State of my Union

Before I jump into the heavy topics I want to give a little life update for you:

Almost three months at the new job and I am still loving every minute. It is an incredible place and I feel like I’ve been there forever. I’m a part of a team there. My opinion and experience count for something and are validated. It is where I need to be and the best career decision I’ve made since I quit grad school. (oh and playing with puppies as needed to relieve stress helps.)

I finally have a car again after almost 5 years without one. FREEDOM!

Healthwise…I continue to struggle a little but the decrease in work stress has minimized my pain levels and Rheum activity but it’s still difficult. I’ve only had 1.5 sick days since I started which is an incredible improvement.My annual bout of SAD is back. Using my UV light, trying to “exercise” a bit, and all the vitamin D can’t save me, so I’m adding another anti-depressant.

Dating is the usual.

I’m trying to be more social and getting out there which is helping.

All in all I can’t really complain, life is good

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Fat Girl at the Gym

I’ve put on another ten pounds in the last year, at least 5 of those in my breasts, but that’s in addition to the extra weight I’ve been carrying around the last almost 10 years since my run in with the anti-depressant Remeron.

Some days I think fuck anyone who judges my weight. I try to carry myself well and dress in a way that flatters my shape and size. And sometimes I just plain don’t care – I happily wear my form-fitting sweater dress with horizontal stripes. I try not to think about how people look at me and my weight.
That said, I know I need to lose weight to help my joints. Losing 10 pounds reduces the amount of pressure on your joints by 40 pounds of pressure. With the way that my feet, ankles, knees and hips are feeling these days, it’s the least I can do for them.

Between not feeling great and worrying about pushing myself too much and using up my energy I’ve not been doing too much physical activity. I sometimes need to rest after a shower or washing the dishes or taking my laundry downstairs…this is life with Rheum.

I have a free gym membership to Goodlife through my job. I wish I used it more. I want to use it more. I need to use it more. I asked for a Wii Fit for my birthday to avoid the gym – that didn’t really work either.

Going to the gym brings out all my fat girl, self-conscious, not good enough issues. From the moment I step into the gym I feel like I don’t belong. I don’t have the right shape, the right clothes and I’m not even remotely “healthy” enough.

I know that many women like women’s only clubs – I hate them. Men at the gym don’t intimidate me or make me feel inadequate, it’s the women beside me on the elliptical who aren’t even breaking a sweat in their tiny Lululemon ensembles, who look like they fell off a magazine cover that make me want to run and hide. (As an aside who makes non “compression” yoga pants these days? My go-to used to be Old Navy but I don’t need my rolls squished when I’m already feeling uncomfortable thanks)

In my mind that woman and every other one is watching me, judging me as I plod along for 20 minutes, sweating, red-faced and puffing for air.

I try to cover up as much as possible at the gym. A form fitting tank to wick away sweat and smooth out the lumpy parts, with a baggy t-shirt over top and yoga pants.

I feel awkward.

I feel like a fat girl. I know the only way to lose weight is to get moving and the gym will help but I hate subjecting myself to that over and over again.

I went to a few Bodyflow classes with coworkers – it was still intimidating. Seeing those women who clearly attend all the time, who bend, and move and look graceful. Then there was me – modified movements, dripping sweat, watching how my rolls squished around in the mirror. It was humiliating in my head. The only time I managed to quell the nagging voice I’m my head was when I finally laid down and closed my eyes, thankful I was still alive.

I see people running outside and I get mad with myself. When I could have done that I didn’t. When I had the chance to get in better shape before my health was taken from me I never used it. I made excuses. I procrastinated. Tomorrow I’ll go to the gym and then tomorrow never came.

People who have seemingly endless energy and physical abilities make me envious (Yes people who constantly log all their gym/athletics are mildly annoying) but I wish I had a quarter of that ability. Truly.

So I start over. Slowly. Trying to remind myself that I am doing this for myself so other people and any judgement they might have can bite my fat ass! The biggest judgements are my own. I know this. I’m hoping that I can keep my self-conscious fat girl voice quiet when I hit the gym this week.

The Battling Continues…

I saw the rheumatologist last Monday – she is treating me for rheumatoid arthritis.

She has put me on a Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug in addition to the steroids, medicine to protect my stomach and my Calcium and Vitamin D.

I feel like my body is defeating me.

Today I woke up to go to work with, fatigue, aching in my joints, a headache and my stomach raging with IBS anger. I stayed home. After going back to sleep until 11 I felt slightly more human but I’ve been holed up in my apartment trying to will myself to feel better.

I tried to make a change that I thought would help me and it seems at every turn, I’m not getting further ahead but falling farther behind.

I desperately need my body back. I need to feel healthy. I need to feel like I have some control over what’s happening to me. Right now every move seems to bring a new pain, a new discomfort, a new side effect.

Now more than ever I want to, no need to lose weight because of the extra pressure it is putting on my already fragile joints. I need to make my weight loss and my health a priority. I need for it to actually make a difference. I need to see an improvement because if I don’t…I don’t know that I can continue to handle it.

IBS and Me

Just over three weeks ago now I completely overhauled my food intake and my diet. I wish I could say that this was simply about vanity or the need to lose weight but really it’s so I never almost poop myself again in public. Let me explain:

Back in October the Gay BF and I were taking a road trip to Montréal. Everything seemed hunk-dory. We were on the 401 in the middle of no where when I said it, “I have to go to the bathroom NOW!” We had recently passed a rest stop and another one was at least 45 minutes away. The nearest exit was 20 km from us. I started to panic considering that my lower intestinal track was indicating that I did *not* have 20 km before this situation was going to get disastrous. I tensed every muscle in my body, I started to sweat, my head was pounding and I couldn’t speak (I was terrified to take my focus off not soiling myself & the car seat). I began to worry that I would soon be pooping in the ditch beside the 401 (keep in mind I don’t camp and I’ve never even peed outside before). The Gay BF was chuckling at first, I’m sure I was quite a sight but when I informed him the potential existed for me to sully his car, it stopped being so funny. Finally there was an exit and the promise of a Parks Canada park a few kilometres away from the highway. We stopped at the first place we saw, a motel with a store. I walked up and almost cried when I read the sign that said no public washroom but I went it to try to beg anyway. The owner wasn’t having it. She did direct us to the park just down the road. By this time I am visibly shaking, my muscles are screaming from the tension and I am fully convinced I am going to poop my pants. We get to the park and I leap from the car before it stops dashing towards the washrooms when two men standing by a sewage truck inform me they have just closed the washrooms. I was *this* close to just letting go in front of them. Tears are in my eyes and the one man tells me there is a washroom just up a trail. So I speed walk, too afraid of what running might do at this point. I get to the icky, bug covered outhouse and I start to paper the seat but I didn’t have time. Crying, shaking and pooping on that dirty, cold and wet outhouse toilet – I lost it. My entire body was heaving and contracting. 20 minutes later I emerged. Still crying. Shaken. My insides feeling raw and unsettled. While that was the worst of it, I also blessed the kinda gross bathroom’s at Smoke Meat Pete’s with a visit before we made it into the city proper. All in all. That road trip was disastrous.

I tell you that story so you can understand how and why I’ve made all these changes. That day was the line in the sand for me. I’ve had IBS-D  at least since my early 20s, maybe earlier but in the last few years it has become so problematic and disruptive to my life. I’ve grown use to eating something and heading to the bathroom 20 minutes later. It’s just the way of my life. Earlier this year my doctor gave me medication which is supposed to slow down my spastic colon so I don’t have the urgent feelings. It helped but still it wasn’t enough. After that road trip I knew I needed to do something more. This is where Google saved me. Looking up IBS diet lead me to the FO(O)DMAPS diet.

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for

Fermentable
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
and
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt) (1)

I read that and said, “huh?”

But the more I read, the more I came to understand that perhaps there were a lot more factors influencing my IBS than I thought.

Then I found a list of foods and it started to make more sense. Going gluten-free and lactose free seemed difficult at first but I was also amazed to find out that my tummy wasn’t a fan of foods that are *supposed* to be good for you.

FODMAPs Checklist 

So after getting through the holidays, I bit the bullet and emptied out my kitchen. All the gluten, all the lactose, all the fruits, veggies and prepackaged crap was either given away or thrown away. So for over 3 weeks now I’ve been baking my own gluten free muffins and bread. I’ve been eating much cleaner. Trying to stick to acceptable foods (there are more than what’s on that list). I ordered 3 cookbooks. I’ve been cooking. nothing fancy but satisfying and tasty meals. It’s been a costly endeavour but my Tummy and improved in a way I could never have imagined before.Yes, I still get a little discomfort now and again – it’s not perfect – but if I eat something, I’m not immediately looking for the nearest washroom anymore.Relief.

(1) http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet

Ch-ch-changes

Just me

I have been overweight/chubby/fat/out-of-shape for a long time now. I’ve struggled a few times in my life with my weight but I need to finally win this fight.

I’ve actually begun to embrace the curves and rolls, the lumps and bulges. It’s who I am. I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and be a size 6 so I might as well deal with it. I’ve started to get bolder and braver with what I’m wearing. Hello horizontal stripes! Why yes, I will wear a thick belt around my waist that draws attention to my lack of slimness. I don’t care if my chubby arms are out or if my chubby-rubbing-together thighs are visible because of my short skirt.

However, it’s time. It’s time to get healthy again to feel fit and to feel good about myself. I’ve blogged before about working at a clothing company, it’s hard to be a chubby girl in that environment but I think most days I hold my own and I get compliments on my choice of outfits quite a bit. I want to be in shape. I want to feel strong. I want to not think twice about whether something looks good or whether I feel comfortable in it.

Starting tomorrow, I will be exercising at least 3 times a week for an hour. More importantly, I will be changing the way I eat. The Gay BF started a new diet (for lack of a better word) a month ago now. I poopooed it at first. Mostly because the thought of cutting out carbs for 2 weeks makes me want to pull my hair out but he’s lost a substantial amount of weight. So I’m giving it a try.

Saturday The Gay BF and I went to the market and to the grocery store so I have everything I need to last this week. Lots of veggies, low-fat dairy and some sugar-free treats to help with any desserts craving. I spent some time today preparing tomorrow’s lunch and snacks as well as chopping up veggies for the rest of the week.

I’m serious about making this change. About needing this part of my life to change.

I weighed myself today and took all my measurements – that wasn’t a lot of fun but I’m hoping over the course of the next few weeks and months, as things improve it won’t seem so painful. I am not ready to share any of the numbers with you now but maybe over time to show the progress I’ve made I will. For now, I will say my ultimate goal is to lose 50 pounds. I have quite a few smaller ones both weight and fitness related that I’m sure I’ll write about shortly.