Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's that creepy time of year again. I made this video five years ago, but it still works. The magic of YouTube. Heh.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The last stats, for now

I didn't make it onto the elliptical after all today. My heel is still quite tender, but after one day of rest there was such a marked improvement that I thought it best to take advantage of the upcoming travel weekend and just give it several consecutive days of rest. (My doctor husband agreed.) Instead of cardio, I did both an upper- and a lower-body strength-training session. Still no core work, though.

Kitten, your thoughts about nutrition are really making me think that the last two days of extremely reduced calories had a lot to do with my falling into bed at 8 o'clock last night. I ate much better today. Total calories were around 1500, lower than the Fat2Fit recommendation, but much higher than Wednesday (1063) and Thursday (1243). I got a lot done today and feel energized enough to watch Game 7 of the World Series.

I got all four 16-ounce cups of water in, and resisted snacking – including the homemade caramel corn I'm taking to my daughter-in-law and granddaughter tomorrow. (If you look at the recipe, you'll see it's for popcorn balls. I made one batch to send to the older grandchildren, but I think the little one will enjoy it more if it's in smaller pieces. I spread it out on waxed paper to cool and broke it up. It's just like Cracker Jacks!) I also journaled everything.

This is the last stat report. I promised I would do them for a month, but I hope we can all agree that enough is enough. I won't have time to post tomorrow and I don't want to feel like I "have" to later in the weekend when I'm having fun with the little princess bride.

Thanks again for your encouragement and comments. It's been very helpful to me to make myself accountable to you. I'd love to return the favor, should any of you decide to try something like this.

Kinda early for this, IMNSHO!

Friday Quote Day

The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.
Richard B. Sheridan

Well, it's a nice theory, anyway.

Actually the surest way not to fail is to set reasonable, achievable goals. Oh, and lower your expectations. Heh.

I'm doing a little better emotionally this morning. I took a nap yesterday afternoon and I went to bed at 8 p.m., not reading even one screen's worth on the Nook before I went to sleep. I think toddling off to bed right after Jeopardy might officially make me an "old" person.

Let's talk about something else today, something not related to my inability to exercise. (Okay, one thing: My heel pain this morning, after just one day of rest, was reduced significantly, surprisingly so. I thought this heel healing would take weeks, as it did the last time I had plantar fasciitis. Perhaps not.)

Do you ever click on any of the blog links in the sidebar on the lower left side of this page? Did you even know that list was there? I know it's hard to get to, with all the other Important Stuff in that column. Some bloggers click through from their own pages to read what their favorite writers are up to. I use Google Reader for that, but I like to include my faves on my blog for your inspiration.

I've added a few new links recently, most having to do with food – the "reaping" and "eating" part of the Knit/Run/Reap/Eat brand. 100 Days of Real Food and Kath Eats Real Food fall into the food category, but they have very different approaches.

I found Kath quite a while ago through a friend of a friend. Her blog is photo-heavy, so if you're still on dial-up (and if you are, I hope you'll soon have a wi-fi option – I know what it's like living in slow-mo while the rest of the internet speeds by you) you might want to pass. Kath snaps pictures (lots o' pictures) of each of her meals and posts three times a day. It would take me an hour just to style, shoot, edit, upload and post the photos. My food would be cold by then. That said, her breakfast concoctions and lunch salads are inspiring, and if you're looking for good restaurants in the Charlottesville, VA, area, she and her husband eat dinner out fairly frequently.

Lisa, of 100 Days, explains her goals and motivations here, and invites you to play along. She and her family live in Charlotte, NC, and I'm intrigued by a couple of resources I've found while reading her blog, especially the Hillbilly Produce Market. We have family in Charlotte, and I think I'll look for this market next time we're there for a visit. Some of her recipes sound delicious, Pin-worthy even.

My favorite new blog is Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. I can't pigeonhole Mir. She's a professional blogger who writes about everyday life in her family, but I find her style and voice hilarious. Even when nothing funny happens, she manages to write about it in a humorous way. Well, it's humorous to me, anyway. Tell her I sent you. She has no idea who I am.

I hope both of you have a great weekend. I'll be traveling for the best kid's holiday of the year, spending it again with my younger granddaughter. I'm the candy-passer-outer. Let's hope I don't pass out from eating too much candy. (I need to be my own Snack Nazi: No snacks for you! If I do indulge, I promise to journal it.)

Thanks again for your support, encouragement, suggestions and kicks in the butt this week. I can never get enough. I'm greedy like that. Heh.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stats, Week 4, Day 4

After I posted this morning I got really discouraged. My actions today certainly didn't meet the level of my intentions. Kitten, your comment gave me a lot to think about, and I really appreciate your in-depth analysis of the nutritional needs of someone who is going through an injury rehab. I especially appreciate yours and Denise's encouragement about doing some kind of core work.

So. Here's how the day started out, all golden and glowy and amazing:

This mountain is west of our house. It was afire from the sunrise for about 10 minutes this morning.
And it was all downhill from there.

I drank only two 16-oz. cups of water.
I did not get on the elliptical.
Today was lower-body strength training, and of course I didn't do any of it.
I ate three meals, supplemented with a Tootsie Pop around 4:30. After I got up from a nap.
I journaled everything I ate. Including the Tootsie Pop.

All in all, I felt (and still feel) very discouraged. I hope this is one of those quickly passing moods, instead of the kind that settle in for, oh, as long as it takes plantar fasciitis to heal.


Bummed. Seriously bummed.

Although I shouldn't be, it's not going to be a great day for outdoor walking anyway. But I really love it and I'm going to miss it and I'm not looking forward to climbing on the elliptical.

Thanks for your supportive comments and good thoughts. Here's a question.

I didn't intentionally skip breakfast to compensate for the reduced activity, it just worked out that way. But since my activity is going to be reduced for a month or so (I hope no longer than that!), should I cut back more on meals?

Russ and Jeff would say no, of course, and I understand their theory. Unfortunately their theory hasn't worked very well for me. I started increasing my caloric intake a year ago, trying to eat at a level which would maintain my ideal weight, and all I did was gain a few more pounds. I'm still not sure their plan works for older lifetime dieters who have, for all intents and purposes, killed their metabolisms.

Denise mentioned doing some core work, and that's something I've completely neglected. I'm going to assume Denise is younger than I. In order to do core work, you pretty much have to get on the floor. I can still get on the floor. Getting back up is my problem.

I really, really, really wish I'd taken better care of myself the last 10 years.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stats, and a change in plans

Water: Almost finished, one more 16-oz. cup to go
Weights: Done
Walk: 1.5 miles in 30 minutes
Meals: Two (lunch and dinner), both journaled

So, not great today, but I don't think I've halted any perceived progress (my husband swears I look thinner, but he's delusional). Unless exercise is more important than eating less. Then, maybe.

And now for the change in plans. The walking will have to be put on hold for a while, as I work on what is, so far, a mild case of plantar fasciitis in my right foot that isn't going away. Daily four-mile walks, especially when you're overweight, don't help PF. I've noticed the pain for about two weeks now, and had hoped for some kind of magic to make it all better.

I've had it before and it will eventually go away, but it takes a while. It also takes rest, ice and stretching. I've been doing stretches before I get out of bed in the morning, which is the only way I can get out of bed in the morning. But I kept thinking that's all I would have to do.

Today's brutally painful – and relatively short – walk convinced me that I'm going to have to move to something with a lower impact on my heel.

Thanks goodness I have an elliptical. I'm going to make a commitment to use the elliptical for 30 minutes tomorrow and Friday. I'm traveling Saturday through Tuesday. Next Wednesday through Friday I'll do 30 minutes a day. By next weekend I should be able to bump it up to 45 minutes per session and the following weekend I'll try going for an hour.

I'm not sure how this will work, therefore these aren't carved-in-stone commitments.

I can continue the upper-body strength training and the wall push-ups, but the lower-body routine is hard on my heel, so it, too, will be on hold until this pain goes away.

The best part of this change in plans is that I'll be able to listen to more audiobooks! My iPod runneth over, so I'm actually kind of almost looking forward to it. Heh.


At dinner last Friday, my granddaughter's friend looked at a little box of treats and I thought I heard her say, "I don't eat anything with a barcode." What she really said was, "All I see is a barcode." But it got all of us thinking. Is there anyone around now who eschews food with a barcode?
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I think of our Amish neighbors as self-sustaining, but really? They buy lots of things at retail outlets, and they also have their own retail outlet. While they don't use a scanner to check you out, the products they stock to resell either come packaged with barcodes printed on the label, or they use ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast) from barcoded packages to make their donuts and bread and pies.

I used to be friends with a homesteading couple who purchased very little food, but they still couldn't raise sugar or coffee, olives (for oil) or enough lemons to drink lemonade all summer. They bought bread flour and salad dressing mix, Country Time Lemonade in a big tub, along with spices, chocolate, yeast and other baking ingredients.

They probably come closest to eating nothing with a barcode than anyone I've ever known. They make their own bread, pasta, cheese (cottage, mozzarella, cheddar), butter and yogurt, and of course they grow and preserve vegetables and fruit. They raise chickens for eggs and meat, and kill a deer or two every fall.

They're well-nourished, in other words, but it takes a lot of work. My pantry is paltry compared to theirs, which is filled with hundreds of jars of homegrown produce.

All that said, I still try to limit my consumption of processed foods. I buy crackers and pasta, because it's easier, although I certainly have the time, skills and equipment to make them. You need vinegar and sugar  to preserve cucumbers, and lots more sugar to preserve fruit. I'm not raising pigs, and therefore not rendering lard, so I have to buy that (or shortening) if I want to make a pie now and then.

I'm only getting onions and celery from the garden now, so I'll be stocking up on carrots, greens (and I could totally be harvesting greens if I'd gotten my act together in August and planted seeds then), potatoes and the like.

I've turned myself into a perimeter shopper. Oh, I wander up and down the grocery aisles, because you never know what you might find, but most of my food purchases are stocked around the edge of the store. That's where you'll find the fresh stuff. It may have a barcode, but it's less processed than anything that comes in a box.

How about you? Is it important to you to serve homemade food to your family (or yourself)? Do you have the time and energy to do as much as you'd like? I certainly don't! When a recipe calls for an ingredient that you could make (frozen pizza dough, prepared pie crust), do you make it instead?

I've been called a food snob, and I apologize in advance if that's how I'm coming across. That innocent remark at the dinner table really did make me think about my food philosophy. How about you?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Water: Done
Strength-training: Done
Three meals, no snacks: Done
Journaling: Done
Walking: 4.05 miles in 75 minutes. So, done.

All in all, a very good day.

The ABCs of Food

I totally stole this from D, who stole it from Karen. But really, we're all nice people and we don't steal, we share, right? Anyway … here goes:

A is for Apple. What's your favorite variety?

B is for Bread. Regardless of nutrition, calories or whole grains, what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?

C is for Cereal. What is your favorite?
Homemade granola.

D is for donuts. You might not currently be eating them, but what kind of you fancy?
Anything cream-filled.

E is for Eggs. How would you like yours prepared?
Either an omelette or deviled.

F is for Fat-Free. What's your favorite fat-free product?
I pay no attention to whether an item is fat-free or not. Been there, done that.

G is for Groceries. Where do you purchase yours?
Kroger, Sam's Club, the Amish market down the road.

H is for Hot Beverages. What is your favorite hot drink?
Coffee. Black. Hazelnut flavored.

I is for Ice Cream. Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
Vanilla (the good kind with the flecks of vanilla) topped with peanut butter and strawberry jam.

J is for Jams or Jellies. Do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?
I do eat them. Homemade strawberry jam, peach preserves and apple jelly.

K is for Kashi. Name your favorite Kashi product.
I don't buy Kashi products. In fact, I try not to buy "products" period. (And I have another post in the works about that.)

L is for Lunch. What was yours today?
Romaine with onion, tomato, sweet pickles and farmer's cheese, dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

M is for Microwave. What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
Um … warmed-up coffee?

N is for Nutrients. Do you like carbs, fats or proteins best?
Despite the fact that protein is always the smallest percentage of my daily intake, I like it best.

O is for Oil. What kind do you like to use?

P is for Protein. How do you get yours?
Meat, chicken, cheese, dairy, eggs. Not whey powder.

Q is for Quaker. How do you like your oats?
Either in homemade granola or cooked with apples and topped with brown sugar and cinnamon.

R is for Roasting. What is your favorite thing to roast?
Potatoes cut into eighths, tossed with olive oil, coarse salt, garlic and pepper. Better than french fries!

S is for Sandwich. What's your favorite kind?
Grilled cheese.

T is for Travel. How do you handle eating while traveling?
I'm trying to stick with my plan and not look at a trip as a vacation from healthful meals.

U is for Unique. What is one of your weirdest food combinations?
Peanut butter, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich. I think they're wonderful, but most people turn their noses up when I mention them. (It's my mother's legacy.)

V is for Vitamins. What kind do you take?

W is for Wasabi. Yay or nay?

X is for X-ray. If we X-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
Water. And coffee. Are those foods? Heh.

Y is for Youth. What food reminds you of your childhood?
Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake and my dad's homemade pizza.

Z is for Zucchini. How do you prepare it?
Zucchini relish and zucchini bread.

Should you decide to do this as well, leave a comment so we can go read your food alphabet!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stats, Week 4, Day 1

  • Four miles in 79 minutes. 4.05, actually. Beautiful day for a walk!
  • Three meals, no one snack. I don't know what came over me, but about 3:30 I was wandering around the kitchen, opening the pantry and refrigerator looking for something. I ended up eating a plain whole-wheat soft flour tortilla. The no-snack rule didn't even enter my mind. Grrr.
  • Upper-body strength training. Ouch! 15 reps of five moves, plus the wall push-ups. Thought it best to stick with 15 instead of increasing again this week. I think my next increase will be to go to two sets of 10.
  • Four 16-ounce cups of water.
  • Journaled everything at FatSecret. Including the tortilla.
I had a great salad for lunch today. I mixed a head of torn romaine with some onions, bread-and-butter pickles, a tomato and 2 oz. of farmer's cheese, and dressed it with olive oil and rosemary/garlic vinegar. The sweetness of the pickles made it a most delicious salad!

Oh, and I completely forgot it was Food Day until I saw lots of tweets about it while I was walking.

Happy Food Day!

We'll be eating chili made with grass-fed beef, cooked dried beans (black and red) and homegrown canned tomatoes. And cornbread. And butter made from real cow's milk, with homegrown garlic blended in it. No need for dessert!

What's for dinner at your house on this National Food Day?

(Yes, I see the irony of celebrating Food Day after my earlier post. But it's real food. And I'm nearly finioshed with the third of my four miles; I've been planning dinner while I'm walking. It's all good!)

Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

Home again, for the moment

Well, last week's travel took its toll. I did well on drive day and for the first three days I was gone. I didn't completely fall off the wagon, but the only goal I was able to maintain all week long was the no-snacking one. I didn't even have time to blog, which reinforced the accountability aspect of this experiment. It wasn't that I went crazy and ate stupid stuff. But I definitely slacked off on the days I didn't blog, in all areas but snacking.

The walks got shorter as the week went by. My grandson and I took four-mile walks Monday through Thursday. We went 2.75 miles Friday, promising each other we'd make up the difference later in the day but it never happened. And Saturday we only did 2.25 miles, but I was leaving that day and needed to get on the road.

He joined me in the no-snacks-between-meals zone, and we agreed that on the days he had Tae Kwon Do he could have a piece of fruit or a yogurt before his class, which lasts 90 minutes. He really needs a little boost between the end of the school day and dinner. He's pretty big for his age (he's 10 and outweighs his 14-year-old sister by at least 20 pounds), and not happy about it, so I'm glad to be his cheerleader, and I need to be a good example. It made perfect sense to him that it's okay to be hungry, and it also made perfect sense to him that food tastes better when you're hungry.

I did the upper- and lower-body strength training every day until Friday. Friday was super busy, but it's not like I didn't have 20 minutes to myself. I just didn't use them very well. And I did great with water early in the week, but that, too, was an afterthought by the end of the week. And I stopped journaling my food (although I ate fairly healthfully) on Wednesday.

I got home Saturday evening, exhausted, and took yesterday off. All I did was laundry and cook dinner. No walking, no strength training.

The result is predictable. I wasn't surprised to see that the scale god took back two of the pounds I lost last week. That makes it four pounds lost in three weeks, which – considering my weight-loss history – is still something to cheer about.

But I don't feel much like cheering.

I'm leaving again this coming Saturday for a shorter visit; maybe I can stay on track this time. I'll be handing out candy for trick-or-treaters in my son's neighborhood a week from tonight. It will be vital to follow the no-snack rule then. I need to remind myself that candy will always be around, it's not like it's going to become extinct just because I'm not eating it.

(Look at alcohol – I stopped drinking almost 21 years ago, but they've come out with all kinds of new concoctions since I gave it up! The most exotic thing I ever ordered at a bar was a Long Island Iced Tea. All these new martini drinks sound like way more fun. Heh.)

It really is a combination of things that creates success, not just in weight loss but, I would presume, in the achievement of any goal. If you're in business, you can't just focus on customer service, you also have to have a good product. In all things health-related, one success builds on the next to achieve optimum results.

With that, I'll get back on the horse, so to speak, and do my best. I won't do a weigh-in next Monday, since I won't be home. Maybe two weeks of healthy behaviors will yield good results next month.

Anne asked how I manage the water drinking. I realized sometime this week that I've reported drinking a gallon of water daily, when I have, in fact, been drinking half that amount. I fill a half-gallon Brita pitcher in the morning and keep it on the counter. (Room-temperature water works better for me.) When it's empty, I'm done drinking water, although I usually have an extra glass with dinner. I drink from a 16-ounce cup and I start early in the day. The rule is I can't have the first cup of coffee until the first 16 ounces of water is gone.

I hope you will join me, Anne and whoever else is interested, in continuing to work on these few simple (but not easy) changes. Our health depends on it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Quote Day

It's not about how fast you go.
It's not about how far you go.
It's a process.
~ Amby Burfoot

Ain't that the truth?

What a very busy week it's been here. The weather has been crappy to lovely and everything in between, and I've been able to keep up with the walks every day. Ditto the strength training (no one is more surprised than I am about that!) and making this a snack-free zone.

I'm having trouble journaling my food and, surprisingly, drinking as much water. I'm here (at my daughter's) on a mission and am busy, busy, busy. I should be jotting the meals down on paper and entering them online when I have time to get online (which isn't often), but I just haven't been doing it. I drink water when I think about it, but it appears to be easier to drink more water when one sits on one's butt in front of a monitor than when one is, um, busy.

Oh, well. As the young folk say, 'it is what it is.'

I still feel good about the process almost three weeks into it. I'm heading home tomorrow and will grab a few rest-stop walks on the way home to get my miles in. I hope both of you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Still on plan ... (stats)

Much more difficult to control what and when I get things done, but I've managed to stick pretty close to my goals, even doing plié squats with my granddaughter (who is a dancer) until I lost count. She made me do them in both second and fifth position. Fifth position might actually be more beneficial for the hip pain I've been having. At the same time, it's awkward and I need to balance myself by holding onto a counter or wall.

Getting old sucks!

Drank water all day yesterday.
Did lower-body squats, lunges and also did wall push-ups (15 each).
Journaled my food, no snacks.
Walked four miles with my grandson in the early morning, it took us 77 minutes. Not bad!

We're off to walk again, hope y'all have a great day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stats. And THANKS!

Well, today was not perfect, but it came awfully darned close.

First, though, thanks for the many comments. Y'all are awesome! I'm pretty sure six pounds in one (or even two) weeks is a fluke, but it looked great this morning and I'm very motivated to continue working on these new habits.

So here's how it went down on travel day.

I ended up walking for about an hour total, 25 minutes at one rest stop, 20 at another and 15 much later in the day, after I arrived. At my normal 3 mph pace, that's only three miles. But I'll give myself credit for making the effort, because normally I would totally blow off walking on a day when I have to drive for seven hours.

I increased the upper-body reps to 15 this week. Same moves – tricep kickbacks, front raises, front laterals, curls. I lost count doing the wall push-ups, but I'm sure I did more than 15.

I drank a ton of water today. Way more than I thought I would. Way more than I do at home, actually.

None! I did, however, have a most delicious fast-food lunch of chicken strips and french fries, something I would never eat at home.

When I finished tallying up the day's food, I was less than 100 calories over my targeted goal.

Not too bad, all in all. Again, thanks for hanging in there with me and encouraging me and boosting my spirits. I have the best blog readers in the world.


Well. Well, well, well. Should this morning's scale number be divided between two weeks, or did all of it happen this past week? It's an easy number to divide, and I've been consistent for two weeks, so it should probably be split, doncha think?

That means I lost three pounds for each of the last two weeks. SIX pounds total. Excuse me, I mean
I'm going to do everything I can to stay on track while I'm gone this week. There's little more I can promise. I'm really motivated to keep it up. The dumbbells are packed (and my luggage weighs a ton!), I'm taking a thermos of water in the car and I know where are the rest stops are between here and Nashville. I think I'll walk a bit at each of them, then walk again when I arrive at my destination. Hope to get a total of 80 minutes done by the end of the day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stats, Week 2, Day 7

Yay! This is the last day you have to suffer through every bite that passed my lips. Good thing, too, because I'm going to be out of town beginning tomorrow and will have less time to log it twice. Logging it once at FatSecret is enough!

Today was a rough one. Our little town has a railroad festival two weekends in October every year. This was the first weekend of the event, and I volunteered my time at the Democratic women's booth selling bumper stickers. My husband's childhood friend grew up to be a jazz drummer and he came home to entertain at the festival. (He also was inducted into West Virginia's Music Hall of Fame this weekend, one of those hometown boys makes good things that makes the whole town proud.)

I walked from 7:20 to 8:30, and if you're one of my Facebook friends you got to see the sunrise with me. It really was lovely. By 10 a.m. we were downtown and the rest of the day was not my own. You'd think with festival food that I'd be reporting all kinds of horrible stuff, but you would be wrong. I walked up and down checking out all the vendors, but didn't see a thing I wanted. Or, rather, I didn't see a thing I wanted to stand in line for.

So I skipped lunch and had the last piece of leftover lasagna for dinner, just now. I certainly overdid the carbs today, and definitely underdid the fruits and vegetables, but at last I'm no longer hungry. I've been hungry for a couple of hours. And I didn't die!

I also skipped the lower-body strength-training today. For no good reason, and I could still work it in later, maybe, but I'm awfully tired and probably won't. Maybe I'll do some pliés while I brush my teeth before bed.

Breakfast was the yogurt, banana, granola combo.
Dinner was leftover lasagna, a slice of buttered whole-wheat bread and a banana.

Two meals and no snacks was not how I'd planned today. I did get all the water in, though!

I'm going to weigh myself in the morning and will post the result here before I leave. I wish I could have waited one more week to make this trip. The '21 days to make a habit' is probably going to be cut short; I don't know how I'm going to manage to keep all those balls in the air when I'm not at home. But I'm needed now, and some things are more important than others.

I'm packing my eight-pound dumbbells. (Gingerzingi, thank you for suggesting I get a barbell and plates. I have some, they are definitely waiting in the wings for when I'm badass enough to move up.) I should be able to continue the water, which I really do like, and no one is more surprised than I at that. Not sure how I'll fit a four-miler in every day, but I'll do what I can. Of course, not snacking can be done anywhere, anytime, but I have to tell you that in my previous lives road trips have been one. long. snack. So we'll see what happens.

I may or may not blog while I'm gone. Depends on how tired I am and how much free time I have. If my husband or my dog knew how to work the computer, I'd let one of them take over. They'll probably have enough to do just holding down the fort.

As always, thanks for sticking with me, and thanks for all your encouraging words and thoughts and suggestions. Two weeks into this I'm feeling good. My morning date with the scale is incidental.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stats, plus a strength-training "duh"

The boring stuff first.

Walked five miles in 98 minutes
Drank a gallon of water and then some more
Upper-body strength training, plus 12 wall push-ups
No snacks. Today's food consisted of:

The usual yogurt/fruit/granola combo for breakfast.
Leftover lasagna, salad and pumpkin pie for lunch. (I didn't know which bite to eat last. Do any of you save the best flavor for last? Especially when there won't be any more of it until you make it again?)
Chicken sausage, white bean and kale soup, with one slice of whole-wheat bread for dinner. (This soup is one of our favorites, let me know if you'd like the recipe.)

And the "duh" is that I've been using the same dumbbells for upper-body work for 13 days and only today did I notice they were EIGHT-pound weights, not five-pounders, as I've been reporting.

Maybe I'm a badass after all. Heh.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stats, Week 2, Day 5

Here we go ...

Walked 4 miles in 80 minutes, no jogging at all. Fought the wind the whole way, no matter which direction I was going.
Lower-body strength-training, plus 12 wall push-ups
64+ ounces of water
No snacks. I have a bowl of candy corn on an end table, so I had some with my lunch. Here's what I ate today:

9:00 a.m.
1/2 cup yogurt
1 medium banana
1/4 cup granola

1:30 p.m.
3.5 oz. boneless roast chicken
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup edamame
1 oz. candy corn

6:30 p.m.
1 4-inch square lasagna with meat and zucchini
Mixed green salad with onions, orange, walnuts, olive oil/red wine vinegar dressing
1 small slice garlic bread
1/8 of a pumpkin pie

We had company for dinner. I don't usually eat so much at the evening meal. But … today's total was still less than 1700 calories. I'm averaging about 1250 calories per day this week, thanks to a light day Tuesday.

Friday Quote Day

Your life does not get better by chance,
it gets better by change.
~ Jim Rohn

Gonna change my way of thinking
Make myself a different set of rules
Gonna change my way of thinking
Make myself a different set of rules
Gonna put my good foot forward
And stop being influenced by fools
~ Bob Dylan

(This ended up being kind of long. Apologies in advance.)

A Friday Quote twofer this week! Because the first quote is the essence of what I want to say, but how could I miss the perfect opportunity to throw in a Dylan lyric while I'm at it? Heh.

Years ago, I blamed my bad luck on everything that was wrong in my life: a husband who was, shall we say, nipping at the heels of insanity; my girth, of course; my children's distance from me, both physically and emotionally; my lack of money, lack of opportunity, lack of hope.

The common denominator in all the unfortunate circumstances of my sad little life was … me. Until I could accept the fact that I was the one who made those choices, pushed people away and settled for less, and decided to do something about it, nothing in my life was going to get better.

It's a bit of a cliché to acknowledge that we humans resist change, but there you go. The fact is, most of us go kicking and screaming into new ways of living. Here's the thing, though: When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing, then and only then will change happen.

And when that happened for me, I could stop blaming bad luck and start giving myself the credit I deserved.

My biggest and most profound change happened more than two decades ago, when I had my last drink of alcohol. I didn't know I was an alcoholic at the time, all I knew was I was fat and out of sorts and trouble seemed to follow me everywhere I went. I joined Overeaters Anonymous, and they told me I needed to abstain from sugar, white flour and red meat.

So I did, and I made the conscious decision to put alcohol in the sugar category.

My OA sponsor also was a member of Al-Anon, and she thought I might be rewarded by going to some meetings. Hey, I wasn't going to argue with her success. She had everything I wanted, that's why she was my sponsor. So I went, but what I heard was person after person sharing their experience, strength and hope dealing with people like me. One week, instead of going in the Al-Anon door, I opened the Alcoholics Anonymous door and found my true home.

AA hasn't solved my weight problem, though. Um, duh. I did lose a significant amount of weight shortly after I got sober, but haven't been able to maintain that loss. What I have maintained is my sobriety, and that truly is more important than a normal BMI.

What AA has solved, for the most part, is my resistance to change. Whether the changes I've been incorporating into my daily life recently result in that normal BMI or not, they're still working. I'm getting ready for more active "golden" years by lifting those baby dumbbells. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, gingerzingi, for continuing to nudge, prod and suggest that strength-training would make a difference. I couldn't have run – excuse me – RUN! most of my four miles yesterday had my legs not been a teeny bit stronger than they were two weeks ago. Also? Your post yesterday was so good. SO GOOD! Exactly what I needed to hear, especially that pithy statement about time and energy. And that body-image article you linked to. Thank you!)

I'm replacing diet soda with water, which is not only weaning me from artificial sweeteners, but also saving me money. Water's free for me – I drink from a well. As long as the natural gas drillers stay out of the neighborhood, I feel like my water's safe to drink, and there's plenty of it. In 30 years, our spring-fed well has never gone dry.

The other changes I'm making – no snacks, a daily walk, journaling my food/exercise – are great tools which could be beneficial for who-knows-what situation I might find myself in 10 or 15 or 20 years from now.

While it might sound like I'm planting myself in the future (an impossibility, after all), I'm actually consciously living in the now. Now is all I have for sure. And even though it's been less than two weeks, and even though my weight remains the same, these few changes are helping me feel so much more energetic and strong and motivated that I'm going to, as Gladys and her Pips like to say, keep on keepin' on.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stats, Week 2, Day 4

I rocked the walk today.

4 miles in 61 minutes. Want proof?

Also …
Water: 64 ounces (and then some)
Strength-training: 12 each of the upper-body stuff, plus 12 wall push-ups
Snacks? Nada. Nil. Zip. Zilch.

Here's what I ate today.

8:00 a.m.
2 oz granola

2 Tblsp Peach Preserves
4 oz yogurt

1 large apple
2 oz. colby jack cheese
4 dill pickle spears (pickles count as a vegetable, right?)
10 saltines

5:30 p.m.
5 oz chicken breast
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 large potato
2 Tblsp. salsa

Moving right along

Thanks for your comment, Mindy, it was just what I needed to read to stay on track yesterday. I was beginning to hit the slippery slope of habit-making, so getting an attagirl – and knowing that what I'm doing is inspiring you – kept me on the beam.

I wrote a fairly long, somewhat coherent post on August 1, that was sort of a manifesto for doing what I need to do to lose some of this weight. I then proceeded to blow August and September off like a bad date.

My apologies to the late summer months.

My five missions (the link takes you to the post where I declared the original four, I've since added journaling), which I committed to last week, are working well. Okay, maybe not well, since I haven't technically lost any weight, but I'm noticing changes in my attitude, if not my waistline. (And, weirdly, my wedding ring is so loose it keeps twisting around so the blingy part is on the palm side of my hand. Progress? Who knows?)

  • I make time for a walk every day. It's important. (I'm important.)
  • No snacking is not killing me.
  • It's okay to be hungry.
  • I'm not too tired to do those baby strength-training exercises every day.
  • I'd almost rather drink water than coffee. And I haven't had a diet soda since I started this, this, whatever it is. (Soda is not off-limits, I'm just drinking water instead.)

I'm at the very, very beginning of accepting that if I want to be able to play for a few more years, I'm going to have to do this work now. Otherwise, I'm going to end up on my ass or bedridden for the rest of my life, having other people take care of me.

It's that serious.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stats, Week 2, Day 3

Forward lunges, chair squats, plié squats, wall push-ups - 12 of each
64+ ounces of water
4 miles in 76 minutes.

Three meals (total 1223 calories): 
8 a.m.
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain, full-fat
  • 1 Tblsp. apple jelly
  • 1/4 cup granola 
12:30 p.m.
  • 4 ounces cooked spaghetti squash
  • 2 ounces smoked Gouda
  • 1 Asian pear
5:30 p.m. 
  • 1 pork chop with basil sauce
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (cauli, broc, carrots)
  • 1 peanut butter brownie
I can't believe I'm married to someone who is 68 today. He loves the peanut butter-and-chocolate combination, and I'm not going to refuse it today. Ask me again tomorrow. Yesterday's calories were waaaaay low, and today's – even with the brownie – come in at right around 1200.

Today will be a bit of a challenge

But nothing like yesterday. It's raining today, so I might have to use the elliptical instead of walking outdoors. Everything else is manageable, just as it was yesterday. Amazing how things work when you have both priorities and accountability. Thanks to both of you for being my conscience!

Ta da! Here's the bridal gown. The photo, of course, doesn't do it justice. You can barely see the layers of tulle overskirt. But I had to get it to the post office by 2 p.m. in order for it to begin its trip south yesterday, and I wanted to walk to the post office. Thus, the crappy photo.

Can you believe I wanted to walk?

I started sewing at about 6:15 a.m. and took this photo at 1:23 p.m. I then carefully wrapped it stuffed it in a Priority box, changed shoes, grabbed the Garmin and started walking. Fast. The post office is eight-tenths of a mile from our house. I made it with plenty of time to spare.

The veil was supposed to be a couple layers of gathered tulle glued to a purchased, padded headband. My fabric glue wasn't sticking and I couldn't find the glue gun (the search used up a precious 20 minutes!), so I ended up hand-sewing it at the very last minute. The veil was the first thing I started on, thinking it would take all day for the glue to dry. It would have taken a week; I think my glue must be 10 years old. (So why did I put it back in the craft closet? Why didn't I throw it away? Hmmm.)

And speaking of the veil … a quick-and-dirty picture. My husband refused to model it, but the chair didn't mind.

In spite of spending most of the day in a sweatshop-like setting, I managed to

  • drink a gallon of water (supplemented with lots of coffee),
  • eat breakfast and dinner (lunch went by the wayside, but I had an apple and peanut butter mid-afternoon),
  • walk five and a half miles (went ahead and walked my usual four-miler after I walked to the post office and back),
  • do my upper-body strength-training (squeezed it in before dinner), and
  • journaled my food (right after dinner)

And then I went to a meeting last night. When I got home at about 8:45 I went straight to bed, did not pass GO, did not collect $200. I did read the paper on the Nook before I went to sleep. I love the Nook.

What I did collect was a good, good feeling about how I managed to stick with the program yesterday when it would have been so, so easy to cut myself some slack. It helped that I had leftovers in the freezer, and thus didn't have to prepare an evening meal. Believe it or not, it helped to have that water pitcher on the kitchen counter, as a visual cue to take care of myself amidst my self-imposed chaos.

It helped that my husband was gone most of the day. Heh. It also helped that when I got back from the post-office portion of the walk, I could see him walking about a quarter-mile ahead of me on the road. I decided instead of turning into the driveway and saying 1.6 miles was enough, I'd just try to catch up with him, which I did about a mile later.

It actually helped to have this last-minute deadline, as the rest of this week is pretty full and I might be going out of town next week. I guess, in the end, it all worked out the way it was supposed to.

As it always does.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Wasn't sure I could pull this off today.
  • Upper body weight-training, 12 reps with 5-lb. dumbbells: bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, front raises, lateral raises, side bends, plus 12 wall push-ups
  • 64 ounces water
  • 5.5 miles in 107 minutes
  • I've journaled all my food. Didn't eat nearly enough today, but I was busy ... and will be busy tonight, as well.
  • Two meals, one snack
               9:30 a.m.: Yogurt, apple jelly, granola
               3:30 p.m.: Apple, 1 Tblsp peanut butter
               5:00 p.m.: Curried lentil and black-bean soup, oyster crackers 

That is all ...


I'm walking to the post office with a miniature bridal gown and veil boxed and ready to mail. Has to be there by 2. Just under the wire. Had to skip lunch, though. I think an apple and peanut butter will be sufficient once I get back home.

I can't believe I pulled this off. Heh.

Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

The plans they are a changin'

No, not the four five daily missions (water, weights, walk, no snacks, food journal). I thought I had at least another week to make and ship my younger granddaughter's Halloween costume. She's going to be a bride. The pieces are all cut out and ready to go, but I haven't started sewing yet.

The phone rang last night. It was my son, the father of the bride. Their neighborhood Halloween parade is this Saturday. That's more than two weeks before Trick or Treat! The local crafty mamas already knew that, of course, but Grandma in the Middle of Nowhere didn't have a clue.

So. As soon as I hit 'publish' on this post, I'm headed to the sewing machine.

I will take breaks for breakfast and lunch and walk the package to the post office when I'm done. I might be hoisting dumbbells after dinner today. And I hope I don't have Alzheimer's, because the food journaling will also be an end-of-the-day activity. Fortunately it doesn't take any extra time or effort to drink water.

Before I get started, I wanted to share a little picture with you. I was taking something out to the garden shed the other day, which is on the other side of the yard. I took a closer look at what I thought were weeds growing in my future herb garden. We've been throwing kitchen scraps and coffee grounds on that space, using it as an open compost pile.

These aren't weeds, they're baby tomato plants! You don't know how tempted I am to build a greenhouse over them. Or to transplant a couple to see how they do as houseplants. Heh.

Okay, time to get to work. Hope you have a productive day. Hope I do, too!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stats, Week 2, Day 1

Forward lunges, chair squats, plié squats, wall push-ups - 12 of each
          I'm bumping these up by two this week, and will also be bumping up 
          the upper body reps.
64+ ounces of water
4 miles in 71 minutes.

Three meals (total 1223 calories): 
8 a.m.
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain, full-fat
  • 1 Tblsp. apple jelly
  • 1/4 cup granola 
12:30 p.m.
  • 2 oz. whole wheat bread
  • 1 Tblsp. almond butter
  • 1 Tblsp. apple jelly
  • 2 dill pickle spears
  • 1 apple
5:30 p.m. 
  • 1 cup spaghetti
  • 1 cup marinara sauce with meat
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream
I'm going to list everything I eat this week, so this Stats report is going to get really boring. For you and for me, because I'm logging everything over at FatSecret, as well. But I'm only going to bore us to tears for one week. If you see anything that looks cra-zee, please jump right in and say so!

As I look at this list of food, the ice cream, apple, almonds (for the almond butter and granola), raisins+oats (for the granola) and pasta were purchased. Everything else was either grown in my garden or made by me right here in my kitchen in the Middle of Nowhere. That's way cool.

How's that working for you?

I don't watch Dr. Phil (is he even on television any more?), but I used to catch the program occasionally, and it didn't take long to figure out that his five most important words were these:

How's that working for you?

This week I have:
  • Downed more than 7 gallons of water. A gallon a day is my minimum and I've been managing it really well. I find room-temperature water goes down more easily than cold, so I keep the pitcher on the counter or just drink tap water. I start early in the morning and, in fact, have a tall glass (16 oz.) before I have my first cup of coffee. Drinking so much water so early in the day was, um, problematic earlier in the week, because I also like to walk early in the day. You figure it out. Heh. But my system has adapted already. So. Water? Check.
  • Eaten 19 healthful, home-cooked meals – 5 breakfasts, 2 brunches, 5 lunches, 7 dinners – and one snack. There were a couple days where breakfast turned into brunch, and on one of those days I really needed to eat something mid-afternoon. The difference between eating that snack and eating all the previous snacks in the past few months is that this one was in response to physical hunger (as well as lightheadedness). I've experienced hunger more in the past week than I have in a year, maybe even years. And it's okay to be hungry. I didn't die because I didn't get to eat right now. The sensation of hunger goes away if you don't eat, especially if you're busy doing something else. So. Meals? I'll say check
  • Done an upper- or lower-body weight-training session every day. Because these sessions are relatively easy (tricep dips using my own bodyweight are the most difficult), I haven't felt it necessary to take a day off. I also have been doing them daily to reinforce the routine and turn it into a habit. If I were lifting heavy, I would probably skip a day in between. But if I were skipping a day in between, I would talk myself into skipping two days or three, and then I wouldn't be lifting anything. Because that's how I roll with the weight training. So. Weight-training? Check.
  • Walked 30 miles in nine hours and 36 minutes. Approximately. There was never a day when I didn't want to go for a walk. We're having some lovely weather – the leaves are bright and beautiful, the temperatures have been in the low 70s, some days there's been a light breeze but no heavy winds at all – which makes it easy to get out the door on a daily basis. I did four miles five days and five miles two days and enjoyed every step I took. Seriously. Walking? Check.
I wish I could say that all I wanted to do was accomplish those four things. But I really wanted those four things to result in a pound or – dare I wish for it? – two of weight loss. Alas, I weigh, this morning, precisely what I weighed a week ago, and that was a very scary number. To say I'm disappointed is a HUGE understatement.


I didn't write down what I ate every meal, but I've been tracking meals more than half my life. At this stage, I eat more healthfully and more nutritiously and more reasonably than I ever have. I didn't (and don't) think it necessary to record it in a program or write it in a journal. 

However, I could certainly be wrong about that. It appears that I'm going to have to count some effing calories in order to make the kind of progress that shows up on a bathroom scale. I have the tools to do that, it doesn't take much extra effort and it will give me more information to work with.

It's all about the information. And the exercise. And the water. And the metabolism. And the motivation. Oh, hell, it's all about everything.

Moving on.

Knitting: I know you're dying to know how Jujuba is coming along. You're not here just for my weight-loss progress reports, are you? Football weekends mean lots o' knitting time. I have two more rows to go for the first half to be done. I'm putting the live stitches on a spare needle, in case I have to go back and add a couple more rows. I won't really know if it will span the circumference of my body until I'm ready to assemble it.

The way things are going, I might need to add more rows by then.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


One week down. I'll do a more thorough wrap-up in the morning.
  • Upper body weight-training with 5-lb. dumbbells, plus 10 tricep dips and 10 wall push-ups
  • 64 ounces water
  • Three meals, no snacks
  • Four miles in 73 minutes
I had such a fun walk this morning. My granddaughter was messaging me on Facebook while I was walking, and the time seemed to fly by!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


  • Forward lunges, chair squats, plié squats, wall push-ups - 10 of each
  • 64+ ounces of water
  • Three meals, no snacks
  • 5 miles in 93 minutes.

The first 2.5 miles I walked carrying an empty shopping bag. I bought two dozen eggs at the Amish market, so was carrying about three extra pounds as I headed back home. A little more than a mile from home I stopped to chat with a neighbor who was cleaning up his garden. I added another seven pounds of tomatoes to my bag, making that last mile just a teensy bit harder!

Football and knitting (almost done with the first half of Jujuba) the rest of the day. And no snacks!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I know it's not officially election season, but apparently Shape magazine doesn't. They want you to vote for your favorite weight-loss blogger, and one of my faves has been nominated. Click here to vote. Thanks! And congratulations on your nomination, Shauna!


10 of each, with 5-lb dumbbells:
  • Bicep curls
  • Front raises
  • Side bends
  • Overheads
5 tricep kickbacks, 5 tricep dips
10 wall push-ups

5 miles in 95 minutes.

Three meals, no snacks (breakfast at 8 works much better than brunch at 11)

64+ ounces water

PLUS: I loaded and unloaded a 17 cu. ft. trailer with horse manure. Twice. The south end of the garden should be in pretty good shape next spring.

Denise, thanks for your comment earlier today. I read it out loud to my husband when we were walking. You made my day! And Kitten, you're the best. Thanks for all the attagirls you've given me all week. Don't feel obligated to keep it up, but do know that I appreciate it!

Friday Quote Day

The impossible can always
be broken down into possibilities.
~ Author Unknown

What a week. I'm busy all day long, every day, and it seems like something needs attention every time I turn around. I don't even have a written-out to-do list, I just know that when one thing gets done, something else is right behind it.

I didn't used to feel like this. There was a time when I would plop down on the couch with a book or a magazine and read – guilt-free – all afternoon. I'm not sure when things changed, or why. I still read, but now it's only a couple pages right before I go to sleep. I have three months' worth of magazines to go through and quite a collection of books on the Nook, all waiting for their fifteen minutes at the end of the day.

My plan to drink more water, cut out snacks, start a strength-training program and take a daily four-mile walk has worked out well so far, and the accountability part of it – the daily Stats post – has been very helpful. I'm sure it bores you, if you even read it. And I'm sure you're not going to beat me up or make fun of me if I sputter or falter.

Yesterday proved to me how valuable that post is. I was very tired after a morning in the garden and could easily have justified that work as at least as valuable as a walk. I was smart enough to do the lower-body workout before I went out to the garden, I can almost guarantee I wouldn't have done any squats or lunges afterward.

The impossible (referred to in today's quote) is, of course, getting back to a somewhat normal weight for a woman my age and height. The possibilities are working well. If it's true that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, then I've given myself a bit of extra insurance by promising to "report in" for a month. I wish I didn't have to resort to little tricks like this. I'm a grown-up, I shouldn't have to. I should want to do these things because they make me feel good and because they're good for me.

My husband is a little worried that I'm doing too much. All I have to say to allay his concerns is this:

I don't want to end up like my dad.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Forward lunges, chair squats, plié squats (my fav), wall push-ups - 10 of each
64+ ounces of water
Two meals - late breakfast, early dinner (not a good idea, I do much better with three meals)
4 miles in 84 minutes. Waaaaaay slow today.

I wrestled with the garden tiller today, which is a workout in itself, and planted two kinds of garlic, one to braid and a hardneck variety (German Extra Hardy) which does very well in my neck of the woods, but you have to store it in bags. After that I trimmed some bushes and then I went for my walk. It was about 2 p.m. and pretty warm when I left, and I was so tired from all the gardening. I just decided to plod along and get it done and not think about how hot and tired and grumpy I was.

This accountability thing is working. I don't mind reporting that I was really slow, but I didn't want to report that I wimped out completely.

The crazy ones

Sooooo many good things to share about Steve Jobs. I guess I'll put up what I find as I find it, because I don't want to forget it.


I moved from Wilmington, Ohio, to Columbus, Ohio, in the late '70s or very early '80s, and never went back to Wilmington to live after that. I moved around central Ohio several times, divorcing the husband I moved there with, marrying someone else and then, eventually, divorcing him. At the time that marriage ended I was working for a newly formed subsidiary of the Columbus Dispatch called ThisWeek Newspapers. I was an advertising designer and we were launching a new product, a series of suburban tabloids. Delaware ThisWeek was the first.

The model I used had a taller screen.
We could profitably create these newspapers because of desktop publishing and Apple Macintosh computers. Prior to these machines coming on the market, type was set on a huge, clunky machine that spit words out on long, narrow pieces of special paper that could be waxed and pasted down onto a flat. If you needed a form of any kind, you drew the lines with a pen and ink. Ads were framed by hand-drawn boxes.

Desktop publishing changed the way we delivered the news, and the innovations that sprouted from those early days have changed our world ever since. Steve Jobs was visionary, unafraid, committed, imaginative, creative and steady. We never knew what he was going to introduce next, and we snapped it up as soon as we heard what it was.

I've been a Mac girl ever since that first experience at ThisWeek. I'm now on my fourth, and for the first time I'm using both a desktop and a notebook. When I was ready for a smartphone, I was crushed to learn that AT&T wasn't available here in the Middle of Nowhere, so I went with a BlackBerry. I'm pretty sure I'll be switching to an iPhone when my current contract expires next year.

Steve Jobs' legacy was summed up in the oft-quoted commencement address he gave at Stanford University in 2005. There are snippets of it all over the internet this morning. Here's my favorite:
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
We're all gonna die someday. There's no avoiding that fact. The business of living doesn't give us much time to think about the eventuality of dying. But thinking about it, especially when making a big decision, opens up a lot of possibilities. That's what Apple and Steve Jobs have given me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pick one

A bonus post, in the form of an illustrated story …

A while back, at the entrance to a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman.

The caption read: "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.

They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.

They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?

They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

 We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.

We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
 Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I ?!"

(The woman in the picture is French model Tara Lynn.)

P.S. You both know that I rarely tell myself I'm amazing. But it's a good goal.


10 of each, with 5-lb dumbbells:
  • Bicep curls
  • Front raises
  • Side bends
  • Overheads
10 tricep dips (killer, and I'm not telling you how much the dumbbell weighs, heh)
10 wall push-ups

4 miles in 71 minutes. Did the 4th mile in 16:59 ... all walking. Very warm today.

Two meals, one snack (brunch at 11 - breakfast kinda got away from me today, snack at 3, dinner at 6)

64+ ounces water

It's the silly season

I live in West Virginia, a state which is regularly stereotyped as home to rednecks, shanties, moonshine and coalfields. Even the West Virginia University mascot – the Mountaineer – fits the image: dressed in head-to-toe leather, sporting a coonskin cap and toting a rifle. Or a shotgun. I don't know the difference.

The image is certainly accurate, otherwise it wouldn't be so popular. (What's your first thought when you hear about West Virginia?) And never are they more accurate than now, during the hunting silly season.

Squirrel season began last month. Bow season for deer started a few days ago. Hunting is such a popular activity in West Virginia that schools are closed, many of them for the entire first week of the season, but some for just a couple of days. This is so bus drivers can go hunting, of course. <snort>

As both of you know, I walk on my road almost every day. (A shout-out to the Kitten for being my best cheerleader!) As you probably don't know, it is, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, illegal to (emphasis mine):
Hunt or shoot at wild animals or birds from an airborne conveyance, from a vehicle or other land conveyance, from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road, unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation.

So yesterday, as I'm rounding a curve and cresting a small hill, I see camouflage. Lots of camouflage. Four or five men and a couple of young boys, wearing jackets and pants and t-shirts designed to disappear in the woods. And one of the boys is aiming a handgun at a target set up across the road, maybe 25 yards in front of me.

Instinctively, I spoke loudly to let the group know I was there. I didn't shout, although I've done that before when an unseen gun goes off a little too close for comfort. What I said was, "Hey! You're not allowed to shoot across a road!"

The child laughed at me and looked at the adults. I said to the adults, "I am right about this. It's against the law, right?" They agreed that it was. And didn't do a damned thing. Didn't stop the child from firing his weapon. Didn't move the target. Didn't say a word, actually, just nodded their rednecked little heads.

My two-mile turnaround was just past them; I was stonily silent as I walked back. They hadn't moved the target, and I'm sure they didn't intend to. I was boiling mad. My husband and I both walk on this public road and we've never impeded the progress of a single hunter. Deer populations need to be thinned, we both understand that. (Although we do invite Bambi and her family to live in our woods during deer season.)

We expect the same courtesy from them as we afford to them.

As soon as I was out of earshot, I tried to call the sheriff on my cell phone. No answer. God forbid there would be some kind of emergency, because the sheriff's department didn't answer for the remainder of my walk – another half hour, at least. Perhaps the dispatcher was hunting.

My husband was able to calm me down when I got home. He took a drive out that direction and convinced me that, in this case, discretion is the better part of valor. Each of the adults was carrying some kind of weapon. They quite obviously didn't mind breaking the law, and we would be getting in their way. Should the sheriff show up, they would surely know who tipped him off. Time to get the blaze orange out.

We like our little slice of almost-heaven, out here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Except during the silly season.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


3 meals, no snacks
64+ ounces of water (already! at 2 p.m.!)
Forward lunges, plié squats, chair pose squat, wall push-ups (10 of each)
4 miles in 71 minutes. Boo-yah!

I'm using parts of two workouts from Women's Health for lower-body moves. They're not difficult (and, perhaps, not very effective), but while I'm easing my way into a regular routine, it's a good place to start. I'm not even doing every suggested move, obviously.

Baby steps.

A killer day

I live in the Middle of Nowhere, so when I shop, I have to drive a ways to get to a store. And when I really shop, I drive farther and take care of several errands at once. This saves gas, time, and wear and tear on the car.

It does not, however, save wear and tear on me.

Yesterday was one of those big shopping days. I walked four miles early in the morning, played with the dumbbells, drank a lot of water (bad idea when you're traveling, but hey, I managed), got organized and left the house around 11:30 a.m. Which was an hour later than I'd hoped to leave. With all the chores on my list yesterday I didn't think I'd make it home until dark.

Here's what the day looked like:

  • Lowe's for a roll of fencing for the blackberries
  • Local mall to see if my black Clark clogs could be repaired. The couldn't. Had to buy new black Clark clogs. Grrr.
  • K-Mart to check the price on sheer curtains, which I would buy if they were less expensive per yard than tulle.
  • JoAnn's for fabric and notions to make my younger granddaughter's Halloween costume. She's going to be a bride. Tulle is cheaper than K-Mart sheers. Yeah! Don't have to go back to K-Mart!
  • Sam's Club for coffee beans and a whole bunch of other stuff.
  • Wal-Mart for the rest of my list.

I got home at 5, amazingly, and dinner (chicken fajitas) was on the table by 6. I am woman, hear me roar.

By 8 p.m. the roar was a whimper, and by 8:15 I was asleep. Seriously! I usually read for an hour or so before I nod off, but after only a couple of pages I was done for the night. Woke up around 5:45 this morning and feel like a new woman.

The power of restorative sleep.

Gingersnapper posted a few links yesterday for body-weight exercises, as she promised she would do in a comment. That's the kind of advice I love. I know I need to do some strength training. Her comment that moving the dumbbells from one place to another counted as a workout made me laugh and encouraged me to actually do it. I ended up carrying two fives and two threes and then actually doing real exercises with them, as you know if you read the Stats post yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday's work was upper body, so today I'll do lunges and squats. I don't see Squat Thrusts (Mountain Climber) happening in the near future, though. That looks hard!

The way to manage this new plan of attack is to take it a day at a time and to get it done early in the day. My motivation and energy level are highest in the morning. Once it's done, I can lay around the shanty the rest of the day.

Or do laundry. Take your pick.

Monday, October 3, 2011


4 miles in 73 minutes
64 oz. water
Biceps, triceps, overhead lifts, front lifts, side bends, pushups – 10 of each. Curls and lifts were 5 lbs.
Three meals, no snacks

In my mind, I see a photograph of me with my daughter, my granddaughter and an imaginary great-grandchild. I'm lucky to have a four-generation photo of my dad, myself, my son and his daughter, but to repeat that with me at the top, I'm going to need to keep up with those four to-dos at the top of this post.

I hope you don't mind if I use this space to record this. At various times I've used FatSecret, SparkPeople, Weight Watchers Online and Calorie King to keep track of intentional activity. In order to do something different and to be accountable to someone other than myself (that would be both of you), I'm going to try this for the next four weeks.

But I'll always call the post "Stats," so if you're not interested you can skip it.

True confessions ...

Wow, my true-confessions post last Friday sure elicited a lot of comments. (We bloggers love comments, so thank you, thank you, thank you!)

I love that I'm not alone. I know I'm not alone, I've been reading blogs long enough to know that lots of us have food issues. But it's nice to hear what trips you up, too, and it's wonderful to not feel judged.

Of the four actions I listed – continue the almost-daily walking, drink more water, stop snacking, lift weights – you can probably guess the one I haven't started doing yet. Not only am I too lazy to lift a dumbbell, I'm too lazy to go outside to the garage and up the stairs to fetch the dumbbells and put them in the house, where they'll be in sight and available.

This weight-training mental block is bigger than my pants size. The last time I lost a significant amount of lard, dumbbells and barbells and push-ups helped me break through a plateau. It was dramatic, and very noticeable.

If I know it makes a positive difference, what is stopping me from trying it? Mostly I think it's that the other things I know that should, potentially, make a difference – chiefly eating less and moving more – haven't helped, so why would I do something I really don't much care for when it probably won't work anyway?

How. Lame. Is. That?

I love that, for the most part, you shared your experience with me without offering suggestions. Empathy is so affirming and, for me anyway, makes me want to do better. I want to report to you in January that no summer sausage made it into the house or down my gullet for the remainder of the college football season. I want to please you, kind of like the way a puppy wants to please its human.

Something that has crossed my mind many times, usually after I've eaten something that sabotages my efforts, is this: Never trade what you want most for what you want at this moment. I'm not sure if what I want most is to see my dad again, and thus I continue to snack my life away, or if I want his example to help me lose this weight for the last time (is that even possible?) so I can truly enjoy what's left.

I'm 60. Barring a horrific accident or catastrophic illness, I could live long enough to see my great-grandchildren. Do I want to meet them from a wheelchair, too infirm to walk, or do I want to walk with them – up and down stairs, around the block, into their schools?

No one lives forever, but I'd really like the last quarter or third of my life to be as comfortable and meaningful as possible. Keeping that thought first has been challenging. What I want now is the easier, softer way, but nothing of value comes easily. I've been focusing on my dad and his health problems as a way to stay on the right path, but I need to think more positively about the next 20 or 30 years. I need to shift the conversation in my head from what he couldn't do to what I want to continue to do.

Anne offered to do the water challenge with me. I did great over the weekend, downing six to eight glasses each day. I walked five miles Friday, three Saturday, and took a rest day yesterday. Having guests here for the weekend helped limit the snacking, but I can still do better there.

And now is as good a time as any to go get the dumbbells.

If you're still reading this novella, thank you for sticking with me. I use the blog to puzzle things out, and today has been especially productive. That you came with me is, um, icing on the cake. Heh.