Category Archives: General Health

Day 6 (and not counting as much)

Every time I have quit smoking, the quitting started something like: “It’s been 210 minutes since I had my last cigarette.” “It’s been three days since I last had a cigarette.” “I’m on week 2 with no smokes.” At some point in the process, I would stop counting. For instance, this time, I quit smoking sometime between nine and ten years ago. I can’t really tell you when. It became less important to keep track after awhile … because I wasn’t jonesing for a smoke anymore.

In this sugar rehab, I’m approaching that point. I can tell because although I’d still sell you my sister for a Diet Coke and pack of Oreos, I’d charge you a lot more. I baked a cake for work Saturday night and rather than look at it and whimper that I couldn’t have a piece, I looked at it and knew that it would not get me to my  goal. Thus, the cake was verboten. Period. And I was mostly okay with that.

Really.

I know that I’m not out of the woods, but I’m getting closer to the edge. What a relief! This first week has been really hard – okay, it’s been hideous – and I’m under no illusion that it’s automagically going to get easy; however, I have confidence that it will get easier every day. After all, it already has! I feel more energetic. I’m sleeping SO much better and I’m feeling less surly. (Thank goodness!)

You’ll notice a new tab at the top of the page – The Great Reduction Redux. This is where you’re going to find spreadsheets of my activity, my daily calorie intake and how it balances nutritionally. Several days this week I consumed too few calories. I’m working on that because that is absolutely NOT the right way to go about this.

Of course we lose weight to feel better, to look better and to feel like we look better. But the main focus here should always to be on better health. You don’t get richer by spending money you don’t have and you don’t get healthier by expending nutrient resources you don’t replace. You can get thinner, sure; but not healthier. And, really, what’s the point in being thin if you’re not healthy? Since I can’t think of a good one, I’m going for healthy.

 

 

Once More. With Feeling!

When I first lost 94 pounds three years ago, my lifelong friend Rebecca was one of the people who encouraged me to write this blog to share how I lost the weight and how I was successfully keeping it off. It was a little difficult to write all of that because I’d already lost the weight and really couldn’t remember the struggle step-by-step; so, I wrote most posts from memory, sharing some of the technical information, but omitting a great deal of the feelings because, frankly, I couldn’t remember them at that point. It was kind of like trying to describe child-birth a few months afterwards. You can’t really remember just how ridiculous the pain actually was or maybe you just refuse to believe that that level of pain actually exists. Anyway, guess what! That’s all about to change!!

And here’s why: today I went to my new general practitioner. I haven’t had a regular doctor in a few years and thought I should find one for regular check-ups and that sort of thing. So, I went doctor shopping. Of course, they did the height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation stuff. Everything was just lovely…everything except the weight.

Friends, in the last twelve months I have gained 57 pounds. I can tell you’re not picking yourself up off the floor like I did, but I’m sure you can feel at least a little of my pain, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, and just plain old irritation. How did I let that happen?! How did I put that much weight back on?!

The same way I took it off – one ounce at a time, one bite at a time, one decision at a time. Taking the weight off, I made good decisions about what went into my body and how active I was. This year, however, I made poor decisions by eating carelessly and mindlessly, and by lying to myself about my level of activity.

Since I’ve been to that facility before, Dr. Allie could see where my weight was once 225 (although not my highest of 236), then went down to 165 (although not my lowest of 144), then came up again to today’s weight of 201*. He commented that, clearly, I could make it happen and asked what I wanted his role in this process to be. He liked that I didn’t want any meds to help me and that I wanted him to help monitor my progress and my blood numbers. He’s a whirlwind who, before I knew what was happening, had given me a list of his weight loss strategies (which I’ll share tomorrow) and who challenged me to start running again. He invited me to bring my dog Ellie and to join him and many of his other patients in a 5K on March 19. I really enjoy running; so, I’m in.

In the last year, I’ve talked a few times about starting over and getting back on track; but, you and I both know that I didn’t do it. That was all noise and I was not walking the walk, even though I know that I feel so much better with better fuel in my body, with stronger muscles and with a lower body weight. This time, though, I have someone local to help keep me honest and to whom I am accountable – I even have my follow-up appointment scheduled already to check my progress.

As for the blog, for those of you not on LoseIt! I’ll be sharing my food and exercise journal, which was key to my success before. And this time, Rebecca, I’ll be chronicling the struggle as it happens.

So, here we go again. Let’s do it once more. This time with feeling!

 

 

* I have hesitated (okay, refused) to share my actual weight before on account of I’m a woman and I didn’t want that gawdawful number actually out there. After all, we live in a world of 110 pound, 5’11” perfection and, honey, I ain’t even close – not in any plane of the multiverse. But, here’s the thing, what I hear most from readers that I know and from readers I haven’t yet met is that you value my honesty. If I hide my actual weight from you, then I’m not being as honest as I think we all need to be about our weight and body image struggles. At 144 pounds, I am thin enough. I’m in a size 6 and I feel great. If I were thinner, I would look sick. In truth, there were those who said I didn’t look too healthy as a size 6. (I respectfully disagreed.) Anyway, the ugly truth is that on this day, I weighed in at 201 and unless I grow another foot taller (and at 48, I’m pretty sure that my days of vertical growth spurts are over), that weight is just too high. So, whatever your weight, know it, own it, and either love it or join me and change it.

Just Call Me Duncan

I don’t mean this fictional Scottish stud …  Duncan MacLeod

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duncan Keith … or this very real hockey stud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean this complete anti-stud …  Duncan yoyo

 

 

 

 

 

Yep. I’m a yo-yo.

I’ve allowed life circumstances – houseguests, finances, family, pet health, job stresses and relationship issues – to knock me off my game. As a result, Project 40 has become Project 45. Sigh.

You’ve been there with me, though, right? We lose 10, we gain 15. We beat ourselves up about it and gain two more. A couple of weeks ago, my sister told me that my niece could use a little pep talk. She was down on herself about having regained seven of the pounds that she’d lost. I had to confess to my sister that I wasn’t the one to give a pep talk since I’d had small bag of Chips Ahoy and four Butterfinger cups for breakfast. (I truly wish that were an exaggeration. It’s not.) I have eaten anything and everything in sight for the past few weeks.

As I’ve told you before, I’m emotional, binge eater. I’m also a compulsive eater. I can’t stand for there to be a half-finished bag or carton of something. I feel genuinely compelled to finish it…and I have the waist to prove it. I’ve had a temporary roommate who is thin and can eat anything he likes. He also can eat just a few of something and stop. I can do neither as is evidenced by the empty chocolate Donnette bag (okay, bags) in my trash can.

LoseIt! (the tracking program I use) measures a week from Monday to Sunday. I’m not waiting until Monday to get back on track – I started this morning. Yesterday, I prepared my veggies for the week and threw out all of the Frankenfoods that my roomie has enjoyed. (Sorry, Kent! You’re going to have to keep that stuff in your car or something.)

A woman, I will never be Duncan MacLeod or Duncan Keith; however, I’m taking control again so that someday soon, I will be this Duncan…

wonderwoman yoyo

 

Perchance to Dream

Hamlet may have been talking about suicide there; but, rest assured dear friends that the croupy Goddess is just talking about catching some quality Zzzzzs!

Working nights, I’ve shared with you the difficulties that come with sleeping during the day. The only time I’ve ever slept as well during the day as I do at night is when I lived in a basement apartment in Tuscaloosa, AL. No windows, no light, no noise – my bedroom was a cacoon! That was then. This is now.

Now, I live in a much nicer place, but my bedroom has windows and light and sound which are not so great for daytime sleeping. Enter the Bucky sleep mask (pictured above). This thing was a gift from my precious aunt Judy who knew that I both needed and wanted one when I didn’t even know they existed! Other sleep masks I had tried pulled too tightly across my eyelids, making me uncomfortable and unable to sleep. They also pushed on my nose making it stuff up. No bueno. This mask has a padded ridge across my cheekbones and nose, keeping it at just the right tension across both my eyes and nose. I’ve gotten so that I wear it even if I sleep at night. The mask keeps my face all nice and toasty! This plus a white noise app on my phone makes for much better sleep.

Except when I’m trying to hack up a lung.

Over the past several days, I’ve sleep in increments of less an an hour. I dozed off only to be awakened by a strangling fit of coughing. Oh, for the love of Mike! However, as my meds started working, I began to sleep a little longer and a little longer. Yesterday, I actually slept for about five uninterrupted hours. What luxury! And it reminded me of a Ted Talk given by Arianna Huffington that I watched recently. Having run on a serious sleep deficit until she literally passed out on her desk, causing herself some pretty painful injuries she is now a strong advocate of sleep as a way to restore oneself and as a way to tap into one’s creative potential.

As a culture, we Americans are always on the go, doing more, cramming more into our days, sleeping less and, frankly, getting kind of cranky. Resting is something I’ve long thought other cultures do much better than we do. European stores and businesses close and, guess what? The world goes on. Consumers learn to plan better if they know that they aren’t going to be able to run down to Globus on Sunday night to grab a few items. They plan their shopping and get the items when the store is open on Saturday or they just go without. Either way, cataclysm is a no-show. As a tourist in Venice years ago, I was frustrated when shops closed for the after lunch siesta. But, guess what? I adjusted. I slowed down to their pace and enjoyed being in the city without having to be busy seeing it all the time.

In health, sleep is just something I have to do so that I can get my other things done. In this illness, I’ve learned to appreciate it a little more for its restorative effects.

In fact, I think I’m going to go appreciate those effects a little more right now…………

The Growing Cold

“She can’t breathe, John!”

I remembering hearing my mother say that to my father as I sat coughing, watching television one night. (No doubt we were watching Gunsmoke or something.) Anyway, I remember her sounding alarmed and me thinking that it was just a cold. Well, my dad picked me up and took me, wearing my flannel nightgown covered in Pirouette-style clowns, to the hospital where I was admitted with pneumonia. The doctor tried comforting me by telling me that he was building me a playhouse. (What fun!) I told him that it wasn’t a playhouse, that it was an oxygen tent. Who was he trying to kid? I watched Medical Center and I told him so. I was between three and four years old.

(The whole experience was humiliating! They made me sleep in a baby bed, for crying out loud! AND, big girl that I was, they made me wear diapers. Ugh!)

My next experience with the illness was about eight years ago when, while splitting firewood (something I well and truly suck at) I began to cough up blood. On account of I’m so smart and junk, I knowed right off something was wrong. (Okay, I didn’t. I totally called my dad to see what he thought. You can guess what he thought.) This time I wasn’t admitted to the hospital, but spent the next week recovering on my sofa snuggling with Trey. I highly recommend big, black dog snuggles to cure what ails you.

As breathing became a greater and greater challenge last week, I began to wonder if I was up for round three with it. So, I dragged myself to a doc in the box on Saturday who diagnosed acute bronchitis and infected ears. Ugly, but not pneumonia. So, I’ve got my steroids, my antibiotics, my inhaler, my sorbet (better than sherbet, methinks), my Powerade Zero, cough drops, and vegetarian soups. I’ve got books to read; but, sadly, no coloring books to color. Maybe when I feel a little better I’ll go on a hunt for those.

As I recall, they were a pretty good curative, too…not as good as a sweet, black Labrador, but, then, few things are.

Spring Cold (Aw) Snap!

Lesley Gore said that it was her party and she could cry if she wanted to. Her Dotyness says that this is my blog and I’ll whine if I want to.

And I want to.

Box-of-Paper-Facial-Tissues-with-Pile-of-Used-Tissues-190I have a spring cold. My nose hurts, my sinuses are exploding, my eyes burn, my ears hurt, my lungs stick together when I cough, my lips are chapped, I sound like an off-key seal, and I spent half the night in the restroom since I’m getting to the age where sneezing with an even marginally full bladder is a game of Russian roulette. I’m miserable. And I’m being a great, big, giant baby about it.

After working all night, I stopped on the way home for some sick food – soup, sherbet, crackers, that sort of thing. Sherbet isn’t on the Whole Foods Plant Based menu, but I made an executive call after listening to myself whine all night long. On the menu or not, orange sherbet went into the buggy. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of chicken noodle soup – except when I’m sick. Then, that’s pretty much all I want. But, there’s not really a vegetarian version of it. Cruising the soup aisle for inspiration, I found that there were very few vegetarian soup options at all. Even many of the vegetable soups had either a chicken or beef stock base. I was SO not in the mood to discover this. I ended up with some green pea soup and some tomato soup, neither of which was what I really wanted; but they’ll do in a pinch. They’re warm and comforting, which is what I was after anyway.

When I finish my soup, I’ll change into my sweats and pink, fuzzy robe, eat a little sherbet, then put my annoying self to bed. As I continue to eat nutritionally dense foods, my hope is that these colds become fewer and further between.

Years between works for me.