Fed Up – Sugar is NOT our friend

30-day Project

Since this month is the month where I committed to tracking everything I eat and water consumption, I’ve been chatting a lot with a friend who is also using Weight Watchers. He suggested that I watch the movie Fed Up. He told me it was about food, specifically sugar, and how bad it is for us.

That’s not exactly news to me, particularly as someone with Type 2 diabetes. However, if he was willing to make the recommendation, I figured I’d give it a go.

HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.

It’s a really well put-together documentary about the obesity epidemic facing America (the stats are absolutely horrifying – they expect 1/3 Americans to be overweight or obese by 2050, the 40,000+ YOUTH with Type 2 diabetes) and the role that sugar plays in causing the problem.

One of the main points is that losing weight isn’t as simple as people try to make it. It’s more than calories in, calories out. The “energy balance” is actually bullshit. Not all calories are created equal.

It rails pretty hard on the government for being too much of a sack of testicles to do anything to regulate it and on the food industry for being too soulless to stop marketing crap food to kids, its bullshit marketing, and unwillingness to make actual changes to their products.

Sugar is in pretty much everything and they’re super clever about naming it. Chances are good if you can’t figure out how to say it, it’s sugar.

Apparently, the recommended amount of added sugar intake is like 6-9 teaspoons, but Americans consume something like 10 times that during the course of a regular day. Every now and then it wouldn’t matter so much. But on a daily basis over the course of years, you’re in trouble.

I was also fascinated by TOFI – Thin Outside, Fat Inside. They scanned a family’s kids. Of the four kids, only one appeared overweight. However, when they scanned them, they discovered that in three of the four kids, the belly fat percentage was twice the recommended amount. Yikes.

That’s pretty damn horrifying if you think about. People fat shame all the time, but thin people aren’t always as healthy as they think they are. I’d seen some articles on the idea that fat people may not be as unhealthy as previously thought, and that thin people may not be as healthy as they think they are. Just because you don’t gain weight on the outside doesn’t mean you don’t have fat living around your organs. And that’s what kills us.

It’s about an hour and a half, but it’s worth the watch. I will definitely be thinking even harder about what I’m putting into my body and looking for some ways to make some of my favorite snacks in a healthier way.

Foot/Leg Update – PROGRESS FINALLY

cast-clipart-as2783

I went to the doctor last night and there are no words to express my rage and frustration with the doctor. This is the guy who, when I saw him in February, told me he was booked until June and didn’t have his calendar for June or beyond. He recommended a tendon transfer to get me walking without a brace. He also sent me for an EMG/nerve conduction study.

The EMG revealed what I already knew – that my body had done all it could and that I needed to have surgery. THANKS FOR THE NEWS FLASH. The doctor doing the study did say that I should have a nerve transfer because there was still some innervation of the muscle.

Fast forward to last night (which was the earliest appointment I could get after the EMG on April 2nd). All of a sudden he’s telling me that maybe I shouldn’t have a tendon transfer after all. That perhaps I should consider an ankle fusion. I flat out told him no to the ankle fusion. After making me get the EMG, he pretty much disregarded it and said that he couldn’t do the nerve transfer and that I would have to consult with a plastic surgeon. AWESOME USE OF MY TIME AND MONEY.

He called in a colleague to consult. That doctor also told me I should have an ankle fusion and that the results wouldn’t be as good with a tendon transfer. I also told him a fusion was not an option.

The doctor then tells me that the earliest date he has for surgery is SEPTEMBER 6TH. I was like, are you fucking kidding me? He told me that he didn’t want me to rush into surgery, and blah blah blah. Clearly he had no idea what it’s like to walk around in an uncomfortable ass brace all day.

Mr. Lyndsy is sitting in the room with me, almost ready to explode.

Perhaps thinking another colleague would be able to convince me to have an ankle fusion, he referred me to someone else. He called that doctor directly and they agreed that  could be seen the next day (today). I was pissed at having to get up early to again see someone else who wouldn’t know what the fuck was going on, but I hoped the doctor would have a clearer surgery schedule.

So I got my ass up and went in. They dicked us around trying to get me in since I didn’t have an official appoint. But, I am glad we stuck it out.

The new doctor checked my foot’s strength and quickly came up with a plan of action. He said an ankle fusion is a last resort and that because the tendon they normally use for the surgery is lacking strength, he would take two smaller tendons that are strong and use them for the fusion. He expects a fairly good result doing it that way.

Then he asked when I wanted to get this done. I told him as soon as possible. He flips through his calendar and I hear May 25th. WHAT??? Then he takes it back. I’m holding my breath, hoping that it’s something earlier than September.

JUNE 6TH.

Fuck. Yes.

To make sure I get in, he told me to try to get admitted to the hospital two days before. If they can’t take me, I go in the next day. If they can take me on the 4th, he’ll release me home but I’ll still keep the bed. If they take me on the 5th, I do the same thing.

He showed me where the incisions would be. I have four weeks in a plaster cast and then six in a boot while I do physical therapy.

Yeah, me in a cast and on crutches should be a great time.

The only issue with this plan is that Mr. Lyndsy has to go to a course from June 12-21. I think I’ll be fine on my own, but he isn’t comfortable with the idea of leaving me home alone then.

So the question is, who’s going to come babysit me for 10 days???

An Order of Resentment with a Side of Frustration, Please

30-day Project

Right from day 1 I’ve been feeling like I hate tracking my food. HATE it. Because I resent that I can’t eat whatever I want without looking like a hippo. I get frustrated trying to continuously have food I like to eat that without getting bored.

When I track with Weight Watchers I feel like I HAVE to eat a certain way – basically all fresh veggies with chicken and shrimp almost exclusively. I feel like the Plan Manager is judging me for my choices and that makes me want to tell it to go fuck itself. The app even tells me that the tracker is much happier when I tell it about my food. Creepy much?

For those who have never used Weight Watchers, here’s how it works. You record what you eat into the Plan Manager. It’s pretty helpful and already includes a lot of foods, including restaurant foods. The Plan Manager then converts the nutritional information into a point value. Based on your gender, weight, and goals, you have a certain number of points you can eat each day and you get 49 extra points to use over the course of the week. You weigh in once per week. Your daily point number is adjusted based on your weight.

They changed the system a while ago when they finally acknowledged that eating an apple isn’t the same as eating as 100 calorie snack pack, even though they both have the same calories. Now most fruits and veggies don’t cost you any points and as long as you don’t go apeshit on them, you’ll still lose weight.

The whole point of Weight Watchers isn’t to force you into a particular way of eating. It’s really about helping you make choices about what you’re eating so you can see, quickly and easily, the cost of the food you do eat. They give you extra points so you can indulge from time to time. It’s an algorithm to make eating in moderation easier.

I finally realized this weekend that I was missing the point. This isn’t a race to some finish. It’s more about being able to see the big picture of the food I eat and figuring out how to make things balance. Sure, I can have a burger and fries for lunch, but I probably need to have a salad for dinner that night and I shouldn’t really have that burger and fries too many times during the week.

 I also decided that for a week or so I’d eat the way I always do to see what it looks like and get a feel for why I was turning into a blimp.

So yesterday I indulged a gross amount at the mall. The fact that I felt like crap for overeating and eating stuff that’s not great for me probably should have been enough of an indicator that it wasn’t a great way to eat. But seeing how I used up all my daily points and then almost all of my weekly points really hammered it home. (Fortunately it was the end of the week so I get all my weekly points back today!)

Anyway, I’m a lot calmer now. No need to tell website where it can take itself.

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30-Day Project: May – Food/Water Tracking

30-day Project

And so it begins. I was thinking about giving up soda for the month of May, but I’m not quite ready to do that yet. I suppose that means that giving up soda is exactly what I should be doing, but I’d rather not fail right from the beginning.

I’ve been paying for a Weight Watchers subscription for months now, but I haven’t been using it. I’d gotten a great deal on 3 months so I wasn’t thinking much about it, but when my card got dinged for this month, I figured I might as well use it. I gained a bit of weight while visiting in Florida for most of April. I don’t regret any of it, but clothes that had been loose are now tight, my wedding band no longer fits, and I feel a bit like a bowling ball.

I’ve had success with Weight Watchers in the past, but I also got a little carried away too. I didn’t eat the extra points, started not eating all the points they give me, and that isn’t how they want the program to work. They step you down for a reason – to make it more lasting. At any rate, I’m going back to tracking because even if I eat over my points, at least I’m a bit more conscious about what’s going into my piehole. (Which, ironically, probably won’t be a lot of pie…)

I’m also going to use Waterlogged to track my water consumption. I know with great certainty that I don’t drink enough water, especially on days when I have a soda. My lips and feet are dry and cracked. I’ve read enough to know that if I want to fix those things, I’ve got to do it from the inside out.

Thirty-one days of tracking all of this is already making me twitchy. But, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be a 30-day Project topic. The question now is whether I can get Mr. Lyndsy to join in with me…

The 30-day Project

30-day Project

I learned a lot working as a prosecutor in Drug Diversion Court in King County. One of the biggest takeaways came from Judge Wesley Saint Clair. When the participants were struggling to make it to their meetings or not use drugs, he used to tell them, “It’s 30 days. You can do anything for 30 days.”

I have loads of things I need to work on, but when I think about doing them all at once, I get overwhelmed. My big focus right now should be on my health. My body is working so hard to heal (though it apparently has done all it can), I need to give it some help. I also haven’t really be doing things I enjoy as much as I would like (coloring, blogging, cross-stitch).

So, for a year, I’m going to pick something to focus on each month and do it every day that month. May will be the first month I do it. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do in May, but it’ll probably be something easy to do, so I don’t burn myself out.

What kinds of things would you be doing if you were playing along with me?

Shame on you, Indiana (and others)

Since the federal courts have been churning out decisions that require states to recognize marriage equality, some states have been responding by being complete sacks of shit. By that, I mean that they are working on enacting legislation based on the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I mentioned Georgia’s briefly, but Indiana’s governor is about to sign  SB101 into law.

Essentially the law that even laws which are neutral (requiring equality across the board) may still infringe upon someone’s right to religious freedom. It requires that the government have a compelling interest and that the law requiring equality is the least restrictive way of achieving the compelling interest. Otherwise, the religious freedoms prevail. The legal mumbo jumbo here is that the states will argue that laws related to sexual orientation don’t constitute a compelling government interest, and thus the right to religious freedom prevails.

I see it like this: A person’s sexual orientation isn’t something they can change AND it relates to the essential nature of life. Thus, it is deserving of the highest level of government protection. It boggles my mind that something that is highly variable and can change over the course of a person’s life (religion) can somehow trump human nature.

I’m disappointed that states are even considering this. However, 19 states already have laws on the books. I don’t think any of us will be surprised by most of the list:

Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana (not totally passed yet), Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

The thing that amazes me is that I don’t remember ever really walking into a store (except Christian bookstores) and thinking, “Oh, the owner must be Jewish!” “This guy is totally Christian.” Very little business actually has anything to do with religion. The cases that seem to make the most news relate to products/services related to weddings. A business owner doesn’t want to help a gay couple have a beautiful wedding day. Well buddy, fuck you too.

I don’t see how this is any different than how blacks were treated before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and still are). Separate but equal was complete horseshit. Looking back now, it’s pretty obvious that requiring black people to eat at separate restaurants, use different restrooms, and drink from different water fountains was pretty ridiculous. I already think homophobes look really fucking ridiculous. And about 50% of the United States agrees with me.

When the history books look back on this period (well, those they use in states that teach actual history, not some weird made up version of shit), this is going to look really bad. We’re going to look like an intolerant bunch of shitheels who don’t know what’s really important in life.

The other thing that really burns me about all of this is that the United States was founded by people looking for religious freedom and who wanted a government separate from religion. Conservatives rail about Islamic terrorists and how they do their government, but let’s face it, what they’re advocating isn’t all that different. They want their religious views to take precedence over everything and they want it entwined with the government. Because for real, if Christianity were all about marriage equality, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

One of the articles I saw about why the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts mentioned an anesthesiologist who didn’t want to participate in an abortion procedure because it went against his religious beliefs. My suggestion to him is that he find a nice Catholic hospital to work from. Religious institutions aren’t bound by the same rules as everyone else because they are inherently religious in nature. If your business isn’t, then shut your piehole.

I’d like to say that I’ll never go to Florida again because I hate that they have a law like this on the books (and because Florida is so backwards in so many ways), but my family lives there and DISNEY is there. Also, it’s not the entire state that’s fucked up. As I mentioned before, since we’ve got these laws, I’d really appreciate knowing which owners are bigoted schmucks so I know not to support them. I’d also like to know which computer system they’re using since Microsoft and Apple are both gay-friendly. And I hope they never go to Disney since they’re also pretty gay-friendly.

 

Sometimes abortion IS the answer

A friend of mine recently posted a link to a fundraising page for his wife. I give to these pretty freely, especially if I know the person, so I clicked through. I probably should have paid a bit more attention to the link before I clicked.

His wife is participating in a “Walk for Life” benefiting a “pregnancy support center.” I didn’t notice that though and just saw her description, that it would benefit a place that supports women through their pregnancies. Then this caught my eye:

“Abortion is not the answer!”

At that point I had to close the page and pretend like I didn’t see it. That didn’t work though. (Obviously).

Once I realized I wasn’t going to calm down about it, I wanted to fire off my thoughts on this blog. However, I told myself I had to be fair and check out the group the money would support. Maybe it wasn’t what I thought it was. Maybe I was being judgmental.

At first blush, the place seems like it genuinely wants to help women, regardless of which road they’re contemplating taking. Either way is tough. Being a parent is a huge decision. My husband is already freaking out and we aren’t really close to having kids. Choosing not to become a mother is also a really tough choice. Both have long-term consequences.

However, when you dig a little deeper, you can see that it’s a place that is very clearly pushing women towards having the child. They don’t perform abortions or refer them out. However, if you’re interested in keeping the child, they’ll put you in touch with all sorts of resources to help you make ends meet as you do it, and will refer you to local agencies in case you want to put the child up for adoption. (To be fair, they say they offer post-abortion support.)

My question for people and organizations that say “Abortion is not the answer!” is this – will you be there after the kid is born? Will you babysit for a single mother who has to work two jobs to keep them fed? Will you make sure that the mother whose child was conceived through rape gets all the counseling she needs if she finds trouble coping looking at the product of the brutal invasion of her body? Will you be there all the time to protect the mother and child from the abusive husband/father?

There are obviously less extreme cases. Accidents happen. Plans change. The man who says he’ll stand by you, promises to be there, leaves. You’ve taken every precaution and it still happens. Why should a woman be forced to continue a pregnancy simply because someone else believes she should.

No organization or individual can guarantee that a child will be adopted by a loving family, particularly special needs children. The foster system is overworked and underfunded. A lot of those kids end up in dangerous homes and are not properly cared for. Is that better than a woman choosing an abortion? Is it better to have a child be neglected, physically and emotionally abused? What kind of life can that child expect to have growing up?

Not that I know personally, but I’ve heard that motherhood is an amazing experience. It’s also a very, very personal one. If a woman doesn’t want that experience for herself at that time in her life, we should trust her and her judgment. Whether people believe it or not, she’s making the best decision for her AND her baby.

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Grrr. I am NOT in a Good Mood

I’ve been in a pretty shitty mood for the last few days. It’s a variety of things really, but the real underlying thing is that I’ve been in more pain than I usually am. And it’s when that happens that I realize how much harder my life is because of the chronic pain issues. Allow me to walk you through a day.

I wake up, usually pretty late. I don’t have to be up early most days and I get pretty exhausted during the day, so I let myself sleep as much as I want to. I figure it’s better for my body to try to heal that way. I don’t always get a good night of sleep, so I really let myself go on sleeping those days.

I can tell when I wake up and try to roll out of bed what kind of day I’m going to have. If my back hurts a lot, instead of just a little, it’s probably not going to be a great day. Very rarely do I have no pain when I wake up.

I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and get up. As I stand up and put weight on my right leg the other pain provider for the day kicks in. Imagine that with every three steps out of four you have pain in your foot. Some days it feels like there’s a broken bone, sometimes it just feels like pressure because the foot feels swollen, and some days its’ just a pain that I can’t place.

I also have to be careful because I still can’t pick up my right foot. I’ve gotten pretty good at walking, but I have to pick up my leg higher than I used to or I swing my foot out to the side to help my toes clear the ground. Even when I’m trying to pay attention I don’t always have success. This means getting my big toe caught on a rug or the ground. I either fall or save myself from falling, but I tweak my back in the process.

When it comes to household chores, everything hurts. I can wash dishes for a few minutes without pain, but if I’m in front of the sink too long my back and foot start to hurt. No matter how I get laundry out of the washer, it hurts my back. No mop that currently exists is designed for tall people and that motion causes some of the worst back pain I have. The same goes for my favorite household chore – vacuuming.

You’d think something like sitting would be okay, but it’s not. If I want to stay comfortable to work on my computer for any length of time, I have to recline. Sitting in a normal chair, on a futon, or on a couch isn’t pain-free. Every now and then I can get an hour or more without pain. Some days it’s as little as 30-45 minutes. Getting up to walk around doesn’t necessarily alleviate the pain either.

I like to try to get some exercise so I go walking. Walking always causes my right foot to hurt, often my ankle, and sometimes my hip and back. I’ve tried different shoes, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Some shoes cause more pain than others, but they call cause pain. I have to be able to stop and rest or I feel like I physically cannot go on.

At the end of the day I’m pretty damn worn out and exhausted. Getting into bed to sleep doesn’t really bring relief though. I’m naturally a right-side sleeper. However, putting pressure on my hip like that causes numbness and pain in my right leg. Being on my left side causes a different kind of pain in my right foot, more shocking. If I want to stay on my back, I have to elevate my legs or there is an incredible amount of pain in my back. Even when my legs are up the pain lingers.

Think about the last time you had irritating pain. Now, think about how that would feel to have all day, every day. My tolerance level and patience level with obnoxiousness, idiocy, inanity, laziness, passive-aggressiveness, and anything other irritating thing is significantly reduced when the ongoing pain level is anything above a 4 out of 10. I don’t think anyone would really accuse me of having a high level of patience for that shit anyway, but it’s compounded when the pain is getting to me. I’m willing to be that most people wouldn’t be so patient with that shit either.

But, that’s my life. I’m planning on a surgery to see if I can start walking like I used to. It has a pretty high level of success, but my neurosurgeon felt pretty good about the lumbar fusion before he did it too, so who knows. I’m hoping it’ll deal with the pain too, but since my nerves appear to be jacked up, who knows if it will.

Anyway, I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m short on patience. Be nice (or avoid me if you think you can’t be nice). The other thing I’d ask you to think about is the fact that while I’m open about this, not everyone who suffers from chronic pain is able to be so open. Be nice to everyone, all the time, since you never know who we are.

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Jeb Bush Still Sucks (Shocking, I know)

nO jEB

Having lived in Florida while he was governor, I am no stranger to Jeb Bush. I’m actually quite surprised it’s taken him this long to make a move for the presidency. Though I can completely understand why he’s waited until the stink from his brother’s presidency has lifted. (Not that I think it actually has). No one wants to be associated with the guy who had some of the absolute lowest approval ratings in history. (He also had the highest. However, 9/11 gave him a big boost that almost any president would have gotten regardless of their policies.)

Jeb, I’m sure he’s fine with me calling him Jeb, in blatant preparation for 2016, is now running his mouth about marriage equality and the Supreme Court threatening people’s livelihoods if they aren’t allowed to use discrimination as a guide in their business practices.

“I don’t know about the law, but religious freedom is a serious issue, and it’s increasingly so, and I think people that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure,” Bush said. “There should be protections, and so, as it relates to marriage equality — and that may change, the Supreme Court may change that. That automatically then shifts the focus to people of conscience, and, I don’t know, have their faith make — they want to act on their faith, and may not be able to be employed for example.”

          Source

Jeb was responding to a question about whether he supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the government from “burdening” people’s exercise of their religious freedoms and which specifically states that “Laws neutral toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise.” Further on it states, “Courts have consistently held that government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating discrimination.”

In other words, laws that require marriage equality and do not allow people to discriminate based on sexual orientation infringe on people’s exercise of their religious freedoms and are thus discriminatory. Huh? I don’t really think that’s what the courts meant.

The law would allow clerks to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples. It would permit business owners to decline to sell or provide services to couples simply based on their sexual orientation. Basically, this is Georgia telling the federal courts (and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court) to go fuck themselves.

For Jeb to suggest that a Supreme Court ruling disallowing discrimination based on sexual orientation would stop people from being able to be employed is ludicrous. Someone who closes down their business because a gay customer may walk in is an idiot. Though I do appreciate his inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany. Should make it much easier to keep him from getting elected. (Fingers crossed.)

I also don’t understand how marriage equality impacts anyone’s religious freedoms since I can’t think of a single religion that requires its adherents to take action against someone simply because they’re gay. Since we’re talking about Georgia, we’ll assume for this conversation that the religion is Christianity. Nowhere in any Bible I’m familiar with does it state that if a Christian knows a person to be gay, they must shun them and shame them. Last I read and studied, it’s up to God to make those calls and it’s wrong for a Christian to judge another person. Jesus certainly didn’t shun those he saw as sinners.

The other thing the merchants and individuals who support Georgia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act should consider is that while they’re free to believe whatever they want, so are the rest of us. I happen to think they’re a bunch of bigoted assholes who I would rather not support. If they’re so proud of their beliefs, they should put a big sign like this one

No Love

in their store windows, on their websites, and hell, even on their clothes so I know not to shop there, or, in this case, vote for them.

What size t-shirt do we think Jeb wears? Or maybe he’d prefer an embroidered polo?

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I Call Bullshit: Heather Barwick Edition

Bullshit

Marriage equality is big news these days as the US courts are finally getting around to doing shit that should have been done years ago. (Except Alabama. Does any country want a new state?) Naturally this means that people who oppose marriage equality are getting more vocal in their opposition (as is their right to do). Enter Heather Barwick.

In this article on The Federalist, Heather tells us that she was raised by two moms after her father left her biological mom. Her biological mom knew she was gay when she got married, but back in the ’70s and ’80s, if you were a gay woman, you married a man anyway, and had some kids. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work for her mom, and Heather’s father left the scene, never to be heard from again.

Heather claims that for a long time she advocated for marriage equality, but after getting married and seeing her husband with their kids, she knew what she was missing. She also says that she had this unquenchable desire for a father in her life.

My first thought was that the reality is that when you have a parent who leaves, it hurts. I doubt that it actually had anything to do with the fact that her mom was with another woman. I’m guessing that even had Heather’s mom married another man, that hole would still have been there. My parents divorced when I was 10 and my mom married a couple years later. My stepfather and I eventually became great friends, but he still wasn’t my Dad.

Her whole premise seems flawed.

Aside from all of that, my bullshit antennae were buzzing. I was pretty sure that something else changed her thought processes. My money was on her “finding Jesus.” Not satisfied to speculate, I decided to do some internet stalking research.

My suspicions proved correct. After Heather met her future husband, she began attending church and it was only once she started attending church that her “father wound” healed.

There aren’t a lot of Christian churches that have adopted marriage equality or that even tell gay people they aren’t going to hell. Maybe she’s found a more enlightened church, but I highly doubt it.

So Heather Barwick, I’m calling bullshit. Just because you’ve gotten older doesn’t mean you’ve gotten wiser. It’s time accept the fact that your dad failed in his responsibilities as a parent. He created the hole in your life, not your moms. Heather, before you set out to ruin something beautiful for a whole community of people, you need to get your personal baggage in order. It’s not the gay community’s job to carry it for you.