Monday, September 28, 2009

Too much

My dad kicked his emotionally abusive wife out last Wednesday. You might remember the drama around his illness (he has ALS) and his wife trying to drive my sister & me away from him. He'd finally had it last Wednesday after yet another confrontation and told her to leave. He not only told her to leave, he called my sister and asked her to come over to protect him. Then he asked my sister to call my mom & her husband and have them come over so they could protect him. This is unprecedented. My dad wants my mom around, my mom and her 6'6'' husband who has a concealed weapons license. Dad's afraid. He hasn't been alone for one minute since she left. And she's left peacefully, for now.

I've been spending a lot of time with him since then, which has been a huge blessing.

The good news is that a tremendous peace has settled on our family now that she's gone.

The bad news is now I can't just put his illness and my feelings in my nice little box and file it away and ignore it. I have to deal with all the emotions. And it's hard. Really really hard.

I'm not losing any weight, because I have zero energy for it. I'm scared. I realized yesterday I could easily have 40 pounds to lose instead of 10 if I don't get a handle on myself soon. I have got to make exercise a priority. It's the only thing that is going to save me, because I don't have the energy to do the food right now. Exercise makes a difference on every level. I feel better, I look better, it helps keeps the comfort food eating in check.

But I have had no time to do anything since Wednesday, before I got the call from my sister Wednesday night.

I'm not spending all my nights with my dad. There are miracles at work and we have other family members (on my dad's side) who are living with him & taking care of his daily needs. But I'll be spending significant time with him every weekend, which I'm happy about. He may not have many weekends left. And I'm now co-Power of Attorney (with my sister) and I have responsibility for getting his finances figured out.

I'm not sleeping well, so I started taking xanax again to sleep. That makes it hard to wake up in the morning. It's all quite a mess, actually.

Anyway, I'm going to try to leave today at 4 p.m. and either take a body pump class or go running in this gorgeous weather.

I don't have all the answers. I know things could be worse. I know they could be much much better. I'm going to do the best I can. Please pray that I don't end up back at 200 pounds before this is all over with.

Vickie, you'd asked a while back when I go to sleep at night. That is a great question and you have zero'd in on a big problem I have. I'm a night owl by nature, & my brain gears up around 9 p.m. and I usually watch TV and do laundry or just vegetate on the couch or read. I go to sleep around 11 p.m. most nights, sometimes later (last night it was almost midnight). Not a good plan for breakfast, eh? It doesn't help that my husband stays up even later than I do. I need an overhaul!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday update

Man, I've got nothing creative whatsoever to say today, so I'll just give the basics.

I ran/walked a total of 10 miles last week. That's the most I've done since mid August.

I had very little time to workout yesterday, but I didn't let that stop me. I walked a couple laps then ran 2 miles on the indoor track at the Y. I then did 15 pushups (broken into 3 sets) & did situps for a few minutes.

Food has been The Suck. I have not been eating breakfast regularly. I didn't eat anything this morning until 10 a.m. Bad, bad, bad.

I went shopping Saturday at one of the nice thrift stores in town. I refuse to spend $$$ on bigger clothes, but I have to have clothes that fit. I can't magic these 8-10 pounds off my body over night, so the solution was to buy new second-hand clothes. I found a great pair of black pants, size 10. Found a brand new pair of Limited "the suit" wool pants, with tags on ($98 on the tag, at that) for $6. These were a 12, but they are a bit baggy & my skinny weight Limited pants are 10s, so I was okay with the 12s. I found a few other pieces that were all size 10s. Monday I wore the black pants & felt so much better about the way I looked. It sucks to gain weight, but it sucks more to wear tight clothes that just emphasize to you & everyone else that you've gained weight.

I realize, of course, that buying bigger clothes sizes & not feeling horribly distressed about it could be a very dangerous thing. I'm not happy that I'm in bigger sizes; but I'm not destroyed right now. Of course, it helps ease my guilt a little, knowing that I only spent $35 and got 2 dresses, 2 skirts, 2 pairs of pants, and a Talbots shirt.

I know the weight gain has to stop. I don't have my head in the sand. I weighed yesterday & I weighed today (159.2 and 158.8, respectively). It's not out of control yet. I've got the YMCA group exercise schedule, and my goal is to do two Body Pump classes a week. I'll run/walk several other days a week. For me, I think weight training is a major missing link in my fitness & body image. I loved having firm muscles last year. I want that back.

It's a start at least.

Now, if I can just do that one simple thing of eating breakfast every day, maybe I'll have a shot.

Friday, September 18, 2009

There may be hope after all

Thank you all for your encouragement. I should know by now I can spill my ugly guts & you all will still be nothing but supportive.

Clearly I have not reacquired my 200 pound body. I have not had to buy new clothes (but it's getting close). My body is closer to the weight I've been the majority of my life. The 145-151 pound range is the anomaly here. Not 158.

And at 158 I've got the body of someone you see as the "before" shot on the P90X commercials. Not horrible, I grant you. But obviously there's room for lots of improvement. If you believe in the BMI, I'm "overweight" at anything above 149.

And I feel overweight right now. I AM overweight right now. I'm eating like I'm overweight. I'm not exercising enough. It's the same old slippery slope all over again.

The crap of it is, I've got no energy to deal with it right now. Jill's right. I've got to just hang on to what I can, maintain, not go nutso with the food (I have not succumbed to powdered sugar donuts or DQ blizzards, so there's still hope), and run when I can.

I did run yesterday. It was kind of neat actually. I just couldn't start out running. I was so tired, feeling so out of shape. So I walked a quick mile--about 14:30 min/mile according to Garmin. Then I felt like I could run. Well, jog actually. Mile 2 was around 12 mins. Then I walked the 3rd mile again. Then I ran the 4th mile.

Funny thing about that 4th mile. I did it in 10:30.

Huh. Slow down to go faster. There's a novel idea.

If I didn't have to pick up the kids from day care, I could have kept going another 4 miles, easy. I barely felt winded, tired, bored, or otherwise. I felt energized. I haven't felt like that in a long time.

During the 1st mile it hit me like a Mack truck that I could do this half marathon in October if I walked a good portion of it. I could alternate miles or half miles, whatever I felt like. I know I can run 6.5 miles. I know I can walk 6.5 miles. I can put them together and do the half. It won't be fast, but at least it won't be a total loss. I do have to get some miles on the bod between now and October 11, but I've got enough time that I won't hurt myself if I just slow it down.

Obviously I reserve the right to change my mind at any time & bow the hell out of this thing, but for now it's back on and the t-shirt I pick up on October 9th will at least mean something to me if I show up on October 11. What? You don't think I'd pay $55 and not get the free stuff, do you? I'm getting the free stuff no matter what.

In other news.... Sophie woke up this morning with a dizzy spell, but I gave her an ativan & ibuprofen and within 90 minutes it was gone. GONE! I think we have found the magic medicine combination for this girl. I took her to school only an hour & a half late. Mark is starting to feel better, after 12 days of having the flu. He's no where near 100%, but at least he's not struggling to talk and breathe at the same time.

My dad's ALS is getting much worse, very quickly. I haven't seen him for quite a while, but we email each other, which is better anyway because his speech is nearly unintelligible. We were all supposed to see him the Sunday before his birthday, which was the day before Labor Day. He had to cancel because he'd had other family (his wife's) up that weekend and was exhausted by Sunday night. It was an intervention from God, because Mark woke up that Monday with the flu. My dad would not survive a respiratory infection.

The kids start swim lessons tomorrow again. Sophie is at the top level - Shark - & Luke will take his first swim lesson ever. He really got used to the water this summer, in his floaty vest of course. I'm so excited to see them both in the pool at the same time.

It's coming on fall. I love the cooler temps and gorgeous leaves, but hate the lack of sunlight. I am going to start using my SAD lamp soon, or else I'm going to be in trouble.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If you can't say something nice

Sometimes it's easier to just be quiet in blog land when things aren't going well in real life.

So I haven't got much to say.

Mark is still sick. I'm still stressed.

Life keeps throwing me daily curve balls.

I'm still waiting for a break.

My kids are healthy. I'm healthy. I supposed that's as much break as I'm going to get right now, & I ought to be thankful for it.

The highlight of my week has been The Biggest Loser premier, which was wonderful (even though teary). I'm really looking forward to this season. I hope it provides some inspiration so I can kick myself in the (getting bigger every day) behind.

Seriously, I looked at myself in the mirror this morning & thought "I'm no longer an after. I'm a before."

So see? I just better shut my bloggy mouth right there.

Better to say nothing at all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Surviving not thriving

God Bless Vickie for keeping us all accountable.

I survived the weekend, but I did not thrive.

Indeed, it was horrible.

And I just wrote a terribly depressing, long drawn out post that I decided you do NOT need to read. Shit, I lived through it once. You all don't need to re-live my misery vicariously.

At least not today.

The net net is this:

My husband is sick with the flu and an upper respiratory infection and severe back pain, and has been for over a week.

My daughter is sick today, not terribly and I don't think it's the flu (yet anyway) but she's at the office and not in school (she is easy as pie to deal with, so the only issue is she's missing school). My son so far is OK but has a croupy cough that I hope doesn't worsen. No symptoms from me yet.

There's a crazy amount of stress still in our lives and the illness & incapacity is just about more than I can handle.

Add to that no running, the strong probability that I am bailing on my half marathon, and the sad fact that I'm back in the sugar after one blessed day of not being in the sugar, and there you have it.

I have reached my limit and I need a break. I don't know how, I don't know from where, and I don't know when, but a break is without a doubt what I need.

So I'm praying for a break. I just hope I'm not so covered over that I can recognize it when I see it.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I read more of Potatoes Not Prozac last night. I'm still on Step 1 (Breakfast) but I'm reading the rest of the book to get an idea of what lies ahead & to gain a better understanding of how sugar sensitivity affects my brain & body.

All I can say Page after page of AHA! moments. I've never read anything that has so clearly expressed the WHY's of my relationship with sugar.

It's very freeing.

I am starting to get the sense that the way that I am is not my fault. And I am not doing the "Oh poor me, I will always be fat and there's nothing I can do about it" thing. I am realizing that my brain is wired differently than most people. (I'm sure there are many in my family who would agree with this statement who have no idea I'm sugar sensitive. But I digress.)

Think about how alcoholics manage their disease. Their brains aren't geared like non-alcoholics. Well, sugar sensitive people's brains are wired very similarly to alcoholics.

No one says to an alcoholic, if you just had more willpower you could drink once in a while. No one says to an alcoholic, it's all your fault that you are this way, you brought it on yourself. No one says to an alcoholic, a little bit won't hurt you, go ahead, have a drink.

Dropping sugar completely is the next to last step in this 7 step process. I'm no where near ready to eliminate sugar from my life. I'm laying the groundwork, which will likely take months & months. There are anecdotes in the book where people spend 3 months on step 1. The process is very personal. There are no set time frames. The only rule is that you master each step before moving on to the next.

But I've cheated a little. I wanted to see what it would be like to eat 3 meals with proteins & complex carbs and then have a potato before bed. That's what I did yesterday. And I have to say, it was pretty cool. I didn't have cravings really. I had 3 cookies with dinner last night (Chips Ahoy reduced fat, 140 calories)--but WITH dinner, not at 10 p.m. (that's part of the plan--during step 3 you can still eat your sugary foods, but they have to be with a meal). And I had a potato at 9 p.m. while watching football.

I slept well but had the craziest dreams.

The author mentions this--if you are low on serotonin and you start the 3 protein meals/potato at night routine, you may have very vivid dreams. My dreams last night confirm the low serotonin issue I have, which is awesome. I feel like I'm finally on the right track of figuring out how to live a balanced life.

Hopefully weight loss will be a nice side affect. It's definitely not the driving force here. But I did weigh 156.6, almost a pound loss from 2 days ago.

I can't wait to share more with you. And if you crave sugar and carbs and are struggling with mood/depression issues, I'd encourage you to buy the book (get the new edition). It's really worthwhile, and not just another diet book.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I didn't eat last night

I also didn't run, but that's another story.

I've been back to the night eating habit for a few weeks, since I fell off the wagon. I know this habit is a result of my brain & body wanting more happy brain chemicals. And to a very large extent, I can't control it. Any of you who have gone through the "I just can't stop myself" knows what I'm talking about.

What I can control much better is what I eat during the day time hours. And so, for a little over a week I've been following the Potatoes Not Prozac first step of eating breakfast. I've not been perfect. One morning I didn't eat protein. Another morning it was 90 minutes after I woke up before I ate breakfast (I did have my coffee with 15 minutes, though...go figure).

It's not as easy as it looks, this eating breakfast as prescribed in the book. But I think it may have made a difference last night. I don't have any other explanation for my ability to FIGHT the cravings at bedtime yesterday. The cravings were still there, but they weren't impossible to overcome.

I overcame them. I ate nothing after 9 p.m. This is a huge deal.

It's also a very small step in the very large recovery that I need to go through. But at least it's a step forward.

The running? Not so good on that front. My last post was the last time I ran. The weekend was filled with kids and family & no time for me to spend on me. Monday I was going to go on a long run, and Mark came down with the flu. I couldn't leave the kids with him. Yesterday he was sick so I worked late at the office. I still can't do early morning workouts and I can't make myself go out or put in a DVD at 9 p.m. at night after the kids are in bed. Once I'm in my comfy clothes when I get home from work, I'm done.

Frankly, I'm so mentally tired that I can't summon the seemingly extraordinary measures it would take to move my body beyond the bare minimum requirements.

My half marathon in October is in jeopardy. If I can't get in at least a few runs a week over the next month, I'll scrap it completely. If I can, then I'll likely do the race but will have no time goals and will likely have to walk a good part of it. I really don't want to be a DNS (did not start). I've never bailed on a race. This might be my first.

My life is mentally exhausting right now. I've got no extra energy reserves for weight loss or fitness.

It's been 2 years this month since I hit 155 pounds. I weighed 157.4 this morning, so I'm still maintaining but I'm on dangerous ground.

I will be okay. I'm not eating powdered sugar donuts or Ben & Jerry's. I'm working a plan, even though it's a very simple, slow plan.

Simple & slow may be the only thing I can do right now.

It's better than nothing.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I ran! I ran!

4 miles last night. Avg: 11:30/mile

That is all.

Happy 3 day weekend!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Off Topic - Engagement Story

Casablanca was on TCM last night. Have I shared my engagement story with you all? I've been doing this blog for what, 3 years? I'm guessing I have, so if you've heard this before forgive me. If you haven't, enjoy my little engagement story. It's pretty special. We've been married for 14 years so it helps to remember our beginnings.

Cue the flashback music......

Mark & I met in June 1993. I was 23 & he was 31. We dated for about 2 months, I was falling head over heels for him, & one night he told me “if you want to get married you need to find someone else, because I’m never getting married.”

I broke up with him the next day on the phone, then spent 3 hours crying, then called him back & said I didn’t want to break up. He said “this isn’t high school, Laura” & that was that. We were apart for about a week, he went on a date I think (I pined away meanwhile), and then he called me & asked me to lunch. He said I was messing with his work, he couldn’t concentrate at all, & we could try it again but with no promises. Stupid, 23 year old me said OK!

But 14 months after we met, on his birthday July 31, 1994, he proposed. I had NO IDEA. We’d gone to his niece’s wedding in New Harmony (a small idyllic town in Indiana) that May, and had shared a room (we were in love, just no plans for marriage) & had talked about how we’d never be able to top her wedding because it was so special. But we never said, “when we get married it will be such and such.” We never talked about getting married. It just wasn't on the table.

So on July 31st I had taken him to New Harmony for his birthday present to see a play (The Fantastics, which is a musical actually) and spend the night at the Inn. He brought a couple movies with us since movies were our thing. After the play we went back to the room & he put in Casablanca. About 45 minutes into the movie (have you seen it?) when Bogart says “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” it flashes to Mark saying those famous lines instead of Bogart. He had a friend help him film the scene, had it digitized in B&W and added to the VHS tape.

Mark added these lines, in his best Bogart voice: “Well there’s no use fightin’ it, see. It’s preordained. In the cards. You & me kid, we go together like pork chops & applesauce. So what do ya say, schweetheart? Laura, will you marry me?” And then the movie just cuts back to Bogart & Sam in the bar like nothing has happened. I was frozen in time—completely shocked. I said, “Really? Do you mean it? Are you sure?” It was so surreal that I didn’t believe he was actually proposing until I saw he had a ring, too. Obviously I said yes & the rest is history.

Yep, it was a pretty amazing way to start an engagement.

Our VCR is broken, & last night's movie reminded me I need to get the tape copied to a DVD. It will be fun to show it to the kids.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Knowing is not the same as Doing

Isn't this the crux of all our weight loss problems?

We KNOW what to do. It's the DOING that can be so difficult.

My brain if filled with knowledge. Overfilled, I'd say. I love to read and research and pull data together in my head. I'll over analyze a problem to death. I've bought more books and bookmarked more websites on health, running, parenting, and ADHD than I'll ever be able to do anything with.

The latest book in my arsenal is filled with new information (for me) on biochemistry. It's not new information on the basics of nutrition. I know to eat a good breakfast of protein & complex carbs. I know to not eat junk food at 11 p.m. at night. I know to workout 3-5 times a week. I know to get a good night's sleep.

I know. But I don't always do.

The brain chemistry information in Potatoes Not Prozac is fascinating. Did you know that when you don't eat breakfast, your brain releases a chemical called beta endorphin? Beta endorphin is the same chemical that's released on my long runs & is responsible for my craved-for runner's high. You can read more about it on the author's website, here.

Beta endorphin is released when you don't eat breakfast because your brain thinks you are in starvation mode & it wants to protect you. So you feel sort of high for a while when you don't eat breakfast. Pair that with a cup of coffee with cream & sugar (or a Red Bull) and you have an even bigger hit of beta endorphin, because sugar causes it to be released, too.

Is it any wonder I wake up, drink my coffee, get the girl on the school bus, get ready for work, get the boy to day care, and finally arrive at work without putting a bite of food in my mouth? I've conditioned my brain to want that feel good chemical every morning. And I do feel great most mornings when I don't eat breakfast.

When I'm doing a Diet Plan, I eat a good breakfast. It's part of the plan, so I do it.

But when I'm Off the Wagon, I go back to the old habits, which includes skipping a solid meal in the morning. I'll have my coffee, maybe a couple of low fat cheese sticks in the car, and then I'll have a good lunch, a mid afternoon snack, a fairly healthy dinner, then all hell breaks loose as I consume sugar & alcohol so those beta endorphins can wash over my brain before I fall asleep.

I've never read about beta endorphins before this book. There's a lot more to it, too. I'll share more about WHY it's so easy to fall off the wagon after a couple weeks of being "good" on a plan. She explains that, as well.

So. I'm working this first step, which, like I said yesterday, is simple but not easy. It's work, and it's not what my messed up addicted little brain wants. But I'm doing it anyway.

Day 2. Breakfast. Done.
BTW, I need breakfast ideas. I've done eggs & egg whites & Ezekial toast & turkey bacon. Two days in a row. I've got to get creative with the protein. So lay it on me if you've got some good combinations. 26 grams of protein is a lot, I'm finding.

BTW-2: The protein deal is figured thusly-- divide your weight in half, that's how many grams of protein you should have in a day. Divide that number in 3, & that's how much protein for each meal. So for me, that's 155 / 2 = 77.5 / 3 = 25.8 grams for breakfast. (She says you should not have more than 42 grams at any one meal, so for higher-weight people there is a limit that is outside the weight formula.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Step 1: Breakfast

So I've been reading the new book for the past several days. It's been very enlightening. After all I've read on food and diets and also on depression, you'd think there'd be nothing new out there.

But, of course, there's always something new to learn.

I'll get into more of the science stuff when I have more time to chat. For now I'm going to skip straight to Chapter 6 "The First Step: Getting Started."

Are you ready? Here it is.

Eat breakfast.

That's it. Simple, right? But with most simple things, it's not easy.

There are, of course, some rules around breakfast eating. It's not like you can eat a bowl of Lucky Charms. The rules are these:
1) Have the right amount of protein for your weight (for me, that's about 26 grams)
2) Eat within an hour of getting up
3) Have a complex carbohydrate
4) Have breakfast every day.

#2 & #4 are going to be tough. Eating this type of breakfast means I have to get up early enough so I have time to make my food & eat it. In order to get up early enough I have to go to bed at night early enough. & in order to go to bed on time I have to be efficient and productive with my time at night.

I also have to not eat a bunch of junk food before bed, because the last thing I want when I wake up after a binge night is to eat a big breakfast.

And that, my friends, is the big freaking deal about this breakfast thing. I can't eat the crap I like to soothe myself with at night if I want to accomplish step #1 successfully.

When I was losing weight in 2007, what I found was key to success more than anything else was consistency. I might screw up once in a while, but more often than not I was consistent with my food plan. And I never quit. I kept moving forward every week.

The author of this book says that the key to her plan is to master each step before moving on to the next. Eating breakfast consistently will help set the stage for the body to heal itself.

She doesn't prescribe the number of successful days of eating breakfast and then you're ready to move onto step 2 (at least, I haven't read that yet....maybe she does & I'm just not there). But she's very clear that success on the plan is achieved more often when you master each and every step before moving on to the next.

I've got one successful breakfast day under my belt. This consistent breakfast thing is going to be interesting. Simple, but not easy.

Cooler weather at last! I got to run yesterday, about 40 minutes & a little over 3 miles. I'm still slower than molasses, but at least the temps are cooler & I'm enjoying the run more. I'm no where near close to my training plan for the Half on October 11. I still have time to get in my long runs, but not much. And my weekends are already filling up. So I'm not sure where I stand with that race. I'm really just going to do the best I can & let it go at that.