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Friday, December 27, 2013

A Really Rough Night

I had an extremely rough night last night.  In the past, most of the time, my back pain and radiating pain only bothers me when I am on my feet.  I can usually sit fairly comfortably and sleeping is not normally a problem.  Last night, however, I had just dozed off when my daughter came in to my room, for some reason.  When I stirred, sciatic pain hit me like it never has before.  It ran down my hip, thigh, back of my knee, calf and down to the bottom of my left heel.  Nothing I did would make it let up.  I tried every position I could think of and did some stretches like I have learned in yoga and massage therapy.  If anything, that made it worse.  Standing up on it was excruciating.  I got up and took a warm bath, hoping that would soothe it, but it did not.  I used ice and heat.  It was hurting so bad, I cried for about an hour and a half.  I know that doesn't do any good, but I couldn't help it.  You know how things always seem worse in the middle of the night?  I began to worry about being able to continue to earn a living, etc.  I was worried that the only thing that would cause it to ease up was surgery, as soon as possible.  I am not prepared for that, financially.  I thought about going to the ER, but I knew all they would do is give me pain medication.  So, although I took more than my prescribed dosage, that is what I did.  I know how much is too much, from experience with my daughter.  In other words, I know the dosages they have given her after her painful surgeries, so I knew the amount I was taking would be okay.  I also took a prescription dose of Naproxen and my muscle relaxant.  Finally, right after 4:00 a.m., I dropped off to sleep and slept until my daughter was stirring around getting ready for work.  I told her to turn on my lamp when she left for work, since I had already had a bath.  That would leave me enough time to get ready and get to work.

I have had only residual soreness so far today, but as I sit here, a place in my thigh is starting to throb and I am worried it is starting up again.  The only position that gave me any relief at all last night (and then, only a little) was to lay on my right side.  The trouble is, laying on my side will often mess with my neck, so my neck is feeling a little twinge-y today.  Ugh.  I looked online to see what stretch was recommended and the one I saw is one I have done in yoga (but did not do last night), so I will be doing those every night and maybe morning to make sure this doesn't keep happening.

However unpleasant that was, it is motivating.  I have to get my weight down further, both to see if that will help fix it and, if not, I have to have less belly fat for the surgery I need.  I did very well at getting back on track yesterday.  For dinner I had some ham and some roasted Brussels sprouts.  Later in the evening I had some SF hot chocolate.  Today, so far, I have had some mixed nuts (not too many) and a shake for breakfast and one for lunch.  I have not cared a bit about eating today.  That pain was too severe to want anything to do with dealing with it again.

So, despite my intentions of catching up on rest last night, that didn't really happen.  I did rest during the evening, but the lost sleep last night took me right back to exhaustion.  My boss was not here, so I spent my lunch hour in an empty office, taking a cat nap.  It was not the best sleep, but better than nothing.  I think one thing that causes me problems is if I spend too much time sitting up in bed watching television, which I did last night.  I need to sit in the chaise lounge next to my bed, which gives me more support.

Stephanie is worrying me.  She has been having a lot of back and shoulder pain since the move.  She and I did the bulk of the work, although Bethany and her fiancee did more of the heavy lifting.  Stephanie and I put in a lot more hours and were on our feet constantly, as well as doing mild and moderate lifting.  I hope she will improve as she takes it easy and doesn't do any more lifting or excessive staying on her feet.   She had major back surgery in 2011 after a car wreck (the same kind of surgery I would have to have, if it comes to that).  She has been feeling much better since her surgery, so this concerns me.  Hopefully she is just flared up and it will settle down.  This is one thing that restricts what type of job she can get.  She cannot be on her feet all day, because of the multiple foot and knee surgeries, as well as the back surgery.

I plan to start making financial preparations for surgery, even if I never have to have it.  Better safe than sorry.  I need to be able to pay my deductible and out-of-pocket expense, as well as compensate for my lost income if I had to take extended time off for surgery.  We are so short-staffed at work, it is hard to imagine how it would work for me to be off for several weeks.  And my backup is having health issues, herself.  I just want to get better and not ever need surgery.  I want to really focus on weight loss for the next 3 months -- until my daughter's wedding.  No several-week diversions.  As of January 1, I will have 75 days to work with.  I need to make every one of those count.

I got a little hungry this afternoon and ate a stick of string cheese.  The plan tonight is probably more ham and a veggie or ham and eggs.  We bought a spiral sliced ham for post-Christmas meals (we didn't have it for Christmas dinner).  I have a special lunch Monday, so plan to eat pretty strictly this weekend and have my higher carb day Monday.

That's it for today.  Here's hoping for some good rest tonight.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Catching Up

It's been a while since I posted.  Things have just been so busy.  We got moved, which was pretty tough for me.  We finished moving our stuff in on Sunday, the 15th, but I am still quite sore and my back, etc. is flared up.  My degree of pain is quite increased right now.  Last week was spent trying to get everything settled, as well as getting ready for Christmas, shopping and working my usual number of hours.

I did not try to do low carb during the days I was moving.  There wasn't time to think about much, and if pizza was there to eat, that is what I ate.  I tried at first to just drink an Atkins shake for breakfast and lunch, but I got too hungry with all the physical activity.  Hopefully all the physical work saved me.  After that, I was so worn out and there were so many goodies around, it was tough to resist.  I tried to keep my calories down, and hopefully the amount of activity engaged in every day kept me from gaining much.

Last week was tough.  I was so ready to get settled, but part of the thing that was slowing us down was that I had to purchase a few things to help us have enough storage space to put everything away.  I bought a portable pantry, a portable island, a "cubby" which has shelves and baskets (to store serving dishes that are not used often, and other stuff I do not have the cabinet space for), as well as a big entertainment center, which will also hold a lot of my books and other items (it was time for my bookshelves to go -- they were looking pretty sad).  The thing about all these things is that they had to be put together.  So we did that.  I also bought another bookshelf for my room.  I let my old bedroom furniture (except my bed) go, and am using what was Stephanie's (I bought it, she has just been using it), and Steph got herself a chest of drawers and 2 night stands with some insurance money she got.  She decided the stuff she was using was too big for her room.  I gave my old stuff to Bethany, for after she gets married.  She is going to re-do it to suit her taste.  Anyway, I don't have quite as much storage with my bedroom furniture, so got a bookshelf which also has some baskets to hold things, as well as shelves for some of my books, my printer, etc.  Once all those things were done, we were able to put everything away.

In the middle of all this, I had to go to work.  I admit to drinking SF Red Bulls last week and a couple of times this week, but it will end hopefully today.  Hopefully I can get caught up enough on rest this evening that I won't be feeling so incredibly tired.  I'm just trying to make it right now.  Every time I get still, I start feeling very sleepy.

We got through Christmas yesterday -- there was a big spread.  I ate a plateful at dinner, along with some desserts later in the day.  We sent most all of our leftovers with my son and a mother and son (a friend of my son's) who joined us yesterday.  They have been having a very rough time lately and we were glad to bless them with the leftovers.  Today, it is back on track.  I had intended to have an Atkins shake for breakfast and lunch, but my daughter came in with a plate of bacon and eggs she had cooked me for breakfast.  At least it is low carb.  I ate it and will have a shake for lunch and one for snack, if I need it.  I felt ready to leave the rich, carb-loaded foods behind today.  Hopefully any damage done will come off quickly.

We greatly enjoyed having our guests with us yesterday.  They both said it was the best Christmas they had had in many years (the mother shed a few tears) and knowing we had been a blessing to them made Christmas so much better for us.  I would like to do that every year.  My son has such a loving heart and is always helping out people he knows.  My daughters also felt blessed having them with us and we all agreed it made our Christmas so much better.

Now, my focus is back on being the Mother of the Bride in less than three months.  I have a lot of work to do.

I am extremely sore (but hopefully not injured) from all the activity of the last few weeks and feel like my body must have a break to recover (I have been extremely active, doing a lot of lifting, and on my feet for days on end).  So I intend to give it a rest through the weekend, and get back to my workouts in some form or fashion beginning Monday.  I will put together a plan that will help me make progress, but that works with my limitations, and hit it begining Monday.

My boss is sick today and will not be coming in, but I still have plenty to do.  Hopefully it will be a quiet day, even if somewhat busy.

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mindsets

I am realizing this holiday season how important mindsets are when it comes to sticking with my weight loss program.  In years past, the mindset was, “It’s the holidays, enjoy it now and deal with it after New Year’s.”  So, almost every day goodies arrived at the firm from clients, vendors, co-workers, etc., and I partook without much thought.  Until New Year’s, when I had a lot of ground to make up.  This year, my mindset is to stick with my program except for certain allowed (and limited) occasions.  So when the goodies arrive, I don’t really give them much thought.  I can’t have any, so why bother thinking about them?  And it is working!  This New Year’s is going to be much better than most of those in the past!  (I do remember one Christmas season when I lost 4 pounds!)

I wrote the above this morning.  This afternoon, I literally feel like the fat is being eaten off my bones, I am getting so hungry.  I also have that exhausted feeling you get when you need to eat.  I feel sure it is because of the steroids.  I feel resolved as far as not partaking in any Christmas goodies, but I am so hungry, I do feel like I want to eat more than I planned to for the afternoon.  My plan is to hold out and wait for dinner.  Sometimes we have to feel uncomfortable to get where we want to go.  I'm going to go drink down some water and see if that helps.  (It did.)

I started the steroid pack the doctor prescribed a couple of weeks ago.  I don't know if that is why I feel so hungry right now, but I assume it is.  Granted, I am not eating much during the day right now, but it hasn't bothered me much until today.  That is why I think it is the steroids.

My boss just told me we would be staying pretty late and the thought occurred to me:  my daughter cooked up a bunch of food for the week and I live a block and a half away, so I asked my daughter to warm me up something and bring it to me.  That way I can stay right on track!  Problem solved.  I can do exactly what I had planned.

One thing I have been enjoying most nights is some SF hot chocolate with some cream and SF caramel syrup added.  This is where I am getting the bulk of my carbs every day right now, although I also get some from the vegetable I eat at night.  It hits the spot in many ways and makes me feel like I am having a treat.

Since my new beau is quite an athlete, it is quite motivating to me to keep going on my weight loss.  Not to try to measure up, but I do want him to be proud of me.  He would be proud of me anyway, but this would be something we shared together.  I am not looking at it as a way to measure up and be accepted, but it is very motivating in a positive way.  Does that make sense?

It's 8:15 and I am still working, so I'm going to go ahead and get this posted.  One more day at work this week and then two days off.  But no rest for the weary, since I will be moving those days.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weigh-In

Saturday

I'm popping in real quick to say I reached a new low on my weight this morning.  I weigh 245.8 -- .6 pound down from my previous low.  And that was after two meals out yesterday.  It just goes to show, if you be careful, eating real food, you can get the job done.

I'm having my higher carb day today -- nothing out of hand, but more of a normal day.  My daughter wanted biscuits and gravy.  No, I'm not going there.  Breakfast was sausage and a cheese omelet.  And some SF hot chocolate.  I was starving when I got up this morning.  I slept until 10:00 this morning.  I didn't go to sleep until almost one -- I was kind of wound up from last night's events.  :)  I have good feelings about this -- kind of like coming home.  But I will take it slowly and see what happens.  More later.  I need to get some packing and cleaning done.

Sunday

I just realized I never got back to my post yesterday.  The city is kind of shut down because of the ice and we ordered pizza and salad and had it delivered.  I have to admit to having a cupcake later.  But the day was not excessive overall and I am back to it today.

This morning I actually had my leftovers from Friday evening, which was 3 bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheese and jalapeno.  Since I slept late, that will hold me until lunchtime.

I started my round of Prednisone today.  We are counting down to moving day and there is a lot of work to do, so I need all the help with pain I can get.  I hope it doesn't make my appetite way out of whack.  I know one side effect can be increased appetite.

I am filled with hopefulness about the future.  I have a feeling that something I have wanted for a long time is finally beginning to come to pass.  But I will take things slow and see how things progress.

My friend runs marathons and works out religiously.  I misspoke when I said he had lost 100 pounds -- he has lost over 150 pounds!  So he knows what is involved in my struggles.  I already feel motivated to get going on a fitness regimen that will work with my physical limitations.  He also had back surgery years ago, so he understands that kind of pain.  He told me to start with a plank, doing one for 30 seconds.  He said hold it until I am shaky and can't hold it anymore.  Do that every day and my core strength will build, which is important to low back issues.  Of course that is just one piece of the puzzle, but start with that.  He is going to be really good for me, both in encouragement and educating me on what has worked for him.  Of course, that is only one part of why I am excited about this relationship.  But I feel like he is someone with whom I can reach my goals.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sometimes Good Things Happen When You Least Expect Them

I'm at home this morning, at least for now (because of the ice storm).  I might be able to trek the block and a half, but I called and no one is at work.  So I will try doing a little work from home, if I can get the remote connection to work.   If not, and my boss doesn't insist on picking me up, maybe I will just enjoy the "snow day."  :)

On days like today, you want to curl up with something like a cinnamon roll and a cup of hot chocolate (since I am not a coffee drinker).  But that doesn't get me where I want to go.  An Atkins shake didn't sound too appealing, so I opted for a protein bar for this morning.  I don't want to do that every day, but the change was nice.  Tomorrow I will eat a little more normally, for my higher carb day.  First I have to get to tomorrow morning's weigh in.  I was .6 above my lowest this morning, so I am almost there.  10 pounds in one week (mostly water, of course) -- not bad!

Later

The rest of the day didn't turn out anything like I thought, but it turned out very well -- very well indeed.  I decided I needed to go to work and made the trek there.  It wasn't too bad -- actually, it was bad, but I didn't have any problems.  My boss showed up a little while later.  No one else showed up for work today.  Just me and my boss.  So after we worked (separately) for a little while, he took me to lunch at the City Club.  I wasn't expecting to eat a regular lunch, so I decided to eat a reasonable lunch and have my shake for dinner today.  So I had some chicken broth, a spinach salad, some fresh fruit, a small lamb chop and a small piece of steak, some green beans with mushrooms, and some baked tomatoes with parmesan (there was a buffet).  I am so amazed at how far I have come in many ways.  In times past I would have felt so shy in a situation like that, but I felt comfortable and we talked easily with no uncomfortable silences.  I really love my boss (platonically, of course).

Then my friend who was coming to town texted me that the marathon had been cancelled, but that he was in town and he wanted to take me to dinner tonight (no brother and brother's family, just my friend).  So, that meant I would not be having a shake for dinner.  I thought about him all day as I was working and I was feeling quite sure that he was intending more than just friendship and this was a meeting to see if we both felt that way.  I have known this guy all my life through my family, but have not seen him much for many years except once in a blue moon.  We have been talking a little on FB lately and he has always been very encouraging to me.  Not long ago, we had such a conversation and I began to think he might be interested in more.  I was beginning to entertain ideas about that.  So, we had dinner tonight.  I had to drive through the ice for us to meet up, but made it okay.  I wasn't sure all through dinner what he was thinking, but we talked easily and opened up a lot to each other.  It turns out our lives have had some similarities.  We have been through some very similar things.  We have reason to uniquely understand each other in many ways.  We talked for three hours and decided we'd better go because of the roads.  Long story short, he walked me to my car and kissed me good night.  So I guess we were on the "same page."

The biggest problem is he lives 10 hours away.  But his job is something he could do almost anywhere and he said he was well known in his field and could get a job most anywhere.  So, if it came to that, perhaps he could move here.  I am just supposing at this point.  We will be keeping in touch, that is for sure.

We went to Pappadeaux for dinner.  I had about half of a house salad and half of my entrée of bacon wrapped shrimp.  However I did not eat any of the rice.  I think I did very well under the circumstances.  I wasn't very interested in eating anyway, it seems.

Interestingly, I made a list some time ago of traits I wanted in a man if I were to ever remarry.  This guy fits a great many of them to a tee.  I'm not saying he's "the one," but, well, we will see.  Time will tell.  :D  Did I mention I like tall guys and he is 6'6"?  Yeah.  I am 5'7".  I can wear heels all I want to.

Sometimes good things happen when you least expect them.  :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ice Storm is Upon Us

Just a short post.  I worked from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and had no time for getting any thoughts down during the work day.

I had another good day, following my current plan.  I even did fine working so late.  Two tempting situations occurred.  I had to man the switchboard at lunch today and there is a bowl of hard candies at the front desk.  Those are what got me going on sugar again the first time.  I had thoughts of "just one won't hurt," but I fought it off and didn't have any.  Later, when I was working late and no one was around, I had to pass by the candy bowl in the mail room several times (full of fun size candy bars) and the temptation came to have "just one" since I was working so late and hadn't eat much all day.  But I said no and stuck with the plan.

My tummy has been out of sorts all day in one way (I will spare you the TMI) and it didn't make staying late fun, that's for sure.  Plus we have an ice storm beginning tonight.  Everyone hurried home, but my boss kept me late just in case we couldn't get there tomorrow.  I only live a block and a half away, after all (and he took me home).  The firm is closed tomorrow, but that doesn't necessarily mean I won't have to go to work.

As I have been, I had a stick of cheese when I got up and an Atkins shake for breakfast and lunch.  I had a few cashews during the day.  Surprisingly, I wasn't overly hungry when I got home -- I mean, not starving, but still hungry.  My daughter had made me some eggs with sausage and cheese.  It was yummy!  Nobody is eating the breakfast meat at breakfast right now, so I told her to fix some for dinner so it won't go to waste.  I love breakfast sausage any time of the day.  I had an apple to finish off my day.

My official weigh-in day is Saturday, so we will see how my weight is doing then.  Also, I will finally try to get some pictures this weekend, since my daughters are here to help me out with that.  I haven't updated in a long time.

That's it.  I'm going to try to stay warm and hopefully enjoy a "snow day" (but it's really ice).  That's North Texas for you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Encouraged

Tuesday

I am encouraged.  The scale has dropped lower than it has been in several weeks.  It's definitely enough to make me want to keep doing what I am doing.  So, a cheese stick early this morning and an Atkins shake for breakfast.

I tried on the clothes I ordered (can't remember if I mentioned them yesterday).  The sweater is a 14/16 and the pants are an 18.  The sweater looks fine!  The pants are slightly snug in the waist (story of my life) and the rest is fairly roomy (not too big, but certainly not too small).  I can't decide if I should exchange them for a 16 or not.  I think I am going to go with them like they are because the 16's would probably be way too tight in the waist.  I could always take them up a little later if I need to.  I am waiting to wear that outfit until some jewelry I ordered comes in.

I've got most of my mornings and evenings mapped out for me through the move beginning a week from Thursday.  This doesn't feel as overwhelming as moves in the past.  I don't have nearly as much stuff as I used to and we don't have to pack everything as thoroughly as usual since we are just moving basically across the patio and up the elevator.  All of my planned tasks have to do with getting everything packed and cleaned by the end of next weekend.  I hope to leave everything in near-perfect condition.  It's funny how things don't get as messed up when you don't have kids.

Lunch was a smallish package of almonds and another Atkins shake.  I have an apple to eat if I get hungry this afternoon.

I don't know if I mentioned a while back that my boss had paid for another five yoga lessons.  I have been putting off getting started on those since we were working so much and so much other stuff has been going on, but I have a lesson tonight.  I probably will not schedule another one until after the move.  Stephanie is going to go with me -- the instructor offered that, and I think it will be beneficial to her.  I hope this will help (talking about me now).  I haven't been doing much lately because I have had so much going on and I have been in so much pain.  I definitely will have to take my pain med before I go, and I will be careful about anything that feels catchy or grabby.  I need to stretch out my calves and the back of my heels for the plantar fasciitis, for sure.  It is all so difficult with pain in the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet.  Going down stairs is extremely difficult right now and I have to do it slowly and carefully.  When I stand up after sitting a while, waves of pain wash over me and I have to wait a minute before taking a step.  I am also having trouble with my shoulders.  Ugh.  I am not looking forward to this.

Wednesday

The scale was down a couple of more pounds this morning.  I am almost where I was, at my lowest.  Most of this is water weight, of course, but even water weight makes your clothes a little tighter.  I am amazed at how much trimmer my legs are when I am not retaining fluid, and not just my lower legs.  My thighs are noticeably thinner.

So, I will keep doing what I am doing.  It is pretty easy, especially when I am busy.  I will have to be careful of the jar of cashews Jerry received from a business colleague.  He leaves them out to share.  I can eat cashews, but it would be easy to eat too much.  He also received a big tin of butter cookies, but I think I can stay away from those.  I mean, I CAN stay away from those.

I went to yoga last night and I did feel a little better afterward.  However, I am having just as much pain this morning.  I am going to give myself four months of doing it regularly to see how much long-term help it does.  That doesn't mean I would stop then; I just think if it is going to help enough, it will be helping by that amount of time.  I want to give conservative treatment a full chance to work.

I had a stick of cheese when I got up this morning and an Atkins shake for breakfast.  I had a few cashews this morning, but not an excessive amount (I always eat a little of something or other, whether it be cheese, nuts, a piece of fruit, etc., to supplement the shakes, so this is not more than I have been doing).  I had another Atkins shake for lunch and I am surprisingly full.  My future son-in-law is coming over to cook for me this evening.  His cooking usually involves some kind of grilling, so that should be fine.  However, he will likely time it to when my daughter gets off work, which has been pretty late lately.  Hopefully I won't get too hungry waiting for that.

About that -- at about 3:30, I was starving.  I ate a few cashews, but not much.  When I got home I had an apple, because I was right -- he was waiting for my daughter and she didn't get home until after 8:00.  I was so hungry!  He made steak with grilled asparagus, grilled onions and peppers and some sweet potato fries.  I didn't eat the sweet potatoes.  He only made enough for us to have a small portion (not used to our healthy appetites?), and I was not satisfied after I finished mine.  So I rolled up a couple of dill pickle spears with cheese slices and ham lunch meat.  That satisfied me.

I am hopeful I will pass my low weight this week.  I'm so happy to be moving!  And this is without working out.  I will get back to that after the move, except for yoga.  Then I am going to meet with the personal trainer at the gym for my 2 free sessions and try to get going on a workout routine I can handle.  I would love to get down to 200 by the wedding, but I know that is a lofty goal.

A friend of mine is coming to town to run the Dallas Marathon Sunday, along with his brother and brother's family.  I am going to dinner with them Saturday night.  This guy is my ideal guy -- tall and not thin, but not overweight.  In fact, he used to be quite large and lost 100 pounds a few years ago.  He is a great encouragement to me and is so sweet.  He roots me on in my weight loss efforts.  I hope we get closer now that we are communicating more.  He could be very good for me.  I haven't asked him yet, but I think his passion is helping people lose weight and get fit.  He also had back surgery years ago and so understands my pain issues.  I am anxious to see him Saturday night.  I hope they do not cancel the marathon because the weather is supposed to be freezing drizzle Sunday.  The route for the marathon has a turnaround right in front of my loft building -- how handy is that?  And they are staying in a downtown hotel, so that should be convenient.  I just hope the trip doesn't get cancelled.  I am looking forward to it, if you can't tell.  I just hope I don't get shy.

That's it for tonight.  I need to get a little more done on my "To Do List" before bed.  I stayed up too late last night.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Report on Thanksgiving

The report on how I did on Thanksgiving is not good for Thanksgiving Day.  But I did plan on having one day to enjoy Thanksgiving and then get right back to it.  So I did what I planned, and that is a good thing.

I hosted Thanksgiving Dinner for my daughter's fiance and his family, so we had 10 people.  Everything went really well, all the food turned out very well, and we had a good time visiting and playing games.  It was a good day.

I had been pretty hit and miss leading up to Thanksgiving.  The good news is, I have pulled it together quite well since Thanksgiving Day.  The next day I did not do well by Atkins standards, but I stayed away from sweets and my portions were fine.  Saturday and Sunday I did really well.  I am following a plan to do some catching up and have done well so far.  My goal is to be down 15 pounds from my lowest by the time I go back to the doctor in January.  That would put my weight somewhere around 232 by then.  I will have to work very hard for that to happen.  I've got my motivation pictures (Mother of the Bride dresses) propped up on my desk for a constant reminder.

Life has been quite busy.  First there was getting ready for a houseful on Thanksgiving.  Then we immediately had to start packing for the move the next day (packing, not moving).  I am making good progress.  We also got out and did some Christmas shopping, and then I immediately did my wrapping as soon as the gifts were purchased.  We are also working hard at keeping things picked up and clean around the loft -- there are too many people, too many pets and too much stuff in it to leave clutter laying around.  I am anxious to get the move done and get settled before Christmas.

This morning was not without its trials.  Someone brought fun size candy bars and left them in the mail room, so every time I walk by, they tempt me.  I have held off -- keeping my mind on my goal.

I was sitting in an office with my boss and a young associate later.  The associate was talking about having pecan pie for breakfast and banana pudding at around 10:30 a.m., leftovers from Thanksgiving (of course, he is as trim as he needs to be), and my boss talked about having pecan pie last night late.  I said that sounded good because my breakfast this morning was an Atkins shake (kind of yucky).  He said, "well that is how you are getting so skinny."  That made me feel good and strengthened my resolve, so I am holding firm with my plan today.

I had ordered a sweater and a pair of pants last week and they came in today.  I got a 14/16 in the sweater.  That may be kind of tight right now, but that gave me further motivation to stick with it.  My motivation is starting to come back after the busyness and distractions of the last couple of weeks.  I hope this plan will keep me moving between now and Christmas.  I do plan to indulge a little on Christmas, but not between.  My plan is to work hard between now and then, have the one day to indulge (to a degree), and then back to it the day after.  No giving up the whole time between Thanksgiving and Christmas with plans to get back to it after New Years.  I will not reach my goal (or get anywhere near it) if I do that.  In fact, I would backtrack.

Unfortunately, my pain levels are not improving.  Not to be negative, but if there is not vast improvement, I am coming to believe there will be back surgery next year.  There is a lot of time between now and then, so that could definitely change, but it is getting more and more difficult to live with this amount and degree of pain.  I don't want to live like this.  I will keep trying and hoping weight loss will make the difference, but if not, it is certainly a possibility in my mind.

I am also having trouble with my shoulders.  I had this secret fear that my neck was messing up again because the pain in my shoulders and arms is similar to when the nerve was so pinched before the fusion surgery.  But it is not as bad.  However, my most recent x-ray shows the fusion is as it should be and no additional levels are collapsing.  I am wondering if I have rotator cuff problems.  If this pain continues, that is something else I will be checking out after the first of the year.  You can see why, at times, I feel like one big ball of pain.  It is getting to where I need more medication to get to sleep some nights.  That means I have to go without, sometime during the day, but I would rather endure it for a while during the day and be able to take enough to help the pain enough to sleep than the other way around.  I always try to get to sleep on the usual dose, but if I cannot, I want the option to be able to take the extra.  It is all getting very old.

It is now 5:20.  I'm feeling pretty hungry, but it is so close to time to go home that I am thinking, "I can do this!"  I can make it until 6:00.  I talked to my daughter about having a vegetable ready when I get home to have with some leftover Pesto Chicken.  She promised to have it ready when I get home.  :)  That is an arrangement I could get used to.

My eating today so far has been an Atkins shake for breakfast, 2 cheese sticks, an Atkins shake for lunch and an apple.  I am eating this way, at least some days, to jump start my weight loss.  My hunger tends to build on me, though, so some days I will likely eat more than that.  Another reason I am doing this is it is a method I read about on a blog to get off of sugar (by someone who has an even bigger sensitivity and addiction to sugar than I do).  I have been eating sugar for the past month or so and it was starting to get to be too much of a "habit," so time to nip that in the bud.  At this point, I do plan to eat some on Christmas, but I will decide for sure when I get closer.  I may not want to risk triggering anything by doing that.  But if I am successful this time, it gives me more confidence that I can do it that one day and that's all.  I can't eat it regularly, or I will fall into old traps, but perhaps I can eat it once in a great while in this scenario.  I will have to see how well I do.

I think I will get this posted, or I am likely not to get it done later.  Things are too busy right now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Doctor's Appointment

I had a doctor's appointment today.  We really zoned in on my lower back this time.  We talk about my lower back, usually, but she has more been focused on the aftermath of my fusion surgery in my neck in other appointments.  They took an x-ray and she said things looked further degenerated from the one they took in 2011.  I saw the x-ray, and from the front, the worst level looks pretty much like no space between the vertebra.  She didn't have the MRI they took then, since they took it at a different place.  They need to do another MRI and I told her I would rather wait until after the first of the year to make the expense count toward my deductible, since I won't be meeting my deductible this year anyway.  In the meantime, I am going to do a round of steroids to help me get through the move and the holidays, as well as more refills on pain meds and muscle relaxants.  She wants to see me in two months, based on our plan, and I want to get off at least 15 pounds by that time (my goal).  That means I have to stay focused.  I hope the steroids will help with pain so I can work out more comfortably in the next couple of months.  However, I have had some steroids in the distant past, and I felt amazingly better while on them, but went right back to the same pain immediately after, so I am not optimistic that it will do any long-term good.

While attending my boss's speech today, I talked to one of his friends who had back surgery a couple of years ago.  Different problem, but we both have something pressing on the nerve (his was herniated disc, mine is more likely bone from the slippage of the vertebra), so had that in common.  He said, "I'm fixed."  He was on 80 mg of Hydrocodone a day before the surgery (I am on 40 mg), and basically has no pain now.  I probably have more degenerative stuff going on, but I don't know that for sure.  He gave me his doctor's name (he is a neuro-surgeon, as opposed to an orthopaedic surgeon), if I want to get a second opinion when I get closer to making the decision.  He said he went through six months of hell and wished he had had surgery much sooner than he did.  Regardless, an MRI is the first thing they need to do to see the extent of what is going on.  I am soooooooo ready to not be living in constant pain.  It is getting very old.  I work at all times with a 10 mg dose of Hydrocodone in my system.  I am fairly resistant to its side effects (I don't feel drugged), but I am sure my mind would be a lot more clear without them (once I get off of them).

The thing is, I have to know that I have done all I need to do to determine if conservative treatment will do the job. 

Beth made breakfast this morning -- some scrambled eggs with onion, peppers, ground sausage and some cheese melted in.  Not as big of a breakfast as I normally would eat.  I ate lunch at the presentation (my boss's speech) and had pork tenderloin, salad with ranch dressing, broccoli roasted with garlic, some squash with some kind of sauce (maybe a balsamic glaze) and a little bit of fresh fruit salad.  I skipped the rice, rolls and cheesecake, so I did good.  I still feel kind of hungry, though, and will be working late, so need to get me something to help me last until I get home, or have one of my daughters bring me something.  This would be a good opportunity to keep my calories pretty low today, since I will be busy and won't be paying attention to hunger (or just wanting to eat) as much.  I do have an Atkins shake in the fridge, so could probably get by with that and a few nuts or something.  (That is exactly what I did.)  When I got home, I was a little hungry, but wanted to keep my calories low so ate a dill pickle spear and a cheese stick.  I drank more water today, although still not enough.  I decided today that I will have to go back to my old habit of drinking down a couple of 12-oz. cups of water on trips to the bathroom until I have gotten enough for the day.

I worked until 8:45, so it was a long day.  But I am thankful for the OT with all the current expenses.  Over and out.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ready to Get Settled

I did what I said I was going to last night, and that makes me feel better.  I did not eat anything after the Thanksgiving luncheon.  I was tempted to eat "just a little something" last night, but it was more about wanting to eat than being hungry.  I felt a tiny gnaw by bedtime, but never really got hungry.  And I feel better for having held back the rest of the day.

Things are going along okay at home.  Steph is still gone to Albuquerque (should be back late today).  She said it went well with the new owner for Junior and his other dog.  They seemed to get along pretty well, which is good.  Junior has been a little iffy with other dogs except Tucker and Cas lately.  He plays rough, and other dogs misinterpret that and a fight ensues.  I am so glad he has a good home and Steph doesn't have to worry about that, and she doesn't have to worry about all the care he needed.  She can concentrate on taking care of herself.

Bethany did a little work around the loft last night.  It is difficult to do much until we make another trip to the storage unit.  I asked her if we could use Tom's pickup to do that (Tom was out of town on a job) and she said Tom didn't want her to do that work herself.  Hopefully we can get some done tonight.  I guess it is probably good, because I would have worked on that and that would not have gotten my back to feeling any better.  Bethany made breakfast for me this morning, which was nice.

She did ask if I would take Tucker out this morning.  (Tucker is going to have to stay with us for the next couple of months, by the way.)  I told her she needed to do that first thing in the morning.  She was going to just leave him in his crate all day without doing it and I would have felt bad about that, so I was going to at least take him to the 9th floor dog area.  But she did it herself before I got dressed to do it.   You have to understand that I have never been very good about speaking up as much as I should, and I have a tendency to just take things upon myself rather than do that.  I like peace and I don't like having to nag about things.  I think it is good that we did not get into that old pattern this morning.  The deal was, if the girls are going to live with me without paying rent, then I should not be having to lift a finger at home, and I certainly should not have to take care of their dog.  They should be taking care of my dog.  So I am glad she stepped up and did what she was supposed to.  She wants to get a workout in every morning, which I had encouraged her to do, but she needs to get up in time to do the other things she needs to do and not use that as an excuse to have me do them for her.  I made breakfast for us yesterday because she didn't have time.

We spent some time last night looking at wedding ideas.  She liked something she had seen in some wedding pictures where they had hung different types of old lanterns from the big tree at the venue she has chosen.  She saw another idea where you blow up a balloon, wrap string around the balloon, apply some kind of "hardener" and then pop the balloon.  It makes a colorful ball to hang from the tree or ceiling, or wherever you choose  It was pretty and interesting, and you could use the colors you want.  It will be an inexpensive way to do something similar to the lanterns.  We have a lot of work to do between now and March.  The fact that she does not have to pay rent gives her more money to work with to get it done.  And it is a special time I am sure we will always remember.

I hope things will get a little less cluttered this evening and I am able to get to my recumbent bike tomorrow morning.  If nothing else, I need to go to the fitness center at my lofts and use one of those recumbent bikes or the elliptical or something.  The fact that I did better after eating too much at lunch was encouraging and gives me motivation to keep moving.  More later.

Later

I forgot that they would put out a spread of leftovers from lunch yesterday.  However, I pretty much stayed out of the kitchen and just had an Atkins shake for lunch.  I did have one small piece of a turnover (a fraction of a serving).  No more.

My future sil is supposed to cook dinner.  I'm not sure what is store with that.   He is a very good cook, especially with meats.  I got home before my daughter, so I will have to wait for that.  I had a stick of cheese while I am waiting.  Now I found out my daughter and fiancé are going out to eat, so I will have to fend for myself.  Wish I had known that before I left work.  I would have gotten some of the leftover brisket from our luncheon.  I had some leftover Brussels sprouts with bacon and made myself some tilapia and some homemade tartar sauce.  Then I had some SF hot chocolate.  That's all for today.  A pretty good eating day.

I took an arthritis strength dose of ibuprofen today and that helped my pain a lot.  I had stopped taking my anti-inflammatory because it did not seem to do any good.  Maybe it was just that particular one.  I'm going to take a dose or ibuprofen tomorrow morning and see if I have a better day.  I do have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning.  I don't expect much to come of it other than to be able to renew my prescriptions.  I will talk to her about my seemingly worsening pain.  I don't really want to do another MRI at this point.  I'd rather wait for next year and have it go against that deductible.

I need more boxes, but packed up the one I brought home today.  I wish we would get the rest of this done.  Tom doesn't seem to be in a big hurry, but I guess I understand since he has already done it all day.  I'd just as soon us do it ourselves if we are going to have to keep waiting.  I'm ready to get settled.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Research

Things feel a little rough this morning.  I know it is all part of the transition and getting settled.  The loft is turned upside down with clutter.  Hopefully we can get things put to right quickly.  We also had to deal with the two dogs last night.  Stephanie has left to drive to Albuquerque to take Junior to his new home.  Tucker is much more manageable.  I am not sure if our plans for Tucker are going to work out.  We may have him here for a couple of months until Tom gets his own apartment, leading up to the wedding.  Then Tom will have him there with him.  But Tucker is older and well-behaved.  If we can get him and the cat to get along, we can make that work (although I would prefer not to).  We are living in close quarters and having a big dog around makes it feel even closer; but thankfully, I am easy-going and I can live with it if I have to, as long as I am not having to do any of the work to take care of him.  Tucker is also well house-trained, so I don't have to worry about that.  He is crated during the day, so the cat can come out and they can get more used to each other.  Hopefully.

One thing I do have more control over is my room and bathroom.  I can at least keep that in good order right now and have that haven in the chaos.  It will take a little longer to get things in order everywhere else because more stuff has to be taken to storage and Tom is out of town on a job.  We can take some stuff in my SUV, but most will have to be taken in his pickup.

Today is our Thanksgiving luncheon at work.  I was supposed to do some cooking last night, but it just could not happen.  Too much stuff sitting around.  I may try to whip up some roast Brussels sprouts with bacon.  My plan was to contribute something Atkins friendly.  Better get going.

Later

My pain levels are way up and much more persistent than usual today.  It is wearing me out.  Again, I feel like one big ball of pain.  I have a doctor's appointment Thursday and will talk to her about it.  The thing is, not much can be done that is not already being done.  Injections never seemed to do much good.  I have to find a way to keep going and get more weight off to see if I feel better, or get to where I can do something about it surgically, if it comes to that.  NO CHOICE (that's what I tell myself about getting the weight off).

My Brussels sprouts were a hit.  I did pretty well in my choices at lunch, to a point.  There was plenty to choose from that was low carb and I did well with that.  But then I had dessert.  I don't need to eat anything else today if I am going to somewhat salvage the day.  I may have some dessert on Thanksgiving, but I need to put together the rest of the days until then in such a way that my weight will respond.  I need to eat less than usual.  I don't want to keep wasting time.  I can do this.  I must get focused.  And I must get moving.

One thing I am having trouble with pain-wise is my tailbone area.  I have had a strange tailbone since birth.  Riding the recumbent bike seems to exacerbate the problem.  I need to get a donut pillow or something to use when I am riding and see if that will help.  I cannot do the treadmill right now.  I don't think I can get in the pool because of my feet.  I might be able to do the rowing machine -- I still haven't tried that.  I also might be able to do the elliptical.  At least it wouldn't be impact on my feet and joints.  I have to find a way to keep moving, even if it hurts somewhat.  If I do end up getting injections in my feet, I would like to wait until after the first of the year.  I would like everything to count against that deductible, in case I end up having surgery next year.

I have been doing some more reading on spondylolisthesis -- particularly, comments from people who have had surgery to repair it to try to determine how successful the surgery is.  It is a very interesting feeling to read people's descriptions of what they went through and to recognize those exact symptoms in yourself.  When people described the worsening of their symptoms, it sounded all too familiar.  Interestingly, some people said their symptoms were worse when they were thinner.  It's too hard to describe why, and I certainly don't know if that would be the case for me, but it was interesting.  However, I have to lose some weight just to get to where I could have the surgery -- or at least the best surgery option that would not have some of the negative side effects that the alternative would have.  The best option is a 360 fusion, which means they go in through your abdomen to do most of the work, and then through the back for some final work.  You can have a fusion just going through the back, but it requires them to "damage" a lot of the muscles in your back in order to get to your spine.  Going through the front does not do that.  It is definitely the better option.  My daughter had a 360 fusion for a different back issue (that resulted from a bad car accident).  She has some moderate back pain occasionally, but is doing infinitely better than before she had the surgery.

The thing is, most of the people (whose comments I read) who had symptoms as significant as mine did not get better through more conservative treatments.  I could get to the point to where my spine is leaning on my spinal cord, which could lead to paralysis.  I am giving myself about 35 pounds to see if I feel better.  While I am getting that weight off, I am going to work on strengthening my core, stretching, and doing all I know to do to get better through conservative treatment.  If I do not, I am seriously going to consider having the surgery.  In the meantime, I am going to prepare financially in the event I need to have the surgery.

Another thing described in these comments is that most felt worse when they did not move enough, which is certainly true for me.  I need to push through and get to working out again, and I will likely feel some better.  I am planning to start up with yoga again next week (my class).  I am going to do some at home as soon as I have enough room in my living area to do the routine illustrated on the two videos I have.  Then, as I get stronger and more confident with that, I will start going to one or both of the morning yoga classes at my gym to get stronger and "looser."

Almost of the people who left comment saying they did have surgery for spondy said it definitely helped them and they were glad they did it.  It just daunting to think about being off work for several weeks.  We will see what happens.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Checking In

Usually when I am not posting, I am not doing very well.  There is a little of that going on, but mostly, life has just been too busy the last few days.  I have had a couple of not-so-good days, but more good ones than bad ones.

The girls (my daughters) are sort of moved in, but there is still much to do.  I am one big ball of pain today.  I overdid over the weekend, not to mention I am exhausted.  Tonight is the first night we are all staying here, dogs and all.  Steph found a home for her dog, and is driving him to Albuquerque, New Mexico tomorrow.  She has a friend who lives there who is taking Junior.  He has a huge yard, and a large kennel.  He knows that Junior has some behavioral issues, so no surprises there.  He said he had been looking for a dog just like Junior.  I am sure he will be great for him.  And Stephanie is so relieved.  She was in tears most of the day yesterday, thinking she was going to have to turn him over to animal services, and they would likely put him down fairly quickly since he is a Pit Bull mix with behavioral problems.  I don't know how good we will be sleeping tonight.  But Steph is leaving in the wee hours of the morning, so that should help.  Last time she tried to spend the night here with Junior, I shut myself in my room with Cas, but he knew Junior was here and he and Junior barked.  It didn't work well.  The cat has been in hiding since the dogs got here, even though I have been shut in my room away from the big dogs with him.

I haven't had a formal workout in a while.  Mostly because of everything that has been going on, but my pain levels (especially my feet, but everything from the waist down) are way up, so I haven't felt very good.  I don't know what is going on.  I am starting to entertain thoughts of surgery again, but I still have more belly fat to lose for that to be a possibility.  And hopefully when I lose that belly fat, that will take care of the issues.  I've been considering getting some injections in my feet, but I don't really have the money for it right now.  They really hurt, though, and I have been very careful to wear my shoes.

That's about it.  I just wanted to check in.  Hopefully things will settle down soon.

I am having to put massage therapy aside for a bit because of money issues (I need to go to the doctor for a couple of other things, and that will take my money designated for medical needs).  I will have to be sure to work at home, but probably won't until things settle down here more.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Back to Basics

I braved the scale this morning.  I am up several pounds.  I know most of that is water weight, but it is difficult to see anyway.  I will be guzzling the water the next few days (which I need to do anyway).

If I can find time to get it set up, I think I am going to follow Atkins suggested meal plans so that will be sure to keep my volume in check.  The reason it will take some time is that their meal plans have the Atkins bars and shakes mixed in and I have to go through and exchange meals, since I am not using those things.  I also need to customize it with things I know I will eat.  For instance, they have a snack of olives and cheddar cheese.  I hate olives of any kind, so that won't be happening.  I have to exchange it for one of the other suggested meals I like.  That is the goal for next week, though.  I will get paid Friday and can buy groceries according to my meal plan.  I want to see if this helps move my weight loss along.  I will have the one higher carb day, however.

I am back to looking over my reasons for losing weight notebook at least twice a day.  And I will work to implement some of the other principles set out in The Beck Diet Solution.  I know it is not the end of the world (or my weight loss efforts) to have gone off plan for a few days.  It is all a matter of choices, and my choice is to get back on track again.

I said that my eating yesterday was not the best.  I ate a fairly normal breakfast with some breakfast sausage and some scrambled eggs with a little shredded mozzarella mixed in.  My coworker has a jar of peanuts setting out to share and I indulged in those yesterday.  However, I did not eat a real lunch or a real dinner, since I worked until 9:00 p.m.  I also had some sugar free hot chocolate.   When I got home, I ate a few walnuts and that was it.  So not a good eating day, but I don't think I overdid on calories or carbs.

This morning I had breakfast sausage and a cheese omelet.  For snack I had a 3 dill pickle spears, each rolled in a slice of sharp cheddar and 2 slices of deli smoked turkey.  If I eat any lunch, it will be a side salad from Chick-Fil-A (I didn't).  My main things at work today:  stay away from the candy bowl and stay away from the peanut jar.  I can have peanuts, but they need to be planned and portion-controlled.  (I did better at this today, but still had some.)

I stayed home from work Monday.  My pain level was way up and I knew I needed to get a handle on stress.  Unfortunately, during the day is when I found out Stephanie got laid off.  Pain levels are still way up.  My right foot is really hurting.  I have been attributing it to plantar fasciitis, but it has been hurting all over.  Does that happen with plantar fasciitis?  I don't know.  But like my MT says, everything is connected.  I was sitting there Monday and a very sharp pain was going through my foot and at the same time, somewhere in my back.  The same kind of pain at the very same time.

I plan to leave as much of the moving as possible to my kids.  I will have to do some stuff, of course, but if I am paying all the bills, they can do all the work.  How handy is it that my son-in-law to be is in the moving business?  I will leave most of the intensive work to them, but there is some packing and purging I need to do.  If I haven't used it in the time I have been in my current loft (other than clothes I am getting down into), then why do I need to keep it?  So that is what I will be doing in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, before we do any real dismantling.  I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my daughter's fiance's family, so I want everything staying nice until then.  The work I will be doing will be under the surface, for the most part.

Dinner tonight was a side salad and ground sirloin patties.  I need to drink some more water (which I will do before bedtime), but today has been improved.  I'm zoning in on things that motivate me and hopefully I will get back to where I was quickly and keep going.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An Unexpected Move

Well, I fell apart eating-wise Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I can't really explain why I did.  It all started with the candy bowl (which has peppermints and hard candy in it) on Friday.  Monday was not a strict Atkins today -- my variance was eating some frozen peaches.  I don't think I will gain too much weight eating that.  I have stayed on track today, although not my best eating day.

There has been so much going on and more stress added to the mix.  My daughter (Stephanie) got laid off yesterday.  They said it was because the real estate market is so slow, but I really think it had everything to do with Stephanie's health problems.  The thing I am most concerned about is her health insurance.  And her ability to get and keep a job.  Not because of her abilities, but because the obstructions and everything related to them keep happening.  She has her resume out and hopefully will find something soon.  If nothing else, she will be working temporary jobs.

Because of all this, both of my daughters will be moving in with me -- Bethany until her wedding in March, and Stephanie until she gets on her feet for a while.  I had checked with management to see if I might be able to transfer to a 2-bedroom at some point, and they had told me not until March.  So we were going to make do in my 1-bedroom.  I told management about both girls needing to move in and they said only 2 people are allowed to live in a 1-bedroom.  So they are letting me transfer to a 2-bedroom.  I will be moving in 30 days. I really like this loft.  The only thing I don't love about it is the kitchen is not as big as mine.  But that's okay.  We will work around that.  The bedrooms are bigger than mine, and that is the thing I like least about my present loft.  The bedroom is very small.  The best thing about the new one is it costs less than what I am paying now!  However, there will be some extra expenses with moving -- deposits, etc.  The timing on this is not great -- moving right at Christmastime, and it is totally unexpected for me, but that's where we are now.

A Glimpse of My New Loft -- in December
I will be paying all the rent with the current circumstances, but the girls have agreed to take care of the housekeeping, cooking, dog, etc. so that I don't have to lift a finger at home.  I will be able to go to the gym more and will take advantage of OT when I can, since I don't have to worry about things at home.  I may have to be paying for Stephanie's COBRA coverage until she gets another job with insurance coverage.

That's it for tonight.  I just wanted to check in.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Change On the Way

Time is moving on quickly.  I can't believe we are already through the first week in November.  I must not waste any time if I am to reach my goal by the wedding.

I got up and got busy fairly quickly this morning.  My goal was to move around quite a bit before time for my workout to see if I could work a few kinks out, pain-wise, before getting started.  I did what I could to get rid of my headache, but was unsuccessful.  But then it went away during my workout.  That seems to happen most of the time.  It was back later, but....

I think this was my toughest workout yet, but that is not said in a negative way.  It felt good.  I felt like I worked my body plenty hard.  I did 40 minutes.  I think eating enough before my workout is one key to having the strength to do a harder workout.

I was running a little later than I wanted, so instead of eating my breakfast at home, I took it with me and ate after I got to work.  This helped it last longer into the day.  I had the rest of my omelet from IHOP yesterday (it was just a little less than half).  I wanted to make sure I got full enough, so I also had one link of chicken sausage.  "Lunch" was a serving of almonds and two dill pickle spears, each wrapped with a slice of cheese and some smoked turkey (lunch meat).  That lasted until I got home, although my tummy was growling before I left work.  I forgot to thaw out any meat, so I had another serving of Ham & Swiss Pie and a link of chicken sausage for dinner.

I ordered some sugar free Torani syrup in four different flavors and it came in today.  Tonight I am making some ice cream using the brown sugar cinnamon flavor Torani.  Instead of using half milk, half cream like the recipe says, this time I am trying it with all cream.  I followed my usual practice of mixing up the mixture in the mixer, then pouring it into my Kitchenaid ice cream freezer bowl, putting in the dasher and starting it up.  This time, it was already frozen enough around the edges when I got the dasher in that the dasher would not turn.  I had to pour the mixture back into the mixing bowl and use warm water to get the mixture that was frozen around the edge out, but the dasher back in and start it turning and then pour the mixture in.  First check and it was not setting up as fast as usual, probably because I warmed the bowl a little with the warm water.  Hopefully it will set up enough and I will finish it in the freezer.  This should have less carbs than what I usually make.  I need to be careful, though, to just have half-cup servings to keep my calories in check.  I don't make the ice cream very sweet because it has less Splenda aftertaste when I do that.  But it satisfies a craving for something sweet and creamy.

Does anyone have an recipes using SF Torani syrups?  I have plenty to last me a while, that's for sure.

I meant to make me up a little sign on my computer at work to hang up at home that reminds me what I need to do when I get bored or lonesome in the evening.  I have plenty to do, including cleaning and more working out I could do.  I tend to get sleepy when I get still.

There has been an interesting development in the situation with my daughters.  I don't remember how much I have said about it, but they have had all kinds of problems with the management at the apartments where they live.  Some pretty ridiculous stuff, I think.  We were going to go after them for towing my daughter's car (long story). My bosses agreed with me that the situation was something we should go after them about and were going to help.  After Stephanie's car got stolen yesterday, we filed a police report.  Stephanie looked up the report online today and found out there have been two other cars stolen there since August, and multiple burglaries, etc.  The thing is, the management has done nothing to warn its residents about all this and I believe they have a duty to do so.  The girls have been lighting up different websites, leaving bad reviews about these apartments, and posting messages on the FB page for the apartments.  They got a message from management today that they would allow them to move out early with no negative repercussions "since they were so unhappy there."  This is an answer to prayer!  I guess there is something to be said for all the negative press we were giving.

So, here's the thing.  Bethany, who is getting married in March, is going to stay with me until she gets married so she will have more funds to pay for her wedding.  I am not going to charge her rent, but she is going to do most of the cleaning, some cooking, walking my dog part of the time, etc.  It will be one way for me to contribute to the wedding without having to come up with the cash.  I will try to help some more, but this will help her a lot.

It is unclear at this point what Stephanie will do.  She has a couple of options she is looking into.  If something isn't worked out, she will put her furniture in storage and stay with me too until something else comes up.  I feel fairly confident that she will be able to take advantage of one of the options she is looking into, but if not....  The thing is, they cannot bring their dogs.  Stephanie is trying to find a home for her dog, Junior.  If you know someone in the area who might like this beautiful dog, let me know.  He needs lots of exercise, and preferably a good backyard to live in, instead of being an indoor dog.

Junior and Tucker

Junior is on the left.  Tucker is Bethany's dog.  Hopefully he can stay in her fiancé's back yard until they get married.  He is older and much less energetic, and therefore easier to handle.  Junior is not a year old yet, so is just a big pup.  He is part Lab, part Heeler, and part Pit-Bull.  If she can't find a home for him, she is going to have to take him to a shelter (hopefully a no-kill shelter).  Her health does not allow her to give him the attention he needs.

So, things are going to be different for a while.  Hopefully this will give me a little more time to focus on working out, etc.  I won't feel so bad about going to the gym at night (or in the morning), if Bethany is here with Cas some.  I am sure she and Tom will be over quite a bit, although they will go to his house too.  I may get a personal trainer for a few sessions and have them work me really hard (as much as I can handle with my limitations).  I just want to get as close to my goal as I can by March.  I don't mean my ultimate goal, but my goal for the wedding.  I had initially said I wanted to get to 190, but that was by May.  If I could get to 199 by the wedding, I would be ecstatic!  But that will take some very hard work!  It's a lofty goal, and if I don't get quite that far, that's fine.  It's something to work toward.  I do believe I am making progress this week.  I have to hold it together with my eating.

The ice cream set up decently.  I had a "runny" bowl (one-half cup) and put the rest in the freezer.  It doesn't have very strong brown sugar cinnamon flavor.  Maybe I could stir in a little cinnamon.   I also wouldn't mind adding a few walnuts to it. This ice cream is definitely creamier -- perhaps just a little too creamy.  Next time I might try it with one cup milk and 3 cups cream.  And I still want to try some ice cream made with almond milk.

I need to do some stretches tonight, so I will close.  Friday, here I come!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What Next?

I'm at the "hospital" with Steph, where she is getting a colonoscopy.  I am praying for answers.

Steph came down from her apartment this morning and her car has apparently been stolen.  This kind of stuff in her life (and mine) needs to stop.  Sometimes you wonder what in the world is going on.  She is quite upset.  It is fully insured, but she doesn't want to go through all this hassle.  Can you blame her?

No workout this morning, since I had to be dressed for work and off by 6:15 a.m.  I didn't eat before leaving home.  Stephanie hasn't been able to eat solid food since Monday afternoon, so she wants to stop somewhere and eat well when we get done with this.  I wanted to save some calories for that.

Later

I'm done with Stephanie's business, thank the Lord.  I really didn't need this added to my schedule.

I had another massage today.  She's always on me about clenching my butt, lol.  I've been paying more attention to it when I am standing, but got to wondering if I do it when sitting too.  I'm usually busy thinking about something else when sitting at my desk, so I don't think about it.  Today, I paid attention.  Sure enough, I am perpetually clenching my butt.  Gah!  Do you know how hard it is to make yourself stop doing that when you do it all the time without thinking?  This is going to sound weird, and kind of funny, but I decided to do a search on the internet to see if there was any advice on how to make yourself stop doing this.  You know what I found?  Butt clenching exercises.  In other words, things that encourage you to clench your butt so it will be nice and tight.  (It works pretty well, by the way.  Lol.)  All I know to do is, every time I realize I am clenching, make myself stop.  It's difficult.  But it is causing me so many problems.

We ended up going to IHOP after Stephanie's appointment.  I got a "Colorado Omelet," which has a lot of different kinds of meat and cheddar cheese.  It was huge!  I ate half of it and took the rest in a to-go box.  Steph told me that IHOP adds pancake batter to the egg mixture to make their omelets "fluffy."  I told them not to do that.  The server said, "You mean you want real eggs?"  Yes, I want real eggs.  (!)   It came with a side of whatever carby stuff you wanted.  Stephanie wanted me to order French toast with mine, and she ate it.

That was supposed to last me until dinner time.  I got fairly full, but at 4:45, I'm a little hungry.  However, I want to cut my calories today, Thursday and Friday and see if I can get a good loss.  I don't want to get bogged down for several weeks with only little to no weight loss each week.  I am not cutting them drastically; just a little more, and making sure I don't eat too many nuts and other little bad habits like that.  I really want to look as good as possible in that Mother of the Bride (MOB for future reference) dress.  I really want  to.  I also really want to start dating, and want to not only look as good as possible when I do that, and feel confident, but I want my pain issues to improve so they don't get in the way of any future relationship.  I don't want to be hobbling around like an old woman in front of my date.  Although the caliber of guy I am looking for would not place too much importance on that.  But if we want to go for a bike ride or a long walk, I don't want to be held back.

I did not eat until I got home.  Dinner was pesto and cheese stuffed chicken and a small salad.  I had a few almonds after that -- no more than a serving.  That's it for today.

That's it for today.  Over and out.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Little Blue

I'm feeling draggy this morning, and a little bit blue.  Sometimes you get a little too much solitude.

I got up shortly after my 5:15 alarm went off and put together some Pesto & Cheese stuffed Chicken Breasts.  I put them in to cook during my workout.  I felt really tired this morning.  I took my pain med at my 4:00 alarm, and took some Anacin when I got up for the ever-present headache.  I ate a stick of cheese to have something in my tummy.  I should have eaten a little more because I felt kind of weak during my workout.  I stopped at 30 minutes today.  I did do my arm work during the workout.  Tuesday seems to be a tough day for me for some reason.  But I got a workout done, and that's what is important!

Now, I'd better get going and get ready for work.

Later

The "blueness" is still hanging on.  I think I am just ready to get moving on with my life.  Life has been too much about just work lately.  I am tired, burned out, and kind of lonesome.  Last night was cold, wet and dreary, but I loved the colder weather.  I just would have liked to have someone to curl up with and enjoy it (besides my dog and cat, lol).  The reason I liked the weather is it is starting to feel more like Fall and on to Winter.  It has been so warm in Texas, it doesn't equate with November and the Holidays approaching.

I am working hard to make changes in my life, but it doesn't make that much difference if I am sitting at home by myself all the time. Hopefully I will start making progress in that area soon.  A lady from my Sunday school class suggested we have lunch or brunch some Saturday, and she is starting a smaller group of ladies who live Downtown and Uptown (across a highway from Downtown) so we can get to know each other better.  I would like to have a group that gets together and plays cards or something every once in a while.  I really enjoy doing that.  I need to reach out and ask people myself instead of waiting for them to ask me.  That is the biggest way things will begin to change.

I went off plan today in what I ate, but not in amount that I ate.  Hopefully it will have no ill effect.  In my blue mood, I bought some sugar free candy this morning.  I ate it this morning, but did not have any lunch.  Mid-afternoon, I was not really hungry, but was having a strange (different) kind of headache and I wondered if it was because I needed to eat something.  I bought a cheese stick at the convenience store and ate that; it did seem to make my headache go away.  That will hold me until dinner, when I plan to have the pesto & cheese stuffed chicken and some roasted brussels sprouts flavored with a little bacon.  My calories for the day should be fine, but I have had too many carbs.  Could be worse.

Last night I was really wanting some hot chocolate.  Even with sugar free hot chocolate mix, it is pretty high carb.  I was seeing how much it would be if I made it from scratch with cocoa powder and Stevia.  Still more than I need to spend on it.  Most of the carbs come from the milk.  If I could use all cream it would be less carbs, but that would be too rich.  Then I got to thinking -- almond milk!  1 cup of almond milk has 1 gram of carbs.  I could add a little cream to it, if I wanted to, but with cocoa powder and Stevia, it would be pretty low carb.  I'm going to try it!  I could also use some Torani SF syrup of some sort.  I have ordered some, so I will try that out.  I also want to try making some almond milk ice cream.

I am having my daughter's fiance's family over for Thanksgiving.  We are dividing up who prepares what for Thanksgiving dinner.  She is going to bring the turkey and the desserts.  I will not be eating sugar on Thanksgiving, but I would like a dessert of some sort.  I have made this Jell-o pudding dessert in the past that has nuts and coconut and whipped cream.  Why can't I make that sugar-free?  I like the sugar-free Jell-o pudding okay, so I think I will do this at some point.  It will not be low carb, but I am not worrying about carbs on Thanksgiving.  But I do not want to eat sugar because it would throw me into cravings again.  I may make this dessert, or I may make a sugar free cheesecake of some sort.  I will have to decide.

I have to be in Plano tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m., after going by my daughter's apartment first.  She is having a colonoscopy.  So I'm going to bed early tonight.  I won't get a workout tomorrow morning.  I guess sometimes it can't be helped.  Maybe I can get one done tomorrow evening, but I'm not very good at that.  I need to make a decision and just do it.

More About Forgiveness

I thought I posted yesterday -- this is Monday's post.

I started out the morning with my usual struggles about working out.  However, today I did not argue with myself.  I told myself "NO CHOICE" and just did it.  That's what I need to do every day.  I did 40 minutes on the recumbent bike with intervals of 7R and 12R (that's up one notch from what I had been doing).  I turned my toes inward on the 12R intervals (which are a minute each) to isolate my inner leg muscles.  I did four sets of my arm work (shoulder raises, bicep curls, tricep raises -- all with 5-pound dumbbells in each hand, and butterflies -- I think that's what you call these -- with 3-pound weights in each hand).  I debated over whether to do 30 minutes or 40 minutes.  I started out giving myself permission to do just 30 minutes, but as usual, when I got into it, I knew I could do 40, so did.  If I can do 40 minutes on each of the five days, plus raising my resistance, that will give me nice totals for the week.  Oh yeah, I also did 25 crunches.  I will do the rest of the ab work this evening.

The best thing I can do when I get up in the morning is get my headache under control, if that is a problem.  It is 95% of the time, unfortunately.  If I can get it under control, facing my workout is much easier.  Sometimes it doesn't stop until I get into my workout, though.

Did anyone watch last week's Biggest Loser?  That is what I have been watching during my workouts.  It might have been the week before, but I was watching the recording, so I'm not sure.  Anyway, they had a segment in there about forgiveness.  One woman had a very abusive upbringing and she had a lot of unforgiveness toward her family, both for the abuse and toward other family members for not rescuing her from the abuse.  Dolvett told her that that unforgivness would hamper her success both in the house and throughout her life.  I thought the timing on that was so interesting.  I can't remember the other scenario, but I saw another story (can't remember if I read it or saw it on TV) where they were talking about forgiveness and how unforgiveness is toxic to you.  I think God is trying to tell me something!  Dolvett had this lady write a letter to her mother, who had abused her, her other family, who had not rescued her, and she took it upon herself to write a letter to herself because she had been so unforgiving of herself in a certain situation.  I can relate to that.  I do not know if he had her mail any of the letters -- I kind of doubt it.  I know she did not mail the one to her mother, because her mother was deceased.  The forgiveness was for her own healing, even though her mother would never get the message.  I'm going to do this in each situation I feel I am holding unforgiveness (and not mail the letter; this is just for my own healing and release).

I'm trying to watch my calorie intake even further this week.  I usually eat something when I first get up because I need something in my stomach when I take my medication, and I feel a little weak during my workout if my stomach is empty.  This morning I ate a cheese stick for starters.  I still felt a little hungry before my workout, so I ate two celery sticks.  Less calories, but helped fill my tummy.

Last night I made my Ham & Swiss Pie.  I made enough for all five days of this week (actually made 6 servings), so I don't have to take time to cook breakfast during the week.  (I hope to get to the gym at least a couple of mornings this week.)  This time I sauteed some sliced mushrooms and added that to the mixture.  So, breakfast this morning was a slice of Ham & Swiss Pie.  I again felt like I was not quite satisfied with that, so I ate a couple of more celery sticks.  I didn't want to repeat my recent behavior of eating what I had brought for later right when I got to work.  And I did not do that this morning.

"Lunch" was 2 dill pickle spears, each wrapped with a slice of sharp cheddar and a slice of smoked turkey luncheon meat.  I also had about 3/4 of a serving of smoked almonds.  I bought a larger bag of almonds, and to discourage overdoing on them, I divided up servings in snack-size ziploc bags.  I could tell the one I picked up to bring today was the last one I filled, which was a few short of a whole serving.  This amount of "lunch" felt just right and the calorie content is reasonable.  That will hold me until dinner.

Later

I have been holed up in an office with Jerry all afternoon (actually since 10:30 this morning, except for a break at lunch) and now that I am done, I realize I am hungry.  Good thing it is after 5:30.  Whew!

I felt too hungry to wait to cook something when I got home, so I ate the extra serving of Ham & Swiss Pie and some almonds for dinner.  I should have had a vegetable, but never did.  I did my leg lifts before going to bed, but that was all I got done.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Deep Thoughts About Unforgiveness

Saturday

I lost .6 this week.  Not what I hoped for, but I'll take it.

Getting ready to go to brunch, so more later.  Should be a busy, but fun day.

I'm back from all my doings.  Had brunch, went to look at bridesmaid dresses (picked them out and ordered them).  Then went to get groceries.  I am totally exhausted.  How do I get so tired from just that much?  I did a lot of walking, but I guess it's good -- some exercise.

I'm watching a movie where they are making cookies and I really started wanting something sweet.  I also wanted some cherry fruit slices, a candy I have always liked, for some reason (pure sugar!).  I was thinking, I will just eat some today and got right back on track tomorrow.  But I remembered, one time is never enough.  Never.  So, one time is too much.  I'm not going there.  At least, these days, when I have temptations, I give them a lot of thought.  I am doing pretty well at reminding myself of my goals and what I really want, despite what I might think I want at any given moment.

No matter what, I want to get up and go to class and church tomorrow.  I'm so glad we get that extra hour tonight, because I feel like I really need it.  Another thing I want to work on between now and the wedding, is I would like to start dating again.  Even if just to get out and have a good time now and then.  And I would like to have an escort at the wedding.  How am I ever going to do that if all I ever do is go to work and home?

Sunday

I thought I posted the above last night, but I guess I didn't, so I will just add to it today.  I warn you that the next part of this post is going to be very real.

I and my daughters had brunch with my cousins yesterday.  They have a unique ministry and, I felt, had some things to share that would benefit Stephanie very much in her struggles.  It is scientifically proven that most diseases have a spiritual, emotional or psychological root.  I believe that to be the case with Stephanie.  What they shared was very pertinent for me too.  It has to do with unforgiveness and bitterness, as well as trauma.  I have come a very long way with my feelings concerning my ex-husband, but I freely admit that I have a ways to go.  They were talking at one point about exchanging "toxic" memories for good ones by empathizing with the one you have unforgiveness against and seeing the reasons behind what they did.  I did this a lot better when the events first occurred.  My husband made some very wild accusations against me and did some very bizarre things to try to prove those accusations.  I know that to do what he did, he had to believe those accusations 100%.  And, as preposterous as the accusations were, if he truly believed they were true, it had to really hurt.  He actually accused me of incest with my son, among other things.  I had several people tell me that for him to believe that of me, he had to either have been seduced by his own mother or felt like he was.  I know from a few things he told me, the latter might be the case.  So I have to realize that things that happened in his own past were at the root of his betrayal of me.  I have to let my heart soften toward him for what he did to me and to our family.  I talk a little more about this in this post.  It is not letting him off the hook for what he did, it is letting myself off the hook from the effects of the unforgiveness in my heart.  No doubt, I was the vitim, but I have to let go and let God deal with my ex-husband.  There are other issues involved with him, including the fact that he pretty much dropped out of my kids' lives and how that has affected them.  During the Holy Season that is coming, I have to find it in my heart to forgive him and release him (and myself) from the bitterness I have had toward him.  I know there are more areas of forgiveness I need to explore with other people.  I am hopeful the release of this unforgiveness will bring healing in my own body.  I know it will bring healing to my soul.  Unforgiveness affects the person who holds it in their heart far more than the one they are holding it against.

That's all for now...I'm off to class and church.

Later

Church was good.  I don't know why it is so hard for me to go sometimes.  I just get tired.  But I need to remember that I get far more out of it than the energy I expend to go.  So many sweet, loving, caring people in my class.  I need to make this a priority every week.

I found out the guy I was interested in getting to know is likely moving to Anchorage, Alaska!  Oh well.  God knows.

I took Cas for a longer walk this afternoon than I have been.  He was being so whiny, and now he has settled down, so I guess that is what he needed.  I feel bad when I don't have enough time and energy for him.  I caught site of myself in the glass as I was walking downtown.  I still have a long way to go.  But I have come very far.  I must keep pushing on.

I'm going to rest a while now and get ready for a busy week.  My goal is five 40-minute workouts this week.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Just Stuff

I'm telling you, my mind argues with me about working out every morning.  But I did it.  I didn't entertain the thoughts much today.  I put them aside and thought, Just do it.  I hope I will get to the point soon where there isn't such a battle every day.  I need to make it like I deal with not eating sugar -- in my mind, it is not a choice, so I don't even consider it.  I only worked out four days this week, but I got the same minutes as five days of what I have been doing.

I've talked about how in 2009 and the first half of 2010, I had become a workout machine.  I went to the gym almost every morning before work, and many days got two workouts done, and some days got three workouts done.  I was walking to work this morning thinking I will be glad when I get that trim again.  Then I remembered, I actually weigh less now than I got to then.  It's just my level of fitness that is not up with how I was then.  I am the trimmest I have been since 2002, and that was only for a relatively short time.  That's when my husband started going really nuts and making all kinds of accusations.  Hmmm, think there is any correlation to those two things?  Probably.  He harped on me year after year about losing weight and being ashamed of me, and then when I was getting there, he accused me of having affairs with every man I could find.  Go figure.  Of course, I gained it all back and more.

But, all that negative is gone from my life, thank the Lord.

I did 40 minutes on the recumbent bike, same as the last two days.  My legs felt quite tired this morning -- particularly the inside of my thighs -- so I did not turn my toes inward this time, to give them a little break.  My arms were tired too, but I still did my arm work.  They will get a rest this weekend.  I need to do another ab workout tonight and tomorrow or Sunday.  But that only takes a few minutes.

Breakfast was a 2-egg omelet with bacon.  Unless I get hungrier today, I plan to get another small salad for lunch.

I am not loving the outfit I wore today.  It's kind of casual Friday, but I don't feel good in this outfit.  I don't know if I will wear these pants again.  They are khakis and very wide-legged.  You have to pair them with the right thing, and I think they look best with flats, but flats make my plantar fasciitis worse.  The shirt I would like better with a jacket over.  Oh well.

I did get hungry in the afternoon, but it was getting close enough to quitting time that I hoped I would be okay until I got home.  However, I was pretty hungry, so I went downstairs and got some nuts.  When I got home, I wasn't that hungry, and I am getting low on groceries, so I ate the rest of the sugar free ice cream I made and that was it.  I guess that's not the healthiest eating today, but I hope it will have a good effect on my weigh-in, since I didn't eat as much today.

I got off at 5:30 and was home by 5:35 today.  I wasn't sure how to act!  However, every time I sit down and get still, I get sleepy.  I fell asleep watching a movie.

Tomorrow we are having brunch with some family at The Porch (restaurant).  Then we are going to look for bridesmaids dresses.  I also need to buy groceries.  I need to not expend too much energy, because I want to go to class and church Sunday.  There is just not enough time to do all I need to do.  Actually, I didn't work that much this week, but I guess I was catching up.  I need to do more in the evening.  Hopefully things will get on a more even keel for a while and I can get my schedule more as it should be.

Now that I have done 40-minute workouts three times this week, I probably should bump them up every day.  We'll see.  I really want to get to going to the gym at least some mornings.  I'm just not sure if I want to walk there that early in the morning (because it is quite dark and there are a lot of homeless people around downtown) and my son has my car right now.  I will have to get up earlier if I do that.  And prepare things ahead of time, like breakfast and food to take to work.

Here's hoping for a good loss tomorrow, but I will be very surprised if I get to 245.