Category Archives: taking care of yourself

The Big Picture

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I guess we started really trying to lose the lard about a year and a half ago. We were doing low carb. I was cooking a lot, we were losing some weight, but not steadily enough. My husband’s blood sugar was better, but not good enough to qualify for insurance that required a health exam. The policy we had was going to skyrocket in premium on his birthday in November (Happy birthday to you…). He was still having bad symptoms from his diabetes.

I have been overweight for quite a while. I don’t like it. I got better with the low carb diet, but I need to lose a significant amount of weight to be healthy. We were kidding ourselves, SAYING we were on a low carb diet, and then ‘splurging’ on a regular basis, eating our favorite fast foods out once or twice a week. We finally got serious last April and signed up for NutriSystem. My husband is almost at his weight goal now. He just tried on some new, smaller jeans this morning. Better, but still too large. He has now ordered the next size smaller. :0)

Best of all, our doctor is patting us on the head. We’ve been going to quarterly doctor appointments, with blood tests for our various problems, for a long time. Last time we went, my numbers were so significantly better that she put me on 6 month appointments. My husband has one more quarterly appointment next month, and we’re hoping he’ll come back every six months, too! He qualified for a 10-year level term life insurance policy for twice as much insurance as we had. They jacked the premium up because of his age, but no one can control that, so we’re grateful to be covered now.

I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet on my lardage loss, to help me see the big picture, particularly when I don’t see much change for a week or two. The big picture shows –

Weight loss with NS is 28 pounds. Total loss since my highest lardage is 40 pounds.

Inches loss with NS is a bit over 23 inches. Total loss since my highest lardage is 39-1/2 inches.

Results at doc’s office –

  • Weight is down
  • Blood pressure is under good control with medication
  • My cholesterol is in the normal range now
  • Lipid profile is all showing in the normal range now

It feels good to be actively doing things that will increase our overall health.  We’re eating right and learning to eat outside the program without throwing things out of whack. We are not feeling deprived, with fast food items floating in front of our faces, as they used to. We are more active. I’m trying to get on the elliptical trainer at least every other day. I’m doing yoga stretching almost every day. I’m actively trying to ‘move more’ with specific chores I would like to do each day, such as housework and working in the yard. I write a post or two for my blog :0)  and then I get up and either do a chore, or exercise, over and over, throughout the day. I’m encouraging my husband, who is trying to do sit ups, to do more than ‘intend to,’ though I’m certainly no role model.

We ARE making progress – particularly when we look at the big picture. Seeing this is motivation to keep on keepin’ on.

taolife.com

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Still Riding on a High

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My husband and I are just starting to be able to acknowledge and enjoy the fact that there is less of us than there used to be. I’ve lost almost 30 pounds and almost 28 inches now. It’s only about half way to my goal, and to be honest, other than going down a size or two in jeans, I haven’t seen much difference in clothes.

This changed, finally, with my cleaning-out-the-closet project, switching warm weather stuff for cool the past several days. I forced myself to try on everything I had moved to my closet, finding a really full leaf bag full of tops that were too large. Not just really roomy, but falling-off-the-shoulders and exposing-my-whole-front type too large. :0)   I showed you some pics recently of the sweater/jacket I am finally able to wear after several years of moving it back and forth, always way too small, and now it FITS.

I’ve seen a change in my husband, too. Not only can I see a difference looking at him, I’ve noticed that he’s taking more interest in his clothes now. He just ordered some new jeans, asking me to measure him to be surer of the size. (We’re in a mystery area right now. We KNOW we’re smaller, but tend to still order as we did when we were larger. Even though I tried to use the charts provided at an online store, I found the clothes were too large when they arrived.)

Anyway, he’s wearing some new shirts, some brighter colors, and tries to think about which of his flannel shirts he’s wearing over the tee underneath, where it was haphazard, at best, before. I’ve been complimenting him, and it’s delightful to watch him try not to show how pleased he is. Now I’m working on encouraging his efforts to do some exercise…

We’re both trying to change our eating habits. When my husband finally got serious about giving up sugar to try to get a handle on his Type II diabetes, I gave up salt. I didn’t just add salt to almost everything, I even added salt to salty things. We figure that losing the weight and getting healthier is a good trade for our former addictions.

One new addition – we’ve been having a salad nightly, along with our Nutrisystem entree. My husband has been enjoying this, and was even pleased that I’m adding cherry tomatoes to it. When I added a touch of chopped walnuts to the mix (thanks, Mary Lou) he liked THAT, too. I’m adding a few garbanzo beans to my salad, and my husband still nixes that, but he says he looks forward to our salads in the evening.

We’re still working on portion control. This is a really alien concept, since the two of us apparently have routinely been eating for ourselves and several other folks at each meal. Now we’re learning to have ONE portion of something with a side of veggies or salad. I told you yesterday that I was learning to divide my meal from a restaurant in half, bringing half home to eat some other time. It’s a process, but one we’ll build with exercise.

By the way, I FINISHED the closet-clean-out project yesterday, organizing the warm weather stuff in the guest room closet so it’s ready to move easily next time. Hopefully, by the time we’re ready for warm/hot weather stuff NEXT time, I’ll be able to fill another leaf bag!!!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, quality of life, taking care of yourself

The Sweater-Jacket

I found this sweater/jacket 5 years ago or so and simply loved it. Sadly, it was too small, but I TOLD myself that I would lose some weight and finally be able to wear it. I’ve moved it back and forth from the guest closet to my closet, trying it on once a year since then, with the same result. Even with my determination to get rid of things all over the house, including clothes that don’t fit, I just COULDN’T part with it.

Deep purple is my color. Whenever I see a group of things, all the same except for color, I’m drawn to the dark purple one. The fact that this sweater-jacket had leather on the front, with cut out flowers, made me drool (though I was careful NOT to on the sweater!)

 

This is the back. It can be worn as a top or added as a jacket.

 

Here’s a close up of the flowers.

 

I haven’t lost poundage or lardage this week. The scales are still flirting with 30 pounds off, but I’m not there yet. My measuring tape is unimpressed, showing the same as last week, even though I’ve been working, cleaning, and exercising. The one thing that stands out is from my switching from summer to winter clothes and trying things on.

I have a full leaf bag now of tops that are too large AND my sweater/jacket finally FITS.  YES!!!!!!

I’m about half way to my goal in weight loss and inches now. It may take the rest of my natural life to get there, but I’m on my way!

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Getting the Lard Off Progress Report

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The short report is 27.6 pounds  and 23 inches down.

The longer and more significant answer is that we are S L O W L Y  learning to modify our eating habits as we lose the lard.

We are making a point of going out to eat, rather than it being a special splurge for the week, using the meals as our ‘flex’ meals, learning to rein in our silly and destructive former habits. It’s easy to just ‘go out to eat’ and blow things for the next few days, if not a week. It’s harder, but more productive, to choose carefully from the menu, or – throwing caution to the winds – actually ordering what we want (within reason) AND ordering a doggie bag right then, cutting our meal into halves, and THEN plowing in to enjoy every bite. Not only does it help with the poundage, but also the pocketbook!

We figure our ultimate success depends on NOT feeling deprived. We really like going out to eat. We really like eating things not a normal part of our diets. If we can modify our intake to make up for this, we can make it for the long run.

This doesn’t mean that every day is ‘national-whatever-week’ – the celebration of which causes throwing our diet out the window. But if we NORMALLY eat super-healthy, and then eat half a cheeseburger and some tater tots occasionally, it’s much easier to go back to normal for the next meal, if that makes sense.

So far, it’s working for us. I’m HOPING that the NEXT time I order our Nutrisystem for the month, I can apply for a 30-pounds-off-bear to be included. Each mini-goal makes me feel I’m making progress. My massage therapist saying I looked, “skinny” today, helps, too! :0)  Even though I know she’s just being kind and I have a long way to go to my goal, it’s NICE when people encourage you by NOTICING there is a bit less of you. My husband got a boost this past Monday night when we went bowling with our good friends. They BOTH noticed how much weight he had lost. He was already feeling good, wearing some new smaller-in-the-waist pants and a new, smaller shirt, and the compliments topped things off nicely.

So, we have a good start now. I need to lose a LOT more lard, and my husband needs to start exercising, and together we’ll be healthier every day.

taolife.com

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Ahhhh!

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I’ve gone back and forth over the years on whether massage is a total luxury or absolute necessity. For the past several years I’m definitely leaning toward necessity.

My massage therapist, Lynn Moody, is a miracle worker. I always threaten to just stay on the table, refusing to leave after she kneads me into a relaxed puddle.

We talked today about why it’s so hard to relax. It doesn’t matter whether you really have problems that would tie anyone in a knot or not. The fact remains that we have trouble letting go. I consciously have to talk to myself (hopefully not aloud) saying, “relaxing jaw,” “relaxing face” as my DVD yoga instructor tells me. I don’t realize that I’m clenching my teeth and jaw, or that I’m not allowing myself to actually relax until I DO. It feels so GOOD!!!!

After Lynn tunes me up, I have more energy. My mood is much, much better, and I plan what good things I can accomplish when I get home.

If you’re considering massage a luxury you have trouble justifying in your budget, please stop it. If you don’t take care of yourself, you get sick. You hurt. You might bite the members of your family, lashing out basically because you’re uptight and can’t let go of all the things every day that tie us up.

If finances are tight, you might budget for this – acting as if it’s a trip to the doctor. You’ll thank yourself for it.

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Efforts to Get the Lard Off

The Cincinnati Zoo Blog

I’ve told you I spent 5 days in Thibodaux, Louisiana, recently, visiting my husband’s cousin’s wife, Murray, one of the sweetest people on Earth. I had a great time, getting lots of good hugs,meeting a lot of fine people, and eating lots of good food. I threw caution to the winds, eating whatever seemed reasonable at the time, enjoying every bite.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you also know about my continuing effort to get the lard off – a daunting goal when you’re weight, age, and exercise challenged by nature.

I gained almost 4 pounds in the 5 days I was gone, but I got right back on the Nutrisystem horse when I returned. My husband and I even had a flex meal of steak and baked potatoes the other night, but we’re learning to compensate for flex meals better now.

This morning I was pleased to note that, not only had I lost the 4 pounds I had gained, but also hit a new low on the scales! I’m happy to report that as of this morning I’ve lost 26 pounds and 22.55 inches since we started on Nutrisystem this time. (I say, “this time,” because we were on it in the past, several years ago, and quit, due to NS dropping all the meals my husband liked.)

I’m also REALLY happy to tell you that my husband is trying to do some sit ups!  This is a former Marine, used to doing a LOT of exercise to stay in shape while in the Corps. This is also the man who told me, “No way!” when I suggested that HE try to exercise, too. He has been encouraging ME, but steadfastly refuse to do any type of exercise himself.

(He caught a cold from my bringing home germs from my trip, and so has taken a few days off, but is really trying to do these each day. I have learned that, even if you can’t do the exercises or stretches as you would like, ATTEMPTING to do them on a regular basis strengthens and/or lengthens muscles, too, and so the effort is fruitful.

 

 

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Cold

Daily Mirror

I had just a suggestion of a sore throat while I was in Thibodaux. It became a full-fledged one the night I arrived home. I immediately sucked on Cloroseptic (sp?) lozenges and took Sudafed for the huge, stuffed head feeling and runny nose, cough, etc. I played ‘poor me’ for a day, and basically concentrated on sleeping through the cold. It helped.

Now I’m almost back to normal, but – being a sweet, giving person – I gave it to my husband inadvertently. So now HE’s sitting with kleenex stuffed into his nostrils, having taken Sudafed. He’s almost over the sore throat. We hope we haven’t passed this on to anyone else. We canceled bowling tonight so that we don’t pass it on to our friends.

Cocoon time for us until we’re fit company again.

 

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Devoting the Day to Dental Care

Healthline

It takes us almost an hour to get to our dentist’s office in Fort Smith. My husband and I have back-to-back teeth cleaning appointments, and then we drive back, doing the rest of our errands on the way home. That almost kills the whole day. Such is the exciting life of the Arkansas Lewises.

I no longer have trouble sleeping the night before I go to the dentist. Since I’m older than dirt, this means a LOT of lost hours in the past! I’ve never had a cavity and had never had anything done to my teeth, other than braces, until last year, so I didn’t have a good reason to be afraid. Telling myself I’m being silly, childish, a wuss, etc. has never been very effective against gut feelings.

My husband’s teeth are not strong. He’s had a LOT of work done over the years – some of it in the Marine Corps – so he always finds the very best dentist he can, trying to be very proactive. We lucked into Dr. Chancey in Ft. Smith when we moved here over 30 years ago. He retired, and my husband was  very upset. He asked Dr. Chancey who HE would go to for the very best care of HIS teeth. Without hesitation, he said, Dr. Wes Moore. We were accepted as patients and have gone there ever since.

My husband and my son had regular checkups and work done, when needed. I tried to avoid the issue. Finally, my husband said he would make a deal with me. He would wear a motorcycle helmet if I would start going to the dentist. Since we had been having frank ‘discussions’ about the fact that I really didn’t like the idea of his riding without a helmet, I reluctantly agreed.

My mom died of oral cancer, having smoked for some 50+ years, so this is a constant fear that it’s genetic, rather than smoking-related. Shannon, our good dental hygienist remembered what I told her the first time I met her, and did my oral cancer exam first, so that I could then relax as much as possible for the rest of the appointment. She was competent, gentle, and got me over my fear. She and her husband died in a plane crash and my husband and I were devastated. Dr. Moore is really good about finding the nicest, most qualified people to work in his office, so he found another good hygienist to take care of us and Shannon’s other patients.

We had been watching one of my wisdom teeth for quite a while. Dr. Moore had told me that, because it was only peeking out of the gum, I would have to go to an oral surgeon if I ever needed it removed. I thought, “when pigs fly….” Well, it not only started hurting, it hurt with a vengeance! He was out of town, but we waited until he was back. My husband called and told the ladies we would be there in an hour and that Dr. Moore had to see me. (Yes, he really did!) Dr. Moore saw me, saw how much pain I was in, and looked at the area again. He agreed to take it out. He used a magic stuff where I knew what was going on so I could cooperate, but it didn’t hurt and I didn’t remember afterward. I asked him if I could take some of that wonderful stuff with me when I left. :0)

We’ve been extremely lucky in dentists twice, and are extremely grateful. Shannon got me over being petrified at the dentist’s office, and we’re newly sad each time we go. Dr. Moore showed me that extraction can be done compassionately, without pain. We don’t EVER take good care like this for granted.

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Icing on the Cake

Life Love and Sugar

I’ve told you that my husband and I decided that we needed to do everything we could to get and stay healthier. We know we can’t control everything – by far – but there are things that we can do that will improve our quality of life and hopefully allow us to spend many more years together.

My husband was diagnosed with Type II diabetes a couple of years ago. We adopted a low carb diet and each of us lost some weight, but we needed more help. We decided to try Nutrisystem in April, since they had a program that was geared for diabetics (although my husband denies he has diabetes. He calls it a ‘sugar problem.’) Whatever you CALL it, it had already resulted in pain in his legs and feet and double vision, among other symptoms.  He was turned down for term life insurance. We had to go for the no exam type for low coverage and high premiums.

We had our quarterly doctor’s appointment in August. My husband’s A1C was almost NORMAL. (Isn’t that a lovely word?)  The doctor says if he keeps improving the way he’s been going, he might be able to stop taking the blood sugar medicine altogether in the future! Besides losing weight – since he has tried to cut out as much sugar as possible – the double vision is gone. The pain in his feet and legs is gone.

My blood test numbers were up to 65 points improved in all areas. I had been high in everything, even on the low carb diet, so this was a huge improvement. The doctor was really pleased and said I didn’t need to come back for 6 MONTHS!  My husband has one more 3 month appt in November, and if he has continued to do well, he’ll move to 6 MONTH appts, too!

The icing on the cake – and peace of mind – is that yesterday we found out he had been ACCEPTED by the insurance company for a 10-year level term life insurance policy!!! WOO HOO!  The policy we had was due to skyrocket in premiums in November on his birthday….

So losing weight, watching what we’re eating, and trying to get used to what a normal portion is, plus trying to move more (and in MY case, do some real exercise) is improving our quality of life and our chances for living to enjoy it for several years to come.

My husband is almost to his weight goal. He’ll decide what he wants to do when he gets there, but I’m hoping he’ll stick to the Nutrisystem while I’m on it, at least. I still have a long way to go on weight loss – between the low carb and now Nutrisystem programs, I’ve now lost a total of 35 lbs or so and 24 inches – I have a good start.

Lifestyle changing is no picnic. You have to fight the fight in your head and really want to get healthier. We think it’s worth it.

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Getting the Lard Off – Report 9/7/2018

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As of today, September 7, 2018, I’ve lost 23 pounds and 23-1/2 inches. I’m really trying to get to 25 pounds of – as my next interim goal – since the round number sounds so much better than just 23.

The 23-1/2 inches off has resulted in much more comfortable clothes, and – in some cases – giving REALLY too-large clothes to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith.  This is mostly jeans and slacks, since I really like loose tops, and a LOT of the ones in my closet were too tight for my comfort level. Now most of them are feeling roomy, and that’s a good feeling. Most of the time I can simply pick a top I’d like, not having to worry about whether I can get it on at all or feel comfortable in it. :0)

 

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My exercise is going better now, too. If I can get out to the garage early enough, I am doing 20-30 minutes on my elliptical trainer. I’m looking forward to the change of seasons, breaking the back of our still-too-hot-and-muggy weather so I can try to do the elliptical every other day.

I’m doing yoga every day because I’m beginning to feel a difference in my flexibility. I am now finally able to touch my fingertips to the floor when bending over – after breathing into it and giving my body a chance to ‘give.’ In a seated position, leaning forward and the soles of my feet touching each other, I can ALMOST touch my head to my feet. One day it will come. Best of all, when I finish all my stretching, I FEEL BETTER. My muscles aren’t cramping and there is much less pain in my joints.

When I can stand it, I either walk one mile or two, and do some firming exercises with my “Annoying Leslie” DVD. This is Leslie Sansone, who looks really good and know of what she speaks, but is annoyinlyg bubbly, too enthusiastic, doesn’t stop talking for 2 seconds in a row and has a terrible laugh. Working with her is doing me good and I’m grateful I have the video.

I find I stiffen up if I don’t do some exercise each day, so that encourages me to keep on keepin’ on. There is no way in the WORLD I can keep up with my sister-in-law in Charlotte, who routinely walks and dances her way past 10,000 steps a day, but she is kind, as well, encouraging me to move my lard each and every day.

Hopefully, I can report a nice, round number of loss next week!

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The Big Picture

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that my husband and I have been trying to lose weight and get healthier.

We were on a low-carb diet for quite awhile. We both lost weight, but we decided we needed more structure to attain our goals. We were on Nutrisystem years ago, and decided – due to the changes in their program since then – that we would try them again.

My husband is a Type II diabetic. Through our weight loss efforts (and cutting out as much sugar as possible) his A1C has gone from above 16 to 6.2. He is almost to his goal weight, unless he changes his mind for some reason.

I look at my progress 2 ways: The loss from my highest/largest on the low-carb diet and the loss from Nutrisystem so far.

Nutrisystem loss:

  • 22 pounds and 17-1/2 inches so far. (my triglcerides, etc. are significantly better, as well)
  • From my highest/largest:  37 inches and 35 pounds

I have a long way to go, but I’m feeling good that there is a positive improvement.  The fact that Nutrisystem teaches you to make healthy meals on your own while you’re on the plan with access to counselors, recipes, etc., make this a lifestyle change, rather than a diet that we will go ‘off’ at some point.

I’m also doing a bunch of exercise for an old, sedentary broad, trying to build my strength, stamina, muscles, and flexibility.

  • I’m doing a session of stretching via yoga daily.
  • I’m either walking a mile (or maybe 2) with Annoying Leslie Sansone. (Even though I find her perkiness and laugh quite annoying, I have to admit this is really good for me.
  • I am also taking advantage of some toning and firming exercises she offers on the video, so I’m walking one day and doing the exercises the next.
  • When it’s not over 100 degrees in our garage, I’m walking on the elliptical trainer
  • I’m also doing over-the-door shoulder pulley exercises, plus a weight exercise that is supposed to ease the pain in my neck and shoulders.

I figure if I just keep on keepin’ on, and hold my mouth right, I may meet my goals before I croak from old age. I would like to be in good enough shape that I can do whatever I want and not have to limit activities unnecessarily.

I’ve also told you several times in my blogs that I’m trying to continue learning new things in order to keep my poor brain going as well as possible. The trying to keep going on the laptop computer while my regular computer is waiting for a motherboard necessitates so much concentration and learning how to get around problems that my brain is getting a fine workout. We also changed Internet companies and went back to DirecTV this morning, so my husband and I are trying to leap through hoops together to make everything work and cancel all the services we don’t need anymore.

I hope you’re not having quite as much drama in your life as we have, and that you’re getting closer to achieving your goals.

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As You Grow Older…

Yvonne Dowlen via GrowingBolder

 

Today is Day 4 of trying to make SURE I make it to the 1 mile marker on the Annoying Leslie walking video each day and also do a half hour session of yoga, trying to really stretch every part of me and relax.

As I told you last week, I’m also trying to add at least one OTHER activity to this, starting today.

Today’s added activities:

  • I’m going to work in the yard, cutting back and/or pulling out tomato plants, composting what I can and pitching the rest, plus
  • we’ll hopefully go bowling with our good friends tonight.

Being a child at heart, I’ve ordered gold star stickers to add a really surface – but tangible – motivation to do this every day. I haven’t received the ones I ordered yet, so I’m using a highlighter to make the star and adding a bold black line around it each day on my desk calendar. So far I have 3-1/2 stars. (I got an extra half star on the day I did the Annoying Leslie video twice.) :0)

I’m feeling a difference since I’ve been doing the walking video. Even though I wish Leslie Sansone would just look good, lead us, and not talk my arm off,  I AM feeling a bit looser in my hips – a big area of concern for me. When I walk in real life, instead of in my living room, my hips start yelling way before I’m tired otherwise. It’s aggravating. I stop, maybe sit for 20 seconds or so, and then am happy to continue. I’m not sure why my hips yell so much, but I would like to get this to stop.

To this end, I’m listening to my hips, but not trying to coddle them. I’m making the 1 mile marker in the video, but stop there. If I can do it again later in the day, I do. If not, that’s okay. I figure my body will gradually get used to this.

On my way outside to attack dying tomato plants!

I hope you have a fun day.

 

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Who Knew?

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Today I made it to the 1 mile mark on the Annoying Leslie Walking video – hips talking to me loudly – but not screaming.

My husband then watched a movie, so I delayed my yoga until the movie was over.

Who knew how stiff, tight, and sore an old broad could get? I feel okay, but my wonderful massage lady tells me how tight I am, finding multiple knots to get rid of with her magic hands. I get down on the floor and lie on my back. It takes me a minute or so to be able to lie there without my back cramping. Then another minute or so to put my hands over my head and actually get them to lie on the floor and then relax. I’m doing my own thing these days, mostly just concentrating on stretching out and RELAXING, if possible. I keep talking to myself, saying the things my DVD yoga instructor said, “Relaaaaaaaxing jaw. Relaaaaaaaaxing face…..”

Today I bent over and just simply hung my arms down, breathing into it. Eventually, my fingertips touched the floor!  I also have trouble with the position where you’re sitting up, knees bent, soles of feet facing each other, and leaning forward. Today I leaned into it, taking my time, breathing, and I ALMOST touched my head to my feet! A third position that kills me is when I’m on my knees and then ‘sit down’ on my feet. I’ve been bending over and then pushing back, trying to get myself to loosen up, breathing, breathing. I’m feeling my hips finally starting to ‘give’ a bit. I may never be able to actually sit that way, like I did a hundred or so years ago when I was young, but it’s good to stretch in that direction. I had a good session of stretching and then put my stuff away….

Then put the walking DVD in again and did Mile 1 AGAIN. My hips still protested, but I made it through twice today – a definite improvement!!!!

 

 

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Gold Star for the Day

My husband and I agreed that I should get a Gold Star for effort today.

He watched me as I kept up with 1 mile of the “Walking with Annoying Leslie” video this afternoon. I was holding my hips a couple of times, but it’s almost like someone had hit a half-mute button.  As annoying as she is, with her perkiness, non-stop talking and pretty awful laugh, she’s helping me slowly overcome the problems with my hips.

 

He then watched me as I went through a series of Yoga positions. At one point, when I bent over with my arms hanging down, he said, “You may have touched the floor recently, but it doesn’t look like you’ll do it today, as my fingers were at least 4 inches above the floor. I just held the position, trying to breathe and relax into it, and after a couple of minutes, I said, “Look at this!” He had to admit my fingertips were, indeed, just touching the floor.

theawesomedaily.com

These two things, combined with vacuuming the first floor carpet and tiles, plus doing two loads of wash, have qualified me – the old broad of the Lewis household – for a gold star. (I might actually see if I can FIND some. I need all the motivation I can get. There’s a calendar on the wall beside where I’m typing this now, that could be my ‘record’ of the days when my movement effort merits one…

 

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I’m Making Progress

Progress Report:

  • Down 20.6 pounds
  • Down 20.4 inches

I made it through the 1st mile on the Annoying Leslie walking video today. My hips were talking to me, but not as badly as yesterday, and I didn’t have to walk in place a couple of times while the people on the video did the more challenging (kicks and knee lifts). I’m still having to force myself through it, holding my hips at times, but I’m getting there!

I won’t win any prizes for speed of weight loss, either, but I received my purple bear with “20” on it in the mailbox recently, and that’s 20 lbs gone so far, plus a happy, tangible reminder every day that I’m taking better care of myself.

My husband is 5 or 6 pounds from his weight goal now. If I weren’t addicted to him, I would slug him for making weight loss look so easy, while NOT drinking the water he’s supposed to be, NOT exercising, and just waiting for me to bring him his meals and snacks each day, along with making pulled pork for him, since Nutrisystem discontinued the item and teed him off.

We’re both still delighted that our blood test results were SO much better. There is a chance that my husband’s blood sugar number (A1C) will be NORMAL next time, and the doctor says he might be able to completely stop the blood sugar medicine in time. My lipid profile was the thing most improved this time, with each part dropping 60 to 90 points. My husband goes back in 3 months and I go back in 6 months. Here’s hoping our results will be even better!

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“Walking to New Orleans…”

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I started using the walking video the day before yesterday. I made it through about half of the first mile (of two) on the Annoying Leslie video before I had to quit, due to my hips screaming. Yesterday I made it (barely) through the 1st mile. I’m going to continue doing this daily – listening to my hips, but considering this a character-building effort in addition to good exercise.

I’m surprised that with all of the exercise I’ve been doing at different times – yoga stretches, upper body stuff, elliptical trainer, and 0-6 Packs Ab video, NONE of these seemed to work the same muscles as the walking video and the dance as exercise video I just received.

When I get to the point that I can just consider the walking video “good exercise,” rather than my character-building trial for the day, I’ll shake things up, adding one more thing each day.  I wish Leslie would quit telling me how GOOD it feels….

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20

 

We received the non-frozen portion of our latest Nutrisystem order this morning. We got everything put away, but something was missing! I finally connected with the CHAT portion of the website and waited to talk to a counselor. RebeccaL looked up my account and confirmed with URL that it said the bear had been shipped separately and that it had been delivered! The URL said it had been delivered to our mailbox.

We had errands in Fort Smith, and stopped at the mailbox at the bottom of the driveway on the way. And there it was! A sweet, lusciously purple small bear who said, “20” on his lapel, indicating that my second milestone has officially been achieved and recognized.

I feel a bit embarrassed that I was SO disappointed when my bear wasn’t included in my new box of food, but it’s true. I LIKE getting pats on the head when I’m finally losing the lard (albeit slowly).  With what I still want to lose, I’ll hopefully have a whole ROW of these sweet little bears by the time I reach my goal!

On to the next bear!!!

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Reach Up! Reach UP!

I just did 3/4 of the first mile of a two-mile “Silver Walk” DVD with Leslie Sansone. I find her annoying because she talks all the way through the video non-stop and is SO happy and energetic. She keeps telling me how GOOD it all feels, while my hips are screaming.  This DVD is in conjunction with Nutrisystem. I got it several years ago when my husband and I were on Nutrisystem for the first time.  (The picture below isn’t the DVD I have. Mine is two miles for old ladies. ) It gives you an idea, though, of how perky Leslie Sansone is. Add a non-stop loud, enthusiastic voice and laughter to this picture and you begin to understand why I call my DVD ‘Annoying Leslie.’ She DOES get you moving, though, and she has been successful for many years, so I’ll just have to be annoyed.

 

 

Since my hips yelled yesterday when I did the warm up of my new ‘Dance to Walk’ or ‘Walk to Dance’ (or something similar) DVD, and again, today, with the Annoying Leslie walking DVD, it’s getting through to me that I need to do SOMETHING like this every day.  We have an appointment in Fort Smith this afternoon, plus other errands, but when I get home, I’ll try the DVD again and see how I do.

I should slowly loosen up in my hips and then start to build some much-needed muscle. I find it amazing that, with as many ways that I’m trying to move every day, each thing seems to use different muscles….

 

 

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Dancing My Lard Off?

I got this DVD set in the mail this morning and tried out the first DVD.     I have my work cut out for me.

This is advertised as a “Low Impact Walking Workout Pack, including two 5000 step DVD workouts. This should be a good addition to my yoga stretches, elliptical trainer, 0-6 Pack Abs DVD, and the 5-Minute Per Day DVD moves that are supposed to make me look like Julia Roberts. :0)

I’m doing my yoga stretches daily, and then mixing in the other stuff in on various days during the week, trying to do at least two different things per day.

I have to tell you, I did the ‘warm up’ today on the new dance DVD and my hips were screaming. I know – pathetic – but I figure if I try to do JUST the warm up every day, my hips will finally quit screaming. I think I’ll be able to move on to an actual workout sometime soon. The workout got me warmed up and breathing harder, so I think it was a good thing. I’m going to try to put my workout schedule on my calendar today and see how it goes….

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Good Afternoon!

I’m late getting to my blog today because I enjoyed a glorious massage!

If you live in the Greenwood/Fort Smith/Hackett and more area in Arkansas you should contact Lynn Moody at lynnmoody42@yahoo.com and schedule an appointment. Time with Lynn will be the very best present you can give yourself.

Dribs and Drabs and Details Updates:

  • The pulled pork recipe last night was a success and it couldn’t be simpler.

I bought a pork loin the day before yesterday. Yesterday morning I browned it on all sides and then put it in my slow cooker. I didn’t go by a recipe, but added tomato soup plus a can of water, a chicken ‘booster’ packet, a bit of seasoned salt and pepper, onion bits, and garlic. I set it to low for 10 hours. When we were ready to have dinner, I turned off the slow cooker and put the pork loin on a platter. My husband and I grabbed a handful of forks and had great fun pulling it to shreds. We then got out our scales and divided it into 4 oz portions in freezable and microwaveable portions, putting a tablespoon of the remaining liquid from the slow cooker in each.

My husband deemed it ‘very good!’ I was relieved because this can take the place of the pulled pork item that Nutrisystem discontinued recently and probably won’t have again. This was my husband’s favorite item, so this is a big deal for us. It was also quick and easy to prep for cooking. This meant a lot to me because I’ve never tried pulled pork before.

He did ask that we find another BBQ sauce because it would add more flavor, so I found one today, with the help of a good friend, that has 5 grams of sugar per serving. A serving is 2 tablespoons, and we’ll only use ONE, so this is good going forward. We’ll probably have the pulled pork as a staple of his/our new eating plan going forward.  He can eat some whenever he wants for dinner or lunch, since he is near his weight goal now. I’ll probably use it as a flex dinner because we’re eating it on a hamburger bun.

  •  I’m almost ready to start adding some fur or feathers to the drawings I traced recently using my new 4 LED Tracing Board (light box). I did find another drawing I want to try (a fawn) , so will try to get that one added today.
  • I managed to do some yard work last night WITHOUT getting stung by red wasps or ants! I did find that the red wasps had built a nest INSIDE the mouth of the metal peacock critter we built who sits in the planter. My husband squirted the wasps and we ran for the house just before we finished our yard work. Hopefully, with relocating the peacock, the wasps will decide to live elsewhere.
  • I’ll do a final tweak on my closet clean out and reorganization project today and call it finished until I move things in the fall.
  • My husband’s blood test numbers were SO much better that I sent them to a friend who has been trying to get term life insurance for him. (He was turned down 2 years ago, and the policy premium we have now will skyrocket on his birthday.) She submitted the numbers to the underwriters who were super impressed with the improvement and agreed to consider him for a policy! We’ll apply next week. Fingers crossed.

That catches you up on the exciting lives of the Arkansas Lewises. I hope things are going well with you, too.

 

 

 

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Quarterly Progress Report

My husband and I went for our quarterly checkup by our primary doctor this afternoon. We got blood tests last week and were hopeful that we would see some changes for the better.

I’ve told you my husband is a Type II Diabetic. His A1C last quarter was 7.6. (This was down a bunch from his original count of 16+, but still wasn’t normal.)  Today it was 6.2 (the goal for diabetics is <7). HOOORAAAAAAY!  We had essentially given up ever getting a normal reading again, and were just concentrating on eating right and getting the numbers as low as we could. We practically danced around the room!

The big difference in my numbers was in Lipid Profile (Fats in the blood, I think)

  • Cholesterol was down 107 points
  • LDL down 57 points
  • Non-HDL down 70 points
  • Triglycerides down 61 points

She said that since my husband and I are essentially eating the same foods, my exercise was the cause of my improved numbers!

She was so pleased she said I could wait to come back for SIX months. I’ve been going quarterly for YEARS, so this was super good news. If my husband keeps his good numbers in November, HE can go to every six months, too!

Tonight we’re going bowling with our good friends and having our FLEX snack for the week, a scoop of  ice cream from Braum’s. We celebrated by having a FLEX lunch, as well, enjoying a couple of pieces of fried fish from our local grocery deli. We haven’t had that for almost five months now, so it was a joyous celebration, even though we’re supposed to spread the flex meals out – one per day.

We knew we had lost weight.  We knew we had lost inches (though my husband won’t measure, he’s losing his tummy)

It was wonderful to have the doctor confirm with objective numbers that we’re improving our health. She said, as we were leaving, “I wish all my patients took an active interest in their health and worked as hard as you two have.”

A wonderful pat on the head! :0)

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Something Tangible!

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I’ve lost almost 20 pounds now (not officially yet) and almost 18 inches down so far with the help of Nutrisystem and exercise.

I’m a ‘pear-shaped,’ ‘no-spring chicken’ (a kind description) and have been way too sedentary in the past several years. I have a long way to go in my efforts to lose the lard in order to be as healthy as I can be, but today I enjoyed another TANGIBLE sign of progress.

I like my clothes loose. This has always been my choice, even when I wasn’t trying to cover my lard. For the past several years, my sizes of jeans have increased as my “pear-shape” increased. I would have to unbutton or unzip my jeans in the evenings to be comfortable watching TV or a movie. My husband did, too.  I also wear pretty large, loose tops. This has always been comfortable to me, and the same clothes I’ve had in my closet are the ones I’m wearing now, so no changes there. In fact, some of the ones I have  are STILL too tight.

Today I put on a clean pair of jeans and noticed that they were definitely baggy. I rooted through my stack of  jeans and finally found a size smaller. I grit my teeth, thinking this was an exercise in futility, but not only could I pull them up, I could fasten them – EASILY!  I’m sitting here typing and am completely comfortable. No wanting to give myself ‘breathing room’ by unfastening them!

So, today I’ll gather up the size I had been wearing (please don’t ask WHAT size) and will take them into the guest room closet. I’m not confident enough yet to actually put them in the donation bag for the Disabled Vets yet, but if I continue to get positive signs, they’ll go there soon!

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Long-Term Goals

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I’m about to hit another milestone in trying to get the lard off – almost 20 pounds gone. I’ve lost almost 19 inches overall.

A good friend asked me what the next goal was – and I immediately responded, “40 pounds off.”

But that’s not really what my long-term goals are.

One quote I love says, “Old age is always 15 years older than you are.”  

I don’t want to live forever, but I would really like to feel good enough to do most anything I would like to do until I croak. Since they haven’t come up with pills that do it for you, it’s up to ME to try to

  • get my excess lard off
  • exercise to strengthen my muscles and bones
  • do whatever else I can to become/stay as healthy as I can

I don’t really know how much weight I want to lose. I would like to be in the normal range according to BMI charts. If I keep on keepin’ on, eventually I’ll get there. I’ll see how I feel when I get there and then make more decisions. I have high blood pressure that is now finally reading normal WITH medication. I would love it if I can one day stop these. I would like my blood test numbers to be all in the ‘normal’ range one day. (I never really appreciated what a delicious word “normal” is before. We’ll see the fruits of my efforts so far at our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor Monday.)

 

treatshappen.com

After better health, it would be really nice not to have to avoid clothing stores that don’t carry clothes large enough for me, having to head for the ‘fat lady section’ in the limited stores that do. It’s not really a vanity thing. It’s emotional. I would like to be able to choose something I like off the rack and know it should FIT, but only to be concerned if I like the way I look in it. When I have to avoid stores altogether, or have to only be concerned about it being ‘large enough,’ it chips away at my feelings of self worth. I will enjoy feeling much better about myself.

SO –

  1. Good health
  2. Feeling normal about finding clothes without taking a hit emotionally.

Anything else is gravy.

First short-term goal is getting the 20 off officially so that I can get another ‘bear’ from Nutrisystem – hopefully in our next order!

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Feeling Encouraged

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I had a bit of trouble reading Tia’s writing, but she’s saying what I’m feeling – “I feel comfortable & empowered & strong. It’s encouraged me to work out – a pretty incredible feat. And it’s helping me lose weight & feel better.” – Tia.

It’s a day early for my progress report, but I’m feeling like I’m finally making a difference with the help of Nutrisystem and exercise. My husband and I went for blood tests this morning and our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor is next Monday. I’m hoping that those tests will also show we’re serious about trying to get healthier.

I’m down almost 19 pounds this morning. And down almost 18 inches. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be a ‘workout person,’ but I AM trying to do the abdominal exercises for pear-shaped people (0-6 Pack Abs DVD) every other day, yoga stretching every day, and either the elliptical trainer or the ‘annoying Leslie’ walking DVD the days I’m not doing the ab exercises. When I get comfortable with these, I’ll see what else I want to add to the mix.

taolife.com

 

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A Little Here, A Little There…

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Progress Report to Date: – I’ve lost 18 pounds and 17.3 inches.

I still seem to be off my weight loss plateau, so I’m happy about that.

I mailed Nutrisystem Customer Service yesterday, asking what can be done about them discontinuing my husband’s favorite lunch (and dinner) item – BBQ Pulled Pork. I also mailed a letter to management in Pennsylvania, hoping that if customer service can’t or won’t do anything, maybe someone at management cares and can. Things are calm for the moment, but we may need to make drastic changes after the next order. We’ll see.

I did the 12 Phase 1 exercises on the 0-6 Pack Abs DVD this morning. Today I must have been doing better about breathing and position because I definitely felt my stomach muscles trembling! It seems to me that that means I’m getting the attention of some of my core muscles. I did several reps of each of the 12 exercises slowly and carefully, watching them and listening and then trying to replicate. I plan to do this same level daily for the next couple of weeks before trying the Phase 1 Workout session. I want to concentrate on doing each position as correctly as possible.

I also did my yoga stretches for another half hour of exercise, so I’m happy with my efforts. Tomorrow I’ll do both of these and try to add something else.

It looks like it MIGHT actually rain this afternoon! Because it’s now overcast, I’m going to head out and see how much progress I can make on weeding the flower planters.

My mantra is ‘KEEP MOVING!’

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Abdominal Exercises

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I tried the new abdominal exercises DVD called, “0-6 Pack Abs” yesterday. It’s good for everyone, but especially for pear-shaped old broads like me who really need to build the LATERAL core muscles. There are 12 positions that are put together to make up 4 exercise routines in Phase I. Once I master these, I can move to the next group, hopefully getting stronger as I go. They emphasize that once I get to the 4th group, I should continue the the 4th workout at least once a week in order to keep my core strong.  I have the DVD so that I can listen to and see what I’m supposed to be doing, plus a book with pictures for reference.

What I wish is that I could afford to go to California where the doctor who created the DVD is, so I could make sure I’m doing the positions correctly. Not being able to do that, I’m going to go slowly, reviewing the 12 positions, listening and watching carefully, trying to do what they’re telling me. The way I’m breathing and holding holding stomach muscles while I move is key.

I’m hopeful that I can make this work for me. I’ve done sit ups and crunches in the past. The result is that I achieve only a backache and aching neck and still have a belly. These exercises in combination with my yoga stretching, in combination with other stuff during the week should help me get stronger.

Other things I’m planning to add in some combination to the every day abdominal exercises and yoga are

  • my elliptical trainer or
  • “Annoying Leslie” walking DVD or
  • and another DVD, called, “5 Minutes to Look Younger – Anti-Aging Follow-Along Workout” that promises to make me look and move like Julia Roberts (just kidding).  and
  • I have a pedometer in my pocket that encourages me to walk more
  • I’m using an over-the-door shoulder pulley system that is supposed to help with my neck and back pain
  • I’m doing an exercise with a 3-lb weight for the same

Otherwise, I’m doing short sessions of yard work in the yard or in my garden, trying to go through my house to get rid of more things (that necessitates a lot of bending, hauling, cleaning, reorganizing), and just downright cleaning (mopping, vacuuming, etc.

Along with my Nutrisystem plan to make sure I’m eating healthy, I’m hopeful that in time I can shed the pain and embrace doing more, relishing it, rather than ever taking it for granted again.

taolife.com

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Get the Lard Moving Day

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My 0-6Pack Abs video came yesterday afternoon – FINALLY – so today is the day I’ll get started with it.

These are several levels of exercises to strengthen your core muscles. They are designed by a doctor of physical therapy especially for people who are trying to flatten their bellies, get rid of back pain, and more. Especially for old, overweight, sedentary, pear-shaped women like me! It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for the DVD and book to arrive, so I’m excited about getting started.

Since we don’t have anywhere we HAVE to go or things we HAVE to do today, I’m devoting the day to sessions working in the yard, followed by some rest and water, then exercise of one type or another, then rest and water – and REPEAT.

I came in a while ago from half an hour or so in the yard. I finally got our rose bushes pruned and some really healthy weeds pulled out of our flower beds. I’m almost back to regular temperature now, and am drinking a bottle of water.

I’ll do my yoga stretches for about half an hour, and then I’ll drink more water while I watch the first part of the 0-6 Pack Abs DVD and read about Phase 1 workouts and exercises.

I’ll do another session in the yard, and then come back and actually try to DO the Phase 1 exercises with the DVD.

I’ll keep going, hoping to have a good, healthy day – keeping the lard moving.

 

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Playing in My Art Room

My good friend Marsha suggested that, instead of trying to give myself PERMISSION to play in my art room, I SCHEDULE it at least twice a week as a part of a program to be better to myself. I’ve taken that suggestion and have found my spirits lifting and getting excited about trying to learn something new.

I have a book called Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf. It gives you hints about how to capture the essence of animals and birds, zeroing in on their most distinctive features in order to try to draw better pictures of them. It also addresses trying to paint realistic fur and feathers.

 

I decided to take a couple of my previous drawings and reproduce them, trying to concentrate on the feathers techniques.  Then I found others I’d like to try, as well. I’m trying to get a bunch of these drawings into a sketch book and then play with them, using all kinds of different media and see what I get.

I have to tell you the time flies as I ‘work’ in my art room. I turn on an mp3 player, listen to some of my favorite music in the comfort of my CLEAN, air-conditioned and ceiling-fanned room, a cup of coffee or a bottle of water beside me at the table.

I’m excited about learning a completely new skill, and I’m very thankful to have this book for examples, suggestions, and inspiration.

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Getting the Lard Off – A Bit Afraid to Hope

The Little Engine That Could said something like, “I THINK I can, I THINK I can,” enabling him to get to the top of the mountain. I’m feeling cautiously confident that MAYBE I’ve broken through the plateau from Hell I’ve been on for a couple of months now.

The chat counselor was helpful, looking at my NuMi log. She said, (I’m paraphrasing and putting a bit of my own spin on what she actually said) –

  • It didn’t look like I was eating enough (I had skipped the Powerfuel serving at breakfasts, for example)
  • My snacks didn’t have enough calories many times, giving my body the message that it “needed to store fat for the winter”
  • It might be a good idea to switch lunches and dinners – giving me ‘heavier meals with slightly more calories earlier in the day

I did these, and they helped a bit, but didn’t actually impress the scales or the tape measure much.

The message I’ve gotten is that I need to shake things up some, since doing the same thing each day expecting different results is stupid.

I’m changing WHAT I’m eating for snacks, thinking that the variety will cause my body to take notice, rather than acting like a slug. I’m doing my yoga each day, but I’m also changing some of what I’m doing for exercise, thinking that will also get my body’s attention for the better.

I started these changes 3 days ago and I’ve lost weight the past two days. It’s early to think I’ve found the answer, but at least it seems to be PART of the answer for me. I’ve been old and sedentary for a long time. I’m still old (and hopefully getting older!) but I CAN do something about shaking things up and moving more effectively.

“I THINK I Can….”

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Encouraged

I lost a pound yesterday. I don’t know what happened, exactly, but I’m smiling today, happy that I seem to have broken through the weight loss plateau on which I teetered.

I’ve lost 17 pounds and 17.3 inches – definitely a good start.

My husband is doing well, too. He’s on the diabetic plan for men.  I don’t really see any difference in our plans, since Nutrisystem cuts out salt, fat, and sugar, still making things that taste good. Our choices each month seem to be much the same – all healthy.

My husband is to the point that he’s taking his blood pressure medicine every other day. We take our blood pressure daily, so we’re monitoring that – plus his blood sugar numbers – carefully. Since we’ve been trying to cut his sugar (before, but also continuing now with NS) he’s gone from having double vision for a scary time, shooting pains in his feet, having to have TUMS with him at all times, headaches, and high blood pressure and cholesterol, to good vision, no pain in his feet anymore, no TUMS in about 8 months now, lower blood sugar numbers and much lower blood pressure.  We’re hoping his A1C test will be normal, or very close to it this time.

We have our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor in August, so we’re hoping that our tests will show good improvement in all areas. I’m hoping that our doc will confirm that we’re on the road to better health now. A pat on the head would be nice! :0)

 

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Holding My Own, But Not Blazing Trails This Week

This picture makes me laugh. I love the creativity of the person who thinks like this AND the expertise of the person who did the photoshopping to create it.

I had a stagnant week, ‘getting-the-lard-off-wise.’

Progress to date is 16 pounds off and 17.3 inches off.

I’m frustrated that I can’t report any improvement this week, but I’m pleased that I ate three of the four FLEX meals we’re supposed to eat and didn’t gain anything. I enjoyed a FLEX SNACK of a scoop of chocolate ice cream from Braum’s after bowling with friends; a FLEX LUNCH of the salad bar with “Breakfast Bunch”; and a FLEX DINNER of chicken fried rice from our favorite Chinese place. (I got a ‘small’ portion, but I ate the WHOLE thing.)

I can report that I AM doing yoga every day, but the bulk of my ‘exercise’ has been sessions of working in the yard. With our heat index above 100 (our actual temperature will be 102 today!) just walking around in the heat is work for me, much less the weed whacking and spraying of stuff toting 2 gallons of liquid – several half hour sessions per day.

I have become a camel, glugging down water to a fabulous degree, over and above the 64 oz I’m SUPPOSED to be drinking.

So – I didn’t lose, but I didn’t gain – holding my own. I’ll ‘keep my head down’ and ‘keep on keepin’ on,’ and will hopefully be able to report some progress NEXT week.

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