Friday, February 29, 2008

Staying perky

Staying perky is hard. It's not hard to look at the big picture, I know where I need to go, and I'm learning what it will take to get there, I'm not looking for a short-cut [ok I'd take one if there was one but I know there isn't one].

Space Cadet

One of the side effects of adrenal failure is brain failure. Not in a dramatic medical sense, but in a concentration, "where the hell did my words go?" sense. Concentration is the first to go and trains of thought derail left right and centre.

Yesterday was a frustrating day. I had a lot of busy work to do, nothing that required super human thinking or creativity, but just a lot of things to clear off the 'to do' list. But I kept losing focus.

I was eating right, or I think so anyway. I did realize that trail mix is most likely a good road trip food, it's not so great as an actual meal. One quarter cup of trail mix at 190 calories is a lot of calories for not much filling. Super healthy with fruit and nuts and proteins, but just not filling enough.

Yesterday was another 11 hour day, starts at 8 am and goes to 9 pm. Everyone keeps telling me to slow down as that's part of the problem, but this is the demand of my world and what I want out of life.

I don't want to just work and go home, I want to be involved in my community.

But I knew by 6 pm I was crashing a bit and I needed to stop and eat a meal. Not grab some cut fruit at the grocery store with perhaps some nuts for protein. My body was screaming for food, I was cold and a bit brain foggy.

Being on the road is a challenge but I gave in and had Chinese food. I haven't plugged it into Spark People yet (the day is starting late due to some early morning errand running and I have my routine) so the 'damage' is yet to be seen. But I did drive past McDonald's and I think that was the right decision. I don't feel gross this morning so I know it wasn't terribly icky, and besides, if one meal can derail this whole process then I'm in more trouble than I realized.

They key is to work the plan over a few days, so as long as the average is there, then one blip isn't really going to mess things up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Day two of the excise regime.

Sound effects are 'creak', 'groan' and the always present 'snap crackle and pop'.

But it feels so good to move and stretch and even that wonderful next day 'ache'.


Food drives me batty.

I have to eat, but food has become such a chore that makes me nuts sometimes.

Yesterday I ate (all nicely tracked by Spark People):

Oatmeal - 130 ml (uncooked)

Morning Snack
Peanut butter Popsicle - OK it's just a tablespoon of peanut butter on a spoon but I savour it and eat it like a Popsicle

brown rice - 120 ml or so
a cup of frozen, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower

Afternoon Snack
the scrapings out of the jar of peanut butter that I didn't realize was as empty as it was

a cup of string beans
French Fries (just a few)
Chicken leg
Sweet potatoes

Evening snack
125 ml of Planters fruit and nut trail mix
Peanut Butter Popsicle (see above)

My goal is to eat 6 300-400 calorie meals a day.

So I'm thinking I did pretty good, ate all day long, ate decent food, nothing too 'evil' and I come out with 1303 calories instead of the 2000 I'm suppose to be aiming for!

[For those of you who are old school and think the best way to weight loss is less calories, perhaps if you system wasn't screwed up from years of you-yo dieting to the point where you body refuses to burn stored fat and you end up gaining weight and having no energy]

My greatest fear is going over thanks the stupid voices in my head.

Today it's lunchtime and I'm only at 400 or so calories, I"m off for another peanut butter popsicle!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Well we started "core training" yesterday. You know when core training is working when you feel like a trains hit your core.

I didn't blog this yesterday because I wanted distance from the work out and I wanted to see how I felt "the day after".

I liked what Robin developed for me. It's not overly aerobic with lots of jumping and sweating and rushing about. It's small movements that on one hand seem really simple, and on the other hand I may as well be trying to pick up my car with a single hand.

But Rome wasn't built in a day and I'm not going to fix my self in a day either.

So I've aches, which I should have to know I've done stuff, but it's not distracting, it's not sharp so I know I haven't injured myself, and it's that satisfying ache from knowing you actually used your muscles for once.

So far so good and I'm looking forward to this process to repeat on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Getting organized

As with changes, sometimes it's hard to make them because there isn't time to get organized. This week was incredibly busy and I was out Tuesday and Wednesday nights on top of working all day. So this weekend I got some grocery shopping done and some cooking - food in the freezer.

Eating 6-300 to 400 calorie meals per day takes co-ordination. I know I'm doing well with a good breakfast - I just love oatmeal (not being sarcastic, I love homemade real oatmeal) but I get writing or busy and suddenly it's 11 am and and I'm closing in on lunch faster than I realized and I haven't eaten since 8 am.

So I cooked up a huge batch of brown rice and froze it in plastic containers, so that I can just plunk stuff on top and then I'll have quick easy meals to heat up.

My son made rice krispie squares on Friday and I've managed to avoid those. With the food allergy I can avoid junk food by only allowing dairy containing junk food in the house, but I can eat rice krispies. Why do allow junk food at all? Because I don't want food to be a negative, a punishment or part of a control issue. For kids, and young adults, a cookie here and there won't hurt.

Lunch was a challenge yesterday, I munched away on a pile of raw carrots but it wasn't enough, was still starving. Had to get into the peanut butter and something more substantial before the shaking stopped.

As for the protein shakes (as in powder, not as in convulsions) I'm going to try and leave them to one last thing at night, and for road trips and other circumstances where access to healthy food might be an issue. Such as Thursday when I was to run a quick errand and be back for lunch only to get delayed - got offered lunch but without my food allergy going to the chef I wasn't about to attempt anything - and then got back to the first meeting and lunch was all cleaned up. Thank goodness I had thrown the powder into a water bottle and could get something into me.

I was dying when I got home though.

I haven't hit the scales to see if anything is changing yet, way too early. But I have energy today. I slept really well, and perhaps that is a sign that Saturday's efforts of eating right, helped immediately.

I also added Ortho Adapt to my supplements.

Next week Robin is going to start me on the physical aspect of my journey.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

45 minutes to fun!

Today was going to be a very busy day.

A strategic planning session all day and a dash out to Kimberly to pick up donations to the United Way. I wasn't sure how long it would take to get to Kimberly and the weather wasn't great.

So I left the first meeting extra early. Well it's only 45 minute so I was an hour early!!

So sat in a ski chalet, beside the fire and watch the downhill skiiers.

What a great way to pass some time. I never realized it was so close.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

where's the chicken?????

I ordered a wonderful chicken mandarin chicken salad for supper. They delivered the pizza for everyone else, and here was this HUGE salad! [I'm allergic to dairy remember, I wasn't 'behaving' for avoiding the pizza].

But they forgot the chicken! So what should have been a really good supper, turned into less than 100 calories of green stuff. It was wonderfully delicious, wonderful flavours, but lacking greatly in substance.

I had a protein shake when I got home, but it's not the same. I need to plan better!

ohhhh long days are not good days

Naturally 3 days after starting really focus on my health, I end up on a road trip!

No school buses were running but a quick check of weather and road conditions showed we'd get to Toronto ok. This was to see the debut of a documentary that myself and another local activist were featured in, so we were motivated to go. I like to drive so I insisted on driving.

We went through 3 separate snowstorms, but it wasn't so bad, only one real white out.

We left about 10:45 am and got to downtown Toronto at 12:45. That's not bad, in good weather I've done it in 2.5 hours so 3 is still respectable. We relaxed at a coffee shop and enjoyed the 'downtowness' of it all.

Got a bit nervous as the documentary started and I realized my personal perspective was now very much a part of public consumption. Had a ball at the end answering questions. Was comfortable in front of the crowd with the microphone. Was a very happy camper!

We left the National Film Board, and realized it was 5 pm. No one wants to be leaving Toronto at 5 pm, especially when you're already downtown!!

It took 2 hours just to get to highway 10. One major adrenaline dump when I realized I was going into a curve at way too high a speed for the conditions, ohhhh I'll pay for that I'm sure.

I walked in the door at 9:30 pm.

The trouble with Sparks People is you can't go in and put food in as "two slices of homemade pizza reheated because it's 9:30 at night and you really haven't had dinner yet..."

I dropped into bed at 11 pm.

I have a board meeting tonight, so I won't be home until 10 pm again. So I decided I wasn't going into work until 10 am. Boundaries at work!!

Monday, February 18, 2008


I just went and checked the Wiki page for more information. This is so me, it's scary


Tendency to gain weight and unable to lose it, especially around the waist. [totally me] High frequency of getting the flu and other respiratory diseases and these symptoms tend to last longer than usual. Tendency to tremble when under pressure. Reduced sex drive. [it's been so long who knows] Lightheaded when rising from a lying down position. Unable to remember things. [at the end of the day] Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon between 3 to 5 pm. [the afternoons yes - mornings, not so much] Feel better suddenly for a brief period after a meal. [totally clued into that Sunday, would be nice and warm, sweater off and then an hour later cold and sweater back on] Often feel tired between 9 - 10 pm, but resist going to bed. [again, total refusal to go to bed, don't want to give in and get 'old' and needing a new bed time (and miss Jon Steward and Colbert???)] Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning. [nope gave that up] Crave for salty, fatty, and high protein food such as meat and cheese. [especially if I've been behaving and not having 'junk' food - cravings go ^] Increase symptoms of PMS for women; period are heavy and then stop, or almost stopped on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day. Pain in the upper back or neck with no apparent reasons . [that's not from sitting at a computer all day?] Feels better when stress is relieved, such as on a vacation. [ need to look up word "vacation" in the dictionary] Difficulties in getting up in the morning Lightheaded

Other signs and symptoms include:
Mild depression, [occasionally - need to find sunshine] Food and or inhalant allergies, [yep] Lethargy and lack of energy, Increased effort to perform daily tasks, Decreased ability to handle stress, Dry and thin skin, Hypoglycemia, Low Body Temperature, [always had this] Nervousness, Palpitation, Unexplained hair loss, Alternating constipation and diarrhea, Dyspepsia.

Clinical views on hypoadrenia
Psychological conditions and mood disorders referenced above may be linked to hypoadrenia. Symptoms of chronic fatigue and depression could result from diminished adrenal stores, caused by prolonged exposure to a particular stressor (i.e. poverty) [ummm well duh! that's me too] or a series of stressful events occurring closely together (i.e. loss of job, divorce, and children ill). [son moved away, 2nd marriage ended, moved, job ended, homeless (there's that poverty thing), moved, new job (happy stress), bought a house, ended a relationship => all in the past 6 years] The adrenal gland, responsible among other functions for producing cortisol, when in constant use may produce cortisol over a long period of time, resulting in a high amount of cortisol in the bloodstream. Cortisol functions to return the body to a state of rest/repose after a stressor or fight/flight stimulus. An individual with low cortisol levels may demonstrate mood disorders as anxiety, depression or fatigue as a result of the increased cortisol present in the bloodstream. An indication that psychological conditions may be linked to the amount of cortisol is that the hypothalamus, or master gland, is shared by both the nervous system and the endocrine system; endocrine system containing the adrenal gland and hormone cortisol

I'm speechless reading this - this is my life - where's the section on 'fixing' this???

The emotions

Well this has been a very factual upfront set of postings.

And completely devoid of the darker element of emotion.

Right now I'm excited and hopeful that this journey will be the right path, the one I've been searching for. I'm scared that I've done too much damage and there's no coming back from this.

The honesty Robin asks of me is very challenging, I am a deeply private person when it comes to my weight. I also truly believe that society sucks because it values appearance so much, so I often feel like I'm 'selling out' to the image monger's. But I also know this is a wellness issue for me and I'm not as healthy as I want to be and I can't do the things I want to do.

Therefore it's not about society's standards, it's about my quality of life.

What I've learned so far

I need to reboot my system - hence the blog title

Years of yo-you dieting, stress and insanity has brought me to this point.

I'm not eating enough and yet I gain weight, so the diet thing isn't working. I've got to address my metabolic issues as well as stress levels etc.

Robin's going to help me with that.

We met for 4 hours Saturday in a cafe.

I think the most startling think she pointed out, was my 'brain deadness' that happens occasionally is not just a fluke, it's a 'crash' symptom. I pride myself on the work I do (I run a charity) and my work in the community, and yes I go go go go until I drop. But that has to stop.

Yesterday, Sunday, I made mental notes of how I was feeling, physically and mentally. I noticed that I would lose words and brain function, when I hadn't eaten.

I was trying not to eat past 7 pm, but I was hungry. I loaded all my food information into Sparks People and sure enough, I'd only consumed 1415 calories, and the last time I was in a gym with a trainer (2006) he told me I needed 1800 a day for my weight. No wonder I was hungry. So I had a very healthy PBJP (peanut butter jam pita), protein!!! That did the trick. I tried and apple hours before but was still starving.

I still want to quit eating after 7 pm, but I guess I need more fuel during the day, and a decent supper doesn't make up for a lousy day all around.

Food glorious food

I track my food on Spark People, it's easy and most importantly it's free. I can also access my profile anywhere and everywhere, so there's no food diary to carry around, it tracks anything you want it to track - calories, salt intake, cholesterol etc. It is very cool.

You can get into earning points and patting yourself on the back, and if your into forums and discussions etc then there's tons of that stuff too.

Food consumes so much of my energy and thought that there is no way I want to put more time into discussions forums etc.

But it's a great place to hang out and track your food. It's there that Robin can peak in at what I'm eating and get an understanding of what's going on. Remember - so far she thinks part of my problem is I'm not eating enough! (which isn't permission to go out and get chips and cookies)

Supplements and efforts

I have seen a Naturopath and she was the one who formally diagnosed me. I've also been helped a lot by my chiropractor, Dr. Moona, but these therapies take $$$$$ and spending $$$ stresses me out, since I don't have any, or not enough.

But I am managing to stay on top of my supplements, adding a few others recommend, I'll try anything.

code: B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, S - Dinner (gotcha) OK Supper

2 multi vitamins - B
Chromium - B L
250 mg B6 - B
Acidophilus and bifidus - BS
1000 UI Vit. D - B
Norwegian Kelp - BLS
T110 - BL
Milk Thistle - BLS
Vits. B&C 600 mg - L
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil - B, bedtime

I'm also do a protein shake at 2 pm and just before bed.

The issues

I have adrenal failure

I'm not at the really scary stage on that page, but you get the idea.

Years of stress (single parenting, insane job, another insane job) and getting totally addicted to adrenal rushes. Yes I'm an adrenaline junkie! That's me out on the corner, near the dark alley pssst got any adrenalin?

I also apparently don't eat enough, so I'm constantly starving, and therefore relying on the chemicals in my body for energy, and that makes me 'crash and burn'.

I am also severely dairy intolerant. I usually say allergic but since it's a self diagnosis I should be correct and say 'intolerant'. Mind you when I'm out at a restaurant I like to leave the wait staff with a sense that should the tiniest speck of dairy even orbit my plate, I will explode immediately destroying the restaurant. Nothing like the fear of a medical emergency to make them pay attention.

In all honesty it takes about 12 hours to get through my system and then I just end up in considerable pain, in the bathroom and often doing a lot of laundry from not making it to the bathroom.

This allergy...I mean intolerance just started in 2004, and I believe is directly related to the stresses that took place that year - lost a job, lost a home, was homeless, lived with my parents, got a new job (good things are stressful too), moved again.....crash and burn!

2003 wasn't much better, stressful job, killed a Canadian icon, got a all adds up. We really don't understand the effects of stress as much as we should.


Why am I this big?
Why am I trying to lose the weight?

Well the answer to the first question is complicated. I've always been curvy and my parents put me on my first diet at 12, and I just assumed this was how women now lived, in constant starvation.

I stopped eating breakfast, to make cutting the calories easier.

Two kids, a very stressful life, and 30 years later - ta dah!

To answer the second question, a variety of reasons.

- so I can look in a mirror again with out feeling awful about myself
- so I can buy nice clothes in cottons
- because my knees hurt occasionally
- because it wouldn't hurt my career
- because the world is a shallow place and appearance matters

Is that enough?

Is that OK?

Oh great another weight loss blog

Yep, sign me up to the latest fad - the weight loss blog. An going whine about how hard life is and how unfair, and why can't I......

No, not going there.

So let us start with the basics.

I am 41 years old, I break the scale at a staggering 125 kilograms (yes I prefer metric). My goal is about 72 kilograms.

I am also using a personal trainer, my friend Robin Paul - who is also a graphic designer. She's have been Holistic Condition Coaching since 2003 with great success in helping others achieve their goals and she's going to help me sort this all out.