Nasty weather and an unforeseen setback

We are going through a deluge of extremely windy and wet weather here in Washington State. I know what you’re thinking…that’s news? Well, out here it is nothing new, but the winds are the worst I have encountered in a very long time. Gusts up to 60 mph, very large gusts of wind consistently blowing to the point where it sounds like my sliding deck door is going to blow right in. It’s rather unnerving, and I am not the kind of person who is unsettled by windy conditions, hell, I don’t mind driving in them, but this is for the birds. We’re also dealing with a deluge of rain, and when it’s windy, rain will go sideways and create havoc on the roads. From standing puddles of water to clogged gutters to zero visibility, it’s pretty scary out there. 

Now onto my setback. Remember my last blog entry? The Work Out Game? I felt so great, and so full of adrenaline. Then I woke up with very sore muscles the next day from choosing to go onto the circuit and lift weights that won’t allow you to go below 35 lbs. Can you see where I am going with this? So on Saturday I went for my deep tissue massage and I knew it would hurt. Went to the gym to work out and this time it was harder than I anticipated. The last 5 minutes of my 20 minute work out I really struggled through and hit a wall I never expected to hit. Sunday went okay, it was my rest day.

Fast forward to yesterday…woke up, nothing out of the norm. As I was putting make up on, I had this sharp shooting pain start at the base of my skull on the left side of my head. It shot all the way to the top of my head, centralized on the left side of my head. I couldn’t continue putting make-up on, and told my boyfriend I was hurting horribly. The next thing I knew my left arm felt numb. The first thing I thought to myself was, I am having a stroke. So I went ahead and looked up the symptoms and had my boyfriend do the FAST test on me. F= Face, A= Arms, S= Speech, T= Time. I passed them fine, but called my doctor immediately. It took a while for them to get back to me, but they got me in for an appointment. While we waited to drive to the doctor’s office, I lost balance and fell forward, on my knees. By this time I was damn near a panic attack stage, so I asked my boyfriend to keep me calm, and he did a great job. I was scared of what was going on with me.

We got to the doctor’s office and it wasn’t a stroke, but a pinched nerve in my neck. I have had neck problems and nerve problems in my neck in the past, but lifting those weights when I was not ready to is what caused me to end up with a pinched nerve. This is what lead to the numbness in my arm (and a little in my face) as well as the shooting pains in my head and the tenderness and pain in my neck and lack of range of motion in my head/neck. So now I am on a regimen of Methacarbomol, which is a muscle relaxer. I refuse to use Cyclobenzaprine, I have been on it in the past and it made life miserable. I hate muscle relaxers as it is. I am also on Vicodin for the pain. Neither are helping with the shooting pains in my head, but they sure do knock me out. I am working today but luckily from home. I cancelled all appointments for this week, including my weight loss check up, which is now extended out another month as my doctor is very booked. I will likely drop by there and get weighed for my own knowledge when I am feeling better. But I cannot drive and I am not taking the chance on that.

So now because of this, I am unable to get to the gym to even do the recumbent bike. It’s a lesson learned but such a let down. The health scare of a potential stroke was a frightening ordeal yesterday, and all I kept saying was “why?? I have been trying to do everything right, I am too young to have a stroke, it’s this goddamned weight”. Well, if anything, it just pushes me to continue to do what I have been doing. I am very disappointed in not being able to work out. I might be able to get a workout in on Friday and Saturday if I am feeling better. We shall see.

The Work Out Game

I am about 95% healthy now and doing great. Last Saturday I ran to the gym I signed up with to get my keyfob and had a short introductory work out on the recumbent bike for about 5 minutes. I went on Monday for my first work out and it was tough. 25 minutes on the recumbent bike, following instructions from my exercise doctor. 10 minute “warm up”, meaning that I am pedaling slow to get my legs going. It hurt bad at first and my calves started tensing up as if they were going to cramp. Once I got through that at the 10 minute mark, I got a second wind and extra needed burst of energy to start pushing myself to pedaling harder and faster (without resistance, per doctor’s orders). I made it to 17 minutes and had to get off of it as I hurt too much and just could not do anymore. I took a 1-2 minute break then got back on for another 2-3 minutes and that was all she wrote. For someone who is very inactive, I was proud of myself and I think I did well.

My orders are no more than 3x a week and 20-30 minutes on a recumbent bike only. She did not say anything about or against conditioning to tone myself up. Today I went to the gym for my 2nd workout for the week, and got my chair back into a good position where I wasn’t as scrunched up as last time. One of the hardest things is getting into the straps for the bicycles, it is so tricky. It’s almost a work-out in itself. Once I got into it, I noticed my legs had more ample room to start my warm up and this time, the warm up was not bad at all, and I made it to 20 minutes without a break and did well. After that I decided to start the circuit and do a couple of machines. I used to this at another gym years ago. WOW am I out of shape. I couldn’t even get 2 minutes worth of reps on each machine and my muscles in my arms are hurting good. I don’t want to push it too hard so I stopped when I noticed it was too much for me. 

Right now I am working on hydration and resting as my muscles are seeming to cramp up in my arms. This is not easy by far but it gives me such an adrenaline rush and I feel GREAT. Crazy what a good work out can do.

As for my low-carb, high protein diet, I have been beyond good, but bored on it. I am trying to find ways to spice things up on my menus. The amino acids I am taking help tremendously, but I am still dealing with cravings. I’m trying to substitute fibrous fruits for the starches (cake, etc) I have craved. However, last night I had a cupcake and I felt it immediately. The amount of sugar and carbs completely wrecked my stomach and that pain led all the way into this morning. It is with this realization that the changes in my life are finally working, but it’s also realizing that I cannot eat what I used to eat. If I am going to splurge, it will have to be a small bite, instead of an entire cupcake or an entire piece of cake or an entire brownie, etc. 

I am feeling pretty good right about now.

“I’ve only known you as a big person”

These are the words that came out of my daughter’s mouth yesterday as we were discussing my weight loss and everything I am doing. It wasn’t a dig, it was just an observation and an awe-inspiring moment with my daughter. All her life all she has known me has been as a big woman, from the moment she was born. To see me lose more weight, and to see me get down at least 100 pounds is going to be different for all of us involved. That is the goal…I’m down 20 pounds. Well, 23, but I’ll say 20 as those 3 were gained early on, so 80 lbs to go. I will get there.

Today I have been feeling slightly better, until a coughing fit hit me. I am pretty sure it’s all sinus related. I had an acupuncture session yesterday that really opened up my channels to my sinuses and helped tremendously. I went into the office with massive pressure and pain on my left side, and left the office open and clear and feeling relief. It’s amazing what acupuncture will do. I am a true believer of acupuncture. I feel like it is the only thing that has truly helped open my sinuses and helped with my migraines. 

So today I went out and got quite a bit done, even though I had originally planned to stay at home. I took my daughter for a haircut, took her shopping for some clothes, went shopping for a new bed for her, went to my new gym and picked up my keyfob and even got a 5 minute work-out in with the owner. I definitely felt it but I am so pumped. I received so much support from the owner and am really excited to begin working out. I also found out what times were dead and hopefully I can make it work out, I will and there is no excuse to keep me back, short of sickness, of course. I’m still coughing pretty good and I don’t know what to do to stop it. We’re doing Mucinex D now that Sudafed Maximum Strength stopped working. Argh. All three of us have a nasal thing going on.

Good and bad news

Good news first? I finally signed up with a gym. Bad news? I haven’t worked out yet. Signed up on Saturday, which proved to be a busy day. Was stood up by a friend who was to meet me for coffee. Later on told that she thought we were getting together on Sunday. I roll my eyes because this isn’t the first time it has happened. It will be the last. I am tired of trying, and find myself facing this with 80% of my “friends” (mostly former colleagues) who whine about how they miss me, only to bail on me or not show up at all when we make plans. I can’t stand flaky people.

But I digress.

More bad news. I think the crud is coming back. I woke up feeling really icky, it started last night after the Superbowl ended. My friend brought her German Shepard over, but I am not allergic to dogs, and I don’t have a problem with pet dander, and her dog is well groomed (despite her being a total furbeast! But I do love my niece, yes, I call her my niece). I woke up with a ton of sinus pressure and sore throat and coughing. So yeah, the crud is back. I am on Mucinex, Zyrtec, and used my Astepro nasal spray to combat this. So far no relief except for a icky woozy feeling. I have also had to use my rescue inhaler, which is a steroid – Symbicort. When my allergies kick up, so does the asthma I just developed a year and a half ago. I am dreading Spring and the grass pollen I am allergic to, but I am having issues with breathing now, so Symbicort had to be used, and helped immediately. I originally was on Qvar, but I don’t find it helps as much as Symbicort does, so I have to talk to my allergist about that.

Between feeling sick and trying to stay on the plan and path to committed weight loss, I am starting to feel overwhelmed as my work duties and work load have just gotten a bit more intense, with trainings and new responsibilities (which I am glad to take on, because monotony kills me). I am concerned about what time will be left for me to work out, when I will work out, and if I will be able to use the recumbent bike. I opted for a gym in my town with a small amount of recumbent bikes, because I simply do not want to drive out of my way to work out. I hope I can get a momentum going because right now I am completely overwhelmed with everything. Things never slow down in my life, it’s par for the course.

Obesity and hunger, obesity and prejudice

I was reading up on a few things today and came across this article about Americans and the struggle of obesity and hunger. The read itself is very good and I implore any of my readers to check it out:

Something that struck me about this article was the mention of the documentary “A Place At the Table“. It can be found on Netflix streaming and I highly recommend it. It features obese children who are nutritionally deprived. It shows that side of obesity no one can live up to or admit to. I liked this quote: The cheapest food is often “junk food” and Americans who consume it are fat and malnourished at the same time.

As an obese person, the insults I hear are “put the fork down”, “she should go on a diet”, “she shouldn’t buy all of that food” (I love that one, when I am bulk shopping for our MONTHLY groceries at Costco). What bothers me is people do not know. People do not understand what it like to be in an obese body unless they have lived it themselves. And even obese people show intolerance towards their fellow obese people. I can’t tell you how many times I have been made fun of, gawked at, or straight up told off in public because someone decided it was their job to tell me so. A few nights ago I had a dream that an older man came up to me in a craft store (I was making cards, which is strange because I suck at crafts…) and told me I was obese, then walked off. I got up and walked up to him and asked him why he was cruel. He said, “You’re obese, it’s plain to see, you’re HUGE”. I said, “you don’t know me OR my story, or what I have been through in my life”. In my dream I was applauded by other customers. It was such a random dream.

Honestly, for the most part I try to ignore the disgusting insults thrown my way, but it is hard when it happens all the time. When I go shopping I see it a lot. In the past I would cry. Now I get filled with such anger that I actually spout off at the person doing the insulting. And what happens every time? The person doing the taunting and the insulting and the gawking walks away like they’re scared and can’t come up to me and say why they’re acting like an asshole. Typical. Typical run and hide because you’re too chicken shit to come tell me to my face what you were saying behind my back. Oh, but don’t get it twisted, I can hold my own.

I have a father who has never been able to accept my obesity. Because of this I have lived my whole life competing against him in the career sense, trying to show him up. Not that I am doing it for show, but because I am extremely career-motivated. I have been at my current company for almost three years now. In those short three years I have been promoted three times. I mostly talk about business and work with my father, because it seems to be all I can relate to with him. As he gets older, he is less of a workaholic and is realizing what he missed out on when he decided that his career was more important that his daughters. The difference between him and I is that I can balance the two. I have to. I do fill him in on my weight loss. He knows what I am doing and is encouraging, which helps, but in the back of my mind, I always worry that the judgment remains and that when he sees me, he will continue his judgment of me. When I was married, my ex-husband knew I dreaded my father coming for a visit. My father lives 1,000 miles south of us, and we don’t see him often, more like once every 2 years or so. I dread it because my dad would usually make a comment about my weight or judge what I eat. This started years ago when I was 8 years old and he put me on a diet. I wasn’t a chubby kid, I was husky. What’s the difference?? I was very active. I just was tall and husky for my age. I loved junk food. My dad made sure I didn’t eat it. Long story short, once he left and gave our mother custody of us and stopped visiting us, I stuffed myself senselessly with food to make up for what I had lost. It’s something I don’t discuss in therapy and perhaps I should. When I was 14, I began binging and purging. The cycle of bulimia lasted until I was 16 years old. As an adult it has taken me 35 years to fully understand the scope of what the obesity was truly doing to my body and what these issues have done to me as a person. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. Someday I hope I can get over that hump of having a father who just couldn’t accept my obesity. The last time I saw him was at my sister’s wedding in late March of 2012. I came dressed up and saw him, he looked at me, showed disapproval of me and walked off. I ran to where my mom, boyfriend and daughter were and burst into tears. I was so hurt by his lack of everything. All three consoled me as I couldn’t stop crying. I was so angry because my makeup was running and I felt like he ruined my day. I drove 1,000 miles south to visit my family and this is what I got? After a couple of minutes, my mom left and later on, from my boyfriend, I found out that she had confronted my father about how he treated me, and of course, he acted in typical fashion, like he didn’t do any wrong. Shortly after that, he came up to me, and thankfully by then I had calmed down and stopped crying but it was obvious I had been crying. He asked the most stupid question: “Is that your natural hair color? It looks great!” Seriously?? It hurt to see him walk my sister (who is not thin but normal sized) down the aisle with pride in his eyes. When he walked me down the “aisle” (more like grass) when I got married, it was the most awkward thing ever. He will NOT be invited to my next wedding, if and when I ever remarry. I’m a proud independent woman and I don’t need ANYONE to walk me down the damn aisle!!!! It also hurt to see him dance with my sister during the daddy-daughter dance, and my boyfriend knew how much that hurt. Before the reception I ran to the liquor store and got a small flask of Rum and 20 oz bottles of Pepsi for my boyfriend and I as it was a liquor-free reception. I had to, knowing I was going to have to deal with my father and that Daddy-Daughter dance… Later on I would find out that my uncles were in the parking lot drinking Jack Daniels…hahahhaha.

I type this negative stuff about my father, but don’t get me wrong, I love him. I love him despite it. But revisiting the wedding actually makes me cry everytime. It hurts. It hurts when someone cannot accept you because you are fat. I am not a monster. I know I am a beautiful woman, don’t tell me “You have such a pretty face, if only you wouldn’t hide under that weight”. Bullshit. I am a beautiful woman regardless. A broken, beautiful woman who busts her ass to provide for her family, to build a long-lasting career in uncertain economic times, a woman who tries to be the parent her parents were not, and a woman who is hurt but loves her boyfriend with all of her heart even though at times her heart is locked up. No one is perfect.

Life is slowing returning back to normal…at least health-wise

I am almost over this nasty crud. I am still coughing up gunk and coughing, but not as much. I am constantly clearing my throat. Now that I am feeling better, I am doing more and able to get back on the low-carb bandwagon. It has been rough, obviously, with some days better than others. For example, my appetite was completely out of control yesterday, I couldn’t stop eating, I was so hungry. Today I am the opposite. I have had to force myself to eat because I have not been hungry. It’s a vicious cycle.

On Friday I went to my weight loss doctor and had my exercise assessment done. I lost TWO pounds despite the holidays and my sickness! Color me surprised. That being said, it was a relief. My visit with my doctor went well, and he has mentioned (like before) about me using Phentermine to prevent my appetite from getting out of control. As of now I do not have that problem, but I am leery about using that type of product. As it is I am already on Topamax for depression (which he knows) and it suppresses the appetite. I have also started a regimen of Amino Acids called Neuro Replete to help with the cravings. Something else I will be purchasing is Bilberry loose leaf tea to help with that as well.

My exercise assessment went very well, and I was told how to breathe when exercising, and what I should do. What I will be doing is using a recumbent bike at a local gym (which is a tough search, I will go into detail shortly), no more than 3x a week for 20-30 minutes each time. She explained to me that a “Warm up” is not stretching, but slowing easing into the exercise. My concern is trying to remember to do the breathing while exercising. Right now I need to be more concerned about finding a gym that has more than 3 recumbent bikes. I want to work out locally, but I live in a small town and two of the three major gyms here have 2-3 recumbent bikes. The one gym that has 3 has reviews that the recumbent bikes are always in use and it’s a 45 minute-1 hour wait to use one and there’s no time limit for someone to use it. I don’t want to spend money on annual fees and sign up fees and a monthly fee to find out I cannot use a recumbent bike. If I decide to go with this gym I don’t have to sign a contract, but I have to pay that annual fee, which is ridiculous, and it won’t be refunded. I really don’t want to drive out of my way to go work out, but there are bigger gyms in the bigger city by me. It might be something I might have to take into consideration. I need to come up with a solution fast, as I have a check up with her on the 21st of next month.

So things are moving. Right now too slowly for me, but it has been very busy since I have started feeling better, and I haven’t been pacing myself well enough, because I am still very tired. I’m sleeping a LOT, but it doesn’t feel like it is enough.

Time to stop avoiding it and go to the doctor…

After a discussion with a colleague, who had the same thing and found out she had bronchitis, I decided to set up an appointment with my doctor to find out if there is something more than what I am going through. I have been sick since the beginning of this month and I am not 100%. When I start feeling good, I get back to feeling worse. Now I am coughing so much I cannot sleep. I am going to get Mucinex today, but maybe I need antibiotics. I don’t know. I know that the flu and a horrible strain of it is going around and I need to make sure that I find out what is wrong before it turns into something worse.

My symptoms: sore throat, achy body, no fever though. Headaches, sinus pressure at times (which is why I think it’s just viral, this is a common problem of mine), some post-nasal drip, coughing, sometimes coughing up green stuff (this just started yesterday). Also, while my stomach is mostly healed, I am having a problem with bloat and umm…gas. Of course it probably doesn’t help that I ate bell peppers for supper last night. Oops. I love bell peppers and they’re low-carb friendly.

Yesterday I did okay calorie wise but my carbs were bad. Today I will land around 42 grams so long as I stay on the path, but only 128 grams of protein. I’ll take it.

With this doctor visit comes a weigh-in. I am dreading it. I won’t hold much weight to it as their scale seems to be off by 8 pounds less than my weight loss doctor’s office (which is what I will base my progress on). Still…if I show myself above what I was at pre-holiday season, I will know. Then again, it could be wrong, so I will wait until Friday til I go to my weight loss doctor to see the true number. Unfortunately I will not be able to get an early morning weight as my appointment is in the later afternoon, but it is what it is.

I need to stop over-analyzing this and get better…sigh.

Total weight loss for the past 5 weeks is…

21 pounds and counting. On Friday I was weighed and to my surprise, the scale reflected a 9 pound loss. If I want to get technical and deduct my clothing (multiple layers due to the cold) and my heavy Nikes, it could be at 10 lbs.

To think that I lost about 10 lbs in the past 3 weeks with a yo yo pattern and even after Thanksgiving made me feel relief, shock and like I could conquer the world. I am amazed. My doctor is very pleased as well, and we are now discussing adding Amino Acids to my repertoire of supplements. Amino Acids help with the neurotransmitters in the brain, and can also help with the craving issues I have been dealing with. The reason I am not on Phentermine is because I don’t have an issue with overeating. My issue at this point is the cravings for carbs, specifically sweet stuff. I will be starting that sometime next week.

Something else that has been troubling me since I started going super low carb is that my hair is not growing like it typically does. I am not having problems with hair loss, which is common during a low-carb/high protein diet, but my hair just will not grow. I had my last hair cut right after I bought the car which was around the time I started my diet…5 weeks ago…and it has barely grown, if any at all. By now it should be at least 1-2 inches longer than it is currently. I am also dealing with very brittle nails. I brought up the nail problems to my doctor who thinks that my iron levels are too low again. I have this problem a lot, but I cannot take iron supplements due to my sensitive stomach, so I try to cover it with food. What I should be doing is eating iron-rich foods and taking Vitamin C while eating them, it helps absorb the iron better. Another thing I am thinking I should pick up is Fish Oil, which I hate because of the aftertaste, but there’s a local company who makes them without that nasty aftertaste.

Getting back to the weight loss, I know I will hit plateaus and not budge on the scale, but for now, I am celebrating this 21 lb loss. This is a huge step for me. A lot of my clothes are falling off of me. It feels great.

Carb cravings

I went to my doctor’s today for a check up and I lost 3 measly pounds in the past two and a half weeks. I am not very happy with this but it is better than gaining weight, I suppose. However, in those past couple of weeks I was not able to get up and move (ie: exercise) much due to the lack of energy and feeling weak because of my body transitioning to a low-carb lifestyle. My doctor said that my diet is looking right on, but suggested to continue to wean down my carb intake to try to get to the 45 grams of carb number we were going for, and to not eat a carb with my breakfast and maybe even lunch that way I can pair the most of my carbs up with my dinner. It’s a thought, and I am going to put that out to test. I go in for an exercise evaluation next week to see what I can do to safely exercise and optimize my workout to aid in my weight loss. I would like to get this bandwagon going as soon as humanly possible.

I also discussed with my doctor that my thoughts on the gastric bypass surgery is that I want to try medical weight loss management for a year to see how I do with weight loss on my own. If that doesn’t work out and I am not seeing that I am able to lose the weight, then I might have to consider the LapSleeve and go from there. I am just not ready for a massive surgery at the moment, so I think that this is a better way of handling my weight loss program. Baby steps, right? 

That being said, this is going to be a short blog because I am having really wicked carb cravings right now and I am trying to figure out what we are doing for dinner as I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Til next time…

“Increase your sodium intake”

That was what I was told today after I emailed my bariatric nurse to tell her that I cannot deal with or survive on this 45-60 grams of carbohydrates (daily) plan. Apparently my trying to keep my sodium under 2500 grams a day was way too low. We’re looking at needing to compensate for the water weight I am starting to lose…so my sodium intake has to be at 4500-5000 mg a day. She suggested V8, beef jerky, bouillon, pickles, pickle juice. I was prompted to contact her after I ate lunch today and was shaky, nauseous, dizzy, light-headed to the point where I literally felt like I was going to pass out. I thought my lunch (which was tuna, mayo, celery wrapped in outer romaine lettuce leaves) would help stop me from feeling so dizzy, but it didn’t do anything. My boyfriend made me drink some V8 Fusion juice (full of sugar, I know) because of this, and even that didn’t help. It wasn’t until after my nurse spoke with me and I drank 2 cups of chicken broth prior to my dinner that I started feeling better.

So what does this mean now? I guess that it means I will make sure I consume a lot of sodium. I brought up my concerns for elevated blood pressure to her, but she advised me that my symptoms were indicative of low blood pressure…so hopefully she is right and that this is a sign of water weight loss. My boyfriend picked me up some beef jerky and pickles as well, so that should help too.

I just feel defeated because I am so weak and lethargic from this crap that I can’t even do my exercises. Without that how am I going to lose the weight? It seems doomed to failure and sometimes it’s hard to get past that, but seeing that the sodium from the chicken broth helped, that gave me a little bit of a boost that I needed.

I was honest with my nurse and told her I completely cheated on Saturday. She didn’t really say anything, but asked what my meals were looking like and told me I really needed to pair 15 grams of carbs per meal. I spread them out but I need to be more mindful of getting those carbs in with every meal. Hopefully that will also help me to feel better. As for my carb intake today? I have been so hungry it’s ridiculous. I’m way over my allotment of 45-60 at almost twice that, 113 grams today (so far, barring any hunger pains later on), but honestly? I don’t care. I ate healthy, but I don’t like to go over my allotment. 

Tomorrow is a new day. I just need to make sure I eat healthy.