Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31 - Four things

This image shows four traffic lights at an intersection in Franklin, TN.
Which is three more lights than in my entire county in southern WV.

May 30 - Tool

Addi Turbos - my favorite knitting tool.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29 - Kiss

Dew-kissed rose petals, at work this morning.

Back to work

Sometimes I feel like a kid again. Like when I leave later this morning for my part-time summer job. Heh.

And sometimes I feel like such an old lady. Like when I didn't sleep well and need to get a lot of stuff done today. Beginning with a four-mile walk.

Blog, walk, work, bank, grocery, home, pack, make dinner, sleep-sleep-sleep (hopefully better than last night!), wake up tomorrow and boogie on down the road.

That's the plan anyway. AA suggests that you plan the plans, not the results. That's worked out pretty well for me over the years. Cuts down dramatically on the disappointment factor.

I've no great pearls of wisdom to share this morning, and may or may not write while I'm gone.

I'm not even planning that plan!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28 - What you're doing now

What I'm doing now is what I do EVERY morning … computer and coffee.

It's unofficial

Thank you ALL for your super supportive comments on my progress. I still have a long way to go. Anyone looking at me would certainly say, "Oh, what a pretty face. But she really needs to lose some weight." <snort!> HOWEVER, as I mentioned to a friend and to my husband, I see possibility where I haven't been able to see it in a very long time.

The DietBet ends today, but I haven't received weigh-out instructions yet. I reported Sunday that I'd lost 14 pounds during the duration of the bet. That's been corrected to 12.5, as I forgot to account for 1.5 pounds of clothing.

Now you know. I weigh myself NEKKID!

Anyway. I know if you achieve your goal you have to upload pictures and I want to make sure all my ducks are lined up before I take the pictures, but I was pretty excited to step on the scale this morning and drop one more pound. Unofficially. Of course, the scale fluctuates hourly sometimes. (ASK ME HOW I KNOW! Heh) The important thing is I lost the weight and won the bet. Yay, me!

The DailyMile widget updates here on the blog every time I update my progress. It's at 450 miles as of yesterday, so I continue to make progress with the 1000-mile walking goal, as well.

One of my chores yesterday was laundry. So, those linen slacks I mentioned that I was going to have altered? The label said they were linen and rayon. Laundering instructions were for cold water wash/hang to dry. I took a leap of faith and sacrificed one pair to a warm water wash and then I threw them in the dryer.
The lighter pair is a good 3.5 inches smaller than the darker pair.
And they're not tight around my waist at all. Wonder how much a
tailor would have charged to alter them? I probably saved enough
money to add another pair of linen slacks to the closet. Heh.
Perfect fit. I tell you what, when your stars are aligned, everything works out for the best.

One thing I'm having trouble with is keeping up with the work involved in maintaining a house and yard AND putting in the time it takes to take a long daily walk. (It's all about priorities. OH, YES IT IS.) Yesterday I rested a bit after lunch and then forced myself to get up and work a little more on the herb bed. I planted sage, basil, parsley and bronze fennel. The well-established lemon balm is spreading like wildfire, but I just didn't have the energy to attack it with the hoe. That will be a job for another day.

Since I'm going to Tennessee in a couple days, I'm not even going to worry about planting the rest of the vegetable garden until I get back. I think all I'm going to do are tomatoes and squashes this year. Maybe some peppers. The onions are doing well; can't say as much for the cabbages and kale I planted earlier.

Sometimes gardening can be discouraging. The first year I put one in, the deer didn't know it was here. Now they look forward to their evening smorgasbord, despite the electric fencing. Nothing fazes them.

Perhaps I need to brush up on my shooting skills. Bambi bologna, anyone?

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27 - Can't live without

Coffee. Java. Joe.

The purge beginneth

First, though, iiiiiiittttt's Monday, and that means I've weighed in again and am once more KNOCKED OUT at the number I saw.

When I don't believe the scale (whether I think the number is too high or, less likely, too low), I try again until I get the same result twice. I seriously thought it was too low this morning. But it only took two tries to get the same number. Between last Monday and this one, I've dropped another 4.5 pounds.

That means since April 6 – just 51 days ago – I've dropped 20.5 pounds.

Yes, I'm staying within my calorie target and yes, I'm moving my butt, but I was creating significant calorie deficits between December 26 and April 6, as well, and not getting results like this. I would have to say, in fact, that in my 50-year dieting "career," I've never had this much success.

If you've yo-yo'd up and down all your life, as I have, you surely have some idea of how astonished I am. And if you've struggled and fought and done everything right and seen little or no results, then you must know how utterly GOBSMACKED I am.

And grateful. Oh, so grateful to have found a way to fuel my body that is satisfying and healthful and keeps its promises.

So. What is this purge of which I spoke in today's title? Well, I spent the morning of my birthday in my closet, pulling out things I thought were too big and then pulling out more things I thought might fit. Most of that summer wardrobe I bought two years ago is headed to Goodwill.

I'm keeping two pairs of linen slacks that are miles too big, but so easy-going and classy that I'll have them altered. One pair of capris has been a wardrobe staple this spring, now that they fit again. Another pair have hung, unworn, all this time because they were too small when I bought them. I'm taking them with me to Nashville this week.

I started on the dresser drawers, but ran out of time. Thus, the purge continueth, at some point. I'm not keeping anything that's too big. I don't want a just-in-case wardrobe. I'm sure you can relate when I say I'm never going to lose this weight again, but hear me LOUD AND CLEAR: I'm NEVER going to lose this weight again.

The morning sky is on fire. And so am I.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26 - Fave thing to do on Sunday

Sunday is a kickback kinda day. But I did manage to add five miles to the week's total.

A very good day

Turning 62 was just fine. My children and grandchildren all called and sang to me, my brother and sister both wished me a happy day, my husband and mother-in-law included generous checks in their cards, my son sent THREE cookbooks – all of the garden-to-table variety, and dinner out with friends (smoked chicken and roasted green beans) was delightful. (Well, the service could have been better, but the company and the food couldn't be beat!)

I miss my dad and his goofy cards and gifts (the most memorable was a set of three silly little garden gnomes, to "guard" my garden).

THANK YOU for all your good wishes. I hope your next birthday is as lovely as mine was.

After walking 7.2 miles Friday (in honor of Bob Dylan's 72nd birthday), my husband and I knocked out 6.2 (actually went a little over) yesterday. The pace was a bit slower than the previous day, and I had to remind myself that – especially here in southern West Virginia – not many 62-year-olds would even attempt walking that far. I'm so very grateful I can still manage to put one foot in front of the other for six or seven miles at a time.

I also got the weeds out of the very messy herb bed. It was too windy to till the vegetable garden, but it looks like today will be a good day for that. I might have a harvest this summer after all.

The DietBet ends Tuesday, and I'm definitely going to get my money back. 1805 players have now lost more than 8000 pounds and the winners will split a total pot of $45,150. I needed to lose 7.5 pounds, and am currently (as of yesterday) down 12.5. That's simply astonishing to me. Amazing. ASTOUNDING!

Who needs cake? Not me, thanks. Heh.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 25 - Us

My husband joined me on a 6.2-mile walk to celebrate my 62nd birthday.

Here I go again

Today's my day to begin a new orbit of the sun. As I have for probably every birthday since I turned 50, I'm hoping this will be the one in which I finally get it – a way to eat less and move more that results in a body I can stop fighting with, one way or another.

I think both of you know I'm (hopefully) on my way. May this orbit be THE ONE.

The scale gave me a nice gift first thing this morning. Official weigh-in day isn't until Monday, but I've become rather obsessed with collecting scale data lately. Since December 26, 2012, I've lost 25 pounds. Since April 6 (when I started the Whole30, and yes I know I've gone way past the 30), I've lost 18 pounds.

I set a couple goals when I started (again) last year. By 1/1/14 I wanted to walk 1000 miles and lose 50 pounds. I'm ahead of schedule on both: 434 miles (it'll be 440 after I do a 10K – 6.2 miles for 62 years – today) and half the weight gone.

Happy birthday to me.

I hope to take this advice to heart this year. If you'd rather not click through, it's an old AA adage to not take yourself too seriously, from the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. We call it Rule 62, and it seems appropriate for this birthday, although I don't think I take myself very seriously at all, most of the time. I've certainly never thought anyone else did – the curse, if you will, having a bit of a baby face, coupled with being short and having a non-assertive personality.

When I woke up this morning, the full moon was setting behind the mountain to the west as dawn was breaking over the mountain to the east. Not very often you get to see that. I think it's a lovely way to start this trip.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24 - GO

Had a hard time coming up with an idea for today's prompt.
Until this little guy showed up while I was walking. I urged him to,
"GO before you get smashed!" And then I nudged him to the side of the road.

About smoothies … and then about some more stuff

Since I haven't read It Starts With Food, I can't say whether I might change my mind about consuming a smoothie now and again. I have no trouble consuming them now, if the calories are in the bank. Since I don't use whey protein powder, I think of a smoothie as a treat or dessert, rather than a meal. I've only made a couple since April 6, one green and one fruit, and I used coconut milk for the liquid. That said, I dumped my remaining homemade almond milk into an ice cube tray and will use it for future concoctions.

Sharon's comment nudged me into adding the book to my Kindle library. I didn't revamp my menu for any other reason than to lose weight. As both of you know, I've tried every weight-loss plan under the sun, for most of my life, and been marginally successful only a couple of times. I say marginally because the two times I was able to achieve what looked like normal on the scale lasted about three years each time, and then the weight returned.

I must have thought I was cured.

The authors of ISWF ask:
What if you could increase your energy, sleep better, improve your mood and lose weight - permanently? 
What if you could break the unhealthy cycle of food cravings, indulgence and guilt - forever?
 What if you could naturally change your tastes, so the foods you love to eat are the same foods that make you healthier?
And what if you could eliminate the symptoms of your medical condition - just by changing the food you put on your plate? 
Just one of those issues was on my list. I printed ONLY the shopping list .pdf from their website. I didn't do any other research. I plunged ahead based solely on the experience of friends and my utter frustration after three and a half months of creating significant daily and weekly calorie deficits and losing just seven pounds. I know how to cook. I figured with the right ingredients available and the willingness to commit for 30 days, I would just see what happened.


Nothing else had, why should this?

Because I had no hope, I didn't write about it here on the blog for three weeks. It didn't even take 30 days to convince me of the benefits, based solely on my one desire, which was to lose weight.

I haven't been able to drop pounds like this since I was a much younger woman with a much more efficient metabolism.

So what else has happened? I might be sleeping better in general, but I still have a night or two, here and there, when sleep is elusive. I haven't seen the big spike in energy that most people do. My mood has not improved. In fact, I might be a little bitchier than normal. You could ask my husband about that for clarification. (I think this mood thing has more to do with outside life circumstances than with my food consumption.)

On the plus side, my hip pain is gone. I was seriously considering asking my doctor for an orthopedic consult, thinking I needed a hip replacement. I don't crave sugar. Not. At. All. Vegetables, formerly tolerable and necessary, are now delicious, and something to look forward to.

I do not write all this now to convince you. I'm not a shill for Whole30 (although I get a couple pennies from Amazon if you purchase the book through the above link). Everything I write on the blog is for me, and if something I do strikes your fancy, I'm here to support you. But I'm really supporting myself.

There will come a time when I get tired of this, if history is any indication. I don't think straying from the plan for, say, a celebration will be detrimental. I'm having a birthday party for my granddaughter in July. If I thought a piece of her cake would kill me, I'd decline. But I don't, and I won't. I don't want my life to revolve around what I can and cannot eat. I'll do my best, of course, but a happy life does, sometimes, include cake!

Just not now. And should that piece of future cake lead to daily smoothies, I hope I remember to come back here and read this post and remind myself of the goal.

Which is no longer just weight loss.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23 - PJs

A nightshirt, actually.

Remember that Almond Cinnamon Frappe I was going to try?

Well, I tried it, and it's definitely not worth the effort, in my opinion.

Although, come to think of it, there's not much effort involved.

The most time-consuming part of the project is making almond milk. I'm pretty sure the hunter-gatherers didn't have blenders. Or refrigeratos. I'm not sure how they would have actually produced and stored almond milk, but it seems to me that modern paleo eaters squeeze in quite a few items that weren't around when cavewomen were trying to feed their families.

At any rate, if you're interested, here's how Martha Stewart makes almond milk:
HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK1 cup whole raw almonds
4 cups water, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place almonds in a blander. Bring 1 cup water to a boil; pour over almonds. Let stand 30 minutes. Add remaining 3 cups water and vanilla; blend until frothy. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Almond milk can be stored in refrigerator up to 5 days. Shake before serving. Makes 3-1/2 cups.
To make the frappé, simply combine 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a blender. Pour over ice to serve.
This is not your yummy coffee-shop thick, creamy frappé. Mine was watery, needed more cinnamon and was generally a waste of two tablespoons of almond butter. But I tried it. I can't think of any reason for someone eating paleo to NEED almond milk. Maybe to make paleo muffins? I certainly can't think of any use for the remaining 2-1/2 cups of milk in my refrigerator.

I was surprised at how much this product looks and tastes like commercial almond milk. If you'd like to pour a more natural almond milk product over your muesli, this is definitely a good solution.

Walked and worked yesterday, will do so again today. Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Something as yet undetermined for lunch. Tomato and meat sauce over spaghetti squash for dinner. Looks like it's going to be cool and sunny most of the day. I'm hoping it dries up enough to get the lawn mowed tomorrow and maybe, maybe throw some seeds in the garden. Or clean up the herb bed. OR BOTH.

The patio tomatoes have been planted – a red cherry and a yellow pear – but I am way behind on everything else in the big garden. Oh, well, as my friend said yesterday, "You've always been sorry you didn't plant a late garden." Love her attitude.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22 - Change

The change drawer in the cash register at work. Ch-ch-ch-change(s).

Tying up some loose ends

I lived about 30 miles from Xenia, Ohio, when a tornado flattened that city in the early 1970s. It was a devastating event, and much too close to home. I remember driving there shortly afterward to witness the destruction. You just can't imagine unless you've seen it. My heart is breaking for Moore, Oklahoma, especially since they've been there, done that, not that long ago (1999). As bad asthe derecho was for us last summer, the physical damage was limited to the loss of some trees. We had a roof over our heads, a place to sleep, and we were able to get water. Tornadoes (and hurricanes) leave nothing but heartbreak and debris in the wake.

Sunday was, as I mentioned, a long day in the car and in a meeting. No exercise that day. No exercise Monday, either. (My exercise is still walking outdoors, but I'm thinking more and more about that seven-minute HIIT circuit.)

I made up for Sunday and Monday by walking a total of 9.7 miles yesterday. Went to the post office in the morning – 1.65 miles round-trip – and added eight and a little bit more miles in the afternoon. Note to self: Don't ever walk that far without having lunch first. Also? It's more important to carry a bottle of water than a phone.

A young Amish girl was kind enough to give me some water, about 2.5 miles from home. (I had seriously run out of gas!) When I asked her if she minded, she chirped, "Of course not!" She was taking a break from mowing the lawn with a reel-type mower, a job about which she wasn't very enthusiastic. But, as she said, "It needed to be done and all the boys were working." Don't think all those Amish women spend their time in the kitchen and garden!

So I made it home and rested and vowed to walk smarter next time.

Monday was an exercise-free day because I had another of those dizzy spells. Fortunately I hadn't canceled the doctor's appointment for that afternoon. He listened carefully to my history, studied my lab results and diagnosed an inner-ear issue that is more common as we age. Calcium deposits build up in the labyrinth, and sometimes a little crystal breaks off, causing balance problems, especially after a night of rest. My incidents have always started in the morning.

There's no definitive treatment for them; should they become debilitating, he will refer me to a specialist who has about a 60 percent success rate doing some kind of manipulation. I'm satisfied with this explanation and thrilled I wasn't subjected to any tests and/or procedures.

He, in turn, was thrilled with my bloodwork, especially the cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and said to continue the paleo plan, as it appeared to be a good match for me, my blood and especially my metabolism. (I've been to him many times in the past regarding my weight.)

Now you're all caught up, and so am I. And I have time for a couple miles before work. ADIOS!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21 - I care about this

I care PASSIONATELY about passing a single-payer bill here in the United
States, where 123 people die daily due to lack of adequate health care.

How to help

A massive tornado ripped through Oklahoma here in the U.S. yesterday. Confirmed deaths stand at 91 this morning, with the toll expected to rise. Two schools were in the path of the destruction; 21 children are confirmed dead.

From the Red Cross in Oklahoma City:

The best way to help tornado victims is to donate to the Red Cross at or on your cell phone, text REDCROSS to 90999 to contribute $10.

I don't remember what I'd planned to write about this morning. I feel pretty helpless, but every $10 helps someone there.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20 - Light

Let there be light ... from the vintage sconces in our guest bathroom.

I was not meant for long hauling

Yesterday was another day on the road, this time for a West Virginia Federation of Democratic Women board meeting. The board meets quarterly, and I missed the previous meeting because I was … get ready … on the road! This month I've been on an all-day trip an average of once a week.

Pocatalico is my favorite place name 
in all of West Virginia. Just say it and  
you'll see what I mean.
Driving seems like a non-tiring activity, but it wears. me. OUT. Especially when I have to drive for three or four hours, spend three or four hours doing something and then drive three or four more hours to get home. Which is what each of the May trips have looked like.

I have 10 days to rest up and then I'm off to Nashville. Which is a seven-hour drive and I'll be there long enough to recover before I head back home again.

Does driving make you tired? I could never be an over-the-road driver, and I give them all kinds of courtesy when I travel. I'm never in such a big hurry that I can't let one in front of me. Those drivers are working and probably way more tired than I am.

So the meeting was at a locally owned restaurant in Parkersburg, WV. When I got the notice in the mail, I thought Don Emilio's would most likely be Italian, and I was prepared to order some kind of meat and red sauce with no pasta. I was pretty sure I could figure out an appropriate paleo lunch at an Italian joint.

Turns out this Don was Mexican. Or Tex-Mexican. Or Mexican-American. It was, shall we say, not especially authentic Mexican cuisine, and there was not a single entrée that I could work into the plan. So I had a mug of gazpacho (which was DELICIOUS, if you like gazpacho, which I most definitely DO) and was glad I had brought a homemade Larabar with me. No one even asked what I was nibbling on.

I'd considered stopping for dinner to break up the drive home, but I really just wanted to get out of the car and stay out, so I ate a banana and some cashews on the fly, and kept on driving. I'm pretty sure Ruby Tuesdays wouldn't have set up a cot for me had I stopped there for salmon and spaghetti squash.

The meeting itself was a little discouraging. Membership is going down at all levels. The National Federation of Democratic Women annual convention is next month, here in West Virginia (another road trip!), and only 170 women have registered to date. (It's not too late to register! If you have any interest in Democratic politics and women's issues, this is the convention for you!) Attendance at county meetings is down throughout the state.

I think we're all taking it easy until 2016. In the meantime, Republicans are taking over state legislatures. No rest for the weary.

Also. It's Monday, which means I hop on the scale for the official weekly weigh-in. I've lost another 1.5 pounds, for a total of 23 since December 26 – 16 in the last six weeks (since April 6). With any luck I'll be halfway toward my goal by my birthday. But the official weigh-in won't be recorded until two days later.

I had some time to kill before the meeting yesterday and bought a pair of capris that are a size smaller than the ones I've been wearing this spring. They fit fine, but really? I hope they shrink a little.

That's a nice problem to have for the long haul.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19 - My Favorite View

Hershey, once again surveying her domain. This view from my desk
is definitely a favorite!

What happened to Saturday?

Today is going to be busier than yesterday, but I just never got around to parking my ass in front of the laptop yesterday. Today's business begins in half an hour and I'll be gone all day, so I'm seizing the opportunity now. I hate missing a day, but it just couldn't be helped. (Yes, I could have blogged on my phone or tablet, but there's just something about a real keyboard. I guess I'm old-school.) I barely managed to post the daily photo.

I'm now 20 days into the Diet Bet. My goal was to lose 7.5 pounds; as of this morning I've lost NINE! Yay, me. I would never have anted up based on my old method of calories in/calories out. That works for some people, but it definitely didn't work for me. (If you're new here, this does. So far.)

I haven't really been missing dairy (well, maybe cheese), but I was flipping through the current issue of Martha Stewart Living and came across an Almond Cinnamon Frappé dessert drink that sounded good. (I love, love, love cinnamon.) The ingredients include homemade almond butter (which is so easy you don't need a recipe – whirl some almonds in a food processor until the oils are released, about 10 minutes) AND homemade almond milk (which takes longer, but is certainly doable. How do I know? I did it!)

Leave it to Martha (although there may be lots of homemade almond milk recipes out there … I've never looked).

The recipe isn't on the website yet, and I really don't have much more time to spend here this morning, but after I make the frappé I'll post the method. If it's good. The milk is quite tasty, as a matter of fact.

Managed to plant more onions, along with some tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. There's still a LOT of gardening to be done. The herb bed is a mess and I want to redo the beds along the driveway. I plan to plant lots of squash – cushaw, butternut and spaghetti – in the vegetable beds and hope the new fence keeps the deer out. I got brave and touched the tape to make sure it was hot, and it is, but it's not like I got shocked or anything. Just a little nip.

Okay, time to get this party started. Hope your Sunday is good to you. I'll be on the road. Again. Would rather be getting my hands dirty, but that'll have to wait. I need to be a good little Democrat today and go to a board meeting a long way from home. Later!

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17 - Season

'Tis a misty May morning, indeed. Spring has sprung!

Deep thoughts …

Not my original ones, but from the little inspirational e-mail I get from Mike Dooley. I read these on the fly and rarely think about them during the day. That would mean memorizing them, and reflecting upon them, and allowing them to sink in. I prefer to be delighted by the idea as I read it. Often I'll say to myself, "Hmmm. Never thought about it like that."

I don't think my life has been dramatically changed by reading these tiny snippets of positivity.

But I know I haven't been harmed by them.

Happy always lasts longer than sad.
Slow never fails to arrive.
And forever has only just begun.

Proving once again, Debbi, that time is always on your side - 


Sometimes, Debbi, when circumstances or disappointments bump you off track, it's the beginning of an even bigger dream coming true, that could
not have come true on the track you were on.

Yeah, always. 


Talking a lot about something that bothers you, Debbi, is a pretty good
sign that you've got something huge and profoundly liberating to learn. 

These are good things to believe, hard to disprove and they set a good tone for my day.

I hope they do the same for yours.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16 - Mailbox

Guess which one of my neighbors works at the school bus barn? 

Could you please pass the bacon? And eggs?

So the results of my recent bloodwork came back, and I'm amazingly healthy. I was not worried, exactly, but was very curious to see what six weeks of bacon-and-egg breakfasts would do to my cholesterol levels, which were approaching abnormal levels last fall. In a nutshell:
  • Total cholesterol: 147, down from 189 (normal is 50-200)
  • HDL (the good stuff): 51, down from 65 (normal is 50-150)
  • LDL (the bad stuff): 86.6, down from 110.2 (normal is 0-130)
  • Triglycerides: 47, down from 69 (normal is 50-150)
So, yay, me! Any plan that has me losing weight and lowering my cholesterol while eating bacon and eggs is okay by me.

(I realize the HDL should be going up, not down, but it's still b-a-r-e-l-y within normal limits, and I am therefore sticking my fingers in my ears and going 'lalalalalala.')

I truly think moving one's ass affects the movement of those numbers more than what's on the menu. And I have been committed to moving my ass this year.

All the other major and minor indicators came back normal, normal, normal, as well. I'm not sure I'm going to keep that doctor's appointment I made for Monday. While my insurance does pay for one well-woman visit per year, and it's been three years since I've seen my doctor, the only real issue I have to talk about is those sporadic dizzy spells. I'll consult my in-house physician about this and cancel (or not) tomorrow.

Your comments yesterday made my day! Thank you all for your continued encouragement. It just feels So. Damned. Good. to be doing something different and actually seeing results. Heck, I might even add some HIIT to my schedule. Maybe. Sunday's New York Times Magazine had an article about the effectiveness of it, along with the following graphic for a suggested routine which can be done in seven minutes. (No, not that seven minutes.)
My front porch step is a better height and probably safer for me than a chair for the step-up move, and my fireplace hearth works well for tricep dips. In both exercises, I think it's better to use an immoveable object rather than a chair, which could slip or tip over. I seriously doubt if I can do the last two moves – the push-up and rotation and the side plank. That said, I can see myself doing the first 10 moves two or three times a week once I lose a little more weight.

Being obese seriously limits one's ability to move. I'm finding it easier to do some things which had been beginning to concern me. For instance, while I hadn't actually shopped for Velcro sneakers, I was starting to appreciate the concept. I can almost … a-l-m-o-s-t … see myself running again, just for the fun of it.

What else ... something has gotten into the garden already, and I have to start over with kale and cabbage. Grrr. The recent rains prevented me from planting too much, so it's not a big deal. I need to take a couple days and just concentrate on tilling and plowing and mulching, oh my. (Days have been hard to come by lately.) Right now I'm an allium gardener – the only things thriving are chives, onions and garlic. The asparagus is done (SOB!); we ate the last of it last night.

Two of the apple trees are loaded with fruit; the third (the Honeycrisp, sadly) remains barren. But with any luck we'll have a crop o'Granny Smiths and Yellow Transparents this year. The branches will break if all the fruit ripens, so I have some major thinning to do.

I guess major thinning has been the topic du jour for the last few weeks around here. I thank you for your indulgence and support. One of these days I might actually pick up a knitting needle again. With all the grocery shopping I've been doing, I could use another one of these.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15 - 7:00

7 a.m. Getting ready to take the walk that put me over 400 miles for the year.

Wasted time.

Or waisted time, maybe.

I just found the program I used in 2012 to track my food and weight-loss progress. I weighed essentially the same in January 2012 as I did this January. By July 2012 I'd lost 11 pounds. By December I'd gained 12.

After several months of beating my head against a brick wall, I obviously quit whatever I was doing (South Beach, I think) and ate whatever I wanted, reversing the s-l-o-w downward trend and eventually reaching a new high. (My stopping also coincided with the derecho and the nine days without electricity after it hit. Nothing like a little comfort food to get you through a crisis.)

No time is wasted, really, as long as you're willing to learn from the experience.

What have I learned so far? Some of the same stuff I've heard (and said) so many times in AA:

  • I must remain teachable.
  • I don't know it all. 
  • When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

The difference this year is that instead of quitting, I tried something new. My teachers (three altogether) showed up at precisely the moment I was ready to learn. Two of them had been there, waiting patiently, for quite a while. The third came much later. And just in time.

Another thing we talk a lot about in AA is gratitude. Wow, am I grateful for an open mind and lots of support.

And a freezer full of grass-fed beef. Heh.

P.S. Heading out for a walk. As of today, I'm averaging 3.02 miles per day and am well on my way to hitting my 1000-mile goal for the year. YAY, ME!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14 - Need

Gotta. Have. Coffee.

Commenting on the comments

Because my brain is dead this morning, I'm going to fall back on a good old blog-fodder stand-by. You've got comments? I respond.
VickieMay 13, 2013 at 1:36 PM
Wouldn't you know I have a question when you are gone for the day. If you happen to see this please respond when you can, we are making summer plans (can't book their rental car until they have white water reservations). Two of my kids (23 and 19) are going to be driving through WV (on way from Indiana to east coast) and want to go White Water Rafting somewhere along the way. Do you or your husband know the good companies/rivers?
Neither my husband (a West Virginia native) nor myself (a 16-year resident) have ever been whitewater rafting. I know, a travesty, right? Our travels yesterday took us right over the New River Gorge and quite near the Gauley River, which are THE rivers to raft here. If I were you I'd just Google and look for good reviews.
MadAnneMay 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Do you count calories?
I do, using the LoseIt! app. Most folks following a paleo plan don't count calories, or at least I don't think they do, considering that none of the paleo recipes I've tried include nutritional information, meaning I have to enter each ingredient one by one (either in LoseIt's recipe creator or just as a meal component) to come up with the numbers. (Wow, that was a long sentence.)
LoseIt sends me a handy-dandy e-mail every week, giving me a rundown of the calorie deficit and the macronutrient percentages. If I'd been smart when I started I'd have downloaded them as spreadsheets – an option offered – but I wasn't smart, so I just now added everything up and averaged everything out and here's what I've come up with:
From December 26 to April 6:
  • Average calorie deficit per week: -1791
  • Average calorie output (exercise) per week: 1783
  • Percentage of calories from fat: 33
  • Percentage of calories from carbs: 51
  • Percentage of calories from protein: 16
Since April 6, here's what the numbers look like:
  • Average calorie deficit per week: -3314
  • Average calorie output (exercise) per week: 2112
  • Percentage of calories from fat: 46
  • Percentage of calories from carbs: 28
  • Percentage of calories from protein: 26
I'm clearly creating a greater deficit on the paleo plan. Part of the reason is that I began working again in April, and thus the calories burned by activity are greater. Part of the reason is that I'm appropriately hungry when it's time to eat a meal, and I'm not eating between meals. I will sometimes eat a piece of fruit a couple hours after dinner, but that's the extent of my snacking. Usually.
I am not eating when I'm bored or "just because" or when my emotions take over. Why? I have NO IDEA. Perhaps the additional fat and protein calories are squashing those impulses, because I surely do have a history of emotional eating. In fact, I would have offered myself up as the poster child for it.
The great thing about maintenance is that I get to enjoy the result of all of my hard work. And, if my mindset is focused, I can go to any restaurant, buffet or party without any concern about the other food being served. I would never exert so much energy exercising and eating well if I still felt like I was trapped with a body or mind that missed out on joyful experiences because my brain was overly concerned with the food available to be eaten.
From a post in which I briefly mentioned maintenance (that's still a long way off), Wendy's comment was in response to Vickie's, who described how she navigated a carry-in dinner. I completely agree with Wendy, and will further add that we each have to find our own way. My maintenance isn't going to look like Vickie's or Wendy's or yours or anybody else's. That's part of the science experiment, right, G?
I've eaten a lot of restaurant meals lately, way more than are normal for me. In each restaurant I was able to find something that satisfied my hunger and fit in the plan. I have not ONCE felt deprived. I think part of that lack of deprivation is because this is still new, but part of it is because it's working so very well FOR ME. I'm no expert, and what works here might not work there.
Are you thinking that when you get to the other end of the scale you are going to go back to your former eating/stop what you are doing now . . . ?
To which I respond: ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING? Hell to the no! I've been working on weight loss for more than 50 years, with only two periods where I was reasonably normal. As I said in the post, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
However … the theory (as I understand it) behind Whole30 is that you cut legumes, dairy, sugar and grains for 30 days and then reintroduce them, one at a time over a period of a few weeks, and reassess. For me, adding those foods back will happen later rather than sooner because I'm not quite willing to give up feeling this good for the possibility of feeling not-so-good. Do I want that right hip to start hurting again? Or those swollen ankles (especially the left one)? Do I really need that fat belly? (Seriously, the way my midsection has changed is quite remarkable.) No, I do not. I'm happy as I can be trying on clothes that didn't fit a month ago, walking four, five or six miles without pain and watching the number on the scale go down, down, down.
We stopped at Ruby Tuesday's for dinner yesterday. My husband loves the fresh salad bar there, and he looked forward to it all the way from Morgantown to Beckley. I didn't know what would be available for me to eat, but I figured there would be something on the menu I could order.

And there was. Hidden among the cheesy, saucy, entrées was a simple salmon filet with grilled zucchini and roasted SPAGHETTI SQUASH! How cool is it to find my favorite vegetable on a restaurant menu? I almost ordered two servings of the spagetti squash instead of the zucchini, but "they" say variety is the spice of life. Heh. The entire meal was cooked perfectly and I left the restaurant quite satisfied. So did my husband. And the friend we visited in the hospital was markedly improved.

All in all, a VERY good day. I even walked the perimeter of the hospital property a few times while the patient napped. Way off in the distance (probably in Pennsylvania), beyond a cattle farm in a little valley, I saw a wind farm. I took a picture but you can't see a darned thing except clouds and mountains.

I also took this picture:

How cool is that?
And I think I'm done commenting on the comments.

For now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13 - Sunset

Yay! Made it home for sunset, the other half of today's prompt.
Now it's time to sleep, perchance to dream. Nighty-night!

May 13 - Sunrise/Sunset

Traveling all day today, don't know where I'll be for sunset so here you go:
another beautiful sunrise from the Middle of Nowhere!

What if it's dairy?

My daughter called yesterday afternoon to wish me a happy mother's day. We chitchatted for a bit and then she asked how The Project was going. I had hoped to be non-commital, but apparently I am four and can't keep a secret. I'm going to see her in a couple weeks. The last time I saw her was in mid-January, at the beginning of the mission, when I hadn't yet lost a single damned pound. In the back of my narcissistic little mind I wanted to see a dramatic reaction to her mom being 20 pounds lighter (21.5 as of this morning, actually).

Now that she knows, the reaction will probably be underwhelming. OH, WELL. It can't always be all about me, right? EXCEPT HERE ON THE BLOG. Heh.

She knows how I've struggled to lose weight. I was at my lowest adult weight about the time she got married in the early '90s, and she's seen me bounce up and down ever since. She has her dad's body type – tall and lithe – and she stops eating when she's under a lot of stress.

Can you imagine?

She loves to cook and eat, though, and when she puts on a few she low-carbs it to get them back off. In fact, she mostly low-carbs it anyway, and it works for her quite well. She knows I've tried it with no success, and during our conversation she tossed this out:

What if it's the cheese?

I was horrified at the thought. Of the four major foods I've cut (dairy, legumes, sugar, grains) since April 6, dairy is the one I miss most. I am SO looking forward to Greek yogurt in my smoothies, or a slice of good cheddar melted on a burger.

I guess the only way to know is to experiment, and I'm not ready to do that yet. I don't think a sensitivity to dairy makes one gain weight, or even prevents one from losing. What I do know, looking back at my December 26-to-April 6 food logs, is that I was eating dairy and grains and legumes and sugar almost daily. And even though I was eating below my calorie goals nearly every day, and my weekly averages were always below the target, I was not dropping the lard like I am now.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12 - Mother

A portrait of my mother when she was a baby. Mother's Day is difficult
for me, since my mother died more than 20 years ago when she was younger
than I am now. But the memories are sweet, and both my kids called.
Happy Mother's Day!

I'd give it two thumbs up …

but my other hand is busy stuffing banana bread into my mouth!

Seriously, the bread was moist and delicious, and something I'll definitely make again. Glad I'm not allergic to coconut. And wishing I could grow them (of course)! But then I'd have to learn how to make flour and oil out of them and seriously? Some things are better left to others. Coconut processors gotta make a living, too, right?

However, I don't plan on making it often. In AA, when one of our triggers smacks us in the face (a whiff of wine, an image of a foam-covered beer stein), we call the feeling we get "euphoric recall." It's not a good thing, and chowing down on banana bread gives me a little bit of that feeling. I would love for food to be fuel, without any feelings attached to it. Does banana bread taste better than bacon and eggs? Yeah, sure. Is it as beneficial for my body? I would say probably not. And I can almost guarantee I'm going to be very hungry when lunchtime rolls around.

So Happy Mother's Day (here in the U.S.), whether your children have two legs or four. Or fins, for that matter. We're taking my husband's mother out for lunch today, to a big buffet at a nearby state park which is famous for its big buffets. The menu includes many good choices for me, and I don't anticipate having to make any tough decisions going through the line.

My first DietBet weigh-in was on a Sunday, and I've logged my progress on the game website each Sunday since. As of this morning I have half a pound to go to get my money back. Seven pounds GONE in two weeks. That. Is. The. BOMB! My non-DietBet weigh-in day is tomorrow. This morning the total was 21. I hope it stays the same for one more day. And then continues to go down, week after week, until I need to learn some maintenance techniques.

Because THAT is always the issue. If you've ever lost and gained and lost and gained and lost and gained, you know losing is possible and gaining is inevitable. Or at least I do. What I don't know is how to make it stay lost.

My guess is it has something to do with continuing to do what works. Heh. For me, that would be almost-daily intentional activity and a reasonable amount of whole, healthful food. It would also mean eliminating sugar, probably eliminating wheat and possibly eliminating legumes and dairy. The jury is out, of course, until I begin adding those items back into my meals.

But with just a half a pound to go on the bet, I don't think this is the time to experiment.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11 - Smile

Let's see, fancy filter? Check! Blurred? Check! Black-and-white? Check!
The better to not expose myself to you, my pretties. Heh.

Baking. What a concept.

It's been a while since I've busted out the hand mixer here in the cave. Anything I've had to smoosh together since April 6 has been mixed with a spoon or a whisk. But since I didn't wake up FAMISHED this morning and since I had everything I needed to make this … well, let's just say the oven is on and there's a loaf pan full of a banana breadlike substance in it.

(I crack myself up. I guess "banana breadlike" is better than "foodlike," right?)

It comes out of the oven 25 minutes from now. Ten minutes to cool, then breakfast!

The finished loaf, which somewhat
resembles a breakfast bread.
It's not exactly a nutritional powerhouse of a morning meal, with five times as much fat and four times as many carbs as protein. (Yes, I'm a geek and entered the entire recipe into my LoseIt! app. I'm still logging every morsel that passes my lips, a practice I began in earnest – again – December 26.) The recipe doesn't say how many servings it yields, so I picked six out of the air, knowing that a loaf pan usually makes 12 slices and if it's good I'll eat a couple. It comes out to 247 calories per serving, not slice. I'll add some bacon to significantly reduce the carb count and slightly increase the protein.

I don't think most folks following a primal/paleo eating plan count calories or worry too much about macronutrients. Since I am, at this time, using this way of eating for weight loss – with some great unexpected side benefits – I think it's important FOR ME to keep journaling my food and tweaking the numbers.

For someone who naively wanted to just eat less and move more and watch the weight drop off last December, without turning the whole process into A Job, I've pretty much done a 180 and turned this paleo stuff into a JOB. But, like I said, the benefits are good, and the weight is finally dropping off. While eating like this goes against the grain (cracking myself up AGAIN!) sometimes, it does seem to be working.

Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, right?

May 10 - Stars

Some seriously gaudy patriotic shopping bags for sale at Tiny Kroger.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Aaaaaand … we're off

Skipped the bloodwork yesterday morning in favor of breakfast before work. I'd planned to go when I got off work at 1 p.m., but after Wednesday's crash-and-burn, decided I wouldn't be able to fast AND work AND drive.

(I probably could have, but it was no problem to rearrange things.) The nurses at the clinic begin sticking at 7:30 a.m., and I plan to be first in line. I'll have a banana in my purse and look forward to eggs AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Which might mean following a short trip to Tiny Kroger.

When you live in the Middle of Nowhere, you don't just go to town. You do go, of course, to take care of whatever pressing business takes you there. But you also run an errand or two because you don't drive 12 miles one way and NOT run an additional errand or two.

In the same vein, I'm heading to the Nash later this month and will most definitely hit Trader Joe's while I'm there. And maybe even a Target!

You guys who live in urban sprawl don't know how good you have it. Heh.

Then again, you guys who live in urban sprawl don't have the neighbor's horses lining your walking route, either. Not sure which route I'll be walking today, but THERE WILL BE A WALK. A long one, since I'm a couple miles short of the weekly target.

Have a great Friday, y'all. Plan the plan, not the results. Life always works out better that way.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9 - Snack

Bananas hit the spot when chocolate or pretzels are no longer options.

Breakfast of Champions

Well, breakfast of this champion, anyway:

Yesterday morning I had a GINORMOUS fruit bowl for breakfast. Tiny Kroger had pineapples for a buck, so I had two of those cut up and ready to eat, along with a couple quarts of sliced strawberries, a bunch of bananas, some kiwis and some oranges. I peeled and sliced and diced and got my five servings of fruits or vegetables all in one swell foop. (I know it kind of sounds like I had two pineapples and two quarts of strawberries for breakfast. I didn't. Half a cup of each.)

Then I went to work, where I dragged around all morning. I came home, ate and rested. A lot. Fixed dinner and took a short walk afterward, then ate a little more. Then went to bed. EXHAUSTED. And HUNGRY.

My normal breakfast looks like that photo: two or three slices of bacon and two eggs, sunny side up. The difference in protein between the two days' morning meals is night and day, and I learned a lesson from it.

I. Need. Protein. Especially in the morning.

It's been a month since I went paleo-crazy, and I've noted a few things:

  • I've taken maybe two Aleve this month. I had previously taken two or three each day.
  • The right hip pain I thought was IT Band Syndrome or arthritis is almost completely gone.
  • I don't (usually) get hungry between meals and I'm appropriately hungry at mealtime.
  • I'm especially hungry when I wake up, which I think is a good thing.

And, of course, from January to April I'd lost seven pounds, and since then have lost 11.

A couple other animals showed up
on this morning's walk, as well.
I went walking this morning instead of writing a post for the blog. My intention was to go three miles, but I stopped to visit with a neighbor whose dog had surgery recently. He (the dog) used to come visit us and play with Hershey and we've really been missing him, so it was worth a half-mile shorter walk to play with Toby and find out how he's doing. His left rear leg is held in place with pins – he looks like a bionic dog – and he was sporting a cone of shame. I felt bad for him, but he seemed happy to see me.

Work this week has been very physical, and yesterday was especially difficult, as it was cold and poured down rain the whole time I was there. We unloaded a truckload of new stock. The flood we expected didn't happen, and today was bright and sunny and the customers just kept on coming! That's just how we like it in early May.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8 - Shape

Redbud trees have heart-shaped leaves.

From the ridiculous to the sublime

So. Yesterday voters in South Carolina's 1st District elected former SC Governor Mark Sanford – the one who "hiked" the Appalachian Trail – to represent them in Congress. How very classy. And ridiculous. The next time I hear the Republicans chant "family values" I will laugh. my. ass. off.

And then there's Charles, the Cleveland fellow who helped rescue those three young women. You've surely heard of Charles Ramsey by now. When asked about the reward money for helping find Amanda Berry, he said to give it to the women. How classy is that? And sublime.

My heart is singing this morning for Charles Ramsey and others like him. Because he is not alone, there are Charles Ramseys in my neighborhood, and yours, men and women who would not think twice about helping someone who needed help.

Or giving away money they didn't earn.

The astute among you (that would be both of you!) will note this post is being published between 7 and 8 a.m. on Wednesday, when I said I would be walking prior to going to work. Well, it is raining, raining, raining, the third straight day of almost constant rain. The Greenbrier River will probably reach minor flood stage today, the same Greenbrier River that flows behind the garden center.

I'm actually anticipating being told not to come in, unless we have to move things to higher ground. I don't think the nursery is in danger, but the road to the prison, which also runs along the Greenbrier River, is probably closed by now.

I'm not sure a flood is either ridiculous OR sublime. It is what it is. It's keeping me inside this morning, but the weather-in-motion radar shows clear skies (or at least not raining skies) this afternoon.

One elliptical workout this week is plenty.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7 - Something beginning with F

A faded flower from days gone by. And at least another inch of rain.


Yesterday was a long and winding day, beginning with a four-mile walk that ended in the rain, and moving on to a five-hour Sam's Club/JoAnn's/Kroger mission that began AND ended in the rain. On tap for today? MORE RAIN.

There was an inch of rain collected in the gauge this morning. I sure do wish I'd gotten the garden in prior to this week. But it's easier to plant and pull weeds from wet ground than from rock-hard soil. Counting my blessings.

My focus the past month (I began the paleo plan April 6) has been spot-on, and it's working.

Less than a quarter-mile to go. At this point I'd been walking in the
rain for 20 minutes, so when my husband called to see if I needed
him to come pick me up, I declined. I was already soaked!
What have I focused on? Basically eating protein, vegetables and fruits; not eating grains, legumes, dairy and sugar, and getting some kind of daily workout done. The eating part has been STELLAR. Astonishingly so.

For instance: I have two packages of lemon sandwich cookies in my car, left from a long-ago road trip. I don't even have to take my eyes off the road to find them, open them and eat them. That's how road-trip food works, right? Well, I've been on several solo road trips since those cookies landed in the car and I don't even think about them. They'll most certainly outlive me. Because I'm not touching them except to pitch them next time I clean the car.

Part of yesterday's mission was to find spaghetti squash, which is classified as a winter variety and, thus, hasn't been available at Tiny Kroger. Giant Kroger had plenty of them, pricey but still … I was so happy to see them I put three in my cart. (Spaghetti squash keeps well and you can cook and freeze it, as well.)

You can bet I'm planting plenty of spaghetti squash (and butternuts. I picked one of those up at Giant Kroger but returned it to the bin when I realized it was going to cost $7.50!).

I was also on the hunt for coconut flour and almond meal, both of which were on the shelf at GK. I was not surprised to find them there, but was astonished at the price – nearly $9/lb for the almond and $10/lb for the coconut. I've read online that Trader Joe's has coconut flour for $3.99/lb, so I'll be stocking up next time I'm in the vicinity of one. Which will be the end of this month. YAY!

Theoretically I could make my own almond meal. I've tried in the food processor, but not in a coffee grinder. I have made almond butter. Once the almonds begin to release their oil, you might as well keep processing.

I ended up buying one bag of each of the flours, despite the high price. I'm in an experimenting mood and getting a little bored with the morning bacon-and-egg routine. Since I was too tired to bake anything last night, that's what breakfast will look like this morning (SOON!). But tomorrow? Banana pancakes or bread, maybe?

Film at eleven!

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6 - Broken

Found these on my walk this morning, leading me to believe that
something is broken. I didn't see any stray buggy wheels or auto parts, though.

Another giveaway for you yarny types

Click this link to enter to win Yarn for Life ($480 worth of yarn per year for 20 years, which would probably be more than life for me!) from Patternworks.

That is all.

17, 18, 19

It appears I'm kind of on a number roll for blog titles lately. After walking seven miles yesterday morning (7.1, actually, in two hours), I ended up logging 17 miles for the week.

And if you subtract last week's total loss from 18, you'll come up with this week's magic number. Don't feel like clicking through? That's okay, I'm pretty easy to get along with.

I lost 1.5 pounds this week.

Er, um, waitaminute … I LOST 1.5 POUNDS!!!

That's 18 pounds in 19 weeks. I'm feeling Pretty. Damned. Good. about that.

To sum up: Pre-paleo I'd lost 7 pounds in 14 weeks. In the past 5 weeks I've lost 11.

Here's what that looks like. I CRINGE posting the before picture. I only took it so I could crop away everything but the sweater, which was the only knitted item I completed last year. But it's the only full-length photo of myself I can find. Because, you know, fat women don't like to have their pictures taken.

Or at least this one doesn't.

I can tell a difference. Also, those jeans I'm wearing in the after shot? Those are The Jeans I've been trying on for a couple of months now. The ones I couldn't get on AT ALL in December (or for the previous two winters, for that matter). The denim capris in the September photo have an elastic waist, of course, because … well, if you've been there, you know why. The ones on the right are Lee Riders, made for everyday ordinary women who can zip and button their jeans.

Meatza! Meatza! Mmmmm!
That would be me, thankyouverymuch. We went out in public together yesterday. I'm still not ready for form-fitting tops, but at least I'm smiling and actually felt like going out in public. IN JEANS.

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo (because, you know, Young and McNeer are soooo Mexican) with a south of the border-inspired meatza dinner. Which was basically a spicy burger topped with salsa, onions, peppers, avocado and cilantro (from the garden!). Meatza is paleo pizza, but next time I'll just cook regular-sized patties instead of one giant one, which fell apart. We're still getting asparagus, so I threw a handful of spears in the microwave with some Amish butter, squeezed some lemon juice on it and called it dinner. Olé!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5 - Paper

The front page of the tiny little local weekly was all-Sylvia, all-the-time after
her unanimous Senate confirmation to be Director of the Office of Management
and Budget during President Obama's second term. 

4, 3, 2, 1


of them soon-to-be five-year-old boys.


great day!

But a long day, indeed.

This set of young'ns lives three-and-a-half hours away, which is on the cusp of an overnight trip. We've always made it a day trip, and as the children get older it becomes more and more difficult to leave. We arrived mid-morning, in time to go to the boys' first t-ball practice (what a HOOT!), and didn't leave until 4:30 p.m.

I don't write much about my family, especially my grandchildren, but I'm sure you know how much I'd love to. I just don't think it's my place. It was fun spending time with them and I'm so happy they're all healthy and active and sociable and they love having us visit.

Birthday presents might have had something to do with that. Heh.

My husband and I took everyone out for lunch after practice, to Pike's Old-Fashioned Soda Shop, which was paleo-perfect – they offered a burger in a bowl, no bread, with a fresh fruit cup on the side. Fun fact: Shallow Hal was filmed there.

The irony did NOT escape me.

We had dinner on the way home at one of the many Cracker Barrel restaurants dotting I-77 between NC and WV. Grilled pork chop, baked sweet potato and turnip greens. I didn't know Cracker Barrel  sweet potatoes came topped with a brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, but the server was most accommodating in replacing it with a plain one.

I did not feel deprived, not once all day. I was appropriately hungry when I sat down for a meal and satisfied when I finished. My husband strayed from the plan (he's been very supportive), and said he honestly wished he hadn't, after all.

Disc.i.pline. It's definitely working. The only DietBet weigh-ins that count are the first and last, but we are encouraged to check in frequently. I've decided once a week is frequently enough, and this morning I'm down 3.5 pounds from last Sunday's weigh-in.

That sounds like a lot to lose in one week, but I'm not quibbling. There's money on the line!

I'm walking this morning, aiming for six miles. But I'm walking on my very hilly road instead of the nice, flat road that runs along Indian Creek. So it might end up being five. Either way, I'll beat my lowest week of the year, and that's really the goal du jour.

Hope your jour is a good one.