Thursday, June 27, 2013

Weighty Matters

Meigs Falls - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
June 26, 2013

Almost exactly one month ago, I wrote a post called, "There's Some Work To Be Done."  In it, I talked about the very slow weight creep that happens so often when we slip just a little here and just a little there.  I also mentioned that I was already a few days into my regular plan for shedding weight.  I am happy to report that just under one month later, about half of that weight is gone.  As is to be expected, the rate of loss has slowed dramatically and I expect it to take two months to shed the remaining pounds.  

I have not yet achieved the nirvana state where 100% of the time I can halt that little mind button that pushes me over the edge where I choose to eat something I know will trigger hunger and make a choice I really don't want to make.  Once I was back in the swing of things, the craving for "white things" left me completely and I've felt no desire for them.  But in the early months of this year and while on our trip to New York, it was like, "oh yeah, I'll have one (or three or six) of those."  Once I was able to flip that darn switch back, it's been smooth sailing!  

In addition to eliminating white sugar and white flour, I also made a conscious decision to eliminate all "nightshade" foods.  It is thought that those contain inflammatory agents and anyone with an inflammatory disease (in my case, Rheumatoid Arthritis) might do better without them.  I didn't write much about this earlier because it was difficult, but in January while in Florida, I experienced some major issues with heartburn.  Please understand that I'm not talking about your typical, "oh I hate too much pizza" heartburn.  This type of heartburn results in severe pain, asthma like symptoms and difficulty breathing.  Don't worry, this is well covered with my doctor - we know it is GERD resulting from more than 30 years of heavy anti-inflammatory medicine usage.  IT IS NOT CARDIAC RELATED.  I immediately stopped the anti-inflammatory, MOBIC, that I had been taking for two years and although I had some pain while coming off of it, surprisingly enough, I've been able to make it all these months with no anti-inflammatory medication.  I'm living on borrowed time with this because these meds are life savers for Rheumatoid Disease patients and I will likely not be able to tolerate them any longer.   So I am willing to try anything to see if it helps.  

Nightshades include tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), eggplant, sweet and hot peppers and a few other things.  I'm o.k. with everything except the tomatoes.  I love them and with summer coming on, the thought of not eating little cherry tomatoes like candy hurts.  But so far, I've done it!  For over a month now, I've eaten nothing in the nightshade family of which I am aware.  And people, I can tell a difference!  Could it be simply the absence of any flare-ups in the disease right now?  Of course, but I honestly think I can see a difference because I ate a LOT of tomatoes all the time.  Let me know if you or anyone you know has eliminated "nightshades" from their eating, for what reason and whether or not it made a difference for them.  For now, I'm staying away from them and have even found some yummy substitutes for my beloved cherry tomatoes.

Thank you so much for all your well wishes and prayers for the folks about whom I wrote last week.  I am happy to report that little Zachary is doing as well as a little guy with his problems can.  His mom had a rough, rough recovery, but was finally able to go home from the hospital one day last week.  Earlier this week, they were able to hold baby Zachary for the first time.  What a celebration that must've been.  He now weighs 2.6 pounds!  I'll keep you posted.  

The memorial service for our friend who died in the horrendous fall is this Saturday afternoon.  Reading her obituary painted a beautiful picture of a life well lived and someone who held tightly to the love of family and friends.  We are encouraged to wear Hawaiian print or brightly colored shirts to the service and attend a potluck meal immediately following.  That is so, SO Karen!  I didn't see her that often - only at parties and such, but I miss her just knowing I'll not see her when I visit Bill at his college.  Bill is having a much tougher time.  Their offices were very near to each other and he interacted with her on a daily basis.  

In both cases, thanks again for your kind words.  They meant a lot to me.  

I will have some really exciting news to share in my next post.  There's lots going on in our life. A big change is in the works!  So check back the first part of next week!   In the meantime, don't beat around the bush.  Tell the important people in your life that you love them and tell them NOW.  You just simply never know what's around the corner.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finding The Light!

Montauk Point Lighthouse - Montauk, New York
May 13, 2013

Last week was not a good week!  It did not begin well, but in light of the way it ended, the irritations that occurred at the beginning were quickly forgotten and totally insignificant.  Valuable lessons learned although being the frail humans that we are, we'll forget again!  

Wednesday evening at choir practice, I joked with my hiking bud about his being afraid he might have to miss his annual hiking trip to Mt LeConte because the much-anticipated birth of granchild number two happened to coincide with those very dates.  Little did he, his wife (also a close friend), or me know that about 4 1/2 hours later that same grandbaby would be delivered almost three months premature by emergency surgery and weigh in right at 2 pounds.  Life stands still.  I don't know what you do, but I pray for strength for them, for that sweet baby, his mom, dad, big brother and mostly, that I'll know how to be a friend.  Baby has stabalized (as much as a 2 pounder can), but mom is still having some problems.  

In the same hospital where mom and baby rest, I spent Sunday afternoon on another floor waiting with family and friends of one of Bill's colleagues and good friend of ours, while she made painful decisions regarding the life of her partner of many years.  The result of a horrific fall down a staircase inside a home they were visiting left that precious life unresponsive.  We love both of these people.  This level of pain is absolutely incomprehensible to me.   As we were driving home, I said to Bill, "we are driving home just like we always do, those people are walking into the restaurant we were passing just like they always do, but our friend's life will never be the same."  

I have strong hope, a deep faith and an unwavering belief that this life is not all there is and so do all the people about whom I've written in this post.  For me, finding the light is all about remembering what is important and what is not. New life begins at a totally unexpected time while we mourn a life that leaves us at a totally unexpected time.  Neither family would say they were "ready."  Life is not predictable - we'd all do well to remind ourselves of that every day and act accordingly!

In whatever way you do this, please hold both of these families in your thoughts and prayers!
It's a long and very winding road ahead of them!

Our journey to healthy eating is an important part of our life and we write here for encouragement and support.  I've found so much more than that in these last three years.  And never has that been more evident than when I sat down to write these words.  Obviously, it's not at all what I'd planned to write about today.  I debated not writing at all, but found that I wanted to share these things with you because you are my friends.   And I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Celebrating Two Anniversaries - 36 Years and 3 Years!

From the deck of our "home" weekend before last - Maggie Valley, NC
June 1, 2013

For the fourth time since I began writing Gains and Losses, Bill and I have celebrated a wedding anniversary.  On June 4th, we woke up, looked at each other and said, "my gosh, it's been 36 years!"  I can't write any more or any better than the previous posts I've written on our anniversaries, so I'll just link back to them and if you choose to read them, you'll learn a bit more about us and our marriage.  I love to go back each year and read them because they are all written from different places while we were traveling.  Someone asked me what we did to celebrate this year and I just laughed and said, "Bill mowed the back yard while I sat on the porch watching him and finishing Mary Higgins Clark's latest mystery."  We consider our summer travels to be our "gift" to each other, so we don't make a huge deal about it on the specific day.  It actually felt odd being at home.  Neither of us could remember the last time we were at home on our anniversary!  But there was something comforting about mowing the yard and reading.  It is so "us" and just felt good.  It was a great day.  Here are those links....33 years, 34 years, and 35 years.

Another important anniversary occurred on May 14th.  That was the day, three years ago, that I paused with my finger hovering over the "publish" button for a long time before hitting it.  And when I did, Gains and Losses: Life Through Sharon's Eyes was born.  I began that first post with the words, "I love to write. I always have."  I did not have a clue what I was doing nor could I possibly anticipate the support, encouragement, joy and new friends it would bring into my life.  It was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I look forward to many more years of writing.  Thank you so very, very much to each of you who have commented, responded and become my "friends."  I still hope someday to say that I have a blog friend in every state.  That would fulfill a little girl's wish of many years ago to have a pen pal (remember those??) in every state.  

We had a quiet weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed a rainy Monday at home.  Most of the day was spent finishing a novel I was reading, catching up on blog reading and continuing to research and plan Summer Adventure (Part 2).  We will be spending two weeks in Estes Park, Colorado to finish hiking some trails that have been inaccessible to us on our May trips because of snow.  Since our time is compressed to just a little over two weeks, Bill will fly out to Denver so he can have maximum time in Colorado because he doesn't get all excited about long road trips like I do.  We'll acclimate to the altitude for a couple of days in Boulder, then move on to Estes Park.  

I, on the other hand, can take as long as I want to get to Colorado and home from Colorado.  And oh what fun I'm having working out that scenario.  I've got a tentative plan in mind, but would love any suggestions or ideas.  

Later this week, I will write a dedicated post covering the first week of my post-adventure return to healthy eating!  Week 1 was a resounding success resulting in what I think is close to the largest weight loss in a one week period I've ever had.  And no, no, NO - I did not fast, I did not starve, in fact, I ate 1200-1500 calories of good stuff every day.  But like I said, more about that later this week.

Talk to me today - What's on your mind this week?

Friday, June 7, 2013

There's Some Work To Be Done!

View from Purchase Knob - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Maggie Valley, North Carolina - June 1, 2013
Summer Adventure (Part 1) is over!  Summer Adventure (Part 2) does not begin until mid-July although there are many adventures planned between now and then.  Whereas Summer Adventure (Part 1) was all about visiting New York City and discovering Long Island, Summer Adventure (Part 2) is all about hiking!  And there is some work to be done between now and then for me to be ready for that.
For those who've become my blog friends since 2011, here's the brief recap.   In 2006-2007, I lost 65 pounds and kept it off for a couple of years.  By 2010 (when I began this blog), I'd regained 30 of those 65 and was having a heck of time finding the motivation to lose them.  It was November of 2011 before the "right" plan found me and once I got started, it worked like a charm and by late spring of 2012, I was back at goal weight feeling great.  I remained at or close to my goal weight until early last winter and truthfully, I can't pinpoint exactly what happened.  Obviously, a little too much of this and a little too much of that!  

But I found myself "settling" for a higher weight than I wanted because it hadn't seemed to affect my lifestyle.  Clothes still fit, lengthy hikes were still mastered, energy level was good, etc.  But you know how that goes.....two pounds become four, four become eight and by the time we left for Summer Adventure (Part 1) in early May, eight had become ten.  

Then was when I made my fatal mistake.   The mindset I knew better than to adopt.  The one that said, "don't worry about it on your trip.  Take care of it when you get home."  And you know, in the end, I am lucky to have only gained five more pounds.  What I lost was much greater.  Too much of the white stuff (flour and sugar) put every one of those pounds on places I don't want them to be.   And too much of the white stuff reminded me not how much I craved those things, but how much eating those things masks the wonderful tastes of everything else.  

So the work to be done is not necessarily losing 15 pounds, but is remembering that I now eat in a different way and being thankful that yes, I may have slipped a bit, but it's actually a GOOD thing because it reinforced once and for all, that I want to fill my body with delicious and colorful fruits and vegetable, healthy whole grains and all-natural proteins.  I don't want to feed my body boring white things except on very, VERY rare occasions.

I am happy to report that all returned to normal last Monday morning and much, MUCH progress has already been made.  I'll be back at goal before you know it.  And I can't begin to convey how much better I already feel!  The best news of all is that it is just about time for all that wonderful fresh stuff to start rolling in.  You better believe I'll be at my Farmer's Market bright and early Saturday morning!  It's been a good week with Bill on board.  He'd found a few pounds as well.  We've had some delicious meals and have stuck pretty close to Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet which has become my standard for losing and maintaining.  And I know there'll be lots of love and support from you guys as well.

We had no sooner gotten our bags unpacked and all the laundry done than we were packing them again for a weekend in Maggie Valley, NC.  The Asheville Astronomy Club was sponsoring a stargazing event at Purchase Knob, one of the best places for an event like this I can possibly imagine.  We had tried to attend one last fall, but I was too late getting our reservation request in and all the spaces were filled.  I was promised I'd be notified of future events BEFORE they were announced to the general public and they kept their promise.  We had an amazing time - you wouldn't believe some of the equipment those people had.  They take their "gazing" VERY seriously.  Our most spectacular thing was being able to see Saturn and its rings with a clarity I couldn't believe.  Absolutely incredible!  

Bill is well into his first summer class and has a group of 21 students eager to complete Music Appreciation!! We are back into our morning walking routine and thoroughly enjoying being able to walk outside rather than in the mall where we were forced inside during the winter.  

We are anticipating a quiet weekend at home and have no plans to pack a suitcase again any time soon although with us, you just never know. 
What do you have planned for the weekend?