Angst Girl

Now With 25% More Angst!



As the title of this post suggests, I’m feeling stuck. My weight has plateaued so I’m making absolutely no progress toward my biggest goal of getting into shape. And, worse yet, I’m not doing anything about it. For about the last month I haven’t been feeling up to par.

For the first couple weeks I just didn’t feel well and had no motivation or stamina. Then I entered a week in which I slept pretty much around the clock. Now I’m back to feeling weak and with no get-up-and-go. It’s terribly frustrating.

Because I’ve had a heart attack, the first thing I thought of was a problem with my heart so I called my cardiologist and he scheduled an echo of my heart. Luckily, that turned out to be okay and my heart function seems to be normal.

The next thing I thought of was my thyroid problem for which I take levothyroxine every day. A low thyroid level can cause lethargy as well as a host of other problems. So I’ve scheduled an appointment with my internist for this Wednesday. I assume she’ll want to do a battery of blood tests. Hopefully that will get to the bottom of this.

Of course I’d be a fool not to consider a psychological problem due to my history with clinical depression. But it really doesn’t feel like that’s the problem. I didn’t feel depressed when all this started. I do, however, feel a little depressed now because of my lack of ability to get anything accomplished. I sit and look around at the pit that is my house and try to convince myself to get up and start cleaning. To this point I’ve had very little success. Instead, I sit around and beat myself up for not cleaning or doing anything. And that, my dear readers, will make anyone depressed. I’m still open to the possibility that it’s psychological but I want to rule out a physical problem first because that would be easier to deal with. Plus, I can’t get in to see my shrink until April.

I have a number of projects around the house that I want to get to beyond just cleaning but nothing’s getting accomplished on those fronts either. I feel like a prisoner in my own body; like I’m disconnected from my physical self and have no control over it. I was walking three days a week on the track at a local hospital but that has fallen by the wayside. Yet another reason to beat myself up and not make any progress on my weight loss goals.

So what have I been doing with my expanse of time? Sitting around watching bad TV, that’s what. It wasn’t until I got cable TV that I realized how many terrible reality shows there are. I’ve managed to avoid most of them, flipping right past them. But I do have a few favorites (“Deadliest Catch,” “The Voice,” “NY ER,” “Long Island Medium”). I avoid the Kardashians like the plague because I can’t fucking stand them. I’ve been watching a lot of “Sex and the City” reruns and classic TV shows. Oh, and listening to my neighbor’s loud music. That’s always a joy.

Stuck. I’m feeling it in so many different ways and it sucks. I need to shake things up and get off my ass and do something. Or at least cut myself a break and quit berating myself for NOT doing things. Obviously thinking negatively about myself hasn’t helped me get moving so I may as well be more gentle with myself and see how that works. I’ll keep you posted.

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My time in cardiac rehab is coming to an end so I really need to get set up going back to Curves. I KNOW I need to call them to see if they want a doctor’s okay or for me to set up a time to go through orientation again. Am I doing it? Nope. I’ve gained a little bit of weight lately so I really need to do something, but I just can’t get myself to do it. I’ve always hated exercising and that hasn’t changed.

One of my worst habits is procrastination. I make to-do lists all the time but I use that to avoid actually doing anything. I enjoy being able to cross things off the list but that’s still rarely enough to give me the impetus to actually do anything. I hate it and I use it to chastise myself, as if that’s going to get me to move. It doesn’t. I just sit there beating myself up and use that to avoid the tasks I need to get done.

I am envious of people who actually are able to keep moving and get stuff done. My best friend is one of those people. When she has things to do, she’s a maniac. She has her days during which she relaxes but for the most part she’s always moving. Why can’t I be more like her?

Right now I’m writing this blog entry to avoid going to sleep. Yep, I even procrastinate when it comes to sleeping. It’s sad. If anyone has a magical way to stop my procrastinating, I would greatly appreciate it if you shared it in the comments.

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Here’s to Your Health

Healthy Cupcake

It’s a new year and so many people make resolutions regarding their health. I don’t really make resolutions, per se, but I definitely have goals that I work toward. This year it’s my year to work at losing weight. I need to do it because I need to get more healthy, but I also need to do it so I can have open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, telling me I have to lose weight in order to have heart surgery isn’t really going to motivate me because who wants to have heart surgery? But I do want to put the whole thing behind me and I do want to be more mobile and in shape so exercise, here I come.

In case I haven’t already mentioned it a million times, I HATE exercising. Hate. It. And now I’m a little scared of exercising very strenuously because I’m afraid I’ll have another heart attack. I’ve been going to cardiac rehab where they monitor your heart while you exercise. It’s been going fine with no heart episodes, but it’s not very strenuous exercise compared to what I used to do at Curves. But my time at cardiac rehab is coming to an end (insurance will only cover about 20 visits) so I’m being kicked out of the nest to find my own way. That’s scary. But I know I can make more progress as far as weight loss goes if I put more effort into it and exercise more than the three days a week I’m doing now. Do I really wish I could wake up in the morning and be at my goal weight and skip all the exercise? You betcha. But that hasn’t worked out so far so I doubt it’s going to come to pass.

The heart surgeon said he wanted me to lose 50 to 60 pounds before he’ll do surgery. I go to see him later this week and I think I weigh about the same as I did when I saw him two months ago. So I’m not really looking forward to his reaction to that. But I have to go face the music and let him know I’m going to be working on it harder than before. All I can do is the best I can do. So far I haven’t been doing my best and that has to change. I really need to get this extra weight off me because I don’t want the gastric bypass surgery to be for nothing.

My mantra for 2014 is HEALTHY. I’m going to try to eat healthy, exercise to get healthy, and take my medications to stay healthy. Oh! I just thought of another mantra that I totally want to focus on this year: DECORATE. I’ve lived in this house for about seven years and still haven’t really made it my own. I want to paint every room except one and I have wall hangings that need to be put up once the painting is done. I’m not planning on any big, expensive projects (like taking up the carpet and putting down a laminate wooden floor) but I think painting will be totally do-able. I’m shooting for early spring to get started on painting and I’m really hoping my bestie and her man will be willing to be hired out to do the painting for me. Not that I’m expecting to get all the rooms painted right away but it would be nice to at least get the living room and hallway painted. And maybe I can talk them into doing the small bathroom at the same time. I haven’t talked to them about it yet and don’t know what they’ll charge me for their services, but I’m hoping it will all come together. I’m also not sure where I’m going to get the money for the paint and primer but let’s not sweat the details yet, ok?

So there we go: 2014 is the year of being healthy and decorating my crib. It’s kind of all about surrounding myself with beauty; the beauty of a healthy body and the beauty of a well-decorated home. Hmm, maybe I should add a third mantra: BEAUTY. I think I deserve beauty in my life and it’s worth it to put some effort into creating that beauty.

Now that I have discovered my three mantras for the year I just have to dedicate myself to them. All of them are a little out of my comfort zone but I’m committed to making them work. I’ll check in here from time to time to let you know how they’re working out. Wish me luck!

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I watched a documentary on PBS on Monday named “Flying” and it left me feeling inadequate. In fact I almost stop watching it, even though it was interesting, because I was feeling bad about myself. It chronicled the life of a forty-something woman who is a filmmaker and travels the world. She has a ton of friends from different countries and backgrounds. She was living an exciting life and I found myself to be jealous of her. I have a very small circle of friends and am currently unemployed but have always had desk jobs. I don’t travel that much (although I’m on the final countdown to my European trip!) and would like to travel more. She was able to be very introspective and looked to her friends for context and feedback and is able to take negative feedback and make it an opportunity for personal growth.

I found myself taking stock of my life and not really liking what I saw. I’m still fat, I have few friends, I’m on disability so I have no job, I’m not spontaneous, and I’m just not comfortable in my own skin much of the time. I finished the documentary in tears. I know I shouldn’t covet someone else’s life but I just couldn’t seem to help it.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that I just couldn’t live that life even though I wanted to. I’m an introvert (see THIS LINK. It completely describes me) and I need to get comfortable with that. It’s who I am. I’m working on losing weight, I’ll eventually have a job again, and I have little need for a large circle of friends. I need to find a way to be okay with where I’m at in life but it SO wasn’t what I imagined it would be. I mourn for that loss. But I need to stop getting stuck in the mourning period and move on with life as it is or make the necessary adjustments to change it.

I also need to cut myself a break. I’ve had difficult things in life to deal with (as we all have to some extent) and I’ve been able to come out the other side still intact. Depression consumed many years of my life and being overweight has inhibited me from reaching my full potential. As a residual effect of the depression, I tend to get stuck in the past because for so many years I didn’t see a future for myself.

The facts are that I’m a very compassionate person, I’m smart, have good common sense, love deeply, I embrace the differences in people, am a good problem-solver, and I am creative. I need to embrace the good in me and live from a place of gratitude and self-love rather than jealousy or grief. I couldn’t live her life because I am me and have different strengths and struggles.

I can intellectually realize all these things but have never been able to absorb them and believe them. It’s something I’m working on and will continue to work on the rest of my life I’m sure. With what do you struggle?


This, That, and the Other

Ok, Paula Dean. I have mixed emotions about her current situation. On the one hand, I find it difficult to persecute someone based on something they said 30 years ago. On the other hand, however, I think it’s dangerous to accept racism in any form. All things considered, though, I think she’s paying a pretty high price for her transgressions. What I think is an interesting question is why she is losing almost everything while Alec Baldwin isn’t suffering at all for calling a photographer a queen. In my mind a homophobic slur is just as bad as a racial slur. Is it because he’s a man that he’s getting away with it? Or is it because, based on his behavior in the past, we come to expect it from him whereas it is a surprise coming from her. I don’t have the answers but I think they’re important questions.

The dramatics at the gym continue. There were two incidents today that left a bad taste in my mouth. First there was an exchange with a woman that went as follows:

HER: Do you work?

ME: No

HER: Do you go to school?

ME: No

HER: Well, what DO you do?

ME: I work out.

I left it at that but inside I was thinking, “What business is it of yours?!” I don’t want to come across as combative so I respond in the nicest way I can while not inviting further questions.

The next thing that happened kind of floored me because I wasn’t expecting it at all. The owner of the local franchise has taken a special interest in me because I work hard and I have definite goals in mind. So we were sitting there talking today and out of the blue she asked me if I belonged to a church. What?! So I said that I didn’t. She asked if I had ever belonged to a church and I said I was baptized as a Christian when I was 16 and then converted to Baha’i after a couple years. Then she went on to discuss how she wishes I would establish a relationship with god because some day I will regret not having a relationship sooner. She told me her preference would be for me to join HER religion but the important thing is to have a relationship with god. She invited me to her church (First Assembly of God) for a Sunday service. I just nodded and told her “thank you” and tried to get away from the whole conversation.

I should say that I’m not sure I believe in a god which is why I stopped going to Baha’i feasts. I’m very conflicted on the whole subject but I do know one thing for sure – I DO NOT like being proselytized to. I’m all for freedom of religion but that means I have the freedom to not belong to any organized religion. I felt uncomfortable that we were talking about it and just wanted to get away. If she brings it up again I’m just going to tell her the topic makes me uncomfortable and let that be the end of it. Can’t I just go to the gym and work out in peace?

At the end of the conversation with the owner she mentioned that she’s gotten nothing but positive feedback about me. Again, WHAT? I felt as if I was her employee rather than her customer. She went on to say that some of the other women have mentioned to her how proud they are of me for working out. Um, yeah. That’s more than just a little bit condescending. She ended with, “So people are talking behind your back but they’re saying nice things.” That didn’t really make me feel any better somehow.

My friend suggested that I go to another location of the same Curves franchise to get away from that owner and the nosy bitties who work out there. I understand what she’s saying but, even with all the drama, I’m used to it at this location and would feel like I was starting all over at another location. I’m not big on change (anyone who knows me knows what a massive understatement that is!) and I’m afraid I’ll lose my momentum if I switch now. I don’t want to alienate anyone at the gym because then it will just be more drama so I smile and answer as few questions as possible and try to keep to myself.

Speaking of the gym, I was weighed and measured last week and in the past month I’ve only lost 4.5 pounds and 1.25 inches overall. Sigh. I really wanted better results than that. I mean, 4.5 pounds should be what I lose in a little over a week, not in an entire month. People usually say that you should pay more attention to the inches than the pounds but since I have so much loose skin I really don’t feel like I can rely on the inches either. I was very frustrated but didn’t let it dissuade me from going to the gym and working out as hard as I can. I’m also working on my walking stamina. Currently I can only walk for about eight minutes but I’m determined to build that up to an hour before The Trip. So I get out and walk and try to add a minute a day to my walking time.

Finally, I’m totally addicted to the show “Deadliest Catch.” I don’t have cable or satellite TV so I download it from iTunes. Wednesday is “Deadliest Catch” day when I can download the latest episode. It’s a good day. So there wasn’t anything very eventful this week but they showed coming attractions of future shows and there is going to be a ship stuck in the ice with their hull breached by the ice, a man goes overboard, a Coast Guard rescue, AND they showed the absolutely mauled hand of one of the deckhands. It looked completely gruesome and I would be surprised if they didn’t have to amputate some of the fingers. Man, I love that show.

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Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. Not too much happening around here; I’ve just been working out and walking my dog, trying to get in shape for The Big Trip. I found this graphic on Facebook and it really hit home with me. I’m not completely anti-social. I mean, I have friends and family who I socialize with on a regular basis but I’m not one of those people who will strike up a conversation with a stranger. In fact, it kind of pisses me off when strangers expect me to. I’m just not interested in idle chit-chat with someone I don’t know. I don’t really see the purpose and I don’t want to expend the energy to be that charming. If someone engages me in public I will generally respond in a nice way but I do nothing to further the interaction. And sometimes I’m sure I appear downright rude because I’m just not interested in talking with someone I don’t know. If I’m at the store it’s for a purpose and meeting new people is NEVER that purpose. I just want to get in, get out, and move on.¬†One time, while purchasing a bag of shredded cheese, a woman looked at what I had selected and commented that the store brand was cheaper than the name brand I had in my hand. Mind your own business, woman!

My social muscles, however, are being exercised along with my body muscles these days. The all-female gym that I attend is full of older women who view their time at the gym as a social hour. They’re never out of breath or work up a sweat because they’re barely working out. The main body parts that get exercise are their mouths. And that’s fine if they want to pay $35 a month for a social outlet (and some movement is better than none), but get out of the way of those of us who are there to work out. The gym consists of a number of machines, each separated by a walking pad, set in a circle. It’s circuit training: you start by walking in place on a walking pad for 30 seconds, then you move onto a machine for 30 seconds, then back to a walking pad, etc. There is music playing and a recording of a woman telling you when to move to the next station. Some of these ladies stay on the machines for longer than the 30 seconds so it kind of gums things up for those of us who move when we’re prompted. They’re so busy talking, they don’t always hear the indication to move on. Or some of them don’t like a certain machine so they will switch to the next activity before they’re supposed to. It’s kind of annoying. On top of that, they seem to think that everyone there wants to engage in conversation. I’m there to workout as hard as I can, not make new friends. But I’m nice back to them and smile and pretend everything’s fine. That part of the gym has been about as challenging for me as the actual exercise. However, I’ve been pretty much a hermit for the past few years so I suspect it’s probably good for me to learn how to interact with people again.

Not all of the interactions are nice, however. My face and head sweat a lot when I’m exercising, which is embarrassing to me. A couple of these wonderful women have pointed out how much I sweat and I just kind of wanted to walk away and never come back. I consider it to be kind of rude to point out how much someone is sweating. I mean, what’s the point of that? I just smile at them and say, “Yep! It’s how I know I’ve gotten a good workout. If I didn’t sweat, I wouldn’t feel like I was really working at it.” Of course the women I say that to aren’t sweating a bit because they’ve been running their mouths instead of their feet.

Regardless of the unwanted interactions and sweat comments, I still make it to the gym every weekday and I’m proud of myself for that.

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Long Time, No See

Ok, so it’s been a while since I posted anything but that’s because not too much has been going on. But one thing I did do was go to Curves to join. Yeppers. I’m all set up and am going to have my first workout on Tuesday since Monday’s a holiday. I’m planning on working out Monday through Friday every week. I was kind of scared to go join because, as I’ve said, my legs are pretty weak and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to stand long enough for them to go through their spiel. But when I got there we sat at a table and went through paperwork. I then had to stand to have a fitness evaluation and to look at their machines. But I made it! And, like so many things in my life, I worried for nothing. I’m actually kind of excited to get started because I’m looking forward to seeing my body transform as I lose the weight.

Curves is an all female gym that focuses on circuit training. You workout on one machine for thirty seconds then move to a “recovery platform” where you walk or jog for thirty seconds, then onto another machine for thirty seconds. You go around the circuit twice and it takes thirty minutes to finish. Once I build up some stamina I’m planning on doing the circuit four times for an hour long workout.

So that’s been the excitement around here. Oh! I almost forgot. While driving home the other day a woman and a little boy approached my car at a stop sign. I rolled down my window and she explained that she had just moved into town and she had a baby at home but she didn’t have anything to feed the baby and asked if I could help her by giving her some money for formula. I felt bad for her but I literally had only a few dollars in the bank so I told her I was sorry but I couldn’t help her out. I drove away feeling bad.

I told this story to my friend who told me the same thing had happened to her AND to a neighbor of hers. Apparently this woman is a crack addict and solicits money to feed her habit, not her baby. I was mad when I heard that because I’m more than happy to help out people when I can, but dishonest people like that make it hard to know who to help. I know the best thing is to give them the item they need instead of just cash, but sometimes people need the cash. I guess I just tend to take people at face value and then I’m surprised to find out that sometimes they lie.




Let’s be clear about this: I HATE to exercise. Hate. It. I sweat a lot, I get out of breath easily, and it’s just not fun. That being said, I have a big European trip coming up in October and I’ve got to be able to fit my fat ass in the airline seats.

Before I had gastric bypass surgery, I was too heavy to move around very much so I lived a pretty sedentary life. That combined with a long recovery from surgery and it meant that my leg muscles atrophied and it is now difficult to walk or stand for very long. Even though I’ve lost about 160 pounds in the last year, I still struggle with leg weakness. I was in physical therapy for a while but insurance only covers that for a limited amount of time. So now I’m on my own to get motivated to get out there and walk to build my stamina and strengthen my leg muscles. Unfortunately, motivation is not my strong suit. And getting motivated to exercise? Forgetaboutit.

Once I build up some more stamina, I’m planning on joining Curves gym. I like the idea of working out with only women and I also like circuit training so it seems like a good fit for me. Then all I’ll have to do is get motivated to go to the gym! I would like to lose another 150 pounds before the trip but I know that’s a lofty goal. I’m going to shoot for it but won’t beat myself up if I don’t quite make it. One thing that’s working against me is hypothyroidism (my thyroid doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone). Even though I’m on replacement therapy (a daily pill), it’s still an uphill battle to lose weight because the thyroid plays a key role in metabolism.

I’ve pretty much plateaued at 360 pounds and I know that it’s going to take a lot of movement to get back on the losing train. The weather has finally kind of squared away here and we’ve had some nice days so I have no excuse to not get out and walk. And my darling fur baby, Daisy, needs some exercise, too. It’s currently 1:47 AM so I’m not going to go out and walk right now, but I have my shoes by the door ready for tomorrow!