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.

Sincerely,

Gina

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pursenal

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

Before

After
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.

Mine!
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.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Self Portraits 12-14

I've been avoiding forgetting to take daily pictures.  It's good to see where I'm at, but not always fun.  These three pictures are from my past week.  

Sleepless early morning, catching up on scripture study.
I chose to read by candlelight because I both like it and
 because we have no walls dividing our kitchen, dining,
and family room.  When I turn on a light, it floods
the hallways into the bedrooms.  Candles are softer.
I have a love-frustration relationship with the scriptures.  I was called to be a Sunday school teacher for 14-15 year olds.  It's good in the sense that I dedicate more time to reading and pondering the scriptures, but it's frustrating when I come across something that challenges my testimony.  

Every year, we teach a different book and rotate every 4 years:  Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants.  When I began teaching, I started with the O.T. over 2 years ago -- Ugh!  I'd be okay with some things then come across stuff that reminded me why I had been an atheist.  I've resolved to not take things literally, and that's okay because that's not the whole point of scriptures, anyway.  There are things for me to learn that can help me, and the rest I just have to put into a mental file and ask God about them later.
Little guy Skye woke up later and joined me.
I loved having him with me while he worked on
his masterpiece.
Sending my first born on the "Klondike" - a camping
trip in the snowy mountains with his scout troop.  
 I look at the above photo and remember how we almost lost him at birth.  He was born at 36 weeks by emergency c-section with an apgar of 2 and GERDS.  He stayed in NICU for about 10-12 days and came home with machines we had to hook up to him -- oh, the awful tape that pulled at his skin.  He's 12 now.  Strong and healthy.  I can't believe I allowed him to go sleep in a freezing tent on the snow.  He.loved.it.  And I love him.
Presidents' Day -- It's our turn to post the flags in
part of the neighborhood.  It's wonderful to see the
streets lined with the flags.  (Hard to see in this photo).
Our church wants to make sure all the young people in the neighborhood (non-members and members, boys and girls, financially capable or incapable) are included in activities and camp-outs and pays for all of the fees (including Boy Scouts).  In return, the young men and women "work" for it by raising money and doing a flag service.  Neighbors donate money to the fund, and the kids put a flag up in their yard every patriotic holiday for a year.  I love being a part of this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Self-Portraits 9-11

Feb. 12a
For better or for worse, this is me making an effort.
I can't believe it's Sunday, again.
Feb. 12b
Trying a more flattering angle -- up higher.  I'm also
sticking out my chin to smooth out the double.
Don't I look hopeful?


Feb. 13
My favorite place to be.  When I was a kid having a
bad day at school, I'd mentally go to my "happy place"
which was my bed.  I'd say to myself, "This will all be
over, and tonight I'll be in bed with my pillow and
blanket and cool sheets."

Feb. 14
My almost all-time high.  (227 was my highest during
the past several weeks).  I'm 5' 8" - medium frame.
I'd like to be somewhere between 140 and 150.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Self-Portraits 6-8

This first picture came to mind when Jill (The Sassy Pear) spoke about thinking she looked better than what her picture showed and when Kyra (Adventures in Fitness) gave a funny description on her latest post about her running.  I used to run jog slog before the plantar fasciitis and hip bursitis.  I thought I was doing wonderfully.  I felt so athletic.   Then I saw my shadow one morning.  It was like seeing the shadow of a parade float.  So, I totally related to the following photo:






Feb. 9
Danny and me at IKEA.  We had a good time in spite of
his head cold and my headache.  I love his smile.
Feb. 10
He's helping me with this self-portrait-a-day project.
I hadn't snapped any pictures and didn't know what to take.
We were returning from Walmart after buying fabric for my
daughter's dress.  I'm going to teach her how to sew with a pattern
and using the same sewing machine my mother and I learned on
(1961 Brother, lavender!).


Feb. 11
Now.  Saturday morning.  My son has the computer I am
allergic to.  Danny gave me the little red one as a gift --
much better.  But, I really don't like spending a lot of time
on the computer anymore.
(My headboard used to be our fence in Chicagoland).
BTW, thank you for the support on my last post as I waded through the initial shock of what I was seeing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Self Portrait 1-5

After the hip-bursitis diagnosis, I was really discouraged, depressed, and went into a tail-spin (and a tail inflation, too, I suppose, gaining 15 more pounds -- I'm at my all-time highest weight).  I ignored the blog and spent little time on the computer anymore.  A couple of blogs were still fed to my email.  One was Jill's "The Sassy Pear."  She was recently inspired by Kyra's "(the never ending) Adventures in Fitness (& Life)" and her project to take self-portraits every day for a month.  At first I didn't want to, but then I though maybe I could learn something from it.  I've been in a fog for months now, pretty much ignoring my circumstances and surviving on denial.

Feb. 4
My daughter and I after her Irish dancing competition.
We have a fun time together while I help her practice and
get her ready at 0'dark-thirty.  She seems to really like me
and my company.  I hope that lasts forever.


Feb. 5
Walking to church.  We have three hours:  sacrament
meeting, Sunday school, and Elders' Quorum/Relief
Society meetings.  I was "called" as a Sunday school
teacher to the 14-15 year-olds.  That has been both a
source of great anxiety and a growing experience.  It
definitely is outside my comfort zone.  I wasn't raised in
this church, so I feel highly unqualified.  But, that's the whole
point of a calling, to stretch and develop us.
When I see this picture, I remember so many times wanting to
turn around and go home and not be around others.
I often force a smile.  "Great!  And you?"
I have to say though, by the end of the 3 hours, I am up-lifted and
glad I went.  I keep telling myself that over and over as I make this
trip the following week.

Feb. 6
There it is -- the reason I avoid the camera and mirrors.
Behind me is my sweet family at dinnertime.
I am in my office, the kitchen.
I should label this, "Tired, Fat Mom Who Has Completely Let Herself Go."


Feb. 7
Day 4 was closing, and I still hadn't thought of what type
of self-portrait I should take.  I wanted to take off my shoes
and began to pull on my pant leg to lift my leg onto my other knee;
I couldn't lift my foot otherwise -- too fat, pants too tight.
"THAT"S what I should take a picture of," I thought to myself.
"It's absolutely ridiculous that I've let myself get this way.  I should
take a good, hard look of what I've become instead of numbly ignoring it."

Feb. 8
I had just taken a shower and was grabbing a bite before
heading to the grocery store.  My hubby sweetly said,
"You look pretty."
I asked him to take a picture so I could see what he sees.
I don't see it.
I see a fat, depressed, tired girl who has nearly given up and
is about to put a potato chip in her mouth.  Wow.