Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All Things Considered....

2013 has been a pretty decent year. I didn't make it back to goal -- yet. In fact, some people would say it wasn't very successful, as I'm pretty much at the same place I was on 1-Jan-13. These people would be dead wrong.

To recount, I've had more headaches (whether migraine-related or not) in 12 months than I probably had in the 3 years before that. Add five sinus infections and various antibiotics and steroids into the mix (including my daily Flonase). Surprise job changes and other stress galore. Add to that all the things of a regular life: watching family members and dear friends go through various struggles; celebrating births and mourning losses; making time for myself and finding that balance is an illusion........ I think nothing's ever balanced, you just have to know which plate to spin a little faster sometimes.

Do I wish my weight were even two pounds less? Well yeah. But at the same time, I find that I am not going to stress over it. It is not worth my peace of mind or my sanity to freak out over the scale. This is the year I defined my relationship to the scale: all the scale reflects is just how much gravity it takes to hold my awesome spirit closer to Earth. Sometimes, it just takes a little more. I'm not measuring my self-worth or defining my success or failure by the numbers. Took me long enough, right?

Yeah, it did. When I was in my primary weight loss process, it was a strong competition with myself. It was do or die and I treated it as such. It was a conquest and I would not lose. But I realized that I could not always overcome 30+ years of thought patterns and processes, and traits which seemed ingrained so deeply, even after all the changes I'd made. Even now, I have moments when they come rearing up ..... especially with the headaches this year. For example: whenever I'd have a headache in my childhood or teen years, my mother's first question was always, "Well, when did you last eat? Are you hungry? Here, have a little something." And sometimes she was right..... but a lot of times, not. And when those headaches come around, all I can think of is, "Must have food. Need a sugar boost. Eat. Now." And I find myself nibbling on something...... NO NO NO! Any other time, I'd stop and think, "Am I really hungry? Am I angry? Am I lonely? Am I tired? What emotion am I trying to stuff with food?" But with a headache, there's so much physical pain that I cannot think rationally ... all I know is that I need to stop the pain somehow.

But what did I do right this year to counterbalance all this? Worked out more -- and had a really good friend (Sheri) who helped me through it. She was my accountability buddy all summer and fall, and now that it's winter, I am still accountable to her via MapMyWalk (I post my workouts at the gym when I am finished with them). That way, she knows I've done something AND there's a record of when I was there at the gym desk. We also meet on Fridays at the gym so that she can work out before her workday starts.

I took activity vacations. I didn't go many places this year, but the vacations I took were all centered around activity (or the potential for it). I went biking in May (17 miles of flat-flat-flat .... great gravy, were my quads sore!) and camping in October (trailside = haul in all the gear from the vehicle to the site) -- with tons of walking, which is easy to do with a dog along! I didn't get to do nearly as many 5K's but there's always this year. (Speaking of, I am SO sad that the Resolution Run got moved from NYEve to the Saturday after, but I get it.....).

I did yoga, but not nearly as often as I'd like. So in January, I'm taking a workshop on how to create a home practice. Even if it's 5-10 minutes each morning, and 5-10 minutes each evening, I need to practice the art of meditation, of opening my heart to the day, of finding time within the day to listen to my body's aches and figure out how to alleviate them.

So what lies ahead?

More of the same. Maybe more vacations. Lots more relaxation. Hopefully some answers to these NAGGING pain-in-the-tuckus headaches. (Can you tell I have one right now?)

And more blogging. I've been very inconsistent, and need to do better by you, my faithful, loyal readers. Many of you have been with me from the very beginning, and I need to remember to do right by you. I'm going to aim for weekly posts.

All things considered ...... well, I'm proud to have survived this year. Thrived, all things considered.

Yeah. I like that!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Another crazy month!

Well, it's actually been a crazy year for me health-wise, and December was no exception. I started out with yet ANOTHER sinus infection, followed by a trip to my ENT who said, "Wait, you may not have had an infection after all....." Apparently, I have chronic rhinitis - meaning, I'll always be a little stuffier than others, I'll probably be a little more susceptible to nasal junk. And I had a six-day headache that went along with this latest thing .... which did NOT make Dr. W very happy at all. So he sent me back to my primary doc for a neurology referral. FINALLY.

Well, as part of this last possible infection (which I still think was one after all), they gave me prednisone. Any of you who have taken it know what I'm about to say -- add 3 holiday parties to the same week, and you can imagine what that does at the scale. Not only did I retain more water than a manatee, but I ate my way through G-vegas and Mootown at the parties. Stepped up on the scale fully expecting a ten-pound gain and that is NOT an exaggeration. I really did expect that much. Instead, it was "only" five pounds. I could have cried for joy.

But not to fear, friends, the Universe said, "Oh, let me help you with that....." and gave me an early holiday present. It was the gift that kept on giving.... every hour on the hour, and occasionally on the half-hour too. A stomach bug the. very. next. day. It started at 4:00 AM last Wednesday and did not stop until noon, and then made another visit around 10:00 PM. OOOOOOG! But I stepped on the scale yesterday morning for an unofficial weigh-in/check (before weigh-in today), and I had lost a lot. I had also been fasting for some bloodwork to be drawn, so the amount was a bit skewed. I figure this morning, if I can be minus even 3.0 of last week's gain, I'll be fine.

So I figure this year, if I can be on December 31 where I was on January 1, it is a WIN!!!! After everything I'd been through, yes, it will be a big WIN!

But then again, every time I keep fighting and getting back up, it's a win. Right?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

BRRRRR!!!!

First, oh my goodness!! It's been an incredibly crazy month for me as I have transitioned to a new role in my M-F job, gone to baby showers, wedding showers, etc., worked my way around a sinus infection (yes, another one; 4th this year - UGH!), and just run myself ragged.......

Well, winter has apparently decided to arrive early this year, as our temperatures went from 60s on Friday to mid-40s tops today -- and will be there all week .... and into the next, from what I see projected. BRRRRRR!!!! One downside to losing this much weight is that I lost my insulation! Let's face it -- body fat does keep us warm! I was never this cold-natured until I lost the weight .... but I have NO desire to put it back on just to stay warm!

But this change of temperature also puts a kibbosh on my morning walks now. Getting up even earlier to bundle up to go walk out in the cold morning air -- when I pay good money for a gym membership and can do it in relative comfort, even on a "dreadmill"? Um, yeah. Sorry, as much as I love meeting my friends and walking outdoors over a treadmill any day, I have my overall health to consider. And in the winter, I am more susceptible to respiratory issues. With the holidays upcoming and singing in two different groups (plus cantoring duties as well), I'm doing everything I can to protect my voice, my throat, my sinuses, everything that affects my singing.

So the good folks at Planet Fitness (Greenville) will be seeing more of me, hopefully in the mornings, but we'll see how things go with my schedule. If it was like last year, after the New Year, everyone who joined starting coming in the afternoons/evenings and it was dang hard to get a parking space (let alone a free treadmill, elliptical, or bike!). So .... the plan starting tomorrow is to get there no later than 6:00 AM (preferably 5:45). I cannot go any earlier -- I'm already getting up at an ungodly hour! That way, I can get in 30-45 minutes, get ready for work, and maybe even get to work a few minutes early.

But OH! I will miss the comraderie, the laughs, and the sharing. Once spring arrives and warmer temps come back, then oh yes, back to the park for the morning walks...... but I have to do what I have to do to stay healthy in every way.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seven Years (and Some) Removed....

It was May 2006. It was the first night I joined Weight Watchers and our meeting topic that week was all about "activity" (because no one likes the word exercise, especially when you had as much to lose as I did). My leader asked us all to increase what we did, even if it was just a little each day, or a little extra each week, building ourselves up as we went along. And she said, "Even if you're doing absolutely nothing at all, just try 5 minutes a day. It's better than nothing, but just 5 minutes a day."

I thought to myself, "Okay, I can do that. If I walk out to {family friend}'s house and back, that would be five minutes!" Well, I completely over-estimated my capabilities that first time I tried it (the next day). The two-block walk out there and back took me around 10 minutes, and I huffed and puffed the entire time. I was practically vacuuming in the fresh air, truly sucking wind! Okay, it didn't help that it was hotter than blazes before Memorial Day had even come around that year. But I kept at it, and eventually, I got it down to about 7 minutes but knew I needed to step things up. So over the summer, I developed a walking plan I could do in 20 minutes. It was only about a half-mile, but I was doing it. I joined the Y later that summer, and I was thrilled when I finally hit the 30-minute-mile mark. I could have cried, I was so happy.

Fast forward a year. I decided to do the Race for the Cure. I did okay -- I had wanted to walk it in less than an hour, but it took me 1:06:34. That just made me more determined to do better and better. Since then, I've lost track of the number and varieties of 5K's that I have done. I love taking part in competitive races, even if I mostly walk them. And in that 2008 RFTC, I ended up shaving 10 minutes off my time, and have gotten better with mostly every race. My second-worst time happened last year at the Savannah River Bridge Run (at just under an hour), but I also take comfort in knowing that almost the entire first mile was uphill!

This year, I haven't done as many competitive races. In fact, my last one was (I think) the Resolution Run on New Year's Eve. But I am planning to do the Jingle Bell Jog in December, and *maybe* a Turkey Day race if there's one closer than Greenville. But my lack of races doesn't mean a lack of training. All summer long, I've been meeting a friend twice a week, for a quick 30 minute walk, and according to our apps, it's about 2.2 miles. And two or three times this summer, I've also met her and others for a Saturday morning walk before work (or, really, TO work) which has been about 4.5 miles! That's the longest distance I've ever walked in one stretch, and my time is getting better and better. I just may hit a personal record time when I do the Jingle Bell Jog!!!

This morning, I awoke at oh-dark-thirty -- as I normally would -- to get ready for my Saturday work. Today was the 2nd morning of our first big cold snap of the fall and winter -- the low this morning was projected to be right at freezing. It was cold but it didn't feel quite as chilly as I had thought it could be. So I woke up, had breakfast, put on a pair of wicking workout pants, jeans over those, a long-sleeve performance tee (moisture-wicking) and a fleece hoodie on top of that. My leather jacket over all that, and I was good to go..... for a walk with one of my friends. We didn't do the usual 4.5 mile walk, as our friend who lives at the starting point is medically unable to join us at the time (get better soon!!!) But we did a 5K basically in the very chilly air and felt GREAT!

So in seven years, I've gone from the equivalent of a one-hour mile, to an average of a 15-minute-mile (it's 14:xx, but never sure of the exact average; it varies). My best time ever for a 5K is 45:56 on a mixed course (pavement and trail) in May 2011 and 46:42 for road-course-only time (last year's JBJ). I'm determined this year to beat them both!

And so I say THANK YOU to Sheri, Lori, and Lily for spurring me on and helping me do better. Thanks to all my friends who see my FB posts or Tweets with my exercise efforts, who cheer me on with a LIKE or a "favorite" or retweet -- your encouragement even all these years later is so very appreciated, especially when I am frustrated with my progress or I'm feeling lazier than usual. This year has been a little tougher with these freak periods of recurrent headaches which cut into my exercise and training. But your continued support means so much to me!

I never imagined in May 2006, at four-bills-plus, that I would ever be able to do what I do now. All I knew was that I needed to do something (along with the improved eating) to get some improved results. And even though there are days I look at my body and still see the flaws, I am trying to focus instead on all the good things that have happened. I have strength I wouldn't have had back then. I have stamina that I could never have dreamed of way back then.

And all it took was a little determination and picking my feet up and putting them down in front of each other .... one step at a time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thoughts from the deep woods.....

I went camping this weekend -- just me, my dog, a tent, a cooler, my car, and a reservation at a state park. I ended up cutting the visit short due to an infinite number of bites from infinitesimally small insects which never should have made their way to the Ark, but that's another tale for another blog.

I was close enough to town that if I'd needed to, I could have gone back for meals, but what's the fun in that? Half the joy is in living off what you can bring with you. So I brought a propane campstove (borrowed from some friends), a whistling kettle from my kitchen, some oatmeal and some dehydrated egg cups for breakfast, and stopped on the way for other things I'd need for the long weekend: salad mix, chunk chicken, lo-carb tortillas for wraps, a small veggie tray (tomatoes, baby carrots, broccoli florets), almonds for snacks, and baggies of dogfood for my pet. And when I got nearer to the state park, I stopped at a grocery store for some deli turkey and some cheese slices..... odd, since I hadn't really planned on that, but something told me to get it. I had packed some healthy chips and Starbucks Via packs as well. I'm not a Starbucks fan, but one does what one has to. I had some Better'n Peanut Butter as well, so I felt I was pretty well stocked.

It took a while but I got camp set up, and boiled some water for coffee to enjoy by the fire..... I ended up enjoying it while staring out into the darkness because I couldn't get the fire going..... and a migraine was trying to make a comeback. UGH! So I went to bed much earlier than planned -- and if you want the funnier details, please check out my "real" blog Meanderings & Musings....

Anyway, the next morning I got up to make coffee and ..... the campstove refused to light. At all. So I grabbed a second propane bottle (thinking the first was empty). Nope. Nothing. Went to the park store to buy another bottle. And STILL nothing. At this point, I was ready to go into town to search out more information from the hardware store or other knowledgeable source. And to round up some breakfast. Without the campstove, no water for coffee or oatmeal, or egg cup, or anything else. AAAAAGH! So at this point, it was nearly 9:30 AM and all I wanted was ANYTHING.

Believe it or not, Mickey D's has some pretty darn healthy breakfast options -- specifically, if you get the fruit & nut oatmeal or the Egg White Delight McMuffin. Heck, for that matter, a real plain Egg McMuffin is a good choice too! So I got the Egg White Delight McMuffin meal -- which I thought was just the McMuffin and the coffee. But OOPSIE, I opened the bag and there was a hash brown patty. But I decided to eat it anyway, and know that I could make adjustments later in the day. And I knew that I would be getting in a lot of activity. So I didn't sweat it too much.

Around 1:00 I ate a very light lunch -- a wrap with some of the turkey and cheese, along with some of the veggies from the veggie tray, an apple, and some healthier chips. Friends came over and we got more walking in. I didn't eat dinner again until nearly 8:00 PM -- and that was just salad mix with some of the chunk chicken, and a container of shelf-stable low-fat milk (yay for TruMoo tetrapaks!) And again, I wasn't starving. By the time I went to bed, having tracked everything, I still had just a few Points in my target left. But I left them. I wasn't hungry.... no need to

Sunday was pretty much the same routine, except by 9:00 AM I was covered in enough bug bites to decide I'd had enough. I packed up and headed for home, again stopping at Mickey D's around 9:45 AM for a brunch meal (this time, without hash brown!) and milk instead of coffee. And I did not eat again until last night's dinner around 6:00.

But here's the really interesting thing....... when I got home and was surrounded by food choices, I found I wanted to eat. We joke about food calling our name.... but it was almost like that. When I didn't have (whatever) anywhere near me, and it was too much trouble to go into town for (whatever), then I didn't think about it, didn't even have it cross my radar, and I didn't miss it. Having it in the same house or sometimes in the same room ..... and I suddenly HAD to have it.

So over the next couple of weeks, I'll be taking stock of what I really have, what I don't need to have on hand, and doing a little something I call, "EATING WHAT I HAVE!" Getting fresh fruit or frozen veggies or getting more milk is one thing. But picking up something just because, "ooh, I might want this soon..." or "hey, I wanna try this and today's the day!".... no. Just no. And guess what, I bet I'll find after a couple of weeks that I suddenly have room in my section of the freezer and pantry. WOW. There's a novel idea.

And so from the sand-flea, sand-gnat, mosquito-infested woods and sand of the Carolina coast comes some much needed insight.....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Doing our part.....

It is astounding to imagine. We hear so much of the obesity crisis in the US -- that we're killing ourselves by the spoonful or forkful, that our heavily processed food is leading to diseases which should be easily preventable by eating correctly, that we're raising the first generation that may not outlive its parents......

And there is yet a hunger issue in this country. Seventeen percent -- one in six -- does not have enough access to food to sustain a healthy life. To see this and other staggering statistics on food and poverty, just visit Feeding America's website. I knew many of these statistics, and it still broke my heart. 33.5 million adults, 16.7 million children. Many receive benefits, but it may not be enough.

My last semester in college was the closest I came to experiencing even a fraction of this. I was 21, almost 22, taking only 2 classes, and working the rest of the time, and there was never, ever enough money to go around. Between the utilities, trying to pay rent, gas to go to class and/or work, and trying to buy groceries....... never enough. The Velveeta Shells & Cheese that I had enjoyed while living in the dorm very quickly gave way to six-for-a-dollar "mac n cheeze" in the generic black-and-white box with that nuclear-meltdown-orange powder. I bought a pound of boneless/skinless chicken breasts once a month; each week, I would cook one breast and chop it up incredibly finely and use it in rice or macaroni to create a more rounded meal. Those were the smallest portions I had ever eaten in my adult life until I joined Weight Watchers. That chicken and rice was put together into an 8x8 Pyrex dish, baked together, and then refrigerated and cut into 6 blocks -- four days of lunch and two dinners. On the rare occasions that I had a little extra money for going out for dinner, it was either Taco Bell and the 49c crunchy taco or -- MAJOR MEAL -- a McDonald's value meal (back in the pre-supersize days ... for the meal, anyway). When the semester was over and I moved home and started my career, I wasn't making a lot -- certainly more than I'd made working minimum wage in college, but still...... The lessons on economizing remained, as did my penchant for the Value Meals. 

I say all this to say that I get it when people say it's more expensive to eat healthy, especially when feeding kids. You'd love to give each kid an apple to take with them to school each day, but that's 15 apples for three kids..... maybe $8 to get that many apples. Or you can buy a couple of boxes of fruit flavored snacks and have enough to last all week for half the price. Forget buying chicken breasts to feed us all: a bag of nuggets will go much farther. And you can really forget the fish unless you're talking Mrs. Paul. Fresh veggies? If you can get a kid to eat them, good luck.... some might touch canned corn or green beans, but most run in the other direction.

Last year, celebrity chef Mario Batali undertook a challenge to feed his family of four on the same amount that a family of four receives from SNAP (what I grew up hearing as "food stamps"). The first thing he noticed? Organic produce or anything else was absolutely out of the question. The next thing he noticed? his kids lunches suddenly became PB&J on white bread. Even though he *could* have made nutritious bread at home, most families on SNAP would not have been able to do so. And there was so much more..... it works out to $31/person per week ..... or at 3 meals a day (no snacks!): $1.48/meal. Good luck.

There's also another hunger-related issue: simply not being close to foods which will sustain a healthy life. I've always been lucky to live in town -- I've never lived anywhere that food of some sort was not easily accessible. But even in urban areas, you can have "food deserts" though they are far more prevalent in rural areas...... food deserts are those places where food is sold, but it's mostly highly processed, no selection of vegetables, fresh fruits, lean meats, or healthy dairy. Think of a convenience store: mostly chips, candy, whole milk, butter, cold cuts in the refrigerated section, and if there's a hot food section, it's either hot dogs or fried foods and overseasoned "veggies" (green beans, corn, pintos, macaroni, and everyone's favorite, banana pudding. Wish I were joking). And it's there because the nearest town is 4 miles away and some of the older people walk to this store because they have no car. But you haven't seen Miss Minnie in for days. Guess that diabetes is making it harder for her to walk.....

And every summer we hear stories of kids who depend on free or reduced lunches and breakfasts in the school year as sometimes their main meal ..... and who in the summer or on weekends are facing a real hunger crisis. We hear of secret backpack missions where teachers or charities provide meals that kids can take home with them, disguised in backpacks so that it looks like they're just taking books.

I'm proud to be part of an organization that is working in its own way to bring these issues to light as they work to teach people how to live healthier lives within their own lifestyles and budgets. And each fall, Weight Watchers has promoted a campaign called "Lose For Good" .... in the last few years, we have partnered with Share Our Strength/"No Kid Hungry" for hunger relief in the US, and with Action Against Hunger (ACF-International) to bring attention to the similar plight around the world, where food supplies are far less abundant than in the US. 

You can also learn more about the food crisis in America by visiting Feeding America.

At the very least, it doesn't hurt to be mindful of everyone who doesn't have enough food, worries about how to feed a family on a fixed income, or who would like to eat healthier but have limited access to such foods...... and especially so for the next generation. Let's do what we can to support our neighbors in need.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Annnnnnnd breathe.

I got back to some of the basics I mentioned last week -- I still didn't do everything perfectly, but I did what I set out to do. I accepted the fact that some days would be better than others because of the lymphedema. I changed what I could (including the daily chocolate piece, knocked it down to only twice). And I rested at times when I should have been running around trying to do more than I could say grace over. (Should is another ugly word, sometimes).

The results? Down 2.2!!!! I'll take it! I actually had lost 2.6 as of the weekend, but I'll gladly take the 2.2 pounds!

The plan for this week? The same, with a little extra work -- doing the meat-and-two at lunch instead of running out for something because I've been too lazy to cook...... I actually started that this week and so far so good. Today was an exception because I had some dental work done. But at least I have my lunch ready to go for tomorrow!

And I plan to be at the gym in the morning, and getting back to a strength training routine I haven't done in a while. I do one on Fridays, but I'm going to add a routine (full body) on Wednesday as well. We'll see how it works.

In the meantime, the other thing I'm doing is more breathing and relaxing. Resting. Okay, so I'm a month late to the routine from August (HAAA!). But no really, the other thing that helped me most this week was a healthy dose of perspective from two fellow WW employees. They are people who know my story, who know of my health issues, who know my struggles, and who aren't afraid to say, "Okay, so what *is* working for you? What's standing in your way? Are you truly willing to commit and not just saying this to make me happy so we can move on to another topic of conversation?" Being able to share my joys and frustrations with them was a priceless gift this week.

This week, I got to walk down memory lane and share a little of my story with my group at the weekly meeting where I'm "just" a member. It really inspired me to think more about all the success I've had, especially in the times when I felt as down and discouraged as I did last week.

To all of you, KEEP STRIVING!!! The shame is not in falling but in failing to rise again to fight another round.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Do they have WW in Luckenbach, TX?

Either way, it's time to get back to the basics of.........

Not gonna sugarcoat it, I have been struggling, dancing around the same 4-5 pounds for a few weeks now. I've stepped up my exercise and it doesn't appear to help (at least not recently). My stress levels are out the roof (and not just from this struggle). The last couple of weeks have been a real battle with one of the worst enemies ever: self-doubt. Why? I know I can succeed .... So what's a girl to do?

I talked it out with a couple of good friends who also have been there, succeeded, had struggles, and are overcoming them. They have given me some good things to mull over .... and mostly just letting me talk it out and to lead me down a path where I can find the solution(s) that will work best for me and my life. And it's pretty simple, when I think about it:

Accept the things I cannot change. I've got a chronic condition in which I retain fluid -- and not a situation in which basic diuretics are a remedy. I have a compromised lymphatic system. I'll always have fluid retention to some degree. I will not be as easily able to merely "flush" things from my system by drinking 2 gallons of water a day (though staying hydrated is a tremendous bonus). I am also older than I was when I lost the weight, and other things have come into play as well, some of which has been rather unexpected. I've dealt with health issues constantly since I turned 40. I have a team of physicians now instead of just a GP. So these are obstacles which come up and there's not much I can do about it....... so I have to take a deep breath and remember that these too shall pass. Eventually.

Be courageous and change what I can. There are things I can change about my eating habits. As much as I enjoy my ONE Hershey's miniature -- and can limit myself to the one -- it's now become a daily habit, a way to end my lunch break on a sweet note. This has to stop. It's not a treat anymore in the real sense of things. I'm not saying it's bad, or even bad for me, but I need to do something differently than what I'm doing now. What other little changes can I make? I need to list the ones I know I can do...... one new habit each week. And I need to work on stress management even more than the steps I already take (regular exercise, other stress relief such as yoga, etc.). I have an idea on what I can do there.... just need to actually follow through.

Know the difference. I am pretty good at this but always need the reminder. And I need to remember that I am a winner, no matter what numerical value that gravity assigns to me -- because, really, that's all the scale measures: the amount of gravity keeping me bonded to earth.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Little changes do matter

This month at WW, our "Routine of the Month" is on getting enough sleep (7-8 hours) ...... an area where I am WOEFULLY deficient, at least in amount of sleep. As far as quality, I suppose it's pretty good. When I fall asleep, it is nearly immediately, and always a good deep sleep. I might get up once during the night for a potty break (sorry, TMI), but I more or less do it sleepwalking..... meaning, I wake up just enough to make my way to the bathroom, do what's necessary, and go right back to that deep sleep.

But quantity is sorely lacking. I fall asleep around 11:30 at the latest, and wake up around 4:40 each morning. Yes, you are reading that correctly. I am averaging 5 hours a night. Yes, I crash on the weekends occasionally (but I have to wake up on Saturdays at the same time for my weekend work). I do nap on occasion (usually weekend afternoons) -- and still go to bed at the normal time.

So this month, to help myself and to "test" the routine, I'm making some small changes. Trying to be in bed no later than 11:00 is my big challenge. It means I might have to cut out the end of a game (nooooo!) or just force the issue and do it anyway. Knowing me, I doubt I'd have much trouble falling asleep anyway!

So how is it working? Pretty well so far. I think the latest I've gone to bed was 11:15 (but only because I was dozing in the recliner already). Admittedly, I got a lot more rest than I expected this weekend, but you don't want a migraine in order to get said rest.

What are the benefits so far? A little less stress, or at least I'm handling it better. It may be a combination of many things helping me handle my stressors, but an extra 15 minutes of sleep a night can't be hurting.

So this week, I'm going to continue with this -- maybe even push it back to 10:50? We'll see. But in the meantime, see you in Dreamland!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A repeat performance

Last year, to commemorate the end of our Spring 2012 "Live Life Active" campaign, Sheri and I did a Bike Ride as a way to show our members different ways to do fitness. You'll have to read the post to see how it went last year.

So we decided to do it again, on the anniversary this year, and..............OOPS! I had to take my newer bike in (the road/hybrid one) for a repair. I kept having problems with it staying in gear, and the chain kept slipping. One night, as Sheri and I went for a practice ride, we weren't even a mile in and CHONKINGY! went my bike. I could not put it into a new gear at all. In fact, I couldn't even ride it. I had to push it back to her house --- not a bad idea since 15 minutes later, the skies opened and it all fell out. I took it to a bike shop near work, sure that it was the chainrings, and dreading the cost. You see I'd checked them out online that night and HOLY COW! I could buy a new bike for that price. As it all turned out, my bigger problem was that my rear wheel was completely warped. Solved that problem right away!

So we got in a couple of practice rides, but not as many as last year. We had a better idea of the time we'd need and were able to shave about 20-30 minutes off last year's pace. So we met again at 5:00 ... got on the road around 5:10, and at 5:11 I'm yelling, "SHERI!!! BIG PROBLEM!!!" My rear tire was flat. HOW did I not check that? HOW did we not even notice? A few quick pumps of the pump that Tommy had in their car and we were on our way. No noticeable holes or leaks, just ... flat. And all went VERY well. No other freaky occurrences. No other mechanical failures. No handlebars coming apart or The Beast Bike to have to control. Ah yes, much much much better than last year's little battles. And all continued to be very well.

We made it to Clemson and got on the sidewalks, rather than disrupt traffic .... only to discover that the sidewalks in a certain section did NOT have the little ramp entrances and exits.... just the bump up and bump down. Bam -- OUCH!!! and down OOF!!! For about a quarter-mile, that was all I felt. I was already in a bit of pain because my gel seat cover had kept slipping off until I finally took it off at the place where we took a water break. I hadn't worn the padded shorts because I thought the seat cover would suffice..... That's what I get, right?

We got to our destination EXACTLY in the time we had projected. How cool is that?

And I can't wait to get back out on the road on my cycle again! I don't know that I will revisit the Virginia Creeper Trail this year -- may try a new one this fall. My other plan is to do some camping with my dog -- and to take my bike!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Tale of Tenny-Shoes

I had no idea that I had gone so long between posts....... June was a very busy month but a great one. In early June, WW had a "FitParty" day to end our spring Live Life Active campaign. I got to help out with one of our local events and we had a great time. We did hula-hooping, Zumba with coined hip-scarves (even doing routines with more of a Mediterranean/bellydance flair instead of Latin flavored), and a quickie yoga session.

But the one talk/presentation that I got the most out of was a presentation about shoes. You see, I have about 3 pairs of tennis shoes -- they are not sneakers, they are not gym shoes, they are TENNIS SHOES. And for some of us who speak Southernese, it's actually "tenny shoes"  (pronounced "tinny"). I've worn good ol' tinny-shoes for years on end, but I couldn't tell you the last time I had bought a new pair. A fitness seminar I took this spring had a great reminder from our leader: "if you can't remember the last time you bought new athletic shoes, you need a new pair." Rut-roh Raggy. She was right. I couldn't remember...... All three had heavy heel erosion on the sole, and one pair (a nice pair of mesh Adidas running shoes) had even worn a hole right at the left big toe. The last pair I bought was a knock-off pair of the Reebok rock-n-toners that were all the rage a few years ago, and honestly, I bought them to keep at the office for when I could walk on lunch hour.

About 18 months ago, I had a severe shooting, stabbing pain in my left foot, searing across the top from the middle section just below the big toe, diagonally up to just below my little toe. OUCHIE! I was doing a calf raise, so this didn't exactly help matters when you're trying to stand on the balls of your feet. By April, it was no better. My lymphedema therapist's husband is a physical therapist and avid runner, and he was speaking to me about it .... suddenly, he mashed on my foot and I nearly came off the table. He suggested I get checked for a stress fracture. And I did just that. Luckily, nothing broken but they gave me a beauty of a velcro boot to wear for a couple of weeks. Eventually the pain went away, unless I overdid things, such as walk more than about 2 miles. Or stand for long periods of time. Recently, it was getting to the point that if I walked my normal route (between 1.5 and 2.0 miles), I would have to take the next day off. Step cardio? RIGHT. That would earn me at least 2 days off.

And then came Dane, from the store, to speak to us about the right shoe. What he said began to intrigue me, and I made a note to myself that I would have to check them out and see what they said about new shoes. It took me about 3 weeks to actually get over there one Friday after work, and it just so happened, he was the one who helped me out. Found out that I need a "stability shoe" (a little extra heavy-duty foam in certain sections) in order to support my feet and ankles properly. So after trying on eleventy pairs, the first ones were the best. Awesome shoes from Brooks, and so far, ten days later, my feet are thanking me.

You see, when you aren't in pain as you walk, do step, or any other activity, it inspires you to want to keep doing it. It makes you WANT to lace up those shoes. It makes you want to put a spring in your step and know that you can do the same the next day. And so far -- yeah, I'm doing more!

And my other shoes? Well, what I'm thinking is that there's always someone else who can use them. They are still good shoes to cover your feet, just not optimal for running or workouts. So I plan to donate them to a charity that shoes the homeless or needy. Not that I couldn't just toss them in the Goodwill bag, but something is telling me to give them away instead. I won't ignore that voice.

And I'm loving my new tenny-shoes. A very SNAZZY purple with lime green laces. Oh yeah! That's me! :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

In a new light....

I've started going to a yoga class on Thursday evenings. It's taught by an instructor who is certified in Curvy Yoga (a teaching style that emphasizes body-positive moves for yogis of all sizes). Phenomenal, is all I can say.

Last night in our shavasana pose (a/k/a Corpse Pose), our instructor asked us to imagine our torsos to be deep pool, and to imagine ourselves diving off our own faces and into our bodies.... what did we see? Well, maybe I didn't exactly see what I would have expected. I actually imagined myself swimming within my physical body and seeing actual organs. I saw my heart, and smiled. I have done it much better than I did years ago. My lungs were strong and active. I saw my liver and the place where my gallbladder used to be. I paused for a moment to thank my liver for its work.

Then I turned to my digestive system....... a place sorely abused for many years on end. And I felt a little wistful. I reached out to tenderly touch my stomach, with a mix of gratitude and regret, fingers lightly grazing it as if I was afraid it would turn on me and say, "OH. It's YOU." I thanked it for what it did for me, and apologized to it for all the abuse I put it through.... for the times I stretched it to its limits. For the times I put food in it that irritated it and sent the rest of the system into a tailspin. I swam down through the intestinal maze and thanked it for its service to my body, for helping to keep my systems properly fed and maintained, for learning to process nutrients and doing it well, for getting rid of the things that did not serve me.

As we were coming out of the pose, our instructor said, "Ponder for a moment on what you experienced..." and the idea came to me: "I made peace with my body."

Well, maybe not my entire body, but it's a start. I saw it for what it is, at least physically speaking, how it keeps me going, keeps me alive, with so many reactions and interactions going on .... breakdowns and buildups. It really is truly amazing how the body works -- and we need to do whatever we can to make sure we honor it and respect it well. And to thank it for everything it does for us!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

If you want to make God laugh....

The old saying is "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

Last weekend, my plan was to spend a very lovely spring weekend in Damascus, Virginia, to do the second half of the Virginia Creeper Trail (cycling). I figured in May, most of the cooler weather would have already passed by. I would bike the 17 miles over to Abingdon, spend a nice relaxing lunchtime and then pedal my way back to Damascus. All in all it would be an absolutely magnificent time.

You can hear the heavenly cackles from here, can't you?

I ended up staying in a different place than my last trip up, and it was perfectly lovely. It was a hostel, and my roomies for the nights/weekend were through-hikers except for one other biker. But oh my, what a nice group of people! Their tales and stories of the trail -- and most especially their kindnesses and good spirits -- made me almost think about hiking the AT, even if I had to section it out. Please note the use of the word almost there.......

With the cooler, rainier spring weather, spring hadn't quite sprung yet..... luckily, I was prepared (because it's been just as crazy here). So I awoke Saturday morning and dressed well for the trail: long-sleeved performance tee, thin knit (non-fleece) hoodie. But still not quite right -- especially on a gray, cold, windy day like Saturday morning was proving to be.... BRRR!! As usual, my procrastination and forgetfulness paid off: I had my fleece jacket from the winter in the car, as I had taken it off while driving one afternoon and just didn't take it back into the house. Wahoo! But still not enough.

Don't know if you've ever virtually visited Damascus but let me tell you a little about it. There are probably less than 1000 people year-round in town, but they have the kindest hearts and souls, and have whatever a trail hiker (or biker for the VCT) might need. I found a neck gaiter reasonably priced at Mt Rogers Outfitters, and got a minor repair taken care of by Adventures Damascus. Great, great people at both places. So.... after putting on the gaiter, pulling the thin hood up over my frosty ears, zipping up the fleece, and putting on the helmet, finally about 10:00 AM I got on the trail, heading toward the terminus at Abingdon.

God was snickering by this point. You see, in Damascus, the trail is still on a slightly downward slant from the trek down the mountain.... and in town, you can still coast a little. Once you're out of town -- not so much. I started pedaling and pedaling and pedaling and then "OH CRAP!" I had forgotten to start the Garmin Fit app. UGH! I had wanted to keep a good track of my time and distance. So I found an acceptable place and turned it on, knowing I'd be about 3 miles short from my starting point. I continued toward Abingdon. About 6 miles in, I pulled off for a moment -- the neck gaiter had to GO! I was starting to get warm! Stuffed it in a pocket of the fleece and off I took........

The trail finally stopped running parallel to the main highway, meandering just enough to make a cross-under not too far along. And the next thing I knew, I was in cow country. No, really. The trail at this point was going onto private property and I look over and it's an entire field of cattle. And they are looking really bored at this point, like, "(Deep sigh) Another human..... oh joy. Hooray. Don't ask us to moo, please. We're over it."

And I am still pedaling. Because there is no downhill. While I am descending very slightly in elevation, make no mistake -- the trail is flat. And you have no choice but to pedal your legs off. Budd'n, budd'n, budd'n. And I'm pondering if I should perhaps pull down the hoodie. I zip open the fleece. I even zip open the hoodie ever so slightly. And I'm pedaling along thinking, "Now how much further to Alvarado?"

Alvarado is the halfway point between Damascus and Abingdon. There is a stop there, a little restaurant, some restrooms, etc. Heard it's a delightful little place ..... and I'm sure it is, when it's open for business. But it wasn't open yet.... okay, the restrooms were (thank goodness, too!), but the store and restaurant were not. I had packed a few things to snack on: an apple, a "chicken salad kit" (small can of chicken salad and crackers), a miniature protein bar, and a pack of Perky Jerky (made from turkey). I figured that here was as good a place as any to refuel. As I was sitting there, the couple who owns the restaurant drove up to do some cleaning before they opened (this weekend, if I am not mistaken). They very graciously gave me a bottled water for the trip and I got to have a great moment or two with their little dog Gizmo. But the respite was over too soon, and the pedaling continued...

At this point, I was renewed in spirit and kept going, even though my legs were screaming at me, "REALLY? What did we ever do to you?" And the flat stretches through horse and cattle country continued, as did the gates. Gates? Yes. A lot of this part of the trail winds onto private property, mostly of livestock farmers. In order to keep the cattle in the correct pasture, the trail has lots of gates that only open one way (inward). So there's a little bit of stopping to open up and close up, but it's neat to see how the farmers and trail work together for everyone's benefit. My favorite gate segment had to be the ones separated by about 2 feet -- and the sign on each side that says, "Do Not Open Gates When Cattle Are Crossing"! (no worries, no cattle were near this one at that time)..... So on I trekked, and came upon another sign: "Caution: Steep Grade and Loose Gravel" .... were they serious? Did they not know I'd just biked some of the flattest land this side of Kansas, with only cattle gates and curves in the road to break up the scenery?

DOH! I was staring at a rollercoaster! My first thought was Lewis Grizzard's, "Oh Lord, how'm I gonna get outta this?" I got out by straddling the bike and walking down the steepest part of the hill, hopped back on the bike at the less steep part and let the momentum carry me..... about halfway up the hill. No choice then but to pedal HARD or walk the bike up. Of course I walked!!! Mama did not raise a fool! Besides, I needed a way to rest my now-nearly-numb hiney (this was around Mile 11 out of 17) and exercise some new muscle groups. Once the hill was conquered (ooh rah!) then --- flatness. Again. And six miles to go.

I rode some more and found myself having to stop every 15 minutes or so, not to rest my legs but my shoulders and neck. Oh my gosh, you do not realize how much of a strain it can put on your neck and shoulders to spend it hunched over a bike, whether a road bike, mountain bike or a hybrid. I was getting pretty tired by this point and thinking, "How much further!!" At one of my neck-break rest moments, a runner came along from my opposite direction, and I asked her how much further to the next station I remembered .... less than a mile -- Wahoo!!!!! Only that distance and I think a couple of more miles!!!

Yeah. You know where this is going, don't you? That station wasn't two miles from the trailhead..... it was four. Abingdon could not come fast enough. With another mile to go, I think I had begun praying for death to come and take me swiftly. I had long ago decided to chuck that original plan to bike it back. I just hoped a shuttle would still be available; there are lots of shuttles between Damascus and Whitetop but fewer between Abingdon and Damascus. I was almost at the point thinking that I would just strap my bike to the roof of a cab, if I had to do so! But these legs were not going to be pedaling back to Damascus, no matter what.

I finally made it to the trailhead and figured I would at least grab lunch. It was starting to be one of those Snickers(R) moments.... you know, the "you're not you when you're hungry" thing. I just didn't know who I was at that moment.... HA! It was now about 2:15, and I was thinking I'd sign up for a 3:00 shuttle if it was running. There were some nearby lunch places, so I figured I could do that, get lunch, and still be back at a decent hour.

"Yeah, we have a shuttle for Damascus, in fact it's leaving right now. Let me stop him, HEY!!!!!" he said, as he ran out the front door. "Got one to take back with you! Ma'am if you have cash, you can pay me or the driver, or I'll call Jerry and let him know you can pay him there." Well, of course I don't have cash ... duh. So I hopped on and was back in Damascus in 15 minutes. I paid the shuttle place, and headed over to Subway. I was still cranky.

Now the cool thing was, there was a group of college students in there, all from a nearby college in Tennessee. I saw that one was wearing a "(College) Baseball" jacket. So I inquired where the team was playing (as there aren't many other colleges in that area -- and you wouldn't exactly just swing through Damascus for a meal). No, not the team -- but it was that college's biking class! Yes, it's a one-hour credit class and you get to do fun stuff like bike all semester! Now granted, my college had sailing but it was a 3-hour credit and a wait-list a mile long. You had to be a junior to even be considered. The class came up to do the Whitetop-Damascus section. BRAVO!!!!!

I hopped back on the bike and made my way back to the hostel to unwind (now feeling much more like myself and glad to be off that bike!!). One of my hostelmates (the cyclist) did the stretch from Green Cove Station to Alvarado -- turns out that the section of the trail between Whitetop and Green Cove is closed. A culvert had collapsed and taken a section of the trail with it. They're working to reconstruct the culvert and the trail, hopefully very soon!

The other funny part: I use Weight Watchers' ActiveLink as my activity monitor. The default activity is always for walking, and you have to tell it that you've done a different activity. So after all that time and pedaling, it announced, "Congratulations, you have earned 1 activity point and reached 81% of your daily activity goal." Um, no. Just no. I reprogrammed it to reflect the four hours of bicycling -- at which point it said, "Oh, congratulations, you have earned 16 activity points and reached 262% of your goal." Yeah, that's more like it!

I will go back because I want to do the trail in reverse .... as well as get more pictures. The skies were so gray and gloomy, I just didn't want to get too many that didn't really strike me as keepers.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Letter to my body....

Dear Body,

For 43 years, 6 months and 5 days, I have fought you. I have loved you, hated you, blessed you, cursed you, pushed you to limits, indulged you far too often, and generally speaking have never made peace with you.

Can we call a truce?

You see, when I was being formed, there was a triumvirate of you (my body), me (my spirit), and our Creator. And we decided how you and I should be. Somehow, we agreed upon the idea that I would be somewhere between 5'5" and 5'6", and that we laughed at the idea of me being a 36D-26-38 ..... so we settled upon some numbers that I have since forgotten. But we laughed heartily, cried some, shook on it, and then BAM! birth.

Somehow, I forgot it all. In the process of growing and learning how to maneuver in a human existence, I forgot all of that, especially the fun we had deciding the parameters of me and you. I mistreated you by overeating, through not listening to you when you screamed out "I've had enough, don't make me throw this thing in reverse!" I didn't listen when you said, "I am exhausted and you need to rest." Oh, you have done a great job with that -- let me tell you. You take a good bit but then you have your ways of making me rest when my spirit doesn't want to. Those lovely migraines that send me to a bed to lie in one position for hours, afraid that if I move the world will spin me off its axis? Or when my legs are so puffy and swollen that I have no choice but to stop and put them up and rest them? Yes, devious you are, even when it's for my own good.

I have not loved you as I should. I have not utilized you to its best extent. I have a whole list of woulda-coulda-shoulda's that encompass 36 years of living wrongly and 7 years of trying to get it right. But right now, we're locked in another battle. And for some reason, we're not working together as well as we should. Somehow, in the last 2-3 years, you have been determined that you are going to win this one, instead of letting me win this one.

I think we can both win.

What are you trying to say to me?

That whole 36D-26-38 thing? Bah. I know that I am not going to get there. I just want to be at a better, healthier weight, where I was 3-4 years ago. I know that the last two years especially have been a real struggle. We're navigating all new territory together, and neither of us have a road map. We're on a trail that feels so all alone -- so many other women don't seem to have journeyed the exact trail we're on. I daresay we're chopping down a few trees and clearing out brush on this trail. So tell me what to do. I want to listen. I want to work together.

I want to be healthier as I enter my later times of life. I know I'm not 25 anymore. You've no idea of the sorrow I feel for having not done these things at 25. Nothing clicked then, and I will forever live with that sadness and regret. But I'm smarter now.

Let's work together.

Help me learn to love you as you are. The body that we've built together over these 43+ years. Help my mind finally learn to listen to you and not to the voices that chide me for not being perfect. Help me listen to you tell me you are tired -- when you've really had enough and it's not just that sneaky lazy part of us talking us out of working together.

Truce? Please?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A constant struggle

I am fighting a battle I shouldn't, that none of us should.

I battle my body. I battle my head. I fight the idea that I should look a certain way, that I should be a certain body style.

I fought it before I lost weight. I fought it while I lost the weight. I fight it still.

I shouldn't. One regret, one lost opportunity: to appreciate myself in total, as I am, all through the process. I appreciated the smaller numbers, the shrinking sizes, the diagnosis of lymphedema (it was an explanation, a reason for some of the things). But I didn't appreciate my body as it was. As it is.

It is not a perfect body, and one only need see the hanging, sagging skin as one sign of that. Internally, there are broken pieces. I've thought much about the damage that was done in my earlier years, as I was packing on the pounds quite joyfully. I think about how it affected my growth (and not just in an outwardly expanding way), how it impacted my various bodily systems as I continued to gain weight exponentially in my teen years, especially. I think about how it impacts me now. I could "what if" things all day long but it wouldn't change "what is." So I sigh with a tinge of sorrow and move forward. It's all I can do.

I want to learn to stop fighting it. I am struggling with weight control right now, especially more it seems in the last few months, and this last week has been odd too. It is like my body is hanging on for dear life to something and if it has to take some pounds hostage to get me to notice, it will. How do I tell my body that I'm not trying to fight it, honestly? That all I want is for us to come to an understanding, an agreement, a way to work together to get back to a healthy place. A place where we can appreciate each other.

Hey body ..... Truce?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring fever

It is spring. You wouldn't know it by the temps outside. It's been a bizarre winter. We've had ice storms and tornadoes in the same week. It was 78 on Saturday and won't make it past 50 today. So what does this have to do with my usual matters at hand?

Well, it's surprisingly similar to my weight-loss graph since the first of the year ..... up, down, up, down.

My energy is shot right now. I'm not sure if it's SAD, or some other thing about winter and me that do not jive up, but I have had the worst time getting motivated or staying motivated, mostly about working out. On nicer days, my thought has been usually, "Skip the gym, get home as fast as possible and walk the dog instead." That may be a sign that it's time to seek a different type of workout.....

Don't get me wrong, I love the gym, and especially mine for several reasons: 1) it's very inexpensive, 2) the amenities and location are both very good for going either before work or after work, and 3) I know what I can do the minute I get in there. But I hate that afternoons are so crowded. When it comes to my workouts, I'm not a group person. I'm not into classes full of people and an instructor up front shouting instructions at us..... one reason I don't do Zumba on a regular basis. I'm really quite a loner when it comes to workouts. I keep thinking it would be fun to get on a quasi-competitive-but-mostly-for-fun-team-thing: softball, volleyball, etc. That would be good for a couple of workouts each week, if it were a league thing.

I keep thinking of other options. We have a chain of places that do 30-minute cardio-boxing-style workouts that I've thought of looking into. I've thought about Crossfit, only that's SO expensive and I fear I would totally suck at it and get very discouraged very quickly. I'm tired of doing DVD's. I love walking the dog but spring temps won't last forever and then I will be complaining of the heat (and given my dog's extreme furriness, my workout needs and his capability to withstand the heat don't mesh). I want to get on my bike again. I want to do fun stuff. I want to carve out time again for yoga; I haven't been in a while and I can feel it in so many ways.

I will find a solution. I know I will. And in the meantime, I will keep plugging along and doing something to just get going.

And sleep. Yes, I am very much sleep-deprived and need to remedy this as well. But one obstacle at a time.....

Monday, February 25, 2013

The road goes on forever....

(to steal a line from Robert Earl Keen)

Sometimes, when WW members achieve Lifetime status, I remind them that there's a reason we call it Lifetime --- because the journey never ends. It's less an ending than a beginning, because the road goes on forever. I sometimes think that even as much as we learn about ourselves as we're losing weight, we find out more about ourselves as we maintain and work to stay on track as Lifetime members.

And this is just as true for me: a Lifetimer who's working to get back to goal. I've learned that I still have to be just as vigilant, even though this time I'm a little less militant about it. I've learned that the scale is a measurement of gravity, not of self-worth. And I've learned that just because it worked in the past does not mean it will work forever.

I'm learning that for me, afternoon workouts just don't work as well. So.... ugh, ugh, ugh ..... as much as I am not a morning person in the least, I'm just going to have to buck up and do it. I'm gonna have to be at the gym at a completely ungodly hour and workout first. Afternoon workouts give me too much leeway to opt out, to try to find an alternative, and again this isn't working for me.

I'm learning that as I age, my body's responses are changing as well. Sadly, I don't bounce back as quickly or easily as I did in my 20s, and I suppose if I had one regret, it's that I wasn't ready for this life change back then. But that too was part of the learning process. Nothing would have worked until I was ready for it to work, and that didn't happen until my mid-/late 30s.

And I'm learning to love myself more through the process. Another sadness is that I didn't appreciate all the changes I experienced in the actual loss process. I appreciated the results but not the changes as they were occurring.

Lessons of a lifetime, always being learned and re-learned, never ending until my time ends. And I am so glad for the opportunity to learn and keep learning!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Do you believe?

Do you believe you can do whatever you intend?
Do you believe that everything you need to live a healthier life is at your fingertips, just waiting for you to tap into its unlimited resources?
Do you believe that you are more than capable?

Do you have enough?
Enough self-love to know when to say when, when to say no, when to say yes, when to say go?
Enough self-confidence to hold your head high?
Enough willingness to get back up for the 9th time when you've fallen down 8?

Do you know?
Do you know that you have it within you?
Do you know how to reach down for more?
Do you know when to make a turnaround if you find yourself veering off track?

Can you decide?
Can you decide that you're worth the small sacrifices?
Can you resolve not to listen to the people who stand in your way..... including yourself?
Can you commit to being all you can be?

Most of all, do you know how awesome you are?
Do you feel proud of all you've accomplished?
Are you ready to live the new you?
Do you believe?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hearing yourself think....

"Don't confront me with my failings / I have not forgotten them...." -- Jackson Browne, "These Days"

Okay, the specifics: my great weigh-in on 1/1 was offset by two gains over the last two weeks. One was entirely understandable because my 1/1 weight was a fluke -- I'd been sick the night before, and weighed in very early instead of my usual late afternoon. So I wasn't expecting miracles, but I was floored by my gain this week. Not enough to send me into a tailspin and throwing my hands up and quitting. One, I don't quit, at least not this! and Two, why?

I got some insight into that today at work..... I made a mistake on something, and while it was completely understandable, I sat there and thought to myself, "How could I have been so dumb? Why didn't I think to make sure I had done X before doing Y? AAARGH!! Oh, I hate making mistakes! I hate not being able to do things perfectly!"

Did you hear that? I just told myself in two sentences that I hated being human. Self-loathing of a massive degree. Yes, I can't stand to make mistakes, especially when they do affect other people. It's one thing to (for example) mess up a nail polish job on myself. It's quite another to mess it up on someone else. I can easily pooh-pooh when I mess up my own paint job, but I absolutely cannot stand messing up something for someone else. And worse, I hate when I am (as the lyric said) confronted with my failings --- I assure you, I am all too aware of them. I'm all too aware that they bind me in a way that my successes do not. It's odd, but true.

But it happens. To every last one of us. A million times in the past and a million times to come. We will make mistakes. It is part and parcel of human nature. To expect to do everything perfectly says -- in effect -- "I hate who I have been created to be. I hate that I'm not something better than who I will always be."

Accidents will happen...... so get over it.
Setbacks will happen ...... move beyond them.
Perfection is an ideal........... not a reality. At least not in this life.

Instead, what if we all embraced ourselves and our humanity fully? What if we forgave ourselves with the same compassion that we show when we forgive our best friends and our family members? What if we simply hugged our inner soul and said, "You're a good person. You will always make mistakes, so learn to cope with it."

I am doing my best to be just as forgiving with my weight loss battle. My obesity was 26 years in the making. Taking a short 3 years to lose the weight was slow, but sometimes I wonder if it was still too fast. I'm learning to forgive myself for not enjoying the ride as much as I should have. I'm learning to forgive myself for my failings, and trying to remember that I am only human.

So let's be good to ourselves -- as much as possible, as often as possible, and as compassionately as possible.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

How will you be healthier in 2013?

What is your quest? What do you plan to do? Where do you want to be on 1/1/2014? How will you get there; what is your plan? Are you in it to win it?

At this time last year, I didn't know. I was floundering from a fall health scare (if only I knew!) and more concerned with stuffing my anxiety with whatever I could find.... and the sweeter or crunchier (or both), the better. On January 1, I had no idea that within the next year I'd face an even bigger health scare, new medication with no idea of how it might affect me or for how long it would take for everything to settle out........ add to it the stress of some changes at work, and me just not caring enough, and it was a recipe for disaster.

By the beginning of May, I had spiraled into a big gain.... okay, definitely nowhere near all I had lost (no way could I do that in 6 months!) but enough for me to say, "It's time to stop!" It still took a few more weeks for me to get things back in gear but as summer wound down, I got back on board, and I'm proud to say that as of this morning's weigh in, I've lost 17 pounds of what I put on. Not too much more to go now!! (Although I will say that having a cold this week made me only want soup.... an awful lot ... but I had that canned soup is SO high in sodium. Really? Can't they do better?!)

So to answer my own questions:
1) My quest is to be back at goal weight and to do it in a healthy manner.
2) I plan to do this through healthy eating -- both in the foods I choose and the portions I consume -- and through regular activity.
3) I want to be back at my goal weight and with lab numbers that make my doctor happy!
4) I will get there through dedication -- the same way I lost it the first time! At the same time, I will treat myself with kindness and gentleness, remembering that I am human and will not do everything perfectly.
5) OF COURSE!!!!

Some of my plans for meeting this challenge include tracking (it works, like it or not), and doing some more of what I enjoyed about this summer forward -- more biking (and another trip this spring to the Creeper Trail), more 5K's (I'd like to do one a month ... oh, last night's won't count for January, will it? HA!!) .... but MOST importantly: just getting up from my desk more. My job entails lots of computer and desk work -- but I need to make myself get up once an hour and just MOVE for 5 minutes each hour.

And the one item I really need to pursue -- more sleep. I am so bad about this. I'm usually the first one up each morning and the last to go to sleep (most of the time, anyway). I really need to retrain myself to go to bed a little earlier and get up at the time I usually do. 11:15 PM to 4:45 AM doesn't cut it (even though my sleep quality is apparently pretty good, because I don't hear a thing until the alarm goes off).

Here's wishing you the best and healthiest 2013 ever -- OWN THIS YEAR!!!