Sunday, February 24, 2013
Well, 2013 has been a bumpy ride so far. My mood has been low. I wish I was the kind of person who didn't eat when she was depressed. Unfortunately, I am the kind of person who turns to food when she is feeling down. So, I've spent the past several weeks eating way too much junk. I've been withdrawing, not feeling like going anywhere, much of that made easier by the snowy weather. I've even been avoiding SP and instead have been caught up in bad eating and bad emotions. I would get back on track with eating right for a few days or a day, and then slide back into the unhealthy choices. The only thing I did right was exercise every day.
Not that it was the most fun exercise. Due to the weather, most of it was indoors, much of it on a treadmill for an hour a day. Plus shoveling. That was my outdoor time. I like the treadmill well enough. I finally settled on a 10% slope while I watch Gilmore Girls DVD's or listen to books. But I miss the sun. I miss walking outdoors without worrying about slipping on the ice and getting injured. But for whatever reason, I remained compulsive about daily exercise and stuck to that routine at least.
It was a nice surprise when one of my friends emailed yesterday and asked me what I thought about going to the beach. I immediately wrote back that I thought it sounded a bit insane and what time did she want to go? I have no ability to say no to the beach, apparently. Except maybe in a lightening storm. So we agreed to meet at noon today.
The beach looked very different than the last time we were there in early January. We've had a number of storms come through since then and the lake was frozen for quite a distance from the shore. There were mounds of sand, water and snow all along the beach. What my friend and I called Frozen Waves. It an entirely different landscape than we are used to and it was gorgeous. Without the water washing against the shore, it was so quiet except for the squeaking of our shoes in the snow and the panting of the dogs as they ran by. Also, the echo of my shouts for Quinn when he'd head for the hills or out over the frozen water.
Today we walked in a snowy canyon with the dunes on one side and the frozen waves rising on the other. We didn't walk as far as usual, stopping frequently to take photos but we still spent over two hours. As always, I feel rejuvenated after my beach time.
Even in the winter, in the cold, during the short days that often lack any sun, there is beauty and hope. Underneath those hills of frozen waves, there is a beautiful, great big lake that I will walk along in the spring and wade into in the summer. Taking care of myself now, making the right choices for what I eat and how much I eat, continuing to exercise every morning instead of sleeping in, will keep me healthy and strong for plenty of beach walks and plenty of good times all year long.
Here are some photos from today's walk:
The start of our walk
The beach looking very different from our last visit
Quinn and me posing by the same building that is behind us in my profile pic
The frozen lake
I know Lake Michigan is out there somewhere!
Curious Quinn discovers some water
Oh, THERE is Lake Michigan -- way out there!
Balto and Nanook atop the frozen waves
Hang in there SparkFriends, the days are getting longer and soon they will get warmer. Lots of good days are coming our way. In the meantime, I am going to try to see the beauty all around, even if it is while I am shoveling snow. :-)
Sunday, January 13, 2013
…”I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.” Despite having so much going well in my life, so much to be thankful for and no legitimate reason to complain, my year got off to a rough start. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been rather depressed and once I went back to work after New Year’s, my mood worsened. My eating went downhill and I had several days of over-eating and binging. At least I kept to most of my normal exercise routine every day and I also had several days of staying in my calories. But I was just not feeling happy or energetic or wanting to do much of anything but overeat food I normally avoid. It wasn’t fun. Most of the food I didn’t even enjoy, but I repeatedly over-ate to the point of being uncomfortable and even less interested in doing anything besides sitting on the sofa and watching TV. I avoided friends, ignored phone calls and stayed away from SparkPeople.
Not the way I want to spend my days and certainly not the way to maintain my weight! Then on Friday, another day of bad eating and depressed mood, inspiration struck. As the weekend approached, I had been thinking all I wanted to do was go to bed and stay there until Monday morning. However, the weather was unseasonably mild, up in the 50’s and the same was forecast for Saturday. I decided I would take advantage of the break in the cold temps and hit the beach. Not only would a long walk be good exercise, but I find walking along Lake Michigan to be very restorative on a psychological and spiritual level. Just the thought of being at the beach made me feel better.
One of my friends who often joins me for beach walks, was up for a January jaunt. Even before we arrived yesterday morning, I could feel my mood lifting. Our dogs immediately engaged in zoomies of joy upon our arrival:
Quinn (AKA, his lordship) became impatient with our dilly dallying and demanded we get the party started:
More zoomies ensued:
We eventually settled into our usual two hour walk:
Of course, anytime my friend and I come across something new on which to pose the poor dogs (in this case, part of someone’s dock that washed away in a storm), we can’t resist a quick photo op. Here we have Border Collies on a Plank:
Being in the 50 degree temperatures, listening to the surf, seeing the occasional peak of the sun, looking for beach glass, chatting with my friend, watching the dogs’ antics, and just walking along the water, I felt better than I have in weeks. In fact, I felt great.
The Beach – It is good!
There are lots of photos of Border Collies in this blog because 1. I love Border Collies and 2. Even though I can’t go faster than a brisk walk, the photos of their running full out for the sheer pleasure of it mirror how I felt inside. Watching them run and leap, my soul also leaped for joy to be out by the Lake, enjoying the beautiful day, and savoring the gifts of health, fitness and friendship. And it was pretty good beach glass too!
I feel like I am finally back on track with eating. Something just feels different inside, the way I felt before the holidays started. I pray that feeling sticks and I will settle back into the healthy lifestyle and all its accompanying benefits that I have worked so hard to achieve. In the meantime, I have a couple weeks of catching up the best I can to do here on SP. I've missed my SparkFriends, want to hear how everyone is doing and am glad to be back.
As we head into another week, I hope we all have our moments of joy and inner peace to help us remember what we know is important in life and utilize the healthy coping skills that will allow us to achieve our goals.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Other than food being a stressor for me this year, I enjoyed Christmas. I just wish food wasn't so central to celebrating the season. My eating wasn't the best after two of the three pot-lucks at work (I kept eating when I got home). I definitely overate at Christmas Eve dinner with my family. I think the food at these events was just so different from what I normally eat, that it triggered binge type eating. Nothing terrible, but nothing good. Quite frankly, I am relieved to have the holiday behind me because I have little emotion invested in New Year celebrations and it is easier for me to ignore the food.
My favorite gifts this year were spending the holiday with my 86 year old mother and family. My second favorite was going for a two hour hike on Christmas Eve morning and again on Christmas morning with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We walked in the forest preserve where we used to hike weekly back in the 80's. I'm very pleased to say that we had no trouble walking our old routes and I'm thrilled to know how far I have come with my fitness. Christmas 2010, I wouldn't have been able to walk more than 10 or 15 minutes on flat land. This year, my friend and I hiked up and down hills for 7 1/2 miles each day and I felt like I could have gone another couple hours. Truly, that is a gift to cherish!
A few snapshots from my phone of Christmas 2012. My mother's cheerfully decorated dining room:
Chili, whom my mother unabashedly favors among my dogs and who came with me for the visit. Note my Christmas socks, a fun gift from a coworker:
This is one of my favorite walks in the forest preserve, a long hill along a ravine. I hadn't been there for years. It was so great to walk it again:
I came across this plaque on a bench in the preserve:
And on that note, I will add my gratitude for all the good friends I have made here on SparkPeople and what wonderful gifts they bring each day. Thank you, Spark Friends and all the best to us in 2013!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
I think many of us seek a balance when we are working to lose or maintain weight. On the one hand, we have a goal, or often several goals in mind. We want to get to a certain weight, figure out how to maintain that weight, get into a certain size, improve our health, increase our fitness, etc. While working towards these goals, we can become very single minded and driven. We might ask ourselves, when do we get a chance to smell the roses? Sometimes, we might think that we’ll just need to smell them later, once we have accomplished what we set out to do. However, I firmly believe we can both smell the roses AND work towards a healthier life.
We can get very caught up in the “destination” of reaching a certain weight or type of appearance. When that destination is a long way off, we may easily get frustrated or feel like we are deprived. For me, it was very important during all those months and months of losing weight to concentrate mainly on the journey (smelling the roses) and less on the destination (weight or how my body looks).
One thing I know. I can smell a whole lot more roses with improved health and fitness. My profile photo? That is big time rose smelling right there. When I started taking my dog to the beach in 2010, I never walked far. Between my worse knee (they are both bad) acting up and being so out of shape, walking in the sand for any length of time was an ordeal, never mind that dune I had to climb up on the way to the parking lot. This past summer, I got to the beach every week and enjoyed long walks beach combing and drinking in the serenity. The dune I once dreaded and climbed up gasping and needing to pause for breath, doesn't phase me any more. I enjoy doing so many things that two years ago I wouldn't even try.
What I can't do is eat the way I used to, but that is ok. I had decades to misuse food and mistreat my body. I still enjoy food. That is just part of my makeup, but I can't afford to use food as a drug to numb and comfort myself any more. Those days are over. I don't want to die early because food was more important to me than my health. I don't want to become incapacitated by illness and pain because of misusing food and not taking care of myself. I literally would never treat my dogs the way I have treated myself in the past. Those days need to be over. I am worth at least as much as my dogs!
It was important for me to let go of trying to find a perfect weight or a perfect body. Because that doesn't exist. Trying to achieve perfection is a trap so many of us can fall into. It usually leads to disappointment, frustration, a sense of failure and hopelessness. And those feelings pave the way to giving up and going back to old, destructive patterns. My body is way, way far from perfect, especially after years of how I took care of it, but it is doing so much better than it was two years ago. It is doing better than it was even 2 months ago and that is very exciting to me.
I could catalog all my body's faults and short-comings, of which there are many. However, I've come to love my body because I need it to get around in this world. It is all I have while I'm here. So instead, I concentrate on all my body's strengths and good points, of which there are many. My body and mind may not always talk the same language (the whole Intuitive Eating thing is not something I would tackle at this stage), but we are a team and need to work together.
To me, weight loss and maintenance are complicated, many faceted, sometimes challenging, and sometimes exciting. Maybe it really is simple (calories in, calories out), but simple doesn't necessarily equate to easy. Still, for me the journey and destination are so worth the long haul, the extra effort, and the commitment. Our life is a gift. Our body is a gift. In this season of gift giving, I say we should treasure these gifts and take great care of them. Let's enjoy and value both our journeys and our destinations, smelling the roses all along the way.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Yesterday, I bought and set up this year's Christmas Tree. It is a small one, like last year's, much snippier with its needles than last year's but very pretty, I thought. This is the tree right after we got it home and set up in its special stand.
After the tree was decorated, which included the annual last minute run to the store for more lights (why are there never enough lights?), I tried unsuccessfully to get a decent photo of the three dogs and me by the tree. If I am holding the camera, my dogs are like professional models, except for their hearty appetites. If others hold the camera, they are like... regular dogs with little interest in having their pictures taken. The Lhasa tends to complain bitterly about being by the Border Collie. The Border Collie tends to look long suffering. The Sheltie is old, deaf and not feeling well these days, so she actually is suffering a bit and looks unhappy. This was the best photo of me with my little pack after several attempts:
Last year's photo was more successful in my dogs looking semi-cooperative (the Lhasa was distracted by something out the window so had shut up when the photo was snapped). I was at least 70 lbs heavier last Christmas than I am now, but closing in on a weight loss of 100 lbs for 2011, so I was very happy with how I looked at that time.
When I was really heavy, I never wanted my photo taken. I used to joke that people could only take my picture from my eyebrow up. But the reality was that it was just too painful to see what I truly looked looked like. I'm not sure how I managed not to see myself in the mirror every day, but photos were always appalling. So at Christmas in 2010 and several Christmases before that, there are no photos of me by the tree, with family and friends, or even trying to coax dogs into posing by my side. There are few photos to be found of me at all for years and years. For an extra, extra large person in real life, I did my best to be invisible in photos and, heaven help us, videos.
I'll end with the best photo of this year's sad lot. The Lhasa got his Christmas Wish to be the only dog, at least in this pose with me in front of our pretty little tree. I only have 1/3 of my pack with me, but then again, there's not a whole lot more than 1/3 of me, compared to what I looked like at Christmas 2010.
Happy Holidays to All (especially Lhasas)!
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