Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shifting to Tiny Letter

You know, I have been thinking about making a shift with this blog. It's been really nice to have a place to be able to write about my weight and fitness stuff, and I have made some neat friends along the way! But I have been writing a lot in other places and I kind of don't want to have a place where I am entirely focused on this anymore, so much.

So, do I make a change and just blog about whatever I want? I could do that. But also want to be a little less exposed, kind of (lots of kind ofs in this post, yes), if I am going to write about more. I tend to be a very personal writer; in fact, I got my start publishing a little personal zine back in the 90s that people seemed to enjoy. Part of me wants to go back to that, even, little self-published projects and maybe I will do that, too.

But I love the idea of the Tiny Letter. I subscribe to several and always really enjoy getting them in my email box and reading them. I set up an account that I have yet to use, but I think I will try it out for a little while.

Would you like to sign up for my Tiny Letter? You can do so here. I expect I will be writing something for it within the week, and I would aim to write them semi-weekly, kind of (again!) like I do here.

It still remains to be seen whether I will continue writing here. I am going to mull around about it for a little while yet. I do know, though, that I won't just delete it, just like I didn't delete what was ultimately the previous incarnation of this blog, The Forty Project (yes, I have been at this a long time!).

Things have been up and down in the past week or so and I am grappling around. Things are basically fine, but I am finding myself asking a lot of questions about various aspects of my life. This is just one of them.

I hope that you'll give my Tiny Letter a try! See you on the email!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nips and Tucks and Hems and Stuff

I titled this post because that is what I feel like I've been doing lately with my eating – nipping, tucking, hemming, etc. – fixing up approaches to eating that fit into my lifestyle and make it easier to meet my health goals.

If you've been reading recently, you know that I have been following a loose low-carb, high protein diet for a study I am participating in with 23andMe. They don't give very specific parameters, so I have been eating much less white stuff and more veggies and fruit, whole grains, and lean meats and fish. I've been monitoring my carb intake most days and it usually falls under 100 grams per day.

That said, I haven't been super strict the past week and change, either – mainly because our budget is a bit... limited... at the moment, so we're trying to eat what we have. BUT, a few days ago my partner told me that he was certain that he has heart disease. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that he can't/won't go to the doctor and probably has some issues that need attention. Anyway, we decided together that trying a heart-healthy diet will be a good idea whether or not he does, so we've been doing our best to stick to that for him, and a bit for me, too – after a bit of research, I settled on an overall way of eating often referred to as the Mediterranean Diet. It's similar in how I was trying to eat, i.e. lots of veggies and fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, no white "stuff"... but not as liberal with things like butter and cheese, for instance. It does allow you to include whole grains, which the low-carb thing I've been doing doesn't. I also like that the MD opens things up to ALL veggies and fruits. Once our finances are back to normal, I'll likely do a hybrid of the two, leaning more toward the MD overall.

I'm happy to say that I finally broke the stall I was in, and I was down to 315.2 this morning. Hooray! I was so happy to see that and hope that I can continue such good progress at least for another week or so, or until I hit below 310. Ooh, that would be so nice!

And I tell you what, here now at 315, I am feeling my body returning to a state where bending at the waist isn't so fraught anymore. It's amazing what a difference a few pounds can make when you're at the right place. So what seems like instantly, I can tie my shoes more easily again, and the bathroom is not so bad anymore. It is such a relief.

Another thing is that because of my partner's heart disease anxiety, I did some research about it, and now I am concerned about it for myself, too! It's a tricky thing, and it is deadly. BUT it is also very treatable and even reversible using diet and fitness. One book I read, Best Practices for a Healthy Heart by Sarah Samaan, MD, talked about things like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and PCOS (the latter with which I was diagnosed at 18) and how they relate to heart disease, and that was kind of all she wrote. It made me even more ready and willing to make positive and permanent changes to my lifestyle. The weight is a thing, sure – in fact, it is one of THE things when it comes to heart disease – but I am getting older and need to start thinking about these things seriously and decide how much I would like to affect my chances of living a long and healthy life. A better diet and a commitment to exercise has yet another purpose for me.

Yet one more phase in my journey that has been going on now for a long, long time. It is super important to just never give up. So much about this is diligence.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Annual Doctor Visit and a Refresh

I just updated my data page to reflect my January loss. What a good feeling!

Looking at the whole page with its now years worth of monthly tracking, I decided that it would be just lovely if I could make it through 2018 with losses every single month, even if it was just by a pound or two. I would really like to see a year that has no red in it. 2018 could be that year.

The thing to do is: Take things one step at a time, as I should always try to do. One month at a time, one week at a time, one day at a time, one hour at a time!

I'm writing this in the morning and I unfortunately I am not well-prepared for eating today. That is, I brought nothing with me (I woke up late!) and I don't really have an idea of what to do about it. Well, first thing: I'd like to re-commit to the low-carb approach after having read dear reader (and blogger extraordinaire!) Wendy's response to my last post. I have to throw a big shout out to her for that. Thank you, Wendy, for jolting me back to reality! So there is that. I'll drink water all morning and then, for lunch I'll likely go what seems like one of the best take-out options I have: a salad with proteins. Maybe Panera's Green Goddess, for instance? I'll think on it some more.

I just really do want to stick with this. I want to enjoy not feeling hungry and not feeling crappy like when I am eating lots of carbs. Am I still going to make those cookies I mentioned last post, though? Honestly? Probably, but maybe not for a while. The hazelnut flour and four types of chocolate I bought to make them will keep. I keep telling myself how much I want to get below 300 pounds again, but you know – if I keep making exceptions every time I have second thoughts or doubts, then I will certainly never get there.

Another problem I've been having is trying to sort out the depression and anxiety and stress I've been dealing with for the better part of the past year, which definitely doesn't help. The regular meditation practice I have established does, though, and so does a simple thing like taking regular walks (which I haven't been doing, by the way). I had my annual physical with my GP yesterday and it went well; we talked a lot about this stuff in particular and he's done a couple additional things: He's referred me to a psychiatrist now as opposed to only a talk therapist so I can get my medication sorted out, and he mentioned that maybe for now, I ought to focus on getting that house in order and let the weight stuff follow in kind rather than worrying too much about it right now. I appreciated that, but I also think that if I let it completely go, it will cause way more harm than good, and I think armed with low-carb eating, I will be fine and it will go back to being fairly easy.

Before my appointment yesterday morning, I finally got myself over to the imaging place right near the doctor's office to get the X-ray on my shoulder done to check for anything that looks more serious than tendonitis. I don't know the results yet on that, but should any day and I'm looking forward to getting that sorted out before the beginning of tennis season. The idea of not being able to play anymore is, quite frankly, devastating. So.

By the way, I want to shout out to my doctor about how incredibly awesome he is – for SO many reasons, but this takes the cake. His office badge, the ID he wears on his lab coat? It had his photo on it, but the name read: Mick Jagger.

OMG. I am so lucky.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mixed Signals

January has come to a close – hooray! Only a couple more months of potentially winter weather.

I will also be happy to update my "data" page with a loss for the first time in a while – double hooray!

February, the shortest month of the year, thank goodness, because it looks like it might be the brokest as well. That's never much fun, but I'll figure it out, like I always do.

Things have been going OK. Weight-wise, after that initial 10-, 11-pound loss, I haven't budged, just bouncing from 317 to 318 to 319 to 322 to 319 to 318 and so on. (I'm not going to lie, that 322 really freaked me out and it happened unjustifiably, as it sometimes does.) Today I'm 318 and change, which is fine for now.

To be honest, after some of that bouncing I got a little pissed off and have been eating a little more carby. It hasn't really hurt anything, but it hasn't helped, either. ALTHOUGH! I suspect that being in PMS mode has something to do with the stall. This has happened to me enough to know that it is very likely, in fact. Fun times! But at least an explanation.

At first I didn't consciously know why, but now I do: I ate and ate today probably just for that reason. Hormones. Not that it's an excuse, but you know. It's hard to beat hormones. I had a Bagel Wednesday bagel for breakfast (we get free bagels on Wednesdays at work), poppyseed with cream cheese, and then for lunch it all fell apart, kind of. I think part of the problem was hormones, yes, and then the other part of the problem was that my boss called just before I was about to head out to get some lunch, and by the time we got off the phone an hour later, I was SO. HUNGRY.

And I had planned on doing a little bit of grocery shopping on my lunch break and probably just get something at the store. The problem with doing that when you're hungry and PMSing is... well, you know what the problem is. You lose the ability to make intelligent decisions. In fact, in a state like that you make completely drive-based decisions, amirite?

I ended up getting the ingredients I didn't have in the house to make these cookies sometime soon. (Seriously, they are exactly the kind of cookie I would make if I invented a cookie recipe.) I also got a big pack of fresh raspberries on sale (the lowest carb fruit!), a packet of fresh mozzarella cheese sticks wrapped in prosciutto (like no carbs, but I wasn't a huge fan so only had two pieces), a pint of amaretto with amarena cherries gelato (dear god, I love this stuff so much but why on earth did I buy it???) and a couple other non-edible items.

The gelato was the first ice cream-type stuff I've eaten in at least three weeks, which is like an eternity in AmyTime. It was delicious and I'm trying not to feel bad about it. I'm not going to feel bad about any of it, really. It was an event. I lost my mind temporarily. It's not the end.

I'm on the fence about the carb thing. I don't understand how something like sweet potato or black beans can be considered a food that I shouldn't eat. Those two things in particular – I can't get my head around it. I mean, I get it, they have lots of carbs. But they're GOOD for you! I'm pretty sure that I am still going to pay attention to carbs for most of the time. I do think that the low-carb approach to eating IS good for my particular body. But, it's not always convenient and I don't like, I really hate, eliminating whole groups of foods from my diet. I do. I also can't get around that.

So anyway, I am still more or less doing the weight loss study but I am obviously not being perfect about it.

One thing I can tell you about eating that pint of gelato: It is not making me feel good! Not that I feel sick physically or anything, but I do feel bogged down and yuck. Mentally, of course, there are consequences as well. At the very least I can see it as a reminder of the fact that eating foods like that on the regular is not good for me in more ways than one! This is not a feeling I want to have. A-ha!

I had a co-worker who was into bodybuilding and stuff, and she would keep a really strict eating regimen most of the time. But, she and her boyfriend would plan to have a total go-all-out day and eat whatever they wanted one day each month. Thinking about how these past few weeks went for me, I wonder if something like that is workable.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I change my mind a lot and try different things according to what feels right and what feels like it will work best for me at any given time. It's nice to keep things fresh and prevents boredom, for sure. And because I am in this for life, that's an important thing.

Despite these mixed signals I'm throwing at my body right now, I'm not giving up by any stretch. But I guess I am taking a bit of a break today.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Always Learning Something New

I've been eating low-carb for about a week and a half now, and I am still doing well with it and it's working well for me, too. I'm not really questioning why and just going with the flow for once!

I've heard it so many times over the years, and read about others' experiences, and hearing directly from friends how great either cutting out sugar and/or eating low-carb makes you feel so much better. One of my very best friends, in fact, cut out sugar completely, even fruit, and LOVES it. Ever since she told me that it's been in the back of my mind and festering, but I tended to be dismissive of it because HOW COULD I EVER GIVE UP SUGAR??? Seriously.

But, in just a short time I have gotten more and more used to living without it, or without as much as I'd gotten myself used to, at least.

The study I am participating in says that I can have, say one fruit a day and one whole grain a day. I've been more or less following that, though my grains aren't always whole (like when I had stuffed shells, or pizza – both were so delicious but stupid, but hey! I needed to feed my partner and that is still the kind of stuff we have in the house), I try to have much smaller portions than I used to. I mean, really – when I made pizza the other day, I had TWO pieces of my 12-inch pie. That is practically unheard of for me. Usually I would count on eating at least half the pizza. This time, though, I had a nice, big salad (also very yummy!) first, and savored the slices about halfway in and alternating between the two things. The result was that I felt satisfied and full, enjoyed the pizza immensely, but did so in a healthier way. It really worked!

For a few meals, I have had one small piece of very dark chocolate as dessert, but last night, for instance, I decided to try not to do that every day like I was starting to because I realize it is not conducive to abandoning sugar. Once I get further into this and feel more secure about my new mindset and habits, I'll have some once in a while, but for now I need to watch it. I'm also thinking about fruit, too – I'm just doing one or even zero per day but maybe I should quit them completely during the transition.

It's making those adjustments as I go along doing this thing that I am most proud of so far. I'm just really surprising myself. I'm not getting cocky about it, though. We'll see where I am in another week or two with my feelings. I am hoping it will get easier as I complete each day.

The weather has been so... ugh. Wintery. Cold and snow and ice... I get out for walks when I can, but honestly I am not doing it as often as I would like, unless you count grocery shopping in a big store (I kind of do, sometimes I come home sweaty, LOL). That said, I am very excited to get back out on a regular basis as the weather improves, and I am not going to worry too much about that aspect of things right now and focus on dealing with food.

Are you interested in the results so far?

I am down 12 pounds in about 10 days. I am not starving, I am not suffering at all, so don't worry! Needless to say I am very happy with that and already feeling more comfortable in my body, win!

I am taking one day at a time and figuring out what things are best to eat and building meals around them. I was at a local co-op grocery store last night and walking through, I realized... I can't eat anything! OK, not really. But what they say about shopping the perimeter of the store for most of your food? Spot on. Veggies, (some dairy), meats (and fish). There are no crackers that aren't carby, even at the health food store. I was disappointed but also know that the foods I can/want to eat are also delicious and much better for my overall health, so... it is getting easier to just walk by.

I'm just really glad I can eat cheese with relative abandon.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Low-Carbing It

Hello hello! Happy new year. I've been meaning to write here but I have an outlet where I write every day and spew all my crap, because honestly there has been a lot that I don't want to subject you to all the time. It's a place where I more or less stream of consciousness it totally, meaning no judgement, no filter, just getting down my thoughts in physical form. It's been really wonderful, and something I have been doing consistently on a daily basis since October. It's been good for my soul and good for my writing chops – even if I am not writing anything even close to publishing-worthy, it's a good practice and brain-dumping is a big favorite way of mine to calm myself down and gain perspective. I use a paid site ($5 a month) called 750words.com where the object is to write at least 750 words each day. You can join monthly challenges for more motivation, but the thing I like about most is that is a place where no one else will read what you write, ever. You can also download your entries to do with what you want. You might wonder why I would pay to write somewhere when I could just do the same thing in my Google Drive or just a plain old Word Doc? I considered it, but realized that what keeps me in the habit is the notion of a streak – it tracks how many days in a row you write, and it keeps all sorts of data for you, including words per entry and words total. For instance, I am very close to having written 100,000 words since October! I'm not sure I could done that on my own.

So anyway, I've been busy writing, including my thoughts about losing weight and all the stuff I generally write about around here, but letting myself be even more whiny than I would allow here. I edit my writing much more, whereas at 750words I am just totally unfettered. It's a nice place to be able to go to.

Lots has happened since I last wrote. As you may remember, I had found myself back in the groove and was doing pretty well,  feeling good about things. Then somehow – and maybe it was being on vacation for eleven days – I just kind of lost it and ended up this past Tuesday finding myself up to 330 pounds. Truly horrifying.

The good news is that this past week was also the start of a 12-week weight loss study I am participating in. Just in time, too –  I needed some sort of structure to rein myself in. Also, it is something that is bigger than me. I want to follow their guidelines so that they get accurate data, and honestly I feel like my brain did a total 180 because they way I am relating to food has completely changed since Tuesday. It's something that I have not quite experienced before in all my experiences with this stuff.

Originally I had signed up for a depression and anxiety study with 23andMe for which I would get a free genetic report including ancestry information, the thing that I was most interested in. (Turns out that I am exactly what I thought I was – a little more than half Irish, and half German and literally nothing else.) A few weeks ago, they offered the chance to be part of weight loss study which I jumped on immediately. Participants could choose from a few different options, and knowing how well my body seems to respond to it, I went for the low-carb option. I'm also supposed to be more active, another thing I am working on anyway.

For the study, they make general suggestions on what to eat rather than say, "Eat only 50g of carbs each day." So I am looking at focusing on mostly eating lean proteins and non-starchy veggies with limited amounts of red meat, grains (1 serving a day), and fruit (1 serving a day). Of course as you would imagine NO things like cakes, cookies, and candy (though they put it this way: Try to avoid these foods), but offer snack ideas like cheese, avocado, 70% dark chocolate, nuts.

I am keeping these guidelines in mind but also taking it a step further and actually tracking my carbs, if for no other reason to find out how many net carbs all the foods have. I like to know these things!
I'm starting off with just under 100g per day, but want to take it down to 50–75 in the coming week. I'm still kind of working things out in my pantry and figuring out meals and things.

I am happy to say that since Tuesday I have lost nine pounds!

This, of course is not usual, and I know that it won't continue falling off like that in the coming weeks. But it is really nice to be able to get this kind of result early on as a motivator. I've been struggling in the mid-low 320s for quite a while and I just couldn't get myself beyond that; even worse that I was starting to gain again. I weighed in at 321.6 this morning, a number I haven't seen since mid-November. Very pleased about that!

It turns out that one of the most surprising things is I am responding well to is having some limitations. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of what I am going to eat for any given meal, for instance. I've known for a long time that I had a serious problem with sugary and white carby-stuff, and I also know the damage those foods can do to your system and it seems silly to me now that I just kept on and kept on eating way too much of them anyway and all it was doing was making me feel awful. My body deserves much better than that. I say this all the time – I want to grow older as a healthy, vibrant person who can climb mountains as an 80-year-old. Or something like that. You get the idea.

I have had a small bit of white carbs since Tuesday (pasta with the meatballs I made yesterday, and ate some, but much less than I ever had in the past, and fitting them into the overall carb count. I haven't had cravings for sweets like I usually do, so this whole thing has been, dare I say, easy? There are times when I get a little hungry, but I am practicing being with the hunger and knowing that I've had adequate nutrition each day (my meditation practice helps with this a lot).

That is not to say that I never think about things that are pretty much off the list, but when I do I tend to turn that thought over to they are basically poison in my system and I don't really want them after all. The idea of giving my body food that it needs and will flourish when fueled with it is really appealing. I want to lose weight, yes, but I also want to take good care of myself. As much as I can muster. That is the priority.

I'm doing my best not to get too enthused so early on. I know myself. But I will enjoy how things are going so far, and continuing to do my best to keep it going.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

There's Still Time

Lately I've been using the power of mantras to help me get back on track with my health goals.

(Let me clarify here: Health goals. Yes, that includes losing weight, but is not the be all to end all. I realize this more and more as I go along. My main impetus for my efforts is to feel good and be mobile for as long as possible. Losing weight, for me, really helps with that.)

Ahem, anyway. Mantras. I've been meditating at least once a day, every day since October 20th (minus three days) and I've done a plethora of guided meditations as well as self-directed ones. The guided meditations can be especially nice because they help me realize some new things about myself, and/or help to make important things clearer. Some guided sessions remind me to practice self-compassion, for example. I can always do for a reminder of that, what about you?

I'm doing this because the alternative is not acceptable.

It will not always be like this. 

I'm doing this because I want to be strong and live to my fullest potential.

These are examples of some of the things I've been repeating to myself a lot lately, and I have found that it is actually helpful! Having reminders like these floating around in my head all the time is important. It's easy for me to lose focus at random times and being able to take a pause and ask myself whether something I am about to do (like eat something when I don't need it) or not do (like skipping my daily walk) is in my best interest. I've been feeling insanely focused. Well, OK, maybe not insanely, because this doesn't feel, how do I say? Manic, maybe? It's making me feel strong.

It also feels totally doable again.

The thing is, things aren't happening fast on the scale. On December 9th, I weighed in at 327.0, my highest weight in over three years. My lowest weight since then, 322.0, happened within a week of that, BUT I've been playing around between there and 325. I'll admit, it's been a bit frustrating because I know I am doing everything right and I'd have thought that I'd be losing a bit faster. Then, I thought back to when I started this journey back in 2014 and how it took me about a month to really have things kick in. The important thing is that I finally did NOT give up back then, and that I CANNOT give up now. I have to give it time. It'll happen as long as I do the work. I know that.

It's kind of comforting, if you really want to know.

Also? Just those three or four pounds I've lost make me feel better. Maybe it's just mental, but it's true! Of course, it could be that I am moving my body around again most days of the week, even just a little, and that I've been eating higher quality foods and in better proportions (for the most part).

I guess what I am trying to say is just that I feel so much better, and it took relatively little effort – just a few adjustments to my lifestyle.

I am so excited about what I can make happen in the coming year.

What are your plans? I'd love to hear!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Christmas has come and almost gone already! It's almost 9pm and the day went by quickly – a day does that when it's an especially lazy one, don't you think? We did our celebrating with a nice dinner and all the trimmings yesterday, so today I was able to totally relax and loaf around on the couch watching movies and reading with my honey, playing with the cats, eating leftovers, and taking a heavenly four-hour nap. The perfect day to have, once in a while at least.

Tomorrow it's back to the office! Ho hum. The good thing about that is that it'll probably be very quiet with many people taking time off. That said I have some things that I want to get tied up by Friday, because then I am taking the longest bit of time off I've done in a long, long time – eleven days, to be exact! I cannot wait. It's been kind of an up and down year for me, and I usually just take off an extra day off attached to a long weekend, or just randomly, so  this will be a real treat. We don't have any plans to go anywhere or doing anything special, but that is fine with me. I guess I have turned out more like my mom in that regard, in that I'd usually rather have a stay-cation. In some ways doing it in the dead of winter seems kind of nice, too, because it is the time when you feel like snuggling into house and home like a hibernating bear seems like just the thing to do. After all, among our favorite things to do are watch movies and read books together.

So yes. I am very much looking forward to that!

I've more or less been between 322 and 325 the past two weeks – yesterday 322 at my recent lowest, but then gained three pounds today. I didn't even super indulge yesterday on our meal; I had one plate of food and a bowl of ice cream for dessert, and aside from a banana in the morning and about a glass and a half of wine, that is all I ate yesterday, not to mention slaved away in the kitchen. I didn't expect that much a gain, if any, but my partner reminded me that anytime we eat the stuffing I make on the holiday it makes both of us gain, true enough. Whatever, considering how I have been eating lately, I am not worried about it. I had:

A couple slices of ham, a few small pieces of turkey; a baked sweet potato with maple syrup and marshmallows; sausage stuffing; homemade cranberry sauce with orange and ginger; and of course, my delicious homemade cheese braid bread. Later, we split a tiny little cheesecake (literally – it was like three inches across) that my mom sent home with me the other night when I was visiting her.

Today I snacked on some cheese and crackers, and had a plate of leftovers. No wine, only water, and water for the rest of the day. I'm thirsty!

I guess, actually, that I haven't really checked in since the switch turned back on, that is, that I started eating better and more reasonably, and started walking regularly again – for now I'm going for at least three days a week for at least ten minutes, but have been doing five times the last two weeks, usually twenty minutes or more. There's a lovely little cemetery down the road from the office that's about a quarter mile away, so I've been going there and walking around a bit and ending up with a mile or a mile and a half. It's getting easier again. I'm thankful I can still do it. Even that little bit seems to be making a big difference in how I feel. I still have it in me to do this!

My mantra has been It won't always be like this. I'm hoping to be under 320 by the new year, and to stay there! While I am still very disappointed in myself that I let this much weight pile back on, I'm trying to look at in a positive way – it was a real slap in the face, I guess, to know that it can and will come back if you do not remain diligent. It's just a fact. And now I really and fully understand that, and caught myself soon enough so that I can double back and get to fixing it. I will never take that weight loss for granted again. Ever.

Therefore one of my main goals for 2018 is to continue in the right direction. I maybe won't set a specific goal right now, except that I should keep the number on the scale heading down or at the minimum maintaining in general. I've been weighing myself every day again as a source of data and to keep a close eye on what's going on – using the Happy Scale app, of course, to record it.

One thing that has been helping a lot is bringing food from home into work for lunch, and it's good for my eating and for my wallet, and takes away the guessing about what I want to eat and making not such a great choice when I am starting to get really hungry. Lunches have been things like soups, or a makeshift burrito bowl-type thing with black beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, maybe a tortilla or tortilla chips. Tomorrow I'm planning on a nice ham sandwich on whole wheat bread and some fresh veggies on the side. Fruits have been my desserts for the most part, but I'll have a nibble of chocolate or whatever here and there. As usual, nothing is off-limits, but I'm trying to make better decisions and not eat so mindlessly.

I haven't been counting calories, but rather eating intuitively and listing what I eat each day in my own files. That gives me the chance to make better considerations and to have a general awareness of what I have eaten and maybe what I need more of or less of. I don't really know how to explain it, but it feels comfortable and I have been feeling not so bogged down like I was there for a while, eating such heavy lunches and snacking all the time at my desk. That was a very bad habit that I had developed indeed!

It is my hope that 2018 will be filled with happiness, new achievements and opportunities, and continued good health! I'll be outlining some specific things in a coming post. In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas and will talk with you again around the new year!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Get Your Mojo Back

Since I have been bad about posting photos lately here is me being happy.

I am very happy to announce that it happened. I got my mojo back, finally! I'm pretty sure, at least.

Unfortunately, I can't really explain how it happened. It's a total mind thing, though, and my mind was just NOT having it the past few months. Maybe all this self-talk finally did some good and my switch got switched back on. I just wish I knew how to fully control it!

The past ten days since I last wrote have been good. An adjustment period. Last weekend I felt like I was testing the waters a bit and trying to see how I could rein things in even just a little. Saturday was the day when I made a really conscious effort to watch the overall volume of what I ate. I ended up eating one large meal (homemade pizza) and drank a bottle of wine. I know it sounds like a lot, but for me at this point, it was a good step forward. Another thing that happened on Saturday was that I thoroughly cleaned the refrigerator, which needed it. Really needed it. I threw out all kinds of things that had gone bad and/or expired, and that amounted to... well, let me just say a LOT. I washed the shelves and got everything in order.

It was wonderful. You can't imagine how wonderful. It also took a bit of time and physical effort, so I considered that my "activity" for the day. I was very pleased with myself and loved the resulting state of the fridge. A thing of beauty.

On Sunday, I slept in. A LOT. As in, I woke up at 1:15pm.

It felt marvelous.

I got up, got myself tidied up, and went to the store to buy things to make a homemade beef curry and naan for dinner/supper/lunch. It was another one meal kind of day, a hearty bowl of curry (which was fantastic, by the way) and basmati rice, and a couple small pieces of naan (which were OK, but still didn't really taste like real naan to me).

We watched movies, and I took a nice, hot, long bath in between The Missing and All the President's Men. Both films are recommended, by the way. If you didn't know, the former is based on a true story about an American couple living in Chile during the coup in the early-mid 70s. Sissy Spacek is in it and it's riveting. Of course, the latter is all about the journalistic investigation of Watergate by the Woodward and Bernstein, two Washington Post reporters. They make a nice double feature, actually!

I think it was during my bath that I started thinking more definitively about how I wanted to proceed during the week as far as eating and exercise went. (Baths are great for that!) I also wanted to try to save some from money by not getting take-out lunches every day like I have been lately. It would be nice to not worry about what I was going to eat and then gorge myself on a huge meal like I often do. I realized lately that the big crash I have at around 3pm is probably exacerbated by those excessive lunches.

So that was a big thing. I knew it would solve a lot of my problem, to be honest. Another thing I had been doing was getting "treats" to keep at my desk at work. It used to be gummi bears, but I got totally addicted to them and made a conscious effort to avoid them because it got so crazy. It became the first thing I started tracking as a new habit on the HabitBull app: No gummi bears! So far it's been 55 days and my initial goal was 66, which would put me at Christmas. I might treat myself to some chocolate-covered ones because I haven't had them in forever and they are crazy delicious. Anyway, so the gummi bears have been banned at least a while longer, as well as... oh, I don't know... Hostess or Little Debbie cakes? Chocolate bars? Etc etc. So no more of that stuff in my desk drawers. That is honestly half my battle, and if it is not there, it's not even an effort.

I also resolved to go on at least a 10 minute walk at least four times a week. I know it's not much, but I wanted to pick something that would be impossible NOT to do so that I could least develop the habit again. And the two times I have gone on a walk this week have both been 20 minute walks! I'm actually aiming for a mile generally, but hey! If I just want to do 10 minutes, then that is good, too.

So far, the result is that I have indeed lost a few pounds. I topped out at 328 on Friday, I think it was, and yesterday I was down to 323. Today was 324, which is fine. I had a great eating day yesterday so I am sure it is some sort of water retention thing or whatever. I also have the period from hell right now, so it will be interesting to see how I do once that is over. Peri menopause is great when you don't get your period for like six months, but then when you do get it, it lasts for almost two weeks and you bleed like a stuck pig – at least that has been my experience. It sucks, man.

Ahem. So, yeah. I'm pretty happy about what's going on. It's a great feeling to be able to share with you some positive stuff rather than the whining that has ensued the past few entries. It's a huge relief, to be honest.

Finally, in other news, our beloved cat Nico passed away on November 4th. It was absolutely heart-wrenching and her death left a huge void in our hearts and in our home. It was literally the first time in my life that I didn't have a cat to pet and snuggle. We did still have one cat, Henrietta, but she is nearly feral and we can't get within five feet of her. It's like having a little ghost around.

As a result, I was combing shelter listings for cats. I just couldn't handle a nearly catless home. Long story short, by the end of November we had adopted two cats – one the week after Nico's passing and one about two weeks after that. They are very intentionally both long-haired grey cats, like Nico was. They are the best cats! In fact, the other night when I was having some drinks I told my partner that I only ever wanted to get long-haired grey cats from now on. Not that we'll be getting any more anytime soon, just that that is what I would want going forward. They are stupendously sweet and beautiful and smart cats.

I'll leave you with cat photos.

Nico! RIP, sweet kitty.
Sami! He is a boy kitty and a total teenaged moose.
Me and Mia, the day I adopted her. She is also a teenager but more like a squirrel to Sami's moose. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Gain 45 Pounds in Six Months

That's not exactly the kind of headline you'd think people would want to see, right? But that is pretty much what has been going on over here. Basically, I am NOT getting back on track and I am continuing to gain weight.

No, I am not happy about this. I don't mean to seem like I am bragging.

I've been racking my brain almost constantly to figure out how this happened and how I can make it stop. I mean, technically I know the answer to that second question. But for some reason, I just haven't been able to do the things I need to do – regular exercise, eating better and less (I have been the overeating, junk food queen these days).

I'm not even sure what to say here anymore, except that I don't want to let blogging go entirely because that will mean that I have given it all up entirely. At least, that is what it's amounted to in the past. I could write about the same struggle and crappy feelings, but who wants to read serial whining? I guess it doesn't really matter in the end – this is my little space in which I can do whatever I want, and if I need a place to vent about this stuff, then I shouldn't feel bad about it. And it's useful to the extent that it will help me dump my bad feelings and maybe just jiggle something loose again.

So let me tell you: This morning I braved the scale, and it read 327.

I know, right? How did that happen??? Well, for one thing, I gained almost 20 pounds alone in August. Things crept gradually after that, and I kept excusing it or saying things like, "Well, I won't let myself get over 310," or whatever, and then I'd get to 311 and up the limit for myself again. I'm really not sure why I kept doing that, and since then, each month I've added another 7 or 8 pounds. (I just updated my data page, by the way, so you can see the progression.) Basically, I haven't weighed this much in over three years!

The question is, will I find myself at the end of December into the 330s, or will I find myself back below 320? Either is entirely possible – it's kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, right? I much prefer to choose the path to the latter option, of course.

The thing I really hate about gaining this much weight back is that it all seems to land in my stomach. And when you carry weight around your middle, not only is it bad for your health, it's also very uncomfortable and gets in the way of a lot of things. It makes many activities that much more an effort. I'm finding myself winded again doing relatively mild exertions that had become like nothing. Putting on shoes and boots is getting to be more challenging (though not impossible quite yet). I feel bloated and gross, and a lot of my clothes are not wearable anymore or becoming less comfortable.

This is bad, very very bad indeed. I swore that if I was ever buying new clothes, it would not be because I grew out of the ones I had. This is starting to be a possibility and I just cannot do that to myself.

I don't really know how I am going to move forward, to be honest. But, I do know that I have to be especially vigilant from here on out, and at least weigh in every single day – one thing I have been avoiding. Like, if I don't see the number, I don't have to deal with it, right?

Right. Pfft.

I will check in again soon. Thanks for reading, those of you who are!