Sunday, February 24, 2013

#Retrofit: A Week Oneish Update

This past week really felt like my first real week of #Retrofit. The program is very different from others I've tried or even viewed from afar. There's no set "starting point." There's no quick start or even a set meal plan. That's actually the point of the program. They want to teach you to eat well and healthy for life. It's all about developing good practices and making them a normal part of your life., after I spoke with my nutritionist, Stefanie, I felt like I was at the starting point. She didn't have any surprising or life-altering news about eating to share with me. In fact, among the resources she did share with me was the visual from the government's My Plate program, which replaced the Food Pyramid we all grew up with.

My Plate is all about balancing what you eat at every meal. It's a simple formula, really. About a quarter of your food should be protein, a quarter starch, and half your plate should be veggies and fruit. That's not so different from how I eat on a normal basis.

Planning my meals is even easier since I started using The Fresh 20. I know a lot of bloggers promote products and services on their blogs in return for freebies or some kind of remuneration. While I would love that to be the case here, it simply isn't so.

I learned about The Fresh 20 when I signed up for a Groupon offering their services at half price. It was at the end of last year and I knew for 2013 I really did want to try to do better at planning meals. Half price was a great deal, so I signed up.

I didn't really get going with it until late January, but I can tell you that I love it. The Fresh 20 really does make planning meals easy and the recipes are pretty easy and delicious! I've actually had interesting meals that are healthy and well balanced the past few weeks.

Now, I don't follow their plan precisely. Some weeks I only use 3-4 of the five recipes. I've also switched out quinoa (which I don't like) for brown rice or couscous or used ground beef in place of ground turkey if that's what I have in my fridge. Bottom line: We are not eating the same thing week after week.

With all those healthy meals, I was fully prepared for at least a small loss. Unfortunately, the scale went up a little. Yes, I was disappointed, but I have to remember that with my back bothering me, I haven't been exercising. Maybe that's the reason? I'm crossing my fingers for this week!  I'll report back and let you know.

(c) The Argonne Chronicles, 2013


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just let me put the pieces together

I had an interesting conversation with a staff person at my son's school today. Although she knows him well, today was the first day she really watched him try to do homework.

"Is he on medication for his ADHD?" she asked when I went to pick him up.

We talked about all the medications he's been on in the past 2-1/2 years. She was shocked. "Because usually they help them to settle down and focus," she said.

Don't I know it?!

We proceeded to talk for at least 15 minutes. She specializes on special ed and she said that his level of academic disability really qualifies for a school to pay for a "shadow," someone who would help to keep him on track. That is...he would qualify if we weren't at a charter school.

You know, at one time, I supported charter schools. After all, being a charter helped our school get back up and running after Katrina. But I'm learning that all the things I've heard about charters are true. They are exclusionary. They find ways to keep out the kids who bring the test scores down. They wear you down until you leave and go somewhere else.

So, on the one hand it was refreshing to have someone really understand what it's like to work with Flipper*, but on the other it was that sad, brutal understanding that no one can/will/wants to do anything about it. (Actually this teacher would LOVE to do something about it, but her hands are tied.)

I feel as though helping my child is like working on a puzzle. I've got the picture of what it should look like - a picture of success with encouragement, self-esteem, and building on strengths. The only problem is that I've only been given half the puzzle pieces. I have to search for the other pieces and they are all in different places - online, at clinics, in doctor's offices, in teachers' classrooms, in learning centers. Sometimes, the puzzle pieces don't even seem to fit, or seem broken. Even more often, those puzzle pieces are out of my budget, so even if it looks like the perfect piece, I just can't buy it. I just can't help my son. I can't create that beautiful picture of success.

(c) The Argonne Chronicles, 2013

*I'm thinking about giving my son an alter ego. What do you all think?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stalled launch?

Okay, so I've launched, in that I have met both my behavior coach and my nutritionist (I meet the exercise physiologist next week), but...I'm flat on my back and not really able to do much in terms of watching what I eat or exercising.

Bummer, hunh?

I've had back issues from time to time from years. It's a family tradition, really. My mom's had back issues. My uncle. My aunt. It was bound to happen.

This back issue started on Sunday. I wish I could say I was dancing the tango or doing the limbo or even just sashaying down the street after a parade. In fact, I was changing the sheets.

Yup. Done in by 800 count linens (or whatever they are).

Actually, that moment wasn't so bad. I immediately laid down and stretched and felt pretty good until a few hours later when I moved a stool. Crack. Did it again.

That was bad, but not awful. I stretched again. On Monday, I worked on my Mardi Gras costume, but also rested. It was damp out, probably not the best weather. We were going to go to a parade, but just ended up going downtown for a little while, which was probably a good thing.

Then came Mardi Gras.

I'm sure many of you think Mardi Gras is the drunken porn fest you see on TV. You think the revelers are hedonistic pagans. In reality, Mardi Gras is a (mostly) family friendly celebration of creativity. With a lot of walking. And even more standing. And some alcohol.

Did I say A LOT of walking and A LOT of standing?


By the end of the day, my back was throbbing.

Thankfully, I had had the foresight to take Wednesday off and was able to rest. I'd probably be in a pretty good position had I not tried to get our puppy into her crate. The combination of her 28 lbs and the angle I was at combined to make a big CRACK. Lots of pain. And I haven't been right since.

I've been in bed all day. On heat and ice. In pain. I have to hope it will go away, because I just cannot afford the chiropractor right now.

After talking to my nutritionist, I was all set to make lovely, healthy meals that looked like an advertisement for Instead, I'm eating what's quick and able to be consumed in a nearly prone position. I'm certainly not exercising.

So, I will be #Retrofitting myself...eventually. When I can walk again.

(c) Argonne Chronicles 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Still waiting to launch

I've met one of my #Retrofit team members (my program advisor), but I don't feel as though I have fully started. This week I'll meet my behavior coach, next week my registered dietician, and finally in week three my exercise physiologist.

On top of that, it took me almost a week to get all of my tech tools (the scale and the wearable accelerometer) linked up and working the way they are supposed to.

Meanwhile, I've been tracking what I eat online and have been trying to more-or-less be "good," although considering we are in Carnival season, that's not always easy.

I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of the team...but anxious, too. I mean, what can they possibly tell me that I don't already know? How can they fix those crazy nights when we're racing home from a therapy appointment and Dylan has a mountain of homework that he simply can't complete without someone (read: me) rightnexttohim? How do you make a healthy meal in those 10 minute after homework is finally completed before bedtime? How do I incorporate more exercise in that schedule, too? How do I make lighter meals for me while feeding the pickiest kid on the planet and a HungryMan RockStar?

So many questions! And right now I'm in a holding pattern, waiting to find out what they have in store. Eager, anxious, and ready.