Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Weigh-in, and it just happens to be Wednesday

Tough month this past month and the scale shows it. Although I thought I had my emotional eating under control, I still make mistakes. Scale shows 175.9 lbs. So a jump up of about 10 lbs. 

Now that I'm back home and back to my routine, I know the weight will come off soon enough. However, the reality is that I've been in the high 160s for a long time now. And it's just not a healthy weight for me. If only I were a taller woman... :)

My mother survived her heart attack, my grandfather and father both died from heart attacks, some family members have naturally high cholesterol despite perfect diets and healthy lifestyles... for my health now and for the future, I know I've got to make changes before it's too late. There have been small signs that the universe has been trying to tell me something, this latest sign was a biggie. I can't just ignore it and pretend everything is the same.

The plan is to get back to what works for me. For the next month, I'll be on a strict Paleo template with calories of 1600 to 1800 per day and tracking everything. Add in at least 30 minutes of walking per day, and to start back with cardio five days a week, along with T'ai Chi or yoga. That gets me to Christmas.

This year, since my mother's still recovering, I'll be cooking most of the Christmas Eve supper, which for us is the important meal of the holidays, and is called the Réveillon. I'm likely going to prepare a baked salmon or a trout almandine with roasted vegetables. I haven't planned the rest but there's still lots of time. We're going to a hotel buffet for Christmas supper (my mother's choice), so there will be all traditional fixings.

In honour of American Thanksgiving, I'll be watching Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter. Love their supper with competing birds, one organic the other not. Although the movie is funny and touching in places, it makes me value my own family all the more !!!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

When the Sh!t Hits the Fan

A series of unfortunate events have plagued my family for the past while. Most importantly, my mother suffering a heart attack. She is doing better and is taking things slowly. She qualified for some of the classic risk factors: Obese (190 lbs at 5'1) and hypertensive (blood pressure always over 140/90). 

She'd been having lots of difficulty breathing in the past six months and it was attributed (mistakenly) to asthma. Dizziness and blurry vision attributed (mistakenly again!) to migraines. Surgery has helped enormously improve the blood flow not only through her heart but to her lungs and head. She is breathing so much better, and her brain-fog is clearing. She'll soon be able to get back into her routine without any assistance from me for her daily tasks. However she has lost a lot of strength and that will hopefully come back in due course with rehabilitation and changing her lifestyle. Also hoping the side-effects from the medications she now needs to take won't affect her progress. Since she got back home, the neighbours in the small community where she lives have been so very kind and offered to do "anything anytime" for her.
I've been at her side through all this, helping her in and out of the hospital, and it has been stressful and an eye-opener in many ways. All this came just before the third anniversary of my father's death from a heart attack. You'll never know how relieved I am to still have her here. 
Since I've not been at work or in my own home, I feel the pounds have been piling on in the last month or so. Food choices were limited at the hospital, and I wasn't able to make the best choices due to physical or emotional fatigue. Didn't succumb to fast food or fries, but overate generally like sandwiches which I'm not used to eating regularly.  Exercise has been less than minimal. Stayed away from sugary stuff.
Now that things are settling down with my mother well on her way through recovery, I'll be back at my own place soon and able to exercise regularly again. I know any pounds gained will be flying off. I'll weigh-in when I get back.

Friday, 23 October 2015


I don't catch viruses every other week like I used to back when I was over 220lbs, but I've caught a very nasty cold. By eating well, exercising and thorough hand washing, I thought that should keep away the big nasty germs but no, this time they've come for me anyway. I haven't been pushing myself with exercise because no energy, and it can get hard to breathe. Easy walking for now will have to do. I've set up a humidifier in my bedroom so my sinuses don't dry up overnight.

Not much of an appetite either, so I'm making sure to get enough liquids, veggies and protein in. I was smart enough to make a huge batch of squash soup with a home-made base of chicken stock, so I'm covered for some meals. For the rest, I'm keeping it simple: eggs with maybe a slice of toast, apples, lazy cabbage rolls in the crock pot (easy on the rice), take-out rotisserie chicken with salad. A friend dropped by with some chicken noodle soup, make by a local company, and it was so good, not super-salty like most commercial soups you buy in the can. Drinking water and tea like crazy, but whether it actually helps or not to flush out the virus, I'm not sure about that.  

Weight is a little less, bouncing around 165 to 167 lbs.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Navigating Thanksgiving and Organizing

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I'm pleasantly surprised. My mother actually stuck to a healthy menu. She's had her own ups and downs with weight, and this past six months she's gained about 20 lbs. I didn't quite know what to expect for Thanksgiving, if she had gone back to her old ways. But nope, she's back to eating healthy.  Over the course of the long weekend we ate roast beef, roast mixed root vegetables, baked fish, mini-veggie quiches. And for the big day, on the menu: organic roasted chicken, veggie casserole, and a kale salad. KALE! Between the good eats and all the yard work that I did around her place, I didn't gain any weight. That includes two pieces of homemade apple pie.

I did get to a TOPS meeting a couple of weeks ago and it was really good. Nice welcoming people, great vibe, and good tips. The only thing is that it is really out of my way, as in it took me almost two hours to get home by public transportation. None of the members live in my area so I'll have to mull  over joining. The costs are pretty low, $36 per year and a $5 monthly Chapter fee. It might be worth the hassle...

Otherwise, things have been busy in my corner of the world. A couple of minor colds, and some household maintenance issues: furnace, roof, Fall cleanup outside, and re-organizing the shed.

I've also just finished reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It's given me the impetus to declutter some more. About a year and a half ago, I did a major clean up of the house, and actually my entire life.  I donated loads of clothes, kitchen items, books and stuff. I shredded some old bills and other papers that I thought I needed to keep. It was a lot of hard work over the course of several weeks.

But, since then a lot has creeped back in.  The messiness is a reflection of my state of mind at times, and adds unnecessary stress. And I never really tackled all my sentimental keepsakes. Have to admit, I have a hard time letting go of stuff.  But if you were to come and visit, you wouldn't see anything wrong... but if you open the closets or the drawers, look out!

Kondo advises keeping the things you love "that spark joy" and getting rid of the things you don't. Also interesting to me, she advises tidying by category rather than going room by room. Her book does not contain any photos of the method she advises to fold clothing, but there are tons videos on YouTube. And a lot of people have posted their before and afters online as well.

The actual book is translated from the Japanese so some of the writing style is a little odd sounding. And some of the ideas she presents do not apply really to the climate where I live, or my way of life. But it's easy enough to take the ideas that could work well and adapt them. I'm not ready yet to start this week, because I'm too busy in the evenings, but I'll probably give it a go soon, likely starting next week with my clothes, coats, shoes, boots and bags.

Weight down a little to 167.3 lbs.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Support Systems

In trying to break through my plateau, I've been looking into local support groups in my community. I figure maybe getting out of the house once a week to attend a meeting, meet new people, and get new perspectives that might help me change my mindset. A kick in the ass, of sorts.

Online support has been a tremendous help, such a great motivator, and so far has helped me to get over 50 lbs down from my highest weight, but I think I need some support face-to-face.

My first stop was to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. The welcome I received was lukewarm. No problem, I thought, maybe this OA group is like a high school clique of cool kids? But as the meeting wore on, I found that I didn't really agree with the twelve steps... or the whole philosophy. I'm glad it works for some, but I know that it just wouldn't work for me right now.

Second on the list, a weight loss support group I found on Meetup. Even though it had great reviews, it turned out to be a  only asales pitch for a herbal appetite control supplement. I left as soon as I understood.

Thirdly, a Weight Watchers meeting. Since I found out the first meeting is free, and is an easy 30 minute walk from my house, I figured I'd check it out. The vibe was good, the meeting informative, and people were really welcoming (not just the leader who was trying to get me to sign up ASAP). The big down side are the fees: $35 to register and then extra weekly fees. Or almost $300 for six months. 

Budget-wise, I'd be taking a hit there. My fiscally conservative instinct is telling me not to join right now. But my impulsive free-spending part wants to try it now, now, now! Priority-wise, a personal trainer is where I should spend any extra money. Then if I had some left over, I'd think about paying that price for WW.

Next week, I'll check out a TOPS meeting, but since there is not one nearby, the closest about an hour by public transport from my place, it'll have to be on an evening where I have nothing else on my plate :)

In the meantime, I do have a long-time good friend who is also trying to lose about 30 lbs, so we do take lunchtime brisk walks together, and trade healthy recipes. Down side: We often enable each others' laziness! 

Weight 169.1 lbs

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Trying to Break this Pattern

It's back to the same bad habits. I commit to a plan, lose five pounds, and then regain. Then repeat, again and again. The weekends are definitely my Achilles Heel. Without the structure I have during the week, it falls apart on the weekend. Even though Saturdays and Sundays are packed with activity, poor choices on my part when it comes to food is a big part of the cause. The past weekends have included several restaurant outings and barbecues with family and friends. I've done well avoiding junk at BBQs by bringing a big veggie platter. Not my choice to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries at restaurants, but it's certainly my choice as to what I choose to order off the menu.

There is something that will impede me from any restaurant eating in the next while: Financial issues! I'm still in the black as far as my savings are concerned, but my insurance company has not reimbursed me like they should have for the medications I've had to take for the past few years. Looks like a huge fight is a brewin'. Sigh. Big Stress. Yuck.

In the meantime, I'm on a strict budget. At least there is a very good selection of local vegetables around at great prices. For beef, chicken, fish,  etc., it'll be what's on sale that will dictate my menus.  No more organic, unless it's the same price or less than the non-organic food. Budget overrides ethics.

As for my new gym membership, I've cancelled it, thankfully with only a very small penalty. I did get a few good workouts in with a personal trainer, he gave me a body-weight exercise routine, so that knowledge will have to sustain me until I can afford him again. Despite my sabotaging ways, I do feel my clothes more loosely.

Weight: 171.7 lbs

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Back to it

After a wonderful and completely relaxing vacation, I'm missing the tropics so much, especially Oahu. My lifestyle was so much more active there than back at home. Disturbed sleep was not an issue. And being in a completely different place, my seasonal allergies were non-existent. I'd never felt better! Here was an average day:
  • 8am Wake-up
  • Breakfast: Coffee first, with beans from a local plantation, to eat usually something simple, like eggs or yoghurt and fruit 
  • 9am - Get outside and hike up a mountain or explore a nearby city's cultural scene
  • Noonish - Big Lunch! Stir Fry, Japanese, or Thai, sometimes a burger but always making sure to have lots of fresh veggies 
  • Head to a beach
  • Read trashy romance novels under a palm tree 
  • Shake off the laziness by body boarding or swimming in the waves
  • If hungry, a healthy snack of a handful of nuts or some fresh fruit 
  • 7pm, Sunset - Means time to shower off the sand
  • Supper - Like lunch but smaller portions 
  • Evening - Explore a nearby city with a walk or a drive
  • 10 or 11pm - Sleep
What a tough life LOL

So now I'm over the jet-lag and I'm back in the groove of the daily grind. Weighing less, generally feeling better, and trying to keep as active as I can. But... yes there's a but, it is hard. My workload has increased due to lack of staff at work, the boss has called early meetings all week, and I've had to take on additional duties which leaves me so tired at the end of the day. Stress is creeping back in. 

I know this is just temporary until September when other staff members come back from vacation. I just have to hang in there just a few more weeks. Here's the plan:
  • Morning workouts on the elliptical, and body weight exercises 
  • Keep eating lots of veggies. There is so much choice now and at low prices!
  • Be sure to get into bed early, no late nights

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Battling Burnout

I've been MIA for the past month or so, but I've not gained weight, which is what usually happens when bloggers go silent. I've just been busy working on my mental state, which hasn't been all that great. 

Therapy and a support group have been helpful. But in addition to my own issues, add in some family issues, major work stresses, and I'm just plain tired, burnt out. And not getting enough decent nights sleep; 6 hours per night on average is far from ideal. I've been working with my therapist on issues I can control, and getting help to get back into the activities I used to love. 

My plan for this month includes getting away for a real vacation. The last time I took any non-medical related time off was around Christmas-time. Even though my issues and stresses will certainly be waiting for me when I come back, the break and a change of scenery will do me good. The only thing is, when on vacation it doesn't mean I'll be off my food plan, it'll just be a heck of a lot harder to stay on track. 

Although eating at restaurants will be more frequent, I'll make wise choices and am going to be sure to get as many meals/healthy snacks from local grocery stores or markets. My food template: Lots of vegetables and some fruit, lean protein, low-sugar, low-sodium, and limiting processed packaged foods.

As for exercise, I've been only been doing the minimum to keep the weight where it is. I still walk, do some yoga, and walk to and from the grocery store instead of using the car. But my level of actual physical fitness has degraded since I was last at this same weight when I was on my way up to gaining over 220lbs. Stamina is less, muscles have shrunk, flexibility is down and fat is higher. When I have to run to make it to the bus, I'm sucking wind like a vacuum cleaner... and that's not fit, not healthy at all. That's what I'll be concentrating on this month, building up fitness. 

I know I'll be hiking and walking quite a bit on vacation, but certainly there will be time unwind and laze on a beach or two with a good book. And get a little vitamin D recharge from the sun. 

There's nothing worse than coming back from a vacation, stepping on that scale, and seeing the number jump 10 lbs higher. That will not happen here.