Monday, August 19, 2013

My Summer of Satisfaction

When I left for my blog break this past February, I honestly didn't know how long I'd be gone, but this amount of time has surprised even me. Truthfully I really had hit rock bottom in nearly every area of my life. Winter literally became the proverbial straw that broke my back.

Winter turned into spring and even through the spring (which was wet, wet, wet, rainy, dreary here) I continued to struggle. My foot was still hurting all the time (I'm sure I set back the healing with my black belt test), I'd lost my running mojo, and literally felt like I was on the edge of a giant precipice staring into a big black hole. I was dragging myself around wishing I could just get into bed and not get up - and for the life of me, I could not figure out how to turn things around.

Suddenly it was May and time for our vacation to the Grand Canyon.  Because Little Helen had planned the whole thing and given it to us as a gift, Stubborn Helen showed up and made up my mind I was going to "enjoy" it if it was the last thing I did.  Fake it 'till you make it baby.

As it turned out,  it was the trip of a lifetime and I've got over 300 photos to prove it. That vacation and all it held turned out to be the very thing I needed and started the reset that came on in the month of May.  A lightbulb went on and my brain realized that underneath the fractured foot and accompanying gained weight, I was still a fit and capable woman.  Even if I had to reconfigure my exercise to accommodate that still healing foot, I no longer had to sit and wallow in misery!  It was a matter of just doing it.



When we got back home, I reached out via Facebook and asked local friends to help me feel motivated again.  A group of them went on several run/walks with me and that seemed to do the trick and I rotated right into a regular exercise plan.  And then, guess what I did on Memorial Day?  Pulled my hamstring hard while running with a friend.  Sigh.  I turned to her and said, "This is going to be the injury that is going to dog me all summer.  I sure hope it doesn't set me back."  As I write this in August, I was right about it dogging me, but it has not set me back.  Though it has meant I have to adjust some aspects of my running, I haven't let it beat me down.  In fact, I've beat it down.  One day this too will pass, I know it.

In June, I decided I wanted to try a DietBet to see if that would motivate me to get my eating back on track as well.  I had returned from the Grand Canyon (and the 30 miles of hiking we did!) two pounds less than when I left - the first time ever that I've been on "vacation" and lost weight. Once again, I reached out to a small group of friends and 12 of them took it on.  At the end of that DietBet I was on my way - one of four who actually won the bet and I lost 10 lbs. to boot!  I can't even remember the last time I was able to lose 10 lbs. in a month.  It was very exciting and I honestly began to feel that I could see the forest for the trees.

At the end of June, I made the decision to stop training in Muay Thai.  While I enjoyed the workout I got from it, ever since the schedule changed a couple of years ago and my classes were later and later, I just had not been happy.  If one is going to train in martial arts you really do have to be dedicated to regular attendance and I just wasn't feeling it any more. By getting my black belt, I had accomplished what I set out to do and I was just feeling like I was done with it.  It was amazing to me that once I made the decision, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders!

In July I started a second DietBet but this one was more open and 33 people participated.  It kept me motivated even though my weight loss slowed way down, which I completely expected.  At one point about 2 weeks in, I decided that no matter if I won or lost as long as I ended up a few pounds less than I was at the end of June, I'd be happy.  And I was. In the end, I won again, but my bigger victory was my measurements:  over the course of the two bets, I lost 1/2 inch off my chest, 2 1/2 inches off my bust, 3 inches off my hips, and a whopping 4 inches off my waist!

Right now, I'm within a couple of pounds of weighing what I did before I fractured my foot last year. Woop! Now I'm looking at getting back to my previously scheduled weight loss in hopes of reaching my ultimate goal weight.

At the end of July, Mr. Helen and I went to the Hamptons to visit my sister in her new home and got to attend an exclusive cocktail party where there were schwag bags!  We felt like movie stars - and I think we looked like them too.  Of course we also enjoyed some adult time at a winery, and beach time and dinners and family time with our beloved Jacob and Gracie!  Oh, and I was feeling so much better about myself, before we went, I cut 6 inches off my hair! (I tend to grow my hair longer and longer when I'm not feeling so good.)




August did not at all feel like the dog days of summer - we'd already had that in July with the several heat waves.  In fact, the National Weather Service said Connecticut had its hottest July in history. August started with cooler than normal temperatures and low, low humidity. Very enjoyable, but also very weird for August. Overall, the weather was just plain old odd this summer.

The beginning of August also brought the WORST illness I've had as an adult. I woke up with what I thought was a stomach flu... I'm sure I don't need to explain to you what was going on.  The problem was, it lasted for days.  Finally nearly 4 days in I went to the doctor and was informed that I either had a bacterial issue - OR, even grosser - a parasite in my small intestine.  Because I'd been sick so many days in a row, they immediately put me on antibiotics and other meds to stop the madness, even though they wanted to run more tests to confirm exactly what it was - which ended up being the parasite!!  So I ended up having an unexpected full week off of work.  Too bad it wasn't for more fun reasons.

One of my friends joked that I would do anything to win my DietBet, which was ending around the same time but I told her that after what I'd been through I'd proven to myself that I would have made a terrible binger/purger person.  Besides anyone who knows anything, knows the minute you start rehydrating and eating, the weight just comes right back, as it should.

We also attend a wedding in the middle of the month.  Every year we think it will be the year of no weddings and then usually every year we get a surprise.  This year it was Mr. Helen's cousin, who at 60 years old decided to get married for the third time and because he was marrying the woman he feels he should have married 40 years ago, he threw a nice affair:  dinner, dancing and lots of fun. We looked pretty good too, if I do say so myself.

This was the day after the DietBet ended and here I am nearly 20 pounds lighter than I was when we went to the Grand Canyon!


Also, for July and August we had contractors in and out doing some work at our house - new windows, doors, garage door.  Things that needed to be done and we finally just did it.  Lots of satisfaction in that, even though it sort of hurt to spend the money, especially as Mr. Helen was one of the people who had been affected by sequestration.  For the entire summer he was "furloughed" - a nice way of saying he had to take one unpaid day off every week.  It was a big hit to our income (imagine losing 20% of your pay every single week!) but we managed to get through it by careful planning. One of the things that helped is that my car paid off in July - woot! I just love being car payment FREE. Couple more years and Mr. Helen's truck will be paid off too and we will really be free then.

I want to thank those of you who reached out to me via email and texts over these last months - you know who you are.  Those instances really did put a little sunshine into a dark time.

While the summer is winding down, my satisfaction level remains high. I'm on a roll and intend to keep going.  It feels good to have gotten through whatever that was and to come out the other side feeling stronger and better than ever.

Next week: the beginning of the Grand Canyon trip recaps.

27 comments:

  1. Dear Helen, I can't tell you how happy I am that you are back at blogging. I'm glad I had the chance to stay a bit updated through FB the past couple of months.

    You've had some rough times but most of your post is so positive and it sounds like you have great spirits at the moment that makes me glad.

    Hopefully you will be back at reading blogs too, I have started walking trips with Bella to see more of my own country and share those trips with my blogger friends. Gives you an opportunity to see more of my country too.

    Glad to have you back!

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    1. Shhhhh don't tell anyone Fran but I was sometimes secretly reading blogs even if I wasn't commenting! I've been keeping up with your adventures with Bella and I'm amazed at how that tiny dog is doing all that walking!

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  2. What an unexpected treat to see you pop up in my reader feeder. So glad to see you are doing so well.

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  3. Welcome back! Good to see you, and your smile, once again. :)

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    1. It took time but I'm glad to be back too!

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  4. Even though I am able to catch up with you on FB and in person here and there, I am thrilled to see you back here. I love love love your blog! Here's to no more rock bottom...

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    1. I second your sentiment Karen. Here here!

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  5. Hi! I don't comment very often, but I always read your blog and I am so happy you're back!

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    1. Thank you Mary, that's very sweet!

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  6. Great to have you back Helen! Giant hug!

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  7. While you know I was able to keep tabs on your through Facebook and the Dietbets, I am so happy to be reading your words again and am thankful that you have turned the corner! I've lost 15 pounds since June 1 - I am so close to the 150s I can taste it!

    Hugs!!

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    1. You were a DietBet rockstar Biz. I'm excited for your to reach your goals.

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  8. So happy to see you posting again Helen! You look fabulous in the pictures. Your post may just have helped light a fire under me.

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    1. Well thank you Katrin, that's quite the compliment... burn baby burn!

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  9. So glad to see you back! I'm not a big commenter but I've always enjoyed your posts. Congrats on feeling better and getting back to health (parasites aside).

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    1. Well, it seems this blog break was good for getting my secret admirers to quickly pop out lol!

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  10. I'm late to the party as usual - just saw your triumphant return this morning! Welcome back. I too have had contact with you on FB, and now you're my tech director (!), but still I'm happy to have a nice newsy and upbeat post to read from you. Looking forward to more. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Leslie... how about you refreshing your blog?

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  11. Oh, Helen - I was so glad to see an email saying you had posted on your blog! I've missed you and your delightful writings, and think of you so often as I pass Gabriel's in Groton. I wanted to request you as a "friend" on FB to be able to keep up with you, but was afraid you'd think me a stalker... LOL Looking forward to more posts, Helen - and continued good health!

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    1. Thank you, especially for the good health wishes.

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  12. I've missed your blog, Helen, and your presence on the net. I figured you wanted some privacy while dealing with all that health stuff. Welcome back! Still hoping to get to CT this fall :D

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    1. I hope that works out - it would be so fun to meet in real life!

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  13. YAY so so so very glad to see this 'catch up!!!'

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  14. So glad you are feeling better! I wondered where you went!

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  15. Such a busy eventful summer you had. Glad you were able to recharge your batteries and come back. I sure did miss seeing you!
    (P.S. Catching up on posts in my tabs now, LOL LOVED all the Grand Canyon ones!)

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