Saturday, July 11, 2009
Reading JOPAPGH's blog reminded me: I've also been at SparkPeople for two months as of yesterday, July 10. I've used the nutrition tracker every day for every meal and only been a little less diligent on the exercise. Meaning that although I have recorded all that I've done, that exercise has been less than my pre-SparkPeople exercise routine. That's because during the past two months I've also completed radiation treatments which have slowed me down. For years I've been going to the gym 4-5 days a week, generally 40 minutes of cardio/500 calories plus abs and stretching every day; and upper body weights on alternate days with lower body weights. Treatments have slowed me down on that (fatigue plus fairly extreme skin burning) and the side effects are expected to peak about 10 days from now, then taper off over the following month or two. As energy rises, I'll be stepping up my exercise to my former levels and then beyond, I'm sure: I love that endorphin high and have had to restrain myself to accommodate the medical realities (and the chafing!).
These treatments made it the best possible time for me to embark upon Spark. During the two months, while dealing with the radiation, I've taken off 14.5 pounds of the 17 pity party pounds which had limpet-like attached themselves around my middle (mostly) after my February diagnosis. I've got 2.5 pounds to go, and even though they have been very very slow to budge they will go too: I am confident! I am determined!!
I've lost 2.5 inches around my waist and am comfortably back wearing my size eights (the 10s were getting a big snug before). Had a lot of fun "shopping in my closet" and received quite a number of compliments: the 14.5 pounds does make a difference to how I feel as well as how I look. Today I've celebrated my two month anniversary by treating myself to a StarFrite kitchen nutrition weigh scale to make absolutely sure that the 1 oz of cashews or 1 oz of cheddar I've been charging myself really has been 1 oz: and actually confirmed that my eyeballing has been pretty darn good! (It's a pretty nifty gadget and I've been wanting one for a while . . . comes programmed with a ton of foods with their calorie/protein/sodium etc and others can be added.) Also got some low-tech measuring spoons and measuring cups to reinforce the accountability..
SparkPeople: What an amazing site. I've counted calories before (of course) but the Nutrition tracker is a very handy tool. I like the "food group" feature since I tend to eat big multi-item salads every day for lunch, adding a different dressing and low-fat protein source to each one. I like the "favourites" because I do tend to eat a lot of the same foods (in rotation) over a week. I particularly like the nutrition breakdown: that I can, for example, look at what I've already eaten by mid afternoon and decide that I need to increase protein, increase fat, back off on carbs etc etc before the end of the day. Love the daily "report" feature. Love the Fitness trackers. Love the teams, the articles, the message boards, the blogs, the trivia questions (even though I am not very bright about these) -- most of all love SparkPeople: your warmth, your support, your humour, your commitment to health, energy, and engagement with life.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Glorious evening on the golf course -- just the right temperature, beautiful blue skies and interesting clouds, not too many bugs, wonderful golf companions, purple liatris and yellow daylilies coming into bloom in the flower beds, the second crop of young robins chirrupping and adolescent crows squawking at their harried parents to be fed; and me with just about enough energy to get through nine holes.
Not playing well, of course -- but well enough to enjoy myself. Until I landed in the sand on the ninth and despite three mighty swipes, was unable to blast my way out. No big deal: I picked up, watched the others putt out and headed for the club house.
A lovely start to the weekend.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
It's amazing how much pleasure there is to be had in a little walk around the garden at the house where I've now lived more than 22 years. Every day there is something new in bloom: right now, I'm especially enjoying my floppy pale pink antique rose, which smells so good although each blossom last little more than a day. The mock orange is another with a wonderful scent -- and I've brought in a bouquet of the two mixed together for the kitchen table.
My few little plantings of annuals -- white cosmos, bright red geraniums, a few snapdragons, some portulaca -- those are all pretty consistently colourful and I would not want to be without them. But what I like most is making a point of noticing as each of the old perennial friends predictably steps forward and takes its turn from spring to fall: snowdrops, crocus, hyacinths, anemone, daffodils, tulips, iris, lily of the valley, lilac, columbine, poppies, peonies, Dame's rocket all pretty much past with lemon drop and evening primrose sharing star billing with the roses and mock orange right now. I've got another yellow kitchen bouquet of those with a late deep red peony! And there will be lots more perennials -- sidalcea soon, liatris, sweet peas, lilies (Asiatic and daylily types) asters, golden rod, sedum, Rose of Sharon, trumpet vine, chrysanthemums, fall crocus. Plus flowers from my annual seeds -- nasturtium, morning glories -- still to come between now and fall.
Every day new, each flower never to be repeated. But every flower deeply familiar from all the years I've lived here and seen them bloom in sequence. And something new: I'm wondering if my just-planted Pink Fantasy clematis is going to oblige in its first season with a bloom or two!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tomorrow is July 1st. What we Canadians used to call Dominion Day. And now call Canada's birthday (it's our 142nd, if you're asking) or Canada Day, or whatever. The failure to be prescriptive about the name is in itself pretty typical of Canadian anti-patriotism; we don't tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves when it comes to love of country.
At our golf club, there is generally a Canada Day event. Everyone wears red and white golf clothes. You put a Canadian flag on your golf cart and carry it around the course -- quite a colourful sight. And then, when you've used up your allotted strokes (based on current handicap) you're supposed to plant your flag on the course at that spot. Which means that there are a few flags generally beginning about the 16h green or up the 17th fairway for people doing worse than usual. A few more at the 17th green. Yet more on either side of the 18th fairway, and clustered before the 18th green. If you get to put your flag on the clubhouse side of the 18th green, you've made it around under your handicap: which has never happened for me! And then there's a BBQ, maybe some live music, lots of friends -- a laid back celebration of "Canadianness".
This year I probably won't get to play -- the treatment-related fatigue factor. Or: maybe I'll just play a few holes. If not, I'll be sitting on my verandah looking up at my Canadian flag .
Because -- I am feeling particularly grateful this year to be Canadian. And especially for the Canadian medical system which has taken such good care of me worry-free. The whole six month treatment programme has cost me nothing more than parking fees at the hospital -- and even the parking has been discounted for the daily clinic visits. But the quality of the care has been amazing too -- professional, kindly, humorous, tactful. I'd be appreciative of that quality of human interaction at any price.
So even though most Canadians don't make a big deal about July 1st, I'll be feeling particularly Canadian tomorrow. Very glad to be so -- and glad to be getting healthier day by day.
And thankful too for the support of all the SparkPeople friends who've helped me with the weight loss part of getting healthier. Some Canadians --some from other parts of the world; and most the wonderfully warm and outgoing Americans. I do hope you Americans enjoy your July 4th celebration coming up with all the hoopla and hands on heart that Canadians don't do -- but some of us can just about imagine. Because just occasionally we let ourselves feel patriotic, too!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I am sustaining my cheerful mood and feeling grateful for the excellent treatment I'm getting (reducing my statistical chance of recurrence from about 25% to maybe 2-3%) but: the cumulative effect of the series of treatments is making me somewhat fatigued, just as I was told to expect. And: some redness/skin reaction, also as I was told to expect. Which will culminate about 2 weeks after the last treatment (there are 6 to go).
So I'm not feeling able to get to the gym for my usual vigorous workouts every day, will have to take it easier, do what I can, keep on the programme from a nutrition-tracking perspective (not too hard, since appetite is also quite a bit reduced) and just have faith that I WILL do what exercise I can and get back into the full exercise routine (as I always have) when it's possible to do so.
This isn't a race, there is no deadline, I'm only 3 pounds from goal: and it will happen.
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