Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

My left foot is an a-hole.

Seriously, way back when I was 13 years old and walking around Sea World in hip hugger bell bottoms and sandals with daisies all over them…my left foot was an a-hole. By the end of that fun day with my family, my two older sisters were carrying me to the car. Why? We didn’t know it at the time, but plantar fascitis. Whatev.

I ended up dealing with that condition into my mid 30’s, when I finally had surgery to permanently slap down my plantar fascia so that it could no longer tear. Done!!!

I love walking for fitness and it’s always been my preferred form of working out. It’s fun to walk and listen to music. I love it! My feet, unfortunately, don’t, whether I weigh 125 pounds or 383 pounds. I’ve had plantar fascitis and stress fractures in both feet over the course of my life, but lately it’s my left foot that’s being a jerk.

I’m just getting over a stress fracture in my left foot, and now there’s an issue with my cuboid bone. It won’t stay in place. It keeps dislocating. *sigh*

For months now, doctors have been telling me to stay off my feet. After my last physical therapy appointment, that doesn’t appear to be changing. Every time I hit around 6,000 steps for the day my cuboid bone freaks out and says “I’m outta here!” Dislocated.

The old me would have been all “Oh, well! Doctor knows best…time to sit on my ass and have some snacks!” The reinvented me? Not so happy about this situation.

I’ve lost 116 pounds and I don’t want to gain that shit back. At all. But it appears that I’m going to have to think outside the box. Or…the foot. Or…you know what I’m getting at.

I can take water aerobics, but that’s only twice a week. I need more cardio than that. I can swim, but not in proper form – and certainly not well enough to get any cardio from it. So what did I do? I reached out to my gym to ask if they teach adult swim classes. And guess what?

THEY DO!!!!

I’m going to give them a call tomorrow and get the details, but I am excited that there might actually be a light at the end of this tunnel. I’ve already made all the nutritional changes I can make…the other half of this weight has to come off with exercise.

Time for some serious swimming. Because if it comes between my a-hole foot and swimming every day, I’m growing gills and fins. Nothing is keeping me from my goal. Nothing.

Okay, I’m calling shenanigans!

I’m thinking I need to send Beets Blu a batch of nuclear brownies or something (trust me, I bake some pretty awesome brownies). If it wasn’t for them offering me a free digital scale to review on Amazon, my current situation might have gone on even longer.

Last year my support team at my doctor’s office finally got through to me and convinced me to try NOT getting on the scale every morning when I wake up. Now, before you jump to any conclusions and say “Hey, Hot Mess, everyone knows you’re not supposed to do that” let me explain…

When I used to get on the scale every morning it wasn’t your typical “OMG I’ve gained a pound? Son of a bitch!!!” Not even close. I’m a woman. That means the numbers on the scale are going to swing back and forth. I’ve made my peace with that, within about 5 pounds. I’m really not going to sweat it. Getting on the scale every morning was just a touch base kind of thing. I just needed to see that I was still operating within those 5 pounds. If the scale ever tipped to 6 or 7 pounds, I’d walk a little more…eat a little less. I’d make adjustments appropriately. This is how I maintain my weight loss. The scale is a tool and a friend, not something that I use to punish myself with.

Enter the Beets Blu company. They contacted me recently, asking if I’d like to review their new Bluetooth scale. The Bluetooth idea intrigued me, so I said yes. My review will be coming next week, but let’s just say it’s a pretty sweet scale.

I also have to say that it’s pretty disconcerting when a talking scale gives you bad news. Really bad news. Like…super shitty.

I weighed 270 pounds when my support team told me to stop getting on the scale. They told me to judge my weight by the fit of my clothes…and that’s what I’ve been doing for the better part of a year. I’m still wearing the same jeans and tops. In fact, I’ve lost inches in some areas. So imagine my shock when the talking scale said “294.3 pounds”.

I’m sorry, what???

That’s right, peeps. In spite of the fact that my clothes still fit, I’ve gained 24.3 damn pounds. What. The. Fuck.

Now, I freely admit that some of it could be muscle…but I also know I didn’t gain 24 pounds of muscle. LOL. Let’s not get ridiculous. I’m not an American Ninja Warrior, I’m just a Hot Mess Princess.

I’m all for following the advice of medical professionals, but in this case I should have listened to myself. My relationship with the scale was working for me. It was working well. I never should have gone against my own instincts on this one.

Add to that the fact that I’ve been dealing with a shitload of foot injuries since I started trying to increase my physical activity and we’ve got a problem. I was just getting back into it again. I was getting 10,000 steps a day on my Fitbit. I was starting to shoot beyond that, even. Then I got the stress fracture…and my podiatrist took me off my feet. And, honestly, the injury was so painful that I couldn’t even stand at work (I have one of those sit/stand desk things…and I hate not using it).

The stress fracture heeled and the pain from that was gone, but my foot was still killing me. Why? Podiatrist said there’s a bone out of place in my foot and I needed physical therapy. Well…great. That’s awesome…because I married for love, not money. We’re broke. We have termites to kill, a truck with a broken clutch, and a shitload of other stuff going on. The co-insurance on physical therapy wasn’t really in the immediate budget.

I’ve been sitting on my ass a lot. Sure, there were medical reasons behind it, but the fact of the matter is that I would not have gained 24 effing pounds if I was still getting on the scale every morning. I know that’s true like I know Kardashians are assholes.

24 pounds, y’all. That’s a real dick punch. If I had one. Kinda glad I don’t. HMH probably is too. When it comes to not getting on the scale being the best thing for me, I’m calling shenanigans. Or bullshit. Whatever.

So tomorrow I’m going to wake up and be the girl who gets on the scale every morning. Because that’s my tool to take care of myself and I don’t use it to beat myself up…and no one is going to tell me differently. This is what works for me, so this is what I’m going to do for me.

Shit, isn’t that what I’m always preaching? I really borked this up. I didn’t listen to myself at all.

There is a little good news in all of this: I had my first physical therapy appointment last Friday and it was awesome. I had three different experiences with physical therapy years ago and all of them resulted in the same thing: no results at all. Sure, it was for another foot problem, but it didn’t give me high hopes for the treatment. Honestly, I was expecting the same this time. I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong.

At the most, I’ll need two more treatments to get my foot back to normal…but it already feels so much better. It’s like a brand new foot. They gave me exercises to do to help strengthen my foot and ensure that I keep the stress fractures away. I finally feel like I have a little hope in the whole foot injury department.

And what sense does it make to freak out over this? I’m a roll up my sleeves kind of girl…so here we go. Here’s my plan:

Effective immediately, the scale is my friend again. That’s just who I am.

For the next three days, I’m going to do a good old fashioned reset on my tummy. This is something gastric sleeve patients do from time to time…and my support team actually recommends it. Monday thru Wednesday will be the liquid diet of protein shakes that I was on the week after surgery.

Per my physical therapist’s orders, I’m to try and stress out my foot a little bit after today. Monday I’ll be increasing my steps. Tuesday I’ll be walking all over an airport anyway…and I’ll have water aerobics that night. Wednesday I’m back at physical therapy. Thursday I have water aerobics again…and maybe I’ll try a little elliptical or treadmill before that. I’ll decide on the weekend later. That’s enough to do for now.

Stay tuned to my Facebook fan page for updates on how this is going. I’m trying not to think about the 24 pounds and just focus on fixing the situation. Once my foot is fixed I can really ramp up the exercise and hopefully soon I’ll be in the 260’s.

For now, let’s just focus on kicking this goal in the ass. 🙂

No drama…or know drama!

When I was very young…and even as I grew older…I was a magnet for unavailable men, screwed up people, and drama. Then I finally found a therapist who could get through to me and I soon learned how to establish healthy boundaries. I learned to ensure that the actions of the people I let into my life met the words that came out of their mouths…because I was a sucker for liars.

It was many years before I built my boundaries up strong enough to keep the drama out, but I worked and worked at it until the only drama in my life was the shit I caused myself. When you cut the trouble causers from your life, it leaves a peace behind that only you can disturb. Sometimes you still disturb it, but in many ways it’s a lot easier to deal with yourself than some unpredictable shit of a person that can come at you from left field.

The fingers of dysfunction still have a tiny hold on some who are close(ish) to me…and one of them has recently been in need of help. And HMH and I let them into our lives and offered our help.

It’s only weeks later and we’re finding that we’ve been lied to. And manipulated…because this person knew what to say to us and how to say it in order to get something they wanted. There’s been plenty of drama around our normally boring, drama-free household. Drama stirs up the ghosts of the past. At least it does for me.

I worked so hard to eliminate as much drama as possible from my life. I married a drama resistant man, at least in all ways other than the occasional “Hey, y’all, watch THIS!” crap he gets up to. He does, after all, own a t-shirt that says “WARNING: I do dumb things!”. It’s all true.

So now we’re in a position of having to remove this person from our lives, which will involve to some extent a little kicking and screaming on their part as they’re shown the door. More drama. But our boundaries are declared and this person will be made to make tracks. And me? I’m finding that the entire episode is causing me a huge amount of stress.

What do I do when I stress out? What does any compulsive overeater do when they stress? They eat the world. I’ve had gastric sleeve surgery to stop myself from eating a large pizza and a pint of Blue Bell ice cream in one sitting…but I didn’t have brain surgery, so eating is still what I’m driven to do whenever I need to cope.

I can’t physically eat enough to calm myself down, but my head still wants me to. So I end up with my soul in a riot when there’s drama. I’m already an insomniac, so this makes it worse. I have nightmares. I don’t sleep much. But there are things that help:

  • Stitching. I’ve said it a million times, I know…but having a hobby that is just for me does me a world of good. It makes me count. It makes me focus. And I end up with beautiful creations when I’m done.
  • Venting. It’s not healthy to keep it in. Whether it’s Hot Mess Hubby, a friend, or just writing it down…I have to vent.
  • Being kind to others. Yeah…sometimes I catch myself feeling like everything is terrible. Doing nice things for others with no expectation of anything in return renews my faith in life.

The thing is…you can’t let it in. The drama. You can’t let it get inside your boundaries, and if you don’t have any boundaries it’s time to get some. I’m not talking about hardening your heart to the world and declaring everyone the enemy. That’s easy and stupid and not at all healthy.

  • Build healthy boundaries. Find a good therapist. Read some books about it. It takes time to learn, but you’ll learn.
  • Surround yourself with good people. How do you spot good people? Words are cheap. Do their actions meet their words? That’s the quickest way I’ve ever sniffed out an asshole. Okay, that sounded really gross, but you know what I mean.
  • Vent your frustrations in a healthy way. Get a hobby. Get away from the drama. Have good friends. You have to be there for yourself.

You’ll be amazed at how little drama you put up with once you accomplish this…and how little drama you have to put up with because you made good choices.

Ultimately, I made good choices in this situation. I knew the risks of allowing a person like this into my life, but I wanted to have faith in them and believe that they were changed. They were not. That doesn’t change the fact that I did a kind thing and tried to help someone I thought was in need. The fact that they were manipulating me is no reflection on me. It’s a poor reflection of them. The fact that I won’t fall for it again is a testament to those healthy boundaries I’ve worked so hard to build.

And so I have to do a little extra sweeping to clean the drama out of our lives…but I’ll sweep it, trust me. Soon HMH and I will be back to our fabulously awesome, boring-ass drama free lives. And loving every minute of it.

Needling through the years

When I was 9 years old, I joined the Girl Scouts because I thought the other girls at my school looked totally bitch’in in their green uniforms and I wanted to know what all those patches were for. It didn’t last long for me because dancing was my first love and taking classes took up a lot of my time, but I was a Girl Scout long enough to earn my needlework badge (which I still have to this day) and some other badge that has a BBQ grill on it. Maybe it was a badge for eating wings or something…I can’t remember. But I remember how much fun it was to be a stitcher, even if I was a bad one.

After I left Girl Scouts so that I could become a tap dancing astronaut (shut up, don’t crush my dreams!), I put the embroidery hoop down for years. Dance classes and performances consumed all my free time. When I was old enough to work, I got a job as a dancing character in the parades at Disneyland. Just for the record, being a hippo, a bear, a pig and a snowman looks AWESOME on a resume. Still no time for needlework. It wasn’t until my life turned to total shit that I had time to pick it up again.

I quit dance. Years and years of emotional abuse at the hands of my dance teacher/father figure had taken its toll. I’d just suffered my first real broken heart. I had a crap job in retail and I was eating my way through feelings of grief and loss. I was forced to begin shopping at plus sized specialty stores. It wasn’t a good time.

I remember one night while working my crap retail job I walked to the craft store next door during my break and just started wandering the aisles. I wandered into the needlework section. As I flipped through all the needlepoint and cross stitch kits, I smiled. Smiles didn’t come easy back then, and before I knew it I left with a giant bag of crap. A few different kits, several hoops, and assorted needlework gadgets.

I don’t even remember what the patterns were, but I know I never finished them. I’d start one and things would be going well…then I’d get distracted by a new book or a guy who was totally wrong for me. Eventually, I’d misplace the threads for whatever project I was working on and then I’d just toss the project. And the cycle would start over. Still, when I would allow myself to have some calm in my life, the act of stitching was a joy.

It would be years before I would realize it, but stitching was a great form of therapy for me. Counting the stitches necessary and executing them with skill required focus. It took me out of my head and away from the troubles that seemed so mountainous to me. I needed that, especially after trips to the therapist and trying to figure out why I was so angry…why I hated myself…and why I couldn’t stop eating away my feelings.

Through the years, I’d pick up a project or two, but I was never too serious about it. There never seemed to be time. I had decided to leave retail and got a job in a professional office environment. I was becoming a proper career girl with responsibilities and medical benefits and everything. Things were getting much more “adult-y” in my life. Therapy was easier. I was less angry, but more lonely…so I spent a lot of time out with my girlfriends.

There has always been something about needlework, though. Something about pulling a needle and thread through fabric calms me down. It makes me happy. Friends have joked that perhaps I’m an old soul, reincarnated into a modern creature but still haunted by the memories of a past life. Knowing me, I was probably something like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey: a bitchy, entitled whiner who beat herself into sense from all the drama she was causing herself. But I’m sure if that’s true, I was much less whore-ish. 🙂

When I had gastric sleeve surgery almost three years ago, I knew that I needed to find a healthy behavior to substitute for all the emotional eating I was doing. Needlework was the natural choice. Some folks still blow off surgery like it’s the easy way out, but the truth is…it’s not BRAIN surgery. My stomach is smaller, yes. My brain doesn’t know that. My spirit doesn’t know that. And the same ghosts that I’ve been dealing with my whole life still trigger the urge to overeat. I still fight those feelings and urges.

I’ve watched many friends go through weight loss surgery. The ones who gained it all back are the ones that didn’t have a plan for replacing their unhealthy behavior when they suddenly couldn’t do it anymore. They reacted by turning to other unhealthy behaviors until they could go back to eating…and I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. And so my home is filling up with beautiful needlework…and I’ve lost 116 pounds, 8 sizes, and tons of inches. I’ve maintained that loss for two years.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m not to goal weight yet. I’ve made all the nutritional changes I can and now it’s time to work the rest of it off with exercise. This latest needlework project, which I had to cram for by burning vacation days and staying up late night after night, has required me to sit for too long…and too often. I’m so ready to head back to the gym and start working again.

Even so, I’ll always have time for stitching. Today I dropped this year’s project off at the State Fair of Texas. It’ll be judging in their Creative Arts competition next week and I’ll find out whether it won a ribbon within the next two weeks or so.

 photo LOF drop off_zpsw74zblcs.jpg

To make sure my hands are always gripping needle and thread and never Oreos, I’ve already started next year’s project. Thanks to my fans and friends who voted on Facebook, I put the first stitch in this gorgeous peacock today (click it to order from Amazon).

As always, I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going…but I’ll also be excited to keep you posted on my workout progress. I got tired of sitting still!

Oh and one last thing: I’ve decided to dabble in designing needlework patterns as well. They won’t be anything as grand as some of the projects I’ve worked on before. They’ll be simple, sassy, and really smart assy. A lot like me, actually.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My glass is always half full, peeps!

So…this happened.

 photo stress fracture june 2016_zpszo49usxq.jpg

Yes, folks, this is the sixth stress fracture I’ve had in 12 years. You read that right: SIXTH. This is what happens when I finally get up enough resolve to start working out again. Although this specific type of injury is directly related to me stomping around with 100+ extra pounds on my body, in my defense I’ve had foot problems since I weighed less than 100 pounds soaking wet. My feet have always been assholes. They just have it in for me.

I thought my feet might be super happy about the 116 pounds I’ve already lost, but no. They’re pouty jerks who just don’t want me to walk. At least not for fitness. And, because of that, I found myself recently realizing that I’m sort of being an idiot about this. I keep doing the same damn thing:

  • Avoid exercise because I hate it
  • Feel guilty about not exercising, but do nothing about it
  • Admit I need to exercise, but still do nothing about it
  • Start wondering what kind of an idiot I am for not exercising and try to make myself want to do something about it
  • Finally work up the will to exercise, hate every damn minute of it
  • Actually get into a groove and start making it a habit, get a stress fracture and can’t exercise anymore

You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Yeah, I’m a bloody genius, right? Well, I’ve already fixed the issue…but you’ll have to wait for the next blog post to find out how. Suffice to say it has a lot to do with self-acceptance in the face of un-hidable cottage cheese thighs.

Obviously I went to the podiatrist, who took x-rays and determined what I already limped in there knowing: stress fracture. I’d brought the extremely expensive boot that I got about 3 stress fractures ago so that he could approve it, which he did. But then he did something I didn’t expect. He started checking out my cankles.

I don’t have ankles. My calves just disappear into my shoes. Calves + ankles = cankles. I hate it. It’s uber embarrassing, but I’ve always believed I’ll see my real ankles again once I lose enough weight. In my experience, the smallest parts of the body are the ones that lose weight the slowest…so my giant tree stump cankles weren’t setting off any alarm bells.

According to my podiatrist, it’s a hereditary condition that should not be “this bad” in someone as young as me. While, I wanted to hug him for the young comment, I totally freaked about the hereditary thing. Like…what? I may not get rid of this? These cankles might haunt me forever? Screw that, dude! I have dresses to wear someday. Don’t I? Please??

My mother is a petite little thing, as was my maternal grandmother…but my maternal grandfather’s mother (keep THAT straight in your head if you can) was a BIG woman. BIG. And quite mean from what I hear. Like Jerry Springer talk show guest mean. Like throwing knives at her grandkids mean. She wore men’s house slippers because her giant feet couldn’t fit into regular shoes – and she had to slit them with scissors in order to get them around her cankles.

Great. I’ve inherited my great grandmother’s cankles of evil.

What’s worse, my doctor prescribed… *sigh* …compression socks. Yep. Old lady compression stockings/socks. That’s exactly the image that I get when I hear the term “compression socks”: some little fat old lady in a house coat, shuffling through the kitchen looking for cheese and miscellaneous snacks.

I’ll do whatever I need to for my health, but honestly…this was kind of a dick punch to my pride. Not that my pride would have a dick because I’m pretty sure my pride is a girl since I’m a girl. But maybe my pride identifies as a…oh, fuck, never mind. It hurt a little. That’s all I’m saying.

I had to go to a special pharmacy to get measured for them. *sigh* I did it, though, and I have to admit…my cankles are smaller at the end of the day when I remove the…things.

*sigh*

When I remove the compression socks.

I really hate the old lady image that pops in my head whenever I say it, though, you guys! I hate it!! It festers and tortures me more than Taylor Swift grates on that dillhole Kanye. I’m torn between the horror of my cankles and the amazing cozy socks that hug my cankles and calves into submission. The cankles must be stopped…and so…

I hereby declare that compression socks will forever be know as SPANKLES!!!!

When you think about it, compression socks are really just SPANX for your cankles, right? You know I’m right! We don’t say “compression underpants”, do we? No. Because that sounds like something you need an air hose or special permit for. We say SPANX. Well…I’m not calling my special cozy socks anything that doesn’t say how awesome they are.

From now on, when people stop me and say “Hey, HMP, where’d you get those super awesome cozy socks?” (Because you know they will…). I’ll reply “Oh THESE? These are my SPANKLES!”

This shit’s totally catching on faster than jeggings, peeps. Mark. My. Words.

SPANKLES: this year’s hottest Christmas gift. You’re welcome.

My eff’in glass is always half full…preferably with Rumchata.