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My Ten Year Struggle

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The bad news is there's no easy way to lose weight. When I first started I followed the advice in the book "Live Longer Now" published about 1974. No sugar, no salt, no fat, no caffeine, no cholesterol, and rove. Actually, four oz of flesh a day were permitted but no milk or cheese - eat lots of greens for your calcium and keep the protein down to preserve your kidneys. I read in one book that you should try to keep your protein down to 40 grams per day if you have kidney problems, which I did for a while. When I tried to eat that way there was a horrible backlash from the cook, not verbally, but she knew how to fix the food we ate. It got to the point that I eventually refused to eat anything that I hadn't cooked. I'm used to being miserable, so I survived OK after a while, but the BW couldn't understand how I could eat the things I made.

I made bean soup, which was one pound of dry beans, three pounds of carrots, three pounds of onions, plenty of garlic, and one smoked turkey drumstick to give it flavor, along with a couple of bay leaves and some crushed red pepper. Believe it or not, Ray and Cecelia put away a few bowls and liked it just fine. It was about as much vegetables as beans, and it always came out very thick. I would throw in whatever we had around, such as celery or turnips, maybe cabbage, or something green such as broccoli. Because the BW complained about the smell in the trailer I bought a two burner electric hotplate which had one low burner. I would set it up on a table outside under the awning and let it cook. It was an advantage anyhow because the gas stove was always a little too hot for simmering with the lid on the pot. I would turn the low burner down about as far as it would go after the pot got hot and just let it simmer for two or three hours before pulling the drumstick out and picking out the bones and skin.. Then I threw the meat back in the pot and we ate the result. The company added salt, but I did without.

I also made my own bread using nothing but whole wheat flour, yeast, and water. You need to know how to make a sponge (a wet soupy batter) to start things off. It wasn't easy, and I had to buy some big Mexican clay tiles for the RV oven, but I did learn to make my own bread. Without added salt it rose exceptionally fast, so you needed to pay close attention. I also did a mean stir-fry which was almost all vegetables.

The net result was that I didn't worry about calories at all, but, except for the bread, the food I was eating just didn't have a very great caloric density. I had enough to eat, but it wasn't what I had been exposed to before. No high calorie anything. The fat want away by magic until I had another health problem. I eventually got off track for a few years and gained some of the weight back.

When I joined TOPS later I kept a log and counted calories. I had to give up eating in the evening, which is another habit that makes you miserable when you quit, at least for a while. I was down around 1200 calories whenever I got serious about losing weight, and that was what it took for me. Roy M. Wolford had a crew who all got along on 1700 calories forever, and there is still a group that follows that discipline. They want you to be fully nourished on 1700 calories per day, and they have some different foods they throw in to get the full nourishment. They're also always hungry, but think they will live a lot longer.

After a while I got my total cholesterol down to 102. The LDL was 55, but the HDL was only 31, and my internist wanted it higher. I started eating more fats, and the total went up to 131, but the HDL was still only 34, and he wanted to see a minimum of 40. Then, from reading another book by another cardiologist, I decided to eat more monounsaturated fats, so I started eating nuts and avocados and using olive oil to make vinaigrette salad dressing. That got me up to a total of 126 with an HDL of 41 in September of 2006. My last reading was 114 total, 40 HDL, and65 LDL, with triglycerides of 43. Thatís pretty good, and itís a lot more fun to have real salad dressing, nuts sometimes, and avocados in your salad or guacamole for dip. Having some fat makes things taste better.

Also, I find that if I stay pretty busy I don't have time to eat at random times, and the urge to snack goes away after 10 minutes or so if I just wait. Keeping your mind off food helps, if you can do it. I still tend to want to snack when Iím reading a book or watching TV, but if it gets too bad I open a stick of sugar free gum.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PANFRIEDTROUT 8/20/2010 12:30AM

    That is an amazing story of self*discipline and determination, especially given the fact that it covers 10 YEARs ....

I'm glad your HDL is up and that you can finally enjoy certain foods.

Have a great weekend!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 8/18/2010 12:37AM

    I appreciate hearing how your diet has evolved. The beauty of it is that you found something that you can live with and in the long run that is what is most important.

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WATERMELLEN 8/17/2010 8:49PM

    This is quite a tale of determination and discipline: impressive!

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MRDPOLING 8/17/2010 8:16PM

    Wow that is an amazing telling of your 10 year journey.

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MS.ELENI 8/17/2010 6:42PM

    You are sure right about it not being easy. You are more disciplined than most people and even you struggle.
Counting calories seems to be working for me if I can keep the calories down. Staying busy is hard for me
I wish I could chew gum but whenever I try it my dentures pull out.
But you are doing great.

I checked Bill and he got zapped over 40 times. He has blisters all over his arms. Is your dermatologist up on 19 near Queens pizza???

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A Nice, Uneventful Day

Monday, August 16, 2010

Today was a nice day Ė no rain, nice walks, no hurricane coming, and no unexpected bills. I called my internist for a new prescription, ordered a kit for the October class, ten extra books, and 50 medical record forms from AARP, and cashed a $55 rebate check. Later on I got an e-mail notice that I was a member of AAA for $64, so I called and checked. I had two memberships; the first try and the second both worked. After a little discussion I got the first membership cancelled.

I struggled with what I will do for a program for TOPS Thursday, and finally picked two of the Sparks articles Ė ď10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar AddictionĒ and ďStudy Spills the Secret to Weight Loss-Surprised?Ē One or the other should easily take up 30 minutes if we read it and let people discuss it as we go along. I was going to take some home made jam and crackers along for a sample tasting and tell them how to make it, but it was the BWís idea and she has too little to share any more. I would have to make a batch myself and lock it up somewhere to do that.

None of the articles will be a surprise to anyone, probably, so maybe Iíll look up games and see if thereís a game everyone can play. I donít know why I volunteered now.

The BW was remarking on the unsatisfactory motel we had in Lexington the last time we went north, so I told her that she could pick out the places to stay this time. That turned her on a little, and she kept trying to read the whole book to me and asking questions. I hope it turns out well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRDPOLING 8/17/2010 6:36AM

    Nice of you to let BW pick this time. I am sure you two will have a great time.

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MS.ELENI 8/16/2010 8:47PM

    It doesn't matter what you do for a program. I think it is good you voluteered.
Spark does have some great articles for sure.
We don't travel much but I use AAA and the web sites to check out motels etc. I probably pay too much but am afraid of the cheap places.
I always do the research and plan the routes we go. Now that Bill has GPS we use both. The last little trip we made I got the last laugh as his GPS gave wrong directions. Rare but it can happen

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A Pointless Blog

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I read someoneís blog this morning where the low was either 49 or 59, and the high 99. Here the low was 79, and I thought it was really great. The high is only about 93, but the humidity tends to run around 90 per cent or higher, which makes you want to stay in the shade with a breeze and not too many clothes if youíre outside. The skin on my arms has the consistency of wet tissue paper from a combination of sun damage and old age, so if I just rub against something a flap of skin flips back, the blood flows, and I get another scar and a dark marking from the blood under the skin, which never is completely removed. From web research I get the message ďwear long sleeve shirtsĒ as the only treatment, which isnít really a treatment.

With that advice as the preferred treatment, I bought a bunch of long sleeve shirts, which I canít stand to wear, but when I cut the grass, which I did this morning, I now wear a long sleeve shirt. The lime tree is especially nasty with its needle sharp thorns, but I was able to finish up today without losing any blood, even though it has scratched me several times before. I started just after seven, when it was light enough to see, and finished while it was still cool, but the long sleeved shirt was still soaked. I wore it outside my pants, and the only dry part was the tail at the back. I donít know the reason for that pattern, but maybe it was because I have to bend forward to push the mower.

I edged and blew the driveway, street, and sidewalks, and, just as ALEXTHEHUNN predicted, it gets easier each week. If we were living in the desert I could get up early and finish without showing the effort, but then we couldnít go to the beach on foot. After 11 years covering three countries several times, this is the only place the BW would come back to, so this is where we settled. I guess thereís no point to this blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALEXTHEHUNN 8/20/2010 3:51PM

    I'm glad that edger thing is actually working out for you. I like how your blogs frequently remind me of how much I enjoyed Florida.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 8/15/2010 11:40PM

    I've spent my whole life in a semi-arid environment. I doubt I could adjust to the humidity. So when I retire, I'm going to throw my snowshovel over my shoulder and start walking south. When I encounter someone who asks me, "What is that?" I'll stop and live the rest of my years there. (Not an original idea, I'm afraid.)

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    My god those black flies. They bite and it hurts. Don't get those down here. Forgot how much those buggers aggravated me.

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REXTINE1 8/15/2010 8:55PM

    I grew up in Ohio and spent 35 years in Indianapolis. There were many times we came down her in the summer and found Florida weather more agreeable than Indiana, but we tended to be on the coasts. It's hard to find a perfect place, which is why we lived in a travel trailer for 11 years and a park model and small motorhome another. We would go north in the summer and south in the winter. Going out on the Olympic peninsula or Door County or north as far as Wawa (about 600 miles north of Toledo) took care of the heat too. Unfortunately, the black flies tended to take away some of the charm of the far north.

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MRDPOLING 8/15/2010 6:44PM

    The afternoons here in the Ohio Valley right now are horrable for temp and humidty. I couldn't imagine having to be out in it wearing long sleeves. Mega Sweating!

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REXTINE1 8/15/2010 4:29PM

    I do OK in the mornings because I get out before it's fully light and stay out of the sun. If you're close to the water it's a few degrees cooler, and in the shade, without working hard, it's very pleasant. In the winter it's fine except when a cold front comes through. It gets cold enough to freeze once in a while, not necessarily every winter but sometimes. I still don't walk with a coat or sweatshirt most of the time in the winter. It may be a little chilly to start, but you do get too hot after a while if you wear too much.

The killer is working in the sun in the summer. I pity the roofers and road crews. You work up a sweat without realizing it.

Comment edited on: 8/15/2010 4:35:13 PM

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MS.ELENI 8/15/2010 3:57PM

    I can relate to bruising.My skin doesn't tear.But do to the coumidan I take I always have bruises. The more bruising I know my blood is too thin etc.
I bet your neighbors love your lawn mover at 7 on a Sunday emoticon
Bill was outside earlier pulling some weeds out of some of my plants and it was 90 in the shade. So it was much higher in sun.
Glad the long sleeve shirt helped. When I worked in power plant a lot of the guys wore long sleeve shirts as they said it insulated them from the heat. Didn't work for me.I wore sleeveless shirts for many years until some idiot decided it was a safety violation.So then I made sure my sleeves were very short.

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    It's interesting you mention that about FL. I have hopes to retire to SW FL someday and its met with a lot of "you'll hate it" from people that lived there, visited there, etc. They all complain of the humidity and never ending summer. That sounds like a good thing to me. I could do without the rain though. I'm a sun worshipper. For now, GA works OK, it's pretty damn moderate, although we've had a particularly hot summer (which is OK by me). Our lows are around the mid-70's, highs in the mid-90's, but I'll never complain. Lows in the 40's (or worse, highs in the 40's) will get me bitchy. That happens in the "deep south" from time to time.

OK, pointless comment. I'm off to go play outside. Thanks for the post!

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First Day of Football Practice

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When I was walking the dogs this morning, I heard some noise from the football field. We live close to the Palm Harbor University High School, which is one of the ďbetterĒ high schools in Pinellas County. It is supposed to prepare students for college, which I thought all high schools did, but then Iím so old that a lot of my expectations seem to be out of date. The school and its football stadium and track are on the west side of 16th street, past the ďYĒ and part of the baseball diamond. The baseball field is on the east side, across from the football field and the cemetery, and this time of year it has been a beautiful sight to see. The football field is mostly hidden by trees, but you can see between them at places.

The noise was coming from a lot of kids in helmets, doing drills of some sort. Someone had an Acme Thunderer, which sounded periodically, and once I heard a klaxon. The kids were putting out a lot of chatter, which the coaches insist on to impress the competition Ė it proves youíre a tough team and someone to be reckoned with. Itís a sure sign that summer is ending.

It also reminded me of my first experience with football. When I was in high school, there were no peewee teams or junior teams. You just got to be old enough for high school and then they invited you to sign up for things. It got you out of phys ed, and all the big boys told me that I was going to sign up. It was like a lot of things; I didnít know any better, so I did what the big kids said.

It started off with two weeks of ďconditioningĒ, with morning and afternoon practices. I donít know how long they lasted, but there was a lot of running and exercises, done in the full sun, and for hours at a time. We went home for lunch, but came back for the afternoon torture.

The real torture was the next morning. When I woke up I felt good. Then I tried to move and nearly screamed. Every muscle in my body was incredibly, unbelievably, sore. Stiff and sore does not begin to tell my condition, but I did eventually manage to get out of bed and dress, with every motion causing exquisite pain. I went downstairs holding the banister with both hands, one very slow step at a time, and with a rest between each step to build up my nerve for the next. As I moved I did loosen up, and eventually I made it to practice.

The second day wasnít quite so bad, partly because I knew it would hurt so it wasnít such a big surprise. The third day it was only bad, and after that I was fine.

In following years I was a little sore the first days, but never anything like that first day of the first year. I think that was the most painful experience I have ever had. A broken leg or the broken bones of later years were nothing by comparison.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALEXTHEHUNN 8/15/2010 7:51AM

    I had forgotten how sore I was back when I first did serious exercise like you describe. No one mentioned, "You might feel a bit sore tomorrow." A rite of passage.

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MRDPOLING 8/14/2010 8:13PM

    The Wee Vikings Football park is a block south of my house. I can hear every play by play call when I have the windows open.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 8/14/2010 5:47PM

    I can't imagine going back for a second day. Must have been a lot of testosterone flying around.

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MS.ELENI 8/14/2010 4:09PM

    I remember when my oldest son played football and how he literally crawled in door after practice. That just doesn't look like fun to me.I guess one of few areas where i am girlie is when it comes to contact sports. Just not amusing to watch people hurt and get hurt. But guys sure like it. The rougher the better. Even my gentle Bill watches some of the extreme sports from time to time.

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New Reference Book

Friday, August 13, 2010

This was an easy day Ė I walked by myself, then with the dogs. Had a fancy three egg (beaters), fake bacon, and fat free cheese omelet with whole wheat toast, peanut butter, and sugar free strawberry jam. Didnít do anything too useful, but I did try another batch of the slow-set epoxy glue. After four hours it seemed fairly hard, but I wonít know until tomorrow if it will be useful for the mirror frame. I found the perfect material for reinforcement of the corners. The five topic notebooks I have use a nice thick plastic for the front and rear covers, and Iíll just cut four two inch squares out of one of the backs and glue them under the corners. If I get the corner cuts perfectly clear and clean the wood will be glued together, and the reinforcements will make sure it stays together even if the bond isnít strong enough. Iíll use my dado saw blade for the corner cuts but it will be a little tricky because itís an eighth of an inch thick.

Now the goal is to get all the measurements exactly right, because I will have to carve out clearance for the mirror supports, cover the edges of the mirror, and end up with something that stays up with Velcro strips and looks as if itís permanent. This is a case of measure twice, layout, measure again just to be sure before you cut, and hope you donít slip.

I sent in an old offer to AAA last week to see if I could get a membership, and Monday got another offer that was slightly different but still just as good. I have been driving for 48 years without being a member and never felt the need, but I wanted a book that lists all the dog friendly motels, and itís probably a good idea to belong. Since I hadnít heard anything I called today, and Shirley scooped me up, told me that I wasnít a member, and took my money. When I told her that the big reason I was joining was to get the dog book, she told me that it cost extra. Then she said I could have it free anyhow. It turns out she gets a commission, and often throws in free gifts. I told her a couple of times that it wasnít necessary, but she sort if pushed it, so I went over to the local Palm Harbor AAA building and got the book. I guess it was a good idea, but the place we stayed the last time we visited Mishawaka wasnít listed. I guess Iíll look it up on line. The good news is, Iíll add this to The Next Exit and take both with us when we go anywhere because for every state it lists many pages of acceptable motels that take dogs.

Other than reading a book and buying some groceries, I didnít do anything except pay some bills today. The electric bill was $203, and I calculated that, even at todayís rates it would have been $151 if we had used the same amount as we did last year. I suspect the four air purifiers and the hepa furnace filter that we added, but maybe itís just the weather. For some reason we used a lot more power this year.

And thatís what you get for three points today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROWINGFOOL 8/14/2010 8:54AM

    You know, if you get good at internet searches, EVERYTHING is on the web somewhere. I bet there's an index of dog-friendly hotel/motels online.

So are the HEPA air purifiers helpful? I use a furnace filter up against a box fan (held on with the suction) to filter dust out of our air.... after running for a few days, there's a visible layer of dirt. It's amazing how much it takes out of circulation.

We hang our laundry out to dry quite a lot. I guess that's not so great if you have allergies, but it does cut down our power bill. The dryer is an energy hog.

Keep up the good work maintaining!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 8/13/2010 9:19PM

    AAA also offers discounts here and there. I visited the Birds of Prey Center in Boise and they gave me a 25% discount on the entrance. It wasn't posted: the volunteer cashier volunteered the information. So, I suspect, that most times you have to ask. I like being a AAA member. If you've never locked your keys in the car, nor needed to be towed, nor needed to have your battery jumped, a tire changed, then you have been very lucky.

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MS.ELENI 8/13/2010 8:48PM

    AAA is nice to have.We always keep up to date maps. even tho I get a lot of directions on web I still like to have a map also. I think it is worthwhile to be a member.
Your light bill was much better than mine.I had the highest yet since we got a new unit about a year ago.My bill was 325 and would have been probably 400 on old unit. Up until this month my highest bill was around 230 Our ac man said everyones units are being worked hard in this extreme heat we are having.
Thanks for that info you gave me.Bill and I see the dermotogist Monday.Bill will need a lot of places zapped. I should only have a small spot like before.

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TUBLADY 8/13/2010 8:09PM

    Sounds like you kept yourself busy. That's ever so important .
Having nothing to do leads to boredom and that can lead to eating . And so on and so forth. We've been down that road before.
I have been a AAA member since 1963, that's a long time.
I did not know they charged for the books, last time I picked up mine , no charge.
I always check out motels so Titan will enjoy the trip as much as I do.
I was off line for 30 hours , Wednesday evening till Thursday night. Hard drive dies on PC, and laptop browser wouldn't work.
Whats the odds of having two computers fail at the same time?
I felt sort lost, I ended up going to bed early, prayed that I would be back on line Thursday. I was.
Have a lovely evening,
I'll probably blog tomorrow. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ALEXTHEHUNN 8/13/2010 7:55PM

    Good luck with your sawing / mirror project. It's been a while since I've seen a reference to a dado cut. Very nice. But that's mostly because I don't find myself doing that sort of thing these days.
Glad you got your dog book.

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