Weekly Bread #141

We see a lot of wildlife while we are hiking. Around here it is mainly coyotes, snakes, turkeys, squirrels, birds, and deer. I refuse to list all the different bugs. We saw a bobcat once in the Headlands. In the Sierras I have seen a lot of bears and one young mountain lion. With the mountain lion, I was happy that there were a lot of other people around.

I took a picture of these deer because we parked at Deer Park and just seemed funny that it was so aptly named. Notice the leaves on the ground. It is fall, but unlike other parts of the country, the leaves are mainly brown and not very spectacular. Sometimes not spectacular is just fine. That is what this week felt like -just fine. When I lived in Utah, the locals always said “you’re fine” rather than “no problem” or “no worries.” The culture there tends to be optimistic – except when it’s not. Sweeping statements, generalizations, don’t work for me any more. I need more nuance I think.

My weight is up again, but I had fun at a luncheon on Friday and clearly ate more than I needed. That is OK. Rambling is also OK. Counting your blessings is a good thing in general, but don’t count your chickens until they have hatched. The show isn’t over until the fat lady sings, but you still have to take one step, one day, at a time on the road to any type of transformation. Sometimes there are deer in Deer Park, and sometimes a tree falls over and blocks a trail. I am not a fan of opera, but I do like to sing along with most other types of songs. Staying in tune is a challenge I also rarely meet, but it would be easier in a choir. Not that one would let me in and yeah, COVID, so singing in a group is not a risk I would take, even though I am vaccinated. Some “breakthroughs” are good, others not so much. Nuance. Gotta love it, but hating it is OK too. I think.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is up 1.8 pounds for a total loss of 169.9

Weekly Bread #140

My weight trend line is now officially flat after 3 months of getting back on the horse! I have proved that logging food intake helps a lot. I stopped logging in May, thinking I had everything under control, and my weight gradually crept up. I started logging again July 10, and have now “flattened the curve.” Good thing I believe in science and not in magical thinking. Magical thinking can be fun, but it can also hurt you. No, I am also getting vaccines, boosters, and whatever else my doctors recommend. No horse medicine for me, save that for the horses! Knowing how many calories I have already had in a day helps me decide whether or not to have some ice cream after dinner.

I have also kept up my exercise routine – logging over 150 miles in September, most of them on hiking trails which, trust me, are both harder and more rewarding that walking around the block. The long hikes burn a lot of calories, so a few dinners out and even restaurant desserts haven’t thrown me very far off.

So exercising and paying attention to calorie intake seem to be enough to have stopped the upward trend I had going. I am glad I did not have to start weighing and measuring my food again, which was super tedious. I would have done it though, and still will if it proves to be necessary. For now, I am simply celebrating 3 months of relatively stable weight and what feels like a reasonable relationship with food. It is mostly fuel for me, a solid relationship that sustains me and keeps me happy and healthy. But I also enjoy a periodic “date meal” in honor of the work I have done the last few years and in tribute to that wild and almost reckless spirit that has kept me going and doing for more that seven decades now.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is down .7 pounds for a total loss of 171.7

Weekly Bread #139

Even when you have climbed to the top of a mountain – and we did an 8 and a half miler this week to the top of Mount Tamalpais, you still don’t know what you will be able to see from the top or what is around the next bend in the trail. It was hazy that day, and hot. We did the loop trail this time rather than the rocky summit trail, circumnavigating the peak instead of climbing to the very top. Around the bend in the picture was a sheer drop off which caused my acrophobia to kick in. Luckily there was a railing, but the fear of falling is very real.

Aren’t we all afraid of falling, of failing?

As hard as scaling a mountain can be, and my weight loss journey has been a really long and strenuous one, there isn’t always a smooth path around the summit. You can be exhausted and just want to rest. You need some extra calories to replenish some of the energy you burned during the climb. Maybe you are dehydrated, so you load up on water and some salty snacks. The balance between enough and too much can be hard to find.

I am finding it harder to maintain my weight than it was to lose it. Maybe it is acrophobia, maybe the past is getting covered with haze so I am not remembering it right. The hard parts of a climb can fade into feelings of accomplishment and strength.

Sometimes I wonder if I should try and lose 10-15 pounds, and then not worry when I gained them back because I’ll know I can lose them again. Would that be “yo-yo” dieting? Tempting as it is, because it seems easier to be strict, I don’t think it is the best plan. I really do need to master the ring trail around the summit. I am up .4 this week. A tiny increase, but it was an increase two weeks in a row. Even a ring trail has ups and downs, some longer than others. Maybe I will wait for the haze to clear.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is up .4 pounds for a total loss of 171.

Weekly Bread #138

Sometimes there is a T-Rex guarding the trail head. I saw this from a distance, approaching the Coast Trail last week and couldn’t tell what it was. I approached it slowly and cautiously. I thought it was a gigantic lizard, although such creatures aren’t native in this part of California, but, no, it was just a plastic toy which was actually fun to see – after I knew what it was anyway My cancer scare last week was similar in that the results came back “benign.” Benign is not quite the same as “fun” but is decidedly better than a giant lizard or a growing cancer. The recall results were also better than they could have been, but no one likes going through scary times. So here’s hoping for no need for more biopsies anytime soon and that California and the federal government stays blue.

For now I will continue focusing on my overall health now that I don’t have to deal with any specific health concerns – for at least awhile. Hurray!

My weight continues to go up and down from week to week, but is staying within a reasonable range. That’s OK. Short blog posts are also OK. Perfectionism belongs in dinosaur land. We all need (a lot of) grace.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is up 1 pound for a total loss of 171.4

Weekly Bread #137

My left knee had its second birthday this week. The ice machine above that I used for pain and swelling relief post surgery now lives in our basement. I hope I haven’t worn the new knee out in two years with all the hiking I have done! It does ache sometimes, worse than the the other, original, knee. I thought I would need both knees done, but the surgery and recovery were hard and I am not sure I want to go through that again. My knees only hurt after 8+ miles though, and Tylenol is still doing the trick, so no worries yet.

This week I am awaiting results of a biopsy on a couple of thyroid nodules that grew a bit in the last 2 years. Hopefully all will be fine and the results will be benign. Worst case, I lose my thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is one of the more treatable cancers so even in the worst case, it likely won’t be terrible. Still, it is a worry. I must say I had the thought that if the prognosis was bad, I could start quite blithely overeating again as it wouldn’t matter.

Aging is an interesting journey and I have been blessed with two plus years of continued improvement of my health. I did know it couldn’t last forever. Nothing does. We take one day at a time and are grateful for the sunshine and the intermittent smoke-free days.

Funny how this blog has turned into a journal of sorts. I kept one for years as a youth and young adult, so this is coming full circle, but in a way more public way. At a certain point it my life, I got beyond shame. It really isn’t a helpful feeling. Guilt maybe is OK, if it causes you to change your actions and try to make amends, but shame just eats at your soul. Shame can freeze you in place. I want to live, unafraid and unashamed of who I am.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is down 1 pound for a total loss of 172.4

Weekly Bread #136

One of the things that has helped me to continue push my limits with exercising is my Apple watch. I used to have a Fitbit but it died. I like the Apple watch much better, although you need an iPhone to go with it and as it ages there is never enough memory for the updates. What I like most (except for the “Dick Tracy” style phone calls which I love) is that the incentive goals change over time, depending on what exercise levels you are currently meeting. I have met all the mostly challenge goals this year, except for November. I can’t remember why I didn’t meet that one or what it was. This month, my watch wants me to walk or hike a total of 149.8 miles. In May (the last time the challenge was in miles), I only needed 145.8 miles to meet the challenge. I also try to close all 3 activity rings each day. My current streak for doing so is 158 days.

None of this does the complete trick to maintain my weight, of course. I also have to watch what and how much I eat. And that is a struggle, a harder one than walking 150 miles in a month. Particularly after a long hike, I feel entitled to a calorie heavy meal. We did 11 miles on Friday so I had steak frites, two martinis, and split a dessert for dinner. It was wonderful, but my weight is up again this week. I am still bouncing around 150, however, so no panic, just some continuing concern. Maybe there is a different balance I need to find. Maybe slightly less exercise? When I exercise more than usual I get hungrier than usual and can too easily eat more than I actually need. So maybe the steak frites were OK, but also maybe I should have had only one martini. Or maybe, instead, next time I can just skip the olives. Or only have one olive in each martini. Every little bit helps – AND a sense of humor is ALWAYS important!

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is up 1.2 pounds for a total loss of 171.4

Weekly Bread #135

Fire season started quite awhile ago this year, but the air quality had been pretty good on the bay area until this week. Yesterday, we went to the coast for our hike, where the air was better. It was a hot hike though – interlaced with the joy of hiking with our daughter and also a tragedy on the trail. A man died of a heart attack while biking in the heat and we witnessed the paramedics and rangers rushing to the scene. Later we passed his covered body under a solitary tree, waiting for the coroner to arrive. Later still, on our way back, only the tree remained to mark the spot. As my daughter said, dying is never good, but there are worse ways than to be out in nature, doing something you love.

I do worry if nature will survive, however. Humankind has been far from kind to our planet. I wrote this poem this week as the smoke began to drift across the sky.

Waiting for the Sunrise

I hiked 22 miles this week as well as using the stationary bike and swimming. We ate out twice. Live goes on. I feel lucky to be alive even in these stressful times. Maybe especially in these times.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is down .8 pounds for a total loss of 172.6

Waiting for the Sunrise

I waited for the sunrise

But it never seemed to come

The moon glowed red

Faint behind the smoke-filled clouds

It was a darkened land

Where birds no longer sang

I waited

The streams were running dry

Fleeing from the fires

The mountains hunched in fear

Tears were in my eyes

The night was so very long

And still

I waited

A year or more it lasted

I really can’t recall

Time folds inside itself

Moments become months

A decade passes in the time

It takes to say goodbye

Sunrise,

I am still waiting

And until you come

I will try to keep the flame

Alive

Weekly Bread #134

One thing I am incredibly grateful for is that I live in an area that has incredible natural beauty. This was the view from one of the trails we hiked this week. The 11 miles and 1250 elevation gain was definitely worth it. California has earthquakes and now we have another drought and fire season gets longer every year, but when the skies are clear there is much joy to be found. We have also done fairly well during the pandemic, largely because we have a Governor who was willing to take unpopular actions to protect the lives of the vulnerable. Hopefully he won’t be recalled because of it, but he really did save (and is saving)a lot of lives with his policies.

This week we only hiked 3 days and 22 miles. My body does complain the day after the longer hikes. The 5-6 milers feel like nothing, but over 10 gets to my bones and I am stiff the next day.

I saw my oldest friend this week, which was more than lovely. We met in the 10th grade and have been friends ever since. We only see each other every 7-10 years or so since he and his husband (who also got together in January of 1975 just like Anne and I did) live in NYC, but the conversation among the 4 of us always seems to flow just like we’d seen each other the week before. So many changes over the years and we are all feeling our age.It was so good to see them.

My weight went up this week, gaining back most (but not all!)of the 2.6 pounds I was down last week. Can I blame it on the ham I had for dinner 3 times this week? Maybe, but why bother with explanations? It stills feels like I am on track to at least flatten my upward weight curve, so that is good. Just like with COVID, the curve can’t be flattened by denying reality. Vaccinations are helping, but there will be more breakthrough cases no matter how much we mask, distance or wash our hands. But if we did none of those things, it could be so much worse – just look at Florida and Texas.

Sometimes you have to hug people just like sometimes you feel a real need for an extra cookie. Since I am vaccinated and think I now know how to get any weight gain back off, I take those calculated risks without abandon.

The calculation part is important. Deliberate is also important. We aren’t talking reckless here. Hugging old (vaccinated) friends or having two cookies isn’t the same as going to a crowded bar full of unmasked and possibly unvaccinated strangers or eating a whole bag of cookies in one sitting. And even though those bags of cookies might eventually kill you, it is arguably slower than a deadly virus. We all make our choices as best we can. Guilt and shame never helped anyone change anything.

I have recorded all my calories for the last 43 days and when I get to 90 days I will post my weight graph again so we can all see if I have managed to really flatten out the curve. Y’all need SOMETHING to look forward to and I need the accountability.

L’Chaim!

My average weight this week is up 2.1 pounds for a total loss of 171.8

Weekly Bread #134

Life is complicated. The branches of this ancient tree we found on a new trail this week are complicated too. What made the limbs grow the way they did? Was there early damage that influenced how the tree was able to grow. Did it compensate for that damage and for other conditions that were out of its control? Not ever tree is straight and tall, but I found this one particularly beautiful in its uniqueness.

We each have to forge our own path. It is fine to get help from our friends, but the journey is ours because it is our life to live. It is our arms reaching up and out to the wider world in all its glory.

This week my weight was down. It was mainly less salt I think, but also paying more attention. We ate out, I had a few cocktails, and a few desserts. We hiked almost 30 miles in 4 days and I swam and put at least 45 minutes on the stationary bike the days we didn’t hike. Exercise is important for health and swimming and hiking are good for my soul. The bike less so, but it is a good place to read. I am still addicted to books.

My average weight this week is down 2.6 pounds for a total loss of 173.9