Thursday, June 7, 2018

Poem I Wrote Today, Dealing with My Pain

Broken body.
Broken head.
Broken heart.

All my life, 
Or at least my life as I can remember and perceive,
Back pain.
Hip pain.
Always there.

Some days worse than others.
Some days not so bad at all.
But pain is life, right?

Well, it’s my life.
Every day, it’s waking up to pain.
Living through pain.
Trying to make it go away or ease it,
But always there. 
Always pain.

The exhaustion as I try vigorously to make myself healthier
On the bad back of a not yet 30-year-old woman.
Hard. Not impossible.

Now in the home stretch,
Every little piece I put into my mouth is important.
Just watching calories doesn’t work as well anymore
Because I have less to lose, less to burn.

So I have to plan every bite, every mouthful.
Keep numbers low.
Maybe if I can’t go to the gym my body will still burn it?
Not so much anymore.

So I have to push harder,
And harder.
But it’s harder to push when you’re in agony,
And you’re emotional,
And tired,
And just want to fucking eat and not count every tiny fucking nutritional value…

However, it’s still far away,
Because I have shitty self-control
In my broken body.

Perpetuated by the chemicals inside
That refuse to do as told.
That believe themselves to be independent,
Doing what they want
Only to fuck me over.

Because that independence
Makes my head hurt,
My heart hurt.
That overwhelming bullshit
To fight every day to feel normal,
To feel not unbalanced,
To feel happy for more than brief moments.

But instead the little chemicals
Do whatever the fuck they want
And in order to make them function properly:

I wish I didn’t need them
But the last time I tried
It broke me harder, further, deeper.
Needing more meds to stabilize.

So I truck along
Through good days and bad
In my broken head.

Add up chronic pain,
With chemical malfunctioning brain and emotions,
Throw in the added inadequacies of being fired and years of practice in self-loathing
And here we are.

The culmination of all that I am
Wrapped together
Dripping with sarcasm and tears for glue
Trying to hold it all together.
And lately, it feels that every day is a little harder than before.
That the balancing act continues tipping.
That a happy me seems to get further and further away.

Because I’m so tired of fighting for it.
Because I’m so tired of constantly trying to be upbeat.
Because I’m so tired of forcing myself to smile when I want to cry.
Because I’m so tired.


Broken body
Broken head
Broken heart.

All day.
Every day.
Wondering when

I can be happy again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Difference a Year Makes

December 2016. Not yet at my highest weight.
Last year on my birthday, I decided that I needed a change.  I looked at where I was and who I was and decided it had to be different.  I could no longer neglect my body.  I weighed myself the day after my birthday, prepared to begin my weight loss journey.  I started at 210 pounds.  The highest I had ever been.

Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of photos that show me in full figure at that weight. So close will have to do.  But what you can see is a person who is not healthy.  A person who does not love her body enough to take care of it properly.

I made a promise that by my next birthday, which happened to be yesterday, April 2, 2018, I would be down to 150.  A grand total of 60 pounds.

I wasn't new to the idea of working out and weight loss.  I'd been working out before but never seeing any results. In fact, I would work out almost an hour every day and nothing would change.  Because, and I really can't stress this enough, I had no fucking clue what I was doing.

When it comes to weight loss and working out, you can't just work out and expect to lose weight. You have to be aware of what you are actually putting in your body.  Let's say you work out a good 30 minutes on an elliptical, and you're thinking healthy so you have salad for lunch.  But the salad has some chicken, some avocado, couple tablespoons of dressing.  You've just eaten back everything you burned.  And that might not be a huge deal, but it isn't going to result in weight loss if you aren't paying attention to everything you take in.

Most nutrition labels go by the idea that a "normal" person needs 2,000 calories a day.  I'm going to put this as delicately as possible, you do not need that many fucking calories a day.  Unless you are jacked as fuck like all the Hollywood starlets who bust ass in the gym four hours a day, YOU DO NOT NEED THIS MANY CALORIES!!!!

So, having said that which is helpful but not necessarily the most helpful, I'm going to thrown down my tips for weight loss.  It isn't easy.  In fact, it is a bitch.  But I believe with my whole heart and soul that it is completely worth it.  But I'm not all about the platitudes.  Allow me to show you my proof!

Me on April 2nd, 2018 at 145 pounds
TA DA!!! I made it.  In fact, not only did I meet my goal, I had another five pounds down.  I actually went a little bit closer to 140, but since I gave myself a couple cheat days for my birthday and pigged out on Easter, it went back up a little. But let's get a good look at a side by side.  Because it is far easier to see the difference that way.

Oh my fucking god, just look at my face.

I truly still can't believe how much weight I've lost.  It still in many ways doesn't seem real.  Especially since I have at least15 pounds to go.  But I've never been more determined to be the healthiest version of myself.  If you want success too, I can share my tips and maybe you just might try them.

1) Get a good scale.  Weighing yourself sucks, but it's important.  Most important because you want to be able to track the changes.  But not just to your weight.  We purchased a Renpho scale which comes with a companion app.  It measures everything!  But it also shows these numbers in the grand scale of what is healthy.  So you can watch the numbers change and see yourself getting closer and healthier!  Check it out on Amazon for just over $30.  Honestly, it's the best scale I've ever owned.

2) Losing weight is in the kitchen, not the gym.  As mentioned before, you can work out until the cows come home, but if you aren't paying attention to what you're putting in your body, it won't matter.  Plenty of apps and websites are out there to figure out how much you should be ingesting in order to lose weight. Plan accordingly.

3) Learn how to read nutrition labels! This may seem kind of weird, but really learn what things are made of.  When you start learning and understanding what your body needs, you'll realize how to do better for yourself.  There is a favorite restaurant nearby that my partner and I love to frequent.  They have fish and chips made just like in England, and they are divine.  Shortly before my birthday last year, we went there for dinner and I devoured a whole plate of fish and chips, coleslaw, and I believe a whole 16 ounce beer.  After starting this weight loss journey, we went back as a treat or reward for hitting a goal, I don't remember.  But it was over a month into my weight loss, I could not finish half my plate. When you start eating smaller portions and control what you eat, your stomach becomes smaller and thus less food is needed to fill up. Especially since, you really, really, really, really don't need 2,000 calories a day.

4) Consider Keto.  While calorie counting worked for me for a while, I eventually saw my weight loss slowing drastically.  This is where reading and learning nutrition becomes even more important.  Carbohydrates, we're told, is that energy we get that keeps us going.  What you might not know is that all those carbs you take in become the fat on your body if your body can't burn it.  What the Keto diet does is limits your carbs as much as possible, which turns your body towards burning fat.  When you're overweight, as you might know, your body has lots of that to burn.  I started doing Keto at the end of February.  At that point, I weighed 157.6, and after a month I had lost over 11 pounds.  In a month.  Because my body was literally reprogrammed to eat its own fat.  That is what Keto can do.  I'm keeping up with it for my last 15 pounds, and it feeds into my next idea.

5) Use Excel to calculate and an app to keep track!  I use a spreadsheet to calculate everything.  I have a separate tab for the week where I plan out my breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and dessert.  Each meal gets broken down by calories, protein, fat, and carbs.  The protein, fat, and carbs by the gram.  At the bottom of the spreadsheet, I add all these up for my totals. Each meal has another tab, where I can list a meal idea and all of the ingredients and amounts, calculate the totals, and if I am only eating a portion I can divide by portions.  Excel makes it super easy by having equations just a click away.  This to me is one of the most important parts because every recipe I make, I am not relying on someone else's information because I'm doing all the math myself.  And what I've learned is that most things that say they are "low carb" are full of shit.  Once you take those ingredients and find out the real numbers, you will see that it probably isn't actually low carb.

Side note: In Keto, when it comes to reading nutrition, you don't count fiber.  Your body intakes and naturally uses the fiber.  What your body has to burn for energy is the sugars.  So, when counting carbs, you take the total carbs per serving and subtract the amount of fiber.  Then that is what you intake in carbs.  For instance, food A has 5 total grams of carbs per serving. It has 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of sugar.  When you eat a serving of food A, you are eating 3 grams of carbs.  5-2=3.  If you choose to do Keto, do some research. Go to a site and figure out what your maximum per day should be for grams of protein and fat.  And I personally suggest continuing counting calories.  But what I've learned in my experience is to limit your carbs under 25 grams a day or a minimal as you can keep it.  Plus, if you're eating carbs, eat them earlier in the day.  If you eat carbs right before bed, your body will be in carb burning mode and won't do you any good.  Personally, I've found the days I can keep my grams of carbs lower than 10 are the days where I have maximum weight loss, regardless of how much protein and fat I intake.

I'm still not done with this journey.  But I really can't wait to keep going.  It's nice to take occasional breaks, but it is also easy to kick yourself out of ketosis by eating too many carbs, so then your body has to adjust to burning fat again.  I know I can do it, and I'm excited to do it.  I hope that people will see this and know how capable you are of doing this for yourself.  Planning my meals and being more attentive has helped me so much.  I wish everyone the best on their own journey.