Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Interesting Propositions

First, the bad news: I haven't lost weight this past week as it seems like the "sick and stressed" diet can only work so much magic. But I haven't gained weight, either, which is also important.

The good news is that I haven't had a breathing episode at night for about a week (knock on wood). It will be nice if that never happens to me again, so I'm holding out hope.

Because the weather has finally gotten warmer, I've been walking more. On Friday, I met up with friends for dinner and a movie, and even though it was rainy out, I walked around the city for about an hour before we met up. Granted, it was very slow walking, but I was proud of myself for not giving in and taking a cab in the bad weather.

This weekend we had a hurricane-like storm, but today the sun came out so I walked for a little while after work. I'm meeting friends for dinner downtown on Thursday, so I'm planning to walk again. I used to love just walking around the city, so I'm trying to get back into that.

Meantime, I've been given two very interesting propositions. The first is, a friend of mine and my husband's has invited us to go with him to Peru in 2011. I've traveled a lot, but haven't yet been to Peru and am excited to see Machu Pichu, which are the famous ancient ruins. However, our friend then started talking about hiking the Inca trail and I had to give him a reality check on the kind of shape I'm actually in. Thankfully, he was very understanding. It would be nice if I really could hike around the Andes, but I need to be realistic in my goals and take things slowly. I'd love to get into good enough shape, though!

Then my other friend invited me to join her for a girls' vacation in Hawaii for 2013. She and her friend will be turning 40, and though I'll only be 39, I do have a February birthday like them. I love Hawaii and they plan to go to some places I haven't yet been, but already they're talking about doing all of these active things like taking hula lessons and biking down a volcano in Maui. Right now, I couldn't imagine doing that, but 2013 is a long way away. Plus, the friend who invited me has lost a significant amount of weight herself, so if she can get in shape, I don't see why I can't.

For now, my big goal is our 10th anniversary party, which is at the end of April. I'm kind of disappointed in myself because I was a fat bride and I was hoping that I'd be skinny for this. My original dream was to wear the wedding gown I'd wished I'd been able to fit into back then, but well, that ain't happening. But I did see a cute dress I like and want to look as best as I can. And I figure that the friends and family members who are coming won't really care, as long as there's good food and alcohol.

It's so hard to stay motivated, though. It's hard to battle food at every meal. I'm doing pretty well in my plan to eat fewer carbs, though I've been saving them for dinner. Breakfast is cereal, skim milk and a banana, and lunch is a big salad with a lot of veggies and soup. Then for dinner I'm a bit more lax about having things like pizza or pasta (hey, I can't give up everything at once). I'm finding that I'm craving the salads more and have enjoyed experimenting with ingredients. My favorite combo, though, has been a salad with oranges, cranberries, red onion and a fat free raspberry vinaigrette. Sounds weird, but it's really good!

I know I need to get moving more to really see a change. Hopefully, we'll continue to have sunshine and I'll be spending even more time outdoors.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Near-Death Experience

As a morbidly obese person, I'm aware that my life is at risk, but it's different when you actually experience something that could potentially kill you. This happened to me last night.

Because of my size, I suffer from sleep apnea, which is when you stop breathing in your sleep. It's fairly common, even for thinner people, but obesity is a contributing factor to this condition. Most people who suffer from it and lose weight do experience it less, and sometimes even recover from it completely. Then there are those who have a really severe case and have to sleep attached to a machine called a CPAP, which helps them breathe. My case isn't that severe ... knock on wood. If I sleep on my side, I'm usually okay.

That said, it has gotten better since I've lost some weight, and I've gone for a few weeks now where I haven't awoke in the middle of the night gasping for air. Still, when it does happen, it's a weird and scary experience. I wake up and go to take a breath ... and then realize I can't. Then I sit up and it feels as if my throat is opening up and my breath comes back in loud gasps.

Usually, my breath comes back in one or two gasps, but last night it literally took about two minutes for me to fully get my breath back. I kept wheezing and gasping, my husband was freaking out which made me even more panicked and I seriously thought that I was going to die. I finally forced myself to relax and I was able to breathe again.

Then I felt as if I had a huge weight on my chest. It was all tight and heavy and I thought that I might be having a heart attack. But as I was debating whether to have my husband call an ambulance, I let out a few really loud belches. My chest immediately felt better, though my throat was all sore and strained.

After that, Jon went in the other room and I stayed up and read for a while. I was scared to go back to sleep for fear that this would happen again. Truthfully, I'm fearing what will happen tonight. At the moment, I feel pretty awful since I basically got about an hour of sleep, and it hurts to breathe since I was straining so much.

So I'm trying to lose weight more quickly now. I don't even care about my appearance at this point; I just want this sleep apnea to go away before it gets to the point where I need a machine at night. My immediate plan of attack is to eat less sugar and fewer carbs. I started today and did a so-so job of following this. I usually have cereal, fruit and toast for breakfast, but I elminated the toast portion. Instead, I had a cup of low-fat yogurt and a piece of string cheese about halfway through the morning. For lunch, I had a cup of tomato soup and an awesome salad with carrots, oranges, chickpeas and chopped egg.

And then I failed at dinner. I had some leftover pasta and ice cream from a few nights ago ... and I polished it off. I don't know why I did this, but instead of beating myself up I went and planned tomorrow's menu in advance. I think I need to have another healthy snack in the late afternoon. This way, I won't come home and gorge. I also need to make sure that our home has plenty of healthy snacks. Right now we have little things of applesauce, so I'll bring one tomorrow as a snack at work. I haven't really discussed my history of eating disorders with my therapist yet (we're still getting to know each other), but I'm going to tell her about this and see if she can give me some help with the psych part.

By the way, Jon just came home and said that the whole sleep apnea episode only lasted about 15 seconds, not two minutes. It still felt long, though.

My plan for tonight is to take a hot shower, read, try to relax and then go to bed early so I can have a better day tomorrow. I don't know why taking care of myself is so difficult for me. I'm sure that most of you have heard that actor Corey Haim died. He was only 38, but was in and out of rehab 15 times in his adult life. He just could not beat his addiction and it did him in. Though I'm not addicted to drugs, I don't want my food addiction to do me in. Unlike him, I'm still alive. This means that for now I have a fighting chance.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Get In The Pool

Earlier I wrote about how I'd been nervous about swimming while on our cruise, but I finally went for it after my husband and friend Scott encouraged me to "Get in the pool." Later that evening, I spoke Scott's words back at him when he was nervous about doing a karaoke solo and urged him to "get in the pool" (not literally in this case), as well.

I think that "get[ing] in the pool" is good metaphor for how I want to live my life: I want to take more risks and then (hopefully) enjoy the rewards that come with those risks. Just as it was when I literally got in the pool -- the water was cool and relaxing, and I felt as if I were floating. I hadn't gone swimming in years, but as soon as I hit the water, I realized how much I'd missed it. That said, I know that my fears are making me miss other things in life, as well.

One of my big fears still is flying. I've told my husband that I want to book another trip right away so that I can force myself to do it more often. I enjoy traveling so the risk (flying) would lead to a reward (seeing a cool, new place).

I also know that losing weight and being attractive again is a fear -- a deep-down fear, but a fear nevertheless. That said, I decided to "get in the pool" tonight and start walking again. I'd originally planned to do it this past weekend because the weather was decent, but I just couldn't get up the energy to get dressed and go. But today I ended up doing a walk during lunch for about a half hour. I didn't go far -- maybe a mile because I had to stop sometimes, but it felt great. The sun was out, the weather was warm for a change, and it felt good to get moving. I think I function better in general when the sun is out more so I plan to do more walking in the near future. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's.

After work, I had my therapy session. Things are going pretty well with that. I told her about my "get in the pool" idea and she liked the imagery. She suggested that I think about it when I come across an obstacle in my life. She also suggested that I take a more "zen" approach to things and not worry about the details so much. That's a little hard for someone like me who has an overactive imagination, but I guess it can't hurt to try. So I'm being zen about this blog, and whatever I write, I write. It doesn't matter if it's not Shakespeare!

Meantime, I'm looking forward to more warm weather so that I can hopefully "get in the pool" again soon -- literally and figuratively.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Sickness And In Health

I'm finally starting to feel better after battling that terrible cold for the past week. This evening is actually the first in a long time that I don't feel sick or tired. That said, I did 10 minutes on the BowFlex tonight -- not much, but I don't want to push it. I've had a lot of colds in my lifetime, but that was seriously one of the worst I've ever had. I'm wondering if it was really more than a cold, like the flu.

The uh, "good news" is I lost three pounds! So being sick does have some advantages!

I don't want to gain that back so I've been making a point to eat more greens. One thing the cruise reminded me of is how much I like pizza. This seems like a) a strange thing to forget that I'd like 'cuz it's nummy and b) a strange thing to associate with a healthier lifestyle. But pizza can be a great way to get veggies in, if you don't overdo it. The cruise had a nice pizza stand that made the pies just like I like - not too thick, but soft. The slices were small, so I'd get two with fresh veggies on top and I'd have a nice, filling lunch. Today I ordered a mini-pizza from the deli across the street. I got it with spinach and broccoli and they piled on the toppings. Even better, they didn't overcook them so the spinach was still crisp and the broccoli had some crunch to it. I ate half -- and was completely stuffed. Plus, I got about two servings of fresh veggies in the process. A win on all counts!

I've been trying to eat more salads, too, and am still in the process of concocting the "perfect" dish. I've discovered that artichokes don't work well because they can sometimes be stringy; I love olives, but they're a little too flavorful and drown out the other ingredients; mandarin orange slices, on the other hand, kick ass. It may seem strange to add them into a salad with chick peas and onions, but trust me, they work really well as part of a savory dish.

But enough about food -- what I'm really looking forward to this weekend is getting back into walking, even if it's just for 20 minutes. It's supposed to FINALLY be spring weather and I need to get out of the house. Between the illness and blizzard, all of the fresh air I took in during my vacation has long since been used up. Old Man Winter has seriously worn out his welcome!