Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Cleaning

We've been having a bit of a meltdown around here and it has been chicken soup for my soul. Seriously, last Thursday we had yet another storm that dumped 9 inches of snow (my little city had the highest total in the state)! Coupled with the fact that I had to get to both jobs that day, I was a pretty miserable human being. Especially when I got to my mall job only to sit there and take notes of the stores that were closing early. The mall has around 100 stores and 63 of them closed early.  Yet, the mall didn't close so there I was stuck. I got home around 9:30 that night and lost it with a piece of chocolate birthday cake.  I didn't need it for sure but I sincerely did. not. care.  The sugar rush provided the endorphin release I needed.

One of the reasons I needed endorphins was that I took from March 1-March 6 completely off from exercise.  I KNOW!  (Debby you can pick yourself off the floor now lol!).  Here's what led to that.  If you've been reading along you know I started working with a nutritionist who is trying to help me figure out why the heck I can't seem to get any significant amount of weight off and keep it off.  It has turned out to be quite interesting.  When we first started she told me I exercise too much, too intensely and didn't eat enough.  I agreed to eat more as long as she would let me dictate my exercise frequency and intensity.  In the first couple of weeks I lost 3 pounds - pretty good right?  And then (I want music to go da da duhhhhh right here), my weight stalled, and then I started gaining.

When I weighed myself on February 28 and had yet another gain, I threw a hissy fit and told her I quit, that it was too much stress.  I explained that in the upcoming week I had 4 days of birthday dinners & celebrations (very hard to track everything when eating out so much), we had snow forecast 3 times - which means shoveling before work rather than exercising, I had to work at the mall 3 nights and I just could not deal with it anymore.

She let me stew for a day then told me she wanted me to just get through the week, no tracking, no exercise, just get through the week.  So I did. As the week went on, I felt calmer and calmer (even though that Thursday snow was stressful) and by Saturday the 7th I was actually looking forward to working out.  When I weighed myself, with a week of birthday indulgences, eating out, (and the stress cake I ate!), and no exercise, I weighed the same as I did on February 28th.  Huh.

When I emailed my weight to her I mentioned that this was like every single time I go on vacation - lots of indulgence, no exercise and I either maintain or like last year, lose weight.

Being calm, cool, and collected she noticed that the weight gain started right around the time that we started having the relentless snow storms (we have about 4 feet on the ground now, all of it fell between January 26 and March 5 - a mere 5 weeks).  Not one other thing had changed. She emailed me back and said she was convinced that I have a stress issue that needs resolution. I have a myriad of issues that seem to be causing hormonal disruption: menopause, thyroid, poor sleep, very very busy lifestyle, and winter, and all that adds up to stress which equals more hormonal disruption, which means that my hormones never settle down and let my body do what it should do. And did you know exercise actually causes stress?  In other words, I'm in a constant stress state almost like a fight or flight response.  That made complete sense to me because a couple weeks ago I remarked to her that I felt like I was in a battle with my own body - that no matter what it was not going to release any weight.

So, where to go from here? Based on the earth's rotation and the sun at a level where it shines directly into my house, I need to do some spring cleaning.

Prior to me taking the week off, I had already told the nutritionist I wanted to do a mini food detox after my birthday. Brought on by recent posts from Shelley and Lori, and the fact that I did indeed have 4 days of birthday eating and drinking and desserts,  I felt inspired to try one week of strict eating to reset myself and break the sugar thing.  She reluctantly agreed it would be fine as long as I didn't go under go under 1000 calories. HA!  Like that would ever happen!

So, I spent about 5 hours of my only day "off" prepping food for this week.  I'm doing a modified version of the Dr. Oz detox I did last year. Spring cleaning my diet... will my house be next?

Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower "Rice", Ratatouille, Roasted Asparagus, Chopped Cucumber Salad

I also made my delicious Rosemary Chicken and Red Potato pizza to have as my last carby supper on Saturday night.

I'm three days in and already feel better.  Of course, that might also be because we've had a streak of no snow days with moderating temperatures - it hit 50 yesterday - and brilliant blue skies. There has been some snow melt and while I still feel certain we'll have snow in our front yard on April 1st,  I feel like the Winter Warlock in Santa Claus is Coming to Town... my icy heart is melting. I hope my stress melts along with it and I get the results I deserve from the hard work I put in.

Quick Hand and Wrist Update
Here's a comparison photo of the initial burn and one week later. (Yeah, that was probably another stressor as well!)

As you can see the skin is turning brown because it's actually dying and starting to flake off.  It's gross! You can see it in this closeup:

The skin underneath is light pink and baby soft... the new skin also looks less wrinkled than the skin on my left hand. Sort of makes me understand why people go get peels on their face!


  1. I am thinking of doing something similar - sort of a detox, but I plan to do mine for 30 days after my birthday in a couple weeks. My plan? No alcohol, and no complex carbs for dinner - only lean protein and veggies, or grilled chicken salads, etc. I think I am going to buy myself a gas grill for my birthday, and that will inspire me!

    Glad your hand is getting better - I once burned myself on the steam of my rice maker and it burned like a son of a bitch!

    And as always, thank you for your grammar lesson :D I know I could count on you!

    1. You go with the detox. Why wait to start though? Why not start now for two weeks, have your birthday, then pick it up and finish another two weeks?

  2. Helen, please don't throw coffee on your face!! :)

    Well, this whole thing is very interesting. I do believe stress can cause the no weight loss response. Now the only question is--why does no-stress-life-me hold on to weight so well?

    1. Well Debby, you have removed stress perhaps but being a woman of a certain age (menopause & age & muscle loss) guarantees you that even if you try hard you will lose weight very, very slowly. My nutritionist expects no more than 1 pound per week based on my age and menopause alone and perhaps less when the thyroid issue is stirred in. My bigger challenge is not looking at just how long this is going to take - if I can get it started!

    2. Yeah, I knew that. Sometimes I forget that I am a woman of a certain age :) I guess that's a good thing!

  3. I think stress just *has* to be contributing to all of this. The stress of 2 jobs, the stress of the snow, the stress about your body. Have you thought about meditation or maybe a couple hypnosis relaxation sessions?

    I had a friend who got a peel on her face because of acne scars and her face looked just like your hand for a little bit, but her skin did look a lot smoother when it all healed. I don't think I could do it, though.

    1. You can laugh but I am (at least at the moment) incapable of meditation. My mind won't stay still! I've tried a few things but never hypnosis. Maybe I could be hynotized to calm down? In the meantime, I've been trying to find time to have a spa day - nothing but white robes and relaxation.

    2. I can't meditate, either. My mind is like a monkey hopping around. Maybe hypnosis could help with that, too!

  4. I think it's good to consciously change up your eating from time to time, especially after a sugar bonanza, which for me, can go on too long if I'm not careful. You've set yourself up for success this week - nice going!

    As for the stressors, I absolutely believe that is a huge reason why you (and others) can't seem to drop the weight. I like the hypnosis idea - why not give it a try?

    1. This has been quite eye-opening. My doctor has been telling me for 5 years (at least) that I need to reduce stress. I guess I just never realized how much it could work against me.

  5. Stress never does anyone any good ...... stress free is best but sometimes does not come too easily.

    If you like pizza you can have a low carb one just use cauliflower for the base - check out various recipes around the internet or have a look at this Cauliflower Crust Pizza http://lowcarbdiabetic.forumotion.co.uk/t199p40-cauliflowers ...... you'll need to scroll down the thread.

    All the best Jan

  6. Very interesting post Helen, I think this lady is really helping you. And I think people underestimate what stress can do to a body. I recently discovered for myself that the strict exercise plan I make for myself every week (6 days) gave me some stress with the result that I didn't do it all. I made the decision two weeks ago that I will exercise 5 days a week and take 2 days of rest and if I don't want to exercise it's okay. It really works for me.

    I think you will get there eventually, will take a lot of patience and yes sometimes disappointment but you are a strong woman and if anyone can do this, it's you.

  7. Sounds like you've found a great healthy living ally. And stress does take it's toll....in very unexpected ways. Hang in there!!!