Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Diet update - October 23rd

It's been a few days. I haven't felt much like reporting about my diet, to be honest. It isn't that I'm not losing; I am, and then some. To date, I have lost 25 pounds. However, the last two weeks have been very frustrating for me. Unlike the early weeks, I've been hungry.

Now, when I say hungry, please don't take me to mean peckish, or that I have the munchies. I mean hungry, with my tummy making growling sounds that are audible to people around me. It's not constant, but it's frequent, and it has caused me to be very grumpy and out of sorts.

That said, I'm trying right now to focus on the positive. I started out at 220 pounds even, and this morning I weighed in at 195 pounds. And as you'll see from the stats below, it isn't just my weight that's shrinking. By the way, these measurements are made by the nurse, not me, and he writes them in my book, not me.

My neck started out with a measurement of 15.75", and is now at 14.375".
My chest started at 51" and is now at 49.25".
My waist started at 49.5" and is now at 49".
My hips started at 52" and are now at 49".
My thighs started at 19.25" and are now at 17.5".

 This is me one day before my official weigh in. I was 220 lbs. I was hurting ALL the time. I was living on doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. I was miserable. I couldn't even think of exercising. In fact, I was beginning to have real issues doing daily chores. Standing to do the dishes (in a *dishwasher*) would cause my back to cramp up. The garden was largely a failure this year because I just wasn't able to get out and DO it. I had no energy at all. Did I mention I was miserable?

During all this, I went off my anti-depressants (yay me for being almost 3 months clear of them!) and went from being happy-but-fat to being horrified at how I looked and wondering how I could have just ignored it. It was ... scary.

 This is me yesterday (Oct. 22). I weighed in at 197 that morning, and have lost an extra 2 lbs since. I look less like I'm holding up some kind of huge weight in front of me, and more like I'm standing. The shirt is getting baggy on me (my pants, all but one pair of which I just purchased 2 weeks ago, are falling off of me... literally). The skirt is a drawstring style, thankfully, and I've had to cinch it tighter several times.

I don't wince getting up most mornings now (though I noticed the cold weather definitely affected me today). My back pain has gone from a 5/10 to a 1 or 2/10, and there are whole swatches of time that I don't hurt at all. My feet and ankles aren't constantly feeling like they're going to give out on me. The idea of going up and down the stairs is no longer... well, it's no longer a thought. I just do it. I pop up and down several times a day now, after spending most of a year making sure I had a list of what to do while upstairs so I wouldn't have to make the trip twice.

That's me from the side, first day. I'm kind of embarrassed to look at it right now. My belly is so prominent, and I look pregnant. My chin sort of slopes down into my chest, never really making a neck.
You can see my belly here, but at least it's less. In fact, this is the first time I've looked at these two pictures at the same time and I'm actually kind of stunned. There's a very noticeable difference between the first picture and this second one. Among them is that the roll of fat that used to be at my lower back going into my buttocks appears to have shrunk. Either that or I've lost enough weight that I'm now standing upright (another reason my back pain has probably gone down, actually) and so not causing the fat to roll there. My chin still sort of meets with my chest, but not as much. I can definitely see a difference.

Making these pics large in the interest of SEEING. That's the day before we started the diet. Sorry it's fuzzy, but you can see the rolls. Look at my "neck".

Now look at that. I mean, wow. There are no rolls there! And I want to point out that, despite my not having had a shower the morning this photo was taken, and it being taken later in the day, my hair looks cleaner, perkier, shinier.

So. Would I tell someone to try this diet? No, probably not. I am counting the days until we're done (Oct. 29th, people, Oct. 29th). But I can't say it doesn't work. All of this has been done with minimal exercise, too. I have walked for 20 minutes and ridden a recumbent bike for 20 minutes, 3 times a week at the YMCA while the kids are swimming. Walking slowly is all I'm permitted. I expect to see some grand results once I have more calories coming in and I'm able to get to the gym and start lifting weights and using the elliptical and all that.

I had three days when I didn't eat the specific diet. The first was a load day chosen by my consultant, and was on day 26. I was to stick fairly close to the diet (no dairy, no 'real' bread, etc.) but eat 1500 calories. I had breakfast that day, and I had popcorn with butter at night. Then last Tuesday we celebrated several things (sis's birthday, vow renewals, a visit from an old friend) and ate out at JP Stephens, where I ate a ton of food including dessert. Two nights ago I went mental and couldn't handle being hungry anymore, so I had a shrimp wrap (rice wrapper around lettuce, carrots, green onions, shrimp, with vinegar dip) after my dinner. I then spent hours feeling guilty about it... but I wasn't hungry, at least.

So there. I've bared my soul (and body shame) to you.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blog Action Day - Human Rights

I am not even sure where to begin, because this topic is so huge, and I just couldn't find myself a niche to write about. Instead, I invite you to join me as I ramble about things I think are important, in relation to human rights around our country and the world.

Malala Yousafzai (1)
I find myself thinking a lot, lately, about Malala Yousafzai. On , she said “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world,” Yousafzai said on September 27, 2013. “Let us stand up for our rights, and let us fight.” She's only 16 years old, and she's "just" a student. I watch her pretty face as she talks in videos, and she's animated, bright, excited for life. She's also probably top of the Taliban's "most wanted" list.

Yes, you have that right: a 16 year old school girl, armed with nothing more than an education and willpower, is causing the Taliban to quake. Perhaps she's hit on the strategy that we need to take. Perhaps what we need to do is stop blowing up things, and start sending our soldiers to schools where they can stand over young women like Malala as they learn. Perhaps we should be teaching our own young women about students like Malala, and encourage them to use the mighty sword of education to slay the dragons of our future.

Ms Yousafzai stands up for her right to education, her right to learn. She hasn't said a word about religion, politics, or government. Instead, she's talked about how important it is for children to be educated, and how that education makes them free. I was incredibly disappointed to learn that the (now meaningless, in my opinion) Nobel Peace Prize went to someone else.

Declaration (2)
In 1945, the United Nations made a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While I'm not a huge fan of the latest items put out by the United Nations, this one is a pretty nifty document. It talks about the various rights of human beings. Rights are inalienable... this means that they cannot be granted or taken away; they simply ARE. Privileges are granted, while rights just exist. These rights are things which are incredibly basic: the right to freedom, to basic education, to religious choice, to life partners, to vote, to humane care while imprisoned, and other such items.

What about other things that "might be" rights, though? Is it a human right to receive health care? To be happy? To have a job? I'm not so sure. It's definitely our right to pursue those things, but a right to have them? That seems a bit much. Can someone force you to be happy, or keep a job, or get care when you don't want (or need!) it? Is it even moral for someone to do so? I think not.

So what kind of things are rights? I think the UN's list is a good one. I'd love to see it come true, because as Malala has proven to us, education is only a right on paper. In reality, it's a privilege that only some of us get. Maybe rather than inventing new rights, we should start defending and spreading the use of the ones we've already declared.

What good is a human right if it isn't upheld? We can whine about the human right to education, to freedom of religion, or to not be held without cause, but if the human race as a whole chooses to allow one person or group to violate those rights, then what kind of people are we, really?

Ministry (3)
On a different note, when you come and talk to me as a minister, you have a right to confidentiality. I don't know if that's one of those "inalienable rights" or not, but I consider it such. But if you violate one of the Big Rules, I will report you. Those Big Things are child abuse, and harming a human being (including yourself). I don't report those out of malice, but out of love. I thank my gods on a regular basis that I have not had any moments when I've been in a situation of deciding whether something is serious enough to report or not. I know that some day I may have to... and I dread it. Confidentiality is a big thing for me. It enhances people's trust in me, and I hope rightly so.

I suppose if I summed it up, I'd say that I want to see what human rights we've decided on as a planet, actually enforced or upheld. I don't want to hear more stories about big, strong men with large guns shooting up school buses full of little girls who just want an education. That unmans ALL of us.

1) Image of Malala Yousafzai by U.S. Agency for International Development / Wikimedia Commons
2) Image by Kevin Connors / morgueFile
3) Image by magicART

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 15 - Diet updates

 Really, really hard to post the images today. But I'm doing it. It's day 15, and I've been on the diet two weeks. I have lost weight, and there's no getting around that at all. I'm lower now than I have been since before the twins were born. I'm less miserable emotionally this week, but it's also been a really tough week due to stuff I just am not sharing on the internet.

I am doing better with the food most times. I'm not hungry, although there's kind of a niggling feeling that I'd like to put something in my mouth a lot of the time. It's not distracting, though. If I pick up a book, play a gem match game, post a blog entry, it disappears into the background noise of life in general. It's supposed to continue getting easier, so the world is good.

I won't lie, there have been some major challenges. Food addiction isn't like any other addiction, you know? You can't just put it down and say, "I won't ever have that again." Food is necessary to life. It isn't good enough to just not eat; you must learn to control it, control yourself, eat sensibly, eat reasonably. I know all this, and have for years, but I have lacked the tools to move forward. I'm not sure that I'll have the tools at the end of this, but at the very least I'm getting a ton of help and support that starts with the doc and goes all the way down to the youngest member of our family. Still, when I go to a funeral and every food I love is in a massive buffet with people urging me to gorge myself, it's a challenge. A big one. It's emotional. Heck, the food part of this is the EASY part.

Okay, so ... stats. I did promise to share those.

Neck: start: 15.75" / Monday the 30th: 15"
Bicep: start: 13" / Monday: 12"
Waist: start: 49.5" / Monday: 50" (don't judge, it's That Time)
Hips: start: 52" / Monday: 50.75"
Thigh: start: 19.25" / Monday: 18.75"
Weight: start: 220lbs / Monday: 206lbs
You can see that it's working. There are some odd stats, like my thigh, which went up this week (from last week, not from the beginning), but the doc figures that's just variations in how he measured, or exactly where on my leg he measured. And if you have any doubt that Aunt Flo makes your waist larger, there's proof. I've lost weight, lost girth, lost a dress size, and my pants fit... but my waist is an inch larger right now than last week.

On top of everything else, I'm sick this week. Really sick. I have flu or some upper respiratory thing. Coughing, low fever, sore throat, headache, sinus pressure, chest gunk, chills. Bleh. If I can do this now, I can do it any time.