Monday, October 17, 2016

Face it…

This weekend was a laid back one. I went into it - for once - having no real plans and it ended up being pretty productive.

Saturday I got a run in with Archer in the morning and then - due to unusually warm October temps, Marc and I and Archer went for a long relaxed hike. The sun was bright and we spent a lot of time wandering trails and admiring the magnificent changing of the leaves. I had thought that because of the extremely dry summer that the leaves would be uninspired, but happily, I have been wrong.  The array of colors is simply gorgeous.

As I have talked about in the past, I start getting super depressed this time of year and some warmer than normal temps and a lot of fresh air and sunlight definitely has helped stave that off some – so far anyway.

Sunday morning we went again for a short hike at the local park before the rain moved in. By afternoon it was windy and raining so I rode the bike trainer while watching football. The good news? The Dolphins WON!! The bad news? Because they have been playing like CRAP this year but they kicked ass and took names yesterday, the superstitious side of me now believes that I will have to ride the trainer while they play EVERY WEEK so that they will continue to win!!!

My brain still says “It’s the WEEKEND! You can eat all you want, it’s ok!!” So I can’t say that this weekend was much different, but I did try a new recipe. It was kale combined with apples, cranberries and walnuts. It was absolutely delicious and almost guilt free. And in a small miracle, Marc actually liked it. I’ll post the recipe in the future if anyone is interested!

I even got some mundane chores done, and finally got to something that I have been TOTALLY putting off. Guess what that was?

Well, about 2 weeks before we left for vacation, it came in my e-mail. It was a happily worded invitation to take the annual survey for the National Weight Control Registry. I felt a pit in my stomach when I saw it and put it out of my mind.

Then came the follow up invitation telling me that they were sorry they hadn’t heard from me and no matter what my status was, it would be valuable to have my input. I again put it off. A couple of days after we returned from vacation came another plea for me to take the survey.

Yesterday I reluctantly clicked the link. It immediately starts with a question of what your weight is. Then it asked what my weight was last year at this time. I remember last year entering the information with guilt and shame and being absolutely SURE that this year I would be able to enter a lower number. To have to admit that I had not only NOT LOST any weight, but had actually GAINED a sizable chunk - well it sucked ass.

The survey then took me through a slew of practical food questions, like how often do you eat chicken, and of those times, how many times do you eat the skin? Or how many times do you use low fat options in your cooking? Or how many times do you eat rolls without butter or salads without dressing? Then there was the exercise questions about what types of exercise you do and how often.

Then there was a whole page of questions about emotions and how you feel about your life and things like “Do you often eat when you are sad?” For the most part, the survey is the same as it has been every year since I joined. And I remembered that they asked those questions about your emotions, I had answered them before. But this year I really paid attention to them. For some reason it really hit me that these questions are not designed with ME in mind. They are designed with everyone that is in this group of losers - weight losers that is. So guess what - apparently it’s not just me whose emotions effect my weight!!


I often tell my clients that if it was as simple as quitting drugs and alcohol, then I would be out of a job. Because if that’s all there was to it, everyone would be able to get clean and sober. But it is much more complex. As is the weight loss game.

For most of the questions asked about food and exercise - in black and white it looks like I do most everything right. I exercise a lot. A variety of exercises. I don’t keep high fat foods in the house. I don’t eat wasteful fat calories like mayonnaise, I eat tons of fruits and veggies, I almost never eat out at restaurants. And yet - here I am - having gained weight and not being able to take it off again.

So I hope that all of my answers help these experts crunch the numbers and be able to offer answers not just to me, but to the hundreds of men and women out there desperate to take off some poundage....

Hey – where is that miracle pill anyway? 


Saturday, October 15, 2016

The power of words

If you have read this blog for any amount of time, and/or if you know me in real life, then you know that I am a flaming liberal.

I have mostly not used this blog to talk about the upcoming Presidential election because that is not really what this blog is about and there are plenty of places to get your political fix if that’s what you are looking for.

But I have been thinking so much about recent developments I am going to talk politics for a minute.  If you aren’t interested, stop reading.  If you think it might piss you off, you might want to stop reading.

You have been warned.

I used to work at the county jail.  One time, early on, it was near the end of a shift for the CO’s when we couldn’t interact with inmates and I was hanging out and talking with some CO’s.  They were joking around and then one of them proceeded to tell a joke and it started off “What did the nigger say…”  I immediately stood up and said “Ok, that’s my cue to leave,” and started back towards my office.  “Geez!” the CO yelled “It’s just a JOKE!”

But it’s NOT just a joke.  Words have meaning and power.  Some great speeches – mere words – have, in my opinion, changed the course of history.  (I have a DREAM, anyone?)

Which is what bothers me SO MUCH about the release of the Donald Trump recording where he talked so horribly about women.  And then he – and his supporters – want to defend that hate speech by saying “It’s just WORDS!”

No – it not “just words”.  It is someone degrading a whole group of people.  Making them less than.  Asserting a position of power over someone more vulnerable. 

That, my friends, is WRONG.  And to excuse this talk as a type of “boys will be boys” behavior – and let’s be real, we’re talking about an ADULT here, not some 15 year old – is shameful.

To hear a grown man laughing about using his position of power to grab someone’s “pussy” against her will literally makes me sick to my stomach. 

Then to follow that up by calling women “fat pigs”, to be accused of sexual assault and to give a statement saying that he wouldn’t have assaulted his accusers because they are so ugly???  It’s more than offensive. 

It’s as offensive as joking about beating up “fags”.  As telling “nigger” jokes.  It’s about hate speech that effects the culture in this country.

I have been the victim of a sexual assault, and, if statistics are true, so have many of you reading this now.  And it was not about me being beautiful and sexy.  It was about someone who had power over me and who clearly didn’t see me as a person but instead as an object hurting me.

To have someone who is trying to be President of this country attempting to justify and condone offensive and hateful words should terrify all of us. 

Because WORDS have MEANING.  Words can and do inspire ways of thinking which leads to action.  The thought of a 12 year old boy hearing the President of the United States laughing as he calls a woman a “fat pig” or brags about grabbing pussy?  What effect will that have on that boy??

I personally try to be mindful of not using degrading and hateful terms.  I’m not going to say that I always achieve that goal.  But I don’t try to justify it.  And I walk away from anyone else who is doing it.

In this case, I can’t walk away, but I can exercise my right to vote… 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

You are not alone…

While on was on vacation, I went to the wedding of my cousin. When we got to the reception, there was no assigned seating like most of the weddings that I have gone to, so Marc and I picked out some seats for ourselves at a large table. Before too long, 3 couples - friends of my cousin who we had never met - asked if they could join us.   They were all about 10 years younger than Marc and I (the age of my cousin) and were clearly there to have a extremely good time - dang, did I feel OLD!!

One of the girls who joined us was adorable and blonde and very thin. Another was a tall, willowy redhead who I think works for a gym. She was fit although not overly athletic looking. The third girl was a little on the heavier side and also quite pretty. The dinner for the wedding involved going up to the self-serve buffet line. The thin blonde kept saying that she had been “saving my carbs all week for this!” I was sure that she would eat like one small potato and then claim she was stuffed.

But when we sat back down, she had a full plate of food, including a pile of mashed potatoes. She began eating the potatoes with gusto and again commented that she had “saved my carbs” - and I was shocked when she went up for seconds and came back with another huge portion of potatoes and actually ate the whole plate. She even giggled with embarrassment when her husband called her out on it. The girl that was a little heavier told her husband that she was not headed back for seconds and I thought she looked a little sad, but I may have just been projecting.

If I had been on the outside just watching this impossibly thin and pretty blonde chowing down on a huge plate of potatoes I would have assumed that she was naturally thin and had never had to watch her weight and I would have been incredibly jealous. It would have never occurred to me that she had thought about the wedding in advance and eaten less or differently leading up to it in anticipation of eating more than normal.

Apparently I think that the vast majority of people who I see as thin and pretty are naturally that way and don’t have to work n it. In my mind, I am the only person in the world that struggles with my eating and has to think about what and how much I am going to eat in advance.

Along  those same lines, yesterday, I had an incredibly stressful day at work. You guys all know what it is like coming back from vacation but add in some major changes in my job and I was just burned out yesterday. I got home and felt shaky, exhausted, cold, cranky AND I had a pounding headache. I had been planning on running but I stared at the couch - with the heated blanket it on it calling to me. I probably wasted 20 minutes arguing with myself about whether I needed to work out.

I finally got changed and dragged my ass downstairs to the treadmill. 1 mile in I started to feel a little better.  By mile 4 I was in the groove, and at mile 7 I was happy that I had run and felt refreshed.

I posted something on a running group about this and why I always forget how I feel afterwards and always seem to have to battle myself just to get going.

A few people chimed in that this is just the nature of the beast and one woman said that this is her experience every single time she runs.

Just like the food thing, I tend to think that “real” runners just waltz out the door absolutely THRILLED to be running and that they never have to battle themselves in order to get going.

What’s the point of all this?  If you are like me, and you get so angry with yourself and feel like you are alone in the battle with yourself, you (and I) need to remember that very few people have it easy.  The people we think have it all together, who are motivated and make it look like a cakewalk?  Chances are that they are battling internally as well.  So give yourself a break.  Do your best and forget the rest as Tony Horton says…


Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Grand Coincidence…


Is there such a thing as fate?  Or when weird things happen are they just a coincidence?  Many people say that things happen for a reason, but I often think that's just a way to make ourselves feel better when crappy things happen to us.  On the other hand, I have had events happen in my life that makes it hard to believe it was just a coincidence.

Either way, one of those weird things happened to us while on vacation.  We have really enjoyed our past trips to Pymatuning, PA, but decided that we would try a different area this year.  We looked up which of the parks allow dogs in their cabins and settled on Hills Creek State Park.  After making reservations, we began looking for things to do in the area, and discovered we would be staying close to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  It looked like a fantastic hiking and sightseeing opportunity, so we knew we would be hitting there at some point.

In the past, my admitted control issues had me planning our vacations like the psychotic headmaster of a twisted military academy.  What we would be doing on each day, at what time, when and what we would eat - meticulously planned.  And if something like rain disturbed those plans?  Prepare for a meltdown!  Sounds like a fun vacation, right?  That type of OCD/control issues probably helped me lose 200+ pounds.  But to maintain that type of life is exhausting and pretty much sucks the life out of, well, LIFE.

So, this vacation was a concentrated effort for me to take it one day at a time, little planning and more fun.

We got up Tuesday morning, checked the weather and decided the Canyon would be that day's destination.  We headed out after breakfast and getting there, we saw there was a short and not too challenging trail to an overlook.  We decided to check this out first before descending into the gorge.











We hiked the overlook trail and took some pictures before heading back to the SUV to load up our backpacks with food and drink.  We then began the trek into the gorge on the Turkey Path.  


We successfully reached the bottom and began walking on the Pine Creek Trail - a former train route which has been converted into a multiple mile hiking/biking/running/horseback trail.  We hiked a few miles and took in the scenery.  The leaves were changing and it was quite beautiful.
















We turned around and headed back with the plan to stop for lunch at a picnic table we had passed a couple of miles ago.  But when we got there, a couple of bicyclists were using the table as a resting bed.  So we decided to keep walking.

We reached the bottom of the trail and took off our backpacks, unpacked our lunch and ate leisurely on a bench.  A guy came down the trail and approached us admiring Archer.  We started talking dogs as he and his son had 2 dogs with them.  Somehow us being from NY came up.

"What part of NY are you from?" He asked.  I started to laugh as when you say NY, as everyone from here knows, people think New York City or MAYBE Albany.

I tell him and he gives me a shocked look.  He tells me that he knows EXACTLY where I’m talking about because his mother is from here, and his aunt and uncle still live in the village over from us – and that he came up here in the summer for many years as a child and remembers fishing in the Black River that runs through this area.  His mother met his father when he was stationed at the local Army base and they moved when he was stationed elsewhere.

Ok, the chances of meeting someone who not only knows this area but has connections to it is pretty coincidental.  But when you think that we had to be in that exact place at that exact time for us to run into each other and for him to have to have come over to start talking to us?  Maybe that type of thing doesn’t seem unusual to you guys, but to me, it was pretty freaky!

He headed back up the trail and after we finished eating we began our own climb back to the top. 

Here we are 9 miles in and almost to the top.


It was a pretty awesome day – and the coincidence (fate?) of running into this stranger made it even more memorable!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Timing is everything...

If you are wondering where I've been, then you aren't on my associated Facebook page.  And why is that??!!  Kidding!!

At any rate, we were on vacation.  We again stayed in a cabin in the Pennsylvania mountains.  This year we chose a different campground - just to try something different.  We found ourselves with no access to the internet at the cabin and most of the campground which was both anxiety provoking and liberating.

I have been trying to change my thinking - because I feel I keep straying from my goals and driving myself crazy to boot.

For the entire week I was there I didn't run.  We had Archer with us and didn't bring our bikes.  I tried not to obsess about food and exercise  - to eat reasonably well, but not to freak out about calorie counts when I did stray from "good" food.

Archer is adjusting to life without his big brother.  But we saw some anxiety with him when he was out of his routine and that brought to mind how much he relied on Chakotay's strong and calm presence - because Chakotay rolled with things - not much fazed him.  But we did our best to provide "calm assertive energy" as my hero Cesar Millan instructs.

We hiked for miles.  We went sightseeing.  A horse on a trail bit me!  The last afternoon we were there I actually sat on the cabin's deck and relaxed.  I didn't obsessively plan our days and chose to believe that things would work themselves out and guess what?  They did.

3 more months left in 2016.  Definitely NOT the year I anticipated so far, but plenty of time to leave it in a better space.

Tomorrow I want to share some pictures and talk about timing and whether fate exists ....