Friday, December 28, 2012

Sticking it to Christmas AND Summer!

AKA Week Two Update.

Christmas Day was wonderful. Family, fun, frivolity, plenty of seasonal joy, plus presents. 
Food, holy crap was there food. But, there was also exercise!
Christmas night, after everyone went home, my mum and I, along with my brother's dog, went for a half an hour walk. 'Twas lovely to have a dog along for the walk once again.
The fireworks that people in the neighbourhood set off were magnificent. 

It's amazing how heavy a Jack Russell is to carry, especially when pressing back into my chest in fear of the fireworks. Once they stopped he was his regular jaunty self again.
Extra Bonus: As a result, I slept much better than usual after the excesses of the feasting festivus.

Day Two was a half hour walk along the bike paths, nice and slow. 

Day 3 was too hot to walk too far from home, or do Wii Fiit. (Plus, first day of my period equaled severe cramps, so no water aerobics.) Instead, I walked many circuits around the perimeter of the house; including multiple trips up and down the driveway, around the back yard, along the front footpath, down the side path and back around under the verandah. I still feel like my upper legs are Biff from Back to the Future, and I'm Marty McFly, and they are tapping me very urgently and saying, "McThigh! Helloooo, McThigh?!"

Week 2?  Santa came to town, but I stuck it to summer!

My abs from water aerobics last week and my thighs this week are the first lot of DOMS I've had in a VERY long time. I'm wincing, but I'm grinning at the same time. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stick It To Summer: Week One.

I've really enjoyed this week's exercise.

On Sunday, the woman who led water aerobics, was the same woman who used to take the class back when I used to go 15 years ago. She also informed me that she runs chair aerobics for an MS group that comes over from another suburb. Gives me hope for if I ever need to go down that route. She's practically an institution! 60+ and still an aerobics instructor. Not sure if she still does body building or not, will ask her when she comes back from Christmas vacation. I hope I'm even half as fit as her by the time I hit 45!
Day 2: Stuck it to Summer again.
Extra mood bonus: Got a 45 minute HARD workout and wasn't overwhelmed by the heat in the slightest. I know I have ABS..because I can feel them again.

During the week I relearned how rest is an important part of an exercise program. We had a hectic weekend with a birthday party which also included pool time; being up Sunday night wrapping 30+ Christmas hampers; plus the extra harder exercise, so during the week there was a few naps going on. One particular afternoon Kiddlywink and I fell asleep at around 1pm. Now, she outgrew naps awhile ago, as did I, but we both slept for a solid 3 hours! So much for going to the pool that afternoon, huh? Later that night, with just under an hour until bed time..and no sign of the girly falling asleep any time soon--not surprising after that huge nap--we were off to the pool! It was nice to simply splash and play rather than think about exercise.

The next time I went to aerobics class, I got the times mixed up and arrived an hour early. Rather than wait around the pool, I raced off to pick up what I'd ordered for Kiddlywink's present. It was bigger than expected so I rushed it back home, chucked it just inside the front door and took off back to the pool. I arrived late for the class. I missed a full ten minutes, BUT I still managed 35 minutes of water aerobics.
Day 3: Stuck it late, but I stuck it!

The rest of the week there has also been incidental exercise. Lots of rushing around doing Christmas-related stuff out and about. Extra housework and chores at home etc. At one point Kiddlywink wanted to walk up and down the flights of stairs at a shopping we did, just for fun, and then continued on shopping.

So, all in all I'm feeling good about Week One. I think I stuck it like an Olympic gymnast. :) 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stick It To Summer: Update

Day 1: Despite going to bed at 12:30am, after I'd watched Downsize Me, I woke up earlyish. Lately, I've been leaving the drapes open to allow as much of the cool breeze in overnight as possible. Upside to that is I wake up with the morning sun on my face. I'd thought about doing WiiFit, but it was too warm and humid inside the house. I spent a few seconds feeling disappointed, then had an idea.

Kiddlywink's been getting later and later with her bedtimes and we're trying to restart her back to early rising. So, I told Alaskaboy to get up and at 'em, then went and said to Kiddlywink, "Would you like to go and feed the ducks." Two repetitions of that and she was awake enough to understand what I was saying...and BOING leapt out of bed in a single bound.

We whipped up some breakfast sandwiches, plus took along stale bread for the ducks. Instead of sweating it out inside, and probably stopping before my time was completed, I had a lovely picnic breakfast around at the lake with Kiddlywink and Alaskaboy. THEN I did my half hour walk while they played.

Half an hour fast walking, plus strolling to and from the lake; soaring cockatoos; a bold duck that ate pieces of bread from the top of our shoes; banter with other people walking by; and watching Kiddlywink enjoying herself; all pluses of getting OUT and exercising this morning. Day 1, I Stuck It To Summer HARD!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Stick It To Summer!

I realised the other week that I haven't done a physical activity challenge in a very long time. It's like, inside my mind, I was already living the life of an invalid. Especially once the heat rolled around every Summer, I hunkered down inside and sweated it out in weird tingly numbness and mental misery. So I gave up one of the things that makes me happy, exercise challenges! You know what? I'm gonna be hot no matter what. So, I may as well exercise when the day is cool enough to do so. And if it's not cool enough, go somewhere that is.

Yesterday I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of people at the shopping centre, and how hot it was inside there. Trying on clothes wasn't fun either. I found some awesome clothes that look great on me, but this one particular pair of shorts got me depressed.

So, instead of rushing off and bemoaning about how miserable I was, I decided I'd had enough of summer kicking my arse. Had enough of having the same shopping experiences I saw my mum having when I was a kid. Had enough of not being able to choose the lovely, cool cotton clothing and being stuck with the stretch/man-made materials that sweat me to death. Had enough of gaining and losing the same 5 kilograms ad nauseum!

Healthy eating, PLUS exercise is the key for me. Consistent regular doses of exercise. So, here I go with another exercise challenge. (Also inspired by Shauny's DVD Dust Off Challenge! I borrowed three new exercise dvds from the library and got out my old faves from the cupboard.)

Stick It To Summer Challenge.
Goes From 14th December to 7th February.
4 days exercise per week.
30 minutes per day.

Weigh-in every second week.
Measure every fourth week.

Anyone else got a Summer Challenge they'd like to take up?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I am what I eat!

For about ten days during the last two weeks I've eaten how I used to eat.

Mainly out of curiosity, but also a little to do with stress, I gorged myself on take away food, crackers, cheese, chips.
I ate far less fruit and veggies.
When choosing meat I went for fattier cuts than usual.
When making cakes and biscuits, I used white flour and added no bran.
When buying bread from the shop I chose white multigrain or regular wholemeal bread, instead of the wholemeal multigrain or quinoa and flax seed wholemeal bread I have been eating.
Ice cream? I love it. I'm usually satisfied with one portion. So, I ate three or more servings at a time.
I smothered my toast with butter, and found that it looked odd.
"Too much butter," said I.
"Eat it," said the rules of the experiment.
I even swapped the ratio of soft drinks/poptops to water etc etc


I've always been a fart arse..but they STINK again. The last few months of healthier eating and more exercise have created mostly noise and not much it's clear the room kind of stuff.

I'm tired. I'm irritable...okay, downright bitchy actually. Less able to concentrate. And I'm always hungry. How about hungry or bloated or nauseous? Try all three together, sometimes.

My caffeine intake has quadrupled. I'm sleeping worse with psychedelic dreams that leave me drenched in sweat when I wake up. The other night I didn't even go to bed, I couldn't I whiled the night away watching junk on telly. Quite appropriate since all I've been ingesting recently is junk.

I no longer bounce out of bed refreshed between 6-7am...I struggle out whenever Kiddlywink comes in to wake me up. Last month I was out of bed BEFORE her, on several days! 3-5 days of exercise per week like I had worked up to? HA! I didn't have the energy for even one day!

So, even though I haven't been eating any "diet" or "low fat" products, instead simply eating healthy whole foods, butter, full fat icecream, chocolate cake, biscuits and muffins, all within moderation around meat, veggies, fruit and plenty of water, I was healthier.
The scales weren't budging but I was fitter, sleeping better, more pleasant to be around, more motivated and spent far less time on the crapper! All non scale victories in my book.
(I originally wrote this on, and went back to the healthy eating as of, the 8th December.)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Food is the symptom, not the problem.

I'd always wondered how people could go months in between blog posts, now I know. Life Happens.

It was easy to blog regularly over in the US, because I didn't have much of a life. I was pretty much isolated 95% of the time. So, in order to have some sort of social contact, I'd blog, Skype, or ring my family/friends. My codependence didn't help either; God, I was SO needy/interfering/controlling, because that's ALL I had. Add in the unmedicated MS, uncontrolled Sleep Apnea, and a young baby and farrrk, no wonder I nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Part of what's brought home how isolated Alaskaboy, Kiddlywink and I had become is the different ways our little family has changed, individually and as a whole, since moving to Australia.

As a whole we're happier because there's direct support and social interaction.
Kiddlywink has done nothing but blossom. Which makes me both thankful and glad that we didn't wait any longer to move.
Alaskaboy and I are struggling. Both as a couple and individually. And there are SO very many reasons for this. Not in any particular order of significance, but here's a few; having to actually spend time interacting with each other as well as having a local social network, new job, financial worries, job unhappiness, trying to make new friends, an infirm grandmother at our place four days a week, living with parents, having enough for a deposit on a house but not enough income for everyday finances, doing therapy to sort out our issues both current and from the past--which Alaskaboy has never had to do before because it was all MY issues that we dealt with over there, and the list goes on.

BUT! The thing is, this is life. This is what the journey is all about. Living in the real world, not isolated in a tiny apartment with no social life, and one half of the couple away from the house up to 16 hours, 5-6 days a week. In some ways it's like we're newlywed all over again, but without the rose-coloured glasses of a new relationship to add some false sparkle to it all.

Just over three months ago I got even more fed up with the cooking situation than I had been last time I posted. We're started doing the CSA box, which we're still doing, but I was continuing to do 98% of the cooking. I finally put my foot down and said, "I know we can't afford it, but we'll have to find the money because I can't do this anymore!" So, among the other not negotiable expenses such as day care, bills etc we also have Lite'N'Easy deliveries for me and a weekly therapy session where we alternate between couple and individual therapy. Both very expensive but sanity and relationship savers.

Now, the thing about Lite'N'Easy is that I thought I'd be on this calorie controlled program, where they deliver the weekly food allowance, already precooked, to my door, and all my problems would be magically solved.....Yes, I'm pausing to allow the laughter to die away....The first three weeks were awesome, the weight dropped off, even with eating extra during PMS, then Life Happened Again! Nan went from level 1 assisted care to High Level Care. Basically she's wheelchair bound now with the ability to stand for short periods while we transfer her from her chair to another chair or bed. Add in several flesh wounds on her lower limbs from falls/accidents, a couple of UTIs and all the other stuff that goes with anxiety attacks, slight dementia and it was like there was a newborn in the house. But not the kind you can soothe by holding. The kind that has all the stubbornness of a 91 year old woman who's beaten, among other things, Legionnaire's Disease, a bleeding ulcer, fractured pelvis, and skin cancer. (All within the past 15 years!)

So, once again we're mostly housebound. There must be two of us with her at all times, it takes three to get her up into the momvan that's most often at home, and thus we're all feeling the pinch of being in close quarters.

For me, it's also like seeing one of me very own personal nightmares, right in front of my face, four days a week.

So..lately the lite'n'easy hasn't been as successful as it could have been, for me. On the other hand, Mum, Dad, Alaskaboy and Nanna also order a months worth of dinners to have in the freezer. That has increased their health considerably, as we were ordering take away meals at least twice a week through sheer fatigue.Where it has been helpful for me is to realise simply how little food is a problem for me. It's all about my emotions and my coping mechanisms. When I'm [insert negative emotion here] I eat. Journalling, therapy and actually talking about my issues with people, and listening to theirs--listening without advising--is making a difference.

Good news is, the therapy is helping. Without it, I'm pretty certain Alaskaboy and I would have been divorced already. As it stands, we're currently learning how to be a regular couple; Warts and All. And it's HARD! It's worth it though. I'm rediscovering the man I married. Not the ignoring, passive aggressive jerk he'd become. He's reacquainting himself with the woman he married. Rather than the critical, codependent I'd become. Funny how our crap bounced off each other perfectly until we were whizzing our way around a downward crap spiral. Now we're dealing with the past and trying to build a better present and future.

So, I'm hoping now that we're starting to learn to juggle having a real life, that I'll be able to get back to writing on here more often than I have been. I miss blogging. I don't miss the isolation that allowed me to be online nearly 24/7, but I do miss my online friends. I also am learning to have healthy relationships with my real life peeps. Just because they don't call as often as I'd like them to, doesn't mean they're ignoring me. Just because I don't call them as often as they'd gotten used to me calling, doesn't mean I'm ignoring them. I'm now LIKE them. I actually have a full, regular life that entails stuff/people/work etc.

Speaking of which, enough time on here! I'm off to have a picnic lunch, on the lawn, with Kiddlywink.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Can I turn 'Can't Satisy Anyone!' into 'Confidence Spawns Achievement!"

With five different people in the house, all with different dietary needs, it's sometimes a challenge to make something on a regular basis that we can all eat.

Dad is a pescetarian.
Mum is a pescetarian too. She also has a minor and major gene for haemochromatosis...which means that even though she doesn't need to have blood drawn regularly, she still has to watch her iron intake (Do you know how many things are iron fortified these days??) On top of that she's also salt sensitive and pre-diabetic.
I'm often low in iron, need adequate protein to ensure my muscles stay healthy as long as I can, and other than that am an omnivore.
Alaskaboy is an omnivore who pretty much likes everything.
Kiddlywink is a toddler.
With our dog Scruffy only dying two days ago--she ate kibble, cooked meat, often alternating with whatever we ate--I also still find myself thinking of things for her to eat. {sad}

Add in not only the dietary needs but also our differences in taste..for several foods there's at least one person in the house who dislikes something that the others adore; Coriander/cilantro, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, lemons and corn, among others.

For awhile now we've been plodding along, making the same-old-same-old. We try to allow for everyone's needs, but that often gets chucked in the too hard basket and we go with easy things to make. So we've come to realise we're lacking in the things we really should be eating and eating more of the things we shouldn't. We've been shopping healthily, but eating too few veggies or fruit so they end up chucked in the bin.

Hmm, how to change these habits we've settled comfortably into doing?

Serendipity strikes again.

Nearly a month ago we had someone come to the door wanting us to purchase something that's been a dream of mine for YEARS! As those of you who know me could guess, I was highly excitable for days as I waited in an agony of anticipation for my other family members to see how fabulous it would have a box of fruit and veggies delivered to our door once a week.


That's right!

I finally live in an area where I can get a CSA delivery. Woohoo!

However, they weren't excited one little bit. They couldn't be arsed with any of it. With their unwillingness to change the way things have always been--despite me making a case for it saving me time with grocery shopping and loving the challenge of cooking seasonally--they complained about how much it would cost...cue Yul Brynner, "Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera!"

So, in the sense of team spirit, I set aside the pamphlet and moped for a bit, but then tried my best despite it all, until I got to the point of finding out about my codependency and thought "Fuck 'em!" I'm the stay-at-home part of this communal family, so I'll do what suits me! And what suited me was to sit back and not cook for a week. If I was hungry, I ate, but if Kiddlywink was hungry and there were people home other than us two, I said "see someone else, Mummy's not cooking this week."

And it really opened my eyes. I didn't realise how much of my self worth I was placing on making other people happy with food. And if they didn't respond with an appropriate level of enjoyment, I got depressed. When I got depressed the frenzy of making things to tempt them was over and they had to fend for themselves...and eventually they'd get sick of it and I'd be needed once more and I'd go off in a flurry of ecstatic cooking and the cycle would repeat itself all over again.

Not. Healthy. At. All.

Me going on strike probably wasn't healthy either, but it was different to other times I'd done it merely for throwing a tantrum's sake. I sat back and watched how we all reacted. What really stuck it to me was when Kiddlywink said in a very confused tone of voice, "Why isn't Mummy cooking?" and when I realised how uncomfortable I felt waiting for someone else to prepare meals. a) would the food be ready for when I was hungry and b) Now what did I do with myself with all that free time?

I took over Alaskaboy's "domain" of doing the washing/laundry...and the uncomfortable realisations went down the line. We all had our pet household tasks that we used to avoid other chores/conversations/stuff that made us uncomfortable and to build up our egos with how we do it "better" than others. So the whole family is in flux trying to figure out how to work better together as a team.

First thing up was that I ordered the CSA fruit and veggie box because I wanted it. (Alaskaboy said, "It's like Christmas, I'm looking forward to next week's delivery of the mystery box.")
Second thing was I announced to everyone, "I won't be cooking dinner every night, nor will there always be leftovers for those nights I don't cook."
There have been other changes as well and we're slowly figuring our way through it.

Above all is my desire to stop taking people's crap, including my own. I'm figuring out what I need and going after it. I'm finally learning that I can't change anyone else. Change comes from within. As my Gramps always said, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

So, yes I am working on changing "Can't Satisfy Anyone" into "Confidence Spawns Achievement."

Today's post brought to you by the letters, C, S, and A.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's Talk!

She stood there, her bright blue spiky hairdo all roughed up from where she'd just run her hand through it. "You're shitting me, aren't you? she said.

Proud of the levelness of my tone I replied, "No, I'm not." When she quirked an eyebrow at me I said, "Just the right amount of evil genius ambiance you've got going on, by the way." Waving a hand to indicate the control room she'd built up over the previous two years, which despite it's futuristic efficiency somehow still held that aroma of Eau de Dungeon, I chuckled. "But, are you shitting me? You're so bad arse you don't need this crap!"

She snorted as her second eyebrow rose to equal the height of the first. "So bad arse that all of a sudden you turn up at my place wanting tea and a chat? There goes my chance at consecutive Most Subtly Devious trophies at the Damnation Awards. It's not fair!" I gave her points for avoiding any cliched tantrum moves, instead she stood there, simply stating the facts. "I DESERVE it! I had you on a leash so long you never even knew I was there...."

The look in her eyes, when she realised what she'd said was a lie, wasn't the huge ego boost it would have been in the past. I knew how it felt to have your world view suddenly turned on its head. So, I simply repeated what I'd said earlier when I'd been ushered into her presence. "Let's talk."

This time she nodded then followed me outside.

It'd been awhile since I'd thought about my low self esteem demon. She nicked off awhile ago, and I hadn't heard from her since. I thought it was because, even though I'd gone through that deep depression after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I had since made so many positive changes in my life that she'd decided never to come back. Not only had she come back, but the reason I couldn't sense her any more was because we were so in sync with one another that there was no differentiating us. No I, only we. And not just we two, but we four. With both of our self esteem demons involved, Alaskaboy and I finally realised it was a tag team event worthy of a WWF Championship bout. So, a couple of months ago we started marriage counselling.

Leaning back against the artfully peeling trunk of a paperbark tree, LSED asked, "Now that you've blown the decoy's cover, who's really behind the curtain?"

I took the time to put my thoughts in order while I arranged myself more comfortably on the sun-warmed grass. "Funny you should ask, because I still don't know." I shivered slightly when a cloud passed across the sun making me realise just how chilly the afternoon had become. "Even though I've moved back home, and I'm enjoying the seasons, food, family etc, I'm feeling like I imagine a convict would have all those years ago..."

LSED's laugh interrupted me. "Oh, please," she said, "what in all the hell dimensions could you have in common with one of those poor bastards? Other than me, of course."

"After being transported far from all your loved ones; spending seven years living under the complete control of another person, that you've hated that whole time; to wake up one morning and in your hand is your Certificate of Freedom, with only your own free will governing what you will do with your what the fuck do you do?"

"Damn right I had you under my control! But only hate?" She pouted at me, "I was aiming for something a little stronger than that."

At first I kept trying to figure out how I could get Alaskaboy to admit his problems, other than that we were on the rocks and completely miserable, and once he had we could solve them and we'd be happy as clams. Funny about most problems, same as for there to be a marriage in the first place, {sings}it takes two, baybeeeeh, just me and you.

In learning our new skills, we made mistakes, hurt ourselves when we dared too much too fast, and gradually mastered the basics. Like all apprentices, we managed to ignore the sage advice of Han Solo, "Great, kid, but don't get cocky." And very cocky I was indeed on the day I typed into Google, "my husband ignores me." There it was, all those glorious pixels telling me that it was him that had the problem. A problem that I could help him solve. A problem that meant it was finally his turn to be the one to have to really work on some emotional shit. One where I could stand strong and be his rock for a change. Then, during my research I got to the part where passive-aggressives are attracted to people who are codependents, or those who find it easy to excuse others' bad behaviours, and...those who have low self esteem.

I stared into LSED's eyes and said, "Stop it."

Gone was any semblance of amused tolerance as she shot to her feet. Her eyes, and I do mean her eyes, not just her irises, changed to a blue even brighter than her hair and she tipped her face up towards the sky, roaring so loudly that it shook the leaves on the tree above. When she looked back down at me, the subtler changes in her face screamed Not Human louder than the cerulean glare freezing me to the spot. Into the total silence her roar had caused she said, "No, you stop it. I've had enough of your mewling. We both know this isn't going anywhere. You'll do what you always do. Blather on about some spurious epiphany, bolster yourself with false courage and then lock me away in an ineffectual holding cell."

I couldn't help it, I smiled. "That's the charlatan calling the phony a quack!"

As I read down the list of the behaviours that make up a codependent, gone was any sense of cockiness. I was left with the feeling of being nothing but a big ol' fakey-faker. I'd gone from thoughts of confrontation to being confronted with a clue-by-four of my own. Peeling back all those little layers had exposed the core of us both. Unable to face delving into the seething morass by myself I did what any sensible person does in this instance, I cried out for my mummy.

After we'd had a talk I felt able to go away on my own and think it through some more. I also knew I had to talk about this with Alaskaboy, preferably before our next therapy session to give him some time to digest it so we could actually discuss, not react, in the short time we have each week in the room with the expert. Trying something new I told him that I'd discovered information that might be what had us and Dr Sunny feeling like we're missing that one little but vital something about our communication/anger problems. After telling him, I let him get on with the business of preparing for his new job. Before I would have been impatient to solve it and solve it now, saying I knew it was a bad time for him but really only caring about blurting out this stuff to relieve my uncomfortableness.

The day before our next session, three days after I'd asked him to let me know when was a good time for us to talk, I couldn't wait any longer. Not only were we both at breaking point because all of a sudden I wasn't reacting the way I always had to his subtle digs--which were more like glaring neon signs to my newly opened eyes--but it was also a day off so we had the time to discuss it all. The discussion went for seven hours, with breaks inbetween to chill out or eat or simply regroup before working through the next level of crap the knowledge was dredging up.

When we turned up to our therapy session Dr Sunny asked, "What the hell happened, you two look like crap?" We explained that we were exhausted from what we've been talking about, but also eager for her help to dig even deeper. When she came up with another small but vital piece it was like a scene from countless movies where the crack in the dam finally gives way under all that pressure and a torrent of water flows forth to overwhelm the people sleeping peacefully in their picturesque village below.

There we were, Alaskaboy and I, clinging to the safety of the tallest tree watching the swirling waters rage past us, wondering where the hell all that had come from! We knew that somewhere in amongst those murky depths were the tools to rescue us from our plight, but we were going to have to get wet, chilly and bedraggled before we could make it out to civilisation. And it really is just us two in the wilderness, because Dr Sunny is going away on a ten week vacation. (Her first holiday in three years.) The two of us, hopefully working as a team to strengthen our weaknesses, teach our strengths to bend rather than shatter under pressure, and the two of us finally to become one in a healthy way.

I continued before she could interrupt me again. "You can cut the bullshit LSED, I've finally figured out who you really are."

She bared her long teeth in a way that could never be mistaken for a smile. "Really?"

"Yep! You're not for real. Just like those blunt choppers of yours are fake; fangs have gotta be sharp to really sink deep into someone." Her lips clamped shut in a thin line, as I stood up and squared off against her. "You are a phony. You're not a low self esteem demon, you've been working hard to make sure I find myself."

She shook her head. "Can we add delusional to all your other problems? Even with how easily I can use the hell dimensions to thread myself through the fabric of time, it's not possible for me to accomplish that much of a miracle by myself."

And as I felt myself relax from the belligerent pose I'd held momentarily, I truly knew who and what, they...were.

To Be Continued...