Wednesday, January 08, 2014
My goal is to eat about 2000 calories a day. That sounds like a lot, but it's both very do-able and low enough to permit me to lose weight. I used Active.com's calorie calculator. I put in both my desired weight (150) and a weight at which I would be so gorgeous it isn't fair to other women (135). Using their activity level choices are sedentary, low active, and active. "Active" gives me a suggested calorie range of 2250; low active suggests 2050. Changing the activity level doesn't make much of a difference.
Yesterday I ate about 2800 calories. The Hubs blamed himself, because he made dinner. I pointed out it is NOT his fault: the dinner wasn't the problem. I didn't need the two pieces of shortbread (190) calories I ate when I first got home from work. And I forgot my yogurt snack was supposed to be two snacks, not one. Although I start off with a good choice (a cup of non-fat plain yogurt and 2 tblsp agave syrup), the two tablespoons of flaxseed, 1/4 cup of raisins and 1/4 cup of granola up the calorie count to over 600. If I'd remembered to eat HALF of it, like I was supposed to, my day's total would have been better.
So I was down, temporarily. The inner coach then gave me a Leroy Jethro Gibbs-worthy head slap and yelled "Get over it!" It's one day. It's not a symptom of some inherent weakness or inability on my part. And y'know what? That shortbread was delicious. (Not sure if it was worth fifty pounds, but it did bring a warm glow to my belly and a smile to my face.)
All this set me to thinking: while I will continue to weigh myself daily because that's what works for me, I need to consider how many calories I eat over a week. I'm guessing I'm doing okay over the course of a week.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
... it looks like I'll be spending the weekend inside. Here's a portion of the weather advisory for this weekend:
WIND SPEEDS ARE EXPECTED TO BE SUSTAINED 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS
UP TO 55. HOWEVER...AS STRONG AS THIS SYSTEM APPEARS...WIND SPEEDS COULD
BE HIGHER...AND SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 TO 50 MPH WITH GUST 60 TO 70
MPH CAN NOT BE RULED OUT. WHILE ALL AREAS WILL BE BREEZY TO WINDY
THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATED AREA OF WINDS WOULD BE THE LOWER
We live in a lower elevation (about 400' above sea level). Time to batten down the hatches!
Monday, January 06, 2014
I'm having a fasting blood draw done tomorrow morning. It's already 8:20 p.m., which means no more food. And I was gonna have some pumpkin pie. Darn it!
I went to a Group Step class this evening. I didn't like it. I disliked it enough to not go back. I've done step classes before; this one was just too complex. She also spent too much time doing moves that hurt my knees. I see no reason to go back.
I'm putting off strength training until I get a chiropractic adjustment. I started in on my strength training last Friday evening but got derailed. I was doing pull-ups when I felt this pain in my left occipital lobe that felt like someone hit me in head with a lead pipe. It was bad enough I was afraid I was going to fall off the pull-up station. Fortunately, there's a counter nearby. I held onto it for several minutes waiting to either pass out or for the pain to subside. I feared I was having an aneurysm. Yes, that's pretty melodramatic, but until the pain subsided, I was terrified.
I had a headache for the rest of the evening, but the pain was completely manageable. It occurred to me yesterday that my neck was stiff and felt "out of sorts"; that rarely happens to me. My back's been bugging me, so I'm overdue for an adjustment anyway. The pain may have nothing to do with subluxation, but I see no reason to risk it.
I'm loathe to mention this to my doctor because I was just in his office for a bunch of random, non-specific complaints. We have a pretty good rapport, and I don't want to come across as one of those whiny patients that expects medical treatment for every little ache & pain. But if that pain returns the next time I'm attempting pull-ups, I will tell my doctor about it. I accept the fact that my almost-fifty-year-old body will randomly hurt. But sharp, hot, stabbing pains that recur in the same place under the same circumstances are not the consequences of middle age.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
I hiked Badger Mountain by myself yesterday. The Hubs hemmed and hawed, and finally admitted he didn't want to go. He's become quite the housecat, and it was cold yesterday. I can't blame him, but I was disappointed. I was hopeful we were starting a new tradition of hiking Badger Mountain every New Years Day. And I like spending time with him without the distraction of the TV.
On the plus side, because he wasn't with me, I was able to do do the over-the-top & back hike. It's too much for him, and I was able to do this at my own pace. It's a good challenge; I think I'm going to start doing this once a month because it's a nice change of pace from my usual workouts. For the curious, here's the route: www.endomondo.com/workouts/281625403
The other advantage of my hiking this alone was I got to talk to myself. First, I got my argument with him out of my system. But I also came away with a new commitment to be cautious about what I eat. I know - intellectually - that losing one pound a week is a reasonable goal. I note - enthusiastically - that losing a pound a week translates into fifty pounds a year. That's some powerful motivation.
And that's when it hit me: it's only 500 calories a day. And I can do that. You see, I pretty routinely eat 2500 calories a day. 3000 isn't all that unusual. I know that 2000 calories a day is a more than enough, and it's sufficient to allow me to consistently lose weight.
Exercise isn't the issue. While sloth and gluttony are my favorite deadly sins, I tend to stay pretty active because I geniuinely enjoy it. My problem is how much I eat. I think my best option is to keep that motivation - FIFTY POUNDS! - out in front of me. I'm not sure I want to be fifty pounds lighter - that would put my in the mid-130's - but heck, why not shoot for it anyway? (God forbid I should have to eat more to keep my weight up!)
I was elated when I lost those ten pounds right after surgery, but I've not lost any more. I keep gaining & losing the same five pounds over and over. Maybe it's time. Maybe I'm finally ready to change.
(If you're reading this, and you're thinking of suggesting I log my food, don't. I do log my food. That's why I'm very aware that I frequently eat twice as much as most women. It hasn't proven to be much of a deterrent.)
I just had a clever idea. I printed out a picture of a British 50-pound note. I'm going to put them up on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of my car - anywhere I think I need reminders of what will happen if I cut out 500 calories a day: FIFTY POUNDS!
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
We've only just been introduced, but I am optimistic. I am hopeful that we have good times ahead of us. But please understand if I seem a little reserved. 2013 started off great. We had some wonderful times that I treasure. But 2013 snuck in some well-timed kicks to my teeth, so I'm a bit weary.
We started 2013 with the Hubs employed in a job he really liked. It was a temporary position, and the job is 73 miles from our house. But with the exception of a few temp gigs, he'd been out of work since he moved down here to be with me in June 2009. So we were elated he'd found work he liked, co-workers he liked, and a decent paycheck.
Magic, my beloved grumpy old mitted blotch tabby, died in January. He'd been declining over the previous few months. I'd had Magic since 1996, and the shelter estimated his age at the time as three years. So he'd had a good, long life. He was an amazing hunter (just rodents - birds were too much work with too little meat), but he retired from hunting at ten. (And squirrels, bunnies, and mice rejoiced!) At his fattest, he was twenty pounds. Fifteen pounds was a healthy weight for him. A month or so before he died he was down to eleven pounds. He didn't eat the last week of his life.
Although Magic was my cat, the Hubs loved him even more than I did. I was kind of relieved when Magic died because I couldn't stand seeing him waste away. The Hubs was pretty torn up. We both miss Magic terribly.
Spike, the mackerel tabby I adopted after a co-worker found her abandoned and starving at two months of age in 2003, had always lived with Magic. She took his decline and death hard. The Hubs and I weren't ready for a new cat, but Spike needed a companion. And that's when Cheeto arrived.
In late January, Cheeto showed up at the courthouse. He's a mitted marmalade tabby polydactyl. He has huge thumbs with a claw in the crotch between his front paw and thumb, and dew claws on his hind legs. He was skinny and very gregarious. He walked up to every human he saw and figured-eighted around their legs. A co-worker took him home, even though her husband had told her he'd move out if she brought home another animal. (He didn't move out.) She took care of him for a few weeks while we debated if we could accept another cat so soon.
Spike & Cheeto did not hit it off. Spike is very timid; Cheeto is dominant. They learned to tolerate each other. Occasionally they'd curl up and sleep together or they'd groom each other. Mostly, though, Spike hated Cheeto.
In April, the company the Hubs was working for hired him outright. No more temp work! He still loves the job, but his 150-mile a day commute wears on him. He's put on weight because all he wants to do on his days off is sit at the computer and play video games. This is causing a fair amount of friction in our relationship, but we recognize this is temporary. The first four years of our relationship, there was a mountain range between us. The Hubs hopes to stick with this job for a few more years - as long as he can handle the commute - and then look for work closer to home.
In April, a crazy idea popped into my head. I will celebrate my 50th birthday in September 2015 by completing an Olympic distance triathlon. At the time, I viewed running as something one does to avoid putting on too much weight in the winter. The cycling portion is cake - I commute by bike about nine months out of the year. The longest I've ever ridden in a single ride is 76 miles. I knew going in the swim would be the hardest part for me. I am not a swimmer. But I'm at my best when I'm working toward a goal, and this goal is whole lot cheaper to accomplish than getting a masters degree in public administration. And no matter what happens, I'll be a lot fitter because of my efforts.
Three weeks after that, I went in my six-month ultrasound to check the growth of the fibroids in my uterus and the cyst on my left ovary. During that screening, they found a tumor on my right ovary that wasn't there at the last screen. My doctor recommended a complete hysterectomy. The look on her face summed it up: she looked worried by what they'd found. While she wanted to the operation as soon as possible, it wasn't so dire that she wanted to do it immediately. So we set a surgery date for mid-June. The bad news? No running, cycling, swimming, or lifting anything heavier than 20 pounds for four weeks post-op.
The surgery was more complex than my doctor anticipated, but it went well. There was no sign of cancer and all the biopsies came back negative. And while I couldn't do any of the list above, I could walk. In fact, the doctor encouraged me to walk as much as I could tolerate. So walk I did. Some days I went out for three walks. It was hot (100F), and it felt great. Although I did wimp out when it got to 106F - that was too much for me.
I got the typical "swelly belly" a few days after the operation. That took a couple days to go away. And then, inexplicably, I lost another ten pounds in about a week. It took a few weeks for my appetite to come back, but even while it was gone I was eating at least 1500 calories a day. My doctor has no explanation for the weight loss.
A few weeks before my surgery, my mom had a colorectal carcinoma removed. At the time, my parents were very coy about what was happening. Only now do I know she had cancer. There was a complication with her surgery, and a few days later they did emergency surgery and put in an ileostomy. Since then, my mom has been miserable. She hates having to deal with the bag. And adding in the misery of chemotherapy has been too much for her to bear. She wants to die. She's only sticking with chemo because my dad keeps reminding her she promised him she would. There have been some set-backs, but she should be done with chemo in a few weeks. Six weeks after that, if all goes well, they can put her intestines back together and she'll be done with the bag.
In September, a kitten walked into our garage. No one reported him missing and no one called in response to the "Found Kitten" sign I put up on the block's mailbox. And so Tuffy became our third cat. Cheeto now has a playmate, so Spike gets some relief. And Tuffy wears Cheeto out. Tuffy went to the vet to be neutered a few days ago. The vet discovered he is (or was) a cryptorchid, which means his testicles did not both descend. That turns a routine neutering into more complex surgery because the un-descended testicle was up near his kidneys. The vet bill was $200 more than it would have been. Our free kitten is costing us plenty. (Good thing he's adorable.)
At the end of November, the Hubs had an emergency appendectomy. He had a miserable experience in the hospital, which stands in direct contrast to my great experience in the same hospital. He had some complications, and he was in the hospital for five days. The whole process was exhausting for me. I went there three days in a row thinking I was going to bring him home. We're both grateful for the pastoral care visitors from our church. It's amazing what that little bit of contact can do for your spirit.
I joined a gym in October to have access to the pool. I've come to appreciate what the gym offers beyond the pool. And I'm really struggling with swimming. Fairly soon, I plan to work with one of the trainers at the gym. I really need help. Otherwise I'll be backstroking my way through the swim portion of the triathlon.
Although we're deep in debt (I still owe more than $100,000 in student loans from law school, and we racked up a lot of credit card debt while the Hubs was unemployed), I'm grateful we can afford good vet care for our cats and I can afford to pay for a gym membership. Between the two of us, we pay the local hospital $450 a month to cover our share of our hospitalizations; but I am grateful we have health insurance which paid 80% of the bills. We both have jobs we're good at that we enjoy doing. And while our marriage is under some stress, we're both stubbornly committed to pushing through this.
So while I'm glad 2013 is behind us, I recognize the good things outweigh the bad. It's just that the bad was pretty glaring. 2014, I'm hopeful that you can continue to provide us with good times, and maybe throttle back on the kicks to the throat. I'd sure appreciate it.
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