Friday, June 14, 2013

Ten Months Later

I certainly didn't mean for ten months to go by without posting something, but got in the way, I guess.

So--- health, good and bad: I got great cholesterol test results last fall, after losing some weight with WW, as well as eating more strictly vegan (making sure I ate much less cheese and other dairy, mainly). I still had an elevated "bad" cholesterol level, but not enough that my doc wanted to put me on meds. Unfortunately, I found out through a bone scan (ordered by doc because I'd been without ovaries for a while, perhaps?) that I have osteoporosis. I was so shocked when they called that I burst into tears and felt a weird sense of disbelief? Me? I've exercised regularly for years, and spent ten years living in the sun, as well as doing weight training. I refused to start any medication for it, having read VERY BAD THINGS about most of them, and started doing some research. I started taking a multivitamin with calcium, magnesium, boron, and some other stuff I can't recall right now, as well as taking strontium citrate. I had started taking kettlebell classes and doing some weight training at a local gym, and though I felt a bit nervous (when you read about having osteo, good Lord -- some articles make it sound like your spine will snap in half if you bend over incorrectly!), I knew that weight training is the only non-drug/supplement thing one can do to actually strengthen bone. I will have another scan a year from this fall to see if I have improved or not. I realize that for people with severe osteoporosis, bones can break when they are simply standing and doing nothing, but my numbers were just over the edge of osteopenia into osteoporosis, so after months of normal activities with no problems, I felt more confident that I'd be okay exercising with weights. My daughter and I took a 10-week yoga class, which I really found helpful in stretching out my muscles and gaining improved balance.

I also found out that a vegan diet is best for helping osteoporosis, so it's probably great that I've stopped eating meat and (most) dairy. I can't really call myself a vegan because I still eat ice cream sometimes and baked goods that coworkers bring to work that have eggs..and probably other things I don't want to know about.

I took a class last fall on the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole. I'd read the book years ago -- I own a copy and I'm sure I've talked about the book in past blog posts. However, this class was sort of a study of the book and its principles. It was really helpful for me to talk about it within a group with a facilitator who struggles with dieting/rebound dieting/overexercise. I dropped out of WW, and I was able to develop some more "normal" feelings about food. I'd struggled a bit with restricting and bingeing and such. This class really helped me re-focus and get my head back on straight. I haven't weighed myself since the first week of class, nine or so months ago. I'm fairly sure I weigh about the same now as I did then.

I really feel as though I had two MAJOR victories this past year, as we went on vacation twice and (judging by the fit of my clothing) I lost weight on both vacations. DH and I went with four other couples to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico last November. It was all-you-can-eat-and-drink, but I didn't struggle a lot with overeating. It helped that the desserts were mediocre at best, though the ice cream was yummy. I don't often drink anything but water, so that may have also helped. I used the gym twice, but was otherwise a great success at lying around doing nothing but talking. I even worked up the courage to wear a bikini. In public. In front of four of our couple friends.

Our second vacation was a Disney cruise -- 9 days in Florida and the Caribbean. The food was fantastic, but there was a vegan option at each meal, and the servings were very normal. Even the desserts were quite small, by normal American restaurant standards. That was perfect for me, as was the option each night to order the dessert sampler -- three of the night's choices on a plate, each about three bites big. We were so busy with activities onboard that we didn't snack at all. Three meals a day with no snacks was perfect. I was hungry for my meals, but didn't think about eating in between them.

This spring and summer I have still been taking kettlebells and visiting the gym, but sadly I've only been doing it about twice a week. My dad broke four ribs last winter and I've spent a lot of time caring for him and doing errands and chores for him. He recovered well, and was able to walk without even a cane when he started having a lot of hip pain. He's been to three different doctors, and no one can say what it is. Meanwhile, he's crabby and doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything because simply standing or walking hurts. He's living in a retirement apartment, but I am still buying his groceries, doing his laundry, and doing a bunch of chores for him. It's like having a third child who lives twenty minutes from me! So I have much less time to tend to my own health than I did last summer. I went through some mild depression over the spring, and still feel a bit now. I was on a very low dose of Welbutrin over the winter for my Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I weaned myself from it in May, which probably only added to the depression. There were many mornings this past spring when I could barely drag myself from bed at the last possible minute, let alone get up early to exercise. After work I was exhausted, and many times had to go to my dad's. I know I probably sound somewhat whiney, but I hate not having the energy and ambition to exercise regularly, when I've been so faithful about it for so many, many years. I have felt a bit better now that there is more sun and the days are longer, but still not really like my old self.

I have been toying with the idea of trying to cut back on the amount of sugar I eat, but every time I think of attempting it, I immediately want to eat a bunch of junk. My SIL has been really successful with eating healthier and she's lost about 100 pounds. She completely cut out sugar, bread, pasta (most starchy carbs really, even starchy veg), dairy (she is gluten and dairy intolerant anyway), etc. She really only eats free range, grassfed beef, free range eggs and chicken, nonstarchy veg, and coconut oil. She used to adore coffees with loads of sugar, so I don't know how she gave it up. I don't need to lose more than 20 pounds at most, but I know if I could give up sugar.... Sigh. I've had that same thought 100 times, and never been successful. I suppose maybe going totally vegan would be a start?