Monday, February 08, 2010
Thank you to those of you who wrote comments in response to my blog last night about hating cancer and for the prayers and thoughts for my friend. They are much appreciated.
It is easy when bad things happen to slide into a lot of negative thinking and feelings, and then it's short trip back to the old way of handling those feelings: eating too much, eating things that aren't healthy but bring 'comfort' in some way, not exercising. I refuse to do that now, though; to me, that is a way of letting evil win. Instead, I want to focus on how I can be a support and help to her, even though we are miles apart. There is no distance in our relationship, only in our locations.
So I am thankful that I have her in my life, and I will continue to pray for her and encourage her and her husband and look for ways that I can be there for them even if I can't hop on a plane and fly there like I would like. I have seen God do amazing things in both her life and my own in the past. I know that God is good and loves her; that is what we both can rest in.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
I am reeling right now from news about a dear friend who is in the midst of her third battle with breast cancer. I just found out that although some tumors she had are shrinking, the cancer is apparently now in other parts of her body, so she may be facing more chemo. On top of that, her husband was just laid off from his job last week without any warning. Although he is highly skilled and extremely competent, he is an 'older' worker, so the odds are not in his favor for finding another job quickly.
I hate cancer. I hate what it does to people, both physically and emotionally. I have said goodbye to far too many family members and friends before their time because of that horrid disease. It's not enough that it destroys the body of the one who has it. It also robs the family and friends who love that person, both financially and emotionally. Cancer isn't the only disease that does that, of course, but it is the one that has touched my life more frequently and deeply than any others.
If you are a believer, please pray for my friend. It is terrifying enough to be fighting for your life against cancer for the third time. To do it with the prospect of no income and no health insurance in a very short time is even more frightening. God has been faithful to them through every battle they have faced over the years, and I have no doubt that He will be in this situation. Sometimes in the midst of such turmoil and uncertainty, though, it is hard to remember that you're not alone.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
It has been a good week for me overall in spite of the problems at work on Monday. The rest of the week was much more peaceful, thankfully--I'm glad that there is only ONE Monday in a week, especially the one this week!
I feel like I'm making progress; it may or may not show up on the scale immediately, but that's really secondary right now. I'm trying (hard) to stay focused on the goal of making lifestyle changes that stick more than on the weight I so dearly would love to drop. Too bad the weight doesn't drop off in a couple of weeks after changing bad habits. Then again, if it was too easy to lose weight, I would probably continue to put it off as something I'll do 'someday,' but someday would never come.
I'm not sure exactly what clicked for me at the start of the year to be ready to tackle this very large problem of losing weight and getting fit by using SparkPeople. I have thought about making lifestyle changes to lose weight and even made a few half-hearted attempts at it in the last few years, but nothing serious. I even joined SparkPeople a couple of years ago, looked around a little and then dropped out, then joined again last July and did the same thing--poked around a bit but couldn't get motivated to give it a real try for a long while.
My experience with weight loss has been that when I'm trying to lose weight, all of life seems to revolve around food: I can have this, I can't have that, oh a little won't hurt, hey I'm still losing so I can treat myself. I hate having to think about every bite I put in my mouth, planning endlessly on what I'm going to eat and when I can have something again. It's all just too much work with seemingly too little reward--oh, I lose weight all right, but I'm thinking about food all the time. I just could not face doing that again.
Around the first of the year, I decided I needed to do something; my weight put me well into the 'obese' category at that point (I'm still there but making progress the right direction now). I could see myself continuing to gain weight and eventually paying the price with my health in one way or another. My blood pressures was creeping up right along with the scale, and at one doctor visit towards the end of last year, my blood pressure was sky high because of stress at work that particular day; the nurse blanched a little when she took it before the appointment and insisted that I stop for her to take it again at the end, when it was down a little, at least enough that they just told me to start taking ir myself regularly and watch it. So I decided to give SparkPeople a real try, actually exploring the site more, reading articles and using the tools there. For whatever reason--the timing was right, my attitude was right, I stumbled across the right articles at the right time--it all started to click for me.
I am not on a diet this time around. I know what I need to do and have known for a long time: keep my calories within a reasonable range, eat balanced meals, add physical activity to my day, get enough sleep, and so on. Why I couldn't do it before, I don't know, but it's happening now, and I'm almost embarrassed by how easy it has been the past month. I don't plan out meals and snacks down to the last calorie and crumb; I don't think about food all that much except when my tummy starts rumbling or I realize, wow, it's time to have lunch already. With the tools and the encouragement I have found on SparkPeople, it's just clicking. I did invest in a bodybugg to help keep me honest and motivated to exercise, and it has been worth every dime; I'm competitive by nature, and the challenge of reaching my targets with that tool has made me do the extra walking or time on the stationary bike needed for that each day.
I am starting to dream again of being a healthy weight and active; I haven't done that in a very long time. Whether it takes me one, two, or five years to get to where I need to be, I know I can get there now. I'm not going to settle for less.
Friday, February 05, 2010
I keep wondering how long this feeling of yes, I can do this! is going to last, if you know what I mean. I have dieted quite successfully and started exercise programs (not quite as successfully) in the past, and I know from experience the euphoria and positive, upbeat attitude that accompanies a little success in the beginning eventually fades away. So how long will this 'honeymoon' phase of feeling great about the changes I'm making last? When does the other shoe drop, so to speak?
I don't know, but I plan on enjoying this 'honeymoon' while it does and making the most of it as long as possible. I am eating better than I have in years; I am definitely exercising WAY more than I have ever in my life (thank you, bodybugg and Bodybugg Team!). And the crazy thing is, I am loving it! I have more energy, more confidence, more joy in life these days. I may come home from work tired, but instead of falling back into the 'I'm tired, let's just go out to eat' routine, I'm making healthy meals and enjoying a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV or computer first thing, I am more apt to go for a walk, get out a DVD or Wii game, or hop on a stationary bike. Some days I have to ask, what is happening to me?! I'm not craving chocolate or sweets; I'm enjoying raw mini bell peppers all by themselves as snacks; I'm voluntarily eating salads without a bunch of heavy dressing on them. I look in the mirror and wonder, who are you and what have you done with the old me--and when is she going to jump out again to go back to her old ways?
I'm not joking when I say that I have had success in losing weight before. In my first attempt at weight loss way back when, I lost 20 pounds over a summer and kept it off for several year. Then I got married and stopped paying attention to my weight, so those pounds and a few more found me again. The next serious attempt, I lost 40 pounds; they didn't stay off quite as long. The last serious attempt, I lost 90 pounds. I was leading groups and inspiring other people to lose weight as well. Then, well, life happened, I got careless, I went back to old patterns and habits, and all that weight eventually found its way back onto my short little body.
I look at pictures of me growing up, and while I was chubby, I was not obese, although I was told I was fat and really thought I was. Around the time I got married, I thought I needed to lose 5-10 pounds (and was told that); I look at those pictures now and just shake my head: my arms were so thin, it looks like I was anorexic or something. When I lost weight after marriage, I never got down quite as far as I needed to before quitting the program I had been successful with, thinking I had learned enough to take it from there. Obviously I was wrong about that!
What is different about this time, about what I'm doing with SparkPeople? I think (and hope and pray) it is different in part because I am no longer dieting. I don't follow the nutrition plan that SparkPeople offers, nor do I spend enormous amounts of time planning and obsessing about the food that I can and can't eat in a given day. What I'm doing now is taking things one meal at a time, making the best choices I can each time, tracking the food (and yes, the calories), and adjusting what I do the rest of the day. I know from experience that I need to keep my breakfast calories down or I will be in trouble later on; ideally I'll have around 800-900 calories during the day from breakfast through afternoon snack, leaving 300-600 calories for dinner and any snack in the evening. My goal is to learn what it means to eat normally, to enjoy food without guilt but the kind of food that's good for my body and in quantities that don't pack on the pounds.
I am also making it a point of getting in exercise every day--EVERY DAY! That is definitely something different; I get out Wii Fit in the morning to do the body test, some yoga stretching, and then if there's time some cardio or strength training before I head off to work, church, or other activities. I have done that consistently now for three weeks (a new record for me), plus I am walking at least a mile or more a day and using my stationary bike or a workout DVD besides. The bodybugg is a great motivator; I spent too much money on the thing to let it just sit, and besides, it's fascinating to see how many steps I've taken, the calories I've burned, and what kind of calorie deficit I have racked up for the day. This is crazy, too, and very different for me: I am ENJOYING the exercise and can't wait to get some in each day.
I really don't know how long this feeling will last, but I am enjoying it for now. Whoever you are, you new person in the mirror, I'm hoping you will take up permanent residence here, because I rather like you!
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Today was a banner day for me: I hit the targets I set for myself with my bodybugg for activity minutes, calorie deficit, calories burned, calories consumed, and total steps. That's a first for me since getting my bodybugg almost three weeks ago, even with adjusting the goals that they set down to a more reasonable level for where I am starting from.
After having my bodybugg for a couple of weeks and loving it, in spite of the website deficiencies and costs involved, I really wanted to get the display to add to it. I hate getting to the end of the day only to find out, whoops, I'm quite a bit short in some areas; I had started uploading data earlier in the evening when possible to at least give myself a chance to work in some more movement and steps, but I'm not always near a computer with their software loaded when I'd like to check my progress.
Then I won a 'healthy living challenge' at work, both the monthly prize for most points ($50 gift card) and the payday drawing ($25 gift card). That's $75, YES!
I could justify spending the money on a display because I won gift cards to Costco (where we do a lot of our shopping)! I promptly hopped online and ordered one for myself, and it arrived today.
Tracking my calories burned with the bodybugg has been enormously motivating for me so far. Adding the display today kicked it up another notch; as soon as it arrived, I got it set up and took a break to go walking at work. We have an empty spot behind our building where another building will eventually go up, and it's not quite a quarter mile to do a loop around it (according to Google maps anyways). I took off and got in about a mile and a quarter in just over 20 minutes, which boosted my steps for the day, activity minutes, and calories burned quite nicely. Not enough for the whole day, but it definitely helped.
When I got home, I knew right where I was for all my targets and what I'd need to do, so after a very nice dinner (lean ham, green beans, a little pasta salad made with balsamic vinegar, a touch of oil, and some arugula thrown in) and a reasonable wait, I hopped on the exercise bike. We have one that the handlebars go up and down to give the upper body a workout, so it's a pretty good calorie burner. I put on some upbeat music in my MP3 player and started working for about a half hour, and before my time was up I heard a couple of beeps from the display. Ah, I remember reading about that in the instructions, there's a message--it says I hit my target for activity minutes! Before the day was done, there was another about my target for steps, and finally, one about calories burned!!!
YES! I can do this! It may take me longer than I'd like to lose weight and get in shape, but I can do it! I know that there will be bumps in the road, setbacks, and days when I do not want to make good choices, but I have had a little taste of victory, and it is so sweet; I am DONE with settling for the way I have been. I love how I feel when I get in a good workout; when I eat a meal that nourishes my body; when I make time to nourish my spirit; when I can reach out to someone else to give them a hand. I am thankful for the things I have been learning and the people I've met, and I look forward to continuing to learn and make friends on this adventure. Thank you, SparkPeople, for the resources and support you offer us--you rock!
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