Checking In

Let me start off by saying, this is a way for me to get it out, a way of journaling. By sharing it here I feel like I might help someone else know they aren’t alone in feeling the way that I do. I talked about this last night with my husband and he listened – but I really think he just doesn’t understand all the emotions (or lack there of) that I’m experiencing. So if you aren’t into reading about all my current woes then here’s your chance to bail.

When we started “stay home, stay safe” for COVID back in March, I thought it would be fine – temporary. I figured I was home most of the time anyway. How hard could it be. Then weeks turned into months and shit just kept getting weirder in the world. All of the things I enjoyed doing – grocery shopping, regular shopping, visiting state parks, geocaching- the list goes on, became an unpleasant experience. Grocery Shopping felt like the Hunger Games and only now feel slightly better. Shopping at Target or Walmart is depressing – shelves are bare and everyone looks sad. I haven’t even tried to go to one of my favorite places – IKEA – because I just don’t want to ruin it for myself. I just don’t find it to be an enjoyable experience anymore – now I only go to the store for purpose or necessity. State Parks are busy and limited capacity – when before some of my favorite places were near empty. I haven’t even gone to some of my favorite nearby places to visit for the same reason – not wanting to ruin the memory of it. I miss my summer trips to Newport, Salem and Mystic.

We’ve also had some crazy family stuff happen during all this and there’s all sorts of emotions that happen with that. I only mention them to add to “where I’m at”, but haven’t really shared much outside of my house. There are some things that are meant to stay in house. It’s just been… emotional.

I’ve been trying to keep my boys out of the general public during all of this too. I hate seeing them wearing masks. Yes, I know the importance for wearing a mask – so don’t come at me for that. That’s why I just keep them home as much as possible. I don’t take them out for errands if at all possible and we are keeping them home this fall to continue distance learning for this same reason. I think the mask wearing and social distancing will be more detrimental than keeping them home with me. I am hopeful it’s short term. Most of my friends are sending their kids back in person. I respect them for that. It’s a tough decision either way. I wish I could do it too, but I also think my anxiety would be in high gear all the time. Keeping them home with me if for my mental health too. Hopefully I won’t have to fight with them as much this time around to do the work!

So after all of that, I completely lost my mojo about a month ago. I took a week off from working out, that turned into two and now I’m pushing four. I’m sleeping late and can barely find the motivation to do the simple day to day stuff. Yesterday was the eye opener for me that I am on depression’s doorstep y’all. I’m about to knock to have her let me in to join in her misery. I’ve got all the classic signs. I know them well. I’ve travelled this road a few times, it’s been a while since my last visit and I’m really wanting to bypass this stay. By classic signs – for me – I mean – no joy in the things that used to make me happy, not working at my fun job (my Etsy shop) as much as I would like, feeling empty, stopping working out, getting up late, going to bed early, not wanting to socialize with friends as much, not wanting to leave the house, eating…a lot, but then not wanting to cook dinner. There’s some of the things I’ve noticed. There’s also a lot of negative self talk happening and constant jealousy of anyone experiencing success-in anything- I have no limits on that one. It’s an awful trait that I tend to have. Comparison to others is a toxic trail to take. I need to pull a u-turn and come back to home base on that. It makes me feel ugly and pulls me deeper into where I don’t want to be.

I’m hoping that by writing this and sharing what I’m trying to do will help me climb out and get back to “normal”. I want to workout (weirdo right?) because my awful body issues are also rearing too. I keep thinking – “if I lose 10, 20, blah blah pounds I’ll for sure feel better” – then I eat two snickers ice cream cones – yep that happened yesterday. Here’s the thing, my brain knows that working out provides endorphins. Those endorphins after 30/60 minutes of exercise can be similar to taking an antidepressant. It’s proven to work if you can get your depressed ass moving. BUT THAT’S THE STUPID CRAZY PART! You’re so deep in your head that you talk yourself out of getting those endorphins!

I committed myself to a 18.9 mile virtual race this month. That I told myself I would complete by the last day of September. That means I have to move at least the amount of time it takes me to complete those nearly 19 miles. If I walk for 15 minutes a day I’ll hit my goal. I have to do something to motivate myself because the idea of being uncomfortable in my skin isn’t quite enough right now.

At the same time I’ve been trying to eat a little better. But that’s truly laughable, because who eats right when they’re stressed and feeling miserable. I’m trying to track what I eat and I even signed up for a nutrition webinar in about a week. We’ll see how that goes.

If you’re still with me-thank you. I’d like (to try again) to update more regularly. I mean I pay for this freaking blog, you’d think I’d publish more. (Facepalm) My kids are heading back to school (in my office) on the 10th – so wish me luck. I need to find that “me” time quickly in order to manage having them here all day again. Just sitting in the office with me from 7:30 to 3 every day. At least the first two days are early release?

My New Workout Commitment

On December 17, I began my Body Revolution journey. It took me 5 weeks to complete Phase 1 because I decided to repeat a week that I slacked off on. I’d say I’m pleased so far. I’ve lost 14 inches overall and I’m down .4 pounds. I’m thrilled over the inches, but wish the pounds were more. I know my eating was completely off. I fooled myself into thinking I was eating right, not tracking my foods. When I began Phase 2 on Thursday I committed myself into tracking every bite, lick and taste no matter what they add up to. In the past of be good for eating a snickers, not counting it for some random reasoning like I was on the road with the kids or because I was stressed. Travel and stress points count too. I’ll never be satisfied on the scale if I’m not true to myself. 
I’m excited to start Phase 2 (even though my body is screaming no you’re not after the first workout yesterday). 
Here’s my measurement chart so far, I’ve decided to do my measurements every four weeks matching the phase change. I’m looking forward to an amazing transformation and loss to share over this next month. 
Here’s my before pictures. Ugh. 
My Instagram, Twitter and Facebook chronicle my daily food and exercise battle. Follow along if you’d like. 

Autoimmune Disease and Me

So as many of you know, I battle Hashimoto Thyroiditis (aka hypothyroidism).  Briefly – Hashimotos disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid.  The resulting inflammation from Hashimotos often leads to an under active thyroid gland.  I’ve been taking medication to support my thyroid for over two years and I…of course…blame all of my weight issues on Hahimotos.

Most recently I received a diagnosis of Birdshot Retinochoroidopathy (BSRC) – which is an uncommon, bilateral inflammatory disease affecting the choroid layer of the eye (between the outer sclaera and the inner retina).  It belongs to the group of disorders known as the idiopathic multifunctional white dot syndromes.  It was first really discovered in 1949 and variously called “candle wax spot retinochoroidopathy ” and “rice grain retinochoroidopathy”, which gives you an idea of what is seen on examining these patients.  It only gained formal recognition as it is currently known in the early 1980s.  Its cause is not entirely clear but it is thought to be related to an inherited immune dysfunction, as there is a strong association with HLA-A29 positivity (about 90% of patients)and to a lesser extent HLA-B12 positivity.  There are progressive abnormalities which develop in the choroidal vessels resulting in leakages and eventually atrophic spots.  There is an associated low-grade uveitis which can eventually lead to permanent loss of vision. (Source patient.info/doctor/birdshot-retinochoroidopathy)

I’m terrified of BSRC.  There is so much that is unknown about this disease and the treatments are far from pleasant.  I constantly think about the last statement in the definition.  I hate to think of losing my vision and not seeing my family grow.  All of the things that this disease can take away from me is frightening.  Sharing this with family and friends has been difficult, because they don’t understand the severity of what can happen or why I wouldn’t want to just take medicine to make it better.  I have been taking my go-to response on handling this…joking about it and pretending that I don’t have it.  Not an extremely effective way to handle it, BUT it works to hide the terror I feel about the whole thing.
But in case you’re interested-this is how my journey has gone thus far:

June 16- presented with floaters( a ton of them) and flashing lights in my left peripheral vision

June 20-went to my eye doctor and they had me see their retina specialist, fearing I had damaged my retina somehow.  They gave me a referral to a specialist-I still had no idea what was wrong with my eye

July 7-Finally saw the specialist.  He did many tests with my vision, including florescence screening and blood work-prescribed 90mg of prednisone for one week

July 15-Confirmed my HLA-A29 screen was positive and I was formally diagnosed with BSRC.  After the doctor had viewed the pictures from the florescence screen he suspected BSRC-the blood test was the final piece to the diagnosis.  At this visit I was given steroid injections in both eyes.  This was one of the most horrific experiences of my life and topped the most painful list.  I’m fairly certain I left my eyes closed for 80% of the day-as time allowed. Self-Reiki was my BEST friend this day!

So here I am, almost six weeks after the injections, with no noticeable improvement in my vision.  I now experience pain in my eyes some mornings.  I wear my glasses much more than I used to.  I was an avid contact lens wearer, now I have horrible pain and discomfort in my eyes the next day if I wear them.  So it’s just not worth it.  The doctor has recommended immunosuppressive therapy along with steroidal treatments.  The short time I was on the steroids my sleep was horrible and I’m fairly certain that I could have eaten my couch I was so hungry all the time.  I have no interest in taking the immunosuppressive medications.  I see first hand what they do to my father, he takes them for his advanced Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I have young children and lets face it, little people are like little petri dishes of germs.  Living in fear of catching a cold is not something I want to do.  I just picture myself walking around with a mask on all the time, especially during the winter months in New England.  I am dreading my follow up appointment at the end of this month. 

I can’t blame all of my recent “diet busting” behavior on this diagnosis, but it hasn’t helped.  I reverted to all of my comforting behaviors, which include eating whatever makes me happy.  During this time on thyroid medication, I have been struggling with losing weight.  Of course the doctor tells me that my thyroid is not to blame, but in my heart I know better.  I have tried many “diets” and failed each time.  I have learned during this time that if I cut down on processed food, breads and sugars I feel better.  But we all know that carbs, sugar and plain old junk food are comforting when you’re stressed.  I am fortunate to know someone who is well versed on naturopathic treatments, who can help to guide me on making some more “natural” treatments, rather than taking these drugs that will effectively “suppress” my symptoms rather than treating them.

I recently read a book on an Autoimmune Diet, which is loosely based on Paleo. I have been doing my best recently to follow this and to begin being more conscious of what I out into my body when it comes to processed foods.  I am self admittedly a carb and sugar whore…I love them and I would eat them to the point of making myself sick, if given the opportunity.  However, now this lifestyle change seems more important than before.  I wanted to eat better for the most vain reason of being thin.  Now I want to do this for my health.  My true health.  Studies have shown cutting these foods out of your daily diet helps with the inflammation in your body that you may have never known was there.  I have been fortunate to do a cleanse with Standard Process before this diagnosis to know what foods “trigger” inflammation in my body.  This makes for short work on changing my lifestyle rather than having to go through another cleansing period and introducing foods back in, seeing if there is a reaction.

In closing, since I’ve been rambling on about all of this, my point is this.  I have some major lifestyle changes to make.  For a serious reason, my overall health without taking these severe medications.  HOWEVER….writing that is SO much easier than doing it.  Our society has made “junk food” so accessible and inexpensive that its so easy to just pick those items up and make them.  I mean the convenience alone of grabbing a package of processed food to make for dinner in 15 minutes is far more appealing to a busy family than the fresh food and creating the meal.  I am terribly guilty of that and my kids deserve better. 

I’ll be posting more on my journey with changing my lifestyle choices and more receipes that I am trying.  I’m sure you’ll see plently of salads on my Instagram and Facebook simply because I’m lazy and salads are an excellent choice for the lazy or I guess for people who like salad (I’ve never been one of those people).  HAHA!

Thanks for listening.

Day Eight & Nine

Things are still going well on the no carb front for me. I can’t say the same about sugar. I am still craving it in the worst way. I stopped taking Gymena(to help curb the sugar cravings) daily when the cleanse began, I think I need to add that back in and see if that helps. I also felt kinda bloated and crappy after dinner. I was eating cheese for the first time in 9 days. I LOVE cheese, but it seems that cheese no longer loves me. Which is a great thing to know. I probably never noticed before because I was bloated from all the bread I was eating. 

Smoothies have continued to be my staple. Here’s day eight and nine for food-
Breakfast-smoothie & 2 eggs, Lunch- Smoothie, Dinner-spaghetti squash with meat sauce-loaded with portobello mushrooms, tomato and onions
Breakfast-smoothie and eggs, Lunch-Smoothie, Dinner- cauliflower pizza with spinach and goat cheese

Cleanse Week One Complete

Was I expecting insane results…yes. Did I cheat….yes. Did I get in what I put out…yes. So all in all I’m satisfied with my results. My belly is getting flatter, feeling less bloated. I admit to cheating with sweets a few times. Apparently their hold on my is tighter then bread and pasta. I haven’t had any of those in a week. I will continue to do my best in this next week, adding in some exercise. I haven’t done any in well over a week. I used the cleanse as a crutch as to why I couldn’t exert myself. Lame I know. 

So off to the next week, I hope you continue to follow my progress. 
Here’s a week one picture side by side. 
I weighed in this morning at 205.4, a 3.8lb loss for the week.