Friday, August 31, 2012

Milestone Morning

I like to do my weigh-in after I get back from walking. At that point in the day, I haven't eaten much yet and I typically sweat off anywhere from a half-pound to a pound while I'm out. So it's my best bet for catching myself at the lowest number of the day.

Having said that...when I weighed this morning, I had hit the 15 POUNDS DOWN mark!

Okay, I have to put this in perspective. This is still 25 pounds from goal. It's still almost 40 pounds heavier than I was when I gave birth to my daughter, and basically 60 pounds more than I weighed when I got married. Shoot, I still have to lose another 3 pounds just to be at the point where I was when I left my hospital job 2 1/2 years ago. (Yeah, I had put on almost 20 pounds just in the last two-years-and-a-bit.)

But 15 POUNDS!!!! That's two newborn babies!

There aren't a lot of pictures of me from the spring and early summer. Mostly I would be the one taking pictures, and when I was in one, I got really good at standing behind people or standing in such a way that you couldn't tell how heavy I really was getting. But I did find one. (Well, I found a few, but I'll only post one.)

This morning, however, I had taken the camera with me anyhow - partly to take pictures of various points on "my" trail (which I'll share in a later blog) and partly to finally get a picture of Sandi. So, as it happens, we got a picture on this Milestone Morning.

I'll call these Before and So Far...because I'm nowhere near "After" yet.

Family Photo Shoot - May 2012

With Sandi at the end of our walk - Aug 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Random Ramblings #2

Salt is not my friend.

I always knew that salt made you hold water. But I was used to it, so it was no big deal to me. It was normal. And I'm pretty sure that the first few pounds that I dropped weren't so much real weight as they were water weight, just from eating better.

But through poor planning, a crazy schedule, and a sense of "I can handle it," I ended up reverting to sweet potato waffle fries Monday and small orders of french fries Tuesday and Wednesday. Mind you, they were YUMMY! But part of that yumminess was because they were salty. Along with the fries, I'd been hitting the Diet Cokes pretty regularly - zero calories, but high in sodium.

And by this morning, my feet were swollen, my knees were swollen (in spite of putting ice packs on them to recover from the running I was doing last week), my hands were swelling easily...I even had cankles!  :faint:

Thankfully, it has just taken one day of getting back to the program and I'm feeling quite a bit better - and less poofy. Fruit for breakfast...salad with chicken and fruit and nuts for and veggies for supper. No Diet Coke. Lots of water.

My feet aren't as swollen. My knees aren't as tight. I just feel better.

Lesson learned.


You know it's working when...... walk out of your house and walk across the street to the yard of the neighbor who has lived across from you for 9 years...and even after SEEING you walk out of your house and across the street, she STILL didn't recognize you right away.

....more and more snug shirts are starting to be loose.

...pretty much every pair of jeans needs to be worn with a belt.


As I wrote on Monday, I've backed off a bit this week and I'm not running...just walking. And it's frustrating. With the running, I had gotten to where I could do my four miles in a wee bit less than an hour occasionally. I haven't done that even once this week. Not only that, but my walking times aren't as fast as they had been. I'm averaging 16:00 per mile, and I had been down to 15:30 with an occasional walking mile under 15:00. It's like I'm going backward instead of forward. My main consolation is that it's not really about the time, it's about the exercise and burning the calories. 

But durnit, that hour mark taunts me every day.


My walking partner Sandi had an appointment with her oncologist yesterday. The good doctor is very happy with the fact that Sandi's getting out and walking with me so much. Granted, I think it's often Sandi who is dragging me - she still could kick my butt out there - but making the doctor happy is just another wave in the ripple effect this journey is having.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Backing Down

I am not a patient person. I am most not-patient with myself.

That's why I was asking for strength exercises after only a few weeks of walking. That's why I try to DO some of those strength exercises more than the recommended once per week. And that's why, once I was told the plan was for me to start running at the beginning of September, I went out and started the next day. And that's why, instead of running one minute of each mile, I've already worked myself up to an average of more than 3 1/2 minutes per mile.

And that's why my knees (which are clinically arthritic and haven't had any cartilage to speak of for YEARS) are starting to cause me a lot of problems.

I talked to Matt on Saturday and told him my knees are hurting and feeling swollen. He said, "Well, DUH! That's why I told you not to run until September and why I told you only one minute per mile!"

Well, okay. He didn't exactly use those words, and he didn't say it with the kind of inflection that translates as "You moron!" But there was a certain amount of "I told you so" in his voice.

Then he gave me an example from his own running, of how he had one coach who wanted him to always be race-ready, and he did okay with it, but still knew he wasn't as good as he could be. Then he switched to a different coach, who had him back down and work on strength building and form and breathing and...I don't know...all those other pieces of the puzzle that have to fit together to make you an elite runner. But all of those preliminaries had to be developed and built up before they could fit together to make the total package.

Me? I want to be the total package and I want to be that right now - whatever "that" is going to be. I doubt I'll ever be a runner - the person who can go out and just run for miles and miles. Again, my knees won't hold up to that. But I want to do it as much as I possibly can, and I want to do it NOW.

But I understand better now that I have to be patient with myself. I have to remember that two months ago I was a couch potato and did no exercise at all to speak of. I have to remember where I started and allow myself time to get from Point A to Point B. I have to build up my legs and the muscles surrounding my knees before I start running so those can support my weight to compensate for the knees being so lousy.

So this is me, taking a deep breath and backing down to where I'm supposed to be - walking...JUST walking...and doing the strength training just once a week. (Well, I have four mini-exercise routines, and I do one per day for 4 of the 7 days each week.) This is me giving my knees and the rest of my body a chance to adapt. This is me remembering that I'm not in my 20s anymore and such big changes take time.

This is me being patient with myself.


By the way, for those who expressed such concern and shared their ideas about possible causes after I posted the blog entry "Losing Brain Cells," I wanted to mention that one good friend suggested a cause - and described the symptoms that she went through - that rang so very true with what I'm experiencing. So I'm going to blame it on menopause. At least that sounds good enough for now. ;)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's the Little Things - 3

For those who don't know, I help run a couple of Facebook groups that are, essentially, online yard sales. Therefore, I see pretty much everything that gets posted for sale.

Last spring, someone had a Colts jersey for sale. 

Now, I had realized a few years ago - when we redecorated our downstairs half-bath in Colts stuff and painted a bunch of the players' numbers on the wall - that Jeff Saturday's number was the same as my birthyear (63).

But until I saw this jersey posted online, it had not occurred to me that Jeff Saturday's jersey was 63.

Not only was I born in '63, but I was also born on a Saturday.

And I had to have that shirt. That combination was just too good to pass up.

So, my sweet hubby got it for me. And I tried it on. And it was...well...snug. Uncomfortably snug. And since it was for sale through a yard sale group, it wasn't like I could take it back for the next larger size.

(And since Jeff is no longer a Colt, I can't even get this combination anymore in ANY size.)

So I sighed, took my Saturday 63 shirt, put it on a hanger, and put it in the closet, figuring I'd never really get to wear it. I could wear it, but it wasn't comfortable and I knew that I wouldn't be putting it on again. Maybe I could save it and it would be a collector's item someday and my grandson would wear it or something.

Well, today the Colts played. And, you know, just to see what would happen, I pulled the jersey out...

...put it on...

...and could BREATHE in it! It fits really nicely. I can wear it, and move, and breathe, and not be embarrassed about how it stretches over my stomach. I get to wear my Saturday 63 jersey!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Losing Brain Cells

Is it possible to lose brain cells with the fat?

No, seriously.

Because ever since the weight started dropping off, the brain hasn't been functioning quite right. (There are those who would would question whether it ever did function well, but that's another matter entirely.)

I have more trouble than usual staying focused on things. And when my paycheck depends on the amount of work produced rather than just time put in, that's a problem.

My memory is more swiss-cheesed than usual. (Old Quantum Leap reference for my nerd friends.) I'll leave the bed unmade in the morning, thinking I'll get to it shortly, and absolutely not even think about it again until evening. Or I'll leave a load of clothes sit in the washer until I finally remember them the next day. Or, late last week, I suddenly remembered that I had talked the previous Friday in an email about trying to make lunch plans with a friend, and I suddenly couldn't remember just how long I had let it slip. (Thankfully, I was still on time and we had a lovely lunch.)

Of a more critical nature, my work needs to be very detailed, and I've been letting the details slip and making stupid mistakes - the kind of mistakes that, when they're pointed out to you, you kind of thwack yourself upside the head and think, "Duh! I knew that!" 

And you KNOW it's getting bad when you get an email from the boss saying she's "concerned" that your work isn't up to its usual standard. And she's right. It's all silly things that shouldn't be happening.

Sandi has a t-shirt that says, "I have chemo brain. What's your excuse?" Maybe I need one that says, "I'm losing weight. What's your excuse?" Maybe I'm distracted by the aching muscles. Or by constantly trying to figure out what else I can eat that will stay under the calorie goal for the day. 

Or maybe it's the way my daily schedule has shifted. I used to get up, come downstairs, make my cup of coffee, and start work. Now I get up, go out and walk at least an hour, come home, shower, have the coffee and some breakfast, and don't usually get started on work until a couple hours after I used to (or more). And that means I have less time during the day to actually DO the work. But I could get it done if I'd stay focused. 

Which takes us back up to Paragraph #4.

Here's the kicker - this is exactly the kind of thing that would have derailed me in the past. My job is a higher priority than the fitness thing. It has to be. And in the past I would've just thrown my hands up, given up on the exercise, and buckled down to the work. Now I'm fighting. I'm fighting to get them back in balance and to keep them both in my life. 

So again, it's time to put on the big girl panties. No excuses. No passes. Just do it.

But I'd still like to get the t-shirt.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Compass

Saturday I was told to start preparing. At the beginning of September, my Trainer would want me to start running one minute during each of the four miles that I walk. I freaked out.

Then I went out today and jogged 4:30...maybe out of the 60 minutes I was on the trail. I started with two minutes at the beginning of Mile #1...did a couple of short 5-10-second bursts in Mile #2...started Mile #3 off with another minute of jogging...started Mile #4 with 40 seconds of jogging and ended it with a 50-second stretch.

BOO- (wait for it........) YAH!

When texting my Trainer afterward, I realized something. This is what has been missing in the past when I've tried to lose weight and/or get in better shape. I would just be sort of blindly doing it without a real goal, much less a plan for getting there. The analogy that I came up with is that I was like a boat on the ocean without a destination to steer toward, much less a compass to know how to get there.

But this time I have a compass. I have my Trainer, Matt Elliott.

(That still sounds odd to me. "My Trainer." Yeah. Just weird.)

Always look for the neon yellow shirt.

As I've mentioned before, Matt is a professional runner. He has traveled the US and at least two other countries competing in meets. His specialty is the 1500m, although he has done everything from the 800m to the 5000m. 

Matt ran in junior high and high school, and in college, but didn't start to really be competitive until his later years of undergraduate and then graduate school. He'll tell you himself that he's a late bloomer, relatively speaking, and a perfect example of how hard work can make up for lack of natural giftedness.

Here are a couple of videos from what I'm sure still ranks as one of the best nights of his life running-wise - his first sub-four-minute mile at the 2011 Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville, TN. (Thanks, FloTrack!)

2011 Music City Distance Carnival Men's Mile
Interview with Matt after the race

"My kids" circa April 2012 - Amber, Cassie, Kim & Matt.
Originally from South Carolina, he moved to Bloomington this past January to join Team Indiana Elite - a group of professional, post-college runners who live on campus at IU and train here in town. We first met when he ended up at my church, then in choir, then in the Easter musical that I was helping to direct this past spring. With no family in town (or in the state), he quickly became one of "my kids."

Matt's original plan was to be here with TIE for four or five years. But plans have a way of changing. When you are an elite athlete, you know what kind of training and coaching works for you. If you find yourself in a situation that isn't working as well as you thought it would, or as well as what you had before, you go back to the system that is best for you. So Matt went back to his former strength coach and running coach at the end of July.

Before he left, though, he agreed to help me set my goals, and teach me about what kinds of things to eat (and what to stay away from), and guide me in getting from Point A to Point B.

He agreed to be my compass. And thankfully we live in a time when computers and cell phones close the distance, so it doesn't matter whether someone is six miles away or 600 miles away - they're as close as a text, a phone call, or Skype.

So thank you, Matt, for being the inspiration that lit the fire, for giving me the kick-start I needed, for showing me that good food could be GOOD food, for plotting my course and pointing the way, and for always being just a text away to cheer me on, even as your own life has gotten crazier since you went home. Even though you're not right here on a daily basis, you're just as big a part of this process as Sandi, Jim and Kim are.

You'll always be in my heart.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Random Ramblings #1

So far, I've tried to make each blog about something. But sometimes I just have random bits of things rambling around in my brain - not enough for a full post, but still things I want to share. So occasionally I'll just have some Random tonight.


Tomorrow I have to get serious again. The last couple days were 

*I didn't finish my strength exercises. (Did most of them, but not all.) 
*Hubby was gone with the car all day yesterday and I had company coming and I had work I wanted to do before they got here, so I shortchanged myself on walking. 
*I've managed to stay under my calorie limits, but the calories that I have had haven't been the best. (A trip to The Pourhouse last night netted a latte and half of one of their giant peanut butter cookies.)
*It has been harder the last couple days to resist the yummies (today at lunch was especially hard - onion rings, freshly made potato chips, chocolate lava cake, ice cream & cookie sundae) (I didn't have any of it, but it was tough). And while I insist that I will not dictate anyone else's eating choices based on what is or isn't a problem for me to be around, today I could feel myself being cranky way down deep and saying (to myself), "Do you HAVE to eat that with me sitting right here?"

So it's time to get back to the intensity, get back to doing the right thing, get back to eating the right thing, and get back to thinking the right thing.


People find out you're working to lose weight (because, oh, maybe you're writing a blog about the experience) ;) and suddenly you're getting unsolicited advice. Many, many people out there have traveled this road. And there are many, many routes to get from Point A to Point B. 

I deeply appreciate the love and concern behind the advice. It's always helpful to learn more about what's going on. Just remember that no one can adhere to every plan because so many of them...even the effective ones...can contradict each other and cancel each other out. I have found something that is working for me. I will listen to what you say. I will read any information you give me. But please don't be offended if I don't immediately and enthusiastically embrace whatever you are suggesting.


My clothes are fitting better! The tight ones aren't quite so tight!


My Trainer found out I've been doing a bit of jogging to be able to get my times down under 15 minutes per mile on a consistent basis. He now has set a goal that, beginning the 1st of September, I'll start jogging one minute each mile. 

My first reaction: ARE YOU NUTS?!?!?! 

My second reaction: Of course I'll give it my best shot. 

My third reaction: I must find more places to run that are soft surface, because trying to do it on hard surfaces (roads, sidewalks, blacktop) is really tough on my knees. I never thought before about what a difference it could be between hard and soft running surfaces.


My walking partner, Sandi, starts radiation tomorrow to help relieve the pain in her upper/mid back where her tumors have left her with bulging disks. Please keep her in your prayers.


People are starting to say they can tell a difference in how I look. Most of them are people who know I'm working on it, so maybe they're looking for it. But I still have trouble seeing it. Especially when they say they can see it in my face. And I'm like, "Really?!?!"


There is a wonderful lady who is in the church choir with me. Her name is Noell. She has been heavy for as long as I've known her, and that's been over 25 years. Apparently, last fall she quietly started doing Weight Watchers. (Or, at least, I didn't know about it.) Our choir takes a break during the summer because of people being gone on vacation, so I saw her today for the first time in a few months. She looks FANTASTIC! Moreover, she has lost *86* pounds. That's my (admittedly small) 5-year-old grandson...double! Now I know I can do it.


Hubby is getting involved, too. Granted, he pretty much has to eat what I eat - it's the only stuff in the house. (Although there was one night last week that he asked if we had "anything else" to snack on.) :)  But he also gets out most nights and walks/jogs a couple miles himself. I don't think he considered himself a power walker, but with his long legs, he has a naturally long stride, so he can do a couple miles in a half-hour easily (while I really have to hustle to do it that quickly). So this is becoming a family deal.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Double Victory!

Yesterday I felt like I could take on the world and win. 

Okay, I probably couldn't. But I at least conquered two little corners of it.

First I had a personal best time of getting my four miles done in under an hour - 59:37!!! I jogged somewhere between 2:30 and 3:00 of that, and the rest was walking. I couldn't have done it without Ms. Sandi by my side, with her Marine stride and tempo to set the pace. But we did it. (And then I collapsed afterward.) ;)



Hubby & I took the grandkidlet to McDonald's for supper so he could play on the playground. And I figured out a way to get in and out of there for only 310 calories!!!  (Yeah, I don't think of eating out in terms of $$ anymore. It's all about the calories now.)  

Grilled chicken classic, no mayo (so it does have lettuce & tomato), feed the top half of the bun to the birds that are always hanging around, have a side salad with the low fat Italian dressing. Add a Diet Coke and we're good to go! (BTW, I have always shied away from grilled chicken at restaurants because they seem to insist on marinading it and I never know if I'll like the marinade or not. But this was surprisingly good.)


This has become my new battle plan. Sit down at some point (soon) and research the nutrition guides on all the places we like to eat. (Thank heaven for the internet!) I'll figure out my go-to meal plans for each of them, so I'll be prepared no matter where we end up on the spur of the moment. (So long as I don't find more places that decide green beans are "seasonal." Sheesh.) Then I won't even have to look at a menu when I walk in, so I won't be tempted.

On the other hand, the things that I thought were sooooo good before...they're not having such an impact on me now. For example, when I did go to Olive Garden the other day for lunch with a friend, I had the whole wheat linguine with alfredo and roasted chicken. Now there's no getting around the fact that alfredo sauce is a diet buster. And it used to be the kind of thing that I would eat on my pasta and then clean up what was left in the bowl by using a breadstick...and this was *after* having an extra side of alfredo brought out to use as a dipping sauce for my breadsticks. I love alfredo sauce.

Maybe it was the different pasta. Or maybe it's just a month of cleaning my system and my palate. But that stuff didn't tickle my taste buds the way it once did. It was more like, "Eh, take it or leave it." So in the future, it'll be easier to leave it.

I'm finding this to be the case with a lot of my former "favorites." They aren't necessarily my default orders anymore. And the times when I sit and watch someone else eating something and wish I was eating it too...those are dwindling as well.

Just another small step in the right direction.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

6 Months to Go

Today is my half-birthday. Only six months left until that first number changes.

I remember when my mom turned 50. I took my preschool-age daughter and a bouquet of 50 yellow roses and made the hour-long trip to where she lived just to take her out to lunch.

I remember when mom's sister turned 50. She threw herself a birthday party.

When my husband turned 50, his birthday fell on a Sunday. Our 17-year-old daughter was less than a month away from becoming a mom, and we had hosted two baby showers for her on Saturday. So while the house was cleaned and already festive, I threw a surprise open house in his honor. I didn't want him being forgotten in all the baby hustle and bustle. (As it turned out, he saw the party goodies and figured out there was going to be a party, but the real surprise was the number of people - and who they were - who came to celebrate with him.)

We have a couple other friends who celebrated this milestone in recent years.

And now I'm on the downhill side of the mountain to it being my turn.

And honestly, with the better eating, and the exercise, and the weight dropping off, I feel as if I have a head start and I'm running down the hill to meet it. embrace it. I'm not going to just be coasting in, doing the same old thing day after day. I have goals, and I have a purpose in meeting those goals, and it's going to be a big deal (to me, at least). And instead of being depressed and feeling old and frumpy and middle-aged, I'm going to feel better than I have in a long time.

So bring it on!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Shift in Thinking

First, a confession: I broke down yesterday, and when I went through Wendy's and got salads for supper, I got a small order of fries, too. And those were the best fries I've had in FOREVER. Five minutes of heaven while I snarfed those things down.. So salty. So yummy.

And, contrary to what I'd feared, it didn't really make me want to go on a binge. As a matter of fact, once they were gone, and I had that itch scratched, I really knew deep down that I was good to climb back on the wagon and ride it again for awhile. So for me, it was good to just give in and do it, and now I can get serious again.

Want to know how serious?

I'm an emotional eater. I eat to celebrate. I eat when I'm upset. I eat when I'm stressed. I eat when I'm bored.  And I love my comfort food. Taters. Pasta. Ice cream. Anything fried.

Today was horrible. I had to drive out of town for work. I left in plenty of time. Within 5 minutes, I was stuck in a line of traffic that was stopped while the road crews put down blacktop. After sitting awhile, I ended up having to pull out and backtrack, taking a longer way around and losing at least 10 minutes. Getting behind a couple of slow vehicles with no stretch of road where I could pass added more time. And then I got into a detour around a bridge that was being rebuilt - a LONG detour - that added another 15 minutes. By this time, I was going to be late for the deposition. I had to call my boss and have her relay the message so the attorneys would know what was happening.

So I finally got through the detour...and got behind ANOTHER slow vehicle. That truck finally pulled off. I WAS FREE!! I started pushing the gas a bit, trying to make up some time...and around the next curve sat two state cops.


So I got to the deposition 15 minutes after it was supposed to start. Things went fine (other than the fact that I'd had coffee on the way over and didn't take time to use the restroom before we started) until one of my digital recorders informed me the battery was low and it just quit working. New recorder - hadn't gone through this process with it before. Had to stop the deposition. Hate being the person who does that.

So yeah, I'd say this was the worst day I've had in quite awhile. Stress stress stress.

So guess what I had to pass to get back out of town after the deposition? A Long John Silver's shared the parking lot with the law office, and at the other end of the alley I had to use was...yeah...big Golden Arches.

But here's the thing - I had no interest at all in stopping. I was perfectly content with the yogurt and protein shake I had packed and taken with me.

I can't even begin to explain how huge this was for me. I was having a horrible, terrible (very bad, no good) day, and I didn't want fries. Or burgers. I didn't want to take out my anger at circumstances or myself by stuffing my face. I didn't need to balance the bad events with the good saltiness and greasiness of a large order of fries.

So once again there's a really big silver lining. Lousy, lousy traffic. Late for work. Fell off the wagon yesterday. And all of it set me up to be able to be content with doing what I'm supposed to do. It set me up to have a major mental/emotional milestone. YES!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Feeling Frustrated

So, here's the deal:

I've been in a funk. After hitting the 10-pounds-lost mark last Thursday, we then celebrated Daughter's new job with dinner out Thursday night (which prompted the Restaurant Edition of "It's the Little Things"), and then I celebrated my milestone by indulging in a bit of pizza Friday night (which I'm told is one of the worst foods you can have...but considering that it used to be a Friday night at least once during the week, I figured I could do a couple pieces of thin crust for only the 3rd time in a month).

And now the scale has climbed a pound again, and I can't seem to shake it.

I figured that if I cheated just a wee bit, the numbers might go up, but they'd come right back down again. But it's kind of like prices at the gas pump - the numbers seem to go up so quickly and easily and take so much longer coming down.

Add to that the fact that all the "good" food I got at the store last week is gone and I really need to go shopping again. But I hate going to the store. So there aren't a lot of good choices (there aren't a lot of choices, period) in the house.

Except Greek yogurt. There's still plenty of that.

Add to THAT the fact that I was fixing the last planned dinner this evening, and it was a bust. It was a new recipe for chicken and rice. I "healthy-fied" it by using low fat cream of celery soup and low fat cream of chicken soup, and the white Minute Rice was being replaced with brown rice. You mix all that plus a can of water in a baking dish, lay the chicken breasts on top of it, sprinkle on an envelope of onion soup mix, cover it with foil, stick it in the oven at 250 degrees and forget about it for 3 or 4 hours.

I even put in extra water, because I know brown rice soaks up a lot. But after 3 1/2 hours, when I pulled the food out to have supper, the rice was STILL hard. Not nutty-crunchy hard - I've come to expect that from brown rice - but "I just took this out of the bag" hard. Inedible.

The last few days, for the first time since I started this, I've been hungry. And being hungry makes me cranky. And every time Daughter mentions that the Neverending Pasta Bowl started at Olive Garden today, it's enough to make me cry...I want some fettucine alfredo so badly.

Yesterday I had thought we'd come home after church and have lunch here because it was the first Colts game of the preseason and we had people coming over. But the game started late enough that there was time for our usual lunch out after church. The problem was, I didn't know ahead of time where we were going, so I hadn't been able to look at the online menu and make my choices.

Did you know that Chili's considers 750 calories to be "light"? I was so frustrated. Even their salads have so much other stuff in them that they rack up the calories really quickly. I finally settled on a turkey sandwich and substituted a side salad with honey-lime vinaigrette for the fries that normally come with it. But the sandwich was sooooo biiiiiiig. I only ate half (brought the other half home and had it for supper) and still felt like I was eating nothing but bread. 

**Okay, this is a good thing, because I used to not even think about the bread. The bread was what I liked. And now it has become part of the enemy camp. So the thinking processes are changing.**

I looked at the calendar today. Yep. Four weeks. I'm about right on schedule. This is the point where, in the past, I've started to lose my resolve. I've started to loosen the reins just a little bit. Not be as diligent as I should. Start to grab whatever's handy and tell myself that an occasional binge will get the "wants" out of my system, then I can get serious about it all again. Except I have a habit of not getting serious again. Once I fall off the wagon, I get upset with myself, decide it's not going to work after all, and forget the whole thing.

This morning I went out and walked/jogged my four miles. 

**DETOUR OF THOUGHT: Set a new best time in the process - 1 hours 17 seconds.**

And I thought, maybe if I just keep walking and walking and walking and walking, I can eventually walk off this extra pound. This is not healthy thinking. One pound shouldn't bother me this badly.

I don't mind going up a pound. What I mind is not being able to get it off again within a day or two. What I mind is having that happen at the same time that the food supply in the house doesn't have as many choices as I would like.

::deep breath::

Okay. Time to suck it up, quit whining, plan my new grocery list, and get the goods foods in the house again. (Anyone want to go to the store for me?) (Seriously, I hate it that badly.) I know that if I just keep sticking to the plan, things will right themselves again.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hello, Baby Belly

I carry my weight as "belly fat." Over 50% of Americans do. You know...the kind that is linked to higher risks for heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Yep. That's me.

I also have a preference for loose-fitting clothes such as jumpers. I have broad shoulders for a woman, and jumpers have no sleeves. I also think empire waistlines are adorable and love the way the material flows freely.

However, belly fat and jumpers and empire waistlines make an unfortunate combination.

My daughter was a preschooler...maybe in early elementary...when a group of women from my Sunday School class was having one of those home parties. Mind you, these were gals that I was with every week. They had been around for my daughter's birth. They were my social group. They knew me and my husband. And still, that night, one of them - seeing me in a jumper - asked when my baby was due.

Ummm, no baby. Just a few extra pounds. All in one spot.

She was embarrassed. I was mortified.

Fast forward a decade and some years. I'm 40ish. Daughter is now in high school. I'm working in an office setting, dealing daily with clients. And this one little old lady, so innocently, again asked when I was expecting.

This time I played it off as a compliment that she even thought I was still young enough to be having kids. (Note to my 40-something friends who ARE still having kids...YAY FOR YOU!!! I'm excited that you can, and are, having children! So don't take this as a slam against older parents.) But it still upset me that people could have that mistaken idea based on the way I was looking.

I actually envied the people who gained weight all over, because then you could tell they were overweight - not pregnant.

So, in a weird way, when I got heavy enough that my arms and legs started showing the extra weight, too, that was a GOOD thing for me. No more looking preggers. Nope. Now I'm just middle-aged and fat. At least I knew where I fit in the social spectrum.

Besides, being "big" equates with being "comforting" and "loving" in my mind. My mom - my fantastic, wonderful mom who never met a kid she didn't want to take into her home - struggled with her weight all of her adult life. Her sisters and their mother - all of them wonderful moms, all of them "fluffy" to one degree or another. I love being a mom, and a Mee-Mow, and being "another mother" to any teens or 20-somethings who will still let someone mother them. So it all goes together for me. And that helped it be okay when I grew beyond the baby belly look.

So this past week, one day I was getting ready for work. I had on a button-down top that ties in back - it's a way clothes can fit a variety of "big girls." It also tends to accentuate your bust and then let the shirt bloom out to whatever size your stomach an empire waistline. And there it was, staring back at me in the mirror.

The baby belly is back.

At first, I was like, "Oh, ick! NO!"

Then I realized, wait, this is a good thing! It goes along with losing weight, and dropping the extra that's been making me fluffy all over. Now that the all-over weight is leaving, you can SEE the belly fat again. And this time I know it's only temporary. One of these days, that will be much less, too.

So I welcome the baby belly as a sign of progress.

And if you see me out on the streets, just know that no, I'm not having a late-life miracle baby. (We have that already - we call him Ethan, and he lives with his Mommy and calls us Mee-Mow and Num-Num.) :)  I'm just working my way back down to something that's healthy and decreasing my risk for all those nasty things like heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's.

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's the Little Things - 2

(The Restaurant Edition)

*It's planning ahead to know where you're going and looking at their online nutrition guide to make your food choices before you arrive and get sucked into wanting something else.

*It's bypassing McDonald's and going to Subway.

*It's going to Red Lobster (to celebrate Daughter's new job), discovering they no longer have the green beans you were counting on, getting a baked potato instead, and eating only half of it.

*It's getting a fruity vinaigrette (I like the cranberry) dressing on your salad instead of creamy Thousand Island (my all-time favorite).

*It's not eating the cheddar bay biscuits (again, at Red Lobster) until the very end, then only having half of one as your "dessert."

*It's realizing that Red Lobster doesn't have a lot of alternate choices for calorie counters unless you like cooked broccoli...and I don't.  :(

*It's going to Olive Garden and ordering the Venetian Apricot Chicken with asparagus when you really, REALLY want fettucine alfredo.

*It's going to the homestyle restaurants (i.e. Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel) where they have baked and broiled  meats (i.e. ham, pork chops) and good salads and green beans and carrots.

*It's going to steak houses (i.e. Texas Roadhouse) where they have flame-broiled steaks and salads and baked sweet potatoes.

*It's getting pizza only VERY occasionally, with thin crust, and eating only one piece. And pile on the meat and veggies.

*It's not ordering appetizers or desserts. Or snacking on appetizers that are already ordered before you get there. Even when they're scrumptious looking onion strings.

*It's getting Diet Cokes only when you're out somewhere and not having them at home. (This is a big deal to a confirmed Diet Coke-a-holic like me.)

There are some who would say the best way to survive restaurant temptations is to not go to restaurants. Well, we do. I don't like to cook. I enjoy the social atmosphere of eating out with family and friends. I like the fact that everyone can get what they want, regardless of what I may be eating on my new healthier menu. So not going is not a lifestyle change that I'm willing to make at this point in time. These are the ways I've found so far to be smart about what I'm doing and eating when I go out. Please feel free to share if you have other tips or know other restaurants that have a lot of calorie-conscious choices.

By the of this morning, all of the Little Things have added up to one Big Thing - I hit the 10-pound mark this morning! (And now that I've shared that, I'll be more determined not to backslide.) ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ode to My Partner

When my trainer moved out of town, I worried that I would lose my oomph, my motivation, my accountability. I worried that I wouldn't get up and get out in the mornings if there was no one meeting me to go walking.

That was about the same time I started telling people that I was taking this fitness journey, and several people offered to walk with me. (And I thank every one of you for being willing.) But after the cards were shuffled and dealt, my regular companion has become my next-door neighbor Sandi.

God knew she was exactly who I needed. She is a walking, breathing inspiration for me every day.

First of all, she's a single mom of four, two of whom are still home and in school. One will be a high school senior...the other will be in first grade. Anyone who is or has been - or has been involved with - a single mom will understand how special this is, in and of itself.

Beyond that, she's a Marine. Active for over 25 years, several of those as a drill instructor. She also taught karate, in which she holds a black belt.

The only reason she is no longer active in the Marine Corps is because she had to take a medical retirement after being diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer SEVEN years ago. (The average 5-year survival rate is 20%.) Surgeries...chemo...radiation...over and over. And over. And while she currently has no active tumors, they have left their damage, including bulging disks in her back.

And she kicks my butt and puts me to shame.

Seriously. We hit the trail, she goes into drill instructor mode, puts one foot in front of another, and goes. Always knowing just how fast to go to make me push myself slightly faster than I would alone. Never huffing and puffing. Never sweating. Just going. I try to remind her that she's supposed to be the sick one. She just smiles and keeps going.

When my hips and back start to hurt from the effort, there's no way on earth I'm going to complain. Not to this lady. Not to this wonderful person who postpones taking her pain meds because she wants to be sharp when we're out together instead of being in a haze.

And when we finally, FINALLY had rain, and it wasn't feasible to get out and walk, she didn't let me off the hook. No. She said, "Come use my elliptical." And for an hour, I barged into the corner of her living room and churned away one ellipti-step at a time.

How do I beg off to this incredible woman? How do I say, "I don't feel up to it today"? I don't. I can't. And God knew that. (Well, DUH - He knows everything.) :) 

I am so blessed she has decided to help me along in this battle, even as she fights her own on a daily basis. Thank you, Sandi. I love you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

8 Towns...8 McDonald's

Tuesday, August 7th.

From Bloomington to Nashville to Columbus to Franklin to Rushville to Connersville...back to Rushville and Franklin...up to Greenwood...over to 37 then back down through Martinsville to Bloomington. One big circle.

There were no fewer than 8 McDonald's along that path. And one Cheesecake Factory (where I stopped to get a piece of Happy Birthday cheesecake for my daughter). And every one of them smelled heavenly as I drove past.

I even called my Trainer at one point and chatted for a few minutes, just to get my mind off of the food and back on what I'm trying to do. When you hear the phrase, "I emailed you some exercises to start on," it has a tendency to shock all other thoughts out of your head...including thoughts of fries and a McFlurry.

But when all was said and done, I ate the lunch I had packed (small turkey & cheese sub & applesauce from an Oscar Mayer Lunchables kit), snacked on the carrot sticks & Kellogg's French vanilla protein shake I'd taken, and ate beef roast and a big spinach & fruit salad once I walked in my own door. The one time that I did drive-thru at the Golden Arches, it was just to get a Diet Coke.

In other words...I MADE IT!!! Yesterday was THE day this week that I was most worried about, and I made it!

So how did I celebrate? By getting out this morning and walking farther than I have yet - 5 miles. And since it was through rolling neighborhoods rather than on the relatively flat trail, I balanced the slower uphill climbs with short spurts of downhill jogging. (And by short, I mean maybe 5-10 seconds at a stretch.) :)

FOOD NOTE: Anyone who has access to Schwan's (I think it's a Midwest thing, but maybe it stretches farther than that)...I highly recommend their frozen tilapia. Four servings per box at 90 calories per serving. And it comes with a spice & herb packet that you can mix with various things (suggestions are on the package) for a marinade. I opted for the olive oil & lemon juice with the spices and it was soooo good! (And I normally don't like fish that well.) Some green beans seasoned with onion and some peach halves baked with brown sugar, and supper was ready tonight.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Putting in the Work

Okay, it was told to me as "putting the work in," but I grew up with an English teacher for a mother. Proper grammar is second nature to me. I cringe when people end sentences with prepositions. Hence, the word rearrangement.

On a good note, I got through Day #1 of the crazy schedule. I knew I'd have a dorm fridge available to me, so I packed a Greek yogurt, a baggie of grapes and apple slices, and a couple protein shakes. And by golly, that's what I had for lunch (minus one shake). 

I also had time today to make connections with a friend who sells Thirty-One purses and bags. She had some thermal totes laying around that she'd accumulated as samples, so I bought one of those. Now I'm ready to go for the rest of the week and beyond! Sack lunches, just like when I was in school!

And in spite of 90-degree temps, I hit the trail at 2:00 p.m., after I finished working. Strange thing...the trail is a lot emptier at 2:00 p.m. than it is at 9:00 a.m. I wonder if everyone else knows something? Maybe like it's a lot COOLER at 9:00 a.m. than at 2:00 p.m., and EASIER to get yourself going?? MAYBE????

Normally I try to keep a pace somewhere between 15:30 and 16:00 per mile for four miles. That's my standard. And for the first two miles today I managed that. And then it was like someone just shut off my engines. I don't know whether it was the heat, or the fact that I'd already been up and going and doing other stuff today (instead of getting the walking done very first thing when I have the most energy). But mile #3 came in at 16:32 and the last of the four was an abysmal 17:55.

I hadn't been anywhere CLOSE to 18 minutes since the very first day I got out with my Trainer and he had to practically carry me the final 1/4 mile because I thought I was going to pass out from the heat and exertion. (Seriously - I was huffing and puffing and light-headed and couldn't feel my feet touching the ground.)

I knew I was slow today. I was out on my own with no partner to drive me forward. I was tired. I could tell that I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I normally try to do. And I didn't care. The body just wasn't going to hustle anymore today.

And I remembered one other day when the body just didn't cooperate. The legs felt like they were slogging through wet cement. I had walked extra the day before and on this day cut the regular trip short by 1/2 mile. And my Trainer, bless him, said that some days you just have to put in the work. Some days it's not about going faster or farther. Some days it's not fun. (Okay, most days it's not fun.) Some days it's just about going out there and slogging through and getting the job done.

Today was one of those days.


Extra Note: Beware of Chobani pomegranate Greek yogurt. Tastes yummy, but the seeds surprised me.

Extra Extra Note: For my cousin-in-love Lora - trying a new recipe tonight - zucchini sticks (slices) sprinkled with Chesapeake Bay seasoning and baked/roasted in the oven for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. I'll let you know how they taste. (They're baking as I write this.)

Extra Extra Extra Note: The perfect way to pick myself back up after beating myself up over not keeping up the speed? I came home and the scale read 1.5 pounds less than it has at any point so far. (Okay, so a pound of that was probably water loss from sweating, but it was still a lower number than I'd seen on the scale in a LONG time.) Woot! Woot!

Extra Extra Extra EXTRA Note: Baked pork chops, the aforementioned zucchini sticks, and roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The zucchini, btw, has a bit of a kick, which the sweet potatoes offset nicely.

Nothin' says lovin' like
something from the oven.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This Week's Challenge

In the three weeks since I started this journey, work has been slow. I've only been out one day a week, and the typing resulting from that could be done in a couple hours.

However, mine is a feast-or-famine job, and the feast is hitting this coming week.

Three - possibly four - days this week I'll be out working, and scurrying in between times to transcribe what I record. Two of those days will include trips out of least an hour away...covering lunch both days and possibly even dinnertime on one of them.

I'm not sure when or how I'll get my walking done. My days are going to start early, so there won't be time to do it before I go to work. (Unless I get up and out to the trail by 6:00 or 6:30, and I am NOT a morning person!) I'll have to be doing it later in the afternoon or evening, after it's hot, and I'm tired, and trying to think about fixing supper, and life has had a chance to generally take control of my day.

More than that, eating is going to be a challenge. Again, McD's is my favorite place to hit when I'm out of town for work. It's fast, it's easy, I can eat and drive, and I can almost always find one no matter what town I'm in. But the "#2 large" (around here, that's the two single cheeseburgers, large fries, large drink) isn't going to cut it anymore. And I can't very well get a salad to-go - that could cause all KINDS of messes. 

Yeah, I'm starting to feel some anxiety about this. So if anyone has suggestions about where I can go to grab a quick bite, or other options for drive-and-eat food, I'd love to hear them. Please.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and the Uhhhh-GLEE!

(You need to read that last word in Whoopie Goldberg's voice as the hyena from "The Lion King.")

This has been an exciting day. And by "exciting" I mean "full of excitement." And by "full of excitement," I don't necessarily mean "good."

But there was some good. So first, THE GOOD:

My first mile this morning clocked in at a shocking 14:35.

Read that again. 14:35. 

Oh, sorry. Just discovered that I could do different colored fonts. That was fun. :)

It was only a week ago that I broke 15 minutes. And I hadn't done it since then. And I probably won't do it every day. But I've decided Saturdays are my "go for it" days when I'll push a little harder just to see what I can do. So today I started off doing that funny little race-walk stride, and this is how it turned out. Boo-yah!


After that unexpected first mile, the second one took a crazy turn when, about halfway through, I reached up to wipe the sweat from my nose and had blood all over my hand. Yep, nosebleed.

I told my hubby I felt like one of those psychic kids you see in the movies who use their powers, but then it causes brain hemorrhages and their nose starts bleeding. Not gonna lie...kinda freaked me out. So we slowed down (hubby was walking with me) and stopped completely at the two-mile turnaround point until I could get it under control, before starting off on the return two-mile trip back to the car. Even with taking it slow & careful, the return two miles were clocked in at just under 16 minutes each.

So, what about THE UGLY?

That would be my poor t-shirt, the only thing I had
available to deal with the nosebleed.  :(

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Day Off - NOT!

The plan is for me to walk Monday through Thursday, take Friday off, walk Saturday, and take Sunday off. So today should have been a day off. And that was okay, because I had to be out this morning to work early and wouldn't be able to do my first-thing-of-the-morning walk.

But then a funny thing happened after I finished working.

The temps were good - mid-70s. It was overcast and breezy. Perfect conditions for walking.

So I went home, changed clothes, got the hubby, and we went for a "casual" walk of 4.4 miles, starting around 11 a.m. "Casual" simply means I wasn't really pushing to reach any certain time. I was just walking for the fun of it. The beautiful part is that "just walking" at this point was still better than the "pushing it" that I was doing the first couple days, three weeks ago. In fact, a couple of the casual miles were timed right around 16 minutes each, even though the average time was 17 minutes/mile.

Do you get this? I wanted to get out and walk. I didn't have to today, but I WANTED to.

I've NEVER wanted to exercise! I think I actually surprised the hubby when I didn't just come home, plop down on the couch, and start typing.* 

Now, let's be honest. I'm still waiting for that phenomenon where the more you exercise, the more energy you have. Because at this point, I get out, I walk, I come home, and it's a major effort to do anything the rest of the day. Even just walking from one room to another, my legs have that "slogging through wet cement" feel that takes a concentrated effort to get them to work. Today, after doing the 4.4 miles late this morning, I've barely moved off the couch. (I've been watching the Olympics. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) So the balance of the day is tough.

But still...I wanted to go walking. Right now I'm not recognizing this person who is inhabiting my body.

*It should be explained that my job is as a court reporter and legal transcriptionist. It is my job to go to pre-trial depositions, record them, then go home and transcribe them. Hence, 80% or more of my job consists of sitting at home typing, while the other 20% involves going out someplace, and sitting while I record and type.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I knew it had to happen eventually.

So long as my pantry sat full of pasta and instant potatoes and chips and snacks and sugary cereals, they were a problem. They were a temptation. They were there.

But cleaning out a a huge job. It takes a couple hours, at least. Often more. And I just hadn't had the heart to do it.

But today I did.

Why today? 

Hmmm...maybe it was the angry energy from being frustrated with myself for falling off the wagon and indulging in three breadsticks at Olive Garden. (I even researched their nutrition info online and had chosen the Venetian Apricot Chicken - meat & veggies - instead of my usual favorite pasta with alfredo sauce, but then killed it with the breadsticks.) Maybe it was the mega trip to the grocery store and bringing home groceries built around a 10-day menu I sat and planned last night - 10 dinners that are "good" dinners - meat & veggies & fruit. It definitely helped that I had nothing else going on this afternoon, so I had no excuses about needing to go anywhere.

In any case, today was the day. And now my pantry is more healthy-full than I think it has been in the 9 years we've lived in this house. The fridge is in pretty good shape, too - lots of fruit, some veggies, lots of Greek yogurt, a good supply and variety of meat.

The freezers still need to be cleaned out. Lots of snacky stuff still lives in the deep freezer in the garage, but I have to wait until Jim's headed to take the trash off before I clean that out. In the meantime, it feels so good to look in the pantry and see this:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Golden Arches Are Calling My Name

(Sorry there have been so many posts. I really thought I'd limit it to one a day or fewer, but there are so many thoughts swimming in my head about this process. It helps to get them out.)

I am a Golden Arches addict.

When I'm working at home, or when I have a few days actually NOT working and I'm home, it was always my escape from the house to get out and run 5 minutes down the street to McD's to grab lunch. Their fountain Diet Cokes are the BEST and their fries are my drug of choice.

Since I started this journey, I've not been inside a McD's. I've done the drive-thru a few times, but always just to get a large DC. It's not the healthiest, but at least it doesn't add to the calorie count. (I keep expecting the one closest to my house to send out the police to check on me as a Missing Person.)

But this week the fries are calling my name. Shouting at me. And it's taking everything I have to not listen to the sirens' call.

I went to a movie Monday. In our town, there's a McD's right across the street from the movie theater. It would've been just a 5-minute detour on the way home. I didn't do it, but I wanted to.

Yesterday I was running errands at our local mall. Again, there's a McD's across the highway. I did the drive-thru and got my Diet Coke. It was a battle of willpower to not "get fries with that."

It isn't helping that McD's has their promotion going right now featuring all their items that are under 400 calories. And a medium order of fries is "only" 380. But the flip side is that I have entire meals (especially breakfast) that are only about 380 calories. And a lot healthier for me.

I'm sure at some point I'll cave and get an order of fries. Maybe a small order. But for now, each day that I don't do it is one more day of doing the right thing. And so far today, I'm winning the battle.

Look What I Brought Home!

What is this?? 

I'm not opposed to blisters. I consider them to be war wounds. But why today? I've been walking for two weeks - why not sooner? The only thing different today was new socks. But they were thicker, and thicker is supposed to be better. And who ever heard of blisters on the SIDES of your heels?

Seriously, if anyone has any thoughts on what causes these in this location, please share so I can be sure to pre-empt it happening again.

(Apologies to anyone who is foot-squeamish. I know I don't like looking at people's feet. But this was just too weird for me to not share.)

Starting to Own It

I've often heard the idea that as long as a person goes to church because their family goes, or because their parents make them go, it is actually their parents' religion that they are following. But, hopefully, somewhere along the way a person will become more active, more decisive about wanting to attend church themselves, or participate in a small group, or get involved in some other church activity. They will move from listening to Bible stories to reading the Bible for themselves. And at that point, it becomes their religion - not their parents'.

That was very much how I felt today. It was a chaotic start to the day and I got thrown off the routine I'd established over the past two weeks. Instead of starting around 8:00 a.m., I was finally able to get started walking at the same time that I've normally been getting finished (about 9:30). One walking partner had taken a rain check last night; the other did so this morning.

It was late. I was hungry. My day would be half-gone by the time I finished and did all my post-walk stuff (shower, dress, eat). No one was expecting me to go or planning to go with me. If ever there was a morning to take a break...let it slide "just this once"...this was it.

And I still put on my shoes, put in the earbuds for the first time, did my warm-up stretches and aerobics, and took off walking.

This is for ME. This is MY fitness program.

The company and companionship is nice. The mentoring is still very much needed. But today this truly became my thing.

Even more so, it feels great to have beat back the temptation to let it slide today.