Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 17 - Being an Ostrich

This week has been rough!  I have wanted nothing but to hide my head - well my whole self.  I have hurt really bad and nothing seems to be helping it.  I haven't even really wanted to talk about it or deal with how I have felt.  I had a friend send me a  long  and helpful email about what is going on and I haven't responded because I don't know what to say or even if I am up for trying to say anything. 

Whatever is going on caused another major jump in weight.  I know it is water weight because I am swollen in areas - my hands, my wrist, my ankles, my feet, and my face.  I had gained another 2 lbs over the last few days but it has come back off already.  This water weight is playing havoc with my graph in Excel.  It keeps going up and then down every couple of days.  With all of this craziness I am happy to have a week that ended back where it started. I will gladly take a 0 lb change this week!

The "gain" and the pain have lead to a lot of frustration and minor stress eating.  Nothing major, but I am craving junk food and lots of it.  Luckily over the last 15 weeks I have gotten a minor handle on how to deal with these cravings and only giving in a little.  It bugs me that when I lose control of my body I freely give up control of what I can control - my food.  I don't really know how to overcome this issue, but I am trying to learn.  I did figure out that without "healthy" option or snacks around the house I will gravitate towards over eating or eating "unhealthy" snacks with little moderation.

I have been struggling to keep myself busy and moving the best I can.  It isn't easy, but at least I am not dwelling on it hurting or as tempted to get back in bed.  I have been exhausted, but trying to limit my time in bed. I have done a fairly good job at keeping busy.  We painted the bedroom this week and went to Universal, I cleaned the house really well, and made jellies. All of this with major pain in my joints and a headache that won't go away. So, I am trying, I am just moving slower than normal.

I go back to my rheumatologist this week.  I am hoping that we can at least make some progress on this pain front.  I was hoping to have lost the 30 lbs by now that he wanted, but the roughly 20 lbs is going to have to be enough.  I don't know what he is going to do.  I was really hoping that all the pain was part of my back issues, but it doesn't look that way.  We have hit another six month mark and that is when things tend to flare back up, so I guess I am still on track for that.  I wish it would either go away for good or make itself really obvious to what it is.

I know that updates on being in pain aren't really part of the diet world, but for my personal battle (and it is a real battle) this is a very real part of my diet.  I am learning a lot about myself trying to track the REAL life that is going on in trying to lose this weight.  The straight diet part has been easy - calorie counting has been fairly simple.  Life around my diet hasn't been and that is important to track, too.  I think that is where the biggest struggle really comes from. 

Score Card:
Weekly Weight Change : 0 lbs
Weekly Measurements : 0 inches
Total Weight Change : -19.1 lbs
Total Measurements : -15.5 inches total body

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 16 - Pain Strikes Back!

BLARGH! I was doing well last week, but this week has been a return to pain! I was holding steady with my weight loss, too, until Sunday.  Sunday is when the pain started, and when my weight jumped up 1.5lbs (overnight).  I wanted to cry from both the gain and the pain.  I know that both are temporary set backs, but it is so frustrating!

The pain has spread to every joint this time, hips, knees, shoulders, jaw, back, and almost everywhere else.  I am even having trouble with my hands again.  I am waking up with them just throbbing in the joints.  I was trying to hold off the blog post until Wednesday to see if things would clear back up.  No such luck.  I have been pushing through the pain the last couple of days to try to ignore it, but that doesn't seem to be helping. Though, I do have an almost totally cleaned downstairs house.

I am tired of these setbacks.  Every one of them makes me want to throw in the towel and just quit.  I  know I don't have the motivation that I had when I first started, and that makes me nuts.  I want to, but I am not sure how to get that back.  I just wish I could lose the weight the way the do on tv.  
I have been watching "Loosing It With Jillian."  Last week a lady lost 74 lbs in 8 weeks. This week a husband and a wife lost 61 lbs and 41 lbs in 8 weeks, respectively.  Seeing things like that and knowing I am still struggling to get to and keep off 20 lbs in 16 weeks (double the time) makes me want to scream.  Does anyone have any real suggestions on either getting the motivation back or loosing the weight and keeping it off?

On happier notes - I measured myself again this morning and I have lost another 0.5 inches off my waist, and 0.5 inches off my hips.  All total I have lost 15.5 inches off my entire self.  That is something cool to be happy about.

Also, I have fit back into some smaller pants and jeans this week.  I am really seeing a difference in the couple of pairs of pants I did buy at the larger size. They are REALLY gappy in the waist and becoming gappy in the hips.  I am thankful that the two pair of capris I bought have drawstring waist so that I can keep wearing them without them falling off. 

Score Card:
Weekly Weight Change : +1.5 lbs
Weekly Measurements : -0.5 inch waist, -0.5 inch hips
Total Weight Change : -19.1 lbs
Total Measurements : -15.5 inches total body

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 15 - Back on Track

Picture credit: Toyota Hybrid

The tire here is representing two things this week. 
  1. I feel like I am closer to getting back on track. 
  2. It is a physical representation of how much weight I have loss to this point.
I have lost 1.5 lbs this week.  I really do feel like I am getting back on track.  I have gotten my calorie count back down to the 1500 range, and hopefully will finish pulling it back down to the 1200-1300 range by the end of this week.  I have gotten some days of exercise in, but it isn't "real formal" exercise (just walking around the theme parks for a day).  I plan on getting back into my workout routine this week.  I know that my back is acting up the last couple of days, so I am not sure about aerobics, but I can start walking at the house and using the weights again.

This week also marks a major point in this journey.  I have officially lost 20.6 lbs!  Did you know that the average tire weighs about 20 lbs?  I have lost a TIRE!  I also just realized that this officially puts me at 1/3 of the weight loss that I want to achieve.  In some ways that is hard to fathom, but in others I can totally believe it. 

I have been able to start wearing some of AJ's larger t-shirts.  I started this because a lot of my shirts were hanging off my shoulders.  I can also see the changes in my pants/ jeans.  Like I have said before I really didn't buy any larger clothes when I gained all the weight (I just kept shoving myself into the same old clothes), so I haven't changed a lot of my wardrobe - it is just fitting better.  I did get to wear some shorts that I had bought just before I gained all the weight and never had taken the tags off of them.  That was fun to be able to get into them (actually, they were a little big on me, but still fit well).

I will say it is still weird that I feel like I am in better shape and looking better now, even though I haven't lost all the weight that I gained last year.  I don't know what it is that is causing this feeling, but it is true.  I keep wishing that I never gained the extra 30 lbs, and had been able to lose this weight from my starting weight.  I would be a lot closer to my goal weight than I am now, but at the same time I don't think I really had the drive or the focus without the major gain and major pain problems.  It has also spurred me into paying a lot more attention to what I am eating and what foods get brought into our house.  So, maybe in the long run that 30 lb gained really was a blessing in disguise for my future health and the health of our household.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." -Louisa May Alcott

Photo from sxc.hu

"Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read."
— John Wooden

I have been reading like a crazy person this week.  I didn't realize what I was doing until AJ asked me one night if I had finished my other book because I was starting a new one.  I looked at him like he was mildly crazy and said, "No, but I just got this one and it looks interesting."  Then the next day at physical therapy my therapist asked me what I had been up to, and I started telling him about the books I was reading.  He then asked how many books I was reading, "Oh, just 3, oh wait, 4 actually.  I forgot I was reading a novel, too." He just kind of shook his head and walked away.

This isn't a new behavior pattern for me.  I have always read a lot and frequently multiple books at once, or serial books.  I heard about a program that wanted people to read 100 books a year (it could be any kind of bound material to qualify as a book).  I am tempted to try that, but I don't want to be bound to keep track of my books.  I am fairly sure in an average year I read more than 100 books.

The only thing that is really different this time is I am reading a lot of non-fiction.  I haven't read this many non-fiction books back to back or at the same time since I was in college, and those were political books that I really hated having to read.  I am enjoying it and I am learning more about all kinds of different things. 

With all this reading I am finding that I am trying to really understand some things that I hadn't thought about before.  I am being exposed to some new and different ideas and loving it.  The only problem I have is now I want to find away to compress and track the information I am learning.  I am thinking that I am going to start doing some book reports on my blog.  Nothing complicated, but a way to track the book and the key points of the information.  Maybe it will help someone else decide if they should read the book. 

I found this quote:

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
- Joseph Addison

Reading this makes me really want to do the book reports, so that as I am getting other areas of my life into shape - physically and financially, I am getting my brain into shape.  I am working on picking as a day to make my book report day, so it will probably be next week before I actually start them.  I just wanted to semi make it official by telling myself I am going to do it. 

Oh, and as always, I would love to have company along this journey! So, if you want to read and talk about some books you are reading, let me know and we can have a linky party!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 14 - Sick and Tired

This picture is borrowed from here, an article about allergies.

We are finally done traveling for a while.  I am really happy about that fact.  I have had a great time seeing all the people we have seen and seeing all the places that we went.  Traveling is just hard on me.  I have really bad allergies (to almost everything) and sleeping in different places with allergens is rough on me. 

I swear I have got pounds and pounds of mucous in my head lately.  I am on multiple antihistamines trying to control the allergic response.  Tonight is the first night I feel partially human (thanks to the makers of Zyrtec and taking them every 12 hours).  Allergy responses that are like this make me EXHAUSTED!  I haven't slept well with it going on, but I have tried to sleep a lot.

Even with the traveling I lost 0.3lbs.  Not a huge loss, but a happy one!  It is still progress in the right direction.  There are a couple of other issues that I am dealing with this week, so any positive movement is a good thing!

I have been fighting cravings of food this week.  I have upped my calorie count to accommodate these cravings.  Nothing drastic, up to around 1700-1800, but it seems to be helping by having the extra wiggle room.  I haven't wanted to exercise at ALL this week.  But, it is hard to have that desire when mucous is just pouring out my eyes and nose. 
This next bit might be a bit TMI, but it is something that is also affecting my weight, so it gets put in here.  I am on my first "real" menstrual cycle in years.  I decided to come off my birth control, and try to give my body a chance to heal and get healthy before we start trying to get pregnant.  I will say I am worried about how this "test" is going to go given my history with my silly ovary.  I think this is what is causing the cravings and about half of the exhaustion.  Hopefully, next week will get back to more normal health-wise, and as my body gets more used to not having the birth control things will stabilize.  Can you tell I am really hopeful and trying to be optimistic about not being on the pill?

I have almost made it to 20 lbs!  I go back to the doctor for some more blood work the first week of July, he was hoping that I could lose 30 lbs by that appointment.  I am not sure I will make that goal, but I am going to be a lot closer than I was.  The weight loss has gotten slower lately, but I know some of that is travel and some is just plain boredom.  I am going to fix that this week, though.  I am going to strive to have lost between 20 and 25 lbs lost by the doctor's appointment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Discipline Is Remembering What You Want.- David Campbell

I feel like this poor piggy bank lately.  I feel like AJ and I have fallen off the wagon in regards to our finances, and that we are getting swallowed up by all kinds of things.  I wish that there was one thing that I could point to to blame all this on, but there isn't other than just plain life and want.  Even with a budget we have been slacking in controlling our money.  Thus it really does feel like we are being controlled by our money.

I know that I am the largest part of this problem, I am having problems with the WANT disease.  I will admit it isn't a want for large ticket or expensive things, it is a want problem of things that I normally deny myself - clothing, accessories, and personal nice things (girly smelling body soaps and ladies shaving cream). I have bought more clothes, more pretty shoes/ sandals, and more purses/ tote bags in the last couple of months that I have bought for me in the last two years.  I will say that most of these things have either been on major clearance, sale, or from thrift stores or ebay.  I think there have been maybe three things I paid full price for, but even those were around $15-20. I did hit a sale at Bath and Body Works and bought stuff when it was buy 1 get 2 free, but they also sent me a coupon for $10 off any purchase over $30 (it helped make the purchase even cheaper).

Another problem that has gotten us off track is traveling.  We spent the last four weekends traveling. It has been great, but at the same time it has really hurt our budget.  We had saved up the money to be able to travel, so it wasn't a scramble to pay for any of it, but it did cause a shift in course of action.  The traveling has also lead to more eating out (which I didn't account for) on the days leading up to the going out of town and the days following it.  I forgot to take into account how tired traveling makes me, and that grocery shopping and cooking aren't something I really want to do afterwards.

Food is another problem in our house!  The more I learn about food the more difficult it makes it to go grocery shopping.  We try not to buy any or very little pre-packaged/ processed food.  I know that makes it sound like it should cost less not doing that but right now it isn't.  Namely because what packaged food we are buying it more expensive because it is either organic or specialized.  I find it frustrating that foods with fewer chemicals are more expensive! 

I think the final money eater lately is our continuing desire to work on the house.  We have so many things that we still want to do and most of them cost money.  We are always on the look out for things that will work in the way we want them to, and so when we find something we generally buy it. Even though it is normally a sale item (or as-is from IKEA) or from a thrift store it is still an outgo of money.

I want to get us back on track.  It really frustrates me that a year and a half ago we were totally debt free, and now we are not.  We now have the house and a car payment.  The house payment I am sort of ok with, because otherwise at this point we would be paying rent, and the house makes me so much happier than living in any apartment.  The car payment frustrates me greatly.  We didn't want to have to do it, but my poor old Saturn didn't leave us with much choice last year when it decided to kill the transmission.  Yes, we could have bought a cheaper car (we got a three year old Toyota Corolla), but we wanted something that I could drive for another 10 years without any major issues and because my car is our traveling car.  We also knew that sometime soon we are going to have to replace AJ's car, and using all of our cash for one or other would leave us with payments some how.

We also got hit by some major medical bills this year, or rather we got hit by them in the first quarter of the year instead of slowly having them over the course of the year.  I am thankful to have the HSA we have because that has really helped, but having one bill be the total of our deductible for the year was a hard hit. 

I know that I need to go back to step 1 and get back on a plan.  I am trying to do that!  I know that I am trying to attack to many things in our lives to really make traction on anything.  When I look at our budget that hits me in the face every time.  It is the same way we are handling projects in our house.  We have too many things going on to be able to complete anything.  Even though I know this is a problem I am not sure how to fix it.  Yes, theoretically I could stop dividing our savings into different categories, but having multiple SINK accounts makes it easier when things need to be paid like the HOA bill.  

My plan is to spend the rest of June getting ready for July.  I am going back and reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette, The Millionaire Next Door, The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace Revisited, and probably Sink Reflections.  I need to get my barrings and discipline back. I need to re-spark my intensity that was there to get us out of debt in the first place.  I know this is a possible goal, and I know AJ and I can do it without taking all the extra jobs we did last time.  We just need to be more creative and focused.  We have more resources than we did, but we need to use them.

I know I need to do more bulk cooking so that we always have something healthy to eat in the freezers.  I know I need to revisit my frugal websites and sites that show how to make real food on a budget.  I know I need to start shopping around at different stores again.  I know that if we are going to pay to have the newspaper delivered I need to cut the coupons for things that we use.  I know that we need to rebuild our clothes line so that I can use it instead of the dryer.  I know that I need to remake our envelopes and use them correctly.  I know that I need to stay out of stores unless it is a specific shopping day.  I know that we need to sell some of the stuff that is sitting in the garage waiting to go on craigslist.  

Therefore, these are on my plan.  I know what I want for our life, and I am going to re-institute the discipline to get there!  It might sound crazy, but I am going to squeeze every penny until it screams, and every nickle will have a name and know where it belongs!  Next year at this time, our piggy bank will not be broken and I will have a better sense of control and peace!

Thus, I am starting our planning over, and we are jumping back on to the wagon!

One of Dave Ramsey's (aka Blake's) tweets for today was : 
Blake: There is only one thing worse than being young & deeply in debt: 
being old & deeply in debt. Generation Y - Start a plan today!

The theme of this year for me is all about journeys and have a real plan for my life.  


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Battle of the Bulge - Week 13 - Home Again, Home Again

My post is late again this week.  It looks like moving it to Thursdays on weeks that we are traveling seems to be the best idea.  It is the first day this week I have been home to do the post.  We went to my parents place this last weekend for Memorial Day.  They live near Wakulla Springs, hence the sign.

We had a lot of fun, and going home was a lot less stressful than driving to NC and TN the week before.  But, it was still traveling and I got a nasty cold from all the staying in different places.  Neither of which have been great for the weight loss, but things seemed to have leveled out again yesterday and today.  I also spent Tuesday playing around at Universal with some friends, Ted and Meaghan.  That was a lot of fun and a really good work out, too! I took the pedometer and in 4.5 hours I took 13,334 steps.

Ted and Meaghan have both been really supportive in this journey I am taking and I am really thankful for that.  It was nice being able to see them in person and actually talk some things over with them.  I want to give them BIG BIG thank you!!!  It was also a lot of fun spending time with a couple who is very similar to us, and seeing that I am not the only one married to a long lanky hyper and silly man.  Ted and AJ have been friends since high school and they are so similar I would almost think they shared a personality and are also built the same way, too.

I don't know how much I have officially lost for this week, but I have gotten down to the lowest number so far of 215.2 lbs.  That puts the total weight loss at 18.8 lbs.  I am really happy with that numbers, especially after the last couple of weeks of straight craziness.  I am looking forward to being able to settle back down into a routine.