Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Update on Tristi

It's time for another exciting episode of Days of Tristi's Life!

On the back/hip/leg muscle issue, I actually have good things to report. My mom found a cranial/sacral therapist and sent her down to see me, and after just one treatment, I was feeling so much better, I knew I'd found one of the answers I've been looking for. She came again last week and worked on me again, and there is light at the end of my tunnel! I'm still not up to walking around an entire grocery store, but I can walk around my house, and I've been down to the basement a couple of times (not as clean as my family had assured me, but I'd already prepared myself for that) and I've been to church without the wheelchair. She's coming again today and will continue to do so probably twice a month for a while, and I'm feeling so blessed to have found her.

In other news, a week ago I thought I was having a gallbladder attack. Turns out, I had a super, super bad stomach virus. So I was put on a liquid diet and then graduated to a soft foods diet. I am so hungry for a solid meal right now, it's not even funny, but I am now doing better on that score as well.

As soon as this bug is past, I'll be able to resume my quest for health. In the meantime, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Making Progress

Hey, all!

So, let me share with you what's up in my little world.

I'm super excited to announce that my back is doing a lot better. I can bend over and pick things up most of the time, and the pain I was experiencing there constantly is pretty much gone. Hooray! Counting my blessings, let me tell you what.

The issue that I'm working through now is my sartorius muscle. I shall post a graphic to illustrate.

This muscle comes down from the hip and wraps around the front of the leg. It's also called the tailor's muscle because when you sit cross-legged like a tailor, this is the muscle that lets you do that. Here, let's find a picture of a tailor because that's fun too.

You just can't get more old-fashioned tailor than this - am I right or am I right?

Anyway, this muscle controls a lot of other things as well - lifting your leg to propel it forward when you step, keeping your knees from flying apart when you're trying to sit in a ladylike fashion, helping you stay balanced while you stand up. It keeps your body from flopping from side to side while you ride in a car and go around a corner. It's the longest muscle in your body.

This muscle in my right leg is having some real issues right now. It's inflamed, and frequently causes a burning sensation. It can lose strength at a moment's notice, making me have to sit down now. I mean, now. Hand me that chair, would ya?

So I'm still lying down a lot, and I'm depending on my wheelchair more than I'd like. The grocery store sees me in a ridey cart. Standing doesn't happen for more than a few minutes at a time. And it hurts. A lot.

But the thing is this - the pain I'm in now is a lot less than the pain I was in six weeks ago. I feel blessed. I am supported by my family, and sure, there are things I'd like to get done that I'm not, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I haven't been downstairs in six weeks, but my kids and husband assure me that they're cleaning up down there and keeping it vacuumed (going to just take their word for it).

Just as my back has improved, I know this muscle will too. And then I'll get to start taking gentle walks and doing other things to strengthen the whole muscle system so I can continue to heal.

Thanks again for all your friendship and support - you are awesome. You really are.

Photo credit links:,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Interesting Life

First off, I want to thank all of you for the outpouring of support you've given me since I announced what's going on with my back. You've blown me away with your caring and concern. Thank you!!

What's going on with me currently is as follows.

Most days, I can sit up in my recliner for about two hours, but I'm best off lying in bed. When I stand up, gravity pulls my upper half down into my hips and wigs them out, so if I'm going to a store or something with a lot of walking, I typically need to be in a wheelchair. My family has been really supportive - pushing my chair, picking up things when I drop them, etc.

I'm unable to do many of the things I would like. Housework, running errands, etc - a lot of it has to be delegated. Some days, I can only stand for a few minutes. Some days, I can only sit for a few minutes. Other days, I feel pretty good. It just all depends on the day.

On the positive side, though, the overall pain has decreased. If I'm careful and don't push beyond the limits my body has given me that day, I get along pretty well. Today I walked around too much and I've been paying the price. But when I listen, I get by.

My chiropractor is still working with me to get everything put back into place. The trick is strengthening the ligaments so they'll stay in place.

The main struggle I'm having is what it always has been - food. I can't stand up long enough to prepare a meal, so once again, I'm dependent on others to help me, and ... let's just say that sometimes ... it doesn't taste good.  :)  But I'm doing some kitchen training and hopefully I'll get my staff into shape.  :)

So that's what's up over here. Learning my limitations and seeking ways to stretch those boundaries without hurting myself. Trying to be patient when I want to do things I can't do. Appreciating my family and the support they give me.

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.