Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Beating Heart

I read something yesterday that sent me into a spin and my heart a beating. 
My entire life, I’ve always thought about the future. I planned conversations, replayed how I thought things were going to go over and over in my head. I thought about possible scenarios’, thinking about how I would respond when someone said something. And when they didn’t, I would play out new scenarios. Source:  Prior Fat Girl
I'm a planner.  I talk about it here on my blog.  I talk about how my once roommate/friend told me that I always think of all the bad things and I explained that I was problem solving ahead. But the truth hit me like the proverbial train yesterday.  I am not a planner.  I have anxiety.  Even writing this down, my heart is beating fast.  As though writing it down makes it somehow scary; as though it wasn't scary before.

That paragraph up is me.  To a capital T.  I plan everything in my head.  Whether it's a possibility of the situation arising or not.  And to see this somewhere other than my brain is shocking.  Shocking because the truth of it is that I thought this is how everyone's brain worked.  But it's not.  So when I tried to explain social anxiety to my husband and ended up all frustrated because he didn't understand, I know understand why.  Shocking because I'm not just a planner as I thought.  It's not normal to plan out scenarios in your head for something that may or may not happen. 

So when I read it, my breath left me and then I slowly inhaled and resumed breathing.  Then I thought about it.  Jen talked about how her Mom's death lead her anxiety to become worse and the other stressful life events caused it to become even worse.  This morning as I was drying off after my shower and thinking about how a conversation with my husband would go about putting the scale in the corner and what I'd say if he said no and what else I could say...I stopped again, breathless.  I know exactly where my anxiety comes from, the exact period in my life when it started.  It was a situation that I had little control over that occurred over and over.  My only coping mechanism was to do the scenarios in my head to come up with a plan of how to gain control.  Only none of them ever worked as I was little prepared for them and they never had any outcome that I could ever imagine.

So you know what I did?  I walked into the bedroom where Pete was sitting and explained it all to him.  How the blog post triggered this in me.  How I understood why he didn't understand.  How I knew where it came from.  All of it.  And he listened.  And he didn't think I was crazy or nuts or off the wall.  He listened.  He asked me what I wanted to do about it and I told him I didn't know.  Then he said the thing I most needed to hear - "I'll support you in whatever you need to do."

Ever since this morning I've been thinking about it.  I don't quite know what to do.  I don't know that I have the tools to retrain my brain not to strategize every move, conversation, social setting, work day, home day, motorcycle ride....ahead of time.  I don't know if there is a way for me to gain the tools on my own or if I need outside help.  But I do know that I understand myself a little bit better tonight than I did 48 hours ago.  I do know that losing weight isn't going to solve all my problems.  This is very clear to me now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 Word

I talked a while ago about how people chose words to use as their theme for the year.  Cheesy, yes.  But sometimes I think that we need a little cheese to get us through.

2011 wasn't easy. 

There were family stresses that seem to have settled back out.  Although they're always there, lingering, ready to resurface.  My Grandma seems to be better from her back injury and has regained enough strength to live daily again.  She was fabulous on Christmas.  I spent a realtivly relaxed Christmas with family and it was a good one.  Whether it's the idea that she may not be around all that much longer and we need to enjoy it or that we were all simply getting along, it was a good one and I'll take it.

There was financial stress.  Pete was on unemployment more than he worked.  It's frustrating as hell to see how he struggled to find a job that was a good fit for him and the employer.  He started working for a new company, permanent and full time the week of 12/12/11.  The steady check that is much more than what he was getting on unemployment is certainly welcomed.  We have a good plan to get caught up on our emergecy fund, our travel fund and savings again. 

There was physical stress.  I struggled all year with losing additional weight.  I'd be active 6 days a week at the gym, watching portions and what I ate and still see no results.  Many times I felt like giving up.  And to some degree I did that after I hurt the balls of my feet in August.  But I'm back at it.  Working out 4-5 days a week and doing what I can to help myself out.  I struggled through getting approved for a gastric banding surgery and I'm still in the process.  But I see a window of light and I'm reaching for it with all I have.

There was emotional stress.  All that suff that I just causes emotional stress in various ways.  A blue day here and there.  Frustration, anger, irritation....  Pete and I are in for the long haul marriage wise.  We both understand there are ups and downs along the way and quitting just isn't an option.  It's not that we have problems, it's that we are finding our way.  We're understanding that it takes work and just doesn't happen. 

So for 2012, my word is CHOICES.

I see how choices that I made in 2011 determined my path all along.  Even when I didn't make the better choice, I rode it out and figured out how to get back to center with new choices.  Choices are made with lots of thought and with little thought.  I'd like 2012 to be the year that I really consider my choices and be aware of why I made that choice.  I'd like to think that I continue to learn from wrong choices and when the situation presents it's self again, I can chose to make the better choice the next time. 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Baking

It's no secret, I love to bake.  Actually I love to cook, bake, grill...  I love food and all that goes into it.  So Saturday morning I was up at 5am and made about 8 different kinds of cookies & candy for Christmas. 

WOAH you're saying.  Why do that when you're trying to lose weight? 

What to know my secret?  When I spend all day baking like that or even half a day or several hours - I can't eat what I bake.  The overwhelming amount of sugar and sweetness really turns me off.  Similarly when I spend a lot of time cooking a whole meal, I get the same way, although not as badly.

So Saturday I had about 3 cookies and that was it.  Sunday on the other hand I could have eaten everything.  But I had one of several kinds over the day and then packaged them up into trays for the various places we have Christmas.

Want to know my other secret?  I give all the cookies away!  I keep about 3 of each kind for Pete and I to share from Christmas t New Years and the rest go to other houses to be enjoyed. 

So you can bake and cook while trying to lose weight.  You just have to have strategies for making sure that you don't overindulge.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Memories

A had a friend ask on Facebook how important traditions were.  I immediately assumed this was a Holidays question and answered:  Traditions are important and I miss the old ones.  But I know that things change and we adapt and find new ones.  The important thing is not to forget the old memories in the sights, the smells and the sounds of the holidays."

I love traditions.  I think because I am so happy when I know what is happening.  Also known as I'm not usually spontaneous.  I've written before about how happy the holidays were for us as kids.  We didn't have much throughout the year and my parents struggled, but the holidays were always magical.  Presents, family, food, fun, laughter and joy.  Such joy.

As family members started passing away and we kids started growing up, the traditions had to change.  I resisted and threatened and sometimes cried about it.  I liked things the way they were, the familiarity of it all.  In the end, it didn't work, even I had to move on.

With Pete, I've developed new traditions.  Things like St Nikolaus Day on 12/6/11; presents in your shoes!  Opening gifts on the 23rd each year because that is when I opened my engagement ring and he proposed.  Things like buying gifts for 4 kids, instead of just my niece & nephew. 

Although I resisted, I see how changing my perspective, learning new things and welcoming change has made me a better person.  Sappy Christmas blog entry, right?  Well, yes and no.  When you think about it, I resisted change for so long when it came to my health.  I was ok because what I was doing was familiar and safe.  Taking chances and making changes was new and not very fun.  I hope that the coming year has me firmly set in place with an about face healthiness-wise also.  New traditions, learning new things and welcoming the change in perspective for my body.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Argument

4:30:  Pete's alarm goes off.  I think I woke up.  I mean, I might have woke up.  Or maybe not.

4:40:  My alarm goes off.  I think I woke up.  I mean, the only reason I know I woke up is because my phone was laying on my pillow the next time I work up and the cord was stretched across my neck.

4:45:  I woke up, checked the time and rolled over.  I am not going to the gym.  I just got to sleep about 4.5 hours ago.  This is nuts!

4:47:  I woke up to a wet tongue in my ear and it wasn't Pete, it was the schnauzer.  No way I'm going to the gym.  Leave me alone dog and everyone go back to sleep.

4:48:  I woke up and rolled back over.  Should I go to the gym?  Crazy talk. 

4:49:  Rolled back over and felt for Pete.  Yep, he's still sleeping so I can sleep too.  Ahhhhhhh.

4:50:  Wait.  I only went to the gym once last week.  Had the same feeling on Tuesday morning that I do now and never went back.  I'm a quitter.  A one day a weeker.  I can't do this.

4:51:  Hey, what if you just do it?  I mean what harm is there really in just getting up, getting dressed and going?  What can I lose? 

4:52:  Fine.  I'll go, but I don't like it. 

4:53:  Jump out of bed.  Wet my random stick up hairs down, get dressed. 

4:54:  Run downstairs & let the dog out.  Bring the dog back up to bed with Pete.  Ahhh BED!  No, gym.

4:54:  Grab banana, water bottle, keys, gym card and phone. 

5:11:  Arrive at gym and proudly walk in.  See you can do this!

5:12:  Realize I forgot my water bottle in the car.  I should get it.  No, they have water up there, just go and get going!

5:13:  Get on treadmill.  Start moving.

5:22:  Accidentally hit "cool down" on the new treadmill that I'm not used to and stop the thing.  I should just give up.  NO!  Stick with it.  Press start. 

5:23:  Pressed start.  Feeling good.

5:30-5:45:  Actually do intervals of jogging and walking.  Feet hurt, but I'm not giving up now.

5:46:  Walk out of the gym with 375 less calories, 30 minutes of accomplishment and a smile.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do you believe in your body?

Last week I went to see the dietitian at the surgery center.  I spent an hour talking with her about eating.  As it turns out, I know much of what I need to know.  I know to keep portions small, eat balanced diet with all the food groups, low fat, protein first...  In essence, I have a good base to start out with.  Then we talked about what I need to do in the time that I have prior to the surgery.  She explained and gave me a 1200 calorie a day meal plan.  1200 calories.  When you think about it, 1200 calories is sufficient to live.  And there are many days that I eat around 1200 calories.  However, it's not always a balanced 1200 calorie day.  And example of the plan is that for lunch I would get 1 ounce of lean protein, 1 cup of green beans, 1 ounce of cheese, 1/2 banana and water. 

1 ounce of protein.  It's not much.  About the size of half of a small deck of cards.

I walked away from that appointment and gave the meal plan a try for 2 days.  Eating that way only got me to about 600 calories the first day and 800 calories the second.  That's not even enough to sustain me. I was hungry All.The.Time.  And while I need to lose weight and limit my calories, I also don't want my body in starvation mode, clinging to every calorie I consume.

So I went back to eating the way that I was eating before.  Clean eating with the fewest amount of processed foods I can.  Lean protein at about 4-5 ounces for lunch & dinner.  Lots of fresh veggies at lunch & dinner.  Lower carbs, but whole grain or multigrain carbs.  Lots of water (75-100 oz).  When going out to eat, make healthier choices, halve your portions and limit sweets/alcohol.

I didn't work out this weekend, but I stayed busy the entire time.  Wrapping presents, running to and from stores, walking with Pete.  We went out to eat twice.  The first time I shared an entree with Pete - sirloin with  mixed veggies of zucchini, squash, carrot, onion and peppers and mashed potatoes.  Prior to the meal I ordered a salad with no dressing.  The salad filled me up and I ate less of the meal and when I did I concentrated on the veggies and the meat.  The second time we went out to an Italian place for my Mom's birthday.  Again I had a salad of beats and arugula and that helped to fill me up first.  Then I ordered a half portion of pasta and ate about 3/4 of it.  I still felt indulgent both times, but made better choices.

This morning I got up at 4:30 am to get ready to hit the gym when it opened at 5 am.  I weighed 231.  This is the lowest I've been since high school/college.  And I don't feel like I've done anything different in the last 2 weeks to lose weight.  But I feel like I am starting to believe in my body.  As though it knows what I have to do and is helping me along the way.  I went, overjoyed, to the gym and pumped out 30 minutes on that treadmill.  No stopping when my left foot started hurt, but pushing through the pain and reaching the mental goal I set.  And again my body got me through it. 

I believe in my body.

Monday, December 05, 2011

I did it

I had an exhausting weekend.  Let's just say that my status update on Facebook read: 

"So cookies made, dog washed, dog treats baked, cookies frosted, make your own pizza eaten, homemade ice cream eaten, Rango watched...and everyone's in bed. I believe Nico was out first and Grant not long behind him. Girls are quietly giggling in bed. I need to recharge too!"

Only there was no recharging for Pete or I.  Grant (my 6 year old nephew) had a cough that kept him and I up and him and Pete up at times.  My thoughtful wonderful husband Googled homemade cough remedies and started giving him honey when he'd start coughing, rub his back and play Enya for him to fall asleep to.  Very sweet. 

Sunday morning was breakfast for all the kids and games, crafts and then off to their homes.  Pete and I then ran to the Mall of America to get a couple of last gifts and then to my aunts house so Pete could help with the computer issue she was having.  Dinner when we got home at 6:30 and I was asleep by 8pm.  TIRED.

This morning my alarm went off at 5am and Pete sweetly rubbed my cheek while the dog sat on my chest and listed my nose.  I heard a voice say, "Are you coming t the gym?"  Surprisingly, my voice answered, "Yes."  I got up and dressed.  Then searched the house for my gym card and headphones and headed out.

I spent 10 minutes on this new machine that is like a bicycle and elliptical in one and 10 minutes on the treadmill.  354 calories in 25 minutes. 

I did it.  I went back to the gym.  The world did not stop.  No one gave me the stink eye when I walked him for not going the last 3 months.  No one asked where I'd been.  I was welcomed as though I had been going daily and left to do my own thing as usual.  Can't wait to go again.
I think I screwed up with my weight.  When I went to Dr. July's office in early October I was 237 there and 235 at home.  When I went to see her last week the scale in the office said 240.  I never weighed myself at home that day.  This morning when I got on the scale it said 233.  It's the lowest my body has been on that scale.  So now I have no idea how much weight to lose to qualify for the surgery.  I should have weighed myself that day.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Steps to a Goal

1. (n.) goal:  the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

These are my mini-goals or my steps to the bigger goal of losing 12 pounds by 1/1/12.  I'm going into this with the understanding that I don't have to be perfect, but I have to try.  I know that I'm better off when I set goals and tell people (lots of people) about them to keep me on track.  I know that putting the goal information up where I can see it will help immensely.  And I know that when I put my mind to something I can do it.

1.  Workout Calendar:  I used a planning calendar in March to get my activity in and it kept me pretty accountable.  I loved seeing the results on the paper from what I had panned to do and what I actually did.  I hung another one up yesterday.  My goal is 4 times a week.  Anything above that is like extra credit.  And who doesn't like extra credit?

2.  Tracking Food:  This seems to be something that I have a hard time doing regularly.  I feel like I'm much to "into" my phone when I had to enter all the things that I eat.  And let's face it, if I don't enter them when I'm eating them, I forget.  But for the next 30 days I plan on making more days of tracking than not.  My goal is 1200-1500 calories a day, less than 100 grams of carbs, less than 50 grams of fat and at least 60 grams of protein.

3.  Water:  I'm back to drinking 75-100 ounces of water a day.  It's making for frequent bathroom breaks, but that's ok.

4.  Sleep:  I think that I'm a better person overall when I'm not tired.  I have less headaches, less stress and better days in general.  So my goal is at least 6 hours of sleep at night.  This is going to be a struggle when you add in the combination of the CPAP.  But I'm working on it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


My immediate goal:  228 pounds by 1/1/12.

I met with the bariatric center yesterday.  Dr. July at Unity is very nice and a no nonsense kind of person.  She tells you like it is and I like that.  We talked for quite some time about my progress, my apnea and weight.  I realized that at my largest I likely weight somewhere between 275-285.  I never want to see that again.  When she asked me what my goal was in all of this I didn't hesitate.  I want to be a healthy me with less joint pain, less swelling in my ankles, more energy, better about to control what I eat to keep me a healthy adult for as long as I can. 

For me, this isn't about how I look right now.  I understand that it's part of it and a huge part for women.  But for right now I want to be healthy.  I want to have energy to do things again.  I want to feel good in my body.

So she qualified me for surgery.  I've completed most of the process already.  The last 3 things are:  see the nutritionist, have a psych eval completed and lose 12 pounds.

I'm not taking this lightly.  It's a huge decision and yesterday while waiting for her in the office I asked myself if this is really what I wanted to do.  My answer was yes.  I want to like food, but not have it control me.  I feel a bit energized again.  I feel a bit like I have a purpose, a goal to work for.