Tag Archives: taking care of yourself

We’ve Been Spiralized (if you’ll pardon the expression)

HungryGoddess.com

 

 

I’m probably the last person on the planet to spiralize a veggie. I’ve made cauli-rice and I’ve cooked spaghetti squash, but just spiralized my first yellow squash last night.

My sister-in-law, Mary Lou, told me that she had done it recently and she thought it was very good. Somehow, in my mind I was waiting to ‘process’ some and freeze it just to eat in place of spaghetti or noodles.

I used my spiralizer (above) for the very first time and it worked like a charm. I sauteed the squash in some olive oil, added some seasoned salt and pepper, and some garlic powder. It only took a few minutes to cook. My husband doesn’t like to ‘fight’ with spaghetti or anything like that, so I cut the ‘squash spaghetti’ into bite-sized pieces and served.   I put some on my husband’s plate, along with nice roast beef slices, and asked him to try it.

To my surprise, he said, “This is okay. What is it?” Around our house, this amounts to a judgment of ‘we can eat this again.’ (Not ‘YUMMY!” but it’ll work.) I can now look forward to serving this under recipes that call for spaghetti, angel hair pasta, or even noodles.

As far as our new ‘son’ (we’re hosting a 16-year-old soccer-player from Italy for the next school year, starting in August), I’ll ask him to try it. If he likes it, we’ll all try it with spaghetti and meat balls or a stir-fry. If he doesn’t, it won’t be a big deal to make some actual spaghetti for him.

Tonight I’m trying zucchini!

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Filed under DIET!, getting the lard off, Keto Eating Plan and Recipes We Like, taking care of yourself

Decision: Miracle or Euthanasia?

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As Lynn Moody – my wonderful massage therapist – and I walked up to her spa location, I asked her if there were any upper age limit on who could get a massage. She laughed when I told her that I felt at least 180 years old this morning and that everything I had hurt. I asked her to either perform a miracle or euthanize me –

My husband and I have had a labor-intensive week or so, with my  spreading 16 large bags of cedar blend mulch on the ground under the raised bed planter boxes in my square foot garden after several sessions of weeding; our hauling bricks, laying bricks and then shoveling potting soil into the finished planter, our doing yard work, etc.

Adding insult to injury, one of our cats tried to jump in my lap while I was sitting at the computer yesterday, missed, and grabbed my hand with her claws on the way down. When I FINALLY was able to detach her claws, her back claws stuck into my leg. Both my hand and my leg are slightly swollen. For some mysterious reason, my right ear lobe has also been swollen – though I can’t blame THAT on the cat, AND I had a crick in my neck.  I was actually moaning a bit trying to get onto the massage table…

Happily, Lynn not only found the really sore spots I knew about, but also the ones I hadn’t realized hurt! At the end of my hour-long massage, I sighed in relief. She had, indeed, performed a miracle.

I’ve been drinking lots of water since I came home, trying to increase the chances of my relief lasting as long as possible. If I can get a good night’s sleep tonight, I will be a happy camper tomorrow.

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Ready to Plant More!

This picture gives you a good idea of how our raised bed, square foot garden is set up. You can see the six boxes. Each is 4 foot square. Each has a sprinkler in the center with hose connecting the boxes to one master control that irrigates the garden each morning for 10 minutes. Each box is divided into ‘squares’ by running wire in two directions. You can also see that there is fencing around the garden to keep out large critters. It also has chicken wire running around the bottom for little critters.

The rains lately caused an explosion in the garden. The plants were spilling out of the top over the sides. I couldn’t see the squares anymore. It took me three days to get things harvested, washed, and either put in the fridge or distributed to friends. I finished cleaning up the garden this morning so it’s ready to plant some new things. My husband and I will see what is available in the coming week that looks interesting.

We have about 5 heads of lettuce that might still make. The green part of the onions is over my head. :0)

I think this is zucchini squash. I also have some cantaloupe plants.

The jury is still out on whether sweet little plants like these that are dotted around the garden are weeds or spinach. I’m hoping for spinach. Time will tell.

This sweet little guy is celery, transplanted from sprouting in the kitchen. I cut off the end of some celery I bought at the store and put it in water. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

I keep telling you about Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use instead of real dirt in my garden. I buy peat moss, vermiculite, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost from the local co-op and put each ingredient in one of the garbage cans. I then put the ingredients in the correct ratio into our portable concrete mixer.

This is easy to use and mixes things SO much better than I was doing before with a shovel in my wheelbarrow. When mixed, the mixer will move down to dump the ingredients into a bucket, the wheelbarrow, or whatever, and I transfer it to the garden boxes.

I’m hoping we’ll find something fun to plant next week. Fingers crossed!

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Getting the Lard Off Progress To Date

The short answer – I’m down 43 pounds and 47.7 inches. 

Longer answer –

We decided to stop Nutrisystem, figuring that we have learned the lessons they have provided, and now it’s up to us to use them. We had gotten to the point where we were pretty much doing our own thing anyway, and are basically eating poultry or fish, lots of raw veggies and salads, fruit, and nuts.

I’m gathering some nice recipes for the chicken and fish. I’m working at this slowly because particularly at this time of the year, we’re doing a lot outside and I’m too pooped at the end of the day to start a new recipe. We eat a lot of what we call, “Main Meal Salads,” (basically chef salads) for dinner.

One surprising thing was that I’m having to work out a new dosage of thyroid replacement medicine since I’ve lost the weight. (I had Graves Disease and my thyroid was radiated, so I have none. My life now depends on replacing what my body can’t supply anymore.) Finding the right dosage is a bit like growing nerves – slow, gradual, and painful. Having too much or too little thyroid hormone results in basically the same symptoms – and all of them are extremely annoying. So you try a dosage for 6 weeks, get another blood test, change the dosage, try again. The symptoms remain until your brain is happy with the dosage. No shortcuts. We THINK we have the correct dosage now – at least most of the symptoms have decreased at this level.

My exercise efforts are hit and miss despite my best intentions. I’m working in my raised bed, square foot garden, plus weed whacking in the yard, weeding flower beds, etc. By the time I do several sessions of that in a day, I’m too lazy to try to exercise. I have finally learned the big lesson that being active is NOT the same as doing established exercises. The movement is good, but you’re not working the same muscles in the same way as you do when you exercise.

So, I’m feeling guilty a lot, but my priority right now is working outside when I can. When I get things to the stage where I’m basically maintaining my plants, I’ll do better on the exercise – PROMISE. (Okay, I know you’ve heard THAT before…. :0) )

I’m hopeful that when I report again at the end of May, I will have reached 50 lbs off and whatever inches I can manage. Here’s to a better job of getting the lard off!

taolife.com

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Ahhh!

Massageaholic.com

There is no way to tell you how much I look forward to my monthly massage. Lynn Moody is my massage therapist. She is SO good. She listens. She can feel with her magic hands where you have knots, sore spots, stiffness and take them away. I can trust her to FEEL when what she is doing is too much. She knows what to do to ease whatever you walked in with.

I’m not sure if I particularly needed her today or if she just was able to reach me particularly well, but I feel really great right now.

I used to feel that massage was a total luxury. Now I consider it a taking-care-of-myself thing.

If you haven’t tried masage therapy and live in the Greenwood/Fort Smith/Hackett area, call Lynn Moody and make an appointment. It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. Her number is 479-629-7601.

If you live outside this area, FIND someone and start feeling better soon.

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Getting the Lard Off Results – as of March 2019

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I have a whole list of excuses, but – bottom line – I didn’t make much progress this month – except on finding some good, healthy recipes that we can eat on a regular basis.

To date – since my lardiest – I’ve lost 43 pounds and 44.2 inches. 

My goal is to lose another 30 pounds or so to get to the place where I can quit trying to get taller and my BMI chart is singing ‘hallelujah,’ – or at least, ‘you’ve come a long way, baby.’ Whatever inches that go with that will be much appreciated. I would love to get to the point where I don’t have to worry about ‘getting into’ clothes. I don’t really care what size it is. I would just like to be able to walk into a regular department or other clothes store and be confident that I can find my size and that the garment has a reasonable chance of fitting.

The biggest goal, though, is health. I’m newly determined – since the death of my brother this month – to do everything I can to improve my health as much as possible. That means a healthy weight and lots and lots of moving.

I’ve used lots of excuses re getting off my duff, too. I’m TRYING to do something different each day to keep getting my body’s attention. I’m already more active than usual, getting my veggie garden started and general working in the yard stuff.  But I use THAT as an excuse to forego my scheduled exercise. (I know, it’s pathetic, but there it is.)

I’m going to try to get started with getting on the elliptical trainer in the garage today. I’ll just worry about today for now.

Hopefully, when I report to you again at the end of April, I can say I’ve made some real progress.

All appendages crossed!

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Shingles

Health Central

My husband had Shingles in about 2004. He was in intense pain for about 8 weeks, with it still hurting to cough, sneeze, or laughs for weeks after that. Here is information about Shingles –

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/symptoms-causes/syc-20353054

When the first vaccine came out, we jumped at the chance to protect ourselves. I don’t ever want my husband to suffer like that again, and I sure didn’t want to get it. We were vaccinated – being told that would protect us for life.

Then – they amended that to say you were lucky if you were protected for 5 years. This meant our protection was gone in 2009! We jumped on the information when a new 2-dose vaccine was announced. The problem is that there is quite a shortage of the vaccines. You have to call around and list your name several places to get the first vaccination, and then HOPE you can get the second within the six month time period for it to be effective.

We lucked out, getting out first vaccination in January. We were due for our second one mid March, but had to wait a week or two (which was still amazing) to get the second one.

The first one the whole back of my arm swelled up, nice and pink and sore and hot, with a hard knot in the middle, if I were brave enough to touch it. I felt as if I had been run over by a bus for three days afterwards.

We both got the second dose yesterday morning. This time The spot on my arm is much smaller, about the size of a 50 cent piece, with the hard knot in the center. It isn’t hot this time, only pink and sore. I feel again like I’ve been run over by a bus. I slept Wednesday afternoon and then all night Wednesday night. We got up today and I was feeling faint. I had quite a bout of feeling nauseous and sick, faint, etc. and then managed to get that under control and went to sleep in my chair again.

I got up long enough to make us a sandwich for lunch and held that down fine. We did the few errands that were have-to’s and then I felt well enough to watch a movie I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

We’re going out to pick up Chinese for dinner. I’ll hit the hay early again and hope I’m feeling more like myself tomorrow. At least this time I know about how long I’ll feel terrible.

I really think it’s worth it for the protection it gives – hopefully another five years without worry we’ll get Shingles.  It is truly an awful disease where caregivers are helpless to do any good and it seems to last forever. A few days of feeling yucky is a small price to pay.

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Progress in Planting

Raised-Bed Square Foot Planters in the Garden:

Yesterday I weeded one of the six raised bed square foot garden planters. It’s 4 feet x 4 feet.

Today we bought two bunches of Sweet Red Onions and I got them planted. Since they’ll stay where they are until they are ready for harvest (August or after) I planted them without stringing strings across to make ‘squares’ for planting. I just tried to give them room enough to expand to be good-sized, small sweet onions. I spread some fertilizer in the planter and then watered them.

I think they’ll make it through any freezes we have between now and spring, but, just in case, I can spread a king-sized sheet over the planter for protection.

I’ll try to weed one planter each good day, so hopefully they’ll all be ready to receive plants soon.

 

_____________________

Greenhouse:

 

Two of the covered seed starters had water beading on the inside – a good thing.

 

This one was dry, even with the cover. I sprayed the plants with water again and used a different cover. Hopefully, it will hold the moisture in.

I’m not sure how long it takes for the seeds to sprout. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas!

I’m planning to cut back our rose bushes today, plus give the wisteria some phosphorus fertilizer.

 

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Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse, taking care of yourself

The Verdict is In

My husband gave it the Basic Broccoli Soup a try and doesn’t care for it. I think it tastes really good. If you’re interested, here is the recipe –

Basic Broccoli Soup – Dr. Kris Verburgh, The Longevity Code

Basic Broccoli Soup 

¼ cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped  (I used minced garlic from a jar)

4 cups water

1 pound broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 vegetable bullion cubes (I used chicken)

Pepper

Finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the water into the pan and add the broccoli, bouillon cubes and pepper. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the broccoli with an electric mixer or immersion blender to puree. Serve with parsley.

Tip –

You can also add 1T dried basil, 1 bay leaf (removed before blending), and 1 small, chopped onion, for extra flavor. (I did this)

You can also make the soup thicker by using more veggies – for example, substituting 1 lb 10 oz of veggies for the water. ( I’m thinking I’ll add spinach leaves to this next time.)

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Broccoli Soup Experiment

 

I’m making soup today – for the first time – ever. I know, since I’m older than dirt, this is probably a surprising statement. My mom made a few dishes that were absolutely spectacular, such as spaghetti sauce, chili, and some casseroles; but mainly, she cooked from many boxes and cans. We always ate Campbell’s soup.

I told you we were impressed when we read The Longevity Code by Dr. Kris Verburgh recently, and that there were a few really basic recipes in the book. One was “Basic Broccoli Soup”  and that’s what I have cooking now. When my timer goes off in about 15 minutes, I’m supposed to use an immersion blender (I actually HAVE one!) to puree the broccoli.

I expect my husband will be UNDERwhemed, since he only eats steamed broccoli because he knows he should and because I fix it and put it on his plate. I really don’t expect him to do more than taste it, but one can hope. I’m mainly fixing it for ME because I love broccoli, and like the idea of being able to microwave home-cooked soup and eat it for a meal or a snack any time I would like.

If this recipe is good – or can be tweaked – I’ll post it here.

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Exercise?!

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I missed my exercise yesterday, but I just finished what I was SUPPOSED to do yesterday – yoga and abdominal exercises – so I got my gold star on my desk calendar.  :0)  I’ll have to keep going through Saturday this week to get everything in:

  • Monday – elliptical trainer
  • Tuesday – yoga and abdominal exercises
  • Wednesday – walking video
  • Thursday – Wii Fit Plus ‘games’
  • Friday – dance video

I told you yesterday about a book that impressed my husband and me – The Longevity Code.  He included several recipes, and we got the ingredients we could yesterday. I ordered almond meal today and hope to have it by Friday. As I try these recipes, I’ll post ones we’ll make again to see if you would like to try them, too.

I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful day.

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The Longevity Code

 

I’ve just finished reading and taking notes on The Longevity Code by Kris Verburgh, MD.

My husband and I found it very interesting because it discusses why we age, and what – if anything – we can do to slow the process.

He suggests supplements to add if you’re not taking them already, plus discusses what foods to avoid to be as healthy as you can for as long as you can. He is NOT selling HIS supplements or special foods from HIS source – a thing that would have turned us off.

Some of his suggestions we were doing already. He gives a few recipes to get you started on eating in a healthy fashion that you can add to things you are already doing.

He doesn’t claim you’ll stop or reverse aging, or any nonsense like that. He IS suggesting ways you can improve your health.

We found the book impressive and interesting. We got the supplements we weren’t already taking and went shopping for some basic supplies today. We plan to start implementing many of his suggestions right away.

We figure – What can we lose?

 

 

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The Long View on Our Diet and Exercise Efforts

gif-finder.com – Use Your Blinker

Over a year ago I was at my heaviest. My joints hurt. I didn’t exercise, and didn’t even want to THINK about it. I was depressed. My clothes kept becoming too small. I couldn’t shop at regular stores for clothes anymore. My digestion was poor. I was on a lot of medications. I dreaded going for doctor appointments, and especially having to get on the scales.

My husband and I tried low carb, and we did some good, and then we started Nutrisystem in April of last year. It was May before we could get our act together on eating, and even longer for me to start trying to move more.

I measured and weighed this morning. We’re still trying to lose what we gained during the holidays and our son’s visit, but we’re getting there. I looked at where I was at my heaviest for inspiration and motivation today.

Since my heaviest, I’ve lost 39.2 pounds and 47.7 inches. I’m trying to exercise daily and consciously get up and move more during the day. I love being at my computer, but between sessions I get up and DO something – like my exercise for the day, or another session on the great purge of my house I started last year. I’m now on Phase II and am working in the pantry today.

I want to lose another 30 pounds so I’ll be in the ‘healthy’ range on BMI and insurance charts. I’ve improved my numbers on blood tests a lot since I’ve gotten serious about trying to get healthier, and so has my husband, who has Type 2 Diabetes. (His blood sugar was 84 this morning!) We have gotten better numbers on our cholesterol, lipids, etc., and our doctor is nodding happily. (We hope she’ll do so again at our 6 month check-up on Monday)

I want to have GOOD numbers on blood pressure, blood tests, etc. And I would LIKE to improve my strength, balance, stability, flexibility and more so I can do what I’d like to do for as long as humanly possible. It would be great if I could lessen joint pain, too.

So – even though we’re not back to where we were before the holidays yet, the long-term difference is good.  We both weigh significantly less than we did at one point. We’re healthier than we were over a year ago, and we’re taking better care of ourselves.

My husband is reading something on his Kindle that is catching his attention about health – something that used to be quite unusual for him. He said that people whose waistlines were 80% of their height lived, on average, 20 years less than folks who had more moderate waistlines. He also read that salmon is good for us, and asked if I would fix some.

It’s now on tonight’s menu!

 

 

 

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Turning Over Several New Leaves

5 Ingredient Banana Nut Muffins – The Leaf Recipes – Nutrisystem

LEAF ONE:  My husband and I decided that we would stop the regular Nutrisystem program for a while. Due to our doing our own thing and our son coming home for a three-week visit, we had an over-abundance of NS meals we needed to eat. The Nutrisystem people were kind enough to honor our request for a hiatus in shipments until the first of March. We since have made another big decision: we’re going to stop the regular programs we were on in favor of ordering A LA CARTE for each of us. This way we can get what we want and not have things we’re not crazy about, but have paid for to eat. I also priced what we plan to order in March, and we’ll save significant money. Win/win.

LEAF TWO:  I’ve decided to try more of the flex meals and snacks, cooking more than I have been – (other than comfort food things, such as beef stew.) Some snacks I’ve been eating are bothering me and I want to have healthy snacks on hand. I already eat a lot of raw veggies at lunch, so I’ve been scrambling a bit. Today I fixed “5-Ingredient Banana Nut Muffins” from the Flex Snack Group of Recipes on The Leaf, a part of the Nutrisystem website. The muffins are cooling on the counter as we speak. I’m hoping they’ll be yummy.

My husband was asking that I fix chicken tonight, so we bought some boneless, skinless chicken breasts while we were out. Tonight I’m going to try another new recipe, “Baked Chicken Tenders.” 

“Baked Chicken Tenders” – The Leaf – Nurtrisystem

LEAF THREE:  You’ve probably heard me say this before, but I’m saying it AGAIN – I’m going to try to get into my new routine of daily exercise.

This morning I did 35 minutes on my elliptical trainer in the garage. I’m trying to do something different each day to make my body sit up and take notice. Tomorrow I’ll do half an hour or so of yoga and abdominal exercises. Wednesday I’ll do a walking video. Thursday I’ll do Wii Fit Plus, particularly for the balance and reaction time games. Friday I’ll do my new dance/exercise video. Exercise on the weekends will be optional – or will be make up days for anything I missed.

I’ve been stuck at 30 pounds and 30 inches off for quite a while, mostly due to my own failings. I would like to continue on from here, making some good progress again.

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Massage, Fish, and Tax Prep, Oh My!

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My day started super-nicely with a massage by my massage therapist, Lynn Moody. She’s absolutely the best. She tackles an old lady with lots of aches and creaky bones and I emerge smiling and relaxed. I just wish I could afford to have massages more often!

My Aquarium Club

My poor fish are swimming around in cloudy water, so on my list, as soon as I finish this post, is to go vacuum out their tank, change the decor, and get them back into a clean, fresh tank.

Get It Back Campaign

Most of the rest of the day will be spent continuing our tax preparation. I’m making good progress. Today is medical stuff and extraneous things, and then I’ll be on the finish line, adding my information to the booklet our CPA provides. I’m hoping I’ll be finished with everything, waiting on our info from Schwab, by the end of the week.

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Pity Party

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I suggested yesterday that you might consider getting the 2-shot vaccine for the Shingles virus. My husband and I got the 1st shot yesterday.

I’m STILL strongly suggesting you think about it, but I have to also warn you about possible side effects of the shot.

Yesterday afternoon my husband and I had sore arms where the shot had been administered. Not as bad as an ear ache or a tooth ache, but an unrelenting ache that made us a bit on edge.

We slept fine last night. When we got up this morning, we agreed our arms were still sore, but maybe not as bad as yesterday. You have trouble finding the spot where my husband got his shot. My arm has about a 1.5 inch raised, pink, very warm place easily seen from across the room. We both feel pretty bummed out and both of us took a nap this morning in our recliners.

I have slight flu-like symptoms. I’m achy all over, have a head ache, and generally feel as if I had been run over by a truck. I’m fondly thinking of another nap this afternoon.

We don’t feel SICK, just no energy.

So, while you’re thinking about getting this important vaccine, also note that your arm might be sore and you might feel a total lack of energy the next day or two, so you might consider getting it on a Friday afternoon so you’ll feel fine by Monday. We think it’s a small price to pay when you consider how AWFUL Shingles is.

We’ll get our 2nd shot mid March.

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Shingles Protection

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If you have had Shingles – or have tried to help someone who has it, you’re already cringing.

Shingles varies for everyone. Some people have a light case, and others a much more serious outbreak. My husband had a BAD case in around 2005 and we both cringe even THINKING of what he went through. In his case, it covered his whole left side and continuing around to his belly. His pain was excruciating and nothing seemed to help. He was in pain about 6 weeks and then STILL hurt when he laughed, sneezed or coughed for months afterward.

We jumped on it when the first vaccine was announced. It was hyped as a one-shot thing that would protect us for life. We both got the injection. THEN, when a new vaccine, Shingrix came out, we discovered that our ‘protection’ was really only for 5 years, and that we had been unprotected since 2009!

We tried to get on a list to receive the new vaccine, Shingrix, 50 mcg injection. (It’s a 2-shot deal with 2 to 6 months between shot #1 and shot #2.) We got the okay from our primary doctor and called Walgreen’s, only to be told there is a shortage of vaccine. They would put us on their list, but it would be awhile before we could get it. (They can only get 10 shots/month and the line is long.) AND, as makes sense, they’re trying to get shot #2 for the good folks who have already gotten shot #1 and need shot #2 before the six month time limit is up. We called the other pharmacies in Greenwood and Fort Smith and got the same information.

THEN, a new pharmacy opened its doors in Greenwood. We had been with them formerly, but they shut down and we had to go elsewhere. We were delighted to hear they were back! I called and she told me she COULD get the vaccine! We went and filled out the paperwork. When she called it into our healthcare provider, Humana, she reported to us that the cost for each shot would be $140 – and we needed FOUR shots! We put the whole idea on hold, hoping that the beginning of the year might bring better news as to costs.

I called Humana yesterday, finding to my delight that our cost would be $47 per shot – a much more reasonable cost. I called the pharmacy. She still had our paperwork and resubmitted it, calling us back later to confirm the cost.

We got our shot #1 today, and we’re on the calendar to receive shot #2 mid-March.

I don’t know what the difference is between sources, or why other pharmacies have so much trouble getting the vaccines. I’m just glad that our new pharmacist had no trouble and could get us started on being fully protected. The protection is for 5 years;  so – if we’re still alive and kicking by then – we’ll go in and get protected again.

I write this to urge YOU – if you are 50 or older – to seriously consider getting this protection. I can tell you that you DON’T want anything to do with getting Shingles. You don’t need the pain, and you can get it over and over again. Please research what the situation and costs are for you wherever you are and make the decision to protect yourself, if possible.

It’ll be interesting to see when and if Walgreen’s will ever call us back that they finally have the first shot for us…

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Progress Report – Trying to Get the Lard Off

I’m still at 31 pounds off and 31 inches off.

Really slow progress, but during the holidays, I think holding our own is pretty good, considering all the social eating we’re doing.

The thing that is different is my exercising.

I’m trying to change my activity each day, hoping to get my body’s attention. I’m doing –

  • Yoga and abdominal exercises one day
  • 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer another
  • Wii Fit Plus exercises one day each week
  • My walking video one day
  • then start again from the top

I’ve said some disparaging things about my walking video, but I have to tell you that, though I find her annoying, I DO feel I’ve had a workout at the end of the 2-mile marker. My goal is to do that, plus the exercises she has AFTER the two miles one day soon.

We’ve been having a lot of friends over lately, for the holidays – but also the fact our son is home from Thailand for the first time in 3 years and we want them to reconnect. We’re having a blast doing that, but it all involves eating something. At this time of the year, serving Nutrisystem diet food or even snacks is definitely a no-no, so we’ve been eating outside our normal parameters many days during the week and will continue this until after our son leaves. If we can just MAINTAIN, rather than GAIN during this time, I’ll be really happy.

I hope that you are having great times with friends and family, too. This is usually a bittersweet time of the year for us, having very few family members left and the ones we have far away. Our son has brought us joy this year and we’re enjoying every minute.

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Hahahahaahahah!

Fastweb

Our son got the Wii Fit Plus to work again. (It quit quite awhile back, but I was too dumb to get it to work and my husband had no interest.) We figured out which part of the TV settings to use, put fresh batteries in the board and the remotes and confirmed it worked.

This morning I finally decided ‘today is the day’ and tried it.

Its software remembered me and produced my gray-haired avatar (or I think they call it a Mii). They said it had been some almost 5,000 days since I had been on it. They did welcome me back, and they did notice I’m some 40 lbs lighter that the last time I tried to use it.  They said I needed to lose another 28 lbs to be in the right weight range for my height. (I’ve been trying to get taller so I don’t need to lose as much, but that isn’t working).

I did the body test and it said I was ‘unbalanced’ ( big shock)

I then went through all the balance games. It decided I was pathetic. It didn’t actually insult me this time, but my avatar hung her head in defeat after I tried each activity. I left it on, and will go back later and do all the balance activities again.

What I’m trying to do, since I am NOT an exercise person, is vary what I’m doing each day to try to get my body’s attention. I’ve already been doing yoga and abdominal exercises one day, 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer the next. Now I’ll do the Wii Fit Plus another day, (varying which type of things I’m working on) and a walking video the next. I’ll see how that works. I want a regimen I can stick with, don’t dread, and actually helps me.

The balance games show that I really need to do them on a regular basis. Since old ladies like me are prone to getting brittle and frail, losing strength over time, and losing their balance and falling, I’m trying to do all I can to avoid that for as long as possible.

So – now that I’ve actually gotten on the Wii again and survived, I’ll do it again in a few minutes!

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Tentative Truce

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Today was yoga-and-exercises day.

WiiFitPlus

I finished those a while ago, and our son was quite the cheerleader about my efforts. I then asked if he could put getting the Wii to work again on his list of things to try to heal while he was here. He looked at it immediately. My husband worked with him and together they figured out which setting we needed to be using on the TV devices, and then we changed the batteries in the part you stand on and the two hand-held remotes that go with it.

I’ve decided to call a tentative truce in the war between the Wii and me. I tried to use it before, setting up my avatar and really trying hard to get on it on a regular basis. I finally quit because I got hostile at the Wii insulting me. Instead of supporting your efforts and cheering you on that you were better today than you were in the past, it says things like,”This isn’t really your strong suit, is it?” or “Do you find yourself falling over a lot?”

Now that I’m regularly doing 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer one day and a good yoga session plus abdominal exercises the next, I think I can handle an insulting exercise system because I would really like to concentrate on my reflexes and my balance. I’ll just get ugly back at it – and if I concentrate on it – maybe I can get it to back down… :0)

 

 

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Folding Myself Into a Paper Airplane – Take 18

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I feel pretty good right now. I just finished a session of folding myself into a paper airplane – otherwise known as “Yoga for Seniors” type moves. I’m not using the DVDs lately – just doing the moves that feel as if they’re what my poor, stiff body needs to fully stretch out and relax. I spend a bit more than half an hour, and then also do abdominal exercises.

The biggest problem I have is trying to relax at the beginning. I lie down on my back on my mat with my wedge pillow, arms and legs spread out and just try to relax and breathe. Typical of life around here, I had just started to relax a little bit and our lab puppy, Amber, lost her lunch right beside my left hand on the carpet. I yelled a bad word and leaped up as fast as I could, trying to get her outside. She tossed her cookies once more on the way out – this time on the tiles in the dining area. My husband helped me get things cleaned up. We don’t know what Amber found to eat outside, but apparently it didn’t agree with her. (She seems to be fine now, but we’re confining her to her bed in the utility room for awhile.)

I tried again, having to breathe through some pain on whatever muscles run across your back at the shoulder blade level. After a couple of minutes or so, I was more comfortable and then moved my arms up over my head. That showed another area of my back that was tight and sore, so I breathed into that. too. And so my yoga poses went.

Even my husband is remarking on my progress now. I’m able to touch my toes! It takes me a minute or two for my body to ‘give’ enough, but then I can do it! Since I started out with fingertips about a foot off the floor, I feel good about it. I’m also very close to being able to touch my forehead to my feet when I’m sitting with the bottoms of my feet touching each other. I’m making progress in loosening up this old body in several of the poses.

My husband is teed off that I’m able to do more sit-ups than he can. I’m up to 30 now, from none at the beginning. I’ve been trying to do this for about 6 months, I guess, so I’m glad I’m getting stronger. My husband has done it intermittently over the past two months, and has gone from none to 10. I’m pointing out that he’s made a lot of progress and that, if he keeps practicing, he’ll get stronger. I’m also doing leg lifts and whatever the exercise is where you do a sit up pointing your elbow to the opposite knee.  AND I don’t need a crane to get back up off the floor!

We aren’t really impressing anyone with what we can do, but – when we take the time to remember where we started – we pat ourselves on the head a bit and resolve to keep on keepin’ on. (I also put a gold star on my calendar.) :0)

Combine this with bowling tonight with friends, and a cleaning project today  – and we have a good amount of exercise for the day.

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Exercise Notes

Science ABC

“I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row.”*    

My current exercise plan of doing ‘yoga-and-exercises’ one day and the elliptical trainer the next seems to be a good fit for me.

If I try to do both in one day I get overwhelmed since I’m a couch potato for some awful number of years now. I’m also trying to go through my over-30-year-old house, purging/donating/cleaning/reorganizing room by room, plus working out in the yard when the weather is cooperative, so I’m getting a good amount of other exercise on a daily basis, as well.

I envy folks who ‘discover’ exercise, quickly becoming addicted, feeling ‘off’ if they miss exercising one day. I envy folks who actually reshape their bodies with exercise, looking gorgeous in their cute little exercise outfits. I’m not dead yet, so I can really admire (and do a little bit of quiet drooling) over men who routinely rip their shirts off to expose their six-packs and bulging arms.

Reality is a whole different story, though. What I am going for – since at 71 I’m getting a bit long in the tooth – is

  • balance – I don’t want to get tottery and pitch headlong down our stairs, and we have them everywhere here. I want to keep walking like I mean it, not hesitantly, as if I’m walking on eggs stiffly, as I see in so many older ladies.
  • flexibility – I get stiff and sore at the drop of a hat, so I want to do all I can to get more flexible and then stay that way.
  • lessening of pain – I would rather not be dependent on pain relievers in pills, gels, oils, or whatever. I would prefer to exercise my way to feeling as good as I can.
  • loosening – this is probably weird, but as I exercise, my body is feeling ‘looser.’ I can feel my stomach muscles when I walk – a new feeling for me, believe me. My body is moving more easily.
  • strength – One of the many ‘perks’ of getting older is getting weaker.  I can accept that there are certain things I should no longer be trying to do, and that’s okay, I guess. But I DON’T want to accept giving up what I consider regular things and I will fight to strengthen my core muscles, my arms and legs, etc. in order to continue doing most of the things I would like to do until I croak.
  • general health – as I get stronger, I’m healthier. I don’t get sick nearly as much. I feel better every day (unless I’ve killed myself overdoing the day before) and then MORE EXERCISE!
  • new, smaller clothes – I also freely admit that I’m enjoying fitting into clothes that have been hanging in my closet – some of them for YEARS now – without being worn because they were too small. I’m enjoying almost being down 4 sizes in jeans at this point, with the thought that I might actually need to buy smaller ones in the future. :0)  I like being able to look at clothes I really LIKE, rather than mainly concentrating on whether they are large enough to cover my bulk.

It’s okay that I will never be like the crazy people in the exercise machine commercials who seem to be in a sexual frenzy while bicycling. That would be wonderful, but it’s not gonna happen. What I FEEL happening is good. It feels good enough – along with the sweet little gold stars I give myself on my calendar each day when I do my scheduled exercise – that I want to continue. That’s good enough for this old broad.

“I decided to stop calling the bathroom the “John” and renamed it the “Jim”.  I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.” *

* Quotes were sent to me via email by my good friend, Marsha Koenig

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Getting the Lard Off Progress Report -11/29/2018

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Short answer –

I’ve lost 30.6 pounds and 29.55 inches on Nutrisystem. When you add what I lost on a low-carb emphasis before that, the totals are 43 pounds off and 45.95 inches off.

Longer answer –

We are still on the plateau from Hell, but we’ve been eating homemade beef stew and bread for dinners three nights in a row, so I guess it’s amazing we didn’t GAIN weight this week.

The larger point is that we are AWARE of what we’re eating now. We’re incorporating flex meals (where you eat something other than Nutrisystem meals) into our lifestyle. We’re SUPPOSED to eat ONE flex breakfast, ONE flex lunch, ONE flex dinner, and ONE flex snack per week. We’re going to have to continue doing some changing to be able to eat only ONE meal of beef stew and then freeze the rest for other weeks, rather than simply having a bowl each night until it’s gone.

Other changes noted

  • I’m ALMOST down another size in jeans. I say, ‘almost,’ because I have four pair of the next size down and I’m only able to get into one of them. (I’ll claim victory when I can get into all of them.)
  • I can again wear a fuzzy brown vest we bought in the Grand Canyon Gift Shop umpteen years ago. I wore it for that winter, but then it has been WAAAAY too small to even get on, much less zip it up, ever since.
  • I am incorporating a bunch of abdominal exercises into my yoga practice every other day. My husband started trying to do sit-ups when I was on vacation. He’s a former Marine, and was able to ‘give me 50″ at the drop of his superior’s hat easily. That was some 55 years ago now, and he was appalled that he couldn’t do ANY. He is now up to about 10. I discovered I was equally challenged, but I’ve been working at it about 6 months longer than he. I’m up to 30 now, plus am doing leg lifts, and whatever you call the exercise where you’re lying on your back and you have your arms folded behind your neck and try to touch opposite elbows and knees while in a sit-up pose. We’re trying to cheer each other on in our efforts.

Most of our progress lately has been in attitude and confidence that we CAN lose the lard and get stronger with persistent effort. We have made a lifestyle change, trying to be aware of what we’re eating, the portion we’re eating, and modifying the rest of the day if we overdo at one meal. We’re consciously trying to move more and gain strength and flexibility. I’m also working on balance stuff, but have a long way to go on that, too. I’ll feel as if I’ve REALLY made progress when the hardest thing is NOT getting up off the floor from my exercising! :0)

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2 Gold Stars for the Day

Yesterday the day got away from me and I didn’t do the elliptical trainer. :0(
Today I made up for it, doing both the elliptical and my yoga stretches and exercises.  :0)  I was HOPING seeing me do the yoga just now would encourage my husband to do his sit ups for the day. As I was finishing, he put the kitchen towel he keeps by his chair over his eyes and stretched out in the recliner for a nap….

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I know the elliptical trainer is good for me, and is low impact, but I refreshed myself on all the benefits of doing this – other than a character-building exercise….

Image result for benefits of elliptical trainer

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Elliptical Machine Benefits
  • Increase Aerobic Capacity. Elliptical machines help increase your aerobic capacity. …
  • Non-Impact Exercise. Elliptical training doesn’t put a lot of impact on joints. …
  • Total Body Workout. The elliptical can work your upper and lower body at the same time. …
  • Lower-Body Exercise. …
  • Calories Burned.
PLUS, I get to zone out, listening to my favorite tunes on my MP3 player while I exercise!
My husband and I have discussed that as we age we feel weaker, that we can’t do many of the things now that we used to take for granted, and that we tire much more quickly. I really hope that if I keep alternating the elliptical trainer with my yoga stretches and exercises, my body will gradually rebuild muscles, strength, balance, and stamina. If I get to the point where I’m doing this alternation easily, I’ll add weight exercises, using my 3 pound weights, particularly for my arms.
Right now I still need the visual of a gold star on my desk calendar each day, so it’ll be awhile…

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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

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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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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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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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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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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