Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Comparison Pictures

Well, my recumbent bike workout this morning was pretty much just a placeholder.  I was feeling pretty empty (even though I ate a few baby carrots beforehand) and not strong enough to really push myself.  But I did 10 minutes and perpetuated the habit of working out every morning.

My buns are a little sore.  Lol.  I guess that is the recumbent bike.  I had to work hard at the top of the “hills” workout.  I’ll be glad when I can start building strength, stamina and endurance (or are those last two the same thing?).  Just a few more weeks.  I will try to do a good workout on Saturday when I have a little more food in my tummy.

I ordered the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  I don’t know how soon I will be ready to lift – I hope soon – but it won’t hurt to educate myself in the meantime.  Interestingly, lifting does not really bother my back unless it is extreme.  What bothers my back is bearing weight.  I am fine sitting down, but when I stand up, I have pain.  (This has improved immensely lately and is not really a true statement right now!)  I was going to proceed in detail and tell you why I think that is so, but I am trying to work on not being too detailed in my writing.  Suffice it to say, I think I could begin some light lifting as long as I am careful with certain movements and to not strain my neck, since I had a double fusion.  I probably need to be doing a lot of stretching there before doing much lifting.  (I keep saying that and haven’t done it.)  I will read up in this book and try to get a plan for lifting ready for when I transition to Weight Watchers.  In the meantime, I need to get to stretching!

I may try to do at least part of Leslie Sansone’s Walk & Firm video and see how I tolerate that.  She does some mini squats and mini lunges, and that usually bothers my knees too much, but maybe I can since the injections are helping.

I made it through yesterday without difficulty.  I didn’t even eat a piece of fruit to help with hunger.  I had to today.  I felt pretty empty.  I drank down water and that helped.  I was also sleepy.  I have to be careful about that, because being tired is a huge trigger for me.  My weight is coming along.  That makes me happy!

My heavy winter coat is a size 26/28, so I am fairly “swimming” in it.  I can wear it the rest of this cold season, but will have to get another one next year.  Nice problem to have!

I got some more de-cluttering done last night.  I make it sound like my loft is a huge mess.  Not really.  I am not a hoarder or a complete slob (although an extremely particular person might think so, lol); I am just a little too comfortable with clutter, etc.  So I’m working on that!  I am worthy to have a clean, organized home.  I’m not sure I have always believed that.  (I think I said that yesterday.)

I took a little snapshot just to give me an idea of my progress (yes, I am in the bathroom at work – the best place I have to get a full-length shot in a mirror).  Look at the difference in me today and where I was in May 2012.  Pretty good.  I can see it most in my face and chin, but do see it all over.

February 27, 2013

May 17, 2012

I was reading Lori’s blog today (a past entry) and a commenter asked her why she included a certain thing on her blog.  Lori talked about bloggers who didn’t seem real, and only painted things in a positive light.  I don’t think I could be accused of that.  If anything, I am way too real.  I confess this blog is more like a journal, at times, but that is because that is what I need sometimes.  I think it will morph into a more traditional blog at some point.  In the meantime, I am trying to work on not being so detailed.  But perhaps it is helpful to some who need to see someone progress through struggles like I am having.  I just know I needed an outlet and some accountability.

I’m going to plan to sit down this evening (if I don’t have to work too late) and plan my morning schedule a little better and to find some stretching exercises I need to be doing for problem areas where I don’t have full range of motion.  I probably won’t ever have full range of motion in my neck – a fusion does that to you – but I could relieve some of the tightness and tension that is there in my neck and shoulders.

My left knee felt a little twinge-y during my lunchtime walk.  Hopefully that does not mean the effect of the injections is already wearing off.  I had the injections 15 days ago.  I am allowed to have them every three months.  So if it starts wearing off now, I don’t know how beneficial the injections are.  Hopefully this is just an isolated thing and I will continue to have relief for a good while longer.

This may sound crazy, but has anyone else had that feeling when you are losing weight like the fat is being burned off of you at that very moment?  I don’t know how else to describe it.  That’s how I feel right now.  I often feel that in my upper arms and my ribs.  It usually happens when I am hungry, too, but not every time I am hungry.
 
I may have mentioned earlier this weekend that I cooked some chicken to put in the freezer at work so I would have something to eat when I had to work late (which I did tonight).  I baked the chicken and put some barbecue sauce on it, and put a little Sriracha sauce on it too.  This was so good!  I will definitely being doing that again!
 
Okay, it is 8:00 and work day is finally done, so I am going home.  Night all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Goal: To Become an Athlete

Goodness, working out is a challenge when eating this many (few) calories.  I got up today and debated a while whether to take Cas on his regular walk.  The temperature was in the 30s with a wind of about 20 mph.  I finally decided to try.  It was okay as long as I was in the shelter of the tall buildings.  When I crossed the street, it was another story.  I walked to the park we usually go to, but did not walk through it.  At least Cas got outside for a few minutes.  Then I came home and got on my recumbent bike.  I wanted to do the 20-minute beginner hills workout.  It was challenging in the middle of it, but I got it done with a couple of few-second breathers.  I worked up a good sweat, anyway, and continued to develop my habit of getting a morning workout.  It feels good to know that even if I can’t go to lunch and walk, or the weather is bad, I still got that workout in.  That doesn’t help Cas, but I got mine done.

I took your encouragement from your last comment, Michelle, and used it last night.  I spent a good 45 minutes picking up around the loft and organizing things, putting the clutter where it belongs.  It felt good to go to bed with most of the house tidy.  My son must have noticed because he fixed himself a meal when he got home (after I was in bed) and cleaned up after himself.  I guess we lead by example (although I usually do put up my meal preparation stuff).  I just might not get the dishes in the dishwasher, but I did last night.  I think this is important because it is behavior I associate with the me I don’t like very much.  Kind of the “fat slob” mentality.  I am worthy to have a lovely, clean home.  I haven’t always felt that way (although it was more of an unconscious thing than anything).  As soon as I get more caught up with things financially, especially if I am working a lot of hours, I am going to have someone come in twice a month and clean.  I have never had that luxury, although I have been working full time plus some for many years.

I was reading Lori’s blog today.  I am still in the part where she hurt her back in 2010.  Some of the symptoms she describes are so familiar-sounding.  She talked about a “tightness” in her thighs.  Yep, sometimes it felt like it took extra effort to make them move like they were supposed to (notice I said “felt”).  I don’t know, I guess it’s nice to know that a lot of my symptoms are not unique to me.  Trouble is, I have been dealing with them for two years (some of them longer than that).  But I am feeling so much better!

I was feeling a little fear today, for lack of a better way to say it.  If things keep progressing as they are now, soon I will have no excuse not to do some of the workouts I read about on other people’s blogs.  Up to now, a lot of it has been out of the question.  But I am quite amazed at how much better I am feeling.  I know I have said this before, but it is so AWESOME to be able to stand up after sitting a while and not have to wait while the pain is washing over me, and sometimes gasping because of it.  I stand up now and – nothing.  No pain.  I have other symptoms, at times, but things have really improved since I started Medifast.  Although it scares me not to have any valid excuses, I know, deep down, I want to be able to do those things I am fearing right now.  I have always not only wanted to be slim, but I have wanted to look like an athlete – to BE an athlete.  I had this gym teacher in elementary school who, because I was chubby, always kind of made fun of me and made me feel like I would never be good at any kind of sports or physical activity, so I quit trying.  He also allowed other kids to bully kids like me and would kind of laugh at you if you ever said anything about it.  (Interestingly, his name was Mr. Bigham, and he was about as big around as he was tall.)  Maybe if I had been encouraged to try, heard “you can do it,” things would have been different for me.  I found out later I was actually a fairly good athlete, considering my size.  I was good at softball – once I finally was given a chance to prove what I could do (I also had softball coaches who assumed that because I was chubby, I wouldn’t be any good at it), I never sat on the bench again.  In high school, although I didn’t play on the team, I found out in gym class that I was a pretty good volleyball player.  The teachers would put together a match of the girls’ PE class against the boys’ PE class.  Most of the girls chosen to be in that match were actually on the high school volleyball team, but I also was one of them.  I took summer tennis lessons at a summer recreation program and the instructor (who happened to be the high school tennis coach) asked me to be on the tennis team.  I didn’t because you couldn’t do music and sports easily at our school, and I excelled at singing.  But just to be asked tells me he recognized something.  I played recreational sports after high school (coed) and there were usually two girls on the team (either volleyball or softball) who played all the time and the rest of the girls rotated in and out.  I was always one of the two who played all the time.  So I know I have it in me.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  But, as soon as I am able, I am going to start living the life I want in this respect and part of that is being an athlete.  I won’t be able to do everything I want to (I suppose, but maybe!), but there will be a lot I can do.

Once I get into working out, I actually get kind of addicted to it.  At one point in 2009, I was sometimes doing three workouts a day (maybe a little much, but it illustrates my point).  One reason I like working out more is you can eat more.  Lol.  But when I was working out a lot, a piece of candy from the candy bowl at work here, and a snack there, didn’t hurt because I was burning it off.  I want to be able to have those little splurges every once in a while.  I feel like getting on the recumbent bike this week is just the beginning.  I am on my way.

I took a picture of my dinner, but for some reason the option to send it to my computer is not showing.  Anyway, I had baked tilapia with some homemade tartar sauce made from Miracle Whip Light, some minced onion and a little sweet relish.  I only put about a half-tablespoon on each fillet.  Besides salt and pepper, I have been sprinkling the fillets with smoked paprika.  I also had roasted Brussels sprouts.  I just cut them in half and sprayed them with non-stick spray and sprinkled salt and pepper on them and roasted them while the fish was cooking.  After cooking, I also sprinkled less than a teaspoon of “real bacon bits” on them.  The label said a tablespoon had 25 calories, so I added 8 calories, at the most, but it added a lot of flavor.  Probably not Medifast sanctioned, but it was only 8 calories.  I have to say, this meal tasted so much better to me than anything I ate on Saturday, my off day.  Food tastes so much better when you are really hungry.  And I used to not like most fish unless it was fried.  This tilapia doesn’t taste the least bit fishy.  Yum-o!

My new MF order came in, so I have all I need to make it through the next 3 weeks (of Medifast foods).  Except for the shakes, which are not too bad, the rest of the food is actually something I want to eat when the time comes.

Okay, time to get some chores done.  Night all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm Excited!

Today I am in wonderment about how fast I have seen changes since I started Medifast 6 weeks ago.  I have been wanting to wear this very nice jacket I have while we still have some cool weather (and while it still fits) and I need a black cami to wear with it and haven’t been able to find mine (turns out my daughter borrowed it).  I found an old cami in another drawer and I put it on and it is just hanging on me.  Now, granted, it would have been a little big when I started.  I put on the jacket and I can button it up with room to spare.  It is a size 20.  It made me feel “small.”  I also noticed yesterday the workout pants I have been wearing a lot of the time when I walk are quite roomy, and they were a little snug when I started (for someone who doesn’t like to wear tight clothes).  My t-shirts I wear for working out and walking are hanging on me too.  I guess it’s getting time for some pictures.  My plan was to do pictures when I hit my preliminary goal of 250.  I realized today that after a substantial weight loss in 2009, I spent a lot of time hanging around 260 and only got below that briefly.  I am very close to dropping below that now, so I will be getting into new territory very soon now.  I am so excited about that!!!

The scale is already down a little this week.  I am usually up a little (sometimes a lot) after my off-meal or day.  I didn’t weigh yesterday, but did this morning after a successful Medifast day yesterday.  I was already down past where I was Saturday morning.  This makes me happy because I often spend all week trying to get down below the prior weigh-in weight and then will suddenly drop some on weigh-in day.  I am glad I am not having to wait this time.  It helps encourage me to keep going with Medifast.

I managed to get myself out of bed before 6:00 this morning.  My alarm goes off at 5:45.  I got up and did a little moving around – picking up in my room, etc. – and then got out fairly quickly to walk Cas.  I came home and started my bath water and dun da da dum – got on the recumbent bike.  I did about 15 minutes while my bath water ran (it takes a while to fill the tub) and watching The Biggest Loser on my DVR (I’m behind, so no comments about what may have just happened J).  I had eaten a few baby carrots beforehand, but still felt noticeably empty.  However, I did start the beginners hill program programmed on my recumbent bike.  I want to do the morning workout, even for just a few minutes, for a placeholder to build the habit of doing a morning workout.  Then when I am eating more again, I can increase the time and intensity.  Although this workout (as far as I got) was making me work up a sweat, I feel like I can finish it with no problem.  I am just happy I finally broke through and got on the machine in the morning.  Sorry the picture is dark -- I was pedaling in the dark and the flash reflected too much.  I don't own a camera -- just the one on my iPhone.  :O
 

About The Biggest Loser – I have read some comments on other blogs criticizing the show.  It is true it is not realistic – most people do not have the kind of time to put into working out as much as these people put in to be able to lose that much that fast.  And I agree that I wouldn’t want a trainer who yells at me like Jillian does.  The reason I like to watch it is it is fun to watch how completely these people change in their appearance.  Since it is fast, you get to see the vast difference in how they looked before and how they look afterward.  It encourages me to see that and know that, although it will happen over a more extended period of time, there is going to be that much difference in the way I look when I get done.  I know these people often gain their weight back and it is not a program I would want to pattern my journey after, but it does teach you that being active makes a huge difference and I have no problem with becoming frustrated because my transformation takes so much longer than theirs.  For me, it’s just fun to watch (except when there is too much drama).

I did not get to go home for lunch, so couldn’t take my midday walk.  Jerry was here, so I was not able to.  (I make him sound like a slave-driver; I guess some people might have a problem with not getting to go to lunch sometimes, but I am used to it and it does not bother me; he more than makes up for it in other ways.  And the more OT I get, the more money I have to contribute to my vacation fund.)  I am starting to feel some motivation again after my struggles last week.  Mental struggles can be harder to overcome than physical ones, sometimes.  Of course, the bad headaches all week were causing the mental struggles, to a degree.  I felt better yesterday and so far today.  I guess nipping it in the bud with extra medication on Saturday helped.

I wrote the paragraph above, and then later:  I had another bad headache come on and I was acutely aware today that I am having that “hardware” discomfort that I had after my neck surgery (I call them hardware headaches).  It feels like I can feel the hardware they put on my cervical spine to fuse the vertebra together.  I think this happens when I am not careful how I turn my head.  I have to be careful to not turn my head up too much or too drastically to the side.  I need to turn my body instead of my head and I have to tell people to stand further away from me if I am having to look up at them.  I was sitting there and turned my head too far and felt a very big pop in my neck and it seems like the headache got bad after that.  I have been aware during the last week that I am feeling that discomfort when I am having the headaches.  So, I will be careful not to turn my head too much and we’ll see if they clear up.  Ugh.  I hate bad headaches.  They make me not want to do anything.

I cooked some chicken this morning and brought a serving to work to keep in the freezer for any night I have to work late.  I put a little barbecue sauce on it when I cooked it (which I have been doing lately), and this time I put a little Sriracha on top.  I will be interested to see how I like that.  I also brought some frozen broccoli, which I can cook in the microwave.  Better than getting too hungry staying late and then messing up when I get home.  I meant to get me some of those steamer bags of vegetables, but never made it to the store this weekend.

I seem to do better on an “all or nothing” kind of program like Medifast.  I am not saying that is a good thing.  In other words, I do better at something kind of drastic than I do eating regular foods.  I think it’s because I don’t even give my cravings any consideration when I am doing that; I just have to get used to turning that off.  I have more trouble doing that when I have more freedom.  But that is part of the long-term process that is important.  Learning how to eat things you really enjoy in a controlled way so they are “every once in a while” or “just a little bit” instead of eating them every time you crave it and too much of it when you do.  And learning how to lighten up some of the things you really enjoy so they are not so destructive to your weight loss plan.  I have a lot of habits to relearn.

I seem to do better when I eat a lot of the same thing all the time.  That is how I did it in 2009.  I can’t remember what breakfast was – I think some cereal and fruit.  But I remember lunch was always a frozen Weight Watcher or Lean Cuisine dinner, a vegetable, a fruit and some yogurt.  The trouble is, although I lost about 60 pounds during that time period, when I had my annual physical, for the first time I was almost diabetic.  My blood sugar was 124 and 125 is diabetic.  I was really surprised because I had been losing weight and exercising for several months before.  I realized that those “diet” convenience products are not good for you, even if you do lose weight.  They have simple carbohydrates and too much sodium, among other things.  So I want to find a better way of eating this time – clean, that is.  I may eat a lot the same thing, but it needs to be the right thing.  I will try to get more protein this time, too.  But the biggest thing is my diet will not consist of convenience foods.

I have tried to wait until later to eat each of my Medifast meals today.  The first one, not so much, since I needed to fix it before I left home, but I waited until a little later than usual today.  That is so I didn’t leave too much time to be hungry when I got home tonight.  That is when I am at my weakest. It seemed to help.

Two days down, nineteen to go (to finish my three weeks on Medifast).

I will be so ready to get my finances lined out.  Not that I am hurting or anything.  I just wound up with some debt from helping my kids the last few months and I want to get it all paid off as soon as possible, so all my extra money is going to that.  I only worked about 8 hours of OT last paycheck (I can’t remember the last time there has been that little OT), so my check this time is smaller than usual.  I want to get that debt paid off and then start putting everything extra in my vacation fund.  I can’t remember the last time I had a real vacation – it’s probably been 15 years.  Too busy keeping the home fires burning while everyone else has gotten to go somewhere.  It's my turn!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Medifast Again

Today has been better activity-wise.  I have had two walks and a bike ride.  The headache has been better today – only a minor one part of the day.

Today was the first day back on Medifast, and so far so good.  I had a little hunger, but only a little.  I have to learn to turn my mind back to just following the plan without thinking about any cravings for certain foods.  I have been able to do that today.  I have one meal left – a chocolate chip soft-bake.  These are not very good, but I have four left, so I will eat them.  When my next order comes in, all the food I have, except for the shakes, will be things I don’t mind eating.  The shakes are not too bad, if I only have to have them once a day.

I tried a new product today called Sauté Express.  It is a blend of olive oil and butter with herbs and spices.  The kind I tried was garlic & herb. A serving counts as two fat allowances, which is what I am allowed with my Lean & Green meal.
 
I sautéed my broccoli in it.  It was the best broccoli I ever made.  I also had a flat-iron steak with a little steak sauce and some steamed baby carrots.  I wanted to make sure I took care of my hunger.
 

I rearranged my living room and got some things put up that have been there since I moved in.  I didn’t really have a place to put them and the things belong to my sister, so I couldn’t get rid of them.  However, I have started using the shower stall in the master bath as a storage area.  I prefer to take a bath and if I or someone else wants a shower, they can take one in the front bathroom.  The living room is arranged better for me to ride the recumbent bike in the mornings.  One thing I want to do (and wish I could do it now, but need to wait) is to buy a rug for the dining area that goes with the living room, since there is really no divider between the two now.  I would like a brown and cream rug, so will have to find one I want later when I can spend the money on it.

I need to do more cleaning.  I find that I am too “content” for things to be cluttered and I am trying to change that.  It’s all about new habits.

Sundays are pretty solitary days for me.  It’s good thing I don’t mind being alone.  Even when I go to church, I still feel alone.  Need to make some friends.  Some days, if I didn’t have my dog, I probably wouldn’t leave the house.  I guess that means it’s a good thing I have my dog, huh?  It gets me out walking and riding my bike, etc.

That’s it.  I’m going to enjoy the rest of my weekend, since Monday comes all too soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weigh-In Day

Well, after kind of a rough week, deciding to take a week off from Medifast and do Weight Watchers, totally blowing it Tuesday, being less active because of weather and struggling with headaches, etc., I lost .4 this week.  I’ll take it.  I have now lost exactly 25 pounds since starting Medifast a few weeks ago (six).  I feel ready to get back to doing Medifast for three more weeks (hopefully) to get down to my preliminary goal of 250.  I have 11.6 pounds to go, so I need to lose an average of 3.87 pounds per week to do that.  That’s a tall order, but not out of the question with Medifast.  I am hopeful I will have a good loss this coming week after being slow on the scale this week.

Cas woke me up whining this morning and I kept trying to push him away until I finally woke up enough to remember I could eat a little more freely today and that I was hungry.  Breakfast this morning was protein pancakes with Lori’s Banana Maple Topping.  I thought I might add some extra syrup to the recipe if it wasn’t sweet enough, since I have extra points today, but the topping was plenty sweet and very yummy!  I did add a teaspoon of sugar to the pancake batter.  I will see if that adds a point to the recipe; if it does not, I will keep it in there; if not, I will use some Stevia.  For mid-morning snack I had a toasted whole wheat sandwich round (when I get back on WW again, I need to remember to buy some reduced calorie bread) with a thin spread of Nutella – probably a teaspoon on each half.  (I had less than that spread on one last night – as thin as I could get it and still cover the whole thing – yummy!)

For lunch I went to On the Border (my daughters’ choice).  I thought I did pretty well with my choices, but when I looked it up later, maybe not.  I don’t see how what I ordered had as many points as what it said.  It was their Queso Chicken plate, which consists of a grilled chicken breast (not a huge one) with queso and sliced avocado on it, some cilantro rice (not a ton of rice), and some sauteed veggies (squash, onion and peppers).  Most of the queso was on the side and not on top of the chicken, so on the bites that did not already have queso on them, I dipped them in just a little queso.  I estimate I left ¾ of the queso on the plate.  Estimating how many points it had by looking at what it would have been to eat the whole thing and subtracting the points of how much queso I estimate was left on the plate, it came out to 23 points.  I looked at what a side of the rice would have had and it said 390 calories.  I did not figure the points on it.  The thing is, I don’t think there was as much rice on the plate as you would get in a whole side of rice.  More like half that much.  A cup of queso had something like 290 calories – doesn’t seem like that much for a whole cup.  A side of the veggies had 80 calories, so that was not that much.  I just don’t think I had 23 points from that plate.  But I could be wrong.

After On the Border we went to Pinkberry and had some yummy low-fat frozen yogurt.  My toppings were strawberries and blackberries.

I got home and after not too long, I started feeling snacky.  I had to talk to myself quite a bit not to go to CVS (a few steps from my door) and get me some kind of candy.  I didn’t.  I had a couple of finger licks of Nutella and didn’t want that to get to be a big problem, so I put it in the freezer.  If it becomes a problem while I am on Medifast, I will have to ask my son to hide it, or throw it out.  I was still feeling pretty snacky, so popped myself some popcorn (on the stovetop).  WW said said 3 cups of popcorn has 3 points.  Not bad.  Later I was still feeling snacky and having thoughts of wanting candy again.  I realized I had not had much water, so I got my big container of water I have sitting at the ready (it holds 32 ounces) and drank that down.  That helped a lot.  I did have some more popcorn and I had a few craisins mixed with pecans.  I haven’t really been wanting any dinner.  I likely will have one more thing of reasonable points value before going to bed.  I don’t want to start off tomorrow being too hungry.  I have to remember to keep drinking water all day long.  That helps a lot.

I took Cas for his morning walk, but have not felt like doing much else.  I have still been battling the headache.  Although I normally do not take pain meds for headaches, I decided I was going to take enough to nip this thing in the bud.  Sometimes if I will break the cycle, they don’t come back.  So I took some medicine along with a muscle relaxant.  That made me sleepy, so I napped for a while until Cas woke me up from a dead sleep barking at someone he heard in the hall.  I hate that!

The thing that kept me from following through on my urges to snack and get the candy was thinking about these goals I am working toward.  I really want to get into these clothes in my closet, and I really want to get down to 250 so I can get my hair done.  It is looking very drab right now.  I am going to need to tow the line if I have any hope of getting this done in three weeks.

One other thing I did today was rearrange the living room.  I want to be able to use my recumbent bike in the morning without bothering my son, who is sleeping on the couch.  I arranged it so there is an area behind one of the couches where he could put a twin size mattress he has in storage.  Being behind the couch would give him a little seclusion.  He is a heavy sleeper, so I don’t think the little light from the TV will bother him, and have headphones with a long extension cord to use so the noise of the TV won’t wake him up (they should be here any day).  I can also listen to my iPod.  I sure hope the headaches are better this week.  I really need to get started on those morning workouts.

I am still reading Lori’s blog and am to the point where she hurt her back.  She herniated a disk in her back, which caused a pinched nerve and sciatica.  The pain she describes sounds oh so familiar, except I have been dealing with it for two years!  She describes how the pain makes her tired and the situation is making her feel blue, etc.  Yep, that has been my life the last couple of years.  It lets me know that what I have been going through is as significant as it has felt to me and I am not just making up excuses.  I have three levels of vertebra that are affected, the worst one being the L5-6 level, the second being the L4-5 level, and I’m not sure what the other one is (it is the one that causes the least problem).  During that time, I also dealt with similar problems in the neck and had a cervical fusion to alleviate that problem.  I am doing my best to avoid back surgery and am very hopeful based on how much this 25-pound loss has helped that losing more weight is going to help enough so that I will not need surgery.  For the last two years, when I stood up, I had to stand there for a minute while the pain washed over me from my lower back down my legs to my knees and sometimes to my ankles.  Then the first 25 steps were extremely painful and I could not walk without a severe limp a lot of the time.  After those initial steps it would let up enough where I only had a regular to slight limp.  Last week I noticed that I can stand up after having sat for a while and there is no pain washing over me.  I cannot tell you how wonderful that is.  However, I know doing the wrong thing can set off a flare-up, so I still have to be careful for a while.  I do think the injections in the knees have helped a lot to deaden the pain I might be feeling otherwise.  But things are getting better!  I am so happy about that.

I’m not sure what my plans are tomorrow.  It is supposed to be warmer than today, so hopefully I can get Cas out for more walks and a bike ride.  I also want to decide on my outfits for the week and get them all ready.  I tried on a couple of pairs of pants – one of the ones I let the hem out on a few weeks ago and just didn’t feel comfortable with them yet and another pair I haven’t worn in months – and they are both in the repertoire now!  I had to ly down on the bed to button the pants I let the hem out on, and now they button up easily without all that!  So I will have a few “new” outfits to wear this week.  The busyness leading up to the trial of this big case we are working on is likely to start this week, so I want to do as much as I can to have things ready so I have time to get a morning recumbent bike workout (if I can make my butt get out of bed).  At least food prep is next to nothing on Medifast.  I do want to make sure I have a couple of meals cooked that I can keep in the freezer at work for nights I have to stay late.  Planning is going to be key in the coming weeks.  When I switch over to WW, I may be doing a lot of Subway sandwiches to avoid having to do much planning and prep for meals until the trial is over.  Whatever it takes.  I don’t want having to work a lot of hours tripping me up.

That’s it for today.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

My youngest daughter, Bethany, is in “one-derland!” She is so excited – she finally busted through a plateau. Isn’t she beautiful? Now if Stephanie and I can follow her lead…. I hope to be in one-derland by the end of the year, but next year would be fine too. I worry about Steph and hope she can get things going. She has so many health issues, including never feeling rested no matter how much she sleeps. Although Steph is happy for her sister, I know she feels a little jealous (for lack of a better word) too. She just wants to be having success too. I worry how she would feel if I passed her up too (although I am not going to let that keep me from doing my best to do that). I am going to see if I can get her to go to WW with me. She expressed an interest in doing that. I might have to pay for it, though.

I feel kind of ready to get back to Medifast.  Not that I want the food or want to do it long-term, but I feel ready to finish up my preliminary goal.  Meal prep is definitely taking more time with WW (although I can play with it and find ways to make it easier).  But I always intended this to be just a week off until I reach my preliminary goal of 250.  I just ordered enough food, to go with what I already have, to get me through 3 more weeks.  I ordered all my “favorites” – foods that I don’t have to force myself to eat.  I still have quite a bit of shake mixes on hand, so didn’t order any more of those.  The shakes I have are not horrible, but I definitely don’t look forward to them.  One thing I do like about shakes is they satisfy my appetite pretty well.  The pancakes and the bars are my favorite things, so that is what I ordered.  I have my menus all lined up for the next three weeks (starting Sunday), so I know exactly what I need to do.  I only have to worry about my Lean & Green meals, and I have a routine fixed pretty well on those (unless I have to work late).  For those nights, I will have a meal that I have cooked ahead of time in the freezer at work so nothing catches me off guard.  I will continue to supplement with a little fruit when I really need it.  I think one thing that gave me trouble last weekend is that I forgot to bring any of my MF crunch bars home with me for the weekend.  I keep them at work because I know if I am feeling weak and I have them available at home, I might eat one at a time I am not supposed to, just to satisfy a sweet craving.  They are the only things of the MF foods I would feel in danger of doing that with.  So on weekends I usually take home the number I need to have at the times I am supposed to.  I struggled over the weekend, and I was still struggling some Monday with cravings.  The only thing that settled them down was when I finally ate a crunch bar.  I had too many shakes left in proportion to how much food I had left, so I was trying to double up on the shakes.  They satisfy my hunger decently, but sometimes I need that crunch bar to satisfy a craving.

My hunger and lack of satisfaction seemed to settle down late last night.  I don’t know why.  The only difference is that I hadn’t taken my BP medicine for the last few days (I kept forgetting to fill and pick up the prescription).  I finally got it yesterday and took one last night.  I don’t know if that would make any difference or not, but the timing of it coincided.  One thing about the BP med is it has a diuretic in it, so if I don’t take it, I gain “weight” because I retain more water.  It can make over a 5-pound difference.  So if I get to where I don’t need the BP med, I will have to expect that on weigh-ins.

I am still struggling with a headache.  I woke up with one, despite being careful to stay on my back last night.  I only have a slight one at the moment.  I am taking muscle relaxants (one-half during the day at work) and one at night to try to help this tension in my neck and shoulders.  Other pain issues are doing great!  (The headache was better today, but still there at times.)

I don’t know how weigh-in will go tomorrow.  The readings I have been getting during the week are affected by water retention.  I did drop some during the night after taking my BP med last night (and getting up to go 3 times during the night!).  Hopefully it will do its work to get the rest of it off today and give me a small loss in the morning.  Even though I have had a tough week – I overdid some on Saturday and then fell off the wagon on Tuesday – I have had my eating on track more than I have not if I get through today okay.  I feel pretty good today – not constantly feeling unsatisfied.  Hopefully things are smoothing out a little.

Later

What a difference a day makes!  I am feeling so much more satisfied today.  I had the same thing for breakfast (pumpkin oats) as I have the last couple of days.  I stayed satisfied with it until after 11:00.  Then I had a piece of string cheese (1 point) and a couple of clementines (0 points).  For lunch (I had not planned ahead until right before I went home) I had a toasted Nature’s Own Whole Wheat Sandwich Round (3 points) with Laughing Cow garlic & herb (1 point) spread on it, with a scrambled egg (cooked with no extra fat) (2 points) and a reduced-fat slice of cheddar cheese (1 point) melted on it, plus about 1-1/2 cups roasted broccoli cooked without added fat (0 points) except a spray of non-stick spray, and a banana (0 points).  This was so good and so satisfying!  I sprinkled salt, pepper and a little cayenne pepper on the broccoli before cooking.  My whole meal was 7 points.  I have 17 points left for this afternoon and evening, which is good because that is when I struggle most, typically.

My friend at work (who almost died in November) is planning a big shindig for her birthday in October (celebrating life).  She is going to have a disco dance.  It sounds like so much fun!  I have never done that, but I remember watching it on TV (they had a “disco minute” on one news channel my dad watched every day).  We were not encouraged to go to dances growing up, although I don’t think we were forbidden either.  I just never felt confident and so never tried much.   And never to disco music. But since the steps are choreographed, I think I would like it.  So I may buy me a DVD that teaches you how to disco so I will be ready for her party (plus it will be a fun way to get exercise).  I hope I will be significantly smaller then and this party could be a real blast.  Hopefully I will have someone I can ask to go with me (a date) by then.  I would also like to learn to country dance, and ballroom dance, for that matter.  It looks like so much fun.  Have to wait until I can move a bit more freely without setting off a flare-up, but one of these days, I want to take some lessons.  Again, a fun way to get exercise.

I was having trouble deciding what I wanted for dinner.  I had meat thawed out, so I knew I would be having chicken of some sort.  I also had some leftover brown rice I needed to use, since I plan on being on Medifast for the following three weeks and I cannot have it then.  I wanted a way to jazz up the rice a bit.  I remembered Biz had a recipe on her blog for Lemon Pepper Gravy.  I mapped the recipe on WW and ¼ cup has 1 point.  That was just the ticket.  So dinner (I had 15 points to work with, since I had a 2 point yogurt for afternoon snack) was 6 oz. baked b/s chicken breast, ½ cup brown rice, with ¼ cup Lemon Pepper Gravy over both, baked summer squash topped with 2 T. WW whipped cream cheese with chives and onions (broiled at the last bit of cooking).  A little later, my dessert was another Nature’s Own WW Sandwich Round spread with 1 tsp. of Nutella.  Yum!

Tomorrow I am planning my eating using my weekly points for the day.  Saturday is the beginning of my week.  I don’t know if I will use all of them – it depends on what I have for dinner – but I don’t think I will need them all.  I am going to make protein pancakes for breakfast, with Lori’s Banana Maple Topping.  I may add a little more syrup, just because I can eat a little more on that day than usual.  Plus I will put 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans on it.  For lunch, I am planning to ride my bike to Chipotle in the West End (I finally bought a lock for my bike, so can do this) and pick up two tacos and a side of black beans.  When I get home, I will add a tablespoon of guacamole to each one (if you get it there, they charge you for a whole order of guacamole, even though you only want a little on each taco – too bad, because they have the best guacamole).  That doesn’t add up to that many points.  Of course, there will be some snacks (don’t know what yet) and dinner out (not sure where I am going yet).  There will probably be frozen yogurt involved.  I would have to eat a really big, fattening meal to use all 36 of my daily points and 49 of my weekly points – I doubt I will eat that much.  I don’t want to eat that much in one day.  Then, Sunday I will start back on Medifast.

It will likely be a busy weekend – I need to do a lot of cleaning, church, going out to dinner, bike rides, walks, etc.  I guess busy is good, as long as I get a little rest.  Oh yeah, I want to work a couple of hours (at work) continuing to get my area in better order.  I should take Cas to the dog park too, but it depends on how warm it is.

Incidentally, I asked my friend at work if she knew if BP meds had an effect on your appetite.  She said they did.  I said, “good or bad?”  She said good.  So I guess that’s what it was.  She said what it is, is when your BP is elevated, it increases your appetite.  I don’t know, I just know there is a big difference in today and the last week.  That will teach me to take my medicine every day!

Happy Friday everyone!  My favorite time of the week, when I don’t have to work late.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Need to Feel Better


I don’t know what’s wrong with me right now.  The good news is, I stayed on track with my eating yesterday.  I came in exactly at 36 points, which is my daily allowance.  I wanted more late in the evening, but I did not eat anything else.  Not even any fruit (which is zero points) because I knew I was not hungry, I was just wanting to eat.

I am in a rebellious mood or something.  I haven’t gotten my schedule and my motivation in sync yet, either.  Food preparation is taking more time and I did not do any extra exercise last evening other than walking my dog.  And that is all I did this morning.

I am still struggling with the headache, so that is part of it.  But I know that’s not all of it.  (At times, when my head hurts non-stop, I just want to “shoot myself” or something.  Not really, but you know what I mean.  Sometimes I have visions of sticking my neck in the paper cutter and pulling the lever down, lol.  I just want it to go away.)  I just have to keep my eating reigned in until my mood and my headaches improve.  Was it just Monday that I was super-motivated, took the stairs several times that day, along with my walks?  Then Tuesday I fell off the wagon and Wednesday I only just held it together and that’s all I could do.

One good thing is my boss is out of town for the rest of the week, so work will be a little more relaxed.  Sometimes that is good and sometimes that is not good.

One of my problems is I haven’t been drinking my water the last couple of days.  I blew it off Tuesday, but yesterday, the kitchen at work was “closed” because of a water heater problem, so the purified water dispenser was off limits.  I usually go in there and drink down a couple of 12-oz. containers of water, then take some ice water to my desk to sip on (sometimes I add Crystal Light lemonade mix to that).  I do that three times a day, and I think that really helps with the hunger.  I do better to keep a routine.  I keep bottled water in a cooler at home (5-gallon bottles), so I always have it available.  I need to develop a routine at home to make sure I am drinking that water.  Note to self – do that.  I have a good container here at work to do that with, that I am not using, so I will take it home and keep it filled for sipping on all the time when I am home.  When I finish it, I will fill it again.  Sometimes I also drink sparkling mineral water when I want something carbonated.  I love Topo Chico!  But it has such a “bite,” it is not something I can drink down quickly.  So I don’t use it to keep myself hydrated, just as refreshment when I want it.

Maybe it is time to go ahead and start going to WW meetings, even if I do Medifast three more weeks.  The encouragement and support would probably do me good.  I think I will do that Saturday.  This time when I go to WW meetings, I am going to make more of an effort to get to know some people instead of just being an observer who comes and goes without speaking to anyone but the leaders and weighers, etc.  I need to make it a point to talk to other members and start building relationships.  I have never been very good at that.  I can be such a loner.  I need to change that.

The sweater I ordered for my Easter outfit came in.  It is something I want to work down to by that time.  I ordered the 1X, which was supposed to be in the 16W-18W range.  The next smallest they had was an XL, which would be a 16.  I thought that would be a stretch for me to get down to where I could wear a 16 by then.  The 1X fits me now!  It won’t work for something I want to lose down into (and keep losing).  So I am sending it back and ordering the XL.  I hope the sizes for the Misses run proportionately to the Women’s sizes.  This made me pretty happy!  Even if it is a little small (where I wouldn’t want to wear it buttoned yet), as long as it is not too tight in the shoulders and arms, I will be fine with it.  The 1X is plenty roomy in the shoulders and arms.  So back it goes to exchange for the XL.  The sweater is very nice – very soft and quality feeling.  I think it was a good choice.

For food today:  When I first got up, before I took Cas for his early walk, I had an apple.  I was feeling kind of empty.  For breakfast I had pumpkin oats again with a tablespoon of peanut butter and one of all-fruit jelly, plus 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut.  I did not use any brown sugar and used Stevia instead.  That worked better.  Mid-morning I had two clementine oranges.  For lunch I made another wrap, this time with the Laughing Cow cheese spread on the tortilla, with 2 ounces of chicken (all I had), shredded lettuce, some red bell pepper and some onion.  This was much better than yesterday.  The LC made all the difference.  I also had some Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt, a piece of string cheese (since I only had two ounces of chicken) and a banana.  I still felt like I wanted something else, but couldn’t think of anything else that wouldn’t be more points than I wanted to eat.  I did stick my finger in the Nutella jar, and will count that as a point.  Probably wasn’t even a teaspoon.  Oops, I hadn’t made any plans for dinner before time to go home.  I was still struggling with a headache, so I decided to go to Subway.  I got me a sandwich and some baked chips, which used all my points except 1.  I had some more clementine oranges and a little later I had some baby carrots dipped in the Laughing Cow cheese, which used the last point.  I felt pretty satisfied after that.  Hopefully it last until bedtime.  So I used exactly 36 points again.

I went to pick up a prescription at lunch and it took way longer than I expected, so I didn’t get to walk my dog.  I got off on time, but was still struggling with a bad headache.  I did take him with me when I went to Subway.  I am sitting here debating whether to take another short walk.  I’m sure I would be fine this late, but I feel a little hesitant.

I just need to get to feeling better.  The good news is, my other pain levels have been great.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to stand up after sitting for a while and not to have to wait while the pain is washing over me.  It doesn’t hurt at all!  Tonight, my goal is to sleep on my back without rolling to my side, at all.  I think that is messing with my neck and that could be triggering the headaches.  I am having some of the hardware issues in my throat right now.  Possibly from the same thing.  So I am going to try that tonight and see if things improve.  I feel like it has something to do with my eyes too.  They feel so tired at the end of the day and I feel aching pressure behind them after working all day.  I wish I had my 20-year-old eyes again that never needed anything to see everything.

Guess I’ll go.  I’m going to read some more of Lori’s blog.  I have the font increased so I don’t need glasses to do it.

I hope I have less to complain about tomorrow.  J

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Today is a New Day

Yesterday did not go well.  My main excuse is I did not feel well.  I have been fighting a headache for days and yesterday it got to the point where I was not coping.  I got to work and someone had left Paradise Bakery cookies in the break room.  I was not very well prepared and it started with “just a bite.”  I ended up going home late in the afternoon and going to sleep and getting my headache to go away.  I wish I could have done that from the start.  Incidentally, I think my headache was vision related.  I broke my prescription glasses 2-3 weeks ago, and when I look back, I think that’s when my headaches started (although I struggle with different kinds of headaches regularly – usually tension related).  My right eye and my left are two different prescriptions, so I think over-the-counter readers were causing the headaches.  I have made an appointment to get my eyes checked again.

Today is a new day.  I started with oatmeal with a half-cup of pumpkin cooked in.  My toppings were some toasted coconut, a tablespoon of almond butter and a tablespoon of all-fruit jelly.  I mixed in some brown sugar and some pumpkin pie spice while cooking.  I have decided that next time I will leave the brown sugar out.  The amount I am putting does not really sweeten it and it adds a point to my total.  I would rather sweeten it after cooking with a little Stevia so it will actually be a little sweeter without having to add more sugar.  I wonder if a little honey would sweeten it more than the brown sugar?  I don’t know, but I don’t mind using Stevia.  The pumpkin adds no points, but bulks it up quite a bit.  It was very good, but I needed to add a tad more salt and a little Stevia.  I don’t want it REAL sweet, but just a little sweeter than I am getting with the little bit of brown sugar.  I added only a tablespoon of coconut, hoping it would be zero points (2 tablespoons is 1 point).  I tracked it when I got to work, and 1 tablespoon is still 1 point, so I might as well have had 2!  Anyway, this is very tasty and it will be a regular. It is very filling.  I also want to try it with banana cooked in, when I have some riper bananas.

I had two clementine oranges for mid-morning snack.

Yesterday morning, before everything went south, I had Lori’s protein pancakes for breakfast.  They were very good!  The texture was very tender and the taste was good.  I will probably add a little Stevia next time – just a little.  I made her blueberry topping and liked it too.  This will also be a regular, although it took a little time to scrape the batter out of my blender.  You have to blend it to get it smooth.  I realize I am used to things being sweeter, so when I do add some Stevia, I am going to leave it a little less sweet than my current taste and I know my tastes will begin to change.  I wonder if you can make the batter in advance and keep it in the fridge.  I can’t think of why you could not.  I could make enough for two days, which would save me some time.

My food is probably going to be similar, at times, to Lori’s blog, since that is the one I am reading right now.  I get ideas from each blog I read, so I am sure my meals will reflect that.  I will get set on what I like as I go along and try new things.

I am not going to expect a loss this week, with all my struggles.  I am “okay” with that, but I am trying to refocus on my short-term goals today – my preliminary goal of reaching 250 and my reward of a new haircut and highlight, plus the outfit I want to get into by March 31 (this dress is a size 18, so this is not an unrealistic goal).  I really want those things and I don’t want to spend unnecessary time getting there.  I know weight loss is a process and I learn from success and failure.  But I want to keep moving.  I want to go back on Medifast for three weeks beginning Sunday.

For lunch today I made a wrap – a very blah, non-satisfying wrap.  I intended to bring some Laughing Cow cheese to put on it, but left that at home.  I am sure it would have been better with it.  I put some Light Balsamic dressing on it instead.  I am going to have to work with this.  If I had been at home, I would have just thrown it out and eaten something else (or worked on it to make it better).  But since I didn’t get to go home for lunch today, I was stuck with it.  So, my lunch was not satisfying.at.all.  I think next time that happens, I just need to throw it away and go downstairs (they have restaurants, fast food places, etc. in the lower levels of these high rise buildings downtown) and get me something that is a good choice, but that will satisfy me.  Why eat something that uses all your points, but still leaves you wanting to eat?  On top of that, I had a banana in my lunch bag in the refrigerator, and someone pushed my bag to the back to make room for theirs and smushed by banana to the point of being inedible.  How rude.

Non-scale victory today.  There is a lady on our floor who I see in the bathroom sometimes.  She always wants to see what necklace I am wearing that day, and admires them.  We chatted a bit and I told her if I am wearing jewelry, you know I am feeling reasonably good about myself, because when I am not feeling good about myself I may not make the effort.  She said, “Well, the whole package (motioning from head to toe) always looks really good.”  I have never considered myself a very snappy dresser (although I have gotten better since my divorce – as my daughters have grown up, they have coached me).  I have worked on it the last 3 years or so.  I do think it has everything to do with self-esteem, but taking that little extra effort helps my self-esteem too.  Anyway, she made my day.

It’s raining today, so that means no walks.  I am spending a lot of time in the morning fixing breakfast, so I need to streamline that process a little.  I will either do my Leslie Sansone video tonight or my recumbent bike.  I wish that got Cas exercised too.  I didn’t walk him as much yesterday, either, because of not feeling well.  That was a killer headache.  I asked about roller blades the other day.  I got to thinking, since I was always pretty good at roller skating and feel more confident with that, why not just get myself some roller skates.  There are two levels of our parking garage that are for residents only.  Since they are higher up, most people don’t take the trouble to go up there unless they are going to leave their car there for an extended time.  Consequently, there is almost no traffic.  So I could go up there with my roller skates on days like today and skate around and run Cas so he can let off some energy and I can get exercise too.  Then, when I get more confident and make sure I can handle it, I can get out on Katy Trail or the like and skate there.  I think it sounds fun, once I get used to being so “out there.”

I need to get a plan for dinner before I go home.  Since I haven’t thawed out any meat, it will probably be tilapia.  Okay, I have now mapped out a meal that I think will be filling and satisfying.  There is one thing I am going to experiment with.  If it turns out good, I share it tomorrow.

One bit of encouraging news.  Last night was a little rough because I kept having night sweats.  I don’t think it’s menopause – I’ve been done with that for a while.  I realized this morning that I had not had any pain medicine since yesterday morning, so I think the night sweats were withdrawal symptoms.  I keep forgetting to take it because I am not hurting.  So, I think it’s about time to start weaning myself off of them.  We’ll see how the next couple of weeks go, but I have only taken half-doses today – which is how I intended to begin weaning myself off.  My pain level has been fine (except for the headache – I don’t take pain meds for headaches).  As I have said, I intend to take weaning myself off of them very slow, since I don’t want to gain a bunch of weight like I did last time.  Then I would have to start taking them again because I would be hurting again.

Progress.