Friday, August 26, 2011

Grumpy Bear

How many of you have ever wished you could take a vacation from yourself? And if you’re feeling that way about hanging out with you, how must those who deal with you every day feel? That is a scenario I have been dealing with lately. Pretty much everything that has come out of my mouth in the last few weeks has been negative … and don’t even get me started on the things in my head that I don’t say out loud!

I’m trying to chalk it up to the bevy of changes that have taken place since being told to make the changes to my diet and exercise regimen. Not to mention that the medication I’m on makes me super nauseated for a few hours each day. All of that leads to an unhappy combination and that’s WITH being back on my anti-depressants! Big changes like that can be difficult to adjust to and I’m hoping that things will even out soon.

Yesterday was a prime example of my current state of mind: We attended the Virginia Tech Atlanta Alumni Association Kick-Off Happy Hour, except, nothing was happy about it for me. After a particularly rough day at work, I had zero energy around being social and it would have been best had I just excused myself and stayed at home to pout. With every whine or complaint that fell from my lips, I told myself to STOP, because no one likes to be around a negative Nancy, myself included, but I have never been one of those people who can pretend to be happy and in a good mood when I’m not. My moods are on crystal clear display at all times.

As much as I enjoy time with friends, I am eagerly awaiting this weekend because we have NOTHING planned. Football season starts next weekend, which means hanging at the Hokie bar every Saturday … and I’m looking forward to it, but I think a couple days of no social obligations will be good for me before taking that plunge.

So, confession time: How often do you wish there was an OFF button when you're feeling cranky?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crazy? Stupid? Love? You decide.

OK, so the change I was talking about comes in the form of my hair. When J and I went to see Crazy, Stupid, Love a couple of weeks ago I was smitten by Emma Stone's hair color. Granted, I have always wanted to be a redhead since watching The Little Mermaid for the first time but have never really gone through with it.

What's the consensus? Do we like?


Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm still Lizzie from the block

Anyone else have two lines from the heinous song Jenny from the Block stuck in their head on constant replay? No? Shoot. Going forward, I am going to start strategically planning the last song I hear during my morning commute to avoid tragedies such as these.

We had a nice time with J’s parents this weekend. I hadn't seen them since Christmas. Where does the time go? The highlight was dinner at Ray’s on the River. Parmesan-crusted scallops with lobster risotto, people. And Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Yum, yum and more yum. Were these items approved by my diet? Do I care? Answer "no" to both. We all deserve a little happiness, right? At this moment in time, mine happens to come in the form of things you can eat. If you haven’t been there before and you like seafood, I highly recommend it. Lovely little atmosphere and great food.

Worst part of the weekend was probably during a quick spell at the food court when the overpowering scent of Cinnabon wafting through the air, like those cartoons when the animated swirls of aroma have actual hands/fingers that worm their way into your nostrils. It always smells enticing to me but yesterday it was almost too much to bear. I told J that if the devil himself had sat down across from me and offered a deal for my soul just for one bite, I would have said yes in a heartbeat because this girl don’t play no fiddle. No worries though, Lucifer never showed and my soul remains intact.

As for this week, I start with a personal trainer tomorrow and after a hike and a strength-training workout yesterday, my body is already a bit achy. I have never experienced that so-called 'good' pain of exercise. Pain is pain and none of it feels very pleasant. I know this is the right thing to do in order to achieve the health results I need and want, but I’m a little scared. I have never been enthusiastic about paying someone so they can make me hurt. I'm a big believer in paying people to make you feel good, like massage therapists.

And for those of you on Facebook who may have seen my vague status post about revealing the results of my latest inspiration, you only have a few more days to wait. There will be sorrow and joy, this I promise. I'll be curious to know which side each of you land on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Food for thought ... literally

The major pitfall to any diet, I have decided, is having to think about food so often. When I was eating anything I wanted, I hardly thought about it except to figure out what I wanted for each meal. Now, however, I think about food constantly: Can I eat this? What is an exact serving size? Has it been too long since my last meal? Who can I bribe for a Dr Pepper and a cupcake? It’s rather annoying to have these thoughts running through my head all day long on unending replay.

Frankly, I would prefer to think about anything else: Did the guy who robbed the Waffle House right by our house at gun point flee into our neighborhood? Did we record last night’s episode of Love in the Wild? Will I survive working for an investment management firm in this crazy economy?

If I had to choose between the two evils of eating healthy and working out more consistently, I’m going to have to go with the work outs. Less thought, more doing. And I would be willing to put in the extra effort to work off the bacon cheeseburger. But no, instead I get to be tortured by both a diet AND my new trainer. Couldn’t be happier unless I were dead!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to good

In order to refrain from unleashing any further negativity into the blogosphere, I waited to post until I was feeling more balanced. With the help of half-a-pill of celexa each day, that mission has been accomplished. Apparently I need just that little to maintain my sanity and all-around loveliness. I'm back to being myself and J is glad to no longer fear for his life. I’ll just have to wait until the time I actually become pregnant to cross that bridge.

Since returning from Vegas, life has thrown a few curve balls; the first being the entirety of last week when I couldn’t seem to physically recover from the trip. My throat was sore, my head ached and I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open at work. I was also put on a diet and exercise program that meant several comfortable aspects of my life had to change ASAP. The second was a failed date night on Saturday when we ended up walking out on our almost meal, which never actually arrived. The third was getting caught at work last night with a completely flat tire. J was kind enough to drive down and help me change it. All were little things, but each was inconvenient enough in its own right to cause some irritation on my end, especially when crammed into a short period of time.

For those of you wondering, the diet has actually gone pretty well thus far. Tomorrow will be a week and well, that’s a couple days longer than I have ever lasted before. I haven’t been perfect, but I am making better choices over all and thinking more about what I eat. I consider that progress because I’m not going to change over night. After re-joining the gym for the umpteenth time I went to a spin class Saturday morning (yeah, THIS girl was up before 10 a.m. on a weekend to exercise), had a meeting with a trainer/short workout on Monday and will be heading back tonight after work.

On another note, J’s parents are coming to visit this weekend and we’ll have a belated celebration of both his and his mom’s birthday with a nice dinner out. Then, next weekend is our fifth anniversary! We’ll go to another nice dinner. It’s funny – we haven’t been to a really nice restaurant in forever and we’ll hit two different ones on consecutive weekends, but I’m not complaining! If I fall too far off the wagon during those meals, I’ll just hop back on come the next one. I won’t let it completely derail me as has happened in the past.

I hope everyone else is busy enjoying the last few weeks of summer. I’m actually looking forward to the slightly cooler fall temps this year. Oh, and of course, the start of some Hokie football.

p.s. - Next week, be on the lookout for an exciting change!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Off my meds and off my rocker

The diet is actually going OK so far and I even went to spin class yesterday morning (boy is my butt sore). The main thing that is NOT going well? Being off my antidepressants. I have broken down three times in the last week over the smallest things. I don't have an ounce of control over my feelings ... hence bursting into tears at Whole Foods last night when I realized I had picked up wasabi instead of soy sauce (although, there is a much longer story as to why we got stuck getting dinner at Whole Foods when we had already been at a restaurant for nearly an hour) and verbally abusing the idiot woman who pushed me into the sushi display, causing me to stub my toe (which made a loud CRACK is now all swollen, bruised and taped up so I can walk).

I don't like this version of myself and I know J's not a fan either. After several failed attempts of coming off my meds, it's pretty clear I'm just one of those people who need it in order to maintain a balanced life and an iota of sanity. Not sure what the next move is, especially since there is more and more data to prove that being on antidepressants while pregnant can be harmful to the fetus, but I can honestly say that it's more important for me to be on an even keel than it is to be pregnant. I am positive that being off the medication AND dealing with the added pregnancy hormones would lead to very bad things. If that means I need to forfeit becoming a mother in order to keep both myself and the baby safe, then that's something with which I need to come to terms.

I don't know ... I need to talk to the doctor about all this.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Let them eat cake (except Liz, she gets spinach)

Oy vey. There is a difference between knowing you should do something and being told to do so by a doctor, as I learned yesterday at my appointment: you feel more pressure to actually do it when told by a medical professional.

As previously mentioned, I am insulin resistant. That means that my body secretes extra insulin (apparently a LOT of extra in my case) to help break down glucose and stop my blood sugar from becoming too high. Again, she reassured me that I am not diabetic, as my glucose was in the normal range. In order to manage my insulin levels, I have been placed on a strict diet, exercise and medication regimen:
  • No white flour products, potatoes, rice, etc.
  • Carbs are OK only if they are whole wheat and high in fiber
  • Sugars and sweets are off limits
  • Only certain, less sugary fruits allowed (goodbye, watermelon and pineapple!)
  • Lots of lean protein and veggies
  • Eat every four hours
  • 20-30 minutes exercise, 3x week
None of this is rocket science; it’s the way we should all eat in the first place. Only difference is that now I know the “bad” foods affect me more severely than someone without insulin resistance. The interesting thing to note is that insulin resistance and being overweight is almost like a chicken and the egg kind of scenario: being overweight can lead to insulin resistance and insulin resistance can lead to being overweight, etc. Even when I was skinny I had a horrible diet so I’m not sure which was first for me.

In addition to the new diet and added importance of exercising on a regular basis (btw, we’re rejoining the gym this week — ugh), I have started a medication called Metformin, which, along with the other healthy behaviors, can help lower insulin levels, increase your ability to lose weight and get rid of other factors related to insulin resistance like acne and cycle irregularities. I’ll be following this routine for about three months and during this time J and I are advised to continue to try and conceive on our own. Then, I’ll be retested and whether I need any additional fertility assistance will be evaluated at that time.

Keeping up with diet and exercise have always been a really hard thing for me to do, so support is key right now. Even yesterday when we were picking up stuff at the grocery store, walking past the bakery and all the cookies, cakes and pastries was painful. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted something ... anything! But that’s not to say I will cut out absolutely every sweet — it’s just not possible — because at some point, I’ll break and binge. So this week’s indulgence will be a Gigi’s cupcake for J’s birthday on Sunday. I am already salivating.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I went. I saw. Vegas conquered.

Been waiting with bated breath for the Vegas recap? Well exhale, because here goes. I’ll break it down by day:

The moment we stepped onto the outdoor oven that is the Las Vegas strip, I was a little overwhelmed. Talk about a stimulus overload! Where do I look? Is that Elvis? Oh crap, that's a wall! We immediately headed to the Stratosphere and as mentioned, I thought I was going to die, because we rode the Big Shot, which thrusts you off the top of the building, like, for real. Thrill rides are not my thing but I didn’t want to be left out. I’m such a sucker for peer pressure. J kept yelling for me to open my eyes and I kept yelling for my mommy. I was a little wobbly until I had my first drink to straighten me back out.

We wandered through the Venetian (gelato ... mmm) and ended up at Carnaval Court, which is attached to Harrah’s. This outdoor bar has a laid-back party atmosphere and if you have never been, I highly recommend it. The establishment is known for its flair bartenders (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail but way better) so it's a very entertaining place to just sit and drink. I don’t know how long we sat there — at least through 4 rounds of free shots from the bar and a few buckets of beer. After that it gets a wee bit hazy but we stumbled to O’Shea’s for the world’s longest game of beer pong. I think we ate at Diablo's. There might have been guacamole. There was definitely Dos Equis. We ended up back at the hotel and in bed by 8:30 p.m. I’m blaming the time change and early outbound flight.

Next morning we were up bright and early.. We hit the buffet and made our way down to the MGM pool area, which has a really cool lazy river. We relaxed, had some more drinks (there’s nothing like a gigantic $24 mug of pina colada and a raft!) and soaked up some of the 105 degree sun. We cleaned up and swung by the MGM lions, where J and I got a photo of us with a cub. I got to pet its butt. Totally not worth the money but some of us don’t get to go to South Africa and play with cubs there, so we take our chances when we get them.

From there it was on to Minus 5 in the Monte Carlo — one of my favorite experiences since it was so unique. You get bundled up in an anorak, gloves, boots and basically head into a freezer where the entire bar (cups, seats, tables) is made of ice! It was pretty … cool. Sorry, couldn’t help it. We ended up back at Carnaval Court. More shots. We totally missed our dinner reservations and ended up snacking on corn dogs and garlic fries. We hopped a cab to Fremont Street to experience “old Vegas” and a fun little zip line ride. Gambled a few bucks at Binion’s and stopped by the fountains at Bellagio. In bed by midnight. Hey, no judging.

Another early morning with breakfast at the Bellagio buffet and a walk through Caesar’s Palace. We lost Bryan at some point. No worries, we found him. Luckily, he had not been murdered by some crystal meth tweakers. Then we were back at the pool. We had agreed not to start the drinking until later but once we were down there, I started craving a beer. It just felt right to take some swigs while making fun of all the folks who made poor choices in pool attire. The others followed suit. Two more buckets of beer later...

After lunch I was feeling sluggish so J and I took five hour energy shots. This is the exact moment where it all went wrong. I had never tried one before and it immediately made me ill. This devil elixir will henceforth be referred to as Satan spit. We went back to (all together now….) Carnaval Court but all I could get down was some water. I fell in love with the charismatic bartender (FLIPPY) and eventually sipped on a mixed drink just so I could see him twirl some more bottles. There were more shots … some from the bar and some from our new bar buddies Peter, Mike and Brandy … oh, and 80s music. I remember 80s music. Between the waves of nausea and wanting to die, I really enjoyed myself. Peter dropped 20 shakers-worth of shots. Bummer. That was our cue to leave.

Bryan and Erica had tickets for the Beatles LOVE show so when they went to the hotel to change, J and I went to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s — swanky! He treated me to some goodies from Fresh but by the time we were headed back to the hotel, I was feeling super sick again. J napped and I laid as still as possible begging for mercy until we all met up for our fancy sushi dinner at Yellowtail. I was able to choke down 2 pieces of salmon, one sliver of my shrimp tempura roll and a ginger ale. What a waste — although those three bites were really yummy. I tried to stay in good spirits best I could but I was down for the count after that. We all headed back to the hotel. Must have been around 11 p.m. I know, we’re so lame.


Despite my 9-hour turn for the worse on Friday, it was an awesome trip. We loved vacationing with friends!  The trip was filled with was endless Hangover quoting and That’s What She Said jokes, J and I won (and lost) $60 in penny slots, there are videos we’ll never share with the public and lots of other good memories. In the end, there are now four of us in our wolf pack and I’m ready to do it again any time (except next weekend, the Jonas Brothers are in town)!