Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Facing Weight Gain and a Bad Knee

Buddha on the rocksWhen I lost weight the last time, the successful time, I started out heavier than I am now but my body was pretty much the same size. The biggest difference is that my knee is in crappy shape and is seriously limiting my comfort level in standing or walking for any length of time.

Every once in a while I see myself reflected in a window or my shadow lurching as I walk, and it looks pretty sad.  I look old, fat, and disabled. The excess pounds aren’t helping, I know, but the knee is just not structurally sound anymore.  But having surgery isn’t something I can wave a wand to do.  And it won’t, and shouldn’t, abrogate my personal responsibility for shedding some pounds to relieve the strain on the joint.

It’s been almost 7 years since I went to WW and buckled down to make serious changes.  I was a quiet person in class for a long time and didn’t make a big deal about working the program; I just did it.  I started working out at the gym in limited ways until I could do more; I brought lunch most days, and pretty much eliminated a social life so I could make this the only thing I did.  I was afraid to deviate,  afraid of temptation, afraid of failure.

Well, it’s time to face facts. I have failed and failed spectacularly.  I’m not comfortable in this bigger body.  Finding cute clothes, in my closet or elsewhere, is impossible.  My stamina is minimal for walking and standing for any length of time.   It’s taken me 5 years to regain this weight, which for me is a pretty long time.  But having been through menopause and with this problem knee which limits exercise, I know it’s going to be a lot harder to get it off again.  And that’s discouraging before I even start.

I read blogs from others of you who are in maintenance mode or close to it, and even with your struggles, I feel pretty isolated.  I’m not sure what to do, to be honest.  I don’t think I can face WW again and wonder how to manage sticking to a restrictive plan on my own.  I have done a very poor job of it so far so that doesn’t bode well.  I may actually ask my doctor if I can come in and weigh in at the Health Plan once a month so I have that accountability – for free. But maybe I need the structure and community of WW, if I’m able to make myself go.

I’m giving myself this week to think through what changes I’m willing to make, knowing from experience that making too many at once is a recipe for failure.  I want to cook up success instead.

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Recommitting to Weight Watchers

Weight Watcher ChickensI’ve been seriously debating whether to stop paying for Weight Watchers meetings since I don’t seem to be very focused on actually following the program. On the one hand it feels like a waste of money – and on the other hand, I know that if I had abandoned the weekly weigh in, I would have gained back every pound already.

So I guess that’s a no-brainer.

The ideal solution is for me to find the focus again so I actually do the program. It works if I follow it and it gives me flexibility and options. Right now I’m operating on “emotional eating” mode, something I’ve perfected in my quest to fill pain and stress with comfort food. How’s it working for me? Not very well, actually.

My former WW leader Arlene used to tell us a story about a friend of hers who was dealing with a confluence of crises in her life, and yet was able to stay on program. When asked how she did it, she said that the only thing she could control in her life right then was food. Everything else was out of her hands. So she controlled what she could and it helped her with some structure and kept her from careening around, hammered by all the other stuff happening to and around her.

Eating whatever I want isn’t helping me with the stress currently on my plate. Neither is turning into a couch potato. I can control my food even while I’m dealing with some stress points. I can add in some walking, especially now that the time has changed and there’s more light at the end of the day. I can drink another bottle of water while at work instead of another bottle of Diet Coke.

I think I’ll put on my walking shoes and get dressed for work and put some of that into play today.


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Thoughts on My Annual Physical Exam

Child’s drawing of a doctorI hate having a physical exam and today’s was hard since I barely know the doctor – and I knew I’d gained weight since last August, which is the only time I’ve ever laid eyes on her. It didn’t help that I had a big bowl of soup and a drink immediately before going over. Getting on the scale was not happy thing and I could feel my stress level rising as I pushed those little weight things along the sliding scale to rack up the evil total. Miraculously I’ve only gained 12 lbs since August, though it seems like much more.

I was armed with a piece of paper with all my current meds and the questions I wanted to ask about assorted body parts, from the sore foot (x-rayed to see if there’s a stress fracture), unhappy knee (referral to orthopedics), to the sleep problems (arrange to have the CPAP data faxed to the doctor). Fasting bloodwork will come later this week.

And I couldn’t keep myself from raising the weight thing, my frustration at having gained and feeling a bit stressed at work. To her credit, she didn’t tell me I was an evil fat person who was going to die soon if I didn’t crack down and lose the extra pounds. She did ask if I’d considered gastric bypass or the lapband surgery, both of which are performed at our hospital.

I’ve always said flat out that I wouldn’t consider either of those options but lately I admit that the lapband one has been surfacing again. Whether it’s physically an option or not, I don’t think that I’m able to manage the mental part. Until I really get that sorted out, I’m not sure I’d have the motivation to eat the more restrictive foods and amounts. Hell, if I can’t even do the WW portions, why would I think I could do the other?

The doctor was supportive and didn’t insist, although she did tell me that if next year I want to talk about it, to think about a decision based on current research and not comments from people who had the surgeries a while ago. Things have changed dramatically and both surgeries are now performed laproscopically in 95% of patients.

The motivation has to come from somewhere, though, and if I can find it again, there’s no reason I can’t lose the weight without the surgery. I’m really relieved that there isn’t medical pressure to go another direction.


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Last Things Before Travel

Tessie on a shelfOne last small load of clothes is in the dryer, the dishwasher is churning away, American Idol (“Girls Night”) is on TV, and my kitty is curled up on the stool next to me to be petted. I’m mostly packed with only my bathrobe, hair dryer and brushes to add to the suitcase in the morning, unless I forgot something.

I did stop at WW on the way home from work, in spite of that box of peanut brittle – or maybe because of it. I couldn’t leave for Chicago without facing up to the music of what I ate. And, of course, I was up. Again. The only good things about that are that it wasn’t a surprise and I know what happened. I guess those are really good things, actually.

The difficult conversation didn’t happen today, either, and now it’s delayed until after my return. I’m going to try to just leave it behind when I go jetting off in the morning. This weekend is about spending time with friends. I’m not even taking a laptop so won’t be blogging until I’m back. Stay out of trouble!


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Let’s Get Real

Wakeup ButtonWhen I eat too much and exercise too little, the inevitable results will be weight gain. With a few rare exceptions, that’s what’s been happening to me since I moved in June. As of tonight’s weigh in, I’m higher than I’ve been in a long, long time. Something about recracking a particular ‘decade’ number made me wake up and pay attention.

I haven’t been working hard at weight loss or taking it very seriously and it shows. I’ve let the portions get sloppy, my food choices become unbalanced, and my exercise practically disappeared. What did I think would happen? That I had some invincibility and could eat whatever I want and have it not show up attached to my hips with superglue?

I was actually pretty shocked tonight when I got on the WW scale because the scale at home, which usually at least lets me have a heads up on the official weigh in, didn’t indicate that this was coming. I stayed for my meeting and we talked about winning outcomes. Specifically, how to manage to get through December and reach January having achieved the outcome we want – whatever it is.

I have no illusions that I will lose weight between now and New Years. My real goal is to lose one pound and break back through this unhappy place where I find myself. Frankly, staying basically in one place will be an accomplishment.

Losing weight takes a lot of energy and I haven’t put much into my process since I moved. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important; I do, and I know that I would both feel and look better with even 10% of my current weight gone. But I haven’t cared enough about it to do the work that’s felt more like punishment at a time when I was already scrambling to learn a new place and establish a new life.

I’m not giving myself permission to be lax. Being “kind of on program” shows me that just letting go completely would mean regaining it all, as I’ve done before. I just can’t go there again. I’d rather stay fat but smaller than risk gaining it all back and then some, which is my usual pattern.

For now I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth. I’ve planned my food for tomorrow and will try to get in some extra walking, though my knee gets very unhappy when I do that. I haven’t been to water aerobics in six weeks “because the water was too cold” which is a pretty stupid reason, although the water really was freezing. I don’t promise that I will go to class tomorrow but I will be back at the pool within the next two weeks because the water exercises were the only things that helped without pain.


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Thinking about Warning Lights

Car warning lights

On the way to Thanksgiving dinner, the “Service Engine Soon” light lit up on my dashboard and I spent a good while fretting over what it might mean. I was at the car dealer by 8:30 on Friday to have them take a look and deal with whatever the problem was.

A car dealer service manager told me in the past that women are generally better than men at actually following recommended maintenance on their vehicles, including paying attention to warning lights. He speculated that men think they can take care of things themselves but underestimate how complicated automotive work is these days – and end up having caused more damage by ignoring the routine and early warning signs.

I was thinking about this yesterday driving back from my repair visit, about how carefully I deal with car stuff and how easily I ignore the “warning lights” for weight loss derailment. The signs are certainly easy to spot — clothes fitting tighter, measurements going up, the scale registering higher than I expect, feeling more lethargic, realizing I haven’t darkened the gym’s door in weeks, a “we miss you” note from my WW leader.

It’s easy to be aware of those as independent factoids and not to put the pieces together because I don’t really want to know the picture; it makes me feel like an unmotivated failure – which usually leads to more eating, which certainly doesn’t help. But with the car, I want and need to know the whole picture so I can take appropriate action to prevent bigger problems down the line.

If I were to pay the same kind of attention to the warning lights that clue me in to problems with my eating, I could take appropriate action to prevent bigger problems. That action doesn’t have to be overly dramatic, just mid-course adjustments to help me keep going; there’s no need to go up two dress sizes first.

Just some things to ponder. Putting things in a different perspective always is a good idea.


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Trying a Different Approach

EnlightenmintsI gained 2 lbs this week which isn’t particularly surprising. I’ve been snacky these last few days and choosing to snack on salty things, which usually shows up on the scale. Plus I’ve been the Evil Princess of Exercise (aka, not doing much). So I wasn’t surprised or upset or even disappointed. There are consequences for the things I did, and not losing is one of them.

On the way home I thought about what I’d been doing or not doing. I know this food plan cold so it was pretty easy to spot behaviors that had slipped and that I want to change.  Journaling in advance works much better for me than doing it after the fact, since it gives me a plan for my day. Those basic food groups should be more than just a suggestion – I should actually be eating them. I need more water and am somewhat bemused that this has slacked off because it used to be really easy for me. Of course, I used to have a bubbler right outside of my office and suspect there is a connection.  But water comes from other places, too.

Tomorrow is another day and another WW week. I’m going to try a different approach this time. I’m not going to belabor what I do, just concentrate on making positive changes. But I’m also not going to blog about it every day. I want to just live with them and not shine a magnifying lens on everything I do.

When I joined WW in 2002, I went to meetings, followed the food plan, and went to the gym. Blogs weren’t part of my life, although I did send regular emails to my long-distance “coach” and talked via IM with a friend who joined WW the same week that I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and writing and staying in touch with so many people who are doing this thing that we do.

But sometimes I get pretty self-absorbed and develop tunnel vision and I don’t like how that feels. So don’t be surprised to turn here and find me talking about something other than food and diets now and then. I want to keep this all in perspective and just live my life. We’ll see how it goes.