Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Full Blown

I've been trying to deny to myself that my Firbromyagia symptoms have been coming back. No one wants to admit things are really bad, when they really are. You go into a mode a period of time, trying to convince yourself that you "pulled a muscle," must be coming down with something," etc...I've totally been doing this with myself. I did have the flu weekend before last. And I do have some residual pain/cramping that is associated with that. I realized that this pain I'm getting down my right leg to my knee, is the same shooting pain I usually get in my neck/shoulders. This morning when I woke up, I had a full blown Fibro episode engaged. I can no longer convince myself that this is just a phase or that will pass. The pain is widespread and memorable. It amazes me how easily you forget how bad the pain can be; until you in it.
It sucks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Spoonie

I've suffered from Fribromyalgia, in a documented sense, since I was 18 years old. I'm 43, so you do the math. My point is, it's a long damn time. Until 2001, I suffered not knowing what was wrong with me. If you're a person who has suffered from a chronic illness, you have an idea of what that is like. How it feels to run test after test, and then do them all again, just to get no answers. To have the doctors, your family, you friends, all look at you like you're the crazy cat lady because no one can figure out what's wrong with you. Inevitably, a medical professional will imply that maybe it's all in your head. This is often the same professional who originally agreed that there was something, indeed wrong with you, you have real symptoms after all. But upon being thwarted by his tests, rather than admit defeat, is looking for fault in you. It couldn't possibly be that maybe we just don't have the tests to determine the problem you have as of yet, could it? Once the medical profession starts to give up on you, you find that many family and friends will start dropping off. Those that do stick around will tell you things like, "Just get out of bed and decide you feel good. It will happen." and the ever popular, "Suck it up." As if you could decide to feel better. Who the hell would choose to feel like this? You get an idea of part of what I've dealt with emotionally during this process.
Yesterday, I got a Direct Message (DM) from one of my Twitter followers, "I didn't know you were a spoonie!" Um, neither did I, what the heck is a spoonie? She was shocked I wasn't aware of this website; But You Don't Look Sick? Ooooh! Now it all makes sense. I had heard of the spoons via Queen of Spain, (QofS,) but assumed they had something to do with her family, so I never really took much interest. Beside, I was trying to hold it together; between my back pain, my kids, & trying to keep my fibro in line, my sleep issues were creeping in about that time, I didn't really have the time/energy to go peruse blogs just for fun. Coincidentally, QofS posted this, a few hours after I got that tweet.
No, I don't have lupus, but like lupus many of my symptoms are hidden. I don't look sick, but I absolutely am. With all the back problems I've had in the last four years, my fibro has taken a back seat, thankfully. I seem to have been controlling it with diet to a degree, but it's been trying to sneak back up on me. When you feel better, you stop looking for resources. I suppose that's why I missed this site during my former forays looking for information/support/community. I'm excited to see it exists. I hope beyond hope that fate, God, Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever you want to call it, isn't giving me a heads up that things are about to get really bad. I'm afraid to hope that it isn't just letting me know there's a community there if I ever need it. I really hope I don't though.

Week Two, Points Plus

I did go to my meeting today. Yeah for me! But, I gained this week. Boo! I wasn't completely shocked. I gained .6 of a pound. If I hadn't worn jeans I could've broke even or maybe even lost this week. I gauge my weight by how my clothes fit, not by a number on a scale so much. I don't even own a scale. I was talking with another member in line today, (she's lost 140+ lbs so far) and when I told her I didn't own a scale her mouth hit the ground. Once she pulled her chin back up she said, "Good for you!" I suppose so. I've always said, "It's not how much you weigh, it's how much you look like you weigh." Spoken like a true skinny girl. It is true though. My fat jeans are loose on me, once they hit the point where I'm pulling them up constantly, it's hard to tell if they are looser than before. Not so much today.
I know why I didn't loose this week. Being sick didn't help me. I didn't eat, which is bad. My body will hold onto food because it isn't sure when it's getting fed again. When I did eat, I felt entitled to have things I should stay away from because I hadn't eaten. You can see how well that worked for me. I also didn't count a stray cookie or piece of chocolate here and there. Those add up, and the scale reminded me of that. So, it's not entirely a surprise. It's good for me to get a wake up call like this, .6 isn't a big setback, this is just a reminder for me to get my act together or I'm wasting my time and money.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yes, I've Drunk the Koolaid

I've drunk the Weight Watchers (WW) koolaid & read the bible. I can even give you all their answers on this new program. The answers are not all the much different from the old answers, just the points are different. I could teach the program if I was at my goal weight, but I'm not.

So in a conversation on Twitter with Bored Mommy, (BM) today I was was imparting my WW wisdom 140 characters at a time. Dr. Browne even told me I was giving good advice. Too bad, I have such trouble in the practice sense of practicing my wisdom. Typing it all down 140 characters at a time was probably giving me carpal tunnel or something, so I decided to actually get on here & write it all down using a keyboard.

The topic came up as BM complaining that she only lost TWO pounds in her second week on the program. She was sort of disappointed with this number, stating, "I know it's not realistic, but I'm hoping for more like 'Biggest Loser' numbers." In her post, on her blog, she indicated that the second week of a diet,
But it’s the week where I always realize the size of the mountain that I need to climb to get to the end, because no matter how great I do during week one, week two will always be a smaller number, in terms of a weight loss.
She also bought up that she "cheated" (her word, not mine) by having a scone & french fries during the week. I take issue with the word cheating, but I'll take that on in a minute. Lastly,
she wrote:
This is where the whole mental thing really comes in for me. I tell myself that I can’t do it, because I have SO MUCH WEIGHT to lose. The negative talk in my head is non-stop and really kind of pathetic. I kick myself when I’m down at every turn. I wish I only had to lose 15-20lbs so I wouldn’t feel so damned overwhelmed every time I think about it. I’m really trying to think positive, but I’m kind of a weight loss failure, if you haven’t noticed. I totally suck at it, because mentally, I just tell myself it can’t happen.

Wow, where do I start?
My original comment to her was that I couldn't believe she does a weigh in on Monday?!? As a professional dieter, (No, I don't get paid for it, but I don't get paid to be a mom either, and no one questions that title.) I know that Monday is probably the worst day to have your weekly weigh in. Why? (And you're asking why, you are probably a skinny bitch who has never dieted & I sort of hate you right now, but whatever, pass the chocolate.) It is most likely that if you're going to really go off program it will happen on a weekend. You need some recovery time. Monday weigh in, gives you no recovery time. You think I have the wrong attitude? Maybe, but I also believe in not setting myself up to fail. If I had to weigh in on Mondays I would be more likely not to go. If I don't go, then I stop doing the program. It's a slippery slope folks. I weigh in on a Wednesday. I go to meetings to weigh in too. BM is using the online program, which is good, no doubt, but there's reason why people who go to meetings are more likely to stick with it and lose faster.
There are a couple things about meetings that are really important, accountability and positive reinforcement. Going to a meeting every week give me a solid stop/start time for each week. If I need to mentally clear myself from what I feel was a bad week, I can do that at my meeting. I know what the damage was, often no where near what I think, and I can move forward. The other important thing about meetings is positive reinforcement. All of the following are things you should be hearing at every meeting:
  1. It's NOT a diet, it's a lifestyle.
  2. You CAN eat anything you want. You just have to decide where you want your points to go.
  3. Sometimes, it's not about losing weight. Sometimes it's about maintaining, or not gaining more than a certain amount. (Think vacation.)
The biggest thing I think you get from going to the meetings is seeing that you are NOT alone. It CAN be done and that it just takes time. The meetings I go to are actually fun. Our leader should being doing stand up, which is awesome for us. The more fun it is, the more likely you are to go. I've noticed too, that if I'm having an emotionally bad day, and my weigh in isn't what I hoped, sometimes just hearing of others success can boost me. What can I say, I'm lemming. Another benefit to going to meetings is that we share information. We bring in food (wrappers) that we find are low in points and still yummy, and pass them around. We write the number of points on them & tell each other what stores carry those products. The leaders aren't supposed to encourage this, WW is a business and they are employees after all. But it's been a huge benefit for me to know of things my family won't turn their nose up at because they see WW on the package and assume it's "diet food." (We also have a Trader Joe's sharing our parking lot, so many of us do our grocery shopping right after the meeting.) We also share about things that are crap. Sometimes, something good suddenly changes it's portion size or whatnot, and someone will notice and make sure the rest of us are aware. Power in number people.

As to address the idea of only losing two pounds in the second week, wow, talk about an uphill battle. If you're feeling that way on week two, I find it hard to believe you're going to stick to it. We need something to make you feel good about when it comes to this topic. Listen, any weight loss program that's works won't have you losing more than half a pound to a pound a week. Yes, the first week is usually a bigger number. And if you have a very large amount to lose, then it's not unrealistic to lose more every week, a la-Biggest Loser. The truth is, you didn't gain this weight over night, you're not going to lose it over night. If you do lose it overnight, it's very likely it'll pop right back on. It's not healthy for your body to yo-yo, and quick gains or losses fall into the yo-yo category. Instead of focusing on the big number at the end, figure out your 5% number and focus on that. Once you reach that goal, focus on the next 5%. If you do it in little steps like that, it's way less intimating. It also can help with things like going on vacation. You gain a few pounds, but instead of beating yourself up, you focus on getting back to that 5% goal. Totally doable. Gives you things to celebrate too.

If you truly want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change your thinking. That's your biggest hurdle; Not losing weight, not staying away from Starbucks. Those things will benefit your weight loss, but you'll gain it back, if you don't change the way you think about yourself and your body. (I told you I've drunk the koolaid.) There is no such thing as "cheating" on WW. You can, and SHOULD eat what you want. If you don't, you'll go off of it. Once you've lost the weight, you aren't "going off" the program, are you? If you do, you'll just gain it back, you know. If you deprive yourself of the things you like, you will stop doing the program. I can tell you that without a doubt. WW gives you an extra amount of points every week so you can have those things. You have to choose how you want to do that. It may mean that you can only have your white mocha two times a week, or maybe a tall instead of a vente. (Guess you can tell where my extra points go.) It's your choice. The bottom line is that what you were doing wasn't working. What you were doing caused you to gain the weight in the first place. Or it wasn't helping you lose it, at least. When you've lost all the weight, you can't go back to what you were doing before, or you'll end up back where you started. Give yourself a chance to succeed. Allow yourself to have the things you want, it's not cheating. It's living. Just choose to be healthier too.
I have a whole deal on exercise too. But I'm going to let this sink in right now. Key take aways from this:
  • Be Nice To Yourself.
  • Allow Yourself The Things You Love.
  • Set Yourself Up to Succeed.

Weight -The Back Story (AKA-How To Make A Short Story Long)

I know I've mentioned my weight before. Ever since this back problem started, and the shots and the steroids, blah, blah, blah... I always thought that the weight I gained would come off easily once I was able to get moving again on a regular basis. Maybe, once I get down to a certain weight that will be the case? I don't know. I have a theory right now about how your body responds to weight loss/gain.
If you're in a mode where your body is gaining weight you're more likely to gain it. If you're in a mode where your body is losing, you'll be more likely to lose.
Huh? I know, when I typed that I was like, "Well, that sounded brilliant. Jeez." What I mean is that when your body is already in the process of gaining weight or holding onto it, you're more likely to gain weight. Your body is responding to your need to make sure you have enough stockpiles of energy. Even if you're already overweight, you're body is in the mode of holding onto the supplies you put in, so it's going to keep doing that till you teach it differently. Same with losing weight. If your body is in the mode of burning it's supplies, it will continue to do so, unless you teach it differently. As I'm writing this I'm realizing it sounds very; "a body in motion will tend to stay in motion..." And I guess that's pretty close to what I'm saying. I came to this little nugget of wisdom as a result of how my body responded to the steroids I was put on to try and heal my back.
The first time my doctor put me on steroids I actually lost weight. I know that's the opposite what of what does happen to most people. I was in a lot of pain, most of the time. I wasn't moving much and I wasn't eating much. Maybe the steroids helped so that I was moving more and I just didn't realize it, but I don't think so. By the time I was done with that phase of my "healing" I'd lost 20 lbs. I looked awesome! But I felt like shit! So I never went anywhere looking that awesome. I don't think my cats fully appreciated how great I looked either, totally wasted on them. The second time I was put on oral steroids was a few weeks after my back surgery. I try to tell myself that the surgery or something about it, slowed down my metabolism, and maybe that's true. What I know for sure is that I put weight on at that point. And I put it on fast. I gained 20 lbs in 2 weeks! It took months for that 20 lbs to come off before! Two effing weeks! So unfair. I wasn't eating a bunch more, I definitely wasn't moving more, but that weight popped on like I was sucking fat 24/7. There's a visual for you. You're welcome. I told myself not to freak out, "It will come right off once I start walking everyday again." Yeah, not so much. In the process of the next year, I put on an additional 20 lbs. Yes, I was eating again, but I was moving again too. In my opinion, it should have at least been a wash. My body didn't get that memo, so now I'm 40 lbs up. In September of last year I went back to Weight Watchers to "stop the bleeding."
I'm a "lifetime member" at Weight Watchers, (WW). I joined it around the end of college. I was in great shape, working out everyday, but couldn't seem to get rid these last 10 lbs. My folks were on it, and having good success, so I joined too. It took many, many months, but I did lose that weight. I also kept it off for over 6 weeks. That's what made me a lifetime member. I've gone back at various points to lose weight that I'd gained back, but I pretty much kept it under control until pregnancy.
Pregnancy was not nice to my body, is it to anyone's? After I had Big, I had some weight to lose. (I gained 30 lbs. with her.) I breastfed and found out those "Milk Nazis" are lying liars! It did NOT take the weight off. Diet & exercise helped get it off. There were 10 lbs I gained my very first month of pregnancy that never did come off. At the time, my doctor told me she wasn't even counting them as part of my weight gain, "because I was obviously doing things to keep the weight off before I was pregnant. My body was making sure my weight was where it needed to be to take care of my baby now that I was pregnant." I informed her I was counting it when it was time to take the weight off. I was wrong. Oh, I counted it, I just never got it off. I was too busy with my baby. And during that time, I didn't care that much. I wanted to lose it, but I didn't have the bandwidth to give to the process. I was having too much fun being a mom. When I got pregnant with Little, I actually lost weight. No, I wasn't sick, my body just didn't gain. The total weight I gained that pregnancy; 10 lbs. I had a lot of weird symptoms that pregnancy; I was actually told to drink at least a cup of coffee every day, to try and help get my blood pressure up. It turned out I had low amniotic fluid. I didn't test low till the very end, but Little's umbilical cord was less then a foot long (they're usually 3-4 feet, I'm told,) which is typical with low amniotic fluid. I looked awesome during that pregnancy. When I left the hospital I did not look like a person who had just birthed a baby. So even though pregnancy did it's number on me, after two pregnancies I was actually thinner. That lasted until the back injury. And now we've come full circle.
So, I went back to WW in September. By early November I had lost 10 lbs. Woot for me! And then the holidays hit. I tried to stay focused, I really did. We had the "attack of the super lice" during Thanksgiving break and it's been uphill since then. I know I haven't blogged about the lice issue, it's because I've been dealing with the lice issue. I intend to write about it, at length. I even started writing the post, but then I had to go comb a kid's hair or something. When I get over the trauma of completely cleaning out an entire house THREE TIMES! I'm still suffering PTSD from the whole thing, so I can't talk about it much. The current standing is that we treat the girls all month as if they still have lice; special shampoos, conditioners, and detanglers, along with a brush through with the lice comb every night. No, I'm not exaggerating. The brush through is no small task, have you seen Big's hair? It's LONG. We seem to be bug free for several weeks, but we thought that before and will continue our protocol at least through January. So yeah, I started stress eating, and it was the holidays, so there was a lot of food to stress eat. Also, I had a birthday in there, and you know, cake. At some point I just said screw it, I'm not even trying anymore. I ate what I wanted. I binged. I gave up completely. When I went back the first week of the year, I'd gained it all back. So I'm starting from scratch more or less now.
Bored Mommy posted about her first week on WW. I read it, and commented. I'm a freaking pro at this deal, I just have to practice what I preach. I decided I'm inspired to blog this part of my life too. So I will be adding that little tidbit to my other postings as well. Now that you have the backstory....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Suffering from Bouncy Brain

Today I'm in a really weird mood. I've been wanting to write, but have been really busy & not able to stop to get the words typed. (Course, I could cut into my Twitter time & maybe make a post happen, but that's an awful lot of effort on my part.) Today, I'm sick. We were suppose to be in Tahoe this weekend w/my bro's family & my 'rents, but yesterday Big & I came down w/a fever. Hers seems better today. Mine is decidedly worse. I woke up multiple times last night covered in sweat. My guess is that I was running a fever and it broke (several times). That or I just got grossed out by myself, even in my sleep. (It could happen.) This morning my temp is still high. You can tell by touch. Also, by the fact that any time I move, I get aches in the muscles I use (yes, my fingers are achy in the typing of this. That's dedication folks!) and I get the chills within a few minutes. The net result of this is I can lie in bed & type w/out feeling too bad. As long as I take a break every few minutes. My brain, however, is going a million miles a minute. Having been forced into rest, my brain has caught up and passed my physical self. It's longing for things to do, to be distracted by. Facebook and Twitter aren't cutting it. Perhaps, because everyone else in the world is OUTSIDE in the beautiful sunshine we are having for the first time this year. Perhaps.

I've got weird things running through my brain today. Maybe I dreamed about them? Not sure. I write a few sentences & then go read Twitter or Facebook. My reason for this blog post has changed 12 times already. At this point, I'm pretty sure what I should write is that I'm feeling a bit ADD & manic today. Just my brain, my physical self is shaky, dizzy, weak and feverish, if I move around too much. But mentally: manic, very, very manic. It's actually very much how my life has felt in general lately only more on the down side. I'm tired all the time. Right now, I feel like I have a ton of energy, I just can't use it. I suspect I've lost most of you by now. I'm pretty sure my writing is a bouncy as my brain is feeling right now. If I haven't lost you, you should really consider seeing a shrink or something. I hear they have drugs for that.
I think what's going to happen is that I'm going to write several posts that are bouncing around in my head and I'll actually post them over the next couple weeks. There's your warning. None of the things I'm thinking seem to be connected in any way, shape or form. Putting them out today or over a period of weeks probably won't make them make sense either, but maybe. Perhaps, the take away from all of this is, I need to go see my doctor. Or I need to get well enough to go hang outside & enjoy some vitamin D.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

cake -Blast from the past.

Originally uploaded by Jill McElroy

OMG! I found this going through an old file. I didn't even remember this photo. But those EYES! How could I have forgotten it? (She still eats like this BTW.)