High Five Friday: Taking time to work on my mental health

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I mentioned in my Project Me post this month that I am experiencing greater-than-usual levels of anxiety at the moment and have been turning to late-night, secret (not from you, obviously) binge eating to cope. I know where eating food hurriedly and in secret leads and I’m not interested in going there, so I decided to make an appointment with my therapist who specializes in treating eating disorders.I saw Dr. Shapiro on Monday night and we had a great conversation about what might be provoking my anxiety and ways of dealing with it that do not involve using food inappropriately. I left with homework – track my anxiety to look for specific triggers and thought patterns – and a much calmer demeanor. Since then I haven’t had a problem, even when my anxiety has gone sky-high, and I know that hour was time (and money) well spent.

Your turn: what have you done this week that deserves a high five?

Three reasons I’m grateful this week (December 19)

  • My warm, safe, comfortable house. After a long (and many times stressful) day at work, nothing in the whole world feels better than to close the garage door behind me, walk through the door into my kitchen, and be accosted by my adorable Pug.
  • A pair of jeans that fit. I found three pairs of jeans that fit me back in September and was so excited. I carry most of my weight in my stomach – still! – and jeans just don’t work for me because anything that fits around my abdomen is like clown pants at my hips and thighs. I haven’t had a pair of jeans since 2005 as a result. After losing about 60 pounds, I decided to see if I could wear jeans again and was super-excited to find them. Then I lost 15 more pounds and now they fall off of me if I don’t wear a belt, so they went to the thrift store last week. With all of the holiday madness shopping deals right now, I went back in search of a new pair that fits properly and, after two misfires, I’ve got one pair that’s as good as it gets for me in jeans. (I’ll need to have about 1-1/2 inches taken in at the hips and thighs of both legs but that’s do-able at the price I paid for the jeans on sale.) I am unreasonably happy about this.
  • Being able to rent a couture gown [not an affiliate link] for my company holiday party. I felt like a princess, people kept stopping me to compliment the dress, and I spent less than I usually do when I buy a dress that I’ll only wear once for that event every year. They introduced plus sizes this year and I booked my dress as soon as I heard, which I’m oh-so-glad I did. I highly recommend this if you’ve got a yearly formal event to attend!
what a handsome husband I have - don't you love the bowtie???
what a handsome husband I have – don’t you love the bowtie???

Honorable mention gratitude goes to my husband, for learning how to tie the bow tie that I bought because it was “holiday festive”. Isn’t he a great guy?

What are you grateful for this week?

Three reasons I’m grateful this week (December 12)

  • My husband. He’s so supportive of me in general, puts up with my random, hour-long trips to the gym at 5:00 pm on a weekend when I haven’t moved all day, and he buys subscriptions for Broadway San Diego & the Old Globe theaters so that we can see a play together at least once a month. We just saw Million Dollar Quartet last Saturday and we’ll be going to How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the end of the month!
  • Pilates Reformer classes. I’ve never had a toned abdominal area – not even when I weighed 115 pounds in high school! – but underneath the pile of loose skin and a tenacious layer of fat (upper abdominals only now), there is muscle. And there are indentations in the skin/fat layers, too. I just noticed those this morning and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I cried with joy when I realized what they were.
  • Touchscreen compatible gloves. It’s been cold here in San Diego for a while now. I know it’s not the kind of cold the rest of you consider cold but it’s cold for us. And then this week it’s been cold by any measure you choose: in the 30s at night and not even reaching 60 during the day. My morning walks have therefore greatly been enhanced by the addition of these gloves and our evening walks to dinner by these. [Not affiliate links, just wanted to show the specific products I’m using in case anyone else is looking for hand warming options that won’t make you put down the iPhone.]

What are you grateful for this week?

Workout Wednesday: December 11

Exercising with Good Housekeeping by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

My newest exercise obsession is mall walking. TCB and I head to one of our many large, local shopping malls after breakfast on Sunday and walk at least one lap of every square inch. We sometimes stop at stores that catch our eye and sometimes not. (We usually do, especially this time of year.) It makes a really nice change from solitary power walking and is something both of us enjoy, so it contributes to our happy marriage, too. Bonuses!

What did I do this week?
Wednesday – 2.9 mile walk around the neighborhood (15,162 steps)
Thursday – 2.92 mile walk around the neighborhood in the morning plus four laps on the walking path at work (18,491 steps)
Friday – Four laps on the walking path at work, plus Pilates Reformer class (15,961 steps)
Saturday – An hour on the treadmill at the gym and nothing else (11,911 steps)
Sunday – 2.68 mile walk in the neighborhood, mall walking, plus Pilates Reformer class (16,437 steps)
Monday – Four laps on the walking path at work (11,833 steps)
Tuesday – 3.49 mile walk in the neighborhood plus three laps on the walking path at work (20,501 steps)

Another contributing factor to my increased step count is that I’ve got Outlook reminders set for 55 minutes after every hour that I’m at work, to remind me to get up and walk a lap on the inside of our building. On a good day, that’s at least eight laps. Not only is it good for my physical fitness but I’m sure it will help with the eye strain I sometimes get when we get crazy at work and I never, ever leave my desk and laptop.

What is your favorite way to get some healthy exercise in during the hectic holidays?

High Five Friday: A chance to help other diabetics

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This week I’m excited about an interview that I gave today to a blog with a large, national reach and a substantial focus on diabetes education.They talked to me about Project Me – how I came to start this initiative, how I chose my goals for the project – that sort of thing. I’m hoping that something in my story will help other diabetics who might be struggling to find a way to focus their desire to improve their control of this disease into something actionable and sustainable.

Your turn: what have you done this week that deserves a high five?

Three reasons I’m grateful this week (December 5)

  • Baggy britches. I was complaining to co-workers yesterday while we walked about how frustrated I’m getting with the last few days of the #ShopWhatYouGot challenge because all three pairs of pants plus one sweater and two of the tee shirts are too big for me now and it’s making it tough to figure out what to wear every day. It honestly wasn’t until my manager mentioned that she’d be grateful to have that problem that it occurred to me that even though the scale isn’t moving (I lost one pound in the whole month of November), I’m getting smaller and that is something to celebrate even if it creates wardrobe issues. [Note that the official challenge ended last Saturday with the last day of November, but I pledged to add a day for every Gwynnie Bee wardrobe item I wore during the challenge, so I’m going through tomorrow/Friday, December 6, to make up for the six Gwynnie pieces I wore in November.]
  • My mum is coming for a visit! Mummy & Daddy weren’t able to come for Thanksgiving at our house as originally planned because Mummy hurt her knee a few days before, but we’re going to meet them for lunch halfway between our houses on December 21st and Mummy will come home with us. It’s a pretty brief visit because she’s got to go home on the train the afternoon of the 23rd, but it will be lovely to have a few days to spend with her.
  • Cold, crisp morning walks. The privilege of having a safe, lovely neighborhood to walk in every day is something I usually take for granted, but not today. There are so many people around the world who don’t have safety and security in their own homes, much less their greater neighborhood, and I do. I also have a lovely – messy, cluttered, and sometimes dirty, but still lovely – warm home to return to when I’m done with my walk. I am so, so, SO very blessed!

What are you grateful for this week?

Workout Wednesday: December 4 (late)

Exercising with Good Housekeeping by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

It’s sort of crazy to me how natural it is for me to get up and walk for a hour in the mornings now – I don’t really think about it, I just do it. Same with my afternoon walks at work. When did I become such an active person? I’m still planning to give jogging another try in the new year but at least in the meantime I’m burning plenty of calories (and, more importantly, glucose) through exercise!

What did I do this week?
Wednesday – 2.11 mile walk around the neighborhood (15,263 steps)
Thursday – 5K Thank You walk in the morning and not a whole lot more all day! (11,675 steps)
Friday – 3.18 and 4.09 mile walks in the neighborhood plus Pilates Reformer class (24,001 steps)
Saturday – 7.23 mile bike ride and 2.77 mile walk in the neighborhood (18,476 steps)
Sunday – 3.13 mile walk in the neighborhood, five rounds of mall walking, plus Pilates Reformer class (21,053 steps)
Monday – 3.18 mile walk in the neighborhood plus four laps on the walking path at work (22,530 steps)
Tuesday – 3.06 mile walk in the neighborhood plus three laps on the walking path at work (17,006 steps)

I didn’t get in as much activity on Thanksgiving Day as I’d planned but I’m still really pleased with my exercise for the week. I started the year off happy if I hit 7,000 steps a day and now I’m averaging over 18,000 steps a day, which is a huge part of keeping my blood sugar under control. I’ve found that while eating less is important for my weight loss efforts, it’s my daily commitment to being active that plays the biggest role to improve my health as a diabetic. Not sure if that’s true for everyone but that’s what works for me.

If you are in the United States, how did your Thanksgiving Day work out? If you’re outside the US, what are you doing to make the holidays both happy and healthy this year?

High Five Friday: Time to buy new school supplies!

In addition to renewing my focus on gratitude, I also want to work on celebrating things that I’ve done well. To that end, I found a great healthy living blog community writing prompt called High Five Friday. The idea is that we do so much in a week that we forget about, so this will be a great way to commemorate successes, achievements of note, and new abilities (not just health, happiness, or weight loss related).

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This week I’m celebrating my registration for college courses needed for a certification in eMarketing. I love the occasional projects I’m able to do with our Marketing and Social Media team at work, and would like to transition into that field full time. I’m adding this certification to my resume as a logical next step toward making that career change when the opportunity presents itself. I’m registered for three classes, two of which are wholly online and one with a lecture and lab on campus two evenings a week. It’s silly, I know, but I’m giddy with excitement at the thought of going back to school! (Anyone else here love buying new school supplies???)

Your turn: what have you done this week that deserves a high five?

Three reasons I’m grateful: The Thanksgiving Day 2013 Edition

  • The love and support of my fabulous husband, known to long-time readers of this blog as TCB (The Cute Boy) or TCF (The Cute Fiance) but just plain Mick to me.

    TCB & I, lined up for the local Thank You Run 5K this morning
    TCB & I, lined up for the local Thank You Run 5K this morning
  • The fact that I walked a 5K with pretty killer hills this morning like it was something I do every day…because I do. I love how strong my body feels when I’m walking – as though I could go on and on forever. One year ago? Not so much.
  • Diabetes. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The thing is, though, that it was the failure of daily insulin injections to lower my blood sugar readings even the tiniest bit and the realization that if I did nothing I would probably not see my 50th birthday (I’d just turned 45) that pushed me to do something – anything, really! – to change the way I was taking care of my body. Eventually it was that desire for change that led me to launch Project Me and that has changed my world forever.

What are you grateful for this week?

Workout Wednesday: November 27

Exercising with Good Housekeeping by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

OK, I’ll confess right up front that I haven’t been very good about keeping track of my various walking activities this week, so not a lot of detail about how I got to the step count for each day; I’ll try to do better next week!

What did I do this week?
Wednesday – 2.25 mile walk around the neighborhood (18,893 steps)
Thursday – 2 mile walk around the neighborhood plus 30 minutes on the stationary bike (21,566 steps)
Friday – Various walking activities plus Pilates Reformer class (14,701 steps)
Saturday – 3 laps around local shopping mall (14,013 steps)
Sunday – 3.16 and 3.28 mile walks in the neighborhood plus Pilates Reformer class (21,263 steps)
Monday – 3.27 mile walk in the neighborhood plus three laps on the walking path at work (20,648 steps)
Tuesday – 2.49 mile walk in the neighborhood plus four laps on the walking path at work (18,486 steps)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, a day traditionally dedicated to appreciating the wonderful things in your life via the consumption of very large amounts of food. Since that version of the holiday is fundamentally misaligned with my Project Me objectives, I’ll be focusing on  getting plenty of physical activity while consuming a comfortable amount of yummy food, and hoping for the best with my Saturday weigh-in. If I don’t lose any weight this week, that’s OK. It’s also OK if I have a small gain this week or maintain the same weight – I want to enjoy my holiday and eat a little of each of my Thanksgiving favorites, so I’m fine with whatever that means for the numbers on the scale. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and I’m in it for the long haul.

What are your weekend plans? If you’re in the U.S., will you be preparing dinner tomorrow, going to a friend or family member’s house, or outsourcing the whole mess and having dinner at a restaurant? No matter where your plans take you, I wish you safe travels and (reasonable amounts of) delicious food!