Thursday, April 30, 2015

3 + 3 = DONE

Three more miles will get me to 122, which is what I need to reach 400, or 100/month for the year.

Three more Whole 30-compliant meals will get me to the end of the 30th day of this Whole 30.

Do you get the idea that I'll be excited to complete this Whole 30? WELL, YOU'RE RIGHT! Not that anything on my plate is going to change all that much, but it does feel restrictive. I am, however, happy I did it. A Whole 30 really is like pushing the reset button in my brain. I was getting very sloppy with my food, thinking I was "cured," that the weight I'd gained back would go away by itself.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

If I've learned anything in my six-plus decades on the planet, it's that maintaining a weight loss is much, much more difficult than losing it in the first place.

I'm just gonna treat myself as though I have a food allergy. Or something. I'm going to turn into one of those dreaded picky eaters. But I'll try not to make a big deal out of it.

In other news … I can still climb.
What does one do when faced with a locked
gate, and one has forgotten the key?
One climbs over it.
That's your standard cattle gate there, leading down a three-quarter-mile lane to our water pump.

We've been having issues with the amount of electricity it takes to get water up a very steep hill to our house. (The whole well location is complicated and was chosen long before I got here. Let's just say it's inconvenient.)

For the previous three years, we've had two months of very high electric bills for the water pump (it has a separate meter). During January and February, the usage quadrupled. Then when spring hit, it would go back down. We were kind of resigned to it this year, except … it didn't go back down. After four months of increased kilowattage, we called in the big guns.

Which means the man who put the pump in came to take a look at the situation. Again. He's been here every year, and is as puzzled as we are.

The past two days I've climbed that gate, walked down that lane, climbed down (and back up) a hill and read the meter.

The pump installer has done nothing but dig holes in my yard, looking for a water leak. And the electric usage has gone from 50 kWh per day to – are you ready? – 3. THREE!

He's coming today to (hopefully) find and repair the leak and fill in the holes. There's a lot of water in those holes. There's a leak somewhere. But for some reason we're not using as much electricity now as we were before he started digging.

The joys of country living know no bounds. It's non-stop FUN, I tell ya!

Time for the first of three meals (strangely, I've not been snacking between meals, perhaps because I'm, um, not hungry) today. Looking forward to tomorrow's weigh-in. I'll report results before I head south. Thanks for reading and have a GREAT last day of April.

Day 29 DONE!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The penultimate day

Today.

Tomorrow.

That's it! Whole 30 will be done and dusted Thursday night, just in time for me to head out for a short trip on Friday.

Why would I want to change what I've been doing, since it works so well? The answer is, I don't. But moving from a strict Whole 30 to the less-challenging but basically the same paleo/primal plan makes it a little easier to manage when I'm not the cook.

Most people – I think, I'm not sure – who eliminate grains/dairy/sugar/legumes do so on an 80/20 basis. If they're compliant 80 percent of the time, the other 20 percent off-plan doesn't bother them. I try to keep that principle in mind when I'm not doing the cooking, but I think I've finally learned my gluten lesson. Since we are all our own science experiments, my conclusion for me is that grains – especially wheat – aren't my friend.

Also … why would I want to change to anything other than THIS for breakfast?
If we're not Facebook or Instagram friends, you missed my most favorite walking pictures so far this year. My friend Lynne and I used to walk on Indian Creek Road several times weekly. Yesterday, we did it again, for the first time in far too many months. It was SO beautiful – a perfect spring day – and we solved all the problems of the world in 90 minutes.

Well, at least in our little personal worlds.

The wild phlox was especially lovely, and walking alongside Indian Creek is almost as nice as walking along the ocean. Maybe better … we didn't get sand in our shoes.

Day 28 DONE!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Almost there

Three more days, counting today, and I will have – I hope – accomplished two goals:
  • Logged 122 miles for April, bringing my yearly total to 400, and 
  • Made it to the end of another Whole 30
What's next?

Hmmm. Let's see. Maybe I'll lie around watching television and eating bonbons the rest of my life.

YA THINK?

Yeah, me, neither. It only makes sense, given the fact that I'm wearing jeans instead of yoga pants, that something I've been doing is working, and if I want to keep getting results, I should probably keep doing what I've been doing.

I'll definitely be walking as often as I possibly can, and I'll be going at least four miles a day. Now that February is over, that distance will always get me over the 100 mile-per-month goal. I'll miss some days, for travel or weather, and therefore will have to log a few five-milers during each month.

Not a problem.

(Lucky's son reports he hiked 25 miles each day during a recent five-day stretch.)

As for food, I'm sticking with this paleo/primal plan. I have a challenge coming up – I'll be traveling this coming weekend and I already know it's pizza for dinner on Saturday. Since I consider myself gluten-sensitive, I may eschew the crust, or I may just stick to salad and top it with some grilled chicken strips (which I can easily take with me).

Day 27 DONE!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sometimes social media sucks

So this popped up in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday:
I have a Twitter account, which I use to post pretty pictures from my almost-daily walks. I've probably been snarky on Twitter before, but not often and not to the extent that "#1 Tony Miano" was when he tweeted his opinion about the tragedy in Nepal.

Miano describes himself as an "open-air preacher, author, conference speaker, retired 20-year LE veteran (LASD), and unashamed member of #The15. 

I'm just gonna put this out here: "LE" stands for Law Enforcement and "LASD" means Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

I think The15 are 15 fundamentalists who believe it's their duty to convert the world to Christianity. (I don't have time for more research today.) Note to #The15: It won't happen.

I'm appalled at the insensitivity behind this tweet. Apparently lots of other Twitter users are, as well. Mr. Miano has since sent multiple messages defending himself, saying there is nothing more loving than wanting people to repent and receive Jesus.

We don't all think like that. 

What Nepal needs is money. Pray if you like, send positive thoughts, healing wishes, light and love. But send some money

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yesterday's gone

And with it, my walking streak. I'd walked at least one mile, and more often four miles, every day since March 28.

Yesterday morning I was on the road by 7:30, arrived at a conference center for a day of workshops and meetings at 9:30, and returned home last evening at 7. The extent of my walking was from my chair to a podium a couple of times, along with a trip through the line at the lunch buffet (that word again!).

I was really worried about that lunch. I ate breakfast before I left home and knew I could find something to eat when I got back, but I had no control over lunch. It turned out to be reasonably Whole 30-compliant. I'm sure the mayonnaise in the cole slaw was commercially made, but I had a scoop of it anyway. Along with pulled pork and turkey (no sauce) and a couple chips. NO sandwich bun. NO potato salad. NO cookies.

As for the walking … while the streak is broken, I need just 18 miles over the next five days (including today) to hit 122 for April, which gets me to 400 for the first four months of 2015. Right on target for 1200 for the year.
This week's forecast looks a bit dampish. But rain isn't usually an all-day event around here. If I keep an eye on the radar – and look out the window – I should be able to find a block of dry time to hit the road.

And if not … we've already established that I won't melt.

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's the little things

Our house project is winding down. The carpenter needs to come back one more time to finish repairing and painting a bathroom ceiling that was damaged by a small leak in the roof, and to install the front entrance screen door.

And, of course, there's still a lot of painting to do, which is my job and which I'm not doing very efficiently. Things get in the way. I haven't done any painting since I finished the TV room which, by the way, we still LOVE.

We didn't take into account the slidiness of the bench/ottoman on the new laminate flooring, so I've ordered some non-skid furniture coasters for that.

One tiny project that cropped up while we were having other things done was removing a trash compacter that I've never used – I don't even know if it worked or not – and installing some of the laminate flooring in that space. I then moved our kitchen trash can in there. It's close to the sink now (it used to be half a countertop away), instead of being the first thing you see when you enter the house.

My husband and I left for our walk yesterday right after he and the carpenter hauled the compacter out. Ninety minutes later, when we returned, the project was done. I'm so pleased with this tiny change to the kitchen. I hated that compacter, but had no idea what to do about it. Other than pretend it wasn't there.

The little thing I love most of all is the "click" that a door makes when you close it. A real door.  It's such a satisfying sound, solid and dependable. Our old bifold doors slipped off their tracks, were hard to close, didn't lock (obviously), and just felt flimsy. I'm thrilled to have hinged doors with latches and locks in my house.

I'm somewhat less thrilled that I still need to paint a bunch of them. As well as a bunch of walls. But it will all get done, eventually.

First priority this morning (after this; since I skipped a day, the blog is Job One) is finishing and sending the design project files I've been working on. Everyone who needs to see it has made suggestions and offered corrections. I just need to get tidy it up, convert it to a .pdf, and get it out of my computer and into the printer's.

Looking at the photos in this post, they both lean to the left. Which is the name of the newsletter I'm sending out today. Coincidence? Perhaps.

But I don't think so. Heh.

Days 22 and 23 DONE! One more week of Whole 30. After that? Whole 30 + almond flour. And honey. Occasionally.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Paint-free. Again.

It's SO EASY to not paint after everything's been cleaned up and tucked out of sight. I didn't do any painting at all yesterday, mostly because the design project was sosososoclose to being finished that I concentrated on that. Corrections/revisions this morning, final proof, and then it's off to the printer.

The walking happened, because it always does (unless there's lightning. And how cool is it that I just wrote because it always does. Since it always didn't. Heh.). The redbuds are stunning. And popping out all over the place. My husband thinks they should be called purple buds. He's wrong. They should be called magentabuds.

And then we went shopping. Food shopping and lamp shopping. I love the lampshade, and the lamp itself, being tall and thin, works very well in this tiny room.

We also went out for dinner, to one of those big buffet places where my skinny husband could load up on all the cornbread he could eat and I could have … salad. I've finally gotten out of the mindset that when you go to a buffet restaurant you don't have to eat all you want. I don't care for buffets, in general. When I eat in a restaurant I want to be served. That matters not a whit to the husband, however, and he's been very understanding and patient with all my redecorating and remodeling. Compromise, doncha know. So cornbread it was.

And salad.

Day 21 DONE!

P.S. Our friend Lucky updated his trail journal and is doing well. He's in the Shenandoah portion of Virginia now. It would be about a three-hour drive for us if he needed anything.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wonder of wonders …

My original plan to finish painting and get our little TV room put back together by yesterday actually happened. It took very little time to roll paint on the walls, and I only needed to do one coat. Yesterday was lovely, for the most part, so I aired out the drapes on the clothesline while I finished up the painting, washed the sliding glass doors and replaced the furniture.

This is my corner. I haven't brought my
knitting bag back in yet. The other corner
looks remarkably similar. The television
is on a black wooden stand on one
opposite wall, and the drapery-covered
sliding glass door is on the other.
This photo isn't really a good representation of the wall color. It's dark in there. Really dark. Like chocolate-milk dark. Which is great for TV-watching. We're very pleased with it.

The next owner of this house will have to paint those walls three times to lighten them up, however. NOT MY PROBLEM. Heh.

I love having nothing decorative on the walls yet. Eventually we'll hang a certificate and a piece of embroidered Chinese silk, both from my husband's father's army service during WWII, as well as two pieces of pen-and-ink art that I did about 30 years ago. 'Twas in another lifetime.

But right now … it's clean and serene.

I'll be doing something with that green lamp. More than likely yard-saling it. I think the lamp in this room needs to be brass, so I'm on a hunt to replace it.

Today I'll cut in the edges of the hallway outside this room, go for my walk, work on the design project (it's an eight-page newsletter; five done, three to go), and then we're going to Lowe's for … stuff. Maybe I'll find my lamp there.

This remodeling has been a lot of work, but it's turned out to be a great decision. The timing is a little off … we should have been replacing doors and painting stuff in the winter, when we couldn't get outdoors. My gardens are terribly neglected. But one does what one can, and right now the interior of the house is a priority.

Having real doors, as opposed to louvered bi-folds, makes us feel all grown up, like we live in a real house instead of a beach house. And the front door – life-changing. Seriously. We are slowly but surely becoming shiny happy people in our shiny happy home.

Day 20 DONE!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A day off. Sort of.

I didn't paint yesterday. I had cut in the edges and corners Saturday, with the idea that I could finish the walls in the TV room and put it back together sometime today, but after I removed all the blue tape I just ran out of enthusiasm for more painting. All I have to do is roller the walls. Shouldn't take long. But still …

I'm working on a graphic design project, and that's way more fun. For me, anyway.

BUT. Today is the Boston Marathon. Elite women start at 9:32. I love watching marathons, even though I'll most likely never complete one. (However, my motto is "never say never," so who knows?) And while I won't be able to watch closely, the TV is hooked up and working, and I can sneak a peek between brushstrokes. Or whatever you call running a roller up and down a wall.

So … walking, painting, graphic designing … sounds like a repeat of nearly every day for the last week, doesn't it? Along with meat and vegetables and fruit, which is still going well, but I must admit I am getting a little tired of the same-old, same-old.

Not that it'll be much different when this Whole 30 ends … but a pumpkin muffin made with almond flour sure sounds good.

Day 19 DONE!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Have you ever been so tired you couldn't sleep?

I have so much going on right now, it's crazy.

And when I go to bed at night, my brain keeps working. I was in bed by 9, but awake until midnight, with various and sundry plans and projects churning around in my head.

I got a little more than five miles in yesterday, which is good because I only got three today. It's raining now, and will continue to rain for the rest of the day. Glad I walked early.

It's Amish church day. Several buggies passed me going the opposite direction. The two communities take turns every other week hosting services. The men and boys are all dressed up in their whitest white shirts, the women and girls have their sweet little bonnets and plain, solid-colored dresses. They wave and call out "Good morning" and probably wonder why I'm not at church.

My church is on the road. My commune with nature is sufficient, for now, for my spiritual growth. And should I feel the need for more, I know where to find it.

Day 18 DONE!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Same as it ever was

Today will be more painting and more walking, with the addition of some graphic design work.

Sometime.

Yesterday's walk happened much later than I'd anticipated, and was cut short due to a lot of right-hip pain. And climbing up and down a ladder for six hours with a paint brush didn't do much for my stamina either. I was both achy and tired at … in the afternoon, and only did a mile.

I only need 27 more miles to get to 100 for April, but in order to make up for February, and get 400 by the end of this month, I need to do 66. Not sure that can happen at this point. That's five a day and I won't get any at all next Saturday.

At any rate … walking is happening earlier today, because the painting WILL get done, whether I walk or not. The walking, apparently, is optional. Or at least four miles is.

Later …

Day 17 DONE!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Twice the busy-ness, half the miles

But still … miles! Two instead of four, late in the day instead of early, and I was pretty tired instead of pretty peppy. Done is done, however, and I can still hit my goal if I do two or three longer walks the rest of the month.

And if I don't hit the April goal, I'm in good shape to make 1200 by the end of the year.

I had a long meeting in town yesterday, followed by a couple errands that didn't get me home until late afternoon. I threw some bacon-wrapped chicken tenders in the oven and did one mile, then came home to toss a salad (to be topped with the chicken). Did another mile after dinner.

And was oh-so-ready for bed by 8 p.m.

Lunch was at a restaurant, but I find lunches the easiest thing to eat out. I had an antipasto salad loaded with vegetables and meat (asked them to skip the cheese), topped with plain old oil and vinegar.

Two salads in one day … that hasn't happened in a long, long time.

Today I paint. Need to finish the woodwork in the TV room, and then the walls in there so we can put it back together. I'll do that hallway and bathroom next and the guest room after that.

Here's a very rough floor plan of my house:
Each of the living room sides of the hexagon has sliding glass doors looking out toward the Appalachian Mountains. We really do have lovely views. (Each bedroom also has a sliding glass door, looking toward the mountains.) We replaced the slider in the kitchen (which is on the left side of that wall) with a French door. There's a hexagonal brick fireplace in the center of the house.

I painted the center section and the master bath a couple years ago, while the wings have remained dingy and ugly. Once the guest wing is finished, I'll do the master hall and finish the master bedroom last. We need new carpet there, and I plan to get the painting done before that happens.

We're loving the new doors. And we're anxious for everything to be new and shiny and DONE. This is one time I'd trade just about anything for a painting genie.

BUT … thanks to my newfound energy and motivation, I'm ON IT, doggone it!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Just a walking' in the rain

I've gotten my shoes wet the last two days, for sure. But I've also logged eight more miles. As long as there's no lightning, I'm good with walking in the rain.

There was a time, not that long ago, when I would have used steady rainfall as an excuse to play Dots. Not now. The last time I felt this committed to reaching a mileage goal was two years ago, and the last time I remember not even considering the weather a factor in my outdoor activity plans was when I was training for my first half-marathon. Way back in 2007.

And if I didn't walk in the rain,
I would miss raindrops on dogwoods!
I can't explain this mind-shift. To tell you the truth, I haven't tried too hard to figure it out. I'm going with the flow, and right now the flow is April showers. If I'm going to walk this month, I'm going to get wet. My April mileage goal is 122, and I need 52 to get there.

We had dinner with friends last night, at their home. I didn't know what would be served. And I had to give myself a pass for one night of this Whole 30, in order to be polite. The meal turned out to be mostly on plan, except the main dish was paella, which is rice-based.

Salad, sides, even dessert – fresh strawberries – were great. I passed up the bread, but I did eat a little rice. No ill effects, and it's not like an alcoholic slip where I have to start over. (Is it? Heh. Oh, and THANKYOUGOD I've never had to do that!) I'm just back on the horse today.

The reasoning behind the strict Whole 30 rules is to do a reset – body and mind. And I'm pretty sure 15 days was enough to accomplish that for me, although I intend to stay on plan for the remainder of the month. I'm feeling so much more energetic. I still have a little hip pain occasionally, but not every day and not nearly as bad as it was over the winter. Could be food, could be weather, could be that more activity – and more regular activity – is just what I needed. Who knows?

All I really know is that when something needs to be done – taking something upstairs, pulling weeds, painting, moving furniture, whatever – I do it, right then and there, no dilly-dallying, no excuses.

It's a great feeling.

Days 14 and 15 DONE!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mileage goal: On track

Except … it's raining today. And will continue to rain. All. Day. Long.
I have 17 days to walk 60 miles, which certainly sounds manageable, at 3.5 miles a day. Sixty more miles will get me up to 100 miles per month for the year, and that, my friends, is exactly on track. I hope to bank miles over the next several months, in case November or December turns out to be iffy for walking, weather-wise.

One thing all this rain is good for is softening the garden beds for easier weed-pulling. I've spent a lot of time working on that chore the last three days, but there's so much to do this time of year.

Food continues to be fine. That little spot-check yesterday reallyreallyREALLY motivated me to stick with the Whole 30 for the remainder of the month.

But I'm still pinning treats to Pinterest for May and beyond!

Day 13 DONE!

Monday, April 13, 2015

I cheated

No, it's not what you're probably thinking. My marriage is fine. Heh.

And no, I didn't sneak a forbidden almond-flour muffin or skip my walk.

Yes, indeedy, there is such a thing as
a paleo lemon bar.
For the past couple days, my Pinterest "Paleo-friendly" board has been filling up with treats. Lemon bars, anyone? Chocolate caramels? SNICKERDOODLES?!?!? I could tell I was getting kinda bored with the same old-same old paleo template.

So I weighed myself. Which you're only supposed to do twice during a Whole 30 – once at the start and once at the finish.

And while doing a Whole 30 is much more than weight loss, it is most definitely part of it for me. The only way I've been able to drop any pounds since I hit my 60s is by eschewing grains, legumes, dairy and sugar. Probably since I hit my mid-50s.

The feeling good part has been, for the most part, exactly what I expected. My right hip hurts much, much less while I'm walking, and I rarely have any pain at all otherwise. (I did have one of those intense muscle cramps yesterday while I was on the riding lawnmower. WOW do those hurt.)

But in order to continue the boring food part, I needed MORE. (More has always been my drug of choice.)

I've lost – are you ready? – seven pounds in 12 days.

Pass the bacon.

Day 12, DONE.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

We're in for it now

Yesterday was SO gorgeous. Mid-60s, crisp and clear, bright sun, a slight breeze and I had nothing inside the house that was pressing. No chores, no laundry, no guests … for once, the interior of my home was in decent shape. The only agenda yesterday was to wait for the door delivery.

Offering us plenty of time to pay attention to the outside.

Our perennial gardens are full of weeds, and the beds are large. No way I can do all of them all at once. Frequently while weeding I wish for a magic gardener to come along and fill all my buckets and wheelbarrows with what doesn't belong in the garden. Never happens, and yesterday was no exception. So while I filled one big bucket-on-wheels (I think it holds about 25 gallons), my husband picked up fallen tree branches.

The Yellow Transparent is NOT shedding limbs, but is full
of buds – potential apples. So is the Granny Smith. YAY!
Lest you think that's a small chore, we have three acres of mowable grass, and more than a dozen trees.

So what are we in for? GREAT weather – today and tomorrow will be slightly warmer, but the rest of the week promises mid- to upper 60 temperatures, which is perfect for outdoor work.

Because we needed to stick close to home, waiting for the doors, my miles were broken up into several small walks. I went to the water pump to take a reading (still having problems there) – that's 1.4 miles. I walked to the post office and back, for another 1.6. Then three separate walks at different times in the afternoon and early evening from my driveway to the first driveway on the right, up the road a half a mile, and I managed to get six miles for the day.

The sixth mile wouldn't have happened if I hadn't checked the FitBit and noticed I only needed another thousand steps to hit 20K. I actually ended up with 22,039 by the time I went to bed.

The morning door delivery we requested stretched into 3:30 pm, but Lowes refunded the delivery charge and some additional money for our trouble, appeasing our frustration. We've had nothing but great service since we began our remodeling project – a definite change from the Lowes of yore – and so the delivery snafu was unexpected and disappointing. But the resolution was satisfactory.

So there's that.

Food continues to be on plan. I made another pork tenderloin yesterday and we have enough left for two more meals. Which is good, because when I'm working outside for hours on end, I don't feel like starting dinner from scratch. I'm going to slice and warm some of the roast tonight and throw a pan of vegetables into the oven – peppers, onions, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus and carrots – and call it a meal.

Day Eleven DONE!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A third of the way … Day Ten DONE!

Ten days into this Whole 30, and I'm finding it much easier than the last one I did. Perhaps because it's been a while. Perhaps because I'd gotten so off the rails. Or, maybe, just maybe, because I feel so good!

Notwithstanding Thursday's restathon, of course.

I could have turned back much
earlier, but instead I walked
right into it. And got soaked!
This week's mileage is down from last week, but I'm still walking daily. I thought yesterday I'd miss the rain that was clearly in the distance, but I was soaked by the time I finished four miles. At one time I would have talked myself out of walking at all, considering the ominous clouds in the distance. But I've gotten soaked a couple times lately – it is April, after all – and I haven't melted yet.

The last day I missed a walk was March 28, and I'm up to 46 miles already for April. I'd like to be at 400 for the year by May 1. If I can keep up the four-mile-a-day habit, I'll achieve that mini-goal for sure.

Our door order arrives today and the carpenter comes Monday to install them. Three more interior doors will complete that project and we've needed a replacement for the front slider for far too long. New flooring in our TV room is also happening next week and then the painting project begins.

I'm the painter.

The challenge for me will be to continue taking that daily walk when I want to get all the painting done. I expect, if you happen to run into me strolling down my road later this month, I'll be wearing a paint-smeared t-shirt.

But. I'll. Be. Walking.

This post makes it sound like a Whole 30 is all about activity. It's really not at all. It Starts With Food is the title of the book that launched this movement. And it really does. Start with food, that is. Eliminating grains, legumes, dairy and sugar is a good way to detox and learn how good you can feel. After 30 days, you can add things back, one at a time and slowly, to determine which (if any) food group causes discomfort. You'll be able to tell rather quickly, or at least I can.

As with my first Whole 30, I probably won't be adding any of those food groups back into my diet. I'm looking forward to being able to make muffins or banana bread (with almond and/or coconut flour), though. One of the most restrictive parts of a Whole 30 is that you can't "paleofy" foods which might be considered treats. So no paleo ice cream or baked goods.

Only 20 days to go. I've GOT THIS!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Days Eight and Nine DONE!

Oh, my, where did the time go?

Wednesday was SUPER busy. We had overnight guests and I had a meeting in the afternoon. And the meeting was about an hours' drive away.

So between cleaning, meal prepping, driving, and meeting, I didn't have a moment to catch my breath. Or to catch up on the blog yesterday morning.

But … all is well. I managed a two-mile walk Wednesday and four miles yesterday. Food has been on-plan the entire time, despite preparing a yummy baked French toast casserole for breakfast yesterday.

While I've been walking a few miles a day, one of our guests has been averaging 15? 18? I'm not quite sure. My son met up with "Lucky" on the Appalachian Trail (AT) Wednesday afternoon and brought him to our house for a hot shower, comfortable bed, laundry services and all the home-cooked food he could devour.

Lucky was my son's mentor during an internship at the Raleigh News and Observer. He's since retired, after doing some amazing journalistic work, and has been training to thru-hike the AT for quite some time.

This is his year.

He's 72.

Now here's the sad part. I had a busy day Wednesday and I've walked a few miles on a paved road every day this month. I collapsed yesterday. Literally. Took a shower, laid down at 2 p.m., and didn't get up until 6 this morning.

Lucky walks many miles over rough terrain in all kinds of weather, and has been doing it since February! He hikes from early in the morning until dinner time, stopping briefly – 15 minutes max – for a noontime snack. He was ready to hit the trail with enthusiasm yesterday morning.

Oh. Well. There's no comparison. No need for it. He was a most pleasant and entertaining guest, he and my son are great friends, and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the company.

I wanted to offer our "hostel" on his way home, but I think he's finding motorized transportation back to North Carolina.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Week One DONE

On the whole, this Whole 30 is going really well this time. So far. You're supposed to eat enough at each meal so that between-meal snacks aren't necessary, and for the most part that's what I've done. However … when I'm too busy for lunch (my protein-packed breakfasts keep me satiated well past a normal lunch hour), I'm ravenous for dinner and I find myself picking at things after dinner, as well.

Fortunately there's nothing off-plan in my refrigerator or pantry at which to pick.

Miles per day, April.
I managed a four-mile walk yesterday during a lull in the rain. It sprinkled a couple times, but I don't melt in the rain. I'm already up to 36 miles for April, which is fairly unbelievable, but I double-checked and it's true! And 313 for the year so far, which is just the teensiest bit over the 100-mile-per-month goal.

Awesomesauce.

Our door order is complete and they will be delivered Saturday. Installation begins Monday, and we're also replacing the carpet in our tiny den with laminate flooring. I bought paint while I was arranging for the door delivery and soon – well, maybe not soon, but eventually – all our rooms will be builder beige (or a variation thereof) with white woodwork. And six-panel doors. And a front door that works.

All at the same time.

More awesomesauce.

The garden is, necessarily, being terribly neglected this spring. One can only do so much with the time one has available. Once this house project is finished, I can get to work outdoors. The weeds in the perennial beds are massive, and it's been too wet to even begin to think of working in the vegetable garden.

I'm doing tomatoes and peppers in tubs on the back porch and the garden plot is going to be cucumbers, onions, and squash, which the deer don't eat. I plan to visit the farmer's market a lot this summer, as well. It's just too heartbreaking to put all the work into a vegetable garden only to have it ravaged in one night by critters. I've gone as far with fencing as I'm willing to go. At some point, the cost-per-vegetable goes beyond reasonable when you keep buying preventive materials and products.

Okay, so we've covered running walking, eating, and reaping. I'm knitting a Wonderful Wallaby, sans pouch and hood, for myself, and have been for a couple months. I'm using a textured grey-and-white blended yarn that I've had in stock for decades. Time to use this stuff up, I'm not going to live forever! The sleeves (which I like to call swatches) were done first. I've been knitting round and round and round on the body since the Super Bowl. I might finish during the MLB playoffs.

And that, my friends, covers all the blog bases (ahem).

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day Six DONE

Walked in the morning, a total of 5.5 miles with no pain. The earlier I walk, the less pain I experience. Earlier this year, though, four miles was my limit, so I'm either getting better (as in, the condition – if there is one – is healing) or I'm losing a little weight and taking some pressure off the affected areas.

I'll take it, and I really don't need an explanation or reason.

Food was good, as well. (For those who don't know or who may be new here, I'm six days into another Whole 30. So far, so good!) My walk ran into lunch time, and I had to be someplace in the afternoon, so no lunch, and my calorie intake was less than normal. I was hungry. I didn't die.

So there's that. Heh.

I wore a pair of jeans yesterday. When my weight began creeping back up again, I had to put the little skinny jeans I'd been wearing out of sight. Way too depressing. I bought a couple pairs during the winter but never wore them at all. They were two sizes bigger and felt about a half-size too small. I have lived in yoga pants and skirts All. Winter. Long. Jeans! Just in time for warmer weather!

But knowing they finally fit comfortably gives me hope and motivation to stick with the plan.

Busy day coming up. I need to go to Lowes to arrange for delivery of the last of our new interior doors and a new front door, as well. We're replacing a sliding glass patio door with a French door, the kind that has the blinds tucked in between the exterior and interior glass.

The slider has been broken for a long, long time, but as long as we could still get in and out, no matter how hard we had to push, we procrastinated. Replacing the interior bifolds with six-panels was all it took to make us realize we deserved an attractive entrance door that works properly.

Then I need to get groceries.

It's raining-raining-raining today, and this might have to be a rest-from-intentional walking day. Depends on what the skies are doing when I return from this shopping trip. It's not looking good.
Today, right now. I am a bit southeast of Charleston.
This week. Grrr.





Monday, April 6, 2015

Day Five DONE

As my friend and fellow blogger Gingerzingi noted this morning, Easter is candy-centric, despite its religious meaning. Because nothing says He Is Risen like a chocolate cross, right? I knew Easter would be part of my Whole 30 challenge, and while I was tempted by the candy displays every time I went to the market, I resisted.

Gingerzingi went the extra mile, coloring hard-cooked eggs. I merely deviled mine. My children are grown and creating their own Easter traditions with their youngsters. So I was the Easter Grinch, and didn't do anything except send cards. WITH MONEY!

(Sometimes – most of the time, actually – I reallyreally hate being the long-distance Grandma. And Easter, being more of a hands-on holiday, is one of those times. Sending a gift of colored eggs? I don't think so.)

At any rate … another Whole 30 day done, and done pretty darned perfectly. I volunteered to cook dinner here and take it to my mother-in-law's to devour. My husband is very active in his church so while he attended morning services, I put a pork tenderloin in the oven and took a morning walk.

Which turned into A MORNING JOG! Of those three miles on the road, half of them were at a picked-up pace. Felt really good to be doing more than plodding along.

Got home, threw a couple sweet potatoes into the oven, showered and dressed for dinner and finished up the meal. Here's what we ate:

  • Roast Pork Tenderloin
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Steamed Fresh Asparagus
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Green and Ripe Olives
  • Sliced Fresh Strawberries

We didn't need much more, and there were only three of us, so I didn't go all-out, as I might have if the guest list were longer. Been there, done that, and I always end up throwing food away after a couple of days.

Notice anything about the menu?

It's perfectly paleo! Perfectly Whole 30, as well. And I'm no longer a Hollandaise sauce virgin. My, my, my, was it ever yummy.

My husband and I took another walk later in the afternoon – I did two more miles, while he did four. I'm now at 25 miles for the month, and beginning to get obsessed with the idea of averaging five miles a day for April. That was never my plan, but that's how it's working out so far.

My obsession is being fueled by a FitBit friend – you know who you are – who is just as committed (or commitable?) as I am. We check the leaderboard frequently and text each other to SIT DOWN! and STOP WALKING! when one or the other surges ahead.

Right now, that would be me.

However, the 10-day forecast promises a lot o'rain. A weather slowdown might be just the slap-in-the-face I need to get back to more reasonable walking expectations.

Thanks, again, for reading. I'm glad you're here.

I'm glad I'm here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Day Four DONE

Well done, actually!

The only hitch yesterday was a lot of pain in my right leg/hip again while I was walking (five miles again – woo hoo!). I was surprised, by the discomfort, but chalked it up to the previous day's difficult trek. And I'm fine this morning. I'd love to not have this pain atalleveragain, but maybe it's just part of the whole aging process.

Although I'm sure the entire paleo community would be telling me RIGHT NOW that it doesn't have to be that way.

I'm sure you all have better things to do today than read a blog post, so I'll leave you with my favorite, traditional Easter greeting and wish you a very happy Sunday:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day Three DONE

In addition to taking on a Whole 30 this month, I'm making every effort to walk every day. Yesterday truly was an effort, as it rained nearly all day.

I started out during a lull in the precipitation action, but before I'd gone even half a mile it started back up again. And it rained off and on for the entire five miles. I wore a waterproof hooded jacket, but was still pretty soaked by the time I got back home.

HOWEVER – I've already logged 15 miles for the month. In three days. [Patting myself on the back here.] It would be way cool to get 150 miles for April, but I doubt if that happens.

Anyway … walking in the rain is, in my opinion, more tiring and takes more energy than walking in good weather. I had tuna salad (this one made more traditionally with mayonnaise, rather than yesterday's version with avocado) when I got home and rested for a bit.

Paleo plan followers are supposed to eat enough at each meal to not need between-meal snacks. And generally that holds true for me. I eat a lot of protein and fat, both of which fill you up. But I guess the combination of a long and somewhat difficult walk combined with a light lunch resulted in X-treme hunger. At about 2 p.m. I was stomach-growling hungry.

I don't eat enough vegetables. I really don't. When I went to the grocery earlier this week, I bought a wide variety of them, more than would fit in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. So – pushing the
season more than a little bit – I pulled out this, that, and the other and made gazpacho. Two quarts of it. Enough so that when I get stomach-growling hungry again, There Will Be Food.

This was super-simple to make. I roughly chopped three large tomatoes, a red pepper, a peeled cucumber, an unpeeled zucchini, a seeded jalapeño, and an onion. Working in batches, and adding a peeled garlic clove, the juice of half a lime, and about a cup of V-8 juice to each batch, I pulsed the mixture in the food processor until it was, um, slushy-looking. Not smooth, not chunky.

It turned out great – took care of the hunger in a most tasty way. The jalapeño added just enough fire to make it interesting without being overwhelming.

While I was in a chopping-vegetables mood, I made a chicken stir-fry for dinner. I do believe yesterday's vegetable quota was achieved.

Today we're having my absolute favorite entrée for dinner: chicken strips wrapped in bacon, dusted with chili and garlic powders and baked in the oven. Along with a combination of roasted cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, I think I'm on my way to a well-done Day Four.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day Two DONE

Did you know you were going to get a blow-by-blow description of every day of this Whole 30 when you started reading again? HAH! Maybe you will, maybe you won't – I doubt I can come up with something new to say about paleo food and long walks for the next month.

But yesterday offered a bit of a challenge, and had I not been blogging again, I might have blown it this early in the game. SO THANK YOU. Because you are reading again, I stayed on plan.

I had to put together a cheese-and-cracker tray for a get-together last night. No one was in the house with me when I was slicing cheddar and dumping crackers in a basket. I quick-quick covered
everything as soon as I was done. Hershey got to eat the too-thin slivers of cheese – in the past, those would have been MINE.

Cheese and crackers were requested; that wouldn't have been my first choice, but it's done now, and none of the leftovers came home. TAKE THAT, CHEESE AND CRACKERS! I own you!

Hah!

Food was great yesterday – completely on plan. (I didn't go to the event last night, just provided food.) I had a bacon-and-egg breakfast, a tuna salad (made with mashed avocado instead of mayo) for lunch and leftover paleo chili for dinner.

Took two walks – four miles in the morning and two in the late afternoon. Along with my normal everyday walking around the house and garage and yard, I hit 20,000 steps for the day – only the second time I've done that since I got the FitBit in December.

So there you have it. Two days done, 28 to go, feeling terrific, lots of energy, accomplishing things and oh, I'll probably have to walk in the rain today. I remember running in the rain during training for my first half-marathon oh-so-many years ago. I didn't melt. And I won't melt today, either.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading. And I really mean that.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day One DONE

Okay, so that went well (first day of Whole 30). And the way I feel this morning reinforces that a paleo plan – as I've said many times previously – is the way to eat that works best for me.

I've not really been off the paleo template, but if the general rule of thumb for "cheat" days is 80 percent on/20 percent off, I'd say I'm a fallen woman. Getting back on the horse, 100 percent, both feels and sounds very good to me.

Yesterday was somewhat challenging. Breakfast was fine, as it usually is – scrambled eggs with salsa and I "baked" a chopped apple, sprinkled with cinnamon, in the microwave. For lunch, though, I had to make mayonnaise before I could make egg salad and I was in a hurry to get out and take a walk before I had to go to a meeting. So no vegetables for lunch.

Dinner was terrific – I made a chili-ish stew-ish concoction in the slow cooker with ground beef (instead of bison), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spices. It was great to come home from that late afternoon meeting to have dinner ready and waiting.

The bigger challenge was that after the meeting I did a major stock-up grocery trip. And I was hungry. And we all know one doesn't shop for food when one is hungry. Had I not made the Whole 30 commitment, I would totally have bought something sweet-and-carby to eat in the car on the way home.

I think making the car off-limits for food (beverages are okay, as long as the beverages are black coffee or water) would be a good rule for the long term. I'm both an emotional eater and a sneak eater, and the car facilitates both behaviors nicely.

Yesterday's meeting was supposed to have been final proof of an annual report project, with few corrections. As it turns out, there are minor corrections for 90 percent of the book. I need to get busy, baby.

Again.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

So I was busy

And now I'm not quite so busy.

I'll probably get busy again, but I missed writing and I missed connecting and I missed having a place to record both the mundane and the important things going on here in the Middle of Nowhere. So I'm going to do my best to stick with ye olde blogger again. Maybe not every single damned day, but most days.

Many bad things have happened since I've been gone. Democrat asses got kicked in the election; the Republican-controlled West Virginia legislative agenda was quite business-friendly, after they campaigned on jobs, jobs, jobs; winter sucked – I mean sucked!, and my Buddha belly is back.

So sad.

But. Good things await.

A Whole30 a couple years ago kicked my weight loss efforts into high gear, and I'm doing it again. (I started that one April 6, 2013, stuck with it for several months, and have been on-again/off-again ever since.)

Not only do I look better when I ditch grains/legumes/dairy/sugar, I feel better, and the older I get the more important it is that I feel good. Not just okay. Not just not in pain. I want and need to feel GOOD.

I set a goal at the end of last year to walk 100 miles/month, and while I'm a little bit behind that pace, better weather will equal increased mileage and I'm confident I can make it. January and March were fine – right on target, so direct (bonus points if you can name that tune) – but February? Not so much.

The Whole30 rules have changed a little bit. You can eat all kinds of potatoes now; you're not limited to sweet potatoes only. That'll be nice when I make beef stew, but I really like sweet potatoes and I do think they're more nutritious and have less impact on blood sugar. But I'm not a doctor/scientist/nutritionist … just an informed, lifelong dieter who reads a lot.

At any rate … the first day is going great! Scrambled eggs with salsa and a cinnamon-sprinkled chopped apple, "baked" in the microwave. Grok never had it so good.

I need to get to work on a freelance project that's been keeping me busy. This is the last day for putting it together; it goes to the printer tomorrow. I will then feel well and truly out from under the stress of too-many-projects, not-enough-time.

It's good to be back. Thanks for reading.