Thursday, November 17, 2011
Sometimes things aren't as straight-forward as they seem, and sometimes they are.
Over the years I've joined Weight Watchers, and every time I followed their plan I wouldn't use all my points and they'd tell me at the weekly meetings that I wasn't losing weight because I wasn't eating enough. I needed to eat more. MORE? Seriously? I'm huge, how can I need to eat more? This is SO counter intuitive. So, refusing to risk the rise in weight, I didn't eat more, and eventually I got frustrated at how hard I was trying without succeeding and I gave up. I thought it must be something else — the progesterone that caused me to gain the weight in the first place, or my PCOS making it harder for me to lose weight, or my age, genetics, some other external force at play. I refused to accept that I simply wasn't eating enough food.
Years later, still struggling with my weight, my doctor sent me to a Nutritionist and she had me keep a food diary. I religiously wrote everything down and turned it in and week after week she'd say the same thing, eat more! Phooey, I thought, if I eat more I will be bigger, not smaller. My gynecologists reminded me that "there were no fat people in Auschwitz (I know, how tacky is that?!) So, I went along keeping a tight hold on smaller, lighter portions and staying big. I recorded my food, but I worried about stepping at all outside of the box. It was a struggle. And it didn't work for me. I was stuck stubbornly at the same weight.
I've always been active, then I started working out, A LOT, every day, and I did lose weight. It was a struggle the whole time but slowly, slowly, the weight came off. It was tough to allot the time to work out, sometimes 4 hours a day. I trained for a marathon, I did a dozen half marathons, I joined boot camp, I did yoga, I hired a trainer, and did aqua aerobics and Zujmba, and swam and hiked. I lost over 70 pounds and it was a constant struggle to keep them off. Then for several months I couldn't work out at all and the weight came back like gangbusters, and it was depressing. And the less I was active, the more depressed I was, and the less I could fathom ever being active again. It was a stressful time, and while I was gaining weight by the truckload, I was living in the same house with my older sister, and my dad. I gained 10 pounds to each pound they gained. TEN POUNDS!
Recently, I started looking at things differently. I needed a way to find balance, and a pathway to being a normal sized person for the rest of my life? I started considering other options and seeing diet as a bigger factor...if it's all about exercise, then why aren't ALL inactive people obese? They why didn't my Dad and my Sister gain weight the same way that I did? Our activity, food intake and energy output was roughly equal, and we share the same genes, but something in my body chemistry doesn't work the same way theirs does. Neither of them has ever had a weight problem. I found this perplexing.
Recently I've been meeting with Pat Spencer, a registered dietitian and I've decided to let her call the shots, two of the biggies are: having me eat more :), and having me follow Dr. Peter D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet when choosing foods. It's been hard to eat more, but easy to choose foods that meet the criteria. I'm about 6 weeks into it and already I feel more energetic, I'm sleeping better and get this — I'm eating more AND I'm losing weight. My body is no longer in starvation mode and I'm down 12 pounds so far.
There's moderation in all things, this is not eating run amok, I'm not Godzilla grazing my way across Los Angeles. I'm following the calorie count Pat has established for me and I'm working to balance proteins, carbs, fiber, and so on. But this time I'm trying to meet ALL the requirements which includes drinking enough water (14-16 cups a day) and eating not only enough food, but also the right foods to properly fuel my body. Amazing, there's been so much less struggle involved. Now, onward and upward, adding a reasonable amount of physical activity to the mix...
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I live in a canyon made up of winding one lane streets, and my house sits literally on a one-lane ring road around a park. So, it begs the question, why do I have such a hard time, putting on my walking shoes, opening the door and going for a walk? I will find any excuse to put it off.
Tonight I didn't put it off, I stopped work about 4:30 and took off walking, just like that, and by the time I reached the far side of the park, I was ready to tackle the drop across the street, and hill on the other side.
People were just arriving home from work, dogs barked at me a stranger on their street, a donkey came over to check me out. Goats peered out of their shed at me to see if I had food. People waved, I waved back. I felt lighter as I moved through the streets. It was a good walk, a good workout for the body, and the soul
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
This week on a weekly conference call with one of my clients, a member admitted that following the death of her husband and subsequent upheaval of her life, that she finally felt like she was coming out into the sun again. That really resonated with me. I never understood what that saying meant before before 2010. In a year, I lost my mom, I lost my ovaries and fallopian tubes (and my definition of myself as a woman changed), I lost my client base, my boyfriend of 15 years and I came close to losing my life in a fall. Grief is a sticky wicket, and we grieve for loss, not just for death. 2010 made me question everything down to the core of who I am and what my life is. What am I doing here? There's a profoundness to the transition that completely knocked me sideway.
The internal processing that follows loss is the grey zone where I've been living for the past year or so. But that chapter is drawing to a close, and the process that allows one to cocoon also provides a path for one to come out of the shade and back into the sun. I feel the beckoning to return to my life, to take up my own boat, and row out into uncharted waters, which is both scary and exciting. I have the tools I need to be successful and I'm seeing possibilities again instead of doors.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
There have been three deaths this week, an old boyfriend from high school died of a heart attack in NYC, a person I didn't know but chatted with on Facebook died of cancer and one of my new hens died of unknown causes. I feel awash and out of control.
Chris and I dated in high school, he was the new boy in a small school where everyone knew everyone else, that he chose me was a surprise. Lanky,dark-haired and energetic he was a lot of fun to spend time with. Our first date was a "covert operation," he worked for a local florist, who also ran a Christmas Tree lot. On our date, we held hands and "pretended" to be a couple shopping for a tree. We visited all of the tree lots in town checking for needle drop. It was cold, and exciting and innocent. We laughed a lot and sang Christmas Carols with the tinned music at all of the lots. Afterward we had hot chocolate at a local diner.
Chris had a bright yellow VW bug, our friend Paul painted flames on the sides and a cartoon skull and crossbones on the back. The antenna was topped with a tiny pirate flag. I loved that car and it suited Chris' personality. In those halycon days, we would take off driving on farm roads with no plan and no map (no GPS). At every crossroad he'd let me choose left or right. I'd never had this kind of freedom, the freedom to meander, to not bolt from point A to point B. I worried that we'd get lost, but that was the point he'd say. We'd stop and hike around some but mostly we just cruised. Sometimes we'd blare the radio, or moo at the cows, and eventually we'd hit a freeway and head for home in the dark.
Chris is the first person I broke up with. I felt smothered and wasn't sure how to handle it, so I avoided him. It was near Valentines Day and he'd sent me roses in every class. I missed the bus and had to walk 5 miles home carrying this ridiculously huge bouquet of roses. People kept driving by and beeping, I think I cried the whole way.
After we broke up he went on to date a ton of girls and over time we became friends. He was always generous with his time and attention and had a way of making you feel like the only person in the room. He was a year ahead of me, so he graduated and went off to UCSB, while I went on to my senior year. By then I was engaged, I had moved on as well and the next year when I started college in San Diego, or a couple of years later when I moved to New York, we lost touch.
He was married abut a decade ago, People Magazine covered his wedding, a $7 million dollar extravaganza. My sister sent me the magazine with a post-it note marking the article. She'd encouraged me to contact him when she found out that he was wealthy, which I thought was hilarious - I could just see myself calling him "Hi, remember me? We dated in high school and it didn't work out, but you're rich now so I think we should give it another shot" Yeah, right?
So, about 5 years ago out of the blue, Chris contacted me via classmates.com and we chatted a bit. On occasion we'd email one another. Over time we both migrated to Facebook and friended each other. I have insomnia and if he was traveling a lot or up late at night and bored so he'd shoot me a note and we'd chat. It wasn't anything big, just whatever we were doing, what was going on in our lives. We still laughed a lot.
I loved these chats, the informality, drawing on a knowledge of one another at the core that had remained unchanged over time. But with a new angle since he was the richest person I'll probably ever know. At one point he'd asked what Kev had given me for my birthday, I told him that he'd painted the front room and installed crown molding, I asked what he'd done for his wife, who's birthday was close to mine — oh, he said, I bought her a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park. He wasn't kidding.
On another occasion, we were talking about boats and he told me about his boat — with a crew of 12 including a pastry chef, which made me laugh. A pastry chef, really?! Later in the call I mentioned that we had a boat as well. When he asked what kind of boat we had I told him ours was the kind of boat with a crew of 2, box of PopTarts®. He laughed. And so these calls would go...he'd muse about being proud that if he were to die that his wife and daughter would be set for life. I don't think that he presaged his death, these are just the things that come up in the middle of the night.
I found out he died when someone posted RIP on one of the photos I'd commented on a few years back. I was shocked to hear that he had died, it brought up how death wipes the slate clean while you are still trying to memorize the contents. By the time I checked it, his FB page was already a long scroll of people saying thanks - thanks for mentoring me, thanks for helping me out of that jam, thanks for trusting in me, thanks for being my friend. You can't ask for more than that when you go. I miss him already.
As I type this his funeral is taking place in Santa Barbara, I was going to drive up for the event but I don't know that I belong, I'm just an old friend from high school, so far back in the past, but I too a thankful that Chris came into my life, twice and made it a better place both times.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I have three herniated disks in my lower back. I developed them by carrying too much weight on my shoulder for the decade I lived in New York City. I was hospitalized for them when I developed a nasty case of sciatica, diagnosed with an MRI and released from the hospital to organize my own surgery. Luckily, a friend suggested that I see a sports doctor friend of hers, and this lovely man started me walking. The more active I was, the less my back hurt. In New York I walked the 6 miles home from work three or more times a week. When I moved to Los Angeles, I started walking in the hills to keep active.
Then, in 2003 I discovered marathon walking. I walked the Santa Barbara Half Marathon, the Honolulu Full Marathon, the Phoenix Half Marathon and then a stint of annual Half marathons with Team Believe, a wonderful non-fundraising team out of Westlake Village.
But the whole time I was training, I developed a slew of problems...the first year I had shin splints, the second year I developed blisters regardless of the socks and seemingly the shoes I was wearing, the third year it was a weird knee thing, last year I took a break from distance walking, as I had developed plantar faschitis. I wondered what the heck was going on and ultimately, it came down to my feet. What was going on.
I headed back to the local running store and met with the owner to talk about shoes. I had been fitted for shoes every year and I realized that if they felt OK I'd bought them and never considered that they needed to work for the long-haul and not just for the test walk at the store. I brought in the shoes and we went over the wear patterns and supports I was using as well as the socks and overall fit. Even with the worn shoes, he could tell that the blister pattern aligned with the decals sewn on the shoes. That the ride of one was too low for the height of my arch, that I was tying my shoes too tight rather than using a hell-lock and that impeded the blood flow in my feet.
I had seen a physical therapist about the plantar problem and while he taped my foot, it didn't seem to help. I was considering a podiatrist to make me orthotics, when my shoes wore out. I'd loved these shoes - men's shoes with a wide toe box and moderate pronation support. They'd felt like slippers out on the course. However, when I wanted a new pair, they no longer carried the line so I had to switch to a pair of Saucony shoes. They felt good, they looked used (since they are gray) and I hate that electric white NEW SHOE look, and I decided to give them a shot.
I had flown to Greece in October and after 12 hours on a plane, I walked off in Athens with the worst foot pain I'd ever experienced. The pain was almost bad enough that I couldn't walk. I do a lot of traveling and was convinced that I could find my way to my hotel using public transportation. I regretted the decision to go it on my own when I ended up walking a few miles with my backpack and it was very painful.
Well, after buying the Saucony's I am thrilled to report that after a week in the new shoes that I have had NO Plantar pain at all. I realize that this is not the case for many people, but I was fortunate that this worked for me. I do wear two shoe inserts for extra arch support, which a chiropractor has given me a tentative thumbs up to do, as I am not showing any signs of structural stress because of it.
Today we started training for the Wine Country Half Marathon which will take place in May. I have been upping the amount of distance I cover in my own training sessions, and will accelerate these distances with the team over the next several weeks. Both walking, or running at the gym, I have had absolutely no foot pain at all. I like the shoes so well that I bought another pair as a back-up this moring.
I am very excited to be starting this season fresh and with no pain.
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