Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The contempt and judgment of addicts

I am still reflecting on the TED Talk - a wee bit, but more of a jumping off part on how we show a lot of contempt in our society for those we feel don't have control over themselves. We are extremely judgmental.

We judge alcoholics who go back to drinking. Drug addicts who go back to drugs. Overweight people for overeating. Compulsive gamblers for gambling, etc. We, as a society as a whole, say, "you know you can't drink, smoke, gamble, etc, so WHY DID YOU???"

When Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, I felt tremendous sadness for him and his family. Not contempt. In my past, I would have felt contempt. I would have felt and said to myself, "Man... you KNOW you are addicted to that stuff! HOW and WHY did you go back to it? Seriously? How dumb can you be?"  And more, I would have thought, "Why in the heck do people try drugs when there is a risk of addiction?"

I remember when Robert Downey, Jr. was strung out. I liked him as an actor, but then lost all respect for him once I found out he was a drug user and addict. I was young and stupid and judgmental. Now... I have so much respect for him for cleaning up his act and getting clean. That is NOT easy and I do worry that at some point something will tip the balance and he will start using again and I won't feel contempt if he does. I will feel sadness for him and hope he can come out again, drug free.

With drugs though, you can at least ask, "why even start taking them?" We all know that they have potential for becoming addictive. We all know they can do bad things, so why start?  But see, we have a line in the sand that is artificial.  We say that about cocaine and heroine, but what about alcohol, cigarettes, coffee.

Don't we all know that alcohol can be addictive? Yet how many of us abstain from it? Don't we all know that caffeine can be addictive, but do we abstain? Why do we think it's OK to use one and not the other? Are we so meanly judgmental for someone admitting they are addicted to caffeine as we are to someone who says they are addicted to cocaine? Yet addiction is addiction. No one PLANS on becoming an addict. Just some forms of addiction are more harmful than others.

Then there is the contempt for the obese. No obese person wants to be obese. Ok, never say never, but very few people want to be obese! Just like no addict wants to be an addict. If it were so easy to eat less and move more, would we have the obesity epidemic we are having? You can't exactly tell a person, "You know food makes you fat, so stop eating!!!!" Hmmm...

Now, people get fat for a million reasons. Some of it is using food for comfort. Some is just not caring and eating whatever because it tastes good and some of it is just not being able to stop - like an addict is unable to stop.

A lot of people fall into that last category - myself included. Something is compelling us to eat.

For me it was the insulin in my body from the carbs in my diet that were telling me to eat. I cannot describe to you have strongly they "speak". Or how convincing those messages are to the brain are. I am convinced those voices are similar to a drug addict's voices. My brain is tricked into believing it 'needs' it. It says it's hungry. It says I need that cookie. At the same time there is another, weaker voice that is saying, "you've had enough cookies." "Do you know how many calories are in Oreos?"

But the other voice wins. It says, "Eh, eat that bag of Kettle popcorn. It's not that sweet and you can just not eat lunch to make up for it." Or, "OK, you can have as many oreos as you want. You just skip dinner." Yes, sure. Come dinner time I'm starving and eat a huge dinner. By then I'm also mentally worn out with fighting my brain all day to eat right, so I grab more crap in the evening just because I don't want to fight the mental battle any more. Those DAILY mental battles are exhausting. They are there. Every. Single. Day.

And that is why I have empathy for addicts where I used to feel contempt. I am sure that every time that life gets especially hard, that a quick hit is awfully appealing. And I'm sure every, single day they have to tell themselves, "No!" But once... they get weak and give in... and thus starts the downward spiral they might not ever get out from again.

Fortunately, I've found a way of eating that works for me that shuts down those awful voices - for the most part. Or, I should say, makes them the weaker voice - they never go away.  I just need to keep the insulin levels low in my bloodstream so that I don't hear those voices loudly to eat more sugar/carbs. And, to help with that, I need to get enough sleep, manage my stress, and manage my depression... Though... I'm not totally sure what causes what - does the bad eating cause depression or does the depression cause the bad eating? It's hard to tease out!

But with that said, I still need to eat. And like with addicts, those temptations will always be around. There will always be birthdays and holidays and snack tables, etc. And even with the voices muted with better eating, they are still there. They are there for everyone. "Oh, I guess a small piece of cake won't hurt." Says the typical person. "I'll just run a bit more today." And it will be just that - the one piece of cake and the run later. With someone who has sugar/insulin issues? That might be the plan, but eating that piece of cake could lead to a whole meltdown.

And that is why I cannot have contempt for the overweight and why I didn't even when I was at my thinnest 2 summers ago. Because I knew I was one cake away from being right back to where I started. That the only thing that separated me being thinner from me being fatter was how strong those voices got to be.

So, sure, you could say to me or any other person with insulin resistance, "Well, you know what sugar does to you, just don't eat sugar!" Really?" We aren't just talking about cake people. We are talking about bread. Like no more sandwiches with bread ever again. We are talking about pasta - no more spaghetti ever again. We are talking about potatoes and rice and such. Now, imagine going out to eat, or having a family holiday dinner without those things? Now do you get it a bit more?

Sure, some people aren't THAT sensitive, but for most of us, we don't know how much is too much to get us into a relapse - temporary or long term. Sometimes we can nip it in the bud after a day or a week or a month. It depends on a lot of other factors. Sometimes we never nip it in the bud again.

And relapse we do. No one had more eyes on her than Oprah Winfrey, but how many times have we seen her go up and down on the scale? How about Kirstie Alley? Or Jessica Simpson? These are people who have the biggest motivation in the WORLD to stay thin and all the money in the world to help them get and stay thin... and they STILL fell to their demons. They aren't weak. Their demons are just very loud and convincing and hard to keep at bay.

So, that means I know. KNOW that this will be a life long battle for me. I knew that 2 years ago. I knew that all the year I was battling the small up and down gains. But then, I gave in because I didn't have the mental stamina to keep fighting the daily choices of eating. And even then, every. single. day. I would say, "Today I'm going to eat better." And again, like the last time, it took a slap in the face from something outside of me to WAKE UP. Like an addict getting arrested - only then does he/she seek help when they had probably been meaning to quit/stop for months.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More on sugars, our bodies and how we still know so little (maybe TMI)

So, this TED talk still has me thinking about diet and how people are sensitive to different things, etc. That's why there are so many diets out there and why what works for one person doesn't work for another. It's also why it should be seen as a way of eating versus a temporary diet.

I was thinking of how people just handle carbs/sugars differently and why that is? We don't know why. There is still so much we don't know about the human body. And so many things can go off kilter. It's actually amazing how anyone is disease, syndrome, disorder free.

I just read an article on NPR, Got Gas? It Could Mean You've Got Healthy Gut Microbes.  It's title basically gives you the idea of the article, but that got me to thinking too. So... if a family eats the same diet (mostly). Like many families do, then how do each member of the family react differently to the food.

I'll take our dinner the last few nights. It was pork loin cooked slowly in pureed peppers and onions first sauteed in canola oil and then broth added to simmer for an hour or two. Then, to serve, I added a huge dollop of sour cream to temper the onions and added smoked paprika and salt to taste. This was a LOT of sauce per person and it was served with polenta. Everyone ate the polenta except me. And served on the side with a green salad.  We ate that meal three nights in a row.

So, first the sugars? I can't have the polenta because it will make me want to eat more than I need. Everyone else is not like that in the house. They are not insulin resistant. They will not get hungry as soon as I will from eating carb rich foods.

The reaction of our digestive system? My mother in law's stomach was fine the first night. She vomited it up the next night and she ate just crackers the third night. She can be sensitive to onions - sometimes. My husband turned into a hot air balloon. Full of non-smelly gas. My older son - it didn't really do anything to him. He just had his normal amount of stinky gas here and there. Me? Nothing. I almost never have gas from anything I eat.

Then there is toilet differences. My mother in law needs to drink prunes or metamucil to keep her system going. My husband and teen are like clockwork - once a day, about the same time every day. And me? Ah... this is interestng. WHEN I am eating carbs, I go every day, when I drop the carbs? I go maybe every 3-4 days. AND I'm not constipated. It happens easily - no straining - nothing. I simply don't have as much waste produced when I don't eat carbs. My body uses the food more efficiently with less waste products.

How can we all be so different with similar diets? Different way we process sugar. Different way we get gas. Different way we produce poop and the amount of poop we produce. We're all human. We should "run" the same right? Well, we don't. And we don't know why!

This led to some night time talk between my husband and I last night. We were talking about how probably the next big thing with medicine and science will be learning about the symbiotic microbes/bacteria in our bodies. More than half the cells in our body don't belong to 'us'. They are bacteria. We understand a little bit about bacteria's role in digestion, but not much and we basically know nothing about any other symbiotic relationships.

It gets quite fascinating. We think we know so much, but the more you look and learn, the more you realize how much there is still to know.

So, back to sugars then. My recent 'learning' has been that I don't process sugars properly. I've known this for awhile. A lot of people don't process sugar properly. Yet, the medical field, the diabetic experts, etc are still behind the curve ball in treating patients with sugar problems. They treat the symptoms and don't look for the root.

Some rogue doctors are moving forward. My dietician when I developed gestational diabetes while pregnant told me to eat very low carb - it worked. My primary care doctor told me to eat low carb, and it worked. No one yet has told me to eat a high fat diet or a high protein diet. They only thing said was to eat less carbs. That implicitly means the others have to be increased. 

On a daily basis I eat more fat than protein. All sorts of fats - oils, meat fats, nut fats, etc. They are so satiating. And my blood work when eating a diet consistently like that? Lowest cholesterol ever. Highest 'good" cholesterol ever. Low blood sugar levels. Great triglycerides, etc. By eating a fatty diet. When I ate a carb heavy diet? High cholesterol. High blood sugar levels but luckily, good triglyceride levels. More fat made me thinner, more energetic, happier, and healthier.

When will that become more mainstream medical knowledge? Or will it? WHO SAYS that this is a universal truth for all humans? Maybe that is where we go wrong with medicine? We try to fit everyone into the same peg hole. Maybe our dietary needs are more individual than that? Maybe there aren't universal truths about nutrition?

It's an interesting thought!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Great TED talk and my thoughts on it

The other day on a weight loss forum, someone brought up this TED talk. It aired when I was "off the wagon", so I never saw it, so I'm grateful to have had someone point it out.

Watch it here: Peter Attia: Is the Obesity Crisis Hiding a Bigger Problem?  It's only 15 minutes long and worth the listen. The blip about the talk says this:

As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right? Could the precursors to diabetes cause obesity, and not the other way around? A look at how assumptions may be leading us to wage the wrong medical war.
Like in a lot of cases, it took until he had a problem before he started to understand that maybe there was more to this.

In the talk he doesn't say anything about diet and what to do to help with the precursors to diabetes, but that maybe our thoughts of, "people get fat because they eat too much and move too little" is too simplistic. Maybe the question should be "why do people eat too much and move too little?" And, "Is there something that leads to people eating too much?" And, "Is there something biologically leading some people to eating more than they should and to not exercise when they know they should?" It's a reversal of common thought. Which problem comes first?

It's an interesting topic because I often wonder how not all Americans are overweight. I mean really. We have food EVERYWHERE. Abundances of it nearly everywhere. Food companies have perfected flavors to tantalize our palette.  The chips are just salty enough without being too salty, etc. They have learned that we love fat and salt and sugar. Fat has fallen out of favor (and that is a major part of flavor), so they took out the fat and added more salt and more sugar to tempt our taste buds. They might even be able to say it's lower calorie with the fat removed as it might be less calories with the sugar added than with the fat added. Lower calorie? People LOVE that! They'll eat more! Back to this in a minute.

And food is CHEAP. Ok, we may not think all food is cheap, but really? Most foods, junk foods, are pretty darn cheap. I can pick up a box of macaroni and cheese for less than a buck and spend less than a buck more to make it at home. A $2 meal for two. That is CHEAP. A package of Oreos is often on sale for $2, etc.

Besides food being cheap, there are events and parties all the time - birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, festivals, carnivals and holidays. Our holidays are even expanding - we have Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, etc. Throw in Pi Day and Dr. Seuss' birthday and there's more reasons to eat more food!

I have NOTHING against food. I love food. I just made a very high calorie and very  high fat cake for a baby shower yesterday. Food is great! Food is part of life and celebration and has been forever and ever and always will be... but we have too much of it!

So then why aren't we all fat? Seriously? Why is not every single American fat? Ok... some of us exercise. Some of us have manual labor jobs, but some people have a pretty easy time of not overeating. They don't have problems with just saying, "I've had enough." And all I can think is, "Wow! How do you do that? I've almost never had enough!"

My husband is like that. He will have a singe square of chocolate. He still has Christmas candy from his stocking for crying out loud! He's only eaten a couple small things from his Easter basket. Most of the time the kids grab his stuff before he has a chance to finish it. He'll take a slice of Easter bread. That's it.  One slice. There is nothing compelling him to take more.  I used to be in awe of that... until I learned to the be same - but by eating completely differently (more on that in a minute too).

What I can see then is that some people have better "control" than others. Some people don't eat too much because they are better at stopping themselves from overeating. But do they have better "in control" brain muscles? Or is it that their brains/bodies don't get the signal of EAT THIS (in not so subliminal) messages? As much as some other people? Is it simply easier for some people to stop eating and to keep from eating because their brains aren't as MEAN and TRICKY as to make them want to eat more?  Is it really about who has better control? or who has lucky genes to help them be in better control? Maybe, just maybe, when these people, like my husband, say, "I've had enough" they really mean it? Unlike when I used to say it and to say it, but I really want MORE and MORE and MORE!!!! Can that be?

So, back to the food companies adding more sugar to food when they took out the fat and how this made us fatter. There were studies that too much fat, especially saturated fat was bad for you. It was bad for your heart. It was bad for cholesterol. Just stay away from fats. Well, yogurt without fat tastes bland. So... let's up the sugar content because sugar tastes good. Even if we didn't add sugar, by taking out the fat, we are leaving just the sugars and protein (take milk as an example) and then all our body is processing in that food is sugar and protein without the fat. That makes our insulin spike and since the food was less filling without the fat, we get hungrier faster and therefore eat sooner and more often, and laced with more sugar to keep our sugar levels high. See the article on milk.

What is happening is that more and more people are walking around with raised blood sugar levels with our way of eating low fat, but higher sugar diets. Sugar digest quickly. Insulin spikes and then crashes, making us hungry... and hungry for more sugar. Eating more sugar is making people obese and lazy and here is how.

This is from the transcript of the Peter Attia Ted Talk at minute five:

Now, most researchers believe obesity is the cause of insulin resistance. Logically, then, if you want to treat insulin resistance, you get people to lose weight, right? You treat the obesity. But what if we have it backwards? What if obesity isn't the cause of insulin resistance at all? In fact, what if it's a symptom of a much deeper problem, the tip of a proverbial iceberg? I know it sounds crazy because we're obviously in the midst of an obesity epidemic, but hear me out. What if obesity is a coping mechanism for a far more sinister problem going on underneath the cell? I'm not suggesting that obesity is benign, but what I am suggesting is it may be the lesser of two metabolic evils.
You can think of insulin resistance as the reduced capacity of ourselves to partition fuel, as I alluded to a moment ago, taking those calories that we take in and burning some appropriately and storing some appropriately. When we become insulin-resistant, the homeostasis in that balance deviates from this state. So now, when insulin says to a cell, I want you to burn more energy than the cell considers safe, the cell, in effect, says, "No thanks, I'd actually rather store this energy." And because fat cells are actually missing most of the complex cellular machinery found in other cells, it's probably the safest place to store it. So for many of us, about 75 million Americans, the appropriate response to insulin resistance may actually be to store it as fat, not the reverse, getting insulin resistance in response to getting fat.
Now, I'm not a scientist and I'm not going to get all deep into the science humbo jumbo of eating because I don't even get it all and don't need to. What I want? I want to not be hungry all the time and I want to have energy. I want to be able to resist the temptation of overeating and what that has meant for me is to avoid most carbohydrates and to eat enough protein and fat. Fat especially.

In general though what is means is that many people who have insulin resistance need to reduce the amount of insulin released into the blood stream to keep from getting fat. They need this to keep these messages from entering the brain to eat more food and to be a couch potato - especially sugary foods.

After listening to the TED Talk, I looked up Peter Attia. Guess how he eats? High fat, high protein with much fewer carbs. I love his explanation of how he eats to keep his body 'in check' and how his wife can eat differently to stay in check- because of how they hit the genetic lottery in how their body processes sugar. Please read. This is from Peter Attia's website.

I saw it now with this recent regain I had. Yes, overeating led to me gaining weight and being less physically active. There is no doubt about that. But what led to the overeating and being more lazy? The sugars did. I let them back into my life when I got depressed and then the insulin hormone took over. And I watched myself, almost like an out of body experience get more and more and more out of control with wanting more and more and more food. And almost all of it sugar, sugar, sugar. And I gained quickly as guess what? My body is also really good at storing fat in response to the insulin hormone making me eat more carbs and wanting me to slow down (ie. be more lazy) to store more fat.

That's why I gained 20 pounds in a month when we were in Croatia two summers ago - despite walking, despite hiking, despite swimming daily. As soon as we got there I saw I would have a hard time avoiding carbs. So, my diet changed and I saw as the month went by that towards the end I was sneaking cookies as my ability to deny the carb monster diminished and my desire to swim more and hike more diminished too. No one else went through this. When we got back from vacation my mother in law lost weight and she ate more on vacation than at home because she wanted to indulge in all the foods she doesn't normally find in the states. My husband didn't gain or lose and he ate more than normally, and I gained 20 pounds. Some of it was glycogen stores, but most of it wasn't. I never took all that weight off again. It took me months and months to whittle down some of it - from one month of eating lots of carbs. And it was hard to get back on track. The insulin hormone is very convincing in telling my body to eat more and move less. I just have to shut the insulin production down to much lower levels in the blood stream to keep from overeating and getting lazy.

Now, I'm getting it. For many people a calorie is not just a calorie.  A carb calorie is digested quickly. And it spikes insulin which wants me to eat more calories because my cells don't process it properly. Protein and fat calories take longer to digest, keeping me fuller longer and they don't spike my insulin, so I don't want to eat more.

Is there a magic line of how many carbs are too many carbs? For some people, yes. And that magic line is different for every one of those people depending on how lucky or unlucky they are in the genetic lottery. I think I got pretty unlucky. I need to steer clear from simple and most complex carbs. When I do, my life is sooooooooo much easier.

That gets back to the other point I wanted to get back to. My husband is not insulin resistant. He doesn't have to eat a certain way to keep himself from gaining weight. I am insulin resistant and I do have to eat a certain way to keep myself from gaining weight. When I eat a low carb diet, I can control my eating and I feel more energetic. All of a sudden I am the person who is strong enough to resist the extra piece of cake or the cookies sitting on the counter right under my nose. I am more willing to go for a walk and have good character of taking care of myself. I am not strong enough if insulin is coursing through my veins. The hormones are telling me to eat and slow down at that point. Driving me to eat and be lazy. As Peter Attia says here in this video of other times and other hormones that make us want to eat: 2 minute video

So, for some people having a piece of cake is just having a piece of cake - like for my husband. For other people it's opening a Pandora's box. I had a piece of cake yesterday which was fortunately also very high fat to keep me satiated. But, I'm starving today. and I feel lazy. If I would have eaten the same amount of calories yesterday with lower carbs, I probably wouldn't feel so hungry and I probably wouldn't feel so lazy. The insulin would have stayed in check.

My husband doesn't quite understand it and he does frown a bit at my half and half in my morning coffee versus skim milk, but that half and half keeps me satiated all morning until lunch time. The skim milk would have me running for a 500 calorie breakfast within an hour. It might not be what others do to keep the eating in check, but it's what I have to do. And I am SOOOOO glad that more and more and more research is backing this up. Fat is beginning to be seen as a good thing, even saturated fats aren't seen quite as bad. Sugar is the new foe and it's about time as it seems pretty obvious to me and those of us who fit the camp of gainers due to sugar/carbs consumption.

And with that said, the scale dropped a whole pound today. Finally moving again after a week of nothing.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Having processed - feel better

Yesterday I said that my world sort of flip-flopped - and it did, but after processing a bit more with my bestie and an old college friend who has a background that I knew could help me with processing, I feel better. I know now what was really bugging me.

I realized what I was internally freaking out a bit about my teenage son, who is about ready to graduate from high school. He is about  to enter a whole new world... a grown up world... with grown up issues and he's running into it HEAD FIRST.

My husband is maddeningly so "calm" about it all, but I found myself quite upset... but not about the particular circumstances, but in that I didn't know. As I said.... nothing bad happened, but there were things I didn't know. His friends knew, but I didn't. It hurt to know that I wasn't the first to know... I felt shut out of his life... I thought we were closer than that... I guess I always felt that because we were so open with him and always respected his space and privacy that he would let us in. That he wouldn't feel the need to exclude us, but then my husband doesn't see it that way.

My husband is making the transition of "he can handle his own life and the issues that will come up on his own because he's almost an adult and we've prepared him well for life" better than I am.  Maybe we're chill parents, but parents nonetheless. We aren't his peers. This is normal to be closer to peers than to parents. Or, I should say... closer in different ways. And, as my son said, he didn't try to exclude us... it just never came up.

I am just so thankful that his friends are good people. All of them. They are smart, empathetic, ethical, caring and supportive. I guess I can't ask for more than that. He's done well for himself in that regard. He will probably be the same in college when he forms new friendships and relationships.

I am worrying a bit less because well... he's fine. We have done our job as parents to make sure he feels confident in himself to make sound decisions. Now it's time for me to stop worrying and just be there when and if he asks for help. Stepping back... letting him take the lead with his life.  He's graduating high school in a month, turning 18 in 4 months around the same time he will start college.  (Oh... god... he's still so far from 18!!! Such a baby starting college.... OK... stop the freak out).

So... that's that.

As far as me and this weight. Lost the wee bit of Easter weight gain, so now waiting for the scale to go DOWN. Of course, I'm making a cake today, so fingers crossed that they stay away from frosting, cake batter, etc!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Very stressful last few days and I have not turned to food

These last few days have been a roller coaster. Nothing terrible has happened, but parts of my life feel like they have been flipped upside down and I'm having to process a lot of new information.

It usually helps me to process new information and to deal with stresses by talking about it (ala this blog), but... there are some things, that at least for now, I can't blog about because it's too soon and doesn't just involve me and my feelings and my privacy.

That makes it even more stressful because I need to process it and my circle of places to do that are small normally, even smaller now.

I've been talking about it with my husband, my bestie from college and with a local friend here who was already mostly in the know, but for the most part, I am having to process alone.  Thank goodness I was already out of the funk or I might really be reeling.

And... I haven't turned to food - at all. Yesterday was probably one of the best days of all and that is despite chocolate being around EVERYWHERE because of Easter and also that yummy Easter bread!

Instead I had hard boiled eggs and coffee for breakfast, pesto hummus and veggies for lunch (and a tablespoon and a half of peanut butter) and for dinner, sauteed kohlrabi greens and kohlrabi root with two grilled brats. Desert was a small square of 80% dark chocolate.

Meanwhile, my family who was home all day (kids had a day off and husband took the day off - which is why I didn't blog as he was hogging the computer room) was eating chocolate and Easter bread and all those things I can't have or shouldn't have. And I was OK with it. I wasn't tempted by it in the least.

So, I'm handling stress better and I'm making sure to get more sleep which helps with the stress the most, of course. Never underestimate sleep!

Today is "get everything done before the weekend" day. My husband is playing in a chess tournament all weekend, so it will be me all weekend entertaining the kids which is just really the 9 year old as the 17 year old is basically independent in that regard.

Oh, but for a visual treat - I have a birds nest that was built in a Christmas wreath. The mommy house finch laid 6 eggs and over the last 24 hours the eggs have hatched. I don't know how many of them there are, but there are at least 4 of them in that tiny nest. As always, you can click on the photo to make it bigger.

This photo shows 5 eggs, but the next day there was a 6th egg. Nest contents as viewed through the mirror.

Babies in the nest. I rotated this image so the reflection is right side up so it's easier to see the less than 24 hour old hatchlings.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Days like today are times I can tell my thyroid is messed up

I simply cannot get going today. I checked my blood pressure to make sure it was ok (119/78) with resting heart rate of 59.

I am just worn out after several days of running, running, running with getting ready for Easter and then my son's birthday. Friday through Tuesday was non-stop GO!!!! And today... I'm crashed. I have no energy whatsoever and I have a disasterous kitchen - see that background? That was taken last night. It STILL looks that way. I just don't have the energy to tackle it - mentally or physically.

I have a cake to make for this weekend too... and I just don't see how I'll muster the energy right now. I know I will be then, but even thinking about it now makes me even more tired.

So, I've been trying to do some computer work instead and even that is going slow as my brain is on slo-mo today.

So... a few of you asked about photos. OK.... here are some photos of the finished violets. There are about 220 here. I could harvest thousands more, but I'm done for this year. Spent a bit over 2 hours to candy these.

Then, my son's birthday. It was an awesome birthday. I tried a new cake, but none of us liked it. It wasn't "bad", but it wasn't great either. So much for a red velvet cake done naturally (using beets instead of red dye). I used this recipe.

I gave myself leeway with my son's birthday cake. I knew he would be happy with whatever I did, so I went simple and used real toys versus making them out of fondant or gumpaste. And he was happy with how it looked. Since his birthday is on Earth Day, I had the Minions making a garden on top of the cake - a lollipop garden! Then, on the side peeps and Minions 'hiding' among them.  It was cute and simple enough.  Just wish the clean-up from cake making was simple.

Seriously, I think the mess is the #1 reason people don't make their own cakes and buy them instead. Ugh... I hate cleaning up cake mess! And this one isn't even that bad as I didn't do much decorative frosting/icing!

As far as eating went yesterday. It was "mostly" OK. I had a small piece of cake, but way too much sampling of the cream cheese frosting. Oh is that stuff DANGEROUS!  But all is good today and it wasn't "terrible" yesterday either.

Editing to Add: Well, talking about being lazy got me into gear. I just went and cleaned up the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yesterday was a day from H- E - Double toothpicks

Man... if a day could be classified as BAD in every way, that would be yesterday, April 21st, 2014. From not sleeping well, to having one son being grumpy and out of sorts all day to the other being a typical annoying teen to me not eat well and "on plan" like I planned to.

I'm not going to detail everything, but it is completely obvious that how well I do with eating (and exercising) is directly correlated to my mood and my well-being. I was so COMPLETELY frazzled yesterday that I told my husband I needed a stiff drink. It was that terribly bad.

My autistic son (and I hate to label him as autistic as then everyone goes and thinks Rain Man) is VERY high functioning and most of the time he's a pretty happy kid, but when he has a bad day? So does EVERYONE else. And we're not just talking about a little bit bad either, but full out fits and refusals, etc. It's purely awful when he has a bad day.

Then, I know today, my hormones were probably raging as my period started out of the blue this morning and it is out of the blue. This peri menopause has me always guessing as to when my period will come. It didn't come for 4 months and now it came 19-20 days after the last one! I tend to get moody/emotional the day before and so... it was a great mix and how did I self-medicate? I used food.

Now, I didn't go SUPER crazy, but I did eat about 1000 more calories than I should and all of those calories were simple carbs - quick sugar fixes... a drug to my body for sure. There was NO stopping myself from eating more yesterday. I tried.

This morning I knew when I woke up that it was going to be OK. I knew I would be on plan. Something was different even though I hadn't heard a peep from anyone or stepped a foot out of bed. Something in my head was different - clearer.

And, so far so good. Now let's see if cake baking will be easy to keep the munching demons at bay.
Today is my younger son's birthday. Yep, an Earth Day baby!

And with that note - remember every day is earth day and every day you should try to think about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.  The new three Rs.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't worry - I'm here - Easter took over!

Saturday and Sunday were just PACKED morning till night with prepping for Easter or doing yard work (and a bit of play in the nice weather.)

I was 100% on plan on Saturday, as planned. I cooked on and off all day on Friday and Saturday. No problems with eating as the things I was cooking aren't things you can nibble on while prepping (love that kind of cooking!)

Sunday was a planned "off" day. I could eat some chocolate, Easter bread, full breakfast and dinner. And I did and thoroughly enjoyed. This year Orthodox Easter and Western Easter were the same week (Yay!). I'm not the biggest fan of having to prep for 2 Christmases and 2 Easters every year.

My tradition of Easter growing up was to dye eggs the night before Easter (a dozen per kid  - later an dozen for mom too) And then Sunday morning to find the hidden eggs and then eat our chocolate in our baskets. Breakfast and lunch were basically eggs and chocolate. There were a few years we had a bigger/fancier meal for Easter dinner, but it wasn't tradition or a "must" do.  Just like Christmas for my family was about the stockings, Santa's visit, and opening presents. Not much centered around food - like big dinners or specialty anything. Mom would often make divinity, but it wasn't a HUGE to-do with "must dos".

My mother-in-law is from Croatia, but her mom and dad were Serbian, thus Serbian Orthodox. My husband's dad was Croatian, from Croatia. His parents split up before he was born, so most of the traditions he grew up with were for Serbian holidays with a bit "for show" Croatian holidays.  They have lists a mile long of "must do" for holidays.

I grew up LOVING holidays. He grew up hating holidays. Now I get it. His mom is always sad or angry or something on the day of and there is so much ritual and so little "joy". They do because they HAVE to do.

So... for Easter. My mother-in-law's tradition is to clean the house for Easter. And, all curtains have to be taken down to be washed. Now, she just cleans her rooms and pesters me about, "is it tradition to clean everything for Easter?"


This year she decided to empty out her sweater and shirt drawers, dust the drawers and then refold them. Took her all day on Saturday and she was exhausted.

Meanwhile, on Friday I made the natural dyes for the Easter eggs. This year I made beet dye, yellow onion skin dye, tumeric dye, and blueberry dye.

I also made pereci (pear-et-see)- translated - pretzel. That's an Easter tradition to make a round pretzel for Easter. It's not even really a pretzel, but it's similar to one. It's like a pretzel meets a bagel, kind of.

On Saturday, we actually did the egg dye, which takes time as each egg has to be wrapped/tied in cheese cloth to hold the leaf in place. My son wanted leaf/flower imprints on them this year, so I went to the yard to find a variety of small leaves and flowers for that. Then you stick them in the dyes and let them sit (in the fridge) for 4-5 hours.

Meanwhile, I made us lunch and then started on the Pinca (peentsa). That's an eggy, brioche type, sort of, kind of bread that is traditional for Easter. That takes about 10 hours to make, but most of it is just sitting and waiting for it to rise. Thank goodness for modern equipment so that I don't have to do it by hand.

I had 8 egg whites left over from the pinca. I couldn't just throw them away (and I already have a dozen in the freezer), so I made a simple white cake with the egg whites for a sweet cake for the day.

I bake the ham, then slice it and then roll it up into little cigars for display. Then, of course, I need to fill all the eggs with chocolate for hiding in the yard (30). And then filling the Easter baskets. And then FINALLY, cleaning up the kitchen so that we have a nice clean space to enjoy our Easter breakfast.

Easter comes and we have breakfast first. (Well, after checking out our Easter baskets). We have the prezels, Easter bread, ham and eggs. First we do an egg fight. Like this: We do both ends to see who the winner is. This year it was a tie - my younger son and I both had only one side break.  We learned one thing though. Beet dye is VERY strong. We had pink eggs for breakfast! While my younger son got dressed, I went and hid the eggs and then we all went out for the egg hunt. That's always fun.

Back in the house for a couple hours of rest and relaxation. It was enough time to do the NYTimes crossword puzzle (something my husband and I do together every day) and then it was time to get to work again.  My husband and older son went back out to work on trimming down the overgrown forsythia and trimming a few low hanging branches on trees. They did one side of the yard on Saturday. They went out to do the other side on Sunday.

I went violet harvesting as I noticed the violets are in full bloom. They will not wait for me to be ready. I have to be ready for them! They are great for cupcakes or specialty cakes with a spring theme (and 100% natural). So, after harvesting 100, I went in to candy them. Later I went out to get some wild garlic from the yard to saute for dinner.

Ah yes, dinner. We must have an Easter dinner too. It's become our tradition to have a leg of lamb for dinner. So, I got that ready to go to slowly grill for 1.5 hours. Prepped the baby potatoes, wild garlic and baby broccoli. We ate, cleaned up and finally, finally, all Easter was DONE by 7:30 Sunday evening.

We mellowed out by watching last week's episode of Cosmos. Phew.
I wish I had more time to relax, but I want to do more violets today and then tomorrow in my younger son's 9th birhday. He kind of wants a birthday cake. WAH!  Like I want to bake???? Or decorate at this point! Ugh... but... I have to. I'm Mom!

Friday, April 18, 2014

I need a walking buddy

I love walking for exercise. I absolutely love it. But... I don't like to do it by myself very often. I get bored. I'm not a person who likes to just be stuck in my head for an hour or more.

When my husband swims laps (that's like the most boring exercise on the planet, IMO), he says he concentrates on one less stroke per lap. Or his breathing, etc. He's totally into his movement in the water - the entire time. He enjoys it. That is where he is showing his introverted side way more than me.

I need people. It's why I blog. It's why I use Facebook and forums. I need to interact with people, especially as a stay at home mom.  Exercise is no exception. I have too much time to be in my head - especially with kids with ADHD and Autism.

When I'm starting this exercise thing back up, I'm wanting to combine the gym with walking, but when?  My husband will walk with me once around the lake in the evening, but that's not enough. I need more.

I thought about starting a meetup group for walking, but it's a bit pricey. There is a Maryland hiking group where I can put in a request. If I'm the "leader" of that particular walk, then I would be obligated to be there - that's a good thing - forcing me to do it!

Ah, that's the other thing. When it's just me, it's very easy to talk myself out of it. I can say, "Oh, I should go for a walk." I get distracted and before I know it, it's time to go do something else. Plus, the idea of it, again, bores me. Even though I love the walk, I miss the company.

I have a local friend who is willing to walk once in awhile, but not often enough to make it a commitment. (though I should probably try and see if she would commit to once a week or something). And, overall, I just hardly know anyone and it feels odd to ask a near stranger, "Hey, want to take walks with me?" I always feel like a little kid that is asking, "Will you be my friend, please?" So, I'm sort of extroverted... but not really.

So... I need to do something about it. Sigh... but what? Maybe I'll start with the hiking group to see if that works the best.

Know what else would work? A long distance walking buddy too - someone to talk to WHILE I walk. Why not? Though... finding some local buddies would be a good thing. I'm tired of being a loner here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Treat days coming up - and I am not sure how I want to handle that

In the next couple weeks I have Easter (which is both Orthodox and Christian Easters this year). My son's 9th birthday and then a party where I am making a cake.

I am on a roll and doing very well. I'm down 7 pounds in a bit over 2 weeks (beginner's luck with me). I'm being more moderate with eating this time through. Like, the other day we grilled burgers. Last year, I would have skipped the bun and just eaten the burger and sides, but this time I let myself have the burger bun because I really wanted it and felt I would be missing something if I did. It's the only second simple carb I've had in 2 weeks, so I allowed it.

And I'm wanting to go that route so that I don't feel as deprived. I did feel terribly deprived at times the last go around. I was so focused on getting to goal, that I didn't allow myself much leeway for the entire first year until Christmas and then I went crazy and had to reel it in.

I do need to be careful as I do have a tendency for sugar issues (but even with going crazy this last time my sugars weren't terribly off).

This time, I'm wanting to enjoy the simple things, but also sticking to the plan most of the time.

In many ways Easter isn't that difficult. I didn't grow up with much eating tradition with Easter, but my husband's family did - very strictly. Basically, my mother in law cannot imagine Easter without ham and eggs for breakfast. I like ham, so fine. We can do that. For dinner, as our own family tradition, we have started having grilled lamb for dinner. Again, not something for me to worry about for the day. I'll go over in calories, but it's not something that will lead to sugar issues.

We do Easter baskets for the whole family and I got myself a few dark chocolate bars that will last me a couple months. That's easy too. I won't go crazy eating dark chocolate and I do like  a small piece for my treat almost every day.

The things on the menu for Easter that are a bit 'carby' is Pereci, but that even is mostly egg whites. That is a sweeter pretzel that you dip in your coffee.

Then there is the traditional Easter bread which is more like a denser brioche. Again, not really Easter without those two things.

Two days later it's my younger son's birthday. Of course I have to make him a cake. He wants a Minions cake. I first thought of making him minions out of gumpaste, but I figured he would rather play with them then look at them and throw them away. I'll make something using these figures.

A few days after that I am making a cake for another party. And that party I'm sure I'll eat more than normally and will want a piece of cake.

A week after that and it's Mother's Day - thank goodness we don't do food things for Mother's Day.

Problem will be with the Pereci and the crnica bread is that I will want more than one. I have to somehow make the batches smaller so that there aren't many leftovers to tempt me. It's much easier when we go somewhere and there isn't the temptation or ability even to take more than one piece!

But... I think I'll be OK. Motivation is really high right now, so jumping back on program shouldn't be difficult.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Mother's day gifts (will arrive early)

Yep, I did it. I ordered BOTH the Withings scale and blood pressure monitor. I got the scale new, but on sale  (as you can't find them used) and got the monitor used. I will check the BP monitor against my mother in law's monitor which was just checked against the doctor's monitor to be sure it's accurate, but for $50 shipped, it's a good deal.

How many people get a scale or even WANT a scale for Mother's Day? I might be one of the very, very few.

Which ironically, came up when I asked the person selling the blood pressure monitor. I asked him the condition and why he was selling it. His response cracked me up:

No as new. Just don't use it. I'm not really all that health conscious. My wife thought I would like to track my blood pressure. I asked her if I should buy her a scale. Enough said.
Well, here I wanted a scale for a gift, but how would I have reacted if my husband just bought one for me without asking? I probably wouldn't like it. Especially since I wanted a specific one. And I would definitely balk if it was something as a "hint". If you know what I mean.

So... my new gizmos will be arriving soon. As well as the larger strap to the BodyMedia Fit Core. They were having a sale on bands, so for $10 shipped it was worth getting especially since I'm paying membership and should USE it!

Within the week I should be using my new gizmos and sharing my new tracking methods. Now it's just time to stalk the mail carrier and deliverymen.

On actual Mother's Day my husband is giving a talk at our Ethical Society (where I am Sunday School Director) and I'll be organizing things for Mother's Day there. We also NEVER go out to eat on Mother's day as it's a zoo. While I don't like to cook on my birthday or Mother's Day, I also don't like waiting in lines and getting terrible service just because it's a "day" everyone celebrates. So, Mother's Day, as always, will be extremely low key. These gifts to myself will be the bulk of it - and that's perfectly fine!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A few more realizations - none of them feel good, but will lead to good

While I am on track and feeling good, I am also trying to sort out how and why I got derailed. I'm trying to keep my mind in a positive mind-set which isn't that hard as I'm an optimist by nature, but I did discover a couple of things that were bummers.

First, yesterday I got to thinking about where my weight loss start was last time and where it is this time. I know my all time high was 275, but I had dropped and gained, but held stead at 265 for several years (a set point). Well, I thought I had STARTED at 265 last time. No.... I had totally forgotten that I had lost ten pounds and kept it off for a year after we moved from Virginia to Maryland. My journey had started last time at 255 pounds - not the 265 I had thought.

Which means, I had regained ALL but 14 pounds over an 18 month time period!

The weight fell off the first time for the first few months. It's not falling off this time. It's coming off yes, but it's much, much slower.

That is sort of tied to realization #2. I was just lamenting my new weight loss pattern on a weight loss forum. The last time I was losing weight my weight loss followed my menstrual cycle. I would gain as ovulation neared, and lose for about a week a few days following ovulation. Same pattern month after month without fail.

Well, I'm full in perimenopause now and my cycles are irregular. I have had maybe four cycles in the last year. And my weight loss is less predictable. And it's way, way, way slower. Wish I would have been more in the know that perimenopause tends to be one of the most difficult times to lose weight as the hormones are all over the place. And, with my hormones all over the place, it could have been a contributing factor to my depression.

I had several whammies - perimenopause - can cause depression. Seasonal Affect Disorder - causes seasonal depression. I stopped taking my thyroid medicine in the late summer/early fall - low thyroid function can cause depression. AND, I was dealing with a lot of injuries which kept me from the gym more often that I liked, and since exercise is a mood lifter, THAT was leading me to have more unhappiness too.

And for awhile, actually, there was a fifth contributing factor, I was gaining or was stuck at the same weight while eating 1500 calories a day - and I was still hungry. If I didn't exercise, I was stuck. And that was extremely frustrating. I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I would face a lifetime of hunger at 1500 calories. If I ate more, I gained. That entire year after my initial weight loss was a slow struggle, but still going slightly up... and then I just "lost it" and gave in temporarily.  The saying of, "more food doesn't taste as good as thin feels" left me. Food definitely tasted better than thin felt for many, many months as I used it as my only comfort.

And then the sixth contributing factor - seeing my husband's disappointment in me. Seeing how our relationship changed (and is still changed). I don't like to disappoint people, especially people I love. So, seeing he had lost his faith in me. Seeing he was disappointed in me and not attracted to me hurt a lot too... which also added to the depression.

So, I am getting a better understanding of why I went into a deep depression - it wasn't unexplainable. I get it now.

And, now I'm beginning to understand why losing weight the last couple of years has been especially difficult - I'm dealing with menopause stuff at the same time and this time tends to be the roughest time for weight loss (which makes sense as when do most women gain weight? During menopause!)

With the new information, I know more what to look for and how to keep my head in a better place. Knowledge is power. If this weight loss is super slow, it's super slow. It's not a race. It's about making it lifelong. if it takes me twice as long as last time, it does. It says nothing about me or my value as a person. It's about getting healthier forever.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Time for a new gizmo - Mother's Day gift

My husband and I don't do gifts, so once or twice a year I get myself a 'gift' like item instead (which is what we agreed on). Since mother's day is coming up, I got to thinking about what I would like.

I think I want two things, but both of them are definitely in the "want" not "need" category. And one of them is simply I don't want to share!

OK, first thing I would like is a Withings Scale. I don't 'need' a new scale as our 10 year old Tanita IronMan scale works fine, but it doesn't pair up with anything - no wifi. And I think it is cool to truly keep track with either BodyMedia site or with other similar sites. Now... I find it irksome that these things are not universal. Like I have a Garmin fitness watch, but Garmin Connect only works with Tanita wifi scales (though people have found ways to work around it). I understand competition and such, but most people want to be able to use their various smart gadgets together in a harmonious way.

The Withings Scale will give me weight, body fat, etc, same as the IronMan does. AND for me, though I don't think for my husband, the body fat readings are really accurate - which is surprising as they don't tend to be. I've had BodPod testing twice and they were almost the exact same as what my Tanita scale gave me for results. Of course, I have no idea if Withings will be more or less accurate. I would have to compare them side by side for awhile.

The other thing I am eying is the Withings Blood pressure wifi monitor. Again, I don't "need" this as my mother in law has a very accurate blood pressure monitor, but I don't like having to ask to use it - and like now, daily. I don't like having to share anything of her personal belongings. I would have to go to her room and either ask or wait until she wasn't home. Plus, she gets snoopy and would want to ask about my blood pressure and why I'm taking it, etc. I'm not hiding things from her, but since I don't feel close to her as a person, I don't feel like talking about such things with her. I would rather have my own. My husband will think that is stupid and crazy, but then he also doesn't understand that his relationship with his mother and my relationship with his mother are not the same on either end of it.

The other advantage of the Withings monitor is that I can use it right along with my other fitness gadgets, keeping track of trends. I NEED to keep a constant eye on my blood pressure as it is the #1 indicator if my body is getting out of whack by either diet or thyroid. I should probably watch trends as it would probably help me figure out more of my body's rhythms. As of right now, I don't know how much is the thyroid function. How much is exercise. How much is diet as I tend to do all three or ignore all three (which I hope not to do ever again!).

So... I need to figure out which gizmo I will buy - or if I will buy, for Mother's Day. Fitness gizmo is ALWAYS a good gift idea for me, house cleaning supplies? NEVER. I totally don't get you people who think a new vacuum is a good gift!

Editing to add: I had the blood pressure monitor in my basket at BestBuy as it was on sale for $79.99. Well, I decided to get it as it was on sale and that was a really good price. I came back to it after doing some work and the price jacked up to full price of $129.99. Um... no. Can't swallow that price!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A blog change and a not nice discovery

First, I want to thank a kind someone for informing me that I had my settings of the blog set so that only registered users (of google) could comment on my blog. I changed that so everyone can post. I had no idea I had it set up that way!

Second, I have been wearing my fitness gizmo a few days and it did feel a little snug, but I thought it was mostly that my arms were squishy. Well, it must truly be a bit tight as I have bruises all along my underarm.. I already had it at the loosest setting, so it's just too tight.

A bit over a year ago my old band had to be thrown away because the part that held the computer thingee snapped after a lot of use. Well, the first one I had was the Plus size band. When I bought the replacement band I bought the regular size. Well, I went and plus sized myself, so the regular size is just too tight.  Now I have to decide if I want to buy a larger one or just wait until I get to regular size again. Dilemma -and boo!!!!

The scale the last three days finally stopped moving. Actually it even went up a couple ounces, despite my eating being spot on. Who knows the reason, but the honeymoon quick weight loss is over and it was a measly 5 pounds. Oh the days of a fast metabolism is certainly gone! Pfffft to middle age!

Other than that it's spring break for the kids, so we'll be doing stuff together and hopefully getting more of our yard together (we spent about 4 hours on it yesterday). I definitely have more energy and I think it has everything to do with more light and the depression disappearing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An observation

I notice a lot of people on weight loss boards that have become super experts about nutrition and some on fitness I think that is great. I am a complete novice compared to some of these people! And a lot of them were severely obese (and some still are, but are working on it).

I find it an interesting observation because I wonder if the intense need to know about nutrition is because they need to know more because it's harder to keep the weight off than it is for people who somehow manage to just eat less and have portion control.

Or is it that many obese people don't know moderation - moderation in eating and moderation in nutrition - and even exercise I suppose. We do so many things all or nothing. Maybe it's part of the personality?

I think I fall along that last part. I either go WAY overboard with eating or I go way overboard in something else. When I want to plant a garden, I don't just get one or two plants, I dig up my entire front yard and plant hundreds of plants. When I want to clean the house, I don't just do a room here and there, I have to do all of it (or none of it). It's part of my personality.

My husband who is more moderate and has no problems staying thin because he can regulate his eating normally, doesn't tend to all or nothing with most anything else either.

And, of course, the trait of going all out has problems (overeating), but has advantages (a lot gets done and done well).

Has anyone else noticed this? Are we trading one 'obsession' (food) for another - knowing everything about our food and perhaps radically changing a diet not just based on the need to lose weight, but on other things too. Like when an obese person who used to drink sugary soda doesn't just switch to diet, but gives up all soda all together. Or gives up all sugar, etc.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Eating for hunger and what that has meant the last 11 days

When I started back up with this, my main goal was to get my health back in line. I need to get that blood pressure down, my thyroid functioning normally, and to get my fitness back up. I knew my eating had to shift dramatically. I was way out of control. I needed to get back to eating low carb and to eating within normal limits.

I started immediately with the low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet that I have found works best for me. I wasn't tracking what I was eating. I was just trying to adjust the type of eating I was doing. I figured tracking my caloric intake would only be important once I was eating normally again.

But, I have found that I transitioned easily (still trying to figure out then why it took me so long to start!) And with the new eating pattern, I have found I'm not hungry in the morning, so I am not eating in the morning. I have a cup of decaf coffee with 2 percent milk or whole milk (depending on what we have in the house) and that's it. I get hungry for lunch around 11 am. I make scrambled eggs with butter, either sausage or bacon and have that. I'm then satisfied until dinner time at 6:30 pm. At dinner I've been eating a huge green salad or tons of green and red veggies with proteins and avocado. Every night I feel so full for hours -almost too full. If I want something a bit sweet, I eat a small square of dark chocolate.

I finally got curious a couple of days ago at how many calories I was consuming to see how much tweaking I would need to do to my caloric intake. Since I ate the same thing for the last several days for lunch, it was easy to reconstruct my meals. I was SHOCKED that I was only eating between 1000-1100 calories. I seriously have not felt hungry. How is that even possible?

Before I started this, I never counted, but I'm sure most days I was eating over 3000 calories and I 'thought' I was eating when I was hungry. I was just hungry all the time because I was eating a ton of carbs.

Overnight I switch my eating to food that ALSO tastes really good to me. I'm not trying to restrict and I find I'm eating less than I should be. But it also doesn't make sense to me to eat more food just to eat more food when I'm not hungry for more food!

Now, it could be several things. It could be I'm so stoked about starting again and getting back on track again that I'm just too ramped up to be hungry.

It could be that eating so low carb (lower than before, probably as the first time around I was having to learn all the tricks that work for me and this time I just jumped right in). I am eating more truly satiating foods.

Or it could be that one of the medications I'm on is suppressing my appetite. I've been on this dosage of synthroid and lisinopril before and it didn't have this effect on me. But I haven't taken amlodipine before. (and hope to be off of it soon once things regulate). But, a quick look at side effects says that is a big no. If anything it's a rare side effect to see weight gain and there is no incidence of appetite loss. Huh... so probably not the medications either.

So, I don't know what's causing it. I know it can't continue forever, but it's odd. I've never been able to eat at even 1200 a day without feeling I was super hungry and that was usually followed by a day of eating higher calorie so that it balances each other out. (As it does make sense to have days you feel hungrier and days you aren't as hungry).

Maybe it's because my thyroid is low? Though it was lower the first time around and it took me awhile to be able to drop down from 1800 to 1500. My aim is usually around 1450-1550 depending on my activity level of the day.

It is also true that I'm not being overly physically active yet. I'm baby stepping into it to prevent injury (tend to have problems with shins), but I did walk 2 miles yesterday and cleaned the deck, so it's not like I was sitting still either.

Or maybe it's having to do with spring and spring appetite? I have no idea... It's really odd!

And with that said, it's nearing 11 am and I'm getting hungry, so I'll go make a hearty lunch in a few!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Well now I've gone and done it - 100% in

OK, I guess this is it. Full steam ahead. No more dragging my feet. I'm in this thing all the way now.

Yesterday I charged up my bodyfit media core doohickey. AND I set new goals and inputted my last two days of eating (and exercising) on the nutritional tool I use,

First, it was a slap in the face to log on to the BodyMedia site. "You have gained 44 pounds since your last weigh in on March 28th, 2013". Um, thank you for pointing that out to me. I think I know. Can I erase this please? I don't want to see how I am whittling away at an OLD goal, but want to just look forward to this journey. Well, you can't erase past data, but least I can set new goals so I don't have to see the old one every single day. Gee... that would get depressing right quick.

Then, curious with how many calories I ate yesterday, I plugged in my food from the day before yesterday and yesterday. The last time I had logged my food was exactly one year ago. April 9, 2013. And I had gained 42 or 43 pounds from my last log in. Again, thank you very much for the slap in the face. I KNOW!!!! But, I was able to erase the old date - GONE.

Learning from the past is one thing, being beaten up by it is another.

After the Core unit charged it took me awhile to put it on my arm. I was a little nervous about that. Was I really read to take this journey on 100%? Did I really want to track my exercise (and sleep) habits again? Was I up for pushing myself that hard again?

And that is a bit hard for me to answer as I'm still feeling the extra tiredness of a bum thyroid, I know. But, in the end I strapped it on. Soon will come the questions from the kids I work with of, "What is that on your arm?" "Why are you wearing that?" "Is that a bandaid?"  I love kid's curiosity! At least they ask! (And this is NOT my arm, but a model's arm for product advertisement).

Then I wanted to get the display clipped onto my pants for the bodymedia core. Of course, the battery on the display is dead. It's 3 years old and gave out the second I pushed a button to sync it. It was showing the correct time up until that time.

Of course, I didn't remember the passwords to either of these sites. I had to reset them both at MyNetDiary and at BodyMedia. And while I did that I see that it's been 13 months since I bought a 2 year subscription to BodyMedia - meaning I've wasted almost 13 months worth of the service, or about $50. And on the MyNetDiary site I see that they have a new look. Yep, a lot happens when you've been gone a year - in denial.

I'm not beating myself up about it - but kind of shocked at myself at how quickly all just fell apart. Now, I didn't stop exercising a year ago, but I stopped most cardio. I was just doing some strength training, but even that I stopped by fall and went to full spiral out of control mode.

But, I'm back - 100%. All the tools of the past are being used and are up to date and it's full steam ahead from here on out.  I can do this. I know I can, but the sting of a year of giving into my demons is still fresh.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

And to follow a terrible day, a great day!

How days can flip around so much is amazing. My son had a phenomenal day yesterday - beginning to end. Maybe my getting mad at him was a bit of a wake up call to him too. I don't know, but it was nice to have a bit of a reprieve of all the negative.

It doesn't mean we can skip all the things he needs. No. He needs a lot, but at least there are good things going on too.

For me, I'm doing great. My mood is definitely better. I have zero cravings and zero desire to give in to carbs. I bought DONUTS last night for crying out loud! They were the "treat" for my son for having a great day. Yep... picked out donuts from Dunkin Donuts

Oh... and if you are going to criticize giving food for a reward. Keep it to yourself. I was very opposed to food for rewards too, but guess what? They work for him. He just needs to know it's a special treat and not something to go crazy about. I NEVER used food for rewards for my oldest and not until recently with my second. But... changed my tune when I saw what worked and what didn't. Special treats work for son #2 when other things do not. So, I use what works! (That and trips - he LOVES taking special trips, but I can't do that every day!)

I sat next to the donuts for an hour and wasn't even the slightest bit tempted to try one.Now how can that be? How can I go from I cannot walk past a carb heavy food without gorging on them, to having no interest in them at all? AND... I know this feeling won't last. However, I'm holding on to this as long as I possibly can and running with it!

So, things are looking up and up and up - except the scale. (grin).

I need to figure out exercise too. I am walking and will keep doing that, but I need to figure out what's going on with my back, leg, and neck too. Sooner or later these will impede me from doing more and that would be a bummer. Yet, I'm not wanting to do major things with my back either (no surgery). Hopefully it's just things out of alignment.  I'll just add to my 'to do' list that is already 10 feet long.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rough day - sort of related to weight loss, but mostly just life

Yesterday morning I went to the doctor's office. That actually went better than I expected. I expected I would have to talk the NP out of more tests immediately (as my fasting blood sugar is borderline). But no, she wants to recheck in 3 months, 6 weeks for thyroid. That was good.

Then I left from there, had breakfast (didn't eat before going as I didn't know if I would need to get bloodwork) and then I took my younger son to school. He was not having a good morning I heard from my husband. He was crying about going to school. If you don't know as you are a new reader, my younger son has high functioning autism. Life is very different living with someone with autism.

Anyway, he opened up to me, which is good, and it seems he hates gym and feels his gym teacher is mean. So, we talked about that and I expressed how happy I was that he was talking with me about it and so on. Communicating feelings is very difficult for him, so this was a good thing. After dropping him off at school, I drove to Virginia, in the rain, for a dentist appointment.

Traffic was slow and some areas were stop and go, but I had given myself a lot of time, so it was not nerve wracking. My cleaning was fine and no new cavities, so that was good. I knew going into the appointment that the new crown was "iffy" as the tooth might need an extended crown, but it fit perfectly and there was no issue. All good so far, except annoying that I had to deal with two medical appointments before noon and my son was crying about school this morning. I grabbed a sandwich for lunch (took off the top bun) and then drove home. I got home just in time to pick up my older son from school. He usually walks, unless it's raining.

I have a few minutes at home to talk with him and check my email and then it's off to get my younger son from school. That is when things went downhill fast.

He had a horrible day at school. He didn't work and refused help. Basically, except for specials (media and gym) he did nothing all day long. He was worried about gym, but that was where he actually had a good part of the day. Go figure.  While talking with the teacher, it went from light drizzle to down pour. I didn't have a coat or umbrella - my son had a rain proof coat. He sensed no urgency in getting to the car quickly and actually slowed down when I tried to speed him up.

I get to the car, I'm soaked. The papers the teacher handed me are wet and I'm mad. So, I yelled at him. I yelled about how that was inappropriate and that when someone says to MOVE they mean to move quickly and now. That hurry means to run or move faster and that I was very mad that he didn't do that.  But... I didn't stop.

Then I yelled at him about his bad day at school. I said that now he had to do that work at home and that he had one job at school and that is to do his work, so DO IT.  He was very upset and I knew I wasn't helping.

When he got home, I changed out of my clothes, got him a snack and we talked calmly. I apologized for my behavior, but that I was feeling very mad and upset because he was not treating me with respect by not listening to me or following directions and I asked how he would feel if I didn't listen to him when I asked him to hurry, etc.

Then... a bit later it was homework time - he's refusing, but I stay calm, but demanding. Once he got going, he was fine. It was during that time he started yawning and then it dawned on me, "Maybe he had one of his sleepless nights that he occasionally has." I asked and he said it was a bad night for sleeping, but with his communication skills, I never know how accurate that is.

Dinner time. Ugh... Full of frustrations. he refuses to sit near the table, but has his chair 2 feet out. he sits sideways and he either eats with his fingers or, if with his fork, he won't let food touch his lips - any food, so he uses his teeth to scrape off the food. We won't allow that, so he goes back to his fingers. And that's a good day. Some days it's a battle to get him to come to the table. This table manners went down this year. We need to start seeing a feeding specialist and I will make that appointment probably today after the school's IEP meeting.

Later, he was playing with the balloon he got yesterday. He decided to sit on it and as you can expect, it popped - another burst of tears and frustration of "Now what can we do?" Like I was somehow supposed to fix the popped, big balloon. We talk about it and how he's sad about it and we tried to find solutions. Best I could do was blow up a non-helium, small, balloon. It helped, but he was just having a day of it.

It was a rough, rough day and we've had a lot of them this winter as this school year has been very hard. He has so many issues to work through and I don't know how to get through to him and I feel like I'm paddling alone. My husband is supportive, but not proactive. If I want things to change or to try things with Henry, it's up to me to implement it, but it's exhausting and I always feels I'm doing this in the dark. It's not like all kids with autism behave the same way or that a strategy that works for one, might work for another. It's tough.

The good news about it though is that I didn't self-medicate with food. Since I had a big lunch, I ate just a protein bar for dinner and I was satisfied... but I did notice myself eying the cookies in the drawer. I resisted. Yep... food is my drug of choice for coping. I have got to somehow retrain my brain!!! And, if possible, I need to be able to reduce my stress load!

So, it was a rough day. This morning, the little guy woke up sad. I thought it was about school, but he said he is sad about his balloon. He did perk up and went in to school feeling much better than yesterday, so I'll hope for a better day. In a few minutes, I have my son's IEP meeting. We need to come up with new strategies. What's in place now is not working. And we need to come up with some new strategies at home too. Which means more change and more turning things upside down and man... even that sounds exhausting.

Good think my blood pressure is under control and my thyroid is on the road to being better. I'm going to need all the "good stuff" I can get.

But at least it will be a gorgeous day today! I have to find the positive where I can!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Triumphs and exhaustion

This weekend was a good one. I got two walks in. I had a big event to ready for on Sunday and kid wrangled 21 kids in a room for a project that they were able to complete as well. Then I came home to mountains of dishes to do and things to clean up.

I got everything done and now... I'm exhausted. I need Monday to recuperate from my weekend! A bum thyroid makes it worse, of course.

But... it was all good. I made a HUGE cake this weekend and despite a few disasters in the process (soupy Italian buttercream anyone?) and lots of sugar and yummy stuff around, I didn't nibble. At the event I ate just one small slice of cake to test, but otherwise stuck to veggies and cheese at the snack table. It's been a long time since I avoided most of that crap.

This morning I had a follow-up with my nurse practitioner. BP is still coming down. And everything else is wait and see. Thyroid is rechecked in 6 weeks. Everything else in 3 months. I was happy to see her scale down 5 pounds this morning.  At home I'm down 3.4 pounds - it's a start and pretty good for one week! Gotta love water weight losses at the beginning of a diet change.

Switching to low carb (despite that one small piece of cake) has been pretty easy - surprisingly. I think having it be spring helps as I simply DO NOT want heavy foods in spring. It's all about veggies.

Only bummer for the day is that I have to drive to Virginia in the rain to get the new crown put on. I had to have an ill-fitting one replaced. I also have my 6 month cleaning too. It wouldn't be such a bummer if I could do something else while in VA, but it truly is pop in and out so that I can get home in time to pick up the kids from school on this rainy day. My mother in law "could" do it, but it's such a huge production, that I hope to make it back in time. She gets way nervous about such things.

But... I'm exhausted. Rainy day definitely doesn't help!

Start: 241.6
Now: 238.2

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I finally tracked down a fabric tape measure. I refused to buy another one even though they are only a buck at Joanne's (or at least they used to be) because I know I have at least four of them!

So... Tracked it down and took measurements.  I took more than I did the first time around because I learned that the body drops from different parts of the body at different times and sometimes it's where you didn't measure!  I didn't measure EVERYTHING, but enough.

So... weight was 240.6 (Saturday) when I took these measurements. I compare them to the weight I was when I took similar measurements at a similar weight of 239.2

                                   February 28, 2011:            April 5, 2014:

Widest Bust:                        46                               47 
Under Bust:                                                            39
Narrowest Waist sucked in: 40                               41

Narrowest Waist relaxed:                                       44
Belly Button sucked in:                                          44

Belly Button relaxed:                                              47
Widest part of Hips:            49                                49
Upper Thighs:                     28.5                             28
Widest part of Calf:                                                17.5

Upper Arms:                       16.5                             17
Neck:                                                                      16.25
Wrist:                                                                        7.25

So my gut reaction was that I was slightly bigger in the boobs and mid-section than before and my legs were a bit thinner. Ah, the classic apple shape getting more and more pronounced as I enter menopause territory.  That's another great reason to get with the program and lose weight, but more important get fit. I don't want to turn into a complete apple!

In other news, my blood pressure (with medication) is getting much better. It was 127/82. I'm pretty sure it's safe for me to exercise now. I see the NP on Monday, so I'll see. For today and tomorrow I'll just plan on some light walking and then I'll amp it up and then hopefully, very quickly cut back on the blood pressure medication with more added fitness and improving thyroid function.