Weight Gain

WeightGain

We went to the doctor’s office today so I could get my clearance note for surgery to remove my parotid gland.  They had me step on the scale and I was shocked to see that I was 205lbs.  So yeah, I’m a bit verklempt lol.

One of my issues with exercising is that when I walk or ride my bike or do anything that burns calories, the Noom app tells me that I can eat more calories, so I end up eating those extra calories, but then I might even go over those extra calories because I think to myself that I did such a good job that it’s okay.  Well, that’s not how it works.  I should still stick with 1400 calories, 1500 at the most.  Even if it says I can eat 1700, I should draw the line in the sand at 1500.

I’ve been using the Noom app for my cardio, but I decided to download the Noom Cardio Trainer.  I’m sure that it will still show the extra calories in the Noom app, but I just want to see how it goes with the Noom Cardio Trainer.

I’ve been eating those Quinoa and Tofu burgers every day with hamburger buns which is not a good idea; I should be eating them without any bread.  Here is my typical day:

Every morning I will either have a bowl of Malt-O-Meal or a banana for breakfast, which by the way the Malt-O-Meal is a green food (which means healthy) and the banana is obviously a green food.  For my morning snack (second breakfast?) I usually have a banana.  For lunch I normally eat a Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinner, although I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu burgers, both by the way are green, except for the bun of course.  Afternoon snack (linner?) is typically a banana or crackers or sometimes I will have a bowl of broccoli.  That has been consistent.  Dinner is typically a Weight Watchers Smart Ones, but I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu Burgers.  For evening snack I’ve been eating a lot of crackers.  I need to stop doing that, but I get so hungry that it feels like I’m famished.

I’m assuming that my issue here is the bread and the crackers.  I also have to admit that I’ve been eating candy corn, but not daily.  I’m guessing that the amount that I’ve eaten so far is finally catching up to me, so I will stop eating them for the rest of the season.  If I am having this much difficulty from the candy corn, just imagine how it’s going to be when Eggnog is available in stores.  I’m going to go crazy because I just LOVE eggnog lol.

So getting back to the Noom cardio trainer, I have set up 5 days a week to go riding on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  I’m going to go out 5 days a week to do at least 11 miles per day, if I can do more, then great, but I’m not going to push myself that hard.  The app suggests 5 days a week, so I’m giving myself 2 days off, but not 2 consecutive days which is why I chose Sundays and Wednesdays as my days off.

balance ballI am also going to buy that Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit which is sold on Amazon for $20.  It has an exercise DVD with it which I can watch while doing the exercises in my bedroom.  The doctor at Physical Therapy told me I should buy one so I can do exercises for my back since I only have 3 more sessions left.  My insurance only pays for so many sessions, then I’m on my own.  My back isn’t in as much pain as it was, but anyone who has, or anyone who knows anyone with scoliosis knows that the pain is really bad.  The only thing that really helps my pain is the exercises.  Pain meds don’t do anything for my back pain, they help my parotid gland pain, but not my back pain.  $20 is a small price to pay for pain relief.  I wanted to buy one at Target, but they were the same price, but without the DVD.

I really hope I can get back down to my comfortable weight of 192lbs and possibly get back on track with my weight loss so I can get down to my ultimate goal of 170lbs.  Considering I lost 70lbs this year, 35lbs shouldn’t be that difficult to lose, although it’s harder than I thought.

So to recap, my goal is to stay away from Halloween Candy and any other holiday sweets, bread and to exercise more and to try not to eat more than 1500 calories per day, even when the app says I can eat more.

Ready… set…  GO!

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I am finally not in any pain

pain

I have been going to Jacobo Physical Therapy 3 days a week for a few weeks and I can’t believe it but, I am not in any pain.  I can’t say that this is a permanent thing, because I do occasionally feel pain, but it’s not a constant nagging in my spine like it normally is 24 hours a day.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, but recently in the last month I found out from x-rays that I also have scoliosis.  I was wondering why I was in constant agony, now I know why.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy and I go there three days a week.  They give me certain exercises I can do for 30 minutes, then someone comes in and gives me a soft tissue massage.

Dr. Jacobo told me that my insurance will only cover so many visits per year, so once I’m done with physical therapy, I’m on my own.  She said they will see me three days next week, but after that I can come once a week.  I am not sure if my insurance will pay for once a week, but I hope they do.

weider total body works 5000She told me that they can give me a printout of all of my exercises in case I forget what they are so that I can do them at home.  I have a Weider Total Body Works 5000 which I can use to help me.  Some of the exercises I do use weights, so that’s where my home gym will come in.  Not all of the exercises will require using the gym, so I will have to remember them and try to make it a daily ritual to keep my back pain down to an absolute minimum, if that is possible.

I’m wondering if I should set up my video camera so I can do all of the exercises so if I ever forget how to do them, I can always refer to the tape, or well, DVD since it’s a DVD Camcorder.  I think that would be a good idea because I know I will forget if I don’t make it a habit.

I bought that Weider Total Body Works 5000 in 2005 from Wal-mart’s website for $99.  Now they are $149 at Wal-Mart and $159 at Target.  It’s $400 and $1000 on Amazon, which is amazing that they would sell it for that much money since you can buy it much cheaper at Wally World and Target.

My gym is outside in our patio which makes it a miserable experience because it’s way too hot out there to use it, but there isn’t any room for it inside the house.  I’m pretty sure I can deal with using it out there for half an hour per day if it will help me with my pain levels.  Although I can’t say that I will get my massages, but I guess I will just have to deal without those lol.

The good thing about these exercises is that they taught me how to stretch my legs while laying down when I start and when I finish, so I can use that knowledge for when I ride my bike.  It’s always a good idea to stretch before and after a bike ride.

I really hope my pain levels aren’t as high as they used to be without going to physical therapy 3 days a week.  If you have ever suffered from back pain, then you know what that constant nagging pain feels like, so you understand.  Most people who don’t have any back pain never understand.  In fact, some people feel that because they don’t have that same or any pain that they don’t think we are in any pain at all.  It’s a “if I’m not in pain, then you aren’t in any pain either” type of thing I guess.

Pain meds don’t always help me.  I’ve taken Ibuprofen, Vicodin, muscle relaxers, Tylenol, Advil etc.  Nothing works.  Although when I broke my arm I was constantly medicating myself with Vicodin which took ALL my pain away.  I think that was the best vacation from pain I’ve been on in a long time.  When my arm healed and I stopped taking the Vicodin, the back pain returned.  I have taken more Vicodin since then, but it doesn’t do any good.

I think I spoke too soon because I’m getting shooting pain in the middle of my spine.  YIKES!  Well, let’s hope that it doesn’t get worse.  I think I will take something for it now.  I bought some generic “Pain Relief PM” from Dollar General for $1 to help with the pain and to help me sleep.  I really hope that doing those exercises at home will help because I don’t think I can take being in as much pain as I was before going to Jacobo Physical Therapy.  That really is no way to live.

Week 35

week 35 collage

I am absolutely freaking out that I can’t seem to lose weight anymore, and instead of maintaining my weight, I am actually gaining.  I have no excuses so I’m not going to say that it’s because of my back pain, which turns out to be scoliosis, because I got my bike back and haven’t been riding it.  I have no excuse for not riding it.

So why haven’t I been riding my bicycle and why have I been gaining weight you ask?  Well, I’m not going to blame anyone because I am in control of what I eat and what I do, or don’t do.  I would like to say that because I haven’t been able to afford the Smart Ones meals every week that that is why I haven’t been able to lose weight, but that’s no excuse.  Although I have been eating, or trying to eat healthy fruits and vegetables, I have also been eating the Banquet dinners which are a lot cheaper than the Michelina’s.  One of the Banquet meals was green in the Noom app, but all the rest have been either yellow or red.  But you can’t say I haven’t tried eating healthy because I have been eating 1 1/2 to 2 cups of broccoli or mixed veggies with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots before eating the Banquet or Michelina’s frozen dinners.  I have also been eating Malt-O-Meal for breakfast, which shows up as green in the Noom app.

I have been doing everything right, well, except for every time my partner buys cookies, I end up eating half of the package.  I have also been extra hungry and been snacking on more wheat thins than I’m supposed to be snacking on.  I’ve also been snacking on other things because the mad hunger seems to be back like it was before I went on my weight loss journey.  It’s hard to calm down my food cravings when I have deprived myself for so long.  Even though I know something is bad for me, I’ll want it that much more.  I could be eating much worse, trust me, but I’m doing my best to stay away from much worse.

So yeah, I am very disappointed in myself, but I got my check and printed out some coupons for the Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners and we’re going to go to Food Maxx today to buy some and more Malt-O-Meal.  I love those.  I am also going to ask my partner if he will please stop buying cookies and any other snacks, and if he does, be sure to hide them from me so I don’t see them and eat them.  I am also going to ask that he not ask me if I want to go to the Mexican restaurant or McDonald’s anymore because those are too tempting for me.  I don’t mind Subway, but even that is bad because of the bread, despite the fact that I always get the 9-grain wheat.

I have been doing exercises at Physical Therapy 3 days a week for approximately 30 minutes each day, which averages out to 177 calories burned each time, but I need to step it up with riding my bicycle.  I haven’t been riding it, and again this is no excuse, because my back and front tires keep going flat on me and I don’t know why.  I don’t understand why this keeps happening to me.  It’s frustrating to me.  I can’t pump the tires with my hand pump because it irritates my carpal tunnel syndrome, and I can’t keep wasting the Co2 cartridges to keep air in them daily.  1 tire uses more than 1 cartridge of air.  That’s why I haven’t been riding, because I hate having to pull over every time my tires go flat, and I can’t find what is causing them to go flat.  It’s frustrating as hell.

I wanted to save the money from the Etsy shop to buy a new bicycle, but nobody is buying anything and the Etsy shop is costing me more money every month than I am making in profits.  If people don’t start buying keychains and earrings, I’m going to have to close my Etsy store because I just can’t afford to keep paying the fees.  Of course, I will keep what items I have listed because I had to pay to list them, so I will keep them until they expire, but if nobody buys them before then, then I won’t relist them.  Whatever doesn’t sell will end up being Christmas presents because I don’t know what else to do with them.  Boy that sure showed me how unpopular my ideas are.

Wow I have totally gone off topic, haven’t I?  Anyway, I will try to do better with my diet.  If I can’t lose weight, then at least I’d like to maintain a healthy weight.  I’d love to maintain 190 if I can, which means I need to lose 6lbs again.  I’m hoping the Smart Ones will bring me back down.  I need to start saying no more too.  Those are my 2 goals for the next month.  Hopefully I can get back down to 190.  Hopefully…

Week 33 – Weigh In Day with @Noom

week 33

I haven’t been doing too well with my diet lately.  I had hit a plateau that I couldn’t get out of, then last week I weighed in at 194, 2lbs more than I was the previous week.  This week after my last weigh in I had actually gone up to 199 and that was my aha moment.  I was gaining too much weight and realized that I wasn’t doing very well and in order to get back on track, I was going to have to go back to my healthy diet.

We went to Food Maxx and I bought 14 Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners and I also bought some Malt-O Meal Original for my breakfast.  I had been eating Cheerio’s since January with a banana, but I needed a change.  I actually wasn’t sure if Malt-O Meal was going to be good for me, but it shows up as green in the Noom app so I guess it is.

Today was weigh in day and I am happy to say that I am back down to 192.8 which is what I was 2 weeks ago.  I think that I just needed to go off track for a couple of weeks so that I could gain a new perspective and a new momentum and refocus all of my energy again into losing more weight to hopefully get me back on track so I can get down to my ultimate goal weight of 170lbs.

The doctor told me that I didn’t need to lose any more weight, but I still have a fat stomach and I don’t want to have that anymore.  I really want to lose as much fat as I possibly can.  I know I can lose the rest of this weight in only a couple of months if I keep going the same way I did to get to this point.  I just need to have the same determination to get the job done and I will accomplish my goals with complete success.

I haven’t been riding my bicycle because of my back pain, also because of how hot it is.  I am also having issues with not just my back tire going flat, but now my front tire too.  I honestly don’t know what is wrong with my tires, why they keep going flat.  It’s mind boggling to me.  Neither tire have a hole in the tube and there isn’t a thorn or sticker in the tire.  I don’t understand how they can both go from being fully inflated at 60PSI one day, to being around 20PSI the next.  It’s supposed to hold it’s pressure for a long time, especially since my bike hasn’t moved an inch in a month.

When it cools down I will start riding it again.  I would much rather ride my bike before the sun comes out to not only avoid the heat, but also avoid the sun because I burn easily.  Because I broke my arm at night, my partner doesn’t want me to ride when the sun isn’t out because he thinks I will break my arm again.  It was an isolated incident and it had nothing to do with the sun and everything to do with me not paying attention.  I’m sure it would have happened no matter what time of day it was.

At any rate, I am hoping to be at my goal by at least Halloween if not sooner.  That would be awesome.  Not that I have a reason to be at my goal by Halloween, I just want to be that’s all lol.

Anyway, until next weigh in…

Do I Have Scoliosis?

I have had serious back pain for probably the last decade of my life.  Sometimes my back locks up when I bend over and boy it is painful.  Mostly I can’t walk too far before the pain kicks my ass into submission and I have to sit or lay down.  I can walk to the grocery store from the house because it is only 3 blocks from the house, my back is in pain by the time I come home but it’s not excruciating.  I cannot go for a walk for exercise though.  Before I got a new (used) bicycle wheel, I was trying to walk for exercise and that caused the most horrible pain I have ever felt in my 43 years on this planet, and that is not hyperbole either.

Last month I had some x-rays of my back taken and a week ago my doctor told me that according to the x-rays, my back was curving, and he shaped his hand like a parenthesis (.  I misunderstood when he mentioned something about slouching, so naturally I thought my back was arching outward because I do tend to slouch a lot, but then I went to see him again yesterday and I asked him about the x-rays again and he wrote down on a piece of paper exactly what he means.  This is a normal spine |.  This is my spine (.  He drew it on a piece of paper so I could see exactly what he meant.

That makes sense to me, and that explains a lot why my back is in pain in the middle of my spine.  I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my lower spine a few years ago and so I was assuming that it was going up which was why I was in so much pain in the middle of my spine which is why I asked my doctor for help.  Who knew that it was some new problem.

So I use the term scoliosis loosely.  I don’t know for a fact that I have scoliosis.  I asked my doctor “Is it like scoliosis?” and he responded with “yes” but that was not a diagnosis.  He asked me if I wanted to see a physical therapist and I said yes because I don’t know what to do about this and if a physical therapist can help me, then I’m going to go see one.  It will also help me with my weight loss, so I will do anything that I can to help stop this pain.

I called my aunt this week and told her about it, but with the impression that my spine was bending outward, but with the understanding that I had no clue which way it was bending.  I mentioned that I wanted to ask about a back brace and she said “DO NOT ASK FOR A BRACE!  You do NOT want to depend on a back brace, trust me.”  I don’t like arguing with people, especially her because she gets very emotional, but like I said before, I will do anything that I can do to stop this pain.  I didn’t ask my doctor for one when I saw him, but if a physical therapist suggests and prescribes one then I will wear it.

No I don’t want to have to rely on a brace, but I will do whatever it takes to stop this constant nagging pain that I have all day.  I’m not joking when I say I am in pain all day.  I am literally in pain every waking moment.  Even if I’m sitting down like right now I’m in pain.  If I’m laying down, I’m in pain.  I can’t do the dishes for more than 5 minutes without being in pain.  I can’t go to the mall and walk around like a mindless zombie like my partner loves to do because… you guessed it, it causes me pain.  It doesn’t really matter where I am or what I am doing, you can guarantee that I will be in agony, whatever it is.

I had a broken arm earlier this year and I was taking Vicodin probably 3 times a day.  It wasn’t stopping the pain in my arm, but it was helping and it did help my back pain, so I had a vacation from my pain for as long as I was taking the Vicodin.  I stopped taking the Vicodin when I stopped having pain and naturally the pain in my back came back immediately.  I have tried taking a Vicodin here and there, but they don’t seem to help at all.  I have been taking Ibuprofen, and that helps my toothache, but it doesn’t stop my back pain.

Oh one more thing about my back pain.  I have a very large patch of skin on my back that is dead.  I mean the nerves actually  I say that because my back in that spot has been numb for 19.5 years.  It never really bothered me until now.  Now it tingles and the numbing is causing pain.  It’s constantly itching and I’m constantly scratching it and the tingling really bugs the hell out of me.  Scratching doesn’t do anything except weird me out that I can’t feel my own fingers touching my back.  I mean, I can feel it, but I can’t feel it if that makes sense.  It’s like I know my hands are scratching my back, but it feels like someone else is doing it.  I can’t explain it, it’s a very odd sensation.

Anyway, I would really love to just go one day without having pain if that is possible.  I am hoping a physical therapist will help because I am really sick and tired of being sick and tired of being in pain.

Naturally I will update my blog when I begin physical therapy.

Doctor’s Appointment

doctor who

We went to the doctor’s office today, and no, the doctor’s office wasn’t in a TARDIS lol.  Doctor Who fans will get that, anyone else will be like what is he talking about?

We had our regular appointment that we made last month and it’s very convenient that I was sick at this particular time of the month because I needed to see a doctor.  I have chest congestion, nasal congestion, a sore throat and my saliva gland is swollen causing a lot of pain there and tooth pain.  Of course, he can’t do anything about the toothache, but the tooth is only hurting because of my saliva gland, I’m assuming.

He gave me a prescription for Bactrim which is an antibiotic for my saliva gland.  That happens to me a lot with my saliva gland.  I think it happens two or three times per year and it usually goes down by the time we see the doctor so I never bring it up.  One time it was happening around the same time we saw the doctor and I was prescribed an antibiotic and I don’t remember if it helped, but I do know that this is not a normal thing to happen.  He told me to come back in 5 days and if it’s still swollen then he will send me to get a cat scan and I might need surgery.  When we came home I looked in my mouth and saw a black spot on the inside of my cheek which is probably what is causing the blockage in the saliva gland.

drawing-of-spine-deformities-scoliosis-and-kyphosis-curvature-of-the-spine-and-hunchback-or-round-ba

Last month I had some x-rays on my back and today he told me that I have a curve in my spine.  He didn’t specify which way it was curved, but he told me I need to sit up straight more so I assume it’s the one on the right in the image to the left.  So I need to learn to sit up straight because I have a tendency to slouch.  When I’m sitting on the bed, the couch, my desk chair, my bike and anywhere else, and even while I’m standing, I’m always slouching.  It’s mainly because I’m always trying to be as relaxed as I can because of the back pain.  Perhaps what I need is a brace to force me to sit or stand up straight.  I would totally wear that if that would help.

I try to take good care of my body but I guess I’m not doing as good of a job as I should if I am having all these health issues.  I have no one to blame but myself.

I mentioned that I haven’t lost any weight this month and he said that it’s okay because I have been riding my bike and he said you shouldn’t expect to lose any weight since you are building muscle, which we all know weighs more than fat.  He said that he likes me at the weight I am right now, so he’s happy with how far I have come.

Left Me at IHOP January 1, 2013 – Right Me at Morro Bay July 25, 2013

What a difference a change in diet makes.  I went from eating whatever crap I wanted, whenever I damn well felt like, to watching what I ate, counting my calories and only eating healthy foods and using the Noom app and I lost 70lbs.  I not only look healthy, but I feel healthy.  I am very happy with my progress.

2009 before I was looking for a specific photo yesterday in an old folder and I found a picture of myself from 2009 and I was even fatter than my before picture.  I looked like a balloon.  I couldn’t believe how fat I was.  I remember taking that picture too.  I was trying to get a good picture that I could use as my profile picture for the blog and all of my social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but I looked too blown up so I didn’t use it, but I didn’t delete it either for some reason.  OMG I can’t believe how fat I was.  Holy cow!  So yeah, I am never going to let that happen again.  As embarrassing as that picture is, I still feel like perhaps it would make a good before picture lol.

So I have to go fill this prescription and I will see the doctor again next week about my swollen saliva gland.  I really hope it goes down because I am sick of always being in pain.

Back X-rays

back-pain-xray

We went to the doctor’s office today for our regular appointment and I mentioned that the Robaxin that he gave me for my back pain wasn’t helping at all.  That is a muscle relaxer and I don’t think the problem is in my muscles.  I told him that I had an MRI a few years ago and they found out that I had Degenerative Disc Disease in my lower spine and since then the pain has gone up to the middle of my spine.  In fact, if you look at the image above, the red area is actually where my pain is.  The top of the red area is the worst.

He poked my back and of course I wasn’t in pain at all because I was sitting in the waiting room and in the exam room.  I told him that the pain is usually when I am standing or walking for more than 5 minutes.  I described the pain by motioning my hand as if I were repeatedly stabbing someone in the spine.  I’ve never been stabbed repeatedly so I don’t know exactly how that feels, but I do know that my back hurts a lot, so I can just imagine that is what it feels like.

We went to Truxton Radiology and I had many x-rays taken.  The x-ray technician told me it would be up to 4 days, but I told her that I won’t see the doctor for 4 more weeks so no rush.  Besides, I’ve been dealing with this pain for many years, so another 4 days isn’t going to hurt me.

My pain first began in 2000 when I would bend over to pick something up and my back would literally lock up.  I would be stuck in the bent over position because I could not straighten my back.  After grabbing something to keep from falling and almost screaming from the pain, I would stand there for a minute until it unlocked and I was able to stand up slowly.  That happened in front of my aunt and uncle in Palmdale in 2004 or 2005, I forget when exactly.  I had pain in the lower part of my spine, but it was nothing compared to what it is like today.

Just before I went to get my x-ray I saw this humungous fish in a very large fish tank by the back door.  My first thought was holy cow that’s a big fish.  As I left, I took my phone out to take a picture, but first I reached my finger to the tank as if I were petting him, or the tank, and he rammed the glass while trying to chomp my fingers off as if they were inside the glass.  Holy crap that was an aggressive fish lol.  I pulled my hand away and he was looking straight at me.  He wouldn’t look at anything else, so to get him to turn so I could take the picture I had to put my right hand out to my side so he would turn his body.  Here are 2 pictures of the fish below.  You can see my reflection in the glass so you can use that as a scale.

big fish

big fish 2

Anyway, now I am finally getting my back pain taken care of.  The doctor said that the x-rays will determine whether I will need another MRI, but in the meantime he is going to call Truxton Radiology where I had the original MRI for those results.  I don’t know what they can do, but at least they will see where the problem is and possibly give me a brace or maybe injections for the pain.  I’ve seen the commercials for that exercise machine where you are upside down which helps to replenish your discs, so perhaps I will get something that is equivalent that is more affordable.  Who knows for sure.  I will keep this blog updated on that.