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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

 

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

 

Things I didn’t do

Did not eat out of the work candy bowl. I spent a long time staring into the source of all things yummy and chocolate: kit kats, reeses pnut butter cups, toffee chocolate, and hersheys bars. But I resisted. As I do every day at work.

When asked if I wanted in on the pizza for lunch, I sadly said no thanks and promptly went to microwave my vegetable soup. That while tasty, was starting to wear on me after eating it all week.

I did not buy the prosciutto I was secretly longing for and kinda subconsciously planning on getting at the market. Instead I got a ton of fruits and veggies, salmon, roast beef for weekend sandwiches, low carb tortillas (the best option for making a low-cal sandwich I could find, not too bad), and light soymilk. I also did not get the Weight Watchers ice cream. I don’t think I’d find it satisfying, and I rarely want it anyway. So, I didn’t buy any dessert. I didn’t buy creamy fat cheese, and I didn’t get anything from the hot dish deli section or cold salad bar (which I used to do all the time Pre Diet when I was ravenous, before I had time to get home and prepare dinner).

I did not eat the entire plate of dinner I had prepared (the smallest piece of salmon I could find to buy was .5 lbs, so I made it and rationalized that I needed to eat lots of protein, since I’d been missing out lately). I realized I had had enough and left half of the ginormous baked potato (I had bought it because it was super sized – much larger than normal, so if I ate it, it could still be a “single medium” potato, right). I also did not eat the entire .5 lbs of salmon. I had had enough and left a portion for another day. I am proud. This is a major step for me. I could have eaten it, I’ve done that so many times in the past, but I stopped, really really listened to my body, and overruled my desire to eat it all because I wanted to, not because I was hungry, not because I had too few calories yesterday and could indulge, but because I was done. This is major.

I didn’t cheat on my calorie tracking on myplate. I was honest. It doesn’t help when you lie to yourself, now does it:

I did not go for a walk. It’s 9:40 and i still could, but I think I will prep for tomorrow’s early rising and hike, and just be ok with no exercise tonight.

Today had lots to do with don’ts. Tomorrow will all about dos.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Threes…whew, it passed us by!

This isn’t fitness or health related, but I still wanted to write about it! A few days ago, a fire truck pulled up outside our house late at night. Our immediate neighbor to the left had a false alarm trip, but the cancel never made it to the fire department. Luckily no fire. Whew!

2 days ago, it was a very crazy and strange day. 2 of my coworkers were in accidents, one on a motorcycle, nothing broken, but scraped up to hell. The other rear ended a pregnant lady pretty hard and totalled her car. So she’s hurt, she ruined her car, and she’s horribly guilty for having hurt another person. Then at work, I came to find out that another coworker got in a fistfight with a previous employee (that I had fired a year go) the night before. Crazy all the way around!!! Ok, the world is insane, I thought to myself, and then when I got home, it was worse – my immediate neighbor on the other side had had their house broken into that afternoon. In broad daylight, right on the main road, they tried kicking in her door and then went through an open window. Fast, and fairly professional. Ugh!

Last night I told J that bad things come in threes. We dreaded what would come next. Well, today was number three and it was more scarey than both of the other events with our neighbors!!!!! We went downtown today and had fun strolling around the city. When we got near home, we found a whole bunch of fire trucks. Not just one, not just two, not just 5, a LOT. And on every street there were fire hoses. And then as we got closer and closer to our house the streets became blocked and impassable!!!! What the hell!? At this point J was freaking out, what was up, this was near or at our house, were our kittens ok?! We found out that there was a 2 alarm fire at a house 1 block away, directly across the street and over 1 block. Crazy scary. No one knows yet what happened, but the owners were not home, and unfortunately, they had pets. No further details are available.

So, while I’m glad that the bad things that come in threes have left us unscathed, I feel for the family that lost their pet family members and all their belongings, and their home (the house is burnt to the ground). My thoughts are with them. Be thankful you are alive and well tonight, everyone.

dietmaven out.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Lifestyle change is here!

I love blogging. It really allows me to think about health, wellness, fitness, food,  you name it. It keeps me mentally engaged and I think, helps me on my journey. I wanted to spend some time talking a little more about my intervening months of absense, from March until now (August).

I took a quasi-vacation from the gym in April/May. But I did go back, and I kept going, for the last few months. I just didn’t say anything about it here. I kept active. I went hiking and pushed myself there. I started biking (30+ miles every trip, ouch my ass!). I started doing weight training with a personal trainer once a week.

I also stopped being so vigilant about eating. But I didn’t eat the way I used to either. I would indulge more regularly. But the foods I would endulge in were based on healthy foods I had in the house. I don’t eat out much (partially due to financial reasons, partially because my bf and I are in the eating-at-home habit). I would have alcohol more often than I used to, but it would still be in extreme moderation (a glass of wine, about 2 fingers high), and there were more days that I have no alcohol compared to days I had any at all. I still made the same meals for breakfast/lunch during the week, EVERY DAY. I kept bringing my food to work, and was able to maintain and control my eating for the most part.

So what I’m getting at is that I was more in maintenance mode than weight loss mode. I did it for months and didn’t get out of control. I never gained weight during that period of leaving the gym for 1-2 months. Let me say that again.

I never gained weight.

That is what led me to the conclusion that I have made this a lifestyle choice. I have, for the first time in my life, committed to my health in a safe, healthy, maintainable way. I may get tired of the journey and take a break every so often, but I will not lose my way. I just proved that I haven’t.

I’m proud that I’m continuing to improve. I’m proud that I pushed through it and started again. I’m proud that I’ve recommitted to weight loss again, and not just weight management. And I’m proud that the gym scale showed me my extra workouts are starting to pay off last night.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Ambition vs. reality

Exercising is hard, which is why not so many people do it I guess. As I was updating my weekly recap, keeping tabs on  my weekly progress I realized that I needed to step it up in order to keep on top of my weight loss. I’d been taking it easy, as necessary as that was in order to heal up, but I hadn’t had any killer workout days recently. So I planned some big exercising for the weekend, when I have extra time without the time crunch that a job takes.

I decided I would go for a big walk on Saturday morning, right after I got up. There’s a big park, called Lincoln Park, a little ways from my house, and it’s actually less far than I expected. So rather than drive there and walk the park, I decided to walk TO the park, then around it, and back home. Turns out it was 4.75 miles round trip. With a huge elevation gain (I live high up on a bluff over puget sound) going from my house to the park and back, since the park is at sea level. It was fun, even though it was particularly cold, in the mid 20s. I wore alot of layers, but my legs never quite warmed up fully. And when I got back, I got the shivers from cooling down and wearing damp sweaty clothing, and then making a shake wiht frozen berries. I had to get a hot water bottle to warm up after that!

Later on, the plan was to go to the gym after errands and shopping and stuff. I tried. I was sore. I was tired. A kitty wanted to take a nap on me. I did persevere after all, but it was a really difficult workout. I think I showed my mental fortitude, since my body was having none of it. That adage “you’ll never regret a workout” kept going in my head and was one of the motivators I used to keep going on the treadmill. I tried running for a while, had to take a break. I tried fast sprints every other minute, and I needed a lot of mental push to make myself hit that speed increase button after a minute of walking. I did it, and I burned 450 calories, but I was pathetic. I’m not sure I agree with the sentiment of never regretting a workout. But I didn’t allow myself the out, and didn’t think about it, and just did it.

Today my leg muscles feel generally sore and not recovered, but they don’t hurt and there’s nothing specifically wrong with them. Just major fatigue. I’m supposed to repeat yesterday with a big major workout today and I’m not finding the fortitude to do it. I walked/ran about 8 miles yesterday, so I guess that’s like going for a big hike. Who knows what the day will bring. Maybe I’ll feel more energetic after I finish my morning coffee.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Week 7

This has been a steady week with a lot of subtle progress. I may not have worked as intensely as I would have liked, only 5 days at the gym, and didn’t make it out snowshoeing. But I have begun incorporating more at home exercise to supplement going to the gym, and the gym is becoming more of a habit. I don’t fight going as much as I have been; I just give in and go, even if I don’t want to. I hope I get to the point that I go without even thinking about it, that it becomes so much of a routine that it is an unconscious activity.

I’m consistently pushing to work 600 calories or so each workout, with a total that I’m estimating at about 3100 calories this week. It would have been more, but I had a really extra strong workout day on Saturday and may have overdone it – Sunday was necessarily a very light day (which unfortunately looks to be continuing as I recover).

In food news, did pretty well. I had 2 steaks this week, a little more in size and frequency than I should be eating, but overall, it was a fairly well balanced week. I semi-indulged a little here and there, but not very much (just a scone with marmalade on Saturday, and a large pasta dish with too little veggies on it one evening). I’m noticing that I’m able to handle being hungry a little better than I used to during the day, and I also have noticed that it is more normal for me to stop eating and be satisfied even if I’m not full like I used to be. Not being hungry is often good enough, I no longer need to eat until I’m excessively full. That in itself is a major change and a very positive one! Though I need to be careful to only put what i need on my plate – otherwise I’ll eat everything presented to me and lick the plate clean to boot!

Mon: Did weights, upper and lower body.
Tues: took the day off.
Weds: 1 hour cardio. Can’t remember what. About 600 calories.
Thurs: day off.
Fri: Did an hour cardio on the treadmill, 600 calories.
Sat: 2/19: Did a morning workout and really pushed. Burned 900 calories over an hour and a half. Did a lot of fast running sprints during the last half hour. Tried to stay active the rest of the day so I wouldn’t stiffen up.
Sun: Recovery day – did 1 hour walk in my neighborhood, then 1 hour at the gym on the treadmill, slow walking. Was dealing with an overtaxed quad muscle on one leg and a sore knee on the other. I think the kneecap was tracking poorly and I think I need to start strengthening the inner leg muscle that connects to the knee (this has been an issue in my pre-workout days) to keep the knee cap from pulling to the outside by stronger muscles. Between both walks, I’m guessing 550 calories spent (300 on the treadmill at least).

Pushed hard by the end of the week, and it’s making my next week start off quite slowly – not yet fully recovered. However, I think I’ll bounce back strong, in a few days. I’m also struggling with some wierd dizzy-like symptoms. I don’t know if it’s an issue with my inner ear or a low-grade fever, but things are spinning and I’m having trouble not listing to the side. I think I will take tonight off officially and get a lot of rest as my leg muscles are still not recovered. Just a small glitch on the journey, nothing major.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized, Weekly recap