I don’t know as I am really struggling today, as much as just thinking about food. It’s because I am not that busy at work. Things have been a little slow since coming back from vacation and I am having to divert my attention, at times, so my mind doesn’t wonder to wanting something to eat. Especially when the girl who sits next to me is eating popcorn! And the smell from the kitchen at lunchtime is a little tortuous. But this is my choice. I can stop when I want to, and I am not ready yet.
Physically, I am feeling pretty good today. Lower back is definitely improving and I am not having the pain going down my legs like I have since Sunday. I can stand up and just walk – no waiting for pain to settle over me before taking a step.
My upper back seems to be feeling pretty good today, too. I know it could go the other way if I don’t baby it, but it feels better than yesterday. I have been up and down today, packing boxes for moving my desk. As soon as I sit down for any length of time and start typing, I can feel it tighten up on me. But I am aware and will take measures to keep it from getting too bad, hopefully.
So, even though I fasted Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I feel today like I am back where I was when I broke the fast. I think the hunger has switched off and I am now back to using “alternate fuel” instead of getting fuel from the food I eat. The plan is to go 15-17 days from here. I admit to feeling a little urge to get through these days more than I was the first time. I made up a calendar and am crossing off the days. Of course, if I feel like I am ready before those days are up, I will stop. If I feel that what I need done physically has been done, there is no need to keep going. What am I looking for? First, that the improvement in back pain is more “set.” I don’t know if that is even possible, but I want to make sure I give it the chance to work as much as it is going to. The fact that I had pain again after getting back told me there was still work to do. I also hope for improvement in my upper back. Otherwise, I am looking for more changes in the scar tissue from my knee replacement (I do believe it has improved some), and for the swelling in my right knee to go down. I don’t know what is still causing that swelling, other than arthritis, but I hope it will go down. I also want to make sure my hormonal issues have had time to “reset” so that weight loss will move along more readily once I go back to eating. I feel like there have already been changes in both of those areas because of how much better I have been feeling, generally. I have so much more energy than I did before.
I would also like to see what effect getting more of this abdominal fat off will have on my lower back. The more I lose of my lower belly fat, the less it is going to pull my back into the exaggerated arch. Of course, I will gain a little back, but it will give me an idea of how much more weight loss is going to help. Then, when it is time for exercise to begin, I need to work on strengthening my core. Before then, I need to work on my range of motion in my left knee. It seems to have backtracked a little since leaving therapy. I am trying to stretch it at different times during the day. Part of that is from scar tissue, so I try to massage it a couple of times a day to loosen that up.
I took a little break for lunch in an unoccupied office. It was so cold in there that I came back shivering. I had me a cup of hot water to warm me up. I know that sounds funny, but it works, and sometimes it is a little more satisfying than just cold water all the time.
This afternoon, I've been reading over some chapters in the main book I read about fasting (when I had bits of time). It keeps me motivated to keep going so that the good that has been started can be completed. This paragraph jumped out at me:
"The reserves last much longer if the faster rests, than if he is active during the fast. (Don't care so much about this.) Better results are achieved in the fast if rest is observed. (Definitely care about this.) Work, long walks, strenuous exercise, etc., waste the body's reserves without producing any compensating benefits." (The exception to this might be working on the range of motion I feel like has lessened in the weeks since I left physical therapy. And that is not strenuous -- just some stretching. So I will leave the other kinds of exercise until the fast is done. There is no choice about work, but it is not strenuous work, most of the time.)
Here is another quote for those who argue against the safety of fasting:
"If the adipose tissue (body fat) and other reserves are abundantly present, one may fast thirty to ninety or more days without consuming one cell of the essential tissues of the body."
"'With no digestive drudgery on hand,' ... 'Nature employs the long-desired leisure for general house-cleaning purposes. The accumulations of superfluous tissues are overhauled and analyzed; the available component parts are turned over to the department of nutrition, the refuse to be thoroughly and permanently removed.'" (He was quoting another author.)
"The aggregate of tissues of the organism may be regarded as a reservoir of nutriment capable of being called in any direction or to any point, as needed. The ability of the body to nourish its vital tissues off its food reserves and its less vital tissues, is of extreme importance to the sick man who is unable to digest and absorb food. Except for this ability, the acutely ill would perish of starvation."
My knees have been kind of sore since vacation, but today there seems to be something more going on. It makes me wonder what work is being done through the fast -- possibly scar tissue being worked on and the like.
I have quite a bit of money left that I had saved for my vacation. I am trying to decide whether to save it for the next one (that is what I am leaning toward) or to use it for something else I have been wanting (to further update my bedroom). I could also use it to pay toward debt. The thing is, if I save it for the next vacation, I can take an even better one than I could have taken last time. These vacations have become very important to me. I feel like they are an investment in my health and my self-worth. I did not take a vacation (where I went somewhere) from 1998 until 2015. When I came back from my vacation to New York last year, I realized how much it affected my self-worth. Like before I unconsciously felt like I didn’t deserve a vacation. I knew in my head that was not true, but my heart kind of believed it. I would like to begin developing friendships with people I could go on vacation with. I went with one of my kids the first time, which I enjoyed, but usually have to wind up paying for more that way. This time I went with my two sisters. Ultimately, I would like to be married and take trips with my husband. But a trip with good friends would be a good thing, too. I have not put much effort into making friends over the last years and I feel kind of isolated because of it. So that needs to change.
Following up on my thoughts Thursday, I am planning to get back to my church group on Sunday. It is a start to getting to know some people and make friends. Plus I want and need to get back to church. For a long time, I didn't have a car available to me on Sunday to get there, my physical issues were making it too difficult to walk there, and then the campus is large enough where getting around was too much for me. I now feel ready to tackle all that, especially since I have a car and can get there. I am looking forward to the class and the extracurricular things they do together to make friends.
I am feeling so.much.better. My back has improved all week and I have been waking up again with virtually no pain. My upper back still wants to start hurting if I don't do what I need to do, so I will try to pay more attention to that today (I didn't so much yesterday, but it never got very bad). Today I can tell it would go that direction pretty easily. A muscle relaxant helps. That gives me hope that a lot of it is muscle tightness, etc., instead of a structural issue in my spine (although I do know I had bone spurs in that area).
I feel like I am moving through the fast with more ease now. I actually looked at some recipes yesterday, but made myself stop pretty quickly. After a bit, it starts to get to me. But I do want to have a good plan going for my meals when I start eating. I also want to buy some non-perishables gradually so I don't have to buy so many groceries all at once when I break my fast. I can get freezer stuff and pantry stuff, anyway. And things like butter, eggs and some types of cheese I could get a little ahead of time. I may try to make up a couple of recipes next weekend, if I have the time. Things I know I can do without tasting. I will have to see how I feel then to know if it would be too tempting. And they would have to be meals that freeze well. Soups or stews are a good option. I've been wanting to make a beef vegetable soup like they had at the first restaurant I ate at on my vacation, but couldn't have because it had gluten in it. I can make something very similar without using any wheat products. (I'm going to make it kind of a cross between beef vegetable soup and chili.) I also may make up a batch (or two) of ice cream to have in my freezer. I can get my daughter to help me test the sweetness, if I need to. I bought some little containers to put the ice cream in (kind of like the ones they come in at the store). I had hoped they were going to be plastic, but they are not. But they are really cute and didn't cost that much. I am going to buy a more "permanent" set before the end of my fast. Ice cream has become my go-to dessert since I cannot have wheat, but it needs to be with an approved sweetener and I am more likely not to stumble and buy some with sugar at the grocery store if I have it available in my freezer. I also make a cheesecake and a key lime pie with approved sweetener that are really good. There are also some recipes for cookies made with almond flour, etc. that I enjoy every once in a while. I bought a couple of "mixes" from Wheat Free Market to have available for those times when I am really wanting something sweet and I don't want to mix up a full recipe. I also want to make up one of a couple of breakfast casseroles I have tried so my eating is more balanced. Many days I would just have bacon for breakfast, which I can do, but more balanced would be healthier. I can add some vegetables into the casseroles, too. I think when I do cook I will start making double batches when I can, so I always have balanced meals in my freezer when I am too tired or too busy to cook. I want to plan ahead for good success once I start eating again.
Guess I will shut it down -- this post is long enough. I just want to reiterate how wonderful I am feeling. Pain is greatly reduced, energy is great, and I feel optimistic and in great spirits. I am so glad I am doing this fast! I am excited for my future for the first time in a long time.