Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Quote Day

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said:

“We judge ourselves
by what we feel capable of doing,
while others judge us
by what we have already done.”

That’s why you leave comments telling me what a great job I’m doing or, in the case of running, have done, while I still feel like a slacker. I know I can do better – especially with my workouts – while you see an overweight, middle-aged woman who’s run three half-marathons.

Sometimes, rarely, when I’ve done an insanely hard workout, I feel like I’ve reached my capabilities, even stretched them. But here’s the thing: My weight-loss history includes about six months of insane workouts to reach an insanely low weight goal which I maintained for – get ready – an insanely short period of time. And what I learned from that is something Jonathan frequently says: Don’t do anything to lose weight that you aren’t willing to continue doing to maintain it.

(I’m paraphrasing, Jonathan – feel free to correct me if I got it wrong. Also, the link wouldn’t work this morning; hopefully both people who read this blog will eventually be able to click over. Heh.)

So what I need to do is meld my mind with yours, pat myself on the back when I do a workout – whether it’s intense or not – and keep on keepin’ on.

You do the same. See you next month!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Soon, soon, my pretties …

Yes, soon, you’ll be getting a break from my drivel. That can mean only one thing: My dad is going home!

He’s been either in the hospital or in a rehabilitation facility for six weeks. He’s at the point now where the therapists have done about as much as they can do, and he can follow up with outpatient therapy as long as he wants to. So they’re springing him Monday morning.

I’m heading south tomorrow, but stopping along the way to visit my son and his family. My trip can be open-ended, if need be, but the plan right now is to return March 1.

South Beach Phase One is done, over, finis, ended and did I say done? I lost a total of five pounds, 3.5 the first week and a disappointing 1.5 the second. I never thought I’d be tempted to stay on Phase One, but I am. With this trip, though, I think it’s unrealistic to continue that strict regimen. Besides, I’m going to Florida! Where fruit is abundant!

So I’m celebrating the end of Phase One with steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast. With cinnamon. And maybe a sprinkle of toasted walnuts. Mmmm.

Friday Quote tomorrow and then I’m outta here …

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can’t. Think. Straight.

I’m feeling a bit incoherent this morning, so here are some bullet points to summarize what’s going on:
  • Today is my last day of South Beach Phase One.
  • I am, after all, a little apprehensive about adding grains and fruit to the diet.
  • Yes, it’s a diet, albeit one I can live with comfortably.
  • The inmates at the prison where I volunteer think there’s something in the stimulus package for them. If there is, I can’t find it. I’m thinking funding for transition programs, job training, that kind of thing. Anyone out there know of anything solid and for-sure?
  • Our weather has gone to hell in a handbasket. Lovely spring day yesterday, back to winter today.
  • Interval training burns tons o’ calories – kick the incline up on your treadmill one lap out of every four and you’ll see what I mean.
  • I didn’t knit a stitch yesterday. Not one.
  • Mostly because I have a graphic design project that’s (happily) taking up lots of otherwise free time. (I’m doing a newsletter for a garden center and we are bartering my work for their plants. Sweet!)
  • My dad might be going home this weekend. If he does, I’ll be heading south Friday with a stop in North Carolina for a couple of days to see my son and his family.
  • My biggest concern about making this trip is food. (That’s worth an entire blog post, and one I don’t want to write this morning.)
Have a good Wednesday …

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Knitting? Running? RepEATING!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know this blog is called “Knit. Run. Repeat.” I feel like I should apologize for the past two weeks of almost exclusively writing about eating.

The knitting continues, although with a great deal less enthusiasm than at any other time in the past 20 years. My friend Nancy, who died late last year, was my knitting buddy. Before she got sick we had daily conversations, either by e-mail or by phone, about knitting: yarn, needles, projects, ideas, progress (or lack of it), problems. She would have loved the poufs I gave to my two older grandchildren for Valentine’s Day. She would have made them for her grandsons.

I’m nearly done knitting a felted bag (you can get the pattern here). I don’t think I’ll add the little doo-dad decoration to it, but I will add all the pockets, although knitting the pockets is the fiddly part and I’m in more of a mood to do mindless, don’t-think-about-it knitting lately. Hence the poufs. Heh.

The running has stopped completely. I haven’t run since the Richmond Half-Marathon in November. I walk a lot, either outside or on the treadmill, but I feel clumsy and stupid running when I’m as fat as I am now.

So that’s why I keep writing about eating, or at least eating the South Beach way. When I walked outside this morning I actually thought, ‘I should go running today.’ Keep in mind it’s f-f-freezing cold and my workout today will most definitely be on the treadmill. But that little running thought popped into my pea-sized brain and made me happy. I’ll be running again when the weather warms up. Oh, yes, I will!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Whew!

I woke up – wide awake – at 3:30 a.m. After half an hour of trying to relax and go back to sleep, I got up, made coffee and sat down with my copy of The South Beach Diet. Again.

I have both the original and the “Super-Charged” editions, because I just can’t get enough SB. Heh. I picked up the original, glanced through the food list for Phase One and saw that no dairy is permitted.

No dairy?!? I’ve been eating fat-free plain yogurt about every third day for breakfast (with freshly ground cinnamon and an ounce of toasted walnuts – yum!).

I clearly – clearly – remember reading that fat-free yogurt and milk were permissible on Phase One. Turns out I was right: That food group was expanded in the revised version.

Thus the “Whew!” title for today’s post.

Nothing much has been happening except I continue to cross off each complete day of Phase One Hell, and look forward with great anticipation to Thursday, when I may begin eating fruit again, along with – occasionally – brown rice and sweet potatoes. I’m not one of those Dr. A. writes about who long to remain in Phase One, lemme tell ya.

All in all, it hasn’t been too bad. I’m seeing results and I feel well. I’ve also come to the realization that refined and starchy carbs are not my friends. If I’d been chowing down on fat-free pretzels and baked potatoes, I might never have figured this out.

Anyway, I finally got sleepy about 5 a.m. Woke again at 7:15, when light started filtering through the cloud bank. Today is clean-the-house day, and it’s spitting snow, which means mopping the floor will be an exercise in futility. The dogs haven’t learned to wipe their own feet, and no matter how well I do it, little doggy footprints still show up.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Quote Day

We become
what we think about
all day long.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This may be my theme song this year; thinking good thoughts does not come naturally for me. That’s one of the reasons my photo blog is subtitled “Good Stuff.” The photos aren’t especially good, but I’m trying to find something good to remember – and think about – every day.

Thoughts about one’s surroundings, environment, 401K, family, body – oh, yes, we all think about our bodies – can take different turns, depending on circumstances. Our moods are sunnier when the sun shines; it’s difficult to imagine a lush garden out where that patch of mud is when the sky is grey and rain is falling.

I’ve been conditioned this past year to feel good about the future when the stock market is up, and depressed when it’s down. You can guess how moody my life has been, can’t you? I know I’m not the only one, but I live an isolated life, and spend lots of time thinking about me-me-me. My contact with the outside world is minimal, and filtered by talking heads most of the time. (Except Tuesday night, when I meet with 100 or so inmates, whose lack of contact with the outside world always, always provides me with an opportunity to be grateful.)

And then there is that whole body image. When I think of myself as big and clumsy and taking up too much space, I spiral downward in every area of my life. When I wake up feeling light and clean (as I have done this past week), time flies, missions get accomplished and life feels bright again.

In spite of the rain.

It has become abundantly clear to me that refined sugar and flour are POISON! You may indulge, if you like, but if I want to think good things all day long, I can’t inject myself with substances that are druglike in their effect on my mind and body. This has been a long, hard lesson. I so wanted to be normal about food. I’m simply not. Eating reasonable portions of healthful food is easy if I don’t set myself up to fail. One mini Milky Way is enough to sabotage myself.

Because one’s too many, and an eight-pack is never enough.

P.S. If you didn’t hear President Obama’s speech at the Lincoln Dinner in Springfield, IL, last night, click here. He was inspiring, there’s no other word for the man.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One week down …

I took a photo of my February calendar page for today’s 365 post. I’ve been X-ing off each day of Phase One as if I’m counting down the days to my release from the big house. Not a very positive attitude toward something that is obviously good for me and seems to be working.

I weigh myself every morning and despite a gain from yesterday to today, the total loss for this first week was 3.5 pounds. Not too shabby, especially for someone who is normally thrilled to lose 3.5 pounds in a month!

Mostly I feel great. Yesterday I felt my energy plunge and I was hungry a lot, but that was after three days of almost manic activity, so I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

We experienced quite a change in the weather beginning early yesterday evening. A very strong storm came through with little rain but a great deal of wind. Two tree feel across our road, one from our property and one from our neighbor’s. The wind was so strong that we fled from the second floor of the garage to the house, found all the flashlights and made sure the batteries worked and filled the dog’s water dishes. (When our power goes out, so does our water.)

Amazingly, the lights flickered only once, briefly, and came right back on again. The wind howled all night, though, and I have many, many tree limbs to pick up today. Our very large, heavy barbecue grill, which has wheels to make it easy to move, ended up on its back in the yard, along with one wrought iron patio chair.

We don’t get storms like this very often. The worst for us is ice, because when the roads are icy we’re pretty much stuck at home. Our road is one-lane, curvy, hilly and dangerous to navigate. Four-wheel drive is great on snow, but useless on ice. And ice frequently will knock out the power. Being stuck at home with no power, no water, no heat and no way to get out – definitely the worst.

On a completely different note, today is the third National Call-In Day to support HR676. If you’re fed up with the way health care is delivered in the United States, I urge you to visit that link and make a call to your congressional representative. One thing I learned during the recent political season is that one person does make a difference. And that person could be you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When your mind is forced to wander

I woke up this morning with a sore throat and the back of my neck is killing me. I can't turn my head to the right for some reason. I’m sure it's meningitis or a brain tumor or something equally dramatic.

I probably just slept wrong.

Here’s something you probably don’t think much about: forced meditation.

When I left for my three-mile walk yesterday at noon, my husband said he would be leaving within half an hour to go for his six-miler. He drives to his location; I take a left at the end of the driveway.

It occurred to me, about a quarter mile down the road, that he might lock the house when he left. I said to myself, “Surely he’ll realize I don’t have my keys when he checks to see if they’re where I always toss them.”

Yeah, right. I should have turned around – retracing a quarter mile takes less time than, oh, sitting on the porch for an hour and a half waiting for him to come home.

I thought about going for another walk, but I was thirsty and tired and, okay, lazy. I picked up some fallen tree branches and piled them up in the pine grove. I gathered up a very large pile of pine straw that’s been littering the driveway for two months and toted it (in the wheelbarrow) to the woods.

And I … sat on the porch. Thinking murderous thoughts. Wondering how he could be so thoughtless. And, finally, realizing that 90 minutes not playing computer solitaire was probably a Good Thing.

Day Six of South Beach is done, done, done. I can’t quite believe I have just eight days to go until I can have brown rice. (See? I didn’t even say dark chocolate – what a wonderful plan this is when your chocolate cravings can be transformed into brown-rice cravings!)

I can absolutely report a marked increase in my energy level, especially the past three days. When I see something that needs to be done, I do it. (Tree limbs, pine straw, anyone?) For instance, the office carpet needed vacuuming, but it wasn’t awful. However, it was littered enough that it bothered me so I swept it. Right then and there. I’ve also cleaned the house, cleaned the garage and kept up with the laundry. Including washing some fabric to make curtains for the office windows.

Manic? Who, me? Maybe a little. Now I understand why there’s a section in the book addressing the question, “Why can’t I stay on Phase One?”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How I diet

This is just me, I’m sure, because none of you are as crazy as I am, right?

When I’m working hard at losing weight – all right, all right, when I’m dieting – I am obsessed with the next meal. I noticed this the first time I began following a “real” plan (which was Weight Watchers when I was 21 – 36 years ago). How else do I roll with a diet?
  • I read cookbooks instead of magazines to lull myself to sleep at night.
  • Breakfast for the next three days is already made.
  • Snacks – sugar-free Jell-O and ricotta cheese mousses – have overtaken the refrigerator.
  • My day revolves around mealtimes.
  • Scrubbing two bathrooms is not the same as walking two miles, so I do both.
  • I get cranky when my husband grabs a handful of trail mix every time he walks past the pantry.
There are more behavioral changes, but you get the idea. Nothing is as important as what, when and how I eat. It’s almost like I think I’ll never get to eat “good” food again, so I damned well better not miss any of this diet crap.

Perhaps it’s just Phase One Syndrome. On the other hand, anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, right? Heh.

P.S. The Bacon Salt adds a real kick to South Beach breakfast quiches.

Monday, February 9, 2009

No sand in my shoes!

This South Beach plan seems to be working. Duh. It's worked for so many others, why wouldn’t it work for me, if I work at it?

Of course, it’s only been four days for real, not counting the almost-two-week trial period I was on in January. Four days of no sugar, no bread, no crackers, no starchy vegetables …

or, to put it another way, four days of taking care of myself.

I haven’t felt particularly hungry and by yesterday my energy level was much improved. I thought I might keel over before the sun set Saturday, but I think I just need to remember to eat before I go for a two-hour walk.

My husband and I took his mother out for a birthday lunch yesterday at a local state park which offers a sumptuous Sunday brunch buffet – a dieter’s delight, lemme tell you. I managed to eat only salad, roast beef au jus, sautéed squash and green beans, passing up quite an array of food porn which I won’t even describe here. The only sugar-free dessert they offered was Jell-O. I passed.

I’m now down six pounds in 20 days – I've almost, almost, shed all the weight I’ve gained since Election Night. (Since we had a big party with tons o’ food – and tons o’ leftovers – I count that as the beginning of the holiday season.) Only a pound and a half to go and I’ll be back to where I’d been maintaining since late summer. Which was still too fat, but at least I wasn’t gaining.

This has been a difficult winter, in more ways than just weight gain. But the weight gain has contributed to a general feeling of “why bother,” “what’s the use,” and “let’s eat!” I hesitate to declare that I’ve turned a corner, but it kind of feels like I have.

Pop over to the photo blog to see the great new seasoning I found Saturday at Tiny Kroger. TK still doesn’t have cilantro, but this stuff probably doesn’t spoil the way unfamiliar produce does.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Quote Day

There will never be a day
when we won’t need dedication, discipline, energy,
and the feeling that we can change things for the better.

~ George Sheehan

I should have read this quote yesterday, which was, all in all, one of the suckiest days I’ve had in recent memory.

Except for the food. I was so angry, frustrated, busy and anxious that I forgot lunch completely. I should write a book: The Skip-A-Meal Diet!

Ah, well. This, too, shall pass. I’ve been saying that a lot lately, along with the Serenity Prayer and the little kids’ chant: “Okay, then, I’m just going to run away!”

Today promises to be another one of those days.

The new doors I bought Wednesday had to be returned yesterday because they wouldn’t work, meaning I have to use the old (ugly) doors that have been here for 30 years. This is good in one way and one way only: The old doors don’t cost anything.

(I wish I could get all excited about “repurposing” like those designers on HGTV. I must confess, though, that I really, really wanted new doors. Also? Using an old door for a door isn’t exactly repurposing, is it?)

One of the old doors has been painted, not very well (by me), and it will have to do until spring, when I can remove it, sand it and repaint it outside where I can a) see and b) use a sprayer device, rather than a brush. (They are louvered bi-folds, which are a bitch to rehang. ’Nuff said.) Two other openings will go doorless until then.

So what does any of this have to do with weight loss, running, knitting, fitness or health? Not much, I’ll admit. To bring you up to date on the aforementioned subjects, though, I give you this:
  • Weight loss: I’ve lost four pounds in the past two weeks.

  • Running: I’ve done a little treadmill jogging, but I’m still mostly walking.

  • Knitting: Two poufs are done, done, done, and I actually found a box big enough in which to ship them.

  • Fitness: I’m still not lifting weights, but I’m getting closer to fixing the rowing machine, which I feel gives me the best full-body workout.

  • Health: Sugar is poison for me. I’ve been rereading (again!) William Dufty’s Sugar Blues, along with Sugar Busters, Sugar Shock and The Sugar Solution. My husband also has been doing some CME which has convinced him that I probably shouldn’t be eating sugar. The South Beach plan and I are going steady (yesterday was our first full day of commitment, but we’ve been flirting with each other for the past couple weeks. See “weight loss,” above.)
So there you have it. My life in a nutshell. Which is what it’s been feeling like lately. Perhaps I should adopt Scarlett’s philosophy: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Placeholder

I promise I’ll try to write something coherent and positive tomorrow. I’ve already chosen the quote. It’s been pretty crazy around here – messy and emotional. I hope to be back on track soon. Crazy doesn’t work so well for me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grrr x3

Okay, I’ve known about Leopard for a long time now, but really didn’t have any reason to upgrade my Mac’s OS. When Apple offers a great deal like their new Mac Box Set, though, it’s hard to resist.

The box came Monday, I installed it yesterday and I completely screwed up my e-mail program today. Just now, actually. So on top of a boatload of other frustrations, add that I can’t receive e-mail at the moment, nor probably for the next couple of hours.

Grrr.

I forgot to mention Monday how much I loved the Super Bowl halftime show. I was in the audience for one of Bruce’s original “Born to Run” tour dates back in the ’70s, so listening to Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and Born to Run in a concert setting brought back some great memories.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A super Sunday

What a great game! (The Super Bowl was last night, in case you’re not a sports nut.) I didn’t care who won, and had darned good reasons to root for both teams, so the outcome didn’t matter to me.

Reasons to root for the Cardinals:
  • Larry Fitzgerald, the hottest wide receiver in football pants
  • Kurt Warner, the oldest QB in football pants
  • Cuba Gooding Jr., who played for the Cardinals in Jerry Maguire
  • Not only have they never won a SB, they’ve never played in one
Reasons to root for the Steelers:
See? I couldn’t lose! Heh.

Best commercial? IMNSHO, it was this (I hope this works!):



The weather gods gave us a hint of spring yesterday. One of my weather widgets reported the mid-afternoon temperature at 65, the other at 57. Either way, it was a good day to back away from the treadmill and head outdoors. My husband and I logged a six-plus-mile walk before we settled down for our Super Bowl party for two.

It’s a good thing our “new” bathroom is so pretty, because after installing quarter-inch porcelain tile, none of the doors fit. Adjustments will need to be made; I’m not living with an open-air bathroom floorplan for too much longer. I bought slate-blue plastic bins to corral the stuff I used to store on shelves in the closet; my husband said that closet is so neat it doesn’t even need a door.

Um, I don’t think so. The difference between men and women might ultimately be how each of us defines “neat.”