My Weight Loss Progress

Saturday, October 1, 2016

No, Offense, Grandma...

When I was visiting family last month, they all came over to the hotel for a get-together and swim. After I changed into my swimsuit, my 11-year-old grandson looked at me, and said, "No offense, Grammy, but I'm glad you're working out."

Out of the mouth of babes...I took no offense, but merely said,

"So am I! And I've lost 30 pounds so far!"

He was suitably impressed by that, but obviously I still have a way to go, as if I didn't know it already.  Meanwhile, I think it's perhaps time for a more flattering swimsuit.

Monday, September 26, 2016


My burning commitment to get up at 5:00 and meet some of my daily goals fizzled out during a night of poor sleep, until upon awaking there was nothing left but ashes and a small ember of hope for another day.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Coming Back after Ten Days

Whew!  I got a cold and it knocked me flat!  I'm over the worst of it at last, but still have little energy. I come home after work every day and collapse.

Yesterday I decided to work out no matter what. I had awakened in pain, but I figured lying around all day wasn't going to help, but I ended up taking a nap for about 3 hours of the afternoon.  Finally, around 4 p.m., I selected a one-mile gentle walk DVD and started in.  It was hard! I did feel better afterward, and was looking forward to a shower.

My husband came in and said, "Let's go for a walk."  Okay, my shower can wait. This sounds serious, like he has something to talk about or something.  So I grab my keys, and we head out the front door--where I see friends waiting in their car. Husband tells me, "We're going out to dinner with friends." I waved at the friends and dashed back in the house to change my clothes. No way I'm going out to dinner in my workout clothes.  Time for a quick "sponge bath" and a fresh, pretty outfit, and off we went to a delightful dinner at a Japanese place.

I woke up much more pain-free today and I'm enjoying my Sunday and looking forward to a good yoga workout tomorrow to limber me up.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

TGI--3 Day Weekend!

I enjoy my new job, but my body has not adapted well to the schedule.  I still have a cold that won't quit, but I am taking advantage of the weekend to rest a lot. That's all.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I'm a professional

I got a job as a learning resource center manager at a private college. It's somewhat of a cross between a librarian and a gofer, with some tutoring and IT thrown in for good measure.

I was doing pretty well and managing my sleep fairly well, and still managing to exercise at least every other day, until

Major allergy exposure has pretty much knocked me off my feet. I think it lowered my resistance enough that now I have a cold. So this week all I have done is go to work, read and play computer games.  As soon as I start feeling better, I will pick up on exercising more.

Maybe having a three-day weekend will help.  We were going to go out of town on Saturday but between my sickness and some unfortunate circumstances concerning the party we were going to meet, we had to cancel.  So I plan to work tomorrow and then shut off my alarm and sleep as late as I can, until I can breathe freely once again.

Sudafed is helping. It drains me like no other cold medicine will, but it can also make it hard to sleep.

Friday, August 19, 2016

August Book Reviews: Family Relationships in Literature

Dewey 800 appears to be a combination of literature and books about literature. Among them I found these two books which are oddities for the category. They were an interesting contrast.

Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees...and Other Conversations We Forgot to Have; Bill Geist, Willie Geist; Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (May 19, 2015)

This was a lighthearted memoir--a double memoir really--of a somewhat famous father and his somewhat famous son.  Okay, maybe both of them are famous, if you watch TV. I don't watch much TV, so I did not recognize their names. The title intrigued me. Bill has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, so I guess that means he is famous.

It is basically a book of shared memories on specific topics, seen from the points of view of both father and son. It's a fun, sometimes serious, occasionally irreverent romp through their relationship as father and son. Although I disagree with a number of their opinions, the opinions themselves are well-expressed. The language is clean, the book well-written by both father and son.

I suspect they gloss over the rough parts of their relationship, but they seem to be loving and well-balanced, a family that on the surface would have been wonderful to grow up in.


Letters from My Sister: On Life, Love and Hair Removal; Eve Lederman, Faye Lederman; Skyhorse Publishing (September 30, 2014)

This book is equally lighthearted, as the sisters write back and forth on various topics.  Unfortunately it is neither as well-written or as clean as the book above.  Both sisters come across as promiscuous, though also appearing to be well on the way to misandry.  They want men; they want to date; yet they present men in an extremely negative light. The very first sentence describes a soccer group consisting of "the whiniest, wimpiest men" and sets the tone for their opinion of men in general.

I stuck with it until page 77, which was about 77 pages too many. I had enough of discussions on toilet paper theft, crotches and their issues, and what is wrong with their mother, of whom they speak quite disrespectfully. Not to mention, oh yes, the horrible wimpy men they meet, and the possibility that one of their friends, Jacob, is gay. They think their dad is homophobic, but their attitude seems to lean in that direction as well.

If a man wrote about women in the same disparaging way as these two write about men, I can only imagine the uproar it would cause.  I'm for feminism in the positive strides it has made to give women rights over many things. I probably hold my job, and definitely the right to vote, because of feminists who have gone before me.  However, I am for the promotion of women, not for the denigration of men. There is a distinct difference.

I said one of their friends might be gay. I do not remember which sister had that particular friend. To tell the truth, other than location, I had trouble distinguishing their writing from each other, so making the transitions back and forth between letters left me feeling disoriented.


Disclaimer:  I checked out both books from the library, and wrote this review with no financial incentive.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Life is all about change

Next week I will start a new adventure. I've been offered a full-time job.  When I think about the fact that I've never worked full-time in my adult life, it's a little scary. My husband reminded me that when I was in school it was like more than full-time. I was in classes 12 hours a week, working 10-15 hours a week, commuting 10-12 hours, and doing hours of homework on top of that.

This job means that in my off-time I really have to prioritize and focus on what's most important. Keeping up with fitness & health goals is one of those things. However, I will cut back on how often I post here, probably to once a week. I've about reached the point where there is not a lot to say anyway. I just keep plugging away from day to day.

Wish  me luck!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

July--Dewey 700!

The books I checked out were about art, design, crafts, and more. I have a pile of knitting books I've thumbed through, looking for a pattern for my next project. I think I have the idea of what I want to do. I just need to work out some details--and finish the one I'm on!

I got off on a real fiction tangent--maybe it's just summer reading!  However, I have been reading Dreaming Green.

Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire  
Lisa Sharkey and Paul Gleicher, Photographs by Linda Bell Hall, Clarkson Potter 2008. 

As you can tell from the picture on the front, this is not a book about cheap-looking recycled junk.  Sometimes when I see how cleverly they use "distressed" stuff on HGTV, I find it amusing. Put that distressed stuff in a rich home and it is decorative.  Put it in my home and it will just look like more old stuff. It's all a matter of perspective and comparison.

At any rate, the photographs and explanations in this book show that eco-decor can be absolutely fabulous. I suspect that using reclaimed wood and sustainable forests may be more expensive than building the usual way, but that's not the focus of this book.

The focus here is on what you can do to build or decorate an eco-friendly house, either using reclaimed and recycled materials, designing for the best energy conservation, or both.  I believe the earth is a gift, and while meant to be used, it should also be maintained and preserved for the future, so I appreciate the many ways the book shows that it can be done.

I think it's a bit like farming, especially the old way. You plant and harvest seed, but you don't eat or sell it all; you save some for seed for next year. If you don't do that, you cannot sustain yourself and support others.  I am not about stopping housing development for some rare tiny insect, but I am about taking care of what we have and carrying it forward for future generations. If we use up the earth, what are we leaving for our descendants?  That is the question to ponder as we fill our landfills, drive our cars, choose between oven, toaster oven, or stovetop, and choose light bulbs and toilet paper, and more. 

July Book Reviews

July--Dewey 700!

The books I checked out were about art, design, crafts, and more. I have a pile of knitting books I've thumbed through, looking for a pattern for my next project. I think I have the idea of what I want to do. I just need to work out some details--and finish the one I'm on!

I got off on a real fiction tangent--maybe it's just summer reading!  However, I have been reading Dreaming Green.

Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire  Lisa Sharkey and Paul Gleicher, Photographs by Linda Bell Hall, Clarkson Potter 2008.  

As you can tell from the picture on the front, this is not a book about cheap-looking recycled junk.  Sometimes when I see how cleverly they use "distressed" stuff on HGTV, I find it amusing. Put that distressed stuff in a rich home and it is decorative.  Put it in my home and it will just look like more old stuff. It's all a matter of perspective and comparison.
At any rate, the photographs and explanations in this book show that eco-decor can be absolutely fabulous. I suspect that using reclaimed wood and sustainable forests may be more expensive than building the usual way, but that's not the focus of this book.
The focus here is on what you can do to build or decorate an eco-friendly house, either using reclaimed and recycled materials, designing for the best energy conservation, or both.  I believe the earth is a gift, and while meant to be used, it should also be maintained and preserved for the future.

I think it's a bit like farming, especially the old way. You plant and harvest seed, but you don't eat or sell it all; you save some for seed for next year. If you don't do that, you cannot sustain yourself and support others.  I am not about stopping housing development for some rare tiny insect, but I am about taking care of what we have and carrying it forward for future generations. If we use up the earth, what are we leaving for our descendants?  That is the question to ponder as we fill our landfills, drive our cars, choose between oven, toaster oven, or stovetop, and choose light bulbs and toilet paper, and more. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pre-Diabetes Changes, Part 2

The doctor said I should have no more than two fruits a day. Even though they are chock full of nutrients and fiber, they also have a lot of sugar in them.  So for Week 2 I am working on that. For this week I am cutting down to no more than three fruits per day, and only one of them juice. (Not counting lemon juice with a bit of Stevia in a glass of water.)

The trick here is learning what an actual fruit portion is.  An apple may be a portion, unless it is very large. Then it is two portions.  I had blueberries for breakfast. They are supposed to be a good choice.

Eventually I will cut out the juice entirely, probably in Part 3, but for now, I am just getting used to limiting fruit. It is such a lovely and easy snack. There is very little preparation involved in having a piece of fruit or a bowl of berries for a snack.

I need to look at vegetables, staying away from root vegetables except for beets, and find some that make healthy snacks or additions to a meal.  The trouble is, I am not a big fan of vegetables, and two of my favorites are currently on my "do not eat" list for food sensitivities.

Rainbow chard, raw.

I bought rainbow chard a couple of times. I like the flavor much better than spinach. It can be strong, and I haven't cooked it for year. I think my children didn't like it much.  With just the two of us, it's easy to steam up a batch for supper.

Rainbow Chard, sauteed with garlic.  Photo Credit: A Sweet Life

Yesterday I added Kale to a brown/wild rice blend, cooked in the rice cooker with skinned chicken thighs on top. This made for a nice, one-dish supper that was actually quite tasty.

Photo Credit:

Today I made quinoa tabbouleh. It didn't call for cucumbers and tomatoes, but I added them in. It was really good, a nice light summer salad to serve with salmon fillet.  It called for fresh or dried mint. I did not have any, but I thought of a substitute. I opened up a Bigelow Herbal Tea bag filled with Mint Medley tea, cut open the bag, and measured out just the amount I needed. I saved the bag in the outer wrapper with a clothespin to hold it tight. It worked very well.  Now I wonder about using other teas as substitute herbs. It might be fun to experiment a bit.

Monday, August 1, 2016

June Book Reviews--Dewey 600.

Ha ha, yes, I really said June.  And now it's the end of July.

The thing is, I never really finished a single non-fiction book in June, though I started several. The 600 category had a lot of health and fitness books, as well as a few others about specific hobbies like gardening.  I took back the whole huge pile, so I can't even specifically review titles.

I started a book about pre-diabetes and diabetes, and one my doctor recommended about Lyme disease.  I looked at a book about plants in the house, which made me think about cute plant containers and not much else.  I started a book about a "new" exercise program, which boiled down to the same old advice--do this exercise, and oh yeah, by the way, eat right, and you will soon get so slim and strong.  I did a few new workout videos, which I probably won't buy but I enjoyed incorporating a change now and then.

So that is June.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bike Adjustments

Photo from

On my last bike ride, I had a little knee soreness, so I raised the seat another inch. This is great!

The only problem is that I now find the handlebars a little too low.  I started looking at YouTube videos on bike adjustments, and none of them quite fit the way my handlebars attach. Perhaps this is because I have a cheap bike.  I did learn more about how to fit a bike, including moving the seat back or forward if needed--and how to know if it's needed. I don't know if my bike seat can be adjusted like that.  If not, I'll probably go buy a new seat. This one is pretty much worn out.  

I may just take my bike to a bike shop to adjust the handlebars and get a proper fit. It would be worth a few dollars just to have future rides be so much more comfortable, and not to get neck soreness from having to look way up.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

6 Days into Workout Program 3

It took me until yesterday to get my goal sheets reworked, and I already had 5 stickers to put on!

I'm doing much the same as last time around; the goal is 40 days of yoga and 40 days of aerobics, with a few small changes. I will ride my bike a little more often. I'm doing 30 days of Yoga Camp (still Adriene) plus other yoga programs interspersed at regular intervals.

Yoga Camp is a little more intense than 30 Days was, but I think I am ready for it.  I can do all the basic moves; I enjoy the variations she puts in now and then.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cutting Out Sugar

I thought I had a pretty low-sugar diet, but when my doctor told me what I need to do to fight off impending diabetes, I nearly panicked. It's overwhelming. It's too much to do all at once on top of all the other changes I need to make.

Well, it really is too much. I decided to break it down into weekly, manageable steps. This first week, I am cutting out adding sugars to drinks or food. Smoothies? Use stevia. By leaving out sugar, I am discovering the actual flavors of the foods. No more sugar to mask sour blackberries--just be very picky when buying them.  No sugar to sweeten up my bowl of quinoa.  No sugar in a glass of lemonade. That's kind of tough. And herb tea?  Discover its original flavor if it has any. Take time to drink it slowly and let the flavor sink in.

Maybe it's a good thing I already had to cut out chocolate, because I can't imagine chocolate without added sugar.  Yuck!  But this makes it that little bit easier.  So, that's week one.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Another Small Goal Reached.

I went below a magic number today!  It's not an official goal, just one of those multiples of things that sticks in your minds.

Hurray!  I had stalled out for a while, and then this week I finally broke the barrier.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paleo Diet or Heart Diet? Why not both?

The doctor went over my recent heart screening and there was a lot of warning red ink on there!  She also said I am pre-diabetic.  And this after  six months of exercise and eating less. I hate to think what they were before.

Now she wants me to make over my diet even more.  The official name of the diet is the "IFM CARDIOMETABOLIC FOOD PLAN."

From the cover of the "Comprehensive Guide for the IFM Cardiometabolic Food Plan."  

She said it's really quite a bit like the paleo diet.  I do have to cut back sugar almost entirely, and fruits to no more than two a day.  My poor sweet tooth is going to feel awfully deprived until I get used to it.  And my poor husband has to deal with all this as I adapt to one food change after another. This is a crazy journey.

In addition to the heart issues, my cortisol levels are not dropping in the evening like they should, which is why I can't fall asleep at night, so I've got a new supplement that may help with that.  If I can start getting decent rest, that should help me regain my energy.  I'll let you know...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bike Ride

I aimed for 5 miles today, but when I mapped it I was at 4.79 miles.  It got hard a couple of times but I kept telling myself "You can do this."  Until finally, I was far enough out that I told myself, "You can do it. You have to. It's the only way home."

And I cheerfully found my way home. I did walk the last bit as a cool-down, but hey, my legs are moving. That counts, right?

Look what I did!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fibro Flare--Or answer to prayer?

For no apparent reason, I woke up in pain this morning, and it has pretty much lasted all day.  I don't know why.  Just a big fibro flare. It happens now and then and I can't always pinpoint the cause.

For a couple of days I've been praying about a possible action, one I am not sure we can handle physically, financially, or emotionally this summer.  It's something I really want to do, and it might be a big help to someone else, but I have to count the cost.  I had come close to deciding against it, but I don't want to be selfish either. I prayed for wisdom and kindness in making the decision, for some way to know the right action.

Today's huge pain flare gives me the answer. The proposed action is simply more than I can handle at this time.  I need to keep taking care of myself. Hopefully in the future I will be able to serve more as I see to getting my body back to health.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh said: 
My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.  
Tacitus, a Roman historian and writer, said:
"Candor and generosity, unless tempered by due moderation, leads to ruin."  
In this case nobody is demanding anything; it is something I wanted to offer.  But my life cannot implement it at this time.  I must use wisdom and order.  We have a verse in our church that I must keep in mind when I want to overdo life: 
And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
It's a matter of focus. Whatever the prize may be personally, whatever the goal, I need to pace myself and not use more strength than I have.  I believe that overdoing it, wearing myself out when we moved last year, is what led to my immune system crash and extreme fatigue that I am still experiencing in the form of virus and infections.

Even Jesus Christ took time out to rest when needed, and to allow his disciples rest, as shown in the following Bible scripture:
And he said unto [the Twelve], Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
And they departed into a desert place by ship privately (Mark 6:31–32).
The following quote has direct application to today's dilemma:
Wisdom comes through suffering.
Trouble, with its memories of pain,
Drips in our hearts as we try to sleep,
So men against their will
Learn to practice moderation.
Favours come to us from gods.
― Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Friday, July 15, 2016

Physical Therapy Part 2

I went back to the physical therapist and she was quite happy with my progress, resulting in her giving me several new exercises. They don't take long, but added to the workout routine I already do, they are starting to stack up. Hopefully they will strengthen the areas needed and my body will adjust so that I don't have to do them forever.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mall Walking and Major Storms

Just to get out of the house today after a meeting was canceled, we went to the mall to walk. It was hot outside, but not as hot as it had been earlier, and it was clouding up.  It started raining by the time we got there, so I was glad we went indoors to walk.

As we headed into the mall, I commented that we'd had some storms, but nothing like the way Iowa storms roll across the prairie, which is surprising given the lack of hills or mountains here.  I guess I dared the sky, because tonight I am enjoying a rollicking thunderstorm.  It is booming and rolling and flashing lightning in a most satisfying manner.  It's like Indiana is saying, "Oh yeah?  I'll show you a storm!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Not in my PJ's Any More

I got frustrated a few times while doing downward dog and plank poses in yoga. I needed to see down the whole length of my body to monitor myself, and my loose p.j. tops would fall and get in the way. One day I got up and put on a pair of yoga pants and tight tank top that I had bought to wear with a swimsuit.

Besides being able to see better, I felt different.  I discovered that when I put on workout clothing, I felt stronger, more powerful, like I could work harder and improve.  I like this feeling, so I started wearing workout clothes every day. I feel more like an athlete.

I treat them a bit like high school gym clothes, minus the locker.  I hang them on a hook at the back of my bedroom door for airing out, and wash them on the weekend. I do have more than one set, in case I really don't want to wear them all week. Unlike gym, I wear clean socks on the days my workouts require shoes.  I have a strong dislike of dirty socks. Once they are off my feet, even if they've only been on for a little while, I am done with them. Into the laundry they go!

When I'm out in public, I like to have modest clothing on, so I bought a t-shirt style, fitted but not skin-tight workout shirt for bike rides.  It'll be nice because it won't catch the wind the way my looser t-shirts do.  Now I'm excited for my next ride, later this week.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

And...some new exercises!

I've got this little medical problem, not serious, but annoying, so I went to a specialist. After examination, she sent me to a physical therapist.

I really like it when physical therapists take time to educate me about how things work.  This one was really good. She had an anatomical model of how this particular body section works, and explained how it ties in with other parts of the body, so what I do with her should help more than one area. Bonus!

I also like it that she didn't overload me with exercises. I just have three new ones. Two I can do in bed before I even get up, and the other fits nicely at the end of a yoga routine.  Or I could do them all while I lay there on my yoga mat.  Either way, it's easy.

What made me really happy is that they go to physical therapy first, before considering drugs, medical devices, or surgical options. If I do my part, I should be able to avoid those.

I'm glad I'm already well into the habit of working out, so these assimilate easily.  It seems like less of a big thing to add to my day.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Goal Failure--Restart Needed!

From Dave Ramsey on Facebook

The quote above is an interesting thought. He didn't say anything about reaching the goals, only about how you see your situation.

I know that keeping a chart helps me stick with the workout part of my goals, but I have been failing at the "after breakfast" part, especially since we started having "dinner" earlier in the day.  It seems like once that's over, and my husband has gone to work, I have let my day get derailed.  And it's only 2:00 in the afternoon.

I like this thought, because whether it's a financial goal, as Dave Ramsey focuses on, or a fitness goal, or getting a job, or whatever, writing it down is a step toward seeing it become clear.  

I have a goal of getting a job in a library, and I know the steps I need to take.  I need to write them down and check them off daily just like my other goals. When I write them down, including the mini-goals it will take, I will see them more clearly and it will seem more possible instead of discouraging. I had a phone interview last week, but I didn't have a feeling of success at the end, and I was right. 
I think one of the goals should be to keep a record of interview questions I am asked, going back after interviews to review the question and other possible answers, until I can do them comfortably.

 I also need to focus some attention on the goals I already have, finishing up the day's quotas before I go off on distractions.

There, now I am feeling more focused, not such a failure.  Now I need to take the actions, not just meditate upon them.  But even the thinking, preparing to write them down, is part of the process.  Off to find a pencil...

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Little longer bike ride...and another new outfit.

I don't know if the time is actually accurate; I had to guess at it. I forgot to look when I left the house. It may have been less time.  At any rate, it's my longest ride so far. Any my legs were not as jelly-ish as before.

I didn't know when I bought the shirt if I would like the
polka-dots with the skirt, but it turns out I really do.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Phase 4

Phase 1 was doing all my one-mile walks
Phase 2 was doing the same but adding in extras like weights, stretchy band, and walk belt.
Phase 3 was adding in all the 2-mile stand-alone workouts.

Phase 4:  Phase 3, plus if there is a choice between 1 mile or 2 mile on the DVD, I'll do the 2 miles.  I have also added in a few DVDs from the library to shake up the pace and motions a bit. They vary between 1-2 miles equivalency.  On the DVD that has 5 one-mile workouts, I'll combine two of them at least once.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Progress Pictures in My New Dress

This is me, after 25 pounds lost. I still have a way to go, obviously.

My new dress

I'm still the fat sister.

May 28, 2016

But I look better than last year.

And that's incentive to keep up the work.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Shopping Day!

I finally got around to the shopping reward I promised myself--a few items of new clothing after my first goal.  I was tired, but I had made an appointment with a LulaRoe consultant, so I dragged myself out. I bought a dress and a skirt from her, and then went over to Kohl's for some jewelry to match.

I'll post pictures when I get the clothes on and take the pictures. I still need shoes and some underthings so I'm not ready to model yet.  But I think my sizes have gone down overall.

With LulaRoe, my sizes were kind of all over the place, so I recommend if you want to buy from them, you find a local consultant and try things on.  Then you can buy some things from one of the many online groups.  Just search "LulaRoe" on Facebook, for an example.

The clothes are super comfortable and there is a wide variety of fabrics.  And they are modest!  I did not have to go through aisles and racks of sleeveless, low cut, see-through items. Their plain color Classic Tees I found to be a bit thin, but at Kohl's they were the same way. They have other styles.

At Kohl's I tried on a couple of tops, and I have gone down at least one size.  That was encouraging. I decided to go to Walmart for simple, plain t-shirts. They usually have some in a heavier weight in v-neck or round neck, and for a lot less money.  If I was looking for long-term clothing, I might look for better quality, but hopefully this is just one size on the way down!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eating Late at Night: The New Science of Why It’s Making You Fat

may 2016 aol health you are when you eat

Eating Late at Night: The New Science of Why It’s Making You Fat: Eating calories late at night may make you gain weight and cause health problems. Here's why you should eat dinner earlier and avoid late-night snacking.

At the doctor's office yesterday I found this interesting article from Reader's Digest May 2016.  We thought we'd give it a go since it works well with Anthony's work schedule.

Day 1: Did pretty well, eating dinner at breakfast time (around noon), breakfast for a snack later, lunch at suppertime.  Or in other words, I ate a big breakfast, a small lunch, and a medium supper.  I would have been fine except that late at night I felt sick to my stomach and the only thing that would assuage it was a large serving of corn chips and a large glass of juice.

I think this will take some time for my body to adjust, but I'm going to give it a go for a while.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Can One Gain Two Pounds Overnight?

I was so excited! Yesterday I hit the scales at a 25.2 pound weight loss total.

Today, I had gained back 1.8 pounds.

How does this happen?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heart at Risk

My latest blood test results show that my heart is at risk due to high cholesterol and so forth. I'm also pre-diabetic.  Well, I 'm already doing the things I can do--exercising and trying to eat healthy and losing weight; I hope the doctor will have some solutions for the rest of it.

Losing weight--yes!  After I hit 22 pounds loss, I kind of plateaued and even went back up a little. With the food rotation plan, I'm broken that barrier and started losing again.  It's not just eating in rotation, but the planning and preparation makes me more aware of food and hunger, so I am also eating less.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bicycle Fun

A friend of mine posts on Facebook that he can't ride hard. He went out for a short ride of about 20 miles.  I teased him that a short ride is around the block.

Today I went out for a truly short ride. I mapped it afterward at  It was about 2.3 miles. I may have walked that last 0.3 miles. 

In my inexperience, I am not yet ready to ride across the major street that separates my neighborhood from the next one over, so I got off and walked my bike across.  When I got off the bike to cross that street on the way home, I noticed that I had "jelly legs", so I decided to walk until they felt normal again. That got me home.

2.3 miles. That's all?  Well, there was a tiny hill...and it was mostly uphill coming back.  Funny how many times I've driven that road and never noticed the slope of it. I dropped 39.7 feet in a mile, which admittedly isn't steep, but my legs were feeling it on the way back up.  The other loop that I rode last time is about 3.3 miles, but almost entirely flat, a total ascent of only 33.8 feet over a longer distance.

Comparative Steepness

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Adventures in Eating

Eating in a new food rotation, at first, is an adventure in eating. It's like trying out various restaurants with different healthy menus.  Sometimes I love the food. Sometimes I don't. But each meal is an adventure.

Imagine taking a favorite comfort food and having to tweak it.  One of those for me is one my mom used to make--egg noodles cooked and mixed with butter, garlic, and parsley.  Now, adapt it to a new diet. I ended up with rice-based fettucine, cooked and mixed with vegan margarine and shopped chives. It could have used a little salt but it was pretty good.  I served it with sliced, steamed zucchini and summer squash. I like it with butter and onion, but onion's off my list for the moment, and I had enough margarine in the noodles.  It turned out that I loved it.  The squash had a rich, delightful flavor all on its own. 

For a while, each meal is a discovery. Breakfast today was mango and strawberries, pureed and mixed with ice and a tiny bit of stevia to make a smoothie.  It was simple but delicious, and with a small bowl of Rice Chex and rice milk, made a good breakfast.  I usually try to have protein for breakfast, but today I went without it.  

Today's nut choice is walnuts, and I have some, but I need to toast them. If I eat them raw, they hurt my throat. Since I haven't done it yet, I did not have any at breakfast.  Doing an internet search to learn how to roast them is the next thing on my list.  Last week, I dry-sauteed some of them and then cooked them with a wild rice blend.  We both thought it was great, a fun new twist on rice.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Turkey Stir-Fry

For dinner last night I made a quick stir-fry.  I used about a cup of thinly sliced carrots, about the same amount of thinly sliced cabbage, a half a small bag of sugar snap peas, and 1/2 lb. chopped up turkey.

It sounds kind of funny, but served over quinoa, it made a tasty, healthy meal, and so colorful and attractive.  A side dish of strawberry-apricot-peach smoothie, and we were both quite full, with enough left over for lunch.

Friday, June 10, 2016

When a major portion of your meal turns out to taste bad--on the rotation diet!

Photo Credit

I've always liked jicama and planned on it for lunch today.  Unfortunately, it had a bad taste. That's the second time recently it has happened.  Bad luck, or just stored too long getting to Indiana?  

Jicama (pronounced hee-ka-ma) is a vitamin C packed crisp root vegetable
sometimes called the "yam bean".  It has a refreshing mild taste
similar to a green apple and is a staple of Mexican cuisine.
It can help fight wrinkles and crow's feet.  
It is usually eaten raw and customarily served with chile and lime.
Photo and Information

Now I am shy of jicama, at least here. I wonder if I could grow it. It would have to be in a planter, so I doubt it would be worth the trouble. I looked it up and it pretty much needs a tropical place, like Hawaii. All of the jicama found in our markets is produced in Mexico. 

Photo Credit

I had to look over the day's allowed foods list to see what I could find to eat instead, and settled on applesauce left over from last night and a little bigger serving of corn chips than I had planned. However, I am hungry.  I guess I'll go see what's on my snacks list for today. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Not All Walking Workouts are Equal

In my exploration of Dewey 600, I came across several shelves of exercise DVD's.  I picked out a few that are walking workouts, just to change up my routine a little.  The first one is put out by Prevention, and it is fast-moving, even high impact at times.  While technically it is mostly walking, there is a bit of jogging and bouncing involved. I ignored those and did the best I could with my feet on the floor.

It was fun to have a change, but the first workout on this DVD is "Accelerated." It's only a mile, but a very fast mile!  My biggest problem with it was not the speed of walking, but the speed at which she makes changes. She uses several different steps, just jumping into them without a whole lot of introduction or explanation. Just as I began to felt like I was getting the hang of a step, she'd switch to another. Though she came back to some of them, there were a few that we did once and then moved on and I still have no sense of how to do them.

Part of this is me; my feet and my brain have a disconnect when it comes to learning steps.  I can catch on to dance steps, it just takes me a little longer.  So, personally, I prefer a workout that's a little more laid-back, a little easier to follow. 

On the positive side, it's only a "mile" workout, and I am used to some pretty intense miles, so I made it through and went on to my ten minutes of yoga.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why the Braless Movement Didn't Last Long

I was commenting on an ad I saw for a foundation undergarment that is basically a corset. How glad I was to grow up in the 70's, a time of freeing our bodies from corsets and girdles. Who wears them now? I remember how glad my mother was when pantyhose came out so we girls did not have to wear girdles.  But they are back. Make them elastic, or put actual bones in them, they're still a girdle. My mom had garters on hers to fasten up her stockings.  No thank you!

I commented that I was, however, grateful that the bra-less movement didn't last long. My husband said it didn't last long because it had very little support.

I needed a good laugh today.

On another note, I went to the orthopedist today. I almost canceled the appointment, because I figured if I don't want to live on anti-inflammatory pills there wasn't much he could do for me. Then I though I'd better go, because maybe he'd consider how long this has gone one and have an alternative, or give me another steroid shot if I needed it. He spent less than five minutes with me, basically telling me that there is nothing more he can do for me. "If it only hurts when you kneel on it, don't kneel." Uh, gee, thanks, Doc.

He still says it is just arthritis, but it never hurt like that before I fell on it six months ago, so I think something is broken or moved out of place in there. I'm going to give it a while and consider a second opinion. I've got lots going on with the other doctor right now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Tell Me the Story"

It helps to have a great support system.  I've been fortunate, in this latest relocation, to find a church congregation that gets the issues around allergies. The Sacrament is served with gluten-free bread. For Mother's Day, one of the women's leaders called me to find out what foods I have to avoid, and served a lovely brunch that was perfect for me and some others with allergy issues.  I was so grateful. It can be so tiring to be always on the outside looking in when it comes to food.
Beautiful ripe red strawberry with stem.My sister is going gluten-free and dairy-free for six months, so visiting her house for a few days was a welcome break. She was well-stocked with things I can eat. For her son's wedding, she had strawberries for the cake, but she deliberately served strawberries in a separate bowl, so people who could not have one or the other could still have a treat.

I had a big doctor appointment yesterday to go over test results. I also got my allergy shots and spent a while at the library, stocking up on Dewey 600's and fiction.

Then I came home and had lunch. I was so tired after that, I just laid down and took a nap. After I awoke, I started going over the information packets of instructions from the doctor and making a chart for the treatment plan, which I may review another day.

My husband came home when I was typing, and came to me immediately. He gave me a kiss and said, "Tell me the story."  I went quickly over the main points of the doctor visit. I think he was discouraged that I have new food sensitivities, but he is very supportive. He's willing to shop for, and cook, whatever I need, and to use up or get rid of the things I have to avoid.

In one way it'll be easier; I need to put together menus and I intend to cook quite simple, plain foods to stick to the rotation. The doctor strongly encourages me to go organic. I got a book of vegan smoothie recipes (Thanks Dewey 600!) and it will be fun to try some out if I can work them into the rotation.

My husband is a willing tester for new recipes, and fortunately does not have any food issues that we know of.  I'm grateful that he is so healthy, and so supportive when I am not.  Together we will beat this thing!  Even if sometimes it takes two trips to the pharmacy right in a row, or eating a diet that others consider weird, or getting all the chocolate out of the house.  Yep, really.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

May Book Reviews

The Hidden Geometry of Flowers: Living Rhythms, Form and Number  by Keith Critchlow, Floris Books, 2011

This is a beautiful book, full of gorgeous illustrations and pictures.  I started reading it, and there is a good deal of philosophy in the beginning.  It starts in with plant symmetry a little later. Although it was very interesting, I got waylaid by a mathematical error.  That's what I get for skipping ahead and glancing at the pictures.

You see, a couple of years ago, I was a math tutor, focused on algebra and trigonometry.  When the book had a lovely illustration of the six-petaled flower fitting neatly into a circle, I was naturally drawn to it. Unfortunately, either it was poorly worded or it had an actual mathematical error. Either way, I felt I could no longer trust his math and geometry, so I lost interest in the book.  This is rather sad, because I think much of it could have been beneficial.

Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart, with Etchings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs and Drawings by Jonathan Rosen, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009

This was an enjoyable, quick description of many dangerous plants, from poisons to skin irritation. The drawings and etchings are beautiful, printed on an old-fashioned, sepia-toned paper.  

While I did not go out into the field looking for samples, I think it would be hard to identify plants using only this book, though people did it for decades, perhaps even centuries, with field guides that had only drawings and descriptions.  I like the ease of looking at plants on the internet, comparing color as well as leaf shape, and finding multiple images of plants at varying stages of growth.

That said, this book had wonderful descriptions and some delightful and terrifying historical facts. I also learned that almost all my houseplants are poisonous to children and animals. If you want to have them in the same household, it's a good idea to have the poison control phone number posted in a handy place. Well, plants aside, if your children are like mine, you have it programmed into your phone on speed dial.  

If I ever found myself lost in the wilderness, like most of us in modern society I would not know which plants are save and which are dangerous.  I would probably die of either starvation or poisoning.  Growing up, I knew that certain weeds were edible, like the lemony stems of sorrel, the dandelion greens, purslane, and a plant we called Indian lettuce. I think I could have gotten at least a few nutrients. However, I now live in an entirely different part of the country, and I have no clue. Perhaps the thing to pack in a survival guide is a book like this, as well as one about edible plants. Some are so similar it is scary. There is even a toxic mushroom that mimics the popular morel mushroom. 

Well, that's all for May. I'm into June and have not yet picked up new books, but it is on Monday's to-do list.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Traveling Adventures

We went to California for my nephew's wedding reception. Once again I felt like the fat sister, but I just tried to focus on the moment and enjoy the time with family and friends.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Why Do Some Girls Cut their Hair Really Short Like a Boy's?"

This question was asked by my 6-year-old grand-niece.  I gave her a serious answer. I did not get offended. She's only six, and just trying to understand.

I told her that for me, at least, it's because it's so easy to take care of.  It is easy to wash, and dries quickly, so I don't have to take time to fix it or go around with wet hair. I don't always feel well and I don't want to spend my energy taking care of my hair. She seemed to understand that and the conversation moved on.

What if we could all be so guileless?  I don't understand that, so I'll ask about it.  Maybe I'll learn something. Maybe I'll gain a better understanding of that person, or of some other aspect of life. Maybe it will lead to me liking them better, or the other extreme--to inwardly shuddering and moving on.  Maybe I'll offend someone, but maybe they'll actually be glad I asked.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll gain better perspective and be less judgmental.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"I'll See You Next Time"

It amuses me when the exercise leaders on videos say something like "See you next time."  Um, no, actually, you won't. You'll go on with your life, doing whatever else you do, and I will see you next time, doing exactly the same thing you are doing this time.

"You're doing great!" and similar phrases.  Really, maybe I'm sitting on the couch eating a triple scoop of ice cream and the video is just on because I'm too lazy to get up and change it to that movie I planned to watch.

"You've got this."  Well, actually, I'm stretched about half as much as you are, but I'm trying.

And my favorite.  "Don't worry if you fall. We'll catch you."  Oh really?  You're going to jump out of my DVD player and television and catch me?  That's a good one. Who's "we" anyway?  You're the only one I see on the screen.  

My funny for today.  If I could draw, and had time, I'd draw a cartoon. I found some online, but not licensed for reuse.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Musically Inclined Fish

We have two fish tanks, a 55-gallon with some semi-aggressive fish, and a ten-gallon, complete with filter and light for our very spoiled Betta fish.  Each tank has one plecostomus to help keep it free of algae. These fish are commonly known as algae-eaters or bottom-feeders.  They are generally shy fish, hanging out behind the rocks or in plant leaves and coming out at night to feed.  If I turn on the light unexpectedly, I may see one scurry into hiding.

Plecostamus: photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Every day I make it a point to find the plecostomus in each tank either during or after exercise. Sometimes it's quite a challenge to spot them as their coloring blends in with the rocks or reddish plants. Yesterday I put my video on, and when the music started, both of them came out and started swimming around in the front of the tank.  The one in the smaller tank was chasing the Betta.

I've heard of animals reacting to music, but this is the first time I've seen these fish do it. I play that music almost every day--but this day they came out to play and dance.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Relafen Withdrawal

The orthopedist prescribed nabumetone (brand name Relafen) to see if it would help my knee.  After a few weeks of it, I didn't see that it made much difference. My knee didn't seem much better.

The one place it did make a difference was digestion--for me it is extremely constipating. My functional medicine doctor has me taking enough vitamin C to give most people diarrhea, and it has a nice gentle laxative effect for me, almost enough to overcome the effects of the nabumetone.

What to do?  I decided to go off the nabumetone for a few days, but apparently quitting cold turkey was a huge mistake!  I have not had pain like this since before I changed my diet to avoid all the foods causing leaking gut syndrome. And then it was not often as bad as it has been over the last two days.

The pain has caused so much fatigue and emotional turmoil. I just didn't have the energy to deal with my little 3-year-old class yesterday, and they picked up on it and went wild. The ran down the hall away from me, and I let them. One of them escaped completely and I had to get another leader to go find him.  The mom arrived to pick up her twins, only to discover one was missing.  It was horrible!

After church I took one pill, and the pain eased somewhat. I took a long nap, and then was able to sleep in bed later. I felt a little better this morning, but still pretty sore, so I took one pill. The daily dose is two. I hope I don't have to go back to that.  I still managed to exercise both days, mostly complete my daily routine, and even do some sewing.

I have a trip to take this weekend and I am not looking forward to it, in the midst of what I call "fibro flare."  I'm not sure I really have fibromyalgia, but it's at least a term that people understand. Some of the fatigue and aches is probably coming from the viruses I saw in my blood tests, but apparently the nabumetone was helping with that. Without it I feel like I have the worst case of the flu ever. With it, I had mainly only a bad sore throat.

This coming Sunday I don't have to teach, so hopefully by the next week I will feel up to handling the class.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Protein Levels--Do I Need a Vegan Diet?

My test results showed my body is not completely processing protein. I will talk to my doctor about whether I should cut out more meat from my diet. I eat pretty healthy, but I may just start looking into vegan gluten free websites.

In addition, I have a vegetarian daughter-in-law who is also cutting out wheat and dairy, so now I have someone else to share the misery.  One of my sisters is on a six-month trial of the same kind of diet. She's the one I will stay with when I go for a family visit, so this might make my visit just a little bit easier. Not that I would wish it on anyone, but it seems to be getting more and more common.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Finding a Doctor--and Surprising Results

You know how every time you see any kind of doctor, they ask who your primary care doctor is? I decided to find one. This was partly fueled by the fact that my prescriptions needed to be renewed, and I did not have anyone local to do it.  After researching functional and holistic medicine, I decided to go to Health and Wellness of Carmel.  The initial visit was pretty expensive, but also two hours long, so as a cost/time ratio it wasn't too bad.

After a long conversation with the female PA about my health issues and history, I came away with an order for lab work, all prescriptions renewed, an appointment for a thyroid scan, two new supplements, and a referral for a sleep specialist.  The lab work turned out to involve at least a dozen vials and covered all sorts of interesting things, including food antigens.

I don't have the results of the thyroid scan or the food tests yet, but the others came through on the patient portal yesterday, with both good news and bad news.

The good news is that the thyroid numbers indicate a need to reduce my medication! My blood pressure is so good that I may need to reduce that medication too.  In that way I am seeing the exercise as well as the medication having a benefit.

The bad news is that I have at least three virus strains producing active antibodies. In a way that's a relief, because from my studies, and from what she said, there is now treatment available for them. It also explains why I am so tired again lately. It's not just my weird sleep schedules. It's not personality. It's not just that I only do the things I'm interested in and let the rest slide. I'm sick--but I don't have to stay that way.

I also have signs of slight liver damage and kidney damage, but they are not surprising. The liver thing showed up years ago on an exam for insurance, and I passed a kidney stone last year. It does, however, indicate that my "filters" may not be working up to optimum levels.

My next appointment isn't until June, but it will certainly be interesting to get her take on my lab results.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Just Want This Shirt in a Bigger Size

I tried to embed the video, but it doesn't work and takes me to a warning page, so here's a link to another site that did manage to embed the video. Worth watching. Even if you don't like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham.

Do You Have This in a Bigger Size?

If you've never shopped for plus-size clothing, venture into their department and see how many things you think are actually cute and stylish.  Then wander back into regular clothing and find something cute and buy it!

Just because some of us need to lose weight does not mean that we want to wear brown sacks. Seriously. Or clothes with no waistline that look like maternity clothes.  Or, as my mom did, wear actual maternity clothes. Maybe she did that because they are actually more stylish than the plus size clothes.

Meanwhile, I am still shopping for the perfect dress, but I'd better make up my mind soon because my nephew's wedding is getting close.

Friday, May 13, 2016

More Size Woes

I promised myself some new clothes when I reached my first goal of 22 pounds lost.

I went online and found some cute things at I checked out their sizing charts and also those at a couple of other stores. According to the measurements, I am still wearing the same size. What a disappointment!

However, my jeans are hanging loose. Certain shirts that were hugging my belly are now hanging loose, straight down like they should.

Perhaps the problem is not that I have not lost a size, but that I was wearing the previous size too tight?  It's just numbers, anyway, but if I am going to get something new, I so wanted to have it be a smaller size than everything else I have.

I think I need to drop in at a couple of local stores and try things on, just to see how sizes actually fit. Measurements don't always tell the whole story.  I looked at things at Dress Barn, but almost all their dresses are sleeveless, so I did not try anything on.  I was going to go to Cato, but I did not see anything online I like, and it's about a 45 minute drive to get there, so I am holding off on that one.

My daughter-in-law says "Blair" is "Blah" but they actually have some cute things this year, and they have things with sleeves! Maybe it's a rant for another day, but why do manufacturers think so many women want bare arms?  Especially plus size women?  I think it's far more attractive to cover up my arms and armpits!  

This is a pretty skirt,
in spite of the paisleys.
My husband likes this one,
but I'm not so sure.
It's kind of a crinkly fabric.

Not wild about the dark blue splotches.
Spiders? Handprints?  Palm trees?

I like this one. We both love the pink
but my husband dislikes the hem. 

This one is pretty; I like the cut but
not the color family used in it.

We both like this one but I kind of
wanted to get away from black.
Maybe I can get a colorful blouse,
and wear the shirt with other things.

I might get this skirt set in the fall; I love it
but definitely the wrong season.
Maybe I'll go down a size by then!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May Book Review: Mark of the Grizzly

I am in Dewey 500's, Science.  My first book completed is a book about a particular animal:

Mark of the Grizzly: Revised And Updated With More Stories Of Recent Bear Attacks And The Hard Lessons 
by Scott McMillion, Second Edition, Lyons Press, Guildford, CT, 2012

If you have never been scared to wander around in bear country, this book just might do it for you.  It documents dozens of horrific bear attacks, including some deaths.  They occur mainly when humans take a bear by surprise, wandering in the bear's territory.

I'd give you a spoiler alert here, but the title pretty much does that. I'm not going to describe the attacks themselves, but mainly review what I learned from this book, since the purpose of my nonfiction reading challenge is to learn new things. If you have a queasy stomach and a vivid imagination, don't read the book. Otherwise it's a great read with personal stories and lots of good information and bear safety and philosophy thrown in.

The first thing I realized from reading this book is that bears are unpredictable. In general, grizzly bears would prefer to stay away from humans, and will not attack if unprovoked. But just when you think that is always true, a bear will prove it untrue in its particular case. Each has its own personality, and just as with humans and other species, some deviate from the norm. 

Hundreds of thousands of people camp in bear territory each year and very few even encounter a bear, much less get mauled. Sometimes they are lured into human territory by food or waste. Unfortunately humans do stupid things like maintaining a dirty camp, leaving food or garbage out, or, worse, approaching a bear. 

Usually, however,  the provocation is not deliberate. A hiker is going along, making plenty of noise (recommended) watching out to stay away from the cubs, and still manages to somehow surprise a bear and get attacked.  A camper wanders a little too far from the tent in the dark. A hunter is moving quickly and quietly to sneak up on an elk and sneaks up on a bear instead. The element of surprise seems to be a big issue with bears.  If you surprise them, they can decide you are a sneaky predator and attack you.

Bear attacks are not perceived as being deliberately harmful in most cases.  Bears discipline their cubs, and sometimes each other, with a nip at the face or a swipe with their paws. A thick bear hide can resist this, but it quickly tears a smaller, more tender human into pieces. 

In a few cases, a bear has attacked unprovoked, attacking humans in a tent, dragging them out and killing them. Rest assured that if this happens in the United States or Canada, that bear will be tracked down and killed. Some people think this is inhumane, but once a bear perceives humans as food, it has tremendous potential to become a serial killer. It is just not worth the risk of saving its life.  McMillion points out that killing that one bear will likely save the lives of others, preventing them from being shot by hunters who assume that any grizzly is a killer bear.

So, what works to prevent bear attacks?  Nothing is fail-proof, but here are some suggestions that I gleaned from reading the book:
  • Make noise. Let them know you are coming and they are likely to make themselves scarce. Don't sneak up on them for any reason. The best photo op is not worth your life, your health, your eyesight--as photographers have found out the hard way.  Whatever you do, don't sneak up on them.
  • Travel in groups. Make noise.  There is safety in groups because if one person does get attacked, the others can get help.  They may be able to fight off the bear or confuse it.
  • Don't play dead unless the bear knocks you down. Stand up, face the bear calmly, and speak firmly. "No, Bear." (because bears apparently understand English.)  What they do understand is that you are not a threat, but not intimidated either.
  • Don't attack the bear. The only thing worse than a charging grizzly is an angry charging grizzly.  Except that in some cases fighting it, especially in groups, may have confused the bear.  However, they can easily bend a rifle or bite a big stick into shreds, so it's usually inadvisable.
  • Don't run. The bear is a predator and will chase down its prey if necessary. By running, you have proven to the bear that it is more powerful than you, and that you are weak prey. Or something. Because no one can actually read the mind of a bear.
  • If the bear knocks you down, play dead. You are no longer a threat to it or its cubs, and after a few more (extremely damaging) swipes, it will usually go off and leave you alone. 
  • Don't assume that because bears are close to the road, they are safe or tame. Even the most habituated bears can turn on humans.
  • If your dog or horse gets jittery or unpredictable, change direction and be extra wary. Their sense of smell is better than yours, and bears stink. A lot.
  • Don't take guns into national parks that don't allow them.  There is good reason for this. Shooting a bear does not always stop it anyway; it may just enrage it. If you do have to shoot a bear, let's hope you are either a very good shot or get lucky. Remember that thick hide?
  • For some reason, a good shot of bear spray, which is basically a larger, sometimes stronger, can of pepper spray than you would use on, say, the streets of New York, can chase off a bear. Perhaps it thinks it is being stung by millions of bees. You have to get it right in the eyes though. Quick reflexes and ability to reach the spray and release it from its holster are absolutely essential.
  • NEVER look a bear in the eyes.  Not even after it has turned away from you. Trying to stare down a creature that is more than twice your size and armed with very sharp teeth and claws is not a smart thing to do. The bear perceives it as a challenge, a sign of aggression, and will attack harder to subdue you. 
  • Bears go for the face, so if being attacked, try to keep your head down, your face protected by your arms. It may not work, but if you're lucky you'll delay damage to it until the bear has decided you are suitably chastised and moves away.
  • Don't think you can read the mind of a bear. More than one "bear whisperer" has been mauled or killed. Follow general safety tips and stay away from them as much as possible. That's the biggest safety tip. 
  •  Lock up your food in a vehicle or hang it really high in a tree. Make sure the windows are up. Don't leave it in coolers, backpacks, or tents, all of which are accessible by determined bears. Similarly, if you live in bear territory, don't leave fruit from trees for windfall.  
  • Keep a clean camp. Cook on a camp-stove and put it away. Use approved latrines--either one at the campsite or a sealed bucket that you lock in your car. Clean up your trash and dirty dishes. If you brush your teeth, spit in the latrine, not on the ground. Leave as little around to smell good as possible. Don't bring small animals, and especially don't leave them at the campsite or in a tent--not even in a carrier. I actually saw this in a movie, and it resulted in a heartbroken girl when the bear tore up the camp and the little dog disappeared.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAY:  If you want to camp or travel in bear territory, be alert, be prepared, and know and follow the basic safety guidelines.