Still Striving to improve myself, one board break at a time

Posts tagged ‘health’

The Heart

When we’re children, we never think about our internal organs. Human anatomy is taught to us in the form of voluntary and involuntary muscles, the brain, nerves. We know that there are 206 bones in the skeleton and that there are at least 639 named skeletal muscles.  As we grow up, we start paying attention to how our muscles work, how they look and how we look on the outside as our muscles grow.  We think about our bodies as workhorses. We never think about what’s going on inside. We fill our bodies with fuel that may or may not be the best. We eat fried foods, we eat vegetables, fruits, red meat, white meat, fish, shellfish, whatever strikes our fancy.

Suddenly, we’re adults, and we have to contend with the need to be more mindful of our diets. We may learn that we have high cholesterol levels, diabetes or other life-threatening conditions. Obesity is also in the hunt to take over some of us. We don’t think of that as younger adults. We enjoy life and spend our time partying, playing a cosmic game of Risk.

Fast forward to being “middle-aged.” Now we have more time to consider the implication of our previous unhealthy lifestyles. At every physical checkup, blood is drawn and tested.  You feel like a lab rat. You have your blood tested for A1C levels, for cholesterol, for normal functioning. Your doctor tells you to change your habits, your diet. You may or may not be put on medication. Advice to exercise may also be given.  Failure to comply may or may not cause complications.

My husband of twenty-six years was reasonably careful with his diet, but it wasn’t enough, and at the end of August, he complained of feeling weak and nauseous when we were out at dinner. I wasn’t sure if it was a bad meal, but when he put his head down on the table and didn’t respond to me for a couple of seconds, I was more than slightly concerned. He was disoriented when he sat back up. He knew where he was but not that he’d had an ‘episode.’ We waited for a little while before we left. He was feeling “woozy” so I stuck to his side until we got to the car. He dozed off as I drove him home. He was able to get out of the car and into bed without any issue.

The next day, he was still feeling weak, so I took him to an urgent care visit. That doctor checked him over but didn’t run any stress tests or anything. He did recommend that he go to our GP as soon as possible. My husband made an appointment and got in after work one day that week.

At that visit, he was referred to a cardiologist and got an appointment for the next week. I went with him and am very glad that I did. The doctor listened to all the symptoms we described and said, “you need to go to this hospital…NOW.” He told us that it sounded like he had a heart attack or some sort of episode. I was told to drive because he wasn’t willing to risk the chance that something could happen on the way there. He was admitted through ER–it was meant to be temporary, but the bloodwork they ran screamed “worry!” to the doctors.

They took him up that afternoon to the Cardiac Cath lab floor. He was prepped and made ready for an angioplasty. I stayed in his room and waited for the hour or so it took for them to explore his arteries and veins. When he came back to his room, he was the proud owner of two stints in one artery and advice that he’d have to do it over again.

He spent the rest of September eating better, exercising and trying to recover from his first angioplasty. I hovered over him for a few days after his surgery to make sure he didn’t do stupid things (he didn’t!). He went back to work and resumed life. There was a follow-up appointment with the cardiologist who scheduled another angioplasty for him.

That was at the end of the last week. The appointment was on Friday afternoon. We went to the hospital around 1:00, got him checked in and then we went to the room where he’d wait for the next few hours to be taken back to the lab. They took him back thirty minutes after the time they’d told us. I waited in that room until I got a call from the concierge at the hospital who said he was still in surgery, but that it was going well. They told me that he was going to spend the night but that he hadn’t been assigned a room/bed yet. I went to the nurses’ station, asked about it and was told that I could stay in the room I was waiting in, but that it was not the room he’d sleep in. I stayed there for another 30 minutes until someone came to get me. They took me to the second floor, where my husband’s room was. When I got in there, he was flirting with his nurses. They got him tucked in, got water for him and made sure he had a menu for dinner–he was starved!

His doctor came into the room at 7:30 that evening and showed us pictures of where the newest stints were placed. He now has a grand total of four. This doctor is pretty cool, in my opinion. He explained that he wasn’t willing to put a stent in unless he felt it was absolutely necessary. In my husband’s case, it was.

He’s a lucky man. One artery was blocked in two places-100% and 90%. Those were repaired in September. The two arteries opened up this time around were 80% and 70% blocked. He feels better.  He’s been out walking. He walked a mile the day he came home from the hospital.

It’s quite a challenge to see someone you love go through this. I had no idea how dangerous this situation was until we got him to that hospital in September. I’ve always been a champion of heart health but even more so now. I feel lucky that my best friend is still with me.

 

 

Success and then some

I have been tracking faithfully on MyFitnessPal and somewhat faithfully on eTools, plus using a paper tracker so I can find where my issues are.  It’s amazing to see how many times I “overate”.  When I did, I found a surprise too–I lost weight!!   That was a huge surprise.  Even bigger was the fact that I am adding protein to what I typically eat–eating MORE and that’s been the key to my losses.  No, I’m not losing huge amounts (we’d all be scared senseless!) but I’m seeing some losses. 

This week, I didn’t eat as well as I should have and I saw a gain.  It was .8.  I didn’t freak out, I didn’t go ballistic and pout. I accepted it.  I knew, going in, that I’d probably see a gain.  Again, not a big deal. Gains and losses are part of the journey. I just have to knuckle down and refocus, remember to TRACK and keep it up.  I’m not confident enough in my abilities to know completely how many points something is.  Part of the key to success is being able to recognize this.  I’m working on it.

I have a week (well, four days) to work on eating right.  I also need to add in exercise because I want to start being more active.  I’ve made excuses and that’s all they are–excuses.  I’ve said “It’s too hot.” or “I’m too tired”.  Those are JUST excuses.  I can ride my bike for 30 minutes when it’s 100+ after work and I’m not going to melt.  Likewise, I can take shorts and a tee shirt, plus my sneakers and get in a 20-30 minute walk at work.  It’ll be movement.  I know someone who has a heart problem, who is out every single day, RUNNING.  If she can do that, I’m pretty darned sure I can get my lazy butt off the couch and “move it, move it.”  

I went to a bike shop  yesterday to find a good pair of cycling shorts because I DO want to start riding more.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any help because there were a bunch of super fit guys in there.  I need to learn to not let my insecurities get the best of me.  I need to learn to ask for help, especially when it comes to making sure I’m fitted out to be able to do what I eventually want to do, which is to try to ride with a cycling club. I like cycling enough that I’m thinking I’d like to try it.

 

Healthy eating–and starting over

I am finding that it is NOT easy to eat well.  It’s hard to make good choices that include vegetables, protein and essential oils.  I have yet to include a healthy oil in my food choices.  I AM eating more protein though.  That’s the key to this week.  More protein. I just have to make sure my choices are healthy proteins.  This means that I have to actually cook better foods. As part of the WW 360 program, there’s  “Success Handbook” that allows you to work with it to find your trigger points, motivation,  losses, etc. I am actually USING the book now!  I’ve had it for about 3-4 months but its been sitting on my counter.  Now I’m writing in it (it’s interactive) and thinking about my reasons for following Weight Watchers. I have always subscribed to the “you have to cut out fats/oils/sugars” theory, although I didn’t do well with the “cut out sugars”.  In reading the success handbook, in talking to my Leader, I’ve actually learned a bit.  You can’t cut everything out (that was the topic of the last Meeting, too!).  If you do, you binge.  That’s always been me.  Fad diets?  Yep.  I’ve tried ’em.  High protein/low carb (think pre-Atkins).  Yep, tried that too.  South Beach diet?  Been there.  Lost weight on the HP/LC but because I didn’t stick with it, I gained it all back, with friends. I want my weight loss to “stick”.  I have struggled my entire life with diets that didn’t work.  I was never taught about portion control.  I have worked on that recently.  I now measure things like peanut butter.  One tablespoon is a LOT. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it is HUGE. I have joined and quit WW more times than I care to count.  I tried going it alone several times, but fizzled out in ’00 and again in ’02.  In ’03, I started up in Martial Arts, so was working out, but didn’t really count points.  I don’t believe I ate correctly then, but because I was working out three hours a week, and Saturdays, I managed to lose some weight.  Before my black belt testing started, when I was around green to red belt, I started up on WW again. I actually attended meetings.  I lost/gained/lost but had impetus to keep going.  Then I got sick for a week with Strep, lost huge (you can’t really eat if your throat hurts).  I didn’t gain it back, amazingly.  I randomly followed WW, but left the program while I was training for my belt test in September. I managed to lose and kept most of the weight off.  I was never “tiny” at best.  I gained and lost and gained and lost. I re-joined WW last August, so it’s been almost a year now.  August 16 is my year anniversary.  I have really only lost 12 pounds in that year.  I became annoyed, frustrated and more frustrated. In the past two months, I’ve seen gains.  Was NOT pleased with myself.  I finally decided to ask for help.  I couldn’t keep seeing gains. I started tracking (on MFP only, but recently again on WW and on paper).  I asked my leader for help.  She said I had to count the points, but she didn’t say I absolutely HAD to use eTools.  I am using them so that I can count my points.  I will not give up WW…I will be successful.  I can feel it.  Maybe this week will be a good one. I am not happy about my gains, but there it is.  I gained.  I am not “the biggest loser”.  Not yet, anyway.

Frustration

I weighed in last night and was UP another .2.  Now I know I’m not the most conscientious eater.  I do eat things that I “shouldn’t eat”.  I eat salt on my pasta.  I eat chocolate (love my chocolate!!).  I eat cakes and cookies upon occasion too.

So when I weighed in and it was up, I went nuts.  I’ve been faithfully documenting my food intake.  I’m NOT hiding it.  I don’t use the eTools that I’m paying for, but I use MFP and I’m USING IT!!  I’ve checked in and logged my food daily for a month.  What I’m seeing and my consciences (you know who you are!!) are seeing is that I eat too much sodium.  Processed food, crap like that.  My dear friend, S, recommended I make my own goodies.  She said she knows people who do and they’re happy and not whining about their weight like I am.  (She never said I was whining, I did, because I am.)

MFP is a habit I’m not likely to break now that I’ve been doing it for over a month.  I need to add in eTools now and do that religiously.  I need to get in those important things like oils (olive, canola, something–in my oatmeal?  Ummmmm. I’ll think about that!!  You’re suggesting that to a hard headed mule, I’ll have you know!!)  and my multivitamins in.  I carry them to work, but what’s the point of that if you don’t take them?

The point of this blog isn’t to sit and say “oh poor me, I’m not losing weight, feel sorry for me.”  It’s to say, “Okay, you aren’t eating healthy foods, you need more veggies (need a tracker for that, thank you MFP!!) and you need to keep exercising.”  I  *have* added exercise into my daily regime.  I have a new Beachbody DVD that I love because it’s kickboxing and is lots of fun! In fact, I didn’t do it yesterday, so I get to do it today.

I asked someone if I could go walk with her on Sunday. 7 1/2 miles..  I think that makes part of the 5k’s you wanted me to walk in 2 weeks, K.  I’ll do it!!

So check with me in a couple of days and see if I’m actually walking the walk.  I need accountability and I need a quick shove in the back.

 

Starting over, only better

I gained. I weighed in last night and found out that I gained.  I was pissed.  I wasn’t just pissed, I was massively pissed. I still am, however, it’s nobody’s fault but my own. I am the only one who can change this.  I had a long talk with my Leader and told her I wasn’t feeling the motivation.  I don’t have an anchor. We had an exercise a few weeks ago where we thought about what we could use as our anchor-the motivation to keep us on our path.  I couldn’t visibly come up with one. I got discouraged and frustrated. And I let other stupid, outside things bother me.  That’s not really me. I can’t be stupid like that.  I need to get over that and move on.

Fast forward to last night.  I told my Leader that I was unhappy and not feeling good about things.  She advised me to focus on the positives and not beat myself up over the negatives.  I am working on that. I may have found my anchor-my bike.  I posted a picture of it and am thinking that my goal to be able to ride up hills without stopping and walking may be my point of motivation.  I have what others don’t have.  I have good health.  I have reasonably good weather (even despite the humidity!). I have a supportive husband and the few friends who are there and keep pushing me to succeed. I will make it happen.

I don’t expect everything to happen all at once, but I do expect that I’ll be riding my bike every day of the week by the end of June. That’s a reasonable goal to set and achieve. I have to constantly remind myself that I am not other people.  I am myself.  If I keep trying to compare myself to others, I will be one highly unhappy person. Therefore, I am blocking out the negative thoughts I had about their successes (“Why can’t I be the one losing a billion pounds?” “Why can’t I spend my free time in a gym, working out?” “Why don’t I have the support system other people have?”)  I am not other people. This isn’t about them, it’s about me, and only me.

I’ve started over.  I’m using MyFitnessPal to document my food and exercise. I have a Fitbit to track my daily activity levels.  I debate on whether or not to spend another $35.00 to get a ActivLink from Weight Watchers to go along with my Fitbit.  That entails a $5.00/month subscription to upload my activity to eTools.  I haven’t justified that to myself yet. I will concentrate on one thing at a time. This week, my plan is to use MFP to document my food and activity. If you have an MFP account, you’re welcome to “friend” me.  The more friends I have, the more I’ll use it and do what I’m supposed to do, which is to document and make things work. Otherwise, just ask me if I’ve worked out.  That helps, believe it or not. Just send me a message and I’ll give you my MFP user name.

Speaking of working out…I’m doing a squat challenge with a friend.  Today’s total is 70. Tomorrow is 75, then 80.  Then we rest and go after it again with 80, 85, 90.  I think that’s how I read it.  7 sets of 10 reps. Otherwise I have to do 6 sets of 12 and that’s an odd number. Well, you know what?  Who cares? I’ll do it anyway, just to be difficult. I did find that it helped yesterday.  My mantra, while I was out on my bike, was “My legs are stronger. My legs are stronger.” My legs won’t be the only thing stronger.  My mind will also be stronger. As I work on my physical strength and weight loss, I’m also working on my mental health.  I need to ditch the baggage that says I’m not good enough.  I AM good enough. I am me and only me. I’m responsible for how I feel/what I do. I feel good and plan on keeping it that way.

 

Kryptonite and Confidence

What is your Kryptonite?  My mind, that obnoxious little voice in my head that tells me I have to be in competition with others, that I’m not as good as them, etc. is my Kryptonite. That little voice wears down my confidence.

After the excitement of losing my 10%, I didn’t go to two meetings and definitely didn’t track.  It showed up on the scale last week.  I committed myself to tracking again—my leader says “You only plan to lose weight on the days you track.”  I listened and tracked.  I upped my water as I’d slacked off on drinking and instead, netted a gain of .2. That, in and of itself, is not overly bad. It’s just frustrating on top of what I saw last week. I know it’s all a part of the cycle, but I was irritated and then some. I did weigh in though.  That could have been a “nope.  Not going to do it.”  I faced the music and owned my weight.  Wasn’t pleased.  Still am not, but am doing something about it.

On Facebook, I am constantly bombarded by people who share their apparent successes all the time.  I never see them telling people that they’ve had setbacks.  I get frustrated by that because I’m sure they do have setbacks.  I wonder if they think that people won’t be cheering them on if they admit to it? I guess it’s a matter of how they perceive their reality.  I really have to stop basing my success vision on what I see other people doing/saying.  I don’t know how much of what they’re posting is just a “I’m going to post because people expect me to post feel good stuff.”

I struggle with motivation to exercise.  I don’t LIKE to work out. I was recently told that I need to be putting in a couple of hours a day in order to meet an unrealistic goal I set. I have since changed that goal because 1. It was highly unrealistic and 2. I want to do things in a healthy way, not an obsessed way. I don’t have the money to spend hours in a gym every day. The main reason I don’t want to go to a gym, in addition to the lack of funding, is that I feel like people are staring at me and judging me.  I’m 5’4″ and carry my weight in my stomach, butt, hips and thighs.  I am highly self conscious.  I don’t want to have some uber fit people stare at me and say “why is that fat person here?”  Yes, I know that the uber fit people are more likely not interested in one lowly person like me, but it’s my perception. That’s the self consciousness talking. It demonstrates a lack of confidence in myself.

I was invited to a group on Facebook to “skip the weighing in May”.  I won’t be joining, mainly because that’s my accountability of success.  Yes, it’s only numbers on the scale, but…that’s how I track my personal success. These people that are running that group are very supportive of each other and cheer each other on constantly.  Sometimes I wish they’d actually hunt me down, either on my page or in messages and ask me, “how are you doing?”  I do feel like they’re disgusted with me and refuse to talk to me because I don’t belong to their support groups and things. Again, it’s my perception of things. I kind of would like to see a message from them saying “keep it up!” They look at my pictures and share those, but there isn’t ever a pat on the back or an ‘atta-girl’.  Sometimes that means a lot. Maybe not to a lot of people, but to this person who is desperate for some recognition for making changes that are just as significant as what others are doing, it’s a lot. Again, this is a confidence issue.  I don’t want to compare myself to these people who lose all the time, who are not struggling with mental issues about weight and self image. I don’t need that and frankly, while I’m flattered that they invited me, I question why they asked me.  I’m sure it was about being nice and trying to be supportive.

This isn’t about other people. It’s about ME.  Yes, I gained. Am I happy about it?  Oh hell no! I am in control of my own destiny.  I will get this off. I don’t plan on it taking me another 8 months to reach 10%. I plan on making my next 10% in the next four months or so. It’s doable.  I won’t tell you how much I have to lose, but it’s a lot. Let’s just say that by the end of May, I want to be 2 inches smaller (I guess I better take measurements now!), I want to be exercising at least 3 times a week (this will happen, guaranteed!) and I want to be more confident in myself.

Once upon a time, I earned a black belt.  I was a lot heavier then than I am now.  I want to get that confident feeling back.  I want to feel as accomplished as I did then. I want to be healthy and happy.  I admit I have problems.  I am a food addict, I lack self confidence and I want acknowledgement that I am just as good as other people. I need to stop competing with people because it makes me feel resentful of their successes and makes me demean myself. I am just as good as anyone else. I have to stop comparing myself to them. I am a good person.  I just need to remember this and repeat it constantly.

 

 

A Milestone Reached and a heartfelt Thank you!

Thursday nights are supposed to be my rest nights from my workouts that I attempt at home.  They’re also my weekly Weight Watchers meeting nights.  One of the ladies I attend meetings with and I have been emailing and texting back and forth. She asked me was I attending tonight.  I said, “Yes, but I don’t want to weigh in.  I will, however, because even though I don’t want to, I need to.” Therefore, I went, I weighed, I came away happy.

I don’t exercise consistently and I’m sure I don’t track like I’m supposed to.  I do know that I feel much better than I have felt in a long time.  (We don’t talk about my injuries which are pretty much caused by me, myself and I…) This 10% is a lot of determination, work, lack of work and a lot of support by people who care about me.  I can count on the people who actively support me. They are the ones I  want to dedicate this milestone to. If I didn’t have those few people, I wouldn’t have the successes I’ve seen  recently.  I have been actively encouraged by my friends to keep up with what I am doing.  I have people who tell me, “you look really good…” etc.  They’re not the ones who are telling me “Keep going.  You CAN do it.” These people have encouraged me actively to own my mistakes.  Well, you guys are the reason for this.

Thank you.

Image

Tag Cloud