Sunday, September 30, 2007

A weekened of respite

Now and then I get a free weekend so I can go back to my former town and visit my good friends. This weekend was one of them.

These times are precious to me. I get out of my rut (though I have hardly had time to establish a new rut in my new town). I get to spend time at a beautiful place in the country with one of the best friends a person could ever had. I get to play with her big dog.

And perhaps most importantly, I get to recharge, refresh and get a clean start on right living.

My friend lives in a two-story log home on 10 acres in eastern Oklahoma County. It's far enough away from the big city that we can watch fireflies dancing in the dark and can see more stars in the night sky than I thought possible.

She treats me well when I visit. We eat frequent, small meals. We snack on those tiny triangles of cheese made by Laughing Cow, on whole-grain Triscuits. Later we have fruit. Still later, she steams some broccoli so it's barely tender and we eat that for a snack.

And we hydrate. Glass after glass of water while we work on projects at her house -- sorting through clothes to give away, hanging pictures, mending clothes. All those 15-minute jobs we all put off. Snack, work, drink. Snack, work, drink.

There is balance in these weekends. Relaxation and work, in a ying-yang, back-and-forth rhythm through the day.

OK, so one of the reasons we were so relaxed is that we stayed in our pajamas Saturday until 7 p.m. That's what a 15-year friendship is good for -- REALLY relaxing together. We sat on the front porch in wicker chairs and watched the dog play and the hawks fly. Later we moved to the balcony on the back of the house to see the far-away lights and the nearby lightning bugs.

Eventually we did get dressed a little to take a walk from the house down the long, winding driveway to the main road and back. That's about a mile round-trip, with an uphill stretch at the gate.

These weekends are always good for me. Somehow I sleep much better at the end of the day in her country, and I can be sure of having lost a pound at the end of the weekend.

I'm sure it's not all the healthy eating that does it. I am SURE part of it is the sheer relaxation, which allows the body to rebalance itself. I can almost hear it saying "thank you!"

That leg cramp that thought about attacking me half-way up the hill? It said "Nah, not tonight. But don't forget I'm thisclose to getting you again!"

Yeah, I beat the cramp back. Lots of water, a banana and a vitamin D with calcium took care of his scrawny be-hind you better believe.

Lots and lots of hugs this morning at my old church also helped rebalance my spirit. Knowing the power of love for myself puts me in the right mind to do loving things for others, too. I hope to bring some of the ministries from my old church to my new church to spread the love and grace around. And there's another part of the rebalancing at work.

Body, mind, spirit. It's good to have time to sit in the clear air on a fall day and put these back in balance. Try it, and don't forget the water, or the broccoli.

Life is good!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Peach Topping.

So. I post in comments about peach topping on ice cream, and Tech sends me an invite to participate in the blog. I'll try not to read too much into that. I've been failing more than succeeding at weight loss for a lot of years now. I think I'm mentally about ready to do something about that.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Your post here

Your inspiring, thought-provoking post goes here.

Your delicious recipe that is still sliming goes here.

Your thoughts about weight loss and how you/we need support goes here.

Your wisdom, wit and kindness go here.

Your support goes here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


One of the things that helped me lose weight before -- when I was doing what I should -- was accountability. I had Weight Watchers, this blog and concerned friends who would ask me almost daily how the diet was going. Yes, it was annoying at times, but it also kept me aware of my diet.

It was also a test of my honesty. Because sometimes they would ask and I hadn't been good about my diet -- unless you consider a dish of French vanilla ice cream with hot peach topping and a flourish of whipped cream on top to be diet food -- and I didn't want to answer.

"I don't want to talk about it," was my standard reply, which was the same as an admission that I had fallen off the beam. Not that they chastised me -- in fact, they were always supportive except for one person who died a horrible death involving fire ants, a '59 Chevy and a goat -- but having to admit that I had slipped only fueled my desire to do better.

So, for me, this blog will be part of my accountability. And if you ask me if I walked last night, my reply is, "I don't want to talk about it." But I will walk tonight.

How are you doing? Please share your tips and thoughts. We're in this together, and I want to hear what you have to say. And if you'd like to join us, just let me know, and I'll sign you up in our team.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little bitty baby steps ... GOOD!

I have a friend who is trying to quit smoking. She has been trying for years. She has tried the patch, pills, hypnosis, the Mormon stop smoking program, cold turkey, the Stop Smoking Boot Camp, subliminal tapes, etc. She once told me that she had tried 15 different ways to quit smoking. Nothing took. She was still smoking two and a half packs a day. Finally she decided that she would just cut back one cigarette a week. She couldn't stop smoking, but she could cut back. It's taken her a while, but she's down to a pack a day. She's still trying to cut back one cigarette a week.

Mind you, that might not work for other people. In fact, other people told her that it wouldn't. They told her that she should just stop. They told her that she didn't really want to stop. They told her a lot of things, but she's down to one pack a day and she can see finally see a time when she's two packs a week and then one pack a week and then no packs a week. "Little bitty baby steps" took her forward to her goal. Even though the steps were small, they were still moving her forward.

Likewise with our weight loss, baby steps are good. As long as we keep moving forward, we will get there. Maybe not as fast the person next to us, but just applaud their success and keep taking those steps forward.


How are you doing on your Thursday Health Habit? I walked my 15 minutes a day or more every day except yesterday. No excuses, I just didn't do it. I will today. So how are you doing?

Thursday, September 20, 2007


They say that the cells in our body renew themselves every 90 days. In other words, the old cells die and are replaced with new cells. These new cells model themselves after the old cells and even -- in our brains -- exchange information so that the new cells can carry on like the old cells. So every 90 days we are literally new.

This is, I think, a metaphor for how we can change. (Admittedly it's a sloppy metaphor because that's not exactly how cellular reproduction works, but close enough. Work with me.) We can shed what we were and embrace a new way of being. We can be reborn.

This metaphor can apply to anything in our lives, from spiritual and moral issues to weight loss. Of course, we can't lose all the weight we gained in 90 days -- look, I said it was a sloppy metaphor -- but we can make changes in how we live that will create the weight loss we need.

And we do need it. Being over-weight increases our chances for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, etc. And just as importantly, being over-weight steals our energy and strength. It dilutes our joy in living and being active.

So let us decide right now that we will embrace this rebirth. That we will be new people. That we are no longer victims of poor habits. That we are worthy of being healthy, strong and happy.

This is it.

We can do it.

Our time is now.


To do this, I am going to change a habit a week and start a new habit. Here's my first new habit.

1st Change: I will walk 15 minutes a day starting today.

Will you join me in doing this?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It looks like we all need some inspiration

Thanks, Trixie, for providing some in your last post. I wonder if the rest of the folks will pop in and read it. I hope so.

I'm about where I was last year, in terms of weight management. I'm maintaining that 35 or so pound loss. I'm still walking 4-6 times a week, about 3 miles.

We moved out of my mom's and two weeks later, Paul got laid off because the company decided to reorganize itself. So, the stress level is way up. I figure that walking and writing regularly in my journal helps the stress. As does my choir singing. My part-time job helps pay the bills, which gives us a little more time to job hunt. So, maintaining is my whole goal. I don't want to let the emotional roller-coaster our uncertain finances put us on make me start overeating and couch-potatoing. That just leads to health problems I can't afford to get fixed--no insurance, of course.

Anyway, I hope you all are OK. I haven't been reading blogs, so I don't know what's going on with you all. I hope to catch up as I have a bit more time, since I'm not frantically unpacking boxes anymore.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New inspiration

I finally was able to go see a doctor today (Well, I guess now it's yesterday since it's after midnight.) I think it's been well over four years since I was able to see a doctor because of the lack of insurance. My new coverage just recently kicked in.

For once, I was pleased to see the number on the scale. It confirms that I've lost 14 pounds since we started this project together. If you think of all that has happened in that time, I count that as a good achievement.

You know what was great about this doctor's visit? No nagging about my weight! Yes, I need to lose more weight. I'd personally like to lose 35 pounds now. That is certainly a goal that can be accomplished, and with dedication, it wouldn't take long.

But in addition to not being nagged, my new doctor planted a new thought in my mind. Perhaps it's because my new doc is a woman, but when she talked to me, she had a whole new perspective that I've never gotten from a male doctor. (It also could be my age. Now that I'm past the 50-year-old benchmark, it could be that I'm in some golden-age group where health care is routinely handled differently.)

OK, so for whatever reason, it was the approach that has made all the difference to me with this consultation. Take the emphasis off the weight itself as THE PROBLEM. Instead, let's talk about it from the other side.

"We need to work on getting your blood pressure back under control," New Doctor said. "There comes a time in our lives when we need to start letting go of some of the things that stress us out so we can focus on the things that make our lives worth living."

READ THAT AGAIN. And a third time, for good measure!

It was an epiphany for me. Here's someone approximately my age, or in the ballpark, who is a medical professional, and she's giving me permission to slow down and stop killing myself. I don't have to keep running so hard any more to justify myself professionally or personally.

We talked quite a bit about taking life easier, downshifting to a slower pace and improving the quality of life.

We talked quite a bit about the fact that my dad died at 56 -- just four years older than I am right now. My brother died at 42. My mom lived to 74 -- which may seem like a good age, but consider the lineage on her side of my family... most all of the relatives on that side lived into their late 90s, except my mother and her sister. One great-aunt lived to 101.

I told the doctor that if I averaged it all, I probably could count on making it to 60, followed by a scared little laugh. Unfortunately I'm thinking that might have too much the ring of truth to it.

"We none of us get out of this alive," she said. "The trick is to make these years as good for ourselves as we can."

READ THAT AGAIN. And a third time, for good measure.

"It's time to slow down and enjoy the pleasures of eating better, of drinking better. To build a support network of friends and enjoy a slower pace of life. To GET BETTER SLEEP."

I emphasized the part about getting better sleep and what a key component this is in keeping our hearts healthy.

I have sleep apnea, but I am very stubborn and refuse to use my CPAP machine. Why? Because the doggone tubing easily comes apart during the night and blows pressurized air in my eye or my ear. Yeah duh. There are better tubing systems out there that are far more comfortable. I have tons of friends who have used them and speak with amazement about how much better they sleep when they use their machines -- how much more rested they are when they can actually BREATHE at night.

OK, so my brother died of sleep apnea and/or heart failure; my dad had a heart attack, my mom died of congestive heart failure. Gee, unless I'm hit by a bus or something, I can kind of see what's going to take me out, too.

New Doctor wants to repeat my sleep study to see what stage my apnea is at and what my settings should be on my machine, and we're going to look at finding some better equipment, something I can use comfortably, that will improve the quality of my sleep and maybe extend my life. What a concept!

And -- this is important -- she looked in my nose. Imagine that, a doctor looking at a patient's ability to breathe! She jumped back a bit and said "No wonder you have such a hard time breathing through that little nose!" Apparently it's quite the mess in there and isn't serving me very well. I asked if she could get me some rhinoplasty because I've always wanted a nose job. She quite seriously said that might be something we need to look at, because I'm not getting enough air through this defective part. Thanks for your genetic contribution, Grandpa Smith! She also prescribed a nasal spray to open up the little space I do have inside my noggin.

Before I left, they did an EKG, drew blood, and had me pee in a cup. They are going to take a good look at the labwork and the EKG and have me come back in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, she's put me on a new drug for my blood pressure which includes a dose of Lipitor for cholesterol, so I don't have to take more pills. Lipitor works wonders for me in controlling my cholesterol, so I'm glad to have that component back. I hope the blood pressure shows great improvement over this time.

I suspect, that with her help and compassion, I'll be showing some improvements all around before long. I think all of us do better physically when we think there's someone who cares about how we're doing. And that includes the weight issue.

After all, it's not the weight itself that we should be concerned about. It's what it does to our bodies, our quality of life, that matters. I think we've approached things backwards for a long time. We've turned weight into a shame matter instead of a quality of life issue.

This is what I want to change, for whatever time I happen to have left. It's time for me to slow down, let go of the stressors and love the life I've been given! And at 52, a Quarter Pounder and fries just isn't loving enough.