Archive for the ‘challenges’ Category

And She’s Back

It’s been a hellish year.

Bouts of insomnia. Unhelpful doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians. Just relax, you say? Right.

So here I am again. I hate to see how many times I’ve “started over” since I began this blog.

But I am back at the number that makes me cringe: 175.

Standing in front of the mirrors in Sam’s Outfitters trying on short yoga pants, and watching – with disgust – as my fat stomach rolled over the tops. Did I mention that these are X-Large yoga pants. Not surprising, since my new – relatively stable size – is 12.

How did this happen? And how did it happen so quickly?

Did I just stop paying attention? Apparently.

Did I just get lazy? Obviously.

So, yesterday, sitting in a trendy raw food restaurant in Brattleboro, VT, as I was waiting for my smoothie to arrive, I looked at my husband who was doing nothing but beaming love and support and I thought: I don’t want to be in this body anymore if I’m this fat.

Wow.

It’s not the first time that I’ve had that thought, but I had hoped that the time before last was the last time. Apparently I was overly optimistic.

Because despite what the tag line of this blog is, I have not learned shit about loving myself.

So, let’s begin again, shall we?

I looked back through my blog and I tracked down a number of things that had worked for me in the past, as regarding weight loss, not about loving.

Calorie counting (not in vogue, I realize)

Cardio, and lots of it (also not in vogue)

Less meat (also not in vogue, depending on with whom you talk)

And more raw (which may or may not still be “cool”, but is contraindicated for thyroid).

After looking at my diet, exercise, blood pressure (105:56), cholesterol panel (as perfect as you can get), and resting heart rate (56), my dietician only had two pieces of advice: 1) lower my calories to 1,200, which, she realizes, is not sustainable, and 2) try Bikram Yoga.

What?

The idea of counting calories is repulsive to me. I hate it already, which probably means that I should do it.

I hate the idea of taking a yoga class even more – especially one in a room heated to 105 degrees with a bunch of scantily class yogis.

To tell you the truth, I really can’t even believe that I am even considering, let alone buying new yoga pants (the last ones I had were size small), a sweat absorbing towel, mat cleaner, and a gym bag.

Despite that I live in the middle of nowhere, there is – believe it or not – a Bikram yoga studio not that far from my house. I logged on to check it out. Two things surprised me. 1) They want/expect you to practice 6 to 7 times a week during the first month, and 2) the letter to “New Students.”

i would like to believe that something as simple – or as difficult – as a yoga practice could change my life. I need a change. I cannot stand this place where I find myself when my thoughts run dark and dangerous. Importantly I know – at a deep level – that the negative stories, the recriminating talk, and the vicious narratives are just that.

I know it’s not true. I know that I really don’t hate my body. But it’s hard to remember, sometimes, in the day to day. In the crush of moments and deadlines and commitments….

Yet, when I went for a walk this morning, I watched the birds play in the field: red winged black birds bullying the robins and wood peckers pecking on anything from trees, to barns, and even painted metal mail boxes. I felt the cool morning breeze on my skin and I squinted against the golden sun. I smelled the lingering scent of fresh new grass, still damp from the morning dew.

All of that beauty – only available through my body.

I love my body and everything that it (she) allows me to experience when I take the time to appreciate it.

I don’t like the way she looks, however; nor do I appreciate how she feels as we trudge up and down the hills, out of breath for the first time in a long time.

So, today, I am starting over.

Again.

So Ends the Experiment

For years I have been listening to people talk about intuitive eating and the dangers of calorie counting.

I’ve tried it before and I’ve just finished trying it, again. Both times were an abysmal failure.

I just had to step on a scale for the first time in a year (because of some not routine medical tests) and for the first time in nearly five [years] I am once again, overweight. I am now bigger than I was before all of this started. I am now bigger than the first time when I met my husband – the time that I told him that I was really going to transform my body before I hit 40.

I was 36. I am now 42.

The experiment failed.

I’m not saying that intuitive eating doesn’t work – but it doesn’t work for me.

Maybe it’s the stress. Maybe it’s the whacked out thyroid. Maybe it’s the overactive immune system. Maybe I was just fooling myself when I thought that I knew what my body wanted, when it was hungry, etc. Who knows?

Regardless, I do know one thing – I’m allowing it to affect every aspect of my life, from my work to my relationships. All of the cognitive therapy that I’ve been doing so that I can love my body from the inside out? Well, despite the immense talent of my coach, it folds in the face of the illuminated number on a silver scale. It folds in the face of the double digit clothing that I can barely fit into. It folds every time that someone touches any part of my body that roils underneath the slightest bit of pressure.

So, intuitive or not, it’s time for a little accountability.

If I can’t be truly in touch with my body then I at least need to know what’s going on so that I am not just sitting around weighting (every pun, intended. Do you believe that that was actually a Freudian slip? It was – really) to find the right combination of seaweed, protein, whole grains that just so happen to be gluten-free, etc., that is going to unlock all of the nutritional and weight loss secrets of the universe.

In other words, I am going to revert back to calories in/calories out.

Now, I can hear the groan from my friends – at least a thousand of whom are graduates from one of the best schools of integrative nutrition in the country. But I know that all calories are not equal, so you don’t have to worry that I think that a 800+ calorie bomb from McDonald’s will have the same nutritional value as 2 of my green smoothies (even without all of the cruciferous vegetables that contain goitrogens that suppress thyroid function). But at least this way I will know – that I’ll know that it’s not something that I’m just fooling myself about. I remember the autumn that I gained 10 pounds eating “healthy cookies….” Could it be?

Because if it really is me – then maybe I can learn to do something else. But if it isn’t me (and it really is her, my body who is suffering under the unmitigated stress of my life) then, maybe, I can learn to forgive myself and my body and allow myself to connect not only with her – but also emotionally, mentally, and physically with those other people in my life who really don’t seem to mind if I weigh 140 or 170 pounds.

Seriously, as I even write the number, tears come to my eyes and the thought, unbidden, how could this have happened to me? How did I let it happen?

The Last Meal: Changing the Diet Up Yet Again

If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve radically changed the way I eat….

It’s been a rough few months on the body-love front. I have no idea what I weigh, but very few things in my closet actually fit.

A couple of things are going on:

My thyroid crashed (again).

I’m not doing the things I need to do to take care of myself (meaning less yoga, less hooping).

I’m not getting enough sleep.

I’m not getting enough exercise (see above).

And I’m not loving myself in any way shape or form – sorry coach!

The one thing that I was doing, however, was eating cleanly. In fact, it’s not a exaggeration to say that this is the cleanest that I’ve eaten, ever. I had hoped that would be enough.

Yet I keep getting bigger and bigger and more recently PMS is now pre-, present-, and post-. Bloating, mood swings, and boobs from hell. Two days ago, the cloth of my blouse was nearly unbearable; the poor things hurt to the touch – which also cuts down on any desire intimacy or closeness of any form.

I had a call with a holistic health care person and he mentioned something about food and thyroid suppression and, more importantly, the foods that suppress the thyroid – the number one culprits being sweet potatoes (yams), brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. You might not know this, but 90% of everything that I eat (other than hemp and other forms of protein powders) is comprised of yams, brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, and broccoli.

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how the body becomes addicted to the very things that are bad for it.

Last night, I had my last meal: brussels, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower soup, and a little mini-green smoothie with spinach and kale. Before I began, I just looked at it, letting the anticipation build. Then I enjoyed every single solitary bite. I swear, you would have thought I was eating cheesecake! I even lit candles.

Somehow this latest dietary transition seems more difficult than previous ones, and I’m not sure why. There are obviously straightforward substitutions. Collards or chard for kale, green beans for broccoli, asparagus for brussel sprouts, and romaine and red leaf lettuce for spinach. And I’m sure that I can find a nice butternut squash soup recipe to replace my carrot and cauliflower, but it’s not going to be the same.

I keep reminding myself, food is food. It’s not for pleasure. It doesn’t matter that you’re being asked to give up your favorite foods, yet again. Because, when I think about it, this last batch of favorites became favorites when the last batch went away.

So what can you eat when you want to help nourish your thyroid? Well, the list is short and there’s nothing on it that’s particularly appealing. But appealing or not, it’s what I’ve got and I’m sure that however unappealing it may seem, I will learn to love again.

Because, to paraphrase Tony Robbins, nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.

Stay tuned for thyroid nourishing recipes (sans sweet potatoes (yams), brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc). Wish me luck!

Surviving the Holidays (for the most part, intact)

Every year I dread the holidays.

It’s not the busyness or the hassle of traveling. It’s not the weird family dynamics (I actually enjoy spending time with my family). It’s not the increasing credit card balance or the last minute wrapping. It’s not the panicked trips to the store searching frantically for tape or thyme (not to mention, t-i-m-e).

It’s really all about the food.

Christmas at my parents house is like a minefield. There is literally sugar in every room in the house (save the bathrooms).

Seriously, it’s everywhere. My father’s bark covered pretzels, Ritz crackers, saltines, and mixed nuts. Cookies and chocolate. And then once my relatives arrived, the pie parade: coconut cream (to die for), my Aunt Mary’s chocolate pie (should be illegal, especially since she uses corn starch in the filling for us gluten-free folk), my cousin Megan’s pumpkin pie, and my cousin Matthew’s pecan pie (which I am pretty sure is illegal in a few states). Then there’s the bourbon balls the neighbors brought….

Did I mention that we also had a 60th surprise birthday party on the 23rd? So that also meant we had an extra dark chocolate sheet cake floating around and a ton of Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato. Seriously, this stuff was insane and was worth the three hours of misery that followed (can any one say lactose intolerant?) A lesser ice cream wouldn’t have been, but this – most definitely.

Regardless, despite all of the potential minefields (including several bottles of wine and about three different batches of my sister’s world-famous margaritas), I actually made it through relatively unscathed – that one brutal stomach ache aside.

So, how did I do it?

1) I thanked the powers that be that I have a wicked gluten-intolerance, because that knocked out a whole lot of options. I remember Anthony Robbins saying something about, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels,” but I think a more personally motivating mantra is this: “Nothing – and I mean nothing – tastes as good as gluten-free feels.” (If only I could find something similar for sugar!)

2) I planned ahead. Knowing that we were going to be doing a party spread (in addition to the holidays), I ordered gluten-free options from what Jena la Flamme assures me is the best gluten-free bakery in the country (and I must say, I agree), where I ordered some awesome baguettes, some cupcakes, and a pumpkin bread (which, damn the bad luck, is still sitting uneaten in my mother’s fridge!)

3) I tried new things and substituted, substituted, substituted. My newest finds are Q Tonic Water (which I drank in place of wine and margaritas) and hemp tortilla chips, which have a lot more protein than corn chips and are, thus, more filling.

4) I pulled out my old favorites, meaning that I baked garnet yams, ate my normal sauteed kale, and even whipped up three – count them three – batches of my incredible guacamole (Notice the correspondence between the number of batches of guac and margaritas?)

5) I packed my yoga mat (and did yoga twice a day while I was there) and my hula hoop. Although my parents don’t have a great indoor space to hoop and their yard/driveway is slanted, I still got in a little hooping every day.

6) I set an intention going in – to wear the same skinny jeans going out that I wore going in (I should have specified comfort level, but there’s always next year).

7) I remembered that all things are transitory. I’ve realized that I have this belief that when I gain weight – in any amount – that it’s never going away. I tend to get really down on myself and start doing crazy restrictive things with my diet. This time I remembered that things change. My waist got bigger, that means that it can get smaller. It was only four days. (And sure enough, just after two days of being back at my home and doing my normal thing, my waist is looking a lot more familiar to me). What is that saying: change is the only constant? It’s a good thing to remember.

Now, that’s not to say that things went flawlessly or that things are completely back to where they were before I left for the holidays.

I’m just now beginning to pull myself out of the “sugar skid.”

Sugar is my crack; there’s no doubt about it.

Normally sugar doesn’t bother me, because I don’t eat it – like, ever. I don’t even eat fruit. Because as soon as I do, it’s like I’m an addict. In fact, I was speaking with a dear friend of mine who works with seriously addicted people and she asked me to describe – in great detail – what it feels like and what happens to me when I eat sugar. I was telling her and she was nodding.

Her response? “It seems like the sugar is triggering a dopamine response in you, much like drugs or alcohol do for many of my clients.”

Lovely.

I got home on Tuesday around 1:00 a.m., after having polished off the last of the Byerly’s dark chocolate salted sea caramels that my father had so lovingly packed in my bag.

Wednesday, I found the bark covered pecans in my suitcase, which my father had made specifically for me (since I can’t – thank goodness – eat his other creations). I ate them slowly and savored each one.

Thursday, I found the contents of my stocking that my mother had so carefully packed up for me and stowed away in the pocket of my backpack. I had one Ghiradelli Square – Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt (which was but a pale comparison of the aforementioned Byerly’s caramel, by the way). I also had an apple.

Today (Friday), who knows? I don’t feel totally out of control when I think about sugar – but part of that’s because we don’t have any in the house. Well, Michael J has some raw honey, but that’s even too sweet for me.

When my dad taught my sister and I to drive, he’d take us out to snow covered parking lots, tell us to go really fast and hit the brakes. Lesson: learn to turn into the skid and stay in control of the wheel.

In some ways, this holiday season brought back a lot of those memories.

Was I out of control around sugar?

Maybe.

But because I headed into it with foresight, planning, and flexibility I feel like it was/is going to be a quick recovery. And who knows, I may be better in the long run for the slippage. Because next time it happens, I’ll know even better what to do.

Happy Holidays!!!

Accepting What Is

The other day, I watched a coaching video and the major point was that in order to make a change you have to first accept what is. Only once you’ve truly accepted what is, and learned to appreciate it, can you make a change. Part of appreciating what is, involves building an ecology to support the life that you have now. Not the life you want and certainly not the life you used to have. The life you have now. Accept it. Appreciate it. And support it.

It seems a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

But the guy is a little bit brilliant and I’ve seen his results in other people who I admire, so here I go.

Let’s just be really transparent, here: I’ve gotten fat.

At this moment in time, I am significantly larger than I was last year.

In fact, I just spent two hours cleaning out closets of clothes that used to be loose and now won’t even button around the middle. Seriously, about half of the clothes that used to be in my closets no longer fit.

But let me not get ahead of myself.

Yesterday, I lay on my bed crying, because I couldn’t wear any of my summer clothes. I was literally swimming in a swamp of self-loathing and self-pity. I was also going to skip the annual Memorial Day picnic at Michael’s dad’s because I didn’t have anything fun to wear. (I actually did end up going, but that’s another story). And I certainly wasn’t accepting what is. You know that river in Egypt? I was there.

This morning, however, I decided to shake it off and make a counter-intuitive decision; well, at least one for me.

Normally I would have stayed in the water. However, today I decided to accept what is.

Instead of beating myself every time I go to the closet this summer, I decided to go shopping. Essentially, I decided that if I didn’t have clothes that looked good on me that fit, I should go buy some. I decided to not hate on myself for what is, but to honor what is. (Trust me; it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.)

At one point, I was standing in the local department store with 5 pairs of pants/shorts – all of a size that I had convinced myself was my upper limit. I was wrong. None of them fit. It was ugly. But instead of getting really down on myself, in that admittedly teary eyed moment, I realized that where I am is not going to be fixed in a week or two. Where I am is going to require a level of discipline that I’ve seen precious little of over the last six months. Where I am is not solely the result of water retention, my faulty thyroid, the wheat that I accidentally ingested last week, my out of whack hormones, etc., but rather a combination of chocolate, wine, improperly combined foods, and general overeating. Where I am is going to require attention and effort. Where I am is going to require commitment on my part and the support of my partner, my friends, and my inner child. Where I am is going to require pushing myself through more intense workouts, instead of gliding through what’s become increasingly comfortable.

Instead of buying one or two things, I bought an entire wardrobe: four sundresses (they’re more forgiving than pants and can be paired with jackets, sweaters, and tights to be worn into the fall), three skirts, three tops, a camisole, a jacket, underwear, a corset (!), capri tights, two pairs of shorts, a pair of pants, and a pair of fuck me shoes. (Just because I’m tubby doesn’t mean I can’t be sexy!)

Does this mean I am staying here?

Not at all. It means that I accept where I am in this moment – without excuses or illusions – and I am creating an ecology where I can still look good and take care of myself. I’m allowing myself to have pretty and fun things to wear that will help prevent me from beating myself up or feeling (and looking) even bigger than I already am. Where I have pretty and fun things that will keep my feeling attractive and motivate me to do what’s right for me and my body as it is right now.

Now that I am no longer in denial, I have placed one pair of pants that no longer fit in plain sight. These are the motivators. In fact, these are the smallest pair of pants that I’ve ever owned as an adult. Everything else, however, has been put away, out of sight. There is nothing in my room (other than that one pair of pants) that doesn’t fit well or look good.

Now that I am out of denial, I know that what I have been doing isn’t getting me (and isn’t going to get me) where I want to be.

Now that I am no longer in denial, I will make a plan that supports not only where I am in this moment, but what I can and am willing to do.

The Hidden Hazards of…Herbal Tea?

Over the last two years, I have had problems with water. Not the water I drink, but rather the water in my body. I suffer inexplicable bloating, I retain it, I have ridiculous thirsts, and I find myself running – sometimes tripping over the cat in my haste – to the bathroom. Sometimes I get there without mishap; sometimes I don’t.

As a result of all of these seemingly shifting tides, I’ve been known to head to the Wal-Mart in the second nearest town in the middle of the night to purchase Poise, as I certainly don’t want to be seen in my local CVS with the telltale pink and turquoise package.

So, if I’m so embarrassed by my recent predicament that I’m willing to go 20 miles out of my way to avoid the stigmatizing exposure associated with mild urinary incontinence then why the heck am I writing a blog about it, you ask. Good question. The answer: because I’m willing to face the mild embarrassment to get this information known. Besides, when you admit something publicly, it loses its sting. Or maybe I am tired of being what Erving Goffman refers to as discreditable and have decided to discredit myself openly and on my terms.

Notably this biggest, most stigmatizing water problem varies by the season. It tends to get worse in the winter and all but disappear in the summer. Weird, huh?

And as we are heading into what seems like the sixth month of winter, I have been at my wit’s end, seriously. I have tried meditating. I have a regular appointment with an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, who assures me that healthy kidneys – at least from the Chinese perspective – are the seat of good health. In fact, at our last appointment, he asked me if I still drank coffee.

Nope. But, I told him proudly, I drink a ton of herbal tea.

What kind?

What kind? What do you mean, ‘What kind?’! It’s herbal tea, for God’s sake.

I mean what kind. Not all herbal tea is the same. They all have different energies and, therefore, different effects on the body.

Well, Tazo’s Sweet Wild Orange, Cinnamon Apple, and Orange Spice.

Do they have hibiscus in them?

Uhm, I think so.

Hibiscus is a diuretic.

What?!

So, essentially, when I had replaced my daily water intake with herbal tea (which “everyone” – everyone other than my Chinese herbalist acupuncturist, that is, tells you is cool), I was essentially downing 8 – 10 cups of a pretty powerful diuretic. One that also has, in clinical trials, been shown to lower blood pressure. (Last time I was at the doctor, my blood pressure was 86/45.)

Do you know what happens when you get dehydrated (which diuretics will do)? You retain water.

Do you know what happens when you drink 64 to 80 ounces of diuretics? You spend a lot of time running to the bathroom, not to mention quite a bit of time skulking around the pharmacy section of a big box store in a town where no one knows your name.

My prescription: start drinking tea (even green tea) that does not contain hibiscus.

Do you know how hard it is to find an herbal tea (other than chamomile, which is undoubtedly the Coors Light of herbal tea) without hibiscus? Pretty darned hard, as it turns out. Apparently all fruit flavored teas – including Blueberry – have hibiscus as their number one ingredient. Who knew?

I ended up with three boxes – all from Celestial Seasonings: Bengal Spice, Honey Vanilla Chamomile, and Green Tea Honey Lemon Ginseng. So far, the Bengal Spice is pretty tasty – beneath a veritable explosion of cinnamon, it has a nice under flavor of almonds.

So, I’m drinking more water, I’m drinking less hibiscus tea – actually, no hibiscus tea. And, big surprise, I am holding on to less water, and more often than not, I have time to stop and pet the cat on the way to the ladies room. All in all, it’s a win-win.

The more I learn about my body, the more I realize that there’s always more to learn. In my next life, I want to be a holistic health care practitioner and I hope I live in a world where all forms of knowledge – Eastern or Western – are easily accessible, available, and appreciated.

Exiting the Roller Coaster (Becoming My Own Expert)

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while now. It’s definitely been a long time coming.

Exiting the Roller Coaster – appropriate, but not necessarily enlightening.

Becoming My Own Expert – probably a little more elucidating.

How about, Reclaiming the Owner’s Manual?

Last year was a year of experimentation and disappointments for me in terms of my health, my motivation, and – let’s get real – my weight.

It started with the food allergies: gluten, dairy, soy, and – as much as it pains me to admit it – nuts.

In an attempt to deal with those, I went raw and for 4 or 5 months, I felt great. In fact, in May, I felt (and looked, lest we forget that I am much more shallow and vain than I had ever given myself credit for) better than I had in my entire life. I also weight in at a slight 132.5 (a whole 100 pounds from my high weight recorded in the Weight Watchers office at 21st and Sheridan in 1986).

In June, things started to change.

My energy started flagging. I was no longer working. I could barely get out of bed and on the days that I managed it, I often spent the afternoons on the couch. I think the most worrisome thing for those closest to me was that I was no longer exercising. Not only did I not have the energy, I didn’t want to. Zero interest.

In an attempt to jumpstart my interest – in anything – I started looking to experts. I tried High Intensity Interval Training (which I hated) and, even though it worked for everyone else, it did nothing for me. I read a book where the authors suggested that counting calories was bad and that you should just eat slower and take more pleasure in your food.

Due to a strange twist of fate (numbness in my hands which resulted in a second degree burn), a neurologist did a panel of blood tests and as it turns out, I have Hashimoto’s disease, which means that my autoimmune system is attacking my thyroid. My chiropractor recommended that I start eating some cooked food. My health coach recommended that I start eating small amounts of animal protein at every meal and that I treat the underlying problem using herbal and nutritional supplements without taking the prescribed synthroid.

About this time, I also started working with a fitness coach, who convinced me to separate food from exercise. I took supplements, I cleansed. I didn’t take the medicine as prescribed. The thyroid numbers got worse and worse.

I took belly dancing, yoga. I danced in my living room.

You name it, I did it.

And I still felt like crap and still had no energy.

I cleansed again.

And still my clothes didn’t fit. In six months I had gained 16 pounds…. Ugly.

My mood swings were turning into tilt-a-whirls. I started the synthroid, while continuing the herbal treatment for the underlying adrenal exhaustion.

I have recalled my calorie tracking program and relinked calories in with calories out, even though I do know enough to know that not all calories are created equally.

This is not a New Year’s Resolution. This really is more of a state of the union. The state of the relationship between me and my body.

To date, we are stronger than we were just a few weeks ago.

Why? Because I’ve decided to stop listening to the experts and to really tune in to what I/we need to heal.

But trust us, we have a long way to go.

It’s funny, I used to know what worked for me, but in the last six months, I’ve felt completely out to sea. Not only out to sea, but out to sea without a map and, if truth be told, without a compass.

Over the next few days, I’m going to get serious about creating that map and putting it into place. I am also going to tune into the compass – that is, my intuitive knowledge about myself – that I have also been so steadfastly ignoring. I’m, importantly, I am going to use this blog as a personal and public tool for accountability as I turn this ship around and get headed in the right direction.

And over the next few weeks (and months, as I have no illusions that this can be undone as quickly as it was done), I will chronicle my fears, my frustrations, my joys, my successes, and my aspirations.

I love my body. It’s the only one I have and – barring all medical emergencies or miracles – the only one I’m likely ever to have.

If any of you would care to join me, I’d love for you to come along for the ride. Or if you’re simply willing to bear witness, I’d appreciate that too.

Mind Over Matter: The Brain Really Does Control The Body

I have really been struggling with my recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Although I realize that it is quite common and easily treatable, I’ve found myself scared, frustrated, and resentful.

Part of this stems from the fact that I had just gotten where I wanted to be physically and then, week by week, I’ve been watching it slip away – not without a fight mind you, but with a fight that seemed pretty darned futile.

I’ve been doing my best to stay positive, but my attention is increasingly drawn to my inability to remember simple words, my ever expanding waist line, the water retention, the lethargy, the depression, the irritability, the increasing irrationality.

In an attempt to retard those frequent trips down the rabbit hole – and in some cases to reverse them all together – I remind myself of all of the things that I am grateful for…a list of things that are really too numerous to recount, but can include such big things as my family and friends or such small things as the warmth of my tea cup in the one hand in which I still have full feeling.

Several of my friends – again, those people for whom I am extremely grateful – tell me that my body will respond to my mind (or more specifically, to my thoughts), thus I should stop saying things like, “hosed,” “toast,” “broken,” “fat,” etc. And although I know that, intellectually, I hadn’t quite got it. Like, really got it. Like, in my body.

This morning, however, I got a glimmer.

As per usual, as soon as I got up, I grabbed my glasses. No big deal there.

But when I looked down at them, I thought they looked funny.

They didn’t look like my glasses.

In fact, I was convinced that they were an old pair. (Did I mention that hypothyroidism is often accompanied by brain fog?)

I was so convinced that these were not my glasses, that when I put them on, I couldn’t see. And I immediately started getting that headache that you always get when you try on someone else’s glasses or have to wear an old prescription.

I went back into the bedroom, turned on the light, searching for my glasses – not sure why I couldn’t find them.

I looked and I looked. I looked under the bed. I looked in the drawer. I looked under the table and under my pillow. They were no where to be seen.

On a whim, I checked my iPhone. (No, I wasn’t that confused.) And I found a recent picture.

And you know what?

Those were my glasses.

My vision immediately cleared up.

And my headache disappeared.

From here on out, I am going to be much more careful about the thoughts that I am directing to my thyroid – not to mention the rest of my body.

And, just as a friendly word of advice, I suggest you think about doing the same.

The Trials and Tribulations of Western Medicine and Aging

I burned my left hand about 5 weeks ago, now.

The doctor was concerned that I hadn’t felt it until it was too late. We started talking and I told him that I often lacked feeling in that hand, as well as on the outside of my right calf.

All this comes on the heels of a recent diagnosis of Raynaud’s.

Off to the neurologist I go – five weeks later, which would be yesterday.

I spent several hours hooked up to electrodes, being shocked and measured all over my body. It seemed spookily reminiscent of the Milgram experiment, but I digress.

Carpel tunnel in both wrists (no surprise there) and asymmetrical reflexes. Those two things alone warranted an appointment for a spinal MRI and blood test in the amount of 7 (yes, you read that right) 7 vials of blood!

Today I get a call from the doctor at my office – a few minutes before 6:00.

There were some abnormalities in the blood work.

It appears that my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test came back a 20. The “normal range” is 2.5 to 5.

“Have you had unexplained weight gain?”

Duh.

“Has your memory gotten worse?”

Check.

“Headaches?”

Check.

“Have you noticed a decrease in energy and overall motivation?”

(I started to ask if he’d been reading my blog!)

And then there were a few other questions you don’t need to know about….

Check. Check. And – you guessed it – check.

As a general rule I hate medicine and have lived my life to avoid it at all costs. However, I think that this is one I’m not going to be able to avoid.

Damn.

As my sister just so gently reminded me: “Getting old is not for sissies.”

Lethargy – 1 (or maybe not)

It’s 11:52.

Can I get in eight minutes before midnight?

Sigh.

Post script: It’s now 12:28 a.m. and I am a hot, sweaty mess.

I was wrong in my last post – midnight is the worst possible time of day – or night – to exercise! But since I started at 11:52 p.m. (that is, yesterday) public accountability still has it – if only by a hair.

Learning to mourn without food

I am sad.

I have been sad now for five days (give or take two days in the middle, where I thought I’d found peace).

But yesterday, in a middle of a conversation with Michael J. about de-cluttering, despair washed over in me in waves.

The spirit of my beloved companion for the last 19 1/2 years departed her body and returned to the – for lack of a better word – “energy soup” of the universe.

And I am left here, staring at my other life-long companion – food – with longing.

And not just any food, but the fat, salt, and sugar filled foods.

If I didn’t know that Michael would catch me full out, there is not a doubt in my find that I could finish off a jar of peanut butter (or a tub of tahini or a bottle of wine) without blinking an eye.

I finally know what people mean by the term “numbing out.”

So I drink my water, munch on kale chips, and exercise.

Instead of grabbing a spoon, I picked up an old forgotten chick lit novel that I’d bought once in some airport that I started but never finished.

And when Harley, Michael J’s cat, who isn’t sure what it means exactly to be the only cat in the house again, crawls up next to me and lays his head in the crook of my arm, I am simultaneously grateful and guilty.

Feeling your feelings. Who knew?

I settled down to sleep in Michael’s arms last night and just as I started to drift, deep choking wails broke forth from my chest – again, like a tidal wave, uncontrollable, unexpected, unheralded.

Life moves forward, haltingly, without compassion – and, if I have anything to do with it – without peanut butter or anything else that I might be tempted to use not only to ease, but also to hide, cover, and ignore the loss of a life that meant so much to me.

I love you
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you

Packing up the kitchen, uhm, I mean, the suitcase

I am traveling again. This time to Atlanta – downtown Atlanta, not one of the cute little neighborhoods with fun shops, boutiques, and grocery stores. But to the empty, deserted, hotel and restaurant infested part of the city.

So, as always – and even a little more so than always – I am packing my own food. And, as per usual, it looks like I’m going to be bringing more food than clothes!

The list, so far:

Susan’s Kale Chips 2.0

1 bag of Organic Baby Spinach
1 box of cherry tomatoes
1 gallon sized bag of chopped veggies: broccoli, carrots, turnips, and zucchini
Enough Chocolate Rice and Protein Powder for at least 4 shakes
3-4 avocados
Energy bars
Psyllium Husk
Spirulina
Almond butter

Kitchen utensils:
1 spoon
1 travel sponge
1 large cup
1 travel-sized Magic Bullet Blender

I’m sure I’m forgetting something; as I almost always do!

So, why am I bringing all of this food – particularly since I have lunch and dinner dates planned every day that I am there?

The powders, the spinach, and the avocados (or maybe the almond butter, depending on my mood) are all for breakfast. If I don’t have MY breakfast, the day is pretty much shot for food for me. If I don’t start off with my regular 60+ gram protein BOMB, I can pretty much count on a bad eating day. When I do start the day off with a shake, no matter where I am, I am more sated, I am more grounded, and I am much more likely to be in control of my eating (as opposed to the other way around).

And as someone who is 85% (more or less) raw vegan, it’s hard to get a satisfying meal out. Most restaurants’ idea of a big salad (see earlier post on this topic) wouldn’t feed a rabbit! So instead of being all weird about it, I’ve decided to just go and order a salad (where possible) and eat it. Even if it’s not particularly satisfying, I know that I have PLENTY of nutrition in my room to fall back on. Using this approach, “eating out” with friends will really be more like “hanging out.” Eat a little salad, drink a little water – then go back to my room for my real lunch or, as the case may be, dinner.

Now, even though Atlanta – at least the part I am going to me in – is not that diet friendly, there is a Legal Sea Food, which does have a pretty generous Gluten-Free Menu. Given that gluten-free is the mandatory condition and the raw/vegan is just the preference, I should be in pretty good shape on Saturday night – as that’s where my very understanding friend made reservations. And, believe it or not, Atlanta also has a Raw Restaurant! It’s not downtown, but it’s only a MARTA ride away. As it turns out, I have a chunk of time available on Saturday, so I’ll definitely be checking that out for lunch! And as a service to raw aficionados everywhere, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Shining the Light On the Ghost of Gym Teachers Past

A few weeks ago (or maybe months at this point), I told you that I had started doing High Intensity Interval Training, otherwise known as H.I.I.T.

I was pretty excited about it and I told you that I would keep you posted. Part of the reason I was excited about it is that it gives you little bursts of energy – bursts of energy that may very well have saved the life of Michael J’s super-friendly, but not overly bright feline, Harlequin. But that’s another story and one that I’ve shared before.

Since that fortuitous day, my love of H.I.I.T. has dwindled.

1) It’s hard.
2) It’s not nearly as fun as spinning.
3) Did I mention that it’s hard?

Or at least that’s the story I kept telling myself – all the while ignoring the fact that I loved how I felt once I was done (partly because it is hard and I really felt like I accomplished something) and how I could literally see and feel myself getting stronger by the day.

So, I sat down and really thought about it. Why do I dislike this so much? Why do I have such strong internal resistance to this particular form of exercise? I mean, seriously. I am a woman who did P90X (three times) with more enthusiasm. So what’s the deal?

The clues to the answer to my question came from two places.

One, I was bemoaning my fate to my Aunt Linda and she said, “I think I might actually like this. It sounds like the stuff we used to do in school. And it doesn’t sound like you need a lot of fancy equipment.”

Ding.

Something resonated deep down in the depths of my psyche.

Two, I’ve been working with a personal coach who is awesome. She’s been having me do written exercises that will help me bust through the resistance I have to doing certain things in my real life – things like reviewing articles, starting my book, cleaning the house, doing H.I.I.T. exercises.

During the one of the exercises, one of the steps is to write down all of the negative emotions and thoughts associated with doing H.I.I.T. When I got to that part, I heard that same low tone. And all of a sudden, I was back at the gym at Carver Middle School, during the week of the the Presidential Fitness Test – thank you Ronald Reagan. May you be best remembered for terrorizing poor, clumsy, fat kids across America.

I realized that not only did H.I.I.T. remind me of middle school gym class in general (just like they had reminded my Aunt of hers), but it also reminded me of one particular instance of middle school gym class that was so personally horrifying that I didn’t even tell my sister about it until a few months ago (some 27 years after the fact). And when I told Michael J., sometime after that, I cried.

Methinks herein lies the problem.

I’m putting this out there – shining the light on my demons, if you will – to see if I can exorcise them once and for all and hopefully, get on with the act of exercising!

At my middle school, we had a female coach (Coach Holmes) and a male coach (Coach Rogers). Technically, I was in Coach Rogers’ class, who was a very sensitive and perceptive soul. However, during the week of the Presidential FItness Tests, all of the girls went to Coach Holmes’ office to get weighed and measured and all the boys reported to Coach Rogers’. Unfortunately, Coach Holmes, though nice enough, was not nearly as sensitive or perceptive as her male counterpart.

Imagine, if you will, a group of middle-school aged girls standing in line as the teacher for all intents and purposes shouts out your weight to her student aid, who just happened to be her very attractive, athletic, and if memory serves reigning kick-pin champion/cheerleader daughter, Kendra.

I step onto the scale.

Dead silence.

I look at Coach Holmes.

She looks at me.

We look at the scale: 180.

“It must be broken,” she says.

“It’s not broken,” I say. “Why would it be broken now when it wasn’t broken when anyone else stepped on it?”

“That can’t be right,” she says.

“It’s right,” I assure.

Kendra, bless her heart, looks embarrassed.

“Go down to Coach Roger’s office and use his scale. That can’t be right.”

“It’s right.”

“Just do down to Coach’s office and try it again.”

I remember stepping off the scale and marching, face beet red, down to the other end of the cavernous gym, thinking I had never been so mortified in my life.

I was wrong.

Halfway down the length of the basketball quart, I hear Coach Holmes yell, “Coach Rogers, I’m sending Lively down there to weigh, because I think this scale is broken.”

The entire gym fell silent and 60 pairs of eyes landed on my chubby body simultaneously.

Someone laughed.

(Do you blame them?)

I kept my head up and walked steadily into Coach Roger’s office.

“Lively?”

“It’s not broken,” I said.

And he nodded silently and laid a sympathetic hand on my arm. “I’ll tell her.”

Maybe there is something valuable about airing your dirty laundry, because as I tell it, it doesn’t seem that bad. But as I carried it around with me for years, it was one of my most tightly guarded miseries. I’m hopeful that tomorrow, when it’s time to exercise, I will not feel that lingering sense of dread, reluctance, or resistance.

By putting it out there for the world to see, to share, and perhaps even to think, “What’s she complaining about? That’s nothing,” maybe it will, indeed, become nothing.

As always, I’ll let you know.

And if any of my old middle school friends read this and you ever happen to see Coach Holmes, give her my best. Because I realize, in retrospect, that that’s what she was only trying to do.

Searching for a new love

It’s important to love what you do – else you won’t do it.

When you find something you love, it’s not a chore. You feel awesome afterwards. You enjoy it in process. You look forward to doing it. And you miss it when you’re not doing it.

When you haven’t found something you love (but you’re making yourself do it anyway) it’s always a chore. You don’t feel awesome afterwards (if you’re lucky, you just feel relieved). You don’t enjoy it in process. You dread doing it and are therefore susceptible to any reason to not do it. And you certainly don’t miss it when you’ve skipped it. You might feel guilty, because all too often it’s something that you should have done, but you don’t actually regret not having done the thing itself.

This is true of almost everything that you know you should be doing.

In this case, it’s exercise.

For those of you who know me, you might be surprised that I am bemoaning exercise. I mean, I am addicted to exercise, right?

Wrong.

I was addicted to the long drawn out intensive cardio workouts that the new weight loss experts actually tell you causes fat storage!

I liked being on the stair mill for an hour.

I loved spinning!

I loved the feeling of working out anaerobically and being drenched in sweat!

Since I gave up spinning (almost two years ago) I have been struggling to find a new love.

I tried straight cardio, which, as noted, has been suggested actually causes fat storage (and based on my own experience and the credentials of the weight loss coaches I have encountered, I believe it). I tried kettle bells, and I have tried High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

HIIT works, no doubt about it. Problem is that I don’t love it, so it’s hard for me to be consistent with it. It’s hard and even though it’s only 20 or 30 (or sometimes 40 minutes depending on the workout) there is a big psychological resistance to be overcome every time I think about dusting off the exercise shoes.

Then of course there is my own ongoing love affair (NOT!) with yoga. Oh, if I could just learn to love yoga! I love yoga clothes. I love how good it is for you on any number of fronts. Hell, I love the bodies of the women I know that do it. But there’s just something missing.

Then there’s the newest weapon in my arsenal: Belly Dancing.

I actually tried Belly Dancing today. It was fun. It was harder than it looked. It is definitely going into the rotation – even if only because I want to wear the nifty belt!

Spinning was my one true love – followed quickly by the TreadClimber, then the StairMill.

Everything else has been a far fourth, fifth, and sixth.

I’m not sure how to remedy that. Though maybe I’ll just mix it up. Maybe if I have five or six things I sort of like, I’ll be able to convince myself to do at least one of them (if not more).

Yeah, as my father is so fond of saying, that’s the ticket. I’ll mix things up and see how that goes. And maybe, just maybe, if I try hard enough and squint long enough, I’ll fall in love again when I least expect it!

Wish me luck.

Strike Two on Personality!

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently learned that INTJs (Introverted INtuitive Thinker Judgers), under times of stress are more likely to seek out full body experiences, which include, among other things (like sex and exercise), eating!

Given that I have struggled with stress eating (some would call it bingeing) and – to a lesser degree – overexercise my whole life, this made a lot of sense to me.

We then moved on to the Enneagram Personality Model. Well, as it turns out I am a 5 Personality Type (also known as the Stinge). Stinge’s hoard. They always think that they need more of whatever it is. I could give you a thousand examples of how this plays out in my daily life now that I am aware of it (including how I routinely hide protein bars in my bag so that Michael J won’t eat the one’s that I want and how I routinely hog all of the flat surfaces in the house with of the stuff that I’ve been hoarding for God only knows how long), but I won’t. Just trust me: it’s there!

Interestingly, the Enneagram Personality Model tells you what your basic preferences or behavior patterns are at three points: where you are normally (which for me is a 5) and where you go under times of stress and intimacy. Without going into too much gory detail, where I go under intimacy explains a lot about my history with men (and with friends). And where I go under stress is – you guessed it – Gluttony!

Interestingly, the Myer’s-Brigg and the Enneagram are not perfectly correlated with one another. You can think of one as supplementing the other.

So, just my luck – what didn’t get covered by stress eating gets “covered” by my propensity to choose gluttony!

Now, one approach to this information might be just say, that’s the way I am, so I have permission to act that way…so I should just pull my chair up to the fridge and be done with it. However, personality can also be thought of as a decision that you made as a child in response to an arbitrary event that you had confirmed over and over again during the course of your life as opposed to something that’s biologically hardwired. If you take this second approach, then I can view my propensity to stress eat simply as a learned pattern of behavior that can be unlearned.

The key is remembering to observe it (and acknowledge it) not as something that can’t be changed, but as just something I do because it’s comfortable. It’s a choice. It’s not set in stone. It’s not just the way I am. And, perhaps even more importantly, it’s not me.

So the next time I catch myself stress eating, I will just observe the behavior and acknowledge that that’s the choice I made.

And, who knows? Perhaps, in time, I’ll learn to choose a different choice.

Getting back on the horse

Two days ago, I was in the middle of a binge. It was the first one I’d had in months – a quick look at my electronic food diary revealed that the last one happened earlier this year on Monday, March 29.

For that one, I had an excuse, sort of.

If you recall, I was trapped in an airplane and hadn’t had any vegetables to speak of for several days. I went nuts – figuratively and literally on raw flax bread and almond butter.

It wasn’t pretty. And I felt like crap for at least two days after the fact.

This last Thursday, I had no such excuse. Other than I was completely stressed out and instead of choosing to manage my state, I surrendered to (well, in fact, I pretty much invited them in) all of my old standbys. In other words, I stuffed my face and didn’t think to clearly or consciously about what was really going on.

In the space of two hours, I had my lunch, my snack, and four high energy protein bars. Yes, you read that correctly: four. Not one. Not two. Not three. But FOUR! It was really over the top.

What was even more over the top is that I had another one in my hand. And I was actually thinking, “Well, if I eat these other SIX, this will never happen again.”

Thank goodness something – still not sure what it was (unless maybe it was a gag reflex) – snapped me out of it.

My normal routine following such a feeding frenzy would have been to beat myself both mentally and at the gym and probably skip dinner to boot.

This time, I decided to take a different tack. This time, I decided to forgive myself.

In fact, I ate dinner (albeit a very clean dinner of cauliflower rice [dressed with a touch of sesame seed oil and Braggs amino acid] and raw asparagus) and I went to bed, without exercise. It was a conscious choice not to exercise, because I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it in a way where I wouldn’t be punishing my body for my mind’s bad behavior.

The only thing that I regret about that decision is that I didn’t do yoga – not because of anything to do my body (though one could argue that yoga always does a body good), but because of the potential it would have had for quieting the mind.

The day had been so bad – and there had been so much negative energy thrown at me from so many quarters – when I finally managed to go to sleep, I had nightmares. In fact, they so were bad that I woke Michael J up screaming! (As he pointed out to me the next morning, the reason you do yoga before bed is to calm the negative energy so that you can sleep more restfully.)

Even though I had nightmares – which could have very easily resulted in one or both of us getting a black eye – I did sleep over 10 hours, a sure sign that I needed it.

Yesterday, I decided that I had to get back on the horse.

In other words, no matter how bad the day before had been, there was no excuse for 1) engaging in negative self talk that might lead me back down the previous black hole or 2) continuing to overeat.

In the spirit of nurturing myself (because obviously the binge was my body – if not my mind – crying out for attention), I began to let go of things that were no longer serving me. I canceled all of my appointments that could be canceled without harming someone else, I discharged one of my pressing work obligations, I moved deadlines, I changed the things that I found myself consistently complaining about, and I made sure that I had plenty of fun, healthy food. In fact, in addition to my old favorites, which I may getting a bit bored with actually, I also tried @choosingraw’s Broccoli Hummus recipe, which, I must say, is absolutely divine. (Note: If you’re raw and you’re looking for a hummus recipe that doesn’t have tahini and a ton of olive oil, look no further!)

I also went for a walk and soaked up the sun, choosing to focus on my mental health (I took time out of my walk to watch the neighbors’ horses frolicking in the field) and increasing my Vitamin D than on burning off the calories that I had consumed the day before.

It was a nice gentle day and even though my tummy may be a little bigger than it was three days ago, I (the physical, the mental, and the emotional parts of me) felt loved and nourished.

This morning, I exercised normally and for the first time in a long time it just felt like good, honest exercise. It didn’t feel like I was punishing myself or, worse, like I was mad at my body. It felt good. It felt a lot like what I imagined it must have felt like for those horses who were playing joyously in the sun warmed grass.

Today I feel back to normal.

It took two days to feel physically better after consuming nearly the double of my typical intake of sugar.

It took two days to feel mentally better about the decisions I made (on Thursday) and all of the the ones prior that led up to it.

It took two days to feel emotionally better after coming to terms with the stressors in my life that I had pushed aside up until the point where my body forced me to listen.

Am I glad that I consumed 1,000 calories in less than 20 minutes? Not really.

But I am glad that I realized that the binge was a reflection on the state of my life – as opposed to the state of my body.

And I am glad I realized that there are things that I can do (and, as noted, have already begun to do) to make sure that days like Thursday become fewer and further between.

Wow – binge alert

I am in a full fledged binge. Talk about being far from one’s highest self.

I hope that just putting it out there will break the cycle.

I am going to take a deep breath, jettison some stress, and forgive myself as quickly and with as much heart felt sincerity as I can possibly muster.

Wish me luck.

Learning to Listen

Over the last few weeks I have been doing my best to learn to listen to and, subsequently, trust my body.

I’m doing this, in part, because I am beginning to appreciate that my longest term, most committed relationship to date is not the one I share with my 19 year old long haired white tortoise shell cat, but the one that I share with my body.

And unlike all of the men in my life, the relationship that I have with my physical self is literally, “Til death do us part.”

With a little help from some very talented weight loss coaches, I’ve come to understand that I need to love my body, because when I start loving her (notice I did not say it), she will start loving me back.

When I start trusting her, she will start trusting me.

And when that happens, we will begin to do what we want.

And what we want, ostensibly, is to feel great, have tons of energy, and live comfortably in our skin.

My journey towards self acceptance started about two years ago when I realized that there was some part of me that still linked weight loss to death. I named that part of me Kathy Jo and have since teamed up with her so that we can, in fact, reach our shared health goals.

Today, my body was hungry. Very hungry.

In fact, by 10:30 a.m., not only had I eaten breakfast, I had also had a couple of snacks and started lunch.

Was this a binge? No, not really. And I say that not because I didn’t eat 750 calories in the space of a few hours (which I did), but because I took several deep breaths between bites, drank quite a bit of water, and really thought about the question: Are you really hungry?

As it turned out, the answer was yes.

So, I ate: an Organic Raw bar, a handful of raw almonds, a serving of tomato and basil soup (also raw), and a zucchini sliced up like Ruffles Potato Chips.

Then, not surprisingly since I had just consumed all that energy, my body wanted to move.

Was this the mind, feeling guilty about all that food? Maybe. I hope not.

So my body and I packed up our work and went to the gym.

And instead of punching in a pre-selected workout, I did whatever my body felt like doing – at whatever length and at whatever level of intensity.

And the minute that she was done – the minute that it even whiffed of punishment – I stopped.

I didn’t push.

I wasn’t disappointed.

In fact, as it turned out, I actually had a better workout (body-wise, heart-rate-wise, and even calorie-wise) when I let her do it.

My weight loss coaches tell me that the body doesn’t like to be defined by a number on the scale and the body certainly doesn’t like counting calories.

While I have let her have her way on the former, I still cling stubbornly to the latter. I’d like to think that I am merely recording what I eat, without actually restricting what I eat, but – in practice – I know that’s not entirely true.

Sometimes I wonder what (and how much) I would eat if I stopped counting calories. Other times I wonder if it would be possible for me to sit down to a meal and not automatically know how many calories were adorning the plate.

My biggest fear is that I would overeat (whatever that means) and that I would do it often.

My coaches, however, would say that if I were truly listening, I would only do it once, because the body doesn’t like to be numbed out, overfull, or stuffed. That if I truly listened, I’d reach for the salad naturally instead of the tahini or the cacao or, better yet, the full-fat, full-sugar ice cream that I haven’t had in months, if not years.

Needless to say, I’m not entirely there yet.

But I am listening – or at least I am trying.

And, perhaps even more importantly, I forgive myself for my inability to trust.

I also keep reminding myself (particularly every time I fire up LoseIt) that the more I listen, the more likely it is that I will eventually hear.

A little less airy fairy and a little more substance

For the last month or so I have not felt much like myself.

It’s been hard to concentrate – to the point that expressing a single, coherent thought sometimes seemed like a challenge. Needless to say, teaching has been quite the experience this term 😉

I began looking into what’s changed for me recently.

Additional stress? Check.

Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep? Not at all.

Competing demands in my most salient and committed social roles? You bet.

Changed absolutely everything about my diet (that is going from maybe 30 to 95% raw) in the the last six months? Yep.

Changed my body at a biophysical level? That too.

The weird thing is that I actually feel great. Post the 10 Week Transformation Program with Rose Cole, which included a 31 day cleanse, I have a lot more energy, fewer blood sugar spikes, fewer cravings (except for that week where Michael J and I went on a slight raw honey binge), and when I do sleep, it’s always deep and restful.

So, what could be the problem?

Yesterday, Michael J forwarded me a link to Laura Bruno’s blog. Laura Bruno is a professional intuitive who has helped people deal with cancer, addictions, endocrine imbalances, grief, infections, fibromyalgia, stroke, and weight loss. Her specialties include diet and herbal remedies, menopause, communication, soul readings, illnesses that baffle doctors, dream interpretation, and finding blessings in times of crisis.

I must admit, my initial reaction was you’re a what?! But as I tamped down my skepticism of anything that smacks even remotely of “woo-woo,” the following paragraph practically jumped off the page:

Sometimes raw foodists have a difficult time staying “grounded.” They enjoy the clarity and high of 100% raw food but after awhile start feeling spacey, out of body or generally disconnected from “the real world.” If this describes you, then eating locally can help in two ways. First, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will drastically reduce the amount of airy fairy yin foods in your diet because bananas, coconuts and cacao don’t grow in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire. Or England. Second, eating food grown within 1-50 miles of where you live anchors you to that locale. Raw foodies like to say, “You are what you eat.” Indeed, you are also “Where you eat.” If you have trouble with “Be here now,” try working in some local goodies. It really does help!

Hmph. A professional intuitive? Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

But what I do know now is she’s got one more dedicated reader!

Luckily for me, we’re finally heading into spring in my little corner of the world, so a lot of the foods that I naturally like to eat – kale, chard, etc. – are coming in locally. Hopefully this means that things will start looking up.

However, until spring has fully sprung, I will do my best to start incorporating more macrobiotic principles into the diet – even if it’s something as simple as remembering to better chew my food.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted either way and do my best to keep my head out of the clouds and my feet firmly planted on the ground.

One Hundred Pushups

My colleague invited me to join her in her quest to do 100 consecutive push ups. Since I’m normally the extreme exerciser in the office – though not so much lately – I agreed to join her.

My initial test yielded 18 good push-ups; obviously I’ve lost quite a bit since my back to back P90X days!

Anyone care to join us? Come on, you can even get your very own iPhone app to keep you motivated. How much fun is that?

Regardless, I’ll keep you posted periodically as to my (our) progress!