Gold stars. We got them (or at least I did) on our spelling tests when we were kids. I never got one for handwriting and am grateful for my computer now as my handwriting is still terrible.
This neighborhood house above sports 7 or so gold stars, one on the door and several hanging from the surrounding trees. It makes me smile to walk by. Gold stars can be little rewards for jobs well done, for efforts made, for obstacles overcome. I am not sure how that house earned its gold stars. It doesn’t matter. I am sure it deserves them.
I haven’t been getting gold stars for my weight loss and improved health, but I am getting LOTS of positive comments. “Hello skinny,” feels a little weird as I am not skinny and likely never will be, but I understand the intent. The changes in my body and mobility are obvious if not downright incredible. Friends and acquaintances all tell me I am inspiring and that they are super impressed. Frankly, I am kind of impressed with myself too, but it helps to hear it from others. I also hope my example might help others – whatever their particular journey might be. Change, of any type, is just hard, but making changes that you need to make can enhance – and maybe even save – your life.
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 48497 steps last week for 19.8 miles. I ate approximately 10269 calories and burned 13895 for a deficit of 3626. My average weight this week is down .8 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 163.2.
After cruising along for several weeks without resetting the goal weight in my apps, I bit the bullet today and set a new goal. It isn’t at all ambitious at this point, just another 10 pounds which will (amazingly!) get me to “normal” on the BMI charts. This app says I can do that in a little over a month, so why not give it a shot?
I remember how happy I was to get to regular “obese” instead of “morbidly obese.” I still hate those charts, but my body seems like it wants to shrink a bit more and while it was fun to see all the “You met your goal” messages, I am tired of the apps telling me I need to gain a pound or 2. We will see what happens. I am getting a lot freer with my calories at times, but it doesn’t seem to have much impact on my continued downward trend. I am walking and exercising more of course, which I am enjoying. I even got a new pair of walking shoes! Recording my calories every day is also a habit I will continue at least for awhile.
I have to remind myself sometimes about how hard this program was in the beginning. It seems so effortless now. Like learning any new skill, after awhile it just becomes part of you. I remember being a new parent, and learning how to change diapers and sooth crying babies. I was terrified that I couldn’t do it right, that I would be a lousy mother. I remember the first time I preached a sermon and how scared I was. Crying babies don’t stress me now, and I love being behind a pulpit. We learn new skills and then we change and the new skills became a part of who we are. I’ll always be a mom, and a preacher, both are part of who I am, and I will continue to live in a way that enhances my own life and hopefully that of others. I don’t intend to sleep through the revolution. (With a grateful nod to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King who continues to inspire so many of us.)
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 49225 steps last week for 19.8 miles. I ate approximately 10521 calories and burned 13527 for a deficit of 3006. My average weight this week is down 1.1 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 162.4.
I am walking again, still gradually increasing, and I did around 15000 more steps this week than I did the week before. I saw this “gratitude tree” on one of my walks. On the tags were notes from both adults and children naming what they were thankful for. I am grateful for my improved health and ability to move.
A friend at church asked me how I felt after my large weight loss. He wanted to know if I felt weaker because I wasn’t getting enough calories. I said no, just the opposite, I feel much stronger and have a lot more energy. I am giving my body what she needs. With the increasing exercise, I get to eat a bit more each day. It is all a balancing act, finding what is right for each day. I eat when I am hungry and sometimes just before hunger hits. It helps to not be “starving.” When I get too hungry, I consume more than I really need. It takes a while for the food to get into my blood stream and reach my brain. Timing of meals is important. My kids hate that I need to eat by 5:30 or 6. They are 7-8 o’clock diners, but when we go out, the are quite accommodating. They are proud of my progress in this journey and want to be as supportive as they can.
This week I reached another milestone. I have lost exactly half of my starting weight. No wonder I have more energy! I was carrying around two of me.
People also ask me if I am still planning on losing more and the answer is no, because I feel fine where I am – AND I also expect I will lose a bit more over the coming months. I haven’t really stabilized yet, or “plateaued” as they call it in the weight loss world. So I expect to lose some more without really planning to or trying very hard. The beginning of this journey was difficult. I had a mountain to climb and not much endurance. Now that I have scaled several peaks, each one gets a bit easier. Walking in the hills isn’t much different than it is on the flats, if you have mastered the habits of long distance travel. This has been a marathon, not a sprint.
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 43056 steps last week for 18.2 miles. I ate approximately 10381 calories and burned 13641 for a deficit of 3260. My average weight this week is down 2.8 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 161.3
Anne and I celebrated our 45th anniversary this week. We went out to dinner and shared a tiramisu for dessert. The waiter brought it in with a candle. The couple at the next table took this pic for us and offered congratulations. It still feels a bit odd to have our relationship acknowledged and celebrated even by strangers. Of course this is the SF Bay Area and other parts of the country and the world are still not nearly so accepting. The pic below is from early 1975, when we were just 24. We’d been together a little over a month and took a trip down to Monterey. It is still one of our favorite places.
I almost look more like that young me these days than I did when we were legally married in July of 2013, a week after the Supreme Court decision establishing federal marriage benefits for same gender couples. We were in California for 3 days and I connected with a colleague via Facebook who did a quick ceremony for us before we returned to Utah where we were living at the time. Our marriage was not yet legal there when we returned. We did a big wedding and religious ceremony in California with friends and family in January of 2014 on our 39th anniversary.
I have certainly changed over the years, but Anne looks pretty much the same. We have loved each other in sickness and in health, through challenges and joys, and created a family with our fabulous children, all of whom live relatively nearby so we see them often. Our love has lasted though thick and thin, from skinny to fat and back again.
Time flies as one ages. It all seems like yesterday to me.
But as for today, I am increasing my exercise a bit more while still being cautious with my new knee. And despite several dinners this week that contained a whole bunch of calories, I seem to be back to losing some each week. Maybe it is because I try to save my calories for things that taste really good, like tiramisu. Forget the burgers and fries!
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 29617 steps last week for 12.5 miles. I ate approximately 11179 calories and burned 12982 for a deficit of 1803. My average weight this week is down 2.1 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 158.5
I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in making good wishes. I hope that everyone has a good and happy New Year. May all your dreams come true. My main dream is that we get rid of the crook in the White House soon. It will take some work, but we can do it, either now or next November.
I had FUN this holiday season. I really like being at a weight where I can indulge at times and still stay on track overall. Between November 22 and December 28, 4 out of the 5 members of my immediate family have birthdays. Our anniversary is January 3 and when you add in Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a few holiday parties, it makes for a lot of celebratory ocaisions that tend to involve an excess of yummy food and drink. I went over my normal calorie budget many times during this period, but somewhat amazingly I weigh roughly 5 pounds less than I did on November 21. Ok, we aren’t at January 4th yet and still have our anniversary to celebrate (45 years!), but I think I have definitely “got this” and may even be running the risk of becoming overconfident. But I know the trick now: eat super healthy at all the other times and move as much as the new knee can tolerate. It is a lifestyle and I am really enjoying life these days, doing it “in style.”
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 28454 steps last week for 12.2 miles. (up 10,000 steps from last week.) I ate approximately 10521 calories and burned 12862 for a deficit of 2341. My average weight this week is down 1.2 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 156.4.
In the midst of the winter holidays, I remembered a poem I wrote for the Winter Solstice back in 2012. I was in Utah then and there was snow.
The sun shattered in the sky today
A piñata of stars rained down
The lone last leaf fell long ago
But the scent of pine remains
The snow sparkles with fairy dust
As Hope’s child again appears.
The dawn of life is reborn once more
From the warm embrace of the moon.
From stars shining in the East to lights that burn even when all the oil should be gone, at this time of year we are reminded that miracles can happen, that the winters of our spirits can end and warmth and the sun will somehow return.
At church on the night of the solstice, we ritually walked a labyrinth and then cast into a flaming barbecue pit pieces of paper on which we had written what we wanted to leave behind in the old year. I have done this ritual many times, letting go old hurts and old fears that no longer served me. There is something about a scrap of paper being consumed by fire that is powerful It taps, I think, into the ancient body memories of our ancestors where the warmth of a fire could mean the difference between life and death. Fire has such a different meaning now when wildfires range beyond all imaging, but those old memories still remain and are still powerful.
I wrote something about letting go of the fear that I won’t be able to maintain my weight and the improved health I have achieved. My health will deteriorate as I age of course, but I want to do all I can to delay the inevitable as long as possible. But I really don’t have to stress about every single calorie anymore.
Right after the fire ritual we went back inside and there were hundreds of amazing cookies spread out before us. Despite what I had written on the paper, I felt I needed to leave immediately and that I just couldn’t stay in a room where just about everyone was eating cookies. So much for letting go of my fear of losing control over what I eat.
Upon reflection, I realized that I really could have had one cookie, no problem. One cookie would not derail my progress or cause all my lost weight to come back. 150 pounds would take awhile to gain back anyway and a few cookies would not do it. And I really could have had just one. In fact, there were leftovers on Sunday, and I did have one. The old me would have tried at least one of every kind, and a second of the one I liked best. (There were at least 5 different choices). 6 or 7 cookies wouldn’t have killed me either, and I saw a few others doing something like that, although most people had one or two. Notice I said, “the old me.” I am not that person anymore. Maybe it is the old me, that image of myself, of who I used to be, that I should have tossed into the fire, so the new me would be stronger, rising like a Phoenix from the fire.
On a more mundane note, I seriously reduced my exercise last week – 8000 fewer steps than the week before, and my knee feels a lot better. In another week or so it might be time to start GRADUALLY doing a bit more. My weight is up slightly this week, but it was down a lot the week before so I am still in a very comfortable maintenance range. This is good, because this next week will involve a restaurant meal and a couple of parties that will have food as a focus. I am not worried though. I am the new me.
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 18366 steps last week for 7.8 miles. I ate approximately 9471 calories and burned 11647 for a deficit of 2176. My average weight this week is up 1.5 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 155.2.
I saw my knee surgeon this week who reassured me that it all will be OK. I still need to ice and not overdo it again, but it is apparently common for people who heal quickly in the first couple of months to have a set-back from doing too much too soon. He gave me this nifty “knee sleeve” which should help keep me from re-injuring the soft tissues below my knee cap. I will see him again in a month.
I was able to manage going to an art museum last weekend. I did sit when I could, but still it felt good to be out and about some at least. I particularly loved this painting of Angela Davis. I remember hearing her speak on the UC Berkeley campus, “back in the day.”
It felt good to remember a time when there was more hope for change in the land. The struggle, of course, continues.
I had a HUGE average weight loss (4.5 pounds) this week, after a 1 pound gain the week before. I didn’t do anything differently, so my body is doing the balancing for me I guess. You go, girl!
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 26535 steps last week for 11.2 miles. I ate approximately 9324 calories and burned 11750 for a deficit of 2426. My average weight this week is down 4.5 pounds from last week’s average for a total loss of 156.7.
These pics are for Lindsay, who asked for them. When I completed the 30 week “active phase” of the program she and several other program friends surprised me with 2 Tee shirts that said, “SRCH27 100% compliant – The others all cheated.”
They gave me two sizes, one 2x and one XL. As you can see, they are both way too big now. The pic below is me wearing the 2x on graduation day back in November of 2018.
I think one of the ways that I have managed to stay successful for a year and a half is that I kept losing after we stopped the meal replacements. If you can lose enough that you see some rewards, it is easier to keep going. I kept dropping medications as I lost weight and I was able to stop using a C-Pap machine. That kept me motivated. Of course, being “100% compliant” didn’t hurt either. Over time, I became a different person, and not just in appearance but in how I live my life and pay attention to my body. My mind, my body and my spirit have become more unified in both intention and in practice.
I am fond of saying that weight loss is just math. Calories in vs calories out. Mostly that works well, but it is more than math. I am trying to wean myself off Tylenol PM and had a couple of nights of lousy sleep this week as a result. The bursitis in my knee is particularly painful at night. Sleep is important and I ate more on the days when I wasn’t well rested. The body associates food with energy, so when you are tired you are hungrier. There is also the problem with the data. I maybe underestimating the calories in, and FitBit may be overestimating the calories out. The math results are only as good as the data that goes into the calculation. Garbage in, garbage out, in other words. It may be time for another resting metabolic rate test so that I can get better data in.
Still, only 1 pound up the week after a yummy Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers isn’t bad at all. My weight at the end of last week was the lowest it has been in 30+ years so I am still trending down.
I really HATE not being able to exercise or walk very much. The new knee joint works really well, but the bursitis needs lots of rest if it is going to heal. So I do a bit on the stationary bike every day and the PT exercises that don’t stress my knee. Without much exercise, it is actually amazing that I am maintaining my weight and not gaining.
It is hard not to obsess about the numbers on the scale. “I am just fine the way I am.” Repeat as necessary. Sometimes journeys end, and not always when we decide they are over. Then again, this could simply be an interlude, a pause, and when I can take long walks again, I may eventually get below the “overweight” category and into “normal”. What I know is that I feel healthy and I know how to eat now to stay that way. I indulge sometimes (Thanksgiving), but am sensible with both my food choices and my portion sizes as a daily routine.
I am now maybe about 95% compliant. Still not complacent though.
L’Chaim! This week’s stats: My Fitbit report shows 25403 steps last week for 10.7 miles. I ate approximately 9373 calories and burned 12452 for a deficit of 3030. My average weight this week is up 1 pound from last week’s average for a total loss of 152.2.
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.
I 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.
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 post – here) 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.