Saturday, June 13, 2015

Thinking of the Big Picture And Accepting My Pace

After my setbacks of late, I'm finally feeling better and boy do I appreciate every pain free moment!  As soon as I could, I ditched my medication and slowly set off to walk  and keep moving.  Of course, last week was also the end of the school year for my youngest son, and there were school promotions, parties and events to attend.  Yesterday I organized a sunset beach picnic for friends and kids, and we welcomed the summer Southern California style with a chilly evening at the beach.  I left very early in the morning to stake out a nice spot on the sand and at the picnic tables.  I love the beach, especially before the people arrive.
I had the beach all to myself early in the morning.  Only seagull prints were in the sand.
Diet and RMR Testing

After Monday's humiliating weigh-in, I have been extra, extra conscientious with my diet.  I've followed the clinic eating plan perfectly this week, and am also losing the water weight that I had gained while on medications.  I've only weighed in once this week, and was down a couple of pounds.  I have no doubt that this was some excess water weight.  It will be interesting to watch my weight over the next few weeks, because I average very few calories - usually 1200 or below - on this eating plan. This would normally seem low to me, but I'm wondering if this is my reality.  If I really don't need very many calories to live my life, then that's what it will be.

My clinic recently replaced their machine which tests resting metabolic rate, and so I set up an appointment to be tested in a couple of weeks.  I'm super excited to get this next batch of data.  I'm almost a year into eating food again, so my body has had a decent amount of time to adjust.   Plus I'm so much more active than I was back then and have built muscle in the process.  I can't wait to find out what my baseline/resting calorie needs are.

I think I can accept and feel fine about my diet if the scale moves in the expected direction, even if it's slowly, and even if it fluctuates a little bit on the way down.  I don't need to lose my extra weight quickly, I just need to learn the right way to intervene when it starts to climb, and feel confident in my interventions.  This is my ultimate goal.

Interventions That Are Apparently Working So Far

  • Eating a low carb, very nutritionally specific diet:  Exacts amounts of proteins, vegetables, dairy, fats and fruits.  Higher protein than any other macronutrient.
  • Eating fewer calories, and not adding calories from exercise.
  • Conscientiously drinking tea, water, and avoiding diet drinks.  I add lemon, which makes it delicious.
  • Abstaining from alcohol.  This is the most difficult, of course, but it will be my strategy while I'm trying to lose weight.  It is not part of my long-term plan, though :-)  I want to try and add a drink or two when I am maintaining a healthy weight range.
All this may sound pretty dull and basic, but this is what I'm doing, and I'm making the best of it, with delicious, healthy dishes.  

I hope all of you are feeling healthy and enjoying the new season!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

...One Step Back

Feeling Discouraged

Well, two steps forward and one step back.  Shortly after my last post I went to my kickboxing class and really gave it my all.  Actually a little more than my all.  And when I spent some time vigorously cleaning my pool afterward, I developed a terrible lower back spasm.  This was the worst attack ever, and was probably a re-injury of my hiking accident.

I ended up going to the doctor that day, due to the extreme pain.  He prescribed me an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer, and told me to take it easy for 10 days.  I've never really taken a pain killer, and actually this concoction of drugs really didn't help me much.  But the pain was terrible, so I took them as prescribed.

After three days of uncomfortable bed rest and hot/cold treatments, over the weekend I made it to the gym to use the Jacuzzi.  I felt great relief to be in the hot bubbling water.  After 5 minutes, this very elderly, stooped-over lady made her way into the hot tub.  She didn't speak English, so we silently acknowledged each other.  I helped her out of the hot tub, and she made her way to the pool to walk laps.

A lightbulb went off, and I immediately decided to try this.  Although I had to make my way slowly, I was able to walk laps for 20 minutes, and then carefully got out and re-entered the Jacuzzi.  This rehab process was a great success.

I repeated this the next day, and didn't need bedrest.  Although I had another brief setback when I hurt myself getting dressed, I have persevered and today was able to use the regular treadmill somewhat slowly for 40 minutes, followed by the sauna.  I think the movement is helping me.

Rapid Weight Gain and Bloating

While I was laid up, I continued to eat carefully, except for two occasions when the pain was just so horrible, I actually turned to food .  Both times I reached for my favorite comfort food, a PB and honey sandwich, and washed it down with a big glass of milk.  Each time as I started making the sandwich I told myself that this food was not going to make the pain go away.  "What I'm looking for isn't here."  But my desire for some sort of comfort overrode my logic and willpower.  After the second sandwich (the next day) I told myself to stop, and I got back on track.  It has been a very long time since I reached for food so blatantly for comfort.

I know that those two sandwiches didn't throw me into weight gain territory, but each day I was steadily gaining weight.  The first three days I was in bed, so I wasn't moving or exercising.

When I attended my first of two clinic meetings yesterday, my weight was up 2 pounds in the morning (I ate very little that morning).  Then that evening, I attended another meeting and my weight was up another 4 pounds.

All in all, since I started my medication, my weight is up 8 pounds!  I can't even fit into my pants right now!  I can't tell you how discouraging and depressing this is.  So tonight I Googled my medications and learned that BOTH of them cause weight gain and edema.  My stomach, hands, legs and ankles are puffy.  Luckily my pain is much better so I don't need to take them anymore.  But the very vain part of me was so depressed that I had to weigh in TWICE with such tremendous gains.

So I will keep going.  I'm following my clinic diet to a "T", which puts  my calories at around 1100 or 1200 and is low carb.  I've decided to be as compliant as possible this week to see what happens and see if I can get the scale to go down again.  I am desperate for some good news on the scale.  I'm happy with eating low carb again.

Since I really haven't seen much of anything but gains since starting back on food, I'm feeling discouraged and depressed about my weight maintenance phase.  After this week, if I don't see the scale move and notice my edema subsiding, I'm going to get a meeting with my course instructor and show her my food logs, and may make an appointment with my GP to pick his brain on what could be going on with me.  Maybe my thyroid needs to be rechecked - but it hasn't been that long ago.  I'm also going to inquire about getting my Resting Metabolic Rate checked.  The machine at our clinic was broken the last time I asked.  These may all be pieces of the puzzle.

I'm not a saint, but I have made a real effort to keep my calories low and eat healthy, real foods.   At this point in my weight gain, I'm looking very hard at myself to make sure I'm not in denial about how much I'm eating, and the content of my diet.  I will get some outside advice from my instructor on that.

So this is kind of a downer post.  I wish I could be a normal person with a steady weight, but that's just magical thinking.  I don't want to go back to where I was, and I have to honestly admit that I'm entertaining the fast again, just to get my weight down.  I'm conflicted about this, so right now, it's just in the back of my mind.

I'd appreciate any stories of weight loss/maintenance perseverance if you are willing to share them.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lessons From A Snail

This morning I was on my favorite trail getting a quick workout in.  On my way forward, I noticed a snail slowly making its way across the path, leaving a trail of slime in its wake.  I jogged around the snail, not thinking much about it.

On  my way back, I passed it again.  It had made significant progress, not travelling in a straight line (as I noticed from the slime), but I had to admit, I was impressed with the perseverance of this little creature.

I am big enough to know how busy that trail is.  I can see things coming at me from far away and make course corrections.  Throughout the day there are numerous joggers, walkers, bikers, horse riders and dogs that pass there.  Of course the snail had no way of knowing how busy it was and the risks it was taking by moving forward.

If snails are capable of reason, eventually the snail must have noticed that the path was filled with dangers and obstacles coming at it from every direction.  At some point it may of even regretted ever turning in that direction, but it became too late to turn back. Its only choice was to keep moving forward and hope to reach a safer place.

There are no guarantees that the snail will make it to the other side, but it keeps moving forward, taking the challenges as they come, despite its vulnerability.

Of course, on another level I'm also a small creature in this big world.  Each day brings with it surprises and unforeseen events.  Ultimately, it is my own determination, in the face of challenges, that will keep me moving through the dangerous, challenging patches with the hope of making it through.   I know that no matter how slowly, or circuitously my movements are, my only choice is to keep moving forward, just like that little snail.