Monday, July 06, 2020

Simple weight loss plan

It is time to draw the line in the sand.  It is time to stop sitting on the fence in my weight loss efforts.  It is time to stop the self imposed plateau on the scales  and start losing weight again.  Now is the time and I have been thinking about it all weekend even while we had a little get-a-way.  We are home now and  I know what I’m going to do.  It is a combination of exercise, intermittent fasting, tracking my food and mental aspects to stay motivated. and of course I’m going to share it all, starting with our little trip and ending with my plans and ideas to get this weight off once and for all!

Weekend getaway
We have had a great weekend.   It was a long weekend so we researched, plotted and planned and figured out a wee little getaway that would still offer us social distancing safety but also allow us to go away for a bit to relax.   What did we do?   We went to Berkeley Springs, WV.   Berkeley Springs is a neat little town and we did go into one or two stores.  But for the most part we explored and roamed.   The state park with the springs is small but we spent a fair amount of time wading in the warm spring.   It felt fabulous on this stinkin’ hot weekend!!!

We of course drank some famed Berkeley Springs water.

And we walked through the museum.

But honestly, the real reason we went to Berkeley Springs? It was one of the only places that I found an outdoor hotel pool that was open!!!  We wanted to swim!!!

We had a great time!   But as I mentioned earlier, the whole time we were there and relaxing, my mind was in a whirl.   I am not happy with my increasingly  pudgier face nor with how my body feels.  I am disgusted with the numbers on the scales and how my clothes fit (or don’t fit as the case may be).   One thought was positive this weekend while I pondered my predicament and that was that it was time to change.  I have no choice!

Choosing to be healthy versus being fat

Ok first of all, I do have a choice. Everything I do is a choice.   The choices I make with my food are choices that allow me to be fat and to possibly gain even more weight.   I most frequently chose being fat with my food choices, at least lately.   Admittedly, I wasn’t sitting there thinking, ohh I’m going to eat  this piece of cake because I’m choosing to be fat. But if I look deep enough I knew the cake wasn’t in line with my goals for living a healthier thinner life. I CHOSE to eat it anyway!     It was my choice!    Every bite I eat I need to start focusing on the choice and I need to put it into words.  I need to ask myself, “is this a good choice for your long term goals of losing weight or will it only give you a fleeting momentary flash of pleasure’.   I know from when I lost the weight before that my energy levels and general happiness and feelings of well being were sky high without this excess weight....so I know how awesome I will feel in the long run.  Every food choice is a question of receiving a short term rush of pleasure or obtaining a lifetime of goodness.

Intermittent fasting

I have dabbled with this in the past.  It seems to happen naturally when I am actually going into the office.  For me, the concept of a 16:8 fasting schedule has merit.  I have never been a big breakfast person so it’s not a stretch for me to naturally fall into a 16:8 system of intermittent fasting.   What is the 16:8 method of Intermittent Fasting?  It is the art of fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8 hour window.  The plan just flows naturally for me due to my own natural tendencies.  But I also like the plan due to the f act that that is calories saves and one less meal I need to worry about!     I have thought about doing a One Meal A day style of intermittent fasting, but I fear that I would lose control and just eat absolutely crazily during that one meal.  For my own personal diet issues, OMAD would not work for me.   

I will also say that I am not going to be super strict about this.  If we decide to go for a big hike or bike ride and leave before my window of eating is open, I am NOT going to stand firm and say “no, I can not eat because it’s not time’. That is foolhardy.  I will break my fast early because I know that fueling my body before those activities is important.

Likewise, I have been talking about my lunch break plans (and we will get to that in a short bit).  If those plans end up to not fall in line with the intermittent fasting method, I may have to adjust.  This is the loose and flowing option in my plan....the one most subject to change!

Tracking my foo
Typically Intermittent fasting  is only eating within the window of opportunity and no tracking is needed.  A person just needs to limit their eating to that available window of time.  But I know that I can do a lot of damage in 8 hours.  So therefore, I WILL Continue to track my food!!  I also know that when I actually track my food that I am so much more cognizant of HOW I am eating and much more inclined to pull in the reigns.

Exercise
My big thing is my lunch break.  I started last week with a spin on the exercise bike during my lunch hour.  I pushed myself, I was out of the saddle and really pushing myself hard.   I plan on doing this regularly.   My ‘easy’ goal is 3 times a week for 20 minutes of my 30 minute lunch break.  I would preferably like to do it 5 times.  But let’s start with an easy goal of 3!!!

It is a super simple plan that I have set up.  Why is it so simple?  It’s simple because in theory  weight loss is simple.  Limit calories and/or expand how many calories you burn.   My plan does both of those things but is nothing outrageous!  Now it’s time to implement the plan and lose weight and get my healthy life back!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Setting Goals for Weight Loss

I am a firm believer in the practice of setting goals for myself.  I do this in every day life.  I have to do lists and lists of goals and dreams in the works all the time.  Even more importantly, I like to create goals within my weight loss journey.  There is nothing better than the satisfaction of attaining my goals.  It spurs me on to accomplish bigger and better things!   I have done this for many years and in the beginning of 2019, I started to set monthly weight loss  goals for myself.

How to set a good Weight Loss Goal

When I started to create my monthly goals, I really put a lot of thought into my goals.  I came up with a few ground rules for my weight loss monthly goals

**Not to far fetched and easy-  I wanted to make sure that these goals were somewhat attainable yet still would make me have to push myself in order to be successful.

**These monthly weight loss goals had to be crafted and designed in such a way that if I did have a day or two of not being strictly adherent to my plan that I would not ruin the whole month.  I know that it is human nature to mess up and realize that there is no hope of reaching a goal so we give up.  In a weight loss journey it happens so often.  We mess up with our eating and instead of starting over right then and there, we continue to eat like crazy and say "I'll get back on track on Monday".  OH yes, we have all been there I imagine!  I wanted to avoid that mentality at all costs!

And with those simple rules, I came up with my monthly goals.  I have tweaked and adjusted them from month to month.  I have had to lower and raise the step count accordingly.  When I was NEVER reaching the 10 thousands steps per day, I decided that I needed to lower it to 5K steps. When five thousand steps was too easily attained, I raised the step count to 7500 average per day.  This is a constant adjustment from month to month.  And it works.   Sadly, a few months ago I got out of the habit of a monthly goal.  And that is changing right here and now!  

Monthly Weight Loss Goals

1.  Track every bite of food!  It doesn't matter what the actual results it, I must track.  The act of tracking my food makes me cognizant of my eating habits and seems to naturally bring my eating under control.  I currently track on MyFitnessPal (and not so consistently on the WW application) and would love to have you friend me there. (mfclingan)
2.  Put money into my savings.  Ok, not exactly a weight loss goal, but a worthwhile one nonetheless!
3.  Weigh less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week and aim for at least three sessions of formal activity a week!  It could be something as simple as a walk or as tough (for me) as a session on my Exercise bike.  (affiliate link).  What exercise and activity I actually do does not matter as much as the fact that I am moving!
5. Keep my eating in check for at least 6 days a week.   
7.   Walk and average of 5000 steps  per day. (total monthly steps divided by the days in the month....bike ride days on the trail are exempt from the 5K step goal, simply because it shard to get  steps when you are riding)  
8.  Transparency with my weight...even if it goes up!!

So there you have it.  My goals for this upcoming month.   Will it be easy?  Probably not.  I have been a bit crazy with my eating of late.  I have been a bit lax with my exercise recently.  In short, I have been struggling.  Step one to stop struggling with my weight loss journey is to set clear defined goals for weight loss.  I have set my goals and now it's time to soar!

Monday, June 29, 2020

I am to blame for my weight

Where has time gone?   I can hardly believe that it is almost the end of June!   In some ways it feels as if this year has just started.  But wow...in other ways how much have we packed into the last 6 months!   My weight loss efforts are the same.  It feels like it has gone by fast but wow has a lot happened in this first half of the year.  I made some amazing strides toward getting my health back in check over the last six months and I have struggled.  So here it is, a mid year check in!

Weight
Let’s just start with the bad.  My weight.   I started the year at 239.8.   I worked hard and got that down as low as 232 in early March.  I was on fire.  Nothing could stop me.  Well, nothing except Covid and the drastic changes in our life that occurred with the virus.   For us that included me transitioning to working from home and Jason being furloughed from his job.  The stress and changes were not good for me.    Not good at all!   Within a month of these changes taking place, I had gained almost ten pounds!  We went away for a weekend and I was put on some medication on a short term basis and my weight popped even higher.  Luckily, that weight has mostly dropped.  But I am still sitting higher than I was at the beginning of the Covid mess and honestly, right now I’m a few pounds higher than I was on January 1.  

Exercise
I have been hit or miss with exercise.  Formal exercise each day has been what is hit or miss. I walked at work regularly on my lunch breaks until they sent me home. I ran on my lunch breaks the first few weeks while working from home and then it just kinda died away.    I have made plans to get back to it and even started new routines but then things happen. I was riding the exercise bike religiously in January, and then I messed up my back.     A bike accident derailed  me from yoga.   Plantars Fasciitis struck right when I started to run again.    I suffered numerous falls and tumbles that caused bruises, aches and pains.  It seemed like it was one thing after another to keep me from any hard core exercise!   One stroke of bad luck after another!    Luckily, we took a fair amount of evening walks.  We also hiked and bikes on the weekends....so I wasn’t totally sedentary!

I can clearly see that the first half of the year wasn’t a colossal failure but it was not a raging victory either.  It could have been much much worse.     There is only one thing to blame for the lack of success.  And it’s not really a thing...I alone at to blame for my lack of weight loss.  I am the only one to blame for my lack of great progress in the fitness arena.  I can see my face getting pudgier and I’m not happy.  But I alone am the one that can change that!!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Relieved....just a bit

We are coming to the end of the week and what a crazy week it has been!   Vacation, breakdowns, return to work, new toys, weight gain and healing just to make a few!  Seriously, this week was nuts! 

We grudgingly came back from vacation on Sunday night.  We could have extended that vacation a few more days and been so happy!  But alas, life responsibilities called.  So back home we came.   Mertz was happy to see us!  The fish too!  (Yes the fish was excited....the hermit crabs didn’t even notice we were gone!).  Ok the fish was probably just hungry!  Mertz really missed our company I think!  Poor lonely kitty cat!  I wrote about the mini vacation in my last post here   But at the end of this post I will include some links to a few videos that I posted about the vacation.  There is one that gives a brief overview of the whole vacation and three other videos that really show in depth some of the places hat we visited.

On Monday, I weighed myself. I had gained 10 pounds in 4 days!  Crazy!   I had hoped that it was water retention!  I am happy to say that my weight has dropped...and right now I am sitting about 3-4 pounds up.  That is still too much and doesn’t make me happy, but it is easier to accept 3-4 pounds versus 10!!!   I am still hopeful that my weight will continue to drop a bit as water weight drops off since I am still on prednisone and will be through Monday.   

My leg that had some poison/bug bite that got infected is doing well.  I have completed the full course of antibiotics and the wound area looks really good.  

What a difference!!!

On Monday my old laptop died.  I knew it was coming for a while and been fighting the laptop for a while.  It was slow...sluggish and crashed a lot.  I was limping along.  I had actually almost purchased a new one a few months ago, so I had already done research and it didn’t take me long this week to hit the buy button when the old one went belly up.  I also purchased what I hoped would be a temporary fix for the old laptop so that I could extract my files.  Both the fix and the new computer arrived on my doorstep on Wednesday evening.   The fix worked!  (Thank heavens) and the new computer is a dream!  I also bought a lot of new software...my software was old old old.  So I upgraded to a newer version of photoshop and I decided to switch from my old video editing software to adobe premiere.  So I am learning a new software.  Should be interesting!  My videos may be a bit rough for a bit as I figure it out. But I can already definitely see a huge difference in the quality output!   See if you can tell which two were created with the new software/computer and which two were on the old software/computer from the links below!

In the midst of all of that, Jason was called back to work after being furloughed for three months. He went back on Wednesday of this past week.   Yes, it was just about three months to the day that he was off of work due to this virus.  So we are trying to adjust to a new routine.  It is a routine of me working from home and Jason going to work.  It is also a routine where he won’t know always be able to walk with me after work.  I’m on my own and responsible for my own motivation to get out there and walk!  (Yikes...I’m not good at that!)   Mertz was so upset the first day he went back to work.  She literally followed me around.  If I went to the bathroom she walked with me.  She was my shadow and was never more than a foot or two away from me. It has been an adjustment.  Even though I have been working at home, Jason and I have been in very close proximity for almost 24-7 for the last few months.   We were happy and had absolutely no problem being near each other almost constantly....but man it’s weird not being together now.


I have walked a wee bit after work...a few days at least.  But I’ve been so caught up in the computer woes (I also tried a fix on the old computer on Tuesday..that didn’t work). So between the death...the attempt to fix...the actual temporary fix.....getting my files safe and sound....waiting for the new computer delivery....setting up and learning the new computer...well, I let my fitness goals I had set for the week fall aside.   There are no ifs ands or buts,  I am hitting it hard for this next upcoming week!  

It was just a crazy week all around!  But craziness is a way of life! We are surviving and moving forward.  We are happy for the weekend.  We have no real set in stone plans, other that get groceries. Who knows what the weekend will bring!!!!  Crazy or relaxing...we are ready!!!

The video for the weekend in its entirety


A video about the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum


A short video on the Museum of American Glass



A video about our visit to an abandoned town






Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Bucket list:

Jason has been called back to work  after a three month furlough.  We wanted to do something special before he went back so we started to talk about what to do.  Our first inclination was to go to the beach since our spring visit to the ocean had been delayed due to the pandemic shut down. However, it was super expensive, packed and well...where we were going to go is having some really bad outbursts of violence. No thanks.  We have our fall trip booked and we will go then.  But that left us with no idea where to go.  We debated and pondered and we just had no clue.  And then less than a week before our mini vacation (my days off of work) was to begin I heard Jason make a remark as I drifted off to sleep.  He said ‘there is so much in this world that I want to see’.   I fell asleep on the couch seconds later... but upon waking, I knew what the plan for the weekend was going to be.

We were going to the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum!  Why?  Because I had ALWAYS wanted to go and just never took the time! His words made me realize that there is so much to see but if we never take the bull by the horns and DO IT, we will never see anything!   Once I mentioned Weston, VA and the asylum he innocently asked how far it was to the New River Gorge...which was something that HE had always wanted to see.  Well it was only one hour further southwest!  Bingo!  Plans made!  Two bucket list items taken care of in one trip!    We have also decided to be more open to keeping our bucket list current and to really commit to knocking items off!!

But that's for the future.  Let’s talk about this trip!!!  We had a great time!   I took tons and tons of pictures!  I was religious about dumping my pictures to my computer.  Less than one day after getting home my computer died!  I have a new one on the way...and I know that the hard drove is intact on my old laptop, so the pictures are not totally gone.  But it’s frustrating, I have so many pictures to share and can’t get to them!  (I have a plan that hopefully will get me to the pictures by the end of Wednesday!).    So here is a recap of the mini vacation and what pictures I do have on my phone (I used my good camera and only snapped a few pics with my phone here and there!).  When I get the good pics, I plan on doing some more videos to highlight certain aspects of the trip.  Right now I just have one video made that I finished one morning in the hotel when I woke up early.  I will include the link!!!

So here we go...buckle up!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum:  Weston, Wv.  This is a insane asylum that was built in around 1860 and closed in 1994. It is the largest hand cut stone building in the states...and the second largest in the world..second only to the Kremlin.  It is partially restored and just amazing!  This was soooo worth it!  I don’t know why I waited so long to go!!!
Here is the video with a lot of my footage (and a wee bit of its history). 

Museum of American Glass:  Weston, Wv
While in Weston, I found a museum called the Museum of American Glass.  I was only remotely interested in it.  And I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance except that the admission price was free!  (Hey, what can I say, I like free!)  I was still debating about going even up to the last minutes in town and happened to look at the website and noticed that they had a collection of  oil lamps.  Hey hey...Jason collects oil lamps, I was sure he would be interested in seeing them.   And then I saw it...the holy grail!  A stained glass dollhouse!  What???  I almost missed that!   There was no question at that point!  Off we went to that museum!!
It was ok...without the draw of lamps and a dollhouse it wouldn’t have been my thing though!!

And of course you know I took pictures of the dollhouse too!!!  


We left Weston and drove toward the New River gorge.  Along the way we saw a sign for the Gauley River And Summersville Reservoir and Jason was like ‘I’ve heard about that’. So hey, why not, we took a detour and checked it out!!!

Gauley River and Summersville Reservoir



This river is well known for its white water...as in world championships have been held in this river.

We explored a bit then hopped back into the car to finish driving the last few miles to the New River Bridge.  

New River Gorge Bridge
First stop, the visitor center.  We knew that the National Park Service visitor center was closed due to the Covid shutdown, but that the trails and overlook were open.  We wanted our first glimpse of the bridge!

From there we headed to an abandoned town....yes a real life abandoned town!

Thurmond, WV

This town was once a boom town due to coal and the railroad.  But as the coal mines stopped producing as much and people turned to automobiles versus train travel, the town began to die out.  The NPS owns most of the properties and you can walk through what is left of the commercial area and you can walk the roads along the hillside and pass house after house...all abandoned.  

(Sorry, the commerce area of town pictures are all locked on my dead and sick computer at the moment! But stay tuned for links to that video when my computer woes are fixed!)

Fayette Station Road

Before the new river bridge was built, it took someone 40 minutes to traverse the small narrow road that snaked down through switchbacks to the bottom of the gorge, across a small bridge at the bottom of the gorge and then back up the other side.  The new bridge shaved 39 minutes off that trip! Of course we had to drive down into the gorge!
We stopped and saw the sights along the way!



Kaymoor Miners Trail
We attempted to hike the Kaymoor Miners trail.  It was gorgeous...and steep!  And of course we saw another waterfall!  (Seriously, if we saw one waterfall we saw 20...each just as gorgeous as the previous one!)



Right at the waterfall, the trail became extremely sketchy and I was honestly terrified!  Lately, I’ve been falling way too much while hiking to attempt something that was risky to begin with.  So we traversed back up the hill.  (Sad because the ruins are supposed to be well worth the hike!) we spent a bit of time on another trial before retreating.

Fayetteville, Wv

We spent some time exploring the town of Fayetteville. It is a really neat little town with lots of quaint shops!



At this point we were out of time...it was time to head home.  But we weren’t done just yet!   While driving home we happened to notice a sign for a monster museum.  I quickly checked it out and it was free.  Why not!  How could anyone pass up a free Monster Museum!

The Monster Museum: Sutton, WV

This was just a little hole in the wall museum.  More a visitor center.  The monster in question was the town alien/monster.  It was free and amused us!!






And that finished up our trip. We still had some time in a car but we were on the way home.   We had a great time!!!  And we will be returning to the New River Gorge Area!!!!







Monday, June 22, 2020

Oh heavens: A set back

Well....let me preface this post by saying that just when I feel as if I am getting things under control, something blows up!   

I was determined to start running and my plantar fasciitis kicked in and I had to almost immediately step back for a bit....I wrote about that about two or three posts ago in this post

In the last post I wrote I mentioned how I was getting back on track with my eating.   And I actually was starting to see some very early positive results.  Ok in 4 days I saw my weight drop by 3 pounds.  That’s positive!!!   In that same post I also mentioned a bit of poison ivy.

Yeah, about that.  

One of the places of poison (and there may have been a bug bite in that same area) somehow got infected.  This prompted a trip to an Urgent Care because the poison was raging strong and driving me crazy and I had an oozing wound in one of the scratching itchy areas of my leg. 

So...off to urgent care I went.  I came home with instructions to keep the wound wrapped and covered,  a prescription for antibiotics, a prescription for prednisone and instructions to take a picture each time I changed the dressing on my leg so that if it didn’t get better that the doctors would be able to see the rate of spread. (I guess in case it was some flesh eating bacteria!). Oh and absolutely no swimming in pools, rivers or lakes.  

I won’t disgust you with a picture of my infection at its earliest stage when it was still oozing and nasty looking ..but rather after I had been on antibiotics for about 5 days. (Please excuse the legs that desperately need shaved...but shaving over poison ivy and an infection doesn’t sound appealing!)

This happened right as we headed for a little mini vacation  and I was a bit bummed about the no swimming edict but we had a great time and enjoyed ourselves greatly! (Pictures and a recap coming soon). 

So let’s talk about the bad.   We missed some lunches and then would hit dinner starving after a busy day of exploring.  So I overate!   We indulged in dessert every night.  I tracked NOTHING!

I gained 10 pounds in 4 days!   Yes I said 10!

Now this is not an excuse....but rather a hopeful paragraph that HOPEFULLY explains some of this gain.  There  is the female hormonal cycle water retention thing going on. So that could account for a few pounds.    I AM on medication, one of them prednisone which is known to cause weight gain/water retention.   So that could also be part of it. I hope and pray that when I’m off the medication and the monthly ick is behind me once again that some of that weight will drop away naturally. Added to those two water retention problems, we can add in this.... It was also hot hot hot and while I tried to drink a lot, I was going for long periods without the need to pee.  So I know I wasn’t drinking enough.  The first day I went 18 hours...which scared me to death when I realized that it was the next morning and I hadn’t peed since the previous day when we arrived at Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum at noon!   I really worked to drink as much as possible the rest of the trip, (and I never went even half as long without the need to pee  as that first day for  the rest of the time away)  but it was hot....we were outside...we were hiking (mountains) and walking and moving which makes it difficult enough to stay hydrated, but I was also trying to recoup from my first day blunder!  But looking back I know that the 4-8 hours I would go between bathroom trips, while nice while traveling, exploring and hiking  was too far between...and yes that was after that first day and I was very cognizant to make sure that I WAS drinking!

But that said, I know that my eating while we were exploring our world did come to haunt me on the scales!  I’m not going to cry about it...we had a fabulous time and I’m not going to beat myself up!  


I just know that I’m going to work to clean up my eating....drink lots of water (lots!!)....and I’m going to move on!  Let’s hope for an easy recoup but even if it doesn’t drop off, I’m not giving up!  Slight setbacks are part of a weight loss journey!!!




Wednesday, June 17, 2020

More maintaining

I am still maintaining.  I would love to say that I’m losing, but it is a maintain. 

It’s frustrating.

I sometimes feel like a failure for not losing.

I know I know.  I can’t let these feelings overtake me.  I can’t let my frustration overwhelm me because if I do, it will derail me.   I know that I’m still here so this is not a failure.  

We have continued to walk after I get off work each day.  However, I have been super busy on my breaks from work and have not started the bike rides.   I have also been trying to really rest to let the heel (plantar fasciitis) heal.   There is a reason for the crazy busy and the drive to heal as fast as possible but I’m not going to get to that in this post!

I have seemingly developed a nasty case of poison.  Both legs have some spots...knees down.  (The left leg near my ankle is the worst...it’s oozing and just nasty!).   And I have also developed a spot on my neck.  How fun....not!

My eating.  I’ve been actually pretty good with this.  Have I been perfect?  Well of course not.  Have I restricted and pulled my numbers down to where I should be?  Absolutely.  (and that is why I’m frustrated because I should be dropping weight!) 



You can see on this graph that my eating hasn’t been bad! 

I’m not letting it deter me though.   I am making healthier choices.