Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Missing the exquisite torture...

I've been out of town for a couple day and I'm really missing the exquisite torture of Pilates, so much so that I've been doing it on my own in my queen-sized bed that overlooks Market St. in San Francisco, CA. If a completely naked guy can walk down Market St. in the Gay Pride Parade, I can do Pilates on the 5th floor of the Palomar Hotel for everyone in the offices across the street see.

This last week I was introduced to some movements that really taxed my triceps. Those girls complained for days, and yet, they continued to complain when I didn't work them. So, I caved and complied and now I'm sitting in a web designer's conference in the most delightful discomfort from the waist up. The triceps, lats, ribs and abs are singing a symphony. The pain from the waist down is about having to sit in a chair for far too many hours listening to people who frequently discussed concepts way over my head. I need to do a little work involving my tailbone before I go to bed.

(Is there Pilates for the auditory system? I think my ears are finally falling victim to too many hours spent using headphones. I'm overwhelmed with new information from the conference!)

Getting back to the Pilates - I'm really progressing with my capabilities. I'm now keeping up with most of the other students. I'm even succeeding at some of the more advanced positions, which is exciting for me. I've been known to yell out in class, "Damn! Look at me! Look at me!" Sometimes, I'm soooooo like a four-year-old.

I'm struggling with another physical setback, but Pilates is really helping me through this. After weeks of intermittent knee pain, my doctor is sending me for x-rays and a trip to an orthopedic surgeon. She could tell the cartiledge (in my right knee especially) has just about had it. But, she could also tell my supportive muscles are much stronger than they used to be. So, while I might have to have surgery, I'm not feeling so bad about it, because with the Pilates, I am kicking ass!

I had the opportunity to chat with a really lovely gal for the last two days. A fellow web specialist (Hey G!) who shared with me a really great tip for insuring that she remained in deficit-mode while working towards losing weight. She tracked her meals as well as checked her Body Bugg at the end of every day. If the caloric output did not overtake the caloric intake by enough, no matter how late in the day it was, she committed herself to burning those extra calories before she went to bed.

Ooof! I never even considered that! Usually, I've committed to a certain amount of activity during the day, plus stuck to a specific eating plan, but by the end of the day, if I was still hungry, I ate. And I never measured that against my caloric output. Quite honestly, I always listen to my appetite. And I always limited the scope of my activity during specific times of the day, mostly because cardio later in the day keeps me up at night. How much weight training can I do before bed to burn enough calories to make up for a snack? This is something I have to think about.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The scale spoke sweetly to me this morning

Okay, when I started Pilates I weighed in at 320. After I went off the diuretic and bp meds, I went up to 332. As of this morning, I'm back down to 319! Downward progression in full swing again! And bp is still normal.

Stupid drug companies!

I'm taking the week off from Pilates because I've had a fever since Sunday night. Today I'm feeling better, so I'm getting ready to take the dog to the dog park.

Did I tell you about Chloe? She's a Jack-a-bee pup, Jack Russell/Beagle mix. OMG!!! She's going to ruin my house! My best defense is to exercise her often throughout the day, which is why I got her. Another support to keep my body moving. Because if I don't exercise her, she'll chew through all my stuff!

Anyway, next week, I'm going back to Pilates, three times/week. Plus the daily treadmill/rowing machine workout (45 minutes). And the split free weights routine.

I have nothing else to do. There's still no work for me in my hometown. Unless I want to process tomatoes and cherries.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Improving body image is the toughest thing to do!

So Lori the Wonder Coach had me looking in the mirror everyday, telling myself how marvelous I really am. I was not convinced it was going to work. I mean, damn, I got self-confidence in spades! But having a positive body image...completely different story!

It's a struggle to look at myself in the mirror (even with clothes on) and not see the Michelin Man staring back at me. So many have invested so much time and money to help me wear the negative body-image and it's really tough to divest myself of it. And in moments of emotional lows, the ugly attitude creeps in and reclaims real estate I thought I had taken back.

I think it's the value of my beauty that's in question for me. Quite simply, I wasn't raised to value it. I was told that if I was a good Christian woman and did everything perfectly, then I would be loved and someone would see that as the beauty in me. In the face of achievements galore, I was never perfect in the right combination and I still got dumped. I really do understand all that wasn't really about me at all, but it still stings, deeply. I continue to struggle with connecting to my beauty because I don't want to be wanted simply because of my appearance. It's not what I value about myself. But I think what I have to do is accept my beauty as a part of the whole picture, an integral piece of who I am.

I do long to be loved and adored. Someday. Not quite prepared for that level of attention. Who says that all my beauty is useful for is to attract and have power over others? Maybe I need to redefine the use of my beauty. Perhaps my beauty is entirely for me, a way to communicate how good I feel about myself.

Helena Rubenstein said there were no ugly women, only lazy ones. I think I need to write that in MAC Pink Poodle lipstick on my bathroom mirror.

So, I continue to look in the mirror everyday and find something about myself that's beautiful. I have a really lovely, kissable mouth, even at 49. I won't ever be needing injections in my lips! I have been told I have a nice, generous laugh. I love my hair, even when it's unruly. I have a great cut and just got it colored. It looks pretty damn good!

So all that's about everything above the neck. Easy to do. When I venture south from there, hmmmm, not so easy. I...have a soft body that's very hugable...and while my ass is large and in charge, I think it's quite nice and round and not at all sagging! And with the Pilates, I'm doing my best to keep my glutes and hamstrings smiling back there.

I have to add that I can't say enough wonderful stuff about Pilates. It is the first exercise that makes me feel beautiful, whole, strong and happy. Pilates is a spiritual experience for me, and I hate to miss a class! I went three times last week and I'm thinking by the end of the summer, I'll be attending five days a week. I love how I feel after class. I am addicted! If I didn't like finding so much pleasure in it, I wouldn't be going back so often. That sounds like body-image progress to me!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Oh jeez! Another two months have flown past...

I know I haven't been keeping up my end of this blog, but I have remained faithful to my commitment to improving my health. I have good news to report!
  1. I am off blood pressure medication - I was on the lisinopril throughout the time of the divorce drama. The drama isn't quite over, but I'm happy to say that I am handling it all much better, and my bp is now within normal range. I discovered this because the coughing side effect of lisinopril was escalating. It forced me to stop it altogether. And so after I went off it, I tracked my bp, for three weeks now. I'm well under 140/80. In fact, I'm usually under 130/75.
  2. Just two weeks ago I went off the diruetic. I was afraid to do that because I didn't want to gain weight back. but I talked to my doctor and we both decided it was okay to do so. Inside a week, I gained back 12 lbs.! But in the last few days, I've lost half that. My ankles don't feel swollen at all today.
  3. I have been doing Pilates for six weeks now. That's been an interesting ride! Pilates and I have a love/hate relationship. My class is at 5 pm, twice a week. A beginning level class. Great instructor, Leigh, who is perky and supportive and lets me verbally bash her while she makes me do things my body isn't convinced it can do. But three weeks into the workouts I could finally feel air under my ass when I performed a bridge. Before, my ass was only puddling on the mat. And just last week, I was able to perform side planks from the knees and elbow position as well as prone planks from the knees and hand/wrist position! Can't do a roll up yet. When that happens, I will be shouting that from the rooftops!
  4. I'm happy to report that my wrist, the one injured in the car accident, is full operational and functional. We can thank time and Pilates for that.
I'm still struggling with a lack of weight loss, but I'm not letting that get me down. If you recall, I had reduced my calories to 1750, then gone Weight Watchers, then WW vegetarian-style. I stalled on all three methods at around 318 lbs. I was very frustrated. There were days when I'd eat as little as 1300 calories and I didn't lose weight. When I started going to Pilates, the owner of the studio agreed to become my fitness coach. She switched me to a low carb diet, making sure I ate less than 45 gm of carbs per meal. I was given the parameters of 3 to 5 servings of low-fat protein per meal and 4 to 5 servings of vegetables per meal. I didn't have to restrict healthy fats. I initially lost 4 lbs., but then stalled again. Then I did some reading and found that people on blood pressure medications had stalled on their weight loss while on very restrictive Atkins-style plans. So combined with the coughing sideeffect, it was easy to make the decision to go off the meds. It wasn't easy to watch the scale go up so dramatically after going off the diuretic, but it was to be expected. Seeing the weight go back down now that the drugs are out of my system feels good.

My new trainer has me on the following exercise routine:
  • 30 minutes aerobic activity three days a week (fast walking or rowing machine)
  • 1 hour of Pilates, 2 days a week
I really want to add weight training to the mix, soon. We'll talk about that in the near future. But I have to say, as difficult as it is for me to get myself to go to Pilates at 5 p.m. (I seem to be exceptionally sleepy at that time of day) I absolutely love how I feel 30 minutes into it, and I feel great for hours later, until bed. And then I sleep soundly. It wasn't like that for the first week. I even cried in class because I experienced strong emotions while doing the exercises, and I didn't know how this Pilates thing was going to help me at all. But by week 3, I was a fan!

In my training sessions with Lori, my trainer, we're discussing self-image vs. body image. I'll talk more about that next time. My head is so screwed up!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"I ran out of gas. I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! It wasn't my fault, I swear to god!"

Sheepishly dragging myself back to the blog this morning. It's been quite a month (closer to two!) since last we spoke. Divorce is final, and I spent the weekend in weepy self-pity, with my head in the fridge or curled up in my bed. Then I started getting my name changed back to my maiden name on accounts and started feeling much better. Since then, I've not looked back. It's full forward mode from here!

Then I had to start my youngest son at home school. Wow, that sure takes up a lot of my time every day! Had to hire a housekeeper to come in twice a month, and somehow we try to stay on top of tidying the house and doing laundry and dishes and cooking the rest of the time. Plus still caring for my parents' urgent needs of the moment ("Can you come now to watch me throw up and have pity on me?")

And then I was in a car accident two weeks ago. Car was rear-ended at a stop light. Car is all fixed now. (I love Geico! A completely painless process.) But my left arm is in a brace. I rammed my arm into the steering wheel on impact. Nothing broken, but definitely have tendonitis. I didn't feel it for a couple of days, so I went back to the rowing machine, but that only exacerbated the problem and I've had a brace on ever since. Doctor says three to six weeks of rest for the left arm. No rowing, or weights.

And finally, I've been sick for the last week. Heavy coughing from an upper respiratory infection. My ribcage aches, my head hurts, and now I have to use incontinence pads. And that last one is the most humiliating for me.

I went to my new doctor the day after the car accident and got a physical. She really wants to put me on Metformin. With a complete lack of weight loss, even while cutting calories and exercising, she's thinking my type 2 diabetes is getting a firmer hold on me. Stress has a big effect on insulin resistance, and the last two years haven't helped me with that at all. Going in for new blood tests on Monday to see what my A1c is now.

That was the winter of my discontent. The sun is finally out today, and the forecast is for clear, sunny skies for the next ten days. Time to put my shoulder to the stone again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Still don't feel like writing...but

I'm looking for inspiration, help for getting me out of my recent funk.  I'm slowly starting to crawl out of it.  Last week, certain legal matters were agreed upon that means the divorce will be final soon.  At first I was happy to have these things settled, but it didn't take long to drop back down to a truly low emotional state again.  More eating, until I got really uncomfortable for a few days.  Weight popped back up to 325 lbs.  And then I freaked out.  I am not letting this situation drag me back to where I was, at 353 lbs., and feeling physically wasted.

So, I'm climbing out of my funk, getting control over the diet and the overeating again.  This morning I weighed in at 318 lbs.  My knees feel better.  I started recording my food intake again.  I was over 3000 calories a day, I'm sure, for a few weeks there, but as of today, I'm back to 1800 calories.  Fiber came in at 33 gms.  Still struggling with fat intake, but I'm taking steps to drop that too.  Am replacing whole eggs with egg whites again.

All the overeating led to increased soy intake. Getting control of that again has helped me feel better. My hands were really achy for about two weeks, but now with the fresh elimination of soy, I'm not so creaky any more.

I'm looking for opportunities to make new friends. I went to a spiritual growth meet-up group last week.  It wasn't really what I was looking for. They were more concerned with promoting their spirituality as it pertained to channeling, angels, crystals, and other things of that sort. Not really what I was looking for.  I'm not interested in joining a bible study group or joining any religious group. I'm more interested in finding my authentic spiritual path. I think I may have to do that on my own.  I know I'm being led somewhere. I feel it in my gut. I just have to trust that I'll get to where I need to be and that I'll grow along the way. I'm trying out a philosophy discussion group next week. Hopefully they'll actually want to discuss philosophy and not compete. I know all the words to Monty Python's Philosopher Song! Not many would admit to that!

I'm turning 49 soon. Not sure how I'm feeling about that now. Very mixed emotions. I don't want to grow old and become irrelevant. My personality is too big for that. I saw a program on PBS about encore careers. That sounds very appealing, to be valuable for my life experience. I want to be healthy and strong in order to do that. I don't see retirement in my future. I want to see life!

Wow, look at how much I wrote! Not bad for not being in the mood.

I caught The Heavy on Dave Letterman last week. Such a cool band!

Monday, January 11, 2010

So sorry to have stepped out, but...

Hi friends.  I just realized today how long it had been since I posted.  Nearly a month.  So sorry about that.  I have hit an emotionally rough patch in life surrounding divorce issues, I'm still dealing with some unresolved matters, and I need to take a little more time to get my act together.  I hope to be back, fully participating in my forward progress, very soon.

Divorce is hard.  It's a demoralizing process.  If anyone says that getting a divorce is a cop out from marriage, perhaps it is for some, at the moment, but it certainly isn't an easy thing to get through.

Still, I will survive, and so will my sons.  Can't say we'll be better for it.  Would love to say we'll be stronger for it.  Doing the best we can for now.

I am struggling with overeating these days, an old behavior I've relied on to numb intense emotions.  I don't like doing it!  I gained a little weight over the holidays and am now working at getting rid of that.  Have already dropped a couple pounds.  This week I'm going vegan, temporarily, so I can gain some control over fat and protein consumption.  I want to feel lighter, from the inside out.

Did you catch the PBS series on emotions?  Good stuff!  I highly recommend it!