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!
XOXO

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. 

Amazon.

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... 

XOXO