Lately I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been feeling bad about myself and my life. I’ve been focusing on the negative and feeling sorry for myself. I have been letting the fear and sadness overwhelm me. Yes, right now life is hard and it may very well get harder before it gets easier, but that’s a part of life. I know better than to let myself sit in a funk and feeling sorry for myself never helps anything at all. So today I was scrolling through facebook and I saw this:

Want to join me in a gratitude festival?  List 10 things you're grateful for.  I'll start...  I'm grateful for the bird's song.  I'm grateful for the Flowing with Change members.  I'm grateful for my son, my home, and my sense of purpose.  I'm grateful for my friends.  I'm grateful for Essence, this breathe, awareness.  I'm grateful for Facebook!

I figured it was a pretty good way to start digging myself out of my bad mood. Let’s get back to the good stuff! So here’s my list:

  1. Marissa. No big surprise there. Anyone who knows me know that she is my biggest blessing.
  2. Shawn. Even though sometimes he is more trouble than he is help, I know that I can always count on him to have my back. He makes me smile and is the only one who can always make me laugh even when I REALLY don’t want to.
  3. My fur babies. Smokey, Paisley, and Doodle, and maybe even Rissa’s rodents (Taz, Edward, and Spotty) They are all warm and soft and they love me unconditionally (as long as they have kibble).
  4. My parents. No, we don’t always get along and we argue more often than I would like, but they have always been there and this last year they have really helped keep us afloat.
  5. My friends. My friends are awesome and I appreciate each and every one.
  6. Facebook. I know that facebook gets a bad rap and some of it is deserved, but the truth is that I love it. When I need a quick answer that I can’t find elsewhere I know I can post on facebook and someone will know. I can talk to friends who live far away. I can get suggestions for a problem or encouragement when I am down. I can play games and share pictures and have fun all from the comfort of my little house.
  7. Scrapbooking. It is a source of enjoyment, relaxation, and creative output. It not only preserves memories from the past, but also provides insight for the future.
  8. My home. It may not be much, but it is mine. I may not get to keep it, but while I have it I am grateful for it.
  9. Wii. It allows me to have fun with my family, to relax and unwind, to challenge my mind, hand/eye coordination, and mental flexibility. It gives me many ways to exercise so I can get stronger and healthier. It is more than just a game system to me.
  10. My health. No, I am not super healthy or physically fit, but I am still alive and kicking and I’m getting stronger every day.

I realize that I have a lot of blessings, a lot of good things in my life, and I have a lot more than many others. I am thankful for all that I have. What are you thankful for?



Inch by Inch

This week I not only weighed in but also did my monthly measurements. I am sad to say that this week I only lost 0.8 of a pound and this month I only lost 3.5 inches. Of course my first reaction was to be devastated, frustrated, sad, and even a little angry. I allowed myself to feel all of that for about five minutes. Then I sat down and went over my journal to see where I got off track. I keep track of everything I eat and drink on sparkpeople.com. That is all of my calories in. I keep track of all of my exercise in my written journal. I keep track of all the calories I burn on Bodymedia.com. That is all of my calories out. At the end of every day, in my journal I write down calories eaten, calories burned, total activity, moderate activity, vigorous activity, and steps taken. I can look back at any time and see what I have and have not done. This week was not my best. It was super hot and I hurt a lot . I barely left the house and I did not get my steps in. I have been stressed out a lot and I have not been sleeping well. All of this adds up to not losing as much weight as I wanted to. I can say that I’m glad that I didn’t gain weight, but I still hate that I didn’t lose more. I know that it’s a bad week and I can do better next week. I WILL do better next week. I will get my steps in and hit my burn every day. I need to get in more meditation and yoga to help balance the stress. Hopefully Shawn will find a job soon and we can start getting caught up on bills. That would do so much to lower my stress level and I know that less stress means better weight loss. I also know that I need to watch what I eat more closely because it is SO easy to slip back into the habit of emotional eating. While I didn’t go crazy with my food at all this week, I did eat a little more junk than I should have. It is probably part of the reason why I hurt more. My body rejects junk. I feel better when I eat better. So I will eat better. I know that this isn’t a battle or a war, it’s a lifelong struggle that I will always have to stay on top of. I cannot let myself get frustrated and get off track. I will not be defeated. I know what works and what hurts. So onward I go towards my goal, towards a healthier life. My weight this week is 474.8.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

I never used to have a hard time making friends. I used to have lots of friends. The older I get, the harder it is for me to make friends. Since I moved to Perry County last summer, I have not made one friend here. It is a little disheartening. I would love to have a scrapbook buddy to scrap with, an exercise buddy to lose weight with, or a couple of friends to hang out with and play cards. It would be nice to have friends over for a bonfire on a nice summer night. These are things I miss about living close to a lot of friends. I don’t know why it is so hard to make friends now. Maybe people, myself included, are too mistrusting. Maybe we’re all afraid of getting hurt or getting involved with someone crazy or unstable. I don’t know. I only know that I try to always be a good person and some days I’m better at it than other days. In a perfect world there would be a nice couple around my age that Shawn and I could be friends with and they would have a nice girl around Rissa’s ago for her to be friends with and we could all be great friends. In a less perfect world I would settle for mostly sane, half intelligent people who understand that my daughter comes before all else in my world. We don’t smoke, but we don’t have a problem with smokers as long as you don’t smoke in our house. We drink occasionally, but don’t care if you drink or not. We like to hang out, watch movies, play video games/cards/board games, bowl, hike, and enjoy nature. I love crafts, especially scrapbooking. He loves cars and Nascar. We’re pretty open-minded for the most part. I think we’re good peoples 🙂 We’re not perfect, but we try to be as good as we can be. Why can’t we be friends?

Sometimes I’m Not So Hot

I’ve been running (several short sprints) almost every day for the last couple of months, but I haven’t formally started training for my 5k. I printed out the chart to help me get prepared and I have been kind of following it. Today I signed up for the Sparkpeople.com virtual 5k which is happening sooner than the other 5k I’m doing. This one is a virtual race, so you run it anywhere and then sign in and enter your time. You can run anytime between July 29 – August 4. You can check it out here: http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/summersp5k.asp

So today I looked at the paper about how to train for a 5k. I decided I would officially start training, so I got my shoes and watch on and I started walking 4 minutes and running 1 minute which I would repeat 5 times. I was about 7 minutes in when Shawn comes in and asks what I’m doing. I tell him and he says, “Shouldn’t we be on the track training instead?” I said, “It’s too hot outside today”, but I decided to go out in the driveway and try it anyway. I lasted 15 minutes outside. It was so hot and humid that I was soaking wet and I couldn’t breathe. My muscles were cramping and I thought I’d die. Now I know that I am not an elite athlete in terrific shape, but I was surprised that it was that hard for me. With my tail tucked between my legs I came back inside to the comfort of the AC. Because I was disappointed in myself I did a long, hard EA workout and it made me feel a little better. Yes I have come so far in the last six months, but I sometimes forget how much further I have to go. Sometimes I forget that I’m not 10 feet tall and bulletproof.

Weight Loss Photo Journey June 18, 2012

These are pics from June 18, 2012. My weight here is 475.6.

Goal Chart

I decided to make goal charts for Shawn, Marissa and I. My goal is lose 3.5 pounds a week, Shawn’s is to lose 2 pounds a week and Marissa’s is to lose 1 pound a week. I cut up a poster board and drew the charts, then Rissa and I decorated ours, while Shawn decided to leave his plain. Our charts are for 8 weeks from today, Sunday June 17, 2012 until Sunday, August 5, 2012. In that time Shawn wants to lose 16 pounds, Marissa 8 pounds, and I want to lose 28 pounds. We each got to choose a (non food) reward that we will receive if we hit our goal weight on or before August 5. Marissa chose a new Build-A-Bear, Shawn chose a hike anywhere that he picks, and I chose to go to a renaissance fair. I think we all made pretty good choices and it makes me happy that Shawn and I both chose family activities that are healthy. I also decided to start taking pictures of myself once a week so that I can have a visual of the weight as it comes off. I should have done that 155 pounds ago, but it’s better late than never. So, today we weighed in and every one of us lost more than our weekly goal this week! So we are starting off on a good foot. Hopefully we will continue to hit our goals and we will get healthier all the time. My weight this week is 475.6.

What Does She Eat??

People ask me all the time how I’m losing weight. Depending on who it is and how they are asking, I give one of several answers. If they are rude or snotty or flippant, I usually say something like, “By making better choices”. If they are nice, but not really interested, I ay something like, “I’m eating less and moving more”. If someone is really interested in how I am doing it, I have no problems sitting down and telling them as much as they want to know. I’m all about sharing. There is no secret.

If you know me at all, you know that I’ve been exercising A LOT. I do strength training three days a week and cardio every day. I also do yoga, walk, dance, and go for hikes. My daily goal for my calorie burn is 4500 total calories with 60 minutes of moderate exercise and 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. That’s half the battle. The other half is eating.

One of the biggest things that most doctors, nutritionists, and personal trainers all tell you to do is to keep a food journal. It works. It works because it makes you aware of how much you are eating and in what proportions. It also works because it keeps you honest. When you want to eat a bag of cookies instead of a serving size, you stop and think about how it will feel to put that in your food journal and how it will affect your totals for the day. When I started keeping a food journal, I used a notebook. After a while I started using Sparkpeople.com and I love it. They have SO many foods already in their database, plus you can access other member’s inputs and if all that fails you can add your own information. You can go with their nutrition recommendations or tweak them to what you want them to be. They keep track of it all for you, they do the math, and you can go back at any time to compare what you were eating before to what you are eating now. For me it is the best way. I still always keep a notebook with me just in case I need to write my food down, but at the end of the day it all goes into Sparkpeople.com. Right now I eat about 2600 calories a day. Not exactly 2600 every day, but that is my average. I eat in a pattern so that I stagger my high days and low days. One day I will eat 2200 calories and the next I will eat 3000, then maybe 2500, 2300, 2800, etc. I never eat the same amount of calories two days in a row and I never have two high calorie or two low calorie days in a row. This confuses your body and makes sure that your body never goes into starvation mode. If you burn too much and eat too little your body will stop losing weight. It will hold onto every calorie that you eat. I aim for 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein, which is the recommended amounts for diabetics. I try to stay away from sodium as much as I can. I eat a lot of whole grains and wheat rather than white, I drink a lot of water and I eat a lot of vegetables. I eat leaner meat and lower fat dairy products. I eat several smaller meals rather than three big meals so my sugar level never goes too low. I try to eat as healthy as I can every day. That being said, I don’t believe in restricting myself too much. I think if you cut out all of the foods that you love the most, you will lose your mind. It’s unrealistic to say that you are never going to eat ice cream or chocolate again. I eat what I want, but in smaller portions. If I want something particularly bad for me I eat a little bit and enjoy every bite. Instead of eating a whole candy bar, I split it with Shawn or Marissa. Instead of ordering a large shake I enjoy a small one. The biggest thing is that I make it work with my total calories for the day. If I know that I’m craving chocolate I make brownies with healthier recipe and if I’m going to eat two of them instead of one then I know that I have to eat a few less calories at all of my other meals. I don’t starve myself all day and then eat half a pan of brownies. I shave 50 calories off each of my 4 meals, then I eat my two brownies without feeling guilty or ruining my whole day. It’s all about moderation. Sometimes it’s hard, but it is always worth it, and it’s working. I’m losing weight and I’m getting healthier. Life is so delicious!

Opposite Extremes

The last week and a half I have been in a lot of pain. It’s not any one thing in particular, but several things have been bothering me. My back hurts every day. It has for several years now. Some days it hurts less and some days it hurts more, but ti always hurts. My left ankle is also a frequent and recurring source of pain. My right knee has been hurting off and on for about a week now, especially when I am getting up and down on the floor or in and out of bed. My shoulders and neck have been particularly tight and sore, probably because of stress and tension. Lately my muscles ache and feel heavy. I think it probably the fibro causing the fatigue and weakness. The fibro and the diabetes are both responsible for the nerve pain and the numbness that I deal with on a daily basis. When I was first diagnosed with fibro, and actually for about six months before that, I used to have down days several days a week. During those down days I barely moved. I would get up out of bed, get my daughter on the bus and lay down on the couch to go back to sleep. I hurt so bad all over and I had no energy at all. As I lose weight and get stronger physically I need less and less down time. I haven’t had a full down day for over a month. I still have days where I sleep more and move less, but I force myself to move some, even if it is only a little. I wonder if I am pushing myself too hard sometimes. I wonder if I should take a break from exercising for a day and just relax. On one hand that sounds kind of nice, but to be honest, on the other hand it terrifies me to even think about it. I am so afraid that if I stop moving, I will lose my ability to move. I’m so afraid that if I relax, even a little, that I will slip right back into my old ways. I don’t want to ever go back to where I was six months ago, let alone three years ago. I have come so far and I want to keep going. I am going to keep going. I just have to be careful, because I am the type of person who goes to extremes. I was such an extreme food addict that I got up to a weight of over 600 pounds. I was so out of shape that I literally could not walk 25 steps without stopping to rest. I don’t want to go too far to the opposite extreme of exercising too much and eating too little. Shawn already says I exercise too much some days. Maybe I do. I want to get rid of this fat as fast as I can, but I also want to be healthy and going to any extreme is not healthy. I know that. I just have to keep reminding myself that slow and steady wins the race. Yes I will get there, but if I push too hard I’m only going to hurt myself and that will slow my weight loss down even more. So maybe tomorrow I will take it a little easier on myself and I will spend more time scrapbooking than exercising. That’s my idea of relaxing!  🙂

Loving YOU is the Right Thing To Do!

I love my daughter. I love my husband. I love my parents. I love my family, my friends, and my pets. My heart overflows with love for others, but when it comes to loving myself, well, honestly it has been a lifelong struggle. It is so much easier to see all the good in everyone else, but so hard to see it in myself. It’s so easy to forgive everyone for all the mistakes that they have made and the hurt that they have given me, yet I have such a difficult time forgiving myself or letting go of my mistakes. I have always been my own worst enemy and my own harshest critic. In the past, even when I was successful I did not celebrate my victories nearly as much as I would have cheered for someone else. When I did feel good about myself, I usually felt guilty about it, like I was doing something wrong. For years I didn’t believe that my husband really loved me because why would he? I did not see anything lovable about me. I would tell people that they had to love themselves first, but I never did. What a hypocrite!

I know that I am not alone in this. For some reason, so many people have such a hard time loving themselves. We need to love ourselves. We need to accept ourselves; victories, losses, accomplishments, mistakes, all of it. The day I forgave myself for the past and decided to move on was one of the best days of my life. I hope that everyone gets to have that moment.