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Daily Bread #72


This week proved that doing the math is not always enough.  Even though my calculated calorie deficit was larger than last week, I gained 4 pounds, my largest weekly gain since beginning the program.  Maybe it was the 3 dinners out I ate while in Monterey on a short get away.  Eating out always involves calorie guesstimates and I could have grossly underestimated.  Maybe it was because I cut back on calories the week before while  increasing my exercise and that sent my body went into starvation mode. Maybe it is a new medication that causes some water retention, and most likely it is a combination of all 3.

There is so much mystery in life.

Monterey was beautiful and I walked a lot amid simply gorgeous scenery. 69613148_10218838966192765_1613175731964084224_n I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed the dinners I ate.  It was all good food, just a little too rich and a little too much. This week, I will get back to my more usual habits, because they really are habits now.



The class was helpful tonight.  I had been a bit overconfident due to being so successful for so long.  Humility is important and this week was a bit of a wake-up call to keep paying attention.  We talked about emotional eating and I don’t think I do that anymore, although it was a habit in my past.  Eating is not how I deal with stress anymore.  I don’t eat out of boredom and I avoid junk foods.  I just need to be a bit more careful in French restaurants as good Moules Frites are just too yummy for me to resist.  And I did underestimate the calories in them – by a lot.  The mussels were cooked in both butter and cream.  They were REALLY good though, and it is OK to indulge once in awhile.  One of my friends in the group said that when she indulges, she gives herself a penance, something as simple as a walk around the block can make up for a handful of tortilla chips.  Some things obviously require longer walks.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 72 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 89431 steps last week for over 37 miles.  I ate approximately 9247 calories and burned 17547 for a deficit of 8300. I am up 4 pounds for a total loss of 131.2 .


Daily Bread #71


I really wore out my knee last week on the Tennessee Valley hike, so I took it easier for a few days afterward.  I actually drove to take the above walk.  It was also super hot and only a tad cooler by the water.  The cortisone shot has definitely worn off so it is back to naproxen for awhile.  I’ll probably need to stop that as well a bit before my surgery.  All good I guess.  Some pain now will get me ready for post surgery pain.  Because of the opioid crises, doctors limit the prescriptions for the heavy duty pain meds that can lead to addiction if used for too long.  I assume they will give me enough to get through the worst of it.  Full anesthesia for the surgery at least!  The expectation is to be sent home the same day and a physical therapist comes to the house a couple of times a week until I can make it to the clinic.  Another adventure!

I am a little stressed about the surgery recovery time and maintaining my weight loss while I can’t do long walks or swim.  I will try to eat a little less so I don’t gain, but it will be tricky.  Food can be such a comfort.  But I didn’t do all this work to regain it all!

Stress was the topic in group tonight.  As compulsive as I am, I don’t actually stress all that much.  This was the handout:


The physiological impact of high levels of stress is pretty scary, so I am glad I don’t do it that much.  “What?  Me worry?”  (Does anyone else remember MAD magazine?) I loved it when I was young.

I also did some quick research on weight loss and how many people regain all the weight they lost.  This article was interesting as it mentions what factors are correlated with successfully keeping the lost weight off.

Long-term weight loss maintenance

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 82, Issue 1, July 2005, Pages 222S–225S,


I loved this paragraph:

“National Weight Control Registry members have lost an average of 33 kg and maintained the loss for more than 5 y. To maintain their weight loss, members report engaging in high levels of physical activity (≈1 h/d), eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends. Moreover, weight loss maintenance may get easier over time; after individuals have successfully maintained their weight loss for 2–5 y, the chance of longer-term success greatly increases.”

I’ll be even more confident in another year.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 65 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 84,498 steps last week for over 35 miles.  I ate approximately 9289 calories and burned 16605 for a deficit of 7316. I am down another .7 pound for a total loss of 135.2 .

Daily Bread #70


There are some great places to walk to near my house.  This is about 1.5 miles away, which gives me 3 miles round trip and all uphill on the way back.

I may have overdone it today though with a hike on the Tennessee Valley trail.  It was about 4 miles round trip and took 2 and a half hours.  My knee is in serious pain now.  Maybe it was too long and maybe the cortisone shot is wearing off.  Good thing I have knee surgery scheduled!

It was seriously beautiful though.


Class last night was good, although bittersweet as it was the last night for the excellent facilitator who is going to another position.

We talked about motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic.  The stuff that comes from inside you works better.  No one loses weight because someone else, even a doctor, tells them too.  No, the reason to do this is because you like how it feels, because you want to do things with your life that will be easier if you are healthier.  I have been able to stay motivated partly because I have had so many rewards along the way, mainly significant improvements in my health.  I called it luck, but maybe it is grace instead – undeserved blessings that have rained down upon me.  It all gives me some pause.  Before I started this program, my life was narrowing because of my weight related health issues.  There was so much I could not do.  Now, a year and a half later, I am still amazed at how my life and abilities have expanded again.  But in terms of staying motivated to stay the course, to make this how I will live for the rest of my life,  what happens when the rewards are less obvious than they are now?  If I get used to them?  What happens when advancing age again catches up with me?  What will happen after my knee surgery?

Life is, and always will be I guess, an adventure of sorts.

I want to stick around as long as possible partly to see what happens – I can never stop reading a book until the end – but the world will (I hope!) go on without me at some point.  Until then, I want to have as big of a positive impact as I can, on the world and  on the people around me.  At church we sing a closing song at the end of the service each week.  It has the line “for the children of our children, keep the circle whole.”   For that we need wisdom, courage, and strength.

And ice.  Time to put more ice on my knee.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 54 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 85,990 steps last week for over 36 miles.  I ate approximately 9289 calories and burned 17252 for a deficit of 7963. I am down another 1.6 pounds for a total loss of 134.5 .

Daily Bread #69

IMG_2534We got out to Tomales Bay State park last week.  I tried using 2 hiking sticks, but went back to the cane for my cane.  It works more like a third leg, and takes the weight off my left knee much better than a hiking stick.  The other stick helped with balance though.  Maybe two canes would be even better.  There was one trail that I couldn’t do as there was a ditch to cross and the step up across it was just too steep and scary.


We did a couple of other trails instead.







The weather was great near the coast and we stopped for oysters for dinner.

There are also some great gardens I have enjoyed during my morning walks. 67650934_10218678374218066_7458724731189985280_n

I am settling into the walking habit and amazing myself.  I actually get grumpy if I can’t get my 90 morning walk in.  I try to swim in the afternoon and take a shorter walk after dinner.  Hopefully I will be in great shape for my knee surgery and the healing will go well.

Class was great tonight and I really love the new group.  They love to laugh and I find laughter very healing.  There was a joke about throwing out the refrigerator and not just the tempting unhealthy food.  One man broke his FitBit and was distraught about it.  I can relate.  It was also fun seeing a few people from my old group who came in as our group was ending.  One of whom just got a FitBit.  My spouse laughs at me when I pace around the house trying to burn a few more calories so my FitBit screen turns green for “goals met.”  Laughter is good.

One of the coordinators was upset with me that I switched groups, but while I understand the need to balance the numbers, the groups are all about the same size and other people have switched in the past.  It really helps me to meet new people, all of whom have a unique perspective to share.  Plus the later time is just so much better.  Given that I am one of their more impressive success stories, I doubt they will throw me out, especially as I would not go quietly.  Have I ever been quiet?  In any case, one of the messages of this program is taking control of your choices.  That empowerment has to include more than just what you eat and how much you exercise.   Once you know what you need, trying to get is a no brainer.  Just do it!

Roses have thorns.  I have had huge improvements in my health with my weight loss, but there are some minor issues that have developed partly because of it.  I have “age spots” now, where blood accumulates just under the skin on my hands, and if I bump them, sometimes they bleed. Skin thins as one ages, and now that I don’t have all the fat in my hands to help protect my blood vessels.  A good hand cream should help some, at least  according to my doctor. And maybe TMI, but I need to do more Kegel exercises, a common need for women after they have given birth.  I have lost more weight than my thirty year old daughter weighs, so yeah, I just had a very large baby.

I’ll take those minor problems.  So much better than having diabetes and the multitude of there conditions I had before.  I am still smelling the roses, even if they have a few thorns.


L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 54 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 90,935 steps last week for over 38 miles – down some from last week.  I ate approximately 9961 calories and burned 17266 for a deficit of 7305. I am down another  1.3 pounds for a total loss of 132.9.

Daily Bread #68


Shrinking,  I am shrinking.  Or melting, who knows?  It has been pretty hot on some of my walks.  It is important to get out early.  I have been trying to do two walks most days, a longer one in the morning, a shorter one after dinner, and I like to swim in between.  Being retired gives me the time to do that almost every day.

This week my wife Anne gave me some of her clothes that are too big for her.  They fit!  This is amazing because I used to weigh 3 times as much as her.    I still weigh more, but no longer even twice as much.

I am still not getting my gallon of water in most days.  Does that make a difference? I have reduced my percentage of protein, so maybe it is OK as far as my kidney health goes. I haven’t felt really hungry, even though I ate a bit less last week, so I don’t need as much water to feel full.

The good and scary news this week is that my knee surgery is now scheduled.  September 16th.  I am excited and somewhat apprehensive.  From what I have heard doing the rehab is the most critical part.  I think I can do that given that I already have an exercise routine.  I won’t be able to swim of course, so swim season will end early for me this year.  But maybe after the surgery, I can ditch my cane on my walks.  I don’t use it indoors, unless there is a crowd.

I went to an earlier group tonight with a facilitator I had before that I like a lot.  She is leaving for another job in a couple of weeks and there will be someone new.  The time is much better for me.  I was even able to take a short walk when I got home.

I liked the new group a lot.  I missed people from the other group, but it was also good to hear some new stories.  The support and sharing is so important.

It upsets me that so many people have dropped out, but I guess that is typical.  Apparently 95% of people who diet to lose weight, gain all the lost weight back in a few years.   Kaiser’s record is somewhat better but the “failure” rate is still high.  Sticking with the lifestyle changes seem to be the most important factor in success.  Maybe it is good I am still so compulsive about this.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am drinking about 72 ounces of water most days.  My Fitbit report shows 101,769 steps last week for over 43 miles – down some from last week.  I ate approximately 9,996 calories and burned 18,227 for a deficit of 8231. I am down another 2.4 pounds for a total loss of 131.6

A Rebirth

IMG_2374I know now

About rebirth

And resurrection

Both are hard work

Blessings that may come

Only after old habits die


So hard

The stones that block

Our path

Partly of our own making

We need help to chip away

Those boulders

It helps to work

Up a sweat

Trying to climb over them

It helps to have friends

To lend a hand

A leg up



It is springtime once again

There are flowers

Among the rocks



Daily Bread #66 (Back Home)


We got back home and I realized I actually live in a place where people pay big bucks to go on vacation.  I did so much walking while we were gone, I thought I would try it here.  I have a new routine now I think.  I walk for 45-80 minutes mid-morning before it gets hot and try to do it again after dinner.  You can’t beat the views from my neighborhood and the flowers are all in bloom.


It is very hilly here and although the downhills slow me down some because I am afraid of falling if my knee gives out.  I am getting to be an expert with my cane, but will be really glad when I no longer need it. Uphills are much easier, and I don’t have to stop to catch my breath or rest like I did before.


Standing without moving is still hard, though.  I went to a local protest against the current administration’s draconian immigration policies.  I did the short march around a block in downtown Novato and could have done more walking, but I was glad that I found a place to sit to listen to the speakers.






I was back at the group last night for the first time in a month and had my official weigh in.  I lost 9.6 pounds during the month I was on vacation.  I am slowly getting used to my new body, but at least I seem to be on track with the lifestyle change.  I want to lose another 12 pounds or so before my knee surgery and right now, that seems like a fairly easy goal.

L’Chaim!  This week’s stats: I am still not getting my gallon of water in most days, my bladder needs time to adjust back up to that volume.  My Fitbit report shows 109,110 steps last week for over 46 miles – up from last week.  I ate approximately 11,000 calories and burned 18,693. I am down another pound for a total loss of 129.2.

Daily Bread #65 (On the Road)



Last week on vacation.  Damn, it has been fun.  After Canada, we visited friends in Portland and then headed down the Oregon Coast.  One more night on the road and then we are home.  I am thrilled at how active I have been able to be.  Long walks along the coast and when we walk a mile to and from dinner, a shared desert is just great and well earned.   Maybe TMI, but I have also had fun tossing my old baggy underwear into the trash each morning.  It is so much better than hauling it home to wash.  Getting new underwear now is much more fun than it was when I got it under the tree as a child.

Now that I know what I can do, I am looking forward to some long walks closer to home. That is one of the lessons I have learned during this time “on the road.”   Sometimes, just sometimes, we can do a LOT more than we think we can.  Like the old children’s story about the little engine that could, motivation matters.  At the beginning of my weight loss journey I was motivated by my declining health.  These last few weeks, I have been motivated by the beauty of the natural world and my desire to be out in it.

There is more to be learned from this time away. Every minute of my life now feels abundant with meaning if only I can keep my attention focused – or if I can let the focus go and just be in the moment.  I have walked in beauty.  I have been blessed.


L’Chaim!  Vacation stats: I am definitely NOT been getting my gallon of water in most days, it is just too hard when bathrooms aren’t just down the hall.   My Fitbit report shows 98,741 steps last week for over 41 miles – less than last week but still way more than I did at home.  I ate approximately 10,150 calories and burned 18280. I am down another .8 pounds for a total loss of 128.2.


Daily Bread #64 (on the Road)




Vacation has been good for me.  I am so happy that I am able to hike again.  It has been years since I have been able to do trails like these.  We have been to the Canadian Rockies many times and camped and hiked these trails with our kids.  I am not camping anymore, and my knees are still ridiculous, but I am actually pretty fast with my cane.    I am slow on the rocky and root covered parts because I am afraid to fall, but I am not getting out of breath and don’t have to stop and rest much at all.


With all the exercise, I have been able to indulge a bit on food.  I even had prime rib!  I skipped the potatoes and got extra veggies instead.  It was really good and I saved a bit for lunch the next day.  Rocking it in the Rockies, that’s me!  I even had fish and chips minus the chips and substituting salad. Restaurant workers have been very accommodating about keeping the potatoes and rice off my plate.  I do take a few of Anne’s fries if they look really yummy.

We are on the homeward bound part of our trip now, so will have some longer driving days and less serious hiking.  Looking forward to some long walks along the beach in Oregon though.

L’Chaim!  Vacation stats: I have probably NOT been getting my gallon of water in most days, but I am exercising some every single day and a lot on others. My Fitbit report shows 127,344 steps last week for over 53 MILES! I ate approximately 10,400 calories and burned 19,351. I am down another 1.2 pounds for a total loss of 127.4.


Daily Bread #63 (On the Road)


General Assembly in Spokane was fabulous, exhausting, and moving.  I saw a lot of old friends – including one SSA friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years – and I made some new friends too.  I am very pleased with the direction and new leadership of our faith.  The backlash which bubbled up on the fringes is a bit disheartening, but there is also widespread enthusiasm. Change is hard, for everyone, but if we don’t open up our faith so that all can participate fully, then we aren’t being faithful to our principles. There is a lot that I still need to process about those days in Spokane, but I believe that true transformation is coming.  Hope and love will lead us on, and we are blessed with human leadership that seems up to helping us with that task.  The world, and our country, is in a dangerous place.  We need to be stronger and more resilient than ever to meet the many challenges if our democracy and our planet are to survive.

After General Assembly, we headed up to the Canadian Rockies, one of my favorite places on earth. We have been many times since the mid 1970’s, but we are no longer camping.

The top picture is at Radium Hot Springs where on an after dinner walk, we discovered an adult playground full of exercise machines.

With scenery like this, it feels so good to be able to move about and enjoy it!


Even on a road trip where you don’t need to pack light, I forgot things I wish I had.  I should have brought my hiking boots and a small daypack.  After years of only being able to walk short distances, I walked almost 10 miles on Tuesday.  Not all at once, but still!  I do stay mainly on paved trails and I avoid steps because of my knees, but we went on a river float trip yesterday, and I may be ready for some mildly white water later in the trip. Who knew I would be able to do all this?  Next trip, hiking boots!

Food is tricky, but I am very careful about what I have for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and I don’t go wild with carbs at dinner.  Dinner is all guesswork for calories, but I am eating what I want (Shrimp Étouffée with dirty rice and cornbread last night), choosing lower calorie items most of the time, and stopping when I get full.  Most of our rooms have had microwaves, so we have done a couple of leftover meals. Étouffée for dinner again tonight!

I am actually still losing weight, even though my plan was to just not gain any while on vacation.   I have increased my calories some because of the exercise and the vacation food and drink I am enjoying.  I am not hungry except right before I eat.  I can LIVE with this new lifestyle!

L’Chaim!  Vacation stats: I have been getting my gallon of water in most days and exercising some every single day. My Fitbit report shows 82,299 steps last week.  I ate approximately 10,400 calories and burned 17528. I am down another 3.4 pounds for a total loss of 126.2.