It’s Not About Falling Down

It’s about getting up.pillow-skater

Last night I watched a documentary called Fat to Finish Line. I watched it as I ate a pint of Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch Gelato on account of I do that kind of thing.

The film is about 12 people who formed a team to run a Ragnar Relay in Florida. Each of them has lost an average of 100 pounds – a couple of them still have that much to lose to reach their goals. Regardless, they have run 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and full marathons. They are nervous, but determined.  Well, except kind of one of them. She started crying and carrying on two miles into her ten mile second leg. She kept saying, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” At four miles in, her teammates took over and finished the leg. Frankly, I wanted to smack her a little bit.

Then I looked at the spoon in my hand.

As I sit here writing, my left foot is in a VERY pink cast and it will remain there for at least another three weeks. I am limited as to what I can do. I am limited; but, I am not powerless. I was beginning to let myself feel that way when my boyfriend (who is one of the strongest people I have ever met and whom I admire tremendously) sent me the video below and challenged me to finish five sets of ten push-ups. I agreed to five sets of one push-up. Then I watched the video and the documentary.

When I first started this blog, I was writing all the time, feeling strong and good. Then I got knocked down and I faltered. I am weak and I feel terrible. But, as one of the runners in the documentary said, “It’s not about getting knocked down: it’s about getting up.”

So, friends, once again, I am getting up. If I need to, I will watch this video every day until I believe it again.

Oh, and though it took me awhile, I finished the five sets of ten.

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Measuring Success By the Foot

I missed work one night last week for just the dumbest of reasons: I couldn’t walk. Okay, so maybe it’s not a dumb reason; but, I still felt like the biggest sissy in the world. I strongly suspect that I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot. (That link will take you to the Mayo Clinic’s site on the condition.) I’ve been dealing with it for months and I usually hobble/hop for the first few minutes after I get out of bed; but, Thursday night, those few minutes stretched into hours. I was so annoyed!

plantar-fascia_13Standing for long periods of time, not exercising enough and gaining weight rapidly can all lead to the condition. I’m on my feet on concrete for ten hours every work night and I don’t exercise like I used to. That’s not new, though; so, I don’t think that is the cause of this. I think that the 57-pound weight gain in a year is the culprit. Years ago, I had some trouble with my heels; but, since I wasn’t on my feet all the time, the trouble then was nothing like what it is now.

My first holiday season working at my job was the first time in my life I’d walked that much on a daily basis. I averaged 12 to 14 miles a night and I remember thinking at the time that as much as my feet hurt then, I was grateful that I’d lost so much weight. I couldn’t imagine how much more they would have hurt with 94 extra pounds on them. I still can’t imagine that; but, I know how much worse they hurt with just the added 57!

Lao Tzu reminded us that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I’ve taken the first step in fixing the problem – I’ve committed fixing it. And I’m seeing some progress, which is great! I have to focus on that progress when I’m feeling impatient at the pain in my foot – which is, like, all the time. Progress isn’t always measured in miles. Sometimes it’s measured in feet. But when it comes to my feet, it feels like it’s being measured in inches.

But, as I’ve said before: pennies make dollars, ounces make pounds and those inches add up to feet and to miles. And that’s what I have to remember.

 

What Does The M Stand For?

Guys, this post is mostly for the ladies; so, you can stop reading now, if you like – unless, that is, you’re one of those super curious men who wants to gain some kind of understanding into why your lady turns into a hormonal monster for three days a month. If you’re one of those guys, be welcome; but, be warned – this ain’t for the faint of heart, sugar.

MI was silent all last week; but, no worries, I’m still here and I’m still fighting the good fight. The week was particularly challenging since I was struggling with PMS while trying to maintain some kind of healthy eating habits. For me, PMS is what the medievals used to call a shape-shifter. No Mild, Meek, or Mirthful for my M. No, sir! My M goes for Melancholic, Mighty hungry, Mean Monster! Not usually all at the same time, mind you. Shape-shifter that it is, it changes from month to month and from hour to hour within the month. Some months I want salty, some months it’s sweets. Some months I’m exhausted – okay, that one is pretty much every month. Some months I’m crampy, some months I’m not. Some months I’m cranky – okay, that one is pretty much every month, too. It’s kind of like Space Mountain in Hell – dark, twisting and turning, leaving you feeling dizzy and nauseated (only also craving puffy Cheetos and chocolate ice cream). It’s a real treat even when I’m on a see food diet. Now since I’m back on a better eating plan, I’d love to tell you that it’s better, but that would be a lie and we both know it.

If you look at my food diary sheets for the last week, you’ll note some seriously unbalanced meals. You’ll see some bingeing and some just plain bad food choices; however, you’ll also see that I keep coming back with better meals and better choices. When I’ve craved something sweet, I’ve turned to grape Crystal Light – the acceptable adult version of grape Kool-Aid, my favorite. To satisfy the salty craving, I go with unbuttered popcorn instead of chips. I’ve eaten lots dried figs which are kind of like mainlining sugar. And that’s worked for the most part; however, I’ve not found a good substitute for ice cream (or frozen cashew milk or almond milk desserts that I eat – I’ll just call them all ice cream for simplicity’s sake). While frozen, blended bananas and mangoes are good and I can eat them most of the month, they’re not ice cream and the Monster is not fooled.

These last few days have been more about damage control than anything else. Sometimes, that’s what a reducing or a healthful eating style has to deal with – damage control. I follow a vegan diet; however, there are times when I’m someplace and I just eat the cheese rather than make a big deal out of it. Chocolate is rarely vegan and there are times when that is as necessary as air (true story, ladies?); so, I eat a little. So, I give a little here and there and make up for it later. To do anything else would be more stressful than I really need on top of my daily, constant stresses.

My hormones are returning to a safe level – thank goodness – although as recently as last night, I was jonesing big time for some Oreos. My sweetie didn’t have any, but he came up with an emergency Little Debbie Fancy Cake, and, because he’s a smart man, he tossed it to me and retreated to a safe distance.

 

 

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.

 

 

Day 3

As I think I’ve told you, I work nights. I am super late writing today because when I got home this morning, I was just too tired to write anything. The night ended unusually stressfully; so, all I wanted when I got home was a hot bath. After having a good wallow in hot Epsom salt water, all I could think about was sleep. I didn’t even eat any dinner: I just went straight to bed and to sleep.

Obviously, I have not hit the energized state of the process; however, to be fair, I have to admit that I have also dropped caffeine this week. My body’s two favorite stimulants – sugar and caffeine – are no more. As a result, I’m dragging – big time. However, having been through all of this before, I know that this is a temporary state and that I really will feel better without those things in my system. (Although I’d probably sell you my sister for a Diet Coke right now.)

Last night was a HUGE test of my will power! My company gave out sugar cookies to all employees (which I was obliged to hand out as a member of the committee), and one of my colleagues gave me a Dove heart, Valentine M&Ms (peanut ones. Yes, my favorite.) and a tiny Snickers. I was in purgatory and I’m not even Catholic! To deal with the strong temptation (after all, those chocolates were really small, how much could they hurt?), I asked myself the question that is the last item on Dr. Allie’s list: “Is this going to help me reach my goals?”

No. No, those treats weren’t.

So, I gave out the cookies with a smile and ate none. I gave the small chocolates to a pregnant friend who was thrilled to have them. And the lovely M&Ms are in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed in a reasonable manner after I meet my goals.

Day 3 was tough. I was tougher. It was close, but I’ll take the win. You bet I will!

 

 

Detox: Day 2

It’s a short visit today, y’all, on account of I feel just like the woman in this picture. My headache is monumental. I’m tired. I’m cranky. And I nearly killed a colleague last night for his peanut M&Ms (although in all fairness, those are my favorites). I was offered cheese pizza for dinner and the new cinnamon bun flavored Oreos for a snack. Really it’s nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t completely flip out.

But sometimes miracles do happen.

I remained fairly civil, maimed no one and that one incident of chasing Damon for the M&Ms hardly even counts. It’s Day 2 and it’s been so long since I’ve done this, I don’t really even remember how many hideous days I have to endure before I start feeling sharp, alert, and healthier. I don’t remember how long this goes on; but, I do remember that it has an end and at that end I will, indeed, feel mentally sharper, more alert and a great deal healthier.

So, we put this one in the books and say, “Bring it on, Day 3!”

Detox: Day 1

Alright, first, let me say that I get just as annoyed as most people when diets talk about “detoxing” and “cleansing.” Most of the people making those claims hold degrees in marketing, not in medicine or nutrition. Frankly, I’m not even sure those claims have any real meaning. What I’m talking about here is straight up detoxing – getting away from an addictive substance and going through the subsequent withdrawal symptoms.

You might have noticed that chocolate appears nowhere on Dr. Allie’s list. It doesn’t appear on the copy I transcribed for you and it doesn’t exist on the original. Trust me. I examined it … at length … with a magnifying glass … and with invisible ink developers. Chocolate wasn’t there neither were low-fat cookies, Oreos, frozen cashew milk desserts, peanut butter, Nilla wafers, Diet Coke, nor fruit baked into pies. Okay, yeah. That makes sense. I’ve been through this before and knew that all of those (except peanut butter – that was kind of a nasty surprise) were on the prohibited list. So yesterday saw my first day of detox from sugar. And my body isn’t freaking out.

Yet.

After party clean upAs we’ve discussed before (a really long time ago) the human brain reacts to sugar in the same way that it reacts to cocaine and sex. The pleasure centers light up and throw a giant party. Once the sugar is all used up, the pleasure centers begin to sulk, fuss and demand another party. My cells aren’t demanding a party yet; but, they are beginning to get a little disgruntled. Here’s what I ate yesterday:

Budget 1,264   Food Intake 1,209
Breakfast: 416
Tofurky Italian Sausage 1 Piece (280 cal)
German Sauerkraut 1 Cup (56 cal)
Beets 1 Cup (80 cal)
Lunch: 154
Creamy Sweet Potato and Vegetable Stew 1 Serving (104 cal)
Beets 1/4 Cup (20 cal)
Plums, Fresh, 2 1/8″ 1 Each (30 cal)
Dinner: 270
Oatmeal with flax meal and chia seeds 2/3 Serving (180 cal)
Banana, Fresh, Sml, 6″ To 6 7/8″ Long 1 Each (90 cal)
Snacks: 369
Deluxe Mixed Nuts 1 1/2 Ounces (255 cal)
Hummus, Roasted Pine Nut 2 Tablespoons (50 cal)
Cucumber, Fresh, Med 2 Cups (31 cal)
Asparagus, Spears, Cooked 10 Each (33 cal)

My nutrient breakdown was about:

Fat – 48.7g, 37.7% of calories (USDA – 20-35% of calories)
Saturated fat – 8.3g
cholesterol – 0g (no animal products means no cholesterol)
Sodium – 3088.4mg (USDA – 2300mg)
Carbohydrates – 117.4g, 40.3% of calories (USDA – 130g, 45-65% of calories)
Fiber – 32.5g (USDA – 25.2g)
Sugar – 34g (There is no USDA number; however, the Heart Association recommends 25g for females)
Protein – 64g, 22% of calories (USDA – 46g, 10-35% of calories)
USDA daily calorie recommendations for females my age:
1800 for sedentary, 2000 for moderately active, 2200 for active

I was a little over in my fat consumption (all those nuts) and a little over in my sugar intake (beets. Beets, man.) However, it was a fairly balanced day. For the next few days, I will likely remain a little high in my sugar intake since I’ll be eating fruits to try to keep my pleasure centers from going into full-on rebellion. After my body gets used to having nutrient- and fiber-rich foods again, I’ll be able to back off the fruit a little.

Until then, I’ve got to go check the refrigerator. I’m just certain I bought blueberries yesterday.