Merci Beaucoup!

Received a nice little pick-me-up this week. This blog is obviously a journal I keep for myself, but it’s lovely to see you supporting my “content journey.”

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. I had PIE for the first time in years at Thanksgiving. Yet, yesterday my weight checked in at my lowest ever in years. So, hellya. Still going strong.

Holding Pattern

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just been informed by the tower that we are to maintain a holding pattern. We ask that you remain in your seats, and we will keep you posted as conditions improve. We thank you for your patience.”

So, not much has changed since my last post. My weight has essentially stayed the same for another month. I’m super frustrated with this. It’s like I’m suspended in the air in a holding pattern. Worse, it’s July now. I’m starting to get concerned I may not reach my New Year’s Intentions goal (to get out of “fat sizes”). 

The only upside here is I am still at the lowest weight I’ve been at since I began this blog in 2008. If you consider my highest weight in years past, I’m down 67 lbs overall. That seems like a big deal, and I should be more pleased with myself as a result. Also, I have noticed that I fit into much smaller sizes than I have previously. So, I am making progress on the clothes size front. And, of course, I am not gaining weight. I haven’t given up. 

What I’ve decided to do to break through this plateau is double down and go to the gym every day this week. Literally just force myself to go. It has to make a difference, right? Also, I’m going to change up what I normally eat for dinner and make some new recipes that are still low-carb. I think if I make a change to my food intake, that could break the spell I’ve been under. 

I have a couple of art shows coming up where I am the featured artist. (That still amazes me.) I am planning to wear dresses at these events. That is an unusual step for me. I haven’t worn a dress in many, many moons. But, I feel like it’s the right artist vibe. 

I will leave you with one of my photos that I will be exhibiting. And, I’ll let you know how the doubling-down with the gym goes. 

Namaste. 

Pickleball!

I have been hearing/reading about Pickleball for a few months now. It seems like a fun, easy way to spend some time in the gym without too much stress. I knew my Y had a pickleball schedule in the mornings, so I dropped in and observed two teams. What I liked about it was it felt like everyone on the court was enjoying themselves, and that it was more supportive than competitive.

My Y has Pickleball every weekday in the mornings. I spoke to two women afterwards who told me they both love it. One of them said she has been coming for six years. They both told me it’s easy to start. The Y has all the equipment; you literally just have to show up.

I’ve been thinking of asking someone I know to go with me, so there will be at least two of us who don’t know how to play on the court. Once I get the hang of it, I can try to commit to a regular schedule.

This court game fulfills one of my key criteria about exercise: it has to be enjoyable or I won’t stick with it. I’m a little wary of the time commitment, but I think I’m going to try it.

Here’s a short video about the basic game:

An Accidental Vegan

A friend of mine from high school wrote a vegan book. It was early in the social media era, and I helped her with her social accounts. The whole vegan thing seemed extreme to me, even though friends of mine were vegan and one of my daughters experimented with it as a teenager. But more and more, I started to be influenced by the cruelty to animals argument. Listen to this podcast by one of my favorite pundits, Ezra Klein. It may forever change the way you think about eating meat.

Having been on my trek for 10 months now, I have to admit I get most excited about shopping in the produce department of my local grocery store. I have become more curious about how I can make more vegetarian meals that are not high in carbs or sugar.

Somewhere in the fog of social media, Instagram specifically, I started following Jessica Seinfeld. I came to like her and her joyful, low-key cooking videos. She had a breezy vibe about her, and her recipes seemed easy. She also seemed so “human” and accessible. When she published her recent book, “Vegan, at Times,” I thought about buying it. It was expensive when it first came out, so I didn’t.

But it’s selling now at half price. I decided to buy it and see if I could make some progress on eating vegan… at times.

Seinfeld’s recommendation is to simply, try it. Her introduction sums up her philosophy about veganism. She makes it clear she’s not strictly vegan, but has found that eating vegan has its advantages.

“This is also a fact: if you eat vegan food a few days a week, you will feel better, have more energy, do good for animals and the planet.”

Vegan at Times, Jessica Seinfeld with Sara Quessenberry

I ended up shipping one of the books to my son’s girlfriend whom I know is vegan (at times). I’m looking forward to trying these recipes and seeing if I can transition to this form of healthy eating, at least on occasion.

I need some kitchen equipment to make many of the recipes. My birthday’s coming up. I may gift myself a Cuisinart and a blender.

Check out the book if you’re in a bookstore. It feels like she’s converting a new community who wouldn’t otherwise consider veganism. She definitely made an impression on me.

Ouch!

My wellness coach sent me a suggested workout routine for the equipment at the Y. She called it a, “Full Body Gym Routine with Machines.” It’s been years since I worked out regularly on gym equipment. I went through my first routine today with the help of a staff member who showed me all the machines and how they work.

As I type this, I’m feeling sore already.

Part of the drill, however, is helping me get ingrained into a regular schedule of working out. I know I need to do it to get to the next level with my weight loss.

Plus, when I adjust to it, it will make me feel stronger and more flexible. Wendy, the staff member who helped me, suggested I try a few classes too. I will have to work up to that, but it seems like a good idea.

Changing topics, Thanksgiving is this week. I’ve written about Thanksgiving before. It’s unfortunate the holiday is centered on overeating. I’m super disciplined about what I eat these days, but it’s going to be tough passing on mashed potatoes with gravy. I can always pass on pies and sweets, but mashed potatoes and gravy (especially with Turkey) is one of my favorites.

Oh well, c’est la guerre.

I will keep you posted on the workout routine. My greatest concern is the weather is getting colder here in South Dakota. I’m reluctant to leave my place when it’s so cold outside. We’ll see if I can make the commitment stick.

A Lifestyle Medicine Plan

Way, way in the beginning of this blog, I wrote that one of my primary reasons for losing weight was my love for horses. I very much would like to get back in the saddle. In order to do that, I still have to lose about 15 more pounds.

But, I am getting there. The last time I weighed myself I had lost 38.7 pounds. That was a few days ago, so I should be at the 40 lb loss by now. As you know, I’m taking it slow and steady.

I know myself though, and as we’re heading into winter and the holidays, I know I need more “inspiration” to keep this up.

As it turns out, my health insurance has a few great wellness programs. I signed up for a personal coaching program where I’m working with a professional exercise and wellness expert. The program is 1:1, and I am setting up a customized program for me to meet my goals.

I really enjoy talking to her about what I’m trying to achieve. She set me up for a nutrition consult too. I have a lot of questions about the science of food.

The best part of the program is knowing I have support and some accountability. I still have about 85 lbs to go, so that is a hefty lift. But knowing I can tap into this resource is a big help.

I will let you know how I progress.

It’s fun to stay at the Y – M – C – A

So, I joined the YMCA.

It’s awesome!

Our local YMCA is as good of a state-of-the-art gym as any I’ve experienced in large cities like Austin, TX or Orlando, FL. What’s even better is the price and the fact that I am not locked into a contract. Plus, my health insurance will reimburse me $20/mo if I visit just 12 times a month. Because of my (cough, cough) age, that means this amazing facility only costs me $29 a month.

There’s an upbeat vibe at this YMCA and it makes me feel good just to “be there.”

I’m starting out my exercise program slowly, but there’s tremendous room to grow at this facility, including private trainers. My schedule is fairly flexible now, so I can get the the gym when there aren’t a lot of people there.

The good news is I’ve gone beyond losing my pandemic weight, and I’m on the road to getting back on track. I’m down 32.4 lbs now.

This, You Can Do

So, it’s been 18 weeks since I got serious about losing my 30-lb pandemic gain. The last time I weighed myself, I was down 28.2 lbs. That was a few days ago. I didn’t weigh myself today, and I probably won’t weigh myself tomorrow, but I’m confident I will hit this goal any day now, if I haven’t already.

The simple math will tell you that if you divide 30 by 18, I would be averaging about 1.67 lbs a week. That’s not exactly how it happens, but the loss is for real. Yesterday, I bought pants that were 4 sizes smaller. I love that.

Let me give you some tips about what works for me, as I’ve been able to lose weight like this a few times now:

  • Do not stress out about losing weight. Your self-image should be grounded in more important aspects of your identity than your appearance. For whatever reason you’ve decided to lose weight, be easy on yourself. Try not to even think about it. Look at it like another side-hustle project, like getting around to finally organizing the basement or writing your memoir.
  • Don’t weigh yourself every day, and don’t obsess about your weight on the scale. I invested in an expensive, wifi-enabled scale that measures my fat content, my water weight, my BMI, even my bones. Those numbers are constantly shifting… even my bones (?)…, but if you do everything on this list, you will lose weight. Be patient.
  • Skip everything sugar and carbs. No bread, pasta, rice, noodles, crackers, rice… No sugary desserts ever. Never. No fruit– too high in sugar. No juices with sugar. If you drink coffee, drink it black or get used to an artificial sweetener. I buy large packages of Stevia. My goto snack is sugar-free Jello. And sometimes nuts and cheese.
  • Empty your cupboard bare of everything that is wrong for you. Remove everything in your kitchen that comes in boxes, bags, and most canned goods. Throw out everything in the fridge and the freezer that you should not eat, no matter how much is left. I was fortunate there was a food drive in my town a few weeks into my new regime. I gave away three bags of food. The rest I gave to my sister.
  • Make a good, hearty breakfast every morning. I make eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a little avocado every morning. Avocados have carbs, but I’m careful. I also like to make omelettes with fresh vegetables. 
  • Learn to cook, in general. Buy Atkins, Paleo, South Beach cookbooks. Try to find a used bookstore. Cookbooks are cheaper used, and sometimes have good notes in the margin. I copy recipes I like and keep them in a folder for easy access. 
  • At restaurants (like life) ask for what you need. Look at the menu. If you want an entré, but you can’t have it with bread or on pasta, ask if the kitchen can make a substitution. I’ve never had an issue with this. My dining experiences have been terrific. Same goes for bar choices. Vodka, Rum, Gin all have zero carbs. Ask the bartender what cocktail options are available or can be creatively concocted without sugar. 
  • Walk, walk, walk. I’m a person that hates to exercise. But, I don’t mind walking around town. When you can physically walk rather than drive, always take that option. According to my Apple Watch, I walk a couple thousand steps every day just doing random things around my place. 
  • If you’re feeling frustrated because it’s not going fast enough or you hit a plateau, post an update on social media about the weight loss you already accumulated. People love that shit and will go bananas with support. I personally find that morally conflicting, but it does do the trick. It makes you feel better, and it will get you over the hump to keep going. 
  • Start a weight loss blog! It’s fun to track your progress. 🙂 

I Wanna Be Sedated

So, I’m down 22.4lbs. That’s only 8lbs shy of my goal to lose my pandemic gain. I will get there. And I’ll continue on my path from there.

How am I doing it? By walking around this beautiful, sleepy town. I’m not killing it on the Peloton or hiring a trainer or joining the gym. I’m just walking around. I gave up my car last September and I walk everywhere I need to go.

Living in the Midwest, life is simpler. It’s slower and more peaceful. But there is healthy food and healthy living here. I am not in a rush to lose my weight, or in a rush to do anything for that matter.

I’m content to take in the beauty around me knowing every step I take is leading me in the right direction. It gets lighter every day.