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Shibaras Battlefield


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Hi everyone,

 

I'm a long time collector of underpants. Last year I joined the awesome monks for a few challenges and I just love the support everyone gets across these boards. I hit some dark places during the past year. When I start comparing myself to others (my problems are not that bad, others have much more/harder problems!) there is always someone there to pick me up, and finally I'm able to remember what my therapist usually tells me: yes, other people have problems, too, but for each and everyone their problems are the biggest, there's no sense in comparing each other or even belitteling your own trouble's.

 

Spoilers for shortening this post:

 

Spoiler

I'm just saying this as an introduction to explain (and reason with myself a little) why I'm finally starting a log. I took a lot from the challenges I've participated - some I failed, some I won, but I learned from all of them. At this point of my life, though, I have the feeling I can't commit to a set goal for four weeks. It's too much - and too little at the same time (in my head this makes perfect sense! ;) ). But there is constant progress in my life. Earlier today I sat around, thinking the more dangerous path of "well, here you are, and it's almost the same as last year. You haven't done anything to level up." Fortunately the other voice inside my head spoke up, too: "Nonsense. It's little progress, yes, but you have made progress!"

 

There is still a lot to improve. With every day the vision of what I want to become some day becomes a little sharper. It's still mightily fuzzy around the edges, but there is... something. And there are a lot of days when I'm overwhelmed and unable to see that fuzzy thing, for sure! But there are also days when I'm feeling I have accomplished something note-worthy. And then I always think of the rebellion. And that I have no place to write stuff down, to celebrate with my fellow rebels, to tell you of my plans, to get some thoughts or encouragement.

 

Which is why I'm finally starting this log. I most probably won't post here daily. And at the moment, I'm not even very good at setting goals. So this is more like an ongoing project. I have very few real-life friends, so I turn to the rebel community for inspiration (and sometimes perspiration! ;) ). Sometimes I get overwhelmed and intimidated by all of you - you're some successful bunch! (during my challenges I got so much support and was often unable to give back - I always felt sorry for that, felt like I was taking more than giving when others need some support, too!) So maybe I will be on the quiet side for a while, before returning back. I don't know yet how everything will turn out, I just wanted a place where I can celebrate 25 (inclined) push ups or a run of a few minutes or a new milestone in walking distance and stuff. This doesn't happen daily, though, so I'll probably (over)celebrate every little step I take :) We'll see how this turns out.

 

After that rather lengthy introduction a few numbers and facts: I'm a mid-thirty female, rather reclusive, have always been fond of "escaping" the sometimes bad world around me (I've learned reading at an early age and when my peers at school were mean to me, my books would always be there for me). Fantasy and Science Fiction have always fascinated me - strange new worlds and happy places to live in. I guess almost all of you can relate somewhat ;)

 

I have a medical condition called lipedema. This means I have two types of fat cells in my body - the regular ones everyone has, and some abnormal ones that aren't at all impressed by diet or sport. These sick fat cells accumulate at the legs, behind and arms and will, over time, do damage to my lymphatic system (which is already affected at some degree). To avoid further damage and to hold the already existing masses somewhat in check I have to wear compression tights and sleeves. It's not a life-threatening condition, but rather uncomfortable, painful and somewhat disfigurative (google search for pictures, if you dare). Untreated, most people eventually lose the ability to walk around (and I've my mother as a prime example).

 

During most of my life, I've been rather sedentary. Having to carry around some extra pounds did slow me down and I've never really liked to get sweaty. I liked kayaking when I was younger, and I only stopped because I moved away after finishing school. Today I'd probably unable to fit into a boat which saddens me so much I don't even want to try anymore. It's mostly in my head, but my behind and legs are indeed very large and I'd need to find a good boat.

 

Instead I joined a soft martial arts club a few years ago and practice various forms of (mostly armed) Tai Chi / taijiquan. It was thanks to my challenges here that I completed the courses (I'm great at getting started with something, but have a hard time finishing stuff!). I also started walking in the local park last year. This is still not completely a habit, but I do go out way more often than not.

 

At the end of October I'm having an appointment with a lipedema specialist. He's a surgeon and would, for a helluvalot money (which I don't have), treat at least the symptoms of my illness by liposuction. Get the sick cells out, hope they don't come back. Thing is, the most success is apparently had if you melt down the regular/healthy fat as much as possible and build up as much muscle as possible, so that the surgeons can suck away as much of the sick fat cells as possible. October is just a first appointment. Should I indeed decide to follow up with surgeries (and find a way to come up with that money; I'm still in debt from student loans and have no idea how to juggle that) that would be possible in about a year (yes, he is that good, he has a long waiting list). So one focus at the moment is on "lose as much weight as possible" - which is very hard for me, as I've been living with the thought "eh, you have lipedema, can't do anything against that anyway, why even bother!" for the past five years.

 

I also want to get stronger. When I was a child I loved to climb trees. I really want to do that again, but my arms are too weak to support my heavy body (at the moment, I'm weighting around 95 kg, which means I lost about 5 kg since January - a success, but a very small one). A few days ago I was at the local swimming pool and wanted to leave the pool at the rim, not the ladder. So I boosted myself out of the water... and had to do that again (and almost failed at the second attempt, too). Embarrasing! (I think not a lot of people noticed, though). That's got to change. I want to be able to support my own body weight (which hopefully increases a little over time - double win ;) ).

 

Connected with my illness is my job: I have work and a steady income, albeit not a very big one. It took some time and several attempts to finish my studies and finally get employed. Originally I was planned as a substitute for a pregnant co-worker, so I took the job mainly for security reasons, not because I absolutely love the work. Well, I'm still there, and I'm more and more thinking about changing jobs. But that would mean no income, maybe. Or an even shittier job - it's not so bad what I'm doing, it's just not what I WANT to do. But I need money to pay off my debt, and probably even more money should I take up a new loan for them surgeries.

 

Add to that some difficulties with a... relationship... or what you might call it (it's complicated and I won't elaborate too much), and...


I have a lot of stuff to think about. How do I want to be? What do I want to be, to do? How can I achieve that? This is my battle ground (or rather several at once), my problems to solve. I'd like to have you guys around to help me slay my demons, one after another, and become the best version of me possible. Even if it might take some time, even if there will be others that are faster and more successfull (hey, great for everyone! I'm doing my best to not get intimidated by you! :) ). The rebellion has helped me a lot, and one day I'll be awesome and help others on their way, too :)

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So, weight loss is an issue for me. Although the scale is not reliable for people like me (I have water weight issues), I do weigh myself regularly and take notes of my food. My goal for 2016 was to lose one kg per month. I started out well, but then I slacked and made more and more exceptions. I don't know how to get back on track, I know so much of nutrition and have a good idea of what works for me and what not, but my general diet is still so wonky that, comes stress, I crumble and go back to old habits.

 

I weigh around 95 kg at the moment, and I really wanted to be around 90 in December. How can I achieve that? I'm not so sure. Oh, I know some of the more extreme diets, sure, but they aren't sustainable. When I was younger, I did 10 days of protein shakes only. I still utilize some shakes (had my best success during the past months with alternating fasting - one shake day, one food day), and I'm contemplating going "all shakes" for a week or so... but then I'm doubtful I can do that. In addition, there is this funny thought of embarassment in front of my co-workers. This is only in my head and really strange, but for some reason I don't want them to think I'm dieting (which is ridiculous because I definitely AM overweight, even if most of that weight comes from the stupid lipedema and I can't do much about it).

 

I have a problem with comittment. For years I've wanted to get that meal planning down. I've read and watched a lot about that, in theory I'm good. But as soon as I start to sit down and actually write down stuff, I falter. "What if I don't want to eat that prepared meal on that day? When I write it down, it becomes law!" Rarely I'm able to overcome that, and having a plan makes things so much easier! That's why I really want to have a meal plan, I just have a very hard time to write one down. So I went out and bought some online meal plans. Can you believe it? It's even hard for me to follow them! I'm still not really sure how to overcome that issue. It seems connected to stress, though. When I'm relaxed and have time to think, it's way easier than when life happens. Unfortunately during such times a solid plan would be so helpful!

 

Promise to myself: sit down during this weekend, make a meal plan. I can do that, I'm on sick leave tomorrow (just need to take one of my pet rats to the vet), no work stress. I should be able to come up with something either tomorrow or on Saturday and be able to buy stuff, if needed.

 

Reward: finally go to the cinema, watch Star Trek: Beyond! I've been a Star Trek fan since I was 13 and I really, really want to see that movie, but was unable to make time.

 

Long term goal: at the end of this month, I'd really like to have my scale displaying something solidly around 93 kg (I hover constantly between 94 and 95, so that's really only about one kilogram, I should be able to do that!), but I need to figure out a way how to achieve that.

 

Additional goals: I've started "mini bathroom workouts" about two weeks ago. I read that in another blog I follow: every time you visit the bathroom, do something. For me, that usually means the bathroom at work. I do wall (or sink) push ups or squats. When I'm alone in the small kitchen, waiting for the tea kettle to boil, I'm trying to push myself up on the counter.

 

I should probably do these workouts at home, too, but not at the moment. Funny thing I've noticed: as soon as I start with push ups, I'm more inclined to get sick. At the moment I'm having a cold and I'm rather sore, so no workouts until I'm fully well again.

 

And I want to go out more frequently and walk. I enjoy playing PokemonGo, but unfortunately I frequently encounter server issues and can't connect at interesting places. Something inside my head then says "well, why bother at all, your walking won't register anyways and you won't hatch that egg anytime soon, so just stay at home!" Funny little twisted thing, my brain. Need to turn that around a little because I did some nice walks before PokeGo without any problem!

 

I realize this might not be the most interesting log to read because I'll probably write some lenghty stuff and not do all that much... it just really helps to clear my mind, "thinking" out loud (especially because English is not my native language; I read somewhere that, when using a foreign language, you're able to reason with yourself that much more easily and with less emotion, and for me it's true). But please, feel free to comment anytime, if you want to :) I'm alone with my head most of the time and definitely appreciate "outside thoughts" and comments to help me find a good point of view :)

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Yesterday I had a good experience in the evening (and afterwards, a not-so-good one, but that could have been worse, too). Did some last minute grocery shopping, wanted to buy some apples which I had forgotten earlier. I went after eating, so not hungry, but with a lot of cravings. Basically ran past the chocolates (which are on display at the entrance, no chance to go around them), picked up my apples, and an avocado because they were on sale. Then I had to go past the deep-freezer. Instead of shutting my eyes and running past that, too, I took a look. There was this caramel icecream... I even picked it up! Then I remembered that I wanted to walk back the slightly longer way home (to collect a few pokestops) and that my icecream would melt until I'd arrive home, so I put it back down.

 

I'm rather proud of myself: the habit of walking took over the craving for ice cream! (with the added help of PokemonGo, but I'm not complaining! :D )

 

Later that night I decided to fire up a MMORPG which I hadn't visited for a long time - and the cravings hit again. Badly. I had some chocolade I found in my secret stash, some potato chips (but I poured out only a small bowl and didn't go for the whole bag, that's a success, too!) and some sugar frosted pumpkin seeds and the last cup of dairy ice cream I found in my freezer while putting away some chicken legs.

 

Video games equal snacking for me, at least at the moment (hasn't always been the case), and I was rather hungry. Earlier that day I had planned on eating soup and cooking another meal afterwards, but was interrupted by a lengthy telephone call with Mom, so I postponed the soup and scrapped the later meal. That had probably a lot to do with my later indulgences.

 

Still, I'm not too worried overall. I finished a general meal plan (yay for me!) which outlines the basics for each day and gives options for dinner and weekend. The overal caloric goal for each week is about 12000 kcal, which equates to about 1700 kcal/day, which should make the weight drop slowly. Let's see if I can make that work!

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First week went rather well. Total calories were a little over my goal (equating to 1804 kcal/day), but not overly dramatic, and my sugar- and carb-intake was rather low which makes me happy :) The next five days should be similar, but I see the dreaded Dragon of Sugar and Craving looming on the coming weekend: I'm visiting friends and we'll go to a medieval fair and play videogames and do fun stuff - usually that includes sodas, chips, chocolate and sweets and I'm not sure yet how I'll manage. I'll be probably not a perfect weekend, but fun over diet. It's only two days, after all, what could possibly go wrong? ;)

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Holy canneloni, I'm getting stronger! I've been consistent with my bathroom gymnastics and my attempts at pushing myself up on the kitchen counter. Today I noticed two things: first I was able to support my weight for longer than usual (almost ten seconds; when I started out three weeks ago, I could do only a little pushup and had to go down immediately, then my wrists would hurt for a while), and squatting gets easier. This is nice to notice!

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I had the nicest dream tonight: I was outside and for some reason had to cross a wall at about shoulder-height. I had some doubts I'd be able to push up myself but tried nevertheless. In my dream, it was so easy that I took a double-take and spent a moment hanging there, enjoying the strenght and ability to do what I hadn't thought would be possible.

 

One day that will happen in real life, too :)

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30 seconds of planking!

 

I think it was about four months ago that I tried planking. I managed about 10 or 15 seconds. Today I tried again and managed 30 seconds. Yes, trembling in the end, but it was... easy. Compared to last time I tried.

 

I'm mightily happy to notice that my efforts pay off. I've rarely had this feeling. Most of my life, I tried stuff, but either it was too difficult or I didn't stick with it long enough for any rewards. This time I see results. Small ones, sure, but noticeable. I'm really glad and it keeps me motivated :)

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I don't feel too good at the moment. I fell into a deep pit of sorrow and emotional pain and coped with lots of chocolate and stuff I'm not really supposed to eat. It was no outright bingeing, but not too far from that.

 

Now I'm weak, my guts are in turmoil, I'm tired and I don't have a clue how to get out of that fix. I want to get back to eating healthy, but how can I do that when my body wants carbs so badly? I'm not trying to get ultra low carb, but less than 100 g/day would be a start. Seems impossible at the moment. And it's totally not helping that I eat 100 g of chocolate right now (new flavour, had to try; result: it wasn't even that tasty and I got sugar, milk and soy to promote the already underlying inflammation).

 

My legs are hot and hurt and are swelling despite wearing my compression tights and just having had lymphatic drainage. My skin itches. And I just feel bad and helpless right now - what will I eat tomorrow? I'd love to do a whole day of protein shakes only. Don't have to worry about them containing stuff I shouldn't have. But that's hard after a day of high carbs (less carbs and less overall calories). Don't know what to do right now.

 

Dinner's in the oven, some chicken (store-bought with marinade) and grilled veggies. Then I'll try to head to bed early to sleep it off as much as possible. I'd really be able to take a break from work, a few days of vacation, to rest and relax. Can't do that unfortunately, one of my colleagues is in (prep.?) her own vacation. When she returns in two weeks, I'll take a bit off, I guess. Just... how can I survive until then without eating so much crap?

 

The scale is, of course, reflecting my actions. Weightloss is hard for me. Weight gain apparently easy. Meh.

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You already did start.  You got some chicken and veggies and are getting some sleep.  You're planning some time off when you can take it. 

 

If your system is craving carbs that badly, maybe allow yourself a bit more in the short term but try and make sure they're better carbs like whole grains?  Nothing but protein shakes for a day probably wouldn't make you feel any better.  Certainly use them as part of your plan, but not the whole thing.

 

Also, re-read your last month's worth of posts here?  There's a lot of good in those: meal planning, planking, getting stronger.  You haven't lost those. 

Behave yourself, badly if necessary.
 

Current Challenge

Judo - Shodan

My Character

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Thank you, thank you, thank you - for bringing my attention back to the things I already have achieved. I tend to focus on the things that I haven't done yet and berating myself for being a failure (like the meal plan - it went well for some time, but then I started slacking (and snacking ;) ) and became rather unhappy and that voice in my head goes "you can't even stick to that!" instead of something like "well, if it doesn't work out, let's see what we have to change to make it work").

 

Today I told myself: "You can eat what you want, just avoid the sweets." Up to now it worked. Around noon I hit a spot where I was longing for some sweets and chocolate and had already eaten some of the stuff I'd brought to work, so I was like "what will I eat, I'm hungry but I don't know what to do!" I tried to calm down, decided to walk to the closest store and bought some peppers and egg salad and a cucumber. Good decision! The sweet tooth was tamed with an apple afterwards, and now I'll head off to the kitchen and prepare a hokkaido pumpkin (these are slightly higher in carbs than regular pumpkin, but very popular around here, and I love them!). As I had to go to a pharmacy to pick up some probiotics (another thing I decided on today, I've had good experience with this brand and maybe it helps my digestive system to get back on track) after work, I went into the grocery store next to it and picked up some goat joghurt to go with the pumpkin. While browsing the "our end of sale-date is close, we are cheap!"-area, I found some aronia-coconut balls, made entirely out of dried fruit and coconut, no sugar. Yes, basically candy, but natural candy! ;) I think this is a good alternative to chocolate and will have one or two of them as dessert.

 

At the moment, I have a better feeling. I've probably been a little too strict with myself, wanting to be near-perfect and didn't even notice. No wonder the system's crashed with some outward pressure added to the pressure I created inside myself... I never used to be a perfectionist, but I tend to go "well, if I'm doing this or that anyways, then I should make it as good as possible!" nowadays. I've overcome a bit of that by now, but apparently that's an issue that still needs some work.

 

Now off to that little pumpkin... :D

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Excellent!  That's a great day of decisions.  They all sound tasty too :-)  How do you prepare the pumpkin?  Roasting?

 

I use the same strategy on hungry days.  I can eat whatever good food I want but no junk. 

 

That would make sense.  Being overly strict can lead to backlash pretty easily.  As my Mom likes to say:  Be gentle with yourself.  Pouring on the stress and self criticism just makes you miserable and farther from your goals.

Behave yourself, badly if necessary.
 

Current Challenge

Judo - Shodan

My Character

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I'm still not completely sure how to proceed, but up to now, today was rather good, too.

 

Pumpkin? I love to stuff it with ground beef and bake it. Usually I cut off the head, de-seed it (my rats love me forever if they get the pumpkin-guts ;) ) and pop it into the oven for a few minutes to start softening it (I used to oil and season its insides, but yesterday I didn't bother). While the pumpkin is baking, I brown some ground beef on the stove and season it heartily with onions, garlic, herbs and spices, usually a bit tomato paste as well (have to be careful with that). When the beef is done, I pull out the pumpkin, stuff the beef inside and put it back into the oven (I usually safe the cut-off top which I now put back on top, I leave it off during pre-baking) for about half an hour, depending on the size of the pumpkin. That's it :) If you can tolerate dairy, some sour cream or joghurt is nice with the baked pumpkin. I tried goat's joghurt yesterday, which was good, but during the night I had some gassy issues. I'm not sure if it was the joghurt, though, because I also started on my probiotics, and I had the fruit balls as dessert. This morning I had a slow start and still some digestive issues, but at about noon, they were gone and I felt better than during the past days. A little more relaxed, too.

 

I had two protein shakes during the day and probably could do another today, and that's that. It's tempting (won't the scale look nice tomorrow! I usually drop one kilo on a shake day, but of course, that's mostly water and nothing sitting in my colon; still, it's a nice sight), but I feel more like experimenting and having some food later. When I do a full shake day, the next morning starts very hungry, and I don't feel like preparing stuff for tomorrow. I'd rather eat and take a protein shake to work tomorrow, then see what happens. Maybe I'll establish a "shake at work, dinner at home"-routine. For the past weeks I went with three shake days per week, which has its own advantages: on three days, I don't have to worry about "what will I eat!", it's simply "shakes only". On the other hand, I have to put together food for the non-shake-days at the evening, being a little hungry, and I have to deal with cravings... I'll experiment with that. I know I can do these shake-days and how to properly prepare for food-days, so I can always get back to that.

 

Wow. Writing that down IS relaxing! Thanks for listening and encouraging! :)

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Still no white sugar, albeit not so little of dates and some maple syrup - a few days ago I stumpled across an awesome recipe for chocolate-caramel-slices. Bottom's made of almond meal, coconut oil, maple syrup and cocoa, then frozen for a few minutes until it's solid. Then comes the caramel layer: more coconut oil, coconut milk and chopped dates (I prefer to just chop them up with a knife, the original poster used a food processor, but I find the amount so small I don't think my processor will handle that well) and salt. Pop back into the freezer for a few minutes and prepare the chocolate glaze: coconut oil, cocoa, maple syrup, and maybe a little more salt. Spoon on top and back to the freezer, then consume. I use my silicone mold for mini muffins and get awesome bite-sized portions. Problem is: I can eat more than just one, they are so delicious! :D But better than store-bought sweets, I'm telling myself... ;)

 

I did some thinking during the past few days. Especially when I'm walking my mind wanders, too (I don't listen to music, I'm just on my own with me and my thoughts, which most of the time is relaxing, but sometimes anxiety-inducing, as well). Still haven't regained my balance back. I have the feeling my body is trying to go into fall-mode. I've experienced this last year, too, if I remember correctly: my cravings and appetite shift, I long for more carbs (like pumpkin and potatoes and such), I'm moodier, and my hair is falling out (I hate that part! But that's occuring every year during fall and winter since I started tracking that about six years ago. The only thing I can do about that is trying to relax and hoping the shedding will stop sooner than last year - and cross my fingers for re-growth, which sadly is very sparse).

 

Funny: it's not even that autumn-y around here! We have wonderful late-summer days with hot sun and mild nights. For all my body knows, it should be in summer mode! Only difference is the light. At about 8, it's almost dark, and the mornings are rather chilly. I sure hope my body will adjust soon and I will find a way to deal with it. I'm not a groundhog, I don't need to put on additional layers of fat!

 

Another thing that got me thinking is my lack of long-term goals. I'm really drifting, so thoughts like "why am I doing that?" are popping up easily. The one thing I really want to do "one day" is climb a tree. Maybe find a high rope course somewhere and master that. But I don't need to be slim for that, really. Just a little stronger (and not having to wear my compression tights would be awesome, I have a hard time lifting my legs high enough wearing that stuff, but that's not really an option, at least not permanently). So why would I stick to a diet? Yes, sure, less weight would mean less strain on my knees and hips (I've started to notice them, lately), but that's so intangible. I also can't put some money in a jar for each lost kilogram (would I take that money out if I gain a few pounds, or what?) because I can't spare any money at all (and I guess, donating money for gained weight would only add to the overall pressure I'm suffering, so that's probably not a good option).

 

I've never been slim because of that darned lipedema, so there is no "goal picture" or something that I could put on my fridge. Also the usual role model's bodies are unattainable (because of said lipedema). I have no idea how my body could look, there is just some unfathomable nebulous image at the back of my mind, and that's not enough to keep me going through tough times.

 

So... why am I doing this? I can't do anything against the lipedema anyway! (that's the easy answer, though: yes, the lipo-fat is stubborn and won't budge despite all efforts in diet and sports, but of course I carry with me some regular fat that I want to melt, and I want to get stronger, and if I'm lighter, I don't have to put as much effort into a pull-up as I have to, now. In addition, I'm contemplating surgery one day to remove the lip-fat, and as far as I've read, it's better to go into surgery as "slim" as possible so the doctor can remove as much of the sick fat cells as possible. Still, way to vague, at least at the moment...)

 

tl;dr: how do other people handle a long journey, especially weight loss, what keeps them going in the long run? (I'm back to 96 kg today, and were I a regular person without lipedema, a healthy weight for me would be around 65 to 70 kg, so that's 30 kg to lose and seems impossible).

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Reminder for bad times: despite not feeling terrific, I logged a little over 17 km in walking during the past week. No idea how I did that (yes, a portion of that comes from my lunch walks, still, rather impressive!). This is probably something that won't happen that often (especially when the weather changes and it gets darker even sooner), still... I think that's not bad at all!

 

What will I do once it's dark when I leave my house and dark when I return? I don't like walking in well-lit streets, but walking in the dark park is also not that inviting. Last year I tried using a headlamp, but found I didn't like it all that much. Ah well, time will tell.

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Not feeling too good at the moment. I'm stuck somewhere and can't find my way out. It's not in the deepest woods, still I'm struggling with the undergrowth and brambles and can't find a path out into the sun.

 

To leave the poetic woods: I have health issues and nobody can figure out what's the problem. For the past... oh, about eight weeks, I'd say, I've experienced sudden bouts of nausea or headaches or dizzyness (or all three together), particularly in the mornings. Blood was tested, all data are good or within reason (doctor said something about cholesterol being a bit high, but part of that was the good cholesterol, which was also rather high), so by all means I should be healthy.

 

One thing was not tested yet - my blood pressure. Due to my lipedema my upper arms are extremely pain sensitive and I can't stand the pressure of the cuff (I really, really tried, the doctor was as gentle and fast as possible, but oh the pain...). Some of these dizzy episodes had my heart beating harder (not faster), as far as I can tell: two days ago I had friends over for gaming; during a short break I lay on my stomach to coax one of my rats out from under the sofa. When I had him, I got back up to my feet, and rather slowly to prevent any dizzyness, and a minute or two later intense headache sets in, and my friend says I'm white as a sheet and tries to take my pulse, which was beating so hard she could feel it on top of my wrist, not only below at the artery. I had a bit of a problem breathing, too, but curiously didn't feel all that bad, except from the splitting headache. About fifteen minutes later everything was back to normal and the headache was gone.

 

Doctors usually prescribe a... I don't know the exact medical term, it's a device for like long-term bloodpressure measurements. You wear the cuff for 24 hours and the machine pumps every 15 minutes and takes your bp (during the night, it's every 30 minutes). Rather uncomfortable, but yields good results. For obvious reasons, I can't do that. So what I did was order a wrist-cuffed bp checker - these are said to be not as accurate, but at least I can use them and get some data during these funny episodes. I also will get a long-term ECG in about four weeks which is said to be not at all uncomfortable and should display any irregularities regarding my heart.

 

And that's all they can do for me. Meanwhile I feel really shitty (again something flu-like) and I am on sick-leave during the whole week.

 

Which is, on one hand, good, as it gives me time to rest (apparently I need that, my body is making that rather obvious...).

 

But it also gives me time to think. And slowly putting myself under new pressure (which is probably exactly what I should avoid...). Some years ago, I was unemployed and spent the whole day doing... something. Sleeping, reading, watching TV, gaming... stuff like that. Things I yearn for during work ("I'd really like to sleep now, or play that game, or just relax!"), and now I'm sitting here, rather bored, and can't even get my behind up to play that game (it's Thief, by the way, and I dislike that being killed always sets me back so much! Doesn't properly save my sidequests, instead it puts me back at the beginning of the current main quest every time).

 

Worst: I've been eating a lot of crap during the past four weeks, and I guess that's partly at fault for my health problems, too. I just can't find my way back to healthy eating. What do I want to eat? How much? How could I improve my eating? All I want right now is chocolate and pizza (or other comfort food), which is not good for my health, and when I'm tired and cranky and sick, how am I going to make smart food choices? I neeeeed that chocolate fix! (by the way, the scale is not happy; I was safely between 94 and 95 kg, closing in on 93 kg, which took me months, and now I'm back at 97.5 kg, which took almost no time at all!)

 

I keep thinking: "Now you are alone, no munching colleagues, no visiting friends - no distractions! You can put in a few really good days, you can steer back on track and start building good habits... why are you just munching a slice of pizza? Are you even listening to me??! Oh, well, don't come crying later!"

 

The hard thing is to find what works for me. Obviously not pizza and chocolate, but what instead? I tried fruit for "I need something sweet", and it works most of the time, yet I find myself eating other sweets in addition to fruit (I seem to be always hungry! Which usually is an indicator of me having not enough protein, but this time I should have enough...)

 

I was so happy, having found a good way of eating with protein shakes and salats and other good stuff, and now I can't go back to that, for whatever reason, but I can't continue as it is, either.

 

Sigh. At least I'm not too concerned with the "well, now that you have so much free time, how about tidying up your apartment, huh?"-voice in my head. I'm still sick, I can't do too much strenuous things. Maybe I'll sort through some papers tomorrow, but that's probably it.

 

But what will I eat later... and tomorrow, and the rest of the week...

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I'm still fighting. I've lost a few battles, but I'm around. Battered, bruised and bloody, but alive for now.

 

Meaning: I'm not doing terribly good at the moment. Lots of depression, lots of pressure and anxiety, and lots of it centers around food (what to eat, how much to eat - remember, I want to lose weight AND manage my allergies and overall health...)

 

Today I had a talk with my immediate colleagues. They are concerned and don't understand why I'm constantly putting in ill-days. I tried to explain (which now adds to my already existing pressures - I mustn't be sick anymore!) and I think I managed. They know that I'm planning on cutting back on working hours (another issue - less work means less money, and that's always tight as is!), originally I wanted to change that at the beginning of January. Today they suggested cutting back earlier, maybe even in November. I'm still thinking about that. Yes, that would be great. No, I need the cash (my employer is kind enough to grant a Christmas bonus, also I'd juggle my vacation days around)... I don't know. Will talk about that with close friends and my psychologist during the next few days and decide soon.

 

Sports... yeah, well. I entered that aqua gymnastics class and I'm determined to participate every single day (I payed good money for that, and it really helps that two close friends attend as well), but I had to let go of Tai Chi, again. A new class just started and I'm too exhausted and ill to perform well. Came home today and just want to take a bath and curl up in bed (and maybe cry a little and feeling like a total failure - which I'm not, but it's hard to not feel bad at the moment).

 

I really need a breather. At the moment I don't know what and how to do it. When I'm relaxed, it's not that hard. But with this constant stress all around (and inside) me, it's too hard.

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I need to set some easy goals and find motivation to keep me going. That's the hardest part.

 

What do I want?

- eat 1800 kcal a day (which can be hard, depending on the day), max 2000 kcal

- eat no sugar (that's really difficult, I just love sweets, and when I'm stressed, I easily fall into the candy jar of my colleague at the end of a long working day)

- eat no dairy (that's not so hard, I manage most of the days, I just don't pay that much attention to the snuck-in dairy in general/sweet food)

- lose some weight (why? I can't, I have lipedema... - says that negative voice in my head. Need to find a really strong incentive to keep me going)

- eat rather low-carb (why? I have the feeling it helps with weight loss better than simply counting calories and eating what I want, but I might be on the wrong track with that; but I'm influenced by other's success stories, and low carb or even keto really burns through fat)

- excercise regularly (that means little bathroom-excercises like push-ups on the sink/kitchen counter, lunges, squats as well as walking - hard during the dark period of the year - and going to my aqua gymnastics - not so difficult)

 

- find an answer to "WHY AM I DOING THIS?"

 

Too much? I don't know. If I'd enter a challenge with this, it might be too much, yeah. But I really want to see success! How to break that down or what to focus on?

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I'm still around somewhere. I was rather busy with being sick all the time, which sucks. Still haven't figured out what exactly is happening. I'm probably too stressed out by a less-than-ideal life (relating to job, partner and general life issues) and easily catch a bug.

 

Work-wise I'll be working a little less coming next year. I'm also looking for a new job.

 

Excercise dwindled down to almost nothing, weight crept up. I'm also on new medication that makes my cravings for all things containing serotonine bigger. I try to stick to nuts and bananas, but I also down more chocolate than would be good for me.

 

Currently I'm doing the Nanowrimo, and for the first time in many years I've made really good progress (with the occasional help of a good friend who knows much more about the military, is this year not writing, and helps me not only figure out some scenes but just writes them for me, basically). I come back thinking: if I can write a book in 30 days, I certainly can achieve whatever I want! So writing has become my top priority for November. After that, I'll revise my goals and develop a new strategy.

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*sigh* I want too much. And I'm unable to break it down into baby steps. What I know: as soon as "things happen", I'm easily overwhelmed. Like... having a stressful work week? Gotta reward myself with some delicious (and usually unhealthy) food! Having a busy day? Grabbing the first thing that won't kill me right away (but won't do me anything good in the long term). Having temptation put right in front of me (like a chocolate Santa Clause containing both soy and milk)? Get the tiniest little bit stressed? EAT IT! It's soooo goood! (result: I had to call in sick today, which happens way too often, almost every other week, and probably won't be tolerated that much longer from my bosses. More pressure, just what I need!)

 

So here I am, half-sick, and trying to come up with a sustainable plan. Planning is good, but I really am not good at getting even the planning down, let alone stick to the plans! I have cravings for comfort food (and it doesn't help that I'm on medication that supports some of the cravings, I managed to gain almost 5 kg of weight by now; fortunately I'll be able to switch the medication in a few days, maybe that will help at least a little), and when I'm tired and stressed and hungry, it's too late. But sitting here, thinking about my goals... it's overwhelming.

 

I celebrated my birthday on the past weekend and went out with friends for dinner and a movie. One of my friends (I've known her for about 4 years now and we meet not on a daily basis, but regularly) said: "I've known you for a while, but I've never seen you so happy and relaxed. It's mind-boggling." I'm still thinking about that. It worries me a little. Of course she understands that I'm not that healthy and have some mental issues, still... she really has never seen me happy? Wow.

 

I want to be more happy. At least it seems that some things are starting to move. Slowly, yes, but everything is better than being stuck!

 

Still need to think about priorities and goals. Well, at least I have some time today!

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Whew. A prime example of me handling stress just happened. I got a text: "We're in the area, can we pop in for a short visit now?" And I freaked. One of these two people I hold very dear, the other one not so much. I'm ill, I'm in my pajamas, my flat is a mess, so I'm not too fond of visitors. Still, after being asked up-front, I can't really say no, so I text back: "Sure, albeit I can't offer you anything." Then I push around some stuff to make it at least look a little better, and they arrive a few minutes later. Was really just a short visit, they needed my bathroom and petted my rats and left again after about 10 minutes.

 

And I just grabbed a 100 g bar of chocolate and downed that, feeling like crying. No, it probably doesn't help at all that I'm currently taking only half the dose of my medication (I plan to switch the meds and it's safer that way).

 

Positive, though: I got my sorry ass into the kitchen and prepared some meatballs now. And I also discovered a short email from a possible new employer - they're still sorting through applications and ask me to be patient. Nice, I'm not completely weeded out yet (but I haven't had an interview, either, so... ah well, it's nice to hear at least something from them!)

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I went to my family for the past few days. I'm not too religious, but I like coming together and celebrating, having fun, having good food, talking to people I've not seen for a while.

 

While I'd really loved to have changed physically (it's nice if someone says "my, you have lost weight, haven't you?"), the emotional change was far more important. I was far more relaxed and overall happy, and people told me I'd look well. On the last day my siblings, nieces and I went to our father and his new wife, and I became extremely stressed. It was just too much for me, especially when the wife tried to accommodate everyone and was jumping around constantly like "do you need something else? Wait, I'll fetch that for you. Oh, have you seen this? Just one moment, I'll be right back!" and the like. It was not relaxing, it was hectic, and after a while, I just wanted to get out and couldn't even put up a friendly face for one more hour.

 

Remember me handling stress a month ago? I went into chocolate's comforting arms. This time, though? I was upset and made my goodbyes a little hastily, then I just drove away, found a parking spot a few roads down, had a little cry and went on my way (I was home in record time - yes, I was "running", and fortunately most motor ways are without a speed limit over here ;) )

 

I'm far more relaxed with sweets around me. I credit my new medication for that. Yes, I still eat the stuff, but it is easier to say "no" or "later", and I'm not obsessed anymore like I was a few weeks before with my first medication.

 

By the way: most of my family and I are going to Florida in mid-May. We're celebrating the birthdays of my mom (60) and my sister (30). I've set an ambitious weight-loss goal for that - Florida is hot, I'll need to wear my compression tights (urgh, I'm SO not looking forward to that!), and every pound off will be a relief. Also, it'll make the long flight probably a little more comfortable. So I want to lose 13 kg till mid-may (which would be 90 kg bodyweight), or at least as much as possible. I'm not completely sure about the "how", though, except that I want to count calories (no more than 1800/day) and go swimming once a week (I've been planning that for ages, it's high time I'll finally do it!). My overall life will probably relax a little, as I'll stop working Fridays. This means less money, which is not so nice, but one more day for me to unwind, relax and take care of myself. I'm soooo looking forward to that! :)

 

So here's to a good new year with lots of success on all levels! :)

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At the moment, things are going well for me :) I'm using a sheet/challenge from darebee.com, which one kind Rebel linked to me a few months back during a challenge, and today I'm on my 7th day of no sugar. Wheeee! Okay, I do eat fruit, and yesterday I made myself some chocolate pudding using coconut milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder and a bit of stevia, xylitol and maple syrup. While stevia and xylitol are calorie free, maple syrup is not, but I don't regret anything. It's still better than store-bought stuff, and I won't count that as a failure. Instead I'm celebrating it as a success - I soooo wanted chocolate, and I created something mostly healthy instead of running to the store.

 

I also started doing some small bodyweight excercises again. That's really only a little, like walking up the stairs to the top of my building (96 stairs), or doing a few kettlebell exercises. I also try to stretch my hips - last time I started doing squats, I quickly got some pain in my right hip which lasted for weeks. Stretching by doing lunges helps. I also need to make sure I squat properly, I'm still not completely sure I've got the correct form.

 

Now I only need to decide if I want to go swimming today or not. On the one hand, I want to. On the other, it's cold and snowy outside, and I'm warm and comfortable... *sigh* Yeah, I'm going, I'm going *sigh*

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