For the past 3 months, my sister and I have been walking the dogs every morning. We are becoming known around the neighborhood as the crazy dog ladies (at least that’s what I think we must look like while walking 4-5 dogs).
Good Morning Sunshine!
You’d think that after 3 months of doing this, I would be getting used to it! But each morning I feel like I have to drag my butt out of bed. Luckily, my sister is patient enough with me to continue to drive into town to make me do this. This activity is a much smaller version of what we do while on vacation.
When we go on vacation each summer, she and I will get up at the ass-crack of dawn to walk all the family dogs (5-6 of them). We will go on a 6-mile walk (or “death march” as I lovingly call it). Usually, Lisa is bright-eyed and refreshed when we come back from the walk, but I’m a purple-faced sweaty mess!! We don’t go fast at all, but it gives the dogs a chance to run on the beach and play in the water, thereby making them tired dogs upon returning to our cabin. (Tired dogs are happy dogs – and happy owners!)
“Hey, how much do you charge?”
On our walk during vacation, people frequently look at us like we are crazy because we are walking so many dogs. We’ve even been asked if we are professional dog walkers. People are surprised when we tell them that these are just the family’s dogs. LOL!
I need to keep moving before vacation to get in shape for our death marches. But right now, my knees are aching just with the thought of having to get up and walk tomorrow morning. Some mornings I just want to sleep and say forget it to walking, but I know if I don’t go, I’ll disappoint not only my dogs but my sister as well… and that just doesn’t sit well in my mind.
Whenever I’ve done one of those life evaluation surveys or goal setting or tried to start a new habit, it always feels so good to begin on a Monday or on the first day of the month. I’m not a big fan of January 1 resolutions. But I do like re-evaluations and starting new habits at the beginning of seasons–fall and summer both coincide with the beginning/end of a school year. But this time I’ve gone rogue and set myself up with a public weight loss challenge.
I posted 8 weeks ago that I planned to drop 8 pounds because bulge had crept to my middle and set up housekeeping. Now it was time to lose those 8 pounds. I stated that I would provide an update on June 1st…
Well, in the time between then and now, life has been crazy. You know how CRAZY eats up the emotional bandwidth needed to fuel action. The crazy can be seen by the way the skin under my eyes has “bags”. I googled remedies for this unattractive look and came up with using hemorrhoid cream (Preparation H to be exact) as a spot night cream.
Fail. There was no noticeable difference.
Then one morning I realized that I had yet again forgotten to buy facial cream while out shopping. Did you know that Aveeno body lotion isn’t the best face moisturizer out there? Huh. Who’d have thunk?
But I think I reached a new low when I confess that I used Gold Bond Medicated foot powder on my face after the moisturizer and before putting on a little blush.
It has a bit of a weird odor that you don’t really notice when you are using it appropriately.
I have absolutely no good excuse for this period of craziness other than…life! My life is full and crazy. But here are a few clues that life is also, at the same time, good and happy and sane:
First Things First
My bed is made in the morning. This is huge. The room can be a catastrophe, dusty, underwear on the floor and laundry heaping over the basket…but if the bed is made and pillows fluffed each day, all is good.
A Little Vase of Something
My nightstand is dusted and organized with a small stack of books, reading glasses, and a little vase filled with something. this is the ultimate litmus test. when things in life are really going well, I change out the items in the vase regularly. There are curly sticks in January, Lily of the Valley in April, Lilacs in May, various garden flowers throughout the summer, and pretty leaves in the fall.
All That Ends Well
The sink is shined and dishes are done before bed. There is something about being able to walk into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a glass of water and see that the dishes are done, the stove is clean and the sink is shined. It makes me feel in control.
Does Anyone Know Where My Phone Is?
Sometimes I add the category of purse location. When all is going smoothly in life, I have a clear habit of bringing my purse and phone into the house and putting them in my cubby in the mudroom. When I’m off, it’s a crapshoot and I will have to often use our landline to call my cell to aid in locating it.
This brings me to the question…Did I achieve my goal!
No…I dropped exactly 6 pounds.
Yes. I’ve gotten back on track.
I’ve gone through many many cycles of mindless eating in the past. As a teacher, I would get into the habit of eating school lunches (what we called the “Red Tray” diet) and put on weight every fall. Then, in January, feeling frustrated, I would annually switch to packing my own soup, veggies, and fruit. Sometimes I’d bring some string cheese or a baggie of nuts. I didn’t focus on carbs or food types, just simplicity and quantity.
But the big secret was that I also began exercising on a treadmill daily in the morning. I wouldn’t change anything else. The result was never dramatic, but I was always able to wear my favorite spring capris and summer skorts.
That being said, I am back to being MINDFUL about my body and my eating and exercising habits. It took this little challenge to get myself to stop and change back to the habits that make me feel good about my body. These habits also make me feel healthy and happy.
As I mentioned in that post 8 weeks ago, I like the feeling of a strong and flexible body when I am walking and doing yoga.
Carbs make me feel sluggish and blah.
Alcohol doesn’t work for me anymore. My 50+-year-old body gets sleepy instead of relaxed. Then, the next morning I’m fuzzy instead of energized.
I’m good with honoring my body in a way that is sustainable and easy. So I guess I’ll call this a successful fail,
The day that I’m writing this is exactly 8 weeks until June 1st.
June always feels like the beginning of summer to me. Summer..sleeveless shirts, shorts, sandals (read no more covering up with turtlenecks, sweaters, or fleecy leggings). I’ve used these items to camouflage my fluffy body for a few months. Putting on weight happens soooooo effortlessly. I weigh myself every Monday (mostly) and watched the numbers creep up, pound by pound, each week. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, just trying to stay the same. But I was struggling.
You know when you’re struggling.
Slogging along in life.
You can smile at your neighbors. You take out the trash on Fridays and make sure your family is fed. Brushing your teeth happens. But you lose touch with yourself. There is no bandwidth, no energy to do what makes you feel good and be healthy. I was in this place for about 8 weeks after Christmas and through February. Here is what I’ve learned if you want to gain 8 pounds in 8 weeks:
Livin’ the Couch Potato Life
Don’t exercise! In so many magazines and blogs I’ve read recently, I’ve heard about how you can’t easily lose weight by exercising. But let me tell you, you sure can gain weight if you don’t. I regularly walk each morning with Stella, and now our puppy Evie. But have you tried to exercise or do yoga with a puppy? I wrote about my daily routine here. But sometimes you just don’t FEEL like exercising. So I’ve been walking and when I get home, there is just so much to do. Breakfast, writing, homeschooling, making the bed, cleaning the grout on the kitchen floor…
Carbs are Your Friends
Eat carbs like a teenage boy. I have a husband, two teenage sons, and a daughter who dances 8+ hours a week. Carbs are staples in our kitchen. When I’m feeling tired, meals are served with pasta, rice or bread. (Last night, we had spaghetti for dinner and I not only ate several slices of warm, soft, chewy Italian bread, but I slathered sweet butter on each slice…yum!)
Drink alcohol daily. I love going to my parent’s house. Dad makes the best Brandy Old Fashioneds–sour, not sweet. (I got him this gift last Father’s Day and I have really enjoyed it!) Since my one son just got his driver’s license and needs practice, we go over and I have a couple of drinks EVERY night…I’m not driving…right?
I’m even having a hard time writing this. I think I may be having an anxiety attack at this very moment. I am serious about how I put on the weight, but I’m not genuine about having neutral feelings about the gain.
You see, no one but me knows that I’ve put on a few pounds. I don’t look a lot different, but I FEEL different (and not in a good way). I’m stiff, my arms feel weak. There is a bike tire around my middle. I notice that it’s harder to cross my legs when I’m sitting in a chair.
Just 8 little pounds and all this fuss?!? It’s just a symptom of a larger problem, really. I’ve lost sight of myself, not taking care of ME. I’ve gotten wrapped up in the day-to-day and everyone else’s needs. Can you relate?
I’m wearing yoga pants and athletic shoes so I must be burning calories, right?
Well, we have exactly 8 weeks until the “beginning” of summer. Let’s walk a little more, ditch the sugar, and say no to flour.
Are you still with me?
Let’s drink lots of water and have some “come to Jesus” time with veggies and leafy greens!
That’s my plan. Check back on June 1st to see how well I fared.
What do you do when your an active woman with a full life and your body starts to fall apart? Well, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician…
At the office visit, my doctor informed me that that I no longer needed a mammogram, pap smear, or colonoscopy. I found this interesting so I asked, “Why is that?” He skirted around the question, but I guessed, “You mean I am just too old?”
Well, the fact is, say…if cancer is detected, I am actually too old to go through the process of working on a cure or whatever….
Midlife: That time in your life when you finally get your head together and your body starts to fall apart!
Let that sink in a moment.
That made me feel, kind of, sort of WEIRD.
I never thought that when you got older you kind of just let things go since they are going to go to hell anyway. I guess I’m just not quite ready for that mindset.
So are we just supposed to die young? It seems to me that our bodies are set to work until a certain age and then they seem to fall apart. (I seem to have gone past the life expectancy of my right knee!)
I have come to the conclusion that the reason the life expectancy of people years ago was much younger was that the body parts are for a certain age. If you have to deal with worn-out knees, painful hips, or other decrepit joints, it just really takes the life right out of you.
I had been doing really well–physically, that is. (We won’t talk about mentally.) I love to exercise–mostly walking with my dog, Emma. Well, I loved to when I had a knee that actually worked.
But you want to know what is so hard about this whole situation? I don’t want to be “layed up” for weeks and weeks! I have always prided myself on being in fair shape. But now that I have reached the ripe old age of xx, o.k. 76, I am really bummed out about this because I don’t have the time or the patience to have downtime or a recoup time. My life has to go on. as. it. is.
If you look around, you will see people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs. That is because their longevity has run out and they are spending a lot of time and money just trying to keep their muscles, joints, and bodies working.
I now understand, but don’t want to believe it.
So, here is to one knee replacement, with another one to follow. Onward you old body. You need to keep up with my wants and my desire to keep active and enjoy life.
So, if you ever find yourself in a similar position, your body seems to be ready to leave the party (and way too soon for the rest of you)…suck it up! Do whatever it takes to make your body do what it takes to keep up with your active lifestyle.
I just paid a gob of money to learn exercises to strengthen my broken wrist, to increase strength and mobility and to rid myself of pain in my knees and hips. This was an investment in ME… Great, right?? Wrong. Once my OT and PT were done, have I continued to exercise? No, not at all. Why? I just don’t feel like it. There is never a right time and I have other “things” that take priority.
My alarm clock goes off at 5:00 am. I go to the kitchen and get a glass of water. Stella is asleep after an early breakfast. I leave my fuzzy fleece pj pants on, slip on socks and my tennis shoes. Sports bra goes on over the top of my t-shirt. (When you exercise with no witnesses, it doesn’t matter what you wear.) On go coat, neck gator, balaclava, gloves and mittens. I call Stella…quietly. She stretches and yawns like she is doing me a favor. Continue reading →
Every year I plan on jump starting my exercise habit. Every year I fall short. I would love to be one of those people that loves to exercise, but I don’t know how to get there. I have a treadmill at home, but when I use it, I feel guilty for not taking the dogs for a walk.
Stress makes me crazy. Literally. I want to sleep the second I get home from work and then when it is actually time to hit the hay…guess what, I can’t shut my brain off! It doesn’t make sense.
I wish I could drink and the calm continue. But alcohol just makes my brain depressed and my body tired. Besides that, I don’t need the empty calories..and I wake up in the middle of the night..and I can’t get back to sleep…My brain is on while my body feels groggy and heavy.
So..is downshifting an art? An art that I have very limited talent for? Continue reading →
Back in 1999, author Stephen King was struck and seriously injured by a minivan while walking on the shoulder of the road near his summer home in Maine. The driver was distracted by his dog in the back of the minivan and was apparently not driving recklessly, speeding, nor had he been drinking. King’s injuries, which included a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, cuts to his scalp, and a broken hip kept him in the hospital for almost a month.
I run every morning on rural Wisconsin roads. Like Stephen King, I go against traffic. I also wear a reflective vest. While I’m on my run, I see perhaps 3 cars. If I run later, mid-morning, that number increases to about a dozen.