It Brings Life…

Friday… or maybe Saturday… I was at Starbucks of Riverside and 25th here in Minneapolis. It is a very crowded location… usually full of Somali cab drivers, hospital workers, and people in a hurry. I used to know my morning crew there by name, they knew me. They knew my order, even knew I would occasionally keep them on their toes and chance it up. With a nod Sam would start my usual when I came in that way it was ready to go by the time I was through the line.
Time has passed, he has moved on to bigger and better things. My Starbucks habit has dwindled as I have been squirreling away pennies for things like my wedding, my vacation, and moving into a better place. I make my coffee at home, with soymilk, sometimes with Torani syrups or sweetener. Its never as good… but it is coffee. I brew a pot almost every morning at work… sometimes decaf, sometimes flavored, sometimes just a dark roast. Just the smell is enough some days to put me in a better mood. Addicted… maybe a little bit… but that is what happens when you have your first solid memory of drinking coffee from a peter rabbit cup before school in second grade.
Anyway, I fought my way to a parking spot in the always crowded lot. The snowpack in the lot is severe, not that they don’t plow it’s just hard to plow around cars and the snow never stops. I smiled at a gentleman making his own parking spot, which would obscure my backing out in any normal fashion without much trouble. It’s of course okay, I try not to stress over such things anymore, too much stress over little uncontrollable by me things makes for trouble.He got out of his cab and smiled at me, much to my surprise.
I make it a habit to smile at people, it is contagious, or so I like to think. Even if someone doesn’t smile back at me, perhaps they will smile at the next person they see. He commented on what a beautiful day it was. I mentioned that I was happy that the sun was out and shining. The gentleman said that the sun is a valuable and important thing in this world and asked if I knew why. I paused for half a second hopped over a snow-booger and said of course! The sun is life, it brings life, and warmth and joy to so many things. He told me I was very wise, then insisted even though I was trying to hold the door for him that I go first.
I’ve been thinking on this all day, as we sit here being pelted by yet another snow storm. The cold weather and grey/white sky is killing spirits. I miss the sun, the warmth, the life it brings. I miss my Saturday morning trips to the farmers markets, and while I will soon be miserable from my allergies I miss the flowers. I bought a bouquet of tulips on Sunday afternoon and left them in the cart at Trader Joes with a note that said Have a Happy Day.
The Sun brings life, but so do small kindnesses. Holding doors, conversations with strangers, random acts of kindness. Forgiveness of those who have wronged us, forgiveness of ourselves for wrongdoings. Be gentle with yourself, be kind to one another. It is said time and again that we are all fighting a battle, and we may never know another persons struggle. I suppose I am getting soft in my “old age” and by soft I simply mean wiser and more aware. More aware of everything. Living within my heart, being more in-tune to the hum of the universe, listening to what my body asks of me.
All the pieces that I try and work on individually, all the pieces that don’t fit, they all hum together… and the sun… it will awaken everything… eventually.

Focus

So, 2014 is underway… I look at my blog and I have FOUR blogs that I started, and never got back to… Do I lack focus on my blog? Possibly… more specifically I have been reaching out microblogging with my instagram account (Do you follow me over there? my name is KrisGetsHealthy) 2014 the year of Honor, honoring myself, my choices… making sure I am focusing on what I need to do to set my lifestyle up for those sustainable changes we need to make to have a lifestyle stick.

Since I took my new job back at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 I have had an increase in my bottom line… meaning my rear end… not cool! My focus has been to try and make my life, that WAS working to get my weight down, work with my new 10 hour days of high stress near non-stop desk work.

I found that looking at the big picture was SO overwhelming, in as much as it wasn’t working. You can’t manage everything at once. There is too much to control! I have taken to breaking it down into more manageable parts and I have been trying to establish each part into it’s own manageable little bubble.

The first thing I worked on was to establish a bedtime routine… in my job I need to be sharp, I need to look at the bigger picture, visualize traffic patterns for the time of day, cross reference with the general layout of the state/city in my mind, estimate recovery times from airports, think critically etc etc etc… Dealing with brain fog from fibromyalgia is bad enough some days, add a lack of sleep and my goodness a lack of sleep spirals my brain into a VERY messy place!

I have a fairly strict bedtime that I keep. I am slightly more flexible on the weekend, but not every weekend… and if I do it one day I try to keep the regular bedtime the next. (for example if I am up Friday night, then Saturday night I don’t usually stay up). I sleep with headphones on, (sleepphones actually) that I can pull down over my eyes and use as a blackout mask. This is not to say that I don’t have insomnia come visit me on occasion… I have melatonin and a few herbal sleep support things I can take. There is this awesome thing called Sleep Water that I drink on occasion that helps too. My sleep routine is, I would say, pretty well established, it is a habit. A healthy living lifestyle habit. People that tell me they get 4 hours or 5 hours a night on a regular basis and can’t figure out why they aren’t feeling well, or can’t do X (whether that is focus, or be on time, or lose weight, or whatever) I just want to grab and shake… sleep is a foundational element.

So now that I have that habit well established I am looking at what are the bigger holes in my life… what are the things that are SO IMPORTANT to health, and wellness and well being, that I just don’t have a handle on. One of the things that happens with my job being so busy is that I forget to drink..not just water, but anything… So many night I would come home from work and find that I had only had a cup of coffee in the morning, and then whatever I was drinking with dinner! How horrible for my body!! I took to taking a 3 liter bottle of water with me to work, and I’d work to drink that during the day. I did pretty good with that, since it was in my line of sight most of the day. Having something visually there means I can’t avoid it, I can’t ignore it. However ambient water gets old… it started cold in the morning but by the end of my 10 hour shift it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. What is a girl to do… if I don’t see it I wont drink it.

The last few weeks I have been having great success at monitoring my water intake with an app from the iPhone marketplace called Plant Nanny… it lets you set reminders to “water your plant and water yourself.” You set your weight, your activity level and it tells you how much water your body needs. I am set to sedentary since I have a desk job, and since even when I hit the gym it isn’t much activity… it would put me at normal at most. The default reminders you can set are every 2 hours between 8am and 10pm, I have mine set to start at 0400 and run till 0500 reminding me every hour to drink. Even if I don’t go get a drink right away when the little alert pops up it at least puts the idea in my head that I need to be hydrating my body. I need to make drinking a routine that comes as naturally to me as going to bed. I need to focus on hydrating my cells, pushing toxins out of my body, and helping my body learn that perhaps what I felt as hunger is thirst, or a combination of both.

So here I am bringing my #Focus to one thing at a time. I can’t do everything, I am spread so thin at work trying to control everything that I am glad to be finding a balance and being able to pick and choose one healthy goal to focus on here in my everyday healthy life. Finding the focus and determination not to give up. Honoring my body by making sure that I am establishing some kind of healthy routine, and making sure that I am putting it into place. The more you do something the more ingrained it becomes.

Do you track your water or do you find it’s just one more thing to try and keep track of? How much sleep do you get a night? Do you try to get 8 hours? What kinds of healthy living routines do you focus on in your life?

Staycation Recovery

So I spent the weekend indulging in treats I don’t usually have. Steak dinners, ice cream (custard actually), a breakfast burrito with bacon and avocado, and I wonder (ok not really) why I am craving carbs and sugar the last two days. Ok not really. Combined with hormones and bad nutrition I set myself up for this.
It doesn’t happen often, and it was a wonderful weekend. Nothing like celebrating all the things that make and made my life here awesome. A small impromptu breakfast with a few friends on Saturday after my 10k, which turned out to be 6.7 miles once I cooled down. A nice romantic dinner out on Saturday night. A movie at a theater I had never been to on Sunday morning, followed by a fun afternoon of silliness at MOA and a night relaxing at the Radisson Blue. (Talk about swanky!)
I am so exhausted right now, sheer reliance on caffeine is what is keeping me upright at my desk. I feel like I need a vacation to recover from my staycation. Crazy right?

Either way here I am… I had a nice weekend… but I am ready to get back into a focused mindset.

Oh here are my two fave photos from the weekend…
WonderWoman10k

Anniversary9Years

8 Years.

*looks around*

Time sure does fly. It is strange to be in the pilots seat of ones own life. Whether we believe that we each control our lives or not destiny or chance, choice, free will it’s not up for debate here. I am in the pilots seat of my life.

Scary.

This weekend marks 8 years since I moved here. Eight years of struggle to find my way into the drivers seat, trying to steer this thing called life onto the road I want it on. I suppose as long as I am heading somewhat in the direction I want to go I am ahead of the game… Right? Keep it between the navigational beacons as it were.

I look upon this weekend as a celebration of how much my life has changed since I moved here. A way to rekindle my life, the fire of passion I had for my relationships, the budding start of a new life. The world of unknown. I am actually working on branching out into a new life. Looking for new opportunity to test my limits, find my strengths and see what is out there for me. I long for a change.

I will find it… I found a home here, I stumbled into the drivers seat, managed to right the out of control car I was in and it has only just begun!
Look out world because maybe just maybe the next 8 will bring me somewhere even more crazy!

Slow and Steady 28 Days.

28 Days Later… sounds like a story of rehab, or an addict right?  4 weeks have passed since I started on Nutrisystem.  I am still alive, I have not quit.  I have not found it particularly difficult to stay on plan.

While I do miss the endless hours I used to have cooking, prepping, basically having a huge romantic relationship with my food, this is good therapy for me.  I still have to do some work in the kitchen.  I add food to my meals, you need to.  I am still pressed for time and do things like add yogurt or a hardboiled egg as my protein most of the time but when it comes to adding veggies, I get to show my love for myself with them.  I get to chop and saute, steam and prep them as I would have before.  I don’t just slop things on a plate, or pop them in the microwave.  After all this is still about more than just food right?  This is about a lifelong relationship with food and how it effects everything in life.

I am working to become more aware of all things related to what is going on.  What triggers me to want to eat, is it emotional, physical, is it the taste of something, a smell, is it just the sight of something that I can’t handle?  Hedonic hunger was something that spoke about at weight watchers, meaning it isn’t about will power, and I believe very strongly that this is true. Chemically there is too much going on in bodies for us to be able to deny something our hormones chemically are telling us to want.

So how has it been going otherwise? Pretty well, I am back on antibiotics, for another sinus infection, which i suspect is actually bronchitis :/ I have a CT scheduled for the 19th followed immediately by a consult with the ENT specialist that I have been seeing. So I am currently on activity restrictions which makes me anxious. I had just gotten back into a routine/rhythm that was working for me at the gym. It feels like every time I get into a patterns the rug gets pulled out from under me. I won’t let it stop me, I finish the meds next Saturday, which means Sunday morning I am coming for you Gym! YOU HEAR THAT!!!! I don’t however know how my body is going to handle all the antibiotics, steroids, and cough meds currently being thrown at it.

I weigh in once a week, Tuesday nights, in my kitchen. I thought about making it some morning, before I ate, before I did anything the problem is that if I weigh in up, and I can’t get my head out of that crud it was a bad week spot then my whole day would be shite! I don’t need that.

According to my calculations I lost 11.5 pounds from my Aug 12th weigh in to my Sept 3rd weigh in. I received my new box of food in the mail this week, first part on Wednesday, second box (frozen on dry ice) on Thursday and in the box on Wednesday was something called a Nutribear!

Nutribear 10 pound Loss

Nutribear 10 pounds!

10 Pound

Number 10

I love that there are cute rewards for having lost weight with the system. It makes it feel a little less alone, and a little more like a community. He is about the size of any beanie baby. I am not sure what I am going to do with him yet, right now he is sitting next to my bed.
I never made it through any of Weight Watchers things long enough to get any real bling. I got the 16 week stay an succeed hands, I got that danged 5% reward sticker a few times… up down up down…. it just wasn’t the right program for me. I did a 5k but never got the bling. It isn’t really about the rewards, but it is nice to have something saying hey good job right? Maybe? …

So uhm, I went to another PriorFatGirl #OBOS meeting this weekend. I am sure you are wondering why I bothered if I am on Nutrisystem right? Well we all know I won’t be eating out of a box forever. I had a great time hearing about #PFC Protein Fat and Carbs. It is basically how I ate before I took my fulltime job, which is awesome! Cassie talked about how EATING FAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT!!! Something I have known for ages. She encouraged the attendees to eat real food, like butter, cream, cheese, whole veggies and fruits, meat, eggs, and nuts. Eating a combination of protein fats and carbohydrates at each meal keeps your blood glucose levels stable. It was pretty much a flashback to the early 90’s for me actually when I was learning about how to help manage my brothers diabetes (not type2) in getting him through the night with a stable balanced sugar level by putting enough fat with the carbs to keep things from spiking too fast and how the body breaks down protein slower and it helps regulate sugar levels.
It made me want to go back to school for nutrition… alas time and money are always factors. 😦 It was so great to see familiar faces, and new ones too. I was pleased to have gotten to stay for the full event this time. I poked my head in on the last one, which happened to be on the wedding day of a dear friend, when I had many many tasks on my plate. It was just not good timing.
It served once again as a good reminder that it takes time to get to where we all want to be. It is important to remember nothing is forever, and we all need to do what we need to do when we need to do it and with what we have.

A new week is about to start and I am doing what I can. Prepping what I can in advance, making the best choices for myself and reminding myself everyday that I am worth more than I think I am. It isn’t about Ego, it is about appreciation of self.

Training Day!

So guess what? I am training for my virtual run.  Yep, I have resigned myself to the fact that I can’t compete in or complete traditional races due to the obstacles that I face.  Uneven terrain, the pavement, risking falling, the pounding on my knees, it’s all too much.  However I have discovered my love of medals.  I have my Happy5k medal hanging proudly on my wall.  The one I did in the water.

I think I am in love with the idea of virtual races probably for the same reason I am in love with the online community in general.  It’s super supportive, you get a sense of community and you still get to do it your way.

I am currently signed up for the *gasp* There are 3 options, 5k 10k and 13.1mi.  Since there is no pressure, I am going for the half marathon.  You can do it however you want, walk, run, bike Just do it! I have discovered that the recumbent elliptical is super great for my joints! I am currently able to do about 6 miles in a 30 minute session on there before having to really push myself mentally, as opposed to 2 miles on the traditional one before my knees start hurting from the hyper-extension.

I may even make it a mini-tri and break it into a bike/swim/run distance.  At this point I am trying to find ways to make my activity more about fun and less about working out.  (it’s why I got my hula hoop right?) So why not find a fun way to make it happen!

The thought of “training” for something seems daunting especially with my schedule the way it is.  So much of my time is spent at work, and trying to maintain my relationships, and making sure I sleep, and eat right that I just need a goal to keep working towards.  If I stumble its okay… I can take 2 or 3 days to “cross the finish” and I wont be judged.

Are you involved in any virtual races?  Before I signed up for this one I looked at the Dr Who race, but since I don’t really watch the show much it didn’t hold that much interest for me, but I am looking for some more options.  Share with me!

 

Hop on the Big Train.

So lately I have been struggling with food.  This should not be a surprise.  One has to struggle with one component or another right?  Things are never easy going in the land of health and wellness.  I love to cook, I find it so fulfilling, extravagant dinners, thousands of calories, food is love right? … yeah… I thought so. I don’t even mind healthy cooking, grilling, stir-frys, broiled seafood, YUM! However I live in a tiny little apartment… the only grilling I do is on a Cuisine Art griddle thing, my stove is a disaster, I don’t have tons of counter space, and I am fairly certain that one of these days my fridge is going to die.  I miss having a huge kitchen like where I grew up, I hate having to decide what to make day after day.  So many things look so good, but I just lack energy most of the time.  Worse than any of that is the dishes! I hate doing dishes.

So for now I am hopping on the Big Train… shake wagon that is.  No this isn’t a paid advertisement, heck I don’t even know what it is going to do for the scale since I haven’t weighed in in at least a month.

I have had a lot on my mind.  I have been consulting my various options, I had a WLS surgery consult before I went to fitbloggin.  I am undecided what I want to do with that road.  I opened the door, and it’s there.  A place to be explored, a tool, one I may need as my hunger is often uncontrollable.  The surgeon looked at my files, found my highest weight was actually closer to 450 than 430.  :/ Either way, my expected outcome if I had WLS would land me in the 200-250 range… which is where I was before I took my current job.  But I was barely there… 245-250 starving, working out like a maniac, scale not budging, trying sooo hard… If nothing else that consult was a wake up call that I have unrealistic expectations of getting below 200 pounds because of how big I was.  It doesn’t mean I can or will give up.

I met with a nutritionist just before that consult, she said my eating looks like it is spot on, my exercise when I do it is great, things will be slow but I will get to where I was.  So right now I am working on my 1200-1500 calories a day goal where I was before, working on getting in my water, and vitamins.  Focusing on protein and fiber and getting exercise, and finding balance.  I wish things were easier, I am trying to listen to my body, learn the signals for hunger, learn the difference between hunger and thirst, learn where my limits are physically again.  I want to get back to having my life in my control instead of feeling like I am floating along or being pushed.

So for right now my meal planning feels a lot like Slim Fast, :/ not that I am loving that but it makes things easy.  I have an 8oz Big Train first thing in the morning, my faves are the Big Train Campfire Mocha (made with Sugarfree Smores Syrup) but I also have Raspberry & Coconut syrups that rock in the Mocha shakes as well.  I have a 3lb bag of the Vanilla that just arrived yesterday, right now I am sipping on a Vanilla raspberry hazelnut shake.

I have a morning snack, somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 calories, give or take… sometimes a granola bar, or a greek yogurt, today 2 hardboiled eggs.  Lunch is another shake, this one is a 16 oz, more of the same, powder, syrup, water, ice.  I try and finish 2 liters of water during the day, usually carbonated, flavored if it needs to be.

Dinner, well… you know that meme where breakfast and lunch are all normal and dinner is out of control… that’s sort of what my life is like… but having my day mostly under control lets dinner be a bit more relaxed if need be.  I don’t stress too much over dinner I have 800-900 calories available to me for dinner/dessert I have been known to go over at dinner but usually I am in control.  We are working on planning meals a few days ahead of time, this week there is shredded chicken in the fridge, Chicken topped salads, stir frys, salsa chicken I’ll figure something out for the week.  Trick is veggies with everything… and water… lots of water.

Back to basics… We can do this. The scale… well it can stay hidden I don’t need that stress.