Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Update on my Self Reduction Adventure

Friends, family, and faithful readers (well actually those last two are mostly same!), it's been 3 1/2 months since my last post, and perhaps some of you are wondering what has happened in that period of time.

To sum up my progress, I've been....well.... human.  I've had my ups and downs, and frankly I won't be a poster child any day soon for successful weight loss and acquisition of great health.

This journey began back in August of 2014, and has been fraught with plenty of ups and downs, including stringent exercise and healthy eating for weeks resulting in little or no weight loss, holiday eating set-backs, lack-of-purpose-and-direction-induced depression, a somber winter that never seemed to end, and plenty of debating with myself as to whether the effort is even worth it.

Son Caleb, a successful fitness and health coach with the Team Beachbody company, regularly tells me not to compare my present results with any of the successes I had in the past.  (Years back I had experienced a healthy slow 132 pound weight loss.  At the end of that adventure I felt so amazingly healthy and at the peak of my life.  Due to some major surgeries and injuries I gained it all back.  Now, fully recovered from those setbacks, I've been trying once again to get healthy and fit.)

It's just that my body doesn't seem to want to cooperate this time, as it did before.

Some of my recent home workouts
Whereas before, I lost an average of 10 pounds each month - a very reasonable and healthy rate of loss - now I've only lost 15-20 pounds.  IN NINE MONTHS!  My doctor tells me I'm understating my success, that 20 pounds is still 20 pounds less, and is good progress.  However, knowing I still have another 100 pounds to lose becomes discouraging.

And, then I waver.  I start skipping my workouts.  I start eating a few more potato chips and slices of pizza than I should.

I start questioning and replaying the debate in my mind as to whether putting in all the required effort to make this healthy change is even worth it.

You see, I hate:
  1.  Changing in and out of sweaty, stinky workout clothing.
  2.  Sweat that drips into my eyes and onto my carpet.
  3.  Flab that jiggles.
  4.  Being bored with workouts that just are, well, boring.
  5.  Seeing little or no results.
  6.  Muscles that are so sore that the act of sitting down requires a pep talk to myself.

And that, folks, is precisely where I am right now at this moment.

It has been three weeks since my last workout.  It has been days since I've concerned myself with watching the size of my food portions, or avoiding the junk food.

When I had begun my massive weight loss transformation before, I had gotten to the point where I wanted to be thinner AS MUCH AS I WANTED TO BREATHE.  There was nothing that was gonna stop me from doing what I needed to do to make that change happen.

This is in the view out my window, as I ponder my life.
And it worked.  Steadily, slowly, the pounds fell off, the sizes dropped, and my feeling of health and well being rose.

This time?  Not so much.  Frankly, I guess I'm just not there.  When I don't see progress after a month or so of consistent effort, I want to throw in the towel.  I'm human.  I need to see progress.  Without the balance of seeing some progress, the sacrifice of giving up snacks and pizza just almost doesn't seem worth it.

Yesterday Caleb made a Facebook post that still has me thinking:  "You just gotta want your life to change...MORE than you want it to stay the same.  When you get to that point, you'll do whatever it takes."

Apparently I'm not yet at that point.

But I wanna be.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Stating the Obvious

Office/Gym/Music practice room
If you are a regular reader of my blog for a while, (I started writing it back in April of 2012), it is likely quite obvious to you that I haven't been posting on as regular a schedule as I have over the past nearly three years.

Due to my annual practice of considering whether any New Years resolutions  redirections should be made, I've decided to take a short step back away from the blog.  So for the immediate future, I'm making a conscious decision to remove the pressure from myself that tells me I need to write a post nearly every day.  There, I've done it.  I almost feel lighter already.

I've just stated the obvious, for the reality is that I'm not getting it done anyway, because other things are taking that time that I would have devoted to organizing photos and writing a post.  And that's OK.  Those other things are things that I've decided need to be done.

Oh, I'll still write a post, now and then.  Especially if we travel, or have other adventures I feel compelled to share.

What exactly are those other things (redirections) that I've been doing?

First, I've taken a part time job, as a personal assistant.  It is a perfect job for me, as I can work from home on my laptop, and my hours are flexible.  I can do the work any time that suits me throughout the day.  Although this job currently requires anywhere from one to three hours a day, I foresee that the number of hours I can work will increase down the road.  And that's a good thing - it means the business is continuing to grow and thrive.

Secondly, now that my heel is completely healed (full recovery was estimated to require up to 18 months following my June 2013 surgery), I can make fitness and working out a priority again.  With that in mind I've made a few modifications to my home office, and now I'll call it my office/gym.

My "gym" has plenty of light and a good comfy chair to collapse into.
And finally, along with getting myself back in shape, I'd like to reduce/limit the number of times each week that we eat out, and shift at home in the direction of healthier recipes.  That will require more careful recipe researching, meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep.  It takes time to do all that well, and as much as I like working on meals, sometimes in the past I've let the cupboards go bare, often requiring us to "wing it" or eat out.

Now, back to my home gym.  I've equipped it with the items I will need for the workouts I've been doing.  The available floor space is about 9 feet long by 7 feet wide, certainly enough to do what I need to do, standing, sitting, or laying down.

I've removed a large houseplant from the one corner.  Now I'm using that corner to store my exercise mat and cardio step and risers.

Another corner is now home to a barbell and a small assortment of weight plates for the barbell.

For my workouts I've chosen to use some of the home fitness DVD programs offered by the Beachbody company.  I store the kits and the accompanying fitness and nutrition guides nearby on my office bookshelves.  Right now I'm working through the Les Mills PUMP program.

I have a workout calendar hanging there, telling me which PUMP DVD workout I need to do on each day of the week.  For some reason I enjoy marking the calendar after each workout.  (As if my sore muscles weren't enough reminder that I'm doing something good for my body......)

I can set my laptop on the small table near the "collapse" chair, and easily follow the fitness routines from anywhere in my little gym.  Yes, those are trumpets, music stands and music books there in the corner.  This little room in the back of our house truly gets a lot of use.

I've got my sweat towel handy,

and in the ongoing attempt to determine the cause of my recent migraine headaches, I've got my blood pressure monitor nearby on the desk.  I use it every couple of days, at different times of the day, to keep track of my blood pressure between visits to the doctor.

I've shown all these pictures of my funny, little gym and its accessories, because I fully believe where there's a will to get healthy and fit, there's a way.  One doesn't need a lot of space or even a lot of fancy equipment to get in some daily exercise.  I lost 100+ pounds at home before, and I can do it again.

In summary, these three things - my new part time job, my commitment to doing a daily challenging workout, and my desire to prepare healthier, home cooked meals - will somewhat limit the time I have to write a daily blog post.

I'm not saying "goodbye" friends, just maybe "see you later."

I'll be around.  I gotta do what I gotta do.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Rough Day For the Puppy

Our beloved puppy has had a rough time of late.  For the last half a year or so, we've been treating her for an infection in her left ear that just won't go away.

Apparently this ailment, a yeast type infection, is not uncommon in the weimaraner breed.  We know she's really been suffering more of late with it though, as she's scratching at her ear and often yelping when she does so.

So, Caleb took her in to the Animal Hospital.  At her regularly scheduled appointment on Monday, after her vaccination and exam, the doc took a look in her ear.  I should probably just say "tried" to take a look in her ear, because according to Caleb, Sheila threw a complete conniption and wasn't having anything to do with anyone getting anywhere near that ear.

From what little glimpse the doctor could get, she knew it was a pretty extensive infection, and bad enough that it would require putting Sheila to sleep to get a good look and be able to thoroughly treat the problem.

An estimate of charges was provided (Gulp!), and the procedure was conveniently scheduled for the very next day.

As instructed, after her dinner that evening, we put her food bowl away and there were no more treats given, in preparation for her anesthesia.  

Shortly after that, we sent her out into the yard to do her business, and she had a minor accident.  Something happened to her toe and the nail got broken out to the side, broken way back into the bleed zone.  And bleed it did, all over the kitchen, till we could eventually get it stopped.  We are just glad that the timing of this little mishap allows the doctor to deal with it while she's "under."  

At 7:00 AM yesterday morning, Caleb dropped the hungry puppy off at the Animal Hospital.  We didn't know exactly what time her procedure would be, but were told they'd probably call us around 5:00 to let us know when it was all finished.

Her tail is down.
I think handing her over to the vet tech was harder on Caleb than on Sheila, although she definitely acted uncomfortable about the whole process.  I know it was a rough day for Caleb, waiting, and here is what he posted on Facebook early in the day:

The doc called as predicted around dinnertime, and Caleb was able to pick her up and bring her home shortly thereafter, along with several prescriptions to fully knock out the infection and keep the swelling in her ear down.

The report from the vet was that Sheila's ear was so badly infected way down into the inner channel that it would be surprising if she had even been able to hear in that ear.  She said that even with all the treatment we had been giving her, the infection was too resistant.  

After administering the sedation and IV, and then after taking care of her injured toe, it took another full 30 minutes just to fully clean out her ear.  After installing some sort of antibiotic packing deep in her ear, she was sent to recovery.  

We suspect her procedure happened late in the day, because she was dizzy, disoriented, weak, and whimpering the entire evening.  Today she seems much better as the sedation meds are wearing off, but still, she's very lethargic and tired.  

She just seems to want to sleep and relax in her favorite spot on the couch, with her special soft blanket.  

She's just not back to her happy self yet.

In two weeks, she'll return to the veterinary for a follow up look-see.  I hope she'll let the doc actually look and see!  Until then we'll just be hoping and praying for an end to this unpleasant Sheila saga.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back To "Normal?"

Family restaurant meal with part of the family
It has been nearly two weeks since my last post, and finally I'm feeling like we are getting back to normal again.

Whatever "normal" is, anyway.  Sometimes that would be difficult to define around here.

The household was a busy one over the holidays.  Some would even say chaotic/wild/deafening.  We had 10 people in to stay, turning our moderately-sized three bedroom home into a no-more-room-at-the-inn scenario.

Along with the hubby and I in our bedroom, and son Caleb sleeping in and moving his home office into his bedroom, every other corner of the house was used.  Daughter Sarah and SIL Lance took the guest bedroom, and a crib was installed in their walk-in closet for baby Gabriel.  Daughter Lindsay and SIL Todd slept in a pull out couch bed in our sunroom.  Grandson Jarrod bedded down in the laundry room, and granddaughter Ellie slept in her tiny inflatable travel bed in my office.  Even the dog's bed was moved to under the kitchen island.  That left the kitchen and living room for hanging out.  Whew!  It's a good thing we really like each other!

Guests began arriving the Monday before Christmas, and stayed until New Year's Eve.  Some of them had fairly long drives here and back home, but fortunately the weather didn't create any treacherous conditions for any of the drivers.

Daughter Sarah, grandson Gabriel, and SIL Lance
Some of Lance's relatives in for a day
It's always fun having a baby in the house, and of course babies come with quite a bit of paraphernalia. This baby is just so full of cuteness, and although we were sure he'd be crawling by the time he went back home, it was not to happen.  Up on his hands and knees, and rocking forwards and backwards, but that's where he'd stop.  By now I'm sure he's all over the place.

grandson Gabriel, 7 1/2 months
There were a few unscheduled flights every now and then.

Gabriel and Uncle Caleb
Not to worry, folks, Caleb's a certified pilot.  He did, however, mention, something about the landing gear feeling a bit out of kilter on touchdown.

There was quite a bit of cooking with all those guests, and the kitchen sink was well used.  A few other important things happened in that sink, too:

There were gifts galore, and of all varieties.  Here Lance models his new sleep mask:

Grandtwins Tori and Brianna received a fun box chock full of dress-ups and cool accessories, and along with Granddaughter Ellie gave us a stunning fashion show following a family dinner and gift exchange.

New lego sets allowed for some cute bonding time between granddaughter Ellie (3) and her uncle Caleb.  What 27 year old guy doesn't like putting together a pink and purple princess castle?

Twins Tori and Brianna received some new whodunnit clothing. You could probably say these shirts tell the story of their lives.

Adamant dog lover, son Caleb, tried to make peace with a cat while visiting his sister Rachel's home.

Caleb and "Vada"
Don't worry Sheila, he still loves you best.

Caleb and Sheila
With all those guests in the house, Sheila didn't always have her favorite spot on the couch available, and so she wandered around the house, going from guest to guest, looking for a place to be.

Although everybody had a happy, healthy and safe holiday, tomorrow Sheila will be heading to the animal hospital to be put "under."  A nasty, painful, resistant ear infection finally needs some serious intervention.  I'll follow up with an update later.

As I said, all our company left and by now are home safe and sound, and back into their regular routines.  I'm told they've all taken down and put away their Christmas decorations, but not me.  I'm holding out for another week or month or so.  Now that things around here have calmed down, I finally have a chance to look around, breathe, and enjoy the decorations.  

Happy New Year family and friends!  I hope your 2015 is packed full of all the stuff that is truly valuable!