Friday, May 24, 2019

Upbeat Friday: A long weekend

This is my kind of Friday! I actually am off work today. I took a vacation day. Even better, Monday is a holiday AND I also have a vacation day on Tuesday. Yes, I am sitting at the beginning of a five day weekend. How awesome is that? I have lots of plans for my time off and I have a few things to review from this past week. So let’s get to it!
My weight
I am happy to say and announce that my weight is at the lower weight that I experienced earlier this month.  While I have officially not lost weight this month, I have not gained weight either. That two week 7 pound gain that I talked about in this post is in the past. I do still have one week left in the month. So I am not quite ready to call this month a maintain yet.
Exercise
I have actually done a great job with walking on my lunch breaks this week. I have actually also been able to get outside and walk a few steps during my 15 minute breaks. While this is not earth shattering in intensity, it is at least movement and activity....and it gets me outside. Even when I have to share the walking path/boardwalk!
Last weekend was quite active. We hiked and we biked. We both talked about how good it felt to be active. We aim To continue that trend this weekend.

I am mostly better from the cold I have had this week. My shoulder  pain well, I think it’s on the mend. So, I plan on starting this weekend, today actually, to start running again. After all, I bought a new Garman watch and I want to use the features.
Food
This is a bit of a convoluted answer in terms of success versus failure. My actual food intake has not been bad. I have remained quite cognizant of what I am eating. I have not eaten a lot of junk or a lot of snacks and extra food which is what usually drives my calorie count high. That is successful. I have however, not tracked one bite of food for the last two weeks until Wednesday of this week. For me this will eventually snowball into a dangerous territory of me eating and not being cognizant. Luckily, my new Garman watch links up with my fitness pal. The new toy, the watch, sparked me to go back in and start entering my food again.
I am still doing the intermittent fasting. I did have one or two days right after the arm issue and starting to take the medication that I was just hungry and gave up and had breakfast. However, after a day or two I went right back to the 16; eight intermittent fasting plan. It really does work well for my schedule and how I prefer to eat.
So that’s my week in review!  I have so many things I want to get done this long weekend.  Most of them will be squashed into Friday and Tuesday to allow for the most optimum time with Jason out exploring and living life!  What’s on my agenda?
Cleaning- normal weekly cleaning but also washing the windows and baseboards and hopefully organizing the storage area.
Running-  I have plans to start running this weekend...hopefully at least Friday and Tuesday! (The other weekend days may be active enough on their own!!)
Eye appointment-  it’s that time...new contacts and new glasses!
Dollhouse- I have plans for my nursery...building a crib, toy chest and dresser.  I also need to make curtains, cushions for the rocker, bedding for the crib and a rug!    So many things!!!  I’m so excited!!   I also have wee little slideshow/video I’m putting together highlighting one of my previous dollhouses!
Writing-I need to do some writing.  I’ve got ideas and thoughts swirling in my head.  It’s time to work on them!!!
So busy busy busy!!!!  I love it!!!  It’s busy stuff for ME!!!   Happy Friday!!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Money Speaks: money as a motivator

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

I am the kind of person that does not like to spend money...or rather I don’t like to waste my money!   I want know that what I am buying is going to be used!   Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes a bad thing...because for me, I will use a purchase to ensure that I do something.  I may hate a pair of expensive shoes, but I still continue to wear them because, ‘Hey, I spent good money on these shoes!’   So yes, spending money can motivate me to use that item.  This can be a bad thing, in the case of a pair of shoes that hurt my feet!  But it can be a really good thing if I use that ‘cheapskate’ personality to my advantage!

Years ago, I bought a bike.  I spent a pretty penny (well at the time I thought it was a pretty penny....my newest bike cost quite a bit more.....).  At that time I hadn’t ridden a bike in years upon years so maybe it was a bit foolish to spend so much money on a bike.  But I had a method to my madness.  You see, I knew that if I dropped that money for a bike, that I would USE the bike...the guilt over the money spent would ensure it!   Nope, I was  not wasting my money on something that was going to collect dust and never get used!  And it worked!  I rode that bike heavy for the first year or two.  The motivation wears off once the product is past the, ‘gotta get my money worth stage’.  But the motivation is strong at first...and in the case of the bike, it allowed me to fall in love with biking and to get into the groove!!  This has worked multiple times over the years.  Proven method for me! 

So this cheapskate that I am has been saying for MONTHS about how I want to get back to running.  I have been lamenting about how I miss running!   But I just haven’t done it!   So I have added a wee itty bitty motivator!!!

I have LOVED my Fitbit Alta. (Affiliate link).  But it’s getting old and the battery is starting to need charged more and more (ok after 2.5 years I have to recharge it ever 4 days versus every 8 days!). It needed to be replaced...sooner or later. I thought about another Alta.  I thought about the Versa.  I even thought about an I watch .   But I kept going back to a garmin watch....simply because ‘if I ever start to run again, a garmin would be the best’.   I have even vowed to start running and then get the watch.  (Yeah that doesn’t work for this cheapskate!!). 

So this past weekend I ante upped the money!  I ordered it from Amazon.  (Yes I include affiliate links but I am a big user of Amazon myself!). I decided upon the Garmin Instinct.   I had debated on the Fenix...but just didn’t want to spend that much money!   I found the color I wanted and one of the cheapest prices.  It is right now consistently running right at $300.  I found it on Amazon for about $10 under that  (yup another link to what I actually purchased...and it is an affiliate link)   Woohoo!  A real plus for a cheapskate like me!  I hit the button to buy it and then I waited anxiously for my shipment to arrive.   Finally the day of my shipment arrived. Typically our packages are waiting for us when we get home from work.  Wouldn’t you know...this time it wasn’t there!  I was antsy and wanted my watch!   It didn’t show up until 7:45 PM!!!   

I had time to play a bit!   Just enough to get it up and running and to figure out the basic functions!  

No I don’t have it on my arm too tight...and no my arm is not deformed...it was just a weird angle!!!  And I’m not sure why my heart rate was so high, I was just sitting there!

Soooo...now its time to get to running....as soon as I’m over the cold that has felled me the last few days!!  In the meantime....we got suckered into buying a complete series on DVD.  We have been talking a lot about those series lately...so decided to buy it!  What series?  Scooby Doo of course!!!  It will arrive tomorrow!!!  So while I’m recouping from this cold, you can find us on the couch watching Scooby Doo with a box of tissues between us!  After that...see you on a run!!!





Monday, May 20, 2019

A run in with the law: How being super active can get you in trouble

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

Another weekend on the books.   We took the time to relax this weekend, as usual.  However this weekend was the first sunny and warm weekend in a while so we used it wisely and spent some time outside!  We had fun outside with biking and hiking, even with a bit of an adventure that got us in trouble with the law.

As the weekend began, we started with the routine errands.  We left the house early Saturday morning and hit the grocery stores.  Necessary evil!  After getting home I put away the groceries and took the time to clean the fruits and veggies and actually chop and prepare all of the salad items for the week.  (Everything for salad toppings is chopped and individually bagged and put in one large container...pull out the container and it’s like a mini salad bar.).  All of that was done by noon and we were ready to head out the door for some fun!

Our adventure on Saturday was to go bike riding!   We opted for the canal, an easier ride.  I was a little worried about my shoulder, an issues that I talked about in this previous post   I know that in the week proceeding the arm getting really bad that my hand had gone numb while riding, so I suspected that riding may not be a good thing for this shoulder issue.  However, I had been having very little pain so I hoped that all would be well.  But one never knows, the only thing to do was to try!    I knew almost immediatelu that biking was not going to be an awesome choice.  But I pushed through.  
Turtles in the water
By the time we were done my arm ached...ok my whole right upper quadrant ached!   I took it easy all evening and recovered...but lesson learned.  Heal completely before really spending too much time on a bike!

That isn’t snow....bring on the pollen!!!

On Sunday we relaxed a bit in the morning and did one or two quick errands before heading out.   This day we opted to go hiking.  We decided to go to Catoctin Mountain National Park.  We had a delightful time! 
The hike was harder for me than it should have been!  But that’s ok, it just emphasized my need to get fit!  What was hard?  From overlook to the base of a waterfall....that means a pretty steep incline....climbing!

Ok, maybe some of my difficulty could have been the fact that I am dealing with some sinus issue (maybe cold) and couldn’t breathe through my nose...and had drainage from my sinuses the whole time....so that does make breathing more cumbersome to begin with! But that’s an excuse...I still need to get fit!

The ‘real’ adventure started when we left the trailhead.  I was driving along and we saw a rattlesnake crossing the road.  Now let me say that I have seen snakes in the wild, but never a rattle snake.  Jason has always talked about how he would love for me to hear the rattle of a rattlesnake BEFORE we are hiking and I’m about to innocently step on one!  So we naturally pulled into a little turn around that was right by Mr. Snake. We got out and from a distance antagonized the snake (we did no harm to an animal...never would we do that!). I even grabbed a few pictures of the said snake! (I was no where close to the snake...zoom is a good thing!!)

After a few minutes we walked the five feet back to the car and that is when I realized what we had done!  We were in a turn around that was clearly marked no stopping or standing.  And there were signs that were marked no cameras.  (Technically it wasn’t a camera...it was a cellphone. Hahaha).  I told jason that we had just broken the law...he also immediately knew what we had done.  We calmly left the spot and began our drive out of the area.  About a 1/4 mile down the road a ‘park police’ vehicle was waiting for us...as soon as I saw them I knew I was getting pulled over.  They pulled out behind me and followed me a bit (long enough to run my plates?) and then the lights came on!  Let me tell you, I used to live in Sharpsburg, Md literally with the front of my property bordering the National Park Service land that was Antietam Battlefield and the back of my property bordered the C&O canal....another National Park.  I have had plenty of dealings with Park police...and these guys were NOT ‘park police’.  The two guys that got out of the ‘park police’ vehicle and approached my car (one on either side of the car making us both roll down our windows) were wearing flak vests and armed to the hilt! That is not standard park police attire!!  

If you know any government history you will have heard of Camp David.  It is the presidential retreat in the mountains west of Washington DC.  It is located....you guessed it, within the confines of the Catoctin Mountain National Park.  I have ALWAYS known it was there. My parents always had a love of the Catoctin National Park.  (In fact my mother as a child went to a camp quite near Camp David!)  It isn’t a big deal because it is just part of life for anyone that lives in that area or visits that area a lot.  When the president is in residence, roads are blocked and more security is present, but it is always under guard. (I have a friend that lives close and talks about visiting her mothers grave which is quite near and how at times she could see agents in the woods watching her as she mourned...creepy but understandable...especially in today’s day and age!).   

So yes I was ‘interrogated’ by the police (military police...secret service...whatever organizationthat they were with...just pretty sure not park police.  Hahaha) as to what I was doing so close to Camp David.  Oh they didn’t say  Camp David...they used the un-official ‘Naval Support Facility’ name.  I was very clear and told them exactly what had happened.  That we had seen the snake crossing the road and we were focused on the snake and I just wasn’t thinking and I also told them the reason we were looking at a rattle snake.  (A safe lesson in nature for me!)  I admitted to knowing about Camp David and that I just wasn’t thinking.   (I used the name Camp David and he just chuckled...he knew I knew.) I even admitted to realizing my error when we got back into the car and knowing as soon as I saw him that he was going to be pulling me over.  And yes, I admitted to taking pictures...so my cell phone was passed over, to show my photographic skills of course. (Ha)

After checking my registration, insurance and liscense they came back and gave me a verbal warning.  They were actually quite friendly....intimidating as heck though. I drove away...and then we gave into the laughter. Seriously,  I chuckled the whole way home!   Guess I used up my warning!  Wonder what the penalty is if I do it again???

So there you have it....an active adventurous weekend!!!  While the bike riding was fun, it was a bit of a bust with my bum arm.  And while the hiking was fantastic, it had a bit of an awkward ending. I am pleased though with the level of activity!  My body feels good after using and pushing myself a bit!!!  Bring on more!!!!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Aleve: was that really the cause of my weight gain?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

I have recently pondered if  any medication I was taking was causing a weight gain (a sudden spike in my weight).  I researched and couldn’t find any evidence of the medications I was taking to cause a weight gain.  I therefore threw up my hands and accepted my overnight gain of 7 pounds as ‘my fault’. It was totally disheartening!  It had been two weeks and I am no longer taking the medication....and I am cautiously optimistic that the weight is gone....and I think I know the culprit...prescription strength Aleve.  I am pretty sure that the Aleve was causing weight gain. 

Weight gain after taking medications
few weeks ago I had an issue with my shoulder   When I went to the urgent care I was advised that I had a muscle issue that was inflamed and that in turn had caused a pinch nerve.  It was painful and no fun.  They prescribed medication to ease the pain and suffering and to also help alleviate the problem so that my body could heal.   I immediately started the medication regime. The medication helped the pain in my shoulder and arm!   However the pain in my heart started the next morning when I stepped on the scales and found my weight to be 7 pounds higher!  I figured it was some anomaly and that it would right itself the next day.  But that was not to be...my weight remained high!

I researched the various medications that I was on.  I saw no direct links to weight gain with any of them!  I was disheartened and disgusted....because if the medications didn’t cause my overnight spike, the fault was my own....and I couldn’t figure out what in the world else would have caused it!

I hate taking medication.  Since the more ‘potent’ medications were labeled ‘as needed’ I only took them sparingly.  I quickly realized that that luckily for me, they were not the ones that were helping the most. So after a few days I stopped taking them completely. (But I still carried them with me, just in case.) I however continued taking the prescription strength Aleve, as that was the key for my problem!

My weight remained high and I went through a week or so of desperation as my weight stayed 7 pounds higher than my pre-medication weight.  As I stated earlier I hate taking medications so a few days back I stopped taking the  prescription strength Aleve. (And other than a few twinges of pain, I’ve been fine.).  Waiting 24 hours of stopping the Aleve, my weight started to drop!   As of this morning...my weight has returned to what it was right before I went to urgent care.  Hallelujah!!!

I saw no official studies on this.  This is only my experience, but for me, next time I end up taking Aleve, I am not going to panic if my weight pops up on the scales!    Will I still take Aleve?  Absolutely!  I’ll take the prescription strength Aleve again if needed!   I will also keep the over the counter strength Aleve in my cabinet, it was the best thing I found for back pain!  (Amazon affiliate link). 

Week in Review
This week has been a rough one for me!  I have been exhausted!  Jason has at one or times questioned me about my quietness, because it is abnormal for me (I know that shocks you to know that I may be a bit verbose! Hahaha). I just respond that I’m tired.   I have also sat and just cried because of my exhaustion.  (I cry when I’m tired, it’s like my emotions flare up!). It’s been a long week!  

I managed to get some lunch time walks on.   However after work exercise has not yet recommenced!  Shame on me!

My food has been pretty good!  I haven’t been actually tracking my food (Which is a fail for my monthly goals) but I have been keeping a rough mental tally in my head, so I know that I’m not out of control.  

It’s been a normal work week!  Tiring and long.  But I did take some time for self care.  I did make some overdue appointments (eye check and dentist cleaning).   

So there you have it, my week in review  and my self discovery in regards to my weight gain in relation to the medications that I was taking for my shoulder issues, in particular Aleve.  It won’t change my behavior about taking medications but I like being in the know!  This way I will not take it as a personal failure the next time I take the same medication and experience a weight gain!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

To monetize or to not monetize, that is the question

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details.

I started writing on this site 13 1/2 years ago. It started as a simple way for me to journal my weight loss. I have always kept a journal. I actually have a journal going back to third grade. (It cracks me up to read it!). Maybe I was just naïve when I started this online journal, I certainly knew that someone could stumble upon this journal… But I never realized when I started that so many people could and would read my words. Imagine my surprise when I started to accumulate followers and comments! Knowing that I had consistent readers did not change the way I wrote in terms of subject matter. I still continued, and still do to this day, right my true and unadulterated story and thoughts. I hold nothing back, and I tell it like it is.  Even when it’s embarrassing and shameful. The only thing that changed was that I did strive to make my posts a little more reader friendly and not just a one sentence synopsis of my day. Oh, and I started to add pictures.  (Like this one from my walk at lunch yesterday!)


Quite a few years into maintaining this online journal, I started to see people doing the vlogs. I thought about it. I seriously thought about it. But I never jumped in to do it because, well...I don’t know why!  I also started to realize that some people had  ads on their site. Over the years, I have seriously thought about that also. I always resisted. After all, at the heart of the matter, this is really just my personal journal, one that I have invited the world to join in and read.   Part of my resistance though came from the fact that many blogs I read that monetized turned into ‘money makers’.  Those sites and posts changed from personal to purely informational posts designed to attract a random reader and garner clicks and sales!  I didn’t want that!  Not at all!!!

However, the thought of monetizing this site has continued to crop up in my thoughts over and over through the years.  This last year, even more than ever. I think part of it is due to the fact that we watch a lot of YouTube videos and we see people making a decent living off of their YouTube channels. I also have read some recent blog posts about people that are making money off of their blogs. I haven’t gone looking for these blogs and videos, they have come across my radar quite naturally.

I actually have the idea for a YouTube channel.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a 46-year-old overweight woman learn to mountain bike…  jumps, drops, furiously fast downhill sections, and weight loss. (Cause being out there would garner weight loss I’m sure!). I think that it would be part motivational, simply because of my weight and my age.  How many people don’t do something because they are older or overweight.  I also know that it could be quite humorous. Just remember the trail ride in this post wheree I found myself sitting on the side of the trail crying. Furthermore, such a channel would also satisfy the morbid factor.   Everyone would be sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for me to fall or cry....Over and over again probably. Perfect idea right???  But, I honestly just don’t know that I have the time and energy for a project of that magnitude.

You may have noticed a while back that I started adding a few Amazon affiliate links to my post. Not exactly a great moneymaker (I think I made $.22 last month) but it’s worth a try. I don’t put links in there often because it honestly had to be a product that I am actually using that comes up naturally in my post. I refuse to write a post just to throw an Amazon affiliate link out there.  (Which is probably why I only made 22 cents!)

A week or two ago, I finally caved. I added adsense to my site. I am personally trying to keep the ads unobtrusive because I don’t want the mission of my site to change. But, I want your opinion… does it turn you off?

I don’t expect to make any kind of money. I don’t expect to quit my job. I just figure, if I’m already writing then I may as well add these extra things on and maybe the pennies I make will add up to cover the financial expense of this site (the financial expense is quite nominal so maybe I can achieve that!). I wanted to explain my choices, maybe defend my decision a little. (To myself since I feel as if I sold out!!). Monetizing this blog site will not change the content. I refuse to write  fluff sales posts. I refuse to turn this into anything other than what it is, which is a chronicle of my journey.For better or worse, let’s see what happens. And buckle your seatbelt because I have no choice...my health has to change....my weight has to drop!!!  Let’s do this!!!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Embarrassment: the added cost of obesity

Good Monday morning.  Another weekend has passed.   Another rainy weekend to boot!  This weekend I had some thoughts come to my mind in relation to weight loss.  It had to do with embarrassment about my multiple attempts to restart my healthy lifestyle.  It had to do with shame of my failed ventures at weight loss. And even more revealing, they were about the humiliation I feel when I catch sight of myself in a mirror or window while I am out and about! How did I let myself get to this point!

So let’s start with the weekend. As always it went  way to fast!  I can’t even comprehend how time flies by so fast on the weekend!  This weekend was rainy, so it greatly diminished our outdoor activities.  We talked about gearing up and going hiking in the rain....but it was a cold rain!  Yeah, we wimped out!   We did do a few things to stay moving and active.  We also got some things done around the house that have been hanging over our heads.  So it was productive!!!

As the weekend progressed I started to think about my post for Monday and even more importantly where I am in my weight loss journey.   My weight is still up, it has not dropped much since my dramatic overnight jump of 7 pounds when I started the medication for my shoulder.  Admittedly I allowed the despair of that increase to drive me to a few extra calories one one or two occasions last week.  But by the numbers I should still be seeing a decrease.  So as I pondered my next move I knew that things needed to get serious...real serious.   I was formulating the ‘new start’ post in my head.  And that is when the shame washed over me.  Yes, shame.  How many times have I vowed that ‘this is it?’  How many fresh starts have I attested to.  How many times have I failed only to a week or two later make a ‘this time it’s for real’ attestation on this website!!  (If I’m lucky it’s only a week or two later....when it’s longer the damage done is usually greater!).   It’s downright embarrassing!  Utterly and demoralizing so!

I was still reeling from my embarrassment revelation when we decided to walk through the mall and a few stores. (Hey, it was raining, what else were we to do to get a bit of movement into our day!).  Those places have a TON of mirrors.  My eye caught my reflection and I just wanted to sink into the floor with embarrassment. How in the world did I let myself return to this point?  How?  When I was losing weight the first time around, I very clearly remember saying that I would NEVER be over 200 pounds again.  Yet here I am!  Significantly over that 200 pound mark I might add!  I do find comfort in the fact that I have not gained it all back...but what I have regained is way more than any one should ever have to lose...again...or even ever!  Utter humiliation coursed through me at the sight of my overweight body in the mirror.  How could I have let this happen?

I know that I can do two things.  I can wallow in my self pity and embarrassment and make no changes.  Or I can pull myself up by the bootstraps, take these embarrassing revelations and honestly make the changes within my life to turn the shame into pride.  Yes, it is a restart....yes it is one of probably a hundred or more restarts that I have vowed.  But wallowing in my self pity is only going to bring about more embarrassment as I struggle to do things that a normal sized person can do. (For example: riding roller coasters at an amusement park, shopping at any store for clothes and not having to go to the fat women’s stores or departments, not being out of breath when I go up a few flights of stairs, etc). 

I’m not giving up.  I hope and pray that this is the last restart in my life.  But if it is not the last one...I will keep pushing forward and restarting!   Meanwhike, It is my fervent wish and plan to make the changes so that I never again have to look in a mirror at myself and feel nothing but shame and disgust.  I will continue to push forward. Victory can be had for me.  I can do this!



Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday check in

It’s Friday!!!  I’m so happy about that fact!!!   I know, I know; I’m a broken record on Friday’s!!!   But hey...it is the way my life goes!  I have a problem with the work life balance at this point so my weekends are so important!  The work life balance affects me in more ways than just counting down until the weekend. It does affect my weight loss I am sure!

My work days are long and early when I add in my commute.  I am tired and crash into bed relatively early.   I also cook dinner pretty much every night (not fridays...that is delivery night!) which takes time.  By the time I eat I might have and hour or maybe two ...and bybthat time I’m just wiped out.  It’s hard to find the energy or time to work out. (I already wake up at 5am...a morning workout would be optimum but I can’t bear to wake up any earlier.!). I feel as if my whole life during the work week is simply work and survival.  I know it has to change...that’s not healthy!

We have vowed to ride or walk after work, starting next week.  (We started to ride but then my shoulder problems kicked into high gear).  It will make the evening even more cramped, but this is a necessary sacrifice.  I need to for my health!

And now....my weight. Something I would rather ignore and not talk about...but this is my life and I say it how I see it.    I spoke in my last post about how my weight was up  for seemingly no true reason.   I’m sad to say that my weight is still up...slowly going down.  I am disgusted to see all of my work from this year  (slow but my weight was going down) disappear overnight!  But I can’t give up!  I am still hoping it has something to do with my arm/shoulder issues and the medication and auto correct itself.  But only time will tell.

I’ve done good with walking during my lunch breaks...today is supposed to be rainy so I’m not planning on walking.  I have been delighted with some of the spring things I see on my walks!!! Lots of babies on one day!!!