Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Little Steps Still Make a Ripple on the Water

I have been doing a lot of thinking about my weight and my health lately.  With spring upon us, thinking about making big changes is, for me, inevitable.  It's hard not to get swept up in the thoughts of cracking down and making good/big changes and seeing results and being happy.  In my mind all of that is wrapped up together.  It's a mental thing, something I've bought-into for a long time; that being good on a diet will make me happy.  And I must admit, there is a certain feeling of self-mastery that comes along to sticking with a restrictive plan.  My brain says, " I am being good, I am doing things that are going to make me thinner and I will like the way I look and that will make me happier." etc, etc, etc.  We've all thought and heard it a million times.  But life doesn't move in such a linear fashion, it is scattered and unpredictable, and assumptions are often discovered to be less reliable after the fact. 
One thing I do know, though, is that one small little change can have an impact on a multitude of others.  Big changes usually don't last long, at least, not for me, not where diet is concerned, especially when it is restrictive.  So instead of a huge dramatic change, like measuring and weighing every morsel or cutting out certain things entirely, I thought about the idea of implementing one small change at a time.  This is not a new concept, but it is hard for my brain to cope with because small changes mean slow/small progress in my mind.  So to say there is a mental roadblock is unfortunately true, but when I think of it as an experiment it helps me to hurdle over the roadblock. 
Lately I have been waking up and noticing how puffy it is under my eyes.  Yes, I googled it, because that's what I do.  There are a multitude of reasons why someone's eyes could be puffy, but one that sort of stuck out to me is water retention.  Of course it happens to all of us, but I have been noticing a lot more dry skin lately, which to me means that I have not been drinking enough water.  I used to drink about 2 gallons a day and now I'm lucky if I get half a gallon.  I still drink a lot of soda during the day.  So, without saying I am going to restrict soda, something I have been unsuccessful in doing anyway, I am going to make my one small change to drink more water.  It might be for a week, or a month or however long it takes to get back in the habit of drinking more water.  That small change alone will likely lead to me drinking less soda just by the nature of me only having so much room in my stomach for fluids.  I am going to aim at a gallon of water a day, which shouldn't be too tough if I am focusing on my goal.  I should be able to measure the effects by my skin, and I am interested to see if it will help the eye puffiness too. 
For now, that is the only goal I will be working on.  When I feel like I've got that change working well, I will add another challenge.  Things I have been thinking of are stretching every day for at least 15 minutes, of course cardio, eventually limiting my soda intake, reducing sodium, eating all the recommended servings of fruits and veg, and strength training to name a few.  There are dozens that have crossed my mind so I'll spare you the long list.  Some have to do with a harmonious household and some are health related and some are for mental health.  I don't want to try more than one at a time, though it's hard to get past that feeling of all-or-nothing, I just think it would make me lose focus on one or both.
So, I will consider today day 1 of this goal, because there's no time like the present!  And because I'm thirsty, damn it! 
So what are you waiting for?  What's your goal this month?  Why not start today!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Daisies Along the Way

TGIF, am I right?!  I don't know why this week has felt incredibly long and hard to get through, I haven't had anything particularly challenging going on.  In fact, it has been a relatively smooth week.  I have been battling an overly-tired, almost burnt-out feeling though and even have the canker sore to prove it.  For me, those two go hand-in-hand unfortunately.  Could be ovulation I suppose. 
This has me questioning my habits again.  Am I eating too many carbs, not enough superfoods, not moving enough, too much caffeine?  Probably yes to all of them.  And not enough water for sure.  I went from trying to get off soda to drinking more of it than I was before I tried to quit.  I wonder if I am fatiguing my adrenals.  All these thoughts make me want to make a drastic change, challenge myself with silly things like water as my only beverage for a whole month, or juicing-fasting or back to ketogenic or give up cheese.  That last one is the most absurd one yet.  If you knew me and my obssession with cheese you would understand! 
Here's the thing though.  I finally hit a place that I never thought I would get to.  I noticed it when I was about to get dressed after a shower one day.  I looked in the mirror as I was deciding what to wear and I looked at my body and I didn't feel hatred or disgust, it was just simply my body.  In fact, I like the changes I am seeing in my arms and shoulders/collarbone etc.  I know my stomach is bigger than it needs to be, but in that moment, I realized that I am content with my body.  How big of a statement is that?!  I don't react emotionally to see myself as I really am.  I eat fairly healthy most of the time, I'm not killing myself, and I am not gaining tons of extra weight.  I am pretty much at peace with it right now.  So maybe drastic changes in diet and restriction would mess that up.  I'm not sure I'm willing to gamble with that just yet. 
That doesn't mean that I can't change a few things.  For one, I have been noticing that, if I am going to let things go off the rails it is at dinner and on the weekends.  I consistently skip my afternoon snack, either because I'm too busy at work to get away, or because I simply don't feel hungry until about an hour before leaving work, and knowing I am going to eat when I get home, I delay eating.  By the time I get home from work I am famished and start eating whatever is readily available.  Chips or cheese are typical targets.  Then I also eat dinner.  That's a lot more calories than I need all at once, but my body isn't getting what it needs when it needs it so my brain freaks out on me.  I am going to make a better effort to eat a planned afternoon snack at a scheduled time, to help stabalize my blood sugars and avoid this behavior/issue. 
The eating willy-nilly on the weekends?  Most on Saturdays, which is typically my grocery day.  When it shows up in the house, my kids and I have to sample everything.  I do notice myself wanting to take some things because I know my kids will gobble it all up and there won't be "enough" for me.  That is a theme of mine that has caused me to consume way more calories than I've needed in this lifetime.  Growing up in lower-middle class meant my sister and I rarely ever got our "own" of anything, we always had to share.  I always felt like I didn't get as much/enough especially of the rare sweet treats, but also dinner and such.  It's one of those things I am aware of being a mental issue that needs more work.  I am trying to find a way to put an end to it without harsh restriction which only makes me want to binge and obssess over food. My trick this week is to do the shopping on Friday night instead.  Something about the weekend-Saturday in particular- has an air of no inhibitions. 
So my focus is on trying some new little tricks without upsetting the apple cart.  I guess that's what I've been doing in general.  I am refraining from massive changes that require me to be super-disciplined and restrictive.  I have learned over time, that that kind of stuff is just not who I am and trying to force myself to be someone I'm not only makes me feel horrible when it doesn't pan out.  For now I am the tortoise who will win this race, slow and steady, adjusting when needed, enjoying the daisies at the side of the road along the way.  I don't know about you, but to me that sounds just lovely! 
Happy Friday and have a great Easter weekend for those who celebrate!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Healing from Within

Whoa man!  I have had some crazy experiences over the weekend!  It was so powerful I was too close to it to blog, but my mind was going a million miles an hour. 
Saturday I had to bring my dog to the vet for his annual shots and bloodwork.  It was my first time bringing him for the blood draw, and my first time doing it since he's not a puppy anymore, and he's gotten a lot more protective.  He is the epitome of a Nervous Ned of a Reactive Rover.  He was yelling, growling, biting, and he jerked as they were trying to take blood so he was bleeding everywhere.  It was draining and emotional for me, and I think it is going to have to be my husband's job from now on!  LOL.  He did the best his little 13 pound self could do and I spent a big part of the day feeling bad for him and appologizing that it was such a crazy day. 
The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, so I did spend a little time outside on my patio, watching the birds in the trees and thinking.  I geeked out on geneology stuff too, which felt nice.  Overall, despite having a saucy checker at the grocery store in the morning, and be traumatized taking my dog to the vet, Saturday was pretty mellow and nice. 
Yesterday my husband and I went to a little church we discovered about a half hour drive away from us.  It is a 138-year old church and it is spiritualist (psychic science is the new age term I believe).  I am not a churchy person.  I grew up without it, we didn't go to church and my parents did not force religion on me or even practice on their own that I'm aware of.  This church caters to people like me, who want to improve myself through meditation, who've had personal spiritual experiences, and who want to know my spirit guides and get answers from them.  I got all that and more yesterday.  Deep meditative healing techniques that left me buzzing and a little shaky.  I meditated and got visions and answers and when she told me to name my biggest fear and my biggest stress and my greatest emotional pain and give it to the archangel I did feel like a metaphoric burden was lifted.  She said to give away all the burdens and stress and pain that you've taken on for someone else too.  And we were instructed to give away all of the feelings of what she termed "Poverty identification" or poverty thinking, feelings that I am not enough, that I'm not good enough.  The meditation and self healing lasted more than an hour, with very positive messages and surrounding ourselves with white light, and culminating in visiting our "temple" in our mind to meet our spirit guide and ask for a message.  I got a few messages during the day, that are relevant and timely, and they require more reflection.  I was crying pretty early on, when she was talking about giving away feelings of unworthiness and brokenness, and feelings that I am not enough.  By the end, I was uplifted, which, regardless of your faith or beliefe, should be what church is about, right?  In the end of the service we talked about mediumship, and the ability to receive and interpret messages from the universe.  She has the gift and she chose a few people in the congregation (all 10-12 of us) to deliver messages to.  She chose my husband first and said that he has powers of healing and teaching, but he needs to remeber humility.  She also said that our autistic sons chose him because of his powers, and to remind him to always have humility.  It was really pretty relevant.  She also gave messages to others who'd lost loved ones, and yes, she was able to discern some unexpected things.  I admit, I was a little disappointed to not be chosen for a reading, but I know if I continue going I will be chosen.  Honestly, I was so emotional after the service that I probably would've cried through it even if she gave me a message. 
I have also added tarot reading (just for myself) to my repetoir of tools I am using to get messages.  It has been helpful.  For instance, just yesterday I pulled a card warning me to choose my battles wisely because sometimes even winning comes at a cost; this same card also has undertones of being aware of selfish behaviors and how it affects others negatively. 
I had my deepest meditation yet this morning, more messages and a warning that I am still trying to decipher but I think it means to watch that things don't get out of balace, making me lose my stability.  I have a tendency to latch on to something and let other stuff fall away a little.  I think this message was to remind me that no one thing can or should be everything.  I have to learn that lesson.  I need to stop trying to fix everyone's problems, which is different than being supportive.  Trying to be everything to everyone is throwing off my own internal balance and peace.
So, as profound as this all felt, I wish I wrote it better, but that's it in a nutshell.  I am finally meditating, and with that little bit of guidance, I have been wildly successful and am having very meaningful experiences with it! 
Aside from that, it's a typical Monday!  haha.  I feel so calm and good today.  I really hope this is the result of my ability to meditate, and I hope it continues!  I think it will be healing in a multitude of ways, not the least of which is, to my health and returning to a healthy weight. Afterall, if I am able to calm and heal my mind and the hurful past, what else will I have to comfort-eat for?
Hope you all had a great weekend!  Happy Monday.

Friday, April 7, 2017

I'm Going to have Sexy Teeth Someday

Yesterday was the first of my two needed root canals.  Let's just say I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, especially since I had to have this one done by a specialist, in an office I've never been to and I wasn't sure what to expect.  I have never had a root canal done, but my husband's recent experience terrified me, he could feel a lot of pain when they started, they had to numb him 2 more times afterword.  Luckily, mine was actually a piece of cake in comparison.  The doctor was nice and kept asking if I was OK of if I could feel anything, and explained each step of the process what to expect (a noise, a vibration, hot or cold).  I was comfortably numb.
I was worried beforehand about what might happen if they took my blood pressure, and I was also stressed out that I had such aweful post-nasal drip from the end of this head cold, I was worried I would feel the constant need to cough or clear my throat.  I know it's probably not the best to go to a dental appoinment when you have a cold, but it truly was winding down at that point, and fortunately, I didn't have an issue with drainage while I was there.  It couldn't have gone smoother!  He was surprised that my regular dentist didn't have me on an antibiotic for the infection in the tooth.  Just another reason to not like my dentist.  Anyway, at least yesterday went smoothly, and that puts me one step closer to being done with all of this!  I can hardly wait. 
As I was finishing getting my prescription for the antibiotic filled, I got a call from my husband saying our son was being suspended for threatening behavior (with thumb tacks, if you can believe it) and I needed to go pick him up.  I still felt strange from having a whole quarter of my mouth and lips/face numb, but I got him.  I didn't yell because I think it's ridiculous.  I just discussed how I know he knows he didn't handle himself appropriately and I let it go.  I don't think it is something he'll encounter on a regular basis, it was situational, so it's not something to punish him for. 
My husband and other son came home and we spent some time just relaxing and talking, doing homework, then we went to an event at the masonic lodge that my husband belongs to.  It was a chinese dinner to honor one of the members, and in memory of some others.  It was pretty fun.  At the end, they served a piece of cake.  I indulged.  The frosting was buttercream, and it was hard to get through my whole piece, it's so rich, but I didn't want to be disrespectful so I ate the whole thing.  Ugh.  I was praying my gut didn't give me problems.  I did OK.  It was the first day all week that I didn't do any yoga/stretching due to a lack of time or focus.  It's OK, my good stuff was more time to hang out with my family, and getting one step further on having a healthy mouth.
Today there is a special sort of funk in the air, like the exact opposite of the Midas touch is happening.  So many struggles and challenges, at home and at work.  I know I can and will overcome it but boy I can tell my mind wants to just avoid all of it by eating.  I haven't given in, I don't have anything other than on-plan food at my disposal anyway, but the thought of unproductive foods is lingering.  I did tell my son, after having to drag him, crying and struggling,  to the bus stop this morning, that maybe we can order pizza tonight and just put the week behind us.  I know things will be fine, a bad day is just a bad day, but man it sure stinks things up when it happens like that. 
I don't have anthing profound to report; I forgot to read my passage from Dhammapada today and boy I sure wish I would have because it seems to help me bridge some emotional gaps. 
Half way through Friday, I think I can make it!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Greatest American Hero

Anyone else remember the feeling of being bowled over and opened up by stuff as a kid?  I do.  Something as cool as a school assembly could blow my mind (I won't even get started about the time I learned where meat comes from) and I would embrace it passionately.  In fact, there is still a school assembly I remember from way back in elementary school, I was probably in about 4th or 5th grade (yes, that was a very long time ago).  The guy came out on stage dressed like The Greatest American Hero (remember that show? Now I'm really dating myself!) with the theme song and everything.  I was a big fan of the show at the time, so that caught my attention.  His message was "Don't sweat the small stuff" and throughout his speech, he talked about problems and overcoming them and how we ought to let the small stuff go.  Then at the very end he said he had a very important secret to tell us.  He worked us until we were on the edge of our seats, leaning in with anticipation and he said, "It's all small stuff!"  I was wowed.  My whole little self clung to those words with passion, I even drew pictures and carefully lettered the words as if they were a motto. 
In middle and high school, it was poetry and snippets from books or songs that moved me, and I tried to force myself to live by what inspired me.  "Carpe Diem" Yes, from Dead Poet's Society not from actually reading the poetry myself, and I just wanted to live more, but I really didn't know what that meant.  Me being a naturally introverted person, I feel like living more means thinking more, not necessarily sky diving or going on safari, or, more common for my generation, going to raves and huffing.  I did go out dancing all the time(dry clubs), that was my way of living more and I loved it.
Then there was my married, adult life, because there was a big depressing lack of inspiration for me between high school and then.  I married a man who is very fit, healthy and disciplined and I wanted so much to be that, but it's really not in my DNA.  I started looking at fitness magazines for inspiration and this is what inspired me most:
I liked her physique because she is toned and fit but doesn't look like she has used steroids to get there.  There was even a time when I successfully stuck to a diet and training plan solely on the self-inspired mantra, "Live like Maggie, look like Maggie."  I literally pretended I was already fit and that being fit and healthy was just how I lived.  It worked for a few months, but like usual, life reminded me of who I am and when I took the blinders off I had to realize that comparing my 5-ft, stocky body to the lean and long body of this genetically-gifted gal was only setting myself up to feel bad about my own body.  I had to come to terms with the fact that no matter how much I "lived like Maggie" I was never going to have abs like that or legs that long and lean.  It was hard, after that, to be inspired by the gals I saw in fitness magazines, and I found women who'd lost a significant amount of weight to be more inspiring because it was something I could acheive. 
Today, as I read my Dhammapada passage I thought about how my brain takes in these messages of inspiration.  The basic concept of the passage today was that an ill-prepared thatched roof allows rain to seep in, as an untrained mind allows desires in, but a well prepared thatched roof does not allow the rain in, just as a well-trained mind does not allow desires in.  I paused to consider its meaning to me and my own journey.  I let the rain through my roof a lot, maybe not because I have no training, but maybe the roof has a small deficiency and I am too tired or lazy to go fix it.  So the rain comes.  And on sunny days I try to patch it up and it stops the rain for a while until a new weak spot comes and the rain flows through again.  So, maybe in my case, I need to make it a little tougher for the rain to get through; ask myself more questions before caving and eating something, especially when I'm not particularly hungry, make myself put my phone down and do something that actually make me feel good instead of just numb, take the time to focus on the me that is inside all the people and things I wish I were.  And this goes well with yesterday's lesson about what is vital and what is trivial, because failing to separate the two leads to the feeling that everything is vital, and everything must be done, and the "shoulds" of life end up making us feel like we "aren't".  It all becomes "big stuff" and overwhelms us until all we want to do is be numb and checkout for a little bit. 
So maybe I am on the right track with focusing on doing things that make me feel good. That is vital, in my opinion.  How can I make good choices when I don't feel good?  How can I call it living if the only time I am focused and in the moment is at work, and lots of times that only stresses me out? 
Last night, after getting through responsibilities after work (homework was extra greuling with my son) I had a little free time while my husband was in the shower.  My first instinct is to go on my phone.  I opened up Ancestry.com and began to page through records in the familiar quest that usually leads down a deep rabbit hole of records for other relatives.  I'm so addicted.  Then, I stopped after only a minute of browsing.  I closed the webpage and loaded up my hip-opening yoga video.  It's funny how I simultaneously felt guilty for taking the time to do this 20-minute session, because my dog was begging me to play, laying his stuffed giraffe on my hand when I would go down into a pose.  No one else was giving him attention and I felt bad, but I kept going anyway, promising to play when I was done.  He laid patiently next to me, trying to sneak a face lick from time to time, and when I was done, I felt all the tight places buzzing with fresh blood supply and I was so happy I decided to do it.  I even slept better.  So, I think I am going to try and make an effort to do 5 things every day that genuinely make me feel good.  Not saying I won't still spend hours on geneology, but I will also make an effort to do more things that feel good and make me happy.  What's more important than that?  The rest, as they say, is all small stuff.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Vital or Trivial?

After yesterday's boost in positivity, I felt pretty good all day.  Even after getting home and having to do homework with my son (ah, spring break was a nice vacation from the nightly homework), still, I felt good mentally.  I did notice myself wanting to BBMHB (binge behind my husband's back) but once I got out in the kitchen, nothing really sounded good.  I mean, we have some half-eaten bags of chips and such, but none of it felt indulgent enough to my not-super-hungry brain.   So, I waited until it was nearly bedtime and had my usual snack of cheese before snoozetime.  The only thing I can think of that would have had me in that state is the thought about cleaning things up with my diet.  I didn't eat crazy yesterday, but I was thinking about how I should be eating less carbs than I have been lately, and questioning all the dairy I've been eating.  I don't want to complicate things because then I end up just giving up, because honestly, the having to be so focused on the stuff all the time is part of what makes me obssess. 
Today is going fine with food, I had my bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, and organic, raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds for a snack, and for lunch I've gone back to cottage cheese with chives and a cucumber.  Since I rarely have a snack between lunch and dinner I haven't gone through the trouble to bring anything with me to work, but I have a few of the lower sugar Luna bars with me all the time in case I become famished to the point of wuthering away!  Dinner this week is a nice salad with raspberries, blueberries, slivered almonds and cottage cheese on top.  It is so good, and makes it feel like summer. 
My reading of the Dhammapada continues.  I feel like the message for yesterday and today is really though-provoking:
      "The deluded, imagining trivial things to be vital to life, follow their vain fancies and never attain the highest knowledge.
     But the wise, knowing what is trivial and what is vital, set their thoughts on the supreme goal and attain the highest knowledge."


Of course, there is a calmness in Buddhist lessons, making me stop to think about the useless things I surround myself with.  Things, material items, food/calories I don't need, I even talk too much and use words more words than are needed sometimes, I spew too much emotion when in a few minutes or hours, things will change and I discover that the emotional discharge wasn't needed.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to get rid of all my possessions, shave my head, don a robe and go begging for my daily meal.  I do think there is a point in the message, but balance is always needed too. 
Maybe that was a key to my recent success with being on-track, I was easily aware of when an extra indulgent treat was vital, or when it was just my brain being a brat.  Then I just stopped paying attention to it and let the brat take over.  I wasn't being the wise one from the lines above, I was the deluded.  Granted, it was only a few days worth of chaos, not entire weeks or months, but it is really easy to let myself get sucked into the rut of eating without thinking.  And once I'm there, it's hard to get out. 
So, that is my lesson to focus on today.  Maybe for today, I will keep this short and simple and save the rest of the words for quiet meditation later.  My guess is that they aren't important enough to remember that long anyway so I'll let them evaporate into the universe.  Feels good to be back in the state of thinking about what I'm doing.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Not Done Yet

So much has happened since my last post, it's the kind of week that makes me wonder if I dreamt it or if it was real. 
My kids had spring break last week, and I feel really fortunate that they are an age where they are fairly comfortable staying home alone.  That doesn't mean I don't worry about them fighting.  At 12 and 13 they still do that enough that it stresses me out from time to time.  Luckily, those times are becoming fewer as they age and focus on their individual interests. 
I was able to get Wednesday and Thursday off due to a light schedule at work.  When I was offered it in January I figured it would just be nice to have a couple days off with the kids, to sleep in and be restful or to go off wherever the wind took us.  Boy that sounds nice!  But life has a funny way of saying, "Nope."  haha. 
In January or so, I found out my favorite band of more than 20 years (Green Day) was coming to my town at the end of March.  I googled the venue and not realizing I was on a third-party seller's page, I almost choked when I saw the price of tickets, $250-$1,600 a piece.  I told my husband I was too old to pay that kind of money, especially on a week night.  lol.  As the concert got nearer, though, I went to the actual arena webpage and looked at prices, and found them to be much more reasonable.  I chewed on it for a week or so, knowing that it would be a lAAAAAAte night getting home, then trying to function at work the next morning.  Then, I finally just decided to bite the bullet and get the damn tickets.  They have never played in my city and I haven't seen them play in about 16 years!  And I just plain love them.  My one saving grace was, since my kids were on spring break that week, I had the option to sleep in a little longer than normal. 
So, all of Wednesday, I spent cleaning.  When I say all of Wednesday I mean, from about 8am until 6pm.  Not that my house is a stye, but I really deep-cleaned things that haven't been done since we moved into this place in December.  Plus, my kids room?  I won't even go there.  I was exhausted by the time I finished, yet I didn't sleep very well, which was frustrating.  Ma Monthly was probably to blame there.  I was up early'ish for a dentist appointment on Thursday.  I am really annoyed with this dental office.  They did not tell me how many cavities I have or how much work, so here I am going in for appointment after appointment.  I just want it to be done.  Plus, their stupid wrist-blood pressure monitor keeps reading ridiculously high for me.  Like 30 points higher on top and bottom, which makes them think I am lying when I tell them my blood pressure is always normal.  I even offered to bring in my medical records to prove it.  They said if it continues to be that high, I might have to get a consent from my doctor to be treated.  I have already pretty much made up my mind that when my work is done with them, I will find a new provider for dental.  At least, after this appointment, I didn't feel as strange, I could still talk and eat OK.  I spent most of the afternoon doing geneology stuff and, yes, comfort eating.  By late afternoon, I started feeling a scratchy throat coming on.  Oh, Crap!  The concert was mere hours away and I was starting to feel aweful.  By the time my father-in-law came to hang out with the boys, I was wishing I could crawl in bed and sleep for a couple days, but I put on my big girl pants and headed out to a quick dinner before the show.  I could write for days about how awesome the concert was, it was one of those times when you cannot fully grasp the awesomeness of it until several days and much reflection have made a comfortable gap.  It was a sold out show, I was screaming my lungs out and singing along, 7,000 some people all singing together for about 2 and a half hours.  There were pyrotechnics and cannons and people allowed to get on stage to sing or play guitar, and one 12 year old boy played guitar and got to keep it.  And the very last song, the last minute, they shot off confetti.  It made me feel like I'd won the Super Bowl or something.  By the end, my ears and throat were toast, I was sweaty and worn out but somehow so very alive.  It was exhillerating!  I'm so glad I went.
I slept aweful and ended up only getting about 3 hours of sleep, and woke with a very raw,sore, bruised throat and stuffy, runny nose.  I made it through Friday though, and the weekend was much more restful, intentionally.  I did a lot more geneology stuff and a lot of thinking.  I have been eating horribly.  I've noticed this feeling, like my "me-ness" is detached from the outside vessel that is my body, as if I am in a fat-suit filled with air.  I am using the energy I have to maneuver and trying to refuel with high-octane junk.  I am living as if what I eat doesn't matter, or at least only matters sometimes, and other times I have found myself looking for food when I'm just not even hungry, and scold myself for looking.  I bought and ate way too many sweets over the weekend, and as I was walking around collecting it all I realized I wasn't really in the mood for sweets, all the thick, syrupy gook that coats the back of my throat, the bloated uncomfortable feeling, the mental drain.  So why did I eat so many cranberry walnut cookies?  I even had ice cream on Friday, hoping it would soothe my raw throat.  I had chicken noodle soup and instant potatoes with gravy too this weekend, because "boo hoo, I'm sick." 
Then, just because it was beautiful and I was thinking about her, I wrote a letter to my dear departed great grandmother.  Sure, it's really just for me, but it makes me feel like I'm actually talking to her.  I told her about my frustrations and fears at the dentist.  What if my blood pressure is suddenly alarmingly high for some reason?  Brushing aside as horrible procedures and bad equipment is one thing (my feet aren't on the floor and my arm is not supported and they use a automatic wrist cuff) but what if I am really less healthy than I've been assuming I am?  When did I stop caring?  How did I let food become a beast hiding in the corner again?  And, how the heck do I get back to caring and eating better without triggering compulsive thoughts/eating? 
All questions I will have to work through for sure.  I know one thing, I sure do miss having a normal feeling gut, having real hunger pangs and energy.  My body is begging me to turn it around. 
My effort to do a thing that makes me feel better today was a yoga session, one that focuses on opening up the hips.  In the video it states that the pelvis is the area where anxiety, stress and sadness are held, and that opening up the hips helps release some of that.  I don't know about that stuff, but it sure made me feel fantastic, physically.  I think I will seek out more videos to hit other areas and concentrate on doing them more.  That simple, 20 minute act of self-kindness broke up my restlessness, made me feel more energetic, move easier and even lifted my mood considerably.  It helps that my cold is lessening to a much more tolerable place already and the weather is nicer. 
When I first began this blog, and was really focused and on track I had a mantra I used when I wanted to dig deep and get one last rep in or when I needed a little mental fire to get me out of bed for a 4:30am workout when it's 20 degrees below zero; "I've got more in me."  Maybe it's time to dust that little helper out and try it back on.  Whatever the case, I'm ready to distance myself from how I felt over the weekend, that definitely wasn't self-love.  Sigh.  Still don't have all the answers, but I'm still going to keep trying to find them. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Babble and Dhammapada

The rain does something to me.  It opens me in grand ways, makes me feel really alive, creative, refreshed.  It rained all weekend and I have to admit I loved it.  In contrast to the grey sky, everything looks so vibrant, even in the post-snow haze of variant shades of brown grass and mud, it was so refreshing to have a gentle rain with some warmer temps.  I reminded myself several times, that if the temperatures had been a little lower, we would have burried in snow.
My energy was low this weekend, with Ma Monthly coming on strong, so I decided to listen to my body and just take it easy.  I feel guilty when my husband wants to go do stuff and I don't, but I just didn't have much gas in my tank.  I felt like writing but spent a good deal of time on my phone, mostly looking at Facebook, joining in multiple threads on an optician group I belong to, and commenting about some local stuff too.  Nothing earth-shattering at all.  Sometimes that is what I need. 
I did cook tacos for the family, and it was OK.  I think I had too many taco salads this spring, I am still not a huge fan of the beef substitue I have been using.  While I figured I could just make that my dinner this week, I have a feeling I will end up using refried beans as my protein source.  The thought of eating more of the beef sub is not appealing to me right now. It is a texture thing, it tastes fine. 
Oh, did I have some active dreams over the weekend, too.  I'm the type of person who believes there is a purpose or meaning to most things if we look deep enough, so I have been stewing on them.  My husband gets really deep messages in his dreams, but he has a proven system of analyzing the symbolism from dreams, so he is quite successful.  I asked him a few questions about how to get started developing my own system.  He is not one to freely guide someone, he would rather have you find out things on your own.  It frustrates me because I am the type of person who, at the very least, likes guidance.  I can waste a whole bunch of time reading books I don't agree with or that don't speak to me, but I would give up way before that.  So he gave me one little piece of advice, to deepen my study of Buddhism and see how that feels as a system.  So I am going to do that.  I am reading a small piece of The Dhammapada each day, and using that to focus on as a thought or concept for my day.  The smaller pieces are easier for me to focus on and remember, to get the meaning from. 
Today was the first day, and the first little piece of wisdom is this:
     "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.  Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follw the oxen that draw it."


I had experience with this on Friday.  A customer of mine is losing her vision to Macular Degneration.  She and her husband are understandably upset, but they have a very caustic way of expressing it.  They have yelled and sworn at me, and assumed that I have made the glasses wrong and that I "Don't know what the Hell you are doing."  When they'd come in a couple weeks ago, having had a history with them that goes back from before I started working here 6 years ago, I tried to be polite, but when they began to get accusatory and degrading, I had had enough and I did not let them talk to me that way.  I started talking back to them, telling them the way she kept twisting and moving them around she was the one causing them to get out of adjustment, and when he told me I don't know what I'm doing I said, "Oh, and you do?" 
The husband was complaining that her glasses were not adjusted properly and that's why she can't see.  He knows she's losing her sight and it has nothing to do with the glasses, but he made a big scene and threatened to sue if we didn't give his money back.  I aThey returned this past Friday to have the doctor double-check the prescription.  She affirmed that the prescription was not only unchanged in the chair, but also that the glasses were made correctly.  This must have frustrated them further.  They complained and complained about me to the doctor and her nurses, and the doctor would only say, "That doesn't sound like our Amy."  So after they left her office they decided that, while she felt her glasses were improperly adjusted, they do not want me touching them, and they only want to work with the manager.  So, while I was fully preparing myself to just suck it up on Friday and handle it the best I could (by being silent and ignoring their drama) I ended up not having to deal with them at all, and may never have to deal with them again for that matter.  I wanted to be really happy about it.  It was Friday and I didn't have to deal with these unreasonable people, but it chewed at me all day as I stewed in the previous shouting match.  Their condescending attack on my skill level took me to a childish place.  I chewed on their emotions and spit them back at them without any consideration of them as human beings.  She is losing her vision.  They are very upset about this and want someone to blame.  I, they thought, was an easy target.  I did not give them satisfaction, nor did the doctor or her staff.  Yes, it is ultimately their burden to bear.  Handling it the way I did didn't make me feel better.  Even though most people who meet me find me pleasant and warm and easy to work with, it's still really hard for me to accept when people don't feel this way about me.  I am well-qualified, licensed, nationally certified and have 16 years experience behind me in this field, but that doesn't make me handle situations like that with grace.  And, everyone who has mentioned them has not had nice things to say about them, so I know it's not just me, they are just the type who need to complain, they are miserable so they want everyone around them to be too.  But, if that's all the farther we examine things/people we never get anywhere do we?  Why are they like that?  Has life handed them shit-pie?  Have they had horrible parents or no parents?  Are they sick and know they don't have much time left and feel bitter about it?  Maybe it's not for me to find out.  I'm OK with that.  I'm not saying I want to work with them and get to know them and run through a field of daisies with them, I just noted it on Friday, that not having to work with them didn't mean I didn't stew over the whole situation anyway, and it didn't make me feel better. 
Maybe the message is as simple as the passage above.  I created my suffering by looking at their situation from my own perspective and allowing myself to become so emotionally attached to it that I acted unprofessionally and incompassionately.  I'm not sure where the invisible boundary is between being a compassionate person and standing up for myself, but I know I am the type of person to put my gloves up a lot quicker than people I respect, who handle things with more grace.  So there is one instance that proves to me that I need to continue growing. 
As far as my plan to do things that make me feel better, I did a LOT of stretching over the weekend, it had been way too long and I was really stiff.  It took so much more time to work out some of the really tight places like my hips and lower back, but it felt really good!  I also did a light upper body strength session with a resistance band.  It was a perfect place to start because my muscles felt warm from getting the blood in them but not murdered, weak and shakey.  I only used the resistance band because since our move, I can't figure out where I put the dumbbells we have.  lol.  It felt good to do something, and I did it in a tank top so I could see my arm muscles.  I have always wanted to have a nicer upper body so watching my arm/shoulder muscles working usually inspires me.  I think it will be enough to have me sore tomorrow, but it's a good kind of sore.  Maybe tomorrow I'll work my lower body.  Also, there are other things that make me feel good that don't have to do with exercise, like painting my nails, facials, baths, writing, reading a good book, meditation, interacting with my kids or dog or husband...the list is endless really, but almost all of them involve getting my face out of my phone, which can be entertaining but is also a huge time waster and also makes me detract from my world instead of engaging in it. Plus, as a bonus, I realized over the weekend that I really enjoy being outside.  Don't you think their is a much richer sensory experience outdoors?  Then again, ask me once the bugs and bees return.  haha. 
So it's Monday and I am feeling OK.  Ready to see what this week brings. For me, a rock concert and dental work and I guess I get to make the rest up as I go! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Proclaimation of 'Nothing Else'

My husband and I have this thing we do at night before bed.  Not every night but at least a few times a month, we'll watch The Office on DVD.  We have the whole series and have watched it many times over, but for some reason, we just never get sick of it.  One night, while we were deciding which season to watch I told him to just pick the disc that was already in the player, sure that we'd enjoy any of the episodes on it, "Path of least existence" I mistakenly added.  And we both laughed at my Freudian slip. 
Indeed, I do tend to seek out the path of least existence.  I don't like conflict.  I don't like exerting physical effort.  I don't like pain to any degree.  Maybe I'm just a powerderpuff.  Maybe my coping skills for that sort of thing just never got developed.  When I do exert myself I feel fine, good even, especially mentally, and truth be told, even physically to some extent. 
The kicker is this: Not doing anything physical makes me ache too, just in a different way.  I feel stiff, my muscles complain at the mere onset of doing something physical.  I feel weak and old.  I think that probably feels worse than muscles being sore after a good strength training session, but it's been so long I can't remember!  Sheesh!  I feel like the Tinman before he got his oil. 
So, while I realize I'm the only one who can change it, there is a delicate balance and a mental fencewalk that must be resolved.  Not getting set back into "diet" mentality but trying to make healthier choices because it'll make me feel better...my brain is hard-wired for one or the other, on or off, good or bad; caring all the way or not at all. 
I think I have made great progress with the food demons and I feel like I have a fairly normal relationship with food these days.  Sometimes I completely forget what it felt like to be so food-focused all day every day, and that is a HUGE statement right there.  I can have sweets and goodies around me and actually forget they are there!  Coming from where I was, that would have been a huge stretch of imagination to think that could ever happen, but here I am.  I have every opportunity to eat all of that but I don't even think about that kind of food that often.  And when I do, like twice a month when my hormones are whacked out, I simply have what I want and move on.  One moment or one day or one meal doesn't lead to more.  In fact, if I have a sweet treat or overindulge in fatty/salty stuff, I usually end up feeling bad physically so that the next thing I eat tends to be the complete opposite.  My body knows what it needs, I just wasn't listening before; I was feeding my emotions not my body. 
I think the tricky part is in the ideals and how I need some kind of boundaries but not so structured or stringent that I will judge my actions as innately good or bad.  That's what got me in trouble in the first place.  Example of my idealistic thoughts, I am eating pretty good, but if I wanted to really be "good" I should be eating kale and broccoli.  I'm not eating those things so I am not the best little eater I could be.  I am not good.  I am bad.  This type of thinking has gotten me nowhere.  Over-complicating things does not work for me.  Neither does eating things that I don't like just because they are healthy and good for me.  I can do it for like, 2 days tops.  So if I begin to do better things for my body/health, I have to make sure they come with an internal reward, not just a pat on the back because I did something someone else would approve of.  Exercise should not come with bragging rights, but I feel proud when I do it, like I did "the right thing"so people won't judge so harshly for being fat because "I'm working on it." 
Maybe I'm too hung up on the mental stuff.  Maybe I should just shut up and do it and move on.  I know I would feel better, not that I feel superawfulterrible but I could feel better.  I have a lot of excuses that I allow to get in the way of that.  I am, perpetually, seeking the path of least existence and it's not really all the rage.  Taking care of myself, in multiple different realms, needs to be more of a priority than it has been recently.  I can't be good to anyone else if I am always drained or trying to numb myself or stressed to the point of not caring. 
So there is a proclaimation if nothing else.  I am good at both the proclaimation and the 'nothing else' part, but maybe, just maybe, if I keep my focus on my needs for a bit, I can take one step outside of that path of least existence.  My only plan is to start, nothing more defined than that, nothing structured or given a value of goodness or badness.  I will make an effort to feel better than I do right now.  Maybe that's all anyone needs to do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Message to Open my Eyes

It turns out yesterday's crabbiness was nothing compared to the amount of stress I had at work.  Not like horrible things happened, but it was again so busy that most of the afternoon I had 2-3 people waiting to be helped constantly.  Before I could finish with one person, two more would crop up.  I got so overwhelmed at one point that my brain seemed as if it short-circuited and people speaking their phone numbers to me wouldn't process to write down the number as they were saying it, and I gave a wrong quote that could have cost me a big sale.  Luckily, everyone was friendly and patient, seeing that I was working alone.  I began thinking about an after-work drink shortly after my lunch break! 
Once I left work, I had to pick up a prescription at Target so I decided to see what kind of alcohol they have.  It is strange to walk through Target with a 6 pack, but that's what I did.  I found some Crispin Pear cider.  It is only 4.5% alcohol and they actually had a nutrition lable, so I decided 14 sugars was not bad considering some of the alternatives.  I had two with my dinner, they are really mellow and tastey, didn't make me have cottonmouth or anything.  It helped me chill out for sure. 
Later, when my husband and I were relaxing in the bedroom, him burried in a book and me still chasing down ancestors, I looked at the framed picture of my great grandparents on my dresser and told him, "I don't know if I'm getting much from them."  I haven't had any more spiritualistic experiences that I know of and the more I learn about my great grandma, she was kind of a pill.  He told me (he is very much more versed in all things spiritualistic than I) that simply talking to them is not enough, that there has to be a way for me to receive messages other than hoping for a sign in my dreams.  He asked if I wanted him to do a tarot reading for me and I agreed, heeding what he said, that it wouldn't tell me who is trying to reach me, but the general message they are wanting me to understand.  I didn't know what to expect really, but my husband is really good at making sense of things that look totally foreign to me.  He has heavily studied multiple religious and occult systems and knows much of the symbology.  He used his own spread with 3 cards to represent my ancestors and three to represent me.  My ancestors' cards showed failure, dischord or stagnence in relationships and ultimately, a problem or unrest with the mind.  He explained, this is what they endured.  They faced failures either financially or emotionally or in their health.  This put a strain on their relationships and led to their minds being unhealthy.  Thinking about multiple layers of my family, even down to my own parents, this seemed fitting.  Many of my ancestors, particularly the immigrant ones, struggled, working hard on farms, having so many children and losing them, many themselves passing from cancer or heart problems. I began to tear up a little and explained that this could be any one of my ancestors. 
He went on to explain that the cards that were to represent me do not necessarily represent me as I am now, but my potential, and what they want for me.  My cards were a completion or completeness, wealth, and finally, the card I've gotten in every reading he's done for me, the Chariot.  His interpretation is that they want me to find completeness, and that will be acheived by the wealth.  Wealth not necessarily in riches, but in a cycle ending which would open the doorway to new beginnings, and those new begninnings are the wealth that would bring me completeness.  He pointed out that the Chariot card is especially meaningful in this reading because it shows a powerful woman and it seems as if she is pushing straight foward, moving on.  I was in tears by the end.  what a timely and meaningful message.  My ancestors don't want me to try and validate them or help them, they want me to let go of the things that are standing in the way of me feeling good, happy and healthy. 
I thought back to the stress and irritability and even judgements I have passed recently and how they aren't serving me, and they definitely are not helping me "be strong and move on".  In some ways I have gotten past little bumps in the road, the little things like not obsessing over food, but in many ways my head is still unhealthy, and I haven't devoted nearly enough time to trying to change that.  The last time I had my nails done (February) the man who was doing my nails gave me a hand and forearm massage and I could tell he was struggling and he kept saying, "Relax. Let the tension go." I thought I was relaxed but he said it a few more times, continually massaging my hands, then said, "You have trouble relaxing, don't you?" I bashfully said, "I guess I do, I didn't notice that until right now."  I have been more aware of it, the stress that sits on my shoulders, in my jaw, as if I have my boxing gloves on and my hands up to my face at all times.  I need practice relaxing.  I need practice letting others do some stuff instead of feeling like I must do everything or I'm a failure. I need practice at compassion instead of judgement, and in nuturing the relationships of the people closest to me instead of resisting it.  I don't think I'm cold but I am definitely tense and sometimes gaurded.  I just need to spend more time focusing on the things that have the potential to make me relaxed and happy more. 
So that was my sort of heavy day and night.  I slept like a baby.  Today is much better.  Every day has the potential to be better.  I want to make my ancestors' wishes a reality; its as if they are giving me permission, begging me to let go of past hurts, let go of the burden of other's painful experiences, and move on to a place that will make me happy and whole.  Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out where you are falling short.  I'm grateful for the input. 
And hey, maybe next time I get my nails done I will surprise them and fall asleep in my chair. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Self Love and Do-Overs

Today is one of those days when I wake up knowing I am in a funk and probably will be most of the day.  Yeah, Ma Monthly is about to rear her unpleasant head and cravings and moodiness are abundant this time.  Still better than full-blown menopause I presume so I will grin and bear it. 
I have found that even this little bit of restricting I need to do for my antibiotics, wherein I cannot eat any dairy within two hours of taking it (before or after, so 4 hours total) is causing me to rebel.  I don't like being told I can't have something, it makes me want it more.  This morning I said screw it and had a bagel with cream cheese and coffee with sugar-free creamer.  Not like it was some magical wonderful meal (despite what my brain was trying to convince me of) but in my own little way I felt like it was my own little way of throwing myself a bone on a day when I was already crabby.  Dog didn't poop, kids didn't sleep, dog didn't poop the second time, take the boy to school, dog finally pooped just in time for me to rush off to work.  Boss is crabby, coworker is crabby both dumped some stress on me that wasn't mine to begin with.  I will survive, this is just normal life.  Still, I wish for that middle path, so to speak, less of the ups and downs, more just right in the middle. 
So food is a strange thing with my quasi-restriction because I rely so heavily on dairy for protein.  I have found myself opening and closing fridge and cupboard doors over and over, looking for something to have other than what I planned for my meals.  And, then I end up eating the planned meals because everything else has dairy or meat or carbs.  I am eating more salad this week, one with berries and one with bacon.  It works.  I don't dislike salad but sometimes I really just want a warm thing to eat.  I'm weird that way.  A meal feels more substantial and hearty if it's warm.  It's a mental thing I suppose. 
I have been getting images in my head lately, of pushing myself physically and feeling really good.  Am I the only one that visualizes a fit lifestyle without ever following through?  In my visualization, despite looking healthier, my focus is on how good I feel, sweaty and strong, moving with ease as I take in how good it feels to have the blood flowing through my body making my muscles feel warm and good.  I have had strong images like this before.  They come and go and most of the time I just tell myself, someday.  I am not in any mental position to proclaim I will start a change now, but I know the longer I procrastinate the harder it is going to get. 
Lately for some reason I have been exposed to more unhealthy people than usual.  People who are morbidly obese and labor to walk or sit in my chair at work, or get up from said chair.  People who don't look that much older than me but are on oxygen, people who are in wheelchairs or motorized carts asking others to tend to their every whim.  I am always pleasant to them, but in my head I do find myself judging them and I feel aweful for having that gut instinct because there have probably been people who've looked at me that way.  Everyone has their own struggle.  It is so much easier to look at someone else and think, if you just work out a little bit you could probably walk again.  Sometimes I think it is my inner-bitch showing when I think these things, but really I just would love to see someone change for the positive, to feel really good and move freely and show everyone what they're made of.  So, why don't I want that for me anymore?  I say I do but I don't prove it.  It may be only time that separates me and them from being in the same boat.  Part of me feels like my own mother, making threats to try to scare myself into doing something.  That never works for me, I'm too much of a rebel, and in the past, I have gotten away with things that I shouldn't have, such as not getting cavities despite being really inconsistent with, winging my way through school and getting passable grades, even eating whatever the heck I want for most of my life and somehow not turning into one of those people that needs to be lifted from their house with a crane for a doctor appointment.  So maybe the fear tactic is just not strong enough.  What does work is establishing boundaries for myself, not allowing people to treat me poorly just because they need someone to be crabby at, and probably most importantly, making time for myself, not just to burry myself in the past, in my ancestors, but to focus on where I am now, and in what state, and what I need in life to be whole and content.  We all have times where we focus on other stuff, and I think that is more true for women, who tend to try and juggle everything at the expense of their own sanity and inner peace, but to take that back is a true form of self-love.  It takes focus, not on the external but the internal.  It takes quiet and stillness and boundaries.  I know I need it right now, because it sure sounds good!  I never made good on my attempt to find five minutes at the end of the night to sit quietly and just relax, breathe, maybe try to meditate.  I think I will try again.  That's what life is all about isn't it?  Do overs.  Luckily, there's no limit, you just ante up and try again, clean slate. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A little Morning Magic

This morning I was extra zombified as I climbed out bed.  My room, warm and tropical thanks to the humidifier I run all night long.  As I brought the dog outside to the frost-kissed conservancy the grass sparkled like diamonds in the morning moonglow.  It was magical, and suddenly I was awake.  These small, delicate, remarkable moments are so filled with wonderment and joy that it's like someone gave me a gift.  I'm happy I was awake enough to notice.  Sometimes you have to feel something is magical before your mind believes it. 
The sleep, she evades me, a little bit this week.  Once because I had the sensation that something was crawling on me at 3:30 am, and other times because I have a nasty sinus infection that has filled up my cheek and is sitting on a nerve making my teeth on the entire right side feel like they are open nerves.  I get really tired of sinus stuff!
Alas!  After two weeks of suffering and trying everything I could think of over-the-counter and home remedy, I resigned myself to it and headed to the walk-in clinic.  The sweet young lady who helped me made it sound like I didn't have a sinus infection, that I should have a runny nose or a cough.  I explained that I get this cheek-syle of lovliness at least twice a year and antibiotics are always needed in order to resolve it.  She sweetly obliged and I was on my way to get some Doxy.  I am allergic to penicillin, which annoys anyone who has to see me for sinus infections, but the Doxy works.  It has some dangerous side effects like swelling of the brain and permanent loss of vision (!) but I have been in so much pain I was wondering if I had an absess tooth so... 
The good news from my visit is that my weight dropped under 190 (187 to be exact) and my blood pressure was lower than it's been in a while!  That made me feel good.  I started this nutty change of lifestyle at 216 pounds at the end of September and have not exerted or killed myself and the weight is coming off.  I could be dramatic and worry about the speed it's coming off, I mean, 19 pounds is not an amazing feat.  No one has noticed or said anything.  It's not a dramatic difference.  I'm not "beach ready" or buff.  But still, knowing I can elicit change in my body by just being more aware of why I'm eating, and staying away from sugary sweets, is a big deal.  And in the scope of things, 19 pounds is nothing to scoff at.  I'm sure my 216-pound self would be ecstatic at the thought of dropping 20. 
Now, I am eagerly waiting for warmer temperatures and sunnier days which will put me in the right mindset to be a little more active.  In my mind's eye I can see Summer being a time I do some positive work, maybe getting the dog out for walks or just walking myself.  But sometimes I have to stop myself from thinking that way, from delaying what needs to be done.  Now that the sun is staying out later, I could go for walks after work.  It would be a great stress reliever.  The only sticky thing during the school year is that I get home around 5:30 and depending on how much homework my kids have, a good chunk of my night can be taken up helping with that.  But I can see that for the excuse that it is.  Priorities and compromises are a part of life.  I may have to give up a little geneology time at the end of the night in order to get a walk in.  Right now, it's been so cold out that it doesn't even sound inviting, but I'm sure when the temperatures get in the 40's and 50's I'll start to get in the spirit.  It is tough overcoming my dislike of winter.  Maybe some year I'll find a better mindset about it, but this wasn't the year. 
So that's about all that's new today.  I'm hoping these antibiotics kick in quickly so I can start feeling like my teeth are not disintegrating in my head, I'm happy that I am continuing to lose a little weight here and there, and I am looking forward to warmer days ahead.  How's your day going?



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lemonade

This week I am making lemonade.  Figuratively, at least.  Over the weekend I finally stopped procrastinating and went to get a much-needed haircut.  Let me tell you about my seeminly incessant issues with getting a good haircut; I get it that I don't have the easiest cut, and inverted bob with an undercut, but this cut has gained popularity recently and even if it hadn't, a bob is a classical cut that any stylist worth their salt should be able to make happen.  I willl further grant that I usually put it off so long that I just end up going to a place that takes walk-ins.  Most places do take walk-ins.  You know who doesn't take walk-ins?  Places that know what they're doing. 
So I go to this place in an old mall, I've been there before and gotten a great cut.  It's a little pricier but I'm willing to pay it for a good cut.  I get another errand done while waiting for my turn, then as soon as I get back to the shop a man takes me back to start my shampoo.  He barely speaks and seems irritated or upset about something.  I try to make small talk, which he ignores and argues with a coworker who thinks he inappropriately booked appointments.  I feel a little stressed out just getting my shampoo done, but figure, the last few times they have not cut it as short as I want and it ends up feeling heavy and sloppy, so anything has to be better.  I show him the picture I've taken from Pinterest of the exact haircut I want, which is pretty close to what I've already been wearing, just a little shorter on the sides. 
Cute, right?  I always get a ton of compliments on my cut.  Let me tell you, this man took out all his frustration on my head!  I've never had a comb hurt me like that, as he carelessly slammed it into my head again and again.  Then the scissors.  Oh lord, the only word I have for what he did to me was "hacking".  He hacked the $#*t out of my hair, making short, choppy layers around my face and wierd uneven cuts to the back.  Thank all that is holy he at least did the shaved part with some control!  By the time this man was done assulting my head, I barely had any hair left on one side.  He didn't ask if I wanted assymetry (I did not) or which side I part my hair to (he got it wrong and now I have go against the way my hair is trained and try to get the longer hair and the choppy short face layers to stay pinned down on the opposite side, which happens to be the side I habitually use for the phone at work).  I whined to my husband over the weekend, that it was a total butch cut and I felt really UNfeminine.  As the weekend drew closer to the end I wondered if calling in sick for bad hair was a legit excuse.  But I mananged to go to work and suck it up.  I forced my hair to the "wrong side" and spiked it up in the back and gave it one little curl in just the right spot and I think it looks kind of cute anyway.  I am still going to let his supervisor know because if I were less patient and understanding, someone would have gotten totally chewed out already. 
So, my lemoade is that.  There are so many worse things in life than a bad haircut.  I am just really happy I have really cute glasses to make up for it.  And, luckily my hair grows pretty fast.  When I was thinking about how the last time someone cut layers by my face (which always ends up sticking out funny because of my glasses) it took more than a year for it to grow back out to the point where they blended into the cut how I wanted, I was really upset, but I reminded myself that there were many points along the way where I made it work and it still looked cute enough.  It's not cancer.  It's not a horrible car accident.  It's not a loved one being sick, it's freaking hair!  I still make it look pretty OK, and that is my lemonade. 
This month's ovulation is tougher than usual, making me have cravings and draining me of energy.  The Butterfinger mini's I got for my kids are talking to me from the high shelf in the cupboard, but I know I am only listening because they are there, not because I truly want them.  The desire for a Butterfinger did not come on it's own, but because it was in the house.  Any other sweet treat would have had the same pull. I haven't had any and don't plan to, but I noticed the cravings more, and it's been a while since I've had to deal with it.  I kept myself busy, and when I got hungry I munched on peanuts or nut butters, the extra fat helps me feel satisfied when I'm wanting sugars. 
So that is my brief, not-very-weight-related post.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Relax

Another lapse between posts, what's new, right?  Not a lot really, which is good.  Things are smooth and easy right now, at least where food is concerned, and I like that it's just easy.  We need something to be easy from time to time don't we?! 
I am not stressing out about food, and in being more relaxed I find that I don't want the foods I thought I wanted when I was restricting carbs.  It is so strange to me and seems backwards, but that is the truth.  There has been carmel and candy and cookies and chips in my house and I other than a couple palm-sized servings of chips, I haven't had any inner conflicts or desires to squash.  And maybe sometimes it comes down to, there are so much more important things in life to worry about than food!  Most of my life I wouldn't have believed it if someone said it because food took up a huge space in my life/mind/day.  I used to be so stressed about judging myself for what kinds of foods I was eating, evaluating if I was good or bad depending on whether the food I was eating was good or bad.  Maybe I just don't have patience for that anymore.  And while my "diet brain" tries to creep back in from time to time, I think my last experience with restricting was a valuable lesson that strengthened my understanding that restricting actually works against me in the long run. 
So I'm back on an even keel with food.  I have allowed the caffeine to slowly creep back in, though I do switch between soda and iced-tea at work instead of just having all soda.  I am OK with it, it feels like a treat and when I take it away, instead of feeling like making a healthy choice it feels like restriction and then my little rebellion-brain shows it's colors. 
I haven't been exercising either.  That's just plain laziness, there's no other way to say it.  I enjoy it when I do it, but the actually thought of exerting myself...it's not my strong point or I'd already be fit. I do think that warmer weather and the days staying brighter longer will help, and I think about getting my dog out for a real walk after work for exercise and to relieve the stress of my work day.  It has been pretty cold lately though, and I am just lazy so I bring him around the complex. 
Where is the motivation?  I have been able to be pretty motivated by my doctor in the past.  I have always been a little nervous of being scolded by any doctor, (because I have been in the past) for being overweight.  I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol in 2008, and when I saw a new doctor, instead of making me feel bad, he wrote me out a "prescription" on his pad and it said, "South Beach Diet or the Zone Diet"  When I finally stopped rebelling against him telling me I am fat, I follwed his advice and lost some weight and dramatically improved my numbers by following South Beach Diet.  I wanted to impress him because I knew I'd be facing him in another couple months, so I did good and he was pleased.  It has been a roller coaster since then, but I do seek the approval of my doctors.  I will be due for another physical exam in December, which seems so far away right now, but really it's only a little more than 8 months away.  While most of the health measures taken last year were good/fine, I do want to improve my HDC (good cholesterol) and my blood sugars, that's my goal for my next exam.  Is it strong enough to motivate me to exercise?  We'll see.  I make no promises!  I think in the past I was also very motivated by my appearance changing, but in the end, that was not a strong enough motivator to keep me from eating junk when I was stressed or sad. 
So it seems that I have some invisible limit, the amount I can handle at one time while still commiting to something successfully.  I can be OK with food but struggle to exercise.  I can cut down on caffeine but have a hard time with food cravings.  I can exercise but then I want to eat everything in sight.  I used to get down on myself and think I am being weak, babying myself but now I know, for many many things in life, picking our battles is the only way to make things work.  For me, for now, low-carb, non-stressful eating, allowing caffeine and very little exercise is what is working.  It's just enough control to make me stay sane but not so much that I want to rebel.  I did discover recently, that I've been crossing my legs more often and then it dawned on me that it is not a challenge at all.  They cross.  Like normal people, not with me having to hold them or force them.  That was one of the things I was looking forward to when I started this, it was one of the things I missed when I fell off the wagon, and it is delightfully, wonderfully, back.  I didn't have to kill myself or diet hardcore, I didn't restrict or rely on willpower.  I just relaxed.  And it feels good.  That is all.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Here's to things that don't Suck

Well, there goes another weekend!  What weekend, right?  Mine was very underproductive.  How underproductive you ask?  I didn't even get my hair cut, which has been long and shaggy for a couple weeks now.  I don't know why I have such a tough time convincing myself to get it done on the weekends, but I procrastinate until I can't stand the sight or feel of it anymore, and then I finally get it cut.  I'm almost to that point. 
Other than the usual chores, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, taking the dog out, I really did a whole lot of loafing and eating this weekend.  It's not even crazy-eating-day time (PMS for those who are new to my blog).  I just got this wild must-eat-food feeling while grocery shopping on Saturday and it just lasted all day Saturday and half of Sunday.  It ended with  me having some severe stomach cramps and discomfort which made me realize that giving into my bratty brain had a direct (negative) effect on my poor body. 
I had a general feeling of blah all weekend too.  I felt like a blog so I ate more, and eating more made me feel worse about myself.  The main difference now is, my "eating more" is a lot smaller than it once was because I simply can't fit as much in me.  For instance, when I got home from shopping Saturday, after eating a Luna bar on the drive home (that was actual hunger), I ate a couple handfuls of different assortments of chips, then two cookies and I was full to the point of not wanting to eat more.  I did eat more, before I was physically hungry, and I ended up feeling pretty bad, bloated and full, and mentally I felt bad too.  Even if I was eating less crap volume-wise, I was still eating crap when I wasn't hungry.  Not sure what that was about.  I have gotten out of the habit of examining why I am eating when I'm not hungry because for a long time it wasn't happening.  I was hoping it was just my hormones whacked out due to perimenopause, but who can tell.  Since it was accompanied by feeling "blah" I think maybe something else was going on.  It was like I didn't want to be seen or even talked to.  I was definitely hiding and numbing, though I can't say anything bad happened that I am consciously aware of.  I guess it's something I have to give more time and thought to. 
Today the weather was pretty nice for this time of year, and a little overcast, which I like.  There were so many birds out singing, I decided to take a walk before work.  I walked about 2 and 1/2 miles.  I had to walk faster than I normally would in order to stay warm because I underestimated the wind, but it was a good walk.  I thought about the weekend and how I'd felt a little down, and I realized that I had done nothing to make myself look or feel good.  I didn't get any fresh air or exercise, didn't do my hair or wear something flattering, I just hung out in my same old comfy clothes and threw my hair back.  While I'm not one to be super high-maintenance, I do notice how caring how I look and caring how I treat my body go hand-in-hand, so when I start not caring how I look, it's usually pretty certain I am also not eating healthy or exercising.  It is what it is at the moment, but the whole thing makes me feel worse about myself.  So today, going for the walk wasn't about getting skinny or torching a bunch of calories, it was to try and kickstart myself back into caring about myself enough to make an effort.  How easily we slip off what we once felt was secure.  I think the restriction of the keto thing really messed with me and made me go off the deep end once I reached a point of fed-up.  It compounded the stress I was already having and put me back into "good food, bad food" mode.  It made me feel shameful for eating a handful of tortilla chips or a couple cookies.  And while the weekend wasn't a full-on binge, it was an unneccesary caloric consumption in the hopes of soothing something that I didn't want to delve into at the time. 
I feel better today, the walk helped my mood and it helped me not want to put more junk in my mouth today.  I am eating sane again.  It also helped that the horrible stomach pain I had yesterday turned out to be a side effect of eating all those carbs/junk so I wanted nothing to do with it today.  And I do want to be able to walk up those stairs at some point, and not be self-conscious that I am huffing and puffing a little bit. 
So I'd like to think I am back on track in a good direction.  I am making a point to eat on purpose and not just be swept away at the thought of food and just start shoveling things in because they are near and look tasty.  On the other hand, I think I need to return to the mentality that I can have whatever I want whenever I want it, so that I don't feel the draw of certain foods.  I ate way less of the counter-productive stuff when I was on a free and open mindset compared to when I am trying to restrict carbs or eliminate soda. 
I've been having strange dreams lately, maybe I need to pay closer attention to them, maybe there's a message there.  Maybe they are telling me I need to stretch more (I do) and strength train (I do) and not take life so seriously.  Amen to that!  It's a delicate balance between too much freedom/restriction and not enough, but taking everything so seriously makes it so much less enjoyable.  And for something to be sustainable long-term, it has to not suck, right?  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  At least I can stick to something. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Decisions and Goals

I don't want to jinx anything but my work has been much more sane the past couple days.  What a gift it's been to be able to get caught up on things and clear some of the clutter both literally and figuratively! 
Yesterday I woke up feeling refreshed and happy and even started thinking of new ideas for displays for the salesfloor at work.  I was right when I said having a little bit of peace in my head would help with other areas, I didn't even think about food in a longing way.  I did have a mini bag of Skinny Girl hint of lime popcorn and it was really good, way less salt and grease than typical micowave popcorn. 
Yesterday was a getting-things-done kind of day for me.  I rescheduled two upcoming appointments and made a new appointment for myself, one that took some courage, with an endodontist.  My dentist referred me to him to do a root canal on my molar that cracked.  I was initially considering just having it pulled because I was thinking it would be less hassel, but I was never fully happy with the thought of doing that.  So after researching a little bit on-line I made the command decision that I was going to try and save the tooth.  I am worth it; I'm worth the time off that I'll be asking for (because I might also need a different specialist to reshape my gums in that area in order to have the crown fit right) and I am worth the extra money it will cost. I'd rather put this effort and financial investment in now than live 40 more years with that tooth gone.  Just making that decision and setting up the appointment made me feel better.  I sure will be glad when all my dental issues are fixed and I can just maintain.
I have also been making a little time to just sit in peace.  I let it envelope me and try to get my thoughts focused on how quiet it is.  I've been lucky to have some quiet time to appreciate the past couple nights.  I did come up with an idea though, that when I get to my car after work at night, I can use the time that it takes to warm my car up, to sit quietly and enjoy the peace as a way of creating a mental separation between where I am leaving and where I am going.  I can do the same thing when I get to work, before getting out of my car, because mornings are stressful trying to get my kids ready and to the bus on time.  So maybe making a practice of "separating the stresses" will give me some grounding in between, enough to help keep my head on straight. 
So I have been thinking about focus and goals, since an arbitrary number on the scale isn't really driving me right now, and I came up with one.  At the clinic where I work, my office is in the basement, which means that I occassionally have to trudge upstairs for something.  There are 23 stairs from the basement to the main floor and by the time I get to the top, most days I am huffing pretty good.  And if I have to go up more than one flight?  Don't ask!  Yes, we have an elevator, but I always feel silly using it since my legs are fine, I'm just overweight.  So, my goal is to get to a point where walking up that one flight of 23 stairs is breezy and I'm not breathing harder.  The only way to make that happen is cardio.  I have been totally slacking on it.  I've been super lazy for too long and I think setting a goal might help.  I am interested how long it will take to acheive.  I go up those stairs at least every Monday and Tuesday night so I will be able to measure on a weekly basis, though I don't know if I will.  Maybe to make it easier to assess I'll take my pulse. 
There it is, a new goal, no scale or bathing suit involved.  Here goes nothing!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Burnt Out but not Toast

This old dog is still learning, and today I realized that in order for me to be even remotely good at doing healthy things for myself, I have to have a healthy mind.  No big new discovery, but I have always equated that to feeling positive about myself, and thinking deeper about weight issues, and trying to uncover why I have always felt beat up by my childhood.  But recent stresses at work and home have really been piling on me like a ton of bricks, and my mind has not been very restful or peaceful in the past two months.  It has been a pretty tumultuous time for me, and if there's one thing I need work on, it is handling times like this with grace.  It's just not natural for me, I really like routine.  In fact, when things are going in smooth, predictable patterns sometimes I get restless and it forces me to do things out of my comfort zone, like go back to college while working full time and raising kids, or, *gasp* work out. 
So I am aware of the need for time to unplug, to reset and recharge my batteries.  Lately another issue I've been having on top of the stress is that I haven't been sleeping well, and one of the reasons is because my mattress seems to have sprung all of its springs at once and I feel like I'm sleeping on a pile of rocks.  My new mattress arrives today, so that's a huge HUGE deal that will go a long way toward making me feel better.  I also have known or felt like I should be meditating or at very least, self-focusing in quiet, and there really hasn't been much time or opportunity for that recently, and I've been filling up a decent amount of my free time with ancestry research.  Saying I want to allot a set amount of time to peaceful reflection or meditation and actually doing it leaves a bit of a gap in my reality.  My kids and the noise are factors that I can't control.  My younger son likes to be close at the end of the day and I don't want to reject him;  I know and loathe that feeling all to well from my own childhood.  But, at the end of the day, dealing with the level of stress I've been dealing with recently, maybe things have come full-circle and I can understand a little bit of why my mom was so detached sometimes.  It was a coping strategy for someone sinking and not quite sure how to pull herself out to level ground. 
The thought of leaving my job is really satisfying right now but it doesn't satisfy the long term, it would be replacing one stress with another.  So I have to find more effective coping techniques.  Stress-eating, restricting, and filling myself up with caffeine in hopes of feeling mentally better has not worked, I need to try a different technique.  I think when I figure out what that is, a lot of other things will fall into place. 
So, as quirky of a goal as that is (at least in regards to trying to get healthy) that's where I am right now.  My most immediate need is for mental peace and feeling centered so that when this stress comes, as I am sure it will most days, I can handle it with more grace and it doesn't spill over to all other areas in life. 
I'm doing really well with cutting back on soda.  The only soda I've had since last Wednesday was when we went out to dinner last weekend, and I kept it to one glass.  It tasted so good but having ice to pour tea on has been working out just fine at work, and at home I drink water flavored with Sweet Drops (liquid stevia).  I don't really think about soda or long for it, and surprisingly enough, I don't really notice the reduction of caffeine.  I am still taking a 200mg caffeine pill and having 1-2 cups of coffee most mornings, but compared to the amount of soda and coffee and energy drinks I used to consume on a regular basis, this is a huge improvement, and one that I think is sustainable for the long-haul. 
So things are humming along.  I may take a few moments out tonight to see if I can work in a little quiet time for myself, even if it means locking myself in the bathroom or giving my husband my phone for a while so I am not tempted to let my face get sucked into it instead of doing things that will make me feel good.  Small steps, right?  I'm not out of the game yet!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ice Ice Baby

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Food Slips and Refires

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