Updates and Changes

Wow… didn’t mean for so much time to come between posts here!  I forget the audience (of um, all 2 of you?) here aren’t the same audience of the 1200+ people who like my Person in Progress page on Facebook (of which it really seems like only 2-5 people ever see that).  I update on FB way more often than here… just easier to bam out a couple sentences than a whole blog.
But anyway, let me fill you in (and myself… this is basically my diary of sorts that I do go back and read occasionally).
Last you heard from me was July 2018.  Feeling refreshed with a new outlook of ‘do what works for you for as long as it works, just don’t back track too much’, I went on to have a rather successful summer.

After getting all the way back up to 276.2 lbs, I restarted the next day late in late June and was down to 257.2 lbs by 21Aug2018.  Close to a 20-pound loss in 2 months.
This doesn’t sound like much (seeming I have far more to lose), but it was a BIG DEAL for me because of the constant down 4 lbs, up 4 lbs roller coaster I’d felt stuck on for the longest time.
Those almost 20 lbs were enough for me to go down a pants size and down 2 shirt sizes!  I was wearing t-shirts from my closet that were once in the ‘way too tight’ category.
It felt AWESOME.
So what happened?  Why didn’t I continue?
Stress.  More specifically, hurricane stress.

In September we had two major warnings of hurricanes to the point of seriously prepping the house, bringing items in, tying things down, buying food that wouldn’t require power to cook, stocking up on bottled water, buying a generator so we wouldn’t lose all the food in our big freezer and making sure our family photos would be easy to grab if we had to evacuate.
And what happened?  NOTHING.
Florence was a let down in the best way for our area.  Hurricane Michael came next and I could tell no one was bothering to prep as hard as we did for Florence and as fate would have it, it hit us harder, but luckily not bad enough for any major damage.
This basically took up the entire month of September.
It was really eye opening for me to realize how horribly I handled this stress.
By October I was back up to 262.  But then came my anniversary, my son’s birthday and Halloween.
Just when I was going to take back control before I regained too much after these events, my youngest daughter broke her femur.
This was a big deal for us.  Our first major ER visit.  She’s only 2 and I can’t tell you the struggle it was having a 2-year-old that was in a cast from her ribs to her toe!  Ugh.
She had that thing on for 5 weeks.  (Just imagine not being able to give your child a bath for 5 weeks… go ahead, imagine that… I’ll wait)

So at the end of that ordeal it was just in time for Christmas.
I started this year at 273.4 pounds.

So, almost a total re-gain, but I’m happy I didn’t get all the way back.  I’m already back down to 269 even though we have no money right now, my hubby isn’t working this week because of the government shutdown so we’ve been living off the food we already had in the freezer and pantry, though unfortunately not really the best quality food choices.

I’ve upped the amount/intensity of walking I was doing (which wasn’t much lately… just going out for a short walk with my daughter who now points which roads she wants us to take and had inadvertently made our walks half as long as they used to be or some nights we’d skip it all together).  Now I wait for my littles to go to bed and then I go out with just the dog so I can choose where I go and how long I’m out there.

I’ve also added in some stretching exercises because I’m not liking how stiff/sore I’ve been getting from doing nothing.  Age is a fickle mistress and everything starts to ache and hurt just from being big and existing. I just feel less limber than I’ve ever felt and it’s because I’m just not doing anything except household chores and small walks.

So I created a short, doable routine of movements to at least do SOMETHING, EVERY day.
10 squats (but I usually do 20)
10 crossover toe touches (no idea what they are actually called – you know, when you have your arms lifted at your sides, you bend and twist and your right hand touches your left toes, then you go back up and switch sides, etc.)
10 toe touches (and then reach up in between)
Side bend with over head stretch into Triangle, both sides (got this yoga combo from TurboJam)

And speaking of TurboJam, I started adding in a couple of my favorite moves from that as well to help add in some standing ab work and lift my legs.

I’ve been doing this for 5 days now and I can already feel a difference in my flexibility.  Bending over for anything is less of a deal, including putting my socks on (it’s the little things as they say).

So right now I’m basically compensating for my not ideal food intake with more exercise in addition to 16/8 intermittent fasting (which usually is more like 18/6) and of course, drinking lots of water.

So progress will be slower, but I’ll take any progress.  Down 3 lbs my first week… not expecting as much this week.  At this point, I’d be happy if I was still 269 and not back up again because of all the high sodium foods lately.

Some other notable changes…
During the holiday break time at my in-laws I actually managed to maintain my weight instead of gaining(!!!)
The familiar curse of not being able to start over in the new year and get going seems not to have hit me this year.  I was 3 days in and realized ‘oh yeah, I usually can’t get started this time of year’ and was happy I didn’t feel the holiday mindset holding on for dear life as it has in the past.  I’m waiting until some more solid progress (and maybe not until February) to officially announce “I broke the cycle!”.

We also have a new kitten.  Our cat of 17 years passed away the day we came back from holiday traveling… I think we missed saying goodbye by just a couple hours.  Although very sad, she had a long life and I can’t say I was surprised she passed.  We got our new kitten only 2 days after she passed.  Some may think we were replacing her or moving too quickly, but really getting a new kitten was something I’ve been wanting for the past few years, but our old cat had FIV (feline HIV) and I didn’t want to risk infecting a new kitten, so we waited.  I still miss her and honored her departure, but I have to admit having a new kitten around has lessened the sadness.  He’s SO DANG CUTE!
cinco kitten 9 weeks dec2018cinco kitten10 weeks dec2018
cinco kitten 11 weeks jan2019

I also have added incentive to get healthier and lose some weight (you know, more than just the usual ‘to be healthy’/live longer for my kids/blah, blah, blah… and maybe that’s been a key to breaking the cycle this year) and that is that our in-laws are treating us to a 6 night stay at a beach resort!!!

It’ll be a family thing… us, them, my brother-in-law and his wife, maybe even her adult daughter as well, but hey, other than the food and gas to get there, it’s a free vacation!  It’s their 50th wedding anniversary this year and also our 20th, so they wanted to do something big with all of us.  Sounds good to me!
And beach means bathing suit… dun, dun, dun…

I was so much more confident and fitting my clothes better when I got into the 250’s, so it’s my goal to get back down to where I was (257) and hopefully keep going.  My official goal is 250 by early June.  Five months seems more than adequate to get down 23 lbs… more than adequate, but I’m a realist… I know stuff happens and I’m obviously not the start and then go all the way to finish with nothing in between (if only!).  I would LOVE to manage to get to 249… just so I can have the satisfaction of knowing I was back in the 240’s! That literally hasn’t happened in 15 years!!!!!!!!! Wow.  OMG that would be awesome.  Just thinking about that puts a smile on my face.

I also have 3 pairs of capris I know I could rock, comfortably, for this trip if I even manage to get down to 255 lbs, not to mention all those t-shirts that are currently back to ‘too tight’ status.  So many mini goals wrapped into one big one!
I’m going to hang one of those pairs of capris prominently in my closest as a reminder of my goals so I see it every day.

So that’s about it… the gist of it anyway… things were going awesome, I let multiple sources of stress get the better of me and now I’m restarting with the New Year like an annoying stereotype and keeping a goal in mind for a family vacation as I get back to making better choices and upping my exercise… stay tuned.

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Struggling in the weight loss battle? READ THIS

I just had an epiphany.   In my 15+ years of seriously working at this weight battle, one thing is always true: I keep learning things about weight loss and myself and this is just another example.
It shocks me every time I have those ‘a-ha’ (or mostly ‘duh’) moments when I finally realize something, as you’d think after so many years, there wouldn’t be anything left to discover!
Today it was figuring out what “works”… or doesn’t.

I just realized that I’ve spent so many of those weight struggle years trying to focus only on what would work for me “long term”. That if it wasn’t something that I could see myself doing forever, then I wanted to avoid it (tracking food, excluding a food group, rigorous exercise program, etc.)
So then I struggle with what is left: moderation… not wanting to push myself *too* hard just because I knew I wouldn’t maintain that forever.
But what ends up happening? I get limited results, I struggle more and achieve little momentum to my goal, which of course bums me out, emotional eating starts, moodiness and/or depression sets in and things can end up worse than before.
But those times you start a new food program, a new book, a new exercise, etc. and you’re flying high and finally making some progress… what do you say?
“This time it’s different”, “this program is different”, “this is it” or some other variation

You think you’ve solved the riddle, figured out the magic pill, found the elusive combination that will FINALLY get you to your goal.

What happens? You only stay on it for 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, a year and eventually you stop doing whatever it was (because it lost that new shiny program feeling, among other reasons) and progress stops.

You go back to your default (for most it’s being lazier, eating more, eating not-so-great food choices) and bam, weight gain.
If you’re lucky, you only regain a little or as much as you lost… for most it’s gaining back more than you lost. Then you’re back to square one… or even behind square one with an additional mountain to climb before you even get to where you were.

Then you feel that program failed you (and worse, you failed it), so you bum out for a bit and end up waiting for the next new and different program to excite you and get you going again.

Do you know how many times I’ve said/blogged/posted/vlogged “it’s different this time” when I start a new journey? COUNTLESS.
It’s almost laughable when I think about it.
I just caught myself doing this very thing last week. I said it out loud, meant it (as usual), but then it came to me… shit, I’ve totally said this before… many times before!
And yet EACH TIME I can give you a laundry list of *why* “it’s different”.

But here’s the truth:   IT’S NOT DIFFERENT!!!!
It is not any better or special than any other program you’ve tried. It’s just that it’s new and different to YOU and because you’ve never tried and failed at it previously, you have hope and excitement again which can fuel you like a cup of coffee and drive you to try harder than you have before.
This is great, but what happens? It doesn’t last… just like all the other programs.

See, this is why people preach about changing your LIFESTYLE. To make little changes that add up so that you eventually do everything you need to do to be a healthier person long term.

BUT… if you are over 100 lbs, 50 lbs or maybe even just 30 lbs from that life of maintenance, going the ‘lifestyle’ way can take FOREVER (especially for those of us getting older who aren’t in our 20’s or 30’s anymore).

Those programs that “work”, albeit, for a short time, are exactly the spurts we need to get us down to that goal!
We need to embrace these methods to get us closer to our goal and NOT feel bad about when they stop working or we take a break from it.

It’s the in-between we need to watch out for. THAT is when you need to work on those ‘changing your lifestyle’ habits so that you don’t regain any or as much before you find that next program to help you further.

I realized that my in-betweens are SO MUCH BETTER than they used to be.
My history (the condensed version):
2003-2004 lost 90 lbs, 2005 gained back 94 lbs
2006 lost 40 lbs, 2006 gained back 40 lbs
2008 lost 30 lbs, 2009 gained back 50 lbs (depression – worst year of my life)
2011 lost 40 lbs, 2012 & 2013 gained back 60 lbs (had a baby/sleep deprivation gain)
2014 lost 36 lbs, 2015 gained back 15 lbs
2016 & 2017 lost 30 lbs, 2017 & 2018 gained back 20 lbs
And a lot of in-betweens in 2017 when I’d only go up 10 and back down 10, and this year, up 4 lbs, down 4 lbs… again and again
So slowly, but surely, I’m managing the in-betweens much better than I used to and with no more job to lose (2009 depression source) or babies to have (hubby got fixed 😉), I’m hoping there’s no other major life events that add to my challenge for awhile.
It took me a bit to realize this, but I ended up taking certain parts of some of the programs I’ve tried and really made them “lifestyle changes” so that I can lower the damage more effectively than I used to when I’m in an “off the wagon” period.

6 Week Body Makeover: learned to drink more water & always have protein first at every meal
Sparkpeople: tracking my food – it comes and goes, but now with the app it’s much faster and I have loads of favorites and grouped foods to make this easier than it ever has been, so I find it more enjoyable and less of a burden
Turbo Jam: that I don’t necessarily need to lift a bunch of weights to tone my muscles (hello standing ab workout!) and by far, this is the only “video” exercise I ever go back to… definitely my favorite & I prefer to work smarter, not harder
Naturally Thin (by Bethenny Frankel): that I can have it all, just not all at once, to generally take a better look at my portions and how to balance my day more than I ever did before
Intermittent Fasting: something I wish I knew about sooner… 16 hr fast/8 hr eating window really helps lower regain of weight & higher fasting times help to start losing again
Keto: that carbs aren’t my friends and I don’t need (or want) them as much as I thought I did and I’ve embraced a low carb life (and my blood sugars thank me for it… A1C now out of pre-diabetic range)😁

Plant-based:  that I wasn’t eating enough veggies consistently and now that I do, my intestines are much happier which is incentive to keep eating the veggies

They are just a few examples of how I’ve made parts of each plan actually into a lifestyle change and therefore lessen the negative impact of the in-between.
So it’s not necessarily all about if a program can last long-term… don’t worry about that or you might never GET to your “long term”!

I know there are those people that change their lives and never look back and get to goal on the first try, but I’m not one of them and know so many who aren’t… so this is for you.
So try that program, fad, book, shake, group, etc. (obviously only healthy ones… I don’t EVER recommend calories under 1200 for woman and I’m still iffy about taking pills)… work it for as long as you can and use these motivated ‘spurts’ to help get you to your goal.

It’s the in-between where most of your hard lessons and effort will come in… those are the true work.

And when you get to maintenance, those lessons and things you’ve learned to handle the in-between will help you out on those bad days, because we all have bad days and they will always be a part of our lives. 
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Differences – how changing your mind can change it all

It’s amazing the amount of change that can happen in just a couple weeks.  After changing my thinking about the responsibility I have for myself and family concerning food choices from a burden to an opportunity, more than weight loss had occurred.

First, I regained the ability to stop snacking after dinner.  Yes, the first week was the tough one… fighting the pangs to eat that stemmed from the bad habit of giving in to those desires over the last 6 months.

Fasting. This was completely unintentional, but I extended my intermittent fasting time.  Instead of counting down those 16 hours and eating at that point no matter what, I just let my stomach be my guide and drank more water and kept going.  I now have at least two 20 oz glasses of water and two mugs of tea prior to eating (used to be 1 water, 1 tea).  I end up hitting 18-19.5 hours fasted almost daily, and with not that much effort.  Other than noting I made it past 16 hours, I don’t stare at the clock anymore.

Happiness.  I am just generally happier, have more energy and am in a better mood since my mindset changed.  I clean the house I’m in such a good mood – motivated to get up and get stuff done when formally I’d be sitting on the couch in between doing things for my kiddos.

TV shows.  It took me until yesterday to realize even my TV watching habits have changed.  It was so bad the last 6 months of me struggling that I used to have to watch ‘My 600-lb Life’ and/or ‘Skin Tight’ to motivate me not to eat and to drink more water (when trying to fast in the mornings or not snack at night after dinner).
Yesterday I noticed I had some episodes building up in my DVR and only then I realized I’d just made it through 2.5 weeks of staying on track without needing to watch it!  This is BIG.  It feels so nice to not need that external motivation… that I finally got that from within.

Internal.  This may sound strange, but when I’m in the process of actively losing weight, there is this tightness I can feel around my jawline.  It only ever happens when I’m losing weight… like I can feel my jawline getting thinner/more pronounced.  It’s been a long time since I had this feeling.

External.  I’m used to it taking a bunch of pounds lost before I can see any visible changes, but I forgot that’s usually because I was always starting above 300 lbs.  It takes a good 30-40 lbs lost to actually SEE any changes when you start that big.  Well I’m not starting from there and at only 6 lbs down, I swear I’m noticing things already…  my t-shirts (admittedly 2 sizes too big for me, but I don’t like the way the smaller sized shirts I have fit yet, so there you go) are starting to go off my bonier-than-usual shoulder more often.  I actually finally got a full-length mirror to see myself toes to nose and when I tried on those smaller shirts, I could see a leaner version of myself that wasn’t there 3 weeks ago.

Control.  Now that I fought the bad habits and practically evaporated those pangs I’ve been fighting for 6 months (because if you stop giving in, your brain stops connecting thought with action and stops firing the prompt), making better food choices has felt so much easier.  Less of a hassle, less overthinking.  Even logging my food in Sparkpeople has become something I look forward to instead of dreading.  It also helps that 6 months ago I got my first smartphone so logging it using the app is way faster than the former experience I had doing it on my laptop.

Resolve.  Just 3 whole weeks ago, certain foods were triggers for me to eat them.  If I had leftover homemade popcorn (I actually like it better that way!) it would always be eaten the next day.  I just realized I had leftover popcorn from a week ago!  That’s never happened.
Since my daughter was having a sleepover, I made eggs and waffles for them.  I can usually ignore a food I’m trying to avoid the first time I make it for the kids, but it gets harder the second and third time.  As it was, my son was having a sleepover as well, but slept MUCH later, so when they woke I made waffles again.  The former me at that point would have said ‘eff it’ and had a waffle as well.  Now?  It didn’t bother me nearly as much and I just went on with my day.
Then there’s my weekly pint of Ben & Jerry’s… usually we buy it the night before or the same day we’re having our once a week ice cream (Fridays).  If we ever tried buying it sooner, both my husband and I wouldn’t be able to wait for Friday and inevitably we’d have it beforehand because we just couldn’t deal with it being present in the house without eating it.  This week?  I bought it on Wednesday.  And guess what?  I didn’t think of it until Friday, the scheduled day.  It didn’t tempt me… I really didn’t think about it at all!  How refreshing!

So these are the many examples of how so much can change in less than 3 weeks!  It’s crazy, but it proves you can move beyond a slump if you change your point of view and mindset, which in turn will make other factors easier as time goes by.

P.S.  I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack baby! 🙂

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Mommy: Food Monitor

It’s been plenty hard enough to battle my own weight issues for the past few decades.  For some reason it never occurred to me that I’d have to do most of the “work” for my children’s struggles as well.  Call it wishful thinking, but I kind of hoped that if my hubby & I were still fat as parents, it would be to skinny/healthy-looking kids.  I’ve seen this scenario time and time again.  But we weren’t one of those situations.  Nope.  Our poor kids got the shallow end of the gene pool on that front… 99th percentile for weight from day one, every single one of them.

Maybe I also thought that by the time I had all my kids and the eldest was about to become a teenager that I would have gotten a better handle on my own issues, so if I had to take on the burden of theirs, it wouldn’t be as hard.

But here I am, my struggle harder than ever, and theirs seems like more than an uphill battle.
I think I just mentally and emotionally cracked yesterday.  The pressure to keep trying to better myself and be the main decision maker for my family’s choices just built up to the point I snapped.
And just to be clear, this is not imagined pressure… I’m not making it out to be more than it is.  Time and time again I’ve seen the correlation.

When I’m “on the wagon”, making good choices, losing weight and therefore feeling better, more confident and just a happier person and therefore a happier mom, my good decisions trickle down to my family.  When I’m eating better, they eat better.  The little ones will see what I’m eating and want it too, even if it’s “healthy”.  My son (the picky eater) barely noticed when hubby & I went Keto last year and ended up benefiting and he lost weight too (with no effort on his part… his food choices were just made for him and he ate what he liked).
When I’m in the “zone” I am more thoughtful as far as planning meals, prepping food and being more prepared for when the little kids want snacks (which is CONSTANTLY) and I’ll already have a healthier choice ready to go.
But the same is unfortunately true for the opposite scenario.  When I’m having an off day, I’m not feeling it, I’m tired of the food obsession necessary for me not to gain weight (yep, I said that right… forget about losing weight, I have to watch what I eat just to avoid gaining) and I’m just in a “fuck it” mood, there are no thoughtful snacks, let alone decent dinners.
The kids go back to their defaults of Sunchips, peanut butter crackers, goldfish, Smartfood, pb & j sandwiches, etc. My hubby will ask “what’s for dinner?” and I’ll make the familiar face of ‘don’t even go there’ and truly, my answer is “anything I don’t have to cook”.  So, what do we have?  My hubby’s go-tos are pizza, Chinese or a sub place… even since having his gastric sleeve procedure.  Once in a while he’ll be my hero and make eggs for everyone as a breakfast-for-dinner, but that feels rare.
The pizza, Chinese or subs… these are the choices when mommy just wants a break from doing ALL THE THINKING AND COOKING when it comes to food and meals.
I just get so sick of it sometimes.  It’s exhausting.
I wish people could make the healthier choices ON THEIR OWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My whole family LOVES when I make crudites (cut carrots, celery, green pepper, broccoli crowns with a ranch/Greek dressing combo dip), but does any single one of them ever ASK for this?  Nope.
This goes for just about every “healthy” snack or meal… they enjoy it, but it ALWAYS has to come from me.
This means the health of my ENTIRE FAMILY (can even be said for my hubby too) rest entirely on MY SHOULDERS.
I can’t express the amount of pressure this puts on me… the burden of it all.
I clearly have good days and bad days and I don’t see me being able to not have bad days even being an option as those are just a part of life… but I and my family suffer because of it in the long term.

This realization also feels like my children being “overweight” is mostly my fault… too many of those “off” days, weeks and months of their lives that added up.  Sure, genetics is working against them, but that’s only a reason we have to try harder, be more diligent.

Yes, my 12-year-old is responsible for his decisions (hell, I remember at his age I took it upon myself one summer to make better food choices and exercise more and I lost 10 lbs), but he makes decisions from what *I* provide him.  If left to his own devices, he’d live on cheese quesadillas, mac & cheese and pizza.

It feels like no one else in this family is trying.  Even my hubby.  Yes, he’s put in more effort in the past year, but since his surgery it feels like he’s letting his smaller stomach do all the work.  He doesn’t prioritize exercise anymore and instead of cheese sticks, protein shakes or nuts as snacks, he’s eating things like tortilla chips & salsa, pb & fluff sandwiches, Ritz crackers and saltines.
It’s not a mystery his weight loss has slowed tremendously.

So, my family’s food health is entirely on me.
Yesterday it only felt like a burden.
But a friend reminded me I can choose my attitude.  I started going back through my own posts a year ago while still on Keto the first time (before the hormone issues) and all the yummy pics of foods we were eating and my family was thriving and I was enjoying it too.
As I reviewed my own posts, I drank down lots of water and then had a healthy dinner (that could have easily been pizza if I’d continued my mood from earlier) and even took a family walk even though it’s SO HOT outside, even at 8pm.

So this burden… it’s also an opportunity.  My family’s fate is in my control.
Sure, it’s a hell of a lot of work, but if I’m going to do it anyway (which I have to… we all have to eat several times a day), I might as well try to make it count as best I can… and hopefully try to limit the “fuck it” days.  I mean I don’t plan on never letting my family have pizza, but it needs to go back to being a once in a while thing, not a twice a month thing.
Maybe I should start a list of easier things that can be made when I’m desperate not to cook… like egg salad… it feels simpler and doesn’t involve needing poultry/meat on hand (which when I don’t plan ahead, we won’t have any but the frozen kind). And before anyone suggests cooking and freezing casseroles, everyone in my family HATES them but me, so nope, not an option.
So although this burden is heavy on my shoulders, I’m really going to try to turn it into an opportunity to make us all better off.  Might as well.
Now to go have a snack of nuts and pickles.  #lowcarblife

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Back Injury Lessons

Last Monday I threw my back out.  We’re talking incapable of getting up, standing, walking or even sitting down without assistance and there was no such thing as a “comfy position”.  It was the worst back pain of my life.
I was helpless and useless.
I couldn’t be a mom… couldn’t lift my toddler to hug her, change her, get her out of her crib… hell, I couldn’t even fix her a snack.
The first day the debilitating pain struck, both my husband and sister came to the rescue to help out since I was incapable of being left alone with my kids during the day when I’m normally alone with them.
Day 2 was my sister.
Day 3 my hubby.
Days 4 & 5, my son (yep, kept him home from school).

Let me just say, I HATE being helpless.  I’m totally the “do it myself” person that has a really hard time asking for help.  So yeah, this was basically my worst nightmare.

I broke down crying before calling my hubby to come home from work to help me (mostly because I felt guilty because he barely has any vacation time left and was supposed to be working OT that week).  When he got stuck in major traffic on the way home to rescue me (I was stuck sitting on our uncomfortable couch that you can’t lay down on and desperately needed to get to our other couch to lay down, but was completely unable to get there) I was in so much pain and worried my toddler would need assistance I couldn’t give her (since I’d recently gotten my 5-year-old on the bus for 4K school and she wasn’t there to assist), I broke down again crying before texting my sister to see if she could get there sooner.  I had anxiety and panicked over how to even ASK for her assistance because that’s how foreign the concept is to me!
As fate would have it, they basically arrived at the same time.
I had to be helped off the couch onto a rolling desk chair to make my way to the couch.
First, a stop off at the bathroom.  Oh holy hell.  So much pain I was wondering if it was worth going pee and thought about just holding it.
Standing hurt, *sitting* hurt (I’ve had back issues previously, but that was new)… leaning any which way I could, there was no relief from the pain to be found.  It was like someone was stabbing me in my lower back and I couldn’t get the knife out.
Finally getting to the couch to lay down (with a LOT of assistance), gave me partial relief, but I was still in constant pain.

I learned very quickly that the adults I called on to help me were really there to take the place of what I would normally be doing as I watched them deal with the kids… snacks, clean-up, diaper changes, going outside, coming back in, more clean-up, pick up at the bus stop, naptime, etc.
I almost felt invisible on the couch and had to ask for everything.

I was so hungry when my sister & hubby arrived at almost 1pm that first day as I hadn’t eaten anything yet and barely had any water (no tea, no coffee either).  Since I had to be laying down, I was limited to what I could eat.
I opted for a protein shake with a straw.
I had 2.
Hours later, a banana.
Let me tell you, there isn’t much you can eat *cleanly* while completely on your back!!!
I felt hungry most of the afternoon, but felt too guilty and like too much of an inconvenience to ask for anything more.
I also limited my water because I knew how painful it would be to have to get to the bathroom.

This is when I learned my first lesson.
I’ve spent years indulging myself simply because it was all too easy to get up and get it/make it myself, even if I didn’t need it at all.
For dinner my hubby ordered delivery food since I couldn’t cook and he was totally stressed trying to work from home, look after the kids and do things for me.
For this, I knew I needed a slightly more upright position to eat.  This was HARD.  I was SO uncomfortable, but also SO hungry by then.
He served me ½ a sub and 1 slice of pizza.
If it were up to me and I was capable, let’s be honest… that would have been the entire sub and maybe 2 slices of pizza.
In this circumstance, I yet again didn’t want to burden anyone.  He came and took my plate away and didn’t ask if I wanted more, so I didn’t say anything.
More time passed and that’s when I realized I *was* satisfied with what I’d eaten.  I didn’t actually need more.
A capable me would have rationalized that I hadn’t had that many calories all day and/or I “deserved” more food and I totally would have eaten more.
But being captive to the couch and completely unable to help myself, I went without and learned I could live without.
Imagine that.

Another instance that sticks with me (ok, maybe not a “lesson” but still, a learning moment), is when my husband was helping me on/off the toilet.  It was that particular instance that it occurred to me that this all would be so much easier for the both of us if I weighed much less than I do.

Let’s face it… in all likelihood, this could happen again.  With my uneven hips and tendency to push too hard sometimes, I could have this happen again and when it does, do I want to be this big still?  Hell no.  It’d be so much easier on everyone if I wasn’t.
I’ve never really felt guilty for being overweight until that moment.  Embarrassed, yes.  Ashamed, yes.  But guilty?  Nope, not until then.
That moment keeps sticking with me (in a good way), leading me to better choices ever since.

So normally when people are incapacitated and laying on their back or sitting on their butts all day, they gain weight… not me!  Totally the opposite and mostly because I hate asking for help!  LOL

Here’s another lesson… at 3 am that first night, I almost called 911 because for the life of me I could NOT find a position to relieve the pain at all (after a recent trip to the bathroom by myself).  I was crying and my lip quivering because of my discomfort and I had yet to get any sleep.  I thought about what I should do first… call, then wake my hubby next to me? (Because of our noise machines, my crying didn’t wake him) Wake him first, see if we should skip the expense of an ambulance ride and have him drive me instead? Then I had a thought… what actually happens when you show up to the ER with back pain?
So I looked it up on my phone which was conveniently at my bedside.  Turns out at least 95% of the people who go to the ER for back pain were dissatisfied with their result!!!  Why?  Because of the uncomfortable nature just to GET there (whether in a car or in an ambulance).  The waiting and once you are seen, more waiting as the nurses check your vitals, poke and prod you, but you have to wait for the doctor to get any of those good drugs.  And then what ultimately happens?  They tell you to follow-up with your regular doctor.
It started to seem like a collosal waste of time and money to go the ER.
So then I started researching all my symptoms and methods of relief I should try (um, why hadn’t I done that earlier?)  Turns out I was applying heat when I should have been icing… among other things.
But in the midst of this research, because I had awkwardly contorted my body in order to shield my sleeping hubby from the light from my phone, I suddenly realized that I had managed to lessen the pain!!!  YAY!  I *can* get some sleep and make it through the night!
With this new found relief and wisdom, I made it through and everything got better from there.
I’ve never been so happy I didn’t call 911.

So here I am, 5 days out from the worst of the worst and I managed a rather normally functional day.
I could get up, stand, walk, bend over (slooooooooooooooowly), sit down and even *carefully* lift/carry my 35 lb toddler again.  I kept a back brace on most of the time and I find that very helpful.
Today I cooked, did the dishes, cleaned up, vacuumed, did bills, and even some laundry and managed a walk with the family.  Damn near normal.  I still have pain, but it’s hardly anything compared to where I was. (damn the human body is amazing)
I had taken everything for granted.
As I slowly regained certain abilities (like to stand up without help, sit and not have pain, walk without sharp pain, etc.) I was so thankful with each improvement.
After about 24 hours of staying in a laying down position, I was able to transition to sitting in my La-Z-boy recliner instead.  Slowly, and with the aid of a cane, I could walk on my own again.
Something as simple as a bathroom trip felt like such an accomplishment when I could do it completely on my own! (let’s not even talk about the pain and awkwardness of wiping oneself when you have a back issue or being able to pull up your own pants when you’re done!)
When making that trip wasn’t so bad anymore (or at least tolerable), I could drink water more freely and rehydrated myself.
I iced, used lidocaine pain patches, electrotherapy pain relief and took lots and lots of Advil and I made it through.

It was a really tough and painful week (I haven’t even gone into the rejection my poor toddler felt when I couldn’t pick her up when she wanted me to and how sad that was to witness), but one I hope I don’t forgot anytime soon as two key things stay in the forefront of my mind and are driving me to really make some changes and get out of this rut.

Just the week before this happened I decided to go vegan.  Yup, vegan.  That couldn’t be anymore opposite of Keto if I tried!  But animal products weren’t having the best result for me, intestinally speaking, so I knew I needed a change.
My digestive system has thanked me ever since!
Have I been full vegan this whole time?  Clearly not since you know I had pizza.  But I discovered that my diet in general has been sorely lacking in veggies for a LONG time.  And can only eating plant-based foods keep me satisfied?  Yup!  I thought I was going to miss meat more than I did.  Turns out I missed butter & cream the most!  I didn’t have chicken for 2 weeks… that was a first in my entire adult life!

So mostly I try to have a vegan day now and then, or at least vegetarian (still like just a bit of cream in my coffee).  I have upped my veggie amount EVERY day, regardless, and severely lowered animal proteins and have limited my dairy consumption.
This change got me considering alternatives I would have never tried if I hadn’t attempted to go vegan (like discovering cashew milk as a substitution for cream in my coffee… so glad I tried it!)

I feel so much healthier right now (even with the back pain still!)
I figured out (the hard way) that I indulge myself far too often and am actually capable of going without.
I am also re-inspired to make changes and get going in the right direction on this weight train.

It’s been a hell of a week.

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The state of my life feels exactly as this post is titled.  Lately I feel like a shell of a person.  I’m there, I’m doing the daily tasks, but I’m checked out.
It would fit my mood perfectly if I had one of those t-shirts that said “I don’t want to adult today”.
And it’s not just that.  I feel like quitting… everything.
I want to quit trying to lose weight.
I want to quit my passion project.
I want to quit being a parent.
Absolutely none of those are an option to quit, but I’m just being honest that it’s just how I feel right now.
Yet I still cook the meals, do the dishes, laundry, pay bills, sweep/vacuum the floor, clean up toys, and the kids are fed/changed/bathed/entertained/homework done along with hugs, hand holds, tickling, story time and even my husband of over 18 years & I still have a sex life.
I do all this, but I’m not *feeling* it.  I’m like a wife/mommy robot.  I’ve checked out… or want to.
I’ve lost my drive.
Every day when I’m not doing the wife/mom things, I check out.  All I want to do is sit on the couch, binge watch a Netflix show (currently ‘Party of Five’) and play solitaire on my phone.  That’s it.  That’s ALL I want to do.
As if there aren’t things I could be doing for my passion project (that over 600 members are following me on now, hence why I can’t quit that).  There is a LOT to do with that… more research, finishing a business plan, trying to find a strategic partner and loads more.  But none of that is the “fun” stuff and a lot of it I’ve never done before in my life, so it is overwhelming and intimidating.  I think this is why I’m afraid to even start it.  So, I don’t… I avoid it.  I post and tweet things to keep my audience alive, but don’t really accomplish anything towards my end goal.

As if there aren’t things I could be doing to better my health… taking a walk, lifting weights, drinking more water.  I am in one of those periods where I completely lack motivation and because I’ve gone off the rails too much, I don’t even have a healthy routine to get me through the harder times.
Instead, I’ve just let myself go with whatever whims I was having.  I went 3 days in a row with eating outside my window (intermittent fasting – supposed to stop at 6-6:30 pm and I had snacks past 9 pm) and now I’m finding it SUPER HARD to get back on track.

Yesterday was supposed to be day 1.  OH BOY DID IT FEEL LIKE DAY 1.  I felt like an alcoholic that just decided to stop drinking cold turkey, except for me it’s food and I’m trying to avoid things like tortilla chips with salsa/sour cream/cheese, drinking Ovaltine, having chocolate, popcorn or anything with too much sugar.
Gone are the days I found it easy to not eat carbs.  I’m sure that’d be true if I could manage to get past those first 3 days (which are the hardest).  I’m finding it so hard to make it through without faltering.
All I did all day was think about food… my next meal… what I’m trying to avoid (I know, I know… I *should* be concentrating on what I CAN eat, not what I shouldn’t).

It’s been 5 days since I started writing… now 20Feb2018.  I made it past that day 1 and even day 2, but Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after my Valentine’s treat of lobster just started me struggling all over again and my weight went back up to where it was basically a WHOLE YEAR AGO.  Ugh.  So much for breaking the trend of not getting going earlier in the year.  I hate this… it makes it feel like I shouldn’t even BOTHER to try to get back on track until mid-March because for several years now, that’s always when I finally get back on track… but I don’t WANT to feel that way… like I don’t have control and the pattern wins.  Damn it I don’t want the pattern to win, but I keep heading in the direction to make it true… yet again.  Argh.

I’m a bit removed from these original feelings I wrote 5 days ago already (oh the healing powers of just typing it out), but I never finished the entirety of what I wanted to document…

It felt like days would go by punctuated by my youngest daughter’s baby monitor.  Turning it off meant the start of my “shift” of being on-duty and turning it on meant getting a break.  It shouldn’t feel that way.  I’m a mom, I shouldn’t feel like an unpaid babysitter, but seriously, that’s the best way to put how I was feeling.
I shouldn’t be so unmotivated that every second I get to myself I was sitting back on the couch, binge watching TV and playing solitaire… oh, and eating too much.
It was like I was just sleepwalking through my life and couldn’t wake myself up.  Once in a while I felt awake, like during a family walk or if I got into a project (like planning the road trip my son will be taking with his grandparents early summer), I felt awake and distracted and it felt great to get out of my own head.
But when it’s over, so is that awakeness and back to the couch I went.
It was never motivation enough to get me to start my own projects.  I just couldn’t get going on my own… it was always outside influence waking me from my mental slumber and always temporary.

I hate to say it, but I felt like I was a bit depressed.  I have only had one major episode of depression in my life and it was completely situational.  Right now, I have no idea what would prompt me to become depressed… not to that degree.
Financial issues are the norm, so I can’t see that contributing.
It wasn’t time yet for PMS (though it is now and yet I’m feeling so much better).
It’s not nutritional insufficiency leading to hormonal imbalances like I experienced last summer.

I just don’t get what caused me to feel so down and disconnected.  But it feels completely brought on by my own choices… like one lazy indulgent day made me feel bad the next day (scale going up, feeling out of control) and because I just got disgusted with myself, it’s like all I could handle to play games and watch TV.  But then doing that constantly was getting me down because I felt so unproductive and that lead me to eat and the next thing I know I’m putting on my jeans that just a few months ago were starting to feel loose only to discover they were back to feeling tight.  Cue more eating and feeling worse and therefore lacking in the motivation to start ANYTHING.

It was a terrible cycle… all brought on my repetitive negative behavior.  But to lose the connection to my family?  That was new.  Usually I’m all in my own head, dealing with my issues, but still feeling life, enjoying my kids and husband and still getting things done…  I’ve never felt so disconnected from all that to the point no part of it gave me joy.
That part scares me.

Luckily, and I can’t tell you what the difference was, I seem to have come out of that funk.  One day I just woke up feeling actually awake… *in* my life instead of a spectator.  All on my own I took control again and started feeling awake.
Stuff still happens, but I’m handling it better now… kids trash my newly cleaned floor with dirt and sand from the outside and I can deal without getting all annoyed, I got summoned for Jury Duty (for ON my birthday, thankyouverymuch) and I deal with it, my hubby wakes me up at 1:50am to have me take him to the ER and I stay awake until 8am and just go with the flow (he’s better now… still figuring out what the cause of his stomach pain was).  I was so tired that day, yet still felt more awake than those weeks I’d checked out.  Instead of dreading dinner, I become more proactive about planning and writing out menus and choosing to make healthier choices, even for my kid’s snacks.

Then my mother-in-law volunteers me for a project – to paint a realistic sea turtle for my niece as a present for her college graduation this spring.  I said yes, but felt reluctant inside… doubting my talents and ability to get started/finish projects, especially given the last few weeks.  But I think I knew it would be good for me, so I agreed.
I spend hours going through existing turtle paintings to draw inspiration and technique until we decided on a combination of 3 different works to create my own.

So now I’m feeling better.  Yesterday was another “day 1” and I just decided to go 100% Keto and that I did.  It was necessary to break my cycle of wanting something sweet and to keep me satisfied so I didn’t snack after dinner.  I made it through.  Yes, I wanted a snack at about 9:30pm (finished eating before 6pm) but I didn’t give in.  I drank my water and watched Khloe Kardashian’s Revenge Body and then finished a book it’s taken me over a year to finish (Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe) as I was limited to just waiting room reading except the last 45 mins I read at home just to get it done.

Today is “day 2” and I’ve already thought about having popcorn.  I made a yummy frittata for breakfast and was sipping my coffee, thinking about waiting to put my youngest down for her nap and then making it.  I’m still considering it.  I actually haven’t had any popcorn in over a week.  But in attempt to distract myself and give time for my breakfast to settle and feel full from it, I came back to my laptop to complete writing this post.
I also made the decision that if I start feeling snacky while watching ‘Party of Five’, then I should STOP watching it.  I feel like I got into the bad habit of that show making me hungry and me giving into the whim practically immediately… like I’ve linked watching that show to eating.  So, I only watch when I can handle it and step away when I can’t.  It’s not the show’s fault, it’s totally me.  And I can’t stop watching now… I’m almost to the last season!
It’s the same way I associate sitting down to watch a movie with having popcorn.  I’m rather horrified that my 12-year-old already has this association… and it runs DEEP.  The last movie we watched, I refused to let him have popcorn (the rest of us weren’t either and we’d JUST had dinner!) and he must have whined about it at least 4 times throughout the whole movie.  You’d expect that after 20 mins into the movie, all would be forgotten, but instead he’d randomly turn to me and whine “I still want popcorn”.  Ugh.  See what I mean?  DEEP.

It becomes harder to live in the denial of your bad habits when you see them reflected in & imitated by your children.

So I’m doing better… much better in comparison to my “shell” existence.  I went back up to a high of 277.2 and today I’m 274.2 lbs.  That’s still 16 lbs from my recent (mid-November) lowest achieved weight… ouch.  I have some serious damage control to do!

Oh, and my birthday is lurking around the corner… honestly, I think that is one of the biggest factors that messes with my head as far as not breaking the pattern each beginning of the year.  It’s just a day… I wish I could relax about it and stop getting myself down with thoughts of “here I am again, not where I’d thought I’d be by my birthday/this age… still this weight… still fighting this battle, feeling and looking older…” etc., etc., etc.
Getting down about it only exacerbates the issue.   Duh, self.

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Happy (?) New Year

It’s the first of the month… and a Monday… AND the start of the New Year… what a day to begin a journey!  I can only imagine the thousands (upon thousands) of people who just started a new diet or went back to an old one in attempt to finally keep the lose weight/get healthier resolution they just made.

I’ve been there.  I can feel that excitement, but only from former experience.
My current feeling:  meh
I’d like to blame it all on the fact that I am currently sick, but part of me knows that’s just a lie and I probably would be doing about the same even if I wasn’t sick… maybe.

I really let myself enjoy the holiday season.
My passion project got me out of the health swing of things and exercise got dropped and I got used to that.  So even when the passion simmered and I was in a holding pattern waiting for answers from others, I neglected to get back to prioritizing exercise.

At first, I managed to maintain the weight loss I’d achieved, but as the holidays went on and I indulged in such things as hot chocolate with a candy cane, Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, nachos (ok, not really holiday related but just thought I’d include it), eggnog and chocolates.
The weigh crept back on (oh imagine that!)
I still wasn’t worried… wasn’t phased by it.  Honestly, I’m still not.
I may have been able to lose weight while visiting my in-laws over the holiday for the first time ever, but those were regain pounds I was losing anyway.
Even as I sit here, 12.2 lbs higher than my lowest weight recently achieved (oops… that’s over my 10 lb gain rule!!!) I still feel like several of those pounds are just bloat and now that I did finally get into that lower weight range, that I’ll be able to get back to it easier than what it originally took to get there.

Weight ranges in my body are like sawing a piece of wood.  Going into the first time you have to put in the most work… break the surface and go back and forth, back and forth and finally make some progress.
Over the holidays the saw blade came out entirely, but the path formerly sawed is still there, I just need to work that saw back into and get back to where I was.
Yep, that’s how I see it, so therefore I’m not to worried… it’s all about getting back to it and not having this indulgence continue on until mid-February (I’m speaking from experience here).

I did attempt to start this day off differently than the last few weeks.  I fasted until afternoon, was up on my feet cleaning and de-Christmasing the house.   Unfortunately, I was not getting in enough water during this time as all of a sudden my throat became super soar.  It was the weirdest thing.  I’ve been sick since Christmas day and normally the sore throat portion of the cold is at the beginning.
But this came on quick and was REALLY bad.
Not only was swallowing painful, I couldn’t even talk without pain!
Luckly, I had a Cepacol lozenge on hand to suck on, otherwise that would have been some serious torture.
Happily, it subsided.  Still have NO IDEA what was up with that.  All other symptoms remain: coughing, stuffy nose, phlegm, crackling and clogged ears and general head fuzziness.
What I wanted to do was sit on the couch, play solitaire on my phone (an actual smartphone! I finally gave up my flip phone – hello 21st century, I have joined you!) and watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
But I was up and being productive and sticking to my fast.
When I finally ate, I went back to my old staple:  fried egg whites
It was a good start, however it all went downhill from there.

I just wanted to sit, take a break from being on my feet all day up until that point and have something to eat and really get to enjoy it in peace.
But I kept being interrupted.  #momlife
Each time I got up for my kids, I’d grab something else to eat that I could hopefully sit down and get to enjoy *fully* before the next interruption.
Nope, interrupted again… and again.
First it was popcorn, then cookies, then chips… oy.
Then I finally had enough, it wasn’t working… I could spend ALL DAY on the couch aiming to get just 10-15 STRAIGHT minutes to sit and chill.
So plenty full, I gave up and went back to packing up our holiday decorations.

I’m going to be real honest here… my pantry is like a dieter’s NIGHTMARE right now.  And instead of listing all the stuff in there, I’m going to just share a picture.
pantry pic 01Jan2018

There are even more bags of those Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls than you can see there.  We only go to Trader Joe’s once a year and I told my hubby to ‘get a few bags’ and he came home with TWENTY-THREE bags.  He bought them out!
Holy hell.
At least they aren’t potato chips, but oy… way too many buddy!  I’m glad I’m not addicted to them and can avoid them pretty easily, but STILL.
And the actual potato chips you see there… that is on him as well.  He just picked those up the last time he went to the store without me.  And ranch dip to go with them.

So I have this pantry to contend with on my road back to giving a crap about myself and undoing the holiday damage I’ve done.  Yay me.
I can do it.  I’ve done it before.  I just need to get out of this rut of ‘I’ll do better *tomorrow*’ and actually DO BETTER… now.

Today may have been a fail, but that doesn’t mean tomorrow has to be.
My biggest hurdle is feeling like crap like I do now.  I have limited energy, can’t taste much, and can’t breathe out of my nose.  I HATE being sick.  I’ve spent the majority of the fall and beginning of winter sick.  Ugh.
I know it’s not an excuse, but at the same time, it’s REALLY not helping.
And you know that old adage… “feed a cold, starve a fever”.
Damn I wish I’d never heard that.  It goes through my head EVERY time I have a cold.

I did manage to wake up, weigh myself and immediately take new ‘before’ photos since it was the start of a New Year.
So there’s that.
I have untyped, unvoiced resolutions floating around in my head, but am too meh to make them anything solid… right now.  All I want right now is to not be sick anymore.
So… Happy New Year.   I hope those thousands had way more success today than I did.

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