Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blazing saddles!!

I never thought I would blog so much about my biking, but I have (like you don’t already know this!). But, here’s the deal: I am continuously amazed at my growing prowess, yes, prowess, on the bike. That is a bicycle, not a motorcycle. Leg power a go-go! I was out last week in the country-side around Mankato on what turned out to be a 14 mile bike ride. Well, I am riding out on the prairie and guess what? I come to a river hill. Here is what it looked like.

Yikes, you say, well so did I! Of course it was easy going down. Here is the amazing part: I made it up the hill except for the very last bit in the saddle of my bike; meaning I rode up the hill, except for the last part. When I got to the top, my reward was this amazing view:
Full moon rising to the east (that is the full moon in the picture coming over the horizon). New goal: next time, make it all the way up the hill in the saddle. Blazing saddles! TTFN, Michele

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shout Out to All My Followers and Readers!!

Yes, that is ALL of you reading this post! Many of you are pictured below (sorry if I forgot any of you). This post is dedicated to YOU ALL!! You people ROCK! I am astounded that my network of followers and readers is expanding. Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!


I cannot tell you how much inspiration I get from all of you as I read your blog posts or your comments on my posts. Since I began this journey to better health I have never felt alone. Indeed, I feel your cyber support embracing me each step of the way. The images you create on your blogs stay with me. For example, when I am out walking I think about Paula racing up those steps or Shane skirting around Wal-Mart or Transparent Joy and or the Doc being stretched to their limits. When I am frustrated or want to rant, I immediately think of Bad-Ass Dr. Fatty. When I dream about dressing in some other non-fatty clothes I think about Chris and her emerging feminine side. Or when I think about finding that runner within, I think about Wendy. I am buoyed by the antics of Allan. I feel the strength of Sharon, Karen, Just Me, and Jo (Daily!!). I am pushed harder AND supported by Carolyn. And then I think about why I am doing all of this in order to regain my health, for me first, but for my beautiful grandbabies just like Jill, Tish, Yo Mama, Joy and First Steps. May we together be as successful as 266!

I also would like you to all know that because I am fully aware of the empowering aspect of blogging and receiving comments on my blog, I am firmly committed to supporting you and your ruminations to the best of my ability and as time will allow. We are NOT alone in bloggerland! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for all of your encouraging words and support. Have a great week! Michele

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ya gotta love Minnesota!

First, we have the most amazing State Fair. We took four of our grandbabies yesterday. Here are three of the cutie pies:
Well, if you have been to any fair (county or state) you know about the food on the stick, the deep-fried this and that, the fudge, the cookies, and the corn. You name it, they got it. Well, I am happy to report that I had ONE corn dog (that would be a Pronto Pup, please (at 350 calories)!) and one Sweet Martha’s Cookie (75 calories). I made it because of planning (again). You can bring in coolers. So, I brought in grapes, yogurt and other healthy foods. Snacked on these and enjoyed every last morsel of the corn dog and cookie (ONE!). And, like, Dr. Fatty, I did not miss or even desire anything else. Mindful eating, Michele!

Guess what? Vikings first home preseason game is today. Spouse and I are season ticket holders!! Yippee-skippie!!



You all know who is back!!

Don't worry, I have planned my calorie budget in advance and left room for one celebratory beer. Let the games begin!

Life is good in Minnesota. Have a great week end everybody. Michele

Friday, August 27, 2010

Moving from fantasy to realism in regaining health

Today, my post will include further ruminations on twelve pounds gone. Two months on the path toward better health is the longest sustained period of time I can ever remember sticking to working toward better health. A little more than eight weeks works out to 1.5 pounds per week. Not shabby at all for me. My eat less, move more adage is working, but slowly.

I bring up my 1.5 pound loss per week because in many readings I have consulted about sustaining weight loss, a weight loss of 1-2 pounds is more often than not suggested as ideal. A pound of body fat according to Nestle has 3500 calories. “To loose one pound of body fat a week, you have to take in 500 fewer calories per day [or increase your activity levels so your body uses 500 more calories than usual.”] Nestle,(2006), page 290, What to Eat). In my case to achieve a weight loss average of 1.5 pounds per week means that I have DECREASED my caloric intake by 5,250 per week or 750 calories per day. This is the eating less part of my regaining better health story. For many of us, this is a very low and maybe even a discouraging number per week to loose. If you are like me with more than 60 pounds still to loose, well you do the math, it will be a long time to shed all that excess baggage.

All of us weight loss bloggers are working at peeling off pounds and regaining our health in different ways and the amount of weight shed each week will be unique to each individual for many reasons. For me, I know after so many years of being in denial that my body needs the gift of time and patience to lighten up. I am at an age, too, where weight does not come off easily.

Twelve pounds. Eight weeks. Regaining my health with a pound or pound and a half off each week is realistic and I believe sustainable for me. Like many of you, I have dreamed of weight loss across two months at higher rates, like 20 pounds gone in two months. But, I now know that these are simply unrealistic aspirations for me. It simply does not work out when I do the math. I am no longer living in a fantasy world as far as weight loss aspirations go, but in a realistic world. Move more, eat less, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and go easy on the junk food. Cha, cha, cha.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Twelve pounds!

Twelve pounds lighter. Twelve pounds gone. That is one TEN-pound bag of flour and 8 sticks of butter (thanks, Tish)! Twelve pounds. Twelve pounds! You guessed it, I am now lighter by twelve pounds since June 26. Today marks two months for me on this journey toward better health so it was a day for a weigh in (WI). Sixty-two days of working to be kind to myself have paid off in twelve pounds less. Yeah! Have a great Thursday everyone! Twelve pounds lighter, michele

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Have you seen this?????

How about a little inspiration to get you going today on your journey to better health?? Just check this out. Feel free to weep with joy for 266!

The power of blogging is once again displayed. Have great day and stay strong!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Binging

The Binge. Binging. For each of us these words conjures up different images where I will bet each of us have a starring role. I am scared of the "binge" factor. Scared of the overeating that this defines. Scared that it will sneak up behind me and grab me when my guard is down. I eat sensibly, for the most part and you all know I am committed to the eat less, move more adage (no apologies Allan!!). But binging still is out there; waiting to creep into my sensible and my emerging healthy habits. I am afraid of the binge because my past history is such that once I begin overeating, I have stopped eating healthy. I know I am different now; I think I actually get it. Weight loss and healthy habits are how I am taking care of myself and it is a life long effort. But, there is still the fear factor...I know I am not alone. I remember an Oprah years ago where she described her binging on HOT DOG buns and ketchup because she was overcome by the binge and that was all the food in the house.

Searching through many of my favorite weight loss and get healthy type blogs, I found many bloggers using "binge" and "binging" in many ways. For starters: Patsy’s post offers a plethora of definitions of binging. Chris’s post helped me to think about triggers. Karen talks about the shoulda, woulda and couldas. Shane avoided binging in a recent post. Becky has another story. Many of you blog readers probably have blogged about binging, too. But what I find missing in what I have read so far are the "how tos." Meaning, what do you all do when you feel a binge coming on? When you can not stop with one serving of _________ (you fill in the blank). What tricks do you have to keep your mind OFF that tempting BINGE item? To keep yourself in check and not to overeat?? What has worked for you in the past? How do you say "No" when temptation is squarely looking you in the eye? I invite you all, my readers, to share some of your wisdom. (Pretty, please!).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Going the distance with exercise

This is more than you need to know, but this week end we went to our family’s hobby farm about 80 miles south of Minneapolis for some much needed rest and respite after an intense week. I took my bike, but because I did not have the bike rack, I took off the front wheel and put it and the rest of my bike in the back of my car. When we got to the farm, I took the wheel and the bike out. No problem here. But, attached to the axle of the wheel was a small spring-which promptly sprang into the grass and was lost. Without that little spring it would not be safe to re-attach the wheel. Bummer because it was 7pm on Saturday night; little chance to replace that little spring at that time. Biking is my exercise of choice as you all know. After 3 days without any exercise, I was EAGER to get back on it. What to do for exercise? Well, my hubby suggested going for a walk with our dog instead. Here is our cute boy:
I have honestly been a little reluctant to push my exercise to include walking because I am leery of all the weight on my knees. Plus, I am about the slowest walker this side of the Mississippi. Well, I thought about Paula springing up those stadium steps in one of her last posts and decided I would give walking a try. Guess what??? I walked up and down the little hills by our farm just fine with Giovanni sniffing every blade of grass. I logged about 30 minutes of good walking and it felt great! On Sunday, I did another walk and again, felt great! So I have decided that I will try to up my exercise to a half hour of walking in the morning and a 30-40 minute bike ride in the afternoon. This has been one of my summer goals: fit in twice daily exercise. As an optimist, this was my way of taking lemons and making lemonade, with a little prodding, of course!

Speaking of bike riding: I logged another 14 miles on my bike today. The trails near our place in Mankato are fabulous. I went "off trail" for several miles once I was out in the countryside and rode an additional several miles on some gravel roads. I cannot tell you how great it felt to be back in the saddle today!! Enjoy a couple of pictures taken along the trail ride...


Friday, August 20, 2010

A provocative legacy

My father passed on Monday, August 16, 2010. Two of my siblings and I were with him when he passed. It was poignant and meaningful to be part of his transition at his death. I wrote about his decline and shed some light on the relationship I had with my father and on how I reached my tipping point in several recent posts. Any one of you who have had a tumultuous and dysfunctional childhood and youth, will know that the death of a parent is cause for much rumination. And with three other siblings, you can only imagine how the stage is ripe for all kinds of emotional stirrings and conflicts. Each of us siblings has their own perspective on their childhood, youth and of course adulthood and each of us have our own wounds to heal in regards to our parents.

Well, I am writing here to tell you that the four of us made it through this difficult period in our lives in spades and with a far greater respect for the lives and history of each other. We have shared in an experience that has brought each of us a whole host of feelings including pain, loss, anger, relief, joy, frustration, sadness and disappointment. Each of us spoke at my father’s funeral. The words were all heartfelt, sincere and emotional. Here is a partial text of what I said:

Not an easy man to like let alone love. But, he has left quite a legacy (all of us) and for that we are all grateful. No matter what his shortcomings were, there were some moments and elements of tenderness to the people who bore his name throughout his life. We are all grateful for the life we have been given through him and our mother. Our lives: a remarkable gift and the greatest gift he could possibly give.

Finally, a few words to my siblings: Chris, Steve and Jeff: Sharpening the tools left to us by the machinist closest to us.


Our splintered past, childhood and youth were not our fault. We have survived our background to be remarkable, productive and contributing members of the world. It is now up to each of us to heal our wounds, forgive each other and our parents for their shortcomings as we embrace with kindness, understanding and yes love, the remarkable and unique individuals that we all are. We are now the legacy of our parents. We may not have had all the tools we needed to equip us into our adult lives, but we have the power now to sharpen our set of tools and to understand our past for what it was and how it shaped us and to move beyond as empowered and complete siblings and human beings. In the Lord’s prayer it says: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. We have been trespassed against, it is up to each one of us to move beyond our trespasses and use our sharpened tools to take on our own legacies. I love you all very much.


I share these thoughts with you all, my blog readers and followers, because they are part of my journey to better health. You know from reading my tipping point post above that some of my own disordered eating history is rooted in remarks by my father to me during my youth and early adulthood. I will spare you the details of what was said and done from the past. What is important is that I am moving beyond my splintered youth and young adulthood and finding understanding of why I do the things I do around eating and with my weight. I am taking ownership of how critical and demeaning comments and actions contributed to my own denial of my weight and of course a negative body image. In so doing, I am beginning to forgive those (my parents) who have trespassed against me. I am learning to love myself and to be kind to myself. During these past 10 days, even I was sometimes amazed at my growing capacity to be calm and keep my feet on the ground (my siblings may disagree here!). I did not binge. I did not turn to food to soften my emotional upheaval. For the most part, I ate and drank sensibly and reasonably. I recognize that I was over my caloric budget each day, and I forgave myself for doing so. I am ready to continue my journey to good health.

Finally, thank-you all for your kind words of support during this very intense time leading to my father's passing. I shared your comments and supportive words with my family, too. Have a great and satisfying week end! Michele

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Inspiring posts to keep us up!!

Today I am going to spotlight a few recent posts that I found inspiring this week.

Victories

Carol comes out on top

Becky's Victories!

Marcus is on fire!

Wonder Woman!

Shane's T-shirt

What blog posts inspired you this past week or two? Michele

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You got to live a little, love a little…and have a little courage…

Hello All,
This post is not about my weight loss journey directly. It is about life events that I feel are important to share with you.

Soon, my father will pass. He has end stage esophageal cancer that has been relentless and aggressive. You already know that my father would never qualify as a father of the year type. But, he did what he could under the circumstances of his own life for my siblings and I. I do not know what in his own past may have contributed to his actions or inactions across the years. I have my theories. What I do know is that I will always, always, always be grateful for the life that he gave to me. I can never remember my father expressing his love for his children, including me. He showed it in other ways, but could not verbalize it. Over the past few days I have told him “I Love You” and he has spoken the words that I used to long to hear: I love you, too. It is poignant and healing to hear these now. They were a long time coming.

So hearing these words made me ruminate about my blog readers. What about you? Is there someone in your life who should hear those three little, but, powerful words from you? There is no time like today to muster the courage and say them. Michele

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Easy to Prepare Salad

As I continue to move into forming healthier habits I am reminded of the importance of planning. My life is a little topsy-turvey right now with my father in hospice. Planning for meals is carrying me through this difficult period in terms of eating. Here is a little salad that I made today:
The salad has the usual crispy lettuce (I use a salad spinner) with some grated carrots. I added raisins and a few cut up grapes, too. Today (and for a little zing), I threw in about a half of cup of mixed beans (red beans, garbanzo beans and black beans) and a little corn. It traveled well in my little cooler and was delicious and cold. One of the nicest things was that it was easier on my carbon footprint because it was vegetarian, yet still a good source of protein. (Yum, yum!).

What do you like to throw in your salads these days??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Cyclist Within!

Many of you already know that my exercise of choice is biking (at least so far!). I enjoy exercising outdoors especially in Minnesota where our summers are so short. You also know that I often tow around one of my grandbabies on my bike. (See Day Nine post). Although I have to admit that on many days (just like some of you) I need a little kick in the butt to get me going (besides my side kicks-grandbabies!). I am finding that setting goals for my exercise is really helpful. My goal right now is to exercise at least 30-45 minutes a day 5/7 per week. I also want to devote one day where I push myself more in exercise. This past week, I set my sight on riding part of the Grand Rounds along Minnehaha Creek to Minnehaha Falls. From my house in Minneapolis that was about 7 miles each way.

Well, I am super excited to tell you all that on Saturday my hubby and I (me with Ellery in tow) rode the trail to Minnehaha Falls!



I can not tell you how satisfying it was to successfully complete this ride-all with high temps (about 90 degrees) and high humidity. To top it off, I went about 8 miles on Sunday, an additional 5 on Monday and just finished another 8 this morning. After reading both Paula's and Dr. Fatty Finds Fitness posts on Monday I am more determined than ever to keep the exercise (cycling up). So, as you can now imagine: I am awakening the cyclist within! Thanks for reading! Michele

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blogging is empowering!

Blogging about our weight loss and journey to better health is empowering? Don’t you agree?? But, as empowering as it is, it is also time consuming. I do not know about you, but I can loose track of time when I am blogging, responding to blogs, or looking up new blogs. It is a tremendous support network. I value each and everyone of my followers and am committed to supporting each of you in any way (weigh) I can.

I was reading Paula’s blog one day and found her post about being the Nursing Schools “empowering blog list.” First, congratulations Paula (and all the other bloggers) for making this list. If you have not reviewed some of the blogs, posts or tips noted on the nursing list, I would strongly encourage you to do so. I really appreciate that the list is organized by topics such as Getting Started, Positivity and Motivation, to name just a few. It is a tremendous resource for all of us.

I stole some of the organization described in the list to help visitors to my blog find their way to some of the blogs that I am keeping up with. Thanks again Paula for sharing your good news and THANKS for becoming a follower of my blog!

TTFN!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The tipping point

I bet each of you can remember the moments that led up to you finally making the decision (for once and for all!) to do something about your weight and regain your health and in so doing to open yourself in ways that are personal, private, complex and honest by blogging about your journey. Maybe for you, it wasn’t really one thing that sent you down the path, maybe it was lots of things that finally made you reach the tipping point. Today I am going to give you a glimmer of what set it off for me. I know now that part of regaining my health is about self-discovery. Learning and sharing more about what got me here in the first place is part of my self-discovery and healing and I know it is what is needed as I move forward in this journey to regain my health. I must understand more about why I do the things that I do in terms of food and overeating.

First a little about my story to super chub or obese
My parents and my youth are now captured in the word dysfunctional. I did not of course know that when I was growing up. I simply did not know any different. My mom had serious mental health challenges and my father was emotional and socially stunted. My parents divorced when I was 9. My mom was a single mom during my adolescence and for the most part worked more than 1 full time job to care for her 4 kids. My father was basically absent. We often had no food (or anything good to eat) in the house and we rarely ate any meals together. I know that my parents did the best they could with us, but as you can imagine there are many wounds. I never realized the significance of having little structure around meal times or food in the house until recently. It was feast or famine in my house. We either had a lot of food (my mom got paid) or we had none (we were out of money). In my late adolescence, my absent father became part of our life again. He did not know how to be a supportive and engaged father, but he tried in his own way. He was critical of all of us, and with me, it was often about my weight. You get the picture.

I have been overweight for most of my adult life. As a young adult I was perhaps 10-20 pounds over my ideal BMI. As I moved into my forties, I started to gain weight mainly because of overeating and some binging. I was perhaps 30-40 pounds overweight until about 1998. It was at that time that I gained another 25 pounds that put me, although I did not admit it, in the obese category. In this past year (2009-2010), I gained another 10 pounds. You can see the trajectory by now; well on my way to becoming morbidly obese by the time I am 60. Plus, I am at high risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and of course heart disease among a whole host of other diseases.

I tried other weight loss plans over the years, but none were really successful. Why? You might ask. I was not ready. I was in denial first of all that I had a serious weight problem that was endangering my health. Besides, there was always some life event or celebration coming up that would make it impossible for me to eat “diet” food. I was always putting my weight loss off till Monday, the first of the month, after my Birthday, Easter, 4th of July, Christmas, winter, spring, summer or fall. You name it, it was reason to weight (wait). Second, I was not a mindful eater. I ate good food, but too much of it. I did not understand portions. I also thought that regaining my health and loosing weight meant that I would have to deprive myself of the foods that I like. I was not ready to give these up. This pattern of denial and not recognizing that I was eating dis-ordered kept going over the next 10-12 years. Until June of this year.

What happened, you ask? Well, for one I read Marion Nestle’s book, What to eat. By now you know that I have adopted her motto: eat less, move more and go easy on the junk food. But, there is more: I was not able to walk as much as I used to, especially up stairs or a hill. I found myself taking the elevator just to go up one flight. I always have been a walker, but it was getting harder and harder. My stamina was gone. My knees were hurting. And my clothes were getting tighter. On top of that: my mother had recently passed away. She had insulin dependent diabetes among many other things. My husband is a health care professional who takes excellent care of his health. He has spent his professional career caring for the elderly and understands too well the cost of not taking care of ourselves: it comes in droves as we age. We might be able to postpone it. But not taking care of ourselves will catch up with us. Again, through diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic and serious diseases. One day he was talking about some of the folks that he cares for and it just clicked with me that I had to do something and now. I finally got his message. It just clicked. I finally understood that if I do not care for myself, my family and others will end up caring for me when I am older (and I AM older now!). This is simply unacceptable to me. It is my family, my sweet grandbabies who will pay the price of my denial and of the years of putting off taking care of myself. My time has simply come to take care of me. To be kind to me. To love me in a way that I have never done before. It is about time. That time is now.

If you have been reading my blog you know that I am slowly building a new history of mindful eating (Thanks, Leslie for this brain child). I am following Nestle’s little adage by eating less (1200-1500 calories a day), moving more (at least 30 minutes per day of vigorous exercise), going easy on junk foods (budgeting them in) and eating lots of fruits and veggies. I am also borrowing from other weight loss gurus like Geneen Roth and Jon Kabat-Zin (Mindful Eating). That is it. I have tremendous resolve because I am out in the open. I have burst past (FINALLY!!!!) my own denial. I am beginning to understand why I eat or desire the things I do and have. I am learning to plan for all the special life events, birthdays, holidays, BBQ’s, parties, movies, sports events etc. I am coming out on top.

Why am I sharing this story with you? Two big reasons: one, (and this is not a badge of honor): I am older than many of you at 56. I am like many of you because I have been chubby, large overweight and now obese for many years. I am embracing this journey in ways that I never have before. I know I will be successful because there is something different this time in me. For me it is being open, honest, and upfront about an issue that I hid behind for many years. I want each of you to do better than me. To get at your issues with weight earlier than I have in your own life. Second: Because I want you to think about the consequences of not taking action, not being kind to yourself, and avoiding the truth to your family and the people who you love and love you, including yourself. It is not fair to them that you will (and you will) be at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and a whole host of other illnesses. It is not fair that they will have to care for you as these diseases ravage your body and take away your quality of life.

What about you? Have you reached your tipping point?

I end many of my communications with the two words: take care. Take a movement and think about them. They are powerful, moving and deeply personal. Take care of yourselves, dear readers and followers. Thank you so very much for reading my blog and this post. Michele

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Water

, MarionWater. Water. Water. I think most of us would agree that part of moving toward better health is making sure we drink plenty of water. Right? But where does all that water come from that we drink? What choices do we make every day when we get a bottle or glass of water? My post today will present some food for thought on the topic of water.

First, here is how I get my water: straight from the tap and filtered through a Brita filter.

I do not know about you, but I have a hard time drinking plain water, so I add a little taste. What I do in the summer is slice a few lemons or limes and put them in a 2 liter container of filtered water. The water becomes very slightly flavored and is much easier for me to drink. I also carry around a refillable bottle to sip in my bag or backpack; easier on my water footprint.

How many glasses of water should we drink a day? What about sports drinks, should we drink them? Marion Nestle tackles the 8 glasses of water a day and the value of sports drink questions in one of her latest blog posts.

Do you prefer water that is bottled, filtered, or straight from the tap? I am guessing that some of you, my dear readers, like to drink and can afford to drink bottled water. Certainly bottled water is convenient and easy to use. But there are many downsides to this unnecessary and expensive commodity. I would like to invite you to learn more about the issues around bottled water by watching this short video.

Here are some additional water facts from: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/

Here's an idea: I know many of you bloggers are working on the Just One Thing Consistency Challenge. Maybe that one thing can be using refillable water bottles. Here is a link to where you can take a pledge to take back the tap as we move toward better health for ourselves and our natural resources: http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2673
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Smoothie

Do you like fruit smoothies?? Well I sure do.


On a hot summer day-they are a terrific and healthy beverage. I found this recipe on the can of Dole pineapple juice. Try it: it is ridiculously easy!!



Recipe for Delicious Smoothie
6 oz of unsweetened pineapple juice
1 ripe banana
6 oz plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 cup of frozen blueberries, strawberries or other berries

Place all items in a blender. Blend until smooth. Three servings. Each serving about 120 calories. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Verstile Blogger

This morning when I opened my blog I was delighted to find two comments (thank-you) and an award! Julie from http://julielostandfound.blogspot.com/ nominated me for this award:


Thank-you, Julie. Julie is an inspiration to me for many reasons. Read her blog to learn more about her own journey to better health. Julie doesn’t know this, but her blog was one of the first blogs I found at BlogSpot after I made the decision to start my own. Because of her blog list and her followers, I have found many more inspiring blogs. So my gratitude to Julie is for the nomination, but also the fact that she keeps her blog up daily with compassion, humor and honesty. I am going to pass this award on....

Now here are the rules of this award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs.

4. Let your nominees know about the award.

Seven unique things about me that I am sure you are all anxious to know:
1. I married my pen pal. True story. He is from the Netherlands and I am from in So Cal. We wrote for 5 years before we meet each other. I went to visit him, and the rest is history. He is the best part of my life. Truly a life’s partner. Plus, we incorporated many of the Dutch traditions with our family including playing voetbal (soccer), ice skating (schaatsen) and a love of lekkers (a generic word for any tasty bakery type treats).

2.I never out grew collecting things. Right now I am collecting butterflies and moths. Don’t worry; they are all previously living organisms. The remarkable diversity of insects, especially moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) inspire me. Insect ecology in general is a remarkable function of our natural world. I collect because I am awestruck at the beauty of our natural world and the diversity within it.

3.I love snow. Never, never is there enough snow for me.

4.I hate freezing rain.

5.I have a thing for Christmas lights. I believe you can never have enough (LEDs of course). I love their soft sparkle and how the light emits when the snow is gently covering them. My spouse and I have an agreement that they will go up only after Thanksgiving, although we keep them up until February (MN has long winters). They are on a timer so I use as little energy as possible ☺.

6.I enjoy (love) playing in bodies of water. Whether they are the ocean or one of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, doesn’t matter to me. A few summers ago, I bought a boat for my spouse off Craig’s List, a Bayliner. we all have enjoyed that boat tremendously. We are not big speedboat folks rather the kind that cruise around a lake and throw out the anchor in a nice spot. He fishes. I swim and read. If the grandbabies are with us we all jump off the back of the boat and scare all the fishies away so hubby cannot fish and can come play with us. We also discovered TUBBING!!

7.I want to learn how to paddle. Really paddle. I can get around a lake in a canoe, but I am scared to death (fear of drowning overcomes me). I am a nut for bodies of water and I want to enjoy the quiet spaces that you can access with a canoe. Thus, I hope to become more confident in paddling.

Here are my nominations of blogs. I added in a little blurb about each one. Most of the descriptive text comes from the blog itself. They are in alphabetical order:

1. Adios Fat Pants: http://adiosfatpants.blogspot.com/: Adios fat pants is a blog about a former fat pants who is preparing to run her first marathon.

2. Chubby Chicks Run Too: http://fatrunnergirl.blogspot.com/: Tales of an out of shape runner getting back into the sport while balancing work and family.

3. Diet of 51: http://dietof51.blogspot.com: A working mom with a lifelong weight problem takes a stand against the menopounds that are dragging her down.

4. Dr. Fatty Finds Fitness: http://drfattyfindsfitness.blogspot.com/ One Doctor's Quest at Finally Finding Her Inner Fitness.

5. Incremental Improvements: http://incrementalimprovements.blogspot.com: Things I'm learning along the road to becoming the woman God made me to be.

6. Lanie Panie: http://healthyschmealthy.blogspot.com: Lanie Panie writes that her goals are to adopt a healthy lifestyle and take better care of the environment, including her home. Loads of good information, too.

7. Musings on a 100lbs+ Weight Loss Journey: http://weight-off-musings.blogspot.com/: Come with me on a weight loss journey to lose the excess baggage!

8. Obesity Time Bomb: http://www.obesitytimebomb.blogspot.com/
This one will knock your socks off. Bold.

9. Paulawannacracker: http://paulawannacracker.blogspot.com/: Musings of a hungry women who is trying to live a fit and active life.

10. Real fat and sassy: http://realfatandsassy.blogspot.com.: dropping the fat and upping the sass.

11. Something Brilliant is Brewing: http://willswimagain.blogspot.com/: This blog is a bit of this and that as I endeavor to break away from food addiction. It's also a whole lot about life. I just have to get out of my own way in this pursuit of brilliance and...freedom!

12. The Skinny Girl Inside: http://karen-theskinnygirlinside.blogspot.com/ I love life and I'm working on regaining control of my life and weight again.

13. Soul Vision: http://honiiswriting.blogspot.com/: Diaries of a motorcycle riding hot chick that is marching forward on her journey to better health.

14. TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY: http://danasafattymcbutterpants.blogspot.com/: WEIGHT LOSS AND OTHER ADDICTIONS

15. Wasting time: http://waistingtimeblog.com/: Honest, hip, and fresh blog on the journey to better health.

Being kind to ourselves

We all have our methods that are moving us forward on our journey to better health. For me it is simply: eat less, move more and go easy on the junk foods. That little message is straight out of Marion Nestle’s book: What to Eat. Simple and makes sense, at least to me. That simple message guides me in nourishing my body, both physically and physiologically. But there is more to regaining better health than just the physical and the physiological.

This journey to better health is also one of self-discovery that is cognitive, psychological and yes, emotional. For me, my focus is not just on the physical side of obesity, but on the cognitive, psychological and emotional sides, too. I am a life long learner, so when I am faced with something I want to know more about, I read about it. I ask questions. I investigate. I bet many of you are investigative detectives, too, about things you want to know more about. I, like many of you, am learning more about the cognitive, psychological and emotional side of obesity by reading some books about food, overeating and regaining health. Currently I am reading Geneen Roth’s (and listening to it on audio tape): Women, Food and God. I guess Geneen has a strong following, almost cult like. I can understand why. Her message is simple: begin to know yourself, to understand yourself and to be kind to yourself. Powerful.

Here is something I am learning about myself: I can eat less, but I can also enjoy a few foods that I like. If you have been reading my blog you know about the bag of potato chips, the cookie, In and Out and ice cream. Sure that is not much “junk” food, but it is some (remember Marion suggests that we go easy on the junk food). Every time I ate one of those items over the past 5 weeks, I enjoyed every bite. I ate them mindfully and really tasted them. Relishing the taste and slowing down to really enjoy them quenched my desire to have more. I am learning that I do not have to deprive myself of the foods I enjoy. I lost 10 pounds since I started this journey, which is evidence to me that my simple plan of eating less, moving more, and going easy on the junk foods is working for me. It is working for me. It is working for me. I believe this simple system can work for others, too. Eating less moving more and going easy on the junk foods is the foundation of my journey and is at the root of how I am being kind to myself. Because, I am worth this kindness and it is long overdue.

Thanks for reading my ruminations. TTFN.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reverse Rewards and a Little Wager on Myself

I have to confess something: I like rewards and recognition (and I believe most of us do, too). So far, I think I am doing great on my path toward better health. I know that the challenge will be to stay the course over time. Because I am concerned about my ability to sustain my journey I am tangling a little carrot out in front, except in my case the carrot could be a reverse reward. First my goal: I would like to be 20 pounds less by the end of the year, which for me will be in the mid 180’s. There are 22 weeks left in the year, so I think my goal is doable and realistic. Second, my carrot: If I meet my target: I will donate $15.00 for each pound lost to a cause I support (I have many to choose from so the decision on which one can come later) and if I don’t (this is the reverse reward part) I will donate $50.00 for each pound I am over my target to a particular political candidate (who is running for reelection) who I absolutely despise and will remain anonymous on this blog. How about you? Have you ever tried reverse rewards to keep yourself motivated on your journey? Thanks for reading!