Search Results for: depression

Depression: It’s sneaky

Sometimes I forget. I can go weeks or even months without experiencing a hint of depression. During those periods I sometimes allow myself to believe that it’s gone for good and that I’m “normal” again, whatever that means.

istock depression teenage 1 300x208 Depression: Its sneaky

Photo by daniiibby101 on Photobucket

And then something happens – some magical thing – and the craziness starts again. Black is white and white is black. Nothing makes sense to me even though I somehow sense, somewhere deep inside that is still in touch with reality, that it’s not external things that don’t make sense but rather my own thoughts that have slipped their moorings. Now is one of those times.

It started when I encountered a friend who is struggling with depression issues of his own, although I didn’t feel the beginnings of my own response until later. I listened to his delusional ramblings for hours, deflecting and debunking his misconceptions, outright challenging him when he was making statements about his life being worthless and over (he’s 21 years old), and crying with him as he talked about not having anywhere else to go or anything left to do. I told him that I would get the number for the County Mental Health Services crisis hotline and that he wouldn’t be alone.

As I drove home that night, I could feel my mood changing and all of my energy to do anything leaving my body. When my beautiful daughter and wonderful husband wanted to talk to me later that evening, I begged off citing the fact that I was “tired” – that’s my standard excuse, even to myself, for times when I can’t muster the energy to keep up appearances of normalcy.

Monday was Memorial Day and I participated in a remembrance ceremony with the husband and the daughter, standing dutifully at attention throughout and making small talk with acquaintances there and later at the post-ceremony reception that followed. Once the official part of the day was over and we were in private again, the darkness and fog descended, and I only wanted to curl up in a ball and be left alone.

Thank goodness I have a husband who understands the craziness and whom I trust so completely that I can see myself through his eyes and recognize what’s happening. That’s what happened on Monday night: Mick was being his usual helpful self, making dinner on the grill, and I suddenly just flipped out. I wanted to go out, we hadn’t explicitly talked about eating in, and I went from a zombie to straight up angry in about 2.5 seconds. I could see the confusion on his face, heard him asking me what was up and not taking “nothing” for an answer, and – after about 20 minutes – I realized what had happened. I apologized, I cried a little, then I went to him, buried my face in his chest, and told him I was sorry. He didn’t have to ask why I was sorry because he already knew what was going on.

Ever since that moment on Monday night, the darkness has been slowly receding. I wish it was something I could just decide to stop and then it would go away, but it’s not, at least not for me. Once I can see it and name it, though, I know that it’s on its way out of my head, and that makes life easier even as I still deal with its lingering effects.

What I’ve learned in the last year that I didn’t know before is how important it is to check in with reality, to find something that I know with 100% certainty is real and then hold on to it until the craziness starts to subside. For me on Sunday, that thing was my husband and I am so grateful – and lucky – to have him in my life.

If you, like me, suffer from depression, know that there’s help and you are never, ever as alone as you feel. There are caring people in your area – trained professionals – who are just waiting for your call. You can find their number in the front of your phone book (if you still have that object in your home) or by performing an Internet search for “mental health resources, county of xxx” where “xxx” should be replaced with the county where you live. Don’t suffer even a minute longer by yourself – help is out there and you’re worth it!

Project: Happy/Healthy Me 2014: January/February review and goals for March

My goals for January were:

  • Re-do the ‘running a 5K course’ that I started (then stopped) last year - Although I’d just finished Week 3 (of 8) when I published my January goals, I hit another brick wall at the start of Week 4. Something about the step up between those two weeks had my hip flexors crying out in pain, again, and I had to stop. After giving in to a really horrible bout of depression that was at least partially brought on by my seeming inability to run more than a couple of kilometers at a time (even interspersed with plenty of walking), I decided to give the running thing another go but this time on my own schedule. Miraculously, it seems to be working out better for me and I’m able to run 3/5 of a 5K (in run 1K, walk 1K repeat format) without feeling that I want to die. This, my friends, is progress!
  • Concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, both of us, for 15 minutes each weekend - While I haven’t been perfect with this goal – and TCB isn’t with the whole “let’s do this thing together” program – noticeable progress has been made. I would guess that I’ve put in 30 minutes at least half of the weeks since I posted this goal and I’ve donated several car loads to the charity shop, taken a couple of boxes of old paperwork to the secure document destruction service, and arranged home pick-up for approximately a cubic yard of e-waste, u-waste, and textiles that were too worn or yucky to be donated to charity. I’ve also started a collection of old writing instruments that I find as I go through boxes and bags of crap because we have boxes at work for donating those as well. I knew when I declared this goal that it was going to take more than one month to clear even a quarter of our garage, so I’m not at all disappointed in how much progress we’ve made – at least we’ve made progress!

You might have noticed that I didn’t set any goals for February. Since I was so late setting my January goals and because my time in late January and most of February was really tight due to work deadlines and my new college class I’m taking, I decided that the same goals would do just as well for February. I did add an additional goal, too, although I didn’t post about it here:

  • Go on a spending fast for 21 days – while I didn’t go to extreme lengths, I did refrain from buying any non-essential items from January 13th through February 3rd. I did window shop a lot and I even pinned a few items to Pinterest to go back to after the fast was over. The funny thing was that, on February 4th when I was convinced I would go absolutely crazy with binge shopping to make up for the fast, I couldn’t think of a single thing I actually wanted. I did a lot of thinking during the fast about buying fewer and better quality items – clothing, for the home, electronics – and suddenly it became much harder to justify giving over our hard-earned money. Even items that are on the most incredible sale ever, if they aren’t truly gorgeous items that I can see myself using or wearing forever or if they aren’t of the very best quality, just aren’t worth it. I have too much cheap junk in my closet, littering my home, and cluttering my garage, so the spending fast was a great way to focus on what I need vs. what I want. I’ve splurged on a few items since then but, much like my eating, there haven’t been any binge episodes and I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

Now that we’ve caught up for January and February, let’s think about what I’d like to work on for the next 30 days.

My goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

So, where to focus my energy for March?

  1. Keep up the run/walk workouts three times a week - I’d like to get another solid week under my belt on the current scheme before attempting to increase the first running segment from 1k to 1.5k. If I can go slowly, I’m pretty well convinced that running a full 5K before the end of the year is possible.
  2. Continue to concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, by myself, for 30 minutes per week – In addition to the clutter-busting, I am also going to focus on cleaning the newly cleared areas of dust, debris, and grime. Yes, it’s a garage, but there’s no reason the floor has to be absolutely disgusting!

OK, your turn: what small things are you going to work on in March to make your life happier and/or healthier?

High Five Friday: A happy reminder about why I do what I do

highfivefriday6 High Five Friday: A happy reminder about why I do what I do

I went to see my Primary Care Physician – as opposed to my Endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) – recently, because I am losing my hair. (Definitely NOT celebrating that development.) After congratulating me on my weight loss and explaining that it was probably the cause of my hair loss, the doctor ordered a comprehensive metabolic panel and lipid panel – blood and urine tests to look at how I’m doing with my diabetes and see if anything medical might be causing the hair loss.

We were both expecting to see good numbers for these tests, based on the healthy lifestyle changes I’m making, so I was anxiously awaiting the results letter. I received it on Wednesday and rushed to open the first envelope. Every number on the metabolic and lipid panels was much improved from this time last year, including my overall cholesterol, HDL (“good” cholesterol – it was way too low last year and is now safely above the “low” level), triglycerides (a whopping 93% reduction in 12 months!), and fasting blood glucose (I’m smack in the middle of the “normal” range, not even near the “impaired” much less “diabetic” ranges).

Then I opened the second letter which turned out to have the results of my Hemoglobin A1c test, measuring how well my blood sugar has been controlled for the last several months. This is significant for diabetics because fasting blood glucose only measures control for a brief moment in time but the A1c shows how you’re doing overall. The ranges for this test are:

  • Therapeutic goal of American Diabetes Association = <7.0%
  • Controlled diabetics = 6.0-8.0%
  • Non-diabetics = 4.0-6.0%

Let me interject here to say that at my last test, back in June, my result was 5.8% and my Endocrinologist and I were THRILLED with that result. So thrilled in fact that he took me off of my remaining oral diabetes medication, so this month’s test is completely without medication of any kind.

So, what was my number? My latest Hemoglobin A1c reading was 5.0%. I read it, then blinked a few times because I’m blind as a bat without my reading glasses and I thought perhaps I’d misread a 6 as a 5; I hadn’t. You guys, that means that, without chemical assistance of any kind, my body now functions like a non-diabetic person’s does. Yup, I cried. A lot. Then I sent a text message to my diabetic colleagues (also friends!) at work to tell them the wondrous news and this is the message I received in return:

“I’m so happy, Denise…this is why you do what you do.”

And then I cried even harder because yes, this is exactly why I do what I do. Why I wake up every single morning – not just the days when I’m feeling good and had enough sleep the night before, nor only on the days when I have nothing else competing for my time – and make the decision, again, to put myself and my health first. To go for a walk before work and, optimally, again in the afternoon with my team. To eat smaller amounts of low-glycemic foods and to stop before I feel full because my body can’t use the extra food properly. To make an appointment with my therapist when my depression and anxiety lead to binge eating. To faithfully keep my every three month dental cleaning appointments even though I am terrified to be there and still traumatized by having 15 teeth removed in one go last July. Complacency in any of these areas will hurt my body and I don’t intentionally do that any more. (Gosh it feels good to be able to write that last sentence.)

So that’s my “win” for this week – not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

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

Three things I’m grateful for this week: February 6

  • A lessening of my anger and anxiety. I’ve spoken here before about my mental health issues and I need to write a longer post to deal with it more fully but suffice it to say that the past few weeks have been very bad and it’s starting to get better.
  • Comfortable clothes. I might look like a lumberjack today but I’m warm and cozy and I didn’t have to use any brain power to coordinate what I was going to wear. Work is tough right now and I have my Marketing class to keep up with plus spending time with TCB and The Pug – it’s a lot, so it’s nice to be able to kick my feet up on the desk with a cup of Black Currant tea and my Paul Bunyan look while I’m working.

     Three things Im grateful for this week: February 6

    not pretty, but it works

  • My Puggy pal. I’ve always been a cat person. We had dogs when I was a kid but I never really bonded with any of them. But Alouysius T. Pug is different. His whole attitude toward life makes me smile in spite of myself. I’m so very grateful to have his little, squishy face to come home to every night!

     Three things Im grateful for this week: February 6

    life is good when you’re this cute

What are you grateful for this week?

Project Me: December and 2013 reviewed

My only goal for December was to make an appointment with my therapist to deal with my anxiety and the binge eating, binge shopping, and horrible obsessive/compulsive behaviors that accompany it. I saw my therapist at the beginning of December and just talking to her made things inside my head a lot more calm. She asked me to keep track of my moods, particularly when I’m feeling more anxious than usual, so that we can isolate any common triggers. We also talked about letting things just be and challenging my constant need for order with the thought, “What would happen if I just left that mess over there? Will anyone be hurt? Why do I care what others think?” I’m doing more of both of those behaviors and definitely feel less anxious than I was before our appointment. I’d like to follow up with her next month but my work schedule is a little insane in January, so we’ll have to see.

This being the last day of the year, I’m also going to take this opportunity to review how I did with my goals for 2013, which were:

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL – done and dusted; my fasting blood sugar readings this time last year were hovering near 200 (very dangerous) and now they are consistently below 100 and usually closer to 90. [Clinical recommendation for diabetics is fasting/pre-meal readings between 70 and 130, so I'm right in the middle.]
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL – done; last time I had blood work done, my triglycerides were below 100 without any medication, so I’m thrilled by that. [Clinical recommendation for diabetics is triglycerides of under 100, so I'm in the clear here.]
  • body weight at or below 169 pounds (putting me into the Overweight category on BMI scale)  - as of this morning, I weigh 167 pounds with 37% body fat, for a BMI of 29.6, officially Overweight. I weighed in on February 1st of this year at 244 with 49% body fat and a BMI of 43.2, officially Morbidly Obese. [I still have 27 pounds to lose in order to be within the Normal weight range for my height.]
  • waist measurement of not more than 39 inches – this was the goal I was most concerned about. At the beginning of the month I still had 1-1/2 inches to go and that just didn’t seem achievable to me. I wrapped the tape measure around me this morning and told myself it would be OK if it wasn’t 39 inches or less. I mean, seriously, look at eveyrthing I’ve achieved this year, so if I miss on one out of five, that’s not too bad. I checked in the mirror to make sure the tape was straight, squeezed my eyes shut while I exhaled deeply, then looked down to see the tape end directly below the big “39″, and I cried – I hit it perfectly. I have lost 14 inches from my waist since February. I know it shouldn’t matter so much to me, but it does. It really, really does. So damn proud. [Clinical recommendation for a healthy woman is a waistline measurement of less than 32-1/2 inches, so I've got quite a way to go to get there but I am SO MUCH CLOSER than this time last year.]
  • an improved quality of life as perceived by me – this was my “wild card” goal for the year. There is no quantitative measure to show how much my life overall has improved but here are some important (to me) data points:
    • I’ve made it a point to schedule time with my parents every other month in 2013 and have already set up monthly get-togethers for the first four months of 2014. My life is better when I stay connected with my family.
    • TCB and I have taken more vacations together this year than in any previous year of our relationship. While it’s nice to be able to travel on my own, when we do things together, everything just feels more “right”. We have both scaled back on our volunteer obligations and spend more time together being active every day instead of running around like crazy people trying to fit everything and everyone else in. If it doesn’t tie back to our goal of making and maintaining a happy, healthy family then it goes to the bottom of the list. (And we’re OK when we don’t get anywhere close to the bottom of the list most weeks.) We have subscriptions to two local theater companies and have attended five live productions since October, including one last Sunday.
    • I still fight with my depression but not as much as in the past. I recognize it when it comes much faster than I used to so that I can start to deal with it, and once that’s happened it’s well on its way out.
    • I stopped ignoring my dental problems, had 15 teeth extracted (that’s half of them), and am now on a schedule of regular dental exams and cleanings.
    • I walk a 5K before breakfast, five days a week. I take Pilates Reformer classes twice a week. This year I completed a Sprint Duathlon, Couch to 5K, at least one 5K event every month, and I started a group at work that walks two miles every afternoon.
a year of walking Project Me: December and 2013 reviewed

This is the face of a happy, healthy woman!

Twenty-thirteen has been an amazing year of becoming happier and growing stronger, and for the first time since 1998 I won’t start the new year with dread and the knowledge that I still need to do something about my weight. It’s funny: once I stopped worrying about the weight and put the focus on my health, everything in my life improved.

I’m going to get off of the computer very soon until next year, so I’ll share my Project Me goals for 2014 in a separate post. Tell me, though, how did you do in 2013 with your healthy living goals and what will you do more of or differently in 2014?

Workout Wednesday: October 23

3413789541 72be32e71d m Workout Wednesday: October 23

Exercising with Good Housekeeping by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

My body keeps teaching me lessons in patience – patience and letting go. I have major control issues and they seem to be flaring up more than usual lately, contributing to a feeling that things should be moving faster than they are. I want to be able to run – really run, not my slow, pokey jogging. I want my body weight to drop down into the “healthy” range (I’m clinically obese) immediately, even though I’ve lost over 65 pounds in less than nine months and that’s amazing all by itself. Not being able to run or ride my bike until the soreness in my IT band subsides is kicking my anxiety into new and heretofore unknown levels of craziness, but I’m stretching and foam roller-ing as instructed, and trying to relax and enjoy life in general.

Given all of that, what did my activities look like this week?

Wednesday, October 16 – 3 laps on the walking path at work (13,541 steps)

Thursday, October 17 – 2.5 miles walking/jogging for Up & Running 5K course plus 4 laps on the walking path at work (1 mile total) (17,374 steps)

Friday, October 18 – Walked a mile each way to lunch from work plus 3 laps on walking path at work (12,687 steps)

Saturday, October 19 – Not a darn thing except going to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with my husband! (7,183 steps)

Sunday, October 20 – Walked all three floors of our local shopping mall plus 30 minutes/1.8 miles walking on the treadmill at the gym (16,451 steps)

Monday, October 21 – 2.66 mile walk in the morning plus 2 laps on the walking path at work (15,543 steps)

Tuesday, October 22 – 4 laps on the walking path at work ( steps)

I’ve made a real effort to walk every day on the path at work, and to take as many colleagues with me as are willing to go. I’m also standing up for meetings whenever possible to avoid doing nothing but sitting around all day at work. I might not be able to run as much as I feel I ought to, but I’m definitely racking up the overall mileage most days and that’s all that’s required to keep my blood sugar in control, help fight the depression, and get/keep excess weight off. The running bit is for my ego, not my health (another reminder for me) and it’s more important to take care of myself than it is to meet an arbitrary goal.

Project Me: August review and goals for September

My goals for August were:

  1. Finish Couch to 5K program, be able to jog 30 minutes straight – Done & done
  2. Attend one Pilates Reformer class per week – Also done. (Turns out I really love these classes – who would have guessed strength training could actually be fun?)
  3. Consume no more than 20 ounces of latte drinks each day – I achieved this goal most days this month, and certainly reduced my intake of caloric beverages. [I now substitute iced coffee with an ounce of half and half (20 calories) for an iced latte with 14 ounces of nonfat milk (140 calories).]
  4. Complete six cardiovascular workouts of at least 45 minutes each a week - Um, definitely NOT done. With the training required for my upcoming duathlon, my workouts are now longer (two jogging sessions of ~20 minutes each, sandwiched around biking workouts of between 20 and 45 minutes)

My goals for 2013 have been published and they include:

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • body weight at or below 169 pounds (putting me into the Overweight category on BMI scale) – 35 23 more pounds in six four months
  • waist measurement of not more than 39 inches – 5-1/2 5 more inches in six four months
  • an improved quality of life as perceived by me – well on my way to achieving this!

August was a tough month for me. I signed up for a semi-endurance event that was less than eight weeks away at the time (now only five weeks away!), requiring very specific, somewhat physically challenging, definitely mentally challenging workouts. This, combined with a nasty bout of depression (again!), left me doing the minimum required workouts (five a week) instead of walking or jogging every morning as I had been. I did make the Sunday morning Pilates Reformer class a new part of my routine (hello, strength training) and I finally tried Pure Barre Lite, which turned out to be not nearly as bad as I’d thought (but has me still sore five days later, so it’s going to have to wait five weeks until after the event), so all was not lost.

On the other hand, at my three month check-in with my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor), he officially changed my status in the computerized chart from “Diabetes, uncontrolled” to “Diabetes, well-controlled”, and told me I should stop taking my evening insulin shot because it’s not needed. (I need to continue monitoring my blood sugar levels but if they stay as they are, I will only need to take one pill twice a day!) Given that it was the horrible state of my diabetic self-management that started me on this path to create a healthier life at the beginning of the year, that’s definitely something I’m proud of.

Bottom line: I lost 5 pounds this month but actually gained 0.5 inches around my waist and I know I didn’t do everything I was capable of, exercise-wise, but my overall health is steadily improving regardless of what the scale or tape measure say.

So, what will I be working on for September?

  1. Put nothing in my mouth that has calories after 7:00 pm unless it’s fruit – the evening dessert routine is getting a little out of control. I’m having a large latte (200 calories) plus two macaroons (another 200 calories for both combined) most nights. If I skipped that and either had a piece of fruit or just some plain tea or decaf coffee after dinner instead, I’m pretty sure that would be another pound a week off of my body.
  2. Wear my heart rate monitor for all workouts - need to make sure I’m in the right training zone and getting enough intensity to actually burn some pounds.
  3. Do not buy anything unless absolutely necessary - my addictive personality has latched on to compulsive spending to take the place of my compulsive overeating, and that’s going to be just as damaging in the long run, so it needs to stop. I’m going cold turkey and will use my paper journal every morning to work through whatever feelings bubble up when there’s nothing else to numb them with!
  4. Focus on gratitude – While I’m writing in my journal every morning, I’m going to spend a few moments focusing on what I’m grateful for that day. I have so many great things going on in my life and I need to remember that instead of always looking ahead for “what’s next?”

strong legs 300x300 Project Me: August review and goals for September

Alright, your turn: How did you do in August and what would you like to focus on for September?

Half empty or Half full? Neither, actually

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link, I’ll receive a percentage of the price you pay if you purchase the product from Amazon.

halfway 200x300 Half empty or Half full? Neither, actually

55 pounds gone, 55 more to go!

Somehow, in the last not-quite-seven months, I’ve managed to shed 55 pounds of extra weight. I’ve also lost three medications related to my Type 2 diabetes that I didn’t need once I started eating better and exercising every day. (I’m on the cusp of losing one more, too, which will leave me only taking a single prescription.) I’ve also lost the ability to wear virtually every single item of clothing in my closet and chest of drawers. (I’ve developed a much closer relationship with my tailor, too.)

More important (to me) than what I’ve lost is what I’ve gained since February 1st:

  • Better health
  • More energy
  • A daily workout habit that I don’t just enjoy, I actually look forward to*
  • A closer relationship with my husband (we’re creating a healthier lifestyle together)
  • Enhanced ability to cope with my depression (it’s still there but I recognize it faster and seem more able to push through even in the worst of it)
  • Dedicated, pre-scheduled time for me (my weekday mornings are for working out, Saturday at 7:00 am is my Weight Watchers meeting – followed by an hour at the gym, and Sunday at 8:00 am is my loved/dreaded Pilates Reformer class)

* OK, I don’t look forward to the required training workouts for the duathlon I signed up for in October – they stink! – but when it’s just a single workout that I choose, I love it!

Things are not perfect, however. I still struggle with my almost pathological fear of allowing myself to be vulnerable (or anything less than 100% perfect at all times) and that worries me a lot. Last week I was all set to take a Pure Barre Lite class at the center near my house before I saw the girls heading into class and chickened out. They were all in great shape physically and very petite, so I convinced myself that I couldn’t bear the humiliation of being the only obese person in class.

Interestingly, I’m in the middle of reading Dr. Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, [affiliate link] where she spends many, many pages extolling the virtues of releasing the need to be perfect in order to fit in (or even trying to “fit in” at all). I’ve also recently started following Jia Jiang‘s blog where he not only talks about living life without letting fear of rejection get in your way but actually goes out and courts rejection whenever possible. Once I stopped mentally berating myself for being weak, I started thinking about what these two people – both of whom came into my life, albeit only virtually, at the same time – would tell me about my Pure Barre (non) experience.

I’m pretty sure Dr. Brown would tell me to stop feeling shame about my fat self and how I got this way and also that if the class is for me then no one there will expect me to be anything that I’m not and, in fact, they’ll actually love me as I am for who I am and what I bring to class. Jia Jiang talks a lot about viewing rejection as an important milestone on the journey to eventual success, and that the rejection itself says as much about the other person as it does about the person or concept being rejected. In light of this, I’m guessing that he would tell me to give Pure Barre a try because even if it ends up as badly as I’m afraid it will then I’ll be one step closer to finding a strength & flexibility class that I will love. So, I’m going to class on Wednesday morning and we’ll see how it goes.

I’m learning that this “building a healthier, happier life” thing isn’t for wusses, and the physical discomfort involved is the very least challenging part of what’s required.

What makes you happy?

An important component of Project Me involves improving the quality of my life. I threw that om the list of deliverables for Project Me because I’ve  done the whole “lose weight, get in shape, be more active, and eat less” thing before and always ended up gaining every single pound back and more, so clearly something was missing from those previous efforts at better health. Also, pursuing better health without incorporating happiness somehow feels incomplete.

I deal with depression at least once a month. Some months are worse than others but generally it makes getting out of bed and, really, even just giving a damn about anything, difficult for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how serious/strong it is. (Or is it based on how strong I am that month? Interesting thought.)

In any case, as far as I can tell, the depression started a really long time ago – at least in college, if not before then – leaving me with not a lot of answers to the important question, “What makes you happy, Denise?”

 What makes you happy?

Happy day! by ricco via Flickr

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time since I started on Project Me thinking about happiness and even joy – the emotion of great delight, which has been rare in my life, as you might expect – and I feel I’m making progress at understanding what makes me happy. As part of that research, however, I’d like to hear from all of you: what makes YOU happy? When was the last time you felt joy and what part of the experience do you think  pushed you from mere happiness to actual joy? Please share in the comments or send me an electronic mail message if you’d rather not share publicly.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Project Me: July review and goals for August

My goals for July were:

  1. Finish Couch to 5K program (I’ll be starting week 5 of the program this week if all goes well with the surgery), be able to jog 30 minutes straight – I’m very, very close to being complete – just finished Week 7, Day 2 – but I’m not done yet. I’ve developed some sort of mental block about running and I just don’t want to do it. I walk every day, though, so it’s not as though I’m not burning calories, just not running
  2. Make an appointment with a personal trainer to develop a strength training program I can begin – complete fail. I do not like strength training, never have, and while I say that I want to start doing it, in my heart I do not. I’m going to face reality on this one and move it to the backlog for consideration at a later date. [Note that I DID take a Pilates Reformer class this month, though, and that seriously kicked my butt. Nothing like using your ~200 pound body for resistance!]
  3. Reach out to friends & family to make sure that I have scheduled time with at least one person I love every week this month – I think I did pretty well with this one. The surgery at the beginning of July really threw a wrench into the first two weeks of the month because I was on heavy duty pain killers for five days then trying to figure out how to eat semi-regular foods with my new (fake) teeth. Still, I saw my childhood penpal from the UK while she and her family were in San Diego the weekend of July 19th, I went to an event downtown for healthy living bloggers at a great Mexican food restaurant, met fellow San Diegan blogger Kay Lynn for coffee after Weight Watchers, and went to lunch with my BFF, so I think I’ll mark this one as “done”

My revised goals for 2013 have been published and they include:

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • body weight at or below 169 pounds (putting me into the Overweight category on BMI scale) – 35 23.8 more pounds in six five months
  • waist measurement of not more than 39 inches – 5-1/2 4-1/2 more inches in six five months
  • an improved quality of life as perceived by me – well on my way to achieving this!

Given that, what am I focusing on for August?

  1. Finish Couch to 5K program, be able to jog 30 minutes straight – I’ve started it, so I want to finish. It’s not as though it hurts to jog, I just don’t enjoy it
  2. Attend one Pilates Reformer class per week – if I’m not going to do traditional strength training, perhaps I’ll fall in love with the painful experience that is Reformer class!
  3. Consume no more than 20 ounces of latte drinks each day – I’d gotten into a bad habit of swinging by Coffee Bean on my way to work and after dinner, each time picking up a large latte. That’s 400 calories a day and it’s nearly pure sugar because of the milk, so I’m cutting that in half. I want to chew my calories and I want them to have a reasonable amount of fiber, too!
  4. Complete six cardio workouts of at least 45 minutes each a week – I must increase the number of calories I’m burning if I’m going to make my weight and waist measurement goals for the year. I’m currently doing 5-6 cardio workouts each week but they’re 30-45 minutes each and I really need to do 45 or more for maximum calorie burning. No, I’m not getting obsessive here, although getting at least an hour of moderate intensity exercise per day has been proven effective – by the National Weight Control Registry – at maintaining a significant weight loss, which I hope to be doing by this time next year!
lottalatte strong is beautiful 300x300 Project Me: July review and goals for August

a good month

Given that last month started off with me losing 15 teeth, I think I ended the month pretty well. I’ve been fighting with the depression again for the last 10 days or so but I’m not letting it knock me off my healthy routines. Being able to buy non-plus size clothes now is a great motivator, as is hearing that I look “ten years younger” from work colleagues, but honestly, just knowing that each step I take is a step away from early death brought on my diabetic complications is really the best motivation I’ve found to get the shoes laced up and get me out the door for a walk every morning.

You cannot imagine how good it feels after so many years of adding more and more drugs to my daily routine and still seeing my blood sugar and triglycerides rise and rise to see my well-controlled blood sugar readings each morning! When I wonder if it’s worth it to get up earlier to walk or not to eat a sweet dessert that looks yummy, that’s what I remember: sitting in my endocrinologist’s office on November 29th of last year listening to him tell me that there were no drug therapies left to try and I needed to start daily insulin injections.I’m off all but two of my medications and I have to keep monitoring my blood sugar and adjusting my nightly insulin to make sure that I don’t go too low in the mornings. Is it worth the sacrifice to feel this way? Absolutely, without a doubt!

What motivates you to make healthy choices? And, in a related thought, do you have any great songs that you listen to while working out? I find that jogging/running isn’t nearly so awful if I have great music to listen to, but I’m getting bored with the same songs every day, so I need new material, friends!