Category: Health/Nutrition

Letting the Light In

For the past two and a half months, I’ve been looking back at the Facebook Live videos I did when I first went on bed rest.  Knowing they would start in early September, I was dreading seeing them because it was a reminder of how long I had been out of commission.

But when the Facebook Memories began to pop up, I ultimately had a different reaction.  Rather than lamenting how long I had been laid up, I saw how far I had come in my healing journey.

At first, looking at the videos was painful.  I had let myself go for so many years … decades, really.  I had allowed myself to get caught in such a huge spiral of shame over how unhealthy I was that I just continued to let myself go.  The memories of the shame and my behavior make me cringe:

  • I was dishonest about what I was eating and how much.
  • I looked in the mirror as little as possible.
  • When I had a physical, there was no scale in my doctor’s office that I could use, so I gave an approximation of my weight, knowing in my heart that I weighed more than I said I did.
  • It was horrible when I had to go up another clothes size.  I stayed in 10s for as long as I could until buttons and zippers popped.  Then I had to buy 12s.  When I was finally topping out at 14s and 16s, I could no longer stand to go clothes shopping with anyone else.  I went alone and did it as quickly as possible.  I even put off shopping until my clothes had noticeable holes in them and I had to go.  I let my clothes look as lousy as I felt about myself.

The ultimate shame was letting my health get so bad that it took an extra hole in my behind to wake me up and make the changes that would get me healthy.  Why did I let things get so bad?  That’s a question I am still working on answering.  I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.  So you’ll probably see more blog posts on this topic and I hope my insights are helpful.  I hope all the entries in this blog are helping you, InspiraGang.

For now, here’s what’s changed following the switch to healthy habits and the subsequent weight loss:

  • After not wearing dresses for years, I was given a dress on my 51st birthday last June.  I couldn’t wait to try it on and now I can’t wait to get another one.  I am looking forward to clothes shopping again.
  • I am now getting weighed on a regular basis to make sure I stay on track.  I actually look forward to it.  True story:  It was a challenge to find a scale to get weighed on until my friend Lisa suggested Bernardsville Animal Hospital.  There is a scale for the animals right in the reception area and I all I have to do is wheel onto it and push a button.
  • I knew before the last time I got on the scale that I had gained a little something.  It turned out to be one pound.  I am amazed that I am so in tune with my body that I can feel the difference of just one pound.  Another switch:  I felt no shame in that.  I just realized that I have to stay disciplined so that a one-pound weight gain doesn’t turn into five, 10, 20, etc.

I am healthier than I have ever been, not in spite of my wound, but because of it.  Like the Rumi quote above, the wound let the light in and I saw it, accepted it and it helped heal me.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

Yours in Health,
InspiraGirl

Managing the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee

Stress has been weighing me down this week.

On Monday morning, two unfortunate events occurred within 10 minutes of each other.  First, a tree came down across our driveway.  Then, my laptop conked out.  So, I turned on my cell phone, logged onto Facebook and reached out to you, InspiraGang, and you helped tremendously.

First, my friend and colleague Chuck Hendershot, owner of Feel @Home Realty, came over and chopped up the tree and he called Pablo Chica, owner of Sunflower Landscaping, to take away the cut logs.  Problem solved.

For the laptop, I posted on two Facebook group pages, asking for recommendations for a reputable, reasonably priced, local IT person.  Knowledgeable and kind Chris D’Amato showed up on my doorstep on Tuesday evening and transferred my files to my mom’s laptop until I can get a new laptop.  If you need an IT person, I can put you in touch with him.

It was stressful not being able to get computer work done for a couple of days, but I managed by filling up the time knitting, crocheting and cleaning up a lot of paper work.  I hate that last task, but it did feel good to get it done.

Now, I am back on-line, but the stress continued.

Earlier this year, I entered into an agreement to barter services with a colleague.  This morning, he welched on the agreement and sent me a bill.  Now, I am faced with initiating an uncomfortable conversation.  If someone is going to dishonor you and your business agreement and you can’t resolve the issue, it’s probably best to break ties.  While I will speak up for what is ethically right, it’s still upsetting that the business relationship may end.

In addition to the bill from my colleague, I also received a rather large medical bill in error.  So, tomorrow I have to call the billing department at the physician’s office and the insurance company to resolve the issue.

There is an expression that my friend Kathy uses for the worrisome thoughts that takes up space in one’s brain:  The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee.  This week, my IBSC was working overtime to stress me out.

Enter my friend and yoga/meditation teacher, Linda Metcalfe.  Linda is one of the deacons at my church.  She began visiting me  when I went on bed rest last year and she started teaching me yoga at our first meeting.  It was wonderful.  We have been having regular yoga and meditation sessions ever since and she and they have been vital to my healing.  The breathing exercises alone have gotten me through nerve-wracking wound check-ups.

I could not wait until Linda’s visit today because I knew it would help and it did.  Minutes into the session, I was gifted with clarity on how to handle the erroneous medical bill and the difficult conversation with my colleague.

While I can practice yoga and meditation on my own, there’s nothing like practicing with a trusted and caring friend.  It helps me think through problems with amazing clarity and it’s one of the best ways I know to manage stress and maintain one’s peace.

If you want to learn yoga and meditation with a certified, experienced instructor, I highly recommend Linda Metcalfe.  She can be reached at lntmecalfe@gmail.com or (908)256-6879.

How do you manage your stress?  Please share in the comments below.

Namaste, InspiraGang,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

 

Connecting the Dots to Awareness

I got on the scale on Monday and saw that I gained a pound.  I was relieved because it was only one pound.  It was no big deal, but I knew that gaining one pound could easily lead to packing on more weight if I let it happen.

I had noticed changes in my body and, before things got out of hand, I insisted on getting weighed.  Great decision.  Facing one extra pound is so much better than facing fifty.  Looking at the food log I keep each day on my phone, I had been eating more sandwiches lately.  Pumpernickel and rye bread exclusively, but still.  So, it’s time to cut back a bit on the sandwiches.

The old me would have delayed getting on the scale, rationalizing that I would lose the weight first and then get weighed.  Instead, I gained more weight and put off getting weighed again and again and again.  I was ashamed of my weight gain and afraid to face it.

Now, at the age of 51, having lost the weight and feeling the healthiest I’ve ever felt—physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually—I don’t want to go back to feeling unhealthy and ashamed.  It’s amazing how the mind shifts once you discover what life is like on “the other side.”

It’s even more amazing how one healthy change leads to others, such as …

Once I moved out of the cave (i.e. the basement room I lived in while the upstairs was being renovated last year), I made sure the satellite TV box in my bedroom was moved into the cave so I would not fall back into the habit of having the TV on all the time.

From time to time, I still find myself getting sucked into the “YouTube vortex” to satisfy my video craving.  But now, I recognize when the videos I am watching start to depress me or numb my brain.  So I either watch crocheting and knitting videos that teach me how to make new handicrafts or I shut down YouTube completely.  If I really need some media, I turn on an audio podcast and pick up a crochet or knitting project so I am being productive.

These changes are helping me sleep better, think better, function better, FEEL BETTER.

It’s all about awareness:  My brain is finally connecting the dots to how the rest of my body feels based on the choices I make.

Oh!  Before I close this week’s blog post, I’ll share with you how I get weighed.  There used to be a sitting scale for people who use wheelchairs at Atlantic Rehabilitation in Morristown, NJ.  When I discovered the sitting scale was no longer there, my friend Lisa suggested I wheel my chair right onto the the scale in the reception area at Bernardsville Animal Hospital.  So, thanks to Lisa and the kind folks at BAH, I am getting weighed on a regular basis, right along with your pets!

Until next week, InspiraGang!

Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

TV or Not TV

I love TV.  I will even go as far as saying I am a recovering TV addict.  I used to keep the TV on all day and, sometimes, all night.  It was a comfort and a stress-reliever.  Mostly, it was a way to escape life’s  problems.

I used to live by the TV Guide.  I even quit Junior Scouts because the meetings were on Tuesday nights when my all-time favorite show, Happy Days, was on.  This was back before video recording technology hit the consumer market, so before I quit scouts, I begged my parents to put an audio recorder in front of the TV so I could HEAR each episode when I got home.  Let me tell you, listening to Joannie kiss Chachi for the first time was just not the same as seeing it in living color.  Of course, there were summer reruns.  But even that was not as thrilling as watching my favorite programs when they first aired.

Yes, my addiction was that bad.

When I entered my freshman year of college, I chose not to bring a TV into my dorm room.  I lasted only two weeks without my precious Panasonic.

If you are in my Facebook community, you’ve seen how much I used to post about TV–from Ace of Cakes (feeding my food addiction as well) to Glee to The Big Bang Theory–and let’s not forget my #WeGotCows Facebook posts EVERY time the movie Twister was on AMC, TBS or CMT.

I convinced myself that I was missing something if I didn’t have the TV on.  As it turns out, I was missing out on life because I had the blasted boob tube on all the time and I had to do something about it.

So in May of 2017, when I temporarily moved into The Cave, I decided to give up my satellite TV box to see if I could curb my habit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I still had my laptop, meaning I could access the websites of the TV stations of my favorite shows whenever I wanted.  But since I use my computer on a daily basis for work, it turned out that I did not want to be on it as much after business hours.  Because of that fact, I also started to get more selective about what I do watch.  I realized how much I was numbing my brain having the TV on almost all the time, i.e. not just for my favorite shows.

Yes, I still watch Big Bang (mourning the recent breaking news that the upcoming season will be its last) and I will pop in a movie when I am making my handcrafts in the evenings and on weekends, but not all the time.  If I am not enjoying a conversation or the silence, I will choose to listen to some fantastic podcasts or radio shows that have expanded my horizons.  (If you are looking for something new to listen to, click that link in the previous sentence.)

In addition to making better viewing and listening choices, here are other benefits that have resulted from curbing my TV viewing habits:

  • I work smarter and more efficiently because I am not constantly numbing my brain
  • I feel more creative, especially when writing this blog
  • I am more engaged in life and making plans for the future now that my wound is almost healed

Will I kick more of this habit?  Well, to find out the answer to that burning question, and to read about a myriad of inspirational topics, tune in each Wednesday for a new episode of InspiraBlog!  Oh, and you can subscribe to the blog on the right sidebar of this page or any page on this website.

Until next week,
Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

P.S.  Fun Fact:  Even though I am a recovering TV addict and I really like the image I chose for this post, I have never watched a complete episode of The Simpsons.

Food, Not-So-Glorious Food

Huge irony … The night before my pressure wound diagnosis, I wrote and published a blog post about how much I hate the taste of most vegetables.  When I began redoing this website, I took that post down.  That was a low point.  I didn’t realize how negative I was being and how deep in denial I was about my weight issue.

News of the pressure wound hit me like a ton of bricks and I had a huge cry in the doctor’s office.  Prior to writing that vegetable-hating blog entry, I had spent the summer trying to make some gradual, healthy changes in my nutrition, and vegetables were a huge hurdle.  To say that I gagged at the taste and texture of most vegetables was not an overstatement.

Now I was faced with having to revamp my nutritional habits right away to give my body the best chance to heal, which meant choking down more vegetables, of course.  The doctor never even said I had to lose weight.  I just knew.

When you are in a prone position, i.e, on bed rest, for an extended amount of time, it is best to stay away from foods that are not as easily digestible.  So, I had to cut beef almost entirely out of my food plan. But protein is essential to wound healing, so I can still eat chicken, fish, eggs and my all-time favorite food, cheese.  Cheese in moderation, as it is also, of course, a fat.  But I can still eat it—thank you, God.  However, most of the so-called bad fats and carbs are now gone.  Pumpernickel and rye bread have replaced white bread, brown rice has replaced white rice, and potatoes are almost non-existent in my nutrition plan.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a French fry or a potato chip.

Yes, a potato is a vegetable, but I have to stick to the healthier vegetables.  Cooked vegetables are the least palatable to me–hence, the gagging–so I primarily eat raw vegetables in salads with shrimp and chicken to make meals more appealing.  (Again, socking down the protein to help the wound heal.)

Here’s the exception to my statement about cooked vegetables: soups.  I really enjoy soups.  It’s all about a well-cooked bone broth.  Bone broths make vegetable tastier.

Do I eat all vegetables?  No.  There are still some I refuse to eat.  If you try to feed me Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower or cooked cabbage (Red cabbage and cole slaw are okay.), while I will refrain from throwing them back at you, I simply won’t eat them.

The fact is that eating is nowhere near as pleasurable as it used to be.

But… and this is a huge but … My butt is NOT huge anymore.

While that doesn’t change the taste of vegetables, I did switch my mindset about having to eat them because I can now feel and see their benefits, which far outweigh the unpleasant taste (Pun intended.):

  • I lost 50 pounds.
  • My blood pressure is under control.
  • I feel more energetic and much healthier.
  • I feel and look more attractive. (Yes, sexier.)
  • I have a larger and more attractive selection of wardrobe options.

Also, when I do indulge too much in the less healthy foods, I feel the negative effects even more intensely.  The bloating is very uncomfortable and I feel lethargic to the point of falling into a “carb coma”, that nap I have to take about an hour after wolfing down a carb-heavy meal.  These rare, post weight loss carb comas bring about embarrassing memories of falling asleep on more than one occasion among happy, boisterous gatherings of family and friends.  Since I no longer wish to fall asleep and miss any part of a fun party, I am done with carb comas.

As I close out this blog entry, here is my question for you, InspiraGang:

What foods do you dislike and how do you make them more appealing?

Wishing You the Best Health,

Andrea
aka InspiraGirl

 

 

 

 

Affirmation: I AM HEALING

My world changed drastically on August 28, 2017.

That was the day I was diagnosed with a pressure wound that went straight to the bone. I was put on immediate bed rest so it, and I, could heal.

That would become the operative word–HEAL–especially when I realized one day that neither of my doctors had actually said that the wound would heal. So I knew the healing had to start with me and I took charge of the situation.  I began saying the affirmation to myself AND out loud several times a day. It became my mantra: I am healing.  I Am Healing.  I AM HEALING.

Whenever I begin to doubt my body’s ability to heal, I repeat that mantra until I am feeling strong and confident again.  I am a firm believer that a positive frame of mind is vital to the healing process and affirmations are a great tool to use to strengthen one’s resolve.  I knew it would take months to heal and I have always been okay with that fact because, nearly a year later, not only has my wound almost healed, but I am physically, mentally and emotionally healthier than ever.

I have improved my nutrition, I exercise (weights, bands and yoga) consistently, I’ve lost 50 pounds, and my blood pressure is under control.  I also make sure I get enough sleep, which has helped me to work and take care of my responsibilities more efficiently.

Also, while I have been meditating for over 13 years, I now meditate daily, which has made all the differences.

In addition to my healing mantra, I write my affirmations in my journal every day to reinforce them.  This is my current list of affirmations and, as I add others, I will share them with you:

I love.

I am loved.

I am healing.

I am healthy.

I make healthy decisions.

My derrière is healing more each day. (That one makes me smile. I like the word derrière.)

I am creative.

I am prolific.

I welcome abundance in optimum health, well-being, inspiration, creativity and finances.

What are your affirmations?  I would love to see them.  Please share them in the comments below.

Yours in Health and Positivism,
Andrea