Sunday, October 12, 2014

Breaking It Down

I'm pretty blown away by all the positivity that's been tossed my way since my post on Friday. Thanks, everyone! The back is doing some better today, although I did miss church, so I'm feeling chipper about that bit of progress.

On to business. I've been thinking about my diet and pondering three questions.

1. What made it work the first time?

2.  What made it fall apart the first time?

3. What changes will I made this time so I can be more successful?


So. What made it work the first time?

I was eating a lot of veggies, only some fruits, no grains, no sugar, regular protein (meat and eggs), seeds, nuts, and some (but limited) dairy. This combination worked for my body like nothing else had before. I was also taking supplements and drinking a lot of water.

What made it fall apart the first time?

The biggest obstacle was food preparation. All ready-made foods have certain chemicals in them that I shouldn't have, so ideally, I would prepare a bunch of food in advance to have on hand. That never happened, so when things got busy, I started justifying. So 1) lack of preparation 2) justifying. Add in the fact that I really like certain unhealthy foods, and add in a lack of understanding of my own emotional needs.

And what changes will I make this time?

Obviously, food prep's going to have to happen. I'm thinking that if I start a Crock-Pot of veggie soup at night before I go to bed, I can eat on it all day long the next day and have a little fruit or nuts or other fresh veggies on the side. And I can change up what I throw in there, so it doesn't have to be the same all the time.

Justifying ... well, I've run out of excuses, haven't I?  :)  The weight didn't cause my condition, but it is adding to the pain.

Food restrictions - one of the hardest things for me before was how very strict the diet was, and if I cheated once, I felt horrible guilt. I'm going to allow myself certain amounts of leeway that will keep me on target, but won't make me feel so boxed in.

And I'm going to keep working on my emotional needs. This has been an eye-opening process for me, done with a lot of prayer and thinking back over my life. I'm not crazy about a lot of the things I've been realizing. But knowledge is power, as they say, and once you identify the problem, you can fix it.

So that's where I am right now. My starting weight on this new venture is 260, and I'll be keeping you updated on that. Today I've had chicken, a yam, a nectarine, water, lime/dandelion juice, sunflower seeds, and I'm about to have some peas. (That's not a lot, but I've been sleeping a bunch today.)

And I'll check back in with you in a few days!

Friday, October 10, 2014

An Update on Me ...

Here's what's up with me now ... (click link)

And you're going to start hearing a lot more from me as I figure all this out. A lot more. Probably lots of rambling and some whining. Just to warn you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

So, Um ...

When last I posted, I'd lost two pounds, and then I lost another three. Booyeah! And then, strangely, I gained all five back. That was quite the mystery because I hadn't done anything different. And me being me, of course my first thought was, "Well, if I"m going to just gain it back while I'm eating healthy, what's the point?"

And then I realized something. It was one of those, you're in the shower feeling sorry about yourself and lamenting your life and suddenly you understand what you wish you understood a long time ago moments.

It's not about what I weigh.

Hmm? What? What is this odd thing I'm saying? How can it not be about what I weigh?

It's about being healthy.

Ah. Okay. Now that make sense.

When I gained the five pounds back, I'd been eating tons of great salads, getting my protein, getting my water - I was doing the things I knew my body needed to be healthy. I don't know why the five pounds came back, but I could honestly say that I'd been making good choices.

Isn't that what it's all about?

I think a major lesson I need to learn is listening to my body and not my emotions. If my body feels like I'm making healthy choices, I should feel good about myself, even if my emotions are unhappy that the scale did a back flip. While my emotions want to take the scale out back and shoot it, my body can be proud of me for reducing my carbs and drinking enough water.

It's going to be a journey, listening to my body and not my emotions. It's a journey I'll document here, and hopefully my struggles and successes and ups and downs will help and inspire you, if for no other purpose than to show you that you're not alone. None of us are.

So, as to how I'm doing today - I'm eating healthy, for the most part. The other day I felt a huge shift in my universe and I started getting dizzy - it was like looking through the eye doctor's machine where he flips all the lenses. I sent my husband to get me some cookies, and they helped. (I don't recommend cookies all the time - but I was listening to my body and it needed sugar.) So I wasn't 100% there for a couple of days (until the cookies ran out). But now I'm back on my salads and protein and looking at healthy balances. I haven't weighed in for a few days and probably won't - I'm happier when the scale isn't a constant part of my life.

Overall, I'm really feeling good about my choices. I'm feeling positive about my changes. I'm excited to see what my body says it wants next - it is kind of a grand adventure. And I'm glad you're taking it with me.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A New Week

When I posted last week, my intention was to hold off on weighing until I felt I'd made a little bit of progress so I wouldn't depress myself too badly. But then I decided that it was better to know for sure, so I went ahead and weighed. It was a little more than I thought, but not shockingly so.

Then I made a series of conscious decisions. Starting on Wednesday afternoon, I've had no grain (which I've indicated for my personal body is bad for weight) and no sugar. Yesterday I did have about fifteen M & Ms from one of those little fun packs that my son gave me for Mother's Day, and you know, I have to say I liked eating healthy and then consciously choosing to have a small treat. I've been drinking lots of water, and I've been eating lots of vegetables.

And I've lost two pounds.  Hooray!

This week, I'm going to keep that up, and I'm also going to eat a little more. I feel like I'm not getting quite enough in there. Part of it's going to be looking for new recipes, because veggies can get boring if you don't have ideas. It's just a matter of looking for them because they really are everywhere.

One thing that's helpful is that my local grocery store sells these pre-packaged salads that are only $3.18, and they are totally full of veggies. They're really good-sized - I'm pretty full by the time I'm done with one, and I'm not even sure I could make one myself for cheaper. So I've picked up a few of those over the last couple of days and will get more today. For me, convenience is key. I think that's been one of my biggest downfalls.

Right now I have some squash in the oven - squashes and yams/sweet potatoes help me feel full.

And that's my update.  :)  Thanks for hearing me out and cheering me on - you guys are the best!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Moment of Total Transparency

So, you all know my story - weighed 300 pounds, found a great doctor who put me on the diet that finally answered my weight-loss questions, lost 88 pounds and basically looked smokin' hot. I still had a ways to go, but dang, I was workin' it.

And then things happened. A long series of things. I broke my foot, and because I couldn't stand on one foot and cook my healthy meals from scratch, my husband got me some prepackaged food that I could make from my wheelchair. That's when it all started, when I started making excuses. Excuse after excuse later, here I am, having gained back half the weight I lost.

And I'm ashamed of myself for it.

At a writers conference about a year and a half ago, a woman came up to me and said, "Well, you still look good," like she'd expected that I'd lose all that weight and then gain it back. At the time, I was peeved. And now, I have to shake my head and admit that she was right.

Why? Why did I gain so much of it back when I'd been so excited to lose it in the first place? I'd been looking for my answer for years and when I finally found it, I should have clung on to it and loved it and been faithful to it forever. But I didn't. Why?

I've been thinking about this a lot. A whole lot. I've been trying to figure it out because I'm not happy with myself. I feel like a failure - yes, like a big fat failure. I had all the answers, I was able to inspire others, and did I mention that I looked smokin' hot - and yet I dropped the ball. Why? Why would I sabotage myself like that?

We'll start with the easy answers first. For starters, this diet that worked so many miracles for me is really hard to maintain. It's a no-grain, no-sugar, high-protein, high-vegetable diet, and when you love food as much as I do, it's hard to be strict. And yet, my body has to be strict in order to lose weight. That was the key I was missing for so many years. When you eat this way, you're hungry all the time because you metabolize so fast, and so therefore, you're cooking all the time because no prepared foods match the requirements of the diet.

Second was the fact that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. My doctor had literally saved my son's life, so I felt that I owed it to him to lose this weight, which he wanted me to do. It's kind of a crazy way of looking at it - my doctor wanted me to lose weight for my own health, and yet I thought I was thanking him by losing weight. That's a codependent mindset, by the way, which is another issue I'm working on. But anyway, I didn't lose the weight for me. I lost it for him.

Last fall, I had a miscarriage. I was only a month along, but it was deeply, deeply disappointing because my husband and I wanted that child so badly. All four of our kids were so excited to welcome another little Pinkston into the clan. But something wasn't right from the very start - I started having Braxton Hicks almost as soon as I conceived and I put myself on bed rest, and then I miscarried. If the baby had been healthy, I would have carried it to term - I wasn't overdoing it in any way. It just wasn't meant to be. But that didn't make it hurt less.

After the miscarriage, I told my doctor I needed a break. I was so tired of trying to get the weight back off and be good and please everyone - I just had to step back and think about myself. He readily agreed, and for the last six months, I've pretty much done my own thing without thinking about dieting or exercise or any of it. I've allowed myself to grieve the loss of the baby, although it's not something that has a definite end, and I'm coming to some conclusions about myself and my life that are really important.

Some of them I won't share here because they're too personal or might involve others. But I will share that because food has always meant security to me, restricting my food makes me panic. I feel better when my rules and regulations are a little looser, and then I can choose for myself how strictly I want to live. Additionally, food means comfort, as it does for many other people. When I'm sad or upset, if there isn't something "good" to eat, again, I start to panic, like I won't be able to control my feelings.

I had an important realization the other night. I was watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, the scene where Spock is explaining to Uhura that Vulcans do have feelings - their feelings are so deep and so overwhelming that they must make the choice to bury them or they'll be consumed. This is exactly how I feel. I'm such an emotional person that if I don't keep a tight, tight lid on every feeling, I feel like I'm going to spin out of control. And I've been doing it for so long that I don't know how to stop.

To a person who doesn't have food issues, this probably sounds goofy. But it's actually pretty common. There are many, many people who can't feel emotional wellness without food. They either don't have the tools to do it or it's so encoded in them from their pasts that they, like me, panic. When I was living the diet before, I was analyzing everything I ate, feeling guilty if I "cheated", felt panic if there wasn't something healthy immediately available, and basically drove myself crazy. I looked awesome, but internally, I was a mess. This wasn't my doctor's fault at all - this was me being codependent and emotionally addicted to food for my sanity.

To go back to a previous point, I was also using the wrong motivation. I was losing weight to please my doctor, and then I decided that I should lose weight to have a healthier baby. When I lost the baby, it felt like, "So I did all that for nothing." I didn't have the motivation anymore. If I'm going to miscarry while I'm eating healthy, why eat healthy? I just haven't had my head on right, and then I felt resentful of everyone who wanted me to lose weight.

You've seen me post a lot of "I"m getting back in the saddle" types of posts. Each time, I thought I'd figured it out, that I had the secret, that I was now going to be "good" again. And each time, I was wrong because my emotions were in charge, and not my brain. I wanted my brain to be in charge, but when your emotions are so strong, so overwhelming, they will control you no matter what you do.

Today is different. Today is different because I'm not saying "I'm back in the saddle" or making any promises whatsoever. Today I'm learning how to decide for myself how to approach this. I'm going back on the diet because I know it's right for my body, but I need to figure out how to make it work for me emotionally. I need to honor who I am and what I've been through without allowing the opinions of others to sway me.

And I need to find a new motivation, one that is based solely on me. If I do it for my doctor, I resent my doctor. If I do it for a pregnancy, I resent the pregnancy. I can only do it for me, according to what my soul is telling me, and it's telling me that I want to feel good about myself again. I loved putting on those size large clothes after wearing a 3X for so long. I loved watching people's eyes bug out of their heads when they saw how awesome I looked, and I appreciated how I was treated as more of a professional because no one was getting hung up on how fat I was. I could just be me and do what I needed to do.

So there you have it, where I'm coming from right now. I've been eating a baked yam and drinking lemon water while I wrote this, two very healthy choices, and I feel good about them. Later I might grab some chocolate - I don't know. My task is to find my balance, the one that makes me happy physically and emotionally. The one that tells me I can do this.

I want to thank all of you for cheering me on during this process. I had no idea what a journey of self-discovery it was going to become. I've had to face some dark inner demons and issues from my past, and it's been difficult to look at them square in the face. But it's part of healing. It's part of what I need to do.

I realized this morning that for many of us, the body's outward appearance reflects the soul's inner condition. I'm working on my soul, and that will translate into the health of my body. One step at a time. And this time, I'm doing it for the right reasons.


Monday, August 26, 2013

I think I can

This morning I was down almost two pounds from when I started blogging again back in July. At this rate I'll hit my goal weight in about four years. But I have faith that I can do it a little faster than that, if I just do the things I know I need to do. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of exercising every day. Drinking enough water is still an issue. I think I just need to schedule when and how I drink it, just like a prescription medication. And food? Well, it is zucchini season. At least part of zucchini bread is a vegetable, right? Upward (or downward) and onward.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hi! And Hiatal Hernias

A hiatal hernia is a condition where part of your stomach pops up into your esophagus. It can give you heartburn and it can make it really hard to eat. In some severe cases, people have surgery to push that puppy back down where it goes.

Well, I've had one over the course of the last month. I've been having heartburn, and I thought I was probably eating too many spices. But then I noticed that sometimes when I swallowed, the food would just sit in the center of the esophagus and would not go down. A few times I'd have to throw up to get it out of there because it was not budging, and there were a few days when I couldn't eat much at all because nothing would go down.

Thankfully, my awesome chiropractor was able to dig his pointy fingers into my abdomen and pop the stomach back down without the need for surgery. The tissues are still sore - when you've had something wrong for a while, there's a recovery period - but I'm doing a whole lot better now.

There's just one problem - this didn't help my weight loss at all.  The only thing I found I could eat, most of the time, was Rice Krispies. And sometimes those wouldn't go down either.

I know I've put back on those five pounds I was so happy to lose. I haven't weighed - I don't want to be all sad - but I can tell in the way I'm feeling. In order to lose weight, my body needs a high protein, low carb, lots of vegetable diet, and I haven't been able to do that much for the last few weeks. I'm disappointed on a number of levels.

But I'm not giving up.  :)

Another incentive for me was seeing some pictures of myself taken at a recent writers conference. One was taken from the side (which should be outlawed) and my stomach is definitely coming back. Nooooo!! Say it ain't so!!

I've asked fellow bloggers Marta and Shauna to be my accountability buddies several times a week while I get this nipped in the bud. The hernia wasn't my fault, but it's completely up to me now how I come out of it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reboot

I've recovered from the all the trauma of a couple of weeks ago. My foot has only small scars left. My mother is on her way to healing, and my WONDERFUL niece is now her full-time caregiver. The cat is still with us and shows no signs of rabies. (But I do wonder if cats can suffer from dementia.) (Or maybe she found catnip growing somewhere in the neighborhood.)

It's time to drag myself back onto the treadmill again. Theoretically, I know exercise helps with weight loss. It helps relieve stress. I remember just a couple of weeks ago I was on a roll and I felt so much better, physically and emotionally, when I was exercising every day. But I am not enthused about pushing this particular wheelbarrow of rocks up the hill again. I'll get there.

So back to the basics we go. Exercise 6 days a week. Drink plenty of water. Write down everything I eat and analyze it to death.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Bump in the Road

Last week was not a good week. On Wednesday night my cat was sleeping by my foot. Something startled her and she bit me. By the next evening, my foot was becoming red and swollen, and I went to the ER. Just as I was coming out of the ER, my sister called to let me know my mother fell, hit her head and broke her shoulder. (She's 92.) I spent the night in a recliner in my mother's hospital room. So I was dealing with the nasty side effects of two powerful antibiotics, a swollen and painful foot, loss of sleep, and all kinds of worry and stress. All my healthy goals just flew right out the window. Oh, and I was also dealing with the hormone roller coaster and water retention. Yay!

Did I mention it was not a good week?

So by this morning when I weighed it, it was pretty bad. I'm almost back to where I was a few weeks ago. I'd like to say I'm in damage control mode now, but I'm not even doing that well. I'm still just trying to survive these stupid antibiotics. The side effects are fatigue and stomach pain. (And apparently major crankiness and whining.) I'm not especially hungry, but it's worse if I don't eat and better when I do.

My daughter challenged me a few weeks ago to start doing pushups and situps every day. That may be my exercise for the coming week, because it wouldn't involve using my foot.

So my goals for this week are:

1. See how many pushups and situps I can do. Maybe I'll add some arm curls with hand weights.

2. Heal.

3. Try not to eat everything in sight.

(Mom is home, all stitched up and braced, with many family members and friends lining up to take care of her around the clock. She is much more stoic than I.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Making Progress

Marta reminded me that's it's been a little while since I've posted. So true, so true. Life has just been crazy busy. I'm sure every one of you can relate.

Remember how I weighed in at 245 and I set the goal to hit 212 by November 1st? Well, I'm feeling pretty good right now - this morning I weighed in at 240. That's a right nice start.

I've been off sugar for a solid week now. I did it before - I can do it again. But let me tell you a secret - when you go off it and then get back on it, it's so much harder to get off the second time. Just get off and stay off and don't put yourself through this again. I'm ornery, I feel a little lost and scared, and right now I'm having to make a firm, conscious choice not to go buy some. I've had a rough day, and so I've got to focus even more on making healthy choices. We gain weight without trying - we have to put in effort to lose it.

I've learned that when I eat sugar, I gain weight. When I eat grain, I gain weight. By eliminating sugar and grain, I lose weight. It's that simple for me - on paper. Making the decision not to eat them is much, much harder. We're conditioned to eat them in our culture and they're absolutely everywhere. And have I mentioned that I'm a food addict and an emotional overeater? Yeah - I'm sure you picked up on that along the way.

So that's what I'm up to this week - dealing with stress, choosing not to head for the chocolate, and feeling good about five pounds down. That's five on my bathroom scale - we'll just have to see if my doctor's scale agrees next time I weigh in there. I swear, his scale hates me or something.  :)

Remember - conscious decisions. Doing things subconsciously leads to weight gain.

God Grant Me Patience . . . NOW!!

As of this morning, I've lost another 0.8 pounds. I'm torn. I want faster results, but I don't want to do the drastic things that give those fast results. I want to create habits, long-term habits. I keep telling myself if it comes off slow it's more likely to stay off. But I still want it to be faster.

I suppose I would have lost more if I hadn't made those brownies. Lunch Lady Brownies a la Pinterest. My son came home for the weekend and he has the opposite problem. He can't gain weight. He's tall and has the metabolism of a blast furnace. I know, I know. We should all have such problems. It's really hard for him to find jeans that are tall and skinny enough. So I felt it was my motherly duty to keep feeding him. I was sort of caught in the fallout and blew my diet and skipped my exercise on Saturday. But it was a calculated decision. My son doesn't get to come home very often.

I've decided I really don't want to eliminate chocolate. Some days you just need chocolate. At least I do. I'll just be a little more selective. (Oh, and I ate exactly three brownies: one Saturday, one Sunday, and one this morning. I sent some home with my son, and gave away a lot of them. They are no longer in my house.)

I'm back at it today. My goals for the coming week are:

1. Keep walking, 25 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

2. Drink 2 liters of water a day. (It's getting slightly easier. I'm almost there today.)

3. Eat a decent breakfast every day, hopefully before 9:00 a.m., including complex carbs and a lot of protein.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just keep walking, walking, walking . . .


I've never been really enthused about exercise, but I'm still walking, 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week. So I met my exercise goal again last week, but I'm really struggling with drinking enough water. The only day I made it to 2 liters was Friday, and I'm not sure how I did that. I'll keep trying.

As of this morning, I was down another 0.6 lbs. Not what I was hoping for, but at least it's in the right direction. I think it's time to do something about food.

I've been paying more attention to what I eat and drink lately. I've already (mostly) cut out sodas. The next biggest thing is chocolate, my drug of choice. If I could figure out how to do a pie chart of where my calories come from, chocolate would be a big slice of the pie—chocolate cream pie. I don't know if I can cut chocolate out permanently, but I'm pretty sure I can do it for at least one week. Then I'll see what the results are and reassess.

My goals for the coming week are:

1. Keep walking, and up it to 25 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

2. Chug that water, 2 liters a day.

3. No chocolate for one week.

See you next Monday.

Monday, July 15, 2013

"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

I saw that on Pinterest, and it's my new philosophy. I'm making one change at a time. Starting last Tuesday (because Monday was my birthday and I was eating zucchini brownies) I began walking on the treadmill every day, for at least 20 minutes a day. I logged my minuets every day and ended up with a total for the week of 115 minutes walking. While I walked, I watched last week's episode of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," and I had to keep going on Saturday until I hit 33 minutes to see the final weigh in.

I've also been weighing myself daily and recording that in my log book. Some "experts" say not to weigh yourself so often, but I find it interesting to see the way how much I exercise and how much I eat affects my weight on a daily basis. It was a little bit of a roller coaster, but as of this morning, I am down 2 pounds, which is 4% of my goal.

My goals for the coming week are:

1. Keep walking every day.

2. Drink 2 liters of water every day.

I haven't set any hard and fast rules about food yet. But because I'm exercising and weighing daily, I'm more aware of what I'm eating and how it affects me. I find myself making better choices, like eating more fruits and vegetables. I've also made some bad choices, like buying a whole package of Double-Stuff Oreos. If those things are in the house, I WILL eat them. I'm not banishing the cookies just yet, but maybe next time I want something sweet I'll just run over to the convenience store and get one of those single serving packages instead.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Renewal

We all seem to be needing a reset or renewal button so I am going to add mine to the board.  I lost about 35 pounds and I looked and felt great.  Then my husband hurt my daughter, left us and then filed for divorce.  That was made final about 5 weeks ago and he is getting married next week. (don't you dare tell me he wasn't seeing her when he lived with us).  Anyway, this winter was just hard and I finally had the doctor prescribe an anti-depressant.  While it helped me stop crying uncontrollably, which is a necessity when you are a school counselor, it also caused me to gain 30 lbs.  After about 20 lbs I went in and told him "I would rather be sad and skinny than fat and numb". He changed the prescription.  The next pill made me not be able to sleep and I already have insomnia and one of the rare side effects is "an uncontrollable craving for sweets and carbs".

  Guess who always gets the rare side effects?  Always.  Guess who was found in the faculty room hoarding all the sweet cinnamon twists every Monday and Thursday?  Sigh.

I finally told him that I just couldn't take the weight gain and that I REFUSED to purchase bigger clothes again.  I just got some cute smaller ones.  So we tapered off that pill.  And the weight started coming off.  A heck of a lot slower than it went on.

The good news is I am only 10-12 pounds from my lowest weight last year and I am starting to feel physically better.  I actually slept for 5 hours last night.   Of course most of that weight loss is because I am not eating.  Anything.  Well, maybe a handful of grapes or a bowl of beans, but truly I forget to eat because I am so sad I just sit and stare or wander the house waiting to hear keys in the door or his step on the floor.

No more!  I started doing Yoga again and it feels so good and my body slipped back into the routine quickly and the strength and flexibility didn't take as long as when I first started years ago.  I ate 2 actual meals yesterday and they were healthy and when the girls brought some donuts in the house a while ago I just looked at them and said Yummy and walked away because I didn't really want one.

Baby steps, baby steps.

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's been about three years since I last blogged here. I think I weigh about the same as I did when I started blogging here, meaning I've regained the weight that I lost. Actually, I've done that a couple of times in that three years. But I've noticed something lately. I've always had kind of an hourglass figure, sometimes a larger or smaller hourglass, depending on my weight, but I always had a defined waistline. (Except when I was pregnant, but that doesn't count.) But recently, I've changed. Now I'm more of a box shape--a busty box, but a box all the same. This is a picture of me at a writer's conference this spring. I hate it when I think I look pretty good, and then I see the reality in a picture.
It's not just about how I look anymore, although I really would like to look good for my next class reunion. Gaining weight around the waist is a sign of high cortisol levels, that's the "stress hormone." It also increases my risk of a heart attack. Today is my 51st birthday. I would like to make it to my next class reunion alive AND looking cute. My goal is to lose 50 pounds. One way I'm going to do that is with my walking. I finally bought a treadmill. I've found that if I can read, or listen to an audio book, or stream a movie or TV show on my laptop, while I'm walking, I walk longer. It makes exercise a lot less boring. I also have incentive to use the treadmill more often if I can only watch my show while I'm walking. First I'll concentrate on the exercise. Then each week I plan to concentrate on another good habit, like drinking enough water, or eating enough veggies. I'll report my progress here. It's good to be back on the blogwagon.