Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekend update

I'm just doing a quickie post today - mid 3 day weekend, almost halfway through the Prednisone treatment for the kickin'myass poison ivy.  The PI finally really dying down and I haven't had an episode of 2 hour intense itching from what what feels like down inside the bones in over 24 hours.  I'm not feeling crazy, hyper or strung out from the steroids at this point, but I am definitely retaining some fluid!  There is not a whole lot I can do about it other than drink lots of water, which I'm doing.  So I'm not stressing, not stewing and just trying to enjoy the time off.

Yesterday was a big accomplishment and progress point in my journey since this past winter of the knee arthroscopies and assorted related annoyance...I finally walked the entire loop at my beloved Ridley Creek State Park yesterday with a friend and my big silly old dog!  It's a gorgeous walk, quite hilly, mostly wooded and trailing along a beautiful creek, with the measured distance of 4.3 miles.  However, from where you park, walk in and get to the first mileage indicator, it's probably another .3 miles, so I'm always pretty comfortable deeming it a 5 mile walk from car back to car.  Friday afternoon, I went to the gym after work and biked for 30 minutes at a resistance level of 4, at a pretty fast speed.  It was definitely more work on the knees than I'd had to date, and while they felt great and so did the walk yesterday, I've had several glitchy steps in the hours since the long walk.  Dum, da dum dum.......

I'm determined to remain optimistic and prudent in the return to full activity level, but what I've experieced several times yesterday after the long walk and then again this morning are random occurrences of my R knee just sort of giving out for a second, with a shooting of minor pain.  Nothing awful, and not even alarming, but putting me on notice that I'm am not yet fully rehabbed, even though the stiffness and discomfort the knees experienced for so long has been almost totally gone.  Back to paying close attention, advancing slowly, not getting cocky, and listening to my body.  Probably just as well, because after Friday's bike workout, I was starting to think of jogging, couch to 5k trainings....just getting waaaaay ahead of myself.  Damn...I was entirely getting carried away with my bad self! Off and running in my head long before I'm able to go off and running for real!

This will date me (though you already know I'm a woman of a certain age) but I'm reminded of something the comedian from the late 60s and early 70s, Flip Wilson, in his character of Geraldine, used to quip, "Don't let your mouth write a check your body can't cash".  Exactly.  I've been guilty of that very thing as it applies to what I can/will do with excercise!  Another variation on the theme of unrealistic goal setting or setting out to do something I'm not really ready for is another thing I hear in AA all the time, "Ready, Fire, Aim".  DOH!  That too.

So the rest of the weekend will be me not overdoing it on my knee.  I hope to be able to get another shorter but still substantial walk in, but will put the jogging and pole vaulting off for a time!  The body isn't ready to cash those checks just yet.  I hope everyone has a great  rest of the weekend with plenty of R&R.

Friday, May 28, 2010

3 day weekend Friday!!!

Last week when my posts were a series of pontifications contemplations on certain concepts related to weight loss, one of the things I reflected about here was the notion of "enough". Just today I read a quote from a little gem of a book called A Thousand Paths to Enlightenment, shown above.  A friend gave me this 464 page gem of a little book a couple of Christmases ago, and it's chocked full of very short quotes (many of unknown authorship) on all kinds wisdom nuggets.  I've tried to order this book to give to other folks and haven't been able to find it, but perhaps will try again today in my endless endeavor to fill work time with occasional personal tasks.

Anyway, this morning I did my usual practice of just opening the book to a page and seeing what jumps out as my edification for the day, and I read this (which btw is uncited):

"To know men is to be wise, to know oneself is to be illuminated. 
To conquer men is to have strength, to conquer onself is to be strong still. 
And to know when you have enough is to be rich."   

I really like that saying, especially the part about how knowing when one has enough rendering her/him rich.  It reminds me of yet another saying I first heard in AA, "Happiness isn't having what you want, it's wanting what you have".  So true.  And linked inextricably to the concept of having enough to be whole, healthy, content and able to be of service to others in the course of just one day.  I really don't have to get too tangled up about tomorrow and beyond, though planning, intention and goal setting give direction and focus for my activities in today.

This morning I was thinking about how the holiday weekend is upon us, and how I have an overall sense of deep contentment about the possibilities for activities, projects and connections with family and friends for the next 3 days.  Yet I was aware of vague stirrings of angst that I couldn't immediately identify.  What has risen to awareness is that I'm thinking about the food ops that the holiday weekend will bring, and feeling nervous and in turmoil over wanting to stay true to my plan and fearing temptations that will invariably present over the course of the 3 days.  I think material from the book I've talked about this week, Life Without Ed, is percolating at a subconscious level and bringing me some insights and awarenesses that I might not otherwise be getting. 

What I've come to see is that though I can talk the talk about trusting I have "enough" of all I need to sustain health, wholeness and availability for others for today (see 4th paragraph of this post), I'm not really walking the walk when I'm feeling churned up over "how will I ever be able to adhere to my food and exercise plan for the holiday weekend?"!  Interesting that the left hand does not necessarily know what the right hand is up to, or the left brain aware of the right brain's cogitations.  Such a head trip this journey continues to be!  My intention for today is to follow my food plan and exercise.  I'll deal with tomorrow when it becomes today.

Not much more from me today...I had a better food day yesterday, though not exactly to the letter of my plan.  Less after dinner munching, and munching much healthier...fruit and low fat graham crackers.  In moderation.  I think the food plan needs to be modified to accomodate my after dinner desire to eat something...ANYTHING.  Maybe I'll look at that over the weekend.

A new Farmers' Market opened in a local town yesterday, and I got 2 quarts of fantastic locally grown strawberries. They are solid red throughout, juicy and sweet, and really with no hulls

Aren't they gorgeous?  I also got some cut up watermelon and pineapple and had a fruit snack when I got home from work, and then another after dinner.  I haven't had REAL strawberries since last summer!  We get the California ones that are shipped across the country that look perfect and beautiful but are like white tasteless styrofoam inside.  I'm sure they are good when they are local...in California!  But not here in PA after they've been trucked in regrigerated containers.  Summer fruit is a little piece of Heaven!

This is my home-from-college son getting ready to go to work at the deli...isn't he a cutie?  After I snapped his picture, he practically wrestled me to the ground for the camera, saying he didn't want me using his picture for my evil purposes!  Haha, my evil purpose is show him off!  He's a wonderful kid with a great heart, and a sense of humor that keeps us laughing.  It still blows my mind that 2 of my babies now sport beards!  And no, my daughter isn't the other one!


That's it for me.  I'm going to try and stay at least partially connected to blogsville over the weekend.  Everyone have a safe and happy time.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Whole lotta nuthin'... with questions

I don't have a whole lot for today. Yesterday was good until after dinner when I had a handful of peanuts, and that invited another, and then some wheat thins. Not horrible but not intended. Who was it that wrote that brilliant post about intention last week??? Oh - it was moi. I'm not even going to blame the Prednisone. In the moment I wanted it more than I wanted to not eat it. That's the real story. I was aware. I read a lot more of the book I discussed yesterday and used some of the strategies. I put off the extra eating longer than I have other times by considering and employing those strategies. I'll get it. I'm getting it.

I had a really good workout yesterday again which felt great. Then I fixed a great dinner that I took pictures of, just for some blogalicious variety. Inspired by Lyn at Escape From Obesity, I've been constructing my dinners from her Medifast dinners that include protein and 3 vegetables. Recall my food plan now is 4 oz of protein at lunch and dinner, plus 6 oz cooked veggies and 8 oz salad with 1 Tbs. olive oil on the salad. I'm modifying my plan a bit because if I have a big salad for lunch, I don't always want another for dinner, so last night I essentially cooked a salad!
Here are the items I decided to saute/stir fry: I used 1 tbp olive oil, a Tbs of soy sauce and about a half tsp. of sesame oil for flavor and stir fried the mix till crisp tender. With 2 sections of the frozen garlic from TJoe's, the flavor was amazing! The rest of dinner was leftover roasted veggies (which I make a huge pan of every Sunday to last the week), one Trader Joe's 110 calorie chicken sausage and 3 scrambled egg whites with a little yellow mustard stirred in for color and flavor. It was a fantastic dinner!
So good I didn't want it to end, and had a little extra of my salad stir fry. See...good food...Me. Want. More. But hell, I don't want to subsist on tasteless gruel in order to not be triggered to want more. And there is the ENOUGH factor again. I'm in process with all this. I'll find the right balance, and sooner than later I think!

Finally, have those of you with Trader Joe's tried these frozen herb products?

I just tried this garlic for the first time when I saw a woman getting some the other day. I asked her if it was good, and she raved about all the herbs made and frozen by this company. Was she ever right, at least about the garlic! I love garlic and use tons of it, but I have a hard time using it before it starts sprouting and getting the slightly bitter green sprout starting in the middle of the clove so soon after I buy it. Plus, chopping endless cloves for everything in which I want garlic is time consuming. I tried some of those jarred minced and chopped garlics at grocery stores and they don't taste fresh at all. They almost taste pickled! But this Dorot product tastes totally fresh. The woman who was buying the garlic that day said the other herbs she's tried are every bit as fresh tasting. I still like to use fresh, but this is a great substitute for quick dinners and such.

This brings up a question or 2:
1. Do you have any favorite similar products you can use in a hurry to have a fesh tasting dish? The frozen herbs, shredded cabbage and broccoli slaw, Purdue short cut chicken tenders - the unmarinated variety. Trader Joe's also has good ones, but sometimes the exp. date is too close for me to buy them. Probably because they have a lot fewer preservatives and crap than Purdue!
2. Non-food related question...Do you usually write the title of your post before or after you write it? Usually I write it after or during, once I see where my thoughts are going. Once in awhile, I know what I want to discuss, and get that title in to help me stay on course! And even then I change it sometimes. I have no idea what I'm going to call this post! How 'bout "Whole lotta nothin!"? Hmm, that may be it!
3. Have you always been a diary or journal keeper? I have - always have loved to write, and had the requisite diary with lock and key when in elementary school. I went for years without journaling, but about 3 months after my mother died and I was a true solo act in this life, I began writing in a journal again, and it became a saving grace. Not long after the journaling, I started seeing a counselor for the first time. The journey began......

Have a great little Friday, which is what a school teacher friend of mine calls Thursdays! And this is the one before a 3 day weekend. WOOT!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Meet Bo, my worst nightmare

I just started reading a really good book yesterday that I've read about on several blogs over the months. It's this: and after only a couple of forwards and 15 pages of text, I can tell it's going to be excellent for me as I access my Inner Warrior (thanks Jacksh*t) and go head to head, in direct combat, with my eating disorder.

Rather than try to explain the subject matter, I'll give you this link if you're interested in checking it out. The author has a newer book that came out last August (Goodbye Ed, Hello Me), and given how excellently written this one is so far, I expect I'll get it as well. She's a gal who found a therapist able to help her find recovery from her eating disorder, aka "Ed", by encouraging her to establish her "Ed" as an entity separate from herself, rather than as an integral part of her. This method ultimately helps her be able to identify when her eating disorder is calling the shots and finding her own true voice to counter its demands. I haven't read a whole lot of her story yet, but I think she was bulimic - bingeing and purgeing, for much of her life.

My "Ed" is different, because try as I did for years, I was never much of a purger. I did do the laxative and diuretic thing in my 20s, being a nurse and having access to them, but I could never make myself throw up. Now I am eternally grateful for that lacking in my constitution, but at the time it was further confirmation of what a loser, sack'o'sh*t, bingeing, compulsively exercising, doomed to be fat person I was. Siiiigggghhh. It's so sad when I think of how much of my life has been consumed (no pun intended) by my consumption of consumables. First eating, then eating, purging with pills and exercise and drinking, and then back to eating sans purge. I was actually going to say "finally back to eating...", but that sounded like the end of the story, and it absolutely isn't. My Ed (Bo, for binge overeater) is a total SOB who is on notice. I am gaining new strength, tactics and tools with which to separate from him. Forgive my alphabet soup, and ohmigod is there no end to my food metaphors??!!

I'll give my $.02 review when I'm finished with the book, but already I can feel my mind wrapping itself around the idea that my Bo is not me. And I'm going to be giving him a run for his money.

On a scratchier note, my poison ivy has been served notice that its days are numbered. I was put on not only Prednisone, but an antibiotic because one area was beginning to have a red flare around it, signifying possible early infection. I actually saw a Nurse Practitioner, and she turned out to be the kind about whom the statement "nurses eat their young" was written. She talked down to me, was a little attitudey when I added my own knowledgeable two cents (that's 4 cents I've mentioned in this post) and was just generally a snot. I was polite and managed to not antagonize her with my own attitude, but it wasn't easy! As of this typing, I can already feel substantial improvement, but know that I will become crazier by the day while tapering on the Prednisone. Y'all have been through this with me before. I'll try and keep whining and mania to a minimum.

Other than that - I thought I'd toss up a few pictures, first of my absolutely excellent lunch today: that I'm munching as I type. (I know, please don't tell me about intentional eating...I don't have time right now). It's mixed greens with tuna, feta, few cut up green olives, a little olive oil and lemon juice and lots of red pepper. It's hitting the SPOT.
Then dinner last night was the same egg and zucchini casserole made by Biz that she posted about yesterday: It actually looks kind of dried out because I took the pic this morning after it was in the fridge all night (in anticipation of blogging brain freeze which didn't happen). It was super easy and yummy! And it was beautiful when it came out of the oven.
Then some shameless exploitation of a friend's cute bulldog puppy: who's name is "Beef"! How cute is that?
Finally, a beautiful bunch of allium - a plant that is in the garlic family! These are pretty spectacular:

I have a good workout planned after work, and it will be at the gym since the temp will be in the 90s. Have a good Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Head Game

I just realized I should have taken a picture...I'm at work and just returned to my office after passing meds, and what is sitting on my desk but a piece of yellow cake with a spattering of blackberries and strawberries, and a dollop of whipped something. The gal who made it is one of the supervisors in a classroom, and she does cooking projects. She's a fellow foodie, and always sends a treat my way when she has enough. Often, very often, I partake.

Today I simply placed the paper plate with the plate in my trash can and stirred up the trash so if my friend comes in my office she won't see her kind offering mugging up at us out of the trash. What's interesting is that I would eat this on many days, even though it would be marginal at best. Just an average hit of sugar and my inner addict would come spritely to life and off to the races I'd likely go for the day. Seeking something that was worth it - because the cake wouldn't be.

So I just said no today and I'm really glad. I had a spot on day following the plan I wrote of yesterday to the letter. The food was good, satisfying and enough. There was a moment late afternoon before dinner where a food thought came over me and another after dinner. They weren't terribly compelling but enough to send me down the garden path on many days. It wasn't hard to resist. And I literally said to myself after dinner, "You know you've had sufficient nutrition for the day. You will not die of either malnutrition or starvation if you have not one more bite today, even though it feels a little said and empty.

I ended up going to bed early, succumbing to another dose of Benadryl I took for my poison ivy itching. The poison ivy is getting worse, so I'm going to the doctor this afternoon to get an order for Prednisone. I hate to do it, but it's clearly not settling down. I hate to resort to it, but at this point I'm ready to be done with the crazy itching, and watching the ivy rash spread up above my elbow at this point. It's time.

The thing I've been thinking about my whole weight loss journey today is how much of a head trip it is for me. Of course the physical reality is what it is, but my attitude, willingness, acceptance, honesty and perseverence are all functions of my head. There is a saying in AA: "You can't think your way into right acting; you really have to act your way into right thinking". My head (the ultimate thinker) will rationalize, connive, finagle and bullsh*t me from here to Kingdom Come, striving to convince me that one small handful of 40% reduced fat Kettle potato chips won't hurt me or set me off this time. (This happened Sunday - a new brand I hadn't tried and had bought "for my son". What a crock! 2 crocks, actually. #1 - buying them for my son, and #2 - pretending to "believe" that the one handful won't set me off. I have to overide the mind chatter and just do the next right thing. Which in my case is always going to be to not eat the thing my head tells me I have to have when it's not within the confines of my food plan.

My AA sponsor said to me yesterday, "You know full well when you're eating what you shouldn't, when you shouldn't." I might as well be honest with myself at those times and just admit that, for that day, I'm choosing food over something else. Food over quiet time. Food over showing up for something that I fear might make me uncomfortable. Food over feeling what's really going on with me. Food over being with my family. I'm choosing food over living my life as it unfolds each day. That is absolutely the truth, and I want to stop making that choice.

I went to the gym yesterday and got in 30 minutes on the bike with level 3 resistance. Felt great, and I would have gone longer but I wanted to get home and see Oprah with Julia Roberts and Elizabeth Gilbert about the upcoming movie from the book Eat, Pray, Love. My doctor's appointment after work is at 3:30, so hopefully I'll get a long walk in after what will hopefully be a quickie appointment. I'm feeling pretty optimistic about getting another day here. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Changing it up

I've started writing a post this morning 3 times and after a paragraph or so realize that I'm just not tapping into anything that is feeling real. Well, maybe not so much real as pressing and relevant to where I am right now. So DELETE. I was writing about true stuff, but it felt a little hollow because I'm feeling very emotional and a little funky and was trying to not sound that way. I don't know what that's about except that I hate when I'm down and feeling vulnerable. Irritable and restless. Yuck. I've needed a change, and change is brewing.

What ultimately jolted me up against where I am emotionally was reading today's post by one of our friends from across the pond, Patsy at Musings on a 100lbs+ Weight Loss Journey. You can read the post here. She says that she's finally feeling the original momentum and enthusiasm for her weight loss journey for the first time in months. She started last summer with this journey and blogging, just like I did. She started out great guns, just like I did. Then she ran aground a bit around November and has been sort of floundering with her weight loss since. Just like me.

That's what really reached out and grabbed me by the neck. Literally she started struggling at the same time I did. Different reasons maybe, but notes that since November her efforts have been "half-hearted at best'. God, me too. Exactly.

What's happened for her is that in the last few weeks she's started a pretty strict breakfast and lunch meal replacement plan and then having a normal healthy dinner. Apparently she's getting good results, as she's feeling that positive anticipation of being thinner and healthier, and excited about the whole process. That's where our stories diverge. I'm still not there, and I know it's because I'm still trying to do the same thing of eating normally within a set amount of calories a day.

I can do it for awhile, but then my Pumpkin Pie Kashi bar that has only 120 calories tastes so good that I decide to have just one more. It's only 120 more calories. But the extra 120 makes me that much more likely to have a handful of nuts. Or just a 130 cal. Z bar...whatever. I can honestly say I had no binge behavior at all this weekend, but I'm seeing that relying on certain packaged processed foods set me up to eat more than I should. Lot's more, but not like a binge episode. Just extra grazing. Last summer for several months I could eat these kinds of items and stop at the end of my allotment for the day. For days upon days upon weeks. But I just haven't been able to retrieve that ability since my first knee surgery in December.

So I'm going to change it up a bit for awhile. I talked a couple weeks ago about the very rigid 12 step food program I did summer of '07 that required a certain number of meetings, phone calls in to a sponsor to commit food, etc. I said that I knew I could no longer do that program because it was too rigid. But what I know I can do is the food plan without the program. It's fairly restrictive, but has plenty of food I like and can be satisfied with for awhile. No meetings, no phone calls, none of the stuff that made me crazy. It's simply a very clean no sugar, no flour program - low carb, high protein. It consists of:
Breakfast - 1/2 cup oatmeal (dry), 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup or piece of fruit. The gal who gave me the plan said no bananas or cherries because of their high sugar content, but I ate both when they were available and they didn't adversely affect my program.
Lunch and Dinner are the same composition - 4 ounces protein, 6 ounces cooked vegetable and 8 ounces salad. There can be plenty of variety within the choices so this is a pretty decent food plan. No potatoes, dried beans or rice in the beginning, which is fine with me. I will measure and weigh my protein portions, and if I'm closer to 5 oz. that's fine. The one extra thing I'm adding is a second fruit each day, either late afternoon or early evening.

Bearfriend had sent me an email suggesting I do the program again even if just for a little while, and I was still thinking in terms of the whole thing - with meetings and phone calls and punitivity by a sponsor. I knew that was a set up to fail because I have an attitude about the rigidity piece. But last week when I was becoming aware of how much harder it was for me to stay clean if the food I prepared was too delicious I started realizing I didn't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. So this is what I'm doing and I feel pretty good about it. If I have skim milk in my coffee (which I do), I don't have to feel like I'm deceiving someone.

A positive exercise note - Saturday I walked 5 1/2 miles total in the morning, to and from my early aa meeting. My knees felt really good - normal. Yesterday it rained or heavy misted all day so I never got a walk in. Today I'm going to the gym after work and maybe in another day or so I'll start Stacia's pool challenge.

It feels good to be operating within some fairly stringent guidelines that have worked in the past, and yet not signing on at a level where I know I'll be bucking some of the requirements. This seems to be a good balance of taking what was great from the rigid 12 step program and leaving the rest behind.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Brief whine - then Enough

Today's affliction over which I'm seeking dominion is poison ivy. Recall my epic yard work of last Sunday. The garden is looking beautiful; my arms, not so much. Actually it's mainly my left arm, but it's getting worse each day. I bought an 8 dollar bottle of Ivy-Dry the pharmacist sincerely assured me would dry it up in a snap. That was Tuesday. Yes, it's Friday, and the rash is not only NOT dried up, it's spreading despite my best efforts to not scratch. I took these pics Wednesday, and all areas are now more inflamed, larger, and ITCHING FROM THE INSIDE OF MY BONES. (Just like a self-absorbed blogger to take a pic of the back of her elbow, just for effect, huh?!) And with God as my witness, I will not resort to Prednisone to stop this, which I've often had to do in the past. A couple of new (and unphotographed) patches have cropped up above my wrist, but I think I've grossed you all out enough. This isn't the end of the world, but it woke me last night around 3 a.m., and I couldn't go back to sleep until after ingesting a sizeable swig of liquid Benadryl to stop the itching. This rendered me unconscious and thereby unable to do my morning 35-40 minute walk I've been doing all week. The way Benadryl knocks me out, I could probably have open-heart surgery while under it's hypnotic influence. Unfortunately, no buzz. But with a hangover. Insert frown.

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Yesterday was another good food day, along with a second brisk 3 mile walk after work. As predicted I did have some eating thoughts after finishing an awesome stir fry and brown rice dinner. Sometimes I think that when dinner tastes soooooo good, it makes me want something more. If dinner is just average, it seems easier to turn off the "wanter". It's yet another bane of my dysfunctional relationship with food. I love it, enjoy cooking it, using fresh ingredients, trying out new seasonings and recipes. But it seems the less emphasis and joy I associate with eating, the easier it is for me to stay the course. Does that make sense? I'm not accepting that this is how my life needs to be with food in order for me to lose weight - bland unremarkable meals taken only for nutrition - no joy allowed. But it is a real phenomenon I've noticed before. Making peace with food and all that it brings is another intention I have. Letting enough be enough.

Enough as a concept has long been touted in the annals of food addiction and related 12 step programs. In keeping with my lexicographic tendencies this week, I googled definitions of "enough", and found the precise vagueness I expected. Why vagueness? Because what is "enough" is entirely in the mind of the experiencer. It's subjective, which is defined as an opinion or notion distorted by personal bias or emotion.

Some examples:
A woman stays in an abusive relationship beyond the first evidence of its nature. Maybe for days, weeks, years, or until she's killed. Never had enough.

Another experiences one bizarre episode with a partner where she is in some way knocked around, emotionally or physically, and she's gone. Had enough.

A third tolerates abuse from a partner, but when he/she puts a hand on her child, she's gone. Finally enough.

My usually dessert-abstaining friend has a piece of cake after dinner for a special occasion. She eats 2/3 of it, notes how awesome it tastes, proclaims herself stuffed and pushes the plate away with the remaining third uneaten. Had plenty. More than enough.

I have the piece of cake, finish it, and start thinking what will be the next thing to eat, since I've already "stumbled" for the day with the cake. Full, maybe stuffed, but haven't had "enough".

It sounds crazy. It's real, and not just for me. There is no objective quality to "enough", because what is deemed enough IS distorted by emotion and personal bias.

So getting back to definitions - Merriam-Webster online says: "occurring in such quality, quantity or scope as to fully meet demands, needs or expectations". HA. That may be what enough is, but then what is enough? Catch the drift? Is it as much as necessary, an adequate amount, or sufficient for the purpose?

In AA, it's often discussed that a person has had enough (of the endless day to day drudgery and devastating consequences an addictive life brings) when they finally become "Sick and tired of being sick and tired". Now the definition of that quote has been the subject matter of countless memoirs and articles over the centures. One good friend of mine drank through her children's childhoods - totally, causing emotional wreckage and devastation in their lives that is still unraveling years later. She lost a good job because of her drinking. A teacher by trade, she just hadn't had enough until............get this, she was "fired" as a volunteer Sunday School teacher because of her drinking. Emotional family wreckage couldn't bring her to the bottom, but the ego jolt of being denied a teaching role at church somehow got through.

Enough is tricky stuff. With my eating, I get enough to meet my physical needs each day with little effort. But then there's the enough I need to get more good taste, alternate the sweet with the salty, get me through a difficult circumstance, stuff the fact that while my mom did the best she could with me, it wasn't enough. Little Leslie needed more, and she's been seeking it ever since.

So now I pray that for today, I can let enough be enough. As it pertains to my unique self. It's the principle on which rigid food plans are based. Cover the basic metabolic and health maintenance needs and be done. But that just isn't how I can find my own peace with food. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. And of having a midriff that feels bulgy with certain bras. It feels good to eat cleanly but also enjoy the food to the max. A lot of paradox swirling around, and within it all is enough for me to lose the weight I intend to lose. Patience will help.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Patience

Staci is doing a giveaway! As my entry into her tempting giveaway, I'm linking to her Weight Loss Mama blog post about it. Check it out you'll see what a good friend she is as she seeks to gather support for a good friend of hers who is starting a weight loss journey and a new blog.

Now onto all things Leslie! That is, afterall, what I'm all about! Kidding - but it's nice to know that while I may be the boss of virtually nothing, I am the boss of my blog! All me, all the time. Enough to make one nauseous! (Exclamation point overusage alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Alright, enough silliness. I'm going to have to ask myself to leave if I don't knock it off.

I had the excellent day I yesterday I INTENDED to have - clean food, positive attitude, and then a great night of sleep. I was blessed with no binge thoughts or non-binge-but-still-something-to-eat might-be-nice thoughts, which obviously helped. Not sure how, but I knew from the instant I woke up it was going to be that way. Thank you universe for the reprieve.

I know full well it won't stay that way, especially in the earliest days of abstaining from extra chow, and that is where my inspiration for today's post comes from. After just one solid clean fantastic day, I woke this morning ready for another; ready to blast off the pounds fast, furiously, finally and forever. BRING. IT. ON. The mind calculating, conniving and bargaining calorie adjustments, exercise, the gym, pool and how fast I can get back to 192.2, my lowest weight since last June. Blessedly the universe gently poked ITS presence into my schemes, reminding me of something that has flummoxed me time and again on this journey - my basic lack of PATIENCE.

Wikipedia was this morning's source of my favorite definition of patience: a state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation WITHOUT acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way. It then lists 2 antonyms (opposites) for patience: hastiness and impetuousness. This definition fits perfectly into my musings.

It's happened a kajillion times...I'm motivated, doing great, and I start jumping on the scale every single morning. Steady progress. Then a plateau, or just an absence of loss on a day where the royal moi thinks there should be loss, or at least more than is registering on the Scale Almighty. Or it is just too damn slow! I want this by next Tuesday, damnit!!! And my annoyance/anger/disappointment/hastiness/impetuousness (note clever insertion of aforementioned antonyms) leads me to eat a little more, or have some crazy junk food that day. Decide to hold down the couch rather than hit the gym. Whatever. Me no get my way, me will act out and screw one person's efforts only - mine.

Perseverence in the face of delay (slow but steady progress) or provocation (things not going the way I think they should) is patience. I've been impatient always. As part of my intention to lose this weight, I am striving for more patience, recognizing it's an essential component to a sustainable, satisfying and healthy weight loss. The rewards will be great, probably beyond my wildest dreams. The path will be marked with some frustrations, pain, and disappointments, but as long as these struggles are taken just in the context of the moment and not as an excuse to chuck all my efforts because "it's too hard", I will be successful. And cultivating patience will help more areas of my life than weightloss!

Anyone who has read my blog knows I'm an addict - a food addict, but also a recovering alcoholic. Recovery from addiction is sloo-o-o-ow and there is this notion called "Delayed gratification" that addicts notoriously possess either little or none of. The rewards of sobriety have been multitudinous - and ever so slow and gradual to unfold. In fact, they are still appearing on a regular basis. Rewards I couldn't have imagined. They say that if you wrote a script for how your sober life would evolve, you'd shortchange yourself, because you can't imagine how things can change and be different. Inside and out. Subtly and OUT LOUD.

I know it will be the same when I lose the weight I intend to lose. We hear it from the power bloggers who've met their goals and are maintaining. And still giving back because what they've found in their freedom from obesity and compulive eating is so amazing they need to share it. I'm that way with my sobriety, and I know I'll be that way when I lose the weight.

Intention

I woke up around 4:45 this morning feeling optimistic, grateful and very clear headed. Love that! Almost immediately, the thought came to me, "get your sneakers on and take the dog out before the sun comes up..." and I did, for a 30 minute walk. It's intoxicating to me to be out before the sun is completely up with no other sounds than the birds. Couple weeks ago I talked about the pre-dawn walk I used to love to and how I was going to re-integrate it into my days. I did for a few, and then busy-ness set in plus I was leaving the house extra early to take a friend who'd had both knees replaced to the 7 a.m. meeting; so the walk fell off my radar for a bit. My knees are really feeling better and better now. Approaching...dare I say normal?! I'm almost scared to write it, but I've been saying it to everyone, so might as well claim it here, too. It is my intention to continue this as much as possible. I often sleep in tee shirts and warm up pants, so can literally roll out of bed and step into my sneakers. Today I didn't even put on a bra, because it was chilly enough for a jacket. Sorry for TMI, but we're talking an effortless transition from bed to street.

The notion of intention has presented itself to me today, perhaps emanating from the same source as the inspiration to walk this morning. I've been thinking of it all day - sort of out of the blue. In fact, I actually titled this post before I started writing it, which is rare for me. I often don't know where my mental meanderings will propel my fingers along the keyboard, but today I do.

After typing "Intention", I googled the word and just selected first a definition choice, and then an option about how setting an intention can help make our dreams, desires and goals manifest. It's here, and I like what it says.

The article's author starts with a working definition for intention: "to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim". Lacking intention, we can have a dream or goal yet stray from achieving them. But with intention, "all the forces of the universe can align to make even the most impossible, possible." (Please forgive the paraphrasing, that's about as much as I'll do.)

What has come to mind is that last June when I began this journey, including the blog and the weight loss, I was fueled by the dream of diving in the water. I had a visceral experience (albeit in the dream) of doing something I loved and hadn't done in years because of my weight. All forces united in me to create the intention of losing weight and changing my reality in real life - not just in the dream. I'd wanted to lose weight for years. I crapped around with half-assed efforts countless times, but I wasn't successful. I became successful when I mentally moved from WANTING to lose weight to INTENDING to lose weight. I joined a gym and a special program for weightloss and fitness. I started a blog. I changed my eating, started exercising, saw a trainer, did strength training for the first time in my life. And I got results. Real results. From June through October, I moved down the scale, my BMI decreased, all my blood and body numbers and percentages improved. I lost fat mass and added muscle.

Late October the first signs of knee pain happened, and gradually I fell away from strength training. The cartilage tear required surgery. Then it was Christmas - then the other knee blew and another surgery. Somewhere in all the murk of situations, injuries, holidays, putting the gym membership on hold...that intention of losing weight all the way down to my goal of 165 fell back to WANTING. Of course I still wanted to lose weight, but given the new limitations, plus the pounds gained from holidays and eating to medicate feelings and sample holiday goodies, my intention really left. It started to seem there were too many obstacles, and that maybe this whole big deal of weight loss wasn't going to happen.

And here's a confession: for the last few months, I've been aware that I really haven't been sure I even wanted to go to all the trouble, hard work and sacrifice to lose weight. I wanted to be thinner, but underneath all the words and excuses and confessions I've posted here about trying again, not giving up and being determined, I clearly see now that my intention to lose the weight was gone. And just wanting something isn't enough. I can't bring a notion or a desire to reality simply by wanting it.

For so many of you bloggers who've been successfully clicking down the scale numbers, this probably seems so silly, or nit-picky, or more of Leslie's mental masturbation. But this word has been in and out of my consciousness for weeks, and this morning on the walk I knew there was something about it for me to investigate. And what I've written is what I've discovered in the few short googlings and day's reflections. Wanting something does not equal intending for it to happen, or to be. Wanting is one dimensional. Intending is bringing together the resources available to get the "want".

Maybe this is just some wanton flood of dopamine into my brain today or something, but I can tell you that I am going to have a clean day today with food. My meals for the day are planned out, written down, and the food is available to bring those meals to fruition. I will exercise again if I can work it in, but car issues and appointments may prevent that. However, I did a brisk 30 minute walk early which is better than the nothing I did yesterday. My mind is opening again to the possibility of following a stricter food plan for awhile to get things moving down the scale again. That's what I'm doing today, and I WILL see it through until I go to bed. No matter what.

So, source of early morning dog walks and light bulb moments about where my head and heart have been over the last 11 months, thank you for this day. Something has clicked, and I absolutely intend to lose this weight. No matter what that may entail, which will likely include facing down old pain that I've literally never confronted. Never beyond a point. I feel like this information has been handed to my consciousness today in a way I've never gotten it. Whatever it takes, I'm doing it. After claiming this, even I wouldn't have the nerve to keep coming back here whining and pining because I want to lose weight and can't. I can.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You never know where a post will go!

I want to talk about Stacia's, (aka Midlife Swimmer)pool challenge I mentioned yesterday. The fact that it's a non-food/non-weight-loss challenge, leads me to believe I have a good shot at achieving it! Fitness building and exercise seem easier for me to sustain these days - aarrgghh. The *biggest obstacle* for me is my utter hatred of putting on a bathing suit and venturing into territory where other humans may be present. But thanks to Stacia, I conquered that beast back on Feb. 9, 2010 and posted about it here. It was a pretty big deal, given my history.

Shortly after my initial water re-entry and 2 subsequent pool outings in the next days, I ended up tearing cartilage in my R knee (probably from doing too much in the water too soon), had another knee arthroscopy, and have not been back in the water since; rather not back in a swimsuit since. It's like my dental phobia...I work up the nerve, go for 6 months for cleaning and any work I need done, then lose my nerve and go another 2 years before returning. Hence the *biggest obstacle* back staring me down. But WTF? Honestly - I'm 56, happily married 28 years, not looking for a hook-up with a stranger or a summons to be in a Mrs. Senior Body Competition. The swimsuit behemoth will not stand in the path of my diving in.

The requirements of the challenge:
1. Commit to getting in a swimming pool to exercise at least 3 times before June 21, the first day of summer.
2. Encourage at least one real life friend to exercise in the water also. Already have done that, though made it clear I wanted them to do it NOT with me so they wouldn't see my cellulite! I'm joking.
3. Post acceptance of the challenge and then provide updates to Stacia each time I hit the water. Hey, I committed before the challenge even had a badge! Extra points?
4. Blog about the challenge and provide a link to others on blog to join if they like. Done.

This puts me in mind of what ultimately started me on this last ever and soon to be genuinely successful journey to weight loss and optimal fitness I began last June. I just found the post I wrote about it, which was my 2nd post ever on this blog. It's here, relatively short as my posts go, and tells the story. I'd actually forgotten a piece of it...the part about sitting in the meditation class and talking about my love of water. Also I noted that I hadn't a bathing suit on in 5 years - it was actually much longer, though I would sit with shorts on over a bathing suit at the pool when my kids were young. But I never got in the water because I couldn't bear the BIG REVEAL in front of the community of moms.

Reading that post really touched me today and has helped me remember just how horrible I felt about myself when I wrote it. Though I've had some bad eating episodes and plenty of toxic brain dump posts over the almost year I've been dong this, I see that I have never felt as low since that day. Despite little discernable sustained progress down the scale beyond a point, I've known, and know right now I'm going to ultimately be successful. I've gained acceptance and more love and respect for myself through this year of stumbling, blogging, conquering and backsliding. And that's because of this amazing resource of the blogging community. Each blogger who writes honestly about successes, failures, ups, downs, hopes met and hopes dashed have helped me know at a deep level that I'm not alone. I'm one of the many, and that is a very good place for this recovering alcoholic overweight self absorbed gal to be.

And I thought I was jsut going to write about the Pool Challenge today!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday assortment

Sunday I was down another 1.2 pounds from the 206.1 I weighed Saturday, to 204.9. A little more progress from the jarring number of 209.1 on Friday. Thank you! I've done food prep for the week including roasting a big pan of broccoli, summer squash, carrots, zucchini, onions and a Jacksh*t load of rough chopped garlic. I did that early this morning and then put it in servings to bring to work each day for lunch, along with what ever protein and salad I have. This is such a yummy treat to me that I make a big tray every week. My husband would rather have frozen peas or lima beans...so more for me! I haven't tried them on my son, but I think he'll like 'em too.

I came into work today like a pack animal, laden with a big Trader Joe's bag full of lunch staples, like pouches of tuna (I know, more expensive and less green, but I HATE the cans), cut up chicken, unsweetened applesauce to mix with TJ's Greek yogurt when there isn't good fresh fruit available. Also carrots, celery and Laughing Cow wedges. Having a good supply in my little office fridge makes me less likely to go to Ben's Store - a client's enterprise that is full of chips, Tastykakes, and other junk food. It's basically low quality junk and highly processed stuff. I'd hate to know how much moolah I've spent there since I've worked here! But I've spent not one dime since I started blogging! Here's dear Ben, the merchant, carefully guarding his cash box and enjoying a chip - he's a sweetheart, very high functioning client of ours who gave his permission for me to post his picture:

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I haven't mentioned that I've accepted another challenge: Midlife Swimmer's Pre Summer Pool Challenge. The badge is under the rainbow picture at the top of my sidebar, and for some reason *#$*blogger won't let me upload it here right now. Anyway, I'll talk about it in a little more detail tomorrow, but suffice it to say it's a good reason to keep shaving off some pounds! She has a great blog and knows her way around a swimming pool, to say the least! She's largely responsible for my first swimming pool experience in almost 20 years! I haven't been back in the pool at the gym since my second knee surgery but am ready. This challenge will help me Just Do It (thanks, Nike).

One of my 500 favorite bloggers, Biz, titled her post today something like "Monday Already? Really?" AMEN. I had such a nice weekend, and the weather was picture perfect, esp. yesterday. I spent 6 hours outside planting, pruning, gardening - and just enjoying every minute of it. I would have taken some pics of the pots I did, but decided to wait until they have a week or so to really take off. Putting a bunch of different plants in pots, according to the color of their flowers, texture and color of their leaves, and their various sizes really floats my boat. Very satisfying.

Another pastime I love and do a lot is knitting. A couple of years ago I got into felting, which involves knitting with wool and then washing the item in hot water causing it to shrink and turn to a heavy felted product. The big thing was to knit purses, bags, or even eye glass cases, wallets, and computer totes. The absolute best part was picking the colors of yarn to combine, because once felted, the colors really meshed and merged in a way that you didn't quite see prior to the washing process. I sold a lot of bags and was told I had "an eye" for color. I still have a bunch that I should arrange and photograph to shamelessly promote my wares. Sounds like a lot of pictures in coming weeks.

Even though it's not a "Wednesday What's" day, here's a question: What creative endeavors float your boats? Do you have a secret talent you've yet to share with your bloggy peeps?

Have a good rest of Monday - we have an in-service day tomorrow so no clients and time to get organized! And probably write yet another post. Here's to another healthy clean food day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trying to be true to mine own self

Thank you blog friends, for the great encouraging comments yesterday. Man! Some of the best comments I ever had. The catharsis of honestly outing myself for the eating indiscretions of last week rather than fudging my weight to be a few pounds less than it actually was (I can't seem to avoid food metaphors!) helped a lot. I had a good day yesterday, and really upped my water intake. This morning I was a full 3 pounds lower - 206.1 - which wasn't surprising given how many *&#$*# times I was up to the "ladies' room" during the night.

Several people mentioned really accepting the need to manage the addiction, and I know that's true. This can never be like abstaining from alcohol, obviously. I've tried rigid food programs, most notably one where a sponsor gives you a list of what you eat each day: 4 oz protein, 6 oz vegetables plain cooked, 8 ounces of salad with 1 Tbs. dsg for both lunch and dinner every day, plus the prescribed b'fast of 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup plain yogurt and 1 fruit every day, with no variation.

I did one of those programs for 6 weeks, almost 3 summers ago. I had to call a sponsor every morning at 6:45 and "turn my food over to her" by listing it, every single item. Any variation in what I ate vs. what I told her I was going to eat had to be called in prior to the change, or else it was considered a slip. If the apple I said I'd have for breakfast turned out to be rotten and I susbstituted an orange, I had to call to "discuss it". WTF? It was ridiculously rigid, and I knew from day one that I wouldn't last very long with it, not because of the food restrictions but because of the absolute Stepford wife nature of the group members. I confess that I often substituted items without the requisite call because I hated talking to the sponsor. She was joyless and too serious.

I definitely lost weight - 28 lbs in 6 weeks. But for me that kind of plan isn't sustainable. Yet yesterday I was considering that maybe I needed to return to it and accept that this was the only way my life could be free from the pain of food addiction. I almost called an AA friend who goes to that program, but my inner voice said "no". If honestly adhering to that kind of program is what it takes, I can clearly say I'm not willing. I'm willing to exercise, work hard, be honest; even resist foods I know might set me off MOST OF THE TIME. But I know that a program of 100% rigidity will never work for me over the long haul. That isn't denial, it's truth. As Tammy said in her comment, I will strive to do the best I can, given the circumstances, one day at a time.

I have to add that at my 206.1 weight this morning, I'm 6 1/2 pounds higher than the lowest I got on Rigid Eaters Anonymous. I have never gained the weight back that I lost on that program, except for these brief forays after a few days of overeating. I was down to 192.2 at my lowest 2 1/2 years after quitting the program until I had my first knee surgery in early December '09. The decreased exercise has played a big role in my recent struggles, both physically but esp. emotionally. So - in reflecting on all of this information, I know that it is NOT the next right thing to go back to the rigid program.

The biggest thing I realize is that it's vital for me to weigh no less than once a week. It's best for me not weigh more than that either, because I can get into the scale roulette of eating according to what the scale says. If my eating is really clean and I'm getting plenty of exercise, it's okay for me to weigh less than weekly. But this recent episode of knowing I was eating pretty freely for a week or so (though not bingeing as I know I can) illustrates clearly the importance of not letting too much time pass without surveying the scale. Had I not gotten on the scale yesterday, I could have added several more pounds and then really set myself back, which would have emotionally messed with my head more than I care to think about.

I just got back from about a 3 mile walk that felt great, and will be outside doing some planting and gardening this afternoon. I feel some relief that 3 pounds dropped off so fast because they were fluid based. But there is much more to do if I want to move through this almost 6 month period of wavering up and down the same 10 pounds again and again. For today, 206.1 sounds a hell of a lot better than 209.1. And I'll be facing scale reality daily for a few days just to stay alert and accountable. Thank you again, beautiful bloggers, for the support, kindness and acceptance that I didn't feel I deserved yesterday. Today everything feels lighter and much more hopeful.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Again

I could write a book today - so many things swarming around in my head. I might add a page that deals with a certain personal issue from childhood where I've had some major insight, revelation and healing recently. But for now, I'll start with what I committed to yesterday - posting my weight. Gulp.

Monday I weighed 201.8. I've eaten pretty wantonly this week, though I can't say I was bingeing. Looking at the scale I have to wonder if I'm in a bit of denial, which in this case is a good acronym for "Don't Even kNow I Am Lying." I haven't felt out of control, but I've known I was in some sort of relapse state. I ended up eating out with a friend last night and had spaghetti and meatballs, a piece and a half of garlic bread that was crappy (so why have 1 and 1/2 pieces Leslie?), and a Caesar salad. I followed with a trip to the drugstore to pick up a prescription and got a Mr. Goodbar and a Reese's Crispy something or other. Today's weight: 209.1. The number of words between Monday's weight and today's is the classic explaining and justifying. I know there are liquid pounds involved here, but I've definitely relapsed.

Nothing like a relapse to whip one into shape. I hope. I contemplated shaving off a few pounds in my reporting to make it sound less stark and embarrassing. Classic addiction behavior. Dana at Fatty McButterpants wrote about adiction today in a very powerful post. Her post was one of the things that helped me just be honest and not sugar coat this (good heavens...no pun intended). An addict is an addict is an addict. I'm definitely one. Yes I have years of recovery from alcoholism, but I have really have flatlined in my food addiction recovery. And I've known it for awhile. And just kept doing the next wrong things related to eating.

I've done these confessionals so many times that I just can't do another. I know I can lose weight. I have countless tools at my disposal. I intend to regroup and start today. Again. All is not lost (in more than just the "pounds to lose" realm) and I am not giving up. But I hate really hate this and I'm very sad and ashamed to be here again. Again. I just can't say any more about this right now. It's all been said before.

One thing I will say is that on Tuesday afternoon as I was driving home from work after having total clean food up to that point for the day - the inevitability of saltines and butter settled in.
I said to myself, "Wait a minute. I don't have to do it. I don't have to eat that or anything else until dinner. It's only a few hours, and I ate lunch an hour ago."
Butter and saltines held their ground.
"Just put it off for an hour. You can do it. Take a deep breath, ask for help in putting it off."
And almost immediately I felt something very close to despair. Tears even.
"For God's sake, it's not the end of the world. You can do an hour at a time."
I was home by now, went into the house and buttered up some saltines.
That's addiction.

One of my favorite bloggers who's been amazingly successful with weight loss once said that now it really bothers her when she reads about people bingeing. She used to do it but stopped once joining one of the sanest and most respected weightloss programs. Her words have haunted me. Why can't I stop? I can for a time, but as soon as I introduce something normal like Chobani fruit flavored yogurt or a Luna Bar or a Yoplait Delight, I'm on a very slippery slope. I held ground for a while, but eventually lost total footing. Again.

That's addiction. And it pains me to say that when people come in and out of AA as through a revolving door, picking up again and again and each time vowing that "this time it will be different", I feel the same way that my blogger friend feels about people bingeing. Total disconnect, huh?

I'm not giving up, but one of these days I'm afraid I'm going to have to surrender to this food addiction that I have. It's got a tighter hold on me than the booze did, which is why I guess I was able to pretty quickly let booze go once I started earnestly attending AA. That was hard, but this is way bigger than the booze was for me. It's all addiction, but my first and worst substance of choice - the one that has never failed me and yet has brought me to my knees, again, is food. Can't live with it, can't live without it. Really live, that is.

Life doesn't have to be a series of coasting for awhile followed by shameful agonizing relapses. I heard a girl in Oprah's audience the other day say that the volume and vividness (my words, paraphrasing hers)in her life turned up once she gave up addictve food behavior. I want that. I have it at times. But this revolving door is killing my spirit and I know there's a way out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In the deep freeze

This morning I was up at the butt crack of dawn (as my delicate flower of a daughter says) and decided to lightly steam some asparagus for my vegetable at lunch. It was nice fat local asparagus and the thought of enjoying it much like a carrot made me excited for lunch. In my flurry of activity to get out of the house for the 7 a.m. meeting I go to prior to work, I ended up forgetting my lunch. After the meeting I zipped into the driveway, left the motor running to dash in and grab the food. Well. What the hell did I do with the asparagus??? And suddenly it dawned on me...I'd put it on a plate to cool, and stuck it "for just a couple minutes" in the freezer to cool fast so I could wrap it up right away.

Out of sight, out of mind, esp. for a 56 y/o nut case who forgot all about it. The result? An asparagus popsicle, complete with mini iceberg on the plate. I was only gone for an hour and 45 minutes total! Zsheesh! It popped off the place in one large piece - ice berg included, and made a loud thud upon hitting the bottom of the trash.
Oh well, now I'll have to have a cheeseburger and fries for lunch. NOT! I have a great salad made up and will add some feta and tuna to it right before eating. I was really bummed at first when I serveyed the popsicle as I LOVE fresh asparagus cooked to just al dente tenderness. It really did cross my mind to eat something ridiculous to "make up" for my tragic loss.

Tomorrow is my weigh day, and I'm telling you now that if I don't post the number, you can ask where the hell it is. I've been eating okay, but each afternoon have indulged in my new favorite up-scale snack...saltines and butter. Ever since Chris said she ate 10 of them every other day with real butter (but included them in her total calorie count for the day of course because she is like, really working at weight loss) I've been having some every day. And now it's been over 10. Won't say how many - usually 10, and then 6 more. No binges, but that kind of crap is not on my plan.

Seems any vehicle with which to bring butter into my mouth will suffice, because I don't like saltines that much. At all. I ate one alone yesterday and thought, "these are really crappy". But with a nice slim slice of ice cold creamy butter, they're a downright taste sensation. So no more of that. Saltines are gone. The butter is still there, but even I don't eat butter without a horizontal plane upon which it can rest. In general my eating has been loosey goosey, and I'm nervous about the weigh in. And I'm going to post my weight. If not, know I'm full of sh*t and call me on it.

Have a good day everyone, and may your vegetables not freeze!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Catching up and Wednesday Whats???

Thanks for the GREAT comments yesterday, both funny and serious. Did my heart good. Did my ego good too, except that in my endless quest to break into the 90's (followers, not pounds lost), I actually went from 88 to 87. Oh well, I know - it's for me. Even one follower is gravy and I have 87 of the best who I totally puffy heart love. But I'm shallow and materialistic, in case you didn't know, and fill up from the outside. KIDDING! (sorta) People who started blogging last week have thousands of readers, and I'm losing them! BTW, if I wasn't really okay with this I wouldn't write about it. (sorta kinda)

I did have a lovely quiet afternoon that restoreth-ed my soul (read with lisp). I went to a local park where Penn State University has a Horticulture extension that teaches Master Gardening and conservation planting. I took some pictures to give you a sense of it:

This was actually taken over the same reservoir where I took the double rainbow at the top of my sidebar. This is one peaceful Canada goose

The park has a garden full of pollen heavy flowing plants, as well as some educational plaques about the role pollenation plays in the food chain
Then a few shots of some of the beautiful plantings: My favorite hosta...Frances Williams

I love this one because the whole in the tree looks like a little gnome home!





Suffice to say that being in nature, with only natural sounds and lots of beauty allowed the noise and irritability in my head and heart to settle and quiet. And my empty tank got at least a partial refill. Enough to get me through until bedtime.

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Another catch up - last week I posted about Karen's Boredom Busters Challenge . I picked 5 goals for the week long challenge that are listed here. I was supposed to have posted about my results on Monday the 10th, but forgot; so here they are:
1) Return clothes to Boscov's and Kohl's that have been on the dining room table for weeks - Done
2) Take changing table to Goodwill since the baby is 21 - Done. Several of you noted the possibility of grandchildren and keeping the table for them. Nah - I'll have a magical beautiful Grandchildren's Suite with a modern changing table! Mainly I had no idea where the changing attachment was so it was basically a crappy looking dresser.
3) Plant $60 worth of bedding and potting plants I bought - ooops - only about $20 worth. Still in process
4) Cultivate and mulch the front yard perennial bed - Done, with Mr. Leslie's help
5) Replace mirror in powder room to cover open gaping cavity left by last mirror's crashing demise - I looked at TJ MAX, Homegoods, Marshalls and Target for mirrors and couldn't find one I liked, so this isn't yet done, though much work was done on it. I'm going to hopefully collaborate with Karen via her Design blog for some ideas.

For any of you who've been around for my food related challenges, you see that my success rate is much higher here! It was good to have this challenge to nudge me toward completion of some overdue stuff and make progress on other stuff.

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Now the Whats????? Last week's theme was bests. Today's is worsts.

1) Most embarrassing moment? We were staying at my in-laws. I had bought a pack of awesome bakery cookies (not too many) and stashed them in our room for an occasional escape treat. (Hey, better than the vodka from many moons ago!) Anyway, hubby did not know of this, and one day came out holding up the pack of cookies saying, "Look what was in Leslie's suitcase!" He thought it was cute and funny and was in no way trying to embarrass me but rather poke fun. I was mortified, as the whole fan-damily was sitting around. They laughed, and not because I was fat and hiding food, but because of the way it was presented by the # 1 son. Still makes me cringe.

2) Worst movie in your recall - Hancock, with Will Smith who's one of my favorites. Just hated it because it started out good and turned terrible (in my humble opinion).

3) Most hated food? Milk. Makes me gag, though I can use a measly ounce on dry cereal just to moisten it and it doesn't bother me.

4) Worst job? Working at Mori Luggage in an Atlanta mall for a summer job after I was already a nurse. Had just found out I was pregnant, knew we were moving shortly and needed something to cool ICU nursing burnout. Got paid minimum wage (had been making 4X that) but didn't mind because I thought it would be "fun". WRONG. The luggage was fine, but the people who worked there were mean. They did not accept me and made no attempts to allow me to be one of the mix. The manager was great, the rest of them sucked, and I lasted all of 3 months. Maybe they knew that would happen and didn't want to get attached!

5) Worst travel experience - Flying into Reagan Int'l airport in DC before they added Reagan to the name. We were on our final approach, when suddenly the plane lurched almost straight upwards and banked quickly to the right. People gasped and screamed and stuff went flying. The pilot announced a few minutes later that the landing had been "aborted" by the tower. Very scary, but it never made me afraid to fly. I think it must have been one of those near misses we hear about on the news from time to time.

Bonus question - Worst experience with a platonic friend - being suddenly cut off by a gal in AA with whom I was very close for years. We were like sisters, got along great, finished each others' sentences. 6 years ago around Christmas, she stopped returning calls. I left messages asking if I'd done something and she said "It's not you, it's me" Tranlation: It's you. She dropped off the face of the earth for awhile, and cut everyone off, but everyone wasn't her very best and closest frient in the world. It was excrutiatingly painful at the time and for a few years. She resurfaced eventually at meetings, having stayed sober but very different and interacting with no one. Grapevine reports said she'd had a sort of breakdown which made me sadder, because I wouldn't have rejected her or thought differently of her because of that. I'm over it now, but it was very painful.

Feel free to answer none, one, some or all. Feels like this was a very LONG post. One of these days I'm gonna be brief. Honest!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A giant boob

As good as I felt yesterday is about how irritable and generally annoyed at humanity I feel today. I didn't start out like this...I felt good and positive. I went to my morning meeting and heard great stuff. So much, in fact, that I began constructing my post from some of what resonated during the meeting.

Enter other people. Enter work. Enter other people not doing what they're supposed to do or what they said they'd do. Enter my boss's response to my benign friendly greeting of "good morning" with "we have no staff today", which is her typical gross overstatement of a few people calling out of work. Then an AA gal calls me and starts with her habitual whining monologue about how staying sober "is hard for me" - and yet gets prickly when helpful suggestions are offered. What she wants is the endless listening ear - translate "dumping ground for her shit" that I've been for years. Recall she knows I'm at work, yet her prickliness audibly heightens when I say I need to go and do rounds and that perhaps we can talk later (though I'd rather drive flaming stakes under my nails).

Shortly after, another gal calls - my dear friend and AA sponsor Lisa, who has stage 4 lung cancer but is currently responding to a designer drug called Tarceva. She had a non cancer related hernia surgery last week and needs to unload about everything. I know she needs me in the moment, and I give her more time than I really can spare - about 15 minutes - when she suddenly cuts me off just as I say something about myself, telling me "her other phone is ringing".

Just writing about all this makes me feel like crying. I'm feeling like a giant boob from whom many are suckling, and I'm about depleted. I'm frustrated because I was feeling so upbeat and positive, compassionate and yet cabable of maintaining boundaries where needed. Yet over a few hours, the boundaries have been violated. And I'm aware I aided in their breaching.

What this speaks to me about is that I need some solitude and quiet. Maybe not even for too long. I need to replenish my tank before I can give much to anyone else. It's the paradox of human relationships. It's more important to give than to receive, but you can't give when you're empty. I'm not bashing myself at all for being a good listener and striving to help another person. I'm recognizing that I'm out of fuel.

When I feel this way, I'm at great risk for trying to refuel in ways other than just finding time and space for self. In response to the endless interuptions, phone calls and requests for my services - either in the work realm or my personal life, I'm starting to think of eating something other than the healthy sane and yummy lunch I brought. I'm thinking of running out and getting something at the local market, and I'm not talking celery. I don't even dare describe some of the confections about which I'm dreaming, because just the describing might send me to the sugar bowl.

I don't need the distraction from my feelings that food, or busy-ness, or self created chaos so completely achieves. I need to stop and just be for a bit and see what my feelings even are, what they're saying to me. They won't kill me. In reading Loretta's post yesterday (I went to it from Vickie's blog as she mentioned it), I really got a reminder about not getting distracted from my goals and desires, but even more from my feelings. If you haven't read Loretta's post about slowing down and taking time to think and feel, do so. It's excellent, and in it she has a link to Ruby's blog (from Style network) that has another excellent message. In reading both Ruby's and Loretta's posts, I realize that my chronic "helping" and being available is yet another way I avoid my feelings and whatever they might reveal for me. In psychobabble terms, it's
co-dependence to the max. I want to say that at least that's a better way than overeating, but escape from and avoidance of myself is bad regardless of the method.

In AA they give out coins for years of sobriety, and on each coin is an inscription: "To thine own self be true." How can I be true to my own self if I don't know what's up with myself? To my own self I've far too often not been true, and though that's changed a lot over the years, there is more to do. This afternoon I've reworked my schedule and am going to have a date with someone - ME! ME and myself are going to just hang out, take a walk, and do a lot of nothing. Free to be, myself and me.

(p.s. I found the camera cable right where it was supposed to be. Who in the hell put it there???)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunny days and Mondays always bring me up




Happy day after Mothers' Day. I was all ready to post yesterday and put up some pictures, but my camera cable was MIA. Damn! When I discovered it's absence, I was sure I'd left it at work and since I'd sort of constructed my post around some of the pictures, decided to wait until this morning on the job when I could post and get paid for it, hahaha. Imagine my chagrin upon discovering the rogue cable NOT here. Aarrggghhh. Does this sound familiar? I'm not typically one to lose relatively important items on a weekly basis, but this smacks just a bit of the Case of the Phantom Cell Phone. I hope it doesn't take as long to resurface as the phone did. I'll definitely have to get another right away if the CSI search I'll stage this afternoon at home doesn't produce the goods.

This weekend goes down in the history of my life as one of the greats. Mr. Leslie and offspring #3 arrived home from Atlanta Friday night after a 14 hour drive. Young son was in fine fettle; his old dude father on the other hand was practically limping after unfolding himself from behind the wheel of the Hyundai Accent he'd been driving for most of the day. Apparently young son needed his beauty sleep and participated in very little of the driving.

Mark finally hugged me hello after his 5 minute love fest of a reunion with the dog. I stood tapping my foot waiting, and when he finally graced me with a hug, it seemed he'd grown another couple of inches. I remember a time of not being the shortest person in our nuclear family, but that hasn't been the case in years. It's not often I feel petite (in the height category), but being with the 6' husband, sons who are both over 6'3" and a 5'10" daughter makes me feel a little like Thumbelina. I love it! Back before certain, ahem, age related changes, I used to measure 5'9"; but recently have been clocked at 5 feet 7 3/4", despite the fact my recent Dexascan shows no osteoporosis. I'm not melting, I'm shrinking. Anyhoo - the whole energy and atmoshere in the house has shifted with Mark's return. We are enlivened!

The weather has likely played a role in my joie-de-vivre too. It's been crazy cool and windy, but BEEYOOTIFUL! I got some good pictures of my garden and a few others, which were part of my master plan of adding to this post rather than the cheesey google images you are seeing. Mothers' Day was cooler and less windy, and I got in a 2 mile walk that felt great. Other than going to church with the men folk and 2 different AA meetings, I mostly held down the couch and read. We didn't go out to eat because I hate eating out on Mothers' Day, so later in the week we'll do that. Tom ended up making dinner, which consisted of leftovers from what I'd made the night before, and wonderful salads. Tom is an ace salad maker, and doesn't mind all that freakin' slicing and dicing. The best parts of the day: 1) having Mark home, 2) an hour Skype session with Jean in the DR, and 3) a nice chat with Stephen in Chicago. It was the connection with the kids that made it so good, and I'm eternally grateful to have great relationships with all of them. And even more grateful that they are genuinely good, kind people with good hearts. And no, I'm not prejudiced, so stop thinking that!

I haven't mentioned weight and food - probably because I had a bit of a backslide this weekend then sent me back out of Onederland, but not too far. I was 201.8 this morning, which actually was relief because I feared worse. No binges - just no careful choosing either. <
Enough from me for now - I'm wanting to catch up on everyone else's weekends. Tomorrow there will be pictures - one way or another, and the saga of the new running shoes I bought this weekend. Every darn thing has a story, doesn't it?!

Friday, May 7, 2010

An award! A challenge! A return from the abyss!


I feel like it's been forever since I've posted, though it was just Wednesday. I've had so much stuff going on between work and friends that it feels like I've got 2 weeks worth of life to report on! Where to begin?? I got a wonderful award from a great blogger, but I'm saving that for further along this post's path.

First, I've started another challenge of sorts - NOT EATING RELATED thank goodness! It seems all I need to do is join a food challenge and every cell in my body starts shrieking for high sugar high carb items in mass quantities. This challenge was created by Karen at Fitness: A Journey Not A Destination. It's called Boredom Busters and you can read about it here. Karen's blog is great, if you haven't read it; and in the process of joining this challenge, I discovered she also has a design blog called Strictly Simple Style that's about decorating without breaking the bank. It's also good. But I digress. Again.

In her Boredom Buster post, she talks of how boredom in day to day life can make us vulnerable to bad habits - like overeating for one. Her challenge is to make a list of 5 things you'd like to accomplish this week that aren't sedentary activities. They can really be anything you've been wanting to get to but haven't yet - and not just exercise or fitness related. You list your five things in Karen's comments section, and then write a post of your own about your list and whether you've accomplished the 5 things this week. The deadline for writing your post is Monday, May 10. She wrote her challenge post Monday this week, the 3rd. I didn't see the post until Wednesday but signed right up after seeing what some people listed, because they gave me ideas and reminded me of things I've been wanting to do but have put off.

My 5 things are:
1. Return several items of clothes to Boscov's and Kohl's that I've had sitting on my dining room table for 2 weeks
2. Take an old changing table to Goodwill. The "baby" is 21. It's time.
3. Plant the $60 worth of annuals I bought last weekend in pots and garden as planned but haven't yet done.
4. Cultivate and mulch my front yard perennial bed.
5. Find and hang a mirror to go in my newly redone powder room. The first one fell and broke 3 months ago, leaving a wooden cavity that used to be a medicine cabinet uncovered and gaping.

I've already underway with these items and hope to complete them all over the weekend. When I do, I'll do the requisite reporting post by the 10th, and hopefully make it to the Boredom Busters Hall of Fame that Karen will put on her sidebar.

Another item on my agenda is that I've gotten another clear jolt about exercising with my still funky knees. (Had I written a post yesterday, I was going to title it, "My knees suck and my vacuum doesn't", because my knees have been ridiculously achy and stiff this week, and my vacuum cleaner decided to go on the fritz. Don't know which of these dilemmas was more annoying, but the knee issue is getting OLD. Oh wait...it's my joints that are apparently getting old. I mentioned earlier in the week that while in Avalon last Saturday, a friend and I walked almost 4 miles on the beach, much of which was in wet moving sand that required an element of toe gripping of the sand in order to have adequate purchase and not be walked away by the surf (being the little slip of a thing I am). It felt great! My knees and feet and assorted other parts held up well, but for the next few days my knees both had different kinds of shooting pains and such and this was very discouraging. My response was to not do much other than short walks with La Dog as a means of trying to rest them. Well, they weren't feeling better or worse with the rest, so yesterday a friend and I did a 3 mile brisk walk with our beasts and my knees feel better today than they have in 2 weeks! They NEED movement. The CRAVE walking and respond with happy and looser bending. I've probably written about this before, but the writing is now on the wall for me about this, and I'm delighted, because the exercise is as good for my mental health as it is for my physical well-being. It they're going to be stiff and stubborn either way, I choose the way of walking and biking. No more rest. IT DOESN'T HELP.

Also - I got a wonderful award from Deb at Deb Will Be Free. She's another awesome gal who writes a wonderful blog that you probably already know of. If not, check it out. She presented me with this:

This award was created by Sheilagh at Sixty is Good as part of her celebration of the anniversary of her blog. She presented it people who touched her at one level or another during her first year of blogging, citing 12 bloggers (one for each month of her first year). Deb was one of her original 12, and now Deb has kindly passed it on to me! I'm thrilled and delighted, and would absolutely pass it back to her if she hadn't already received it.

The only requirement of this award is to pass it on to 6 people who have inspired me in my journey to this point in Blogdom. There are about 6 thousand of you who have made a real difference for me in countless ways, but I will abide by the "rule" and list 6.
Lyn @ Escape From Obesity
Stacia @ Swimming It Off
Tammy @ From Fat To Fab
Biz @ Biggest Diabetic Loser
TJ @ TJ's Test Kitchen
Helen @ Doing a 180

Thanks again Deb. I can honestly say that virtually every blogger I read has been significant to me in some way. Blogging and you wonderful friends are a great addition to my life.

Finally - GUESS WHAT ROSE FROM THE DEAD??? The cell phone I lost a month ago! A gal at work came into my office today and asked if I'd ever found it...I said nope. Then she asked what it looked like? I replied, "umm, like a cell phone?" She held something up and it was my phone! She found it behind a chair outside the offices of the social workers with whom I work. I go up there sometimes to hang out and shoot the breeze. It's entirely possible (obviously) that my phone could have fallen out of the pocket onto the thickly carpeted floor underneath. With the ring volume turned to zero, it was inaudible when we tried calling it a thousand times. And finally, of course, the battery went dead. So - it's back and I' have a decision to make over keeping either my Go Phone or the old new phone! I've certainly had harder decisions!

I hope everyone has a good weekend. Husband and son will be rolling in tonight so I'm excited about that. I have to shop after work for Mark Chow - what I lovingly call the mass quantities of college boy food he goes through on a daily basis. I just have to not go through it myself!