DAY 031: Ya lose some, ya win some

It’s official!  The results of Kickstarter 1 of 3 are in, and I’m a winner!  It was a little closer than I would have preferred, but a win is a win and a loss is a loss, and I can’t complain about that.

I have two more Kickstarters ending soon, and round 1 of the million-dollar Transformer weighs out starting tomorrow.  The Transformer is in the bag, and I’m close on the other two.  It’s nice to not dread looking at the scale.  I forgot that was a possibility!

After these wins, though, it’s likely going to be time for a break from Kickstarters.

The ongoing saga that is my heel spur has reached a point where it’s interfering with my daily life and my ability to exercise.  I want to train for a 5K, but when I spend a lot of time on my feet, my heel swells and it feels like I’m walking on a water balloon.  Last weekend, I cooked for hours on end, and by the end of the day, I could only walk by erring to the outside of my foot because my heel was so swollen.  When it’s not flaring up, it’s a persistent nagging feeling in there that I’m always aware of.  I’m just done with it.

I saw my podiatrist today, and he talked through my options with me.  We’ve tried a number of things in the past 2+ years, and clearly, none of those has yielded any results.  Option 1:  cortisol shot right in the heel to alleviate some of the inflammation and pressure; may or may not have long-term results.  Option 2:  surgically stretch out the plantar ligament and saw away the bone spur; long-term solution with long recovery period that includes no working out for 2 months.

I have some travel coming up within the next month, so I couldn’t do the surgery now, anyway.  I got the injection in my heel before leaving the doctor’s office and I’ll have a follow-up with him when I get back from my trip.  At that time, if I’ve had some relief, we’ll do nothing and hope the problem is solved.  If there’s no discernible change, I’ll be going under the knife, foot-first.

It’ll make it kind of hard to lose weight without the ability to do any vigorous exercise, so I don’t want to set myself up for failure (and losing money) by signing up for more DietBets during recovery.  Of course, I may get lucky and have success with this shot, but I doubt it can eliminate the problem at all, let alone permanently.  I’m willing to try, though.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I’ll keep moving.  Any weight I can get rid of will only help my foot.  I’ve got a lot of losing and winning to do!

DAY 026: Tearing myself a new one

At some point last winter, I noticed a pain in my left bicep during certain normal movements.  Raising my arms in certain ways hurt, lifting certain things in certain ways hurt, and even certain light Zumba arm moves hurt.  It eventually became painful to sleep on my left side, which is my usual position.  The only thing I could conclude was that I had somehow torn a muscle.  Although I didn’t have any kind of scan done, my (new and less wonderful) doctor confirmed it when I saw her for the first time in May for a physical.

I’ve been doing independent weight training on my arms since I started this weight-loss party back in March 2015.  I have always been careful with controlling the motion of anything I lifted, taking it slow, and making sure the weight isn’t too much.  I somehow still managed to hurt myself pretty severely.  The best I can figure is that when I started doing arms again after enough of a hiatus to decrease my strength, I worked out as if I had never stopped and over-exerted my muscles when I should have ratcheted down the amount of weight I was lifting.  Muscles are built by a process of tearing and rebuilding, but when a tear comes from an injury, it’s not magically healed by a protein bar.  It needs to rest until it’s ready to work again.  You can’t rush it.

The doctor told me in May to stop with arms weights until my bicep was healed.  Foolishly, I gave it a week and then resumed my normal circuits in spite of the persistent pain.  The only reason I ended up stopping is because I abandoned health altogether when things got rough in the fall.

A year later, I’m finally healed.  I hit my arms circuit last night for the first time in several months.  I was a little tentative and ginger at the beginning of my workout, especially when it came to the exercises that really used to hurt when my muscle was damaged.  But you know what?  I feel good today.  I have the satisfying soreness from a good burn, but no pain.  Soreness is fine, but there should never be pain.  Got it.  No more being stupid.  But also… I forgive you, past self.

On Tuesday, I was chatting with a friend as we were leaving work together.  She asked, “Are you dieting?”  I said, “I’m eating right.”  She said, “Your face looks good.”

And that’s where it starts.

Hello, saddle.  It’s good to be back.

DAY 007: Shaken, not stirred

Spoiler alert:  This has nothing to do with how I take my martinis.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to express how the last few months have been for me that led me to the point in my weight-loss mission where I find myself today.  In particular, the last 6 weeks of that have turned me into a raw, exposed nerve at times.  When I saw that today was #007 in my numbering scheme, a bit of an opportunity presented itself.  It’ll be a bit of a stretch, but hey, that’s been true for my pants of late; why should my writing be any different? 😉  So, let’s say I’ve been feeling existentially shaken, but somehow not stirred to action.  (It’s tortured, but whatever.  I’m sure I’ve done worse.)

Most of the year was pretty decent, just extra busy.  When things weren’t busy, I didn’t use my time the right way.  If I could go back to the summer and kick myself in the ass, let’s just say I would.  I did have an ankle sprain in there, but even still… I leaned hard into excuses that allowed me to stray from my healthy eating and abandon exercise altogether.

Zooming in on one cross-section of time, I take you to the period of late November through late December 2017, AKA the holiday season.  Call me over-analytical (and be correct), but a highly symbolic thing happened out of precisely nowhere.  The week leading up to Thanksgiving, the piercing I got to mark the halfway point in my mission got irritated.  It was slightly warm to the touch, and I could feel there was some sort of ball of nastiness between my earring and the hole in my ear.  I the area as best I could without taking the earring out, but after a few days of those attempts, there was no change.  I finally decided to do the obvious thing my body wanted me to do and remove the earring to give the hole a thorough cleaning.  The second the post left my ear, the nastiness ball got even larger and warmer, and the hole was imperceptible.  For the ensuing 2 weeks, it became a one-to-three-day cycle of cleancleanclean, scab slowly forms over site, scab falls off, repeat.  I haven’t been able to figure out what could have caused the sudden flare-up, but it was a week before I dared try getting an earring back in.  When I did, it was my sharp piercing stud from when I got my lobes pierced at age 11 — ohhhh, yeah, I still have those little pink studs in all their juvenile glory — and it hurt more than the original cartilage piercing did.  I’m pretty sure I partially re-pierced it.

That long-winded account is to say, I don’t view it as a coincidence that this happened at a moment in time where I’d solidly backtracked to the pre-halfway mark.  My piercing might as well have said, “You no longer have the right to this.  Come back when you’re serious.”

This saga is persisting even now, albeit to a lesser extent; but I am mostly leaving the earring out, periodically re-piercing the hole to drain it of blood (there’s a blood bubble that’s shrinking, but still present) and cleaning it.  I am not about to let that sucker permanently close.  At one point, I tried to insert the earring I got that hole pierced with, but my ear swelled up around it immediately and I had to take it right back out.  It was several days before I could do anything with it again.  I don’t know if I’ve developed a sudden allergy to sterling silver — is that a thing that can even happen?! — but it was wild.  I guess I’ll have to keep watching it.

Right after Thanksgiving, I had a minor car incident when a friend’s mom hit my car in her driveway.  No one was hurt, but it was enough that my car needed significant repairs, and I was without it, out of state, for over two weeks.  This meant a huge inconvenience at home; hours on the phone with insurance adjusters, rental car agents, and the auto body shop; and an unplanned trip back to my hometown that cost me 8 hours on the road and personal time off work to pick up my car when it was finally fixed.  It was an unwelcome bout of stress and annoyance.

Then, just before Christmas, my grandfather died.  I don’t think I need to expound on that.  Suffice it to say, I loved him very much and everything about letting him go was awful and painful, sometimes physically.

When I finally got back to my place after the unexpected, prolonged time at my parents’, I was drained.  I couldn’t get out of the terrible mental spiral of, What will they say about me when I die?  I need to quit my job and do something that matters.  Life’s too short.  I’m so unhappy.  Like a broken record, over and over again.  And I came damn close to doing something rash.  When I would re-pierce my ear during that period, I liked the pain.  I admit to doing it more than usual because I liked the pain.  The psychology attributed to cutters suddenly made sense to me:  giving myself this physical pain was a type of release valve for the internal pain I was feeling but didn’t know how to express, let alone work on solving.

I needed to get myself back into some semblance of control over the situation I was downward-spiraling myself further into.  That’s why I decided to do a fast to end the year.

After devouring breakfast on New Year’s Day, I signed up and weighed in for a new DietBet.  The pot is currently at $195,870 with 6,532 players.

This past week, I signed up for two additional DietBet games:  a Kickstarter that currently has 13,355 players and a pot of $400,650, and a Transformer that currently has a DietBet record (!) of 7,022 players and a pot of $932,400.  (Both are still open to new players — join me!)  These three new bets are in addition to the Transformer I joined in November that’s still in progress — and that I have lost both rounds of so far, but that I will come back and win!

Even after all the turbulence of the fall, I remained in a sort of helpless stupor where I knew what I needed to do, but I just couldn’t get myself there.  I’ve had to force myself back into meal prep and ratcheting up my give-a-shittitude, and the mental effort of babysitting myself has been tedious and exhausting.  It’s starting to take hold, though.  I’ve gone from being emotionally shaken to having finally shaken myself out of that rut.  I’ve gone from being emotionally not stirred to having finally stirred myself into taking charge.

I’ve already made some progress in spite of that, dropping 3.2 pounds since Monday night.  I’m definitely a long way from being all in, and I have yet to get a proper workout under my belt this time around, but it’s coming.  I’m going to get myself there.  There’s no alternative option.

Life’s too short for regret.




DAY 743: To sleep, perchance to food-dream

OK.  It’s day 20, and I feel like I’m back tracking.

I have slept terribly the past two nights, in spite of taking melatonin on Sunday night.  Last night, after 2+ hours of trying and failing to fall asleep, I ultimately gave up and went to the kitchen to start preparing today’s lunch and tonight’s dinner.  Still not wound down from that, I went ahead and filed my taxes.  Finally, I trudged back upstairs around 2 AM where I lay awake for another hour before finally dozing off sometime after 3.  I also peed four times between when I first lay down and when I scraped myself off the mattress when my alarm went off for the 5th time this morning.  I usually only get up once or twice throughout the night.

I also had the worst headache yesterday that I’ve had since starting Whole30.  Two pills didn’t kill it during the day, and it clung on and on until I took another dosage before my first attempt at going to sleep at night.  It then took a while to dissipate, which at least it finally did.  As I sit here typing this, I can feel another one creeping on.

I continue to have inexplicable and frustrating stretches of constipation.  That just infuriates me.  In. fur. i. ates. Me.  Anti-bloat diet, my ass.

And to add injury to insult, I am all of a sudden having knee pain.  KNEE PAIN.  For the first time in my life, I have aching, stiff, sore knees through absolutely no strain or exertion.  I’ve been totally phoning it in on the physical activity, and what little I’ve gotten has been pretty non-strenuous.  Even at my heaviest weight of 303 pounds, my knees were fine.  I’m years and miles away from that point now, and partway through this healthy dietary tweak, I’m struck with it out of absolutely nowhere?  Not fair.  Also, not logical.

What the eff is going on here?!

This better be the death throes of toxins leaving my body or something.  I am SO irked about what I’m experiencing this far into the program.  The hardest shit is supposed to be over.  It’s been almost 3 weeks and I have experienced, mmm, approximately zero of the program’s touted health benefits.  For all the extra investment — and I do mean investment — of time and money to stick to the strident rules of Whole30, to experience nothing even close to “tiger blood” is outrageous.  Not only am I not feeling better, but I’m actually feeling worse.  I am so glad I’ve ignored the guideline about not weighing yourself; if it weren’t for my knowledge that I’ve dropped a lot of weight, it’s hard to imagine I could convince myself to stick out these last 10 days.

Oh, oh, oh!  But THEN!  I’m all skittish about stopping after day 30 because what if all the pounds that fell off were just water weight, and I instantly gain it all back during reintroduction?  I won’t fit into my MoH dress.  I’ll be miserable and inconsolable.  It will all have been an utter waste, in every possible sense.  Ugh, I can’t even let myself think about that, but the thought keeps popping into my head.

I’m exhausted.  What I wouldn’t give for a guilty food dream right now.

DAY 739: Whoa, we’re halfway there!


It’s day 16.  Do you know where your children are?

I posted this yesterday on DietBet, but it bears repeating:  I am SO. SICK. OF SALAD.

I’ve had a lot of late nights recently, resulting in needing to order food instead of eating the yummy, healthy, Whole30-compliant dinners I have waiting for me at home.  The only thing that seems safe to eat in those circumstances is a very basic build-your-own salad without dressing from a fresh salad joint.  And man, I am so over salad at this point.  I’m also over shelling out additional cash on pretentious salads — yeah, that’s a thing — on top of the substantial amount of money I’ve already spent to make the meals I’m neglecting in the first place.  GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE.  I’m looking mad forward to eating at home all weekend.

Yesterday, the halfway point, was a decent day.  I had a meeting that went on entirely too long, and when I emerged from the staircase afterwards on the way back to my office, two co-workers were chatting by the elevators.  One suddenly stopped herself mid-sentence and called out, “Is that… is that you?”  I turned around and said, “Yes, I’m me!”  She started saying she thought it was me, but she wasn’t sure; I looked so good, could I help her with losing weight?!  She must have said 3 or 4 times how different or good she thought I looked.  (I rarely see this person.)  That felt pretty nice.  (Thanks, super flowy, former oh-honey top I was wearing yesterday!)

Yesterday evening was a good-bye gathering for a colleague, and I was the designated cupcake picker-upper.  Not just any cupcakes, mind you.  They spent Wednesday night in my fridge, all day Thursday in my office, and Thursday evening staring at me while everyone else partook.  That fudgy chocolate frosting looked amazing, but was it?  I have only the word of other people — and foggy, fond memories — to go on.  Passing on those babies wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, actually; honestly, having them at home and in my office for nearly a full day was fine.  I didn’t think about them at all.  It was watching everyone else eat (and enjoy) them that gave me a pang.  I’m telling myself it was mostly FOMO while I remind myself what sugar does to my insides.  That shit looked sooooo yummy, though.  *single tear

The one thing that has started feeling like a sacrifice is coffee.  Go figure, right?  The one thing I gave up voluntarily, outside of the program’s guidelines, is the one that has started to hurt.  BUT, BUT, BUT!  Yesterday was the first time in over a week I did not get a headache!  I had several early on, then a few days without, and then straight headaches for about a week and a half.  They were more of the dull, nagging variety than the throbbing, painful variety; enough to be annoying and prevent clear thinking or ease in falling asleep, but not a light enough touch that I could avoid taking something to make it go away.  The night before last, I noticed the headache was a little lower in strength than the ones leading up to it, and I rolled the dice:  I went to bed without popping Excedrin, and the headache went away.  I slept normally all night and had no remnants of the headache when I woke up in the morning.  Then, no headache during the day, and I went to sleep pain free!  Magic!  It’s not exactly tiger blood, but I’ll take it.

You know, one thing  I have taken from this is that being open about my dietary restrictions has been very helpful, and not embarrassing.  This comes as a complete surprise to me, given how uncomfortable I have been all my life with letting people into this weight-loss stuff with me.  It feels like THE most personal thing I could share, no matter how limited the sharing is.  I feel appreciative and humbled by being proven dead wrong about this.  The implicit accountability, support, and encouragement from people has been incredible.  I’ve even intentionally told my parents I’m doing this, and they won’t even see me during these 30 days.  LIGHT BULB!  I don’t have to do everything alone.  A lesson decades in the making.

Sadly, I STILL have not made it to the gym.  It’s on the docket for tomorrow, right between SLEEP IN and PLAN NEXT WEEK’S MENUS.

Fifteen down, fifteen to go!

DAY 715: Not drawn to scale

Getting back on the horse has been so exhausting and challenging, I can’t help but curse past-me for having gotten off in the first place.  That was dumb, past-me.  SHAME ON YOU/ME/US.

As I’ve most recently lamented, sleep has been a problem lately.  Just when the remedy to that arrived (my new mattress and box spring finally came at the end of last week!), I had a nasty allergic flare-up amid a sudden onset of spring that has woken me up persistently throughout the night so I can give in to full-body coughing fits.  It’s really just the loveliest.  I can only imagine how much worse it would be without my Rx antihistamines and allergy shots (though I really don’t have to imagine)!

This, and a slightly indulgent Saturday (two meals out that included mostly healthy choices, with the exception of one cocktail and one pastry, and zero gym time although I still made all my daily steps), converged to stall my weight loss.  My scale has been showing me wildly inconsistent numbers that seem like they’re just being randomly generated by some gremlin living inside the scale, and I’ve given in to weighing in often multiple times a day just to try to identify what my real weight might be.  Foolish and counter-productive, is what I’d call that venture.  I am now swearing off the scale until the end of this week.  I know for my own sake I can’t weigh in more than once a week.  Back to that.

Also, I’ve been generally slacking at the gym.  I still go for the most part, but I’ve been letting myself off the hook of really pushing myself.  I know the pounds aren’t gonna drop off for free; I have to pay for that shit with my sweat.  What I’ve been doing hasn’t been cutting it.  I know that, and yet I haven’t been pushing myself.  Come on, self.  Scale gremlin lives off this kind of laxness.

I’m also wearing orthotics now, as prescribed by my podiatrist.  As my body adjusts to their correctional effects, there’s some stiffness and soreness in random joints up and down my legs.  I know it’s temporary, but it is a bit of a hindrance.

Things are finally trending toward equilibrium, though, and I’ve slowly noticed I’m feeling more rested when I first get up in the morning.  I’ve even dared to let myself believe that the slimmer neck and shoulders on the body I’m seeing in the mirror might be real.

During my Sunday visit to the gym, I did some interval jogging on the treadmill for the first time in ages, maxing out on 3 minutes straight at 5.0 MPH.  Last night at the gym, I self-insisted on my arms circuit and event tried a new machine that had always been a little intimidating to me (the rower) before pushing myself on the elliptical (which only exists in models I don’t like at my gym).   Still not a profuse sweat, but a good start.  And honestly, the post-workout soreness from the two days combined is highly satisfying.

This morning, walking down the stairs to leave my building, I felt more energetic and lighter on my feet.

And then when I arrived at work today, I got the affirmation of a co-worker.

Her:  “You look like you’ve lost some weight.  Have you been losing weight?”
Me (out loud):  cheshire

Me (internally):  “Why, yes.  Yes, I have.”  (HEAR ME, SCALE GREMLIN!  HEAR ME!  **shakes fist**)

In your face, container of brownies that mocked me at the grocery store last Friday.  You can bite me.

DAY 683: Body work

Decent news from the world of podiatry: my bone spur is NOT the issue.  In fact, it has shrunken since I first went in to have it examined.  The discomfort I’m feeling now is from strain on my plantar fascia ligament, which is tight and stretches when I take take steps, causing inflammation and the popping sensation in my heel.  My doctor offered to give me a cortisol injection today that would take care of the unpleasant feeling instantaneously, and possibly permanently, but I decided to hold off.  He’s prescribed me orthotic inserts that will help correct my immediate problem, and they won’t be ready for 3-4 weeks.  My (self-reported) pain level is at about a 3, so I figure that if it gets worse between now and the time I go back to the podiatrist’s office to pick up the orthotics, I’ll get the shot then (or sooner, if there’s a sudden spike).  Otherwise, I’ll give the orthotics (and, hopefully, a bit of weight loss!) a chance to make an impact and then go from there.

It is interesting how my body has responded to my weight re-gain.  I had trained it to be accustomed to a certain amount of movement with less and less mass to carry, and now, it has rapidly re-accumulated a bunch of that mass which was partially caused by, and also which partially contributed to, a significant decrease in movement.  The way that added weight has shown up on me has been interesting.  Whereas I lost it from all over, it really feels like 90% of it went directly to my waist when it came back.  Yes, my face and fingers have pudged out, but the rings I couldn’t wear when I was previously at this weight are still fitting from when I had reached my lowest, but the pants I was wearing when I was last at this weight aren’t.  I know this isn’t any kind of earth-shattering revelation, but the areas that are hardest to lose from, are easiest to gain to.  We all have our trouble spots, eh?  REMINDER TO FUTURE SELF:  Don’t mess around, girl.  It’s too hard to work the fat back off!  Not worth it.

This is so much work.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the place where it just felt routine and second-nature.

Wishing all of you strength and perseverance through the weekend!