Tuesday, October 30, 2012
My sister from another mother was in a bad car accident last night. I'd been worried for her because she was running late. She was supposed to have dinner with us before we left for my TOPS group. I decided I would be late and drive to my Mom's where she had left from to see if I could find her.
She had made it to my apartment complex before things went horribly wrong. It seems as though she blacked out while turning and lost control of her car. She crashed through a small tree and ran over several huge landscaping boulders which stopped her from driving into an apartment. When I saw the car I really thought the worst.
I was so relieved to hear her call my name. I took her to the ER to get checked out. She's bruised and sprained, but is otherwise walking away from her mangled car no worse for wear.
Misha is a walking, talking miracle. She was in an accident in college that left her body broken and with a severe head injury. She was in a coma for three months and not expected to live. Defying the odds she lived, talked and walked again. She has trouble with her speech and gait still, but she stays active and although she can't work she volunteers at the Red Cross.
I believe everyone has purpose in life. I think her purpose is to show others adversity can be overcome. Anytime I feel down about my struggles with my weight, pain, arthritis and my hearing loss, I think of her. Adversity has made her stronger and she is blessed with a community of friends who she inspires to take what we're given and run with it.
She reminds me that everyday is a miracle. We tend to dwell on what we don't have or can't do. The things we haven't yet accomplished are often what we think will make us happy. I need to wake up everyday and remember to be thankful for the many blessings I have. I have family and friends that love and support me just the way I am. I have a loving, patient husband and four wonderful, creative and caring children. I live in a time where my hearing can be corrected enough for me to have the freedom to drive. Therapy and lubrication shots have given me easier mobility so that I can enjoy my life.
I have a purpose too. I have been teaching others about what it's like to be hearing impaired. This will benefit not only my children, but many others who will need guidance and understanding. Not all people who have a learning disability are intellectually disabled. These people need just as much help. I'm also to be an example of someone who isn't perfect and has many challenges, but rises to meet them rather than rolling over and admitting defeat.
I'm so thankful for my Spark Friends. My struggles are their struggles. People who have never had a weight problem have no concept of what it feels like and the challenges we face every day. When I falter my SP friends and teams are there to help me up. I need to be there to lift them up when they are struggling as well. I must be aware and look for the little miracles in my everyday life, not just the big ones.
Monday, October 29, 2012
I was truly inspired by a post on a message board. It was posted on August 14, 2012 by SJKRACH. This entry really made me think and I wanted to share it with my TOPS group as the program for tonight. I had a devil of a time tracking it down because I thought it had been posted as a blog instead of a message board. Here is the post:
"Garbage Can Body?
Over the last few days I've realized that if it's in the kitchen, I will eat it. Additionally, during a binge, I treat my body as if it were a garbage can.
Last night I went through an episode where I went to the cupboard over and over again and ate things that I no longer want in the house because they are some of my triggers (seriously, that is how I rationalized it... I wanted them finished and gone, but did not simply throw them in the trash. I had to consume them.)
Some of the junk I ate was old and not even particularly palatable (a dollar store chocolate bar from Christmas!) Some items were healthy enough if part of a nutrition plan and eaten in appropriate portions (pistachios and vitatop muffins). But I was on a mission to "finish" them.
At one point last night as I was following my sweet, salty, sweet pattern (truly can't say I was having cravings as it was not that strong of a bodily driven desire), I realized that I was treating my body as if it were a garbage can. As if I were a garbage can! At that moment, this awareness still was not enough to stop me. I don't know what the psychology is behind what I was doing (addiction? emotional? boredom?), but this isn't the first time I've done this. It is a pattern I recognize in myself and experience time and time again throughout my life.
Today, being a new day and my Spark renewed, the idea of treating my body and therefore myself as a garbage can is a more disgusting concept and motivating visual. My body is not a garbage can and I will not treat it as if it were. My body is an amazing work that responds fairly quickly and positively to care and nourishment. I am not trash and I won't trash myself."
I was stunned when I read this at first. It was a real slap in the face because I can relate to it so well. There has always been the "clean your plate" mentality growing up in our house.In my own home I've caught myself cleaning up by eating left overs off plates completely automatically and unaware that I was doing it. Whether that food goes in the trash or down my gullet it stays trash, whether in the can or around my butt.
This behavior is destructive and deeply ingrained. It's been passed down to us through our families from times where your next meal might be very uncertain. Back then in season and local produce weren't choices, they were the norm. I'm not saying I haven't gone through periods like that. There have been times when my husband and I lived almost exclusively on ramen, macaroni and cheese, hotdogs and popcorn. Most of my weight is due to literally poor eating habits.
My dear mother grew up on a farm. Grandpa was a coal miner and also managed the farm. He had a wife and three girls to help him. They carried 100lb. cylinders of milk from the dairy barn to the truck and slung 80lb. bales of hay up into the loft and down to the cows. They worked hard and ate a pretty simple diet high in starch and fat. They needed the calories.
Mom learned to cook from her mother. Things were very different for us though. We didn't have to start a chicken dinner by chasing it down. We could drive to the grocer to get anything we wanted. We always had a vegetable with dinner, but other than that we ate what she cooked and she cooked like her mother did when she lived on a working farm. Mom and Dad are I guess what you would call foodies. As we grew older and more things were available and affordable, Mom did get adventurous and do tacos and stir fry. We also made homemade pizza and rainbow colored bread like I still do with my kids. However, she cooked to please dad and he likes it fried or covered in gravy.
Money was always tight, and food was not to be wasted. My parents grew up in homes with parents who lived through the Great Depression were this lesson was drummed into them. For my sisters and I there were always starving kids in China or Ethiopia that didn't get enough to eat. We were more fortunate so we had to clean our plates, as if the food we stuffed down would somehow magically transfer to those empty stomachs half way across the globe.
I look at these examples of how children have patterned themselves after parent for generations and I realize that many things we did as kids weren't appropriate for the times we lived in. Iíve decided I don't want my children to learn these habits that are unhealthy in this day and age.
I still make homemade pizza about once a week and make all of our baked goods myself. However I've swapped out at least a third of the white flour for whole wheat in most of recipes. I also try to serve veggies and rotate types of protein and starches. I keep fruit cups around for snacks. I do insist my kids eat some of their veggies, but I don't ask them to clean their plates and try not to overload them in the first place. We have one junk food night a week, but don't go overboard with it and I try very hard to teach them about portions for those snacks and soft drinks. I hope that when my children grow up to raise their own, they will take some of these healthy habits with them.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Today was a really wonderful day for me. Every year around this time are the school Harvest Parties for my kids. My little guy is the last elementary student we have. I went to his 3rd grade class today. Having been through many of these gatherings over the years (my oldest Dear Daughter is now 16) I noticed some big differences.
There are only 3 handicap parking places at the school and I had to walk a quarter of a mile from my parking spot. I was able to do this. The pain was there... I'm always in pain on some level, but it was bearable. Once I finally made it to my son's classroom, I also was shocked to find I could actually get in and out of those little tiny kiddie chairs, yes the ones that leave you with your knees about level with your ears so that you feel like a giant grasshopper, not just once but almost a dozen times.
Afterwards I took my little man and we went home to make Spicy BBQ Chicken and Buffalo Chicken Pizza with blue Herbed pizza crust. Yes I said blue. He insisted. I'd had a big egg white omelet with salmon and feta for brunch so I could enjoy dinner with my family.
Having eaten our meal, we packed all six of us in our car, dropped off the oldest at her friend's house and headed to Boy Scout camp for the Monster Mash on this very cold rainy evening. I didn't take the haunted trail through the woods with DH and the kids. I did walk another mile on the road to meet them at the other end. Once again I am thrilled to be able to do this. Last year it was so very hard and utterly painful.
The highlight of my night was yet to come. After they finished their trail and got some drinks and snacks, we headed back out into the dark and rainy night to the hay wagon. I managed to climb the narrow set of stairs and navigate around a shallow ledge with no rails to a seat on a hay bale. I actually got on and off again, which was the more terrifying prospect for me, by myself. The seat of my baggy jeans is damp to prove it. As we drove back home, me with the seat warmer turned up, I marveled at what I have accomplished 40 pounds lighter than last fall.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
After camping, I had a really hard time getting back into my routine. I got the creeping crud my mom and husband had. By the time I started to feel better I was dealing with lots of stress from the kids' schools. I either got sick again or never managed to completely get over the crud leading up to lots of work for our annual Halloween party.
It was a fun, successful party that turned out much like the camping trip two weekends before. I ended up supervising teens, running for supplies and chauffeuring kids back and forth instead of enjoying the fruits of my labors. One trip was for my DD (14yrs) whose eyes began to burn so bad she couldn't open them. I had to hold her down to give her eye drops until she felt better. Later we found someone had laid something on Mom and Dad's deep fat fryer and the super heated oil was the problem. It never occurred to me because I don't own one. I don't fry ANYTHING.
At least I didn't go wild and make too many bad choices on food... until the day after when I was so exhausted I hardly left the couch and couldn't bring myself to cook. I ate chips and a healthier but very salty snack mix. As a result I weighed in up four pounds at TOPS. Despite that I was able to honestly say that I met the goal I set for myself at the last meeting I was able to attend (after missing the last two). I didn't beat myself up and I didn't let myself use my troubles as an excuse to quit. Since then, I think I've already lost all the water weight from last weekend, but I still couldn't get it together.
Tuesday I went through my backlog of email and found the 72-Day challenge until 2013 ~ Won't you join me" on Team ~Indygirl. At day 68 I started fresh and I'm picking up steam. I set three small obtainable goals to begin with: logging all my food and fitness at least 6 days a week, drinking 8 cups of water and eating at least 5 fruits and veggies (freggies) each day.
It feels very good to be back on track. I'm also proud of myself that I stuck to my guns and didn't let this road block take me out of the fight. I've come over a quarter of the way closer to my goal. I feel a difference in body even if I can't see it. I no longer have painfully swollen feet or icky skin rashes under my folds. I have more energy and I sleep better.
I have Degenerative Joint Disease. My aqua therapy sessions have helped reduce pain in my knees, I'm not waking up in pain as much every night from my hips, and I'm taking arthritis strength Tylenol before bed instead of Vicodin. In three months my lubricating shots will have worn off entirely. I owe it to myself to shed as many pounds as possible so I don't go back to the agony I felt last year.
I can do this with my Spark Friends and TOPS chapter to cheer me on.
Sunday, October 07, 2012
I had a really rough weekend camping physically, mentally and emotionally. It used to be so much fun. I would look forward to it all year. I usually end up with the lion's share of the work, but I didn't mind so much because the benefits outweighed the draw backs.
My husband came down with the creeping crud Wednesday and didn't go with us Thursday night when we left. My Mom who is usually also there was getting over the crud she gave to my hubby so she didn't spend much time either. So there I was in sole custody of my four kids and their guests for the grand total of four teenage girls and a tween to boot and my little guy.
They did help much more with set up and break down of our 60 lb. 18' x10' tent and gazebo. The physical demand on my knee with my degenerative joint disease is really hard on me while grinding bone on bone in a few spots. I still did all the cooking and organizing, but what really drained me was the herding kids, guests' bad behavior and teenage drama. I ended up in a shouting match with my middle daughter last night because the bitter cold and skipping a day of her psych meds had got to her. My oldest child and her best friend and their adventures with my girl's ex were the killer. I am exhausted, disgusted and just feel degraded.
To top it all off I was deeply disappointed that I am no longer able to hike at my leisure for miles around the camp. That was always the fun part for me. Being able to walk about and smell the campfires and see all the colorful creative decorations from harvest themes to playful Halloween or full on spooky scenes; that was the fun of it. I couldn't get in the paddle boat. I couldn't climb on the trailer for the hay ride. I thought I was going fall down the slope to the amphitheater like the year my middle daughter got caught on her bike and went careening out of control down the hill and flipped over the rail of the bridge. I did make it to the VIPs' Haunted trail giving me 8500 steps for Friday, but I paid so dearly for it. I walked and worked quite a bit every day and now I am just worn out. My aqua therapy session tomorrow morning will be a tough one
The other big challenge was our friends that visit all had to bring something to contribute. This was mostly in the form of healthy stuff like Doritos, chips, popcorn, pop and moon pies. I was so grateful for the apple cider and help making Bonzai Burgers like Red Robin sells. I tried to be good and snacked on baked crackers and cheese curls and skinny cow bars. I ate more than I should, but I did pretty well under the circumstances and I promised myself I wouldn't beat myself up over it.
I'm going to pick myself up off my butt, dust myself off and start right where I am now rather than waiting for tomorrow. I also promise that I will go to my aqua therapy tomorrow morning no matter how rough I feel. I may even feel better for it. However, I am seriously considering making this the last camping trip for Fall Festival. We've gone almost every year for 17 years, but I don't know if I can take the torture any more.
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