Thursday, January 24, 2008

What I've Been Doing

I decided to write what I've been doing as a separate post from the essay. I started a journal with my food, weight, and whether I take my calcium and vitamins. I'm thinking that if I can see what my normal eating pattern is, it will be easier to figure out how to adjust it.

I'm not sure my diagnosis is correct, because no health insurance means you don't go to the doctor for minor things like random cramping in the muscles in the front of your legs. I've eliminated shin splints from the mix because not walking didn't help. By process of elimination, I've pretty much figured it's a circulation issue, probably related to varicose veins. Super-support hose helps, but the best ones only go up to one size smaller than I am.

That tells me two things. First, losing weight will help my circulation in general. Second, losing weight means I can fit into Sheer Energy or J.C. Penney's super support hose. They're expensive, but they work. I hate spending money on hose that really don't do the job. But not wearing any support hose seems to be worse than wearing inadequate support. I hate pantyhose, but not as much as I hate being in pain.

My next thing is to find a way to exercise without exacerbating the leg pain. I think I'm going to have to find out how to use the treadmills or elliptical machines in the fitness room. My walk is too much on hard sidewalks. I'm going to miss my Peet's coffee, though. I was walking to Peet's, getting a cup of black coffee, and walking home. Three miles total. We don't live close to a track anymore, which is frustrating because I enjoyed walking outside on the track the best. I don't really want to do the gym because I'd rather be outside, but I feel like I have no choice, at least not until I lose enough weight to wear the smaller, better support hose. I'm hoping that with good support hose, I'll be able to walk outdoors again.

Some Thoughts Cross-posted from my Blog

I thought these random thoughts might interest you and maybe fuel an interesting discussion.

An RSS feed on my Google sidebar came up with an article that linked to this blog post about prettiness . It's a subject I've thought about for a long time. I love the way she puts it--'Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".' And she says the opposite, too--"You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism..."

She's talking about the idea that as a woman, we're "expected to" or "supposed to" be pretty. I remember reading comments in fashion or similar types of articles where men said things like, "I felt cheated when I saw a woman with long hair and a good body, but when I saw her face, she was old." Or one who was offended by fat women who wear shorts. I never could express my anger at the idea that I was somehow shirking my duty if I didn't conform to their expectations. I've rebelled against that idea my whole life. I've never liked the idea that I was on display, just because I'm female. I don't think it's my duty to fuel some random stranger's sexual fantasies. It's my duty to be happy with myself and how I look.

Yet, thanks to my shallow, vain mother and a shallow, vain culture, it's really hard to get past that idea. Although, in my last paragraph, I mentioned men, I think it's the women in our lives that make the "rule" most personal. I sometimes wonder if part of the reason I've had issues with my weight aren't related to that rebellion against being defined by how I look. But being fat dosen't prevent me from being defined that way. It exacerbates it. I've known people who think I'm not "good enough" to be friends with because of my weight. Their loss, not mine. It doesn't bother me because they weren't people I have enough in common with to want to socialize with anyway, but it does bother me that people think it's a valid way to choose friends.

I'm not sure that there's a solution to this problem, since it's in part inborn. We're drawn to more attractive people in order to keep the human race going. We all want healthy babies and our biology goes for the most healthy people, which we assume attractive people are.

But I also think that the technology we have has skewed our perspective. It allows us to see people from all over the world, to be able to compare ourselves (usually negatively) with the few who look "right", even if those looks are the result of makeup, dress, hairstyling and a lot of Photoshopping. We see the ideal, and don't see the parade of normal people around us. For an eye-opening experience, look at the portfolio from a professional retoucher: Glen Ferron. Roll your mouse over the ads to see what the models looked like before the retouching. And remmember, the "after" pictures are the ones held up as being "ideal", even though they're complete fakes. The actual models don't even look like that.

I've often thought that we fool ourselves when we talk about losing weight "for our health". It's the "acceptable" reason to want to lose weight because, while our culture puts its stock in appearance, we all know that's a shallow value. And so we pretend not to care so much about it. Yet, even though our health may be affected by our weight, we don't usually look to health improvement as a measure of our success. We look at numbers on the scale, measuring tape around our middles, clothes sizes and what we see in the mirror. When our health does improve, we often think we're still failing because we haven't "lost enough" weight, which is usually defined by how we look.

This post rambles a bit, because it's kind of my random thoughts on various aspects of the subject. I've been facing issues that may or may not be weight-related, so I've been exploring in my mind my attitudes towards food, weight, appearance, health and all of that stuff. I really don't have any conclusions, but it's important to me to figure this out. I was just told that my favorite aunt died last night. She had complications of diabetes and she's the one I seem to take after the most, genetically. I don't have symptoms, but she didn't either--until she was in her 60s. I see a potentially ticking time bomb, even though I've lived a generally healthier lifestyle than she did. And the diabetes is not in a direct line (parent or sibling) to me, but my grandfather had it, so the possibility is there.

Lest this seem like my aunt's death is about me, it's not. I don't grieve in public. And my grief isn't the topic of this post. I will miss her very much. She was the one I talked cooking with. And she was the musical one. We had a lot in common. But I don't want to follow her into an early grave. I hope that doesn't make me seem cold. It's just that I'm not done with life, yet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Week Three

Up five pounds on the year but down one pound from last week

Hit and miss on portion control. I have continued to log what I eat, but I need to work on recording portion sizes. I'm not pushing too hard on that yet, because I want to keep the recording going.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Two Week

Ugh. I'm up six pounds on the year now. I guess my sickness dehydration disappeared.

Not a very good week for me. On the positive side, I walked three miles today. I think I have set a workout schedule of weight training (with bands and hand weights) on Mondays, yoga on Wednesdays (as long as my knee holds up), and spinning on Friday. In between, I really need to walk Hershey -- and I need to push myself to walk more three mile walks than one mile walks.

I have logged my food, weight, and exercise in my food diary this week -- there were a couple of days when I almost didn't. I almost went to Burger King one day and convinced myself not to. Not so "lucky" for today, but today's success was in talking myself out of King sizing ("only" large sized) what I got (Whopper Jr -- they are better than the Whopper).

Doggone It

I'm starting over. I feel almost unwound from last week. There's not much major happening in the foreseeable future, so I hope I'll be able to keep to my plan.

I have to thank Jean for her pedometer recommendation. I bought one for my bestest friend for Christmas, and one for myself. My friend loves it! I've just started wearing it and it works really well. The manual says it won't count when going up and down stairs, but mine does. :)

I heard or read it somewhere to shoot for 10,000 steps a day. Even with all the housework I've been doing the last couple of days, and I thought I was doing well, I haven't even come close, but that does not include a walk around the neighborhood. Seems I need to up my steps about seven times. I don't know if walks would do that or not. I'll have to see how many steps I get out of a walk the next time.

I've considered advertising for a canine walking companion. There are dogs all over my neighborhood, and I'm sure their owners don't have time to, or just don't walk them. Now, don't die of shock that I'm thinking of walking a dog--I like them if they're decently behaved. I figured a dog would be happy to go with me whenever I'm ready to go. I wouldn't even charge the owner, they just can't complain about the free service. :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

One Week

I'm still feeling crummy. I went to bed at 8:15 last night and had no problems sleeping all night. But that's not what we're here to talk about. What's my progress for one week?

- +1.6 pounds
- I do not feel I have done well with my portion control
- I have not had carbonated beverages since the ones in the refrigerator were finished off. At least I think they're all gone. I haven't conducted a thorough scavenger hunt. I almost ordered a Diet Coke at lunch today but switched to unsweet iced tea, and was much happier.
- Not formally tracking, but I have recorded my food diary every day this week (to include weight and exercise)

My lungs are clear from my bout with pneumonia, but I'm still feeling crummy. I have a couple of medical appointments over the next week to have a couple of items of concern checked on, but I don't anticipate any miracle resolutions to any of the problems -- hopefully reassurances that everything is normal even though I don't like it. On the other hand, if there's something easy to do, I hope I find out about it.


Here's the link to the blurb about New Year's Resolutions I found the other day.

Every December 31, we hear the same warning: Make too many resolutions and you’ll get so discouraged you won’t achieve any. But a study from Baylor College of Medicine turns that caution on its head....

Good Housekeeping - Healthy New Year!
(Middle of the page)

It makes me wonder if the discouragement comes from NOT working on the other things we want to work on, but put on the back burner in favor of THE one resolution. It's a given that we'll fall off the wagon from time to time. However, if you're working on more than one thing, what are the chances you're going to fall off multiple wagons at once? I wouldn't think that's very likely, so that leaves at least one of your resolutions still up and running, providing a boost to keep you going on the other resolution(s) that might not be faring so well.

What do you think?

Are you...

... drinking your water? Experts say that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day on average and increase that amount by one glass for every 25 pounds that you are overweight. (Apparently I should be drinking Lake Superior.)

Drinking that much water supposedly helps you lose weight and be healthy by decreasing your appetite, flushing your body of "stored" water, hydrating your skin for a more youthful appearance, helping your kidneys and liver work more efficiently, and increasing your metabolism. (See this article for more information about the benefits of drinking lots of water.)

I've been trying to increase my water consumption each day. I'm still drinking a soft drink every now and then, and I'd like to quit them completely, but it's hard to do. Sometimes that caffeine and sugar are irresistible. I'll keep working on it. But tell me, are you drinking that much water? And if you are, is it helping you win the weight war?

Monday, January 07, 2008

My plan for 2008

      I have to lose weight. This has to be done this year. To that end, I purchased a recumbent bike last Wednesday. I've used it almost every day since my roomie put it together (thanks, ETC). My legs feel ... terrible. Sigh. Anyway, here's is my plan for losing weight in 2008.
      A. Ride my recumbent bike at least once a day.
      B. Eat more salads and low calorie meals.
      C. Control portion size. Smaller, smaller, smaller.
      D. Drink more water. Lots more.
      E. Limit sweets of any sort. This will definitely help my diabetes.
      F. Eat more veggies. Lots more.
      G. Cook more and eat out less.
      H. Get more sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase weight gain as well as cause other health problems.
      I. Understand that it will take at least a couple of years (or more) for me to lose this weight. It's not going to be easy to lose weight, but when I do, the rewards will be great.
      J. Remember that I've not failed until I give up, and be kind to myself when I slip up.
      And that's how I intend to lose weight in 2008. How are you going to do it?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

5th poll results

What's your trouble food that you can't resist?
3 (30%) Chocolate/other sweets
3 (30%) Soft drinks
3 (30%) Red meat
0 (0%) Beer/other drinks
3 (30%) Other
12 votes
10 voters

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Frenzied's New Year Post

Jean has said some things that I could have written myself. It wasn't an employer, but a particular family member that is hyper-focused on weight. She is significantly overweight herself, so I tend to think that she focuses on it in other people to undermine their efforts so she doesn't feel alone in her size category. I don't really think she does it consciously, but I think that's the underlying reason. I have always been independent-leaning, so someone trying to make me feel one way or another and I'm off to the races.

I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, too. It still remains to be seen if diet and exercise will help the cholesterol. Diet alone hasn't, so maybe the exercise will. I have no explanation for the high blood pressure. Historically, I've always had perfect or low blood pressure.

I'm going to spend the next week or so getting back to keeping track of WW points. I'm not going back to WW, I was there long enough to know the program. I just want to get re-educated in the point value of different foods so I can do it without too much thinking. Also, going back to points, I'm going to go back as far as the WW program when I first started. You had a certain number of points and could bank any daily leftovers. You did not get to carry the banked points over to the next week. That worked better for me than having a certain number of daily points and then an additional number of weekly points. Just entailed too much for me to want to keep track.

For this week, I'm going to study what an actual serving size looks like. I just measured out my breakfast cereal and orange juice. I just want to eyeball it when I get really cruising. There are a lot of things WW and others suggest to help you determine the size of a serving, such as a piece of boneless chicken breast should about the size of a deck of cards. I just haven't tried to commit more of it to memory so I don't have to look up everything every other time.

I weighed myself this morning for a starting weight, and even though it's a day less that Tuesday to Friday, I'm going to report again on Friday. The good news is that this morning I was down 2.4 from the last time I weighed myself. I'm not counting that since I'm starting with today, but it sure didn't hurt to see that! :)

Jean's New Year Post

My long-term goal is to weigh between 165 and 180. That means I have between 80 and 95 pounds to lose. I'm going to start working toward the 80 pound goal and worry about that "last 15" later -- presumably much later.

I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol -- both controlled with low doses of medication (diet didn't do much for the cholesterol, so part of that is hereditary). I have osteoarthritis in knees, ankles, feet, and hands. I've had arthroscopic surgery to repair meniscal tears in both of my knees -- the left one looks like 70's shag carpet inside. I take Osteo Bi-Flex (a glucosamine chondroitin product) and Tylenol Arthritis to keep the knees and other joints functioning with minimal pain. Until the recent bout with pneumonia, I walked or walked/jogged five days a week. I'm nearly ready to resume that.

I've recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Losing weight will help reduce the impact of each of the medical problems I've mentioned.

I have twenty-eight years of being hassled by my employer about my weight (even when I was one hundred pounds lighter, it wasn't good enough for them). As a result of 28 years of nothing I do being good enough, I have a bit of an attitude about the whole weight loss thing. I realize this impact of this attitude only hurts me, so there is value in changing that attitude. At this point, I refuse to deprive myself of something I want. So how do I effect change?

I'm going to take baby steps, because the impact of carrying this extra weight is beginning to "outweigh" the benefits being rebellious. My husband has suggested reducing volume as a significant effort I could make. This would not deprive me of anything I wanted. I should just eat less of everything. This makes a lot of sense and will be one of the things I strive to achieve this year. I have several other things I'd like to do to eat and live healthier. First, I'm going to return to eliminating carbonated beverages from my diet. I did it while deployed in 2004, and I believe I can do it again. When I run out of colas, I won't replace them. I do, however, drink Minute Maid Light sometimes. Water has a lot to offer, and I can guzzle it rather well.

So here it is. New Habit for January: Eliminate carbonated beverages. (This will contribute to eating fewer chips, crackers, and salty foods, because I've noticed I tend to choose a beverage based upon what snack food I want to support -- if I eliminate that beverage, there's a good chance I'll eat far less of that type of snack food.)

Year-long habit to develop: Reduced portion sizes. To encourage this without feeling deprived, I'm going to allow myself to eat as much as I want, as long as I slow down and eat a smaller quantity at any given time. I will also continue drinking plenty of water and discipline myself to wait between servings.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So, who's with me tomorrow?? :)

Happy 2008!

Good morning, partners! And a Happy New Year to everyone!

The sun is trying to come up and is bringing a beautiful show of colors in the eastern sky this morning. It's the dawning of a new year, and 365 more chances to start over fresh, every day.

Let's make this the best year yet, building on our successes of the past couple of years, dealing with all our new challenges and learning from the lessons we've shared.

God bless us every one with good health, good attitudes and a renewed vigor in our pursuit of lighter lives!