Social Anxiety Disorder and Exploding Lives

May 12th was my last post. It has been two months. How much can possibly go wrong in two months? I know setbacks are normal and sometimes you can’t help it. Though, when life explodes, setbacks become obstacles that are tough to hurdle.

Life exploded. I gained the weight back due to depression, and stress eating from everything that has happened in these last two months. Let me break it down for you, but first, I want to talk about Social Anxiety Disorder, if I may.

I’m having one of those days.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) can be debilitating in ways that many people don’t understand. For those of us with a high severity of the disorder, appointments become nightmares. We have to psych ourselves up to even get out the door. Forget public transit. That’s the fastest way to end up in the emergency room from a panic attack. Having someone knock on your door unexpectedly, especially if it’s someone you don’t know, can cause an entire day or more of crippling anxiety. Talking on the phone for ten minutes can drain us to the point that we desperately need a nap. Some of us turn off our phones and pretend our batteries are dead just so we can have a day without an anxiety attack.

Grocery shopping? Once a month. Not because I can’t budget my money to go for fresh things every week, but because I can’t deal with that many people at one time more than once a month. And, don’t tell someone with Social Anxiety Disorder to go at night when no one is there, because that makes it worse. With people all around, you can at least sometimes pretend you’re invisible. Going at night, every time you see a living person, they feel obligated to single you out for a greeting. Night shopping is terrifying.

“But you don’t act terrified of people.”

My common coping mechanisms include acting bubbly or ‘easy to talk to’ in an attempt at diffusing the situation fast enough to get away and hide. Dealing with family is easier. They are safe. Some family members, though, still freak me out. Going to my son’s birthday party with strange people and children? I came home, took two ativan, and hid in my shower until the panic went away.

Job? I’ve been fired from more jobs for freaking out and hiding in the back room during panic attacks, than I have had successful job runs. There were only two job runs I was able to stay at. Avaya, in which I was tech support. I would often play the After Call Work button game to keep dropping me to the bottom of the call queue just so I could calm down between calls. I had so many reprimands for this that I was due to be fired, but since the company was closing the office in my city, and I didn’t have seniority to transfer locations, they let me stay until the doors closed.

Social Anxiety Disorder can be lonely.

Living with severe social anxiety disorder is lonely. Family stops wanting you near. Friends disappear because you aren’t ‘fun’. You can’t go to movies or hang out at bars or clubs because you may end up in the hospital. Leaving the house is physically painful. You become isolated, called a hermit, called lazy. We don’t want to live this way. Even with medication, this isn’t something that goes away. The worst thing about Social Anxiety Disorder, is the ongoing and pervasive fear of dying alone. Of never having friends. Of never getting married. Of never connecting with anyone else ever again, because it’s too stressful.

Living with a disorder isn’t fun. It isn’t a get money free pass. Disability isn’t something I would wish on anyone. The stigma that surrounds mental disorders is so thick that it’s hard to breathe. We aren’t moochers. We aren’t lying. We aren’t “working the system”. We are human beings. Just like someone suffering paralysis, we are disabled. Only, it’s our brains that are broken, not our bodies. Just because you can’t see the problem doesn’t mean we aren’t suffering.

Life Exploded

Now I can get into why my fitness goals have been flushed down the toilet for the last two months. I had a full relapse that has sent my SAD into overdrive. The stress eating has made me gain back all the weight I lost and then some. Needless to say, it has not been a pleasant experience.

In May, I was so excited about my fitness regimen that I bordered on religious zeal with it. It was fun, exciting, and the community here was great. The community still is, but on May 13th, my Bipolar Disorder took a depressive swing that I couldn’t shake until June. It was the longest run of a downswing that I have had since I changed medication three years ago. Even now, I’m not sure what caused it. But, it knocked me flat, and just coming on here made me feel lethargic to the point where I couldn’t do anything.

June 3rd, my brakes went out on my van. After many trips to mechanics and lots of heartache because I got told several times that I needed 23-25 feet of brake line, I found out that I only needed to refill my brake fluid. However, the mechanics let me know that my van had two holes the size of my open hand in the frame, and my inspection was due to run out on the 30th.

On Supplemental Security Income, major expenses are crippling.

I only make $881 a month on SSI. After paying bills, I barely have enough to buy groceries. My mechanic cousin convinced me to take my van two hours away to the garage where he works to give a fourth opinion. When he put my van up on the lift, he found the two holes and showed them to me. Then, he showed me several more places where the frame was only millimeters thick. After his assessment, he let me know that my van is not worth fixing. And, because scrap is down, it is only worth $300.

And because I have no credit and am on a fixed income that labels me well below the poverty guidelines (poverty guidelines are currently $15,000 a year, I get $10,500 per year), I can only find one place where I can get a vehicle loan. Kurt Johnson Auto will trade in my worthless van for $2,000 toward a used vehicle if I can come up with $1,500 for tax, tag, and title. With my current income and expenses, that will take me over a year. This means going over a year without transportation. Due to my Social Anxiety Disorder, public transportation is not an option.

Renter’s Insurance can be a pain.

The week of June 8th, lightning struck my trailer. I have renter’s insurance, so I thought I would be covered. And, since I have a laptop and replacement parts for my desktop, I had planned on using the insurance money to help me get reliable transportation. However, things did not go as planned.

The insurance adjuster treated me like a criminal. She asked me for a list of affected components and pictures, which I happily sent. Then, asked for reciepts, which I also sent without issue. After this, she sent an insurance investigator to my house to ask me a ton of questions. And, since I have Social Anxiety Disorder, things did not go well. She sent a man who acted like a police officer, and he scared the ever-bleeding crap out of me.

Over a month after I filed, my insurance adjuster denied the claim. Appeals did nothing, but cause me anxiety and heartache with nothing to show for it.

Rock, meet Hard Place.

Because I am unable to hold a job, I have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with the van expenses. I’m between that rock and hard place, and I’m stuck. You know how I mentioned earlier that those with Social Anxiety Disorder are sometimes called ‘mooches’ and told to get a job? I have personal experience with this.

In my facebook inbox, I have received several messages from strangers and friends alike. Every single one of them was derogatory. They ranged from “You know you live in [redacted]. You could just, you know, get a JOB.” to “Quit trying to mooch off people.” and “I never thought my friend would be a con artist.”

A con artist. A mooch. Get a job.

These aren’t things restricted only to those with my disorder. Anyone on SSI or SSDI who is under the age of 65 or not missing a limb, and needs financial help usually hears these things at least once. Most hear them, or something like them, on a regular basis.

I need your help.

If you can help with a donation, or can give me information on how to get help with funding, I would appreciate it. The link to the campaign is http://www.gofundme.com/x6h4mfk and shares to help me reach my goal would be awesome.

I apologize for such a long post. However, I need help, and awareness for mental disorders and mental disabilities needs boosted. I am not alone. Anxiety disorders alone are rated “the most common mental illness in the U.S.

We try to be independent and strong. But, sometimes we need help. And often, our families and friends don’t understand, no matter how much or how well we try to explain our disabilities. So, I’m asking for your help.

If you suffer a mental disorder or any other chronic illness or disability, you are amazing and I applaud your strength and courage. If you support someone with a disability, whether emotionally, physically, or financially, you are a hero and I hope you know how much I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you.

Day 5

Well, today was a success and a failure. But, I’m not focusing too much on the failure. I got a lot done today, and I’m quite proud of myself. Unfortunately, most of that “lot” that got done, was reading my beta-reader pile and getting back with authors who are depending on me to help them with feedback. Not a waste of time, but didn’t allow me to focus as much time on my diet plan as I would have liked, and I ended up skipping a few meals in the process.

I traded gold for crap. It’s rare that I come across a story that I hate. But, this wasn’t even a story. It was a string of daily journal entries, which for a blog would be fine. For fiction, it was tedious, boring, inane, and soul crushing. I just hope I didn’t crush the poor author, and hope like hell I gave her advice good enough to salvage some of the neat things that I found in the trash. I don’t like crushing dreams, but I do like digging for gold.

The Great Outdoors

So, enough with my decaying brain matter. I had to go outside today. As someone with social anxiety, this is always a chore. I had to practically throw myself out my front door and race to my van, otherwise I would have gone right back inside, got in my jammies, and sat right back in front of my computer where I feel safest.

I went to the post office. Success. Paid my rent. Success. Then, I parked on a street leading to my street, and walked to the smoke shop. Traffic was so horrid due to road work, that if I had driven the two hilly blocks, it would have taken me an hour to get out of the smoke shop’s drive so I could get home. Nope. Nope. Nope. So. I walked. Going downhill, I felt like I would faceplant at any moment. Going uphill, I felt like my legs were going to catch fire, and I would turn into the Burning Woman of Clarion. It was grueseome.

So, needless to say, that was my five minutes of Gazelle time in real world application, so I skipped the machine today. I may still go do my five minutes for shits and giggles before I go to bed, but as of right now… I still feel like death would make my poor muscles happy. πŸ˜›

I Really Need a Dietician

If I can’t find one I can afford, I’ll be doing it based on my own past medical history. I’m thinking of doing the Whole30 diet. It’s basically a low carb, high fat, low/no dairy diet, which is good for me since my lactose intolerance decided to make my life smell miserable. It’s low carbs because of no pasta, breads, starches or added sugars (mainly added sugars), and high fat, because low-fat options take out taste by removing fat, and supplement taste by adding sugars and, even worse, sugar substitutes.

Best thing? The Whole30 has shopping lists already made for you, that you can add to, subtract from, whatever you want to do to it to make it work for you.

Even better? I don’t see anything on the site that I have to buy from them. They give me all the information I need to make my own informed choices. It gives me advice for how to structure my meals, what to eat pre-workout, post-workout, and the best things to snack on.

SNACKS! Did I ever mention how much I love snacks. A diet that tells me I am allowed to have snacks sounds too good to be true. But, I’ve been reading, and from everything I read the past few days off WebMD and other sources for healthy diet and nutrition, the Whole30 diet is the same thing, only Whole30 encourages you to eat whole fat foods, rather than going after low-fat, fat-free/nonfat alternatives. Not sure how I feel about this approach, but I have three friends who have lost weight with this system. One of whom lost 6 dress sizes, and is still on the diet because it keeps her satisfied. Even on the days of her hardest workouts.

So, I’m really paying attention to this. If I decide to give it a try, I’ll keep you posted.

Men smiled at me…

I’m not sure if it’s my confidence boost, or I’m just noticing it, or what, but when I was out, every man I passed smiled at me. I feel vaguely uncomfortable by this, but I think that has to do with the fact that I actually made eye contact with everyone I passed today. I don’t make eye contact unless I have to. What the hell changed that it happened the entire two hours I was out and about today?

The women? The women I passed kinda scowled. o.O Not sure what that was all about, but you know what? The ladies in the post office were awesome, so they balance out the scowly hens. πŸ˜€

Also… why is it that men can smile at everyone, but if you pass by a woman on the street, nine times out of ten, they will either pretend you don’t exist, or scowl at you? Are women afraid of each other? Put off by one another? Maybe I offended them by wearing a black jacket and black jeans with my girly pink blouse, socks and blue and pink shoes. But, whatever it was, I kinda wanted to hide in the post office by the time I made it to the front doors…

Eyeglasses, or food…?

I’ve got an eye appointment, the first in over four years, on the 12th. I finally found an eye doctor who takes my insurance. It’s 30 minutes away, but it’s worth it for my eyeballs. Now? Found out that my insurance covers eye exams, but not lenses or frames unless you have aphakia. Why? I dunno. It’s ridiculous. It’s like, “We want you to get your exam, but we don’t care if you need to do anything about the results. Good luck!”

So, now I’m down to the fact that I am on a tight budget. I bring in $881/mo from disability. By the time I finish paying bills, I have about $77 left over. Then, I have to buy gas. I get around $40 in gas every other month. So, that brings us down to $37 on the gas-needing months. And, on the months I don’t need gas, that $40 usually goes toward extra food.

Now, let me put this into tighter perspective. I get $71 in SNAP benefits. Plus $37, is $108. When I’m on my normal diet, the unhealthy diet, I can make this stretch for groceries. Though, lately, I’ve had to get help from friends and family.

I’m not even sure how I’m going to get healthy food on $108. What am I supposed to do about my eyesight? I kind of rely on it for a source of income, or I will when I start publishing the things I’m writing now. Scary stuff. Not as daunted as I should be, because I know I can get good glasses from zennioptical.com for $50 including shipping and stuff. However, it may take me a while to get up that $50. Here’s hoping.

Smoking is bad, mm’kay?

My e-cigarette ran out of nicotine juice around 5am. I was still blazing my way through a story, and the smoke shop doesn’t open until 9am. Instead of forcing myself to go to bed at 5am like any other normal being would, I drove myself to the gas station and bought a pack of real cigarettes.

I then proceeded to come home and smoke them like they were my ecig. Let me tell you how bad I feel right now. Not, “I did a bad…” bad. The, “I got hit by a truck, and it infused me with its exhaust” bad. I have no energy. My eyes are super dry. My throat hurts. I can’t taste anything. I can’t get rid of this incessant headache. I keep losing focus. And, what’s worse, is when I got back from getting new e-liquid from the smoke shop, it tastes nothing like what I sampled at the shop, and I keep having the urge to go buy another pack of the real stuff.

I should get my shipment of my regular stuff sometime tomorrow or the day after. Pray for me. …Or rather, pray I don’t rip anyone’s head off. ❀

Hopefully tomorrow brings good news. I’ll see you then!

 

Day 4

Good news! I figured out why my stomach kept screaming at me yesterday! Apparently, there are studies everywhere that say artificial sweeteners increase hunger. So, I gave up Diet Pepsi today and went to tap water flavored with Dasani Drops (current drops are strawberry-kiwi flavored!) So far today, my hunger has been manageable, and my urge to go after the nutella jar has been greatly diminished.

On another note, the Hot Pockets in my freezer are really insistent. Not in the “You must gorge on me!” way, but in the nagging “I know you’re out there…” way. The creepy way. So, since I only have eight left, I decided that now that I have my hunger under control with giving up the Diet Pepsi, I could replace two Carnation Instant Breakfast (CIB) shakes with one Hot Pocket a day. I’ll still be around my target calorie intake, and I will slowly get rid of temptation.

The Nutella? I may just have to give that away, or put it somewhere out of sight and hope I forget about it. I know I should give that away, but I planned on using that once a week as my weekly treat. Still, though. It needs to shut up and leave me alone the rest of the time!

Fitness is Slow and Painful

So, let me tell you how much my legs and back hurt yesterday. It was not a pleasant thing. Not at all. Needless to say, I took a day off from the Gazelle. Not a permanent thing, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Especially since just throwing my back out and spending last week on muscle relaxers and Aleve. If I need to take today off (I’m still super sore), I’ll give my hand weights a try and have an arm day. Wish I would have thought of that yesterday, but I was full-derp from resetting my sleep schedule. The sleep schedule reset failed, by the way…

May definitely need a new source of liquid diet

Let me tell you about milk farts. They are not pleasant. Apparently, I am lactose intolerant. More so than I previously thought. And, even 0% milk is giving me gas pain and messing with my stool. Cheese doesn’t usually bother me (that I notice), but being on a liquid diet that consists of 6 packets of No Sugar Added Carnation Instant Breakfast powder and 12 cups of milk a day is making me miserable. And, I don’t know what to do. I hate all of the milk alternatives out there like Lactaid and almond milk. Even if I didn’t hate it, almond and rice milks are too expensive. My grocery bill needs to come in under $150 a month, and that is including EBT from SNAP Benefits.

I’m considering pushing through, but I need to find some alternatives if that isn’t possible. I may revert back to a solid food diet, and figure out some healthy things to make in the crock pot until I can figure things out. I really need to browse online for some good, healthy recipes.

Interesting Discoveries

Browsing the internet for diet help, I came across several WebMD articles that helped me to figure out what I had been doing wrong, and how to get back on track. Now, I don’t really know how well they will work, based on my past history, but it’s worth trying a few of the things out.

For starters, I found out that my six meal a day thing is a good habit to retain, so long as the meals are small and low in calories, and consist of healthy food. I learned portion size (ugh), how to curb my emotional eating, some tips on what foods to eat to help shed the weight, and some tips on how to not hate my vegetables. This article gave me a good guide on how to incorporate all the rest of what I learned without resorting to fad dieting methods I tried to incorporate many times over the course of my life. And then there is this article that focuses on how to lose weight when you’re obese. Since my ultimate goal is to get down to 150 pounds, I found the last article really helpful. Losing 100 pounds in a year would be awesome, but I will be happy with 50 for now. The other 50 would be a huge bonus.

Work In Progress

I don’t count my “cheating” as a diet failure. I’m a work in progress, and from my cheating I figured out some important things. I feel more satisfied if I can chew something. And since gum makes me nauseous, and because my CIB is so full of lactose that screws with my digestive tract, I may need to go on a solid food diet, and just change the solid foods that I have in my house. It helped me to go, in desperation, to the internet for advice and tips, and I found awesome things. It also helped me to figure out what my snacking triggers are.

So, hopefully, going forward, I will be more prepared for the setbacks, and can formulate a good and healthy grocery list for this month. It also prepared me for my son’s Special Olympics on the 7th of this month. There are so few healthy options at the food stands, and the only thing healthy I remember from last year was water. So, time to pack myself a cooler of things I won’t mind giving up a Walking Taco for!

Wish me luck, and I will be back tomorrow! Thanks for reading.

Day 3

So, let’s just say yesterday was …interesting. I forgot to clean the fish tank. (Poor feesh…) I ended up going over my calorie limit. Nutella and three slices of bread ended up in my belly during a delierious semi-sleepwalk. And, I spent a good part of the day staring off into space. Apparently, my mind and body don’t know what to do with themselves when I’m not shoving food in my face. Huh. Gotta do something about that.

The good thing, though, is I’m at least measuring things. Except for the nutella. I guestimated on that. I snuck some chex mix, but it was one 1/2 cup serving. So, I’m learning! That’s got to count for something. πŸ˜€

For exercise, I did my five minutes on the Gazelle. It was gruelling. I had to stop several times to let my legs rest for a few seconds before I could go on. When I stepped off the machine, I nearly fell on my butt. However, I kinda expected this, so I’m not worried. I just hope things even out soon.

But, man. When does your body quit screaming that you’re starving it? All freaking day, I craved a hot pocket so bad that I got lost in space a few times drooling at the thought of biting into one. It got so bad, that I contemplated skipping two shakes just to have one hot pocket and not go too much over my calorie limit. I don’t remember this diet being this hard back in 2011. Then again, I can’t remember doctors’ appointments the next day after they call me to verify I’m coming in. And, I doubt stomachs care about your memory… or lack thereof.

Pardon my sleep deprived word vomit.

Since I’m trying to change my life for the better, one of my gripes is getting up between 2-5pm every day, and not going to bed until daylight. So, I am resetting my sleep schedule today, and hopefully going to get that back on track. If I can get myself to where I can go to bed at midnight (or earlier) every day, then maybe I can do other things, too.

And then there’s the feeling that maybe I’m trying to do too much too fast. I’m not sure whether that’s sleep deprivation talking, or common sense. But, I’m already up. Might as well stick it out for another five hours. I have a feeling today’s calorie intake will either be really low, or really high. On sleep schedule resets, I either gorge or starve without realizing I’m doing either. Just gotta be super conscious about it.

Planning for the Future

I’m already starting to get worried about what I’m going to do after I get off this CIB liquid diet. I need to be able to feed myself healthy meals every day for 31 days every month… for under $100 a month. I could do it with unhealthy foods, because of cheap pizzas, cheap TV dinners, etc. Since moving to where I live now, I have no stove, and for almost a year, I lived out of a microwave. I now have a crock pot, hot plate, and toaster oven thanks to my lovely parents. So, now, I need to learn how to cook again. And, I kinda need to learn how to cook healthy for the first time, ever.

I have a few recipes that I’ve accumulated and created over the last few years. Check it out here: The Bachelors Cookbook. I wrote that for a friend of mine for her boyfriend. His mother and grandmother did all his cooking until he left, and never taught him how to use a stove. My friend taught him the hard part: how to use the stove. So, I sent him a bunch of my favorite recipes from my experimentation, friends, and old family recipes. I know half of them are far from healthy, but… it’s a start. Some of them, I can probably make healthy by changing a few things. Any help in that department would be awesome!

To start planning, I need to figure out my shopping habits. First thing that comes to mind, is when I go grocery shopping, I immediately run straight for Walmart, and ignore the shit out of Aldi’s. Why? Walmart feels safe. It’s familiar. Aldi’s is alien, and I have anxiety disorders. I always tend to gravitate toward that which feels safe and familiar, no matter how well managed my disorders are.

I don’t look at prices. I’ve been shopping for the same things every month for over a year now, with very little variation. I’ve gotten into the habit that I fill my basket, and get to the checkout counter, and if it goes over what I have, I ask them to put things back. And, thinking back on it, I usually have them put back stuff I really should be keeping, and keeping the stuff I should really have them put back.

So, going forward, I will be taking pen and paper with me, a calculator (on my phone!), and going to Aldi’s first. Sounds like a good plan to me. I want to start going to Zacherel’s Produce Market (local farm owned and operated, grown near the Market Stand), but I need to see if I can budget in the necessary gas (it’s about 15 miles away from me, I think) to get there, to see if it’s worth it.

Impantience to In-Patient

I keep feeling like I’m not doing enough. Like, I should be doing more exercise, even though the Gazelle still tries to kill me during a five minute workout. I should be incorporating Yoga already. I should be doing more with my time than waiting for the next CIB shake, because I’m starving. The only thing stopping me, is the fact that I’m already starving, and terrified that if I add Yoga this early, I’ll start cheating on my diet more than I already have. I’m also so scared that I’ll burn myself out like I have done all those times I started fitness programs in the past, and give up again, despite my best intentions. Those times, I put too much stress on myself, didn’t have enough variety, and pushed for too much, too soon. And, quite frankly, I got bored. I need to find a way to make it fun, or at least interesting. Or, something. I’m not even sure. I just know that I don’t want to end up in the hospital, and I don’t want to end up giving up like all the other times.

Healthy foods that won’t make me gag?

So, yeah. I have a sensory issue with some food. For instance, I can’t eat sushi. Not because of the flavor, but because of the textures. I can’t eat tapioca pudding. I can’t drink my CIB unless it’s in 2 cups of milk, instead of one, because it feels grainy.

Then, there’s my finicky palate. I have issues eating raw vegetables without dousing them liberally in ranch dressing. The same goes for salads. I don’t like the taste of raw vegetables, lettuce, or practically anything healthy without copious amounts of dressing, gravy, ketchup, you get the idea. Chicken? It needs barbeque sauce or ketchup. Steak? Ketchup or A1 sauce. Pork loin? Ketchup. Turkey? Ketchup or gravy. Meatloaf? Ketchup or pasta sauce. I just don’t like the taste, and need something to mask it that tastes better.

I guess, my question for you, is this: How do I go about training myself to like things I’ve hated since childhood, so I can eat them without gagging, and hopefully learn to enjoy them?

Also… really. When does your body stop screaming that you’re starving it? Mine thinks we’re dying.

Day 2

Hoh, man. I used the Gazelle for six minutes yesterday, and my poor legs want to go find a new owner. I don’t know how I’m going to keep this up, but I will find a way. Seriously, though. It works everything. My abdomen feels weird. My arms feel like I lost a fight. Even my butt hurts. Nothing hurts enough to take an Aleve. At least… not the muscles. My hips are unhappy and sending pain shooting down to my knees. I’m pretty sure that’s just because my body is rebelling. It’s all, “Nooooo! We had a good thing going! You sit on your butt all day, and we get to be jiggly! It was awesome!”

No, body. Jiggly is not awesome. I don’t mind being a BBW, but I’d at least like to be a healthy BBW. This much jiggle, and this much weight, and this lack of strength and endurance is not healthy. QUIT IT.

Diet Goofs and Yays

I cheated yesterday. I had… several servings– I didn’t count since I ate out of the bag on habit– of traditional Chex Mix Snack Mix. I don’t mind snacking. Snacking is just something that is going to happen. I’ve already accepted this. Starting today, however, I will measure everything, put it into a bowl, and put the damned bag back into a cupboard so that it isn’t right next to my desk for me to mindlessly munch on and undo everything I’m trying to achieve. Then, I will input the calorie, fat and carb info into my handy-dandy spreadsheet that J.A. Marlow made for me. If you’re interested, you can find it here: Weight Tracker 2015.*

The very same cheating thing is trying to happen with the Nutella jar. I was good, though. I brought the Nutella jar in on impulse. Sat down. Groaned. Got my ass back up and took the jar, the bread, and my CIB glass back out to the kitchen, and got me a glass of CIB instead. Crisis averted! I want to save the Nutella as a weekly treat for myself. Two tablespoons is 200 Calories, 11g Fat, and 22g Carbs. So, once a week, two tablespoons of Nutella, two slices of toast, and that is my treat! WORTH IT!

Next Project: Sleep Pattern

You see, I have a problem. That problem, is that I am a writer, and I have gotten into the habit of letting my mind run with a story until I’m either physically unable to stay awake anymore, or until the story dries up for the day. Now, even when I’m not writing, I find myself finding things to keep me awake when I’m “too bored to go to bed”. …Isn’t that the silliest expression you’ve ever heard? Too bored to go to bed? How is that possible? I don’t know why, but if I get bored at bedtime, I can’t seem to make myself go to bed.

New rule: If I ever say, or even insinuate, that I am bored, I will go do an extra minute on the Gazelle. I also figured out something while writing this. I’m not even really bored when I’m close to needing sleep. I feel guilty for going to sleep when I feel I haven’t accomplished anything. Well, let’s see if I can change that!

So, boredom equals a minute on the Gazelle to rid me of the boredom. The next phase, is to set a bedtime. This may take some work, because my sleep schedule is pretty borked. I normally end up in bed around 6am-8am on normal days, and wake up around 5pm. The only usual variations, are the days I have doctors’ appointments, or the rare days I’m in full blown manic episode.

I’m not going for anything unrealistic. I do my best writing in the dark hours (don’t ask me why, I don’t know), so I think I will set my bedtime at 11pm or midnight. I do tend to notice that when I’m on “Normal People Hours”, I need less sleep, feel more rested, and am generally in a better mood. I get stressed less easily, I get more accomplished, and I don’t stress about how to fit all my errands into an hour before everything in this town closes. So, this is for the best, and I need to get to that point, and stick with it once I do. Sticking with it is always the hardest part.

Today’s Non-Fitness Goal: The Fish Tank

Good Lord that fish tank is nasty. It hasn’t been properly disassembled and cleaned since… guh, I think it’s been almost a year. *Hangs head in shame* My poor feesh. But, algae is nasty. And, that, my friends, is why I should not own fish…

 

* If you like the spreadsheet, it would be awesome if you thanked J.A. Marlow by helping out her GoFundMe campaign. Her mother is suffering from a GBM brain tumor, and stuff is expensive.

The Beginning

It’s a shame that I’m too embarrassed to post a photo of myself on the internet. A year ago, I was around 200 pounds. I weighed myself today, and I am now 245 pounds. At 36 years old, I have arthritis in both knees, both hips, and both shoulders. Both knees and shoulders randomly dislocate for no reason. The other day, I had to go to the Emergency Room. I shuffled in, unable to lift my right leg without sending myself to the floor. My body was bent at a 45ΒΊ angle toward the floor, and I had to have help signing in.

It took only a few moments for the ER personnel to put me in the weirdest pretzel position I’ve ever thought possible and snap my back into place. I somehow misaligned my lumbo-sacral disks, and I did it by trying on a pair of underwear. No, I did not have any problems. No, I was not trying to be sexy. I simply bent over, pulled them up, and twisted to tuck in the tag. Then, I hit the floor.

I’m too young to throw out my back while putting on clothes. I am too young to be this close to diabetes because of obesity. I am too young to waste my life worrying about health problems, when I should be writing and enjoying friends.

I am too young to die. But, that is where I am headed if I don’t change.

Twice the Girl

I get short of breath walking from the entry of Walmart to the electronics section. That isn’t acceptable for a 36 year old woman, who is supposed to be in her prime. Call it a mid-life crisis, or a eureka moment, but last night, I found a photograph of myself from a year ago. It surprised me, and I pulled up another photo I took yesterday. I was so shocked that I edited yesterday’s photo to see the difference based on the size now, versus the size I was a year ago.

I am literally twice the size today. In a single year, I packed on another human, and I am carrying her around everywhere I go. It’s time to get rid of her.

That eureka moment hit me so hard, that I couldn’t sit still. Today, I am unfolding my Gazelle. I took my hand weights out of their box. I dusted off my workout videos that I used to enjoy. Today, I start a new lifestyle. Today, things change. Today, I start on my path to reshaping my life, my body, and my health.

My Diet

Almost everyone who knows me, knows that I had a roux-en-y gastric bypass in 2011. Before I went into surgery, I had to lose weight so that they could get my liver out of the way to cut on my stomach for the procedure. I’m starting that diet today.

No Sugar Added Carnation Instant Breakfast (CIB) has all the nutrients and protein I need for a meal, if used for a short amount of time. Starting today, I will drink 6 glasses of CIB a day for two weeks. The week after, I willlower myself down to 4 glasses per day. Then, a week of 3 glasses per day. I call this my detox month. It will help me detox from all of the junk I have been eating, all of the candy, carbs, fat, calories, and fast food.

Next month, it will be time to start with one meal of solid, healthy, food a day with my two CIB shakes. The month after, two meals a day, with CIB for supper. On the third month, I will be fully on solid foods.

Exercise

During my detox period, I plan on working on my endurance. Currently, I get winded on my Gazelle after about five minutes. I can work with that. Five minutes a day for five days. On the sixth, I try and endurance test to see if I can up it to ten minutes. If I can increase once a week at five minute intervals of exercise, I can easily work my way up to thirty minutes a day. Thirty minutes of cardio is my goal.

Once I establish my cardio routine, it’s time to add in the hand weights for arm and shoulder strength training. My weights are 3 lbs, 6 lbs, and 8 lbs. Starting off with the three pounds, I hope to progress to the 8 pounds in a month. If I don’t make it, I’m going to do something I have never done before: I will continue building strength until I can, at the schedule my body sets, not the one I have in my head.

With the hand weights and my Gazelle routines established, I plan on incorporating yoga for 30 minutes a day, once a week, building up to three days a week, on top of my cardio and arm strenght training.

My Ultimate Goal

While I would love to get down to 150 lbs in a year, I am realistic. My hope, is by this time next year, I will have lost 50 pounds with this new plan. Each week, I will post my progress, interspersed with random thoughts and how I feel about the changes. Maybe if I put everything down in words, and make those words public, I can hold myself accountable and keep my discipline so I can finally achieve a healthy weight without another invasive and life-altering surgery.

Any help and cheering on is appreciated. Any advice on healthy meal plans and/or low-impact fitness training will get you squee’d at. Thank you for reading this far. My journey starts now.