Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Short and sweet

I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling somewhat tongue-tied regarding my blog for the last 2 days.  Though I started back to work last Friday, my agency is closed this week for spring break, so I'm on vacation after 6 weeks off from work!  Kind of crazy, but I'm finding myself in a true vacation mode.  I've been getting together with friends, eating out TOOOO much, and feeling lazy and unmotivated to exercise.  I keep waiting for my life to return to "normal"; but it's beginning to occur to me that my perception of normal is how my life was back in the fall.  It's not fall now; things have happenned; things have changed and life is, afterall, lived in the present moment.  So I need to stop pining for what was and embrace what is.

On Monday I mentioned how I spent over an hour doing yard work with hubby on Sunday and how great it felt to work up a sweat, do something constructive and  bend and move my body more than I had in several months.  Well...my knee has been hurting more for the last 2 days, and I'm sure it's related to some of the twisting and turning from the yard work.  Harummpphh.  So yesterday I didn't exercise, and today my plan is to walk with a friend and the dog.  Hopefully I can go a mile without the knee protesting, but I'll wait and see how it goes.  It's hard for me to believe that In November I was doing 45-60 minutes daily on a treadmill at steep incline at 3.7 mph or walking a very hilly 5 mile loop at a local state park.  I'm really ready for this freaking knee to be healed and normal again.  It's getting there, but not near as quickly as I would have written the script for it to happen.

I also feel like I've had a very low grade GI bug.  Nothing serious or limiting - just occasional queasiness (that passes fast and leaves my usual hearty appetite in its wake) and some changes in the elimination realm that are probably helping me not gain weight from the meals out.  I haven't been overeating, but I know that I've had more sodium laden meals just by virtue of the fact I haven't cooked them.  Sorry for TMI = since I no longer get TOM, this is as close to TMI as I'm likely to get!  Postmenopausal TMI, har har.

That's it.  I expect I'll be more my usual verbose self tomorrow!  Have a good night all ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday catch up (not ketchup)

I signed on for this simple 3 day challenge that was put out by lainey and 266 that was designed to just help fellow weight loss bloggers to recommit, rededicate or in some small way breathe new life into our programs for just 3 days March 26-28..  There were no rules, other than to find a way to tweak some aspect of this journey and focus on improving it.  Thank you to both these gals for this mini challenge.  I signed on because 1) there are several areas I've needed to work on and 2) it was easy with no requirements of recounting my birth experiences or anything like that!

What I chose to focus on were 2 things:  exercise and drinking water.  Both of these components have always been the strongest parts of my weight loss regime...until early December when I had my first knee surgery.  My exercise fell off drastically out of necessity.  As soon as I was able, I started to ratchet  back up, only to sustain the 2nd knee injury and subsequent surgery. 

Okay, this was a fairly legitimate reason excuse for the exercise slack.  I earnestly tried to resume activity as quickly as possible after the first knee incident not realizing that 56 year old knees don't bounce back as quickly as their younger cousins.  So this second time around, I smartened up a lot and have taken exercise resumption more slowly and caustiously.  The results have been excellent. 

Over this 3 day challenge, I did exercise more than I had been prior, keeping a careful read on how the knee was feeling.  When it started hurting, I stopped.  Actually I've been doing this for the whole week, and for the last 3 days was able to do a little more, and different movements than up to now.  I took about a 3/4 mile walk Saturday with the dog and his best friend and over a half mile on Friday.  But the big thing was that on Sunday I worked out in the yard with my husband cleaning up tons of winter debris left from our three major snowstorms.  Hubby had cut up the big branches and cleared them away, but there was a ton of smaller stuff left all over the ground.  So for a solid hour, I raked, bent branches to fit into those big paper lawn and leaf bags, stuffed the bags and carted them over to the driveway for pick up today.  Lots of bending, stooping and lifting, and again with a careful attention to how the knee was feeling.  It felt SO good to work up an honest sweat for the first time in 4 months!  I love to sweat, believe it or not (with exercise, not when all duded up to go somewhere nice), and had no level of activity in all that time to elicit the response.  The yard looks great, and best of all the knee help up well.  It was stiff and achy last evening, rendering me a little gimpy, but ice and ibuprofen took care of it.  It feels good today.  Woohoo!

Now the water...I don't have any trouble getting the water in normally.  I just always have a bottle with me and guzzle throughout the day.  But for the last couple of weeks, I was aware I'd really slacked off in the water drinking.  Friday, my first day back at work...I forgot my water bottle and the only option was the disgusting water from the pipes that tastes bad.  We were out of the big bottles of water that get delivered.  Also, I normally drink a 16 ounce glass of warm water every morning first thing.  Weird, huh?  I like my water warmish - room temp.  Ice cold water hurts my teeth and is much harder for me to drink.  Anyway, I really boosted my water drinking back up over these last 3 days, and am continuing today.  I think all the sitting around not working and getting softer and softer just enabled me to let the water go. 

So - thanks for the challenge!  It really helped me take stock and recommit. 

Now I have to talk about something else that is always the bane of my existence this time of year...Easter candy.  I really love it all, esp. Brachs classic jelly beans.  I'm sorry to say I've caved in to them several times this season, but as of today - NO MORE.  Not one bite of candy is going in my mouth this week.  If one bite did it for me, it would be fine.  Obviously that isn't the case.  No more jelly beans, Reese's bunnies, or Cadbury Orange creme eggs.  They just came out with those a couple of years ago.  I hate the originalCCEs, but the orange ones really try to seduce me every time I enter an emporium in which they are sold -
read Target.  So, to aid my commitment to NO MORE EASTER CANDY, I will not even go near the candy aisle in the markets.

This probably seems pretty intuitive to most of you.  It is to me, too.  But that hasn't stopped me from wandering through the aisles, inhaling deeply and catching a whiff - through many layers of foil wrap and plastic bags - a hint of sweet something.  Really dumb.  I know it, and I know it when I do it.

My weight this morning was 202.1, so I've lost all that awful weight I added over the wedding weekend when I ended up at 209.3.  It came off pretty fast, but I've been maintaining at this "region" for too long, and quite frankly not all that torqued up about it.  But now that the knee is so much improved, I'm moving like a normal person again for the most part, and I'm back among the workers of the world, I'm ready to get my groove back on and re-enter onederland for the LAST TIME.  And move below my low of 192.  I've been talking about this for months.  I want to be a winner at losing, not a loser by gaining.

Again, I find so much support and inspiration in the blogging community.  This morning, I got totally revved up reading Zaa's most recent post where she has included progress pictures.  UNBELIEVABLE.  She's amazing, and so thrilled and joyful that she'd doing this.  If you haven't read it, check it out.  She makes me want to be a better loser!  I want to be one of the bloggers who inspires by my results, not a cheap talker who never makes much progress.  Onward and downward.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Back in the saddle

My first day back at work was great in the ways I thought if would be, and in a couple I didn't expect.  It was wonderful seeing staff and clients and feel their love and appreciation.  They like me; they really like me!  Because they had a substitute nurse in my absence, I came back to pretty organized records, a clean office, and relevant notes, which was wonderful.  This was the first time they got a sub (because my absence was almost 6 weeks).  Usually the med-trained staff would administer medications, and while they did a great job, they aren't medical professionals so things would be out of order and in a confused state.

The unexpected good things: 1) My knee/s felt good.  They held up really well over the course of the work day, and then continued to hang in there for walking the dog once I got home.  Big progress.  I'm delighted, grateful and cautious about this.  My Ibuprofen dosing is way down now.  I'm only taking it twice a day;   for weeks I was on 800mg every six hours.  I was going to take a dose around 1 p.m. so I'd be all anti-inflamed for walking the dog at 3, but I forgot to take it because I didn't need it.  WOOOHOOO!  2)One of the administrators at my job is the most curmudgeonly and flat-affected woman with no social skills and no apparent desire to acquire any.  I was up in the front office for a few minutes and she came out from an office, saw me and SMILED and said,  "Welcome back, how are you?"  Mind you, she didn't wait to hear my answer (I was so stunned to have been spoken to by this curiously odd soul that I had to thump my own head to respond), and kept moving in her preset direction.  But it was the shocker of the day.  I know you can't get how weird this was, but trust me - this wackadoodle seems incapable of normal social interaction.  I was telling a few friends about it later, and we were all snickering and wondering if she's getting la*d on a regular basis or something (never married). 

So it was a good day and I was able to prepare to settle back in on April 5th when we return from spring break.  Not a bad work schedule!

I have a new guilty pleasure in which I've indulged during this last week of time off.  I've started from the beginning of the AMC series Mad Men.  Anybody seen it?  It's great, especially if you are a person of a certain age who was just a wee tyke during the early 60s when the show takes place.  It's a real period piece, set at the time when Kennedy ran against Nixon for President, cigarettes were just becoming known to be carcinogenic, and women were starting to wake up to their own desires, values and identities.  Really good show.  I just got Season 2 from the library and will start watching this weekend.

I didn't weigh this morning, but am going to tomorrow and will post it.  I've had a decent week, and today I have had almost no appetite.  I must have been more nervous about going back than I thought, because I always have an appetite.  Very strange to not be interested in eating.  And I suspect very transient.  My activity level has also increased steadily over this last week.  Still low by my standards, but much better than the nada I was getting for the first week after surgery, other than crutch walking.

Yesterday we were waiting for rain, and there are some beautiful trees in early spring bloom.  Fearing the rain might pummel the blossoms from the branches, I took some pictures.  The sky was gray, so you don't get that amazing spring radiance, but the colors are nice so I thought I'd put some up. 

The colors and varieties will improve with each warm sunny day, and I'm so ready for it.  I just needed to put a little color on this blog!

Hubby gets back from Houston tonight around 11p.m., so I'm doing my best to stay up so he doesn't have to wake me with a phone call!  It will be about 2 hours past my usual falling asleep time, but for now I'm pretty awake.  As long as I don't get horizontal, I'll make it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back in scrubs

After all the great comments about followers and such from my last post, I decided to move my followers widget to the bottom of my blogroll.  That lasted all of 24 hours, as my scrolling finger is now suffering from a repetetive use injury checking to see if I got any new pidgeons followers.  So I've restored the order of my side bar to not have to work so hard to be obsessive.  I really appreciate all the comments I got about wondering why some people get followers by the dozen, and others, like moi, seem to acquire one per 10-12 days!  It truly doesn't matter, but it was interesting to see that I'm not the only one who notices stuff like that.  The universality of human behavior never fails to delight and amaze me.

Today is a red letter day for me.  It is the last day of of my FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) time off from work for my knee rehab.  I certainly could put in for more time if it was necessary, but I'm ready to re-enter the world of blogging on the job working and having steady structure in my days and weeks.  (I finally took the plunge and enabled the new editor in blogger, as you can see.  There are enough differences in the workings of it that I held out for a long time.  Not very tech savvy, though I love all things about desk top publishing and have actually thought of getting schooling in it.  Anyhoo....)  I do enjoy my job, and LOVE the clients with whom I work.  I'm the nurse for an Adult Day Program for developmentally disabled individuals.  It wasn't a specialty area I'd ever imagined I'd work, or enjoy for that matter.  However, the job came available when I was looking for something 6 years ago and I decided to give it a shot.  Turns out to have been, and still be a fit.  I love the people I work with, but mostly I love the clients.  I can't wait to see them tomorrow, hug them, tell them I missed them, and begin to get back in the groove.

The absolute classic aspect of this is that I am required to return tomorrow per the FMLA agreement's terms, but then we have all next week off for Spring break!  It really works out well, because I  have the one day of re-entry to settle back in, regroup, and do the paperwork changes that will be required for April when we being back after break.  So another week of rest for the knee, but with the reassurance of having some essential stuff for April already done.

I was going to be doing a lot of nice cooking for myself this week while hubby is gone, but turns out I've fallen into eating out with friends more.  I've made good choices with food - and since no chain restaurants were involved, the freshness and quality was far higher than would otherwise be the case.  Last night at home I cooked up some frozen organic ravioli by a company named Rising Moon Organics.  The variety I had was Feta~Hazelnut with Butternut Squash.  I would take a picture of the empty package but just discovered my camera battery out of juice.  So my vivid description will have to suffice.  It was actually quite good and cooked up nicely.  Some frozen ravioli tends to fall apart a bit in the boiling water, but this held up totally.  The pkg. gave detailed instructions on how to boil gently to help the ravioli stay intact  (note to self for future ravioli adventures).  For sauce I just squeezed a bit of tomato paste from a tube over the draining hot cooked pasta and tossed it gently.  This was my maiden voyage with tomato paste in a tube, too, and I really liked it.  It's more concentrated, was an organic brand and had great flavor.  Again - no pic.  Maybe after the battery charges I'll shoot em and post pics later.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did 10 minutes on the bike.  I could probably have gone farther as the knee felt good, but I had to meet someone and was on a bit of a time crunch.  Just as well because there was still the 90 pounder to walk in the afternoon, and that puts definite strain on the knee.   So I'm seeing slow steady progress, which is good.  I want to be better yesterday, but finally get that overdoing it today won't speed the process and will more likely hinder it.  Hey - maybe I am teachable now, and the tender age of cough-cough.

It's been fun seeing and reading about Fitbloggin.  If there is Fitbloggin Part Deux next year, I'm going to have to get in on it.  It would be wonderful to meet blog friends in person. 

I'm sitting here on my last day off and the View is on, and I'm going to say something that I mean no offense to anyone about.  Elizabeth Hasselbeck gives me a pain in the brain.  It's not her politics or her beliefs - it's her delivery of her thoughts that makes me want to throw a bowling ball at the screen.  Perhaps some voice modulation coaching?   Whoopi Goldberg on the other hand, is AWESOME.  Love her.  Okay - you know it's time for me to go back to work when I'm critiquing the women on the View.  I hadn't watched the show in years.  YEARS!  I don't think she was even on when I last saw it!  ME thinks I need to get a life.  Or at least more of my previous to the last six weeks life! 

Next broadcast may be from work tomorrow.  But I 'spect I'll have enough to do that I'll write about it after the fact.  And Tom gets home tomorrow night which will be nice.  Time apart is good.  Time together, better.  Especially after time apart.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dribs and drabs

I realized late yesterday that my knee has hit a new level of healing. It's definitely getting better, and I can even walk "almost normal" most of the time with no detectable "hitch in my giddyup"! I'm quite delighted about this. I went to the gym and biked slowly for all of 6 1/2 minutes with no resistance. I was prepared to go further, but then it started hurting just a bit and I stopped right away. This is huge progress for bullheaded moi! I didn't decide to push through the pain. Been there, done that, lived to regret it. It feels a little ridiculous to go to the gym and just do 6.5 minutes, but that is entirely my ego wanting to "look good". For who the hell do I want to look good at the gym? I was literally the only person in the room where the bike I used was! Then as I walked out past the receptionist area, I thought the gal would wonder why I was there for such a short time. WTF?? Am I kidding? She has nothing more interesting to ponder in her life than my time duration at the gym. Just laughing out loud at myself here.

With Tom gone all week, the walking of the 90 pound beast is all on me, which can be a challenge as he can tend to lunge and pull. But he's almost 11, and his lungeing and pulling days are on the wane for sure. This morning I took him further than I was able to 2 weeks ago when I was that less healed, and it felt fine. I had no need to come in and ice. Today I have my last acupuncture treatment, which always loosens the joint and decreases swelling. I know there are folks (my doc for one) who are quick to poopoo acupuncture and claim the perceived benefit is largely a placebo effect. If it is, so be it. It genuinely helps me. And most insurance will now reimburse for acupuncture for certain causes - like neck and back injuries from motor vehicle accidents. I can assure you they are not paying for my knees (insert frowny face) but it's reasonable enough that I'm willing to use my FSA funds for it.


 Yesterday I made mashed cauliflower for the first time. There are oodles of recipes online for it, so used a bit of several recipes. You can see I didn't mash it to the texture of real mashed potatoes  mainly because I didn't want to get my food processor out. I used a hand masher that isn't all that good. I added some non-fat plain Greek style yogurt, one triange of LC cheese (garlic-herb variety), a touch of sea salt and pepper. It was great. I made it while my husband was out (before I took him to the airport), and when he came in the house, he noted the "broccoli or cauliflower or SOMETHING" aroma. Get over it dude - the house is all mine in a few short hours. It tasted yummy to me. I couldn't help think that a big dollop of butter would have added a certain something (fat, calories), but it was fine as is. With the cauliflower I had a serving of homemade ratatouille with some chicken breast added for extra protein. This time I added a can of garbanzo beans (drained and dried) to the ratatouille, also to boost the protein. It was fantastic. I made this about every 2 weeks - a huge pot that we eat from for several days. The only fat is a very small amount of olive oil at the start to saute the peppers and onions. This round, it contains eggplant and zucchini and canned tomatoes. I tend to add whatever is on hand.

I just read Helen's post and loved it, because she talked about wondering if the attendees of Fitbloggin' formed a club that the rest of us aren't allowed in. I could so identify with that - not so much about Fitbloggin', but just in general with blogging. So here is a confession - can't believe I'm saying this OUT LOUD - I always notice how many followers people have and how some people seem to acquire new ones daily, where my "count" has been ever so slow. Ego cuts me at every turn! Sometimes I feel like being a follower whore. I constantly remind myself that I'm doing this for myself. If anyone else reads my blog and likes it - that's gravy. I"m grateful for every single person who reads my blog, even if they only read it once and move on. I love writing and have long yearned to write something others read - like a column in a small town newspaper. Blogging has really satisfied that desire in me - it allows me the opportunity to write, play with words, read others' amazing words and ways of writing things, and in general pursue my passion for the written word and for connection with other human beings. I've remarked here before that on my Facebook profile, one of my interests is "getting to know you". I love when people dare to be just a little bit real about who they are - including the baser stuff. It's real, and gives me permission to be real too. Fewer secrets about myself is a very good thing. So - have a good day everyone - from your follower whore Leslie.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes - a quotable quote

I heard something great at an AA meeting this morning. The topic was spirituality, but so often the discussion distills down to people just talking about how hard it is sometimes to continually do the next right thing. Not just about drinking, either. There are all sorts of behaviors, tendencies and instincts that are deeply installed into our hard wiring, and just because we clean up the big trainwreck aspect of our lives(drinking in this case), we are not automatically rendered white as snow. We are not "washed clean", even when we sense that divine intervention played a role in our awakening and getting better.

It's funny about that too. You hear it so often at meetings. Here's an example: someone puts up their hand and confesses to having gotten a speeding ticket or other traffic violation. And while sitting there as the cop gets his/her license and registration and runs the data through his dashboard computerized crook-finder, the tendency rises to say, "But officer, I'm sober!" Like that pardons the fact that one was driving like a bat out of hell, or just being distracted and reckless in some way. Not to mention that YOU'RE NEVER SUPPOSED TO DRIVE AFTER DRINKING!! No special treatment for doing what you're supposed to do in the first place!

Human kind is imbued with capacity for great love, great evil, and everything in-between. One of my good AA buddies always says, "I'm an heartbeat away from my finest act and from my worst act at any given moment." Regardless of your perspective - religious, spiritual, existential or humanistic - it's hard to deny that most humans, even li'l ole me, have some baser instincts that just don't succumb to a full on assault of our will. It's wrong to make 50 copies of a personal document at work; but it's also easier, cheaper and more convenient than stopping at Staples on the way home from work. In effect, it's stealing from my employer to use their copier, their ink, toner and paper. BUT.

In AA, we start to look at all this stuff in our own behaviors...areas where we are still so easily led down the garden path to "little naughtys" that aren't huge infractions, but still not "the next right thing". Sometimes the infraction is against an institution or an employer. Often it is mainly hurtful to ourselves.

Obviously I'm connecting this to my food and eating issues. Every cell in my body deeply desires to be whole and well - and much leaner. Healthy and fit. I yearn for the righteous feeling I get when I successfully resist an eating temptation. That the next day I feel so great about. For the feeling of my ribs and hip bones prominent under lean flesh. So why can't I just resist all the time no matter what under any and all circumstances? At least I'm sober now!

That lame excuse doesn't pardon the speeding ticket, and it doesn't pardon my choice to overeat or binge when the spirit moves me to. And note spirit is not capitalized, because it's my own free will - bestowed upon my undeserving self, by whom I believe to be my Creator. True Spirit.

I'm not always a good steward of gifts I'm given. I lost a book a dear friend gave me for Christmas. She was surprised and a little hurt, I think. How much greater is the insult of using my free will in a self destructive manner? Yeah, I'm human. People will never be perfect. But I believe we are supposed to shoot for as close to perfect as we can.

We will always have temptations - they're everywhere. They are different for each person. It's not hard for me to abstain from gambling because it doesn't tempt me in any way. But for a guy that lost his children's home, their savings, and all his other assets - resisting a casino is a pretty big deal. When I am able to stand strong against a tray of sticky buns, or even one lousy bite, it's also a big deal. I need to claim that as a victory.

So - on to the brilliant quote that set off this whole train of thought for me this morning. A good friend was sharing about her 5 y/o grandson who is famous for finding trouble to get into. He was just emerging from his most recent "Time Out" this weekend. He went to his grandma and said, "I wannna be good, but sometimes it's like clouds fighting sunshine." Oh Nicholas, you said a mouthful, no pun intended. It really is like that sometimes. The eternal battle between good and evil. Clouds and sun. Cake and celery.

That said, I had a pretty good food weekend, and even a decent exercise weekend for where I am in healing right now. I did give in to temptation a couple of times, but no bingeing at all. We ate out with friends last night and I had dessert, and a roll with butter. I ate all my mashed potatoes, but it was a small portion. I'm not going to work myself into a lather over that. And I did a walk each day with a friend - about 1/3 mile the Saturday, and about 1/2 Sunday. That was the most I've done, and my knee felt okay. I'm totally committed to resuming exercise slowly to increase my chances of the fullest recovery possible.

Hubby is leaving for Texas until late Friday, so I only have to cook for moi! That means mashed cauliflower for dinner tonight - he'd puke at the thought of it! You all know how I love being able to cook for numero uno only. It really helps with sane eating.

May we all have a day where the sunshine beats out the clouds!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Great Sadness

I just got a comment this morning to tell me that one of my favorite bloggers, Bethany McDonald of The Great Reduction, passed away last night from a sudden heart attack. She had a serious cardiac condition for which she'd been trying fervently to lose weight. She was only 33 years old, with 2 small children.

Of course I didn't really know her, but came to love and appreciate her wonderful sense of humor and her deep humanity. Just like all of us, she was fighting the good fight to be as healthy and fit as possible. She was very real when she wrote of her struggles, frustrations and victories.

There isn't anything more I can say. Please pray for her and for her family as they endeavor to process and cope with this immense tragedy. And visit her blog if you haven't already and read through her archive to get a sense of what a lovely and kind woman she was. Her family would surely appreciate any comments from her readers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Modified Me and an award


Starting first with the award, the very kind Deb gave me this award 2 days ago, when I was at that very raw and unhappy place. Deb is a sweetheart, and said that she gave me this award because she identifies with a lot of what I say in posts and comments and helps her know she's not alone in this struggle. Thank you Deb for this award. I would say "back at 'ya" about posting your truth, no matter how painful or icky it feels. That helps me, and many others.

Now for a listing of the award rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the Sugar Doll award.

2. Write why you were given the award.

3. Pass the award on to 5 bloggers who have made your life a little sweeter and write how they have done that.

4. Notify them of the award.

So, I could easily name 50 or more bloggers who have made my life a little sweeter...in fact, a lot sweeter. The blogging community has changed my life in so many ways. I'm fortunate to have a ton of friends in my real life who love and support me as I do them. (Anyone in a 12 step community for much time at all could claim the same.) But this blogging community extends out in a way that I couldn't have imagined. Even though I have intimate close relationships with a lot of my "real" friends, almost none of them know about my blog. I say things here that I would not say to any of them...like my weight, for example. They know about my efforts to lose and the related struggles, but I don't go into the nitty gritty of it all the way I do here. Somehow the anonymity of blogging creates a very broad canvas on which I can spill it all about this most personal struggle. And though we start out anonymous here, we come to know each other very well, and it would thrill me to meet any one of you in person, and know there is already a baseline of reciprocal connection and support. I love you guys! But to list 5 - here goes:

Tammy Because she's warm and fuzzy and real and wonderful. Her blog is pure honesty, including struggles and triumphs. She has been kind and supportive to me through my tough times, including 2 days ago - quick to email a personal message of motivation and love. Tammy and I WILL meet in Atlanta in May after she gets back from her fab Destin vacation. Can't wait!

JBS JBS has also been so kind, and has a great sense of humor and irony. Me like that!!! She also has a very busy and challenging life with young kids, one of whom has some substantial health issues. Through it all, she works a good health and fitness program that inspires me every day. She blogs about all of it with humor and heart.

Stacia Stacia is an awesome friend (and I like to think transcontinental personal coach to moi) who has encouraged me about getting myself back into the water, which I've done. She writes very honestly about her life and things that are challenging for her. Very inspiring. She's also kicking ass in the weight loss realm these days.

Lisa Lisa is another who is doing great in the weight loss realm, and has a very rich history with food and related behaviors! She's a success story because no matter where she finds herself, she is in this for the long haul, never giving up. An absolutely hilarious, I might add.

Joanne Joanne is another very funny gal, as evidenced by her quote in her left sidebar, "It's not the jeans that make me look fat. It's the fat." The minute I saw that, I knew I was going to follow her journey! Another person to whom I relate, who has struggled with things I also struggle with.

Okay - enough nicey nicey stuff - it's time to talk about my favorite subject. Me. Kidding not really. Mainly I want to say that I had a second totally clean day, and my weight was down to 203.6. Additional relief. Obviously I was totally water-logged for the Wednesday weight, but bottom line (oops, I said it again) is that a pound is a pound, and I'm happy when they fall away, no matter what they're made of.

This morning I went to a meeting and then had breakfast with my AA sponsor who is celebrating her 22nd sober anniversary. She's the gal I've written about who has stage 4 lung cancer. She's currently on a drug that targets the cancer cells at the genetic level. It only works if the cells have a certain mutation. Apparently hers have it, because she started the drug after a major recurrence of the cancer in November that made her Stage 4, and so far the tumors have shrunk significantly. She's hanging in there, remarkably, though knows full well she's probably on borrowed time. Given she has kids aged 6 and 11, she's grateful for every day. Perspective is EVERYTHING.

During our conversation, I started telling her about the wedding this weekend and how it sort of tapped some old painful stuff in me, and I ended up crying my eyes out. The snotty, wet, heaving sob kind of crying. And do you know what she said to me? She said that when I got so emotional, she thought, "Oh, Leslie must be working her food program"! She's been through the food addiction stuff and knows how effectively binge eating can stuff emotion. For fairly controlled Leslie to be sobbing at the drop of a hat told her I wasn't "stuffed", at least for a little while. Interesting and true.

My tears were about old issues that I've excavated before, but when I began talking about the wedding, a scab broke off and the pain felt acute for a bit. I cried, she cried, we laughed at our crying, and then said goodbye 'til next time. I survived, and feel a rush of gratitude for tears that rise to cleanse our interiors of old debris. The old stuff is mostly healed, but it's like a little glittery thread running through the fabric of my life today. Very subtle, exerting almost no influence, but when the sun catches it in a certain way, it glows for a bit. Today's glow felt bittersweet and tender. Sometimes it feels terribly painful. Other times it's bright and sweet. But when I stuff in so much food that I have no access to my deepest self, the thread becomes obliterated in layers of...fabric? Fat? Self pity? Whatever - today it felt good and sad to just let the tears rise up and flow out.

I'm not going to weigh again until Monday now I hope for sure. My intention is to continue with clean eating. It feels good and right. Righteous! But just below the surface I know the binge monster is doing push ups, waiting for me to have a weak moment. That's when I have to modify from one day at a time to one minute at a time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brainstorming and soft reflections

Thank you for all your support and bloggy love yesterday. I needed every bit of it. And in addition to the above, I also got some great wisdom and good laughs. I kept reading stuff to my husband, saying "See? These are smart kind people who can put words together and say great things"! He nodded feebly in puzzled agreement. That's a primary response from him after 28 years married to moi.

I feel beaucoup better today, which didn't take much given that I was lower than an earthworm's abdomen yesterday. I had a 100% clean day with food. If there is such a thing as perfect in the realm of eating, this was it. Not one morsel other than planned meals and snacks. I drank plenty of water and subsequently spent a lot of time getting rid of it. So much so that my weight was down 3 pounds this morning, to 206.4 (okay, 2.9 lbs down). I feel I'm still somewhat water-logged and am avoiding salt like the smallpox germ. The jettisoning off of a few boggy pounds definitely has lightened my outlook, but it also is cautionary for this food addict.

I've been reflecting a lot on how and why I've backslid in the last few months. Not the obvious reasons of the stress of aching knees, surgeries, lack of exercise...but deeper issues that seem to surface every time I get into the low 190s. I honestly can't identify anything specific, but clearly something gets stirred up. This is the most recent in a lengthy series of weight loss efforts that have ultimately been sabotaged by yours truly. On the surface it makes no sense. Even below the surface, it's hard to comprehend how I can be moving along with excellent momentum, positive attitude, and genuine behavior changes, only to gradually slide off the wagon.

And it's always gradual. I'm clicking down the scale, eating and doing the right things to achieve my goals, and then. I succumb to a dessert, or a candy bar, or baked goods at a shower... weigh the next morning to survey the damage. If there is none, it's a relief. But it also can become carte blanche to begin adding in more stuff, always with a close watch on the scale. Then my eating starts to be dictated by what the scale says...up a couple lbs = clean eating for a day or 2 to get them off. If the scale is the same, then more of the same behavior of nipping at foods that aren't on plan. The scale becomes the Great Determiner of my eating behavior. Until I have a real binge and am afraid to get on the scale for a day or 2, during which the eating either cleans up or plummets, and then what happens is what has happened since early December '09. I can clearly see the pattern. The various little steps, or slip ups (done in relative AWARENESS) that ultimately result in big weight gain and giving up the weight loss effort all together have played out many times. In order to get at the deeper issues, I have to be able to continue on rather than stuffing those issues (if they really are there) back down into the oblivion of fatness and cellulite.

I'm thinking about story boarding right now. The pinnacle knowledge source, Wikipedia, defines story boarding as:

"graphic organizers such as a series of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence." I've seen this technique used for more than graphic depictions. Coming up with ideas for anything, or assessing strategies...the applications are endless.

What is occurring to me regarding story boarding is the idea of listing a series of predictable events (given past history) "for the purpose of pre-visualizing" an already demonstrated pattern of behavior that has up to now effectively halted every single long term weight loss effort I've undertaken. To have a visible visual representation of old patterns that serves as a possible stop gap? Maybe.

I'm thinking on my feet here while listening to Counting Crows, but somehow this idea seems reasonable. A concrete tool, displayed prominently in my little world, to remind me of where I am on the continuum between sanity and insanity when it comes to food and eating behaviors. Stay tuned - I think I may give this a shot - keep it simple but do it. It sure can't hurt, and maybe I can get out my beloved colored pencils and markers and let my inner child have some fun in the process.

Bottom line (I think I say "bottom line" in every post) is that I am good to go for today with staying clean in the food realm. I feel physically better than I did during the days where I was a non-stop carb input machine. The weight is still bad, but better, so that is motivation. But get me down 5-8 more pounds and I can literally feel my palms sweat at the thought of the binge-monster re-awakening and tormenting me. Telling me I'm not so fat - what's wrong with size 14s and 16s? It's hellish trying to continually stave off intense binge thoughts when they start. I guess it's like a crack addict needing a fix. In AA, they say "one drink is too many and a thousand aren't enough". One wrong move for me in the sugar and carb realm feeds the obsession. Makes it stronger. Maybe it won't always be that way, but it's that way now. Putting that on paper as a visual way may help me head myself off at the pass, even if just for a day. I only have to live in this day. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A new high - pounds, not paragraphs

Today's post title is a variation on the post I did just before going away, titled - "A new low, paragraphs, not pounds". My "new high" isn't my true all time weight high, but reflective of a substantial relapse of bad eating in my current weight loss and fitness effort I began in June of 2009 that is the last I'm ever going to undertake. And big warning: this will be a toxic brain dump as only I can do it...a poor fu**ing me brain dump.

I don't want to post today but am going to. I don't want to be honest, but I'm going to. I don't want to feel shame about my weight, body and lack of exercise, but I do. I don't want to cry about all this crap but I am. I've been off the deepend with eating for the last 5 days, with traveling, partying and being a total sluggish slouch. But my food has been spotty and sporadic for a long time prior. I haven't been able to exercise because of the healing knee(s). People suggest upper body stuff and I've never been honest enough to say that I have a screwed up R elbow from tennis that got aggravated this past summer when I was starting weights, and everytime I try to restart weights, even uber-modified - I end up with elbow pain. So between knees and elbows, I feel like a fat old lady and I hate it. I HATE IT, and right now I'm not too crazy about myself, either. I don't want to be viewed as a fat loser, but it's how I feel at this moment. Feelings aren't facts, but they can be pretty compelling and depressing.

I've been eFF-ing around with food and eating since early December after my first knee surgery. I gained weight over the holidays that has never come off. My most recently posted weight of 203.6 is the lowest I'd been in awhile, despite the fact that for about the 3 months just before the first knee injury, I'd gotten to 192 and maintained. Mind you, I had/have every intention of going lower - to a goal of about 160. But my behavior with food belies that. I have lost site of my fervent desire to get this weight off once and for all.

I say I still want to lose weight. I mean it with all my heart, soul, and numerous bulges and fat deposits. I truly do, but I am really caught up in the addiction right now. I have to be honest. I can't put more than 2 clean days together before starting to slip in little "innocent" bites and treats that have rapidly expanded into some bingeing behavior.

It kills me to say this, but here goes. My weight this morning was 209.3. Yes - I'm retaining water after the wanton eating of the weekend and the extra day in Atlanta where it seemed only fitting to eat at some of the places I always loved when I lived there. Flying always makes me retain a bit. Then lots of sugary items yesterday, along with pizza for dinner. Not one slice, either. I told myself I was getting back on track "tomorrow", which is today.

When I saw the number on the scale, I was stunned. Shocked. Disgusted. Don't know why, because given the way I've been managing my nutritional "needs" what else would I have expected? And here's a kicker...I was expecting...read hoping, for
205. Even that speaks volumes...hoping for 205? After I'd been as low as 192?? Even I could not have imagined what that MFer of a scale had to tell me today.

A host of excuses spring forth. Inability to exercise the way I'm used to is huge. But plenty of people lose weight and never exercise. And when my surgeon scoped my knee to remove and repair torn cartilage, he didn't insert a tapeworm that would compel me to eat volumes of food to keep it fed and thriving.

The bottom line is I'm eating addictively again which tells me I'm trying at some level to not be connected with my feelings. I don't know what feelings, or why I don't want to be aware of them, but that is at the core of all addiction. And I also know that as long as I'm acting on my addiction, I can't have access to what it is I'm suppressing with the eating. I can get a day or 2 clean, and then the vapors must begin to surface and those aforementioned innocent bites and tastes begin - and off to the races I go again. I know this pattern well from my alcoholism recovery. Food is harder. At least for me. The food I'm stuffing in doesn't taste good. It isn't satisfying me. It isn't providing a psychic balm that at least is providing some kind of comfort. It feels driven...almost frantic. I can't even say it's stress eating because I'm in the middle of a sustained absence from work while my knee heals.

So here I am again in the confessional, spilling my guts and admitting the truth. I'm really ashamed and disgusted with myself, but at a deeper level know that addiction is a disease I already know I have and have already found a lot of healing from. I'm not giving up; not gonna quit. I may have to do a 12 step program again for food for a bit. I keep threatening to do it...maybe it's time. I'll let you know. One thing for sure...I will have a clean day today. The shock of the scale's pronouncement is branded into my psyche, which is a good thing. But it won't take me beyond the initial couple of days. So I'm staying in this day only because I can't handle thoughts of "never again being able to eat _______".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back in my beloved Wallyworld

I'm finally home! I was supposed to fly home yesterday morning, but my flight got canceled because of crew issues (not weather), and the airlines overbook so drastically across the board that the closest they could get to Philly yesterday was to fly into Atlantic City and bus passengers to Philly airport! No seats on any other flights all day long. Rididculous! Talk about a lynch mob of angry travelers. I was able to maintain a zen state, because I'd been to an AA meeting yesterday morning with my cousin-in-law (finally I'm no longer the only *recovering* family alky!) that put me in such a calm frame of mind that I just sat back amongst the throbbing crowd knowing there wasn't jacksh*t I could do other than wait to get rescheduled. It all worked out...I got a free upgrade to business class for this morning and left Atlanta on time and arrived here 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

This is the longest I've been away from my blog, and reading all yours', and I'm in acute withdrawal. After I take home the dog's babysitter, I'm going to catch up on reading and posting. In short, I'm so glad I went this weekend. The wedding was wonderful - a truly happy occasion. It was great seeing the family. The knees held up pretty well, though they are stiff and I feel like an octogenarian walking around! There are countless details that I will share, but for now suffice to say it was a glorious weekend, and having the extra day in Atlanta gave me that much more chance to see my son and for Tom and I to drive around some of the old neighborhoods we used to haunt.

More later - I'm ready to eat clean, start moving more, and welcome spring in a few days. Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A new low...paragraphs, not pounds!

I had a busy day shopping for something to wear for the wedding this weekend. Don't worry - I didn't overdo at all. I went up to the nicest mall in my area and shopped at one store only...Nordstrom's. Most know this an upscale store and not one I can afford to shop at often, but once or twice a year I go there for few special items, and for their annual sale. What got me started there was that they have the best and nicest collection of plus sized fashions of any place I've ever been. For special events like weddings, I can always find something decent and different there. I did find a nice spring weight jacket that I can pair with pants or a skirt I already own. I got a couple of other things too, with the rehearsal dinner in mind. I'll take pictures tomorrow, but just wanted to do a fast post tonight.

Food/eating was good today. I discovered a wonderful treat that probably a million of you already know about. Starts with a wedge of the ever popular Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese. I had graham crackers on hand, so I decided to try a couple of graham crackers with the cheese spread - yummy and satisfying. It tasted decadent, but not in a way that made me want to eat the whole box of grahams and the whole happy bovine. Really tasty. Usually I get the flavored LC lites and use them on a sandwich in place of mayo. But this plain swiss is great! And 35 small calories for a wedge that easily covers 2 full size graham crackers.

My knees held up well today, but they are TIRED and achy tonight. They actually feel equal - righty seems to be at a similar status to lefty. Very encouraging. I'm going to get horizontal with the phone and remote at my side and hold down the couch for a couple of hours until it's time to crawl into bed. I may pay tomorrow for the activity of today. I hope not, because I have a lot to do tomorrow. But with the time off, I can pace myself nicely. Hubby is driving down to Atlanta tomorrow, so he will take most of my stuff so I only need a small carry on for the plane. Have a good night all.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random update in 4 paragraphs

Happy Wednesday everybody. I have to say that I'm getting used to not working! It's so nice in the evening to know I don't have to get up and put on the work armor the next morning.

I forgot to come back and admit which of my list of Creative Blogger items is actually the truth. Drumroll - d-d-d-DA!!! I did break my arm skateboarding when I attempted a tricky maneuver and rolled into a mud puddle. Someone commented they thought that one couldn't be it because of the timing of when skateboards came into the picture. But before the most recent surge of skateboarding in the early 80s, there was an early incarnation of those death machines in the 60s. They weren't the techno-marvels of today, being basically about ~ a 3/4" thick board of green speckled wood attached to a set of wheels. The picture I found is titled "old vs. new". Obviously the old is the unpainted little board.

I had a pretty good food day yesterday, though not as stellar as the day before. A friend invited me out to lunch and I needed. We did Panera and I had vegetable soup and the Fuji apple salad. It was great - the soup was low fat and darned decent. The salad was great, but loaded with toasted pecans, dried apple slices (that were very sweet) and a dressing that was also sweet. No wonder if was so good. Other than that, I did okay. This morning a friend brought over a big container of homemade chicken soup that looks amazing. She's a health freak, so there isn't even a tiny blop of fat to skim off the top. That'll be dinner for the next couple of nights.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement about wheelchairs and airports. The friend I went to lunch with yesterday said the same thing, and told me her mother (age 89) does that "all the time" when she travels. My response, "Yeah, your mother is OLD. I don't want to look impaired and old." She then asked me who the hell I thought I'd see at the airport that I gave a hoot what they thought or that I'd even see again! Good point. Vanity is quite a powerful force at times. So. I called the airline and it was a breeze to get not only a wheelchair for all points of the trip, but also bulkhead aisle seats for leg room! And my flight attendant friend said they whisk you right through the security, which I'd forgotten about. How many times have I stood in forever waiting to get through those lines! It's all worked out and I feel good about it.

My knee is definitely better this morning. I had an acupuncture treatment yesterday that really helped, and then stayed off of it as much as possible. Plan to do more of the same today, other than getting my hair cut. Had the color last week, and it's so expensive now that I try to separate cut and color to spread out the financial drain! I'm also going to get my nails done after the cut, at a different place. Now that the wedding is a go, I have a lot of deferred maintenance to make up for! Hopefully tomorrow I can get out for a little while and find something to wear - but if not, I can always go to the clothing default of black skirt/pants and fabulous top.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Progress

I got on the scale this morning and I'm down 3.2 pounds from that heinous 206.8 from last Friday. Given that my eating was a little more than planned over the w/e, I'm thrilled, and still upping water intake and lowering food. Yesterday was pretty perfect in the food category. Whew - I still would like to be back to Onederland by Friday. If I keep doing what I did yesterday, it's more possible than if I revert to weekend ways.

My knee has flared up since midday yesterday as I mentioned, and still is tender today. It's a combination of things...much more movement over the weekend, including the brief stint on the stationary bike. But I also walked through Target and Kohl's for longer than I probably should have on Sunday...and Macy's. Also, I did a very small amount of vacuuming in the den yesterday morning, which I forgot about until I tripped over the not-put-away vacuum that I shoved into the living room. In general, while still GREATLY modifying my activity, I've done a lot in a short time and am now paying the price. Nothing like what happened with Lefty in December when I went back to work 5 days after the procedure, torqued the knee while responding to an emergency and set back my recovery by 2 weeks or more. I learned my lesson.

This morning I took the dog all of the length of 2 houses before knowing I needed to go back. Thankfully he'd performed all the required elements (like an Olympic figure skater), so he was happy to come home and chow down. I've since called a friend whose son is working part time, and he's going to do the after walks for me through Friday. I called my friend who'd volunteered to walk the dog while hubby was away, and she sounded all waffly and uncertain about her time availability. Note to self and others: don't offer to do something for someone if you really aren't thinking you can or want to do it.

We have a family wedding in Atlanta this weekend, and it's still up in the air as to whether I'm going to go. I have an airline ticket (hubby is driving b/c he has work on the way down) that I got long before Righty went on the disabled list. Once in Atlanta, I'll be fine, but the walk this morning though reminded me that there is a lot of airport walking between Philly and Atlanta and I'm not sure how I can manage. A friend suggested I call the airline today and request a wheelchair at the Philly end (don't need to worry at Atlanta because hubby will get special dispensation to meet me and push my sorry ass through the miles that comprise the Atlanta airport). I hate the thought of that but people with far more serious impairments travel all the time, so I think I can suck it up and make the trip. So this is still a work in progress. I'd hoped to be able to meet Tammy from From Fat to Fab for lunch on Monday, but now I'm thinking we'll have to postpone it until we go to Atlanta to retrieve our youngest son from his college in May. Oh - and I haven't a thing to wear for the wedding, so need to get out and find something fabulous. There are just enough issues to make me still unsure as to weather I can pull off going, but my SIL really wants me there, and I love her dearly. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home alone

Not the movie...me. I'm home alone for the week (well, Lou is here, but no other humans) as hubby left for a business trip. I feel all over the emotional map today for a million reasons.

I can't go any further without mentioning that my daughter Jean, who is a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, just returned from spending a week at a mobile hospital camp in the south of the DR that was set up for Haitian earthquake survivors. I spoke with her over the weekend and knew the experience was incredibly powerful for her and that she was planning to write about it. I came home a bit ago to see that she did write a lengthy post of her experience. I literally sobbed reading it, and while I don't want to shamelessly promote my child, her recounting of the experience gives a personal view of the Haitian situation that is profound. There is one fairly short post that includes some pictures, but the post below is her text. If you're interested, you can find it here.

I feel almost ridiculous writing my own post now, but have to know that I am living my own life and it's okay to be in it. In fact, I believe I'm called to be fully in it, which is part of what comes through Jean's musings about how God oversees all of creation and the seeming randomness and frank unfairness of disaster, glory and resource distribution. So, I will write on, with a deeper understanding of just how ridiculously good I have and always have had everything in my life.

Lisa, at One Mom's Eating Recovery gave me this award that I'd seen floating about other blogs, and I'm excited, because I am a pretty good BSer! If you haven't checked out Lisa's blog, do, because it's great and she has an awesome sense of humor. Thank you, Lisa - for your faith in my lying ability!

The rules are:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to 6 outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth.
5. Nominate 7 "creative writers" who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.
Here we go:
1. I won first place in an art competition for a purse I designed, knit and then felted about three years ago.
2. While I was living in Atlanta, I ran the annual 10K Peachtree Road race (helpd July 4th every year) for 3 years in a row, until we moved to PA.
3. I went as far as the district level of the Spelling Bee when I was in 7th grade.
4. I broke my left arm in 5th grade, on a skateboard - doing a donut maneuver in a mud puddle.
5. I absolutely love milk. It's the beverage I'd want to have if shipwrecked on a desert island.
6. I'm one of the few people my age (56) who still has her tonsils and adenoids. My mom wouldn't let them take 'em out.
7. My very first paying job was working at McDonald's. Hence my lifelong love of their fries. Beef tallow be damned!

Okay - now passing this on to 7 other bloggers I know and adore:
Tammy
Jodie
Bethany
Helen
What a Splurge
Loretta
Beth

I tried to find people who haven't already received this - If you have, thumb your nose at me! These are all great blogs that I read daily, so hopefully you'll stumble upon someone new if you go to check them out!

Also, Sunny gave me the Sunshine award which is given to bloggers whose positivity inspires others. I'd already received this, but realized I hadn't thanked Sunny. She also has a great blog, and you'll see that they don't call her Sunny for nothing! Very upbeat and positive, no matter what's going on!

My food hasn't been as tightly clean as I wanted it to be this weekend, so I opted not to weigh this morning. I'm planning on a clean day today, and without having to prepare food for anyone but myself, this should be easy. SHOULD. I planned on clean days Saturday and Sunday and ultimately fell off the wagon a bit. Not into binge-hell, but too stuff that is bad for me, counter productive and self-destructive. I'm a poet.

I did go to the gym Saturday and did 5 slow minutes only on a stationary bike at no resistance. It felt fine, but for once I didn't shoot myself in knee by doing more "because if felt fine". Good thing. I was generally more active all weekend with shopping and a short neighborhood walk - .4 miles. This morning both knees feel achy and stiff. So today, couch, movies and books. Except I do have to walk this fellow who definitely doesn't understand why his mom is so unable to do the usual 4-5 mile walks he's enjoyed for all these years! He will get quickies this week unless friends come by to take him further, which several have offered to do. Why is it so hard to let others help us?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Doing good

Yesterday hubby came in from getting the mail waving a big mailing envelope addressed to me and said, "This looks interesting...". Indeed! I grabbed it from him and saw that it was from Stacia, at Swimming It Off, who has been one of my major inspirations to start back with swimming. I stumbled upon her blog about 2 months ago, and was so inspired by her story of being a lifelong swimmer who is now committed to losing weight. I'd written many posts about wanting to get back in the water but not wanting to expose the various white doughy body parts in a bathing suit. Basically, she told me to get over it, sharing her story of various bathing suit sizes over the years. And a month ago, I did get back in the water. The URL for my blog is willswimagain..., and thanks to Stacia, I've met at least that goal!

Anyway, she sent me some way cool swimming gear:

...along with a card that I will quote one line from, "When you are ready for the water again I wanted you to have the gear all the cool kids wear." SWEET! Excellent goggles called "Women's Vanquisher", plus a silicone swimcap. I am going to vanquish that water when next I enter it! I cannot express how thrilled I was/am, and how grateful for this incredibly kind and supportive gesture.

Stacia's timing was wonderful. I was feeling a bit pudgy and doughy after my horrific scale venture yesterday, and the swim gear reminded me it's only a matter of patient time before I'll be back needed those goggles. I had an excellent day with food yesterday. Spot on, no junk, just what I intended to eat. It felt really good. Of course I wanted to jump on the scale this morning but decided that would be an excellent object lesson of Leslie self-sabotaging. So I'm going to wait until Monday, having a totally clean weekend. But after one sugar free day, my head already feels clearer. Sugar really fogs me up from the inside!

I've done 2 acupuncture treatments for the knee again and took pictures. Some of you saw the ones I posted in December from Lefty, but Righty wanted a crack at the glamour and lights. The knee is feeling good. I'm mainly doing the acupuncture to promote healing and give me 45 minutes of absolute downtime listening to Chinese music. Excellent meditation opportunity.
The little wires that looks like a mini jumper cable basically attach to one of the needle points and sends an electrical stimulation to that site. It just feels like a gentle spark with no burn at all - just a tapping impulse.



I plan to go and do 5 no-resistance slow minutes on a stationary bike at the gym today. Otherwise, the weekend is unstructured. I often go to my local knitting shop and knit for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, but I'm really deciding if it's a good idea because there is always food - esp. sweets, that people bring. I just don't know if I can resist. When in doubt, leave it out. Maybe an afternoon movie with hubby instead. Have a good Saturday. Can't wait for the Oscars tomorrow night!

Back to weight loss blogging

It's now 1 week since my surgery. I had my post op visit yesterday and was pronounced "doing great". My doctor is leaving it up to me when I go back to work, but I'm tentatively planning on returning Monday March 22. That's 2 more full weeks off (3 full weeks post op), and given how I'm feeling now that will be enough. If I have any doubt (or twinges or persistent areas of discomfort) I will postpone longer. For this time off, I'm using all my accrued vacation, sick and personal time, so if I go beyond that, I probably will have used all the time up and won't be getting paid, which would be very difficult for us.

The knee does feel pretty good, though there are a couple of places that protest when I move a certain way, and it's still difficult to sleep for more than an hour and a half, because I'll wake up with the knee achy and needing to be repositioned. I'm becoming the pillow queen; using all shapes and sizes for propping, leaning against and stuffing spaces in order to keep the knee fully supported. I go back to sleep pretty easily most of the time, unlike the other night when I just seemed to toss and turn.

So - the weight loss thing. I've mentioned that I've been eating pretty liberally this week. Today I had the nerve to get on the scale, knowing full well that my retaining water from surgery, sodium, and not drinking enough of it each day. I've had at least one meal out each day this week. All that is over. The scale said 206.8 this morning. I knew it would be bad - feared worse actually. But I'm glad I faced the music, because knowing the number will effectively STOP my eating out and continued bad habits and relaxing all my healthful practices. I didn't want to post this weight, but so many others of you are honest about backslides, and that gives me courage to do the same.

I feel like a broken record and know I can pull the needle of the rut anytime. This is my highest weight since early August, I think. After my first surgery in December (followed immediately by the eatin' season)I gained 7 pounds that I've really never lost. Been up and down 3 lbs or so either direction, but I've stayed around 198-199. This pattern I'm playing out is the newest in a lifetime series of weight loss morphing weight gain. Prior to last June when I started this for the last time, it would be now that I would absolutely give it up and just put the scale away and carry on with my self destructive eating.

Not this time. I'm not giving up, not quitting, and not caving in. I AM going to begin today (already have) with the food plan I was using before, that was about 1600 cals a day. Obviously the exercise will have to come slowly, but I can move my upper body just fine, and walk in the therapy pool at my gym.

But my thinking has to change. Earlier I was telling a friend at my meeting about the scale travesty and how I wanted to begin back at the gym in a VERY modified pattern, ala the physical therapy regimen I did after the left knee scope. I began doing 5 minutes of NO resistance on a stationary bike daily. I added 2 minutes every other day, and was told NO resistance at all until I was 4 weeks post op. Well, I began using resitance immediately at 4 weeks and built up daily, which I knew was wrong but I wanted to get back in gear. And this was the beginning of my R knee pain. So that can't happen this time. Plus, I said to my friend that it almost didn't seem worth going into the gym for just 5 minutes on a bike. WRONG! It is worth it, and I'm worth it. Parking is free. It will be 5 minutes of gentle controlled movement I'm not doing now. I will start next week getting into the therapy pool for walking ONLY Sunday or Monday, and if I have any pain I'll stop.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it. I wish my story was 192 pounds and ready to plunge into the next decade down. I was there in November and haven't returned since. I'm really ready.

Finally, I have to confess that it is so hard for me to not give you a laundry list of all the legitimate reasons (read excuses) I'm where I am today. But that's more BS'ing than I can muster today. Talk's cheap - esp. virtual talk. I want to join the winners, not the gainers, or even the maintainers who have a long way to go. At least I was holding there for awhile. But it's closing in on me and intervention is needed now. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting to know me

Another excellent adage is "what a difference a day makes". I'd like to add a good night of sleep, and getting back on my every 8 hour Ibuprofen. I feel much better this morning. I go at 11:20 for my post-op visit, and the rest of the day is relatively unstructured. A friend is coming over in the afternoon and bringing Starbucks coffee (only coffee for me - the frappes and other exotics don't tempt me at all). That will require only that I set my need to clean the house including drawers and closets aside (so she won't think I'm a crappy housekeeper, which I totally am, so is she, so cares...) and just anticipate her visit happily. Can do!

I'm just home from the morning meeting, which was great and got my head screwed on right. Made a delicious breakfast of 1 whole egg, 1 egg white and about 1/2 cup of Egg Beaters scrambled with a little brown mustard whisked in, plus 2 strips of perfectly crisp bacon. A treat, but one I know will satisfy me for hours. Bacon is simply one of the true pleasures in life. I read an article awhile back noting that a bunch of vegans were surveyed as to what food they missed most from their former carnivorous life style...bacon was the number one answer. I don't have it often, but I read Zaa's post a few days back where she talked about not making ANYTHING forbidden in one's diet. She mentioned the breakfast I just enjoyed, and since I've had a hankerin' for me some bacon. And bacon isn't something that keeps calling. I'm not a huge salt person, so bacon is one of my few pleasures where enough is truly enough. For awhile.

Usually I have 2 books going at once. If I have a 3rd, it's on CD and I listen in the car. Usually I have a non-fiction and a novel going, and the sharing of reading time between 2 books makes me a little slow on finishing, unless one is so compelling I can't put it down (usually the novel). The non fiction book du jour for now is what you see at the left.. Leaving Church - A Memoir of Faith. Memoirs are my favorite genre of literature - love, love, love, them and can give some great suggestions if anyone is interested.
My MIL sent me this one for Christmas, knowing that for years I've been drifting away from church as an institution, but always seeking the manifestation of God/Divinity on a daily basis. I'd term myself spiritual rather than religious. We do go to church and our kids are who they are today (wonderful and pretty solid) due in no small part to the role our local Presbyterian church played in their formative years. I show up maybe once a month. Hubby teaches Sunday school. Don't tell me opposites don't attract!

The author, Barbara Brown Taylor is a professor of Theology at a small college in North Georgia who has written 12 books. Prior to her current gig in academia, she was ordained as an Episcopal Priest and served as a parish associate in a huge Episcopal church in Atlanta for a few years before becoming the Priest of a small Episcopal church in A tiny north Georgia town. The title sort of gives away what the book is about - her faith journey from the time she was a little girl. Her writing is beautiful - compelling, incisive and totally accessible. Not a bit churchy or preachy. I've marked this book up so much in my reading that it looks like a Chinese road map; but the other night I read a couple of paragraphs that took my breath away, both for her amazing usage of words, but also for expressing what goes on in my head and heart so accurately.

She's writing about the time between her last 2 jobs - after parish priest/before college professor. She had over 3 months to live in the hallway of one door having closed before another had completely opened. She's discovered the surprising thud created landing in space without any agenda, much less an immediate one. She's close to starting the new job and reflecting on how this unexpected "vacation" has changed her. I'm going to quote almost 2 paragraphs, and that'll be about it. If this is boring to you - then catch me again tomorrow when I'm back to my usual stuff.


"With the new year on the horizon, my three months of unemployment were nearing their end. I had cleaned closets, thinned files, answered most of my mail." (slightly paraphrased for brevity - the rest won't be) "More important, the load on my heart had been to ease. Day by day I felt my soul rising through the murky currents of the past year toward a brighter, warmer place. This part did not feel like my doing, although I knew that slowing down had helped me recover."

"Like many ambitious people, I had developed a dependence on adrenaline. I could get so much done when my anxiety was in the red zone that I learned to live right on the edge of panic in that optimum zone between alarm and collapse. It was my version of running hurdles and I was good at it. As long as I kept moving quickly, there was a great deal I did not have to feel. Sadness and loss were slow movers, along with bewilderment and doubt. Every time I heard them breathing behind me, I put on a burst of speed. But when the tears started leaking out of my on Sunday mornings at Grace-Calvary (her church), I could not find my stride anymore. My feelings caught up with me and escorted me off the track."

Every time I read that, I fill up and feel my throat contract. Maybe in a less important life, maybe without a congregation to serve, maybe with different demons...these paragraphs reveal how I have carved my role in the world as Activity Junkie. Add in too much TV, food, alcohol at one time - whatever helps me stay just ahead of overwhelmed bewilderment. To not feel feelings. Trouble is, when you blunt the fearful feelings, the joy and richness of day to day existence can't help but be similarly numbed.

Just these few weeks of necessary stepping out of my usual running has brought awareness for me of how much I scramble to keep moving. From what? My life is really great. I've tapped many resources over the years that enable me to live fully and freely, yet these old behaviors and habits that keep me at arm's length from my feelings are deeply rutted in my hard wiring. They can all change with intention, focus, tenacity and hard work. But it doesn't happen overnight, or easily. At least not for me.

What I take from this is mainly to cut myself some slack. I have good and bad days. I eat nature's bounty along with incorporated crap. I love and hate. Do the next right thing and f*ck up. But it's all okay, and I don't have to be afraid of my feelings. They are the tether to my truest self and the best indicator of how I'm doing on any given day. And thankfully, for today, I'm feeling grateful.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another cautionary tale

My intention for today's post was to write a lovely piece that included a quote from the book I'm reading that I mentioned yesterday. To wax prolific and poetic about the merits of solitude, silence, and "being" as opposed to being a "doing" machine. Well, this ain't gonna be that.

What is coming to mind as I finally sit down to write is the little nugget of wisdom, "This too shall pass". I've heard it around the blogosphere. I've heard it in the real world. I've heard it many times. The first place I remember hearing it where it sunk in was, where else, AA. It can be such a comfort, when one is feeling overwhelmed with either the reality going on around her or the emotional turmoil swirling within. How many times, when talking to another recovering person and vomiting out a carload of pain that was making me want to guzzle a fifth of Jack did I hear that simple line? And it helped.

But right now, the memory of the phrase is a little different. I probably had about 6 months of sobriety at the time, and discovered at the end of a day I was feeling good; hadn't felt like drinking. It was pretty radical. I called my sponsor and was all bubbly and cheerful and optimistic, and she at last said to me in all seriousness, "This too shall pass". WTF!!??!! I was pissed off. How dare she stick a pin in my happy balloon, throw ice water in my cheerful face? But even as I was irritated and annoyed, I knew she was right. Everything passes. The ultra-sh*tty, the glorious, the tragic, the victories and the defeats. Whatever it is that I'm all up in a lather about today will likely be long forgotten next week at this time. Good stuff stays good - but the emotional intensity of wonderful moments settles down. A realized achievement, long awaited, quickly becomes part of the hard-wiring, and another carrot emerges to be the next must-have/do/own/win.

By now you are likely thinking, "Uh-oh, she's off on another psychological-philosophical rambling...". I guess I am, but my mind just works this way. I sat down to post at least 5 times today, only to find myself stopped up in the brain-flow department. When that happens, I just have to wait it out a bit and try to let what's really going on emerge and manifest so I can meet it face to face.

This is a very long way to say that all the ease and peace that emanated from my being yesterday must have oozed all the way out and vaporized, because today I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. Restless and irritable. Sick and tired of having to be "modified" in so many of my activities. Trapped like a rat in a maze. Oh the drama!! (Don't worry, this is not making me want to return to work. At all. Just to everything else I want to do, and with a big full wallet as well. Capiche?)

I slept crappily last night because the knee was achy, and I'm conflicted about taking the Vicodan at this point. I talked it over with my sponsor tonight and she told me to stop being an idiot and use it as prescribed if I need it. Well then. Anyway, after my 7 a.m. meeting, I went to the produce place, the grocery store and Trader Joe's. I came home and hubby (who works out of the house in his own business) was in the den on the computer, talking on the phone about petrochemicals and freight trafficking when I wanted some peace and quiet. Blah blah blah. A friend picked me up and took me to lunch, which was nice. Translate all this: I totally overdid it.

After lunch, in order to not be home listening to Mr. Leslie's petrochemical phone calls, I went to the local library "to be alone". But I felt so sleepy once there I knew I had to go home and take a nap. By now, my knee was throbbing, the other knee was even tired, and I was a mess. And...I ate a big sweet roll from the local store that I dashed into to get a diet coke. That set off more wacko quacko eating. But I did finally take a nap, spooning with the dog up against me.

When I woke, I felt leftover and sluggish, and I know it was from eating junk. So I decided to but my losses in the eating realm and made a good dinner of roasted root veggies and Lyn's Cabbage roll casserole. If you go to the link, the recipe is listed in the left margin. It's a wonderful healthy meal that I make a lot now.

Clearly, it's time to stop comforting myself with food. I've been very loosey goosey with eating for the last 2 weeks - but for the last few days since the surgery, I've gradually EXPANDED into frank overeating. I feel dough-y and fuzzy. The increased intake of simple carbs, even if not in binge fashion, is leaving me feeling yucky. I'm sure it's affecting my mood, because sugar and simple carbs always do.

So, sorry no book reviews tonight, or flowery discussions of metaphysical marvels. Just an old story of how one day we can be on top of the heap, and the next day want to crawl under it. My lengthy explanation stems from having learned to take stock of what's going on in my emotional landscape continually so as not to get knocked off my square and be vulnerable to a drink. But I can still get knocked off - and instead of a drink, a cake can seduce me in a nano-second. Thank goodness that I also know that no matter what's up, this too shall pass.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A drib and a drab

Earlier today I had some brilliant insights and revelations to write about, generated by a wonderful memoir I'm reading. I decided to put off writing until the afternoon, and now I'm too tired. Genius tabled to another day. The quietude in which I am dwelling is gradually seeping in and beginning to feel delicious and safe.

Righty continues to do pretty well. I'm babying her like a preemie. Work called today to see how I'm doing...I was at lunch with a friend and hubby told them I was "indisposed". YES! He really came through. I guess you all were right about them probably just trying to not bug me. I'll call and chat with them tomorrow, when and if I'm feeling "disposed". But I'm going to create a beautiful vaporous cloud of smoke if they ask anything about when I might come back. Because I don't have any idea, and I'm not anywhere near contemplating it. I have my post-op visit Thursday morning at which time I'll talk to the doc about when I might think it wise to go back. I know he won't rush me or think I'm malingering if I want to add an extra week onto my rehab. It's becoming clear that my R&R is serving a greater purpose than the simple healing of my knee. Head and heart are getting in on the act, and that's a wonderful bonus. More tomorrow ;) .

Monday, March 1, 2010

Marching to spring

Bring it on, month of March! I don't know when I've been happier to say good riddance to one month (the "F" month, aptly named I might add) and hello to a new one. Between 70+ inches of snow, endless unseasonably cold days and yet another knee injury with subsequent exercise stoppage and surgery, the dark days of February seemed to go on forever and permeate every cell in my body. And soul. But there is new light already present, only to increase in the coming days. Literally and figuratively.

I'm really pleased with the progress of my knee. It is feeling almost as good as new already! Don't worry - I'm not going to get all heady this time and start training for an Ironman or anything. But honestly, the knee is doing great. I'm shocked and delighted. Hopeful and optimistic. Did I mention pleased? As I'm typing this, I've actually felt myself exhaling deep sighs of relief. I don't know to what to attribute this so far easy post-op status I certainly didn't experience in December with Lefty.

One thing, I am being very careful and intentional with movement. I'm watching where I'm going so as not to ram my foot into a random chair leg, thereby sending painful shockwaves up into my knee. I'm not entertaining thoughts of returning to work before at least 2 post-op weeks, even though I can tell that this recovery is going to be smoother and faster. I am using my pain medicine as needed, despite its rather, shall we say, binding properties. These all seem like pretty reasonable measures to which any sane person would adhere. Key word - sane. Last round with Lefty I was trying to convince self and others of my invincibility and stellar work ethic by returning to work right away. I paid a big price doing that. It feels really good to be putting myself and my long term well being first. This shouldn't be such an accomplishment for a 56 year old woman, but it is. How much time have I spent trying to look good to others, while throwing myself under the bus in the process? I believe I've finally made solid progress in this arena.

So while I'm so thrilled to be doing so well in the recovery process, I did go on a bit of an emotional bender today. I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch, and that was to be my big activity of the day...the thing I was looking forward to. She called about 11:15 and cancelled because "it's Monday and crazy at work...". I totally get that. It wasn't personal. But my husband had just left for a business meeting, and suddenly I didn't have "a plan". Normally I don't need a plan, but I felt disappointed and a little anxious. "Now what?" I noticed a wave of binge thinking waft into the periphery of my consciousness. A quick shake of my head blinked away the thought, but not the emotional slump that was settling in. I ended up going to the library to return a couple of movies, then to the grocery store and back home for lunch, all with relative ease.

By this time, it was almost 2 p.m., and it occurred to me that not one person from my work had called me to see how my surgery went Friday, how I felt, if I had wakened from anesthesia...nothing. This blew some wind into the sails of my funkiness. Then in keeping with my endless tendency to be my own worst enemy, I started thinking about an AA acquaintance who always play emotional peak-a-boo with people. She also hadn't called me since my surgery. Now, let me note that on Friday night and Saturday, I had many calls and visits from friends; one gal made us dinner tonight; another brought me a big bag of stuff from Whole Foods on Sunday. But all I was thinking about in this moment were the people who didn't call. The disappointments. The negative stuff. That may or not have had anything to do with me.

Remember about 2 weeks ago I wrote about a story from the AA Big Book where the writer talked about the magnifying mind? The idea that what we focus on becomes our reality? This is exactly what I was doing. In the sea of much love and kindness and well wishes from many friends, I elected to dwell on a couple of negative things. My funky mood magnified and increased. And so did my eating thoughts. I ended up eating way more food than I have been, and stuff that is definitely NOT on my plan. It was the first bad day of eating I've had in a while, and I'm not happy about it.

So tonight I'm taking stock. No one from my job has called yet. I'm surprised, disappinted. But I know I'm appreciated and well liked at work. It isn't personal, and even if it is there isn't much I can do about it. I can rant and rave in my mind about how I always call someone when they've had something done - yadda yadda yadda, aren't i perfect - but it changes nothing. The other gal who hadn't called actually did call later, and I decided to let her leave a message. None of this stuff matters at all. It's all part of the headgame that upends my equilibrium and sends me to the food. It's not worth it. I fell prey this time but I don't want to keep doing it.

This new month, the rising temperatures and melting snow, the increasing light and 2 newly repaired and soon to be optimally functioning knees fill me with motivation, anticipation and excitement that I am going to get back into the excellent eating and exercising routine I was in last summer and early fall when I lost 25 pounds without killing myself in the process. I was focused and determined. Maybe it's silly, but the new beginning that March represents feels big right now. It's been a long crappy winter, and the promise of spring in a couple of weeks is almost electrifying. There will finally be nice warm walks, gardening, stepping outside without having to layer up the woolens. Very appealing. And I believe I'll appreciate it this year in a way I never before have. And I'll never again take pain free days for granted.