Post

Readjusting Again

Well, it’s a life of ups and downs, isn’t it. After peaking out at my highest weight ever, 278lbs, I am heading back down. It is like I go into a trance and just eat and eat junk without stopping to think about it. I don’t account for what I am doing and constantly say I’ll start doing better the next day.





Heading Back Down

 Well, after once again maxing out near my all-time high weight, I am headed back down again. I don't know why I let myself go until I hit that crisis point before turning around, but it feels much better to be losing weight than it does to be gaining it. My body physically feels much better. 

I am trying to focus on wise eating choices and clean eating. Kathy has been feeling extra fatigued, so I'm trying to prepare food for her and the whole family that will be dense in micronutrients and antioxidants, such as berries, raw nuts, and lots of leafy green veggies.

I don't have much else to say other than it is embarrassing to be here once again, into the month of May, and to be starting over again for the most part. But I'm swallowing my pride and continuing to write about the journey.





Famous Last Words

The things that make me sick, tired and over weight are the same things that make me feel stuck, depressed and stranded. When I eat better and when I move more, I feel much better in every regard. My skin is clearer, my sleep is better, and my energy is higher. I feel "cleaner." When I eat poorly and am sedentary, I feel tired, unmotivated, and just plain "blah." 

But there are not easy fixes or magic quick answers. Just as I'm learning about many things in my work life and in relationships, it is the longer-term, day to day consistency that is what pays off. And so it is for my health. I can't afford to let myself continue to be trapped in the lies that try to pull me down. I have got to take the time each day to eat nutritious food, whether that means buying it or making it. I've got to take the time to walk and stretch my muscles and work my heart. I've got to take time to continue learning about nutrition so that I stay motivated, and I need to record my struggles and my progress each day.





3/31/16

It is the last day of March already, and I am yet to have a full good day getting back to eating properly. And, I've gained 10 lbs in the past week and a half since feeling so sick. I'm sure some of it is fluid retention from having higher ratios of refined carbs. And some of it is paying the price for the first couple of days of eating poorly and thinking it didn't impact me...it really did, it just took a few days to catch up with me. 

So far this morning, by 8:30am, I've had two doughnuts and an ice cream bar. How quickly we can fall away from the things that are best for us! Frustrated, but ready to start over again for real. 





Starting Again

I've fallen prey to the same traps that have consumed me in the past. After getting started again, I've failed to do the things that keep me focused in the right direction. Snacking on something extra turns into eventually eating whatever I want, ignore the clean eating principles that have helped me so much. And failing to track the good foods I eat, failing to study each day about nutrition or fitness to keep it on the top of my mind, and failing to write each day about the progress keep me from being mindful about what I'm doing and result in slowly slipping away and ceasing to remember.  

I'm finally feeling nearly 100% after recovering from pneumonia. I lost my appetite entirely when I was so sick. But as I've begun to feel better, it has returned to fully capacity. Another lesson learned: while I felt sick, I delighted in losing weight and not eating much. I'd sometimes miss two of three meals. And I wasn't eating all of the good stuff I should. But I felt like saying "who cares? I'm losing weight, aren't I?" Well, the problem is my body, which had been used to a flood of nutritious food and antioxidants, then experienced a shut-down of the flow of nutrition. I may have lost weight, but I started to starve my body of the nutrients it needed. That not only compromised the health and healing of my body, but it pulled me further and further from sound nutritional principles, leaving me to languish in the world of moderately-healthy food, or even unhealthy food. 

So, in some ways I hate to say it, because I wish it were not the experience, but here I am starting again. But in other ways I'm glad to say it, because it means I am starting again and that hope is in sight of feeling better in terms of energy and clean eating. 





3/22/16

Well, the good intentions... As I've been hovering around the 20 lbs lost mark, my appetite has suddenly dramatically increased this week. Part of it has to do, I'm sure, with finally getting over pneumonia and feeling like eating again. But part of it is a cycle. Eat something salty or sugary, and my body craves more salt and more sugar. For months, passing ice cream in the grocery store has not been a temptation at all. I picture allergies to the milk in it, and clogged arteries from the cream. But today, for some reason, I bought a small container and thought I'll just taste it. And that taste turned into eating 3 servings worth. Kathy made Easter sugar cookies, and just a nibble turned into eating a bunch. And those are really bad: cream cheese in the batter and shortening in the icing. Anyway, as the pounds start to inch upward again, I am re-committing to staying full of clean foods so that I can get rid of the cravings that start to intrude.





3/20/16

Preparing for my annual physical later this week. If I lose another 2 lbs this week, I will go in weighing 20 lbs less than when I went for my previous physical a year and a half ago. The good news about that is, rather than being a short-term sprint, this will represent a slow, steady progress. Imagine if I were to lose 20 pounds year over year. Soon I wouldn't need to, but if I did so until at a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle, this would be a more consistent approach and I imagine it would be much longer lasting. 

To get there this week, I need to re-introduce the fresh vegetables and beans that I've been without the past several weeks as I've been through quite a bit of sickness and haven't been wanting to eat much. I've noticed a difference in not feeling strength and energy needed for many of life's demands, and I think that restoring fresh produce and beans will help tremendously, especially since I've been feeling a bit better recently in terms of recovering from the sickness I've had for the past several weeks. 





3/19/16

One concept I've been using lately is something shared with me by my son that is a principle from addiction treatment. It is called "Fast-forward the fantasy." The concept is that when we are tempted to indulge in something that we know is not good for us, the draw to it can be extremely powerful. During those moments of temptation, we seem to only think about the physical pleasure we will receive if we indulge. Our minds quickly supply all the rationalization we may need: "you can start over tomorrow," "just once won't hurt," or "you deserve it because life has been so ... (Fill in the blank...stressful, empty, etc." But, rather than giving in to the temptation, one can instead fast-forward in time past the point of indulging in whatever it is that we are trying to overcome. Often, after a moment of pleasure comes reality -- guilt, regret, emptiness, helplessness, frustration, and a literal feeling of "coming down" off of whatever artificial high the addiction has produced. The trick behind fast forwarding the fantasy is to think about and even try to experience in advance those feelings that will come if you do decide to indulge. They are much less alluring than the feelings that lead one to indulge in the first place. For me, this has been really helpful in the areas of salty foods and sugary foods. Sugary foods make me week and give me acid reflux. Instead of imagining the sugar-high produced after eating them, if I instead think of the feeling of physical weakness and the acidic feeling in my stomach, I find that the temptation loses much of its allure. Likewise, if I think of salty foods as drying up my body of the moisture it needs and raising my blood pressure, the trade off hardly seems worth it. I hope to continue assembling tools like this to fight the addictions I face relating to food, and I'm grateful to my son for sharing these ideas with me.





Derailed Momentarily

Well, I've got good and bad news. I caught pneumonia and have just really been out of it the past two weeks. The good news is I lost a few pounds in the process. The bad news is I haven't kept up my entries on this site nor have I paid near as much attention to what I'm eating. I haven't been able to prepare nutritious food choices, go to the store, or really anything other than sit/lay down. I'm glad that I'm ending this pneumonia (starting to feel better today) on the lower end of the weight scale but realize there are several risks at play here. As my appetite returns, I run the risk of eating anything I want and having it start to add the pounds right back on. And since I've been out of the habit of recording food eaten on my app, haven't been reading nutritional information to stay motivated, haven't been getting exercise and haven't been doing regular blog entries, I am not in the best position moving forward unless I make immediate adjustments.

Getting sick right after the Europe trip was really a bummer as I was ready to get back into the patterns that were working for me before the trip, but then abandoned them when I got sick. The sad thing is, I would probably have gotten over this illness much more quickly if I had taken tons of antioxidants into my system like I would have had I kept up the high-quality eating.

In any case, one thing I have learned through this experience so far this year is that the past doesn't matter as much as what I do today. I've known people, myself included, who have lost 50 lbs or even 100 lbs through a combination of restrained eating, better food choices and exercise, but then they feel like they've accomplished something so major that they can celebrate by eating more leniently. And the pounds start to come back on, 5 lbs at a time. I've done that so many times.

I've also done the opposite, where I feel like since I'm doing so poorly in recent times, I might as well continue the streak of eating poorly...thinking "what's the use?" In both cases, thinking of the past is harmful, as opposed to thinking of today. I am learning to start to focus just on today...how can I make the best choices in the context I am in today? And I think 100 todays will add together to make a successful tomorrow.





3/2/16

Today is Super Tuesday, when a bunch of states conduct their primary elections / caucuses to decide who will be the nation's presidential nomination from each political party. I stayed focused on work for much of the day, leading up until the results started coming in from the participating states, at which time I became distracted. I ate relatively-good food all day until the evening. I notice that if can give my mind a distraction from eating and almond milk -- not the best breakfast in the world, but ok in moderation. But as I went to eat, I pulled up the news and placed the cereal box next to me on the table. I got lost in reading different news articles and did not attend to how I felt about what I was eating or, especially, how much I was eating.  





3/1/16

Noticed a bit of progress today. I went to the grocery store late in the evening, after skipping lunch, and was very hungry. Not a good decision usually, as it probably wasn't today. But here are a few things I noticed:

  • I was mentally kind of looking for an excuse to eat junk ... "I deserve it after a long day and it wouldn't be so bad because I've hardly had much to eat today"
  • I was in a setting where "no one would know." In the past, this has involved me purchasing junk and eating it before going home
  • I am in a habit of buying things at the store to consume on the drive home, whether healthy or less healthy

But, as I wandered the store, deciding what to buy, my cravings were not for the high-sugar, highly-processed or high-sodium items. I wasn't tempted for ice cream, chips, candy or crackers, but more for granola, health-food peanut butter with dark chocolate, juice, etc. In some ways I thought this was a good sign that my tasks and desires are changing when it comes to food. There have been times in the past where the cycle of buying and eating junk food at grocery and convenience food stores led me to consuming 1,000 - 3,000 calories all just off that one shopping experience, consumed entirely by the time I got home. Not this time...my indulgence led me to some all-fruit Popsicles, a bunch of frozen no-sugar-added fruits I can blend into smoothies, and a huge bottle of water.





2/29/16

Well, here is to starting over again. This past week was somewhat disasterous. I felt like I was still trying to catch up on sleep throughout it, and didn't give my best effort to consume healthy, Daily Dozen type foods, nor to record what I was doing each day, nor to stay involved with reading new things about nutrition. As a result, the first day or two were ok and then it became progressively worse throughout the week. Too much sugar, not enough nutrition. Too much sodium. But, despite this setback, I am ready to recomit and reconnected to the clean eating lifestyle.

The good news is my weight, after a week of feeling out of it and depressed, is the same as when I started after returning from vacation, so I am thinking of it as the lost week that I can now move on from. It is frustrating, or I guess I should say, I am frustrating. But I am moving forward.





2/23/16

Woke up feeling pretty good today...weighted in at 263, so only 1 lb about the pre-vacation weight, and feel like I've finally shed some of the water I was retaining after the flight home. 

I've been trying some of the sprouted grain bread lately and really like them. For example, this morning I had an Ezekiel Bread English muffin with some all-fruit jam, and it was great. In fact, I don't think I'd ever pick a high sugar processed breakfast over it.

Yesterday, I read about the impact of ground flaxseed and herbal hibiscus tea on blood pressure. Controlled studies have yielded better results from having hibiscus leaves soaked in water (hot or cold) than have blood pressure medications themselves. And flaxseed has amazing properties that lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well. It is interesting that in some studies, about 50% of people have a positive result (meaning the blood level of cholesterol or the blood pressure lowers) but the other 50% don't have any impact that is notable. But 50% is pretty good odds for something that doesn't have apparent side effects...I'd take those odds for the potential improvements in vital readings.

Went shopping today at Vitamin Cottage, which is a good thing...at other times in my life I've gone on a health kick and made a huge shopping trip to Vitamin Cottage (with organic produce, less-processed foods and generally more healthy selections), never to return. So, going multiple times is a good thing. Planned out meals for the rest of the week. 

I sure missed fresh produce while on vacation. Not that it wasn't available at all...I did have an occasional apple, banana or orange, but I've come to really enjoy having berries each day or other produce high in antioxidants, and these were sparse on the cruise and on vacation in general.





2/1 - 2/22/16

Well, we are back from our 3 week trip to Europe, which included 11 days on a cruise to Spain and Italy, followed-up by visits to Paris and London. 

The trip proved to be a mixed bag when it comes to eating and to remaining accountable for my change of lifestyle. I started out with a plan about how to eat only the healthiest foods while gone, and I resisted anything at all deviating from the plan while we traveled to Europe and in our hotel prior to the cruise. We requested ahead of time that I be given a low-sodium, vegetable-based meal plan, but since Norwegian does a flexible eating style, that would mean having to make arrangements at every meal in every restaurant. I quickly decided just to eat in moderation the best I could and choose the healthier range of choices available. 





What Happened To My Posts?

I wrote a few posts while out of town but they seem to have been lost. I outlined a plan as to how to approach the trip to Europe and a few updates about how it was going. I guess the Internet combined with my iPad lost it somehow. I will post a summary update instead, which will cover the 3 week period we have been out of the country.





1/27/16

Today was a day of meetings. I started the morning with an Acai smoothie and headed into the meetings. Had lunch with Bishop Remer at Taco Bell, which is a challenging place to go and eat anything nutritious. I had a pintos and cheese (yellow), a bean burrito (yellow) and water. More than the nutritional content, I am concerned about the amount of sodium -- had to be a huge amount.   





1/26/16

Kathy was really sick today with a cold virus, so it was a different kind of day. Everything went quickly by, and not much happened out of the ordinary. I ate clean food choices for at least 80% of the day. But a lot of it was in the evening, which, of course, means my weight stays the same in the morning