Thursday, March 27, 2008

Keeping Positive


Four weeks ago I stepped on a scale for the first time in probably 14 years and got…um…a number. The following week, that number was three less. Then I went on steroids and the three came back. Last week I lost nothing. Then this morning I weighed myself again and I was two less. Now what color was the conductor’s hat? ha ha Sorry, I couldn’t resist an old arithmetic joke.

So I am still up by one pound but at least I lost the two. My goal is to lose five pounds at a time and celebrate that milestone each time. I still haven’t hit my first documented five pounds, but I will!

The Hard Part

The hardest part for me is the Obsession. I am obsessed with not eating.

I am not dieting. I know I have to change my entire lifestyle. But I do plan what I am going to eat. And right now if I eat something I didn’t plan on, I am sick about it.

I don’t see this as particularly healthy behavior. And it makes me very, very cranky.

I am not hungry, I am not feeling deprived, I just worry all the time that I will seriously overeat and never lose the weight I have to lose. What I want to do is not think about food all the time and how I am going to avoid it.

If I do eat something unplanned, I want to enjoy it. That is really my goal, to not beat myself up over "lapses" and to get right back on track. Because, as someone so helpfully commented here, making more good choices than bad is what it is all about. And that is what has to be forever.

Is anyone else Obsessed? How do you cope with that constant fear and vigilance? Does it pass?

Friday, March 21, 2008

The First Full Day of Spring

I have never been a big mark-the-season person. If I do notice as one shifts into another, I might think “oh that’s nice”, but I don’t otherwise give it any special significance. I believe you can have a new beginning at any second, you don’t have to wait for a conspicuous turning point to start a project or honor time passing.

This year feels a little different to me, though. My life circumstances are in transition and involve a great deal of uncertainty. Sunday is Easter, a symbol of rising again, new life, new possibilities, promises kept.

Looking outside yesterday, I actually saw a red-breasted robin in my yard. So I feel as though the season, and all it represents, is inviting me along to embrace the opportunities it provides. Spring brings the new, but also offers up the renewed. New things are born, but old things are reborn.

I am considering the prospects I have now to develop new adventures and nurture old gifts.

I have a lot to do!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting Better

I am so grateful for all the kind words of comfort and encouragement that people have posted here. Boy, it has really been a tough week!

I am feeling better every day, but not back to what passes as normal for me yet. I had thought of going to the gym today, but after doing housework this morning for an hour I felt as though I had been beaten with a club. So I gave it a pass.

The steroids are doing their job quite nicely and I am totally wired, sleepless for three nights and already put on three pounds. I am very ambitious but don’t have the strength to follow through on anything. So I am spending most of my time trying to do small projects – sorting through books, organizing my den and papers, throwing out ruthlessly. Ruthlessly for me is about 25% of what it would be for anyone else. :) I actually have gotten a lot accomplished.

Keeping busy helps with missing Corrie.

My brother and sister-in-law sent me a gentle, poignant essay about losing a pet. It ends with this wonderful advice.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

* When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
* Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
* Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
* Take naps.
* Stretch before rising.
* Run, romp, and play daily.
* Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
* Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
* On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
* On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
* When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
* Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
* Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
* When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

* Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
* If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

And my brother added this lovely comment, “She just moved from one dog heaven to another.” How sweet is that?!?

Thanks Ed and Mary! Thanks everyone!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Good Girl

My Corgi died this afternoon. Her full name was Ruby’s Lady Cordelia and she would have been 11 years old on March 26. We called her Corrie.

She was an eight-week-old puppy with floppy ears when we brought her home. I carried her on my shoulder when she cried at night for her mother, patting her back and murmuring to her. We trained her to sit, stay and lay down, but she never would roll over. Something about it scared her. The best was if you said “Gimme five!”, she would lift that little four-inch leg off the ground as high as she could. I swear she smiled while she did it because it even cracked her up.

She was a happy dog who made us happy. She was beautiful with a personality to match, funny, affectionate and loyal. She was a small dog with a big bark.

I had a perpetual line of Corrie-height dog hair on whatever I wore. Tumbleweeds of Corrie hair collected in corners. She acted deliriously happy to see me when I came through the door, whether I had been gone for minutes or days. She was a warm presence at my feet or at the side of my bed at night. For eleven years this was a constant.

It’s funny about dogs and how they insinuate themselves into your life. I can still hear her nails clicking on the floor. Her dish still has some food in it from her breakfast. Her lead is hanging by the back door. I guess she will always be with us. We were so lucky to have her. I believe dogs are good for your soul. They love unconditionally and ask for so little in return.

I held her in my arms for a while and just told her what a good dog she had been, how much I loved her and how much I’ll miss her.

She was. I did. And I will.

Good girl, Corrie.


Once a month, I go to an infusion center and receive a medicine intravenously that helps slow the progression of my MS. It is called Tysabri and so far has been working pretty well, as I haven’t had any relapses in almost a year.

One of the downsides, though, is that it lowers my immune system. And because of that, this week I came down with shingles. This is a very painful viral infection that is particularly concerning in a person who is immunosuppressed – someone like me.

So I am now on a cocktail of antiviral medication, high doses of neurontin and prednisone. My neurologist is calling this “aggressive” treatment. It’s a little scary to feel this sick.

The medicines I am on all cause weight gain. My doctor was sympathetic when I mentioned this, but he was very grave about how serious this illness can be for me.

On the plus side, I have no appetite.

While I am upset that this will affect my weight loss, I am trying to remember the fact that the purpose of this blog is to focus on taking care of ourselves. So I am going to do just that, take my medicine, rest and ignore the scale for the time being.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I had a bad week and it caught up with me this morning. Depending on how I wiggled on the scale, I either lost nothing or one pound. I got on and off about ten times, thinking maybe the scale was just, I don’t know, sleepy?

Leaned to the left, leaned to the right, scooched my toes just over the edge, inched them back on. The needle swung wildly but always settled in the same general area – higher than I wanted.

I don’t even want to eat breakfast now. :(

I have been tracking what I eat in Spark People, along with what I do at the gym. I have only stayed in my 1200 to 1500 range twice this week. I was deluding myself into thinking if I kept under 2000 calories and did my treadmill and swimming, I would still be ok.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I don’t want to say I’m devastated because that should be saved for something like, I don’t know, losing a limb. But I am. And terribly disappointed in myself. And scared to death that I am never going to get to where I need to be.

I feel as though I wasted an entire week. But I am forcing myself to look at it as a lesson. It is clear that I cannot be less than vigilant for any meal. The frustrating part is when I go off my plan, it is for something like a roast beef sandwich, not a gallon of ice cream. That seems so unreasonable that I can’t eat a simple sandwich. But clearly that is the way it has to be until I reach my goal. Then I can relax a little to maintain my normal weight.

Hopefully. :(

Friday, March 7, 2008


In trying to keep on track, I have developed some tricks.

· To make sure I have a sense of food amounts by sight, I practiced measuring portions with water.
· I take very small bites and chew them thoroughly. I chew them to death.
· I use a salad fork and a small plate so I will eat smaller portions.
· I brush my teeth and wash my hands as soon as I’ve eaten something to get rid of any traces of food.

In other words, I am turning into a world class weirdo.

HELP!!! I’m obsessed.

Four weeks into this ordeal, oops, I mean this exercise in developing healthy habits (groan), I can’t think about anything else. I am terrified I will blow this and let myself and everyone else down.

So I will spend this weekend calming myself down and doing the best I can. That’s all I can think of doing.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Since I weighed myself and lived, I took the next big step [leap?] and actually bought a scale. Eeek!! Remarkably enough, there were a couple of good things about this. First, scales were on sale at Target. I have never priced scales before, previously sneering in derision as I passed them in the store. Of course, the laugh was on me as I got fatter and fatter.

Second, I lost three pounds!!! Yay!!!

This was a thrilling surprise. I did not have a good weekend. I went to a dinner party on Saturday where I had a massive piece of lasagna, only because I couldn’t cut it in half with the server and I was holding up the buffet line. Honest. HONEST! I could have eaten just half of it, but I didn’t want to offend my hostess.

No, that is absolutely not true. She didn’t even make it herself. The fact is it was awesome and I devoured it like a wolverine.

On Sunday morning I figured, in for a penny in for a pound (literally), so I got a scone from Panera. And ate it with butter. Yummy. Then I went to a St. Patrick’s Day party at my son’s. More food I never would have eaten if I had stuck to my plans.

So I anticipated a depressing result this morning. But instead, I am three pounds less than I was last Monday. Because I am never happy, I would have preferred it was like, 60 pounds. But even I recognize that is unreasonable.

If I hadn’t bought the scale, I would have just assumed I had blown it this weekend and would have been totally beating myself up over it. Instead, I can see that the effort I’m putting into this is paying off.

Now I just have to sustain it.