Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Now Eye Get it!

My lower carb diet lasted exactly 4 days, and not surprisingly, I didn't notice a huge difference in how I feel.  To be fair, except for Saturdays when I go off the rails after grocery shopping, I don't really eat a carb-heavy diet so giving up the couple servings of grains didn't seem to make a whole heap of difference.  That being said, 4 days is not enough to judge much of anything by. 
I also have not noticed much difference in taking the estrogen-mimicing vitamins, but I will keep taking it just in case. 
The one thing that has helped me at least feel a little better is I started using eye drops for my eyes, first thing when I wake up and then again during the day.  Wow, do my eyes feel better, which makes me feel less tired.  I'm glad I tried it and I will continue to use the drops.  I have also been applying a warm washcloth to my eyes when I remember, and massaging my lids.  Did you know the parts of your eye that release tears and moisture can get clogged with oil and debris and that makes your eye produce less tears?  I feel like that is what's been going on the past few days.  The tricks I am doing certainly help but if it doesn't start to feel better soon I'll have it checked out.  Everything is blooming around my city and even in my front yard, I may have a little allergy issue.
This week I am pretty much eating the same things, keto muffins for breakfast, this time with pizza sauce and melted cheese, yum!  Salad for lunch, nuts and yogurt for snacks and veggie burger without bun for dinner.  I have subsituted a bagel for breakfast when needed, as sometimes the prep and clean up time make the muffins take longer than a bagel.  I am considering getting up earlier to make my mornings go smoother and have time for some cardio, but the kids only have about 3 weeks of school left, then I'll have an extra hour in my morning without having to get up earlier.  For now, the thought of getting up earlier isn't wildly appealing!  Is it ever?
This weekend my husband and I are going out of town for an overnight trip to Minneapolis to visit the Shriners hospital.  I am looking forward to it, and have made ammends with the fact that my eating will be different and unpredictable.  I'm OK with that.  We are going to have a great time and the kids get to spend time with their grandma, which they love to do, so it's a nice break for all of us.  Maybe that's another reason I'm not super picky about my diet this week, if I have a bagel here or there (or a tuna wrap and fries when celebrating my husband's birthday with his dad last night) not a big deal.  Events happen and I refuse to let food run my life to the point where that's all I'm focusing on because I'm afraid I will gain a pound or look fat because I didn't get the salad.  There is a time and place for discipline but there's also a time and place for loosening the reigns. 
So that's my current state of things.  I have a lot to try and get done before we leave on Friday morning, but it's for something fun! 
So no great inspirational message or take away here, just ready for some springtime fun, and happy to be feeling slightly better! 
Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hunger Pangs

It has only been one day since I cut back on the carbs, and the hunger pangs are more noticeable already.  This morning I woke up with my stomach growling, which is not really very normal for me.  I noticed that something about that sensation makes me a little uncomfortable, almost sad.  There is a trigger in me that wants to immediately fix it, to eat something, anything quick and handy to make the discomfort go away.  I don't like "sitting with" my hunger one bit.  For some reason, it makes me feel hollow in a melancholy way.  During the day, I never let that feeling go very long before eating something.  Yes, there is a physical discomfort but I think for me the mental discomfort is greater.  Perhaps because I grew up in a less-than- well-off household where sometimes we had to make due with "bread cereal" or not having seconds when I wanted them.  I have been consciously aware of my feelings of "not enough" for some time now.  When I would get a bag of candy to share with the kids and I would take more than I wanted so that they wouldn't eat it all up and I wouldn't have some later.  When I would cheat on a diet and instead of just having "some" of whatever I was eating, I would have to eat the whole thing because there was not enough time to be eating this way because I was going to go back to being "good".  Even with money, I was always the one to snap up overtime and extra shifts to earn a little more, even if I had some stashed away. 
I did eventually get around to eating breakfast, at the normal time to keep my schedule somewhat normalized, and it made me feel pretty good.  In general, I feel pretty good today.  My shoulder/neck/back/wrist etc is feeling less painful and more just a bruised-sore kind of hurt.  Much more tolerable.  I was yawning and sighing a lot this morning, but my dog decided to wake me up early (4:15 ugh) and it took me a bit to fall back asleep.  I can say that I really don't notice the difference that adding the estrogen-simulator vitamin makes-yet.  I am hopeful that it will eventually give me a little boost. 
My diet this week, if anyone's interested:
Breakfast: a new recipe for 1 minute keto muffins.  4 ingredients: 1 egg, 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of salt.  Microwave in a greased ramekin or other dish for 1 minute.  It is spongy but can take on any flavor.  I have tried it with cream cheese and regular shredded cheese so far, I plan on trying it with peanut butter, with blueberries ( I would omit the salt and sub a little stevia), cinnamon flavored one, maybe even a coffee one.  They keep me satisfied a full 3 hours too. 
Lunch is a salad, power greens with grape tomatoes, feta and boiled eggs with a little ranch dressing.  It is very satisfying and I'm getting some good greens in. 
Dinner is a veggie burger on a bed of lettuce with tomatoes and pickles.  I gave up the grains and don't really miss them, this is a good meal. 
Snacks are Cashews, light Greek yogurt, and cheese before bed. 
There are a few more recipes I might try next week, or I might just keep things simple and keep rocking what I'm doing, but for now I feel pretty good.  I can't credit that to anything in particular so I am not going to make a big statement here, but I am going to just stick with it and see if I can find out if it's the carbs affecting me or not. 
Hope things are going smooth for anyone reading this.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Graceless Lesson

I am not blessed with grace.  I mean it, I am one of the clumbsiest people I know.  I trip over my own feet nearly every day, sometimes multiple times in one day.  I remember as a kid, my mom would forever tell me to pick up my feet.  At least that lesson sunk in and I'm no longer a shuffler, but I still don't walk as gracefully as one should. 
So yesterday morning I had my dog out and we live in an absolutely lovely area with hills and conservancy, and my dog was taking his usual long time to poop so I was going to guide him down one of the hills. Being 5:30 am, and springtime in Wisconsin, there was a thick layer of frost on the grass and before I knew it, I was on my butt and I felt my shoulder jam from putting my hands behind me to try and break my fall.  OUCH!  That's not going to be good!  After getting up, catching my dog and getting us back inside I cried as the pain set in.  I thought for sure I'd torn something.  I went to the walk-in just to see what they could do, hopefully get me off work for a day or a few, depending on how bad it was.  The nurse who looked at me was compassionate but unimpressed.  She said the most they could do was take an X-ray, but she was pretty confident nothing was broken.  Yep, I knew that.  She prescribed a steroid and gave me an excuse to take yesterday off work.  I went to pick up my prescription and was lured in by a big bag of peanut butter M&Ms on the clearance rack.  I refused them at first, knowing what I was doing, the same thing I always want to do when I'm hurt or sick, comfort with food.  Being under the weather is one of my biggest triggers.  I wish someone would take care of me, pamper and look out for me, but I only have myself.  And food.  So I ended up getting them and eating way too many.  In a way it was good, I ate so many that even just looking at them makes me feel ill.  I will not have any trouble resisting them now. 
I ate oddly all yesterday, those M&Ms were the first thing I'd eaten all day, and that was around 10am.  I had a bagel, a handful of BBQ chips and later, a veggie burger without the bun.  So, needless to say, I didn't start my lower carb diet yesterday.  The good news is, after my little morning/early afternoon apathy fest, I turned it around, and because my bestie is starting to make positive changes too, it made me even more fired up to make changes.
I am a big believer in taking a lesson in the behaviors that go against what I thought I wanted to do.  I knew even before I bought those M&Ms that I was feeling sad that I had to care for myself when I got hurt.  Yes, in reality I knew my husband wasn't going to come home and lose 12 hours of pay just to drive me to the walk-in and pharmacy, and I wouldn't expect him to, but being that I drive a stick shift and mentioned to him that it was all I could do not to burst out in tears from pain just getting the kids to the bus stop, I thought maybe he'd at least offer to see if I needed help.  Nope.  He was compassionate and happy I was going to get it checked out but did not offer help.  Not even on his way home.  Granted, we live a block and a half from a grocery store, and the walk-in and pharmacy are only about a mile or two from our house, but it was still painful and tricky.  So here's the thing, I didn't want to inconvenience anyone but I would have like to have been offered.  This, funny as it may seem, has very little to do with my husband and much to do with my mom.  I feel like she wasn't there for me very often.  She assumed I was strong and by not "babying" me I would only be stronger.  I like to think I'm strong, but I felt a lack of support and compassion and am sensitive to those issues because I felt like that was largely missing in my life.  This a big comfort-eating trigger for me, and I will have to establish ways to work around it or if I really feel like I need something, I will need to learn to ask for it.  That is self love, not shoving M&M's down my gullet until the point of feeling ill.  So, I am looking on yesterday as a great learning experience.  Yes, I feel like my entire right side of my body was beaten with a baseball bat, yes I still wanted to cry in pain while driving my stick shift to work, yes my husband still isn't too impressed with my feats of clumbsiness, but I learned a sticking point for me so now I can head these things off before they even have a chance to seat themselves in my mind.  There are a bunch of smaller lessons too, like people can't read my mind to know what I am hoping or expecting out of them.  And, frosty grass can be just as slippery as ice, who knew?  But in light of Geneen's message to look at the things that are going right, I think I have that in spades.  No comfort eating needed today, game on!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Weekend Gifts

My day trip to the island was fantastic!  An cloudless, impossibly blue sky amplified the blooming green of plant life all around.  The water, although barely above freezing, was such an amazing shade of teal it looked tropical.

It's still off-season, so there was not a lot of business taking place.  We were able to eat at one of our favorite restaurants on the island and we visited a lavender farm with a gift shop, to get a gift for my mother-in-law.  We also visited Stavkirke, a handmade wooden church that honors the island's Scandinavian heritage.  If only for the amazing architecture and hand work alone, it is humbling to be in that space, but it affected me in other ways too, especially since I've learned that my blood is 40% Scandinavian.
At one point, I bathed in the red glow of sunlight filtering through a stained glass window and tried to imagine immigrating to this place, this island that feels so magical to me.
It was cold and windy, but the sun was magnificent, and as luck would have it, we ended up catching an early ferry back to the mainland in time to have dinner at familiar place on the peninsula.  It was a wonderful day and I'm glad we decided to do it.  I do always get a sad feeling when we're leaving the island, but it's only about an hour drive plus a half hour ferry ride away, so we could go whenever we want.
My stomach isn't loving me today after two meals "out" and a few drinks after returning home, but today has been very good/productive/inspirational even.
I haven't been focusing much on reading about compulsive or emotional eating lately, assuming that I have a good idea of what to do, but while scrolling through Facebook this morning I saw a post from Geneen Roth with a link to the Oprah Super Soul Sunday they did together.  Since it is a slow-paced Sunday I took the time to watch the entire show, it is 40 minutes or so.  I am so very glad I watched it and I will probably watch it again and take notes.  I know, much of what she talks about is from her book, "Women Food and God" but she had updated and revised some information.  I will post the link near the end.  If you love Geneen and her message and especially if you are not familiar with her, I think anyone at any place they are in can benefit from seeing this show.  There is also a little short segment at the end where they talk about an experiment someone did to show what others are really thinking about you versus what you are thinking about yourself.  All in all, I think it was a really powerful way to start my day, and it motivates me to revisit Geneen's teachings which have helped me both to find peace with food and examine beliefs I gained early in life that are still affecting me today.  The guilty, shameful little parts of me that I would rather smother in food than try to expose it, accept it as a part of me, and find a way to love it.
I will be working on more of these lessons and re-reading her books.  Even though I feel like I have a good start to a healing path, I still feel like her lessons are helpful and uplifting.
Here is the link to the show: Geneen Roth  I hope you get a chance to watch it, and I hope it moves you, inspires you or at very least, interests or entertains you.  The more exposure I have to these topics, the more it helps me focus my attention internally, and directs the focus away from external things that I cannot change but somehow allow myself to be swept away by my emotions over anyway.
So I think I can say this was a very rewarding weekend.  I got some great rejuvenating energy both mentally and physically.  I think I'm ready for my week ahead!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Time to Feel Good

Lately I have not been living in a very balanced way, and it is making me feel really manic-depressive, one day is up and I'm fine, the next is bad and I feel like I want to just curl up in a dark room by myself and shut the world out.  I realize that I am being ruled by everything and not controlling my reaction to the things around me.  I am at the whim of the events happening around me and it's making me miserable.  I know the lesson of the Dhammapada is to steady my mind and find a place where my mind is strong and unwaivering no matter what happens around me.  That would be nirvana wouldn't it?  I'm a long way from finding my way there but at least I know what I'm doing isn't working.  I have yet to claim my inner Goddess but she's in there waiting patiently.
Today I am up, because it's Friday of course, but also because yesterday was manageable and I finally voiced to my boss that I am burnt out on my job and that it's making me lose my passion for doing this as a career.  He was concerned and told me I need to take a vacation.  I wanted to laugh at him because lately I seem to be continually told no for 95% of the time I request off.  At any rate, it felt good to get that out in the open. 
I'm also in a good place because my family and I are going on a day-trip to one of our favorite local spots, an island off the tip of Wisconsin.  There is something about that place that is just magical and refreshingly low-key, not in a tropical island way, but in an isolated, going back to simpler times kind of way.  It will be a great time and I have a feeling it will be very rejuvenating and uplifting.
I also took a little time yesterday to scout out some new recipes and found a few I am going to try next week.  If any of them are good I will share them.  I am making 1 minute keto muffins and feta bombs next week and maybe the following week I'll try two more that I found for sweet potato veggie burgers with avocado and some low-carb baked, cheesy crackers which I would probably combine with slices of cheese or hummus for a snack, and I also found a recipe for some Mexican Quinoa one-pot dish which looks yummy on it's own or maybe as filling for stuffed peppers. 
Just looking at recipes got me in a better mood and looking forward to putting some more focus on my body and how I feel.  I have been keeping up with the hip/glute strengthening this week because it makes a huge difference in how my hips feel.  It's as if I took a strong pain killer, my hip pain is almost non-existent when I do these few exercises, and they are easy enough, I have been doing them in bed at night, while watching a show or while researching geneology or whatever.  I have been thinking more about how aweful it would be if every step was painful always.  I see people walking all hunched over or limping bad to take the pressure off certain parts or sides of their body, I really don't want that for myself.  Hip/glute strengthening is a bit of a cure for me for now, so that has been going really well. 
Water is going good too.  I have been cutting off the caffeine earlier in the day and switching to water.  My brain always fights it but once I start sipping it, I'm hooked.  Maybe a good way to start weening myself off is to cut back a little earlier each week or couple weeks until I eventually have my last caffeine at an acceptable time in the morning and then stop.  Baby steps.  I still have a mental feeling of urgent need for caffeine because I do feel exhausted most of the time.  I am starting to put together a list of fixes to try:
     Eye drops, because I do sleep with a fan and my eyes have been feeling really dry when I wake up.
     Hormone helpers like Estroven.  I have given them a chance in the past, but I didn't really notice a difference.  To be fair though, I can't remember if I was doing anything else to try and feel better or just popping those.  And I have a hard time being consistent with anything that requires me to take them in the evening, which some of them are twice-a-day dosing.  I will be more compliant to see if it makes any difference. 
     Decreasing my carbs.  I have been letting things go pretty liberally lately, and while I don't binge on sugars like I once did, they are slowly working themselves back into my diet here and there.  I also eat grains pretty liberally now.  Bagel for breakfast, another with my veggie burger at dinner, bread for lunch or dinner sometimes.  It's not over the top but I just want to see if it makes me feel better to cut out some of that for a bit.  I know everyone's body responds to an uses carbs differently.  Maybe in my attempt to not restrict myself I am having some negative side effects.  I would not stay ketogenic long-term, but if it makes me feel good to be lower carb I may cycle my carbs, having higher and lower days throughout the week.
     Increase my intake of unsaturated fats.  I don't really intake fats other than the bad ones in dairy.  I think I could have more energy if I made it a point to increase my fats.  It would help my good cholesterol get to a better place too, and helps curb cravings and makes you feel satiated longer. 
     Morning exercise.  I am mainly thinking about getting out for walks because nature is very therapeutic but I rarely ever use it and I think it would make me appreciate the season more.

That's probably enough things to try!  I will start with carb-cutting on Monday, going back to phase I of South Beach, the ketogenic stage.  For me, I think about food a lot less on that stage, but I have to be mentally ready for it.  I think I am.   If not, it will simply be a learning experience!  It's spring, I am ready to feel good physically and mentally, sometimes nature just needs a little help from a Goddess like me!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Word to the Wise

Today as I was browsing Facebook while eating breakfast, I came across this post from Geneen Roth.  I was just going to skim it because I saw a clip of the Oprah interview and I honestly was a little annoyed by what seemed like some odd tension from Oprah in the clip, maybe that's just her style, but to me it seemed like she was sort of brushing off Geneen which seems really ungracious of her as a host.  Anyway, I read what Geneen wrote about eating and addiction and it was something I really needed to see right now because I've been in a bit of a funk.  Maybe I have been eating lower carb, eating more fats less sugars, maybe getting some protein and veggies in there once in a while, but I haven't been eating foods that make me feel vibrant and bright and light.  I will definately be chewing on this today. I think the post speaks for itself and hopefully gets the gears turning.  It sure woke me up.  Here's the post, I will leave it without further commentary.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Coke, Mom Issues and (UGH)the Dentist

The water drinking is going much better!  Maybe I just needed to tell myself there was no pressure.  Maybe it was the building of a computer desk on my own over the weekend.  Whatever the case, I have been drinking a lot more, but it's too soon to tell if it's having any major affect.  I still have massive bags under my eyes. 
I am happy to say that, today I am finally stepping out from the cloud that's been hanging over my head for the past few days or so.  Last Friday at work ended badly and I left feeling like I would gladly give up some of my free time over the weekend searching what other jobs are out there.  I have been overwhelmed and burnt out since the new year began, and usually I can vent with my boss and feel he appreciates me, but lately his tone has also been changing.  I had a really good sales month but it came at the cost of my mental peace and to be made out to seem like it's nothing spectacular (compared to other years' sales) made me feel really aweful.  My boss is spread thin and worn out too, we all are.  My problem is that, lately, I haven't been able to leave the bad feelings about work behind, and it ends up compounding the already-over-booked, stressed out home stuff I've got going on.  I also have been feeling like my relationship with my mom is still strained and I am going to have to process through the fact that I may never be able reach a place of calmness and connectiveness with her as I had thought.  I thought geneology was our common ground but she recently told me she's lost interest.  I worry that she knows she is sick and she is trying to push everyone away by being negative, judgemental and abrasive.  This is my mother.  She can be awesome and easy to get a long with, talkative to a point that I want to find an excuse to leave the room, and mostly, unfortunately, very negative and judgemental.  I learned how to placate her early in life, in order to avoid conflict because her tongue is sharp and she doesn't easily let go of a grudge.  No wonder I'm a mess!  A letter I received over the weekend only made me ruminate on how much I wished she could find a morsel of happiness, joy and let that fill her; or get therapy, which she sees as an unneccessary weakness for babies. 
Then there's the dentist.  What a nightmare this has been with them.  One tiny little tooth in the back is causing so much trouble I want to scream!  First the dentist opened it and cleaned it and confirmed it needs a root canal.  She referred me to an endodontist because it's in a really crowded area.  Next, yesterday she went back in.  My assumption was that we were going to try the crown she made an impression of on my first visit, to see if there was enough tooth left to fit it.  She did more digging, drilling, and poking around in the tooth and told me there is not enough tooth left for a good fit, so I have to go have crown lengthening done.  This lovely procedure reshapes bone and tissue to make sure there is enough tooth exposed to fit the crown.  Then a follow up with that specialist.  Then back to try the crown.  It will be 6 visits for one tooth.  I still have more work that needs to be done on other teeth, 3 fillings and another, thanfully less complicated, root canal.  The part that stresses me out the most is that I keep having to reschedule appointments because getting time off work is proving to be nearly impossible.  It's frustrating me more than it should.  I really just want to be done with this dental work, but now it seems as if it is going to drag on most of the year.  UGH!
I am realizing that I kind of have a love-hate relationship with food.  I mean it, I am so not inspired by food, even the kind I "shouldn't have".  I really want something to come wake up my palate.  Yesterday, after getting dental work done and getting to work late, I was in such an mental/physical slump that all I could think of was self-comfort.  I ended up, at one point, doing a quick glance at "healthy recipes" to see if anything piqued my interest.  There are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of chicken recipes and they all look pretty good.  I don't like meat much, and I especially don't like it reheated so that whole thing is out of the question, but the bright colorful pictures with all the pretty vegetables and colorful dinnerwear was really refreshing.  It made me feel better somehow, to see someone who put effort into pleasing the senses.  So I am thinking of experimenting with different seasonings that I am not familiar with, getting new colorful dishes for home and for work, and just experimenting with new stuff.  It'll help get me out the food funk I've been in for a few months now.  I realize I cannot rely so heavily on dairy in the long run.  Then, around 3:30 pm it dawned on me that I'd barely had any caffeine.  It is not the optimal time to have some, but I allowed myself one can of Coke Zero vanilla.  I felt so much better!  I didn't intentionally have less caffeine but because my mouth was numb I just didn't drink much other than some room temperature water.  I also had a headache before I drank it, which I attributed to the dentist (the anesthetic raises blood pressure slightly) that magically went away after drinking the soda.  Lately I have been wondering if some of my energy issues aren't also coming from not taking in enough calories.  I consistently miss my afternoon snack and lately I have been skipping my bedtime snack too, which is not smart because I feel like I don't sleep as well.  I also have noticed that my hips and knees have been hurting a lot lately.  Last night I decided to do a little bit of hip and glute strengthening exercises I learned for my physical therapy after the knee surgery.  With just one rep I noticed an immediate and huge difference!  I felt like everything was lining up and tracking better, and this morning when I got out of bed I had a huge amount less irritation (feels like something needs to pop or that it's out of place slightly) so I was really happy about that.  I was having a hard time considering exercise of any kind knowing my hips were feeling that bad.  Now that I've seen how dramatic of a result that gave me I am planning on doing it more frequently. 
So maybe the thing I say with most certainty is that I have been letting my self-care and body awareness slide and I have been feeling the negative side effects of doing that.  I have been out of touch with my body, worried about why I am so drained and 'shoulding' all over myself.  Time to pay more attention and make some changes that will make me feel better.  I think I am going to cut back on carbs again to see how big of an impact it makes on how I feel.  It takes some mental prep but I think with the help of some new recipes I will be ready at the start of next week.  Not a refire, not a new start, just an experiment.  I really don't want to become diabetic, I'm not eating a crazy amount of sugar like I used to when I was on comfort-seeking, auto-pilot mode, but my blood sugars were on the high end of normal last year.  No matter how much self-love I claim to have, if I make myself diabetic from poor choices I will forever beat myself up over that. 
So that's where my mind is right now, thinking about launching into a lower-carb thing, doing more lower body strengthening and sitting back down with my 'mom issues' in my brain so I can conquer the past demons with today's reality of what our relationship is (so much NOT a telephone or greeting card commercial) and making sure I know who I am without (or despite) her negative opinions of me.   Baby steps always.  I have said it many times, I am a perpetual work-in-progress, such is life.  Life gives us goals and we push to see what we're made of.  I think I'm made of some pretty tough stuff, I just lose my faith sometimes.  Time to give myself a hug and move on.