The Struggle is Real

ILOVEYOUWhen I was studying creative writing, we learned about something called ‘tonal lurching.’ It’s pretty self-explanatory. If the tone of your writing is inconsistent, and you fall into the trap of tonal lurches, you quickly confuse the reader.

This blog doesn’t have a set tone yet. It hasn’t quite developed it’s identity. It’s a baby blog, if you will.

Just as I’m in the baby stages of making so many major lifestyle changes.

Ahh, synchronicity.

So What is this blog?

The aims of this blog are to:

– Empower others while sharing my own struggles and successes
– Provide meaningful dialogue in the areas of diet, nutrition, lifestyle and mind/body health
– Entertain and engage the reader and myself with light-hearted anecdotes, recipes, etc.

From this point on I’m going to stop numbering my posts in the titles (just tags). I will weigh-in every Thursday as promised. I won’t post every day unless I have something good to write (and I will be taking a two week vacation while I go receive my diploma in Scotland)

The brings me to the meat of this post:

The Struggle is Real

Last weekend I struggled with expectations of myself compared to others. I was honest about it in my blog.

But then the week started and I realized it wasn’t any different than the weekend, just busier. Monday I had my mindfulness group, then I had an exam to do for my freelance analyst job. I had homework and doctor’s appointments and on top of it all, my two year old, Alistair, was sick the entire week off and on. As is usual for me, I overthought it, and I kept him home under quarantine instead of taking him to the doctor. When I finally brought him in last night, I learned he had strep throat! And he was suffering all week with it while I had no idea and was busy calibrating body fat percentage and trying to book plane tickets and hotels for segments of our trip.

I’d been with Alistair all week (with help from his father, of course). I watched countless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and made him all of his go-to foods and liquids. I snuggled with him, kept watch of his fever, and at one point slept on the floor of his room. Another night it was the two of us on the couch for many hours. And then finally one night he and I were awake in my bed from 3 to 6 am, just tossing and turning and snuggling and talking. That’s when it dawned on me. I was so busy wanting to AVOID germs, I hadn’t brought him to the doctor. But what if he had an ear infection? I mean, he was sick for five days.
So I brought him, and I’m so glad I did.

But the point is that my mind was in so many different places, it took ages for me to realize something obvious. While I was sacrificing sleep and doing intricate things like get-well-tea-parties, I could have just gotten him to the doctor.

My heart was in the right place, but my brain was just all over the place.

And that sums me up pretty well! Haha.

So.

I have had a lot of positive messages and feedback from this blog. I’ve had a lot of people ask questions about long-term strategy. And I just don’t have one. Yet.

Right now my plan is the same as stated before:

-Eat 1500 calories and chart them on My Fitness Pal
-Go to Zumba once a week and Yoga once a week an another class once a week. Walk Weasley, our dog.
-Drink 100 oz of water a day
-Do mindfulness and meditation every day, as part of prayer or separately
– Weigh in on my blog every Thursday

But I think I need to add some caveats.

-When family is sick, or you’re sick, be kind to yourself and take care of yourself
-Understand it’s all change, and even the simplest plan won’t be easy right away
-Taking breaks, like for graduation, is okay, because life is short

Some readers may think my approach is too relaxed. If I find that this relaxed approach doesn’t heed results, I will do something more strict. It’s all part of the journey. The struggle. And while I still do not advocate fat- acceptance movements, I AM going to  try to love myself as a person a little more.

Advertisements

Day Nine: Number Crunching

The official 'before' picture, captured over the weekend at the pumpkin patch.
The official ‘before’ picture, captured over the weekend at the pumpkin patch.

When dealing with health, you deal with a lot of numbers. I don’t like numbers and I don’t care much for precision. I deal in feelings, in words, in spirituality, in the variables of humanity. Just put a flower wreath on my head and call me Sunshine.

But I met with a doctor yesterday and I received the results of some blood tests. Numbers assigned to my chart, to gauge where I am and where I should be. Ranges.

I debated over posting this information, since it’s personal and not exactly flattering. But I decided as part of my journey the tradition of transparency must continue.

First, the doctor’s numbers:

My TSH was 1.4

Good! The Synthroid I am taking for an underactive thyroid is working.

My fasting glucose was 96.

Not-so-good! Anything over 100 is pre-diabetes and anything over 125 would indicate diabetes.

My free insulin was 40.

Bad! This is double the high end of normal. Twice as much insulin is being pumped through my body as should be. As suspected, I am insulin resistant. This is just the proof. The doctor wants to put me on metformin, but I have an international trip coming up so I’m not going to think about that until I return. In the meantime, I need to learn more about what insulin resistance actually means for my dieting choices. Any advice is welcome!

After getting those results, I figured it couldn’t get any worse, so I went out and bought a scale to replace my broken one. I purchased a model which measures weight, body fat, water, muscle and bone. This seemed like a lot of information for $19.99 but I went for it.

Here were my results this morning:

Weight: 217 lbs
Body Fat percentage: 48
Water percentage: 38 water
Pounds of muscle: 106
Pounds of bone: 6
BMI: 36

I’m not sure if I think this body fat percentage is correct. I do think my size G breasts may skew the results. But alas, I looked up my BMI and found this:

“f you have a BMI of 35-39.99 your risk of weight-related health problems and even death, is severe.” (Source: BMI Calculator.net)

I know the BMI is controversial so I won’t take my severe risk of death based on this one calculation too literally.

However. although this is day nine of my blog, I’m going to reset and deem this day one of my journey. Because now I’m adding accountability into it. I will ‘weigh in’ next Thursday and see what results I have.

My plan for the coming week is:

-Eat 1500 calories a day and chart on My Fitness Pal
-Go to Zumba and yoga at least one time each, and find other ways to exercise at least 2 more times
-Drink 100 oz of water a day
-Get at least 7 hours of straight sleep a night

And who knows. Maybe at some point in my journey I will learn to love numbers! Or at least the ones pertaining to me.

Day Three: My fitness foe

Five years ago I lost 20 pounds doing Weight Watchers. I went to weekly meetings because I liked, and knew I needed, the accountability. I was able to use the internet to track my progress, but I was still given a booklet and a hand-held points calculator. I did well with this system: pen and paper, and a calculator sitting in my kitchen, daring me to defy it.

Fast-forward into the age of apps, and the popularity of the free and easy-to-use My Fitness Pal. Dozens of people have suggested to me, and it’s sat latently in the background on at least my past three smartphones. I’ve gone through spurts of using it, and I always end up discouraged.

For one thing, it tells me I should be eating 1350 calories a day. And maybe I should, I don’t know. I could lie to tweak the app’s setting- it can’t call me out on it – but I’ve left it as it is, and each day watched myself dive into the red. 1350 calories just seems SO FEW. And the second I’m -200, my brain just goes “Screw it. You’ve already gone over for the day. Try again tomorrow.”

For another thing, it’s not asking to be completed in the same way an empty line on a log book is. I don’t have a completed product at the end of the week. And it sits neatly on my phone, obscured by Facebook notifications and the weather application. It doesn’t taunt me like a Weight Watchers calculator.

But the worst thing of all, to me, is how clear it makes it where I’m nutritionally lacking. I’ve never once met its requirements for fiber or potassium or iron, and I’ve always gone over in sugar. And I just don’t wanna know about it. Lalalala. *fingers in ears*

But for the sake of my renewed endeavors, and for the sake of this blog, I am going to track every thing I eat every single day for one week. And I’m going to turn reaching (and staying with the limits of) the nutrition guidelines a goal of mine. I’ll pretend it’s a game. Or something.  There are limits to what you can trick yourself into thinking is ‘fun.’

But the app deserves a fair shot before I decide it’s not for me.

We’ll see just how good of friends My Fitness Pal and I are truly are, next Saturday.

(Oh, if it seems obvious from this post that I should just try Weight Watchers again….I might. But I’m going to attempt some free versions first)