Monday, August 14, 2017

Rant of the day: Socks

Let's talk about socks for a hot minute. There are a few common lengths you can find when purchasing socks for athletic pursuits, although they might go by different names depending on brand or what store you are searching at. I've found some helpful visual aids to ensure we're all on the same page here. Here they are, ordered from least to most acceptable:
No-show socks do not show above your running shoes.
No-show: I feel the same way about no-show socks as I do about strapless bras or thong underwear. God forbid someone sees your panty lines, or bra strap, or freakin' sock, so let's invent something super uncomfortable but ask you to wear it with a smile in the name of fashion. No-show socks provide some of the very basic benefits of being a sock, but absolutely NOTHING where it really counts... my heels. My heels tend to be blister magnets. Zero stars, No-show.
Anklet running sock just touch the bottom of the ankle.
1/4 or Anklet: WTF, 1/4 length? You are like the less-cool cousin of No-show because you're visible above the sneaker-line, and therefore somehow uglier according to society. So I'd love to at least give you props because you're trying to be more functional, but I can't because you still leave me with bloody, mangled heels. Fail all around.

Knee-high running socks extend beyond the calf but not over the knee.
Knee-high: Enjoyed by soccer players and my grandfather. I actually had a few pairs of pretty sweet Superman knee-high socks for CrossFit, which I appreciated when box jumps were part of the Workout of the Day. I mean, if it came down to it, the socks were going to do jack squat if I ate it to keep me from getting bloody shins, but there was still some peace of mind there. Not really appropriate for running (unless you are using compression), because you might as well be wearing pants at this point, but these get an honorable mention as they do often play an important role in costumed, themed, or fun runs.

3/4 running socks cover the ankles but don't go very far up the calf.
3/4 or Mid: The ONLY acceptable sock length for running. My heels and ankles, while slightly whiter than the rest of my body, are well protected from the damage my sneakers can do from a long run. Unfortunately, I must be the only one in the state of Florida who has this problem because there is not a single running store that sells this magical sock. I can only find No-show. Heck, it's really hard to even find 1/4 length here, as if that extra tiny bit of sock is going to cause one to immediately suffer from heat exhaustion. I understand we get 100% humidity down here, but come on people. Really.

And barefoot purists, this is NOT your time to comment. I tried it your way last year, and ended up with an awesome stress fracture after running the Dark Side Challenge (despite training in minimalist shoes for four months) that left me sidelined for a good portion of the summer. I'm thinking your way is the right way... but only once you actually are at a healthy weight. Until then, sneakers... with socks... are for me.

Before I moved to Florida, I was a member of Roadrunner Sports, which carried all kinds of glorious socks. I swore by their R-Gear Dry Max socks, as they were reasonably priced compared to other brands of running socks (especially if you were a member!) and seem to last a long time for the number of miles I put them through. I let my membership expire since RRS doesn't exist down here, but started to get nervous as I picked up running in sneakers again last June and realized my sock collection was dwindling. So when I actually went looking for socks around here and could only find fucking No-show socks, I rejoiced when I was on the road in Colorado with my husband and... lo and behold... we passed a RRS! I made him stop for a few minutes so I could stock up on my favorite socks.

Star Wars Darth Vader dances when he finds a good running sock.
When I finally find 3/4 length socks, I be like...
Anyway, my socks seem to be wearing out again. Thank goodness for the internet and mail order.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

On a serious note

Today's the first day in a while that I've gone back to the park I had been running at - you know, the one with all of the cute baby animals and otters and stuff I've been enjoying so much? One day a few weeks ago, I woke up for a planned run at the park and just felt the urge to go running down by the bay instead. If you know me, you know I don't stray from plans all that often, but I'm so glad I did. When I got home that day, my "Nextdoor" app (if you don't have it, it's similar to Facebook, but specifically for your community) was blowing up with notifications about a dead body at the park. The park isn't that big, about a 1.10 mile loop around, which is why it's so popular with walkers and runners first thing in the morning and another reason I enjoyed it for training (besides the nature show). Police had arrived at the scene, and there was no foul play suspected. But... I'm not sure how I would have handled coming across a suicide on my run. No matter how hard things get, there's always gotta be a reason to live.

So I wanted to take a moment to share how important it is to take care of your mental health, guys. I've downplayed the role that doctors and psychologists have played in my own well-being in this blog, but that's because I'm a big, fat know-it-all sometimes. When really...

Jon Snow knows nothing.
I also know nothing, Jon Snow.
So seriously... if you're ever feeling hopeless or know someone in crisis, start here and don't be afraid to look into help from a therapist.

Ok. That's enough heavy for one day. I need something more uplifting, don't you? Let's see what I've got... how many baby ducklings can you count in this photo I took at the park today?

Baby ducklings
There were fifteen, people. Some sitting behind mama there. Or maybe she's auntie to some, who knows. I wasn't aware ducks were allowed to have that many children.

So I've been hesitant to go back to running in the park for a while, but finally got out there today, only to run straight into an orange fence:

Orange fence getting in the way of my run
This is misleading.
This presented the illusion that I could still complete a loop - but instead of it being 1.10 miles, perhaps it would take me on a short detour. Maybe it would be 1.35 miles. I didn't care, as long as it was some kind of loop around the lake.

So I took the path to the right of the sign, only to dead end into that yellow Caterpillar you see right behind it. Foiled!

The only thing to do was to end my run, go home, and go back to bed.

I kid. If I can run Garmin-free, I can certainly adjust my running route mid-run, especially since I had a working GPS watch/heart rate monitor today. I just detoured back down towards the bay and did a new 5-mile route that took me through a few pretty new streets. Yay for flexibility.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Running Recap

Alright, running friends. What do you do when you wake up bright and early on a Saturday morning for your weekly long run and find with dismay that you've let the battery die in your trusty Garmin?

Well, the first thing I did was put a reminder in my iPhone for every Friday night going forward to check my watch battery. I'm not letting that happen again.

And then I laced up and ran out the door anyway. I figured I'd been given a gift - a non-rainy Saturday morning where I otherwise felt great couldn't be wasted. St. Pete Run Fest will be here before I know it, so I figured I'd train using Rate of Perceived Exertion. But using RPE doesn't always work out for me when trying to stay in my target heart rate, and it certainly didn't help that it quickly got to be hotter than balls by 8am.

Star Wars Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan are also too hot to go running.
Call the police and the firemen. 
Ah well. Still glad I got out there... because I finally solved a mystery that has been bothering me for almost a year now. At this time last year, I ran into some kind of race happening put on by the Florida Ultra Runners but could find no mention of what they were up to online. So when I saw them again this weekend, I worked up the nerve to actually ask one of the runners what was going on.

The event was something called the "Durty(sp) Beer Run," an annual 6-hour run that takes place along a 3 mile-ish loop in downtown St. Pete from 6am to 12 noon. St. Pete is pretty packed with microbreweries, so I suppose it makes a good destination for that kind of run but... no thanks, I'll pass. It was 8 million degrees on Saturday. I'm only slightly exaggerating. I wonder how many people died that day.

Yet that wasn't the only event taking place on Saturday! They were also setting up for something called the Great Brain Wash, which looked much more appealing. This 5k included inflatable obstacles that were similar to giant slip-n-slides, and the race supported brain tumor research. I would have totally crashed the course, but they hadn't started yet, so I just walked my sweaty self home.

My Disney Annual Passes came out of blockout this week, so my husband and I went back to Animal Kingdom yesterday for the first time in over two months.

Dancing Star Wars Stormtroopers
When our Disney Annual Passes come out of blockout, Ben and I be like...
Also, still going strong with my puritanical devotion to healthy eating, having no difficulty navigating a day at Disney yesterday food-wise whatsoever. I will share that I have begun picking up tracking my food in MyFitnessPal again, because I do believe I may be falling into the trap of undereating. I would rather err on the side of having a little bit more food than I need right now to kill any future possible binge urges while I've got the support of medication on my side, rather than be sucked back into the same dangerous cycle the minute I stop meds. Like I said in my initial post on the subject, it's all about developing the right habits for me right now.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Inner Workings

So I'm one week into a new regimen of taking two types of medication - a low dose of an anti-seizure med and an antidepressant - to help end my eating disorder.

Morpheus from the Matrix offers two pills.
What if I told you.... I take both pills?
For the last ten years or so, I've really been strongly against taking any type of medication, even avoiding aspirin for headaches if the pain wasn't unbearable. Even last year, I was hesitant to start up thyroid medication when I learned my thyroid was working sub-optimally, but gave it a go because I thought that might be playing a role in my binging, and the thyroid meds didn't contain much in the way of chemicals (just naturally desiccated pig thyroid gland). But after a year of taking higher and higher doses of WP Thyroid until I hit the max and never seeing better results, I decided to wean myself off of those meds, and I took my last 1/2 grain of WP Thyroid this morning.

So I didn't take the decision to go hunting for help from conventional medicine lightly, but when it comes to binge eating or bulimia or whatever the hell plagues me, the pendulum swings just seem to be getting wilder and wilder in my life. One month, I'm "cured." The next, I'm so far off the rails, it's scary.

I want equilibrium. I want balance. And then I'll achieve my goals, like finally getting my sub 2 half marathon.

And um, guys... the meds are kinda working.

Let me explain to you the inner workings of my brain before last week:

Inner Pig: "Oreos."
Nicole: "Um. We don't eat that stuff anymore."
IP: "Oreos."
Nicole: "We're kinda busy right now."
IP: "Oreos."
Nicole: "I don't really want Oreos."
IP: "Oreos."
Nicole: "I have to run tomorrow, and I can't be sick and bloated for that."
IP: "WE'RE GETTING GODDAMN OREOS."
Nicole: "Eep. Ok"

That's literally how it works for me, and as I understand it, for most with binge eating disorder and other types of addictions. There's an internal argument, a power struggle that takes place until my rational, logical self takes a back seat and something else takes over for a while until I find myself knee-deep in a pile of oreos, wondering how this happened and feeling guilty as hell, and the only thing that is gonna make me feel better is running the junk out of my system, only my body is wearing down and I can't run like that anymore.

And here's how it's worked since last Friday, like almost immediately:

IP: "Or-"
Nicole: "SHUT THE FUCK UP."

Star Wars Finn telling Phasma he's in control
Who's in control? Me.
Also, the meds give me a potty mouth.

And that's it. I eat three normal meals, mostly things I've prepared myself from fresh meats and veggies, and have an extra healthy snack if I have worked out, which has been most days this week. I also have dinner at the table with my husband - it's worked out really nicely that he's not traveling this week for work to get me into the habit of sitting at the table to have meals.

And that's exactly what I'm looking for... building good HABITS around food so that in a few months time, I can eliminate the meds and be a normal human eater. I also believe that - because I won't be eating the things that suppress thyroid function like gluten and dairy - I'll be helping my body out in that respect, too.

I've got hope again. Haven't seen you in a few months, friend. Glad to have you back.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Insert Clever Title Here

I kinda spazzed out last night at kickball. There were a few things working against me:
  • New medication
  • I woke up early yesterday to get in a 5 mile run, since I wasn't certain kickball was going to happen (we've been rained out 80% of the time this season). The rain did not work in my favor this time, however. 
  • We had a double header... against the same team, who is pretty good
  • Our (2) games didn't start until 8:30 pm... and usually I'm in bed and winding down around 9:15pm, so I really didn't want to be there
It doesn't help that every week, we're always fighting to get enough women to play on our team. We always barely eek by with the required 5 minimum, which means that every single one of us is playing the field every single inning, while the guys get to rotate in and out, and the ladies never get a break. Don't get me wrong, I like to play, but I think I'm going to need to take the next season off to really focus on half marathon training. I'll try to find someone to replace me as short stop.

Running went well yesterday.

No it didn't. It went more like this:

Andy from Parks and Rec also hates running.
Minus the whole stripping part.
I did find this article about running form interesting. It appears my natural stride is what's going to be most efficient for me after all, and I don't really need to give it much further thought.

Weird dreams continue. Last night, there were a few different ones, but the one that stands out most vividly right now involves me being part of a focus group at work reviewing new commercials where we fired the guy who has been acting as our spokesperson over the last few years... and replaced him with an animated version of him and used his voice. Pretty sure we can't do that. Also, the commercials were nonsense.

I'm so tired today. Here's to a much-earned rest day.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Right Life

Today's day 5 on the topiramate/bupropion combo, and I have to say the side effects have generally been minimal and not unpleasant. Except for the weird dreams.

Star Wars Luke Skywalker putting Yoda to sleep.
Strange things happen when I go to sleep these days. 
Last night, a nice gentleman named Vlad showed me how they made blue breastplates at Epcot's Norway pavilion for Disney's army. Two nights ago, OJ Simpson was running for mayor of St. Petersburg, which I hope is not prophetic considering we do have a mayoral election coming up, OJ's daughter lives here, and he did mention living in Florida once he gets out of prison.

Speaking of living in Florida, I've lived here since July of 2015. When I first got here, I felt like I was finally living my "right life"... no more commuting, more time to dedicate to running and my other passions, and - yes, still feeling pressure to perform at work - but pressure I could alleviate with a quick look out of my bayview balcony. (I temporarily lived in a condo overlooking Tampa Bay when I first got here. So awesome.) Well, here I am two years later, and I'm not really feeling that "right life" feeling anymore.

Surely, I'm missing my waterfront property. 

Ok, I know it's more than that. I really think I'm just not in the right line of work anymore. I've been in my role for 4.5 years, with my company for about 10. But I'm afraid to look elsewhere. I do love my company and there are plenty of reasons to stay with them, but I think it may be impossible to land another job with my company as a remote worker, and moving back north is not an option for me right now. 

Besides, I really love working from home. I can think clearly. I can be here to let in contractors when needed. I can do other things with my life besides drive myself to and from work. Yet I believe it is going to be very difficult to land another work-from-home job, and this article agrees with me

And yet I fear I might be forced to look elsewhere in the coming months. 

All signs point to the fact I should find a new role that gives my life meaning and purpose, especially as this month I will enter my late 30's which is mid-life crisis territory. But I hesitate because I'm not sure the benefits of finding meaningful work outweigh the stress of having an office-based job again. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Battle Lost

After a two-week fight with my doctor, insurance company, and pharmacist, I am relieved to share that the battle is over.
Kill all the things meme
Had to go full-on bitch mode over the last two weeks. I really hate doing that.
And... I lost. I'm just tired of fighting. I don't know who to be mad at today, though. My doctor for not helping me achieve a more immediate resolution and not having my back with my insurance company? Or my insurance company, who somehow gets a say in which drugs I get to take because they don't want to pay for the good stuff?

No. I should be mad at the drug company. How is it they get to advertise directly to me that they have the "solution"? Shouldn't my doctor be the one to tell me what to take based on my symptoms? And why is the drug company allowed to charge $325 per month for said "solution"? It's not like I have an EpiPen level condition here, but it still seems unfair that I have to choose between going bankrupt or prolonging my suffering.

I can't really afford $325 per month, but I also now know after all these years that I can't solve my eating disorder without support. So I went with the doctor-suggested alternative, which is a combination of an anti-seizure medication (last I checked, I didn't have epilepsy, so this makes sense) and an antidepressant, for a grand total of $35 per month out of my pocket. This cocktail comes with a long list of possible side effects (I must apologize in advance if you notice any changes in the quality of my writing over the next month) and a small probability of actually solving my problem. Also, no more Friday night glass of wine, especially if I want to maintain my Saturday morning long run schedule.

But I'll interject some optimism here. Maybe this will help me finally break a shitty habit and form brand new ones so that by the time The Last Jedi comes out in December, I'll be able to quit the meds and will be well on my way to sub-2 half marathon land for the Princess Run in February.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Doc

I've been seeing a fairly unconventional doctor over the past year to treat low thyroid function, as I thought that might be the root of all the problems I'm having. I'd see him once every month or two, get some blood drawn, and get an increase in dosage for WP Thyroid, but nothing really changed for me. When I finally hit my max dosage of WP Thyroid (2.5 grains), he suggested another increase, which meant I was going to have to purchase two bottles of the medication each month (one 2.5 grain bottle, one .5 grain bottle), increasing my monthly drug bill from $20 to $40.

While Dr. Paleo didn't charge me for office visits, I did have to pay $50 for every blood test, so it was getting really expensive for me to keep doing this. And why would I pay twice as much to keep taking a drug that wasn't working? Doing the same thing over and over again without results is silly. I'd like to point out that if I went the conventional route, I'd probably be prescribed a different generic brand of thyroid medication that my insurance covers at a discount.

But I made the decision last month that I was done with thyroid meds, and started to phase myself off of them. Step 2 was finding a new doctor that could prescribe me something that works.

After getting a list of qualified doctors that were in-network with my insurance company, I made an appointment with the doc closest to my house. I had to wait a few weeks to get squeezed in, though, which caused me some anxiety. I'm never all that excited to have to share my embarrassing background with yet another professional, but I prefer to treat it like ripping off a band-aid. Just get it over and done with.

So my appointment time came last Thursday afternoon, and I arrived a few minutes early, signed in, and waited patiently for the administrative assistant sitting at the front desk to get settled from her return from lunch. And waited. And waited some more. When it was clear she wasn't going to check the sign-in sheet anytime soon, I approached her and introduced myself as a new patient. She was pleasant enough, took my ID, insurance card, and some paperwork I had pre-filled out, and then delivered the news that my one-hour appointment was going to cost $132.

Already I started second-guessing my decision to leave Dr. Paleo.

Unfortunately, the type of appointment I need doesn't fall into the realm of annual check-ups or "preventive care" (although I'm not sure how getting myself out of unhealthy patterns ISN'T considered "preventive care"), and therefore isn't covered by my insurance until I hit my deductible, which is $2500... so really, something catastrophic needs to happen to me in order for my plan to cover anything, at which point they'll cover 80% of my costs.

I thought about walking away, but nah. I paid it. #Desperate

Fry from Futurama saying "Shut up and Take My Money"
Hey, this image works pretty well today too. 
The doctor didn't show up until one hour after our appointment was supposed to start, which made me anxious because this was the middle of the work day and I hadn't expected to be gone longer than an hour. Dr. Paleo usually got me in and out of the office pretty quickly. I was already getting negative vibes from this new place.

When I finally saw New Doc, I didn't waste any time. I shared my life-long problems with food, that he is professional number 127 in a long list of doctors, psychologists, and health coaches I've hired, and I just want to not have to deal with THIS. Ever. Again. In My Life. I outlined exactly which medication I wanted, how long I planned to be taking it, and how I would be able to phase myself off of it in one year's time.

Yeah, I do my research... except when it comes to knowing how much I'm going to be paying for things. Just like I was shocked that the cost of my appointment was $132, I hit the floor when I learned the medication I want costs $325 per month...

Which is why I'm here almost one week after my appointment with no medication in hand. Yes, New Doc wrote the script (only after suggesting a few other ideas, which I dismissed), I dropped it off at CVS, and have been stuck playing a frustrating game of Monkey-in-the-Middle with my doctor, insurance company, and pharmacist about whether they are actually going to fill this prescription or not. I can't afford $325 per month, the insurance company is requiring some type of "pre-authorization" that other methods have been tried and haven't worked (maybe I can send them a link to my blog as a pre-authorization), and the doctor is still suggesting other methods that - based on what I'm reading about them on the internet - I'm fairly certain will NOT work for me.

In other stressful news, the host of the Airbnb I had reserved six months ago for celebrating my friend's 40th birthday tomorrow night has disappeared off the face of the earth. As you can imagine, losing out on your accommodations the day before your trip - especially in Orlando, where everyone and their mother goes for summer vacation and pickings are slim right now - is quite disastrous. I've spent most of the day anxiously trying to get a resolution, and Airbnb helped me get another space. It was more expensive, but Airbnb covered the price difference, and it's not too much further away from Universal Studios than our original place, so at least everything is coming up Milhouse there. Airbnb is awesome.

So you won't be hearing from me until next week after my guests leave, but if I don't have my freaking pills in hand before my next post, heads will roll.

/ranting from an angry (food) addict

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fairy Dust

It was an awesome weekend for Disney Geeks everywhere with all of the news coming out of the D23 expo. I really don't know what to be most excited about right now. The "news" about the name of the Star Wars themed lands wasn't that revealing, and I had already heard rumors about the immersive Star Wars hotel, so I may have to go with either Shanghai Disney's "Tron" ride coming to Disney World, or the addition of three more ships to Disney Cruise Line's fleet.

Fry (not a Disney character) saying "Shut Up and Take My Money"
Damn it, Disney. Thanks for providing a few more reasons to give you my life's savings. Here's hoping you take care of me in retirement. 
That reminds me, I need to add "Attend D23" to my bucket list. If you missed any of the big D23 announcements from this weekend, you can get the recap here

The only thing I was disappointed about was that there was no news about the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. 2018 was going to be my year to earn the pink Coast to Coast challenge medal from Disney, but I can't do that without running Tink... so here's hoping it's actually happening. 

Things have returned to normal-ish here, sort of. The patio crew cleaned up their mess, only... they didn't finish the project. They didn't do a portion of the project that was clearly outlined in the quote, and fixing their mistake is going to mean they have to destroy some of their previous work. So they are going to have to come back with their drills and saws and other noisy tools and make another dusty mess. You can see I'm clearly looking forward to this. 

In the meantime, though, I've been doing pretty well with food and exercise. I have not run in over a week, but am otherwise getting to the gym daily. I had two more check-in appointments with Dr. Livingston to keep up my progress with Never Binge Again. And as I mentioned last week, I had an appointment with a new doctor last Thursday to see if I could replace Dr. Paleo. 

That appointment didn't go so well. I'll save that update for another day, though. 

I am very much looking forward to a mini-vacay this week. One of my best friends is heading down here from Minnesota to celebrate her 40th birthday with me at Universal Studios. Because the best way to turn 40 is to chug Butterbeers, get fitted for robes, and ride the Hogwarts Express, obviously. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Home Crap Home

I had to travel back to New Jersey for work last week, which I don't mind so much because I get to see my friends and family that are there. Also, the sun rises a bit earlier there than here in Florida, which makes waking up for a run so much easier. Generally, it can be just as humid in NJ during July as it is in FL, but I lucked out and got one of those weeks that was more like spring than summer there. Absolutely gorgeous.

Weather and family aside, travel is more of a challenge than a reward for me. I've got all the stress of commuting to work like everyone else in the world, but don't have access to the things that help me stay sane. No kitchen. No puppy dog. No showing up to work in yoga pants, as I usually do when I work from home. So as much fun as it is to see my family and friends on the company's dime, I'm always relieved to come home.

Except when my Lyft from the airport pulled up to my house late last night, I discovered an absolute mess. Our contractors had begun work on our yard (we're having a patio put in and some landscaping done), and everything was torn up as if an earthquake had ripped through. I had no way to get to my front door other than to walk through all of the dirt with my luggage. And a mountain of broken concrete, pulled-up sod, and other debris had been piled up in our driveway.

I looked at the pile and realized that - yes, I was now home - but I was going to be stuck there for quite some time. It's like I wished on the Monkey's Paw to never have to leave home again. No driving to the gym or to pick up my dog from my grandmother's. I could use my bicycle to at least get groceries, but this was definitely not an ideal situation.

I don't blame anybody but myself. I really should have known better than to allow work to begin while my husband and I were both out of state, but I was really anxious for them to get started. We've been trying to get this work completed since February of this year. The contractors also told me it would only take two days to do the patio, and I was thinking it was awesome that I didn't actually have to be around for all of the noise and mess of it all. I didn't stop to think that maybe rain might delay them. I certainly didn't think I should pull the car out of the garage before they got started.

I took a photo this morning from my bedroom to show you the quarry that is my yard:

My messed up back yard
Ok, I know what you are thinking. #FirstWorldProblems
Spare me your tiny violins. I'll be really excited when the project is done and we can finally entertain people at our house. Still, I just felt the need to share why maybe going for a run today and sticking with my food plan was not my priority.

The good news is that my mother lives about 15 minutes away, right next door to my grandmother who was dogsitting for me. They both own white minivans, although my grandmother doesn't drive anymore. So my mom is letting me borrow her car while mine is blocked in since she can just use my Grams's van. Problem solved.

The landscapers got a lot done today, but have not really made a dent in clean-up. My hope is that everything is back to normal tomorrow.

Oh, I have a doctor's appointment with a new doctor tomorrow (another reason why I was anxious about not being able to drive). It's just not working out with Dr. Paleo. As I mentioned in this post, I was on the max dose of my thyroid meds and haven't seen any improvements in any facet of my life, so I wanted to start phasing them out. He and I disagreed about that, so I just started splitting my max dose and am phasing myself off of them. We'll see what the new doctor has to say tomorrow.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fixed

Holy crap, Wendy fixed me!

Last month, I had a really weird massage that involved what I'll call electric noninvasive acupuncture. It was a very bipolar experience in that I couldn't wait for it to be over... yet once it ended, I couldn't wait to go back for another massage. Wendy had become my new favorite massage therapist.

So I had my chance for another massage this week; but when I went back for my appointment, I learned that Wendy no longer worked there. I was disappointed but still went for my massage. My new therapist was definitely more traditional. No fun there.

Here's where the fun starts, though - there's a spot on my lower back that has been very tender when touched, and I've always had to warn my therapists about it because the pain gets in the way of a good massage. As I mentioned in my prior blog post about Wendy, I've had this problem for a really long time, I think about ten years. When I explained this pain to Wendy, she broke out her weird electro-pen thingy and worked her magic.

My therapist this week wasn't very conversational and didn't give me a chance to inform her about preferred pressure or other things she should know. So she just dug right into that tender spot, and I flinched, waiting for pain... that never came.

Lego Star Wars "Everything is Awesome"
I also saw a chiropractor for one brief appointment in the last month, so that could have helped me out too... but I'm going to give the full credit for healing my back to Wendy.
I so desperately want to find out where Wendy and her magic wand went so that I can follow her to her new business, but I feel like it would be rude to ask her old employer for the info. Most businesses aren't going to willingly send me to their competitors, and they likely don't know where she's working anyway.

Wendy, if by any crazy random happenstance you are a Star Wars fan/runner/binge eater/blog reader and are following me, shoot me a note, please.

In other news, friends of mine welcomed their first child into the world last week, and I got caught up in all of the excitement since I was their dog sitter while they were at the hospital. Every time my friends have kids, I start to second-guess my decision to remain childless. I'm reminded that my own window for motherhood is rapidly closing.

Let's be clear, I'd be a mom in a heartbeat... if I suddenly didn't have to work anymore, had achieved balance with food and exercise, and lived in a state with crappier weather but better school systems. I am in awe of happier women who can balance successful careers with raising children - how do some women just have it all?

Or perhaps the better question is why are they so much better equipped than I am to handle the stress of it all? Do I just have a severely low stress tolerance compared to everyone else in the world?

Or maybe the best question would be what parts of their lives aren't so perfect that they are hiding from us all? I know with my perfectionist tendencies, I would go into nuclear meltdown mode because something else in my life would have to give for me to be a competent mother. Wendy, if you've got something that "fixes" perfectionism, let me know.

More than 60% of our household income comes from my paycheck, so my husband and I would take a major hit in lifestyle if I gave up my career. I still have an eating disorder to fight. And #sorrynotsorry, I love having unlimited access to sunshine.

So as much as I think kids are awesome, and that Ben and I would have brilliant (but short) progeny, I'm 100% confident I'm making the right decision. I've said it before, but we have to abstain from some of Life's pleasures in order to experience others.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Big Why vs. Little Why

It was bound to happen. The "Never Binge Again" (NBA) program that I believed to be the solution to my binge eating problems stopped working. I was off the wagon for about three weeks.

After I wrote this post acknowledging my wagon-fall earlier in June, I decided to book another one-on-one coaching session with Dr. Glenn Livingston.  But his time books up really quickly, and the first available appointment I could get with him was last Friday morning. In the two weeks until I met with him again, I let my "inner pig" get the best of me. I was feeling pretty awful, convinced the NBA protocol had failed me like everything else I tried, and I might as well stop trying and eat whatever I want.

Cookie Monster binge eating on cookies.
Me during the month of June
Even though I was feeling like NBA was no longer the solution, I attended my coaching session with Dr. Livingston. I explained how frustrated I was that things had been going so well for a while, but that I fell off the wagon and just couldn't seem to get back on track. "It just feels like I'm never going to change, so why bother trying?" I explained.

He figured me out in the two minutes it took me to lay this all out there (which is great, because each coaching session is only 15 minutes long. No time to waste!)

"Well, if you don't try, then what's guaranteed to happen?"

"If I don't try, I definitely won't change," I acknowledged.

"Right. Also, it sounds like you lost your motivation."

I contemplated that for a moment. I really haven't "lost" my motivation. I know exactly what it is, as I wrote it out in a detailed "Big Why" statement, an exercise Dr. Livingston had us do as part of the NBA online seminar. A "Big Why" statement is exactly what it sounds like - the big reason why you are committed to never binging again. For me, attaining a healthy weight, having energy and focus, and - of course - running a sub 2 half marathon are all included in my "Big Why."

"No," I disagreed. "I read my 'Big Why' statement to myself every day. Maybe my 'Big Why' isn't big enough." In the back of my mind, I thought about weight loss success stories I've read online. Usually, the motivating factor involves children. I'm not a parent, so I can't use this as a motivator.

"Or maybe you need a 'Little Why.'"

A "Little Why?" I hadn't thought about that before. All of the things I want to achieve as part of my "Big Why" are in the distant future. My far-off future self is a stranger to me, so why would I do something - like NOT eat the cookie - that's going to benefit a stranger? A "Little Why" could be all about more immediate gratification.

"Yes, I think I need a 'Little Why'," I answered him. So my homework assignment from our call was to figure out some of the immediate benefits of sticking to my food plan. So far, here's what I've got:

  • I'll feel good enough to go for a run (important if I ever want to achieve that sub 2 half marathon goal)
  • I'll be able to focus enough on writing at least 15 minutes every day (baby steps towards completing my novel) 
Um. That's it so far. And as of right now, neither of these things sound better than having a cookie. I understand I need to abstain from some of Life's pleasures in order to experience others, but what's going to be THE thing that makes me unravel years of engaging in such a terrible habit?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The good news is that I've had a few better days since meeting with Dr. Livingston, but I don't feel as strong as I did when I started the program. I want to get back to that invincible feeling. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chiropractor

Well, it doesn't look like I'll be seeing a chiropractor regularly anytime soon.

As great as I felt after seeing one this week, I just can't swing the $50 per appointment fee it's going to cost me to get my spine in order. When I had good insurance, I only had a $10 co-pay for each visit. I did not anticipate my out of pocket costs would be so high paying on my own.

I'll back up a bit. After I posted my intentions on Monday, I found a Groupon deal for a new chiropractor in my city that included an initial consultation, x-rays, and a second appointment with an adjustment. I purchased the deal, called the chiro's office, and they were able to get me in right away. I spent about an hour discussing my goals and literal pain points with the doctor. He took the x-rays and then performed a series of tests I didn't remember going through at my last chiropractor.

The first test involved rolling what felt like a back massager down my spine to perform a thermal scan, as high temperatures show where stress is building up in the body. Then, he used an electromyography device along different areas of my spine to measure how much energy my body is using to retain my posture. Finally, I was asked to place my hand on a device that measured my heart rate variability.

When the appointment was complete, the doctor scheduled me for a follow-up visit on Tuesday, and shared he would be emailing me the results of the tests to be discussed during the second visit. He shared that I shouldn't be alarmed at the overall "score" I was given on the test, and that we'd discuss appropriate treatment after he had a day to digest the results.

I shouldn't be alarmed? Just how badly did I do on the test? When I got home, the answer was already waiting in my Gmail inbox:

Image displays chiropractor "Core Score"
My overall score was a "55." That's a pretty solid "F." Apparently, I'm "Very Challenged."

Now, I know I'm in poor shape, but come on. I asked Google to see if anybody else had posted anything about "CoreScore." My initial thoughts were that these tests are designed to ensure that everybody "fails," putting the consumer in such a dire state of mind that they'll pay anything to get healthy again. But the few blog posts I found about it demonstrated that people do get results in the "Very Good" section, so my theory was voided.

So I went back to see Dr. Chiro on Tuesday, and we discussed his overall plan of care. The biggest surprise of the day?

My "rotated hips" are fine. The issue that drove me to go see a chiropractor in the first place doesn't even exist anymore, according to the x-rays. Hmm.

Still, he put me through a few adjustments, as well as some stretches and a little bit of traction to help my neck. He commented that my flexibility was pretty good, which was surprising to me because I've always felt a bit tight, but I'll take some positive news where I can get it. And I have to say, I felt so much better afterward. I still feel great two days later. Better than a massage, and I only needed to spend about 15 minutes on the chiro table.

So maybe there's a chiropractor out there who can help this "Very Challenged" individual for a lot less than $50 per appointment. Anybody in the Tampa Bay area have a recommendation?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rotated Hips

I've had super tight hamstrings for as long as I can remember. In fact, I almost was not allowed to participate in high school sports (I did winter and spring track) because I always failed the required physical in this one area. But nobody told me what to do about it (I think "physical therapy" was thrown out there at one point), and they let me participate anyway. Great!

When I lived in New Jersey, I had excellent health insurance that covered chiropractic visits with a small copay. My chiropractor shared I had rotated hips, as he noted that when I laid flat on my stomach, one leg appeared shorter than the other. After a quick adjustment, things were aligned perfectly, and I'd go back twice a week to keep things in line. 

I have been thinking about this since my awesome yet strangely weird massage experience I had last Monday. My massage therapist noted it and tried to correct it for me, and I did feel a little bit better immediately after the massage. However, I definitely had some soreness in my left quad while running on Tuesday, so I don't think what she did had any lasting effect. 

Star Wars Han Solo wondering "WTF?"

So I'm thinking that - even though I'd still like to continue with monthly massage - I may be better served going back to a chiropractor more regularly. Unfortunately, my new health insurance isn't going to cover jack squat at a chiropractor, so I may need to free up some funds to try this new approach. We'll see how it goes for a little while - if no improvement, I'll get back on the massage train. 

In the meantime, I've been watching YouTube videos about stretches that can be done to help minimize the problem. If you have experienced this and have any other suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know what else I can do!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Scarred for Life

As I mentioned in this post, Monday night was monthly massage night for me. Although I had given some repeat business to East to West Massage over the last few months, I decided to try a new place based on a flyer I received from them in the mail. Their regular price for a massage is $29.99 - super cheap, no Groupon needed.

Everything started out as it normally does with massage. I was introduced to my therapist, Wendy, a tiny Asian woman who asked all the usual questions:
  • What kind of pressure do you like? (Medium to hard)
  • What are you looking to accomplish? (Relaxation)
  • Anything I should know about you? (I have a tender spot in my lower back that doesn't bother me unless someone presses on it. I first discovered it roughly ten years ago when my husband hugged me and it hurt). 
Usually, my massage therapist will take note and will discover the spot in question as they are working on me because I twitch pretty violently when they touch it. They'll then either ease up pressure or avoid it completely, which is fine by me. 

Except Wendy seemed really perplexed by this when she hit the magic spot. She had noticed one of two scars I have on my back, and asked for some background on it. I shared that in 2007, I had a mole there that had increased in size and I had it removed. The wound had been cauterized, but in 2011, the mole came back. It was removed again, and stitched appropriately. 

Wendy immediately said she wanted to break up the scar tissue.

I had no idea what this meant or what this had to do with my sore back because the scar isn't in the same spot as the tender area of my back. There was a bit of a language barrier, but from my understanding, she was suggesting that something in my body "remembered" this trauma and wasn't "ok" with it.

Star Wars Han Solo giving Luke Skywalker an incredulous look.
Whatever you say, lady.

As skeptical as I was, I let her know I was up for anything. So she proceeded to pull out an instrument that looked kind of like an electronic pen attached to some wires and explained she would be using alternating current to relieve the scar. "Like a TENS machine?" I asked? "Electromagnetic pulse?"

"Similar," she answered. "But alternating current is the same current the body uses." I didn't press her for further explanation, but I've had EMP treatment before and had good outcomes, so I acknowledged she could proceed with the treatment.

It wasn't until she turned the tool on (if anybody has any idea what I'm talking about and what this thing is called, please let me know in the comments) and it emitted a high pitch electronic noise that I started to get nervous, like I was going to be shocked awake like Frankenstein. I half expected my therapist to yell "It's alive!" when she applied the pen to my skin.

The feeling was very odd, though. It didn't hurt but I psyched myself out enough about it that I was absolutely uncomfortable and couldn't wait for it to be over. I was then annoyed that I was sacrificing about five to ten minutes of massage time for shock therapy.

Yet - after all was said and done - I actually felt better. Wendy tested out the spot on my back, and while not totally healed, it was definitely less twitchy.

So she continued with the massage, then commenting about how my hips were rotated. This has been another long-term pain point (literally) for me, one I used to see a chiropractor about. She attempted to correct it for me, but I was way too ticklish for it.

Of course, she had a solution for this as well. She asked permission to work on my ears, because - as she put it - "our ears are like the computers of our bodies. Fix them, fix everything else that's going wrong." Again...  I have no idea what that means. But I said "sure, why not?" because this could only just make a good massage story even better.

And then she pulled out that weird pen thing again and proceeded to light up five different spots on each of my ears. What was supposed to be a sixty-minute massage turned out to be about forty minutes of actual relaxation time and twenty minutes of torture.

I exaggerate. It really did NOT hurt, it was just very strange and very uncomfortable.

So here's the kicker...

I booked another appointment with Wendy next month.

Because as weird as being fried by a voltaic pen during a massage is, I have never felt better in the days following a massage as I have during this past week. Here's hoping she can effect permanent change in me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nature Show

Well, I may not be getting any faster during my weekly runs around the lake, but I can't say I'm not enjoying myself. It just makes me so happy to see nature at work in the wee hours before I have to log into my computer to do my own work. Things seen today include:

  • The otter! Like I said before, who can be sure if it's the same one my husband and I captured in this video, but I saw this guy swimming around today in roughly the same place with every lap I made around the lake. 
  • Snail murder. I saw a stork-like bird carrying a giant snail in his long slender bill and wondered exactly what he planned to do with it. The thing was way too big for him to swallow whole. I didn't have to wait long, though, as he put it down on the ground upside-down, raised his head high, then slammed his giant knife of a beak right into the fleshy part of the snail. It was quite barbaric, and I didn't stick around to see the rest of the show. 
  • A lady walking her cat... that was NOT the same lady and same cat that I usually see walking around the lake! Ok, much like the other lady, this one was actually walking her dog and was being followed closely by a small black and white tuxedo cat. I'm flabbergasted that more than one person has trained her cat to obediently follow her AND the cat's mortal enemy. I think if I were to take Kirbi on a walk with Joey, I'd never see her again. I might be ok with that.
  • And - of course - more baby animals. It's baby duck season around the lake and I just melt when I see tiny fluffy little ducklings. Today, I saw baby birds of a different type - it's hard to tell from the photo below, but Mom is on the right and has a red bill. Her chicks are fluffy and are pretty much all legs.  

Alright, I know I need to start giving more substantial posts besides "Things Seen While Running," but I can't help it. I just want to let everyone know how much fun I'm actually having while running these days, which is a far cry from where I was last year while training for the Star Wars and Avenger Half Marathons. I say this now because I'm not feeling a ton of pressure, although I'm not sure why as I only have five months until the St. Pete Run Fest. I think I'm just not that committed to sub 2 anymore. 

Anyway, this wasn't the post I intended to publish today. Last night was monthly massage night, and I've got another great story to share about it. No, nothing will ever be as epically awful as this particular massage I wrote about last year, but this one was definitely... out there. I'll publish that one tomorrow. 

But tonight was supposed to be Kickball night and - just like last week - I saw thunderstorms in the forecast and decided to tempt fate by going for a morning run just in case the game was canceled. And I was right yet again! Tomorrow morning, I'm heading back to the gym for arm day. Hopefully my kickball skills aren't deteriorating too rapidly with all of this bad weather we're having. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Not my week

It's been a bad week. I'm not sure what has sent me so far off my previous path, but I've definitely gone backwards. Today, I must course-correct. 

I've strayed from the Never Binge Again program. My inner pig got out of it's cage. I think he's back in there now, but I've gotta post extra sentries on watch. There is really no leeway for me to have eating free-for-alls again like I did this week. 

Because I've been eating things I have stayed away from in the last month, I've also felt exhausted. Whereas I used to easily wake up in the morning to get a workout done, I have been having a really hard time feeling motivated. My last real workout was my run on Tuesday, but I've been at least getting some walking in. 

Since I've been struggling both with food and exercise, I've lost some points this week on the Whole Life Challenge. There was also an additional component to the challenge this week to avoid social media and only check once each day. I do understand the rationale behind avoiding social media - it can be a time suck, and it can make you feel bad about yourself - but social media doesn't seem to have this impact on me (and when it does, I take a detox break). Facebook is actually a tool I use to coordinate my offline life, from connecting with teammates about our weekly kickball games to planning vacations with friends/family. So I decided to sacrifice WLC points in order to keep my social life alive. 

For example, I was supposed to have a day off of work today to hang out with my friends from Texas, who are in Orlando at Universal Studios with their family. I had been coordinating the meetup with them through Facebook. I was really looking forward to having a butterbeer with them, but a few things came up at work and I was disappointed that I had to cancel my plans. At least they're making their way to St. Pete to stay with me tomorrow night, so I won't totally miss catching up with them. 

Lastly, I noticed this week that the runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon registration has been postponed. It was supposed to happen later this month, but Disney quietly removed the registration info. 

Star Wars Kylo Ren having a tantrum.
My reaction when I saw the registration information was gone.
There's a rumor going around that the construction of a new resort out in Anaheim has really messed things up for runDisney races out there (which is why the Star Wars "Light Side" Half also does not have registration info yet). I am really hoping that they aren't totally cancelling the Tinkerbell race because it's on my bucket list, and I wanted to do it next year since I'm already doing the Princess Half. I really want that pink Coast to Coast challenge medal.

Anyway, although it was a bad week, I'm not going to dwell on it. Life is never going to be perfect, and I know it's a sign of my own inner strength that I've fallen so many times but continue to get back up and try again. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ninja Turtle

I probably shouldn't have gone running this morning. The odds were against me having a good run for a few reasons:
  • Yesterday was "Leg Day" at the gym. I usually don't work out at night, but I had to yesterday because I had a dentist appointment at 8am, which wasn't going to leave me with enough time to do my workout and get a shower in. I don't think I'm doing my leg workouts hard enough, though, because my legs felt just as fresh as any other day when I woke up this morning.
  • The weather hasn't been all that great here in "sunny" Florida. Rain ruined my weekend Disney plans, and it's continuing through this week. However, my weather app told me that rain was only a 35% probability between 6 and 10 am today, so I decided to take my chances. The humidity was pretty awful, though. 
  • Tuesday nights is typically kickball nights... and this week, my team was scheduled for a doubleheader. So normally, I wouldn't workout on a Tuesday morning because I've gotta be fresh to kick some balls.Yet with the rain in the forecast, I decided to take the risk and go for a run in the hopes that the games would be canceled (and, lucky for me, they were! I'd be pretty useless to the team tonight if they hadn't been).  
Despite having just worked out last night, fighting humidity, and being anxious about kickball tonight, I had a pretty decent run! My Mizunos are working out really well. And I got to see some cool things at the lake:

Saw a painted turtle while running

  • I'm pretty sure this turtle I found could out-run me. 
  • Remember when I saw a lady walking her cat? I think I ran into her husband, who was also walking a dog and was closely followed by the same cat. I will try to get some video of this next time because it's absolutely hilarious and adorable. 
  • Speaking of video, I also saw an otter! My husband captured video of this otter (or maybe it was his brother/mother/cousin... not sure how many otters live in this urban lake in Florida, but methinks it can't be that many...) on his cell phone two weeks ago when we went for a walk. I caught a really quick glimpse of this one swimming today, too quick to get another video. But if I can get my husband to post his otter video to YouTube today, I'll link to it here.
UPDATE: Here he is :)


I'm glad I'm back on a morning workout schedule for the rest of the week now and will head back to the gym for "Arm Day" tomorrow. I know it's Global Running Day tomorrow, but it's going to be raining here and I don't think it's wise for me to have back-to-back running days just yet. It's a bit too early in my half marathon training. 

I may be overdue for a rest day, but there's no such thing as a true "rest day" on the Whole Life Challenge - you have to do at least 10 minutes of exercise every day. I've been sprinkling in walking as active rest in order to get my points for the WLC.

If you're also doing the WLC, leave a comment and let me know how you are handling rest days. Are you active? Or are you just sacrificing points? I'd also love to hear how everyone is celebrating Global Running Day too!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Dunks'

It's National Donut Day again. Feels just like yesterday I was fighting the urge to stop at Krispy Kreme, Wawa, AND Dunkin' Donuts to take advantage of free donut offers.

Star Wars Stormtroopers eating donuts.
Well, let's be honest. I fight the urge to eat donuts every single day. Much harder to do when they are FREE!
Donuts are definitely not part of my meal plan on the Never Binge Again protocol. And they certainly aren't allowed on the Whole Life Challenge, an 8-week healthy living challenge I'm currently taking part in.

But I've decided to lose some points on the WLC and loosen up on my meal plan to take part in this annual "holiday." I just decided I was only going to indulge in ONE donut, not one at every single place that was offering free donuts... and Dunks' won out. I thoroughly enjoyed my indulgence, but I must cage my inner pig and get back on track immediately.

I'm otherwise kicking ass and taking names on the WLC. Well, sort of. I'm in first place on my team, which consists of my mom and my husband's family. They were the ones that invited me to participate, I think mostly because they wanted me to encourage HIM to participate. I couldn't get him to commit, though, and now I'm demolishing them all. /bragging. I don't think I'll be invited to participate in the next challenge.

I may be doing well on my team of ten, but compared to the rest of the world, I rank right around 3k out of the 14k people who are participating overall. So really, I'm doing kind of... meh.

A nice long run tomorrow should certainly undo the donut damage I did today. I've got a brand new pair of kicks I'm sporting these days*:


Mizuno Wave Inspire 13

If you've been following me for a while, you might remember I've been married to my Saucony Hurricanes for a long time now. When I went shoe shopping this past weekend, however, I tested out the current model and was not thrilled. My local shoe expert suggested I go with Brooks Adrenaline instead, but I was hesitant because that was the shoe I was using years ago when I experienced some knee issues. So he then laced up a pair of these Mizuno Wave Inspire 13s for me, and I decided to give it a go.

I broke them in with 10k steps around Disney on Sunday to check out the new "Pandora" world at Animal Kingdom, and then ran 5 miles in them yesterday. I think they are going to work out just fine. We'll see how a longer run goes tomorrow.

*Amazon Affiliate Link. This means that if you click any of the links to Amazon through my site and buy something, I may earn a commission. Much obliged.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Never Binge Again

I just want to thank everyone who participated in my EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale giveaway! Congratulations to Amber H for the win! 

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm overdue in providing an update regarding the program I'm currently using to end my binge eating problems. A reminder: binge eating problems have consumed a good portion of my adult life. Despite seeing multiple therapists, trying different diets, and reading every book out there on binging over the last ten years, I have never had any success in killing my eating disorder. Distance running kept my problem from being super noticeable to the general public, but burned me out over the last few years. I was exhausted, stressed out, and miserable.

Right around the time I started this blog in 2015, I somehow ended up on the mailing list for the Bright Line Eating program offered by Susan Peirce Thompson. In her introductory emails, Susan shared she had found the solution to ending binge eating, and provided a short video series sharing a very high-level overview about the program. Her marketing tactics worked, and I couldn't wait to find out about her "Boot Camp" that offered online support in implementing the Bright Line tactics. So I joined a live webinar to hear about the Boot Camp and received instant sticker shock.

Ending binge eating was apparently going to cost me $1,000+.

Star Wars Finn in desert.

I was disappointed to learn that online group therapy could be so expensive. I remember thinking that Weight Watchers was only $45 per month and you actually get some face to face support, vs. the online forum-based support that came with the BLE Boot Camp. The program may have changed since I looked into it two years ago, but at the time, it seemed to me that Susan was taking advantage of people who desperately wanted to end binge eating.

Shortly after that, I changed the way I was training for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon and hoped that slower running combined with a higher fat/lower carb diet could help me kill the binge dragon. I was focused on that effort for a while, but saw no results.

However, in July 2016, I found a new "expert" to follow. I actively read the Mark's Daily Apple blog, and was interested to see a binge eating disorder expert being interviewed on his podcast. So I listened to what Dr. Glenn Livingston had to say... and then immediately consumed every bit of information I could find on the guy, including downloading and reading his FREE book on Amazon. I wrote this short post about the Never Binge Again program, and successfully implemented his suggestions for the rest of the summer.

But then, I let my guard down. Birthdays, holidays... you know how the second half of the year can be. I was fooled into thinking I knew exactly how to "put my inner pig back in its cage," and having a treat here and there turned into something much more sinister again. I found myself back to where I started, and didn't give "Never Binge Again" much more thought.

Until January. The new year arrived, and I started receiving emails from yet another binge eating expert, Isabel Foxen Duke. Isabel employed similar marketing tactics as Susan Peirce Thompson, and I was hooked. Her videos made me believe she had the real answer to binge eating disorder, and I couldn't wait to sign up for her coaching program.

The cost? $1,000+. Again, her program provided webinars and group support. No individual consultations for me and my particular problems. There's a lot of money to be made in the world of eating disorders. Someone has to be paying these prices, I guess, but it's not me. I've got other bills I have to pay, thankyouverymuch.

Meanwhile, I had continued receiving emails from Dr. Glenn Livingston and remembered how his program had sort of worked for me last year. It was so easy, based on rules I could make for myself... no menus to follow, no counting points or calories, and no weigh-ins necessary. I just needed some help in constructing a solid plan for myself and implementing a simple - yet effective - mind trick when faced with the possibility of deviating from that plan.

Enter Dr. Livingston's "Online Intensive" program. His program consists of four group webinars (held live so you can ask questions, but recorded in the event you can't attend one), followed by three months of unlimited one-on-one coaching sessions via phone or Skype.

So... based on the other two programs I looked into, which offer no personalized help, I expected Dr. Livingston's would be much more expensive. Right?

Nope. The NBA program costs just $400.

Seriously.

Dr. Livingston gives away his book, charges almost a third of what his competitors are charging, and sincerely cares about your success with the program -  so much so that if you are unsatisfied at the end of the webinar series, and after participating in three one-on-ones, you can receive a full refund of your fees.

But I won't need a refund. It's working.

My only criticism is that each one-on-one session is only fifteen minutes long. You have to do some pre-work before the session and some homework after it to fully benefit from it. I don't mind doing the legwork, but when I had my first session with Dr. Livingston a week ago, I did feel a little rushed through it. But I know I've got two more months to connect with him more frequently if I need to.

Honestly, though, this is working SO well that I don't know if I will need to. And his techniques also work in other areas of my life, too. Don't feel like writing today, Nicole? Or is it your inner pig? Is it really you, Nicole, that doesn't want to go to the gym today, or is it your inner pig acting lazy again? Making a daily connection with the "real" me that has hopes, dreams, and aspirations (using Dr. Livinston's techniques) has helped me achieve more on a daily basis compared to what I was accomplishing when I was solely focused on solving my food challenges.

So if you are one of my readers who has identified with anything I've ever written here about binge eating, sticking to a food plan, or trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle... but have failed time and time again... do yourself a favor, and download Dr. Livingston's free book. It's a quick, easy read, and may be just enough to jumpstart your success.

If you do it this week, I believe his next Online Intensive program would start Saturday (but don't quote me on that). You don't have to have read the book to join the program, but I think it will give you a good foundation going into it.

Have you read the book? Or have you also participated in an Online Intensive? Leave a comment to share your experience! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mighty Ducks

I went "running" this morning around my new favorite lake again. I just like all of the fun things I usually see there, although I do have to be careful not to lose my sense of purpose when I'm out for a run. Training for a half marathon means I can't stop every few steps to take pictures, right?

So I decided to limit myself to stopping only once mid-run to take photos, which takes a lot of willpower when there are teeny tiny baby animals like ducklings, geese, and squirrels hanging out. And the parakeets I saw last time were back, too. I was surrounded by adorableness.

But no, today I only stopped to take some photos of ducks in trees.

First Florida duck seen in a tree while I was running
What's up, duck? Oh, you are.

Second duck seen in a tree while I was running
This one is a little harder to see, but I hope you can make him out right in the middle there. 
This isn't the first time I've seen ducks in trees down at the lake, but I think it's the first time I've taken photos of it. It just strikes me as odd. Ducks like to paddle through the water. Or waddle around the lake looking for handouts. We just don't think of them as hanging out in trees.

But why shouldn't they hang out in trees? They can fly, right? Why should they be more limited than their feathered cousins?

Maybe some ducks are just better at it than others, though. I mean, I've got two legs just like every other sub-2 half marathoner out there, but I can't seem to run that fast.

In other news, it's day 5 of the Whole Life Challenge. The challenge incorporates more than nutrition - exercise, water, sleep, mobility, and reflection are all part of it. So in many ways, it is more difficult to meet the challenge requirements than doing something like the Whole 30, which only focuses on food. Yet I find this to be easier because the food rules for WLC are a little less stringent. Still, ask me about it 8 weeks from now. At least the Whole 30 is completed after one month.

I really like what the founders believe about pursuing "perfection," and that it's human nature to just always want to be better. We always want more than we've got. The founders say I should just accept this, and that I shouldn't try to chase perfection. I will apply that to every facet of living a healthy lifestyle, EXCEPT I will strive for perfect adherence to my food plan. This is a major component of achieving success with the Never Binge Again program, which has been working really well for me. Which reminds me, I do owe you an update on NBA. Maybe next post.

If you haven't entered already, don't forget Saturday is the last day to enter to win a digital kitchen scale from EatSmart products. Whether you are looking to lose weight or just want to be able to provide more accurate data in your MyFitnessPal food logs, having a kitchen scale will help you achieve more precision in knowing your calorie and macronutrient intake. Good luck to everyone who entered so far!