Experiments in Health and Wellness

by a Human In Recovery

28 Days to a New Me: Day Four – May the 4th be with you

Apparently, for some inexplicable reason, to me anyway, today is Star Wars Day. I first learned of it when I logged into the book of faces and a number of my friends had posted, May the fourth be with you. I have enjoyed the Star Wars movies, both trilogies, however, I doubt I can be considered a true “fan.” That being said, it’s kind of impossible to ignore, so, I decided to pay homage to it.

Moving on . . .

In the accountability group I’m part of for the “28 Days to a New Me,” a project with a book of the same title being released on Amazon in a couple of days, the founder and author, Robert Kennedy III, provides a short daily video, focusing on a different aspect of maintaining and following through on the commitment made for the 28 day period. My commitment is physical activity for 15 minutes each day. Other people have a variety of other commitments from eating green, reading books, intense physical training, and developing habits to overcome or manage other challenges in their lives.

Today’s video spoke about living in the world of reasons vs. the world of performance: a concept he learned about through working with a personal business coach.

The fact is that each and every one of us face challenges on a daily basis, some days (weeks, months, and years) more than others. Injury, illness, mechanical failures, grief, loss, and the list goes on . . . and on, and on, and on.

These things rise up and disrupt our flow, trash our plans, and generally seem to happen at THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. MOMENT. Especially if we have committed to doing something that is life changing for ourselves. I know because it has happened to me each and every time I have decided to take steps to get healthy –  mind, spirit, and body. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

For example: A little over a year ago I decided that the only way I was going to be able to get and stay motivated to attain more physical health was to walk the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon that takes place here every May. Since I didn’t have the finances to pay for my own full registration and I also wanted to do something to “pay it forward,” AND I knew I needed training and suport, I decided to join T.E.A.M. in Training, a fundraising branch of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “We train to beat cancer!” A dear friend of mine had been going through a different form of cancer, as had an extended family member. In my mind, cancer is cancer. I realize there are a myriad forms of it and not every one is the same or has the same expected outcome. However, to me, anything I could offer to benefit cancer research in one area, has the potential to impact cancer research in other areas. At least that is my understanding.

After signing up, going to the initial meetings, and getting assigned the group I would be training with, I found out that the coach was a lady from my past who had been a significant influencer for me the first time I conciously made an effort to affect change in my life, way back in 1989. She is an amazing and beautiful soul and it just seemed like THIS. WAS. THE. THING!

Then, one morning, I was rushing my little girl out of the apartment door so I could get her to her Early Head Start program in time for me to make it to my job on time, instead of late, as had become my pattern in recent weeks. The apartment was a cluttered mess, as usual. For some reason, even though it was before Daylight Savings Time, I turned every light in the apartment out, before opening the door and without turning on the light in the entryway to our apartment. She stopped still, in front of me, quite suddenly, and I felt myself beginning to fall. I was close to what I weigh now, around 270, and she was probably about 30 – 35 lbs. I put my hand up to the short wall between the dining area and the entryway to keep myself from falling and felt something really bad happen in the center of my lower back.

I didn’t have insurance then and I still don’t, so I never got an official diagnosis. What I do know is, based on the continual symptoms I’ve had since that day, I probably herniated a disc or two. That put an end to my T.E.A.M. in Training dreams.

Now, retrospectively, I can see that the injury itself didn’t put an end to my dreams. Self-doubt and fear did.

I didn’t believe I could actually raise the money required to stay with the program before I would be on the hook for having to pay a minimum portion of the goal donations myself. I didn’t believe that I had the capability or the capacity to establish and build enough relationships with people who would pledge and donate on my behalf. I was also afraid of failing. I was afraid of failing to meet the commitment. I was afraid of failing myself. I was afraid of failing so many others the way I’d already failed so many people in my life, up to that point.

Then there was the physical fatigue and pain from the training I was being told about. I was fearful that the training would compound the fatigue and pain I already experience with the fibromyalgia.

There was also the additional expense of needing to get the kind of shoes and supports that I needed in order to train as well as a second pair I would need for the event itself. Due to my size and physical condition, I needed to go to a specialized shoe store to get shoes that fit correctly and specialzed arch support fitted to me. That first pair cost $100 and I had no idea where the money was going to come from to purchase a second pair.

All of these things were valid reasons and concerns. However, at the end of the day, the question is, “Did I do it, yes or no?”

No. Regardless of the reasons and excuses, fears and doubts, valid and invalid, I did not perform. I didn’t recommit every day to perform. I didn’t reframe my thoughts to capture the fears and doubts and wrestle them into motivation to prove them wrong. I focused on my lack and what I thought I couldn’t do, so that’s the reality I created for myself.

Last night, when I realized that there would not be anyone here to stay with my four year old so I could go walking AND that I had a busy day planned, which would challenge both of us and max out my physical, emotional, and social limits, I again started to experience those same old doubts and fears. Only this time, I posted how I was feeling in the group and got them out of my head. Then, I decided that even if I had to patchwork quilt my minimum 15 minutes of activity together today, I was going to make my commitment.

I got one response from a fellow group member:

I believe God will honor your efforts to committed and renew your strength . . . I’ll be praying for Him to make a special way.

A short while later I found out my oldest daughter would be coming to spend the night. So, when my eyes popped open, against my wishes this morning, the realization sank in over the course of about 20 minutes that I COULD go walking this morning and still get out the door on time to make it to church.

The “force” was with me.

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28 Days to a New Me: Day Three – Housework IS physical activity

Yesterday I mentioned that I do not enjoy walking for walking’s sake. I need to have a destination. Honestly speaking, I’m not a physically motivated person. I’m more the epitome of “couch potato.” I really identified with my bloggy pal, Amy West when she wrote this:

You know what my favorite activity really is? Couching. Sitting my lazy ass on the couch, computer in my lap, second-screening something on TV or listening to music. . . . couch. It’s got an indent at one end of it that’s the exact shape of my ass.

I’m the stereotypical Biggest Loser fan who sits on her couch, season after season, watching and listening to all the contestents and the trainers, while frequently eating things that would wind up in a Temptation Challenge. I see aspects of me in most of the contestents’ personal stories: whether it’s hard-knock life circumstances, physical injury/health concerns, and certainly in story after story of those who are so emotionally shut-down and cut off that they either have their walls so high that even Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett have difficulty scaling the heights or they’ve buried themselves underneath so many layers of self-judgment and taken in every negative message available that they’re succumbing to The Swamp of Sorrows. If I remeber correctly, I think I actually submitted an application to the show at some point in the first three seasons, or maybe I just started to and never got through my own resistance.

Resistance. Yeah, that is really at the crux of many of my issues. There’s this resistance and I don’t understand why or what the root of it is. I just know that, in the past, I have given into it in its myriad, diverse forms.

So, here I am, at the end of Day Three, having reframed my expectations about what is “acceptable” physical activity.

I’m almot 44 years old, weigh close to 270 lbs, and am 5’3″ on a good day. Garfield and I could be undertall twins. Factored into all of that, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia I received in my late teens/early 20’s. Back when I would go out dancing at 10 p.m. and close the bar down, while being the only sober one in the joint because I spent the major portion of the night on the dance floor, with or without partners, who could be either gender, I didn’t care. I just wanted . . . NEEDED to dance. I would drink several pitchers of water while everyone else was dowing beer (Yuck! A taste I never acquired). I might occasionally have a mixed drink or two, but usually only if someone else was buying, since I had other financial priorities. Every Friday or Saturday night, occasionally both nights, I would dance away all the stress and tension of the week . . . then spend the next 24 – 48 hours as the only one with the symptoms of the world’s worst hangover.

Eventually, the painful consequences, as well as a second pregnancy where i subsequently wound up single-parenting a second child, put an end to the late night dance parties. I switched to worship dance and fellowship with spiritual seekers and others who participated in Messianic Dance. Physical movement as part of my expression of faith filled the need for self-expression through movement. However, after going all out in worship dance, I would experience the same kind of deep-seated fatigue and lightning strikes of shooting pain and bone deep aching in my body.

I let go of the seemingly irrepressible part of me that ALWAYS wants to move whenever music is on (it doesn’t even have to be “good” music, or so my daughter informs me) and I have been suppressing it for years.

Gradually, I just stopped moving. The depression that had always been Right. There. waiting to take over, slowly and insidiously infiltrated every aspect of my being. Except for the happy, excited, sure I was going to get it done and change my life moments. Which retrospectively, I can now identify most of those as manic/hypomanic episodes where I had this overwhelming sense that I had all the answers and could make the Worst. Plans. Ever. be The Very Thing To Turn My Life Around. In between were times filled with self-doubt, panic, and anxiety. I desperately grasped at anyone and everything to fill me and fix me. Of course that couldn’t ever happen because people and things just can’t do that. It has to come from a soul deep, spiritual connection and internal belief and acceptance of Divine love and acceptance.

And so, my internal reality began to shape my external reality. And not just in the physical shape of my body. It also shaped the physical environments I lived in. Oscar Madison had nothing on me. Chaoctic clutter in my living environment is an apparent manifestation of the internal chaos and clutter.

Change-happens-when-the

Now, that I’ve worked long and hard on the internals and have achieved a level of self-acceptance because I’m opening myself back up to Divine love and acceptance, the old tapes still play, the old patterns still exist, and the old habits are still entrenched, but there are holes in those walls and the cracks are showing. I think this is playing a huge part in me following through to actually get into the 28 Days group and everything else that is happening as a byproduct of my participation and engagement.

Therefore, I’m starting with small commitments and being propelled into much greater action. I walked another two miles after completing yesterday’s commitment. I also had a very difficult time sleeping last night and woke up this morning groggy and heavy-limbed, aching and fatigued. It didn’t help that my oldest daughter wasn’t here to be with my four year old so I could actually get outside, put on my headphones and walk it out.

So, I had to work with what I had and get creative. For sedentary me, washing dishes IS physically demanding for me in my current state AND they needed to be done before they piled up any worse. The New Me gets housework done too.

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28 Days to a New Me: Day Two – A Purposeful walk . . . and unlikely gratitude

Welcome to Day 2 of my 28 day journey to a new me.

If you are anything like me, exercising and fitness just for the sake of exercising and getting physically fit, is not a great turn on. As a matter of fact, for me, it is a HUGE turn off.

I’m not exactly sure why. I know that exercise does good things for my mind, spirit, and body. Somehow, though, that knowledge isn’t enough to motivate me just by itself. Perhaps it is part of the lifelong habit of not taking care of me because, somehow and for some reason, I don’t feel “worth” taking care of.

I know that healthy mom makes for a healthier child and since I want my four year old to be healthier than I have ever been, as well as “naturally” able to make healthier choices than I was able to teach her older brother and sister, who are now adults, to make, you might think that would be motivation enough. Well, it isn’t. Again, I’m not exactly sure why it isn’t motivation enough for me to get off my kiester and get moving, I just know that it isn’t.

Being somewhat task oriented, I have to identify a task that needs completing and know that I can somehow incorporate taking care of myself into the process of completing that task. Today’s task was to apply to get Luna into the full-day pre-kindergarten program at our neighborhood school for next year. She has already been accepted into the local Head Start Program to be in a classroom next year, which is a fabulous program. However, there are a couple of reasons I want to put her into the neighborhood school.

I have this dream, or goal, of building community relationships with other families who are nearby, which we don’t currently have. Having her be in the neighborhood school with kids she will progress into kindergarten, then elementary school with, will help me to do something for her that I never had a chance at and that my other children didn’t get to experience: stability of relationships with people outside of the immediate family, which will, hopefully, follow her into her adult life.

Part of this vision is that I will walk her to and from school each day, thus getting myself physically active at least five days a week and teach her to do the same. I hope that establishing the routine of walking to and from school each day will also serve as time and opportunity for us to bond and engage in being present, aware and interactive with our surroundings and each other.

That being said, we also live in the Pacific Northwest, where it gets cold and rainy . . . the kind of weather that can trigger a fibroflare of pain and fatigue, which can make it problematic if I have to walk very far facing the elements. I also don’t own rain gear (go figure) and know myself well enough to know that if the weather is too icky, I will definitely use the fibromyalgia fatigue and pain as an excuse not to walk outdoors. Thankfully, we have an EXCELLENT transit system here and the nearest bus stop to our home is approximately 3 blocks away and the bus line that goes to her school has stops within a block of the school going in both directions. So, even when the weather or the fibromyalgia rise up to dissuade me from leaving the apartment, I know I have zero excuse to prevent me from making sure I get her to school.

Knowing that she has a place in the local Head Start Program is reassuring and something to be extremely grateful for, which I am. However, the two nearest locations aren’t necessarily “ideal” to support my dream and vision for how I want to raise Luna in the near future.

Day two of my journey, included me taking steps to make this dream, as well as my other dream to become employable as or build a “saleable” portfolio as a “professional”  writer, more of a reality.

How so?

Well, first by writing about these things here on the blog. It adds to my content portfolio. Secondly, in today’s market, having the skill to write good content is essential. However, there is this concept of “branding,” which current wisdom dictates that I be able to express myself in other mediums as well, such as video.  Creating yesterday’s video taught me a lot. Today’s video built on what I learned yesterday. It is approximately twice as long, six minutes, and it incorporates music, which is available through the Splice app that I used to create it. I hope you enjoy it, I think it came out rather well.

Oh, and you’ll have to watch the video if you want to know what unlikely thing I am grateful for . . .

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28 Days to a New Me: Day One or How I managed to get my butt in gear

It’s been a long while since I posted in this blog. That would probably be that it’s been a long time since I really committed to putting me as a priority. I originally started this blog as a means of holding myself accountable to taking care of me. Obviously that didn’t quite happen. So, what was missing?

Accountability and community.

Knowing that at least one other person is engaged and willing to hold me accountable to following through on my own goals is a critical component, for me at least. However, the life I had built for myself was one of isolation and social avoidance. I had let go of most of my previous friendships (or they had let go of me) and the few supportive relationships I allowed myself to have were from paid professionals – specifically paid professionals who were standing in my many parenting gaps with my now four year old daughter, Luna. So, while their roles were/are supportive of me as a mother, which acknowledged I need to pay attention to me as a person, their focus has been on Luna’s social and emotional development, which is as it should be.

Paying for gym memberships, signing up (then backing out) of T.E.A.M. in training to raise funds and awareness for Lymphoma and Leukemia, and a myriad of other external tools didn’t do the trick for me. There weren’t any personal connections prior to my signing up for those things, no relationships outside of those arenas. Emails, general pep talks, and group training schedules just plain did not work for me.

In March I joined an group of supportive and encouraging people called Dream Stoker Nation. There were people whom I knew and already knew who I am, in a personal context, in this group of people. They were all pursuing their dreams, which are as dynamic and diverse as they are. I was happily welcomed into this group. One member, who is NOT someone I knew in a personal context, Robert Kennedy III, was talking about his e-book that is close to publication, 28 Days to a New Me. It sounded interesting, and as I’ve done so many times with so many things, I explored it and signed up.

More emails I probably won’t look at as they fill up my electronic inbox. Yeah, good move.

However, I was in the process of opening my primary blog, Human In Recovery, up to guest bloggers and invited Robert to join me in that endeavor. He did so with enthusiasm, insight, and caring. He also continued to post his personal progress toward his dream in our Dream Stoker Group. He did something else too. He would post questions and his updates which are designed to get people to state their intentions and goals, to commit to a course of action. He asked us to join him in accountability.

And so, on the final day of the calendar for April, I took the leap and committed to participate with a closed group of others in an online accountability and support group for engaging in 28 Days to a New Me.

Then I found out what the expectations were.

  1. Identify a single, doable, measurable goal to focus on for 28 days. Explain how you plan to achieve said goal.

Easy peasy. Erm, not so much. My manic mind swirled with the possibilities. Finally I settled on 10 – 15 minutes of some kind of physical activity each day, to be done first thing after I get dressed. Uh uh, not specific enough. Oh well, I don’t want to underset the goal with only 10 minutes, but because of the fibromyalgia, I don’t want to overcommit and not follow through. No worries, this is a judgment free zone. Go for the 15 and if you don’t quite get there, it will be fine, we’ll still encourage and support you. 15 minutes it is, then. Woohoo!

2. Post proof.

Um, say what? How do I do that? Being the wordsmith I am, I could write about the activity without ever actually doing the activity. That means video. Really, actually show my face and possibly body, on video, huffing and puffing my way through 15 minutes of activity? No one wants to see that, I’m sure. However, I couldn’t figure out any other way to accomplish said task.

Well, thanks to modern technology, you really don’t even need a computer or any technical skills in order to do such a thing. Who knew? I didn’t. Well, I suspected, but had never really seen the need for me to figure that out. Video blogging, vlogging, was not ever anything I could imagine myself doing in a million years. However, I was aware that YouTube has an app for my iPhone called YouTube Capture. So, I downloaded that. I used it to record a couple of quick vids at the beginning and end of my walk.

As I was walking, I took pictures of flowers, trees, and an urban farm that were along my path. I also took a couple of sceen shots showing the weather/temp, and my phone’s stopwatch showing the extra minutes I had walked after my 15 minute timer had gone off.

Once I got inside, I searched the app store for a video editing app and found an app called Splice. I watched the first video tutorial then played around with my first project. Once I was relatively satisfied I used the YouTube Capture to upload the video, then posted the link into the group.

Here is the finished product and proof of Day One of 28 Days to a New Me.

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Start where you’re at

Seems like common sense, right?

Yeah, sometimes with me, not so much. I wonder if I’m the only one who carries around the thought that I did the whole restart reawakening thing on July 22nd and got all gung ho about taking better care of me, then dropped the ball. So, now I have over three months worth of inactivity, poor eating, binge eating, and excuses to make up for.

Nope. Not gonna go there. I’m going to start where I am today, at this moment.

I missed two busses on my way to a mental health appointment for myself. Instead of calling and cancelling because of the time crunch and the physical pain of the fibromyalgia in combination with the possible herniated disc/pinched nerve/sciatica induced pain throughout my lower left side and ongoing, arthritis-like pain in the hip and knee, I decided it was too important to miss and I walked.

Well, hobbled really.

1.9 miles in 45 minutes. Three quarters of the way there my right ankle started hurting because I was favoring the left side too much. So, I figured out how to limp equally and balanced out the pain and discomfort. I survived. An hour later I reversed the process. However, I stopped and ate Taco Bell for lunch. Burrito Supreme, hard Taco Supreme, and Lipton Brisk Raspberry Iced Tea. Not the healthiest of meals, but I’ve chosen worse. Also, baby steps. Not gonna down myself for not having it all together this day, since I hadn’t actually planned on restarting my fitness routine. I’m just going to start where I’m at.

Later, I had my little girl walk the 1.4 miles to the gym so I could get in the pool and hot tub to try to counteract the pain and stiffness from all the other walking. It did help, a little. But, I’m about to take some P.M. pain meds and try to sleep.

With prayer and supplication I plead to God to save me from the fibro boomerang effect and be able to physically function when I wake up. It will be a new day and I plan to start where I am at then.

 

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Reawakening

I came across the plaintive cry of a fellow human in pain yesterday.  The same kind of pain I’ve been in regarding my weight and my body image.  Reading her words touched something inside me and reignited my desire to fight for my physical health.

The journey to health and wellness is multilayered and focusing only on one aspect: nutritional or physical without also addressing the mental/emotional conditions that underlie the dis-ease of being unhealthy and overweight, means that nothing ever really changes with any consistency for any length of time.  So, for now, I’m going to set a few small goals and take it from here.

1st: Nutrition Goal: Replace sugared & artificially sweetened beverages with water.  I will achieve that goal by drinking 8 oz of water before I take a drink of anything else. At the end of each day I will measure how much water I drank vs how much I drank of other beverages.

2nd: Activity Goal: Walk an hour a day.  Since I have fibromyalgia and am coming from a completely sedentary way of life, I will start with ten minute walks each day for five days. Then add a additional 10 minute walks each day until I am able to walk a total of an hour in a day.  Then work my way to walking an hour at a time.

3rd: Identify one self-defeating thought or belief and create an opposing affirmation. Each day I will start off with the affirmation, “I have the energy I need to make healthy choices today.” Then, whenever the negative, self-defeating thought regarding low energy/high fatigue levels hit me, I will choose to counteract them with that affirmation.

My plan for tomorrow is to wake up and take my starting measurements, not just physically, but also measure where I am in my thoughts, feelings, and physicality.

There are two important events coming up on August 11th and the following week, that I want to be prepared for as much as possible. I have 20 days before I will be around people I was in high school with a very long time ago.  It’s an informal 25 year reunion.  I know that many of us have the middle age spread.  However, thanks to facebook, I know that many of the others who are planning on being there do not.  I know that 20 days is not enough time to actually achieve much in the physical.  However, I believe that by doing this and addressing the mental/emotional while starting on the physical, I’ll stand a better chance at actually being present and experiencing the reunion and relating to the others in the here and now.

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Walking with Walgreen’s

Well, here goes another new effort to get into my exercise groove.

I’ve been a total couch potato and numbing my brain and emotions with too much On Demand television.  Due to a couple of weeks off work and at home due first to a sick child and then due to no school for Spring Break combined with the inertia of apathetic depression, I have been overdosing on a variety of inane television, including Celebrity Apprentice.  The most recent episode had the contestants creating a starting kit for the new Walking with Walgreen’s program.  So, I decided to sign up for this and try to get moving again, since my last attempt to motivate myself by joining the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program to participate in the Portland Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon this year fell through…another story for another time.  Suffice it to say that events out of my control made it all to easy for me to give up my resolve.  Moving on…

I signed up online  a couple of days ago.  However, due to physical pain (severe lower back pain) and cold, wet weather, I didn’t walk more than my usual .9 mi/day to & from work.  Today, I did walk from work to the grocery store, to follow through on an errand I’d promised my adult daughter I would do for her, and then I walked to Walgreen’s.  Total walked from work to Walgreen’s = 1 mile.  Then I walked home which added .7 mile.  When I went to pick my daughter up from her Early Head Start program, I walked some more while waiting on buses, which added another mile to my total for the day. Here are the stats for today:

0.4 mi = Round Trip: Home to bus stop to get daughter to Early Head Start

0.4 mi = Home to work

0.7 mi = Work to grocery store

0.3 mi = Grocery store to Walgreen’s

0.7 mi = Walgreen’s to home

1.5 mi = Walking between buses: Home to Head Start & back

Grand Total for the day: 4 miles

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.  It’s the weekend and the forecast is overcast and 57 degrees – so kind of cool and humid.  The plan is to visit my old church family in a city that is three buses and about an hour away from where we live.  Then go from there to my daughter’s grandmothers in a different city that is three more buses and almost two hours away from the church.  Not sure how much walking will happen during all of that, but I’ll try to stay on target.

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Wednesday progress report – holding steady with a step back

Walking the 2.8 miles this morning felt more difficult, but I managed to do it in the same amount of time as I did yesterday, 55 minutes.  It just seemed like my calves and hamstrings were stiffer and my knees felt sore and tender on the insides, especially my right one that I had injured over the summer.

My eating was ok, until I was on my way home from the gym, after walking to the gym from work and swimming vigorously for 20 minutes.  I had a red apple with 1-2 oz of cheddar cheese at 9 am, and two servings of Better Oats oatmeal a little after 11.  I didn’t get hungry like I did over the previous two days.  I had resolved not to stop in and get anything from the Safeway deli, but started feeling hungry AND I was experiencing some emotional stress after a brief conversation with my oldest daughter and thinking about the ramifications of that conversation.  So, I stopped in at Taco Bell and got a 5 layer Cheesy Beef Burrito. Oh, wow!  I just checked the nutritional info and, God willing, I won’t make that choice again.  After I got home, I started a soup from a dry mix for dinner.  However, I also made a LOT of popcorn on the stove, using EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and seasoned it with some seasoning salt and Parmesan Cheese, which I shared with my toddler, but I probably consumed 3 cups of it on my own.  Then I ate a nutty kind of homemade cookie.  Oh yeah, I also ate a couple of bbq potato chips while waiting for the popcorn to pop. Oy veh…

Now, I’m feeling physically bloated and icky.  Mentally and emotionally I can’t believe I did that and am feeling quite frustrated and upset with myself.  Time to step it out and do some prayer and meditation to process this, maybe even log on to the recovery chat room to see if there’s anyone to taverlk to.  This is probably why it’s essential to have a sponsor.

On a positive note, I met a lady at the gym yesterday who told me about an online community called SparkPeople.  It’s a free supportive community for people trying to achieve health goals, like losing weight.  So, I’ve registered and we’ll see how it goes.

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Off to a good start

On Sunday, 12/18/11, I started fitness walking again.  I started off fairly easy.  I walked about 1.4 miles walking in a “circle” on the sidewalks in the neighborhood around my home.  I did it in a little under half an hour.  I was stoked.  I probably could have walked more, but was on a schedule – we’d missed the previous two Sundays at church and I was on the calendar to be with the little ones, so had to make sure I was there.  While at church, I told a few people about my plan to work with TEAM in Training and walk a marathon or half marathon in 2012, and asked that they support me with prayer and accountability.

Yesterday, Monday, 12/19/11, I walked 1.9 miles in the morning in a little under 40 minutes and swam vigorously for 20 minutes after work and walked 1.1 miles home from the gym.  Ended the day by overeating on pizza, but not the way I used to.  Progress, not perfection.

Today, Wednesday, 12/20/11, I actually walked 2.8 miles in 55 min this morning!  Then I walked to the gym from work (.8 mi), swam vigorously for 35 minutes, and walked home the 1.1 mile.  But, boy was I HUNGRY!

I’ve been eating at least one or two pieces of fruit, drinking more water and less sugared drinks, and trying to avoid sugary/salty snacks.  I made sure I had breakfast on Sunday before going to church, but didn’t bring food even though I knew we were going to be gone out and about afterwards.  Ate McDonald’s for lunch – the Chicken Selects.  Yes it was breaded, but I only got the three piece and didn’t up size the order.  For a beverage I filled my cup 3/4 of the way with the unsweetened tea and topped it off with the sweet tea, instead of getting a soda or filling the cup with sweet teas.  Little changes at a time.  For dinner I had put a roast in the crockpot before heading to church, so I ate roast beef and veggies.

Monday, I only ate the apple for breakfast and didn’t take anything else to work with me, so when I left to go to the gym at 1 pm I was already hungry before I got into the pool.  By the time I left the gym I was feeling a bit weak and shaky.  So, when I got a text asking me to bring a 2 ltr of Cherry Dr. Pepper home from Safeway, I stopped at the deli and picked up a couple of pieces of chicken wings.  Only two.  I had put the leftover beef in the crockpot along with some dry soup mix, a can of french onion condensed soup, the beef stock with fat scraped off from the roast, a couple of chopped potatoes, a bag of frozen peas and carrots, and some water.  Apparently, it wasn’t enough water, because it was very thick textured when I got home.  The veggies had completely mushed into the rest of the food.  I wound up adding a few ladles of water and some seasoning salt, since it was kind of bland.  The flavor wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t horrible either.  I sent the majority with my son, since the rest of my family refused to eat any.  Since I was extremely hungry by the time I got home from the gym, I actually ate a couple of bowls.  A few hours later I wound up ordering pizza for the rest of my family and wound up eating three pieces of my own and finishing a piece of my toddler’s.  Not my proudest moment.  I did taste the soda, but it tasted like syrupy, cherry flavored cough medicine, ugh.

First thing when I got up this morning, I got a glass of water.  I didn’t finish it, but I drank about 2/3 of it.  I took an apple and a packet of oatmeal to work, along with the remainder of the leftovers of my crockpot creation.  I was hungry all day even after eating the food I’d taken with me to work.  On the way home from the gym I stopped at Safeway again and got a couple of their chicken livers.  Yep, breading again, but livers are nutritious right?  Got home and ate a couple of pieces of reheated pizza, then, again, wound up finishing off the toddler’s piece after she abandoned it.  I really need to stop doing that.  Put legs in the crockpot with barbeque sauce for dinner.  I’m not hungry now.  So, hopefully, I can refrain from eating anymore, since I’m NOT hungry.

In the meantime, while I wait for the information meeting for TEAM to take place in January, I did some research about the event I plan on participating in.  The Portland Rock and Roll half marathon.  I’ve found out I will have to come up with between $115-$135 to register.  Considering the financial straits my family is in, this would be a daunting task and one which would have previously made me decide to give up before I even got started.  This time though, I’m going to trust God to work out the details and I’m just going to keep focusing on increasing my physical activity and improving my nutrition while I work the 12 Steps of Recovery for my compulsive eating issues.

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Starting point

I’m 42 years old and will be turning 43 this year.  I have a three year old who can easily outrun me.  I’m 100 lbs overweight and have constant pain in my lower back and hips.  I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia three different times, a decade apart, starting in 1990, and have struggled with depression my entire adult life.  I’m also a food addict and severe codependent. I don’t sleep well, experience fatigue much of the time, and hardly exercise.  With God’s help, all that is about to change!

As a matter of fact, the change has already begun.  Yesterday, I walked 1.2 miles in about 25 minutes.  My first goal is to walk a 15 minute mile.  My big goal? I’m planning to participate in the Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on May 20, 2012 and raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their TEAM in Training program.  So, I have 22 weeks to transition from fat to fit.

I’m a little skeptical with myself about doing this.  After all, how many times have I started an exercise regimen and decided to change my eating in an effort to lose weight and get healthy?  I’ve lost count.  I’ve always started well, that has never been my problem.  The problem is that I have always let life circumstances, other people’s priorities, and my own lack of confidence and sheer laziness get in and take over.  That’s because I’ve only ever tried to do it under my own power and never in relationship with God.  So, the past doesn’t have to define the future and this time can be and will be different.

I’m excited to see what will happen and how my life is about to change.

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