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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Am Learning So Much

Do any of my readers do Atkins or some kind of low-carb diet?  I am considering adding one piece of low-carb fruit a day, just for a little boost.  I don't want to do anything to spike my blood sugar or set off more cravings, but I am just a bit draggy.  I am through my first 2 weeks, which is the induction phase, so I could add a little carb, but I intended to keep doing induction a bit to speed my weight loss a little.  Of course, I have just given up the snack bars a few days ago and now am working on one other thing (I decided to tell you what that is, below), so it may be that my body is further adjusting to the newest changes I am making.  I will give it a few days and see how I do before deciding to make that change.

I didn't work out this morning, but I do have my yoga class this evening, which is a good workout.  I am trying to work on consistency, and as long as I am getting a workout each weekday, I feel like I am doing that.  I would like to increase that, but I also don't want to overwhelm myself again.  I am struggling with some things unrelated to weight loss (my daughter, etc.), so I confess I am a little more down than usual, emotionally speaking.  I keep thinking I would just like something good to happen.  Little surprises make life interesting.  It just feels difficult to get through my work days and do what I need to do diet-wise and exercise-wise and housekeeping-wise, etc., etc. right now.  I need a break to shake things up a little.

When I am getting a little low on motivation, sometimes walking by and seeing this helps:

It is not a very good picture, but I just snapped it as I walked by when getting ready this morning.  I am not far from being into this skirt and I would like to get there soon.  I guess the colors are kind of Springy, but I don't really care.  I can pair it with things that are appropriate for the season.  Besides, in Texas, it never gets cold for very long.

I took Cas for his walk this morning and it was deliciously cool outside.  I think we are supposed to have 90-something degree temperatures today, but at least it cooled down during the night more than it has been.

I have been reading some more on stress, obesity, etc. and how it is all related.  For those with PTSD, they often have a raised "fight and flight" reflex, but they can also have what they call "learned helplessness."  I see this very strongly in myself.  It is the idea that if we feel we are not in control of a situation (whatever is creating stress), we learn to cope with it and don't try to get away from it, so it is still allowing stress to be a constant in our lives.  I have done this in so many ways.  The idea is we won't accept opportunities to help ourselves because we don't really believe it will work.  We have to break ourselves out of that mentality.  I am doing that in many ways -- yoga is part of it.  But I often find myself lapsing back into the paralyzed, helpless feeling and kind of figuring life is never really going to change.  I have to confront those feelings and the resulting behavior.  I can change.  I can become an active person.  I can learn to keep a clean and tidy home.  I can learn to enjoy getting out and being social.  I am a person of value who deserves to find a man who loves me as I am.  Etc., etc.

I just caught myself gritting my teeth.  I do it when I lean my face on my hand, which I tend to do a lot at my desk.  My MT assured me I do it, even if I don't realize it.  Major cause of headaches.

Breakfast was my usual, this time with bacon.  Snack was a 100 calorie pack of almonds and leftover slice of bacon.  (That seems funny, when you are trying to lose weight.  Ha!)  I found a new salad for lunch.  I knew I liked the walnut chicken salad at this place downstairs, but I couldn't remember if it was a little sweet and had something like grapes in it (which would not be Atkins).  But I decided to try it.  They put it on caesar greens (no croutons for me).  The chicken salad is not the least bit sweet, so I think it is fine for Atkins.  I like it so much better than tuna, which they also have.  That filled me up pretty good.

I drank a Diet Coke today (for reasons I will share later), but all I can say about Diet Coke is it makes me like water a whole lot more.  Yuck!  And I used to be addicted to the stuff.  Again, yuck!

I was talking to a friend of mine at work and I said something about my neck being sore from the work the MT did on me yesterday (ouchy, is it sore!).  She said, "It must be nice."  I don't know what she meant by saying that.   If she meant I sure pamper myself a lot, I guess she can make her judgments, but I feel this way about it.  I have suffered from chronic headaches for 20 years and back and neck pain for many, and I finally decided I wanted to try to do something about it.  It's not any different than deciding to go to the doctor and taking the medicine they prescribe for you, or the physical therapy or the surgery, for that matter.  I'm doing what I can to try to get better.  Since I have had these problems for 20 years, it is not going to go away with one or two massage sessions.  The problems are deep rooted and will take challenging those areas over and over again to get them more in line with what they should have been in the first place.  So, if that is slacking off and pampering myself too much, so be it.  I have coped with headaches, many times, all day, every day for far too long.  Sometimes we view coping as positive behavior, but many times we are just allowing negative stuff to keep going on in our lives and why should we do that if we don't have to?  And if my friend really thinks, "It must be nice," she can make her own appointments and go right downstairs and do the same thing.

I guess I may as well tell you the other thing I am working on, since I am learning other things surrounding the same subject and I want to talk about them too.  I have said quite a number of times that I need to get off of Sugar Free Red Bulls and I still had not done it (it was getting embarassing).  When I started Atkins, I switched to the Red Bull Total Zero's, which have no carbs and no calories.  My thought was I would just drink one every once in a while until I got myself weaned off of Red Bull.  But I didn't do that.  I have been drinking them just as much as ever.  Then I started reading about PTSD, which got me to reading about cortisol, and I have been learning all about how bad it is for our bodies when we produce too much cortisol.  It contributes to obesity, big-time, as well as many physical problems.  Then I read that caffeine makes your body produce more cortisol and that did it for me.  I didn't want to say anything, since I have talked about getting off the RB's a number of times and never have.  But I did not have one yesterday and have not had one today.  I have been having two a day (expensive and bad for me!), and occasionally have had more than that.  It was getting out of hand.  After I got on Atkins, I used it to satisfy a carb craving.  If I had nothing else to look forward to, I could look forward to my SFRB's.  But now I have found how they could be hindering my weight loss, and as hard as it has gotten for me to lose weight, I want to do all I can to remove any obstacles.  So out the door they go.  That's the reason I had the Diet Coke this morning -- I had a killer caffeine headache and was trying to ward that off without drinking a Red Bull.  Little danger of me getting hooked on Diet Cokes -- yuck!

Then, today, I read this article.   I have been thinking of all these different ways to practice relaxation techniques, etc. to help with stress and the resulting cortisol problem.  But the biggest way to break the cortisol cycle is to exercise!  That is the best thing I can do.  So when I go home feeling stressed, or am sitting home feeling stressed, or whatever -- I need to get up and have a good hard workout.  Not only does it help me mentally and emotionally and physically, it breaks up the cortisol cycle.  So, hopefully, this will help me get with it on the exercise like the thing I learned about caffeine helped me start getting off Red Bulls.  About the only time I should not use this method is if I get worked up right with stress right before bedtime.  Sleep is important, too, and I would need to do some other kind of relaxation to aid with being able to fall asleep.

Dinner was a salad from Chipotle.  When you can have a really good salad when you don't have to watch your fat!  Of course, I couldn't have the rice or beans, but I had fajita veggies, steak, pico de gallo, hot sauce, cheese and guacamole.  Yum!

I'm back from yoga class now.  I completed my last one.  She asked me what I had been up to this week and I told her about all the reading I had been doing about PTSD.  She said she thinks I suffer from PTSD (which I already knew).   She talked about how because of what I went through with my husband (and rightly presumed I had not had a great relationship with my father), the masculine side of me (which every woman has) was not developed.  The part of me that had the courage to get out and try new things, and be with people, and the part that is assertive and has good boundaries.  She was so right on.  She talked about how it was crucial for me to develop good boundaries not only for myself, but so that I can model them for my kids.  She said I must not give up the things I am doing for myself to do something for my kids.  For instance, I should tell my daughter I have to do so and so before I can come to the hospital, but then I will be there to have dinner with you, as an example.  Not spend every spare minute there to my own detriment.  This is an expectation I place on myself, more than anything.  I feel like I have to be there for her.

She was very right on about everything she said.  I feel like I am on this journey to a totally new place and life.  I just have to keep going.  She talked about how people with PTSD have lives that are spinning out of control and they get so used to living in this heightened awareness of danger, that when things are calm, they feel like something is wrong and they stir something up.  I said that was the way I felt, except it was not me stirring it up, but my kids.  She said, but I had joined in with it and therefore had been caught up in the tornado.  I asked her how I keep from it, and that is when she told me about maintaining boundaries and not allowing myself to be taken down by their shrapnel.  This is something people close to me have been telling me for years, but it seemed like betrayal to do this.  But I am seeing it more and more.  I can choose to keep going on like I am, but if I do, nothing will ever change for me and my kids.  That is why I began to see it differently and realize the importance of it -- not as betrayal, but what is best for all of us.

Anyway, I am learning so much.  I just have to keeping moving forward, keep confronting, keep nurturing, keep making changes.  And my life will become what I want it to be.

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