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Paniced but back on track

000xmas office partyA few days ago I wrote a blog about the Christmas office party and how I thought I had done well with my eating during that event.  You can read all about it here.  I still hold to the conviction that I did well with my eating that day.  Interestingly enough though, that party occurred on a Friday, which meant that I had to take the left overs home with me instead of my normal mode of operation, which is to leave it here for the office staff to munch on until it is all gone.  Friday was also the day out of town guests came to stay for the weekend.  Yikes, two big challenges for this gal.

I may have mentioned it here before…that I am no hostess, so having additional mouths in the house always becomes a challenge for me.  It means I have to shop for extra food, spend extra money on that food, tailor meal planning to individual needs, spend extra time preparing and cooking the extra foods, and find myself surrounded by “stuff” I don’t usually have lying around.  And to make matters worse, almost all the extra foods I had in the house over the weekend were members of the unholy triad: fat, sugar, and salt.

One of the take away’s for me when reading The End of Overeating, by Dr. David Kessler is this mental image I’ve created of mad scientists of the food variety burning the midnight oils, huddled over cauldrons of Twinkies, cheese spreads, and kettle corn, trying to figure out how to pack as much fat, sugar, and salt into their products as these num nums can possibly hold.  I see them in my mind’s eye with coke bottle glasses and cowlicked hair, lab coats donned, pocket protectors glinting under the glare of laboratory lights, dipping their bony fingers into smooth, milky, dark substances and then licking them off, taste testing every molecule of creaminess, before tweaking the recipe, until finally they whisper a breathless, “Ahhhhh!”

Yeah, I know, I have a vivid imagination, but back to my Monday morning panic…

Come Monday, I’m beginning again.  My company is gone.  The food is gone.  The stress of playing hostess is gone.  A little extra cheese dip is sent to another office to be eaten.  I’m back on the wagon, thinking I did well, and then it happened.  I stepped on the scale.

Now, mind you, the scale was acting up over the weekend.  It probably needs a new battery.  It weighs differently depending on where you place it on the bathroom floor, or how many times you hop back on after getting off it. How do I know this?  I moved it around, several times, trying to get a better Monday morning reading than what the darn thing was showing me when I hopped on the first go round.  Ugh. Up three pounds!  How can that be?

The inquisition begins in my mind:

What did you eat that you aren’t telling me?

Why did you HAVE to have that piece of cheese cake?  Slivers count!

There was no reason to serve cheese dip and tortilla chips with supper Sat night!

Why did you have to drink that flavored coffee at the fast food joint?

It’s because you’ve eaten less vegetables lately that this has happened (foot stomp)!

Nothing for you for the rest of the week, right???!  RIGHT???

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, but these are the types of things I might have said to myself ten years ago.  Heck, five years ago.  Today, I take a gentler tact with my ego, so when I saw that number, what I really said was…

I’m disappointed with that number, but I know that much of that is water weight.  I have not been drinking as much water this weekend as I usually would have, plus the cheese dip and chips on Saturday night, though few, were loaded with salt and that did not help.  I was able to eat free of compulsion this weekend, though, and I was reasonable about what went into my mouth.  I made sure to get veggies in me, so stop panicking. This will come off pretty quickly.  Now, get up in that saddle and ride, girl. The ranch is depending on you!

I like to think of myself as an independent rancher and sole proprietress of a successful and thriving enterprise from the 1800’s when I stumble with my food plan.  I also like to imagine myself sitting alone in the desert eating beans from a bowl and listening to the hungry wolves howl on those occasions.  Don’t ask me why.  Panic does that to me–throws me into a beans and franks mentality.

The good news: Today’s scale read 2 lbs down from the Monday morning reading.  Woohoo, we’re back on the wagon and headed toward civilization once more!

But seriously, as I close out this Christmas Eve post, it is with gratitude in my heart for all that I have learned about my food obsession this year; with understanding that a long walk in the right direction makes a difference; with sympathy for others who are just beginning this journey, or are struggling to get back on track; and with an appreciation for the God of my understanding, who has walked hand in hand with me through the last twelve months, regularly pausing along the way to remind me to smell the roses and take in the sights.  I’m looking forward to 2014 and all the new things I will learn and lessons I will have, because I know that God isn’t done with me yet.  I have many more experiences to enjoy, more challenges to face, more recipes to try, and more reasons than ever to believe that change is possible. Because of all this, I am here and able to hope that your Christmas is blessed, rich, love-filled, and peaceful, and that your New Year is all you hope it to be.

Merry Christmas!!!

 

The Christmas Office Party

It’s Christmas office party time in PA, and the spread laid out at my office today went from one end of the break room to the other. It was hard to resist all the goodies, and in truth, I didn’t resist them all. So what did I eat?

Here’s a run down of what I ate, and how I mitigated some of the problems these types of foods have caused me in the past.

What I ate: a sandwich.
But…instead of fatty beef, I chose lean turkey. Instead of mayo, I had hummus as a spread. Instead of eating all the bread, I ate half of the bun and left the other half torn up in pieces on my plate.

What I ate: rigatoni
But…I took only a tablespoon on my plate, and I ate only about half of that all told.

What I ate: chips
But…I ate only found small chips and left the remainder on my plate. I skipped the fatty and salty dip all together.

What I ate: fresh fruit
But…I ate in moderation and was careful about portion size, taking 1 or 2 pieces of each kind of fruit: melons, grapes, pineapple.

What I ate: Artichoke dip on tortilla chips
But…I limited the number of chips I took (dippers, so bowl shaped), to 4-5, and only took about a tablespoon of the dips. I did lick off the serving spoon later, though. I love that stuff!

What I ate: cherry cheese cake/pie
But…I took a very thin wedge, and concentrated on the filling, scraping off the cherry topping, and leaving the graham cracker crust.

All in all, I think I did pretty well. We had tons of food which I didn’t touch, a tray full of cookies with frosting, which I love but didn’t eat, multiple dishes of cheese dips and hummus spreads and crackers galore, in addition to a cranberry orange pecan cheese log–I did nibble that a bit, but probably had less than a tablespoon. Far less, I would say. I also drank half a can of diet Pepsi, something I rarely touch.

Today I read an article on Web MD that gave 10 tips for maintaining one’s diet through the holidays. I shared with a few friends that my favorite tip was to be “a food snob”. I’m practicing this principle more and more these days. I can tell most times, just from looking at an item, if the flavor will be worth the calorie load for me. If it’s not, I don’t indulge. That leaves room for those treats that I will occasionally think are worth the calories. Those I eat. It works for me.

What tips do you use to make your holiday eating healthier, or less frantic? How are you feeling about your food program at this time?

Getting Results

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RESULT NO. 1 No cancer!!! Woohoo, that is the report from the biopsy done after my recent foot surgery. It was with great relief that I exhaled yesterday when I received the news. The moles on the bottom of my feet we removed December 6th, and I was hoping that would be the end of the mole matter for good, but looks like that won’t be the case. I haven’t seen the pathology report myself yet, so I hesitate to share the exact nature of the cells that were growing inside my foot with you, but suffice it to say that the expert opinion of the experts, and you will remember that I have seen and receive many an opinion, is that there is a good likelihood that more moles will appear in the future, and when they do, they too will need to be excised.

Lovely!

What I am praying is that these moles,now deceased, were merely stragglers lost while away from home and were unable to send a beacon signal to tell others of their ilk how to find my foot (I watch too much nerd TV, I know). But seriously, I am hoping against hope that these were isolated incidents of moley-ness, and that they will not be repeated. For now, all is well on the sole-full frontier, with incisions healing nicely.

RESULT NO. 2 Five Pounds LOST! Yay! Hopefully, never to be found again by this gal. To date (since the week before Thanksgiving), I have lost five pounds.  I have been on a personal crusade to not only not gain weight during the holidays, but to lose as much of the excess fat as I can! So far, so good. During this campaign against holiday bingeing I am learning what it means to feel hungry, feel full, abstain from eating after supper, and report what I am eating every day. I hate counting calories, so I am still not willing to do that, but I am reporting my food to a food sponsor/friend. For some reason, that is enough at this point.

RESULT NO. 3 Vitamin B12 has finally reached therapeutic levels!  Yay! I love my vitamin B 12 capsule in the winter months more than ever. Along with Vitamin D, they boost my immune system and serve to keep me comfortable and feeling confident. I have found that when I don’t take my B12s, I have all kinds of weird emotional junk to deal with, and I don’t like it. I get disgusted with people more often. I get frustrated with chaos addicts to the point of wanting to strangle them, and I feel like I doubt myself more often too. With my B12s I don’t seem to experience so many ups and downs, emotionally. Weird, hunh? I don’t know if B12 is supposed to provide emotional support this way or not, but for me it does. Sooo, I am back on my Bs and feeling much better.

I don’t know about you, but I love being able to see results come of my efforts. I’ve been working hard the past few weeks to see the number on the scale go down and it has. Yay!  I’ve worked hard to not be defensive with friends who can be described as nothing BUT drama queens.  Again, yay!  I have prayed and hoped that the biopsy test results, as well as my upcoming surgery would go well and that I wouldn’t be down and out for long–I have seen both come out the way I hoped.  God is good!  I’m thankful for the way the last few weeks have unfolded before me. Thankful that I have a strong faith to lean on in difficult times. Thankful for a program that is working to help me get better.  By the way:  My blood sugar level on the morning of my surgery was 88–pretty darn good, I think.

Bamm, that’s how reversal of chronic debilitating disease is done.  Thank you’s go out to all those who have helped me once again this year to focus on getting better.  I so appreciate the helping hands and warm hearts I have found in the health and wellness bloggers community.  I don’t want to name names, because I know I would forget someone in the process, so I will just say a general I LOVE YOU GUYS to all those who keep blogging, keep sharing, keep being vulnerable and honest and real, for my benefit.  You guys are saving my life one day at a time, and that’s no joke.  I appreciate you!

One final word and I’ll be done:  If you are sick, if you need to lose weight, if you are morbidly obese and you happened upon this blog somehow today, reach out for help. There is plenty of it to be had out here.  Listening, asking questions, and communicating what I am going through has helped me immensely to deal with my chronic health issues and to lose weight.  There is help out here, and it can change your life.

Remember:  Food is fuel, God is love, and CHANGE IS POSSIBLE, as much for me as it is for you.

Two Faced

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “Who is that?” I had one of those moments today. It happened at work. I seriously was taken aback by my own reflection. Who was that girl? Where did she come from?  Why was her face so narrow? I don’t know why today, but for some reason today was the day I noticed how much weight I have lost.

000 2 facedIt’s so strange having two faces. In my mind, and when my eyes are closed, I see this round face, with full cheeks and a turned-up nose. A cute girl, but a chubby girl. The girl of my youth.  Yet, in the mirror, there is another woman looking back at me. She’s older, wiser (that part is good), and thinner. It’s surreal. Really, surreal.

Lately, I have been able to buy “normal sized” tops. Not mediums, but not XL, XXL, and XXXL either.  I almost can’t believe it.  It’s been decades since I could buy off the rack fashions that were meant for “normal-sized” women.

Woohoo!

Still, this feels really weird to me.

I think one of the biggest things I struggle with trying to get healthy is body image. At my age, and maybe any age when you’ve been so far overweight, skin sags and bags. It’s not pretty, and it’s not sexy, but its the new me. Today, I look different from what I did two years ago, five years ago, twenty years ago, and the amazing thing is that I am okay with it. Maybe not completely comfortable, but okay. When I run into women in my home town who graduated high school with me, and I see how their tiny frames morphed into something that looks like a gramma’s body, I think, “I’m not doing too bad.” 🙂 It feels good.

Truth is, I feel better than I did in my thirties, and I attribute that feeling and the way my body responds to sickness and injury to the fact that I am eating to live these days, instead of living to eat.

I’m 4.6 lbs down in weight since the week before Thanksgiving and looking for another couple of pounds to drop before Christmas. I would love to report to you that I have gone down 10 lbs and another pant size by New Year’s. Here’s hoping I can do it…one healthy meal at a time!

Friday in PA

So, its Friday afternoon and I’m looking out the window from my office in northeast PA upon a gloomy and overcast, but quiet, sky.  No billowing breezes today, but me thinks this is the calm before the storm. We are supposed to get dumped on this weekend, and with only two Saturdays left to shop before Christmas eve I’m not thrilled with the idea of it.  I like winter in the northeast and the changing seasons, but I do not like icy roads.  Slick pavement makes me nauseous.  I was hoping to get out there and make myself crazy for a few hours this weekend, spend some of hubby’s money, and finish up my shopping, but maybe I will bake my traditional cookies instead and stay put in my warm (hopefully warm, if the electric doesn’t go out), kitchen.   The electric goes out a lot at my house in the winter.  We live in farm country, so the electric and phone wires used to service our homes are long since outdated.  It’s nice living where the wind blows because you have beautiful vistas to gaze upon, and you don’t have neighbors looking in your windows at night, but it sucks that we don’t have cable TV or internet.

You won’t believe this, but we still watch TV on an antenna strapped to a pole we have staked into the ground.  Yeah, we’re hillbillies, but of the loveable variety!

My foot continues to heal nicely.  Dr. Anthony did a wonderful job.  I have my friend, Jean, to thank for the recommendation that I use a plastic surgeon for the procedure, instead of a podiatrist.  I’m so glad I decided to go that way. My incision looks clean, and nicely done.  As I said the other day, I am fair-skinned and scar easily, so whenever I can avoid nasty scars makes me extremely happy.  This puppy looks like it is going to heal without leaving a big, buggery, bump. Yay!

While I was recovering from the surgery last weekend, I used a trike-type contraption called a knee scooter to get around.  Sunday morning I had tried to change my bandage and get the huge piece of wadding off the bottom of my foot so that I could walk without so much pain.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t ready to be removed and I bled on my bedroom carpet before quickly rewrapping the foot.  Does anyone know how to get dried blood out of carpet fibers?

Anyway, I wanted to go to church Sunday morning, so I called my SIL and asked her if I could use the scooter she had purchased after her own (2) foot surgeries last summer.  It helped a lot!  The scooter was much easier to maneuver than a wheel chair and more stable than crutches.

Here is a picture of the scooter I used

Here is a picture of the scooter I used

Everyone was jealous of my scooting abilities and wanted a turn of their own, but since the scooter was borrowed, I declined their requests.  I was warned about the power of the braking system and to “go slow”, so I was leery about offering rides.  Besides, I was in no hurry to scooter my way across a concrete floor in front of a hundred people and wipe out, ensuring another hospital stay.  No wayyyy!

One great advantage to all the scooting I did over the weekend is that it burned calories and kept me from putting weight on the foot or food in my mouth.  I would recommend it for anyone needing assistance after surgery or something to do instead of eating.

Heading into this weekend, I am hoping to get my Christmas tree trimmed, some goodies baked, a little light cleaning and dusting accomplished, besides wrapping some gifts.  I always vow I will gift wrap early, but never do, because I hate that part of Christmas.  About this time each year I get overwhelmed with stuff that needs to be done.  Having surgery has not helped with my hectic schedule, but saying the serenity prayer has.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference between the two.  Help me to find peace amidst the hustle and bustle, and to remember that Christmas is about people and peace, redemption and recovery, and salvation and sanity.  More than baubles and whangdoodles, I wish the world divine eyesight, so that they might see You for who You really are. 

Here’s to eating inside the boundaries this Christmas, and to Peace on Earth!

Surgery Update and FOUR lbs Lost

Surgery Update:  On Friday, December 6th, I had my foot surgery. I write about it here because I’ve mentioned not being able to exercise in the past because of my problems with Plantar Fasciitis and wanted to provide an update. You might remember me writing about problems with PF and bone spurs, and mentioning that during a routine check for that problem my podiatrist observed a mole on the bottom of my foot. I’d known it was there for a while, but I didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about, or that it needed medical attention. He suggested I have dermatology look at it (they did), and through a long series of events (this had been going on since July of 2013), we finally decided that a plastic surgeon should be asked to excise the moles. Yep, you heard me right, we found a second mole on the toe, so that one went bye-bye too.

I’m fair-skinned, and as a child I lived on a farm. These two facts explain why I have a fair amount of sun damage on my skin, but I never thought sun damage would be a problem on the bottom of my feet. Really? What’s that about?!

Anyway, last Friday the moles were removed. Biopsy results should be forthcoming on Monday.

000ice cream

Four Pounds Lost:  During all the chaos that has been my life the last month of so, I have vowed to lose weight. Not maintain my weight, and not gain a little bit during the holidays, but actually lose weight. So far, so good. I have lost 4 lbs since Thanksgiving. It hasn’t been incredibly easy to lose those pounds, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either. For me, success is spelled S.U.R.R.E.N.D.E.R.

I daily surrender to the fact that I am not like normal people when it comes to eating and that I have issues that include fantasizing about foods. I look at a bowl of ice cream and see a creamy cloud of sugary bliss that is hard to turn down.  Other people look at that same bowl of ice cream and see ice cream. There are days when I wish I were like them, but then I remember that we all have our weaknesses, and that if I knew what they struggled with I might not be so anxious to trade places with them.

For today, it is enough to know that I don’t have to eat a big bowl of ice cream in order to feel good.  I will survive if I don’t have it. Not only that, I will be healthier and feel better about myself if I don’t eat it, especially when I’m trying to accomplish something that is made ten times harder if I decide to “just have a tiny taste.” Ice cream is my kryptonite, so whenever I avoid it, I feel empowered by the choice I’ve made.

I’m marching forward with my plan to lose weight between now and New Year’s.  I’d like to lose another 4 lbs. Can I do it?  Time will tell.  Wish me well.  I’m wishing the same for you.