Sunday, July 13, 2008

Morning News

I hope my mother doesn't see today's paper. C-diff made the front page. They appear to be getting her infection under control, but she's still sick. She's had this off and on since last December, and I don't know whether her doctor ever tested her for it back then, but I doubt it, because her symptoms were sporadic. I think the nursing home was the first place to put 2+2 together. It is scary stuff - it has been so debilitating, she has gone from living on her own to a nursing home in a little over six months. Nobody can say for sure if she will recover enough to return to assisted living, it just depends on how her body fights the bug. The last few days have been looking up, but she's not out of the woods yet.

On to other, more positive subjects. Yesterday I took the granddog for his annual checkup and heartworm test, and he is healthy and adorable, and greeted the vet with a kiss on the lips. I wish I had his metabolism - he's 22.5 pounds and skinny, and eats like a horse. Today Girl will come collect him, then he comes back on Friday for a week-long visit, while she vacations at Cousin C's timeshare at Hilton Head. Lucky girl. I don't have any vacation time yet, of course, so I couldn't use it.

I know I just started this new job, but I could use a vacation, a break from the stress of dealing with my mother's issues and trying to keep my own life on track, while adjusting to a new job. My life is governed by my to-do lists. I love to-do lists, they give me a sense of accomplishment when I can check something as DONE. If it doesn't get done, it just gets carried over to the next list. Eventually, everything gets checked, and that gives me the sense that I am still in control, and keeps the feeling of overwhelmed-ness at bay.

The other thing that helps me is SparkPeople.
I am addicted. The recent news stories about how people who write down what they eat lose significantly more weight than those who don't were no surprise to me. I had tried SparkPeople a year ago, after seeing my daughter lose at least 20 lbs. using their tools. But my head wasn't in the game yet, and I noodled around and quit. This time something clicked, and I have been using it daily, being honest about my food intake even when it's not healthy, tracking my exercise, etc. The weight is coming off very slowly - very slowly indeed, like a half pound at a time, damn this middle age crap - but my eating and exercise habits are so much better, this is a permanent change and something I can live with forever. I'm down about 6 pounds since Memorial Day, and at this glacial pace I will reach my goal sometime in September, but that is fine, because I am making permanent changes to my lifestyle and my habits, I am not on a "diet."

I had gained around 25 pounds over the last 3 years, thanks to the combination of perimenopause, business lunches, happy hours, too much time sitting, and the roller coaster of insane stress which has been my life. It would be easy to say that it's beyond my control and not my fault, and everybody gains weight when they hit their 50s, it's my metabolism, I can't help it! But I knew in my heart that this was not true, it IS within my control and I can do something about it, and doing something about it feels so damn good. Reading my own blog archives I see my many vows to lose weight, blah, blah, but good intentions somehow didn't translate to action. Even the aneurysm didn't kick me in the ass hard enough - I came home from the hospital 11 pounds lighter, but that included a lot of muscle after two weeks flat on my back. I put back 5 of those 11 pounds over the next few months, developed some good habits (exercise) but didn't kick some bad ones (eating like a frat boy), and there I stuck, until this spring when I realized that I had to make real changes in my habits or throw in the towel and buy a new wardrobe of larger sizes for my new job, and go on meds for blood pressure and cholesterol. (My doctors said diet and exercise would fix my borderline issues with both, but did I really listen and change my ways? I did not.) Not to mention the little health issue that almost killed me, and should have been motivation enough to change my habits, but denial is a very powerful thing. It was vanity that finally pushed me to change my evil ways.

So I rejoined SparkPeople, and got real about portion sizes and caloric intake, and whaddaya know? It really is as easy as calories in/calories burned! The hard part is being honest about the calories. ;-) I kidded myself for years that I was eating healthy and exercising, but the reality is that I was eating too much and short of taking up triathlons in my "ample spare time," I was never going to burn off those calories. I ate lots of fruit and vegetables and lean protein, but yes, Virginia, even too much healthy food will cause weight gain. Then there was the salt and fat, two of my favorite food groups. SparkPeople helped me get real about what I was doing wrong, while telling myself I was "eating healthy."

And this morning the scale showed a number I haven't seen in at least 2.5 years, I am well below the "home from the hospital" weight, yet with muscles I haven't seen in years, and later today I need to try on some things I haven't been able to wear, to see how close they are to fitting, because my "fat clothes" are now hanging on me in a very unattractive way. I have done battle with my weight all of my adult life, I am still 20 pounds from my ultimate goal, but this time I know I will get there and stay there, and I really am enjoying the trip. It's good to feel in control. Like my to-do lists, SparkPeople is keeping me grounded.


Cursing Mama said...

I've been committing myself to Spark People too. Hopefully I'll be able to wear my skinny to me clothes again before they go out of style.

Catherine said...

"Skinny to me clothes" - yeah, I have a closet full of those, and after taking a peek through the hands over my eyes at my new budget, whimpering and facing the reality that "Ohshitgottasellthisdamnhousefast!" new clothes will be few and far between. Must cram ass into what is already in closet.