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!