Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Do You Eat When You Are Stranded in a Strange City?

I got home today from my trip about 12 hours later than planned. My initial flight was delayed and I missed my connecting flight in Detroit so the airline put me in a motel for the night and I flew out this morning. 

Once I knew I was staying the night in the city I was not too worried. The only thing that worried me was what I was going to eat. I didn't get to the hotel until 8:30PM and once I settled in my room, I went out to find some food. The only place open in the hotel was a bar. I purchased a small steak with double veggies. The steak was sub par and the veggies were from a frozen mix. They at least abated the hunger. 

The next morning once I arrived at the airport I found a little cafe where I ordered some eggs and sausage and bought some fruit. Not the highest quality food but the best I could do under the circumstances. I still had some almonds for the plane and I found some roasted pumpkin seeds as well at one of the airport stores. That kept me satisfied until I got home around noon today and could make myself a blueberry smoothie--yummm! Then I ate some eggs too. I had nothing else in my fridge at home. 

So, the story is: I survived 12 hours in a strange city without access to great food. I maneuvered through the problems and came out on top. Yes!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Six Days of Traveling

Dinner on Thursday night: sweet potato and lentil soup, big salad with red peppers and broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, avocado and red onion. The dandelions in the middle were not for consumption. 

Well, so far the allergy-free diet has been pretty easy--only because I'm staying in the home of a friend who likes to cook and eat much like I do and who is also doing some "clean" eating right now because her health is out of whack. 

We've been eating and cooking together and figuring out life--one of our favorite things to do. I'm loving the time I get to spend with her. Everyone needs time with friends, kindred spirits who feed your soul. It is incredibly rejuvenating. Amy and I have connected in a way that makes me feel lucky to be her friend. Lucky, lucky, lucky. I'm grateful I get to know her. 

We chatted so long today that we forgot lunch and I went downstairs and had a mini-feasting session of blueberry smoothie, salmon and avocado, and even some mushroom chicken and rice. Yeah, the stomach is hurting now. 

Really, though one little bit of crazy eating in six days? I only hope I can be so lucky on subsequent vacations.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Traveling and Eating

I flew most of the day Wednesday to visit my friend Amy. I had a busy two days before I was traveling and while I had thought about meals for the plane I didn't actually prepare the food until the an hour before I was leaving. My plan was to take almonds, apples and hard-boiled eggs. I did take the almonds and apples but I realized that I did not have time to cook the eggs. Fortunately, I had made some salmon the night before and I had baked too much of it and not wanting it to spoil while I was gone I just took the salmon with me. I knew I would not open it in the plane (I might get killed by other passengers) but I could eat it somewhere in the airport on my layover. 

My other plan was to just drink water. Every time a stewardess asked me what I wanted to drink I gave them my water order and it helped me stay well-hyrdated. I was tempted once to try some tomato juice but the sodium content was too high so I left it alone. 

Overall I got off the last plane about nine hours after I started and I was ready to get to Amy's house. She had some lentil and sweet potato soup cooking and it was GOOOOOOD. So warm and caramely and yummy. It was amazing comfort food. 

Thursday we spent part of the day planning meals for the week and shopping. We are now well stocked to feed six people and keep everyone eating well. Lucky for me, Amy likes to eat the same way as I do and feeds her family really well so they like the food too. We are going to enjoy many eating experiences this week. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Anxiety Week Juxtaposed Against Loads of Energy

I've been out of commission when it comes to blogging most of this week. It has been finals week and I've been in the throes of writing a paper that was taking every last ounce of my strength and focus. The paper is finally done and I have a final to take before I leave town on Wednesday. When I come back, the next term begins. I've really enjoyed my class this semester so I'm actually looking forward to summer school. 

All of the stress I've been under has not been so great for the weight. My eating has been fine but I've spent almost every spare second on my paper and getting ready for finals so exercise has been non-existent and I haven't been really well focused on eating every few hours. 

Despite all the stress with the paper and finals, I've really had a good week. I've felt an amazing amount of energy and focus. I've been relatively clear-headed and I've been action-oriented. My house is clean, laundry done and I feel on top of life. Sure work is very busy, school is very busy, I have a lot to do in the next two days, but I'm actually excited about getting things done and then going to see my friend for a few days and help her out. 

In fact, in the energy department, I've felt pretty darn spectacular. It seems that all of this work on the allergy-free diet is beginning to culminate into one great big feeling of energy and awareness and joy. I've had people tell me the last few days that I look "bright" and "sparkly." I think my energy must be making me glow. :)

So, yes a bit of an unusual week for me. On the one hand, loads of energy and excitement and on the other hand, intense anxiety with regards to the paper. I've got to say though that despite the misery, the joy has won out this week. I've felt so thrilled to be alive and ready to face the day and willing to work each day and get things accomplished. That is a lovely feeling to have energy and joy and excitement. I will take those any day over the alternatives. 

In fact, I've been feeling so good the last few weeks that it has led me to wonder if I've ever felt quite this good. At any time in my life have I felt this much energy and joy and willingness to act? Maybe on my mission? Maybe somewhat when I was doing the 6WBMO plan a couple of years ago? I can see why life is so completely joyful when people are full of energy. It makes it fun to wake up each day. It makes it a blast really. I could keep doing life this way for a long, long time. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How Do I Feel After Three Months on Allergy-Free Diet?

Dr. Mark Hyman had a great entry on his UltraWellness blog from this past January that I have re-read several times and I've also sent to several friends and family members. Dr. Hyman is talking about healing our minds and our bodies in his post and I find so much of what he says to ring true for me. 

One of the biggest sticking points for me in staying away from certain foods is recognizing if those foods have actually affected me negatively. I mean that one of the troubles I've always had with food is that I generally felt a low-grade, constant kind of miserable. I was tired and moody and easily stressed and often in a brain fog. Life did not seem bright. I did not feel active or alert. I've always assumed that if I lost weight, those feelings would dissipate and I would become bright and happy and active. Yet, going off these foods the last few months has taught me that I can feel bright and happy and active even now at 300 pounds because I'm fueling my body properly. It amazes me right now how alert and attentive my brain has been the last several weeks. How much I'm able to process and do. How much more I actually want to do. 

That is why I loved the list of side effects that Dr. Hyman lists in this entry

  • Feel more alert and focused
  • Have more stable moods
  • Enjoy a better memory
  • Have more energy
  • Enjoy the kind of restful sleep that will help you wake up more refreshed and able to face your day
  • Improve your digestion
  • Decrease chronic sinus problems
  • Experience pain-free joints
  • Eliminate headaches
And there are wonderful side effects. You will lose weight automatically and you may even see your sex drive improve. 

Let me just tell you what my experience has been with each of these items since I went off dairy, wheat, sugar, oats, corn as well as all food additives like high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and any processed or packaged food. 

  • Feel more alert and focused: Yes, I have felt much more alert and focused. Previous to this, especially in the last year, I've felt an intense amount of brain fog. I've had trouble making decisions and moving forward because I could not seem to sort through everything that was in my head. 
  • Have more stable moods: Can I just say "Yes!" to this one? It is amazing to not have massive mood swings each day. To feel like I can count on myself. To be on top of things. I love it. I've had mood swings for years and to NOT have mood swings now makes me realize, "Oh, you can really live life like this?" Amazing.  
  • Enjoy a better memory: Yes. No more brain fog. No more indecision. Access to all of my faculties. This is lovely. 
  • Have more energy: In the past, my body would finally seem to wake up around 3 or 4PM each day. Recently, I've been sleeping less and waking up ready to dive into the day ahead with energy to spare it seems. I can't tell you if I have ever felt that way in my life. Most of my life has been spent wishing I could sleep the day away and barely able to drag myself out the door at any time of day. It was such a struggle just to do the basics each day. I call it "survival mode" where the fact that I'm breathing each day is accomplishment enough. Any thing else is simply extraneous action. This begins to cause a problem when things like eating, shopping, cleaning your house, going to work and paying bills seem like extras in life. These are the some of the stuff of life and not doing them each day can become extremely detrimental. My whole life would grind to a halt when I was in survival mode. Everything beyond breathing took enormous amounts of effort. ENORMOUS. I remember sitting in my chair one day overwhelmed with decisions that needed to be made and work that needed to be done and life that needed to be lived. In that moment, I felt that I could not do one more thing. I simply did not have the energy. All I wanted was for my life to be put on hold for a long, long time so I could try to recapture my energy. Even now, it is amazing to me that I have the energy to make decisions, clean my house, pay my bills and go to work. It feels miraculous that I can do those things consistently. 
  • Enjoy the kind of restful sleep that will help you wake up more refreshed and able to face your day: Most of my life, I've wished that I could sleep 10 to 12 hours a day. If I could sleep that much then I felt halfway human. Do you realize how much 2 to 4 hours of extra sleep a day cuts in to your productivity? And if your productivity is hampered by brain fog, low energy and mood swings? Sometimes now just because I feel better I want to pat myself on the back for even surviving the last several years. No wonder I was so miserable! No wonder. 
  • Improve your digestion: Yes. Yes. Yes. My stomach doesn't hurt. I don't feel lethargic and tired after eating. I actually feel clean inside--not bloated or heavy or anything. I love that feeling. 
  • Decrease chronic sinus problems: I have had this little routine for years where every morning when I wake up it would take me a couple of hours to blow my nose and clear our my throat. I never really recognized before that this had to do with allergies. I love not having to do that routine each day. 
  • Experience pain-free joints: Just generally my body doesn't ache like it used to. I'm not hurting. I'm not in pain. My body feels alive and brimming with energy. I want to go and do and move and see and experience. I love that feeling. 
  • Eliminate headaches: I've never had a lot of headaches in my life, but I just enjoy feeling free of illness and full of vigor. I like that my head feels clear and good. I like that I'm not ingesting anything chemical or toxic that could give me headaches. 
  • You will lose weight automatically: I'm still working on the weight loss thing but it suddenly doesn't feel so tremendous and overwhelming. Because I feel good and my body feels good, I imagine that as I keep eating and exercising the weight will come off. I'm not hungry all the time. I'm not thinking about food constantly. I really like food and I like cooking and I like sharing and feasting with others. It is just different. It is not an obsession. It doesn't hound me. It feels so much more balanced and healthy. Also, I've lost my stomach first as I've ben losing weight this time. That has been interesting. Always before it seemed like my stomach was the last to go and I seemed kind of stuffed. Now even at 300 pounds, I feel so much more bendable and flexible around my stomach because I don't feel like things are compacted inside me. It seems like there is room for everything to move around. 
  • You may even see your sex drive improve: I call this one the attraction factor. This one has been the one that I least expected. I used to wonder if I was possibly asexual or something because even though I thought boys were cute or fun, most of the time, I don't notice them that way. Now it is like some light has been turned on in my brain. I'm noticing colors and smells and clothing and eyes. I'm interested in who is interesting. I'm aware. I really think that is the biggest thing. I'm just aware. And I'm really interested to see other people's reactions and hear their thoughts and interact. I'm really interested in interacting. It like some major light has been turned on in my brain. Like, why couldn't I have experienced this in puberty? 
Yes, let's just say that eating fresh, whole foods and staying away from all the junk and the food allergies has wrought this incredible change in my energy level and my brain. I LOVE IT. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stress and Starving

So, I forgot to weigh myself on Saturday and since I don't officially weigh until the beginning of each month I wasn't too worried about it. Plus, since I forgot to weigh myself, it allowed me to weigh myself the next two days in a row and not feel bad about breaking my only-weigh-once-a-week rule. Yeah, still struggling with that rule. 

My stress level has been so elevated for the last week that I wasn't surprised that the weight hasn't dropped. I'm hoping once the stress level goes down, so will my weight. We shall see. 

So, today was too stressful and I didn't eat until about 6PM when I was so hungry I wanted to cry. I almost did--cry that is. In the end, I ate some salmon and sliced almonds and an apple. 

Still stressed, I was doing nothing productive. I just was sitting and stewing in the juices of my stress. Finally about midnight I left work and I stopped by Carl's Jr. and got a guacamole burger in a lettuce wrap. 

That's what I ate: apple, almonds, salmon and guacamole burger. Not a great day of eating. It is too easy to fall back into the habit of not preparing any food and not eating anything until I start to feel a little crazy. 

And then I end up starving. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fasting: When and How We Fuel Our Bodies Really Does Matter

In my faith, we participate in fasting once a month as a congregation. That means we go without food or drink for a day (usually two meals or a 24 hour period). I've been fasting today. I view it as a spiritual practice and it is a voluntary thing that I do each month to grow closer to God.

Yet, this time it has also been interesting to think about fasting just from my body's perspective. Yesterday, while eating normally and exercising, I felt juiced up and full of myself. I felt strong and powerful. I felt good. Today, as I've been fasting, I've noticed my feelings have changed not just spiritually but physically as well. My body feels weak. I'm hungry. I feel a lack of energy. I'm thinking often of my empty stomach. I want food. I want water. I want to renew myself and my energy level by eating. My energy and strength is so dependent on fueling myself well each day and when I fast that reminder is brought to my attention full force. I am weak when I don't care for my body and its needs.

It is not a far stretch to realize that what I fuel my body with is just as important as fueling my body. I feel so different just in one 24-hour period of not eating that I should not be surprised that I feel so different when I what I eat in one 24-hour period is food that is poor in nutrition and poor in quality. When I eat junk food and loads of sugar and even food that I'm allergic to or intolerant of then my body reacts to that food too and I feel tired and overwhelmed and lethargic. When I fuel my body with whole foods that are fresh and delicious and bursting with nutrients it should not surprise me that the result is that I feel amazing and energetic and happy.

In health, it is easy to forget or minimize the gift our good health is to us. Most people have experienced getting a flu bug or violent cold that leaves us miserable and exhausted for days and days. After the illness has run its course and our energy levels return and we feel well again, most of us are so grateful for that health because of its recent absence. Yet, within days of feeling well again, we forget and begin to take for granted all the gifts and blessings that good health affords us.

That is one of the reasons I am keeping this blog. I have felt miserable for so long that I've become habituated to my misery. Now since I've been doing this allergy-free diet, I've felt so much better. I know that I may easily forget that. I know that the misery I had become so accustomed to will be forgotten on many daily levels for me. And I don't want to forget. I want to remember what eating well does for me. I want to remember why I make the choices I make each and every day to eat differently and eat better than I have in the past. I don't want that quiet, insidious voice in my head to gain any ground when it starts whispering "It's okay. You can eat that. It won't really hurt you. You might have just been imagining it affected you. One little bite won't hurt. Go ahead. Quit being so uptight."

That voice has had too much power in my life already. It has convinced me and kept me away from sticking to this path before. I don't want it to win anymore. I like the path I'm on. I like feeling better. I like feeling energetic. I like having the strength to do the things I want to do. I like having the energy to keep my life going in good and positive directions. I'm happy with the choices I've been making the past few months to live better.

Fasting has reminded me that just as fueling my body each day is very important, so is fueling it with the best foods so that I can maximize my energy and my strength. And that is a lesson I don't want to ever forget.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Discipline the Body

I've been out of it emotionally for a few days. I've been doing my old trick of indulging myself and not living up to expectations or responsibilities and just letting my overwhelmed emotions rule the day. 

After two full days of just indulging and not getting much accomplished, I had to go help my mom with a project tonight. In the process, I decided to work out. I did interval training on the treadmill which seems to turn on some magic button in my body and makes me start to sweat. The first couple of times I did this interval training I felt the weirdest sensation in my body in the middle of the intervals. I felt like I had hit some secret signal in my cells and these toxins and this chemical goo just gushed out of my pores. It was the weirdest, deep burning sensation. And it kind of kicked me into high gear. I don't know if it was part endorphin rush or just some other chemical/biological high but I love it. The interval training totally kicks my butt right now and I LOVE IT. 

Tonight, I just wanted to pound my body. I wanted to work myself into the ground. I wanted to sweat and stride and push and work and love it. I'm sure if I had a trainer like Jillian or Bob tonight that I would not have even minded puking a bit (okay, I would have minded, but I would have at least wanted it). Of course, I don't get myself anywhere near to puking. I was only on the treadmill for 40 minutes and then I did pushups and crunches and a bunch of stretching but in the end my body felt worked in a really good way. 

I want it to feel strong and hard and good. I'm falling a bit in love with sweating. I love the power that comes from working hard. I love the way my whole body kind of vibrates. I especially love the way I feel a day or two or a week later. Suddenly, I wake up one day stronger. Faster. Brighter. Harder. I love that feeling. 

I've been scared of my body for years. She and I have been mortal enemies rather than friends. Sure we have had brief flirtations. Times where we've skirted the issues and tried to get to know one another. Times when I felt like if I could just white knuckle her down that she would finally submit to my wishes, but in the end, the body always seemed to win. Her will won the day. Her desires, her wants, her needs. And mostly what she wanted was to be left alone. Allowed to eat. Unmoved by strength or determination or even passion. 

That is until I discovered her passion. Her will. Her strength. When her muscles are taut and strong, her core hard and resilient, her limbs coursing with oxygenated blood, she suddenly will bend to my will, my determination, my passion. Her needs and wants seems satiated when she feels the power that comes from her own strength. Then her strength becomes my strength and we are one. Friends, not mortal enemies. As long as I slake her need and turn on her fire, she will bend to my will. Her way, then my way. 

When I was in junior high we were supposed to run a mile in gym class. Every year. And every year, I was one of those girls who could not complete the mile, who ended up walking my way across the finish line. My body betrayed me then. She was not a friend that I could count on or one that I could trust. She hurt and ached and wished to not move. And the whole physical side of life scared me because of the pain my body felt when I tried to move her out of her comfort zone. 

Today, I wish that somehow, some way I had learned even then how to turn her on. How to reach down deep and find her fire and and learn to sweat. How to love the feeling of burning lungs and and screaming muscles that ached for more. For there is magic in that place. Magic that I don't want to let go of ever again. Magic that made me and my body friends. 

I believe in magic. Thank you body for teaching me that. I finally believe. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stress and Eating

I've been more than a little stressed the last few days. Lots to do and I don't seem to be doing all of it well. So, yesterday was a a big stress day. Fortunately, I had made enough food earlier in the week that I had food for the day. I even had food at work. This was all very helpful when the stress level hit its high point. 

I had gone to bed late on Tuesday night because I was so stressed. I had eaten well most of Tuesday, so Tuesday night when my stress hit its peak I ate some rice cakes with almond butter and fruit jam. I watched a show and stayed up late and then I slept in late Wednesday morning. I didn't eat breakfast. I rushed to work. By noon I had not eaten but with the food at work, I was able to eat. Grilled chicken and apples then some turkey chili. Later some pineapple and chicken. 

Wednesday evening when I came home around 8PM from work, I cooked mushroom soup, roasted sweet potatoes and peppers, made spinach turkey burgers and sauteed some asparagus. It took a while to cook, but I needed good food. I ate a bunch of veggies and I ate some of the turkey burgers with avocado and fried onions. Yummmm. 

My standard operating procedure for handling stress before was to starve and then to binge. Yesterday, I at least handled the stress differently than before. I ate regularly. I ate higher-quality food. I'm not saying handling the stress only comes through how or what I'm eating. I'm just saying that I did not worsen the problem by starving and then bingeing and then setting off an emotional torpedo in my brain and body. I at least didn't take that path and make it worse. 

At least I'm making progress. Maybe next time the stress levels hit high, I will handle it even better. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hidden Food Allergies

This post is also available on my writing blog.

I saw this over on Oprah's site under causes of fatigue.

While food is supposed to give us energy, some doctors believe hidden food intolerances—or allergies—can do the opposite. According to Dr. Rudy Rivera, author of Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat, even mild food intolerance can leave you feeling sleepy. Eat the offending food long enough, and you could find yourself feeling continually exhausted.

"Evidence indicates food intolerance as a cause of fatigue and even suggests that fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance," Rivera says.

If you suspect that food may be behind all that yawning, Rivera says to start with an elimination diet, cutting out foods that cause you to feel sleepy within 10 to 30 minutes of eating them. You can also talk to your doctor about a food allergy test.

I just want to stop and say, YES!!! I am not crazy or imagining things in my head. There is a reason that my energy has multiplied. There is a reason that this is working for me. I am not imagining these results in my head. I am really not crazy.

It is so nice to not feel alone in all of this. It has worked for someone else too. It makes me very, very grateful.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Food Addiction

This post is also available on my writing blog

In conference this weekend, Elder Robert D. Hales mentioned food addiction in relation to debt. I was so interested that he would recognize food addiction in the long list of other addictions like drugs or money. Here is what he said:

Today, I speak to all whose freedom to choose has been diminished by effects of ill-advised choices of the past. I speak specifically of choices that have led to excessive debt and addictions to food, drugs, pornography and other patterns of thought and action that diminished one's sense of self-worth.
I've been thinking about food addiction and what it is and what it looks like. To me, food addiction looks like a never-ending obsession with food. Where can I get it? How can I get it? How much of it can I consume? What is the soonest possible moment I can consume it? When can I eat again?

Addiction is an ugly monster to house in your closet. It is scary and overwhelming and feels very, very complex.

In seeking to overcome debt and addictive behaviors, we should remember the addiction is a craving of the natural man and can never be satisfied. It is insatiable as an appetite. When we are addicted we seek those worldly possessions or physical pleasures that seem to entice us. But as a child of God our deepest hunger and what we should be seeking for is what the Lord alone can provide: his love, his sense of worth, his security, his confidence, his hope in the future and assurance of his love which brings us eternal joy.
In my life, I've found that food addiction is certainly insatiable. There are so many food triggers that set up a craving that is insatiable. How many times have you opened a bag of chips and not been able to put them down until the whole bag is gone? What about baking a batch of cookies? Did you eat every last one? Have you ever dreamed about a food so intensely that you had to make it and eat as soon as possible?

I don't think it is wrong to dream about food, enjoy food, celebrate food and even immerse ourselves in food and feasting at times. I do know though that addictive eating does not usually come with celebration or joy. Addictive eating for me has occurred most often in secret and most often alone. Addictive eating is caused by and sets off a powerful brew of chemical and biological warfare in your body that feels insurmountable.

I've spent so much of my life wishing to be filled and never quite reaching that place. Have you ever had a full-to-bursting stomach and yet you were still hungry? I have. It is the common predicament in our society of being undernourished but overfed. There is too much food that is simply empty of nutrition but filled with white flour, white sugar and saturated fats. Which one of the many food items you purchase each week is filled with one of those items? For me, it has been too many.

The hopeful thing that I would want to share about food addiction is that I believe it is often misunderstood. I think people who suffer from food addiction know that something very powerful is happening in their bodies but have no idea what set it off or how to shut it down.

That's how I felt at least.

I've had a lead balloon feeling in my stomach from too much food and yet I can't stop my brain from thinking about the next thing I'm going to eat.

I've also had the opposite occur when I ate a whole bunch of broccoli that had been roasted with olive oil and pine nuts. After several bites, I suddenly felt very profoundly full, a condition which was just the opposite of my overfed and undernourished where I was instead fed well and nourished well.

Learning how to nourish the body, feed the soul and shut down the addiction--this has been the scariest, hardest journey in my life.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Milestone: My Knees

One of the signs and limitations of morbid obesity is decreasing mobility. Partly from exhaustion, partly from sheer size, partly from a deep sense of self-preservation, I learned how to cut down movement to its bare minimum. In this way, obese individuals are ruthlessly efficient. If it requires too much movement or too risky of a movement, that task goes on the list of "can't dos" or "won't dos" in our lives. 

A somewhat minor one on my ruthlessly efficient list was mopping my floor. Most of my main living space is decorated in an oh-so-stunning orange tile that runs through my kitchen, living area and into the bathroom. Mopping my floor is usually on my list of weekend chores each weekend but it was usually the first task to fall off the the list and one of the last ones I ever got to (right after scrubbing down the bathtub and changing my sheets). 

Suffice it to say, that except for a major spillage or an unprecedented burst of energy, mopping my floor has consumed very few of the minutes of my life over the last few years. Mostly due to the fact that I was birthed by a woman that believes the only true way to mop your floor is on your hands and knees (better to see the dirt). Getting on my hands and knees at nearly 350 pounds was a task indeed. The breathing, the heaving, the settling, the pain. I just didn't spend a lot of time down there because mostly when I did it was really hard to get back up. 

The funny thing is that when you are overweight these things annoy you but they become so much the fabric of your life that you are not consciously aware of just how hard it is to live in a big body until one of those obstacles is removed from your plate. 

Well, one of those obstacles was removed from my plate this weekend: I mopped my floor on my hands and knees. And the best part? It didn't even hurt. 

Something to do with losing 50 pounds, having loads of energy, and exercising a ton must have affected the state of my body. I actually felt a bit agile through the entire task. 

I popped down on my knees and wiped and scrubbed and popped back up to rinse the rag out and get it set again. I cleaned under furniture and behind furniture. I mopped from the bathroom at one end to my study at the other end. I just kept moving and doing. And suddenly, I had mopped my floor, it took me nearly no time at all, and I didn't even hurt in my back, hands, wrists, knees or anywhere. 

A rare gift.

I think I can really get the hang of this cleaning thing when it doesn't involve full body torture. In fact, I dare say it was halfway enjoyable. Now, that is something to think about. 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Weigh In: April 4, 2009

Weight: 305 pounds
Chest: 53.5 inches
Waist: 48 inches
Hips: 54.5 inches

I'm still not doing so well with my goal to only weigh once a week. I recommitted to it yesterday while I was exercising and then I came home and went to climb in the shower and decided to weigh myself right then. Imagine my extreme surprise when the scale registered 302 pounds. That was a happy dance in the extreme because just the day before the scale had been saying 310 and 311 pounds. I was excited to see that number. I was just hoping it would stick around long enough to hold court here today. 

It didn't quite stick but really, I'm okay with that. I have a feeling it will be here very soon. I'm getting excited for this milestone. Under 300 pounds. There is a lot of terrain to cover in the 200s, but it is all exciting terrain to me. 

My focus for the month of April is to see if I can drop 20 pounds this month by tracking my food intake (and timing) and tracking my exercise. My food goals are to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a mix of protein, veggies, fruit and monounsaturated fats. I also want to up my exercise to one hour for six days a week. 

Now, I'm not going to cry if I don't make that goal as long as I keep exercising and eating well. I just want to see what I can do by upping the exercise more and being more diligent about eating often and not starving myself. I may even exceed my own expectations. 

Since January I've been losing about 10 pounds a month. I'm happy with that. I just think by paying more attention and upping the exercise, I can do even better. 

We shall see, we shall see. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stocking the Pantry

I watched an Oprah show once where Dr. Oz went into people's homes and checked out their pantries and fridges and cupboards and helped them to restock them with whole, real foods. He also suggested ways that they could improve their meals. Sometimes when I go shopping I like to wonder what Dr. Oz would think about what I'm bringing home to my pantry. I'd like to see what ways my daily diet can improve. 

One thing I've figured out since going on this allergy-free diet is that most of the time in my life I've relied on fast, convenient foods. If I bought crackers, they were the first thing I ate. If I bought bread it also was gone first. If I had chips or popcorn or any food like that, it was the first food I ate each day and every day. Then what was leftover was the rest of the veggies and some fruit. I would pick through that food until I could go to the store and buy my favorite convenience foods again. 

This allergy-free diet leaves very little room for convenience foods. I do occasionally buy rice cake (organic brown rice) but that and canned beans are the closest things that I have to convenience foods. Everything else has to be prepared in some way. I think that is part of the reason that I go back and forth between starving and eating. It takes time to prepare good food. It is an art that I'm gaining great insight into right now. 

Fortunately, I felt a bit inspired last night when I looked at my fridge and pantry and I'm excited for the possibilities. So, here are the raw materials that I'm using to come up with good food this week. 


ground turkey
small roast chicken
chicken breasts
frozen wild salmon

almond butter
fruit jam


almond milk
coconut milk
chicken broth

black beans
pinto beans
brown rice and wild rice
red potatoes

olive oil
grapeseed oil


almond flour
coconut flour
Dagoba chocodrops

I wonder what Dr. Oz would have to say if he came to my house today? 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Regaining Weight

I've thought a lot about the topic of regaining weight. When I lost so much weight in 2004-2005, I was terrified of regaining weight. I was terrified of getting back to the place of bad habits and feeling terrible again. One positive thing that came out of regaining weight in 2005 is that I have faced my worst fear and I've survived. I regained a whole bunch of weight and I did not die. I'm just not as scared to regain weight anymore. 

Now, that may sound rich coming from me considering the fact that I'm still 300 pounds and that I'm actively losing weight and not really struggling with regaining weight. I watched an Oprah show tonight while I was on the treadmill and it featured three famous women and each of their personal struggles with losing weight: Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond, and Star Jones. I appreciated all of their stories, but I certainly identified in ways with Star Jones who seems very much to me like a fat woman in a thin body. She is struggling to right herself after drastically losing weight through gastric bypass. It seems like this journey has been a difficult and long road for her and bless her heart, she seems to be trying to be as honest as possible now. 

I felt like a fat woman in a thin body too. It is a scary place to be where you have to find how to stabilize yourself in this new world and this new body. I applaud her doing her best to look at it honestly after trying to hide it for so long. 

I also appreciate her reasons for keeping it quiet for a long time. I would likely do the same thing. I was so angry for a long time after regaining weight and as I felt a lot of pressure to consider gastric bypass surgery. I was angry because the minute you start to lose weight people start to comment and ask what you did and to tell the truth you have to reveal a very personal medical intervention that is really none of their business. People can do things like get a breast augmentation or a tummy tuck or even any other kind of surgery and they can often keep that surgery private, but the very nature of obesity means that it is a very public part of your person whether you want it to be or not. 

One thing I promised myself before I started trying to lose weight again was that I would prepare myself for people's comments and questions. I have pat answers that I'm going to give and ways that I'm willing to defend myself against unwanted interest in my progress. 

I'm not saying that most people are this way. Most people are just excited and happy for you and you are thrilled to talk to them. It is the other people who have issues around weight too who start picking at you for information and make you feel confused and befuddled. 

I had one person who constantly talked about what I was doing whenever I was around her. It completely overwhelmed me emotionally. I didn't want to talk about it with her but I felt forced to do so. She also talked me up so much that I started to feel all this pressure like I was unnaturally good or unnaturally full of willpower. I hate that kind of talk. There is something about it that smacks of sanctimonious drivel. Weight loss for me has nothing to do with willpower or white-knuckling my way through a diet and it puts me in a weird head space when people talk to me that way. 

So, no, I'm not as scared about regaining weight. I'm more wary and more cautious about righting myself emotionally to handle the scrutiny that comes from changing myself in such an unfortunately public way. That is what I need the most help with through this journey. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking in the Mirror

I had a party to go to the other night and my need for clothes has turned into such a desperate situation that I knew I needed at least something to wear to this party. So, I had a half an hour I could squeeze out of my day and I ran up to the mall and went in the store, hoping I could come out with something in my hand that would help me to feel a bit more prepared for this party. 

Shopping definitely made me take measure of myself and my progress. I've been feeling particularly well the last few days and feeling like a million bucks. It was a bit startling to realize that just because I felt that way doesn't mean it is always reflected in the mirror. I pulled some clothes into the dressing room just guessing at my size. I had been a size 30 or 32 and I was hoping I was in the 26 or 28 range. I was. That was nice to see. 

After trying on a whole load of clothes, I asked for some help from the saleswoman because I needed to find some nice business pants and usually my hips and legs swim in any pants I try on. Bless her heart, she found some pants that fit me perfectly. They were gray slacks--not my particularly favorite color--but they were such a vast improvement over the other options I had at home that I paid for them and left. At least I could feel a tiny bit better prepared for the party. 

All in all, I think shopping was a good reality check for me. I know that I have a long way to go on this journey still. It was just encouraging to see some of the progress. 


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