Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let's start the day off with a funny!

John McCain chooses a running mate.

Ok. Now that that's out of the way, on to the important stuff. Me!

Something has clicked. I'm not sure how, except to say I know it's not by force of willpower. The lady I give my $10 copay to every couple weeks keeps telling me willpower doesn't work, at least not for long, and I think that's finally sunk in. It doesn't sound like a big deal to someone who doesn't have food issues, but I'm eating only when I'm hungry, eating only enough to satisfy the physical hunger, and not snacking mindlessly.

Oh, I'm still tempted. Don't saint me yet. I got out of work last night late, and not having had dinner yet, a million destructive thoughts raced through my mind. All the while, in the back of my mind, the Voice of Reason keeps telling me that I have dinner. It's in the bag of stuff I brought to work with me. Why not just eat the turkey meatloaf and veggies and be done with it?

The Voice of Reason is no fun, as you can plainly see. I allowed myself to entertain thoughts of Chinese pickup, any number of nasty drive-through options, and even a couple options that could be semi-healthful if I ordered mindfully (sushi, Mad Mex). Still hungry (and still toting my originally intended dinner around with me), I headed up to my best friend's house. We had plans to meet up when I was done at work. She had meds for my dog, I had a camera for her to use on her NH trip. Lucky for me, she always feeds me, and she's just as obsessed with healthy eating as I am. Eggplant parm, fresh out of the oven, made with veggies just picked from the garden that day. Does it get better than that? I think not. Especially when paired with best friend chat and a good beer.

This was all accomplished without willpower. It's all about trusting myself, and I think that is what is finally clicking. For the longest time, I felt I was walking on eggshells and at any moment would fall back into my old routines. However, of late I have found some inner peace and trust. Maybe it's the comfort of routine. I have no idea where it's come from but I'm glad it's here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm not pleased with myself.

I essentially talked myself out of exercising today, then procrastinated to the point that it was not possible to do so at all before I started a double shift at noon.

Want a look into the thought process of a sick brain? Here it is:

9:40am Leave Dan's house, drive home. While driving home thing about doing one of the variable hill settings on the treadmill for 30 minutes

10:00am Arrive home. Love on/pet/brush Old Girlie. Wonder to self if 20 minutes will do the trick

10:10am Feed Old Girlie, wait for her to need to poop (She often doesn't realize she has to until it's just about to happen. You have to sit there - yes sit - because if she thinks you're in a hurry to do something she won't go outside. Anyway, you have to watch for her tail to go up and her pooper to start contracting.) No. I am not joking. I wish I were.

10:15am Pass time getting healthy, balanced meals ready for double shift. Wonder to self if I should eat before or after working out, knowing that workouts don't go too well with food in the belly.

10:30am Decide to make breakfast now so that I can just work out and not be interuppted by needing breakfast. Wonder to self about the merits of straight cardio (running I had planned) vs. cardio + strength (10 Minute Trainer dvds). Think to self that strength + cardio = always better than straight cardio. Wonder to self if that will help me on the Vo2 max test or not.

10:35am Eat breakfast, turn on dvr'ed episode of - wait for it - "I Lost It!" while contemplating if I should give my knee (not currently hurting) "one more day of rest". The irony of sitting on my ass, watching a show about weight loss and healthy lifestyles, while I should be exercising, does not escape me. See out of corner of eye, Old Girlie's tail going up as if hoisted by that stage twine that helps people fly onstage, and the telltale pooper contractions. Jump up in time to let her outside to Robopoop.

10:40am At this point, I now have time to do either a 20 minute treadmill program or (2) TMT dvds.

10:45am Here is where the critical failure occurs. I make my way upstairs. I've already lost 5 minutes somehow and I'm not even changed into workout clothes. Now I have "only 15 minutes - only 15 minutes - only 15 minutes" running through my addled brain and it is at this point I decide I "need" to give my non-painful knee another day of rest, and decide to go pay a bill online that I could pay an hour from now online, once I get to work.

11:00am Still surfing online, bill's been paid for 14 minutes now.

11:05am Get in shower and get ready for work, relieved that God Forbid, I didn't have to exert myself or break a sweat yet today

11:35am Leave for work, pissed off at self

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My knee hurts.

And I'm pretty sure I know why.

My employer started assigning us to trucks this week, as opposed to the crews just choosing the truck they wanted to use for the shift. My assigned truck is brand spankin' new, and it's beautiful! I guess there's something to be said for extreme seniority (or dinosaurity).

I don't want a different truck assignment, so I'm not complaining too much. But after the first shift I used it, my legs were sore like I had done leg day at the gym. "Inadvertent workout", I thought to myself, "Sweet!"

I started noticing as time went on, though, that my first day off after a block of shifts I'd have significant anterior knee pain. Today was the first time it's actually affected how I walk.
I think you can probably see why my knee is bothering me so much now.

Yep. That step is waist-high on me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


That's the day I scheduled my immersion body fat analysis and VO2 Max test (which is on a bike, not a treadmill as I originally thought). I am a little claustrophobic already at the thought of having my nose plugged up, but I'm hoping I can bring my tunes and zone out while taking the test.

So now that the date is growing ever closer, I'm getting more antsy to make sure I'm in great condition for the test. I went for a short bike ride after work last night; just around the block, but there were 3 significant hills involved, so that 15 minutes counted for something in my book.
Tonight, if I'm coherent and able to ambulate adequately after 14 hours here at work, I'd like to hit the treadmill for a run.

Right now, on only my 2nd daylight shift after 4 weeks of nights, I'm struggling just to keep my eyes open. The coffee isn't doing much to counteract the 4 hours of sleep I got last night, and the name beside mine on the schedule isn't doing much for my general mood either.

Hey. Here's a tidbit of good, though. Since I started this whole process in January, I've lost 31lbs. I try not to weigh a lot, as I tend to obsess over the scale, but it was good to see that it is still moving downward, albeit slowly.

It's working!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Week in Review

Overall, it's been a good week for a wake-up call. The hormonal fog and fatigue gradually lifted, and the kick in the pants I got about my portion sizes was just what I needed.
Even with portions drastically reduced, I've been more than satisfied with what I've been eating. Exercise? I got a few good sessions in; woods/trail walks with the little girlie, helping my friend train her search dog (which consisted of me running through the woods), and a nice lake walk/jog with the little girlie. Though she got the real workout with the half-hour of swimming she did.

Tomorrow - hold the phone, folks - I may even use my bike to get out and back from Dan's house. It's about 11 miles one way with plenty of hills, none of them being Hills of Death, so I can't wait to see how it goes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Does she have to be right ALL the time?

I mean, I go to my appointments for the most part religiously. I respect her advice, having overcome an overeating disorder herself. But dammit, could she be wrong at least once?

The past couple of appointments, she would ask me about my portions. "They're good!" I'd say, then maybe admit to a little bit of portion creep. She'd just look at me enigmatically, and say levelly, "Well, you almost have to be eating more than you need. Otherwise more weight would be coming off."

Determined to prove that I had been eating only what I needed, I plugged the last couple of days into Fitday, hoping to see that I was starving myself and trying to sustain life on a mere 450 calories per day. (Remember, for the last couple of days I've cut my portions basically in half).

Yesterday. 1200-some calories. Today. 1400-ish.

Busted again. If my calories before the last several days have been, say, 75%-100% more than what I'm doing now? 2100-2800 calories. Damn. Now, I'm not one of those calorie-obsessed people who will substitute low-cal this and fat-free that and fake the other in order to achieve my caloric goals. If I want butter, it's gonna be butter. Not that plastic stuff that comes in tubs an unnatural shade of bright yellow. If I want oil on my salad, it's going to be a nice, fruity extra virgin olive oil, tricked out with some basil and garlic from the farmer's market - not some low-cal high fructose corn syrup sweetened spray crap that claims it's "healthy". Full fat yogurt and cheese products, because low fat dairy is full of nasty filler. So I will have to give up some volume in order to achieve this.

The good news is, I've been perfectly satisfied on the portions of real, unprocessed stuff that I have been eating. Who knew?

Oh. She did.

Damn her!

I'm not all that charming at 3am.

I'll be the first to tell you that. However, I get downright nasty when I've spent my time showing you where to find any and every thing on our units. Showing you the area. Going over procedural stuff with you. And I have to stand there waiting, while you blindly tear apart the drug bag looking for the glucometer I asked for several minutes ago, while the blind diabetic guy sits there, holding out his finger to give me a sample - sometime today, I hope. Hint: the glucometer's in the same place it always is.

Here are a few tips from my soggy 4am brain to yours:
  • Once I've shown you everything, it is now YOUR responsibility to keep going over this information, on your own, until you know it. You don't know where something is? Sit your ass in the truck with a checklist until you know every response bag, every cabinet. That's what I did 15 years ago, and I was just a volunteer, buddy. I wanted to know my job inside and out. You're getting paid. You'd better know it.
  • I have never once seen you come in for your shift and check your truck. Perhaps if you spent a little time doing that, and less time talking on your phone, you'd know where common items are when I ask for them.
  • Tuck your goddamned shirt in!
  • If you see someone who is bleeding, for God's sake bandage them. Don't, for example, take all the equipment back out to the truck and b.s. with the cop at roadside, forcing me to yell out the front door for you to come back. Don't wait for someone to have to point out the obvious to you.
  • Don't consistently show up late. The people who are waiting for you to get here, so they can go home to their families, are getting tired of it. I don't care if you had a late call at your other job. Schedule more time between shifts to allow for that.

I understand people get tired. I understand people have 'off' days. However, consistent, pervasive, persistent laziness.. I can't really understand that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Small portions are scary.

Do small portions scare anyone else, or is it just me?

I looked sadly at my sorry little one egg on my buttered half of an english muffin this morning - half of what I'd normally make for my breakfast - and all I could think was: "This will never be enough."

Guess what? It was enough.

I paid very close attention and waited until my stomach was growling for lunch. Sushi, 6 pieces left over from the dozen I bought yesterday. Again, the familiar sad feeling: "It's not enough."

But it was.

I walked 3.5 miles out and back from my house, a route that includes what I affectionately call the Hill of Death. I didn't get fatigued. I didn't waste away while I was out walking (dammit!). I didn't die of starvation. I have plenty of calories and energy to sustain an active day.

I wonder what life is like for people who don't have to obsess over this stuff. I almost hope they have some sort of other issue that consumes their life similarly, 'cause otherwise that just wouldn't be fair. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to enjoy my snack of a small chef salad.

Friends I made on my walk.

Old Girlie was not amused when she caught a whiff of them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Today's Session

You know how people dread root canals and colonoscopies? That's how I was dreading my session today. Why was I dreading it? Because I really didn't have anything good to report. I was going to have to go in there and honestly face that I have really slacked for the past month on exercise and watching portions and reviewing my 12 steps.

And that, precisely, is why I didn't cancel.

Today's points of interest:
  • I decided to go back to every 2 week sessions for now, rather than once a month. This is the time last year I pretty much unraveled and went on a 6 month bender, gaining 30lbs during the couch and cookie dough olympics
  • I really need to review my 12 steps. Like from the beginning.
  • I haven't really done any relevant reading. I am going to pick up something today. Maybe the hated Dr. Phil's diet solution or whatever it is. My therapist claims the exercises in the book are actually useful. I trust her so I will take her word for it and try to get past the Dr. Phil part.
  • I have realized that I really love exercise. When it's my idea. When I get it in my head that I have to do x number of miles or minutes on a treadmill or x number of dvds a day, I rebel immediately. However if I take the dog for a walk uphill through the woods and break a nice sweat, or help my friend train her search dog by running away from him in the woods, I'm fine with that. So I need to build a lot of incidental exercise into my days.
  • Speaking of incidental exercise. I am so. busted. I have always taken the elevator to my therapist's office rather than the stairs. Usually it's because I'm running late and need to get up there. Trust me. I'm not *that person* who drives around the Wal-Mart parking lot for 25 minutes so I can get the closest space. When I have time, I will intentionally park far away, or take the stairs rather than the elevator. I always had in the back of my mind that one day I might actually run into her on my way off the elevator and have to explain myself. I've been waiting for the longest time for her to ask if I take the steps or elevator. Well, today she asked. And I am busted.
  • At some point, my therapist will be running an additional support group and I will have the opportunity to take advantage of that support. A group already exists, however there's no space, so she's creating a second group. This will be interesting.

So I didn't really exercise yesterday. Unless you count trying to walk off my corn dog and ice cream at the amusement park. However, I did take the dog for a nice hilly woods hike on Sunday, followed by several short runs through the woods helping my friend train her search and rescue dog. And I didn't even resent it.

*files this information in brain for later use*

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Status quo

I haven't felt like doing much of anything this week, including sitting here typing this post. There's really nothing new to report. I'm feeling unmotivated, tired, and headachey. Eating has been good and portions have been good. Exercise? What's that?

I'm giving myself one more day to slack and then I'm going to be back to doing something on Monday. Though on Monday it may only be one TMT dvd, because I have a class then possibly an amusement park trip.

Things I have been thinking:
  • There's a route I've walked that is 3.5 miles out and back from my house. It includes a significantly long and steep hill, so even if it's only walked, it's a workout. I've been toying with the idea of walk/jogging it and seeing if I could eventually get to the point where I jog the whole thing. 3.5 miles is totally do-able to me on a treadmill. Outdoors, though? *shudder* Say it with me: Mental block.
  • These fatigue/headache symptoms every month are definitely increased than when I was younger. I really hope this isn't some peri-menopausal hormonal shift. Geez - let me get married first!
  • I bet I'd be feeling better physically if I were doing something that made me sweat instead of sitting here typing a bitchfest about it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Here to report..

.. That there is nothing to report.

Just a leisurely lake walk with Little Girlie yesterday for exercise. At least it was something. I'm exhausted, feeling like a wrung-out dishrag this week.

OT today, off my regular night shifts, adding to my bleary-eyed apathy. I don't forsee any intensive exercise taking place after work tonight.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Has anyone seen my motivation?

Bueller? Bueller?

I did ONE. Just one, TMT dvd yesterday (abs) and haven't/can't seem to muster the energy, motivation, chutzpah, balls - whatever - to do anything today. I know it's *that week* again. That week where I get a tension head and neck ache every day. I bloat up and crave Big Macs and ice cream. That week during which I'm so physically exhausted that even going upstairs seems a herculean task. This is the week I need to be exercising the most. Not the most as in quantity. The most, as in, this is when it would most benefit me. On the one hand I can't beat myself up over this too much and make exercise this punitive "you HAVE TO" thing. On the other hand I can't let myself make excuses. I will let it go for today. I got almost no sleep last night and didn't really get to nap today. Tomorrow I have to hang over for 2 hours in the morning after my night shift; this is getting to be a common and annoying thing. It seems to set my day back quite a bit when I do this. I can't make any promises for tomorrow either, not knowing how my night is going to be tonight, except that I am going to make the effort to get at least one dvd done as soon as I get home, and hope that one leads to two, leads to maybe three and maybe a run or a nice walk later in the day. I recognize my mad procratinational skillz (I'm using them right now, matter of fact), and I know the longer I go without doing something, the longer I will tend to keep going, if that makes sense.

Thank goodness at least I've gotten straight back into my routine with what I'm eating. Back to eating quality foods and small portions, and waiting until I am truly hungry to eat. Sounds like that would be easy to do, wait until you're hungry to eat, huh? For lots of people it is. Dan amazes me. Lots of his eating habits aren't healthy (a Coke for breakfast and "lunch" at 7:30pm, little snack of some processed food before bed). Some of his habits, though, astound me, in how foreign they are to the way that I'm used to handling meals. He can, and often does, wait until he is extremely hungry to eat. It just doesn't cross his mind until his stomach begins to digest itself. Sometimes it's evening before he thinks of grabbing something. I cannot fathom that. I can finish an enormous steak dinner with a baked potato and veggies, have a brownie topped with ice cream, and I still catch myself thinking, "Ok, what's next?" Then, when he finally does eat, he often leaves 1/3 of his meal sitting there, uneaten. He has such strong internal cues as to when he's done. On the other hand, that is something I have to work very hard at. "Am I satisfied? Am I past satisfied and just eating because it's there?" These are questions he doesn't have to ask himself. Recognizing my internal cues, as opposed using external cues, is something I need to work harder on. One technique I had been using is cooking or serving myself a much smaller portion than I would normally eat, and not having seconds, unless the seconds consist only of a second helping of salad. This works, until the portion creep begins. Next food-related goal is going to be to really, really pay attention to internal cues telling me "I'm satisfied" and to be ok with leaving food on my plate.

For me, that is akin to learning to walk on a tightrope or something similarly foreign and scary. Weird, huh?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home, well-rested, and overfed.

What is it about being away from home that is so destructive to my attitudes about eating? It would be easy to blame each of us for cooking as if we were trying to feed Ethiopia. Or B for getting a kid's cookbook and wanting to try out her yummy recipes on us. Or the "Hey, it's vacation!" mindset that seemed to totally cancel my best-intentioned plans of a short workout each day. But placing blame would just be going back to the same cycle of deny/continue undesirable behavior that got me where I am in the first place. All I can do now is dive back into my routine at home and do better next time.

By the way, we had a pretty great time. The mountains of Tennessee were gorgeous, the company was - for the most part - good, and we got to spend lots of quality time outdoors, which made me a happy camper. Literally. I just don't feel like it's vacation if I sit around in a condo or rental house. I can do that at home. I need to have woods, mountains, beaches, or a large body of water in very close proximity (walking distance preferred) to make me a happy vacationer. I had 3 of the 4, and we even camped out in the tent a couple of nights in the backyard. Norris Lake was warm, breathtakingly beautiful, and had great access for our jetski at one of the county parks. If it were up to me, I'd have spent every day there.

Oh. Did I tell you I'm in love? Yep. Look at him. His name is Queez. We locked eyes across a crowded aisle at Kohl's yesterday and I just knew right then I'd do just about anything to get him to go home with me. Now he's down there in the kitchen waiting for me, all shiny and silver and full of nuclear hot (but not scorched and bitter) coffee - Best I've had in a long time. About $30 more than I was going to spend on a similar Hamilton Beach contraption, but I had difficulty finding the model I wanted, and patience is not my strong suit, especially where my morning fix is concerned.

I have yet to work out today. I'm afraid to look at the schedule, actually. What I'm going to do, I think, is get a 20 minute jog in, then check the TMT schedule and get a minimum of 1 workout in, with the hopes of doing 2 or 3. Usually once I get warmed up it's not too difficult.

Teva tan! Best part of summer.

Action shot on the jetski


Gorgeous rock formations

Beautiful Norris Lake

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Little bit of exercise today

Two of our bike team (me and one of the guys) rode a parade, then decided we'd ride back to the main station from where we were - Probably a 6-7 mile ride. The workouts must be doing their thing, because I smoked a skinny 25 year old's ass all the way down the road. Go old lady, go!


We're off to Tennessee tomorrow for a family reunion of sorts, on my fiance's side. It should be fun. If not, hey, at least it's an entire week of no work. We've got a state park all picked out for a big picnic, and the jetski and tube are coming along with us. The hardest parts of today and tomorrow - saying goodbye to the Girls. Dropped Little Girlie off at the kennel this morning. I cried. We got back, the house was too empty and too quiet. I cried again. Spending time with Old Girlie today and trying to hide evidence of my impending departure from her. There will be tears tomorrow morning, too, as I depart and leave her in the capable hands of my pet-sitter.

  • Did a quick and dirty 10 minute run on treadmill at 5.5mph, pretty much my top cruising speed.. a speed I'd never think I could even aspire to when I first started running.


  • Cleaning is the order of the day, exercise-wise. That and I will be riding my bike in a parade here shortly today, as part of our EMS bike team.

Friday, August 1, 2008

She was small of stature, frail, in her 80s, and moderately short of breath. At that age, with a heart rate ranging from 136-160, who wouldn't be? The poor lady told us she'd called and called out for over an hour, but nobody came to help her - nothing at all surprising in this assisted living facility - a story we hear over and over again from residents here.

How is it, that when someone pays thousands of dollars per month for care, that this happens? I asked her if she had a phone in her room; she nodded. I told her to just call 9-1-1 next time and don't even bother with the staff - and to tell her family that this is happening. It's a shame that we have to do this dance, isn't it?

On the way to the hospital, formalities of physical exam and medical interventions out of the way, she took my hand in hers, asked me my name, and called me by it for the rest of my time with her. For the most part, I sort of float through my shifts on autopilot, efficiently rendering care, handing off the patient, and making ready for the next one. Lots of times I couldn't tell you my patient's name half an hour after I transport them, not if my life depended on it. Especially so on days like today, when I am hanging past my shift an extra 2 hours, and my last call of the day comes in at hour 12.5 of a 14 hour shift, last full shift before vacation.

Some days, though - some patients - are different. My heart was touched by this frail little lady who told me how much she trusted me. The lady who wanted to know my name, and who called me by it again and again. A lady who, once transferred to her bed in the ER, took my hand again, kissed it with tears in her eyes, then kissed my cheek. It's days like this I really miss my grandma.

I wish everyone could see the side that I see of personal care homes, assisted living facilities, and even skilled nursing facilities, before making the decision to place their loved ones in such places.

Today's schedule:
  • ? run?
  • Cardio (mandatory)
  • Lower Body (optional)
  • Abs (optional)

I'm tired just looking at that. And.. my Little Girlie goes to the kennel first thing tomorrow morning. I'm hoping to get her out for a run/swim at some point today too. I might cry a little less at kennel drop-off if we have a fun day today. Doubt it, though. Those big brown eyes get me every time. Old Girlie will have a pet sitter that she adores.