On the Level

I know that Body dysmorphic disorder is a real thing for many people.

I don’t have it.

But I have something like it…in reverse.

Recently, I had my blood work done and though all the numbers were great, I have high cholesterol. It’s been creeping up over the past decade, but in general, it doesn’t run in my family and I eat a diet that they usually give people to lower their numbers. I do eat sugar even though my sugar numbers were looking good in my lab work. But I am overweight. Slightly chubby. Always have been. Perhaps a little heavier than I used to be.

My docs wanted me to go on medication for the cholesterol. I said no. I know that it is because I have not had a lot of movement in my life this past year. Being able to work from home, there were days I never went outside. My apartment isn’t big, so mathematically speaking, I didn’t get a lot of activity.

When I saw the high numbers, I agreed with the docs that I would start walking and working out regularly and get retested.

So a-walking I went.

Every day. Almost. But pretty consistently. Most days, I was logging 10,000 steps. But because of the lack of movement from this past year, I also had some back issues from my WFH set up. Boy, it was a perfect storm of feeling like my body wasn’t working with me.

But I persevered through the PT exercises and kept at the walking.

I haven’t been retested yet, but I am hoping that the numbers will be different when I do.

In the process, I have started to lose inches and a little bit of weight.

Shaka noticed it first. Then my friend, Christia noticed it when she saw me. A co-worker mentioned that she had noticed it on our last zoom call.

I…didn’t notice.

In fact, when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was how far I still had to go to look like I thought I currently looked!!!

I was walking with Faye and telling her about this. She laughed and said that it must be a great place to be. She knew too many people who actually had body dysmorphic disorder and that it’s a really dark mindset to have. I told her that my mindset was troubling too. I blamed the way I looked on the dryer shrinking my clothes or someone not knowing the right angle when photographing me. Even selfies I blamed on the angle or the lighting, etc.

It was disturbing to not be aware that I had gotten so large.

How had I missed this? I wasn’t leveling with myself.

The brain is a funny mistress. She will convince you of whatever you want her to.

The other day, I actually thought I looked thinner and was kind of afraid to ask Shaka in case it’s my brain rewiring how I see things.

I didn’t ask him.

Out of the blue he mentioned that he noticed it.

I am so far from where I want to be. But at the moment, the actual reward isn’t being thinner because that wasn’t the goal. It’s to get my muscles back in action and to be healthy.

Mads and ST8 asked if I wanted to join them on one of their walks in the hills. I was like, YEAH, cuz I knew I would be able to handle it better than say, 5 months ago.

Um…so word to the wise…hills are different than flat ground!

It didn’t matter how much I had been walking prior to this, cuz if you aren’t adding in levels, you will plateau pretty quickly.

I felt like a 400 pound man trying to lug my limbs up their hills. Mads said, “We can walk slower. Take your time.” And we did, but I was huffing and puffing and they weren’t breaking a sweat or a hitch in their breathing. ST8 does this walk daily. My fitbit counted it as 45 flights of stairs. Mads asked, “how many flights do you normally do in a day?”

“4”, I wheezed.

She giggled. I would have joined her, but I needed to focus on the new pains in my legs. Oh and to keep breathing.

Faye walks this kind of hilly climb daily as well. When she and I went walking (on flattish ground), I knew that hills or…levels, were going to be the next hurdle for me.

Then my next round of treatments for the bladder kancer happened.

The first session was perfect. No pain with the catheter and minimal pain after.

The second and third week, however, oof. I mean, I am barely able to leave the house from the pain at the moment.

All I am dreaming about now, is the walks.

The main thing I am coming to terms with is that every day is a new chance to work on improvement.

Or just to take a rest when I need to. To stay aware of what my body is really doing. I thought I was getting arthritis at some point last year, but it turns out…now that I have been working out more, I think it was just my muscles pretending we weren’t on speaking terms.

I have introduced my brain and my body back together. It’s not like they are getting along, but they at least say hi to each other.

Once the pain from this round of treatments subsides, I will be out there again in the gorgeous LA spring air, smelling the night blooming jasmine and feeling the strength come back to my limbs. And I will try and get the courage to attack those levels…er hills.

I am heavier and older than I used to be. But I am definitely more content.

I think Faye is right. It is a much happier place to be thinking I look good than bad.

But it has to come with a conscious thought and not delusion. Leveling out my perceptions and the realities has been a welcome change.

And that is an incline I am finally ready for.

PS I LOVE YOU

After taking a hard look at my diet and debt practices, it was time to face reality. I had been doing a lot of “investing” in me, ha! But I wasn’t yet getting a return on that investment other than in hiking poundage and interest rates. I used to live much cheaper, but I also wasn’t happy. I wrote about how I shifted into happiness through a process I called Katification. https://poppeacock.com/2014/07/14/katification-of-me/ The miraculous thing to me was that it had nothing to do with making more money or cutting costs. It had everything to do with shifting focus on what I wanted and what I felt I deserved. It worked. But as with anything, if you stop paying attention to your life, you can slip, even if it’s in too much “self-care.” So here I was, knowing that summer spending was upon me, Zappy wanted to do our annual girl’s trip to Palm Springs. It was going to to be a little tight financially. But Zappy is about to go back to school and we never see Jazzy anymore since she is always on the go go go with work and her man. So this felt like an important trip we just HAD to to take. My dad once said to me that you won’t remember the bad stuff around getting to a fun trip…you will only remember the fun experience. So I said yes!

It was exactly what I needed. I think it was what we all needed. Even though the film, “Wine Trip” was a bust (though I love all the actresses in it), it’s that kind of reunion with your friends that needs to be fostered and happen as often as schedules and your wallet will allow.

Every year, we rent a mid-century modern home with a pool. This year’s was perhaps our favorite (that bar is pretty high already). 

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Because I had been doing a LOT of spending on myself, I forgot that I needed to be being good to myself. And that meant living on purpose. Being present. And I found it was quite easy to be just that. It was absolutely fantastic!

Our friend J has a condo in PS and happened to be there as well that weekend. His place was just a mile away, so it was like the best of all worlds! Visits and instagram-worthy dinners and late night swimming conversations but not having to double up on accommodations.

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His place was a dream as well!

 

 

I was reminded that so much of what gives me fulfillment is connecting with my friends. They have such great taste, personalities, stories and love, that just hanging out with them made me feel a certain level of wellness that I had lost.

 

 

I also love these trips because we drink, eat and partake of the merry herb with no place to be but at the house. We burn palo santo and set intentions. We sing karaoke and play games. We watch cheezy movies like, “Always Be My Maybe” which will now remind me forever of PS even though it doesn’t take place there. And it turns out Randall Park is a crush of one of the ladies (I won’t say who, but just know, we ran with it, since he is nothing like anyone she has ever dated or her husband).always be my

We share summer beauty products (I mean…self care, right?) like hydrating hair cremes or (not sponsored) Supergoop Sunscreen oil. It smells amazing and works.

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Before leaving LA, I got my first spray tan. It was probably my last too because I can’t be trusted to maintain that kind of beauty treatment. Plus, I couldn’t tell that I had missed certain areas of sunscreen and came home with a nice red sunburn when the spray tan wore off. But that first night…I looked super tan and rested!

Zappy made an amazing orzo salad and Mads made a rice noodle salad both with fresh mint and fresh basil. We drank refreshing cocktails and sampled delicious, homemade romesco.

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The next day, J left back for LA and our other friends Roo and Col were in town celebrating their anniversary sans enfants. They stopped by for a cocktail and we all almost forgot this is not our normal lives. Bossa Nova played on the speakers and we cranked the A/C as we shared more stories and connected as you only can on vacation.

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The next morning, Jazzy had to leave back for LA before we did.

We bid adieu to the house.

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Zappy, Mads and I were not ready to call the vacation done and headed downtown for breakfast. Where to go? So many options, but not wanting to have a crazy wait, Mads brought out her superpower. She can find THE perfect place in ANY situation. Though I am prone to hyperbole, this is not an overstatement. She really is that good.

We were getting hangry.

And *poof* out of nowhere and very casually, she’s like, oh, let’s go to the Purple Palm. So we did. And no regrets. In fact, I want to go back with Shaka. If our weekend had a more 60’s mid century vibe, this breakfast locale (part of the Colony Palms Hotel) had an old California, adobe, bougainvillea vibe.

 

 

It was the perfect way to end a pretty perfect weekend!

Like a retreat from another time, I was in the best head space to conquer the real world with the diet/debt situation that was still waiting.  Stay present. Stay connected.  And find the fun, meaningful moments in between the obligations.

 

 

Shake Shake Shake Sonora

Seeing the weight start to slowly come off, I do know that I want to continue to eat this no-carby way for as long as I can. You know, before I allow my craving for chocolate to totally derail me.

For me, I need to have some sense of a treat.  Yes, like a dog.  Whatevs…I like dogs.

But treats usually look and taste like chocolate chip cookies or ice cream.

Not really on the menu plan.

What’s a sugar-addict  girl to do?

I could make a smoothie.

BUT, the thing about smoothies is that they usually have bananas in them.

Now bananas on their own are like, Yeah, you’re good.

But mix them in bread, pudding, fruit salad, smoothies or that disgusting gum flavor, and it’s like, whoa banana, why are you such a bully, taking over the flavor?

Well,  I found a shake recipe on againstallgrain.com that curbs that craving for chocolate. It’s not that sweet but the chocolate taste is in full force when you use cacao powder.  AND I substituted 1/3 of a pear for the banana.  Go pears!

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Here’s my take on the recipe.  Sure, the honey and pear have some sugar.  And the almond butter has fat. But if you are about to take the walk of shame down oreo-alley or smear nutella on your face, this is a filling treat that can satisfy a wicked choco craving, but allow you to look yourself in the mirror the next morning.

  • 4 ounces almond milk
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • 1/3 of a pear
  • 1/4 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter

Enjoy!

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