Friday, April 3, 2015

Confessions and Realizations

I have been toying with the idea of re-starting this blog for a while now. You see, I've gained it all back. Every. Little. Bit.
It's utterly and completely humiliating to know that I was on the right track and I couldn't keep at it. My husband tells me it's not my fault. For the past year or more I've suffered through an injury. I've had foot pain in my right foot for years and years now and it finally got to the point where I was unable to go about my daily tasks without ending in excruciating pain. So I after much reluctance I hauled myself to the doctor.
 My primary care doctor thought it was an untreated stress fracture (because what else could someone my size have?) so he ordered x-rays and sent me to an orthopedist. More x-rays and an MRI. Do you know how noisy and scary an MRI is? Turns out not broken and no major sprains or deformaties. He thinks perhaps it's tendonitis and sends me to physical therapy to strengthen the foot and ankle. That actually winds up making it worse so he sends me to an ankle specialist 2 hours away. He does yet more x-rays and another more extensive MRI. Nothing. Again. He agrees with ortho-guy that there is some tendonitis and perhaps some small fracture that's not showing up on x-ray so I get what my husband affectionately refers to as 'the kickball boot'. It's a walking cast that I get the joy of wearing around for 6 weeks. Oh, and this was during the spring and summer and I am on our local school board. So there are about 400 some kids in the area whose graduation pictures will be forever marred by my fat ass in a kickball boot on the stage handing them there diplomas. Not to mention all the times I hauled that stupid thing around to my daughters track meets all across the state. So yeah, good times. So, the boot comes off and still no improvement. In fact, it seems to be more swollen and tender than it was before. What the hell?!?! He then recommends nerve testing and starts throwing around works like 'Lupus' and 'MS' and 'ALS'.
At this point I'm terrified. I'm 34 (at the time) years old, I've got two kids and a husband who works away 6 months out of the year. This cannot be happening.
It takes me about 2 months to get in to see one of the best neurologists in the state.Meanwhile my leg had started to weaken and I was having some lower back pain which I had never had before. I had decided that I was not playing around. The neurologist, who by the way looks nothing like Derrick Sheppard but is in fact way nicer, keeps me in his office for about an hour asking me all kinds of crazy questions and wanting to know can I lift my leg this way - I can't. Can I lift my leg that way - I can. Can I walk on my toes? How about my heels? Not really on either count. Seems like something I really ought to be able to do. Can I bend over? Yes. Backwards? No. He wants to know have my hands ever gone numb. Yes. Recently? Yes.
Then he decides that Nerve Conductivity Testing is, in fact, in order. No problem, I think. Boy, was I wrong. Holy shit. Let me just say that if anyone ever wants to stick needles into your body and send electrical currents to certain points of your body all while you bend your leg this way and that - it's generally not going to end well for you. Neuro-guy informs me that we are going to do this that very day (another hour - I have never had a doctor who had basically cleared there afternoon for me and I wasn't sure if that was good or bad) The whole process did suck, as promised. But it did show that there was significant nerve damage coming from my spine, running down my leg, whereby this particular nerve (not the sciatica before anyone says that) splits behind the knee and running to both sides of my foot. So, OK that explains that. And Neuro-guy sends me to an associate, a neurosurgeon, to determine if I need surgery for said nerve problem.
I don't, thank god.
They send me to yet another associate (that's six different doctors for anyone keeping count) who is a pain management guy. I was worried before my appointment that this was going to be one of those 'pain clinics' that is basically just a pill mill. Could not have been further from the truth. This pain guy prescribes no narcotics. He is adamant about only accepting patients who are willing to do in-office injections and physical therapy. He even recommends acupuncture and yoga. My kind of doctor. I proceed to go through 3 different rounds of steroid injections in my spine. It helps a bit. Then I begin physical therapy. Again.
But this time it's different. Pain guy wants me to focus on my back (the root of the problem - so to speak) and has me doing all kinds of yoga-like stretches along with pool therapy. Now, I do feel that it is perverse to ask an overweight white woman to put on a bathing suit in the middle of winter, but at this point I was ready to try anything. And shock of shocks it seems to have worked. I have been released from PT for two weeks now and had my follow up with pain guy. He is pleased with improvement and has written my a prescription for an anti-seizure medication that works in my case by relaxing the coatings around my nerves thereby lowering the inflammation. It is also working. I could not be more pleased considering the fact that my next option was a surgical spinal stimulator implant that is kind of like a pace maker for your spine. It works by running tiny electrical currents up and down a particular nerve to scramble the pain signals it sends to your brain.
So I can totally see where my husband is coming from when he says that my recent weight gain is not my fault. But I know the truth. It is totally my fault. Yes, I was laid up and unable to exercise for the better part of 18 months. No, I did not have to eat everything in sight. And boy did I? The less anyone was able to tell me what was wrong with me the more I ate. And the more they tossed around scary diagnoses that couldn't possibly have anything to do with me the more I ate. And the bigger I got the more I ate. And on and on and on.
But that is not even the worst part.
I've known for a while now that my son has been sneaking food. We're talking cookies and candy and granola bars and all the stuff he shouldn't have.
He's overweight. He knows it. I know it. His pediatrition is more than aware. The only person who doesn't seem to be aware is my husband, but that's a whole other issue. I mean, the kid is 5'6" and 175lbs. He'll be twelve at the end of the month. Just today we had to go buy him new shorts because the only ones he had that fit him were stretchy-type gym shorts. And I get it, kids grow. I want him to grow - taller. He's clearly already big enough. And he knows he's a big kid and it bothers him. Quite a lot, actually.
So we've joined a gym. Now that I am capable of working out again I realized just how much I had missed it. Sure it sucks balls and it hurts and I leave the gym sweating and crying and smiling all at the same time. But The Boy seems to love it. He's in a Kids Fit Class which is kind of like a Zumba meets soccer drills meets yoga situation for kids. He also has fallen in love with the elliptical machine. All to the good, I think.
So imagine my surprise when I set down on the couch with my box of Trader Joe's Gluten Free Oreo-thingys was half way gone. What the hell! Now, I know it wasn't The Girl because she doesn't like them. And I know it wasn't The Husband because he's gone. And I know it wasn't me because I just opened the box and carefully had 3 cookies. So it must be The Boy.
Why would he do this, I wonder. He knows better. We've talked about nutrition. The trainer at the gym has talked about nutrition. We've even talked about how it's perfectly OK to have a few cookies or a piece of candy as a treat as long as everything else you've eaten has been on track. I don't want him to ever think he has to be on ' A Diet'. I want him to think in terms of what he can eat rather than what he can't. But 14 cookies is certainly not on the Eat This list. I mean anybody knows that. He's not some mindless toddler just cramming anything he can get his hands on into his mouth. He knows this! We've been over this! Again, what the hell!
And then it hits me. I know that eating things I should not eat is what got me here in the first place and yet I did it anyway. I know that I can almost never stop at just one cookie and yet I buy them anyway. I knew that since I was unable to exercise my eating habits were going to be even more important. And yet? I ate all the food anyway.
He is my son afterall. We say all the time, "Do as I say, not as I do." But every grown-up in America knows just what a cop out that is. It doesn't sound credible even to us. So how can we expect it to sound credible to our kids?
So there you have it. I have not only made myself fat. Again. I have made my son fat as well. I'd love to tell you that I have some magic plan of just how exactly I intend to remedy it but the truth is I haven't a clue. I know that we will be eating better and getting to the gym more as a family. But those are just words. Action will tell.
I guess I have no other excuses now. I've really done it this time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gravy (My Life Monday)

Bet you thought this post was going to be about food. Maybe biscuits and gravy, or something kind of like?
This is Gravy.

Gravy is sad.
He has a hurt paw.
His back left paw is sore and swollen.
Gravy is walking kind of skijawed. (That's a word, no?)
Gravy will be going to the vet later today.
He doesn't know this yet.
Poor Gravy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Life Monday - Foot Scan

So when I went in to my friendly neighborhood Curves this morning I noticed something a bit different going on. A local chiropractor was offering free health screenings on balance and posture. Well, this should be interesting, I thought.
I am quite possibly the least balanced person I know. I can fall dead-down to the floor while standing perfectly still. Not to mention the damage I can do to myself when I'm just walking along.
I filled out the little questionnaire. Back pain? Check. Neck pain? Check. Headaches? Occasional Check. Trouble sleeping? Check. Foot pain? Double Check! I figured the lady was going to take one look at my health history and politely point me in another direction. Or maybe that was dollar signs I saw in her eyes. She was probably calculating just how many of her children she would be able to send to Harvard based on my office visits alone.
She had a fascinating little machine that looked like something from the holo-deck of the S.S.Enterprise. I stepped on it and through a little window it literally scans your feet and the pressure you exert as you stand. I felt like a can of peas at the grocery store.
Just a sample. Not my actual scan. My left showed a lot more red and my right only had pressure in the heal and on the ball. Weired, huh?
It was, however, pretty dang interesting. I learned that I place a lot of pressure on my left foot. Not surprising since I've broken the right one like a hundred times. (Really only 4 - but oh, my god, have you ever broken your foot? OUCH!) As a consequence my spine and therefore balance are severely out of alignment. Add in my not-at-all-attractive ginormous boobs and you can see how the back and neck pain can come into play.
So I will be going to the chiropractor on Wednesday. I'm not sure at all how I feel about having someone crack on my spine, but I am very interested in the custom orthotic inserts for my shoes that could help correct the balance problem. We'll see what the good doctor says before I actually agree to a treatment plan. But I will definitely let you guys know.
Now I'm tired and I'm going to put my feet up.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Life Monday - Accountability

I know, like everyone else in the world, that when you're trying to lose weight it is super duper important to track your food and exercise. You've got to keep a food diary and you've got to write down everything.
Every. Freakin'. Bite.
There will come a time when you think you've got it licked and you don't need to write it all down anymore. You will be wrong.
If food is your problem - and god knows it is mine - you have to take away food's power. Yes, I know I sound like Dr. Phil, but it's true and it's taken me a long time to get here so listen. You gave food all the power to make you happy or make you feel better or occupy you while you watch TV. Now you are going to give food the power to fuel your body and make yourself healthy.
I am not saying that you can't enjoy your food - far from it. Because, listen, I really really really like my food. I like to cook it, I like to read about it and write about it, and heaven knows I like to eat it. And I don't see that changing anytime soon. To think otherwise would be ridiculous and unrealistic.
However, by writing everything down I am held accountable. Not so much for what I am eating but why I am eating it.
"Oooohhhh, cookies!"
"Do I really want to eat that cookie?"
"I'm going to have to write it down if I do."
"Do I really want to look at that on my report?"
"Hmmm? Maybe I'll just wait and see if I still want that cookie in an hour."
Sometimes I do, and if it isn't going to wreck my calories for the day then I go ahead and eat the cookie. And write it down. And move on.
And sometimes I don't even want the cookie. I know. . . Mind Blown!
I've tried Weight Watchers. Didn't care for it. Too much math and pressure and math. And I've tried keeping a notebook with me and writing everything down manually. And I've tried pre-printed calorie counting journals. None of it worked .
Then The Captain got me the Kindle Fire for Christmas and I downloaded the myfitnesspal app. I am in love. This thing is so easy.
Seriously go to my fitness pal and set up your free account. It could not be easier!
I input all my food for the day (this thing has, like, all the foods and their nutritional info) and all my exercising and it calculates everything for me and gives me my own customized little daily report.  And you can get weekly and monthly reports for everything including food, exercise, and progress.
And my very most favorite thing of all is that after you have added all your info for the day you get a little graphic that says : If every day were like today you would weight X pounds in 5 weeks. Talk about a real motivator. Incredible!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Life Monday

As many of you may (or may not) know along with writing here at Fat Girl Slim, I also write at Bit of the Bluegrass. Also I have recently returned to working on a novel I started years ago. Recently things have gotten a little hectic, shall we say?, here in our little house on the hill and I haven't been able to give as much attention to my writing as I would like to.
In November I had a bit of a health issue (nothing serious, just a little something to throw a wrench in all my plans). Right before that our refrigerator died resulting in countless visits from the repairman and hundreds of dollars into his kids' college funds all culminating in the eventual purchase of a brand new fridge. (I hate you, Kenmore!) Then there was the 14 hour road trip to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving (without The Captain). And the holidays tried to kill me. Seriously. And of course both the kids have school and practice and games and guitar lessons and gymnastics and on and on and on. . . Always keeping in mind that The Captain has his own home and away schedule that rolls around every 28 days.
All of this has added up to one very stressed out mama. (see health issue above).
But all of that is finally in the rear-view mirror. Excepting, of course, the kids and The Captains schedules. It's a New Year and I am trying out a few new get-my-ass-back-on-track tips and tricks.
There were two main areas of my life that I really wanted to try and tackle. My house and my body.
Sooooo. . .
Part One.
My house. (cue the ominous music - DUN DUN DUN)
As anyone who know me will attest, I am not a good housekeeper. It's OK, I know. I can keep things clean in the sense that the health department is not going to come and shut us down but the clutter is where I get completely shut out. I wash the clothes and get distracted forgetting to fold them. The kids leave papers all over the house and it never occurs to me to pick them up. There are shoes all over the front hall. Books get left wherever it was they were last read. And the magazines! My god, the magazines. I will confess to having a serious magazine addiction. So much so that The Captain thought it a good idea to get me a Kindle Fire for Christmas in the hopes that I could subscribe to at least a few of them digitally. Love him!
We have had various cleaning ladies who have left for a variety of reasons. No, they didn't quit because my house was so unmanageable. I don't think. And when they were here all was nirvana. I had one particularly wonderful cleaning lady who I will call Angel, because that's how I thought of her, who washed down all the blades on all my ceiling fans! Did you know you were supposed to wash those things? Hmmm?
However, I have been without a cleaning lady for the better part of a year and the state of my house has definitely reflected this. I have thought about interviewing for another, and I still may, but I really do need to do better on my own. To that end, I took a long hard look at myself. Man that hurt. I discovered that my true problem with cleaning was due to two main factors.
Number one - I never learned to clean. No, it's true. My mother is more than slightly OCD about housekeeping. Added to that my dad and my grandmother always employed housekeepers, so that having someone else pick up after me was just what seemed natural. Even after I was married with a house of my own and there was no one there to do it.
Number two - I am easily distracted. Seriously. Like a squirrel on crack. It's why I can wash the clothes but never fold them or pick up the shoes but forget the magazines. It's also why I can go help a friend with her deep cleaning project but be completely stymied by my own.
I know that I do better with everything when I have a concrete schedule to stick to. So that's what I did. Made myself a little schedule. It seems to be working after the first week. I plan on keeping with the cleaning schedule for the rest of this week and sharing with y'all the results this time next week.
That takes us to Part Two.
My body. (the music that accompanies this is more like sad little violin music)
I have been overweight my entire adult life and I am sick of it. Sick. Of. It! A few years ago I got serious and lost 40 pounds. That's when I started Fat Girl Slim. At that time I never would have dreamed that I would still be struggling this far into the future.
Another hard look at myself resulted int the discovery that I had just, flat out, gotten lazy. Yes, I had managed to keep off the first 40 pounds but I hadn't gone any further. I had gotten complacent with my workouts and worse, my eating was atrocious.
So I'm back in the gym. And I'm adding more cardio because I know that, even though I desperately HATE it, my body does so much better when I get a lot of cardio. I'm shooting for gym time 4x/week and cardio for at least 30 minutes for 6x/week. It's actually easier time-wise that I would have thought. I go to the gym right after I drop the kids at school and add the extra cardio right after that so that I am usually done with all of it by 9:30 am.
I did this all last week and did really good. I feel sooooo much better to get back into a workout routine. My back and knees feel better. I am sleeping better at night. And I just generally have more energy on days that I workout that on days that I don't.
This week I'll be working on continuing this while focusing more on my eating. The plan is to limit carbs to whole grain only, adding more water, and breaking things down to 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 (really) big ones. Next week I'm going to focus on adding more protein. I'll let you know how it goes.
So there you have. More than you probably wanted to know about where I am right now. But guess what? I don't care because this is my blog and I can write what I wanna. And if I'm still alive next week, I'm going to share even more. So there!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stress! Who Knew?

I have been seriously stressed for the past few weeks. More than just the normal day to day crap. Completely and totally frazzled to a crisp stressed out of my mind. That's not really like me at all.
For real. If I were any more laid back I'd probably be comatose. It's why I could never really smoke pot. I'm already mellow, man.
Except for about the past week.
It all stems from the fact that we are going to be having Thanksgiving in the Northwoods of Wisconsin this year. About 900 miles from my Eastern Kentucky home.
14 long hours in the car.
With my kids.
Are you feeling me now? I've never driven that far before. Helped to drive, ridden co-pilot plenty of times. But never solo.
Then add in the fact that my brother was supposed to ride with me to help drive, but he couldn't get off work. So I decided to follow my grandparents up. Make a 2 day trip out of it, which I must say sounded pretty dang good. No  Boyd says he can get off work. Maybe. Or at least work from home those couple of days in question. But I've already committed to my grandparents and if he still wants to ride with me he's going to have to come here instead of me picking him up in Louisville along the way. What to do? What to do?
All of this self-inflicted stress has caused the pounds to creep up this week. Like in an almost supernatural way. Like  4 pounds a week. Crazy.
Sooooo. . .
I just let it all go. Really. Just. Let. It. Go.
I wasn't getting anything accomplished by worrying over it. I decided to go w/ my grandparents and if Boyd wants to ride along he's more than welcome. But he's going to have to come here.
I recommitted to my exercise and eating plan and added in a little extra cardio for good measure.
And guess what? It worked. The scale is going back down. Not quite back to where I was a few months ago, but still its headed south.
And that's a start.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Here I Go Again (On My Own)

Goin' down the only road I've ever known. . .
OK, enough of that. You can thank me later today when that song is still stuck in your head. You are welcome.
My point, though, is this. A weight loss journey is never over.
Never over.
I so don't want to here that!
When I first started this thing back in 2008 (jeez!) I assumed that I would just work really hard for a relatively little time and when I reached my goal weight I could go back to a normal life. HA! How naive was I?
It took a little while for me to realize that that scenario was, quite simply, not going to happen. It wasn't so much a sudden blow as a slow sinking realization. It ever so gradually came upon me that I was never not going to have to worry about my weight. Talk about soul crushing.
My goals used to be to be able to eat anything I wanted to, to be a certain weight or a certain size. I thought I would be happier if I could shop in certain stores.
I still want to reach goals. But now I'm focused more on the size rather than the number on the scale. And I've created a few new goals for myself. I want to run a 5K (preferably without dying). I want to be able to do the standing spilt in yoga class. And I want to figure out why I feel the need to eat when I'm stressed. I also want to get things in my house a bit more organized, thereby cutting down some of that stress.
And I've made up my mind
I ain't wastin' no more time
Here I go again. . .