Hi all. I’ve been A.W.O.L. since March.  My personal and work lives just got a little crazy, but I’m still hanging in there.

I thought I’d give you a quick update on some good things that have happened since my last post:

1) Thanks to a neat little site, http://www.myfitnesspal.com, I have lost 20 lbs since March!  For me, it’s been less about conscious dieting and more about awareness of what I’ve been eating.  The site makes it super-easy to track calories and exercise.  When it’s easy, you are more likely to do it.  When you do it, you become shocked at how many calories are in some of the foods that you love and eat daily!

2) I finally weaned myself off Lexapro.  On this attempt, I did not go cold turkey.  I bit the pills in half for two months, then took half a pill every other day for another month.  Then I stopped when I ran out of pills.  I had some minor issues – the electric shock sensations occurred, but to a much lesser extent and mostly in the evenings when I became tired.  A good night’s sleep seemed to take care of them.

3) On a friend’s recommendation, I began taking Vitamin D3 daily.  High doses – 6,000 I.U. per day.  Helps for those of us who work in an office and don’t see the sun very much.  (And who, on top of that, live in a city known for its overcast days and long winters.)  It took a few weeks to notice an effect, but I’d swear I have more energy than before.

This may be my last post again for a while.  October is the busiest month at my workplace and I’ll be happy/lucky to live through it unscathed…LOL.  Talk to you soon.  🙂


The Awakening

This article was posted on another blog I subscribe to, Simple Marriage, with a note that the author is unknown.  That’s a shame because it’s a wonderfully inspirational article and you’d think the author would want to take credit.  Since it’s author unknown, I’m re-posted the article in its entirety here.

I think this applies to our weight loss and fitness endeavors as much as it does relationships.  Enjoy!

Phat Girl

A time comes in your life when you finally get it …

The Awakening paintingWhen in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice in your head cries out- ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying! You are tired of struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon.

You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche.

And you begin to sift through all the crap you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, and how much you should weigh, and what you should wear, and where you should shop, and what you should drive, how and where you should live, and what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are, what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive.

And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship.

You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man (or woman) on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love … and you learn that you don’t have the right to demand love on your terms … just to make you happy.

You learn that alone does not mean lonely … and you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10, you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you ”stack up”.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings or entitlement are perfectly OK … and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want … and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his/her touch … and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect. You learn that your body really is your temple. And, you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise.

You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels the soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn, that for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve … and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it’s OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time, FEAR ITSELF.

You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometime bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers.

It’s just life happening.

And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state – the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, keep trusting, and stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.

Woman's feet on scale and the scale reads yikesI’ve been ill for the last few weeks and finally went to the doctor’s to get some meds.  OMG – I weighed in at 294 lbs.  I panicked a little, I’ll admit.  I’m hoping that some of that is due to bloating and a little due to the heavy winter clothing and shoes I had on at the time I weighed in.  I am hoping that my comfort food comsumption for two weeks of illness didn’t do that much damage that quickly.  (I ate a lot of ice cream, more than anything, because it made my throat feel so much better.)

I intend to do a first-thing-in-the-morning, apples-to-apples, weigh in this weekend and see what happens.  Stay tuned…

Comfort Eating and Illness

Wedding SoupToday marks Day 10 of a cold/germ/bug of some kind.  I suspect that the common cold it was has moved into bronchitis, but I could be wrong.  As I have mentioned before, I’m not a fan of doctor visits, so I’m trying to kick this out on my own first.  Another week and I will go get some anti-biotics or something.

I’ve not been exercising.  It has been difficult enough in the last week or so just to make it through the work day.  I have definitely been getting more sleep.  It’s all I want to do, it seems.  Eating, well, let’s just say I’ve been doing a LOT of soup.  Mostly broth-based, my favorite being wedding soup.  I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream too, as well as those frozen icicle pops (brand-name is Flav-R-Ice, I think) of the generic variety, both of which are soothing to my throat.  I will do a weigh-in after I feel better.  With any luck, this illness will be good for losing a pound or two.

I feel fortunate – this is the first time I’ve been ill all winter!  I think it was inevitable as my husband caught it first, and several of my co-workers have been ill too.

Happy Superbowl Sunday, everyone!  Go Steelers!!

Dangerous Drug cartoonI’ve been a little distracted for approximately the past two weeks.  I couldn’t tell you what I ate, if I ate too much (although the answer is “probably”) and I definitely did not get much exercise.

I have (quite stupidly, in retrospect) attempted for the second time to quit an SSRI drug that was prescribed for me by my physician approximately two years ago to deal with anxiety attacks.

I know this isn’t exactly diet or exercise-related, but it is wellness-related, so bear with me.

The first time I quit this medication, I stopped it cold turkey.  Three days later, with flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and an electrical “buzzing” feeling in my face and various other body parts, I went back on the meds.  Afterwards (kicking myself for doing so first), I went online and looked up the consequence of withdrawal from these types of medications.  I cannot believe, actually, that these types of drugs (aka Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, etc.) are so readily prescribed by doctors.  They are highly addictive and extremely psychotropic.  They don’t tell you any of this at the doctor’s office.  You are supposed to read the little pamphlet that comes with the pills (which you don’t read, because you feel like crap anyway and figure that there’s nothing the pills could do to make things any worse).  Wrong move.

This second time, I thought I’d be more intelligent and go off the meds more slowly, sort of “weaning” myself off.  I started taking half a dose for a week, then half a dose every other day for a week, then every three days.  I had minor side effects, but it seemed to be going well.

Just over a week ago, I stopped taking the pills altogether.  The first few days were okay, but over the course of this past weekend, I started feeling flu-ish, restless, agitated, achy, and highly emotional.  The electric buzzing sensation came back too.   I made the decision to go back on the meds last night when I reached an all-time low:  the toilet plugged up on me and I nearly had a nervous breakdown.  Picture this:  a 39-year-old, reasonably intelligent woman who rarely sheds a tear, plunging away madly, bawling her eyes out, and alternately pleading with and cursing at the toilet and God for putting the icing on the cake of an already-stressful day.  After the shit (literally) finally went down for good and I cleaned up me and the floor, I cried for another good 45 minutes.  Not a normal stress-relieving kind of cry, but a wailing, keening, rocking, “I wish I were dead” kind of cry.  Heavens to Mercutroid.  Holy cow, even.

So, I’m back on the meds.  I still want to get off them, but not at that kind of cost.  I need to find a different approach, for sure.  My first step, I think, is to call the doctor who prescribed them and see what he recommends.  Probably what I should have done to begin with, but I’m not a big fan of doctor visits.  Never have been.

Well, there you have it.  This has been the all-consuming issue in my life since I last posted and yes, I have gotten off track.  I did not do a weigh-in this past Sunday because I am most definitely bloated as a withdrawal side effect – I can feel it.  This week, I’m going to concentrate on getting enough rest at night, drinking loads of water, and letting my nervous system get back into a state of equilibrium.

The moral of this story, I think, is:  if you are depressed about overeating, your weight, binge-eating, etc., and a doctor suggests (or you are thinking about using) anti-depressants/SSRIs to help you feel better…JUST DON’T DO IT!  Don’t add an addiction to these brain-chemistry-altering drugs to the food addiction you are already fighting.  You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

I’ve X’ed out my original thoughts above in response to a comment from one of my readers.  She makes a good point (see comment below).  Make sure to have a thorough talk with your doctor and be sure you really require anti-depressants.  I think if you have any other alternatives, you should consider them.  Note that I am not a doctor myself, just a person who has had/is having a bad experience with SSRI medication.

Next week, back to fighting the good fight!  I plan to check out my local Curves gym after I get paid next week.  The Walk-at-Home program is fantastic, but I still have difficulty self-motivating.


McDonald's FriesDictionary.com defines a craving as follows: “to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly.”  Well, last night I had a serious craving for McDonald’s French Fries.  Yikes.

Here’s how I decided to handle it (and probably most other future cravings):  giving in.  Let me explain that – giving in, but only to that single craving.  The usual pattern for my style of binge eating is self-denial, self-denial, self-denial, breakdown, go nuts on the food.  I’ll do really well all day, denying myself all the things I know I shouldn’t eat.  Later on in the evening, usually after my husband has gone to bed, I’ll mentally “snap” and raid the fridge.

I decided on a different approach last night.  When my husband announced he was picking up McDonald’s for dinner and asked what I wanted, I didn’t ask for a grilled chicken salad and a fruit and yogurt cup.  I asked for a large French Fries.

The chicken salad would have been 320 calories.  The large fries are 500 calories.  The difference is negligible.  What is not negligible is the feeling of intense satisfaction I experienced while eating those fries!  Overeating isn’t about feeling full physically, it’s about feeling full “mentally.”  I made the craving item my entire meal, didn’t overeat, and got a lot more satisfaction from it.  Hence, less need to go crazy with food later in the evening.

How do you deal with cravings?

Today’s Magic Number: 277

I got on the scale this morning.  Down 2 lbs…woo hoo!

colorful star stickersReminder to self that this does NOT mean that I can eat like crazy today, as I have been wont to do in the past when making weight loss progress of any amount.

Another reminder to self to do a post on the topic of “self-sabotage” in the near future.  When it comes to weight loss (or any other endeavor designed to improve my life in some way), I have a terrible tendency to be my own worst enemy.  Must do some research and investigate why that happens sometime soon and share what I find.

In the meantime, yay!  That’s 3 total lbs. lost since Janary 1 and 128 to go.