Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Which I Try to Get Out of Starting Again, Seriously

I have a few things to talk about so I am interrupting the '10 Essentials' series to just talk.

Besides, the material I use to begin those posts is packed far into my trailer.

First of all, about 4 days ago the scale read 217.

The next day it read 225.4!!!!!

I was shocked and afraid.

To begin with, how do you gain that much weight in ONE day? I went back over my food and drink intake over the past few days and could not think of what would have cause such a spike. I hadn't taken my blood pressure pills for 2 days so I thought maybe that was it....water retention. I HOPED that was it.

Well, I now HAD my pills so I took one, hoping it would bring the numbers down by the next morning.

I also was a less 'casual' about what I was eating.

The next day....224 point something. OK, it wasn't a spike, it was a real gain.

So, in the midst of everything else that was/is going on, I started to slightly adjust what I was eating.

Result.....this morning I am back down to 217.4. *heavy sigh of relief* (no pun intended)

At least I am back to where I was a couple weeks ago, if not back to my lowest weight. A downward trend, though.....that's what I was looking for. At the very least, I wanted to STOP the upward trend. (I swore that I would never regain what I had lost....although I was willing to concede that a 10 pound gain at times was realistic, I was NOT willing to gain more than that!)

I have been thinking that I would get real serious when things settle down a bit in my life but I don't know if that will ever happen so I may have to get real disciplined in the midst of upheaval. Well, this is not really an option.....I WILL have to get serious in spite of everything.

Last weekend Jim and I left home to go work in North Dakota. I know, I've been saying it would be Louisiana, but when a different offer presented itself for the US branch of the company he already contracts to AND it is only a day's drive away from home, we changed direction.

Sunday we arrived at the border. To make a long story short, Jim's visa application was denied and we were escorted back to Canada. (If you are interested in the entire story, you can read it here) Jim's would-be employers have been exploring other options and it was 'we'll let you know on Monday' then Thursday and now we are waiting on a phone call being made on Monday again. All this means we have been living in limbo.....not sure if we are staying or going. Since most of our clothing is packed in the very back of the trailer, nearly impossible to get to, we have been living with the clothes on our backs or the older items that we were leaving behind. All the papers and office equipment is also packed away in the trailer - obviously, not my computer....I had that in my car with me. All this means we have been living in 'limbo'....not wanting to start any projects or unpack our trailer just in case we need to leave again. If we do leave again, it will be on VERY short notice...possibly within an hour or two of 'the phone call' so the less we have to re-pack, the better.

So, that is the short version of that story.

If you read the post on my other blog, you will see that I was experiencing an odd pain just behind my left armpit while waiting at the border crossing. We spent a couple hours in the emergency room at the nearest hospital - making sure I was not having a heart attack or something.

The doctor who looked younger than my own 24 year old daughter was oh-so-polite when she listed my risk factors.....age, high blood pressure, and (my new favorite term) my BMI is elevated. I had a hard time not giggling when she said this. It was as if she was going to say something else but changed the wording at the last second. Must be the new PC term for FAT. LOL

Next time someone wants to mention your weight you can say "I'm not fat/ BMI is elevated". HaHaHa So polite.

And to set your mind at rest, the ECG was A-OK. The pain was due to muscle strain (I had been cleaning my basement for 3 weeks and then spent 3 days packing my trailer).

All this has been to say that I am living in a state of unknown - you'd think I'd be used to it by has happened often enough in our lives. I feel like I cannot make any new decisions about my eating plan and I cannot begin an exercise program because I am in the midst of change.

The problem is.....with a close family of 5 children and a husband whose career is in a boom/bust industry, SOMEONE is almost always in the midst of change and it always affects me in one way or another. So it would be ludicrous to wait for a time when things settle down because things never settle for more than a few weeks at a time, it seems. In fact, back in Dec 07 when I first began to make real life changes, I hesitated beginning the program at that time since I would be flying back home for Christmas in only 3 weeks and would be staying at home for 6 weeks before coming back to Louisiana and the support system for the plan I was on (LA Weight Loss). The counsellor at the weight loss center and my husband convinced me that I should at least give it a start - even if I wasn't completely successful at implementing change during this time, I would be that much closer. I surprised myself by actually sticking to my plan very closely and by losing weight throughout that time. The weeks I was home after Christmas were busy attending new moms.....two of my grandsons were born in those weeks - 24 hours apart, actually - in different cities. Their impending births were the reason I was staying home while my hubby went back to work. It was a wonderful experience, but very difficult to stay on plan while running back and forth between the two cities and my own home. I did it then. I could do it now.

The question I go back to the same plan or do I try something different?

This question always seems to hold me back.....I am a very indecisive person.

Forget the question. Go back to the same plan. It worked. I do not have to learn something new. I just have to pull out my food scale, food journal, and probably review portion sizes, etc.

Darn. All that is packed.

Well, it is not as if I am unaware of what I should/should not be eating.....or even portions, really. I KNOW the plan. I've written it out enough times in my food journals.

Guess there is no real excuse.

Tomorrow......the scale should say less than 217.4


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coming to the end now.....Essential # 9

A quick recap of the previous 8 essentials to feeling your best every day.....

1. Breathe deeply

2. Drink Water

3. Sleep Peacefully

4. Eat Nutritiously

5. Enjoy Activity

6. Give and Recieve Love

7. Be forgiving

8. Practice Gratitude


And the Ninth Essential......



"When you develop the ability to identify and accept the circumstances in your life you cannot change, yet strive to make positive changes whenever and wherever you can, you will discover lasting peace and hope."

I think much of the truth of this point is related to #8.....or maybe it is a result of practicing gratitude.

In relation to weight loss, we have to first identify what we cannot change...... In my case, I am short, therefore I will never be able to 'hide' a few extra pounds. I will probably always have to work a little harder than a taller woman to keep from looking overweight. I must accept this - I cannot grow a few inches upward. BUT I do not have to be fat! I CAN change that.

More importantly, as I have discovered, is to accept ME, the way I am - extra pounds and all.

In all my diet and gain lifestyle, hating myself because I was not thin enough or could not keep off the weight I would lose, I just kept struggling.

It took a long time, but over a number of years - and with the help of my hubby - I slowly came to an acceptance of who I am and learned that it had nothing to do with what I looked like. ( At almost 50 years old, it was about time, I'd say.) Oh, I still hated the fat and what it did to me, but I no longer hated ME and no longer beat myself up for all the mistakes I had made over the years.....beginning with never liking the way I looked - even when I only had 25 lbs to lose.

I am convinced that I would never have been able to make lasting changes without this acceptance of who I am right now and what brought me to this place - mistakes and all. I am not talking about making excuses for yourself, just accepting that you did what you did.....NOW it is time to stop doing that and to begin doing something different so you get different results.

I know that I am not exactly a poster girl for weight loss - the lowest weight I have recorded since beginning this journey was down 48 pounds. THAT is a wonderful feeling! I have since gained about 10 pounds of that back.....over 13 months. Thirteen stressful months.

In spite of that, I do not feel out of control.

I do not feel defeated.

I know that a few small changes to my lifestyle will start me on a downward trend again.

I have accepted that I stopped being as careful about my food intake, that I stopped counting how much water I was (not) drinking, that I had not implemented an exercise program into my life, and that I got lazy about recording my food each day. That is what I did. There were reasons.....other things that began to take priority (whether they should have or not).

That is life.

BUT I do notice there are differences in me today from the me of 2 years ago.....I do not reach for the same kinds of foods. I am not easily tempted at the grocery store by the sweet stuff. I drink more water and eat more vegetables. I cook differently....more real food, almost no processed food. I eat more regularly and less at one sitting. Obviously, since I've gained weight, I'm eating more than I should...but there HAVE been lasting changes.

Here is something else I need to accept about myself......I am not naturally a disciplined person - I tend to 'go with the flow' a little too easily. There are positive things about that quality as well as negative. The fact does not make me a bad person, it just means I have to focus a little more on schedules and plans. I know people who never have to look at a clock....they always know exactly what time it is and what needs to be done at that hour. They are never late, never let a phone call or an email distract them from getting into their vehicle and making an appointment. Me? I need to have a clock in every room of the house - plus one on my wrist - AND I need to be constantly looking at the clocks or I am totally unaware of the passage of time. Like I said, there are positive aspects to this part of who I am, but it does not help in the 'stick to the plan' part of my life.

Once I have some momentum, I can implement a plan real well - it is the getting started (or re-started) that is hard for me....the stage that requires discipline.

Do I beat myself up about this?

Not if I want to ever succeed.

Not if I want to live in peace with myself.

I accept the fact and then DO WHAT I CAN to work around those facts or, in some cases, even change the facts. Some things are not written in stone.

My husband has taught me a little sentence that has helped me through many situations where I would tend to bemoan the facts.....or kick myself for a wrong decision.....and just sit in the same place, feeling bad about either myself or a situation.....

"It is what it is"

That is the only starting point. If you cannot accept that 'it is what it is' you will never be able to go forward.

You will never be able to identify what can and what cannot be changed.

You will never be able to begin to change those things that are changeable.

Accept yourself for who you are....inside, first of all.

Accept yourself for what you look like....and the reasons you have gotten to this point.

Accept your shortcomings.

Embrace your good points. (Sit down and make a list of those)

Accept your life situation.

It is what it is.

NOW....sit down and decide what CAN be changed with a little effort. (Or, maybe a lot of effort)

Make a plan to bring about those changes.

Everyday, strive to implement the plan.

NOTICE the positive changes you are making.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Essential #8

Good morning, all!

My hubby is working close to home for a few days, so I was up early this morning to get his breakfast and fix his lunch. As I walked down the hall toward the kitchen, I noticed something extra on the hall table.

I turned on the light and found a long, cylindrical package laying at the edge of the table with a note behind it......"I love you, Mom....your baby"

I smiled at the thoughtfulness of my almost 21 year old baby as I unwrapped a lovely white rose.

What a nice way to start the day!

Almost as wonderful.......he had taken care of the garbage when he got home at nearly midnight.

Let me explain....

I've been cleaning the basement. Did I mention that in the last post? This has been a huge job, resulting in piles of garbage. We have a large garbage bin (the type you see behind restaurants, etc) and normally I call in for pickup every 6 weeks or so. Well, I filled the bin and called to be on the list for the next two pickups. Problem is - they only come around every 2 weeks. So, last week, after they emptied the bin, Daniel took the garbage I had piled up in the basement and filled the bin again. The garbage truck was probably not too far away and the bin was already overflowing again. I pointed out to Dan that we needed to be able to put the household garbage in the bin so he'd have to take some of the 'other' garbage out. (the household garbage, naturally, needs to be out of reach of the dogs and coyotes and skunks and foxes and whatever other animal is attracted by it) The basement garbage would be of no interest to any but mice - and they wouldn't spread it around the yard. Dan said he would take care of it.

As of yesterday, I do not know what he had done, but the bin was full to the top. I emptied the garbage in the kitchen and then cleaned my fridge - resulting in another bag of garbage. I am too short to reach into the bin and pull out some cardboard or a box or whatever needed to come out in order to put the kitchen garbage IN, so I left Dan a note asking him to take care of it when he got home. (We were in bed and asleep LONG before Daniel got home)

My point is this......I got up early and was blessed by not only my son having done a distasteful job in the dark (our yardlight doesn't work) but by a token of his thoughtfulness and love.

I am a lucky girl......

Which brings me to Essential Number 8.....


"Sincere gratitude will lift and inspire you. Recognizing and appreciating all you have empowers you to find and express true joy."

There is Biblical truth to this statement. The Bible instructs us to "Thank God, no matter what happens" . There is always something to be thankful for.

One of the things that I have done in my life to cultivate appreciation and thankfulness for the 'little things' in my life is to make note of something each day that blessed me in some way - it could be something someone said or did - or it could be the way the sun made the frost on the trees glitter - or I could have purposely appreciated some everyday item such as my dryer....or clean water to drink....or fresh food to eat.

I was working on this habit when I found a 'meme' in blogdom.....hosted by Living to Tell the Story, a group of people regularly participate each Friday by listing 5 of their favorite things from the past week. I, myself, participate in this each week on my other blog....Musings from Me I suggest you consider making yourself notice the little things and appreciate them. If you know God, thank Him for these blessings in your life. If you do not recognise Him, then at least recognise the beauty and the lovliness in your life. Either way, some weeks it is hard to find five things to be thankful for. Some weeks it seems impossible and I have been tempted more than once to just not participate. But you know what? When I sit down and make my mind think along the lines of gratitude, I always find at least 5 things - often more - and suddenly, the 'tough week' doesn't seem so bad.

When you have made a habit of gratitude, it is easier to face the difficult things with thanksgiving.

In my own life, I am facing many challenges just now - it would be easy to wallow in the negative aspects of all the changes because they are easy to see. But having been practicing to find the blessings in life, I have easily found te things to be grateful for in my challenges......

1. My daughter, SIL, and 2 grandchildren are moving to Zambia in 3 months. They will be gone indeffinately and I do not know when we will be able to be together again for a visit. This fact breaks my heart because I have a close friendship with my daughter AND my SIL and am bonded quite closely to little Seth and Taliah. Since I cannot change their plans, I CAN be thankful that I am not putting them on a train to travel to the coast to board a ship that will take them on a weeks or even months long ocean journey to the coast of Africa then have to journey by cart or foot to the landlocked country of Zambia. This is what parents of missionaries a couple generations ago faced. Months, even years, without communication from their loved one. So.....I am SO thankful they will be flying - and will be able to communicate with me at different points on their journey. I am thankful for SKYPE through which we will be able to communicate 'face to face' with the babies (if I have to pay for it myself, they will have internet at their home). I am thankful we can chat, email, telephone, almost whenever we want to (Since they've been there before, I know what to expect). I am thankful they have been saving their money and sending it to the YWAM base to have a house built....they will have their own home by the time they get there. They may not have a bed, but they will have a house. I am also thankful for their hearts desire to live with the poor and teach them how to make their lives better. Even though that desire takes them away from me, I am thankful for it - because it is what makes them who they are.

2. There looks to be little work for my husband after this next week or so - until at least fall. He also was home for more than 2 weeks in the middle of the season where we make most of our income for the year. This is a pretty shaky position to be in......BUT there is something to be thankful for here, as well. The 2 weeks he was off? Those 2 weeks were utilized by head office to make personnel cuts. SIX people from Jim's department were let go. He wasn't. VERY thankful for that. I am thankful that his immediate supervisor is an honest guy who has known Jim for more than 20 years and is willing to 'tell it like it is'. He doesn't make promises he cannot keep.

I'm also very thankful that Jim has a job to go to while the industry is depressed here at home - he has been asked to return to the company he worked for in Louisiana during the winter of 07/08. Providing the person at the boarder grants him a visa allowing him to temporarily work in the US, we will be 'moving' to LA for at least a few months.

There is much that I do not like about this plan - primarily that we will be away for most of the little bit of time we have left with our daughter, etc. But also, we do not like being so far away from any of our kids/grandkids. That is a big deal to us. Then there is the hassle and expense of maintaining two households from a long distance away. Also, I am afraid of the tornadoes NW LA gets in large numbers (to me) and of the poisonous spiders I need to be on the lookout for. Then there is the weather......The winter was lovely, but to hear the natives talk, they absolutely HATE summer weather. For a girl from Alberta where the humidity is normally very low and the temperatures in the summer do not ever reach 3 digits, the thought of over 100 degrees F with 100% humidity is a little daunting.

BUT there is much to be thankful for here, as well......beginning with the opportunity. It is not an 'overseas' job where my hubby would have to go by himself and work in an area that is hostile to our western culture. I get to be with him. This is the biggest blessing of this arrangement - we have a 'normal' life in that my husband comes home at night for supper every night. That alone, makes eveything worth while. Another blessing is that I end up with lots more 'creative time' since there are little demands on me and I do not have to include 1 hour travel time in any shopping exercise. I am also thankful that we will be returning to the same area.....we are familiar with the area and fell in love with the people and the culture of NW LA. We didn't make alot of friends, but there are at least 2 ladies that will be happy to see me. AND we'll get a chance to see the things we 'meant to' see but ended up leaving before we got to them.

These are just 2 of the major events going on in my life just now.....and the things I've found to be grateful for in the midst of them.

Truly, cultivating a habit of gratitude....of noticing your blessings....of stopping to enjoy the color of a flower or the sparkle of frost.....brings joy to your life - even in the midst of difficulties. Most especially, if you know to thank GOD for the good things in your life, your burdens will be lighter.

Try it, you'll be surprised at how many blessings are in even a difficult situation.

I recommend joining in with the Friday's Favorite Five exercise at Living to Tell the Story.

No real change in my weight this past week.....well, actually, I was down 2 pounds for 3 days but today I'm back up to the 217 mark. Could be a one day spike, could be an actual gain. Either way, it won't stay there long!