Sunday, October 16, 2016


Well, Optifast will be getting put on hold until the next round - we need a car and soon and until Casey is working again, that became a priority. I was a bit frustrated that the clinic never called with the financial department's information so I could talk to them to see if something could be arranged but it's better not to have an extra payment until we know what he'll have for income again. In the meantime, I can still work on the little things - not feeding the vending machines being the biggest one!! But those chocolate iced honey buns....yum!!

I've tried a lot of things over the years, and have lost nearly 50 pounds three times, so I know I can do it. It's just that for some reason, just before I hit that 50 pound mark, it's like a switch flips and all the work I've done to create new habits flies out the window. Part of the appeal of Optifast was it not only takes the "work" out of it by literally giving you their meal products (which sounds so sci-fi, I know!) and telling you how much to consume a day and about at what times, but they also work on the behavioral and emotional sides, along with the personal trainer once and the nutritionist weekly. It is a very rounded program and the only "reward" system is your health. Another blogger (I've read so many, I wish I would have taken notes!) said she didn't like Weight Watchers at that time because you could earn back more food - if you worked out more, you could eat more - and I agree. I think that food as a reward kind of defeats the purpose of watching what you eat. I do know I have comfort issues with food as well, and so between the two, I have some issues! (Boy, I hope my brother doesn't read that! haha)

So, while I've postponed the Optifast program for now, I do want to review our budget, and do an Overall Health Assessment, which includes:
• Body Composition Analysis
o Results provide an easy and quick overview of your body make up including lean body mass, body fat mass, basal metabolic rate.
• Functional Assessment
o Assess strength, flexibility, range of motion and functional health of your body
• Cardio Assessment
o Assess cardiovascular health and stamina
• Overall Assessment and Fitness Improvement Plan
o Completed by Certified Personal Trainer
I’ve done the Body Composition Analysis already and it was also a chance to meet one of the personal trainers on staff. He was very nice and informative and I felt comfortable with him, which is always a good thing. The price for the assessment is currently $60 and I feel that there will definitely be value there.

The other thing I want to budget for is Nutritional Wellness Counseling. The description from the Regional Weight Loss site is:

Nutrition Wellness Counseling (pricing plans are identical to personal trainer options, listed above)
Take charge of your diet to promote health, wellness and a healthy body weight.
One-on-one nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian
• Supportive and non-judgmental environment
• Advice about weight control and healthy eating
• Set realistic short and long-term wellness goals
• Develop a unique plan to help you achieve your goals
They have very reasonable rates and package options so for both the nutritionists and the personal trainers and so I think that this well be a good start in the right direction. There is room in the budget, I think, for both as long as we focus.

I’m a member of Sparkpeople and while I am definitely a fan of the creator (he self-funded the site to make it a free site for all users) and they have a lot of great information and people and tools – it was also disheartening for me to see people making so much progress and I would be making none. I’ve also realized I was using it to stay on the computer – which isn’t conducive to health improvement! I tried as well and while it was a little easier to use as far as tracking, the forums are less than pleasant. I did meet a few fantastic people and there were a few family members on there as well, but I just couldn’t get past the unpleasantness if you asked questions on the forums. A lot of people were friendly and tried to help but it felt like a few were there specifically to promote their own agenda and their own views and if you disagreed they were very rude and judgmental. Which defeats the purpose of an online support system, I think.

So, this week I’ll be refocusing on not feeding the vending machine, getting a budget put together again, and baby steps again. The hardest part about that is that we’re staying with my father and I feel a little obligated to be social and that makes it hard to go upstairs and do a Leslie Sansone WATP dvd or a yoga video or meditation or anything like that. He’s like me – it’s hard to really understand something you’re not directly affected by and so for him, it’s all about moving more/eating less but yet evenings are for relaxing and watching TV. It’s how I grew up. What he is unable to grasp, because he’s not living it, is that essentially my inner organs are smushed in a corset with limited room to move so deep breathing doesn’t happen, my heart rate is slow so I can get dizzy easier, and then add to that an additional 100 pounds of body weight he’s not carrying. I think if I could somehow put him in that situation, that sensation, he would definitely grasp it and it would be easier for him to understand. I can do a fair bit of walking yet – last weekend we had a lovely time with my brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and Dad walking to see a couple of waterfalls – and that was a lot of walking for me! I could do it – albeit slowly – but I was definitely wore out. (And I am so grateful that there were no comments about my slowness, only patience – even from my not-so-patient brother!) Baby steps. And perhaps some communication improvement. :-)

The Skoolie is nearly completely gutted inside as I’m typing this. The mattress has been put in plastic and into the garden shed. The bed framing has been removed and sitting on the driveway for now. Dad was amused by the amount of clothes Casey had tucked away. The man has more clothes than most women do! To be fair, a lot of his attire is bicycle-specific and since that is usually his preferred form of transportation, it’s necessary. But I’m also pretty sure he could get by with not wearing the same t-shirt more than once in a 90-day period…

We’re looking at vinyl planks for the floor, in a hardwood pattern. Easy to clean for me! We’re still working out configurations for things, including the bathroom. It’s a 32-foot long bus, but we lose about half of that in the engine compartment. So we have around 24 feet to play with – and of course the king-size bed takes up a fair chunk of that! We’ve met a couple of fellow Skoolies, including Dredman, and they’ve had some neat ideas that we’re hoping to make our own. Our biggest problem is the bathroom – we’ll be using a composting toilet so plumbing and black tank for that won’t be an issue – but bathing is a necessity. There are plumbing holes in the floor already so we’ll just have to see what we can do with what’s existing and kind of design around that. Our intent is to have all the plumbing on the driver’s side of the Skoolie so the sink will be there as well as the Panda washing machine. It will be a challenge, but a fun one!

They did put in new roof vents – we purchased two with fans and two without. Over the bedroom area will be the fan blowing into the Skoolie, then a fanless, then a fan wired to blow out of the Skoolie, then the other fanless vent. That will make for some respectable air circulation. We are planning on getting at least two LED-lit garnish rings and possibly four. And as I was typing this – they are down to the wall framework and lots of cleaning up of fiberglass insulation and general debris. They’re speedy!

As I mentioned in a previous post – there will be some changes. I’ll be monetizing this site so look for some Amazon links and probably Google ads if I can figure out why they aren’t working. We’re looking at other things to do for supplemental income and so down the road we may have some pieces of art for sale as well. I’m going to put up a progress sidebar for my health tracking as well. Stay tuned, folks!


Saturday, October 01, 2016

This crazy thing called life....

So....we finally left Akron. Thank goodness. It really was not a good fit for us. In fact, it took us 2 days to get out of Ohio!! There's a NaNoWriMo project in there, so you will have to wait to hear that story.

We did make it to the Black Hills of South Dakota in April and have been there since. We don't really have a long-term game plan anymore. If we learned one thing on that trip, it's to not plan too far ahead. We've been busy though. I've been working full time for a finance company and really enjoying it. I have a great team with some great coworkers. He worked for part of the summer and then took some time off to get the exterior of the motorhome done. If it was going to be outside in a South Dakota winter, it needed a lot of work to survive!! He and Dad had already spent a lot of the summer doing some major bodywork - even rebuilding some spots! They removed almost all of the old paint and we all helped give her a new coat - my brother, sister-in-law, and 2 nephews included! Here are some before/after pictures of her:

It's like an entirely different vehicle!! This winter we'll be spending a lot of time gutting the interior completely and redoing it to meet our needs. I'm looking forward to sharing more as we go along! Where we're staying we have slow internet and a data cap so I'm looking at ways to post regularly because not only are we going to be working on our Skoolie, I'm going to be working on me.

My weight has become an issue lately. It's gotten to a point where walking up a flight of stairs leaves me winded. And yesterday, for the first time ever, I didn't fit in the seat at the theater. (Thankfully, the arm rest went up and that was really all I needed but still - very hard on the self psyche!!) I'd been looking at having the LapBand procedure done when we got to the Pacific Northwest because I know that I need more help than I can give myself now. With my 2 past surgeries, I'm fairly certain a lot of hormonal issues were going on - and really, when one has an ovarian cyst the size of a gallon of milk, it would be kind of silly to think otherwise. But after doing a lot of thinking, some of which was misinformed, I decided I really wasn't looking forward to another surgery, even an outpatient one. I had been reading that my health insurance provided required a year of medically supervised weight loss attempt before they would approve the surgery and so why not try that route? I went to the local hospital's site and started reading about a non-surgical weight loss program; Optifast. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. It's not just a VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet). It's also a form of counseling - you have group and one-on-one sessions. It's medically supervised. I'll also be meeting with a physical trainer and a nutritionist. So, even though I did find out my health insurance does cover LapBand after only 3 months of medically supervised weight loss, I'm going to put that thought on the back burner. I don't want something that simply physically restricts me from eating a lot. I need something that basically re-teaches me how to eat for fuel. There's some mental blocks going on and this program will help with those.

I considered creating a new blog for this. One blogger I had read said she was treating her weight loss like a cancer - 5 years before she considers herself in full remission, so to speak. And that's my plan - 5 years of treating myself holistically. I decided to keep this blog going instead and there will be many changes coming up. My goal is to set up a plan for regular updates. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And from everything I read, there will be ugly. But I have a wonderful partner who is prepared to help me through those moments. I have a great team of coworkers who are already supportive of this plan. I got the call on Friday and I see the doctor on October 19th and start. I'm going to start at the beginning of the biggest feasting holidays of the year...what a wild ride this well be!!! I can't wait to share it with you!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy February!! And some big news!

You know....I'm thinking regular blogging just might not be my thing.....

That might be changing, however. You see, we're moving. And by moving, I mean moving. We're doing something people only dream about, talk about, hope for.

We've bought a Skoolie - a school bus that's been converted into an RV.

Meet Wanda the Wandering Bus. Yup, she's in need of some work (the other side is light blue!) cosmetically, but the engine? Is sound. 1500 miles on a rebuilt Ford 390 big block. When we looked at her, she fired right up and purred like a kitten - I almost couldn't hear it inside!

The inside is definitely 1980s hunting cabin - but surprisingly clean. Yes, there are stains here and there. The curtains are gross. But it is odor-free - even with the water damage we could see in a couple of areas. So we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we're able to pay cash and then it's a matter of finding a place to park. Which we have - we'll be in the Pacific North West by May. We're leaving Ohio April 1 and taking a nice drive to get there - stopping in the Black Hills to visit friends and family for a week or so.

Which brings me to this post. We live in a 2-bedroom/2-story apartment right now. It's the top 2 floors of a 1920's house. (And the "charm" is long gone - it's been too poorly maintained for too long to be charming anymore.) So, some serious culling is in the works.

By the time it's said and done, close to 200 books are being sold. Probably 75% of our DVD collection is being sold. Currently, 90% of my wardrobe fits into a suitcase and a carry-on set. I'll have a small bag for socks, etc. and a small bag for things like my yoga pants, exercise tops, etc. Right now, I have 2 30-gallon trash bags and 2 13-gallon trash bags of clothes to go. (I'm not done yet, either. There's a box in the closet and 2 vacuum seal bags yet to sort.) I would guess about 90% of my cross stitch supplies are going. I'll keep some of the books, but otherwise, the last few things I've stitched were from kits.

And today - well, today I've hit the knick knacks. I've received some lovely gifts over the years from friends and family. And I do mean lovely. A teapot. A decorative chest with ornaments inside. A vase. A ceramic bowl with a horse pattern. The vase and bowl have been on display while we've lived here in Ohio (since May 2011), but I'd completely forgotten the other two. I have a butterfly diorama that is lovely - and still in a box. And this area has always been a hard area for me. People took the time to get me a gift. It's not only a physical gift, but it was a gift of their time, as well. And I feel like that needs to be acknowledged and so I keep things - even if they're not my style, don't fit my decor, or even things I didn't really like but I loved the thought behind them.

And now, I've come to realize, it's time to just let things go. And so for the people who've given me things - I hope they realize that I will always cherish the thought behind the gift, and the intent, and the good will. That in letting the items go on to someone else, I'm doing so with the intent of sharing that love, that intent, that gift.

And also because we're going to be 2 humans and a cat in just under 200 square feet of living space! Now THAT'S going to be an adventure!!