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Getting Fit

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Living at 8000 feet as I do, it's difficult to gauge any improvement in fitness. I usually exercise indoors due to the condition of the dirt roads and my balance issues. However, now, on a return trip to Scotland, I've discovered I have improved greatly since my last trip in May. Walking around town is easy and so is taking a long walk on the beach.

Despite the chilly wind, or maybe because of it, I raced along the beach at a fast clip, thoroughly enjoying myself. I also got to stop and inspect tide pools, help rescue a stranded skate and collect shells, rocks and sea glass. I didn't get tired, no shortness of breath, no aching joints or muscles.

I still have 25 pounds to lose before reaching my current goal, but my recent dietary changes and weight loss, along with consistent gentle exercise have made a huge difference in my fitness and, I'm very happy to say in my balance. I didn't stumble at all on the beach, nor did I have trouble negotiating uneven ground. Giving up grains has been the best thing I've ever done for myself.


Solutions Found

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Since joining Spark People in 2008, I have lost 35 lbs. In the past 10 years a total of 65. I have 25 more to go to reach the goal I've set for myself for the end of the year. After I reach that goal, I'll re-evaluate and decide if I want to lose more. I know my goal weight is a comfortable weight for me, a weight where I am happy with my appearance and health. But I might be able to do more. Who knows?

Right now, I owe my current success to my decision to finally walk away from the food that makes me ill: grains. All and every single grain. No wheat, no oats, no rice, no spelt, no millet, nothing.

I have suffered from a myriad of health problems in the past 10 years, most of them self-induced, because I couldn't give up grains. I love bread, I love rice, I love oats, but none of these things love me. From both my parents, I inherited the metabolism and blood type of the true nomad. And now that I've started eating like one, the pounds are melting off and my health problems are a thing of the past.

No more joint pains, no more bleeding gums, no more sugar swings. I was on only a few meds, but now I'm off most of them. I've been able to greatly reduce the amount of thyroid medication I take as well. I expect to be able to drop even more as the weight continues to fall off.

I exercise gently on the treadmill, if I push myself, my body goes into panic mode and I pump out too much adrenalin and cortisol and I gain again. I lift weights. I do core exercises.

I haven't given up starches, but I now eat those which are healthy for me. Sweet potatoes with butter. Plantains fried in butter. Mashed potatoes made with butter and whole milk. I eat fish, lamb, grass-fed beef, buffalo and game meats. Chicken is long gone from my diet and my finger nails no longer break and peel. My hair is thicker and stronger. Olive oil is the only oil I use. Real butter has a reasonable place in my diet and I realized it was the butter, not the bread I craved. I eats lots of vegetables too and now, I actually like them. My sense of taste is no longer dulled from eating things that make me ill.

I eat the way I've always loved to eat. Small amounts of several different things at each meal. And I've added fermented foods to my diet. Blueberry yoghurt and ground flax seed is my new delight. I made my own sauerkraut and it's not bad. So different from the awful stuff I got served from a jar as a kid. I may even try Bubbi's pickles soon.

In Mongolia, where vegetables and grains are almost unheard of unless you live in the capitol city of Ulan Bator, the staple diet is meat and fermented beverages. The average cholesterol level of Mongolians is 178, acceptable by anyone's standards. I expect mine will be edging in that direction at my next checkup, now that the inflammation I suffered from is a thing of the past.

Giving up grains is not for everyone, but the "experts" in the US have become a victim of the "one size fits all" mentality that's encouraged by big business. Never has, never will. So I gleefully ignore their advice and listen to my own body, making my decisions based on what I know is healthy for myself.

And luckily, there is this wonderful place called Spark People where I can keep track of my progress, get new exercise ideas and peruse tons of useful recipes when I need something new on my plate.


Progress is Super!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Today is Day 22 of my new exercise regimen. Even though I've lost only one pound, I can now fit back in to a large top, rather than an XL. Out of the 22 days, I've met my exercise goals 10 of the days, met them half way on 5 days and not missed a strength training session. I've had two down days, one from total exhaustion and muscle fatigue the first week and today, because of a cold and the nasty weather. Still, today, I'm climbing stairs and thinking of ways to move around a bit more.

I haven't been as successful with my wheat and chocolate goals, but I've stayed off enough to drop the pound and cut down on water retention. I'm adding in more foods that reduce inflammation and making sure I get my vitamins at least every other day.

All in all, it's been a good 22 days and I definitely miss getting outdoors for my walk. Back to it tomorrow, if all goes well.


New Goals: Day 12 and Day 3

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Twelve days ago, I became disgusted with my lack of progress in losing weight. Tracking exercise here didn't seem to be enough to make me do it. There was always an excuse. Yes, I have a busy life, but so do millions of others, so...

I found a website of calendar pages, printed out several blank ones and numbered each day. It just so happened that I was starting on a Sunday, so it worked out perfectly. Each day my goal was to hike 2 miles and then to lift weights 3 times in a seven day period. Each day I succeed gets marked off with a big red X. So far, I've met all my weight lifting goals. Travel, exhaustion and a closed hotel pool led to missing one day of cardio, time and weather another. Two days, I got in half my goal amount, so out of 12 days, I met my cardio goal 8 times. Much less sporadic than before.

Now that the weather is turning almost directly to winter here, I've ordered some exercise videos and will substitute an hour of Zumba for an hour of hiking. Later, snowshoeing will take over at least a few times a week, if I'm lucky.

After giving myself several days to work on my exercise goals and finally having any travel off the map for the time being, I moved on to my nutrition goals. No chocolate and no wheat. The older I get, the worse chocolate bothers me, so I've set myself a goal of no chocolate for 7 days, then a small amount on the 8th day, if I'm truly desperate and back to 7 days off. So far, so good, 3 days in.

I'm horribly sensitive to wheat and anything that is high in sulphur, which includes most foods. Unfortunately, foods high in sulphur are really good for weight loss, but it completely stops my program, if I'm constantly doubled over in pain, which is what happened to me in 2008. Little did I know that several vegetables that I now love are extremely high in sulphur.

So, I'm back to no wheat and very little sulphur for the time being. My goal is no wheat for 30 days. My food will exist mostly of potatoes, celery, carrots, white meat chicken & turkey and almonds. All low or no sulphur foods. I can also eat pork, but the only way I like pork is in all its high-fat variations... bacon, sausage, etc., so I limit my intake. I also toss in some cheese and fish on occasion, although they are still high-sulphur foods. They are also things I can't get by without most of the time.

I'm on Day 3 of no wheat, feeling surprisingly well and having no cravings. That's saying something for me, so my main goal is to make it last.

Fall and winter are always my best time of year. Things slow down, the constant static disappears and I can think, relax and focus on my many goals.


A Tough Year & One Major Gripe

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This past year has seemed like one long nightmare.

A year to the day after my cousin died, my uncle was taken off life support, following pneumonia and surgery, and died. He was just a few days short of his 71st birthday, but his life essentially ended at 35. He was a captain in the Green Berets and served 3 tours of duty in Vietnam. When he finally came home, the army offered him the rank of Sgt. on active duty, so he resigned. He was such a mess mentally, that he never worked another day of his life. Still, he was a lot of fun and much loved by his wife, children and all the rest of his extended family.

We drove to Arizona for his military funeral, which was wonderful and really makes me wish my father's wife had not prevented us from having one for him when he died in '95. He was a Korean War vet and definitely deserved the same honors as his brother.

Prior to this, my daughter and I contracted one illness after another this winter, topped by a weird virus which caused nausea and anxiety attacks.

We were just getting better when, while driving home from the vet where her cat had just died, we hit a pile of slush on an otherwise dry highway and went over a cliff. We flew 30 feet through the air, hit and broke a huge pine tree, landing on our roof 100 ft. down in a ravine. My daughter was driving and did everything right. It was just the luck of the draw.

My daughter got our seatbelts undone, grabbed our purses and, discovering that the back window had popped out, slid out of the car, called for help and climbed the ravine after helping me out. As she clung to the guard rail, trying to flag someone down, the 8th car finally stopped and a very kind woman helped me the rest of the way up.

We walked away from this accident with bruises and a glass cut apiece, for which I will never stop giving thanks. Needless to say, we both suffered some psychological damage. I struggled for weeks to get my daughter in to see someone reasonable, but rather than treat her for the PTSD she was suffering from, she was diagnosed with everything from bi-polar disorder to ADD.

After yet another stomach virus put her in the ER a month later, she walked out of the hospital, filed a complaint at the clinic and had me take her to the local herb store, where she bought herbal and homeopathic remedies and has been fine since. The ER staff, while very supportive, tried to tell us it was all psychological, but when we got home, we discovered that two of her friends were actually in the hospital with the same virus. One of them had to be sedated for a week in order to fully recover.

She's headed back to California in the fall to attend film school, after graduating from homeschool high school in May. We are marvelously proud of her.

Another joyous note: We lost our much loved corgi, Wellington, last November and through a set of mysterious circumstances, guided, no doubt, by Wellie himself, we now have a wonderful
6 month old corgi puppy named Arthur. He is an absolute joy and loves herding our other dogs, Rhia & Simon.

At this point, I've rattled on enough, so now for my gripe:

Is there anywhere one can buy cotton shorts or pants that don't have spandex in them these days? Living rurally, we only have Wal-Mart, but I've searched websites and catalogues, too. I finally gave up the other day and bought some men's shorts just to be comfortable. I can't stand spandex! Short of making them myself.... any suggestions would be most welcome.

Rainy Blessings from the Southwest

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thanks, guys. I'm still a little shaky driving on mountain roads, but I know it will get better with time. Never liked it much anyway! Blog update coming soon, with tons of GOOD news.

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SUEB38 6/20/2009 9:30AM

    Holy s**t! I can't believe you went through the air like that - yeah, thank the stars you two are ok! I hit a dead deer in the middle of the highway once, and flew a bit then, and THAT scared me - and that was nothing like what you went through! Blessed be!

I'm so sorry your year has been awful, but am impressed that you two haven't given up. You got a new dog - not to replace the previous one but to continue with the love - and you are still doing Sparks and you and your daughter didn't give up trying to help with the whole stomach problem thing.

Good luck - hopefully it will get better!

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TEXX30 6/20/2009 8:01AM

  Good grief, lady! You HAVE had a rough year! emoticon I am sorry for everything that has happened. I know that this can sound trite - but it is heartfelt: everything does happen for a reason, and we grow from the trauma in our lives. It never makes sense when those we love die.
And I'm also sorry about that illness. I'll tell you, there are many out there that I really don't think the doctor's diagnose right. Unless it is cut and dry (such as the flu, or bronchitis, or cancer...something that is EASY to diagnose) many times they get it wrong, and different doctors diagnose different things. It's frustrating. I hope that everyone is feeling better now.

You know, you're right. It really is difficult to find 100% cotton pants. I was poking around Amazon, and almost all of the pants that I saw had a cotton mix. I found one pair of armani pants that were surprisingly only 88 bucks, but the highest size they had was a 6! Good grief! had a few 100% cotton pants, but I wasn't sure what kind you were looking for. There was a "Tulle Cotton Drawstring Capri Pants" and a "C&C California Women's Organic Cotton Pants" that is 100% organic cotton. Maybe check out!
Good luck, and take care!!

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