Sunday, September 23, 2007

3 Lives Down, 6 To Go

Once again, I haven't written in awhile. And once again, there are a million different not-so-fun reasons why. As the title suggests, our fat cat Fergie gave us QUITE a scare earlier this month. She suddenly stopped eating, drinking, moving, responding, etc., and according to the vets, the situation looked pretty bad. Long story short, she's a lucky kitty, and an expensive one now, too. Turns out the "mass" they found in her belly was probably pancreatitis (swollen/inflamed pancreas) and NOT a tumor. Wish we could've known that BEFORE the ultrasound was done that cost about as much as our car payment! But at least it provided some peace of mind that whatever she had was completely gone, and that it wasn't cancer. So I think this little episode has cost her at least one of her nine lives. Combined with the fact that Fergie's former owner lost/abandoned her after getting her declawed (thus poor Fergie was wandering around outside completely defenseless and without the means to catch food to eat, who knows what could've happened to her - BAD CAT OWNER!!), and we then rescued her from a shelter that would've put her to sleep if no one adopted her, I figure she's used up at least three of those nine lives already! This picture was taken while she was almost fully recovered. I was packing to leave for a few days, and apparently she wanted to go with. Always demanding attention!!

Speaking of fat cats in suitcases, I went home to Illinois to visit family and to go to my best friend's baby shower. I had been SO STRESSED because of my fur-child being so sick, and because this new-teacher business is just sucking the life right out of me, I'm just so tired from trying to figure it all out. So I was worried about leaving it all for four days and being able to keep up. Turns out the trip couldn't have been more perfect, I got to see everyone I had planned on seeing and more, and all my flights were turbulence-free. No panic attacks mid-air this time!

Also going on this month after I got back from my trip was my first formal observation by my principal. I was a nervous wreck, but turns out it went perfectly, in my opinion. Really couldn't have been much better. The kids were perfect angels, the lesson I had chosen flowed smoothly, and the whole situation felt so relaxed. Afterwards, it felt like a HUGE crushing weight had been lifted off my chest. Progress reports were also due last week, so there were a couple nights where I had only gotten a couple hours of sleep, since I had to stay up late figuring all that out. Who knew my high school teachers when through all this crap?! And made it all look so easy!!

With all this juggling going on, I had to stop taking Alli. The "treatment effects" were simply too unpredictable and inconvenient for the kind of week I've had. Every morning at school, my planning period was spent near a bathroom, instead of actually planning or getting paperwork done. And with all that traveling, I just didn't want to be driving in the middle of nowhere in the rental car and suddenly be racing to the nearest exit for a bathroom. Just not worth it. But now that all that stuff is behind me, I started taking it again this weekend. I think it works best for me to only take on weekends, and then sparingly during the week. And I've still done quite well, considering that I had stopped taken it, was traveling, and didn't exercise at all. Honestly, I've just reached a whole new level of stress where I don't even feel like eating lately. Wow, never thought I'd say that, since my natural response to stress is to eat everything in sight.

And now for the progress report:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Going Low-Fat With Alli? Say It Ain't So, Mrs. B!

Well, I finally gave in. But it's not what you think, let me explain. After reading and hearing about it for weeks, I finally went out and splurged a significant part of my new bigger and better teacher's paycheck on this new all-the-rage product. Alli touts itself as an FDA approved non-prescription weight loss aid, which helps you lose 50% more weight than dieting alone, somehow blocking about 25% of all the fat you eat. Warning: when the label says that it's to be used in conjunction with a low-fat diet, it means exactly that. This pill has some SERIOUS side effects (or, "treatment effects", as the program calls it) if you eat too much fat during a meal. It recommends keeping it under 15-19 grams of fat per meal, but I swear, I've been keeping it lower than that, and I've had some close calls trying to make it to the nearest bathroom.

All considered, this product has been worth it for me. I wanted something to help give my weight loss efforts a quick jump start, 'cause I've been really waffling with trying to get back on track. I've lost about 11 pounds since I started on August 16th, but who knows how much of that weight loss is attributable to Alli. I mean, I have been eating low-carb AND low-fat, which means that I've been eating loads of fresh veggies and more fresh fruits. I've also been focusing more on leaner meats and cheeses, which is new for me since I'm so used to doing low-carb and going hog-wild with all the bacon and eggs I can handle. By taking the pill with some of my meals, it really becomes a mental thing for me. Even though some low-carb proponents say to pile on all the butter I want, well, ..... why? Certain types of fats may be good for me, but do I really need to eat them in excess just because I'm eating low-carb? The pill really forces me to pay attention to unnecessary fat in my diet. And combined with low-carb, I'm reaping the benefits of teaching myself to eat MUCH more fresh produce and lean meats.

Anyway, I guess my point is that I'm not sure how much of my weight loss is the actually from the pill, rather than the lifestyle changes I've been making. I've also started training for that half-marathon next month, so who knows. The combined effect is that I'm losing weight, my clothes are fitting again, I'm happy, and that's all that matters. And I'm not giving up on low-carb. I'll ALWAYS be a low-carber. But I've realized that I also need to pay a little more attention to my fat and calorie intake, too, and Alli is forcing me to do just that.

Whiplash tangent - how great is it that it's finally football season again?! It's kinda like comfort food for me, but without the calories. There's nothing more relaxing that getting home from church on a Sunday morning, faced with the prospect of lazy day on the couch with a whole lineup of good football games on TV. And if I fall asleep to the sound of foul calls and yardage stats at some point, so be it. Music to my ears.

And now for the damage (although it's good news this week!):