losing track

It feels so strange to think that I’ve been working from home for almost a year now. And it’s even more strange for me to think that I’m fast approaching a second birthday celebrated in a very subdued fashion due to a global pandemic. Not like that’s huge, but it’s huge.

Want to know what else is huge?

I got to move the big slider one spot to the left this morning and I’m pretty sure I screamed with pure delight

I am officially 249.75lbs and that has been an unofficial goal for a while now. The next actual official goal will be 225lbs. I’m hoping that getting back to the treadmill and starting to use the pilates bar on a more regular basis, along with going back to drinking more water every day, will help get me there a bit more quickly.

Part of this is needing routines. I’ve said it before, I live and die by routines. I’m starting to get back into some of the routines/habits that I used to have that really seemed to help, if nothing else they would help with my mental health.

  • I get a week’s worth of outfits out on the weekend, including any necessary under garments and jewelry; they hang together in the back of my closet.
  • I use pill trays to organize and set out my morning and bed time pills, two weeks’ worth at a time.
  • I have a reminder set on my phone for Monday evenings – that’s when I take my Humira shot.
  • I have other reminders set on my phone for things like monthly cleaning chores, watering plants (weekly), and giving the dog her meds (monthly) – my philosophy on this is “set it and forget it.”
  • I always put my car keys in the exact same place when I get home, on a key rack in our entryway. If I don’t put them there I lose them, without fail.
  • I keep multiple baskets in the laundry room so that I can take the dirty stuff down and sort it every few days. When there’s enough of something to run a load I do it. This keeps me from spending an entire day on the weekend doing laundry.
  • I try to create a menu for the coming week – just dinners – mostly to make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand.
  • I go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every single day. Part of it is my brain not letting me sleep in much and part of it is just that I’m so used to this schedule.

I realize that probably already seems like kind of a lot, but I need a few more. I’m not feeling like I’m doing a very good job with…

  • Making time to do creative things every day
  • Exercising regularly
  • Unplugging before bedtime
  • Planning lunches
This is my little Garth buddy, just because

learning as I go

I think of life as the journey and not so much as the ultimate destination, partially because I think the journey is exciting and partially because I have no clue in hell where the fuck I’m going.

But I also like to keep learning little lessons along the way. It’s rare that I’m not doing some sort of “school” either doing actual graduate work or, more often these days, doing some kind of professional development education for work. I’m also seeing the Noom journey as a kind of education. I’m learning how to eat in ways that are nourishing for my body and my spirit. And I really do enjoy it.

Here is the Friday update that is ridiculously irregular…

  • I’ve lost a total of 16.5lbs which means I’ve hit my first personal milestone of 250lbs
  • I got a pilates exercise bar thing that actually seems to work better than the resistance bands I’d gotten
  • I have been doing better with drinking water (by making it sparking in the Soda Stream and then adding a chunk of lemon)
Sporting my favorite jewelry that Lancelot has gotten me; beautiful moonstone necklace and custom not-matching earrings made by a dear friend of ours

We had some ridiculous cold this week and it’s seeped into my bones. I shouldn’t complain, we could have had it so much worse. But it left me less inclined to do my workouts and craving the carbs.

You either win or you learn

There have certainly been days when I’ve gained back weight that I’ve lost, and I could get all frustrated and pissed and give up. That would be easy. But I don’t take the easy road, ever. I remind myself that every choice I made the day before had an impact on what I see on the scale every morning, and then I have another choice to make – I can get grumpy and throw it in or I can get smart and learn from the choices I made.

Things I have learned:

  • Low fat vanilla yogurt is excellent in oatmeal
  • I really love butternut squash noodles (like strips of squash to use in place of pasta noodles)
  • Not all food prep is a good thing in my world (don’t make a whole batch of pasta salad because I just won’t eat more than one serving)
  • It is 100% worth it to have “snack” bowls prepped in the fridge (fresh fruit along with either a hard boiled egg, a chunk of cheese, fat free cottage cheese, or low fat yogurt)
  • Dairy milk is not as essential to my emotional well being as I once thought (I use unsweetened coconut milk now, almost exclusively)
  • I really do feel better when I exercise
  • I need to allow time Every Single Day to take care of the whole me, not just the food part of me
Garth is a creeper

One of the things I’m starting, and L is helping with, is a “house diet.” There was a thing I saw on FB about decluttering for the 40 days of Lent. We are not religious people but the idea of doing a bit of spring cleaning out and stretching out appeals to me. I’ve started doing bits and we’ll be doing more this weekend. It’s kind of liberating.

why i love avatars, emoji, and bitmoji so freakin’ much

First, I feel like I should do an update of sorts. My current weight is at 251.5lbs. I have been down at 250.5 so I will claim that I have lost 16lbs. Hey, my game and my rules. The weight loss is rather slow and I’m alright with that, mostly because it feels healthy. And I’m still sticking with my ultimate goal of being more mindful of what food and drink I put in my body. Like right now, I have a morning snack of 1/2C of fat free cottage cheese, 1/2C of fresh blueberries, and a clementine. Very tasty and nutritious.

Lancelot and I did our celebrating on Friday because that was our six month wedding anniversary. We actually got dressed up – that’s the jewelry I wore when we got married – and ate sushi at the dining room table. It was wonderful.

The kids spent most of the weekend sleeping, as usual. In their defense, it’s been ridiculously cold here. As in the windchill yesterday (and again today I think) was something like -32F.

So, my love of avatars and such. There really is something to that, and you’d likely have to know me fairly well to understand it. That or maybe if you ever saw me try to eat soup with a spoon.

I have wicked tremors most of the time and so typing, or doing anything with my hands, sometimes requires monumental effort.

But there are all kinds of really cute little pictures and things that convey what I’d like to say and I can click or tap on one of those and that takes care of it. Besides, my avatars are adorable.

The tremors are caused by the lithium I take for the Bipolar Disorder, but I mostly don’t mind. Even though it’s been 15 years since my diagnosis and the start of treatment I still remember what life was like without the lithium and I have absolutely no desire to ever go back to that place. Ever.

freezing my pieces off

This photo is deceptive; there’s a sunlamp on the desk behind me

It has been crazy cold here recently, like so cold there’s wind chill advisories out. They’re telling people that as little as 10 minutes outside can lead to severe frostbite on exposed skin. It’s no damn good. Fortunately I have a large (LARGE) collection of hand knit shawls to help keep me warm.

I’m still doing well with Noom, really well I think. I’ve been doing the program since January 1st and I’ve lost 16lbs. I feel good about that and just in general I feel good. So yay.

Part of what’s making this easier is that I’ve gone back to spending part of my weekend doing food prep. I had been doing that for awhile pre-Rona but then I had stopped. I’m remembering why it was so helpful. I spent several hours on Saturday getting some things done and now my week is already feeling smoother.

Those are the snack bowls I put together, there are actually two of each. They all have some fruit (pickles are fruit, right?) and they all have some protein. I can’t say enough good things about those divided containers, such a life saver. The oatmeal lump things in the lower right corner are banana oatmeal muffins. (recipe from this site) Super easy and totally yummo. I also made a batch of pumpkin oat cookies that are pretty freaking amazing. (recipe from this site) Please keep in mind that I don’t bake so for me to make these, they must be easy and worth the effort. They are.

I have returned to making a menu for the week, also super helpful. And I’ve gone back to getting my clothes out a day in advance. (just one day, not the full week like I used to do) And in general I’m just trying to take time to take care of myself. It’s wonderful.

Lancelot is helping, a ton. Today I’m making vegetable beef soup for dinner and he took care of carving up the meat for me. Oh yeah, I’m still kind of obsessed with food that can be prepped earlier in the day and then left alone until I’m ready to eat it. Totally.

I need a drum roll right about now…

TA DA!!!

That is home made Indian Butter Chicken over butternut squash noodles, done in the Instant Pot, and it’s the physical proof that I have hit one of my goals for the year. I wanted to try a new Indian recipe and feel like I had mastered it. Done. (recipe from this site)

In news that is not related to food, me cooking food, or me loosing weight… I have been working with yarn again!

Anyone remember the crocheted blanket I was working on for my mom? Yeah, I’m still working on it but it’s a LOT bigger than it was in that picture. I want to say I’m on my 3rd skein of yarn, and those skeins are good sized. I have it sitting next to my chair in the living room so I can easily work on it while I watch TV.

I have also been allowing myself to work on other projects that have already been started, you know, trying to finish a few things up. Yesterday I finished a shawl I had started at the very end of last year using Cassowary yarn from the Queensland Collection. It did some amazing stripes of green. The pattern was just me doing a riff on a standard top down, center spine shawl. I’ll take a picture once I get it blocking.

I have since moved on to once again trying to finish the Christmas gifts. The hat I made my stepdad ended up too big so I need to remake that with different yarn, and the gift I’m making for my friend N is just plain taking way more time than it should. But it’s coming. I should really make myself a list of what all is in the works so I can check them off as I finish things.

Must remember that the key to enjoying a quiet dinner alone is to use the Instant Pot. The critters are not fond of the noise and as such put themselves to bed in the guest room

personal responsibility, dresses, and the best smoothie yet

This gorgeous man-beast seldom smiles like this for photos so I feel utterly compelled to share. That, and this offers proof of sunshine.

So the picture of Lancelot and Dog Blossom has nothing to do with today’s title, but it really is a wonderful photo that I snapped during my lunch break and I just wanted to share it. His smile always makes me smile.

Anyway, today’s title comes from a variety of places which is pretty common with me. The difference is that today it isn’t entirely bullshit. It’s actually all true.

Y’all know I work at a university, totally common knowledge. Our spring semester started on January 11th, so we’re a good three weeks in, maybe four depending on how you count things. One of the faculty I work with got an email from a student saying that he just now realized he should have done his quiz yesterday, he thought it was due tomorrow, and he wanted the prof to let him take it.

I setup this course and one of the things the faculty wanted, and I agreed on (insisted on actually), was having anything turned in every week due on the same day every week. The quizzes are always due on Wednesday and the homework is always due on Friday. It says so in the syllabus, every quiz is marked that way and every assignment is marked that way, and our learning management system gives them dated reminders in multiple places.

Basically if you have a pulse and can read the English language at an 8th grade level there’s no reason to miss this. We tried really hard to make it easy to be successful in his courses. It’s not a handout, but there’s no reason not to do well if you put in any kind of effort, if that makes sense.

When I was in college (even high school) I would never have dreamed of asking to get a chance to go back and do something that I fucked up; that kind of thing is on me and I’ll take the hit for it. PLUS, the prof clearly states that the two lowest quiz and two lowest homework scores will drop anyway. For real, there should be no reason not to get a decent grade. Own it.

Moving on to dresses… One of my Facebook friends posted an article about how someone who is considered an “influencer” says that separate clothing for men and women shouldn’t be a thing, as in clothes are just clothes. And I cannot agree with that any more. My whole stance on this is –

Please do not be naked in public. I don’t care if you want to wear pants or a kilt or a ballgown, please cover your bits and pieces when you are out and about. What you wear at home is none of my damn business.

And I mean that. There are some articles of “men’s” clothing that I find amazingly comfy, like white cotton undershirts. I would guess that a dress, or robes, really do make sense in a hot arid climate and that’s likely why I saw so many men wearing them when I was in Dubai. But still, who cares? I doubt that you want to see my chesticles any more than I want to see your bait and tackle, so cover it up with something, m’kay?

Ah smoothies… I’ve come to realize that a well balanced smoothie will soothe me like only a milkshake used to.

In my world there are only two kinds of smoothies, those that involve fruit juice and those that involve protein powder. None of them involve veggies unless you count the veggies hidden in my V8 +Energy drinks, and I don’t. Spinach is for salads and kale is that weird shit they used to line salad bars with.

The ones that are fruit juice based are pretty much just some kind of juice plus frozen fruit. Lately that has meant one can of the V8 +Energy Peach Mango and 1/2C frozen peaches and 1/2C frozen raspberries. I do sometimes change it up and use whatever other fruit is living in the freezer. For what it’s worth, bananas freeze great.

The smoothies that involve protein powder almost always involve milk, the protein powder, and frozen fruit. Lately the milk is either unsweetened coconut or unsweetened almond because of the calorie content. On a side note, I’ve actually decided that I really like the coconut milk in my coffee. Still trying to deal with the fact that almond milk is really just a fancy way of saying nut juice. But I digress.

The protein powder I’m using right now is from Aloha and it’s chocolate flavor. (purchased from Amazon if you’re really interested) I really like it because it doesn’t have that nasty aftertaste that I find most protein powders have. So I mix 1C of my milk, 2 scoops of powder, 1/4C of lowfat vanilla yogurt, and 1C frozen berries in the blender and beat the hell out of it. So much yummyness.

On a side note, sugar free pudding mix and nut juice don’t work together.

I think this is Garth’s way of telling me I should turn the heat up

under pressure

I’m feeling a whole lot of ^ right now. The whole plague thing is wearing on me. My skin splitting is wearing on me. Trying to fit in my exercise time is wearing on me. Not being able to knit or crochet or really do anything creative is wearing on me. Work is crazy busy and that’s wearing on me. The dog really likes to bark and that’s wearing on me.

Basically, I’m just fucking grumpy today.

But this too shall pass, and I know that. Yesterday was challenging because my hips were too sore to get on the treadmill, my day was full of meetings so everything was kind of “off,” and I just plain didn’t feel that great. Blech.

The best thing about having a challenging day is that you can go to bed and wake up the next morning to a brand new day and a chance for a new beginning

I spent some time talking to Lancelot this morning and that helped a ton. I’ve decided that I need to shake some things up a bit. I’m going to aim for 6 days a week / 30 minutes a day of exercise; half will be treadmill and the other half will be things like cardio/calisthenics that can be done in the living room. He installed some fitness apps on the Firestick thingy for me the other day, now I just need to convince Dog Blossom that she does not need to help.

I’m not entirely sure what to do about my skin, and that might be the single most frustrating thing. My skin is always dry and I know that doesn’t help, neither does the cold winter air. Constant washing is part of the problem, but it’s also incredibly necessary. So right now I have four bandaids on three different fingers, and that makes doing many things difficult.

For example, since the fingers in question are my thumb, index, and middle fingers on my dominant hand it requires an act of Congress to do fuck near anything on my phone. It also makes knitting or crocheting out of the question. Forget trying to open bottles. Fortunately I’ve found good bandaids that are waterproof and actually shaped to fit over finger tips so I can put them on (with a little Neosporin) in the morning and they stay on all day. But this is a pain in my ass.

It’s hard to stay grumpy when there’s a cute tiny kitty sleeping in his chair

To get myself out of this funky little mood, here are some things that are going well right now…

Thanks to a tip from a fellow Noomer I’m meeting and exceeding my water goal for the day. Plain water bubbled with the Soda Stream with some chunks of citrus is actually tasty.

Banana Oatmeal “muffins” that Lancelot and I baked over the weekend. Just oatmeal, bananas, and vanilla extra are all that’s needed. (I put in a few blueberries this time but they aren’t crucial) So good.

I have been walking consistently and I’m really proud of that. Yesterday was a tiny speed bump, not a dead end.

Prepping snack bowls on Sunday means I don’t have to fuck with it during the week!

I might not be ready to make all of the changes I know need to be made, but I am starting to identify them and by doing that, I can start to make a plan. Few things make me happier than a good plan. Well, except this…

changes and differences and fun stuff with markers

Chicken noodle soup – oh yeah

Some days I find myself cooking more and some days I find myself making a ham and havarti grilled sandwich on whole wheat bread. It’s called The New Balance and I really kind of like it.

Part of what I’ve been doing is figure out how to use the pantry and freezer bits that I already have on hand given that I’m trying to eat healthier. Tricky? Indeed. Impossible? Not at all.

The chicken noodle soup, one of my favorites this time of year, came together with only things I had on hand. I had the chicken in the freezer (rotisserie chicken I had picked up at Costco), the stock was in the pantry, and the veggies were in the fridge. I spent time one evening getting everything started, stuck the pot in the fridge, and then last night brought everything to a boil and tossed in the noodles. Twenty minutes later I had dinner.

I ask myself this on a regular basis

I’ve also been doing my typical “hunt for interesting recipes that I know use the stuff I have” thing and I’m finding some really great ideas. Part of it is being willing to try new things, like really exploring different cuisines like Thai and Indian food as well as vegetarian dishes.

Anyway, I’m having some fun with this and that means I’m still sticking with it. I’ll try to remember to do my official check in tomorrow, but I know I’ve been doing better with this. I’m getting to where I really look forward to doing a 30 minute walk, and I think part of that is because I’ve switched from doing it very early in the morning to doing it after work before I have dinner. The physical activity helps me unwind from my work day.

I have a chin!

I really don’t feel like I look much different yet, but there’s the chin. I did go get my hair trimmed a tiny bit this morning, mostly to keep me from shaving my own head while I’m trying to let my hair grow out. So far so good. It is funny (I think) but the back at the base of my neck is starting to curl up. I’m kind of excited to see how long it gets this time.

The longer I’m on this whole “getting healthier” journey the more things I think of that scare me and make me want to just quit and go back to my old habits. But then I remember Carrie. ❤

10

This morning’s selfie

I’m not getting a pic taken quite every day, but more often than not I do. My hair is getting long enough on top that it will happily curl if I don’t tame it with the blow dryer. And I have officially lost 10lbs.

That might not seem like much, I mean I have been at this since January 2nd, but it feels like a whole lot and it feels healthy. I have had days were I gained back a little but then I lost it again, with an overall downward trend. I’ve never lost more than 2lbs in a single day. All of this combined with not feeling deprived makes me one very happy camper.

And Lancelot really is in this with me. Yesterday he helped me prep fruit salad bowls for both of us and he has happily agreed to eat whatever I cook for him. And he helped me figure out a menu for the week that’s going to be easy and healthy. That makes life a hell of a lot easier.

A very lovely dinner last night consisting of penne made from red lentils, garlic, onion, bacon, wilted fresh spinach, and canned diced tomatoes

I’m still fighting with the skin issue, and that makes getting enough activity a big problem. Fortunately that is finally subsiding so I was able to get a short walk in yesterday, just 15 minutes, but it felt good. I’m going to try to do that again today. I’ve also decided that water would probably be good for me. Shocking, right? But I don’t like water, not at all. I do, however, like water that has had fresh lemon in it. So…

Meet Llulu the Llemony Llama. I had purchased this bottle quite some time ago and decided that it just wasn’t my thing. But I had paid way too much to just ditch it. Now that I work at home and can refill this as often as necessary I’m thinking it will work perfectly for my water. And I’m even going to try to remember to track how much I drink with this thing. That’s a 1L bottle (little more than 16oz) so I would need to drink four of those to hit my “daily water recommendation.” The volume is no problem, it’s the taste. We shall see.

In other exciting news we are in the middle of yet another nasty winter storm. We’re in for 10″ of snow and nasty winds. Travel is not advised. Snow day for pretty much everyone in the area.

Garth will be staying in bed sleeping all day. Like every day.

before you throw out the bath water consider the continuing usefulness of that baby

I’ve been thinking a lot here recently about changes. Why am I wanting to make changes? What changes do I really want to make? Why now?

Part of what I realized is that some of the changes I want to make now are ones that I’ve tried to make before, but wasn’t successful. Why? Is that important to know?

HELL YES!

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. I’m done being insane.

me! chubby me!

This is my official “before” picture. Yes, I want to be healthier. I want to be able to ditch some of the meds I take because I want my body to be in better physical condition. But let’s face it, I’m doing this in part because I want to look better.

So why do I think things might be different this time? Because of Lancelot. He supports this decision to make a change, he’s doing parts of this with me, and when I get frustrated he asks what he can do to help.

That right there is love.

I realized this morning that I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Let’s be honest, this is a whole lot of change and it’s happening kinda quickly. Plus there’s that whole changing of the guard thing going on in D.C., I’m still fighting some kind of sinus crud, the skin issues continue to be an issue, and I am seriously thinking about chocolate right now. That’s an awful lot.

I’m not sure if my need for routines is something tied to my mental illness or some personality trait or what, but I live and die by routines and that is the flat out truth. Change brings about the need for new routines, which is wonderful. But just like it takes some time for new habits to form, it takes some time to work out new routines. And right now I’m trying to do both.

Part of what I need to do, as I see it anyway, is to start by prioritizing. I’m learning about (relearning a lot actually) a ton of things that will all help on my journey to “healthy.” But if I try to take on too many of these little changes at once they’re going to overwhelm me.

You can drown in a thimble-full of water just as easily as in a swimming pool.

I have started to make some changes that are sticking. I’m wearing my Fitbit every day and aiming to get at least my minimum step goal set by Noom. I’m trying to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day, but some days that just won’t happen. So I will at least hit that minimum. I’ve decided I really want to get up to busting 10k every day. But not today.

Activity is starting to change; good. I just need to figure out what the routines are that go with my activity to make it easier to maintain those good habits. Now onto food.

Part of what I do every day is log my meals and snacks, and my drinks if they have calories. Y’all know how I feel about my iced coffee and I was Not Willing to give that up, and I haven’t. Now when I make it I measure everything and my milk is unsweetened coconut milk. It’s actually quite tasty.

I will honestly tell you that I’m not feeling deprived with this new way of eating, though it too is a little frustrating. It isn’t second nature to me and so I keep feeling like my “meals” are really just these odd collections of ingredients that never quite made it into a dinner. Does that even make sense?

For example, I have found myself eating pickles, roast beef lunch meat, a hard boiled egg, and an apple – as a meal. It’s fine, those are all foods I enjoy, but… Yeah, it’s weird. I’m getting there though. Breakfast has been the easiest because I typically have my coffee, a fruit smoothie, and overnight oats. That “feels” like breakfast and the stuff goes together. One meal down at least.

At any rate, there ya go. I’m going to work on activity and just getting the hang of this food stuff first. There’s lots of other stops to make on this journey but those two seem like they belong together, and like they’re going to form the foundation of my success.

i’m late!

I meant to post on Friday but then we had a snow day (that I worked half of) and I wasn’t feeling well and I could maybe come up with a thousand excuses. But I didn’t post. But I’ve been making progress.

Since starting this adventure I have lost 8lbs. I’ve managed to do two days on the treadmill where I did 30 minutes. I’m starting to feel better. My big thing now is figuring out this whole meal planning stuff.

Treat for sticking with things even when I felt like utter crap. Sometimes all you need is a cheap and cheerful bouquet from Target to keep you going.

The one thing I haven’t really been able to do – at all – is knit. My skin has finally gotten to the point where it cracks and bleeds if I look at it cross-eyed. As I type this I have bandaids on both thumbs, and I should maybe have two more on just one middle finger. It’s pretty damn awful.

Garth is sharing his grooming tips with everyone these days, including Lancelot