Back, but not really

Posted: July 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Hi, I just came by to tell you why I can’t see you anymore.”
~ Sydney Ellen Wade, The American President

I’m updating to say that I’m probably going offline here for a bit. The good news is I’m on track in more ways than one. I tend to comment that if I go dark on this blog, chances are it’s because I’m mainlining garbage and not exercising. Thank the gods, this is not the case here.

I’m thinking hard about a book proposal that involves half-memoir, half essays, based on my quest for health and how America has changed for the worse in that regard. How commercials blatantly use sex and convenience to sell garbage that’s killing us. Diving into Paleo, while hanging onto some dairy by my claws. Finding ways to exercise and build strength when so many of my joints protest now. As much as I want accountability here, I’m recognizing that what I usually lump as blog fodder actually could go elsewhere, like in an actual book. I’ve wanted to publish since I was a teen, and I don’t want to self-publish, so that means doing my homework and finding some discipline to write. When you edit websites all day, the last thing you want to do at night is write. I need to find a way around that though, because these ideas are busting out of my head and begging to go somewhere.

My last post on transparency was a true turning point. I’m working harder to cook at home, and can’t even look at fast food commercials on TV right now without feeling self-righteous. Like, wanting to write letters to their CEOs to ask them why they’re so intent on killing off their clientele. I’m getting off processed food as much as possible, reading labels like a pro, and I purchased new sneakers this weekend at an actual store, and made sure they fit before I left.

So, this may become a celebratory station of sorts, a place to record milestones as I reach weight loss goals or personal records. I’m not signing up for any more races for the near future, because I have too much work to do on my body first. I finally get that I can’t expect my body to react positively to exertion if I don’t build it up first to accept said exertion. So, I’m adding light weight training to my regimen, and finally looking long and hard at my diet and making the necessary changes to ward off diabeetus, gall bladder attacks, and get this flab shrinking. It’s actually a relief to have fast food completely gone, and I’m confident I’ve reached a point where my moon cycle won’t matter in my food decisions.

See you in a month.

Going back to school

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

No, I’m not getting a fresh degree, though that would be nice. This is naturally, given the blog, about food. You can buy the books and read til your brain’s tired, but until you put the good habits into practice, you’re nowhere.

In spite of a new kitten taking quite the edge off my mood swings, I can tell that I’m in the good ole progesterone end of my cycle, because my eating habits go to crap. We’ve eaten out twice with little argument from me. I won’t even discuss where because it’s embarrassing. I’m about to talk about transparency, but…

I have a cousin who, in part thanks to allergies cropping up in her small ones, is a proponent of local, non-GMO, gluten-free, etc. foods. She posts stuff on FB that’s eye-opening, and is probably the one who turned me onto Food Babe. Different site, but this morning the article was about a chemical that is used on fast food as an anti-foaming agent, which in high temperatures (like, oh, say, FRYING) turns into formaldehyde and other fun stuff. Oh, it’s also found in Silly Putty. Yay, food science!

So I got curious and decided to hit the websites to see just how bad my eating has been the last 2 days. I already know the calories and sodium are off the charts; it was time to dig deeper.

Predictably, the results sucked ass. Not only did I eat yoga mat last night, but there were plenty of other chemicals I couldn’t identify, and they fry in corn oil. But the night before was even worse. That particular website exhibits a rather impressive lack of transparency regarding the ingredients in their food. They have a page dedicated to allergies and sensitivities, but if you want to know EVERYTHING that’s put into their stuff, you’re screwed. Maybe I’m missing it, but I’m pretty good at navigating sites and nary a PDF or page was found.

Screw embarrassment and my selective dietary choices…I’m done. I was so happy with myself the other day, when I was hungry, out running errands, pondered a quick bite at McD’s and realized I plain couldn’t walk up to the counter…and then I eat sketchy garbage 2 nights in a row???!!! PMS and laziness can no longer be excuses. I’m through purchasing from anywhere with a drive-thru.

The yoga mat feeders are Arby’s. The non-transparent asshats are Zaxby’s.

This weekend, I have 10 sites to knock out and then the books come out. I’m meal planning for the week.

5622 (Part three)

Posted: June 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

I can’t decide if it’s intelligence or cowardice that’s keeping me from signing up for another race. Realized I made that decision between race posts, and it bears study. I’d love to sign up for another 5K walk this minute. They are fun activities that force me to push myself. But I haven’t been training for them, and that shit has to be remedied first. Making exercise habit is key.

It definitely was a turning point for me, this last race. I’m noticing my largesse more now. How sitting down balloons out my midsection, giving me a nice Michelin-tire-guy look. How it doesn’t suck in or retract as much as I’d like to think it does when I’m standing up straight. If anything, my body image is getting a reality check, and that’s not a bad thing, so long as I can keep the negative self-talk under control. You don’t like how you look and feel, Melanie? Good, then eat healthier and go take a damn walk.

I’m starting a modified Paleo regimen this week. It has to be gradual, because we’re late getting the shopping done and there’s some bad stuff in the house still. Planning is so key to success when you’re making big changes. Otherwise, you get one lazy evening after a long day at work, and you’re calling the local pizza joint. If I have to lay out breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a meal plan for the next week, or month, then so be it, because we’ve been eating out a lot lately and that has to change again too.

This is actually a funny, though it won’t read as one. I mentioned to Les that I was making changes (no need to even place the word “again” in that statement), and I gave him my pat responses of “you’ll see, it’s gonna be awesome, I’m turning over another new leaf!” And with a trace of pure devilment, he responds, “yea, that leaf is dead, sweetheart.” I busted out laughing, and said back, “nice!” He didn’t mean it mean, I swear…this is a guy who can’t say no to me about anything, whether it’s a latte or a new purse, and unfortunately, I play on that occasionally when the urge to eat badly hits fierce. But ultimately, he wants me to be healthy and happy, of course, and he supports me in any endeavor.

So much of this quest involves being kind to myself. My last doc visit was a phone consult just after Mother’s Day, where I told him I was in a great place food-wise, felt focused, making plans…..and proceeded to then blow off health for the better part of another month. But I’m playing the long game, and these changes are going to stick. My body tells me in no uncertain terms now when I’m abusing it, and I’m finally listening.

5622 (continued)

Posted: June 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

CaptureBIt’s been almost a week and I’m still sorting out my emotions from my latest conquest. I’ve spent most of this week recovering in one way or another. I’ve run myself down eating way too many carbs and then wondering why I’m ornery, and my body was very pissed at me.

The first two days were all-over body aches. The third day, my lower back went out and the arthritis in my right foot flared up. The back pain was significant, but did not return after I took my last happy pill, thank goodness. The arthritis has been slower to go down, but it wasn’t affecting mobility and it’s almost back to normal now.

The bruises from the fall showed up a day or two after the walk, a big one on my upper back thigh, one on my upper arm, and the hilariously random boob bruise. They’re yellowing. I’m also recognizing the back thing was probably from the fall. You only have to run me over with the truck three or four times before these things sink in. Les was actually the one to suggest that back and fall may be connected; I was like, what fall? I can be very blonde sometimes.

Wake-up calls, much? Yes, several.

Ian: “Yea, but see, the scientists were so busy figuring out whether or not they could, that they never stopped to think if they should.”
Paraphrased, Jurassic Park

When you’ve been overweight for more than a decade, you want it gone yesterday. You don’t want to put in the work; you just want to wake up and not ache somewhere, to be able to look in a mirror without shame. I’ve been signing up for these races, because I know I’m mentally strong enough to push through them, even if I shouldn’t be walking in the damn things. I’m through signing up for a pinch. It’s time to actually put in the work.

Then the pictures came. There was a professional photographer at the finish line. One or two of them are actually really nice shots; I’m still deciding if I’ll help fund his kid’s college tuition by purchasing a digital copy (seriously, what a racket!). But I also suffer from what I call reverse anorexia, or what the experts would probably call body dysmorphic syndrome. I can look in the mirror, and since the mirrors in our house aren’t full-length, can leave the house thinking I look pretty nice. Until I catch my reflection in a store window or something and realize I’ve taken middle-aged fat dork to art form status. As you can see, I also still have a problem with negative self-talk.

So I look at the pictures, and he caught me nicely in one or two shots…I’ve got my big silly grin on and I look triumphant, rather than shredded, because that last hill was downright evil, but as I look at myself in my shorts and nice top (huh, I do rock that color!), half covered in red clay, my main thought is damn. I really am that big.

It was an AHA moment, an honest-to-goodness one. I literally looked at those pics and thought, wait, I look like a fat person. Did I mention I’ve been this big for more than a decade? Oh, I did….well, WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN ALL THAT TIME?????

I’ve been surviving on myths: I can exercise without changing my diet and still lose. I can fall off the wagon and climb back on and still lose. I can do these walks without training for them first. I can, I can, I can….except I can’t. Turning point time. Again.

It’s not like my body hasn’t given me plenty of signs. When I OD on carbs now, it directly affects my mood. My gall bladder was very angry with my overeating last fall. I get blinding headaches when my candida is up. Pretty sure I’ve got enough self-flagellation going on. About time to actually do something about it.

To be continued…

5622

Posted: June 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Denial is hilarious. I think a small part of me just didn’t want to think about the pain I’d be in from this sucker, so I talked as if it would be no big deal. To a small extent, it is no big deal. I’m hard-headed, and the all-over body aches are just something to slog through, that will hopefully be almost done tomorrow. This is coupled with the part of my brain that feels I deserve whatever pain I’m in, because I didn’t train, because I’m large, because…

There are so many factors to sort through mentally. The biggies:

• I finished a 6K!!! Hot damn and hallelujah!

• It was a difficult course. They used mountain biking trails for the bulk of the run, and Charlotte has had rain recently, so we’re talking narrow, muddy paths in the woods with roots ev.ry.where. Unless you’re a pro runner, it wasn’t a course for personal records. My newfound hiking experience has taught me to walk with my head down, watching my step, and that was invaluable. We joked that it was a Tough Mudder for fatties.

• The first quarter mile was in direct sunlight and then we hit the woods. We bottlenecked there, which we assumed was because the path narrowed, until we got to the sign that said “Advanced Terrain”. This proved to be a short, red clay, slippery drop of rather laughable descent. If I’d had the knees, jumping down the damn thing might’ve been a smarter move. Instead, my impatience took my legs down one side, where my feet quickly went out from under me and I fell rather spectacularly (in front of people….always a blast). It felt like arms and legs everywhere, but actually, if there’s a correct way to fall, I nailed it, because I got up quickly and assessed and discovered zero pain. I was probably a half mile down the path before I realized I really should’ve blown a knee on that sucker. I was covered in clay for the rest of the walk (serious badge of honor territory in my head), but I didn’t hurt myself! Even now, 2 days later, there’s just scratches on one arm and minor bruising on one upper arm and boob. It’s friggin’ remarkable, given my size and agility (winkwink), that I pulled that off. I could have climbed Everest after that nonsense.

• They didn’t post mile markers on the course. This turned out to be a godsend. The walk would’ve felt a lot longer if they’d noted miles 1, 2, and 3.

• Carrying Camelbaks was brilliant and only a minor nuisance. Loved having my hands free and being able to blow past the water stations, though the desire to dump a cup over my head was palpable at the last one. The woods were bliss, but the sun stripped the hide right off you otherwise. Lil Sis didn’t wear sunscreen and is learning her lesson. I wore sunscreen and miraculously, it stayed on for the most part. Should’ve reapplied midday though on my face, as it’s becoming a poster child for sun damage and not in an adorable, freckled way, but rather a weird, splotchy way.

• The Camelbak also proved brilliant since we hit the Brew Festival at the Whitewater Center afterward, armed with cards that proved to be for a total of 8 mini beers apiece. That could have been a huge mistake on my part, if I hadn’t hydrated well during the race. I normally get headachy after exertion unless I’m really diligent. The stars aligned Saturday though, and I was able to enjoy some damn nice, icy-cold, draft hops after beating the crap out of my body.

The endorphins stuck around the rest of the day and I walked around with that big silly grin on my face. Dinner was seriously scrumptious, and my body didn’t hurt much at all. The next morning was a different story, but I slogged through it. Today will be much of the same, but I’m hoping it gets over itself tomorrow, because I’m ready to get serious again. And sign up for my next race.

Food for thought

Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Seriously, who came up with that phrase, and where can I go to punch them in the throat?

I get so angry with myself for my food habits. I don’t want this to be a lifelong struggle. But the fact is that I’m killing myself with food. Or more specifically, food-like substances.

I do eat much healthier since moving to WNC. I’m making more things from scratch, eating less packaged and processed foods. That is happening.

But then I get lazy or hormonal or just can’t deal and eat from a can. Or a box. Or the frozen section. Or, gods help me, the Zaxby’s drive-thru.

Original reason I came on here this morning: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/06/07/6-effective-natural-alternatives-to-ibuprofen

Why? Because I popped 2 Advil rather automatically this morning to take the edge off the headache I woke up with. Said headache was entirely caused by the pint of Haagen Daz that was eaten right before bedtime the night before.

Was it worth it? Absolutely not. I’m so over this. I inhaled that ice cream knowing full well I would likely wake up hungover. But we have family in town this week, and I’m not even trying to fight the stress eating that’s occurring as a result.

Does that make it OK? Of course not. I need better coping mechanisms. I need to detach and go for a walk, or find a quiet spot to meditate, or ANYTHING other than eat.

The good news: I’m going to make an effort to eat the salad stuff in the fridge this week instead of letting it languish. The bad news: family ain’t leaving until Friday. Time to find my strength, think about what goes into my body, and make the effort toward health.

Lil Sis and I are walk/running in the 6K this coming Saturday. 5 days from now. It’s going to be seriously painful, I reckon. Good. I need the shakabuku.

 

Brew Dash Prep is on!

Posted: May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

If May has taught me anything, it’s that I need to investigate the supplements and elimination diet options that will balance my hormones better. I keep fighting making the big changes, like decreasing or eliminating dairy, but I definitely need to do some reading on the subject. This month didn’t have to be this hard.

The good news is Lil Sis registered us both for the Brew Dash. That lit a fire under me, exercise-wise, if not diet-wise. I did a mile on Monday, 2 miles yesterday, and probably a mile of hiking today (I was itching for some hill work, since my regular walking is on a track). With only about 3 weeks til the race, I’m determined to get serious. I accept that I’ll be in pain the next day after the race. I don’t accept that that pain should last longer than one day.

The weather’s summer around here, high 70s/low 80s and everything’s breezy and green. The air is heavy with the fragrance of berry blossoms, flowering bushes, honeysuckle. Everything’s so ALIVE!

So I’m rallying from a pretty lousy mood-swingy month. The farmer’s markets have started in earnest. There’s a couple heads of lettuce in the fridge, and it’s the good stuff, so I’m determined to eat it rather than let it languish. Hitting the books and the fresh air…those are my immediate goals.

Will I ever …

Posted: May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

I did well for 6 whole days. No junk food, good snacks, smart decisions.

Then Lil Sis and Mommie came to visit over Mother’s Day weekend, and I totally used it as an excuse to fall off the wagon and let it subsequently back over me 3 or 12 times…

Seriously, why? Can’t blame Lil Sis. I mean, really, am I going to claim peer pressure when I’m 44 and she’s 30? That sounds like one of those “in the future” questions, but alas, those are our actual ages. Sonofa….ehem, anyway, she was waiting to hear about a new job, and she was on vacation, so eating and drinking were instigated as sources of stress and celebration.

Luckily, my body tells me a lot faster now when I’ve overdone it. After 3 straight days of wondering how to get my portions under control, I spent last evening uncomfortable. It was different than my original gall bladder symptoms, but I’m pretty sure it was a variation on a theme. Oh goody, another wake-up call!

I’ve been letting my mood swings dictate my behavior lately too, and that shit’s gotta stop. I have managed to identify that I’ve hit my progesterone end of my cycle when my mood slides into the basement and causes me to fly off the handle when the wind changes direction. So great, I’ve identified it; how about doing something about it, Melanie?

What’s annoying is how I forget the basics…Hubs notices my mood swings, of course, and asked if I was doing anything different, and I’m like, not really………………and then 18 hours later, I realize I haven’t taken my Mockingbird Meadows honey in days. Lightbulb!!! Faceplant!

SSDD…and hence the subject line, as in will I ever get it right?

I know it’s always going to be a bit of a struggle. I’ve been eating like this for 30 years, literally. Age 14, my idea of lunch was a big carton of sweet tea, a little bag of Fritos, and a brownie, which I’d buy at the school cafeteria and then sneak back to the band room because the caf had like, people, in it and the band room was a safe haven…which is hilarious in itself, since the teacher was gone half the time and I was one of the few kids not doing drugs in there.

So today, thankfully, I’m back on track. Gall bladder flare-ups bring about a serious desire to not eat, which is great until you actually get hungry and then it’s damn, what’s safe…so I’m navigating that today. I’m still reading about hiking and triathloning, and realizing I’m more of a long-distance walker, I think.

Lil Sis and I are doing the 6K on Father’s Day weekend. Nothing like last-minute training.

 

Update and sidebar

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

Last week was hard and terrific and hard. I ate reasonably healthy for 6 whole days before Lil Sis and Mom came into town and enabled some falling off of the proverbial wagon. I exercised three of those days, and we hiked yesterday. I’ll get back on the horse for good tomorrow; we’re burning thru leftovers today, caused by a distinct inability to regulate portion sizes.

I know that the naughty food behaviors of the weekend probably negated any improving from last week, but I’m going into this week more confident that I can do this thing. That I can stay off treats, like chocolate or ice cream, and survive. It’ll be a shade trickier, since I’m also going into PMS week, but I’m still in a better place than I was, say, a week ago.

*****

Judgey, off-topic rant: if you’re going to go for a hike, what footwear do you use? In this day and age of Internet being able to provide any information you need about terrain, weather, and other conditions, why the f*** would you wear flip-flops or dressy sandals to scale the paths of a place like Craggy Gardens???

We hit the lookout trail yesterday and I saw everything: hiking boots, sneakers, Keens, sport sandals, dressy sandals, and flip-flops. I’m currently reading a book about an AT hiker, so proper footwear is on the brain. I wanted to wear my Keens, but I managed to break open both heels by traversing downtown in Danskos on Saturday night (so I’m certainly one to talk, winkwink), so I wore my running sneaks and they were wonderful. But the number of flip-flops and dressy sandals on people we met on the trail just had me shaking my head. For flip-flops, you need to be in shape and sure of foot to wear them climbing hiking trails, in my opinion. And dressy sandals: just say NO!

 

Willpower and progress

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

Sunday: walked 1 1/2 miles

Tuesday: interval walked 2 miles. Jogged on the short sections of the track.

Wednesday: cursed every muscle in my body

The hardest part, I swear, isn’t even the nitty gritty of decreasing sugar and not eating junk. It’s making good habits. I spoke earlier this week about working out 6 days a week. When you’re this large, that’s almost not doable. Almost. I get that I need to do smaller workouts more days, rather than hard workouts…easiest way to disrupt a habit is with soreness, or worse, injury. And yes, time management always plays a role, like today, Thursday, which should’ve been a workout day and is quickly becoming the opposite.

The good news: I have been eating healthy and decreasing sugar since Sunday. I am 5 days in and have been feeling fantastic. My midsection inflammation is down even more. Day 2 was GRUELING mentally, but I’ve been pushing through it.

Until tonight. Just a little laziness…instead of making a salad tonight, I decided to do breakfast for dinner. I make waffles from scratch, so at least I know what goes into them, and they’re low in sugar, until you throw the syrup on them. The syrup was the kicker, Mrs. Butterworth’s, an afterthought because I wanted the old thickness of fake syrup. We do have maple in the house, and now I’m wondering if maple would have been any better, because I’m riding a nice sugar high, but my teeth ached from the syrup and it turned into a headache.

This shit fascinates me! Could my body really be telling me, after only 5 days… “hey dummy, what’s with the frickin’ HFCS?!?!”

I say yes. It was a momentary lapse. I fell off the wagon for a whole half hour, and I’m back on the sucker. That’s another nice leaf turning…normally when I “cheat,” it then magically gives me permission to be “bad” for the rest of the damn day and start fresh the next day. No, thank you! I’ve been consciously not grazing at night, just a cup of green tea before bed. I walked through Ingles yesterday on a quest for ice cream sandwiches for the Hubs, and a) didn’t pick up any junk for myself, and b) haven’t touched those little artificially flavored gems in the freezer. Doing right by me feels damn good! One day at a time.