Back to the Mat

 

 

About three weeks ago, I weighed myself. I weighed my self and oh, holy crap, was that a number I hope never to see again. As soon as I finished cursing myself, my menopausal process, and all the sorrows that had unfolded between the last time I was at a healthy weight (Orion’s crossing; hormones or lack thereof; stress from Hubby’s mom’s passage; stress from Hubby working at home before he retired; genetics; colorful and interesting family issues) and that moment.

And then I started troubleshooting. What was different then:

  • I followed a low-glycemic diet (a/k/a smart carb, low GI, South Beach).
  • I was younger and had something that vaguely resembled a metabolism.
  • I was a lot more active. Oakley likes his walks and playing at day care, but he is not the hiker Orion was. It wasn’t uncommon for Orion to drag me around the four-mile trail system at the nearby state park, then be ready for another walk in the evening.
  • On top of that, I went to yoga and dance classes.
  • I tracked my food intake and weighed myself very week or so.

So back to low-GI eating and increasing activity. More importantly,  tracking it. I found a free app called FatSecret (godawful name for a very useful tool) through a friend whose dietitian recommended it. Not only can a user keep an eye on carbs, calories, and fat, but it sends an email every two weeks to remind you to weigh yourself. The low-GI plan is flexible enough that the journey to a healthy weight may have a few pit stops for cookies or ice cream here and there. Not many. But a few.  I lost seven pounds in the last couple of weeks. You will sleep better not knowing how much more I have to go, but at least the numbers are going in the right direction. This will be slow, but I will get there.

With nutrition squared off, the next challenge was exercise. I started taking yoga again. I found a small studio near my home with small classes (three of us, usually). The instructor is about my age.  She understands how to move a body that survived the battles of daily life. Today, savasana (a/k/a corpse pose); tomorrow the headstands. Or maybe next week. We’ll do it when we do it. No hurry in the meantime.

Much of it felt good, right, and lead to better sleep. Some of it lead my body to express its displeasure about not moving consistently the last few years. The extra magnesium and Advil negotiate the truce between mind and back, hamstrings, and rear end.

In addition to the gentle but through workout, yoga helps to balance the endocrine system and to relieve stress while making you aware of your body’s wants and needs for movement as well as sustenance. Sometimes it’s as simple as a glass of water or changing to a more comfortable position.

And sometimes a person really does need a bit of chocolate. Not often, but sometimes you just do,

My Friendemy the Scale

stock-photo-99888125-cute-bunny-rabbit-looking-surprised-at-the-scale.jpg

 

Yep, I’m back to working on my weight. In the last couple of weeks, several friends have had problems related by conditions related to theirs. If any good is coming out of it, it will be that I’m drawing inspiration from their troubles.

Which is a polite way of saying that their experiences are The Mystery’s foot in my butt about deleting some pounds. I’m taking the hint and making changes.

The first one: I bought a scale last week. It’s a bit on the fancy side. The scale records weight and BMI readings for up to four people. Last week’s weigh-in wasn’t pretty, but at least the number was lower than at the start of the Weight Watchers disaster a couple of years ago. For that, I’m grateful. Sort of.

Some people feel that it’s better to go by how your clothes feel. In theory, yes. In practice for me, it’s been more like the icky, cruel story about the frog in the water that gets gradually heated used as a metaphor for getting lulled into compliance. It’s how I’ve convinced myself  in the past that I could wear jeans two sizes too small by rationalizing that it’s just water retention. Can’t do that anymore.

I also know that the numbers have squat to do with my worth as a human being. I need the objective information so I can see my progress. No more, no less.

Onto the second change: I downloaded an app to help with tracking food and exercise. It’s easy to use and calculates what your daily caloric intake should be based on starting weight, age, height, and goal weight. Personally, I think it’s nuts. It wants me to eat an amount of calories that seems more suitable for a professional athlete than for a sedentary middle aged woman who never had much of a metabolism in the first place.

The third: I need a lot more plain water. Heaven She knows I loves my iced tea and coffee. However, the caffeine is impacting my adrenals and throwing me off balance.

The fourth: I need to modify exercise. I walk Oakley for about an hour a day total. Well, it’s more like walk, sniff this, stand in front of me to protect me from a butterfly, take a few steps and repeat. The pace of a dog walk versus the pace of a walk to lose weight are very different. I will investigate YouTube videos for options and start using the dance DVDs already in my possession.

At this stage of the game, it’s about staying as healthy as I can for as long as I can. I have some nasty stuff running in my family (heart disease for both parent and Dad was type 2 diabetic). Dad also had arthritis in his knees and spine. I’ve started having cracking and creaking in my right knee. No, thank you.

I know I will never be a size two. Between age and genetic makeup, that ain’t gonna happen. As the tag line for the diet company ad said some years ago, I’m going for a size healthy.

Prairie Song

The next ten days string themselves together like sapphire beads on silk thread. No rain, clear skies, temps in the big 70’s-low 80’s range. Nights promise to be cooler, but at this time, it’s expected. Tomorrow officially brings in fall.  A touch of rain would be nice, but under the cloud of knowledge of what comes next we accept it with open arms.

Yesterday Oakley and I celebrated the day with a walk at a prairie preserve. I don’t know how many acres it is, but we can get a decent half-hour or so on the paths mowed through the waving high grasses. At this time of year, some of them are above my head. The long leggy stems support cluster of seeds that resemble the tips of fox tails. There was enough of a breeze to shake and sway them a bit, making them rattle.

The breeze in the grasses that reach my knees joined in with a whoosh. Down at their level, the small white daisies, tiny lavender flowers, and another plan with bright round sun-colored blossoms contributed the loudness of their colors to the mix.

Oakley sniffed the plants that had mounded themselves into huts for the small animals who spend their days scurrying away from hawks and the occasional eagle. Despite vigorous thrusts of his nose near the roots, he came up empty pawed.

Several depressions in the grass indicated where deer had settled in for the night.   The time draws near for the deer to find suitable mates. For a few more weeks, though, they stay hidden in the thickets surrounding the preserve, protecting this year’s fawns until the time comes to start on next year’s crop.

A flock of geese cut across the sky. They were quiet save for a couple of honks here and there. The diminishing sunlight has shown them that the seasons are changing, and the announcement of fall rode in quietly on their wings.

The A** O’Clock Notes

It’s just after 6 as I write this. Oakley’s insomnia continues. Since just before Christmas, he’s been waking up between three and five, sometimes 2:30, and giving himself a bath. Adjustments to his tummy supplements haven’t helped, nor has a concerted effort to get him exercise and mental stimulation in the late afternoon and early evening.

This morning, however, he had diarrhea. He woke me up by sitting at the top of the stairs while patting the floor. He gets a clever boy stamp. The lack of exercise this week due to snow and daytime highs bobbing near zero as if treading water has taken a toll on us both. When he doesn’t get enough exercise, he’s prone to digestive upheaval despite my best efforts.

Even with a less than optimal start just before five, it is a better day. The cold has moderated. We were able to get out yesterday, finally, with tidy roads and minimal chances of frostbite. We’ll be a-walking today, a good long jaunt through the woods, and that will go a long way towards restoring order.

Welcoming the Light

At 5:03 central time, the wheel of the year makes another quarter turn and winter officially begins. We welcome the day. We welcome the return of the light, even if it is only a minute or so every 24 hours.

Just finished a walk with Oakley. Due to colds, work, and other seasonal issues, we walked on our own at the big forest preserve by the house instead of in our usual Sunday morning group by the river in the next town over. It’s cold and overcast, but much warmer than it was at this time last year. Solid white puddles left from the last round of rain dot the bare dirt roads here and there; otherwise there’s been no precipitation to speak of.

We had at least four inches of snow on the ground by this time last year and every two or three days storms dropped anywhere from three to six inches the rest of the season. We’d had many days when the mercury scratched its way into the low teens and held there with broken fingernails. Many were the days when leaving the house proved hazardous due to Kelvin-level wind chills or bad roads. Trading in the sparkly blue and white dangers for dreary but navigable days is a reasonable tradeoff. I can get out and go about the business of life as needed, and not have to juggle this and run to get that to make sure we were stocked up on basics like toilet paper.

Even beneath the overcast skies, the light peeks around the edges of the clouds. Will they break in time for sunset this afternoon? I hope so. At this time of year, the sun’s trajectory follows the railroad tracks that run through the trees by the entrance to the big forest preserve. At dusk, the sun hovers over the tracks framed by the trees. It hangs there as if it’s sharing a bit of last minute small talk before slipping further west down the tracks with a promise to be back in the morning.

As Solstice Comes

The moisture falling from this morning’s leaden sky vacillates between gentle rain drops and the harsh rattle of sleet. The grass shimmers a little in the faint light from the glaze.

We retreat inside. Oakley is in no hurry to go anywhere, and with the roads likely growing slick, neither am I. I cooked a lot of Indian food yesterday, so we have curried chicken, spiced chickpeas, and rice to warm the day. Will we get out for a proper walk at the forest preserve today? I hope so.

A hawk followed us the other day. Every few steps, he took off from his branch, parted the air with his wings, and glided over our heads to a tree further down the path. He followed us until we returned to the parking lot, then wheeled to the west, the dimming light silvering his belly.

I think I had a discussion with an owl the other day. Hoo-hoo-hoohoo, she called. I hoo-hoo’d in response. After a pause, she responded. Did I say something comprehensible in raptor? I don’t know. Still gave me chills.

In a matter of days, the trajectory of the sun will follow the train tracks at the entrance of our nearest forest preserve, sinking into the western horizon as if traveling along them. Skies permitting, Oakley and I will watch. Not too long, since sunset is closing time for parks and preserves around here. But long enough to acknowledge the passage into the winter, and long enough to lift a prayer that the coming light illuminates the hearts of all.

May This Day Hold No Omens

No. Just…no.

First thing this morning, word came down the pike that Kelso the Wonder Cocker had crossed the Bridge. Not sure what happened, but spare a thought, a prayer, a candle for his humans and canine brother Louis, please.

And then there was the weather. We had an unusually cold week last week. Some rain, and then some more, and then this morning brought in a storm that began as rain. Oakley and I both needed a walk, so we went to the forest preserve, walking the circular trail. And then at the halfway point, the wind shifted to the northwest, and the snow came flying at us with knives and switchblades.

So much for our plans today: Hubby wanted to make an Ikea run for some new computer furniture. The nearest one is about 45 minutes away, but in this kind of weather with fog, glazing and snow, more like 90. Not worth it. Still drivable inbound, but on the way back, perhaps not so much. Resentfully, we stayed home.

The weather reporter on WGN hinted at a winter where we would be cycling in and out of icky weather. Hopefully today was not an omen of the icky portions being the long one.