May Fading

I cannot believe we have come to the end of May already. Where did the time go? I looked over my past posts to see if I could find my May Goals in the batch, but no go. Did I not post those goals for May? Maybe that’s a good thing.  Life has thrown me a few curve balls lately and I’m not real happy about the progress I’ve made or how I’ve handled the disappointment at not being able to freely move around this month.My last post talked about my diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis and the pain I have been experiencing in my heel. Like most folks, I let the pain go on too long and as a result I have developed a few bone spurs. Who knew that bone was alive, like skin, and growing or regenerating all the time? As I now understand it, when muscle tears, bone often fills in the gap. At least in the heel area of the foot, it does.  Mine has been working overtime.

My goals for May were to eat healthy, exercise, and continue to journal my food. I have not done terribly well at any of them. I have not exercised at all. I journaled my food for about half of the month, but I ate healthy most of the time. I have noticed some fast foods sneaking their way back into my diet, but I think that is more about not being mobile and my pain levels than anything else. After working all day and hobbling around on this air cast with lower back pain plaguing me, the last thing I have wanted to do is stand for an hour to prep and cook food at night. That’s not an excuse though. Eating whole foods and barely processed foods is possible even when you’re injured. How much energy does it take to wash an apple, or cut up a pepper?

May has been a discouragement to me, even as it has been a relief from the cold, snowy PA winters, but I don’t want this post to be about discouragement.  I want it to be about life and living healthy, and the things that make life worth living.  I want it to be about challenges, and goals met, and little guys who make me smile no matter how tired I get or ouchy I become.  I want it to be about the thing I love.  With that objective in mind, I thought I would share a few pictures from a wedding that was performed in May. 

Jessup is four, and Aaron turns two tomorrow, June 1st.  He was an anniversary baby, born on the day that my husband and I celebrated our vows.  These two are soooo cute, soooo special, soooo full of life–I can’t help but feel better when I’m with them.  I hope you enjoy seeing part of my reason for being, and for wanting to get healthy and stay healthy long into the future.  I can’t think of a better way to close out May 2013, than with a couple of pictures of these two cuties. 

Jessup with the flower girl

Jessup with the flower girl

 

Super Dancer

Here we go

Here we go

 

Injury and Recovery

I’m going to try to write a quick blog entry this morning, before the family arrives for a visit.  We have kiddos from the north coming down, and two birthday parties to attend this weekend, both for boys turning two years old. Woohoo, it will be fun, but I am reminded that whenever family gets together, I must be twice as vigilant with the food. I will try to make dishes that I can eat, and keep a wise eye on the portion sizes, but that is not what I wanted to write about today.

foot pain

Yesterday, I saw a podiatrist for what I was pretty sure was a case of Plantar Fasciitis. He confirmed it for me. All this pain in my right heel has gone on long enough. Exercising it is almost impossible at this time, so I knew I had to do something. We are going the route of “the boot” for now, and along with anti-inflammatory meds we will try to get this foot healed (no pun intended). I’m hoping it happens quickly (everyone with an injury does), for summer is underway and I want to get out there and walk.

This desire to walk is a new phenomenon for me. I used to hate walking. While I would walk, all I could think of was the million and one other things I had at home to do while I was out here frittering away the time.  My perspective on walking has changed.  Making an honest effort to get healthy, I can now see the benefits of walking.  It’s cheap, its low impact, you don’t need tons of equipment to do it, and it melts way the pounds with every footfall.

Today, my plan is to stick with the plan, wear “the boot”, take the meds, and give my foot the time it needs to heal.  I’m hoping it will heal in time for a few good summer walking excursions.  I will also stick to the healthy eating plan I have in place, and make sure that as I enjoy summer picnics and parties, I eat what my body needs to fuel recovery and not add to my girth.

I’m feeling like progress is slow, but sure at this time.  I’m happy to have my diagnosis confirmed and begin the process of getting better, and I have a sense that my body is ready to work together with my mind to make it happen.  I will let you know how it goes in future posts.

Small Things Count

chicklettes

It’s easy when you’re morbidly obese to get fatalistic in your thinking.  Dieting is a huge challenge for those accustomed to eating what we want, when we want, and in whatever quantities we want.  The fact is, when you’re addicted to food like I am, it’s not just food you’re trying to quit.  Oh, no.  It is all those associations that are made with and through food: friends who eat with you when you don’t eat alone; feelings you get when you indulge in favorite foods; triggers that go off like roman candles when you deny yourself certain things, and the ever popular changing body image—a huge factor for anyone whose lost more than a couple pounds.  These are real concerns and can become real pratfalls for those not completely committed to staying the course.  Doing the footwork needed to get healthy, making changes and not becoming distracted along the way can be challenging, but the good news is that the longer you walk the path of health, the easier it becomes.

SMALL THINGS MATTER when you’re trying to work a clean program and break bad habits.  Today I want to share a few examples of how small tweeks to my plan affected my Mother’s Day weekend with family and friends.

Coffee makes it easier to overeat and get dehydrated.  I am a social coffee drinker, and not a binge drinker.  When company comes over and we are done with our meal, I serve coffee and I drink coffee. This weekend, I drank a lot of it, from home brewed to Star Bucks. The more coffee I drink, the less water goes in my body. The less water I drink, the more dehydrated I become, and in the past that would signal me to eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, in a maddening desire to fill myself up.  Not pretty and definitely avoidable.  This weekend I was not vigilant, so something as small as a small coffee was able to make a difference for me.

Granola Bars, even healthy ones, can be addictive and should not be left unattended on the counter at family gatherings.  This weekend, family members got together for a picnic.  I made homemade granola bars, full of oats and nuts and wheat germ and honey. They were all nature and all incredibly yummy.  Did I eat more than I should have?  You bet, but only a few more.  Next time, I will take only enough for us to all have a serving, and then I will freeze the rest, or send them home with others.  The recipe will be retained for special occasions, at least until I have a better handle on snack foods at family functions.  When it comes to granola, even a small bit more than a serving adds up fast.  Beware the granola glut.

I have found food journaling to be immensely helpful in keeping my focus where it should be at mealtime. Knowing I have to record my food, even when I don’t record the calories and am not able to weigh or measure what I eat, keeps me mindful not to indulge in second helpings, heavy desserts, or “treats” between meals.  Knowing I have to account for every bite that goes in my pie-hole makes me feel like I have some control over my life and recovery.  It’s a small thing to pull out that note book and jot down a few lines, but it adds up to big results when I go back over the journal entries and see that I’m under goal for the day—a big win for anyone trying to trim the fat.

In an emergency, gum has saved my keister more than once.  A stick of Doublemint gum satisfies those lows and highs I get in times of stress.  I chew, but I do not swallow, and that my friends is no small feat for a food addict.  I always have a stick of gum at the ready, because while it might seem like a small thing to spend 20 minutes before dinner chewing gum, it has saved me lots of calories in the time I’ve done it, and for this girl, that’s what it’s all about. 

This weekend, I ate well.  I ate moderately.  I ate sanely, and I ate honestly.  I ate too much granola, and I did not drink enough water.  I did not move enough.  I did not sleep well Saturday night, and I suffered from insomnia again last night—probably due to too much coffee.  The results:  I gained 2 lbs, but it’s okay. A 2 lb gain is a small thing, and this morning I got right back on the plan. 

Small victories become Big Successes when I decide to begin again.  Consistency and persistence win the day when it comes to losing weight.  I had a terrific Mother’s Day with my family and those 2 lbs gained will be gone by Friday. Thank God for small blessings.

Make It Happen!

springWhat a beautiful day!  I’m lovin’ these spring temperatures and abundant sunshine in Pennsylvania. Doesn’t it feel good to see the trees and flowers in bloom?

Woohoo, God is good!

God is good, but what if you aren’t feeling good today?

What if you’re loaded down with troubles?

What if you don’t feel like you have the strength to make good food choices?

What if eating the way you’ve been eating has become a burden on your body too heavy for you to bear?

What if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired?

If your hope’s run out and your cup’s gone dry, if you can’t think anymore, if you can’t come up with any solutions that you think will solve the problem of problem food, I want to encourage you.

You know, it’s not wrong for you to be discouraged sometimes.

It’s not wrong to feel emotionally depleted.

It’s not wrong to wonder what the future holds.

What is wrong/unproductive/ineffective is giving up.

Feelings come and feelings go in life, and as humans we are not immune to them. We are affected by hard times, lean times, sick times and confusing times, and that’s okay, but what we need to understand is that food won’t erase hard times.

Overeating won’t make hard times better.

Overeating won’t fix relationships.

Overeating won’t clear up your complexion, fill you with energy, or tighten up those loose upper arms.

Overeating is a progressive problem that doesn’t get better on its own.

Cravings beget cravings, until we decide to make a change.

As long as nothing changes, nothing changes.  New habits with food have to be birthed by intention and design.

If we want things to change with our food/bodies/health/future, we have to be willing to do something, some small little something, some seemingly insignificant something different. What is that for you?

For me, it is a challenge to mix things up, change foods out, embrace new thought patterns…new habits, and start my day with something other than a bagel.

Rules are hard, but habits are easy.

Like falling off a log, we barely think about them until they work.  Then we rejoice over the weight that drops like flies on a chill autumn day.  It’s not effortless, I agree, but it’s not impossible either. 

Today, remember:  Food is fuel, God is love, and change is possible!

The Big Project

open air market

Watching a big project you’re a part of come to fruition can be exhilarating.  Even when putting the whole thing to bed is exhausting, it’s also encouraging.  It feels good to work together.  It feels good to be united, with one purpose.  It feels good to support each other and stand back at the end of a thing and say, “We did that!”

I love being part of something big, something that takes many hands to see it done.

There are times when my compulsivity with food robs me of the joy of community.  Some days food is all I think about.  I’m grateful that it doesn’t happen every day, but some days it does.

Yesterday, I spent the morning talking with friends, moving, sharing, helping, making life easier for a few strangers and in the process, thinking very little about food.  The Big Project turned out to be a perfect distraction.

I did talk about food a little bit yesterday.  I baked molasses cookies to share at the event and I talked about the recipe with my friends. It was a healthy recipe I’d adapted from the Every Day Happy Herbivore Cookbook I have.  This was my first batch and the first time I’d ever put black beans in cookie dough (the recipe called for navy beans, but I didn’t have any in my cupboard-plus, I love black beans).

Go figure, they were good!

As my friends and I talked about the heart healthy alternative these cookies were to the butter and white sugar-laden snacks of my past, it was evident we had created common ground.  One of my friends, Heather, has always been interested in health and nutrition.  I am a new convert.  She has probably forgotten more about healthy eating than I have yet to know.  I was encouraged as we talked together.  Even though our conversation contained a lot of back and forth about food, I didn’t leave the discussion feeling like I wanted to eat something “as big as my head” (a phrase I was raised with, and something my mom said a lot as I was growing up).

I feel like I am beginning to get a grip on this healthy eating thing.  What a relief.

The Big Project created a wonderful escape from food obsession for this girl.  Next up:  Painting the bedroom and bathroom.  Hopefully, that too will take my mind off baking (and eating) my way through the weekends.

Remembering Helps

child eating

I recently shared this info on a blog I read: 

“I suffered from a triple whammy in my youth:  5’10” tall in fifth grade, 160 lbs. in sixth grade, married three days after I turned eighteen and pregnant right away.  Was I an emotional eater? You bet!  My parents divorced when I was five.  I think from that point forward, I was soothed with baked goods and Kool-Aid.  It all took a toll pretty early.”

Writing that brief bio about my eating history opened my eyes to just a few of the emotional stressors I dealt with as I was developing into a young woman.  My parents being divorced was a huge shift in perspective for me and brought a division in our family that never completely healed.  My momma before me was a compulsive overeater, and being the good student I was, I learned as I observed (and nibbled, and tasted, and sampled) my way through life, taking my cues from her.

I began using food as medication and/or mood altering therapy early in my eating career. 

I remember one time when I was visiting my paternal grandparents, I got caught in the refrigerator when I was supposed to be outside.  Darn frig door squeaked, all too happy to give up my location and intentions against my will. 

What was I after? 

It’s weird, but back then I LOVED cool whip sandwiches on wonder bread, with a ginger ale kicker. 

I told you it was weird.

Not only were my tastes all screwed up back then, but my body was taking hit after pounding hit from the non-food, killer substances I continued to funnel down my oversized pie hole.  My saving grace and the reason why I don’t beat myself up over these kind of antics today is that I realize I didn’t know.  I had no idea what I was doing to myself, and no one, save my father’s mom, said anything about my weight to me.  My mom was too busy trying to make marriage number two work, as was my father, and my friends had enough of their own stuff to worry about, without worrying about me. 

Truthfully, they didn’t “know” either. 

Did any of us know what we were doing to ourselves back then? 

I remember feeling like an Amazon in grade school, and wanting nothing more than to blend into the woodwork or disappear.  I didn’t contemplate suicide, but I did go to bed many a night wishing I would die before the sun came up.  I was in anguish, wondering why God would bid me stick around another day. For what? To be disappointed one more time? To be mocked one more time?  To be ostracized one more time?  My conception of God was all screwed up too, as you can plainly see.

It probably wasn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be now, but as a tween and teen who couldn’t fit into normal size hip huggers during the late 60’s and early 70’s, it seemed devastating.  I had occasions where I’d lose 20 or 30 lbs., but it all came back and it brought friends.  I think I must have been pretty miserable and hopeless about my chances of escaping the status quo, and I KNOW I desperately sought any skill that would make me more likeable, more capable, and more marketable. 

Sad, hunh? 

I learned to become a people pleaser and one of the few people I knew who could see virtually every side of an argument and help settle disputes among my friends through negotiation.  I guess that was a good thing, and could have been a “career thing,” if only I hadn’t had such a lousy view of myself. 

Again, hormones don’t help teens function better.  They are a soup of sorry companions and were almost no help to me between age eleven and eighteen.

Today, I know better. Today, I do better, and I try to reach out to other young women and encourage them to realize the teen years and the bizarre behaviors of adults around them as a passing phase.  I try to encourage them to hold on, because tomorrow IS a better day.  I try to instill in them a belief in themselves.  I try to help them find hope for tomorrow.  I have found it, and I’m eternally grateful. 

Today, I clearly recognize the overeating fiend that wants to take me down, and I know how to defeat him.  Remembering, and reaching out to others for support and encouragement when I need it, are two of the best tools I have for reaching my goal of getting healthy and eating right. 

Tomorrow will be a better day, because now I know better!

Bye Bye April Goals

I can’t believe it. How can it be?  Did six days fly by without my notice?  How is it possible that today is the first day of May? 

I promised that once April was done I would report the progress I had made on my goals for the month, so here goes:

1.  Journal your food for each meal, every day of the week.

I did pretty well on this first goal for April.  I only  have 3 days in my food journal when I did not record what I ate.  Often, I texted a friend regarding my intake, as well. What I have learned from this experiment is that I can more easily track the slipper slope when I am journaling my food.  If I’m not getting enough veggies in, the journal lets me know that.  If I have not eaten all my servings of fruit, its in there.  If I have had one too many indulgences, it is recorded in the journal.  I have learned that I can do something I don’t want to do by tracking my food. I have also learned that I can be quite resistant to change. Big Surprise, right? 

On to goal No. 2

2.  Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times each week.

I didn’t do quite so well on my second goal for April.  For part of the month it was cold, cold at my house, and since I don’t have a gym membership right now, I found it hard to get in a walk 3 times each week.  I did do my stretching exercises almost every day, but not for a 30 minute duration.  The good news is that I took more walks and did more exercise this month than I have done in many months, and that made setting this goal and working to achieve it worth while.  I will probably be visiting this goal again during May.  Gonna keep doing it until I get it right.

Part of this goal was a reminder to self that all extra movement would be counted as exercise during April.  So glad for that insight.  I did move much more this past month, and I probably wouldn’t have, had I not set this goal.

Goal No. 3 next.

3.  Avoid eating carbs at the evening meal, at least 3 times a week.

I feel good about my third goal for April.  There were many nights this month when I did not load up on carbs for supper.  April saw many less meat-heavy meals on our table, as well.  I did do a lot of beans, but they are so good for my digestion that I’m going to stay positive about eating them.  I used Prevacid for ten years, and now none for the last two years. I’m happy with the way things are moving in the right direction these days and beans were part of that solution. In the good ole food frenzied days, I never ate beans.  Now, I eat them all the time.  This may be part of the plateau anguish I’m suffering through, but this too I am going to remain positive about. 

All in all, I’m happy with the progress I made this month.  I’m glad I exercised more. I’m glad I journaled my food, even with the food journal failure I experienced.  I’m glad I was consciously aware of what I was doing this month.  I’m looking forward to extending my goals for May. 

What should they be?  I’ll have to think on that for a day.  I’ll try to post about May goals tomorrow.  Woohoo, I’m excited about what the future holds.