Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Very Long Response

This was a reply to a comment to my last post from MM, but it got to be so long that I just decided to make a post out of it...

Thanks MM.  It is always a relief when someone really gets what I'm experiencing.   I am looking for a DO, and fortunately, our insurance does also cover naturopaths.  Our family doctor is really good in that he doesn't make me feel anxious, and he does understand that a lot of my health issues are anxiety related.  I understand that too, which is really half the battle, but sometimes I am asking myself, what is causing me to be so anxious?

I think there are often real physical things going on that create that brain chemistry and hormone soup.  That's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of, and my doctor tends to pat my hand and say, "Just take an antidepressant; it's easier than trying to do the hard work of changing your lifestyle and diet when you're already depressed."  He also doesn't have the time to sort it all out with me. 

That's okay.  I've become a pretty amazing doctor of my own self.  I've also appreciated my doctor for recognizing that.  I usually go in and tell him what my problem is and what I want his help with and he'll do it.  For some reason, though.  I am really nervous about taking that step.  I think I've figured out the whys of that also.

Last time I saw my doctor it lead to a very scary series of events.  The possibility of cancer existed, and I was facing a procedure under anesthesia, which is something I've never done and terrifies me.  I managed to dodge that bullet because things worked themselves out before the date of the hysteroscomy arrived. I had developed a very thick lining in my uterus - over an inch thick!  I attribute that development to my dermatologist who insisted a shot of cortisone would make me so happy and change my life.  That shot did clear up my severe eczema very nicely, but I started bleeding a couple of weeks after that and didn't stop for a month. 

I went into a deep depression and period of severe anxiety after that.  I took both an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication.  My sleep became so disturbed and messed up even with the drugs or maybe because of them. 

I came out of all of that feeling fine and well, but I haven't seen a doctor since.  Which leaves me where I am now: experiencing uncharactaristic indigestion and bloating over the last year, which I think is probably a perimenopausal symptom.  I should see a doctor to rule out other things, which would relieve a lot of the anxiety I have about it all.  A really good doctor might even be able to help me balance the hormones which I suspect are creating the extra anxiety and related symptoms.

I'm still sitting on all of that. For now.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

(Jumping in and pretending it hasn't been 3 months since I last wrote...)

Two recent additions to my diet



I've had a lot of anxiety over the past few months.  I've been experiencing several "symptoms" that  have had me wondering if I'm experiencing heart problems or if I'm just a nervous wreck.  I know a lot of what I'm feeling is post traumatic stress over losing friends and nearly losing friends to heart disease and cancer this year.  The older I get, the more I see people in my age group getting sick and dieing.  It's scary.

Watching other people experience serious health issues has heightened my awareness of my own issues. More specifically, I'm experience several digestive problems: frequent heart burn, reflux, indigestion, bloating, shortness of breath (which I attribute to bloating and anxiety) and pain in my chest, neck, and back.  I find myself wondering constantly if these could be symptoms of heart problems instead of simple digestive issues due to being over-weight and under-active.

I'm overdue for a physical.  I know I should see a doctor to rule out more serious things.  There are many reasons I haven't made an appointment, probably the biggest one being that I have developed a slight distrust of medical doctors.  Fear, being a close second reason for procrastination.  I will go.  Eventually.  It doesn't matter who or how many people tell me to do it.  I'll do it when I'm ready.  I am currently looking for a doctor who has a philosophy of health maintenance more similar to mine and one who won't just had me an anti-depressant, some xanax and sleep medication.  I've been down that road.  It's a band-aid that covers up underlying problems and creates new problems.  I want real health, not an illusion.

Anyway, one day while I was having an episode of indigestion and pain, I remembered that my dad has a hiatal hernia, and my grandma had one, and the way they described feeling was exactly the way I was feeling.  A quick search on the internet led me to stories of others feeling exactly what I was feeling including the worry about heart disease.  So I've been paying closer attention to what I eat.  I found some exercises that are designed to ease the top of the stomach back through the diaphragm in case I am correct about the hiatal hernia, and I've added some foods to my diet that aid digestion.  It's helped.  The daily bloating and indigestion has become less frequent, and when I do experience it I've found that a pinch of fennel seeds really does help ease the problem. (I was skeptical.)

I'm still feeling depressed and very anxious at times.  I think hormones are a big part of the picture, but I'll write about that another day.  I've been doing a lot of reading and researching.  I'm trying to put into practice those things that I think will help (an exercise in trusting my inner wisdom) but it's a process that takes time.

I also think there is a spiritual/psychological component to the digestion problems I'm having.  Repressed anger, "biting my tongue," and things, "I can't stomach," but again, that's a post for another day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plan B

I stumbled through my weekend and abandoned some of my goals.  Well, abandoned is a strong word.  I ignored them.  I'm back on track this week, though, and I added a new goal for my daily routine.

I remember what a difference taking B vitamins has been for me before, so I decided to start taking them again, along with a couple of others that I have in my cupboard but stopped taking, mostly because I never remember.  I stopped taking the B vitamins because the taste makes me gag a little, but I decided a moment of *gag* is worth the positive effect they have on my mood which could use a little help right now.

Having my phone send me reminders and encouragement via the Lift app is helpful too!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Finding The Track and Getting Back

It's time for me to wake up and become a major player in my life again.  I've been disengaged the last couple of months, but I'm ready to stop thinking about the things I could do to feel happier, healthier, and more present and start doing them.  I had a wake-up call regarding my health recently.  I'm fine, I think, still probably need a trip to the doctor, but a wake up call was needed, and I'm working proactively to live as well as I can.

I installed an app on my phone called, "Lift," to help me track my goals.  I've only started with a few, aiming to get a daily yoga practice happening five days a week, fifteen minutes of tackling problem areas in my house each day, and clean eating five days a week.  Oh!  And I added a goal to actually check in with my calendar and to do list each morning.

I did my yoga this morning, and I'll admit that the main reason I did it was so I could check it off in the app -- it would be a shame to fail on the first day --


but I did it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ready for Change

Last night while I was lying awake in bed I was doing the math.  In the last two months, six people that I have known have died.  Two people that I know have had brain surgery, one of those is still in the hospital recovering, and she lost her son in a logging accident this week (one of the six and a former playmate of my own kids'). The other one who had brain surgery is the son of a friend of mine.  They will be meeting with an oncologist in a few days.  Another friend's husband is in the hospital recovering from the stroke he had the day after his quadruple bypass.  He's relearning how to walk and talk and eat and breathe. 

Of the six who died, three were due to heart ailments, one from breast cancer, and two from tragic accidents.  Three of them were my age, one was my son's age, and two were my dad's age.

This seems quite remarkable to me.  Has there been this much catastrophe in my circle of friends and acquaintances before, and I just haven't noticed?  I don't think so.  I think this is really odd, and it has me a bit shell-shocked.  I'm not wallowing, really I'm not, but I am experiencing some post traumatic stress.  I'm hyper-sensitive in my body.  Every twinge or pain catches my full attention and has me wondering if something serious is beginning.  I'm watching my husband and my kids more closely, and when I'm not being overly cautious and sensitive I'm numbing myself and trying to just not think by playing stupid games on the computer and sleeping as much as I can.

My mind has turned to spiritual things, to end of life things, to big weighty things, and I've been battling a lot of negative thinking.  I'm hoping and sensing that change is in the air.  The weather has improved, we have our pool set up and the deck cleaned off.  We'll be attending a couple of weddings in the next two months, and I'm looking forward to a big group camping trip with friends.  I don't know what purpose this season of painful change has served for all of us, but I sense it has served a purpose.  However, I'm ready for some lightness and joy, and I'm not going to take a moment of it for granted.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sad

Yesterday I found out that the dad of one of my best friends in high school died of a heart attack while he was riding his bicycle.  Today I found out that an acquaintance of mine from high school died after an 8 year battle with breast cancer, and while I didn't know her well, we were friends on Facebook and I had been following her story.  My husband and I are attending two memorials over the next two weeks for the two friends who died last month. 

These things weigh on me.  I know people die every day, and we all lose loved ones and friends.  It's part of life, but when these things occur so close together, one on the heals of another that I haven't yet fully recovered from, the sadness of it builds up in my system on a cellular level and interferes with my ability to function.

I'm not trying to draw any conclusions, learn any lessons, or strive to improve myself through this.  No, for once, I'm just going to acknowledge and honor this part of myself.  I'm affected by this.  I know I'm not suffering in the same way as those who lost a partner, a dad, or a brother, and I'm not looking for sympathy or support.  I just want to say I'm sad.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reset

I'm still struggling a little bit with the carb cravings since I've allowed myself to give in and eat some of the things I had been avoiding.  I'm also afraid to get on the scale and see what I've gained, so I'm avoiding that.  I am, however, eating very low carb today.  One thing I've managed to continue doing is eat under 25 grams of total carbohydrates every Monday and Tuesday, no matter how badly I might deviate from my plan for the rest of the week.

For Mothers' Day my husband and kids made me mimosas for brunch and prepared Chicken Pad Thai, as per my request, for dinner.  It was delicious.  They also gave me a new iPhone, and this whole post was just an excuse for me to play with the camera on it.  So, here are pictures of my dinner last night, and my low carb breakfast this morning.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Weighing In

My last weigh-in  was way back in March.  Well, the end of March.  Since then I have lost 3.2 pounds.  Yes, it took me the whole month of April to lose that, but you know what?  I'm counting it as a victory that I didn't gain back all the weight I had lost, considering the amount of emotional eating in which I indulged.

I ate pizza, donuts, cheesecake, potato chips, and nachos.  I drank wine and margaritas many nights.  I exercised and practiced yoga zero minutes (That's a slight exaggeration, but you know what I'm saying).  In between those little binges, though, I continued to eat low carb foods.  Finding out that I don't have to become completely derailed by occasional binges is encouraging.

I'm down to 231.8 pounds, and I'm hoping now that things have settled down somewhat I can get back to losing a pound or two a week again.  Maybe next week I'll see the 220's again.  I never thought I'd be happy to say that!  Sigh.  Well, I am happy to say it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Living

I'm grateful for:

  • breathing.
  • dancing. 
  • singing. 
  • hugging the people I love.
  • being able to tell a friend I love him and say goodbye face to face.

I'm Alive!

The month of April was emotionally intense and stressful.  Two friends died. Our dog needed two surgeries. My son needed dental work, and between the surgery and dental bills my husband and I were struggling a bit to figure out how to pay for it all without sinking into credit card debt.

The friend I mentioned the last time I wrote died a week and two days after I wrote.  I did get a chance to see him again before he passed away. He had a huge sendoff celebration starting with a motorcycle ride through town with a bunch of other bikers.  His daughter arranged for someone with a sidecar to ride with him, as it was his dying wish to ride one more time.

After the ride he gathered with friends and family at one of his favorite karaoke spots for one last night of singing and for a chance to say goodbye to those he loves.  My husband and I were there, sitting with his family.  It was,..emotional.  He sang Live Like You Were Dying, and I came undone.   After he died that song played over and over in my head.  It was there all night while I was trying to sleep, and in the morning it was still there, as insistent as it had been the previous day.  It occurred to me that perhaps this was a personal message from Jeff to me; to live like I was dying.

I spent the month of April trying to numb myself, as I do when I feel overwhelmed with stress or emotion, and the message I am taking away from Jeff's death is to plug-in, feel my emotions, and face the situations that cause me to shrink away with courage.  The message for me is to live.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eclipses and Letting Go

I just got home after visiting with a friend of mine who is dying.  He's young.  My age exactly, give or take a day or two.  It's very sad. I'm glad I had the chance to talk to him before he passes.  I told him to text me or call if he needs anything, and I asked his kids and his sister to do the same.  I hope he will live long enough to need something and send me a text.

Tonight there will be a full lunar eclipse.  Visiting my friend on the day of the lunar eclipse seems meaningful to me, although I'm not sure in what way.  Maybe I'm just feeling extra sensitive and I'm grasping for signs and meaning in something that makes no sense to me at all.



Friday, April 4, 2014

The Lion King



I'm up .6 pounds this week.  That's probably because of the pizza I ate last night along with last weekends indulgences.  Doh!  I knew better, but I gave into temptation.  The pizza left me bloated just as I was getting dressed to go see The Lion King with my family.  I was still able to zip up those pants I found in my drawer, but they were quite a bit tighter, and I was kicking myself.

The show was wonderful!  It was a thrill to experience a big show like that through my kids' eyes.  They loved it too, and were exhilarated afterwards, chatting on the way home about their favorite parts of the show.  The costumes were amazing.  Hands down, they stole the show.

Now today it's back to real life; a house to clean, groceries to buy, and once again, outlawing pizza from my diet.




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shopping in my Closet

I'm having a busy and stressful week with lots needing to get done and a few concerns as well.

Our dog needs to have surgery.  She has infected teeth and gums, which is apparently not uncommon with smooshed-faced breeds, and she has a tumor on her leg.  I feel bad for her and worried, and of course, there is also the huge expense that comes with pet surgery.  I have worried kids too.  This comes at a time when we have several home-improvement projects and repairs needing to be done, and worrying about how to pay for everything is stressful.

There is good stuff too.  We're going to see The Lion King in a few days.  It's the first big show we've taken our kids too, so I'm really excited to see how they enjoy it, and it's a show I've been wanting to see too.  Realizing my daughters had nothing to wear to the theater, we made a day of shopping for outfits.  That was more stressful than enjoyable, but I think everyone got something they were happy with.

I didn't get myself anything to wear because I was worn out, so I figured I'd plan a day to shop by myself.  I put it off all weekend, and today I sit having the heaviest day of my period, really not wanting to go shop for clothes, knowing I need to do it. 

With the tiniest bit of hope in my heart, I went to see if I had anything in my dresser, and I found a brand new pair of black slacks.  The tag was still on them and everything!  I don't know why I never wore them, but when I looked at the size I saw they were two sizes smaller than what I've been wearing. 

I tried them on because what I've been wearing is actually very loose on me lately, and they fit!  Halle-freakin'-lujah!  Then I remembered my favorite blouse, the one that grew too small for me last year, hanging in the closet and I wondered if it would fit.  It did.  I'm so happy.  I don't have to spend money on a new outfit, and I don't have to run all over town trying on clothes.

And a couple pictures from the week so far:



We went to the park yesterday with our homeschool group, and the place was full of fragrant blossoms.


,...and the outfit that made me so happy this morning.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Felicidad

My weekly weigh-in was yesterday, and I weighed 235.0 pounds.  That is a loss of 1.6 pounds for the week.  It seems every week I reflect on what kept me from losing more weight.  Last week it was my daughter's birthday and Thai food.  This week it was dinner at the Mexican restaurant, but the thing is, my weight is still going down despite the fact that I am out there living life, getting pleasure from the food I eat, and enjoying occasional treats.  That's a huge win in my eyes, even if the weight loss is slower than I had hoped when I started.

And this is yesterday's thing of beauty:


I've only had margaritas twice in the last three months, and I loved every sip.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Wet Flowers

Oops, almost forgot to post the picture I took today.  It's more wet flowers.  The sun showed up for a half hour today, and it just so happened to be the time I was out running to the store a few essentials I needed to make dinner.  The air was crisp and fresh after a downpour for a good part of the day.  I was happy to get out during the brief sunny part.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beautiful and Fiery


This is the fire opal ring that my husband gave to me for our 25th anniversary.  It's extra special to me because it belonged to his mum, and she gave it to him to give to me.  It reminds me that I am loved dearly by my in-laws, and that warms my heart.

Opal is also my birthstone, and I love this ring.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mmmm Meat

Yep, I'm sharing a picture of my dinner for today's 30 Day Beauty Challenge picture because a healthy home cooked meal is a beautiful thing.



We had pork sirloin and roasted garlic Parmesan asparagus.  Not too long ago if there wasn't potatoes, rice, pasta or a dinner roll on my plate it didn't feel like I'd eaten a complete meal.  This meal was, however, very satisfying.  My perception has changed and I no longer feel cheated if I don't have a big dose of carbohydrates for dinner.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Clouds in My Coffee

Most mornings the first thing I do is grab a mug, pour some coffee, add some creamer and walk away from the mug to put the creamer back in the fridge.  Today, it occurred to me that I was missing out on 3 seconds of pleasure that every coffee with cream drinker can easily enjoy.

Clouds in my coffee.


And stirring too vigorously makes bubbles.  Tomorrow I'm going to handle my coffee routine more gently and more intentionally.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Self Acceptance

I saw this today, and it really just says so much.  I've been trying to explain to a couple of people how loving myself could lead me to leave some people behind.  I've been trying to remain kind to the people I've left behind and not criticize or judge them.  I've been saying it's about how I respond to that person more than it is about how that person behaves.

All of that is true, and not exactly true.  Yes, it is also about the bad behavior of the person or people I have left behind, but my response to it is the more important aspect, I suppose.


I missed taking a picture yesterday, and I'm cheating today by sharing a picture I saw on the internet.  I'll look for something beautiful again in my world tomorrow.  Today I was cleaning toilets.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Two on Friday

I waited till the end of the day yesterday to remember to look for something beautiful to appreciate.  It was a busy day, and besides that, I was preoccupied with a few worries.  We took my daughter out for dinner for her twentieth birthday last night, and then bought here a cute bicycle she's been wanting.  It's not built for serious riding, but it's fun, and it caught her eye, and she wanted it, so we were happy to buy it.  She's trying to hold onto her child-like wonder for as long as she can, I think, and that is something to celebrate.

When we left the store I looked up and saw these gorgeous clouds.  The picture doesn't do them justice, but the beautiful sunset is a reminder to me that longer sunny days are on their way.


And now this morning, my daughter is all set to go out and take a leisurely ride around the neighborhood on her bike.  The song, Bicycle Built for Two is running through my head, even though it isn't relevant at all.  It's the only bicycle song I know!

It needs a basket up front and a bell and some tassels on the handlebars!


And look at what a gorgeous sunny day we're having!

Also, it's Friday, and I hopped on the scale.  I weigh 236.6.  That's a loss of 1.2 pounds for the week.  I think it would have been more if we hadn't gone out for Thai food and had birthday cake last night, (I weighed 235 the day before.) but I'm happy to forget about numbers on a scale and enjoy a celebratory meal and dessert once in a while.

I have something else really cool to report.  There is leftover birthday cake today, and I decided to have a slice with my coffee this morning because, you know, we don't have cake in the house often these days, and we don't have any more birthdays coming up for quite awhile, and well, because it is my favorite kind of cake...

I had two bites and found that I really wasn't as happy with it as I thought I'd be.  It's dense, and sweet, and full of white flour, and I think I've developed a taste for healthier foods, so it wasn't that great.  I pushed the plate away and didn't finish it, and I have no desire for any more cake for a while.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Brings,...

It's pouring today, and right now we've got hail too.  I really dislike this weather.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I wouldn't mind it, in fact, sometimes it can create a nice cozy feeling indoors, but we have this kind of weather for weeks and weeks at at time, and it does make me weary.

I sound like a broken record.  I have the same complaint every year.  So many of us in this area talk and complain about the weather, but it doesn't do anything to change it, and it doesn't make enduring it any easier.  Better to look on the bright side.  All this rain creates the lush, green, beautiful landscape around us.  Summer always comes, and those Summer days are glorious.  If I look outside I can see signs that Spring is here, and that means that the seasons haven't stopped marching forward, (pun intended) and I'll get my sunshine soon enough.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Quickie

My phone works!  I let it dry out for a day and fired it up today, so I'm able to post a picture.  This is from my oldest daughter's room.  It's full of little things she loves, and because she loves it and because it is in her bedroom, it makes me smile to look at it.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Romantic? Maybe. In a Way.

I have no picture to post today because I dropped my cell phone in the toilet, so I'll just write about something beautiful instead...

Today is not only St. Patrick's Day, it is also the thirtieth anniversary of my husband's and my first date and kiss.  I was sixteen and a junior in high school.  He was eighteen and a senior.  We were both cast in the school play, "Arsenic and Old Lace," and when the production ended we both attended a cast party.  I had had a crush on him since the moment I saw him at auditions for the play, and I saw the cast party as my last chance to get him to notice me too.

I tried and tried to flirt.  At sixteen I was not so experienced at this.  Then later during the party everyone went downstairs and we were all dancing.  The lights were low.  Michael Jackson's Thriller album was playing on the stereo, and I knew that the next song up would be a "slow dance" song, so I positioned myself in the room just so my future husband would have no choice but to ask me to dance.

My scheme worked.  We dance, not just to that one song, but for the rest of the night.  He wouldn't let anyone else ask me for a dance.  We didn't kiss that night.  Before he left he hugged me and said, "Give me a call."

I said, "Why can't you call me?"

He said, "Because I lost the piece of paper with the cast phone numbers on it."

I was really scared that I was getting the brush off, but I called him the next day, asked him out on a date, and he accepted.  My best girlfriend chauffeured for us, and we cruised the loop downtown and went out for ice cream.  When we dropped him off at his house I walked him to the door and stood there with a stupid grin on my face until he had no choice but to say, "Aw, give me a kiss."

And that was that.  He was mine forever.

And I had just finished composing and sending him a lovely Happy Anniversary card to send via text message when I dropped my phone in the toilet.  Yes, I was sending a romantic message from the throne.  Fitting for thirty years, no?  The ONLY good thing about dropping my phone in the toilet is I did it AFTER flushing.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Light in a Dark Corner

 

This is a candle in my bedroom that I love.  I haven't lit it in a long time.  Looking at it and snapping a picture has inspired me to declutter the corner of the room where my rocking chair sits so that I have a cozy place to light my candle and read or listen to music or just sit still for a few minutes.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Quickie

No time to write.  I'm headed out the door for dinner and drinks with some girlfriends, but I didn't want to forget my challenge, so I'm posting a hasty selfie, and now I'm off!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Weird and Wonky

Last Friday I weighed 240 pounds, and this Friday I weigh 237.8.  I've lost 20 pounds in 2 months.  This is really nice progress, and yet, I'm afraid to believe I'll ever be "thin" again.  I still struggle sometimes with negative and critical thoughts about myself (You've lost weight before, and you always blow it.  Better not get your hopes up.  You'll fail, you always do.) but I've experienced the magic loving myself can create, so I can forgive myself for having those thoughts and learn to trust myself more and more.

I'm having trouble finding beautiful stuff to take pictures of around my house.  Isn't that strange?  I'll have to try harder, get out some more or create some beauty if I'm not finding things beautiful around me. 

This is a bead I made out of a bunch of leftover glass that's been sitting on a bookshelf in my bedroom for years.  I haven't made any beads for years.  I'd like to do it again sometime, but I don't have a safe comfortable place to set up my kiln and torch right now.  I got tired of freezing in my garage while I worked, so I stopped making them.

Anyway, this one is wonky and weird, but I love it.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunny Days Are Here Again

Two views of the sky in my world at two different times of the day and in two different parking lots.

I never take the beauty of Mt. Rainier for granted.  That's because it's hiding behind clouds so much of the time, so when it shows up, I take notice.  The sky has been so gray for so long, as is always the case here in the Pacific Northwest, but we're finally seeing signs of Spring, which will have plenty of gray days.  Still, the sun is appearing more and more and that always improves my mood and energy level.

The days of reading on the deck and manufacturing my own vitamin D instead of taking supplements are coming!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A New Challenge

I've been trying to be more intentional and more mindful in my day to day living, but it is not an easy thing to do.  It's so much easier to just do the same things I always do without thinking about them.  Trying to live intentionally feels a little bit to me like trying to make a ball roll uphill.  It takes constant thinking and doing, and I get tired of it and go back to letting the ball just roll downhill, even if it means letting the ball roll into a puddle of slop.

As a way to add more intentionality to my day, I've decided to challenge myself to write here every day for a month.  I also plan to add a picture of something I find beautiful, whether it is extraordinarily beautiful or just an ordinary thing that I have stopped noticing.


The sunshine is beautiful today and I love the way it feels on my face and shoulders.  Pepper, our little Boston Terrier loves the warmth and the sunshine too.  The lawn is growing again, (and needs to be mowed!) and Pepper just looked up after chewing on a blade of grass.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Trees

I've mentioned the pendants I started making a couple of times now, and I thought I'd post a picture of a couple of them, but first there's an interesting story about those pendants.

For a couple of weeks I was seeing trees everywhere.  I don't mean real trees outside.  Of course, I always see those, but I was seeing the imagery of trees in articles I was reading, shows I was watching, tattoos.  Everywhere, every day.  I was beginning to wonder if it was a sign from the Universe or if there was some message I was supposed to be getting from the trees.

I thought maybe it had to do with pruning and new growth because I had been experiencing some of that in my life, and then after seeing a Celtic tree of life symbol as a tattoo I Googled, "tree of life," and I found beautiful jewelry that I wanted to wear with trees on it, and then, because I make jewelry, I thought instead it would be more meaningful if I made myself a tree of life pendant, and that's how I started making them. 

When I shared pictures on Facebook of the pendants I was making, people started asking to buy them, and then I stopped making them, which is weird, but I think it was as Magic Mentha mentioned, a difficulty with receiving that made me stop making the pendants when others expressed a desire to pay for them.

There is another layer to the whole "tree" thing, and another possible message from the Universe or my psyche, and that is that I should begin working on a novel I started last year.  I only wrote a few chapters, but when I looked at the very last sentence I had written I couldn't help wondering if the trees were telling me that I needed to tell this story.  The last sentence I wrote was, "Kali scratched her head while working on her History test and suddenly remembered the strange vibrating tree in the middle of the woods."

The trees.  They are giving me something, and I'm still not sure if I'm imagining it or it's a true sign, but it doesn't really matter, does it?  Anyway, here are the pictures I promised:


The pendant on the right is actually larger than the one on the left.  Here is a picture of them together so you can see their actual size:




Friday, February 28, 2014

A Nudge

I've changed my weigh-in day to Friday, mostly because I'm down a little bit today and I wasn't all week.  Ha!  So, today I weigh 242.6 pounds, and now some observations about the month of February...

I only wrote three times the entire month.  I somehow lost that winning attitude I developed early in the year and fell back into some of my regular habits.  I'm not bothered by that, just observing patterns.  I lost 2.6 pounds for the month, which is a lot less than I expected or hoped to lose.  One of the old habits I picked up again was the one where I'm waiting to be thinner to be happy.  I forgot that I had accepted myself exactly the way I am, and that doing that felt great.  After losing 12 pounds I was so excited and I started doing the math in my head, telling myself that if I continued to lose weight at that rate I'd be feeling really good by Summer.  I forgot that I had decided to feel really good no matter what I weigh.

I mentioned that I was working on some other things, making pendants, brushing up on my Spanish, but since mentioning that I haven't made a single pendant or visited the app I was using to learn Spanish once.

I spent the entire month pretty distracted, or maybe I was trying to distract myself.  I ended a toxic friendship, and there has been a grieving process with that.  I've spent a lot of time second guessing my decision and reassuring myself that it was the right one at the same time.  While I was honest with my friend about my reasons for ending our friendship, she has decided to make up her own reasons and has been painting an ugly picture about the situation.  That's been frustrating, but  I'm at peace with it.  I expected it.  It fits the unhealthy pattern that led to my decision in the first place, and the people who matter, know who I am, and have been able to see through the smokescreen that was created to hide the truth.

Now I move forward.  It feels like I've been stuck this month, but I haven't.  I've leaned some lessons.  I know there is no "happy switch" that gets flipped forever and for all time.  It's more like a ball that gets rolling and sometimes it loses momentum and needs a nudge or sometimes a great big shove to get rolling again.  This time I think a nudge will do.

Album Cover - Keep the Ball Rolling, Bryn Haworth

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Here and Happy

This is another week where I haven't really lost any weight, but it was a stressful week, and I'll admit that I did eat a few things that I knew would likely stall my progress.  That's okay!  These weeks will happen, and if this is going to be a permanent healthy change I need to allow for those kinds of weeks.  I'm feeling good, and I'm still loving myself no matter what shape I am, so the weight is really a secondary concern anyway.

So, because I love myself and accept myself unconditionally, I'm posting a progress picture, even though I'm only down a few pounds since I posted the last picture.

243.6 lbs

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Calm and Joy Filled Life

Just a quick update...

I didn't lose any weight last week, but I started my period and that always does weird things to my weight, so I'm not discouraged by it.

I had a stressful week.  Drama.  I'm pretty much over it now.

I've been on a thrilling journey of self-discovery over the last two weeks, no details because I'm still figuring it out, but here are two internet discoveries that will at least give you a hint:

An article: Why Self-improvement Makes You Neurotic.  I'm going to read more of what this woman has to say.

And these delightful little stories, which I find more effective than simple affirmations:  Queen of Your Own Life

There are so many that are resonating with me right now, but this is the one I'm owning this week.  I'm promising myself to trust my instincts from now on.




Monday, February 3, 2014

Goodbye Snake. Hello Horse! Happy New Year!

I had a CRAZY week last week in both good and bad ways.  I'm not worried about the bad anymore.  It's behind me.  The good?  Well, the Seahawks won the Superbowl, and we had so much fun watching that game and celebrating.  There were fireworks going off all around the neighborhood, my husband was jumping up and down like a little boy on Christmas morning, and after the game relatives called to talk and share the joy.  It's the first time the Seahawks have won the Superbowl, if that gives you any idea how exciting this was for everyone who is a fan.

I also had a couple of dinner dates last week and enjoyed catching up with some friends.  I feel like my old self again, and it's such a good thing.  Or maybe I'm even better than my old self, a stronger, wiser me.  The dormancy of the last two years has not been wasted time, all that ruminating and reflecting, shedding old thought patterns and toxic relationships has taught me a lot.

I'm still doing well with the lower carb eating.  My weight this week is 245.2 pounds and my waist is 39 inches.  That's 4.4 pounds and another inch lost which makes a total of 12.2 pounds and 4 inches from my waist in the last 3 weeks. 

In other news, I'm learning some new stuff, brushing up on my Spanish and pulling out my jewelry making supplies to start making some pendants and things.   I'm happy.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Ya Done Good

I've decided that Monday will be my official weigh-in day.  I thought about changing my weigh-ins to before the weekend, because I always seem to undo a little of my work over the weekend, and this weekend is no exception, but, if this is going to work, I have to figure out how to live life with it's ups and downs and still eat happily. 

Anyway, today I weigh 249.6 which is 1.8 pounds less than last Monday.  My waist is 40 inches now, which is a full inch less than last week.  I'm disappointed with this result, and it occurs to me that this is crazy.  For months I've been gaining weight and getting bigger until I decided to love and accept myself exactly as I am.  Then the weight starts coming off and immediately I'm back to telling myself it's not good enough?  Crazy! 

This is my official reminder that being disappointed in myself for not doing a better job is no different from hating myself for gaining the weight in the first place.  I am lovely and loveable  exactly as I am.  I was lovely and loveable two weeks ago, and I will continue to be lovely and loveable no matter what I weigh. 

1.8 pounds in a week is actually a nice loss, especially considering the fact that it was not hard.  I am not starving myself.  I'm not denying myself any of the foods I love.  Okay, we did go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, and I did deny myself a margarita and had water instead, but I was proud of myself for making that choice, and after the meal was over, I didn't miss the margarita.

Ya done good Hasselhoff.  Ya done good.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Smoothie Secret

I'm always trying to get fish oil in my diet, but I hate the way it tastes.  I usually take it in capsule form, but there is that whole business of repeating that takes place with them.  Fish oil burps are really gross.  I've tried freezing the capsules because someone told me that keeps that from happening, but it doesn't work.

Anyway, I've found a delicious way to take fish oil.  Barlean's Omega Swirl comes in a bunch of flavors, but I have the lemon twist and you can literally take a teaspoon right out of the bottle and eat it without tasting even a hint of fish.  I sound like an advertisement, but I was really surprised by this find, and now I drink a smoothie every day with it. 

I use ice, a handful of spinach, a couple of teaspoons of the lemon twist, chia seeds, almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder. (I use Jay Robb Whey Protein.  It's made with stevia so no sugars.)  With the vanilla protein powder it tastes like a lemon cream pie! 


This small size is my snack size.  Sometimes I have it for breakfast and then I make about twice as much.  (I still use the same amount of fish oil, though.)  Yesterday I made the big smoothie for lunch, but I accidentally used half and half instead of almond milk.  Yikes!  That was a 700 calorie smoothie!  It was super tasty, though.  I didn't even realize what I'd done until I had finished it.  I won't make that mistake again.

Articles about the benefits of Fish Oil:

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Clothes Are Getting Bigger

I am feeling great!  I just wanted to put that out there.  I'll elaborate.

I just finished my Intro to Yoga series, and it was really good for me.  There were physical benefits, but the emotional and mental benefits might eclipse the physical ones.  The teacher of the class was great, and I learned even more to accept the body that I have right now.  She really emphasized not comparing ourselves to others and how different and wonderful all of our bodies are.  It was also really important for me to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new.  I used to do that all the time, but somehow forgot I was that kind of woman.

I'm going to take another intro series because my daughter wants to take it too, and she wanted someone to go with her.  I'm thrilled that she'll be joining me.  The class doesn't start until the 5th of next month, so I'm thinking of catching a couple of the regular gentle classes next week.

This is week two of my new eating plan, and I love it!  I've discovered new recipes, and I've discovered I need a lot less bread and pasta to be happy than I thought I needed.  I'm still losing weight, although not as quickly as I did in week one.  My husband is also losing weight, and it's really nice to have someone in the house who is eating the same meals as I am.  Last night we had jalapeƱo bites.  The jalapeƱos are stuffed with cream cheese, feta or goat cheese, parmesan cheese, tomatoes and cilantro.  I used salsa because I didn't have tomatoes and cilantro on hand.  Then you wrap them in bacon and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.


In other news, today before going out shopping when I got dressed I noticed the shirt I put on felt a lot bigger on me than it had the last time I wore it.  That was a nice surprise!  It was the same shirt I wore for a picture I posted a few months ago, so I made a side by side comparison.  Now, I haven't lost a lot of weight, but I think most of what I have lost has been around the middle, so you can definitely see the difference, or at least, I can.  I can feel the difference too, and that is a nice feeling.

August 2013                                                                               February 2014

You can't see my waistline in the second picture because the shirt hangs down and hides it instead of hugging my hips like in the first, but it's in there!

Monday, January 20, 2014

One Week Later, Drumroll Please

I've just finished one week of my new eating plan, and I'm very happy with the results.  I'm not happy so much because I lost weight.  Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled about that, but losing weight isn't that hard.  It's continuing to lose and not gain that is difficult.  This is the first time I've felt hopeful that I could continue to lose weight this way. 

There were two days a week where I craved carbohydrates in the evenings.  The rest of the week I was satisfied.  In fact, I ate better this week than I can remember ever eating.  The food was all made by me with real, whole ingredients, and everything was delicious, and even better, I didn't feel bloated and uncomfortable once all week.

Pizza made with a whole wheat pita, home-made Alfredo sauce, spinach, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and crumbled bacon. Green salad with dressing made from olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey, minced garlic, Himalayan sea salt, and cracked pepper.
This is an example of the types of meals I ate during the five days of the week where I ate around 125 carbohydrate grams a day or less.  Normally when I eat pizza, I would not have a salad with it, and I would eat a lot more of the pizza than this, but like I said earlier, this plan puts a fence around the carbohydrates for me, and I didn't miss the extra pizza.  I didn't miss feeling overstuffed, and I didn't miss the heartburn either. 

I like that I'm not counting calories.  I have no idea how many calories I ate each day.  I hate tracking every bite I take.  The only thing I did was become more aware of the bread, pasta, and sugar I was adding to my diet, and I chose higher fiber versions and smaller portions of those things.

Oh, so what was the result in numbers?  Well, I lost 6 lbs and 2.5 inches around my waist.  I weigh 251.4 lbs and my waist is 41 inches today.  If you're keeping track, that's only 1 pound lost since I started this blog because I had actually been gaining weight since I began writing. 

I'll tell you what else I've gained since I began writing.  I've gained greater compassion for and acceptance of myself exactly as I am.  My self-talk is much kinder.  My confidence - higher.   And hope.  I've gained hope.  I've gained the ability to dream again.

(Pretty syrupy and dramatic, huh?  Can't help it, it's the truth. lol)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happily Hopeful

Yesterday I mentioned a new menu plan I was trying.  I'm only two days in, but I'm so happy with, not only the initial results, but with my ability to eat this way relatively easily that I decided to share even though I was going to wait for a week or two.

I picked up a new book by Jorge Cruise called, "Happy Hormones, Slim Belly."  The premise of the book, in a nutshell, is that women over 40 naturally crave more carbohydrates to help their bodies produce more serotonin as levels drop due to pre or peri-menopause.  So, although the carbs cause weight gain, you can't deny a woman over 40 those carbs because she needs them.  A catch 22.  So, Jorge, while sharing the science behind this idea, has developed a plan where one eats almost no carbs for two consecutive days of the week and adds carbohydrate calories back into the diet for the remaining five days of the week.  He calls it, "Carb cycling."

I've just finished my first two days of very low carb eating, and I've lost almost 5 pounds since Monday morning!  Now, I don't expect those results every week, and the book doesn't promise those kinds of results,  (The book does promise 7 pounds of weight loss the first week and 2 pounds a week after that.) but I am thrilled to be starting out so well.  Thrilled, not so much because of the weight lost, because I've lost that kind of weight before, but thrilled because the foods I'm eating on this plan are the exact same foods I was eating before.  The difference is, this plan sort of puts a fence around all those carbs that were a little out of control for me before.  This makes the plan sustainable for me.

I won't lie.  I did crave carbs on the two days that I didn't have them, especially in the evening, but knowing I could add them back into my diet in two days and for the bulk of the week kept me going.  I just grabbed another cheese stick or handful of macadamia nuts, sipped a tall glass of water and planned what I'd eat tomorrow.  Last night when I was craving carbs I dreamed of today's lunch, a dream that was realized today with joy. :-)

Egg Salad on half a whole wheat English muffin topped with a leaf of Romaine lettuce

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Update

I went to my first yoga class last night, and it was good!  My worst fears were not realized.  I was not the only overweight woman there.  I wasn't even the biggest woman there.  I never felt judged or pitied.  Nobody looked at me like they were thinking, "You can't do yoga.  What are you doing here?"  It seems silly, in retrospect, that I entertained any of those "what if," thoughts and fears because my experience was so far from being like my fears and very much what I had hoped it would be.

I'm also eating a different way, trying a new plan, but I don't want to say too much about it until I find out if it's going to be sustainable as a lifestyle or if it's just another wild hair that isn't going to last and will leave me feeling like a failure.  So far, it has promise.

That's all.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year, New Attitude, Still a Go!

 Just a report on the progress I've made on regaining ground I thought I'd lost.

With holidays, illness, and back pain behind me, I'm feeling better and finally getting back into my routine of cooking meals using real food instead of ordering pizza and buying packaged dinners in a box to feed everyone. 

Cream of Broccoli Soup in Progress
Also, since I cut my 2-day cleanse short, I had a bunch of extra veggies in the fridge, so I made myself a nice tall glass of juice for a snack today.  I was shocked when my youngest daughter drank some and asked for more.  She actually liked it!  This is the girl who will eat nothing but pizza, nachos, macaroni and cheese, and chili, but only if it comes in a can.

The juice was made with an apple, celery, kale, artichoke hearts, cucumbers, parsley, and a bit of lemon.  Not bad for a little girl who lives on bread and cheese and a mommy who is getting her groove back.

Coziness

I'm grateful for:
  • My expensive juicer that waits patiently for me to return to it again and again.
  • A clean kitchen.
  • Weather that is not FREEZING, as it is in other parts of the country.
  • The soft glow of candlelight.
  • A good book to read.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Giving Up,...

On this 2-day cleanse.  I almost gave up last night because I was so hungry, and my head was really hurting, but I hung in there and had a very fitful night sleep.  I had to get up around 6 times to pee.  I did wake up feeling pretty good, though, and that tummy bloat I've had for the last couple of days was gone, not the fat, but the extra bloat, which accounted for a lot of discomfort. 

The problem is, it's dinner time, and facing that bland cabbage soup is making me gag.  I did make some and ate a few bites, but I can't choke any more down.  I decided this has passed the point of being kind to myself, and has become punishment.  I'm going to eat dinner, and start the day with a healthy breakfast tomorrow, and try to continue being kind by avoiding junk and eating well. 

I hope my day and a half cleanse benefited my body at least a little.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Two Days, and I'm Not Excited About This.

I'm trying this 2 day cleanse just to see what happens.  I'm on day one.  I've had breakfast and lunch, and all I can tell you so far is I do not find quinoa with prunes at all appetizing or enjoyable.

I should be able to do this for two days.  Right? 

Update:  I've made it through one day of the cleanse, and I'm sitting here drinking some dandelion root tea before bed.  I am hungry, and I can't even look forward to eating tomorrow because the thought of that cabbage soup and quinoa with prunes is making me gag.  I'm craving fat and salt like crazy.  A small bowl of cottage cheese sounds like heaven to me right now. 

Oh well, it will be especially nice to get back to eating normally again.  It's only two days.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Really? A Test So Soon?

Today I've done something to my back. I've thrown it out somehow, which is hilarious because I was just sitting on the couch when suddenly I was in big pain and found I could barely walk when I got up. That's how funny getting old is.  Not. 

It has spoiled my plans for the weekend, and it has shown me how fragile my fresh new outlook is. I have to learn that shit's gonna happen, and I can't just give up when it does.

Right now, though? I'm in pain, and I kinda want to give up a little. I'll be okay, just feeling sorry for myself. And that's okay too. I hurt, and I am sorry for myself. So there. I'm really glad I still have ten days before that yoga class.

When Are You Going to Stop?

When? 2014.  Now.  "Tired," doesn't even begin to describe how I've felt this past year.

"When are you going to stop taking your cues from others about what you should be and do in life? When are you going to stop denying your authentic self to satisfy the expectations and scripts others have put on you? When are you going to start listening to that voice inside you? When are you going to start trusting your own internal guidance system? When is the violation of your true self going to be a bigger violation than displeasing others? When are you going to stop playing the futile game of measuring up? When are you going to accept that simply being you is enough? When are you going to see that your worth and value is an intrinsic, unchanging and irrefutable fact, and not a tenuous and questionable proposition that you have to fight for every day?

Aren't you tired yet?"

- Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge

Read this passage again, and see which sentences stir something in your gut.  This one did it for me:
  
"When is the violation of your true self going to be a bigger violation than displeasing others?"

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Now I've Done It

I signed up for a yoga class.  I'm nervous, but I guess that's normal anytime one tries something new.  I'm afraid when I get to the class I'll be the biggest person there.  I'm afraid I'll be clumsy and awkward.  I'm afraid people will judge me, but those are worse case scenarios, and even if all of those things happen I'll be okay and better for having taken the risk.

The class is all paid for; now all I have to do is show up.  I still have eleven days before the first class of the session.  I'll use that time to shop for a new yoga outfit. Oh, and I'll get a pedicure too!  Now I'm excited.


Newness

I'm grateful for:
  • a fresh outlook.
  • finally being well after 3 weeks of illness.
  • days that are getting longer again.
  • being courageous.
  • being assertive.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking Ahead

I'm looking forward to being present, awake, and alive in 2014.  I've adopted a goal of unconditional acceptance and radical self-love, and I don't know if it's the moon and the stars, a supernatural force, or my imagination, but I'm feeling a definite shift in that direction.  My perspective has changed and some of the fog that has surrounded me in the last year or two has lifted.

With the lifting of that fog, I can see that the last year has been even more difficult than I had realized.  I have spent so much time numbing myself and not letting myself feel things.  I've spent so much time chasing after, "The thing," that will make me healthier and happier and whole.  No wonder I spent the year exhausted.  "The thing," doesn't exist outside of myself.  It doesn't come in a pill.  I can't squeeze it out of a vegetable that I grew in the ground, although I sure as hell tried.  (I'm not giving up on healthy eating and exercise, by the way.  Just saying it's not, "The thing.")

I think maybe some people gave up on me in 2013 because I haven't been able to be there for them in the same way I had in the past.  Despite my best efforts to support them, love them, and stay in touch while still doing what I needed to do for myself, I think a couple of them have written me off and moved on.  And you know what?  I've decided that's really okay.  I was feeling so much weight from their expectations, whether they were real or imagined on my part.  Now that the weight of my failure to meet the expectations of others is gone I feel free to move forward.

What needs to go will go.  What needs to come will come.  Welcome 2014!