Rainy Saturday

The summer rain is falling pretty hard this morning.  I hear it on the skylights.  I’m very happy for the rain because I don’t feel like I have to rush and do anything.  Rather I can lounge on the couch over coffee with my computer and give you an update on my knee and my RA and my weight.  After all, this is a blog that started about an overweight, 50 something woman with RA.

After the pity party post from 2 weeks ago, I did rally.  I always rally.  As a matter of fact, one of these days I’m not going to be able to rally, and I wonder what happens then.  I’m back at work and it’s exhausting and painful, but I manage to get through most of the day.  The knee seemed to be at a standstill for a time, and as a matter of fact last week one morning it got excrutiatingly painful again and I went to see the doctor.  I could barely walk into his office.  It was 30 minutes before he could see me in which time the pain and inflammation subsided a bit.  He told me that it was going to take time and patience and maybe I was doing too much and had gone back to work too soon.

Well you tell that to my clients, but I did listen to him and I’ve moderated a bit.  I make sure to elevate and ice my knee regularly.  I’ve worn the compression sock occassionally which helps.  I also had a huge revelation.  Because of the pain and discomfort and my inability to sleep I’d been taking 2 advil pm’s at night.  Which is a blood thinner, so I wasn’t helping my situation in the least by doing that.  The morning I ended up back in his office I had also taken 2mg of Prednisone to put the RA at bay and I believe that contributed to the pain and inflammation that morning.

I’m walking about 5000 steps each day, trying to get the right blend of activity and rest.  I’ve started doing mini squats to help strengthen my thighs.  I swear that some day soon I’m going to wake up and feel like I did before this bleeding episode.

On a lighter, funnier note, this week was wellness day at my office.  My company participates in wellness programs at work and in order to get the preferred co pay levels, I am required to participate.  I have a Virgin Pulse app on my phone that I track certain items with, I do competitions with coworkers and read helpful hints each morning.  Participating employees must complete a health screening either at their doctor’s office or at one of the screening days at the office.  So I did that this week.  My glucose and cholesterol were great!! My blood pressure was a tad high but I was in pain that morning.  However, I’ve lost 20 pounds since last year.  I knew I had lost weight, but didn’t know how much.  I was pretty psyched about that.  However, the BMI chart states that I am still obese.

Sigh.  I can’t win.  But perhaps I can lose 20 more by next year and get below 30 for my BMI.

Have a nice week everyone.  Stay strong and positive.

Snow Day

Traditionally the first weekend after New Years has always been my favorite weekend to ski.  The hard core regulars are there but the casual skiers are home.  It’s not so crowded, and always an enjoyable weekend to ski.

Alas, this year that’s not to be as I wait for my surgery on a total knee replacement.  But there’s a silver lining to my cloud.  It’s a snowday and I am happier than anything to be snowbound with Mr. Phat with our brand new kitchen a little post holiday organizing and football later this afternoon.  We made breakfast together and the whole house smelled wonderful.  Later we will roast a chicken with some vegetables for dinner.  Yum.  What more could a gal want on a snowy Saturday?  Oh right, a nice cozy great room with a roaring wood stove. Life is truly good my friends, no matter what the circumstances are.  My silver lining is being in my comfy home surrounding by warmth, good smells, the man I love and our dog.

My other silver lining this week?  My eating.  This is a diet blog, right?  I did a lot of reading last week about food and the immune system.  My immune system has definitely been out of whack since summer.  Changing RA meds hasn’t helped my immune system.  Being sick and stopping my RA meds intermittently most likely has contributed to this yoyo effect.

So this week I eliminated all the inflammatory foods from my diet – dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol and legumes.  The latter is no biggie as Legumes aren’t my favorite food.  I also fasted during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday and had coffee, tea, water and bouillon during the day and salad or eggs with protein for dinner those nights.

I have already been able to cut my prednisone does in half and my goal is to be off of it shortly.  At some point in the near future for several weeks prior to my February 15 surgery date I’m going to need to be off all RA meds.  I’d like to have the inflammation as minimal as possible prior to that date.  I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you’re in a snow zone, relax and enjoy.

TKR

Yes.  Total Knee Replacement.  I visited my ortho this week and learned that instead of needing one new knee, I need two.  The Doc told me in 2009 that I needed a new right knee.  So far I’ve managed my life without getting it done.  Now he told me that the left knee has no cartilage and is also bone on bone.

With RA,  the synovial membrane that surrounds the knee joint becomes inflamed and thickens.  Over time, the resulting chronic inflammation will damage the cartilage.  This will cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness.  Then there is OA (osteoarthritis) where as you age, the cartilage cushion that protects the knee will soften and and wear and this causes pain and stiffness.

Another factor is trauma.   I’ve been involved in athletics since I was young and I always had bruised or skinned knees.  I had my share of falls while skiing or hiking.  I fell while biking.  I recently got bifocals and took 2 really hard falls on my knees and hips.  So I think that all three of these factors – RA, OA and Trauma – have contributed to my current knee situation.

So I’m continuing on my normal pace – which is typically warp speed until such time as the pain and discomfort is bad enough that it impacts my life.  Then we will discuss the first knee replacement.  As the doctor said, I’m highly functioning considering the state of my knees, so there’s no reason to rush.  He suggested that when my world narrows is when I need to address surgery.

Until that time, I’m trying to concentrate a bit more on my eating and exercising.  I have been the same weight for 5 years.  Yeah, just about since I started this Blog about trying to lose weight after turning 50.  So I think that I’ve failed!!  Miserably.  I’m doubling down on my efforts because other than my weight and my RA, I’m very healthy.  I’d like to stay that way.

Spaghetti Squash??

So I started weight watchers on Tuesday.  Wednesday night Mr. Phat had planned a celebration dinner in honor of his daughter’s wedding anniversary.  This means a big pot of gravy and something hearty and italian.  He decided on Chicken parm and his favorite, macaroni.

I knew that I would have to do some damage control, so on Tuesday evening I shopped for the chicken breast and bought a spaghetti squash.  I got home and while unpacking the groceries, Mr. asks “what’s that?”  “Well I’m going to have that with your gravy tomorrow night.”  “You mean you’re not having Macaroni?”  “I thought I would make the squash for dinner.”

Again he asks “You mean you’re not having macaroni?”  How dare I.  Well when step daughter arrived she was excited because she’d never had spaghetti squash before but had bought one to try.  I showed her how to cook an scrape the strands out and to be honest, it was tasty and crunchy and satisfied me Wednesday night with my parm-less chicken breast.  The grandson gobbled up the squash as well.  It’s definitely something that I will cook again on Italian dinner day.  Besides, the squash is ZERO WW points and I’d rather have that and a glass of wine than macaroni and no wine.  Priorities!!

Otherwise, no complaints with WW.  We all know that it takes planning and forethought.  Last night’s dinner was a long ago planned outing to Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven Ct.  Their coal fired pizza is legendary and one of my favorite foods.  I didn’t feel like I was cheating while eating it because I had planned for it all week.

I’ll let you know how I do come Tuesday when I have my second weigh in.  Until then, Go Red Sox!

Intro from Phat50chick:  I loved this blog post from David, the CEO of WW. He’s very candid in his approach, tells it likes it is and I relate to most everything he says in his posts. In today’s blog I could especially relate at the end under Feeling Strong. He says that “the absolute most important thing to do is keep on doing.” That’s what I’m doing. Keep on keeping on. Enjoy.

System of Rewards

This week I became aware of how warped my sense of rewards is when it comes to eating/exercising/drinking.  I know that my trainer Cathy had alluded to this in our first meeting earlier this year, but I dismissed it.  She said that she didn’t understand people who ate well and exercised all day and then pigged out on pizza or some other calorie laden food at night.  I shrugged off her comment, knowing it was me and not wanting to admit it.

I was forced to admit it to Mr. Phat one night this week.  I had come from a training session and we had a change of plans and nothing left out for dinner, so we decided to go to the small thai restaurant nearby.  It’s a BYOB, and in my mind I weighed whether to bring some wine.  I thought, well, it’s only Tuesday and Mr. Phat won’t drink any and either I drink the whole bottle or leave half of it there.  I didn’t want to consume a whole bottle and HATE to leave half of it behind, so I decided I’d be fine with water.  But I did wrestle with my decision.

We got there and Mr. Phat mentioned that he forgot it was a BYOB and he was sorry. I told him I knew, but decided not to imbibe that night “even though I could because I had exercised that afternoon.”  WRONG.  Way WRONG.  That warped sense of entitlement is what got me to this PHAT status.  “I deserve it.” or “I worked hard, I had a stressful day, I worked out today.” even   “I’m working out tomorrow.” or  “I haven’t had this in a long time.”

We all know it. The warped system of rewards.  The Big Fat Rationalization.  I believe I am the Queen of Rationalization.  And Mr. Phat looked at me weird when I said I deserved wine for working out and said that in fact, if I was trying to be healthy and had a great workout that day, why ruin it by indulging in wine.  It made sense.  Actually I knew it was the proper way to think – just as Cathy’s suggestion had been the proper way to think.

Paradigm shift needed.  New rewards system needs to be programmed into my brain.

Vacation

Much of the two weeks since I’ve posted was my fall vacation.  We drove from RI to S. Carolina to visit my brother and wife who relocated there a year ago.  I’m not usually a fan of long car rides – it can wreck havoc on my joints.  However that didn’t happen.  I didn’t feel as though my RA was adversely affected by the drive.  We did a lot of walking, which is good because vacation can also be about eating.

My brother fancies himself an amateur chef and he likes to smoke meats.  When we arrived, the Weber kettle was on the driveway with a pork shoulder smoking away on it.  That was good for 2 days of meals, and in between we did go out to watch the Patriots/Denver duel, which meant really bad food – chicken wings, calzones and pizza.  I skipped the beer and wine that day.

Tuesday morning, Mr. Phat and I set out for Charleston for a mini getaway.  I didn’t realize what a food mecca Charleston is.  Fabulous food scene and a number of well known chefs cut their teeth there, including Tyler Florence.   There is a great eat local movement there and we had lunch at Husk which is foremost in that category.   http://www.huskrestaurant.com/  Award winning Chef Sean Brock insists that his ingredients be local or he makes it himself. While my cheeseburger was delicious, I can’t say that I exactly warmed up to the recommended Fried Pigs Ear Lettuce Wraps.  I managed to eat one, but then thought of my dogs ear and just couldn’t do anymore.

In addition, we ate at Slightly North of Broad http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/slightlynorthofbroad/ which was my favorite.  The ambiance and decor was lovely and the restaurant was quiet!! Carpeting and upholstered chairs muffled the loud sounds that you get in many other contemporary restaurants. 

View to the kitchen at Slighty North of Broad

I tried to be good with my food choices for most of the week.  I had several meals of fish over greens which was delicious and satisfying.  We did a lot of walking all over the city and did walk 9 holes of golf on Friday carrying clubs.

However, on our last night in SC, my brother took us to the fried fish house nearby – Captain Steve’s.  It was pure gluttony – more hush puppies than you need, large portions of fried shrimp, flounder, catfish – you name it, if is swims and can be fried, they serve it here.  With french fries, onion rings and, of course, more hush puppies.

When in Rome….I had my fish fried.

Needless to say, I have blown up like a tick between the food, booze and salt.  My pants were tight later in the week.  Starting today I was back to egg white omelette for breakfast – salad with a cup of pasta for lunch and Mr. Phat just put chicken in the oven to roast.  I’m flushing my system with plenty of water and No beer or wine.  Which is very hard while watching football.

Fried Pigs Ear Lettuce Wraps at Husk

I’m back at it and hitting the gym once again with the *itch on Tuesday.  She’s already been looking for me.

Mr. Phat and I enjoying our mini vacation

I would love it if one of my fellow wordpress bloggers can help me change the http language to show as just a quick link.