Saturday, August 11, 2012

What a difference an hour made

I went to spinning class and stayed for the entire hour. . I was sure I was going to have a heart attack and die on the spot!

It was really hard, but the instructor was awesome. She kept saying things like "if you don't challenge yourself, you won't make a difference in your body". Almost every song she played is on my current iPod playlist, so the music was great.

I love my new cycling shoes with the SPD cleats. I got to class early and the instructor showed me how to attach my shoes to the pedals. The first few tries was a lot harder than it looked in the video, but it's really easy once you do it a few times. I think it really does make a difference in how I worked my leg muscles. When I got home, a six-minute drive, I could barely get out of the car.

My attitude did a 180 after the class. It's true about the endorphins. I walked out of the gym and into the warm sunshine, with a slight breeze, and thought...LIFE IS GOOD!

There's sadness all around me right now, but that's life. Into every life a little rain must fall, right?  I've certainly had my share of sadness this past year, but we all do. No one has a perfect life. It just makes me appreciate the good things even more.

Regarding my weight, I don't even know what it is right now. I haven't weighed in a week, but I'm sure I'm up several pounds. This past week was harder than most. I didn't exercise or eat right last week, but starting this morning I'm back on track.

Life is hard sometimes, no doubt about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I found the fat people

The fat people were grocery shopping this afternoon at my local supermarket. In fact, we looked like we were at a fat people convention.

I went straight from the gym to the grocery store (and yes, I was a hot, sweaty and very unattractive mess...more on that later). I don't remember the last time I shopped on a Saturday afternoon. There were a lot of extremely overweight people there today, and my heart broke a little for each and every one of them. I know first-hand how much this hurts, physically and mentally.

I'd guess the average BMI was 40+. There were a lot of people that appeared to be 250 to 300 pounds (and they weren't seven feet tall!). I'm a pretty good judge of weight. I'm 213 pounds, 5' 6", and I was probably one of the thinner of the fat people.

I really try not to pass judgement on overweight people for buying junk food:  a.) it's none of my business and b.) I've been there. Yet, I couldn't help  myself as I peeked into their grocery baskets. I didn't see anyone even attempting to eat healthy. Mostly processed foods, frozen or canned, and a lot of chips, bakery goods, cookies and candy, and similar unhealthy choices. I wonder how many times someone has looked at my food choices and thought 'oh my goodness, she shouldn't be eating that food...she's already too fat!'.

In an odd way, it actually helped me make really healthy choices. First of all, I'd just come from the gym which is the absolute best time for me to shop for food. When I've just worked out really hard and had a great workout, I truly have no desire to eat junk. Today I was thinking maybe that's the only time I should go grocery shopping, after a workout. Then I saw so many people in my situation, struggling with obesity, it just reinforced what I was already feeling about food. Make healthy choices.

About the gym
I posted a few days ago about how much I dislike my gym, L.A. Fitness. It's filled with young, healthy people. Now, I have nothing against being young or being healthy. I was just having a problem with being the oldest, most unfit person at my gym. The close quarters of the free weights area, filled with young, muscular men, was the most annoying aspect of it. I love working out with free weights, but I was really feeling intimidated by the men.

I found a solution! Today I did most of my free weights in the group class area that was empty. It's a huge room, mirrors on three sides, high ceiling and cooler (temperature) than the rest of the gym. Someone had left a set of 15-pound dumbbells and a 25-pound plate weight. Perfect for three of my upper body exercises. Then I used the 8-pound weights for some deltoids exercises, add in three machines for lats and delts, and I had a great weight workout. I was the only person in there, except for one young woman that came in and did some crunches. I checked the class schedule and there aren't any classes in there Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 8:30am. Perfect!

Of course, there are some bench free weight exercises I still need to do, so I'll have fight for a bench and deal with the all-guy area (that's how I've come to think of it). I'll manage, and like some of you said, I have just as much to be there as they do. 

I also faced the StairMaster today. I've been avoiding it with the logic I'm too fat for the StairMaster. Well, you're never to fat for the StairMaster! I was definitely slower than the guy next to me (yes, he was young and thin), but my average heart rate was 132, and I burned 236 calories in 30 minutes. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, and a lot more "fun" than the elliptical. More of a challenge and you can't cheat.

Food has been nearly perfect today. This is the fourth day in a row of eating healthy and exercising. It feels good to be back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where are all the fat people?

I took the day off from work. It was going to be a sort of mental health day for me, and catching up on chores. That idea ended quickly when my husband called as he was on his way to work and said his sister had texted him that their dad's blood pressure was less than 60/40 and the machine couldn't even read it. This is one of the signs that death is near.

My husband rushed home, we made a conference call to the hospice and his dad is doing "okay", and could hang on for days or weeks. He was asking for his Coke so they took that as a sign he's got a little life left in him. Plus he's still flirting with the young nurse, Ashley. She looks a lot like my mother-in-law did when she was young, absolutely gorgeous (they're divorced). Ashely calls my father-in-law her Romeo. He always wants a  hug and kiss from her. Guess he's not dead yet.

The hospice urged us to make arrangements for cremation, which we were suppose to do Monday, but my husband is really having a hard time dealing with everything. I called a few cremation services in Denver and made the arrangements. My husband headed back to work at noon.

I'm not close to my father-in-law, but watching my husband being torn apart over this is hard. In addition, he just started a new job two months ago so he can't really take time off and sit by his dad's bedside waiting for him to die.

So I bet you're wondering about the title of this post, "Where are all the fat people?". Well, I just back from the gym. I realized today why I hate my gym so much. I am the fattest and oldest person there, by at least 80 pounds and at least 20+ years. Everyone is height, weight proportionate, muscled or toned and they all appear to be under 30. I can't figure our what happened to all the fat, out-of-shape people that went to my old Ballys before they closed. I miss them!

My favorite thing at the gym, lifting free weights, isn't very fun anymore. First of all the free weight area is really tiny at L.A. Fitness compared to my old Ballys (it had three weight rooms). Then there are always young, twenty-something guys lifting extremely heavy free weights or cute young girls lifting five and ten-pound weights.

I know I need to get over this, and I belong there as much as they do, but I feel awkward and out of place. I never felt like this at Ballys. It's not going to stop me, and I'll keep going. I really don't have any other choice. I'm not disciplined enough to work out on my own at home, and it's the only gym in the area. Guess I'll just have to deal with being the fattest and the oldest person at the gym.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You made me made me cry and you made me smile

Tonight I finally took a few minutes to read through the comments on my post "Hitting Rock Bottom". I was stunned and amazed at your heartfelt support, and really surprised that anyone even reads my posts these days.

As I read each comment, I started to cry. I'm just so overwhelmed with the love and support from so many of you when I've failed so miserably at the task of losing weight. Each comment was written with kindness and careful thought. They were written to lift me up and help me find my way.

I don't know what to say, other than thank you from the bottom of my heart. You make a difference in my life. I am forever grateful for each of your comments.

I will take your suggestions and put them into action as part of my plan to get my weight loss back on track. Your words of support will be with me as I continue the struggle.

Thank you again my dear friends.


Back from hell

I'm back from Denver. Where my husband, his sister and I moved his 73-year old dad into The Denver Hospice. My father-in-law was transported by ambulance since he can't walk. The hospice is a beautiful, new facility, but sadly, it's filled with death and the grieving. Definitely not the happiest place on earth.

Of course everyone was talking about the shootings in Aurora. The hospital where my father-in-law had been staying, and the hospice and our hotel were all within a couple miles of the theater where the shootings occurred. There was an extreme amount of sadness in Denver. It was also 98 degrees which was almost unbearable.

I've never been happier to be home and can't wait to get back to my job and normalcy. There's a lot to be said for normal.

On the weight loss front, I actually have good news. I made it a point to eat as healthy as possible. Whether it was hospital cafeteria food, fast food or a sit-down restaurant, I made healthy choices. I also guzzled ice water. I was 221.0 last Wednesday. Today I'm 213.2. I feel back in control.

Now it's off to work and my regular life, which I appreciate so much more after the last three days!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hanging in there with life...and death

I had a great, happy, upbeat and cheerful post all ready to post on Friday, but I wanted to proof-read it before posting it and as a result, I never posted it. Then things happened and it seemed unimportant..

I'd had a good night food-wise on Thursday, went to the gym Friday morning and worked out like a maniac. The first 15 minutes were pure hell. I won't lie. I HATED every sweating, hurt pumping, painful second. I wanted to leave, not walk, but run out the front door. I stayed for an hour and a half. It changed my entire attitude for the rest of the day and even for the next day. Now I remember why exercised is an essential part of the weight loss plan. Losing weight is really about what's going on in my head.

Yesterday morning I took my sister to see a movie, The Dark Knight Rises. No reviews on that movie. You'll have to make your own mind up on that one. After I dropped off my sister at her home I drove to the airport to catch the 5:40pm flight to Denver, with my husband. It's now Sunday morning, 6:30am. I'm in a hotel in Aurora, Colorado.

We're here to say our final final goodbyes to my father-in-law. He's in the final stages of emphysema (from smoking) and is going to be moved into hospice care this afternoon. He requested that everyone come see him now since he probably only has a week or two left. He has a multitude of health issues, one of which is receiving blood transfusions every other day massive bleeding ulcers.  He's down to 98 pounds.

Although I'm not close to my father-in-law (we've never lived in the same state), my heart weeps for my husband. He's never lost anyone in his life, other than his grandmother. I lost parents many years ago. I know it hurts like hell to lose someone you love so much.

The hospital my father-in-law is in is about two blocks from the theater where the shootings took place a few days ago at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora. The hotel, also about a block from the hospital, is packed with reporters. I'm not looking forward to this day but I just have to get through it. Of course the hospital has several of the victims there too. Really dreading this day.

We plan on leaving back to Seattle tonight. I just want this day to be over. I'm sure we'll be back here within a couple weeks for the funeral.

Diet nd exercise aren't on the top of my list right now, but I'll do my best to eat right while I'm here. It's going to be 98 degrees today so walking outside isn't really an option. There's a guest fitness room, but since the hotel is packed, I'm sure it will be too. Plus I didn't bring any workout clothes. More important, I really don't care about that right now. I really wish I was home right now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The hardest thing I've ever done

Tyring to get back into diet and exercise after months of not really "being into it", is a huge struggle for me.

I remember many Weight Watcher meetings where our leader would say, "you know, losing weight isn't rocket science" or "this isn't the hardest thing you've ever done". Then she'd ask things like: Did you graduate college? Did you have a baby? Have you raised a child? Have you ever been married? Have you lost someone you loved?" She always name off several things that every person in the room had experienced, usually not just one of the things, but several of them. Then she would say, compare exercising and eating less to that experience. Then she'd followup with, losing weight is easy in comparison to any of those things. Everyone in the room would nod in agreement.

These days I'm not so sure I'd nod in agreement. I'm really feeling challenged. It feels like the hardest thing I've ever done.

I almost made it through yesterday perfectly. Unfortunately, by the time I got home at 9pm I was too wiped out to care about much of anything, much less myself. It was a long work day of fixing major bugs on one of the most challenging projects I've ever worked on at work, with constantly moving requirements. It had a release date that was originally two months ago and now we don't even have a release date (too many issues to set a firm date yet).

When I got home I needed to work on my most challenging personal project, losing weight. I had nothing left to give to myself. I was exhausted. I had taken my workout clothes to work, with the intention of going to the gym after work since I couldn't force myself to get up early enough to go before work. Of course, at 9pm I didn't go. I was mentally and physically wiped out.

After a healthy breakfast and lunch, dinner was a piece of deli fried chicken, left over from a couple days ago. Two Pomegranate frozen fruit bars for dessert. Then bed. No vegetables and no fruit.

I woke up feeling exhausted. I weighed today, 218.8. Not much of an improvement from the 220 yesterday, but I'll take it. At least I didn't gain another pound.

Today is simple. Eat healthy, count calories, exercise. Exercise...I'm not sure when or how that became such a huge challenge for me. I'm not sure how I managed to exercise almost every day for four years and then totally drop out. It's like nightmare come true. Gaining a ton of weight and becoming sedentary.

I guess it's just one day at a time, as so many bloggers say. There's not much else I can do except to keep trying. Maybe today will be the day I get my act together again. Let's hope so. I really don't want this to be the hardest thing I've ever done.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hitting rock bottom

I think I finally hit rock bottom, and I don't like it here.

1. I tried to pull on a pair of size 16 jeans this morning. I couldn't even get them up over my hips. I had to wear one of the two pairs of size 18's that I bought last week.

2. I don't know how much I weigh. The last time I weighed, last week I think, I was 217. Those size 16 jeans were tight, but at least I could get them on and buttoned.

3. I feel like hell. I get winded walking from my car to my office building and it's a very short walk.

4. Walking up one flight of stairs almost makes me pass out. Three flights almost kills me. How did I managed to climb 69 flights of stairs for the Big Climb last year and I did it in 19 minutes? How could I have let myself go like this?

5. I don't recognize myself in the mirror. In fact, I avoid mirrors if I can.

6. My body aches. I don't like the rolls of fat hanging off my body. I'm very uncomfortable in this body. I don't feel like myself.

7. I haven't been to the gym in over a week. I feel stiff and out of sorts.

I could go on and on with this list. I could write a book about my misery over being fat.

So why don't I do something about it? I know that's what you're thinking. I know it's what I'm thinking almost every minute of the day. I'm obsessed with the question, why can't I fix myself?

I'm perfect all day, then every night I'm so tired, so frustrated with myself, so unhappy about what I've done to myself, that suddenly I don't care about any of it. I'm in a vicious cycle of self-destruction.

Tonight I really feel like I've hit bottom. I don't think I can feel much worse than I do right now. Oh, I suppose another 100 pounds might make feel worse, but I'm not sure I would get there because I'm pretty sure the weight I am right now is going to kill me first.

All that being said, I think it's time I made a change. I came home and put all the cookies and praline pecans I bought last night (and ate about half) down the garbage disposal. I wanted the food out of the house, and I wanted to show myself that this food is garbage. This is what makes me feel so awful.

I had a banana for a snack when I came home, with a big glass of water. Dinner is broiled tilapia and roasted Brussels sprouts. Then it's bed, then it's the gym tomorrow morning. I'm even going to set the alarm for 5am. Wish me luck because I'm going to need it to make it through Day 1 and into Day 2.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm just not a caveman

I tried to do the Whole 30 this past week, on and off. Actually, more off than on. I have issues with it. It made me feel awful. Maybe it wasn't the diet, maybe I was coming down with something, but I felt yukky all week.

Deleting entire food groups from my diet didn't feel right. Milk, grains, legumes. Bad for me? The thoughts on how and when to exercise also concern me.

There are good things about eating like a caveman. Eating real food, eating organic when  possible makes sense. Deleting dairy and grains doesn't make sense. 

I know the primal/paleo diet works for a lot of people. I know this because I read it on their blogs. As much as I wanted to embrace the Whole 30, I just don't think it's a good fit for me.

That being said, what is my plan? I don't know. I'm still trying to figure it out. Who knew that at almost 57 years old I still wouldn't have this figured out.

My weight this morning, 216.4. Talk about feeling yukky. As my sister used to say right after her stroke (when she could still talk a little), I--am--mis--er--a--ble.

Today was my first day at making an honest effort of eating carefully, getting in 30 minutes of exercise (walked at lunch and it was painful), and logging my food. Lots of water.

I wore my BodyMedia all day. I was surprised it said I was active one hour and 45 minutes (how did that happen?), and had burned 2471 calories by 8pm. Calorie consumption 1675 (and I weighed and measured everything I ate today).

Well, it's late and I have a book to read for a book club thing I'm doing tomorrow at work. Not sure how I got talked into it, but I said I'd go to the first meeting. Downloaded the book to my Kindle, but guess I actually have to read it now.  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. No idea what it's about, only that I have to read it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A rough start with Whole 30

I really thought this would be a good weekend to start the Whole 30 plan. My husband was out of town so I had complete control of what I ate. Or did I?

Saturday went pretty well until about 8pm. I spent the day with my sister. First, her two-hour hair appointment (and she looked gorgeous when they were done). Then Magic Mike. Turned out not to be as fun or interesting as I thought. Stupid subplots, didn't like the character The Kid. Hated Matthew McConaughey's character. Now Magic Mike, he was "interesting", but the movie was a lot more raunchy than I expected. I know, what should I have expected, it was a male stripper movie.  Basically, another stupid movie.

It was 6pm after the movie (where I avoided popcorn or diet Coke - a nasty habit I acquired recently). My sister's normal bedtime is 5:30pm. She sleeps 12 hours a night. I read this is normal post-stroke. At least she doesn't take a nap in the afternoon anymore. She was too tired to go out to eat and indicated she wasn't hungry. However, I asked her, "how about some ice cream?" and she smiled and nodded yes. We stopped at Baskin and Robbins. I got her a scoop of Pralines 'n Cream and nothing for me. 

So all had gone well, except I hadn't eaten anything since 11am. I got home at 7pm. I was starving! I still hadn't gone grocery shopping for Whole 30 foods. I had lots of stuff I could eat. Vegetables, fruit, chicken, fish. Dinner was talapia and brussels sprouts, with a cup of blackberries for dessert. I was still starving. I stood in the pantry and spotted a box of Carmel popcorn. The kind you pop in the microwave and then but a slab of caramel on it to melt. I ate both packages.

Sunday was worse. I was exhausted, probably from all the sugar and a bad night of sleeping. I just didn't care. I had major house cleaning to do, so I ate whatever, then slept four more hours. Got up at noon and cleaned like a manic.

So the whole weekend was a bust. No exercise. Bad eating.

Today I'm trying again. My healthy lunch is packed and I have really good intentions (again) today. The goal is to just get through the day. Just one day of eating healthy, whole foods. Certainly I can do one day, right?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Whole 30 and Dirty Dozen

Second post in one day, I must be feeling better!

I just skimmed through It Starts With Food on my Kindle. This is really going to be a major change for me. I'm curious about the outcome so I feel really motivated to do it. Weight loss would be great and is my ultimate goal, but feeling better by not eating all the crap I've been eating is even more exciting.

Although I'm not sure I'm completely on board with everything they're suggesting, I'm willing to give it a try. I'm suspicious about cow's milk being unhealthy, but they're logic makes sense. I agree about artificial sweeteners. I was pretty sure that Stevia is not all that healthy and the authors validated my thoughts.

A couple links for you, one is the link to the It Starts With Food website with a lot of free downloads, like how to get started with the Whole 30 and even a shopping list (which is in my purse right now): 

They have so much information on their website you almost don't need the book, although there's a lot of explanation as to why you should follow this eating plan in the book. 

Also, a link to the Dirty Dozen, which I think everyone needs to review.

That's it for now. Getting off this computer and getting my day going. Wonder if there's anything acceptable in my kitchen to eat for the Whole 30. Definitely going to be a challenge.

Feeling more like myself

For the last few months, I've haven't felt well. I didn't know what was wrong, but I was always tired and borderline unhappy. Not depressed, just not really happy. In fact, I didn't feel like I was feeling anything. It was weird and not at all like how I usually feel. I was not normal, mentally or physically.

I blamed it on my weight gain of 40 pounds in the past seven months. I'm sure that was part of it, but yesterday I realized something else that changed about two months ago.

A quick recap of the past nine months:

August 2011 - Broke my wrist while bicycling and was in a fingertip to elbow cast for three months (first month was a fingertip to shoulder cast). Told would most likely have surgery. Missed a ton of work since I couldn't type (I'm a software developer). Fortunately it all healed and no surgery, but a stressful period.

Sept 2011 - My sister had a catastrophic stroke that left her completely paralyzed on her right side, unable to speak intelligibly, read or write. Previously a very active woman and now she's in a wheelchair.

Nov 2011 - After a battle with her eldest daughter, my niece, whom I no longer speak to (she is seriously crazy), I was appointed my sister's legal guardian by the State of Alaska.

Dec 2011 - Found out from my sister she'd been abused when I visited her at her assisted living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I live in Seattle. I can't tell you the horror of her trying to explain to me about the "bad" person. The only word she could say, "bad", over and over and point to her window. And her unending tears as she tried to tell me who had hurt her and what had happened, both of which I'll never know for sure because I can't understand her.

Jan 2012 - Moved my sister to Seattle to live close to me in a wonderful adult family home.

Feb 2012 - Filed a Vulnerable Adult Order of Protection with the state to keep my crazy niece away from my sister for the next five years.

Mar 2012 - Started a high-pressure, intense project at work with a very tight, unrealistic, but government-imposed deadline. Very much outside my comfort zone on this project.

Apr 2012 - Started breaking out in horrible hives, first a couple times a week, then every day. Huge red welts would appear for no apparent reason and itch like crazy, on different parts of my body on different days. And of course, let's not forget the lip swelling that happened randomly and made me look like a freak-a-zoid. It was misery.

Late Apr 2012 - On the advice of a nurse, I started taking a 24-hour Claritin on a daily basis. The hives and lip swelling immediately stopped. It had happened three times the day before. I was about ready to go to the emergency room.

Late Apr 2012 - June 28, 2012 - felt out of sorts. Extremely tired all the time. Eating out of control. Exercise almost non-existent. Often would get up early, get dressed to go to the gym, but wouldn't go. Too tired.

June 29, 2012 - yesterday - I got up, started to take the Claritin as I have every day for two months and although I have been hive free for that entire time, I decided to not take it. The pressure has lifted at work, my sister stuff has settled into a comfortable routine. I haven't spoken to the crazy niece since February and doubt I will ever speak to her again. Did I really need to continue taking the Claritin? I decided no, it was time to stop it.

Within only a few  hours, I felt different. I felt like myself. It was very weird. I was sitting at my desk yesterday and thought, why do I feel so different? What changed? I feel happy. I feel excited about my plans for July 4th. Life isn't bad.

I hadn't felt that feeling for months. Then it hit me, I stopped taking a pill I'd been taking every day for two months. Even though they claim Claritin has little to no side effects, I really noticed a difference in myself when I stopped taking it. I also slept better last night than I have in a long time. Like a rock. I didn't wake up once all night which is unusual. 

I feel ready to get back on the wagon. My wagon of choice this time around is the Paleo diet. Thanks to Lyn's post ( and this one) regarding the Whole 30, I thought this is a good time to figure out what foods make me feel good and the ones that make me feel lousy. If that tiny little Claritin pill has such a huge impact on my body, I know all the junk I'm dumping into my body must really be playing havoc with my physical and mental health.

I've got the book, It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, downloaded to my Kindle. I've skimmed it but will do some serious reading today and get the right food in the house (and the wrong food out of the house).

Today's plan:
Reading (the book referenced above)
Grocery shopping (including the Farmer's Market)
House cleaning - yuk
Take my sister for a color/cut and maybe a movie if she's up to it see a movie. Magic Mike - don't laugh - she loves that kind of stuff. I think she'll get a kick out of it. gave it an 80% rating (okay, I'll admit it, I love Matthew McConaughey).

Tomorrow - I will try to mow our lawn if it dries out a little. I have never mowed our lawn or even tried to start the lawn mower. We've lived her 14 years but it's my husband's thing. It hasn't been mowed in five weeks. I've never seen it this tall. My husband is usually a freak about the lawn, , always working on it trying to make it the nicest lawn in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, he's in Denver again this weekend. Fifth time in the last six weeks (and he just started a new job five weeks ago).

His dad was taken to ER again on Thursday but is back at the nursing home today. His dad is complaining he can't breath. He's on oxygen, but he can't get enough. It's the emphysema. Damned smoking for the past 50 years. I wish the Federal government would make cigarette sales illegal and put the tobacco companies out of business.

The tobacco industry is something I will never understand. I understand the whole financial aspect of it, the big business, the jobs that would be lost, the taxes the state and federal governments would lose, the revenue for the Indian tribes (we have an Indian Smoke shop on almost every corner here), but I just don't get it. Cigarettes are poison. They kill people. Slowly and painfully. Yes, I know it's a choice but it doesn't make any sense that it's okay to sell cigarettes. Okay, stepping off my soapbox. This is a weight loss blog, not an anti-smoking blog. Still, it just makes me crazy!

Okay, until tomorrow. I plan to be back to daily posting now that I'm myself again. :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Easy to talk the talk, Hard to walk the walk

Within five minutes of writing my love myself post yesterday, I caught a glimpse of myself in our hallway mirror. I actually said to myself, spoken out loud (husband out of town again this weekend), "Watch out, wide load coming through!".

This negative self-talk is one of the hardest things for me to stop doing. I do it all day long and constantly catch myself either thinking or saying really cruel comments about my appearance. It's especially difficult now because I really don't like the way I look. I'm actually horrified by the distortion of my body and face. If anyone else talked to me like I talk to me, they wouldn't be someone I'd associate with at all. Kind of hard to do that when the person that continually puts me down is me. I'll continue to work on this, and try to say positive things in my self talk, but it's really hard!

My husband is in Denver this weekend with his dad. It's a good thing he flew down there Saturday morning. The hospital discharged him from the hospital on Friday, and took him by ambulance back to his little apartment. The poor guy can barely walk, couldn't even get out of bed. Since he refused rehab they said they had no choice but to send him home.

When my husband got there yesterday morning his dad said he really didn't feel well and thought he needed to go to the emergency room. Another ambulance ride back to the hospital. So Father's Day will be spent getting him moved into a rehab center to try to help him get strong enough to live on his own, although highly unlikely he'll ever move back home. Smoking = emphysema. Bad stuff. 

My plans for the day:

First, a 9:45am spin class. Even though my eating is still not where it should be, I have managed the gym for three days in a row. It's extremely hard to exercise at my current weight (213) and going to the gym is like going to a place of torture. There's really no other way to say this:  I hate it! There's a reason you don't see a lot of really obese people at the gym. I totally understand Who would want to go to a place where everything you do hurts? You'd have to be crazy. Or have to desperately want to lose weight.

There was a study published a few months ago stating exercise really only attributes to about 3% of our overall weight loss. I've always know this is true. I didn't know the exact percentage but you know when you burn 300 to 500 calories at the gym that really doesn't amount to much in food. Building muscle is good, but it still doesn't make that much difference in weight loss. Eating less is what's really important. What exercise does for me is work my mind. I get in the right mindset to lose weight. So my number one priority now is get to the gym, no matter what. No excuses.

The rest of the day is sister day. Our Sunday routine is usually a movie and a late lunch or early dinner. We're going to attempt to see The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel again. The last time we tried to see this movie, it was sold out. It was at a very small, privately owned theater, that I thought would be fun to go to, but their movies sell out quickly. Plus parking was a nightmare. Today we'll go to the big chain theater where I can buy the tickets through Fandango. This time, no movie popcorn for me and dinner will be grilled fish (not steak like last time). It's all about the choices I make.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

If I love myself...

I picked up a book the other day. It was used, in a big pile of used books we had at work, and it was only $.50. It's a self-help book, and a review on the back cover says "An excellent book for restructuring one's life and finding self-esteem and self-love." I hesitate to give the title yet until I've read some more. The author is listed as a "metaphysical" lecturer. I'm not sure how I feel about that so I want to read more to make sure it's not some nut-case book that I'm recommending.

This book isn't about weight loss, but the few pages I've read so far have really helped me get my head in the right place for exercise and dieting. Since I've been on a self-hate mission, using food as my method of self-destruction, I know I have issues in the self-esteem, self-love arena.

It's no secret that I've really been struggling with my weight. I've gained back a lot of the weight I lost. My weight this morning is 213.6. I was actually attempting to be careful in what I ate last week, and went to the gym three times, but I still gained three pounds in a week. Obviously, I have a problem.

In this book, there are exercises for the mind, as seems to be the rule of most books on self-esteem (this isn't my first). The book stresses the use of positive self affirmations, which have never come easy for me. Loving myself versus my natural state of hating myself is not something I'm good at doing.

This is the exercise I'm on now.

Exercise:  I Love Myself

Take a pad of paper and at the top, write, "I LOVE MYSELF; THEREFORE..."

Finish the sentence in as many ways as you can. Read it over daily, and add to it as you think of new things.

There's more to this exercise, the "Claim the New" where you visualize or imagine what you are working toward. Fill in all the details. Feel, see, taste, touch, hear. Notice other people's reactions to your new state. 

Sounds like a weight loss book.

My list so far:

I love myself; therefore...

I will eat healthy foods in moderate portions.

I will cook for myself. I am worth the time and effort. 

I will eat very little processed foods. I deserve better.

I will exercise daily to keep my body and mind healthy.

I will not talk mean to myself when I look in the mirror. 

I will not talk mean to myself when I step on the scale.

I will not talk mean to myself when I get dressed in the morning. 

I will not talk mean to myself. Period. 

I will not worry about what people think about my weight gain. It doesn't matter what they think. This is my problem, not theirs.

I will be kind to myself even though I've gain a lot of weight. 

I will understand there are reasons I gained the weight and not blame myself or call myself stupid and ugly because of it.

I will accept responsibility for what I have done to myself, but not hate myself because of it. 

I will not condemn myself repeatedly during my day for gaining weight. 

I will love myself. 

I will be gentle with myself. 

I will be understanding when I go off my plan, and not criticize myself repeatedly with words of hate and shame.

I will be encouraging to myself.

I will drink lots of water and not use the excuse at work that I don't have time to go to the bathroom.

I will resume my healthy habits that I've neglected, such as taking my daily vitamins and supplements.

I will discontinue getting a small buttered popcorn at the movies every weekend with my sister. I don't even like it that much and it's very unhealthy. 

I will track my food. Bite it, write it. Regardless of which weight loss plan I choose, this is critical in weight loss. Again, I'm worth the time and effort.

I will buy some clothes that fit so I'm comfortable and look presentable. It's just a size, it doesn't make me a bad person to wear a larger size.

I will approve of myself instead of continually disapproving of my every action.

This is my list off the top of my head. I'm sure there will be many more things that I will add to it.

Sixteen years ago, during one of my many weight loss attempts, I lost 108 pounds (I was 123 pounds, 5' 6" and actually, a little too thin). My husband told me something I've thought about a lot lately. He said "when  you're thin, you're a different person. You're happy and positive about life. You want to do things. When you gain weight, you're not happy and your entire personality changes."

He wasn't necessarily being critical, and since I was at a low weight I took it as a compliment. He spoke the truth. I am a different person on the outside when I gain a lot of weight, and as unfortunate as it may be, that changes the person on the inside too. 

If I love myself, I will do this.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Standing on my own two feet

Yesterday wasn't a perfect day, but it was a much better exercise and food day than I've had in the past month.

Even though I didn't make it to the gym, I still burned over 2500 calories according to my BodyMedia (which I'm wearing again). I worked in the yard, specifically, I pulled weeds and planted flowers. I use to love working in the yard. The feeling of a weed-free flower bed and beautiful flowers planted by my own hand always delighted me in the past.

Yesterday, as I was on my hands and knees pulling up stubborn weeds, with every part of my body aching, I kept asking myself "why did I ever think gardening was fun?". It's hard work, and getting up from being in an on all-fours position when I weigh 208 pounds was particularly painful. A few times I thought I might not be able to get up. Which made me realize just how quickly my body has fallen apart. The lesson learned is that if I don't take care of my body, it won't be able to take care of me. It was an eye-opening experience.

Even though I'm almost 57 (in August) I've never felt old in my entire life. I always thought I felt and looked younger than the number of years I'd been on this earth. I was able to pull that off with only spurts of exercise during my life until I hit my fifties. Then I realized daily exercise wasn't optional anymore. Once I hit 50 my entire body changed and not for the better either. I think Cher said it best in an interview with Oprah a few years ago about getting old (Cher was 61 at the time). It sucks.

Since I have no desire to end up disabled from my own stupid neglect of my body, it's time I get serious about taking care of myself. There's no guarantees I still won't end up in a wheelchair, but why throw the odds in the favor of being disabled. I have enough bad stuff in my genetic makeup to make that happen without me adding to it. The odds are already against me due to a history of strokes in the women of my family (two aunts on my mother's side, my mother and my sister).

The threat of not being able to stand up on my own two feet or get up if I fall are certainly motivators for living a healthy lifestyle. Never mind being able to fit into my jeans, which would be nice, but  being able to walk when I'm in my eighties would even nicer.

Plans for today
My husband is in Denver this weekend (he was there last weekend too). His dad is in the hospital due to severe emphysema. My father-in-law's smoking is the direct cause of his emphysema. He'll be on an oxygen tank the rest of his life, but at 78 and in poor health, the rest of his life probably isn't going to be much longer. My husband said his dad keeps saying he feels like he's not getting any oxygen even though they're giving him as much as possible. It's a very sad situation.

That reminds me, I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, but my sister and brother-in-law smoked for over 40 years. If you remember, my brother had a major heart attack two years ago and died suddenly at 73. My sister's doctors said the smoking probably contributed to her stroke. Even though both of them had quit smoking 15 years ago, and had been going to the gym daily for the previous four years, the damage to their bodies had already been done. Dying suddenly was awful for my brother-in-law, but the stroke my sister had is a fate worse than death. Not that I'm telling you anything you don't already know. Just something to think about if you're a  smoker.

Sunday is always my day with my sister. I'm still not sure if the weather is going to hold out for the zoo and aquarium. The forecast for this afternoon is only partly cloudy versus how it looks right now, which is very cloudy and dark. Either the zoo or a movie and lunch. Depends on the weather.

The main exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum is GLBT centric erotic art. I don't have a problem with the GLBT thing, just not sure if my sister is up to seeing erotic art of any kind (my sister is 73). Still, the paintings are by Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keefe (love her stuff), and some other very famous artists so it's still a possibility.

Funny thing about Georgia O'Keefe, I had some large, framed prints of hers in my living room for years. I loved them. They were of giant flowers and I thought they were just beautiful. I never thought of them as erotic, I just thought they were pretty. I read some articles on Georgia yesterday and the critics were saying her flower artwork was erotic. What? Who thinks up this stuff? It's just pretty paintings of flowers. Maybe the art museum is still a good idea. GLBT erortic art. Right. That's just someone's interpretation of the art. I suspect I'll think differently.

Before I pick up my sister, I have to quickly clean up the house since I neglected it yesterday in favor of the yard. Then I have to pick my husband up at the airport at 7pm. It's going to be a busy day!

Today I will stay focused on healthy eating and being active, knowing that everything I do now will help me remain healthy for the rest of my life. It will help me to continue to stand on my own two feet.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Now it's time to work on me

As in the case of most weight loss blogger disappearances, no news is usually not good news. I've been gone from here almost a whole month. It's not been a good month. Let's start with my weight. 


I feel really awful about my weight gain. I hate being this fat. I feel and look terrible. The emotional and physical pain of being obese is overwhelming. I'm angry at myself that I let this happen. 

I've been wallowing in self-pity for weeks, actually, more like months.  Once I lost control, I couldn't get it back. No food was off limits, and portion control wasn't even something I thought about. The gym, I think I went three times in the last month. 

After being in control for most of the last four years and maintaining my weight under 180 after starting out at 240 in 2008, I thought I had beat my food demons. I was wrong. I wasn't safe from my crazy obsession with food. I struggled but I was slowing losing the battle. 

There is a bit of good news to this sad post. I feel ready to get back in the game. 

I've been reading Bob Harper's book,The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin. Although I haven't been following any of the rules, I've been thinking about them. I'm ready to start. Today. This very minute. 

Almost everything else in my life has been difficult as well, but things are finally starting to turn a corner. Life goes on, things are getting better.

My husband and I are getting along really well the last few weeks. Probably because he went back to work at a great job that he loves. He was out of work for ten months. That was a lot of stress on both of us, a lot of arguments, and he was depressed. He's definitely a lot happier now which is good for both of us.

Things have finally settled down with all things involving my sister. I don't speak to my crazy niece (her oldest daughter). Our last conversation, which was hideous, was in mid-February. There's a Vulnerable Adult Order of Protection filed with the court for my sister against my crazy niece. It's good for five years. My niece has been hospitalized twice for psychiatric issues in the past month and has been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic. I told you she was crazy. 

All of my sister's property in Fairbanks has been sold. Her house closed last week, and it was a cash sale. It was the easiest real estate transaction I've ever been involved in. It closed exactly two weeks from the time of the offer. Best real estate agent ever, Fairbanks, Alaska, Somers and Associates, Judy Somers. The person that bought my sister's house is a surgeon in Fairbanks and he's going to clear some of the 123 acres of land and have a hobby farm. Just like my sister and her husband did 15 years ago. That made me smile.

I've had an auction of all my sister's personal belongings and her farm equipment. Faribanks Auction, Joe Campbell, best auctioneer I've ever met. Okay, the only one I've ever met but he was wonderful. 

My sister's 2010 and 2011 income tax has been filed (that was a major task). My permanent guardianship has been granted and the Inventory and Guardianship Implementation Plan has been filed with State of Alaska. They told me it looked great and there shouldn't be any problems on getting it approved. It took me weeks days to pull it together. 

My sister and I have settled into a comfortable relationship. I pick her up on Sunday and we do something fun together. The outings vary, and she always seems to enjoy herself. Last week we went to a movie and out to dinner. The weekend before we went to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma (ever heard of Dale Chihuly?). We watched a glass blowing demonstration, toured the museum and had lunch at the museum (delicious Argentinian food), then a movie. This weekend I'm thinking about taking her to the Pt. Defiance Zoo if the weather is half-way decent (not looking like it now), or maybe lunch and the Most Exotic Marigold Hotel movie. She loves movies. Next weekend it's the movie Prometheus for sure. My sister loves science fiction (I do too!).

My sister's condition hasn't changed for several months. She's stabilized. She talks all the time, but I can't understand a word she says, other than an occasional okay or bye-bye. She can't write and I'm unsure if she can read. She acts she can read but then when she orders food at restaurants she always points to the pictures. If there aren't any pictures, she asks me to pick something. She's still completely paralyzed on the right side. There's very little hope that she'll ever get better. She nods yes and no, but often gets them mixed up.

As a last ditch attempt to see if there's anything else that can help my sister, I'm taking her to see a neurologist in Seattle next month. I'm not hopeful, but it's worth a try.  

I adore my sister and I'm happy I can be there for her. One thing I've learned from all of this is that having a severe stroke like my sister is probably one of the most horrific things that can happen to a person. Not being able to communicate is the worst part. I could handle being paralyzed on one side and being in a wheelchair, but not being able to speak or write is unbelievably frustrating for her and everyone around her. We manage and make the best of it, but it's not easy. 

One last thing to mention, my job. It has been a really rough few months with a lot of 55+ hour weeks and working on weekends. We made our deadline on our project, and it's in the testing phase by our QA team. Now there's a hard push to fix all the bugs. I currently have 35 bugs assigned to me. A lot of them are because I took on the bugs of another developer that's still working on writing code for the reporting piece of the project. It's going to be tough to get through the next three weeks, but it still won't be as bad as the past three months. The past three months have been a tiny piece of hell at work.

So that's my life in a nutshell. Work was rough, but better now. My sister's situation has finally settled down. My marriage is in a good place. So now it's time to work on me. My weight loss and my health. Diet and exercise - here I come!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chasing Daylight & finding happiness

I'm reading a really good book, Chasing Daylight by Gene O'Kelly. Because of this book, I had one of the best days I've had in a very long time. The author, a CEO of a major global company, tells the true story of the last three months of his life. He had inoperable brain cancer. When he's diagnosed, he's told by two top neurologist that he has three months to live. I know this sounds terribly depressing, but it's not. It's one of the most uplifting and moving books I've ever read. It's about how to live your life. It's really making me stop and reassess my life.

I took the day off from work and decided I wouldn't feel guilty about it. I had a hectic weekend getting the final paperwork together for my guardianship implementation plan and inventory for my sister. I put the finishing touches on it this morning (it's about 100 copies), had seven copies made at the UPS Store. Had my original notarized and certified mailed to the Alaska Court. Then the four other copies sent to the the four interested parties. I'm so glad that's finished. It was a huge project and has been hanging over my head for two months. It's not due until May 28 so I'm getting it sent in a couple weeks early.

Today I decided to take my sister to have her hair done, color and cut. There's a 40% discount on Monday's at the salon for the month of May on Mondays. Since their services are rather pricey that's a great savings. I also had her brows waxed and tinted. She loves getting her hair done (something I personally hate), so she was very happy on the outing.

Before I left to pick her up, I read a few chapters of Chasing Daylight. It really put the whole sister thing in a different light. Instead of feeling like it was chore to be with my sister, it felt like a gift.I had a whole different attitude about it. We had a really fun time together. After her hair and brows were done, we went for a walk near her home (the assisted adult family home). It was a spectacular day. Sunshine and 75 degrees. We walked (well, she "wheelchaired") for at least 15 blocks, then turned around and went back to her home. There was a perfect breeze and it was a perfect day.

When I came home, I decided I'd do more of the following in my life. These pictures are from this afternoon.

Enjoy the cherry blossoms in our front yard. There have been years (and this one almost one of them) that I barely even noticed this amazing tree.

Enjoy the perennials that come to life without any help from me. The bleeding heart is so beautiful. Again, there have been years when I saw it from the window but never even stepped outside to appreciate it.

Look up at the sky, under the umbrella of our huge maple tree. I love this tree. 

Spend more time with this guy, Mickey (fondly referred to as Mickey Mouse...get it, a cat named after a mouse). This is the coolest cat I've ever met (but I say that about every pet I've ever had). But guy really is special. Comes when he's called, cuddles when I want to cuddle, and loves to wrap his paws around my ankles when I come home, forcing me to pick him up. Who could resist?

Work less. Yes, I mean that sincerely. This was my cubicle about two weeks ago. Someone put up police tape as a joke because I told them to all stay out of my cube! I had work that had to get done and couldn't talk to anyone! Yes, work less is one of my goals.

Eat great food. This was my dinner. And yes, that is a small hamburger in the lower left corner. It's grass fed, 1/3 of a pound of beef, and it did taste delicious. I rarely eat beef, but today I wanted beef, so I had beef (soaked the fat out on a paper towel - but really, didn't worry too much about it). There's avocado on the salad and olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing. It was my only meal today and it was wonderful. I didn't intend to only eat one meal today. It just happened. Not a big deal.

Ah, the sun. I love the sun. When it shines here in Western Washington, I want to stop and just appreciate it. We don't get enough of it, and I want to soak it up when it's here.

My bare feet in the cool, moist grass. It felt great!

Read more, and read better quality books. The last three books were stroke books (possible therapies, the details of what happens during a stroke and after, how to prevent a stroke, etc.). They were as depressing as it can get. I need to read books that fill my soul. Chasing Daylight is one of those books.

Eat fresh, perfect, sweet strawberries. These were incredible strawberries. 

There's a whole life to live. It's not a downer to be alive. My sister isn't a downer. In fact, she's an inspiration. To have gone through what she's gone through in the last seven months and still laugh at herself when she does crazy stuff (her world is a little upside down and backwards), well, she's nothing short of amazing.

I think I found my happiness.

Health and happiness - lacking both

I can't remember the last time I posted, but I know I didn't say much. I've been quiet because it seems like all I do is whine and complain about my life.

I've continued to eat poorly and not exercise. The result is continuing weight gain. My last weigh in on Friday was 202 pounds. I feel and look like hell.

Then there are the hives that are occurring more frequently. I had a hive breakout Thursday night, Friday morning and Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday night. No hives on Sunday. Then this morning was the worst one yet, with big, red welts from my knees up to my breasts, and both arms.

I went to the gym this morning when the hives started and were only a few splotches on my stomach. This whole hive thing started when I started slacking with my workouts and eating a lot of processed foods. My workout was good today, but the hives got worse during my my hour at the gym. By the time I was done with my workout I felt like my entire upper body was on fire, and I was an itchy mess.

The hives also started exactly one week after I was made my sister's permanent guardian on February 28. This means I'm responsible for her for the rest of her life. She's 73 and in spite of having a major stroke, she's in perfect health. Even her blood pressure, without blood pressure medicine, is normal. She'll probably live several more years. I have mixed feelings about this. I love her to pieces, but I know she's not happy, trapped in a body that doesn't work on one side, and unable to communicate through speech or written word. Her life isn't easy.

Strangely, when I take a shower the hives calm down and disappear in about thirty minutes. I thought maybe I was allergic to our laundry detergent. I switched to a no dye, no perfume, made for sensitive skin laundry detergent a few weeks ago. It hasn't made any difference.

The funny thing about not having hives on Sunday is that I spent several hours with my sister. She was having a screaming, crying fit when I arrived because of an incident that happened at the home with another resident at lunch. An old man fell, couldn't get up, and the caregiver had to call the paramedics to help him. He wasn't hurt, and was resting in his room when I arrived.

My sister was furious with the caregiver for not helping the old man when he was on the floor, but he weighs about 220, and is a big guy. He refused to try to help himself and he was wailing his arms, hitting anyone that came near him. Then my poor sister, paralyzed on one side, in a wheelchair, tried to help him, and another resident screamed at her to stop because she could get hurt. My sister was extremely upset about this incident. I arrived about an hour after it happened and my sister wanted to make sure I knew about it. I didn't get the information from my sister because she's impossible to understand, but I got it from another resident that tells me everything that goes on at the home.

The caregiver came in and tried to calm my sister down, but it made it worse. My sister screamed at her, crying the whole time. This was very stressful, yet I didn't break out in hives. I never break out in hives when I'm with my sister.

My sister finally calmed down and let me do her hair and makeup so we could go to the movies. We saw The Avengers in 3D, and it was really good. I think she like it. She always seems to enjoy going on outings. She put her one 3D glasses on and when I looked at her I realized they were on upside down, which was pretty funny.

I still haven't seen my regular doctor about the hives, but I don't know what she can do for me anyway. The doctor I saw six weeks ago prescribed a heartburn medicine, Zantac, because he said it sometimes had the side effect of preventing hives. I've never had heartburn and it certainly didn't help the hive situation. After I gave the doctor a two-minute overview of my life, he was positive the hives were stress induced. He told me I needed to learn how to relax. I wish it was that easy to not worry about stuff and just take each day as it comes. Unfortunately, I haven't figured that out yet.

I thought about taking an anti-anxiety drug, but after I read about the common side effects, there's no way in hell I'm taking that stuff. I'm not much for taking drugs anyway, and these anti-anxiety drugs sound downright scary. I know a few people that take anti-anxiety drugs, two of my nieces and a good friend, and although they seem relaxed about things and rarely get upset or worried, it's changed them in other, undesirable ways. I'm sure someone reading this will tell me they take anti-anxiety meds and they're fine, and I'm sure that's true for a lot of people. I'm just not willing to add another thing to my life the might cause me harm. I've done enough of that already.

So, I need a plan. I need to lose weight, get healthy and hopefully, stop the hive outbreaks. 

1. Cut out ALL processed foods, count calories.

I didn't realize how easily I'd fallen into the processed food trap. SmartOnes, Lean Cuisines, when I'm trying to eat healthy. Then I eat junk when I just don't care what I eat (which is often!).  Portion control? That hasn't even been on my radar.

2. Exercise

I have to workout almost every day. I feel better, I eat better, I work harder at trying to keep my weight under control, and exercise is good for me, mentally and physically. I can't believe how easily I went from a minimum of five days a week to one or maybe two days a week of exercise. That's just insane. It's back to my routine of "exercise isn't optional, it's a requirement".

3. Yoga

I have nine more sessions of yoga left on my prepaid card. I went once and although I really liked it, it made me nauseous. It was that stupid "put your legs in the air and pretend your riding a bicycle. That exercise always make me want to throw up. Next time I'll just skip that one and relax instead.

Well, I guess that's enough words for today. I'm making up for lost time. I'm taking the day off from work. I have some legal stuff to take care of for my sister. It's a gorgeous day and since my weekend was spent either working on paperwork for my sister (12 hours on Saturday, and 4 hours on Sunday) or time with my sister, I need a little me time. Perhaps a yoga class is in my future today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things that made me smile today...

I've seen this before, but when I saw it on a grandniece's Facebook today it made me laugh out loud. She's 21, has a four-year old, going through a divorce, works 30 hours a week at a nursing home, and goes to nursing school full time.

After my 13-hour work day today, I can't sleep so I was watching Jay Leno (way past my normal beditme), and he mentioned this video. Very cool and very sweet.

Still hanging in there, trying my best to get through one day at a time. Work is killing me!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love the sunshine

My two hours of working on my sister's paperwork and trying to organize her business receipts for the tax accountant for her 2011 taxes (just got her 2010 a few weeks ago)  turned in six hours! I hate paperwork!

However, I love our weather and I'm heading outside in a few minutes. I can't decide whether to get my bike down and go for a ride or go to the gym. It would my first bike ride since August 6, 2011, when I broke my scaphoid bone in my wrist and wore a cast for three months. I'm a little apprehensive about getting on a bike.

I'll let you know tomorrow if it's the gym or the bike ride. Tomorrow is definitely a picnic down by the water with my sister. I finally got the disabled parking placard last week so we should be able to find parking (I hope!).

I'm on track with the calories today and wearing my BodyMedia. It said I only slept four hours last night. That explains why I woke up exhausted this morning. Not sure how I'm ever going to fix my sleep issues.

I can't wait to go outside!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Worth the fight

I'm starting to get back in the groove, but I forgot how much time it takes to track my food. Oh my gosh! Weighing and measuring, writing stuff on pieces of paper then putting it into the computer at night. How did I do this for most of four years?

Actually, I know the answer to that last question. I wasn't the legal guardian for my sister that had a debilitating stroke six months ago. She left behind a very complicated, messy financial situation that I'm still trying to sort through and take care of things. The dust will settle eventually, but I can't wait for that day. It's that old story, if I don't take care of myself, how can I make sure she's taken care of?

Tracking my food isn't really that terrible or difficult. I use the BodyMedia software, which I highly recommend. They've even enhanced it since I used it several months ago. You can customize the table by selecting ten nutrients to dispaly from a list of 26. I love this feature.

Below is my food for today. It's certainly far from perfect, but it's an improvement over the past weeks and months. There's too much processed food, and wine for 211 calories? What was I thinking?! When I was eating the food, I thought I was being healthy. I had no idea that some of what I was eating was a really poor choice. The total calories aren't too bad, 1541, but I really need to watch the fat and sodium (processed food).

I didn't wake up early enough for the gym this morning. I only had 45 minutes to spare before I had to get ready for work. That's not enough time to get to the gym and complete a decent workout. Instead, even though it was pouring down rain, I convinced my husband to go for a walk with me. He's not a very fast walker so it wasn't my normal heart-pumping workout, but it was kind of fun. We were both drenched by the time we got home.

As I was getting ready for work I broke out in hives and my upper lip, left side, started to swell up. This is the sixth time this has happened in the past two months (sometimes it's the left side for the lip and hives, sometimes the right side). This time it didn't last long and was mostly gone by the time I got to work. It seems like each time it's less severe than the last time. Still, it's very disturbing. I feel like my body is attacking me.

On that note, I should mention the life coach/therapist I was seeing. I quit after three sessions. As much as everyone thinks I need some sort of therapy, it's just not for me. Even though I was an acquaintance with this person and really like her, I didn't feel like it was helping me. The first session I was excited and it was fun, the second session, not so much, the third session I walked out knowing I'd never go back.

I know this is going to get easier. I've been here before. Several times I've lost and gained weight. This time just seems harder than all the other times before, and I don't know why. What I do know is that it's not optional. This weight is killing me, and I'm worth the fight.

An afterthought:  I just remembered my phone has the BodyMedia app on it. I conveniently forgot. That should make tracking my food a lot easier!

Thursday, April 19, 2012



I know how it happened. I just can't believe that I let it happen. This is 100% on me. I did this to myself. There aren't any excuses for gaining almost 30 pounds in the past five months. I was 172 the beginning of November 2011, now I'm almost 200 pounds.

I'm trying to claw my way out of this mess. It's really difficult. Everything is harder at this weight. I can't cross my legs. My clothes are all too small. I don't recognize myself in the mirror. Exercise is excruciatingly painful. The StairMaster, which was my favorite cardio machine is now a machine of torture. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, and most of all, my heart hurts. I've asked myself over and over, why?

The absolute worse part of this that on top of all the other things I have to worry about in my life, I added being fat to the list.

I'm working on it. Two days in a row at the gym, and I tracked my calories today (too high at 2,205). Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What happened to day 3, 4, 5 and 6?

My daily posting and getting back on track my exercise and dieting just went all to hell this week.

Sunday was a day with my sister, Joyce, which sucks the life right out of me. I love her, I love taking her places and doing things with her, but it's hard to be with her for a long period of time. I'm getting better with the wheelchair transfers, her odd responses to things and her constant post-stroke nonsensical chatter. I don't want to discourage her talking because sometimes I hear a word that's familiar. So I do a lot of nodding and pretending I understand when really I don't have a clue what she's talking about. It's still hard for me, and I know it's hard for her.

Then in Monday work hit me like a ton of bricks between the eyes. I still have to take a week of on-call every ten weeks. It's highly stressful. Getting called at odd hours to be told systems are down and there are flight delays and fees can't be charged to our customers is stressful.Tuesday turned out to be free checked bags day for several of our customers in several cities. It wasn't our software, but a vendor product we put into Prod that failed. Several other systems experienced slowdowns as well, unrelated to each other and it was just an all around bad Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at work. At one point I had 34 tickets assigned to me. Very unusual.

Both Monday and Tuesday mornings at 6am I was ready for the gym, grabbing my purse to head out, and the on-call phone rang. That was the end of any thoughts of the gym as I started troubleshooting and making phone calls.

My eating has been out of control too. I'm not eating candy or anything unhealthy. Just too much food. Way too much food. I often work through lunch without even a break and suddenly realize it's 5pm and I haven't eaten all day, except for a small breakfast. I know this is wrong and very unhealthy. This has been going on for weeks because all co-workers on my project do the same thing. They don't even leave their desk during lunch. Since we're all sequestered in a room to hurry up and finish the project we're on, it's very heads down coding.  Very little talk, and no breaks. Sort of reminds me of prison. I can't wait until this project is over and I can move back into my little cubicle and eat carrots without people listening to my crunching.

Today I promised myself: 1.) take a lunch 2.) get up and stretch for 5 minutes every hours 3.) only work 8 hours and 4.) the gym. (which is where I'm going right now!).

Tomorrow is day 7, and I promise I'll have a better attitude and post. 

I'm off the on-call rotation today, and I'm dressed for the gym, ready to go.No excuses.

Today will be a better day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day two and three fourths: What a day!

I haven't had a day like this in a long time. It was a series of unfortunate events.

I worked on my sister's paperwork for two hours, from 6am -8am, trying to get the Guardianship Implementation Plan and Inventory completed for the State of Alaska Courts. It's a detailed account of her life, and it's due May 28. Remember, she had and still has a complicated life. I hate working on it, but it has to be done.

Then my husband walked into my office at about 8am and asked what I had done with the coffee pot. When I told him I gave it to Goodwill two weeks ago, he flipped out. That was the start of World War III. He hadn't used it in over a year. It was collecting dust and it was in the way. It was old and gross. I'm in a "scaling down mode", so I'm giving away a lot of stuff lately. This makes him insane. He's a hoarder. We have an ongoing battle about "stuff". I'm not into it. I hate "stuff laying around, I hate clutter and knick knacks. He's the opposite. If it was up to him, he'd never throw anything away.

In retaliation, he proceeded to remove every item from the kitchen counters and walls. EVERYTHING. I didn't argue. I didn't fight. I simply don't have the energy. Actually, I like the look, even if there is an echo in there now. I asked him if we could redecorate the rest of the house like this. I like it. It looks like no one lives here. It's a good look. I think that just made him angrier. Oh well.

Then I went to my Weight Watchers meeting. They moved. Seriously, they moved and didn't tell me. I got there five minutes late, weighed in at 15 pounds heavier than my last weigh-in in December. 198.4. Ouch.

The meeting wasn't one of my favorites. We had to get in groups and talk about our most favorite possession. I don't have one so it was hard. My Kindle? People were saying their dogs or kids, which was very weird to me because I think of a "possession" as an inanimate object. It was just a strange meeting, even though it was with my favorite leader.

The leader gave us an assignment to write down on paper twenty reasons we want to lose weight (so we can use it as an anchor, which is a great idea). We're suppose to bring it with us next week. I wrote mine out immediately after the meeting. I'll share it with you in a later post. Some of things I wrote in a hurry, and when I re-read them, it made me really sad. I'll explain in a later post.

After the meeting,  I went to the gym. StairMaster thirty minutes, weights forty minutes. A really good workout (and a lot harder because I'm a lot fatter). As I was leaving the gym I got yelled at by one of the personal trainers (he's a creepy old guy that flirts with all the women - I can't stand him).

This is what happened and I'm still fuming about it. This trainer yelled across the gym, in front of everyone, "hey girl, you didn't clean up your mess!". I didn't even know what he was talking about. I asked him, "mess, what mess?". He said I left my weights on the barbell, my little 5-pound weights. I had to remove 45-pound plates from my barbell before I could use it. I often have to move 65-pound dumbbells out of my way to use the benches, or multiple plates from barbells. I really didn't even think about removing my little 5-pound plates because everyone else leaves their stuff. I've never heard one of the trainers say anything to anyone about it. We had a few unpleasant words (I can't stand him!). Then an hour later this same trainer had the nerve to call me on my cell phone and leave a message telling me had a great deal for me on some personal training sessions. Are you freaking kidding me?! 

Then I got home and in the mail there was the application for the disabled parking for my sister, signed by her doctor. I sent it to her doctor three weeks ago and she finally returned it to me. I never realized how important disabled parking is for someone in a wheelchair. Try getting someone that is completely paralyzed on one side out of the car and into a wheelchair in a normal parking spot with a car parked next to you. It doesn't work.

I rushed off to a motor vehicles office that was open until 4:30pm today to submit the application. I got there 25 minutes before they closed. I waited 20 minutes until they called me up to the counter, only to tell me the application wasn't completed properly by the doctor. I'm really annoyed with the doctor. She's specializes in geriatrics. This can't be the first disabled parking application she's completed (she only signed it, didn't fill out the section that says "to be completed by the physician").

Next up Costco. I'll make this short. I threw the 25-pound bag of cat food into the trunk of my car. It caught on a corner of the box containing the brand new coffeepot (for my husband). It split the bag open right down the middle and filled my trunk with pellets of cat food.

What do you think, do I have some negative energy going on here or what?

The only good things about today:  1.) I have a clean and spacious kitchen and 2.) I had a good workout (in spite of that creepy trainer), and 3.) I actually tracked my food today in the Weight Watchers phone app, every bite and right now as of almost 10pm I have eaten 25 Points (I get 27 now at my new, big weight).

Oh, last but not least, my only crown (on my tooth, not my head) has been hurting me all day with on and off throbbing. It was put on three years ago, taken off six months ago and "fixed" because it hurt, and now I'm feeling pain again.

Honestly God, can you cut me any slack here?

Day 2: It's Saturday! I love Saturday!

My favorite day of the week is Saturday. I like to stay at home on Saturday and do house stuff. I actually find joy in mindless household chores. My latest thing is spring cleaning.

I've been organizing my closets, bookcases and even tackling the garage, one box at a time for the garage. It's filled with 24 years of junk, including boxes that haven't been opened since we moved into this house twelve years. I'm scaling down on the stuff. I detest useless clutter, and I want it out of my life.

Maybe seeing the 73 years of stuff at my sister's 3,800 square foot house triggered something in me, or maybe a few of those Hoarders shows, of maybe it's because I feel like it's the only thing in my life where I have control.Regardless of what caused this sudden "I've got to get rid of this stuff", it makes me feel better about my surroundings.

I started with the bathroom closet last weekend. I got rid of at least 50 bottles of hair products, and three hot roller sets, along with a truckload of other stuff (lotions, old makeup, and just stuff). I mean honestly, who needs four hot roller sets, three curling irons, two flat irons, and about 50 of those Velcro rollers (that I don't even use anymore). Now I only have one hot roller set, one flat iron and one curling iron. The stuff I kept (about 1/4 of what was in the closet) are in containers with drawers, and there are labels on the drawers. I love it! I can find anything in seconds.

I'm reading a great book that's  really helping me with the de-cluttering process. I bought it at the Half-price bookstore a few years ago, but it's still available on Amazon. "30 Days To A Simpler Life" by Connie Cox & Cris Evatt. I highly recommend this book if you are feeling overwhelmed by clutter, and if you've ever watched a Hoarder show and thought, "hmmm, if I don't do something that could become me!".

Usually on Saturday I have a list of at least 15 chores that I think must be completed by the end of the day. I never get through the list.

Today, things will be different. Five must do's on my list:

1. Update my Guardian activity log for my sister. I keep a notebook and write down every penny spent,  every phone conversation about my sister, and every chore or activity involving my sister Usually I transfer that information into an Excel spreadsheet at the end of the week. It's for the Alaska court system for when they complete a review on me at the end of the year. I normally do this once a week. I haven't done it for a month. A must do.

2. The gym for a minimum of a one-hour workout. A must do.

3. Weight Watchers meeting, 10:30am. A must do.

4. Clean out under the bathroom sinks in the master bathroom (huge vanity with lots of junk under the sinks). I don't even know what's under there, other than a few rolls of toilet paper. The goal is to clean it out, throw away as much as possible possible.

5. Work on the guardianship implementation plan and inventory for my sister. It's twelve pages of detailed information on her life. It's due by the Alaska Courts by May 28. I've been working on it, but I'd really like to complete it soon. One of those things that's hanging over my head.

Not a lot of fun stuff on the list, other than cleaning out underneath the cabinets under the bathroom sinks. That probably sounds sick and twisted, but I love getting rid of stuff. It makes my heart feel lighter.

Tomorrow is sister day, Titanic in 3D. I can't wait to see how that goes. She was an avid about going to the movies once a week before the stroke. I'm curious how she'll respond tomorrow. Hopefully, she'll understand what's going on. At least she'll be out of the house, which she seems to enjoy. I'll let you know how it goes.

Okay, back to my list.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Making a comeback

I'm stealing this idea from Tony. Good ideas are worth stealing, right?

I've been gone for far too long. I've been immersed with post-stroke sister issues and job pressures and marital problems. Somewhere along the line, I lost myself. Everyone and everything else in my life has been more important than me. I miss me. I know that sounds silly, but honestly, I often feel surreal, like I'm watching my life go by, standing on the sidelines, but I'm not in my life. Does that make any sense? Re-reading that sentence makes me sound a tad bit crazy. Perhaps I am.

I want my life back and the only way I know to do it is to take it back. Go back to doing the things I enjoy, back to doing things that are good for me. Perhaps that makes me selfish and self-centered, but I want to enjoy life. As far as I know, this is the only life I'll have on this earth. I don't want to waste it with worry and stress and misery. I want to laugh, to be happy, and to enjoy every minute.

What makes me happy? One thing is that I like blogging. I like reading other blogs about people like me, that struggle with their weight, and figure out ways to fight it. I like leaving little comments on their blogs. Therefore, taking the idea from Tony, I'm committing to 90 days of blogging. This is day one.

I wish I'd weighed this morning, but I didn't. So I'll go with yesterday's weight. 195.6. It's scary close to 200 pounds. I could be there by Monday if I don't do something drastic.

My plan for the weekend is a visit to Weight Watchers, and the gym Saturday and Sunday. Of course there's a sister visit in there too, probably on Sunday. I promised to take her to a movie, I'm thinking Titanic in 3D, but I'm not sure. I remember that movie made me cry my eyes out at the end, but it was/is a good movie. And I'm sort of in love with the new 3D stuff.

I received the May issue of the Weight Watcher magazine in the mail last night. I forgot I'd sent in for my free subscription. I had purchased a Weight Watcher cookbook  in 2010, and it came with a coupon for a free year of the Weight Watcher magazine. I sent it out in the mail two weeks before it expired back in December. Getting it in the mail last night triggered a feeling of "I've got to do something about my weight, and do it right now!".

So I'm back, and I'm making a comeback too. I'll be back every day for the next 90 days (probably more), come rain or shine, come stress on top of stress, no excuses, I'll be here. I'll be reading your blogs again. I'll even leave comments! I already feel happier.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I should have done this a long time ago

Therapy. I should have done therapy a long time ago. I tried a few times, but never liked the therapist. In the past twenty years I've seen three therapists, one session each. They all gave me books to read and lots of homework. I often thought, I'm paying you, you should have read the books and then give me the Cliff notes.

The therapist I'm seeing now is also called a "life coach" and specializes in helping people deal with stress and anger. I've known her for about ten years through Toastmasters (which I haven't attended in over two years). I've always liked her and enjoyed her company. It turns out she's an amazing therapist, and better yet, she sees me on weekends so I don't have to leave work for a "doctor" appointment every week.

After only two sessions, I'm already developing the tools to deal with my life. I feel so much better. No hives last week for the first time in five weeks. Although I did have what I guess would be called an anxiety attack on Thursday night.

I was at the gym at 6pm. I had experienced a terrible visit with my sister on Wednesday afternoon, when I visited her during her physical therapy session. I don't want to relive it, but she was filled with anger and frustration. It was awful and I left in tears. I've heard of this behavior from her before, but I had never witnessed it. To see my sweet, beautiful sister act like a bratty two-year old was more than I could handle.

The anxiety attack started while I was on the elliptical, thinking about what had happened the day before with my sister. Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I was determined to get in at least thirty minutes on the elliptical, but my breathing got progressively worse. I realized I was in trouble. It was like an asthma attack, which I haven't had in over 20 years. It was a feeling of impending death, of my own death. And the unreasonable fear that I couldn't explain or define. I was scared, but I didn't know why. Death? I don't know. The two were intertwined.

I quickly left the gym and sat in my car for thirty minutes, practicing breathing techniques for relaxation and trying to calm down. I didn't know if I should call 911 or my husband or just drive myself to the nearest emergency room. I had my heart rate monitor on, and usually after a workout my pulse will go from 145 to 56 in a couple of minutes. Even though I was sitting still, my heart rate stayed at a steady 100 or more for a full half hour. Finally, I calmed down, started breathing normally and my heart rate returned to normal. It was a very scary experience. Although I will say, I still had my sense of humor about my life. As I drove away, I thought, "well, guess the night workouts don't really work for me!". Followed by a lot of laughter (my therapist said I'm definitely not depressed...I should be, but I'm not).

Today, during therapy, we decided I should take the weekend off from my sister. I still feel wounded from Wednesday. As the therapist explained, this is not my sister as I knew her. My sister before the stoke would never scream at me and slap my hand as I tried to help her. This is my sister with brain damage. I have to accept that I will  never have my sister back the way she was before the stroke. As heartbreaking as that is to say, I know it's true. We can't communicate, she doesn't really even know what's going on most of the time. I am in the process of accepting her for who she is now, and love her the best I can. I have to stop criticizing myself for not doing enough. I've done everything I can to help her, and I've given her everything I can give. I have to tend to me, to my needs, to myself. 

Weight this morning, 195.6. Workouts this past week: 3. My tribute to this being a weight-loss blog.