Sunday, December 01, 2013
I had a bad night on Friday, and an even worse day on Saturday. I literally felt as though someone had pummeled me in the stomach. Because I felt so bad, I got little sleep on Friday night, and when I got up on Saturday, I had no appetite at all. Unfortunately, what I did have were house guests. Now, these are people I genuinely like, and had really been looking forward to seeing again. On Saturday morning, however, houseguests were about as welcome as the flu, which I was beginning to worry that I had. I managed to choke down a little cereal for breakfast, plaster on a phony smile, and say, “Well, what should we do today?” Sadly, my houseguests did not respond with, “Let’s all retire back to our beds, and spend the day in a stupor” which is what I would have preferred to hear. So, into the car we trooped and spent the day sightseeing. At least they saw the sights, I spent most of my day going through a mental litany of my symptoms and probable horrifying causes. “Let’s see,” I thought as a drove down the freeway, “salmonella?” “No, can’t be that,” my mental dialog continued, because I had no nausea (except when thinking about food), and none of the other equally nasty consequences of that particular microbe. “Ulcers, maybe?” wondering if one could actually develop ulcers by worrying about having them. Hmmm, none of that seemed right. “The flu?” No, my throat wasn’t sore, I had no fever, and my aches were completely centered about my middle section. “A stomach virus?” Nope! Same problem as with salmonella.
In the meantime, my friends got hungry (as normal people are wont to do), so we stopped for lunch, where I managed to eat a cup of vegetable soup and a piece of wheat toast. Big mistake – more stomach pummeling ensued. At long last we headed for home, but then there was dinner to be faced. While my friends feasted on fried oysters, wine and other lovely delicacies, I had a scrambled egg, some unbuttered grits (I managed about ¼ cup of those) and another piece of dry toast. It was about that time when I finally accepted the sad, but obvious conclusion that my predicament was entirely of my own doing. You see, I’ve been Sparking now for a year and a half, and have drastically altered my lifestyle. I now eat reasonable quantities of wholesome, healthy food (imagine!). I don’t deny myself guilty pleasures, but instead sprinkle them into my diet on occasion and in moderation. “And if Thanksgiving isn’t an occasion, what is!” my indulgent-self protested. “Yes, but remember – in moderation” my Sparked-self replied.
In reviewing my sins of the past two days, the word “moderation” was hardly applicable. First, there was the heaping plate of food of which I ate every bite on Thanksgiving. “Yes, but we didn’t eat the pumpkin cheesecake for dessert” my indulgent-self whined. “No, but you ate it for breakfast on Friday!” my Sparked-self replied. “And then there was the second glass of wine with Thanksgiving dinner, the tapas plate filled with rich cheeses and fatty meats before dinner on Friday, the pork with that rich onion fig sauce for Friday dinner, followed by the pumpkin pie, and all washed down with a few more glasses of wine. Face it, you brought this on yourself!”
Sad, but true… It seems that a year and half of a healthy lifestyle ill prepared me for a weekend of decadence. Lucky for me, the lesson was blessedly short-lived, and I’m almost back to normal today. And it was a lesson well-learned. I don’t want to live like that anymore. Yes, the pumpkin cheesecake was delicious, and there are more pumpkin cheesecakes in my future, I’m sure. But I am resolved to be responsible about the way I treat my body, and to continue down the path that Spark People has set me upon… a well-rounded healthy diet in a well-rounded healthy life. And as for the pumpkin cheesecake, sure, I’ll still have a piece now and then – just maybe not for breakfast.
Friday, September 13, 2013
A Spark friend commented the other day that she was beginning to lose her muffin top. I came to a realization today as I looked at myself in the mirror. With the natural migration of body parts southward over time (especially the wobbly bits), at my age, I no longer have a muffin top. It's more like a muffin bottom!
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Last year, something drastic changed for me. I wish I could say exactly when that was. No lightning bolts struck, no angels descended from a cloud with prophetic announcements, nothing so easy to point to and declare – that’s it! That’s the moment when I changed my life! In reality, I think it might have happened one night as a dragged my weary body up the stairs, with creaking knees, and thought, I’m still 4 years away from retirement. If I’m feeling this exhausted and out of shape now, what how will I feel by then? It occurred to me that while I had been busily making financial plans for retirement, I hadn’t given much thought to how my physical state might impact the quality of my life.
I’ve been overweight or obese for decades. Like many over-weight people, I’ve tried to lose before. Usually, I’d successfully lose 10 – 15 pounds, then get stuck, fall back on old habits and put it all back, and then some. I think what changed this time was my motivation. When I’d tried to lose weight before, it was for superficial reasons. I didn’t like the way I looked, or how my clothes fit, or some special occasion was coming up. This time, I was focused on something more important – my health. And I had a real goal – to be in condition to enjoy a healthy, active, and hopefully, long retirement. At that point, I decided that even if I again only lost 10 – 15 pounds, I would consider it an accomplishment worth pursuing and maintaining.
There was one more difference this time – I decided to look for help. Lucky for me, an internet search brought me to SparkPeople. That was one year ago today. What a difference that year has made! When I set up my account and entered my goal, to lose 57 pounds, it seemed impossible. I set my goal at one pound per week, which would mean that if I could actually accomplish it, I would reach my goal weight on July 3, 2013. In reality, I didn’t think it would happen. But I was committed to doing the best that I could to get in shape and improve my health, even if I never actually reached my goal weight.
I picked 57 pounds because that would put me at a healthy BMI. I started tracking my food immediately, as well as my water intake. I also began adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet, which wasn’t hard for me since I like them anyway. It wasn’t long before I started adding some exercise to my regime. Now, the fact is, I HATE to exercise. Never have liked it, never will. However, I do like being outside, walking, hiking, dancing, planting vegetables, and generally having a good time. As long as I’m not “doing exercise”, I’m okay. So, rather than joining a gym, I went for walks, danced liked an idiot around the house (ABBA featured largely in this plan), and found other ways to move more. I started slowly (15 minutes at a time, 3 times a week) but before long, I’d worked to moving for longer periods and more often.
It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be once I got going. By October, I needed a new wardrobe. My pants were so baggy, I was afraid I’d lose them. I was 30 pounds down and counting. And on April 19 of this year, I passed my goal by 1 pound! Today I’m 4 pounds below my goal and have been holding steady for over a month now. I’ve gone from a size 18W to a size 8. My cholesterol has dropped from 245 to 196 in the past year, and my blood pressure (which has always been good, thankfully) went from 120/80 to 100/70. I’ve stopped taking sleep aids at night, and I can run up the steps at work without getting winded. And I feel great! While it’s nice to get all of the compliments I’ve been receiving from friends, neighbors, and colleagues at work who have noticed the change, the best part is that I look and feel the way I did years ago. No more dragging myself up stairs, and no more creaky knees. I’m no longer worried about the quality of my life in retirement, instead I’m thinking of all the new ways that I can find to stay active, all of the new recipes I can try, and extra things I can plant in my garden, once I have the time to do even more.
So, thank you to SparkPeople, and my wonderful SparkFriends, for making this one of my best years, ever!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I heard this on NPR this morning and was very moved by it. Apparently Mr. Rogers told this story on his children’s TV program. He said that when he was young, his mother told him that when bad things happen, he should always look for the helpers. She said that they would always be there, coming to the aid of others, offering comfort.
That was certainly true in Boston yesterday, and has been true in every tragedy we’ve experienced. They are always there, rushing in despite the danger, to help those in need. The helpers are the ones that deserve our attention, the headlines, and our gratitude. They, and the people they assist, are the ones that truly matter.
Monday, April 01, 2013
I had a very strange and interesting experience this morning, one that I hope not to repeat any time soon. I’ve been suffering from a head cold for over a week now, and when the alarm went off this morning I spent a few minutes imagining several strategies for its demise. (At least one of them ended with a sudden impact with the wall). Eventually, I hauled myself out of bed, and into the shower. I was just rinsing off, when suddenly, the lights got very bright and the room started moving in the most extraordinary fashion. As interesting as the sensation was, it was also unpleasant, and I decided that vacating the shower would be a good idea. I had no desire to end up as a teaser on the local news, “Woman drowns in her own shower – details at 11:00”.
Once outside the shower, things were only marginally better. I no longer feared drowning, but greeting the ground in a disagreeable manner was still a distinct possibility. So, I did the smart thing, sat down, put my head between my legs (and discovered that yes, I really do need to shave them before donning shorts this season), and thought “this will soon take care of the problem”. Only it didn’t. I went from feeling as though I was going to faint to feeling as though I was going to be very sick, very soon. So I adopted a position of adoration in front of the commode, only to realize that I was going to faint, no, get sick, no, faint… well, you get the idea. I took the only remaining option left to me. I decided that if I was going to meet the ground, I’d do it on my own terms and lay down on the floor, dripping wet, to wait it out. It was cold on the floor, and it put me in the perfect position to realize I have obviously been skimping on the under the counter cleaning routine recently. Funny how mundane thoughts tend to intrude at times when more serious thoughts like, “Am I going to die now?” should hold sway. At any rate, I didn’t die and eventually was able to maintain an elevated position long enough to climb back into bed, where at least it wasn’t cold.
Once rational thought was again possible, (and I was no longer staring at dust bunnies), it struck me that the head cold and popping noises I’d been hearing in my ears for the past day were probably responsible for the vertigo and nausea. So I got an appointment with my doctor, and asked my nephew to take me. I’m usually much more independent than that but I didn’t think driving myself today was such a great idea.
By now, you are by now asking yourself, well fine! What does this all have to do with the usual Spark-related topics? So, I’ll tell you. I’ve been hovering above my goal for the past couple of weeks now. We’ve been flirting you might say, but not yet to the dating stage. When I got on the scale at the doctor’s office, I found that my home scale has been lying to me all this time (something I know we all suspect from time-to-time). I have apparently passed my goal by 0.9 pounds!!!! So now what? Am I going to log in my fab new weight on my SparkPeople tracker? Of course not! My goal was to lose 57 pounds, and by God, I’m going to lose 57 pounds, as measured by my old, if somewhat unreliable, home scale. So that’s my silver-lining story. Even though the day started out in a particularly crummy fashion, I learned something wonderful (no, not that my legs are overdue for some attention from my razor and the dust bunnies have been fruitfully multiplying under the bathroom counter). I learned that with a little bit of work and perseverance, I am capable of achieving a goal that I never thought possible. And that’s a good way to end any day in my book!
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