Monday, November 30, 2009

Mini Meltdown - Long Read

Holidays have always been stressful for me.  For 10 years I was a single parent and the stress evolved around being able to provide a little something for my daughter.  I also had some years mixed in there where I was with someone my mother didn't like so I was invited to family holiday events but he was not.   Which, of course, meant I didn't go.  For the past 20 years I've been with the man I'm married to now and the stress was around where we should go.  Up until a few years ago we were the only couple who had both sides of the family local.  So it was always a tug and pull from both sides and often led to arguments between my husband and me.  One year I actually had a sister-in-law write me a not very nice letter about how I was keeping her brother from his family.  Literally, if it wasn't one thing it was another.

We finally worked out Thanksgiving by alternating between the two families, which is fine with me because I didn't want to host anyway.  On the other hand Christmas anxiety got so heavy that I finally got sick of the tension and around 10 years ago I put my foot down and said that I didn't care if I was the only person sitting at the table, I wasn't going to do anything for Christmas except cook my own meal and anyone who wanted to come was invited.  Around that same time, both families' younger siblings were marrying and having kids and they didn't want to go anywhere on Christmas Day either.  On both sides we decided to have Christmas family get-togethers on a day other than Christmas. That has worked fine for all these years and really has taken the pressure off.

This year, on my side of the family, we have been apprehensive about the holidays because this is the first set since my brother-in-law passed away.  Pretty much since they got married my sister has hosted Thanksgiving.  This year she flat out said she couldn't do it.  Of course we understood and my mother happily took Thanksgiving.  The day arrived and she seemed sad and a bit withdrawn but was managing to participate. 

On Thanksgiving my siblings and I always discuss when we will have our family gathering.  We had a previous chance to be together for my sister's kids birthdays in October and had said we would put aside the weekend of December 19 & 20 and finalize on Thanksgiving.  My sister also informed us at that time that she was flying to Texas on Christmas day to spend time with her husband's family.  I have to admit my feelings were a bit hurt  - not because she was doing this - but because she has spent Christmas Day at my house for years and it would have been nice if she had at least given me a call to let me know instead of just springing it on me.  I talked with my husband about it all and he said he wasn't surprised because she has been making sudden decisions and he feels her thinking is irrational right now.  I got over it and moved on.  Which brings us to Thanksgiving Day.

After dinner and dessert we were all sitting around the table and someone brought up Christmas.  So we started discussing and I mentioned that my husband's schedule had, in fact, been changed and Saturday was the only day he could participate.  (He works late on Sundays and we have to get together a bit earlier because of the little ones.) Immediately my sister said unless we did "lunch" she wasn't coming because she had tickets to a show.  I was astonished because we had all agreed to put those days aside until we finalized our plans.  I immediately shut my mouth and got quiet.  My older brother noticed I wasn't participating in the discussion so he asked me what was wrong.  I replied that I was frustrated that my sister's friend had bought her tickets to a show when we had agreed to put those days aside since she was already traveling Christmas and New Year's weekend and there was no other time for us to get together.   When I said that my sister completely lost it and started screaming about not giving a **** about the holidays and she didn't want to participate anyway and her best friends bought her the tickets and..... well you get the idea.  I responded to her that we all were working around her schedule anyway and that my husband and I had turned down things for that weekend so that we could have a family gathering.  I further told her that I understood she is grieving but questioned why her very own blood family is the group she didn't want to be with.  She wants to do things with her friends, she wants to fly to her husband's family but she wants nothing to do with us.  I asked her if she realized we were grieving too and that by her not wanting to spend any time with us - therefore keeping her kids from us - it makes the whole thing more painful.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say that it ended with me leaving upset.  I asked my husband for the car keys and he wouldn't give them to me so I said fine and left my mother's house walking.  (He had been playing with the kids in another room and hadn't heard the discussion.) He finally did come pick me up and take me home, but what astonished me most of all is this:

My brother and his wife and 32 year old stepdaughter, my younger brother and his wife, my own daughter, my mother, and my sister were all sitting there during this discussion.  Not one single person came after me when I walked out of the house. It was dark and cold and I certainly wasn't dressed to walk 10 miles, yet not one single person came after me - INCLUDING my own daughter.

No one has called me either so that tells me exactly what my standing is with my blood relatives.  I don't know why I'm surprised because I've always been a bit of the family black sheep but I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I didn't think it was that bad.

Strangely enough,  my eating and exercising have been fine since Thursday and yesterday I got my house decorated for Christmas except for the tree, which we will get next weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Maybe Some Peppers Would Make Me Feel Better?

This is my Hot 100 update for the last week.

1. Keep the alcohol intake to a minimum.
2. Track my food intake and keep it at 1500 calories or less as a weekly average.
3. Lose 6 pounds in the remaining weeks of 2009.
4. Advance to my next belt in Thai Boxing, which means I have to have perfect attendance and learn the material.



1.  This was easy this week due to the fact that I've been sick.  Somehow wine and cough syrup just don't taste all that good together.
2.  Again a fail on this one.  Again because I didn't feel well.  I sort of ate when I felt hungry and was too beat to track so I only tracked haphazardly.
3.  I lost .8 lbs which is 2/10ths short of the one pound a week I need to get off 6.  But I'll take it.
4.  Received my second belt stripe which means I'm on track to advance in December.  Plus one of the sensei's pulled me aside and told me that my form was excellent - that I look like a more advanced belt.


All in all, despite the fact that I was sick (still not 100%, ugh) I had a pretty good week.  Now I just need to lather, rinse, repeat.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful!

Here's the first thing I'm thankful for:


That's a loss from my last weigh in - small loss of .8 (why, oh why couldn't I get the .2 to make it an even pound?!!) but a loss nonetheless.  Since I haven't been feeling well my food has been weird so I wasn't really sure what I would see.

Even though this may have been the most stressful 6 month period of my life, losing both my brother-in-law and my boss suddenly, I have too many blessings to count really. I am really grateful for the blogging community.  You have provided me with laughs, tears and inspiration.  I don't expect to blog tomorrow since my daughter will be arriving at some point today so I would like to leave this, my Thanksgiving wish, for all of you:


May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey be plump

May your potatoes and gravy

Have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner Stay off your thighs!


~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hack, Hack, Cough, Cough - Oy!

Hack, hack, cough, cough.  That pretty much describes my life for the last couple of days.  Hubby is in an uproar and thinks I should go to the doc. I don't feel like it because I think she'll just say it's a virus and hang in there.  Maybe I should just call and see what she has to say instead of guessing. 

One of the things I hate about not feeling well is that I find it hard to make better choices about what I'm consuming.  For example, I don't want soup and salad, I want soup and sandwich with a side of potato chips.  And not low fat turkey on whole grain either - I want like grilled cheese.  I didn't give in to that but it's what I wanted.

The good thing about not feeling well is that I have no desire for adult type beverages.  Which means the wine thing hasn't been in play at all.

I've been noticing a theme in blogland these days around making better choices and moving away from the "old" person into a new dimension.  Maybe because most of us have food bonanzas coming up over the next few days.  Why is it so hard to say no to food?  Sometimes I actually get aggravated because it's JUST FOOD - fuel to run the engine that is my body.  Why do I ever, EVER let it be more than that to me?

Some of you expressed surprise at my mention that I had run 27 miles last week.  What you don't know is that in the past that would have been a below average week for me.  I have completed four marathons (26.2 miles for those who don't know) and many other races.  In the last year, I cut down on my running because of two things:  I needed a break, especially from racing and because of my weight.  The heavier a runner is, the slower they run and I have to admit, with every step I can feel the extra poundage.  Lately, I have been itching to get back into a regular running routine and maybe to sign up for a race again by next spring.  That means I have to get deadly serious.

Recently I read an article about hypothyroidism and weight loss that stated even once the thyroid is balanced with meds, if one goes on a fairly strict diet, they probably will not lose at the rate they have in the past and should expect that maybe their weight will never return to where it used to be.  That's pretty discouraging but the alternative is that I stay fat and unhappy because I can't run.

So, I keep asking, do I choose the food or the size 8 jeans?  I run fast when I wear size 8 jeans.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sickness and Strategies

I have been sick all weekend.  I started not feeling all that well on Friday and by Saturday morning I had a full blown cold going - along with a cough.  I'm not surprised that I came down with this cold because I think my immune system does not do well with stress and lately, well, you know... So far so good in that it hasn't turned bronchial but boy is this cough annoying!

I exercised both weekend days, managing to do a long run/walk on Saturday with my beloved Pete.  We go slow but the time with him is priceless to me.  I can run fast on a day when I'm alone - which is what I did on Sunday. 

I also managed to get pie crusts made for the Thanksgiving pies so all they need is filling, which I'll do on Wednesday.  While making the crusts I was thinking about my Thanksgiving strategy and I think I'm going to steal an idea I saw somewhere else and add 1000 calories to my total allowed for the day.  That will give me plenty of wiggle room without overload.  I usually have one day a week where I eat a bit more liberally and don't track so Thursday it will be.  I have to admit though that, unlike other years where I focused a lot on the food, this year I haven't been.  I'm more focused on the fact that my daughter is coming home - we haven't seen her since July - and the fact that this will be our first holiday without my brother-in-law.  It makes having the family around all the more precious.

How about you?  Are you employing any specific strategies to get through the food landmines over the next week?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Friday Musings

I'm glad it's Friday and the last day of the work week.  It has been hard for me to be at work - I miss my boss every minute of every day. 

I didn't have any type of adult beverage yesterday.  So glad about that.

When I first started Thai Boxing, I tried several times to run in the morning then go to boxing that evening.  Around 12 hours between the workouts (with a workday in between) wasn't enough because my legs were so tired from the morning run, it made my form really bad at boxing - not good because that's how injuries happen.Yesterday, because I had overslept on Wednesday, I got up and ran for 45 minutes.  Then last night I went to a Thai Boxing class.  I can't believe how much my leg fitness and stamina has improved in 6 months!  I had no problems at all both enduring the class and maintaining good form.  I am a very happy camper about that.  This gives me a whole bunch more flexibility in my exercise schedule.

My company has its holiday party in January and our karate dojo has it's annual party in February - both are fairly dressy affairs so it's fun to get a new dress for the events.  I generally wear the same outfit to both since it's two different groups of people.  Hubby sees me in the same thing twice but I honestly think he feels that he's really getting his money's worth (even though it's my money that pays!).  I got to thinking about these events last night and decided to help my motivation levels by ordering a beautiful dress I really wanted - in the size I should be by then if I stay on plan.  Way too often I punish myself by not allowing myself to have nice things - thinking that I don't "deserve" them until I get thinner, get my act together.  This time I'm not doing that and I know seeing it hanging in my closet will keep me motivated!  Here's a picture of the dress and shoes I ordered:




 I was going to cut off the model's head because believe me, I do not look anything like her but I hope that by January 24th I will do the dress justice.

Another thing I keep thinking about is how hard it can be to stay movtivated through the holidays. I thought I had nothing in December and in the last few days we've filled up every weekend right up to Christmas with one event after another.  It's very easy to get into the mindset of starting or restarting tomorrow due to all the holidays and functions. Unless I get all "diety" and take specially prepared food everywhere, I'm faced with a myriad of cheese platters and buttery hors d'oeuvres.  But I don't really want to and sometimes just can't take special foods. Which is why I am trying diligently to control the excess, to work within the parameters in front of me. For me sometimes that means using sheer willpower not to eat everything just because it's on the tray in front of me or because it looks yummy.

Ultimately, I have to choose:  do I want the food or the Size 8 jeans?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Enough Change

This week's edition of the Hot 100 update:
1. Keep the alcohol intake to a minimum.
2. Track my food intake and keep it at 1500 calories or less as a weekly average.
3. Lose 6 pounds in the remaining weeks of 2009.
4. Advance to my next belt in Thai Boxing, which means I have to have perfect attendance and learn the material.

All I can say is that while I got some things back under control after these past weeks' events, I didn't get a big  enough grip.

I still had a DAILY glass of wine (or 2).  That's too much for me and my bad metabolism.
My average caloric intake for the week was 1720.  I'm sure much of that was due to the extra wine.
No idea if I lost weight because yesterday I overslept and didn't weigh myself.  Still trying to decide if I'm going to swap to a Saturday weigh in.
The one thing I did do was go to 3 Thai classes last week.  Plus I ran 27 miles.  I was pretty sore.  Hubby said I was hobbling around like I do after I've run a 20 miler when I'm marathon training.  At least I'm keeping the fat at bay by exercising.

So, I still have lots of room to improve.  Here's to a better week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For Me? *Blush*

Whew.


I am so tired I can’t even explain it to you, except to say I overslept by a whole lot this morning. Enough that I missed my run and my weigh in. I asked the hubster why he didn’t wake me up and he said that I’ve been under so much lately he thought I needed the sleep. I suppose he's right. But the weariness I feel really isn’t tiredness, it’s more like complete fatigue.

I hate to miss a weigh in and have been seriously considering changing to Saturday mornings because since I started blogging I committed to a photo weigh-in which is a bit more tricky during a rushed work week morning. If I can’t get it posted by the time I leave the house, I have to bring the SD card to work. I usually take a computer break on the weekends but this is only a matter of getting a photo up so I guess I’ll decide by Saturday if that’s what I’m going to do and you’ll know then.


In the meantime, Lori-Ann at Amazon Runner and Sandra at My Travels to becoming a Better Me,both gave me this nice award:



I’m not sure if I am a Superior Scribbler or not but I gratefully accept it because to me it means other bloggers are thinking of me, occasionally at least. In return I must pass it on, but first, here are the rules:

  • Each recipient must pass the award on to five other deserving bloggers.
  •  Each Superior Scribbler must link back to the author and the name of the blog from whom they received the award.
  •  Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on his or her blog, and link to this post, which explains the award.
  •  Each blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler award must visit the page noted above and add his or her name to the Mr Linky List. That way, the originator of the award will be able to keep track of everyone who receives it.
  •  And finally, each superior scribbler must post these rules on his or her blog.

Wait until you see how far this award has come.  Here are a few bloggers I consider to be Superior Scribblers - they inspire me in all different ways!


The amazing Sean at The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser who has written a blog for each day of his weight loss journey!

Fat (Free) Me who recently started wearing smaller jeans and we all know there's nothing better than that!

Shelley at A Forty-Something's Weight Loss Journey who is celelbrating her century of weight loss this week - yep she's lost 100 pounds!!

Diana at Diana's Weight Loss Journey who has been painfully raw and truthful about what she's been going through lately.

Tina at Fat Girl Dives In.  This woman refuses to let anyone beat her down and she doesn't give up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fog

I'm not talking about the weather kind, although we've had quite a bit of that too what with the unseasonably warm temperatures here.  It's my brain, my mental state.

While I am working hard at getting back to normal after recent events, I feel like I'm operating in a fog.  I hate this feeling and can't wait until clarity returns.  Many times already this morning I've found myself staring at something on my desk and I realize I have no idea how long I've been sitting there like that. I know it's part of how I grieve but this also makes me feel like everything is in slow motion.

Plus on top of everything else, I'm struggling with something that came up in my relationship over the weekend.  Maybe the fog is there to act like a shock absorber and get me through.

In terms of food and exercise, my weekend went well so I am quite happy with that.  Sometimes weekends are the hardest time for me so any time I've reached Monday and feel in control, that's a very good thing. 

I hope everyone else is moving along towards their various goals.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is in 10 days, can you?

.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Changes Make the World Go Round

This is my Hot 100 update for the past week.  I should be all caught up now.

Goals:

1. Keep the wine down to 2 glasses on no more than 2 days.
2. Track my food intake and keep it under 1500 calories for 6 out of 7 days per week.
3. Burn at least 2500 calories a week through exercise.
4. Advance to my next belt in Thai Boxing, which means I have to have perfect attendance and learn the material.
5. Use the weekend to plan and precook some of our weekly meals so that we are eating.



Big Fat Fail on #1-3.  Though I did manage to exercise several times in the midst of everything at the end of the week, I didn't meet my calorie burn which requires me not to miss any exercise.   I had my little niece and nephew for the whole weekend, which not only knocked out all exercise but reinforced in me a huge amount of respect for young parents who figure out how to do it all.  Since my "baby" is 30 years old, I'm totally out of practice with that :-)


Pass on #4-5.  In fact, we are still eating leftovers - which is great but honestly with the two of us sometimes I do get sick of them and want a new taste.  


So, as I mentioned yesterday I've been looking at these goals and how I've been doing and what I see is that I need to make some changes and get a bit more specific for the last 50 days.  


I should have known better than to put my calorie burn in there... though the last couple of weeks have been challenging, I've never really had a problem getting some sort of exercise in.  In fact I've told friends many, many times that I am completely capable of outeating my exercise!  So really, it's not the exercise, it's the food for me.


The weekend planning, etc. helps but honestly I find that no problem this time of year.  The weather is usually yucky so I really enjoy being home and cooking - it's actually sort of a hobby and relaxing for me.


Since my personality responds to specific challenges and goals, I decided to amend my Hot 100 (er, Hot 50?) as follows:


Goals:

1. Keep the alcohol intake to a minimum.*
2. Track my food intake and keep it at 1500 calories or less as a weekly average.**
3.  Lose 6 pounds in the remaining weeks of 2009.***
4. Advance to my next belt in Thai Boxing, which means I have to have perfect attendance and learn the material.****




* I made this change because sometimes I have 3 glasses or wine or a martini over the course of a week but it might happen on 3 different days.  Other weeks I have nothing.  If I concentrate, I will get more of the nothing weeks.


** I want to average the intake over 7 days rather than worrying if I have 1600 two days in a row.  I've done this in the past and it works if I do it right - but I have to track!


*** Ah, a specific weight loss goal.  I know it doesn't sound like much but with my thyroid issues, this will be a true challenge for me.


**** I left this one because I am a morning exerciser.  My Thai classes are at night.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I negotiate with myself to get to class.  Especially these days when things are fairly stressful at work all day.


There it is in black and white.  I look forward to giving you a good report next week.







Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Facing the Music

The fat lady sings - loudly - and she is me:



That's a gain of 2.8 lbs. in 3 weeks (10/21 was the last time weighed in then my life blew sky high). I am not surprised at all because with my thyroid I have to be "diety" just to lose little amounts at a time.  3 weeks of not tracking and lots of wine, well there you go.  Usually something like this would upset me but it's not even a blip on my radar right now.

As I mentioned yesterday, as of today there are 50 days left in 2009.  I am reevaluating some of my Hot 100 goals and definitely am going to change at least one of them so that I can make the most out of the rest of this year.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

50 Down, 50 to Go

This week all you lucky viewers will see two Hot 100 updates from me.  This is the one I would have done last Thursday or Friday had I not been otherwise occupied.

Goals:

1. Keep the wine down to 2 glasses on no more than 2 days.
2. Track my food intake and keep it under 1500 calories for 6 out of 7 days per week.
3. Burn at least 2500 calories a week through exercise.
4. Advance to my next belt in Thai Boxing, which means I have to have perfect attendance and learn the material.
5. Use the weekend to plan and precook some of our weekly meals so that we are eating.

To sum it up simply, because of last week's life changing events, I did not concentrate on much of anything.  I'm not even sure about my food intake, it was so irregular.  The only pass I can give myself last week is on #4.  I did manage to get to my two classes and even got a stripe on my belt signifying that I am moving along. 
 
I am trying very hard to get back into the swing of things this week and am succeeding on some levels so the next report should be much better.
 
Thanks to South Beach Steve for inspiring us, even though some of us might only have a Hot 50.  Yep, as of tomorrow, 50 days left.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to Reality?

My boss/friend's funeral was last Thursday so I took Friday off from work to clear my head.  Honestly, I just couldn't face coming into our shared office - too empty.  I'm glad I did that because today I walked through the door and it has been a nutty zoo ever since.  I suspect it will be this way for some time to come as we try to sort through practical and emotional issues around here.

In the meantime I had the joy of having my 3 year old niece and 6 year old nephew spend the weekend with me.  My sister had the opportunity to go to away for a girls weekend (her husband is one who died in April) and, of course she doesn't trust them with just anyone.  Can I just share that it took both me and my husband to take care of them? While it is like riding a bike - get going and you do remember "how" - I had completely forgotten how much care and attention two little kids need.  Plus my husband works on Sundays so I had them all by myself yesterday. As I told my sister when I dropped them back home yesterday afternoon, it was a complete miracle that I was actually dressed and had a little makeup on!  They were the perfect distraction for me though and there's nothing like a little voice saying "I wuv you" to help heal a sore heart.

So now I'm trying to get back to reality and pay attention to caring for myself again.  I managed to get out for a very slow run this morning but even just that act has made me want to care enough to eat well today.  It's a start - or a restart - whatever.

I'm also looking forward to getting back into the community of my blogging friends and catching up with you all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What is Normal?

Hello my blogging friends.  I think I am going to be able to get back into somewhat of a regular routine again.  As you have read in previous blogs, I have been dealing with a hard situation.  Now I can tell you the real story, what I was unable to say before.


I work as an Executive/Personal assistant to the CEO of a group of five companies. The job is varied and challenging because my boss is a mover and shaker in the community where his business are located. But, it's the "Personal" side of the equation that is sometimes difficult in to explain, so here's how I try: 

I answer his phone calls, but I also do his grocery shopping sometimes when he wants to make dinner for his wife. 

I get him to sign off on large company invoices, but I also write checks out of his personal checkbook, have access to all his personal financial information and know his personal credit card number by heart. 

We buy corporate gifts at Christmas to give to his managers, but we also buy beautiful pieces of jewelry for his wife and daughters and GPS for his sons and toys for his grandkids. Then I wrap the gifts. 

We have worked together for quite some time and he often refers to me as his "day" wife. His wife calls me her friend. I am part of their extended family. 

Over the last year, the office has been pretty lonely because last December he started not feeling well and wasn't coming in as often. Many, many days my work consisted of taking whatever he needed to address to his home and we would sit at his dining room table for several hours drinking coffee and working. All year long both his wife and I have shuttled him to doctor's appointments and encouraged him to eat better and try to exercise and do his physical therapy so his back would feel better. 

He had two surgeries on his back to try to get some pain relief but still has had a persistent pain on the right side of his body that the doctors could not diagnose. 

On October 19th my boss was diagnosed with cancer. He was told that he probably had around a year to live, even with treatment. We (both his work family and his relatives) began the process of getting him out of all his various community and other activities and preparing for the life he would have for the next year. 

Instead of that year he was told, he lived 6 days pretty well then suddenly deteriorated and was back in the hospital barely conscious. He died October 31. 

His funeral was yesterday. To say that my life has been consumed by this for the last couple of weeks is a bit of an understatement. 

Some of you know that my brother in law died in a terrible accident at the age of 39 this past April. I thought then that I might never clear my head again. 

Now I am dealing with yet another loss and this affects my job. I'm sort of feeling like I have nowhere to turn to get away from grief. 

I took the day off from work today because I just needed a day to gather myself back to life outside of all the preparations and the grieving. And, to have some quiet time to think about what the new normal will be once I go back into the office on Monday. 

My life feels a bit surreal right now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grief.

I'm just here to post a quick update because some of you are so faithful to check in on me.

My friend died at 2:00 on Saturday, October 31st.  He lived exactly 12 days from the time he received his diagnosis and was told he had around 18 months.  I think he knew though because he started planning to leave right away.

His calling hours and funeral will be Wednesday and Thursday so I will be back after that.

Thank you again for all your sweet comments of support.