Monday, October 26, 2020

Lessons Learned

Boone Greenway - Boone, North Carolina
October, 2020 
Probably the most frustrating aspect of blogging for me has always been the times when someone becomes a regular reader/commenter and then simply disappears!  It happens a lot for all sorts of reasons, but no matter how one tries to "find" them, if the intention was to disappear, you eventually just have to let it go!  I never intended to be the very one who did that - disappeared! 

I was 17 days into my 100 Days of 100 Carbs challenge, enjoying my time in the mountains of North Carolina and then, just like that, I had one major sinus infection that would not go away.  It took coming home, two rounds of antibiotics and a LOT of patience before I finally kicked it.  I was scheduled to return to Boone for three more weeks in September/October and was a bit leery of it happening again as leaf season had begun in earnest which stirs up another whole kind of pollen/mold etc.  But all was well and I was able to enjoy what is being called one of the North Carolina High Country's most spectacular fall foliage in decades.  

Boone, North Carolina - October, 2020
Needless to say, the challenge went by the wayside because I just felt awful and once the heavy duty antibiotics kicked in, not only did I feel awful, absolutely NOTHING sounded good to eat.  My energy and enthusiasm for any of it just left me!
Boone, North Carolina - October, 2020
However, the carb challenge was working!  I haven't returned to it and am not sure that I will, but I did learn a couple of lessons that I thought I'd share!  
1)    The commitment to blog every day was not going to work for me.  I went into it with the best of intentions thinking the accountability would keep me motivated. Until I got sick, I was busy hiking and doing other things making me realize within the first few days that I had bitten off more than I could chew with the promise to post every day.  I could see that it would become very boring to the reader and, once I started writing again, I realized I had lots more I wanted to write about than carbs!!!  In retrospect, I would probably post about the challenge weekly and enjoy writing about other things at other times.
2)    The joy I've always found in writing did return very quickly and reminded me of the therapeutic value found in putting thoughts to paper.  The lesson there is one we all must learn time and time again no matter what the challenge is.  Moderation is the key!  There is a big difference between posting every day or not posting at all.  There is a big difference between no carbs, low carbs and every carb you can stuff in your mouth in a given day!!  The key lies in finding the proper balance and creating the habit which supports the balance. 
 Boone, North Carolina - October, 2020
I suspect I'll be working on the proper balance and establishing habits part for the rest of my life!   What about you?


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Day 17 (100 Days of 100 Carbs) - Dreary Says it All!

My Current View - July 23, 2020

This is the first day in which I have not left my cabin.  The picture is pretty much the way it has looked all day with occasional emphatic sound effects (thunder) and pyrotechnics (vivid lightening) thrown in.  Dreary does say it all, but dreary doesn't have to mean bad.  For me, the timing was perfect!  The antibiotic I began yesterday for a sinus/ear infection has kicked in and to put it bluntly, I feel even worse than I did without the antibiotic.  No surprise there - that's why I hate taking them.  But I also know they work.  So the rainy, dreary day gave me the perfect excuse to lay on the sofa and read. I have enjoyed that immensely.  I am not a nap taker or daytime sleeper even when under the weather, but I have to admit, there's been a few times this afternoon when I've looked at the clock and wondered where that last hour went!! LOL! 

I am learning some pretty interesting things about the way I eat when I am not on a low-carb challenge and I'll get into that another time when I feel more like fleshing it out, but today, keeping something in my stomach at all times (to counteract the stomach distress caused by an antibiotic) and keeping myself to under 100 carbs is just not going to happen.  Nothing sounds good and nothing tastes good.  This will pass and in the meantime, I'll continue to log all foods and continue to do the best I can under the circumstances. 

Yesterday was my highest carb count to date.  Frankly, when I sat down to log, I thought it would be even higher.  Sometimes, the logging is encouraging because I haven't done as poorly as I would've thought without the accountability of logging. 

Day 16 Recap:

Total Carbs:  174
Total Steps:  10812

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Day 16 (100 Days of 100 Carbs) - New Every Morning

Sunrise! - July 22, 2020

My cabin faces due east giving me a bird's eye view of each morning's sunrise.  Nothing about our days right now seem predictable or certain, but the sunrise, I can count on. Always the same, yet new and different every morning. A sure reminder that all is well and all will be well.

You might remember that on Sunday, I mentioned a slight sinus infection that I sensed was getting better.  Well, I was wrong!  I have a lengthy history with both sinus infections and middle ear infections, so I should've known better.  Grateful for technology and patient portals along with a long-term relationship with my doctor at home, I sent a message early this morning begging for the antibiotic I should've asked for on Monday!  His response was quick and by 10 a.m. this morning, I had the usual antibiotic that SHOULD kick this head full of "stuff" and wobbly off-kilter feeling right to the curb!  I dislike antibiotics and avoid them when I can, but I also know that it will work. 

Today has been a bit cooler in the mountains with a noticeable difference in humidity levels. I met my friend at the greenway a bit later than usual and we had a lovely walk along a new path she pointed out to me.  That's TWO new paths she's shown me even though I would've sworn I'd walked every inch of the Boone Greenway system.  I do love it here and although my current visit will be over in a few days, I will be back in August! 

I don't look forward to returning to the excessive heat and humidity of my hometown, but I do look forward to being back in my own kitchen where I can be a bit more creative with my low-carb eating.  Throwing myself headlong into this 100 day challenge AFTER I arrived in Boone didn't allow any time for preplanning.  I had brought all my food with me (mostly Nutrisystem items) so that I wouldn't have to grocery shop while in a state other than my own.  That's worked out, but it hasn't been easy keeping to 100 carbs a day eating prepackaged food.  They add up fast!  I'll have done a better job of planning when I return to Boone in a few weeks.  Having said that, I feel I have done well with the circumstances I've had to work with.

Day 15 Recap:

Total Carbs: 83
Total Steps:  10966

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Day 15 (100 Days of 100 Carbs) - There is HOPE!

Price Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Boone, NC - July 21, 2020

I'm not sure if this is a diseased leftover leaf from last year or a hopeful sign of things to come, but two things stopped me in my tracks as I walked by it earlier today.  First, the vivid red jumped out at me among the sea of various shades of green beside the browns of the tree trunks and sticks lying close by. The extreme heat has caused the pinks and whites of the mountain laurel to fade away a bit too early, so the brief glimpse of bright red at my feet halted my steps immediately.  Second, I looked both around me and above me and saw not one other leaf anywhere that had any red on it. 

The past few years have taught me many things, but none more important than being present in the "now" and in a constant state of awareness.  We fly through our days and before we know it, years have gone by and we wonder where they went.  We miss so much beauty and so many opportunities for growth simply because we fail to notice.  It takes a concentrated effort to focus on the moment and what can be found in it for you on that day. 

What did the leaf have to say to me?  Change is coming.  The greens and pinks will fade to vivid reds and oranges.  The heat and humidity will bring cool and dry air.  The one red leaf on the ground will become many in a sea of unimaginable color that will take our breath away.  Maybe by the time the one red leaf becomes many, we will once again be able to enjoy the company of each other. Even then, may we never forget the beauty and uniqueness we each posses on our own, but oh my, the amazing grandeur of what comes alive when we are one and working together in community.  There is hope!

An unexpected dinner invitation came at the last minute yesterday and threw the plan off a bit.  I could've made a couple of different choices that would've lessened the total carb count, but also would've lessened my enjoyment of the evening.  This challenge is a lifestyle, not a sprint.  I am compensating by having a lower carb day today and do not regret my choices yesterday.  Logging the good and the bad is teaching me how to purposefully eat this way permanently.

Day 13 Recap:

Total Carbs:  275
Total Steps:  12840

Monday, July 20, 2020

Day 14 (100 Days of 100 Carbs) - Under the Weather In the Mountains

Boone Greenway, Boone, NC - July 20, 2020

Yesterday was an "under the weather" day from two points of view!  The above normal heat and humidity in the Boone/Blowing Rock, North Carolina area where I am is churning up some pretty impressive afternoon and early evening thunderstorms.  My cabin boasts an amazing panoramic view that spreads from south to north and covers a significant distance.  Yesterday afternoon, I spent quite of bit of time just gazing out my windows as one storm after another would pass by.  The cabin stands at 4200', so at any time, I might be below the clouds, above the clouds or IN the clouds.  Nature is truly amazing.  Sadly, it doesn't feel as if the storms made one iota of difference in TODAY'S heat and humidity levels.  It's 2:30 as I write this and I can already hear thunder in the distance, so I suspect I'm looking at another "under the weather" afternoon.  It's fascinating and quite mesmerizing.

From my deck looking to the north

I've tried to ignore a building sinus infection for the last several days hoping over-the-counter meds would work.  I operate with a lowered immune system anyway and unfortunately, full-blown sinus infections don't usually go away on their own.  I don't like antibiotics.  Yesterday seemed to be the tipping point because I stumbled around most of the day feeling half drunk, but not bad enough to go to a walk-in clinic.  That will be a last resort for me right now with COVID!  I have a history with this, but have never abused it, so I knew if I could wait it out until this morning, my doctor at home would call in the usual antibiotic.  Thankfully, I woke up feeling much better.  Not completely myself, but at least able to walk a straight line and with a head feeling less than the weight of bowling ball.  Maybe the decongestant and Mucinex kicked in enough to....well, no need to elaborate on the details.  Let's hope I've dodged a bullet.  It's always interesting to observe that the change in elevation from less than 1000' at home to 4200' at this cabin often results in some sinus issues.  The same thing happened last year. 

And to the southeast

Needless to say, yesterday was not a stellar eating day.  Between the decongestant I was taking every four hours and the wobbly feeling every time I moved around, nothing sounded good or tasted good, yet I knew if I didn't keep something in my stomach it would become problematic as well.  So even though I went over 100 carbs, I'm still pleased with how I handled it and made choices on a day when I really just didn't care. 

Day 13 Recap:

Total Carbs:  122
Total Steps:   4295 (Tried going out for a short walk, but that didn't last long!)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Day 13 (100 Days of 100 Carbs) - Week 2 Recap

Moses Cone Carriage Road - Moses Cone Memorial Park
Blowing Rock, NC
July, 2019

(If you are reading this blog for the first time today, here is a link to my first post explaining this challenge and a link to my inspiration behind the challenge.  Each Sunday post is a recap of the previous week's statistics, positives and challenges.)

I might characterize my thoughts today as frustrated.  In a post earlier this week, I somewhat sarcastically spoke of overhearing two women on the Boone Greenway talking about how HOT it was and how they didn't have a clue what "hot" really was.  I'm humbly retracting those thoughts.  Yes, compared to other places, Boone isn't hot, but when you add unusual humidity levels and full sun, being outside after 9 a.m. really isn't pleasurable.  Because of a fairly early Zoom meeting on Sunday mornings, I just can't get the walking done early enough.  Yes, evenings are a possibility, but I am so NOT an evening person.  To say at 8 a.m. that I'll walk at 8 p.m. is a recipe for failure!  This is all excuses and the temps will moderate soon enough, but the frustration just makes me doubly aware of how committed I am to that daily walk and how my body tells me with its restlessness that I've not walked.

The 100 Days of 100 Carbs challenge is moving along nicely and I am pleased with how I feel.  Here are some of the good things I've noticed this week as well as some of the challenges.


1)    Carb cravings are gone!  In fact, there have been a couple of evenings when I have felt no hunger and struggled to decide what to eat for supper.  Since I am not at home, my selection is quite limited and everything I had was more than I wanted. 

2)    Clothes are already fitting more loosely and energy level has increased.  My daily walks have gone from 2-3 miles daily to 3-4 with no effort.  It's what my body WANTS to do.  My goal is 5 miles daily by the start of hiking season with a longer hike at least once a week.  My ability to hike 8-10 miles was one of the first things to go when I started gaining weight. 

3)    I am enjoying this and in no way do I feel deprived or as if I'm missing something. 


1)    Keeping my focus OFF the scale.  This challenge is not about losing weight.  It is about becoming healthier and for me, losing weight is a part of that.  A by-product of low-carb WILL be losing weight, but for this challenge I have chosen not to weigh myself daily or allow myself to be encouraged or discouraged by a number on the scale. 

2)    As long as I am still working my way through the last of my Nutrisystem meals, keeping carbs under 100 will be a challenge.  I just keep reminding myself of that and moving on.

3)    Keeping my focus ON the fact that this is not a 100-day diet that will end.  It is a lifestyle change that involves learning, so being constantly aware of why I'm choosing what I'm choosing for each meal and when unusual situations present themselves, working through a way to face that situation head on so that the habit of monitoring carbs will be set and non-negotiable once the 100 days is past. 

Looking forward to week 3!

 Day 12 Recap:

Total Carbs: 128
Total Steps:  12242

Average Carbs for Week 2:  99.57  (Good JOB!!)
Average Steps for Week 2:   10680

Have a good week!  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Day 12 (100 Days of 100 Carbs) - Saturday Serenity

Side trail to creek - Boone Greenway, Boone NC
July 18, 2020

Day 11 Recap:

Total Carbs: 87
Total Steps:  7274