Post-Op Week 69 Progress Report: Self-Care Takes a Holiday

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Discouraged this week by the slight uptick on the scale but this week was the week from hell.  Unfortunately this whole month looks to be that way.  This week, I fell down on the job of taking care of myself, and I let stress make choices for me that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.

I did also just finish my visit with Ma Nature this week, and it seems that every time that happens, the scale does tend to trend up a little.  Looking back at my week, though, I know there were some food choices I made that weren’t the best and that could have been better.  I let stress get the better of me, which definitely affected my food choices all week long.  This week I’m going to make an effort to do a better job of eating well and not eating because something is convenient or comforting.  I did get some zucchini and strawberries at the store so I’ll be getting in more plant matter this week.  I’ve got a salad for tomorrow’s lunch made, and some Brunswick stew I made over the summer that I hope is still good that I’ll give a try tomorrow.  Breakfast is already made; I just have to thaw it out and reheat in the morning.  I have good things to eat as snacks, so I am going to make sure that I pack them up tonight and carry them with me tomorrow.  My activity levels last week were pathetic.  I didn’t walk nearly as much each day as I would have liked; I attribute this to taking it easy with my knee.

I didn’t make it to the gym as much as I would have liked this week, which disappoints me.  I am hoping my trainer changes my workout this week because it’s getting boring.  And when I get bored with my workout, I tend to want not to do it.  I’ve told him this.  He did say that I would be moving to more weights as I am stronger now than I was a month ago–this is true, as I can lift nearly twice as much now as I could before I started the circuit.  For example, on the lat pulldown, I can now lift 60 pounds with no problems.  When I started, I could only do 30 pounds.  I do worry about continuing to build my leg strength since I can’t do lunges or squats now, per doctor’s orders.  So we’ll see what he designs for me that does not involve all the things I was doing before that I now can’t do.  I know what needs to be done, now all I have to do is get the motivation to get off my ass and just do it.  I need to get my ass to the pool this week as well; I generally don’t swim the week of my period so I took last week off from the pool.  I need to get back at it this week though especially since I know I’ll be traveling this upcoming weekend.

Because I had my MRI yesterday, I will find out in a couple of weeks when I return to the orthopedic surgeon just how jacked up my right knee really is.  I’m still so angry about it, but there is little I can do about it now.  It’s out of my hands for the moment, so all I can do is adapt to what is and wait until my doctor looks at the images they took yesterday to see what needs to be done next.  I really hope that it is something minor that can be put off until the spring because there simply is no time right now for me to be out any length of time from school.

I am also not sleeping well or enough.  Five hours a night is not cutting it.  It doesn’t help that I’m a night owl to begin with, and that I hate early mornings.  My school schedule this year is such that I’m having to rise much earlier than normal so I can tutor in the mornings–my students don’t have free afternoons for tutorials so early mornings it is.  I am a much happier human being when I can sleep more than 5 hours a night.  I’m hoping that tonight I can squeeze in another hour or hour and a half of sleep, but we’ll see.

I will be returning to my university this weekend for Homecoming and I will look drastically different than the last time that many of my friends saw me in the flesh.  I need to steel myself for the reactions that I am certain will follow.  I’m finding that more and more these days, people don’t recognize me and it feels very odd.  I was at a tailgating event yesterday for my university’s football team, and a friend of mine saw my husband and asked him, “Where’s Lee?” even though I was standing right there.  He didn’t recognize me.  In my defense, I did have my hair up and pulled into a ponytail under a ballcap, but still…now that I look like everyone else, no one recognizes me.  And that is a weird thing to get used to.  It’s like before, I was invisible because I was so big, and now I’m invisible because I’m so much smaller than I was.

I’m hoping to get back up on the horse and ride this week.  Tight time management is going to have to be the tool I use this week to be successful.  Without it, nothing else falls into place. I preach this to my students constantly, so now it’s time to really live it.  I’ve got to get a handle on it this week because next week, I’ll be out of town most of the week at a conference where I know my behaviors are going to be tested.  I’ve already got a plan for exercise–the hotel’s fitness center is open 24 hours a day, so I’ll do what I hate and get up at 5 am and work out so that it’s done and I’m awake and alert for the rest of the day.  Eating, that’s a different story.  I’ll have to figure that out as I go once I’m there.  I already know that I’ll be facing the same challenge of people not recognizing me, as this conference is one where I will see many of my colleagues from around the country that I’ve run around with professionally for a long time.  It’s been a while since some of them have seen me and many of them know that I’ve had bariatric surgery and have lost a lot of weight but they haven’t seen the result.  So that will be interesting to try and navigate.

This week’s challenges are managing my stress and participating in the Jameson 5k next weekend at Homecoming as a walker rather than a runner.  I need not to feel defeated that I can’t run it so the challenge is mental, as most of this journey has been.  The mental battles I fight daily are tougher than the physical ones, and they are the ones I have the least well-developed tools to fight with.  Even though I practice all the time, I don’t feel like I have a handle on things some days and that’s frustrating and scary all at once.

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