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Downs & ups

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Last night I paid bills. In recent months I have enjoyed doing it, as I watch my debt balances go down steadily. I'm in a time of losing debt just as I'm losing pounds--two types of unhelpful weight!

But sometime early this morning I woke up & couldn't go back to sleep. I realized that I had forgotten to check my bank balance to see what previous checks had cleared & which were still outstanding. This made me fret in that gloomy middle-of-the-night way . . . what if I've paid too much on credit cards & have to resort to paying for food with credit later in the month? I could have gotten up, pulled out my checkbook, & gone to the computer to compare it with my online balance. But with my kind of insomnia, if I get up during one of these bouts I can kiss sleep goodbye for the rest of the night. So I turned off my alarm & just stayed in bed until finally, finally I went back to sleep. Today is my work-from-home day, so I knew I could sleep in as needed.

I actually ended up sleeping till 10:30 a.m.! That means I probably lost 4 hours in the early morning.

But the scale had good news for me today--I'm down nearly 3 pounds in just a couple of days! emoticon The Isoniazid I'm taking to knock out any active TB bacteria in my system has weight loss as one side effect, my doctor told me. Is that kicking in even though I only started taking it on Monday? Or is it just my increased exercise & restrained eating? Either way, I'm tickled. Now I have just 3.6 pounds to lose by the end of this month to meet my 5% interim goal!

And when I compared my checkbook to my account online, there were no nasty surprises. I'll have plenty for food & other small ongoing expenses. And a couple of freelance payments should arrive late in the month to allow me to make one regular monthly donation & pay one last bill. What a relief.

It will take awhile for me to be healed of the long-term stress I suffered over my years of marriage, as I worked & worked & tried to be frugal but our debt kept rising because my husband didn't work & wasn't frugal. My brain & body need to relearn peace & trust.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 1/6/2011 8:29PM

    So, so happy for you being able to pay off debts and to finally get some sleep and then find out that your checkbook was in good shape too!

I think you are just one awesome lady!

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CTEMPLE 1/6/2011 3:58AM

    Dear Ruthie how wonderful, there's nothing like paying off debts. I'm glad you were able to resist the feeling of dread and go back to sleep. I have that too.
Great that at last there is one good side effect, weight loss.
4 hours lost? Sleeping is never a loss!

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MORRIS1989 1/6/2011 1:11AM

    emoticon On you losing 3 pounds it did come from your heathly lifestyle living. I am glad your checkbook balance too and you were able to go back to sleep. See this will be your year debt loss and weight-loss what a good combo! emoticon

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DARKKAT 1/5/2011 2:05PM

    Sounds like your making progress with your weight, money & your sleep. I'm a poor sleeper and anytime I manage to get back to sleep is a victory.

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CZARINA_TV 1/5/2011 1:56PM

    Usually when I have that sort of thing -- when I wake up out of sleep to worry -- it doesn't really matter what I'm worrying about it. I'll be anxious in general and I will find something to worry about it. I won't even necessarily have known that I was anxious when I went to bed, but that's one of the ways that I get it out of my system.

I'm glad you were able to sleep in. Also, congrats on the 3 pounds!

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TINKMCD 1/5/2011 1:49PM

    Glad you're being gentle with yourself, Ruth. Small victories, both on- and off-scale, and a positive trend despite temporary setbacks.


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Oooh, blogging is such a good thing to do!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Writing all that out yesterday recombobulated me! And it led me to track my supper at the Mexican restaurant ahead of time--I wouldn't have thought of that otherwise. I still ended up a few calories high for the day, but because I'm exercising regularly my metabolism must be improving. My weight is quickly coming back down from that post-Christmas spike on Monday.

Thanks for the kind, thoughtful comments, people! Your encouragement means a lot to me.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 12/31/2010 12:35AM


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MORRIS1989 12/30/2010 10:58PM

    You're right blogging does help a whole lot. I really appreciate you, your comments and sweet words of encourage. I wish nothing but GOD's blessing over your life. Thanks for my crown I will wear it everyday, bless you always. emoticon

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SHANSHE 12/30/2010 3:35PM

    Thanks for YOUR encouragement as well and blogging DOES help, oh sooo much!

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TINKMCD 12/30/2010 10:39AM

    Yay! And I love "recombobulated"--Ima steal it, k?

Go you!


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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 12/30/2010 10:29AM

    Way to go! I cant wait to get back home and settled and see how quickly I can reverse any vacation damage.

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Sometimes living alone has its downside too

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yesterday was a challenging day, & it showed in my eating. My intent was to continue with light eating to address the weight that came back on during Christmas festivities. But I ended up doing some emotional eating. Not binging, just taking in more than I needed, aware that I was doing it to seek comfort. Here are some reasons I was feeling down/stressed.

1. My daughter is leaving early to return to Colombia. Her time with me & with other family & friends has been great--except that almost all of us have cats, & she is terribly allergic. We hoped that short stays in various homes would work out for her, but she became sicker & sicker. The only friend who has room & no cats can offer only a sofa to sleep on, & it's not very comfortable. Better to change her ticket & return to her safe, catless home on another continent than to end up in the hospital! She takes off New Year's Eve morning, very early.

2. My son can't come up from St. Louis till New Year's Eve day, so he will miss seeing his sister.

3. I need to get a ton of freelance work done in the next few days, & that is causing me some anxiety. I have been feeling averse to tackling it for weeks now--getting close to burnout. Thankfully, once I get paid for teaching my first advanced editing course, I will not have to edit freelance nearly as much. But I won't get paid for that teaching till late April or maybe May.

4. As motivation/reward for doing lots of editing, I want to plan a movie outing, something I haven't done for months. This would be on the evening of January 1 or 2. Yesterday I almost invited a friend who has been going through a LOT of pain as her marriage has been breaking up & she's feeling rejected by both of her young teenage daughters. She really wants the company of friends--but after writing an e-mail suggesting the movie night, I just couldn't send it. I'm pretty burned out in that friendship just as I'm burned out with editing nights & weekends. She is smart & a good person but doesn't take care of herself very well--doesn't have a regular prayer practice, doesn't exercise, doesn't write or read for fun, lets her house get terribly messy so it's not a welcoming place for friends or for herself. So she is needy. She wants an audience for all her thoughts about money & relationship management. Her e-mails are often long play-by-plays of difficult interactions with her daughters or her husband--they're exhausting to read. We have talked about some of these issues & she expresses an intention to change, but so far it's the same. Change is hard, as we all know!

I want to support her, but I'm worn out. Seeing a movie with her would be fine, but I would not look forward to the conversation in the car before & after! So I listened to my heart & erased the message. But my heart also wants to be kind to her!

5. I have some other wonderful local friends, but those who are my age are married or in a serious relationship, & those who are single are much younger. So I'm having a hard time thinking of someone to go to the movies with! I've gone alone before & don't mind it, but New Year's is not the right moment for that.

Maybe I'll call an old friend who lives in the suburbs. It would be a long drive for me to go out there--but who knows, maybe she'll be up for coming into the city & having a fun ethnic dinner & seeing a movie with me. Or I could make the drive . . .

6. Because my daughter was getting sick while she was at my house, she wasn't available to help me with some cleanup & furniture-moving projects I have on hold. My son will be able to do some of the moving/rearranging with me, but I'm the only one who can tackle the mounting piles of paper. Paper is always my nemesis!


OK, several interrelated reasons to be struggling right now. It has been good to write it all out--& if you've read this whole post, you're a hero! Now I think I can handle what I'm feeling & not channel the struggle into my eating. Tonight I'm driving to the burbs to take my daughter out to one last dinner, this time at a Mexican restaurant. I think I will write down how many chips I'm going to enjoy--maybe 6? the salsa at this place is fabulous!--& order fajitas with no rice or tortillas. A beer? I'll decide that only after I see how today's calories/nutrients are adding up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 12/31/2010 12:34AM

    Blogging always helps and you have clarity about your issues. As for friends in need if they are toxic, it's better to avoid them and think of # 1. you are too raw to be taking on depressing situations, better to spend time with positive healthy people now until you get stronger. Hard I know but it's a self preserving attitude. It looks like everything is falling into place, it's just difficult time of year for most of us. The pressure to be happy and have family and wealth is too strong, best ignored.
Happy New Year, it will surely be a better one!

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MORRIS1989 12/30/2010 11:10PM

    Sorry your plate is so full. Just hang in there it will get better. Hope you founded someone to go to the movies with. You need to unwind and take it easy. Hope you had a good evening.

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TINKMCD 12/30/2010 10:37AM

    Ah, Ruth. Trade-offs.

I have no advice for you. Not that you need any. You're clearly working stuff out for yourself--and sharing your process so usefully with the rest of us.

So glad to see that you took care of yourself around the needy friend: boundary issues are often, it seems to me, deeply involved in eating issues ("taking in" too much and/or the "wrong" stuff). Thus, setting a boundary in an emotional/social sense can, er, feed into staying aware of our boundaries in the nutritional/physical sense. "Everything in moderation, including moderation" is one of my favourite reminders. May the New Year bring you moderation in all aspects of your life.

No matter who you wind up seeing the movie with, I strongly recommend "The King's Speech." Saw it yesterday and was blown away by the performances, the period setting, and the power of the story. Everyone I know can relate to the struggle to overcome some issue that holds us back, using a combination of support, determination, uncovering its roots, and tackling it with practical, "mechanical" tools; suffering through setbacks on our way to success; and discovering that the way through it all is to become truer and truer to who we really are. Best film of 2010 for me.

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JMCADE 12/29/2010 11:58PM

    Isn't it amazing how just putting things down on paper is so therapeutic? I hope that things calm down for you and you can get some 'free' time to enjoy yourself.

Good luck with the movie night, I hope it pans out for you and that you get the opportunity to reaarrange and decluttter.

Try to have a good New Year's. You deserve it.

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SHANSHE 12/29/2010 2:40PM

    There are pros and cons to almost every living situation in life, isn't there?

I don't have any advice on any of it really other than the needy friend (she sounds alot like me, maybe). I believe you were right to not send the e-mail. I mean, you have to preserve your own energy and if a "friend" sucks the life out of you, then the friendship seems one-sided. You can be nice to her without spending lots of time with her or reading her entire e-mails. MAYBE you could detach for a bit and see if that helps when you are around her??

As far as the movies, I will pray that God sends someone to you or to your mind that might be lonely and ENJOY a night out at the movies and would be willing to leave their problems at home and have fun!

Lots of love and glad you were able to vent here...


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FREES1 12/29/2010 2:12PM

    maybe you could meet your friend at the movie theater - then there would be no ride to or from.. or if she is needing you be there for her, try not to take in what she says too much, and it might distract you from what is bugging you!
rice is not bad for you - it would help fill your gut.. salsa a freebie, just about. shame your children will miss each other - does your son have a cat? can you and your daughter go to him?
hang in there - I never regretting living alone, which I did from 1979 to 2001 - and sometimes I miss it dearly!
hang in there - Happy New Year.. shame you have so much sadness on your plate

Comment edited on: 12/29/2010 2:25:33 PM

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2011 goals!

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 will include a new challenge in my work life: I'll teach Advanced Editing as a three-day intensive--first in March & again in July. After completing the March course & grading, I'll be able to cut way back on the freelance editing I've been doing to pay down debt. This will free up most weekends & some weeknights, which will be lovely. I want to use that time wisely--including having more fun!

Second, more sobering, I'll be filing for divorce & doing some negotiations with my soon-to-be-ex--that will be painful & difficult, I have no doubt. And sometimes time consuming.

Third, a wonderful thing: my first grandchild is due March 3! I foresee lots more weekend trips to St. Louis in my future. emoticon

So plenty of change is coming & I'm not going to set difficult new physical goals for myself. I look forward to continuing with the practices that have been working for me in recent weeks/months (regular exercise, tracking food, encouraging Sparkfriends, completing 5% challenges) . . . which will bring me to my goal weight somewhere around midyear.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CZARINA_TV 12/28/2010 9:27AM

    It sounds like you have good things in store for you in spring! Just keep up what you're doing now and you'll be fine...

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CTEMPLE 12/27/2010 6:00PM

    Yes it sounds like a year in which you'll have to have all your bearings, treating yourself kindly is the best way. Fortunately you only have to go through your divorce once, and then it's over.
See you on the New Year.

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BABY_GIRL69 12/27/2010 4:55PM

    Ruth if you need to talk I'm here. . .God bless you & may He quicken your steps in 2011. Dee

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MORRIS1989 12/27/2010 4:45PM

    emoticon I wish you nothing but the best. You will have a terrific year!! You will make a good grandma best wishes.

Comment edited on: 12/27/2010 4:51:45 PM

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SHANSHE 12/27/2010 12:30PM

    These sound like GREAT goals!

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2010 in review

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Here are questions from a discussion forum on the Slowest Loser team:

"How did you do in 2010 as far as your lifestyle changes? What did not change? What changed? What were your obstacles? What helped you the most to make your changes?"

There were some big changes in my life this year that affected my lifestyle choices. (1) My husband moved out of our bedroom & eventually out of our home. (2) My father died suddenly--he was 82 so his life was long & full, but because he was active & healthy, we did NOT expect to lose him so soon. (3) I was voted onto my church's pastoral search committee, a wonderful but very time-consuming responsibility.

#1 & #2 happened in the first half of 2010. Not surprisingly, my return to regular exercise & more careful eating took awhile. But this fall, as I got on track, & especially in December since I joined the 5% Challenge team, I started losing weight again. Thus far 6.8 pounds have come off; I'm exercising more regularly & tracking most of my food, which has helped me make better decisions about what & how much to eat.

What has still not changed much is my struggle with bedtime. I always want to do just a little bit more before getting to bed--another round of a word game, another look at e-mail or Facebook, another page of editing. If I give in, getting up in time for exercise the next morning is that much harder.

Still, I've had some real success, hurray! I would say what has helped me the most are these three things:
1. a determination to reclaim my life in many dimensions, including health
2. joining a team that sets weekly specific, measurable challenges
3. tracking food

I look forward to continuing the journey & reaching my goal weight in 2011!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORRIS1989 12/27/2010 4:41PM

    You are an amazing person you have been so successful. Good for you. You keep up the good work you will reach all of your goals. You are gonna bust 2011 wide open. Best Wishes to you.

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SHANSHE 12/26/2010 10:20PM

    What a lot of accomplishments you have reached with all you have gone through!

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CTEMPLE 12/26/2010 7:13PM

    Well done Ruthie that's a lot considering the hard year you had!

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GETHEALTHY231 12/26/2010 6:33PM

You are doing such an awesome job focusing on the positives in your life and seeing the positives even in hard situations! Keep moving forward with God leading the way. You are an amazing woman! And I love being your sparkfriend!

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LJR4HEALTH 12/26/2010 5:47PM

    Wow that was alot in the first part of the year to happen but you kept going and not give up which is awesome Determination is the key to success you have agreat control there keep up the great work Here's to an awesome 2011

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