Wednesday, October 15, 2014
As long-time Kansas City Royals, my family has had their share of down years. In the early 80's, the Royals were in contention for a pennant almost every year, but would inevitably get beaten by the Yankees. Might be why I'm not a fan of that team in Pin Stripes!
In 1985, I was pregnant with my youngest son, and although we didn't get to attend any play-off games, we had been to a regular season KC game earlier that year (we have been to KC for at least one game every year since 1973), and were glued to our TV sets at the Royals beat St. Louis in an all-Missouri World Series. But since then, the Royals haven't even made the play-offs, and still we are fans. Since the Midwest Fox Sports Network started carrying almost all the KC games, we watch at least part of every game. I used to say watching baseball was like watching paint dry, but the last few years, I have grown to know and love the boys who play for our Royals. Our favorite is Alex Gordon, he is from Lincoln, went to high school with my son, and his dad coached my son's Little League team back in the 90's. I remember Alex helped his dad. And now he's an All-Star!!!
So the Royals have won seven straight play-off games, starting with the one play-off game versus Detroit to decide the Wild Card. They proceeded to sweep the Angels in three games, before compiling a quick 3-0 lead over the Orioles for the Pennant! Game Four of the ALCS is starting now, so I'm going to go watch.
But before I go, I wanted to announce that today I'm praying those Royals can make it to the World Series by winning just one more game. I don't know that God controls these things, because in the grand scheme of the world, sports just aren't that important. And I'm not asking that the Royals win the Series, I know that's not probable. But the fact that they made the play-offs this year has been the very best medicine for Du, and for that I am so grateful. Sports are tenuous, so many factors decide who wins, but if the Royals could just win one more game before they let the Orioles win four games (improbable, but definitely possible), and get to the World Series in 2014, I would be so grateful to whomever decides these things. It brings my Du such joy, and he can use some of that these days!! LET'S GO ROYALS!!!
10/16/14 UPDATE: Royals WIN!!!! Thanks to all who commented and BIG thanks to whatever/whomever decides these things, probably just the players themselves, who put forth a tremendous effort and came out victorious. Du was so happy, which makes me happy too!!
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Brooke at http://brookenotonadiet.com/ has once again inspired me in my weight loss attempts. Brooke started out years ago, close to my own starting weight (327 lbs. for her, 328 lbs. for me), and although she is decades younger than me, and used Weight Watchers to lose her weight, I felt a kinship to her. A few months ago Shape Magazine's website asked her to send a before and after picture to feature. They didn't like the bikini shot she sent, since it showed her excess skin that is left around her tummy after her 170+ pound weight loss, and asked her for another picture where she was more fully clothed. Brooke, possessing more courage than I have, refused. She started a huge and worthwhile brouhaha, and was featured on Good Morning America, among other shows. I was so proud of my Brooke. In some ways, I feel like both she and Katie at http://www.runsforcookies.com/ are my surrogate daughters. I'm sure they don't think of me as a surrogate mother, but that's okay! I love these girls who are fighting their addictions and winning! They motivate and inspire me every single day!
Brooke recently traveled to NYC for a fancy photo shoot for Shape Magazine (I think), and wrote about spying Robert Downey, Jr. on her plane coming home. I had seen him on numerous talk shows during the week, promoting the new movie he's in, The Judge (which looks very good), and am always impressed by this man.
Just a few short years ago, he was a hot mess, much like Brooke, Katie and I. We had let our addictions take control of our lives. My obesity, much more so than Brooke's or Katie's, had severely limited my lifestyle, making me unable to do much of anything other than go to work every day and barely tend to my housewife duties in my off-hours. I spent hours in my chair, both at work, and at home, trying to do everything I could from the comfort of my chair, without the pain of standing or walking. I knew I needed to lose weight. I knew my eating was leading to a premature death, and yet I felt completely unable to stop myself for so many years. I knew how hard change was, and I just felt incapable of taking the steps to make that change. I am more than envious of Brooke and Katie. They changed their lives as young people, giving themselves so many opportunities that I robbed myself of. I have confidence that both these gorgeous young ladies have made the changes permanent, so that a major regain is not in their futures.
Robert Downey Jr. had let himself go so far into his drug addiction that it was ruining his career and he too was more than likely headed for a premature death. He even went to prison. I never know for sure if prison is the place to rehabilitate those who have addiction problems, but it is the law of our land. What if they sent those of us with food addictions to prison? It just seems like there are better places to treat problems like this, than jail.
But Downey turned his life around. He got control again, and I know how difficult that is. It's not as if those urges to do drugs, or to overeat, ever go away. They are with us every single moment of every single day. But we fight. We fight with every ounce of strength and courage we have and day by day, we get stronger and stronger. I have heard that the urge to smoke again for those who have given it up,never goes away. That even five or ten years after quitting, the urge for a cigarette it still there. I knew this is true of food for me. I would still like to be able to eat a bag of Oreo cookies, or potato chips.
I have nothing but admiration for every single person in this world who is working to conquer their addictions. I won't say they have overcome them. Do we ever truly overcome these additions? I feel like I am a work in progress FOREVER. Cookies, cakes, candy and potato chips still hold a tremendous allure for me. I am not like those people who say they don't even crave that stuff anymore. I march by those aisles at the store and do not bring any of that food into my house, otherwise I would give in to it. But I feel like a success when I check out at the grocery store, with a cart full of healthy items, fruit, veggies, skim milk, and many low-fat products for cooking. I have avoided the pitfalls of junk food for one more grocery store trip!
So, in my battle to overcome this addiction, I come to Spark every single day, and keep fighting, because I remember those days of morbid obesity and how much I hated being fat, how much I hated myself. I had no self respect, and felt tremendously guilty, because I knew that I alone was responsible for the horrible condition I was in. For this reason, I have great sympathy for all those who are still fighting to get control. I know how hard it is. My friend who I worked with for over 20 years before we both retired, is fighting a smoking addiction. She has quit so many times, one time for over five months, but always goes back to this habit, even hiding it from her husband who is an ex-smoker. Now she is fighting COPD, and I fear is shortening her life with this addiction, which she simply cannot give up. Addictions are overwhelming, they are all-consuming, they are life-shortening, they are so very hard to fight.
I thank God for every minute that I am able to fight my addiction. I thank Spark and my friends here, and I thank myself for having the courage to change. I pray that I can continue this fight, because I know if I let up for just a minute, even a little bit, as I did earlier this year, regain is waiting for me. I am on my way back down to 150 lbs. Only six more pounds before I hit my "happy" weight and that's where I plan to stay. I know Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming. Those are hard times of year for all of us. I am going to completely ignore Halloween. I have no small children, and since we live in the country, we have no trick or treaters, so there's no need to buy even a single bag of those forbidden Halloween candy treats. So I will have nothing here in my house to tempt me. And this is how I live, fighting with every ounce of strength of have, and trying to stay strong with temptation all around. It's the only option. Addictions are life-sapping, they try to take control of us, and have no sympathy for the havoc they wreak. So it is up to us to fight to stay in control over them. May God give us the strength to continue this fight!
Thursday, October 09, 2014
I have had recurring nightmares all during my life. As a child, I had a great fear of 'the bomb.' Growing up in the 50's and 60's with the Cold War, we lived in fear of the Russians dropping the big one and wiping out the entire world. I would have flashes (that I could remember) of terror in my sleep, as we knew the bomb was coming, and then would wake up in a cold sweat. Those dreams continued on into my adulthood, I guess it was a very deep-rooted fear.
I was editor of my high school newspaper. For many years even after I graduated, I would dream that the paper's publication date was eminent and I had forgotten to make story assignments, so there was nothing to print for the paper. Evidently that duty weighed more heavily on my brain than I realized.
Another high school dream that recurred for many years was one where I was too fat to fit into my band uniform and could not participate any more. This nightmare didn't scare me so much as it made me very sad. When I would wake up, I would realize how true that was today. The uniform would never fit my morbidly obese body. Band was my favorite class in high school, I sat by Du, and it's where I made my moves on him by flirting constantly. We took trips with the band, performed at all the games and concerts and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. We did get new uniforms while I was in high school, and we were all fitted individually for our very own uniform. I was not overweight in high school, at least not much. However, I was always heavier than my skinny friends, but just a little bit. So when I got measured for that uniform it was a little nerve-wracking. I remember the band director taking my waist measurement, it was bigger than I thought it should be, so I pushed the tape measure down to where my "real" waist was, I am very LOW waisted, and sure enough, it was several inches smaller. Later when my friends and I were comparing our waist measurements, I was proud that mine was NOT the largest, even though, I probably did out-weigh most of them.
I'm not sure where the nightmare of being too big to fit a band uniform came from therefore, since I was not morbidly obese in high school. I was always insecure about my body, however, since it was somewhat bigger than most of my friend's. I do remember one girl in high school who was TOO big to fit into any of the uniforms available, and she still performed, in a plain white blouse. Maybe the humiliation I felt for her is what caused my nightmares later? Maybe the fact that I knew I was now also too big to fit into a uniform for band (even though I was years out of high school), caused me pain, which led to the nightmare? I don't know, but I do know when I would wake up, the realization that I was too fat to ever fit into a band uniform made me sad.
Today, I think I could fit into a band uniform. I know high school girls are still very skinny, and I will never be that thin. But I bet they make a few uniforms for us curvy girls, and that helps me sleep well, knowing I could play my baritone and march with my beloved High School Band once again. That is ONE nightmare I don't have anymore.
This is a portion of our band in our "concert" uniforms. The marching band uniforms had a sparkly silver overlay that we all loved. Right in the middle of this picture are Du & I, since we sat beside each other and I used that opportunity to flirt with him, I like to think this is where it all started!
Monday, October 06, 2014
Saw this flyer for a 5K Run/Walk at Du's Urologist's Office a couple months ago. We decided to sign up and invited the family to join us. As you can guess, my middle son, who weighs over 500 lbs., declined, saying he had a golf tournament that day. He is always so busy with "other things." Sometimes it annoys me that his family, and I'm including his immediate family (wife and 5-year-old daughter) also seem to be low on his priority list. He is always available to help others with geocaching, which is his hobby/passion. It does provide some exercise, as does golf, although obviously not enough. He had lost 100 lbs. a few years ago, about the time I was getting to my goal weight, dropping into the 300's, and vowing never to be over 400 lbs. again, but he readily admits he has gained it all back plus some more. I pray he can turn his life around before his weight becomes a serious health problem. He will be 37 years old next month, so I know it is just a matter of time before complications from his obesity arise.
I was glad my youngest son was off work and my oldest son was able to join us as well. They both ran the 5K, and did great. Youngest son Chris, who is 28, finished in 24 minutes 19 seconds, and came in 5th in his age group. Oldest son Mark, who is 42, finished in 25 minutes something, and came in FIRST in his age group.
Du and I walked the 5K, but it was a much faster pace than I am used to going. Obviously I am a slow walker, although I know I go faster now than I used to. But I struggled to keep up with Du, as he was trying not to be in last place. I am so thankful he is still so strong, he's lived with Stage 4 Cancer for 19 months now (since diagnosis--who knows how long it's been lurking in his body, undiscovered), and has been taking shots as his treatment, which supposedly sap him of his manly strength. But so far that hasn't happened. He still works harder than anybody I know, both at home and on the job, and he has the strength of Hercules. He opens jars and changes tires and mows the yard and generally still does everything he did before. We paused for a moment as we met our boys running past us, as we walked the 5K, to take a picture.
When the boys finished their race (well before Du and I were done), they walked back to where we were and finished walking the route with us. That was a special moment for us, and we appreciated them doing that. Their support meant so much to both of us.
After the boys joined us, youngest son Chris walked with Du, and they ended up getting a long ways ahead of us, as I quit trying to stay out of last place. My oldest son and I had a good talk, as we walked the last mile together, pretty slowly. I finished DEAD LAST, but everybody was so encouraging as I came down the last stretch, giving me high fives and telling me, "It's downhill the rest of the way." Honestly I didn't mind the hills or even the distance. I have walked that far many times. It was just that I had to push myself so hard to keep up with everyone's much faster pace. My legs are short, and my knees are horrible, every step at that speed hurt. But I kept going and when I finished, Du was waiting at the finish line and gave me a big hug. One of the receptionists from the Urologist's Office (they were sponsoring the 5K) that Du jokes around with a lot was taking pictures, and she got a picture of our hug. I'm going to ask her at our next appointment if I can get a copy of that picture.
My FitBit registered over 12,000 steps for the day, and over 2,000 calories burned!
After we finished, we bought our boys lunch at one of the restaurants in Lincoln's Hay Market/Railyard Area where the race took place. We had to wait forever for our meal, the server apologized over and over, but it was fine, we had a great time playing Internet Trivia and just chatting about the race and life. It's good to have some alone time with just the kids, no grandkids, no wives, just our boys! I know they're men now, but to me--they will always be 'My Boys!'
I didn't mind coming in last. As I told Du: "Five years ago, I weighed over 300 lbs. I couldn't walk from the parking lot. You have Stage Four Cancer. As far as I'm concerned, we are both walking miracles."
Friday, October 03, 2014
Last night after bowling we went to yet another bar & grill for dinner. It was important to find a place with TV's, since our KC Royals played the Angels in the first game of the American League Divisional Series (THEY WON!). But food choices at bars aren't all that healthy usually. I know they have a good Philly steak sandwich, then noticed a chicken Philly sandwich. I ordered it, without the cheese, and got a side salad with vinaigrette as my side. When the sandwich came, I dumped the meat out of the bun and ate it that way. It was really good. My side salad was topped with shredded cheese. There have been many times when I took the effort to try and pick every little sliver of cheese off a salad before eating it. Last night I didn't do this for 3 reasons: 1) I don't like cheese, unless it's melted. (I know--that is crazy--but it's how I am.) 2) I hate wasting calories eating something I don't even like. 3) I am really burnt out on salad.
So my decision was to NOT eat the salad at all. I gave it to Du, he didn't really want it either, but did eat some of it. When I was done with my chicken (and peppers, onions and mushrooms--YUM!), I was still hungry. The sandwich would have been filling, but eating just the chicken and veggies without the bread, although quite good, was not all that filling. Du worried that I hadn't eaten enough and encouraged me to finish the salad, but I really didn't want it. It didn't even look good to me. I was, however, tempted to sneak the French Fries off his plate, which I did (two of them). To stop myself, I popped a piece of gum in my mouth. Works every time! I did mention to Du, that being hungry wasn't all that horrible. I felt good in a tight jacket and jeans last night at the bowling alley, and that was worth going hungry for!
I have agreed to join another Diet Bet, just to encourage my son. Du still thinks it is a waste of money, and it probably is. I just don't know that I can lose another 6 pounds in 28-30 days, when I am actually below goal. I know that I would like to, but just not sure it is possible. We picked Jillian's Beginner Shred Diet Bet, because it doesn't start until Oct. 7.
Oh....another victory in my restaurant eating battle....we went to a Mexican place for lunch on Wednesday. I ate about 3/8 of a Chicken Cheese Crisp, and didn't eat a single tortilla chip. That is HUGE. The manager brought the chips out to us, and she was a BIG girl. I kept trying to catch sight of her, because as I have mentioned, whether this is right or wrong, seeing other big people when I'm trying not to overeat, gives me motivation to avoid temptation. I guess it worked!
Just returned from the grocery store, where I bought more black grapes (they are delicious and cheaper than normal right now, must be grape season somewhere), and another watermelon. Son and I are really enjoying watermelon, I hate to see that season end. I'm also enjoying Honeycrisp apples. I have stocked up on those, hoping they will last in my fridge for a few months into Winter. They are wonderful, although the ones I have been buying are HUGE, I'm sure they're over 100 calories! So I try not to eat them too often, just when I have some calorie room left in the day.
Tonight is Husker Volleyball versus Penn State. That will be a tough battle, but hopefully our Huskers can at least give them a good game. Tomorrow we are doing a Prostate Cancer 5K Run/Walk (I'll be walking), then it's another Husker Volleyball game at 5 p.m. The Huskers play football at Michigan State at 7 p.m., (we'll watch that game on TV), so it's another busy sports weekend. In between there, we'll be keeping an eye on the KC Royals/Angels baseball scores. I am so happy that the Royals are having a successful season. It is doing Du more good than any medicine I think, and all three of my sons as well are really enjoying watching the Royals finally get to the play-offs, after a 29-year drought. So GO BIG RED, and LET'S GO ROYALS!!!
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