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


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!