What am I resisting?

So I’ve been calorie counting for nearly all of June.  I’ve logged in to MyFitnessPal faithfully every day except for 3 days when I got together with my sisters (and ate about a full pound of extra calories).

And you know something?

There are days when I really scare myself.  Days when I get the urge to just sit down on the couch with something incredibly unhealthy – or even not so incredibly unhealthy – and NOT log it.

And it’s really incredibly strange because it’s not as though I’m only eating healthy foods – I’m not.  I eat my fair share of ice cream and chips – I’m just doing it within my calorie limits.  And honestly, I may not even eat all that much of it.  The feeling is there because I’m resisting being controlled…. or controlling myself… I don’t know.

I didn’t feel this way before, when I’d sit down at the beginning of the day and plan out my meals and tally up the calories.  I never felt like I wanted to rebel against the rigor.  I think the difference is that I’m doing it on my phone and I”m logging as I go.  Thus, every time I put food in my mouth, I’m forced to log it.  And I think it’s making me think more about they WHY of when I’m eating.  There are times when I know I’m not actually hungry and I’m eating because I’m bored and that is truly annoying to log.

So yeah, I’m feeling the urge to rebel and I’m fighting against it.  I’ve plenty of calories, I don’t feel deprived of food, I’m rarely hungry… there is no reason to change what I’m doing.  I just have to struggle through the discomfort of looking at the whys behind what I eat and when I eat it.  And I have to absolutely look into the eyes of the knowledge that I absolutely COULD eat less most days and own that.  No more can I sit here and think that I can’t be smaller than a size 12 because I could never sustain that low calorie eating for a lifetime…. It’s looking like I COULD… and that’s pretty scary.

It will never cease to amaze me what a journey weight loss is.  The numbers on the scale have always only been a small portion of it.

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On Being a Mom

I don’t have children.

Sure, there was a brief period of time – about six months – when I did try to get pregnant with my husband.  It didn’t take and it was making me crazy and I decided to stop focusing on it for my own mental health.  And then things between my husband and I tanked anyway.

And at the time, after I stepped away from it all, I wasn’t all that upset.  I’ve always been on the fence about having children.  I mean, I don’t really like little kids.  I never know what to say to them.  I’ve never been the sort who gushes when I see a baby.  I don’t even want to hold them most of them time – it makes me nervous.

However, for the past six months or possibly even the past year… I’ve been feeling inordinately sad about the possibility of never having a child of my own.  It stings sometimes.  I’m about to turn 34 and my child bearing years are dwindling and I am sometimes absolutely devastated at the thought of my life coming and going and there being absolutely nothing left on this planet to show for it.

And isn’t that a messed up reason to want to have kids?  I’m desperate to pass on my DNA (and I could argue that the drive to reproduce at all is the drive to pass on your own DNA) and to know that someone is obligated to come and see me when I’m old and senile.  I find myself wondering what it would be like to drive my kid to sports practice (any athletic ability whatsoever would certainly come from said child’s father), or to sit with him/her in my lap and read a book.  It’s a yearning of the worst kind made even trickier by the fact that I”m not sure if I feel this way because I actually want a child or because I’m actually facing, for the first time ever, the idea that I may never have children.

And it’s all a mess, you know.  My love life stinks and I seem to make poor choices at every turn.  Most men my age who are single already have children and I am in no physical condition nor position of beauty to become a trophy wife and have some old, rich man’s baby.  And besides, what I want more than anything is a companion in my life; a best friend, someone to laugh with and to experience the highs and lows with… and yes, to have a bit of a family with.

But why now?  Why do I only want children right before the opportunity passes me by?  And is it even a real desire?

Reeling Myself Back IN – Food

Food.  Exercise helps, but it doesn’t really mean much unless you start looking at what you eat.  I know this.  I know that exercise helps me to be able to eat more but I also know it’s not going to do crap unless I stop shoving food in my mouth every time I feel like it.

And yeah, it had sort of gotten to that point.  Mind you, I tried to be reasonable about it.  I would usually keep a running calorie count in my head… you know…. until I ate something I didn’t know the calorie content of, like a cupcake.  And even a single cupcake every now and again isn’t awful.  It’s when you have that occasional treat….say… every other day, or even every day…. that it starts to make a difference.

I’ve already mentioned I’m up 8 lbs from my pre-accident weight and that’s not bad at all.  What’s bad?  I think most of that weight is right in my middle.  It’s horrible.  I want it gone.

And it’s not like I don’t know what I have to do to get rid of it.  I did it for two whole years.  And perhaps there is something about exerting that much control for so long that made me reluctant to come back.  I’m pretty sure I only remember the hard parts.  The initial shock of eating 1800 calories when who knows how much I was eating before when I weighed 230 lbs?  The initial need for extreme self control or you’ll fail right at the beginning… that’s what I think my psyche remembers.  That’s why it’s taken me so long to focus on my food again.

But I’m doing it! (Finally)  And I really have to thank Beth and Sarah (who never blog here) for motivating me to do it.  I’ve had the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone forever.  I’ve even logged my calories occasionally.  I don’t know how many times I’ve logged a partial day or gone months without logging but it’s been a lot.  Dieting with friends is easier.  And, since they’ve started using MyFitnessPal, I decided to start logging my food again.

Before I show some photos, let me begin by saying that I have lost absolutely all of my weight on an 1800 calorie a day diet.  Why so high? (You know, because doctors routinely put women on 1200 calorie diets.)  Well, for one, I didn’t want to diet – I wanted to change my eating habits.  Dieting means I’d have to change my eating habits… and then change them again to maintain whatever weight I reached and wanted to stay at…. not the best of situations.  I’ve heard so many people say that maintaining was harder than losing…. and I believe it.

So I did some soul searching and decided that I could reasonably eat 1800 calories a day for the rest of my life.  Some of you will think that number is really high and you’ve got to understand that I don’t necessarily want to be skinny.  I want to be a size 12.  I want to be able to do things without worrying that I might be too fat.  I don’t want something I’m going to have to work terribly hard at maintaining because that scares me.  And my idea of “hard to maintain” may change over time… and I’m open to that.  I’m open to going lower if it seems like something I can do without making my every waking moment about calories and food because you know something?  I am so tired of my life being about food and how hard it is to climb stairs.  (Ok, so it’s not hard to climb stairs anymore.)

So yeah, 1800 calories.  Anyway.  MyFitnessPal lets you put in your current stats and it also asks you how much you’d like to lose per week.  I had to play around with this to find a calorie count around 1800.  It wound up being about half a pound per week…which is pretty awesome, really.  It does tell you to eat your exercise calories, so it would add anything I burned off during exercise to my daily calorie goal.  I don’t always eat my exercise calories…I go with how my body feels.

 

The interface is pretty easy to navigate.  Also, it’s pretty easily customized if you go to the website.  You can change the names of the meals if they don’t suit you and your eating patterns.

 

The database has a very large amount of foods in it.  I can find almost anything I want.  There is also a barcode scanner, so if you have the package, you can just scan it.  It will also remember meals for you.. like my breakfast smoothie which I eat nearly every morning.

And, for motivational support… when you complete your entry for the day you’re met with one of these.  Now, don’t worry… it doesn’t tell you that you’d weigh MORE if you go over your calorie counts.

But yeah, I’m finally tracking my calories again and having an app to do it with is really nice.  Also… having friends is super fun.  It makes me feel more accountable AND… I can look at what THEY ate that day… which is fascinating… kind of like food porn.

Reeling Myself Back IN – Exercise

I haven’t been the best fitness oriented person on the planet since my car accident.  I mean, prior to the accident I was like… I don’t know, ready to run a half marathon and ready to climb tall mountains and ready to do all the things I was always too fat and out of shape to do before.

Mind you, I wasn’t skinny.  And mind you, I wasn’t trying to lose weight anymore as a lot of people tell you that’s really hard to do when you’re running longer distances and, quite frankly, running made me super hungry and I was having a joyous time eating anything I wanted and not gaining any weight.

Ok, the whole “I used to be a size 22 and now I”m a 14” thing probably played into my attitude.  It’s easy to feel like a million bucks when you’re in a 14 and you’ve lost 55 lbs and you feel like you have control over your body for the first time in your life.

So anyway, I likely wasn’t in the best mindset for maintaining a loss when the accident happened.  I also don’t think I could have ever anticipated how long my recovery would take seeing as how nothing was broken or bloodied (aside from a broken tooth) – three cheers for hyper-mobile joints that never want to recover!  (Please note the sarcasm.)

I realized I was in a bit of trouble last summer, which was 7 months after the accident and during which I exercised very little.  It was so easy to fall back into my old, lazy habits and just not do anything.  I did get up off my butt a few days/week and attempt to run but the failure of being able to do what I used to do – or even a fraction of it – just discouraged me.  And then the school year hit and I stopped exercising for the most part.

And for all of that, I’m up 8 lbs since the accident.  I don’t think that’s the worst thing in the world.  I’m feeling mildly accomplished that I didn’t gain like 15 or 20 lbs back.  I could have.  What that tells me is that I really have changed SOME of my habits.  But you know, the longer I went without exercise… the worse I started eating.  It’s a slippery slope.

So, first thing?  I got back into exercise.

It hasn’t been easy.  My back still isn’t where it used to be – and even back then it wasn’t tip top.  A busy week can see me not exercise at all.  A bad week with my back can also see me not exercise at all.  Like last week?  I went on two walks one day – a 3 mile walk and then a 2 mile walk later in the day.  Nothing I didn’t do all at once in April… and yet… by the end of the two miles, my hip joints were wasted.  I could barely walk the next day.  Exercise?  Yeah right, not without a chiropractic adjustment… which costs $20 every time I go… and yeah, that adds up because I go once a week regularly (loose joints, remember?) and spending $40 in one week just seems madness.

I also can’t go crazy.  I can’t set a distance goal for my running/jogging.  I can’t do high impact exercise all the time.  And so I find myself doing a lot of walking.  It feels like a failure, walking.  I have to remind myself it’s not a failure.  This is what I can do without over taxing my body.  This is better than nothing at all.  And it’s true.  However, compared with the crazy goals I was setting for myself before… this exercise for the sake of exercise feels a bit empty… and so I am currently trying to remember that exercise can just be taking joy in movement – and that’s ok.

And June 7, I hit a milestone.

See that?  I hit 100 miles.

I started using that app sometime in March.  I don’t always run, there are two bike rides in there and an awful lot more walking than running…. but I hit 100 miles.  I also know I didn’t really exercise for about 3 weeks of that time.  So I’m feeling pretty good about the 100 miles.  It’s also given me the ability to make a new goal – a distance goal.  I just have no idea what sort of goal to set…. but at least I’ve got an idea of a type of goal I can set without meaning I’m going to injure myself trying to get there.  A distance goal I can do.  A distance goal doesn’t mean I have to run 3 miles, it doesn’t mean I have to run at a certain pace.  I don’t even have to run.  I just have to put in the distance.

If you haven’t checked out the mapmyrun app, it’s pretty nice.  It’s easy to use, pretty user friendly – I’ve never had to look up directions for anything, and it even connected pretty easily with my heart rate monitor once I got the thingy to plug into my phone.  I was worried as the thingy (yes, it’s the official name now) wasn’t made by mapmyrun, and my heart rate strap is from my old garmin… but the thing worked!

So yeah, I’m feeling ok with my exercise level.  I’m doing the best I can.  I’m trying to make every session about fitness and movement and not about what I think I should be doing.  I’m not being so hard on myself, and I’m not feeling discouraged.  This is improvement.

Moving my Mother

It’s been a little while since we moved my mother and I can honestly say I’m not quite over it yet, but I am ready to delve into it.  Blogging is a form of therapy, seriously.  I’ve been to therapists.  They never tell me anything I didn’t already know – they just make me look at it, analyze it, and deal with it rather than ignoring it.  Writing has always been therapeutic for me.  It makes me slow down and think about what I want to say – and as such – think about what’s going on.

You might wonder why I’m saying all of this.  In essence it’s because I’m likely going to over-share.  These are the kinds of things you don’t tell people about.  These are the kinds of things you don’t take photos of and let people see.  These are the kinds of things no one should know…. but I’m going to share it with you anyway.

I knew I wasn’t fully prepared for the move.  I mean, I knew she’d been letting the dog do its business in the house for over a year but really, who can fathom more than two piles of poop on a carpeted floor?    Not me.  I know my mom isn’t the best housekeeper, but who could imagine how bad it could really be?  Not me.  But I knew it would be bad.  I bought a pair of those yellow, rubber kitchen gloves and brought a surgical type mask to wear (primarily for the dog hair, I have allergies to dust and dogs and her dog was a husky so it shed like crazy).

What I found when I walked into my mom’s apartment, there aren’t many words for.  There are emotions… but not necessarily words.  So what I”m going to do is, I’m going to share two of the photos I took.  I’m going to share them and then this is going to turn into a disjointed mess of descriptions and emotions because that’s all I have of the day right now.

 

 

The smell was horrible.  There were flies, so many flies.  If I didn’t have my mask, I wouldn’t have been able to stand being inside there for very long.  Everywhere I turned there was a new horror.  A teddy bear covered in fly eggs which I knew would soon turn into maggots.  The trash laying literally everywhere.  The pee pad put on the floor in the dining room which was likely the cleanest area of the carpeting.

And we were the assholes.  We who showed up to remove my mom from the filth.  You could see it in the eyes of the neighbors.  They all looked at us like “where were you?” and “how could you let her live like this?”  And the answers just aren’t so simple.  The answers are:  We didn’t know.  She lied to us.  She wouldn’t let us inside.  Just a year ago we were coming and cleaning for her twice a month.

And my mom sat on a chair in the dining room, going through a curio cabinet… and she looked so small, and she looked so depressed, and so ashamed…. and there I was with my yellow gloves and surgical mask no doubt making it worse but I couldn’t do anything about it.  And in the center of my chest there is this hole that just threatened to suck me into it because all of this is making me remember things from my childhood I’d just rather not remember.  It’s been so long ago and I’m so far away from that little girl with no power over her circumstances… and yet, seeing everything in my mom’s apartment takes me right back there and all I can do is repeat “I am not my mother” again and again and again inside my head until I somehow kind of believe it.

The things my mother takes… there isn’t much worth taking.  All of it smells.  All of it has a layer of tar on it.  All of it pretty much worthless.  She’s rented a storage shed for the things she couldn’t take to my sisters.  Inside of it sits a gas grill which was cheap to begin with and which has seen better days, a clothes dryer which is crusted with filth, a set of wicker furniture which has sat outside and moldered and looks horrible, a vacuum which shows a film of dog poop smear on the inside where the brushes are and some brilliant designer decided to make the plastic over the bristles clear so you could see them working, and a carpet scrubber in equally bad shape.  None of it is worth anything.  None of it is worth paying $35 bucks a month to store… but it’s everything she has in the world…. a shed full of crap that I”m hoping she will take one look at the things inside one day and shudder herself, not wanting to touch any of it.  The sight of the stuff in the storage shed breaks my heart and I remember again all the times my mom just up and moved us as kids, leaving so much behind every single time.

 

 

You know…..

Every time I come here to blog I find I have to weed through about 60-100 spam comments.  Thank goodness I make everyone have an approved comment before it just automatically posts.  And I wouldn’t bother going through the spam if I hadn’t had the experience of someone’s honest comment being marked as spam.

So seriously, what’s up with the spam?  Why so much of it?  And it’s slightly humorous too, because my last post was about my mother and having to move her and all of these comments are “I can see you’ve well researched this subject” and “I googled on this subject and found your site, I can see you have expertise.”

Yeah, jackasses, I do have expertise at dealing with my mother – however – I doubt you were googling how to deal with your mother who has money issues and whom you now have to move into your sister’s house.  I’m also glad you see me as something of an authority on the subject.  You just let me know if you find someone who has more authority on the subject so I can go ask them for help dealing with all of it.

That’s all I have to say right now.  I’m going to write a real post which will be scheduled for publishing tomorrow.  Actually, I should write several posts as I’ve got lots to fill everyone in on.