This new year is kicking my arse. I'm one week in and have already looked at that liquids-only-for-a-week thing and had a good, deep belly-laugh. Oh, I've modified my intake and I've bumped up the liquids a great deal and I've had some success in lowering caffeine and eliminating sodas, but I haven't exactly been as stringent as I initially intended.
I'm having difficulties coming to grips with the simple logic that my body is already in starvation mode and has been for quite some time. I am one of those awful people who tends to eat once a day, which plays havoc with the metabolism. Sticking with my usual intake with a smaller portion size and adding exercise ended up with a net GAIN of 4 lbs over three days. Not a good thing at all. So I've started eating more. Counter-intuitive, I know, but realize that my usual intake was something along the lines of... nothing until 2 to 4pm... then a 6-8oz protein, 4oz vegetable, 6oz carb and 20-30oz beverage... and another beverage before bed... modification was in order.
I'm now attempting the following:
Morning: nutritional shake
Late morning: 4oz fruit
Lunch: 4oz protein
Afternoon: 4oz vegetable
Dinner: 4oz protein
Evening: 4oz vegetable
along with a minimum of 20minutes aerobic exercise and yoga daily, plus at least a short walk - working on increasing the distance and duration of both the walk and the exercise.
Sunday is my free day. I can eat (or not eat) as I want, though I still have to do the exercise.
Exercising isn't all that bad - I'm using the Wii Fit program with the balance board. It is a pretty good motivational tool and has the advantage of a daily weigh-in and tracking features along with the ability to set short-term or long-term goals.
I'm already having some success with this plan - I've ended up with a net LOSS of 3.3 lbs - and any progress is good progress.
With all this attention to what I'm eating and when, I've also noticed some things about myself. First, it will be impossible for me to eat vegetarian. My body continues to reject plant-based iron sources. In fact, only when I've eaten beef do I feel an increase in energy level and overall well-being the following day. Second, I have scent-related issues with consuming pork. Unless it is highly seasoned (or cured, like bacon), I just can't bring myself to eat it - and it's all about the smell. Third, it is difficult to change my eating patterns and habits. I'm struggling, but managing. I just keep reminding myself that I'd like to go on living - that makes it a little easier to make the difficult decisions and to eat when I don't feel like eating.
Now that the dietary portion of this post is out of the way, on to fun things!
While the job search continues, I've been spending time working on household projects once again. Peter and I tackled the daunting task of emptying out our chest freezer. It contained less than we thought, but held a few surprises. We lost the last of the chicken to severe freezer burn. But we salvaged the remainder of the pork - which I thawed, cut up and ground for sausage. We ended up with over 20lbs of sausage in a variety of flavors: cajun, middle eastern, regular, chili and plain. Sample tastings of the cajun and middle eastern were promising. It will be interesting to see how those flavor profiles develop as they age a little.
Also in the freezer were seven rabbit pelts I'd stored around 5 years ago. The pelts are from New Zealand White rabbits, a large meat producing breed. Two are smaller pelts - about 1 sq foot, three are closer to 1.25 sq feet and two are large, around 1ft x 2ft. I thawed the pelts overnight, then washed and split them. They are all in excellent condition - the fur has retained its loft and is firmly attached. I opted to begin the salt-and-acid tanning process to cure them into usable hides. This is one of the easiest tanning methods and works very well on small pelts. In a 5-gallon plastic bucket, mix 2 lbs of non-iodized salt in one gallon of hot tap water. Once the salt is dissolved, add one gallon of cold tap water, stir and let sit until the temperature is tepid. To this, carefully add 8 oz sulfuric acid (available at auto parts stores)... the easiest way is to tilt the bucket and let the acid flow along the side of the bucket to the water so it doesn't splash. Stir this in carefully (giant wooden spoon - or plastic - don't use metal anything with this method of tanning.) Pelts should be split along the belly and to any leg openings so they can lay flat - but you don't have to worry with fleshing them at this point - just make sure any large chunks of fat or flesh are off - the little stuff will come off later in the process. Wash the pelts in dish detergent and warm water to remove any blood or debris. These hides were pretty clean, but I made sure to give them a good once-over anyway. Rinse twice to make sure all the soap is off, then squeeze out as much water as possible - don't wring them! Put the pelts into the salt-acid solution and stir to make sure they are fully saturated. Weigh them down with a large scrubbed rock... or, in our case, with a glass pie pan weighed down with a hunk of scrap marble counter-top we picked up from a friend. Just make sure all the pelts are underwater. Loosely cover the bucket (we used a plastic trash bag) to make sure nothing falls in accidentally. Then leave it alone for three days. We're on day two today and it's tempting to mess with it, but I'm resisting the urge. Tomorrow I'll pull out a pelt and see if the inner layer will peel off easily. If it does, I'll rinse them all and flesh them by peeling off the membrane layer, then put them back into the solution for another week or so, stirring every day to make sure they all get an even soak. At the end of two weeks (or a little less), I'll pull them out, wash them again, and lay them out to dry. As soon as they are "almost" dry, I'll stretch them against a chair-back or the porch railing until the hide is soft and supple and evenly white, then buff the fur side a couple times against the railing, brush it out and figure out what I'm going to do with 7-9 sq feet of tanned rabbit hide. Suggestions are welcome!
Now that the washing machine pump has been successfully replaced and the leak fixed (thanks, Peter!) I am going to catch up on the laundry. Catching up on the laundry will clear off the bedroom floor so I can vacuum. Vacuuming will prompt the rearrangement of furniture so I'll finally have a mock headboard on the bed. The plan is difficult to describe, but I'll try. I intend to turn our two nightstands so the drawers face either wall and slide them behind the head of the bed to make the base of the headboard. On top of those, I'll stack the dresser with drawers facing toward the bed. Because of the size of the nightstands and dresser, it should end up making a lovely, unique headboard with tons of useful storage. Moving the furniture around will let me get to the closet to clean and reorganize it. Fixing up the closet will let me move the clothes off the rod along one bedroom wall - opening the bedroom up again. So, essentially, having the washing machine fixed will let me rearrange and clean the bedroom - which is all moot, really, because we're tossing around the idea of turning the master bedroom into a workshop and moving our bedroom to the guest room... which I will need to clean out first!
Let's just say I'm finding plenty of projects to keep me busy while I continue to search for a job. Meanwhile, the struggle to regain my health continues.