Day 87: Ketones & Therapy

If you say the title just right, it has the same beats as Bone Thugs & Harmony. (Did I just date myself?) 🙂

Today I decided two things – to go back to online therapy, since I’m pretty hopeless at finding an in-person therapist via my insurance’s mental health providers page, and to get with the keto diet craze.

I’m honestly too tired to do much explaining, but I wanted to make sure to note both things for posterity. Let’s just say that I have two overweight friends whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of months, and they’ve been lazily following a somewhat-keto diet. Ran into them on Friday and they’ve both lost serious weight. I started looking into what they were doing, and realized that I could eat all of my favorite things, with very little change from what I had been doing on the Whole30 a year ago. So I went ahead and changed my macro goals on MyFitnessPal this afternoon, and met them over the course of the day (my carbs were still a little high, but it was all from veggies, so I don’t feel bad).

I also signed up over at TalkSpace again tonight. It’s still way out of my price range, honestly, but it has to be done. I’ve got so much going on in my head lately, and I can’t see a way out. It’s time to stop pretending like I can handle this alone. I keep going in circles. I have no idea what to do with my career, my love life, my future plans. I’m feeling lost, and the anxiety just grows. Some days I feel like a fox in a trap. If I could do something as simple as gnaw my own leg off to get away, I would have already. I dunno.

Anyway, hopefully a regulated diet and having someone to talk to will help me.

Day ???

I suck at this.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me giving up on weight loss. It’s just an honest assessment of the current situation. I started this blog on April 9th, at 197.6 lbs. That’s three months ago – I should be roughly 20 lbs down by now. This morning, I weighed in at 198 lbs. This, my friends, is what it looks like to get off track.

But that’s OK. We get off track, we get back on. I know that I can do this. I just need to figure out what will work best for me.

What was working was going to the gym every day after work, meal prepping, and going to Refuge Recovery once a week. Unfortunately, when I started working my second job, that added another 20+ hours to my work week, and cut out almost all of my free time to work out and meal prep. I do technically still have the time to get to the meeting, but it’s a 2 mile walk at the end of a very long work day, and I’m typically so exhausted that I just don’t have it in me to get there.

The new job also gave me access to all-you-can-eat bagels, and the incentive to drink more coffee and Diet Coke to be able to stay awake for 36+ hour periods, and beer to rewind after frying my brain with so much customer service. In short, this schedule is making it very difficult, timewise and emotionally, to do any of the things I need to do to get the body I want. I’m sliding back into old crappy eating habits out of feeling like I have no time, and “rewarding” myself with treats whenever I’m not working. Gotta stop it.

But I have a few ideas for how to get back to where I want to be:

  1. The first idea is to start waking up at 5:30 to get in a workout prior to heading to work for the day. I am traditionally not good at this. I’ve been trying for years to wake up early. I don’t like it, and I’m not good at it, but I just have to do it now.
  2. The second idea is to count calories again, using MyFitnessPal. This is another thing that I’ve done in the past, but with some success. I think it will help me be accountable for what I eat at Job #2, home of the free bagels.
  3. The third idea is to start taking a supplement stack. Just ordered this one from Legion: https://legionathletics.com/products/supplements/the-30-day-love-your-body-transformation/
  4. The fourth idea is to take care of myself in other ways, so that I feel a little better about myself when I look in the mirror. Right now, I gotta say that I’m not having a great time, mentally. I’m bloated, and my hair is gross, and none of my (already old, worn out) work clothes fit me well. It’s hard to see my worth some days. But I made an appointment today to go in for an eye exam, and I’m going to get contacts for the first time in ten years. I also scheduled a hair cut with my favorite stylist. And I think I’m going to talk to my dentist about the cost of getting braces, so I can start saving with a goal in mind. I’d rather spend a little less paying back my credit cards if I can have straight teeth and no debt at roughly the same time. Extra bonus: when I had Invisalign, my mouth hurt way too snack mindlessly. That would really help my weight.
  5. The fifth idea is to see if I can carve out some time to work out during lunch. I only get 30 minutes, but I can at least run up and down the stairs a couple of times.
  6. The sixth idea is to start looking for new jobs. It’s extreme, and it’s heartbreaking, since I love my primary job, but I can’t afford to keep living like this.

 

Day 50: Pros and Cons

Untreated anxiety can get to feel like a Groundhog Day situation. It seems that I’m constantly just waking up back at step one. Things change, but not enough to make a difference. I am still overweight, in debt up to my eyeballs, stuck in the same shoebox apartment, struggling with my relationship, lacking anything even barely resembling a social life, and thousands of miles away from my closest friends.

I wish I had someone to help me (read: do this for me, like a parent, or a mental health advocate). I keep searching for a psychiatrist in my area that will take my health insurance, but the website is full of outdated information. I called the customer help line in the middle of a panic attack at work last week, and though the customer rep was very kind as I freaked out in her general direction, she still couldn’t do more than provide me with a list of names that I’d need to call, one by one, and ask if they were taking new patients. Reality informs me that I might only need to make two or three calls, but since making phone calls is one of my biggest triggers (right up there with using Facebook), I feel paralyzed. I am going to do it this week, though, come hell or high water. I can’t stay in this loop much longer. It’s no good for anyone.

Today I went to the coffee shop to drink a decaf tea and do some writing, but my brain refuses to stay in one spot. I can’t concentrate for more than a minute or so, and nothing that I previously thought I wanted to do today is getting done. I had hoped to apply to a few editing jobs, but as soon as I started looking at the jobs boards, I realized I’d need an updated resume. Once that occurred to me, I instantly got sucked into feeling pointless and unqualified, a whirlpool that spit me right back out at the “It’s because you’re fat and old” line of reasoning. So much fun.

On the upside (depending on how you see it) I’ve picked up three extra shifts a week at another hotel. This puts me at 70 hours a week, between the two jobs. I’m scared that the physicality of it will age me, as well as encourage terrible eating habits and weight gain. Technically, I should have plenty of time to sleep, but I’m really bad at sleeping. I can’t count on my body to fall into a rhythm when it comes to relaxation. There’s a very good chance that I’ll be sleep deprived. I’m already dreading the wrinkles and bags, and the level of anxiety I’ll experience once sugar and caffeine enter the mix. I will have to be vigilant in having prepared healthy food with me 24 hours a day.

However, I’ve done the math, and if I work my butt off, this gives me enough extra income to pay off the major credit cards in a year. I’ve closed all of my cards except for one (the one with the airline miles), and I’m keeping a very close eye on my credit score via a few sources. I’ve gone over my credit reports, and feel like I have a handle on what my personal pile of debts looks like. I feel confident that if I can be very, very good, spend little to no money on anything extra, move into the cheaper apartment that my friend just told me about, and basically put off all joy for the next year, I will be able to live on less money, plus repair my score enough to apply for an apartment if and when I decide to move to a new city.

To make this all work, I need for everything to be on a schedule. Meal prep times and amounts. Sleep times and amounts. Work times and amounts. Bills due. Cat supplies due. Groceries due. Social life allowance (Friday night, Saturday day, and Sunday early evening). I can write during my overnight work shifts – plenty of time there. I wonder if I can somehow afford to schedule in just one professional mani/pedi a month? It’s probably too extravagant, but I always feel so much more professional with nice nails.

Of course, none of this takes into account that the Camino is calling again, with a fierceness I didn’t experience the first time. I’m tamping it down a bit by writing about the last time I walked, and keeping in touch with my Camino friends as they go on their new adventures. A few of them are meeting up on the Camino Frances this year in October, and I’ve been invited to go. I tell myself that I can go next year. By then I will have gotten a raise, or maybe even a promotion. Perhaps I’ll only have the luxury of being able to afford to only work one job. Or maybe I will have successfully started treating my anxiety, and have found a way through the time loop. By this time next year, who knows where life will have led me?

Day 44: Reeling It In (Again)

I’ve been adrift, and am now attempting to regain some sense of control. My emotions (and diet) have been all over the place lately. No bingeing, which is great, but also no structure, which is not so great.

The biggest problem I’m facing right now is that I’m working two jobs in an attempt to be able to save up to move to a new apartment (provided I can find one in my limited price range, which would frankly be a miracle). I’m also trying to work more in order to pay down my credit cards, in what seems like a futile effort to fix my credit. This is probably a backwards arrangement, as one needs decent credit to get approved for a lease on an apartment. But we do what we can. Between the constant worry and the overwhelming exhaustion from working between 50 and 70 hours a week, I’m just hitting a wall. This all affects my current food habits (though not exercise – I’ve been really good about fitting in four or five gym sessions each week). Nevertheless, I’m feeling unmoored.

When I started this blog, I said that I’d be attempting to get mental help. I still haven’t, and while practicing mindfulness has been helping me curb my impulse to feed myself to death, it’s also been helping me understand when and how often and (sometimes, at least) what I’m anxious about. It doesn’t help me fix the anxiety, just see it a little more clearly. And folks, what I’m seeing is that I’m able to hide my feelings somewhat, but they color every single interaction I have in the course of a day. I’m a wreck. It’s making me suspicious and weird, overly sensitive to everyone’s mood, and critical of myself at all turns.

The anxiety can be good sometimes. It means that I’m often three steps ahead, fixing problems before people dreamed they’d occurred. But it also means that sometimes I know a problem is going to happen, and I fixate on it for days, paralyzed, until all I can do is watch it happen, then stare at the mess that’s left in the aftermath. Like, I could have prevented the issue, but I got so obsessed with it that I had no power to take any of the necessary steps. Sometimes I know it’s happening, other times I don’t. So now I’m wondering if I’m sabotaging my own life on purpose or not? How am I pushing people away with my mental issues?

One way that I’ve sabotaged myself in the past is to chronically overspend on food, alcohol, and things that I consider luxuries (but let’s face it, things that most people consider necessities now – things like new underwear when everything you own has holes in it, or toilet paper that you buy from the store, instead of stealing it from various bars, or tampons that aren’t stolen from your gym). I have culled almost every unnecessary item from my budget now. No more laundromat – everything gets hand washed from here on out. No more forgetting lunch and picking up something at the store. I eat free food at work, and I get $30 a week for other groceries. If I want to have a beer after work, it comes out of the grocery fund, which means that I can either have a beer right now, or dinner tomorrow. It’s fine, either way, but when tomorrow-me isn’t eating, she knows she can blame it on yesterday-me. Internet isn’t necessary, but it’s going to stay, since it could come in handy for freelance editing work, were I to be able to find any. I still have Spotify Premium, too, because I just can’t face the thought of no new music. Sorry, that’s a crazy expense that just has to stay. But I cancelled Amazon Prime, and I don’t pay for Netflix, I get books for free at the lending library, and I don’t buy makeup or beauty supplies or clothes. Basically, I don’t have any fun anymore, unless it’s fun that can be had for free (which does happen – for instance, a client recently gave me two free tickets to see NKOTB, Boyz II Men, and Paula Abdul).

This isn’t where I thought I’d be at 35 (being broke and/or seeing NKOTB in concert), but I’m telling myself that it’s for a good cause. If I am diligent, I will eventually be free. Once the credit cards are paid down a little, and my credit rating is up out of the dark orange, I can start saving for something wonderful, like a new pair of work shoes, or maybe a 90-minute deep tissue massage and seaweed wrap (hey, a girl can dream!). What I really want is to go out to Joshua Tree for my 36th birthday, but I don’t know if that’s something I can realistically bank on right now. I suppose I should be aiming for something a little more attainable, like mental health, and, you know, the weight loss I was hoping for when I started this damn blog.

This current stress load and all-over-the-place diet have combined to make sure that I haven’t lost any weight in a month, despite regularly working out. I’m not where I was when I started, so that’s something to be glad of, but I also haven’t dropped at all. I just keep sitting at that 190 lb. point that has traditionally been the tough spot for me. I just haven’t been as careful with monitoring my nutrition as I will no doubt need to be to make any headway. Also, with hurting my hip a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t run at all, and that was my favorite cardio. Oh well.

All I can do now is plan to do better tomorrow. For now, that starts with getting a good night’s sleep.

Day 35: Picking Up Shifts

In case you’re new to reading this blog, or just missed this little detail, I work in hospitality. I’m currently employed by two hotels – one large and efficient and owned by an international entity, and one tiny, independent boutique hotel. I switched career paths a couple of years ago, after losing my mind and hiking the Camino Frances (not that I went on a long walk because I was crazy, but rather because I thought it would be a good way to help cure the crazy, which, in a way, it did).

When I left, I knew that something had to change about my current path as an Internet marketer, since simply logging on to Facebook would often start me down a path to a panic attack. When I got back, after a month and a half of sleeping in a new town each night, I realized that one of my favorite aspects of the journey had been how kind our hosts were at every albergue (hostel). I was taken care of so thoroughly at every stop, and though I am naturally not that demanding of a person, I saw many hospitaleros (hosts) go above and beyond in caring for their pilgrim guests, from seeing to medical needs to just making sure that we had a nice, warm meal in our bellies at the end of a tough day. I enjoy loving people like this, and I enjoy being loved like this, and I thought that it would be particularly rewarding to get paid to be good to others. Of course, I was right. Some days are difficult, but most days, I really love my job(s). I wish that I got paid enough to only have one of them, but that will come, if I can just hold on a little longer.

Anyway, the problem with picking up shifts at the smaller hotel when I’m not working at the bigger hotel is that my bigger hotel job is a traditional, 8-hour shift during the day. I come in around 8am, and leave around 5pm, depending on workload. In order to fit additional shifts into my life, this means that the only time I can work at the little hotel is the front desk overnight shift – 11pm to 7am – or on weekends, as I’m doing right now (7am to 3pm). If you do the math, you’ll see why this is exhausting. My entire life is work, work out, and sleep. I’ve got my life mapped out enough to get a decent amount of sleep, but I’m standing at the front desk for 8 hours, and this is draining. I have a schedule to keep me working out and active while I’m doing the overnight shift, and also a schedule to help me make sure that every single dollar goes to where I need it – paying my rent, saving up for a deposit on a new apartment, buying better work clothes, and paying off debt. Eventually, if I really work my butt off, I’ll have paid down my debts enough that I can consider also saving for my next Camino. Hopefully I won’t be so worn out that I’ll be considering another career change, lol.

This is all going to be worth it in the end, and I have to keep that in mind. My front desk shifts are generally very easy. I don’t have to do very much besides make sure that the hotel doesn’t burn down, and set up breakfast before I leave. If I am very careful to take care of my health (eat, exercise, sleep) so I don’t get run-down, this 70-hour workweek won’t have to be a thing I keep up forever. I’ll get a raise at my day job in November, and I can also start looking to move on to another position with a higher pay grade. But it’s important for me to remember that I am not superhuman. I can’t do everything. I must stick to a very strict budget now, so that later I don’t have to work this hard any more.

My other big fear, besides physical burn-out, is that I will get too busy to meal prep, and will start eating crappy food and spending too much money on meals outside of the house. I already ate a bagel and a couple of cups of coffee with sugar this morning, which is basically poison (delicious, delicious poison). But I’m also wearing jeans, and the chub rub is REAL, y’all. It’s enough to make me reconsider my initial impulse to grab a second bagel out of boredom. It’s tough being a working stiff. But it’ll be OK.

Day 31: Cutting Back

I’m having some good stuff happen re: energy levels, so want to document it here. On Sunday morning, I officially started to cut back on my coffee consumption. I’d been drinking A LOT – at least 48 oz. of coffee (black, no sugar) every day, but sometimes closer to 72 oz. I just sipped it all day long. So that was possibly adding to my weird energy levels and anxiety, where I was always tired all day but didn’t sleep well at night, either. From now on, I’m going to keep cutting back until I’m drinking maybe a typical 12 oz. coffee mug’s worth of black coffee first thing, end of story. As of today, I had a 16 oz. iced coffee this morning, then drank water the rest of the day.

I’ve also gotten more sleep than usual the last two nights – over 8 hours, both nights! I’m about to put my computer away and try for a third night in a row. Tomorrow I need to go to work an hour early, so I can try to get at least 6 hours of sleep immediately after work, then roll into my second job feeling somewhat rested. We’ll see what happens. I have a feeling I won’t sleep, and the whole next 24 hours will be crazy. But it might work out, who knows? Lol.

As for food, I’ve been eating very basic meals. For the past three nights, I’ve eaten plain old roasted chicken for dinner (not because of any diet rules, just because I’ve been dead tired and the roast chicken was just sitting there in the fridge already). Tonight I added in a baked sweet potato to really spice up my life. This weekend I need to remember to cook up a batch of greens so I’ll have veggies on hand when I get home from the gym. I’ve been getting GNC smoothies for the past two days at lunch. I can’t really afford that kind of splurge, but they’ve also been helping with the energy level. They’ve got this smoothie called the Lovers’ Lane, which has arginine in it. The supplement is touted as having sexual health benefits for women, since it increases blood flow, but I have been getting it because it perks me up and gives me enough energy to get through the rest of my day. Plus, peach smoothies are delicious!

Tomorrow I’m really hoping that I am back in the 180’s. I’m really tired of this weird plateau at the 190 – 192 mark. I knew it was going to happen, as it’s historically always the case that I get stuck at 190 and give up. But I feel like I’m doing a great job of just sticking in there. When it came time to leave work today, it was late, and I typically would have talked myself out of going if this were a couple of months ago. But today I had a little conversation in my head about how good it was going to feel to at least get in a little bitty workout, and I believed myself almost immediately. It wasn’t nearly the same struggle that it used to be.

I play the same mind trick they use all the time in Bikram class. Bikram teachers say that you just have to stay on the mat. Doesn’t matter if you do any of the poses, just don’t leave the room. Just being on the mat gets you all of the benefits. Even if you don’t believe it at first, the longer you work at telling it to yourself, the easier it is to understand that it’s true. I just have to go to the gym. Just make the effort, walk in the door, change into my gym clothes. After that, whatever I choose to do is just fine. The battle has already been won. Some days I’m genuinely too tired to do much but a little bit of weight machine work and gentle stretching. But that’s OK – it’s still more than I would have done at home on the couch. Other days, I surprise myself and end up really pushing it on the elliptical, or attending a class and getting super sweaty 🙂

Anyway, I just need to have faith that eventually I will wake up and my new plateau will be 180. Won’t that be awesome? I’ll probably still be bitching about it, so you guys need to remind me when the time comes that I just need to stick it out, and I’ll get past that plateau soon enough, too.

Today’s Weight: 190.2 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 15,056 steps (including 35 minutes on the elliptical), and an 8Fit workout.

Day 30: Employee of the Month

It was a really long day at work today – 11 hours. I didn’t end up going to the gym, since I was so tired after wrapping everything up at the office.

But the day started nicely; I was given an award at work this morning for being Associate of the Month. There’s one every month, so it’s not like it’s an amazing honor, but I was still surprised and pleased. I got a nice little wooden plaque, and my name is up on the office wall now. We were at our typical morning meeting, and the manager spoke well of me, dwelling for a bit on a duty that I do daily that isn’t typical of someone in my position. Every morning I charge advance deposits on certain reservations. I suppose many people would find it a dull task, but I like the reliability and routine. Since it’s one of my favorite tasks, it felt nice to have the boss pointing out that doing it helped the team.

The rest of the day was OK, with some ups and downs, but mostly it felt pretty level. We had two very large groups that checked in this morning, so most of my day was spent making sure that everything was in place to welcome the groups in without a hitch. There were some hairy moments, but everyone got in, so my job is done until tomorrow.

I was tired all day long, even though I got enough sleep last night (finally). I drank a little bit of coffee, but nowhere near as much as I typically do. I’m going to keep trying to cut back, to hopefully get my energy levels balanced, so I can get enough sleep at night, and not have to depend on so many cups of coffee every day to survive.

Today’s Weight: 192.2 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 10k steps