fitness, health, weight loss

Nooming…

No, this is not a paid Noom promotion. I have a handful of dedicated followers but that does not create #paidpromotion.

A girl can dream!

I began Noom about two weeks ago due to a high salt content in my diet creating havoc on my blood pressure and causing additional weight gain. I have struggled with this since July 1991 directly after my sons birth. We all have this story in a variety of shapes and sizes and the clothes to boot. So, I won’t bore you with the countless attempts with my arch nemesis Weight Watchers. Now, it does work for many and it worked once for me and I still have the sacred ten pound token saved and in written into my will. My son will cherish, I am sure. But more often than not, I cheated the system, time and time again. It was easy as they have become more holistic centered rather that weight centered. I needed a boot camp mentality instead of an it’s ok, try again tomorrow. Just me.

Enter Noom. It is pricey. Very, and still not boot camp. But worth every penny. It keeps me accountable in a way like no other. While the Noom coach is not saying “get off you ass” or “close that refrigerator door.” I hear those phrases as they are subtlety weaved into our daily text exchange. The program is designed to teach, applaud, and turn you around if floundering on a dime. It is based around the psychology of eating through a series of daily lessons and charting foods based on colors and overall calorie content. Green=Good, Yellow=So, so, Red=Watch it! This stop sign method works for me as it is easy. The focus lies in the color groups but you have a calorie bar at the top. My limit is 1400 calories. I have only gone over by sixty on one day and it was with a green food. I felt fine with that decision. All while inputting my meals in the dashboard app, as well. This measures my sodium. I must stay under 1500 MG a day. Side note, a simple salad at Pei Wei is a challenge but it can be done. Sodium lives everywhere and this is a challenge. But my goals have been met with one or two days slightly over. Truly on good foods, that I learned to take out of my arsenal. Good bye chicken thighs and roast turkey breast. Who knew? Hello Mrs. Dash and low sodium Ezekiel bread. It is sprouted, must be frozen, pricey, but worth it. It gives me bread without the extra preservatives. Overall, very pleased but it is work and if you are not ready to work. Don’t do it. I was ready.

Two weeks later down 5 pounds and 8 ounces. Everything counts. Will I continue? You betcha. Is it still hard? Eh, getting into the good habits for this thing called health, so much easier. Is it better than Weight Watchers? For me, yes. No one has the right answers but if you want success you will find what works!

Please note I would do paid ads, thank you very much, because we all need another fifty something with grey hair to save the day on the great mascara debate. Sure we do. But seriously, just message me!

book

Stress Combative

About Things. 

Chapter 1

Once upon a time a little girl was born into chaos. Loving chaos. But chaos. A million years later, I like to think that it was just too much love, and only one child. Sharing was not an option, in this scenario, and agreeing on my fate was not an option. Sounds odd parents and grandparents surrounding a baby bassinet wondering who would be the best parental figure. The players in this mini-drama were my grandparents and my parents, the latter more like Romeo and Juliet, soon to part ways, and both addicted to alcohol. Spoiler. Great people. Just lost in their own lives and trying to make it on their own. Plus me. It was too much and that gave the opening for my Silvia and Sam to swoop in and care for me. Best idea ever. I am in their debt. I had the raisers, the friends, the playmates, and the biological parents lost in their own lives. Complicated. Yes. Awful. No. This is my beginning. My stories. My life. And now onto the characters…

anxiety, caregiver, life

This Thing Called Life…

My days recently go from thinking of island life to going back to work. Now, I teach, so I have a few weeks of torture left. My mom has entered hospice. While that no longer brings me to a new level of panic, it does bring to light on what she can no longer accomplish that she once did with ease. Enter panic and the reality that our time is finite. This mixed with my recent back recovery and a few extra non-needed pounds. I am a mess who wants nothing more than to not be someone’s burden when there is more life to lead.

So while I have undergone weight gain and loss in my life. My consistent yo-yo has never been for any other reason than vanity and on the flip side, my love of food. Today is different I am now taking the time to read labels, give up salt, sugar, and the bad carbs. I am a new leafy eater with a side of protein. Right now I am cooking chicken and turkey to freeze for later in the coming weeks. I think they call this food prepping. I call this a forced chance to write. My goal is twenty pounds but I would be great with fifteen, as it might be enough to release the extra burden of stressors, I now feel truly caring for a parent who cannot take care of themselves.

The weight is heavy and mixed with everyday life almost too much as everything is out of my control. So I am going to learn to cook, meal prep, eat well for the first time in my life. I can control that. My exercise will be daily walking at 5:30 am to set me up for a successful school year, and I can control (not enjoy) those early hours. I will mix in meditation and restorative yoga as I heal and focus on our relationship as mother/daughter and probably write and focus on my grandson. It helps. Alot.

I am sure my next few or more blogs will be about my Miss Brenda. Of course liberties will be taken as that’s what I do. Take a story and try to see the lighter side of this thing called life. Follow along.

chronic pain, fitness, goals, sugar-free

Sugar-free and Me

I have tried alot of methods to lose weight and some have worked. Actually, worked well. Of course, mixed with an active lifestyle. One that failed not once but twice was keto. Not me. But with my recent health setback and literally from active to a coach potato by necessity, I need some change. I needed some research both to keep me busy and my own convincing to take the plunge, well the second plunge. I did this once with success and just went off. No reason. It was easy and felt great. So here we go…sugar-free is me…is now born.

My reasoning is completely to decrease inflammation. Which is still present. The absence of sugar is key as the white stuff spikes inflammation. Bye. Now, I could bore you with data. But not my style. Just enjoy my meandering stories and real life messages. Saying ciao is hard. I had pizza last night and quietly chewed our breakup story. I am ready. My life in the absence of pain will win and be my constant reminder along with societies vast array of sugar free choices if a sauce or an ice cream is truly needed. As for bread hello, ezkiel…and I love it. In moderation. I am good but it will be tough. I began today and promptly ordered supplements for sauces and chips. Sauces from Primal and G Hughes, carrots, cottage cheese instead of flavored yogurt, and Rx bars instead of premier protein etc, etc, etc. Just a bit of shopping adds combined with some everyday needs will make this tasty life without misery. #goals

On any road taken no one is perfect and I will not be. Nope. I will travel, learn, explore, investigate, concoct recipies until I get this right.

And I will…

family, life

Love

I have never been a cook. Nope. It is a running joke in our home. This has never bothered me as I learned the craft from my Sylvia. She had the love but not the touch. My grandfather and I just smiled and lied through our meals, as she enjoyed cooking just had zero ability. But oh, the lady could sew, clean, and wash clothes like nobody’s business. But cook. Nope. For some reason she raised me to think I did not need home skills. So I have none. I meander my way through our daily needs with exasperation and the wish of a fairy godmother. Thirty-three years later I do my best. No one complains but they do avoid my cooking. It’s ok. Enter the air fryer. Now, I am a gadget queen. Anything that makes life easier I am on it. We have vacuums and mops that wander our home and I replenish them with the newer models asap. They break. Easily. But the air fryer is a gift from the heavens as my cooking is now tolerable. The hubs is using phrases like, “let’s put this meal on repeat.” Yup, repeat. In all our years a second of anything has never been requested. So, my air fryer and I are on the best of terms. Meat, a bit of oil and spice plus the right settings and we have dinner. I even chopped the other night. That does not happen. But I did. I love my new friend. I named her Sylvia. I truly believe if my grandmother had this golden device she would have rocked our nightly meals.

back pain, chronic pain, family, life, retirement

306 Days

Let’s first explain the title. I am taking this rather random number based on my physiotherapist’s ramblings on how long it takes to heal a back that is herniated. Tah-dah a title is born. Of course, the number might be wrong as I was medicated at this first meeting. Or is it? This back disaster is my current state combined with vertigo. I got super lucky. Weeks later, I can chuckle a bit and feel a bit of pride to be the star of an EMT horror story of difficult patients. Let me explain, while riding in the ambulance after having my husband stuff me with a protein bar, because he thinks water plus protein cures all ills, I vomited everywhere. Everywhere. Several times. On a happy note the hubs scrubbing forced his hand to promise me new flooring. Of course, a request since year two in the house, but heck eight years later is great. Back to the story. So, this sweet EMT, who sported a training badge, kept rattling on with stupid stories, that were keeping me from killing all of them in pursuit of pain meds. Anyhow, he held my vomit bag the entire way to the hospital. At our goodbyes. I thanked the kid and grabbed the captain and asked him to sign his papers and pass him for the day. Or did I ask for meds? I don’t know? Probably both. The captain promised he would happily sign him off as he peeled my hand out of his and yelled, “Take her away.”

Currently, I am on week five or day 271 of my current holding position of rest, PT, and more rest. I am off all meds that caused me to forget what I read, watched, re-read, and re-watched during my time of bedridden status. With the pain away but in a wet- cement state, I wait. I wait to start my life again. I am on pause. I long for the simplicity of my life that I led. I teach. I miss my kids. I spin. I miss my Echelon/Peloton app life. I am stuck in the house because I can’t drive due to the back and the vertigo. I miss people. But with all the things I miss there is so much more I have learned in the silence of my waiting. Serious thoughts have come my way while crying in pain. Religion. The importance of family. Work and my need for my social and intellectual growth plus monetary needs. Along with the harsh truth that I am easily replaced, especially at fifty-nine. There were also thoughts that can be filed under the not so serious. Cue the meds folks. Days of reality TV nonsense, movie upon movie, and many attempts at new binge shows. Note. Not a Bridgerton fan. Probably the only human who could not get through episode 1. All I could think of was the pain the actresses endured with their corsets. While the mundane entertained my mind, it was the big thoughts, that truly got me through the day. Not my twelve orders of athletic wear to make dressing easier or the endless scrolling and the constant attempt to find anything to take my mind of the situation at hand. Nope. The big stuff. Religion, family, and work. Repeat. It made the struggle of each day and each small success sweet.

Religion became my anchor. I prayed, read scripture, and talked alot to the man upstairs. I felt his presence, cried, and kept praying. For the first time I felt his guiding hand. Truly, in the darkness of our room I was not alone. Ever. This gave me hope and a feeling that my herniated disc came at a time that had no reason, but had every reason. I renewed my faith and my belief that I am never alone if I just give my life over to him. I have. Completely.

Family. Oh my. So many days I have taken my family for granted and allowed the little stuff to aggravate me, but once you need them to walk you to the bathroom, there is a new respect. The little annoyances in life are gone. Who cares about the toothpaste or how the dishwasher gets loaded or not. Or my control issues with my son. My crew rallied to just get me through the day. They became my daily cheerleaders, my rock during bad moments, and my everything. Family replaced my long list of wants and it still needs some soul searching as to why my control issues and wants superceded my families love. But I will continue on this path much after my pause button has been removed.

Work. It has been five weeks since I have seen my kids. I can’t imagine their current state. I just can’t. But since this was an extended leave I was caught off from school until I return. I have turned over all things I control with fervor to a state of “you do you” and I will pick up the pieces upon my return. While, I do not think I am replaceable. I am. Perhaps, my replacement does not give the quality I gave daily, but another has taken my place. This hurts. But before I officially retire, the discussion did happen the day after my hospital grand entrance. A bit soon. But needed. There before me stood a man that gave me the world almost thirty-four years ago, and he was doing it again. He put aside all worries of money. All. I cried as I listened to our future together which requires my health not my teachers salary. There were no tears about the end date. Just hopes and dreams of a healthy life both in Neebish, Mexico and our time here in the valley. I thought even the the discussion of leaving the workforce would hurt. Nope. Just gave me a world of options. I want to leave healthy. Not stuck in bed. So while I will return very shortly, I won’t kill myself. I won’t. Just be the best teacher and let the other BS fall to the wayside. How did I get into this situation in the first place by killing myself. No more.

Today, the vertigo is disappearing. The back needs one more appointment and possibly shots along with a full drying of my wet-cement. But I am coming back to my status of Go, go, go but never forgetting this time of pause and what I am graced with in my life.

back pain, family, granparent life, life

My Back Series #3

A variety of dribble…

I would like this back/hip pain to end. Truly, not my thing chatting about pain. Currently resting on heat, and planning my Pain is Gone Party. I will invite all of you. Don’t have a date, sorry. A party sounds fabulous and a way to celebrate the chains that bind leaving. Recently, I have stimmed myself into oblivion and now awaiting an acupressure mat, (review to follow) that looks like torture. Since, I am in this space, what is the harm? A big takeaway from this daily hell is that I have noticed how people treat daily pain. They give advice. Stupid advice. All I want is a hug and a cleaning lady on repeat. Not advice. But I listen, as running away is literally not an option. My son, true chronic pain sufferer, has dealt with my stupid advice from me for years. I have apologized. Funny, he gives no advice. Just hugs. Apology accepted. I hope. So, while I plan my party, as it will happen. I envision all my torture objects thrown into a bon fire and a celebratory poof to see them off. Too much? Probably. My second thought is a new MCM bag and a shopping spree. 🛍 That will do.

back pain

The Back Industry Money = Hope

It’s true. My HSA card now is my best friend. You gotta watch the labels but many of the treatments such as back stimulator and heating pads, herbal meds, etc. are cleared. Yup. Cha ching, cha ching. No, magic. But clarity and peace as I heal.

So far stim is my savior. One is on batteries, the other by a phone app, and the third is charging. Readying for a two day trip takes an extra bag and five extra cords. But ok. It’s short- term and life does not stop when healing. So, if you have an HSA get a stim machine. I like the mobile. You do you.

Another HSA fluttering of cash is the Chiro, which is a scene and a half. At least for me. Moving tables, dropping magic slots, that move before the big adjustment happens, and a quick stop at the payment counter. In and out within fifteen minutes. But possibly working. A little soon to tell. So I have found other ways to keep the alternative medical community in business. Next up, a massage with CBD oil. A great place according to reviews that covers every form of pain therapy including infrared baking. I am sure I will attempt. Positive. I agree pretty wishy washy and none based in traditional science that my Mayo doctor would sign off on. But no one is replacing my pelvis. Nope. Oh, they can’t. Just gonna re-rotate it as far back as it can go!

The oddness of the last two years brought service to our doors which is a help to anyone who is busy or recovering or both. Life is about living, not spending hours in a grocery store. Many, even my hubs would disagree. However, while food is necessary evil, I am going 2022 since driving makes me cry. Menu please. No. I went the route of emeals thru Walmart and their free delivery. Done and done. A whole week of keto fresh meals ready to be prepared came to my door. No tears plus healthy food is a win. Might keep this in our lives as the time it saved me to do other things today was amazing.

So, while the money train for any injury will always keep on running, as we all want to be back on our feet asap. The comforts of 2022 makes life under the rehab gun a bit easier as I get through my first week with my daily minimum of 3k steps, stretches, stim, heat, and freezing cold to take away the spasms of pain. All of which, would take the amount of time I would spend at Walmart.

back pain, chronic pain, echelon, family, fitness, granparent life, grey hair, keto, life

Sorry KWL

Truth be told. I can be a b****. While my life revolves around my family. I can be a bit much. Call it demanding. Not b*****. Better. Years ago my son was diagnosed with a back disease. Fast track to today and he has a million dollar back and hypothetically is the bionic man. It is genetic. But I have fought mine off, until this week. Pain brought me to my knees. To make it through the week before spring break with my 6th grade mayhem of love, I just kept saying, “What would Kyle do?” Then I cried, thinking of all the times, I have been critical of anything in his life. Not truly realizing that slap pain into life that does not abate takes over until you can just do so much and sometimes the fluffy life stuff does not matter. Truth. I skipped two showers. Could not do it. Did. Not. Care. I smelled of powdered shampoo, sweet oils, and the fragrance that was the closest to my grab on my make-up table.

I am sorry KWL.

So, I have faltered. Worst ever. But that is that. Now, I finally recover forever. I tend to overdo, over diet, and fail. Enough. Life is finite and being on a roller coaster is loopy and unproductive.

Onward.

Few steps back. Yes. But forward. Forever. The toughest part is where I am currently. Heating. Cooling. Resting. Walking at a snails pace for 10 minutes. The beginning. It’s where my FOMO sets in. Frankly, without social media there was no FOMO. It would be good to toss it aside right now, but not gonna try. Too much between food changes, back self-care, and trips to the chiro. So, my mindset is now changed to without healing there is nothing. And nothing is not acceptable.

No FOMO.

So, instead of running around and enjoying. I am canceling plans and scheduling me time. Healthy care, healthy eating, manicure and pedicure, hair and chiro, chiro, chiro, stretch, stretch, stretch, walk, walk, walk. While I heal (6-12 weeks total) I will putter around the house aka clean slowly and mindfully, organize my spring school clothes, aka as fashion, and put me first this time which will allow me to put what’s important to me back to its proper first place status now and forever and get over this crazy coaster I have been strapped into for the last twenty years. It’s time.

Ailment in a nutshell.

My back. But not. It is a pelvic rotation that is over 35 mm from normal. 8mm is severe. How have I survived twenty years. Who knows. Obviously, this inner movement tugs on the back. Greatly. Causing extreme pain especially when sitting and ooh, driving is a killer. But in my three chiro appointments I have seen relief. Since PT has been apart of my life for this. I know the drill of bridges and pelvic tilts. Yup. Three times a day. Everyday in accute stages. This classified. Other non-medicated methods are THC oil and Formula 303 (starting tomorrow) a natural muscle relaxant. Naproxyn, is on order for pain. Again, no addiction, thank you. If any of this becomes magic. I will blog and share. Heck. Gonna blog and share anyway to keep me going on this journey. Which kicked off today saying goodbye to my Echelon and Peloton friends for a minute. This was sadness. Five rides away from 200, 50 more miles away from my race goal. Poof. But today I got out, walked to a short Peloton program. While sharing with you about this pain that haunts, but could be worse I hope to gain insight and lend a positive spin on pain as the reality is mindset is part of the process. Millions are in pain daily. Maybe I will crack the code or just make you laugh along you own journey. One that only you can shoulder and usually in silence. Why? As I am finding out unless you can make pain happy or positive, no one wants to know. It must be catchy.

The contagious factor.

It’s not. But unless you experience relentless pain. You have no response other than to buck up, take an Advil, stretch, lose weight. Etc. Idiots. I was one.

I am sorry KWL.

book, epilepsy

No Title.

Epilepsy is a modern mystery left to man and an exhausting condition on its best days. Please note I am not complaining. Not my style. And I know I am lucky. I have it all, an advanced degree, career, driver’s license, and one kid. That was all we were granted, and probably the reason I teach. I also have an unnatural desire to organize toys, anyone’s toys. Not epilepsy related but it’s as if my mothering was done before my time. I was always longed for more children but one and done was logical. So if you got toys, give me a call. Or if you need additional mothering as my kid would like a break. Let me know. He is a good sport. 

My story like others begins out of true fear. No one teaches epilepsy in school. Diabetes, yes. Epilepsy, no. My first experience was riding on a city bus to my figure skating lesson, oh yes. I was sporty too. A woman burst on the bus and screamed, “I am epileptic move.” Now, I was eleven and currently experiencing auras on a daily basis in quiet fear. While I thought the declaration was over-the-top, she scared me for many reasons so I moved the hell away. I got off the bus and walked the rest of the way to the rink in tears. I knew I would be that woman. Better dressed, less vulgar. But that was me. With every step towards the rink and a coach who had already called my grandfather for my being tardy I had apologies coming to many but mostly to myself for my living in fear. 

As the story goes I had times where I lived in a bubble that would not break open, until ready. This confinement impeded my speech. Actually, stopped it, but left me in the living to be able to hear all around me. Initially, the episodes were short, no one ever knew. However, with time, each getting longer and longer but my fear and lies covered them up. Not well. But my ability to focus on the world around me caught everyone off guard as once it passed no one could tell the difference. Silent periods continued to grow longer with each passing episode but my odd ability to jump back into the conversation, with increased slurred speech, worked. I chalked everything off to fatigue and exhaustive days between school and the rink. Others, just shook their heads and labeled me as a rebellious teen. The game was exhausting as was the daily fear of what was around the corner and who would see it and when would my academy award winning acting breakthrough to the obvious secrets I was keeping.  I was scared.  

My first big seizure was in a bathroom. I just fell, seized alone, and bit off my tongue. Just clumsy right? Yup. Got a week off of school, lots of rest, ice cream, and my game was extended. Not even EMTs felt I needed hospitalization. My grandparents became like hawks circling their prey and waiting for a misstep. They knew. I knew. We all buried the truth as who doesn’t want a perfect kid. And it was such a heavy badge to wear and at that time late 70’s not one

A week later. The curtain came down on my show. The seizure was witnessed and hospitalization followed. Now, I knew what the tests would show. My grandparents kept talking in hushed tones of C words but I told them they had nothing like that to worry about. I was right but the doctors made my diagnosis like a death sentence, meds, no driving ever, no kids, university too taxing and on and on and on. My grandparents listened with tears streaming down their faces.  

As soon as the doctor left I looked at them and said. “Whatever he said, we are not doing.” Let’s get these meds and get the fuck out of here.” I got a life to live, and I am gonna live! My grandfather laughed and my grandmother almost scolded me but beating the big C was good enough for her. I promised to take my meds, stop driving for a year, but I would go to college and I was going to stage a sit-in at the hospital until they agreed. They did. I was sprung and my first course of treatment began. 

My story starts there. Today is a bad day. My mind scrambles into a million pieces trying to find the calm my brain needs to slow it down and focus on anything that is not repetitive in sound or feeling. On days like this I write. I listen to music, I do yoga, I watch movies. Anything to remove my brains overdrive and fixations. My sensory overload is at its max. Thus, hearing daily sound in stereo. The toaster, the baggies opening for breakfast goodies, the refrigerator door, the butter opening and closing…the insanity is my sanity on bad days and the view of life it brings me is priceless.  Loud, priceless, and a gift that took me years to embrace and overcome the looks from an uneducated public not understanding that it is not a sentence of death or oddity but one of heightened life. 

This is not a book about epilepsy. It is one about life and the removal of obstacles.