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!

Friday, May 10, 2013

This Old Dog is Still Learning

I had a non-judgmental weigh-in this morning.  I needed to see where I am starting from.  Last time I stepped on the scale ( I can't even tell you when that was, but likely in the past 2 weeks) I was 181.  I have had several non-productive junk food sessions, mostly sweets, and mindless eating of chips with hummus, justifying it because the products are "good" in that they are minimally processed, non-GMO, vegan and organic.  In short, until yesterday, I haven't really been doing myself any great favors where my health has been concerned.  I have been doing some strange form of mostly-plant-based but when no one is around I will eat chocolate if I damn well feel like it thing, not every day, but a few days.  Some of that is caving to hormonal cues (which are based both in real physiological changes in blood sugars and in emotional tidal waves) and some of that is out of sheer confusion over food and how and what my body can do.  I am starting to learn about some of my triggers, which is going to be very effective in helping me battle my own self/mind/habits.  Here are some of the things I have learned recently.
  1. Stress is one of my biggest triggers for wanting to shove junk in my mouth, this isn't a new discovery, but for me my stressors have changed and I am working to discover what they are before they get elevated to a level of discomfort that makes me want to eat.  Positive or even rebellious mindset has been quite effective for me in the past.
  2.  Speaking of rebellious mindset, part of my problem with making the switch to all whole, natural, organic, non-GMO, plant-based diet is not that I know it is so much healthier and can cure or help to completely avoid many diseases including cancer.  I'm there on that.  But part of me is rebelling against it so hard because I equate it with my husband, who is hardcore in everything he does, and as of late, has been researching some really dark stuff (not food related)  that has put him in a really dark mood.  This makes me feel negative and dark and stressed out, as I feel like he negatively judges me as well.  I know better than to assume things, but I react emotionally and look at him as an extreme person, where I am usually most happy when I have some kind of harmonious balance between something really strict and something totally unrefined.  I will always have that little bit of rebel in me that wants to play devil's advocate or question the health of something.  My husband and I don't see eye-to-eye on certain things, such as medicating my son who has Aspergers/ADHD/Anxiety Disorder/OCD.  He feels the medicines are poison and only line the pockets of those who are evil.  I get that, I really do, but I am the one who the school calls when he is standing on his desk threatening the teachers, or when he has wasted half of his day refusing to do his work, I am the one to attend his conferences and IEP meetings, and the one they turn to when he needs something or they want to try something different.  I am doing the best thing I can figure out for him, and once we get through the tough teenage years ahead, we might be able to look at other options.  I know my husband has my son's best interests at heart, and is only trying to keep him from harm, but I hate that it causes such friction between us.  Whew!  Tangent and rant over.
3. Confusion leads me to search for euphoria, and that usually translates to food.  That doesn't always translate to bad choices, but the thought is always there, and I have to battle it.  I have been trying a lot of new, healthy recipes lately, and have found many of them to be quite delicious, but there have been weak moments too that have led to donuts or chocolate bars.  When I don't know how to make sense out of what I am "supposed" to do, I just do the complete opposite of logic.  It is a system that is largely askew in me, and I haven't discovered this little nugget until trying to switch to this new way of eating.  I have always done much better when I have a guide, that I can use like a safety net, that's why I did so well on the South Beach Diet for so long, it was laid out in plain English what you could and couldn't eat.  Right now I am using the Fooducate app to help me track everything I eat, but it still confuses me by calculating what percentage of carbs, fats and proteins I have consumed for the day, along with something it calls "food points", calories, and carbs (as that was a focus I set).  Yesterday I ate what I consider "healthy" all day with no missteps, and I was WAY over in carbs.  Then, when searching for low-carb plant-based programs all I get are people laughing about how that is an oxymoron because plants ARE carbs.  Does any of it matter?  My husband gave me some vague, unhelpful answer.  Maybe I'm just over-thinking things.  Since I know confusion is a trigger, and I am somewhat confused still, I have decided to just keep eating the stuff I feel is healthy, in amounts that are enough to satisfy me without stuffing me, and I know I'll learn more along the way.  I'm not going to freak out about carbs or make drastic changes or eat donuts just because I'm a little unclear about a few things.  When I get back to work next week, I have the option of meeting with a nutritionalist for free anytime I want.  I might just finally implement that.
4. Not opening the curtains leads to not getting off the couch.  Not getting off the couch leads to watching junky TV.  Watching junky TV leads to wanting to eat mindlessly and/or non-stop.  Eating that way leads to my body looking like junk, makes it harder to breathe, makes my blood pressure go up (my numbers have been high since the surgery), and makes me feel sad about myself.  Feeling sad about myself makes me want to eat junk to comfort myself (after all, who else is going to nurture me?).  All of these things lead to the vicious cycle that got me to the place I hated being.  Hiding (not wanting to be seen) and eating things in private to avoid judgement are two very ugly activities I know all too well, and they have been poking their ugly little heads back in my day, but I know about them and their goal, and I refuse to let them be my version of normal again.  Today I have me curtains wide open, and I have discovered that I really enjoy seeing life going on around me, particularly the pretty little birds that visit my feeder.
5. When I don't have anything to do, I don't do anything.  Seriously.  Not being at work right now has made me much lazier.  My procrastination skills are nearly perfected to World Record standards!  I have gotten a few things done around the house, cleaned out the garage and such, but compared to my overwhelming to-do list, I haven't done much.  I have found, on days when I have things to do, I get a lot more done in a small amount of time.  Like yesterday, I got my kids off to school, then sneaked in a 45 minute session in the pool, then went straight to physical therapy for another 45 minutes, then home, grocery store, picked up the kids from school and home to cook a new recipe, all before 5 PM. Anyway, it is true, that old adage about energy begetting energy.  When I output some energy I feel a lot more energetic and have a healthier mindset.
6.  When something is difficult or "fussy" or requires a lot of work on my part, I have to be interested or I just don't do it.  Case-in-point, tracking my food.  I am confused about the food/diet composition and what it should be, it is a bit of a hassle to document everything (even though all I have to do is scan it into my phone) and measuring/photos, are they really necessary?  I decided today, that I am going to stop looking at these things as hassles or work, and see them for what they are, tools.  If I stop tracking my food now that I've got some sort of schedule going, then how will I ever know where to go if I'm not seeing results.  And I have learned the lesson of the tape measure many times, the scale only tells part of the picture and often disappoints when you indeed are losing inches/fat that isn't measurable with a scale.  So I am going to keep using these things as tools.
  One of the courses I just finished was in Human Development, and there are several chapters about the aging process in middle adulthood (40-65) and late adulthood (65+) and it is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.  I am noticing older people around me and the varying rates of frailty.  So many older people come into my office to have their glasses repaired after they've fallen on their face, and I just can't help be terrified about aging.  Mainly because, with the damage I've done to my body by being obese for so many years (the vast majority of my life) I am concerned I will not age gracefully.  Some of that will be in my control, and some of it won't.
The gym I go to has a pool, and this is where I have started swimming.  Both times (yesterday and today) it has been filled with a variety of eldery people, and I am the youngest person in there by far.  I have taken note of the varying levels of aging represented in the pool, some are very thin and hunched over, most are very plump and limping, talking about their various falls and surgeries they've recently had to deal with.  But today, on only my second consecutive day of swimming in that pool, a group of four elderly people cheerfully invited me to join them in their conversation as I marched past them doing leg lifts and bends.  How nice, I thought, if they were my age they never would have been so open and friendly I bet.  What a lovely group.  I did my "therapy" in the pool and swam a bunch of laps to get my heart rate up, and then as I exited the pool and spent a few minutes in the whirlpool, I realized a class was setting up.  Many more elderly people entered the pool, and when I was done in the whirlpool I sat in a chair and watched, to see if it is a class I'd be interested in going to next week.  When I got up to leave, someone from the pool said cheerfully, "Come join us!"  I thanked her and said maybe next time, as I'd just finished my workout.  I noticed as I walked out, that they were all smiling as they did their water aerobics.  It really made me happy that I noticed how happy they all seemed, despite all their problems.  There is much to be learned from the elderly, and I am more willing and open to doing that now.
I start back to work part time next week, and at first I was feeling sorry that I couldn't have more full days off to myself, but now I think it will be good, it will keep me on my toes, get me moving more and ease me back into full days of work.  With my knee about 80% better now, there's no reason I can't go back, I have just been spoiled by the fantastic amount of free time, and the way the house is so so very quiet during the day.  But it will be nice to see all my coworkers and my favorite customers.  And to be around eyeglasses again, crazy as that sounds.
By the way, my weigh-in this morning:176.  I took measurements and photos too, will post soon.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

I GET IT!!! I FINALLY, AND TOTALLY GET IT!!!  And now I have joined the ranks of the league of OLWLTS (obese ladies who love to swim) moreover, it should be appropriately renamed Obese Folks Who Love To Swim (OFWLTS) as their are men in there too, and none of them are emaciated by any means.
I had surgery on my knee about two weeks ago ( 4-24 to be exact) and it has really gone much better than I imagined it would.  I realized, like most things in life, I was so worried about the anticipation and imagination of how things MIGHT be, when in reality I wasn't as helpless as I thought I would be after.  I have had a lot of limitations on what I can do, especially when I still had the stitches and bandages, but for the most part, I can find a way to do almost anything, given enough time to be creative.
I have been going through a really tough time emotionally.  I have been in such a funk over everything.  Not being able to work out, not understanding how to take weight off or what to eat or make with my switch to plant-based, not sure how to weigh out carbs/vs protein vs just eating whole, organic, plant-based foods from the earth and rolling with it.  Part of my struggle is in the changes themselves.  I have never been the biggest fan of change, especially when it involves a lot of thinking/planning/conflicting ideas.  I don't like to be tortured by thought too often.  So trying to figure out what to eat has been tough, trying to balance the carbs/fat/protein ratios even tougher.  I have started using a wonderful app called Fooducate to help me decipher what I am putting in my body and track all these things for me.  But today's the first day that I have actually done anything to support myself and improve my health.  I have been fighting depressive feelings since my knee started giving me problems, and it was still lingering after the surgery, maybe even worse.  I am fat again, not just a little more weight on me, but full-on, ewwww fat, most of my clothes from last summer don't fit me, and the ones that do accent my hideous parts that I don't want to show off anymore.  For most of the past two weeks since the surgery, I haven't gotten out of the house much, despite the weather being BEAUTIFUL, I hide myself inside my house in shame instead, energy level dead, and blame it on needing to rest my knee.  So not true.  I have not been in a good mental state with my weight regain, and I can see now, how re-losing the weight might be exponentially tougher for folks than the original loss, because after a re-gain, you have to try and fix your emotions/mind before you can start to conquer this beast again.  That is where I was at until I met with my physical therapist on Tuesday.
I love my physical therapist.  LOVE her.  She and I talk like we've been girlfriends forever, and even though she puts me through some tough love work, I am always a little disappointed when my time is up, because I enjoy her personality so much.   On Tuesday she asked what kind of physical activity I enjoy doing  and I told her I used to walk a lot and enjoyed running when I was able to, we talked about my 5Ks and how running caused me a lot of discomfort in the knees and hips.  She tested my hip strength and found my right side to be considerably weak, and showed me some exercises I can do to strengthen my glutes and my hips to help me run more evenly and balanced.  Then she told me that I can use the pool to strengthen my entire lower body and I can work up to walking and even running again if I want to.  Still not sure if I want to risk that, as I am now 30-40% shorter on meniscus tissue since the surgery, which makes re-tear a substantial risk.  But just hearing from her that running is not off limits was like someone opened up a door and let in some fresh air and sunlight.  My mood was immediately brighter.  So today, after I got the kids on the bus, I went to the gym and spent 45 minutes doing all kinds of stretches, bends, lifts, walking, running and swimming laps in the pool.  I haven't felt so good in months.  I could bend my knee way easier in water, and could easily "run" in the water.  It really felt good to feel that light, physically and emotionally.  When I swam laps, I realized how long it has been since my heart rate had been elevated to that level.  I was sucking wind after six laps!  But I kept doing intervals and by the time I got out of the pool, and my weight returned to my body, everything about me felt like it was glowing.  My knee was irritated, but no more than it is after physical therapy, and the feeling that I accomplished something for my health and my mind was priceless.  I am going to use the pool every chance I get.  I can't imagine it being anything but good for me.  I have also discovered that an exercise bike doesn't hurt my knee either, so I will be implementing that as well.
The most rewarding part of today was that, after putting in that time in the pool and feeling so so good, I couldn't put garbage in my body.  I know exercise is key to a healthy mind for me, and I am so, SO happy that I am finally able to do something!
I am going back to work part time next week, so my life will be a little more hectic than it has been in the past two weeks, and at first I was a little sad to see my beautiful, quiet, I-can-do-anything-I-want days get shorter, but today's positive mindset has made me realize that getting out of the house more will be good for me.
So that's it, I am slowly making a comeback, joining the pool crew, and starting to pull myself up by the bootstraps.  I am looking forward to getting some of this death back off of me.
Hope you've all been well.  Happy Thursday!