Category Archives: Resolutions

Fit for Life?

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Except for the ugly platter that this fruit is on, this is a mouth-watering variety of fruit, ready-made for a good start to the day.

In my clearing up of bookcases to prepare for painting my bedroom, I came across a copy of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s Fit for Life “program” that I had participated in almost 20 years ago. It is amazing how good advice never goes out of style. I also came across a Weight Watchers program guide that dates to 1976 when my mom and my sister were participating in the program. I was at a good weight at the time, they were getting ready for my upcoming wedding! It seems like a lifetime ago, and actually I have experienced many changes and have updated my body for many years. Right now, I am back on WW (they too have had many iterations!) and hoping that this final time will see me going into the final chapters of my life with a manageable weight and good health. So far, it has been slow going but that has its own rewards as my skin is not as wrinkled as it would be if the weight loss were too quick.

But going back to the Diamond’s plan. It makes sense. It’s kind of the advice one would give a friend one cares about: start the day with fruit, move, have good thoughts, keep yourself hydrated, etc. The problem is that we are all distracted by work, family obligations, the need for relaxation which usually involves fattening and delicious food…

I did the plan when I was just 10 lbs. over my goal. It was not something I wanted to do, trying my best to lose the weight naturally by eating healthily when hungry and avoiding binging and eating high calorie junk food. However, I had a friend who was about 25 lbs. overweight at the time and wanted to do something drastic about it. She had heard of a homeopath who was implementing meditation, inserting a tiny device in one’s ear (like acupuncture) and following the Diamond’s plan. The homeopath gave a group discount for three participants so my friend enlisted one other person and off we went. I don’t think I lost a single ounce but I did get to keep the meditation tape, and the book. The acupuncture thing came out of the ear after the three or four sessions, I can’t remember. Doing the program turned into one of my big mistakes, it seems to me that is when my modest but steady weight gain trend began. 20 years later, I had added almost 40 lbs. to my small frame! The instigator of the idea eventually went on to another commercial diet plan where her food intake was monitored (I think she wore a patch for a few months) daily but she did successfully take off the weight and has kept it off for more than 5 years. Our other friend remains the same weight more or less but has been trying to lose also as I have.

The moral of the story for me is this: everyone who is or has been overweight has an individual story to tell. Some people are fat because they love to eat. Some people are fat because they eat in response to emotional triggers. Some people focus so much attention on dieting, their body rebels and hangs on to the weight just in case it ever finds itself stranded on some desert island with nothing to eat…it is protection. In my case, I was a fat kid because bad habits begun when I was a baby (my mom adding sugar to the milk to make up for her absence) continued to my teenage years and I never learned to eat properly and healthily until I was an adult and decided to lose weight for me. I am a veteran dieter. I know any plan will work if you stick with it long enough and although I am a very big fan of WW, I can accept that everyone has the ability to make choices. My choice for today is to stay away from the scale this week until Friday which is my weekly weigh in. I will mindfully plan, prepare and eat my way into health and a good weight for me. I am grateful that my internal panic button did not allow me to add hundreds of pounds to my body. People who have that much weight to lose inspire me and have my heartfelt solidarity and compassion during their journey.

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My philosophy on Weight Loss Programs

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Whenever I see a large cat like this, I am invariably reminded of the gangster movies I enjoyed as a teenager. You know the kind I mean, with the rich guys (fat cats) spoiling their loved ones  and crying over their loss even as background stories show how cold and horrible they can be to their enemies. Not sure what brought that up really, except that I watched a “horror/horror comedy” last night that really made me think about how awful people can be to each other.

As usual, the month is flying by. I can honestly say I have been very good about keeping track of my nutrition and have happily lost a bit over 3 lbs. since I returned home from my trip early last month. It doesn’t sound like much but since I lose very, very slowly and I am trying to eat all my daily points and weekly extras, I feel I am making some very welcome progress after plateauing for various reasons for a good number of weeks.  This month, I am committed to a challenge that will hopefully find me losing 5 lbs. before the end. We shall see, I have been doing my best to stay on track.

I recently read an article by an author who takes issue with weight loss plans. I understand her basic premise which is that any weight loss plan is created as a business first and does not really care about the individuals that follow or shall I say more accurately, pay to join and pay additional monthly installments, don’t follow the plan but also don’t quit the plan so essentially they are not losing anything but money. The author believes that the customers are victims of some cynical marketing plot.

It is my contention that most intelligent people have choices. Although it might not be easy to quit a program once you’ve joined it, it is not impossible. In other words, sometimes the paperwork to get out is complicated or the savvy marketing department has taught the people manning the phones to pitch ways in which the customer can improve their results and at the same time keep paying their monthly quotas. I understand all that but I still believe that one can indeed quit programs. My daughter did it recently and although she does confirm that the person on the other side of the line tried very hard to persuade her to continue, she was firm and was able to get out.

I have been pretty successful with my WW plan. This past couple of weeks have seen me focused on doing everything I can to lose at least 4 lbs. this month. My scale is in kilos so it is difficult to gauge with any exactitude but I will not purchase another scale just for that. I can see that the trend is downward and I am happy with that. And let’s face it, if one is overeating one doesn’t usually need a program or a tracker to tell us that.

At this moment, I am feeling very satiated. I had a good breakfast and for lunch I ate a whole half avocado which was juicy, tasty and filling. I hope I can have a good rest of the day, the weekends present a challenge because I am not as busy on weekends as I am on other days and have a tendency to look in the refrigerator more often than on week days. In any event, I am satisfied with my numbers today and figure that if I can lose one pound a week for the rest of the year, that will be 28 lbs. less than when I started! Down is good. I might stop there too since it will be exactly where I would like to stay for the rest of my life. It is doable and I know I can do it.

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After Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving has come and gone! It is amazing how one day turns
quickly into a week, a month, a year and soon we will be greeting
2019!

I have remained committed to my “healthy eating plan”, having lost
25 lbs. and then reaching a not-surprising plateau which then led
me into not tracking, not trying, not caring…

A couple of days after my last post, a family member died unexpectedly.
I think at that point, rather than properly deal with grief, I became a bit
numb and stopped even attempting to diet. I gained a couple of pounds.
Although I was tempted not to share that information, I decided that the
best thing to do is own up to it, admit that my participation or lack of it
is what caused the weight gain. Not beat myself up, rather understand
and decide that one of these meals would be the one that would make me
get back on the straight and narrow, if you will…

Enter November…still that couple of pounds not gone and now I decided
on the spur of the moment to join my pal who was participating in this
years Nanowrimo! Since writing is really all I care to do, even though when
I am about to sit down to write, I always find something more compelling…
I decided to give it a go. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in one
month, a novel…no, I am not going to finish the challenge, perhaps I will
make it to 20,000 words, I am pretty close, but the experience has been so
worth it. I have learned a lot about myself during the month and I am not
going to give up on the story I am writing because I have become invested
in it and in my characters.

So, November and Thanksgiving added another pound, so I lost 25 added
3 for a net loss of 22 lbs. in 2018. I cannot say I am disappointed. I still need
to lose another 30 lbs. but I have 2019 to look forward to. God willing!

A slow road ahead but doable!

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Today was my dad’s birthday. In his honor I made a wonderful lunch, gathered some
friends and family and went to his house armed with plastic plates, cutlery, etc. (to save
clean-up) and we had a blast. My niece took some lovely pictures which were later sent
to me…I have said it before, I cannot accept the person in those pictures as being me…
it is just bizzare. I feel like the normal weight person I was for so many years but pictures
reveal something else.

You know how so many people try to make one feel better by saying, Oh the camera adds
ten pounds, you’re not really that heavy
? Well, I look at everyone else in the picture and
can confirm that how they look in the picture is exactly how they look in “real” life…so it
stands to reason that what I look like in the picture is also how I look in real life.

After almost one month of pretty much tracking my food and staying on the program, I have
lost 4.4 lbs. This is wonderful news, I am not taking anything away from that, obviously I
am on the right track. There is no reason to believe I won’t continue to lose modestly but
lose just the same and that by this time next year, I will be that normal sized gal (or close
to it again. I now have to lose 31 lbs. instead of 35 lbs. and I think that’s great. If I lose
4 lbs. per month, I will do it in less than one year…and who knows, I might actually get
closer to what I really ought to be losing (about 50 lbs.) if I stay on track. As I said, there
is no reason I can’t stay on track, the WW Freedom plan is really just that.

Aside from the project weight loss (which is my priority), I also intend to really work on
two other priorities: making real advancement on my writing AND making a proper small
garden to replace the haphazard weed plot I currently have. I think these three priorities
for 2018 are feasible and I am eagerly anticipating being able to accomplish them. Right
now decluttering is also important but it is no longer my priority. I have lots of room and
feel great, one bag at a time to work on is marvelous and I will start with that.

My very best wishes for all of us for 2018.

 

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A good week of eating!

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It’s been about 2 weeks since I started on the Weight Watchers Freedom Plan. I
have to say I am having a great time. I know that my goal to lose the weight has to
go slowly or I won’t be successful and there is no reason to rush it really, I have no
weddings, showers, birthdays etc that I want to look good for. Heck, earlier this year
when I did have important events, I didn’t even give it a second thought (dieting!) but
something happened the last time I looked at a picture of me that I just couldn’t recon-
cile with! It’s wonderful to have photographers who are not looking to take a picture of
one with the “best angle” in mind. The picture was so unflattering (and yet accurate) that
I deleted it from the cloud and everywhere I could but it was the defining moment for me.

So far, I have lost probably 3 or 4 lbs. but since I have a scale that is in kilos rather than
pounds, it is difficult to determine to any exact figure. However, the proof is in the fact
that my clothes fit a tiny bit looser, after all, at my height, even 3 lbs. is quite significant.

I met a few writer friends for a small and lovely holiday celebration and I am happy to
say that despite eating (tiny portions) a variety of holiday foods, including marzipan
stollen, I was able to stay on track. It feels great to be back in control and I am confident
I can maintain the rhythm. My goal for 2018 is to be in good physical shape so that I can
go on television and see pictures of myself without asking “Who is that?”

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A quiet Sunday morning!

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sabbath-observation

I usually observe Sundays by spending the day quietly, reading, writing and enjoying
the lack of obligations I make for the day. Although I don’t write in this column on
any specific day, I do write another blog every single Sunday and have for the last
eight years. It is a commitment and although I consider myself a writer (without any
books published or money stream generated by the activity), I find that I spend very
little time actually writing than I do researching or finding ways to not do any
writing because I am second guessing myself all the time.

A friend of mine passed away recently. His dream since I met him 15 years ago was to
be a filmmaker. He went so far as to lay out the entire script every time we met up for
coffee or a chat. Finally, one day, I asked him why he didn’t just go ahead and make
his film already, on a low budget if need be, but do it already!

He and I shared a birthday so I could understand some of the traits that made him unable
to just go ahead and film something (procrastination, paralysis by analysis, etc.) and
I eventually gave up on expecting something from him to really materialize on the big or
small screen. Still, his death was a blow to me and all of us who knew him because he was
only 62 years old. The saddest thing for me is that he died without every externalizing
his script, without making a family, without a circle of real friends who knew the deep
personal anguish he was living on a daily basis.

I feel sad today, but in a way his death has caused me to think about getting down to
business and really pounding out my novel, the book I want to read, the character I want
to create that will make people fall in love with the story. And of course, I still
want to continue to live, take care of my plants, my pets, my family (not necessarily
in that order) and of course enjoy all the things my life is offering me. I am the only
one responsible for making sure my work and thoughts get out there. They may never be
best-sellers but they need to be out there and read by others, not in my head and heart
and dying with me.

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Last day of 2016!

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fireworks

I begin this last entry of 2016 filled with some nostalgia; the year that ends has been filled with many losses. I suppose that can be said of most years but this year, I lost an aunt and two of our four furry friends! One was 15, the other 17 1/2. They died almost four months apart and it broke our hearts.

The many thoughts I have had this year about food, portions, calories, the scale, the dress for my son’s upcoming wedding, etc. seem senseless when compared to other people’s really heartbreaking tragedies and I have found myself feeling selfish and superficial about stressing and losing energy over nonsense. I believe I am a much wiser woman as I end the year and begin 2017.

All of us are focused on making those lists that we hope will contain items we can master during the year. I am happy that I have my good health; that at my age (61) both my parents are still alive; that I have a wonderful group of friends and close relatives that I know I can count on when I need. I will devote 2017 to daily meditation, 15 minute sessions of decluttering, writing with the intention of publishing or being paid for my work and a great deal of fun!

May all of us enjoy the good things in life while we can. Let us take a look around and notice the little things in our life that bring us joy. For me, it is glancing at the horizon and finding myself enveloped in the layers upon layers of mountains that surround me; feeling the warmth of the breeze as it brushes past me; gazing on the emerging flowers of my many African Violets and knowing myself in good health and loved.

Happy New Year!

Retirement

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I will retire next year when I turn 62! It is a decision that took me a bit
of time to make but one which I am glad I have taken. This means that I will
get out of the pro-bono community work I have been doing for the last +20 years!
I feel a little guilty, knowing I have many more years and many more ideas to feed
to the county but I also feel it is time for someone else to have the chance to
improve life around here as I have tried to do for years.

Now, of course, I am left with the task of finding things I can do. I will no
longer have the excuse of “working” to procrastinate on writing my “novel”…well
maybe not novel but certainly some uplifting and inspiring non-fiction especially
geared to the ever-increasing aging population.

Ah, what a relief!

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Kindness begins with me

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KINDNESS

A few years ago, I read a(nother!) weight loss book in which the author talked
about how much weight she once gained that forced her to wear one sundress for
many months as it was the only thing that fit her. These days, I am often a little
scared to go into my closet to look for something to wear that won’t pinch or
look tight (we already know I can’t stand to feel tight clothes on me). Naturally,
I get very upset with myself for allowing this to happen, remembering how nice it was
so many years ago to pick anything from the closet without apprehension because all
the clothes in there fit me well.

Those days, I was working a 9 to 5 job, eating regular, low-calorie meals and generally
having my work ‘cut out for me’ on a daily basis because I had more structure in my
life. After I stopped working outside the home and had my children, my habits and
routine changed but I still managed to stay at a healthy weight and felt pretty
good about myself.

These days, I think constantly about what I am putting in my mouth, knowing full
well whether they are good calories or not such good calories and almost challenging
my body to maintain its weight while I overeat! Although I learned early on in my
life that fad diets don’t work for me and rarely try any gimmicks, sometimes I am
tempted to just stop eating for a week and see what happens.

Today, though I decided to be kind to myself and to honor the chubby body that has
been supporting me through thick and thin (sorry about the pun!) instead of being
nasty to it. Yes, I have a muffin top, but nothing hurts me and I am able to do a
lot of things that younger, thinner friends can only dream about. For today, I choose
to be kind to me.

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Another Gorgeous Sunday!

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I got a little lazy and repeated a picture on this post but that’s because
Sunday is a day of rest and I realized suddenly that I hadn’t posted at
all this week and felt a bit like I had let myself down.

So that’s all I have to say and tomorrow is another day and another chance
this week to make up for all the lost days of writing on this blog!