Friday, June 30, 2006

Barbeque, anyone?

Finally – and just in time for your holiday get-together – a link to something that combines food plus knitting! [Yes, I know there are other food/knitting links, but this is unbelievable! Probably belongs on You Knit What.] If you hurry you can have it finished by the Fourth of July.

Yesterday was a productive day, as far as taking care of stuff. Got the car inspected and serviced, and had to have two tires replaced. Bought a boatload of groceries. Good thing, too, because it started storming again about an hour after I got home. We might be in the market for ark plans here in the Middle of Nowhere.

Of course we don't have it nearly as bad as those on the eastern seaboard do, and I hope those affected by the flooding and rain stay safe and dry.

I took a short walk in the morning, but not my usual four- or five-miler, thinking I'd be mowing in the afternoon. That didn't happen, so I dust- and damp-mopped, ran the sweeper and paid bills. I don't want to get in the habit of replacing intentional activity with housework or outside chores, though. I didn't plan my time very well in the morning or I could have gotten at least a four-mile walk in. Must. Do. Better.

I'm making pretty good progress on the Diamond Patch sweater. The first six diamonds, which make up the lower edge, are done and I've started connecting them. The scan at the right shows two of the lower-edge diamonds connected by one of the second tier.

This scan does not show how slinky, shiny and dressy the ribbon is. It's quite a pain to work with, but I'm sure the finished sweater will be worth all the swearing.

I'm nearly finished with the front of the Shapely Tee. Just another inch or so and I can bind off the front neckline and do the shoulders.

Sparkpeople had a good article yesterday, about involving others in your weight-loss process. As you regulars know, I live a pretty isolated life, so you are my "others." I'm really glad you're out there. Here's a Friday quote to think about:

" 'Independence'... [is]
middle-class blasphemy.
We are all dependent
on one another,
every soul of us on earth.

G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion, 1912

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Working for the weekend

We here in the U.S. are gearing up for a long holiday weekend. This year our guests will be fewer in number than usual, but it still means menu planning, grocery shopping and food preparation.

Not so different from a typical week here in the Middle of Nowhere, really.

When I check in at eDiets every Monday morning to record my weight, I print out a new menu and shopping list. I'll add some snack-type items for a couple of teen-agers who will be here, and will probably make potato salad and some kind of dessert for the big cookout. I really don't see any reason why I can't just follow the plan for a larger crowd. I doubt that anyone even notices.

As long as I make sure to buy country ham for breakfast – something I don't care for anyway.

I've got a ton of stuff to do today and tomorrow, and our company arrives Saturday, so Shrinking Knitter posts will be short for the next few days. I do plan to take a progress photo to post on July 1.

I know you can't wait! Hehehe.

Edited to add: Do go read Jonathan's blog entry for June 28 called "How Much?" This part particularly struck me:
"Now. I realize full well that what this reader really wanted to know was "How much MORE food do you eat now, compared to when you were losing weight?"

And I understand where that question is coming from, having done my fair share of "dieting" in the past. But I would like you to consider for a moment, that you won't even care about the answer to this question when you are able to find a long-life approach to eating that leaves you feeling content and satisfied. In other words, if you believe that losing weight means you can't eat "enough" then try something different, and keep trying until you feel satisfied."
Maybe that last sentence sums up what's different for me. Of course I won't know if it's really different until I've maintained a loss for a significant period of time, but I feel so fortunate to have found a way to eat that satisfies me. And in the beginning, it's all about the eating.

This, of course, takes the whole emotional-eating component out of the equation. I still struggle with that, and still struggle with eating when I'm bored. But I'm getting better. The other day I spent an otherwise not-so-busy afternoon altering clothes. I didn't want to do it, but I made a phone call to transition from inactivity to activity, and that seemed to work. I added two pairs of pants and four skirts – all the right length – to the closet!

Okay, now I'm done.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Caution: May be habit-forming

The rain stopped yesterday afternoon, and the sun actually came out for a couple of hours before it moved on to the Central Time Zone. I feel fairly certain, after seeing the depth of the water in the river last night, that it washed across the road in a couple of places during the height of the storm.

Today's my last day caring for my neighbor's horses and dogs. I'm still trying to think of a daily hard chore I could do around here, and, short of buying a llama, I haven't come up with anything. I suppose I could damp-mop the floor every day, instead of every third or fourth day, but that seems a little OCD to me.

I begged for a llama the last time I was married. We lived on five acres in the Middle of Nowhere, Ohio, so there was lots of grazing room. The conversation went downhill quickly.
Former Husband: What would you do with a llama?
Me: Brush it and use the fur to make yarn.
FH: You would need equipment to make yarn.
Me: Well, yes, I guess I would need a spinning wheel. And a carder. And I'm sure there are a few other accessories.
FH: And then what would you do with the yarn?
Me: Knit it, of course! And maybe learn to weave.
FH: Ahhh, then you'd also need a loom.
Me: Well, yes, I guess you're right.
FH: And you'd probably finish one scarf and decide you don't like taking care of the llama any more, and we'd have the most expensive scarf in Ohio.
End of conversation.

Because he was probably right. At that time, my attention span was as short as a puppy's.

A friend who reads the blog e-mailed me yesterday and said she thought probably motivation was the most important factor in the weight-loss progress I've made so far. I disagree, and told her I think it's patience.

I'm doing this deal for a year. That's a short time in the whole, grand scheme of things, but a long time for a woman with the attention span of a puppy.

What I hope is that at the end of the year, the behaviors I'm practicing will truly be habits and my body will truly be comfortable at a normal weight. Last time I lost a significant amount of weight I did it in five months. I didn't know how to maintain it; all I knew was I was damned tired of working out hard two hours every day, and I quit.

For me [you regular readers will note that I use those two words, in italics, frequently – I would never presume to tell you what to do, but I'm happy to share my experience], exercise has been the missing link. All the calorie/carb/fat gram-counting I've done over the last decade haven't amounted to much weight loss at all, and certainly no weight loss that lasted. When I throw in some cardio actvity [walking outside in good weather; treadmilling, rowing and aerobic DVDs in not-so-good], I do better.

And here's the kicker:
When I add weight training,
my body works like an
efficient, well-oiled, fat-burning machine.
Oh, how I hate to admit that. Because I truly, truly don't care for weightlifting. At one time my intention was to do the weight workout before I walked, but I'm usually too eager to start walking. I do keep Shuffling when I start lifting, and that helps some.

I'm now at the point where I actually lift three times a week, every week that I'm not traveling. I'd like to be more enthusiastic about it.

I still have six months to work on that habit. Patience, Grasshopper. Patience.

P.S. Mar!a asked in the comments if the Diamond Patch would be suitable for beginners. If you were wondering as well, and are an adventurous beginner, then the answer is 'yes.' You need to be able to cast on, bind off, knit, purl, decrease and pick up stitches. Mar!a, be sure to check your e-mail.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A wild ride

I teach a beginning drawing class on Monday nights at a women's prison. When I left the house last night, the sky to the west was black with clouds, very ominous and threatening. The thing about the weather here in the Middle of Nowhere is that the mountains can divert storms in just about any direction. I felt pretty sure it was going to rain at my house, but that didn't necessarily mean the storm would follow me 25 miles east.

The prison compound is closed during severe thunderstorms with lightning. I was there last year when one came through, and had to stay locked down until it had passed. Fortunately, storms tend to blow right through.

By the time I got to the gate, I could barely see to drive. The rain was so heavy I couldn't open my window to identify myself to the guard and I turned around and came home. We were in the midst of a gullywasher.
gullywasher: gul•ly•wash•er [plural gul•ly•wash•ers] noun.
Definition: A heavy downpour or its runoff [informal]
I've never driven in such wild weather. The wind was fierce, wildly blowing tree limbs and leaves into the road. I've always felt safe from flooding since I live on a mountain, but that amount of rain runs right off the mountain and into the road. Two volunteer fire departments were out in different locations moving debris and directing traffic around high water.

It'll take your appetite away, that's for sure.

I woke up this morning at 5 a.m., and it was still raining, although just a steady soaker. As if we need more soaking.

I almost didn't know what to do with myself when I got home with all that extra time on my hands. We got rid of the television in the living room. To watch TV now I have to go to the second floor of the garage, which is a multipurpose office/workout/family room. I wasn't going back outside last night, so I sat down to knit for an hour, and then went to bed early.

Before I turned in, I dug around in the back of my closet for a pair of shorts I haven't worn in a long, long time.
Here's my snack-attack prevention tip du jour:

When you feel like eating mindlessly, go try on clothes.

If they're too small, you'll be motivated to skip the snack because your ultimate goal is for them to fit, right?

If they fit, you're going to be so thrilled to have a 'new' pair of shorts that you sure don't want to blow it by eating.
That's what happens to me, and I highly recommend it. I'm not sure I'll actually wear these shorts. Remember a dozen or so years ago when 'city shorts' were in style? These are red silk, pleated at the waistband and knee-length, and I used to wear them to work with a silk tank, a jacket,
hose and ballet flats. I don't think I'll be wearing them out, but they're good for gauging progress.

Knitting progress continues. I'm more than halfway finished with the front of the Shapely Tank I started a few days ago, and I've also started another top from Just One More Row Designs. I'm using a shiny pink ribbon to make something a bit dressier than the sample photo illustrates.

You start by knitting six diamond-shaped pieces of fabric separately. Then you connect them by picking up stitches along the top edge of the "V" made when you put two of them side-by-side. Eventually you'll have connected all six and you just keep moving up, shaping armholes and the neckline by eliminating or truncating the diamonds.

I made one in a blue slubby cotton a very long time ago, in a tunic length [simply add two rows of diamonds for the longer length], and just now am able to wear it again. I have a special occasion coming up in a few weeks, and this will be perfect for it.

I don't often work on two things at once, but the ribbon is too slippery to work with while reading e-mail. So I'll work on the tank at the computer, and save the ribbon project for times when I can pay close attention.

This turned out to be quite a bit longer than I'd intended. If you're still reading, thanks for putting up with my drivel!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Making progress

Comments from Stretchy about natural peanut butter have me on the hunt for both Adams and Smart Balance brands. I think Tiny Kroger might be carrying the Smart Balance brand – I'll certainly look for it, especially after Stretchy's personal recommendation. Adams [made by Smucker's] is available to order online, but even I'm not worth four bucks a jar plus shipping. And you have to buy six jars at a time; I'd rather taste it before I make that kind of committment.

Peanut butter isn't a trigger food for me. It's a much bigger temptation for the Spousal Equivalent, who considers it a major food group. It's much more difficult for me to have peanuts around. Next time I'm at Sam's I'm going to get a box of the individual serving sizes and put them in the freezer in the garage.

Working at my neighbor's barn has been so fun for me. I'm sure that sounds weird to some of you, but I definitely enjoy exercising with a purpose – in this case, two clean stalls every day. I come home wondering what kind of regular, muscle-building household chore I could and would do every day. So far nothing has come to mind. Perhaps this is like not minding doing someone else's dishes, even though you loathe doing your own night after night. [And we all know mine get tossed in the dishwasher!]

Drumroll, please …

Two more pounds gone! That's a total of 35 since January 1. This week's geek stats:
  • An average of 1050 calories eaten daily
  • An average of 91 minutes activity daily
  • An average of 553 calories burned daily
  • Total miles walked: 30.5
I'm not counting cleaning stalls in my minutes of activity. I thought if I reported it I might slack off on the walking.

I know it's not good to eat fewer than 1200 calories per day, and I don't recommend it. I had three very low-calorie days this week, because I forgot to eat breakfast. I could have eaten more later in the day, but I'm trying not to eat after dinner, and wasn't hungry anyway.

I think it's becoming more important for me to pay attention to whether I'm hungry or not. If I'm bored, anxious, restless, angry, happy, sad or lonely, then I shouldn't eat unless I'm also hungry.

And as I've said before, I probably haven't been truly hungry since I was, oh, say 11 years old.

Lori at angryfatgirlz asked a couple days ago, regarding motivation, "what do you do when you have a lot of weight to lose?" The comments have been helpful and thought-provoking, although the more recent ones are turning into a discussion of thyroid disease. Pop over there and add to the motivating thoughts already posted.

It's been helpful to me to throw away too-big clothes and replace them with newer, smaller things. I'm also pulling out smaller things I've saved from three years ago. I tried on some dresses I've saved that I've worn for special occasions over the years. There's only one that I might ever wear again – they were all worn for weddings, either my own or those of mine and the Spousal Equivalent's children. My daughter was married 13 years ago, the last time I started losing a lot of weight, and that mother-of-the-bride dress fits perfectly. The lace at the yoke is disintegrating, so it's unwearable, but it was a very flattering style and I wish I had another occasion to wear it. The most recent wedding was two years ago today; that dress is far too large – another Goodwill donation. I hated the dress, thought I looked horrible in it and bought it only because it fit and I was running out of time.

Yesterday when I got in the car I had to scoot the seat forward to be comfortable – my big gut wasn't in the way any more.

Now that's a non-scale victory!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Something weird is going on

I think I'm starting to eat like a normal person.

Whoever that is.

As you long-time readers know, I've been following the Glycemic Index plan offered by eDiets, which combines high-quality carbs with low-fat protein and limits sugar. Other plans are available, but I've long thought I was insulin-resistant, and the GI plan made the most sense for me. I get a flexible meal plan and shopping list every Monday morning, which also is my weigh-in day.

Lately, probably the last couple of weeks, I haven't been eating breakfast, other than coffee. I get up and get started with my day, and before I realize it the morning's gone. Sometimes I'm so busy I don't remember to eat until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. But even if I'm not busy, I'm not thinking about food or rummaging through the pantry. Frequently I eat my planned mid-afternoon snack instead of lunch.

I sometimes go for hours – hours – without once thinking about food, or feeling hungry. I frequently feel thirsty, and I'm drinking four or five half-liter bottles of water every day … without thinking, "Oh, I need to get all my water in."

This is new territory for me. The only other weight-loss plan I've tried was Weight Watchers – a good program, and one on which I initially lost 32 pounds after the birth of my son. At that time, more than 30 years ago, WW was a prescribed plan, with 'legal' foods, limited and unlimited foods and foods we never ate. We learned to mix tuna with mustard instead of mayonnaise, and we ate it, whether we liked it or not, along with liver once a week.

The thing WW taught me was to always be thinking about the next meal or snack. I couldn't wait for the next opportunity to eat. If I got hungry prior to mealtime, I had a long list of 'free' vegetables; I could eat as much lettuce, radishes, celery or French-style green beans as I wanted.


What worked for me was the meal "prescription" – here's what you eat, and here's when to eat it. I've gone back to WW several times, and have not been able to successfully maintain even a small loss on any of the newer incarnations of the plan. That's not to say it doesn't work. It just doesn't work for me.

After six months of the Glycemic Index plan, I think my body has learned that I will feed it what it needs. I'm not binge eating, I'm not sneaking, I'm not tempted by things not on the plan.

The visit to my daughter's earlier this month, when she was going to do the intervention about the icing, was probably the turning point. When sugar is not part of my diet, I don't fight food. If that's what it takes to not fight food, then I'll do it gladly. In fact, I think I'm finally at the point where I can do whatever it takes.

I've fought with food since I was in grade school, and I'm tired of fighting. I'm feeling so good right now, so … normal. I've no idea if it will last.

I can only hope it will.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Required reading, a rant and a recipe

Be sure to stop by Jonathan's blog to see his take on the media frenzy over the obesity issue, which I've also written about. And then read fatfighterblogs for tips on kick-starting your weight-loss program. Good, basic stuff in there.

I picked up a jar of Skippy's new Natural Creamy "No Need to Stir" Peanut Butter a couple weeks ago. I've been using Smucker's, and find that stirring in the jar [I usually use a fork or a chopstick] or even stirring in a bowl doesn't do the job as well as dragging out the mixer. Seeing the "No Need to Stir" banner on the jar was the only hook I needed to get me to purchase it.

I was immediately impressed. I'm usually a crunchy peanut butter kinda girl, but the tiny little Kroger here in the Middle of Nowhere only stocked the creamy. The texture was smooth and, um, creamy, and it tasted great. A little sweet, but still peanutty. Definitely different from the kind I'm used to eating.

Half a jar and several days later I read the label. The second ingredient is sugar.

Well no wonder it tasted different! I'm trying to eliminate sugar from my diet, but the Spousal Equivalent isn't, so I told him the remainder of the jar was his and his alone.

I realize sugar is a 'natural' ingredient. But when I reach for 'natural' peanut butter, I expect it to be peanuts. Maybe a little salt.

I'm not blaming Skippy [or their parent company, Unilever]. Had I read the label at the grocery I would have put it back on the shelf. Maybe I should blame the graphic designer at the advertising agency who came up with the label. 'No Need to Stir' means no dragging out the mixer, no messy spatula or beaters, no stuffing the stirred stuff back into the jar, no clean-up. Wonder how many calories I burn doing all that? Heh.

Finally, my friend Marilyn, who comments here frequently and who also is successfully trimming down, sent me a recipe for Stuffed Peppers the other day that she thought might fit into my plan. It did, deliciously! It's from 1000 Lowfat Recipes, by Terry Blonder Golson. Use Amazon's "Search Inside" feature, and go to page 214.

It's not your mother's rice-tomato-ground beef mixture, but has a Middle Eastern flavor that both the Spousal Equivalent and I really enjoyed. I substituted red and yellow peppers for the green called for, and will definitely be making it again.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I wanna be a cowboy

Can you hear that song in your head? [Danger! Danger! Not the original vocals!] Will it now be embedded there for hours? Possibly days? Good. My work is done.

A couple days ago, Pasta Queen proprosed that we give up our gym memberships and start volunteering to help people move. Great exercise, and something actually gets accomplished instead of, for instance, treading nowhere.

Well, my neighbor asked me to horse- and dog-sit for her this weekend, so I've been cleaning stalls under her tutelage for the past couple days, before she leaves town and I'm left to shovel shit on my own. Walking home from the barn last night, I kind of wished I had something physical like that to do every day. You know, like in the old days, when people did "chores."

Chores today aren't quite as strenuous as they used to be. Modern vaccum cleaners are self-propelled, as are lawnmowers. We drive through a short tunnel to wash our cars and press a button to clean our showers. [I confess: I bought one of those new push-button shower cleaner thingies. What a back-saver!] Dirty dishes are a thing of the past – they spend the day in the dirty-dish storage unit dishwasher where they are magically and automatically cleaned and sterilized overnight.

We still change linens and make beds as our grandmothers did. [You do make your bed every morning, don't you?] Although tossing a comforter back up over the sheets probably is a little less strenuous than tucking the pillows in that old chenille bedspread.
Our laundry process is much easier and less time-consuming. We don't even have to clean our own salad greens, or peel our own carrots, since so much of our food preparation is already done by the time the food gets to the grocery shelves.

I am, as usual, not saying anything new. And even though I'm fortunate enough to have the time, since I don't have to work outside the home, I'm not eager to give up my modern conveniences.

But it would be good to feel like working out counted for something more than just moving fat off my body.

And how about a quote for Friday:

Bodily exercise, when compulsory,
does no harm to the body;
but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion
obtains no hold on the mind.”


Thursday, June 22, 2006

'He wrapped himself in quotations …'

At least that's what Rudyard Kipling said, although I don't know to whom he was referring.

There were a couple great motivational quotes posted in the comments yesterday … be sure to check them out. I love reading quotes; the one that greets me every morning from the bulletin board above my computer reads:

Everything works out in the end.
If it's not working out,
it's not the end.
I like quote books, too, and ours run the gamut from the big Bartlett's compendium to Byrne's 1,911 Best things anybody ever said to The Music Lover's Quote Book. On my nightstand is a slim volume called The Change-Your-Life Quote Book. I swear to God I used to have a book of quotes about food. You're not at all surprised, are you? That was back in the Dark pre-Internet Ages, when writers had to Look Things Up in Books, and I was writing a Valentine's Day food article for a magazine.

[Interesting that I can remember so specifically why I had that book in the first place. Good thing the Spousal Equivalent is a shrink. There's lots of analytical fodder there!]

I used to have a ThinkExist daily changing quote box in the sidebar. ThinkExist is a great quote site, and you can organize your quotes into 'books' by topic. When you add quotes to your blog or website, you can choose which book to use; mine was supposed to be from my Accomplishing Goals book.

I never changed the settings, but things would go a little wacky from time to time. The last time was one too many times, and I took the code off my blog template. I could just pop over there every week or so and grab a quote to post here. Maybe on Fridays … something to think about over the weekend, when everyone's health-and-fitness rules seem to go out the window.

Another quote site I'll be mining is BrainyQuote, which I found by reading the comments on this blog. I haven't gone back to read everything yet, but this group blog seems to have a large readership and lots of support. [And they linked to me! I have no idea who these brilliant women are, but thank you!]

Vickie [thanks for reading and commenting, Vickie!] recommended the book Thin for Life when it's time to think about maintenance. C'mon now, show of hands: How many of you have this book on your shelf already? It was originally published in 1994, and reprinted in 2003. I have the earlier version; perhaps I should have read it more carefully the last time I lost a significant amount of weight.

I lost 47 pounds in 1997, getting down to a low of 128, which lasted about five minutes. I stayed at 135 for quite a while, and then started packing all those pounds plus more back on. How many times have we read and heard about people doing this? How many times have we done it ourselves?

This is my third significant trip down the weight-loss path. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again:

I never want to lose this weight again!
You can absolutely bet money on my rereading Thin for Life. And perhaps using the line above as my new daily quote, posted on the pantry and refrigerator, thankyouverymuch.

Another thing I'll keep reading are weight-loss blogs. Especially the ones where the bloggers are actually losing weight or maintaining a loss. My favorites are in the sidebar, and I'd love to hear about others you enjoy.

Finally, I hope to continue blogging myself. I commented on an e-mail list yesterday that blogging about my struggles has been as helpful as anything else I'm doing. Of course the weight wouldn't be coming off if I weren't exercising and hadn't discovered the key to eating properly for me. But you know what's been said about sharing the good and the bad in your life:

“A sorrow that's shared is but half a trouble, but a joy that's shared is a joy made double.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We don't need no stinking willpower

Thanks for your recent comments [the Shrinking Knitter loves comments! And e-mails! As long as they're not that nasty old spam!]. Esther commented on my posture while sitting on the ball. For short folks like me, good posture is one way to feel taller, even if we don't look or can't grow taller. [How many of you short, fat people have said you weren't overweight, you were undertall?] She also said I 'inspired' her, and that she wished she had my willpower. In the interest of further inspiration and utter honesty, I want to state clearly, here and now, that the one thing I don't have is willpower.

What I do have:
  • a plan
  • patience
  • motivation
  • committment
  • accountability
What I don't have:
  • rationalization
  • justifcation
  • excuses
Who gets the credit for this? Well, I've been a member of a 12-step recovery group for more than 15 years, and while you may scoff at the idea of a group of people sitting around applauding each other for not drinking, the principles therein are rock-solid. As we say in meetings, "It works, if you work it."

That means, for me, I have to take some defined, precise action in order to get the results I want. [It helps to have an idea of what kind of result you want first. Just not drinking wasn't enough for me – I had to also be happy about it.] It was simple enough 15 years ago to put down the bottle and stop drinking. A few years later I put down cigarettes and stopped smoking. Stopping is simple.

Staying stopped? Not so much.

You and I both know that for all the people who have maintained a significant weight loss, many more simply can't, don't or won't keep it off.

I'm only halfway through the losing part, and I've no idea if this time will be the last time, although that's my most fervent hope. I won't say it's been simple – not nearly as simple as giving up booze and smoking, since I still have to eat. But I can choose what to eat and when to eat it and how much to have [how much is probably the most important part]. And it is a simple matter to choose fruit instead of cake, whole wheat pasta over regular or snow peas rather than canned corn. Sometimes I choose cake and fruit. Sometimes I'm able to delay the initial urge to make a poor choice, knowing I can always get 'fill-in-your-own-treat' later.

The most important item on that first bulleted list, for me, is patience. I've had to get through the initial disappointment that I wasn't going to lose five or three or two pounds every week. Working out takes time, energy and discipline; it took some patience on my part to get used to that, and to develop the habit. I have to be patient preparing food, when I'd rather be eating it. [Read Jonathan's June 19 post – excellent idea!]

You get the idea. I'd rather have a bushel of patience than an ounce of willpower.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I've mentioned previously that when I started using an exercise ball as a desk chair, I found I couldn't knit and read e-mail/blogs at the same time. I've consequently not been getting quite as much knitting done as I used to, since I spend a good two or three hours at the computer every morning catching up with what the rest of you have been doing while I was sleeping.

So I tried it again this morning. And either my ass isn't quite so fat or my balance on the ball must be getting much better, because I can do it! Here's the proof:

Photos such as the one displayed here aren't possible without a tripod. I love my new tripod. It's just an inexpensive model I picked up at Target a couple months ago, but it's so lightweight and easy to manipulate, compared to the old one my dad gave me that he found at a yard sale for a buck. Gotta love the price, but I never used it because it was heavy and clumsy. It's good to have good tools.

Oh, what a perfect segue into a discourse about the tools we use to lose weight. Or the tools we use to knit. But, c'mon … I know that you know everything you need to know about weight-loss tools:
You can, I'm sure, add to the list. [And you can, I'm sure, Google to find links to online counters and calculators.]

As for knitting tools, my personal opinion is that knitting needles, a blunt-tipped sewing needle, counters, ring markers, scissors and a measuring device will get you through just about any knitting situation. But there are plenty of manufacturers and entrepreneurs out there offering cute new toys in exchange for your yarn money.

So I don't want to talk about tools. I want to talk about non-scale victories [or NSVs, as they're known in the weight-loss world. But do you have any idea how many other NSVs there are?].

I took a ring to a jeweler to be resized yesterday. When it was purchased, just a couple of weeks ago, it was too small. The jeweler slipped it on my finger and said she didn't think it should be resized at all, especially if I was losing weight. A ring should fit a bit snugly, she said; you should have to tug a little to get it off.

So I went shoe-shopping, since I saved all that money not getting the ring resized. And the shoes I bought are a size smaller than the last pair. Same brand. Plain old knockaround tennis shoes [not athletic trainers]. I also bought three inexpensive tank tops in size L [not XL]. Now y'all know that inexpensive clothes are sized bigger than expensive clothes. So I was fully prepared to buy XLs. They were too big!

I think I'll clean out my dresser drawers today, and only put back what fits now. That'll give me lots more room. I can definitely see myself going shopping again. Soon.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Larry Bird's number

Back when the Boston Celtics were playing good basketball, I was one of their biggest fans. Larry Bird was a huge part of their success in the '80s, along with Robert Parish, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton. [I did not Google any of those names … it's amazing the things the more … ahem … mature brain retains.]

So when I got on the scale this morning for the weekly weigh-in, and saw that I'd lost two more pounds[!] for a total of 33, the first thing I thought of was Larry Bird's number.

Sometimes I wish I had those smiley emoticons, so you'd know I was making a joke. Written out like this, it looks pretty lame.

I walked 34 miles this week, which tops my previous total high by a mile. Average daily calories were again a little low, at 1127. I burned an average of 569 calories per day doing an average of 93 minutes of daily intentional exercise.

For some knitting news, I finished the Krista Tee, and I don't care for it at all. I thought from the get-go that a gauge of 4 stitches per inch was too bulky for such a delicate-looking top, and I was right. Not sure if I'll pitch it or unravel it; it's Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, so not hard to come by, and only three skeins, so not much to sacrifice if I do throw it away. I might do Krista again when I get to my goal weight, after refiguring the math for a finer gauge.

I started – and started, and started – a Shapely Tank [a great, basic, free pattern by the designer of the Krista Tee], using a cotton yarn that is space-dyed in olive, sky blue and cream. I'd have saved some time by doing a gauge swatch. 'Nuff said about that!

I forgot to mention that on one of my walks earlier this week I rounded a curve and saw a neighbor walking what looked like a very large black dog. Think Great Dane-sized. Turns out it was a calf [I thought of you, Amanda!] that had gotten through a neighbor's fence. It had been grazing – and bellowing for its mother – under her bedroom window all night, and at 6:30 in the morning she'd had enough, and started herding it home. I caught up with her and we found five more cows in the woods. The whole herd had been out whooping it up all night.

Sandy asked in a recent comment who my PushTV trainer was. My first DVD came Saturday, but I haven't opened it yet, so I'm not sure! I'll report later … probably much later, as it's been much more fun walking outside than working out indoors. But it's gotta rain sooner or later, and I'll check it out then.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Taking time

As promised, Diet Blog is expanding the conversation about taking pleasure in food, something dieters find – sometimes – a conflict of interest. The whole post is here, but here's what caught my eye:
Pleasure takes time. Our modern lives are highly-paced, stress-filled, and tightly programmed. This drive to be efficient and busy is present in our attitudes to food. We eat fast food. We eat in the car, at our desks, on the run.

Food can be enjoyed. Slow down and draw out your dining experience. Chew the food slowly - savoring the taste of your choice.

How often do you find yourself stuffing down the "forbidden" foods like there is no tomorrow? Sometimes the faster we eat, the more we eat.

Taking the time means being mindful of the foods we eat each day. Being mindful is one small step to learning moderation.
Living as I do, meaning not having a full-time job and not depending on restaurant meals, I don't have a lot of the issues others who are trying to lose weight do. What I do have, since I'm alone much of the time, is a lot of boredom, which leads to completely mindless snacking at times.

I try to have healthful snacks around, and I keep not-so-healthful snacks out of the house. That means either not having them at all, or keeping them in the freezer, in the garage, which is not connected to the house. [Which is sort of like Jonathan keeping his treats in the basement – three flights of stairs down from his apartment – but not quite so strenuous!]

Where I've been finding pleasure in food lately is in the preparation. I love to cook, but I have to admit that the eDiets recipes are pretty simple. So I've been looking for more complicated concoctions that still fit into the plan, and also have been enjoying – enjoying! – cutting up vegetables to have on hand, and making big fruit salads.

My former pattern was to buy the vegetables and fruits, stick them in the refrigerator, eat the fruit [hopefully before it spoiled] and toss the vegetables when they were beyond hope. "They" advise cleaning and cutting up fresh vegetables when you get home from the grocery, and I've been doing that. And I love having a huge fresh-fruit salad waiting in the wings for desserts.

It's all a matter of perception. Would a brownie taste better? Probably. And there are brownies in the freezer. But to indulge in brownies, I have to think about it while I'm walking to the garage and digging in the freezer. I want my food to be something I don't have to think about.

If I have to think about it, I inevitably end up feeling some not-so-great feelings. I shouldn't have had that, I'll feel terrible if I don't lose weight this week, I'm bad for eating whatever. Of course food shouldn't elicit those feelings, but let's be honest: For those of us who have battled our weight for a lifetime, it just does.

I just want to enjoy it, and I think I'm learning how to do that.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dog-bite follow-up

The local health department sent a fellow named Chad out for a home visit to the dog-bite perp's owner yesterday. Chad called me in the afternoon and confirmed my suspicions, unspoken until now, that the owner is a deadbeat dog dad.

Chad said he parked in the driveway of the home and honked the vehicle's horn several times, as there were two chihuahuas yapping at him. He noticed a man, whom he assumed to be the dog's owner, inside the house, but wouldn't come to the door to personally speak with Chad. He instead sent his adult stepdaughter out for the visit. No vaccination records were available. The dog is penned and will remain quarantined until Thursday (the 10th day after the bite), and Chad said he would go back to make sure the dog is alive and kicking.

But not biting.

I don't have to get involved, which is good, but I don't want the guy thinking I'm a troublemaker. When I went to the doctor, the 'what-happens-next' part was out of my hands, as the doctor is required to report all dog bites to the health department.

Neither Chad nor I think the dog has rabies. But the front-page, above-the-fold story in the local weekly newspaper is about yet another case of rabies in our county.

The most important thing is it hasn't kept me from walking past that house. Just a few yards past their driveway is my two-mile marker, and I'm kind of definitely obsessive about doing my four-mile loop.

Thanks for your comments and e-mails about the dog.

Something else kind of odd happened at the same house two days ago. The two chihuahuas came running and yapping down the driveway as I approached the house. I'd forgotten the treats, so I was a little worried. I quickly turned and snarled at them to get back. They got tangled up with each other on their way back up the driveway, and one of them ended up yelping and limping. I swear I didn't do anything to it, but I felt a bit like Harry Potter before he knew he was a wizard, when strange things would happen that he couldn't explain. Heh.

I've finished the first HPbook and have started the second. Maybe the Canine Immobulus spell is explained.

It's heating up here in the Middle of Nowhere. The high temperature today should be in the mid 80s, and I think I'm going to walk now, while it's still cool. I had no trouble getting up early to walk when I was at my daughter's, but can't seem to get into the habit here at home.

Maybe I need a new habit?

Friday, June 16, 2006

About that wall . . .

I don't know why I put off fixing the wall all this time. I think I've probably been telling myself for the last two or three years that it needed some attention. It actually took surprisingly very little time or effort to finish.

I thought I might run into snake nests. What I ran into were insect nests: wasps, bees and fire ants. Good thing I had a can of bug spray handy.

I thought I was going to have to move all the rocks onto the yard and literally rebuild it. That wasn't necessary at all. I started working as soon as I got back from the first part of my walk [the four-mile loop] and was done a little more than half an hour later.

Forty minutes! No big deal! I'd been talking myself out of doing something for years that took less time to complete than watching an episode of Desperate Housewives.

That negative self-talk … ya gotta watch out for it.

As the day went on, my biceps and back muscles started aching. I expected that, but this morning I'm really sore. I guess there are some muscles you only use when you move rocks. [Just as there are specific water-skiing muscles and snow-shoveling muscles; you all know that, don't you?]

I hope the experience of having my perceptions blown completely out of the water will stay with me the next time I put off some once-in-a-great-while task. [Dusting the wall of bookshelves in the bedroom, maybe?]

It's a good feeling to have the job done. It's even good to feel the muscle aches, knowing I've pushed myself beyond my normal limits.

Doesn't mean I won't be taking an Aleve today, though!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Oh, what a beautiful morning

Mornings like this are what living in the Middle of Nowhere are all about.

The temperature is pleasantly cool, a layer of fog has settled in close to the ground but the sun is high and bright over the mountain and there's not a cloud in the sky. As the day goes on, the temperature will rise, the breezes will pick up and the humidity will decrease.

Sounds like the perfect day to work in the yard, or maybe – maybe – start rebuilding one of the dry rock walls that line either side of the driveway.

I don't put it on my resume that I know how to build dry rock walls, by the way. It's really not something I'd like to do more than once every 10 years or so.

The Spousal Equivalent and I collected every last one of the rocks, from creekbeds, from our property and from friends and neighbors who wanted to get rid of rocks. We had a neighbor till up the soil, then we smoothed it out and started planting rocks, one by one, fitting them together like puzzle pieces. We planted perennials in the area between the driveway and the rocks, which have mostly thrived. I'm disappointed with the dianthus, and will probably rip all of it out this year and replace it with hostas, which are plentiful and do very well.

Over the years, though, the chipmunks have moved in to the walls and parts of both sides have shifted. So it's time for a rebuild.

When we built it the first time, I counted working on it as my daily exercise, which got me out of the habit of running and lifting weights. I'm not making that mistake this time. The daily walk/run and regular weight training come first; I can't afford to let those habits lapse. I need to find ways to add activity to my routine, not replace one for another.

The dog bite is doing well; Neosporin is a wonderful thing. My left arm, the one that got the tetanus injected into it, hurt much more yesterday than it did the first two days. I hope that's nothing to worry about.

Not much more to talk about this morning; I want to go outside and play!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

There is a solution

In addition to being the title of a chapter in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the title of this post refers to the ever- ... ahem ... growing, apparently worldwide problem of obesity.

The problem, though, is that the solution seems to be different for each of us.

Recent news articles have pointed to the following [an incomplete list, to be sure] as important factors on the problem side of the 'obesity epidemic:'
  • The food police
  • Lack of micronutrients
  • The food industry
  • Poverty
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of cooking abilities
  • Inactivity
  • Intestinal bacteria
Diet Blog addresses the solution side today, and promises more discussion of the topic in the future.

No, weight management isn't easy; if it were, wouldn't we all be thin and healthy? Well, thin anyway. Addressing that list of problems, you can find those who, despite lack of sleep or poverty or inactivity or whatever have never had a weight problem.

I'm not assuming that once I reach my goal I'll be able to maintain a healthy weight the rest of my life. I am assuming that with effort, vigilance and planning, I'll have a better chance at it.

And what I've learned since the first of this year is that no matter how badly I wanted to lose weight, or how hard I tried, I wasn't going to be ready to do the real, consistent, steady work of it until I was ready.

An AA member asks his sponsor, "When will I get my job back? When will I get my family back?" And the sponsor replies, "You'll get your job back when you get your job back. Your family will come back when they come back."

That doesn't mean the person who's lost everything just sits on his or her ass and waits for the Good Life. It means there's some footwork, some effort, some sacrifice involved in order to get what we want. My previous dieting efforts failed, in large part, because I didn't lose five pounds a week, every week. My expectations for a woman my age, at my level of activity, were completely unrealistic. I was far too easily discouraged and far too impatient with the process.

Losing five pounds a month is my reality. Once I accepted that, my whole attitude changed. And that has been the key.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

You make the call

Is it a sports injury? Or a dog bite?

Of course, it's a dog bite, but I got it halfway into my four-mile walking/jogging loop. So it could qualify as a sports injury, couldn't it?

The guilty party usually is chained to his doghouse, but apparently escaped confinement this morning while chasing a cat.

I can only hope he wasn't chasing a rabid racoon.

So I spent the afternoon at the doctor's office – not part of my plan for the day. I couldn't remember the last tetanus shot I'd had, so they made sure I got one. Then they slapped some antibiotic cream on a Band-Aid and sent me on my way.

I'm just glad the doctor could work me in to his schedule; having this taken care of in the Emergency Department probably would have cost 10 times as much! If only I'd had a tetanus injection lying around I could have done it myself.

Oh, and I'll be tucking a couple dog treats in my pocket when I head out to walk today.

Other stuff, not fitness-related …

My DVD client loved the project I did for her. Whew! My best client referrals are from my daughter's mother-in-law, who lives in another state. I had really hoped this business would do well here in the Middle of Nowhere. My thinking was that not many people in the middle of Appalachia have the kind of powerful computers needed to edit photos, mix music and create DVD productions. Well, not only do they not have the computers, they also don't have the money to pay me to do them. Ah, well.

Finally, I need some honest opinions from you knitters out there. I'm tempted to make this jacket, but in a solid color. [I think it looks like a target in multiple colors. But that's just me.] Do you think the whole circular construction method is worth doing in a single color?

Monday, June 12, 2006

On the 162nd day,

I rested. I didn't work out, I didn't lift weights, I didn't mop or mow or drive cross-country. I even took a nap, which is very unlike me. All day yesterday, in the back of my mind, I kept telling myself I needed to go do something, but I ended up only doing some typing for the Spousal Equivalent, reading, knitting and playing Scrabble. What a slug!

I lost another pound; wonder if I would have lost two if I'd gone out and hit the road or hoisted a dumbbell or two?

I'm not complaining or whining, though. I thoroughly enjoyed my day off. I'll have to do it again sometime.

Average daily calories this week were only 1110. I need to get that back up to at least 1200. Average minutes of activity were down to 76 per day, and calorie burn was 478 per day. So losing one pound is what I should have expected. [I actually expected to stay the same.]

I took half an inch off each of the Big Three measurements, as well, continuing the slow and steady downward progress, which is the direction I intend to keep going.

The mystery yarn-giver has stepped up and confessed; I knew she was the one! I think she wants the backstory to remain between us, and I'm cool with that. I'm also grateful for her very thoughtful gift.

The book I started reading yesterday is the first in the Harry Potter series, which my nine-year-old granddaughter loaned me. I'm probably the last person on the planet who hasn't read any of them, although I've seen all the films. [Aside: Am I the last person on the planet who has neither read nor seen The DaVinci Code?] I find myself reading Harry Potter with a British accent, especially the Professor McGonagall and Hermione Granger characters.

But I've no desire to knit a Gryffindor scarf. Should you want to, you can find instructions for all four houses here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Deer, deer, deer

I've seen more deer while walking outside this year than I can remember in the last, oh, five or so years. Maybe I'm walking outside more frequently, hmmmm? I scared one yesterday; they make a funny little bleating noise when they're startled. Then, of course, they hightail it across the field and into the woods. They don't know I'm the one who invites them to live in our woods during deer-hunting season.

Last night after dinner I noticed a doe in the hayfield, and grabbed the camera. Not a bad shot, considering how far away she was. The Spousal Equivalent and I watched her for a while, while restraining our little dog, Hershey, who was whining to get out and chase her.

She grazed calmly for a few minutes, then decided we might be a threat, and limped off.

Yes, she limped. One of her hind legs had been injured, and she couldn't leap or run, the way most deer do. I wondered if she got hung up clearing a fence, or if she'd been attacked. In other words, had she been hurt by a predator, or was it a sports injury?

I have to be careful about overtraining at this stage. I'm feeling great – strong and confident and capable, meaning I think I can do things I probably shouldn't. It's good to challenge oneself, but not to the point of a physical breakdown. As I commented to Cindy last week, I'd rather be walking than recovering from an injury.

But I also know that as time goes on, my body will become accustomed to the current amount of food and activity, and weight loss will slow down or stop. I'm only losing about five pounds per month now, and I probably can't safely consume fewer calories. So that means increasing activity. I do have room to do more, but I also have to remember I'm still carrying a lot of extra weight, which is physically stressful on joints. Especially knees.

Animals don't go through the mental gyrations we do when we contemplate adding or increasing physical activity. They just move. If they're hurt, they move more slowly, or rest until they're healed. Only rarely have I had the feeling that my intentional exercise was effortless. I love that feeling, and hope to get there every time I head out.

Yesterday? Not so much. The good part is that I ran up three hills! The bad part is that
I'm still feeling the stiffness and aches from jogging about 4.5 miles of my total 6.6-mile loop. And none of it was effortless.

Maybe next time.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Push it, push it good

Renée is the queen of giveaways, frequently offering fitness-related items through her Fatfighters site. The most recent drawing was for a three-month membership to PushTV, and I was one of the lucky winners.

I'd never heard of PushTV before, but I like the idea of having a customized workout DVD delivered to my door for the next three months. I frequently use workout videos/DVDs [especially when the weather is bad and I can't get outside to walk], and the boredom factor is probably the biggest drawback. You know how you can anticipate each move before the trainer demonstrates it? Yeah, I thought you did.

Each PushTV DVD includes two 40-minute training sessions and a 30-minute cardio workout. By the time I can do this one by heart, the next one will be in the mailbox. How cool is that? Thanks, Renée!

In order to personalize the workouts, you have to fill out a profile. Part of the profile is defining your fitness level, in one of four categories:
  • Brave Beginner
  • Aspiring Athlete
  • Experienced Exerciser
  • Workout Warrior
I surprised myself by qualifying for the 'Experienced Exerciser' level:
You work out regularly and try to integrate cardio and strength training into your routine. On a good day (say, 3-4 times a week), you can sustain 30 minutes of running or other strenuous cardio activity. Yet, something's telling you the biggest results are yet to come and you're ready to get PUSHed.
Now, to be sure, I can't sustain 30 minutes of running on hills. But I jogged/ran for more than an hour without stopping on the level track near my daughter's home. So yeah, I guess I'm ready to get PUSHed.

I've maintained my weight all this week – no ups or downs, which is a bit unusual. Shaking things up in the exercise department will probably be good for my progress.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A little housekeeping

A couple weeks ago I changed the tag line beneath this blog's title. The first sentence used to read:

Regaining the fit, healthy body I used to have.

I changed the awkward 'used to have' to 'once had' to make it read more smoothly. But substituting the word 'reclaiming' for 'regaining' was a conscious decision to use a more positive term to describe the mission here.

According to, regain means:

  • To manage to reach again.
While reclaim means:
  • To bring into or return to a suitable condition for use.
  • To bring back, as from error, to a right or proper course; reform.
The difference is subtle, to be sure, but I like the intention inherent in the use of the word 'reclaim,' especially in the second definition.

I sometimes think about this when I'm walking. I've been off-course the past three years, heading into an abyss I thought I'd never dive into again. I wanted my weight problem to be an easy-to-fix hormone problem; just pop a thyroid pill every day and look good again. I blamed the aging process, mostly, although not everyone who gets old also gets fat. And 55 isn't old, it's just on the way to old.

What I've learned so far is that I didn't need a hormone adjustment. I needed an attitude adjustment.

I started really learning about insulin resistance, which had always been a confusing theory that sounded hard to fix. Turns out it is a bit confusing, but it hasn't been hard learning to eat properly. And I started moving more, slowly at first and then with more assurance.

I was watching a baseball game last night, and one of the commentators said, "In baseball, success breeds confidence." And I thought, that's what's happening with me. More than the number of pounds lost, I'm measuring my success in the ability to move easily, to walk farther and faster, to lift longer and heavier. The result is the confidence in knowing that if the grandchildren want to play soccer or catch, I'm not going to run out of steam.

It's good to be 'suitable for use.' Certainly better than being useless.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

We have ourselves a mystery

I picked up the mail a couple days ago and among the bills, magazines and junk bulk-rate material was a box from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I didn't recall ordering anything from them, nor have I entered any contests giving away their products.

In the box were two skeins of
yummy [an aside: Have you ever noticed how knitters described colors and patterns in terms that relate to food?] Socks That Rock hand-dyed yarn, in the Sherbet and Lemongrass [food! again!] colorways. No card, no note, no invoice – no clue who sent them. I called the company; they're not telling.

The Spousal Equivalent would have no idea how to order such a gift. My daughter might, my son wouldn't, and neither would be likely to surprise me with such a treasure. So the most likely suspects have been eliminated.

All of my good friends have denied responsibility. I think I know who sent it, but I've not heard back from her yet. Needless to say I am delighted with the gift … but I'd love to know who to thank!

Cara has long sung the praises of Socks That Rock, and one of my good friends told me I'd love using it. I'll probably make a pair of Grumperina's famous Jaywalker socks from one of the skeins. And I think I'll use my own pattern at Elann for the other. Unless you have other suggestions. Do let me know if you've used STR in a different and very cool pattern.

If you're reading and wish to remain anonymous, well, thank you so much!

I met my deadline for the DVD project and will put it in the mail today. There's no time for revisions, so I hope the client likes it. It's for her parents' 50th wedding anniversary, she has three siblings, and the project included more than 200 photos and 12 songs. Needless to say, it took some time to put it all together.

The only thing I've done other than work on the project the last three days has been laundry and my morning walk. I ate sporadically and not much, since I haven't been to the grocery in so long. I sure felt like eating last night when I was finally finished! Accomplishment equals reward equals food. I'll have to work on changing that equation.

I'm really pleased, though, that I insisted on walking every day. I've logged 13 miles this week so far, and yesterday did four miles in 55 minutes, but I couldn't manage to jog all the way up the hill. I did try on some of my stashed-in-the-closet-until-I-get-smaller clothes, though, and it's time to get rid of some more jeans.

Color me happy as a clam!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On the edge

I've been weighing myself every other day or so lately, for damage control I guess, since I've been away from home so much. Today I hit a new low, a weight I haven't seen in three years.

In 2002, I started a physical weight-loss journal and included weekly photos. I kept it up for a year, and lost about 25 pounds. I felt great, was wearing smaller sizes, got lots of compliments and then hit a wall. Even though I was eating properly [I was following the Weight Watcher plan at the time, and was an online member], and exercising, nothing was working. I stayed the same for an entire summer and into the fall. Eventually, of course, I became discouraged at what seemed like an endless plateau and started eating.

And eating. And quit exercising quite so diligently. I never completely gave up intentional exercise, but I certainly reduced the intensity and frequency. The combination of a greater quantity of less-healthful food and less activity got me almost to my highest weight ever in December, 2005.

I didn't want another year of feeling crappy, looking crappy and being crappy, and somehow managed to realize that it might take a long time to achieve my goal. And I was okay with that. This was a complete attitude shift for me; no longer did I want instant results. I got it that slow and steady wins the race.

So here I am, at the same point I was in 2003 when the scale started moving back up again. I'm forced to be even more diligent and resourceful. I have to find new ways to reward my efforts and reinforce my progress. I feel a mixture of anticipation and dread. I know I'll continue to eat right and exercise, but will my body cooperate? It's let me down before. Or, rather, being a recipient of much therapy in the past, I've let me down before.

My other journal was private; no one else has ever seen it. I suppose my kids will find it when I die, if I don't pitch it before that happens. This blog journal, being public, keeps me accountable. I would go so far as to say it has made the difference. No [wo]man is an island; those of you who read regularly, comment occasionally and cheer silently are helping me, who lives an isolated life in the Middle of Nowhere, in ways you can never know.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Back to normal … whatever that is

I always feel a bit down after I've been away from home for a few days. The past couple of weeks have included two trips, with only two days at home in between. Now I'm home for a long time – no travel again until August – and it's darned lonely around here!

My daughter's home is a whirlwind of activity and laughter. My grandson is a comedian-in-training who knows when an appreciative audience is at hand, and my granddaughter prefers swimming, throwing, dancing or playing to sitting. Unless the sitting involves the movie Cheaper by the Dozen.

Here at home the activity level is … not so much. I call my morning walk 'intentional exercise' because the rest of my day just isn't that active. We don't clutter much, and the dogs are fairly neat as well. The minimal housekeeping I do is sufficient; it takes less than an hour to dust-mop and dust. No stairs. Huge lawn, so the yardwork does take some time, but not on a daily basis.

I suppose this is one reason many people tend to grow larger as they age. Once the kids grow up and leave, there's less moving going on in general. Fewer shuttling to games or playdates, no pick-up basketball games or backyard soccer practice. Retirement means never having to leave the recliner.

And 'they' blame it on slower metabolism. Hmmmm.

Thanks for the recent comments. Even though I'm a bit subdued today, I'm still happy to have hit that 30-pound milestone. I've bought some more new clothes, some a bit too small [always nice to have an dangling carrot] and some that fit now and can be easily altered to fit later, too.

Just covering the bases.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My name is Debbi ...

and I'm a sugar addict.

As evidenced by the fact that my daughter wanted to do an intervention when I begged for an icing rose she was tossing in the trash.

[Heavy sigh.]

At least it ended up in the trash and not on my hips.

Moving on! Let's focus on the positives from my long weekend getaway.

I walked 6.6 miles last Monday and Tuesday here at home, and did the same mileage in less time Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the fairly flat walking track near my daughter's home. Thursday was the best ... I warmed up for about a quarter of a mile with a fast walk, then broke into a jog and didn't walk again until the last quarter mile. I was sore the next day, but I really felt triumphant when I got back from that workout.

I averaged 1176 calories per day, 79 minutes of activity per day and burned 480 calories during those exercise sessions. Lost another pound, too, for a grand total of:
I still, of course, have a long way to go. It feels both bad and good to say I've lost 30 pounds. I shouldn't have let myself get to the point where I have to lose again, but it feels like quite an accomplishment at the same time.

I spent four hours at the pool one afternoon, playing with the grandchildren, who actually
are fish in human disguises. This is a positive in two ways:
  1. I wore a swimsuit in public.
  2. I was not lounging in a chair, but actually tossing little children into the water and being fairly active most of that time.
I'm beginning to think of the way I eat as the way I eat, and not a diet. I did eat cake Saturday night – so-so-so not on the menu – but I planned for it, and it's not a daily habit.

Enough positives for today. I'm glad to be home – I sleep better here, my "stuff" is here, blah-blah-blah – but it's always fun to get away and shake things up a bit. Getting away feels like less of a challenge than it did earlier in this process, thanks to a couple of cooperative kids who have my best interests at heart. Thanks to both of them.