A Life Update

No oneI haven’t really written a life update recently.  I notice my blogs seem to be almost more formal sometimes.  I think I need to get back to the blogs where I just ramble…they are much more fun to write (and I’m sure to read!)

There has been a lot going on the last couple of weeks.  The two most significant things revolve around my job and my confidence in myself.  So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Let’s start with the meaty stuff – my confidence!  Over the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking a lot about how I feel about myself—what I look like, my personality, what I believe, and how other people see me.  There were a couple of occasions over the last few weeks where I was put into the awkward position of having to face some not-so-nice comments hurled in my direction in regards to my weight.  I’m not going to go into specifics, other than to say that my feelings were hurt, as they easily are.  I’m a pretty sensitive person, but that doesn’t justify having to endure hurtful comments.

As I said, this happened a couple of times over the last few weeks.  The first time I was just hurt and sad.  It’s hard when the people you think are on your side show their true colours.  Remember when I wrote about the guy on the street who mooed at me?  That was nothing compared to this.  The second time hurt even more, but it led to me having an a-ha moment about myself. It’s a moment I wished I’d had so long ago, but one that I’m glad finally penetrated my thick skull.

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me.  It only matters what I think of me.

The truth is I am a beautiful girl.  I’m smart, I’m caring, I’m funny, and I’m good friend.  I’m also overweight, but that isn’t a character flaw.  It’s just a fact.  And I’m tired of some people acting like if I’m not thin I couldn’t possibly amount to anything.  The unfortunate part is that for the longest time I bought into it.  That because I’m fat, I’m somehow less than everyone else.  I’m just sorry it took me most of my adult life for that to sink in – despite friends trying to convince me otherwise.  I guess sometimes you just have to come to these realizations on your own and in your own time.

The other significant, although less meaty item is that I am officially a telecommuter!  I am now working from home five days a week.  Same job, just no commute (unless you count the stumble from the bedroom to my desk each morning).  I have to say, I was somewhat apprehensive about working from home on a permanent, full-time basis, and I guess maybe I kind of still am.  I definitely need to get myself into some kind of routine.  When I first found out I was going to be working from home full-time, all I could think about were the negative aspects—by myself, all day, lonely, putting in longer hours because I wouldn’t have to commute—but upon further reflection I think I have a really amazing opportunity here.  This could be the opportunity to really get a leg up on taking care of me and putting myself first.  I can definitely make time for exercise everyday.  I can make myself healthy meals and not worry about eating out in food courts at lunch or having to drag a lunch with me to work. The possibilities are endless.  This is going to be a great!!

One last little update for you—my back and left leg are finally starting to feel better.  After a few weeks of physiotherapy and some very painful acupuncture treatments, things are finally starting to look up.  Walking long distances can still be difficult, and I do have to deal with daily leg pain from my sciatic nerve, but I’m optimistic that with further physiotherapy soon I’ll be as good as new!

Ciao for now friends!

 

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It’s the Great Pumpkin!

I love autumn.  Like, seriously love it, bordering on obsession.

I love the cool crisp air, the smell of the leaves as they crunch underneath my feet, bundling up in a warm sweater, and the one thing I wait for all year long…pumpkin spice flavoured EVERYTHING!

I love pumpkin spice, and even though I can buy it in the grocery store and have it all year long if I want to, there is something about fall and pumpkin spice that I just can’t resist.  It’s like being wrapped up in a big, warm pumpkin hug that just soothes your soul.

I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but I don’t mind sipping on a pumpkin spice latte.  I picked up a couple of pumpkin spice candles from Bath and Body Works so now the whole apartment smells like autumn on a farm (you know, without all the free range animals and piles of manure everywhere).  Oh, and don’t even get me started on the pumpkin spice glazed donuts from Tim Horton’s.  I have to stop myself from ordering a dozen, going home to eat the entire box, and putting myself into a pumpkin spice-induced coma.  I fear my brother will come home from work one day to find me passed out on the sofa with donut crumbs and drool on my shirt, and an empty donut box on the floor…not a pretty picture (though one I’m sure he’ll take with his camera phone and upload to Facebook for the world to witness).

Even though we’re just ramping up into autumn, I’ve noticed that pumpkin spiced flavoured EVERYTHING is EVERYWHERE!  They now have pumpkin spice M&M’s (potentially yummy), pumpkin spice Oreos (I’m 50/50 on these, but willing to try), pumpkin spice bagels (I’ll take a pass), and the pumpkin spice condom, which I was sad to discover was just a hoax.  I’m sure there are hundreds of other pumpkin spice-flavoured products that I haven’t even come across yet.

Pumpkin condom

This year it seems pumpkin is the new, hot starlet on the block.  Everybody loves her now, but she’s in grave danger of over exposure.  Right now everyone is all “ooh pumpkin spice, can’t get enough, let’s put it in everything!” but come next fall, she’ll be staring at herself on the cover of the National Enquirer wondering what happened to her life, while people gossip about her alleged sex tape with cinnamon and nutmeg.  She’ll be yesterday’s news, lining the bottom of bird cages the world over.  She’ll try and make a comeback, but it will never be the same.  So sad.

But I’ll still love you pumpkin spice, even when the world has had enough of you.  And as long as Tim Horton’s never stops making those delicious donuts.

Jumping In and Landing Softly

Where does a girl start when she’s coming off of an injury (well, technically still injured), and wanting to get back to some healthy living?  Secret of Change QuoteShe starts at the beginning…by focusing on what she can do, and not what she can’t do.

It began with a trip to the grocery store.

I certainly haven’t been giving my health much thought over the last six weeks, at least that’s what the 10 lb I gained are telling me.  By filling myself with comfort food and laying around on the couch, I basically invited those 10 lb in and rented them a room in my apartment. But like any crazy, annoying roommate, I’m ready to kick them out.  Unfortunately, they won’t leave without a fight.

Over the weekend, still bogged down with pain in my leg from my sciatic nerve, I was thinking about how I could begin to get back into a healthy frame of mind.  I’m not able to do much in the exercise department right now, so my plan is to focus on food.  Without having to worry about fitting in workouts, or how many calories I’m burning, I can put all my attention on cleaning up my diet and learning to eat for energy and sustenance rather than pure pleasure.  Or because I’m sad.  Or lonely.  Or bored.  Or my shoe is untied.  Take your pick.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for coffee with my friend Christine, and we were discussing my blog.  She mentioned the 28-day Challenge I had completed back in May.  That was the Prevention Magazine Challenge in which I practiced clean eating clean and exercised for 28 days.  I mentioned to Christine that I lost 7 lb at the end of 28 days, and that it was the most weight I has lost since I started the blog.  Her response kind of stopped me in my tracks:

“If it was working so well, why did you stop?”

That’s a fantastic question!  Why did I stop?  I could have easily carried on with clean eating and kept the momentum going.  I keep thinking about going back to Weight Watchers, or joining Jenny Craig, or the doing the Southbeach Diet, or any one of a million different diets, hoping that one of them might work this time.  In the meantime I’ve been completely ignoring the one thing that DID work for me, which is eating clean.  The one thing that ISN’T as diet at all, but an overall way to eat for health and nutrition.

So, I went to the grocery store.  I stocked up on healthy foods I love and now I’m prepared to start moving towards learning more about eating clean.  I’ve got a couple of books to read, I’ve scoured the Internet for information, and I’m arming myself with all the information I need.  I’m making in my mission to educate myself about food and how it can help my body.

Link

Dealing with Injury

I have had my fair share of injuries in my 39 years on this planet.

Although I’m happy to say I’ve never broken a bone (which frankly shocks me given my propensity for falling down), but I have managed to injure myself on many occasions, from sprained ankles all the way to muscle pulls in my back.  My current back injury; however, is probably the worst injury I’ve had, the most pain I’ve ever been in, and taken the longest to bounce back from.

Last week I went out for breakfast with my parents.  My leg was particularly sore, and I was hobbling around with my cane in a pretty miserable mood; and when Victoria is in a mood, everyone is going to know about it (what can I say, I have a flair for the dramatic). I made a comment about being confined at home, unable to go very far because of my inability to walk and my father, being the very straight forward person that he is said “Feeling a little sorry for yourself are we?” It needed to be said, because over those past couple of weeks since I hurt my back I had really been down in the dumps.

Strategies for Dealing with Injuries

They say hindsight is 20/20, so I thought I’d share a few ideas for how to deal with being injured that I wish I’d know before I hurt myself.  Some things I’m doing now, some things I should have done right from the beginning.  But hey, we live and we learn!

Be sad, but don’t be sad for too long
Everyone is entitled to feel badly when they are hurt.  I certainly did.  I was in pain, barely able to move and I turned that into a sad, pity fest.  It was ok for a little while, but you know what? It didn’t make me feel better, in fact it made me feel worse, to the point where I was just disgruntled and sad about everything.  Not good.  You can be upset about your circumstances, just don’t let it take over your life.

Ask for help
When I first injured my back, I tried so hard to do things on my own, determined to not have to rely on anyone for help.  Yeah, that lasted for about 5 minutes.  One night I had dropped something on the floor, and tried desperately to find a way to get down to pick it up.  My brother walked over to where I was and said “you know, you could just ask for help”.  So, I did.  Turns out it’s not that hard and now I’m actually pretty good at it.  I even had to ask my brother to put my socks on for me last week…now that’s love!

Embrace alternatives
Since I had hurt my back a few times before, I started in quickly with the steps I normally take when I pull a muscle in my back—heat, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory pills—and after awhile it usually does the trick.  This time though, my tired and true remedies weren’t cutting it.  I bit the bullet and went to see my doctor who prescribed physiotherapy over massage therapy, much to my dismay.  Physiotherapy isn’t something I’ve been through before, but now that I have a few session under my belt, I’m glad I followed the doctor’s advice and went.  It’s going to help me in the long run and be preventative.  As it turns out, my physiotherapy includes a massage therapy component, as well as an acupuncture component—something I’ve also never tried before. Be open to trying things you’ve never done before that might help.  Acupuncture isn’t something I have ever been interested in or knew much about, but hey, it can’t hurt to try!!

Patience is a virtue
I am not a patient person.  Seriously, I want my back fixed and I want it fixed now.  But that is not happening, and it has been very frustrating for me.  Especially now that I’m doing physiotherapy, I want to see results fast, but that’s just not how it works.  This injury has been a big lesson in patience for me.  Being impatient about healing and the progress I’m making just stresses me out, so I’m trying hard to just go with the flow.  As much as healing is in my hands, there is a big part that is really out of my hands, and I just have to rely on my body to do its thing…at whatever pace it wants.

Overcoming injury certainly isn’t easy, but these lessons have certainly made it a bit easier for me.  Everyday I’m one step closer to healthy.

Injury Update and Back to Blogging

Hi friends!  Sorry I’ve been such an absentee blogger lately, but truthfully other than lying around and  bellyaching over my back injury, I haven’t been doing very much.  If you’re just joining our program, allow me to catch you up.

At the end of July, through complete fault of my own, I managed to pull the muscles in my lower back.  While I was doing laundry one Sunday afternoon I reached back to grab my laundry cart, twisted the wrong way, and proceeded to belt out a string on obscenities that would make Denis Leary blush.  After a lot of intense pain, doctors appointments, and an emergency room visit, I basically spent the better part of the last four weeks in a drug induced haze trying to numb the pain and heal.

While my lower back muscles have finally healed, I am still suffering from nerve pain in my left leg, which has been diagnosed as a bulging disk.  The disks in your spine act as cushions between your vertebrae.  A bulging disk means that the disk is extending outside of the space it normally would.  That “bulge” is pressing on my sciatic nerve, causing pain in my left leg from my hip to my ankle.

While I am still in pain, the pain is not nearly as bad as it was earlier on.  I’m off the hard drugs now, I’m walking (sometimes with the assistance of a cane—it depends on how far I have to go), and I’m back at work (part-time working from home, part-time working in the office).  I’ve just started physiotherapy, which I’ll blog about a little, and on Wednesday I’m going to try acupuncture for the first time, which I’ll blog about as well.  I’m equal parts nervous and excited about the acupuncture, and really just interested to see what kind of results I get.  Hey, at this point, I’ve got nothing to lose!

Needless to say, not much has been going on in the way of healthy living.  It’s hard to want to eat healthy when all you want is comfort and when you can barely walk, let alone exercise, it’s pretty frustrating.  Too much take out and comfort food has definitely been my downfall.  I was beating myself up about it for a while there, but in the end I found it wasn’t doing much good.  It only added to the stress of being injured and making me more angry at myself.  To say I’ve been harbouring a bit of anger is probably an understatement.  I thought coming back to blogging would help me work through some of that anger and help get me back up off the mat.  I may have been knocked down, but I’m not out.

Happy Labour Day everyone…here’s to the start of September, and a fabulous fall season (I love autumn, I’m so excited!!).

Useless Comments From The Peanut Gallery

As if I needed another reason to be annoyed this week, this morning I was reading the news on CNN online.  I don’t know why I do it, it just gets me all riled up.  Especially when the story has anything to do with Fox News (if you can call what Fox does “news”).

This morning I read an article on CNN.com about Fox News host and psychiatrist Keith Albow.  The discussion on the Fox news program “Outnumbered” was about Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign.  Now I am Canadian, and I don’t participate in or pretend to know everything about American politics, but I’ve watched and read enough media to know that the right-wing, conservative Fox News never has anything good to say about the Obamas.  Whatever, they can bash Obama’s politics all to hell, I could care less.  However, while discussing the First Lady’s health and nutrition campaign, Keith Albow had this to say about Michelle Obama:

“How well could she be eating? She needs to drop a few.”

Keith Albow, you have to be the most misinformed, short-sighted, medical professional (and I use that term loosely) that I have ever come across.  Michelle Obama “needs to drop a few?”  Seriously?  Does Fox News write these moronic diatribes for you or do you just make them up yourself?

YOU are the reason there are men and women in this world starving themselves to death because they think they are too fat.  YOU are the reason perfectly healthy adults and teens are regurgitating everything they eat because they feel like they don’t conform to whatever impossible body size standard society has deemed acceptable.  YOU are the reason young men and women look in the mirror and hate what they see staring back at them.  YOU should be ashamed of yourself.  The worst part is, I know you’re not.  You’ll continue to spew forth whatever ill-informed crap you have rattling around inside your head.  You won’t for one minute think that what you said was wrong, ill-conceived, or negative in any way.  You will get your five minutes in the spotlight, but you will learn nothing from this.

Friends, I’m going to leave you on this one note:  This blog is about my weight loss and learning to live a healthier lifestyle.  Me.  Not anyone else.  Be happy with who you are.  If you are, then I stand up an applaud you.  If you’re not and want to do something about it, don’t start by listening to iditos like Keith Albow.  Be who you want to be for you, not because some middle-aged dope with a medical degree thinks that the package you come in isn’t good enough.

Anger, Thy Name Is Victoria

The last two weeks have been, what I can only describe as, a complete disaster.

I injured my back, and just when I was starting to feel better, I took a turn for the worse and injured it further.  I spent the better part of four hours in the hospital, in the middle of the night, hoping like hell a doctor could make the intense pain go away.  I was prescribed medication, which made my feet swell up, made me tired all the time, and included a host of other symptoms I’m not going to share (trust me, you don’t want to know).  I’ve been in pain basically 24/7, parked on the couch, or a chair, or whatever piece of furniture was comfortable at the time (it changed daily), all while switching between ice and heat on my back (because what felt good changed daily as well).  I have been miserable, and moody, and whiney, and frankly I’m surprised my brother hasn’t moved out and left me here on my own.

You know what the worst part of all of this crap is?  I have no one to blame but myself.

I’m so angry at myself.  I’ve spent the last two weeks feeling sorry for myself:

  • My back hurts so I’m going to rest and watch TV for hours.
  • My back hurts so I’m going eat whatever I want to comfort myself.
  • My back hurts so I’m going to continue to eat whatever I want…

I know I was injured, and I know I needed to rest (which I did), and I know I needed some TLC (which I got), but I missed a golden opportunity here friends.  My weight factors into what happened to my back, and instead of trying to do something about it, I ate. And ate, and ate.  I haven’t weighed myself, but I’m sure I’ve gained like 10 lb in the last two weeks.  As a matter of fact, wait right here and I’ll go weigh myself.

Yep, ten pounds, boy did I call that.  I am now officially at the highest weight I have ever been.  😦

The question that now remains is: what am I going to so about it?  I’m going to take that anger—the sadness, the desperateness I’m feeling—and channel it into my health.  It’s on now, no holds barred.  I said that I was going to start asking for help, and I absolutely will.  I have friends who know fitness, I have friends who know food, I have friends who live healthy lifestyles who can teach me and inspire me to become the best me I can be.  Right now I don’t feel like best version of me, and I want that to change.

So today, is the day.

Today is the day I put all my excuses behind me and I go for it.  I’ll have limitations at first—my back is still healing, I’m still dealing with medication side effects—but I will do what I can until I can do more.  Then I’ll do more after that until I get where I want to be.

There is no turning back, so watch out.  Things are about to change.