Thursday, October 7, 2010

Take A Hike!!

View from Andrews Bald - GSMNP
Forney Ridge Trail - October 6, 2010

Taking a hike is exactly what I did and as Mr. B so lovingly (NOT!) put it, "you really needed it."  I tried, REALLY tried to just laugh it off, but several things happened Monday which just really put me in a funk.  This is rare for me, so it usually calls for a long walk in the woods.  As you can see from the picture, yesterday was a perfect October day in the mountains with views only limited by one's eyesight.  Unfortunately, pictures do not show the 100 mph (possibly a slight exaggeration!) winds that were blowing so our time on the bald was limited.  Starting this weekend, I have two wonderful weeks coming up and I cannot have a cold or a sinus infection!  The hike worked its magic and the funk has disappeared.  Just wish these pounds would disappear as easily!

I have settled back into a healthy eating mindset and am feeling much calmer after a couple of weeks without added sugar and white flour.  I have not been perfect, but I have done my best.  The few times that have slipped by me have been instances where the sugar or the flour were not of my making nor were they readily identifiable as "no-no" ingredients.  Only after the fact, did I realize I'd inadvertently eaten one or the other.  
My challenge is that something in my body has changed in the past four years.  I am doing everything that has worked in the past and the pounds just are not coming off.   This I know:   1) I cannot eat any LESS than what I am currently eating and, 2) there is always "tweaking" that can be done, but for the most part, I cannot eat any differently than what I am doing.   

Here are two things that have changed since the last time I lost a significant amount of weight (in 2006-2007):

1)  I have begun, experienced and for the most part completed (I think) the "change."
2)  I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and am on a medication for that.   Since I began the med, all thyroid testing has been at perfect levels and I've experienced no more of the symptoms normally associated with hypothyroidism.

If anyone sees anything there that resonates with an experience of their own, please feel free to offer advice.  I'm trying hard to stay encouraged that I can lose these last 20 pounds, but right now, the task feels overwhelming just because I'm fighting so hard and seeing NO results.  There's a certain irony in the fact that I fought like a dog to lose 10 pounds in three months between late April and August 1, but gained 7 back in less than three weeks!  

The one thing I know needs to be done is an update to my exercise program.  Yes, I walk no less than 10,000 steps per day as recorded on my pedometer, but I've now been doing that for so many years, I suspect my body is acclimated to it and in order to stimulate weight loss, those numbers need to be increased.  That will happen over the next months since hiking season has kicked in, plus I'm looking at some opportunities for some challenging bike rides.  But I think there is room for more and is something I'm going to explore.

Thanks so much for your comments on processed foods.   I loved getting all the different perspectives and did learn some things that I'll incorporate into my philosophy and shopping.   I loved the suggestion which came from more than one person, about giving priority to foods with five or less ingredients.  The general consensus was that it would be very difficult to eliminate processed foods totally from one's eating, but being mindful and taking time to read labels can make a big difference.

I'll leave you with one more picture from yesterday's hike.   This was a sight I'd just as soon NOT have seen:

Yes, that would be snow!  The only good thing I have to say about snow is it means anything that slithers on the ground is slithering way down deep into its winter home.  I am not a fan of anything that slithers!  This hike began at just over 6,000 feet so we shouldn't have been surprised by the snow, but there it was!  

Have you faced challenges such as I'm experiencing that seem different than a normal plateau?   Were you ever able to identify a physical reason and what specific things did you do to overcome it? 


  1. Beautiful pictures!

    Sorry to hear that your struggling. For me, all my plateaus have been more mental then physical. Have you discussed it with your doctor?

  2. Snow! Ohhhhh, not yet!

    It is harder losing weight once you get past 50. I know that when I did in my 30s what I am doing now, I lost 4 or 5 pounds a week. Now, a 2 pound loss is a big deal.

    You know, let me back up wit that. I NEVER did what I am doing now. NEVER. I restricted my calories to the level now, but I was not careful aboutn nutrition at all.

    I have never eaten healthier than I have since the spring of this year. And every month, I clean up and improve my eating a little more. Really, this is the healthiest I have eaten in my entire life. That's a win, even if the scale isn't showing its loss!

    But I KNOW that loss will happen. We just have to practice perseverance and trust the process. For me, easier said than done--even at my age!

    We're gonna do this thing, Sharon, we are!


  3. I don't have advise, just a question: Are the things you are doing on a daily basis making you feel good? Would it be possible to track your results a different way? Measurements? Jean sizes? Or something else? What would you think about or learn or talk about if you weren't focused on "those twenty pounds?" (That idea comes from Tonya Leigh) ;) Just sending you some love!! Keep taking care of yourself. Janelle

  4. Gosh, Sharon, that is frustrating.

    Well, after our changes, and as we age, the body requires much fewer calories than it did before.

    If you have no hidden salt, and are staying properly hydrated, exercising, eating healthy foods in proper portions, etc. and still not losing, consult with your physician, Sharon.

    You may need fewer calories than you think, or you are eating too few and your body is hanging onto every single one, or perhaps your thyroid may be messing with you (even though the numbers look good). Regardless, your doctor should be able to assess you, and your blood work-up, and determine what is best. He may refer you to a dietician for tweaking the diet - and that would be a good thing.

    There is nothing more frustrating than working hard and seeing no forward movement over great periods of time. If this is more than a mere plateau, don't waste your time spinning your wheels, without consulting a professional.

    You will only waste your efforts, grow in frustration, and/or become disillusioned. None of those things need happen! The key may actually be something quite simple to remedy, so don't hesitate to seek out help.

    Dad once went on a diet, and ate too few calories. He was losing nothing, and finally just quit. When he mentioned this to his doctor, the doctor referred him to a dietician. The result (for him)? He dropped his calories too low. The dietician said people need to look at the weight they want to be, and see how many calories are necessary to MAINTAIN that ideal weight, and then eat that many calories per day. Dad almost doubled his calories, loved the diet even more (of course), and the pounds came flying off. Men ... in that one area, I am SO jealous!! LOL

    Keep up your exercise routine, Sharon, it is wonderful!


  5. Sharon, I read on the "about me" section that you live in the mountains of Tennessee. I have a few questions related to hiking those mountains if you wouldn't mind answering them. Could you email me at This pertains to a goal of mine for my anniversary next year! thanks!

    <3 katie

  6. Sharon,
    Welcome back. I was getting concerned about yu since you post nearly every day.

    I'm sorry that you are having a hard time right now. I haven't experience the Big M yet, so I don't know if my words of wisdom have any real value at all. Here goes anyway...

    First measure success another way. It is so easy to let the scales dictate if we are good or bad and that is not the only (or even best) measure of success. You have a lot of successes, like your healthy eating and hiking.

    Since I know far too well that the number on the scales matters a lot, my advice to get things going again is to change something. You already mentioned changing your exercise. You could hike, but then lift some hand weights, or do some old fashioned exercises at home, like leg lifts or crunches.

    You could change something about your eating too. Add another piece of fruit or a little more protein.

    You are doing so well, I think all you'll need is a little tweak and a lot of mental toughness.

    Good luck. I look forward to reading about a big loss soon.

  7. Oh that sounds so frustrating. I hate when I am actually doing everything right and the scale doesn't cooperate!! I just came from another blog where the blogger is thinking about calorie cycling to break her plateau. I used to do that years ago when I was on weight watchers. I do think our bodies get used to both what we eat and our exercise. (Thus my little attempt to run. Sigh.) I also just saw something on TV about how much our metabolism slows down each year and decade. Scary. Hang in there!

  8. First, I wish we were neighbors---that view is spectacular. You and I are very similar in that we need to be out doors to renew our spirits. It's clears my head to no end whether I'm hiking, biking or just walking listening to the leaves crunch under my shoes.

    Also, I could have written this about the plateau. I've been on one for the longest. I keep tweaking my plan whether it be with activities and mostly--food. Right now, I'm struggling with portion sizes. I take alot of bites, licks and tastes. I'm working on that... Weight loss is just not happenign so I've begun to love the process of living healthy. I try every day to work towards that goal in what I eat, what I do. Every day I need to do something towards that healthy lifestyle.

    Just love the process of losing weight. Even if the weight is coming off very slowly. In one year, I've lost maybe 9 lbs. Something is something. Just do not give up...


  9. Hey Girl,

    Great picture and a very wise hubby.

    It's frustrating to feel like you're doing all the right things and not have the scale cooperate. I don't know the answer. Maybe a week or two away at Spa Tish might help. LOL The only little red flag I noticed (at least a red flag for my eating) is the frozen prepared meals you mentioned. I notice the effects of the salt at the scale in a big way.

    Your card to DH came today. You're so nice. He'll love opening it tonight.

    Take care. Things will work out.

  10. I have been through the Big M. I think the thing that works best for me is to change things up. You mentioned that you will be changing up your exercise. That could be a big factor. Do yo do any weight training? I see that others have mentioned it. I am guilty of skimping on weight training because running is so much more, I don't know, romantic? LOL!


  11. I'm glad you're doing better. I haven't experienced anything like what you've been going through, so I'm sorry I couldn't be of any help. Would it help to go to a nutritionist or a trainer? I'm not sure, but just a suggestion?

  12. Our bodies are so annoying sometimes! I don't understand why it's so much easier to put on the pounds than take them off! Not fair!

    While I was reading the first half of your blog I thought what you ended up saying about your exercise routine... that your body is acclimated to what you're doing. It may also be used to the way you're eating. Maybe keep the calories the same... but change the meats/veggies you're eating. I've heard that if you eat the same foods all the time your body is so used to going through them, it just goes through the routine... without taking much thought. But if your body gets a strange food it's like "what the crap!?" and goes through it as quickly as possible. Also, if it's a harder food to digest, your body works harder.. and keeps working hard afterwards.

    (I'm no dietitian, but I've heard that around)

  13. You have gotten a lot of good advice. Definitely, our body gets used to one kind of exercise and becomes very efficient at it. Weight lifting to gain muscle mass is supposed to increase your metabolic rate. Definitely, going to an expert to see exactly how much you need to eat to maintain, and then subtracting from that in order to lose weight could be helpful.

    The whole issue about salt drives me nuts. Salt does not make you retain actual fat. It does make you hold on to water.

    Lastly, yes, our age is a HUGE factor in making weight loss difficult. I can't remember how tall you are. Is your goal realistic?

    I don't know, Sharon. You read my blog and know my own struggles. As long as you are continuing to learn about healthy foods, and making those healthy choices, isn't that about the best you can do for your body?

  14. Love your pictures. And snow!! We have not seen that yet in MN.
    Sharon I have found that doing two kinds of exercise (biking and walking) at least 4/7 days really is helping me lose the weight. I am a very slow loser, only 19 pounds in 3.5 months. So, I can relate. Try stepping up the exercise and see what happens. Glad you liked all the :advice: you received about processed foods.