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,

Not Today, Reaper. Not Today.

Oakley had his distemper shot and yearly once-over yesterday. He’d lost a bit of weight, not a bad thing with his left hip. That’s the one that may have dysplasia, a condition that increases the odds of him getting arthritis as he gets older. Dr. P and I chose to hold off on X-rays as long as possible because he’d need to be sedated, something neither of us are thrilled about. He forgave the vet and the vet tech for the needle pokes, and received a sizable chunk of freeze-dried liver for his reward. The week began to redeem itself as we walked outside into the grey morning.

Monday started off with a round of my own gastrointestinal unpleasantries. Not Oakley’s, but my own. He just sat and cuddled against my leg while I called and cancelled a scheduled breakfast with a couple of friends I don’t get to see enough. There were several calls with a grumpy Hubby as he negotiates the bureaucracy of retirement while the renovations on his mom’s house drag on.

Meanwhile on the world stage, actors and singers left the planet in numbers I cannot remember ever happening before in less than a week. David Bowie (deep respect to him–his music and style didn’t resonate with me, except for “Let’s Dance,” but my God/dess, did he have guts and talent) , then Alan Rickman (Marianne’s true love in “Sense and Sensibility”), then Dan Haggerty of “Grizzly Adams” fame. There were several others, but they were the most notable.

The personal left curves came later in the week. One of the women I’d known in Brittany rescue circles and hung out with at picnics died unexpectedly. Evidently she’d sustained a heart attack in her sleep. Her last post on Facebook gave no hint of anything amiss. I’m sure that she had quite the welcoming committee on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. She will be missed by many, two- and four-legged alike.

The second one came in the form of an entry on a blog that I love and follow. The author, like me, has had issues with her weight throughout her life. She also love history, and created an eating plan for herself based on rationing during WWII in the UK. (please check out The 1940’s Experiment for more details.)  She wrote this week about ending up in the hospital while on vacation with some issues where weight may have played a factor, and then she wrote about getting herself back on track. She’s on the mend now and rededicating herself to her efforts.

Ever read or hear something and felt that God/dess, the cosmos, the Universe had just dealt you a kick in the pants? Her blog entry was mine. Right now, I think I’m OK–some crackles in my knees, a stiff back in the morning. But what about a year or so down the road? Am I playing dice with myself?

I’m probably, based on my grandparents’ ages, going to live to 96. I used to believe that I would live to be 100, but between Orion’s allergies that prevented us from sleeping during corn season (100-1=99), getting Oakley properly trained and socialized (99-2=97), and his tummy (97-1=96), 96 is a reasonable guess. And I want to do it in good health.

I begin again. Every morning has involved Pilates (not pie and lattes, unfortunately) and/or yoga. After just a few days, my back has stopped cursing me when I roll out of bed. I made a run to Woodman’s and stocked up on more exotic fruits and veggies to amuse my ADHD-addled impulsivity-controlled palate.

I keep in mind, too, the words of a local acquaintance who lost a tremendous amount of weight with daily yoga and a strict diet. She would ask herself when she was having cravings if she was living or dying with each choice.

It’s that simple. Perhaps not easy, but it’s that simple. I’m choosing to live today.




First Goal Met

It’s weigh in day at Weight Watchers for me. Not a bad thing. I met my first weight loss goal: down 5% of my original body weight. So my next goal is to take my weight down another 5%. You’ll sleep better if you don’t know what I weighed at the beginning, or what I weigh now.

Breaking the weight into 5% increments makes it a task less daunting psychologically, especially when you have as much to lose as I do.

If you’ve done jigsaw puzzles, longterm weight goals are kind of like that. If you look at the thousand pieces, your hair will ignite. If you break the puzzle into smaller segments: putting together the frame, then one corner, then another, and finally the middle, it tightens the focus on the doable interim goals and keeps a person motivated.

In terms of actual weight loss, it wan’t what I’d hoped for, but the number had gone down, so I’m not too worried. I need more water, less salt and a little more exercise.

Still, I deserved something, so I bought myself some flowers. Pretty, and if push comes to shove, no points unless I dip them in salad dressing.


The Hard Part Is Over

Not just different, but on the list of things I swore to all that I hold sacred I would never do.

I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting this morning. I’ve tried everything else this side of a gastric bypass (which don’t work as well as they want you to think in many cases). So I’ll give this a try.

In the past, the program had seemed pretty judgmental and rigid with labels such as “legal” and “illegal” for the foods with an emphasis on the processed. But now, it’s evolved to where WW gives the member the framework with which to make the healthiest choices whether he or she chooses a frozen meal or something created in their own kitchen. It also breaks the longterm goal into manageable chunks: a 5% goal, a 10% goal, and stickers for five-pond losses.

So I went. I weighed in (not pretty–20 pounds more than I thought that I’d gained back), and the leader gave me my tracking booklet with the evil number in it, and the daily point allotment. Then she said, “Sweetheart, you just did the hardest part. It’s all downhill from here.”

I’m not alone in this, both in terms of the WW community support, support from Hubby, and my friend who went with me and suggested this.

So we’ll see what happens.


Operation Grief Bacon Be Gone Begins

Not too long ago, a link to an article about expressions in languages other than English with no direct translation popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. The closest translation to one of the German ones: grief bacon, the term used for weight gain related to stress or sorrow. 

In the last few years, I’ve accumulated quite a bit around my hips and belly along with a muffin top. The death of a beloved companion/fur-bearing child and the unnecessarily protracted illness and drawn-out passage of a family member plus menopause will do that to a woman. I’ve tried a few other times to release it, but for whatever reason, it didn’t leave. I had problems staying on any kind of food plan except the one that I know works best for me: eating low-glycemic/somewhat higher protein.

No, this is not like the Atkins or Paleo food plans. Well, a little in that the emphasis is on non-starchy veggies, fruits that are high in fiber and lower in sugar such as berries, nuts and peanuts, fish, meat and poultry, healthy fats such as real butter and avocados,  and other items that register five net carbs or less.  In other words, put the white carbs down and back away from the table.

I reread parts of The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, MD. That’s what she told patients going through the menopausal metamorphosis to do. She also recommends not eating anything per snack or meal more than you can hold in your two cupped hands.  Yes, it’s doable. Yes, I can have chocolate here and there. Yes, I can rendezvous with objects of desire such as potatoes and pasta once or twice a week.

Just not every day, and in moderation.