Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nurse's notes and awards

I'm happy to report that I am feeling good. Really good. Knock on wood! Friday evening after the surgery, my knee was really hurting, which I didn't experience after the first scoping, so it made me a little nervous. But I used the Vicodan every 4 hours as needed, and when I got up yesterday morning expecting the sharp burning pain I'd had the night (and week) before to kick in upon weight bearing, it sort of wasn't there! It was sore and stiff, but entirely different from the middle of the night. And since then, I've been taking it completely easy - using crutches for walking, though I see that I can do pretty well without them. I'm doing everything I can to ease this healing process, and so the crutches are part of the plan for ALL walking this weekend. The knees are feeling guardedly optimistic!! Yay! And now I'm really looking forward to the sanctioned down time and will be able to enjoy it since my knee isn't killing me with every breath!

One note - Friday morning before my surgery, I weighed myself - not having a clue what the number was going to be, since I'd been eating a little more freely, though with no bingeing at all. I had myself prepared to see a 5 pound gain, so was thrilled to still be 199 - having maintained from the week before. Woo hoo! As I look back over the months, it seems I really only gain weight if I have several binges in a week. Having none and eating normally, even without much activity, does not pack on the pounds. But I am wanting to lose many more, and will hopefully merge back into my plan over the next week or 2.

I've been very fortunate to receive a couple of awards lately, and am just now getting around to acknowledging them. I received this award a while back, but was thrilled that Journey Beyond Survival bestowed it on me again. JBS has a wonderful blog where she writes about her running, and her very busy young family that keeps her endlessly on her toes. Thank you so much. The rules are to tell 10 things about myself you don't already know. Given my propensity toward diarrhea mouth, there may not be 10 things you don't know at this point, but I'll try.
1. I'm left handed. Yes - this is a sign of profound brilliance and brain power.
2. I was born with only one wisdom tooth. It was pulled about 8 months ago. I may have already told this, but it's so interesting that surely it's worth a second mention. What? You disagree?
3. I was the first girl in my 6th grade class to weigh 100 lbs. And I wasn't a fat kid.
4. I had a little sailboat called a pram growing up. I sailed it around Boca Ciega Bay, which is an offshoot of Tampa Bay. The boat was red, the sail: red, white and blue.
5. The farthest west I've ever been is Chicago. I have been to Europe, though.
6. My mom was a kick-a$$ seamstress who made a lot of my clothes when I was in elementary school. After that, I wasn't interested in that homemade crap.
7. Favorite 3 TV shows ever: original Bob Newhart Show (with Suzanne Pleshette), Frasier, and Six Feet Under.
8. My first car - a rusty chalky red VW Beetle - the original version
9. First diet ever - 7th grade - the Stillman Diet, which was essentially all protein, very little salad, and water. I lost 10 pounds I didn't need to over about 4 days, fainted, and that was the end of that.
10. Favorite flavor - lemon.

The next award was given to me by dear Kristina from Off The Couch, and lovely Katie J: The Sunshine Award. It's given to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire other bloggers. Wow, not sure I deserve it, but it's something to live up to. Thanks so much to Kristina and Katie J. Both awards are to be passed on to other bloggers, but it seems that these awards have made the rounds very thoroughly in the last weeks. I read every single blog on my blog roll regularly, and honestly believe each blogger deserves these awards. Please, PLEASE grab these awards if you haven't received them. I love all the blogs I read, for different reasons. Blogging seems win/win to me. Good me me, good for others (hopefully). A very satisfying endeavor, indeed.

Well, it's time for me to journey from the desk to the couch, for nap number 3 of the day! I hope the remainder of the weekend is good for everyone. With greatest appreciation - your at last almost pain-free blog buddy - Leslie

Friday, February 26, 2010

Surgery over

I'm home. The procedure went fine, I'm told. The doc said about the same things he did last time...torn meniscus, arthritis, cleaned it all up. Said rehab will likely be similar - only this time Leslie ain't pushing it or rushing things. This time, post op like pre op, it is much more painful so I will be using the pain medication to the max if I need, which I do now. Walking hurts like hell. Thank God for crutches. I never used them one time after the last surg. Quite different.

That's it - thanks for good wishes and inquiries. Not sure when I'll be back but wanted to give my dear blog buds the update. Take care.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pre-op post

We're having another Nor'easter/snowstorm/"snowicane" (coined by local weather folk because of the forecast of high winds) today into tomorrow that I'm praying will not cause my arthroscopy to be postponed. The doctor's office called this morning to say that my doc has every intention of being at the surgery center in the morning, and they were checking my (and other patients') status. I assured them I would be there come hell or high water, neither of which is likely given the wind-driven snow. So for now, unless this storm does turn into one of Biblical proportions, it seems that the surgery will be a go.

Leslie doesn't do downtime too well. I'm easing into it, but find myself thinking that a trip to Tar-zhay would provide endless entertainment value. It would, but I don't need a thing, and within 5 minutes I'd likely have to crawl back to my car. The crutches are great for walking around the house, but wouldn't allow a good Target browse so I'd have to use the cane. And every joint in my body plus the palm of my left hand would be screaming out. Damn - do I sound geriatric or what???

It's funny...there are currently 3 people in my daily 7 a.m. AA meeting who are awaiting joint surgery, with mine being by far the least in scope (ha ha, no pun intended with the arthroSCOPE-y I'm having). One is getting a new hip in a month, and one is getting 2 new knees. Yesterday morning, all 3 of us came in together hobbling on our canes, and I noted that it appeared the bus from the Senior Center had just arrived. It's nice to have fellow limpers in the midst.

My eating has been really pretty good. Not perfect, but no bingeing. I haven't felt like bingeing at all, by the grace of God. Plus, it's not like I can get a yen for something and hop in the in hot pursuit of said treat. Well, I can in theory, but it hurts a lot and I have to lumber through the aisles like a slew-footed beast. So a passing thought of "umm, _______ would sure taste good now" really doesn't take hold. My dear enabling husband would dash out and get whatever I asked for, but even I have enough pride to not go there. So - there's a big pot of spaghetti sauce simmering that will tide us over for the next few days, and plenty of l=other decent stuff. I managed to burn to black a nice pan of brussel sprouts and onions I roasted - should have taken a picture for comedic value. Only to me it wasn't comedy - it was tragic. They would have been yummy.

I did take a few pics of some of the things I'm finding to keep myself occupied:

I love Pat Conroy's writing so am excited to start his newest, South of Broad. A friend said it's wonderful, despite the only 3 star reviews it's gotten. The knitting is a sock - first of a pair. I've gotten a lot done on it this week.

My heating pad is a constant companion - not on the bad knee, but everywhere else that feels cold or stiff! The main event in the newspaper is the jumble, sudoku and crossword puzzle.

I never by Woman's World magazine, but couldn't resist with Dr. Oz on the cover. I'm an easy sell.

Below is my favorite private duty nurse. Despite what the camera did to his eyes, he isn't Little Orphan Annie's dog.

Dressing the dog in old sweatshirts is an excellent source of evil humor. He tolerates it very nicely, as I roll on the floor laughing (actually I didn't get on the floor with him this time as I might not have been able to get up).

Barring the aforementioned Storm of the Century, this will be my last post before the scope tomorrow. I'll find out in 45 minutes what time I'm supposed to show up at the surgery center. Wish me well - and shoot up a prayer that my orthopedic surgeon doesn't decide to tie one on tonight, leaving him hungover and sloppy in the morning! I'm not worried - he's a good guy, and did a good job on lefty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Let me be brief - please!

I'm going to be atypically brief today. Finally, you all are thinking! Yesterday turned out busier than I expected, with the Gyn app't and trip to grocery store after. Not smart. Once home, I ended up with ice on the right knee and a heating pad on my right cheek (the one on which I sit, not chew) from achy tiredness. Better today on both counts.

I did not make a cake for the birthday man. I did get him the last box of Trefoils (now called Shortbread) Girl Scout cookies my local scout was pedling. They are his favorite and so also his birthday dessert. I expect they will last him a week. I would inhale a sleeve in 30 minutes. He'll have 1 or 2 a day...WTF? Why bother? They aren't decadent enough to trip me up, so they're safe in the house, though come to think of it, I have no idea where he put them. He's finally learning, smile.

The new Gyn was fine - not warm and fuzzy, but not cold. She cracked a smile at a couple of my excrutiatingly funny remarks, so I'm in it for the duration with her. My luck, she'll decide to retire or move on in the coming months. There was a ridiculous amount of walking at that office complex that helped jack up my right hip. Everything is just out of alignment, and it doesn't take much to cause a new ache. Even my left hand is feeling bruised from using the cane! Shows how much I'm leaning on it, so I'm trying to modify that a bit.

I'm spending a lot of time envisioning myself walking the loop at my beloved Ridley Creek State Park. In fact, just walking freely is a good visualization that calms me and motivates me to be sane and prudent and patient with the whole process. I'm getting my hair miraculously de-grayed today as I'm taking on a monochromatic look that people with my coloring get when the hair "lightens". That will be my big outing. A gal can't get her knee scoped with gray roots now, can she? I look old enough as I lumber along with a cane and a limp. Egads - what a vision!

My food was great yesterday until after dinner. I got into extra after dinner snacking that I regret today. Not terrible. But unnecessary. I thought about it before I indulged. I wasn't hungry. But I had an extra cup of yogurt, a SFNF pudding. And a string cheese. Just dumb. I don't want to do that today. The urge will come, but I'm going to try and wait it out and not run away from myself, even a little bit. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010


I just went for my 2nd pre-op clearance in 3 months! Even my doctor thinks it's totally stupid that I'm having a simple arthroscopy for the 2nd time in 12 weeks. My last pre-op physical was entirely normal, nothing has changed. "It's a racket", Doctor Meyer and I chimed together. The insurance industry mandates stupid stuff and refuses to pay the providers if every little dumb extra unnecessary thing isn't carried out to the letter. No wonder costs are out of control. We had a good chat about what a broken health care and health insurance system we have in this country. I really wonder how it will be for kids when they are older and have their own families. Anyhoo - all went well, and I'm in a holding pattern until Friday.

Today is Mr. Leslie's birthday. He's 61 - I really hooked up with an old dude. In honor of his birthday, I coerced him to let me take a picture to post: Note massive snow still piled up outside the window. He's a great guy - better to me than I am to him at times. He's doing his best to play nurse and all-around gopher for me during my time of confinement (sounds like I'm birthing a baby, God forbid!). The birthday tradition at our house has always been that the birthday celebrant gets to pick his/her dinner. Guess who the only one is that always wants to go out for her birthday? Yup, the cook. Tom's choice is always Norwegian meatballs, a recipe from his paternal grandmother that my MIL hoodwinked me into learning way back in the dark ages prior to our nuptials. It's a yummy recipe, which I've simplified and defatted substantially over the years, and hub says mine are better than any of his lineage's versions. Sadly for hub, I'm tabling the making of the meatballs, because they're a sh*tload of work, and the worst thing for my knees right now is standing. So I made a nice beef stew in the crock pot yesterday that will be the birthday dinner, and the meatballs are on hold til further notice. I may make an angel food cake from a mix, but haven't decided on that yet. He's perfectly happy without it but will certainly partake if I make it. However, his partake-age and mine are driven by different motives, and I'm not looking for something to trigger a binge. Probably no go on the cake. Birthday's really take a hit when the nest empties out!

After returning home from the doc's this morning, I did make us a great breakfast that I saw on, where else, TJ's blog yesterday. She got it from another great blog, Diva Weigh - I think TJ adjusted it to make it a great WW recipe, that yields 1 point per serving. Both Diva Weigh and TJ have the recipe posted, so I'll leave that to anyone interested to look it up. I decided to do a photo essay of my frittata, mainly because I have way too much time on my hands! Lucky you guys!! Here goes -

On the plate with my slice of frittata, are a few cheery tomatoes (deliberate typo - I love them!) and some cut up fresh pears tossed with a little lemon juice and half a packet of Splenda. Delicious breakfast. The recipe calls for some chopped green chili peppers which I thought I had but didn't. I think they'd add a good kick. So would a tbs. of salsa, which I also didn't have. But it was great just as is. Thanks to the ladies for sharing this yummy recipe.

I totally forgot until this morning that I have a Gyn app't this afternoon with a new doc, as my last one retired after the health care system jerked her around one too many times. I hope I like this new gal. I have a completely normal history in the woman department, so it will be more annoyance than necessity. Not sure how my knee will respond to the stirrups, though it actually feels good to gently bend it, so maybe it will be a non-event.

Have a good day everyone.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A day's journey

It's 6 a.m. Sunday morning and I've been reading and commenting on blogs for about an hour. I'm a morning girl through and through - early to bed, early to rise. Instead of going to my usual 7 a.m. meeting today, I'm going to one at 8 a.m. - really chill-axin' this Sunday.

I feel emotional right now. It's mostly good stuff, but a little remorse and regret is in the mix. It's come from reading some amazing posts from wonderful co-journey-ers in our puffy-heart blogging community and my subsequent reflecting on my own journey. It's never good to compare myself to someone else. The useful thing is to compare myself to myself and take stock on how I'm doing. Yet reading others' posts can lead me to inevitable thoughts of "they're doing better than me...". I'm human, so the whole comparing thing is gonna happen. But I know enough to not stop the thinking at that point.

Truth is, many people are doing "better" than me. Some are about where I am, which is languishing on a self constructed plateau of shaky fluctuating maintenance - not really going in the downward (on the scale) direction for now - but wanting desperately to begin moving again. And some are just trying to muster the willingness, oomph and desire to enter into this arena and show up for the challenge. I first wrote fight, but that sounded harsh. For me though, this process often is a fight. The enemy lies within my flesh and is a worthy strong opponent. The addict. Stronger than I am when I'm vulnerable or trying to do it on my own.

The first blog I read this morning was wonderful Tammy. Sometimes I think she reads my mind and then writes my thoughts, because we're so similar in many ways. She was feeling frustrated about having a rough eating weekend. Yup, me too. But she also wrote about her kickass work at the gym, about representing herself boldly with her trainer, requesting a little more variety and intensity. Wow, unbelievable and inspiring.

She also talked about a couple of other bloggers' posts yesterday that she found so motivating and helpful, and in so doing, sent me to the links. One was Jacksh*t - known and loved by zillions and whose humor, hard work and HUGE heart have gotten him in great shape while helping and motivating so many every day. Yesterday's post of Jack's was a rerun, and so good that I need to buy the hard copy and play it everyday. I won't summarize (Tammy did a good job of it), but it boiled down to removing as many obstacles to success as possible. Make failure IMPOSSIBLE. Please click the link and read it - it's short but amazing.

The second link Tammy sent me to was Zaababy's Friday post - which is a blog I haven't read, but will now! She's had consistent success since beginning her journey about 9 months ago. She was reporting some very major NSVs, and her gratitude will jump out of the screen and wrap you in warm fuzzy love and hope. Most notable was Tammy noting how she and Zaababy started at about the same time with blogging, and how Zaa has lost almost double the weight Tammy has. Ahhh, that's what got me thinking.

In my comment to Tammy, I reflected on how when I went below 200 for the first time back in August, many bloggers, most notably in my mind Chris and 266, were in the 220s, I think. Maybe a little higher. Today, 266 is at 163 lbs. Chris is in the 170s somewhere. Many other bloggers have left me in their dust. And I am in the high 190s on a good day. I've been as low as 192. And the author of this reality - MOI. I'm not beating myself up. I wish I had already experienced the downward mobility I so desire in scale land.

All this real information in real time is what has left me with a little regret and remorse.


It's now 4 p.m.! I got a tad sidetracked from this morning's post. Just as well, because the input that has come my way through various venues over the day (an AA meeting, church, talking to a friend, reading some recent posts) have entirely erased the regret and remorse that people who were "behind" me are now "way ahead" of me. This isn't a race. I'd like to return to a steady weight loss mode and think I'm close to that. But for whatever reason, my path, unique and imperfect, is available to teach me the things I need to know to bring me further along to being the best Leslie I can. The task is still there - doable, achievable, realistic and waiting for me.

Once again I forgot to do my Honest Scrap Award stuff. Tomorrow for sure. It's strange but wonderful to know that I don't have to go to work and have no real obligations other than resting my knees and deciding what to read or watch, and when to nap! My pre-op physical is tomorrow (so stupid, since I just did all this 3 months ago - at least I don't need another EKG because the last was "perfect". Not a bad thing to have perfect. My food is good today so far and I intend to keep it that way. So the emotions of the day have ebbed and flowed as they always do. It's right here in black and white! Went from feeling somber to serene in 10 hours. If that can happen, I have to know that binge thoughts will change too, if I wait them out rather than feeding them!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unfinished business

I've decided that this be my last Perfect 10 update as I'm going to withdraw from the challenge. I'm not withdrawing from the journey, my goals, my blog, or my weight loss efforts. But with a second knee surgery in 12 weeks coming up in 6 days and the genuine pain the knee is generating (that the left knee didn't at all before I got it scoped), my focus is to maintain my physical status as it is now (translate: no gaining, bingeing or self-sabotage). Running a close second in the focus category is not doing ANY damage to my almost fully rehabbed left knee - which means I won't be getting in the pool or even going to the gym. In fact, doing much walking at all is risky, as he knee is rendering me "all bent up" and unable to walk with decent body alignment or the ever popular sure-footedness without the cane the PT at my job gave me after my first surgery. I'm very wobbly and unstable, not terribly proficient with the cane, and a bit like a deer in headlights over this revoltin' development. It's taking up a lot of space in my life/consciousness/head right now. Subsequently I didn't post yesterday because I've mentally shifted to survival mode and the thought of listing my Perfect 10 stuff seemed like TFM (too f-ing much), even though I had a not terrible week. So here's the last update for now. Next Friday I'll be under the knife, and the week following won't be able to do much. Stepping away from the challenge just makes sense. If you don't agree, I still love you. But don't necessarily need to hear about it, smile smile.

1. Lose 20 pounds by end of challenge - measured by weekly weigh-in Friday mornings and posting result. Last week - 198. This week - 198.4. I'm okay with that as...I'm not gonna lie...I've done a little "food to soothe the aching psyche" eating this week. Not out of control, and no binges. Larger portions, and butter on my sweet potato kind of eating. Several meals out with friends.

2. 30 minutes of cardio 6x/week. Did 3 - Friday, Saturday and Monday. It was the Monday 2.4 mile dog walk on icy streets with Lou's BFF and his Mom who is one of my BFFs that I believe put the last nail in the coffin of my shaky right knee. Tuesday the knee tanked, and that was it.

3. 15 minutes of quiet time/meditation 3x/week. Done. Actually did 5 days and lived to tell about it. Didn't encounter any ghouls in my dark interior!! heh heh

4. Write down all food. Not one time.

I've been thinking about Steve (the originator of this challenge) a lot this week as he's been navigating the loss of his dear father. Not surprisingly, he's striving to get back to his day to day routines a little at a time, including getting our updates. I just want to say how much I appreciate and respect Steve, for so many reasons. He's pursued his own journey to weight loss and better health with remarkable consistency and success. He's been a faithful supporter and motivator to countless others on the path to optimal fitness. He posts daily, does wonderful motivational videos, visits and comments on others' blogs, and comes up with inspired ideas like this wonderful challenge that can really help us get fired up and re-invigorated for the journey after the holiday season. And now, we see him supporting is family, talking about the wonderful relationship he's had with his Dad, sharing real emotions. Thanks for being a wonderful human being, Steve.

This was the first blogdom challenge I did, since entering this kingdom back in June. It's been helpful for me in so many ways. Just learning to set goals that are realistic and achievable and to stay accountable has been a very positive experience for me. Once I get through this next knee phase, I hope another challenge arises out there that I can enter.

I think I would probably do things a little differently regarding setting goals. Perhaps I was a little lofty about 20 pounds in 10 weeks. Sure, it was/is doable, given I have 30-35 pounds yet to lose. Doable yes. Realistic? Maybe not so much. I set that goal after my first knee surgery, before I'd even begun physical therapy. Whaaaa??? Same with exercise - 30 minutes 6x/week when I'm still not cleared for physical therapy. Next time, I might shoot for a pound a week rather than 2. 20 minutes of movement (maybe not true cardio YET) 3x/week. If more is achieved - WOOT! My inability to really engage in the kind of physical activity is was doing prior to the first knee injury but setting an unrealistic goal began to eat away at my good feeling about my progress. Ate away at my self esteem in that regard. Made me not want to be honest in my reporting, though I have been. Feeling like a flunkie at best, a failure at worst.

All that said, I think the goals I set regarding meditation and food tracking were/are great for me. Small behavioral shifts for a finite period of time. And to limit the meditation to 15 minutes, knowing that if I do it, I always sit for 30 or more. There is a new challenge I've been reading about (I think someone named Trina) that sounds good because the focus is on small weekly mini goals and a 1 pound a week overall goal. I haven't signed up because I see I just need to focus on getting through the next couple of weeks. But reading of that challenge (sorry I don't recall the name) has made me realize that there is a reason Steve suggested realistic, doable goals - as opposed to expansive ones that expansive Leslie created.

So. My personal goal for this next week, to be reported on March 1 which is the Monday after my Friday surgery this week, is to not gain weight. None. Stay the same. I'll still be doing my usual posting, but commit to an honest update March 1.

Last thing is that Journey Beyond Survival gave me an Honest Scrap award last night. I'm delighted, honored and just all fuhklempt! I will address the award's rules of listing 10 unknown things about myself (can there be any left?!?) and passing it on in my next post. I was going to do it today, but as usual, me went on and on and want to spare you guys more of my verbal cabbage for this day! Happy Saturday everyone :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

And the diagnosis is...

The verdict is in. A complex tear of the right knee medial meniscus. Poo. I'm not surprised because this injury is more painful than the left one ever was, so I knew that there had to be something REAL and acute going on. Next Friday, the 26th, I'll be having another arthroscopy to clean up the shredded mess that is floating about my patella and related parts. I'm okay with it - mainly glad that it's fixable, and that I'm not imagining this knee pain. Also I have the recent experience of the December arthroscopy that, despite a dicey recovery for a few weeks, has ultimately yielded a good result. That will go a long way to reassure me this time and keep me optimistic.

One difference this go 'round is I'm not going back to work until at least 2 weeks after the procedure. For the left knee, because it wasn't too painful before the surgery, I worked up to the day before. There is no way, given the physical nature of my job, that I could do it this time because the knee really hurts, and compromises my walking a lot. I know that if I push it, I will be putting the newly healed left side at risk, and I'm not feeling like playing alternating knee scopes for the remainder of my days, of which I hope there will be MANY. Days full of physical strength, activity and well being.

So I'm officially out, per doctor's note, through at least March 12. Knowing my tendency towards activity junkie-hood, this will be a challenge for me. I love down time, but also recognize my need for structure in each day. The universe is telling me it's time to sl-o-o-o-o-o-w down for a sustained period. That 15 minutes of meditation 3x/wk that is one of my Perfect 10 goals - should be easy. The stacks of books and magazines piled on most horizontal surfaces in my house - time to be read. Knitting projects - bring 'em on. Movies - perhaps I can become a small scale critic 'cuz I'll have time to watch plenty. 4th step inventory to explore my eating behaviors and reticence to lose more weight - I'll be all over it. It all sounds so good and appealing right now. But I know myself and that my internal itchiness will be impulsively urging me to go and do, rather than just be. And I need and want to just be.

Interesting that simply writing of my need and desire to "just be" causes my throat to constrict, my eyes to fill. I'm not sure what those visceral responses are telling me, but I know that I'm going to have time find out...if I will. Feels a little scary, like falling softly over a cliff, hoping for buoyancy but fearing free fall into abyss.

That's all I have right now. Maybe feeling a little somber, but I'm not upset about needing the arthroscopy. Actually I have no clue what I'm feeling now, but I do know that my absence of feelings is not because I've eaten them down. Have had a clean day - only had lunch because of the morning appointments.

Numb. That's where I am for the moment. But the capillaries will refill and feelings will return. And since I'm sort of down for the count, I'll be here to recognize those feelings as they manifest if I don't stuff them away with food. I can and will abstain from crazy consumption of crap for the rest of the day, thereby giving myself a shot at what's going on in my head and heart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WOWW - Working On Wellness & Wholeness

I'm determined to have a more positive post today. I stayed home from work since I am still extremely gimpy. Saw my primary this morning who gave me a script for an MRI of the right knee, and I was able to get it scheduled for 7:30 tonight. Thank goodness! This way, I can take the CD with me to the orthopedic doc tomorrow morning and find out what's cookin' in the limb. I'm very relieved to have all these ducks in a row, because I want to get moving on the discovery and subsequent treatment process, if one is indicated.

This morning I've been able to walk a little better, but still create the image from afar of an lame old lady I suspect. Being elevator phobic, I walked up the steps one flight at the primary's office, and it was quite a scene. My husband stayed a few steps behind me, presumably to get knocked backwards himself if I went catapulting downwards. He thinks he was there to "catch me" in case I took a dive. Since I outweigh him by 25 pounds, that might not be so simple for him. BUT! I used to outweigh him by as much as 70 pounds, and even a little more for a short time. And that was not during pregnancies. Progress, yes? Actually, over the last 10 years, he's gained 20 lbs (all the way up to 175 at 6'1", from his long time weight of 155 - he's a runner but has had to scale back a bit over the years) and I've lost 30 from my highest. So not as much progress as it initially sounds, but I claim it proudly. Also I say with certainty that hubby looks good with a little more fullness in his face, which is about the only place you see his extra lbs. He used to be quite angular looking... think of cro-magnon man with emphasis on cheekbones, brows and chin line. The little extra meat has softened his facial structure a bit and I like it!

I want to say again how much I love blogging, with the warmest, fuzziest, puffiest love there is. Yesterday I got several emails from bloggers - just touching base either about a comment I made on one of their blogs or responding to something I posted about. This is so meaningful for me. Community is vital for this recovering-from-too-many-addictions gal (almost said girl but thought my daughter would tell me later that I ain't no girl). I've found the most amazing community of fellow broken folks in AA - the best people in the world. But our blogging community ranks right up there in my heart. Not only do I experience support, inspiration, acceptance and motivation, I also get a chance to write a bit, which is one of my truest and best forms of self expression. What a gift we have in each other - and that goes for far beyond the blogging community.

The whole time I've been writing, I haven't noticed my knee at all. Of course I'm sitting down, but if I consciously think about it, I can start to sense discomfort. There is a story in the Big Book (the AA basic text) written by a recovering doctor who writes of the "magnifying mind" that we all have. "It was as if I had, rather than a Midas touch which turned everything to gold, a magnifying mind that magnified whatever if focused on." (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 418)

He noted that early in his marriage, he saw things in his wife that others didn't see: beauty, charm, a gift for being easy to talk to, good sense of humor... But as his drinking (and thinking) got worse, the alcohol (substance of choice) affected his vision to where instead of seeing good, he began focusing on her defects - and as he focused on the negative, the negative increased..."The more I drank, the more she wilted." (pg 419)

"Then one day in AA, I was told that I had the lenses in my glasses backwards: "the courage to change" in the Serenity Prayer meant not that I should change my marriage, but rather I should change myself and learn to accept my spouse as she was. AA has given me a new pair of glasses. I can again focus on my wife's good qualities and watch them grow and grow and grow." (pg 419)

Obviously I didn't write this all out to talk about marriage, but rather the notion that what we focus on does, in fact, intensify and enlarge. And even overwhelm. It applies to just about every aspect of my life. If I stay focused on the poor me's about my knee, my weight, my job - basically count my miseries on a daily basis, I will feel hopeless and powerless. I can't change the big events - my eff-ed up knee for example. But I can take action by doing the next right thing - whatever it is. Call the doc. Don't swim. Don't take that walk I took Monday on snow and ice when my knee was already hurting quite a bit.

Abraham Lincoln said "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be." Amen. And sure, that can sound like a bunch of happy horse sh*t when there are serious big things going on. But still, even under dire circumstances, we can elect to stay open-minded, positive, prayerful. Whatever one can muster in a storm. I honestly forget this stuff, so maybe I'm writing about it to remind myself. Maybe this is a thing I can change - my mopey poor-me-knees focus. Today I'm focusing on the fact that whatever is causing my knee crap can be remedied somehow. All is not lost. I'm still me, and the only person who thinks I'm "less than" because I can't power down at the gym right now is me.

I'll shut up in a minute, but not before saying one more AA nugget about self-pity: "Poor me, poor me, pour me a drink." Yep - that's where my negativity can send me. Maybe not to a the liquor cabinet today, but definitely to this food addict's favorite emporium, the candy aisles at the local drug store.

Once again I've written 80 more paragraphs than I intended. Oh well - I'm powerless over whether anyone reads one word of it or not. But I sure feel better for writing it all out! Will update tomorrow on the MRI and orthopod visit! Ya'll come back now, hear?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FIX ME NOW - all of me

Today my right knee is so painful that I am having difficulty walking. It's a burning pain that pulses when I walk on it, esp. down stairs or down a ramp. It's worse than my left ever was prior to its arthroscopy. I called my ortho doc and will be seen Thursday morning early. Tomorrow morning I'm going to my primary to get a script for an MRI that I can hopefully have done prior to the Thursday ortho appt. to see as quickly as possible what needs to be done for it. To say this is disheartening is a vast understatement. I know there are far worse things people endure and I'm eternally grateful this is relatively small potatos. But they're my potatos and I'm ready to eliminate potatos from my diet =( .

Good news - the left knee feels great, which is another reason I'm going to get this right knee evaluated and taken care of ASAP so I don't re-screw up the left one. I know the right knee issue is the result of carrying the load, so to speak, while rehabbing lefty. Lefty is finally strong and pain free, and she's staying that way if I have anything to do with it.

I have to apologize for this endless complaining about my aching joints. I find martyrdom very annoying, but as even I am getting tired of myself with all this whining about the knees I think I need to suck it up and tap into some stoicism. At last I have a good result from the left knee procedure which gives me every reason to expect a similar positive result from the right side. Patience is not my strong suit. Shocking, I know.

My food was great yesterday - healthy and sugar free. I have some good meals planned for the week, and the work fridge is stocked with healthy lunch options. This morning I actually started thinking about going back to Weight Watchers, but I'm not going to jump into anything without giving it some thought. I'm prone to "quick fix" mentality. Last week I was pondering a return to a 12 step program, and this week WW has entered my mind.

These ideas tend to pop up when I'm struggling, and I glom onto them with fevered enthusiasm that __"fill in blank"____ will finally cure me. I hop onto the bandwagon impulsively and full of good intention and determination, only to fizzle after a few days, or until I hear of another person's success with something else.

Last summer when I began this process for the last time, I was basically counting calories, eliminating sugar, and exercising most days. I had excellent results, dropping 25 pounds in 3 months, because I worked at it and stuck with it. I stayed on plan more than I didn't. Once I stopped doing what worked, I stopped getting results. Imagine that! So - regarding any program or food plan, I know they work if I work them. I probably don't need to lay out more money in search of a fresh beginning or a way to inject new life into my flagging motivation. I'm going to continue working on that 4th step inventory I talked about last week (okay, I'm going to START working on try to make you think I already doing blowing smoke!) and just try to not overeat or binge today. Then tomorrow I'll do it again. I know I shouldn't say try - I should say I'm doing it. But no guarantees are possible yet. Hopefully someday. Hopefully soon.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Holiday weekend recap

I've intended to write at least a short post all weekend but never got to it. So this will be a catch up.

I got another bathing suit. I went to Target at lunch time from work, and found a one piece black one with shirring up the middle that's black and white. I'm not saying it looks good, but it looks as decent as it could on my lumpy-ish soft few sizes too big body. My Land's End suit is fine, but being a tankini with a skirt and top that has a loose outer layer, there was a lot of fabric floating around me when I was in the water. This one is a traditional suit, and I don't give a hoot what it looks like! How's that for progress!!??

Friday afternoon I went back to the gym with the new suit and swam for the second time. I was able to swim 30 laps, and then also tread water for about 15 minutes, and practiced gently "bicycling" my legs in the water. While I swam and after, my knees felt really good. Almost normal. I was thrilled.

However, my eyes had a crazy chlorine reaction to the point where there was a hazy fog over my field of vision for several hours following my swim. I could see okay, but the haze was unnerving, and when I drove to an early meeting, the lights of oncoming cars and street lights had rainbow rings around them that created a very surreal driving experience. An AA friend who's an ER doc said I should go and flush the eyes with saline solution pronto. So back home I drove home through the psychodelic light show, and once inside flushed my eyes. Immediately, they cleared and the haze was gone! Thank goodness. I'll be getting some high quality goggles as recommended by Stacia, and take the irrigating solution with me from now on!

Our anniversary dinner was really lovely. We hadn't been to this new restaurant before, and it was great...and almost empty because of the still terrible roads secondary to the snowstorms. I had a cup of crab bisque, followed by the best crab cake I've ever had. (forgot to take pics) There was also a very reasonable serving of garlic mashed potatoes, perfectly cooked asparagus spears, and a few very crisp sweet potato crisps. Hubby got a bison burger (if they just called it a hamburger, I might have considered it!) that he loved, and it had some yummy sides as well. We then decided to split a dessert of apple strudel with cream fraiche on the side. Believe it or not, I ate 2 bites of the strudel, and it just wasn't good enough to waste calories on. I could tell by looking at it - so dodged that bullet! If we'd gotten this decadent flourless chocolate cake that was on the menu, I'm sure I'd have inhaled it - but I let hubby choose. My gift to him for 28 years of marriage! It was a nice evening - we then came home and watched the Olympic opening ceremony.

The weekend was quiet. Unfortunately, my right knee (the non-surgical one) was totally aggravated and painful, which was disappointing. I guess I overused it in the pool. It's better today, and I did a walk with a friend that felt okay. The left one continues to feel pretty darn good. I'll swim tomorrow and take it a little easier.

We saw the George Clooney movie, Up In the Air yesterday. It was good - but quite serious and depressing. Definitely worth seeing. Today (I was off for the holiday) we watched 2 movies - The Invention of Lying, which was quirky and different, but good, and very funny at times. The second movie was Sunshine Cleaning with Amy Adams, and it was EXCELLENT. I loved it. Great original story, great acting, made me laugh and cry. I had no idea how good it is. Highly recommended by this critic!

My food has been okay, but I've definitely been into sugary stuff more than usual. No binges, but my sweet tooth has been in overdrive. Today I'm sugar free and intend to stay that way. Who knows what deep psychological dysfunction is at the core of this most recent development. I do know that once I eat one thing with a lot of sugar - like "a couple of homemade cookies" at the knitting store, I can't stop. Nothing new here - occasionally I could have had 2 cookies and been done. Saturday - not so. But definitely I've not binged or seriously overeaten, and I'm grateful to the universe for that. Tomorrow I go back to my normal work schedule which is when I do the best with my food routine. Bring it on.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Streams of Consciousness

My prayers and deepest condolences to Steve on the sudden loss of his father last night. He is so committed to this blogging community and a generous man with his many gifts. Helen at Doing A 180 made a great suggestion: go over to Steve's blog and let him know how much our community supports him.

Today is the Perfect 10 week 6 update, so here is mine:
1. Lose 20 pounds from beginning weight of 200. Weight today 198 - last week 200. Better. Less progress than I'd hoped. Probably won't lose the 20 by the end of the challenge at this point, but that's not the point. I'm sticking to it and will hope for continued improvement.
2. 30 minutes of cardio 6X/week - Did 4 days, maybe 25 minutes 2 of them. Better than last week. Progress, not perfection.
3. 15 minutes quiet meditative time 3 times a week. Did 2 times intentionally. Probably had a couple of other times that weren't an entire 15.
4. Write down food. Nope, not once. It didn't feel like a priority this week as I was struggling to get my head back solidly above water.
This could be construed as a marginal week, but I'm not viewing it that way at all. I am better in every way than I was for the last 2 weeks in the realm of optimism, commitment, and venturing into new territories like swimming. So I'm relieved and motivated to keep going. Not quitting - no way. I accept my human incapacity to be perfect all the time, or anytime for that matter.

Now, I need to write 2 things you don't know about me, because I forgot last week, and Steve reminded me in a comment during the week. First, a week after I graduated from high school, I went on a 31 day European tour with a music group assembled by the choral director at my school. I was a piano accompanist for a couple of the choral groups at the high school, and he asked me to go (without having to audition!) because one night during the Christmas concert, the power went out while a group I was playing the piano for was performing. The song at the time was Do You Hear What I Hear, and I knew it so well on the piano that I didn't miss a note in the darkness, and so the group was able to continue singing without missing a beat. He was so happy with me for that that after the concert, he gave me a big kiss on the cheek (he was drop-dead gorgeous) and the following Monday at school asked me to go on the tour that summer. I was thrilled and ran to the office to call my Mom and ask her...the cost of the whole trip (31 days, 7 countries and about 20 concerts in who knows how many cities) was under $800. My mom, being my mom, had to mess with my mind for a few days to "think about it" before she granted permission and bucks. Once in, I found that the Chorale had zillions of rehearsals at all hours of the day and night, on weekends and school nights - and I loved every second of it. I had several good friends who were in it, and to this day that was one of the best experiences in my life. (Actually I've had way too many best experiences for one person...very blessed and fortunate!)

Second thing you don't know is the my first 2 kids were born by C section. Jean, the oldest, was eventually taken by CS because of fetal distress and meconium when I was at 8 cm dilated. This was back in the day when one CS meant all subsequent births were by CS, so my second child, Stephen, was also a section. I had easy recoveries from these - no problems at all. But when I got pregnant the last time, someone put a bug in my ear about trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarian - sorry menfolk). In true Leslie form, that is - obsessive once I get a bug in my ear - I researched VBACs, took a class in it at a local Birthing Center, joined the Cesarian Prevention Movement and attended monthly meetings throughout my pregnancy, got a midwife who agreed to my effort - fired my OB who said it was very dangerous to try for a VBAC, and ultimately went on to have an entirely unmedicated beautiful vaginal birth of Mark, my youngest. It was a mountaintop experience. The births of all three of my children were mountaintops - but this was huge because it required me - a very entrenched in conventional Western medicine nurse, to take a huge leap of faith. I educated myself totally about the whole process and knew it was not only safe, but preferable and better for the baby. I could go on and on about this but will spare you further blathering. Suffice to say it was amazing, and now I love to lord it over Mark that I had 26 hours of labor with him and he better appreciate it!

Funny - before I started this post, I had no idea what I was going to put for my unknown things. I often don't know what's going to come up when I begin writing.

I mentioned I was going to post a great recipe and pics of roasted cauliflower, but I forgot my camera so that will have to wait for another day. Tonight is our anniversary dinner I spoke about during the week. I'm eating totally clean until then, and am going back for swim number 2 after work. I plan to really enjoy my meal, getting what I want including dessert if there is something I deem worth it, and be right back on plan tomorrow. Hopefully I can pull that off. I feel strong right now and know I'll love myself in the morning if I don't go hog-wild tonight.

Oh, and I just started reading the second book of Frances Kuffel, Angry Fat Girls. The first, while serious, dark and at times depressing, was so important for me to read, and her writing is a pleasure as it's so clear and accessible, that I'm excited to get into this one. Have a great day, good friends.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Snow-to-graphs "

That dumb post title is what the local ABC affiliate calls the winter pics sent in by their viewers. Pretty corny, but not so much that I won't use it to advance my own evil agenda...moo-ha-ha! Or at least my own photocollage =) !

Today has been about curing cabin fever with: a walk in the beautiful winter scene that is all around, hitting a 7 a.m. AA meeting and having breakfast with friends afterwards; shoveling out a neighbor's mailbox; lunch with another gal (don't worry - sane salad), coffee with another friend, and trying to work with my laptop to load some snow pics to post. It's taking me about 3 minutes to load each picture which is cuh-razy, so I'm ready to chuck the friggin' laptop into one of the alp-like snow mounds that loom large outside. I'm happy to report that both knees are feeling pretty good today, and did not seem negatively affected by either the walk with my best friend Lou, or the shoveling. This leaves me guardedly optimistic that my right knee will gradually settle down and not require surgical tweaking the way the left one did. Again today, I stayed busy and active enough to not be able to work in the gym/pool, but the amount of physical exertion I got was more than sufficient.

Here are more pictures of my neighborhood, Mr. Leslie and Lou, my aforementioned BFF.

I'm not sure how this picture happened - Tom was shoveling the driveway for the 3rd time last night and clearing the driveway of many huge pine branches that broke and fell under the weight of the heavy wet snow. I think there must have been snow on the lens! Pretty cool effect!?

Tomorrow is Perfect 10 update, and I have to remember to include an unknown fact - or 2 since I forgot last week. It's been a mixed bag this week for me - better in many ways, but far from perfect. So my update will be Imperfect 10, but I'm thinking it will be better than last week's! And I'm also feeling okay in my skin again regardless of the number on the scale. My whole outlook is improved, my inner peace has returned, and I'm not spitting nails at everybody and everything. It's so clear now how much my mood, appetite and absence of calm was a result of being chemically altered by the steroid. Not an excuse, just an awareness. And knowing how much the steroid messed with me will make me very hesitant to want to have to go on it again. That will help me to stay on top of my asthma and take immediate action when it begins to flare...not letting it get the upper hand (or lung).

Last night I made a yummy roasted cauliflower recipe that I'll post tomorrow, along with pictures. It was delish - and healthy. And now, it's time for leftovers, and then putting on my jammies for a long winter's nap. Hasta luego!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow, snow, go away - and a great giveaway!

First - for the giveaway info...Head over to Monogram Chick to enter this giveaway for a sharp looking duffel bag that can sport your very own initials, and tell her you were sent by me. You'll see why when you get there! This would be a pretty cool thing to win. You can bet I'm thinking of traveling to warmer climates about now!

On to the %$##@*&%&#-ing snow that is currently piling up over the piles that piled up last Friday and Saturday here in my neck of the snowy woods. Damn! We truly are into historical snow accumulation at this point, as this is first time ever that the Philadelphia region has had 3 major (24+ inches) snowstorms in one little winter. This is turning into the winter of my discontent, which I'm sure phases Father Weather not one bit. But I'm done. All my warm fuzzy wonder over the phenomenon of snow has been beaten out of me. The whole region is closed for business, basically. I sure don't mind a snow day, but the weeks of slowly melting dirty mucky icy mountains in all parking lots and roadsides aren't pleasant to anticipate. And the biggest gym is closed, naturally. After my triumphant first swim Monday, I haven't been able to repeat it. I planned to go yesterday, but had too many things to accomplish after work in order to beat the snowstorm that I ran out of time. Who'd have thought I'd be pining to go BACK into the pool?!

As usual, I'm cooking, reading, watching movies (soon), and reading blogs. How bad can that be? It's quite pleasant, actually. Hubby shoveled the driveway at the crack of dawn - the pavement was evident for about an hour before the snow started piling up again. This is crazy for a Florida girl! I used to dream of what snow would be I'm dreaming of a beach, palm trees, and HOT sunshine...the very things I didn't care a bit about when I grew up in their midst. Perspective is everything. My food has been good this week - not perfect, but very good for me. Hopefully I'll be able to swim again tomorrow.

Stay warm everyone, or if you're hot - get cool. Be comfortable, peaceful and have a mellow day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Took the plunge!!!! Details included :D

A nanosecond after I published this post, I had 5 comments! WTF???, you ask? I think I hit publish before I actually wrote the post but after I wrote the title. So now the "deets" are included!

Yesterday after work, I drove home. I put on my Lands' End bathing suit and socks with my flip flops (since it's in the 20s here!). I covered up with old warm-ups. I got a towel and a hair brush. I drove to the gym. I asked my friend Betsy who works at the gym to show me the ropes of the swimming facilities. I put my stuff in a locker. I stepped under the requisite warm shower prior to entering the pool area, and then I walk out to the pool area and GOT IN THE FREAKING WATER! I finally did what I've been anguishing over for the last 20 years. There is a large 8 lane lap pool, and then a smaller "therapy" pool that is kept at 88 degrees and where the classes are held. That's the pool I entered first.

It felt good. I noticed a wave of teary gratitude as I felt the water surround every millimeter of my body. I paddled around awhile, tread water for about 10 minutes, walked from side to side, and then climbed out and got into the lap pool. Actually got out with wet suit clinging to imperfect body and walked to the other pool. I did 10 laps of whatever arm strokes and leg movements got me moving forward in the water... slo-o-o-wly. There were a few others sitting around watching kids, and a few folks swimming laps. None of them seemed to even notice the new zaftig puffy gal padding around frantically pulling her clinging wet suit away from the underlying body imperfections. Me thinks that while this was a giant leap for Leslie, it was a non-event for humankind.

And it was a giant leap for me. I have spent so much time wringing my hands over not being able to enjoy water over the years - telling myself that it was almost a service to not expose my imperfect lumpy body in a manner that others might have to see and...gasp...endure. Good grief. The egocentrism of that is absurd. An egomaniac with an inferiority complex. This swimming/bathing suit issue is a microcosm of the reality that I get in my own way and am the author of my own misery much of the time. This will be one of the areas I look at as I work on the 4th step inventory I talked about yesterday.

I'll be back at the pool today. One thing - I'm going to get a classic one piece suit now, because while the tankini thing worked fine, there was a lot of flowing fabric that I don't need or want now that I'm a big girl who can get in the water all by herself! I have an overall sense of greater freedom today, just knowing that I unlocked one of the countless self constructed prisons in which I've dwelled for so long. And I have to thank Stacia, from Swimming It Off, for her personal encouragement as well as for her fantastic blog. If you haven't seen it, check it out. She's got a lot of great stuff to share. The whole time I was in the water, I was thinking of her and how I was going to email her the second I got home and tell her I finally took the plunge. I did - and she responded with enthusiasm and joy at my "accomplishment". Just another amazing blogger reaching out to help me. I pray that I can offer as much support to you all as I always receive.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A new old plan

As if 24+ inches of snow on Saturday wasn't enough, now we're supposed to get 12-18 more tomorrow evening into Wednesday. Why wasn't I consulted about this? The snow is pretty and cool (ha!) and all that, but enough is freaking enough. Hopefully we'll have a snow day Wednesday, though with this job, who knows?

This morning, every single school district in this county, the 2 neighboring counties, and the states of Delaware and New Jersey EXCEPT US had either 2 hour delays or were closed due to the still pretty jacked-up roads from snow and ice. The big roads are fine, but smaller ones definitely aren't. I couldn't believe it when my agency's name didn't scroll across the bottom of the news announcing at least a delay. When I got here, my sentiments were echoed by my fellow working masses. Peaople were/are angry! At least there are only a spattering of clients in my program who made it in, so I have time for important tasks like bill paying, blogging, reading, knitting and goofing off on company time. Not a good PR move by the powers that be! Overall employee morale took a downward turn with this.

I'm please to announce that will be my only rant today. How I wish I knew how to insert a smiley face :D!

I had a good weekend that flew by way too fast. But that's nothing new. My food was decent, though not as clean as the last 3 days of last week. Today I'm tightening it up again. Super tight. Writing it all down, weighing and measuring amounts, and no sugar, flour or nuts. I had an excellent and ample lunch of a big salad with 6 sliced large black olives. Everything else was rabbit food, and yummy. I had 4 ounces of turkey breast with it, and 6 oz of green beans. The dressing was 1 Tbs of olive oil plus some lemon juice (I'm really loving this dsg) only, with a little salt and pepper. I was full immediately after, but now, 45 minutes later my stomach was gnawingly empty feeling, so I had 2 clementines. I think it's going to be a hungry afternoon, but that's alright. I can and will sustain through.

This Saturday, the 13th, is our 28th wedding anniversary. Friday night, Tom and I going to a new BYOB in Swarthmore that is supposed to be great. Obviously my BYO won't be alcoholic, but I will cart in a couple of large bottles of Pellegrino. Hubby is pretty indifferent to alcohol, so it bothers him not one bit to drink Pelli. It's really wonderful that he supports me like that. When I first got sober, I'd forever nag him, "Go ahead and have a beer or wine...", and finally he told me to knock it off because he was perfectly happy drinking milk! No lie - if we go to the swankiest priciest restaurant Philly has to offer, he gets milk. (There are some swanky spots that don't even have milk!) Funny, because milk is one of the only things I can't stand. Hate it. Use only about 2 tsp. on cereal to barely moiten it on the rare occasions I have a bowl of Go Lean. hmmmm - Didn't I just digress again...

That evening (of the anniversary din din), I want to eat what I want and simply enjoy it. This may or may not include dessert, depending what's on the menu. I know that if I overeat or binge this week and don't drop at least a couple of lbs from last week's gain, I won't enjoy my meal the same way. So for this week, part of my motivation is our anniversary dinner. Hey - there's no bad reason to not binge. I need all the little perks and bribes I can give myself!


On to a more pressing matter - I'm feeling very serious and determined to stop my frequent lapses into overeating or bingeing. To that end, I've decided to use a 12-step program tool that can be very helpful and useful in understanding ourselves and our patterns. The 4th of the 12 steps is : "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves". The purpose of this step is to really investigate, with pen and paper (probably keyboard and screen would be okay these days) the behaviors and characteristics that may be contributing to our out-of-control behaviors. They call it a "moral" inventory I think because this originated with AA, though all other 12 step programs use the same steps. With alcohol, morality (or lack thereof) did often play a role in our drinking.

This step is dealt with and formatted in detail in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as the step book, fondly known as the "12 and 12". I did my AA 4th step when I was about 6 years sober (much later than many folks do it, but sooner than others), and it was very helpful in looking at myself, my motivations, and my subsequent drinking behavior. Well, 12-step food programs, like OA, also have formats for doing this work. It's been gnawing and nagging at me for a long time that I need to do something to get at the core of why I keep sabotaging myself and not getting below 192 on this weight loss journey when I know in my heart of hearts that I want to. The reasons aren't necessarily deeply psychological, though they might be. But since I've been stalled since late August on weight loss - yoyoing between 192 and 202 - it's time to pull out more stops. I ordered an OA 4th step inventory guideline about 2 years ago, which I haven't so much as flipped through. Now I'm going to do it, with the help of a sponsor from AA who is in a food fellowship as well.

This won't be easy, and I expect I'll run into plenty of resistance within, but I am committed to this. I've known I needed to do this for a long time. It doesn't have to be voluminous. It does have to be honest. And as it says in the step itself, "searching and fearless". I am feeling almost deperate to get at "what's eating me" so that I can deal and move on. I can no longer pretend my eating is a mere bad habit. It's part of a bigger picture in my life of real addiction that I've had such excellent recovery from through AA work. But more is required now, and I'm ready. Plus, this will give me something to work on when my knees shorten my workout time!

Didn't mean to go all serious, but this is as serious a matter as I face right now. I want to get better for real. FOR REAL. If I can stop drinking for 18+ years, I can conquer this realm as well. But finally I get that I'm going to have to work as hard for food recovery as I did for alcohol recovery. I'm excited and ready.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All me, all the time

Blogging sure is an egocentric endeavor, yes? It seems all I do is talk about moi-self here, but I guess that's the point of blogging to an extent. I could go all political, religious or uber-opinioned about issues of the day (and maybe I will sometime), but for today with my little weight loss blog, talking "about the author" is okay. I hope. There are real things going on in the world besides Leslie's Excellent Adventures. Reminds me of that joke: "Alright, that's enough about me. Now let's talk about what YOU think of me!" I'm aware, and I care about what I know about. But I'm not about foisting an agenda here, other than one of solidarity with other bloggers trying to be as fit and healthy as possible. Hmmm...I think I'm feeling a little guilty about my caterwauling of late.

Optimistic, determined, cheerful, bordering on perky, essential Leslie continues to emerge from the sugared, 'roided , chemically altered version of myself that has suffused my reality this last week. Today feels gloriously like the first day of the rest of my life, in that: 1) I'm OFF the f-ing steroid once and for all; 2) I feel enthusiastic and grateful about simply existing again (my usual default setting; and 3) today is a sanctioned day of down time due to the 24 inches of snow that is already piled up outside and continuing to fall.

Lots of snow, and I have a few pictures to prove it - taken from the warm dry confines of my breezeway, through the front door and from the bay window in the kitchen:

Wish I could photoshop out the reflection of the door in this:

The local news teams are beside themselves with excitement over the Biblical and historical proportions of this storm. Turns out it's the first time in the history of Philadelphia/SE Pennsylvania weather record-keeping that we have had (already) 2 snowstorms in one winter with accumulation of over 20 inches. It certainly is a first for me, growing up in Florida! I never cease to be amazed by snow, though having lived here now for 25+ years, I do find the related difficulties with driving, parking and getting around to be a pain. I did get out this morning early, hoping to hit an AA meeting - but cars couldn't park in the area because it was part of a 'Snow Emergency Route'. So rather than park far away and traverse the depths of the white with 2 screwy knees, I threw it in reverse and came home. Been doing laundry, cooking, reading and messing with the dog.

Tom and I watched an excellent movie/documentary that many of you may have already seen - Food, Inc. It is an expose of how our nation's food supply is controlled by a handful of huge corporations that put profit ahead of consumer health, safety and welfare of workers, and the livelihood of the American farmer, as well as the environment. Quite jolting and makes me more determined to buy local, organic, and in-season products. I highly recommend this.

We have other movies to watch over the course of the day, but right now the Villanova basketball game is on. Villanova is getting trounced by evil Georgetown, so I'm glad my youngest son isn't here because his mood would be foul. That boy takes his sports SERIOUSLY, and he's a big 'Nova fan.

I'm feeling much less irritable and angst ridden today, and binge thoughts, for now, are absent. I've had 3 consecutive clean days which is probably helping my mood as much as coming off the steroids. All things must pass, as George Harrison wisely named one of my favorite albums of all time. I knew all week that I was as off as I've been in years and that it would *probably* pass. But when in the depth of the murk, it can feel as though one is never going to be the same or come through unscathed. I'm reminded of yet another AA nugget of wisdom: "Feelings aren't facts." They are just feelings, and not necessarily indicative of reality or truth. Just because I felt like a total loser didn't mean I was one. So - the light at the end of the tunnel is around me on all sides now, and I'm okay.