Monday, December 16, 2013

Empathy vs. Sympathy

I'm having a difficult week, which I won't be writing about here, except to acknowledge it's happening and say I'll probably be absent a bit longer.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Magnesium: Good and Bad News

A friend of mine who has been experiencing some of the same symptoms I have lately (insomnia, fatigue, heart palpitations, occasional shortness of breath, weight gain, worsening periods and PMS) went to see her naturopath this week.  The naturopath did some blood tests, but prescribed a few supplements to address the symptoms in the meantime.  One of the things she prescribed was magnesium, which reminded me that I had some magnesium citrate in my cupboard that I bought a couple of years ago but wasn't taking for some reason.

I took the magnesium last night an hour or so before my bedtime, and it did make me appropriately sleepy around 11:00 pm.  It also caused me to feel short of breath for five hours.  That must be why I didn't continue taking it.  I do seem to remember having a problem with it before now.  However, around 2:00 am my breathing became more normal and I went to bed and fell asleep easily and slept very deeply, which is unusual for me, even on a good night.

Young Woman Sleeping - Fran├žois Boucher

I'm going to try a different form of magnesium, and maybe try an epsom salt bath before bed (which I've done regularly before) if supplements continue to give me problems.  I read a Q and A about magnesium where a registered nurse said that she very occasionally sees people who are apparently so deficient in magnesium that it seems to affect them in exactly the opposite way as the desired result, and she suggests they start with smaller doses early in the day and work up to more gradually until they find the highest dose that doesn't cause problems.

I do think the magnesium can help, so I'm going to get a different form of it today. (The bottle in my cupboard expired in April anyway, Ha!) It's the first thing that has had at least some promise of helping in a long time.  Hey, I got about seven hours of good sleep last night, so the shortness of breath was worth it, but I wouldn't want to do that every night.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sleepy

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend I found myself sliding back into that lazy, sitting around all day, and not getting dress pattern that I was experiencing before.  I had a really good week before that, but probably let the bad news from the scale get to me a bit.  The fact that my husband was home for 5 days also sitting around and doing nothing helped me justify sitting around myself.  Now I'm trying to get back into the nice groove I found two weeks ago, but I'm struggling a bit.

For two nights in a row now I have not been able to fall asleep until after 4:00 am, which as you might suspect, leaves me feeling really tired and foggy the entire next day.  I took a walk yesterday and know I should do the same today, but damn.  I'm tired.

The progesterone cream doesn't seem to be making any difference.  After reading other women's experiences with using it I was hopeful that I would sleep better, not worse, and that I would experience more energy during the day.

I'm not giving up, though.  I have a healthy homemade soup on the stove
for me to eat for lunch for the rest of the week.  I'm going to keep trying to make better diet choices.  I'm going to get a little bit of exercise in today, and I'm going to hope for a better night's sleep tonight.

Support

I'm grateful for:
  • being able to sleep late into the morning after a sleepless night.
  • my husband who works hard, allowing me to stay home with my kids.
  • relatives who know how to fix cars.
  • a generous son who is working his way through college with two jobs and still offered to help pay for my car repairs because he uses my car too. (I told him, "No, thank you.")
  • loyal friends who get me and care.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Positive Checklist

Some positive things I've done for my health and happiness lately:
  • Cooking and eating more whole foods and less processed junk which has helped me narrow down some sensitivities, especially mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, and MSG all containing soy.   Because I've been feeling better eating real food I really notice it when one of those things sneak in, like they did during Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Walking a few times a week.
  • Bought a new mattress in the quest for better sleep.  I think the mattress is better than what we had, but it hasn't eliminated my sore back and waking up feeling very stiff and sore.  That was a disappointment, and I'm not sure if I should keep trying mattresses or accept the fact that, at this weight, I'm always sore and stiff.
  • Ordered progesterone and am really hoping it makes a difference.  I'll let you know!
  • Started taking vitamin D.  It's that time of year.
  • Reaching out to friends a little bit more.
  • Counting my blessings a little bit more.
  • Giving myself props for positive action, as in this list.
  • Making space for healing by filtering out some of the "noise" that has been distracting and irritating me.  More specifically, taking a break from Facebook.  I've been feeling very sensitive this Fall, and I needed to put some filters up to keep from taking in energy that works against me. 
  • Getting dressed, including putting on shoes in the morning.
  • Saying, "No," when I need to.
  • Saying, "Yes," when it is good for me to do so. (Like accepting social invitations and offers of help.)
  • Working on kind and compassionate self-talk.
I just needed to remind myself that a lot of positive action is taking place.

Convenience

I'm grateful for:
  • my dishwasher, washer, and dryer.
  • hot showers.
  • clean sheets.
  • leftovers in the fridge.
  • heat at the touch of a button.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

NOT a Happy Thanksgiving

I do not know what possessed me to get on the scale this morning.  I actually thought it would be a nice surprise.  I feel like I've been making progress.

256.6 lbs.

That is 4.2 lbs more than I weighed when I first weighed in on this blog.  It's 10+ lbs. more than I thought I weighed.  That would explain why I'm so sore and tired and why just walking down the hall and getting dressed makes me feels winded.

This news has wrecked my day.  I should have let myself have one more day of denial because now I have to be pleasant company for the Thanksgiving festivities, and I'm not feeling pleasant at all.

I think I need to go back to weighing myself everyday.  It is just too easy for me to put on blinders and not face what I'm really dealing with.

Maybe some of this is not my fault. I'm having so much trouble sleeping.  I've been moody, and PMS is worse for me than it's ever been.  I'm in those perimenopause years, so maybe hormones are working against me right now.  After doing some reading on the subject I ordered some progesterone cream.  It should be here at the beginning of the week.  I am hoping against hope that it makes a difference.

An article by Dr. Christiane Northrup:  Estrogen Dominance

I'm going to leave myself and you with this thought from the article:
"Remember, perimenopause is a time to reinvent yourself. This means investing time and energy in yourself, not everyone else."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Feeling It Today

Unlike yesterday's great walk, today's walk kicked my butt!  I walked excruciatingly slow, was out of breath, and my hip flexors were screaming.  I guess after pushing myself to go faster and further yesterday I was still recovering today.

Instead of feeling discouraged by it, though, I actually took it as a sign that some muscle strengthening happened yesterday, and I feel encouraged.  I look forward to the day when my current walk is a breeze and I need to walk longer distances and find steeper hills to challenge myself.

The decision to hold myself to the one, and only one, expectation of getting dressed in the morning has worked out very well for me this week.  It's so much easier to face going out for a walk when I'm already dressed with shoes on than it is when I'm sitting comfy in my p.j.'s, fuzzy slippers, and cozy bathrobe.  I've found the usual house cleaning and dinner making easier to do this week too.

Tomorrow I'm making sweet potato casserole and a chocolate trifle to take to my sister's for Thanksgiving.  So, I guess for me, unlike those who will be cooking a great big meal, it will be a day of rest.

Thanksgiving

I'm grateful for:
  • my sister who is hosting Thanksgiving at her house this year.
  • an easy stress-free holiday coming up.
  • my parents who are healthy and close-by. 
  • my in-laws who are also healthy and close-by.
  • those of you who read and give me a reason to write and share my journey.
 Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Feeling Accomplished

I took another walk with my daughter today, and for the first time in a long time I actually felt like maybe I was getting stronger.  We walked faster and further than we normally do, and I marched up one of our hills more easily than the day before.  It seems that maybe some of those small changes have been making a difference which provides much needed encouragement.


Strength

I'm grateful for:
  • a whole week of sunshine!
  • the fact that my body is getting stronger.
  • having healthy food choices in my fridge and pantry.
  • a friendly neighborhood to walk around and about.
  • hope.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Standing in My Power

Feeling empowered after a nice tarot reading last night, I got dressed this morning and made a healthy smoothie for breakfast.  After breakfast my oldest daughter and I took a walk.    

I have a standing, monthly lunch date with my mom, mother-in-law, and a few other relatives.  We met last Friday and my husband's cousin's wife came for the first time with her daughter.  I'll call her, "Lucy."  When I heard Lucy was going to be there I almost stayed home because a few months ago she made a comment about my weight, and I've been avoiding her ever since then. 

I decided, though, that part of loving and accepting myself is not caring about what people think of me and not letting their thoughtlessness be a reason to imprison myself, so I went to lunch. I was gracious and kind despite the fact that Lucy made a point of talking about nutrition and the small size of her portions as if she were "helping" me by being an example of discipline and righteous eating. 

I would, however, love to be thinner next time we all get together because I feel so vulnerable at this weight, and Lucy let us know that she'll be attending future lunch dates.

I suppose seeing Lucy is why I have been thinking a lot about my weight again, and I why I, for the hundredth time, asked the tarot cards if I could expect success in losing some this time around, but I don't want to lose weight to impress Lucy and people like her.  I want to feel my power and strength in the face of critics like Lucy no matter what I weigh, and I had the perfect opportunity to start practicing during my lunch date.  Maybe that is where this new empowered feeling is coming from.

Safety

I'm grateful for:
  • the sun shining this week.
  • the unconditional love of my immediate family.
  • healthy and safe kids. (I was scared over the weekend by a fatality on our corner right around the time my son was driving in that exact spot, but he answered his phone when I called to make sure he was okay.)
  • new resolve.
  • my mind.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dressed and Fed

I got dressed today, as I promised myself I'd do.  I also managed to accomplish a few more things on my To-Do list.  It may sound like I'm aiming low, but honestly, I'm proud of myself for getting even one thing crossed off my list right now.

I made a batch of sugar cookie dough and will roll them out and bake them tomorrow.  Then I'll freeze them so they'll be ready for frosting closer to Christmas. 

I got a couple of loads of laundry done and made my bed.

I made a delicious, soul-feeding, stick to your ribs dinner.  No, it was not low fat or light or particularly healthy except for the fact that it was made with all real food (and that's healthy enough for me!).  I do find that we all eat less when I make a meal like this than when we have take-out or fast food.  It's like those calories, even though they are heavy on the fat side, are real fuel and not just fluff, so we don't keep eating and eating, trying to feed ourselves real fuel that's not there.

Tomorrow I'll get dressed in the morning again and go from there.

Nourishment

I'm grateful for:
  • home-cooked meals, even if I am the one doing the cooking.
  • the ability to nourish my family and getting their praise and appreciation in return.
  • my always-needs-cleaning kitchen that has everything I need to get the job done. 
  • butter.
  • cheese.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hangin' Up My Slippers

I'm gonna keep this short.  I'm planning to start checking in more often.  Dare I hope for a daily note, even if it's just to say I'm still hangin' in there?  We'll see. 

I'm struggling a little bit.  The Winter Blahs have set in and when those set in early, like they have done this year, the blahs clash, BIG time, with my Holiday Shit-Storm.  The Holiday Shit-Storm is when I run around with an expectation of perfection and try to do it all, but I always fall short.

Cookies, homemade wrapping paper, snowflakes with the kids, parties, shopping, beautiful decorations.

How on earth am I going to accomplish that in the state I'm in?  I won't.  So, right now, I'm going to just have one expectation of myself, and that is...wait for it.  It's a biggie. 

I'm going to get dressed when I wake up.

Yeah, that's it.  I've been living in my pajamas, fuzzy pink slippers, and bathrobe, and call me crazy, but I  just don't feel that energetic or productive in that getup, so I'm going to make a point of getting dressed when I wake up, instead of 5 minutes before my husband is due home.

What happens when the Winter Blues and the Holiday Shit-Storm occur concurrently?   I have to lower my expectations, that's what.

Comfort

I'm grateful for:

  • the fact that every new day is a new beginning.
  • a warm, cozy house.
  • my patient (with me) and supportive husband.
  • my kids who are just SO good and funny and kind.
  • my fuzzy slippers, which are perfect for relaxing and unwinding, but not ideal for wearing all day, every day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grateful

This is a very good list!

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier

Right now I'm combining 1, 4, and 5 by taking walks outside with my daughter, but I think I will work on intentionally adding the other items on the list to my life on a more regular basis.

I'm going to start with practicing gratitude by listing 5 things for which I'm grateful at the end of each of my posts.
I'm grateful for:
  • the pretty dew laced spider webs we saw on our walk today.
  • this gorgeous sunny day.
  • my daughter who has made it her mission to get the two of us moving.
  • the extra income coming in right now.
  • friends who support me and lift my spirits.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Still Walking


I've walked every day this week except yesterday.  I was having a really heavy period day, heavier than I've ever had, in fact, and I just needed to take it easy.  I almost spent a few minutes feeling bad about myself because I had been going for a streak, and my streak only lasted three days before I needed to take a day off.  Instead, I decided that in this case a day off was a loving thing to do for myself not a failure, and that I could continue to love myself by getting right back to walking instead of giving up, which I did today.

In other news, I measured my waistline yesterday and it was 2 inches smaller than it was 2 weeks ago.  I'm not getting too excited about that because I could have had an extra bloated day when I first measured or it could just be that I bled my guts out yesterday and the night before.  Still, it's a whole lot better than measuring myself and finding that I had gained 2 inches!

Also, I ordered a new mattress today.  I'm hoping it is as wonderful as the reviews I've read and that I will experience improved sleep and that improved sleep will result in more energy and greater success as far as my weight loss goals are concerned.  I could be pinning a bit too much hope to this new mattress, but that is what I am hoping.  Delivery will be in 2-4 weeks.  I can't wait!

That's all!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Walking Again!

I wouldn't have noticed that my azalea bush was blooming for a 2nd time this year if I hadn't gone for a walk yesterday.
I just got back from a walk with my nineteen year old daughter.  We've made a commitment to start walking together every day.  Today was day two. 

My daughter wants to get moving because she had a very interesting experience this Summer.  Without even trying she became thin.  She's never been fat, but had a little muffin top that made her feel self-conscious.  Now it's gone.  The only difference was that we put up a 19x48 above ground pool, and she was out in it every sunny day, so she wants to keep getting some exercise so the muffin top doesn't return.

We're hoping to build a nice exercise streak and see some positive changes like improved sleep and more energy.  On the days that the weather is not cooperating we plan to play Walk it Out, a silly little video game that does manage to at least create some movement.  Right now, the weather is definitely cooperating, though, which helps motivate me to get out there, and I feel good about myself for doing it, so Yay me!




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Easy or Not?

I did some morning sun salutes today to get the ball rolling on some physical activity again.  I love myself, and I'm learning to accept my appearance as lovely, but I do not like the way I feel physically.  I do not like the way I have trouble sleeping most nights.  I do not like waking up feeling stiff and sore.  I do not like the way I lose my breath just from showering and getting dressed quickly.

There is just no way around it.  I cannot be healthy and physically fit if I sit on my butt all day.

I did a Google search looking for affirmations that would help me enjoy exercise and found some nice ones at DrStandley.com, but I also realized why I resist the whole affirmation thing.  I read things like this: 

Remember to write or say any of the below listed affirmations at least 40X daily for 40 days. It takes 40 days to impress upon the unconscious "reacting" mind all that you desire and dream.

And this:

If you get side-tracked and miss a day then go back to Day 1 and start over.

And POOF!  Away goes that belief I've been embracing that changing a thought or pattern is, "easy."

Anyway, I'm going to forget I read that whole "40 times a day for 40 days," and "if you miss a day go back to day one," bullshit and keep saying to myself that I choose to believe changing a thought or a pattern is easy, and I'm going to work on adding a few nice things about exercise to my inner dialogue too. 

Maybe it does take 40 days of constantly saying something to turn it into an actual belief, but if that's the case, I'm not going to put myself through it.  I'm not going to give myself another reason to feel like a failure and like I can't follow through on something.  The TRUTH is, I have completed and followed through on many things.  There are times I have changed a thought or a pattern easily.  Or maybe it wasn't easy so much as something I was so invested in that the work didn't seem like a burden. 

It's time to be passionately invested in myself.

(That felt selfish and wrong to say.  I'll work on rewiring that thought too.)




 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Revisiting Affirmations

I like the idea of using affirmations to change thoughts and patterns that don't serve me well, and I've written and gathered several, but I've never had much success with them.  Last week in the comment section of my Goodbye September post, Eowyn suggested trying them again and provided a great one that she has used in the past.  "The truth is, I am fine exactly as I am."  I have muttered it under my breath to counter some of the critical thoughts I've had about myself in the last few days, and it does help.

Today I stumbled across an article about using affirmations.  Included in the article was an affirmation that resonated with me.

Maybe one of the reasons I find changing my habits and making better choices so difficult is that I have been telling myself over and over that it's difficult.  You hear it everywhere, "Change is hard," "Nobody likes change."  Before embarking on a new fitness program or diet we're often warned that, "Change takes hard work," but what would happen if I chose to believe that change is easy?

The difference I feel in my body is significant.  Normally when I think of trying something new to improve my life I immediately feel a burden, like I'm steeling myself for the hard work to come, but after saying, "I choose to believe that it is easy to change a thought or a pattern," I feel lighter and a sense of anticipation. 

I'm going to insert this thought into my inner dialogue starting now.  I'm excited to see how the changes I make will impact my life.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What To Do?



So, this weight thing.  I have to somehow harmonize my desire to love myself with my desire to lose weight.  The weight I've gained is causing me physical discomfort, and I think I may have gained even more because in the last couple of weeks my discomfort has grown more intense.

My back hurts when I spend even short amounts of time on my feet, and first thing in the morning I am so sore I can barely walk.  When I do walk I waddle like a woman who is nine months pregnant.  In fact, I weigh much more than I did during my pregnancies, so it's not hard to understand why I would waddle.  Also, perhaps it is middle age, but I am carrying much more weight up front in my abdomen, whereas before I would always gain weight all over.  This adds to the waddle factor.

I am still working on loving and accepting myself as I am right now, but I think it's time to put some effort into loving myself in tangible way.  A little extra work that will make me feel better and contribute to my good health is a way to love myself as long as I don't withhold joy and happiness from myself until I achieve a certain goal.  Before I was approaching the weight thing from a place of self-hatred.  Now I think I'm ready to approach it from a place of love and acceptance.

I don't think I'm going to get on the scale right now because it will upset me, but I am going to take a few measurements so that I can have an objective way to tell if I'm getting smaller or bigger.  Right now all I'm going by is that I'm waddling when I walk for the first time since giving birth to my last child ten years ago.

My first   plan of action is to begin writing a "to-do" list each night.  I've never been very organized, and although I have purchased multiple planners, organizers, notebooks, and systems to try to get organized,  I've never really been good at maintaining any of those.  I will try, once again, to make a small daily "to-do" list, though because I need a little extra direction right now, and I would prefer that direction come from my very own self and not from whatever impulse drives me in the moment because generally my impulses drive me to procrastination.  My challenge will be forgiving myself for not checking everything off of my list and keeping the list small.

I started today and accomplished all of the items on my list:  20 situps, clean out the refrigerator, get my youngest bathed, and make a loaf of French bread for tonight's dinner (tuna melts).  I've written my list for tomorrow, and mentally it is already growing as I think of other things I really should add, but I'm going to keep it as is for now.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Goodbye September


September is usually my favorite month of the year.  I can always count on sunshine, crisp and cool mornings, and a feeling of renewed motivation.  This September has been a disappointment.  It has been gray and rainy, and yesterday was my wedding anniversary, but I spent it sick.  I'm still sick, and there is more gloomy weather to come.

I probably shouldn't complain.  We just had one of the nicest Summers I can remember, but I feel like I squandered it.   I should have used the time to get my body moving and develop some healthy habits so that I would have a leg up as I enter the time of year that I find most challenging. 

I gained weight this Summer instead of losing it.  Now what can I expect for the dark days of Fall and Winter?  More weight gain?

But see?  This is the type of thinking that I'm working to change.  Beating myself up for not doing what I should be doing is my norm, and it's not working.  Trying to make better choices so that I can be happier is not working.  What if I decided to just be happier regardless of the choices I'm making?  I wonder if being happier would lead to better choices and not the other way around.  I know it would, so I'm going to resist beating myself up and go back to accepting and loving myself, knowing I can be happy right now.

I'm also going to let myself rest and recover from this illness and shake this feeling that the house is falling down around me because I don't have the energy to get it cleaned up.  I'm going to spend the next 30 seconds grieving for the loss of my favorite month, (lost because I thought I needed the sunshine to allow myself to be happy in it, not because it was gray) and look forward to the days to come because I'm going to be happy in them no matter what it looks like outside and no matter how tired and achy I feel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Despairing

Today I thought I'd do real life for a day to see if I liked it.  I did not.  I've been ignoring the world around me, hiding in my computer, pretending the real world doesn't exist.  When I opened my eyes, determined to deal with the stuff I've been pushing aside and saw what a mess there is around me I got pissed off.

I'm pissed that when I check out, nobody covers for me.  I'm pissed that I have to ask for every single thing I need, and if I don't nag or persuade or manipulate the people around me things don't happen.  Or I could just do it all myself.  If only that were possible.

And then I realize I'm being unfair.  My husband is working long hours to pay the bills.  My kids do whatever I ask, even if it is with deep sighs and rolling eyeballs.

I'm pissed off at myself.  Why can't I keep it all together?  Why can't I handle my shit without getting overwhelmed and sinking into a world that exists inside myself?  Why do I check out until things are crumbling all around me? 

I don't like real life.  I'm not built for it.  I want to go back to sleep.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Trying to Stay Awake

I feel myself falling asleep again, so soon after waking up.  That's what the last episode of depression  felt like.  I didn't feel sad or scared, or at all angry, as I have in past.  Numb.  Asleep.  That's how I felt, and I can feel myself sliding back down into that.

So, I thought I would start walking again.  I wondered if I could just force myself to do it, knowing the positive effect it would have on my mood and health.  I made a plan to begin a couple of days ago, washed my clothes and set out my walking shoes.

Then I stepped off the deck and twisted my ankle.

I won't be walking for a few days.

Do you see an ankle?  I don't.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Read This, Siddaleah.

I'm still alive. TOTALLY relapsed into old habits (except boxed mac-n-cheese and instant mashed potatoes.  None of that for months.)

I'm just putting a link to this blog post here so I can read it later.  It's about how Roni lost 70 lbs., and I want to read what she has to say because she started with accepting and loving herself, and then from a quick glimpse it looks like she ate healthy food and moved more. 

Anyway, that's it for now.  I'm really exhausted after a difficult week, (of doing nothing) so that's all I have to say today.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pretty Toes

I went and got a pedicure today for the first time in at least two years.  I was afraid to go to the place I used to go, because I thought the ladies there would talk about how fat I had gotten.  Maybe that's silly, but you know, I always wonder what they are saying when they talk in Vietnamese and then giggle.  I was also afraid I'd be the fattest woman there.  I was sure a bunch of skinny, young girls would be there getting their toes done for the weekend.

I was wrong.  I wasn't the fattest lady there, and I wasn't the oldest, and none of the ladies that worked there two years ago were even there.  Besides, what if I had been right?  So, what? It's funny (not funny, ha ha, but funny, odd) how I create scenarios in my head that keep me from doing the things I'd like to do, scenarios that paint myself as some distorted, ugly version of the truth.  Maybe I'm trying to hurt myself before anyone else can do it to me, but the thing is, rarely does anyone ever hurt me in the way I fear they will.

Anyway, I have pretty toes today.


Success


Trying to remember this today after getting on the scale and seeing an all time high number.  I'm also trying to remember that I accept myself unconditionally. 

My hair looks fabulous today, by the way.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Four Day Weekends

I have not done a good job the last four days of sticking to my plan of not eating after dinner and eating mostly healthy stuff during the day.  Weekends are always hard for me.  Weekends are some kind of hedonistic trigger or something.  I need to satisfy every craving I've had all week, and then the weekend sort of trickles into the week, and if I'm not careful it becomes my new rut.

So, tomorrow, I start anew.  Wednesday.  Just two days away from the weekend. 

I need to figure out a new way to deal with weekends.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Going Out!

I'm breaking one of those barriers tonight and going out to meet some friends.  I'm going to break another one and post a picture of myself that is not just a headless body.  In this picture I'm wearing more flattering clothes too.  You know, clothes that don't stretch and show every bump and dimple.  It's a pretty subdued and boring outfit for a night out, but I didn't feel like dressing up.  I'm saving that for that wedding we're attending next weekend.

That gunk is on the mirror, not my shirt.  I guess I'll wipe down the mirror. :-P

And now I'm running late!  See ya later!

Friday, August 2, 2013

So Far, So Good.

For two days in a row now I've not eaten anything after dinner.  It hasn't been all that hard so far.  At one point I remembered I had an ice cream bar waiting for me in the freezer, but I was too full after dinner to justify eating it and calling it dessert.  Instead of obsessing about the ice cream and giving in and having it as an evening snack I just told myself that tomorrow is a new day, and it will be waiting for me then.  I felt peaceful about that.  Of course, sweet things are not really what I crave.  I can pretty much take or leave chocolate and ice cream.  So, it wasn't that impressive.

The impressive thing is later in the evening, two of my kids came home from a movie with a great big tub of buttered popcorn, and when I saw that I said, "Oh, gimme some of that!"  and then I remembered my new no snacking after dinner rule and said, "Nevermind."  I spent a few minutes thinking about how good that ice cream would taste after a salty, buttery bowl of popcorn, and what a nice little snack that would be, but the moment passed quickly, and I didn't think about eating again for the rest of the night.

Unfortunately, I had a really hard time sleeping, and around 3:00 in the morning when I was still awake and tossing and turning, my stomach started growling and burning in that hungry way.  It had been eight hours since I last ate. The growling didn't last long, and I finally managed to fall asleep sometime after 4:00.  So, I survived, and it was pretty painless.

If I can manage to not eat after dinner AND continue to make mostly healthy food choices during the day, I think some weight will start to go.  I realized today that it's been weeks since I ate boxed mac-n-cheese or instant mashed potatoes or a cup of ramen noodles, all things that had been my staples for several months.  I am making changes slowly and can feel good about that. This morning I had my smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch.

Speaking of my salad,...I went out to the garden and picked some lettuce and then threw together a salad with some dried cranberries and sunflower seeds only to discover my favorite salad dressing was all gone.  I was disappointed, but decided to try to make a little vinaigrette of my own.  I put some olive oil, rice vinegar, chia seeds, a few mixed berries and salt and pepper into a blender and gave it a whirl.  It was pretty tasty!  I was so proud of myself.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Experiment

I'm trying something new for a few days.  If it feels more like torture or a punishment imposed on myself for being overweight, I'll re-evaluate.  I'm going to make dinner (Supper, if you live in Midwest U.S.A.) the last meal of my day; no snacks after dinner. 

Nighttime is when I crave the things that are the least healthy for my body.  It's when I want potato chips, nachos, and deep-fried cheesy things.  I suspect this is because nighttime is when I feel most vulnerable and needy.  Instead of letting myself have those feelings, and instead of figuring out what is the cause of those feelings, (might just be normal brain chemistry triggered by darkness) I typically choose to numb myself with the computer, carbs and sometimes cocktails.  Actually, I typically drink wine, but I was looking for another "c" word, 'cause I'm clever like that.

It's going to be hard for me to not eat in the evening, so I'll need to replace this ritual with another one.  I'm going to try writing in a notebook when I find myself wanting to snack at night.  I'm not sure what I'll write about.  Maybe I'll write about my day, or maybe I'll try to get in touch with what I'm feeling that is causing me to go foraging in the kitchen.


This is just an experiment at this point.  I was able to not eat after dinner last night.  When I started to feel really hungry I realized that I was probably more likely tired than actually hungry because I had eaten a big dinner, so I went to bed instead of eating.  If it doesn't work out, that's fine, but it's worth trying.  I'll let you know.


Monday, July 29, 2013

An Extraordinary Ordinary Day

I had a productive day.  Today was the first day of testing week for my two remaining homeschoolers.  (Two of my kids are done homeschooling and are in college, which actually looks a lot like homeschooling.  They do a lot of teaching themselves.)  So, we sat out on the deck with No. 2 pencils, test booklets and answer sheets and began the hoop-jumping for the state testing.



Testing on the deck was nice and relaxing until we were interrupted by a momma raccoon and her baby.  The baby got stuck on the other side of the fence somehow and started screaming while the momma chattered loudly.  It was a horrible and upsetting sound, and there wasn't anything I could do about it except shuffle everyone inside to safety where we finished testing for the day.  Eventually the screaming stopped, and I got brave enough to go outside with a broom to see if the raccoons were still there.  They weren't.  I hope the baby is okay.  I also hope it doesn't decide to get too comfy in my backyard.

I made a delicious dinner but ate a tiny bit too much and felt really bloated.

Calico Beans and Creamy Cucumber Salad

I remedied that by taking a walk with my girls.  It was my idea and everything!  I'm not sure where that wild hair came from, but it was nice walking at sunset.

When we got home our neighbor was in our driveway trying to catch his cat which was obviously badly injured.  He was backing out of the garage and the cat was lying there and he felt a sickening thud.  We're thinking good thoughts for the poor cat.  This was not a good day for animals around here.

Then I sat on the deck and relaxed while the sun disappeared completely.  The kids and I put the cover on the pool and picked up the backyard, and here I sit feeling good about the day.  It doesn't seem like much when I write it all out.  There was the usual dishes and laundry, but that's all.  Still, it's a lot more activity than I've been used to since last Fall.  A good day, overall.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

This Is Progress!

Yesterday I wore my new pair of jeans and a cute top to the grocery store.  I felt so good being out in something other than sweat pants that make me look super frumpy that I stopped to buy another pair of jeans and another cute top on my way to the grocery store.

I've broken the can't -buy-a-bigger-size barrier, and I'm already feeling so much better about myself.  I'm going to get rid of all of those ugly, frumpy clothes in my drawers; the ones that make me look like I've given up, which I had.  I'm also going to get rid of all the clothes that are too small.  That will be a little harder because I still hope to wear those sizes, but buying something fun and cute in a new smaller size will be a joy I can look forward to in the future, and in the meantime, I can bless someone by giving them something I can't use right now anyway.

The next barrier I intend to break is the can't-stand-to-be-seen-by-people-who-knew-me-when-I-was-thinner barrier. (That's a long-ass barrier.)  I've been avoiding one of my favorite hangouts and one of my favorite hobbies  (karaoke, baby!) because I don't want to face people whispering behind my back about how much weight I've gained.  I've seen my best and closest friends, but there are those friends and associates that I haven't seen (and who haven't seen me) that I haven't wanted to face.

I was feeling so good yesterday that I almost went out.  I didn't because my hair needs dyeing, and I didn't feel like messing with that.  What is notable is that the reason I didn't go out last night didn't have anything to do with fat or fear or self-loathing. 

That wedding I've been dreading is in two weeks.  Two months ago I told myself it would be okay because I still had time to lose some weight and feel better about myself.  I haven't lost a single pound since then, but I feel better about myself anyway, and I'm no longer dreading going to the wedding.  I'm going to get my hair trimmed, dyed and highlighted.  I'm gonna get pedicure, throw on some jewelry and a smile and have a good time.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Choosing Joy

I reread a post I had written a few weeks ago, and I can see that a shift in my thinking has occurred.  I wrote:
"While weight loss isn't my only goal, being overweight is one of the biggest factors keeping me from living joyfully and healthfully, which is my ultimate goal."
 And now I am challenging myself with this question.  Why is being overweight keeping me from living joyfully?  I'm calling bullshit on that.  Being overweight is not what is keeping me from living joyfully.  It's my attitude surrounding being overweight that is the issue.

The truth is, nothing is keeping me from feeling joy.  Nothing at all.  I can feel it right now, like flipping a switch.  It's a choice I can make in every single moment.

I acknowledge that it's not always easy, and when things are bad and problems occur that it's normal to become stressed out.  There's no reason I can't take a time out from that stress and decide to do something that feels good, that actually helps fix the problem.  I can decide to feel however I want about whatever comes up.

This is just a little pep talk for me because I'm gonna need to be reminded of this on a constant basis until it becomes easier for me to do.

Update:  I decided to put this into practice yesterday when I went shopping for some new clothes accompanied by my husband.

At one point while driving down the road I became aware, as I often do during the day, of one of my fat rolls because my arm was resting against it, and I started to feel bad.  Then I said to myself, "Unconditional acceptance.  Remember?  What is there to feel good about right now?"  and I realized it was a gorgeous day, and I was driving down the road with the love of my life, and despite the fact that I weigh over a hundred pounds more than the day we got married he still finds me sexy and gorgeous and he would do anything in the world for me, including going clothes shopping with me to provide moral support.

And then when I was trying on clothes I worked really hard to accept myself instead of leaving the store emptied handed, which I've done in the past because I didn't believe I was worthy of nice clothes, not in this big body.  I did buy a pair of jeans and a new set of pajamas.

It became very hard to feel joyful after clothes and grocery shopping because I made the mistake of wearing flip flops, and that combined with an activity level to which I've grown unaccustomed, set my dogs to barkin' loudly.



While I was in pain and sweating profusely the only thing I could feel good about was the fact that I'd be home soon and could relax and put my feet up.  Good enough.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unconditional Acceptance?

I recognize the need to accept myself unconditionally.  Hating myself has to stop.  It's not helping me reach my goals, and it is not making my life better.  It's affecting me and those I love negatively.  It has to stop.

I'm having a hard time, however, reconciling the need to accept myself unconditionally right now with the intense desire to change.  Losing weight would be healthy for my body and good for my self esteem.  I think there is a fear lurking somewhere that if I accept myself unconditionally I will never lose weight.  Or maybe that it is impossible to accept myself and want to lose weight at the same time.

Still, I know that hating myself has done nothing but send me running to food and hiding behind my computer for comfort.  It's done nothing but add pounds to my frame.  In fact, the more I think about weight, the more I seem to attract.

Maybe I can't love myself and want to lose weight at the same time.  I mean I can't be thinking about my weight every minute of the day and call that self-love.  Maybe the key to losing this weight is to stop trying so hard.  Stop thinking about it constantly.  Stop spending all of my precious energy telling myself I'll treat myself well after I lose weight.  I'll take that trip to see an old friend after I lose 30 pounds.  I'll go to the beach after I'm thin.

Maybe the key is to do whatever the hell makes me feel happy and special right now.

I know that in the past I've had the most success with losing weight when I feel good about myself.  It's almost like this weird natural law that as soon as I buy an outfit that looks terrific on me in the size I am right now that I lose so much weight that I can no longer wear that terrific outfit.  



It's time to put that natural law to work for me again.

So, I no longer want to lose weight.  What I want is to feel special.  I want to feel loved.  I want to experience joy, and I can do all of those things right now because none of them hinge on a number on the scale.

(I still hope I lose weight.)



Friday, July 19, 2013

MIA

I thought I'd stop by to explain my absence.  The short story is I just needed a break from thinking about my weight.  I literally think about how fat I am at least once every 5 minutes.  Something comes to mind, and it always comes back to my weight.  It feels like a prison.

Not writing about it has not stopped me from thinking about it, however.  Taking a break from writing about the mechanics of losing weight has given me time to realize, for the hundredth time, that this weight is not my problem.  My problem is that I don't think I'm lovable unless I'm perfect, and being fat is not perfection in my mind.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will not get anywhere until I learn to accept myself unconditionally. That means that if I'm only happy with myself when I'm doing the right things and losing weight, or if I can't be happy with myself right now, I suspect I will continue to struggle with my weight.

Learning to accept love from others and from myself might be THE THING I am here to heal, and until I get a handle on that, stuff will just keep coming up that challenges me to learn and grow in that area.

I am still in hiding.  I'm still telling myself I'll go out and have fun after I lose a few pounds.  My husband and I have a wedding to go to in August, and I am dreading it.  It's the wedding of a coworker of his and I don't want his coworkers to see what a fat wife he has.

I've also realized that the way I talk about myself, as in the paragraph above, is obnoxiously hurtful, not just to myself, but to other people who may be struggling with their weight.  Recently a friend of mine who has lost a lot of weight made a comment about a picture of herself that someone else posted the other day.  The picture was from a few months ago and featured a larger version of my friend.

She wrote, "What a horrifically ugly fat picture from last Winter... ugghhh... glad to not look like that anymore!"

All I could think is that she was thinner in that picture than I am right now.  It made me sad.  I know she was talking only about herself and she would never say something like that about another person.  I also know that she doesn't see other people as horrifically ugly.  She, like me, sees herself that way when she isn't what she believes she should be.  It reminded me that I've used language like that to describe myself, and it has to stop.  I am hurting myself, and I may be unintentionally hurting other people with that language.  My daughters.  Oh God.  I know I've hurt them by talking about  myself that way.

So, that is what I'm working on right now.  I'm not sure I'll be writing quite so much about the food I'm putting into my body and the exercise I'm doing. (Or not doing)  I need to heal this much bigger issue.  I don't know how to do it, but I'm going to start by not describing myself in terms of my physical body or appearance anymore.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Heatwave

We've been having a bit of a heatwave, and it has put a stop to any kind of routine I might have had going.  Cooking?  No way! House work?  Uh, no.

My mom and my niece have been coming over.  We sit on the lawn furniture in the shade, moving the chairs as the shade moves and relishing any and every breeze that comes.  The kids splash in the pool, which is only filled part of the way.  We have decided that we'll need to level the ground before filling it completely, but with the hot weather on the way, we knew that realistically that kind of work would need to be delayed.  In the meantime I've rather enjoyed our lazy Summer days.

My weight hasn't budged.  I guess that's better than having it go up, especially considering the way I've been eating.  We've been dining on bean dip and ice cream and whatever can be found in the kitchen that doesn't require cooking, including take out pizza one night.

As much as I've been avoiding work due to the heat, I must say, I am exhausted.  It could be all the walking back and forth between the house and the back yard, where we've been hanging out most of the time.  It could be trying to stay cool, moving fans from one window to the next.  It could be the food I've been eating.  It could just be the heat, but I've been feeling weak and a couple of times almost ill.

I think it's going to be cooler today.  I need to find the energy to get to the grocery store and clean up my kitchen.  Hopefully, I'll find it in this coffee cup in front of me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Pool

I didn't eat all day, not one bite until 8:00 pm, and I worked all day.  Who knew I had it in me?  Well, I thought I might have a heart attack at one point when I was so out of breath, but I lived.

My mom called me this morning mentioning the hot weather that's coming up, and she said, "I thought I'd buy you all a pool."

So, we all got out the door, went shopping, came home and set it up, and started filling it, at which time we discovered what I thought was flat ground had a nice slope.  So, we drained the pool, which took the rest of the day, and took the pool down.

I can't imagine what our neighbors think.  It looked like a circus over here.

We did all of this in 80 degree full sun, which compared to Texas, is not hot, I know, but for us it's HOT.  (My sister called us all wimps for sweating in 80 degrees.  We were not complaining, mind you, but apparently the mere act of sweating is enough to qualify us as wimps in the eyes of some Texans.)

It wasn't until all of that was done that I realized I'd walked out the door without eating breakfast and hadn't stopped for anything to eat all day.  I didn't even really feel that hungry.  I'll call it a day of fasting. 

Tomorrow we are moving the pool back a few inches and crossing our fingers that the ground will be flat enough.  If not, we'll have to look at doing something to level it. 

That was my day.  I hope it counts for something good.  If we have a pool to splash in this Summer, I'll call it good.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Slowly Moving in the Right Direction

I weighed 4 lbs. less this morning than I did yesterday morning.  Ah! The magic of menstruation!  That makes 3 lbs. lost in 2 weeks. 

Instead of just one round of sun salutations this morning, I did three.  I'm still not very fluid with my movement, and some of the poses are awkward, I think, because my body is simply too bulky to accomplish them nicely.  I'm getting better, though. 

I almost took a walk today.

I didn't sleep very well last night.  What is it about my body?  As soon as it gets horizontal and my eyes close my brain switches into high gear.  I itched like crazy last night too.  I don't know what time I fell asleep, but I didn't get out of bed until almost noon.  More menstruation magic. I never sleep well the night before my period starts or the first couple of days after.

I close with a little surprise from my garden.

 

I have a pepper!  I didn't know jalape├▒os could grow in my climate, so this made me very excited today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Checking In

I babysat again today.  Does that count as a workout?  My tired body says, "Yes!"

My period started today.  This is good news because it means that the .5 lb gain on the scale is possibly an actual loss because I usually gain more than half a pound right before my period starts.

I did my 5 minutes of morning yoga and drank my breakfast smoothie.  I did those things around noon, but whatever.  Yay!

I have dinner in the oven, and my husband will be home soon.

I think I'll sleep well tonight.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Weekend, Another Bump in the Road

Well, once again my weekend indulgences have shown up on the scale.  BUT the jump up on the scale was a half pound less than last week's jump up.  SO, overall, I'm down a half pound, sorta, in a way.  I do need to approach weekends differently than I have been, and that's not new for me.  Weekends have been a problem for me for years.  I break my sleep schedule, I overeat, and I drink on weekends.  I basically undo all of the good things I've done for my body during the week.

Wait.  I just caught myself in a negative thought process that isn't helping.  I don't undo every good thing I've done.  I don't think that's true.  I do disrupt some of the systems I've begun to put into place, though, and until I get those systems firmly embedded into my life, it's not helpful to take such a drastic departure from them.

Or maybe I'm being altogether too hard on myself.  My period is due any second now.  That could easily account for the weight gain.  How about this?  I will count the overeating I did this weekend, and there was one night of out of control eating, as a learning experience.  Next time I'm in the same situation, which I certainly will be, I will handle it differently.  I already have a plan.

That said, I'm trying to gear myself up to start an exercise program.  I need something more than 5 minutes of yoga in the morning.  The yoga is very helpful.  It gets my blood circulating and deepens my breathing, which really wakes me up.  I'm also noticing better flexibility and less pain in my feet in the morning.  (My plantar fasciitis is back, resolved previously with daily walking and stretching.) I think it's time to add something more, though.

Three times last week, from three different sources, I got the message that exercise is daily medicine, not just a means of losing weight. (This article was one of the places the message appeared.) Exercise is a way of improving my mood and reducing stress, something that is as necessary to my well being as a pill that a doctor may prescribe for a medical condition. 

Instead of thinking of it as something I need to do every day so that I can achieve the desired result of being a certain weight somewhere in the distant future, I'm going to shift my thinking.  I will think of it as something that provides an immediate benefit.  It immediately improves my mood and my self esteem.  There are immediate and cumulative physical benefits, but the mental benefits are just as important.

I feed myself everyday.  I sleep everyday.  And now I resolve to move more everyday in an intentional way.  That's the best promise I can make myself.  I can't lock myself into a certain number of minutes or a certain type of activity, but I can promise to think about exercise differently and intentionally add more of it to each day.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Scale

Since Wednesday my weight has remained unchanged.  Not even up or down a tenth of a pound.  That seems really weird to me.  Again, I was thinking my scale must be broken, so I grabbed a couple of books nearby and got on the scale.  My weight went up by 1.6 pounds.  So, I confirmed that my scale is sensitive enough to recognize that I'm holding a couple of books, one of which needs to go back to the library today.

I just don't know why my body is insisting on holding on to every single ounce of fat right now.  I think early next week I'll have to do something to shake it up a bit. Wake my body up a bit. 

Tonight I'm meeting three of my girlfriends for a little BBQ and birthday cake, which I'm baking today, for one of us, the one of us who is having a birthday, that is.  I couldn't have found a more clumsy way to say that could I?  Well, you know what I'm trying to say, right?  I'm trying to say that I'm afraid my scale will see what I've done tonight in the morning.

Oh well, at least I'll know it cares enough to keep an eye on me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Well, Look At That...

The sun did make an appearance today.  I had decided to make this a better day, anyway, but the sun showing up sure was nice.  We had lots of clouds too, but they kept floating across the sky, which left time to sit out on the deck and relax in the sun for several minutes at a time.


I did my morning yoga, had my smoothie, and got dinner (beef stew!) simmering on the stove all before noon.  Well, noonish.  I've also noticed I've been sleeping pretty well the last few nights.  I still wake up a few times, but I roll over and go back to sleep, and I'm still getting to bed later and sleeping in longer than I'd like, but it is an improvement.

Today is definitely an improvement over yesterday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bad Day

My energy level is pretty low today.  It's chilly and there is no sun.  I think that may be part of the problem.  My face is all itchy and broken out too.  Oh! and I just remembered it's getting pretty close to THAT time of month.

I was sitting on my bed earlier about to pull a tarot card for the day when I looked over my shoulder at the big mirror on my dresser.  I saw a fat, fat woman.  She was fatter than I've ever seen myself.  I almost started crying, and I muttered, "Please, God, help me."  Sometimes I get low.

Anyway, I thought, "I need a pep talk," and I pulled three cards instead of one.  Click here to see what I drew.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lighter

That weekend water weight I gained was gone this morning along with .3 pounds.  Hey, it doesn't take much to encourage me! It was enough to get me doing my little bit of yoga (It almost feels like I shouldn't mention it because I only spend 5 minutes right now.) and blending my smoothie.  I've done both of those things every day for almost an entire week.

I'm babysitting again today.  It's something I plan to do on a regular basis.  A friend of mine is having a health crisis which could be life threatening.  He's a stay-at-home dad, and his condition along with the medication he's taking makes him dizzy and tired.  It's a lot to handle when you're also taking care of a busy one year old baby.

I learned the last time I babysat that I wouldn't feel like making dinner after she goes home, so today I'm starting dinner before I go pick her up.  That way I'm committed, and I'm also half-way done. Smart, huh? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Food Day in Pictures

I'm going to snap a picture of everything I eat today.  This won't be a daily thing, but for today it's a guarantee I'll keep it light.  There is no way I would have taken pictures of my food yesterday.  I'll confess here, though.  A cup of coffee with half and half and stevia powder, a bowl of boxed macaroni and cheese, and way too many slices of pizza.  (If I had been snapping pictures every time I grabbed a slice, I know I wouldn't have eaten until bursting, and I know I wouldn't have opted for more as a snack before bed, which resulted in me having a horrible night.)

I'll upload pics tonight,...

I start my day every day with a cup of coffee with half and half and 1/4 tsp. of stevia powder.


I made my breakfast smoothie.  This is the good stuff that goes inside.


 For lunch I ate a grilled cheese sandwich (Colby-Jack and Provolone cheeses inside) on whole wheat with a half of a dill pickle.




My water bottle with a squeeze of fresh lemon...


For dinner we had Potato Kielbasa Skillet.  I didn't eat everything on my plate.  I was proud of myself for noticing when I was full and taking my plate away, even though it tasted SO good.



I pulled out my juicer for the first time in a couple of weeks and made some fresh green juice for myself and my husband.


And because I got the munchies in the evening, I had some chips and salsa.  I could have opted for guiltier pleasures, but since my dinner was pretty heavy I passed on the ice cream, and hey, at least it isn't a couple of slices of pizza.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekends Are Hard

My weekend of indulgent eating finally showed up on the scale this morning.  Since weighing myself four days ago, my weight remained unchanged each day until this morning.  I was beginning to think my scale was broken, but today my weight was up 1.3 pounds. 

I know it's water weight at this point, but I do need to be more mindful.  I say this as I sit here with a belly full of pizza.  Sigh.  I did have a meal planned for the night, but I ended up babysitting for a friend today, which was delightful, but chasing and playing with a 1 year old baby all afternoon made me very tired, so when my husband suggested ordering pizza I only had to think about it for negative .03 seconds. I think I said, "Okay," before he even got the suggestion out of his mouth.

Tomorrow I'm going to eat light and drink lots of water and hop right back into my healthier groove.  I think I might wait until the day after tomorrow to check the scale, though.  I'm feeling sore afeared.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Progress Report

I'm getting closer to living one of those ordinary days in my perfect life. For the last four days I've worked in my garden, planting, harvesting, and weeding; I've had a breakfast smoothie, complete with spinach from my little garden, and I've done a little basic yoga, not outside in my backyard, but in the privacy of my living room, even though the weather has been perfect.

 I've gotten a much later start each day than I'd like, but better late than never. The yoga has gotten easier after just four days, which amazes me. The first day when I tried moving from a cobra position into a downward dog, which requires flipping my toes and pushing my bottom into the air, I couldn't do it. I figured I was too bulky and heavy, and that movement was just not possible for someone my size. I can do it now.

I've really been enjoying my garden this week too.  It's just a little one, but when I look at it, I make plans in my head for additions to it.  I love watching the things I planted grow.  My kids are loving it too.  This is the first vegetable garden I've ever grown, and it's gratifying to be learning something new alongside them. 


There are other positive changes coming, to be sure, but for now I'm going to rest with this new routine I've created and get very comfortable with it before I try to add something new.  It seems to be working.  I can feel the clouds of depression lifting and burning off with the sun, and I'm looking forward to the day when getting dressed and walking out the front door feels normal again instead of being a stress-inducing chore.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Inspiring!

This lady is such an inspiration to me.  She is 76, and began her journey to becoming a bodybuilder at the age of 71.  It just proves that it really is never too late to get fit, and that being 45 is no obstacle for me.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Not So Comfy in My Skin

I've had eczema all my life.  Eczema is sort of a catch all term for crappy skin.  Anyway, sometimes it goes away.  Sometimes it's hella bad.  A couple of months ago I noticed the rashes seemed to be spreading and occurring with greater frequency, but after I started drinking my berry/spinach smoothies with kefir and chia seeds it seemed that the rashes on my arms were clearing up some.  I don't know if the smoothies deserve the credit, but it was enough to encourage me to keep drinking them.

Starting a few days ago, though, the rash on my arms came back with a vengeance.  I was disappointed because I thought the smoothies were helping, but apparently something else was going on.  Then Wednesday night I was so severely itchy that not even a dose of Benedryl could knock me out and make the itch go away.  I became convinced that my sheets were evil and I wanted to rip them off the bed, but I didn't because that would have disturbed my sweet sleeping hubby.

My husband bought new sheets in the beginning of the week, and although we washed them I thought maybe they needed more washing.  Yesterday morning I stripped the bed and checked the tag on the sheets.  Mystery solved!  They are 47% polyester.  Polyester is not such a great thing on my bare skin.  My husband went out and got 100% cotton sheets yesterday, and I slept much better last night. Now I'm looking at my clothes and see that so many of my t-shirts are cotton-poly blends.  No wonder I itch all the time. I'm not sure what to do about it because I can't go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but at least I don't have to sleep in polyester anymore.

Anyway, I'm hoping that eating better, exercising, drinking more water and reducing stress will not only help me lose weight and relieve my depression but will also have a positive impact on my skin. 

Speaking of eating, today is grocery shopping day.  My menu for the week:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fresh Start!

I've been doing a fair job of keeping up with my first couple of goals that I set for myself.  I have had a morning smoothie,...most days,...and I've made dinner out of real food for myself and my family,...most days.  There has been some pizza and potato chips, but it has never been my goal to cut anything I enjoy out of my life entirely, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

I finally got around to trying sun salutations today.  I just found a quick little video on Youtube and gave it a go.  I felt a bit like a beached whale trying to move from pose to pose, but it is my goal to memorize and practice these few poses each morning until I master them.

Also, I had a moment of bravery today and hopped on the scale.  Ack!  I weigh 5 pounds more than my all time high, but it's 5 or 10 pounds less than I had feared, so overall it's good news for me today.  I'm glad I finally faced that monster (the number on the scale) that has been lurking and keeping me scared. 

I'm trying really hard not to hate myself for gaining back all of the weight, plus 5 pounds more, that I had previously lost.  Water under the bridge, right?  No use crying over spilled milk, and all that rot, yeah? Yeah! Okay, 30 second pity party over.

In honor of my new goal and having a number to measure my progress I'm posting a new "before" picture:

 
It feels more official and less wishy-washy now that I've posted actual stats.  While weight loss isn't my only goal, being overweight is one of the biggest factors keeping me from living joyfully and healthfully, which is my ultimate goal.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

For almost two months now nothing but elastic waistbands have touched these hips and this waist of mine.  The last time I wore a pair of jeans was on April 16th when I met a couple of girlfriends for dinner.  I remember that night well.  I grabbed my fat jeans, which, come to think of it, have elastic in the waistband.  I put them on only to discover they were too tight, despite the elastic that was stretched to the breaking point. Do you know how depressing that is?  I wore them anyway because I didn't have anything else that was suitable for a night out.

As soon as we finished dinner I ducked out.  I couldn't wait to get home and out of those torturous jeans and back into my friendly pajamas.  When I got home and took the jeans off I saw that  they had left angry red imprints all around my middle.  It hurt, inside and out.

The most comfortable jean?  Not when they are two sizes TOO small. 

Well, today I decided to try them on again.  It was really scarey because I've been feeling vulnerable, but I had a good night's sleep last night (Halleluia! Asleep around 1:00 am and up at 10:30 am.) so I wondered if maybe I was making tangible progress anywhere else.  I put on the jeans and they fit comfortably.  Now, I'm tempted to think that it could just be that I'm in the right place in my monthly cycle to try on jeans, but I do think maybe I've lost a half inch or so around the middle, just enough to make the jeans wearable again.

Anyway,...yay! :-)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ugh.  Another night has passed with no sleeping.  I fell asleep somewhere around 5:00 this morning.  Even then I didn't sleep well.  Maybe this will tell you what kind of sleeper I am.  I need to go out and buy new sheets because I have rubbed two holes in them; one where my foot digs in and one where my elbow digs in when I roll over, which is probably a hundred times a night.

I did a sleep study once.  I didn't sleep.  I told the doctor I wouldn't sleep because I know I never sleep the first night in a new place.  Anyway, in the morning, I learned from the technician in charge of me for the evening that the staff made fun of me all night.  She had to make a note on my chart every time I moved, and I guess she didn't get much time to rest during the evening either.

Sleeping pills do not work for me.  I've tried every kind, prescription, over the counter, natural remedies, you name it.  There was one thing my doctor prescribed that worked really well until all of a sudden it started causing me to have upsetting jerky muscle spasms.

Wine works. I'm trying not to drink wine so much though because it also helps make me fat.  Besides, when I drink wine every night I need to drink more and more to actually sleep.  I wake up hating myself.  Wine is not a good sleep medication.

You might think that after enough nights of not sleeping eventually I will start sleeping again if I just keep getting up at my regular time.  Not necessarily.  I went through a period of not sleeping once, and I made myself get up every morning and not take naps.  I was sure that my body would get into a rhythm, and I would sleep again at night.  It didn't happen, and my mental health deteriorated badly.  I had, what I guess would be called in the old days, a nervous breakdown.  I ended up on anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants, and I started seeing a therapist.  I've learned that when I go through a period of insomnia, I need to catch sleep whenever I can, even if it is in the middle of the day.

My skin is also broken out right now.  I've had eczema my whole life, been to countless doctors, tried countless therapies, both medical and natural, and I've never found a cure for myself.  I've had long stretches where its gone into remission, and I've had extremely bad flares.  Right now it's just annoying.

I'm not complaining or whining, just documenting what I'm experiencing right now because these are a couple of health issues that have plagued me through the years and contribute to my depression. I'm wondering if healthy living would create a spontaneous healing of these issues. I hope to find out.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Well, my morning routine experiment didn't happen.  I couldn't sleep last night because of both a sick little girl and mind chatter.  Mostly mind chatter.  So, when my alarm went off at 9:00 am, not 7:00 because I decided to be gentle with myself since I have not been up before 11:00 am in a long time, I turned it off and rolled over.

I'm going to have to work myself into an earlier waking time.  I really would like to see what listening to morning bird song and drinking fresh hot coffee on the back deck feels like.

I'm also going to look up how to do sun salutations because, although I can envision myself doing them every morning in my perfect life, I have never actually done them.

I did get some really good ideas for my novel, though, and I got some gardening time in.  For lunch I had a salad made with fresh spinach cut from my very own garden.  That's the first time in my life I've ever done that.


I'm not giving up on the morning routine experiment, just delaying it until I can get a good night's rest.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I've been thinking about conducting a little experiment.  I have this version of my perfect life in my head, but it's a cloudy and vague version.  That could be because I have many versions of the perfect life, a lot of ways I could be content, or it could be because I've never really solidified my vision.  I wonder what it would be like to live an ordinary day in my perfect life. 

I wonder if I could wake up tomorrow and go about my daily routine (which is currently non-existent) as if I were living my perfect life.  I already know one thing that would make it difficult for me to do.  In my perfect life I sleep well, and I definitely get out of bed earlier that 1:00 pm, which is the time I got up today.  Still, maybe if I make a plan and then try it out for a day I could see if I would even enjoy living this perfect life I think I want.

An ordinary day in my perfect life:
  • 7:00 am - Get up, wash my face, moisturize, get dressed, etc.
  • 7:15 am - Do Yoga Sun Salutations (outside if the weather is as gorgeous as it is right now)
  • 8:00 am - Coffee on the deck (again, weather permitting...trying to break the sit-in-front-of-the-computer-upon-waking habit)
  • 8:20 am - Make a  breakfast smoothie
  • 8:30 am - Putter in my garden (I actually do have some neglected gardening to do and the weather is perfect right now.)
  • 9:30 am - Work on my current novel (In my perfect life, I would already have a published novel or two out there in the world.  In fact, I do have a couple in the works that I'd love to finish.)
Around noon I would make a yummy lunch and sit down with my kids or maybe I would meet my mom for lunch somewhere.  I'd start dinner in the afternoon, make time to tidy up the house, have dinner with my family in the evening.  Later in the evening the kids would be off with their friends, doing their own thing and my husband and I might sit down together, watch a movie or maybe we'd have a few friends over to play Texas Hold 'Em or Rock Band.

I have other versions of this that include working in my glass studio...rehearsing with my band,sitting on the deck and writing a new song on my guitar or heading off to play rehearsal where I have the female lead.   Those are dreams I gave up on already, though, but I can still tinker with my glass and play my guitar for fun anytime I like. I could audition for a part in a play at the community theater downtown. 

What a lovely life I could have if I just let myself do it.    I think tomorrow I'll get up and at least try out that morning routine up there.  My body may have different plans at 7:00 in the morning, but it would be fun to give it a try, and I do have some gardening to do...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

After running out of planned menu items, I fell back on the old standbys of Chinese takeout and pizza because I didn't make it back to the grocery store earlier in the week like I had promised myself.  I did continue to have a berry/spinach with kefir smoothie every morning.  I'm back on the meal planning wagon again today, though.

Dinner menu for the week:

  • White Chicken Chili
  • Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli
  • Tacos
  • Taco Rice Casserole (using leftover taco meat and brown rice)
  • Tuna Melts and Tomato Soup (I'm going to cheat and use the canned garbage, er stuff because I have a can in the pantry, but I do want to try and make this from scratch next time.)
I also managed to get some more sunshine today.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

The sun came out today!  It's been a long time.  Last time we had sun it stuck around for a whole week.  I made a point of getting fifteen minutes or so of sunshine everyday, and I felt so much better.  I promised myself I would go sit on the deck in the sun every day that it shows up, which is not enough for my taste, but I'll take all I can get.


Vitamin D deficiancy has been linked to depression, and I live in a state that is pretty far North of the equator.  That and the fact that if I'm going to get depressed, it almost always happens in the Winter, makes is seem likely that Vitamin D is a factor for me.  So, I put on a tank top and some shorts and went and caught me some rays!