I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

on the menu: up the veg

Sunday: Baked Ziti with Meatballs & Pepperoni AND a big salad of mixed greens and mustard vinaigrette

Monday:  Slow Cooker Minestrone & Sandwiches (plus more mixed greens)

Tuesday: Chinese-style beef with green beans (and whatever veggies are in fridge when I am cooking) over rice.

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner (I want this)

Thursday:  Crockpot Chicken a la Criolla but no olives (my mom gave me a batch of homemade salsa verde that I will use instead), with yellow rice and salad.

Friday: Beef Burgundy over Egg Noodle and a salad.

 

Misc. Food Prep for week

Baked Oatmeal

Black Bean Burgers

1/2 a giant spaghetti squash with leftover sauce from Sunday’s Ziti.

Roasted Beets

cut cantaloupe

bake kale chips (second attempt, I burned last batch and they were icky, so I am hoping for better luck this time)

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a new day

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Today I joined Weight Watchers.

Again.

Yep, this is my second go with Weight Watchers, but this will be the last time I mention it.

Today is a new start, a fresh start, another day one!

I cannot change the past, so as far I am not going to dwell on it.

I will not think about the weight I have gained back.

Today’s starting weight is my NOW starting weight.

I do not want to dwell on what has happened in the past – losses, gains, losses, gains, etc. I only want to dwell on the now and the future.

But still I chose to join Weight Watchers. My mom started back to WW a few weeks ago and she asked me to go with her. How could I say no?!? She is paying, there is a Saturday morning meeting, and meeting is located right next to my favorite produce place. I agreed to go to WW. I was a bit excited/nervous this morning going into my first meeting. I will admit, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to stepping on the scale. I think part of the nervous part was due to the timing of the meeting – you see, when I was at WW before this was the same meeting with the same leader and several of the same members. Gaining back so much of my lost weight had me nervous. I was going to see people who had seen me lose so much. I was worried about what they would think…

I walked in and the first person I saw was a lady I used to work with about 6 years ago. Sharon had lost 68 pounds in 2010 and was now a receptionist. Sharon hugged me and I felt better. Then I walked into hugs by several members I was friendly with before. I went past the leader and she didn’t see me…I thought maybe she had forgotten me…silly me! Stephanie, the leader, noticed me sitting in the back and came right over, hugged me and said, “welcome home.”

Welcome Home.

I was so at ease.

I wanted to soak up every minute.

The meeting was about Power Foods. Basically, the more filling of the food choices. I found it odd that low calorie bread is a power food but regular bread is not. Most fruits and vegetables and lean proteins seem to be Power Foods, which seems to be the foods that should keep you more filled and satisfied. I also stayed at the end for a bit of a refresher course on points and healthy guidelines.

Stephanie left us with this:

“Its Choice

-not chance-

that determines your destiny”

I think lately, I have been leaving too much to chance. Just letting things happen as they happen. I made a choice today. Why would I go back to Weight Watchers if I have no intention of making the proper choices for me?!? I chose to go back to WW.

So, here is to a week of focusing on my choices.

Today is a new day!

*yep, I went there with a cheesy reference to one of the Jennifer Hudson WW commercial!

back in action

 

I am allowed to drive now.

But my car wouldn’t start.

Husband bought and installed a new battery.

I now have my wheels back!

I miss my driver!

I got VERY used to Big Man taking care of all the driving.

I liked the company.

But alas, that had to come to an end.

I drive me to work.

I drive me to the store.

I drive me to physical therapy.

It is nice to be independent again, but I miss those extra minutes of just us time.

 

I am back in action.

I am walking better.

I am driving.

I am making dinners.

I am “running” errands.

I am back in action.

It is exhausting.

I am having a hard time doing much more than work, therapy, sleep, dinner, and family “stuffs.”

I am spending less time tweeting and blogging.

I will be back to that again soon, I hope, but for now I am taking care of me.

and I am a thankful, happy, content chickadee!

I am back in action.

but this time I am putting me first!

I am still working out how best to take care of me….

 

How do you put you first?!?!

 

weekly menu

 

What’s for Dinner…

Monday: BBQ chicken, coleslaw  & cornbread casserole

Tuesday: Pork Chops Delight, perogies, and steamed broccoli

Wednesday:  Chicken Bruschetta Bake and a salad

Thursday: Beef Burgundy over egg noodles with a green veg

Friday:  Grilled Chicken (thighs) sandwiches, oven fries and a salad

 

to weigh or not to weigh?!?!

That is the question!

It is not a life-or-death question but a question that has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been steadily gaining all my lost weight back for a while now. I have gained almost all of it back. Not all, but enough.  My clothes hardly fit.

I feel every bit of it.

I have kidded myself about it.

I have made excuses.

Without meaning to, I have slipped right back into some old habits – dessert, eating too much, eating too fast, not enough veggies, and the list could go on.  I have been avoiding the scale. As if not actually stepping on the scale can change the fact that I have not been taking care of myself.

Ok, I did step on the scale.

It is confirmed.

I have the number.

It is not pretty.

I cannot deny it anymore.

I cannot make anymore excuses.

I worked hard to lose the weight initially.

I felt better with less weigh on me. And I know my knee and ankle and ever-aching quads will thank me if I take some weight off.

So, I have decided to begin the process of weight loss.

This is a fresh start. I will no longer talk about the weight I once lost and gained back.

I am going to work on losing weight, but I will not let the number on the scale dictate how I feel about myself.

I will measure my success in ways other than the number on the scale.

But, I do think knowing the direction of the scale is moving in the right direction will help me. I do not want to “diet” but I want to work on portions, eating the right way for me, and paying attention to what I am eating and how it makes me feel. I am starting to think certain foods are effecting my joints (I do have arthritis in my knees) and I want to find the connection and I want to eliminate foods that make me feel crappy.  I am not an extreme person so I won’t eliminate foods just because…

I am contemplating re-joining Weight Watchers. My mom just started WW and I may keep her company  – we will talk about that later this week. I think I could use the refresher course and the support! I haven’t made any decisions just yet but I am thinking about it.

I know I have tinkered back and forth about weighing in and losing weight.  I think I can work on loving me and still work on losing weight. It may lead to some interesting blog posts and I am sorry for going back and forth about this, but I feel this is something I need to do.

It is getting late, so tomorrow will be my new Day 1.

The past is the past!

and the future is ahead of me!

Time to enjoy it!

 

2 month update

Tuesday was January 17, 2012

AND

My 2-month post-surgery follow up.

AND

3 weeks since cast removal.

I went in to see my ortho surgeon and he was thrilled. My ankle stability is so good its like a brand-new ankle. My knee is tracking and gliding the way it is supposed to move.  I ditched my crutches over the weekend and Doc agreed that was ok. I am still wearing an ASO brace every day.

Now, Doc wants me to wean myself out of the brace in the next 4 weeks. I wear brace for school but take it off at home. I will probably wear brace if I go anywhere this weekend. I have also been given permission to go back to exercising. I can only do no/low-impact activities: yoga, swimming, stationary bike, and walking. No zumba…no worries there, I was never coordinated enough for zumba and it always hurt my knee when I tried. No running…yet! I know I will be back…at what level, I do not know.

I have a whole new challenge ahead of me.

I am relearning to walk.

My quads are in a constant state of soreness. My physical therapist told me that is because my legs have not been used in 2 months so now it is like I am always working out – every step, every time I stand. Since I can’t take a rest day from walking, I am going to be sore.

I am learning baby steps.

This one is extremely hard for me! I am usually thinking 6 steps ahead. Last August I was training for 2 half marathons but thinking about more. I wasn’t living in the moment; it wasn’t possible because I was thinking about the next greatest thing. To be honest, if I really think about it – I started running before I even was really ready to start running. I started running because the running excitement among my twitter fiends was too contagious not to hard to resist.

I am learning to be gentle.

I do not have to be hardcore or a badass to kick ass!! I can do right for my body and heal it properly without beating it down or beating me up!

I am learning to try new things or retry things I had long discarded.

Yoga. I have tried yoga but never been able to stick with it. Yoga sorta pisses me off…I was never able to turn my brain off enough to enjoy yoga. I am still going to try it again. I have a bunch of new video to try. I really think I need yoga in my life.

Water Fitness: I just found out that the local high school offers a water fitness class twice a week. And as a resident, I can take classes for $3. I may have even roped my little sister to try class with me. I am not exactly thrilled with the idea of a bathing suit but I am hoping to be brave enough to do it. Having my sister with me will help.

Walking. Not a new activity but a long lost activity. When I started the losing weight game, I started walking. I loved walking and somehow forgot the joy of walking and walking dvds – oh, how I loved those – why did I stop?!? I am going to enjoy the joy of simply walking in my neighborhood (and when I am ready for more impact I will add in my walking dvds – I love leslie sansone)..

I ALSO need to stay the course at Physical Therapy.

I went to Physical Therapy yesterday. I was able to up my weights on all the exercises and they even added 3 new exercises. I have been making progress and I want to keep progressing.

Today I will attempt 12 minutes on the stationary bike. Maybe I could do more than 12 minutes, but I did 10 minutes the other day comfortably. And it felt good. I need work up S.L.O.W.L.Y.

 

I was g-chatting with my good friend, deb, and she helped me figure this out: I can only compare me today with me yesterday. I MUST stop comparing myself to others. I must stop trying to jump ahead so I can compare/compete with my active friends.

 

It has been 2 months (and a few days) and I am JUST STARTING the work!

I have a long way to go but I am looking forward to the process.

MY process.

 

#back2basics

A while ago my friend, Colleen, had this Back 2 Basics challenge on her blog. It was around the holidays and I did not really put any effort into really getting back to basics. I let the holidays, my emotions, and my recovery give me an excuse to eat whatever junk I wanted. When ever I wanted it.

So today is January 15th.

And I am committing to getting back to basics.

I know I have gained weight. I have gone very far off the deep end. I am not eating all fast food and junk but I am allowing those things to creep in. I have allowed veggies to take a backseat and even become an afterthought. I have gained weight, I know because I stepped on the scale. Who am I kidding, I knew before I stepped on the scale. When I went back to school, I tried on my pants and none of them fit comfortably.

I cried when I realized none of my pants fit.

And I have been sitting on this for over 2 weeks. I went out and bought a few outfits so I have something to wear to work. I worked all 5 days this week and I felt good. Tired but good. I know the tired is normal, I am coming from 7 weeks out of school and still recovering.  But, I know I would feel better if I was eating better. I know I would feel better if I was drinking more water (sadly, I have been dehydrating myself because I don’t want to need to pee at school because there a lot of steps between my classroom and the bathroom).

So this week, I am getting #back2basics

1. Drink 8 glasses of water

2. Fruit not Junk (ice cream, etc)

3. Add in Veggies.

4. Daily Exercise

 

Simple tasks! BASICS! Not too much, just enough.

I am committing to basics!! I will be diligent in my tasks!!

 

Thanks Colleen, this is a great idea! Better late than never!! 

a LONG week

I made it through a whole week at school! 5 days teaching students the finer points of writing essays. 5 days of fighting teenagers into writing submission. They hate reading. They hate writing! Thank goodness they like me or I would be totally screwed.

It was a LONG week at school. I only made it through 2 days last week so it was awesome to get through an entire week with no flu, stomach bug, or respiratory issues. I was out for over 7 weeks and there is so much work to get caught back up on!

SO.MUCH.WORK!!

And I am getting caught up!!

One task at a time!

ONE.TASK.AT.A.TIME.

Who am I and what have I done to Jen?!?

I have let my blogging take a back burner.

I have let my tweeting take a back burner!

Every day after school I have wanted a nap! I even napped a few afternoons after school. I also made it to Physical Therapy twice. I made dinner once (tonight too if husband has any say)!! My body still needs a ton of rest. I am not fighting the urge to sleep when I feel like I need it! Last night I went to bed before 10pm. AND I slept until 6am.

I continue to learn while I heal and recover.

I continue to listen (to my body and what I NEED) while I heal and recover.

Or maybe I am just starting to learn and listen.

I put me first. I was a good teacher. A good mom. A good wife. A good PT patient. I was just good. Good to me. I took care of my body (PT and resting when needed plus moving while working) and I took care of my mind (actually completing tasks because I didn’t have 6 tasks going at once; I am a twitter addict but this week, I slowed down and focused on me).

It was a great…exhausting… but great week!

a great but LONG week!

After school and physical therapy, I am exhausted. I want to start to be helpful around the house but it is amazing just how much energy I need to do simple things like make dinner or clean a tiny bathroom.  I know this is normal. I am only 8-weeks post-surgery and it has been less than 3 weeks since I had my cast removed. And I had the flu for more than a week.

I may not have time for all my friends, or time for twitter, but I have been taking care of me.

I want to get back.

This week I really learned the meaning of baby steps and taking my time. I deserve to take all the time I need to heal properly. I deserve to not rush through this process (like everything else I do). I deserve to give myself every chance to heal…to be stronger then before.

so YES…it has been a very long week.

But now that I am back to school….now that I am in the early steps of physical rehab…it is so important to look back at a long week like this one and remember there were good parts, and the next one will be better…still long but better.

 

 

 

coming back to life

I have been out of commission most of this first week of 2012.

To be fair, I have sort of been out of commission since surgery (November 17, 2011).  I should have been working on the newest phase of healing. My cast was removed 12/27 and I went back to work January 3rd.

BUT

I have been battling what can only be known as the death-plague.  I don’t want to give you all the details but think flu/stomach bug/upper respiratory infection all rolled into one and walking on crutches.

Wanna know how sick I was?!?

I hardly tweeted!

{{GASP}}

I know, that is crazy.

I have also had and taken some time to reflect. Being sick will do that to a person! Recovering from ankle (and knee) surgery on the couch also give lots of time for reflection.

Bear with me, while I ramble a bit and take you inside my mind.

January 1st/New Year’s and all talk of resolutions and goals tends to make me wanna throw up. I suck at resolutions; I have never once stuck to a resolution. Last year I didn’t even bother setting one. Last year, I knew I would be training for a half marathon in August and that was really all I had in my sights. I figured training would take care of it all.

And it sort of did. I had something to focus on!

And then, one week before that half marathon I hurt my knee. I went to the ortho, had an MRI and was diagnosed with arthritis and went to physical therapy. Then I sprained my ankle, went back to ortho and decided to finally fix my weak ligaments in ankle with surgery. Then I had surgery on my ankle and knee.

I had surgery 7ish weeks ago.

Then came another January 1st and another wrestling match with resolutions and goals. I really hate this stuff.  I thought I found a solution with #12in12 but then I got the death-plague and really could only focus on me.  In fact, today is the first day I feel like I am almost back to normal (whatever normal means).

I have decided on a new approach to the whole resolutions/goals debate that goes on in my head. I am no longer going to participate in the #12in12 challenge (not exactly the word for it, but you know what I mean). As I come back to life from the death-plague, I seem to have a new perspective. I need to take the pressure off myself but still push myself.

Quite the delicate balance I need to find. 

I am a jump-in-first kind of person. I get all excited and I just jump in. And then reality kicks in and I feel stuck. I do not want to do this to myself. I hate that feeling. So, as I start to feel better I search.

Where do I go from here?

I have been asking this question all day. Then I read a post written by my good friend Karen  about her word of the year. It was like a light bulb went off in my head! I swear, Karen is like the big sister I always wished I had. Reading her thoughts on goals was like reading my own thoughts.  {Go read her post!!}

I love words. I am an English teacher after all (please don’t hold that against me!! I don’t read blogs or write my own blog expecting perfect grammar or spelling – I read through typos  and I make plenty of my own) and I love to read and write. This blog is my journal. My journey. Me on a page. Me in words.

I have been thinking of the prefect word. Many words sprang to mind: heal, mend, listen, focus. ALL good words but really, those words are my blog. I thought about consistency. Then realized I needed more than consistency. I needed more than focus. I need heal but I need more than just to heal.

I need diligence.

Definition: 

diligence (noun) constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.

or

diligent (adjective) constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything

 

Right now my biggest task is to completely recover from the death-plague and heal and rehab my knee and ankle. As far as the death-plague, rest and time are the only way to truly recover. I promise you, I am resting!

As for the knee and ankle, I did not make it to physical therapy at all this week but it was just not possible.

Diligence….or constant effort, persistent exertion.

My ankle needs me to be diligent! I need me to be diligent in my therapy.

My students deserve my diligence.

My family deserves my diligence.

Most of all, I deserve to put my all in my tasks. My head will be in a much better place I am diligent in my tasks.  I cannot run before I can walk. I cannot walk until I can crawl.

DILIGENCE

in all that I choose to do!

I may have to be picky in the things I choose to do. But that is another post entirely!

 

a quickie

I got sick New Year’s Eve Eve. I had a chest/head cold thing brewing and I was miserable. But by NYE I was so sick I couldn’t get off the couch. I also had a belly thing happening.  I was out cold on the couch by 10:30pm.

Ball drop?!?

Not a chance!

I did NOTHING January 1st and 2nd. I rested and rested. Eating was out of the question and I could barely tolerate any liquids. But I forced gatorade and cup-of-soup down my throat. Or, I should say, AJ forced it on me.

I went back to school yesterday. Today and yesterday mornings were ROUGH!!! I cried getting ready for work. But I managed to make it through the day. Today, I broke down and because AJ made me the appointment, I went to doctor.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Fleeting Flu (I may have had flu but it is fleeting)

My body is just tired!

Worn down and weakened.

I had no idea I could feel so lousy!

But antibiotics are on the way!

 

I wrote that I would choose one focus and focus on that every day this month. I wrote that I was going to give myself 30 minutes of undistracted time on work “stuff” and 30 minutes of physical therapy every day. Well, guess what?!? That has not happened. Instead, being sick on top of still recovering has changed my perspective!!

JUST focusing on ME and my needs is all I can handle this month!

and I am ok with that!

SO January is all about JEN taking care of JEN!!

 

How is the for listening to what my body needs?

I am learning!!

And for that I know I will mend!!

 

😉

 

 

oh yeah, and I started a new blog – just to use as a journal of sorts; I add one pic ever day with a few words.

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