Friday, August 28, 2009

A review, a link, and a realization

POM WONDERFUL! Pomegranate juice is mighty tasty. Especially when it's free and comes in cute little baby bottles. I was thrilled to receive a case of POM from these good folks, and it was the first time I'd ever had 100% pomegranate juice. If you haven't tried it, go get some! It's delicious. And has many health benefits, too.

My husband drank most of the juice, since he's a known juice consoisseur & a wee bit greedy when it comes to cold wet things in the fridge. But, after I read about these health benefits, I've decided my husband can drink all the pomegranate juice he wants. Click the link & you'll know what I'm talking about.

Than you POM Wonderful for sharing your juice with me. You're a little pricey, but you're tasty. I'm sure you'll be finding your way into my shopping cart more often.

I started fretting about my 40th birthday before I even turned 39. Seriously, I set up a countdown on FaceBook in March 2009 entitled "Laura turns 40."

Being that I'm now only 228 days from the big 4-OH (I know it's 228 days thanks to the above mentioned countdown), I'm greedily inhaling any and all whiffs of hope that middle age isn't all that bad. This article about Amby Burfoot was one of those stories of hope. Sure, he's a Boston marathon winner, which makes him practically super human, but he's still human. So his "age defying mindset" tips are refreshing as spring rain. Even if you're not a runner, you might enjoy his point of view.

In case you were wondering, I've fallen off the Crack the Fat Loss Code wagon. It all started last Thursday, which was a Carb Up day that I never came Down from.

Yesterday I was logging my anxious & depressed mood into my "MOOD" excel spreadsheet (what would I do without my excel spreadsheets? I use them to track EVERYTHING). And I realized that my anxiety and depression ratcheted up on the day I started eating bad carbs. And just like my carbs haven't come back down, neither has my anxiety or depression. I've had a rough week and a half.

Now, even though this should not be an AHA! moment, being that I've been dealing with food and weight loss and depression for most of my adult life, the pieces sort of fit together at last while I was studying the columns & rows of "moods.xls."

I googled "anxiety and depression and sugar and carbohydrates" and found several entries that confirmed my theory that my depression and anxiety come raging when I'm eating the wrong stuff. I mean, I knew I felt guilty & fat & bloated when I ate sugary fattening foods. And I knew I got the wants & wanted more when I ate those foods. And I knew my night eating cravings came back when I fed my body junk during the day.

But I didn't realize--either because I blocked it on purpose or because my subconscience was blocking it for me, protective little bastard that it is--that sugar and chocolate and the like can cause anxiety and depression to worsen in some people.

What the hell? I asked myself. Why hasn't anyone ever told me this before? Why didn't I know this? I'm not talking about you eat poorly, you gain weight, you feel bad about yourself, you're depressed. I'm talking about the hard-core biochemical shit that's been screwing with my brain lately.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Maybe the wellbutrin is messing things up in my sensitive little noggin. Or maybe, just maybe, I am sensitive to sugar in more ways than it just makes me fat.

Maybe it's making me crazy, too.

So, one of the resources I found was for the book "Potatoes Not Prozac." Have you heard of it? I remember reading that title years and years ago & thinking the author must be nuts to think a potato could replace prozac. But after reading some other websites and reading an interview with the author about symptoms that are very similar to mine, I ordered the book off of Amazon yesterday and it's in my hands today. (God bless those speedy folks at

I must confess something to you now. And this is not a pretty confession. It's very difficult, actually. So sit down if you're not sitting down already.

The primary reason I caved & bought yet another book is because she talked about how craving sugar can eventually lead to craving alcohol. I have never ever been much of a drinker. Never. I didn't drink in high school or college, and in my early 20s when I was going out with girlfriends, I was always the sober designated driver. I've been a sober prude for most of my adult life. Ask anyone who's known me for longer than two years and they'd agree that I can be the world's biggest wet blanket.

But in the past year, that's started to change. I get home from work and I need a drink (man, that sounds just awful). I automatically reach for a bottle of Mike's Hard Pomegranate Lemonade (which, I believe, is NOT 100% pomegranate juice so it unfortunately does not have the same benefits as POM Wonderful) the minute I'm changed out of my work/workout clothes. Some nights I want a 2nd bottle after the kids are in bed.

The weeks I was doing the Crack diet successfully, I was still having a Mike's once in a while. I could still lose, as long as I stayed away from junk food. Junk drink seemed to not derail me.

Except, actually, it did knock me off the rails, because now one bottle isn't enough.

Yes, I know this is a problem. A big, ugly, fucking grown up problem.

So. Add that to the list of problems I've got.

Middle aged acne is another big one that I don't yet have a solution to, but that's for another day.

(Believe it or not I'm not drinking while writing this. I know I sound a little loopy. I'm feeling okay right now and I'm on an upswing I guess. Those upswings bring out the goofiness in my writing style, to be sure.)

Part of me can't wait to get into this book over the weekend and see if it can help. Part of me thinks I'm a total freaking moron to think yet another book is going to fix me.

But the biggest part of me feels like it's all going to be okay, as long as I keep searching, keep learning, keep listening to what my brain and body are trying to tell me.

I am running, and I am sleeping, and I am loved by my family. The rest of it will work itself out, God willing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dry Spell

Years ago I read an article in a fashion magazine about marriage and sex. The author said that when she and her husband went for too many days without having sex, their emotional connection got all fuzzy. I don't remember anything else about the article--what the symptoms of the fuzzy connection were or what she did to remedy the dry spell. I can imagine what they'd be, since I've been married 14 years and have had my share of not getting my share. But I remember that line clearly: their emotional connection got all fuzzy.

Something similar has happened to me recently. I feel disconnected, soft, and my brain is fuzzy like a summer peach. It feels like it's been forever, and I'm not sure how to get back in the saddle, so to speak, because it's been so long and I'm a little intimidated of starting things up again. It's not like it's been months or anything, but it has been a couple weeks since anything significant has happened.

I'm not talking about my marital relationship, though. It's a running dry spell that I'm going through. And it's bloody painful.

I've described to my friends before that running 13.1 miles is almost as good as great sex. The constant flood of endorphins that make their presence seriously known around mile 5 is as close to a passionate romp as anything else I've experienced.

During my first half marathon, I had my first running orgasm. Okay, so I didn't have an actual orgasm (although how freaking cool would that be?). But I had the equivalent of one--my spirit was lifted heavenward, I was transported, my body was so awash in goodly brain chemicals that it moved of its own volition, doing my bidding without me having to even try. I had an honest to goodness out of body experience around mile 12. I can't describe being able to run farther than I've ever run in my life, other than I died and went to heaven for those last two miles. I was filled with white light, moving forward, on and on and on among other souls who sought the same destination.

Crossing the finish line was pure bliss.

So why, with the memory of ecstasy being within my power, can't I get my ass out there and run?

Our weather this weekend was unseasonably cool for August. Upper 50s in the mornings, with highs in the 70s. It was perfect running weather. In August. In Southern Indiana. And did I run once? No. Did I have a legion of excuses why I couldn't run? Yes. Do I feel like a total worthless piece of "how can you call yourself a runner" garbage? Well, it's not quite that bad, but close.

So now that it's been over three weeks since I ran a significant distance (I'm not counting my 5 miler a week and a half ago, because I walked half of it because it was too stinking hot), I'm all freaked out over it. I want to run. I do. But I feel disconnected, soft, and fuzzy. Like this relationship might have some serious issues.

And I'm doubting myself like mad. How can I call myself a runner if I can't even make myself run a solid 3 miles on the most beautiful days of the summer? How can I call myself a runner if I don't want to run the Race for the Cure 5k this year (my First Race Ever was this 5k)? How can I call myself a runner when my training for the Half Marathon in October has been shit?

Getting out there again is intimidating. I have no idea why. It's like when I went through that phase where I would run on a treadmill but have an uncontrollable urge to jump off the tread and onto the rails. I literally could not keep my body off the side rails; my feet had taken over and they said, "Uh uh, not running today, sorry, we like it over here where it's nice and sedentary." It wasn't rational, my side rail issue. But at the time, I was nearly paralyzed by it.

So here's what I'm telling myself today: this dry spell is going to pass the way any dry spell passes. Not with roses or a nice dinner or a new pair of running shoes. It's going to pass because I am going to JUST DO IT. I'm going to put the bullshit excuses aside, get out my sexiest, er I mean fastest, running clothes I own, lace up my Mizunos, and hit the pavement.

You break a dry spell one step at a time. I just need to remind myself that I'll find my bliss again. It's going to require a little foreplay, in the form of 3 and 4 mile short runs. But the bliss is out there, somewhere. I'll find it if I just keep running.

Friday, August 21, 2009

152.8 & a happy post

That's what the scale has said for two days in a row, and Wednesday it was 152.6. AND yesterday was a carb up day, & my weight didn't go up.

Woohoo! I love this plan.

The weather has been better this week and my schedule not as nuts, so I've been running. Tuesday I ran 3.5 miles & yesterday I ran 3. My Wednesday walk with my friend during the kids' swim lessons has turned into a walk/jog! Debra has started running during her walks, so she & I are walking a couple laps and running 3. We ran a little over a mile (the track is 11 laps per mile & we ran the 3 lap circuit 4 times). I feel like I'm getting a much better workout now.

This weekend is supposed to be g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s weather. 50s in the mornings!! That is the absolute best running weather. I cannot wait to be able to run a full mile without thinking I'm gonna die from heat exhaustion. Heck, maybe I'll even be able to run 3 miles straight again without a walk break. 'Cause in summer heat, that just don't happen.

I've got a product review of POM Wonderful I will be throwing out there next week. I owe those folks a big apology. They sent their fabulous juice months ago and I've not reviewed it at all. It was all gone within a week, too! Tells you how much we loved the stuff. Anyway, you've been warned--my first ever product review (&, alas, it may be my last since no one else is going to want my procrastinating self for product pimping).

Weekend plans will hopefully include an 8 mile run Saturday morning, a trip to the zoo, a trip to the children's museum, lots of family time, church on Sunday, and catching up on household chores. (Laundry, why do you taunt me with your ever growing stature?)

It's sad, I know, but I felt immediately happy this morning when my scale repeated yesterday's weight. I got a lift from that number all morning.

I like being on the love side of the my love/hate relationship with The Scale.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Down & Dirty

I'm here, just too busy to post much right now. Here's the skinny:

Friday was a carb up day, which was fine except I allowed my hormones to take over and Saturday and Sunday also ended up being carb up days. They obviously weren't supposed to be. I got back on plan yesterday and weighed 153.4 this morning.

I ran 5 miles on Saturday. Was supposed to be 7, but I started at 10:30 & it was way too hot even by then. At 3 miles I decided I was done, so I turned around & ran/walked home.

I've definitely been feeling some hormonal imbalance moodiness since Saturday. As soon as my vitamins from arrives, I'm going to start taking 600 mg of calcium twice a day. My psychiatrist says it's supposed to help with PMS. I already take fish oil twice a day, which helps with weight loss and depression. Hopefully the calcium delivers.

More to come....

Friday, August 14, 2009

"I don't want to be a night eater"

Go read this when you have a chance. It's a great piece of writing.

Frances Kuffel's Psychology Today blog.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Can you believe this is my 8 year old? Neither can I. She has grown so much. It's been a very good summer, primarily because we've gotten her migraines/dizzy spells figured out. It's been such a blessing for her to have a normal life the past few months. I pray that it continues.

These pics are from the first day of school yesterday. She deserves a good school year. (She missed over 30 days in both kindergarten and 1st grade because of the dizzy spells.) She loves her new teacher. She's easy to get up for school, at least the past two mornings. I'm hopeful that continues.

And she got promoted in swim lessons last night to Shark. That's her second promotion this summer, and Shark is the highest level she can go, and then it's swim team. She'll be in Flying Fish for two more weeks, then a two week break, then we start lessons at the Shark level in mid September. We are moving lessons to Saturday mornings. Wednesday from 5:30 - 6:30 is just too much during the school year. We were all exhausted & grouchy last night.

Thank you all for your morning workout tips!! I loved them all. It was great to hear from some of you that don't normally comment, so big thanks to you especially. I've been waking up this week at 5 - 5:15 a.m. to get to work early. I am going to bed around 10 p.m. This is totally new behavior for me. Usually I go to bed at 11 p.m. - midnight, & get up at 7 or 7:30, & am at work between 9:30-10. I think I'm going to continue to get used to the new sleep/awake times, & then ease into working out in the mornings. I really like getting up early & having time to drink coffee, pray, watch CNBC, clean the kitchen, color my hair (which is what I did this morning), or whatever, and still get to work at 8ish a.m.

I did manage a run yesterday--FINALLY--3 miles in the afternoon. It wasn't too terribly hot in the shade, but it was hot enough to make me slower than molasses. And I think I need new shoes. My shins were hurting & my feet hurt like heck last night. I love getting new running shoes. They are always so supportive & comfy.

Weight is still the same, bah! Can't wait for another drop down a pound or two. I always hold onto weight at mid cycle, so it's not a surprise. Just a bummer. Ah well. I'll keep plugging away.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Everything's on an even keel right now. My weight, my moods, my life -- are all fairly stable. No surprises, nothing to freak out over, nothing to get too excited about.

Stable = normal = GOOD

I haven't lost anymore weight. I've been stuck in the 153 range for over a week. I'm eating on plan 95% of the time (I had frozen cool whip for dessert one night & a couple handfuls of mini chocolate chips another night...not on plan, but not a disaster, either).

The problem is I'm not exercising. I ran last Friday for 3 miles, & that was it for the entire week. My schedule was nuts with my Dad's illness & Sophie's appointment in St Louis, and one thing after another, blah blah blah and there's no time for ME. I haven't worked out yet this week either. I am kicking around the morning run idea again, and I was awake this morning at 5:15, but I just didn't have it in me to go running. I looked outside to see if it was raining, but that was the extent of my efforts. I probably ought to quit kidding myself that I'm ever going to be a morning workout person.

But I want to be. I want to burn those calories in the a.m. when my body will take them from my fat stores. I want to get my runs out of the way so my evenings are free. And I really, really want to lose more weight. You'd think these would be motivation enough to get me moving.

It's not. Yet.

If you're a converted morning exerciser (as in, you are NOT a morning person but you have managed to recreate yourself into a morning exerciser...I don't need to hear from you larks who just naturally pop out of bed without an alarm, because I'm so jealous of you that I could scream), please share how you do it.

Or come over & drag my sorry butt out of bed at 5 a.m. That would help, big time.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Epiphanies and Moving On

I'm around, just haven't been able to write because I've mostly used up all my words by speaking too much during the day and have nothing left to share here.

It's been a difficult week with my Dad, for many reasons other than his illness. I had an epiphany Wednesday--just because someone has a deadly disease doesn't make them into a new person. There are reasons I haven't been part of my dad's life for years. Those didn't go away just because he got sick. We had The Talk on Sunday and it was healing, but it didn't really change things.

And just as I chose not to be sucked into the loathsome relationship he has with his wife for the past 6 years (my dad is her 7th husband, and that sin is a faint blush compared to the rest of the evil which is contained in her being), I do not have to be part of what is happening now. I am still who I am, too. And I will not compromise myself or my family just because he's leaving this earth soon.

A person dies the way they live. There's just no getting around that fact.

So. Wednesday was The Difficult Day. In addition to driving to St Louis & back for Sophie's follow up neurology appointment--which went great...her MRI from 6 weeks ago was normal, of course, and she has had a great summer with NO significant dizzy spells. The meds are working and she's not suffering any side effects--I also listened in on the meeting with Dad, his wife, my sister, and the attorney on the Will discussion. That's when most of the trouble started. It's all "thou shalt not blog about" stuff, but needless to say it pushed me over the edge and despite my best intentions, I completely drowned my misery Wednesday night in Mike's Hard Lemonade, Lucky Charms, & Chips Ahoy.

Thursday I moved on. I had my epiphanies, ate a carb free breakfast, and got back to doing what I do best--putting the unmentionables of my life in a nice little box and shoving them under the bed where they belong. Well, not really. I talked about them more with family & friends, but emotionally I was done being upset. Done done done. Really. I'm done.

Exercise has been The Suck this week. Yesterday I finally ran 3 miles, and they felt good despite the heat & humidity. My diet has been back to where it's supposed to be, and my weight has been staying stable for days between 153.2 and 154.2, even after the Wednesday disaster. I expect to get more exercise in next week and staying on plan, so hopefully can shed another pound or two in Week 3.

In other random news, I've got this niggling pull in my brain that I should write a book. It's been there for about a year, and I keep ignoring it. I have no idea how this would happen or who would even read what I have to say (other than the handful of you fabulous folks who read my blather here, but, you know, I think a publisher would want more than 50 people to buy a book). But the new movie Julie & Julia, which was a blog, then a book, & is now a movie, has brought back the desire again. I keep thinking of Farmer Hoggett from Babe, and how he knew that ideas that pull and niggle shouldn't be ignored. I don't know. Probably nothing will come of it. I just needed to dump it out here so maybe it will go away. Or I'll do something about it. One or the other.

Today, Saturday, is The Great Endeavor to Clean Sophie's Room. My goal all summer has been to get it cleaned before school starts. Sure enough, Wednesday is D- day and we are cleaning today. It's scary in there--no food under the bed or anything, but so many toys you literally can't walk except for in strategically cleared spots. Needless to say, we're purging a ton of stuff, whether she likes it or not.

Monday, August 03, 2009

1 week down, 7 to go, and some very bad news

I finished week 1 of the Crack the Fat Loss Code diet on Saturday. And I rocked it.

Sunday morning I weighed 153.2 -- 6 pounds lost.

I stuck to plan 95% of the time. I ran 3 times, walked once. Saturday's run was a solid 6 miles.

Can I tell you how great it feels to have the extra, extra layer of fat/water weight gone? My clothes are comfortable. Everything fits again, not loosely but my summer clothes aren't tight anymore. My running skirt doesn't pull across the front; it hangs straight again. Saturday night Mark & I went out to dinner & a movie for his birthday and I wore the blue dress I bought on St John, and it was a little big on me! (I ate well at dinner, no bread, no alcohol, no popcorn or treats at the movie.)

Yesterday was a difficult day (more on that in a minute) and I came face to face with why it's so easy to get off track. Because when life comes at you fast, if you take ONE BITE of the forbidden, it can unleash an avalanche of brain chemicals and emotions that snows you under until, before you even realize it, you've eaten more than one bite. And if you don't MAKE YOURSELF STOP after those first few bites or, in my case, after one piece of homemade mocha cake that your gourmet cook cousin-in-law only makes a few times a year for birthdays--you can get into trouble real fast.

I stopped. At a family pool party yesterday afternoon, I had a fried chicken breast (didn't eat skin but ate the cracklins), green beans, broccoli salad, and yes, a piece of amazing mocha cake. That was not on plan. I stopped at one piece, but after that ONE indiscretion, I wanted more. I wanted some cheesecake and rice crispy treats and chocolate kisses and coconut pie (and I don't even like coconut). This was a big family party--there were lots of desserts.

The avalanche started, but because I love how I feel being thinner--and because the memory of how yucky it feels to NOT be thinner is so close to me right now--I was able to stop this time. It's a scary line to walk. And maybe I have no business even getting my little toe next to that line. But I did, and I do. It's part of the beauty of this plan, actually. That you can "cheat" and still lose weight, IF you stick to the plan as it's written & don't make up new rules as you go along.

DH took two pieces of cake home--one for him, one for Luke--and I had one more bite before I stopped myself. Sure, I stopped partly because I didn't want Luke or Mark asking "where's my cake?" the next day, but I realized if I didn't make myself stop then, it might be too late.

And I'd be in the pit of carb despair again. I really don't want to go back there.

I was up 1 pound this morning, but it's OK. I expected a small gain.

Today is a carb down day. I'm having healthy Ezekial toast with turkey for lunch. Tomorrow is a baseline day & I get two carbs before 3 p.m., woot!

I can't say the hard part is over, just because week one's carb deplete is done (really, it's not that bad).

The hard part is anytime there's temptation around. The hard part is saying YES and allowing myself to live in the moment--which is OK TO DO ONCE IN A WHILE--and then going back to being true to what I want most, which is to not be a slave to food.
The very bad news and why Sunday was so difficult:
My dad has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The day we left for St John, he saw a neurologist because his speech was slurred. After a lot of tests and a misdiagnosis of another neuromuscular disorder (which didn't respond to drug treatment so they know it's not that disease), the doctors have told him it's ALS.

I knew this over a week ago, but it wasn't real yet. He needs a 2nd opinion, we all told ourselves. It's not really ALS until a second doctor tells us it is. I lived in a little imaginary world for a while, and filed the problem away behind all the other crud I've been dealing with in life lately.

Then my sister called me Sunday morning, saying she'd waited two days so we could enjoy Mark's birthday. She'd been crying for two days straight because dad couldn't eat on Friday and he could barely talk. He was having trouble breathing. He said he didn't want any extraordinary measures, including a feeding tube. From the way my sister described what she saw on Friday, I thought he may only have a few weeks left to live.

She & I went to see dad yesterday. It was a good day for him. Friday was a very, very bad day. I could understand him yesterday, even though his speech is unbelievably slurred. He was eating soup when I got there, and was drinking coffee. He's surprisingly not bitter or angry about the situation. He said he's thankful it's not a disease that's taking his mind from him and that he has time to say his goodbye's.

My dad & I haven't had much of a relationship for years, mostly because of his 2nd wife but for other reasons too that I won't go into today. But something like this tears down walls and opens up hardened hearts, and dad and I had The Talk we needed to have. He struggles to breathe when he cries, so it was very difficult for both of us. We needed it though.

The other advisor in our office has worked with the ALS Foundation for years. He gave me a name & number of someone to call to get them some help. The neuro. basically said "you've got ALS and I've got no tricks for you in my bag." Nice. Tricks we don't need. Advice and compassion and next steps would be helpful though. The ALS Foundation is hopefully where we'll find all that and more.

I have no idea how advanced it is. My sister and his wife said they can look back on the past few years and see that some signs were there before. Things like muttered speech and a weak leg, that they contributed to his stroke from 4 years ago and his knee surgery. It's possible it was ALS though.

He wants to stay home, doesn't want a hospital. That may change when he can't walk or feed himself. His wife is very obese and has diabetes and couldn't lift him at all. He's deteriorated quickly in the past 6 weeks, from mere slurred speech to struggling to swallow. I just pray we find the help we need to keep him as comfortable as possible at the Foundation.