Bright, shiny new things
I got my first cell phone when I was 24 and just got on the smart phone bandwagon about three years ago. There are many days that I lament or even fear our social dependence on technology, but I have to admit that it can indeed be used for good. Take this blog or Fitbit for example. Both are helping me to set and reach goals that have a positive impact on my life. Today I have discovered "Lose It". Today it is bright, shiny, and new. Give it a few weeks and I will weigh in on my feelings after I've stopped squealing like unicorn with a doughnut.
Speaking of doughnuts, this app is a weight loss aid. I did pay for the premium version which was $29.99 for the year (I've spent more on sushi). Anyway, the things I love about it in the 14 minutes that I've had it: I can scan bar codes for food and there is a beta program that lets you take a picture of what you're eating; It gives me a detailed breakdown of how many calories I have left for lunch dinner and snacks based on what I have consumed; It connects to Fitbit and factors my steps in to my calorie goals; It shows the nutrients I have consumed (or not consumed) from my food.
There are a lot of other bells and whistles, but I'll figure that out as I go. They say that recording what you eat is really beneficial to not only weight loss, but also understanding the psychological reasons that we eat. I didn't hit this weight (254 pounds) eating carrots and protein powder. At the very least, I have taken two positive steps (oh that's also a pun cause I'm using Fitbit!). I am tracking my food and my daily steps. Time to do the funky sea cow (that's the new dance I'm making up right now).
The new year is coming. Can you feel it? The air is crackling and alive with energy. All the dread and promise of a new beginning whipped up in a big old bowl of vodka punch. This could be a terrible year. Everything bad that I've ever worried about could roll over me like a doom train. Or. Or this could be a fantastic year. This could be the year that I put on my boxing gloves and say, "Bring it on."
This year, I don't resolve to lose weight, or eat healthier, or find the perfect job. This year I resolve to turn up the stereo and rock the hell out of whatever life brings me. I'm strapping on my sword and going into battle like a blood thirsty viking. I'm going to conquer whatever is in my path. Good or bad. Stand back year. I'm coming for you.
So, I've made it since nine last night without my prescription pain meds and am regretting it a little since the cat is roaming the house screaming at the top of her lungs without relent. Maybe I will take them before I go see Star Wars? Could make for an interesting film.
In the mean time, I am baking muffins. A while ago, I got this boxed protein pancake mix because I love pancakes but do not love all the empty carbs that leave me hangry two hours later. Turns out the pancakes were tasty AND they have a muffin recipe on the back! Who doesn't love chocolate chip banana muffins?! I could add nuts, but my husband would protest (more nutty muffins for me!). Anyway, I'm sitting here with my dogs in front of the electric fireplace as my house fills with the delightful aroma of muffins. Maybe today will be a little better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today. Muffin in hand, I'm putting one foot in front of the other.
It's cold and Christmas is only three days away. I'm not really feeling the spirit at the moment. My pain killers have turned on me and are now giving me nightmares and the cat won't stop eating the tree. It's a fake tree and yet I keep finding pieces that she has managed to pull or chew off. Have you no self preservation cat? What drives your desire to consume all things plastic (tape, bags, trees)? She probably thinks the same thing about me eating Big Macs.
Today's our last shopping day before Christmas. I imagine that work will be really busy. Hopefully it will keep me distracted and I can make it to four days off. Anesthesia and pain meds really mess with your sense of reality. What day is it? What time is it? Since Wednesday there have been only two times for me: nap time and not nap time. I will try again next week with my step goal. This is good for me, but is also interfering with nap time. Back to sawing logs before I have to shower and look decent. Let's hope next week is more productive.
Pain Killers...nom, nom, nom
So, I survived my ablation and go back to work today. I've got painkillers every four hours and ibuprofen every eight hours. The painkillers make me super loopy and narcoleptic so I won't be taking any more of those until after work. Apparently, they found a polyp and sent it to the lab. I have a death star in my intestines and a polyp that was killed with fire. Good times.
I'm going to do as much as I can the rest of this week without keeling over, but this will not be a a week I meet my goal. Right now, I'm to blitzed to care. I'm finishing my noodles and going back to bed until work. That is all.
The battle of the bulge
My weight has always been an issue. One that I am now sharing with you as I sort through the slop bucket. My mother and fathers (by birth and marriage) were born in 1959-1960. This was the era of Twiggy and thin was the height of glamour and sophistication. I was born in 1981 and thus entered my adolescence in the era of Kate Moss. Thin was in.
My mother was built like both of these women. Even now, while she insists that she has a big, big bottom, she is still quite thin for a woman in her fifties who has given birth to three children. Mom, if you are reading this, you are beautiful.
My late father (biological) was not a small man. In my youth, I remember thinking of him as a giant. He was 6'2 ish and probably weighed more than 250 pounds when he was healthy. I look like my mom, I'm built like my dad.
As I've said before, I hit 5'5 by the sixth grade and wore a size 10 shoe. I was broad shouldered and solidly built. By the ninth grade, I was 5'9 and wearing a size eleven shoe (but squeezing into a ten because nobody carried my size).
Since my mom is also 5'9, people assumed I would be built like her. To put this in perspective, I wore my mother's high school cheer leading uniform as a Halloween costume in the fourth grade. The wedding dress I was supposed to inherit from her wouldn't even zip by the time I was in sixth grade. I understand now that I was not fat, I was just made differently. Try explaining that to a fifteen year old.
I had been toying with an eating disorder since the 8th grade, but things got ugly by freshman year. There was a point at which I was cutting my lunch card myself so it would look like I had taken a meal when I hadn't. I was keeping a journal like a religion and felt like a failure when I couldn't get below 140 pounds. My parents didn't know, and in their defense, remember when they grew up. My mom had weighed 107 pounds at my height, at 140 I didn't "look" like a person with an eating disorder.
I never officially received counseling for those specific issues, but I did for depression and anxiety. Eventually, I found some really good friends and joined the swim team and life was good for a while. In the best shape of my life, swimming almost two hours a day, five days a week, I weighed 160 pounds. A German exchange student once told me that I was big like a man, a manly woman. This is not what you want to hear at 18 when you are graduating from high school.
Fast forward to 21. My kidney was out. I was living in Manhattan, depressed and broke. This is when I developed a "hungry hole" (as described by Scottish author Katherine Ford in her novel Fat Boy Swim). Cheeseburgers were cheap back then and I discovered that the more I ate, the more I could stuff all of the sadness and all the words I wanted to say back down into the black hole in my chest (dude, this is depressing). So anyway, I hit 200 pounds and except for this one time back in '05, I haven't been under it since.
While I haven't had any relapses of food restriction since my 20's, I pretty much replaced it with eating my feelings (even the good ones, happy feelings taste the best). I had a bad day, sad pizza. I had a good day, happy pizza and cake! I actually weighed 268 pounds at my wedding in June of '14. I got a gym membership and worked my tail off to get down to 250. I haven't been under 250 since. I have finally accepted myself. I no longer moo at my reflection or refuse to buy myself "nice things" because only thin people deserve nice things. But subconsciously, I think I have given up on losing weight.
Within the last two years, I really focused on healthy eating. I went to the gym with a trainer 2 days a week, and 2 days without. I was on a role for more than 6 weeks. You know how much I lost? 1/2 pound. Half a measly pound. And I know you'll say, muscle weighs more than fat, or you needed to give it more time, but I'm 80 pounds over weight. I started at a size 18-20 and ended at a size 18-20. No matter how you slice it, that's a sad pizza day.
So like I said in all my blogs before, I have started with what I can control. Steps. The batteries in my scale died (cat likes sitting on it and staring at the blue light) and I haven't replaced them. I can't control that number, I can control my steps. It's no longer about weight, it is about life. Can I do the things I want to? Not all of them, not yet. But I will get there. I will get there.
Cue inspirational music montage
Despite the rocky start to my week, I have managed to make a comeback. I just need 8,806 steps today to make my goal. I can do this. Like I said, I can't believe that I've stayed with it this long. At work, where they pay me, I'm a zombie (you can shoot me, drag me behind a car, or set me on fire - but if it's not a head shot, I just keep going). At home, I have a little less wherewithal. I start with a bang and end with a meh.
This is important to me though - for so many reasons. I'm 36 years old, and some days I feel like I'm 96. My body is tired and scarred. I'm 80 pounds overweight, and everything hurts. I've got fibromyalgia. My insides hate me and I'm really good at stunts (like falling down the stairs and going through the drywall). I'm not old, but I will be someday and I want to be the lady who is taking on her bucket list, not the lady who's falling apart.
Believe me, my Facebook feed has at least 3 very impressive people who have radically altered their diet and attacked fitness like a ravenous bear. They post pictures of their new body and all their new food and tell others to get off their butt and change their life. I'm a little jealous, honestly. Food is my comfort, my passion, my friend on a rainy day. I know that is a bridge I will have to rebuild when the time comes, but it is not my place to start. Asking me to give up pizza after a long day at work is like signing up someone who can't walk 2 blocks for a full marathon and expecting them to succeed.
Fitbit is my starting place. This blog is my starting place. It's been hard for me, some days physically exhausting, to get my steps in. But I started in a reasonable place - 42,000 steps in 7 days (roughly 6,000 steps a day). And it doesn't matter if I have a really crappy day where I get less than 2,000, I just push harder another day because I need to get to my goal. This week, I'm up to 49,000 steps and I'm going to make it (maybe by the skin of my teeth, but it's happening).
Every week I up the ante. I'm terrified because, at first, these goals can be met by doing laps through my living room/dining room, or taking on a closing sale at work, but eventually, there will have to be more. I will have to take on walks around town, swimming, and maybe even riding a bike. Staying with this goal pushes me to do more. The hard truth is that, eventually, there will be a week I can't do all the steps or a thing I just can't do. That's not what's important though. What is important is to get back up, dust myself off, and try again.
I have lived with my physical limitations for a very long time. Now, I will stop comparing myself to other people. Now, I will celebrate my victories (no matter how small) because they are mine. Now, I will see just how far I can go.
Growing up, I never had a dog. We had fish, and birds. I liked my birds, and I even talked to my fish, but those relationships could not have prepared me for the love of a dog. As an adult, I've even had cats and currently own a cat. I love her, but she is aloof. She disappears for hours on end and only comes to me when she wants food or a brief cuddle on her terms. In the rare moments that she graces me with that snuggle, my heart swells, but then she is gone again. My dogs have changed my life.
Odie is a 6 or 7 year old long hair Jack Russell mix. He chases bunnies in his dreams. Pearl is a 2 year old Chinese Crested Pug mix who snores louder than a chain saw. They both love long walks and lose their mind when I come home from work. They sleep with my husband and I. We have an extra pillow above my husbands head where they take turns sleeping during the night. I can't have children. They are my children and I reject anyone who says otherwise.
I never realized this kind of love was possible. Granted they drive me nuts when they won't stop licking, or digging in the garbage, but they are such good dogs. They want to please me. They constantly look for my approval. Human, I did good? Yes. You are a very good dog. Then I give them a good belly scritching and we are both happy. I don't know how people live without animals in their life (even my cat who is constantly yelling). They are my heart.
Just Keep Swimming
It is officially an off week. It's good that this happens now. I tend to be a very black and white person. Fail or succeed, no in between. Some people would say that is how you should see the world. I was Pinterest searching for motivational quotes about working out and getting healthy when I stumbled across something I keep seeing everywhere now. "Pain is just weakness leaving the body." If that works for you, great, but it does not work for me. At all.
As a teacher, I was inundated with references to "growth mindset". This is the practice of teaching kids to embrace failure as a building block to success rather than the end of the line. It is changing your thinking from "I'm a failure" to "I have learned from this and now I can do better." It is instilling in them that you get back up, dust yourself off, and go again. This is something I need to be reminded of.
Some people are amped up by the whole raving, spitting, drill Sargent approach to fitness and life. Some people clearly thrive on working with Gordon Ramsey. Other people are defeated by it. Other people internalize because it plays on the fear that they are already inadequate. It validates the voice in their head that constantly breaks them down. I don't need that kind of negativity. I don't thrive on that and it doesn't make me weak.
So it is a good thing I'm having an off week, because too many times I have set a goal and tore myself down, talked myself out of it, because I came up short. Sometimes we come up short. Sometimes we have an off week. But it's what we do with that shortcoming that is most important. It's a sad truth about manatees that they often get run over by boats. Some of them are scared and disfigured. This week, I got ran over by a boat, but I choose to just keep swimming.
I am so incredibly unmotivated today. I've been awake for three hours and I am still wearing sweat pants and watching Netflix. Damn you streaming video. I also ordered a sandwich because I am too lazy to cook or go to the grocery store. Yesterday was kind of the same deal. I clocked less than 3,000 steps which means that, at some point this week, I am going to have to make up for the lost mileage. Merg. Is it nap time yet?
Creating my own sunshine 🌞