Monday, June 17, 2019

The Little Loser

Three pounds. Last Monday revealed, after completing two weeks of intermittent fasting, that I lost three pounds. Thank God. It was a paltry relief, though, if that makes sense. I'm not gonna say I expected that simply narrowing the window of time I spend eating each day was going to quickly morph me into a perfect version of myself but...it would've been oh-so nice.

Last week I lost three pounds. This morning, none, bringing the total of my three-week weight loss to three pounds. Not exactly stellar. Also, in the same amount of time my husband has lost like ten pounds. Yay him. Now he weighs himself every day. That seems excessive to me. My moods are already questionable when I first wake up, and it's entirely plausible that a pound or two fluctuation could take a somewhat grouchy mood that burns off like the morning fog and make it stick around all darn day. But there's no denying he's experiencing more success than I am.

Intermittent fasting is certainly doing other things besides not help me lose much weight. Stirring up flares, for one. The flare I had the first week was epic. I got a big boil on my right cheek. I was a woman on the verge for like four days, which is a really long time to be ready to snap. Suddenly my tolerance for subjugating my own needs for the sake of another's convenience was nonexistent. I was on a mission to reclaim my lost life. Fueled by that special kind of amped-up anger only my worst flares can trigger, I decided no one was going to stop me and turned into a psycho bitch.

Week two was a huge improvement. I didn't have a flare. I drank a bunch of water so wasn't really hungry. I realized not eating for sixteen hours at a time wasn't going to send me into starvation mode. No, it was actually helping me feel much better. I seemed to have found a path of accountability and control. I went to the gym once and did yoga once.

Last week, not a good week. Another flare. The kind where I don't want to brush my teeth or take my vitamins, like the fundamental need to take care of myself didn't matter. I didn't exercise once, haven't done that since February. I even skipped my weekly writer's group. Now I live for my writer's group. It's the one thing I do in the outside world that makes me feel like I'm moving my life forward. But it's also the kind of thing I can't attend in an overly sensitive and irrational state. Having people rip apart my work is hard on a good day, but necessary for the betterment of my craft. But if I know I'm already sensitive and irrational, well, can somebody say powder keg?

Now every time I start exercising after an extended break, I go into terrible flare cycles for a while. I assume flexing my muscles releases the toxicity that's stored inside of me. Eventually if I stick with it, my flares go away and I wind up far better off than I was to start. Honestly, it's the only way I've been able to get out of pain. An absurd reality, I know, but one that I own all the same. Maybe that's what's happening with intermittent fasting? I've heard there's a whole cellular die-off and detox benefit to this lifestyle. That could be contributing to my uptick in flares.

Who knows what this week will bring. I'm certainly changing my weigh-in day. Deciding to step on the scale after my weekends of binging was a stupid idea. I feel too good overall to stop, even though I'm not seeing pound-or-inches results. I still need to exercise more, I still need to drink less, and no magic wand has been waved over my life. But ultimately I'm more in control of myself and moving in the right direction.

Thanks for joining,
Leah

Monday, June 10, 2019

Nothing Lost, Nothing Gained

So my first week of intermittent fasting is under my belt. Do we really wanna talk about my first week of intermittent fasting? I don't. It was a mess. I was a mess. What's new? Where to start...

Let's just say I thought I was a person who already kinda intermittent fasted. I wake up late because I go to sleep late. I have no desire to eat until hours after I've been awake. In fact, I view food and my need to consume it as a nuisance.

Don't get me wrong. I'm the perfect gal to take out to a fancy dinner with a sumptuous wine paring. I'll eat that plate up and drink you out of house and home, relishing every moment. But when it comes to taking time out of my day to prepare a nutritious meal and consume it for the sake of my health...well...there's so much other stuff I need to be doing.

With that attitude, one would think I'd be skinny. Or at the very least still really sick. Yet I'm neither.

One week of intermittent fasting showed me I was in no way, shape, or form already practicing intermittent fasting. Last week I was HUNGRY. Every morning I woke with food on the brain. Cutting myself off from food and drink by eight PM proved torturous. By the time I was ready to break my fast around noon, my mouth was watering. I was lightheaded. Spots were floating around the room. My body didn't look an ounce skinnier, but how on Earth could it not?

My weigh-in last Monday morning yielded not one single pound of weight loss. It was a bit of a shock. Then I remembered that's kinda how my life goes.

I didn't gain any weight either, but whatever. Considering how many hours I spent hungry, that's no consolation. Every morning I literally salivated while watching my clock as I waited for those "non-fasting" hours to arrive. When they finally did, I ate. Man did I eat. I was so afraid of being hungry once my eight-hour eating window ended, while I was in it--I ate. And I did yoga once.

This week was different. I broke my fast with coffee instead of plowing through a meal and didn't eat food until an hour afterward. I exercised twice and one of those was a weight-lifting session at the gym. Still not great but an improvement. The biggest thing I did was drink a lot of water. Like all the time. Every time I was hungry or thirsty during my sixteen-hour daily fast, I drank eight sips of water.

My husband told me eight sips makes me an obsessive freak, but what's new. It killed my hunger pains. I experienced no periods of light-headedness. My mouth didn't water once. I felt so much better as a human being, it's not even funny.

Having some control back in my life feels golden. Tomorrow I weigh in. Goodness gracious, for the love of all things holy, please let me have lost one pound.

Thanks for joining,
Leah

Monday, June 3, 2019

Adrift

I've been a lost little ship at sea over here. While my health has improved dramatically since last year, my life has not. I no longer have that nightmare of a chronic-fatigue-syndrome relapse to blame. No, this is much worse. I only have my lack of discipline.

Lacking discipline is far too simple a phrase to convey how far I've let my life go. I was furious that I'd relapsed so hard. I had to quit my job. I had to quit lifting weights. I had to quit socializing. I had to quit bathing daily and putting on makeup before I left the house, that's how pathetic I became. I couldn't walk my dogs on the main drag, the traffic too overwhelming for my sensory capabilities. My depression threatened to swallow me whole.

As a way to cope, I checked out. I drank to much. I ate too much. I stopped caring that I couldn't exercise. I watched TV for twelve hours a day. Cell-phone solitaire became my best friend. It's embarrassing and sad when I think about how poorly I treated myself as punishment for getting sick again.

But today I'm not that sick anymore. I still have flares, of course. Which is a far cry from life being one giant, two-year, never-ending, ever-present flare. I can complete a workout at the gym. I can suffer from a poor night's sleep and still fulfill light obligations the next day. Usually. Getting my period doesn't induce so much pain I race to hurl myself off the nearest bridge. The greatest gift I've been given is I'm no longer yanked to the ground by dips of extreme anger, let alone anguish. Most of the time.

Yet I still drink too much. I'm not eating all that great. Exercise is something I am trying to find the discipline to do more than twice a week. I've gained forty pounds and am displaying no urgency to change the evil ways that put me here. While I've abandoned TV for the most part and have devoted myself more than full-time to writing, I'm still trapped in a motivationless cesspool of shit I'm too unmotivated to drag myself out of!

Last week I committed to intermittent fasting. It's been one hell of an experience thus far. My first weigh in is Monday morning. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for joining,
Leah

Monday, January 14, 2019

My Social Media Meltdown

Friday was a day for the record books. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I woke up off. I was moody and melancholy and all-together miserable. The world was a dark, awful, hopeless place where I didn't belong and couldn't find a spec of beauty. I hadn't felt this down-and-out in months. It's not that I thought my sick days were behind me, per se, but I was beginning to believe we'd taken a break for a while so I could actually make some progress in my life.

But not on Friday. No, Friday was one of those days where I poured myself a stiff one at four-thirty in the afternoon. Once that was done, I decided to set my sights on social media. I have a terrible relationship with social media and usually try and avoid it. Especially when I've been drinking. It's become a platform for bullying and hate, and I find my mood, faith in the future, and self-esteem significantly lower if I spend too much time on it.

Especially on Friday. I was relatively tame on Instagram. It was a picture of my first drink. In hindsight, I realize I was warning the world to watch out for what was to come. But how was I supposed to know that at the time? I drank two more and started posting smart-aleck comments on a few big "influencer" pages I follow. Well that got my toe wet, but apparently I was looking for something more akin to a full-body soak. So I moved on to Twitter. By then the ranting raver had come out. I blasted the writer of my favorite show about how disrespectful the season premiere was to the characters' arcs. Then I went to a couple websites that had reviewed the episode and gave my peace of mind to the comments section. But apparently that was too impersonal for me.

So I sunk my teeth into Facebook, which is the most convoluted place I could've possibly gone. And by this point, I was really in a tizzy. All the pent-up rage I've been suppressing by utilizing the site as little as possible started flowing outa me like lava. On my fibro support page, I went off on Facebook for not circulating my posts because I don't pay them. They've decided I'm a business, which I'm not, and are going out of their way to ignore my content until they get their paper. So what's next? I went to my feed and scrolled. It only took a few minutes before I completely freaked out. The post I wrote on my profile page was definitely more of a rant. I mean, everyone's blatant political agenda and lack of human decency really offended me. Except what I wrote was extremely dramatic and made people start asking if I was okay...

Um...maybe...

Then my computer, literally, died. Now I'm a conspiracy theorist from jump so that sent me over the edge. I know my phone and computer are already recording everything I do and say. Now it seemed like they were going so far as to send the information to the appropriate parties. And my punishment was instantaneous! Is it fair to say I went wild?

I woke up Saturday morning having returned to a refreshingly normal state of mind. Thank God. I had to figure out what was wrong with my computer and felt a little sheepish for acting like such a freak online. But as my grandpa loved to say, there's no use crying over spilt milk. My frustration at social media met one too many bourbon drinks and bubbled over. Good riddance.

Thanks for joining,
Leah

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cleaning Up Sick

I realized the other day that I'm unhappy. Not depressed, miserable, anxiety riddled, or on the verge of a meltdown, but just that general feeling of melancholy that means I spend my days in a touchy state of unhappiness. I may be doing worlds better as far as my illness goes. But the coping mechanisms I relied upon to get through my three-year relapse--basically bourbon, Taco Bell, and watching excessive amounts of television--are still very much ruling my day-to-day existence. My bad habits, and the results of said bad habits, are making me unhappy.

But this is good. Because unhappy I can work with. Unhappy I can do something about. Unhappy doesn't mean I'm descending into a cesspool of misery with no ability to pull myself out. Unhappy isn't me freaking out because I'm too sick to exert a modicum of control over my own existence. And unhappy certainly doesn't indicate I'm so full of anger, it's all I can see. Lord knows I've spent enough of my life in those places. No, unhappy simply means I've grown complacent with my life. And as a result, I'm making some not-so-great choices in order to distract myself.

Now that I recognize it, I suppose it's time to get to work. I've got to clean up the bad habits being so sick for so long left me with. But where to start when, like, everything needs to be fixed? Yes, I may have more energy, but I also have more pain now because I'm doing more. That delicate balance of taking care of me and taking care of life is something I've got to continue to respect if I want to remain on this trajectory...

This new inspiration to get my crap together is most likely inspired by epic amounts of indulgence over the holidays. My answer: on Thursday I walked/ran on the treadmill for 23 minutes. So much exertion caused a vicious stomachache of epic proportions. I had to come home and lay on the floor in writhing pain for a while. Then I was shaky and weak the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Sigh...I forgot how hard this is. Nevertheless I did eat better, stayed off the sauce, and managed to annihilate myself by doing a little exercise. No, the laundry didn't get done. But that's what tomorrow is for, isn't it? Provided I didn't just send myself into an epic flare.

Thanks for joining,
Leah

Monday, December 10, 2018

Flare or Flu?

Shortly after Thanksgiving my 101-year-old grandmother choked on a piece of food. She came through surgery okay, but after a week or so there was fluid collecting around her lungs and her heart wasn't functioning properly. Like most do when one happens to be 101, her doctors recommended hospice. I haven't seen her since her 100th birthday party, which pretty much consisted of her sitting in her wheelchair while the rest of us ran around having a blast. So last week I decided to hop on a plane and head to Arizona for a 24-hour whirlwind visit with grandma.

It was a terrifying decision. I had to weigh the potential sabotage of my newly-reclaimed health against not seeing my grandmother one last time. Which one would be easier to live with? After hemming and hawing and considering all the potential outcomes, I decided to go. I also decided I was going for me. Not to meet expectations or because of guilt or out of a sense of obligation, but because I wanted to see my grandmother when she was hopefully still coherent enough to have a conversation with me. I convinced myself if I stayed really mellow and positive the whole time, and expected to get through it without a major backslide, it just might be possible.

By the time I got there grandma had a miraculous turnaround, which isn't anything she hasn't done before. Talk of hospice had gone by the wayside as she was efficiently discharged into a skilled nursing facility as a transitional step before going home. I also remembered, in pretty short order, my family is anything but mellow. Nevertheless, it was a good visit and I'm glad I went.

Unfortunately once I returned home, I only had one day to self-care before my husband's darn company holiday party. The one I was supposed to lose ten pounds in twelve days for, but because my week was spent preparing for, executing, and recovering from this trip instead of going to the gym and obsessing over how much I wasn't eating, it didn't even come close to happening. Whatever.

So yesterday it all caught up with me. As I was sitting here watching football, all I could focus on was the feeling of my symptoms coming to life. Yet I couldn't tell if it was a flare of the flu that was on my horizon. I prayed for a flare. Paralyzed with fear, all I could think about was how many germs I was exposed to while sitting in the hospital for two days, not to mention flying on an airplane. I remembered how I was doing really well in 2015 until I got the flu, and here I am three years later just starting to pick up the pieces. It's one of those things where time is the only way to tell. This morning I woke up feeling achy and sluggish but clearly without the flu. Hallelujah! It's a flare!

It's tough, this living sick thing. As much as I'm determined to put my health first, it's an afterthought to everyone else. For years it was an afterthought to me, and I didn't do very well because of it. But last week gives me hope. I'm caring less about what people expect from me, which while making me quite unpopular (what's new), has helped stabilize my illness exponentially. As a result I'm less emotional and more in control of my life, which has made me want to start living it again. Enough so that I was able to hop on a plane, visit my grandma, come home with a flare, and not experience one bit of resentment. That's progress.

Thanks for joining,
Leah