Sunday, July 31, 2011

Post bike crash update

I slept almost all day today. My body must be trying to repair the damage from my bike crash yesterday. My left hand and wrist are still very swollen, but the pain is more of a mild discomfort. As long as I don't try to use it for anything strenuous, I'm okay.

I re-read this morning's post about my bike crash. Boy, was I ever dramatic! I think it was the Vicodin talking. It was pretty serious, and I could have broken some bones or if I hadn't had on a bike helmet, there's no telling what would have happened to my head when it hit the pavement. Even my biking gloves offered some protection, because one of them had a big rip in it after the crash. That could have been a rip in my hand.

It's kind of funny because about ten minutes before I fell, I saw a guy riding without a helmet, with the wind blowing through his hair. I remembered when I was a kid and we never wore bike helmets. I even thought that the helmets are really for riding in traffic, in case you get hit by a car. My logic was that out on my trail, it's just bicyclists and pedestrians.What could happen to me out there that I would need a helmet for protection. I was really wrong about that one. I need protection from myself!

By the way, just so you all don't think I have a drug habit or something, the Vicodin was left over from my root canal a couple months ago. My dentist insisted on giving me a prescription of 20 pills. I have no idea why he thought I needed them (other than he knows I'm a big baby when it comes to pain). I took one after the root canal, and threw up. The root canal didn't really even hurt much. On the other hand, my wrist hurt so bad last night that given the choice of throwing up or the pain, I'd take the chance on the throwing up. Luckily, the Vicodin didn't affect me like that this time.

I'm still debating on going to the doctor in the morning. I guess I'll see how it feels. Typing still hurts, so I'm not sure how work will be since I type all day for my job.

The reason for my accident was totally because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. I was being careless. When going downhill, rule # 1 is to keep both hands on the handlebars and both eyes on the road. Don't look down at your iPod, try to find the volume to adjust it with one hand, when traveling 15-20 mph going downhill and gaining speed. It's really not a good idea.

Thanks for your kind words in my last post. I really am okay, and I didn't break anything so all is good.

Roxie asked me a question about my BodyMedia, how does it know sleeping versus laying down. I haven't figured that out yet. This is what it says on the web site:

How does the Armband measure my calories, activity, and sleep?

The Armband contains multiple sensors that measure motion, body heat, skin temperature, and conductivity. A proprietary algorithm "crunches" the collected information and the user's personal body parameters to deliver accurate information on calories, activity levels, steps, lying down, and sleep time.
A "proprietary algorithm", I'm not really sure if that's true, or if they're just making something up. I do know that it seems accurate. I notice the times I wake up during the night and looking at the chart the BodyMedia provides when I sync the data, it looks pretty correct. I can remember that I was definitely awake at the times it says I was awake (often 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m.). Even if I don't get up, I wake up and look at the clock.

The other thing Roxie asked me about was about eating carbs in the evening. I've heard this off and on over the years, but never paid attention to it. I've always thought it doesn't matter that much what you eat, it's how much of it you're eating. Of course, healthy, whole foods are better for you, but if you want a sweet treat in the evening, it's okay as long as you count the calories (or Points).

When I'm talking about a treat, for me that always meant a Weight Watchers frozen treat or a Dreyer's frozen juice bar, or some fresh fruit. Or maybe even frozen fruit with Greek yogurt.

I watched a Netflix streaming video a few weeks ago that was about healthy eating and obesity. I actually watched several but I can't remember which one talked about the carb thing. They said you shouldn't eat a lot of carbs in the evening. They didn't say no carbs, just to limit your carb intake in the evening to help control cravings. Since I've never been a fan of low-carb diets, I chose to ignore that piece of advice.

Then last week Gagan, the personal trainer, asked me why I thought I'd gained so much weight. I had told him I'd gained back 40 pounds in about a year and a half. I told him it was because I ate too much healthy food, especially in the evenings. I said I love fruit but I know too much of a good thing is bad. That's when he told me fruit is great for you, but it depends when you eat it. You shouldn't eat it in the evenings because it will cause cravings.

I didn't ask where he'd learned this or the scientific reason for it. I do know he was 40 pounds overweight himself, and lost the weight and now competes in body building competitions. So although I have no explanation of why this would even work, I thought why not give it a shot.

Today is day six without a binge (that's when I had my personal training session with Gagan and he told me about the fruit). It's also day five of using my BodyMedia and tracking all my food. I still eat fruit and carbs during the day, but I've changed my evening snacks to be fruit and carb free. Protein and low-carb vegetables are more of what I'm eating in the evening if I really feel hungry. Oddly, I haven't been hungry in the evenings this past week.

Since I have a huge sweet tooth, this is a big change for me. I can really tell a difference in the cravings and feelings that I want to stuff my face in the evenings. They seem to have disappeared. I can't explain why this is happening, but I feel a sense of freedom when it comes to food. For the first time in, well, forever, I feel like I have some control over what and how much I'm eating.

Maybe it is all in my head, but whether it's mental or physical, it's working and that's all I really care about. 

Bike crash & BodyMedia update

Oh my God, I thought I had killed myself yesterday, and I am NOT kidding. I've had a few spills in the 50+ years I've been riding bicycles, but yesterday was the winner of my worst, most painful bike crash ever.

It was a gorgeous day here in the Pacific Northwest. It was one of those days where you think maybe all those months of miserable, wet, cold weather was worth it. Sunshine, blue skies, 75 degrees, with a slight breeze that had just a hint of coolness. On a scale of 1-10, yesterday's weather was a 10.

We had plans to go to the Seafair parade in downtown Seattle. It's a huge parade and my company is the biggest sponsor. It's called the "Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade". Since I hate huge crowds and this event draws thousands of people, I've managed to avoid it for the 23 years we've lived here. Every year my husband asks me if we can go, and every year, being the selfish brat that I am, I say 'NO, you know I hate crowds and that's the last thing I want to do!". For some reason this year I agreed to go. I've had my way for 23 years, I figured it wouldn't kill me to go one year (never again, by the way!).

Back to the bike ride....
I decided to ride down to the mall on the BPA trail, it's the one I do all the time because the trailhead is only 1/4 mile from my house. It's a 5-mile, one-way paved trail. It's a great cardio workout biking 10 miles with a few killer hills in there. Emphasis on "killer".  I got to the mall with no problems, bought a couple cute tops, one to wear to the parade, and then headed home.

I was heading down one really steep hill, thinking how much I totally love biking. I especially like going down long, steep hills on my way home because I remember how tough they were going the other way. It's like my reward. I have slowed down quite a bit since they posted 20 mph signs on the trail, but I still go too fast.

As I was starting down this one particular hill where I can see for at least 1/2 mile, I wanted to turn up the volume on my iPod. It was a great song (can't remember what it was, but a current favorite). I was probably going about 15 mph when I reached down to mess with the iPod's volume when I lost control of my bike.

I can't remember exactly what happened, other than I literally flipped in the air with my right hand holding onto my bike, trying to get control. My head smacked against the pavement, I could hear and feel the plastic of my helmet hit the pavement hard. I remember thinking at that moment, I might die.

I took my left hand and reached behind me to try andbreak my fall before my head hit, but with all my weight and the weight of the bike, my wrist couldn't stop it. After my head hit, my left shoulder and elbow hit. I was wearing a tank top and my skin was shaved off my shoulder and my left elbow.

I still can't figure out what happened to my legs, they both got entangled in the bike. Both of them have terrible bruises.

The only people were down at the opposite end of the hill. I don't know if they saw me, but no one came running to help. Now the funny thing. Even though I was in complete agony, my first thought (after "is anything broken?"), was my BodyMedia. It was on my left arm which hit the hardest: was it broken? It's not broken but it got scraped up pretty bad. Thankfully, it still works.

My bike chain had come off, but I got it back on. My bike seat that was a special, nicely padded $40 bike seat is has a huge slice horizontal slice in it, so it needs to be replaced. My bike bell has the lever broken off and the odometer is missing. I guess it fell off but I didn't notice (this is the second one I've lost and at $30 a pop, I think I'm done with the odometers).

I called my husband to come get me at the next street intersection, about a mile away. My wrist hurt so bad that I thought it might be broken. I managed to ride my bike to that street, although it was making a terrible clicking sound and my left wrist was killing me (I thought it might be broken).

My husband met me within a few minutes of me getting to the street. He came with an ice pack and a towel for the blood I guess, but I really wasn't bleeding that bad. I guess when I called him I scared the crap out of him because I was crying and said I was in a lot of pain.

After a inspecting my injuries, we decided I didn't need to go to the doctor. My wrist is sprained pretty bad, but it's not broken. We went to the parade where there were literally thousands of people on the streets waiting for the parade to start. Luckily we had been smart enough to purchase VIP bleacher seats so we didn't have to stand around with the masses. Just getting to the bleachers was agony as people kept bumping into my left shoulder and arm.

We found a drugstore and bought a couple of those instant ice packs and a soft wrist brace. That and the two Vicodin I took got me through the agony of my throbbing wrist, while watching the parade. Actually, it wasn't that bad and my husband enjoyed it. We were sitting next to a really nice lady that was super excited that her 13-year old daughter's drill team was in the parade. It was 2 1/2 hours long, but it wasn't as awful as I expected. Personally, I think our little Golden Days parade in Fairbanks is a lot more fun, but then when I go to that one it's with all my family and we have a blast together.

Anyway, I'm surviving. My wrist is still hurting and swollen up a lot, but the Vicodin is really helping. Typing hurts, so I don't know how work will go tomorrow. I guess weight lifting is out of the question for a while, and I'll probably delay joining my other gym for a week or so, or until my wrist heals. Oh well, such is life.

BodyMedia Update
I LOVE my BodyMedia! This is the coolest thing I've ever bought to help with my weight loss. I could write about it for hours, singing it's praises, but I'm going to be brief because I'm quickly losing my ability to stay awake (Vicodin), and my wrist is killing me. The good news is that I'm down to 189. I credit this to a couple things, number one is my BodyMedia, and number two is the bit of nutrition advice my personal trainer gave me. He's not really "my" personal trainer. I just have him two sessions with him at my new gym.

The nutrition advice that really seems to have made a difference is cutting out most carbs and all sugars (including fruit) after about 4pm. I can't believe how my body is reacting to this. I started doing this on Tuesday, when I had my training session  and got this tip, and it's five days later without a single binge. It hasn't even been hard. I just don't think much about it.

I also gave up my thinwich, Canadian bacon,2% cheese, egg breakfast sandwich for a fruit/spinach protein shake after my morning workouts. As Gagan explained, the fat in that sandwich slowed down the absorption of the nutrients by my muscles. After a hard cardio workout I need to get the nutrients in my body as quickly as possible. I'm not sure if that's factual or not, but it makes snese. Since it's helping me lose weight, I'm going to keep on doing it.

First, here's a picture of yesterday's stats from my BodyMedia:

What's really cool is that each one of these items expand and you can view it in detail. Check out my sleep:

Remember how I said how I said I wasn't sleeping? Well, turns out I'm not sleeping very well at all. In fact, Friday night when I went to bed super early, and was in bed for ten hours, I only actually slept 6:08 hours! Thursday night was even worse, I as laying down for six hours and only slept 3:41 hours. My sleep efficiency is running around 60%, meaning I only sleep a little over half the time I'm in bed. I think this is actually pretty accurate, because I constantly feel sleep deprived.

One more picture, of the meals section. Since I started using this three days ago I've added every bite I've eaten into their meal tracker. It's about 100 times easier to use than the Weight Watchers tracker. Plus, it breaks down all the nutrients you're eating, as well as the percentage of protein, carbs and fat. Points are okay I guess, but this has a lot more detail and it's a lot easier to use. I just love it!

You'll notice I only had 983 calories yesterday. That's because of the bike accident. Normally I'm eating around 1300-1500. Considering I burned 3114 calories yesterday, that is definitely not enough food!

I could literally go on and on about my BodyMedia, but I'm really fading fast. It's only 9am, but it was a rough night!

One last picture, of one of my bruises from my bike crash. I can't believe I'm showing you all my fat thigh, but you've got to see this:

And my poor shoulder:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy girl!

I'm in a crazy, happy mood tonight. I'm not completely sure why, I just know I feel...well...happy!

I just got back from an evening bike ride...

Rule #1 of biking
Don't stop and get off your bike when going up a steep hill. Even if your heart rate is at 161 and you're positive you're seconds away from a massive coronary, DO NOT STOP! Especially if there are people walking on your trail. They will watch you struggle to get going back up that steep hill. Sure, they're laughing "with you" as you fall off, over and over again!

Rule #2
Beware of little kids on bikes with training wheels. They do not know what they're doing or where they're going. As far as they're concerned, they own the road and you're in their way. I almost crash twice tonight because kids decided to switch sides and ride on the wrong side when I was about ten feet from them. Crazy kids!

I can't believe it's Thursday and I haven't posted since Saturday. Especially when things are going really well for a change.

A recap of my week:

1. I'm joining another gym! I still belong to the Bally's close to my house, and now I'm joining a gym that's about five minutes from my work for my lunch hour workouts a few times a week.

That's what I did when I started Weight Watchers 3 1/2 years ago and it really helped. The people that work there are super friendly and it's only $19/month, with no contract. Cancel anytime. It's a smaller gym, but they have plenty of equipment and weights, and it's not crowded.

They gave me a two-week pass to try it, with no pressure to join. Plus two training sessions. I had my first one yesterday, and he tried to kill me. I forgot how a trainer can really hurt you. I could barely walk this morning from lunges and squats. Rule #1 of working out with a personal trainer, never tell them the exercises you hate the most because that's the ones they'll make you do over and over. He's a super sweet, young man, with a very hot body. He competes in body building contests, so he knows his stuff. He's also a nutritionist, and I'm going to schedule an appointment with to talk about what I should really be eating to lose weight and gain muscle.

2. I'm down from 199 to 191 this morning. Thank God! I was scaring the crap out of myself that I was soon going to be right back at 240. Gagan, the trainer, gave me a tip that's really helping with my cravings. He told me to stick with my protein shakes after my morning workout (with fruit, protein powder and spinach), and try to stop eating fruit around 3pm. I can't believe the difference it's made this week. I also cut out the Weight Watcher ice cream bars and Dreyer's frozen fruit bars. Apparently, if you eat sugar at night, including fructose, it causes cravings. I had no idea!

3. Body Media - I love this thing! I got it a couple days ago, but  I didn't set it up until tonight. It's pretty cool, and kept an excellent record of my biking. It said I had 30 minutes of moderate exercise and 44 minutes of vigorous. I noticed my heart was higher than usual tonight. I still wear my heart rate monitor and often it was in the 158-161 range. Which is really high for me. Remember I'm old, almost 56 and my resting heart rate is 52. Old people have a slower heart rate.

It's after 11pm so I have to go to bed. I'm exhausted! I hope I wake up as happy in the morning as I feel right now. I sort of doubt. I'm never a happy morning person.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Falling down and forgiveness

My bike ride was awesome! It was the best bike ride I've had in a long time. Perfect weather, 71 degrees going to the gym and 75 degrees coming home, with a light, cool breeze. Sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. I LOVE the Pacific Northwest when the sun shines!

It took 45 minutes to get to the gym. Normally it's 22 minutes going fast, really pushing myself going up the hills. Today I decided not to race to get there. I thought of it more as a therapy bike ride. Enjoy the scenery, get my heart rate up but don't kill myself doing it. I found the hills a lot more challenging at my heavier weight (193 this morning).

The gym was almost empty, which was really nice. I did weights for an entire hour and there were only a couple guys in the free weights area. I had planned on a lower body workout but I remembered the last time I biked to the gym and then did a lower body workout. I almost didn't make it home. So it was upper body, a full hour-long workout.

Somehow, and I'm really not sure how it happened, I fell off my bike while standing still in the parking lot of the gym. I know that sounds crazy, and it happened so fast that I'm not even sure how it happened, but it did. I was just about to start riding out of the parking lot, when I fell over and crashed into some beauty bark on my right knee. I tangled myself up in my bike, then rolled onto the pavement, scraping a lot of skin off of my knee.

It was kind of embarrassing, but not too many people saw me.  After brushing myself off, I quickly got out of there. I made it home in 22 minutes. My knee still hurts and burns. Probably beauty bark poisoning or something.

While I was riding home I thought about something I saw in a notebook that I found in my little backpack I use when I bike. I always take a notebook to the gym with me to keep a record of my workouts. The last workout date in this one was April 23, 2011. I have one in my car that I used every day, but decided to use this one since it was already in the backpack. I accidentally dropped it, and it flipped open to the last page. I saw the following, written in my handwriting:

I have no idea why I wrote those words. It sounds like something to do with gaining weight. Specifically gaining a lot of weight after losing a lot of weight. Maybe I saw it on TV or read it in a book or a magazine. I may have even read it on someones blog. 

Since I don't really know where I heard it, I can't give the correct person credit, but it makes a lot of sense regarding my weight gain. My gain of 40 pounds in a year and a half, after an 85-pound weight loss, has caused me to feel each one of these emotions very deeply. It's been a painful journey re-gaining this weight.

1. Ashamed. There are few things in life more embarrassing than losing a lot of weight and then gaining it back. When I lost weight, people were constantly telling me how great I looked. When I started gaining it back, people had no idea what to say, so out of politeness, they said nothing. I  know they notice it, how could they not see it. It's so blatantly obvious as I get bigger and my clothes get tighter.

2. Angry. I was really angry about my weight gain for a long time. Angry mostly at myself, but also at the unfairness of it all. Unfairness that I have these issues with food, and that I can't eat anything I want to eat. Unfairness that I love food so much, too much, and even the mere fact that I love food makes me angry. I've gone through the "why me?" many times, but ultimately, it's pointless to be so angry about something that just "is".

3. Afraid. I remember this one really well, in fact, I still have a little bit of fear about my weight. The fear of gaining all of it back, the fear of never being able to lose the weight I've re-gained, and the fear that I'll be even fatter than before, that I'll make it up to 300+ pounds.

I've relaxed quite a bit about being afraid of my weight. I'm not heartbroken about the weight gain anymore, nor do I fear gaining a ton more weight. I'm feeling confident that I'll lose it again. I still think a little fear about gaining weight is a good thing. Too much fear is damaging to my soul. A little fear keeps me on my toes.

4. Forgiveness. It's been a long haul but somehow I have made it to this one. I have forgiven myself for my past mistakes. Simply put, I screwed up a good thing. It's okay. I'm allowed to screw up as long as I don't dwell on my past mistakes, forgive myself and move forward.

Forgiveness of one's own transgressions is a lot harder than forgiving someone else. We're harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Kind of crazy that we're built that way, but it just seems like that's how most of us function. If someone else messes up, we're kind and caring, we understand how things can happen. We forgive them. But let us screw up our own life by gaining weight and holy crap, you'd think we'd committed a murder. The simple fact is that I ate too much food, and I gained weight. That's all there is to it. I didn't hurt anyone in the process except myself.

Forgiveness. It's good for the soul. Falling off my bike or falling off my diet, it's all kind of the same thing. I just have to get back up, brush myself off, and keep on going. Of course it's embarrassing, but there's really no other option.

Pictures from my bike ride today...

A new sign that was put up at the trail head in the last few months. Funny thing, but I saw a coyote cross the road, right in front of my car on the way to the gym a few weeks ago. Kind of scary. At first I thought it was a big, skinny weird looking dog, but then I realized, that's a coyote!

 I'm sure you're all thinking, not another Mt. Rainier picture! Sorry, I just can't get enough of this mountain. I love it. When it's clear out it looks like I could just reach out and touch it. In reality it's about 60 miles away. 

The part of the trail I prefer to ride my bike, but I decided after seeing the coyote sign maybe I'd better stay on the paved trail instead of wandering off into the woods by myself.

Just part of the trail. And yes, there's a horrible power line that runs along the side of the trail. I'm sure I'm getting an extra dose of cancer-causing electricity jolted through my body when I ride next to it.

 Just a picture of me, not exactly flattering. I was trying to get Mt. Rainier in the picture, it's behind me somewhere, but somehow I totally missed getting it in the picture.

Part of the trail that's fun going down, not so fun going up on the other side. I can't believe how much harder the hills are now that I'm so much heavier. I thought I was going to have to walk my bike up some of the hills, but I forced myself to do it. It wasn't easy and my heart rate was up to 155 at one point, but I did it!

Dinner tonight was wonderful. Kalbi chicken breasts that I bought ready to cook from the neighborhood butcher, and fresh broccoli and sweet corn on the cob from the neighborhood produce store. I stopped in on my way home and tied the bags to my bike handle bars for the last two blocks home. It made for a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Note: you may notice I took down my old "after" picture where I weighed 152. It use to be on the right side. I didn't like to look at it because every time I saw it, it made me a little bit sad. I'll post new pictures when I lose some weight.

Where is the time going?

It's really true what they say, the older you get the faster time flies. As I'm approaching 56 in a couple of weeks I feel like time is speeding up. What seems like a few days is actually a few weeks. It's like I'm living a movie where everything is being fast-forwarded.

That's part of the reason my posts have been so few and far between. Every day I think of several topics I want to write about, but I never seem to find the time to actually sit down and write.

It's the same with my dieting. Almost every day ends on the same note...well, I screwed up again today, but there's always tomorrow. I've been saying that for weeks, or actually, I guess it's been months, perhaps even years now.

How have I been doing?
I've been doing better in all areas of my life. Not perfect, just better.

Work is still work, and I've decided to learn something new at work. All my protesting that I didn't want to learn anything new is what led me down the path of my job ending in a few years.

I work in IT. It's a changing world. If I want to stay in IT I have to change with it. I don't know why it took me so long to accept this fact, but I have and now it's time to get going on learning the new technologies that I was unreasonably dead set on not learning. I decided that was a career ending move on my part, and now is not the time to end a career. I'm almost 56 and we're in an economical crisis here in the United States with record unemployment rates. It's really not the time to consider a career change. I've accepted this and it's made things much better in my workplace.

The unending quest to lose weight continues. Sometimes I amaze myself at my refusal to give up on losing weight, especially considering I've felt like a miserable failure in the weight loss arena for many months now.

Since Monday I managed to lose six pounds, from 199 to 193. Some of that weight loss is from the Triamterene blood pressure meds, a very low-dose diuretic. My BP is now 121/62, a huge improvement from 148/98 that it was on Monday. I hate taking a medication, but I hate the possibility of a stroke or doing damage to my heart even more than I hate taking a tiny pill each day.

I cut back quite a bit on my food intake last week so I know it wasn't all water weight that I lost. My binge food all week was cherries. The Asian market, HMart, sells the most incredible tasting local sweet dark red cherries as well as Rainier cherries at a crazy low price ($1.49 & $1.99 a pound). I think I've finally eaten my fill of them for a while. I'm actually glad they're seasonal because I was wondering if I'd ever get tired of them.

My exercise is still not up to the level it should be. I keep finding reasons to skip the gym in the mornings. In the last week I only went four times (since last Saturday). That might sound good to a lot of people, but it's not that good for me. Five or six times would be better, and what I've been doing the past three years. My latest excuse is I'm tired and sleep is more important than exercise. They're both important. I really shouldn't be making a choice of which is more important, but when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I often go with the sleep is more important.

Speaking of sleep, I think the Melatonin is actually working for me. I've been waking up less in the middle of the night and my sleep feels deeper and more restful. When I get up I don't feel groggy or exhausted. There's a lot of conflicting information out there on the internet regarding Melatonin, some say it works, others say it doesn't.

The most interesting thing I read is that melatonin is naturally secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. As we age, our brain secretes less of the hormone, which is possibly why older people have trouble sleeping. Of course, they're still doing research to prove this fact. At least I didn't read about any negative effects. The worst case is that it doesn't do anything. Maybe it's all in my head, but I really think it's helping.

Well, as I said when I started this post, time is slipping by me. I have a lot of things to get done today, top of the list is physical activity. My plan is to bike ride to the gym, then a lower body weight workout, then ride home. The temperature is suppose to get up to 80 degrees today. So far this year, we've had 78 minutes of temperatures at 80 or above here in the Seattle area (I think the highest was 81 one day for a couple of minutes). It's the running joke around her, 78 minutes of summer so far this year.

Almost forgot to mention my Body Media. It was sent out on the delivery truck yesterday morning by UPS at 9 a.m. for delivery by the end of the day. It never arrived. I checked the UPS tracking site at about 9pm and they changed the delivery to Monday. Slightly annoying since I live about three miles from the UPS station that was the delivery truck origin. I was really hoping to play with it this weekend, but looks like I have to wait until next week.

Now for a quick breakfast and get out on my bike, hopefully for noon before our Northwest "heat wave" hits. I'm sure folks in the 105 temps find it pretty funny that we think 80 is is HOT.

On the agenda for tomorrow is a hike up near Mt. Rainier. My husband said he wants to go, and since it's our first nice weather weekend in weeks, we're going!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I think I'd rather be tired

I took my first doctor-prescribed sleeping pill last night. I slept horribly, worse than usual. I woke up with a severe headache at 4 a.m. It felt like my head was in a vise and someone was tightening the vise every few minutes. It was insanely painful. I felt extremely nauseous too. My husband brought me aspirin and a glass of water, but it didn't even begin to  phase the pain.

When the headache finally eased up enough that I could get out of bed (around noon), I looked up the possible side effects of the "sleep aid" my doctor had prescribed.

The drug is Trazodone HCL. It turns out it's not really a sleep aid, it's really an anti-depressant. Since it's a hypnotic, it's off-label use is to cause drowsiness for insomniacs. If it's used as a sleep aid, the it's only one dose a day. If used as an anti-depressant, the dosage is three times a day. Since I'm not depressed, the doctor prescribed on tablet at bedtime.

Check out these possible side effects:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome when using Trazodone:
Blurred vision; constipation; decreased sexual desire or ability; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; lightheadedness when sitting up or standing; muscle aches or pains; nausea; nervousness; stomach pain; stuffy nose; tiredness.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Trazodone:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry, or bloody stools; bloody or dark urine; chest pain; decreased coordination; fainting; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; irregular heartbeat; new or worsening agitation, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness, trouble sleeping, or inability to sit still; prolonged, inappropriate, or painful erections; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or tiredness; shortness of breath; speech problems; suicidal thoughts or actions; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of low blood sodium levels (eg, confusion, persistent headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, unsteadiness, sluggishness, personality changes); tremor; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual weight changes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? It's not worth it. I'm back to the Melatonin and Sleepytime herbal tea (I'm sipping a cup right now). My doctor has also suggested a sleep study, which I'm seriously considering. My niece has sleep apnea, and has a CPAP machine. She says it makes a huge difference in how much rested she feels. I don't like the idea of being hooked up to a machine when I sleep, but I also don't like feeling exhausted all the time.

Exercise and Diet
Good news! I feel totally back in control of my eating. Thank God! I've had my eating in control for two whole days. I realize that doesn't sound like much, but it's the first two consecutive days in weeks that I kept my eating in check. I'm journaling all my food, and keeping my calorie count under 1500.

This afternoon I went to the gym. I almost didn't go, because even though my headache was gone, it felt like it was on the verge of coming back. My eyes felt tender and almost sore from the pain earlier in the day. I thought maybe I'd feel better if I worked out. Amazingly, it worked! I did a full hour of cardio, 35 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes on the cross-ramp. Then 40 minutes of upper body weights. I burned 628 calories according to my heart rate monitor, in an hour and 40 minutes. Happy dance!

The Body Media
I ordered my Body Media with the wrist display tonight. It should ship tomorrow and be here by Friday. It's a lot like the Body Bugg, except it also measures your sleep. It comes with a "free" 12-month subscription (I think the BodyBugg does too).

I'm not sure how it measures sleep, but my friend at work said it really does work. She thought it sensed when you were laying down. I'm not sure it'll be accurate on my sleep (or lack of sleep).

The best things I've ever purchased for myself were my Polar heart rate monitor and iPod. Those two items have made made a world of difference in my exercise. I'm actually on my third heart rate monitor and third iPod in four years. I think the Body Media will be another tool to help me get to my goal.

I guess the SleepyTime and Melatonin are kicking in. I'm finally feeling tired. It's almost 10:30pm. Hopefully this will be a more restful night.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My annual physical wasn't fun

Okay, so I'm not dying, at least not yet. I had my annual physical today and my doctor isn't happy with me. She asked me what happened, how did I gain so much weight since March 2010 (my last physical).

I was 173 pounds in March 2010, and I was 199.4 on the doctor's scales today. She wanted to know why I'd gained so much weight. I didn't have an answer. I honestly don't know what happened. I told her I guess I was eating too much.

My doctor is a tiny Asian woman, probably a size 0, really nice and very smart. She's the one that looked at my neck last year and spotted my enlarged thyroid (which resulted in an ultrasound and biopsy of my thyroid).

Even though she's sweet, she doesn't mince words when it comes to my health. She told me this was a lot of weight to gain in one year and it was having a very serious impact on my body. My blood pressure was up to 148/88, and she put me back blood pressure medication.

In one month I have to go back to see her again so she can see how my blood pressure is doing. She also wants me to wait one month to get all the blood work done for all the other stuff (glucose check, cholesterol and triglycerides, vitamin D and a reactive C protein test for my heart) and she wants to review everything with me.

This is a lot more important than my concerns about how I look at this weight or the fact that none of my clothes fit. This is dead serious business. My health is at stake and frankly, I'm a little scared. What if I'm diabetic? Or what if I have a stroke or drop dead of a heart attack, or worse yet, live through a heart attack with a damaged heart? What am I doing to myself?

This has really made me take stock of my issues with food and my weight. I guess I thought gaining weight wasn't that big of a deal. So my clothes don't fit or I "feel" fat and ugly. That stuff really doesn't matter that much. My health, that's a different story. Once it's gone, it's hard, if not impossible to get it back.

So I'm making some changes. The most immediate is to get decent sleep. I've been failing in this area for years, short-changing myself on sleep almost every night.

Of course, there's the eating. I need some sort of plan. I always seem to need a gimmick to get jump started. My new plan is to use the Body Media. Someone at work has been wearing one and she swears by it. I haven't ordered it yet, but plan to by this weekend.

Last, but not least is my exercise. I've been slacking in the exercise area, going to the gym only three or four times a week, and then not really giving it 110%. I've really just been going through the motions. That has to change.

I have a lot more that I want to write about, but I have to be off the computer in two minutes (8:45pm). New rule. Darkened room, and then lights out by 9pm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How did I let this happen!? 197.0

The post below "Happy to be home" was suppose to have been published last night but I guess I forgot to hit the publish button.

Yesterday when I weighed in first thing in the morning I was 196.2. This morning I was 197! What the heck is happening?! I thought I ate carefully yesterday, but I didn't write down anything. I guess I ate more than I thought. I slept horribly last night, tossing and turning, waking up several times.

Seriously, I really can't believe I let this happen to myself. I'm almost up to 200 pounds. I feel awful, mentally and physically.

I went to the gym this morning, 30 minutes elliptical (thought I was going to die!), and 40 minutes weights. Looking at myself in the gym mirrors was pretty horrifying. I kept asking myself over and over, why did you do this to yourself? My face looks distorted, and my body looks like I'm wearing a fat suit.

There's really not much to say about the situation I got myself into with my weight. I'm going to have to work really hard to get it off again. It's sort of like my worst nightmare is coming true. Now I'm awake and I'm living the nightmare of obesity, again.

My plan today is to document every bite I eat. A very boring task, but it's the only thing that works for me. 

I'm off to work now, as soon as I find something to wear. Finding something that fits is going to be challenging. The size 16's in my closet are probably going to be really tight. Letting this happen to myself was probably the most unkind thing I could do. If I didn't know better, I would think that maybe I hate myself. Why else would I chose to make myself so miserable?

Happy to be home! Not happy to be 196.2.

Vacation? Not really.
I'm back from vacation in Alaska. Actually, I'm not sure I'd call it a vacation. It was more visiting family, something I wouldn't recommend doing for twelve days without a break.

I love my sister and we get along great. We can talk for hours about everything and about nothing. It's the rest of the family that was kind of driving me a bit nuts after a while. My three nieces and their husbands and children, and their children's children.

My 21-year old great niece has a three-year old. I love and adore both of them, especially the three-year old. The three-year old, Layla, decided to make me her best friend. I know this because she told me, "Aunt Diana, I've decided I want you to be my best friend." Layla speaks in complete sentences with an amazing vocabulary, and I could understand every word she said (she turned three two months ago). Even though she was a lot of fun, and I was amazed at her intelligence (you can't imagine how many times I said "is she really only three?!), she wore me out!

One day Layla told her grandmother (my niece) the following: "Grandma, you are fat, fat, fat!". Of course everyone attacked Layla and told her that was very rude. She said she was sorry. I didn't hear about this incident until later in the day when my niece told me about it and how much it hurt her feelings. Layla was sitting on my lap. Layla said to me, "But I said I was sorry!" I told her that when you say something mean to someone, even though you tell them you're sorry, it still hurts the person. Calling someone fat isn't nice, and it hurts the person. You don't want to hurt people, do you? She said no. Then I looked at her and said I know you're only three, but I know you understand me. She looked me in the eye, and said, "Yes, Aunt Diana, I understand you. I'm sorry, and I won't do it again". She really is only three, but not too young to learn that words hurt.

It was constant motion and constant conversation for twelve days. As a result, I'm exhausted. It was fun, but it was also stressful at times. Family dynamics can be complicated. I love them all, but I'm very happy to be home, 1500 miles away from them. 

About the weight...196.2
You read the number right, it's not a typo - I weighed 196.2 this morning. Because of all the kids around at my sister's house, there was a lot of kid-friendly food. Cookies, candy, ice cream. All the things I love. A cookie for Layla, a cookie for me. Ice cream for Layla, ice cream for me. A few pieces of candy for Layla, a few for me. She was my eating buddy. She was also a ball of energy, constantly in motion, and tiny. I was a couch potato except for the three days I managed to go to the gym.

This recent weight gain is depressing and it hurts. My body is achy and I feel like a big, fat cow. Please don't leave a comment that it's okay and that I'm not fat and shouldn't be so hard on myself. I am huge, and I need to be hard on myself.

Today is day one of being back on track. I know the drill. Exercise and reduced food intake and of course, no sweets. It's hard to get back on track. Once I start gaining weight, I can't seem to stop eating. It's a vicious cycle. On the other hand, I know it's not impossible. I've done it before, I can do it again.

One day at a time, right?

For some reason, I didn't take very many pictures this trip. I just wasn't in the  mood. I can't publish this and not post a picture of Layla. She's the little one in the picture below. You can see why I fell in love with her. The others are her mom, the gorgeous 21-year old Joanna, and one of my great nephews, Robert (he's nine and every picture I have of him has his eye's closed) and another great niece (from New Jersey), Cassie, she's 10. And if you're wondering, Layla is named after the Eric Clapton song, Layla.

 A post about Alaska isn't complete without a picture of a moose. This was taken from the living room window at my sister's house. One of my niece's husbands and I spent an afternoon after this picture was taken cutting brush and branches out of trees so you could see the river better (and the moose). Hard work! I think I saw at least ten moose while I was there. I sort of lost count, but there were a lot of them.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello from Alaska!

I'm at my sister's house in Alaska and loving it! She lives 30 miles outside of Fairbanks, near Moose Creek. Very aptly named because there are moose everywhere here! I've seen four moose in two days. Sorry, I'd post pictures but I can't figure out how to do it on this stupid Apple computer.

I love the summers here, except for the mosquitoes, which just about ate us alive yesterday. This is a very bad year for mosquitoes. They were so bad last night that I almost freaked out about it...and I'm from here!

It was like we were being swarmed by mosquitoes, it was something out of a horror movie. Hundreds of them landing on any spot of bare skin they could find for a feeding frenzy. It was really awful. Then immediately afterward there was a huge rainstorm, so I'm wondering if that had something to do with it. I've never seen mosquitoes swarm like that and considering I grew up on a homestead up here, that's pretty amazing.

Anyway, I love visiting with family. Today everyone is coming over, including all my nieces and their husbands, my brother and his wife, the grandkids and great-grandkids.

Tomorrow my niece from New Jersey and her family will be arriving (on a 1:37am flight--yuk). I'm really excited about seeing them. We haven't seen them in over 20 years. We've been talking non-stop on the phone for two weeks, after reconnecting. They're super nice and really fun people.

My brother has a big camping trip planned for some of us (my sister refuses to go--she's more of a RV kind of camper). We'll be going to a place called Ken's Pond, by Donnelly Dome (about 100 miles south of Fairbanks). Here's a video he took of it last year. It's remote with only one public use cabin that he's reserved for us, right on a lake. We have to use the 4-wheelers to get back to it. Hopefully, I'll have my own pictures of it when I get back.

Diet is going okay, but it could be better (I had three cookies last night). Exercise is non-existent since we sit around and visit all day, but I plan on walking down to the Tanana River today, about two miles down the road, if I can talk someone in to it. I might even go by myself.

Anyway, I'm happy to be here. It's so relaxing, and I don't miss work at all. I finally feel myself letting go of the stresses of my job and that's a really good feeling.

Happy 4th of July weekend!