Day 40: I’m Good If I Can Keep Moving

It’s been twelve days since I cut my goal intake to 1200 net calories per day.  Since the cutback I’ve been very conscious of my body — the chronic needle pains around my joints, the tension in my muscles and the alternating nausea and cramps in my stomach — to the point I’ve hated life off and on for the last week or so.  I’ve found a temporary fix, though I’m already seeing diminishing returns.  If I can get myself busy physically, I’m able to keep myself distracted and to some extent content so long as keep myself up and moving, with short breaks for water and food.  The mind game alone doesn’t do it, nor can I push myself to exhaustion.  I’ve tried both, and I ended up getting nasty at my sister yesterday and being barely being civil to others I love for the last several days.

I am running out of relatively small jobs to do, however, and I’m looking around for bigger ones that won’t be too much.  When I started six weeks ago, I could run for five or ten minutes at a time, then I’d have to rest and drink a pint of water.  Now I am doing fifteen to thirty minutes of cleaning, cooking, etc. at a stretch; what’s more, I’m getting more efficient, cutting a fair amount of wasted motion out of the process and grabbing larger, heavier objects and moving them around without noticeable strain.  I still get occasional spasms in my lower back but they respond to stretches, so I can come back to a task and keep going.  Fatigue is becoming less of a problem, but it’s still there and I’m not sure if I will eventually be able to handle it without at least two hours’ sleep in the afternoon.  More to come on that as I find out.

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Day 38: Tuesday Madness

Last night was a Hawaiian deluxe pizza night.  I’d been up and down all weekend, sleeping six or so hours at a stretch, groggy-awake for about the same length of time, then sleeping again.  The cycle broke around 10 pm Saturday, then I was up for most of the next 24 hours.  It wasn’t a productive period, as I spent most of the day on Facebook and watching reports of the total eclipse, though I did get a few things done.  Today looks to be another long day, though not so sleepy.  I have about about a thousand calories to work off after yesterday’s ravening appetite, but my sister Betty took me to the store, so we have lunch meat in the house again; I can skip the rest of the pizza.  I figure it will take a few days to work off the load from yesterday, but that’s okay.  I can do it.  Making at least least two pots of pea soup is the next point of my agenda, so I can freeze now for the next bout of down time.  The vegan recipe I make is tasty enough to please the omnivores around me and about 230 calories per cup, so in the worst case, half a dozen two-cup plastic containers will keep us in hot food until I’m able to cook again.

Vegan Pea Soup
Makes approximately 7 cups thick and chunky soup, 223 cal per cup

2 cup Dried Split Green Peas
1 cup Raw Carrots
1 1/2 cups each Celery and Onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Morton Lite Salt
3 teaspoons Thyme, fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon Hickory Liquid Smoke

Combine split peas, vegetables and lite salt in a pot with enough to cover all with an inch or two to spare. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 to 45 minutes on low heat, checking and stirring after every 20 minutes or until the peas start to collapse and the soup thickens. At that point, add thyme and liquid smoke, check for salt, and simmer another 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

This is a soup I am happy to serve to omnivores who aren’t dieting as well as eat myself several times a week.  It can be loaded up with milk products and/or smoky meats, but it doesn’t need them to taste good, and the lite salt cuts the sodium load while it spikes the potassium content, which is a particular selling point to me, as my roommate and I don’t generally get enough potassium.

 

Day 31: After Charlottesville

9:00am

I’ve been up since 4:30, getting myself awake enough to cook in the blessed cool while it’s dark outside. I’m feeling the fade already, but I have a pot of pea soup done and a pan of chicken thighs in the oven. My roommate and I may both be exhausted from the events of the weekend, but we will be able to eat something besides sweets and pizza. That much I can do.

9:00pm

Watching the events in Charlottesville from afar, I felt, and still feel, helpless, which slides into useless if I don’t determine to not let it eat me entirely. I’m not losing weight because of some abstraction, some attempt to emulate some perky woman half my age. I’m working as I can to try to be more able to affect the world around me again instead of sitting at home in helpless rage watching my country tear itself apart. I don’t know if the pushing myself to work, to argue, support, and comfort where I can while I get the body able to do more will make a difference in the long term or not — in my grimmer moments I doubt it — but it’s what I can do.

Day 27: Weigh-In and Other Adventures

Yesterday was my first trip to the neurologist’s office since the lifestyle restart.  He’d wanted a pound a week, and I’ve lost seven, so I’m down to 283 pounds. That accomplished, it was time to move to the new goal: 1200 calories a day instead of approximately 1800, which should move me to about 2 lbs a week if I continue to work at my current pace.  That’s not too bad; last week I was under 1200 three days out of seven without trying just by filling up on vegetables and fruit instead of bread or noodles, along with one bag of buttery popcorn in the mix every day so I wouldn’t feel deprived. Still, a third of my calories still sounded like a lot, so I was not so delighted as I might have been when I left. It was warm, perhaps 90 degrees, when I caught the second of three buses home, so I stopped at a Jack in the Box near the transit point for the biggest diet Dr Pepper they sold with an idea I might have something light to go with it for lunch.  Nothing sounded worthwhile to me in my disgruntlement, so I ended up with a small bag of curly fries that were not hideous but proved my initial assessment correct. After lunch, I had half an hour to kill, so I went to the gas station behind the bus stop and bought five tickets for tomorrow’s super lotto.  The odds are of course ridiculous, but as I see it, the solution to my most pressing problems is more money; the other stuff will take time and/or creativity, which I am already applying to them, or they can’t be fixed. Half-price Ferrero-Rocher truffles got the taste of sad curly fries out of my mouth, so I was pretty well satisfied by the time I got on the bus.

I had to change buses at the terminal closest to home because the bus I was riding went out of service at that point.  The terminal is a great place to see urban wildlife.  Not just pigeons, but wild species of songbirds that nest in the trees and eat the ornamental grass seeds, and so on. Well, as the last passenger was getting on, he and the driver noticed a young roof rat, not much bigger than a mouse, had come on board.  The driver tried to run it back out, but it turned and ran back into the bus. I’d sat down and leaned my cane against the wall, and wouldn’t you know it? The poor thing ran down my side of the bus and then it disappeared. While everyone else was up on their seats looking for the rat, I felt a wiggling beside, then behind me. By this point I was already trying not to laugh.

“I’m not sure,” I said loudly enough for the driver and the others near me to hear, “but I think it might be here.  I’m feeling something moving behind me.”   I leaned forward, and the rat was climbing the loose back of my tshirt, so I jumped up, and it fell off. I sat down again and pulled my legs up so it could get on where it was headed, which I guessed was as far from the shouting as possible.  By this time, a woman across the aisle from me was gasping for air but the rest were shouting and laughing as the poor thing ran across the aisle and started climbing a pole next to the open back door.  At that point the driver knocked it down, and it headed back toward the front where it had come in. Eventually it ran back down the wheelchair ramp and made its escape.

Ten minutes later I was home without further incident.  My sister came over with her grandson, and we got a good laugh out of the story.  I figured you might as well.

Day 21: Being Offline Wasn’t Bad

Due to circumstances beyond my comprehension, I was offline for a week.  My notebook would shake hands with the local access points — I tried three nearby — but then cut off the data flow.  Eventually, I got on for a few hours and Annienygma suggested I restore the computer to factory settings; the website she sent me showed me how, and now I’m back.  That worked, and, in the process, took off the traces of the two previous owners, so the computer is most essentially mine.  I’m very fond of the previous owners, but it’s nice to see my name on the login in page.

While offline, I stuck pretty close to the diet, generally under the goal until the day before payday, when I started munching on bacon and tortillas.  The next day was all cashew chicken — read zucchini and celery punctuated by chicken and an occasional carrot — so I’m satisfied I’ll be down at least the requisite four pounds.  I also got a lot more physical activity in, as I attacked the clutter pile despite the heat, sorting and trashing as I went.  Some days were more difficult than others; it was hard to stay hydrated in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and my back needs stretching and flexing before I can bend over a dozen times picking things up from the floor.  Even so, I made a lot of progress and dug up another two bushels of paperwork that needs to be scanned and shredded when it’s too hot to do heavier labor, as well as the thumb drive that stores the scanned files.  The drive is now on a ribbon, hanging on a nail between my bedroom door and the head of my bed.  I did some other organizing as well, but that belongs in its own post.