Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30 - Found

Don't you love finding money in a jacket pocket in the fall?

If it's Monday …

it must be time for the official check-in with the scale.

Previously when I've weighed myself daily I've gotten discouraged. Because previously when I've weighed myself EVER while restricting calories in order to lose weight, the scale has not exactly been my friend.

And previously when the number doesn't change, or goes up instead of down, or even stays the same for days/weeks/months on end … well, I would do what you or anyone else would do.

That would be QUIT!

If I wasn't getting results, why bother? If I could maintain a certain number by not eating pie AND I could maintain that same number eating pie? Well, you know which one I'm going to choose. The fact that the number was far too high for good health was irrelevant. My efforts to reduce that number and my waistline were futile. Thus the "why-bother" attitude.

If you've been here a while (and I know both of you have been), you know I did something completely different and waaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone this year.

Quite possibly my favorite non-scale
victory is the one where my wedding
ring slips around easily on my finger.
Unlike a year ago, when I had to tug on it.
So zoom in to now.

Now when I weigh myself daily I'm not disappointed with the number. If it's the same as yesterday's, I'm fine with that. Even if it's slightly higher than yesterday's … no problem. Daily check-ins are part of my plan. They didn't used to be, at least not for long. Now, though, I mostly see numbers that please me and show me I'm on the right track.

Last Monday's was definitely one of those numbers.

Today's number is 1.5 pounds less than that, for a total of five for September and 51.5 for the year.

Nine months into my transformational year and I've achieved both of my initial goals: 1000 miles logged, 50 pounds lost. (I know there's a childbirth joke in there somewhere, but I can't come up with one on the fly.) I'm eager to drop the remaining 15 pounds to achieve my revised goal. And, astonishingly, I'm confident it will happen.

I've never been confident about losing weight in the past. NEVER. It's always been a surprise when the scale went down and an "oh-well-what-did-you-expect" moment (or worse) when it didn't. I will admit that I wondered, briefly, if I would hit minus-50 and be stuck there.

But I hit minus-51 this past Tuesday.

I knew then and I know now, there's no turning back.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Just call me an overachiever

So somewhere along the line this year I decided walking and/or running 1000 miles by the end of 2013 would be a worthy goal. And as I racked up the miles over the long, hot summer, I realized I could, maybe, if I really made an effort, nail it by the end of September.

Cooler temperatures, lower humidity and the fact that I'm not lugging an extra 50 pounds around certainly made it easier to go the distance each day. I've missed a few – a very few – days over the past several months, but for each of those missed days I made up the difference over the next several.

And today, the day BEFORE the last day of September, my 1000 miles are DONE. Finished. In the can.

Of course, I'm not done walking or running. There are three months and one day left in 2013, and I'm sure I'll keep on movin' on down the road and up the hill and around the bend. Because if you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got.

And I really like what I've been getting this year: Healthier. Thinner. Stronger. Happier.

September 29 - Gold

The last-of-summer black-eyed Susans – a shot of gold in the landscape bed.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thanks, my friends!

Nothing's more fun than publishing an all-about-me post and getting great feedback from wonderful readers like you.

Well. Some things are. BUT NOT MANY! Thanks to the nth degree. You made my day!

Look. Now. Over there to the right. Do you see the little orange-bordered rectangle with the number in it? Do you remember what I'd hoped to do by the end of the year?

I have just completed a thorough search of past posts and I canNOT find the one in which I said I wanted to walk or run 1000 miles by the end of 2013. Somewhere along the line I decided I was going to do just that.

And I'm so close to hitting the mark by the end of SEPTEMBER! I have to do 5.25 miles per day for the next four days.
Apologies if you saw this on Instagram
or Facebook. Chicken tenderloin wrapped
in a slice of bacon and baked until done.
Hands-down, this is our favorite dinner.

Piece. Of. Cake. Chicken.

Heh.

What I did find when I went back through last year's end-of-the-year posts was a promise to do some strength training twice a week. That has been a major fail. I have an excuse this week – I fell last Friday, hard, on a sidewalk and the heel of my left hand is still ouchy, which makes pushups and tricep dips uncomfortably difficult.

But I have no excuse for all the other months I haven't been doing them. I'd rather walk than lift or squat or push. I do like yoga, though, and I'm going to get back to my class tomorrow. It's been three weeks. I predict major soreness on Sunday.

But not enough soreness to stop me from walking. And I think my scraped knee will be healed by Monday and I may – may – actually run those last five miles.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26 - Curve

Love the curve of this pumpkin mug muffin. Oh, and it's delicious, too!

What a difference 50 pounds and 12 months makes

Do you agree?
I think if you click the photo it will get bigger.
And, by special request, here are the tunic-and-boots and the little black dress.

Thank you, LYNNE! I had such a great time trying to look like I was comfortable doing this. I don't know if I'll ever love having my picture made, but yesterday came pretty close. You're the best!

The next update will be in 15 more pounds. I hope-hope-hope that will happen in December. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy and celebrate what I've already accomplished.

Enjoying and celebrating don't have to involve food. But it might involve MORE CLOTHES. Heh.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25 - H is for …

HILLARY!
Sticking with the political theme for today. Heh.

Politics has taken over my social-media life

I helped conduct a social-media workshop at the WVFDW annual meeting last weekend. There were three of us; my focus was Facebook. We didn't go into all the available social-media outlets, or we might still be there, talking to an empty room.

Much like Ted Cruz did most of the night. I couldn't watch.

So here it is, nearly 9 a.m., and I'm just now getting around to blogging. Because I've been twittering tweeting since 6:30.

Not everyone who registered for the convention attended our session. (We didn't expect that.) I hope the ones who opted out are already down with the Facebook and the Twitter, but I suspect those who chose not to stay are the ones who don't even have computers.

Yes, there still are people who aren't online.

Those who did sit in seemed engaged and asked a lot of questions. I helped a couple women set up a Facebook page for their group.

And I learned a lot about Twitter.

I've had an account for a couple years, but I rarely ever look looked at it. Now, though? I. Can't. Stay. Away.

So I added a little Twitter button over there on the right, and if you'd like to read snarky liberal comments, follow me. That's mostly what I've been retweeting. (Wow. No autocorrect on the word retweeting.)

Photo session is this afternoon. Stay tuned for progress pictures tomorrow.

If I can tear myself away from the little blue bird.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24 - Space

Another tough prompt. I almost skipped this one.

Now for the hard part

First … thank you for your comments yesterday. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that.

Now … If I'd stuck with my Christmas-morning goal of losing 50 pounds by the end of 2013, I'd be done. And that's a pretty good feeling, lemmetellya.

Of course, I wouldn't be done. I'd be doing what I need to do to maintain a 50-pound loss for the rest of my life. That's something I've never been able to do before.

I'm guessing both of you have achieved a significant weight loss at one time or another. But that's just a guess, based on real-life friends and acquaintances and family members who also have repeatedly lost the same 10, 20, 30 or 50 pounds.

I've lost a significant amount of weight twice before: 38 pounds in the mid-70s and about 35 pounds 20 years ago. But I never figured out how to keep it off, and I fall into that vast majority of losers who regain their loss and then some.

Only a few weeks after beginning the paleo/primal/caveman plan, I realized I probably could lose more than 50 pounds. I'd been unsuccessful for months by simply creating a calorie deficit through the Standard American Diet + exercise. Learning what worked for me was eye-opening, empowering, amazing!

Expanding my weight-loss goal to one in which I would also have a normal BMI means … not much, really. It means I'm going to keep on doing what I've been doing, because what I've been doing – eliminating grains, legumes, dairy and sugar – has worked spectacularly well.

For me.

I don't miss grains, legumes, dairy or sugar most of the time. You know I'd be lying to you if I said I never missed it. What surprises me is that when I started, I thought I would long for cheese and Greek yogurt. What I find myself wanting, though, is pasta – not because pasta tastes so great, but because when there's little time to put dinner on the table, pasta is easy.

At any rate, I've found other quick-and-easy dinners and I've learned to plan ahead a little better and, well, the results speak for themselves.

True confession: Last night I was really, really, really wanting something sweet. So I ate a lump of brown sugar. That's all, one lump. If I'd had any dark chocolate in the house, I would have had a piece or two instead of a sorry lump of refined sugar.

As I was waking up this morning, I noticed a twinge of pain in my right hip. I haven't felt pain in my right hip – the hip I'd considering seeing an orthopedist about last spring – for several months now.

Hip pain following ingestion of sugar could be unrelated. But ingestion of sugar can't be a good thing, nor can it be a regular, normal, everyday thing. Cause and effect, Debbi, cause and effect. Something I need to pay attention to from here on out, if I have any hope of losing 15 more pounds and maintaining a 65-pound loss.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23 - From my childhood

I learned to knit when I was nine years old. I'm sure my great-grandmother would
be happy to know my needles are still clicking!

FINALLY!

It's official:
I've been claiming it all weekend, so I'm glad it's true this morning. It's just easier to tell someone who hasn't seen you in a while that you've lost 50 pounds instead of 49.5 (which is what the scale said Thursday morning before I left on my trip).

So that's one goal DONE – and if I didn't have confidence that I could lose more, that would be the end of it. But I do think I can lose 15 more by Christmas, so I'm going to keep on paleo-ing. Most likely I'll keep on paleo-ing for the rest of my life. I feel SO DAMNED GOOD!

Eating at the convention this weekend went very well. The hotel's continental breakfast included eggs and fresh fruit, and the closing day's catered breakfast had bacon, as well.

Mmmmm, bacon.

I had to navigate a substantial-hors d'oeuvres reception Friday evening, but it included grilled vegetables and sausage-stuffed mushrooms, so that was fine. The remaining meals each included meat and vegetables and salad. I had no trouble staying away from the rolls and the dessert table was separate from the main buffet, so I just didn't even look at it.

Our speakers were dynamic and inspiring and energetic. This is an off-year as far as elections go, but the campaign cycle is now pretty much 24/7, so we all got to hear how tough it's going to be in 2014 in the West Virginia Senate race for the seat being vacated by Jay Rockefeller.

This state is surely going to miss him, as it still does Sen. Robert Byrd.

I didn't log any food all weekend. GOAL FAIL for September. I also didn't do any kind of workout Saturday, as I fell hard on a sidewalk near the end of my Friday morning run. I hurt my left knee and the heel of my left hand. I'm now doing wall pushups with my fingertips instead of the palms of my hands, and when I tried doing triceps dips using a chair it was just too painful.

I'll try to get some pictures taken this week sometime (hint, hint to Lynne!). I'm excited to update the progress photo file and to show off the new clothes I've been collecting. The photos taken of me during the weekend are mostly tight close-ups and a couple long shots that aren't especially flattering.

And flattering is definitely the look I'm going for!

Here's a teaser, though ...
Future WV Senator Natalie Tennant. And me.
The future's so bright, we had to wear shades!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22 - Made me smile

The convention I attended included an installation of officers ceremony. I was
installed as a District Director. Each of us received flowers.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20 - In the morning

Sunrise, as I started my walk/run here in Bridgeport this morning. I ended it with a fall
on the sidewalk near my hotel. OUCH! Fortunately the manager had Band-Aids. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19 - What is this?

My husband said guessing this one was "too hard" and "not fair."

Here I go again

I don't need to leave for this weekend's convention today until early afternoon but, as with most things, the tasks on my to-do list take up all available time.

In other words, I'm not an especially efficient planner. (I am, however, better food-prepared this weekend than I was last.)

Right now, though, my dining room table is piled high with auction items that need to be tagged and messenger bags that need to be cleaned out and consolidated.

We get a new bag at each of these meetings. I've only been going for four years, so I can't imagine how many blue bags are cluttering the closets of some of the old-timers who've been attending West Virginia's Federation of Democratic Women conventions for decades.

Maybe the bags are a new-ish idea.

One of my jobs at this year's event will be helping people sign up for Facebook and Twitter. We're trying to move the group into the 21st century. I hope we get lots of interest in the project. Facebook is one of the most efficient and least costly ways to communicate I've ever found. The advantages for clubs and groups and like-minded individuals are numerous.

If we could just get members to use it.

So I teased you yesterday about glitter spray, remember? Well here's what I did with it:
I'd read online that the nozzle on the can easily become clogged. One woman used FOUR CANS to spray a pair of heels. At eight bucks for a fairly small can, that's a pretty spendy DIY project. Or at least it was spendier than I wanted to make it.

I only bought one can and hoped for the best. My sparkly new shoes ended up costing less than 20 bucks, and I had enough product left to cover five large beads, which I turned into this:
Horrible picture, true, but you get the idea.

And seriously? The only place I will ever wear this OR the shoes is to a Democratic event. Or maybe a Fourth of July parade. But they're fun and different and for once I don't mind drawing attention to myself.

And if you don't know what that means, then welcome to my blog! You must be a Knit. Run. Reap. Eat. virgin!

Not sure how frequently (or if) I'll be updating over the next few days. But I'm quite sure I'll be having a good time. I hope your weekend is as fun as mine's going to be!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18 - Vintage

A pair of John Lennon glasses – from long before John Lennon was born.

Yesterday's news

Well, what a fun day we had yesterday. Natalie Tennant's announcement that she's running for U.S. Senate went smoothly at Tamarack in Beckley, and from what I've been able to see of the other two locations she attracted lots of supporters in Charleston and Morgantown as well.
See me back there on the right? Oh, and the front-and-center lady in red is Natalie.
My husband and I were part of the crowd on the stage behind her as she made her speech. Pretty exciting! I don't think I've ever been on television before, but I made the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. local news and my husband also said I was in a teaser shot at 10 p.m.

I, of course, was sound asleep by then. Heh.

I'd intended to wake up early and walk on the treadmill before we left for Beckley, but that didn't happen. In another lifetime I would have blown it off: too busy, not enough time, too tired, blah, blah, blah. Instead, I

  • attended the Tennant for Senate event
  • stopped to fill the tank in the car
  • dropped a package off at the UPS store
  • stopped at a craft store for spray glitter (wait'll you see what I'm doing with that!)
  • went to my county Democratic women's club meeting
  • picked up a couple things at the store afterward
  • drove home and then 
  • walked five miles.

Because working that walk into the day has truly become a priority. (And also? It was a glorious day, perfect for walking.) I stuck some chicken and sweet potatoes in the oven when I got home, showered and dressed to go to the prison meeting, ate dinner and whoosh – left for Alderson before 6 p.m.

Today is going to be busy, as well, but in a different way. My phone died at lunch yesterday. The battery icon indicated it was full, but when I plugged it into the car charger it was at ZERO percent. Second time in a week that's happened, so there's something wrong with either the phone or the battery.

U.S. Cellular replaces batteries at no charge, so that's on today's agenda. And since I have to drive an hour to get the phone store, I might as well pick up what I'll need for this weekend's out-of-towner. I'd planned to stop someplace on my way to the convention Thursday afternoon, but I might as well get everything done today.

I can't believe I'm leaving tomorrow. Time flies when you're being a good Democrat having fun!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We're off to see …

Natalie!

West Virginia will most definitely be in the national spotlight for the 2014 election cycle with today's announcement by Natalie Tennant (D) that she will be challenging Shelley Moore Capito (R) for Jay Rockefeller's (D) seat in the U.S. Senate.

Rockefeller announced he would not seek re-election earlier this year, and Capito, who has represented WV's 2nd District in Congress for years, almost immediately said she would be running for the seat.

Tennant has been WV's Secretary of State since 2009.

She has a good record as SoS, she has name recognition, she is polling strongly (but not winning. Yet.) against Capito and she has the support of the DSC. She's likable, personable and easy to talk to.

And, oh my goodness, it'll be interesting. This will be the 13th race between women for a spot in the U.S. Senate. I doubt it will be a cat fight, though. My sense is that good southern manners will prevail on both sides.

But I wouldn't mind seeing the claws come out.

Tennant will be touring the state today and tomorrow, kicking off her campaign just an hour's drive from me (everything is an hour's drive from me, by the way). So we're heading out to be good Democrats today.

This is turning out to be a true-blue week!

September 17 - In front of me

Every morning (almost) for at least a couple years. =)

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16 - Frame

Framing the tree-mounted deer skull on my walking route with my hand.

Could have been worse!

I hate having to report that progress photos will be delayed yet again. But here's the report:

PROGRESS PHOTOS ARE ON HOLD!

I only gained half a pound (for a total loss now of 49), so that's not bad. I made good choices with what was available to eat, and I didn't fall into the cheese-and-cracker tray, or indulge in some blackberry cobbler. But I didn't eat a single vegetable all day Saturday, and I overslept yesterday and missed my walk. I'm not saying that's why I gained half a pound. That could have happened no matter how careful I'd been this week.

The weekend was great – restorative and inspiring and grounding. AA conferences are like that. The woman who spoke yesterday morning had known my late sponsor, and they had both had the same sponsor for many years.

I reconnected with old friends and made new ones, watched football, talked, laughed, reminisced and heard messages of hope and recovery and miracles.

Oh, and yes, people really noticed those missing 49 pounds! I felt very comfortable. Normal, even. I've been feeling very self-conscious about my appearance the past few years at this event. It was good not to feel like I was taking up too much space, and it was especially good to be able to run there again.

I only wish I'd gotten up in time for the second run of the weekend. I tried to do another 30-minute 5K, but the hills were longer and steeper than I'd remembered. I ended up running five miles before the first Saturday meeting in exactly one hour.

Life is about more than shedding lard, and this conference, especially, brings that home to me. This space, where I write (nearly) every morning, is focused on (mostly) one thing. The title indicates it's four things, but lately? Not so much. I need it to be about one thing right now.

I've continued with the bodyweight strength training – three times again last week – and I've logged every bite every day since the month began. Missing yesterday's run pretty much guarantees I won't hit 1000 miles for the year by September 30, but I hadn't planned to hit that number until December 31 anyway, so that goal is still more than achievable.

I have another weekend away coming up. I'm leaving Thursday afternoon and won't be back until next Sunday afternoon. I'll be at a hotel chef's mercy for most meals, but the continental breakfast includes eggs and fruit so at least that one's covered. And I learned at a convention this summer that all I need to do is request a gluten-free option and they'll serve a salad instead of a sandwich.

AND the hotel has a gym.

NO EXCUSES! I'm not silly enough to promise photos next week, but I'm hopeful. Very hopeful.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15 - Season

A little salt and as much pepper as you want ... a good rule of thumb for seasoning eggs!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 13 - Unexpected AND September 14 - Liquid

Nearly stepped on this guy! This is an Xtreme close-up, he was very tiny.

From-above shot of a water pitcher in the conference room.

Friday, September 13, 2013

And we're (almost) outta here

Just want to wrap up the workout week before I take my walk. We're then leaving for Kentucky.

Yesterday I did Week 9, Day 1 (the last workout) of Cto5K – five-minute warm-up and cool-down, with a 30-minute run in between. If the goal is to actually run 3.1 miles (5K) in that 30-minute window, I came close:
I might try again Saturday or Sunday in Kentucky.

If the goal is to improve your pace, I've done great! Here's Week 1:
I also did the bodyweight exercises – squats, lunges, pushups and kickbacks on Tuesday and yesterday. Most likely will do them in our room at the lodge tomorrow, as well, since I won't be going to yoga. But I'll have to figure out a way to do triceps dips instead of kickbacks, because I don't want to pack dumbbells.

Don't let this Friday the 13th bring you any bad luck. Instead, let your light shine and have a great weekend. Probably won't blog, other than the daily photo. Today's word is "unexpected," and I've no idea what will come of that. Or even if anything will. This might be the most difficult prompt so far, and it wouldn't be the first one I've skipped.

Have a great weekend ... I'm planning to!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 12 - Shadow

Peace out.

Morning is breaking

Now that day is breaking a little later, I'm waking a little later than I did all summer. Since I still go to sleep at about the same time, that means I have less awake time than I used to. Which is fine, it's not like my schedule is filled with to-dos which absolutely must get done before the day is done.

My daily walk/jog/run is THE must-do daily activity. Here we are, more than a third of the way through the ninth month of 2013 and I have already nearly accomplished my 1000 miles-in-2013 goal.

I'm gobsmacked!

I've missed a few days, and will no doubt miss a few more, but it hasn't been and won't be because I want/ed to. I've either been ill or on the road. Nothing else has stopped me. There have been days when I just haven't felt like it, but once you get going those feelings go away.

They really do.

And, of course, I've also managed to figure out a way eat that, combined with daily activity, has helped me shed some of the weight that has held me back and down nearly all my life.

I've never been able to set a year-long goal and stick with it. I'm not sure why, other than that I, along with most of the rest of us, seem to have evolved into a want-it-now, instant-gratification society.

So what happened this year?

I think the biggest factor is – and this might sound silly, I know – I qualified for Social Security this summer. My first benefit was deposited in July. Being old enough to collect Social Security means I'm most likely a good three-fourths or, perhaps, two-thirds of the way through my lifetime.

My children live in two different states, and each have children of their own. I don't want my old age to be one in which either my children or my grandchildren need to be my caretakers. I'd love to be that little old lady who still puttered in the garden and cooked her own meals and posted her daily photo to Facebook and blogged until the day she died.

I realized as I approached the magic age of 62 that I won't be that little old lady if I don't do something about my physical condition.

The combination of

  1. finding a food plan that works and
  2.  a daily activity as simple as walking 

has finally resulted in a weight approaching normal. And I'm finding muscles I haven't seen in years. Literally years.

One thing I've mentioned to real-life friends, particularly those who wonder how I can live without bread or cheese or cake, is that I've eaten bread and cheese and cake before. I know how they taste. I'm sure I'll eat them again, given a long enough life. I started out not eating bread or cheese or cake for 30 days. Five months later, the benefits of NOT eating those things far outweighs the pleasure I might get from having them, even once in a while.

And now, having said all that, it's time for my walk.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11 - I did this today

It seems like lately I've been doing this every day.

A quiet, reflective day …

followed by another one.

Today, of course, is the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, which happened 12 years ago. I had just one grandchild when that even happened. Now I have seven. It's rather amazing to me how much the world has changed since that day, and yet life does, indeed, go on.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of my dad's death. Three years of not hearing a new joke, or talking politics, or asking for gardening advice or making new memories.

I miss him still.

Today also is laundry day (which is not a designated day around here, but I'm wondering if my house would be more organized if I did do specific chores on specific days) and trash day and it promises to be a rainy day later.

Better get the walk in early.

From the looks of this graphic:
I'd say September 4 was my best running performance day. The second and third sessions in Week 8 were done in much warmer and more humid conditions than the first. That humidity really gets to me. I had to stop for a minute a couple times yesterday.

One final 30-minute run and I'll be done, done, done with Cto5K. But I'm not done running. I love running, it's my favorite way to work out and take care of myself, and I'm glad I can actually do it again. It probably qualifies more as "jogging" than "running," but OH WELL.

We're getting ready to go away for the weekend, to Greenup, KY, for an AA conference. We've been going for many, many years, missing just one – we were on our way to it three years ago when I got the call about my dad.

Every year when we leave the event I make a silent vow to myself that next year I'll have lost some weight. Next year I'll be back in good shape. Well … next year is this year. My husband thinks some people won't recognize me. I doubt that, we've known this group for years, some for decades. It's not like going to the dentist every six months, heh.

But it'll be fun and interesting and uplifting and spiritual and all the things an AA conference usually is, with the personal bonus of actually – finally – making one perpetual wish come true.

I've made that vow following other events – my granddaughter's dance recitals and family reunions, specifically, because they happen only once or twice a year. Do you do that, too? If you've finally crossed it off your bucket list, what was the motivating factor? What made the difference? I've written about my moment here. What pushed you to start? And how did you finish?

Or have you?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9 - On the wall

It's a wonder they don't break more legs.

Not this week after all

Well. I've certainly learned my lesson:
Never again will I add little teasers to the end of my weekend posts in anticipation of a milestone Monday weigh-in.
I lost 1.5 pounds this week, for a total of 48 pounds gone since Christmas. Progress photos will have to wait until next week. Or the week after that. I'm not quite ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille Mrs. Larsen! Oh, how I wish I were, though.

HOWEVER … a pound and a half is a pound and a half, and I'm continuing to make progress as I've never been able to make progress before. Well, not never, but never this comfortably. I've certainly never been so satisfied with the way I'm eating. And I've never had the confidence that I will, indeed, make it to a healthy weight and be able to stay there.

Trust the process, Debbi, trust the process.

I'm averaging a loss of six pounds per month for the past eight months, and about eight pounds per month since I dipped my fork into the paleo plate. So being disappointed in this week's result is kind of silly, isn't it? The weight is continuing to go … somewhere. As long as it's not going on my hips, I'm happy.

So we had a little excitement last week in town. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait. It's very short.

To think that someone would terrorize the local McD's in Hinton, WV, is kind of funny. Except it's not, as the young terrorist wannabe has no doubt learned by now. My husband was picking up a breakfast sandwich for his mother in that very McD's the very morning the threats were being made.

Which is definitely not funny.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

So how am I doing with the September goal?

Pretty good, thankyouverymuch.

For September, I challenged myself to add some strength straining to my routine. I specifically said I would do wall pushups, lunges, squats and tricep kickbacks with a dumbbell on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Because, as I said last Sunday, ya gotta start somewhere.

I've done what I said I would do, and on Thursday I even did as many girl pushups as I could manage. Which was eight.

I'm seriously not very strong, y'all!

But I'm seriously committed and seriously serious about getting stronger.

Weigh-in tomorrow morning. I'm both dreading and anticipating. I've upped the calories by 100 to 200 each day this week, with no ill effects so far. I also logged 33 miles walking and running.

All in all, a pretty good week. No matter what the scale says tomorrow morning.

September 8 - Made by me

Cold-weather accessories – hats, mittens, ear warmers. I probably don't need
to knit more of these for this winter. But I probably will! Heh.

Yes i can, yes i can, can

Re: Yesterday's Big Dilemma: Yes, it is possible to sync an Android phone with a Mac computer.

Who knew?

It's not as easy an operation as syncing an iPhone with a Mac, but there really are only a couple hoops through which to jump. I'm going to try it today. The bigger issue in choosing a new phone is battery life, and Jen's suggestion to do some research on it is well-taken.

I drove all the way into town yesterday morning for yoga, only to find the class had been cancelled. Our yogi posted it on Facebook but I didn't check her page before I left. Since I was in town anyway, I stopped at Tiny Kroger for football snacks – fruit and vegetables for me, a chunk of cheese for my husband – and headed back home.

Our game didn't begin until 7 p.m., so we had plenty of time for a walk, and I was feeling a little antsy and bored with the usual Indian Creek route. We ended up going to Talcott, WV, and walking a little more than four miles along the Greenbrier River there. It was a lovely walk and I was so happy we went someplace new.

Found a few crops under the weeds.
I'd intended to finish the mowing, but just wasn't feeling it when we got home. By the time September comes, I'm SO DONE with mowing. Unfortunately the grass isn't done growing. I got most of the job done Friday, including dismantling the fence around the garden and cutting all the garden weeds right down to the ground. I didn't know my little riding mower had that much power. But Saturday just felt like a day to watch football and relax.

So I did. We had football snacks for dinner. West Virginia – sadly – got beat in its conference opener, but our defense looked good, and that's saying a lot after last year.

The number on the scale this morning was shocking. Almost as shocking as the one I saw last Christmas morning. Please, please, please, let it stay there until tomorrow. I KNOW numbers shouldn't be so important or hold so much power, but … well, both of you know that sometimes they just are and they just do.

I hope Lynne is ready for her photography assignment. And I hope I'm not jinxing myself by writing about it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7 - White

Chive blossoms with spider web: A still life.

To i or not to i?

In less than a month, I can get a new phone. Which will be AWESOME, because my Motorola Electrify has been getting wonkier and wonkier as it ages. The battery dies far too quickly when I'm out and about. It occasionally freezes. Texting has started getting problematic, in that texts have to be resent.

I realize GPS apps drain the battery, but seriously? I think I should still have a little life left after a two-hour walk.

Rumor has it that my wireless carrier will be selling iPhones later this year. Actually, it's more than a rumor. U.S. Cellular announced in May that they will definitely be offering Apple products this fall. No firm date for the launch. However … fall begins here in the northern hemisphere September 22. 

But. Do I want an iPhone? I'm happy with the Android platform, but I can see advantages to having an iPhone since I also have an Apple laptop. Syncing my contacts and calendar would be nice. If that's possible to do between a Mac and a 'Droid, I haven't figured it out.

And I definitely like the iPhone camera (I've used my son's). Since I take a lot of photos that would be a definite plus.

I feel kind of guilty that this is my current dilemma. With the United States poised to lob missiles in Syria and Congress still trying to dismantle Obamacare and apathy and homelessness and unemployment and, and, and … deciding which new cell phone to buy seems kind of frivolous and oh-so-materialistic.

But, it's my blog and I'll be self-centered if I wanna. Wouldn't want to change it up now, would I? Heh.

P.S. As both of you know, I check my weight daily. Let's hope this morning's number wasn't a fluke. And let's hope another pound vanishes before the official Monday-morning weigh-in. That is all.

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 6 - Getting ready

Lacing up my Wendy Davis Mizunos for the morning walk/run.

Here's what happened yesterday

My dentist thought he had a new patient.

I had a hygiene appointment yesterday and of course the doctor has to come in afterward and check things out. He came through the door and had a somewhat puzzled look on his face, walked over to check the chart and then greeted me by name, asking what I'd been up to since the last time I was in (which was six months ago). 
So I said I'd worked part-time and let the weeds win the garden battle and oh, I'd walked more than 800 miles. 
Which is when he said he hadn't recognized me when he walked into the room. 
That was kinda cool.

Mr. K did a double-take. 

I dropped my car off at the service station for an oil change and walked from there to the dentist and back (a little more than three miles round-trip). When I went in to pay, the owner (Mr. K) had to look twice. Not quite as tactful as Dr. M, he said, "Wow, girl, you've really lost a lot of weight!"

My friend V asked me if I'd been sick.

I stopped at the market after I picked up the car and ran into a woman I haven't seen in a couple years. We got caught up on each others' lives in the frozen vegetable aisle and then she said (more tactfully than Mr. K), "You really look great! Are you trying to lose weight, or have you been ill?" 
I've been waiting for the 'have-you-been-sick' line.
It seems like people are suddenly noticing I've dropped a few pounds. Most folks comment on the haircut first, saying I look "really different."

I've written previously about what a dangerous time this is. My clothes fit well and I'm wearing a few new things. I'm getting compliments and I don't even mind. I have no pain or discomfort and I'm within five pounds of my original goal, which was to lose 50 pounds.

However.

I'm finding it not-at-all difficult to maintain at my current weight, which is not my ideal weight. I still exceed a normal BMI. I think I'd have more energy and feel even better if I got to my revised goal of losing 65 pounds. I can't let all this fun stuff – compliments and new clothes and 10-minute miles, oh my – distract me from the big picture.

And I won't.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5 - Here forever

Here forever in a good way: A view of the New River, the third oldest river
in the world, geologically. Taken on my walk in town this morning.

And here forever in a bad way: A McDonald's styrofoam cup, also taken on
my walk in town this morning. (Actually styrofoam decomposes in about 100 years.)

Apparently …

all I have to do to reach a goal is talk about it here.

Which doesn't mean I've lost 20 pounds this week. Wouldn't that be miraculous?!? But it does mean that yesterday's Cto5K session included TWO sub-10-minute miles.

YAY ME!

As both of you know, I've been training on a flat road now that Cto5K is a long solid run (this week they're 28 minutes), and I go with my husband. I'm missing the hill training on my own road (never thought I'd say that!), but a nice level surface does indeed allow me to run continuously.

I start the MapMyRun app when we begin walking. After half a mile or so I start the Cto5K app, which begins with a five-minute warm-up. When it buzzes and orders me to "Start your run now," I take off, while my husband continues walking.

MMR provides feedback after every mile, while Cto5K lets me know how I'm doing at the halfway point and after each interval, which is now at the end of the session, since it's one long run. If you'd been with me following yesterday's third mile, you'd have seen me fist-pumping the air and shouting "Woo hoo!"

See why?
The temperature was in the high 60s, which helped a lot, and the fog had burned off. It was, all in all, a great run. Total distance for the 28-minute Cto5K portion was 2.84 miles.

To finish the workout, I catch up with my husband again just as he's hitting his 2.5-mile turnaround point, and we walk back to the car together.

I realize I'm not Speedy Gonzalez. And I doubt I could keep this pace going for much longer than a couple of miles. But hey … I turned 62 in May, and I haven't run regularly in half a dozen years. And seriously? I didn't think I even had one 10-minute mile in me!

I'll give myself a high-five. And start thinking about future goals …

P.S. I did increase the calories yesterday, ending up at 1316 for the day. Burned 487 during the run (according to LoseIt). No more dizzy spells. Another high five for that!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4 - Alone

I'm home alone while my husband goes to town for a couple of hours.

Thank goodness every day has a reset button

So I woke up yesterday, made coffee (Target's limited-edition Candy Corn flavor, mmmm) and opened up the laptop. Cruised Facebook, read e-mail, wrote yesterday's posts. Ate a couple hard-cooked eggs and had one of those little dizzy spells again.

My plan for yesterday was to run the vacuum cleaner and do some general tidying up. My husband took my blood pressure and suggested I just rest.

Run the vacuum or rest? You do the math.

We were supposed to go to a visitation last night for a neighbor who died suddenly over the weekend, and I felt well enough to go after resting all day. But it was warm and I was a tad overdressed and I ended up having to set a spell (heh, can you tell I've lived in West Virginia for a while?) while we waited to pay our respects.

Our neighbor had been our county sheriff in the 1980s, owned his own farm equipment business and was a Field Auditor for the state treasurer. He was well-liked, a true character, one of a kind and will be very much missed. We stood in line for more than two hours. So I guess it was all right to sit for a little bit.

And I'm fine this morning, so far.

While I was resting, I played a lot of Imperial Mahjong read a couple days' worth of blog posts, including Mark's Daily Apple, in which he addressed the question of eating too few calories. And, as I alluded to Monday, I think I probably am. Well, to be fair, on Monday I thought my daily food intake was fine. But clearly I was thinking about whether I might need to up the calories a bit. I'm going to add a handful of almonds to the typical daily ration. That'll put me at or slightly over 1200 calories per day.

So we'll see what happens. Rebooting frequently cures what ails my smartphone. Maybe it'll help my body, as well.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3 - Lines

One line, actually. This is the clothesline in the back yard, after a rain.

Cto5K progress

For each of these three workouts, my goal was to run at least one 10-minute mile. Sadly, it did not happen. My fastest mile was 10:25.

To be fair to myself, I'm old and not really in running shape [yet] and the fastest mile I've ever run was like 9:38, seven or eight years ago.

I wasn't built for speed.

It occurred to me last night that if I can't run a sub-10-minute mile, I'm not going to complete a 5K in the half-hour time slot during the final week of the training program. Which is fine, I guess. I'm making good progress and am a whole lot faster than I was the first week!

A day late and a prompt short

I've never followed the prompts for NaBloPoMo. Not even once. But this month's theme is SERVE, and if there's one thing I really, really, really believe in, it's volunteering. Yesterday's prompt was a good one. Not many of the remaining ones really speak to me, and I'll be returning to my regular narcissistic Dear-Diary-type entries after today. Heh.

Do you enjoy doing volunteer work?
Is there anywhere you volunteer right now?

Do I ever. And yes, there is.

I worked full-time when I lived in Ohio, and had little time for volunteer activities. My children were grown (no school opportunities) and I was involved in a long-distance relationship. My work week was typically more than 40 hours long. I also spent a lot of time at the gym.

When I quit my job, sold my house and moved to West Virginia, my imagined freelance career never really got off the ground. My partner (now my husband) worked out of town three or four days a week, and I had a lot of time on my hands. One day, a friend of my husband's family who knew I liked to knit asked if I had any yarn I'd like to donate to the federal women's prison in a nearby town.

Well. Ask any knitter if he/she has extra yarn and you're likely to get a resounding YES. I bagged up a bunch of suitable yarn and gave it to that friend, who served the prison on its Community Relations Board. Pretty soon I, too, was part of the board.

And it was through the work with that group that we were able to resurrect an AA meeting for the inmates. I've been helping out with the Bar None Group of Alcoholics Anonymous for more than a dozen years now.

Serving this group helps me as much as it helps the inmates. Maybe more. They don't seem to mind, however. They're extremely grateful for the meeting.

I taught a drawing class at the prison for a while, but when my husband retired I decided one night away each week was enough, and I turned that duty over to an inmate who was willing to volunteer her time and talent.

When President Obama was candidate Obama in 2008, I volunteered for his campaign and made dozens of new friends. I'd lived here in the Middle of Nowhere since 1997, and yet hardly knew anyone. Not having friends was the hardest part of living here. 

(Volunteering at a prison is definitely not a way to meet people. Federal regulations prohibit outside contact between inmates and volunteers until the inmate has been released and off probation for a year. It's really hard to find someone after that length of time, especially when we only know each other by our first names – that's an AA thing. And if you think it's odd that I might want to be friends with former inmates, well … most of them are way nicer than at least some of my neighbors!)

I give President Obama credit all the time for putting me in the midst of like-minded liberals, here in a sea of southern West Virginia conservatives. Since that campaign I've served as president and am currently secretary of the local Democratic women's group, and I've been appointed to the board of the state federation of Democratic women.

Both of my children and all of my grandchildren are involved in volunteer activities, and I couldn't be prouder of them. I love that they get it – sharing one's time, talent and treasure is one of the best ways to enrich ourselves, our communities, our nation and our world.

How do you extend your reach? If you're interested in volunteering but don't currently do so, don't be shy. Schools, churches, service clubs, campaigns and all kinds of local organizations need you. There IS an opportunity to match your passion with a volunteer opportunity. Serve.gov is one place to begin, but you probably don't need to look too far beyond your own front porch to find a way to help.

My personal experience is that you won't be sorry.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2 - My name begins with

No caption necessary, really.

Creeping downward again

Just a pound this week, but a pound gone trumps staying the same and is way better than a pound gained! Total loss stands at 46.5. Progress pix in 3.5, goal weight in 18.5.

LoseIt automatically lowers the daily calorie target when you post a loss. I'm now down to 1110 calories/day, which is pretty low. I can adjust that number, but I've never bothered to because honestly? I end up eating at about that level anyway. The food I'm eating is nutritious and as whole as possible (i.e., not processed), and I'm generally not hungry unless it's appropriate (for example, first thing in the morning).

Eating along the paleo guidelines has done something to both my physical and mental appetite, in a very good way.

You know how the women's magazines and better-health websites all recommend only eating when you're hungry? How many times have you read this advice:
Before you eat ANYTHING, ask yourself if you're really hungry. If you are, eat. If not, distract yourself. Go for a walk. Read a book. Take a bubble bath!
Yeah, right.

I was an occasional eater. I would eat on any occasion. (I also was an occasional drinker, back in the day. Glad those days are over!) The most frequent occasion for my forays into the pantry was boredom. If I wasn't doing something that completely captured my attention and focus, I was looking for something to eat. And that something had better be way more than just distracting.

Most of the time I was too uncomfortable to go for a walk, and at my former weight a walk lasted only  long enough to justify a snacky reward when it was finished. And seriously? I can both read and bathe with a bowl or bag of something-or-other by my side.

From January to March I was staying within LoseIt's calorie guidelines, but many of those calories came from processed foods, and I was hungry much of the time. Also? I was grumpy and frustrated and not losing weight. Unless you think seven pounds in three months is a good rate of loss.

Making the decision to eat only what's on the paleo food list was a good first step. I still found myself  rooting around for food when I wasn't really hungry, but not much harm can be done by a banana or a handful of strawberries.

And as with many other things in life, one small success begets another. In my case, as the pounds began to disappear, my resolve strengthened. Also in my case, a couple nagging pains vanished, as did my allergy to metal, further reinforcing my commitment to stick with the plan.

The two months in which I've lost the least amount of weight – July and August – were the two months in which I ate sugar early in the month. Birthday cake July 6, s'mores August 2. I might have had smaller losses those two months anyway, but facts are facts: Sugar isn't good for me. (Nor are artificial sweeteners.)

The past couple weeks of finding old clothes that fit again has been the proverbial icing on the cake. I'm looking forward to the day when these new-again jeans are too big. I only have a couple smaller pairs "in stock," but one pair was my absolute favorite, favorite, favorite, and I wore them all the time.

I found a photo of myself wearing them yesterday.
Aren't we cute?
Size 9, Arizona brand (which was a JC Penney label back then), and they were actually kind of loose on me. The photo is at least 16 years old, possibly older than that. Light-blue denim isn't currently very fashionable, but believe me, when I can once again slip them on and zip them up, I will wear them as often as I can.

That picture is a great incentive for me to stick with the program and finish this project once and for all. As if I needed another incentive!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1 - Together

My almost-every-day-of-the-week breakfast: Bacon and eggs are perfect together!

Oh, oh, oh … I almost forgot!

One of my good habits that slipped by the wayside when I was sick last month is logging my food in LoseIt. I might log a meal or two, or add the daily workout, but it's been a couple weeks since I counted every calorie, in and out, every day.

So that's another September challenge. Keeping a food log really makes a positive difference in the weight-loss game.

September's goal

Hitting August's mileage goal of 150 miles felt great. I don't often challenge myself like that, because I hate to fail and one never knows what might happen. Like those three days off due to illness – I might have hit 165 had I been able to get out of bed.

So here we are at September 1. I have two weekend events coming up, both of which require travel days. I don't think it's realistic to set a big mileage goal this month. I will most likely be able to knock out 100, maybe even 125. Cooler weather makes it easier to go longer, for sure, but the real deal is I think I need to come up with something out of my comfort zone.

Walking/jogging/running is very comfortable for me. It's my favorite intentional activity. I feel great when I can be outdoors stretching my legs and filling my lungs and moving on down the road. Hitting a mileage goal is a challenge, yes, but I'm not doing anything new or different.

Not that I have to, of course. Clearly what I've been doing is working, and I can see from the graphic that I'm improving, if improving means increasing my miles.

But.

The weight loss is slowing down considerably. Here are the monthly totals for the year:
January: 5.0 lbs.
February: 3.5 (8.5)
March: + 1.5 (7)
April: 9.5 (16.5) - started Whole 30 April 7
May: 10.5 (27)
June: 7.5 (34.5)
July: 6.0 (40.5)
August: 5.0 (45.5)
With s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y less than 20 pounds to go, I don't expect another 10-pound loss for the month. But I'd like to hit my weight-loss goal by Christmas, so I'll need to do a little better than five pounds a month.

I can't believe I'm actually thinking I can lose five pounds a month after all these YEARS of not losing a single damned pound!

Gingerzingi (I hope you're enjoying your blog break, but I miss you!) suggested – when I asked about paleo/primal blogs – checking out Mark's Daily Apple. I've been a regular reader for several months now. Mark works out (but he calls it playing) irregularly. That is, he moves a lot, every day, but inserts a few lunges here and some squats there throughout his workday. He walks a couple miles a day, does a sprint session once a week and makes sure his workday isn't all work.

My daily routine isn't like Mark's. I don't have a desk job, but I certainly could learn from Mark's example and begin doing some strength training.

I started last week, with (I'm almost embarrassed to admit this) 15 wall push-ups on Tuesday and 15 more on Thursday. That's it. Oh, and I went to yoga yesterday morning, which also definitely counts as strength training.

A new friend was telling me that when she started doing push-ups she had to do wall ones. She's now doing full-out "boy" push-ups, but she had to work up to them, and if that means starting with the wall, then so be it.

So September's goal is this: Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll be adding some strength-training moves to my walking/jogging/running routine. Push-ups and squats and lunges, and maybe some tricep kickbacks with dumbbells (because I really like doing those). From all I've read and from my own long-ago previous experience, strength-training can and does kick up your metabolism. That doesn't mean I won't add some bodyweight exercises every day, but it does mean that I will definitely do them at least twice a week.

Ya gotta start somewhere.

Mark also says sprinting really helps get through a weight-loss plateau. I'm definitely not plateauing, but maybe I could prevent one? I've been doing some sprints during the Cto5K training, but I could do more. (Week 7, Day 3 will happen today, since I didn't get it done Friday or yesterday. Oh, and I really liked the interval training during the first six weeks of the program more than I do these long, extended runs. But OH WELL. I also like to finish what I start. So I will. Two more weeks.)

Notice how I haven't mentioned politics lately, especially Syria? Here's what I think.
I wish I could take credit for it. I had the thought, but TheObamaDiary.com tweeted it. And I thank them for doing so.