Hiking

I can walk uphill

With confidence

Meeting the challenges

Reaching the summits

Sometimes I check the map

But the goal stays clear

And the view can dazzle me.

 

A descent is harder

It feels like falling

My boots slide on loose rocks

Half- buried roots grab at my toes

Sometimes to make it home

You have to go slow

And keep your eyes on the ground

Saving the far horizon

For another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Bread #111

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It is now the third week of real maintenance, of being a “normal” weight, one that feels comfortable. My intention is to stay a tad under 150 pounds for the rest of my life.  This will mean I will go up and down slightly week to week, which may be just as tricky as losing weight, but I will get into that routine too, because it is – well – the right time for me to do that.

I am still trying to burn 2000+ calories a day, but am doing it as an average now rather than daily.  That works too, if I pay attention to calories consumed vs burned each day.

The county I live in is relaxing some of the sheltering rules this week which means we can drive and park at some trails that are not within walking distance of our house.  Hurray!  Although I love that 6-7 mile loop we have been doing at least once a week for the last couple of months, it will be wonderful to cover some different ground for a change and also to spend more time on an actual trail rather than walking to the trailhead. We will continue to stick to fire roads until there is a vaccine.

My poem this week was about rainbows it came to me after I saw this on the sidewalk on a rainy day.  There were no rainbows in the sky.  Sometimes we have to make our own.

Rainbow

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There must be a rainbow somewhere

A silver lining in the clouds

It’s what they tell me anyway

Dangling hope amid despair

That fragile feathered creature

Spinning high above the flames

Sometimes I catch a glimpse

A flash of color

The warm breath of God.

 

Down here though

The days are long

The news disturbing

It’s an effort to go on

Sobs rise on winds of grief

And fear stalks my battered soul

Maybe my tears will drown the rain

And the rainbow will appear.

 

Be well, stay safe.  Look for the rainbows.

L’Chaim!  Week 3 of maintenance: My Fitbit report shows 96875 steps for 39 miles.   I ate approximately 11053 calories and burned 14278 for a deficit of 3225. My average weight this week is up 1.1 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 173.6.

Rainbow

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There must be a rainbow somewhere

A silver lining in the clouds

It’s what they tell me anyway

Dangling hope amid despair

That fragile feathered creature

Spinning high above the flames

Sometimes I catch a glimpse

A flash of color

The warm breath of God.

 

Down here though

The days are long

The news disturbing

It’s an effort to go on

Sobs rise on winds of grief

And fear stalks my battered soul

Maybe my tears will drown the rain

And the rainbow will appear.

 

 

 

 

Daily Bread #110

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When I finally settled on a name for my blog posts about the weight management program, “Daily Bread”, was almost a joke.  Bread was not on my meal planning lists at all – if fact I was only consuming “products” – the Optifast meal replacements that the program used.  But our “daily bread” in a metaphorical and theological context is not about baked goods, leavened or not, but instead is about what sustains us in both our physical and spiritual lives.  So I smiled and went with the name.

Two years later, I am eating actual bread again, not every day, and primarily thin sliced, whole grain varieties, but actual bread.  My weight is now in the “normal range” for my height.

This week I have been experimenting with what it will mean to simply maintain my weight.   I exercised a little less compulsively and ate a few more calories.  I had a couple of cookies and a cocktail or two.  I still recorded every thing I ate, most of which was my now normal high protein, low carb diet, and I did exercise, including a 9 mile hike.  But it was less exercise overall and more calories, but even so, I lost another1.6 pounds this last week.

My weight is up a bit today, still in the normal range, but higher than last weeks average. That second Mothers’ Day martini was likely one too many, but it was worth it.

I wrote a couple of poems again this week:

I  Wonder

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I wonder what my life

Would have been

If the path was less clear

If the trail had disappeared

Under a carpet of dead leaves

 

Dusty my feet got

And sore

Blisters appeared

When something

Rubbed me the wrong way

 

Still the trail called me

All I could do was follow

Never quite knowing

Where it would end

 

From space it must have seemed

Aimless

A wandering with no plan

Somehow though

I ended up here.

Thank God!

 

I think I got to this good place in my life partly because I have managed to escape the hell that too many of us create in our own minds, forgetting that we don’t have to be stuck there for all eternity.  God is so much better and more forgiving and accepting than we are.

Hell

They say you’ll go

To Hell in a handbasket

But a basket

Is not what you’ll need

You’ll need a much bigger container

To hold all your fear and despair

And the demons that wake you

Just after midnight

When the world

Has been way too much

Hunker down, friend

That Hell is mainly in your mind.

Your nightmare imagination

Is restless

And needs to run through the streets.

The world can punish enough

Don’t give it any help.

 

Be well, stay safe. Try to live with love – for yourself and for the world and all its creatures.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 92916 steps last week for 38 miles.   I ate approximately 12355 calories and burned 14660 for a deficit of 2305. My average weight this week is down 1.6 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 174.7

Hell

They say you’ll go

To Hell in a handbasket

But a basket

Is not what you’ll need

You’ll need a much bigger container

To hold all your fear and despair

And the demons that wake you

Just after midnight

When the world

Has been way too much

Hunker down, friend

That Hell is mainly in your mind.

Your nightmare imagination

Is restless

And needs to run through the streets.

The world can punish enough

Don’t give it any help.

 

 

 

 

 

I Wonder

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I wonder what my life

Would have been

If the path was less clear

If the trail had disappeared

Under a carpet of dead leaves

 

Dusty my feet got

And sore

Blisters appeared

When something

Rubbed me the wrong way

 

Still the trail called me

All I could do was follow

Never quite knowing

Where it would end

 

From space it must have seemed

Aimless

A wandering with no plan

Somehow though

I ended up here.

 

Thank God!

 

 

Daily Bread #109

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It has been 2 years and two weeks since I started Kaiser’s medical weight management program, and I have now lost more than half of my body weight and have finally entered the “normal range” on all the “ideal weight” charts,  It is a milestone worth celebrating and I really am amazed and grateful that I have been able to reach it.  Despite knee replacement surgery and a global pandemic, I have stayed mainly on track.  My loss rate slowed at times, but the trend continued to slope down.  As I learned from another program participant, for me it was mainly about following the 4 W’s .  Watch (what you eat), Walk, Weigh, and drink enough Water.

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be, and the rewards have certainly been worth it.  I had a multitude of health problems when I started, including diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, lymphedema, the list went on as did the increasing number of prescription medications I had to take each day.  Currently, I have no chronic health issues and don’t need to routinely take any medications at all.  The health benefits are so much more important than any label, but I have definitely also noticed that now that I am no longer fat (or even overweight!) people treat me better.  Those judgmental looks have stopped, at least the ones related to my size.  The bias against “people of size” is real and still makes me really angry when I see it.

While I am proud of my own success, I would really hate it if anyone used my experience to shame or guilt trip someone else.  I have been extremely lucky.  Because luck matters too, along with all the hard work.  Sometimes Grace will rain down on us and bless our efforts, and sometimes she seems to look the other way.  It is the whole theodicy question of theology I suppose.  Why do bad things happen to good people and visa versa?  I gave up the idea of an all-powerful God years ago and resolved that question for myself with the process theology image of a God, Spirit, or Power that helps lead and guide us toward the greater good, but can’t make anything happen without our help.  “God has no hands on Earth but ours.”  I try to be useful to that Spirit and keep my hands (and heart) busy.

The long term success rate of dieting is horribly low, even for people who work really hard at it.  Not everyone can finish a full marathon, even if they train long and hard.  A positive can-do attitude is a critical part of both marathons and diets, as is a strong motivation, but even those are not enough.  Losing weight and regaining it repeatedly has damaged so many people.  That yo-yo dieting loop is more detrimental to your health –  physical, mental and emotional – than simply staying fat.  This program was the very first time I seriously tried to lose weight, so I had a lot less baggage to leave behind.  That helped me stay on track as I wasn’t expecting another failure since I’d never really tried before.

If you are considering starting a program like this, I wish you strength, luck, and grace. And please only do it if you can do it out of love, and not out of guilt or shame.  Do it out of love for yourself and for life.  You are each precious, unique, and lovable just as you are.  You really don’t have to run a marathon or lose 170+pounds to be worthy of love and respect.  You can focus on your health, and not the scale.  I say that as someone who weighs herself daily and blogs weekly about the numbers, but what has worked for me may not work for you.  I am a bit of a maniac, but you don’t have to be. Or you can choose your own particular obsessions that you think will help you achieve your goals, whatever they might be.

Continuously losing weight for 2 full years is very rare.  The amount I have lost is huge and that is also very rare.  And I intend to keep it all off and maintain my current weight.  If I do that, it will be rarer still.  I’ll do it though, because I want to and I now know I can.  The 4 W’s will help and I will continue with all of them.   I will also continue to attend the program support group – virtual these days of course.  My success in losing as much weight as I have has put me in a special and very select circle, one that, in some ways, I am not entirely sure how I got into.  It is a circle that I am committed to staying in which will require continued work and attention.  It will be worth it.  I am not going back to the old, unhealthy me.  I love being able to hike too much and I know it is a victory to complete a marathon, even if you are crawling at the very end.

So this journey of mine will never really be done, for at least as long as my life lasts.  But now is a really good time to take a moment to celebrate, recognize and relish my accomplishment.  Look at these two photos:

The first picture was taken on day 1 of the program – 4/18/18.  The second was a week or so ago while I was out hiking.  Back then, I could barely walk a flat city block without stopping to rest. Now I can hike 7 miles with an elevation gain of 1700 feet.   I will still take a couple of breaks on a long hike, but most of the time when I stop it is just to enjoy the views.

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Transformation takes work, but resurrection is a miracle.  I have experienced both.  May God’s grace shine a light on all our journeys, helping us find our way.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 99560 steps last week for 40 miles.   I ate approximately 11067 calories and burned 14817 for a deficit of 3750. My average weight this week is down 2 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 173.1

Daily Bread #108

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This is our quarantine pool.  It won’t be full of family and friends for awhile, like it has been at times in other summers, but I am grateful that it was warm enough to swim in it this week.  There are definitely worse places one could be sheltering in place.  It is important to stay grateful for some of the blessings we have.  I know I have more than my share right now even while we face some frustrations like a broken dishwashers.  I lived most of my life without one, so it really isn’t so bad and when it is safe to do so we can afford to have it repaired or replaced.  It is only 5 years old.  Is my memory faulty or did appliances used to last much longer than they do today?

Memory is funny.  Quarantine brain is a running joke among my facebook friends as we forget what day it is.  I wrote this poem after a conversation with my 30 something daughter.

When I Was Young

When I was young

We hid under our desks

For fear of the atom bomb

Now I hide in my house

Afraid of disease.

When you were young

You practiced lockdowns at school

For fear of bullets flying.

Now the schools are closed

And very safe one would think.

 

When I was young

The only homeless people I saw

Were hobos riding the rails

And long haired hippies

Looking for crash pads and revolution

When you were young

Tent cities crowded the streets

Of every city you saw

So much misery and poverty

And no one seemed to care.

Now there is some concern

But only to contain the viral

Spread of this dread disease

 

When we both were young

We went to concerts and rallies

We gathered with friends

And only robbers wore masks

Except for the Lone Ranger I guess

But he was the exception.

There are no exceptions now.

 

What will your children say

If you have them

About when they were young?

Will there still be long days at home

Writing sidewalk messages to the world

Grandparents and teachers on video

Unable to give kisses or grades

I’d bake the kids some cookies

But I may be out of flour.

 

It is a blessing to be old.

I hope you are really old someday.

Your children too

If you have them.

I kept to my calorie burn goal again this week and realized that I am back up to the amount of daily walking I was doing before my knee surgery.  And now a lot of it is on hills and trails, something I couldn’t do before my new knee.  Another thing to be grateful for.

I am also eating more, because of the extra exercise, and I am still recording all the calories I consume.  I guess some on the veggies, but I still weigh meat, cheese, and sweet potatoes, and I carefully count the calories in bread and the occasional cookie or other sweet.  My food scale lives on my kitchen counter.

I am VERY close to another “goal weight” which I think will be the last goal I will set as it will move me out of the “overweight” category into the “normal” range.  I am still suspicious of those charts, but given that I started out as “morbidly obese” it feels like quite an accomplishment.  I actually hit that number this morning, but my average for the week is 1.7 pounds higher.  Since I decided to use my average weight for each week to monitor my progress, I am sticking to that method.  Therefore, I will need to be that little bit further down before giving myself a rousing cheer.

Be well!  Stay safe and healthy!

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 108784 steps last week for 44 miles.   I ate approximately 11445 calories and burned 15169 for a deficit of 3724. My average weight this week is down .6 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 171.1

When I Was Young

When I was young

We hid under our desks

For fear of the atom bomb

Now I hide in my house

Afraid of disease.

When you were young

You practiced lockdowns at school

For fear of bullets flying.

Now the schools are closed

And very safe one would think.

 

When I was young

The only homeless people I saw

Were hobos riding the rails

And long haired hippies

Looking for crash pads and revolution

When you were young

Tent cities crowded the streets

Of every city you saw

So much misery and poverty

And no one seemed to care.

Now there is some concern

But only to contain the viral

Spread of the dread disease

 

When we both were young

We went to concerts and rallies

We gathered with friends

And only robbers wore masks

Except for the Lone Ranger I guess

But he was the exception.

There are no exceptions now.

 

What will your children say

If you have them

About when they were young?

Will there still be long days at home

Writing sidewalk messages to the world

Grandparents and teachers on video

Unable to give kisses or grades

I’d bake the kids some cookies

But I may be out of flour.

 

It is a blessing to be old.

I hope you are really old someday.

Your children too

If you have them.

 

 

 

Daily Bread #107

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I have become quite the hiker.  There isn’t a whole lot else to do.  At least the fire roads near our house are open and not crowded at all.  It is a real blessing.

My goal this week was to burn 2000+ calories every day.  I did it!  Mainly with hiking/walking, but also with some time on the stationary bike.   I also did a few sit ups and push ups every other day or so.  Exercise can be fun and I believe it is also helping keep me healthy.  I really did up my game this week with 20,000+ more steps than last week, with an average of 5+ miles per day.  I am down only a little over a pound rather than more because I also increased my calorie intake.  I did enjoy that too!  This week I also dipped down to a number on the scale that I haven’t seen since my mid-30’s.  My weight loss curve has definitely begun to “flatten” in the last several months, however,  as I near the end of the “losing” journey and shift completely to simple maintenance.

Flattening the curve is a good thing.  A life-saving one in fact.

Two poems I wrote this week:

First, a kind of fun one.

Heel

I scraped my heel

Walking down a hill

Or maybe it was up

I can’t remember

 

I was well prepared

Thick socks and boots

Hiking sticks to lean on

It didn’t matter

 

Hills come

And we go up or down

Defying or giving in

To gravity

 

The view was worth it

At least I think it was

Because with time

My heel will likely heal

 

Isn’t that what we want?

Isn’t that why we were born?

To climb the hills

To accept the challenges?

To live our lives

Without regret?

 

Preparation always helps

But scrapes come still

I climbed a hill

But it seemed a mountain.

I’ve got the scars

To prove it.

 

And now a more serious one:

Virus

This virus isn’t new

Not really

The sickness has been here

From when the first white colonists arrived

To this green and healthy land

 

They took possession of the earth

Not caring that it wasn’t theirs

They drove compassion out

Down a trail of tears.

They sent justice on the road.

 

They brought the poor of Europe

Here to work their fields

Then stole the souls from Africa

Leaving their own hearts behind

Frozen tight in greed.

 

The beat’s gone on

The infection’s spread

200 years and more

Walls are built and borders closed

While vigilantes roam

 

It’s time to pause it really is

Take stock in measured order

Heal the sick and feed the poor

Find some shelter for all souls.

A vaccine to prevent this evil

 

We’re all in this together

A lesson we must learn

Before this virus kills us all.

A pandemic isn’t easy

But we WILL find a cure

 

We are well stocked on food for awhile, thanks to a Costco 2 hour delivery which actually came the same day and within an hour and a half of ordering.  It was a minor miracle, as it has been taking a week to get “same day” deliveries.  We ordered 2 gallons of milk and gave one to the insta-cart shopper who said he could use it.  I don’t drink milk and no way could Anne drink two gallons before it went bad.  We also tipped generously, but it also felt good not to waste food when so many are hungry.

Be well!  Stay safe and healthy!

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 93507 steps last week for 38.7 miles.   I ate approximately 10906 calories and burned 14434 for a deficit of 3528. My average weight this week is down 1.3  pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 170.5