Thursday, June 15, 2017

Complete Self-Care

Wow, it's almost been a week since my last post already?

A lot has happened since then. Last weekend was a bit challenging, and my state of mind hasn't been the best for whatever reason. Some of it is internal to be sure, some of it external – I've been very stressed out and worried a lot, and it's been hard to stay focused at work, etc. At home my moods were getting out of hand and making it difficult for my partner to relate to me (and/or vice-versa).

Since earlier in the year, I've been taking a generic version of Wellbutrin. When I saw my doctor back then, it was for a regular checkup but I was in a bad spot – my weight was continuing to climb and I was very emotional. He felt that the Wellbutrin could help me with both things, so I tried it.

It seemed to improve things quite a bit for a while, but things have felt different in the past month or so. My partner suggested seeing the doc again and after last weekend's self-imposed strife, I called for an appointment on Monday. Wouldn't you know, he was able to see me first thing on Tuesday (I am imagining that he was concerned).

Long story short, he added on a generic Lexapro (I'm using the retail names even though I am on generics, because the retail names are MUCH easier to remember!) to work with the Wellbutrin to try to affect some of my other neurotransmitters in a positive way. One of my biggest concerns lately has been that I've felt so much ambivalence for many things that matter to me, and my motivation is straight out the window the same way. Hopefully the Lexapro will help with that.

On top of that, he also referred me to a therapist, and my first appointment is in early July. I haven't had talk therapy in almost 20 years and I'm kind of looking forward to it. It will be nice to be able to sort some things out in my head and try to make better sense of my history and where my feelings now.

I started taking the Lexapro Tuesday evening. It makes me feel a little funny sometimes so far, whereas I had zero anything with the Wellbutrin. Yesterday I was low-grade nauseated all day (though not enough to turn me off to eating!), and sometimes I feel like I'm having what I can only describe as like micro-spasms in my limbs, and a weird feeling in my mouth when I yawn. It's so bizarre! (I remember back in my 20s when I was taking Paxil, I used to feel like there was electricity running through me, so I guess it is something similar happening now.) It's not too bad, though, and I want to see how this will help me and so I will give it time.

I did notice this morning that I had no trouble getting out of bed (early even!), and when I got to work, instead dilly-dallying a bit, I got straight to work! Maybe it's coincidence or mind over matter, or maybe it is the drugs. Either way, I am feeling hopeful.

On another note (brain stuff in a slightly different way), I started Leo Babauta's 44 Training Program a couple days ago, and I am excited about it! I just love Leo and all he has to offer.

Also, happy that my weight is back down to 284 and change, after being up a few pounds during the past week.

It's so important to be wholistic when you're talking about self-care. It can mean so many things, right? But for me, I'm realizing that it needs to mean ALL the things: being active, developing a skin care regimen, making sure to have fun, fueling my body in a good way most of the time, and last but not least, taking care of my mental/emotional health and getting help when I need it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

47 Feels Good!

Happy 47th birthday to me!

I wanted to make a point to get some sort of good exercise in today, as a tradition carried on from last year when I started my day with a couple mile run. Today it took a while to get out, but I had it my head to go on a hike.

We ended up going out later in the afternoon, and not only did we go on a hike wee hike (about 30 minutes), we started the excursion with a wee bit of tennis, which I wasn't planning on. I was pretty tired, to be honest – we've been very active this past week, which is great of course, but... you know, tiring, right?

Hanging out at a nearby park, on our cross-country hike.
I love this pond – so peaceful!
So pretty! Getting out in nature raises the spirits.

So, anyway, I am happy to have gotten this far in life, and I feel good about where I am in many ways, not least of all my fitness level and my weight loss progress. It's been a relatively slow go the past few months, but it's been pretty consistent. This morning I weighed in at 283 even, my lowest this year. Very happy with that! My next loose goal is to be below 275 by mid-July, when I'll see my dad next for a visit. I think that is pretty doable.

Truth be told, my day started out pretty poorly. For the all the excitement I had building up to the day and thinking of the things I wanted to do with it, I woke up and felt kind of down and the feeling built up throughout the morning. It was hard to break out of, and I was driving my poor partner a little crazy with it. It wasn't until we went out that things improved and I'm glad to have gotten through the day having a nice time in the end. I still really don't know what was up with me, but I'm a little concerned it might be the anti-depressant I've been taking, so I'll probably be following up with my doctor soon to see if we can re-evaluate a course of action...

Tomorrow I'll be hanging out with my mom and "playing" in the garden, which will be really fun. I need to do the same in my own, but that will have to be for another day. (I have lots to do!)

Yeah. Today was a challenge, but I came through on the other side with the help of someone who loves me – the best present ever. Now, I'm off to make my birthday cake, minus the candied orange peel, though I would love to make those one day, too!

Yum yum yum!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sometimes, No Rhyme or Reason

Another reason why I am glad I weigh every day: I know how weird the body can be.

Yesterday, I hit my lowest weight this year at 284.6 – pretty thrilled to be under 285 indeed! We had played an hour and half's worth of tennis and I ate had a good eating day the day before.

I also ate well yesterday overall, hit my calorie goal.

This morning? Up two pounds.

Up two for no reason whatsoever, except that sometimes the body does what the body does.

It's OK... I just thought I would share. I think it's important information for anyone trying to lose weight to know.

I wore stripes today anyway!

Ahhh... this shirt fits comfortably again! Hooray!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Nothing If Not Consistent

As I often do, I was looking back at last year's posts around the same time. I found the two photos on the left, posted side by side comparing how I looked in early June 2015 and 2016 – about the same, really. So, I decided to take this year's photo for comparison! The result? Pretty similar, I'd say, which isn't the worst thing.

Observations:

• I like my green cat eye glasses the best

• It's nice to wear patterns

• My hair looks best falling below my shoulders

• It's really nice to have my own office with real sunlight and stuff

June! (l to r) 2015, 2016, 2017. (You can click to enlarge if you want to.)

According to my Happy Scale data, in early June 2015, I weighed right around 280. In 2016, 285. In 2017? Yep, you got it! 285.

Hopefully, this time next year will a different result heading in the downward direction, numbers-wise. Time to make it happen!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

OH! And... I'm a "Best Blog"!

I've had a busy weekend so I neglected to mention that snazzy badge the blog now sports. Well, healthline.com finally notified me officially of my status of one of the best weight loss blogs of 2017 and directed me to download the cool bling. So now it is official!

It's extra exciting for me, being in some of the company I am on the list – a few of my long-time favorites including Cranky Fitness, Runs for Cookies, Diary of an Aspiring Loser Maintainer, and Roni Noone! (All can be found on my reading list in the sidebar, by the way, check them out!)

This is really such a great honor. Thanks to all of your who have been reading – it means the world to me.

Happy June!

Ah, June. It means several things to me:

• Mid-way through the year

• My birthday! (the 9th)

• Summer (usually)

Every new month also represents the proverbial "fresh start", same as the new year, same as the new week. June is lovely.

After some big ups (back to 294, sheesh!), my weight is back down solidly to 285-even today, very pleased! The Happy Scale charts remain in the green. Overall I seem to have gotten down a good eating routine – I eat what I want, but I have been carefully logging calories so that I stay within a good range and hopefully keep losing. I'm feeling really good about where I'm going, at least for now. I know these things can be fleeting, and I will appreciate it while I'm here in that place.

Birthday plans: I'm taking off on Thursday from work, and we have a summer Friday off as well – four day weekend, here I come! This year I absolutely must have a chocolate cake, and I have been researching recipes to make my own. Originally I had it in mind to make a pure chocolate chocolate cake, but then got the idea for a chocolate orange cake – I love chocolate orange anything, so it seemed silly that I'd never considered this before. So that's that, and I think on the day of my birthday we're going to return to a place we just tried out last Friday called Freddy J.'s – a tiny little place run by Freddy (of course), with a small menu that includes things like southern fried chicken, BBQ, collard greens, grits, and ... red velvet waffles. I got them last time, and oh my. Just as you'd think. I'm sorry, but I am being that person and sharing a photo.

fried chicken breast and those waffles
So yeah. I'm getting that on my birthday.

We also may do some really good steaks on the grill, too, over the weekend. It's that time of year, assuming it doesn't rain, of course! (Sadly, it is in the forecast.)

Finally... it is my desire to finally get under 285. I'm just about there, but I am taking nothing for granted – I know how fickle the scale can be. I think it can be done, though!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Meh.

So much changes in a week. I haven't had the best week in general, though also specifically with the program. It comes and goes, right? Always has. Since my arm has been hurting we've been avoiding tennis, but the extra bad news is that I haven't been doing anything else to fill that void. So I've really been such a slug lately and it makes me feel crappier. The one exception was on Saturday, when we went to my mom's house to finally pick up our mostly-feral cat, Henrietta, to bring her home. Even though she doesn't spend a lot of time with us, and sometimes we don't actually see her much, her absence from our home has been palpable.

It ended up taking three of us TWO HOURS to catch her in the confines of a relatively small bedroom. Unfortunately she camped out under the bed the whole time and practically fought to the death to not be removed from there, so... strained muscles, scratched/bit hands (not sure which, maybe both), getting up and down from the floor multiple times... ugh. But, we finally did get her, and after all the struggle she was fine wrapped up in my arms, and fine once in the cat carrier, and fine on the car ride home. So yeah, that was the most exercise I've had since my arm started hurting. (It still hurts sometimes, and C. said we should really wait until it just doesn't hurt anymore. Sucks.)

Eating has all but gone out the window, to be honest. It's not really an excuse, but I have been pretty stressed out about various things in my life and it's just all... like, I just want to stuff my face sometimes and not worry about what I'm stuffing in it. The result is that this morning's weight was back up to 294, WTF??? It can happen so fast.

That said, I have enjoyed some of it, but then some others of it was just plain eating for eating's sake and not really even super enjoying it, which is always my goal (to savor, to eat quality food).

I have weighed myself every day, no matter how "bad" or "good" the eating has been. It's mostly been OK-ish until the past few days, so my goal this week will be to get myself back down to 290 for good. (I know, I have said this before! I will say it again!)

Disappointing, but not unfixable.
Honestly? Super disappointing. I had been doing so well! I touched on 285 not too long ago, isn't that something?

BUT I cannot dwell on the mistakes; I can only look ahead to future success.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Miscellany, Including "Embracing the Frizz"

I know, I am always posting variations on this photo.

1. I am finally embracing my frizz! In the past few years, my hair has changed texture quite a lot –  thinned, for one thing (boo!), but also unbrushable when dry because it turns into a massive frizz. My hair person told me, in fact – "Oh no, don't brush your hair EVER when it's dry. Only when it's wet." She is also of a certain age and has the same issue.

The problem is, I don't always wash my hair in the morning when I am getting ready for work. I am almost always a nighttime bather/hair washer, so that means I sleep on my hair and then it's dry in the morning and disheveled. BUT I CAN'T BRUSH IT. 

I guess I could spritz it with some water so that I can brush it, but what I've been doing lately is embracing my inner Doc Brown (you know, from Back to the Future?) and letting my hair do what it will without much fuss. I do run a comb through to define my part, but all I ever do now is pat/fluff/run fingers through it, and for good measure, twist the front parts between my fingers to kind of smooth them out and create cute little wavy bits. 

As you can see here in today's photo, my hair DOES look a little disheveled, but I am also starting to really actually like it. Of course, if I didn't have my fabulous glasses and red lipstick to complete the look, I might not feel so good about it – those things, which look very put together, balance out the
crazy.

2. After all this time, I am still trying to figure out whether time of day matters for eating and weight loss. Case in point: yesterday, I ate right around target cals, and exercised for over an hour, but still gained a pound. I mean, this could be caused by a number of things, not least of which could be the time of the month. I am pre-PMS right now but it seems like my body likes to hold on to some weight around this time – last month I had the same weight pattern: Big losses early in the month, some gains mid-late, and then evening out at the end. So, I am not too worried about as long as I stick with the program more often than not, but... it is a little annoying to be sure. That said, I also ate pretty lean during the day and had a big meal after we played over an hour's worth of tennis – dinner ended up being after 8pm, which I prefer NOT to do.

And because I ate light all day, and because we exercised, I was hungry and I ate a big meal. Within calories, true, mostly good stuff, true, but big, also true. (It was like a deconstructed burrito with two small tortillas, a can of black beans, a small piece of chicken, a bunch of cheese, jalapenos, and sour cream. Yum! Crazy protein, too!)

The result the next morning was a one pound gain, which puts me back to 290 even, which pisses me off, but... whatever. As my partner told me, It'll come off fast. And I am sure it will. But still! *sticks out tongue*

3. I feel like I have been super busy lately – things are converging in a way they hadn't yet with all of my jobs (I have three – one full-time and two part-time, both of which are remote/mostly remote). My most recent job is getting busier and my role will be expanding shortly (I find out more tomorrow evening!), so it'll be interesting to see how it all goes. At the same time, I am also thinking about the future (i.e. six months to a year from now) when my situation might be (better be!) completely different. No lie that all this stuff weighs heavy sometimes, but I am grateful for all the opportunities I have and I'm happy to do my best to rise to the challenges and getting out of my comfort zone a bit.

4. My tennis arm hurts today for what I think is the first time! I've been using one of my partner's racquets (a Boris Becker London) the past few outings and while it seems to help me play better, it might be a little too heavy for me. So today when we're out, I'll be going back to my own newer racquet that I also really like – a Babolat Pure Strike. Hopefully my arm will stop hurting! I finally got my knees feeling a little better. (I would LOL but being middle-aged is no joke, man.)


Friday, May 19, 2017

Reader Q: How Often Do You Weigh Yourself?

I got this question from reader Nicole a few days ago:

I had a question for you about how often you weigh yourself. I've read a few of your posts and read about the weight tracker app you use, Happy Scale. I realized that app is best used when checking your weight daily or at least that's what I gathered from what I read. Do you weigh yourself daily and (if you do) do you find it to be discouraging when your weight fluctuates? Currently, I weigh myself once a week, but I've actually found myself becoming anxious (well half anxious and half excited) for Friday morning because I want to see how much (if any) weight I lost that week. I'm wondering if weighing myself daily will help with that. Plus, I think it would be nice to have an app dedicated to only tracking my weight. I looked at other weight loss trackers, and I haven't found any like the Happy Scale. I especially like how you can create multiple milestones for yourself!

Hey Nicole, 

Great question! I've been thinking about this a bit and wanted to answer you thoroughly. So, here goes: Yes, I do weigh every day (unless there are mitigating circumstances, like being out of town or whatever). Yes, Happy Scale definitely works best if you do weigh every day, because what it does is calculates a moving average as well as tracking your actual weight – it shows you what your overall progress is, which I find very helpful! I think I have mentioned before how my goal has been to "stay in the green" on the app all the time. Let me show you an example of what I am talking about.


Even when my weight fluctuates, it shows me the general trend.

As you can see by this chart (the monthly report in Happy Scale), my weight loss is never a straight line down on a daily basis – which, of course, is normal! That is what our bodies do! However, rather than get discouraged by these ups and downs, I see that I am still on a downward trend overall – I'm "in the green". So while I am getting on the scale every single day, I obsess about my weight a little less than I might ordinarily, because I know that I am still on track. Conversely, it makes it really easy to see when I need to rein things in a bit, if I am tipping into the red. See this example from last November, which was the last time I was in the green but got into the red in a big way.

All the months after this until February 2017 were red, red, red.

You can also see that I didn't weigh every single day that month, so it can still make a calculation without daily input – but obviously the more data you put in, the better it will work for you.

Now, take a look at my weight on a weekly basis. This is why I don't weigh in like this anymore. It would get really discouraging and I wouldn't have the benefit of seeing all the stuff in between that would have clued me in that things were actually happening.

Tuesdays:

2/7/17: 308.8

2/14/17: 303.8, 5 pounds lost

2/21/17: 307.4, 3.6 pounds gained

2/28/17: 301.6, 5.8 pounds lost

3/7/17: 300.0, 1.6 pounds lost

3/14/17: 296.0, 4 pounds lost

3/21/17: 297.6, 1.6 pounds gained

3/28/17: 295.4, 2.2 pounds lost

4/4/17: 299.0, 3.6 pounds gained

4/11/17: 292.4, 6.6 pounds lost

4/18/17: 295.8, 3.4 pounds gained

4/25/17: 293.2, 2.6 pounds lost

5/2/17: 292.6, 0.6 pounds lost

5/9/17: 288.4, 4.2 pounds lost

5/16/17: 289.0, 0.6 pounds gained

So far, my lowest weight has been 285.8 on Sunday 5/14. Today I weighed in at 286.8. But I would never have known that if I only weighed weekly.

And, for me – maybe not for you, but for me – I do know that I wouldn't have dealt well with those few bigger weekly gains. I just wouldn't. I have nightmares about Weight Watchers weigh-ins and remember how devastated I would feel if I had a gain like that, or even just not showing a decent amount of progress at all week to week. And wouldn't you know... I always gave up, inevitably. For some reason, keep track of things every day helps to lessen the blow of the ups and downs, because I see it for what it is: A natural fluctuation, OR sometimes things like eating foods like Chinese or Mexican take-out that usually make me gain no matter what (sodium, I'm guessing), OR of course the off day here and there when I plainly just eat too much. Daily weigh-in keeps me in tune with my body and its quirks, and I can better deal with the gains when I know better what might have caused them. It's all mind games, isn't it?

Ultimately everyone has to decide what works best for them, but if you've never tried daily weighing, I recommend giving it a shot for a couple weeks. You just have to make sure you get in the right mindset, which does take some work – you're collecting data, you're basically being a scientist in a way. Try not to attach moral judgment to the number on the scale; just let it inform you and go about your day.

Basically, I LOVE Happy Scale – I think it is a fantastic tool that throws a little smarts into my efforts. It's like the old days when I used to use the Physics Diet website, which did the same kinds of calculations but then went away after a few years (so sad – that was a great forum!). When I found Happy Scale, I was, well... super happy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Really, I Am NOT Afraid of Stripes!

Queen of the bathroom selfie!

Yes, I am fat, and yes, I wear stripes any damn time I want.

This past week I also found out that my mom loves stripes, too! It must be genetic. 

(Swing dress is Old Navy, and the fabric is so lovely and drapey and comfortable, plus I got it on sale super cheap – win-win-win.)