CHF Recovery: Day 49

  • Got up at 8am
  • Weighed myself; I am now 135

Should I be concerned? Part of me wonders that, and the rest of me is like Good, let me just keep losing weight, that is something that culture approves of and nothing else matters.

Whatever.

  • Did not get dressed
  • Sat down at computer
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Started writing a to-do list
  • Discussed a silly movie-trailer-esque advertisement and some other stuff with my friend Rae
  • Scrolled Tumblr
  • Sent an email I needed to send, then wrote “Email letter” on my to-do list and crossed it out

My to-do list right now is:

  1. pack and ship box
  2. create some sort of plan for meals
  3. start reading book
  4. email letter
  5. put up Christmas tree
  6. set up Christmas card station
  7. MAYBE do other decorations

These are not in any particular order. I just wanted to visually differentiate “to-do” from “ta-da”.

I thought about putting “kill myself” on there as a joke but decided not to.

#2 is ridiculous. As I said to Rae, “You know that thing you’ve been trying and failing to do for 15 years? Do that today.” I also told her, “I feel like I am screaming at the world, ‘I can’t do this by myself,’ and the world is answering, ‘Too bad. Do it anyway.'” She’s been having her own extremely rough time so she sympathized.

Anyway today I will try to create some sort of schedule system that will be able to take Sean’s work into account. Somehow. Maybe. I should ask him for input but he is at work.

I wonder if, like the day before yesterday, I will suddenly get in a good mood this afternoon. And then the good mood will last through tomorrow morning, and then I’ll be depressed again. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

  • Paid rent
  • Renewed Costco membership
  • Wrote those things on to-do list and crossed them off
  • Added day-specific to-do lists:
    • 11/1: call Connor (it’s his birthday), walk, shower, pay rent
    • 11/2: walk, shower
  • Tried to use a meal planning website to make a schedule but realized I would rather have a fully robust calendar that can show me everything and I don’t know if that exists
  • Started playing with Google Calendar and got annoyed at how birthdays are imported and displayed
  • Went into Google Contacts and started editing all my contacts to display in the same format
  • Added other contacts from my Christmas card address spreadsheet because why not just do it all in one place
  • Spent a few hours in Google Contacts until I was tired of doing that
  • Warmed up some leftovers for lunch at 1:15 because I guess I should eat

So I ate a bit of the leftovers but not very much. My mood started really spiraling. I had a very disturbing thought, which I do want to share but at the same time I don’t because it would worry people. Although given that I mentioned the whole putting “kill myself” on my to-do list thing, I imagine you can guess the nature of it. It scared me a lot and I wanted to tell someone but I wasn’t sure who. I looked at the side effects for my depression medication and it said to tell my doctor if that sort of thing happened, so I called his office. At that point I was terrified so I was crying on the phone. They had me come in right away. I put all the food I had made in the fridge and got dressed and went in.

I explained to Dr. M how I’ve been feeling and what my stressors are, and we decided to try a different medication. We will evaluate in a few days and see if we think anything else is necessary.

I went straight to the pharmacy to get the new medicine, but it turned out they didn’t have it on hand, so they called it over to another Kroger for me. I drove over there, stopping for a chai tea latte on the way. Once there I had to wait a little bit. At one point I almost spilled my chai on myself. But I was feeling better knowing that I had a plan of action. I guess I can be optimistic sometimes. Or it was the placebo effect.

I got the medicine finally and came home. Sean was asleep. I decided to go ahead and take the medicine with a snack cake and then get dinner later. This turned out to be a mistake; the medicine made me extremely nauseous and fairly dizzy, and I had to lie down for a full hour waiting for the feelings to go away. When I finally did get up at around 8pm I was still feeling a little off, but I went and picked up dinner (chicken tenders) anyway, because I had barely eaten anything today and I needed some protein and calories.

I am still nauseated, especially when I yawn or otherwise open my mouth, but I am determined to finish one chicken tender before I go to bed for real. I hope I can sleep.

So I guess in list format:

  • Got in for an emergency visit to my doctor
  • Picked up new medication
  • Took first dose along with a snack cake
  • Had to lie down due to nausea
  • Picked up chicken tenders for dinner
  • Suddenly remembered I forgot to call Connor; texted him at 9:30pm
  • Chatted with friends and scrolled Tumblr and tried to eat
  • Only managed to eat one chicken tender and a few bites of mac and cheese due to still feeling slightly nauseated
  • Went to bed at 10:30
  • Woke up at 2:15

I am not sure I really slept? It felt more like a not-restful haze that I would swim out of whenever I heard a noise or saw a light. (I’m not sure what the light was, maybe a car’s headlights?) My muscles were twitchy and when I got up I felt dizzy. I decided to try to eat more of my dinner, since I am not nauseated now. I do seem to be feeling better now that I’m eating.

  • Finished the mac and cheese and another chicken tender
  • Went back to bed at 4:45am

Juggling recovery and full-time work

I go back to work on Thursday. It’s very important that I maintain the healthy habits I have formed during my leave of absence. These are the things I must do every day:

  • Weigh myself each morning (~1 minute)
  • Exercise at moderate intensity (at least 30 minutes)
  • Limit my sodium to 2000mg

Those things require me to do these other things:

  • Take a shower (~20 minutes)
  • Cook meals at home
  • Track everything I eat (I use MyFitnessPal)
  • Track my exercise (I use RunKeeper)

Work keeps me away from home from approximately 7:30 to 5:30, including travel time. Since I will not be at the apartment with my fridge and pantry readily available, I will need to:

  • Pack my lunch (~15 minutes)

Eating can take me awhile due to my small stomach. I can eat a decent amount within half an hour, but I can also take hours to finish a meal. For lunch this is not a problem; I can eat at my desk while working. I will just need to remember that in the evenings I will have the following tasks:

  • Cook dinner (assume ~2 hours, just to be safe)
  • Eat dinner (allow 1.5 hours)

Also, I use the restroom in the morning, TMI. I have to factor that in because it takes time. Number two is very different after weight loss surgery. I am trying to figure out how long it took me this morning, and it looks like it took an hour! Ugh. That seems ridiculous. But…yesterday appears to be about the same. I have never paid attention to this before. (My work schedule had always been get up, potty, shower, dress, get on computer for a few minutes, leave for work. I would get up at 6 and leave between 7:30 and 7:45. That…actually does account for all the time, since showering and dressing only takes me 20 minutes. Wow.)

  • Morning potty break (1 hour, good grief)

And finally, I tend to do best on 7.5 hours of sleep.

So, a day’s schedule might look like this:

Walk in the Morning

  • 5:30a-6:30a: Get up and potty
  • 6:30a-7:00a: Dress in workout clothes and walk for 30 minutes
  • 7:00a-7:30a: Shower, dress, and leave for work
  • 8:00a-5:00p: Work (eat lunch at desk)
  • 5:30p-7:30p: Get home from work and cook dinner
  • 7:30p-9:00p: Eat dinner (can do other things like be on computer or watch TV while doing this)
  • 9:00p-10:00p: Woo free time! Although this might be spent cleaning the kitchen and packing the next day’s lunch?
  • 10:00p: Go to bed

…okay HOW. How do people live. I do not understand.

I’m trying to think how I might rearrange this.

Walk at Lunch

  • 6:00a-7:00a: Get up and potty
  • 7:00a-7:30a: Shower, dress, and leave for work
  • 8:00a-5:00p: Work (eat lunch at desk)
  • ~1:00p-1:30p: Walk on lunch break (and sweat at desk for rest of day)
  • 5:30p-7:30p: Get home from work and cook dinner
  • 7:30p-9:00p: Eat dinner
  • 9:00p-9:30p: Clean kitchen, pack lunch
  • 9:30p-10:30p: Theoretical free time?
  • 10:30p: Go to bed

The above is basically as minimal as my morning schedule can get, unless I skip my shower, which to be honest I have done before. What if I move the walking and the shower to the evening?

Walk in the Evening

  • 6:30a-7:30a: Get up, potty, get dressed, leave for work
  • 8:00a-5:00p: Work (eat lunch at desk)
  • 5:30p-6:00p: Walk for 30 minutes
  • 6:00p-6:30p: Shower and get dressed in nightclothes (I guess)
  • 6:30p-8:00p: Cook dinner
  • 8:00p-9:30p: Eat dinner
  • 9:30p-10:00p: Clean kitchen, pack lunch
  • 10:00p-11:00p: Theoretical free time?
  • 11:00p: Go to bed

So like no matter how I slice it, I get an hour of free time per day (plus, I guess, dinner-eating time, during which I can multitask).

Okay. So. Now let’s say I want to prioritize my writing. I know I am the most awake and productive in the morning. So what if I want to put a block of writing time in the morning? I’ll just use that free hour that is in the evening right now.

Since I don’t like the idea of walking at lunch and being sweaty at work, I’m not going to bother working the writing into that one.

Write and Walk in the Morning

  • 4:30a-5:30a: Get up and potty
  • 5:30a-6:00a: Dress in workout clothes and walk for 30 minutes
  • 6:00a-6:30a: Shower and dress
  • 6:30a-7:30a: Write for an hour, leave for work
  • 8:00a-5:00p: Work (eat lunch at desk)
  • 5:30p-7:30p: Get home from work and cook dinner
  • 7:30p-9:00p: Eat dinner (and pack lunch real quick? Also when do I clean the kitchen)
  • 9:00p: Go to bed

OR

  • 4:30a-5:30a: Get up and potty
  • 5:30a-6:30a: Dress in workout clothes, write for an hour
  • 6:30a-7:00a: Walk for 30 minutes
  • 7:00a-7:30a: Shower, dress, and leave for work
  • 8:00a-5:00p: Work (eat lunch at desk)
  • 5:30p-7:30p: Get home from work and cook dinner
  • 7:30p-9:00p: Eat dinner (and pack lunch real quick? Also when do I clean the kitchen)
  • 9:00p: Go to bed

Write in the Morning, Walk in the Evening

  • 5:30a-6:30a: Get up, potty, get dressed
  • 6:30a-7:30a: Write for an hour, leave for work
  • 8:00a-5:00p: Work (eat lunch at desk)
  • 5:30p-6:00p: Walk for 30 minutes
  • 6:00p-6:30p: Shower and get dressed in nightclothes (I guess)
  • 6:30p-8:00p: Cook dinner
  • 8:00p-9:30p: Eat dinner
  • 9:30p-10:00p: Clean kitchen, pack lunch
  • 10:00p: Go to bed

Even though it seems ridiculous to put on pajamas at 6:30pm, I think that last one makes the most sense for me.

Still.

I am not sure this is tenable, long term. I feel like I would burn out pretty fast. (I’m pretty sure this is why my dieting and exercising had fallen by the wayside to begin with.)

There are certain activities like the walking and showering (and writing, if I prioritize it, which I want to) that must be done every day. But maybe I could shift the cooking and lunch packing to the weekend somehow. Cook a bunch of dinners at once, pack all the week’s lunches at the same time.

The weekend is laundry time. Doing laundry involves a lot of waiting. I could be cooking during that time. The challenge would be cooking five unique meals in one day. And then what would we eat that night? Takeout I guess.

I am not super confident about my ability to cook so much all at once, given that yesterday I had planned to cook two HelloFresh meals but could only manage one of them.

I’m open to suggestions here.

A possible new approach to meal planning

For years I have struggled with regularly preparing meals at home. I tend to dislike following routines for any length of time, and I also tend to dislike having to come up with vast organizational schemes more frequently than perhaps monthly (or even bimonthly), so creating a weekly meal plan, shopping for it, and then cooking according to that plan every night has rarely occurred.

Thinking about it today, I started to wonder if I couldn’t space out the planning and work more. Buy in bulk, take the first few steps of a recipe, package up single or double servings, then freeze the servings to cook later. I do have times where I want to do a huge project; perhaps I could use those times to stock up on freezable meal beginnings. And then on regular nights all I’d really have to do to make dinner would be to pick a pre-prepared item and get the fresh ingredients I might need to compliment it. To save freezer space, I could even branch out into unfrozen vacuum-packed food, if it’s possible to do that safely. And of course there’s always canning.

It’s a thought. This may be a good way for me to go so I don’t feel as overwhelmed during the week.

Problems with prioritizing

As planned, I started out my morning without consuming media. I got dressed for my workout without looking at my phone except to check the weather conditions, and I didn’t turn on my computer to look at any websites or social media. I put a load of laundry in the washer, pulled on my RoadID, slipped my phone into my Clean Bottle holster, and headed out the door.

Normally I try to walk five kilometers, but today I did two and a half, thinking that would be more manageable for a daily routine. I was quite tired of walking by the time I was done, even though it was nice and cool out, I think because I was anxious to get to work on my writing. I got back to the apartment, put the first load of laundry in the dryer and started another load in the washer, did my weight lifting and crunches and stretching, then grabbed an Atkins shake for breakfast.

It turned out that the first thing I wanted to write about was the Fringe season four finale, which I watched last night. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do when I have things I want to write about that aren’t going to result in publication or profit or pageviews or whatever. Today, I decided to go ahead and write it. Then, when it was done, I posted it to Twitter and Facebook like usual. I managed to keep from scrolling down on Twitter, but I ended up reading Facebook like a big doofus. Fifty points from Gryffindor :(

Now I seem to have run out of steam. I’m wondering if my approach is wrong. Should I be putting off chores and my workout until after I have done a significant amount of writing? The chores actually don’t take that much time, though, and they can be done concurrently with other activities. The workouts are necessary for health, and I’ve found in the past that if I don’t do them first thing in the morning, I’m far less likely to do them at all.

I also have a few projects unrelated to my new purpose in life that I need to get finished as soon as possible, so my mind is free to concentrate on moving forward. Maybe I should wait to start on my Serious Writing until those are done. But my creative brain seems to work the way it works, and it wants to plan or write when it wants to plan or write, so instead of making a hard and fast rule, I suppose I should just commit myself to working on those projects as much as possible and then taking the time to write when inspiration demands it.

I’m also concerned that writing this post is itself a form of procrastination, so I’m just going to stop now and go see about my laundry and try to clear my head and get back to work.

New plan: Simplify

Looking back, my weight loss efforts have all had one thing in common: complexity. I tried to adhere to a regimen that didn’t lend itself to a non-stressed schedule, and to a detailed tracking of everything I ate that, while effective, was inconvenient and time-consuming. Every time I’ve tried anything like this, I’ve slipped out of the regimen and dietary tracking and gained weight back.

I’m always euphoric whenever I start a new weight loss plan, filled with motivation and certainty that this time, it’ll work. That’s why when my friend Mari told me once that she didn’t want to try to track what she ate because she knew she’d never keep it up, I thought, “That’s fine for you, but I will keep it up, and I’ll lose weight!”

I think I’m finally coming around to her point of view.

A person’s drive only lasts so long. Then, once it’s over, it’s way too easy to slip, or to just stop. You feel terrible, but it seems like so much work to get back into it that you give up. I personally tend to get bored with an activity after I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, and that makes it even harder to keep myself motivated.

Plus, an elaborate food and exercise tracking plan can be gamed. I’d work the numbers like crazy to try and fit in greasy food or sweet snacks. And exercise tracking never quite seems accurate; a tiny tweak of the numbers and the total calories burned can change by 100!

What I would like to try going forward is a simpler way of looking at food and exercise. Here’s what I’m thinking.

Food

I would like to try to eat something every two or three hours. That something will just be one serving of one thing.

I’ve noticed that I tend to order a lot of different things at restaurants. This is because if I just have a lot of one food, I get bored. I’m going to try to use this to my advantage. If all I can eat at any particular moment is this one thing, then, paradoxically, perhaps I will eat less of it than I would if I also had other stuff to go with it. And even if not, I still will only be eating that one thing.

Under this plan, I will no longer eat big meals. When I go out to eat, I will order one a la carte item or side item. And I’ll have to get Sean not to make me a big dinner anymore–or eat the dinner he makes one item at a time over the course of several hours.

I will also try to eat more “good” stuff than “bad” stuff in any given day. I might get a chicken soft taco at lunch, but that’s cool as long as I’ve been eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy soups, etc. the rest of the day. I’ll try to eat more natural stuff and less processed stuff.

My hope is that since I’ll be eating every few hours, I won’t feel hungry, but because I’ll be eating smarter, I won’t be eating as much.

Exercise

Instead of coming up with a specific exercise regimen, I will instead work towards the goal of 30 to 90 minutes of physical activity every day. This does not have to happen at the gym, and the time does not have to be consecutive. For example, I could do 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, and 15 minutes in the evening for a 45-minute activity day.

Compared to the thought of going to the gym for an hour each morning, this sounds like a piece of cake. I really feel like this is a sustainable model.

Under this plan, I won’t worry about the type of activity I’m doing or how many calories I’m burning. Instead, I’ll pick fun activities and then work myself as hard as possible.

Logistics

In order to make this work, I will have to do some planning. To eat every few hours, I will need to pack or purchase four to five items each workday. I may try setting specific eating times, but ultimately I think it’ll be easier to just note the time whenever I eat and make sure I have something else within the next three hours.

Bananas, yogurt, and pretzels are some examples of the types of food I can pack, but I know I’ve gotten bored with healthy snacks before, so I will need to try to have more variety.

To facilitate ongoing physical activity, I think I will need to break down and start keeping exercise clothes and shoes at work. It can be something of a hassle to remember to bring things home to be washed, but packing and bringing workout clothes each morning is unsustainable. Ultimately, having at least the shoes there will ensure I have no excuse to skip that day’s physical activity.

So that’s the plan. Wish me luck!

A nice community

I really like where we live. It’s very convenient to all the west Augusta amenities, but because it’s back away from main roads, it feels secluded and private, and people here are typically friendly. I’m not sure I know of any other community like this in the area. There are nice, quiet places on the outskirts, of course, but none so convenient to everything that I can think of.

At one time I was convinced that I wanted to move, but I’ve made the apartment more homey since then and I really can’t think of anywhere else I would want to live at the moment. Even North Augusta, where I have wanted to live for some time, can’t really offer me the privacy and convenience that this place can.

That said, I do wish our community had sidewalks…and bike trails would be awesome. I would also like it if there was a grocery store within walking or biking distance. Technically Kroger is not all that far, but I’m not sure I would feel safe biking on skinny Flowing Wells Road.

I have an idea for an ideal community that someday, when I have money to invest, I’d like to develop.

Daily routine

Here’s a list of things I would like to get done during the course of a day.

Morning, ideally:

-do a full stretching routine
-go for a walk or work out in some other way
-shower and put on makeup
-eat breakfast
-pack lunches
-do freelance work for an hour and a half (two or three days a week)
-work on writing/AMRN stuff
-plan, prepare, and shop for dinner
-mess around online or watch videos for 15-30 mins (I always tend to do this in the morning, so why not plan for it?)

Lunchtime:

-eat lunch while working
-go on a walk or work out at the Y during actual lunch hour

Evening:

-cook and eat dinner
-ride the bike (on its stand)
-relax

I am going to go ahead and post this, but it’s incomplete. I need to figure out how long each morning thing would take me and how early I would have to get up to accomplish it all. I think the writing and freelance work would have to be on alternate days, but even then would it be practical? Because I have to start working out in the morning regularly; there is just no way I can’t.

Also, I obviously can’t try to start doing everything at once after I’ve nailed down a routine. I’ll have to come up with a good plan and then start adding each item one at a time every week or two. I’m already set to start freelance this Friday, so I guess that’ll be the first thing.

Today’s the day

Although test results might be a day or two, this is the day of the actual testing. Understandably, I’m a little nervous, and trying not to be.

I have to work a half day today, and then leave at 11 and meet up with Sean for lunch. After lunch we’re going to work out some car insurance stuff. Then, at 3:30, I’m going to see a gynecologist.

I’ve been thinking about so much lately–getting a house, how if we have a child I want a car with air conditioning, where my “career” is going and how I can start making more money, how and when we’ll ever go back to Japan. Sean and I already determined that we will have to wait at least a year before we’re ready for a child. I’ve been wondering if that’s enough time to get everything settled…I really don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck, I want some assets and investments.

My business plan is something that will really have to wait until we’re more financially stable. I’ve been thinking that real estate might be the way to go. If I can just buy up some property and rent it…I think that would be a good way to build wealth. I just need to figure out how to do it.

Of course, there’s always the chance that we can’t have children anyway, that all these dreams and hopes are based on nothing.

I hope the doctor can give us a definitive yes. I feel so naive, but that’s what’s in my heart.