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Daily Bread #87

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It was Thanksgiving week last week, a day for family and feasting.

Last year I transitioned from all meal replacement products to food right before Thanksgiving. I was very careful on that day and weighed and measured absolutely everything. (1 Tablespoon of gravy for instance. ) This year, since I am down over 150 pounds and at a comfortable not-obese weight finally, I still recorded estimates of what I ate, but I ate pretty much all I wanted including a couple of cocktails. I enjoyed myself and on the scale the next morning I was up a mere pound. It will be easy to lose that without hardly trying. The next afternoon, we went clothes shopping and I bought a pair of size 14 jeans. I used to wear 28 or 3x.   This was me several Thanksgivings ago.  It is the traditional “Turkey just out of the oven” pic.  The turkey was also smaller this year, but that had more to do with how many people came to dinner each year. I am getting older each year, of course, but am much healthier than I was.  ‘Tis a major miracle.

IMG_2705I am still figuring out what the future will hold in this journey of mine. Am I done with weight loss?  Recovering from knee replacement surgery is still slowing me down quite a bit as I am afraid of overdoing it again.  I saw the orthopedic physician’s assistant today and she said it looks like I developed some bursitis in that knee.  Hopefully that is all it is and it will heal with even more rest and ice, although she did order some blood work and an x-ray to make sure nothing else is going on.  I will see the surgeon in a couple of weeks.  It is very frustrating not being able to do much walking.

I want to enjoy the holidays and all the December birthdays with full energy and without stressing about what and how much I am eating.  We will see how it all goes.  An upward trend would  get my attention, but simple maintenance of my current weight would be a fine thing at this point.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 30408 steps last week for 12.8 miles.  I ate approximately 9849 calories and burned 12620 for a deficit of 2771. My average weight this week is down .3 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 153.2.

Daily Bread #86

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I was down just .2 pounds this week, but Lose -It says I met my goal.  And yes, I have logged all my calorie intake for 487 days.  I am still not sure I am done losing, but I have lost 10 pounds since my surgery in September and when my knee FINALLY heals, who knows what will happen?  In any case, I love these little pictorial rewards the various apps send out.  FITBIT does the same sort of thing. I may have to set a new goal to keep them coming.  Maybe I’ll play with 5 pound goals at a time, because I feel just fine at my current weight.

In class this week we talked about the power outage and how it affected our eating habits.  One man talked about going a bit nuts in one of the few open stores and really loading up his cart with pasta and sauce.  Not knowing how long food would be available, it was easy to go into survival mode.  We were too busy eating the food in our refrigerator before it spoiled to try and go shopping, but almost empty shelves might have inspired the same response in me.

It did remind me of the time I was lost in the woods for 4 days with only small leftover lunches to share with the 4 other people that were with me. (I just wrote that story out in another posthere) Maybe the rationing of raisins and peanuts we did then made it easier for me to cope with the relatively mild food deprivation that is part of any weight loss journey.

Being dedicated to my mission of health helps too.  Like the federal employees that testified this week (Yay to Fiona Hill!) career cvil servants are stalwart in their dedication to the missions of their agencies and nothing much will really stop them.  Being lost in the woods and my years working for the Social Security Administration are two of the pillars that I think have helped keep me strong.  My years in ministry gave me some humility and the ability to sometimes actually enjoy the inevitable imperfections and plot twists.  Curiosity keeps me interested.  I want to read this novel to the end.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 27395 steps last week for 11.5 miles.  I ate approximately 9408 calories and burned 12368 for a deficit of 2960. My average weight this week is down .2 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 152.9.

 

Daily Bread #85

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I have been reluctant to invest in too many new clothes as I am still losing weight, but this is becoming a problem as the weather is turning colder.  OK, I am in California, and it isn’t that cold outside, but people don’t heat their houses here like they do in snow country.  I have shrunk out of the jeans I bought last year.  I didn’t have any sweaters that fit.  I have a couple of pairs of fleece jogging pants that fit, but they aren’t appropriate for everywhere, even being retired.  The thin pants I got last summer still fit well enough, but I am freezing when I wear them.  I also have less “natural insulation” these days.

But my 30 year old daughter came to the rescue yesterday.  She’d cleaned out her closet and had a load of clothes which she was going to donate.  I asked to see them and found a couple of shirts and a warmish jacket that fit.  The two belts will hold up my jeans!  Even better, I can wear some of Anne’s clothes now, and she got some stuff from our daughter’s stash as well, so she was more willing to let me have a few more of her things.  A couple of vests and a warm jacket are what I most appreciate.  It is weird that I can now wear her clothes.  Just the ones that were big on her, but still.  She is my height and under 110 pounds.

Once I reach my maintenance level, I’ll have to do some serious shopping.  When will that be?  Who knows?  I feel very comfortable with my current weight, but I am still losing without trying very hard, so it seems my body wants to be at least a bit smaller.  We will wait until she is satisfied.

This last week was a case in point.  My knee still hurts so I have gone very easy on exercise and am still down almost 2 pounds.

In class last week we talked about the various fad diets and how people can lose weight on them, but because they don’t change their lifestyle, the weight comes right back.  I never did that kind of dieting and believe I have made enough changes in how I eat and exercise that I can maintain whatever weight my body and I decide is maintenance

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 25476 steps last week for 10.7 miles.  I ate approximately 9562 calories and burned 12053 for a deficit of 2491. My average weight this week is down 1.7 pound from  last week’s average for a total loss of 152.7.

Daily Bread #84

72690010_10219353172287596_1189011689593372672_n This was me a couple of weeks ago and the other picture is from around seven years ago.

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It helps to keep looking at these old pictures because it is so easy to forget how far I have come, particularly when it has been a hard week.  I really overdid it the week before last and traumatized the muscles around my new knee by walking 22,000 steps in two days. I was doing fine with 7-10,000 per day, a little sore but feeling good.  But I got overconfident and thought I could return to my pre-surgery exercise level.  Not yet, friends, not yet.  Because I did too much the week before, this week I can hardly walk.  I am doing the physical therapy and some stationary bike, but the pain is too intense for too much walking.  This too shall pass, but clearly exercise is important for weight loss as well as for on-going health. Doing roughly half of what I did the week before, my average weight did not change.  That is OK.  I need to let this knee heal.  I am still working on becoming more patient

It was good to be back in the group this week.  I am still getting to know most of the people that attend the 5 o’clock meeting and I do miss those I knew better in the other groups.  I find it depressing that so many people drop out – and I am impressed that others keep coming back even when they are struggling.  None of this is easy.  Companions along the way are critical.

My surgery was on 9/10, which is just 2 months ago.  I need to remember how well I am actually doing, even when it doesn’t feel that way.  Probably a good reminder for lots of things in life.  Perfectionism is a curse and can tend to make us emphasize our mistakes and failures way out of proportion to our successes and the good things we do.

 

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 34232 steps last week for 14.6 miles.  I ate approximately 9100 calories and burned 12863 for a deficit of 3763. My average weight this week is the same as last week’s average for a total loss of 151.

Daily Bread #83

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Progress is walking without a cane.  I am now averaging 10,000 + steps per day and walking up and down hills.  These steps are part of a shortcut down and back to the marina.  I can now go up them, but down is harder.  It has been 2 months since my surgery, and they say the pain improves significantly after 3.  I am glad to have electric power again so I can ice my knee after a long walk.

I have been walking through the pain.  It is a metaphorical journey in a way, a lyrical song of what it means to be alive.  Not all of us can walk without pain just as some of us cannot walk at all.  None of us lives without pain.  Life is full of grief and loss, disappointment, frustration, and despair.  We battle fears and addictions, searching for the courage and confidence to soldier on.  The war analogies are apt.  We are all refugees seeking safe harbor, a place of more joy and, most of all, more hope.

This journey I have been on is no different than many others.  The path, although marked, is not always clear.  What keeps me moving along is that thing with feathers, a small flutter of hope waiting to take wing.  When I pastored a parish, or served as a hospital chaplain, what I found people seemed to need the most, when they were overwhelmed by events in their lives, was simply to have someone with them, a calm presence that listened, that recognized and acknowledged their pain.  They did not need advice or platitudes; they just wanted to know that they were not alone.  They needed someone to hold the hope for them, to keep it safe, while they grappled with despair.

If you are a believer, God can help serve this need, but judgement is not part of the Holy I know, so don’t worry about that.  There is a Spirit holding us, and holding all that we are and all that we love.  It keeps that ember of hope warm, even when the power goes out, even when we feel like giving up and even in the midst of hopelessness and helplessness.

And sometimes you have to give yourself a break; you really need to take a break.  Last weekend I think I overdid the walking w/12,000 steps on Saturday and 11,000 on Sunday.  My knee was swollen and throbbing from that effort.  More ice, and a couple of days off from long walks was in order.  For myself, I can be as disciplined as I need to be only if I allow myself small breaks when I need them.  Some days I can’t really exercise.  Some days I really want a small dessert, so I have a cookie.  It is the long term attention that works, best held with an open hand. Too much rigidity can be a set up for a serious shattering of my intentions.

On another note, I always learn something at church and not only during worship.  Last Sunday at coffee hour, someone told me, humorously, that “I was not half the woman I used to be.” That is not quite true yet, but if I lose another 10 pounds or so, I will be at exactly half my starting weight.  Weird to think about that.  I am so much less and so much more than I was then.  Life really is a mystery.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 71319 steps last week for 30 miles.  I ate approximately 9814 calories and burned 15096 for a deficit of 5282. My average weight this week is down 2 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 151.

Daily Bread #82

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Despite the power being out for 3+ days, I managed to eat fairly healthy meals as we cleaned out the fridge and freezer to save as much of the food as we could.  This was last night’s dinner – shrimp w/hot sauce and sesame oil, beets, and Brussels sprouts.  I had to boil the beets and steam the sprouts rather than roasting them like I prefer. We have a gas stove, but the oven is electric.

The house was freezing so I probably burned some extra calories just keeping warm.  Although my knee still hurts and I missed being able to ice it after exercise, I have been able to take long walks again, mainly in the morning when the smoke from the fires just to the north of us has been a little less.

It has been a dramatic and traumatic week, the kind of week where it would be really easy to get off-track, both with eating and with exercising my knee so that it keeps improving.  I am happy to say that I think I did very well.  At least I did not lose any ground in either area.

Another impact of the fires and power outages was that the facilitator could not make it to the 5 PM meeting tonight, so the meeting was cancelled.  Unfortunately, I did not learn that until I had driven there.  No worries, in the scheme of all that is happening, it was only a minor irritation.  I hope everyone is doing OK.  It hasn’t been a good week for California, but people helped each other as best they could to get through it.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 44826 steps last week for 18.8 miles.  I ate approximately 9457 calories and burned 14030 for a deficit of 4573. My average weight this week is down .2 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 149.

 

Daily Bread #81

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This week at the knee class, I remembered to snap a pic.  It isn’t as fancy as the one I found a picture of on-line last week, but it does the job.  I lost 2 degrees on my knee bending, down to 128 instead of 130, but no worries as 120 is the goal and I took it a bit easier on some of the exercises the last few days because I have apparently strained my adductor muscle.  The physical therapist couldn’t figure out quite how I did it, but he worked on it for awhile with massage and said to not do anything that makes that muscle hurt.  It too will heal.

I am completely off the oxycodone now and drove myself for the first time on Tuesday.  Freedom of the road – even if it was only 2 freeway exits from my house and it felt great.  Since the surgery was on my left leg and we have an automatic, it was easy.  My pain level is back up without the drugs, but it is tolerable.  I see the doctor later in week and hope to be able to start using naproxen again rather than Tylenol.

I also did a walk – outside – without even cane!

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It has been a very long time since I have taken a walk without using a cane.  It is a little scary, but is also quite wonderful.

As hard as it has been, I am amazed at my progress after the surgery.   Even more incredible is how I have continued to lose weight during this time, even without putting much effort in.  Until this week, my exercise has been very minimal, so my “calories out” have been low.  But without the long walks and other exercise, I haven’t been as hungry so haven’t really needed as many “calories in.”  Keeping track of both my exercise and food intake helps my brain and body communicate with each other.  I understand the signals better.  A few nights this week, while weaning myself off the pain meds, I didn’t sleep well at all. During the days after those lousy nights, I felt hungry, but it wasn’t food I needed, it was energy.  Naps were in order.

Since I am now able to drive, I was able to attend the group this week.  It was good to see people!  The quote of the day was, “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” (Laurie Buchanan).  I liked it, although not everything is within our power to change, but like in the serenity prayer, that is where wisdom needs to come into the equation.

Speaking of math, I have decided to choose to change how I record my weight statistics in this blog.  The Kaiser meetings are on Wednesdays which are the official “weigh-in days).  I also weigh myself each morning at home, the results of which go into my Fitbit app which also calculates my average weight for each week.  The Fitbit (and Lose-it) weeks are Monday-Sunday, so it is making less sense to use the Wednesday weigh in number.  So as of this week, I am going to use the average Fitbit number instead. It will be more accurate in the long run I think, as an average evens out minor fluctuations and it will also match my calorie-in, calorie-out, weeks, which will let me know how accurately I am estimating some of my calorie intake.

Even with the kaiser numbers, I lost 6.6 pounds in the 6 weeks since my surgery.  Not too bad. It helped that I couldn’t have any alcohol with the medications.  Once I can switch from Tylenol to naproxen I will have at east one martini!

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am still drinking about 96 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 35723 steps last week for 15 miles.  I ate approximately 9289 calories and burned 13307 for a deficit of 4018. I am down .2 pounds for a total loss of 148.8.

Daily Bread #80

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I forgot to snap a pic of the actual knee class I went to this week, but it was in an actual gym at the medical center which looked kind of like this one. For an hour, under the guidance of a physical therapist, I worked on knee strengthening exercises along with 6 or so other people also recovering from knee surgery.  We used a knee press, a leg lift machine, stepped up and down off of wooden blocks, and rode an exercise bike.  I focused mainly on the other equipment as I have a bike at home.  I was definitely tired afterward, but was quite proud as my surgery was more recent than anyone else and my flexibility (both straightening and bending) was the best of the group there that day.  I can bend my knee 130 degrees and can get my leg perfectly straight – zero degrees.   (My leg may be the only thing straight about me!) All the work before and after surgery is paying off.  I no longer need a cane at home and my pain is improving even as I am decreasing the pain meds.

Other victories:  I no longer need help in the shower or with dressing, I am also able to cook meals that don’t require a lot of standing.  I know I will be back to walking the neighborhood before very long at all – we did a short almost loop yesterday.  My Fitbit shows that my steps, miles, cardio minutes, and calorie burn are all dramatically up from last week.  I expect to be off of all of the pain meds except Tylenol in just a few days.  My knee still hurts, but I want to be able to drive.  After weeks of being so dependent, the freedom and power to do things for myself is very important to me.  Self-determination, agency, is what I crave, but I would not call it self-reliance as I know how much I will always need the support of others.  My friends and family cheering me on during the recovery process (just like they have on my weight loss journey) has really made it all a lot easier.

My support system has proved the grist, but the grit I suppose is my own.  I do know that success in meeting one challenge can help make other challenges feel more attainable.  I am seeing the rewards.  Hard work can pay off.  Luck and grace also never hurt.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 96 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 27165 steps last week for 11.4 miles.  I ate approximately 9415 calories and burned 12848 for a deficit of 3433. I am down 4.2 pounds for a total loss of 148.6.

Daily Bread #79

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I am back up on the horse.  Um, back up on the bike.  It was really rough for a few weeks after my knee replacement surgery, but now, a full month later, I definitely feel like I am on the mend.

I was able to bend my knee 129 degrees last week, only 3 weeks post surgery.  The end of rehab goal is 120 degrees so I am already there.  My home physical therapist was amazed and impressed with my progress, particularly because I had a very hard first week with 3 E/R visits and passing out twice.  I am now using a cane rather than a walker and am starting to wean myself off of the heavy-duty pain pills.  I even go on the exercise bike 15-20 minutes a day in addition to the 6 specific physical therapy exercises that I do 3 times each day.  My life is awfully routine.  Wake up, eat, take pain medications, exercise, ice and elevate, a little time on the computer, repeat and repeat again.  Read for awhile, maybe watch a little TV, and then bedtime.  I also find time to take a shower each day, mainly around when Anne is how to make sure still I don’t fall – or I guess so she can call the paramedics if I do.

It all feels so much better, though.  I have turned my Fitbit hourly movement reminders back on, and try get the 250 steps per hour in for 10 hours of each day. I still have some significant pain, especially after doing the exercises, but it is becoming more manageable. I am also now doing out-patient physical therapy, including being scheduled for a “knee class” which involves using gym type machines to strengthen my leg muscles.

I really miss the weekly group meetings and hope to get back in another couple of weeks when I can drive again.  On-going support and accountability partners are so important to this lifestyle change.

I am back to what feels like easy losing.  My exercise is increasing and I have been keeping my calorie intake to a reasonable level.  I am not feeling hungry, but look forward to when I am burning more calories each day and am off the pain pills.  Then I can indulge in an occasional martini again. I really miss the olives!

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 96 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 6634 steps last week for less than 3 miles.  I ate approximately 8827 calories and burned 10752 for a deficit of 1925. I am down 2.24 pounds for a total loss of 144.4.

 

Daily Bread #78

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It finally feels like I am recovering.  It has been 3 full weeks since my knee replacement.  They keep saying it is major surgery, and I am not disagreeing.  I still have a lot of pain, but I am even beginning to think it might be close to the time when I can start tapering off the narcotics.  I asked when I can start taking ibuprofen again, rather than Tylenol.   Tylenol has never provided sufficient pain relief for me.  They said 6 weeks after the surgery. Everything is 6 weeks it seems, including being able to drive.  I will be practicing patience in the meantime, which is not my strongest attribute.

I tried walking with a cane rather than a walker, under the supervision of my physical therapist.  Scary, but I did OK.  The fear of falling is real, but I am (slowly) getting my balance back.  The knee bending exercises are going very well.  I am almost at the 115 degrees they want after 6 weeks and it has only been three. I may be pushing too hard, which of course increases the pain level,

My weight is now down to my pre-surgery number.  It helps that my surgical leg is no longer swollen to twice the size of my other one.  I am still recording what I eat, but not stressing about it.

As I get better, I am getting grumpier about all the things I still can’t do.  Like I said, patience is tough.  I can only hope Anne has more patience with me than I have with myself. We went for a drive this afternoon, and it felt good to get out of the house, even if I did not get out of the car until we got back home.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 96 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 5600 steps last week for less than 3 miles.  I ate approximately 9219 calories and burned 11068 for a deficit of 1849. I am down 3.4 pounds for a total loss of 142.2.