Visual reminder

People trying to lose weight always want and expect that it will come off quickly. We want the almost instant gratification and to see our path as smooth without challenging times. But we forget that for most of us it took years to get to that high weight, and we can’t wave a wand to see the pounds disappear in 30 days. This picture was posted to one of my Noom Facebook groups and I’m posting here so I don’t lose it and the power of the image. Sorry that it’s not attributed to the one who created it – if you know, please post in the comments so I can correct that.

Me and Noom

You know about me and Noom: I started it on January 1, 2020, so I have almost 10 months using the plan. The last few months have been pretty static which I understand because I’ve gotten a little sloppy and have had injuries. But I’m also getting a little bored and it was time to take a look at what I’m doing on this journey and what needs some tweaking.

The big thing I like about Noom – and it’s huge – is the articles that help me understand the psychology and physiology of eating with tips to help make different choices. This is the feature that makes Noom different from other weight loss programs and I’ve learned a lot that I’m able to put into practice every day. I’ve also learned to weigh myself every day without feeling that I’m being judged; the scale just gives me information.

Noom also gives me a goal specialist who checks in with me weekly, and a group – but I’ll be honest, I don’t pay that much attention to either one. I’m on a Facebook group for Noomers with 100+ pounds to lose and am getting more support there from people whose journeys are more like mine, and from talks with friends who are also Noomers. We have a common vocabulary (ask us about our elephants).

All weight loss programs including Noom have trackers for food and exercise as well as daily food diaries, and all have apps so you can do all of this on your phone. Noom is app-only while WW and MyFitnessPal also have desktop options. I prefer typing on a keyboard so that aspect of Noom is limiting for me. Making it even more confusing, Noom works differently on Apple and Android devices. The Apple version has more features but I don’t know what they are until someone posts about them on the FB group.

All weight loss programs have food databases which vary in accuracy and breadth. Noom is the newest program and their database is sometimes wonky. I missed being able to save frequently eaten combinations of foods such as home-prepped taco salad ingredients, as well as the ability to create, save, and enter home-built recipes such as my meat sauce or chicken teriyaki. I think that’s possible on the Apple version but not on the Android and it made me crazy.

So after 9 1/2 months of Noom, I signed up for MyFitnessPal to check it out and have been doing both programs for the last week. This isn’t sustainable – trying to track everything in two places is too much work – but for now it’s given me a way to evaluate and compare different aspects of the programs. I still like the Noom articles but I prefer the food database and recipe and meal builders in MyFitnessPal. And I really like being able to see micronutrient values of what I’m eating for calories, fat, carbs, protein, fiber. I can see how they relate to Noom food colors but I like the numbers.

Noom has a way to manually enter the steps I track on my pedometer; MFP doesn’t have that but you can synch a device like FitBit (which I don’t have or really want). But you can track exercise and weight in both.

Oh, and I’m down 3 lbs this week and back to my lowest weight since January for the first time in months. Not because of MFP but because I was ready to actually pay attention to what I’m putting in my mouth. That’s what matters, no matter what plan I follow.

Bottom line: I think that people with less weight to lose than I still have can be satisfied with Noom, and I’m very glad I spent the time and money to start there. The articles were a huge help. But I think I’m ready for something else, at least for my tracking.

48-hour foster mom

We found the tiny kitten cowering under the janitor’s cart in Fellowship Hall at church. She was terrified and oh, so small. She went home with me while we tried to figure out what to do. I’d never had a kitten that tiny – well, I did when I was 4 but that doesn’t count, since my mom did all the work – and spent time on Google trying to figure out how old it might be and what it would need besides kitten food. And a new home, because I couldn’t keep it. Not only do I have other cats already, but I’m allergic to all of them!

The little one stayed in my half-bath off my kitchen for two days, going to work with me in a cat carrier and spending time curled up on my chest, napping and purring. She gobbled canned kitten food and used her makeshift litterbox. My giant orange cats were NOT happy about the visitor, glaring at me and hissing, refusing to eat or to let me touch them. They are litter mates who came to me together at age 4 months, and this little alien baby was a threat.

We went to the vet on Friday morning to have her checked out, partly because it was the right thing to do for the kitten and also because it would help me when it came to finding her a new home. Turns out “she” is actually “he” and only 5 weeks old, and tested negative for feline leukemia, which was a relief. The vet gave him a shot of antibiotics because of a cut on his lip, and a deworming treatment as a precaution because of his feral background.

My colleague at work found a new home for the little guy. When they came to pick him up, they were surprised to also take home the cat carrier, small cat bed, some toys, and kitten food that Chewy had delivered thirty minutes before they got there. I sobbed like a baby when he was gone, even though it was the right thing for him and for me.

Too much medical stuff

For three of the last four days, I woke up with pressure on my chest. Not like a truck. More like a small cat (not mine, they’re huge), just … there. Shallow, intercostal breathing (which I know about because it’s what Trump was doing when he got back to the White House from the hospital). I’m out of breath faster, and my oxygen saturation levels are a little low. How do I know? Because I have a pulse oximeter, always a nifty tool to have around in days of Covid.

The first time I felt this pressure was in June 2019 when the doctor sent me to the ER for a bunch of cardiac tests which found nothing but some pulmonary edema. I was already taking a diuretic for swollen legs, but I found myself on basically THREE of them to try and get the edema down. My cardiologist got rid of one of them in February, and 6 weeks ago, my primary doctor took me off one of the others because of the large weight loss. I’m thinking now that was a bad idea and I should go back on it.

Today I saw the pulmonologist at a previously scheduled appointment to have my CPAP air pressure adjusted. Surprise! I also had a full pulmonary function test and another chest x-ray. The good news is that he didn’t find any signs of pulmonary edema or pleurisy, and most of the PFT results were excellent. One that tests lung volume was depressed, meaning the diaphram isn’t working hard enough to get the lungs as full as they could be. The doctor explained it as the result of extra weight around the abdomen. Except I have LESS weight than I did before, so I’m not exactly sure what that means or what I do about it.

Test results were sent to the cardiologist and primary care doctors. I’m already scheduled for a 7-part MyHeartFirst diagnostic screening at the local hospital. My blood pressure readings are and have been normal. I’m not exactly sure what happens now, except hoping I don’t wake up tomorrow feeling the pressure of a cat on my chest. I’m hoping someone puts me back on the diuretic – and am half inclined to just do it myself (since I have a supply) to see if it makes a difference.

Tomorrow we have another visit to another doctor, this time the ENT who did my sinus surgery. Next week is a follow up with the pain doctor who did the neurotomies on my back. I’m still waiting to hear if Medicare approved my hinged knee brace and/or Otezla for psoriasis. This is too much medical stuff for my peace of mind.

And here we are

My goal for now through the end of the year is to not gain weight. I don’t seem to be actively working on LOSING it but am pleased to be holding within a 3 lbs range for weeks at a time. Going into holidays is stressful and usually full of social events, though this year that is probably not true. In any case, I’m still 55 lbs down from January 1st. I confess to being jealous of my friend Lisa who is down 75 lbs in the same amount of time, but she’s working on it harder than I am and it’s not a competition even though sometimes I feel that it is and that I’m losing. I hate losing. Even that isn’t enough incentive to push me right now. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

My brother was here for a quick visit and did “tall people things” from my project list. Because of my knee and my back, I’m pretty unstable on my feet on a good day and I don’t want to push my luck by getting on a step stool. It’s nice to have lightbulbs changed and things removed from high places. We had a good visit and a chance to talk without corraling grandkids or any agenda. One thing he did say was that it would be “thoughtful” of me to use a cane so he wouldn’t have to worry about me falling. Since the bad knee feels like buckling at inconvenient times, I think I need to start using a cane or walking stick much as I’d rather not.

Friends here are moving and it’s unsettling. I’ve found myself looking around at my own house and budget, wondering how long I will stay here in this house that has been part of my life for 35 years. I have so much more stuff than when I lived in apartments, which I did for my working life, but most of it I could leave behind. So I’m seriously looking to prune out “stuff” again so it all feels less claustrophobic. Even the genealogy books need weeding, though I did just get a book on Researching Presbyterian Ancestors in Ireland. A little light reading?

I need some time off and permission to TAKE that time off. It’s not that I think I’m irreplaceable but I’m acting as though I am, which is ridiculous. Actually, I just need to give MYSELF permission to take the time – it’s not that anyone is stopping me but me. I’m not sure what I would do with time off since I’m not going to hop on a plane or go for a long driving vacation. Those trips always exhausted me anyway. But taking 2-3 days off plus a weekend would give me a nice break. Just being able to sleep in an extra hour would be a luxury.