10/13/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles, Week Two… and Soup In The Crock Pot!


Isn’t it a gorgeous day? The leaves are changing, fragrant coffee perks, the weather is decidedly sunny, crisp and warm. Just breathe it in for a second, take a mental snapshot for when the climate is colder and feeling less friendly!  

In my G.L.A.D. corner, it’s been a week of revelations and realizations. Still dealing with medical tests, I had a Holter heart monitor attached to my chest for forty-eight hours. If that wasn’t fun enough, add a Pulmonary Function Test on Monday and I was beginning to feel like the display model at a medical convention! The heart monitor revealed that I have abnormalities, but not enough to call for medication at this time. The PFT, which makes you feel a bit like the Big Bad Wolf trying to blow down the Three Little Pigs houses with all the huffing and puffing required, indicated that I have asthma and will benefit from an albuterol inhaler. I used an inhaler years ago when I was an avant outdoor exerciser, enjoying over one-hundred pounds less on my body. Sorry, just had a rosy memory of when I could walk a twelve-minute mile. I enjoyed the time at the pulmonary office, as I learned loads about asthma, breathing, and how to make my life easier. I have been so convinced that all of my problems are because I’m overweight (I’m sure a number of them are), to hear that the breathing issue is not related to my weight gave me a certain mental freedom. It’s as if… now I can get on with the life I’ve been trying to pursue this year. Exercise outdoors doesn’t have to be horror to avoid anymore.

Watch out walking trails, here I come!

I mentioned a discovery last week. I’ve finally been able to stop dousing myself with hateful, negative self-talk. This week I’ve pondered all the times I tried praying about it, asking God to help me stop loathing myself, but the negativity continued. What changed things was the time spent waiting for these tests to happen and the results. At the time, I did not know they’d come back with such positive results. I asked myself, “What if you’re dying, or have a bad disease to deal with; how do you want to spend your time?” and that’s when I finally became able to see what a total time waster self-loathing is. I started living each day as if it could truly be one of my last. I found out that I liked a lot of how I spent my time. The one thing that blared out was the self-negativity. The first time it started, I stopped, and said, “Really, this is how you want to talk to yourself? This is how you want to go out?” and I saw the absolute insanity of what I’d been doing.

Here’s the funny part of this story. As I said,  asking God never seemed to help. Last night, I was having that thought and a quiet voice inside of me said, “Who do you think set up those circumstances?” D’OH! God was there all the time, right in the middle of it. Who would know better than Him how hardheaded and resistant I am to change? Talk about a humbling moment. Once again, I have reason to thank God for His grace and knowing just the right way to reach me, when that seemed all but impossible.

************************

One thing I want to do more of is home cooking. I love using my crock pot. There’s something so nice about coming home from work and smelling wonderful things bubbling away in the pot. I’ve acknowledged that I don’t care for cooking in the evening. For whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me at all to do the meal prep in the morning before I leave for my day job. So, work with your strengths. I asked friends this week what type of recipes they like to see. A few responded ‘meatless’. I might add that the few meatless ladies are slim, very pretty and have beautiful skin. I think that’s something all of us could enjoy a little more of, so I shall be happy to pop a meatless recipe in here and hope that some of their wonderful ways rub off on me!

One of my favorite cookbooks is “Fix -It and Forget-It Lightly” by Phyllis Pellman Good. I’ve used many of the recipes in this book. The one I’m showing here is new for me, so I invite any of you who might be interested, go to the grocery, get the ingredients and try it along with me. Please come back and tell me what you think of it. In future weeks, I’ll use a variety of meats and meatless recipes, maybe even a few for desserts. (Life is short, don’t forget dessert!) Feel free to say what type of recipes you’d like to see. I’d love for us all to get healthier together. Wow, I just looked at Amazon, you can get a used copy of this cookbook as cheaply as one shiny penny! Plus $3.99 shipping. That’s considerably less than I paid, but mine was bought at a school fundraiser a few years ago.

Oh, a D update: the Depression has definitely been snoozing contentedly this week, I’ve been continuing to Declutter my sanity room (where I pray, meditate, write, etc.) I had an extraordinary gift while decluttering. coming across two cards from my mom, who passed away in 2004. Seeing those cards made my insides light up like a lighthouse beacon and I hugged them to myself for a few minutes. Another precious discovery was a packet of letters from my niece Kelly, who died unexpectedly at the age of fourteen in 1986. I read the last letter from her, written a few months before her death, and a torrential downpour of tears ensued. It’s okay though. It feels like I have this lovely connection to Kelly that I’ll treat myself to, one letter at a time, every so often. Those two things alone have made the whole decluttering project worth it! Mind you, the cleared out space and fresh start are lovely too.

Now for that recipe…. White Bean and Barley Soup.

10/06/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles – Week One


This blog is an egg of an idea still very much in the nest. Thoughts can come a plenty, but some, on further examination, seem as appealing as yesterday’s dishwater… cold, with the bubbles burst flat. 2012 is shaping up as the year that will either knock me out in the eleventh hour or see me become a dogged woman pursuing a seemingly out-of-reach goal. I vote for the second choice!

What does G.L.A.D. have to do with it?

The letters stand for what I hold dear (God’s grace), something I take way too for granted (Life), a few ghosts (Activity of the physical variety would be my ghost from the past. Activity of being a light to others is my Casper from the recent present. Spending time with God in prayer, contemplation, more listening, and less moaning like a rattling old ghost myself.) and some daunting D words (Depression, Dietary choices, Decluttering). I think those three are pretty tangled together in my case.

For a female who’s read enough books about health and diet to stock a small-town library, why am I still so overweight? Knowledge alone isn’t getting me thin. I believe that I’ve had depression to some degree most of my life. As a teenager, I’d have episodes of feeling “The Black Hole” crowding in on me. I knew when that happened, I wasn’t fit to hang out with humans. It would last a few weeks and then move on. Life would feel normal again. I never really knew what brought it on, but I could surely feel it coming. I discovered aerobics in my late teens and noticed when I did them… well, I discovered a few things. My first real experience with aerobics was with a Richard Simmons album (yes, that’s right, one of those shiny black discs that played at 33 rpm) titled “Reach”. The problem with doing a workout to a vocal prompt with no visual guidance is that I put my back out shortly afterwards. I don’t think the goal of using his record was to end up walking like Quasimodo!

Anyway, making myself breathe hard, break a sweat and choose foods that didn’t come in plastic wrappers seemed to keep Black Hole away and my clothes would magically fit. When I had too many dates with ice cream from U.D.F. (United Dairy Farmers to those of you not from Cincinnati) and Twinkie boy, my clothes would mysteriously shrink and that ‘Rebel With A Cause’ Black Hole would come knocking. I don’t know if I associated these things back then. I just knew I looked sassy in my faded jeans and size ‘Small’ British band t-shirts. 

I suppose these chronicles will be about pursuing the G.L.A.D. and leaving the G.A.S. behind….

G-Gritting my teeth at the thought of ever

A-Accepting

S-Sue as a human with any redeeming value whatsoever 

I had such a surprise breakthrough this week. This involves backing up a bit and giving you some background.

Oh, how the years go by….

September 25th was my 30th wedding anniversary, a momentous milestone these days. My husband Craig and I celebrated by going to a retirement party for a friend of Craig’s, being held at Great American Ball Park during the Reds game. Before I loved squirrels, I adored piggies. Imagine my delight, seeing a few of my porcine friends at the ballpark.

Why do I want to sing “Macho Man” and “Y.M.C.A.” when I look at this construction worker pig?

What a jolly piggie!

Everything went pretty well until time came to head back to the car. Overweight and out of shape, long walks and stairs are things I tend to avoid. Hence why I’m overweight and out of shape. On this evening, I didn’t have a choice. It was h-u-m-i-l-i-a-t-i-n-g. When you’re sweating so hard and panting loud enough to cause a slew of calls to 911 because people hear a pervert following them, it’s scary. Climbing the stairs in the parking garage, I had conflicting thoughts blaring through my brain. The first wondered why it smelled like a mens urinal at the bus station. Did these people never hear of regular deodorizing and sanitation practices? The second image centered around my chest which felt ready to explode. I wondered if this was what a heart attack felt like and questioned if not, how could it possibly hurt worse? The third was a passionate prayer that God didn’t let me die right there in that urinal needing sanitation. What’s gross is when you’re sucking air that hard, you REALLY get the stench of urine in your nostrils.

For a few weeks, my heart has acted oddly, sounding like an out-of-tune-Mayberry band, with the odd, but regular, heavy heartbeat. Breathing during any exertion has become increasingly labored. It causes me such embarrassment that I try to hold my breath when anyone walks past within earshot. Heaven help me if they linger longer than twenty seconds. If that happens, I pretend I’m thinking about Robert Downey, Jr. in “Iron Man“. I wonder if I might experience simultaneous combustion if I were ever to walk on a treadmill and watch “The Avengers” at the same time? Oi, now there’s something to think about.

Back to the story, this has all vexed me enough to call my doctor and ask for an inhaler. He wanted me to have a stress test and a pulmonary function test, to see if there’s anything to worry about. The stress test has come back normal, for which I profoundly thank God. The P.F.T. will take place Monday. I sincerely hope I’m simply an old gray mare who’s ‘just’ obese and out of shape. If this is the case, a box of Clairol, diligent exercise and mindful eating can improve my symptoms dramatically. I think I’ve danced with denial long enough. That’s a mental exertion all its own.

On October 1st, I weighed in at 252 pounds, measured a 48″ waist, and I currently have an energy level of minus ten. Transparency must be my middle name. I don’t have the wherewithal to skirt the truth. The waist is the only measurement I hold interest in, as the number is one of the indicators for heart health. I’ve apologized to my heart for treating it like crap and I’m trying to make amends.

Oh, the breakthrough, I nearly forgot to write about it. Note to self: add Distractible to my D words. As I worked on something at my day job this week, my perpetual negative self talk kicked in and started to drone on about what a nincompoop I was. From somewhere inside me, courage hopped up and I said out loud, “I am NOT worthless and I’m NOT a loser. Period.” What the heck? In all my fifty-three years walking this Earth, I’ve never had the natural response of thinking I’m somebody and refuting that negative b.s.

Please hang out and take a walk with me.

09/29/12 It’s My 53rd Birthday and G.L.A.D. Chronicles Preview


 
 

Hello everyone. I just brewed a pot of coffee, if you’d care to share a cuppa with me. Fifty-three today, how is this possible? Where have the years gone, flying like geese to warmer climates! Ooh, going south, now there’s a theme. My picture’s been taken a few times this week… I love me, but I don’t care for the evidence in the photos of how I’ve been taking care of myself.

Does anyone else have faulty memory when looking at your photos? In the ones from your youth, where you’re possibly supporting a few less chins, rolls of bodacious girl and what-have-you. In our minds, THAT’S still us. Then we look in the mirror and see this sassy imposter who’s definitely been enjoying the processed carbs a bit too much, we want to call 911 and demand this sort-of-looks-like-me be taken away! Alas, she IS me. Deal with it!

Starting Monday, October 1st, this blog will start recording an experiment to find a balance in life, minimize my defeating behaviors and maximize my good ones. I’ll call it The G.L.A.D. Chronicles and hope to report on it for 365 days.

I’ve already began the first experiment. Last Saturday, I emptied out my clothes closet. Twenty years of clutter hauled out and left naked on the floor. The floor, chairs, hallway, and bed in another room. HOW did I stuff this much crap into one closet? I did, and my task is to not put a single thing back in that’s outlived its usefulness. I’m approaching it with a “Terminator“-like viewpoint when the guilts try to creep in about saving utter tripe for sentimental reasons. It’s been exhilarating so far, and slow. I’d like to get it right the first time, and only work on it for a short period each day. If I go beyond that, those blasted sentimental gremlins try to sneak back in and get me to save stuff I have no use for, but someone else might; into the donation container it goes!

I hope you’ll cheer me on, especially when I get weak. Everybody gets weak occasionally. Hopefully they’ll have friends to boost them back up!