Archives for category: weight loss secrets

Weird weekend. (I could stop right there, honestly…)

“Baggage” is a tough challenge for people who have been traumatized. It can be super hard to put that shit down, and properly “begin again”. Our baggage tends to linger in our hidden corners, tucked away carefully where it’s difficult to see how problematic our thinking has become. We struggle with decision-making and outcomes that create an unpleasant experience or prevent us from thriving in our lives. It’s hard sometimes.

I’m hopeful that a particularly painful and difficult conversation with my Traveling Partner really does have the promising positive outcome it appears that it may… I’ve just got to set down some baggage and back away from it, then do some things differently going forward. Him too, I suppose, although in this instance the focus was for sure on me and the chaos and damage I sometimes struggle with.

Love and words. So many words. So much love.

Once we were “on the other side” of that difficult conversation, we enjoyed our evening together. I woke this morning feeling loved (and hopefully he did too). I’ve got a massive headache, still managed to enjoy a cup of coffee with my partner before I left for the local co-work space I sometimes work from. So far a promising start to the day and week. Nice.

Moving back into my studio was a sort of mix of manual labor and thoughtful work and careful selection. Now that it’s finished, I can’t fathom why I stalled for so long. I find myself returning to my studio again and again, thinking about creative projects. I’ve rekindled my eagerness to finish a particular manuscript that has been languishing in a file on my hard-drive for awhile – almost a decade. Long overdue, and I did not understand that two things were holding me back: 1 poem I had included that I had serious second thoughts about, and those journals tucked away in a bin. Funny; I took care of the journals, and now project after project that had been stalled seem to percolate to the surface for their moment.

What’s holding you back? When will you tackle that?

How much baggage are you dragging along every day? How much can you “just set down” and walk away from? Are there things you could let go of, that you… just don’t? What is that doing for you? (Seriously, you probably wouldn’t cling to some of that sticky bullshit if you weren’t getting something out of doing so, if only the strange comfort of familiarity – which is totally over-rated.)

I’m no therapist, just saying – lightening the load makes for an easier journey. 😉

I sip my coffee and think my thoughts. There’s a garden to plan. A life to live. Love to embrace and nurture. Already time to begin again.

I’m drinking water and counting myself grateful to have indoor plumbing, hot and cold running potable water from a tap in the house, and additional filtration that ensures the water is clean, and free of weird tastes or sediment. It’s nice. I’m drinking water because I’ve already had my coffee and frankly I do need to be drinking more water. Recent longevity-associated articles reporting on the value of being well-hydrated did not go unnoticed. I started paying attention to the differences on days when I am not well-hydrated vs days when I am – and nights. Yes, drinking more water definitely results in getting up to pee more often during the night, but that doesn’t seem to have anything at all to do with whether I sleep well and deeply, or how easily I return to sleep, so… small price to pay? Well, I guess I hadn’t previously thought so, until I noticed that being well-hydrated seemed to also reduce my snoring (noticeably), as well as improving my ability to lubricate naturally (still a pretty big deal for me, personally, in spite of being post-menopause I really enjoy sex), like, a lot. So I’m pretty committed to drinking more water.

Keep practicing.

…I learned quite recently, and yes “the hard way”, that one bad spell with my mental health can wreck that progress in mere hours. Friday evening I went through some shit and had a nasty flare up of my PTSD on this whole other difficult to describe level. It was bad. I put my Traveling Partner through some bullshit over it (always regrettable and complicated). It got bad enough that I actually had a flashback, and those have gotten to be very rare. The ridiculous level of hysteria I ultimately reached (calling it a “panic attack” doesn’t do the chaos justice at all) caused me to cry a quantity of tears that finally resulted in a loss of moisture that definitely resulted in me more than a little dehydrated by dawn. I woke Saturday morning with a stuffy head, swollen eyes, and feeling like “everything had come crashing down”. It passed, but… it wasn’t good. The low point was the painful awareness that even medicated, I am at risk. I am grateful to have the partner I do. The chaos and damage don’t reliably “take no for an answer” once shit skitters sideways. The self-directed shame and disappointment immediately add an additional gut-punch that makes bouncing back hard. On top of all of that? Damn few people actually “get” what flashbacks are actually like, and they aren’t portrayed in the movies or in media very skillfully (how could they be?).

It’s important to take care of myself. Regardless of the chaos and damage, regardless of my personal starting point on life’s journey, or where I am standing when I begin again. Problematically, this is true for everyone; self-care matters. I don’t “get a head-start” when I practice good self-care – I don’t even get to start at the same starting point as “everyone else”. I’ve started this journey where my starting point happened to be. Self-care is a thing that it is very helpful to do – for everyone. I’m still me. Still have the issues I have. Still have to work on those issues. Still have to trust that incremental change over time will improve things. Still have to recognize that my results are going to vary. My demons got the better of me on Friday night in a big way. I’m fortunate to have a loving partner willing to support my long-term wellness and growth. I’m grateful that I can understand that there is no implicit promise that having a loving partner will actually make this shit any “easier”. I’ve still got to walk my own hard mile. I’ve still got to do the work. I’m still going to fall down now and then, and have to pick myself up and start over. Begin again.

Some practices are more critical than others. Some practices are more emotionally nourishing than others. Some are more or less effective for me as an individual. I did not imagine the simple act of drinking enough water would be one of those very simple very big deals among all my practices, but here we are.

Selecting good practices is a bit like building a healthy diet… fruit is delicious. Sooo tasty. Filled with nutrients we need. Yum. The thing is, though, it’s also full of sugar. Like a lot of sugar. For many of us, building our diet around tasty fruits is not notably healthier than building it around any other tasty sweets. [Note: I am not a nutritionist or dietician, nothing I say in this blog should be construed as medical or dietary advice. I am using “diet” and nutrition metaphorically here.] Veggies may not be as sweetly delicious and tempting in the way luscious ripe fruits can be, but they do make a far better foundation for my diet. So… it matters to choose with care. Whether we’re talking about a healthy diet, the practices we choose for our emotional wellness, the partnership in which we spend our days (and nights)… or the practices we choose for our physical wellness. Turns out some of the most basic practices for my self-care support both my emotional wellness and my physical wellness (looking your way drinking water and eating more veggies!!). It’s worth thinking about for more than a moment. Abandon any one of those cornerstones of a good life, and the foundation isn’t solid enough to rest upon.

Get right down to it, and there’s just no magic bullet, or pill, or single solution to “all of the shit we go through”. No partnership can bear the weight of all of our bullshit. We’ve got to do all the things we can – everything we know to do, as reliably as we’re able to learn to practice. Through practice. Sounds like a huge thing to commit to, but taken a practice at a time, doesn’t it just amount to living life? I think about it a while, let the songs play. Watch the tiny bar of sunlight creep across my desk.

My partner comes in and rubs my shoulders and neck for a moment. “You writin’ a book?” he asks with a laugh. I laugh back; there are no shortcuts.

It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and enjoying the quiet hours before the work day begins. I woke with a stuffy head, and started my morning with a long hot shower, which helped immensely. I definitely have more difficulty with anxiety when I have difficulty breathing! (How very mammalian of me.) My voice is a little “froggy” – I notice when I greeted my Traveling Partner (I think I woke him when I got up…?). I find myself wondering if I’ve managed to pick up a head cold somewhere… ? Well, it is January, and there is still a nasty pandemic raging all around us. (I remind myself to mask up if I go out.)

New year, new beginning. The holiday decorations are all packed up and ready to go back up into the attic space for another year. I’m pleased with how compact and tidy they are.

A clear indication that the holidays are over.

At the end of last year I switched up my meds, and I’ve noticed that I seem a bit… clumsier? Less precise in my movements in very subtle ways, at least. It shows in unexpected bumps, bangs, and things unexpectedly dropped. I can count on one hand the number of holiday ornaments I’ve broken as an adult over decades of celebrating the yule season… and one of those was this year. 😦 It was an antique glass bell ornament that I remember seeing on the family Christmas tree as a child. I was saddened but not “struck down” over it. From the perspective of this moment, here, now, that feels like amazing growth.

It’s not a tragedy, just a small loss.

New year, new beginnings. I’m making a point to walk more, and I’ve returned (comfortably and easily) to previously practiced practices that really help me stay fit. Simple changes like parking as far from the door of a place I intend to shop as I can within their parking lot, for example, really add up over time. I’m allowing life to be “less convenient”, simply to get more steps in and exert more effort. It works surprisingly well. The more I do, the more I can do. Bit “late in the game”, sure, but every small change adds up. Details like walking further from the car to the store, and having to get up for the remote (every time, because I put it too far away to reach), and not trying to “make one trip” when I unload the car – those are tiny details that often get worked precisely in the “other direction” as we master adulthood – more ease, more convenience. Cooking real food from fresh ingredients takes so much more effort than a quick trip for fast food. Giving up convenience 100% means exerting more effort. More effort is more calories burned, more movement, and, over time, more fitness.

I’m quite a bit heavier than I’d ideally like to be. My goals are practical and health/longevity focused, and I try to keep them achievable, so small steps first makes sense. I’ve got dumbbells at home and I use them. There are trails and pavement all around for getting more miles on my boots. I’m even getting back to healthier eating habits and foods that support my health.

A recent weekend breakfast, simple and nourishing.

My focus on improving my sleep seems to be paying off, and I am getting better quality rest in the hours that I sleep. Win! 😀 None of this is costly. Most of this comes without a direct cost, for many people. (Let’s note that it can be quite a bit more expensive to buy fresh good quality ingredients for cooking wholesome food, and kitchen gadgets are not cheap, either.)

Have you noticed that I’m not talking about this stuff in terms of “resolutions”? Yeah… resolutions in that classic American-New-Years-y sense just don’t really work for me. They get dropped along the way, and by the end of February they’re just a memory of an intention once formed and never fulfilled. LOL I prefer to think in terms of making change and practicing practices. Seems to work out for me far more often. When it doesn’t? I can more simply shrug off that “false start” and begin again. No guilt, no shame, no awkwardness. 😀 My results vary – I know that, and I plan on it, account for it, and don’t take it personally.

How about a New Year’s book recommendation? I’ll be adding this one to my reading list once I’m finished reading it myself… Have you read The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck? The author, Mark Manson, provides an excerpt on his website. Not gonna lie, it’s a very approachable take on mindfulness basics, and a usefully practical approach to what could be called “secular Buddhism” for 21st century humans. So far I’m finding it helpful, useful, and wholly entertaining. I’d definitely sit down for a coffee with the author and enjoy a conversation if the opportunity came up. 😀

Anyway. If you haven’t already, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to begin again?

It’s evening. A bit after 6 p.m., not late. I had a third coffee… and had it in the afternoon. Needed a bit of a pick-me-up when I started running out of steam. Will it keep me up? No idea, but I’m rather inclined to think not; I still feel a bit… done. lol Not in a bad way, just fatigued. Sore muscles (physical therapy seems to be helping with my overall fitness quite a lot, and in any regard in which my relative lack of fitness was contributing to my pain, that has improved). I don’t mind sore muscles; steps toward a goal. Damn, though – tired and sore muscles? I left work a bit early. I’ve got tomorrow off and plans to see a friend. Feels good to make occasional plans that involve actual other humans. lol Yeah, I said it. 🙂

I got home to find my Traveling Partner at work on a variety of Spring-cleaning-themed tasks: cleaning and refilling the hot tub, & general tidying. After I got home, even going that extra step to finish up what he had started out on the deck, doing things like cleaning the grill, and the fire pit, and re-hanging the shade “sails”. I enjoyed hanging out on the deck with him. Occasionally lending a hand when asked, but mostly “staying out of the way” and relaxing with my afternoon coffee. It was fun. I’m still smiling.

Spring is already trying to become summer. lol

I stopped by a local nursery and picked up some kitchen herbs to add to the front garden. Nice splashes of green foliage with real usefulness. I looked over the blueberries there, but they weren’t great looking, and I did not splurge on them just because they were there. That doesn’t really work for me – and they would not have been varieties I really want for the location I have in mind. It can wait.

Dave Matthews is still singing love songs in the background. It’s music I definitely associate with this love of ours. We’ll be 11 years married, this year, and 12 years as lovers. I enjoy our enduring love. I smile fondly when I think of him in his shop, preparing for tomorrow’s work day. I sat down here thinking I’d play Minecraft… ending up writing, reflecting contentedly on a day well-spent, and looking ahead toward the days to come. Long weekend. I’d like to spend some notable portion in the garden. I’ve also got an errand to run. Routine weekend in most regards, simply pleasantly long, and suited to sleeping in and loving. Maybe a hike? Some time in the studio? Honestly, it’s enough to rest, and be.

I’ll definitely be glad when my muscles aren’t so sore; I’ll get right back to making them sore, again. That’s kinda the way it works to get from not-all-that-fit back to “fit”. I’m not even complaining. I’m not injured, it’s just sore muscle pain. It tells me where my muscles lack symmetry. It tells me where I’m a bit weaker and could use more work, done with care. It reminds me to keep at it; we become what we practice. If I want to regain my fitness, strength, and endurance, there are definitely going to be a lot of verbs and practicing to get there, and quite a few days with sore muscles.

It sounds like the dryer is finished… there’s a bed to remake before fatigue becomes exhaustion, and before evening turns to night. There’s a new beginning ahead. There are endings behind me. The love that has infused this day matters so much more than this little bit of muscle pain. 🙂

Met with my new physical therapist today. Well, more to the point, met with them. Two helpful professionals who seem eager to support my wellness. I’d say, cynically, “for a price…”, and realistically, yeah, that’s true. It’s a job for them. It’s a service for me. There is an exchange of cash between us. I’m okay with that – I’ve had clinicians of various sorts over the years, and every one of them worked for pay, and they were not all anything like as encouraging as these two humans were with me this evening. It was quite nice.

…I’m so tired though… LOL

Look, I’m not trying to get fit for a marathon. I’m not trying to rehabilitate a tragic injury that impairs my most routine life functions. I’m just in pain. Injuries over time that weren’t properly cared for, piled on top of whatever the fuck is going on with my damned neck (and my six year headache), and aging, and the long-time lack of real fitness, and the excess weight… Yep. It adds up, and it’s hard dealing with it “alone”. (I’m not alone, and my partner is both helpful and supportive.) Having care providers who are not emotionally entangled with my outcome, who are quite wholesomely optimistic of my potential, and encouraging of my progress is – I hope – really going to help me get fitter and more well, and just maybe also in less pain… maybe…? A bit…? Over time…? I laugh quietly to myself thinking about bits of the conversation…

PT Person: “Where do you see yourself, if you achieve your fitness goals?”

Me (being perhaps just a tad flippant): “Hiking a 50lb pack 3 miles without being breathless or ending the day in so much pain I just can’t even move again for two days..? Somewhere between able to do the Nijmegen march without significant exertion and comfortably able to go/do whatever/whenever without having to plan around my abilities…? Maybe down to 150lbs.”

PT Person: “Okay. Sounds achievable. Let’s work on what that’s likely to take.”

Me: … “Um… Seriously?”

Other PT Person: “What would you consider your personal ideal for fitness? What would you be able to do comfortably on a typical weekend?”

Me: “Peak fitness? I’d be able to hike a 70lb pack over cross-country terrain, maybe 5 miles – or do 10 miles without a pack. Easily lift 70 lbs without asking for help. Balance on one leg for a laugh, without falling, for like… minutes. Run upstairs right quick without being out of breath. Get my weight down around 135 lbs.

PT person just nods and takes notes. Other PT person looks thoughtful and asks some specific questions about specific injuries. We talk about pain. Pain management. This injury. That one. Throughout the entire appointment, they were encouraging. Listening. Open. It was a pretty uplifting and positive experience.

…G’damn am I hurting right now, though. LOL Physical therapy. Physical therapy. We worked on some things. I came home with instructions. A list of upcoming next appointments. A plan. An intention. A fire inside me where enthusiasm, sparked, now smolders, ready to ignite. Am I going to make this a thing that happens in my life…? Incremental change over time. It takes verbs. Repetition. New beginnings on top of restarts following do-overs, preceding next steps, and first steps, and other steps, and moments of frustration – it’s a fucking journey, which means it’s not “easy”, nor “effortless”, and it will be ongoing… one exercise after another. Repetition upon repetition upon repetition. Tracked. Remindered. Followed-up upon. Damn, y’all, we gonna be actioning some shit around here!! I mean, I hope. “You’ve got this!”, she said, as I wrapped up in my coat for the chilly drive home.

…I’ve got this. I’ve got this pain. That pain. That injury bothering me right now. The one that isn’t bothering me much at all. The other one that flared up as I left the appointment. The one that felt better with even a moment of attention paid to it. Maybe. Maybe I’ve got this, though. Maybe I do. I guess I’ll begin again, again, and see where this path takes me. 🙂

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.