Stracciatella Myself No

As I said on Friday, I watched the movie Fat to Finish Line on Thursday night. In addition to reminding me that it is really all about getting up after you’ve fallen, the movie reminded me that lifestyle changes don’t have to happen all at once. It’s not an all or nothing thing.

I  knew this…..once. But I’d forgotten.

Last week was my first on a medical leave of absence that will continue for at least the next three weeks. I can’t even tell you the last time I had a full week off; so, I treated last week like a vacation – well, a staycation. A for-real staycation, like I stayed inside my house almost the whole time. I napped. I watched movies. I fussed about being cooped up. I complained about trying to walk with crutches. Then, because I got tired of my own cranky self, I napped some more. I didn’t try to eat right and I exercised only a little.

This week, vacation is over.

I went to the library and got books to teach myself to become an Excel wizard. My friend Sean has come up with an exercise routine for me that keeps me off my foot. For the next three weeks, my job is to learn and get stronger. To help me do both of those things, I must eat better.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to eat nothing but salads, twigs and bark, though. I can’t do that. If I go completely off like that, I’ll lose what is left of my mind. I’m beginning with baby steps regarding my food changes. The step for this week is to eat no more ice cream – no more frozen desserts of any kind.

Although my system has always rejected cow’s milk, I truly love ice cream. And when I say that no one understands disappointment as well as Ben and Jerry do, I’m only half kidding – maybe not even half. If I ever own a chocolate lab, I’m naming it Häagen-Dazs. One of the first words I learned when visiting Italy was stracciatella (the gelato pictured temptingly above). Unless you offer me mint chocolate chip, I will eat any ice cream flavor you have – including red bean. (Hush. I had it at a Japanese restaurant once and it’s better than it sounds.) I love ice cream.

But, I’ve got to start somewhere; so, that’s it. Until Thanksgiving day, no more ice cream for me. I’m taking control again – one little thing at a time.

…….pay no attention to the whimpering.

 

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.

Two Days Later….

Well, good morning, friends! It’s two days since I truly recommitted myself to taking care of my nutritional needs. As a by-product, of course, I’ll be shedding these pesky 20 pounds; but, the main goal here is to get back to eating healthfully, in a way that gives my body what it needs to be its best.

Using my old profile, I have started a new program on LoseIt! and it tells me that I should reach my goal in the middle of June – perfect for bathing suit weather! I entered my current weight into the program, along with my goal weight and the amount of weight I want to lose each week. It gave me a calorie budget to get to that goal. Right now, that budget is 1350 calories per day. However, as I lose weight, that number will decrease to keep me on track. Here’s the thing I have to remember, though: although my daily calorie budget will eventually be under 1200, I must eat at least that many calories each day to allow my body to function properly. If I dip below that, weight loss will slow. I will feel tired all the time. I will feel cold all that time. This is the voice of experience saying that weight loss dieters need to eat those 1200 to stay healthy. As I get further into the program and my calorie budget drops, I will have to ensure that I am exercising enough to stay within it.

For the last two days, I’ve been within that budget – yesterday, well within it. There are several different tasks I may be assigned any given night at work. Last night, I was given the most physically taxing one. I calculate that I walked anywhere from 13 to 15 miles over the course of my ten-hour shift. (And, honey, my bones are feeling every. single. step. right now.) Like exercise does, my long walk has left me hungry this morning. So, when I got home, I had a little 100 calorie snack because I don’t want to eat anything super caloric right before I go to bed.

Okay, scratch that.

I do want to eat something super caloric – like, say, oh a few chocolate glazed doughnuts from The Doughnut Palace – but, I’m not going to do that. So, yeah, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said that I’m not willing to sell a kidney for pastries right now. Indulging myself just wouldn’t be the smart thing for me to do since all of those calories would immediately go into storage. Likely on my thighs. And I’m into cleaning that storage unit out, not adding to it!

So, I’m going to drink a nice cup of herbal tea, brush my teeth and go give my body the rest that it needs.

(Psst! If you’re O+ and need a kidney, call me later!)

The Fun Outside of Kale

I haven’t written in a couple of days because on Monday, I, was returning from a trip and, yesterday, I was recovering from my whirlwind trip. And what a great trip it was!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy aunt Judy wanted to go to a Mississippi State football game. Thus began our adventure which included a high school football game, a college game, a day walking around the French Quarter and my old neighborhood, as well as lots of laughs with relatives, friends and some people who qualify as both! Now, when I say that we walked around those areas of New Orleans, I’m being a little generous with the word “walk.” It was more like we waddled – or at least I did.

When previewing the trip for my friend Sean, I told him plainly that our intent was to get to the Quarter, go directly to the Croissant D’Or (my very favorite patisserie on the planet), eat at least one pain au chocolat (although I wasn’t committing to just one), then continue our way eating and waddling through the city. Upon my return to Middle Tennessee, I would just have to wear elastic for a few days. His response was priceless.

“Fantastic! There’s fun to be had outside of kale!” (I’m thinking of putting this on an apron.)

He agreed that occasions like this trip are one reason we make healthy choices most of the time – so that we can splurge every now and then. And, indeed, we did enjoy our trip. I ate wheat, sugar, chips and all kinds of things I don’t normally eat. I didn’t go completely hog wild; but, let me make this perfectly clear: I enjoyed every single morsel of what I chose to eat. When I say that I didn’t go completely wild, I mean that I didn’t eat everything I wanted. I still made some choices. For instance, because I knew that I was going to the Croissant D’Or in New Orleans (don’t you hear some angels singing when you read that?), I skipped the doughnuts at Shipley’s in Starkville. Shipley’s are my favorite doughnuts (followed by Dough Daddy’s in Lexington, KY), but I avoided the wheat in Starkville because of the upcoming wheat in the Crescent City. And, as I said, I enjoyed the croissant, the eclair, the pralines, the bread pudding, the eggplant parmesan, the beignets at Morning Call, etc; however, I can feel the difference in my body, that’s for sure.

10404354_10152618032213197_822061509036429045_nWith all the unaccustomed salt, I feel like I should just put the water hose in my mouth and turn it on. My hands, feet and legs are swollen and my belly! We just won’t even talk about that. I enjoyed my time away; but, my body wants to get back to lots of steamed and roasted veggies. My system feels kind of gummed up and sluggish, which doesn’t surprise me or anything. What does amaze me is that Before I probably always felt that way; but, because it was what I identified as normal, I thought nothing of it. Amazing that this feeling of Bleh was my normal feeling of Good.

It was a wonderful trip, a break from my everyday world and I don’t regret a single bite. However, I’m certainly glad that there is as much good inside of kale as there is fun outside of it.

A Committed Five Minutes

Yesterday, my sister told me about a coworker of hers who is so overweight that the weight is really beginning to affect her health. Her health issues have gotten the lady’s attention and she’s ready to make some changes. She has a stationary bike and has committed to ride it for five minutes in the evenings.

Just five minutes.

bike wheel clockIt’s easy to discount that as “no more than five minutes,” but, if you are or have ever been profoundly overweight, you know that it means “I can make it for five minutes. I can do this.” And that is truly how it starts. I’ve said it before (but I think it bears repeating) that many of us think that we have to start an exercise program going all out. I’ve got to run a marathon within the week, after all, no pain no gain, right?

Poppycock!

To begin with, I really did just walk my dogs. I added little accidental exercises throughout the day like parking further from the door or taking my shopping cart all the way back inside the store. Pennies make dollars. Steps make miles and ounces make pounds. The longest journey really does begin with a single step, or, in this case, five minutes on the bike. I am so excited for this lady! She will begin adding minutes before she knows it. She’ll start pushing herself as she sees that it takes longer for her to be out of breath. She’ll celebrate every additional second that she is able to last on the bike.

She’s also beginning to look at her food a different way. After lunch one day, my sister commented to the lady – we’ll call her Willa (like I willa do it) – about her lunch. Willa had eaten a grilled cheese sandwich and french fries. My sister pointed out that while the meal had been filling, there hadn’t been much nutritional substance to it. Willa had fed her body oils and carbohydrates with just the teensiest bit of calcium and protein hidden away in there. They started talking about nutritionally dense options, which makes “dieting”so much easier. At least my sister and I think so, meaning that 100% of Doty girls surveyed agreed – a HUGE margin!

It’s just like when I was a lifeguard. We were taught that after blowing the whistle to get a swimmer’s attention, give them a positive action since they typically hear only the last word you say. For instance, if a kid was running, rather than shouting “don’t run!” I yelled “walk!” The word told them what they could do rather than what they couldn’t. It seemed to work well with the water-logged kiddies and it works just as well with sugar-addicted goddesses.

So, join me in celebrating Willa’s baby steps towards better health and let’s stop focusing on restrictions that make us feel deprived and, instead, focus on freedoms that make us feel more empowered.

How Could I Not Have Known?

My son recently celebrated his 21st birthday. All week long on Facebook, I posted photos of him growing up, although I refrained from posting any that might embarrass him. Oh! Like that adorable one when he….. well. He is going to choose my nursing home; so, I’ll just keep all that to myself.  In looking through photos and deciding what to post, I revisited our trip to Chicago in 2010. The one I posted at the top of the page is one of my favorites. My dad and my son go221509_10150159896253197_6369362_oofing with the dinosaur sculpture outside the Field Museum. My two best guys! I also ran across a few of me with my dad standing in front of Lake Michigan. Oh, my.

Yep, the one on the right there. That’s the one that really caught my attention. My waist’s circumference was greater than my shoulders’.  (The word “circumference” should be used in describing planetary bodies, not human ones. When that’s the best word to describe a waist, there’s a problem.) Those pants I was wearing there were actually a little bit too big; so, I thought they were flattering. Not so much. But you want to know something? I didn’t truly know that I was that big.

How is that even possible? Well, it’s the frog in the pot.

You know that analogy: you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water and he’ll jump out. But, if you put him in a pot of cool water, then set it to boil, he’ll stay in it until he’s cooked. I got cooked.

I wasn’t a thin woman who woke up obese one morning; it wasn’t some adipose tissue / Kafka thing. I was heavy as a child, not really super chubby, but dense. So, the word “heavy” was used a lot. I thought that meant fat. So, I thought I was fat even before I was. The first diet I remember being on was in second grade. All my life, I didn’t lose weight as much as misplace it for awhile. I surely found every pound again – with friends! Somewhere in all that yo-yoing, my mental picture of my physical self got stuck at about a size 14. I was a solid size 20 in this photo.  I had no idea how big I was.

And that is still a challenge.

I’m now a size 6 (or 8 or 10, depending on the garment and the maker) and I still don’t know what I size I am. But I’m not so worried about it anymore. As you know, when I started the whole juicing thing, it was to lose those last 10 pesky pounds. I can honestly tell you that it’s not about that anymore. It’s about getting wholesome food into my body. More than ever, it is about being healthy.

That much I do know.

 

Lamentations of a Hasty Shopper

Remember how on just Monday I told you that I was avoiding wheat because it made me feel “bloated, gassy, and achy?” Yeah, well, when I was shopping on Sunday, apparently, I forgot.

Actually, I didn’t forget. I was careless.

One of my favorite breakfasts is a bowl of hot cereal with mashed banana, milled flax seed, chia seeds and cinnamon. Most of the time, that hot cereal is steel cut oats; however, when my sister visited in June, she left a bag of Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Wheatless cereal and I really like it. I like it and I’m out of it. The logical thing, then, is to buy some more when I’m shopping on Sunday, right? And that’s what I thought I did.

Except I didn’t.

wheat2808I mistakenly picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli. Guess what the first ingredient is. Whole grain wheat. Guess what the eighth ingredient is. Whole grain triticale (wheat). And because I’m just that pig-headed, I made a big bowl and ate it anyway.

To quote Pretty Woman Vivian Ward: “Big mistake. Huge!”

A couple of hours later, I almost felt like I was having a heart attack. I’ve heard that one symptom of a heart attack is that if feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest. Well, I didn’t have an elephant on my chest, I had a rapidly expanding balloon in my chest. I’m completely serious when I tell you that it hurt to breathe and that I could not take a deep breath. With the Macy’s Day parade float filling in my thorax, there was just no room for my lungs to expand. The discomfort and occasional twinges of acute pain where so disruptive that I actually had to leave work.

Yes, you read that right. I had to take sick time because of cereal.

Now, as I told you some time ago, my sister discovered last year that her knees hurt more when she eats wheat. Then, a couple of months ago, I told you that I had found that I suffer similar (though less severe) symptoms when I eat wheat myself. My hands and feet swell. My knees and feet hurt, and I feel bloated. I’ve done a little experimenting here and there to see if those symptoms hold true anytime I eat wheat and they do. However, I have never had a reaction like I did yesterday.

And I won’t have it again.

I’m pig-headed about a lot of things, I’ll admit that freely. However, I’m no so pig-headed that I’m going to put myself in that kind of pain again. I don’t buy a lot of processed food; however, from this point forward, I will read the labels of the processed food I do buy far more carefully. Shop in haste, repent in leisure. And, honey! Do I ever repent?!

So. Now I have this nearly full bag of Bob’s Muesli. Any takers?