New Discoveries

Things have been mighty… odd… lately.  Odd for me, anyway.  I’m normally a very steady person, and through everything that’s been going on collectively I’ve maintained my steadiness, but I’m still feeling overwhelmed.

Stress, it turns out, is a much more powerful thing than most people want to think or admit.  Who’da thunk it?  The older I get the more things become become obvious, things that you grow up denying and claiming you’re above them, but really have a much greater impact on you than you want them to have.  And if you stand back and just watch other people, you can see it in them, too.  Stress is one of those things.

Anyway, dropping my calculus class was a great decision.  I have a Toastmasters event coming up, and was asked to help in a specific role, but I had to turn it down.  Right now I feel like I have enough on my plate (no pun intended), and shouldn’t be adding more.  Plus, I’m not sure I could have given it the attention it deserves, so it’s best to let someone else do it.

Anyway, the weight loss is treading water right now.  I’ve been struggling with cheating.  I have a big thing with not making excuses, and when I say I eat irresponsibly due to stress that’s what I feel like I’m doing, making excuses.  They say you’re not supposed to do that, but that’s how my mind works.

My dip into the 220s was awesome.  As I write this I’m just a tad above 230, but really that’s not bad, so I’ll take it.  Last couple days I’ve done better, and feel like I’m getting back on track.  I’m getting to where I really like the shakes (as long as they’re made with either cold water or ice).  I haven’t made a muffin in probably two months now, but I’m feeling like I’d be ok with them now.  In other words, my tastes are fluid and adjusting as I go along, so the moral to this story is:  When doing a program of any kind, don’t get too hung up on only one or two things, lest you get burnt out on those and put your entire program in jeopardy.

I think I’ve figured out that sodium is going to be an issue for the rest of my life.  That’s a new realization.  If I eat a lot of sodium I feel it, achy joints, stiffness, etc.  What’s really interesting is that since I’ve been eating better when I do eat something high in sodium I really taste it and it is no longer as appealing to me as it used to be.

That’s it, just random stuff.  New realizations.  New Discoveries.  New knowledge.

Break Through!!!

Yay me!  Woohoo!  I’m happy.  Can you tell I’m happy?  I’m happy.  To some this may be eye-roll worthy, but to me it’s huge.  I’m a little perplexed, but I’ll take it. After three flirtations with breaking the downward 230 lbs barrier, I finally did it this morning.

Honesty Check:  Yesterday I had a couple small cheats.  I wasn’t expecting much.  Maybe even a slight weight gain from the day before.  But yesterday wasn’t a throw-away day, either.  I ate decently, probably what I might after the program is over, and I did some medium-level exercise last night, so I’m sure that helped.  I had been down to 230.6 three times, then would gravitate back up a bit.  This last time, yesterday, I was back up to 232.4, and I expected a slight gain, and was not looking forward to stepping on the scale.  I was kind of discouraged and dreading it, actually.  Weighed myself this morning and… 228.6!!!

A loss of 3.8 lbs.  I weighed myself six times to make sure it was right, I wasn’t expecting it.

Now I know they don’t recommend you weigh yourself every day.  It’s discouraging they say when you rise a little.  The human body does funny and illogical and inconsistent things with weight.  I have found in the last couple months that you don’t see the true effects of a bad-eating day until two days later, not necessarily the next day, and if you get yourself right again you won’t see the positive until two days later, as well.  But I started weighing daily at the direction of my cardiologist regarding sodium monitoring and it works for me.

I also know that 3.8 lbs in a single day is a lot, maybe an aberration, and my body may “correct” itself and give me 2 lbs back tomorrow, but for now I’ll take it!  I broke through the barrier.

A Command Decision has been made!

Think waaaaaaay back to two days ago.  When I listed the things that contribute to my stress in relation to eating.  Some were bigger than others, but they’re all there.  Well, I took a step today to reduce some of my stress.  I dropped my Calculus class.

It’s an expensive decision, but it’s the biggest thing that I can control right now, and it was causing a lot of stress by itself.  Once I made the decision, I felt relieved.  Kind of 😐 at the money down the drain, but relieved nonetheless.

So let’s move forward with a significantly less-cluttered mind.  I’m keeping the other class, computer coding, but the calculus will have to wait.  I’ll reassess later.  In the mean time… 🙂

Kind of interesting how this blog has meandered and evolved from one place to another.  I still consider weight loss and everything associated with the original heart health theme.

Stress Eating

Do you believe “stress eating” is a thing?  You know, where people basically overeat to cope with stress.  It’s actually quite common.  I know people who would scoff at this notion, claim the people are just weak and/or making excuses, blah blah blah.  I am not one of those people.  I have always believed it was legit, I just didn’t think I suffered from it.  I eat excessively out of boredom and simply liking good food.  I think good food is one of the pleasures of life, so I indulge.

I have other ways of dealing with stress.  I sleep.  It’s easy. If I’m feeling stressed, or down, or whatever, I go take a nap, sometimes a long nap.  I can even stay in bed trying to go back to sleep for hours after I wake up.  Sleeping is my escape, literally.

And sleep works well when I’m at home, but I’m not always at home.  What do I do when I’m at work or just out and about?  Well, now that I’m thinking about it more closely in my weight loss program, and with current life events, I think maybe I do stress eat, albeit only as “Plan B” when there is no bed or bedroom to escape to.

I generally loathe airing my issues to others,  but I feel like I have to here so it makes sense to anyone reading.  In no particular order, I have going on right now…

  • My mother’s health issues.  She fell and broke her hip a little over a month ago, and was admitted to hospice care just yesterday.  She’s 83 and very frail and, well, very ‘close’, if you know what I mean.
  • School.  I’m still going back to school.  Two classes this semester, computer coding and calculus.  And calculus is kicking my rear end… again.
  • Work.  Work isn’t going badly, not at all, it’s just busy.  I have two projects coming to an end and I have 2 or 3 lined up right after that, maybe overlapping.  As I always say, “Beats looking for work.”
  • Toastmasters.  I have sporadic duties to keep up with for the District (State of Iowa, basically).  This is actually the least of my current obligations, but it’s still one of them.
  • Routine mundane day-to-day life.  Tasks around the house, keeping up with daily life chores, trying to fit in some relaxation and fun, too.

Yeah, that’s it.  And as I’m thinking about this more and more, and comparing my binge/cheat eating with my weight loss program… because now it’s more pronounced than normal and easier to compare and measure… I’m starting to see a pattern.  I do indeed stress eat, though as ‘Plan B’, as mentioned before.

Virtually all of my stress eating since I started the program has centered around ‘events’ involving my mother.  I think that’s affecting me more and deeper than I was aware.  The others are somewhat normal for me, this adding a whole new amount of stuff is pushing my stress over the edge.  In short, overall I’m feeling very overwhelmed, with a new super-emotional aspect to make it all the more interesting.

I’m still at the plateau, though tomorrow’s weigh in will be interesting, and I’m roughly maintaining, so that’s good.  I’m not gaining everything back.  This is when I’m supposed to be introducing fruits and vegetables back into my diet, but I might go another week with the more bare bones plan to regain some of my momentum.

The Plateau

Still struggling, though not as bad or as much as I was for awhile.  Which is frustrating because I seem to have reached “The Plateau”, that point where you’ve lost the ‘easy’ weight and now have to actually work at it.  <full body shudder>

I think I mentioned before that I normally hovered in the 242-ish range.  I got down to just over 230… on the edge of the 220s cliff that I wanted to hit for the first time in almost two decades… and I regressed.  Shot back up into the upper 230s, then worked my way back down to the low 230s, only to shoot back up to the upper 230s again, which is where I’m at right now.

In the interest of full honesty, I think this last jump is not so much from bad meals (though there were a couple), but rather from stopping watching my sodium and missing a few days of my water pills.  Apparently even with losing weight I still need to watch my sodium intake and take my pills and squeeze as much water out as I can.

There’s also been some family heath issues that have been weighing heavily, no pun intended.  I am not a stress eater, per se, but there were times where I’ve figuratively thrown up my hands and thought, “Screw it.  I’m eating.”

On the positive side, in the work category, I’ve started exercising again.  The treadmill a couple times in the last week, for about 40 minutes at a time.  Put on a good Alice Cooper concert DVD and off I go!

Another positive aspect is that, today whenever I looked in the mirror, I swear I looked visibly thinner than I have in years.  I got kinda giddy every time I saw myself.  This matches what a friend told me several days ago, she told me it was visible in my face, my face was thinner.  The numbers notwithstanding, I can feel it, I feel good.

My View on Ken’s Sodium Struggle

It has been hard to watch Ken with this latest frustration. He is the heaviest he has ever been and it is water. He knows this, but it doesn’t make it feel any better when you don’t fit in your clothes. He cuts out a lot of sodium foods. Still nothing budges. I see how frustrated he is and can do nothing but encourage and pray.

This is something I have not had too much experience with. I have high blood pressure so I don’t add salt myself. I just have never had the water weight like this. I continue to support and do my best. I just know we will get past it. One more trial that we will win!

Quickie update

As I have said before, the farther I go out the less I’ll post, and there’s been nothing earth shattering to report, I feel like giving a quickie update, so here goes…

Sodium and Weight

The last week of May my Cardiologist put me on a much more serious dose of a new water pill, Torsemide, and off I went.  I was supposed to check in a few weeks later, but haven’t yet.  I will do so early this next week.

I still have the extra weight.  In fact, other than a couple short forays up to 268, I basically haven’t budged.  What HAS changed, and not for the better, is that now I am more achy, I am getting winded and getting tired easier.  Those aren’t good things.  Those are effects of the extra water weight.

We will get this worked out.

Scars & Body Image

A strange topic, but one that most people don’t talk about, so here I am.

My chest is looking very good, almost natural skin color.  You can still notice it if it peeks above my shirt collar, but it’s not bad.  There is no pain to this or any of the scars, which is good.  My arm scar is still not progressing as fast as the chest scar, but is itself moving along nicely and I have no issues with it.

Part of my left wrist is still constantly numb, and always will be.  Expected, warned, but just sayin’.  I hardly even notice, anymore, and I’ve always retained full functionality.

The only new development that I do not like is that I now have the beginnings of varicose veins.  On my inner left knee, next to where an incision was made to remove a vein for the surgery.  They’re small, but they’re still there.  I am NOT happy about this.  I have never had a varicose vein, until now.

Upcoming

I will have a major announcement in about three weeks, but don’t want to say anything just yet.  Not even hints.

It’s been awhile…

…yes, indeed, it has.  You’ve heard the old cliches… life gets busy, you feel better and start forgetting, yada yada yada.  And all that’s true.  I have been feeling better.  Life has been busy.  You forget things as mundane as keeping up a blog.  All that stuff.  And while things have been going in a generally positive direction, for which I am deeply grateful, all has not been perfect.

Back on December 18th I talked about water weight, sodium, and weight in general.  My cardiologist and I got things worked out pretty quickly and things were going along well… until mid February of this year.  Nothing had really changed, and I started gaining weight in leaps and bounds.  Long story short I gained about 22 lbs in just over two months.  I usually hover around 242-ish, give or take a pound, or two, on any given day.  Now I’m hovering in the 260 to 265 lb range, the highest I have ever been.  At least I seem to have plateaued, but it still feels defeating.

For about two months I didn’t think it was water weight, so I didn’t contact my cardiologist, which was a mistake.  I wasn’t showing any of the other symptoms.  I wasn’t bloated (heavy, uncomfortable, but not bloated), I wasn’t achy, I wasn’t short of breath, or any of that other stuff, just gaining weight rapidly.

Once I woke up and realized what was going on, to the doctor I went.  We decided to change one of my medications, the ‘water pill’, and increase it and my potassium to twice a day, lower my sodium intake as much as possible, and go from there.  I’m still hovering, which is kind of disappointing.  I owe him a new blood test next week, and we will reassess then and move forward.

The moral of the story:  Don’t be proud.  Don’t be stubborn.  Stubborn is dumb!  Stubborn is dangerous.  Stubborn could lead to congestive heart failure.  That’s not a real fine option.  Don’t be stubborn!

Upcoming:  Rehab & glucose monitoring.  (For my own reminders, more than anything.)

Setback? Nah – Missy’s View

I was not panicked. Just concerned. I did not think that I needed to worry too much, but I did pray. I had to pray we got there in one piece, as the roads were a bit dicey. We got there and I dropped Ken off at ER so I could park the car. I knew he would be in a room when I returned and he was. They had already started hooking him up to do his EKG and we were once again drawn into the crazy world of do a test and wait.

At one point they gave Ken a nitro pill. After that the symptoms subsided and they did another EKG. His EKG had changed ever so slightly. Right after this they took him for his CT scan. I sat in that little room thinking about the fact that the nitro effected his symptoms. For the first time I started to worry. I started to get major anxiety. He was gone a bit and I really just needed to see him. I was very relieved when they brought him back and said they were thinking of keeping him over night for observation. This was a relief because I WAS worried at that point.

I left Ken so I could go home and get some things for us. (Yes, I stayed with him.) I made a couple phone calls as I was leaving the hospital and warming up the car. Then took my time going home. Once I was home I gathered items and took care of the cat. On the way back I stopped to get something to eat. I sat and ate it before heading back. I guess I took too long because Ken started to worry about ME. Time to settle in for the night.

I slept on a cot and we got a few hours of sleep. Not much though. The morning brought more testing and waiting. We made do but it was a LONG day. When the Cardio doctor came with his nurse practitioner they pretty much said they knew it was not his heart. However, the doctor started talking about staying another night. We wanted nothing to do with that! They sent him for a stress test and called it good. We finally got out after 5 that night. 24 hours in the hospital, but it was all worth it to know he was well and safe!

From the wife’s point of view!

Appreciation and the New Year

For the past several years I have seen people who were happy that the last year had passed. Just in a general sense. 2016 and 2017 seemed especially to draw people’s individual ire. I’ve only seen a couple people that wanted 2018 to “FOAD”, so maybe things are getting better, but meh, maybe not. I guess it’s all individual perspective, and that’s fair.

How do I feel about the passing of the new year? I’ll tell ya how I feel. I am most certainly looking forward to an even better 2019, but all in all I felt that 2018 was a good year.

Seriously. Honestly.

How can that be? A case could be made that I was somewhat near death in 2018, being lucky to not have had a heart attack, having had major open heart by-pass surgery, and on and on. So much negative. But here’s the deal and here’s why I feel appreciative and good about it… I did NOT die. I did NOT have a heart attack. My issues, through mind boggling coincidence and chance, were caught in time that they could be fixed… and they were fixed. That’s not a small thing. I have every reason to be appreciative for what has worked in my favor. And I give a lot of credit for my progress and attitude to my medical care givers (family, friends, doctors, nurses, rehab people, etc.) in being both competent and compassionate… making my experience actually pleasant at times. The outpouring of help, in all forms, has been overwhelming. I had very few instances where I wanted to condemn the people working with me.

In spite of my deep-seated grumpiness and natural cynicism, I’ve also been a somewhat “glass is half-full” kind of person all my life, so I’m sure that has a part to do with it. I’m ok with that.

I know other people who have issues and/or experiences that are not as easily-fixed and/or satisfying as mine, and I do not intend to be smug about it or throw my feelings of good fortune in anyone’s face. But the flip side is that a great many more people don’t have the issues I have, either. It’s all individual… I see this a lot in rehab. For whatever it’s worth, I do feel that one’s own attitude plays a part in their own recovery. The mind is powerful. It’s not the be-all-and-end-all, but it helps. Use it to your advantage.