Six Months–Shrinking

This, my six month sleeveversary, post is dedicated to all the newbies, the still deciding, and those who just need to take a step back and really see how far they’ve come…because like I always say:  This journey will eat your brain if you let it…
As most of you know, I was sleeved 8 March 2016 so I just passed my six months. I do not ‘celebrate’ my surgery day because that’s just the surgeon doing his job.
Instead I celebrate my first full day home from the hospital because that’s the day it’s all on me now.
That was yesterday. 
Of course, I have been extra contemplative. 
It’s only natural. 
Extra contemplative, however, to the point I have written this six month post more than three times already. 
This journey cannot be contained in a reasonable amount of words so I decided to pick the ones that would likely help others as much as they have helped me.
Anyway…
I scooted out of the house yesterday before taking my measurements. This morning I was half dressed before remembering and stripped back down just to mark the occasion. But, not before debating if I really “needed” to take them.
Thankfully, I decided that since I have to be out of the house before 8 a.m. tomorrow that I had better stop now and record the numbers. It only took me about five minutes and then I got dressed so we could go out to breakfast.
 
It wasn’t until coming home that I was actually able to reflect on the numbers and compare my progress.
“Whoa!!!”
 
All the “big” body parts–chest, waist, hips, thighs–have shrunk more than one inch for every month I am post op.
 
A whole inch.  Per month.  Minimum.  Per body part.
 
I am six months post-op so that means I am at least six inches narrower than I was. To give yourself and idea go find a ruler and look at six inches.
 
But here’s the thing my chest (bra band) was the smallest shrinker at 7.25 inches.

My waist: 9.75 inches.

My hips: 10.25 inches.

My thigh: 6.25 inches (right leg only because I’m right handed…some people measure both but I don’t).

All the ‘little’ body parts–neck, bicep, forearm, calf, ankle–all shrunk from 1.5 to 3.75 inches.
Actually one of the things I am really loving about my journey is I am shrinking in nice proportions.
 
What I really want to stress especially to you newbies is thanks to the ‘joys’ of thyroid disease I am a slow loser by comparison. I try not to compare but most post-ops lose so much faster than I have so I’m only mentioning it to give you an idea that my results are slower than what many people experience.
Slower.
But, still awesome…and it feels great!!!!
be-proud-of-yourself

Now take a look at that ruler again.
Put it up next to your body.
Make yourself see it.
Half of a foot, at least.
 
Six months.
So what have I been contemplating?
Well, like I said I cannot contain it in a reasonable amount of words so I have decided my focus thought for September is: “Self-Reflection.”
I have changed in more ways than size.
Thoughts I had at the beginning no longer matter.
Things I never thought to think or at least thought I would not be thinking about at this point are flooding my brain.  The only logical thing to do is let myself think.
My journey has always been about becoming rather than losing so one of the big questions I am asking myself is: Who am I becoming?
So far, I’m liking the answers.
Plus, I’m still waiting on my thyroid retest results anyway and since my body is clearly unimpressed with my efforts of late now is the perfect time to think.  I am sure my doctor will be lowering my thyroid medication so it will be a few more weeks before my body is rid of this stupor.  Instead of driving myself bananas I am just going to sit right here and be…(and by sit right here I mean while doing all the things I know I am supposed to, to elicit results).
Skinnier…by at least half a ruler and close to a full ruler at the widest part of my body.
nobody-sees-the-number-on-the-scale
 

Lowest Known Adult Weight

211.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it.  I’m still in a little bit of shock.

My lowest known adult weight was 212.2 on 10/24/05.  It was a few months after I became only the second person in my family to graduate college with at least an Associate’s degree.  But, I actually had two of them and on my way to a Bachelor’s degree.  I also was getting divorced.

The regain was slow–10 pounds in the following two years–but it did happen.  Then I remarried in 2008, found out he was clinically insane (no, really like the stuff of horror movies), got divorced again, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and gained over 50 pounds in four months as the side effects of the medication took hold.

I went from healthy and active to disabled and gaining weight I didn’t earn in less than eighteen months.

It was heart-wrenching.

Then in 2010, I kicked the medications to the curb and demanded my life back.

It’s been a long, slow journey to here and I absolutely know having weight loss surgery was the right tool for me and my body.

I have been curious how I would feel about getting here.  I have lost all the weight of those painful moments and have arrived at a weight when I felt my most triumphant.  I was curious if that feeling would return too.

It has.

It’s taken me just less than two months to lose 11 pounds so I’m giving myself two months to lose 11.1 pounds and see 199.9.

Onederland…you’re mine.Goals Quote

 

 

On Never Giving Up The Hunt For Simple Solutions

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most obvious and easiest solution is the most oft overlooked?

I have hinted here and there that I have been working with a nutritionist for the past few months.  One of the things she puts an emphasis on is supplementing with whey protein.  She was delighted to learn I have been doing so for the past 15 or so years.  She said one of the biggest battles she has with clients is convincing them certain bodies, especially those with chronic medical conditions, need the extra nutritional support.

For people with fibromyalgia the cheapest, cleanest, easiest way to infuse our bodies with the glutathione they so desperately need is with whey protein.

Except there’s a catch: Most national brands of flavored whey protein contain chemical sweeteners which can send a fibro body into a full-on temper tantrum.

Not all patients understand why the whey which is supposed to be helping them is not.  As a consumer, and a health and patient advocate, it is a source of great frustration.

I’ll avoid ranting excessively other than to say I cannot wrap my head around the sense of doing healthy things for your body only to be battling artificial sweeteners at every turn.

Pure whey protein is nourishing and healing.

The chemicals in artificial sweeteners are potentially disease-promoting.

Isn’t this a case of multiplying fractions imitating real life?

Remember, sometimes numbers cancel themselves out when you multiply fractions.

Whey
X
Artificial Sweetener
Not doing any good whatsoever

However in case you have yet to taste plain, unflavored, unsweetened whey protein it is fairly vile on its own therefore ingredients do need to be added to make it more palatable.

Ingredients NOT chemicals.

There are a few brands gaining national traction which contain non-chemical sweeteners but they also come with a bit of sticker shock.  In some cases, the price is more than triple.  I don’t know about anyone else but my wallet cannot absorb triple the price for the convenience of a ready-to-mix flavored powder.

The other drawback to the pre-naturally-sweetened varieties is they are often so sickly sweet I cannot bear to drink them.

My solution has been using unadulterated whey and blending it with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I rarely add a sweetener.  Simple.  Inconvenient.  Time consuming.  Messy.  Good for me.

Healthy is as healthy does though and my body has responded wonderfully.

I really do try to keep doing the things which coax my body to respond wonderfully.  It’s just good practice for us all, don’t you agree.

Yet, I am always on the hunt for ways to simplify or even add a little convenience for the days when life is overflowing.  Remember, I have been doing this for at least 15 years so I have had a lot of time to not realize I can mix my own whole ingredients to make my own mixes.  Two days ago I found this great blog with recipes for homemade whey protein powders.

Seriously?

Like, really…where was my brain?

SO SIMPLE?

After I tested her “Gimme Chocolate” recipe I started thinking of all the ways I could expand on her concept to bring other flavors to the mix.  Those thoughts sent me down a four hour research hole.  I’d love to tell what I found but I’m keeping it a secret until I can order some supplies and make some mixes.

The recipe was PERFECTION, by the way.  Intense cocoa, lightly sweet, easy, convenient, and from jar to glass was six pure ingredients including the water and ice.

Pure ingredients have no other ingredients: for example, my cocoa powder contains only cocoa powder.

Please do not be fooled with convenience recipes which say they have a certain number of ingredients when the truth is each ingredient has 3, 8, or 27 items listed on its own packaging.

SIX INGREDIENTS.

That’s it.

And, it tasted great too!

The journey to this point has been wonderfully worth the effort.

I can pat myself on the back and say it takes a lot of courage and determination plus a healthy amount of stubbornness to hang in there as long as I do sometimes.  When it comes to health and healing, those qualities are crucial.

Remember:

It’s not supposed to be easy because if it was everyone would be healthy.

However:

We also do not have to go out of our way sometimes to make it so damned hard.

“Just eat real food.”~ Michelle, my nutritionist.

(She has helped me lose 11 pounds so far even with a 10-pound water weight gain nightmare.)

 

 

 

 

 

Week 3: I’m going to make this short.

Yes, I know some of you are laughing and that’s cool.  You’re laughing because you know me and are well-acquainted with my lengthy posts.  It’s all good.  But, I promise this will be short because I’ve actually been dreading writing a behemoth all day.  Then I realized I could use economy in my writing.  I could simply say….

THIS WEEK SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!

But that’s not the whole truth.

It just feels like the whole truth because my body’s a bloated, water retaining, puffy mess.

The truth is I made some positive strides.

I made my first ever canning jar salads.  I admit I was skeptical but they’re really rather awesome.

Tomatoes, yellow peppers, celery, and radishes in roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Tomatoes, yellow peppers, celery, and radishes in roasted red pepper vinaigrette

However, I did learn that radishes brewed in vinegary dressing for a few days sorta smell like feet (note to self: put the radishes on the top next time).  Other than the stinky feet smell they were actually super yum and oh so convenient.  Three jars of chopped veggie salads took me less than 15 minutes from chopping to sealing.

Then Wednesday showed up, my allergies turned on the juice, and that’s where misery found me.

Thursday night was good and bad.  An Instagram friend showed me a cool coconut flour mug cake so I “had” to try it.  It was low carb and highly DELISH.  Easy, healthy, and clean….But, a dessert on a Thursday?????  Honestly for as good as it was it made me feel like crap for not sticking to my plan.

Friday was allergies AND my new neck thingy.  I couldn’t feel my fingers on my right hand so I didn’t enter my food into Fitday and haven’t since.  I can give myself a pass for not doing it when I’m in pain but for avoiding it the rest of the time I absolutely know better.

WP_20150124_003Saturday was busy early and peaceful later.  In the afternoon, I went with my hubs to deliver some firewood near “my” mountain.  It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world and I really needed to be there.

Today has been good.  Reward Days are easier though.  I admit I am behind on water and I haven’t eaten exactly every three hours but otherwise it’s been a good day.  I even went for a walk.

About the walk: I am officially a fibro girl in training.

Training for what?

Used without permission from Princess Cruise's Facebook page.

Used without permission from Princess Cruise’s Facebook page.

CRUISING TO MEXICO!!!!!!!

One of my secrets to enjoying vacation with fibromyalgia is putting myself in training weeks before the planned get away.

Fibro bodies need time to work up to the activity level of the trip.  I believe this is where so many fibros fail when attempting to go on vacation (or even grocery shopping…but that’s a topic for another day, another blog).

But enough of that for now.

The only other thing I want to share is: The scale is up even more than last week.  I know it’s lying.  I know I’m bloated and puffy so I reject the number.  It is not real so I refuse to give it space in my brain (okay you know I’m thinking about it but what I mean is I’m trying to not let those thoughts go south).

Just remember accountability is NOT perfection.  It is about owning your mistakes AND moving forward.  This week could have been better and that’s on me.

 

Week Two: Ugh!

UghUgh!

Just ugh!

But allow me to likely ramble while I elaborate.

Do you remember the pain I talked about last week?  Wellllllllllll it turns out that pain was something.

Oh make no mistake fibromyalgia pain IS something but last week’s pain wasn’t the fibro pain I’m used to.

Fortunately, three weeks ago I had scheduled a check-in appointment with my doctor.  Then on the day of the appointment something more urgent came up.

Isn’t it always the way?

The next morning I headed straight for the nurse practitioner’s office in another city and part of the group of doctors I see.  He always have open appointments.  I was seen in less than an hour after my phone call.

The diagnosis:

Cervical Ridiculopathy.

RIDICULOUS!!!!!

(Yeah, the irony that those two words contain many of same letters is not lost on me.  Not one effing bit).

Now before I dive off into much more of an explanation of this particular pain I am going to stop myself and say simply I left with orders for an MRI with the potential of surgery looming.

That much pain!

I spent the next day and a half pouting.

I usually only allow myself one day but under the circumstances I needed a little more time to work through it.

What has this done to my efforts to lose weight?

Upset them of course!!!!!!!!

Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s have taught me to march through a lot of pain and dysfunction but yet another new issue which may have life-long consequences?

“C’mon body, work with me dammit!”

Sigh.

I was frustrated and not at all totally on plan.

My food was okay.

On my day and a half of pouting, I did “need” a bag of Skittles.

I wanted fruity, sweet.

I wanted to feel better.

The first 8, 10, 12 Skittles were exactly what I was hoping for.  The rest of the bag honestly tasted like shit.  All the flavors blended together.  The waxy, polished shell was annoying and gross.  And, they failed to satisfy.

However, all the parts of my brain which light up in the presence of sugar were awake for the first time in days.Sugar brain scan

As a drug, Skittles gave me what I was hoping for.

I rarely resort to sugar but….and maybe this is going to be too much TMI for many of you…but when amazing sex isn’t enough of a rush it’s time to bring out sugar.

Yep, sex more than sugar is one of my pain coping mechanisms.

This time it failed.

Ironically even though it was completely a lovely union, when it failed to pull me out of the pain-pit it was a perfect sign something more than just fibro was going on.

When I send fibro pain a rush of intimacy-fueled endorphins, she says, “Thank You Nice Lady,” and calms down at least for a little while.  This time.  Nada.  Okay, not true but only maybe 15-20 minutes of post-coital bliss.

What has pain done to my commitment to move?

Honestly, not much.

Am I doing much with my upper body?  Uhh, that’s a big, fat NO!!!!!!!

But am I still moving?  Yep.  Even on my days when I was “resting” I was still getting up every 60-90 minutes.

How’s the scale look?

Bloated.

Not weight gain, bloated.  Water retention, bloated.

One of the things chronic pain has taught me is just how much our muscles rely on water to process pain and in this case injury.  Any pain event causes the scale to jump not because I’m being ‘bad’ and not doing the things I need to but because my body is in recovery mode.

As much as I know this, it’s soul sucking to see the scale and my body puff-up.

However this experience reinforces my message that when you are trying to lose weight with fibro, thyroid disease, or even your run of the mill ridiculous, ridiculopathy you have to keep you head on straight.  You have to know in advance what you are going to do and more importantly NOT do when pain hits you.

My best advice:  If you can conquer the mental part of the game and only use food as a tool–even a little sugar–to vault you from where you are to where you need to be, when you body is back to behaving you won’t have to battle extra and real weight gain.

WP_20150108_001My best, BEST advice: DRINK WATER!!!!!!!  If you’re a water-hater like me figure out what you need to do to DRINK WATER anyway.  My new favorite is no sugar, no artificial sugar, lightly flavored seltzer water.  Flavor it!  Infuse it!  Drink mix it!  JUST DRINK IT!

I also love that the name of the store brand is “Super Chill” because I have been needing to do a super lot of chilling this week.

In a weird way my new water find has been a comforting reminder this pain is going to pass.  It might be a speed bump now but it is going to get better.  If I keep my head, it won’t throw me off track too much.

Keep Calm…and move on…even if you need to ugh, ugh, ugh along the way.

 

 

 

 

CI#97–I’m Back From A Break

My last post swirled around the INSANITY of losing weight with thyroid disease and fibromyalgia.  My answer to that 12 October post: STOP.  Stop being insane.

So I did the unfathomable and decided to STOP Carb Cycling or even paying too much attention to food, calories, fitness, but not the scale.

Used without permission from queenofyourlife.com

Used without permission from queenofyourlife.com

On that little pain in my ass, I kept a strong eye.  I was watching and waiting for it to creep upward and then I was going to hang out there for a few days and BAM hit the Carb Cycling again.

How’d that work out?

It was INSANE TOO!!!!

At first there was no change at all.  It took about a week for my body to add a couple of pounds from the extra carbs.  And I do know it was the extra carbs because I was NOT using this break as an excuse to hork down everything in sight.  It was simple a rule-less break.  I ate when I was hungry.  I ate veggies IF I felt like it and the went same for carbs, protein, sugar, and fat but I did not overeat.  Not even on Thanksgiving did I eat too much, of course, it was easy because I didn’t cook.  Yeah, not a single sweet potato did I prepare.

My plan was to let myself “gain” five pounds.

Now that “gain” is in parenthesis because I knew most of it would be from excess glycogen in my muscles and not true weight gain because again I was NOT overeating so I wasn’t going to really gain weight.

So I bet you’re wondering how long it took to pack on five whole pounds?

Well, my last teary post was October 12 and the last day I recorded my food in Fitday was 30 October.   The days between my emotional break down and my last food journal entry was me deciding what to do and ultimate deciding to take a big deep breath and to stop toiling in the insanity.

I also realized I’ve been on some sort of plan since July 2013–or 15 months–until my body stopped responding to my efforts.  Once that dawned on me, it was easier to give myself permission to step away.  But, I didn’t step until I had a plan to jump back.  That is where the five pound “gain” came in.

To be fair I actually learned about this approach when I was a personal trainer at Curves for Women in the 90s and for some reason I remembered it.  Curves founder Gary Heavin, suggests when transitioning to maintenance to never let yourself gain more than five pounds.  If or when you do, he says to just jump back on your plan until you lose the weight.  Then you keep repeating the cycle until your metabolism readjusts so you don’t gain by eating like a normal person.  It’s probably one of the most intelligent maintenance plans I’ve ever known of so I decided to give it whirl.  Heavin suggests the more “broken” your metabolism the faster that weight will come on as an almost “flight or fight” type response.  “Oh look more food.  Let’s keep it,” sort of thing.

Let’s go back to my last day of found journaling: 30 October.

Like I said, I gained 2-2.5 pounds in after 15 days.

Then the scale just bobbed.  Up a little, down a little but essentially the same.

When did I gain the rest?

This past weekend I went up another .5-.75 pounds.

First I’m bitching because the scale races upward when I’m doing everything to bring it down and now I can’t gain an ounce eating dessert a couple of nights a week.

Seriously, body?

When did I top out at a five pound gain?

Wednesday morning.

So I have to give a shout out to the amazing cheesecake from the Fish Rock Grill.  Thank you, Oh Glorious Turtle Cheesecake for making me a bloated, puffy mess who had a near-meltdown when the scale shot all the way up to 247.

Thankfully, the 247 thing was fleeting and was like the result of teryikai sauce and restaurant food as much as that creamy, ooey, gooey, caramely, slice of awesome (sorry you probably didn’t need to read that but it was amazing and I’m slightly sad I know it exists).

If that 247 was real would have lost my ever lovin’ mind.

Those 240s were not nice to me at all.

This morning 4 December: 244.4.

Thirty-five days after I threw Carb Cycling and Fitday aside.  It took my body 35 long, wonderful, beautiful days.

Huh?

Oh you’re confused?

If Mr. Heavin is right, and I do believe he is, my metabolism didn’t see me going off the rails as a threat so it didn’t pack on the pounds in a matter of days.  It was calm.  It was patient.  Or, maybe it was just taking a nap.

If my metabolism was kissable, I’d kiss it.

And now it’s time to keep my promise to jump back on track.

So here I am declaring, “I’m BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK.”

Am I jumping right back in?

No.

I’m taking the rest of the week to slowly add structure back in to my eating and I’ll start Carb Cycling on Monday.

Is this an excuse to keep eating off track?

Nope.

I know from experience my guts are going to revolt if I suddenly switch gears so I’m being kind to my body and easing back in.  The results of tonight’s roasted cauliflower lets me know I’m pretty wise to take it easy, ’nuff said, right.

But, I’ve actually saved the best result for last.

During my break, I did continue to use my BodyBugg/BodyMedia device because I wanted to make sure my activity level did not dip off too.  Taking a much-needed break is smart but losing mobility would have been months of me trying to cajole my body back to being willing to move.  Since today marks 100 days until my hubs and I set sail for the Mexican Riviera losing mobility would have been a different brand of insanity.

Anyway, do you know what happened during my break?

MY METABOLISM JUMPED 150 CALORIES A DAY!!!!!

Are you frickin’ kidding me?

Nope.

It got FASTER.

Not carb cycling also gave me a chance to not worry about not eating carbs so I found a few new carby recipes to add to my rotation which I do believe will be important since so many of my days were just a blur of protein and veggies but starchy veggiesonly on high carb days, of course.

Best of all, after 35 days I am ready for a kickass low carb Monday.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about my body’s penchant for insanity though.

I know I didn’t tell you why I’ve been missing and I apologize for that but I needed to just be in my own head for this one.  (OMGOSH, I am NOT going to freak out about how puffy my face looks….deep breath…it’s a new camera angle…you’ve gained a little….you’re bloated…just breathe…can’t wait until Monday now).

One Size Definitely Does NOT Fit All–CI #95

Oh wow it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these.  Honestly, I have been teetering on the edge of not being very nice to myself for it either.  So I’m here to say to myself “You did it now go do something else you need to do.”

What’s been keeping me?

My hubs finally is having surgery on his knee next week.
My thyroid’s been wacky.
I have had a kid go through a mini-crisis.
My time has been cut-up into weird chunks and I’m just superstitious enough of a writer to think it’s cast a funky mojo on my creativity.
The county fair took a couple of weeks too.
The weather–Monsoon season to be precise.  It’s the roller coaster of the weather world–60+ percent humidity, rain and 90+ degree heat all at once.
Our cruise, the reason I started this whole project-first was moved and now is cancelled, most likely.  There’s a slim chance we will still go this year.

You know, “normal” life stress.

*rolling my eyes*

And then there is this project.

The Give It 100 rules changed and I did not like it but I got over it.  Then all of the above happened and I found myself needing to cut a few things loose.  This video project which actually consumes more time than you would imagine was one of those things.  Today, I am hugely grateful for the changes to the Give It 100 format and for the opportunity to finish what I started…and to start another video project (it’s a secret for now so I am just telling you to annoy you…lol).

While I am here, I would like to climb on my soapbox a moment.  Since this is my space I can do that 🙂

Here goes…I have been frustrated lately by how many times I see people say “I can’t” or “I won’t” simply because whatever tool is before them does not fit them perfectly so I am using this space to scream……

GET OVER IT and GET OVER YOURSELF and QUIT USING IT AS AN EXCUSE TO SET YOURSELF UP TO FAIL

For heaven’s sakes, use the collective genius of the world, and use your brain to make your own decisions about how to use that information in your own situation.

Whew!

Now that, that is off my chest let me explain.

You are limiting yourself if you are looking for a perfect, one size fits all solution that does not require any of your own genius to maintain.

Limiting.

Yourself.

I am on a mission to transform my life so I do look to a lot of genius types for help.  I take what works for me and I leave what doesn’t.

Is it because I do not want to follow a plan or be told what to do or how to conduct my life, NO!  It is because I have a lot of things to consider.

Image Credit: Oglivie Design

Image Credit: Oglivie Design

As a writer of a transformational book–oh yeah that’s been chipping away at my time too–I know once someone develops an idea to the point it is replicable by the masses it also become watered down to the point of being generic.  Why?  Because it is utterly impossible to address advice to the masses which is perfectly suited to each and every individual situation.

For example, Burpees are a thing in the exercise world right now.  They are a fantastic exercise.  I used to do them.  But…Now, I cannot.  The thought of taking my vertigo alone through that sequence makes me laugh.  I’d break something or someone!  So if someone tries to tell me the only way to burn fat is to do Burpees I can choose to believe that or I can use my own intellect to know that is not wise advice for me and move on…without drama, without creating a scene about my inability to do a Burpee or ranting about their stupidity for insisting on them.  Instead, I choose to use my own brain AND find what I CAN do without wasting a moment’s energy on what I cannot.  In my case, I also fired the trainer who insisted I do them because “They are the only way to really burn fat.”

In all fairness to Burpees, I also did not sign with the private yoga instructor who insisted on hour-long sessions three times a week either because I know my medical conditions better than to try to start there.  I tried to explain but she was so convinced her system was the only way she did not get my money.

In fact, I have yet to find a trainer that will start with where my body is now and help me work it up to where they and I would want it to be.  I am offering them money for their time and they are saying no because where I am is not worth their effort or time.  Crazy, huh?  But, I also have not stopped searching

If anyone says, it’s “My way or the highway” and you have a chronic disease of any sort they are automatically NOT the trainer or support person for you.  That leaves a lot of us chronic chickies on our own to find what works for us.  The utterly sad thing is when I see “normal” people say they “can’t” because something does work for them so I know it is not just a “sick person” thing to do.  So well or sick please, I am begging you, do not be afraid to get creative.  I am proof-positive creative solutions work.

Years ago I was a member of a fibromyalgia support group and suggested the “Sit and Be Fit” exercise series to some group members.  It is one of the things I have used to get my fitness on because it is what I CAN do.  Some excited members looked it up only to return and scold me, “We don’t have arthritis, Tanya, what we NEED is someone with fibro to show us how to exercise.”  Good Golly Miss Molly!  Here is someone with fibro…ME….telling you how she uses the program and how you can exercise and just because it’s “for” people with arthritis and not fibromyalgia they limited themselves by it cannot possibly be useful to someone with fibromyalgia.  Aye Carumba!

I’m here to tell you in my early exercising-with-fibro days I learned a TON from watching old, arthritic people exercise.  They move slowly and gently but deliberately.  I’ll even go so far as to admit in the beginning they moved BETTER than I could so I copied their fine example until I could move like that too.

That was almost three years ago.  I have graduated beyond the “Sit and Be Fit” exercise routines.  I am nowhere near Burpees and hour-long yoga classes but that is okay.  I have lost almost 35 pounds WITH fibromyalgia and thyroid disease while not following Chris Powell’s Carb Cycling program to a tee and by not exercising like a “normal” person would.

I feel sorry for the people who have a need to have every single thing in their lives tailor-prescribed for them by someone else instead of collecting the wisdom of the world available at their fingertips and tailoring it to fit their own individual needs.

Think about this: Few of the great inventors had any sort of blueprint when they started.  The simple desire to create a solution was their only spark.

The essence of transformation is creating sustainable, personal solutions.

You can do that, can’t you?

My best advice: Get Creative!  Do not be afraid to tweak things to match your ability and health because the truth is your ability and health depend on it.

PS….Yes, I understand the inherent hypocrisy of this ranting post when I’ve advised you to not rant and find what works but frankly there are not enough of you believing in yourself that I feel I needed to be the one to say something.

 

 

 

A Milestone, A Memory, And A Victory Redux–CI#94 (with video)

Here it is 25 July, the day I started Carb Cycling, the day that changed my life, the day I found my biggest key to healthy, sustainable weight loss.  What a year it has been!  From doing the work to decide to have weight loss surgery, to the work it was to take a step back on the advice of current weight loss surgery and thyroid patients,  to all of that being the reason I found Carb Cycling in the first place.

I have to be honest here.  I had heard of Chris Powell before and decided I wasn’t going to be a fan.  When the show Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition debuted I rolled my eyes at the notion of some other celebrity trainer setting normal folks up for unrealistic expectations.  I made that assumption without ever bothering to watch the show, of course.  Now that I know Chris and what he does and why and how he does it, I know he’s an absolute genius.

In less than a year, I went from that perspective to auditioning for a chance to work with Chris on the show.  That was work too.  Lots of tears, lots of shaking, lots of whiny conversations with my husband all while giving this Carb Cycling thing a go.

I was not considered for the show.

And that was work too.  A few tears and some shaking and still lots of whining–hey, I was disappointed.  Not only did I want to be on the show for me but for Chris–by all accounts he’s never had the challenge of a multiple chronic illness babe–and for all of you including the hundreds of my chronic brothers and sisters who do not know me and who go to his page asking for help.  I wanted to help Chris know how we’re different but still worthy.  It wasn’t to be and that’s okay because I know that is where my mission lies.  My journey, this journey is not just about me but it is about you too because when I am done I want you to know there is no chronic disease strong enough to stop you when you really dig deep and figure out what YOUR body needs.

In my celebration of this day and the previous 364, I decided to pull out the white jeans I wore on the day I had to fire my divorce attorney in open court while he was on the phone an entire state away and with my $1,000 retainer so I could agree to represent myself in my divorce proceedings and they fit.

Today for the first time in over five years (yes, I know the video says five but it’s really been longer than the more I think about it).  Near as I can tell it’s been at least six years since my divorce was seven years ago and my fibromyalgia hit me five years ago and I know I couldn’t wear them then.

Wait.

Back up.

“You represented yourself?,” you ask.

Yeah.

Kicked the other attorney in the ass too to the point the poor judge just kept staring at me like, “Who are you woman?”

It was one of my finest moments of badassery.

My then husband was already whoring around with his cousin (they’re now married) and refusing to step up to his kids and to me.  In the two years, I waited for that court date to arrive, I had precisely nothing better to do with my time than read Utah divorce code.  I knew it like the back of my hand so when the judge asked if I was willing to proceed without counsel my yes echoed so loudly in the quiet courtroom it startled everyone, even myself.

And, I also prayed a mighty prayer, “Dear God, please be with me…please allow me to know what the other attorney is going to say so I might have a few moments to collect myself before needing to respond.”

It was answered with perfection.

I was able to read his thoughts, collect myself, and respond with fierceness, even citing code a time or two.

I won every single outstanding issue and that smug little pipsqueak, okay both of them–my ex, his legal turkey–just stood there as white as my pants with their eyes bugged out.

Me and God and these white pants.

The linen blouse with the huge pink roses is still waiting for my core and bat wings to whittle down just a bit more before it fits too.

When fibro happened and the weight piled on so impossibly fast and when I found myself trapped in a body that was never going to be able to move the way I was used to moving it–sending 100-pound stacks of weights flying–I thought I would never be able to wear these pants again.  I almost gave them away.  The bad ass in me said, “No, you need to remember these.”

Then when fibro happened, I turned to one of the things I do best: reading.  I read all about moving bodies and how joints and muscles work.  I paid attention to Dr. Mark Pelligrino’s suggestion that body mechanics–fibronomics–are crucial to successful management of fibromyalgia.  I read about metabolism and health and fitness.  When I was done reading, I moved.

Yes, it hurt.

A lot.

At first.

But as I paid attention to all I read and learned I noticed ways to move my new fibro body better so fibro was not so much of an issue.  I started with a goal to move five minutes a day and for the whole first year I could not manage it more than three days in a row.

That was over three years ago.

Today, with the right amount of preparation and recovery I can do whatever I want.  Yes, sometimes fibro bites me for it because that is just part and parcel of the disease and not a big enough excuse for me to think I can’t move in whatever way I choose.  Sometimes, the bite is like a new puppy and sometimes a Great White Shark and sometimes I do not know beforehand which it will be but I move anyway because fibromyalgia is not a “get out of moving free” card for the rest of my life.  In fact, I know without a shadow of a doubt fibromyalgia is gives me more reasons to move than any 100 normal people I know.

Then about 18 months ago, I decided my weight was next.

I have known about my thyroid disease for over 20 years and confirmed Hashimoto’s Disease almost three years ago (suspected it for at least 15) so I read about that and when I was done reading I went to work.

I failed miserably and that is what lead me to decide to undergo a vertical sleeve gastrectomy only to change my mind and arrive here today…wearing these bad ass white jeans…the ones I just slide off without unbuttoning or zipping…what the hell is that about…a month ago I couldn’t zip them and I’ve only this week lost a single pound since the last time I tried them.

Anyway…

In case you missed it, the reason why I am succeeding now is I am actively reaching to my past, to my pre-fibro, pre-chronic babe life and pulling on every single shred of success I have ever known and duplicating the method I used to get what I wanted and applying it to fibromyalgia and my thyroid and tweaking it until I make it work with the new set of rules my body lives by.

The rules of weight loss are solid but they are not so inflexible that our stiff, chronic bodies cannot reach them.

There is a way.

It is work.

There is success…sometimes in the form of white jeans….and 31 pounds down in my first year (and when I have never, not once, not ever lost 31 pounds in a single year you better believe I’m sashshaying in these jeans and my memories of a different victory.

The bad ass…she lives…no THRIVES.

 

My “Unoffical” Weight Loss For The Year, CI#93B (with video)

Exactly one year ago today I weighed, 277.4 pounds.  Today I weighed in at 249.6…HOWEVER…and this is why I’m calling it unofficial…I’m retaining water and flaring like a beast…but on 3 July I weighed 247.4…for a total and what I am going to call my OFFICIAL weight loss of 30 pounds.

My fellow fibro gals and guys this stupid beast can pack on the pounds overnight and my best advice: Do whatever you need to so that does not mess with your head.

Anytime the scale takes a “fake” jump I just do not count it.  Nope.  Now, if I’ve been horking down the goodies I will absolutely own and record it but gains from water retention and/or flaring, which also causes your muscles to store water and glycogen, there’s no way in hell I am ever going to say “Oops, my bad,” to that.

Here’s my Fitday.com screen shot of my weight loss.  Each one of those green dots represents a day the scale moved up or down.  There are approximately 36 down dots and I’m not bothering to count the up ones (nor did I count the down ones unless they were lower than the most recent lowest dot so going up and then down did not count until it passed the previous lowest dot).

Screenshot 2014-07-09 17.55.08Just a note about the screenshot.  To give you an accurate representation of what my weight loss looked like through the year I needed to change my “goal weight” to 247.4.  Obviously that is not my goal since I do not have a weight loss goal but in the interest of full-disclosure my next “goal weight” is 236.6–the weight I was before fibromyalgia found me.  That’s right I am just 10.8 pounds away.  I had dearly hoped to reach it today but considering my recent thyroid med change only produced a whopping .8 pound loss for the month of June it just was not in the cards.  Finding that number is the ultimate middle finger to fibro.  I know I will get there but I also know right now my body is fighting my thyroid to have a functioning metabolism and until that battle is through the very best I can do is to stay me and do all the good things I normally do.

So that’s it kiddos…30 pounds in one year…almost double my “normal” average quarter of a pound a week.  Read that again.  Even WITH fibro and a funky thyroid I DOUBLED my normal weight loss.

DO NOT LET YOUR DISEASE–no matter what it is–DEFINE WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO.

You are better than that.  Your body deserves better than that so if weight loss is on your mind you just pick yourself up and go for a walk because that has been the “magic” I have used.  Healthy food in the right quantity and movement appropriate for my battered body is what brought me here today.

People always ask “what’s your secret” and I always laugh and say, “Hard work.”  I do find it interesting that it is rare for someone to ask what the hard work is but in the event they do I share my daily routine, no matter how much I hurt–even today–is making sure I burn MORE calories than I eat.  I hurt, I move.  I don’t hurt, I move a little more.

Flares are never an excuse to stuff my face with crap to “ease my pain” and people who do that make me entirely crazy.  People…sugar is a known inflammatory agent so when your body is going berserk it is really the last thing you should be giving yourself.

Feed your body…not your pain.

No matter how comforting that sugary food feels you are wrecking your body and prolonging your pain.

Now while there is no magic to the scale creeping ever-downward, keeping myself sane with the pace and being happy with what my fibro body will allow me to do when my soul wants to run–oh if only my body would let me I would be a 5k running freak.  My real work happens–IN MY HEAD–because the difficulty level is second only to dealing with my thyroid body’s nonsense.

Do you notice I separate them from each other and who I really am and what I really want to be?

As long as my soul soars, I will THRIVE to find that balance with my different “bodies”–thyroid and fibro but also defective hip, knee, and spine–because they are just parts of my body and my soul is all mine.  Perhaps it sounds like a silly head game and I guess it is but it is also how I cope.

I am the author of my experience and my diseases are the annoying punctuation.

Today I celebrate one year.

Today I hurt like hell and to the point I cancelled part of my day–yeah, if you know me at all how often do you hear me say that–that’s where my pain levels are and I am celebrating anyway.

It’s called THRIVING.

Use the vents in the fireplace: Multi Animal Print top, December 2012, Black Jumper, December 2013 and Brown floral print, today.

Progress

IMG_5672

The Importance Of Knowing Your Body, OR My Final Word On Why I Do Not And Will Not Have a Goal Weight Ever Again, CI#88

I am so excited I can hardly type…that is what happens when everything you have ever guessed about your body is proven true.

Guess #1: My body has more muscle than most girls.

Guess #2: My body is never going to conform to the charts–BMI or healthy weight for height

Guess #3:  Because of 1 and 2, I will be able to weigh more AND still be healthy

As you know, I drove to Las Vegas yesterday to gamble on an endocrinologist who is also board certified in metabolism and specializes in weight loss (I will be explaining the thyroid portion of the appointment in a different post).

As part of that appointment, he used the Tanita Body Composition Analyzer TBF-215 to produce a snapshot of  my body composition.  I was not expecting this to be a part of the visit so I have to say I was giddy as that moment when all the bells and whistles start to chime when a slot machine hits a big payout (not that I gamble a lot…I actually think it’s rather boring but that’s another story).

So imagine my glee to look up this model and discover what each abbreviation means.  He explained the basic ones but the one that means the most to me is just three curious letters: FFM.  I was too wrecked to feed my curiosity last night so it was not until about 15 minutes ago that I looked up the abbreviation.

Do you know what FFM stands for?

I feel a little silly for not catching it so don’t worry if it is not coming to you either.

FFM stands for…….

wait for it….

wait….

just a little more….

FAT FREE MASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is FFM?

I am so glad you asked.  Fat Free Mass is what I would weigh if all the fat–every ounce–was sucked out of my body so all I was left with were bones and tissues.

Do you know what my FFM is?

Yeah, me neither until yesterday.

Are you ready for this?

128.21 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So take a look at the height weight chart  and find 5’3″…..gone on I’ll wait 🙂

weight-chart-377For my height, 125 is in the middle of the green “healthy” zone and right this very minute if we suck all the fat out of my body I’m above the middle of the healthy zone.

BOOYAH and take that ever jackassed doctor who has railed on me about my weight.

And to the bullies throughout my life:  Do you have any idea how much I would dearly love to shove this  in your face.  You sucked then and you really suck now…and I FORGIVE you for your ignorance because I too was ignorant.

But I also have to acknowledge that without them, I would not have been nearly as relentless in my search to find out my personal numbers.

I do not fit the mold.  I am the outlier in the data set.  Like that should come at any surprise to anyone who knows me…or to myself for that matter.

I swear I can barely contain my bliss.

According to the Tanita TBF-215, when I reach 30-percent body fat, a respectable percentage for a woman, I should weigh…

…approximately 183.21 POUNDS.

Suck on that you stupid chart.

You don’t know me.

You’ve never known me.

And I am so totally, completely, one bazillion percent over you trying to force me to conform to a standard that would be dangerous for MY big muscled, heavy-boned body.

I freakin’ knew it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 30 Body Fat ScanAt 183.21 pounds I’m still obese according to this so-does-not-fit-me chart.  And if this dumb chart or any jackass doctor, insurance underwriter, or bully thinks I am going to lose muscle to make my body more acceptable in their eyes then boyoboyo do they have a rude awakening coming their way.

I AM NOT NORMAL!!!!!!!!!! AND I REFUSE TO CONFORM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even my, “Gee, I’d like to see 175 again,” kinda sorta on again, off again goal is wrong for me.

If you go back to the beginning and read this: I started this whole journey perplexed about the notion of a goal because I was sure all they way down to my bones and muscles that I was right about my body and I was focused on chasing health rather than a number.

I am…and I am so glad I did not let a stupid chart and a throng of non-believers get in my way.

I am grateful I have stuck to my guns–you know those great big arm muscles hiding under a layer of fat–and kept searching not so much to find out I was right because being right was never my goal as much as learning my body’s own truth and adjusting accordingly.  A while back I decided I could be delightfully average and put the average weight of an American woman-166 pounds–in my mind as a potential goal.

Check out that BMR–Basal Metabolic Rate–1832 calories.  The BMR is the calories my body burns at rest.  Any movement only ratchets-up the calories I burn each day.  Thanks to BodyBugg I know that number is around 2500 when I am just me, being me so when I actually make it to the gym or the trail it is nothing for me to flirt with, or exceed, 3000 calories a day.

Average.

Turns out, it’s not for me either.

I am back to not having a goal weight.

Wait…why?

Well you see, I know enough about weight loss to know my body is going to give up a little of that muscle on the way down simply because it will no long need it to carry me around.  When I reach 30-percent body fat and if my weight is actually 183.21 pounds then maybe I could carve off a little more fat and gain some muscle but even the American female average of 166 pounds is likely going to be near the bottom end of MY personal HEALTHY RANGE so instead of putting pressure on myself to reach some magic number on the scale I am looking for something in the neighborhood of 30-percent body fat.

My friends please take my story and apply it to your own journey.  I cannot stress the importance of KNOWING YOUR BODY and finding YOUR confidence in it.

I will admit there was a tiny moment where I started to think, “But 183.21 is too much,” and then I thought, “According to whom?…after all this time are you REALLY, REALLY going to keep arguing with your body?”

That’s a big fat–bigger than my 30-inch thighs–NO!!!!!!!!!!

Instead I am left wondering, with great delight, just how big those thigh muscles really are…and wonderfully lighter and feeling amazingly free for probably the first time in my life.

My Best Advice: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!!!!! 

This is better winning the jackpot.

I have peace and I love my strong body, curves and all, for every wonderful bit of awesome she is.

Do you want this same peace too?

Of course, you do.

GO GET YOUR NUMBERS CHECKED.

If you or your doctor does not have a body fat scale look for a BodPod assessment at your local hospital.  While body fat scales are close and BodPod, or other similar device would be even more accurate, but for heavens and your sanity’s sakes, ditch the charts and quit guessing or letting someone else tell you what YOU need to lose weight and be healthy.

This girl no longer takes shit for any stupid chart.

This girl no longer takes shit from any stupid chart.