Monday, August 31, 2009

I made it until 3:30 p.m.

I went to Safeway to pick up my blood pressure prescription, walked around while it was being filled...I was feeling very edgy, not really hungry, but EVERYTHING looked good. I ended up buying a small tub of potato salad and I ate it when I got home. I felt okay afterward, but really felt hungry, so I made myself a bowl of chicken broth with low-fat turkey meatballs. Tasty, filled me up a bit more. Then I got a glass of non-fat lactose free milk. Two hours later, I'm achy all over again, and quite sleepy (I actually napped for four hours today).

So, I know that I didn't handle reintroducing the food quite right. I need to do it just one item at a time. So I'll start all over again tomorrow, just water, and then I'll try something like eggs cooked in cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil.

I think this might be a soy allergy. The Medifast products are full of soy! The potato salad had soy in the mayonnaise, and the turkey meatballs had some soy as well. The milk might also be a culprit.

I'm like a CSI!

...and we're back, again!

It's been 90 minutes since my last blog. I am such a weenie!

I'm already hungry, tired and have a headache. That's what I get for drinking coffee again this last week. I'm on my sixth glass of water...perhaps I need to pace myself more.

Been watching that series of videos online about food allergies. She talked about muscle testing. My parents do that all the time. Everytime they look at a new food product, they muscle test in the store. Some days they're just fine with the product. They buy it, bring it home and then start abusing it. Eventually they create another "allergy" with the new product, determined with the muscle testing.

I don't know if this woman in the video knows what she's talking about. She's a chiropractor. I find that to be a profession that is highly suspect. What I am taking away from the video series is how to deal with the allergies without having to buy more products. Like digestive enzymes can be found in pineapple, which is something I normally eat. Probiotics can be found in miso, which is another product I use. I will not be doing an enema or colonic, which I find to be ridiculous. I would rather drink the herbal teas and get plenty of fiber from my diet. I can do the water fast, as short as 24 hours, and if I go longer, I can include lemon juice, cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of maple syrup with each glass of water. If I start to feel really bad later today, I might start using that.

She described a way to use stomach yoga to realign the ileocecal valve. I didn't know it could get out of alignment or what the side effects of that would be! Still, the method seems non-threatening and I'm willing to do it. It might even help me with abdominal core strength.

I'm a great believer in not buying extra stuff to make me feel better. If it's free, I'll try it.

(I'm hungry now, and I want to take a nap, and I'm starting to feel achy again...I'll stick it out until tomorrow, but I don't know how I'll manage past that. I'm having a craving for poached eggs on whole wheat toast!)

...and, we're back

312 lbs. this morning...and I don't know why.

Plus I woke up again with a lot of energy, feeling quite alert, after only six hours of sleep.

I did more reading yesterday about troubleshooting a food allergy. I decided that it was too expensive to buy even more food when my fridge is already full of healthy choices. Instead I'm opting to go on a water fast.

I found a series of online videos about dealing with food allergies. Quite interesting. So I'm starting my water fast today. I'm not doing this without having had any previous experience, but it has been many years since I did one, and that was only for 24 hours. This time I'm shooting for around a week. We'll see how long I can last.

I'm planning to keep my activity level on the low side. All my water will be filtered. I'll be dry brushing my skin daily to aid with the detoxing. And when needed, I'll be napping. At minimum, I plan to do it for a week as it takes about three to four days to get over the initial detoxing. After that, I'll do it for as long as I can stand it, but not longer than a month. I actually don't really expect to make it a week, or even the three to four days. We'll see. If I'm blogging and I start to sound incoherent, let me know!

I'll be writing a lot during the fasting, mostly in my journal. I find that fasting creates a lot of angst and brings up a lot of issues for me. Maybe it's because of all the extra time not dealing with cooking and eating. Even as I'm writing this, I'm starting to feel a little gnawing in my stomach and I believe that's because I've just decided to do this. And I'm already angry with my mother...maybe I wake up angry with her every day!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Food allergy?

I think I must have a food allergy. This moring I woke up feeling just as good as I did yesterday. I was excited! I had plans for the day! The boys wanted to go to IHOP for breakfast, so I agreed because I knew what to order. I had a glass of grapefruit juice and an egg white spinach omelet. I drank water with that. The meal also came with hash brown potatoes and I ate about a tablespoon of that. By the time I paid the bill, I was ready for a nap. Even now, less than 20 minutes after the meal ended, I am desperate to sleep. The only other thing I had this morning was a cup of coffee at home with a packet of Splenda.

I'm looking at doing the Elimination Diet for a month. Because I've been reading that high carbs cause sleepiness, and I didn't have a ton of carbs. Only about 30 gm. and under 400 calories. Maybe I'm allergic to eggs. Or Splenda, although I didn't get sleepy until after the breakfast.

So, if I can stay awake for a little bit, I'm working on my shopping list, then cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer and then shopping accordingly. I think the boys are going on this diet as well, but I won't tell them!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm actually having a good day!

It's Saturday and I woke up at 7:15 this morning, which, technically, is sleeping in. And I woke up alert and full of energy! I dusted my bedroom (I think I've only dusted once since April when I moved in), vacuumed, put everything away, MADE THE BED (that is a rare occurance), scoured my bathroom, then moved my cleaning activities downstairs. All the dishes are now clean and put away, the stainless steel appliances are gleeming, the laundry is done, and the entire downstairs, with the exception of mopping the tile, is clean. It's now almost 2 p.m. and I'm starting to feel tired and ready for a nap.

When I woke up I took my standard SamE, l-tyrosine, acidophilus pearl and baby aspirin with water, on an empty stomach. I had a couple cups of coffee this morning and didn't feel like eating until 11 a.m. And then I was ravenous! 1 egg plus 2 egg whites scrambled with sliced mushrooms and onions and two slices of Canadian bacon over a small whole wheat bagel. And then I had a can of turkey chili. And then I had a tin of oil-packed sardines and a couple of Wasa crackers. I topped it all off with four glasses of water. 1084 Cal! I ate something, then waited and still felt hungry, then ate more, etc. I'm finally stuffed and can nap.

When I don't stick to an eating schedule and just go with eating when I'm hungry, I find I eat earlier in the day and can avoid eating after 6 p.m. more easily. So, to further aleviate more stress in my life, I think I'll adopt a less vigilant and regimented position on my eating. I'll still track what I eat, the calories. I'll still keep only healthy food in the house so I can make good choices from what I have on hand. But I won't be so vigorous about when I eat and how much per meal. I think that was causing me a lot of angst and I just can't find any joy in that!

The bed is looking really good right now...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here come The Judge

Today is yet another day in a long line of days where I have gotten out of bed with really sore muscles and joints. I'm about to take more pain meds. I've been stretching, and while it feels good while I'm doing it, I'm not experiencing extended relief.

I've been looking at my past postings and I'm interpreting my musings like a lot of excuses today, excuses for not losing weight and not getting things done. This is The Judge that takes up a lot of room in my head. The Judge is telling me that if I push myself really hard I will lose weight and get everything done. The Judge is telling me to eat only vegetables and to drink even more water. The Judge is telling me to ignor how bad I feel all over. The Judge is telling me that I need to get a lot of stuff done, even when I'm so fatigued, because someone has to. If I put a body on The Judge, it looks an awful lot like my mother and The EX.

I need to yell at The Judge. How much do I need to get done to please you? To shut you up? Forever! The only way I know to combat The Judge is to really focus on what I really want in my life, support my own integrity, and make choices accordingly. I know who I am. I remember who I am. I feel crappy right now. I accomplish what I can right now, and my sons and I are doing as well as we want for the time being.

Admittedly I'm frustrated with my current health because it keeps me from doing everything I want to do. My to-do list is endless. Yesterday was a good day, I got six loads of laundry done, folded and put away. I loaded and ran the dishwasher and put the dishes away. I striped the beds and put on fresh sheets. I got my parents' trash cans out to the curb for them. I got the boys off to school and fed when they got home. We spent some quality time together last night after the homework was done. The bathrooms are clean. I had to nap twice to get that much done. I ate less than 2000 calories. I drank 12 glasses of water. I didn't exercise at all beyond running up and down the stairs with the laundry. I ached all day long.

What I wished I could have also done...exercise (35 minutes of stretching, 30 minutes of HIIT, weight training, core exercises), homework (write a paper, complete one Flash assignment), clean and organize the garage, breakdown all the cardboard boxes and take them to the recycling center, spend an hour exercising with the boys, figure out what sort of painting I want to paint to hang over the fireplace...

I think I need to go take my morning nap now.

(I just caught a whiff of air from the General Mills plant down the road...what a lovely aroma. My town smells like Cheerios! Who can complain about life when you can wake up to that toasty goodness every morning?)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Calling a retreat!

I'm taking the opportunity to head off for a bit of a retreat in October to cultivate a better way to manage my emotions (instead of eating and shopping). I have done pretty well in the last few years, but coming back to my hometown, stepping back into life near my parents, single-parenting issues and the impending divorce, as well as the mid-life struggles of health and identity...well, it feels like my life is falling through my fingers like sand right now. I need some help.

I got an email from The Institute for Health Solutions, which has developed The Solution Method for learning to manage stress and emotions in a healthy way. They're hosting a weekend retreat at June Lake, CA later in October, with workshops and classes on their method. Here's what they have to say about it.

Come join us for a weekend Solution Method Retreat at the beautiful Double Eagle Resort in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Solution Trainers, Judy Zehr and Connie Henderson, will be hosting this three-day intensive experience designed to deepen your skills and nourish your spirit. Our experience has been that those attending retreats do deep important work in a warm, supportive environment. We’ll provide delicious 1-2-3 meals, opportunities for body work, Solution groups, workshops and more! A Wired for Joy intensive track will be offered for new participants and interested others. For more information or to enroll email: or

Doesn't that sound great? I'm looking forward to going, because I really need it right now. My energy levels are so low, as is my creativity, so I can hardly come up with my own solutions to life at the moment. By October, I hope I'll be feeling well enough to really participate and gain a lot of new skills at the retreat. I find that short retreats on an annual basis really help me gain focus for the next year. It's been almost a year since my last trip, and that was a highly productive experience complete with new friendships that I've maintained and an excellent support system.

In the meantime, I started a new class, "Living With Hypothyroidism", "The Thyroid Diet" and a collection of Proust to keep me busy, as well as my kids and parents. I'm in the middle of planning my parents 50th anniversary party. I've already set the menu (Greek-Lebanese fusion), bought ingredients and started cooking some things ahead of time. The invitations are ready to send - its just a small gathering of close family and friends, less than 20. I told my doctor the other day that my blood pressure was high because I was stressing over the details of this party, trying to strike a balance between perfection and just enough going wrong for my parents to complain about afterwards. Little did I know that 48 hours later my mother would insist that I cancel the whole thing because she wants to go on a diet...and that's why my blood pressure is really an issue!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Medifast is NOT working any more

I went to my doctor yesterday. I had a lovely drive to San Francisco. I actually left early so I could enjoy the drive and not be stressed. I got to UCSF Medical in plenty of time. I sat in the car and did some yogic breathing techniques. I sauntered over to the doctor's office. I waited for a total of 30 seconds for my appointment and they let me right in to see her. The nurse took my blood pressure...171/88.


I got scolded for not taking my bp meds for the past year. I have lost a total 0ne pound since I last came in (a year ago). I have to get my blood drained next week, a week after I get back on my bp med (today). She's running a panel of thyroid tests on me.

I got back in my car and drove home, a little upset and very hungry. I had eaten a serving of chili con carne for breakfast, and then had a McDonald's double cheeseburger and a bottle of water on the way to the appointment. In my emotional state, I wanted to splurge and stopped at Jack-in-the-Box for an Ultimate Cheeseburger, small fries, small Coke and a serving of their churros. Damn, they were good! After I got home, two hours later, I had a grilled chicken breast, with the skin, then went to a parent meeting at the high school. I made the choice to buy a lot of veggies at the market before going home, because I decided I was just going to get back on the horse and eat sensibly again. I drank more water after I got home.

After consuming 2600 calories yesterday, this morning my scale showed a loss of two pounds. Eating does seem to have a thermic effect. The less I eat, the less inclined my body is to losing weight. I can't call yesterday's eating a binge, because I didn't eat until I was uncomfortable, and I did wait until I was hungry. So, I won't be lamenting my choices yesterday, or the ones I make today, or tomorrow. Choices are merely that, choices.

So now I've got several hundred dollars worth of Medifast boxes sitting in my pantry. I'll use them, over time. My kids already like the bars, so those are going in their lunches. I actually like the eggs, so that's a lower fat option for my morning egg scrambles. I love some of the shakes, and the rest I can doctor so that I can drink them when I just want to fill myself up and get back to work. They do help me manage my caloric intake.

I hope that my doctor and I can find a way to help me lose weight. I don't want to be unhealthy, because I have a lot of life to live.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Medifast is working...kinda, sorta

I'm done eating for the evening. I haven't been strict with the Medifast for the last few days because of the lethargy. Eating extra food seems to give me a little more energy. I don't want to be fully back on Medifast until I get the all clear with my doctor.

While I haven't lost weight on the program, I have been able to cut back my calories. Previous to Medifast, I didn't feel satiety until I had eaten 2100 calories. As of tonight, I'm experiencing satiety at 1600 calories. So I see the Medifast experiment as a success.

I still have product in my pantry, with another package with a one month supply arriving soon. I'll continue to use it. My kids love the bars, I do like the eggs scrambled with vegetables, and their Pomegranate Cherry and Dark Chocolate shakes are delicious! I think I can put together some interesting recipes with my leftover puddings. The chili would make a nice, quick snack. But the cream of chicken soup is terrible! Blech!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Analyzing the impulses

I weighed myself this morning...318 lb. Why am I up six pounds since yesterday? Because I ate a LOT of potato salad last night. Although I don't think I ate six pounds of it.

It was an impulsive choice. While I was making it, I allowed myself to have one hard-cooked egg. It was good, with the center still runny, just the way I like them. It was dinner time. I was hungry. I kept tasting the salad as I made it. Next I ate a few bites of undressed potatoes. And then when I scooped out the sour cream, I tasted that. And after everything was in the salad and it was all mixed, I tasted for seasoning...a big mounded tablespoon-sized taste. And another. By the time the salad got to the table, I was already full, but I had another serving, but smaller than an average portion. And I had fish. Then after dinner, with my stomach in pain, I put the leftover potato salad in a plastic bowl, put the lid on it, then cleaned out the serving bowl of the remaining dressing and salad bits.

I don't think a particular mood or thought pattern led me to the potato salad binge. I just smelled it all and the next thing I knew, I needed a cigarette!

I just googled "impulse eating" and found some tips on how to manage and avoid it.
  • Option 1 - drink a glass of water because I might be dehydrated. I don't think that was the case, because I'd already had 12 glasses of water by then.
  • Option 2 - chew gum. I actually like that one. I have sugar-free gum and forget to chew it. I got it to help tighten up my chin(s). If I pop a piece of gum in my mouth before cooking, I won't be so inclined to put anything else in there. Yes, definitely keeping gum in the kitchen.
  • Option 3 - do some deep breathing exercises. I was going to do that, but I forgot!
  • Option 4 - keep some chopped veggies around...I'm all out and I need to go shopping.
  • Option 5 - stop and consider the impulse and journal about it. Well, I'm not so sure I'm capable of that, of wrenching my mind away from the impulse and taking the time to consider it and write about it. I can do it here, now, away from the impulses, and I've never really thought about it before...I actually feel a physical feeling when the impulse to eat occurs.

I'm feeling it now. I feel tension rise up in my arms, through my shoulders, up from my gut into my chest. And I guess the impulse to eat is a response that helps manage that tension. I just had the impulse to go down to the kitchen to finish off that potato salad. The impulse switches from tension in my body to a desire for the potato salad. And now the impulse is centered in my chest. And I actually feel hunger pains, or what I have defined as hunger pains...and hollow feeling from my throat down through my chest (esophagus?) to my stomach. However, my stomach still feels physically full since last night and I don't really believe I'm hungry.

All these years I've been feeding my impulse to eat, and everytime I followed through on it, I reinforced it. I understand and accept that I used the impulse eating to manage my emotional state. So I've got my work cut out for me, because even if I lost all the excess weight, and even if I've changed so much in how and what I was eating, I know that I'd still gain it all back if I don't find a solution to the impulse eating.

The impulse to eat has no thought process connected to it. I'm not sure how I'm going to effect change. It's going to have to occur in the subconscious mind. So maybe the first thing to do is to imagine myself, every night before I go to bed, managing my impulses. Eating is not the only thing I do impulsively. I also shop impulsively. I'm thinking about it now and I'm experiencing the same anxiety in my body that I also feel when I eat impulsively.

Up until this moment, I've enjoyed and embraced my impulsive nature. Maybe not so much any longer. I think I valued my impulse nature because I connected it solely with my creativite nature. There are two types of creativity, impulse-directed and goal-directed. Impulse-directed creativity is the stuff that dreams are made off, it brings on the adrenalin rush. I not hard to see why that's fun. I actually rely on that to get me out of emotionally low moments. But then, if I'm feeling so low and I use my creativity to get out of my funk, isn't that more goal-directed creativity?

I digress...I don't think I'll be getting rid of my impulses any time soon. I can find out how to manage them when I need to, especially as they pertain to food and shopping.

(Damn, I want to go to Cost Plus so badly today!)

(And I still want the rest of that damn potato salad!)

(What should I do?)

Breathe...breathe...breathe...where's my gum...breathe

Wow, this was a helpful exercise today. I'm thinking about what it's going to feel like to be in control of my impulses, to be somewhat free from impulsive behaviors. It's very empowering!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another new day

I can't give up on losing weight and getting healthy. Every day I wake up and recommit myself to the cause. I didn't always think this way. My weight-loss struggles were once all about dropping pounds and looking good, getting into a new wardrobe. There's much more at stake for me now; a broader sense of purpose drives me, and success is measured on multiple fronts.

The bathroom scale still figures prominently. I don't like that, but I can't seem to give it up. I just weighed in again. 312. Earlier in the week I was back up to 314. I am determined to break past 310 by Tuesday when I go see my doctor. That will mean a 10 lb loss since I saw her last. I'm already looking for the lightest clothes and shoes I can wear that day. Definitely going for the flip flops!

I really do have a different mindset this time. I guess visualizing the goals has become a habit, which is good. Recommiting every morning has become a habit. If I think about going off-plan with the food options, it's more of an effort or a rebellious train of thought...a decisive process. There is no deliberate choice to eat off-plan or overeat. Those are usually impulsive choices.

I was just reading about impulsive eating. A study was conducted (of course) that shows subjects ate an average of 44% more food than when eating with other people. When I'm not focused on what I'm doing, we easily lose track, and eating in social situations easily distracts me. This is where planning ahead helps the most. But I don't always eat in social situations, and most of my impulsive choices occur when I'm alone or out and about on my own.

Big downfalls in the past were the fast food restaurants. I think I'm about cured of that. I still go, but it's a planned excursion, and no more than once a month. I don't drink the sodas there, I don't order fries. I get a small burger and a salad. And I have to eat inside or take it home to eat. No eating in the car. I only drink beverages in the car, so I do stop at Starbucks. But there are only two items I will order from there, the venti-unsweetened-shaken passion iced tea or the grande-nonfat-cappuccino. And not so much on the cappuccinos any more. My lactose-intolerance has increased and I'm really quite farty for hours afterward!

When I'm at home, that's where my impulses really fail me, in the afternoons. It's when I make choices like having spaghetti for dinner, and I cook an entire package and eat more than one (or two) servings. It's when I see that my kids haven't finished everything in their plates so I do it instead. Even if what I cooked is healthy and perfect, overeating is overeating. And I'll do it despite the fact that I'm no longer hungry. So this is where the battleground exists.

I have to figure out something that helps me keep focus in the late afternoons and during dinner. I'm looking at Yogic Breathing lately, and the alternate nostril breathing is touted as the most effective for calming the mind and benefitting the nervous system. I will start doing that before every meal at home, and before I go to bed at night.

By the way, last night I slept nine hours. I really needed it. Today I'm awake, very alert, and only feel a minimum of achiness. I'm going to take some Excedrin and ride this energy level as long as I can today. We'll see what I can get done.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Never made it to the interview

Boy, that was a really tough decision! But as I sat in the car in my garage, the day before the interview, I made the call, with tears in my eyes, to cancel the appointment for my job interview. It was only 1:30 p.m. and it was a huge effort just to get out of the car. I was never going to shine for an interview.

On Thursday I decided to park myself at Starbucks, just to get out of the house, and sat and read The Thyroid Diet by Mary J Shomon. I took notes. Very interesting read. Ms. Shomon is a patient advocate and has dedicated her life to helping people with thyroid issues. She talked about medications, vitamins and minerals, food supplements, what to eat, when to eat, why we eat, what happens when we don't eat so much, how losing weight due to fat reduction can add to thyroid issues, toxins that are stored in fats...and I'm only half way through the book. I took my notes to my friend Sheri's healthfood store, where I dropped cash for more vitamins and stuff. And another book that piqued my interest, Detox Strategy by Brenda Watson.

I'm reading that book now. It's not a radical approach to detoxifying, which is why I bought it. It seems full of practical advice to detoxifying our lives. For example, there are house plants that are capable of improving indoor air quality, so I wouldn't have to buy air purifiers and humidifiers/dehumidifiers for every room of the house. There are lists of cleaning chemicals that add to a toxic environment in the house and alternative products/methods for cleaning. I haven't gotten to the diet portion of the book yet, but I don't see a huge list of products that I'll have to add to my collection of vitamins I don't already take.

After my trip into town I pulled out all my vitamins and food supplements to check expiration dates. All were current, but it was a little shocking how much I had collected since November when I came back to California. Fortunately they all still fit on just two shelves in a single narrow kitchen cabinet. I'm not an advocate for taking massive quantities of vitamins. I really wish I could take care of everything with just diet and exercise.

Issues kept coming up as I looked at all the little colored bottles. Parental issues. (Thank God there are no vitamins for that!) The volume of vitamins in my parents' house is scary! They could be dealers! They have enough vitamins to last them through the Apocalypse! Those two keep a really tight rein on what they eat. I don't even know the last time my mother had a piece of could have been during the Nixon administration. I think that was the last time she did a lot of things.

Yesterday afternoon I got a really lovely massage at Perfect Balance Day Spa. Joanne is really good. And afterward I got a pedicure from Michelle. All my aches and pains were gone and I felt truly blissful afterwards. I came home, drank plenty of water, watched a little TV with the boys, took two melatonin (from the kitchen cache) and went to bed at 10. I was looking forward to a blissful night's sleep.

I have no idea why I woke up at midnight, but I was wide awake. I couldn't go back to sleep until 4 a.m.! And then I was up again with the boys by 6. I've hung on all day, without napping, so I would be genuinely tired and be able to sleep the entire night tonight. I have my sleep hygiene all worked out now. Go to bed at 10, get up at 6. That's 8 hours. And I've been consistently doing that for three weeks. But every once in awhile, I've gotten some good, consistent sleep for a few nights, and my body decides it doesn't need to sleep one or two nights in a row, and my sleep routine is upset again. Even my circadian rhythms have ADD!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a drag it is getting old

I wish I could figure out how to have the Rolling Stones' Mother's Little Helper playing in the background...

I seem to be slowly falling matter how hard I work at losing weight, I can't turn back the hands of time, or even slow it down.

For the last few months I've been experiencing some days when lethargy and body aches have held me back. I thought perhaps I just wasn't working hard enough at whatever I wasn't working hard enough at that day, took a nap, took a vitamin, or some herbs, or drank some new power-producing drink. (Some days, I feel like Alice in Wonderland finding notes tell me to "eat this" and "drink that" but nothing seemed to produce the desired effect being promoted.) And the next day I'd feel okay, so I went on my merry way until the next time I felt like shit again.

Increasingly, these days of lethargy have been more the rule than the exception, and for the last two weeks, it's been everyday. Today I thought I'd actually track how I was feeling, hour by hour.

06:00 Wake up - feeling the morning aches, stretching seemed to make it go away. Felt very alert, like I got a good night's rest after seven hours.

07:00 Making breakfast and lunches for the boys. Starting to get a headache. Upper arms feeling heavy and achy. Stretching feels good, but only a temporary remedy.

08:00 Boys are off to school, so I start to clean-up downstairs. Feeling very tired, still achy, down to the forearms now. Managed to fill the dishwasher and start it, but now I want to go upstairs to nap.

09:00 Sitting at the computer, fighting the urge to sleep. I have so much to do today and I can't stay alert. Upper thighs feel achy and tense, legs feel heavy, arms still ache and headache is worsening. Even my hands ache today. I feel worse today than I did yesterday.

I've had four glasses of water and Medifast scrambled eggs with a little feta so far today. I'm not hungry, but I've been resorting to eating the last couple of days just for the extra energy.

This is not good. I just made an appointment to see my doctor on Tuesday afternoon. After talking with a few friends, and a bit of self-diagnosing, I'm thinking this is a thyroid issue. I'm getting plenty of sleep. I'm drinking plenty of water and despite being on Medifast, I haven't been entirely faithful to the plan (eating above and beyond) so I know I'm getting enough nutrients. I've made attempts at exercising, but I'm so exhausted that I can't keep it up for very long.

I have a job interview tomorrow. I have to get a portfolio put together and I don't know if I can.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gateway foods/behaviors...and a pity party

The gateway drug theory (also called gateway theory, gateway hypothesis and gateway effect) is the hypothesis that the habitual use of less deleterious drugs may lead to a future risk of using more dangerous hard drugs and crime. - Wikipedia, so it must be true.

For me, there are gateway foods and gateway behaviors, things that just lead me to do other things that don't support my efforts at improving my wellness. Like right now, I'm bored and I feel sluggish and tired. I don't know why. I've been eating on plan, I got plenty of sleep, and I've been drinking plenty of water. I'm not due for another round of my menstrual cycle for weeks. And yet, here I am, and feeling like this leads me to want to eat something that I shouldn't be eating. I just had a Medifast Orange Creme 55 shake. It was delicious. I drank water. My stomach is full. But the desire to eat is there, nagging at me.

So let's trouble-shoot this. I'm tired and I don't know why, and while I'd normally eat for extra energy, that's not what I really want to do. Perhaps I just need to take a little nap. It's 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The boys want to go to the movies and we need to leave in 45 minutes to get money and tickets. I have time for a quick nap...

...So it's now nearing 11 p.m. I had my little nap, which really helped! I felt much better afterwards. The boys and I decided to go see a movie. They saw G.I. Joe, but I went to see Julie & Julia. It was a truly lovely movie and I was really moved by it. Some really good humor in it. The theater was full of couples in their 50s and older, as well as some older single women in groups. And me, by myself. *sigh* Are you feeling a pity party coming on?

Julia Child's husband, if the depiction was accurate, was a wonderfully supportive man who completely adored and admired his wife, and the feeling was mutual. That made me wistful for a good relationship, which led to more sadness and lonliness after I left the theater. I had so many things in common with Julia Child, beyond the love of food and cooking. I too lived the expatriate life. While I was never faced with hat-making classes, I was subjected to pressure to join quilting clubs, play bridge, drink a lot more. I made some really great friends along the way, but every four to five years, our family was uprooted and I had to start all over again. I had projects going, relationships formed, ambitions of my own. But it was clear that my life was not my own. And when I forced the issue and really did make a name for myself based on my own successes, I was summarily dumped and sent back to the U.S.

So now I'm back where I have no reputation, all my friends live hours away or on other continents, and I have to start all over again. And no one's hiring middle-aged women with no marketable skills. It won't even get me a writing job! (I warned you, it's a pity party!)

I ate when I got home. I made good choices (mixed green salad, Wasa cracker and yogurt cheese), but I just kept going back for more. Even now, I'm edgy and wanting to blot out the pain of a failed marriage and the desire to go back to the kitchen and get out a can of turkey chili is quite strong. And I want cheese on it, melted, and a dollop of sour cream. I already had a small piece of candy...okay, three...but I'm now hiding out in my bedroom with a bottle of water and my TV remote. It's nearly midnight and my eyelids are drooping. But if I turn out the lights and get quiet, my brain will turn on and I'll have to relive my ugly past again.

Julia spent eight years working on her first book. It was a masterpiece. Gone With the Wind also took nearly eight years of Margaret Mitchell's life. I'm 1/3 of the way done with mine, but it's been set aside for the last five. I want to move forward with it. I'm not afraid to do that, but I want to turn out a masterpiece too. I have three plays and two other books that I have notes on. But I have more to learn, about life, about writing and literature. And I have commitments and obligations I can't ignor. Some day. I won't give up.

Okay, pity party is over. What does one serve at a pity party? Fudge!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reprogramming the brain

I love my DVR. I don't want to spend time scheduling TV viewing around somebody else's schedule. If I want to watch my Craig Ferguson in the morning while I'm doing the breakfast dishes, I can do it. If I want to save up several episodes of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency so I can curl up on a sofa and suffer through my womanly cramps for several hours, it's there for me.

If I want to watch the specials on PBS that run during their pledge drives, and I can skip the endless guilt-till-you-give commentary, I can do that without remorse. (I already gave and I'm waiting on my Pilates DVD and book by Karena Thek Lineback.) So yesterday, while I was killing time until I needed to pick up the boys from school, I watched a really long presentation by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It was titled Excuses Begone. Of course that piqued my interest, so I settled in to watch it with a Medifast Pomegranate Cherry Antioxidant shake (my favorite flavor).

Dr. Dyer is a big, handsome older gentleman with lots of wisdom and life experiences to share...three hours of it...I skipped through a lot. But one comment stayed with me, the idea that we are what we believe about ourselves. And in order to change that, we had to start thinking about ourselves in a new way. He mentioned that many years ago, at the end of the day, he started spending the minutes before drifting off to sleep thinking about how great the next day was going to be, everything he was going to do, and how it was all going to turn out. Because he recognized how what we all normally do is lay in bed and think about how everything went terribly wrong that day, who wronged us, and why we didn't have such a great day.

So last night, just after I went to bed, I remembered that I was going to try this one thing, the one thing that I took away from the three hours I spent watching the show. And I thought about my to-do list for the next day, and how I was going to get everything done, what it was going to feel like when I accomplished everything, and how much joy I was going to experience from it. I thought about how I was going to be eating on plan and how I was going to have a lot of energy throughout the day, how I was going to be very focused.

It's nearly 10 a.m. now, and I have to say, I've already gotten a lot done today! And I feel very focused in what I want to accomplish. I'm noticing that when I think about going off-task (something I always do), I'm very much uncomfortable with it and I want to get back to what I intended to accomplish.

This is a very curious thing! How well is this going to work for me? How much am I going to change? How much am I going to accomplish? What can I imagine for myself?

Right now, I'm imagining myself just losing the next 5.5 lbs. I'll break 305, which will be a new low for me. I can imagine that my knees will feel just a little bit better as I'm on the elliptical cross trainer, that I will be able to increase my time on that thing to 15 minutes. Because if I can do that, I can watch TV and exercise more at the same time!