Monday, July 23, 2018

A Tribe.

I often hear people refer to their “tribe.” I have some great, lifelong friends and they’re definitely my people. However, with distance and life, we don’t always keep up like we used to. That’s what happens when we become grown-ups, right? I love my friends - new and old. Luckily social media makes it easy to stay in contact.  I know that I have a strong network of amazing women and men in my life. We are there when we need each other. I’d say these are my lifelong tribe members.

Late last fall I met some new people. I took a leap of faith in joining a group that, quite honestly, terrified me. A running club.  I knew of some of the people who went and, well, they’re amazing runners. I knew I couldn’t keep up.  I knew that the chances of a group run happening were slim because some of them can run nearly two miles to my one. I don’t register for many small races because I don’t want to be last. How could I possibly join a group of fast people knowing that I would be last? It was frightening.

One day a friend, also a fellow turtle squad runner (I hope that doesn’t offend her; I wear my turtle status proudly), said that she would go.  So I went.  And we ran.  And it was fun! For a couple more runs I planned to go only when she was going.  There were a couple times after I first joined that one of the fast runners slowed down to run with me.  A very kind gesture since he’s fast and I know I slowed him way down. I think he could sense my comfort level change because after a couple runs, he re-joined his speedy people.  Also, my friend was there to run with sometimes too! As my comfort increased, I realized that it didn’t matter if I ran alone or with someone.  The best part of run club is after the run.  We gather at a local pub (they sponsor our club) to socialize.  Some eat dinner, some have drinks, some have water, and some only stay for a few  minutes. In whatever time we have together, we all have time to talk.  We have become a part of one another’s lives.  There are inside jokes, a ton of laughter, and true friendship every week.  This is my one constant social activity.  And I love it.

They say that runners are a community; a very accepting community.  We are brought together by something we enjoy.  Pace doesn’t matter.  Size doesn’t matter. Age doesn’t matter. How long someone has been running doesn’t matter. What truly matters is the shared experience of running.  Each of our experiences is different but one thing always remains; runners are there for one another.  I’ve done races where fast runners have stopped to cheer on slower runners. I’ve finished half marathons at the same time fast runners are finishing their full marathons.  I’ve had high fives from strangers. I’ve given high fives to strangers.  We share a bond and when we’re out running, that’s all that matters.

I’ve found this in my running club. Every week that I go, I fit in with this weird little group of diverse characters. Believe me when I say, we have a few weird ones (they know who they are!). Fun weird. Not creepy weird.  We have our fearless leader who put our group together. She works hard to plan things for us. She’s also the race director for some of our local races.  She’s a badass runner who can whip the boys! Then we have the competitive three.  These men are hilarious and their competition makes for a fun time.  We have couples. We have people who can only come sometimes.  We have parents; grandparents; and dog parents. We have Boston alum in our group!! We are so much more than our running. We are an amazing group of people who are part of the big running family. Most importantly, we are friends.  I have met so many great people in this group... People who inspire me; to be a better runner and sometimes to be better in life. I wish I could write about each of them, individually, and share them with you. They are kind, supportive, and encouraging. They may not know it but some days they’re my motivation. They inspire me. They are nothing less than amazing. They are a tribe that I’m so honored to be a part of.

I do have one regret about running club; that I didn’t join sooner.  I thought I’d gotten over my adolescent fears that kept me from joining, and sometimes just trying, groups or teams or other things I loved because I didn’t feel like I’d be “good enough.” Rejection has far too long been a fear for me. In many ways I’ve gotten through that. I’m much more confident and outgoing than in the past.  That fear still has a little place inside me though. It’s working through that that matters. Eventually I put my fear aside, and with a friend by my side, I joined.  The true test in that came when my friend couldn’t go. I went anyway. This is just another life lesson in knowing that our fears are always there but what we do with them is what matters.

I’ll close with words from the great Babe Ruth as a reminder to try new things, do the things you love even if you’re not that great. Living with less fear can result in more happiness... That’s something we can all be reminded of from time to time.

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Peace and happiness.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Something New.

I am not sure why I don’t keep up with blogging like I used to. I just don’t. I’m not sure if I tired of it, lost the passion, or it just seems like something I just want to do now and then. Or every few months. I guess I haven’t had much happening in terms of weight and fitness. Same old story...

It could be that I don’t like to sit at my computer much and I don’t bring my laptop home with me often.  I recently purchased a Bluetooth keyboard to use with my iPad so we’ll see how this goes. It’s going to take some getting used to, as it is smaller than a regular keyboard and I seem to be having some issues typing on it.  I’ve already corrected several typos in this post, but hopefully as I use it, the compact keys will be something I can adjust to fairly easily.

Also.... Does anyone even read blogs anymore? I feel like vlogs is where it’s at these days. It seems that everyone is on YouTube and here I am blogging away like the old days. I’m not sure I’ll ever do the vlog thing.  I don’t have fancy YouTube equipment and I’m certainly not “camera ready” most days. I do not wear make-up on a daily basis and certainly not photo/video style make-up. Not that it matters all that much, but if I do something, I’m usually the “go all out” kind of girl.

I suppose... Update time.

I’ve still not lost any weight. I’ve been at a plateau for ages. I bounce around in the same range. It seems that as soon as I get back down, I’m back up. I cannot figure it out. My primary care provider cannot figure it out.  I am doing what I’m supposed to; I eat (mostly) healthy and I move. Calories in vs calories out.  That’s really what it comes down to. There are so many other things that people talk about and bring into consideration, but let’s just look at fundamentals... Calories in vs calories out. I’ve done calculators and routinely eat less than what I should to maintain, which means I should be losing. I’m not.  Yes, I drink water and change up my exercise routine. The thing is though that all these little factors that make a difference for someone trying not lose those last pesky pounds, shouldn’t be making a difference for me. Not yet. I can see that back when I was at my lowest weight and fighting to lose more. That I couldn’t lose. No matter what. Looking back, I’d be totally content to be back there again. Totally.

I tried keto and it wasn’t for me. I didn’t lose weight with it. Most things I read basically said “you’re doing it wrong” and tried to give tips on changes to make.  No matter what it didn’t help. In studying about my body type, metabolic type and other things, keto wasn’t a good plan. I really shouldn’t IbeNow I  eating much red meat or dairy. Keto does say limited dairy is okay; I think I read an ounce of cheese a few times a day. I’m not doing it anymore so I’ve pushed the details out of my brain. Even looking at just the carb part; cutting carbs “should” result in weight loss.  I did that. Nothing. Of course it’s not like I scarf down carbs all day long anyway.
I’ve been doing some research and my primary care provider has been great in working with me. I  tried a weight loss aid for a while. I was hesitant and honestly a little resistant at first. Resistant but desperate so I tried it.  It helped a little. I tried an increase. It didn’t do much. I was on it for a while and while it did have some initial, minor influence, it wasn’t great and it wasn’t working. I have been thinking of going off of it for a while but it took me time to get there. Mentally, I was afraid. If I I stopped taking it, what would happen? Was it really working? Would I gain? I stopped it about a week and a half ago and I don’t think it’s made a difference. It’s hard to tell but I don’t think it has. I
]’was retaining water/bloated, which should be going away now. I ate over the weekend though (a couple times!) so there’s that too.  I started having PMS symptoms a full week before my periIod, including retention which stayed throughout it.  Now that it’s done, I should be back to normal. At any rate, I don’t feel like the med did much or has done much since being off of it. Overall, I’m probably about the same.

The was/is a referral to an endocrinologist. My PCP said that there could be other levels or metabolic issues in my body that aren’t part of his scope of practice.  An endocrinologist would be able to check other lab values to see if something else is off.  At this point, I KNOW something is wrong with me. It’s just a matter of figuring out what that is — and trying not to lose my sanity in the process.  I keep moving forward. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing and make improvements and adjustments along the way.

In the meantime, my PCP suggested a trial of another medication. This time, an injection.  Again, I’m hesitant. In reading about it, it seems like it’s all about appetite. Appetite is not the issue and really hasn’t been. However, it also has some hormonal component (and is a hormone) so given that piece, I decided to try it. I met with the PharmD at the office today and will start it tonight. I shared my concern about appetite and being unsure with her and she gave me some great reassurance that the hormone aspect might be the key, and said she’s seen really great things with it.  I’m apprehensive but at this point I’ll try it.

I think that some of my reluctance with these medications as been a personal thing. I don’t believe in any pills or tricks or “cheats,” and have been consistent about sharing my stance against these things. And now, here I am, trying them.... I guess I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. I should be viewing itdifferently; that maybe it’s OKAY to be at that point. That I’ve been doing what I should and maybe I just need a boost or something else. That something is happening in my body that makes it okay. Obviously I’m not just starting out this way and looking for a fix.  I’m frustrated and just want to know what the hell is wrong with my body. Mostly my lower body, which is why I’m so apprehensive about these meds... My stomach isn’t huge. In fact, my upper body is pretty “normal” looking. It’s from my hips to my knees that’s the problem.....

Which leads me into my next findings.... Lipedema/lipoedema.  It’s fairly common yet not often diagnosed.  I read a statistic that said that about 11% of women have it.  Typically they have a pear shape, and it can start at puberty and worsens over time. Other hormonal changes can cause a larger change. At first I read that it was the entire lower body, but in researching, I’ve found that there are different types.  I’d fall into type two, which is the hips, butt, and thighs. The areas are symmetrically large and column like.  With type two, it stops at the knee, so the knees can look like they’re banded. I can see a learn stopping line at my knee. I wonder how much of my weight is held in that area.

The disease is fat cells that are abnormal and fibrous. It’s actually pretty gross looking both internally and externally.  I remember when I had my skin removal surgery and I asked my Cosmetic Surgeon about a thigh lift.  He told me that I still had a lot of volume that I wouldn’t be able to lose.  He recommended liposuction and it was something like 2-3 liters of fat that he removed. I was fuzzy after surgery so I can’t remember if that was per leg or total. Even at that time, when I was at my smallest, my uppper body was distinctly smaller than my lower body. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I wonder what “fat that you’re not going to be able to lose” really meant.  In my mind I just thought of how people can’t “spot lose” fat and didn’t think anything more of it. Now I wonder if I should’ve asked more questions and what that really meant.

If it is lipoedema/lipedema, well that’s that. I cannot do a damn thing to lose that fat. Other than have more liposuction. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Lipo is expensive, but in order to prevent myself from looking a certain way, I’d do it.  Also with this, pain can be an issue. There are days that I run that my legs feel so heavy. Like I don’t even know how I’m lifting them even though I’m going slow (slower than normal!). I can poke/put pressure on areas in my thighs and it’s tender. I bruise easily. Not excruciating pain that’s there all the time, but most people can poke their fat and not have a pain reaction. In thinking that it could be this, I’m torn.... I’d feel better knowing that it isn’t something I’m doing (right or wrong). I’d continue being healthy and I feel like it would give me some peace of mind. However, the potential that it’s something I cannot control or change on my own is hard. The fact that no matter what I do, it won’t help makes me want to cry. Would I get liposuction again? Yes, in a heartbeat. And as many times as necessary. If it helps me to run better, to not feel heavy or sore, and yes helps me to look better, I’ll do it. At this point, i have no desire to wear anything above the knee including a bathing suit. I don’t even want to wear shorts around the house anymore because I feel like my legs are getting so bad.  I swear this is more than just cellulite.

I’ll continue trying things with my PCP and PharmD, and I’ll continue to eat healthy and exercise.  Other than my weight, I’m totally healthy. My labs are great and I have no other issues or concerns.  No matter the diagnosis or treatment, I am not going to give up my health. As hard as it feels to move these legs some days, I’m going to run... Even on my slowest, hardest days, I’m going to run. Whatever is going on in my body, I’m not giving in to it. I will keep working. Some days I may only walk and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with walking. I’ll run. I’ll continue with weights... Which by the way I’ve changed a little lately. I am no longer doing lower body training. My lower body is strong. I tend to build muscle easily. If this issue is a matter of me not losing fat, building muscle below that fat is just going to make me look bigger.  I’m still doing body weight training but I’m holding back on intense weights right now because I do not want my lower body to get any bigger.

I’ve read online that sometimes an anti-inflammatory diet helps.  Apparently even though it’s not lpmphedema (but can progress to that eventually), lymph flow can impact it. I can only imagine how things get stuck among that fibrous fatty tissue.  Anyway.... apparently some foods that can cause inflammation can have an impact on that, so I’m working to eat foods that fight it and try to stay away from foods that encourage it. This is also a point that makes me think it’s lipoedema /lipedema. I can easily put on weight after a meal out. I’ve always attributed that to sodium content and figured  that I’m just really sensitive to sodium.  However, it can be that some of those foods are causing inflammation in my body. That would totally make sense when looking at how I bloat after a restaurant meal - even if I don’t eat much. Which I don’t.... I get full quickly. I very rarely finish a meal at a restaurant (and cannot think of the last time I did). I’m always getting a box take home! And even then I don’t always finish it (sometimes I wonder why I even take the box!).

This is totally off subject... Do you believe in the whole cardinal being a visitor from Heaven idea? I do. My Papa just flew by and perched on the fence for a minute. He always knows when I need a little comfort.

That’s my update for now.... I will be sure to post on how this new medication (Saxenda by the way) works and what it’s all about. I’ve heard of great success and some side effects.  Oh!! If you look it up on YouTube, do not follow the blonde lady who tells you to drink certain protein drinks/water (because you can “live off them”) and basically just nibble on food IF you’re hungry. That’s terrible advice and probably not at all what any medical professional would recommend for someone on this medication. That’s not at all healthy. She says that the drink she recommends is something that baritric patients are told to drink after surgery. Clearly that’s suggested by their surgeon for a reason. Just be cautious of advice out there.... The best person to plan and discuss with is your own primary care provider.  Be safe and healthy!!!!

I feel like there was something else I was going to write about, but it has totally left my mind as of this moment. That just means that I’ll have content for another post - if and when I remember what exactly it was.

I’ll think about trying one of those vlog things.... We’ll see. I can see myself taking 1001 takes before getting something I feel is post worthy. I can’t even take a Snapchat or selfie without multiple tries because something doesn’t look right! A ten minute video would probably take me hours. We’ll see though. Clearly I’m learning that trying things I wouldn’t normally do isn’t always a bad thing.....Maybe.

Be well!

Spring…On the Horizon?

**Apparenly I wrote this at some point in time and forgot to publish it**

I’ve not updated in a bit. The end of December to be exact. Nearly two months and not a lot has changed...

I am STILL at a stand still with weight loss and no matter what I try. Keto will work for a few pounds but one “free” day and it seems ruined. I am getting into ketosis but the pounds are not budging. I’m working hard not to compare to “last time” but given the ridiculous plateau that shouldn’t be; I am feeling the struggle. I’m at such a point of frustration that I keep thinking anout the sleeve. I quickly dismiss it because I didn’t need it before and I’ll be damned if I need it now.  Plus my insurance sucks and I when I really think about it, I don’t want that bill. I don’t even know if it would be a food option for me. My the bulk of my weight is in my hips, thighs, and butt. How will doing something to my stomach help that?! I honestly think maybe  a few *or ten* rounds of lipo would be a better option. My upper body has a little  to lose but not as much. I swear there something off in my body. There’s zero reason my weight loss should be at a plateau. My thyroid is fine. All of my labs are. One damn cheat day and one higher carb day per week can’t be causing this. I swear it’s some other hormone level or something. Is there a specialist for this kind of thing? A doctor of some sort? I don’t want a “weight loss” doc because I don’t really want surgery. My stress level with this frustration cannot be helping. 

Also, I’m going to go ahead and say it… People who are not even that overweight and don’t truly commit to anything else who getting bariatric surgery are driving me nuts. I think it’s to quick and easy of an option. There are some who need it. I get that. But why has having yourself cut open and a chunk of your stomach removed suddenly become the way to lose weight?! No. Just no. I also question some of those who do this and whether they’ve actually exhausted all other possibilities.  Also, when the “great work” commend come in cam people please just be honest and say “I had surgery and physically can’t eat like I used to.” Sure, ways of eating are changed but it’s a physical thing due to a surgical procedure. It takes a lot less effort to eat something small than to meal plan. Don’t go jumping all over me - I didn’t say everyone. I didn’t generalize. I said some. Let’s not forget that. This is a piece of what I see. Props to those who are doing more than the minimum, who are honest, and who are making changes!! Those are the people will understand it’s not that easy and that the struggle shall remain because weight is about more than just weight and fat. There’s an emotional connection. There’s a mental connection.  This is why I need to get back to better self-care and do some work there too.

On the plus side, I’m still working. Hitting the same wall repeatedly hasn’t made me stop. The bad days are easier to allow - or potentially allow. I’m still doing cardio at least a few times a week and I am really focused on strength training. If nothing else, my muscle is increasing. 

Stop right now with the muscle weighs more than fat. It doesn’t. A pound is a pound. Forever and ever a pound will always be a pound no matter what is making up that pound. Density matters. Muscle takes up less room than fat. Perhaps this is why I’m wearing clothes the same size as clothes I wore 30 pounds less than where I am now, the first time around. Perhaps it’s why I look like I’ve lost weight. Body parts look smaller. 

HOWEVER, I don’t feel like I am at the point that this should derail loss. Plus, muscle is supposed to help burn fat. Therefore, I should be losing. Weight. Not my mind. Which is becoming a legitimate concern at this point. 

OH MY GOSH!!! I know why I hardly blog. It is SO hard using my iPad for this. I should attrach screenshots of all of the typos. Also, it makes my hands hurt. Awkward finer positioning or something. It’s just not typing. My home laptop and desktop (yes; I still have one of those!) are old and not always the best for blogging. The desktop would be better but it takes a long time to boot up and I don’t like sitting at a desk at home because I do it at work all day. 

I know how to remedy this. 


Case with keyboard; ordered. I’m looking forward to Tuesday. I heart you Amazon Prime. 

Other goal updates:

Have not returned to yoga. I just cannot make any of the offered times work with my schedule. I have clients in the morning and in the evening. If I can arrange it make at least four classes a week work for me, then I’ll return. I just can’t see paying $50 a month to make it to one or two classes. They don’t all have to be yoga. I would like to do at least two yoga classes and the other two can be other classes. I’m happy to be busy at work right now though. It always has ups and downs as far as how busy I am, and I’m grateful for the busy times. For now I’ll continue to take longer lunches to do my workouts. 

That money saving thing - so far I’ve followed it.  Mostly. I didn’t have two singles to put in last week (or was it a five?) so put in some. I can’t remember if I put the rest in or not. I have to add the money for this week but otherwise I am on track. I’ll check and make sure last week is also accounted for. I don’t carry much cash so this will be the challenging part until I hit larger amounts. Then I’ll just deposit this into my savings and do a transfer online from one account to the other. Much easier. In fact, I’ll do that in the morning. Deposit this and transfer the next couple weeks worth of deposits over. 

Self-care is better. It can always improve though so that’ll be a constant goal; one that’s constantly changing too. There are things that can be added or done different. I picked up a cool journal that I found on sale at lululemon this week. I have my regular journal which I use sporadically but this one is a meditation journal. 108 days worth of notes before or after meditation. Perfect for self-care. 

Why 108? This is a significant number in yoga. 108 beads on the mala. 108 sun salutations on the summer solstice. Wanderlust 108 (a festival). 108 refers to spiritual completion; hence everything ending with 108. It’s a sacred number. The number 108 connects the sun and the moon to Earth. This is the simple explanation. There are other things that make 108 significant but that discussion would make for an entire post. 

Decluttering and organizing - yes; in progress. This should also be constant. Thus far I’ve gone through DVDs and Blu-Rays and put them in sleeves rather than bulky cases. It saves a lot of room and weight. And it looks better. I’ve been going through clothes and shoes to keep, toss, donate, or consign. I’ll be doing more work on that this afternoon - and getting my closet room and bedroom closet better organized. I was supposed to go to an event this afternoon but I have a bit of a cold and don’t want my cough to be a distraction. Closets will be the most constant process of all. I love clothes. I’m instating that buy one, toss one or two philosophy. I cleaned and organized kitchen cabinets - was able to get rid of some things in that process too. Magazines were trashed. I’m horrible about letting those pile up. My (home) desk was organized. That’ll be constantly changing too. I need to remember to get a filing cabinet so I can better organize my work desk. It’s getting a bit frightful. Even after I clean and organize it. I need to go through my office toys too. Anyway... Back to my focus on home. I’ve organized bathroom stuff. I bought some cute little wire baskets and divided bathroom things into those - hair products; lotions, shower gels, and such; hair accessories and brushes; and various odds and ends like things for running (KT, body glide, sunblocks...). I’ve also gone through other little nicknacks and accessories. 

Three half marathons.  None yet. Not registered for any yet. I was going to do one this Spring but the race organizer kind of upset me about a charity thing (one of many frustrations). That story is another post. I’m currently looking for two and know of one that I want to register for. I’m not concerned about that. Although training progress has slowed since I decided not to do the one in April. I’ll get back to it. For now short runs which....

Help improve my running time/speed. I’ve been making sure to do intervals at least once a week. Yay me! 

So that’s that. Also I’m super annoyed and over writing on this iPad. Please excuse any typos I haven’t yet caught. I’m very much over this thing. I do have something else to post but that shall wait... 


Friday, December 29, 2017

It's Almost the New Year

I love the surge of changes that start showing up around this time. Resolutions. Goals. Whatever they are or you want to call them; now is the time.  It may be timing but some friends who have also struggled with weight loss are ready to try new things. I don't think that these are necessarily resolutions, but they're popping up around the same time which is what prompted me to think about the fact that the new year is upon us. This is the time of year that I am thrilled that I (mostly) workout at home or outside. I do think it's great that so many people start doing new, good things for themselves. Whether they're there for a month, three months, a year,or longer, they're making progress.  Sometimes people fall off the resolution train and don't go back for a long time. That's okay. It's their life. It's their health. And  maybe someday the changes will be permanent. We all struggle sometimes (exactly why I'm here, working to lose weight again). I don't care if it's January, July, or November, if you're there and you're working -- you are awesome.

 I haven't been to spin and yoga in a few months and need to get my schedule organized so that I can get back to class. With the holidays and how busy work as been, it's been hard. I need to just sit down and get it figured out and be strict with my scheduling. I'm honestly not looking forward to the influx of resolutioners but hey, even if it's crowded for a bit, I'll be glad to be back at it.  I cannot express how much I've missed class; especially yoga. Yoga at home (home-ga?) is not the same. It just isn't. It's more like a "workout" than an experience. I like the experience of the class. It's more peaceful. Savasana is SO much better with an instructor (and essential oils!) than it is listening to someone through something recorded - whether it be an app or DVD. Some are good, but it's not the same.  I've been out of yoga and spin since - AUGUST!! I injured my arm in one of the most non-athletic ways possible. I grabbed  a case of water with one and and flung it into the back of the car before a road trip. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.  A case of 16.9 ounce water bottles is heavy; too heavy to be lifting and flinging with one hand. Anyway, the best I can come up with is that I pulled a muscle or something. My symptoms were consistent with a pulled muscle. I mentioned it at my last doctor appointment but it was feeling better/starting to resolve by then so I didn't request anything for it. I've also had some chiropractic adjustments that have helped.  It can get a little sore when I'm lifting heavy but it's not bad. That's usually my sign to back off. I can do down dog and some other yoga poses without pain so I think I'm ready to go back.  It's super hard to do yoga when you can't put pressure on an arm without it screaming in pain.  So, yes, I miss it and need to get back.  I guess I will just flow in with the resolutioners.

My changes tend to come before the new year. I've noticed that December seems to be the time of year that I change. Sometimes November. When I first started losing weight and changing my lifestyle- it was December. I've bumped up my fitness around this time of year in the past too. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm not a winter fan and it's too dang cold and nasty to go anywhere. It's a lot easier to workout if you're home more often! And here I am this year... Doing the same thing. I started keto in November and got off track a little between Thanksgiving and my birthday. I'm sure I could have lost a little more weight than I have, but I'm happy with my 7 (I think 8 by now) pounds in the last month; despite the ups and downs. I like to say that I've been "loosely" following keto, with one day as a "free" day. Some people call them cheat days but I don't like that phrase. I feel like just the word "cheat" makes it seem like I'm doing something I "shouldn't" which gives it negative meaning for me. That's just me though... Everything is different for everyone. This is a largely mental game which is why there really isn't a "one size fits all" plan for weight loss. Our bodies are differently, including our brains.

In thinking about it, I realized that I'm actually following more of a carb cycling plan, with keto being the plan on my low carb days. I know that eating keto-style only on certain days doesn't actually qualify as keto because the whole point of the keto way of eating is to get into ketosis. Basically, I'm not giving a name to what I'm doing, but it definitely more on track with a carb cycling plan. I've been reading more about that and I like that there is a little more flexibility in it, and that I can change it up based on my workouts for the day. I guess I'm in the middle at this point... I like keto and obviously reducing my carb intake has been beneficial and resulted in some weight loss (after gaining and then stalling!). I plan to sit down and review what I've been doing and see about a new plan. I will likely make my low carb/keto days more frequent - maybe three, with one moderate, two more low, and then one high.....And repeat. This gives me a free day (which I'd most likely work into my schedule on Saturdays). With run club, I have dinner out. I stick to "lower" carb foods, however some of them are not that low and I like to have a Mich Ultra or two on those nights. For me, Tuesday would be the day that makes the most sense for my moderate day.  Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday seem like they'd be the easiest days to stick with low carb/keto.  If for some reason I go out on a Friday maybe that will be my high carb day and I'll stick to low carb on Saturday. We haven't been eating out on the weekend, but have ordered in sometimes. Those are definitely good days for the high carb day. I can vary the plan so that it works best for me and can vary it a little weekly, in case I need or want to change my days around. Sometimes "all keto all the time" can be hard. If I'm going to dinner with people who are eating whatever they want and having drinks.... I'm probably going to want to do the same. Depriving myself doesn't work. In fact I feel annoyed and irritable when I deprive myself of too much.  This can also lead to a binge. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and sometimes have the "all or nothing" attitude. I'm working on letting go of that thinking and just being okay with things. A more flexible plan would help with positive thinking.

I would like to be down ten pounds before my next doctor appointment, which is about a month from today. It's roughly four-and-a-half weeks. Ten pounds is very do-able and safe, however knowing my body I will be totally fine with eight. So I guess the goal is eight to ten, with ten being an awesome bonus.  If  I lose less, I'll evaluate and see if there's anything I can change or if that's just the way my body is progressing. Any loss is a good thing and honestly if I'm down five or six I'll be okay. I don't know that I can say that I'd be satisfied or happy, but I can be okay with that. I'm aiming for ten though and for me I have to focus on that.  If I say "eh five or six is okay" I might be a little more lenient on myself.  I'm a little complex in that I need structure but I also need a little flexibility within that structure.

 See? The experience is varied and personal to each of us. And? The brain; it's important. Learning about and knowing yourself is important to success.  I also know that I need to plan (anxiously awaiting my new planner, which I only just ordered!) ahead. I feel more at ease and happier when I am able to plan ahead.  I don't like chaos or disorganization when it comes to living my life.  My tendency to allow clutter to enter my small house (not enough space, I tell ya!) doesn't always reflect that. But, inside, it drives me crazy. A room in my house may feel disorganized now and then, which is an easy fix. When my life seems disorganized; I don't feel so great and it's harder to stay (or get back) on track. 

With that, before I close...

My 2018 goals:

1. Run 3 half marathons (minimum)
2. Continue to lose weight and reach my goal
3. Declutter and better organization
4. Actually follow that cool money saving plan that everyone shares this time of year. I always think it looks neat and think "oooooh I'm going to do that." I never do it. Remembering to plan it and do it... Good (and fun!) goal.
5. Improve my running pace. Yes, fartleks will have to happen.
6. Work more on self-care.  I don't do this enough. Step one - getting back to yoga.

See you in the new year!!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

How Does Time Go By So Darn Fast?!

It's been almost two weeks since my last post! How does that even happen? I guess I've been so busy I just haven't taken the time! The holiday season will do that, I guess.

So....What's new? I'm down seven pounds. I have been "loosely" following the Keto way of life. I say loosely because I'm not perfect. At this point though, just a reduction in carbs has obviously helped. I was a little off but not de-railed during Christmas. I had some carbs but I didn't over-indulge.  Of the four Christmases I went two, only two had typical holiday meals.  One was sandwich and snacks and the other was similar with hors d'oeuvre style food. No desserts at two of four.  I had two small brownie bites at one of the dinners.  I made a lot of gifts this year so I didn't make my typical mountain of various sweets for gifts so those weren't around to tempt me. I got a few little candy things in with gifts but nothing extreme.  No boxes of candy canes to deal with. 

Having two puppies, I decided that a Christmas tree and my typical decor were a big "NO" this year.  They get into everything. Rocky likes to find absolutely everything he should not have. He's almost four months. Wrigley started settling down around that time so I'm hoping Rocky will too. He's a Boxer though, and I know how those little stinkers are! They can be puppy-like into their senior years! He's adorable and hilarious and even though he's a little mischievous now, I wouldn't trade him for the World. He will get, at least, a little better as he gets older. Wrigley still likes to steal socks and random objects but isn't into as much as Rocky is. However, Wrigley just turned six months and is maturing.... He's starting to pee on everything that's not familiar to him.  He even tried to pee on some Christmas gifts.  I think he succeeded in doing so on one present. Thank goodness it's for my favorite little girl.... And it's a doll so it's in a box. I really hope that in another month or two his marking behavior will be drastically reduced (post-neutering).  So, wild puppies helped me to stay on track with eating.  Workouts were way off track....

I haven't worked out much in, ohhhh the last week!! Rare for me! I was so busy with pre-Christmas crafts, shopping, wrapping, and work, that I was packing too much in and workouts are what suffered. Over the Christmas weekend I didn't do much of anything has far as working out. If only running around like a crazy woman burned calories! I think worked out last Friday morning and that was it until Tuesday. Yesterday was insanely busy soooo my workout was non-existent then too. I just didn't manage my time well enough and was exhausted after work last night. Today has a much better outlook and I anticipate being back on track now. Tuesday's workout left me feeling pretty great which made not working out yesterday even more of a let down. 

I recently started participating in a local running group. I did a run a few weeks ago with them and then Tuesday was my second. I honestly thought that I probably wouldn't do much with the group because... WINTER.  Let me tell ya 'bout me and winter. We are not friends.  It's no secret that my winter running is on the treadmill.  I've trained for half marathons throughout the winter on that dang thing. Let's remember, I am slow... That, at times, equals hours (up to three!) on the treadmill. Do you have any idea how boring that is? Sometimes being on the treadmill actually gives me anxiety; the kind where your skin feels crawly and you're just like "omg I can't!!" and have to take a break. So... Tuesday. I did a thing. Correction - I did a CRAZY thing.  I ran with run club. OUTSIDE. IN. THE. WINTER. IT. WAS. SEVEN. DEGREES (F). If not for my friend Angela going, I'm sure I wouldn't have gone. Given that 30 (sometimes warmer!) is my cut-off, I wasn't quite prepared. I've read tons of things about Winter running and what to wear but I didn't really pay attention to what to wear below 20 because... That's not my thing. So, after talking to my friend to figure out what I needed, buying it, and putting it on. I went to run club. I was at least a minute slower than my already slow pace - getting used to all of the gear was a challenge in itself. However, I did a decent three miles; did not free (um, Smartwool Socks, you're the stuff of life!) and actually my head was so warm I was sweating. A lot. Most importantly; didn't die. It was an accomplishment and despite my slow pace - I'm pleased; just in the fact that I ran in seven degree weather. I also realize this gives me zero excuse to miss out on other Winter runs. It will, undoubtedly, take someone else motivating me because I am not a fan of the cold... However, I know now that it can be done, so at this point, I have no reason to miss run club.

I suppose that's about it as far as my fitness and health update.....Not much else is new. Oh!  I love bulletproof (well sort of) coffee now. I've been having that for breakfast and love the flavor the MCT oil gives the coffee. I haven't gone totally bulletproof yet because I haven't added the butter that it calls for. Maybe I'll find "grass-fed" butter at the store. Does anyone else find that term odd? I know it's the beef that's grass-fed, however the way it's written makes it sounds like the butter itself has eaten grass.  I know, I know... Who thinks of this? My brain... Welcome to it. I also haven't bought the actual Bulletproof brand of coffee yet. Guidelines say a "good" or "upgraded" coffee - whatever that is. That stuff is expensive and really, who's to know what constitutes "good" coffee. If someone would like to send me a bag of nearly $20 (per 12 ounce bag!) coffee, I'll me happy to try it. I'll even admit it if I'm proven wrong and the coffee does something that my preferred brand does not. I'll blog about the miracle that is the Bulletproof brand and how my measly grocery store brand doesn't come close to comparing. I buy pricey coffee as it is, however I don't think it's nearly that expensive! I'd have to do the math as far as the per k-cup price and ounces to see how it adds up, but I will do so if someone forces me to eat crow. Again, though; on your dime. I'm not at the point that I went to spend that much money on that little coffee - all magic and/or super powers aside.

Okay, NOW, that's it for the update on health and fitness. Life in general is going well. The holidays were a little rough bump, but got through the stress (remember both good and bad stress exists!) without much difficulty. Life as usual has resumed.

Now, to get back on track with H&C (Hammer and Chisel) and some cardio! My Dad replaced my treadmill motor so that's back up and running. Perhaps a little run is in order.  Today is not a regularly scheduled H&C day (it's actually my "off" day according to the plan), but I need to re-work my plan so I think I'm good for today. Plus my muscles haven't felt sore since Saturday, which I miss. Sometimes I crave it.  I mean, I feel like a marshmallow or some other such type of lumpy substance when  I'm not active. Not an enjoyable feeling.

Hope your holiday season has been amazing!!


Friday, December 15, 2017

I HAD a Really Good Topic for a Post....HAD.

I was going to post a few days ago and honestly just didn't pick up my laptop to write. I was just kind of like "yeahhhh I don't feel like it."  I've been like that a lot lately. I think it could be stress building up. I'm also having trouble sleeping so then when I get home from work in the evening my motivation to do much of anything is super low.  It'd cold and dark and by the time I make and eat dinner, it's getting late. At that point, after a busy day, I just want to relax.  I've also been getting frequent headaches the last month or so. Those have been less than fun and I feel like doing absolutely nothing when I get one. Staring at my phone is awful because it's just too bright. 

So, anyway... I thought "oooooh I should post about that" and didn't. Now? I cannot for the life of me remember what I was going to post about. I suppose I'll just share an update until it strikes me. 

I am continuing to workout at least five days a week but I am for six.  I have been taking a weekend day off but sometimes I do seven days. Last week I only did five because I ended up being busy Saturday and Sunday was my Birthday and I wanted a day of complete relaxation. This week I'm on day four so tomorrow will be five; possibly six with Sunday included.  I should be working out those days because my Hammer and Chisel plan has me working out every day but Thursday. I usually do something different on Thursdays because I get involved in these Fitbit work week step challenges so I really want to get my steps. If I don't workout, I fall short. And if possible, I really want to win. There are some days that get super busy and when I'm busy at work... I'm on my butt most of the time.  There's not much time with back-to-back clients to get up and walk around for a bit.  Doing anything like squats or even walking in place would be far too distracting in a therapy setting.  If I were sleeping better, I could probably get up earlier and workout. However, there's the not getting enough sleep issue.  I've also never been a big morning person, but if I can sleep, I can get up and workout, even on days I may have to force myself.  It might be lighter cardio than normal but I can at least do something.

I've started taking Melatonin at bed time and the last couple nights that has seemed to help. Of course last night I had the headache so in addition to the Melatonin, I had Excedrine and Ibuprofen in my system.  The night before, though, I just took the Melatonin and slept well.  I even got up early to get my H&C workout done. Of course, I didn't have to be in to work quite as early as other days,  but I could've easily stayed in bed longer.  Now I'll have time to at least do some cardio at lunch so that I can get more steps in. I have a higher goal than normal today because I took yesterday off.  There were a few times this week that I had a "oh who cares" attitude but I did manage to reach my goal every day (except yesterday). I feel better today and am ready to tackle it so I get at least my 50,000 for the week (M-F). I won't win either of the groups I'm in and I'm okay with that. Honesty this week I've been struggling just to get motivated to do my regular, scheduled workout. I have noticed that if I don't get it in during the day time, I won't in the evening because I'm so tired.

I don't think that I'm a particularly depressed person, but I go through ups and downs like anyone.  I've noticed I'm having more trouble lately and I'm not quite sure why.  I wouldn't say I'm in a depression, but I'm a bit more emotional.  I have had some stressful things happen like anyone.  I wonder if a large part is that Buddy died this year, and now Belle is struggling with what appears to be similar to what he had happening.  I'm clearly struggling with the knowledge that she is going to decline.  I thought that the day had come last week when she fell and apparently could not get back up.  When my Dad stopped to pick up the boys and let her out, she was just laying on the kitchen floor.  She's still here and doing okay; she has her harder moments but so far she's managing.  I suppose that all of that stress can add up without realizing it.  I suppose it's just typical stress. 

I do wonder about a couple things that I may check into at my next doctor appointment. I have had some changes - with the head aches, not sleeping, not being at all motivated in the evening.... These mimic depression symptoms. Depression is, basically, chemicals in the brain... I was reading about my symptoms (started with motion sickness and migraines being linked) and what seems to be going on sounds like it could be that my serotonin levels are low.  Some other criteria fit and it can impact on weight.  I've lost a little, but got off track with my Birthday and really just got back on track the last couple days.  I guess I had an extended Birthday celebration! I wasn't horrible, but had some leftover treats and such - more than what I typically do. 

The other possibility is all stress. Stress is sometimes there and we don't even know it. And it can be good stress too.  I'm not running around a big ball of anxious, depressed awful stress. There are good things. There are sad things. There are average every day things that can be stressful that aren't either good or bad.  I wonder what my hormone levels are like, particularly cortisol. That's been linked to stress and stress-related issues, including weight.  I haven't gained recently but haven't lost much either. I am down a couple pounds this week, so I guess I'm moving in the right direction.  Now that I'm back on the right track, we'll see what the next week brings.

I'm out of time for now. I'll write again soon - hopefully something of more substance than just an update.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's All About the Choices We Make

I woke up this morning, still in a less than fantastic mood. I definitely did not want to get out of my warm bed. Cuddling with my three little creatures would've been the better choice (in my mind).  I didn't have to get up so I decided we would just lay around.  Then I heard the familiar roar of the garbage truck rolling by. It took a moment before it really sunk in that I needed to get the garbage out, like now, if I wanted it to be picked up. I jumped out of bed, picked up both puppies and put them outside, and then went and helped Belle outside.  The poor little pups were probably half asleep when I sent them out to go potty.  I grabbed the bathroom trash and the kitchen trash, threw on a coat and some boots and ran out the back door.  I combated the puppies, who really wanted to slip out the gate to go off on some unsupervised adventure.  I got the garbage can to the curb just as the truck came rolling down my side of the street.  I grabbed yesterday's mail out of the mailbox and ran back to the house.  I was just convincing the dogs to stop jumping on the gate and move to let me into the yard when the truck rolled up in front of my house.  That is, most definitely, the closest I've come to nearly missing the garbage truck.  I've forgotten it before but today was close.  However, it was out in time and I got to cuddle with my three little loves.  And I needed that this morning.

I was up late last night; just couldn't fall asleep. Then when I did get to sleep, I didn't sleep well. In the little time I was asleep, I woke up at least three times.

**Apologize in advance for any typos I may not catch.  Apparently Rocky does not like me typing. Or he thinks that my fingers hitting the keys on this strange (and old) contraption is entertaining.  Anything to play! He keeps trying to jump on my lap and nip at them.**

Anyway, last night I didn't sleep well.  I think I was a bit overwhelmed with stress; what seemed like one thousand thoughts swirling around in my mind.  I was like the creeper dog Mom and just started at them, with an occasional little pat on their little rumps.  Belle probably got a bit more of the attentions and petting than the boys, but they were cuddle up snoring so I'm sure they had no idea; nor would they have cared. When I got up this morning, I was a bit agitated at having to get up so quickly.  Wednesday is always garbage day so I really don't know why I was so annoyed with the fact that it was happening. It was probably just my lingering not-so-good mood.

When I fired this ancient piece of equipment up last night, I discovered that I had left some pictures on it.  Most of what I found were from around 2011 or 2012.  I was freaking skinny.  I can honestly say that I didn't realize how good I looked. I looked healthy, but skinny (for me - not like a size zero or anything); especially compared to other points in my life. Present moment? Included. For sure. When I saw those pictures I could've fallen into a really bad mood.  Was I bummed? Yes. Am I still? Yes.  I think I was really able to look at those pictures as what they were though... Me, at least five years ago. Do I think I looked better then than now? Obviously. If not, I wouldn't be fighting in this continued battle.  I have been highly disappointed in myself. Highly. Like, super highly. SO much so that I've been kind of an ass to myself sometimes.  Negative self-talk never did anyone any good. I know this. I teach this. Positive self-talk (not in some inflated way) is essential.

This morning I didn't hate myself. I didn't beat myself up over how disappointed that I am that I gained some weight back. Do you know what I did notice though? It was about my body. It was just a neutral, random thought, which lead into more positive thoughts.  It actually helped set me up to be in a pretty good mood for the morning. In all honesty, that's worn off by this point in the evening. I'm a little crabby. I'm a little down but trying not to be down on myself.  I'm tired - that's the problem.

"Oh my gosh, my back is so sore!!"

That was the thought.  The completely average thought that helped me to change my mood from ("ugh I don't wanna get up!!" to "today's not going to be so bad." I realize that soreness is not something that typically puts people in a good mood. Depending on the situation and type of soreness (a little headache; chronic pain), it can put people in a really bad mood. Not me; not today.  What I realized is that my soreness is because I've been doing strength training again.  I'm hitting those muscles in different ways and I'm working them.  My first thought was "I must be doing something right!" The soreness reminded me of the fact that I'm working out and giving my body what it needs. This lead me to thinking about feeling good and feeling healthy.  As much as I groan about it, or curse the trainer in the midst of it, strength training is necessary and good for everyone!  My thoughts developed into positive self-talk/thoughts about myself; my progress; my strength.  They reminded me of good things about myself.

We all have choices.  We have choices every day. There are those that are easy and routine. There are those that are harder.  There are those that are a struggle. And there are those that are an absolute nightmare to have to make - especially when you know in your heart that they're the right choices, even if you don't want to make them. It's what we do with these choices and our thoughts surrounding them that matters.

This morning I could have very easily chosen to stay in my grumpy mood and not have acknowledged my (good) soreness.  I could've taken it in a bad way and felt like I'm not doing enough, training hard enough, or it could've helped me walk right back into that negative place. I could have compared what I looked like in the mirror this morning to pictures of me from five or six years ago. I could have allowed disappointment to set in, and I could've been in a terrible mood all day. I didn't though. I chose to look at all I've done and continue to do. I chose to love myself in spite of my own shortcomings. It's okay to have shortcomings. It's okay to feel down about them.  It can be a very fine line between  that and kids who are getting into things like that as a means to cope.

Thinking traps.  Google them. They're where we get stuck with our automatic thoughts.  They're not positive. They're not happy. They're negative thoughts about ourselves; about our abilities - or our perceived shortcomings. They can hold us back.  They can change us.  They can make us feel down and keep us down. We have the power to change our thoughts.  Sometimes it takes work. It can be hard. It's also worth it.

I could've had those pictures in mind, had an automatic thought, and got stuck in feeling badly because of those thoughts.  Instead of changing them; I'd have allowed them to grow. I'd have felt pretty horrible about myself.  As much as things in life can be hard or stressful, I shouldn't allow them to make me feel horrible or determine my happiness. It's up to me to make the choice to change these thought patterns and be kind to myself.

Nope. I am not looking at this as how much "better" I was back then.  I chose to accept it and focus on the positive about myself.  I was sore because my muscles are growing. I'm being kind to myself.