Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week One: The Soda Jerk

For as long as I can remember, I've drank soda.  It started out as a treat on weekends and over time became a daily indulgence, escalating even further to one a day to two or three a day.  I've tried quitting it several times, unsuccessfully.  I was once able to convert from regular soda to diet soda, but I still drank two or three a day for about 4 years.  At first I was able to lose weight by switching (along with diet and exercise), but I noticed that every time I drank a Coke Zero, I got the munchies.  I did some research and found that there were other claims that the aspartame found in some diet sodas can cause hunger.  So I stopped drinking them and did manage to lose some of the weight I gained from the aspartame munchie syndrome.  But then I started treating myself to Dr. Peppers.  Big mistake!  One on occasion turned into one a day, then two a day and sometimes three a day.  I've been struggling with this Dr. Pepper "addiction" for about 2 years now.  Just a few weeks ago, I was drinking two or three a day, but tried cutting back to one or two a day, then one a day.  It was so hard.  Seems like when I thought I could get by with only one a day, something would happen, a sleepless night or a busy day, and I'd drink more "because I need the caffeine" I'd tell myself.  But it really wasn't the caffeine.  It was some other carbonated comfort the drink offered me.  I needed to quit.  Despite the caffeine intake, I was tired and sluggish.  I didn't like this feeling and decided to change.  I'd tried to quit sodas cold turkey in the past with no success, but this time, the difference would be not using diet soda as a crutch.  I can't really stand the taste of diet soda anymore anyway, but I knew I needed something to help with the transition stage.

A couple of weeks ago I got a cold and thought that since my taste buds were numb anyway, it'd be a good time to try quitting soda and drink ONE small diet soda in the morning after my cup of coffee, then water or tea the rest of the day.  It's been two weeks and two days and I haven't had a Dr. Pepper and I am no longer drinking Dr. Pepper Ten either, I only needed a few days of the one can in the morning to help me make the transition.  A good strong cup of coffee in the morning has helped and so has sparkling water.  I drink tea also, but since tea has also been a problem for me, as I can't seem to drink it without lots of sugar, I try to stick to one cup a day with one teaspoon of sugar.  So far, it's working.  I've started to get my energy back and I don't feel sluggish all day.  My stomach feels flatter...it may not be flatter, but it feels less bloated for sure.  I've been sleeping better too.  I'm happy with the results and proud of myself for finally making the change I've been needing to make for years.  It wasn't easy, but I did it.  I only focused on making this one change for a week and was successful.  I will work hard to continue this new habit.

But what next?  I need to walk.  So that's what I'll focus on next week.    

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week One: The Prequel

I am tired.  I wake up at the last possible minute to get ready for work.  I leave for work early so I can sit in the parking lot, close my eyes and relax for a few moments before going in to work.  During my lunch hour I go out to my car, kick the seat back and nap for 10 to 15 minutes.  When I get home, I try to do as little as possible, cook whatever the easiest, most convenient meal is (if it's my turn) so I can sit down.  As soon as I sit down on the couch, that's it.  I have no intention of doing anything else for the evening other than watching TV and talking to my husband.  Sometime around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., we will both go to bed since he has to get up early for his job.  I will wake up the next morning and do it all over again.  I guess the scariest part of this for me is when the ideas and inspiration stopped coming.  I am a poet and a writer, a creative person who always has some sort of weird notion knocking about in my mind.  But lately, not so much.  I'm just too tired.  I don't like it and have decided something has to change.

I know I need to lose weight, but I've been on so many diets over the years, it seems my body is onto all of them.  I recently told someone that I wished I'd never gone on a "DIET" and I mean that.  Diets don't work.  Changing your diet, what you eat, how you think and feel about what you eat, does work.  I have succeeded at losing weight before and even keeping it off for a while until I let myself slip back into old habits.  I do a mental summary of all the diets I've ever been on, what worked for me, what didn't.  I came up with a few "guidelines" to hopefully help me on yet another journey towards losing weight and feeling better.

1.  I will not call this a diet.  Diet is a four letter word.  I am not on a diet.  I am changing my habits and outlook about my overall lifestyle.  

2.  I will make changes, one at a time, maybe one every week or whatever time frame I feel comfortable with.  The changes may come fewer and farther between as I accomplish some of the main ones on my list.    

3.  I will not weigh myself for the first few weeks, maybe even months, maybe not at all.  In the past I have let that number mess with my head.  When the number is lower, I am encouraged by it, but when the number is higher or doesn't move at all, I'm discouraged, disappointed and get derailed.  No, this time is about feeling better, not about a number on the scale.  I will use how I feel and how my clothes fit as a gauge, which brings us to #4.

4.  Every day I will ask myself two questions to determine my progress:  How do I feel?  How do I want to feel?  As long as I'm feeling better, I know I must be doing something right, and as long as I want to continue to feel better, I will continue practicing the habits that have proven to do so.

5.  I will write about my progress, my ups and my downs.  I need to write every day anyway because I always feel better when I write.  It doesn't matter if anyone reads it, I just need to put it out there to help myself mentally and emotionally.

So there you have it, my personal Top Five for a Better Me!  I have decided the first change I need to make is NO MORE SODA, namely Dr. Pepper.  No offense, Doc, but you gotta go!  My next blog post will be all about you and how I'm getting rid of you for good.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Live long, prosper, and rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy!

It has been over a week now since I learned of Nimoy's passing.  I'd heard he'd been hospitalized a few days prior with end stage COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and at his age of 83, I knew death was a strong possibility.  Still, his death shocked me.  It wasn't so much the death of an elderly diseased man that surprised me, but my reaction to it.  I've never met the man, only watched his TV shows and movies and read his poetry.  But that's just it.  He has been "in my house" since I was born, before that even, as my mother was watching Star Trek long before I was born.  He has been in my mind and heart each time I read his poetry.  He was a friend, a comfort, a constant in my life.  The loss I feel in his absence is great.  To those who might not understand why one would grieve the loss of a "celebrity", let me say this:  this man, the actor, the poet, embodies my childhood and my love of science fiction and poetry, and to lose him in the physical form is akin to watching my childhood home burn down or my old elementary school be demolished.  The memories are still there and will always be there, but as a "human" I can't help but mourn the physical embodiment of such things.  

Since I can no longer find the words, I leave you with this, a short poem by Nimoy which seems to capture the moment...

A silence with you
is not
a silence

but a moment rich
with peace.