My Weight Loss Progress

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


One of the biggest blessings of my life was the day my kind-hearted husband quietly said, "Honey, I hate to tell you this, but....
you snore.

That man can sleep through anything!  I'd probably been snoring, loudly, for years.  Now I was working night shift for three months, and he woke up while I was at snore stage.  Poor guy. I am so glad he decided to tell me.

The kind of snoring I was doing was the sleep apnea kind.  Soon I found myself on a CPAP machine at night, and begin to get some actual rest.  Here I am, four or five years later, and I recently got the pressure changed and a brand new mask.  What a difference it has made to my energy levels!  I'm still tired a lot, but not dragged-out, can't-possibly-move-any-more exhausted like I was.

By the way, Pat, if you're reading this, I took your advice and went to a podiatrist. Came home with shoe inserts and recommendations for good shoes, which I hope to find on a trip to a bigger city.

Monday, April 29, 2013


You're almost there! Tomorrow is Z!

As  much as I love Leslie Sansone videos, she usually doesn't do enough stretching at the end.  At the gym I used to go to, one of the trainers told us that we should stretch for at least ten minutes after aerobic exercise. I try to do that, but it gets pretty boring, just standing or sitting there, stretching and counting.

That's where yoga comes in.  I have a DVD called "The Ten-Minute Solution: Yoga" (for beginners.)  There are five different segments in it, so after a good aerobic walk, we just pop in a segment and stretch with Angie Stewart.  Each one has a little different focus--energy, balance, etc., but each one is a pretty thorough whole-body stretch.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


X is the letter that comes, sometimes in multiples, in front of the letters L (large) and S (small) on our clothing.  Usually only once before the S, but up to three or four in front of the L. It gets to the point they have to write it as 4X because they run out of room on the label.

When it comes to the L in our clothes, we want as few of those X's as possible.  The world's a funny place. When it comes to food, fast food especially, we want the L or XL, but we can't get away with that and stay with the S or XS in our clothes.  So that's a good rule of thumb for ordering meals.  Order the size you want your clothing size to be.  Or at least in the direction your want it to go.

So, if I am an XL, and want to go back down to L or M (medium), I should keep ordering S foods until I get there. 

W is for Water

Water...a necessity of life. 

But let's use our common sense about it.

Adults need to drink at least 8 ounces of water a day.

This one may be a good rule of thumb, but it actually defies logic.  Does a 5-foot woman need as much water as a 6-foot man?

Doesn't it depend on diet also?  Someone who eats a lot of soup, fruit, and vegetables, is not going to need as much water as someone who eats a meat and starch diet, because they get it naturally.

Soda water (soft drinks, cola, pop, whatever you call it in your area of the world) dehydrates you more than the water in it hydrates you.

Think about it. Yes, the small amounts of carbon and caffeine may be a tiny bit dehydrating, but there is so much higher percentage of water that it does not dehydrate you. It may not hydrate you as well as plain water, but it does not make you dehydrated.

Unsupported statement:
By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Well, yeah, but is it a bad thing?  Nature has wonderful ways to tell you that your body is out of balance, and thirst is one of them.  You start to feel a bit thirsty, so you get a drink. Voila, balance restored!  I am not a doctor, but I think if you are force-feeding yourself water, you are just as likely, if not more so, to get out of balance.  You may be flushing out nutrients and things that you need.

Unsupported statement with unsupported reasoning:
Drinking water during meals interferes with digestion.

My opinion: It waters down the stomach acids, but they rebound quickly.  Meanwhile, the extra fluid helps the food keep moving smoothly through your system, possibly preventing constipation and its related problems.  If you shouldn't drink water with meals, then people shouldn't eat soup either.

However, if I drink a lot of water on top of a heavy meal, it may make me burp a bit of it up because my stomach ran out of room. When I drink water, or any other drink, along with a meal, it doesn't bother me at all.

Drinking water at certain times of the day will cure or prevent diseases.

Water is water. Why should the time of day matter? Your organs sit there during the night and do their jobs while you rest.  They don't need "wakening" or "settling down" for the night.  They do need water, but they don't have a clock ticking in there with little alarms going off to give you a disease if you happen to miss a watering.

Drinking cold water causes cancer.

No, it just refreshes you.  Your body has marvelous mechanisms for regulating temperature. If cold water caused cancer, then so would anything else cold, including fruit salad and ice cream. They may have their own problems, but cancer from cold is not one of them.

What I think about water: it's a marvelous thing. I feel a bit droopy or get a slight headache and a glass of water can perk me right up. Ice water is nice on occasion, especially if your water doesn't taste good, because the cold numbs the taste buds a bit.  Some things just taste better cold, like soda and root beer floats!    But if I'm hungry, a glass of water doesn't make me less hungry.  It does make me less thirsty.

Sources: Water Works Water Weal Cold Comford

Friday, April 26, 2013

V is for Vitamins and Vegetables

One of the things Leslie Sansone recommends in her book is taking a daily vitamin.  If we are working harder and eating a little less, our bodies just might need a bit of extra nutrition.

Some of the "health nut" people claim that fruits and vegetables don't have as  many vitamins as they used to, due to soil depletion, modern farming, etc.  I don't know about that.  I just take the multivitamin pill  my doctor recommends and hope it does me some good.

I was not allowed to have vegetables for four days this week due to a medical test I was preparing to undergo, and I missed them a little.  I also had no fresh fruit, only canned fruit, and I missed that a lot.  I think I'll go make a salad!

U is for...

The Ugly Truth.

The Ugly Truth is that when women gain weight, we forget to see ourselves as the beautiful, divine creations we really are.  We look in the mirror and our image gets distorted by fat. I don't think men do that as much.

I used to look in a mirror, and ask myself if my clothes matched, if I looked put together for my role that day, whether it was student, mother, teacher's aide, club member, going to the gym...

Now I look in the mirror to see if my clothes make me look a teeny bit slimmer or make my fat places look even fatter.  That's the Ugly Truth.

Another truth is that no matter how much I tell myself I am mainly trying to take care of my health, I still want it to come with a skinnier body!  I still judge fat people, yet really I've taken care of myself pretty well for years and I am still a fat woman.

A beautiful truth is that I don't see myself as a fat woman, until I see a mirror.  I'm still me, still pursuing life, personality much the same as ever.  The question I have is whether others see that, or if they see me first as a fat woman and forget to look for what's inside.  And that's the Ugly Truth.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Travel

How do you stay fit while traveling? 

Some helpful things I've found:

If you usually work out in a gym, look for hotels with a fitness room. It's usually small but better than nothing.
Courtyard by Marriott, San Diego, California

I always look for a hotel with a pool that is open.  Swimming and water aerobics are a great way to unwind at the end of a long day on planes or in the car.  Of course, this means planning to get there, or stop, early enough to use the pool. And don't forget your swimsuit!

Comfort Suites, Cary, North Carolina

Walk.  Walk around the block at a gas stop. Walk in the airport instead of using a motorized cart.  Pull your luggage or carry it.  But don't overload so you hurt yourself. Using a cart saves your back and that's worth it. 

Sightseeing.  Tours usually involve a certain amount of walking, maybe even some hiking or climbing. If you're on a cruise ship, the tours provide a good way to get off and do some real walking, hiking, or other exercise.  I even went tubing in Jamaica! It's a nice gentle river--not wild like the western United States river rafting trips--a great beginner trip.  Cruises also have pools and fitness equipment, even classes if you're willing to get up early. 

Photo from:

Take a bike tour if you like to ride.

Drink plenty of water.  You'll need plenty of bathroom stops, but you'll feel better.

Take your own pillow if you are driving.  Sleeping on unfamiliar pillows can be uncomfortable.  It's nice to have one in the car while you are a passenger, too.

Take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators, when it's possible. Stop and do a good heel stretch whenever you find yourself on stairs or an escalator.

Last--but not least--watch what you eat.  Don't use travel as an excuse to overeat or eat really rich or fattening foods.  Getting sick or uncomfortable is not worth what it costs in terms of sightseeing or feeling good and enjoying your travel adventure. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sabbath

In my church, we treat Sunday as a Sabbath Day.  What does this mean?

The purpose of the Sabbath is to draw closer to God.  It is a time for worship. It's a time for quiet, pondering, dwelling in God's word through scripture study and prayer.  It is also a time for church, for family, and for rest from worldly cares.

Washington Road Chapel, Evening
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Magna Utah

A lot of people think it stands for all the "don'ts".  Don't work, don't shop, don't eat out, don't go to basketball games or play sports or have friends over, don't exercise (I like that one!) ...the list of "don'ts" varies from family to family.

The reason for all the don'ts is simply to keep us away from the worldly cares so we can center our lives by centering our focus on the Lord.  In the Bible, our Heavenly Father tells us to do our labors in six days, and rest on the seventh.  Maybe it's resting to eat out, but then someone else is required to work on our behalf, and the Bible does say:  But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.  (Exodus 20:10)   

 It's a personal decision how to keep the Sabbath.  I prefer to keep meals simple, keeping work at a minimum for all of us.  On a side note, we do have people and animals to feed, so that must be done, but we don't have to "work" them that day.  Even horses and dogs and donkeys will benefit from a day to rest now and then. 

I once heard a speaker talk about Sabbath Mondays.  She said that if they treated Sunday as a true Sabbath, Monday always went better.  She said things ran more smoothly, the children were more cooperative, and she had more energy than any other day of the week. 

By that logic, perhaps we should have a Sabbath every other day.  I think that would be going overboard, disobeying "six days shalt thou labor."  However, it's something to think about.  On the six other days of the week, part of that labor should still be maintaining our scripture study, and laboring in prayer for ourselves and our loved ones.  We should always work at our relationships, serving others, and getting closer to God, not just be "Sunday Saints."  

Some things are everyday things, but Sundays are special. If we make keeping the Sabbath a regular part of our routine, it makes Sunday a day to look forward to, a day to enjoy, rather than just another weekend "get everything done" day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q and R are for Quiet Reflection

To keep my life balanced, I need a regular time of quiet reflection.  Some people call it meditating, or pondering.  Whatever it is, is is more than worry.  It is a time of quiet, sometimes of prayer, a time of opening up my mind and new ideas come in.

One place I find that is in the shower.  As I take a leisurely shower, thoughts flow into my mind regarding whatever I'm working on at the moment. I get all sorts of ideas that I can either reject or follow up on later. 

Another place I find it is in the car.  I pay attention while I drive, but if I leave the radio off, a part of my mind wanders free and sorts things out.

Walking can be a good time to do this as well.  Since I usually walk with a partner, we think out loud as we go.  We've sorted out all sorts of issues and generated lots of ideas as we bounce thoughts off of each other. Many of them are rejected but it's fun to see what pops out of our psyches.  

Sometimes thoughts directly related to the day come in during that morning "just woke up, not ready to get up" period.  I don't usually have to wake to an alarm, so that's a good time for me.

I guess the whole point is to slow down.  Our frequent hurry-up pace can crowd out the chance to pause, to reflect, and to leave our minds open.  Got some waiting time?  Find that peaceful mind place and let it go to town.  You might solve a big problem or mentally plan a meeting while waiting for the carpool.  You might change the course of your whole life while standing in the shower.  You might peacefully find that you are on exactly the right track at the moment.  

We often consider open-mindedness as being open to new information and other people's ideas.  I invite you to open your mind to what's inside it and see if great ideas come out that will help you grow and learn from what you already know or have done.  

One caution:  if you do this when you are angry or resentful, the ideas that come out may not be the most sane. Examine them carefully!  Fear can do it too. Even in peaceful times, not everything that comes into mind is helpful.  We have the freedom to keep what to choose and what to dismiss.  Also, headache or pain can block the mind opening if we are focused on it. Maybe that's why the shower is good--it provides temporary relief from those. 

P is for Procrastination...

Like, isn't today supposed to be Q?  Where did yesterday go?

I hadn't decided what to use for P. I was thinking of Plan, but that would be like the diet post, and next thing I knew it was today.

Have a great weekend!  Don't put off something you really need or want to do, okay?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Olive Oil

A somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at this miracle substance.

It's supposed to be one of the most healthy natural oils.  Did you know you can also use it for a  hair treatment?  And you can buy olive oil cooking spray.  You can get mayonnaise made with it. You can shine your sink with it.  In a pinch, you can use it for lip balm or to soften your feet at night.

You can buy it in Virgin, or even Extra Virgin.  Just in case you need a virgin around for a rainy day.

The difference between "OO" "VOO" and "EVOO" is....found at WebMd .  Apparently you have to be careful to read labels, because much of what is sold as EVOO is not as pure as it should be. That's probably the stuff I buy, because I don't like the super expensive kind. It kind of hurts the pocketbook.

There's even light olive oil. I always wondered about that.   It's oil, how can it be lighter than oil?  Well, it turns out it is simply filtered more thoroughly, so that it is a lighter color.  Who'd-a-thunk?

Look for where it comes from, not where it is bottled. It could have been grown anyplace, then sent to France or Spain to bottle it so it looks more  Mediterranean.   Ooh-la-la.

You also have to watch for when it was bottled, and if you must keep it in food storage, be sure to rotate it through. It does go rancid after a year or more in storage.  I think the solution is to buy what you can use in a few months, and use it freely, so you always have a fresh supply.  In some countries they actually dip their bread in it instead of using butter.  It's quite tasty--as long as you are absolutely sure it isn't rancid. You can buy it with herbs in it for extra flavor, or soak your own herbs in it for a while and achieve the same thing.

If something says it has olive oil in it, read the label there too. Some things say "Olive Oil" and it's in there, about three ingredients down from canola or soy oil.

Some people keep olive oil in the fridge where it gets partly solid, to delay spoilage.  I figure if I have to heat it to use it, why bother?  Doesn't that make it spoil faster anyhow?  I just get smaller bottles and use it up!  I guess if you want to buy the mega-size bottle and keep just a small portion in the cupboard at a time, that could work too.  Depends which is more important to you, the hassle or the money.  And how many rug-rats you're feeding it to.  A small bottle will last me for months in  my empty nest, but we'd have gone through it in a  minute when I had four teenage sons at home.

An olive branch is a symbol of peace. To "hold out the olive branch" indicates asking for forgiveness, truce, or resolution.

But olive branches woven into a wreath, like laurels in a wreath, denotes victory or a champion.

Olive oil, the new breakfast of champions?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Nothing

That's about what's on my mind tonight.

I do want to look into the New American Diet, which I found at AARP, but I haven't had time to research it yet.  My taxes took forever.

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Marshmallows

What do marshmallows have to do with fitness and health?

They don't!  But once in a while you get a little treat, right?

I went to part of a women's conference on Saturday, arriving as they served dessert.  It looked wonderful--vanilla and chocolate ice cream, lots of toppings.

Well, ice cream is out. (Dairy)  Caramel Topping is out (Dairy), Crumbled cookies are out (gluten), that leaves...

Mini Marshmallows!  Strawberries!  Pecans! 
Just a couple of small spoonfuls of each. 
Drizzled with chocolate syrup. 

Believe it or not, that's a wonderful combination for a rich, tiny treat.  Should I feel guilty?  Nah...not when everyone else there had two scoops of ice cream with cookies and all the toppings!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Leadership

You can't run a successful organization without good leadership, and this week we had our leadership installation ceremony.  Most of them stayed the same, but our long-time secretary declined to run again, so we have a new secretary.  Many thanks to all of them!

Our Leader Pat and Co-Leader, Pat.  

Pinning the corsage onto our leader.

New Secretary

Outgoing Secretary. She always had a great quote to start off the reading of the minutes.

Club Members "Giving a Big Hand" to support our new leadership.


New Weight Recorders.  We sure depend on them!

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kickboxing, Karate, and Kakuro

Quick Quiz:  Which of those three is not exercise?  What is it?

I was stretching to get K's today.  Kickboxing and Karate are both great exercises, if you can do them. I can't.  The short, choppy movements are too hard on my body.  But it's okay.  I find things I can do, things that don't hurt my knees.

Hey, I should have just gone with...

K is for Knees.  

My sister told me that for every x- number of extra pounds, it creates y- amount of stress on the knees.  I can't remember the numbers but it was scary. Researching this, I am finding numbers like 3 and 4 times as much as the weight.  So if I weigh 75 pounds more than I did when I was young and healthy, I am putting 225 to 300 times as much stress on my knees as I should.  It appears I am doing more damage to my knees just by being overweight than by extreme exercise.  

I'm sure it's not just the knees, either. The entire body supports the weight. More incentive to keep going! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Judging

How easy it is to judge others, and how quick we are to do it.

Even though I am overweight, it's easy to quickly judge people who are more overweight--or that I perceive as being more overweight.

The thing is, our perception is skewed.  One time I walked toward a building, and coming toward me I saw a woman who was overweight and kind of sloppy-looking.  See how quick I was to judge?  Did I see a busy, happy woman who was going to the library with her children in tow, taking time out of her day for them?  Did I see a woman who was doing the best she could in spite of chronic fatigue?  Did I see a good mother out for the afternoon with her children? Did I see someone who hadn't slept well in years and carried on in spite of it?  No, I saw a woman who was overweight and kind of sloppy-looking. Snap judgment.

As I got closer, I saw the woman more clearly--and it was not someone who was coming toward me through the doors, it was my reflection.  Two things came of that:  I decided to lose weight, and dress a little better--and I stopped to think more about how judgmental I was.

I admit it didn't cure me.  Sometimes I'll see someone who must weight at least 100 pounds more than me, and I'll say to myself, "That's incentive!  I don't want to look like her."  How quickly I forget that I don't know what's in her life, what it's like to walk in her shoes.  I was at a walking path the other day and saw a woman who was so heavy it must have been painful to walk.  My first thought was "Wow, look at her thighs!"  I had to remind myself to admire her for the effort she is making. There she was, chugging along a 1.8 mile path with her dog.  Not only was she exercising, she was taking care of a dog, more than I am willing to do.

We've taken to walking in the mall when it's my husband's turn to choose where/how we exercise.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window of a store, and I judge myself for what I see.  I feel brisk, and young, and slim, as we stride along.  Then I see how I look to others.  I quickly look away.  I don't like to think of myself as a short, fat woman.  I'm not short; I'm average height, but to myself in the mirror I'm short and fat.   I am at least 2 sizes bigger than that woman I saw at the library that day a few years ago. I know how that happened, but I am working to change it.  So I quickly look away and focus on the fact that I am working to return to good health. Not only am I exercising, but I have a support system going with my husband. And it doesn't show in the mirror yet, or to those who see me, but we increased by one lap around yesterday.

So, next time you see someone overweight, or messy, or whatever strikes you on first impression, please don't judge them.  There is no possible way to walk a mile in their shoes--unless it's your own reflection that you see.  Then I hope you are trying to walk that mile, and more!  Be kind to yourself while you are making changes, though. Stop judging yourself on only the outward things and look at the work you are doing to return to good health.  One day at a time and all that. Rome wasn't built in a day--nor was it overthrown in a day.

Okay, I'll get the short fat lady off the soapbox now--she's got a walk to take.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Intelligence vs. Ignorance

The world is full of weight loss scams, fad diets, and odd ideas, along with a few solid principles.  How do we sort out the genuine from the fake?

  • Number One:  The big one!  Does it play on your fears or emotions? 
I saw an ad for a thyroid supplement that asked, "Are you gaining weight?  Are you afraid your husband won't love you anymore?"  That's terrible to use our emotions that way!  Am I afraid my husband is such a flake?  If I am, I've got bigger issues than extra weight to deal with.  Run from the diet people and get a marriage counselor!

I've seen others that say things like "I couldn't play with my children any more.  Now we bicycle together and run 10K's and all sorts of energetic, healthy things."  Well, naturally, if we're too heavy that's gonna happen, but if it's being used to sell the program, beware. It may be a good program, but do your research.  

Other things to watch out for:

  • Does it make sense?  Can you really lose weight by eating (a great number) of calories a day?  Your body has to put them somewhere.
  • Is it healthy and well-rounded?  Is it medically sound? Sure, cabbage soup and grapefruit may make you lose weight fast, but do they give you all the nutrients you need?
  • Is it just a cleansing program?  Sure you'll lose a few pounds if you get food poisoning or do some other cleansing diet, but you put it right back on once you start putting actual food back in your body again.  It doesn't do anything for the long-term fat storage.
  • Is it on the cover of a magazine?  It might be good, but chances are the headline is simply there to catch your eye and sell the magazine.
  • Is it dangerous?  Surgery and liposuction should be a last resort.
  • Is it extreme?  Whether extreme exercise, diet shakes, or very limited calories, you are not likely to stick with it if you dive in too fast.  Too much pain does not equal gain.  
  • Does it require too many changes at once?  Again, it's hard to adjust to change.  One change at a time may be slower, but you are more likely to succeed.
  • Does it have a disclaimer "Results not typical"?  That's how they can get away with photoshop, airbrushing, false claims, and all sorts of things. That one little phrase.  This is not typical. As in, it's not real. Don't expect to succeed. But send us your money anyway.
  • Does it require a huge investment?  If it does, chances are, they just want your money.
  • Do you have to buy special food?  This may be genuine, well-rounded, and healthy, and people find success on it if they don't cheat on it.  But if you're not going to cheat on it, then why not prepare your own cheaper, fresher food?  You will save a lot--and lose weight--but don't nibble while you cook. 
  • Does it have secret ingredients, diet pills, secret foods, etc.?  Really, consider what you are putting into your body.  Also consider that if it is really beneficial, it would be acknowledged and researched by the scientific community.
  • Does it focus on being s*xy?  What's up with that?  If your biggest desire is to wear a bikini on a beach, then go for it!  But it's true what they say, s*x sells. Unfortunately it also sells women on not feeling good about ourselves.  
  • Last but not least, does it claim to make you look younger?  Maybe some things really do, but let's face it, we're not getting younger.  We have to accept that.  I'm not going to look 20 again, even if I weighed the same as I did then. I don't really want to, actually, because then I would get hit on by college students, embarrass my children, and have flirty old men making smarmy comments.  Ha-ha.  Nope, I just want to be a healthy 50+ woman!  Well, maybe not the + !
What are the better options?  Eat healthy, use a little self-control, or a lot, exercise reasonably, and be patient.  Join a gym, a healthy weight loss group, a walking group, or whatever it takes.  But do your research first!  Don't buy into the sales pitch, the Facebook posts, or the latest fads.  Don't buy into false claims.  Do buy into good health for yourself! 


F is for Friendship   (It's a little late because apparently I hit Save instead of Publish.)

Find a buddy! Walk with a partner!  Exercise with a friend!

I've heard all these through the years, but I have a hard time following them.  Lately I've had a partner, though. My husband walks with me.  He is the perfect walking partner, because he matches me step for step when we walk together.  We calibrated our pedometers, and we walk the same length step, the same number of steps to a mile. 

This has taken almost 33 years to perfect.  I can remember many times over the years asking him to slow down, or even just plain stopping if he got ahead, until he suddenly realized I wasn't there.  It's not that his legs are longer, it's just that he is high energy, so he does everything quickly.  Now we pretty much fall into the habit of matching steps, which I really appreciate. If I am in a speedy mode, he keeps up. When I slow down, so does he.  And amazingly, he keeps walking with me. He's a pretty great guy!

I walked with a friend once, and she walked so quickly that I was panting just to keep up, so that didn't last because she was impatient with me. I walked with a group for a while.  We went for long, rambling walks.  It wasn't terribly aerobic, but at least we were moving.  And we were outdoors.

At TOPS, we constantly encourage each other.  One of the things we all do is send little note cards to each other, one or two a week, especially if there's a contest on.  I stick mine up on a door. These little encouraging notes of friendship help me keep going back.  Some of the people use pre-stamped postcards. It's a great way to save money and keep the notes short but encouraging.  What I sometimes do is make something up on my computer.  When we do roll-call people will say, "I got notes from......and talked to.......on the phone.  I usually forget to do that, so people probably don't think I appreciate their notes. As you can see from the picture below, they really encourage me.

All but two of the items on the door are cards or gifts from TOPS friends. Even the calendar! The chart on the bottom with the flowers is for another set of goals I am working on, and the top right is a birthday card from church friends. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Once upon a time, I was a member of 4-H.  I don't remember much about it except for the 4 H's. But those H's are something I've thought about off and on throughout my life.

H is for:


All of those are important aspects of fitness.

Getting fit is good for the heart.  Exercise gives it a workout pumping more blood, which strengthens it. Eating healthy helps keep the arteries from getting blocked.  And you've got to put your heart into it if you're going to stay motivated and stick with it.

Hands control what goes in the mouth.  I think a lot of obesity simply stems from "Hand-to-Mouth Disease." When you put food in your mouth all day long, it puts on fat.  I'm trying to keep my hands busy doing other things, unless I am really hungry.  On a weekend trip, I did a lot of knitting or resting in the car, to keep from doing the usual "bored-and-tired-on-the-road-snacking."  Obviously, I wasn't driving.

You've got to use your head to plan, to recognize diet scams and misinformation.  And when you exercise, it makes your head clearer.

Health is my main reason for watching my weight, but I have to admit appearance plays a factor.



Okay, that's not part of 4-H.  It was just another H I thought of when I was trying to come up with a word. I once said to my mother that I have wide hips to start with, and they were spread out from having children.  Her comment was that their width depends on what's currently between them.  Ouch!  My own mother!  I guess I should be kind of glad she can't see me now. Not really, though. I miss her a lot. She's been gone over 10 years. The times I miss her most is when I have good news. Happy news is meant to be shared.  Guess what, Mom!  My son's graduating from college this year.  Guess what, Mom!  I'm going back to school.  Guess what, Mom!  Through the years those moments have been hardest, but I hope she is up in Heaven getting the news.  She always rejoiced at the things that made us happy. So, I guess that's my last H--


It's meant to be shared.  I am grateful I am not alone in the world,  because even though I miss Mom, I have others to talk to when things happen, whether big or small.  I love Facebook for that.  And cell phones, e-mail, text messaging, and even old-fashioned hand-written letters.  What are you happy about right now?  With whom will you share it?  Now go and do it.  Have a happy day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Grace

I visited with cousins in Chicago for the weekend.  These are not cousins I grew up with, but cousins I have met once or twice in my whole life, yet they accepted me warmly. They took my husband and me into their home for two days, invited us to their grandchild's birthday party, and catered to my food issues.  That is grace.

Their daughter, as it turns out, also has fibromyalgia, and she and her son generally eat both gluten-free and dairy-free.  She and her mom went shopping at Whole Foods, and then she came and cooked all sorts of things that I could eat.  I was so grateful for their kindness.  They even got me a gluten/dairy-free cupcake since I couldn't eat the birthday cake!  Chocolate!  I have to say, it was pretty tasty.  It's a good thing they only got one.

They came up with some chips that were really good, too.

And my new favorite salad dressing:

Organicville Herbes De Provence

Although at Food Renegade they examine the ingredients of a similar dressing (Organicville Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinaigrette) and reject it for not being as healthy as it claims to be, I found it delicious and still healthier than most things you will find on a grocery store shelf. Happily for me, they sent the extra home with me.  Yummy salad, here I come.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Exercise

Need I say more?

Did I mention I hit 25 miles again?  My next goal is 40.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


D is for Diet.  
The dreadful D-word.  Die with a T! 

But seriously....a diet is just a plan. It's like a budget.  Another dreadful word to some people.

I learned long ago that a budget is not a straitjacket, it's a tool.  With good planning, I can make my dollars stretch to cover a lot more somehow.

For the last two years, we have been "doing the Dave Ramsey thing."  We took his Financial Peace University classes and started using the Envelope System for the spending part of our budget.  We take the money out in cash each month for food, clothing, gasoline, and other things you can buy with cash.  Though I rarely had clothing money before, I do now. It's not a lot, but it gets us by.  I can keep my husband in dress shirts and slacks without wondering what I am going to have to skimp on to do so.  This is because the clothing part of the budget sits there in its little envelope, and can only be spent on clothing.  Run out of gas money? park one car.  Run out of food money? Eat out of the pantry for a few days.  But don't touch the other categories!

For over ten years I've been wearing an old green down jacket that belonged to my mother. It's warm, but it's ugly and totally out of style.  Somehow, the cost of a brand-new coat, though I longed for one, was still out of the budget. They're pretty expensive, so every year I thought "Maybe next year."  I really wanted a pretty, long coat to wear over dresses to church and other places when I want to look a little nicer. I think maybe I felt like I didn't quite deserve it.

I was at JC Penney one day, and they had all their coats on clearance for $24. I went in and tried some on, and then narrowed it down to two. One was a stylish casual coat, and the other was a gorgeous maroon dressy coat with a brown fake fur collar. I wanted both! It's been over ten years since I had a new coat of any sort, and suddenly I wanted two. But do I deserve two coats?  Well, it's been over ten years...but still...two coats...Then I had an epiphany!  I had enough money in my little clothing envelope to buy both, and had no pressing clothing needs coming up.  If my husband wanted two shirts, I would have bought them.  So I am now the happy owner of two coats. (Neither J C Penney nor Dave Ramsey paid for my opinions.  I just post about things I like.)

My New Dressy Coat
The collar is removable if I want to tone it down a little.
What I am really trying to get at is that a diet should not be a straitjacket either.  With proper planning, it would be a tool.  I have so many portions allotted in a day, week, will I spread them out so that I don't "overspend" my calories?  How can I save them up so I can splurge on dessert every now and then without spending all my portions?  If I go long enough without dessert, can I have two desserts?

My husband plans the budget a month at a time. Am I willing to put out that kind of effort for my health?  I used to plan meals for my family--I had to if I was going to feed 4 growing boys on one income!  I planned at least two weeks at a time, did major shopping every two weeks, and filled in with fresh foods as needed. Now I tend to be lazier than that, and just stock up on food so there's always something to eat. The problem is that it's not always a balanced diet.  If I would budget my portions, at least a day at a time, I would not find myself "spending" more carbs than I should, or more fats, or even more fruits. I usually end up with extras in my "vegetable" envelope, while using up every single bite and extra in my "fruit" envelope.

Another thing about budgeting is that there is a set amount.  Eating can be the same way--buy or cook the amount I need and measure it out as I "spend" it.  When it's gone, it's gone. Can't have more until the next day rolls around.

In our budget, there is a little "blow fund" in there in case we goof up, or the electric bill is a bit higher than usual, that sort of thing.  However, it's not to be spent willy-nilly.  It's not like we say, "Oh, let's go out to eat. We can use the blow fund!" In a diet, the blow fund could be the times I eat at a friend's, and I can't control the amount of salad dressing, the cut of beef she uses, or whatever might mess me up a little bit.  It's not just for eating out.  "I feel like a hamburger tonight, so I'll use my blow fund portions!"  If I do that, I will start to blow up like a balloon.

Well, looks like I have some planning to do!  It's time to stop blowing the portion budget! Maybe in the process I can also lower the food money budget--and slip a little more over into the Stylish New Clothing Envelope.

TOPS Chapter Queen

We had our TOPS annual award ceremony last week.  Here are a couple of pictures, which I'm posting for my friends.

Chapter Queen

Group of Award Winners

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


C is for Commitment.

I've been doing a lot better at exercise since I made a commitment to it.  In fact, I reached a 25-mile goal today.  I think I will celebrate by getting new shoes at Running Wild, our local shoe store.

Celebrate!  There's another C.  

I've been having trouble with plantar fasciitis.  With my long feet, arches in shoes are never in quite the right place.  Hopefully at Running Wild they can help me to find a pair that is right.  I did get some insoles that help.  I think the manufacturers make a standard insole for shoes and then just lengthen it, not taking into consideration that if your feet are longer, the arch will be further forward than it is on people with shorter feet.  We're not even running, just walking, up to 2 miles at a time, and my heel gets so sore I can hardly walk for the rest of the day.  I'd like to do it tomorrow, because we are going to Chicago for the weekend, and I have no idea how much walking that may entail.

Cousins in Chicago!  

I'm going to see some cousins I have only met, like twice in my whole life, but they are lovely people, and I hope to have a really good visit with them.  One of them has a little boy named


and they are having a birthday party for him.

There are lots of things to C! 


B is for Butterfly!

When I first started this blog, I had a theme of metamorphosis.  As it turns out, I have not had much of a transformation, but I still love butterflies.  I took this picture last May at a park near Winona Minnesota.

Alphabet Soup

This month there is an alphabet blog hop going on.  All the participants are posting something starting with a different letter, in order from A to Z, six days a week.  I came across it on the 1st, on A day, and didn't decide to join until B day.  Unfortunately, this means the linky list is already closed.  Upon further thought, I still think it's a wonderful idea, so here I am on C day, trying to catch up.

A is for Attitude. 

Wow, that just now popped into my head. I was planning to do Abs.  But really I think Attitude is more important.

Ask yourself:

What is my attitude toward good health? 
What is my attitude toward weight loss?
What is my attitude toward myself, my body, my current weight and state of health?

If you think it's all just a big hassle and probably not worth it, that's the place to start.  Can you change that thinking?  Can you look at pictures of yourself at a place in life where you enjoyed life more?

If you think you "should" do it but it's a chore, you make it a chore. How can you change that thinking?

So how can we change our attitudes to ones of joy, of enjoyment, of valuing ourselves and taking care of ourselves because we love ourselves enough to do it?

If you had a child who was desperately ill or injured and needed physical therapy every day, you would find a way to do it.  You would love him enough to put out the effort, to push him toward healing, even if he fights it.  Even though you know it may hurt at first, perhaps even a lot, you would do it.  You would take him to doctors, get the medicine he needs, and spend countless hours putting him through his physical therapy exercises. Wouldn't you?  

I have a grandchild who has cerebral palsy.  From the time he was tiny, he has had physical therapy and stretching exercises that needed to be done often.  Every time I interacted with him, I stretched out his tiny legs and arms.  If I changed a diaper, I stretched him, did "bicycle" movements with him, and so forth.  It took a lot of commitment, and he didn't like it very well, so to make it easier on him, I made a game out of it.  I played, laughed, made up little songs, and whatever else I could think of to distract him from his discomfort and make it fun and easier to do the work needed.

His mother takes him to physical therapy several times a week, and he is enrolled in a special preschool to help him learn and make the most of what he's got.  He may never walk or run, but he's probably more fit than many apparently healthy children.  We put forth all the effort because we love him so much.

The question is, why is it so hard to have the same attitude toward ourselves?  Why do we forget to play and make it fun?  I'm not saying everyone does, but there's a lot of Work in Workout.  Where did the play go?  When did we quit riding bikes for the fun of speeding down the hills?  When did we start shoveling snow instead of playing in it?  Sledding, making snow angels, having snowball fights, and building snowmen tends to go by the wayside as we grow up.

And most importantly, why do we forget to love ourselves enough to do everything we can to be fit?  Why do we start feeling like other people's needs have priority over ours?  Do I love myself enough to take myself through "Physical Therapy"?  Do I love myself enough to make it fun and easy?  Do I love myself enough to spend time and money on myself?  If I was really ill, wouldn't I spend time and money trying to get well?  Why do I find "unfit but not seriously ill" acceptable?  I'm not looking for perfection, but am I not as deserving of the time and effort needed to be 100% well?  


I'm working on  mine. Are you