Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FessUp: Weighty Matters Part II

If you missed yesterday. Here is the long version. Now, a short recap and the rest of the story...

When we last saw our heroine, she was down and out. Too heavy and too tired. She was noticing that she had little concentration and was becoming forgetful and confused sometimes. Frustrated by the doctor's and nutritionist's lack of concern, but knowing deep down that something was wrong with her body, she took matters into her own hands... I am thinking that this was around 2006. The nutritionist implied that I was probably putting to much butter on my toast and too much sour cream on my potatoes. I knew I was eating healthier than most Americans, but there is always room for improvement, so I would start being even more careful with my diet. Perhaps I just needed more exercise. After all, I was getting older. So...I joined a gym. I found that I actually liked it. So for the next 9 months I got my behind out of bed and to the gym at 6am so that I could be home in time to get kids ready for school and not have to leave the preschooler with anyone during the day. When the youngest started kindergarten, I did the dance of joy because now I could go work out when normal people were awake and the sun was up! That year I lost 10 pounds. I worked out hard. Nearly everyday for at least an hour. Weight lifting. Cycling. Yoga. Walking. Running. 10 stinking pounds. But I had to admit that I felt better and my body fat percentage went from a medically obese 32%, down into the normal range around 28. And I ditched the tens for a snug size 8. Frustratingly, this is where I stayed for the next two years.

Somehow I kept myself motivated to keep working out even though I was not seeing any changes in my body and I knew my other symptoms were getting worse. During this time I certified to teach yoga and started teaching at my gym and loving it. I learned truly to accept my body where it was that day and to stop mentally beating myself up for not being where I wanted to be. Accepting myself just as I was made a huge difference in my mental state. My body was not different, but I was. And I could accept me, and be grateful for what I could do and could let go of expectations and judgements of myself. I learned to just be happy with what is here and now even while moving toward a goal of something different. So I carried on.

Everything hit rock bottom the summer of 2009. Up to this point I had been living my normal life. Tired and cranky often, but happy and up often too. But that summer was different. I couldn't move. I slept all the time. I napped 2 or 3 times a day. Sleep didn't feel restful or normal. It felt like a comma. I went back to my OBGyn. They ran a thyroid panel. This must be it! Finally, some answers! But it turned out I was in the low end of normal. The doctor prescribed a common thyroid medication anyway, since I was having symptoms. Does this seem sketchy to you? Yeah me too, but I was desperate. With a somewhat iffy hypothyroidism diagnosis in my pocket, I went to see an endocrinologist to get a better idea of treatment for this. I gave him the whole sob story. Five years worth. To his credit, he listened. He looked at the numbers and he looked at me and he said, "You don't have hypothyroidism, you have insulin resistance. If you were fat, a 1st year med student could have diagnosed this." What the crap!? Now, trust me this is not a diagnosis that any of us wants, but I finally had an answer AND he said I wasn't it was a win win in my book!
The next 6 weeks was life changing.

I thought I could get through this story and to where I am now with just two posts, but I guess not. I will continue tomorrow, and I have some exciting things that I want us to do together if you guys are up for it! Thanks again for letting me get this off my chest and for your supportive comments...The comfort of strangers and all...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weighty Matters Part I

This will likely be the least understandable, most jumbled post of my illustrious career, but if you can stick it out, I hope it will be worth it. I am going to spill the beans on a personal struggle of mine that I would rather not discuss but that is worth discussing. I do not know where to start, so I think I will just head for the beginning and see what happens.

I was not the kind of teenager girl who ever thought about my weight. In this day and age that seems nearly impossible, but it just was not an issue for me. I was a scrawny tom-boy climbing fences, jumping rope and rollerskating my way through childhood in the 70's. I stayed that way into my tween years. I had a brief period around 7th grade where I, um...bloomed...before I sprouted, but once the sprout hit, I was back to my usual size. I never thought about what I ate or what I weighed. The first time weight ever became an issue for me was after the birth of my second child, who is now 16.

I gained a lot of weight during the pregnancy. Happy weight. We finally have money for groceries weight. Eat every time the toddler eats and finish all of her leftovers weight. The good news is that I was 25 so with a bit of walking and nursing a gigantic baby, the weight came off fairly easily over about a 6 month period. The bad news is, I fell for the popular "low fat" thing that was going on at the time. The bad news is that in the 90's "low fat" was code for "unbelievably high in sugar." This wrecked my body. Yep, wrecked. But I fit back in my size 4 jeans, so I didn't really care. Then.

Over the next 10 years and two more pregnancies my weight kinda went up and down but only within about one pant size either way, so I ignored it. My mood also went up and down, and my temper was often out of control as well. When I hit 35, my weight peaked at around 150 something. I was a size 10. I was not feeling well at all. I starting asking my doctor about it. This lead me to a nutritionist and my first insulin resistance test. The test came back borderline hypoglycemia, and the chart said that I was on the top end of the normal weight range for my height. The nutritionist told me therefore that I was just fine and had probably been underweight my whole life and so now I was just evening out. I didn't feel even. I felt tired. And sick. But no one would listen. I took me the next 5 years to get someone to listen.

Obviously this is getting to long for one post, so I will continue tomorrow. Follow the journey if you are not completely bored out of your skull yet. I honestly hope that this will be one of the more important things that I write about, which shouldn't be too big of a stretch considering the drivel I usually pump out!  Even if it is not meaningful to anyone but me... I need to get it off my chest. Thanks for listening. More tomorrow...


Sunday, November 20, 2011

GrowingUp:Don't All Grannies Ride Harleys?

One of the reasons I began keeping this blog was to force myself to write down a few family stories as keepsakes. I wish that my forebears had written more of just the little things that happened in their day to day lives. I imagine they would tell me that they were too busy sailing ships to the new world and revolting against the British to bother themselves with such mundaneness, but whatever. We seem to have an abundance of spareish time in this present age however, so it behooves us to do that which our ancestors had little time for. Journal keeping has been a huge part of my life and is a gigantic part of my religious culture. Let's just think of this as a little journaling...public style.

My parents were young when I was born. Really quite young. My adorable mother is only 18 years older than me. These vignettes are about her...and the issue of her age...or lack of it. I have some rather disturbing stories to tell about my dad being young as well, but I will save those for another day.
As a little girl, I do not remember even thinking that my mom's age was an issue. She just blended in with all of the other moms. They were all oldish. The first of more than a few instances that caught my attention was around the 6th grade. I must have had some sort of doctor's appointment and my mother came to the classroom door to get me. "Hey, NatureGirl, your sister is here!" Sister!? Who could possibly think that a woman in her late 20's would be my sister? Sheesh!

Things got worse as I headed to high school. I, of course, aged. My mother, however, did not. At 5 foot nothing and 100 and nothing pounds she still looked as if she were in her late 20's. She was repeatedly asked for a hall pass every time she stepped onto my high school campus. A doctor once asked me (in her presence) why I did not bring a parent to the appointment. When I pointed out that she was my mother, he asked why I was dressed more adult than she was...Picture a female Alex P. Keaton and her somewhat "laid back" hippie mom...

Oh, and guy friends with crushes on your mom is SO not cool when you are in jr. high! I think though that the most memorable incident happened when I was about 15. I filled in for a friend on a babysitting job for a family I did not know. My mother dropped me off and told me she would pick me up later that evening when the parents were expected home. I guess part of what made this so memorable was the horrible, rotten children. It was a nightmare of an evening and I had finally got the kids settled into bed when my mom got there. The parents were late coming home so we just watched TV for a while. The mother eventually came in and when she saw my mom with me in the living room, she started ranting and raving about how I was NOT to have my silly girlfriends over for who-knows-WHAT kind of shenanigans, and how DARE I, and no WAY was I getting paid. The look on her face when I explained the situation, would have been payment enough, but I believe I may have received something close to double the going babysitting rate that evening!

I still think it is funny how young she is when I am this old. We still get asked if we are sisters when we go places together. No one ever believes that she has grown grandchildren. And all of MY friends wish THIER mothers rode a Harley on the weekends.

Quote of the Day: "Getting old is a fascinating thing...The older you get...the older you want to get."--Ralph Waldo Emerson poet, writer and philosopher

Monday, November 7, 2011

DigItUp: Onions Have Layers

Like ogres and onions, Miss NatureGirl does indeed have layers. Many of them. So many in fact, that we are not actually sure what she has on the inside. Probably just a creamy filling of some sort. Today's layer is being shed over at The Renegade Farmer with a little tutorial on drying onions. Yes, it IS as exciting as it sounds...

Quote of the Day: "You know, not everybody like onions. What about cake? Everybody loves cake!"

The Renegade Farmer

Friday, November 4, 2011

EatUp:Farmhouse Festival Cooking With Apples

It is Farmhouse Festival Friday over at The Renegade Farmer today and I would like to share a little farmhouse lovin' with a little farmhouse cookin'! Life around even the smallest of suburban homesteads can be a little unpredictable at times....especially if you are lucky enough to be a girl from the north country. It is of course apple season, and thankfully, my cup runneth over this year in the apple harvest. This is not always the case. Many a year the dreaded summer frosts kill off the blooms and I get absolutely No apples. I am happy to say though, that this Autumn I am challenged every day to come up with a new way to use up some apples! 

This...Is what I mean by unpredictable. This is how the garden looked a few weeks ago. I thought I took a pic of the apples too, but I guess only the tomato picture survived. Unfortunately the tomatoes themselves were not as lucky. I braved the blizzard and rescued what I could. I left most of the green ones behind. I know they can be ripened after picking, but they were so small that it was hardly worth it. The lovelies that I rescued are now yummy tomato sauce waiting to bring a bit of summer to the dinner table during the dark winter.

So If you are as lucky as I am to have so many apples to use up, here is my go-to recipe for making quick use of a half a dozen of those beauties!

Apple Dump Cake
Mix in one large bowl:
     1/2 cup butter
     1/2 cup milk
     1 tsp vanilla
     1/4 tsp baking powder
     1 tsp baking soda
     3/4 cup sugar
     1 egg
     1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
     2+ cups of chopped apples (peels on)
Dump into greased 9x13 pan and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon (or a full crumble      topping if desired.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Quote of the Day: "Food is an important part of a balanced diet."
--Fran Lebowitz author