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A Beautiful Day

I didn’t let any grass grow under my feet — or under my knee.  Having made the decision to get my knee medically evaluated, I went into action.  Specifically, I wanted someone who would not make surgery the first or only option — unless it really was the only option.  Friends recommended a couple of orthopedic/sports medicine specialists.  I checked each of them out online.   One in particular jumped out at me as meeting my criteria.  As an extra bonus, he trained with the specialists who treat the Philadelphia Eagles — my favorite football team.

It was meant to be.  I was fortunate enough to get an appointment today.  After some football chat, the physical exam and three x-ray views, I got the low-down.  In summary, there’s significant erosion on the medial side of my knee because of osteoarthritis.  It’s created something called a kissing lesion.  The doctor still wants me to have an MRI to check for any meniscus involvement, but he strongly believes we can take a non-surgical approach to reducing the pain I experience.  Honestly, the condition of my knee doesn’t physically prevent me from being active.  It’s the pain that interferes.  Being active is the best thing that I can do for my joints so reduction of pain and discomfort will further aid that effort.

Today he injected my knee with a novocaine-steroid mixture to reduce the chronic inflammation in the knee joint.  Tomorrow I start a six day course of oral steroid medication in diminishing doses.  In a few weeks, I’ll go for three injections of  a hyaluronic acid (HA) product over three weeks.  HA is found naturally in the body and serves to lubricate, cushion and protect the joints, but it thins out in older patients with osteoarthritis.

I’m familiar with HA products for a lot of uses.  I already use a serum morning and night as a facial hydrater.  It’s great stuff.  Now it will help my knee.  No surgery at this point.  Projected reduction in pain and increase in function.  I’m feeling pretty terrific all around.

This leads me to the topic most on my mind for tonight’s blog post.  Recently, I learned from a friend that her husband’s cancer, which he has bravely fought for a long time, is, indeed terminal.   They have a good amount of time left, but they’ve had to face reality.  Right now, she’s angry, frightened, and incredibly sad — all to be expected.  They need to find out how they’re going to go on from here as a family.  I truly hope that they are able to find a way to not let the news steal their remaining joy.  I hope they’ll live to the fullest and not get overwhelmed by the thought that he’s dying.

We didn’t have that chance with my mom.  Once she got diagnosed, things went downhill and got super complicated really fast.  We were fighting, fighting, fighting the cancer and her other conditions and it never feels like we got a break where we could live and find some joy, or at least enjoy a few days here and there.  It just sucked.

The other day, someone on Facebook shared a meme that was connected to appreciating each day and feeling gratitude.  It so resonated with me for a number of reasons, including my friend’s news.  To paraphrase, the meme suggested that if we can, we should begin each day with the thought that this will be a beautiful day.  Then, at some point we should take time to think and say, “This is a beautiful day.”  Before we go to sleep at night, we remind ourselves that it was, indeed, a beautiful day, one to be grateful for.

If we do this regularly, we will compile many, many beautiful days, and at the end, we’ll be able to look back and know that we enjoyed a beautiful life.

It’s almost the end of my day.  While I type, my leg is propped up with an ice pack on the knee, as per the doctor’s orders post-injection.

It wasn’t a perfect day by any means, but it was, definitely a beautiful one.

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About My Knee

I haven’t exercised much this week.  Starting Monday, every morning when I woke up, my right knee – the problem one –  really ached and was particularly stiff.  In Tai Chi class on Wednesday night and yesterday morning as well as whenever I practiced, that knee clicked and felt much weaker than I’m used to, which hampered my ability to balance on it one-legged for some of the moves.  I had to use a “prop” foot much more often.

A couple of days, the pain was enough that I took some o-t-c relief.  I also massaged in arnica gel a couple of times each day.

I thought about it long and logically and decided that my knee was telling me to give it some time off for good behavior.  As much as doing so kicks me into the mental stew of, “You’re being lazy.  Don’t fall out of the exercise habit.  This is wrongwrongwrong.” I focused on the wiser, less judgmental voice that said, “You’ve done a lot over the last few weeks.  If you keep pushing you could really injure yourself and that will suck even more.”

So, except for shorter walks with the dogs a couple of times a day and the Tai Chi, I took it easy.  (Sadly, it’s been too windy to go for long bike rides.)  I didn’t hit the cardio work with the squats, jogging in place and other impact moves.  Today, Sunday, is the best that my knee has felt all week.  This indicates that I made the right decision.

The fact that I experienced this week at all really made me think about the knee overall.  I’ve come to believe that it’s time for me to have it professionally evaluated by a doctor.  My boss/friend suggested I consult the town acupuncturist, which could be a treatment option.  I’m open to alternative therapies.  However, I think I really ought to have it examined by a medical expert first.  I honestly don’t know if the problem is from arthritis, lack of cartilage, a combination of problems, or something else all together.

I don’t think the problem is serious enough to warrant surgery, but that’s my uninformed, not-grounded-in-medical-knowledge guess.  I honestly don’t know.   Maybe the answer is as simple as some physical therapy, or a brace for added support.  Maybe the problem is something more serious.  The maybes are endless.  The only thing for sure is that I won’t know until it’s checked.

I discussed this with my sister-in-law who is a nurse practitioner.  She agrees that it’s time to get it looked at.

In the meantime, I don’t believe that I need to give up exercise, but I need to be more careful about the level of impact in the exercising that I do.  Perhaps I also need to maintain balance and not overload myself with too much in too short a period of time.  I have another 5K walk coming up in a couple of weeks, which should be fine, as long as I don’t overdo it in the days right before and right after.  Some mindful moderation is in order, I believe.

This is another way to take care of myself.  Rather than ignore the problem and soldiering through, taking extra care now will, hopefully, prevent a serious injury down the line.

 

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When to Muscle, When to Finesse

Earlier today I did something that I’ve been interested in trying for years.  A friend and I took a pottery class.  Even before Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze made it look sexy as all get out in Ghost, I’ve wanted to experience sitting down at a pottery wheel and attempting to work with clay.  I don’t know why since my elemental truth is that I have zilch artistic ability for anything other than writing and needlework.  However, want I did and since the last couple of years have been about me trying and doing things I’ve always wanted to, I finally did it.

We had a great time.  “Throwing” pots isn’t easy.  Clay might be malleable, but that doesn’t mean you can automatically get it to do what you want it to.  The teacher, an experienced potter, was terrific.  Very patient and encouraging.  Luckily, she’d prepared many balls of clay, knowing that we would undoubtedly mess up numerous attempts.  So, the first reason to like trying this art is that if you mess up, it’s okay.  The clay doesn’t go to waste.  It can be gathered up, dried to the right consistency, and reused.

The first thing we had to do was learn how to center the ball of clay.  We were told to set a good speed for the wheel, rewet the clay as needed, keep our forearms propped on our thighs, our arms close and our hands steady.  “Brute strength is okay at this point,” said the teacher.  We had to muscle the clay and center it on the wheel.  Equal amounts of pressure – pressing down on the top with the flat of a hand and simultaneously pressing against one side, keeping our hands as steady and unmoving as possible.  Like I said, not so easy.

Then it got even more challenging.  Once the clay was centered, we had to “open it up”, pressing a thumb in the middle and then with finger on the outside, opposite the thumb, start “coaxing” the clay up and out to take the shape we wanted.

Honestly, I just wanted to have it do something, anything, even.  I had no pre-set image in my mind as to whether I wanted a bowl, a vase, or whatever.   My first couple of efforts failed.  My hand placement was wrong.  I put too much pressure for too long in some spots and thinned out the clay until a hole opened up.  I just couldn’t get the hang of it.  Over and over the teacher reminded me that in this stage, I needed to use “finesse”.  I couldn’t pull the clay where I wanted, I had to coax it to go where I wanted it to.

My friend referred to it as “listening” to the clay.   For me, that meant that I needed to get out of my head and stop over-thinking the technique.  The harder I tried to think about what I was supposed to do, the less well I did and the more times I had to scrap that lump of clay and start all over again.  Finally, I just tried to feel the clay sliding between my fingers.  That’s when I stopped trying to force the process and caught onto that “coaxing”.  I understood more clearly what she meant by using finesse.

I lost count of the number of balls of clay I actually went through but I ended up with three different vase-like creations.  The last was by far my best, most symmetrical creation.  It’s also, not surprisingly, the one where I felt like I most connected with the clay, guiding and coaxing it instead of trying to muscle it in the direction that I wanted.

When we were finished, I looked at my little creations and smiled.   They aren’t perfect.  I’m sure an experienced potter would look and laugh at my amateurish first attempts, but I’m proud of them — and proud of myself.  For a first time effort, they aren’t embarrassing in the least.

They’re far from complete at this stage.  We go back during the week to learn to “trim” them.  Then we have glazing and firing work.  These are all part of the process.  I can’t wait to learn these next steps, too.  Yes, when they are finally all complete, I’ll take and post pictures.

I kept thinking about what we experienced today and comparing it to other areas of life.  Just like with pottery-making, there are situations  where we need to use muscle to achieve our goals, while other things require finesse.  If we employ force at the wrong time, we can push things out of shape and cause them to collapse all together.  We have to know when to keep up a steady pressure and when to coax or guide.

Earlier today, I expected to have fun.  The life lesson reminder was a bonus!

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I’m Okay, Even When I Think I’m Not

I have some friends who, if they voice a negative thought, express an idea that could be, shall we say, a harbinger of doom, quickly say, “Cancel!”  I believe it has to do with intention.  If we think negative thoughts, speculate about bad things that could happen, expect darkness instead of light, we could signal those things as intentions and then our energy or actions lead to manifesting them in our lives.

I’m not a doom and gloom person by nature.  While not exactly Pollyanna, I do try to be more positive and anticipate the brighter side of life.  So, it’s puzzling that I can still sometimes fall into thinking negative thoughts about myself and my accomplishments.  Thoughts are powerful things.  I always have to work on not letting my diseased thinking affect my outlook and the way that I feel about the good that I’ve done and continue to do for myself.

So, I’m employing the “Cancel” technique on myself.  When I catch myself thinking something unproductive, something that represents me putting myself down, I cancel the thought.  It’s not always easy to do this.  For one, it’s another exercise in being self-aware and mindful.

Here’s an example:  “You haven’t made another doctor’s appointment.  You’re giving up.  You can’t lose any more weight.”

Of those three statements, only one is true.  I haven’t rescheduled my appointment with the surgeon.  However, it’s absolutely not true that I can’t lose more weight and I’m giving up.  So, cancel, cancel.

Truth:  I’m healthy and in good shape.  I will not regain my weight.  I will lose more, regardless of the pace.  If I don’t want to go to the doctor right now, that’s okay.  I may or may not go back to him in the future.  Again, it’s okay.  He got me on the road and I can manage myself from here on out.

There’s no need for me to contradict myself, to devalue my truth and reality.  Why let that grow roots in my own psyche when I can nurture more positive attitudes and action, right?

So, even when I think I’m not, I really am okay.

 

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Whew! What an Active Week!

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m seriously considering taking a nap.  It’s been a super physically active week for me, friends.

You already know about the manatee rescue attempts and the hours of kayaking.   Then there was the Wednesday  night Tai Chi class that I barely made it through.  But it didn’t stop there.

Remember a few months ago I signed up for a FoamGlow 5K event?  I’d almost forgotten about it, but remembered early in the week, that it was last night!  So, for Thursday and Friday, in lieu of the regularly scheduled 21DayFix routines, I walked more to keep in the fitness groove and prepare more for the 5K.

Yesterday morning, we had a three hour Tai Chi class.  Not so much cardio, but lots of stretching, turning, and weight shifts.  After class I grabbed my overnight bag and headed up to the mainland.  I don’t like driving back through the Keys by myself too late at night, so I decided to stay over in a hotel.  I’m so glad that I did because I was dog tired by the end of the night.

The FoamGlow event was fun, but not without its challenges.  Since it was held at the Homestead Speedway, I assumed we would walk and run on the track.  Wrong.  Everything took place outside the track on a route that veered from even pavement to uneven ground or gravelly road.   Whenever we left pavement, the course became sort of risky.  Not only was it uneven, but there were some holes, rocks, minor bumps, etc.  My friend twisted her ankle twice.  I stepped in a lower indentation and jammed my knee at one point.  Not fun.  It would have been okay had the lighting been just a bit better, but for most of the course, we were illuminated only by the glow sticks worn by most of the participants.

The race drew thousands of people.  Seriously.  We got there when the registration first opened at 5 p.m.  The race was late starting – close to 8 p.m.  People were still arriving in the parking lot and walking up to start their walk after 9 p.m.!

Okay, challenges aside, I was determined to beat my time from the 5 K I did earlier in the year, so I needed to complete in a faster time than :58.  I was running my stopwatch on my phone.  When I checked about two miles in, I was at 30 minutes, so I know I was ahead of my time and going at a good pace – despite having to slow down during rocky or uneven stretches.  I resolved to finish strong and kept pumping.  Unfortunately, at some point not only did my phone begin randomly pocket-dialing people, but my stopwatch turned off, so I don’t have my exact time.  However, I know I beat that :58 minute goal.  I decided to celebrate the accomplishment, even if I don’t know the exact time.  So, Booyah me!

Here’s a picture of me with my preliminary foaming as well as glow sticks and flashing eyeglasses accessories.

FGlow

 

My friends and I went out for a late dinner after the race.  Then it was back to the hotel to wash up, down some Motrin, and go to sleep.  I will admit that I woke up a little stiff and sore today, but I downed another dose of Motrin and got moving.

The Miami Branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society holds classes very close to where I was staying, in a beautiful Koi Garden/Nursery.  Once you belong to the Society, you can take classes anywhere in the world, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and go to the two hour continuing class.  Not only did it help me continue to loosen up and stretch sore muscles and joints, but the location created a wonderful, peaceful feeling.  How could it not, when it was so lovely?   See for yourself:

Koi Gardens

From kayaking to koi gardens, I’ve done a lot.  My body is tired in that “wow-it-really-worked” kind of way.  My mind is oh-so-happy that I actually have the physical ability to have accomplished all of these things.  I never, ever, ever, want to take this fitness level for granted.  Hence, I don’t bitch too much about a little soreness or stiffness.  Instead, I celebrate and express my gratitude.

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Feeling My Age

I am close to being asleep on my feet, except that I’m not standing, so that would be asleep on my ass.    Yes, I’m that tired.   I think I’ve shared that I work for a marine mammal facility.  In addition to the animals that live in our family, we also volunteer for the state/federal agencies that are responsible for manatees.  For the last several days, our manatee rescue team has been out desperately searching for an orphaned baby.  I am not being overly, or unnecessarily dramatic when I say that the situation is critical.  If we do not find this baby, it will most likely die.

A lot of the time when we go on rescue missions, my role is pretty non-physical.  It’s been a lot different this last week.

I got back from vacation late on Friday and went out with the team all day on Saturday.  It might sound silly, but spending all day on a small boat can still be tiring – particularly coming off as active a week as my friend and I enjoyed at Universal Studios.  So, by Saturday night I was very sleepy.  Okay.  Long day.  I can deal.

I didn’t go with the team on Sunday or Monday.  Yesterday, we needed as many people spread out over the area as possible, so instead of being on the boat, I kayaked.  For at least five hours.  On the 21 Day Fix routine, yesterday would have been devoted to upper body.  Trust me.  after the kayaking, I didn’t need to run the exercise DVD.  I think my upper body got worked more than enough, thanks.  When I finally got home, all I wanted was a hot shower and an o-t-c pain reliever.  I was in bed by 10 p.m.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find the baby yesterday so we went back out today.  More kayaking for me.  I really got into the whole rhythm of the movement.  Then it got a little broken up when I jumped off of the kayak to help haul a very heavy net through the water.  Piece of cake.  Not completely unlike trying to drag a stubborn team of mules but without the mules’ ability to actually move forward on their own.

It was another long, hot, tiring, frustrating, discouraging day.  I came home, showered again and went to Tai Chi class.

Not to be all whiny and stuff, but my muscles ache, I have a headache, and, for the first time in a long time, I actually “feel my age”.  During Tai Chi class, I was so tired, I couldn’t maintain my focus on the moves.  It was awful.

To be honest, I don’t actually know what my age (56) should feel like.  I realize that it’s only an expression, but I get it tonight.  I’m sore.  I’ll be lucky if I stay awake 10 minutes after I hit Publish on this blog post.  My energy decided to take a hike.  My booyah attitude is currently M.I.A.

Sometimes I really need to force myself to remember that I’m not a kid anymore.  I’m not ready for a rocking chair and retirement, but even with my increased fitness, it’s okay for me to feel like I overexerted when that’s exactly what I did.   Maybe I’m feeling the effects of having kayaked for several hours, but I won’t lose sight of the fact that, hot damn, I kayaked for several hours!

At least these days when I feel my age, I’m age-appropriate.  There was a time when I felt far older than my years and knew, just knew, that I was getting old before my time.  This is better.  Much better.

Now it’s time for a little self-care in the form of another dose of  pain relief, followed by going to bed.  I need my rest.

The Foam Glow 5K is this Saturday.  I have to be ready!

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Getting Back on the Horse

How fitting that my previous post was about not liking roller coasters.  I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster since I got back from the staycation!  I got home late on Friday and then spent all day Saturday on a boat as part of a manatee rescue attempt.  It was a long, hot, frustrating and tiring day.  Yesterday I played catch up – which you know you always have to do that when you get back from vacation.  Today I worked  and tomorrow, we’re heading out on the boat again.  Whew!

But that’s not the point of this post.  Remember before I left I talked about wanting to enjoy myself and maintain my weight loss.  Well, I really had a great time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t rigidly maintain the weight loss.  I’m 100% sure that I’m carrying around some bloat.  History has shown that as soon as I deviate even a little from my food plan, my body sucks in water and weight gain like I’m a human sponge.

Mentally and emotionally, I’m having a very healthy, balanced reaction.  I’m not beating up on myself.  I’m not regretting the treats that I allowed myself.  Instead, I’m remembering that this isn’t really full poundage.  Simple math confirms that, if nothing else does.  Besides, even though I enjoyed some treats, I also recall walking more than 15-freaking miles in two days.

The weight will come off just as fast.

The mental/emotional balance matters a great deal because it helped me achieve the most important goal:  Getting right back on the horse today.  I woke up all energized and determined.  Took the dogs out for a brisk walk, which they enjoyed too.  After work, I started the day’s workout — Total Cardio – and gave it my all for the full 30 minutes.  Then I took the dogs for another walk.

It’s been a great day.  Booyah!

The attitude that I can take a break without destroying my whole effort is a huge, healthy improvement for me.  For years, if I messed up or took a break, it could mean the end of the entire effort and plunge me back into the phase of gaining back all of the weight that I’d lost.  I don’t want to get cocky and think, “yeah, I got this”.  Control, when one is a compulsive binge eater, is a very thin illusion.  That I can redirect myself back on the path I want to journey is a big, positive sign.

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On Not Liking Roller Coasters

One of my besties and I took ourselves off to the Universal theme parks in Orlando for a couple of days.  As you might remember from my one day whirlwind trip to Disney back in May, I avoided theme parks for many years.  I knew that I was too overweight to ride 95% of the rides, so what fun would the parks themselves be for me?

I have a confession to make.  Even before I reached my  most critical mass and top weight, back when I could probably fit in at least some rides, I avoided roller coasters.  They had the  most restrictive seats in order to ensure rider safety.   If I was already leery of simple turnstiles, I didn’t want to risk something that really would be a purposely tight fit.

Rather than admit the real reason, I just told myself and others that I didn’t like roller coasters.  All that high speed loop de looping, the jerky movements and swooping drops just weren’t my cup of tea.  That’s what I said anyway, but deep inside I had that innate fear of not being able to fit.

Lest anyone think that I feared unnecessarily, back in 1998, I actually experienced the total embarrassment of being too fat for a roller coaster.  I was in Texas.  A friend and I went to an amusement park, popped into a ride and the bar could not come down enough over my stomach to safely and securely close.

I leaped up out of the car and practically ran out of the ride.  It was so humiliating.  Except for that friend who was with me, I never confessed this to anyone else.  I couldn’t handle the admission emotionally.   From that point on, I opted to avoid all amusement park/theme park rides.

On this trip, I knew that my size would no longer matter.  I didn’t have to fear getting stuck or not fitting.  I knew that I would.  As it happens, the friend I was with L-O-V-E-S roller coasters.  I was so into the spirit of fun that I wanted to experience everything with her.

Here I would like to give big props to Universal Studios theme parks for the way that they handle potential size complications with their guests.  Outside of rides where there could be issues, they have sample seats.  There are signs posted, with very discreet, sensitive wording.

Okay, so I didn’t really expect a sign that said:  Try these seats if you could be too fat for this ride so you don’t hold up the system for the rest of the people waiting in line.

However, I really liked that they alluded to the possibility that seats might not accommodate all body dimensions.  Each of the roller coasters even had some rows with modified seats because some of the “body dimensions” that could be difficult to accommodate didn’t necessarily result from obesity but from naturally abundant “chestiness” in some women.

The employees that assisted and answered our questions were all polite, non-judgmental, friendly and helpful.  Their attitudes were very much appreciated.

My friend and I checked ourselves before the coasters and, when we knew all was well, excitedly proceeded for the rides.  The first one was the Dragon Challenge at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  My first roller coaster in my adult life and we picked one with loops, twists, upside down spins – Aiyeeeeee!

I rode most of it, screaming, and with my eyes closed for most of it.  Same thing on the Hulk coaster.  In the course of two days, we did those two, plus The Mummy (which was pretty much an in-the-dark inside coaster), Flight of the Hippogriff (a smaller coaster) and the Rip Ride Rockit.

For the first couple of rides, I was jazzed that I faced my fears and went on the rides.  Screaming with eyes closed didn’t diminish the fact that I’d done it!  However, it was pretty evident that, feeling of accomplishment aside, I lacked the, “Wow that was awesome” elation expressed by my friend.

Plus, I had some less than pleasant physical reactions.  The sudden jerks, plunges and twirls made my head ache and my jaw throb.  My neck felt like it wanted to snap no matter how hard I worked to keep my head against the headrests.  My stomach flipped inside out – or so it felt.  I, who boat all of the time without a hint of motion sickness, came out of at least one ride fighting back nausea.

For me, the worst was the last – The Rip Ride Rockit.  The only positive experience I associate with it was that I got to choose which music genre and song played in my seat during the ride.  The country choice was Kenny Chesney’s Living in Fast Forward – how appropriate!   I like the song which is  good thing because as we came out of one particularly jarring turn and momentarily slowed, I remember thinking, “When my brain bleeds, this song is the last thing I’ll remember going into my coma.”

When I got off of that ride, I realized that it would be the last time I rode a big time roller coaster.  I have nothing to prove.  I’m not saying that I don’t like them because I want to avoid the potential humiliation of not physically fitting.  I don’t like them because they aren’t fun for me.   Plain and simple.

Don’t get me wrong.  The fault is not in the rides.  They were all spectacular — for those who are fans of these kinds of thrills.   I’m simply not one of those fans.   If you love coasters, then absolutely you want to go to Universal and experience these.  They’re pretty darned amazing.  I could see that watching from the ground with my eyes open while other cars of fans screamed past.

If you’re like me, go to Universal for other things – like Harry Potter’s Escape from Gringotts in the wonderful Diagon Alley or the Despicable Me attraction or the Krustyland Simpsons ride and everything else.  Roller coasters aside, I had a great two days enjoying the Universal theme parks.

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Staycation

My second week of 21Dayfix.com resulted in a three pound loss, making my total 12 pounds in two weeks.  I’ve knocked off the weight that I let myself gain between my funk and my previous vacation.  I continue to do the workouts and follow the food plan.  It’s going well.

I’m modifying my effort this week — not skipping it.  I don’t know if that makes it more of a 14 day fix, but as I touched on in the previous post, I have a good reason.  I’m on Staycation this week!  A dear friend of mine is visiting from New Jersey.  Janet and I have been travel buddies in the past, going to Alaska and Hawaii.  She’s spending a few days with me in the Keys and then we’re visiting Universal Studios for a couple of days.

While I have a lap top computer, the DVD player in it doesn’t work, so I can’t travel with the workout DVDs and do the routine in the morning.  I am not overly concerned.  We’re doing theme parks which means we will be walking our legs off!  I am convinced that I can get in enough physical exercise, even if it won’t be the intensely concentrated 30 minute routines.

Overall, my goal for staycation week is to maintain the weight loss I’ve achieved and have fun.  Having fun does not, and should not, center around eating.  However, I don’t want to obsess about it either.  I know that in the real world, or the real fabricated world of Harry Potter, I can eat sensibly and even treat myself without plunging myself into relapse and weight gain.

Yesterday, we had a full day of activity.  I started out with a protein shake before Tai Chi class.  After class, we went out on a boat ride.  On our way to Key West, we went out to lunch.  I picked out the meat from a sandwich and ate some onion straws.  We got to Key West and walked everywhere for a few hours.  I even climbed to the top of the 65 foot tower at the Wrecker’s Museum.  About 6 pm, before we walked back down Duval to Mallory Square for the street performances, I had a snack pack of walnuts and almonds (100 calories, volume equivalent to the amount I can have with the fix program).

An hour later, we decided that instead of going somewhere for dinner, we both wanted to try the wonderful dessert-only restaurant called Better Than Sex.  My friends, it was so worth it.  I ordered something called Twist and Stout which was a chocolate cake made with three kinds of chocolate and some chocolate stout.  It had a small side accompaniment of Irish Cream Liqueur ice cream.  I savored every bite and ate less than half of it.  So, I definitely did not overeat on it and am confident that I’d done enough physical exertion throughout the day to balance out.

This is how so called  “normal people” achieve balance in their eating habits.   At least, I think that’s how they do it.  Not finishing decadent desserts at one sitting, if one meal has been more substantial, they eat less at the next.  They take into account their physical activity.  All sensible, non-disease-thinking, approaches.

Today we went for a late breakfast that, timing wise, was more of a brunch.  My plate had a selection of items on it.  I ate about half of the plate.  Skipped the home fries and toast and brought home at least half of the eggs as a treat for Nat and Pyxi.  Even so, I was satisfied.   It’s now mid-afternoon and I’m still not hungry.  If I need something before we go to dinner later, I have fruit or chicken in the house.  I can snack without going crazy.  Same thing at dinner tonight.  I can enjoy a delicious meal, bring home leftovers, and not go crazy over food.  This will be doubly satisfying.  Physically satisfying in that I’ll meet my nutritional needs in a yummy way.  Emotionally satisfying because I’ll be happy that I exhibited a strong, sensible approach and planned for success.

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Moans and Groans

I’m about to whine a titch, but I’ll preface it by saying that overall I’m still doing well with my food plan and workout regime.

Okay, now for the whine.  Two days ago, I was stressed at work and at home.  I’d brought a perfectly respectable, healthy selection of foods for my two snacks and lunch at work.  Unfortunately, I ate lunch way too fast.  For whatever reason, perfect lovely, raw baby carrots do one hell of a number on my stomach when I eat them too fast.  This made the deli turkey meat also feel like it was sticking in my stomach.  I felt like crap for the rest of the afternoon into the evening.

Yesterday, again for whatever reason, my whole body just felt off.  I think if I could have imbibed some magical that would instantaneously flush and cleanse every internal system I would have chugged it like Alice in Wonderland.  Instead, because my belly ached for hours at night, I bellyached to myself, to the dogs, to the empty room.  If a telemarketer had called, I probably would have bitched to them too.

I was that miserable.  Not so bad that I thought I needed emergency medical care or anything, but bad enough that I dissolved into one big old baby.

So, that’s the negative.  Now here’s the positive stuff I learned from the experience.  I am, indeed, capable of making adjustments for my own good when needed. I can change behavior.  Maybe I don’t do it all of the time, but I know that I can do it — and this is knowledge on which to build.

First of all, I stayed away from raw carrots for the next two days.  I also opted to replace lunch with a protein drink all together.   I had solid food in the form of one fruit snack and then dinner but I was super careful and slow in how I consumed these things.  Anything to help the digestive system so that I didn’t further irritate my stomach.

As a result, I feel much better tonight but I continue to baby myself more than I normally might.  I don’t consider this a bad thing.  I deserve to self-pamper, particularly when it sets me up for success.

I’m going to do a little more of it in a bit by soaking in a bathtub before bed.

Tomorrow is my official weigh-in day.  Even though I get on the scale every day, I count my overall success with my Friday morning weigh-ins.

I’m also psyching myself up to stay with the current program through the next several days.  One of my closest friends is coming into town for a visit.  I’m taking vacation time next week too.  I’m really looking forward to it, but don’t want to use it as an excuse to take a break from my effort.  I can still exercise every day.  I can make sure that I don’t go off of the rails with my eating too.  This is the friend that I traveled to both Alaska and Hawaii with.  She won’t mind if I choose to do a protein shake for breakfast some mornings, any more than I’ll mind that she doesn’t.  After all, she watched me drink protein shakes for the first four days of our Hawaiian cruise so that I was sure I’d make the weight limit for our zip lining adventure.

If I derail, it will be because I choose to deviate in my choices and behavior — not because of any pressure or influence from my friend.  So, I continue to tell myself now that a fun vacation time with a friend is no excuse to screw up my own effort.

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