves the skin glowing.
The knee still feels good, and that is just the cherry on top of everything. 
Today as I was eating my lunch, I realized how colorful my food has become.  Here's a picture of my lunch salad, a mix of romaine lettuce with grape tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, avocado, vegan sour cream, vegan "cheese" shreds, and ground walnuts seasoned with cayenne and cumin.
Vegan taco salad

And my soy yogurt has blueberries in it, and I also eat some grapes with my dinner at night.  In the morning I have been juicing carrots, beets and green apples (thanks, Tony), so I think I've got the rainbow of fruits and veggies pretty much covered.  I'm sure the micronutrients are part of what is making me feel so good, and it tastes phenomenal (aaaahvacado is awesome) so I am going to keep right on rocking it.
I don't have anything interesting to say today.  I did what I said I was going to do, even though I didn't get much sleep.  I am awesome.  That is all.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do They Make Bike Seats This Size?

Its funny how life can just be cruising along fine, and I'm looking forward to things and feeling good, and then something happens to throw a wrench in the universe.  Yesterday was bizzarro day for sure.  It started off so good, I felt good, and went about my business, brushing off small things with a smile on my face.  Then, near the end of my workday, my coworker called to say he'd been fired.  That threw the rest of my day off.  Not only do I feel horrible for him, he's a middle-aged man with a lot of debt, but now that leaves exactly two people for two offices, and hiring someone at my company is usually a 3 month process.  Little things like doctor appointments and school conferences will seem monstrous to try and accomplish on a skeleton crew, and my husband has nearly used up all of his personal time. 
When I got home, I had to really fight to not eat junk, my mind was screaming for it, and I had let it go too long between meals.  But I made a sensible vegan chicken dinner with a salad.  And then I ate two tortilla chips.  And then I ate a cup of granola.  Sigh.  Luckily I stopped before I got carried away.  My kids were fighting constantly last night, and finally, exhausted from yelling at them to separate themselves and keep their hands to themselves, I put them to bed.  My youngest seemed on-edge and I pried and pried to see if I could get to the bottom of just what it was he felt he needed to get out of his system.  He wouldn't tell me.  I could tell something was really bothering him, some secret he has that he admitted he was too embarassed to talk about, but it was making him act out.  And then, before he drifted off, he was having strange sensations in his throat and lungs, and it was worrying me.  But he slept.  And so did I.  And when I woke up this morning, the usual sleepy gut reaction came around, tempting me to stay in bed, but I knew if I did, it would lead to a slippery downhill slide into laze.  So despite the beautiful, humid morning, I did stationary bike indoors.  The air conditioning felt nice, and once I got into my groove, I was really enjoying the bike.  It bothered my knee ever so slightly, but I could feel it working muscles that needed to be worked, and my heart got a great workout.  When I got done, I went for a short walk, to loosen my leg muscles and to feel the morning a little before spending the rest of my days indoors.
Today has gone smoothly so far, and I even had a really great treat when I got to work, walking down the steps to my office, I was anticipating the usual pain that comes with descending stairs, and today, for the first time in more than a year, I didn't have any!  It must have been the biking.  My only major hangup on stationary biking is that it is indoors, and I feel like I'm missing out on summer cardio outdoors, so I am thinking about buying a bicycle for myself. 
So today is good.  I'm taking everything in stride and feeling good, no food issues, no stress.  I'm thinking of that spring move to California and it just keeps sounding better and better to me, just being able to be outside all year round sounds like a dream.
Happy Tuesday! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Breathing is Good

I cannot believe summer is half over already, and I feel like I am just starting to get my head in the game.  Where I live, it is so incredibly lush and green everywhere, ripe with wildlife, all kinds of birds chirping happily, and all different pleasant fragrances from the vegetation, there is plenty to do and see.  But it is so very short before the mornings get cold and dark, where warming up the car for 20 minutes becomes a necessity, and before I know it, I will be driving white-knuckled over frozen, slushy, salty ice and snow.  In a way, I feel bad that I was in such a coma that I missed the first half of summer, but in reality, this stupid sun allergy reminds me every time, cloudy fall days are pretty nice, too.
I was concerned about getting myself out of bed this morning, as Monday's tend to be particularly difficult to persuade myself that 4:30 am is indeed a humane hour to be getting out of bed if I want to get things done.  In the past, I have allowed my sun allergy to prevent me from Monday morning workouts, not wanting to aggravate the already-inflamed skin, but today I thought, it is going to be miserable whether or not I go to the gym.  So I went.  It's amazing how effective a music change can be.  I listened to Pandora today, and they played some great songs and I had an awesome back and bicep workout.  The T-bar rows still irritate my knee a little, but they are one of my favorites so I am choosing to just deal with it.  That is what ibuprofen is for.  By the time I finished my workout, the sunrise was in full effect, an orange-purple beauty complimented by a layer of steam/fog from the hot, humid day we are about to experience.  And in the end, my sun allergy didn't feel any worse than when I woke up, but my body felt way better.
There is a lady at the gym that I have noticed a lot lately, because she actually uses the weights and because I see her there consistently.  I'm guessing that she is in her early 60's, and she has the typical overweight build for this area, most of the weight is concentrated on the midsection, with poor posture.  Many mornings we both arrive at the same time, and I am always floored by how labored her breathing is.  I mean, it sounds like she has just finished an all-out sprint.  And as she is changing her clothing, it gets even worse, to the point where I am concerned she will pass out or have a heart attack.  Part of me is happy that she is there, working on her health, but part of me thinks maybe she is starting this too late, maybe the damage is already done.  And it really makes me think of all the quasi-attempts and lackluster workouts I have had.  I am lucky that my health is still good and I can still improve it, after years of being overweight, I haven't permanently damaged my organs.  I realize I am lucky.  And because I am in the right mindset right now, I shake my head in wonder of what could be more important or taste better than that?  I will try to keep my heavy-breathing gym acquaintance in mind next time my body whines that it wants something non-nutritive.
Except for my Thai food on Saturday, which was curry rice with tofu, I have turned down all other off-plan foods right now, realizing that I don't need it, it doesn't provide any benefit to me, and that I am just starting out again, almost from the start.  I don't want to put any obstacles in my own path, there will be enough of them coming at me full force once school for myself and my kids starts back up.  My dream is to get back where I was and then some.  It doesn't seem too unrealistic.  I'm not putting a time limit on myself, because I am fighting this fight for the long haul.  
Happy Monday!  Hope you have a great one!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Uh, Yeah, I Think So

Last week started with a bang, and ended up having my coworkers concerned about my color.  It was a case of my body defying my mind, my energy sucked into the same void that the weaknesses in my blood have foregone.  I was looking a little pale and pastey, and felt that all-too-familiar exhaustion that I thought I was leaving behind me.  So the latter part of the week I rested and did not work out.  But I ate squeaky-clean, and I am finding it easy to stick with my meals lately, which consists of two things I really like, a walnut-meat taco salad and coconut milk "yogurt".  And adding the extra veggies felt like I was doing something really good for my health.
Yesterday, my husband suggested we go to a local park called Fonferek Glen.  It is a breathtaking place only a few minutes drive from our house, but we have never taken our kids there, for fear they would fall off one of the many drop-offs and cliffs.  Now that they are older, and slightly less clumsy (one of the trademarks of Autism unfortunately), we decided to give it a try.  I wasn't necessarily looking forward to it, not just for the fact that it was nearly 90 degrees and I could feel my sun allergy daring me to let it blossom, but because of the anxiety that would attack me, as he brought my sons ever closer to the edges of the cliffs to have a better look.  Both of those annoyances did happen, and I tried to remind myself that everything was going to be OK.  The three of them walked around nonchalantly as if it was an ordinary walk in the park.  We had views like this:



Fonferek Glen
And I am in no way denying it's beauty.  We even walked all the way around the top of the opening to have a look down from the top.  That made me really nervous, you only get one chance to make a mistake up there.  But the part that really ended up ruining my time was walking across the dried up waterbed, the rocks were ALL loose.  And I really mean that, not one of those darn things was solid.  It REALLY.BOTHERED.MY.KNEE.  But I kept on following my family for an hour, always way behind, always questioning my balance and my knee, always feeling lame like I was ruining everyone's time.  At one point, my husband decided to take a "short cut" back up to the top, which meant climbing up two steep, gravel, root and rock-laden hills.  My knee was ready to give up by then.  I was cursing in my head, feeling old and useless and though I've never considered myself athletic, I was feeling completely ungraceful and out of place out there, crawling up a hill, favoring my sore knee and using my hands to help me balance.  My husband tried to feign pity for me, then in the end when I nearly fell from the top of a really steep hill, he cheerfully chimed, "You've got this, you just have to have confidence in yourself out here."  And in that instance, tripping on a tree root and nearly falling, I realized that when it comes to physical things like this, I don't have confidence in my abilities anymore.  I watched them hop from rock to rock as if they were frogs hitting lily pads with computer-like precision, me giving up and walking through the shallow water, so I could save any amount of dignity.  After walking in a nearly shade-less 90 degrees for over an hour, it was the only thing that felt good at that moment.  I was so happy to get home and take a cool shower and wash my day away.  Later that evening, we went to dinner in a quiet Thai restaurant set in a turn-of-the-century building in the downtown district.  I love the wooden floors and the moulded ceilings, that I imagine are original, because it adds to the charm.  They always play soothing Thai music that reminds me of my trip to Thailand.  My family likes it too, there is tofu and noodles, what's not to like?
This morning I weighed myself for the first time in a couple weeks.  It doesn't really matter what the scale says, I have been doing positive things and I am starting to see good things.  There are parts of my body that are looking better.  I am doing just what I can, putting in my work when my body is up to it, and trying not to let my deficiencies be an excuse to sleep more when I can be out doing something.  This morning my younger son and I went for a walk, and he decided he wanted to walk to a certain park, which is about 1 and 1/2 miles away from our house.  Despite the blazing sun and my already itchy skin, I agreed.  It is really hard to say no to my sons, especially when they are asking to do something good for them.  While my husband and older son slept more, Zach and I set out on a long, tiring journey.  When we got to the park, we took our shoes and socks off and cooled our feet on the shaded pavement.  And we talked about life.  And before we knew it, we were headed back, pointing out animals and flowers we saw along the way.  And we agreed to not walk that far next time.  And I realized that, he is someone who is at times too confident, and at others,  not so much.  He is so much like me.  And I wonder if this is something one can "fake it" on.  I don't trust my knee or my muscles right now.  I know I can use them to some extent, and I have been being safe and smart when I do go to the gym, but I don't have my confidence now.  Not for jumping on rocks, or climbing slippery hills or doing squats.  It reminds me of the theme song of Bob the Builder.  The characters are all singing, "Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!"  but just at the end, Lofty chimes in, in a very shaky voice and says, "Uh, yeah, I think so."  I am Lofty.  I only think so.  But in the end, the team always pulls together and gets the job done.  I don't know if I'll ever be good at hopping on rocks with my boys, I'm thankful my husband is, but I suspect I can build my strength and confidence back up.  Just showing up is the first step.  And I am showing up more and more.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Has it Really Been That Long?


It was a long week without my kids, but luckily for me, my husband is active, and we got a lot of walking in.  We even discovered some new paths that are so plush and green it was like drawing in fresh air.  I have to say, it's been a long time since I've felt this good, finally my energy is returning and my muscles don't feel like they are going to crumble when I use them. 
I got back in the gym today, and it felt great.  I hate how my arms are looking after not training them for months.  I think the last time I was seriously training and sticking with anything was a year ago, when I was doing the Live Fit Trainer program.  I did put some muscle on and was happy with how things were going, but so many things I was doing were irritating my knee, and I dropped out all together when I got the shingles and my knee swelled to epic proportions.  So when I start to pout about how "quickly" my body changed for the worse, I need to realize that was at least 8 months of not modifying and working out a way around it, eight months that I succumbed to stress and simply gave up.  And worse, eight months of letting junk creep into my diet, compounding the problem instead of fixing what was broken.  
Today as I watched myself in the gym mirror, struggling to complete some triceps work, my immediate response to my reflection was disgust.  I looked at my ugly arms and thought I really shouldn't be wearing sleeves that are this short, and a whole slew of other negatives wanted to take up space in my head, but then I looked at my triceps doing what they could, and I realized that I could just as easily have still been in bed, like I've done for the better part of a year.  And I remembered that not only has atrophy had its way with my body, but it is going to take a while for my iron and vitamin D levels to get where they should be, so I truly can't expect to be Wonder Woman just because I used to be able to lift heavier.  This time around I am paying more attention to my mind, and not letting it set me up for failure.  I'm grateful  that I'm not still all hung up on running, that whole thing messed me up for a while, but it was a valuable lesson about how that kind of mental, self-inflicted torture can stop me dead in my tracks.  
My diet this week is focusing on veggies more.  I am eating two salads a day and because nealy everything I would generally eat for breakfast interferes with iron absorption, I have been juicing for breakfast.  I was a little suspicious of juicing as a meal, but when I look at the fresh veggies on the plate before I juice them I think I wouldn't want to sit and eat all of this for breakfast, and then when the gorgeous, colorful juice comes out, I have no problem drinking it down and thinking, pure nutrition!  And yes, I wondered about the fiber I was leaving behind as the refuse, and the answe to that is, the fiber actually slows down the absorption of the nutrients.  I ate a banana with my juice this morning, to help my muscles recover, and in an hour or so I'll eat some soy yogurt for the protein.  This week's juice is comprised of organic kale, organic red chard, organic Granny Smith apple, and cucumbers.  It tastes so good, I always wish I could have more right away.  
On that note, I will quit babbling and bid you a good Monday!  Hope you had a fun and restful weekend.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hope

I spent some time looking back on blog posts last week, and I recorded my weight by date, watching it go down, and then creep back up.  I was curious as to when it all turned around and whether or not there was a major event that triggered it.  While reading it, I was really annoyed with the almost constant roller coaster of on-again/off-again commitment.  And the frequency of weigh-ins (!) as if my life was shaped by what my scale said ( oh the drama!).   It reminded me of a fierce crush I had in high school, one of the last things he ever said to me was "It's not a soap opera Amy.  Relax, do things that you enjoy, obra dee, obra da, life goes on braa, la la how the life goes on."  At the time I was devastated and offended, who was he to tell me not to feel or express myself?!  But over time I accepted that I can be a little dramatic about things that I'm passionate about.  And weigh loss, whether I am winning or losing the battle, is something I am passionate about.  I don't appologize.  And that crush I had?  A few years later I found out he is gay, and I was relieved that I didn't change who I am for him.  
My recent discovery of iron and vitamin D deficiencies is helping me put some of these food things In perspective.  Even though I am eating mostly plant-based vegan, it doesn't mean I'm taking care to give my body what it needs.  I need to nourish my body, not just feed it.  That is a goal.  I only eat veggies once a day right now, that's not good enough.  
My prescriptions for mega doses of vitamin D3 (50,000 units!) and iron are making such a difference already, that it makes me wonder how long I have been deficient, and blaming it on lack of resolve or discipline.  What a difference it makes to have more of what my body needs, especially mentally.  I was seriously giving up, assuming this exhaustion was just part of the aging process or that it was my body revolting against the regained weight with thick, pastey blood and heart stress.  I was feeling caught in the loop of not having the energy to work out, even though I knew that is what I needed to be doing.  And that is where I was stuck for so many years.  I used to blog all the time about believing being the most essential part of weight loss, and I still agree that it is crucial, but I think belief begins with hope, and that is where a lot of people get stuck.  I'm so happy to have found my hope again and I'm on my way to believing too.  
I walked this morning, and it was good for me.  My knee still bothers me but I am moving.  No drama, just putting in the paces.  As I walked, I thought about my blog-o-coaster and how many refires I've had, and it reminded me something I saw on Facebook last week that resonated with me.  I will leave with that and bid you a good Wednesday.  Happy 4th of July to those who celebrate!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Test Results

I finally got my blood test results and am breathing a sigh of relief.  There is a real reason I have been so exhausted and weak.  My iron levels are low and my vitamin D levels are nearly at 0.  So I will begin a supplementation regimen and hopefully will be feeling better in no time.  It will be nice when my body has the energy to do what my mind wants it to do.  While I didn't get exact numbers, it was noted that my bad cholesterol was "slightly elevated" (nothing to be concerned with) and I am being "prescribed" to exercise daily.  I am so grateful that it is not something I need to go back on meds for, and I'm really really happy it is not diabetes.  To be fair, I am as I have been for some time, eating good most of the day, but then having something not good.  Lately my addiction is to salty tortilla chips, but I've been eating sweets too.  None of it good, but I was living in that mentality that I can't fix what is broken with my unattractive outside until I know what's wrong with the inside.  Now I know. 
Last night my knee hurt worse than it has in quite some time, and I was really worried because I didn't do anything to it.  And this  morning, both knees ached like arthritis.  So the Vitamin D deficiency makes a lot of sense now, it can cause pain in the bones and joints, weakness and fatigue.  I am surprised about the anemia, because I have been vegetarian before with no issues.  All part of my aging process I suppose.  I am hoping the supplementation will help my knee feel better in general.  Maybe it wasn't post-op pain but the deficiency. 
I am starting a very aggressive dose of Vitamin D (50,000 units per week) and iron supplement.  I have a feeling I will feel that pretty quickly.
I've got nothing else to babble about.  I am relieved to finally know why I feel so bad and hopeful that help is on the way and I will be able to end this summer with a bang!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Coffee Talk

I didn't blog on Tuesday, due to the crazy-busy pace at work, people needing things ordered, fixed and picked up before they leave on their summer vacations and such.  I got through it OK, but it always irritates me when I can't keep my office countertops clear, and don't have proper time to put things away.  As closing time came along, I still had three patients in my office, one of whom was "Rose".  You may remember Rose from This post.  I began helping Rose when I was in my late twenties, and back then, I was always irritated by how she wanted to talk my ear off about stuff I couldn't yet relate to.  That was a much busier office than I am currently working, but all of my coworkers would suddenly become "unavailable" when she appeared in the office.  Rose comes to my current office every few months to make sure the screws on her glasses are tight, and she usually ends up spending the better part of an hour talking and asking questions.  This time, she waited patiently while I helped the other two patients, and then we talked about every little thing that came to mind.  It was like two old friends (or two new friends) having coffe talk.  We talked about bad knees, and she showed me that hers are so bad that she can't even straighten one all the way, I never noticed that before, and it looks really uncomfortable.  She is so worried that insurance won't cover the surgery, that she has gone more than 10 years without cortisone shots, and only takes Tylenol for the pain.  Luckily, she will be getting Medicare shortly, and will be able to have the much needed surgery.  During our coffe talk sessions (sans the coffee unfortunately) what I have learned about her is that, despite having a lot of problems in her life, she is a really positive and helpful person.  She is patient and considerate, she lets other patients go ahead of her because she knows she will take up more time, she is smart, always smiling, and just all-around pleasant.  And the more I get to know her, I am learning that she has quite a good sense of humor.  Even though Rose kept me at work nearly an hour after close on Tuesday night, there was a moment when we were both laughing out loud and saying how much we needed that talk and laugh.  Rose is as people should be in so many ways.  And for some reason, it seems like she always pops into my office when I am stressed out, and teaches me a lesson about lightening up and being more positive, just by her actions.  Of course the stress always returns, but for that time spent, and for several days after, I feel like I've had a good therapy session.
I have still been having a lot of sleep issues, and the nights that I do get good rest it is due to taking melatonin, which makes it hard to get up in the morning.  At the beginnning of the week, I set my alarm to allow time to workout, and by Wednesday, I realized that I am going to take the rest when I can get it.  I am feeling so tired and weak, I don't really know what I can do.  When I do get a physical therapy workout in, I feel pretty good, but that is always in the evenings, when I generally do have more energy.  It would follow logic to switch to evening workouts, but it would be tough to plan, and would hinge on my kids cooperating at the gym's kid sitting station, which they are not too fond of, and have gotten kicked out of for fighting in the past.  I had a physical exam with my doctor yesterday, and we discussed all of my recent symptoms.  My blood pressure was unusually high, numbers I haven't seen since I was first diagnosed with HBP in 2008.  That flooded me with a bunch of emotions/fear that all of my recent health issues are being caused by my heart.  After a thorough exam, including listening to my carotid artery, she released me with orders for a bunch of bloodwork.  During my physical, she mentioned (5-6 times) that she wants to check my vitamin D levels, as the sun allergy has me covering up and slathered in sunblock.  How lucky would that be if that was all it was?  A lot of the symptoms match what I am experiencing, and a deficiency can lead to high blood pressure.  She is also checking my thyroid function and vitamin B-12, and iron.  I am glad that she took the time to listen and check a bunch of different things.  I am worried that it will be high cholesterol or blood sugar issues, but I know I can fix that and get those numbers turned around.  What terrifies me most, is the sinking feeling I get when I think, what if they don't find anything?  I had my fasting labs drawn this morning, so I imagine I will find out what my blood looks like in a few days.  Fingers crossed for vitamin deficiency.  I have had my thyroid tested a few times and it always comes back within normal ranges, and I doubt I have anemia.  None of them are good, but some of them are much easier to fix.  I am hopeful for something to make me feel better, have more energy so I can get back to taking care of my health through diet and exercise.  I don't feel like myself right now, and I don't like it.
My mother will have my boys next week, which will be a rare opportunity for me to both sleep-in and workout in the morning.  We'll see how that goes.  AT some point, I may just have to push myself, despite the lack of energy and strength.  I can't stay stagnant much longer, it is breaking me.
This weekend should be rejuvinating, with plans to go to the zoo and spend a little quality time with my husband, maybe try a new recipe or two.  I am looking forward to not waking up to an alarm.  Yawn!
Hope you are doing well.  I promise I'll get back to those happy, uplifting blogs at some point, just have a few things to work out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Aha Moment

My recent "aha moment" came when I was getting ready for work and noticing how tired, unhappy, and just generally bad I look.  I started to slip into the negative internal dialogue that I somehow try to convince myself will inspire me to make changes.  I was so fed up** F.E.D  U.P** with the same old argument,  God, I look awful, I look half dead, I feel like crap, I need to get moving again, etc etc etc. Then, whisper-shouting to myself in the mirror I finally let the truth seep out of my subconscious.  I can't get moving because my *#$@ing knee isn't cooperating.  I want to move, I want to feel alive again.  This knee surgery was supposed to magically make things go back to normal, and they haven't.  I am not broken anymore, but I am not whole and I am so *#$@ing angry that I am not and I'm stuck in the middle of wanting and not being able to and the fact that the word CANT is even in my vocabulary.  These things have been sitting heavy on my mind since they surfaced, and I am realizing that if I don't learn to accept things as they are right now, I will never move past this hurdle.  The truth is, this may be the best my knee ever feels.  I had unrealistic expectations, and I am reacting emotionally because things didn't pan out the way I dreamed they would.  I haven't miraculously gotten back on track.  Everything seems to irritate my knee, even the physical therapy exercises I have been given.  I have been using that as an excuse to not do anything, including my physical therapy, assuming that it will feel better soon, and then I will kick booty and be the best me I've ever been.  But today it dawned on me that having these expectations is setting me up for a huge amount of emotional eating and depression when it doesn't pan out.
So I am working on coming to terms with some things.  This may be the best my knee ever feels, if I don't find a way to make things work for me, I will certainly cause a lot more damage to it, and then I will be really limited in my mobility. I don't even want to think about how depressed I would be then.  And waiting for some magic time that may or may not come is just an excuse to try and avoid the physical pain, which by the way, isn't nearly as bad as it was before the surgery.
So last night, as I did my physical therapy, I allowed myself to be totally aware of how it is bothering my knee and I reminded myself that I was feeling pain even during physical therapy, and she always offered me ice or recommended ibuprofen afterword, so she knew that the things I was doing would likely made my knee feel bad, and that must have been OK for it or she wouldn't have prescribed them, right?  I just have to trust in the path that has been laid out for me and stop fighting it every time I feel a little resistance.  I am more edgy about my knee because I don't want to have to go through anything like this again.
My plan, for now, is to make stationary bike my main cardio exercise, because it truly may be the only thing that doesn't bother my knee, and try to get in my physical therapy exercises at least 3 times/week.  That equates to lunges and single-legged squat-type things, hip/glute work and I have added some planks in to help strengthen my core.  I will try to hit the gym for upper body workouts a few times a week, and maybe sneak in some light leg work from time to time. I see my doctor tomorrow for a full physical, and to discuss how I've been feeling lately.  I am hoping to get some answers about the exhaustion, sleep issues, and sun allergy.  I am not confident in myself, but I have to take a step,even if it is a wobbly, painful one.  I am moving forward because as Green Day says, "always move forward, going straight will get you nowhere."


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Good Stuff

So, I realize my last post was a bit of a bummer, written from the fog and frustration of my physical maladies infecting my mental ones.  And my constant need for information in an attempt to self-diagnose drives me insane, but I have a hard time not doing it.  So, I finally scheduled a physical exam for next week, to see what is going on with me.  I am going to stop trying to self-diagnose and leave it to my internalist to help me put the puzzle pieces together. 
Last night, when I got home with my children, my youngest was so cozy on the couch, on the verge of falling asleep, and I was laying on the floor thinking about how great a nap would feel.  Then my older son began laughing and talking about something and before I knew it, they were outside playing and having a blast.  I lifted my post-surgery leg and didn't like how much it still aches.  So I did my physical therapy exercises.  These are no joke, and include one-legged step squats and lunges.  By the time I was done, I was feeling awake, and decided to try a core move that I'd found, knee planks.  I got a couple sets in before everyone was back in the house asking for dinner and help with baths, etc.  It made me feel a little more energetic and gave me hope that I would be able to commit to doing it more often, as I hadn't done PT more than a few times in the past month that I've been back to work.  My entire lower body is still really weak.  I don't like how that feels.  So I want to do my physical therapy 3 times a week, and sneak in some core training, as it is something I wouldn't feel comfortable doing in the gym (at least, not the moves I've got, which all involve being on the floor). 
This morning I was fighting myself about getting up to do cardio.  I didn't have the option to get to the gym because my husband was working earlier than normal, and I sat in my bed trying to find an excuse to go back to bed.  Did I have a slight headache/sinus ache?  Yep.  Was I tired? Yep.  Stiff/sore in multiple parts of my body? Uh huh.  But in my eternal inner dialogue there was some glimmer of logic.  I thought about that little extra boost of energy I got from the previous night's endeavors and thought, I rarely ever regret going for a walk and got up and made it happen. I wish I could describe the smell of the different kinds of vegetation here where I live.  We have trees that smell like they are in perpetual fruit blossom, and weeds that smell like asparagus, wild dill and everything in between.  The air was humid, but a nice breeze kept me from being too hot.  I was immediately aware of how last night's therapy irritated my knee and made my thigh bone sensitive.  A strange sensation, this.  Part of my surgery was smoothing out some splinters on both my shin and thigh bones, and for some reason it has made them sensitive at times.  It feels a bit like an electrical shock inside the bone.  Anyway, I was limping and sore, and noticing how oddly my knee turns as I walk, and seeing potential issues not too far down the road, but then I let my mind drift to other things, to the move to California, to having nice weather all year round and to the fact that this morning's overcast sky was a releif to this sun allergy-stricken girl, and appreciating the fact that everything is lush and green and I can actually get out and walk.  After about 20 minutes or so, the endorphins kicked in and the knee felt a little better, and I silently reminded myself that sometimes "the good stuff" takes a little longer than we expected. 
I know I've got some mental housekeeping to take care of, because I am still using food as a drug.  And sometimes when I need to take a painkiller (the ones they gave me after surgery) I am noticing that they make me feel almost the same as indulging in off-plan food does.  I wish it were easier to pinpoint what is going on in my head, that my subconscious is guarding so tightly.  I guess the copious amount of time I spend thinking about my weight would be wiser spent trying to fix what is damaged inside of me.  I'm really great at fooling everyone including myself, that my life is great, but then what is it that I am constantly trying to comfort?  Work to be done, indeed.  I am realizing though, that using that as an excuse to not do something is only hurting me more.  I feel like half the summer has past and I am just now waking up, still rubbing the sleep from my eyes and looking out a hazy window, deciding whether or not to step outside or hide within.  I am not gung-ho, 100% on board, but at least I am getting back in the game. 
My good stuff is out there somewhere, it's just taking a little longer to get to it than I expected.
Happy Friday!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This is Getting Old

I could probably copy and paste any number of posts from the past 2 years in here, as I feel like a broken record skipping over and over on my least favorite song.  I'm stuck.  I'm confused.  I have no energy.  I am too sore/need a rest/ just generally don't feel good/have sinus issues/haven't slept wellWhen will it ever end?!
I feel like I am rolling down a steep hill and trying to stop myself with a blade of grass.  I feel like my days are not long enough, even though I have less on my plate now than I have since September.  I feel really old and worn out and almost useless.  I see changes happening in my body that are making me really worry about aging. I spend my days swinging wildly between over and underwhelmed and trying to think and organize a million thoughts at once. I want to get back on the wagon but I feel like something is wrong with me, and I am starting to feel the atrophy and wonder if I will ever get my strength, fire or energy back.  When I think of when I was unstoppable, I feel like that was a much younger and vibrant person compared to who I am now.  The knee thing stopped me in my tracks.  I can't keep using it as an excuse.  Things don't get better without effort. 
I am especially frustrated with how my body is feeling lately.  Its not just that I don't want to get moving, but that I have NO ENERGY, and when I do push myself anyway, my body revolts, giving me pain in my knee, hip, heel, or head.  Even my recovery times have become completely ridiculous, taking nearly a full week to rid my body of pain and stiffness after a good training session in the gym.   And the more I research my sun allergy, PLME (Polymorphic Light Explosion) which seems to be getting worse, the more I am seeing a link to Lupus and other auto-immune disesases, and it scares me because I have some of the symptoms of Lupus.  But I am known to believe I have a disease just from researching it, so I am trying to not overreact.  I will eventually have things checked out, as I don't feel like myself and I want my mojo back.  Part of that could be the simple fact that I have neglected my body, and have been so limited in what I can do for so long, that I have been taking it easier than I needed to.  I have regained 23 pounds since my lowest weight, and that is a lot of extra stress to put a body through.  In the past I have said countless times,  I know I can get over this, and get back on track, but I am really feeling like I need some help this time.  I don't know where that will come from or in what form, it may be as simple as getting a physical exam and discussing my lack of energy with my doctor, or in a visit with our staff nutritionist or even a session with a mental health counsellor.  Sometimes I can't tell what is fighting me harder, my body or my mind.  All I know is that I am not giving up.  I was happier, stronger, more confident and just more alive when I was conquering my demons one at a time.  I miss having that drive and that release.  This whole in between and underneath is getting old, and it's making me feel old.  And I'm too young to feel that way.
Hopefully my next post will be written in post-workout glow.  A girl can always dream!
Hope your Wednesday is going great!

Busy Week; Busy but Weak

**This is a post from last weekend that just went through now.**
Today is the first day in about a week that my head has been "in the game" in matters of diet and exercise.  My schedule has been off, my inspiration and energy depleted; sleep inconsistent.  I have had a lot on my plate as my kids' school year is winding down, and business in my office is booming while we are short-staffed due to vacations and such.  I am also making headway in planning our potential move to California next April, with my seemingly endless hours of research starting to pay off, we have finally narrowed down that we will likely live in the suburbs of Sacramento.  
At work, I was singled out and honored with a $1,000 scholarship award toward my education, which put me closer to the VP of human resources, who interestingly enough, also sits on the board of the company I dream of working for.  She has asked that I stay in touch as I get through my courses, which is a good sign.  
My surgeon has released me from his care, and I've returned to work full time.  My knee still bothers me from time to time, but nothing like before.  My Dr told me that because of the amount of tissue he removed, I will get arthritis in that knee at some point.  But my goal right now is going to be to make sure my muscles are strong enough to support me, to help lessen the impact to my entire body.  I am going to focus on core training, something I've never looked into or given much thought about.  This injury has shown me how weak my core is, and how easily that can have a domino effect on other body parts. 
Today as I was walking, I was thinking a lot about running.  At no point did anyone tell me I shouldn't or couldn't run anymore, in fact my physical therapist asked if I had gotten back to it, and I told her that I was giving it up, because I am at higher risk due to the reduced amount of tissue.  She said nothing about it.  I'm sure it would be better for me if I didn't, and would stave off the old arthritis a bit longer, but I allowed myself to at least consider it.  I won't run again unless I have my form assessed and get shoes that are correct for me.  The company I work for has an excellent sports medicine team (they help train Boston Marathoners) and they offer visual and video assessment for $99.  I am keeping it in mind. 
I am noticing how greatly my hormonal cycle plays into my energy, will, and drive, as well as cravings.  Half the month I am driven and committed like nobody's business, the other half, quasi-committed and caving into to cravings for salt, fat, and sweets.  Sigh.  To find a way to not give in, I am still struggling.  It's causing me to feel like I'm constantly having to restart.  
I finally bought a great cookbook for plant-based eating called the Happy Herbivore, and am excited to try some new recipes.  I think that has been some of my problem staying on track, what the hell can I eat?!  But I'm slowly figuring things out.  And eventually, it will be second nature.  
Now if only I can make getting to the gym second nature too...
Hope you are well and enjoying some nice weather!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Marching On

Today I got a little bit of my fire back.  I don't pretend to know why or how, but I had the energy to have a great cardio session and perform my physical therapy strongly, including trying and retrying lunges until I could get my knee to feel OK with it, and my right quad to not feel like it was going to tear.  I finally conquered the lunges, and that was a great feeling.  I wanted to give up and not do them, but I talked myself into modifying it and retrying until I could at least get some reps out.  That was important for me to do, in order to overcome a mental barrier.  It was a turning point, of sorts.  I had the choice to believe that I just don't have what it takes, or to believe that any amount I can do will be helpful and will start to help those muscles to strengthen.  In time, if I am consistent, I will be able to do those silly lunges with immaculate form, and I will be happy I didn't give up.
So many things have been happening around me, making my emotions swing wildly, and I am starting to make small connections with the mental roadblocks that are caused by negative feelings, even if they do not pertain to the task at hand.  The tornado in OK made me feel so depressed, coordinating schedules for my work, Dr. appointments for myself and my kids and all the school activities my kids want me to attend, has been really stressful; I found out I was chosen for a scholarship from my work, which made me ecstatic, and then a really bad apartment fire a block from my kids school displaced 109 people yesterday, it made my whole family so sad.  All of these things effect my energy level.  And that's not to excuse the physical issues, the ache in my knee, my plantar fasciitis, my sore, weak muscles, sinus pressure (I think I have seasonal allergies), scratchy burning eyes no matter how much sleep I get...etc.  I am a mess right now.  And I have been eating carelessly the past few days, and trying to figure out what I am trying to soothe or kill.
Still a lot more to think about and work through, but I think I can get this back to a good place.  I was thinking about doing some sort of detox or reset period, but I will need to do a little more research.  A 5-day reboost of eating and drinking only fruits and veggies might do me some good.  I still want sweets way too much and I still rebel against veggies, and I'm kind of lazy when it comes to food, I want stuff that is quick and tastes good.  Sigh.  I am working things out.  Every weekend I scour over recipes to try and find stuff that is good enough to not just keep me eating it, but make me crave it.  It's tough.
My family has decided to march against Monsanto tomorrow, which will the first time I've ever participated in a protest.  I think it will be good to show my kids to stand up for what they believe in.  Monsanto has been poisoning us for years, and are making themselves filthy rich in the process.  Their genetically-modified foods are causing changes in our DNA and what diseases come about via genetic mutations? Cancers, Autism, Alzheimer's to name a few.  Anyway, I'll get off my soap box and just keep fighting the good fight.  Now I will eat my vegan, organic, GMO-free crispy chicken strips.  And bonus!  No connective tissue!
Hope you have an enjoyable weekend and for those of you who celebrate, Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Clumsy Stunts and Noodles

I have been a little frustrated the past few days, in that my energy level seems to have hit an all-time low, and my mojo is MIA.  I am still putting in some work, but it is uninspired and half-hearted and it doesn't make me feel revitalized or give me the buzz I used to get from working out.  To make matters worse, I have been craving fat and sweets like a crazy woman, and it's not even the normal time for me to be craving that stuff.  I haven't been very successful at staying away from those things either, my fats usually coming from nuts or dairy-free cheese, or blue corn chips, and my sugars coming from fruits and agave nectar.  Granted, these are the healthiest versions of these unhealthy snacks, but I have been saying yes to my cravings way too much lately.  
Over the weekend, I stopped tracking.  As soon as we went to dinner at Noodles and Co on Friday night, and I knew it wouldn't be in my Fooducate app, I just stopped tracking.  Dinner was followed by what is quickly becoming our usual trip to the frozen yogurt shop.  What is in my head that decides this is a good idea?  Once in a while is one thing, but we've been having it way too much.  Oh sure, they have sugar-free, fat-free and even dairy-free versions of their yogurt, but I never choose them, I go for the flavors I like and just let the chips fall where they may.  I live in the moment, which isn't particularly beneficial when you are trying to achieve lasting health.
Saturday was the Celcom 5K, it's the last run I ever did, and all the hype in the city had me on edge and really emotional.  I couldn't sit around and do nothing, so I did a quick shoulder workout at home, and then I walked a 5K in my neighborhood.  It was therapeutic, and I realized that I can still do 5Ks, I just can't run them.  During my walk, I kept a really brisk pace, and I wondered how did I ever run this far?  I have lost a lot to this stupid knee injury, and I'm pretty disappointed and frustrated with how old/incompetent it makes me feel.
 After filling the house with top-notch groceries,  we decided to go to the National Railroad Museum in town, and while we were looking around, climbing on trains I had an accident of sorts.  I was trying to see the front of a train, iPhone extended to take a photo of my kids, and I didn't realize that there was a step down so I began to fall.  The leg that I didn't have surgery on was in front, bearing most of the weight, and I felt like my quad and glute muscles were about to tear, and I felt extreme pressure and pain in the knee that had surgery.  I tried to regain my composure before anyone other than my family saw me, but I was hiding some of that pain as we walked around for 3 hours more.  After we were done, it would have been a quick ten minute drive home and we could have made a perfect organic, non-GMO, vegan meal, but my husband asked who wanted to go out to eat and of course, a homemade meal simply wouldn't cut it with the kids after that was on the table.  We ended up back at Noodles and Co, because it is all vegan, and we can get organic tofu added to any order.  Personally, I am getting a little tired of always eating at the same place, it is making eating out a lot less of a treat.  After dinner, you guessed it, we went for frozen yogurt.  We have three such places in my city, and at least we chose a different one this time.  Of course it tastes good, but it is just sugar, fat and calories I don't need, and as I ate it that night I started to feel a little sad for what I was doing to my body.  I was thinking, as tired as I have been, it really sucks that I exerted myself just to throw those workouts away on wedding cake flavored sugar-junk.  Thankfully, Sunday was my husband's birthday, and his mom took him out to dinner all by himself, so the kids and I ate sanely that day.
I didn't get a lot of sleep before the alarm went off at 4:30 am on Monday, but I managed to slip out of bed and hit the gym.  I am not going to tell you it was easy, or that I had a stellar workout, but I showed up and I put in some work.  Yesterday, I took advantage of a little extra sleep and a day of rest, as my entire body was still sore and I needed to catch up on some sleep.  This morning I did another weight session.  I just don't have the fire I know I should have.  I keep thinking I can shake it off/up but I'm still waiting for that to happen.  I have noticed that my caffeine intake has decreased since my surgery, that may be part of the problem.  Last night my knee and heel were super irritated and I took a pain killer prescribed for after surgery, and for some reason, instead of making me mellow and amplifying my lack of energy, it took my pain away and made me feel energetic.  I got some housework done and still had energy to spare.  What a strange reaction.  I can see how people get addicted to these drugs.  I may do some research into natural ways to boost energy.  I need a little something.  I feel like I am constantly out of gas and going uphill.
Feeling positive about the changes I am making, still need to work on consistency and schedule, but I am finally getting some things going in the right direction.  It all starts with good intentions and making an effort.  I am there.  
I may participate in my city's March Against Monsanto this weekend, it is a cause I truly believe in.  Anyone else marching?
Hope your Wednesday is wicked-good!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gym Re-Debut

Yesterday I let myself eat somewhat instinctively, allowing a morning snack that was higher in salt and fat than I normally eat, and a whole bunch of watermelon after work, and it turns out, I was still under my allowed calories, fat and carbs.  Not that I am planning on doing that all the time, but it's nice to know that I can do it when I feel the need and not throw everything off-course.  I was mindful of serving sizes and still kept tracking, though it was tempting not to.  I am more aware of the urge to not track as a sign that I want to go off the rails.  It usually happens when I am hungry, and since my hunger signals have changed, I need to be more aware of them right now.
Today I felt really tired, despite getting decent sleep, and every part of me wanted to take another day off.  My legs were still stiff/sore, my eyes were gritty from allergies, and my knee was hurting for some reason.  After dashing out into the rain to get my boys off to school, I came home and read some of my old blog posts.  It was addictive reading them, some of them inspiring me more than I knew, and some of them making me regret not staying the course.  I would have been so close to goal by now if I had continued.  Ah well, can't be fixed now.  After I pried myself away, I went to the gym for a quick back/biceps workout.  The T-bar rows felt really good in my back, but still irritate my knee a little.  I had mixed feelings about that.  On one hand, I know I am high risk for re-injury, but at the same time, a lot of the things my physical therapist has me doing also irritate my knee slightly, so it must be safe.  Actually, they smoothed out some splinters on my thigh and shin bone during the surgery too, and it was my shin bone that was irritated, just below the knee.  At any rate, I did only two back moves and two biceps moves, and got out of the gym.  I didn't have as much energy as I wished I did.  Part of that is the music I think, when I was on my way to the gym, I was blasting some of my favorite songs, and I was in such a good place, mentally, but once I got in there, I discovered they painted the walls a dull grey color (they used to be so colorful) and it was sort of crowded with middle-aged men, it was generally quiet and the music was so boring and quiet.  I need to invest in an armband so I can listen to my own music I think.  So my big debut back to the gym lasted about 30 minutes, but then I came home and did my physical therapy, which is truly a full lower body workout in itself, complete with stationary lunges and something resembling a one-legged squat off a step.  It kicked my behind, and I am going to be very sore tomorrow.  Now that I am being made aware of some really weak areas of my body, I am suspecting my entire body is weak.  I'm glad I have the tools now to fix what is broken.  I imagine I will be able to increase my strength quite a bit if I am consistent.
When I came down with Shingles last fall, it made me re-examine my thoughts about health, and not just in a trivial way.  Part of my new definition includes having a strong structure so as not to do damage to the surrounding joints, and eating for sustainable health and earth.  It isn't about the short term anymore, or looking cute in an outfit, it has to be long-term.
I am starting to benefit from this way of thinking and living already.  Due to the work I've been doing strengthening my hips, my sore hip is feeling so much better, and doing achiles and fascia stretches is helping my heel pain go away as well.  It's a relief and a subtle reminder that if you take care of your body, it can do amazing things!
Looking forward to a relaxing weekend with my family.  Hope yours goes well!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Arrow

I am forcing myself to take a break from activity today, to let my body catch some much needed rest.  It isn't easy because I am starting to see some positive changes, which makes me want to push and push, but it is necessary.  I have been craving higher fat foods today, and I have used healthy foods to fulfill.  I am still tracking and still drinking a lot of fluids to help.  Usually when I start craving fats, it is a precursor to my body about to step up the metabolism another level, and if I listen to my body without binge-eating, I am almost always rewarded with awesome results.
It has been really nice relaxing for a change.  I feel rested and ready for my whopping 2 hour shift.
Since not much else is going on, I will leave this image I swiped off someone on Facebook.
Have a great Thursday!
I love this!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Trophy for Atrophy?

Every morning when I wake up, I can feel the reminder of the previous day's physical therapy exercises, my entire lower body feels like it has been through a war, and it makes me feel like I need some rest.  Since my knee has been feeling so much better, and my time off is starting to lessen, I am having a hard time reigning myself in from trying to tackle the world.  So each morning before I get the kids on the bus, I plan out what I think my body can handle.  I was going to take a day of rest yesterday, but the beautiful weather had me out walking for more than an hour.  That walk made my hip and heel hurt tremendously, and I still had to go to work, where I was standing 100% of my 2 hour shift.  Despite taking 2 ibuprofen before work, I was in pain when I got home.  I did my physical therapy and added a couple stretches for my foot.  This morning, the foot felt a little better, but my whole lower body was sore, so once again, I decided that I really should rest a little.  Then I changed my mind, thinking that a bit of time in the pool would probably be therapeutic for my hip.  To be honest, other than during physical therapy exercises, my knee feels so good that I don't even think about it anymore.  That is so amazing!  So I was in the pool a little less than a half hour when the pool began to fill up with people, and I realized a class was about to start.  I thought to myself, what the heck!  I was wondering about this class anyway, I might as well try it out.  I figured it would be a half hour class, and that would be a perfect amount of time in the pool for one day.  All of the elderly, chatty ladies introduced themselves and made a big deal that there was a "new student".  My how formal, I thought.  This was starting to feel like some kind of club that I had sneaked into by mistake.  The first twenty minutes of class consisted of stretches and pool walking, which I had just done by myself before the class began.  Then we moved into using empty bleach containers to simultaneously keep us afloat and act as weights (OK, confession, it was kind of hard to push the empty bottle under the water with one hand and not let it pop back up.) This was followed by a bunch of squirrely moves likes swinging your legs about and doing water jumping jacks and such.  The instructor was a funny thing, she insisted that people face front while in her "class", yet she would yell out the next thing we were supposed to do, then begin talking to someone instead of doing it herself.  Minutes would go by, and I was moving twice as fast as most of the class, who seemed to have stopped to chat with one another as well, and then the instructor would realize she was talking for 5 minutes and change to the next absurd move.  The most insulting thing about being in this class is that there were people watching from both the sauna and the weight room, young, fit people, and one girl was laughing at us.  It was more than a little humiliating.  40 minutes in and I wanted to get out of the water like nobody's business, but I knew it would cause a big scene and possibly insult the instructor.  My fingers  were severely wrinkled, one of the things I tolerate THE LEAST in this world, making shivers run throughout my entire body.  After an hour, we "cooled down" with some stretches and breathing exercises.  By the time I got out of the locker room, I felt like a wrinkled, chlorine sachet.  I had just enough time to get home to shower, eat and leave for my physical therapy appointment.
Today was my last appointment for physical therapy, a graduation of sorts.  To be fair, I could have been done last week, the way my knee is doing so well, but I really like my physical therapist, and she has given me a lot of extra tips and tricks on strengthening my hips and legs so I don't have such a high risk of re-injury or other injuries down the road.  Today she had me do stationary lunges and a move called egg crushers, where you stand on a step with one leg over the side, and keep your body and leg straight, bending only the knee on the step to lower the other leg to the point where it is low enough to crush an egg).  I was amazed at how weak my leg muscles are!  And because she told me I have weak hips (and that an overwhelming majority of people do, which leads to a lot of knee issues if not corrected) I have been extra aware of them, especially when doing things like lunges, if the knee has a tendency to turn in when you are doing a lunge, it is a sign of weak hip or quad muscles.  Back when I used to do lunges, I know one leg had a tendency to turn or fold in, and that is the one where my hip is weak and hurting.  Funny enough, it isn't the leg I had the knee issue with.  But I know I will have knee problems if I don't strengthen that hip, so that will be a goal of mine.
She gave me the OK to get back into the gym and do leg presses, but with the way my current PT exercises make my lower body feel, I think it might be a while before I need to train my legs at the gym.  How quickly the muscle atrophies when it's not being used!  One good thing I am finding out is that a lot of the issues I am having with my hips and heels are correctable by simple stretching and strengthening exercises.  I've just incorporated them right into my PT so that I make sure to keep up with them.
Food is on track, scale dropped a little, but not more than a pound, weather is beautiful and I am feeling so good!
Hope you are having a great week!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Babble

Since I began this journey, I have tried to convince myself that daily weigh-ins are not productive, but when I am seeing the numbers going down, it is hard not to look.  Less than 2 weeks ago, I weighed in at 181, and today I the scale showed me 173.  Every time I get "back on the wagon" I am so relieved that my body responds fairly easily to the changes, but this time I was really worried that it would be a much tougher hill to climb.  I am feeling the gravity of my age/weight, and the years of not caring for my body.  But slowly, I am starting to see changes in the mirror and on the scale.  I am noticing my clothes easing again and my a slight hint at some of that muscle I once worked so hard on.  I am realizing that the key to staying on top of this, is to be ever-present, to always remind myself what I am doing and why; weighing out choices and consequences.  And, thinking about long-term.
Today was an absolutely beautiful morning, sunny and mild, and even though I had such a complete lack of energy, and my hip/heel was bothering me, I decided to treat myself to a change of scenery and go for a walk along the riverfront in my city.  It was first walk intended for cardio since the surgery, and I walked for an hour, I was so enamored with the city and the beautiful weather.  And when I was done, I felt like I'd done my body some serious good, and a little more awake.
I caught myself wanting something not productive to eat on two occasions this morning, once when I was driving my kids to school and we stopped at a convenience store for "snacks"~ I opted for a root beer flavored pack of gum (sugar-free) and a diet coke, which I saved for my lunch.  The other occasion was after I returned from my walk.  I was home alone and could have eaten whatever I wanted in any quantity. I also thought about not tracking my food anymore.  Then I realized what I was doing, celebrating the fact that the scale was moving by eating "on instinct" which generally translates to portion sizes out of control and eating a little bit of whatever I want.  All those extra calories and sugars add up, even if it's just a little bit of each thing.  I was also very hungry, as it was after 9:30 am and I hand't eaten yet.  After I ate my oatmeal, I was fine, and staying on track was easy.
I am hoping this is a trend that continues.  I have never been a fan of tracking, it feels too fussy, but it really has helped me realize some things about my eating habits/ thought patterns.  I think the benefit of not following some sort of "diet" or plan that has been laid out based upon some majority/average person is good.  It is forcing me to think for myself, and see what is working and what is not working for my body.  I think the weight I'm losing right now is due to the fact that I can finally do cardio again, I'm not eating a bunch of unnatural, processed stuff (I'm not 100% there, but dramatically closer) and that I am finally paying attention to serving sizes.  Sometimes I am honestly amazed by what constitutes a serving size, and even more amazed that 1 serving of most things satisfies me.  Most people eat way more than they need to, because they assume they need a certain volume of food in order to stay full, but if you are eating the right things, you will be satisfied until your next meal/snack.
One of my latest favorites things I love to eat is Food For Life's 7-sprouted grains English muffin (one half) with 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter and five red grapes cut in half.  It tastes so much like PB&J it's amazing!  
My knee feels really good, and the weather has been really pleasant, and I don't even mind the easing back into work.  I think this spring is looking pretty sweet.
Happy Tuesday!  Hope your week is going great!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Positive Feels Good

The weekend was another great learning experience for me, and I found myself finally feeling some mental peace.  My husband was forced to work all weekend, which makes for early bedtimes and makes the weekend feel more serious and way less carefree than usual.  But I did some physical and mental housecleaning, and it turned out to be a nice weekend anyway.
Friday night we went to our new favorite restaurant, Noodles and Co.  We like it because it has a lot of variety, and you can substitute organic tofu on any dish.  The food is really good, it feels like a treat.  And my kids like eating healthy when it tastes this good!  I had some caffeine-free diet coke too, which really felt like a treat since I have been staying away from it due to all the horrific chemicals in it.  Right next door to the restaurant is Smart Cow, a frozen yogurt bar, with 24 different flavors of sorbet and frozen yogurt, and too many toppings to mention.  I got about half the yogurt I normally would have eaten and added one topping (pop rocks).  I battled with myself about it before getting it, we have gone through long stretches where a sweet treat after dinner was the tradition, but lately it's a 50-50 thing.  I knew I didn't need that sugar (it was fat free, but I'm sure it was completely loaded with sugar) and I hoped it wouldn't set off mad cravings.  But I gave in and had some.  C'est la vie.
Saturday, I spent nine hours spring cleaning in my house, cleaning out closets that haven't been cleaned in 3 years or more, and donating a whole heap of stuff.  It felt good to make some space and release some junk that had been congesting our living space.  It also made me very aware of how much more work I have to do.  Every cupboard, every closet, every room needs some serious organization and care.  It is not a mistake that this is also a metaphor for cleaning up my health.
Saturday night, we made our now-traditional family "healthy pizzas".  It starts with a whole grain tortilla, a little olive oil and some herbs, organic pasta sauce, a bunch of high-quality, organic greens and veggies, and a little non-dairy cheese.  When these babies come out of the oven, it smells divine!  And, as we keep tweaking the recipe, it comes closer and closer to tasting like Domino's Pacific Veggie pizza.  We all love pizza night, especially since it's new meaning is way healthier than what pizza night used to mean.  Sorry Domino's.  For an after-dinner treat, we had some Banana Babies, frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, on a stick.  Again, did I need the sugar? Nope.  I was especially vulnerable to the hormonal tides raging in me, but also, I need to break the habit of a post-dinner sweet, which my kids are getting all too accustomed to.  I didn't even like the taste of that thing, but I ate it.
Sunday was Mother's Day, and my husband worked again, so I spent the day with my boys, just hanging out and having a pleasant day.  They decided they wanted to "take me out to lunch" for Mother's day, so we ended up at Subway.  I could have eaten a veggie sub, or better yet, a salad, but what we had planned before we left the house, ended up falling apart when we got there, and we all ordered something different than we were planning.  I ate a turkey breast sub and had a bag of Doritos and a Diet Coke.  I was expecting to feel like I was really treating myself, but in actuality, I thought the turkey tasted like chemicals.  I asked my sons to taste it to see if they thought it tasted funny and they both said no.  I think my taste buds have just adapted to not tasting that stuff anymore.  It was another thing that I didn't particularly like the taste of, but ate anyway.  In hindsight, I should have taken the turkey off.  I ate well the rest of the day, but later in the night I had a natural coconut frozen fruit bar.  I was OK with the 9 grams of unnecessary sugars.  Sigh.
When I went back to enter something in my food log, and I looked through my day's eats, I felt aweful when I saw the sub and Doritos.  Everything else looked pretty good, at least within reason.  But it also makes me realize that this thing isn't about all-or-nothing all the time.  Moderation in everything, including moderation.  So I didn't beat myself up about it.  And tracking is also helping me stick to serving sizes, or at least be way more aware of them.  I wanted another fruit bar last night, but I was already over my carb limit for the day, so I skipped it.  Yes, it's just an app, but what it showed me is just how these things can add up over time.  Without tracking, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have had another pop without thinking about the rest of the day's content.  So it's good.  This is the longest I've stuck with tracking, and I've heard that people who track consistently and long-term usually have greater success staying on track.
This morning I weighed, just out of curiosity, despite having the extra stuff this weekend, and missing any form of exercise on Sunday, and I was happily surprised to see 175.  I'm definitely on the right track!  I spent 20 minutes interval training on a stationary bike, which felt good and didn't bother my knee at all.  I was sweaty after, but felt SO GOOD!  And I had an awesome physical therapy session today, mostly all of my flexibility is back and I am really just feeling great.  Finally I can MOVE again!  It's been a long tough battle with this knee, but I'm so glad I had the surgery.  My quality of life is so much better, and it feels so priceless to be positive again.  Tonight I go back to work, get my feet wet with 2 hour shifts this week.  I'm looking forward to easing back into things at a comfortable pace.
My week is surely starting off on a positive note, hope yours is too!