Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12/10 update

Well, I regained.  I am still going to the gym every day, except a couple times I missed it.  I think the blame mostly lies in not being so attentive to the food going in my mouth.  That loss of focus started when Mom came back.  Now Dad is back.  We all share the same kitchen, they tend to choose cheaper, bulk products that are pretty easy to grab and full of the wrong carbs, like microwave pizzas and crummy chicken pot pies.  Sweets that aren't really *good* but have enough sugar and refined flour to keep me reaching for them.  Now that they are home, I need to try harder.  They both say they want to "go on" "my diet" - I think having realized that would help.  However, they are possibly going to balk at the cost, if they ever figure out which are the wrong foods, and that bringing the wrong foods in the house and hoping I will be able to train myself to have "just a small portion and then stop" is not where I am right now!  Also, I should stop buying movie theatre popcorn.  I've been going out to the movies kind of a lot - 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Thor 2, last night a great flick called Rare Exports.  Today I'm thinking Frozen.  For some reason all my Facebook friends are going to see it and oohing and so on over it.  I actually did high school theatre with the lyricist, and I am kind of enchanted with the idea of a female lead with secret enchantress powers.  So my reasons not to go to a Disney animated movie are dwindling, despite the fact that I *usually* am less responsive to kid's movies than some of my friends.  (I have this debate thingy with a friend who says Pixar is awesome, and I'm ready to agree it's great and all that except I don't want to see any of their movies.  Most of them just plain look ugly to me.  For instance, Toy Story - looked ugly, nothing about it attracted me, and I figured I'd just never see it.  EVERYONE says it's JUST WONDERFUL and someone told me I really should check it out despite my misgivings.  Having seen it, I figure it's fine for kids - rather dull tale for grown-ups, despite revolutionary tech behind it and the star-studded cast - but I'm more convinced than ever that I should listen to my inner voice when deciding which kids' movies *I* want to see or not.  I did love Wall-E, by Pixar.  But that's it.)

Anyway, I gained a little weight back which is sad.  I stopped tracking my exercise and calories at LoseIt, so I can't point out the reason, but I'm sure it has to do with reaching out for too many of the wrong foods.  The slackening probably started around Thanksgiving!

I need to start working in weight lifting.  I tried yesterday.  I found that attempting to use the heavy weights I'm used to on my legs (especially the leg extension) was kinda crunchy and painful on my knee.  So I used lighter weights and lifted for a while.  It was all a bit more freestyle than I'm used to - I need to find the right system at the gym and hopefully be able to track my proper weights for each machine.  Today, I only feel it in my triceps.  And I'm looking at myself sitting on my bed now with the amount my belly is sticking out, my fat upper arms.  But I am resigned that now it's no longer about appearance, it's about maintaining a system for improving my health and then living healthily.  It's just that I hope that will involve taking some weight off these joints eventually!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/3/13 275

I don't know why, I come to blogger today and it says I'm not subscribed to any blogs, so my bloglist is blank.

As for me, I'm only here to express frustration that the scale hasn't dropped yet.  Maybe it's the wanton ingestion of Thanksgiving leftovers.  Or anything else.  It's not ultimately all about the weight loss, but I do want to weigh less than I am right now, and I was just eager to see some results today.  Especially since I was craving that brownie a la mode, or any chocolate, all day yesterday and resisted.

Speaking of muscle gain, yesterday I felt like my thighs were especially rock hard.  I have not started the weight lifting yet.  One thing about the cardio is, I get a lot of Netflix watched, and reading done.  But weightlifting would not lend itself to multi-tasking.  Boo hoo.  Lifting myself out of the bathtub, my arms feel weak.

You know, my natural state seems to be to live very slow.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Well, I took 3 days off.  I took off from exercise because of some serious ailments.  Looking back, I think I'd been exercising every day for 3 weeks straight.  But I figured since it was pretty light cardio it was OK.  Anyway I had thriving gains in weird places in my knee and foot, but after two days of I realized the throbbing pain was gone.  Almost by accident I missed the gym on Friday, but fortunately, due largely to the fact that, with me still not working, exercise and health are taking top priority for me.  So I went back today and did 90 minutes while reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  30 walking, 30 doing light elliptical (though light, HR at over 140) and 30 of light walking.  I meant to take it easy today, so when I began to feel strange sparkles variously around my body in the second hour, which I have no idea why I was associating that with a lack of electrolytes, I started to feel guilty about overworking myself.  Would stomping on the treadmill for an hour, even fairly slowly, be good for knees and feet like I promised I'd be?  In otherwise, I go to the gym promising to take it easy, but once there I can't resist pushing a little.  At least i'm still to lazy to push a lot.

Despite an excess of pumpkin pie with sugar-free cool whip, wine, movie theatre popcorn and Raisinettes (I saw 2 movies, Dallas Buyers Club and Thor: the Dark World) I didn't gain significantly.  I think I was 274 on Wednesday and today I was 275.  That was before breakfast at home.  After breakfast, on the scale at the gym, I was 289.9!  Not much surprise that it's higher, but it hurts to see that.  I wonder if I'd have made it to 300 pounds at the doctors office scale.  Our Thanksgiving dinner was pretty OK - we really don't go overboard with casseroling our vegetables or aging to many sugars, creams, and though there was surely butter, it wasn't excessive.  That's just our way; mom prepared the whole meal.

And a turkey sandwich with dressing and cranberry and gravy would be good pretty soon.  :-)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


ARGH!  Knee and foot pain are still there this morning.  If there are stress fractures, they want me not to exercise for weeks?  I'm trying to decide if I want to even do swimming but I just don't know whether swimming kicks would be a good idea.  CURSES!  I will stay home.  Tomorrow I may do yoga.  That's gonna hurt.  Maybe by the weekend I'll feel ready to return to the gym.  To be honest this strange foot pain that throbs in and out - I don't know WHEN it started showing up.  Could have been months ago I just don't know.  There seems to be a ligament that pops over an ankle bone of some sorts, so maybe it's just an aggravated ligament or something.

The good news is that weight has been lost again.  Actually seeing results, so keep it up, Hallie.
a pain in the knee again today and a pain on the top of my foot that's been there a while but i don't know when it started.  little throbs that come and go.  mini-fractures?  arthritis?  do I need to stay off my feet?  cuz that would suck.  NO MORE SETBACKS!  Gonna rule out diabetes because no numbness or tingling.  Gonna hope it's not MS!  No family history - I think.  Just watching Pres Bartlett struggling with first symptoms of MS and I'm not having that or any kind of clumsiness.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


So I told you that I took Sunday off from exercising but I somehow failed to mention that my lower back was really sore yesterday.  As a result, I treated my workout at the gym more like a walking back massage than a push-myself workout because I didn't want to hurt myself.  Hurts again today, hopefully not as much.

When I got on the scale, readings ranged from 280-272 - like a huge range.  At first it registered at the high end, but then as I kept standing on it, it dropped.  It felt really good every time I saw it as less than 277, and really bad every time I saw it as 277 and above.  I was going to claim 275, but I think I'll claim 276 and be happy it seems to be working and not distress if it's slow.  Although I'm in a hurry to get some weight off my joints, I guess I'm still fine with losing weight.

Monday, November 25, 2013

scale reading

I sort of immediately dropped from, what, about 282 to 277 and then was deprived, the rest of the week, of any more weight loss joy on the scale.  Even had to endure a pop back up.  I found myself wondering whether Lose It had assigned me too many calories.  Even if I don't exercise, Lose It budgets me over 2100 calories per day to lose 1.5 pounds a week.  Once I realized that, it didn't seem that amazing that I was coming in so under calories every day!  Then I remembered that when I started, the point wasn't to count calories so much as to eat good foods that would balance me glycemically, and just sort of track to see how my eating habits registered on the calorie count log.  However, as soon as I started tracking, that became the obsession, to stay under budget.

I took yesterday off from exercise, just in case any of my leg muscles wanted a chance to repair.  So I'm back today.

I also figure I'll go back to work a little bit after Thanksgiving.  Maybe just warm myself back into it.  Today I have flare-up and that is even though there was no exercise yesterday.  I thought about a couple possible career changes but can't get started on them till next fall anyway.  It's time for a little income!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Exercising every day...

I think exercising every day might be starting to hurt.  I will take a day off tomorrow.  Disappointing scale reading today as I was down to 277 all week to be swung back up to almost 280.  Yesterday I waited too late to ingest sufficient calories.  I had a large dinner of chicken, zucchini, marinara and brown rice - 1 cup of which came to 340 calories!  After that I thought I might have another row of my 72% chocolate bar, but I wound up having the rest, which was about 3/4 of the whole bar.  Add in a few other things and it felt like an oh-god-I-need-calories-now kind of binge, and at the end I was satisfied and still hundreds of calories under-budget at the ol' Lose It app where I'm tracking this stuff.  Anyway, it's all good, I'm not letting that one scale reading bother me, I just wish it hadn't happened.

Mom's coming back into town today.  I do wonder if I'll be able to keep this up while doing other things in life.  I need to start doing other things in life.  Keep hoping exercise will make me a more energetic person but :-/

Thursday, November 21, 2013

heart rate considerations - Level One too easy

I am finding my return to the gym to be easy.  Too easy, in fact.  The book says that the first Level One goal is to be able to do 45 minutes of exercise at a heart rate of 60-65% of your max heart rate.  65% for me is 117.  I just can't walk that slow!  I have been mostly maintaining something around 130-135 on the treadmill, trying not to work TOO hard too soon, and that's about 2.8-3.1 mph at a very slight incline of 1 or 2, but occasionally playing with higher or lower levels.  I feel a twinge in my left knee reminding me that there's no rush to get up to speed.  I like doing the 45 minute walks.  I watch an episode of Star Trek or House of Cards while I exercise.  There is plenty on Netflix to go through.

Level Two (from the old folks book) is to add strength training.

I'll see a personal trainer next week and get her guidance on where to go from here, adding weight lifting and maybe cardio goals - we'll see what she says.

Someone posted an article featuring the full nude photos of Julie Kozerski's post-weight-loss body and I looked at my old nude photos at about 220 and feel like maybe I'll be happy at 220 or 230 - depending on what my doctor says and whether my heart or knees and feet are okay with it.  I don't mind a little chubbiness.  Also she lost 160 pounds in a year.  I'm not going to do that.  Plus probably no man will ever see me naked again so it's only my aesthetics I have to worry about.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Exercise is good, not eating enough.

Well, things are going pretty well.  Of course I'm sure it helps a lot that I'm not working and nothing is pressing on my mind or my time.  Instead of hopping out of bed and rushing to the gym at 7 a.m., I finally make it there around noon, by which time I've already had breakfast.  Make it back home mid-afternoon.  And it's only my second day of counting on this lackadaisical-on-the-schedule-but-stringent-on-the-food-restrictions "plan" but I seem to be having a hard time trying to get anywhere near by calorie budget for the day.

Walked for 30 minutes at HR of around 130, which is 72% of my maximum heart rate - can you believe it? That used to be cooled down for me.  Then did 15 minutes of recumbent stationary biking, and kept the HR in the 120s but it was putting my quads and hamstrings to use in a new way and I was very excited to feel them get a little stronger, because I could tell from the puny resistance that they were weak.

That'll get better.  I figure another week of this "warm up" and then I'll get in a meeting with the trainer at the Y who can guide me on how to really commence.

For now I really need to eat something - which I guess means I have to cook it.  I have chicken and mushrooms so maybe some kind of chicken stroganoff, but low fat.  Would need yogurt and low-fat sour cream...  Hmm...

Kitty thinks she's gonna lie up here on my bed and get her dander all in my bedspread, when she vomited on my bed last night?  No no no, just you wait until I get you a towel to lie on.  A special kitty towel for her princessiness to lie on.

In the meantime, my work productivity is terrible.  I got too involved in Facebook today.  Now it's night again (7pm) and my only goal really is to get to sleep early enough to get up early tomorrow and get a good start on a short winter's day.  I am LOVING this rhythm and not wanting to give it up.  Both my parents are out of town and I have the house to myself and it's working great for me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Getting on track

Hi.  So it's been about 10 days.  I have been keeping up the exercise, but less in terms of the aerobics video, because I haven't been getting up early enough to get to the theatre before the people get there.  More in terms of walking.  A couple of things have inspired to walking - both books.  The first is an autobiography of David Mitchell.  I briefly developed an insane crush on David Mitchell when I started watching the TV show Peep Show.  (By the end of the last season, though, I think I was finding Robert Webb more appealing.)  Anyway, his book is a little bit about walking - how he's been walking and it's cured his back problem - so in the book, he's walking all around London.  It's his gimmick for his book, I guess.  Then I read a book over the past few days called Younger Next Year.  I was in the book shop and looking for some help devising a plan for how to get back in shape enough to get in shape.  Younger Next Year is probably written more for people older than me, 60's and up, maybe 50's, although the suggestion was actually mentioned in the book that the reader might be 40, which I am.  40 but feeling older, feeling undermined by my body after this crummy sedentary year.

So, the book is a lot about exercise.  By far the bulk of the book and the best parts are about exercise.  Of course, I've done a lot of exercise for exercise's sake in my adult years.  Weight training in college, gym rat (of sorts) in my twenties... sort of less of it in my thirties as I focused on work and got tired, but I was doing some pretty impressive hiking in my mid-to-late thirties.  Robust I have been, though obese.

So some of my favorite parts of the book were the parts that talked about the biochemistry of the decay of aging and how exercise worked against it.  I wouldn't say the whole book was great, but that part was valuable for me to read.  Plus there's a clear program to follow.  So I've been doing my 45 minutes of low cardio (walking) every day for a while now (I'm still not back to work, so this is the one thing I have to do, and it's pretty easy if I'm not working.)  A few days ago, I made the commitment and rejoined the gym.  Today I'm going to up my effort a little bit, do an interval or two at a higher rate.  Which I think will happen pretty easy because I want to work on the elliptical today and I think that will push my heart rate up automatically.

Today is the day I'm going to start tracking and also start eating better.  I have not been eating to lose weight or manage my body chemistry, which is to say, there have been lots of the bad carbs - candy and pasta and pizza...  And I haven't really liked it but when Mom makes spaghetti to try to use it up then you eat it, and I was the one who got in the mood for pizza and sweets...  I'm going to study up on some glycemic meals, try to have some go-to meals in my head and just do that naturally, just naturally eat whole grains, proteins, veggies, nuts, and fruits and olive oil and so on as I feel like it for a couple weeks, track the calories and see how that goes.  It's a process right now.  Both my parents are out of town so if that's a hindrance, I'm in complete control right now.

So I'm going to use a hard-copy journal and an app like Lose It or Sparkpeople to track also.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hiya.  I'm typing on my tablet at Bruegger's.  I hate typing a lot on my tablet so this will be as short add I can make it.

Regarding my knee issues I mentioned last time - it got better.  Rest, ice packs, ibuprofen.  I did all the ladder climbing for the last show myself right on schedule, and took care of my knees so that crippling level of pain has not come back, although from time to time I can still get little twinges that tell me I still have to be careful, and improve my legs.

The play opened last night.  I am in my "two weeks off for self-improvement" I mentioned last time.  Financially I'll-advised but I feel like it's necessary anyway.  The good news is that now, I CAN ENVISION returning to work.  Previously it just seemed beyond me.

At the moment I'm a morning-riser.  Daylight-savings helped with that.  Weirdly, I pass out between 11 and 1 and wake up with the light of day on my face around 7.  Sunday I got up on the chilly morning, meditated, planned my day, walked around the neighborhood for an hour.  Tuesday I got up in the morning and went to the theatre and did most of the Jane Fonda low-impact aerobics (skipping a few high-intensity minutes) and stretch - felt fantastic.  Meanwhile, pain, swelling, flare-up, and drainage from my backside has reduced to neat non-issue status.  It has done so before, tricking me into thinking I'm better and then coming back - a very soul-sucking, debilitating pattern.  But I have a good feeling this time...

Anyway today, this morning, I again woke up early and excited to get a good start on my day.  Excited to go to the theatre and do the exercise video again.  It has little bends and squats in the choreography that I figure will be good for building up my hamstrings and the muscles around my knees, plus a pleasing full range of motion.  So I went and did it for 23 minutes, until right before the cool-down, I got palpitations.  I've had flutings before, randomly and rarely, and been told that I have an arrhythmia that isn't worth getting disturbed about.  Still, this felt a little more like I could have a heart attack, so I'm going to read up on heart-attack symptoms, work out carefully, keep improving my health, and mention it to the doctor when I have my annual physical soon.

Meanwhile, just a note about how I read other people's stories about their post-surgical recuperation...  Well, I guess it's different for everyone.  One friend had a terrible accident and broke his clavicle a month or so ago but he's back on the bike!  Why does his bone heal faster than my soft-tissue??  Grr.  Other friends have had surgeries that have set them back a bit more.  One had an athletic injury that she's going in to physical therapy for.  Another just posted video of herself victoriously walking without a walker (she's a dancer) and she's been mentioning her problem all year - a year of recuperating and she can only now walk!!  So I guess I fall in the middle...

So, a slow start but a definite upward slant on my optimism of returning to normal!!  Yay!  I already know my next goal is to make a bunch of money to eat a chunk out of this debt and get my travel on!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Things Fall Apart

Wow.  I haven't checked this blog in 11 months.  It's a bit of a time capsule to come back and read those last entries.  That interesting time when I moved back in with my parents, still had strength and hardiness, money and hope.  I was even working on dieting - I didn't remember that.  I had a weight loss goal and was succeeding.  Didn't realize that.

Shortly after that last post, over Thanksgiving weekend, I was sitting on the porch babysitting a yard sale when I felt a tinge of something unusual, in my butt.  That was when I first felt it.  Over the next month it grew more painful, maybe larger?  I couldn't bend over to pick things up off the floor anymore due to this new pain in my butt.  Just before Christmas, the pain getting so bad I was calling off from work, I called the doctor and it was eventually diagnosed - a peri-rectal abscess.  I was sent to a colo-rectal surgeon who lanced it.  I spent the Christmas holidays nursing the swelling which seemed to be getting worse again, and then the lancing wound became a fistula.  I was set for surgery at the end of the January to patch up the fistula.  During this time I soaked in a bathtub every night.  If you've never had a problem in your rectum, let me tell you, it brought me way down.  Just the sensation in that area is enough to encourage glumness.  I was massaging the lump to encourage drainage - but the sensation also encouraged my glumness.  I was so eager to get this behind me.  Went in for surgery in January, but they had hardly got started before the surgeon decided my abscess needed to drain and heal a lot more before he could close up the fistula.  At least, that's my understanding.  So I got cut, and had to sit in bed a couple weeks to heal, but then I was up and back at work thank goodness.  Still bathing every night.  Due to my work schedule and his vacation schedule and his slim availability to the operating room, the surgery that could have happened maybe in April didn't happen until the end of June.  After 2 weeks of lying in bed, I still was not given the go-ahead to do any exercise.  (I was very concerned about the effects on my body of lying around.)  I watched a lot of TV on my laptop and took several weeks off work while medical bills piled up.  That was July, August...  I keep hoping I'm healed and then I'm not.  I've been given the go-ahead to get back to full-level of activity.  However, as soon as I hope I'm healed I'll do a walk or get physically active (such as that is these days) and then I'll get this flare-up back there.  I have been doing the lighting designs at Actor's Theatre, and during my recuperation I was lucky enough to have my family to help me with the ladder-climbing.  In September I did all my own work on a design, then took a family vacation to Chesapeake for a week or so, before returning for an intense work period - which I'm in the middle of now.  And now I have knee pain that is so bad I can't climb ladders or descend stairs.

I think the knee pain has been coming on sort of gradually.  I have climbed some ladders in my life, and I've been obese, and I just turned 40 and I feel disabled.  But I have been taking glucosamine (when I think of it) for a while now to help with knee pain, and I have various leg and foot pains as well.  But I guess, I think, the knee thing may have been coming on for a while.  Right now it's horribly flared up.  Not only is this a tragedy for my work situation, it's a tragedy for my exercise situation.  I keep wanting to get back in shape but this crap keeps getting in the way.  I can't think of any cardio I can do with this knee like it is right now.  Even swimming in the pool would involve kicking.  Walking - I can do it painlessly but I think it makes it worse.

Tomorrow I will stay off my feet as much as possible and attend to the bad knee with an ice pack several times and try to plan for my lighting design that I have to do this week.

Salads, vegetables, fruits, avocado, and Metamucil have become a more important therapeutic part of my life.  I've always loved fruits and vegetables but didn't care too much for salads - that's all different now.

Anyway, especially given my tragic inactivity this year, my weight has continued to creep up and my physical hardiness has continued to decrease.  I was trying to do a low-impact aerobic workout video for a few days but that stopped when I stopped getting up early enough to finish it at the theatre before the other employees came in - I don't have anywhere else to do it.  I've done Pilates on the porch a couple times and considering my new unbendiness that has developed with a year of mostly lying and sitting, the Pilates actually feels really good and useful, but it's not cardio.  Yoga would be great if/when my knee can handle it.

I am almost back to square one but worse.  I'm 282 pounds and weak and wimpy.  I'm poor - I had to get a car in April (back before I'd paid for all this or realized I'd be so out of work for so long - still felt financially capable of stretching myself and getting a somewhat newer car that might be more reliable and useful... so that was $8500 that I'm paying off in monthly payments...)  I haven't done any stagehand work in months.  If my body gets better, I might be able to get back to that.  Otherwise, I might have to change careers - something I actually welcome but don't know what direction to go in yet.  Given a particularly-timed issue with the new healthcare things going into effect, my future with IATSE is extremely pertinent.

All this to say that, as soon as my schedule allows, I'm ready to take two weeks OFF to devote myself to losing weight and improving my physical health.  This time the weight loss isn't just motivated by the desire to fit into all the cute too-small-for-me clothes stuffing my drawers and closets (though that's long been a motivation) but I now have the more serious health reasons.  Whether this knee problem is osteoarthritis or bursitis or whatever, being 282 pounds doesn't help.

Problems are - I'm still with my parents, and that makes things a little messy.  What system should I go on?  Back on ediets?  It's cheaper now, only $10 per month.  Sparkpeople meal plans are free but I've never really liked them as much.  Really, I don't care what system I do, as long as I can commit to it 100%, in mindless slavish devotion, in order to get the pounds to fall off fast at first.  I want to be lighter on my knee ASAP.  And even though I have several printouts of the ediets meals, I might just rejoin anyway for $10 per month.  I think that would be better for me.  The fewer choices I have, the more I can just OBEY, the more likely I am to stick to it without getting confused.

So it's cool to come back and see that so many of the old favorite people are still blogging here.  I haven't had the chance to figure out whether everyone has been more successful than I have at continuing to achieve their goals or at least not falling all the way back to Square One.  I look forward to finding that out.  Congratulations to you on your continued efforts.