Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time For Some R N' R

For the past few weekends, I've been running, running, running. Between the jewelry show, various parties and charity walk, it's been non-stop activities. It's been a lot of fun, but tiring nevertheless.

This weekend, I finally got to relax -- and it was wonderful. We saw two movies (In Time and Paranormal Activity 3), I watched episodes of the series SWITCHED AT BIRTH online and we went for a nice walk today. I got some exercise, I got to hang out and spend some quality time with my hubby and I got to slow down for a while.

Next month is gearing up to be another crazy one, but I'm looking forward to it. The New Year's Midnight Run in Central Park is right around the corner, so I need to start training for that. It's only four miles, less than the diabetes walk, but I'd like to complete it in 80 minutes (doing 20 minute miles) and be able to do it without having to stop for breaks.

I still can't speed walk, but my pace is picking up. I'm also getting stronger. When we walked up the hill near our house today, I made it up to the top without stopping and it felt a lot less steep than before. It took me by surprise, but in a good way. I have two months to prepare for the Midnight Run so I should be able to achieve this goal. I just hope it doesn't snow that evening -- but that one is out of my control!

Meantime, I'm meeting with the diabetes educator this week. I'm interested to see how my weight is and if the thyroid meds are working. I feel like I've lost because my clothes are hanging on me, but I was way off the last time. I'd like to get a new scale, so if anyone reading has recommendations for scales that have a higher weight limit, I'm all ears.

I'm so happy that it's fall, especially after being so sick this summer. It's great to go out each weekend and enjoy the crisp air and sunshine, and falling leaves. I'm getting out and taking in the world and not letting life pass me by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thinner Body, Thicker Skin?

One of the internal things that I really need to work on is dealing with confrontations. I'm getting better, but most of the time I'm a complete wuss when it comes to handling sticky situations.

Take today at work, for example. I made a mistake on something. I miscommunicated when it came to getting across some information and told someone that something was OK when it wasn't. Now I have to go back and fix things. This isn't a huge mistake -- mind you -- it's more of an annoyance than anything, but the involved are going to rightfully be pissed off when I explain my blunder.

This shouldn't be a big deal, but I spent all day worrying about it and what I'd say. My stomach was tied in so many knots that I could barely eat lunch. I still don't have much of an appetite. And I still haven't corrected the issue because I was frozen with fear over facing the inevitable confrontation between myself and the person I'd wronged. I'm going to have to do it tomorrow because time is running out.

Anyway, the logical part of me knows that I'm making a bigger thing out of this than I ought to. Everyone makes mistakes and I'm usually on the ball when it comes to my job. The WORST that will likely happen is that the person will get huffy with me, chew me out a bit for screwing up and then let it go. But the emotional part of me just hates the idea of not being liked, of not being perfect, of being perceived as "bad."

I'm trying to get to the root of WHY I'm so sensitive about this sort of thing, why I so hate the idea of someone being angry with me. It's weird because I can take constructive criticism fine; when I was shopping a novel, I got over 100 rejection letters, but I was OK with that. I guess it's the idea of it being personal, of it being a measure of my character that gets to me.

This post may seem like it's not weight related, but in a way I think it is because disliking myself was a big part of what led to my eating disorders. These days, I'm pretty happy with myself and my life, but it's hard to break a habit -- like berating myself for not being perfect. I still do it from time to time, only I no longer starve myself or binge to gain control and avert my feelings.

The good news is that I didn't use food to comfort myself. I talked to friends, confided in my cubicle mate and am now blogging. It's actually kind of interesting that I LOST my appetite from the stress -- that's a new one for me! But I know that tomorrow I have to face the music and that the person will be upset with me. It won't mean that I'm a bad person and that she hates me; it will mean that she's temporarily annoyed and I will learn from my mistake.

I hope that as I become more confident with my body and feel like I can take on more challenges that my mind will follow. Being a wimp will only get me so far!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Day After

The walk ended more than 24 hours ago, but man, my legs are stiff! This morning, my ankle was throbbing as I hobbled down the block to the bus stop. It doesn't hurt anymore, but I still feel as if I'm 80 years old when I heave myself out of a chair.

It's all good, though. Hurting because I can barely move my fat ass down the street sucks. Hurting because I completed something physical that benefits a great cause is totally worth it.

Meantime, I'm finding that my tastes are changing drastically. I haven't given up carbs, but I eat fewer of them and am much more mindful of the type I eat. In other words, I no longer have white bread, white potatoes or white rice; instead, I have whole wheat or brown rice.

Anyway, while I still have bread or bread-like products like corn tortillas, I'm not craving them as much. Yesterday for instance, I treated myself to Uno's veggie pizza made on a five-grain crust. I haven't had pizza in months, so I was really looking forward to it. But it was just meh. I could take it or leave it; it wasn't like, "Oh, pizza, how I've missed you!" Tonight, I ordered chicken enchiladas in corn tortillas ... but I ended up eating just the chicken and leaving over the shells.

It's amazing how we can train our bodies to do things -- to walk further than we ever anticipated, to completely overhaul our eating habits, to function more efficiently, both mentally and physically. The beauty of being human is that in many cases, you can change those things about yourself that you want to improve; you can always start over. I've been given many chances to turn things around and am grateful that I'm getting yet another.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Outside Interests

I've been very open about my struggles with weight loss, a broken ankle and diabetes, but once in a while I like to add a fun post. In this case, I feel like showing off a little and discussing some of my outside interests. For me, this journey involving my health doesn't only concern me losing weight. It's about me becoming a more compassionate, well-rounded person in general and part of that is finding things to keep me happy outside of food.

For the past year, I've been finding more of those things. I've made a point to take on projects and challenge myself. I'm definitely a lot happier when I do such things and am less inclined to binge to fill a hole.

Anyway, here are some photos and links to my life outside of weight loss:

My online jewelry store on Etsy

Pics of some of my jewelry:

Songs from my album FLUTE PATH

Step Out Walk For Diabetes

Today was the 5-mile Step Out Walk for diabetes. It went really well. I trained so much for the event, but I never feel quite ready the day before I do any of these walks. Still, once we got to South Street Seaport, I was ready to go and I maintained that energy all through the walk. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I loved taking in the view as we marched over th Brooklyn Bridge.

I've done walks for suicide prevention, the March Of Dimes, leukemia, autism, but this time, I was doing a walk for something that affects me so I had even more motivation to complete it. Plus, this was the most I've walked since I had my ankle surgery, so I felt as if I were beating two health issues.

Over 3000 people participated, which was great, especially since so much money was raised for the American Diabetes Association. There were people of every type there: kids, babies, elderly, even two guys who did the entire walk on stilts! The atmosphere was festive at Pier 17 and everyone was dancing as a live band played.

Still, there were reminders of how deadly diabetes can be and that hit home for me. There were several teams walking in honor of a loved one who'd died from the disease. There was one guy who was blind and had obviously lost his sight from diabetes. There were several people in wheelchairs or who were limping because diabetes had robbed them of their ability to walk. Scary stuff. I admired these people for going ahead with a major walk and at the same time was thankful that I'm in decent health -- for now, anyway.

I really need to keep my health intact now; that's the trick. Between the diabetes and my thyroid issues, I feel like I'm juggling six balls in the air, but my blood sugar, liver, vision, legs and heart are all in good shape (knock on wood). Walking today in the bright sunshine reinfornced for me how fortunate I am to be healthy when just months ago, I was steps away from being in the hospital.

That said, I'm already thinking about the future and what I'm going to do to stay well and stay steps ahead of my disease. Eating is going very well. I'm still enjoying a lot of vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Today' menu was a little odd because I had three power bars during the walk, but that was necessary to give me energy. The rest of the time, though, I've been staying away from treats and have been having yogurt for dessert.

I'd also like to continue walking. I have a bad habit of doing a big walk and then slacking off, but I won't do that this time. I'm already looking into the next walk and am planning ahead for the spring. We have a big wedding coming up in Nigeria, believe it or not, so I want to be in good shape for traveling to such an exotic place.

But today was a great way to get going! I'm proud of the work I've done since getting diagnosed, and was happy to celebrate in such a positive environment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Something Very Personal

Today I feel like writing about something very personal and perhaps a little controversial: babies.

As of now, I don't really want children. I LIKE children. But I just don't feel my biological clock ticking or whatever other maternal urges most women have. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I have so many things going on with my body anyway. Right now, I can't have a baby, anyway, so maybe I'm unconsciously blocking out the idea. I do know that having kids is a HUGE responsibility. I have so much respect for my friends who are moms because they have to sacrifice so much. You have to be ready to do that and with my health issues, I don't think I can give all that a kid needs. That would be unfair to the hypothetical child.

I'm fortunate because everyone in my life has supported me. My husband is understanding and my parents and in-laws haven't bugged us about grandchildren, which I really appreciate.

Still, whenever I find out that a friend is pregnant -- as I did today -- I have mixed feelings. 99 percent of me is soooo happy for the parents-to-be! It's great news and so exciting, and I enjoy hanging out with my friends' kids. I want the best for my friends and if having kids is it for them, then I'm right there supporting them.

However, part of me also feels a little sad. There is the realization that I won't see my friend as much and that our relationship will change. I also start to question myself, wonder why I don't feel maternal and why I didn't so more to improve my weight and health earlier. I also worry about dying alone and not having any family later on in life. I worry about disappointing my husband.

I know a lot of couples who are childless and happy and most of the time, I am, too. When I think about whether I want kids *right now*, my honest, honest answer is no. If we decide to adopt or use a surrogate later on, there are other options, but at this point in time, I'm not ready for the responsibiity. I'm just trying to "own" it and not let my other friends' decisions dictate my on life. I've been guilty of this before; I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others and wondering if I'm "normal" just because I have a different opinion or way of doing things. But really what is normal? I need to remind myself that I have plenty going on in my life that is good. My friends won't think less of me if I choose to not do exactly what they're doing, and even if they do -- so what? I can't have a kid just to fit in. That would be so unfair to everyone involved!

I realize this post is kind of rambling and doesn't have much to do with weight loss, but I sometimes need to sort out my feelings. Again, I'm justifying myself to you readers, but this is *my* blog.

I'm looking forward to eventually meeting my friend's little one when he or she is born. Meantime, I'm going to continue doing things that make me happy and keep me healthy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Update And Interesting News

Had a very positive visit with the endicronologist last week. All of my numbers are down, including my blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and liver/kidney values. Also, my A1C (the three month blood sugar average) went from a scary 13 to a 9. 7 is normal, but I'll get it there the next time. My doctor says that she never saw an improvement like this before and that I should be proud of the work I've done.

Unfortunately, my weight stayed about the same, despite the overhaul in my diet and the training for the walk. BUT there's a good reason ... apparently, I have an underactive thyroid. It actually came up in my last blood test, but my doctor didn't want to put me on too many pills at once, especially since my blood sugar was in an emergency zone. However, she says I've probably had thyroid problems for years. This would explain why I gain weight so easily and the only time I ever lost a significant amount was when I was training for the 20-mile walk and logging 90 minutes on the elliptical several times a week. I've started taking medicine for the condition; hopefully, my body will start functioning sometime soon. I'm glad that my health has improved from my last visit, but it's frustrating to know that several of my organs need pills to work properly.

It does help to know exactly what's going on with my body and to be able to take the proper medication to correct it (it's pretty amazing how a few pills can get you back to normal). Still, when it comes to my weight gain, I'm not blameless. Yes, my metabolism really is messed up right now, but my thyroid didn't make me eat entire cartons of Ben & Jerrys or full boxes of cereal during my past binges. It didn't force pepperoni pizza down my throat!

Now that I'm exercising, eating better and taking meds to keep my body in check, I'm looking forward to everything finally working as it's supposed to. I'm not expecting a miracle, just good health.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweatin' It Out

I felt badly about being so unproductive yesterday so I went to the gym tonight and did 20 minutes on the elliptical and then 15 on the bike. I broke a nice sweat and felt really good afterward. I plan to go to the gym more often, even if it's just for 40 minutes a few times a week. For now, I'm hoping that it'll build up my strength for the walk. Altogether, I did about three miles worth of stuff tonight so I was happy with that.

The last time I went to the gym, I was literally exhausted just from walking across the room. Tonight, I felt so much stronger and capable. I'd planned to do 15 minutes on the elliptical, but I was having a good workout so I added five minutes. I wanted to use the treadmill, too, but it's almost impossible to get one in the evening. I've been walking a lot, anyway, so it's not like I missed out.

This upcoming week is going to be crazy! I have my doctor's appointment on Thursday. I have a jewelry show on Saturday and then on Sunday, we're hosting a party for Jon's 40th. So far, about 35 people are attending. Aaahhhh!!!! I still have so much to do before both events, but I'm trying not to stress about it. Going to the gym is the perfect way to help keep my sanity intact.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Little Bit Of Nothing

I think the cleaning marathon got to me because I completely CRASHED this afternoon. I took a nap on the couch, then awoke with the intent to go walking with Jon -- but just couldn't move. I felt as if a block of lead were holding me down.

On the one hand, I'm disappointed in myself because I really do need to keep up with the walking. The diabetes event is three weeks away and I want to enjoy it. I don't want to be whining or in pain the entire time because I didn't train enough. However, my body was obviously trying to tell me something because I haven't crashed like that in a couple of months. I have been doing a lot between walking, cleaning, preparing for my upcoming jewelry show and well, working full time, so I guess I needed a day of rest.

The trick to lving healthfully, though, is to keep at it. Sure, I might have had a bad day today, but I can't let tomorrow become another one. I'm already planning to walk or go to the gym after work. And I'm already at a point where I can comfortably walk three miles, so the five mile event doesn't seem that daunting. I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a race; it's a walk to raise money for people like me -- people who have diabetes. Plus, I'll be with a nice group of friends. Perhaps we'll be the last group to cross the finish line, but if it's a nice day, we'll just get that much more fresh air.

I'm trying not to be so hard on myself. I can't be the perfect model of fitness every day, especially when I'm not feeling 100 percent, but I can keep doing the best that I can.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's Your Number?

I'm going to do something on this blog that I'm sure you've noticed I've yet to do -- actually give a number for my weight. So here goes ... taking a deep breath ... right now, I'm around 300 pounds. Yikes.

To tell you the truth, though, I'm not 100 percent sure of what my weight is at the moment because my scale only goes up to 300. But it won't weight me; it keeps saying "Error" so I'm assuming that I'm just over the limit. If I lean forward slightly, it weighs me at around 296. When I weighed in at my doctor's back in August, I was 318 on her scale. I know I've lost weight since then, enough that people are starting to notice, so I figure I'm now in the low 300s. I'd REALLY like to be under 300 by my visit next week. I don't think it's impossible, but it will still be a challenge. I'm trying to prove to her that I don't need gastric bypass surgery. I have a feeling that I'm going to have to really stand my ground on this. But I don't want to lose too quickly. As long as I keep losing, I'll be happy.

The scary thing is, this is me in "better" shape than I was for most of this past year. I'm guessing that I weighed around 350 last winter. I mean, I could barely walk and had difficulty fitting into regular sized chairs. Even movie seats were a tight squeeze. And of course, I got sick.

I'm not happy being so overweight -- still -- that my scale won't acknowledge me, but I have to remind myself of all I can do now. I can easily walk a few miles; even if I have to take a few stops, I can get it done -- and I ENJOY walking. I can fit in chairs with arms and even booths at restaurants; this is no longer an issue for me. I'm sleeping better and have so much more energy! So yeah, being at or slightly over 300 sucks, but it sucks a lot less than where I was not too long ago.

I've been eating really, really well and have kept my blood sugar stable. I think what I need to do is eat less -- even of the healthy stuff -- and exercise more. I got plenty of that today! We're cleaning our home for an upcoming party and I spent hours mopping, scrubbing and carrying piles of books from one room to another. The place is shaping up and I'm spent, but in a good way. I plan to do a long walk tomorrow in addition to more cleaning. I love the fact that I have enough energy to actually make my weekends productive.

I've been embarrassed about my weight for a long time, but I've decided that I'm just going to own my number -- or as close to it as I can get until I'm weighed next week, anyway. 300 is transient; I won't be here forever. Plus, more than the actual number on the scale is the fact that my health is slowly improving.