Sunday, May 10, 2015

Forgiving myself

This should have posted last Monday because I set it up on a schedule, unfortunately, I never hit the "Publish" button. Since I haven't been back for a week, I didn't even noticed it didn't post. Oh's week old news.


I've been on and off diets since I was 14 years old. I've lost varying amounts of weight each time, from the ten pounds when I was fourteen, 97 pounds when I was forty-three, or 85 pounds I lost when I was fifty-four. I remember each grueling diet, each day being a struggle, and every diet was a hard-fought battle. I also remember each subsequent re-gain of the weight and the depression, embarrassment and self-hate that went with it. 

I'd like to think my weight doesn't define me, but that's simply not true. It controls my life. When I'm fat, I'm uncomfortable in my own skin and it shows. I'm not only weak physically, but my personality changes. My ex-spouse told me several times that I change when I gain weight. He said when I was thinner, I was nicer and happier. When I gained weight, it was like I became a different person, and not in a good way. As much as I despise my ex and hate to ever admit he could be right about anything, he had a point. In my defense, it makes sense that when I'm at a healthy weight, my attitude would be better than when I'm extremely overweight. 

Now that I'm older (60 in August), and I hope a little wiser, I feel differently about myself. Instead of hating myself for all my failures at maintaining a weight loss, I'm looking at all the successful weight loss attempts I've had in my life. I lost the weight, which is only part of the battle, but that alone is still a pretty amazing accomplishment.

This time around, I'm not beating myself up if I slip and don't have a perfect day. Well, at least there's not as much self-hate and self-condemnation as in the past when I've slipped. I guess I've finally accepted that I can't be perfect every second of every day. I'm human and I will fail sometimes. 

What I'm attempting to do this time around is when I fail, to not take it as the end of the world and the end of my attempt to lose weight and get healthy. I get right back in the game, and I track EVERYTHING. Even if it was a bad choice and takes me over my daily Points, I track it.  If you've ever attended a Weight Watcher meeting, you've heard this:

The secret is track, track, track. Track every lick, sip or taste. Drink all your water and when you feel up to it make sure you exercise. Take it slowly, one day at a time. 

Those are words to live by, and it's where I am right now. Tracking my food, drinking water and exercise. Although my week hasn't been perfect, it was still a good week. I'm still working on it, working on me. I'm taking it slower this time, I'm not running a race. 

Of course I'd love to be thinner and healthier right now, but that's not how I should play this game. And if I stumble and fall, which I'm sure I will, I'll get back up, brush myself off, and most importantly, I'll forgive myself. I'll move on and not dwell on the failure. I'm in it for the long-haul this time.

Weight Feb. 23, 2015:              235.0

Weight today, May 10, 2015:   216.0

Loss:  19 pounds

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I love my new 30-year old doctor!

I had my physical on Friday. I was apprehensive since I had to establish as a new patient with a new doctor. My last doctor, which I adored, moved to a clinic that's an hour and a half drive from my house. My regular clinic is about a 10-minute drive. I decided it just wasn't worth the drive to stick with my old doctor.

There's something to be said about a young doctor (she's 30). She graduated medical school in 2013 and finished her residency in 2014. At first she was a bit standoffish, but that was probably because of the email I had sent her when she canceled my first appointment five weeks ago and rescheduled for last Friday. I wasn't happy, and her response was rather curt. Not a good start for either of us.

Fortunately, after we started chatting, she warmed up to me and me to her. She's pretty cool. She had already read through my entire medical history and knew all about me, which was really nice. She pointed out that two medicines I take now can affect my liver and recommended we change one of them. She listened to my concerns, and answered my questions with very knowledgeable answers. She knows her stuff. She's obviously very smart and was very easy to talk to. In other words, I'm very happy with her. Moral of this story, give the young doctors a chance. They may surprise you.

My diet is going good. Since the pre-diabetic scare from my bloodwork (which my doctor discussed with me at length--and my weight), I'm seriously watching what I eat. I'm tracking my food, trying to stay away from added sugar, which is difficult but not impossible. I bought a blood glucose meter at Walmart. They have a cheap version, but the test sticks are a little pricey. Since I'm not actually diabetic, insurance won't cover any glucose testing supplies. I'm a little surprised how high my glucose is after fasting overnight. It was 117 (the goal is 110 - although the ADA recommends 70 - 130 mg/dl). Before bed it was 98 which is good. I'm not sure why it actually went up so high overnight. It's something I'm monitoring and have no intention of getting full-blown diabetes.

My doctor strongly recommended exercise to get keep the diabetes away (in addition to healthy eating, of course). I can't think of anything that would push me back to the gym on a regular basis more than the threat of diabetes. I wrote a post several months ago, I think it was called A cookie or my foot, or something like that referring to too many sweets and bad eating can lead to losing a body part because of diabetes. That's a reality now, and one I'm taking very seriously.

Today is supposed to be another gorgeous spring day here in the Pacific Northwest. Sunshine and 70 degrees. I love spring. It's my favorite season. It's like waking up from a long, dark, cold dream into bright sunshine and flowers. Happy days!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Friday!

I had every intention of coming back here and posting every day, but it was a rough week! After my bout of pneumonia, I've been a lot weaker and tire very easily. I just don't feel 100% back to myself. Just walking up one flight of stairs at work took everything out of me. Each day I get a little better, so I'm definitely one the mend, but it took a lot more out of me than I realized.

I was off work yesterday and today on planned vacation time. I'm not really on a vacation (I wish!). Yesterday was my company's annual awards banquet where there honor a small number of employees nominated by their peers as outstanding, exceptional employees. My best friend of 20+ years was one of the thirteen people that received the Legend award (from a company of 13,000 employees). I was invited as one of her guests so had the pleasure of an evening at the Four Seasons in downtown Seattle (fancy!). It was very fun, and I was super excited for her. She's an amazing person in general, and I'm so blessed to have her in my life. Of course, it wore me out to the point where I collapsed in bed when I got home at 11pm.

My diet and exercise hasn't been great this week. Mainly because I've just been too tired to care. Just getting through the day is my ultimate goal. I haven't been bad, just not as conscientious as I need to be in order to lose weight.

My weigh-in at Weight Watchers on Monday was great due to being so sick. They even asked me if I'd been sick when they saw my weight loss for the week of 6.8 pounds. I didn't tell them that I was actually down 10 pounds a couple days before but my appetite came back last week. They gave me my 5% charm, for my total loss of 12.4 pounds. I'm sure not winning any races this time around. But it's not a race, it's my life.

I have my annual physical today with my new doctor. I'm not thrilled about this doctor but the choices were rather limited. She just finished her residency last year, and I'm pretty sure she's not even 30. Everyone keeps telling me that's good because she's up to date on the latest treatments and technology. I've already had one encounter with her I didn't like. After waiting for my appointment with her for a month, the soonest she had an opening, she canceled on me for "personal" reasons. Okay, I accept things happen, but I had to wait another five weeks to get another appointment.

This is the thing that really bugged me about this new doctor. I did blood work and she sent me an email that said my numbers were all normal. I looked at them online and disagreed. My fasting glucose was 119. Even I know that's really high. They had also labeled the test "Random Glucose". I emailed her back and told her that wasn't a "random" test, that I had fasted as instructed. I told her I wanted an A1c test. She emailed me back and said I was right, if fasting then it was high and ordered a hemoglobin A1c test. I had the A1c test done, and it came back like this on the results: 6.2 (High). This is pre-diabetic, which is very, very bad. I expected this since I had been on a big sugar, eat whatever I wanted binge for months. I'll be sixty in a couple months. I know you can get away with bad behavior when you're young, but once the age thing catches up to you, you lose your free pass to good health. Now I have to get serious, no excuses!

Today it's back on the high road for me. Tracking food, making good choices, and I think a nice, slow walk is on the schedule too. The sun is out, and it's a beautiful day. Life is good.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Good health should never be taken for granted

The title of this post is a given, common sense, and everyone knows it. But do we really think about it until that good health has been compromised? If you're like me, probably not. We expect good health, until it's not there.

My bout with pneumonia this past two weeks was a real wake-up call. My attention and dedication to living a healthy life went on vacation the last of couple years.

I have excuses, really, I do. Let's see, there was the most horrible divorce ever. Even my attorney said he'd never seen such a contensious divorce in his 45 years of practicing law. It was also extremely expensive. This due to the other party fighting me tooth and nail on every single issue. It was very bad, but it's over and it was worth every penny and every agonizing moment to get rid of 250 pounds of ugly fat (that was my attorney's saying).

Then the rare, extremely aggressive cancer that I was diagnosed with two years ago, and hasn't resurfaced yet. Even though that should have been my original wake-up call to get healthy, it was more of a "who the heck cares what I eat or if I exercise, I'm going to die anyway". I agree, stupid philosophy of mine.

Then love. Yes, I fell deeply and madly in love with the most wonderful man in the world. I'm still in love with him, more so today than two years ago, and every day he tells me he loves me more. I'm so blessed. Even though he's a health nut, tall and slender and works out a lot, he doesn't pressure me to lose weight. He leaves it up to me. Of course he wants me healthy, but he wants it to be on my terms.

Then my dear sister died. The sister that I had been guardian of for the past 2 1/2 years. The sister I spent every Sunday trying to give her one happy day a week. Next my favorite niece committed suicide, and my beloved kitty of nine years that I loved like a baby, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Food has always been my friend during times of pain,

Things have been going pretty smoothly this year, so far. Then the pneumonia thing hit two weeks ago. It was five days of high fevers, not being able to breathe, and feeling so miserable that I just wanted to die. I actually felt too sick to go to the doctor, but my boyfriend made me. I haven't had pneumonia since I was eight years old. I'll be sixty in August. Sixty! I'm fat and out of shape. My body is old beyond it's years because I'm not taking care of it. Recovering from pneumonia is taking it's sweet time. I know this has everything to do with being morbidly obese.

Now it's time to be serious about my health. I don't want to be one of those frail old ladies that can barely shuffle along. I see them in the stores, riding in the electric carts or leaning on their baskets, moving so slowly through the store. They're usually very overweight and they have a sadness in their eyes, like life is such a miserable struggle for them. I DON'T want to be one of those ladies!

My plan is so simple. I'm feeling much better, but exercise other than short walks, is out of the question. I managed to get outside yesterday for about 20 minutes. Not much, but at least I'm moving. My eating has been good the last two days. Weight Watchers is the only way to go. It's healthy and they have made it so easy to track food.

I want my health back. It's not gone, just temporarily on vacation. I have my annual physical on Friday, which I'm dreading. I have a new doctor, since my old one retired. This one is young, just finished her residency in 2014. I'm not sure if I'm going to like her. She doesn't know I was 232 four weeks ago, and am 219 today. True, some of the weight loss was water/muscle due to my illness, but so far I'm hanging steady at 219. If she doesn't mention my weight, I will not be going back to see her. I hate doctors that pretend I don't have a weight problem. Most people would probably disagree with me, but I want her to say something. If she doesn't bring it up and ignores it, then she'll be ignoring a huge health issue of mine. I'll let you know how that goes after I see her on Friday.

It feels so good to be back to blogging. I can't believe how much I missed it. Even if people don't read a word I write, at least I'm getting my thoughts written down. It encourages me to stay honest and stay on program.

Thank you to the few of you that commented. You're so kind, and your words mean the world to me.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Did eating healthy give me pneumonia? Nah!

Four weeks ago I rejoined Weight Watchers, cut out sugar, made healthy choices, started taking my daily vitamin again, actually tracked my food. I started back to the gym, was wearing my Fitbit, walking at lunch and getting in my 10,000 steps a day. Things went pretty good for two weeks. Down a few pounds, feeling better, more alive. Life was good.

Then it all went to hell in a hand basket last week. A coworker came to work with a bad cold. Next thing you know, I'm sick. The cold turned into the flu, with 103 temperature, vomiting and diarrhea. I thought I was going to die. The flu turned into pneumonia. This all happened in one week. I saw the doctor last Monday, she sent me home for another week. My blood oxygenation was 91, which is pretty low (I've never seen mine below 98). At 91 the red blood cells can't get enough oxygen and organs can get damaged. Breathing has been difficult, and then there's the coughing. I coughed so much and so hard that my ribs ached.

I'm doing much better today. My blood oxygen is at 95, which is a huge leap from 91. I had ordered an oxygen meter online. A rather expensive one so I wouldn't get false readings. I checked it on my boyfriend and he's a steady 99 or 100. Until today I was at a steady 92 or 93, seeing the 95 is very exciting. I can feel that I'm getting better, which is a huge relief. I have a new respect for people with COPD. I have just experienced a touch of what it's like to not be able to breath easily, and it's miserable. My energy was at the lowest I've ever experienced. I actually got up, showered and dressed this morning. Life is good again.

It's truly ironic that I finally make an honest attempt to get healthy and then this happened. I suppose it's just life, slapping me down a little when I get a little too cocky about myself.

I've lost a few pounds, but it was mostly water weight and probably some muscle. Up until yesterday I could barely stand to look at food without wanting to heave. Today my appetite is back, so I'm back to tracking all my food in my Weight Watcher phone app, back to making healthy choices.

I want to come back to blogging. I doubt there's anyone that even reads my blog anymore. I always come back, post, then disappear for months. I hate people that do that because I wonder if they're okay. I'm going to try it again, this blogging thing. It was such a huge piece of my life. I miss it. I miss you guys, the few of you still out there that know me. I still ready your posts, usually once a week I catch up on you. So many people have dropped out. I always wonder what happened to them.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's not rocket science

Yesterday was sort of a fail. My eating was very healthy, but I didn't track my food after  breakfast. I didn't track it because I was lazy. I'm sure I was well within my Weight Watcher Points of 30, but I just didn't feel like making the effort to document everything I ate. I had a huge salad with about 3 oz. of cutup chicken breast for dinner, with homemade balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. It was delicious and the first salad I've had in about a year. I'll do better at tracking my food today.

Exercise yesterday was non-existent. Sometimes I wonder if I could become fused to my chair. Like I've read about that can happen to extremely overweight people when they never leave their recliner or couch. In my weak defense, I still have a terrible sounding cough from a cold I had over a week ago. It sounds a lot worse than it feels, but I didn't want a lot of stares at the gym as I hacked away while exercising. Not that I need an excuse to not exercise, because sometimes, I'm just lazy.

Today I have three simple goals:

1.) Track my food in Weight Watchers online tracker
2.) Stay within my 30 Points
3.) Go to the gym!!!  (this should really be number one)

I ordered this last week, and I'm really looking forward to listening to these CDs -- The Mind-Body Code: How the Mind Wounds and Heals the Body. Unfortunately Amazon delivered it to someone else in a different city so I won't get it until tomorrow. I think my problem is the negative voice in my head telling me I can't do this. Somehow I need to stop listening to it and get that positive, supportive voice to come back to life. I need to heal my body. 

The formula for losing weight is so simple. Eat less, move more. It's not a secret, it's not rocket science, but it's so difficult. Something is causing me to fail at this and I think it's me. I should be the one in control of what goes in my mouth, but it seems like there's something else going on here. I really need to figure it out. 

The sun is out, a real rarity this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. I think I'll go for a walk. I love the sun. Sun mixed with some exercise, it's like an antidepressant for me.

Until tomorrow....

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Off to a turtle pace start for 2015

It's been three weeks since I posted anything. Three weeks of constantly thinking I really need to do something about my weight, but not putting much effort into it. I sort of tried, but not really. I didn't eat a few boxes of cookies or bags of candy that I would have normally eaten. I only ate fast food once. I walked during lunch a few times and hit the gym once or twice a week. Isn't it strange how we make our new normal? Mine had become no exercise and eating every piece of junk I wanted.

This morning I logged into Weight Watchers. I signed up for online three weeks ago and logged my food twice during that time. Today I told myself is the day that I get serious about losing weight. Of course that voice in my head said "ha, I've heard that before!". Shut up head if you can't stay positive.

I entered my food in the tracker for today and looked at the weight tracker. I had added my weight on December 28 but hadn't touched it since then. I weighed this morning, and I really wasn't sure what my weight was before I started my half-assed attempt at losing weight. I was very surprised to see I'd lost 7.2 pounds in three weeks. Although I'm a little happy about it, part of me can't help but think if I had really made an effort, I could have lost a lot more. I know from my past efforts that when I start out at a high weight, 236 pounds this time, the weight comes off pretty easy to the beginning. At least I didn't gain 7.2 pounds. Yes, that's the bad voice in my head that wants to make me fail at this, now allowing me to be happy about what it considers a mediocre weight loss. I'm working on shutting down that voice, but a lifetime of listening to it make it hard.

I got a Fitbit Flex as a gift from where I work (we could choose anything from our company store for $100 - I chose the Fitbit). I love this thing. The few times I've actually used it, it really motivated me. Well, at least for a few days. When I didn't make an effort to exercise it was depressing to look at it. I walked yesterday at lunch and was delighted to see the walk was three miles. I had measured it on a few years ago, and I was happy to see the fitbit came up with the same distance. Fitbit results from yesterday (fitbit emailed me that I was an over achiever. Hahaha!):

I don't have an exciting scheduled today. I had a healthy, late breakfast, now some house cleaning (I love a clean house but hate to clean), a gym visit and maybe a walk with my boyfriend (he joined my gym and loves going to the gym...nice, but sometimes annoying too). Then something light and healthy for dinner. 

One day at a time is all I can do. It would be great if I could keep up a two pound a week weight loss, but I know that's not realistic. As long as I give this at least some effort, I'll be happy. I doubt I'll become a crazed maniac going to the gym five or six days a week and tracking every single bite I eat - at least not every day. That's just not me anymore. I'm pretty sure that "do or die" attitude I had was exactly what helped lead me down the path to cancer. I'm a little more relaxed about stuff these days. It's the key to a happy life. 

Yesterday was a good day. I was determined to get through it with getting in some exercise (6-mile hike in the hills in the woods) and no...