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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

For Better or Worse...Unless you Gain Weight???

In typical female fashion, I have a delayed rational reaction to many situations. I either quickly overreact or I close myself off. I know…gasp! A woman who admits she can overreact.

I am working hard to find a happy medium but it isn’t easy.

When I am in a confrontational face-to-face conversation I usually struggle to find the words I want to say but when I am alone on an airplane, 33,000 feet in the air, I suddenly become a Webster's Dictionary complete with a Thesaurus (which is the dilemma I am facing right now).

In the situation at hand, I didn't overreact or close myself off.

I completely shut down.

I didn't know how to react.

Here it is a month later and I finally have so much to say that I am finding it difficult to get it all out in a polite and rational way. So bare with me because I am trying to refrain from cursing.

I have a love/hate relationship with the fact that I tend to go the extra mile for people who won’t even cross the street for me. I give too much of myself and I love too blindly.

At times, these traits make me feel stupid because I get taken advantage of far too often.

After everything I have been through in my life I should have a blast-proof concrete wall up preventing others from penetrating but my heart is too big to contain. Becoming a hardened bitch is not my forte. Even after what I am about to tell you.

This past year has been a struggle for me and when I got sick in February my body paid the toll. Apparently because of that, my marriage paid the toll as well.

Without going into too many horrible details, there are two reasons my husband gave me when he told me he wanted a divorce.

The first reason he gave was that he was tired of my attitude over the previous six months. I reminded him that my bitchy attitude was the direct result of discovering the various online profiles he had created for himself advertising his availability on casual sex websites and the fact that he actually had another woman spend the night in our house while I was traveling.

He said he felt that since he had already apologized for those incidents a few months prior that I should have gotten over it. That I needed to let the past go.

When I brought up that my attitude had recently worsened because just a few weeks prior I found 17 f***ing emails on his computer that he sent to women on Craigslist who were looking for sex, he didn’t have much of a response.

I told him that I was beyond mortified that he offered to host these women in our house while I was traveling for work and that it was heartbreaking that he had sent eight of those emails while I was in the emergency room for my heart condition.

His defense was that he didn’t touch any of them and that was all that mattered. I told him that it didn’t matter if he did or didn’t because the only important fact was that his intent (ahem…very strongly worded intent) was there. Multiple times.

The second reason he gave was, and I quote, “You didn’t hold up your end of the bargain in our marriage.” When I questioned what that meant, his response was, “You didn’t maintain the way you looked.”

When I acknowledged that, yes, I had gained nearly 40 pounds over the year because of my illness, he said, “don’t kid yourself honey, it was more than 40 pounds.”

Because I have this heart that is too big to contain, I actually sat there and tried to defend myself.

But, it didn’t matter to him that I had been back at the gym for the previous six weeks working my ass off (and loving every sweaty, breathless moment) to lose the added fluff.

It didn’t matter that at that point I had already lost 20 pounds.

It didn't matter because he said he fell out of love with me and was no longer attracted to me due to the weight gain and pissy attitude.

At that moment, I stood up, looked him dead in the eye and with the most perfect annunciation while my finger was pointed directly at him I said, “FUCK YOU!”, and I walked out of the house. (Yes, his words were the driving force behind my previous post.)

I’m sure you can imagine what a number this ordeal has done in my head. The emotions that had wreaked havoc on my life for more than 20 years had resurfaced after I worked so hard to overcome them. I have gone from feeling stupid, weak, and pitiful to raging beast mode bitch when I think of his words, “you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain because you didn’t maintain the way you looked”.

Who says that to someone they supposedly love?

Sure I could dwell on the what if’s…What if I didn’t travel so much? What if I didn’t get sick? What if I didn’t gain weight?...but I won’t. Why? Because none of that matters.

Our wedding vows didn’t say, “for better or worse…unless you gain weight”. They said, “for better or worse, in sickness and in health.”

I did not choose to be sick and I did not choose to gain weight. My husband chose to make himself available and offered himself to multiple women on multiple occasions.

At the end of each day, I find myself reflecting on the words my friend said to me that night after all of this went down…“You are a strong woman.”

Those words make me feel a sense of peace.

They also validate why it is so easy for me to move on.

If not, it would be too easy to become a hardened bitch.

It would be too easy to continue curling up in the fetal position and crying myself to sleep.

It would be too easy to give up on my goals.

Instead, in my truest form, I will continue to love blindly and unconditionally.

I will continue to go the extra mile for others.

I will hold my head up high with a smile upon my face…even when I am out of breath with sweat dripping down my face while climbing that damn StairMaster at my favorite gym (Anytime Fitness - Katy, TX) where they love and accept me for who I am.

More importantly, I will continue to seek AND achieve my goals.

I have a little more than 30 pounds to go before I reach my first goal weight. I have no doubt that I will not only achieve it - I will demolish it.

I refuse to be sabotaged by anyone, including myself or my soon-to-be ex-husband.

I am not seeking sympathy from anyone.

I am not seeking anyone to justify my thoughts and emotions.

I know I deserve better.

And one day, when I least expect it, that truly better half of myself will magnetically find me…regardless of what my weight is.

I got this.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I May Bend But I Will Not Break

It amazes me how words can leave such a lasting impression on a person and the emotions they can evoke when we least expect it.

Good or bad.

Today, I was reminded of how one can be haunted by their past with a quick lash of the tongue. I won't reveal what was said or who said it, but the words were strong enough to transport me instantly back in time to the first moment I heard those five little words.

I felt like everything I have accomplished and have overcome in the past few years was nothing.

I felt shamed.

I felt ugly.

I felt like I was standing in that hallway all over again...listening to that boy I liked telling my friend "if only she were thinner." 

I was weakened.

And for a few hours, I couldn't help but feel a little defeated...

...a little devastated...

...a little sorry for myself.

The words were getting louder. "IF ONLY SHE WERE THINNER."

I got in my car and cried, uncontrollably, for several minutes.

The kind of crying where your eyes are swollen and bloodshot and you can't breathe because your nose is full of snot, and then you start to choke on that snot because it's dripping down the back of your throat.

I am not a pretty crier.

I pulled myself together enough to visit an encouraging friend. It was either that or shop. Not gonna almost trumped my friend but since it was Black Friday, I didn't want to face the crowds with all my snottiness.

After listening to what I'm sure sounded like the teacher from the Peanuts, my friend quietly reminded me that I am a strong woman and that all of my emotions will soon be in the past...(and that I should go home, not shop, and not drink).

Other words of wisdom were shared, and those five little words that had been haunting me for the past few hours were quickly replaced with five new ones, "You are a strong woman".

Yes. Yes, I am.

After a quick 15-minute pep talk, I was able to lift my head and wipe my tears away. 

I might have even managed a smile before I left.

On my drive home, those new words were pumping through my veins and my internal iPod started to play Helen Reddy's "I am Woman" in my head (thanks for owning that record when I was little Mom). My favorite verse from that 1975 song is:

You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

I may bend, but I will not break.

I will use those words as fuel to my fire to achieve my goal.

I will be stronger.

I may have allowed myself to be temporarily weakened today, but I will not allow myself to be permanently defeated tomorrow. 

Let us all remember that we are masters of unspoken words but we are slaves to the ones we let slip out! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Let's talk about body fat! I know...good times. However, here me out...

There are two kinds of body fat: Essential and Storage. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions while Storage body fat protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen.

Body fat is important for transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are important for our health. Fat is also a great shock absorber and serves as "human insulation" by assisting in the regulation of body temperature.

Although body composition refers to the relative percentage of muscle, fat, bone, and other tissue of body, it is almost exclusively associated with fat percentage. Even though I have a Body Composition Scale that gives me readings for body mass, body water %, body fat %, visceral fat, etc., I agreed (don't ask me how) to undergo Body Analytics through Hydrostatic Testing (where you are weighed underwater) to get a true base line for my body fat and lean body mass percentages.

It was a little intimidating to strip down to a bathing suit and then climb into what looks like a giant stainless steel bathtub while two people stood by and watched. I was even more nervous that I was going blind them with my glowing white legs. Nevertheless, I persevered and I did it...aaannnd I didn't burn the retinas of the man and woman performing the test.

The test didn't take very long and afterward I received a report that included my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) in addition to the breakdown of my body fat and lean body mass.

The woman who explained the results to me was very encouraging. She asked me how many calories I was consuming per day and after I told her it was between 1,000 and 1,200, she said that if I want to increase my lean mass and reduce my body fat I need to take in between 800 and 1000 more. I was like, "wait...what?"

How often do you get to hear someone tell you that if you want to lose weight, you need to eat more?

Because I am working out every day, my body needs to fuel itself through food. Muscle is the engine that burns fuel. Fat needs to be burned by muscle. Cardio and resistance training helps burn fat and build muscles to that you can have a bigger engine to burn calories. The bigger the engine, the more calories you need to maintain it.

Even though I have been swapping fat for muscle these past few weeks, she said that will eventually come to an end and when it does, my body will use my muscle for energy instead of fat, which will eventually make my body fat percentage higher, even if the number on the scale is going down.

While the numbers from my Hydrostatic test were a little depressing, they are, in fact, the reality of what I have to deal with on my quest to rebuild my body. I won't share what my body fat percentage is just yet but I will say that I would like to reduce it by half...or rather...I will reduce it by at least half.

My mission now is to adjust my diet and meal schedule to accommodate the extra calories. Quality calories from good food sources.

I'm not worried though.

I've got this.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

No Diggity - No Doubt!

I think most people can relate to the frustrations of having a stall when it comes to the scale. Those "stalls" usually lead to people feeling like a failure and they give up.

My diet and exercise regime brought a weight loss of just under 20 pounds in the first three weeks. Woo Hoo!

However, this past week has brought a big fat Z.E.R.O.

Now, my diet has been on point and between my basal metabolic rate (BMR) and daily workouts, I know for a fact that I am burning more calories than I am taking in. It's at this point that most people start scoffing at their scale while yelling (screaming) "What the French...toast?"

Had I not already been in this situation previously, I would have been yelling profanities that would have put any sailor to shame. But, because I have been in this position before, I had to remember everything I had faced in the past and the reasons behind the dreaded "stall".

If my words can help anyone - pay attention because the following information is what gets me through my scale stalls.

First and foremost, a little BMR 101! To lose weight by diet alone, you want to eat less than your BMR (also known as your resting metabolic rate). Your BMR is the amount of energy needed to support the body's most basic functions when at rest in a neutral, or non-stressful, environment (a.k.a. the number of calories you need per day to stay alive). BMR can be responsible for 70% of the calories burned per day (just sitting there...doing nothing).

To calculate your BMR, click HERE.

Once you know the number of calories needed to maintain your weight, you can easily calculate the number of calories you need to eat in order to lose (or gain) weight.

One important tip to remember about BMR is that as you lose weight (increase activity, etc.), your BMR rate changes so it is extremely important to measure it often.

Next - 1 pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. Simply put - if you want to lose 1 pound a week (through diet alone), you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. It's that simple.

However - I am doing more than just dieting. In addition to my caloric reduction, I workout 7 (yes, seven) days a week. I climb between 94-102 flights of stairs and then I row for an hour, averaging 12,000 meters...every day.

Because I row on a resistance rowing machine, and am climbing the stairmaster, I am working the shiznit out of my thigh muscles. Side note (because that's what A.D.D. is for) - Most people think rowing works your arms but in reality, rowing is 70% legs, 20% abdominal, and 10% arms. Even as I type this, my thighs are on fire.

So why isn't the scale moving? This is where body composition gets a little complicated.

Since my body hasn't been trained in two years, it is hyper-responsive to resistance training right now. So much that I am actually building muscle while losing fat at the same time. Pound for pound.

I know this "honeymoon phase" will not last forever so I have to take advantage of this time while I have it. The more muscle I build, the faster my body will burn calories.

FACT: Muscles burn 5.5 times more calories than fat tissues.

Hello! It's a no brainer that we want more muscle than fat.

I have heard time and time again that muscle weighs more than fat. Truth be told...a pound weighs a pound regardless of what it is. Muscle just happens to be more dense than fat so it takes up much less space than "fluffy" fat. (reminds me of..."I'm not fat, I'm fluffy." Who else loves Gabriel Iglesias?)

This is why I can see a difference in how my clothes fit but why my scale isn't "moving". I'm losing fat but because I am gaining muscle, they are basically swapping places keeping my weight the same.

How do I know this? I have a body composition scale that in addition to telling me how much I weigh, it measures my muscle mass, body fat and water percentages, and provides me a daily caloric intake.

This information keeps me on track because if none of the numbers are moving, then I know I need to make adjustments elsewhere (including actually increasing my daily caloric intake because reducing by too much can make your body hold on to fat for survival and it will burn muscle for energy instead of fat).

I won't lie and say that the lack in reduction of my weight didn't sting a little because it does BUT I know that my body is changing for the better.

I can see it.

I can feel it.

I will continue to push myself beyond what I think my body is capable of doing because I AM getting stronger every day.

I do not doubt myself (or the process) because I have overcome this before...and won!

I've got this.

No doubt!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Droppin' "F" Bombs with a Smile

I was recently in Phoenix for work and during a group meeting we had an ice breaker to get to know one another. The topic of the ice breaker was, “If your life story was a movie genre, what would it be and why?”

Because I was part of the team who picked the ice breaker, I had a little time to prepare my response. I struggled with this because I wasn’t sure if I should be honest or lie to my co-workers. I discussed my anxiety over that with my co-presenters and because they know my story, they actually encouraged me to be open and honest…so I did.

When it was my turn, I said “I feel like my story would make for an epic award-winning, true crime, Dramedy.”

Of course, everyone’s ears perked up at the words “true crime”. I have been with this company for 16 years now and I can count on one hand how many know my story.

My dad went to prison when I was three. He didn’t get out until I was 12 so I basically grew up visiting him in various prison facilities. To me, this was normal and I didn’t see anything wrong with it.

He lived a “rockstar” life when he got out of prison and didn’t take very good care of himself.

He was an alcoholic. He was a drug addict.

He was an abusive man. I walked in on him beating up my step mom one night.

I called the police.

He went to jail, again. Only for four months but it was long enough for my dad’s side of the family to turn on me. I was told, “you don’t turn your family members in.”

This became my “normal”.

Because of this I found myself attracted to men who had a “bad boy” image which led me into relationships with men who led a true criminal lifestyle. You may remember me discussing how I drove my behind all over the state of Washington in a previous post.

I also came out of a very violent marriage where being held at gunpoint, knifepoint, being choked out, and having things thrown at me was a constant. I accepted this behavior because to me it was normal.

It took me MANY years and one divorce to learn from my mistakes but trust me when I say that I am over it.

My dad passed away when he was 50. His lifestyle had caught up with him.
In high school, I learned that everything happens for a reason. We may not ever know what the reason is but I do know that God puts us where he wants us.

In my senior year of high school, my best friend and I drove to her boyfriend’s house because he wasn’t answering her calls. When we got there, they started arguing. We weren’t there very long when she stormed out of his bedroom and said we were leaving.

We got into her car and we sped off. She was driving at a very high rate of speed down dark and curvy roads.

He was chasing us.

She refused to stop.

We hit a curve going 85 miles an hour and she lost control of the car.

I don’t remember much after that.

The police told me that we flipped the car end over end four times down an embankment on the opposite side of the road.

She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

My best friend died that night. A big part of my heart died with her.

As I previously mentioned, her boyfriend was chasing us. Because I don’t remember anything in the minutes before we wrecked, the police couldn’t determine if he was at fault.

I believe in karma. Fast forward five years later – he gets into a head on collision with a tree. He is now paralyzed.
I was diagnosed with a kidney disease when I was 30. Approximately 30% of the filters in my kidneys are destroyed (scar tissue has grown over the glomeruli). I am prone to kidney infections, especially when I get a cold or the flu. They are also easily irritated and get inflamed which causes extreme pain.

The doctors say I can live the rest of my life with my kidneys if I can continue to manage their behavior but there may come a day when a transplant is needed.

Because my disease is an autoimmune disorder, I am susceptible to other autoimmune and autonomic disorders. After ten years, this caught up with me in a big way and now I have a heart disease and hypothyroidism (see previous post where I discuss this).
Yes, that is a lot of drama so why did I refer to my life as a Dramedy movie genre?

Laughter. If my life were a movie, I would make sure there was a lot of humor to lighten the darkness of the drama.

I find that when it comes to dealing with pain, drama, or shady people, laughter gets me through.

I am that annoying person that looks at the positive in everything.

Two years ago, I was sitting in the ER waiting room with excruciating pain in my abdomen and all I could do was giggle.

I think I laughed the most at the fact that it felt like labor pains but I knew it wasn’t because I had a hysterectomy 12 years prior.

Every time the pain hit, I just laughed. I thought for sure the doctor was going to come in and tell me that it was just gas. No joke.

You can imagine the look on my face when the doctor came in and said they needed to take me into emergency surgery because my appendix was about to blow.

So, what does this life story movie business have to do with my weight loss journey?

Nothing. Other than the fact that I let myself slip back into a few old habits and forgot to not take my slip up so seriously.

I am back in the gym and loving every minute of it.

I laugh through the pain of my blistered hands from rowing.

I laugh when my thighs are so stiff it hurts just to get in and out of the car. I have also dropped a few "F" bombs because of this but I say it with a smile - so to me, that's OK!

I laugh because crying gets me no where.

I may not have overcome things as serious as others but the fact that I have come out from some very dark places in my life and I still have a smile on my face says a lot.

Laugh on my friends! Your situation is what you make it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy...

Yesterday was one of those days when I wanted a complete “do-over” at the end of the day. I had a zillion things on my To Do list, and I think I accomplished one. With major deadlines looming, being homesick because my grandma is in the hospital and not doing well, and other family-related issues running amuck in my mind – I was an emotional wreck at the end of the day.

I drove to the gym, changed into my workout clothes, and plunked my behind down on the rowing machine. I was not in the mood to listen to my usual playlist of heavy electric guitar rock anthems, so I put on something a little more mellow.

I think I was about 2.5 minutes in when I felt a tear well up in my eye and roll down my face. I could not believe it. There I was – in the gym – on the verge of an emotional outburst. I was determined to get through my workout in one piece, so I choked back those tears and rowed on.

Fast forward to 15 minutes later when the owner of the gym walked by and asked me what was wrong. He is a busy guy and doesn’t need to hear my whiney girly emotions, so I replied in a soft tone, “I’m just having a bad day.” He noted that I had put in 3,000 meters and suggested I round it up to 4,000 and call it a day.
For a millisecond, that sounded like a superb idea and coming from a man who is also a trainer I thought I could use that as an excuse to go home.
In that same millisecond, my inner motivational speaker said, “Keep going, girl. You got this. I’ve got your back.” My ears perked up and I told him I was going to suck it up and keep going.

And, that is exactly what I did.

I turned off that sad song playlist and cranked up some Metallica. I decided to use that time on the rowing machine to get my thoughts organized, so I could have a good plan of attack for the following day.
As the minutes passed, my thoughts were beginning to clear, and I started to feel better. As I was nearing my usual 12,000-meter completion, I was dripping with sweat, and my blistered hands were throbbing with pain. BUT - I noticed that I had a little more pep in my step and was feeling pretty good – so, I pushed myself to go another 1,000 meters.

When I finished, I felt amazingly happy. I couldn’t help but giggle because the only thing that was going through my head was a quote from the movie, Legally Blonde 2. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
I left the gym with a smile on my face and had no homicidal thoughts on my way home.

I could have easily gone home after only rowing 3,000 meters, but I would have spent the evening wallowing in my dramatic thoughts. That would have put me at risk for justifying having a lemon bar or making a ginormous bowl of hot buttered popcorn and plopping myself on the couch to catch up on all my recorded shows. However, I would have done myself absolutely no favors.

Instead, my inner motivational speaker propelled me to the finish line and beyond, and I was able to walk out of the gym a whole lot happier.

Yes, food is the most abused anxiety drug and I 100% agree that exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant. It only took me two years to remember that fact.

I’ve got this.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hello from the Outside

For the last two years, the wings I grew and learned to spread took me soaring. I embraced everything I learned about who I really am as a person and I had finally defined myself. Then, I became content. This made adjusting to a new city and state, dealing with odd medical anomalies, and my crazy travel schedule much easier to deal with. However – emotionally, I was flying by the seat of my pants with my hair on fire for much of this time.

I read the following quote the other day and it struck a chord in my heart. “Many things aren’t equal but everyone gets the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We make time for what we truly want.” After reading that, I came to the realization that I had put myself in a bubble of my own chaotic craziness and was focused on the wrong side of whatever challenge I was facing. I had been confronting my challenges with a “WTF” mentality and became unhappy because I didn’t feel true happiness anymore.

What is happiness to me?
I do not have to have the best of everything to be happy.

I do not have to be a certain size to be happy.

Money or tangible items will not make me happy.

When I first set out on my weight loss journey in 2011, I assumed that just losing the weight would make me happy and everything would be sunshine and roses. 

As my tale unfolded, I learned that my goal of fitting into a size eight dress was not the source of my happiness.

It was the fact that I had a goal, period.

I learned that what truly makes me happy is knowing I am putting every effort into achieving my goals. Regardless of whatever the goal might be.

Since I have discovered this little epiphany, everything has become crystal clear and it has become motivating. Those nights, after work, when I am mentally exhausted and try to tell myself that I cannot take one more step and life will be happier on the couch at home, I think of that quote and I push myself to go to the gym. Why? Because I know the feeling of happiness I will feel after I’ve put an effort into reaching my goal. You cannot achieve a goal if you don’t put forth the effort, right?

Not going to lie…I have some tricks to get through a workout. I have learned to deal with the gym in five minute increments rather than an hour. Most days, I have to push myself to just make it through the first five minutes on the StairMaster. Once I reach that mark, I start telling myself, “I can go another five minutes.” After that five minutes has passed, I tell myself, “you can make it another five minutes.” Next thing you know, I’ve made it 20 minutes on that darn thing. At that point, my little happiness trigger kicks in and my inner motivational speaker says “Now, move your behind over to that rowing machine and see if you can make it five more minutes.”

It’s been a little more than two weeks since I started back at the gym and I have only missed one day out of the last 17…and that is because I was traveling to California. While there, I managed to work out a deal at my former gym for my last two California trips of the year. I pushed myself harder each day and at the end of the week, I managed to row a total of 47,740 meters (which translates to 29.664 miles) and I climbed nearly 300 flights of stairs. I weighed myself when I got home and I lost 7 pounds this past week!! Whoop Whoop!!

I am not in a rush to get to my goal weight. I know it will take time to lose the 65 pounds I want to lose and I am ok with that. I know I will get back into my favorite leather pants, my favorite dress will fit me like a glove again, and I will gain back the physical strength I had achieved before.

For the time being, I am relishing in the fact that I am now on the outside of that bubble and I will continue to do whatever it takes to make sure I do not put myself back in.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Accountability is Everything

After a two and a half year hiatus, I am resurrecting my blog. I have concluded that by avoiding posting about my progress, I was no longer holding myself accountable to the goals I had set out for myself. Yes, I had successfully hit my weight loss goal but I did not hold myself accountable for maintaining it.

My son walking me down the "aisle".
Much has happened since my last update. I relocated from California to Texas for my job the summer of 2013. My then fiancĂ© (now husband) and I had set our wedding date for the following spring so I was in full-blown planning mode. I purchased my dress a year before the wedding to keep myself motivated and that plan worked well as the only alterations required were to shorten the dress. Despite the rain, it was a beautiful ceremony. We held both ceremony and reception in my parent’s backyard and my ever so handsome son walked me down the aisle.

My setbacks began six months before the wedding with an emergency trip to the ER when my Appendix decided it no longer wanted to be a part of my life and I had to have it removed. Because the number on the scale wasn’t going up, I allowed myself to use my recovery as excuse to be lazy with my exercise but since I was still in “Operation Wedding Dress” mode at that time, my diet was on point.

It wasn’t until after the wedding that I started having a difficult time with my weight. The first 20 pounds was because in addition to no longer working out 4 times a week, I stopped tracking my calories. I was still eating many of the same foods I ate during my losing period but I was adding way to many carbs. That occasional cookie or treat was turning into almost a daily habit.

In January of this year, I knew I had to face the reality of my choices so I cut out the carbs and started exercising again. After a month of working on getting my butt back into shape, I had a major medical setback. I had just finished running and hour on my elliptical and was soaking in the bathtub. I felt like I was overheating so I got out and jumped in the shower to wash my hair. I couldn’t lift my arms and I blacked out. I yelled for my husband after my vision returned and he took my blood pressure. It was 80/40 and my heart rate was near 160. He got me dressed and took me to the ER. After 7 hours, they released me with a referral to a cardiologist and neurologist.

After two months of tests and a visit to an Electrophysiologist, I was diagnosed with Left Ventricular Hypotrophy (LVH) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). What does that mean? LVH is where the wall of your heart muscle thickens and becomes tight. POTS causes your blood pressure to suddenly drop and your heart rate to double or triple upon standing. When I was soaking in a hot bath, my blood pressure was already lowered by the heat of the water and when I stood up to get in the shower it dropped enough to make me black out. The LVH is likely an unwanted side effect from my kidney disease (IgA Nephropathy) because it causes high blood pressure. Technically, the IgA is an autoimmune disorder that affects the kidney. POTS is an autonomic disorder and my Electrophysiologist said that it isn’t uncommon for people with autoimmune disorders to get autonomic disorders. For two months, I could not be upright for longer than 20 minutes at a time because I would get dizzy and blackout. This meant I couldn’t do a whole lot of anything including driving - because dizziness while driving is not a good thing. Luckily, I have an awesome job and I was able to work from home for nearly two months.

Now, because I have a kidney disease, I have to take high blood pressure pill to keep blood flowing to the kidneys. The medication they would normally give someone with POTS is one that keeps your blood pressure up. The two essentially cancel each other out. The only thing left was to put me on sodium hydrotherapy. The FDA recommends that you should take in no more than 2,400 mg  of sodium per day and recent reports suggest they want to lower that to 1,200. My doctor put me on 5,000 mg per day! FIVE THOUSAND. The purpose is to keep my blood volume up so when I stand my blood pressure doesn’t drop as much. I was also put on compression therapy so my blood doesn’t pool in my legs when sitting. I had no idea how I was going to eat that much sodium in a single day. After a week of eating crap and feeling horrible, my doctor said I could take sodium chloride tablets.

After a few weeks of this, I was puffy, bloated, and I felt like I was sucking on a salt lick all day. I was getting depressed. My jeans did not fit, my ring was getting tight, and I could feel the water retention in my legs and feet.

I made an appointment with my doctor after I saw that I had gained 20 pounds. I had assumed that my thyroid had been checked because I had like a million lab tests done when they were trying to figure out what was wrong with me but she assured me that it hadn’t been checked. She ordered a complete thyroid panel and it turns out that in addition to all the other crap I have going on, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism…another awesome autoimmune disorder…and I am now on Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone.
I have been on this medication for three months now but my metabolism didn’t seem to be improving. My doctor ran another panel to confirm the medication is doing its job so after a hard reality check; I had to chalk up my lack of weight loss on my lack of accountability. I had been using my disorders as a crutch and was not looking for alternative ways to exercise and I used my POTS as an excuse to over indulge in crappy, high-sodium foods.

I need to rid myself of the weight I put on so this past week, I joined a local gym and have been going every day since I joined. Turns out, I actually missed working myself into a sweaty mess and I missed the awesome feeling you get after you get in a really good workout. One of the owners of this gym has been giving me great tips and is committed to helping whip me back into shape. I've been rowing a minimum of 3,600 meters on my beloved rowing machine (seriously, I love to row)and climbing 50 flights of stairs in the Stairmaster (seriously, not loving the Stairmaster but it works). He even made me do those darn battling ropes the other day. Only in 30 second intervals but DANNNG...those are no joke!

Anyway - now that I’ve put all this out there, I’ll be blogging again to keep myself in check. So...from this moment forward, I am holding myself accountable for every action I take and I am not going to let any of my medical issues set me back again. Of course, I have monitor my heart rate and be mindful of how I am feeling while working out but I will have no more excuses. Failure is NOT an option. I will get back into my favorite leather pants one day but if I don’t get back to my goal weight, it won’t be because I didn’t try.
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