Weighty Matters

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Brain Vacay

I really intended to right a post tonight. I’ve stared at the screen for a good ten minutes and, sad to say, cannot conjure up a viable topic or find the words to patch together a less-than-viable topic.

I’m so sorry. It’s been a really long, busy, three days. I am physically and mentally drained. Still not in pain – so yay for that – but I’m struggling to keep a stray thought in my head.

So, I’m going to do the best thing for myself. Take a warm, relaxing bath and go to bed. When in doubt, practice self-care. That’s my motto tonight and I’m sticking to it.

Hope you’re all having a great week!

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No Pain!

While many of my workdays are mostly spent at my desk and computer, I have some days when I am outside and on my feet for most of the eight or more hours. I clearly remember in the pre-weight loss time of my life when a media day outside absolutely beat me up. By the time I finished and practically crawled home, my entire body — particularly my joints, feet and back — nearly cried from the pain. As soon as I walked in the house, I’d gulp down 800 mgs of ibuprofen, grab an ice pack for my right knee which always hurt the most, and collapse in a chair. At the time, I didn’t have the luxury of a warm bath because I was afraid of being so big that I’d get stuck in the bathtub.

Today was one of those all-day outside media days. I got to work at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t leave until after 4:30 p.m. I possibly sat down for a total of two hours, maybe, in that time span but never more than 15 minutes at a time. Was it a really active day for me? You bet. Just to give you an idea, I took the dogs out for a short walk this morning and again this evening, but neither was one of my 45 minute fitness walks that helps build up the step count on my FitBit. Still and all, I was on my feet so much, walking around, that I still racked up 11,500 steps which means I walked almost five miles.

Best of all. My joints are not weeping for mercy. My back doesn’t ache. I didn’t need to take any OTC pain relievers. I’m considering a good, warm bath but I love doing that anyway and I’m not doing it to soak away any pains.

All I can say is that the difference between me tonight and how I would have been after a similar day a few years ago is astounding. It’s always good for me to hold this experience close and remember it so that I can use it to positively reinforce my overall effort. I feel incredibly grateful and blessed.

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Ready, Aim, Eat!

A good friend stopped into my office today to chat about food. Specifically, she was having issues about food today in that she had all this good, healthy stuff available but wanted something completely different. It was really bugging her because she wasn’t having a bad day and couldn’t identify anything that was triggering the desire to eat something else.

I’m an excellent person to come and talk to about these things because I so totally, completely, and indisputably “get it”. I know from food triggers. I also know what it’s like to have the desire to eat inappropriately when no triggers exist or if they’re so muffled that I don’t realize that something actually did trigger the reaction.

I also don’t try to fix the problem. Honestly, there isn’t anything to do that can fix it. Sometimes you just have to cowgirl up and ride it out — unless it’s one of those times when you can allow yourself a break and eat what you wanted. Still, it’s nice to have someone around that you can share with, complain to, or just whine with. I’m happy to be there for my friends. God knows they are there always for me.

This same friend and I had a different conversation last week after I complimented her on how her fitness and eating regimes were really paying off. She had on a snug cut tee shirt that really defined her waist and I could definitely see how much she has slimmed through that area. (Let me note that my friend is not obese nor even greatly overweight. She wants to lose about 10-15 pounds.) When I complimented her, she immediately disagreed, which is something that I often do. We talked a lot about how it’s almost a reflex for us to refute the compliment, probably because we don’t see the progress in ourselves the way that others do. We agreed that we’re going to call each other on that habit if we do it again. So, from now on, if someone share a photo or pays a compliment, we’re going to smile and accept it as valid. This is so much healthier than having a knee jerk dismissal of a positive observation.

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Apathy and Laziness

A long time ago, I shared the acronym H.A.L.T. It’s a caution that reminds me not to get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. (We 12 Steppers are big on helpful acronyms!) For the last couple of days, along with the uncharacteristic case of the blues, I’ve noticed that I’ve been particularly shoulder-shrugging-whatever about my efforts and downright lazy about my exercise.

Today I opted to amend the acronym to replace angry and lonely with apathy and laziness. The good news is that I had the realization while I was finally up off my ass, out of my chair, and out for a walk with Nat and Pyxi. I’ll bottom line it for myself. I have work to do. Always. The effort to be a healthy weight and create a life of health and fitness has not ended, nor will it. Ever. This is not something I can do for awhile, get where I want and then stop. It’s my life. I want it and I embrace it.

There are various theories about how long it takes to change a habit and forge a new one. I don’t think there is ever a set number of days or months. It’s more like it takes forever because the commitment to the new lifestyle habits has to be made every single day going forward. Diseased thinking and old habits that are comfortable even when they are ultimately destructive do not magically evaporate. They’re always around, lurking on the fringes, looking for an opening to reinsert into my life. Apathy and laziness are cracks in my foundation, the little openings through which the crappy behaviors can seep. If I don’t seal up those cracks and reinforce my core determination and the new foundation I’ve been building, enough disease can build up and completely screw me up.

I’ve talked before about determination and the need for vigilance. This post is another reminder to myself. Recovery is not an event. It’s a process.

I feel better today. Just having gotten up and gone out for a longer walk than I’ve done since the beginning of the week helps my mindset. It’s a counter-measure to the laziness. Thinking about this, writing about it, and connecting with my determination beats back the apathy. I have the tools. I know what to do. I’m putting on the brakes, calling H.A.L.T. and continuing my journey.

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Looking for my Happy

I’ve been down for a couple of days and don’t know why. I do know the effects, however. I’m thinking non-supportive thoughts about myself. I’m unsettled. I want to eat lots of things that aren’t good for me. That’s a crap triumvirate that further drags down my energy and emotional balance. Which leads to me wanting to eat more inappropriate foods. Then I really get to say rotten things to myself like, “You’re f*&king up your food plan. You’re going to gain weight and undo all of the good. You didn’t exercise this morning before Tai Chi class. I knew there’s no way you’d keep working out.”

Do you see how easily I can turn this into a suckfest? The saving grace is that I have enough awareness to see the pattern, recognize the pitfalls, and gear up to stop this before it goes too long.

I don’t have to be up every moment of my existence. Mary Sunshine is entitled to have a gray day now and again. However, I don’t need to tumble into disease every time. Instead, I need to look for something to balance me out. I’m going to decide on a couple of things that I can do today — look for some happy — and then do them. I don’t need to wallow in the downness and compound the problems.

The weather’s sort of iffy so I’m reluctant to take out the boat. I can go into the pool later, however. Doing some water dancing with the music turned up should create some good endorphins.

I don’t feel particularly social, so I’m not into calling up friends to go do something. This is also okay. I prefer to spend some time alone with the dogs but I can spend that time in enjoyment. I like to cook. Instead of making a calorie-laden, binge-inducing, sugar-coma-causing dessert, I believe I will take on this awesome brussel sprouts recipe that I’ve been wanting to try and roast a chicken. Roast chicken doesn’t sound all that exciting, however, it not only tastes good, but it also reminds me of cooking happy meals with my Mom. Bonus — I can use the carcass to make homemade chicken stock later on. Roast chicken and brussel sprouts — tasty, healthy, and a happy-making activity.

There’s a baseball game on tonight. I have some sequinning to do. A night at home with the dogs, maybe followed by a nice warm bath. Sounds calming, relaxing.

Pool. Cooking. Relaxing. Nothing that’s going to set the world on fire, but they’re positive actions to pull me up out of the glum pit. This is how I’m going to look for some happy. How about you?

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Post Springsteen

Sorry to have been absent for a couple of days. I have an excellent reason! My friends and I drove up to Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night for the Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert. Those of you who have been with me here for awhile know that I am a major Springsteen fan. I have been since I was 17 years old. I am as awestruck by the man and the band in concert now as I was the first time I saw them play live in 1978.

I figure if they can still rock it out like they do when they’re all in their 60s, then I sure as heck can too in my 50s. I’ll be completely honest and admit that the post-concert recovery takes longer. 🙂 We didn’t get home until after 2 a.m. so it was 3 a.m. before I got to sleep. Unfortunately, Nat and Pyxi did not get the memo that I’d planned to sleep in on Wednesday morning and go into work a couple of hours late. They woke me up first at 4:40 a.m., then at 6 and then again at 7:45 a.m. That’s when I gave up and attempted to launch myself into my day.

Suffice it to say that my butt dragged all day long. By the time I went to Tai Chi class that evening, my brain was clicking off and I could barely stay awake. I went to bed early.

All this aside, the concert was absolutely awesome! Not that Bruce and the band is ever less than terrific, but I found this show to be particularly fun. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t seen him in a year and a half. I don’t know for sure, but I feel like I cheered every song and grinned like an overjoyed fool for the entire three hours. I danced in my seat, on my feet, and in general just had the most amazing time.

I suspect that my greater fitness overall health further contributed to my extreme enjoyment of the concert. With my weight loss comes lots of enjoyment-increasing benefits. Overall it’s a whole lot easier for me to walk and move – including from the car in the parking lot to the stadium, up or down stairs to seats, etc. I comfortably fit in the seat and don’t feel like I’m crowding the poor people sitting on either side. I sure could jump up to my feet with ease instead of struggling to my feet. I just had the most wonderful energy throughout the entire concert.

It was well worth being sleepy the entire following day. We were on an upper level just to the right of the stage so the seats were good. I have to admit that the entire time I watched, I also saw how much Bruce interacted with the people standing on the floor near the stage. About mid-way through I realized that once, just once, I want to be one of those people standing on the floor right at the stage. I would never have considered this before because I know I would have been miserable trying to stand for three hours. Now, it’s a whole different possibility. My friend says that if you buy general admission tickets for the floor, you have to get to the show hours and hours ahead of time to try to score the wristbands for the front section and to have a prayer of entering early and getting to the front of the front.

Call me crazy, but I so want to do this. I’m willing to commit to whatever it takes! It is officially on my Promise List.

Now I just need Bruce to extend the tour so I can put the plan into action!

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