Posted tagged ‘life with RA’

a post to keep my motivation up…

June 13, 2016

before-and-during

 

I’m in the process of slowly losing weight. I’ve been working hard at it for just over a year now, and am down about 60 pounds, with at least another 60 still to go. I expect it will take me somewhere around two years to lose the last 60, as my rate of loss slows down. That’s ok, I’m not in a race.

 

I hit my highest weight due to many years of being overweight combined with developing RA, which left me in so much pain and so wracked with extreme stiffness and swelling that I had difficulty even walking from one room to the next. I still walk with a cane, but after having been diagnosed and starting on meds, I find the pain much more bearable, and my mobility, while still an issue, has improved enough that I can get out and about, even if I have to hobble like a wobbly little old lady. Which I am! Heh. (I’m 55.)

 

At my highest weight, and before starting the meds, I felt like I was dying, and that isn’t a joke. I honestly felt as if my body was killing me, and I was utterly desperate. In some ways, I think that may have been a good thing, because that very desperation is what led to me trying one last time to lose weight. I was beginning to have less pain, thanks to the meds, and I thought that if I could just decrease my weight, it would work along with the meds to increase my quality of life.

 

I chose to not use any particular diet, having had little success with specific diet “plans” over the years. I’ve tried them all, it seems — low fat, low carb, this big name and that one… This time around, I knew that in order for this to work *for me*, I would need to take a long look at my life, at what I will and will not be able to do on a daily basis, and what I will be able to stick to *forever*. So, what I do is count calories. That’s it! I use myfitnesspal, track everything I eat, and stay within the calorie limit I have set for myself. Other than those rules, there are no rules. I eat whatever I want to eat, which means there are no “good” or “bad” foods.

 

That being said, I do try to eat primarily meats and veg and fruit. I don’t eat loads of baked treats, or drink sodas, or indulge in ice cream every night. But if I *want* some cookies with my coffee, or a bowl of ice cream, I have it. I just have to count the calories for it. The thing is, by not having everything I like *all* of the time, I find those foods are more of a treat when I do have them. But *none* of them are “off limits” to me, and I never beat myself up for having any foods. I just count my calories, and get on with my life.

 

This means, by the way, that some days I do end up going above the limit I have set for my calories. I try not to do it all the time, because duh. Heh. But it does happen. And it’s not a big deal! Even having a real blow-out feast one night for supper won’t really screw up my weight loss much. It might mean that I have a brief blip up on the scale the next day or two, but as long as I get right back to my normal routine, I usually end up losing weight again that week. If I were to let one day of indulgence throw me into a tizzy, I could easily find myself burying my guilt and despair in mountains of donuts, and what the heck good would that do me? Simply being honest with myself about what I ate, accepting that I enjoyed it, and then writing it off as a treat and moving on with my usual routine will keep me moving forward, instead of falling into a downward spiral. Like I said above, this isn’t a race — it’s the rest of my life, and I can handle some spells of slower loss if that means I can enjoy my meals without feeling like every bite I eat is a way to measure my strength of character and my moral strengths or failures. That’s a helluva lot of crap to be placing on a glazed donut, ya know?

 

Oh, and a quick shout-out is in order. I have hair loss due to illness and meds (not only the RA, but other autoimmune illness and the various meds for those things.) Which means that I finally gave up on trying to make my scraggly, thin hair look decent, and shaved it off. What a relief! I now wear wigs, and my favourite place to get wigs is a site called cysterwigs.com. Heather is a wonderfully friendly and informative person, and her wig review videos (on her site, and also on youtube) are an invaluable resource. Just thought I’d mention her site, in case anyone who sees my blog happens to be interested in wearing wigs. 🙂 (The wig I’m wearing in the “after” pic above isn’t my fave — that would be the wig you can see in the small b&w pic to the right here.)

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summertime, and the cookin’ is easy…

June 13, 2016

As much as I love autumn and winter, and all the soups, casseroles, breads, and other goodies I cook then, I do very much appreciate preparing summertime meals. Especially when the RA is kicking my butt and I don’t feel up to doing a lot in the kitchen!

 

Tonight, for example, we’re having Schwan’s frozen ribs cooked out on the grill. I’ll be dousing them with BBQ sauce, wrapping the whole thing up in some nonstick foil to make a big packet, and then “cooking” them outside in an effort to not heat the house up on such a warm day. On the side, we’ll be having coleslaw and potato salad (both from Aldi), and some watermelon I cut into chunks yesterday.

 

I used to feel vaguely guilty about using convenience foods like store-bought coleslaw and potato salad, or frozen ribs. But ya know what? I don’t feel that way anymore. None of those things are truly egregious foods, and they’re miles better for us than getting some fast food burgers and fries. (Although I do love me some fries. I just don’t allow myself to have them more than a few times a year. 😉 ) I look at it this way — when I’m having a lot of pain and difficulty walking/moving, there’s no shame in using whatever shortcuts are available to me to help make it easier for me to prepare a decent meal for my family. On good days, I’ll make my own salads and other dishes from scratch. I have some coleslaw recipes I really love, for example. But on days when things are more difficult, I can find ready-made foods that will still provide us with good veggies and meats, and can add some fresh fruit, and there ya go!