New Diet Book Coming Down the Pike

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After I emailed you about this book last night, I went on Amazon.com to see how much a gently used book would cost since, as I said, all of the copies were currently checked out, and my wait time was more than 3 weeks. One thing that I would strongly stress, so you can get a better idea of whether the book or item is worth purchasing is to check out and read some of the customer reviews on any given item. The reviewers are people like ourselves who buy an item for usually a specific need so their perspective is from an average person’s point of view. I have had a long history purchasing from Amazon.com and I review everything that I have ever purchased from them so I wanted you to know you can pretty much believe what these people are saying.

Having clarified that, I read about a half dozen reviews on this book you asked me about. According to the reviews that I read, the biggest complaint that they had about the book was that the author was pushing his own brand of supplements besides the food plan and that the cost was several hundred dollars per month. Other than that, it does sound like it is similar to many of the other whole food food plans that are “out there”. The other criticism the reviewers had was that the author spent nearly 2/3rds of the book talking about how lower income people are prone to diabetes because they can’t afford healthy food. So, what else is new, right?

Here are my thoughts after having read the reviews. The main one being is that it is also rather insulting for the doctor/author to talk about how lower income people can’t afford to eat healthier foods and yet somehow he must expect his readers to be able to afford $500+ a month on vitamin supplements. Once again, it sounds like another wealthy person out of touch with real people’s lives; which one man who was 73 years old wrote a really good review to that affect. This older man was still working and he simply stated that he neither had the resources to make some of the “gourmet recipes” or the time since he was still working past retirement age. In my opinion, anyone who is working full time at that age is doing so not because he wants to but because he has to. However, I am still going to wait for it from the public library unless it gets to be longer than two months and then I might buy a used copy after the New Year’s.

D., I have over 1 dozen diet books sitting on my shelves which I have decided to donate to the public library. Obviously, it is not that we who wish to lose weight and reclaim good health don’t know enough; it is simply that we haven’t learned to effectively put it into practice. I know why I don’t. I am really enthused the first couple of weeks while I am losing weight. Then, once the weight lose starts to taper off or I get tempted to eat something not on my food plan, I slip. Sometimes, the slip is short-lived and I can get right back on my food plan. Other times, I seem to wander off simply because I lose my focus or I forget the initial reason why I wanted or needed to lose weight in the first place.

Everyone “out there” can agree that eating healthier does cost more and according to what I have recently read, it is going to cost even more in 2013. P. and I have already noticed the prices already going up on many of our food items we routinely get. P. and I have been trimming our monthly budget for the past four-six years. We both said that we were going to split where we purchase favorite food items between stores if the price is cheaper somewhere else. It will mean some extra planning and another shopping trip but that is what we will do. I don’t use coupons simply because most of them ask you to buy in volume and with just the two of us, it really wouldn’t pay; in our opinion. I also don’t shop those “big box” warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club for the same reason. We tried those ten years ago and just simply found that it was more wasteful for just “us two”.

I am sure that this debate about how to balance our food budget along with the cost of other things we routinely spend money on will continue. However, I have said this before and I still believe it: you either spend the money at the grocery store or you spend it at the doctor’s office. We are lower income although I am not feeding underage children. However, if I were they would be eating how we eat. My Mom used to say, if you don’t like what I fixed, then “go hungry”. I will say that I didn’t like some foods when I was growing up. I did try some things that I didn’t like and some things I slipped to our family dog under the table. However, I wasn’t fat. In fact, I was thin. I didn’t see the doctor very often growing up except for routine shots, etc. I wasn’t a sickly kid. My parents had one main income for a long time so I know it was a struggle to “provide for us” but we were healthy.

Now, forty plus years later, both my younger sister and I have “lifestyle” health issues: she is a heavy smoker, has high blood pressure and she has elevated blood sugar. She routinely eats lunches from fast foods and convenience stores. She takes a blood pressure medication that she (and I both) knows she wouldn’t have to if she would quit eating such salty foods. She has diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome. She misses a lot of work for this last two digestive conditions. She has been told they are “diet-based” conditions that can be remedied by changing what she eats. Now, at age 56, she is obese, which she wasn’t always.

As for me, I have morbidly obese for 29 years.I was able to lower my higher blood pressure by monitoring the amount of sodium that I ate and only having caffeinated beverages “half of the time”. Losing weight has been the more difficult thing for me to do. I “dieted” myself all the way up to 301.8 lbs. eight years ago. I was already experiencing congestive heart disease. I could feel the fluid in my chest and the difficulty breathing I had as a result every time the humidity rose.  Losing 40 + lbs helped but after repeated injuries I simply lost my motivation and my ability to physically move. I have managed to maintain that initial weight lose, which I am really grateful for that, because I am not so sure that my body could tolerate that extra weight if I were to regain it. In fact, I know that it probably couldn’t.

Again, the old adage of “You are what you eat” applies to most of the lifestyle diseases/conditions that most of us struggle with. I asked my sister if she ever considered packing a lunch rather than grabbing a greasy slice of pizza and a cup of coffee at a convenience store. She didn’t answer me. Maybe, she has never considered doing so. I know, from my own personal experience, that we can lose weight and reclaim our health if we are willing to change our personal habits. I used to think that it took big sweeping changes but the more I do this the more I realize that even making some simple changes can really make a difference. So, now I am doing that: making smaller changes.

P. has recently lost 22 lbs in the past year. He has never dieted before in his life. In fact, he is not a person who actively pursues anything related to fitness or health but he just didn’t like how he looked or felt a couple of years ago. I asked him what he felt attributed to this recent weight lose. He said that he has become more aware of “portion control”. He allows himself one day a week (Sunday) to have his favorite Kit Kat bars. He still doesn’t exercise much because he is in the car all the time driving and he just says he is too tired at night but he says that he wants to lose 20 lbs more. I told him that I was very proud of him and that I was also going to try and put into practice what he has been doing. I said, “You did this right under my nose, without me even realizing it or making a big fuss about it.” I think he is on to something.

Once again, I have made it my promise (and I break these all the time with myself) that I will be a “normal weight” for my 60th birthday which is 35 weeks away. In order to do that I need to lose 100 lbs or 2.78 lbs per week. If I succeed, it will be the first time since I was 27 years old that I saw that weight. In fact, I have the Levis jeans from back then when I did weigh that. If I make that goal next summer, I hope that I will be able to get into those same jeans and wear them on my birthday.

The only thing that is stopping me from realizing that personal goal is the choices that I make each and every day. As I have said, I am always open to trying anything new but if I have learned anything through these past years: each of us has to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t. Now, that is “continuing education” that I have a feeling never ends.

” to be continued….”

Claim a Quality Today

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“IT IS EASIER TO CONFESS A DEFECT THAN TO CLAIM A QUALITY”

–Max Beerbohm

I am well aware of my many faults and if I don’t remind myself of them, I know that someone (usually a person I am not particularly fond of) else will. In fact, I am sure that you also grew up with plenty of “fault finders” in your life. It started when we were being disciplined about not washing our hands before reaching into the proverbial cookie jar and followed us as we took our first steps of independence as we ventured out into the world as we entered grammar school. “Don’t do this”, “You can’t have that”, “Who do you think you are?”; the list goes on unendlessly until we finally stop trying to reach beyond our grasp. The day when we stop trying is a sad day indeed.

I remember when the tide changed for me. I had asked my supervisor why I/we never seemed to receive any feedback as to how we were performing at our given job. Her reply echoes what most of us are used to: ” If you aren’t getting any feedback, it means that you are doing everything well. So consider yourself “lucky” if we are silent.”

Really? I don’t think so. People need positive reinforcements. We need to know we have done well. Although I can measure my progress in some tangible ways like moving that much closer to a particular goal, I can not always accurately measure whether my effort was “over the top” or that the obstacles I overcame was amazing in relation to the resources I had at the time. Those very “intangibles” are often the fuel that propells to push myself beyond anything I could ever imagine myself doing.

That day marked me beginning to make a list each day of what I had done “right”. Instead of becoming my own worst critic (which is the rule for most of us), I became one of my most ardent “cheerleaders”. You might ask “How accurate can our own personal assessments be though?” My answer is “How accurate were our personal assessments when we were being self-critical?” As I found out, the “self truth” lies somewhere in the middle.

Like most things in life, it will take some time and practice before you begin to find a balanced self-view but it is a habit well worth cultivating. I have found that the best way to begin this self-assessment is to set a realistic goal, work towards that and after you accomplished it, review the process and your progress towards attaining your goal. The more that you do this the more self-knowledge you will have as you learn both your personal assets and your “areas needed for improvement”.

Soon, you will find you seek less advice from others but turn more to yourself for how you need to proceed in achieving a personal goal. Now, when I read or listen to others (including experts in any given field) I do a “checks and balances” against my own personal experience. Did mine parallel theirs? If not, what was different and what was alike? Answers to those questions enable me to then fine-tune my personal journey as I take the next step.

So, starting today, I encourage you to begin to “claim your qualities” as you become all you wish to be.

As for the future, your task is to enable it.

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Dealing with Obstacles | 48 Comments

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

“AS FOR THE FUTURE, YOUR TASK IS NOT TO FORESEE IT BUT TO ENABLE IT.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I used to be a person who made “to do” lists that I carried around in a day planner which I would then look at often to remind myself where I wanted to be. However, as life took me on unexpected twists and turns, I abandoned my “to do” lists because I felt the future seemed so uncertain that I didn’t believe that I could actually plan for it. Much to my surprise, control freak that I was for a very long time, began to slowly ease up on my tight grip of trying to control how events turned out. I still don’t like surprises in almost anything but I have learned to “go with the flow”. If I end up someplace other than I had planned, I quickly “size up” the situation I am in and decide how I am going to deal with the immediate “here and now” knowing that what action I take will ultimately determine how the future is being shaped.

So, what does this have to do with emotional eating? Well, for me, it meant that I had to work more at acceptance of what “is” and letting go more of what “isn’t”. When I practice this I have more peace within my soul. When I have more peace within my soul, I have less need to fill in the blank spaces that exist there with extra food, “more stuff” and “being busy”.

By the way, I live with someone who does not accept life on life’s terms as easy as I have learned to do. I watch him get frustrated, resist what is going to happen whether he likes it or not, and ultimately wear himself out with all of the energy he has expended “swimming upstream”. I have a lot of compassion for him. Things could be so much easier for him “if only” he worked with life instead of against it.

Fear causes us to want to control and hold on tightly.

Worry means we feel we know the outcome before the process is completed and because of our demands we want it the way we want it, not how it might “best be”.

Trust causes us to relax and release whatever the Universe wants to bring to us and for us.

Patience allows us to wait while this “flow” moves through us, around us and in us.

I am reminded of a wonderful line in the movie “Out of Africa”. Meryl Streep’s character has been trying to mold the African wilderness to become a working tobacco farm. She even has a local river dammed and rerouted so that it will bring the necessary water to her farm. When Mother Nature washes out the dam and the river begins to flow its natural course, she sighs and says, “Let it have its own way as it always has.”

I don’t see this moment in the film as admitting defeat but more of accepting that some things just aren’t meant to be nor will never be. Some cynics would say “Mother Nature always wins.” I would like to say that Mother Nature is so perfect and complete that it doesn’t need to either “win or lose”, according to our arbitrary standards. It just simply is.

So, now all I plan for are the “intangibles” (but very real nonetheless) like loving more, forgiving more, experiencing more and believing more.

What has any of this got to do with arresting emotional eating? Everything! Think about it.

Caveat: Count Your Words Carefully….

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“SPEECH IS A MIRROR OF THE SOUL: AS A PERSON SPEAKS, SO IS HE/SHE”. PUBLILIUS SYRUS.

In our talks one on one, within a group like here, and especially to ourselves, our speech does a great job of identifying who we are, what we aspire to, what our fears, our hopes and our dreams are. Once I had this “revelation” decades ago, I literally stopped cold turkey ever talking to myself again in a negative, put-down or self-dergatory manner. I can attest to the fact that the direction that my life was going began to change after that as well.

Then, whenever I heard another person use negative talk towards themselves or others, depending on the circumstances, I “corrected” them gently but firmly. One of my favorite sayings to my husband, P, is “why put yourself down when you know the rest of the world is more than happy to?” If anything, it did make him pause a few minutes before continuing. Well, now P doesn’t put himself down quite as much but now he has resorted to hitting things so now I have to remind him that his hands are his “work” so if he breaks his hands, he won’t be working and well, you know the rest… this is a work in progress.

My sister has felt that the rest of the “crew” she works with (all men since she works in a very male-dominated field) thinks she is a “joke”. I have to wonder, what exactly is she doing or telling them for them to think or believe this? I am reminded of several different “sayings” that I tell myself and others.

**WE TEACH OTHERS HOW TO TREAT US!** (Now think for a minute or two on that one)

**NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR EXCEPT YOURSELF** (Eleanor Roosevelt said that one)

**WE BECOME WHAT WE BELIEVE**

I believe so strongly in the power of self-talk that I make sure that I am very careful about what I say to myself and also to others. I wasn’t always this way but as I became more aware of the power of “words” (Shakespeare said “THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD”)I have since learned to choose my words wisely (even in the heat of the moment).

So, today instead of counting calories, counting steps or miles, counting reps, etc…. how about beginning to count your words?? They carry a lot more weight and are definitely worth losing the wrong ones.

Motivating Yourself to Lose Weight

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Here is some thoughts to end a harried work week and start the weekend:

“DON’T LET LIFE DISCOURAGE YOU. EVERYONE WHO GOT WHERE HE IS HAD TO BEGIN WHERE HE WAS.” –Richard L Evans

What did I have to do to lose 50 lbs (thus far)and keep it off (thus far)? I had to get to know myself. You might be saying, but I do know myself. Do you? I often listen to others say things that just plain aren’t true about themselves. I hear words like “I can’t, I’m weak, I always fail, I give up, I quit, I will never…..”. Are these words really accurately describing the REAL YOU?

Think back about the things you did that you are the most proud of? When you accomplished those things, what words did you use to describe the moments after that? Did any of those words above enter into your telling of those “victories”? I doubt it.

So, here you have one additional task that is in front of you: you want to lose weight. Many of you are under the assumption that you will fail. Why? If you haven’t tried, how can you say that you have failed?

So, how about using these words to describe your weight loss efforts:

” I can lose all of this weight.”

“I am strong enough to do what it takes to lose this weight.”

“I am succeeding at losing weight by making choices that support this decision.”

“I will not give up until I have arrived at my goal weight. No matter what!”

” I am not a quitter except to only quit making excuses, quit complaining and quit procrastinating.”

“I am persistently and consistently reaching towards that goal weight and I will never give up acting upon my desires.”

“I am one day closer to realizing the miracle of rebirth and renewal based on my past and present choices I make.”

Facing F.E.A.R. with Courage

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If you are like me, you often watch programs showing someone who lost a lot of weight and you are full of awe and wonder. Last night was no exception. I turned on the t.v. to see the 7 year journey of a woman who had lost close to 400 lbs. None of us here has that much to lose but let’s face it: that is an impressive amount of weight to lose. This young woman, A., had one characteristic that we could all emulate: COURAGE.

Had she not had gastric bypass surgery at 617 lbs, she would have been dead. She survived the surgery but she still had to deal with life and life’s “thorny” problems. She lost her job because of her excess weight. Since she was unemployed, she moved back in with a critical mother and a passive father (whom she had a special bond with).

After losing 200 lbs and now able to move around freely, barely able to get through the “normal-size” aisles in the classrooms; she decided to return to school and enrolled in a community college. She loved children and she wanted to open her own daycare someday. A.’s dreams were as BIG as her heart. That took COURAGE to not give up on herself and her goals.

During this 7 year journey, she had two “excess skin removal” surgeries. This allowed her to walk better. By the time she was around 250 lbs she was able to walk to the local Mall and buy clothes off the rack for the very first time. Temporarily she moved in with a loving aunt so she could put some “distance” between herself and her critical Mom. Her aunt took her clothes shopping. Finally, A. was able to buy clothes that expressed more “of her age” and less about her weight. She “rocked” a metallic jacket. She went out to a local bar, shot some pool and even had some “shots” herself. Anyone who has felt self-conscious about being social while being a larger person knows that it takes COURAGE to get back out there.

Half-way through her weight loss journey, her father, whom she adored, got cancer. A. made the decision to move back into a home with a critical mother (who was obese herself) that played the “diet police” while A. lovingly cared for her dying father. She was a devoted daughter to the end.   She continued to work her program in spite of all of the tension and her own personal grief. What COURAGE!

The last ten minutes showed A. coaching a junior softball team. She was either near 200 lbs or just under that number. She truly was living the life she wished to live. There were several “attributes” that I saw A. exhibit during the filming of “her story”: patience with the process, tolerance of some misplaced criticism especially by her mother but also sometimes by her doctor, hope to continue to dream and create a life that expressed who she “uniquely is” as a person, and finally, she had COURAGE.

I once read that “courage is not the absence of fear but acting in spite of having fear.” If you are here because you want to believe you can create that NEW YOU this year then I say, “Have Courage. Dream Big.” If you feel fear, and we all do, remember F.E.A.R. is nothing more than “False Evidence Appearing Real”. In other words, you CAN do this! Act in spite of your fears and because of your dreams.

When making choices today that will determine what your tomorrow will be like, ask yourself this.. do I believe that I can do what others have managed to do? If so, now is the time to say NO to anything that stands in your way.

***This is my intellectual property. Please respect that and do not pirate. Thank you.****

Wolves In Sheep Clothing

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Response to Readers | 30 Comments

Dear Readers:

First of all I want to thank each and everyone of you who are reading my diet blog. Secondly, I do appreciate when you take time out of your own busy lives to respond and leave comments. I have thought long and hard about how to handle your responses. This is my response to your responses.

I am currently active participant in two online diet support groups. I have been active in one group on 3FC for over a year. I have been active in some other groups on another site, Biggest Loser Club, for close to 18 months. In the fall of 2011, I made the decision to “resign” from two other  BLC groups so that I could create and “host” another online diet support group on that same site. Besides, my own personal life and desire to work on my own weight issues, I am also aiding others in finding their own “success” in their own personal weight loss efforts. I am finding that this is not only my “calling” but also my gift. I feel blessed to have been given this opportunity and I want to give it my “very best”.

In the past, I have said “Yes” first and then spent having an anxiety attack wondering how I was going to keep and honor my commitments. No more! I have always wanted to give my best to whatever venture that I have undertaken. In my “old age”, I am realizing that I do not want to dilute myself to the point where I become ineffective in both my ability to do what I need to do for myself and what I can offer other fellow “sojourners”.

Therefore, it appears that I am going to have to lay some ground “rules” regarding this ongoing blog. I am not a computer technician nor a software programmer.  I am an obese person who is presenting her personal experience in losing weight. That is what I am good at. I do not want to give you misleading or wrong information regarding areas of expertise that I simply do not possess. Therefore, I can not specifically answer questions related to how the feed is presented to you, how to set up your own blog or any other technical questions. www.3fatchicks.com is the site administrator so I would recommend that you contact them and seek answers to your questions.

For those of you who would like to share my personal experiences either in one of your own groups that you are involved in or within the context of a newsletter, my answer at this time is “No”. I do want you to know that I have given it a lot of careful consideration. The main reason why I have declined to do this is quite simply I am in the process of losing weight. I have a long way to go. It may take me another year, if I am fortunate, to lose the remainder of the weight I need to lose. Then, there is the matter of maintenance. I would prefer if you continue to follow my blog, if you so choose, and then ask me again in 6-12 months. So, in the interest of maintaining my credibility and integrity as a person whom you have obviously begun to trust; the answer for now is “No.”

Postscript: If you feel that my stand seems unreasonable or harsh, my original decision was confirmed to be correct when I attempted to contact several of you readers who made these requests but gave me false e-mail addresses to respond to. Wolves in sheep clothing.

On another point, which has come to my attention in a rather unpleasant way, I also have to protect the integrity of the content of this blog, which is my inherent “intellectual property”. Although your intentions appear to be honorable, I have already had to deal with piracy and theft of my ideas. My simple stand on this is that it is “bad karma”. However, as a realist, I realize that there are those who not only grab at any quick weight loss diet that comes down the pike but also that there are people who want to “ride on the coattails” of claiming credit for something which they have not put in the “blood, sweat and tears.” It is not only a crime, it is disrespectful and insulting.

In conclusion, thank you again for your readership and support.

***Regretfully, I feel that I must share this disclaimer as well. Please do not use any of this content, partial or whole, for your own purposes. It does constitute theft and it can be punishable by law under the current U.S. copyright laws.*****

HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Keeping It Real | 1 Comment

NEWS ALERT!  DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE WILL BE A SHORT SUPPLY OF TWINKIES IN THE NOT SO DISTANT FUTURE. YES, THIS IS CORRECT! HOSTESS BAKERY CORP., THE COMPANY WHICH HAS SUPPLIED YOUR NEVERENDING NEED FOR THAT DELICIOUS AND DELECTABLE SPONGE CAKE WITH SWEET CREAMY FILLING, IS FILING BANKRUPTCY DUE TO OVERALL POOR SALES.

YES, THAT IS CORRECT. THE TWINKIES THAT WERE PACKED IN YOURS AND MINE “BRADY BUNCH” AND “MORK N MINDY” METAL LUNCH BOXES WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST. SO, IN THE MEANTIME, STOCK UP WHILE THEY ARE STILL ON YOUR GROCERY STORE SHELVES LEST YOU ARE CAUGHT WITHOUT YOUR STASH OF CHEMICALLY ENHANCED CONFECTIONS. WHO KNOWS, IF YOU HOARD A COUPLE EXTRA BOXES, MAYBE SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE, WE MAY SEE YOU ON ANTIQUES ROADSHOW PONDERING WITH THE REST OF US OF WHAT THEIR “TRUE VALUE” REALLY IS.

BON APPETITE AND HAPPY FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

AND HERE WE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THEY WOULD SURVIVE EVEN A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST. JUST FALSE HOPE AND NASTY TABLOID FODDER.

(P.S. This is a true story although any resemblance to any real characters is just plain stupid!)

INQUIRING MINDS JUST HAD TO KNOW.

Finding Clothes to Fit and Getting Fit

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Dealing with Obstacles, Denial is Deeply Rooted | 263 Comments

Week of August 23, 2011:

Since I ate 400 calories over my high calorie limit and I was way over on my sodium, I was not sure what to expect when I weighed in. I did walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes in one session in the evening but I still expected that I might show a “sodium-induced” gain. Much to my surprise, I even lost a little bit more. I weighed 258.8 lbs. This was before I had even had a morning BM too. After I had lunch, I actually not only went once but also ended up going two additional times. I had a lot of cooked cabbage mixed in with some fat free kosher beef franks  (one of my “new favorites”)  and carrots for  lunch and all that roughage really did a number on my lower intestines.

However, I got dressed. P and I went to GPC. It was the first day of fall semester. Oy! It was crowded everywhere. However, it seemed to run rather smoothly, certainly a lot different than ATC. According to the woman I spoke with, she believed that I would get financial aid including a small Pell grant!! I had to do some walking and my knees tolerated it quite well, to my surprise. When I left there I really felt like I could have hope that this could work out. The admissions rep suggested that I apply for spring semester which begins in January. I was okay with that. I really didn’t want to “suddenly” have to make the transition to being full time student within a matter of days. As I told P on the way to Wal-mart, I felt like I could actually walk this campus by then, including without my cane (or at least all of the time) if I continue to lose weight and strengthen my legs. I wouldn’t feel the physical barrier that large spaces have been to me in the past couple of years. In fact, we walked all over Wal-mart and took our time. I wasn’t exhausted when I left there. After we prayed our nightly LOTH and another rosary towards our 54 day novena, I even got on the treadmill and walked for 20 minutes non-stop. Now, that does bother my right leg but I think it is because I have to really use effort to keep on the moving tread. I wonder if I would feel this way if I were walking on solid ground. Anyway, I managed to walk the equivalent of 3 miles or 6000 steps. Amazing! I can’t even remember the last time I was able to do that. Again, I didn’t feel like I was also dragging that “extra 43 lbs” that I have managed to lose in the past year.

While I was standing there in line at the admissions office; I won’t say that I felt tiny, because I’m not, but I didn’t look half bad in the cut off knit pants and form fitting t-shirt I was wearing. By winter, I should be able to walk without a cane (most of the time) and I should be able to get around a lot easier. Immediately, I began to ponder on what I would wear as a full time student going to day classes along with kids that are my twin nieces’ age. Well, as long as I don’t try to “act their age” or “act like their Mother”, I will be okay. January is our coldest month here so I probably will be wearing jeans, turtlenecks and a short jacket. I also think that active wear still could be a “safe bet”. Depending on our income by then, maybe I can scour the thrift stores and Old Navy for some appropriate clothes. It would be awesome if I could be 30-40 lbs less by January. That would bring me very close to 200 and with me working out like I am, I will be a lot more fit as well. The best foot I can put forward is to be myself and just relate to each of my peers as just that–my peers, at least while I am in school.  It could be fun and after all more than likely these will be my peers when I am out there in the work force. I can only imagine! (eyes rolling and a little chuckle)

I logged my food for the day. I was able to get under 2000 calories which is my daily goal for this week. Since I got up so late I didn’t even bother to eat breakfast. I just went straight to eating lunch and then I counted McD’s as dinner so I had quite a bit of calories left over to eat for the rest of the night. I didn’t really get hungry again until around 9 p.m. so, as I have been doing for the past week or so, I began eating up the “leftovers”. Can I do this everyday? Well, I don’t know. I just want to be able to try anyway since I will eventually have to get used to eating a whole lot less as I go down the scales. I didn’t have any “spread” and, once again, I was surprised to see that my fat intake was much lower. I am also finding out that if I eat a lot less fruit, I am less hungry as well. Again, it gets back to what spikes your blood sugar.  I am really discovering all kinds of things as I move through this process. I do need to remember that when I am eating more baked goods, which I have been doing in the past month or so, I am also eating more (trans) fat because of the margarine I am using so I need to be mindful of that as well.

Another reason why I would like to wait until winter is that I would really like to have lost enough weight where all of these habits will have really become fully engrained. It is going to take a lot of stamina to be a student and possibly work part-time as well. I do think that I will be able to bring a lot of the food that I both make and eat with me so I am not gaining weight by eating from the vending machines. Now, they have these book bags that are on wheels. We bought one for P last year and he uses it for some of his tools for his work. I could pack a lunch and a couple of healthy snacks, put a cold pack in with it then just buy a soda or a bottle of water. I know the pitfalls of school cafeterias and vending machines and I don’t want to undo all of the work that I have worked so hard at.

8/24/11:

In the past week or so, I have gotten into the habit of  going to bed around 2:30 a.m. every night. Then, I get up anywhere between 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. I guess, there’s no harm to that since I really don’t have anything planned for the day most of the time.

So, in the meantime, I am trying to “catch fire” on going through my existing clothes and getting that whole “project” finished. I have been trying on some of the clothes that I was unsure about how they fit me. I am pleasantly surprised by some of the things so far. I am giving away my favorite denim jacket which is kind of hard since that was always my “security blanket” that I wore over everything when the weather was cooler. I tried on a really “polished” looking (and I think it was kind of expensive, I don’t remember the exact cost but the construction and fabric tell me it was close to $100) camel-colored outer coat. For this climate, I could pretty much wear it from the cooler nights of late fall up to the early spring. It is big on me now when I recall it being tight on me before even though it was a size 3X. [Now, some catalogs have a size 22-24 as their 3Xs, which is what I think this is] I was very pleasantly surprised on that! It is machine washable so I could try to wash it on hot water and then have it dried at the laundromat. I won’t do that though until it gets much cooler so that when I do that and it “responds” I won’t nix myself out of a really nice “dressy” outer coat to wear.

I also shortened two ankle-length skirts. One I have never worn simply because it was too tight. Sizing has changed in the past 4-5 years. Now, a 4X is a 26/28 and a 3X is a 22/24. It used to be a 26/28 for a 3X. I am not sure why this change came about. I do see a lot of people who write reviews on the online sites “complain” about this all the time. Now that I am aware of this anything new that I buy I buy one size larger especially if the style is more form fitting.

With the right kind of blouse or sweater these skirts could really do well throughout the late fall and winter months. One thing that I really need to do is start “investing” in some belts so that I can belt some of these blouses and lighter sweaters to take some of the “bulkiness” out of them and show my emerging waistline. I think, I am really going to enjoy dressing up this fall/winter season a lot. FINALLY, many of the clothes that have been hanging there for several years are going to be worn. Last night, I tried on a black short sleeve dress I had bought a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize that it was made from 100% silk. It is a 24WP. I was expecting that I would need to hem that as well but it actually had the right proportions for me. I do remember reading somewhere that if you have a short waist one way to get a better fit in clothes is to buy from the Petite line. Well, they were right. This was the correct length; just below my knees, and it fit really nice through the waist. It was a tad tight through the abdomen area but if I wore a really good control top pantyhose and/or lost another 10+ lbs it would be no problem.  By the time I might need to wear it, I think this “minor” problem should remedy itself. I was considering on removing the short sleeves though just because I think sleeveless would look dressier still but I will wait until it is time for me to actually wear it. I think that by the time I finished really going over my the clothes in my closet I am really going to enjoy wearing what is left.

Although I initially was going to give away my long black leather coat, I have decided to keep it (at least for this coming season). It is very narrow through the body [which will mean it will take a lot more weight for it to actually be baggy on me] and it will keep me warm during the really cold months this winter. I do need to replace the buttons [which I was in the process of doing last year] but that is an “easy fix” and it is well made. In fact, I may even want to reconsider giving it away period. After I lose all the weight, I might even want to “invest” in having it altered.

The shorter leather coat is still tight on me. What gives? I am afraid that will probably take another 15-20 lbs before it starts to seem “loose” [read:comfortable] on me. However, it is a keeper for the winter months. There were times last winter that I wore my denim jacket simply because that fit better when I would have prefered to wear the shorter black leather coat. Now, FINALLY, I should be able to wear that instead. Both of those really have a thick padding also! I never realized that before. Again, it goes to show you how well things were made “back then” (I bought the long coat in 1997 and the short one in 1999). Again, I usually go for less trendy and more classic styles so how old they are isn’t as much of a problem.

I also just tried on a sleeveless black sheath dress that I used to wear quite a bit when I first met P. Quite frankly, I didn’t have a lot of clothes “back then”.  However, I got tired of wearing it as an ankle-length dress (once again, what is with all of the larger sizes always being ankle length?), especially here where it is usually is warmer more than it is cold. I shortened it a couple of years ago when I was trying to figure out a way to wear something black for a Christmas party. Well, I was still carrying a lot of extra weight, especially through my middle. To say the least, shorter dresses on “apple” figures are not flattering at all. I felt like one of those chubby dolls with ringlets.

I held my breath as I was trying it on because I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was expecting that to be the case today but, once again, as a result of losing 43 lbs (so far) it has “dropped” in length by a good 4-5″!!! I am going to put a really small hem in it (maybe tonight) and then I will have a black sleeveless sheath dress to wear for “when the occasion arises” and I need to. The fact that this is a lighter weight knit material is also an “added bonus” during the hotter months. Actually, when I think about it, what a “gold mine” I discovered with finding this stuck in the back of my closet. It would really come in handy right now. Although I am not certain whether we will be attending a funeral this coming Friday(P may not be able to get off work), I now actually have something is both appropriate for the occasion, the weather and my size!! That hasn’t happened very often in the past for me, that is for sure. I think in baseball they call that a “Triple Play”.

Well, ideally, that will be with everything that will end up in my closet. I will have the right outfit for the occasion, weather and my size. This is a “big deal” for me since more often than not that was one of the deciding factors in why I declined to go somewhere. If I had had enough sleep and my joints weren’t bothering me too much then if I didn’t have something that I felt comfortable wearing, I would end up not going. Well, hopefully, when I finish with all of this, I will have crossed that off as one of the “reasons” why I turn down social occasions.

I was sharing these thoughts with my BDG and one of them later commented that they thought that was “interesting”. I am never sure how to read what “interesting” means so I am not sure what that person meant. Any one who has had to struggle with not having the right garment for the right occasion, weather and their size not to mention deal with having social anxiety then simply would not know what I “meant” by my comments.  If you have, then you do.

Once again, to my surprise, I found yet another dress (which I never worn) that would also be appropriate to wear to a funeral (if P can go and I decide to go along with). This is a heavier knit but it has a real nice drape to the skirt part of the dress. It is v-necked with butterfly sleeves. It feels stretchy when I put it on. The original length is not bad, it hits me mid-calf but in the interest of losing more weight, I decided to shorten that by 3″. I decided to stop there since I now have 5 separate items to hem, which will keep me busy for the next several days.

Well, “mystery of mysteries”, I am gaining weight the past couple of days rather than losing like I was doing so well there for two weeks. I took a look at the amount of calories and the sodium I have been having, which I think is the main reason. Monday and yesterday were both within my recommended calorie range. Well, I have four days before I weigh in “officially”.  I will do all I can to nudge those numbers downward. It wouldn’t be surprising if I stayed the same given the fact that I lost almost 10 lbs the first two weeks but to gain is something I wasn’t expecting, especially in light of the amount of exercising that I have done in the past couple of days. I mean, Monday was fantastic that I walked 3.0 miles total!! I haven’t done that in so long that I can’t even remember when. Although I wasn’t very hungry yesterday and I really didn’t feel like actually fixing a decent meal, I still made sure that I ate at the bottom of my recommended calorie range. I thought that was important so that I wouldn’t have this wide swing in both appetite and calories and, ultimately, have difficulty getting “centered” again. It is very tempting to “starve it out” or over-exercise when the numbers go up on the scales but I want to develop a “sane relationship” with the scale, my weight and my body image. So, again, I am going to aim for the lower range of my recommended calorie range, continue doing my “planned” exercising and try to drink more water in the next four days and, hopefully, this will correct itself by Monday. If it doesn’t by Wednesday then I will really have to take a look at what else might be happening; like, could it be premenstrual bloat, muscles “swelling” or just not enough water (instead of all the diet soda I drink instead?).

I made a big breakfast which took me awhile to finish. It was “big”. I decided to adapt the “classic buttermilk” pancake mix from a 40 year old cookbook to a healthier version. I used organic whole wheat pastry flour and honey instead of table sugar although I kept the 2% milk for the nominal fat content. It wasn’t bad although I managed to almost burn them. I also did a “repeat” with the ground turkey patties: seasoned it to taste like pork sausage (although not as greasy but just as tasty) and had eggs. That should keep me quite full for some time today.

Wishful thinking takes over and I start daydreaming about how much I could “possibly” lose by the end of this Buddy Challenge. One number “flashed” in my eyes: 243 lbs.  Of course, that is 15 lbs “south” of what I weighed this past Monday. That would be 25 lbs total then for 8-9 weeks. It is possible but I would really have to bring my calories down to the lower level and I would really have to work out even harder than I am now. Well, ideally, I would like to lose 40 lbs by Christmas. I don’t know why I chose that. I guess, it shows that I am losing without it seeming like I could be slacking.  Well, as I said, I will follow my body’s “lead” as to what I can actually do physically since that is more than half the battle. Ideally, I will be walking 30 minutes 6x a week within the next month and a half. Coupled with eating healthy and less should bring about the results that I hope to achieve. Again, it would be a dream if I could push pass 200 and get into Onederland for the New Year’s. It would definitely be a testimony to how well I do through the holidays though.

I pulled out a few more clothing items to either give away or to put in my “alteration” pile. I have just a few more things to try on and then I will be done with the fall/winter dressier clothes that I have hanging in the closet. I am seeing quite a bit of space so I hope that I can put as much of my clothes that are in the plastic bins hanging up. I think between losing weight and having them there in front of me I will be more apt to wear some of them. I used to really enjoy getting dressed up but after I really got past a size 22/24, it became more of a chore. As I became heavier, I also began to withdraw more. Then, when my arthritis started flaring up and I was in chronic pain, I became a recluse. It seemed to happen so uneventfully that I didn’t notice until I started seeing that I was getting out of this apartment twice a month. It is a wonder I am not stark raving mad. Like many things in life that seem to evolve on their own, it just plain happens.

I am hoping that now with losing what I have, I will rekindle my love of clothes again. I think that I have enough clothes right now that should see me through just about any situation: school, “work”, play, church, special occasion. I hope that I can afford to buy some new jewelry, some belts and some new shoes. I am glad to see that flats are still a strong fashion statement. I have tried to wear something with even a small wedge heel (like a new pair of sandals I bought earlier in the spring) and anything that pitches my weight forward puts pressure on my knees. That might change when I lose more weight but until then I need to wear flats. I quick checked PL online (our nearby store closed this past spring, much to my surprise!) and there are quite a few really nice flats and they are having BOGO right now too. I could really “do well” with that; if only we weren’t so tight for money.

[Side note: in the book "Beck Diet Solution" Dr. Beck suggests that a person find a non-food reward to give themselves each time they lose 5 lbs. I decided from the get go I would choose new shoes. I think that I lit on new shoes because they are usually cheaper than clothes and I am hoping that they will "last" beyond this whole weight loss journey. I have bought about 6 pair so far. Believe it or not, I have bought 1/2 size smaller. I usually add "fill ins" in the heel area (suede padding that forms around the heel area) since I have feet shaped like ducks. Medium width across the toe box and very narrow heels. This is so much fun!! I don't need an excuse to buy new shoes but it certainly makes it sweeter, now that I have an "excuse" to do so]

Well, I walked on the treadmill but I decided to stop at 15 minutes because both of my knees were really feeling it. If they respond to the EX-Tylenol I am going to take, I might try for 10-15 minutes later tonight. I just might have to do what I did before: break it up into two different sessions. Well, I am walking on knees that have been “bone on bone” (as it is often described) for 8 years. I am neither crazy or courageous. I am simply without health insurance. I do the best with what I have to work with. It is just “that simple”.

Some of the women in this Buddy Challenge work out to a dvd called “Chair Dancing”. It is geared towards the elderly, obese and those with joint problems. If I weren’t so broke I would buy at least one of them. When I get some money that is what I plan on doing. I read some of the reviews and I noticed that many people who have broken legs or are post-op use these so they can continue to be active so it can extend beyond being “unfit”. I saw a stationary exercise “bike”(just the pedals) at Wal-mart for $24.77 which I also want to buy when we have some extra money. I think I may have to supplement some of the walking that I am doing on the treadmill with other things simply because I have a feeling I will only be able to take this so far.  Well, keeping my workout varied will keep it from getting stale. I don’t think it would be very interesting to walk on the treadmill longer than 30 minutes anyway. Loud music helps to distract but when every step hurts then it is time to do other things as well.

I had a BM (finally!) so that should help “release” some of those “retaining pounds” my body seems to be hanging onto. My stomach feels a little iffy so maybe it was my “big breakfast”. I seem to be having Well, I am just finishing up my take-out meal from D’s and I am at 1891 calories. I would like to stay there if possible and not go over except for another cup of skim milk. I did walk another 10 minutes on the treadmill. So, from now on, I am going to try to do 15 minutes in the earlier part of the day and then 10 minutes later. I dropped back to 1.5 mph simply because my knees were really feeling it today. I did take some EX-Tylenol which helped temporarily but I am really starting to have trouble with my stomach taking all of this additional medicine. I really need the added boost though in aerobic movement. The pedometer that I wear does calculate how many calories I burn (I either forgot or I never checked it before) and by the time I am walking on the treadmill 25 minutes I have burned “aerobically” 120 of the 145 calories I have burned today. BLC recommends that I burn 196 calories per day so I am getting very close to their “ideal” for me at this time.

It would be nice to have knee surgery. I know that it would make a major difference in my ability to be more active. I could throw myself into working out! I have the drive and desire.  I would even consider allowing myself to be a test subject for a new joint replacement study if there were one that was looking for willing participants; especially if it were free. I realize that is risky but if I came into already having strengthened my leg muscles, eating healthy and having lost some of this extra weight; I would think I would be minimizing my part of the “risks” that usually go with “less than satisfactory surgical results”. One woman in this Buddy Challenge needs to get her BMI down to 40% before her doctor will do the surgery. For me, that might be another 10-20 lbs so that would definitely be within a doable range for me.

When I think back just thirteen years ago I was walking 15 miles a week and now I can’t even walk more than 20 minutes on the treadmill, it is just hard to believe that I am the same person. Once my right foot got injured in the fall of 1998 I had to scale back on my regular daily walking. From there, it just became a matter of treating that injury to cutting further and further back in my walking. The last time I walked any distance was when we flew to Atlanta to check out P’s school and we walked the length of the airport, which is 8 miles.  Granted, when I laid down that night, both legs were swollen from hip to toes but I still did it. Now, look at where I am at!

8/26/11:

Well, it is hard to believe this but I spent a total of 7 hours on the computer; mostly, revising my Favorite Foods list on BLC (5 hours). The computer seems to run slow on that part of that site. After I weighed this morning and I had gained back 8 lbs of the 9.8 lbs I have lost so far during this Buddy Challenge, I knew that I had to reevaluate what I was doing regarding my food plan, etc. One of the things that I decided to do was to clearly designate serving sizes on the foods I have listed.

For example, on the restaurant servings, I make sure that I show that it was an entire entree but probably at least 2 servings. I think, I want myself to stop and consider whether I really want to just go ahead and have it even if it is double what I “should be” eating. This past week, I had made my now favorite homemade pizza. I did make two personal pan-sized pizzas but I really loaded them this time: ground chuck, lots of vegetables and cheese. The original recipe is vegetarian and I believe the cheese is a lot less. I am unclear about that since it has both 4 oz of reduced fat cheddar cheese and then 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. 4 oz seems like “a lot” of cheese (I eyeballed it from the 8 oz package) whereas 1/4 cup barely covers the top. I do know that one package had 1/4 cup = 1 oz of cheese so that would mean 4 oz “should be” 1 cup, right?? I would really like to feel confident about that but right now I don’t. The original recipe calls for the cheddar cheese to be added to the crust which I did twice but left it out the last time and this time. I would rather have the cheese on top of the pizza since I think that is where it is most noticed.

Another thing, which may/may not have affected this temporary weight gain, is the fact that I have had a lot of fiber in the past several days; again, thanks to all of the whole wheat products I eat. I would point to the vegetables and fruit but, surprisingly, on a few days, I didn’t even have any fruit! I have also observed (again to my surprise) that when I fore go fruit entirely I really am not very hungry at all. Boy, I wish I had known this when I was following SBD. It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary cravings. Great discovery! Now, I wonder how far I can take that without hurting myself.? Well, besides revising my Favorite Foods list, I made sure that I had my measuring cups and spoons on “ready alert” so I could make sure that what I was eating was exactly what I thought I was eating.

I was busy again today going through the clothes hanging in my side of the closet. I am finished doing that. I have a pile of clothes sitting on the loveseat in the living room where I have been hemming things that were just “way too long”. I tried on everything that I “thought” might fit me. I also decided to give away some things which either just didn’t flatter me or were “somewhat” duplicates of other items I kept. Now, I know that what I have left does indeed fit me and the small section that doesn’t is only the next size down, which I could be wearing in a few months. I have noticed that I have a lot of black separates. OY! i forgot that I also have a section on P’s side that I need to go through. I still have some plastic bins to go through that are scattered around the bed and lined up against the walls of our bedroom. At least, now, I feel like I am making progress. By evening, I sit down and go through some of my recorded programming while I am hemming something. It all has a nice rhythm right now and I think it seems to be moving right along.

8/27/11:

I decided last night that from now on, I am going to split my strength exercises into Upper and Lower Body. I have been tired after doing the Upper body lately and I have missed twice as a result of that. I don’t want to do that because it takes a lot longer to tone and firm up the muscles in your legs. So, the very first thing I did was my lower body strength exercises. Then, I began a dinner rather than have a bowl of cereal or toast for a very late breakfast. By the time P came home, I gave him a short list and a gold ring that I have. Gold is at a high right now (I think $129 an ounce) so I went through my jewelry box to see what was left. There’s not much left either because I have been either selling or giving away all of my finer jewelry for the past five years. I still have a 14K crucifix but we decided we would wait on that. Let’s see how our finances are. I think Jesus would understand. Food and fuel first.

Over the past several years, I have gone to my jewelry box when we were really strapped for cash and sold some of my fine gold or semi-precious stoned jewelry. This was my very last quality gold piece that I could “offer”. We ended up filling the car with gas and buying groceries.

[side note: A few years ago some of the Hispanics in our parish wanted to make a crown for one of our Virgin Mary statues so I donated several fine pieces of my personal jewelry to that "cause". It was sent back to Mexico so a jeweler could fashion it. Although I had some very beautiful rings, I had stopped wearing them when my arthritis in my hands caused my joints to remain permanently damaged and larger. I only wear my wedding set now. My hands, once one of my best features, just now are  "my hands". Oh, well. It was sad to see them go: I had a 1 carat sapphire with diamond ring, a ruby (my birthstone) and diamond ring and a gorgeous emerald and diamond ring, to name a few favorites I donated. However, I knew that the jewel-encrusted solid gold crown for Mary would be equally beautiful. It was and is.]

When I get some extra money, I am going to be returning to Amazon.com and order some dvds and/or books on lower body exercises. I think I need to find some new ones that actually might be more effective. If anything, add them to what I am doing already. One of the women in the BDG commented on how I really had the mind-body connection in synch. I would say that I am really listening to my body. If something feels tense then I make a mental note of it. If something feels too easy, I think about how I could make it more “intense”. I really want to end up at my goal weight where I have symmetry in muscle strength, endurance and, hopefully, “appearance”. I made sure that I stretched today too. I haven’t done that in the past but it will help with flexibility and also warm up my muscles so I don’t injure myself.

My “hot spots” right now are the muscles are either side of my neck, both knees but in different places(on the inside of the left knee and on the back of my right knee) and down the back of my entire right leg (both the thigh and calf). I have really tried to both strengthen those areas and then treat them as I am “stressing” them when I walk on the treadmill. I think from now on that I am going to first use topical means rather than take additional EX-Tylenol simply because that seems to upset my stomach. I think, at some point, it could be beneficial to receive a massage in some of those really tense muscles or be able to get into a hot tub or warm water and allow those muscles to relax. Maybe, if we can get enough extra money, we could seriously consider joining the newly opened LA Fitness near us. They have a pool and I think that would be really beneficial for both of us. I know P would like that as well.

[We have an in-ground pool here at our apartment complex but the adults sit on the sides under the shade trees while all the 8-10 year old boys jump into the water.  We just don't like to have to be on the "look out" to see who might jump on us next.]

I have really come a long way in a relatively short period of time. It will be three months on September 4th that I began doing just the pillow exercise to strengthen my quads. When I mentioned it on the BLC Buddy Challenge group, some of the others had done this as well, usually after knee surgery. Well, hopefully, by the time I get knee surgery, I will be fit enough to recover fairly quickly. I am also focusing on strengthening the backs of my thighs as well so the strength is even. The same goes for my arms. I only do the biceps curl once a week simply because my biceps are a lot stronger than the triceps, which are really hard to shape up. I might start including that exercise more frequently once I increase the weight again. Right now, I am waiting for my shoulder muscles to be strong enough to “move up”. I’m not there yet.

I just want to keep trying different types of exercises in different ways so that I can get each muscle group as fit as possible. I have listened to some of the other people’s ideas and written them down. Right now, we are just fortunate to meet some of our basic bills but as soon as we get a little extra money I am going to get some different dvds and books. I really want to take all of this as far as I can go. It makes a huge difference in not only how I look but also how clothes fit me, as I have found out this past week as I have been trying on different clothes. I used to have a lot of self-doubt about how far I could work out because of my joints but I know believe that I can find enough different exercises to “work around” my knee joints until the time comes when I can get the surgery that I need. Then, hopefully, no more pain and a lot more mobility.

8/28/11:

P got an e-mail from one of his choir members saying that today at the 10:30 a.m. Mass a potential candidate for the Music Director was “auditioning” and she was encouraging everyone who could to attend so they could give their opinion. [P had applied for this position but he doesn't play both the piano and the organ, and with the "times being what they are", our church is hoping to find someone who can play, sing, direct, et al] I went to bed “early” although it took me 90 minutes to fall asleep. When I did get up, I pushed myself so we could go and, sure enough, he did both play the organ and piano besides singing. P and I thought he was good. I felt he showed the kind of respect towards the kind of music the 10:30 a.m. Mass uses: more sacred music. We have new hymnals and P said they reminded him of St. Alphonus and Sacred Heart. The old ones were beginning to look “shot” anyway. Some of our parishioners didn’t like them but I say “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and “beggars can’t be choosy”. I actually liked them but the “divas” in our choir wanted 4-part harmony which these hymnals don’t have. I like them because the songs have the melody and I find them easier to sing. Oh, well, again.

I have expressed a desire to join the choir (again). I tried it back in 2006 or 2007 but I found the rehearsals really intimidating. The former Music Director,B, was a real taskmaster. He was a professionally trained opera singer at some time in his musical past and it showed. I am sure that I would have eventually stepped up to the plate but, at the time, I just shrunk from the “challenge”. Now that P and I sing a hymn everyday when we are praying the LOTH, my voice has had some “practice”, I would like to give it a try again. I used to sing 4th seat first soprano at one time. I don’t know why I stopped singing because I was told I had a good voice. I have no explanation.

However, I have always said that I know what kind of demands both the rehearsals and the weekly Mass attendance involve. It is probably the most labor-intensive of all the ministries but it is such a visible part of the Mass and I have really not been a part of a group effort like that in a very long time. I feel now might be a good time. The only other thing that would stop me would be when I have my arthritis flare-ups. I know that it is a commitment that I have to “be there” all the time and I am not sure if I can do that at this time. If not now, will I ever be able to?

In fact, I have really decided to get more involved overall in other activities as well. I have never shown an interest in joining his Carmelite community simply because I didn’t want the monthly commitment. I have had such a time dealing with excessive bleeding, sleepless nights and then chronic pain that, over a period of time, I just ended up withdrawing from so much. There has been so much that P ended up doing alone that I really felt like he was probably feeling like “why was he married” when he was attending so many things alone. I feel bad about that and I would like to begin to make that up to him, if I can.

I have also realized that I have done myself a disservice not connecting with more people in the limited social contacts that we have. I have often wondered how I would “fare” without P, should something happen to him (God forbid). I have really been very withdrawn for quite a long time. P has done a great job in blending work and church activities so that he has a wide circle of social contacts and “friends”. I can’t say that about myself. I recognize that I need to change that too. I think that the time has come for me to reach out more and try some different social activities.

For one thing, I am feeling better about myself in general. I am beginning to see a compelling reason to work hard at both losing weight and getting back in shape: I feel better physically and I am able to move around better as well. I probably could even go without my cane if I am walking on level ground. I still need it though to help me get up if there is nothing that I can pull myself up with. I don’t have either the muscle strength nor the full use of my weight-bearing joints to climb stairs without a cane and usually I need to hang onto a railing as well. It just simply isn’t there—yet. Plus, I can’t dismiss the fact that I am 2 years away from being 60 years old. A lot of “normal” 60 year old begin to have trouble rising from chairs, etc. The extra weight just compounds that age factor. It really makes me want to get down to my goal weight by my 60th birthday. I sure hope that I can do that. It does make me wonder how I might do when I have lost another 40 lbs. For one thing, it would be less to “move around”. Period. It won’t change my knees but it will take less effort to move a lighter body around. This is the BIG payoff!! I’ll get less fatigued and I might even be able to do some things with more ease since I won’t have to put such stress on my joints. That alone is one of the best reasons I can think of to really push to get more of this extra weight off.

I was telling P how I just feel “liberated” being able to not only go down one whole size (mostly size 24W) but that I actually look better in these clothes than I did when I first bought them. I decided to wear what I would consider one of the last summery looking outfits today at church. I had bought the pants when we lived in Minnesota. I always had to wear them with a top to cover my pot belly and it was “pronounced”. I also think they were kind of tight on me. Well, today I wore a sleeveless top that tied at the waist. My pot belly was still there but it has flattened out quite a bit. I do a reverse curl that I got from the BLC site, which really helps strengthen the lower abdomen muscles.

Since I consider my pot belly to be my worst body part I would say that is a major triumph. I just need to keep pushing my abs as hard and much as I need to until I can feel really confident about how I look in anything that skims that area. The same goes for my upper arms since I have really had heavy arms since I gained all this extra weight. Again, I have been pushing the upper body exercises as much and as many as I can think of to do. They too are starting to look more toned. All of this extra work is beginning to show. I have only been doing extra thigh and butt work since my birthday which was about six weeks ago. They too are showing some tightening. In fact, I think between the ab work and the butt work, I am fitting into pants that I might otherwise have to wait to wear until I had lost another 15-20 lbs.

Well, I plan to just keep at this. I actually consider the strength exercises the easiest to do too since it is really murder on my knees to go very long on the treadmill. I am going to break up my time on the treadmill and do 3-10 minute sessions. Ideally, I am going to do them in the morning, afternoon and then evening. I felt like I “hit a wall” trying to walk more than 15 minutes. By 7 minutes, my knees are really killing me so 10 minutes should be doable. Starting tomorrow, that is my plan. Maybe, within a month or so, I could increase that to 4 and then 5-10 minute sessions. It would be hopping on and off the treadmill a lot but so what? It is aerobic.

I have always considered September 1st to be the start of fall (not like the “official” 21st) and, for me, that means the beginning of wearing fall-like clothes. Granted, it won’t get truly cold here until closer to Thanksgiving but I am talking more about the switch in colors from brights and whites to more autumnal colors. Well, I never really did get my spring clothes out and hanging up in the closet as I had planned to do around early April but now that I have sorted through a lot of clothes, I will say that there is a lot more room for the next season’s clothes. Not only will I know what I can wear but it should also be ready to go (other than maybe some light ironing). So, now, I will be packing up the spring/summer clothes and I am so hoping that what will remain will be a lot less because I would like them to fit on the shelf above my side of the closet without them being stacked two-high. I would actually like to be able to fit a lot of little things in some of those plastic bins, whether to put them in the hall closet or the  laundry room; just to make both of them a little less cluttered and more organized.

I do think doing this has also increased my confidence because I have clothes that fit and are also appropriate for the occasion and the weather. After church, we went to CB. I don’t have the appetite that I used to have and I did my best to choose wisely from the choices available but still I wanted to continue eating until I was stuffed. We haven’t eaten there in almost 2 1/2 months. I think that is the longest that we haven’t eaten there. It blew my entire day’s calories. Anyway, after we did our weekly Bible reading and our novena, we went to the laundromat and while our clothes were drying, we went to our garden.

Although no one else was heeding the “advice” of our master gardener, D, to clear out our gardens and start the fall/winter ones; I knew that we needed to simply because we don’t have much that is really producing. I kept one large tomato plant because there were both blossoms and green tomatoes on it. The rest of our battered vegetables we pulled up. We have learned first hand why organic produce is so expensive. We have not used any kind of fertilizer to protect the plants from the elements including bad as well as good bugs. What grows grows. What doesn’t goes into the compost.Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can pick what I want to eat straight from my garden without washing it. The size are smaller (again no added chemicals to artificially expand the size or growth period) but the taste is out of this world.

This past summer the only vegetables that survived this ungodly heat we, and the rest of the country has had, was our sweet potatoes (we had a bumper crop) and the cantaloupe.  Both were “divine”. The cantaloupe were so sweet and juicy. I made Thai sweet potato peanut soup with lots of my sweet potatoes. Now, as the weather is finally cooling down our tomatoes (and the rest of the community gardeners as well) have a chance. None of us want to budge. I think D realized this since no one moved any of their tomato plants to start our fall garden as he had wanted us to.  The “silent majority” spoke. Our fall is more like a moderate summer right now. We want our tomatoes to have a chance.

Much to our surprise, we had some tomatoes turning and some additional ones besides since the last time we saw them. D had mentioned that the excessive heat had stalled some of the tomatoes and he was right. I don’t blame the others in hanging in there with their tomatoes. We left the last tomato plant which has grown even since we last was there. We removed the strawberry plant and put that into a container which will be put on the porch from now on. I might either cover it during the winter or even bring it into our apartment when it gets colder. We dug up the rest of the soil. It is always as hard as a rock. We found a couple of left over sweet potatoes and we cleared out the Swiss chard. We tossed a non-producing green pepper plant.

Then, after we broke up the really hard porous soil, we added 50 lbs of organic soil and a small bag of organic compost. We will plant our fall/winter garden soon. I am hoping that this richer soil will be what our garden produce needs. I am beginning to wonder if the other that we had was depleted although we did manage to get some produce out of our plants; just not like I have experienced in when I was an organic gardener back in Minnesota.  After that, we “treated” ourselves to a McDonald’s cone and shake, respectively. When we returned home, we both showered. I was able to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes besides. Then, I logged my food for the day, posted on 3FC and joined P to watch some HIC re-runs while I was doing my upper body exercises.  A nice day overall.

I am so glad that we got the garden cleaned up though. The soil looked so dark and rich looking compared to the hard flat dirt we have had. I had such a feeling of accomplishment when I got that done. I hate procrastinating on anything and I have a few things that I have been doing just that on which need me to “wrap them up” asap. Ideally, I would like to finish the two bedrooms by Halloween. No special reason for choosing that date except that is about two months away and that seems like a fair enough time for me to finish them. Let’s hope that I do. It would also mean that I could really focus on the upcoming holidays instead of thinking about the two unfinished bedrooms that need to be “pulled together”!

Well, tomorrow afternoon I have a scheduled appointment with the career counselor at NH. I have no idea of what the outcome of this will be. I really don’t. I want to be as honest with her as I can be since I really think that had I been honest last fall and said that I really wasn’t interested in doing something clerical (again) that I would have looked harder at other programs W.I.A. could have funded and I might not be in this situation.

P “surprised” me the other night when I was telling him about my conversation with T about me returning to college. He mentioned about the possibility of me attending an art school where I could take something like web design. That was so “uncharacteristic” for him to come up with some suggestion that I really didn’t know what to say. It just seemed very sweet and caring. So, I am going to check out a couple of the art colleges nearby and see what they have to offer, etc. The AIA is not even 3 miles from here. Well, if they will finance my education and accept me; why not?  Thirty years ago I was a fine arts major. What happened? I listened to my practical Mom and my even more practical ex-husband then boyfriend. That was when the extra weight came on, the depression set in and it took me until 1992 to begin to straighten out the “crooked path” I was on. How very sad!

No one, I mean no one, knows you like you know yourself.  As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”

8/29/11:

Today I met with the career counselor at NH. It went as I had expected it to. I was asked to sign an employment assistance agreement at the end of our meeting. Unfortunately, part of that agreement is that I look for work that would utilize these computer skills I learned last winter. As I told P on the way out, I knew that I was “settling” (to use T’s words from the other night when we talked) when I took this course and now I am going to be held accountable to that choice, in spite of my “protestations”. However, I know that I need to find my niche whatever that might be and although this feels “unsettling” right now I know that if I push through it I might actually find something that I will really enjoy doing, whether it is going to school (which I haven’t completely ruled out) or a job of some kind. I will say that this woman was trying to throw out some ideas and not necessarily think only in one linear way. I thought that shown a kind of strength and intelligence was refreshing to see given so many people seem to go “by the book”. I will do my best to work on this very neglected area of my life.

In fact, the more that I think about it, the more I realize that one of the reasons why I began overeating was because I was unhappy. However, I was unhappy for a lot of reasons back then. I did take care of many of the reasons why I overate but I still have some “reasons” today that I need to really work on. One thing that I do know for sure is that happy people do not need to turn to food. When I am busy decorating, watching a favorite old 1930-1940s movie, hand sewing, listening to some favorite music, etc. I am not thinking about overeating food. When I was listening to myself talk today the thing that really stood out was the fact that I had jumped from job to job, learned them and actually excelled at them but they weren’t something that I necessarily pursued except for working at home. If it hadn’t been for J finding S800 I would never had really realized that “desire”. I need to find my “bliss” in this area and ideally I will also be paid something for doing it as well.

Well, after that we dropped off a large bag of my clothes to a different clothing donation center, American Kidney Foundation. It was closer so “why not?” So, I suggested going to GC for an early supper. (supper in the Midwest is before 6 p.m.) Then, I also suggested that we fill the tank with gas, get the car washed (and us vacuum the inside) and then have the oil change. It has been several months past due since P had the oil change. There is never really a good time for it so I said “Let’s do it!”. Maybe, cleaning out our garden and getting it ready for the winter garden set this in motion but I could tell P was relieved to get this stuff done.

We said our evening LOTH and nightly rosary then I retired to here, walked on the treadmill twice for 10 minutes each time, logged my food and reported in to my two groups. I weighed in at 261.4 lbs this morning. What could I account for that “re-gain”? Well, for one thing, we ate at CB yesterday and I am only approximating both the calories and the sodium content. I haven’t been able to find a website with their menu on or the nutritional data so I am using other sources and that is not accurate. I could be off the sodium content by as much as a thousand mg, which would show up as a 2-3 lbs weight re-gain.  I do feel that the temporary weight “re-gain” is not an accurate measure of my weight but then again it is for that “moment” in time.

I am really glad that I am losing some weight and firming up.  I am feeling much more positive overall with my body image. I don’t even have to hold in my gut when I am sitting in the car. What I wore today really fit well on me. I have come to the point in exercising where it is really showing when I wear clothes. I can wear more form fitting clothes and I look firm underneath. None of this is due to Spanx either. It is all of those ab work, etc. Although, it can be tiring to do this, now when I am seeing the results, I have more motivation to continue and put aside the “excuses” not to do it. I just wish dieting itself were easier for me. That is why I need to keep adding more and more exercises to do so if I can’t do one thing for a longer duration, at least, I can make up for it by doing multiple exercises.

I had an idea though tonight that I am going to “explore”. It has just been in the past week that I really “realized” that this pedometer does indeed track calories burned and also separates the aerobic steps from just plain ordinary moving around steps. It gave me the idea of trying to calculate more accurately just how many calories I am burning doing certain activities. This will really help me narrow down just how many actual calories I am burning a day rather than an “estimate”, which I was doing in the past. I also posed a question to the BDG: since I know how many calories I am burning, does this mean I can “negate” that many calories from my food plan?

I believe that might be what some of the BLC people attempt to do: burn enough calories so they are actually in the negative. Now, I read someone say they had burned over 2500 calories yesterday. Since it takes me walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes to burn 88 calories that would mean she would have had to walk half way from Atlanta to Minnesota! Unfortunately, this is one of the “downfalls” with the image that BL has: everyone sees these extremely large people getting put through a very demanding physical program and then thinking that they can do that at home. They are medically supervised. We, at home, are not. Yet, like this woman above, and even myself to some extent, go ahead anyway, thinking we can make it happen at home.

I have been slow to admit this here but I have really pushed my own body beyond the comfort zone and I have paid a price for that. Just recently I have begun taking 2 EX-Tylenol arthritis pain formula pills (1300 mg total) before I walk on the treadmill followed by icing my left knee which swells up immediately and sitting on a heating pad for my tight hamstring on my right thigh. This is just plain nuts!! I have been doing this for two months now. I will admit that I love being active again. It has just been too long but my body simply won’t do what I want it to do, no matter how strongly I want it.

Since we got such a late start with everything and I was just too tired earlier in the evening to do my lower body strength exercises, I am going to do those on my day off (Wednesday) so I am in the same rhythm as the rest of my strength exercises. I wanted to start doing 3-10 minutes sessions on the treadmill but I did get 2 in so starting tomorrow that is my plan. Besides all of this, I am also going to resume purposely drinking more water, just so I can flush out all this added sodium I have picked up. I asked P to bring me home D’s tomorrow as well so I am looking again at another restaurant meal and another meal that I have resorted to “estimating” both the calories and the sodium.

This is just plain “crazy”. Since I see this, why am I doing it then? I came across someone’s “signature” which read “You can’t over-exercise bad eating habits.” Amen to that! So, why am I doing that? No sooner do I think I am “okay” then I realize I am not. It is disappointing and frustrating.

I hate to admit this but when I was finished with this meeting with this career counselor one of the first things that I thought about was that I probably wasn’t going to be working any time soon and I was glad about that but then the somber reality of how we are struggling to make all of our bills. I feel “responsible” for being part of the problem and not yet the solution. I think even P’s patient nature is beginning to wear thin. I don’t want to prolong this any longer than it need be, which if I were really honest, I probably have by not taking that certification exam right away in the spring and then really “pounding the pavement”. Well, in my defense, when I was having an acute flare-up, which I was during that time, I was not thinking about anything but just getting through the night. I just wish some of this would straighten out so we could make progress and not sit here “spinning our wheels.”

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

By George, I think I can do this!

Filed Under 100+ lbs To Lose, Calorie Counting | 2 Comments

Week of August 16, 2011:

I am amazed but I weighed in today at 260.6 lbs. All I need to do is lose one more pound and I will have broke the 260s! I was wondering if I would be able to do that for this next week’s weigh-in. I would be thrilled to death if I could. Although last summer, I “thought” I was in the 250s, since the scale seemed to bounce all over the place, I really don’t know for sure. This new scale does not budge easily so when I see results like this, I know that they are accurate. Yesterday I decided that on my non-strength building days I would add a second session on the treadmill. I did 15 minutes in the afternoon and then did 10 minutes in the evening. I am going to try and do that every other day for the time being. If it becomes “too easy” then I will do that also on the days that I do my strength building exercises.  Again, it just gets back to keeping the body stressed enough so it will force it to burn calories just a little bit more and harder.

Also, I can say that I have “officially” passed the 40 lbs lose mark. I am going back to when I was my heaviest which I believe was just over 300 lbs. I can’t believe that I got to that place but I did in the past couple of years. There was a time about two years ago where I was definitely filling out size 26/28s. I remember how I looked when I sat down. All of the weight that I carried in the front of me just pushed out. I felt very unattractive no matter how many clothes that I bought. Well, I have gotten rid of a lot of those clothes and I am now going through the size 24s to see which ones fit me. I have some 22s that I believe I should be able to fit into later this fall as long as I continue doing what I have been doing.

I had another idea about how to alter some of these larger sizes. I would like to hang onto the clothes that are well made, both in construction and in the material that was used. I have also decided that I am either going to learn how to alter clothes on my own or seek out a class to learn how to do that. I also  had the idea that I could actually use some of these larger-sized clothes as fabric to cut from to make a new skirt or dress out of. Whether I will actually go to that length will depend on how much money I have to spend on new clothes and whether I am still motivated to do so. I do know that as I reduce my size I am definitely going to begin wearing more clothes that are form fitting. I am already in the process of doing some minor adjustments with what I have right now.

In fact, the more that I am toning my body, the more I realize how this is as important as losing the weight itself. I have been covering up my body for a very long time. That gets to be a certain mindset and one that needs changing as much as the numbers on the scales. It is important that I begin to change my body image while I am losing so that when I do arrive at my goal weight, it will seem like I was there “all along”. I have listened to enough people talk about having some difficulties in adjusting to their new weights and/or body image. I want to work on those residual problems as I am going down the scales. I guess, I want to take on all the aspects of returning to a former body size and not wait until then.

One of the biggest obstacles that I need to work on is overcoming the almost reflex action of avoiding social situations. I have social anxiety. It was really exacerbated by gaining so much weight and really feeling self-conscious about it. I also think that it didn’t help when I began using a cane. Whether that was the right decision to do or not, I did, and now I am wondering when I should stop using it. P came up with the suggestion of bringing my cane along “just in case”. Since I am going to start switching to bigger purses, that is what I am going to start doing. I can fold my black one up and I think it should fit in my purse. If I feel that I am getting too tired to walk without it, I can always pull it out. I am not sure why I am so skittish about anything social. I recently missed going to a memorial and also Mass. Granted, I didn’t sleep well because my back was hurting me but I do know that in the back of my mind I was nervous about both.

It would be awesome if I could break into the 240s by the end of this BLC Buddy Challenge but we will just have to see how my body responds to what I am doing.

8/18/11:

Well, I broke into the 250s this morning! I weighed in at 259.4 lbs. So, I have lost 9 1/2 lbs since beginning this Buddy Challenge 10 days ago. Granted, the first 3 lbs were ‘water” but the rest has been “honest-to-goodness” real weight lose. I still can’t believe it but obviously my body is in a good place and starting to respond to what I am doing. It shows that when I decrease my calories and increase my activity, I lose weight. I knew this but I just wasn’t doing it. What makes this even more poignant is that when I keep my sodium around 2000 mg it also helps a lot. I also think that the slow and steady increase in the stress of the kind of workouts that I am doing is beginning to pay off.  Another benefit of increasing the intensity of my work-outs is that it curbs my appetite. I just haven’t been as hungry in the past week or so. What I have been is very tired, almost to the point of exhaustion.

Well, my plan is to just keeping on doing what I have been doing. As I said above, I would love to break into the 240s by the end of this Buddy Challenge. That would be another 10 lbs in 6 weeks. All I can say is that I will do all I can between now and then to make it more likely to happen. In fact, I am in such a good place with all of this it would be awesome if I could keep up this pace right on “down the line”. At this point, I have lost almost 41.5 lbs. I have lost half of what Bill lost to get to his maintenance. I am quickly encroaching on where B and J are. J lost 70 lbs to reach her maintenance.

I still have a long way to go though. I want to be 135 lbs so that is 125 lbs to go. Wow! That is still a lot of weight to lose. I have gotten to where I don’t focus on that as much as having a good day and doing what I know I need to do for today. Then, that prospect doesn’t overwhelm me or intimidate me as it once did. That is one of the more surprising “developments” recently. There was a time when the very thought of tackling this weight issue was just too overwhelming for me. I couldn’t stay on a reduced diet for longer than a few days before giving up or giving in, whichever way you want to look at it. Now, I find myself just plodding along.

I didn’t go to bed and/or sleep until 6 a.m. yesterday so I was so tired the whole day. I decided not to push myself so I didn’t exercise. I waited to see if having some food would help. It didn’t so I just ate within my calorie range and stayed lower on my sodium (which I can see is KEY) and then watched some t.v. last night. I still didn’t go to bed last night until 2 a.m. I didn’t intend on that. It was more because I was responding to some e-mails including ones where P has lined up some personal “jobs” for tomorrow, which is instant cash for us. I got an e-mail from the Career Counselor at NH. I sort of rolled my eyes when I saw it because it just flooded me with some feelings of inadequacy regarding the one area in my life which feels so “crummy”. I did revise my resume and sent that to her. She wanted to see me in person as well so I told her early afternoons next week sometime would work. As I told P, I am not putting a lot of stock into this because I know that they might have to do this so they can say that they “worked with me” regarding finding employment. According to their contact person last fall, he said that they “track” our job search efforts, they don’t offer job placement, which WIA insisted they had to do in order to receive funds from WIA. Well, we’ll see what comes of it but I will go just in case she does have something she can offer me that I could check into.

I have really struggled (and resisted) the idea of going to college for four years. It just seems like such a long time for a person of my age. However, I do see from time to time “spots” on the national news or even on the Internet where older people are either starting a different/second career and/or returning to college for the same reason. They all seem “very happy” working in their “golden years”. I guess, my work experience has been mostly unfulfilled, both in the inter-work relationships I have had and, of course, the pay was “below standard” (and certainly for me holding a college degree). Maybe, it is my past experience that is coloring my view about doing this and prejudicing me. I think so.

Anyway, there is another part of me that thinks about what would happen to me if Pl were to die or even become unable to work? It is one thing not to be helping to provide “something” now but it would be crucial if he couldn’t work due to disability or an accident and although I would have quite a bit of money if he died because of his life insurance (provided they wouldn’t contest it), I am well aware that I also need to foster some contact with other people as well. So, I am holding my breath on this one but I am going to go to their D campus and check things out. Maybe, if I am “lucky” I will qualify for some kind of financial aid so I can pay for the schooling. I also really do like the fact that it is so close and we/I wouldn’t be going through the horrible mid-town traffic. It certainly has given me something to “hope for” anyway.

Well, I got my 15 minutes in on the treadmill. It actually went a lot easier although my right knee started to lock up a lot the last 90 seconds or so. Maybe, that was a good idea to fore go exercising yesterday. I will have to remember that. Now, all I need to do is my strength exercises. Again, I am “working on” clearing out the leftovers in the refrigerator. I came up with a pretty good way of  getting my vegetables in and eating up some leftovers. I had quite a bit of cooked cabbage leftover from one of my D’s take-out meals so I sliced up two fat free kosher beef franks and heated that up together (the sodium in the two skinny wieners are 1040 mg!!) along with some baby carrots. I’m having red grapes for “dessert”. It really makes me feel good that I can both eat healthy and really enjoy it at the same time. In fact, I am really feeling proud of a lot of the choices that I have been making lately. Obviously, they are good ones because the weight is finally going down.

As I told P last night at this point the weight I am is “pre-P”. I am almost certain that I weighed around 265 lbs (and didn’t waver much either) the first few years we met. I was always trying to diet but I sabotaged my efforts more often than not. I really didn’t know what healthy eating was back then. The only thing that I could think of was having a salad and foregoing dessert. I have since learned that it is a lot more than that. I don’t recall being “between” 265 and 245 lbs. It seems like when I gained weight back then it was in 20 lb increments. So, I am now finally charting a new path for me as I write this. The last time I was 245 lbs was in the mid-1990s, if I remember correctly. So, we are talking about 15 years at the least. I began college at the University of MN in 1983 and I weighed 232-235 lbs then. I felt huge back then because that was the most I had ever weighed. Now, I would be thrilled to death to weigh that. As for Onederland, I haven’t been there since early 1980s. Again, my weight jumped from 190s to 200s to 220s to 235 within a matter of one season–from April 1983 to September 1983.

So, I am now on the verge of returning to what I weighed decades ago. I feel that mentally and emotionally I am finally ready for the change. So, now, it is just “putting my hand to the plow” and not looking back. I think the real key right now is “not looking back”. It is not about dwelling on the fact that I once weighed 301.8 lbs., which now seems staggering to me, but to look forward to a more “normal weight” within a year. I am really glad that I am taking the time to really scrutinize the clothes that are remaining in my closet. Ideally, when I finish with all of this (which seems to be taking forever) I will be able to confidently say that whatever is in my closet flatters me (at that point in time) and I truly do have clothes that I can take off the hanger and not worry (too much) about how they look on me.

Well, I have done all of my strength exercises for the day. I am still finding the mid-abs the most difficult to do. That is also where a lot of my weight is right now too. I have accepted that it will probably take me losing a good 60 more lbs before I can actually consider curling up enough to touch my knees with my elbows. In fact, I might not be able to do that until I am within 20-30 lbs of my goal weight. Well, that is the reality of losing weight. You really have to get the extra weight before you start seeing the muscle definition emerge. Although I could do this every day and I was doing that in the beginning, I think I will just leave my ab work-out “as is”(doing it when I do my strength training every other day–that is still 4x a week) for the time being.The results won’t be as obvious until I do lose some more weight and the main thing is to continue to strengthen them.

When I do get more weight off I might consider at that time begin doing some of the more challenging dvds that I own, like the Pilates. Now, that will be challenging. By the time I am able to do that I should actually be seeing a “normal figure”. Maybe, when I hit Onederland I can seriously begin doing the Pilates workouts that I have. Again, I have been around enough fitness centers, seen enough programs, read enough books and so on, to know the “drill” on getting into shape. It takes time and persistence. To get those enviable bodies like the ones we all see on t.v. and in the magazines, you got to put the time in. Well, fortunately, I have the motivation. I also remember what it felt like to feel “strong” and limber. I would like to regain that if possible.

Right now, I think that doing 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights is enough for my upper body. I find that my neck tenses up so that is saying that I am not quite at a place where I have the strength through my neck to move with a heavier weight. The main thing is to have “good form” and just continue. I can always go up to 3 sets of 15 reps as well. The author of “Abs n Arms” also said that you should switch off and on between a lighter and heavier weight just so you stress the muscle differently; so, I will consider doing that as well. Again, the middle of my upper back towards the right side, where I bruised it last winter when I fell in the shower, acts up after I have done the abs.

I took the opportunity to try on a dress that I wore once (maybe twice) when I first met P. I remember wearing it to Ph’s baptism which I think was 10 years ago. Although it is polyester, it feels like a thick silk and it is a bright teal and purple print. It is in the sheath style which I also like. It is a size 24W and it is “almost”loose on me!!! I am thrilled beyond words. This style is “in” right now and it will wear well throughout the fall and winter months for me. I would like to see if I could find a matching shrug to wear with it when the weather gets cooler. [In fact, I did find one in Jessica London online: either in royal blue or purple---I actually think the purple might be better with it--make the colors pop!] Again, I only want to keep the clothes that truly fit me (or I can alter later to fit me then) so when I go in my closet, I will feel like anything I choose will look good on me. What a change that will be from the past.

I am continuing to eat up leftovers and I still have more to go. That is great since that definitely keeps us from going to the grocery store every other day. Plus, I seem to really have hit my stride when it comes to home-cooked meals. Right now, I am having pork and vegetable stir fry plus a whole wheat strawberry muffin. Well, I made my daily goal of getting a lot of different vegetables in.

So, we ended up going out after all to GC for an anniversary meal. I am really feeling a comfort level with eating out and still staying close to my food plan. I did go over on the sodium, which is almost a “given” when eating out, but it was only 2 lbs and I don’t “officially” weigh-in until Monday morning. Both of us were just so tired that we came home. I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then logged my food.  I stayed up late to watch one of my favorite “reality” shows: House Hunters International. As I was sharing with P, the trend has changed quite a bit this past year with these new episodes. Now people are moving globally for new jobs. Before it was for adventure or to retire early. Even our local news mentioned that the majority of the jobs being offered right now at job fairs are abroad. I think, it caught the person reporting by surprise as well. It just means that this recession and this unemployment has really changed the landscape in a way that truly only the “strongest will survive”; in what ever way works for them. We just have to figure out how we are going to be able to survive. Beyond week to week and month to month. That’s all.

Well, although I went way over my daily sodium, I only gained 2 lbs so I think that if I really watch the sodium in the next two days, I should lose that by Monday morning. I don’t know if it is realistic for me to expect to lose any more after having already lost 9.4 lbs in two weeks. I would like to lose another pound. This sounds like a selfish and competitive reason but right now I am ahead one other person by a few pounds and it is possible that she could have a really good weekend and “overcome” my current “first place” position. If I can push myself tomorrow, I am going to try and even do a RS work-out at some point. We’ll see if I can get P away from his ghost shows long enough for me to do that. It would be awesome to say that I have lost 10+ lbs in two weeks.  Well, if I don’t, it is still a very respectful “show”. I am strongly motivated to keeping this up too.

This is what I have decided to do for this coming week to “intensify” my efforts: I am going to attempt to remove (1) 100 calorie item from my daily calorie intake. The most obvious one for me is my use of margarine on toast or muffins. I do think the fat adds something to the warm bread but I do have butter spray which has no calories at all so I am going to get in the habit of using that. I will share this with the rest of the group because it might incite someone to consider doing it themselves. I shared today how I began working out again. All I can do is share and if they want to pick up on some of your ideas, fine, but on the same hand, if they don’t want to, I have to just respect that too. It is definitely their lose.

8/21/11:

Once again, I had leftovers for lunch and then we had a “fresh” meal for dinner: baked pork steaks, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.Surprisingly, I was still able to stay within my high range for calories and even stay well under my sodium range with eating a bag of fat free microwave popcorn and a light beer. All of the numbers were withing the recommended range as well. In other words, this ended up being a really good day overall with my food plan. I suggested that we watch a couple of our own movies instead of just surfing the t.v. channels and really not “engaging” in anything particular. I think, we find that relaxing so we both ended up mellowing out by the end of the night.

8/22/11:

Tomorrow is the third weigh-in for our Buddy Challenge and the second where we are measuring weight loss and subsequently the body percentage lost as well. I am about 2+ lbs ahead of one person but she knows how to drop weight quickly so it might be interesting to see how she will fare tomorrow. I have really worked hard this past week. I have really tried to keep my sodium down as best as I could. However, I have noticed that my appetite has really increased as I have increased the intensity of my activity. I feel like it doesn’t take more than an hour or so before I am hungry again. Unfortunately, I hope I haven’t been fueling that since the past couple of days I have really eaten a lot (now all) of homemade whole wheat muffins I made earlier this week. Sometimes, I just run out of ideas of what to eat. I was also constipated yesterday which is unusual for me since I usually go to the bathroom almost right away when I get up.

I also walked 20 minutes in one session on the treadmill and I did most of my strength exercises as well. CT, who is in second place this past week, may pass me this week. She seems eager to “compete”. She mentioned right off the bat how I would be a “contender”. It would be “fun” to win this Challenge although “victory is fleeting”. I won one last year and who remembers that? I doubt any of them do. I guess, it would depend on whether I would stay with this group after this challenge or not. I probably will. I feel like I have fallen in although it is interesting how the conversation flows. In some respects, I feel like I am almost virtually ignored. However, when it comes to posting in these groups, timing is everything. If you post too early or too late then people may miss it and assume that you aren’t posting. I posted for this past weekend because I didn’t get on until close to midnight. Now, tomorrow all I have to do is weigh in.

I have tried to increase some part of my exercises’ intensity on Sunday night; sort of an informal “Last Chance Workout”. Tonight, after it quit storming, I walked for 20 minutes straight. I varied the speed between 1.6-1.8 mph. I actually think that 1.7 mph seemed comfortable enough to me that I might begin by doing that as my “base speed”. If I can, I would like to do 1 20 minute session earlier in the day and then 1 10 minute session later in the evening. I tried that last week with 1 15 then 1 10 minute “session” last week  but I think I only did it once. As I said, I have really felt like I have been consuming more energy than I am accustomed to. I have been sleeping an average of 9-10 hours a night, which is great after all of that missed sleep this past spring. Today my appetite just seemed hard to tame. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I think some of the choices that I made might have contributed to fueling it too.

Well, tomorrow and this week is a whole new week and that is how I want to look at it. I would like to aim for eating no more than 2000 calories. Considering that I ate 2500 today means I may have my work cut out for me. It is evident that I need to eat more vegetables and fruits. I still have some red grapes and pineapple so I have no excuse not to. I just didn’t eat them. As for vegetables, I was sort of hit and miss on that this past week. I had some really good days but I was also trying to eat up a lot of leftovers which left me sometimes eating a lot of grains. What I have decided to do is try to reduce each day by 100 calories. Now, for me, all that would mean is to reduce or stop using margarine. Then, I will go down my food plan and look for other places to cut. I am already eyeing the skim milk that I drink when I take my evening Tylenol PM. I either have to stop drinking milk the rest of the day, have half as much or try to find another way to take those pills. Other ways I can reduce my calories is by eating half of something: one slice of bread rather than two, one slice of lunch meat, one-half of a muffin, etc. I won’t do that though until I start needing to get below 1800 calories.

I can see that if I am going to crank the activity level, I am going to have to be eating a lot smarter than I have been. I really have to eat quality nutrients in my food because my body needs the superior fuel. I went without vitamins for almost two weeks and it makes a difference for me especially since I was also bleeding during that whole time as well. My “outside” goal is to just get all of this down to a “system”. If I can get a well-established habit of exercising without fail six days a week, eating a really healthy and well-balanced food plan, then I am hoping that my body will respond well and I will lose weight. Granted, it would be nice to be in the 240s by the end of this challenge. That would mean 10 more lbs in about 6-7 weeks, depending on how you count the calendar weeks. That is about 1.6 lbs per week. It sure seems doable, especially what I am trying to do now. Well, we will just have to see how things work out.

Well, I hope to find out something about whether I can count on going to school this fall or winter by mid-week or so. If that is a door that is completely closed to me then I will just have to really hunker down and do a real blitzkrieg for job searching. Perhaps, this career counselor can shed some much-needed light on my “situation”. It doesn’t help that hundred of thousands of well-deserving and qualified applicants are out there looking for work as well. In fact, both P and I are becoming increasingly worried about how we will continue to “survive” just based on what has/hasn’t happened in the past two months. It is very real and it is very scary.

[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]

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