Friday, December 30, 2016

I'm not Worthy!

So yesterday I turned 44.  Yay for not being one of the many people who didn't make it to the end of 2016 because OMG what the heck is going on this year?!  Today is my mom's birthday and I took pause to notice this thing that she does, and how I adopted it.  "Don't get me anything, I don't need anything, it's really just another day, no need to make a fuss." This is my mother.  She had the same dress (looked like it was from the 60's) for most of my childhood, and only after several years of wearing it to functions, she became tired of it.  Did she get a new dress, you wonder with wild anticipation?  No!  She shortened it and took the sleeves off so it'd look a little different.  She always told us not to fuss, and she didn't really fuss, never splurged on things for herself, but spent freely on us, even though we were not very financially well-off.   I, too, started acting this way about my birthday.  Most years I tell my husband that I really don't want anything special, that staying home and ordering pizza sounds really nice after all the holiday madness.  He still usually gets me something, or we go out to eat or something.  One year he bought me an expensive eternity ring and I felt guilty because he spent so much on me- all his Christmas money that his folks sent him and then some.  This year, when he asked what I want I actually had something in mind, my favorite Aveda face cream that I love is almost gone.  I knew he'd get it for me, I buy it from a spa where he got me a gift card some years back.  He surprised me this year and got me another gift card for the spa and the (pricey) lotion and a really sweet, sentimental card with a genuinely wonderful handwritten message inside that made me cry, and it was signed by him and my kids and oh it was such a sweet moment.  My mother sent me a text message to wish me a happy birthday and I told her that I had a package coming from Amazon that would be delivered to her on her birthday.  Just some cozy things to help keep her warm, fuzzy slipper socks, hot tea and and inspirational mug, bath salts etc. because she doesn't like to turn her heat up due to the cost.  She didn't make much mention of it, but I know how she felt when I told her I was sending something; she felt guilty because she doesn't want anyone to fuss over her.
I was pondering this as I was getting ready for work; why do I feel like it's OK to be fussed over this year, is it because I'm thinner? Nope, its for the same reason that she doesn't feel people should fuss over her, and for the same reason that I used to feel uncomfortable being fussed over; believing that you are worth others' time/attention/money, etc.  It really comes down to self-worth.  My mother doesn't believe that she is worthy of being fussed over.  I didn't believe it about myself for the majority of my life either, that's why I always felt guilty when someone did something nice for me.   And for me, the change didn't come immediately, it didn't come after or because I lost weight.  On the contrary, I started losing weight because I started believing that I am worth having good health.  I am worth the space I take up in this world, and I am more than worth someone else's effort on my behalf. So if you don't already feel that way, do some soul searching until you discover it is true.  If everyone believed they are already a miracle simply because they exist, a lot less people would be depressed, turning to drugs or violence or gaming or food to numb ourselves from feeling that we aren't what we're supposed to be.  No one gets to decide our story for us. 
Dancing yesterday, because it felt so nice I had to do it twice, and an entire half hour on the stationary bike for me this morning, that is a new record, and I'm sure my legs will be feeling it for a couple days, but yay me!  I was actually able to do the entire half hour on the bike because I was distracting myself with the morning news while simultaneously looking at Facebook on my phone. My goal was to not use so high of an intensity level that I couldn't go for more than just a few minutes.  I was still nice and sweaty at the end so I call it a huge win. 
Today, I am just looking forward to getting done with "Hell Week" at work, the last week of the year when everyone jams in to try and use up their flex spending benefits before they use it.  Tomorrow my dad is coming for a visit, which I always love, and then later I will raise a toast to this year closing on a positive note, and welcoming the new year with open arms.  For those who are celebrating the new year, have a safe and joyful time!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Getting Down with my Funky Little Self

This week has been really nice, having the extra time in the morning due to my kids having the week off.  I can get up at my usual time (5 am) take the dog out and feed him and still have time to get 30 minutes of exercise in before eating and getting myself ready.  Today I danced.  To indicate how long it has been since I last made an effort, my most recent single-song purchased (to dance to) is Uptown Funk.  And, I have many older than that, dating back to the late eighties/early 90's, the days when I was out dancing with friends.  Oh yeah, it's definitely time to update my play list a little!  lol.  Dancing is something that is natural for me, when the music comes on I can't help but dance, and before long I get lost in the fun and a half hour I am a happy, sweaty mess.  A lot of times, when my time is up (usually dictated by my schedule) I am a little bummed out because I'm actually having fun and don't necessarily want to stop.  I don't really feel that way about any other activity be it walking, biking, or strength training.  Dancing gives my legs a good workout and even my abs get in on the action, and I know it's doing something because I do break a sweat.   Anyway, I danced for a good half hour and was singing and smiling the whole time.  I was really tired this morning too, because I took a nighttime sinus medicine at bed to help with drainage from this cold.  And once I got my shower out of the way, I was feeling pretty stinking awesome!  That is not something I can say everyday, so it's kind of a big deal as far as small miracles go!  So, as part of my no-diet mentality, I was also rejecting hardcore exercise mentality where if you aren't beating yourself up to try and get fit, you are weak and lazy (Oh I deplore that kind of thinking, even though it's meant to motivate I think it is very counterproductive) and I happened upon a hardcore-fitness fanitic aquaintence of mine on Pinterest and amid all the memes like I was just mentioning, she also had this particular one:
Now that is a sentiment I can get behind!  As I was dancing today I was thinking about how happy I am that I can still "get down" like that because it truly is enjoyable.
As I was getting dressed today I was a little surprised to see the way my body is changing because it seems to be changing in a different order than in the past.  This time, my hips are shrinking faster than the stomach area.  This is odd for me because my hip area has been a trouble spot for me, even when I got down in the 150's I hated how that part stuck out of my cute shirts and dresses while my stomach itself was much flatter.  It seems like every other time I started losing weight, my lower abs where where everything just stuck even when the rest of me was shrinking steadily.  This could be partly due to the uterine polyp I have recently had removed.  Even though the polyp was only a couple inches long, it caused my uterus to be enlarged to the point where breathing felt harder.  So, sometimes when I think about that surgical procedure and want to convince myself it wasn't totally necessary, I'm really happy I did it, not just for this tiny thing, but it reduced a lot of pain and led to easier breathing, even before I lost some weight.  My face is also thinning out, which is bittersweet because there's less fat there to prevent the wrinkles from taking over!  lol.  I try not to care much about wrinkles, I still look fairly young for my age and ultimately, who cares!  I saw a meme recently that said something about how other people's opinion of me is their reality, not mine.  Everyone wrinkles, everyone ages, the only reason we make such a big deal about it as a society is because we fear death and the stuff that comes just before it.  I think, if we truly find things in our lives that bring us joy, no matter what else is going on around us, we carry that joy with us all the way to the doorway of the next place we go and beyond.  That little piece of magic is what matters in life.  Have you ever met someone who knew they were going to die, perhaps someone who was diagnosed with terminal illness, and even though they were young, they felt content and were ready?  I have.  She meant a lot to me and she only had a little more than a year after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.  She was only 45 when she got the news, still a young grandmother who doted on her grandkids, and she spent her time doing the very things that brought her joy, being with family and friends, giving them a few more memories of her to take along after she left.  She was scared, of course, and worried for her own kids, grandkids and husband, but she seemed to have a certain sense of peace and contentment that most of the people I've met just don't have.  She found her joy and purpose in her family and she felt it every day until she left.  And her family still celebrates her and her friends still share stories of her and she was just a bright person.  I think one of the most meaningful things we can do is to find that in our own lives, and celebrate it and share it and show others how to find their own.  There is too much dark stuff around us, I think it's about time we find our individual shine to light up all the dark places.  With a new year around the corner, instead of making unrealistic resolutions I think I am going to vow to find and do more things that make me happy to my core.  How's that for a rocking New Year's Resolution?!  What do you resolve to do in the New Year? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cookies in the Lunchroom

So I finally got my lazy butt to do some cardio this morning.  It has been a long time since I've gotten up early to do cardio, and my body was a little reluctant, or more accurately, my mind was reluctant.  I started pedaling on my stationary bike a little before 6am, and about 1/2 hour before any caffeine hit my system (I won't make that mistake again, lol) and I got 7 minutes in before I reached a point where my quad muscles were getting sore.  I knew I could push through it and keep going, but I really don't want to be sore because that'll make me stop wanting to do it.  So I got off the bike and walked around the inside of my apartment for 13 more minutes.  My dog thought I was nuts walking back and forth, it was funny to watch his reaction.  I would much rather walk outdoors but it was super cold, windy and icy this morning, so I made do with the indoor walking, which makes me look like a crazy lady pacing back and forth.  haha.  It is all for a good purpose, and I will work up to longer cardio sessions but today I just didn't time out the taking of my reflux medicine/caffeine so I was still tired when I began working out.  That's not a great combo.  But, by the time I ate my taco salad and fruit, and had a couple cups of coffee, I was feeling pretty darn good.  I have missed that post-cardio calmness/happiness I get.  What I don't miss is the shakey feeling I get when I work out my muscles, and that has been one thing that has made me not do it in so long.  I will have to get past that feeling, it really only lasts an hour or so, but the benefits of strength training are so amazing not just for physique but for bone health, heart health, agility, balance, posture, and maintaining muscles that can support me as I age.  Did you know that after the age of 35 we lose 5% of our muscle mass every 10 years?! (  That's absurd!  No wonder we easily equate old age with failty.  I think, after 35 we start to notice little aches and pains more, and perhaps it takes longer for our muscles to recover, and most people have a mate and children at an age where we no longer have to lift them,etc.  It only makes sense that people become less active.  But I think, for myself, that is a really bad idea because I don't want to keep losing muscle until I can't do the things I think I should be able/want to.  I used to be stronger than people expected and now I feel like, because people usually estimate me to be 5-10 years younger than I am, I am weaker than expected.  When I had my physical exam earlier this month, my doctor tested whether or not I could twist and push all sorts of areas, and tested my hand strength and found everything to be normal.  But after releasing the grip on her hands I felt a tinge of pain run up my wrists and I was disappointed that I have not really treated my body very fairly.  Oh well, I can't fix the past I can only make right now better, day by day.  I don't think I am horrifically out of shape, but I am not a spring chicken anymore either! 
Yesterday in our office lunchroom, someone had left some cookies with a note "Help yourself!"  I am not a huge cookie person so it wasn't anything to me.  I have a really easy time imagining them to be dry, overly-chocolated (which tends to upset my stomach) and stale tasting by now.  This morning there were even more added, leftover, sad Christmas cookies that were cooked God knows when and people are trying to pawn them off at work.  The sad thing is, they will probably be eaten.  In the past I would have taken one without any thought, just to have something sweet or continue celebrating the holiday, or because my birthday is in 2 days, or because I will start fresh in the new year.  Any other excuse or justification could easily be substituted, if they are there for the taking, I used to have some, and a lot of times, I would eat more than everyone else to make sure I got my share.  Now, I am really indifferent to those cookies, even a little yucked-out by them because of how I imagine they would be this far past Christmas.  Not to mention, who knows where they've been before they made their way to the lunch room!  No thanks.  The sugar I did have during the holidays was not over-the-top, done in a controlled, planned manner and not very satisfying at all.  I think I truly am really discovering that I genuinely do not like sweets that much.  Maybe I never did, I was just using it as a drug, but it was a pretty ineffective one.  I think I was not wanting to see the truth before because I was afraid I would crumble without my crutch.  I'm not saying I never get sad or stressed, everyone does, but now it rarely makes me think of food when I do.  Hot tea, a nice soak in the tub, maybe some snuggle time with my dog or chatting with my husband?  Yep, that sounds soothing and theraputic, food sometimes sounds nauseating when I am stressed now.  When I think of how I looked, shoveling food into me when I was feeling bad, it makes me sad, like that person I was before didn't have control or even hope, I was just trying whatever I could to get through the drama of the moment.  Now, I feel like I have broken through a blanket of fog to find a clear day, and looking behind me I see that I was trying to wrap myself in that blanket without realizing it was the very thing that was suffocating me.  I am more at peace with food, my relationships, work, and generally every area of my life since I gave up trying to ignore what was bothering me and decided to explore and tear down the ideas that don't add up.  I didn't find this peaceful happy place by losing a bunch of weight, some weight came off of me because I stopped trying to make my weight the center of my life.  I know it's a cover for the deeper stuff inside, the stuff that hurts and nags and makes me feel worthless.  I knew that working on fixing that stuff was the key, and once I began, I was easier able to give up sugars, and once I gave up sugars (sweets) I was able to seperate the stuff I was using as a drug vs. the stuff I genuinely enjoy eating when I am truly hungry.  Sometimes that is a plate of tortilla chips with melted cheese, sometimes it's a chopped salad or a veggie burger.  It hurts me when I see people torturing themselves over not feeling in control of their cravings, especially for sugars or chocolate, when really what they need is to find inner peace.  It might not be easy, but it's not as hard as most people make it out to be; sometimes it just takes turning off the noise of all that surrounds us in the media, our coworkes on hardcore diets, and the endless Facebook posts of fad diets and runway models who are so emaciated they look ill.  The beauty about the whole thing is this: every person has the power to fix what is broken and it doesn't necessarily take anything (plan/diet) outside of themselves to do it.  That is scary to some, and maybe it seems like tough love saying, "Fix yourself" but to me it is a gift and a blessing that peace can come if you seek it out.  But it doesn't come in a smaller jeans size, from starving yourself or making a big deal about food.  It comes from being mindful, being aware of what is really going on and facing tough stuff face-on instead of trying to avoid it.  Food can't do that for us, our spouses can't do that for us, we just have to go in there and get it done.  In the end, you might find out that your perception of things was skewed and you were reacting emotionally to something because you were seeing it through a child's eyes and made assumptions.   And when it comes down to it, self-kindness is really what we need, to be the nurturer we wish we had when we were little, or when we were in high school or going through a messy divorce or caring for our parents.  Be the nurturer you wish you had for your own self.  You can even revisit things that happened to you in the past in your mind and allow your current self to defend and nuture your child-self.  It may sound silly but really it's empowering.  And who couldn't benefit from a little self-love and empowerment?  Geneen Roth, one of my favorite authors on mindful eating and self-care, says she does a quick meditation every morning to ask herself what blessing she already has.  It's a way to affirm that we are already enveloped in good things and to not be so quick to look externally for joy or peace.  I think that is a beautiful sentiment.  Being aware of all the great things we already have makes us feel happy and gratful.  No matter what you eat or what size clothes you wear, you have things in your life that you are gratful for if you look deep enough.  I am gratful for so many things and none of them is attributed to my physique.  And I'm so very gratful that I was finally able to let go of the diet mentality that tortured me for years.  I don't feel like I am in a crazed, temporary, on-the-verge-of-losing-control-type plan that will cause me to yo-yo and cycle and recycle unsuccessful and counter-productive behaviors.  I am finally free, and I've never felt better.  I wish this for everyone, I really do. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Giant Peaceful Sigh

Well, did you feel a big gush of wind today?  Sure, there's a hefty wind following up a freakish rain shower on Christmas night (in Wisconsin?  Raining in December?), but that gust of wind you may have felt is me letting out a long sigh that the holiday obligations are over.  Ahhhh.  So peacful afterword!  I realize that it is my unique perspective on the holiday, and it doesn't help that it falls in the middle of a season I am not particularly enamored with, but I am happy that things can just go back to normal for a little bit now.  And maybe that's the gist of my beef with Christmas, there is so much extra stuff to do outside the normal routine that I never feel relaxed until after it's all over.  Everyone got something, everyone ate something, we're good for a bit right?  It's harder having 2 kids with autism, when the noise starts bothering them, they make more noise to try and drown it out, and start to act bad. 
I ended up catching a cold late last week and I think it came to a head last night at our last family visit, when I was on the couch watching my son draw on the Silk app, and there was so much pressure on that particular nerve that simultaneously make you want to sneeze while also making your eyes and nose water/run.  When we left around 7pm, the rain was pelting on top of packed-down, slushy snow and ice and I was just so ready to be relaxing in my own, cozy space.  I had my fill of good food, cheesy potatoes, pistachio cookies, egg fritata and fruit, so eating clean after all that was welcome.  I did have some popcorn while watching the Office christmas episodes with my husband, but leaving all that stuff behind was easy this morning.
My solution for lower carb breakfast this week is taco bowls with veggie crumbles.  Beyond Beef is the kind I like the best, made from pea protein instead of soy so it has a nicer texture.  I tossed it with a lettuce blend, tomatoes, green onions, shredded cheese, taco sauce and a dollop of sour cream.  Not too bad of a way to wake up!  I am having a chopped salad with black beans and corn for lunches this week and I bought some organic, frozen berries, some oranges and bananas to boost my intake of fruits and veggies this week.  The only grains I have planned is the bun or bread (if I choose to have it) for my veggie burger I am eating at dinner.  My snacks are dry roasted peanuts and yogurt, and I always keep some fresh cheese for a solid backup plan.  Though I didn't really eat too terribly during the holidays, it feels good to be back to eating fresher foods.  I don't know if I can really tell that much of a difference in how I feel when eating more veggies/fruit but I'm sure my body appreciates it on a certain level, and it's a refreshing change from time to time.  In the summer I am going to make a goal of getting a good portion of my veggies from the farmer's market, by then I should have a good handle on foods/menus I enjoy and can just rotate certain things.  I have noticed, when I begin to get bored with a certain food it makes me want to eat something "different" or experiment with other things, and if I don't have enough healthy choices at home I will start to think about counter-productive foods.  Back when I was working out all the time and super on-track with South Beach Diet, I used to plan in cheat meals so I wouldn't feel deprived, and to help give me a break from foods I might get tired of.  That phase was where I ended up having so much meat (low carb, right?) that I got so sick of it that it ended up disgusting me, that's when I stopped eating it.  I still eat it from time to time, like over the weekend I made a chicken taco bake thing in the crock pot and had some (so good, especially on a sore throat), but it is my reminder to not eat any one food for so many days or weeks in a row that I actually don't like it anymore.  So, having a list of things I do like to rotate through week to week is a must.  Oh darn, more time on Pinterest for me! haha.
I feel a little beat up today, even though I didn't really do anything too physically strenuous over the weekend.  I did slip on the ice a few times, and I'm happy I am agile enough to catch myself, but it always ends up hurting for a few days because my body's just not ready for the awkward way it twists and bends on the ice.  Did I mention I am probably the least graceful person you will ever meet?  I can laugh about it now, but I'm not sure how funny it'll be when I'm 60!  Hopefully I won't live in an icy place by then! 
I was meaning to start working out this morning, to try and develop the habit, and while my plans went a little astray, I was able to get the dog out for an actual walk around the neighborhood, so by the time I got to work at noon, I had already logged around 6,000 steps on my fitbit.  Not too bad.  That's where I slipped on some black ice so now my hip is sore, which will make me have to stretch today to get it feeling better.  Woe is me!  lol.  It seems like everything I do there is a realization that there is more work to be done.  I am conquering the compulsive eating like a champ, then the realization that I need to add cardio to get my blood sugars down, then the realization that I need to make sure I stay agile so I don't break a hip on the ice, and I'll need to keep my muscles strong so if I do fall I can get myself back up off the ground, and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to work on balance, and all that will make me sore so I'll have to fit in some stretching time. Whew!  No wonder some people never venture out to try and change things, it seems like a long string of things to fit into a day or week.  But, I think, if we work on a few things a few days of the week, and try to stay consistent, things have a positive way of taking care of themselves.  Balance and strength training can often be combined, and stretching and strength can too, and yoga can mix all three in one.  So, if I am creative and consistent I can make it work.  The question is, will I?

Friday, December 23, 2016

We've Got This!

So, I might be a total Scrooge, but I am not fond of this time of year at all.  Firstly, I am not Christian, though I have nothing against the faith, but I don't, in my immediate family, celebrate the holiday.  Our extended family does, and we do go to the celebrations out of love and respect but we don't do the whole putting up of a tree and getting gifts for people.  That in itself is a little awkward because people insist on getting us gifts even though we have pleaded with them not to, but we don't give back.  To me, the spending time together is more meaningful.  There are so many people out there who have basic needs not getting met, and it seems silly to be spending money to get someone something they may or may not enjoy.  And being an optician, my work is usually pretty stressful this time of year as people wait until the end of the year to try and spend their remaining flex dollars, and glasses are one of the best ways to spend it.  The rush and stress of the holiday season wears on me, and I am usually so happy to see it go.  Bah humbug, I know!  I just don't typically see the holidays as being calm and peaceful, which is what I feel like it should be.  The holidays burn me out and I don't technically even celebrate.  So, I am happy that the new year is right around the corner.  The days will be getting noticeably longer, the hustle and bustle of the holidays will be past and we can focus on goals for a fresh year.  Can you believe how fast this year went?  Sheesh!
I made it through "food week" OK.  We had our work pot-luck luncheon on Wednesday, and there were lots of yummy things like taco dip, beer dip, potato veggie soup (SO GOOD), and of course chips, candies and dessert bars.  When I saw the sign up list, and noticed almost everything on the list was salty I decided to try a new recipe and brought this:
From Pinterest
They were a big hit.  Fresh and cream-cheesy with a slight ranch flavor.  I ate a good deal of them and so did my kids.  I had a sample of most of the things, and allowed myself 2 sweet treats.  I am happy it didn't trigger any cravings, but it did make me feel a little ick.  Now that I know my blood sugars are a little on the high side, it is one more thing to make me want sugars less.  I think I'm ready to take this to the next level, which for me means bringing more fruits and veggies back into my diet, lowering the grains slightly and getting a variety of strength, flexibility and cardio exercise into my day.  My kids are off school all next week, so I will have more time in the mornings to get some of that stuff done, and after that I will switch to getting up earlier to get some sort of activity done.  I'm thinking, when summer comes around, with my kids off school, I will have time to get the dog out for a good morning walk.  I was supposed to do that last summer and somehow never found the motivation. 
The temperatures have gone up considerably, if only temporarily, and it sure does make winter a smidge more tolerable, and when I let nostalgia visit, remembering being a kid and playing in the snow for hours or ice skating or sledding...OK, I can appreciate the snow a little bit.  I will never be a snow-lover but I think I can reach some level of tolerance.  Although, we have some slippery stuff coming the next couple days, with mixed freezing rain and snow etc.  I'll see how I feel after all that!  It's a big deal for me to get even to the point of tolerance, and helps me let go, even just the tiniest bit, of my disappointment over not moving to Sacramento.  It's progress.  It will still take some time, but I'm grateful for every bit of forward momentum I can get.
Someone on Facebook shared a silly quiz type thing to tell you what 2017 will bring for you, the type where words flash on the screen and you take a screen shot to see what your answer is.  Most of my friends got silly things like "tacos" or "a new bae" but my answer was "deep healing".  Even though it was a meaningless quiz on Facebook, I just shook my head affirmatively and said to myself, yeah, that's right; I will have deep healing in 2017.  I'm already starting!  And today, because more friends were sharing I tried again and my answer was "Strength".  So, silly though it may be, I think both of those answers will be true because I am finally ready to make it happen.  Who else is ready to put 2016 behind them and start the fresh new year with renewed enthusiasm and strength?  I say, let's do it!  We so totally have this!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting On

The results came in last evening, all except for my vitamin D test, which typically takes a week or so.  So compared to last year, my cholesterol levels are looking pretty good.  I lowered my bad cholesterol and my triglycerides, but my good cholesterol also dropped.  I'm still in the normal range of good cholesterol, but I'm closer to the lower end and this is one reading you want to be higher.  My blood sugar was also on the high end, 1 point over normal, which is concerning.  Before, when I was in horrible health, my triglycerides were really high, my good cholesterol was really low and my blood sugars were high.  Some of the numbers improved dramatically when I started South Beach Diet, but my doctor told me for some people, the only way to improve HDL (good cholesterol) and get their blood sugars lower is to add exercise.  It worked for me in the past, so I think, even though my numbers are in the normal range, they are borderline and that's not good enough for me.  I am doing this to improve my health and these tests are the best indicators I've got.  Besides, this morning as I was getting my boots on to take my dog out, I felt an annoying twinge of sciatica kick in and I realized I am not really honestly treating my body in a way it needs in order to stay strong and flexible, and to help me avoid pain.  Now that our move is behind us, I have to make exercise a priority.  My excuses to this point are this: my husband, when he works, gets up at 4:15am and he is on our stationary bike at 4:30am.  By the time I get up at 5am, there is just enough time for me to get the dog out (because he takes so stinking long to go), eat breakfast, get myself ready for work, get my kids ready for school and get them to the bus stop.  I get a quick 10 minutes after they get on the bus before I have to leave for work, which I usually spend petting the dog or playing with him.  I work until 5PM, then when I get home I have to take the dog out again, help the kids with homework, then cook for myself and them.  By that time, it is usally 8pm ish and I don't want to work out too close to bed or I have a hard time sleeping.  But my excuse is weak.  My husband works a continuous shift, which means he doesn't work every day during the week, some weeks he only works 2 days because he worked 12 hour shifts all weekend prior.  So, on the days he works, he'll be up using the bike, so I can dance or do strength or something else in our bedroom while he's on the bike.  That means getting up at 4:30.  Honestly, his alarm wakes me most mornings and enough times I have a hard time falling back asleep anyway.  The days he doesn't work he sleeps in so I can go use the bike.  I didn't think of that plan before, probably because I like having an excuse so I don't have to exert myself!  I have been going to bed around 9:30 so getting up at 4:30 should be no big deal.  I thought about doing a quick workout after work, which could be an option, but it's so much harder when the kids and dog are all awake and demanding attention.  So, mornings are best, plus it'll boost my mood and energy before I head out into the blustery winter for the day.  I am hoping that next year when I get the tests run again, my numbers should simply sparkle!  That's the goal at least.  I really don't like my blood sugar numbers being high, especially since I am not eating sweets right now.  It makes me cringe to thing of what my numbers would have been if I'd done that test over the summer when I was eating candy every day at work.  Diabetes does run in the family, but I plan to avoid it.  I am not planning any drastic changes in diet, I don't want to get obssessive about food again, but I will add exercise.  That's not too much to ask of myself, it'll make me feel good and improve my health.  Now, had I tried to start doing it all at once, changing my diet and sacrificing sleep for workouts, I think I would have dropped out by now, but since I already have a strong foundation of eating under control, I think a half hour of exercise each morning is not that much of a commitment or sacrifice. 
One interesting thing I found about raising good cholesterol levels was that having one alcoholic drink a day is actually a scientifically proven way to improve good cholesterol readings.  Since all my liver and kidney labs were really good, I may impliment that, keeping sugars in mind.  Exercise is key, but wine might be a nice treat at dinner.  Oh the things I have to go through in the name of health, lol. 
So that's my new plan.  I will get the calcium scoring, and get moving, and have more wine.  I am also still looking into getting myself to ditch the carbs at breakfast, I have heard that it makes eating lower carb throughout the day easier.  I will just have to suck it up and cook a little bit in the already-short-on-time morning. So I have enough to try and get figured out as I try to kick it up a notch.  I think I am ready for this.  I have a year to make good progress, and hopefully by then it will become a habit just like the eating has.  Hopping on the rollercoaster, I'm either going to freak out or have the time of my life.  Either way, I'll never know if I don't get on. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Snow Storm that Wasn't

Anxiety tried to get the better of me toward the end of last week, with my mother and my doctor appointments and the dreaded Snowstorm Bailey all mixed in with impending horribleness of the monthly about to knock on the door any time now.  I am so glad I took last Thursday off to get stuff done.
My physical exam was first, and I was a little stressed out in the morning because my appointment was scheduled early and I ended up having to drop my older son at school because making him walk when it was -22 degrees with the windchill was not going to sit right with me.  But, in the end, the timing was perfect.  I was immediately comfortable with her, this middle-aged, overweight woman who was warm and smart and even shared a few funny ancedotes with me.  I was all ready for all my numbers to be good.  First step, the scale.  I have looked to this moment with bittersweet anticipation.  I know in all good sense, that the number doesn't mean much, but I admit I was curious where 2 and a half months of eating better, with very little exercise, got me.  It got me from a starting point of 206 down to 190.  That was my first disappointment.  It was a kneejerk, emotional reaction, but I did realize that I had already eaten for the day, and I reminded myself that 16 pounds gone is damn close to 20 pounds less than I was.  My new doctor was impressed, or at least feigned it well.  Blood pressure came next.  I was pretty positive this would be improved, especially since I hadn't had any caffeine before my appointment, so I was surprised to see 130/92.  That bottom number is definitely high for me.  That bothered me more than the weight thing, because as long as I am healthy, I really don't care about the number on the scale, and I have always considered blood pressure a huge indicator of health.  Heart disease runs rampant in my family on both sides.  I tried to ignore that and answered her laundry list of questions about have I ever had a broken bone, and have I ever been told I have degenerative disease, etc.  As I answered all of her questions, the only ones that made me cringe a little were the one about my caffeine consumption and the one about how often do I go to the dentist and what state are my teeth in.  It has been 12 years and I am starting to notice some of my fillings deteriorating.  Cringe.  I hate the dentist.  Honestly, up until a few years ago, I don't think we could have afforded to go get things fixed, the dentist is SOOOOO expensive even with insurance.  But now I have no excuse other than I know I'm going to get lectured and I'm afraid to know how bad my teeth are.  I am noticing in other weight loss blogs that lack of good dental care is somewhat common in people who are overweight.  I guess we take lack of self-care to every level.  Anyway, the physical was fine, since I had the polyp removed and the NovaSure procedure done we didn't have to do the typical stuff.  She looked at a bump on my upper arm and thinks it's a scar under the skin, but it a little concerned that it changes shape/flattens out sometimes.  I may decide to have it removed at some point.  I had some blood work done today so I'll know what my cholesterol and vitamin D levels look like.  She is recommending calcium scoring for my heart, to see how much plaque is built up in my arteries, since there is such a strong family history, but she said if my cholesterol is in a good range that it may not be necessary.  It's only $50 if my insurance doesn't cover, so I think I might do it regaurdless.  My dad had 5 blockages in his heart and 3 of them were more than 90% blocked, he didn't have symptoms until the day his wife took him to the doctor.  Scary stuff!
After my phsical I had my mammogram done, which doesn't really bother me, especially since I don't do self-exams.  My doctor actually told me that they are no longer recommeding self-exams anyway, I guess it's really not very effective, especially if you have a lump big enough to feel on your own.  Yearly mammo's are better.  That was done quickly and I was off to the grocery store, haircut and Target for a few odds and ends.  I wanted to make sure I didn't have to do anything over the weekend while we were getting the snowstorm.  Then my last appointment was at 3 pm, my allergy doctor who put me on an acid blocker under the assumption that reflux was causing my breathing issue.  Since I have been on the acid blocker I have had a ton less junk in my throat and haven't felt like I can't breathe.  Amazing what the stomach can do!  My blood pressure was retaken at this appointment, and it was much better, 126/72.  That made my whole day!
Friday there was a big buzz/panic all through the city.  A bunch of places were closing early and reports were coming in about how aweful the roads were.  I was nervous to drive home, but once I got on the road, I just talked myself through it, the roads were really not too terrible.  I was even comfortable enough to stop at the corner grocery and pick up a few extra bottles of wine so we could be even cozier while being snowed in all weekend.  We ordered pizza and watched the Office and drank wine.  It was cozy and relaxing, especially since I knew none of us had anywhere we needed to be all weekend. 
Saturday it snowed more and while it was pretty, I was happy I didn't have to drive in it. 
I think all together it ended up being only 5 inches instead of the 7-11 that was predicted.  I still stayed in all day and finished unpacking and hung up all of our artwork/decos.  It felt really good to finally have everything put where it belongs.  There's something so refreshing about organization; probably because it is so very rare in my house!  The rest of the weekend went smoothly, and it sure was nice to stay in for an entire weekend and get things done.  I didn't go too crazy with eating because I was too busy to stop and I drank a TON of water.  Other than 2 pieces of pizza on two different days and some wine, everything else was pretty clean.  I'm OK with that because my weekdays are usually pretty clean.  My anxiety over the snow was what drove me to have wine, I haven't had any in a few weeks, but I'm OK with having some wine from time to time too.  Everything is going in the right direction so far.  If my cholesterol tests come back bad, I will certainly have the calcium scoring done and add exercise into the mix.  If my cholesterol is fine on my current program I may just keep plugging along the same.  I am eager to find out the results. 
Well, I hope everyone who got hit by the snow made it through OK and for those who are in warm areas, appreciate every minute of it this winter!  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

My mom is feeling better and so am I.  I was pretty stressed out worrying about if I was going to lose her.  She hates being a burden so much that she will lie and say she's doing better when she's not, just so no one has to go out of their way to come check up on her.  Finally, my aunt and sister both checked on her yesterday and she was feeling much better, and was eating and drinking again.  That felt like a really close call.  She has said she won't wait so long to call for help next time. 
If you have read my blog before you may already know how much I loathe snow.  I actually have a good deal of anxiety over driving in it, so much so that there have been times when I am driving home from work and have spots before my eyes from the extreme anxiety/stress.  It's one of the main reasons I pushed for us to move to California, and I almost got my wish.  Almost. 
Well, we've had one good snow storm already, which equated to about 4 inches last weekend, not impressive by Wisconsin standards, but in my own loopy head I was and have been sweating the driving because now that temperatures have dropped below zero (with the windchill) all the stuff that was in the process of melting over the weekend has frozen into slick ice.  I did actually slip on the ice while walking over the weekend, and while I didn't fall down, trying to regain my balance made me twist both feet in an awkward way and it hurt for a few days.  The combination of getting older in a slippery place is not my cup of tea.  However, I am trying to figure out a way to be OK with snow because I don't know if my husband is ever going to want to move away from here.  It depresses me to think about it.  Someone posted a picture of Sacramento on Instagram today and it is one of the most charming pictures I've seen in some time, the trees still have colorful leaves and it was raining, and I checked the temperature for today it is going to get in the 60's.  Sigh.  Sounds absolutely perfect.  Meanwhile, when I was getting my kids to school this morning it was -7 with the windchill and overnight temperatures are going to get -25 to -30.  Why do I live here?!  I was complaining about the weather with my older son and at the end I had to throw my hands up and say, "Well, living here is probably making us tougher, huh?"  Complaining about it does nothing but make me feel worse so I am going to try to not complain about it too much.  That might be hard since we have another storm moving in that is forecasted to drop 7-11 inches of snow on us Friday into Saturday.  Ugh.  I feel like I have to plan my life around the weather, now trying to figure out how and where I should go for groceries so I don't potentially end up off the road on the other side of town.  I ruminate on these things, and I know it's not good for me.  I really should just go get some therapy or medication for this issue. 
This wasn't meant to be a weather-bashing blog but here I am.  Not sorry, I know there are plenty of people out there who feel the way I do.  Many of them feel stuck here because they have houses or don't want to leave for family,etc.  I am not stuck.  My last kid should graduate high school in 2023, that's only 6 years.  Maybe we can revisit a move at that point.  I may be ready to lift and haul stuff again by then. 
Speaking of moving, while I don't really give my Fitbit Zip much thought, I did look at my steps taken during the move, because I was so exhausted from the extra activity I was curious to see where I was at.  My typical steps per day, at least on work days, is somewhere between 7,000-10,000.  Check out this reading from last Saturday:
26,000 steps in one day, which came out to just over 10 miles!!  The gears started turning in my head and I was thinking about what if I could do that on a regular basis?  My hips, knees, feet and back were all miserable after all that activity, and it was driven by the fact that we had to get all of that done, so I'm not sure I can talk myself into doing all that.  Besides, I am not walking outside in these conditions so the walking thing couldn't happen until spring.  I have a stationary bike I never use and it is dead center in my living room.  Even when I have ten extra minutes in the morning I completely forget about it.  Luckily, my husband uses it nearly every day so it is not going to waste, but I really need to be using it more often.  It could be a great stress-reliever after work. 
Tomorrow is my annual physical exam and I am feeling good about it.  I know I have lost a little weight due to how my clothes fit, and I'm expecting my blood pressure and cholesterol to be good too now that I don't eat sweets, but I think as an obese person, I still always get a little tense going into a doctor's exam from all the years of bad experiences; bad readings on blood pressure, bad numbers on the scale, really bad triglyceride levels in the past, bad iron and D3 counts.  I will do a meditation tonight to recenter myself and remind myself that I am healthier now than I have been for about a year and a half.  And, no matter what the results are this time, there is time and space for improvement, and I am making the positive changes in order to see those things happen. 
Today I am gratful that my car started, that my kids have nice warm winter gear to wear and we were not late for the bus, and that the snow is not coming for a couple days yet.  I am gratful I still have my mother and all my loved ones still with me.  I am gratful Friday is coming, and with snow also coming, I plan to stay inside, start organizing my new place and maybe sneak in some reading or movie time while snuggled under a warm blanket!  Maybe there is a reason to like snow aferall!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

When Breathing is Tough

Well, our move is finally over.  It sucked every bit as much as I imagined it would. I spent Friday night until about 10PM getting more stuff out of cabinets and closets so it would  be ready to move, moved all of the remaining stuff (with help from my 13 year old son)on Saturday, and took care of all the cleaning on Sunday.  My husband worked 12 hour shifts all weekend so I made sure I took care of most of what was left so he could rest, especially since he did all of the really heavy lifting earlier in the week.  By the time it was all said and done, I think the only part of my that body didn't ache was my eyelids.  Even my feet hurt because I slipped on some snow/ice outside and bent both my feet in a bad position.  That only deepened my absolute adoration for snow.  Not! 
The biggest thing I learned is this: cleaning the oven SUCKS and I would rather pay someone to do it than ever have to do it again.  There has to be an easier way, the stuff called "Easy Off" is a little bit misleading! Haha.  My fingers ached and I felt like the skin under my nails was peeling away from the nail.  I will have to implement the aluminum foil trick in our new place.  Anyway, it is done, and the manager complimented us on how nice we left the place looking.  And we are slowly getting stuff put away in the new place so it's starting to feel like home. 
Just after finishing cleaning on Sunday, I received a message from my sister saying she had to take my mom to the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing.  My mom is almost 63 and has been smoking since she was 11 so we all knew her lungs would likely be the thing that took her from us, but other than having a cough and getting colds more frequently than normal, she has been healthy.  My sister was giving me updates via Facebook, first that they may have to admit her if she wasn't better soon, then that she was a little better and might be able to go home, then when she was getting dressed her oxygen dropped again.  During that rollercoaster time, I began to think of the last letter I wrote to her but didn't send yet because I wanted to reread it to make sure it was stated how I wanted it to be.  I told her that she did an excellent job raising us and being a strong role model for us and I told her that I love her.  Why didn't I send that damn letter?!  I imagined the situation where people never get a chance to tell their loved ones just how much they mean to them, and that they love them before they lose them.  She was having a really hard time breathing, so much so that she couldn't have a conversation or walk across the room.  I was so worried, and after having a snowstorm the night before, the thought of driving an hour and a half to see her was filling me with anxiety. 
Fortunately, the hospital staff gave her steroids and breathing treatments and were able to get her oxygen levels up to a place where she could go home.  They told her she has COPD and that she should talk to her doctor about treatment options.  My mother is one of the most stubborn people I've met, so when I heard all this I knew my sister was going to be in for a challenge.  Since my mom lives alone, my sister and my aunt have been taking turns caring for her and checking up on her.  My mother, who got a degree as an operating room assistant but never took a job in the field, is refusing to take her steroids they sent her home with, is trying to get up and move around (even cleaned the snow off her car) and is getting very upset that doing these things makes her have horrible episodes of coughing and that makes her have a hard time catching her breath.  She keeps saying that she doesn't want to be a burden and end up "like grandma".  My grandmother was ill for a few years before she passed, and my mother and the same aunt were the ones that cared for her.  My grandmother had already lost her husband and became depressed, her mobility was bad from diabetes and horrific arthritis, and she demanded help from her children but cried because my mom made her feel so bad about needing help.  My mom would often tell her to stop being a baby and do some things for herself.  That's my mom.  She sees needing help as being weak.  She told my aunt that instead of needing help from my sister, she'd rather drive herself to a far-off desert and lay down and die.  I have been nervous that she is going to try to kill herself, but my sister doesn't think she will.  It sounds like she is starting to feel a little better, but we all know COPD is progressive and it will eventually kill her.  Now is my time to make ammends and tell her she is loved and treasured, even if my heart is reluctant to do that.  You might have guessed that we are not a lovey-dovey family, nor was my mother's own family.  It's hard to say nice things to one another, and that is a huge part of my own issues that have led to emotional and compulsive eating for me.  I am finally starting to heal some of that through books I have read and doing meditation or just focusing on the topic and thinking about the dark stuff I never want to think about, to see if I can see it with fresh eyes.  Maybe the guardian angel was here to tell me not to wait to tell my mother she is loved.  She needs it now more than ever, and it will be healing for me too.  I have to let go of the hurt and anger, she needs warmth now, even if she is reluctant to receive it.  I feel lucky to have a chance to express myself and heal these things before she goes.  She may get better and get on a treatment plan that will help sustain her, no one knows how advanced it is or how much time she has.  I am not going to waste any time showing her I love her.  I have to put my petty issues aside and be the carer in whatever fashion I can be. 
I am really gratful that I turned this leaf over in fall so that I can be strong for this situation now.  One of the main reasons I tried this again is because I was feeling like I wasn't breathing so well.  I, fortunately, got a clean bill of health after a breathing test.  I can't help to relate my issues to the ones my mom is now having, though I've never been a smoker but I've been overweight for the majority of my life.  In the past, I would have nearly eaten myself into a coma from all the stress, but instead on Sunday night, I had a microwavable dinner of chicken breast with mashed potatoes and gravy, and after only a couple bites, the dog got to it while I was checking on some food on the stove.  I gave up and has a few pieces of cheese and a glass of grape Crystal Lite from a wine glass to make it feel fancier because we are out of wine.  I had some popcorn with my son while we were doing homework too, but compared to what it would have looked like a few months ago, I was in control the whole time. 
It's a funny feeling, the switch from being obsessed with thoughts of food to food almost being an afterthought.  I've never felt this way before, even when I was doing good on a diet, it was always about getting to a certain point, then, in my mind, I could "relax a little".  I don't feel that way anymore.  This finally feels like I just changed my lifestyle.  It is hard to get people to understand that I am turning down sweets not because I'm on a diet, but because I simply don't enjoy them as much anymore.  I think instead of saying, "No thanks, I've given up sweets for now." I need to rephrase it to, "No thanks, I'm not much of a sweets person."  It is finally true for me.  People respond to the second one better because it is phrased in a way that doesn't make them perceive my not eating sweets as deprivation.  Isn't it fascinating that even others don't want us to deprive ourselves?  I have been guilty of this myself, with my husband who is one of the most disciplined individuals I have ever met, especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition.  I used to try and tell him he should relax a little and have a small bite, especially when his mom would make him cheesecake for a special event and he'd turn it down even though it's one of his favorite things to eat in the world.  He has loosened up a bit now that he's getting a little older, but now I see that I was doing to him, what is now happening to me.  It would have been different if he genuinely disliked cheesecake, I wouldn't even offer or discuss it.  So, for now on, I will simply say I am not real fond of sweets and leave it at that.  Hopefully that'll do the trick. 
Long post but it truly helped to talk about things.  If I can give one piece of unsolisited advice, fix your relationship with your parents, even if they are no longer with you.  Talk to them, write it down in a letter, send it to heaven with your thoughts if you have to, but heal those things that are broken.  If your parents are alive, it is most vital.  It will be healing and beneficial for you even if they are not receptive to it.  Tell them the things that hurt you, tell them the things you love about them, and tell them you want to put the past behind you and have a fresh start.  It is a great step toward healing some of the parts that make you want to eat when you are not hungry, or drink when you've already had enough, or gamble when you are broke and have lost everything.  It's not an easy step to take but the rewards are more than you can imagine!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Let Go

My tired, sore back is testament to the fact that I put more gusto into moving last night, and also to the fact that I have a really weak core.  That free workout I was thinking about was definitely put into place last night.  We got a lot done, my husband once again proving he is Hercules, but moving has a quicksand way of making you realize all the stuff you have because it feels like more stuff magically populates when you felt like you were making progress.  Needless to say, it's not going to be a real restful weekend, which is tough because work has been crazy stressful for me too and I could really use a rest.  We should have the majority of our stuff moved before the snow comes Saturday night, which is a huge plus, and the cleaning isn't that labor intensive in comparison.  My body is letting me know that I am in poor shape for all of this.  It isn't a surprise, I was absolutely expecting my back, knees and hips to be sore from moving, especially since we are bringing stuff down a flight of 16 stairs every trip, most of the time carrying heavy or awkward loads.  I am just not used to that much activity, especially at night when I normally settled and resting.  We've been getting to bed later than usual too, so I am all around just plain pooped out!  But I'm still rocking because I have to.  I am letting the joy of Friday take over despite the fact that it isn't the same as other Fridays given all the work I will be doing.  I think it'll be a long time before we move again! 
Despite all the crazy stuff all around me, and the growing exposure to Christmas goodies, I have not eaten anything crazy.  It doesn't even really appeal to me and as I said before, I am not really sitting around thinking about food or planning what or when to eat something "naughty".  That used to be a huge draw for me, the indulgent part of eating certain foods, but now that I'm not in the sugar-fog I can see that what I was hoping for the food to do for me, it really didn't usually do.  And now that I'm not eating much of the overly-sweet stuff or chocolately stuff, it makes me feel not great when I do eat it, so it's easier to resist.  Last night, for example, after we finished what we were going to on the move for the night, my husband and I settled into our beds for a little reading and phone time.  I had my usualy yogurt cup that I like to have before bed to help ensure I'll sleep through the night because being hungry makes me wide awake.  He made some popcorn, but he burnt it ever so slightly.  I took a small handful, maybe 12-15 pieces.  It tasted really good, but I hate the hulls, and I remembered a couple more things I needed to take care of (making coffee, having my son take his medicine, etc).  My husband handily finished off the bag and I was not even concerned about it.  That one little taste was fine, the hulls made me almost regret eating even that.  So maybe the key is not that I am being a food-snob because I don't want to gain weight, but more that I am much more aware of tastes and textures than I was before, and in some cases, I am finding that the things I don't like about certain foods are just not worth the momentary flavor.  I guess that's what they mean by mindful eating.  When I take the emotion out of the act of eating, I don't really like some of the stuff I thought I liked.  If someone had told me six months ago that I would reach a point where I would realize that I genuinely do not like chocolate all that much, I would have said they were certifiably insane.  Yet, here I am, able to have it close enough to smell, and even the really high quality stuff, and I really do not want to eat it.  I feel like some sort of magic has been unlocked in my brain.  I wish I could share this, as if there were a recipe to success, but I think it is something each person has to do on their own, with the right tools (books) and at a time that's right for them.  I have tried low-carb dieting on it's own and mindful eating on it's own, but neither were sustainable or met all of my needs.  I was worried that taking out the sweets would be a restriction that would make me rebel, and would work against the mindful eating (which tells you to have exactly the thing you want when you want it, but to stop when you are satisfied) but combining these two concepts has been the plan that seems to work for me.  I am sad when I see people who are still struggling, still tortured by food, negative thoughts and negative body-image, feeling like they are weak because they cannot will themselves to no want certain foods.  It's not about willpower, it's about realizing that food isn't going to fix the problems that lay beneath.  It's about delving into the dark murky waters for a swim, and relearning who and what you are, in the absence of other people's opinion.  And it's about letting go of stress and hurt from the past.  Because ultimately, you cannot be free if you don't let go. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reaching for the Light

So, can I just say this for the record?  My husband is amazing!  He moved all of our heavy furniture by himself without a dolly yesterday!  All those years of heavy lifting at the gym came in super handy I suppose.  I am really glad he didn't hurt himself.  When I got home, I took the dog out and ate a quick dinner, then started moving more stuff.  This is what dinner looks like during a move:
Moving totes make great tables if you are in a pinch!
I spent about 2 hours moving a few things, I couldn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I made an effort.  My back was killing me after just 2 hours, I can't imagine what my husband's back felt like.  We should have another good chunk of stuff in the new place tonight, and when I get home I will help move our mattresses, and we could potentially be sleeping in the new place tonight.  It is all happening so fast this time, almost like I don't have time to think about the things I am going to miss about our old place (of less than a year, lol).  We had huge floor-to-ceiling windows, central heat and air, and vaulted ceilings.  The new place has none of those and a less pretty view, but at least we won't be in danger of getting kicked out for noise we are making.  The place isn't really built very well.  I will be really happy when our stuff is all out of the old place.  The cleaning will be the easy part, and re-arranging and hanging art is the fun part of moving.  I hope I don't have to move again anytime too soon.  It's just a pain. 
Today as I was preening and getting ready I was actually surprised at how much smalller I look, and it seemed to have happened suddenly, as if my body just now got the picture that I was making positive changes and started responding.  I never thought I'd be so comfortable with food, even to the point where I don't think about it.  That's a pretty huge deal.  I used to think about food all day long, to the point of torturing myself, to have this freedom from all of that is such an amazing feeling!  I don't care what the scale says as long as I am making good choices most of the time, I am noticing my clothes getting roomier and parts of me are flattening/thinning noticably.  I can't believe all the years I spent torturing myself over willpower and super restrictive dieting was totally what was keeping me obese and super unhappy.  My mind is a little blown.  Every day I am gratful for finding the information that helped me turn this around.  I'm gratful to those who knew and shared their knowledge freely so others like me could heal.  Notice the difference in the terms "lose weight" and "heal".  One is therapeutic and freeing, one makes you focus on superficial external stuff instead of working from the inside out. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Just Eat the Damn Chocolate Already

My confession for today is this: I preen while getting ready for work in the morning.  I contort my body so it looks as thin and fit as it can and I smile pretty in the mirror at myself while getting ready and most days, despite my hair being IMPOSSIBLE to perfect, I feel like I look good.  I like my face at least.  And lately, when I have good posture, I would even say my upper body is looking better in general, especially my shoulders and neck/collarbone area.  I have always liked to see some definition there, it makes me feel more feminine.  So while I was preening this morning, I just got a really good feeling.  I was wearing a shirt that clings, and I usually hate the result of that type of fabric, but today I was thinking, this shirt doesn't look half bad!  That's a big victory in itself.  My mood was pretty high after that.  And, other than a couple days last week, my mood has been pretty good lately, I've been able to let things go a little easier.  That's a blessing. 
Yesterday at work, a business partner sent their annual Christmas gift:
Oh boy.  They are even more delicious than they look, we receive them every year.  I ate one and was a little overwhelmed by how sweet it was.  That thick, phlemy goo that inhabited my tongue and throat annoyed me and all I wanted to do was drink an excessive amount of anything that could get that crap out of my mouth.  That's not to say it didn't taste good, but my other senses were a little put off.  Plus, I never noticed it until now, it makes your breath smell pretty bad.  Despite all of that, I just couldn't resist finding out what was inside the white one and ate one more.  I really felt like it was not worth the negative sensations I encountered by eating that chocolate.  I put the rest in our breakroom and the scavengers quickly descended upon it to help remove the temptation.  In the past, I have nearly devoured the entire box myself, usually in less than a week, so I consider it another victory that on my second day being exposed to it, I want nothing to do with it.  Had I not eaten those two pieces, I would probably be ruminating on that damn chocolate in the pretty package, and if I decided not to eat any even though I was thinking about it, I likely would have eaten a lot of some other stuff trying to satisfy my brain.  So sometimes, just having a little can be a better outcome than trying to avoid something altogether.  It was a great lesson to have learned, and something I will use indefinitely. 
We officially start moving today, my husband will be working hard while I'm at work, which was part of the plan all along, but in the process of picking up the keys for the new place, the manager told us there has been a change of plans, and instead of us having unlimited time to vacate the old place, they would like us out by the end of this weekend. 
So the next 5 days will be exponentially more crazy than I thought they were going to be!  Luckily we don't have a massive amount of really heavy furniture to move, my husband and father-in-law will be able to do most of that themselves, but it is just more of a whirlwind than we were expecting.  My husband was really stressed out, but I just figured, yes, it will suck for a few days, but at least it will encourage us not to drag our feet on the whole thing.  By next Monday a lot will be accomplished and we can move on with life.  I can find peace in that thought.  I just want to feel settled; it hasn't felt that way since we knew we were potentially switching apartments. 
So, that's where I'm at on this Wednesday.  My mood is really positive, I feel like I can get through anything, which is good because we might be getting some snow tonight.  I like how things are shifting for me personally right now, I can't attribute it to weight loss because I don't think there has been a dramatic loss.  I feel now, how I always imagined being skinny would magically make me feel someday.  Content, peaceful, happy even.  What more could anyone ask for? 
Happy Wednesday!  Hope it rocks!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Anxiety Made me do it

Whew!  Things are whipping into a frenzied fluster of activity over here! 
The weekend was a little nutty for me.  It included coming home to my son's rude, snakey friend in our house on Friday night after work, something we were not asked in advance about and never allow.  They are 13 and did some sketchy things while they were alone, and took my 11 year old son along and left him stading in the cold for almost an hour.  That set the weekend off on an odd key.  I didn't sleep well Friday and my husband took a trip to Chicago on Saturday.  It's only a 3 hour drive, but I was worried about the traffic, his car has been making strange noises and he didn't sleep much the night before either.  After getting groceries, I spent some good time stress-eating.  I admit it, I knew I was doing it, and I just felt the anxiety oozing from me.  I don't like the feeling of being away from my husband and kids.  I guess there's work to be done there.  I brought the kids out to spend some of Christmas money they'd received early, and bought a few things to donate to a homeless shelter my work is collecting for this season.  Later Saturday evening, when my husband was heading back home, the kids and I ordered pizza.  All the chips and cheese (and a few cookies) I'd eaten earlier sat in my stomach so heavy that I could only eat 2 pieces and I was done.  My husband did make it home safely and all was fine.  I was a lot less stressed out on Sunday and ate my normal stuff.  It really woke me up to how crazy my anxiety levels can get, and how little control I take to try and get them down.  Part of my anxiety was in knowing that snow was coming, and it did come Sunday.  It is pretty to look at, for the first snowfall, but I do so deeply loathe it in every other way! 
Plantlife in the conservancy behind my apartment
I was slipping and walking like a little old lady so as not to hurt myself when I took my dog out.  Then certain muscles began to ache from walking so weird, and my toes went from numb to painful while waiting for my dog to just finish his business already.  I am trying to have an open and positive mind about winter and snow but I'm nowhere near it yet.  I still really really hope I live in a snowless place someday. 
Anyway, work has been getting super busy and we are getting for our move at home, we should get the keys tomorrow.  I know that's what my whole weekend will be, moving stuff from the old place to the new.  Sigh.  At least Sunday was a really restful day for me, I didn't do any housework (except laudry), I just snuggled in bed reading or doing stuff on my phone.  It felt really nice, especially since I know it'll be a while before I get to do that again!
Yesterday at work I had a lady tell me that I have an absolutely beautiful neck!  I was a little stunned and confused by the statement until she explained that she is an artist and notices these things.  She repeated it as if in disbelief.  After thanking her she left and I thought about that.  When I am off the rails with my eating, my neck looks just like any other neck I suppose, but when my eating is in control my collarbone always shows up and makes me look (in my opinion) fitter than the rest of me.  I actually like that part, it is the first place I notice weight loss in my body.  That comment was a little piece of reassurance that I am doing good.  Yes, I ate a few Oreos this weekend and had pizza and way too much cheese, but overall, I am doing pretty good.  Despite the stress from over-busy days at work, despite the anxiety of driving on slippery roads, I am still here and still good.  I totally got this.  Time to rock on!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Boringly Wonderful

Yesterday was a little on the nutsy side with stuff going on and tasks that needed to be tended to, so by the time I got a few minutes of free time at 9pm I indulged in a hot bath instead of blogging.  Oh, I thought about it, wanted to blog, but boy am I glad I took a few minutes to sink into the warmth.  The energetic, happy Amy had a harder time shining through yesterday, but towards the end of my shift at work, I decided to do a Random Act of Kindness and leave some cash in the elevator for whomever happened upon it.  I included a message to remind the recipient to pay it forward.  Even though I didn't get to see the result, it did lift my spirits a little and it did.  I recommend this as a way to make you feel good, especially if you can do it in a manner that you can see the reaction, say if while paying for your coffee you hand over a $20 bill to the cashier and tell them to use it toward the next customer or two.  Then sit down and see the reaction.  It is still rewarding if you can't see the reaction.  One time I put some cash in an envelope and dropped it in the hallway outside my department ( I work in a health clinic) and labeled it as a RAK and a boy about the age of 10 found it (it was $10).  He was so excited that he started to cry, and his mom let him keep it.  It was really touching. 
Well, here I am on Friday, tomorrow's grocery shopping day, and I am in the familiar spot of wondering what to have for meals and snacks next week.  I may spend some time looking at recipes, but it gets so overwhelming and time consuming that I end up dreading it.  I did find something new that I really like:

not a bad nutrition profile either, eh?  I was nervous about trying this, not really sure how the texture would be.  It was SO SOOOooo GOOD!  I put it in a tortilla with a little melted cheese, the texture was nice and spices made me feel awesome!  So, if the grocery store has more of these I may make this my lunch next week.  I still struggle with breakfast.  I typically have 15 minutes or less to eat breakfast in the mornings, so cooking something is going to be out of the question.  I want something healthy and tastey, that takes no time to cook/make.  That doesn't sound like too much to ask, right?  haha. 
This is our last weekend of peace before we move.  My husband is convinced it'll be an easy move because it is just across the parking lot, but for me the driving stuff from place to place wasn't the hard part, it's all the bending and lifting and stairs.  I am going to try to think of it as a free workout, if nothing else, that should ease my mental torment over the whole moving process!
This morning I put on a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a couple weeks, and I kept thinking I forgot to zip them and finally realized it's because they fit so much better than they ever have.  There's less belly down there to contend with, which is a sign that things are going well for me.  I do not struggle or stress out about food anymore (except for trying to figure out my menu for the week).  What an amazing feeling it is to say that and live it!  My eating is normalizing in that I can eat smaller amounts of things and be satisfied, and even if I nibble on something when I'm not hungry, it is way less and much easier to stop after a few bites.  When I think about what I'm eating and how it's going to affect my physiology long-term, it is easier to see I don't need something or to allow myself to have enough to satisfy the urge but then I stop.  The crazy compulsive eating seems to be slowly falling off and a happier version of myself is what remains.  I'm not dropping massive pounds, but I'm not obsessing over the scale or how many workouts I did each week, or every micronutrient in what I'm eating.  I was seeking my own sort of 'normal' with food and I think I've found it!  I'm glad I never gave up.  I never stopped reading books about emotional and compulsive eating and trying the techniques, I never stopped trying to find a way to make it stick, I never stopped believing that one day I'd make it happen without feeling tortured.  To be honest, this feeling, being able to feel normal around and about food, feels so much more amazing and makes me happier than junkfood ever could.  Getting off sweets makes this all posible, and I was nervous about it because for a good many months before I cleaned things up, I was eating loads of sugar every day, waiting for the time when I would be motivated to try again.  I think near the end, I was so saturated with sugar that I was actually sick of it.  That made it easier to change.  You know when you start craving salads that it's time to change because your body is begging for some nutrition.   Now that I think of it, I don't really have cravings much at all anymore, it's not something I think about anymore.  That might be a huge part of what makes this easy right now because I was never particularly great at being strong in the face of cravings in the past.  I also don't really look at junk food as something I can't have, but as something I don't really need or want right now. It doesn't serve me.  I have that stuff as an occassional treat, a handful of chips or a dinner out with my family, I know sweets are non-productive in general, and I feel really happy that I don't really crave them.  My tastes have changed, and if I am going to indulge, it is more the salts and fats I crave, chips with guacamole, chips with cheese melted on, buttery popcorn, sometimes even pizza, though it isn't on the top of my must-have's like it once was.  I think I can eat a certain amount of sweets without triggering anything, but they just don't make me feel very good at all, so then it becomes not really worth it.  I used to read blogs that said something similar to that and think that the author was trying to convince themselves of it, but now I know it's true, getting off sugars makes you want it a lot less, and after not having eaten that stuff in a while, having sugars leaves an aweful thick, phlegm in my mouth/throat and makes me feel dizzy and jittery, and sometimes gives me a headache.  It's the first time in my life that I can fathom the thought of being off sugars for the rest of my life, this is definitely sustainable for me if I continue to feel how I do now.  The key is being mindful, if I'd eaten that pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and decided that it was so good that I was just going to buy one pie for home and eat a few slices, despite the fact that it made me feel bad to eat it, physically, I could have easily been back on the sugar-crack path.  But I was mindful of how eating that made me feel, and I never would have been able to tell a difference if I hadn't first gotten off the sugars.  I know I'll have sweets from time to time, especially at holidays or events, but it will be the exception, not the rule, I lived with sugar ruling me for way too long and it tortured me.  I don't pretend to be the healthiest person on the planet, but I sure feel a lot better than I did, and just getting through life seems to be a lot less of a chore than it was before.  That's really what we who try to lose weight are looking for, isn't it?  Normalcy.  Boring, wonderful, abundant normalcy!