Monday, May 28, 2012

A "Dear John" Letter

Dear Sugar,

We've been together a long time, but I find that I need to stop seeing you for a while.

It's not you; it's me.

You are very refined, but I need to be more down to earth.  I want to be with someone more rooted and natural.

Actually, it is you.

I know this is hard to hear, but I just feel bad after being with you.  Sure, you can be sweet and all, but I'm left drained, like I have no energy to go on.  I get sad and moody, too.  I know, I know, you're there to make me happy, again, but it's not real happiness.  Besides, look at this extra 80 pounds I gained from trying to be happy with you!  Frankly, you're just not good for my heart.

It's going to be awkward at first when we run into each other, which is inevitable because you are EVERYWHERE that I have to be.  You are the life of the party and everybody loves you.  But, I have to ignore you.  I hope you understand.

Yes, I've met someone else, actually, many others.  They bring me sustained joy and lift me up, not leave me down like you do.(I don't know why I didn't give them the time-of-day before.  Once I got to know them, I've discovered how wonderful they are... and beautiful.  It's taken me a while to appreciate their beauty).  If you want to meet them, that's fine, but remember, my attention is to them.  It's not all about you anymore.

So, please, don't call me nor tempt me.  And, don't send your sister, White Flour, over, either.  You're both kind of empty, and I just don't need that anymore.



Friday, May 11, 2012


Do old to-do lists and receipts stuffed into my purse count as a personal journal?

Scraps of Memories
On another note, I have had Spring-fever.  I've been busy with outdoor repairs, maintenance and planting in my little garden getting the crops in... doing anything that let's me be outside.  The inside is suffering, but I don't care as intensely because it's Spring!

(Keeping up with blogging has been suffering, too.  I'm sorry for neglecting you, my blogging friends.)

Keeping up with anything, actually, has been challenging.  There are too many to-do lists with adult-type responsible things and not enough playing-in-the-dirt-type things.

Do you have Spring-fever?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Done with March

March was...a blur.  Each kid (3) missed a week of school at some point while home sick.  Husband's heel was broken (still is).  I felt like I was back working in the animal hospital with my charts for all my patients.   Last week was the first week that all kids were in school.

One of the scariest moments was when my 12 y.o. son had pneumonia.  Doctors almost admitted him into the hospital when he threw up his meds.  But, fortunately he was able to keep things down, again, and stay home.   At one point he was on 7 different medications including the nebulizer.  It was hard to see my little guy struggling.

Miracle:  I didn't get sick.  Somehow I avoided their viruses/infection.  Here I am being coughed on while trying to remove encrusted goop from their eyes (yeah, two of them developed bacterial pink eye), sleep deprived, and trying to keep the rest of the house going (including birthday celebrations and making a costume for daughter's dance recital), yet I didn't get sick.  I attribute part of that good fortune to the 4-5 weeks in February when I was regularly exercising and eating better.  It's like I was in training for what was coming in March.

I wasn't able to keep up the exercise routine nor logging calories during March, though.  Now that everyone is on the mend, I can feel myself starting to spiral down if I don't take care of me soon.
Remember this photo?
Not happening.
Except at 4:30 a.m.
Kids are on Spring break.  We've been busy trying to make this house look healthy, again.  (11 y.o. daughter isn't so happy that her Spring break isn't much of a break - LOL).  The to-do list never ends.  But, it's Spring, and I'm happy April is here, even if it did greet me on the First with the cruel joke of my period starting five days early.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hormonology: Knowing Your Cycle to Help You Get/Stay Fit

Hi!  My friend, Anna, (mother of 4, including twins, who's hubby is also a pilot -- that's how we met) sent a link to me about hormones and how they can hinder and assist our weight-loss efforts.  I knew hormones messed with me, but I didn't know the how's, why's, when's, and what-to-do's.  I've put together a summary and a quick-peek chart that I will print for myself and keep near my calendar.

Adapted from Gabrielle Lichterman's "Hormonology:  Slim Down with Your Cycle."

Week 1 (Start of period - Day 7)  LESS HUNGRY
Why?  Estrogen rising = appetite suppressing effect
Watch out for:  Continuation of indulging from last week (week 4) out of habit and using junk food as comfort food for this week's aches and pains.
Hormonal Slim-down Tip:  Acknowledge you are less hungry and don't eat on autopilot.

Week 2 (Day 8-13)  ALL OR NOTHING
Why?  Two directions:
1.  Eat nothing:  Estrogen still rising >> suppresses appetite >> tempted to skip meals >> lowers metabolism >> weight gain
2.  Eat a lot :  Testosterone rising >> more impulsive behavior >> sampling new foods
Hormonal Slim-down Tip:  Eat regularly and balanced.  No skipping.  Sample the new treat without overdoing  (and I'm adding:  if the treat isn't as fabulous as you thought it would be, DON'T FINISH IT, put it down and sample something else).

Week 3 (Day 14 *Ovulation* - 22)  CRAVINGS
Why?  Progesterone rising >> preparing your body for possible pregnancy during ovulation which orders your body to crave energy-dense foods to put on pounds.  And if that wasn't bad enough, our digestive tract also slows down >> triggers constipation >> leads to water retention.  Happy happy joy joy.
Hormonal Slim-down Tips:
A.  For the Cravings
1.  First few days:  Have family member put you in a straight jacket and lock you in a padded room don't give in to the junk-food cravings, there will be fewer cravings for the rest of the cycle.
2.  Squash cravings by taking a 10 minute walk.
3.  Distract self from cravings by doing something fun (padded rooms are fun).
B.  For Constipation:  increase water intake and fiber-rich foods
C.  For Water Retention:  decrease salt intake, sweat more, (and I'll add to drink more water.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it helps, and it also dilutes the sodium in the body).

Good News Break:  The body is more efficient at burning calories during weeks 3 and 4, and you will most likely be less tired from working out than other days.
Why?  The progesterone and estrogen combination

Week 4 (Day 23 - 28 or cycle's end)  START MEDICINAL EATING
Expect:  *achy, *sadness, *irritability (PMS)
Why?  Estrogen descending >> reduction in serotonin >> increase craving carb-rich and sugary foods >> increase in serotonin and endorphins.
Hormonal Slim-down Tip:  Choose healthier carb-rich foods.

*I'll add:  Other things lead to these symptoms besides PMS:  dehydration, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, fatigue, seasonal changes (lack of sunshine).

A summary of the summary:

Week 1 (Start of Period - Day 7) LESS HUNGRY
Estrogen rising > suppresses appetite
Tip:  Mindful eating, regular (don't skip) but not on autopilot

Week 2 (Day 8-13) ALL OR NOTHING
Estrogen still rising (less hungry), Testosterone rising (more impulsive)
Tip:  Don't skip meals, eat balanced, sample treat w/o overdoing

Week 3 (Day 14 Ovulation - 22) CRAVINGS (less tired, more calories burned)
Progesterone rising (prep for pregnancy), digestive tract slowing (constipation, water retention)
Tip:  Don't cave to the junk-food crave for 3 days, take frequent short walks, distract self, drink more water, eat less salt, increase fiber, sweat more.

Week 4 (Day 23 - 28ish)   MEDICINAL EATING (less tired, more calories burned) PMS
Estrogen descending > serotonin descending > cravings increasing for carbs and sugar
Tip:  Choose healthier carb-rich foods (whole wheat stuff, whole grains, fruit, popcorn, honey).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Self Portrait 18

Picture taken today.  Stickers were originally
for the kids.  Then I wondered if they'd 
motivate me.  I will admit that they did. :-D

Each day that I exercised, I gave myself a sticker.
I rather like the collection of them.  It's a great
reminder that I made my health a priority.

When I began the self-portrait project at the beginning of the month, it helped kick-start me into action.  I didn't like what I saw in the digital reflections of my life.  I'm not just talking about the weight; I'm talking about the dispirited person buried in the weight -- the person who gave up, felt little hope, and wanted to hide from people.

I saw the stickers and thought, "Twelve weeks -- let me do this for twelve weeks."  And, I began making my workouts a priority along with tracking calories using a free online system.  Why 12 weeks?  Two reasons:  I heard/read that it takes several weeks of consistency to form new habits, and it takes about the same amount of time to see results.  I don't expect to undo all the damage I've done to myself in 12 weeks, I just want to see improvement and not become discouraged after 3 weeks.  It's merely a doable checkpoint.

What keeps you on track?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Self Portrait 17


What's the difference?

The first photo:  the mess really bothered me.  What you don't see are the pile of dishes behind and pile of stuff on the desk to my right.  You also don't see the debris of crumbs, dog fur, candy wrappers, and scraps of my son's duct tape on the floor that should have been swept up by my kids yesterday.

The second photo:  pretty much the same mess but this time it doesn't bother me because in between I had exercised.  I felt relaxed instead of anxious.  I could focus on what needs to be done next instead of angry that it needs to be done at all.

My perspective changed, the mess didn't.

So, yeah, I know I'm not technically in the photo for today's "self" portrait, but self includes perspective as well as flesh and bone.  I have learned that I must to do some sort of exercise to help me with anxiety and depression issues.  The mess and never-ending to-do list have to wait.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Self Portraits 15 & 16

Gray Day
Even the sky was overcast.  It was actually a very productive
morning, but when the kids and hubby came home, I felt frozen, stuck.
The urge to eat was strong.  I wasn't hungry, though -- just stuck, brain dead.
So, I went for a walk.
I may have been gone for only 10 minutes, but I felt a world better.

I often feel I belong to everybody but me.
No one is taking advantage, per se, I've just defined
that it was okay
.  It's not anymore.  Mornings until 10:30
are mine.  Mine to exercise, prep for meals or menus, chores,
blog, shower, get ready for the day -- things that make me healthier.