(this is me)... in 1966-ish

Saturday, December 12, 2009

'Oh Happy Day'

And that isn't sarcasm either. For the last month (approximately), for some reason, I've been happier in my skin than I have ever been. I have always wanted to feel like this and now I do and I am really enjoying it. (although I look for lightning to strike occasionally and cross the street only at the green signal... just in case).

I think a few things are contributing to this:
  • I have grown up and know who I am and understand my place in society and think that it is good. It took me a lot of years to do this. (I ain't finished yet) I have had visits from old friends who lived in HK many years ago. I saw them in November for the first time in 20 years for one and 13 years for others. Speaking with them and reliving old stories really showed me how far I have come (grown) and I have a real appreciation for this perspective.
  • I have been exercising regularly for almost a year and the endorphins are keeping me 'up', positive rather than negative.
  • For the first time in my life I am really listening to the good things people say about me - and I believe them.
  • I am finding out who my friends really are and have started making great new friends. (and letting go of friendships that don't work) I recently learned a really important lesson about friends: I was always hurt in the past because friends would leave Hong Kong. I held on to them as if they were an extension of myself. I realized recently (after 28 years in Hong Kong) that I did this because I was trying to create an extended 'family'. Some are still friends, some are not. Recently I've realized that I don't need to hold on for dear life anymore - I have a family and I'm not needy. I can be friends with people who come and go into Hong Kong because I know I already have my family in place. I've grown up. (I did come to HK way too early - so it's taken me a long while to learn this)
  • I regularly go to a really great church now and for the first time in my life - I like going. I feel more positive and more accepted, more hopeful and more grounded... and way more grateful. I have never felt this way about going to church - I truthfully never liked it before. This is a great relief to me that I finally feel this - I never thought I would.
  • I really know I am married to a really great guy. I can live with him not being as groovy as me and he seems to be able to live with my inability to do math and my great ability to create artistic clutter. I am stunned every day that he goes out of his way to listen to me and works hard to make me happy. I hope he feels that I am doing the same.
  • My kids are doing well and are kind, thoughtful people. I never dreamed when I was young that I would have the incredible family I have.
  • I have much less angst and way more lightheartedness when it comes to food and eating. I still am not dieting well but because of being more relaxed about it and eating a pretty good diet overall, I am 1 pound over my weight when I returned from Utah. I had gotten up to 8-9 lbs over, but now I'm back down. I will lose this and be more serious one day soon, but my coasting at the moment is okay.
I have done some travel recently  - well since my last entry.... I've been to Phuket, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, back to SC and just last week - to Xiamen, China and to visit my friend in a smaller town (Quanzhou) near Xiamen.
During this time, I've continued going to the gym and have exercised even when travelling. Pat bought me an early Christmas present - a Life-fitness Cross Trainer. It is very nice. My left heel has acted up (Plantar Faciitis) and it becamse worse from doing the Cross Trainer so much (45-60 min each time) so I've had to give it a rest (and have done the bike at the club). BUT, I'm better now and am back on it for 35 min per session. My left knee has hurt a lot lately.... but what do you do? Just exercise anyway.
Am preparing for Christmas and am really grateful for the way I feel right now.

the picture at right is of me and an old friend, Anthony, whom we have known for 26 years. (Part of our Hong Kong 'family'). This picture was taken at our Thanksgiving dinner recently.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yay! August is over . . . . . . . . !

I like the fun things you can do in summer, BBQ's, being on a boat, swimming, becoming blonder for free. . I love how I feel when swimming at night and sitting on the beach with a slight chill.  . . but I hate the heat. Always have, always will (probably). It gets to me.
I'm glad August is over. Sorry if that's your birthday month - I missed it by 2 days myself.

I have thoroughly enjoyed exercising at the gym in the American Club out in Tai Tam (30 min drive out in the country) It's not crowded, the machines are great and the view is really out of this world. I love their elipticals there because when I'm trying to cool down, they let me go as slow as I want without beeping and pausing every two seconds. Sometimes I put the machine up to Maximum - level 25 - so I can work my butt harder (it's like climbing a mountain). The machines in Tai Tam allow me to go slow at that level and I really love that. The ones at the American's Club's Central gym (downtown), beep and pause and just generally over-react to everything....and it's so annoying.
so yes, I'm still exercising regularly and I actually get excited about going to the gym. I have built up great workout playlists and am always updating new songs. I consider it dancing and my hardest part of the workout is when a song like 'Boom Boom Pow' or 'One' (by Creed) comes on and I keep the beat. I can do that now.... but usually wait until at least 30 min warm up time first.

About a week after my last post here, I was at the gym with Pat and his mom and I asked him if he'd take a picture of me on my eliptical so I could post it here and show the harbour view (and me).  I thought beforehand that it may be a bad idea to do that - to mess with the fantasies I have in my head about how athletic I must look when I workout. But I have risen above a lot of things and was sure it would be okay. I have even gotten to the point now that I don't feel like an outsider in the gym. I had considered working out for years in that gym but never did because I thought that all the people in great shape would wonder what someone in my shape is doing in there. Since going regularly though, I am at home there and feel that I totally belong. I made friends with the staff (of course) and now recognize the regulars (who are not all in great shape).
It knocked me for a loop for about a week and I could only go back to the gym by being in complete denial about how I really look. I am apparently a great fantasizer.
As far as eating goes, I'm ok but still not seriously dieting. I'm kind of playing games. I think I may have mentioned before how I'd gotten into the habit of eating ice cream (specifically Moose Tracks) when I was in SC this summer. Then when returning to HK and having sort of an "I hate Hong Kong" meltdown, I started back up with Cookies & Cream. Since I have been exercising 4-5 times per week (absolute truth and I'm delighted about that), I haven't gained more weight. I'm standing at the same 4-6 lbs above my weight when returning from Utah. That ain't great but it shows the power of exercise for me. I do eat healthy food every day....I've added other junk too, there's the problem - that's the stuff I pay attention to.
I did make one positive move recently after sitting down and thinking about my comittment here: I am saying absolutely NO to ice cream. I won't have it anymore and haven't for a week now. It's a slippery invitation into that world where I eat any and everything and I won't do this.
That's a plus.
I also ordered more clothes for workouts and they've arrived. They're all a size smaller and they are in great colors. I must say though that it's really hard to wear clothes that fit me and are not loose. They don't hide stuff, but I do believe they look better on me.
It's not easy - but I'm not having ice cream over it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Becky's *A*M*A*Z*I*N*G 'Success-Only' journey.

On my computer screen is a quote I cut out from my Dr. Phil calendar a year or so ago. (love you Dr. Phil) I taped it to my screen so I will always remember it. It says,

"This will not be a 'Success Only' journey."

But I keep expecting it to be success only. How annoying that it is not. That I am not.

I've gained 6 lbs since returning from Utah.... well, since returning from SC on July 10th, really. I've been in a real slump and I don't know when it'll end. (maybe when I quit paying it so much attention??)

Once again - I'm amazed at how quickly I am able to jump right back into hopeless and helpless-mode. For a week now, I've been a quivering bowl of self-pity. (red, cherry flavored). I have some valid stuff that I'm worrying over right now (Zoe has tick fever, Kevin's in Uganda, Bonnie leaves in a week to travel with boyfriend and I'll only see her for a handful of days until Christmas, I hate Hong Kong at the moment, and I can't help but notice - I'm still fat. . . .)

I can't allow weight gain.

I have always put eating properly in an unattainable category. (Actually, I do eat proper, good quality, healthy food... but when stressed, I add ice cream...liberally). I engage in 'hell yes' and 'hell no' eating and they're both wrong. I have always done that and I think I'll probably always have a propensity for it.

Right along with the indulgences and consequent weight gain comes self-consciousness. I've been avoiding mirrors and showing disgust towards myself. I already know that those behaviours lead me right to the land of no-turning-back weight gain and powerlessness.

Those bad feelings are a VERY BIG part of this game.

I don't know what I want to say about this subject right now - but I am aware of it, and that usually helps.
I remember
how I felt
in this picture
taken of me
at Fitness Ridge
in March.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back in HK, Back on Track

I'm back in HK after 5 weeks in the states (+ Jamaica). I'm happy that although my eating did go awry here and there while I travelled, I exercised as often as I could. I even joined a gym in my little home town and went as regularly as possible. I worked one on one with Carroll, the owner of the gym 2-3 times per week. He taught me a lot! (and now he's my buddy). Even more impressive (to me, at least), I went to the gym while in Jamaica and while at Myrtle Beach later on. I worked hard to get to the gym in MB. It was at the hotel where my nieces and nephews were staying, there was no gym at my little condo 3 miles away.
I think that's the thing that has saved me...'EXERCISE' I am the same weight I was when I left HK but feel great. I have truly made the change that I always talked about and can now say I am an exerciser. I'm proud of that fact - exercise is a part of my daily life now. :-)

I have been working hard on the eliptical (or as Carroll calls it, the Cross trainer). It's non-impact and doesn't hurt me at all. Even if I get on it and at the beginning I'm hurting (not from exercise but because I woke up hurting), the pain is gone by the time I've worked for 5-8 minutes. Having knee surgeries twice in 7 months did suck BUT it taught me that I have to exercise because without it, I hurt. As I've said before, exercises releases the pain I have - and it goes.

While in SC, I did the eliptical on average 4 times per week and each time I did it a minimum of 45 min. My goal is to do it 1 hour 5 x per week with weight training 2-3 times. Yesterday was Monday (almost certainly making today Tuesday). I went to the American Club in Tai Tam and did 55 min on the eliptical, keeping my HR up to 145 most of that time. I did go up to level 15 and maintained that for a while..... it was nice. My goal is to be able to do level 20 without making the machine pause. :-) I also did some weight training, ball work, 50 sit-ups and a few mat exercises while there. Carroll asked me to give him a list of the machines they have at my gym and he'd work out a program for me. That is super cool. I asked for the list yesterday and will collect it today.

I'm vaguely doing South Beach phase 2. I need to get less vague about it because I want to lose some more weight. I have been more precise today.... and that is surely up to me.

There were a couple.... a few times in SC when I bought 'Moose Tracks' ice cream...... man that stuff is good. A couple of times I had chocolate parties. (only I was invited). I also ate at Chick-fil-A on average 3 times per week. (chick-fil-a on a whole wheat bun w/ coleslaw and unsweet iced tea). Man that was *G*O*O*D*.

My old feelings of guilt and disgust came back each time but I have learned the lesson that if I sit around feeling bad about occasional bad choices, it empowers them and blows the occasional indulgences WAY out of ProPOrtiOn. (It's like being on stage and experiencing love from everyone in the audience.... but way back in the back is ONE person who doesn't like you or your performance.... and you forget all the love and positive attention so you can focus on that ONE BAD THING). That's how I stayed stuck in that cycle before. I am not going to play that game.

Yay Becky.

Here's a picture of me with my sister's son in law, Donnie. I'm posting this picture because it shows changes in my face that remind me of how I used to look.

I'm getting my face back. (uh... nice chest Donnie)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I am riding roller coasters.....
The one in my mind - the emotions and drama that I experience (because I've always done that kind of thing - I'm that way). Then there's the real roller coaster that I am on. Health wise.

The torn meniscus was not a torn meniscus. It looked like it on the MRI and the report said it was, but it wasn't. That seems like good news but it's not to me. A torn meniscus can be trimmed and fixed and not give you a lot of problems afterwards. The problem I have is osteoarthritis - which we knew that I have (me and Dr. Wu), but it's worse than we thought. It was so 'messy' inside my knee that it looked like a meniscus torn in several places. It was swelling, loose cartilage, and stuff. The boot camp spa wasn't good for my knees. (but it was excellent for my mind so I can't say that I regret going there - I don't)

Dr. Wu drilled tiny holes into the bone where the arthritis had worn away the cushioning in my knees. He drilled to the marrow (yuck) which allows blood to flow in that area which regenerates cartilage. That's good but he said the cartilage that will grow from it will not be good quality. He said it will be pourous and grainy (not smooth like what God first put in there during assembly)... but it's better than nothing - which is the amount of cartilage I have in a few areas in that left knee. I remember walking the West Canyon hike in Utah while at the spa and on the way out it hurt somewhat but at the end of the walk - truly it hurt so much I could hardly get to the end. I remember thinking to myself that it felt like my knee bones were rubbing together. I actually thought that very thought. That is exactly what was happening.
Dr. Wu, (who is a good guy), said that we can put lubricants in the knee joint which will help and he spoke of a new procedure called 'PRP' (Protein Rich Plasma) where you take your own blood, do something scientific (?) with it.... then put it in your knee area... it makes the cartilage regenerate - maybe.
The hospital was nice - went to a different one this time, a more fancy one, but when I arrived home after my one night stay, I had a staph infection on my upper thigh where they had given me a shot for pain. (I had abou 4-5 pain shots all over - it hurt a LOT after surgery). After only one day at home I had to drive to the Dr.'s office (near my home - my regular GP's) and get antibiotics. They drew a line around the red, hot part (a little bigger than the palm of my hand) and said come back the next day if it get's larger. It got a little larger so I went back and they added one more antibiotic. So... now, after simultaneously completing 2 courses of antibiotics, all that's left is a hard, slightly painful lump. Since I'm leaving in less than a week for the states - and for Jamaica (man) where I'll attend Christy's wedding, I'll be watching it to make sure it's 100% uninfected. This really scared me because staph infections can be deadly.

So.... that is the physical roller coaster.

Mentally, I have been somewhat depressed after leaving the hospital. I was blown away that at 48 (49 in July, so who am I kidding?) I have advanced osteoarthritis in my knees. I wasted not one second before yelling at myself and criticising me. I felt old, hopeless and ashamed at what I have done to myself. I've been over 200 lbs almost continuously since about 1994 or 5. That ruins your joints. For a few days I felt no compassion for me and really wondered what kind of exercise I will even be capable of in the future (I love the elliptical and hiking). I was also afraid of the staph infection.

The mental roller coaster:

*Last July - daddy died :-(
* tore my ACL and meniscus in right knee while doing a self defense class in Atlanta
* had surgery and was depressed for a week while at home afterwards
* had several epiphanys about my life and my attitudes which were handicapping me - vowed to change :-)
* developed a strong resolve to lose weight after the 1st surgery :-)
* gained more weight :-(
* brought my resolve back out of the closet, started dieting - lost 16 lbs from Feb - mid-March :-)
* Went to the boot camp spa for a month :-)
* hurt all over (of course), was hit by one affliction after another - but stayed the course
* lost another 16lbs and am a changed person :-)
* still in pain, went to doc, had MRI
* had surgery but discovered it was a worse problem than thought :-(
* developed staph infection (scared me)
* knee is now improving and have been swimming and back in gym a little. :-)
* but am worried about long term prognosis.
* I also have two painful shoulders that are keeping me awake at night - rotator cuff problems.
* Feeling kind of old but am absolutely realizing that these wasteful, negative thoughts are a bigger handicap than arthritis.

So that's it.
I look at people who live within horrible situations. Cancer, being in an accident and living with handicaps or terrible scars, long term illnesses. Losing everything in one way or another... sometimes these people dig down deep and find a resolve and the strength to stay positive, hopeful and keep going on. The whole world admires these people (some end up on Oprah, the rest just keep living their day to day lives).
Some people who are afflicted with these situations become alcoholics, prescription drug addicts, fearful of living - or worse.... whiners who bring down everyone around them and make people stay away from them.
After realizing that I cannot continue with negative thoughts, It has occured to me lately - that I can be one or the other. I will become one or the other type of person no matter what I do. In fact, right now I have to choose where I want to stay. If I want to be the one who soldiers on, I cannot continue criticising myself. I have to let me off the hook (just like I would do for my kids or for anybody else that I love a lot). I can't continue punishing myself for past sins (real or perceived) like I have always done in the past.
I will do whatever I can right now and I'll be content with it. I won't sit around feeling old and unable. I will not entertain whiney negative thoughts. I will not take this personally - the universe is NOT aginst me. I will keep on losing weight, doing Yoga, swimming, doing the elliptical and whatever I can manage. I will not stop.
So there.

Arthur Ashe, when learning that he was dying of AIDS said, If I were to say, "God, why me?" about the bad things, then I should have said, "God, why me?" about the good things that happened in my life.
What a fine human he was. I want to be a human like that.
by the way, I've lost another 6 lbs since my return home from Utah. Haven't weighed this little since 2000.
Go Becky.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Feeling good

I've been back in HK just over a week now and I'm very happy that my weight is the same since leaving Fitness Ridge. We had visitors for a week and many meals out - so that's great! They were so fun to have around. (but that's another story) Look at my picture from Saturday - my chin isn't the main point of the picture anymore..... thank God. (though it is still there)

The MRI said that I have a torn meniscus... so I need surgery. That's annoying beyond belief and even though I suspected it, it still sent me over the edge for about 2 full days. I was mad at everything but mostly mad at myself for ever being overweight in the first place - which compromised my knees. I really was furious and I could hardly even talk.... but after a day I realized that what I was doing was living an old pattern. I critisize myself to death (relentlessly), feel really bad, then crawl back into victim mode, providing a great excuse to console myself with whatever is available. (dare I name it Scarlett? Is it food?). Actually, I'm impressed that I recognized it. I am on track now and honestly, anyone could've torn a meniscus on the huge red rock I tried to step up onto (when I tore it in Utah).... so I'm booked to have the surgery in a week, on the 12th. I'll confirm it as soon as our insurance agrees to pay. At least this is more simple than last October's surgery with a torn ACL and meniscus. I anticipate a full recovery.

We have had delighful weather since I returned and that is a very pleasant surprise. It's been nice and cool - but sunny! 22-26 celcius w/ 40 - 75% humidity. (70 - 78 degrees F ? I guess).

Pat and I went to the gym last Saturday but my knee really suffered afterwards. I've done Yoga twice (not hard on my knees) and have walked twice. My knee hurts somewhat but not bad. (and who cares, they'll fix it next week).

I have been wearing my heart-rate monitor and I'm forcing myself to work harder. Walking the hill I've always walked is just the easiest thing now. I walked pretty fast tonight and was able to keep my heart rate up but in 45 min I burned only 280 cals.....
....anway, I'm not being black & white here, I'm happy to be doing what I am doing, I do have a torn meniscus afterall. But I feel encouraged that the walk is easier - so much easier for me and that when I did get out of breath, I recovered quickly. That's what it's all about. (well that and the hokey-pokey)

I have a problem I didn't anticipate. My clothes are embarrassingly too big. Even the clothes that were tight before I left are so silly looking on me now. I need to dig deeper into my closet, I know my size is there. I will also get rid of these 'too-large-clothes', as soon as I have a chance to go through my closet.

Believe it or not, I'm going to the states AGAIN at the end of this month (May 30th). My niece is getting married in Jamaica on June 6th and I will not miss that. My sister's also turning 50 on 7/4 so I'm joining her and the gang in Myrtle Beach. I'll be back in Hong Kong on July 10th and plan to stay put until Christmas. I have been looking for a gym to join for the duration of my stay there in my little hometown. I plan on asking them to work out a deal for me. I think they will, the economy is bad, right?
So... I'm on the South Beach diet, only having one cup of coffee a day, staying away from snacks and feeling good in my skin.
Bout time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back in Hong Kong

Bonnie and her buddy, Ramona learning to make banana pudding (which I taught how to make but did not partake)

It's nice to be back home. (can't believe I'm saying that about HK).

I've been back almost 48 hours. I landed Friday morning at 5:30am. By 1:30 I already had an appt. to see Dr. Wu about my knee that has hurt like.. a hurting knee. I did an MRI right after I saw him but don't know the results yet.. Should know by Monday, hope it's not bad but I get the feeling it's a torn meniscus. (however you spell that).
Last week at Bonnie's (Mon-Wed) we were exhausted, especially the 'me' part of we. Here's Bonnie and Motzie, her rabbit. (short for Mozzarella)During that time with all of it's running around and staying up til all hours of the night, I did manage to walk Hudson one day w/ Bonnie for an hour and a half (in 108 degree heat... no kidding) and the next day I walked 2 and a half miles while Bonnie worked with her Rugby team.

Now it's Saturday night. This morning I started the day (early) with 30 minutes of Yoga. Yoga is hard.... but so effective. Later today we had lunch with Kevin and Pat's sister & husband who are in town. I packed my gym bag just in case we had a chance to go the American Club for exercise. We found time and I worked really hard. 10 min on the bike for warmup, then 30 minutes on the eliptical with my heart rate UP most of that time. Then a few of the weight machines ending with some stretching and 50 sit-ups. It felt great to work hard again. I think I've developed a love for that hard work. My knee hurts now which is a bummer because it didn't hurt much at all before I exercised.

Am I really going to have to have surgery on this knee too? No word yet but it seems unjust that last October my right knee went under the knife and now my left knee is not doing well. Thank God I only have 2 legs, otherwise you KNOW that a 3rd one would be acting up 6 months from now.
We have 4 visitors arriving tomorrow for a week. My niece, Jenny and her new husband Aaron. + Jenny's friend (?) and my nephew, Eric. I'm very happy they're coming. :-)
Anyway, I'm exercising and eating well.... and I like it.