Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Healthy Journey: it’s not all food and exercise

Welcome to Monday!   I can’t say as though I am happy to welcome Monday though.  Why do the weekends go by so fast?   I even had off work on Friday and it  still felt as if I blinked and the weekend was over!!!   In terms of my health, it was a bit of a failure, if we look only at food and exercise.  However,  I had the exact kind of weekend that I needed and it was good for my health.  Yes a bad food and exercise weekend was actually a good weekend for a healthy lifestyle.

I had an amazing time with my mother on Friday   My shopping expedition was quite successful.   It was one of those days when I was able to easily and quickly find clothes that fit nicely and that I also liked!  I bought 3 new nightgowns, three pairs of shorts, two shirts that are strictly for work, 5 shirts that are good for weekends AND workdays, and about 5 new casual teeshirts that I can wear for casual or use as a base layer with dress clothes.   Quite successful!  Even better it was a delightful day with my mom!!!  We went to lunch and while I did eat a nice healthy salad, I also had a cheeseburger and tater tots.  What started as a healthy meal went downhill!   Dinner wasn’t all that much better.  

Saturday we woke up and headed out for a short hike.   Of course we were hunting mushrooms again!

We left there and went south. We had grand plans to hike in the mountains.  We found our hotel and checked in with plans to head to the mountain trails within Shenandoah National Park.  We sat down for a few minutes and just like that I was asleep!  I eventually woke up and shortly thereafter Jason was sound asleep!  We certainly didn’t plan on sleeping and relaxing the afternoon away, but it was just what we needed!   Dinner was....deliciously bad!!!

Sunday we were definitely going to go hiking!  We woke up ready to hike....until we saw the rain.  Drat!!! We didn’t hike.   We moseyed around and slowly made our way home, stopping at a few places along the way. (And by mid afternoon it was actually sunny.)

And yes, even old graveyards got explored!  

We had some great conversations about life and our respective jobs.  We talked a lot about where we are and where we want to go in life (in terms of employment...we know where we are going in life in general...hand in hand together!).  Once again, the weekend not what we planned ...but maybe it was just what we needed! (Even with the atrocious eating...because Sunday was just as bad as Saturday!!)

I have been having a problem with my right arm...the bicep area...when I move my arm (stretch it or actually use it to pull something)  it has been hurting.  (For quite a few weeks). I have been waiting for it to go away, but this weekend it flared up badly and hurt with most every movement and aches while I sat immobile. So this weekend I tried to not use my arm and worked to keep it mostly immobile!  It did help and I’m back to just hurting when I do those certain movements. Once again the change of plans was probably for the best...even if it wasn’t a change that we wanted!

I’m not even going to talk about my weight.  (It was up a bit this morning).  I was horrible this weekend.  I drank virtually no water (and woke up dying of thirst each night) and my food was not the greatest.  (I didn’t track, but might go back just to see what I did! Even though I know it will be ugly!).   But do you know what?  I am actually ok with it.  I needed a ‘vacation’ from it all.  We needed a weekend of sleep and rejuvenation.  We needed the long conversations about our employment and our future.  It was a weekend for mental health (and some early healing for my arm).  

This healthy journey is not just food and exercise, it is taking care of my whole body.....mind, muscles, and spirit.   Sometimes the journey to health is not about what I’m eating.  Sometimes the journey to health is not about what kind of exercise I do!  Sometimes this journey to health is about taking care of my mental health.  Sometimes the journey to health is about taking care of a sore arm.  Sometimes the journey to health is about sitting back and resting. And today, it’s back to lots of water drinking and keeping my calorie consumption low!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Self love: it’s time to take care of myself

Have you ever had this conversation with someone??
Your clothes are looking a bit ratty’.   I heard the words and I knew the truth of those words. However, I immediately went on the defensive.  ‘I don’t want to buy clothes in this size  I want to lose weight first.”

Yes, this conversation played out in my life last weekend. The conversation was mostly surrounding my weekend/casual clothes. I tend to wear the same tee shirts week in and week out.  I also have recently defaulted to wearing yoga pants on the weekend. So why is this and why are my clothes looking ratty? Why?  A few reasons really. 

The first reason  is comfort. I have admittedly gained a few pounds over the last few years (30 since my divorce and I’ve struggled to get it back off!).  I tend to wear the clothes that fit comfortably!  Makes sense right?  The second reason goes hand in hand with the first.  Because my supply of what I CAN wear comfortably has dwindled, I tend to wear the same thing over and over.  I just don’t want to spend money and buy clothes at my current weight.  I’m going to lose you know.  But the high amount of wear on those few items of ‘comfy’ clothes are making them wear out...quickly!

As the conversation played out last weekend, Jason looked at me with love in his eyes and said “but what if you never do?  Will you just wear rags?”  I didn’t say anything and we simply headed out to our next activity....hiking.   The conversation may have been over...but my mind was swirling with thoughts.

I knew that my work wardrobe was for the most part ok.  It wasn’t in dire straights, not exactly robust but in good shape.  It was my casual wardrobe that needed serious help! It was my weekend/casual wear that was in shambles.   I immediately thought back to December when I went through this same dilemma, but in regard to bras and underwear (without the conversation...but brought about in my mind after some painful days spent with a broken underwire in a bra and then a broken hook in a bra.) where I realized I couldn’t hold off anymore, I needed to buy bras!  I did it and it really did boost confidence and how I felt about myself (I bought new underwear also!). So if I recognized that it made me feel better, why was I still resisting.

I realized that Jason’s words took the sting out of the weight argument.  He was right. I need to live my life to the fullest and love  myself at my current weight (just like I need to love myself at ANY weight!). Looking like a rag lady is NOT showing myself self love.  So one major argument was debunked!

The  next major argument was money. I just don’t have the money for a new wardrobe...even if it is just mostly weekend clothes I need.  But as I hiked last weekend I realized the craziness of my argument.  While I was married to my ex that was a indeed a valid argument.  I didn’t have money for anything. I would duct tape my shoes together when they got old because my ex was so busy spending every penny we had and some we didn’t.  He spent it on stuff like  a banjo or on a new chain saw.  Pretty much anything and everything, mostly stuff he didn’t the banjo...he wasn’t and probably still isn’t a banjo player!!!  So I was always doing without because I had to in order to get our bills paid.   Hiking is always mind clearing for me...and last weekend was no exception, it made me realize that low and behold I wasn’t in that situation anymore.  I make a decent salary.  While I am focused on putting money into the savings and really building that up, it’s not like I don’t have money.  I had the money last paycheck to put up my half of the money for a new Dyson vacuum (Dyson’s are amazing...I had one with my ex...and left it...I am so happy to have another one!!).  and yet I still managed to pop more than 400 bucks extra  into my savings account during the same pay period!   So it’s not that I’m destitute. (I’m frugal though so I didn’t buy anything extra last paycheck so as to not ruin my plan to put that money into the savings!). It is just plain and simple a learned not take care of myself!  I guess the money argument is invalid also!

So that said, today I am off work.  (It was requested ages ago...just so happens to work well into my current thinking). Today I’m going clothing shopping.  I am sure I will stop by a few goodwill stores!  (Hey I’m frugal and I have found brand name/designer brand clothes with the tags still on them showing they were originally  $80 or $100 and I pay $3!  That just makes sense to me!). I also have a few other non goodwill type stores in mind.  I’m focusing on casual clothes today but I will keep my eye out for work clothes too!!!

Today I take care of myself and show myself some self love.  Even better?  I plan on doing it with my mamma!  Self love for both of us!!!  I may not like the aspect of shopping and seeing the sizes that I will be forced to buy.  But I know that the end result will have me walking around in clothes that give me confidence and that will be worth it all!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Journey of a lifetime: to diet or not to diet

When I first started writing and posting on this site, and honestly even before that when I first started this journey toward health I freely used a specific word.  It is a word that so many people use.  I admit that I have used it. But somewhere and somehow over the years since I first started posting the struggles and triumphs of this journey, I have come to despise the word. I avoid using it if at all possible, and usually try to find a different way to say what I want to say in order to avoid this dreaded word.  Are you ready for this bad nasty word?   The word that I hate to use is ‘diet’.

So before we get into why I hate it, why don’t we look at the word more fully?

Diet: (Noun):  the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats

          (Verb):  restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight. 

Ok, so the noun version doesn’t sound too terrible does it?  I will even use it in a sentence right now (albeit grudgingly).  “My cat eats a very healthy diet of Blue Buffalo Wilderness (Amazon link)  and some random feathers.” (Yeah, don’t ask me why, but if she spies a feather that somehow wiggled free from a down jacket or a feather pillow she runs to it and gobbles it up before we can pick it up! Yeah, she licks windows also!  But hey, I love her! And as a side note, that food is fabulous, she loves it and when we switched to it we could see a change in her behavior and her coat of fur….for the better!)    As a noun the word isn’t too bad.  It’s the verb usage that is REALLY tough.  The most common sentence when used as a verb, “I am on a diet.”   

For most of us the word diet, even if used as a noun, brings up thoughts and memories of endless days of eating grapefruit, restricting our food intake to next to nothing or cutting out everything that has sugar, carbs, calories, fat and sodium.  The word diet is synonymous with the concept or plan to change food intake in order to lose weight.  It is rarer that we see or hear the word used a noun, such as the ‘diet of cat feathers and Blue Buffalo.’   When someone uses the word diet as a society, we automatically think of it as a noun and thus as a ‘negative restriction.’ 

I was on a diet way back in 2006 when I started posting here.  (First post...way back in 2006)  But somewhere and somehow over the ensuing years I figured out that a diet is only a short term fix to a long term problem and that diets usually fail.     I don’t want a short term fix to a long term problem.   The concept of dieting was a negative feeling deep within me and within so many people I talked to.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I heard the comment, “You’re on a diet….that means you just eat carrot sticks and lettuce right?  YUCK!”.  A diet is hard work.  A diet is bound to bring about failure if you step away from the projected diet plan.  A diet is full of ups and downs.  Invariably something in life will happen that will cause us to step away from a life of restriction (a wedding, a birthday party, Easter, Christmas or maybe vacation).  I found that when it was a rough period and something caused me to go off the diet plan that I would feel the full weight of my failure.  That failure became counter-productive in my efforts to lose weight.   I wanted to change my life, but not that way.  I didn’t want a diet.  I slowly shifted my verbiage to ‘healthy lifestyle’ and eradicated the word diet from my vocabulary and with that paradigm shift in thinking I began to hate the concept of dieting and thus the word diet.  

A diet (verb usage) that restricts oneself to small amounts of special kinds of food is not sustainable long term.  It will definitely work.  It worked for me….I reached my goal weight and was super happy with myself…..but it was all through restriction of food.  But when the diet ended, so did my lower weight as I began to regain. I hadn’t learned healthy concepts and a way to live a healthy lifestyle, I had only learned how to restrict my food enough to make the weight disappear.   It was easy to come to hate the concept of dieting because of that.  I realized that a ‘diet’ was not what I wanted or needed.  I wanted the changes I made to be a lifetime change.  So that meant I needed to change my way of thinking.  I needed to change how I viewed exercise.  I needed to shift the types of food I ate on a daily basis.  I needed to change my whole lifestyle.  Furthermore, it needed to be a change that could last a lifetime, not just some short term solution.

I am NOT on a diet.  I am consistently making changes and adjusting the food that I consume in a way that is sustainable for a lifetime. (For example: not eating as many carbs or lowering my fat intake, etc.)   I am constantly tracking my food to monitor my calories, but it is NOT a diet.  It is just monitoring my food intake in a way that allows me to find my way to a healthy lifestyle.  I avoid the word diet at all costs, even though I follow many principles of a diet (tracking my food, limiting my intake, choosing healthier options).  I don’t want the negative connotations.  I don’t need the high chance of failure.  I am not on a short term fix.  I am on the journey of a lifetime, the journey to health and there is no room for a diet on that journey.  As for using the word diet as a noun….maybe someday I’ll feel free to talk about how “I would love to move to a more vegetarian diet” or “I usually eat a well-rounded diet.”   But for now, the negativity surrounding the word diet is too great within our society.  So therefore, I will avoid it and be creative with my words to avoid the dreaded ‘D’ word.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Miraculous: weigh in results

Ahhhh weeekend, where have you gone???    It was another fast and furious weekend.   And add in the holiday and it was even more crazy!! 

We started out our Saturday with the normal bi-weekly groceries.  That entails three stores.  We start at Aldi’s and scan the aisle for anything we can get there (sticking with only organic products).  We then move on to the organic market.  And last but not least we finish up at a regular store to pick up anything that we couldn’t find at the other places (usually the non organic stuff...).   When we got home I put everything away and made a batch of potato salad and deviled eggs.   I rested a few minutes and then we headed out for a hike!

We had plans to pick up a geocache...down a very remote hiking trail. (Only 3 or 4 miles out).  I have tried to grab this cache a few times.  Last summer it was so overgrown and there were trees down over the path and we couldn’t get through the brush to go around the debris.  Earlier this year the path was flooded and we just didn’t want to get muddy.  That was last weekend also...just really muddy.   This weekend however I made the vow ‘we are just going to be muddy...accept it’.   The geocache trip would be coupled with hunting for morel mushrooms (yup we hunted all last weekend and the hunt was back on this weekend!)   It was muddy....very muddy!  At one point my foot was stuck in what felt like quick sand.  Now I wear a backpackers hiking boot (recommend it for anyone with weak ankles and feet problems).  The mud and mire was so deep that I was literally about 1-3 centimeters from having my hiking BOOT swamped by the mud!  My boots are encased in mud the whole way to the very top of the boot...well over my ankle!   It was fun though to be out!!!

So did we get the geocache?   NO!!!   We managed to cross the first stream by detouring a mile downstream to find a suitable place to cross. (It has rained last week and the water was too deep to cross...We have waterproof boots but seriously that only works if the level of the water does not come over the top of the boot!). The second stream...we couldn’t find a place to cross that wasn’t two feet or more deep!!   No go.... yet again!!

Morel mushrooms?   We looked and looked and looked.  After about 3 hours we were done...and we were hightailing it back to the car.  We stopped at one place.  We had on the way in seen a dog leash and picked it up and put it to the side of the trail and vowed to pick it up and carry it out.  We stopped to pick up the leash.  Seriously, we were DONE!   Right next to wear we had placed the dog leash was a mushroom!   Victory!  So of course we spent about a half hour or so in that location hunting!

We were wiped out!   We slept so well Saturday night.   Sunday I woke up and my back was so messed up!  I could barely move.  (I have had issues with my lower back the point that I couldn’t move and had to take time off work..). It was bad.  But I rested it and stumbled around the house.   We had family functions to attend though so we got up and out of the house by 10...we did some more walking and checked out some ‘not so remote’ areas for some more mushrooms (yup, finding them only made jason want to find more!).  Then we spent the rest of the day with family and didn’t get home until about 7pm.  We relaxed a bit and then headed to bed ...ready but not ready to face another work week!

I have two main goals this week.  They are to not allow any work stress to drive  me toward food!  The second one?  First thirty minutes after I get home is dedicated to exercise...even if it is just a walk!!!!  I need to start that habit!!!

It was miraculous really, the results of my official weigh in!   Why yes, even after I had a week of higher caloric eating, I managed to maintain my weight this past week!    Even with the stress eating and general lethargy that my work week brought...I still managed to maintain!   My stats were at the top end of my caloric range pretty much all week (actually over, but who is nit picking!!)

My official top number is 1530. So I was actually over three of the seven days!  It wasn’t too much better once I added in my exercise to give me my net calories!
Yes I rocked the weekend days!!   So it shows me that even though my top end theoretically should have me still being able to lose a pound a week, it does not work for my body.  That is more my maintain range apparently.   Good to know!  

Lessons learned last week.  Lots of fun over the weekend.  Now it’s time to get this work week rolling and rock the lower calorie count to LOSE weight and take the steps to be more healthy!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Stress Alert: Stress Wrecked my Diet

It’s Friday!  I for one am so glad about that fact.  It’s been a LONG week!   Really long!  Work has been a bit stressful and that stress infiltrates every aspect of my life.  It affects my sleep.  It affects my energy levels.  But most importantly stress affects my diet.

I started out the week strong!  I was on target with my eating over the weekend.  My weight was not dropping fast, but I was maintaining steadily at my current low.  All was looking good.  Monday was stellar.  I ate my nutritious lunch while I walked around the lake at work.  I was on the lower end of the caloric range that I strive to remain within. I was doing great!

On Tuesday the stress started to hit.  (Vent alert...but just for this paragraph!).  My current job is working with the launch of a new program/product.  It is chaotic.  I expected it to be chaotic.  What I did not expect was the absolute inconsistencies when I ask one person a question versus another. (Yes, asking people in authority)  That is super annoying...but then add in a third person who has a different answer and what do you have?  Confusion.  Adding to that mix is a random person (you never know who) that will check your guessed it, person number four has a totally different approach and belief on the way things are supposed to be done.  On top of that is the overall frenzy because this program is blowing up and busier than expected (and lots of people have quit and ARE quiting which adds to the general vibe of panic)  and we are struggling to keep up with the work so we are constantly being pushed and badgered.   It is very easy to adopt the feeling that you can’t do anything right (seriously, we are not told that in those words but when all you are getting is negative feedback due to the fact that you did the work based on person number ones instruction but person number 3 is checking you using a completely different matrix how else are you to feel?). I am not used to this.  I learn easily.  I do well, even with changes.  I strive to be the best and do a good job. It’s been very uncomfortable for me to say the least.  And the stress has been building!

So as I was saying, Tuesday the stress started and I ditched my healthy lunch for a cafeteria lunch that included chips and a container of Reece’s Pieces.   Now the Reece’s Pieces didn’t really concern me because I bought them to last the whole week maybe even next week!  Except that the stress got to me and I found myself eating them that afternoon with no control.  (I did eventually put the away!).  I was disgusted with myself for my change of plans.  I tracked my food (managing to stay below the top end of my caloric range) and moved on. I didn’t recognize the stress eating at that point 

Wednesday I did it again!  I eschewed my healthy lunch and headed for the cafeteria.  As I stood in line, I  literally knew that this was stress eating.  Knowing it didn’t make me turn around and retreat to my healthy lunch.  Nope, I was determined to eat my sorrows!   I somehow DID have the presence of mind to avoid the foods that I really wanted and got a lower calorie sandwich and I DID choose the bag of chips that had the least calories!  That’s a win right?  The brownie that I got....well ok that negates the wise choices of sandwich and chips!   I sat and wrote my friend an email while I ate and I even told her that I was stress eating.   But I still ate every crumb of that brownie.  On the drive home I could think of nothing other than ice cream!  I had to stop at the store anyway!  So I had ice cream in the evening.  My saving grace?   Dinner had been pre-planned and was a very healthy low calorie /no carb meal!  Jason has even brought me home a package of Reece’s Cups!   I did maintain self control and I only ate one (ha as if my stress eating had much control!).  I wasn’t going to track my food.  But then on Thursday morning I was reading a blog post from someone and saw the title that had something to do with tracking food.  I couldn’t even read that post until I tracked my food.  It honestly wasn’t as bad as I expected. (1616  over my caloric range but not by as much as I feared).    I stepped on the scales with real fear on Thursday morning...but the scales were holding steady.  However I knew that unless I got it under control they would move...and in the wrong direction.

So Thursday....the stress was still quite present and overwhelming.  (Ha I did go online on Wednesday night looking for another job!). But I know I can’t allow this job to ruin my efforts!  I want more out of, I was determined to beat it!    Well, it wasn’t overly successful.  I ate another sandwich and a bag of chips at the cafeteria...and my calories were over for the day ....100 calories over my top end.  What’s worse?   The weather was fantastic and I sat inside shoveling food into my face versus being outside and enjoying the weather!  And I ate the rest of the Reece’s pieces. (All tracked). 

Friday has arrived.  I’m making no promises!  However I am making changes.  Rather than my fruit and cheese ‘snack’ for lunch that I normally eat while I walk, I am taking more...something that will not leave me tempted to retreat to the cafeteria.  It’s nothing crazy.  A Pb&j, some pretzels and kiwi.  Am I saving lots of calories?  Not really...but it will help me to break the cycle of heading to the cafeteria!

So my weight....I am still hanging onto this lower ‘decade’ on the scales.  I having popped over. But it is CLOSE!   (In fairness it was close before I started stress eating!).  I am going to take this week as a learning lesson.   I know that at 1600-1700 calories I pretty much maintain!  

Stress eating is a bear!   It is really the pits to recognize it but still just sit back and allow the food addiction take over.  It is crazy.  But I know what has happened.  That’s the first step to fixing it and fix it I will!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Exercise: ways to make it not so Horrible

Exercise is not any great love of my life.  In fact, it may not even rank up there with things that I like!   Let me put this out there, I dread it and actually kind of hate it!  It is not something that I actively seek out!  Oh yes, I have had periods of my life where exercise played a dominant part. (Seriously, I must have been mental at that moment right?)   I am also quite willing and ready to admit that when I am physically active through some form of exercise that I feel amazing and the more I do it, the less dread I feel!  However, I dread starting almost each and every time! How do we manage to circumnavigate this dread?  Is there a way?   The answer came to me during some hiking that I did this past weekend.  There ARE ways to make this much easier! 

Social Hour

Make exercise your social hour.  When I was attending Zumba, I worked out hard.  I was a sweaty mess.  It was exercise for sure.  But for me, it was also a social hour.  Once I started to attend I made some friends and even got some other friends to join the class.  We got there early to talk.  We stayed late to talk.  We even started going to dinner as a group after our class.  For me, the draw of the social aspect made me forget  that I was heading to workout.  It made it fun!

Be with Someone who does Enjoy Exercise

I didn’t want to go hiking this past weekend.  I really just wanted to curl up on the couch under a blanket and read a book and watch movies!  The very last thing I wanted to do was to go outside, get sweaty and hike!  That was too much like……!   My boyfriend however, had other plans!   He wanted to go hiking and mushroom hunting!   Morel mushrooms have a very short hunting season and the season was upon us.  He really wanted to get out into the woods to go hunt mushrooms and just to move and not feel so sluggish.  It had rained the night before and I didn’t want my feet wet, so I put my on trusty hiking boots (affiliate link) and headed out the door to hit a local trail to hunt mushrooms. I didn’t want to go, (remember that I wanted to stay curled up on the couch) but I went…simply because I love him and because he wanted to get outside.  I went because of him but after we got going, I was there because being outside and using my muscles felt amazing!

Goals that encompass Exercise

I am one that does particularly well when I set a goal for myself.  I work well with a goal and an end date in mind. I decided to run a 10k a few years back. I set the goal and I made my plan on how I was going to achieve that goal.  I had my training calendar posted in a spot that I would see it just about every day. (I posted it on my desk at work....I had to stare at it 40 hours a week!).   It was my goal to complete each trading day and ultimately run that race!  I delighted in updating my calendar!  I did the exercise because I wanted the euphoria of completing each and every training goal!  So set a goal and do what it takes to complete it, knowing the satisfaction of a job well done is the reward.

Hide the Exercise

The weather was gorgeous, so we wanted to be outside.  We had heard about this abandoned house near us that we had always wanted to find and check out.  It was out in the woods and would require a bit of walking to find it.  No worries, I was ALL IN!   I once again laced up my trusty hiking boots and we set off.  We parked our car and headed in the direction that we knew the house to be and we walked.  Up and down paths.  Through the woods and around streams we ambled, keeping our eyes open for any sight of this old abandoned house.  I was hiking and not even thinking about it!  I was having the time of my life!  It only got better when we saw the house!  It was amazing.  I could barely hold myself in check as I walked toward the house.  I circled that house a few times.  I went all around the many acres surrounding the house.  I climbed into it.  I was so active….but I didn’t even think of it as a hike.  I was having the time of my life and the exercise just happened!  I ended up getting about 5 miles of hiking while we searched for and explored that house!   The miles we hiked really crept up on me!  Best 5 miles of hiking I have EVER had!

Plan your daily activities with extra steps and activity in mind

We went to the beach a few weeks ago.  We arrived and parked the car on the first day we arrived.  We did not get back into the car until we the day we left the beach.  Why?  We specifically planned to get everywhere without the aid of the car for that weekend trip.  Sometimes it works out that way.  We rode our bikes or walked wherever we wanted to go and we racked up mad miles on our bodies.  Sometimes you can’t plan to walk everywhere, but you CAN park a bit further away.  You CAN chose to not drive everywhere.  You can make little changes to add a bit of activity into your life, and I promise you the change will NOT hurt!


A few years back Jason and I wee talking and somehow we made a bet. The bet was based on who would run the most miles.  We did this each week for a  month or two.  I hate to I ran!  I ran and ran. I was constantly checking mapmyfitness and I would groan when I would see a run appear under his name.  But guess what?  I would lace on my running shoes, queue my running playlist and off I would go!  I wanted to win!!!!!!  Posts from that time  clearly show my mentality and drive to win at all costs!

Have fun

Sometimes exercise is just there, something that we know we have to do.  We can’t hide it, we can’t link up with someone, we can’t do anything but just endure.  How do we take away the great dread?   Well,  we make it fun!  Download an amazing playlist of music onto your phone to listen to.  If you are doing something on fitness equipment where you can watch a tv or a screen, turn on great movie or a that tv show you’ve always wanted to see.   Make it more special and ONLY allow yourself to watch that program while you are exercising.  If it is an amazing program, you will be DYING to get to your exercise machine just so you can watch more!

Neat clothes

Go buy some new exercise clothes!   Seriously, but he clothes. Revel in their cuteness and then wear them!  And yes, be proud as a peacock knowing that you are wearing something cuter than heck!!!

There are ways to make exercise easier to do.  We can make it fun.  We can make it social, we can hide the aspect of exercise within some activity that we want to do!  We can do anything in our powers, but the real answer is just to get out there and do it!  You will feel so much better physically after you do. Emotionally….well you will be so proud of yourself that you will be walking on air!  The sky is the limit.  Do whatever it takes to get out there and do it!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A weekend of activity

We had another active weekend!   This is the third weekend in a row that we have moved a fair amount.   We are slowly working to chcange our habits and it feels good!  I will be honest though. there were a few times this past weekend that I would have much preferred to curl up on the couch with a good book and say ‘to heck with the activity’.  But, once I got moving I was glad that I did it!!!

My official weigh in was on Saturday and I showed a 1/2 pound loss.  Not as much as I would like...but I will gladly take it!   My eating was a bit higher over the weekend, but I’m not going to stress myself out over it. It is what it is!

On Saturday I was so tired.   We ran some errands.  Nothing too exciting.  We got an oil change for my car, ran my car out to have my emissions test done, searched for shells for the newest crab and picked up a new vacuum.   Yes, we have been limping along with an old low quality vacuum.  It was time to just do it and sink the money for a good vacuum.   We chose the Dyson cordless Animal (affiliate link).   So far so good...except for the battery life on the max power setting!    But it does pick up like a charm!  (I knew it would though,  since I have had a Dyson before!)

We got home from our errands and I ended up falling asleep on the couch.  I may or may not have drooled all over Jason who was my pillow!   When I finally woke up we headed out to a small trail to do a bit of walking/hiking.

This began the weekend of snakes! 

Luckily I noticed that black snake hanging out on the tree before I walked under him!!!

On Saturday we headed down to a local trail by a lake.  It is the trail and site of the great mountain bike meltdown that I had last fall.  This time we planned to be on foot. We were exploring and hiking while we also kept an eye out for Morel Mushrooms.  (Spoiler alert, we didn’t find any!)

We decided to look for an abandoned house that we knew was nearby.  Oh boy did we find it!  

It was huge!  We circled around outside.

And then we went inside!

The house was in really bad shape so we didn’t stay inside for long before we were back outside exploring.  We headed down to some more abandoned cars that were a short distance from the house.  It was while we were looking at them that we heard the squawking of some birds.

We looked up and saw two bald eagles flying above us.  They did NOT like us there. We looked up and saw a huge nest!

You can see one of the eagles on the right edge of the picture.  We can only assume that they had eggs or eaglets in their nest!   We decided to leave to allow them peace.   As we were making our retreat we ran into snake number two of the weekend.

We hiked a few more miles and then got in the car.  On the way home we both expressed the desire to not be inside but to enjoy more of the spring day.  So we went to the C&O Canal and walked some more! (This was easier...flat and graded...not an up and down trail!) 

We saw our third snake on this segment of our day. Seriously, way too many snakes!!!

We came home and while I wasn’t as exhausted as last week  my body was tired and ready to relax!!!

All in all a good weekend.  I am happy with the  activity levels  that we are achieving on the weekends.  We are moving!  Now the plan is to bring that exercise level to the weekdays....just a wee bit!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Week recap

I woke up this morning and felt immediate happiness!  I was sure that it was Saturday and that it was a relax day!  But then reality set in.  Oh well...tomorrow I can wake up with the bliss of freedom!!!  

So, since it if Friday, it’s time for a weekly recap!

As for my monthly did I do this week?

1. Tracking every bite of food I eat-   Success.
2. Money into savings-  Success
3. Weigh less-  This is not exactly a success but I’m not calling it a failure yet. (More on this in a bit.)
4. Be more active/exercise at least theee day’s a week -  Success.  well my weekend knocked out two days, but I have managed to walk on my lunch break 3 of the last 4 days.  So a huge success (even if the after work exercise hasn’t begun!)
5. Keep my calories within a specific range for at least 6 days a week.  Success!  I managed this. One day was borderline close and one was over...but I squeezed it out!  (more on this in a moment.)
6.  Step count an average of at least 5k steps a day. I was over that every day except the day that I didn’t walk on my lunch break.

Proof of a lunch time walk!

My body did the same old routine.  I was so careful over the weekend.  I ate healthy.  I watched every bite. I was so good with my water, and my weight still jumped up on Monday. This has been happening for a while so I didn’t panic. I stayed within the three pound ‘acceptable’ range that I am ok with.   But it is still frustrating.  I expect it to drop significantly tomorrow.

On Thursday I arrived in the training room ready to start the day with training (I’ve been training new hires). One of the new hires brought in donuts!  I looked at those big wonderfully delicious looking donuts all morning! I wanted one soooo badly!  Oh heavens I could taste the glaze!  My lips could feel the chocolate!  Ohh the sprinkles too, I could taste it all!  But.....I didn’t take one!  I didn’t even take a bite!  I stood strong!

But the willpower to resist took a lot out of me.  After a morning of resisting, the thought of settling for a banana, kiwi and cheese lunch while I walked was very distasteful! (If I walk on m lunch break my meal must be highly ‘portable’ as I only have a 30 minute lunch break and the lake takes about 20 minutes to walk around...and of course I need a few moments to use the bathroom and whatnot!). I just couldn’t settle!  I went to the cafeteria and got a turkey sandwich from the deli line...with lots of greens and vegetables!  I did cave and get a bag of chips (I looked at the calorie count and got the lowest calorie count bag there!).   I was fine with that choice.  It was still better and more nutritious than a donut...and probably a lot less calories than that oversized donut! caused my calories to be about 100 over my top end limit (Which is 1550 calories for the day).    And that my friends is the reason I didn’t manage a straight 100% success on the walking/exercise AND the calorie count.  

If we look at my calorie count we can see how well I really did!
So we can see that I had some days that were right on the borderline...days like Sunday.   But Lets look at the graph that adds in my exercise...
So we can see that the day I called ‘borderline’ was in reality no where near being borderline!   It was only the donut day that I was slightly over!!!

So all in all I am going to count this week as a success.  Even though my weight hasn’t dropped (yet).  I made some very good strides and lived a healthy lifestyle this week!  I moved more than I have in recent months and I ate well.  A win!

Monday, April 08, 2019

Mini me war

This past weekend I battled a war!    I battled hard!  I fought the good fight!  I slayed the beast....well maybe not slay it, but I did face off with the beast!

What is the beast I so freely talk about?   It is the voices in my head.  Now let me say I don’t really hear voices.  Don’t sign me up for Prozac or whatever medicine helps quiet the voices.  I am talking about the conflicting wants and desires that flutter through my head.  Don’t eat that versus eat two! These are the  thoughts that tumble through our heads at any given day.   

Fat Mini Me
For a long time now, I have referred to the voice/thoughts  that try to steer me away from good healthy living as my Fat mini me.  This is the thought that comes to my mind when I am planning to go for a run.  It is the thought that tells me to not go, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, you have a boil on your butt (nope, it doesn’t get old to make fun of the butt boil!), or whatever reason that darn fat mini me can come up with!   It’s the voice in my head that tells me to stop running while I’m out for a run, ‘stop running, your dying’. Or the voice that says ‘who do you think you are fooling, you are not a runner, you are just a fat girl pretending to run’.    Fat mini me is the voice that urges me to eat a piece of cake because ‘you can always start tomorrow’.  Fat mini me is the thoughts that make me throw up my hands in defeat and give up just because of one slip up.  ‘You screwed it up now Maryfran, you may as well have another piece of pizza...and one wing or ten....heck add in some garlic bread also!”    The fat mini me is the destructive thoughts in our head.  The excuses!  The mental negative talk that we all have going on in our heads.

Thin Mini Me
This ‘voice’ is much more quiet!  Unfortunately, because this voice seems to get drowned out by the unhealthy comments from the fat mini me!   This is the voice that quietly reminds us that we have a goal to reach.   “You are only 1 pound from your next weight goal, stay strong!”   This is the voice that tells us to keep running even though you want to quit. “I can see the end, don’t quit now!”  This is the voice that reminds us that we can restart right here and now when we have messed up.  “You ate too much, learn from your mistake and don’t compound the mistake by a continued binge”

See, they are two conflicting thoughts!  When we are living a more unhealthy life, the fat mini me has a much louder voice.  But as we slowly change our habits the thin mini me gets more assertive and loud!   The fat mini me will never really go away though. That voice is just waiting for a sign of weakness!

So this past weekend these two voices/thoughts were at war for each other.  It was brutal.   


 “no you will regret it if you eat the cookie”.


“you ran and rode your bike for two hours and only had a cottage cheese double and some strawberries you  are fine within your calorie count.  all is not lost”

It was tough.   And I listened to the sane thin mini me (the lower case voice in case you didn’t pick up on that.).  And do you know what?   That voice was right. It’s proven in my calories for those let me give you that week...ending on Sunday night!
Here is my total calories.

If you notice I am still under the 1550 that is my top end of the caloric goal range!

But let’s now add in my exercise!

So as my report shows...I didn’t listen to the fat mini me.  I listened to the sane voice and felt more empowered from my good choices!   (And for the record o think the exercise calories are overly inflated on myfitnesspal...thus making my net calories seem more drastic...but I didn’t eat any of my exercise calories so there still would have been a dip!)

Sunday, April 07, 2019

I was Toast

Monday...what a dreaded word!  The weekends always go by so fast!  But hey, it is fun!   I got some activity in, I had my official  weekly weigh in, and I clearly started thinking about my progress in terms of goals!

Weigh In and Goals
I had my official weigh in on Saturday morning.  I reached my new decade goal!!!  I dropped into the next lower ten pound range!  I was 249.2 on Saturday my official weigh in day!  (It was 247.8 after my run that morning but I’m not counting that.  I was just tickled to see that number!) .  It made me realize that I have been operating with no short term I’m focusing on 10 pound increments....a decade.   I’m gunning now for the next decade.  That will be a biggie too!  Why?  That will put me back at the weight that I was when I met Jason!    (I was right at 238-239 when I met Jason).  The following ‘decade’  after that (when I manage to reach  the upper 220’s, will be neat because it will be back to the lowest Jason has ever seen me!    But then the fun will  really begin...I will be able to reveal a new body to Jason with each pound I drop!!!    He doesn’t care about my weight and actually likes a ‘chunkier woman’ ...which is good because I will never be a string bean....but it will be fun to lose and show off.  (Some new lingerie in my future maybe?  Hahaha. Ok TMI). So yes I have some definite pound increments!    

I ate my dinner on Friday.  I know that Friday dinners are usually a bit higher in calories.   (Which is kinda crazy when I think that I use my Saturday weigh in as my official one!)   I had planned my whole day of eating accordingly because I knew that dinner would probably be a bit higher.  I ate my dinner and then sat there and berated myself for ordering the cookie AND eating it!  (We ordered delivery from Jimmy John’s.). I grudgingly picked up my phone to enter in my calories into the  myfitnesspal app.  Much to my surprise, I was still within my caloric goal range.  Sure, it was at the high end, but I was in range!   Even knowing that, I waged a war in my mind.  One minute I (the devilish mini me voice) would tell myself that “You  are so stupid!  You shouldn’t have eaten the cookie, You would have been down at the low end of your calories and thereby maybe would lose more weight.  You have messed it up!”  But then the calm sane voice of reason (man, I need to name that voice since I have the devilish voice named....hmmm) took over and I told myself, “Maryfran you are within the caloric range.  That is a victory and an added bonus for your indulge/delivery meal night.  You are not sitting there feeling stuffed and sick after overeating.  In fact, you feel satisfied...emotionally and physically.   You won that round.  You managed to ‘live’ within the constraints of a healthy eating plan.”   Yeah...back and forth the battle in my mind was waged.  But ultimately it was done, the food already eaten so nothing could be changed!  The only thing I COULD do was to not listen to the evil mini me and chalk it up as a failure and thereby head to the kitchen for more snacks/food since my day was ‘ruined anyway’.  I listened to the sane voice and settled in for a Friday night relaxation fest, satisfied with myself!  

Saturday eating was spot on!  My calories were at the low end of the range and I was pretty much satisfied all day long!  Sunday a bit higher, but I should actually be ok...better than ok!

Saturday morning I didn’t let myself talk myself out of it!  It?  It was a morning run!  No matter the state of my buttock boil that I talked about the other day, I was going.  I got dressed and wore no underwear to eliminate  any excess rub the keister issue (I am not the commando type of girl, and actually had a really bad experience exercising with no underwear once, seriously read was bad!!). and I headed out for a run!  I didn’t go far and I didn’t go fast.  But I went!  
Post Run Selfie
I came home and relaxed a bit before heading out to grocery shop and run a few errands. I came home and did some chores around the house.  Shortly thereafter we headed out with our bikes to go for a ride.  My legs were tired and achy when we were done!
I can count 14 turtles on the log!
It wasn’t a fabulous ride because of that.  I don’t know if it was the combination of the run in the morning combined with the ride or if it was the concrete floors from two hours in various stores. . (I have noticed that my knee doesn’t far well when we are knee can be relatively pain free for days...or at least manageable but when we shop it flares up!). I know my legs were tired after my run but my knee didn’t hurt until shopping.  Oh well!   Lots of steps for the day and a bike ride!  Nice and active!!! Go me!!!

Sunday was as equally active!  We headed out for a few hours on our bikes!

And then just because, we went out for a short hike!  We got home and my words were, “I am TOAST!”  I was so tired  I was so achy.  My knees hurt, my muscles hurt, I was so tired!  (OK, and I was sunburnt also, so toasty that way too!)

Boil update
I still have this boil on my butt.  (Or a small cyst, which is more likely, but it is more fun to call it a boil!). I have been pretty good about hot compressing it and it has reduced in size! It was fine this weekend as I went commando, thereby eliminating quite a bit of the rubbing and friction that I normally get from my underwear (the leg of the underwear rubs right where the boil is located).  The bike wasn’t too bad (obviously not since I managed two significant rides this weekend).    So that is being managed and slowly healing.  I just didn’t let it stop me!  I’m just thankful it isn’t a area with a group of boils...that would be especially bad!!!  (And my word of the weekend...I learned what a carbuncle really was, I had always known the word but never the definition!). And don’t worry, I will spare you pictures of my butt boil!

All in all it was a great weekend. Active, productive and still plenty of time to relax and chill!   It’s Monday now and the knee that has been most recently giving me trouble is throbbing a bit. I will definitely keep an eye on it....but I’m pushing forward to better things.   The pain comes from excess weight and disused am sure.  Time and effort will eradicate it!!!

Thursday, April 04, 2019


I have had a few revelations the last few days.  Ok, maybe they aren’t overly profound.  Maybe these revelations aren’t even new to me.  I very well could have written these thoughts and ideas as some great epiphany a few months or years back.  Who knows….but if I did already write this?  Oh well, here it is again.

I made a vow that I was going to hit the month of April hard.  I was going to get home from work and either walk or bike with Jason and if that didn’t happen I was going to go for a run by myself!  No ifs ands or buts.   April first rolled around and it didn’t happen.  Nor did it happen on April second. Hey, it was cold! (Excuse alert in case you hadn’t picked up on that already.)   I vowed and promised myself that since the weather was not going to be cold on Wednesday the third of April that I would be starting then!  No excuses this time.  Right?   Wednesday rolled around and…….

Holy cow, is that a boil on my butt?  (Stop laughing, this is a serious matter!)  Yes, there is a hard knot of pain on my buttock!  Ok, maybe it’s not a boil….it’s a follicle cyst…an ingrown hair….a really big pimple?  How in the world did I get a boil (or whatever it is) on my arse cheek?  I have no clue, but it hurts!  It rubs.  It isn’t comfortable.  And that my friends is why I didn’t run on Wednesday.  I stayed home and applied a hot compress (hot washcloth) to my keister.  (Being honest with myself, this was also an excuse!)

So here comes the first of my revelations.  I was still planning on running the WHOLE DRIVE HOME, even with the budding boil on my backside.   It wasn’t until I started walking into our apartment that I talked myself out of it.  But I had some interesting thoughts while I was driving and planning on going.  My personal mini me (the voice of discontent and unhealthy that screams in my head telling me to not exercise and to instead eat ice cream) was telling me that if I go running after work that there were going to be SOOOO many people outside and driving by. They would see my sorry boiled ass. (Well, not the boil, because I would be wearing pants….obviously.) They would see how out of shape I was.  They would see my shameful pace. They would see and I would be embarrassed.  You see, I almost have always run in the morning…before the world starts to move about too much.  I ran in more deserted areas…a National park in the morning before the tourists arrived, the C&O Canal out in the middle of the woods, back alleys and paths.  I always ran more privately, away from the eyes of others….especially when I was just starting out after a hiatus from running.  Where I live now is very open.  I would be running in a more populated area with no alleys to duck down to have some privacy while I struggle to breathe due to the affects of my attempt to run. (People would probably call 911 thinking I was in some kind of distress!)   Embarrassment is definitely a deterrent to doing the ‘right’ thing.

So that was my first revelation.

The second thing wasn’t anything profound and not really a revelation, just a realization.  I woke up on Thursday and weighed myself.  I was happy to see my weight down at a nice low number. (A low number being relative to the most recent numbers that I have been seeing on the scales!)   I was so happy!  I planned my lunch with thoughts of my planned dinner and calories in mind.  I was going to slay this weight.  I was so close to dropping into a new ‘decade’ of weight on the scales!  I was going to do it!   On the way to work I realized something.  I was totally focused on this ‘new decade’ and losing weight.  The lower number had made me dig in my heels to really do this.  I don’t know what had changed in my thinking, but I was tickled with the determination that the nice number on the scales had given me.  It was a total change from previous months.  In the past few months I’ve had some successful weigh ins where I saw lower numbers.  But without fail, almost every time I had a great number on the scale I would sabotage myself.  How?  I would be driving to work flying high on nice number I saw on the scale.  I would have my breakfast fruit sitting beside me ready to eat but then the thought of tater tots and breakfast muffins would enter my mind.  Instead of saying ‘The scales are going down, I need to keep it going down’ I had defaulted to saying “I did good, lets reward myself with some tater tots for breakfast.” (or a muffin, or a bag of chips at lunch or maybe even a full lunch at the cafeteria instead of my healthy lunch that I had packed.)  I was sabotaging myself by rewarding myself with food.  BAD BAD MaryFran.

Luckily something clicked yesterday morning and I got excited by the number and motivated!  I knew that breaking from my packed breakfast (and lunch) would only result in the numbers on the scale going back up and as soon as I realized that, I knew that I had indeed been sabotaging myself and that it had to stop!

Soooo…there you go.  My revelations from the first week of April.  Oh and for the record.  On Thursday I did NOT sabotage my eating by rewarding myself with food.  I DID also walk on my lunch break (both Wednesday and Thursday)Go me!  Still working on the after work activity...and still using hot compresses on my butt cheek!  And the scales…well they rewarded me.  I’m still not down into a new ‘decade’ but I’m close!

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Slaying the three

Here we go!  Halfway through the week!  Lets get this show on the road and make it to the weekend!   I will say that I am looking forward to the weekend!  Sadly, it is just a normal short weekend and not a longer one like last weekend.  But that’s ok.  The weather is supposed to be FANTASTIC and we have some ideas of how to utilize that fantastic weather. (Amidst the normal errands and chores!)

It is day three of the new month.  I came home all fired up to absolutely slay the beast of obesity this month and show a victory.  (Or at least make positive inroads to slayong the beast, because it will take me multiple months!).  I vowed to hit the month hard from day one.   I had plans!

I have not hit it as hard as I would have liked.  BUT, I have not gone on a binge or anything. 

Exercise…..this one has not started off strong.  I did NOT walk on my lunch break.  I also did NOT walk or run or ride my bike after work like I had planned to do (my mind comes up with all sorts of fantastic plans for activities!)    It was cold!   That kept me from my lunch walks.  It also made me get home and just curl up under a blanket (ok maybe it wasn’t that cold) and stay inside.     The weather is turning though and it is supposed to be in the mid 60’s at lunchtime today.  I am heading out!   It should also still be pretty nice when I get home.  I PLAN to get out after work tonight.  A walk?  A bike ride?  A run?  I don’t know what yet.  Some of that will depend on Jason.  If he wants to ride or go for a walk that will be the activity I do.  If not, I am VOWING to run!     With no lunch time or after work walks, my step count for the first two days is woefully lacking.  And yes, I am so embarrassed to admit that my goal for the month is only 150,000 steps…that is ONLY 5000 steps a day.  Even more embarrassing is the fact that I am so sedentary at this point that getting 5K steps a day is a stretch.  I am currently running 3500 steps behind after the first two days.    But with nicer weather  I should be able to catch up quickly!

Eating……I haven’t done too badly on this one.  I have remained within my goal range for my caloric intake (I aim for between 1200 and 1550 a day).  I have been closer to the top end of the range both days, but I’m ok with that.  I know that I need to work on getting my calories toward the lower end at least a few days a week.  But in the meantime, I’m happy with where I’m at.

Water Intake…….I did fabulously over the weekend.  I have struggled these first two days of the month.  Today is the day to change that also!  

Weight…..My weight isn’t too bad.  I was happy with where I was at the beginning of the month (in comparision to where I was mid month in March).   My weight has shifted up a bit the last two days.  That however could be also caused by the lack of water consumption.  I have woke up both of the last two days thirsty…which is historically not a good sign for my weight.

April is here……It is time to slay this weight and get my life…my healthy living life back on track!  Next time I’m at the beach I am going to be fit!!!  But for now I will treasure the memories of this last trip!!!