Thirty-One Gifts

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Update on Me and Katie

Well, I thought we'd be back at it.  Katie has more residual damage on her young body than originally thought, with many problems all over.  It's complicated by the fact that she works out to keep happy, healthy, and for simple fun.  All that joy has been taken from her.  On top of the accident, she received news that her father died just two weeks ago.  He was only 58.  Katie wishes she could have prevented it, as he was in poor health.  I wish I could have prevented those that have gone before me as well.  We can't, but we can work on ourselves and those around us.  I've fallen way off the wagon.  I've not gone back to Diet Cokes though, the bane of my existence.  I'm still on tea, water, and juices.  I'm not as active, and I feel it.  I'm lethargic and want to sleep all of the time.  When I do sleep, I don't sleep well.  Katie says exercise is the key to feeling better.  She is very limited in what she can do.  I've had thoughts of exercising for the both of us.  After all, I've gone UP a pants size.  That,'s in the wrong direction!  Particularly for someone who is buying a wedding dress in a couple of weeks.  Besides, I think it would make Katie smile - and I would feel better.  I think I'll start with yoga.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today's the Day

Katie and I are back at it today!  Getting her in the pool will be tough, but only because of her pain, as she's in the right mindset to just do it.  She's a trainer, after all.  We're going to have a healthy lunch, and I'll post a few pics here and there of our day together.  That is, if she's not camera shy!  I plan on drinking a ton of water and homemade tea today, as I feel as though I NEVER got enough to drink anymore.  I need my own water bottle - an insulated one that fits in the car!  When I'm teaching, it's imperative.  My mouth gets like cotton after a few classes back-to-back.  I can say that I hope Katie and I get to just "hang out" a bit today as friends.  We realized over the summer that we weren't doing that anymore because we were training instead.  We've been friends for over three years, and I need friend-time too.  After her accident, I'm sure she does as well.  This time 'round, we'll leave plenty of time for friendship and training.  Why?  The friendship and connection we have is what makes me listen to her.  She wants to help me, and I need her - as a trainer and a friend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Back on Track...

Hey!  I've been in a whirly twirly blur for a few weeks, getting into my new job and routine.  You know how changing your routine sucks the life right out of you?  You know how going back to work after some time off freaks out your system?  Try a bit longer than the average and you've got me - in a coma.  Exercise?  Ha!  Like I have time for that?  Like I even have the ENERGY?  I do park a bit away from the school, and I take the stairs some of the time.  However, I've been feeling myself slip back into old, bad habits.  Just when I'd about given up, Katie was hit by the car while on her bike.  With mortality slapping me in the face like a bucket of cold water, I have a whole new reason to get healthy - to bring my buddy back.  We've got a play date on Friday. That sounds like a lot more fun than exercise, although there will be a healthy meal involved and we're going to try to get into the pool.  Her pain is pretty bad.  I want my Katie back!  Wah!  We're going to baby-step-it.  Just like she did with me... in the beginning. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Katie Got Hurt

She will live, and she'll even be training me hard again, but Katie was hurt last week in a cycling accident.  A car pulled out of a shopping area without looking, piggy-backing another car just in front of him, and slammed into Katie on her bike.  She was on her way to the park.  It was a beautiful day in the University of Central Florida area, where she is a pre-med student.  She didn't break any bones, but her back and neck are out of whack, she walks like you're following Igor, "Walk this way...," and she isn't the perky trainer I know and love because of muscle relaxers and pain meds.  She hates it all.  She was biking 5 miles a day, running, and weight training.  She can't do any of that now.  All because someone had to have their pizza on time.  Yup.  That's irony.  She asked for a pool noodle, but mine are broken, with the beads falling out and all..., but she's going to pick one up, and I think I'll trek over there on Friday, my day off, and take a pool dip with her.  Sometimes it's the trainers that need the encouragement.  Good thing she taught me how. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Job - New Food Challenges!

With a fantastic new career on course, I've got some food challenges.  Since I've not been paid yet, (teachers - government- ugh), I don't have to worry much now.  The Conspirator packs a lunch for me to take - with snacks!  What in the world is in the lunch bag?  Yesterday, I had cheese and crackers, yogurt, some cold, diced chicken, and peaches.  There's no way I could eat it all, so I ate the cheese and crackers, a few bites of chicken, and the yogurt.  However, with so many drink choices, (no drink included), I chose root beer (not diet).  I haven't had a soda for a good long while, and I can't make it a habit, but it tasted soooo good.  There were waters, juices, and milks, but I chose badly.  I dread the freedom that an actual paycheck will bring.  The college has a great little cafe/diner.  There's loads of healthy choices to be sure, but some fried stuff and desserts as well.  I also wouldn't mind a Frappe on the way home.  I pass right by a McDonald's, and there's not really another route.  I've been in the house for a bit, earning my Master of Arts degree, and I lived on limited funds, so I didn't really have a whole heck of a lot of choices. I simply never went out!  I think the only solution is to buy a great thermos for my yummy iced tea.  With my packed lunch and cold tea, I wouldn't even have to go in the diner.  I'd just eat outside on the patio or in sheltered space.  Besides, I could people watch.  Yeah, that's a good idea.  Oh, and to leave most of my money at home.  Lol!

Friday, August 26, 2011

~A Response to Trainer Stress~

With the past half decade being the most difficult in my life, moving seven times, changing jobs and whole career directions, a daughter in and out of college, and an ex for the first time in my life, I really never thought of trying to lose the weight for anyone anymore.  And that's that.  However, I can't seem to do the things I want to do unless I lose it; the weight is my literal albatross, and those "excuses and stresses" have to go.  Does exercise REALLY make you feel better during stress or help with sleep no matter how hyper you get over a situation?  I don't know.  That's one solution I haven't sought yet.  I have done a few things over the past week that Katie asked me to try.  I've tried very hard to keep a night-time sleep schedule the same every night.  I've been successful with this on most nights, even if I wake some time during the night with a little insomnia.  I've also tried to pay attention to starting my metabolism soon after waking with a bite to eat.  I hate eating in the morning, as my stomach is always in knots for the upcoming day, but I've forced myself - with the help of The Conspirator/Fiance, and it has helped.  Keeping my blood sugar even has aided tremendously in my mood and not feeling ravenous and wanting to rip someone's head off by late afternoon.  I also eat a lot less for dinner and after if I eat consistently during the day.  I've also increased my water intake to a gallon/gallon and a half during the day - and yes!  I'm in the bathroom a lot.  However, once you drop some initial water weight, that's a bit less.  I've also increased my bean and rice intake, as well as choosing whole grains when I do.  Basmati rice is delish, remembering my grandmother's Three Bean Salad recipe was a great thing, and the whole wheat bread we've found as our favorite is a staple.  SO - I'm not on my hamster wheel of exercise at the moment, but I'm still making life-long changes.  I know, EXERCISE.  I hear ya.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Falling Off The Wagon ...

After two months of lifestyle changes, I fell off the wagon in the past couple of weeks.  Makes me angry at myself.  AND I feel like crap.  I haven't exercised like I should have.  I've eaten too many salty things, and I even had fast food - like a pig out.  In my defense, I've been completely preoccupied lately with a new career path for both me and the fiance guy that lives with me.  He's got things going and so do I.  In essence, I failed the first big test: keep moving even when life is busy.  I didn't.  I did like many of you and just stopped.  I froze in exhaustion, excitement, and a bit of fear for the future.  Where did it get me?  My blood pressure is up, my fingers and toes are plumped like Ball Park Franks because of the diet or lack thereof, and I feel like garbage.  And then what happened?  One of my oldest friends, since we were 13, decided that I inspired her and started walking and jogging in her local park.  She even bought tennis shoes!  She even checked out her park's yoga program and says they have a water aerobics class.  Hmm... she said that she didn't want to do it alone.  Well, I figured, I can't be an inspiration for her and not keep it up myself.  Thanks a lot!  Just think, if I exercise and eat right, I will feel completely different a week from now... and I will have earned the right to inspire.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Snacks

There are so many cool, tasty snacks at the store, that most of you, me in the past included, would call "birdseed," "hippy food," or "stuff for those vegan people."  Going through Publix (Florida's local grocer) the other day, I noticed a whole new snack shelf in the veggie and fruit section.  It's got loads of yummy dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and trail mix.  FRESH.  It's not packaged with M & M's.  It's not loaded with extra sugar to make you want to eat it.  However, it does replace not only chips for me, but kills the sweet tooth as well.  (Not saying that I don't throw in some brownies or ice cream too sometimes.)  I am in love with soy, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds.  Yes, I am a bird now.  They are yummy though.  Why?  I know they aren't bad for me, they're better than chips, and in soy nuts, for example, they have 8 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving!  That's an awesome power snack with a piece of fruit or cheese.  I'm also in love with summer fruit.  Grapes, berries, mangoes, and particularly cherries do the trick for munching and something sweet.  I love to munch grapes or cherries after dinner for a sweet bite, and I adore (but not often), blackberries or blueberries with some cool whip.  Mangoes are for anytime!  Also, take a blender, throw in some fresh fruits of your choice, 1 cup of milk - I use low fat 2% - some ice cubes, and you've got yourself a smoothie!  SO, so yummy for breakfast, snack, or dessert.  See how much fun this is?


Roasted SOY NUTS

Monday, August 1, 2011

How I Got Fat #4: Diet Soda

Diet soda was my lover for over twenty years.  It could end up killing me.  Katie is seriously going to have to tell you the medical stuff.  It gets jumbled in my head, but I know one thing: it's disgusting when she breaks it down.  I had gone off the stuff before.  I had refused to go off it as well.  I always had one, like the way people carry water.  I was indignant about it - cavalier, hateful, difficult, and moody.  It had to be served a certain way.  Only in the can and in a coozie.  AND only the rubber coozies they used to sell at Disney, but don't have anymore.  Yup.  Seriously.  No.  I'm not kidding.  Family and friends begged me for years to get off my 12+ can-a-day habit.  Yeah - I'm not kidding about that either.  Pretty humiliating to admit, but I have news! (Trumpets and drums should play right now...)  I've been off my diet coke drug for over 60 days now!  Longer than anytime since I went on it at the age of twenty.  Going off should be done delicately.  Weaning is best, due to caffeine withdrawls, but since I replaced it with iced tea that I make, I get not only a bit of caffeine, but also much needed water to flush me out.  Plus - there are a TON more FLAVORS to play with: see my list to the right for some favorites.  I highly recommend going off all soda.  It's not that hard in restaurants because of the enormous explosion of drink choices.  However: water is best.  Tea is great.  100% Juices.  Smoothies (except homemade good smoothies) and coffee in great moderation.  Alcohol not at all or rarely.  These are all great choices for healthier drinking.  I love this new way of healthy better than any diet I ever went on.  Ever.  Going to go have Kevin's fresh lemon chicken with angel hair pasta.  Maybe I'll share with ya - if it passes the test.  :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alcohol: Death to a Diet

I don't care what the justification is, alcohol truly is death to dieting.  Usually, you don't just stop at one, and before you know it, on a "night out," you can spend over a thousand calories in beer alone, and if you are drinking sugary tropical drinks, well, you may go into the thousands of calories - just by drinking.  Do you realize how much "smart food" that would be?  A lot.  A whole lot.  Why do you think they call the distended belly due to alcohol a "beer gut?"  I know this well.  I loved my beer once.  And tequila.  I quit  alcohol over two years ago, and within the first 4 months, I lost 35 pounds.  I wasn't dieting.  In fact, I ate MORE, because there were grumblings in my belly: "Feed me Veronica!"  But, the weight I lost was a LOT of water and sodium.  I also wasn't ingesting a ton of sugar from the alcohol, so that wasn't turning to fat in my body.  Even one cocktail party on the weekend is enough to trash your diet - or live-it.  :)  If you're going to have one from time to time, then make sure you drink a ton of water and exercise to get it off ... just like food.  I've found that I really don't miss it.  Food tastes so much better, and it doesn't give me a hangover.  :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

The "Dolly Parton" Diet

Years ago, when the movie, "Steel Magnolias" came out, Oprah had the whole cast on her show - except they did it as a location interview.  Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine were all cozy on couches in a fancy schmancy hotel room.  Dolly used to be overweight, but many of you may not remember that.  Well, when she surfaced for this film, people went crazy, because she was not just smaller, but teeny tiny - particularly for having a Mae West type, figure eight, stacked and packed shape.  I was a figure 8 as well.  I was also short like Dolly.  She's shorter, but I don't have many inches on her.
     When Oprah asked Dolly how she lost all that weight, Dolly answered in her blunt and charismatic way, "I just stopped being a pig."  Since NO woman would really ever say that about themselves, the ladies gasped and giggled a bit.  Julia interrupted, and she told Oprah that Dolly still eats biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, etc..., and Oprah was shocked.  How could you eat all that and lose weight?  Dolly piped in with her natural exuberance, and explained, "I just don't eat as much.  I eat whatever I want, but less.  I realized I didn't need to eat everything I was eating, but I didn't want to give up my favorites.  It's what I grew up with."  Oprah was shocked at how small Dolly have become.  Dolly said, "I was always small.  I'm really petite.  It was just covered in fat!"
     I appreciate Dolly's candor.  It's true.  Once I realized that I was stuffing myself for many reasons: emotional, escape, celebration, disappointment, and just about everything but fuel - then I realized how Dolly had looked at it.  She just started using food for fuel and didn't give up everything.  That's how she's probably kept it off.  She doesn't work out much.  She claims in interviews that she hates it.  Now, I know I have to exercise and I can't eat gravy every night, but I like Dolly's philosophy.  Don't strip everything, because of course you'll crave it.  Cut portions first.  The easiest way to do that is to eat 6 small meals a day.
     Grazing throughout the day on healthier snacks, or just smaller versions of favorites at first, will keep you more filled and will prevent a pig-out at night.  I don't chow like a maniac at night anymore because I've deprived myself.  I just eat a handful of this, a bagel, a sandwich, salad, etc.  One of those every few hours keeps me going.  I don't starve and I'm actually losing weight.  I feel it.  My clothes are smaller.  I can't wait to go to the doctor.
I think I'll write Dolly when I'm all done with this loss.  I owe her one!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Overeating and Starving

If there's one thing most all dieters know, even though they may not be anorexic or bulimic, is the vicious cycle of overeating and starving yourself.  It's so natural to think you must deprive yourself, suffer, and take things away in order to be rewarded with a great body.  I would starve myself to lose weight, not realizing that I was throwing my body into crisis and it was actually holding on to the fat, because it was scared it would never get another meal.  I was too~  Of course, my body would get frantic, my blood sugar would drop, and I'd pig out on what? Carbs.  Katie will tell ya all that medical stuff, but basically, I was messing up my body for years in the cycle of starving and feeding.  And - the greatest sin of all when you're fat is to eat like a pig in front of other people.  You hide that!  That makes you depressed, you want to eat more, and then it forces you to isolate because you hate yourself so much.  It's really unfair when someone thin can pig out and people say, "My you're hungry!"  However, if a fat chick like me were to do that, I'd get, "Honey, do you really want that?  Do you think you ought to be eating that?  Do you want to die like your father?"  Ugh.  It's so funny too, because I'm referencing things like Thanksgiving dinner, where my thinner sisters and Aunt can pack a couple of plates away, and I can rarely finish one plate.  AND that's when I started noticing: my body didn't really want all that food.  Ever.  So, I put myself on the Dolly Parton diet.  More tomorrow ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Killer: Sedentary Lifestyle

First on my list of "How I got Fat," a recent post, is a sedentary lifestyle.  It's a vicious cycle.  It sneaks up on you.  For many, and it is true for me, I got married, settled in, made food all day for my family, and got too comfortable.  I also cook like Paula Deen, with sticks of butter and other assorted artery cloggers, which is fine every so often, but not everyday.  It's what I grew up with.  I'm also from a serious TV generation, the "I Want My MTV" crowd, and we spent more time watching movies on that new fangled thing called a VCR than we did playing outside - as teens.  Loads of things helped us out:  Big Gulps came out, fast food was more prominent than ever, snack food explosions, etc...  I've learned that just a couple of those habits will "weigh" your body down with lethargy, so you want to sit and sleep.  Vicious cycle.  Why?  The lethargy makes you feel like crap, so you eat more junk to soothe yourself, and then you simply don't get off the couch... getting bigger and bigger.  And that's how it happens.  Oh, and the mirror isn't your friend during this period, nor pictures, so you really don't have a "true image" of yourself.  Which is hysterical for me, because Veronica literally means, "true image."  Hmm...  guess I ought to work on that.  :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finished with Fried Food?

I have learned one thing: when Katie and I make a new pact at the beginning of each week, I need to keep it.  It only rolls into the next week.  Fried food and fast food have been the hardest things to take off my menu.  I'm in the third week of "quitting" them, and although it seems I may make the commitment this week with 3 days to go, it's been hard.  I love having a frappe on the way home from work on a payday.  The Conspirator and I love having a pizza or hamburgers and fries (homemade) from time to time.  Okay - too much of the time.  I was able to kick Diet Coke easier than this one.  Making the proper food choices all the time can be wearing, but now that I'm almost "cleaned out," even potato chips don't taste as good anymore.  They don't fill me up like trail mix, yogurt, or a little cup of peaches.  These are all sweet enough, and I'm starting to crave them more than carbs and fried food.  I NEVER thought that would happen.  The fried makes me feel bloated now.  My fingers immediately pop out from the increase in sodium.  SO, when not just Katie, but my body is telling me what it wants, well ... I better listen.  It's just that my love affair with McDonalds has been going on my whole life.  Too bad it's a Frappe every once in a blue moon now.  But ... I did fit into a smaller size the other day, my face is smaller, and my stomach is sliding off my body.  It's all working.  Why should I fight it?

Trading French FRIES for...

BAKED Sweet Potato Fries:

SOOOOO much better!  Recipe at:  Sweet Potato Fries Recipe  I leave out the salt and add pepper instead!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fighting with My Trainer

Okay, not all this stuff is easy.  The honeymoon is over, and although I feel better than I have in years, I got a bug up my butt this past weekend.  Katie, trainer extraordinaire, and I went bridal dress shopping.  For me.  I felt great.  BUT, I broke the fried food rule that we just made, (before I got to Katie) AND I wanted a dessert after the dress shopping.  Well, I got a little big for my 'britches, as my grandmother would say.  I felt so good.  I tried on dresses that were smaller than the ones I tried on in February, got a big head, had a partner in crime with me (not Katie), who shall remain nameless to protect her from repercussions, and I got in a snit with Katie when she only tried to help me.  In my defense, we've changed multiple habits that I've had for over twenty years in the course of 5 weeks.  That's pretty hard.  Now, Katie would say - "You've had enough years with that stuff, are you serious or not?" - and, no matter how big of a baby I want to be - she's right.  I've been fat long enough.  I've felt awful long enough.  And now I'm entering those hot flash times?  Yeah, time to be as healthy as possible.  I'm sorry, Katie.  Ready for tomorrow!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seat Belt Victory: EPCOT

As I said before ... it's not all about the weight.  Sometimes it's about how your fat gets in the way of living your life.  I love Disney.  Yes.  I'm a Disney freak.  However, at my largest weight (pictured lower left on the blog), and even two years ago, I couldn't even buckle the seat belt on "Soarin'," Disney's great air suspension ride at EPCOT.  I'm quite fond of this ride, because you go so many places during the course of it.  I love travel, and even though simulated, I'd rather be going somewhere.  To my surprise, despite having to brave four student groups clapping and cheering because all 200 of them got to fast pass us, I arrived at the dreaded seat.  I grabbed it while still standing, extended it to it's greatest length, and then sat down.  To my surprise, it buckled, and this is what was left over: 

I think we're making progress... :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How I Got Fat

I've been asked by more than a few people, "Exactly, how did you get so overweight?"  I love it when they tag it with something like, "You're so smart - how did you not see it?"  This implies a couple of things: one, that fat people are inherently dumb, because only someone ignorant could gain and keep that much weight.  Next, that I've never looked in a mirror.  All fat people look in a mirror.  Usually, full of self-loathing, where upon they eat to self-medicate, thereby getting fatter and making a vicious cycle where none need be.  I know this because I'm fat and I know fat people.  That's the thing.  Over half of Americans are.  I know the intelligence of Americans is widely debated in the world, but we do know we're obese.  We diet all the time!  So, how did I get fat?  I thought I'd list it:                                                                            
  1.  Sedentary Lifestyle.
  2.  Cycles of overeating and starving myself.
  3.  Drinking alcohol.
  4.  Drinking tons of diet soda.
  5.  No water.
  6.  Poor diet.
  7.  Poor sleep habits.
  8.  Medication that caused weight gain.
  9.  Lying to Myself. 
  10.  DIETS

I'll go through each of these in different articles, but I can say I just smashed the lying to myself with this blog!  I cut alcohol, diet soda, started exercising, got my sleep cycle rearranged, quit dieting, and I drink a ton of homemade tea now.  All these changes have been within a month.  I feel better than ever.  I never thought I could do it, but it gets easier every day.  There just comes a point where you have to stop lying to yourself.  I was hurting myself more than anyone else by refusing to see it.  Like I said, we're not dumb. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freedom From Fat

Just from the 50+ pounds that I've lost from a divorce and giving up alcohol, I feel so much better, that I'm now addicted to wanting to feel great!  I can see the goal on most days, and when I can't see out of the covers on a bright sunny day, well ... that's what Katie, The Conspirator, and a close-knit group of friends are for.  I've felt trapped by the weight for years, so when the Fourth of July rolled around - I was stuck with the same old possibilities of hot dogs and hamburgers.  Why?  Because it's a tradition?  When over 65% and climbing Americans are considered obese, then I think at the age of 43, I can skip a few to lose the fat.  Aside: I see skinny people on TV put fat suits on and go "undercover," showing what people say to them when they're "fat."  I think it's hysterical.  One, because they can't show a true reaction to the pain of being treated unfairly, and secondly, they get to immediately shed it all revealing?  A perfect body.  Ugh.  Funny though.  I'd like there to be a zipper at the top of my neck to zip this "fat suit" off of me.  I would think most obese people would agree.  That's why the diet industry makes billions a year.  BILLIONS.  Off of making us, well, actually fatter.  So, with all that in mind, I decided to treat myself to something I don't normally have and do it up right.  I allow one "cheat" on special days - not the whole day or a whole meal - just one.  I chose the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  Yum.  I feel more Freedom From Fat with each little decision.  Just like that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pushing Through The "I don't want to's"

Even when you don't want to exercise, you should.  In fact, it's when you should exercise the MOST.  Why?  Believe it or not, exercise does eventually give you more energy, changes your mood by the release of endorphins, and helps you sleep more soundly.  I know, that could be at the top of any old blog about weight and exercise.  However, it's true.  And I'm a big girl that would rather be a couch potato ... or would I?  When you "weigh" over the options, that since a month has passed now, I feel better than I have in years, I have more stamina, I'm generally happier, and I move easier, then it's worth every teeny sweat drop!  Is it worth getting up early?  Well, since I'm not a morning person at all, I would have to say - most of the time.  There are some days I'd rather work out in the afternoon, so I do.  But Katie got my rickety body used to the morning, and now I get up with energy.  Of course, I'm not weighed down by the diet soda or fast food anymore.  I've also made dietary changes that lift me instead of making me feel heavy, such as switching chips for trail mix.  I try to remember all this when I'm sweating underneath my glasses into my eyeballs.  That's not exactly fun, you know?  Having a buddy definitely helps.  Whether it's a girlfriend, your love or your kids... get out there.  You'll feel a lot better, and for a lot longer.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bad Days Are Allowed...

Not "cheats," as those are explained later, but just one of those rainy, blue, stay-in-your-jammies days that comes along and kills your energy for everything.  Most people have those - whether they admit it or not.  Not all people are in on the "I need a day away" club, but a lot of us are.  We need space away from the world to re-boot.  I know that artistic people are especially prone to such days.  Heck, Picasso even had a whole "Blue Period!"  What to do?  Katie suggested many things, light therapy, music, food for-goodness-sake, and to move.  Blah.  Yuck.  HOWEVER, I went outside, for over ten minutes in the natural light that moves your mood, only to try to save a trapped Robin in my screen room before the German Shepard and Cat - known as Just Jazzie and Louie the Snob - made a rather primal meal out of him.  That was light therapy and action yesterday.  Music was noise, and the television worse.  A bath was wonderful...peace.  Someone on Face book said, "I'm going off the grid," which has become our new language for disconnecting from technology and the busy, noisy world we live in.  Today is better, and perhaps I can get some yoga done.  It would feel great to stretch.  I never know when I'll have to save a bird - by the way - the Robin made it.  I couldn't have saved him a year ago.  It's good for him that I exercise!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Not All About Weight...

Many people have asked me if I'll be weighing weekly, monthly, or some such pattern.  I officially weigh every three months at the doctor.  It's probably the most reliable.  I also don't fixate on the weight.  As Katie has said a million times, the weight will naturally drop if you're exercising and eating healthy.  Even with the small changes we've made here and there, I do feel better.  Much, actually.  I've been on diets since I was 15, and all I've gotten is fatter.  They make you think about food and exercise constantly, whereas with this "healthier" approach, I actually don't think about it too much.  I love not being obsessed about my body in a body-conscious society.  Not that I don't know about fat, calories, sodium, pounds, etc. - it's just that I'm concentrating more on the way my body feels.  The way that clothes are loose.  I even dropped a shoe size and width!  I don't feel bloated and gross.  I feel lighter and stronger.  I sleep better and more reasonably.  I have a lot more energy and I'm more productive.  I feel cleansed by the water and tea.  My skin is more moist, and it was drying due to poor diet, thirst, and my age.  My movement is easier.  I moved furniture yesterday, and I'm far less sore since I exercise now than I would have been before.  It really isn't about the weight, because the weight is a symptom of fixable problems.  Once those are remedied, the weight falls off.  Katie and I are curious, however, so she'll be bringing a scale soon.  I don't want one in the house!  The doctor will still be the official.  However, feeling strong and mobile again has been the biggest success so far.  :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Pain of Exercise at 43~

At the close of my third week with Katie and full-on exercise like I've not had in years, I can report that my body is feeling both fantastic and painful.  Of course, you must experience pain before pleasure, right?  Hmm...may be another topic later - another blog!  ANYWAY, when Katie showed up the first day of exercise and took me for a walk in a state park, I was not exactly happy about the heat, deep sand on the trail, and general discomfort that a lethargic body moving for the first time in a long while is going to feel.  My hips ached, my lung capacity was low, and my stamina was for crap~  Katie knew how to counteract this:  she studied photography for two years and I love it.  I fancy myself an amateur for sure.  She gave me a 35mm Canon to use with black and white film in it.  She taught me about aperture.  I got to take pictures all through the walk.  This has been a huge motivator, because I always want to learn more from her, so I don't cancel.  Try to wiggle out of some days?  Yes, but not cancel.  Trainers should use non-food like motivators - even the type of exercise.  When Katie realized that I love water aerobics, we added more of that and decreased walks.  The pool is better for me now because of the impact on my body at this weight and it still gives me a sweat, but not the detrimental heat that a Florida June blasts~   This is not to say that my 43 year old fat body loves all this movement.  My muscles ache, my back is stressed, and I get aches in places that I've not felt in years.  What to do?  Quit?  No, because I can feel muscles inside my body: my abs, legs, back, arms.  I feel stronger and more flexible.  I have more ENERGY.  I'm starting to like it.  I know.  It's sick.  My quandary is what to do through the pain.  These are my current solutions:  natural supplements for pain, yoga for pain, my parent's pictures on the walls, The Conspirator's massages, and just to shut up and suck it up.  It's about time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fitness Heroes

There are many motivations to losing weight and getting fit, but the most effective way is by simply looking at the people around you.  Start taking a peek at those that are still alive in old age, those with fewer health problems than most, and those that are generally happier.  Usually, they're fit.  I have fitness heroes at every age level, and in no particular order, here they are and why:
   My niece and nephews, Bella, Jordan, and Ian are the healthiest kids I know.  Of course, my sister works at the Y.M.C.A as the membership director.  However, they love to work out, feel good, and have been consistent in their activities.  Their Mom, Jenn, is my next hero.  She started teaching aerobics after her third child and looks like she's never had even one!  
   Next up are a bevy of Uncles and Aunts on my father's side, all of whom are motivated by the heart disease in the family and their own desire to be healthy.  Man, family reunions were a nightmare.  Walk after breakfast.  Walk after swimming.  Walk after lunch.  You get the idea.  I admired them because I thought it would be impossible for me to be as fit, and I would simply die young, as my father did at 37 from a massive heart attack.  Momma Dar, my stepmother, was once heavy.  She's in her sixties and walks marathons.  MARATHONS.  So, I think I'll listen to her too!  Even my cousins on that side are in shape!  The pressure to be healthy has been the largest reason that I've disconnected from them in some ways.  When I realized that my fat was preventing me from relationships, well, that was a sad day - and one of change.  I can't wait for the next family reunion.  I'd love to walk with them.  
   I have a variety of fit friends, but I'd love to shout about three peeps that have changed me before this turns into a novel:  Kristina and Nanny.  Kristina is my daughter.  She's 21, and she's seen a lot of sickness and death with numerous family members - even her parents.  She started eating heathier and walking, then running, every day.  I'm so proud of her, and she's an inspiration.  Nanny is my grandmother.  She's 83, and she fell and broke her hip in New York in December.  She's back to fit now.  Because she ALWAYS WAS.  That's the trick.  She healed better and faster because she's already in great shape from tennis, walking, and swimming for years.  Right now, I'd have a hard time recovering from such a thing, if they could even get me off the pavement!  
   I want to be like all of these people and more.  The ones I thought I could emulate have already passed or are ill in some way.  Look around.  See who's old and what their lifestyles are.  Some are completely a mess and fine, I'm sure.  That happens.  Some sneak through.  But, I've never been a huge gambler, so I think I'll step away from the buffet and let someone else take my place.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Diet Coke Dilemma

   I love Diet Coke.  I've been "hooked" for over 20 years.  I've gone off it before, but not for very long.  When Katie said that it had to go, I was resistant, as always.  However, she had someone on her side.  Henceforth known as "The Conspirator" (A.K.A my fiance), he was coached by Miss Katie.
Since he loves me AND does the grocery shopping, he simply didn't buy it.  Okay, well, first he bought 2 liters and store brands, which he knows I won't touch ... because I'm a soda snob.
   It's been a love affair.  Cold, just-temp-right, fizzy, and in a coozie, I drank it despite what I know about the dangers of too much and the pleads to quit by my family and friends.  However, I was honest with Katie, told her it's not going to happen, ever.  Just move on.  She wouldn't.  The Conspirator worked on his job and Katie quietly offered tea replacements.  I put sugar in my tea made from scratch with lemon juice concentrate. She told me the minimal real sugar is better than diet coke and store-bought tea.  Tea is a natural diuretic, antioxidant (certain kinds are more so), and can help with the mood swings of menopause.  Some of the teas are calming, but some are natural stimulants, such as those with ginseng.  I like green blueberry ginseng tea in the morning!  Once she said I could have it iced no matter the time of day, I ditched the diet coke.  It also helped that I remembered my grandmother's Arnold Palmer recipe.  Yum!  I'm working on my 30-day gold star.
   I'm telling you, it was hard to detox off the poison of soda, but I feel better.  The rings on my fingers are spinning because of decreased puffiness, due to the amounts of sodium that up to a 12-pack of coke can do in a day.  I don't drink coffee.  I only have a frappe every so often.  Going off of the caffeine was difficult for about five days.  Some natural supplements for headaches and the tea helped immensely.
   This is the thing:  I sleep better and longer, less jittery during the day, don't feel bloated, and I save $120 a month easy in what I bought for home use and out in the world.  Tea is flavored water.  I know, because I make it fresh.  When I sip a soda now, even diet, it tastes like syrup.  Yuck!  I think that water is the next frontier.  I'll trust Katie this time.  Not so sure about The Conspirator though ...

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Beginning...

   I've always wanted to be a writer, but I never thought my first blog would be about my weight.  If writing is purging, then there's something symbolic about this.  I was always an underweight kid.  Yeah.  Believe it.  After puberty hit, I started getting teased because I had a "Mae West" type figure.  The solid 8.  Looking back, I realize it wasn't so bad!  So why did I let all those voices get to me about how big I wasn't?  (Not at 110-125)  Because it's human nature to listen to those we trust.  People tell you, "It doesn't matter what people think," but don't we naturally consult people on many things?  Ha!  Down to what we wear!  SO, let's get rid of all that crap from the past and move on.
   It's a new day:  Both my parents died at young ages: 37 and 62.  I'm 43 now.  Exactly.  SO - let's do this thing!  I met Katie Hanrahan about three years ago, but it feels like I've always known her!  She's an old soul, which meshes with mine, and for some reason - I can't say no to her!  She's too sweet.  I'm convinced it's partly why she became a trainer.  :)   When she moved into Orlando a month ago, we decided to get this weight off me.  MANY people have tried to motivate me, but Katie has an advantage and determination most don't: she'll just show up at my door if I don't answer!  So, we decided to take on this challenge together, and it doesn't hurt one bit that in this next year I'll be wedding dress shopping.  However, I'd just like to have a bit more time than Dad and Mom did...