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Fighting the good fight, way more than I expected

3 weeks ago my life took a really sharp turn, one that will affect me for the rest of my life. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. If you have no experience of going through this, or of a friend or loved one fighting to make it through, then you will have no idea of the grief, fear, and anxiety that has affected me since I found out. I felt healthy, I was eating right, exercising, and losing weight. But that doesn’t count when it comes to a cancerous tumor growing inside you.

Right now I’ve lost 26 lbs. I still eat healthy, but my appetitite fluctuates greatly. Anxiety is a great hunger suppresant. I expect I will continue to lose weight over the course of my 9 month treatment. However, my ability to be completely dedicated to shopping, preparing and eating healthily every day will be impacted. My ability to go for hikes and snowshoeing adventures will be affected. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the coming months, but it will be the strangest and scariest journey of my life.

I don’t expect I’ll be posting here often, so if you don’t hear from me, there’s a really good reason. I didn’t fall off the wagon, I’m dealing with a serious illness. Already I’ve had 2 biopsies, 2 blood draws, an EKG, a MUGA (to test my hearts ability to function), a bone scan, an MRI, a CT scan, and had a surgery to put in a portable catheter in me, for which I’m still healing and have not yet recovered. In the next 2 weeks I begin 5 months of chemotherapy, and I will have surgery in the spring. During that process I will get chemo weekly for 12 weeks, then the second half is every other week for 8 weeks. I’ll have an additional 3 MRIs and several biopsies and many many blood draws. All that before a part of my body is removed. What I don’t know is how much will be removed. This will be a 9 month process before I can heal and move on.

Good luck everyone in your weight loss struggles. I’ll be dealing with it myself, but in a limited fashion over the next year.

dietmaven out.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

One month in…

Starting weight on June 22: 232 lbs
Current weight: 219 lbs

So in 31 days, I have lost 13 lbs. A big loss the first week, then a consistent loss 2 lbs per week. I’m very pleased!

I’ve noticed that fatty foods (the one day I had a cheeseburger after a 6 hour hike) still give me heartburn, but that I’m feeling really good when I eat quality foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, limited fats, complex carbs (quinoa, wasa rye crackers, etc), lean proteins (salmon, pork loin, chicken without skin). I have severely limited my alcohol consumption too (I’m trying to avoid drinking calories).

I’m noticing a few other things – drinking lots of water really does help with weight loss. The days I drink a lot (at least 8 glasses or more), I see a consistant change from day to day. The days I don’t drink sufficient amounts, I notice gains the next morning. Drinking also helps keep me full. If I don’t drink the morning at work, I become ravenously hungry and have difficulty sticking to my food during the day. I also have noticed that I absolutely *must* eat dinner at about 6 pm. I am just too hungry to deal with delaying my hunger any longer. Before Diet I would eat at 8 pm or as late as 10:30 pm! To be able to eat that late, I would have to have a snack (not low calorie, I assure you) after work, and then I’d overeat, and go to bed full, and wake up full. That whole process was broken, but it was the lifestyle I had with multiple previous boyfriends (to do activities after work, and eat super late). That won’t work for me any longer.

I’m looking forward to getting into the 100s – I am looking for a suitable reward for making it. I’ve never rewarded myself before for weight loss, but this seems like a significant milestone. I’ve only been below 200 lbs once in my adult lifetime – after a 2-month trip to India, Nepal, and Tibet (in which I was so revolted by the smells and food in Tibet that I lost my appetite, stopped eating, and lost a lot of weight). I remember getting down to 175 by the end of that trip (which did include quite a bit of serious hiking/exercising), but of course, didn’t do anything to keep it off when I returned to the US, and started eating “regular” food again, in large quantities, and in higher-fat and higher-calories than I needed.

Last night I also added in some at home exercises. I started doing planks and some crunches (a pathetic amount since it was my first time), which I will continue to add more in as I get used to them. I also did some of the physical therapy exercises I learned 9 months ago after some issues came up with overtraining some mucles and learning I had some week muscles that started causing some serious pain because of bigger muscles overcompensating for the weak muscles.

I’ve found that really brisk walking burns almost no calories for me. It just doesn’t raise my heartrate enough. If I walk at a 4.0 or faster on the flat, my heart rate gets to about 107 – 113 and I burn like 220 calories an hour (not very much!). Luckily, I do have some serious hills right by my house, so I can take some routes that burn more like 350 calories an hour by doing hiking/hill climbs (where my heart rate gets up to 145 uphill). I have to make myself get out and do that in the evenings, several times a week. Adding to a big hike every weekend (of 2300+ calories burned), that seems to be an ok level of exercise for me right now.

Here’s to the next 13 lbs!

dietmaven out.

 

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Health improvements, Weight loss

 

Weekend: down time & major up time

OMG hiking is hard! I’m glad I’m finally getting in shape. I did the steepest hike yet this year, Blanca Lake. Spent 8 hours on the trail, including an hour and a half stop at and in the lake. Hard work, lots of sweat, but fun times. Didn’t sound too bad on paper: 7.5 miles, 3300′ elevation gain. Definitely the most elevation I’ve done in 2012, and in such a short trip – most of my hikes are closer to the 9-10 mile range. So it was twice as steep and 3/4 as long. Whew! Still tired thinking about it.

The heat a few days earlier had gottten to me, so I took Saturday off to do a bunch of errands, relax, and soak up some down time. I still managed to get in 2 walks, so it wasn’t a total loss. I left myself a free meal that night, as I had a friend coming over for dinner (she’s my one main friend that is NOT on a special lose-weight diet). I thought it would be hot, so planned a picnic, which we would then walk down to the water and find a spot and . eat as the sun set. Ended up being a rather healthy meal, but it never got warm so we picniced in an overcast, cool evening. Still, it was so much fun! I made shrimp and scallop ceviche (no oil at all!), roasted chicken sandwiches with a tomato bruschetta spread instead of mayo, with a lot of veggies including pan-fried zucchini. Dessert was fruit salad. Overall, I did awesome. But I did have a shot of tequila and a small glass of white wine. I had also overdone it at a company summer party on Friday night – while I avoided alcohol, I did have 2 slices of pizza. It was within what I budgetted for the day, but when I got home, I kept going and ate a little too much (popcorn WITH butter on it, and extra dark chocolate, and a shot of brandy). Not too bad between both days, but definitely not something to continue with. Which leads me to Sunday, which I think more than made up for the prior 2 days of eating “a little too much.”

Sunday was a blast. I got up at 5:30 am, to get my friend picked up and be at the trailhead by 9 am. We got to the lake just after lunch, and had a nice refreshing dip to clean off all the grime and grit (and man, was it cold!!!). I ended up burning 2560 calories on the hike. Yeah!

Unfortunately, due to it being Sunday, we got stuck in major traffic on the way back. We had dinner at a local diner and I decided I could afford a cheeseburger, which was oh so delicious. I even ate a few french fries. Still, I kept to water and healthy food during the hike and still managed to eat my regular amount of calories for the day! By the time this was all over, I was getting home at 10:15 pm. It was hard to keep my eyes open on the drive home, but I managed it, and shortly crashed in bed.

Today I’m doing all the tasks I couldn’t do yesterday: making a pot of soup for the week (chicken sausage, kale, garbanzo vegetable soup), laundry, and finally posting here! I’m resting, since the muscles are still pretty sore. I’m noticing that after a day of major exertion and sweating, I tend to be quite hungry the next day. I’m finding that I’m eating more than normal the day after, so I’m not too worried. I ate about 200 calories too many today, but I should be ok tomorrow.

Tomorrow is get out and exercise day, followed by let’s start doing some core exercies like planks evening. Can’t wait (that was sarcasm by the way). Soups done, I’m overdue for sleep, and I finally got in my 8th cup of water for the day. Luckily, I spent my time wisely, and have made a nice, healthy lunch for the rest of the week. I even portioned it out so I can just grab it and go. 4 jars full of soup, 4 days left in the week.

‘Night, dietmaven out.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Excuses, Weekend warrior

 

Since I started…

Days I’ve been on this journey: 28
Boxes of Cheerios: 2
Cartons of Soymilk: 3
Change in pant size: 18 to 16
Starting weight: 232
Current weight: 220
Weight loss to date: 12 lbs
Things bought since starting: $90 Polar Heart Rate Monitor, $110 biking shorts, $40 bike rack (includes installation), $35 scale
Number of times I’ve eaten out: 1
Number of times I’ve not brough lunch to work: 3
Places I’ve eaten at work when I haven’t brought lunch: Subway
Pieces of candy/chocolate I’ve eaten at work: 1 (it was mostly nuts, not *that* much caramel)
Number of donuts &/or cupcakes I’ve eaten at work: 0 (notice I didn’t mention apple pie?)
Number of opportunities to eat donuts &/or cupcakes at work: 4
(Ok fine!) Number of times I’ve eaten apple pie at work: 0.5 (it was a SMALL piece)
Accidents: 1
Times I’ve eaten pizza: 1 (it was a work party ,I budgetted & only ate 2 slices)
Times I’ve eaten popcorn for dessert: too many to count
TImes I’ve eaten butter on said popcorn: 1
Number of sodas I’ve drank: 1 can of gingerale (I was weak – it was HOT!)
Number of staircases I’ve found in my neighborhood to go walk up and down: 3 (2 over 100 stairs!)

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Stats

 

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Heat. Cranky. Weekend plans.

I live in the northwest because it has a temperate climate. I don’t mind the lengthy overcast winters. Heck, I don’t even mind the rain. But when it gets over 80 degrees in the summer, I get cranky and uncomfortable. Yesterday and today we’re having an “extreme heat advisory” and it’s getting up to 94 today. That’s not really all that bad – especially when you consider these are really the first times we’re getting hot days this year. However, I hate them, truly I do! And I work in the loft in a warehouse that does not have AC. It’s brutal by afternoon. I’m already sweating and unhappy and it’s not even 2 pm.

I doubt I’ll have a repeat of last weekend great physical activities. I am planning a hike on Sunday (Lake Bianca) which is 7.5 miles and has 3300′ of elevation gain. Steep in a short package. But it is supposedly a beautiful glacier blue tarn. We will see. Saturday? I have no plans. I am planning an evening picnic with a friend along the waterfront (walking distance from my house, oh how lovely), which we will probably do by bike and skateboard. Trying to figure out what to make that I can strap to my bike rack or put in a backpack. I’m thinking shrimp ceviche and maybe a flank steak over salad, or maybe my quinoa feta salad as a side. I’m giving myself a pass that night on calories – I’ll have a nice meal, a bottle of wine, and some good food. Whether or not I get any physical activity is another story.

Doing ok on the food front. I’m noticing I have a hard time eating within my calorie limitations when I get less than 8 hours. Also, I drink less when it’s hot (I am less inclined to want to make hot tea). Oh well, should cool down soon.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Weekend warrior

 

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Weight Fluctuations – Fascinating!

The human body is an amazing thing. I’m really fascinated by how much it works. I’m having fun with my new electronic scale. I’m seeing how my weight changes from morning to evening (a 2-3 lb gain over the course of the day, usually). I’m seeing how drinking a pot of tea has no impact on my weight (not even by .2 lb!). Bowel movements (sorry, this may be TMI) don’t seem to have any impact on weight changes either! But yesterday I was really surprised.

I had an intense weekend of activity, burned 3800 calories, was outside a lot, probably needed to hydrate more, but tried my best to drink LOTs. Yesterday was a regular day. I had work, errands, and unfortunately forgot to eat my late afternoon snack. By the time I got hime, I was ravenous, always a danger. I got a bigger dinner than I should have, but it was still within my calories for the day. I drank 7 glasses of water during the day, not bad for me. I was up a few pounds by evening, according to the scale (as I expected). And this morning???

This morning I showed a 6 lb gain from yesterday morning. I increased my weight between before bed and after I woke up. That’s never happened before. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, I’m not concerned. I ate as I’m supposed to, maybe a little heavier in the evening, but still within acceptable limits. I wonder if my body is a sponge slurping up all the food/energy/water it can to make up for this weekend? That’s all I can guess at. I’m sure it’ll go back to normal amounts in a day or two. But it’s so wierd in the interrim.

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in weight gain

 

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3 week weight loss update

It’s been 3 weeks now since I (re)started this journey. To date, I have now lost 11 pounds. I’m very pleased!

Props to Livestrong.com’s MyPlate – it is helping me track my calories and see the nutritional breakdown of my food (goal is 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fat). It lets me weigh (pun intended) my options for what I want to eat & lets me decide if I there’s room for more food at dinner, or my options for dessert.

Right now I’m trying to reevaluate my meals to include more protein – I think I don’t get quite enough for my activity level. I think I’m going to add in some protein to my breakfasts.

Excuse me while I go eat my wasa rye crackers with almond butter. Hunger calls.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized