Weighty Matters

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Happiness is a Gift

There are moments when I stop in the middle of whatever I’m doing and feel happiness wash through me.  Every time that happens I am profoundly grateful.  Happiness is a gift.  It’s precious and I don’t ever want to react with anything less than full appreciation for its presence.  I feel so blessed that  happiness is abundant in my life.

It wasn’t always this way.  There were times when I was downright miserable and could barely connect with the smallest shred of happy.  I have always felt things deeply.  My emotions run strong.  When I mourned my parents after their deaths, the pain and sadness consumed me.  I’d put on a happy face, or at least a less grief-stricken demeanor as much as I could, but the pretense exhausted me.

Even in the many non-grief years (That’s a horrible categorization but I can’t come up with a better one right at this moment.) I know now that I carried sadness with me.  It was part and parcel of my eating disorder and my obesity.  I truly don’t believe that it’s possible to be fat and jolly — at least it wasn’t for me, although I often played the role.

Now, I won’t pretend that my weight was the only reason for me not fully experiencing happiness.  There were other factors, but I always strove to achieve happiness.  I wanted it and I became willing to go to any lengths for it.

There have been things that I’ve had to come to terms with in order to realize this gift.  I’ve learned that I can be happy even though I’m not in a love relationship.  I’ll never have kids of my own and I’ve become okay with that too.  I truly believe that this developed because of a willingness to embrace acceptance as a path to serenity and joy.  By accepting what is, what I have, what is possible and not focusing on what isn’t, what I don’t have, what isn’t possible, I’m at peace with my life.  In that peace, happiness grows.

I love how sometimes I just sit in this state and smile.  It’s so much healthier than stewing in my own discontent.  I feel lighter in spirit, rather than sucked down into a quicksand of sorrow.

I also realize that I’m fortunate.  I don’t battle the disease of depression.  Some people I know are struggling.  I wish with all my heart that they will prevail.  I hope they continue to get help and that  their treatments are successful.

Their battles remind me again of the gift I’m given.  I need to nurture and protect my happiness.  That means continue to work on myself.  If I go back to old eating and laziness habits and regain weight, more than my physical recovery will be affected.  My happiness will be at risk.

I am not going to let anything take away my precious gift.

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Internet Diagnosis

You really can find answers for anything on the internet.  The answers aren’t always right.  In fact, I’ve come to believe that misinformation, rumors and frauds zoom around the web at a rate only slightly slower than the speed of light.

It’s hard to sift out the legitimate information from the crap.  That’s why I tend to not run to medical sites on the ‘net to diagnose ailments.   Now, once I have a diagnosis, I find it useful to use some respected websites to provide additional information, but I’ve learned not to go on a site and list my symptoms.  The last time I did that, I came up with multiple possibilities, with one sounding more dire than the next.

Those caveats aside, my leg continued to bother me today with a pain that’s unfamiliar.  I’m used to my usual knee pain.  (SO looking forward to the new year when I will continue those injections.)  This pain isn’t the same feeling, it doesn’t come from the same location, and it’s at its worst when I’ve been sitting or lying down for a while.  Seriously, I get out of bed or stand up from my desk chair and I am downright hobbled for the first several steps.

It reminds me of when I suffered plantar fasciitis.  If I got out of bed in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning, my foot hurt and was tight beyond belief.  I learned to stretch and flex my foot before I got up and then was taught some other stretches to use during the day.

Once this behavior comparison came up in my head, I decided to do a broad Google search for  “pain behind the knee”.  I located a couple different suggestions for what could be causing the condition.  Not being a doctor, I couldn’t determine which, if any, actually applied to me.  However, one site gave me some great suggestions.  I watched the video on where and how to press my thumbs into the muscles behind the knee going toward the upper calf.  The guy talked about how the two muscles back there often get tight, particularly after sitting for a while but that a little massage work can often loosen them up.

Since he wasn’t advocating that I get a nice, sharp kitchen knife and attempt to follow along with some DIY surgery, I figured I was safe giving my muscles a little rubdown.  Specifically a push-pull-release action.

Much to my surprise and delight, the approach worked!  About a minute of working my thumbs into and around the muscles behind my knee significantly loosened them and allowed me to work without such a stiff, painful limp.

About an hour after I first tried this, I had again been sitting at my desk.  This time, before I stood up and attempted to walk, I did some muscle massage.  Again, it loosened up things and walking was much more comfortable.  I’m sold to the point that when I get up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, I’m going to put my thumbs to work on releasing those muscles before I even attempt to get out of bed.

I might still not have a diagnosis – Internet or otherwise – but for now I appear to have a useful treatment plan.


Feeling a Little Whiny

My leg hurts.  Throbbing and aching, it’s stiffer than usual.  I hobbled back to my medicine cabinet for some OTC pain relief and also rubbed it with arnica gel.  I’m going to get an ice pack and move it around to the different places on my leg where I need relief.

This is annoying and, like I said, it hurts.  I don’t enjoy sitting around in pain.  Who would?  I’m also at a loss to explain why it’s bothering me so much tonight.  I had an active day, but not much more than I have most days.  I went for a six to eight mile bike ride this morning followed by a short walk with the dogs.

As I said in yesterday’s post. I’m putting my house back together.  Part of that task involved me renting a rug cleaner today to deep clean a couple of area rugs that were filthy.  Honestly, I should have cleaned them eons before now.

I’ve never rented a rug cleaning machine and done the process.  It wasn’t all that difficult, just time consuming.  Even though you go kind of slow, it also takes more energy than expected.  Still, it wasn’t like I had to run laps while cleaning the carpets.

After I cleaned the rugs, I hung up more pictures, dusted, and put a bunch of books back on my bookshelves.  I then loaded the rug cleaning machine back into the car and returned it to the home improvement store.  From there I drove up to my storage unit to haul out my Christmas tree and holiday decorations.  One quick stop at the supermarket and then I came home.

I unpacked the groceries, left the holiday decorations in the car,  came inside and all but collapsed 0n my sofa.  I was absolutely exhausted.  Unfortunately, I knew I couldn’t just stay reclining with my feet up, but I rested for the first quarter of the football game and then pushed to get some more stuff done.  It took a while but I finally was satisfied with the amount of work I accomplished for the day and felt like I could stop.

Before I settled in for the rest of the football game, I peeled, chopped and sauteed some veggies and put together a soup that needed to simmer for an hour.  Then I stretched out again and elevated my throbbing leg.

The soup — a parsnip/apple/peanut butter concoction — was delicious.  My team lost their football game.   The checks are written for my bills.  My carpets look so much better.  The load of laundry I did is finished except for folding and putting away the clothes.  The house is neat and clean.  And…. my leg still freakin’ hurts!  So, I’m going to finish this blog post, take another does of pain relief,  get out the ice pack and sit around with my leg up.

If need be, I will also continue to whine.  The dogs don’t mind or, if they do, they’re not sharing that opinion.


Shedding Things That No Longer Have Value

After several months of off and on remodeling, 99.9% of the work is finished.  This weekend I’m focused on deep cleaning, rehanging artwork and photographs, once more displaying items that I love and, since it’s the season, decorating for the holidays.

Although I got a start on it all today, I didn’t make quite as much progress as I’d planned.  I got sidetracked when pulling everything out of the room of doom storage room.  First it all needed a good dusting, and cleaning.  During the process, I found myself carefully considering each piece.  Was it something I wanted to display again? Did I like it as much as I once did?  Was it just something that I’d accumulated at some point and its importance had diminished over the years, or did it still hold value in my life?

As I progressed, I realized that I was making thoughtful decisions about what to keep and what to discard.  My choices weren’t based solely on beauty or monetary assessment.  The things I keep have value to me.  They please my eyes, cause me to smile, bring to mind a good memory, or show me the smiling faces of people I love.  Some are pieces familiar to me since childhood.  Some are mementos of more recent experiences.  They all have a place in my home and in my life.

The whole process is sort of a metaphor.  There are old habits, ways of thinking, ways of behaving, and even attitudes that hold no value for me.  They must have once had purpose, but ultimately they contributed to an unhealthy eating disorder and super obesity.  I’ve worked hard on shedding them in the last almost three years.   Like the excessive pounds that I carried on my body, I’ve needed to work them away.

Like today’s activities were all about putting my house in order, my efforts on my eating disorder, my weight loss, my physical fitness, are about putting myself in order.  I’m determined to keep only the behaviors, habits, thoughts and attitudes that are valuable to me.

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Enjoying Good Food

Every two weeks I get an order of fresh organic produce delivered at work.  Several of us are part of an organic buying club, which is kind of cool.  The club offers a greater, fresher variety than is currently carried by our local supermarket.

In the last almost-three years, I’ve deliberately tried a number of foods that I didn’t previously eat, or at least didn’t prepare for myself.  I’ve also taught myself to cook different foods and experimented with recipes, flavor combinations and the like.  In produce alone I’ve grown to love making brussels sprouts and beets.  I’ve tried slow-roasting or grilling veggies.  I’ve even experimented with making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes and will continue trying different recipes in that arena.

The goal of all these and other efforts was to increase my appreciation and enjoyment of eating healthier foods and foods prepared in healthier ways.  Today, for example, I really enjoyed a salad at lunch that I’d put together of crisp romaine lettuce, roasted beets, toasted walnuts and a few small chunks of goat cheese, lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The flavors and textures were so enjoyable from the sweetness of the beets to the tangy cheese to the crunchy nuts.  It all simply tasted so good!

This week’s organics share included parsnips.  By coincidence, I ran across a recipe on the internet for parsnip, apple and peanut butter soup.  I believe I’m going to try making that this weekend.

What I have discovered over the months of cultivating more appreciation for better quality foods, is that I have progressively lost my taste for other, junkier foods.  Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that I will always like the occasional serving of salty, fatty, crunchy potato chips or a piece of fried chicken – but those cravings don’t come to me with any great frequency.

I have completely lost my desire for fast food burgers, fries, and milkshakes.  In years past, when driving by one of the big chain burger restaurants, if I caught a whiff of the aromas, I’d feel instant desire to pull into the drive-through lane.  During the worst years of my binge eating, I could easily order enough food for two people.  In fact, I’d order two sodas so that the counter people would actually think I was ordering for two people.  Now, the aromas make me a little queasy and definitely don’t lure me in to get any of the food.

Unfortunately, although I’ve tried, I’m yet to succeed at training my taste buds to like any seafood.  That might never happen.  However, my food choices are so much more healthy than they used to be, and that’s a tremendous plus!



Good Food Days

Everyone recovered from the holiday food coma?  If you put on a few pounds over the weekend, don’t panic!  It’s the body’s normal reaction to probably eating differently than you normally do.   If your body’s like mine, I can suck on four pounds of bloat without blinking.  Thankfully, I can get rid of it quickly too.

On the phone tonight with a friend  I shared that I had a good food day.  Then I realized I probably needed to explain what I meant.  Good food day could be interpreted different ways.  It could be a day when one eats lots of good food.  That was certainly true, but more importantly, it’s the way that I went through the day.  I was not besieged by compulsion.  I didn’t constantly think about food, nor did I suffer constant cravings.  I didn’t wish I could dive face first into an open bag of junk snack food.

All I did was mix up a nutritional, tasty smoothie for breakfast.  I planned, prepared, and packed two snacks and my lunch.  When I got home after work and a stop at the supermarket, I cooked the meal that I’d also planned and ate it in a relaxed, easy way.  (Grilled skirt steak with a salad of grilled romaine, roasted beets, a sprinkle of toasted walnuts, and some goat cheese crumbles.)  A short time ago, I had my evening snack and a cup of tea.

I’m satisfied.  I’m not craving more or wondering if it would hurt if I had a spoonful or two of (fill in the blank).

Translated, I am not white-knuckling and battling my eating disorder.  Any day when I am not regularly beset with food thoughts to the point where my compulsive desire to eat is fueled is one that goes in the Good Food Day category.  So, booyah for me!

Since I had a pretty good weekend food-wise, I feel strong and serene.  I decided not to do the full three day detox.  Instead, I went two days and then ate a small, healthy lunch and dinner yesterday.  I also got out for a few good walks and a long bike ride over the weekend.  Overall, I felt like I took really good care of myself.

Good food days, good program days, are important.  I can only do this recovery one day at a time and every day matters.