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WOOT!

So, the holidays pretty much guarantee loads of foods that are hard to resist. I’m keeping up with my workout schedule (today is a “rest” day, and boy did I need it!), but my weight is the same (if not a little bit up).

HOWEVER…

My current jeans are size 20. I have to wear a belt every day since they’ve gotten so loose that I can take them off without unbuttoning them. I turned some coupons and a sale into two new pairs of jeans a size smaller and they just arrived in the mail… and they fit! They’re a bit snug in the thighs but they have some stretch so it’s not uncomfortable. They’re in the wash now (my skin is sensitive to most dyes, so new clothes always have to be washed before they can be worn). They’re boot-cut which makes me happy (for a while all you could find were skinny jeans in my size, which is ridiculous to say the least). They are a bit long, but washing and wearing with shoes will fix that. And now that I’ve ordered from this store once and know how their sizing fits me I can order in the future more confidently.

In all, a happy little holiday event for me.  :}

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Getting My Walk On

Feeling a bit stiff today, but it’s for a good reason! I have been sticking to my walking schedule as best I can, pacing myself and ramping up slowly. Not only am I now walking a minimum of 30 minutes each day that I walk, but for the first time I walked three days in a row! This means that, in theory, I can finally meet my 5x a week walking plan (150 minutes a week). I have walked up to 35 minutes a few times, and usually do at least a quarter mile at a low incline to build up my thigh muscles (which helps my knees). I haven’t walked this regularly since hubby and I were doing 5ks a few years ago.

I’ve broken 10,000 steps a day a couple more times, but I am not pushing that hard (maybe eventually). I’m not walking very fast, but every time I step on the treadmill it’s a success. My left hip is doing much better for the regular exercise, and my lower back has improved somewhat. I’ve managed to avoid any blisters and am religious about stretching so I haven’t had any charley horses. I’m so grateful for the treadmill and hubby’s support (he did get in a few “I told you so”s, but they were well-deserved!)  ;}

My FitBit had an update recently and it now tracks my sleep time automatically. Before I had to toggle it on and off manually, but with my medical band that was difficult to do (and since it is controlled by tapping, my hands were often an issue). So far it seems to be tracking accurately and it’s a great feature! I do need to replace my current band which is wearing out (the metal medical band that I wear on top is probably contributing). I’m hoping for an after-holiday sale that I can take advantage of.

In January I will start tracking what I eat again- I’m focusing on maintaining my walking schedule for now and will give myself a free pass on food until after the holidays. This means I’m not losing any weight, but I’m also not stressing out over food. I have lost some inches around my waist and ordered new jeans in a smaller size- here’s hoping they fit okay! I am also keeping a close eye on my sneakers and may replace those in the new year as well- walking on the treadmill wears them smooth after a while.

I am way behind on holiday anything. I did get the door wreath up and the lights on the front bushes, and brought some ornaments to hang on my team’s tree in the office. With the kittens were are probably going to skip the tree at home entirely this year. We’ve gotten a few cards so far and I intend to send some but am still working out holiday gifts (looks like my packages will be going out after Christmas again this year). I’d like to do more, but I’m also trying to pace myself and maintain my sanity. The disadvantage to exercising is it takes a chunk out of my evenings since I then need to shower afterwards, but in the long run I know it is better for me. I am practicing allowing myself to not do things- it’s almost as challenging as walking on the treadmill.

I do think exercising regularly is helping my anxiety some- whether it’s endorphins or just physical stress relief I’m not sure. I’m not listening to music while I walk right now- I think having time to just quietly zone is probably good for me. Exercising is helping my digestive issues also, so it’s just all-around a good thing for me. In time I’d like to start using light weights again, but I think that will wait for January as well- I want to make exercising a solid habit.

Redefining Thankful

A bit belated, but here are things that I am grateful for in no particular order:

My hubby. We’ve both been going through some health challenges lately, plus he moved to a new job, but he remains amazing and able to make me laugh when I’m getting too stressed out. I couldn’t do any of this without him.

Purring kittens, even when they wake you up too early by licking your face and sleeping on your head. (Yes, we adopted two kittens, Recon and Scout, which brings us up to four cats total. It’s crazy, but we love it!)

10,000 steps! I’ve had my FitBit since May and yesterday was the first time I walked a full 10,000 steps in one day. I’ve been working on exercising more and can do 30 minutes on the treadmill 3-4 times a week now. My goal is to be able to do it 5x a week, and then maybe move up to longer walks (but fewer of them). Staying on a regular schedule seems to be helping my metabolism and I’ve lost 5 lbs. The hardest part is getting on the treadmill even when I’m tired (and I haven’t had a pain-free session yet). The second hardest is maintaining a steady pace when I’m feeling good and want to push it.

A hubby who humors my whims. Using the sales I picked up a larger tank for Fish (my blue, half-moon betta). Hopefully he can move into his new home today or tomorrow. Once he gets settled, he will probably get a snail-friend to keep him company. Hopefully I can think up a better name for the snail than I did for Fish.

Smooth doctor transitions. Both my endo and my rheumatologist moved at almost the same time. I was a bit panicked, but the advantage of having my specialists in the same practice meant that all my files transferred to my new docs smoothly and I didn’t have to go anywhere else. Things are doing pretty well on that end, and it certainly makes managing my prescriptions a lot easier. I’ve seen both docs once already and I’m comfortable with the transition.

A good job. I’m still maintaining a full-time job, and despite frustration over technical issues making my job harder (trying to keep it positive here), I work with amazing, supportive people. I also just found out that I am getting a 2% raise in the new year, which is happy news!

Family. Thanksgiving with my in-laws was lovely, as was chatting with my mom on the phone. It is tough being apart at the holidays, but technology helps to keep us close. Thanks to family generosity, we now have my in-laws old set of livingroom furniture and our two oldest, most beat-up couches are off to couch heaven. (We’re in our 40s, so it was probably time to give up the sofa with the duct-taped corners.)

Warm weather. Okay, so maybe we’ve had a bit too much warm, wet weather: we had a bumper-crop of mushrooms coming up everywhere and mildew growing on the outside of our windows. As much as I enjoy the cooler, drier weather in winter, I don’t like the aches and pains from the cold, so I’ll make the most of it while it lasts. It’s nice to be able to open the windows on the weekends and air out the house. And despite how much I love looking at everyone’s pictures of the snow, I am grateful to be at a balmy latitude and not have to worry about walking/driving on ice!

The Internet. Being able to keep in touch with distant friends and meeting new ones through Tumblr and Spoonie groups is just amazing. Even if it’s just laughing at silly Vimes and cat pictures, it really helps me keep my sanity. It is also when fanfiction lives, so it has that going for it, too! (And computer games, of course.)  ;}

Cozy sweaters and blankets. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

Soy chai and sugar-free cider mix. My dietary restrictions are tough at times, but finding good substitutions helps me keep from feeling deprived. (And related to this- having a Keurig. It’s so convenient when I need a quick hot cup of tea or hot water for my oatmeal!)

Being able to help others. Whether it’s Toys for Tots, drives for the homeless, clipping baby coupons for friends or providing a place to escape relatives at the holidays, being able to help even in little ways really makes me feel better and helps me focus on what I can do, rather than stewing over what I can’t.

Financial stability. Also pretty self-explanatory. Job transitions are always tough, but hopefully in the spring we can start house-hunting again!

Decorating for the holidays. I don’t approve of Christmas stuff appearing in October in the stores, but now that it’s December I can enjoy other people’s lights and decorating the office. We may or may not do a tree this year due to the kittens. Even if we put one up it will be bare until they get over the newness and I won’t use any glass ornaments, at which point we’re debating if we should bother at all. I will put the wreath on the door and plan to do at a least a few cards and am slowly working through our gift-list. I also want to make felt ornaments for the new kittens, even if they don’t go on the tree this year.

Alternative Baking Company for making double-chocolate cookies without dairy so I can get my chocolate fix! I am being pretty strict on the no-dairy thing, but I feel so much better without it that it’s totally worth it. Chocolate is the only area where I’m tempted to “cheat”, and with so many holiday goodies around the office it’s been very tempting.

Health insurance. I am so, so grateful for health insurance. It’s been a tough year since I blew through my MRA so early in the year (May) thanks to needing bifocals. I’m starting to get my end-of-the-year statements and can see how much insurance covers and it staggers my mind (and that doesn’t even factor in my prescriptions, which if I paid full price would be hundred of dollars a month). I wish I could have waited to replace my TENS unit, but with insurance covering most of it I’m relieved to have it working when I need it.

Splints. I would much rather not need as often (or at all), but when I do need them they are such a big help!

Arthritis BINGO

It is still hot and humid in my home state, and I am greatly looking forward to November actually feeling like November eventually… maybe in time for Thanksgiving? There have been some weather fluctuations and one or two nights I needed an extra blanket… we even got to open the windows for a couple hours one morning! Unfortunately, as much as I’m looking forward to cool, dry weather my joints are already complaining about the changes.

My right wrist is a fairly constant issue now, and I’m wearing a splint at least three days a week. The first joint of both index fingers have been cranking up as well, and today I finally admitted my right ankle needed extra support and broke out my ankle splint as well. (In good news, I forgot how comfortable that splint is, I can wear it with my regular shoes, and my ankle feels so much better with the light pressure and support.) Add in my left hip (which is a fairly constant ache now) and I could almost win at “Arthritis BINGO”.

FlareCard

My sister visited last week and gave me a belated holiday gift! Mine is black (because my sister knows my preferences) and I tried it out for the first time today.download

The arthritis in my hands (both kinds) has been especially painful lately, so I brought this into work so I can heat them during typing breaks. I was a little concerned about the size since I have freakishly long fingers, but it’s just right (especially since I’m usually only heating on hand at a time). This will also come in handy for cramps or a stiff back at work, too. The cord is long enough (always a concern) and it’s easy to remove the cover for washing (a big plus!).

My only complaint so far is that it is only on/off and can get pretty hot… it would be nice if there was a “low warmth” setting, but otherwise it’s an awesome product! Overall I definitely recommend.  :}

(From someone who worked at St*rbucks.) If you have a milk/dairy allergy AT ALL. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT. Drink Pumpkin Spice.

It contains dairy IN the syrup that is used to make the drink. Even if you get it made with soy, you will still be getting doses of dairy in there.

Depending on the severity and intolerance it can and will cause reactions. I found that as a barista I was constantly warning people about the dairy in the product. No one ever seemed to tell them that there was dairy in the mix. More times than I can count I heard people realize that’s why they kept having reactions, or that’s why it made them sick.

People legitimately do not know that pumpkin spice no matter what you do will always contain some amount of dairy.