Monday, January 26, 2015

First quarter done, making tough decisions

I've been sick the last several days.  It came on like a ton of bricks on Wednesday night.  I don't know what happened, but I found myself as sick as a dog and ended up staying home from work on Thursday and Friday. My first quarter of graduate school ended this past week, but I pretty much killed myself trying to finish writing two research papers while being sick.  I have a week and then I will be starting the new quarter of classes.

I find myself having to make a very difficult decision about my internship for the grad program.  If I choose to do my internship in my district, I will either have to go from working 40 hours a week to 16 and lose my benefits at the same time or take a leave of absence from work. If I go outside the district, I'm facing similar circumstances.  Either way, it is going to be a huge financial sacrifice for me.  Not only that, I will lose my medical benefits during the time when I am working part-time or on the leave of absence.  I was talking to a few people at work today about this and we started looking at whether taking a leave of absence is the best choice for me given that if I work 16 hours a week, I will lose so much and it will take longer to finish my internship hours. With the leave of absence I can get it done over the course of the semester. If I choose to work part time, it would take one semester and an additional quarter.  Now, if I can go on Cobra for the four months, I can keep my medical benefits but it does require that I pay roughly $500 per month for the privilege.  So, crunching numbers based on not working and taking a leave of absence, it will cost me approximately $10,000 for a semester factoring in all of my expenses and the additional Cobra costs to pay for my medical benefits.  If I work those 16 hours a week, it will actually be more expensive because I'd still lose my benefits, I'd be living on a reduced paycheck and then paying an additional $2,000 to extend my school year.  Crunching preliminary numbers, it looks like $10,000 is what I'm dealing with.  That causes me to feel stressed. I do have the money in the form of student loans, but it's still not an easy decision at all.

I find myself still dealing with being in a stall weight-wise. I'm exercising a lot.  For those that are curious, I still haven't gotten on the weight machines.  But I did see a sign at the gym that I am entitled to four personal training sessions for free as part of my membership dues. So, I am really thinking about pursuing that so that I can get a personal trainer and have him show me how to use the machines and what specifically I should focus on when exercising.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The urge was overwhelming

I took the day off of work.  We were having a professional growth day at the high school where I work and so I decided to take the opportunity for a four day weekend.  I have a research paper due by next weekend as well as another to finish up.  My quarter for grad school ends this coming week so I need to go out with a bang and remain focused.

On my agenda today was to get my car smogged for registration renewal, return some clothes I recently bought that were too big and to do some research for my paper.  I have been working out a lot so what was NOT on my to-do list was working out at the gym.  I needed to give my body a day of rest.  And all I could think about today was the fact that I was not working out and how much I really wanted to go to the gym.  Who knows when the shift occurred, but it has. Taking care of my body now is of paramount importance to me.  I did refrain from going because I realized that there has to be some balance in this weight-loss process and building muscles. That's not the easiest thing in the world for me to reconcile because I seem to be 0 to 60 in so many facets of my life, including exercise.  I still managed to somehow get in over 6,000 steps, but nothing near my normal amount.  

Speaking of building muscle, I have had a weird thing going on where something in my head is making me very afraid to get on the machines at the gym. I have no problem working on the cardio machines like the treadmill, recumbent bike and the elliptical machine, but when it comes to getting on the machines for building muscle I just have a really hard time.  I think a big part of it is emotional. The cardio machines are easy. You get on them and you sweat and then you get off them ... you're done.  However, the muscle-building machines seem like an entirely different beast. You spend time working on certain portions of your body in areas where there are very fit people building their muscles as well.  Sometimes when I am around people with these awesome bodies, especially the men, I just get very self-conscious. I really can't explain what it is exactly, I just know that I am much more aware of my body in those moments. There is also this fear that I will start working on a machine and do it wrong.  Sounds like I'm sitting in a lot of fear, doesn't it?  I know this is just a hurdle that I will move through. I just need to put one foot in front of the other and not worry so much about being imperfect. Easier said than done!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Remember me?

Hi everyone.  For the person that sent me a message basically asking me if I was alright because they haven't seen me posting in a while, I want to say thank!  I have been a horrible blogger.  I know I come on every couple of weeks and say that, then don't post for a while, but I mean it.  Life has been crazy for me ... working full-time, grad school, dating, working out every day.  Yet, I still need to stay focused and centered.  To be fair, I spent about a week away from Facebook and Instagram, too, so it's not just here. 

Weight-wise, I have been in a stall for a couple of weeks.  I know I'm building muscle so there are going to be times when I lose less.  I just figured it out last night and I'm seven sizes down from when I started this whole surgery journey.  My clothes, in many situations, are just hanging off of my body.  It's really pretty crazy.  It's literally a day to day to process because I'll have times when something fits me and then, boom, the next day I have to put it in the donate pile.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  It's just a different reality for me these days.

One of the things I'm noticing now is that the honeymoon period is over from the surgery.  Those that have had the gastric bypass or vertical sleeve know exactly what I'm talking about ... everything is great right after the surgery, there is no desire to overeat and certain foods that you always binged with you could care less about.  Now, though, those old feelings have resurfaced.  The doctor has taken me off all food restrictions so I can pretty much eat anything I want now.  Of course, that's not true - I can't eat anything I want because then all I would be eating ice cream, cake and pie.  After the gastric bypass was done, my tummy became very little and it is still very little.  Time has not changed that.  I can eat a tiny bit more than I originally could, but we're talking maybe an ounce more of food.  I still get very full easily. So, if I overeat anything, then I really feel sick to my stomach, literally and figuratively.  For example, if I have one slice of toast, I'm fine.  If I dare have two slices, I'm left hiccupping, burping and throwing up.  Obviously having that safety net is a good thing, but it's also not great because if I overdo it, I'm in some serious trouble. 

I am also going through this "ugly me" period.  Everywhere I go lately, I have people telling me they've never seen me look more beautiful and, because I've been dating, I have men saying it all the time, too.  Yet, when I look in the mirror, the truth is that I've been focusing on the parts of me I don't like.  It's the saggy skin I'm getting with all of the weight loss or feeling like I look so much older than I do.  I know the latter is really ridiculous because I don't.  I don't even have wrinkles on my face and I'm 43.  My skin has never looked better.  I guess it's just how I'm feeling inside.  As much weight as I have lost, I am focusing on what I have left to lose.  If I'm having an intimate moment with someone, I wonder what he thinks when he sees my thighs that have loose skin around them or a mid-section that I can't hide. Obviously it's all my issue and no one else's but it's what I'm feeling.

I know this is all a process in the bigger scheme of things.  I'm at 270 pounds right now so obviously I do have further to go.  Yet, I also must remember that I'm no longer 420 pounds.  That's such a world of difference so I really need to cut myself a break and stop being so freaking self-critical.  I know people reading this right now are saying, "Yes, Kathy, you DO need to stop being so self-critical!". I know, I "heard" it as I was typing the words.  This is a work in progress.

Seriously, if I'm gone for more than a few days away from my blog and you notice it, please call me out on it.  PLEASE!  Writing what I'm feeling is so healing for me and I'm sure I'm not alone in the things I'm going through.  Don't get me wrong, life is pretty great right now.  It's just that I have a lot I'm going through in such a short period of time and I need to be accountable and walk through this process in the healthiest way possible.