Monday, October 25, 2010

Three Goals Met

Entry #31

Weight 215 lbs. Loss of 3 pounds.

I'm seriously beginning to wonder if there's something wrong with my scale. I expected to lose this week, but not as much as three pounds. I'm afraid to test the scale with a 5 lb. bag of sugar or flour to find out! I think I'll just choose to believe the good news.

It's possible that I did lose that much last week. Instead of walking 3.4 mph on the treadmill for 45 minutes I've bumped up the speed to 3.5 and have added extra weight to some of the machines. I'm up to 14 minutes on the elliptical with one more minute to go until I reach my Oct. 31st goal of 15 minutes.

Finally some beautiful fall weather! I feel so much better in the fall and just love seeing the colorful leaves on trees. An overcast, windy day energizes me. I've never been able to figure out why I love overcast, rainy weather. It's so contrary to what most people like. I think one reason may be that I associate overcast weather with the holiday season. The time between Halloween and Christmas is my favorite and most of this season occurs in the autumn.

Speaking of holidays, I'm beginning to plan what I'll give as Christmas gifts this year. I only buy for nieces and nephews and it's usually gift cards. However, we teachers voluntarily took a five day furlough this year to save the school district some money and some teacher's jobs and that's made a difference in my paycheck. So, trying to figure out gifts for nieces, nephews and the many mom helpers I've got in my classroom this year will be a challenge. In the past, I've baked cookies and breads and that's probably what I'll be doing this year. That may not be the best decision considering my dieting. At least there's a little time left to think this over.

In the meantime I plan to just keep doing what I've bee doing. It seems to be working and it's a good feeling!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Success and a Slip-Up

Entry #30

Monday's weigh-in report: weight 218. Loss of 4.5 pounds over two weeks. Yay!!!!

Monday's weigh in was a surprise. I didn't expect to do so well. You would think that after that kind of a loss I would be encouraged enough to stick to a good eating plan, avoiding junk food at all costs. You might think that, and you would be wrong. Monday and Tuesday went well in terms of making good food choices and then Tuesday afternoon I blew it.

My niece is dropped off after school at my school where she stays with me until her mom gets off work. Tuesdays I take her to CCD (formerly known as catechism for us older Catholics). Yesterday when I went to drop her off we found out that there were no CCD classes. Instead of going back to school I decided to take her home where I waited with her until Martha got home from work. Big mistake. We should have gone back to school.

My sister has never had a weight problem. There are all kinds of goodies in her cupboards, in the candy bowl on the table and in the refrigerator. I was hungry and had a couple of handfuls of sweetened cereal. Then went on to raiding the candy bowl and grabbing a cookie from the cupboard. My snacking binge didn't end there. When I got home I had a couple of granola bars to top off the evening. Lesson learned: stay away from my sister's house when I'm hungry!

Now for the more positive news. I'm currently up to 13 minutes on the elliptical machine at Level 2. I'll make my goal of 15 minutes by the end of this month. On the treadmill I'm walking 3.5 mph for 45 minutes, so I've passed my goal of 3.4mph. I'm beginning to be able to feel a real difference in my clothes. They're definitely fitting much looser now. It's a good feeling. One of these days I'll need to go shopping to replace some of them.

I know that eventually the weight loss will slow way down and am trying to prepare myself for that. That's usually the time I begin to give up the struggle. But I am determined not to let that happen this time. It's more productive to focus on the success and how far I've come than to think about how much farther I have to go and how long it will take to get there.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Small Victories

Entry #29

About a week ago I began posting and answering questions I got off of Kenz's blog , All The Weigh. At the time I'd planned to finish answering them a few at a time during the week. That didn't happen as my work week was extremely busy. So, with a few extra minutes tonight I'll tackle a few of them.

5. What's the #1 thing you look forward to when you hit your goal weight? I'm looking forward to being able to shop just about anywhere I want to. For the past twenty-five years or so I've had to shop in stores that carry larger sizes. It will be nice to be able to shop in the regular sections of any department store.

6. Do you have support on your weight loss journey? My friends who've read my blog, both those I've known for years and new ones made here, are all very supportive. I've told my little sister, Christine, about this latest attempt at weight loss and she has been very encouraging and supportive.

7. What is your favorite exercise? Right now my favorite exercise is the treadmill. I would like to eventually run on the treadmill. That will have to wait as the few times I did even a slow jog, my knees protested for days afterwards. I'm still too heavy to put that much strain on my knee joints. So, for now I'll have to settle for a fast walk.

That's enough of the questions for now. I've been finding that my determination has been waning lately. Some of the bloom is off the rose, so to speak. This past week I've been pretty good in making good food choices. But it's beginning to feel like drudgery. I skipped my workout on Friday morning which, thankfully, didn't translate into a day of eating junk. I could easily have done that as we celebrated Boss' Day and there were many baked goods and one of my favorite kinds of cookies - frosted sugar. I'm happy to say that I didn't have any of the sweets. Unfortunately, there's plenty left over for Monday.

I spent part of the afternoon at school getting some work done and those darn cookies are in the refrigerator just lying in wait for me. I'll need to go back out tomorrow for awhile to finish up and hope I can resist them just one more time. I just told myself that I can have one of those kind of cookies any time I want. I don't need to have one today. As long as I can keep making that decision every day, I'll be okay. Small victories - I'll take 'em.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friend Makin' Monday

Entry #28

Weight 222.5 pounds. No loss/no gain. I'll take it!

Today is Friend Makin' Monday. Kenz is hosting it again this week. If you have a blog, copy and paste the questions to your own blog and pass along the fun. Add your name and a link to your blog at the end of this post.

1) Do you prefer talking or texting? I don't text, so I prefer talking to texting. I don't pay for that feature on my cell phone. So, for any of my friends reading this entry, don't text me. I don't even open them.

2) Do you make your bed everyday? Yes, I do it as a form of discipline. If I don't make my bed, I don't feel organized for the day. And it's just nicer to get into a bed that's been made than a messy one.

3) What sounds do you hear right now? I can hear the refrigerator running, my dehydrator drying tomatoes and occasionally the song of a songbird. It's 2:30 a.m. so I'm not sure why the bird is singing, but it's nice to hear.

4) List three things that you always carry with you. I always have my checkbook, my cell phone and hand lotion. There's much more than that in my purse, but those are the three most important.

5) What are your favorite TV shows? I got rid of my satellite service in July just about the time I started this blog. I did it for two reasons. One was to save money and the other was because I was spending too much time sitting in front of the television and eating. Now the only television I watch is Fox and Friends on the t.v. at the gym and whatever I rent from Netflix. Right now it's old NCIS episodes. Can never get too much Mark Harmon!

6) Is there a hobby that you'd like to devote more time to? If so, what is it? I don't really have time for hobbies during the school year. The closest thing would be reading. I love to read and try to do some before I go to sleep. Just finished a Jodi Picoult book, "Nineteen Minutes". It was a good read.

7) What is your favorite drink? My favorite drink is Diet Pepsi. I don't know what I would do without it. It helps me stay away from food when I'm tempted and know it's not time for another meal. I'm beginning to drink more water thanks to the water challenge Kenz and Sean Anderson were sponsoring this past summer. I probably drink the equivalent of six 8 oz. glasses a day. It has to be ice cold, though, or forget it.

8)Share a couple of cool facts about your family. My dad studied for three years to become a priest; my mom spent six months in a convent and they met in church. My dad left the seminary after three years and my mom had decided she didn't want to be a nun. They married and had nine kids! The other cool fact would be that I have a brother, Matt, who is in the Air Force Reserves. He just returned from Kuwait.

9) List one thing that you will do for yourself today. I will return to eating healthy food after an afternoon and evening of indulging in fattening snacks. And I will go to the gym to work out this morning.

10) Share something that you're thankful for today. I'm thankful for so many things, but today I'm most thankful for my health. Considering the abuse I've heaped on my body over the years with unhealthy eating and very little exercise, it's a miracle I'm still in relatively good health. I'm thankful that I'm on a path toward a healthy body.

That's the end of the questionnaire. Now on to my confession. I watched my two nieces yesterday and their mother left some snacks for us. How nice of her. I did well for the first few hours, but later in the afternoon after eating lunch I was still a little hungry and shared some chex mix type of snack the girls were eating. That opened the floodgates and I snacked the rest of the afternoon, went to McDonalds for a quick dinner and continued to snack into the evening.
The good news is that I'm leaving for the gym in a few minutes for a workout that will set the tone for the rest of my day.

Sometimes my friends are amazed that I get up so early and work out in the morning before school. One of the main reasons I do this is that if I start my day with exercise, I'm much more likely to make other good choices during the day. I don't want to "undo" the work I put in at the gym by eating junk food. It also tends to stop the likelihood of going on a junk food binge. Before I started faithfully working out in the morning my life would go something like this:

I would binge on junk food and tell myself that "Tomorrow after school I'm going to the gym." The next morning I'd eat whatever I wanted for breakfast (usually a stop at the AM/PM for a cup of coffee and six pack of mini donuts). I'd have a fat-laden unhealthy lunch and probably raid the goody box in the staff room. It was okay, because I was going to go to the gym after school, remember? Only by the time I put the kids on the bus and prepared for the next day I was too tired to go to the gym. Then I'd tell myself that I'd go tomorrow. Since I wasn't going to go exercise today, why not "enjoy" myself and stop by a fast food place for dinner to go. And since I was going to get really serious about dieting and exercise tomorrow, I'd better get a couple of candy bars to have tonight as a late snack. The next morning I'd stop for coffee and donuts for breakfast and repeat the day. This would go on for days and sometimes weeks before I scraped up the discipline to stop. When I started going to the gym in the morning, even if I'd had a bad night in terms of overeating, exercising in the morning usually ended the cycle.

After the afternoon I had yesterday I am determined to get back to healthy eating and exercising today. I'm looking for a loss next week, even a small one. Off to the gym. Have a great day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Staying Motivated

Entry #27

Every now and then along this journey I've been on since July I've wondered just how long I can stay motivated and hopeful. This past week has been a struggle in this area. Although I did well with exercise, stepping it up and jogging for a good portion (about l5 minutes at different intervals) of my 45 minutes on the treadmill, staying motivated was difficult. Friday I had to force myself to go in to the gym and I ended my time on the treadmill about ten minutes early. On the food front, I've been snacking on small handfuls of cereal a few times each evening when I get home from school. It just seems that everything is loosening up and it scares me because that's how the downward spiral begins.

In one of her blogs early last week Kenz posed and answered some questions that I thought were interesting, so I've decided to repost and answer them here. They will most likely be spread over a few days, so maybe I'll actually get in more than one blog this week.

1. What was your highest weight, what do you weigh right now and what is your goal weight? My highest weight was 270 pounds. I weighed that much in the summer of 2007. It really scared me as I was so close to weighing 300 pounds and at one time in my life I swore I would never weigh even 200 pounds. That fall I started going to the gym every morning, walking the treadmill and began watching what I ate. By the end of the spring of 2008 I had lost fifty pounds. I kept this up for awhile, but as usual, got tired of the discipline and slacked off. Any excuse was good enough for me to skip my workouts and the junk food binges began lasting longer and longer. Eventually I gained back most of what I'd lost. My current weight is 222.5 pounds, so using my heaviest weight as a starting point, I've lost 47.5 pounds since the fall of 2007. My goal weight is between 125 and 130 pounds. I've still got a hundred pounds to lose and that's going to take awhile. When I get a little discouraged about that, I look back to see how far I've come and realize that I don't want to go backwards.

2. What is your #1 motivation for losing weight? In the past I've had a few different motivations for losing weight. The first time I lost a good chunk of weight was in my senior year in high school. Our choir was putting on the musical "Bye, Bye Birdie" and I had been cast as the mayor's wife. At one point in the play I was standing on the second tier of a riser and had to faint and fall straight back where I would be caught by two guys standing nearby. I was concerned about them having to catch me at my current weight, so I went on a diet and exercised and lost between 25 and 30 pounds. I was so hoping that my weight loss would prompt someone to ask me to our Senior Prom. When that didn't happen, I got discouraged, figured "What's the use?" and gained it all back within a year or so. Throughout my 20's, 30's, and 40's my main motivation was to get thin so I could find someone to marry. I've always equated my single state with my being fat. In an earlier post I dealt with that, so I won't go into it here. Now my motivation is for health reasons. Although I've been very lucky that, even though I am considered morbidly obese, it hasn't affected my health to any great degree. My blood pressure is at the low end of normal and my cholesterol is at the high end of normal. But I know that as I get older my luck will start to run pretty thin and eventually run out, if I don't change my eating and exercise habits. The thought of being 65 and weighing 300+ pounds is a scary one, especially if I ever get into a situation where I can't care for myself and have to depend on others to help me get up and around. This reality hit me when I helped care for my dad in the last few weeks of his life. He's never been even slightly overweight and by this time he had lost quite a lot of weight. It took three strong adults to lift and move him. What would it have been like had he weighed 270 pounds?

3. Have you always been overweight? I never thought of myself as being fat until I was in second grade. My teacher often told me that I was chubby and should be careful not to become fat. Before that I had never given it a thought. When I look at pictures of myself at that age I don't consider that little girl to have been fat or even chubby. I remember my mother often speaking about being on a diet and having to lose weight. She would fix our dinner and sometimes fix something different for herself because she was on a diet. Being the child I was, I thought it would be fun to go on a diet. Mom informed me that it wasn't and boy was she right! Eventually I did become overweight and went on my first diet when I was twelve years old. Since then it has been a forty year rollercoaster ride.

4. When you want to give up what inspires you to keep going? I think back on how far I've come this time and realize that if I stop, it may be months or even years before I try again. In that time I will have gained everything I've lost and then some back and it will be an even harder uphill battle to lose the weight. I'm running out of do-overs. Eventually I'll be so old that the effort will seem just too great and I'll give up entirely. That cannot and will not happen. I'm determined to succeed this time. My friends, both local and those I've found as a result of this blog, my family members who have been encouraging, and feeling the responsibility of keeping up this blog are also great motivators for me.

I think I'll end it here for today. I've got to get ready for my nieces who are coming over to spend the day. Be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Entry #26

Weight 222.5 lbs. Loss of 2.5 lbs.

Monday's weigh-in made me very happy. I was expecting a loss and was happy to see it.

My reunion on Saturday was great. It was so much fun to see friends I haven't seen in years. The food wasn't the challenge I thought it would be. I ate a late lunch and pretty much stayed away from the table. When dinner time came I wasn't hungry so didn't fix a plate. However, before I left a grabbed a couple of tortilla chips and a brownie. No guilt. Yeah!!!

The reunion started at the Escalon Musuem where there is an impressive collection of items reflecting the history of Escalon. It was interesting to look at the old photographs, especially of the schools in the district. Van Allen, where I teach, had a number of photos dating back to the 1890's. As part of the exhibits, there were tables where memorials of classmates and teachers who had passed away were set up. As my father was a former high school teacher and administrator in the district, I was asked to contribute to the memorials. I wrote a short piece and put up a couple of pictures of him in his work clothes. I'll try to add the written piece at the end of this blog.

Being in the museum, seeing old high school friends and teachers and reliving the past was bittersweet for me. I still miss living in Escalon. A few years ago I had bought a house there and lived there for three years. Then I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life and sold the house. I moved to Modesto where I currently live.

For those of you from out of state who read this blog, Escalon is a small town. The current population is about 7,000. When I was growing up there, it was much smaller. It's probably the closest thing to Mayberry I'll ever experience. At one time when I was working in Boston, MA I was telling my co-workers that it would be impossible to walk two blocks of downtown Escalon without running into at least two people you knew well enough to stop and talk. They didn't believe me.

Escalon has grown since then, but it's still a great place to live and raise a family. Downtown Escalon (except for the bar) rolls up the sidewalks at dark. Although many things about the town have changed over the years, it still has a small town feel. If I ever get the chance, I'd move back in a heartbeat.

This entry doesn't have much to do with weight or exercise, but then, it was named The Kitchen Sink for a reason. I can throw just about anything in here.

Below is the little blurb I wrote about my dad for the memorial table.

My father spent his professional life in front of an English class and then behind a desk. But he always considered himself a man of the land and he loved working outdoors.
As soon as he came home from work he shed his business clothes and put on his work duds. Then he would go out to his gardens or tend to the few farm animals he insisted on keeping until the last few years of his life. Somewhere there is an Escalon police officer (or two or three) who remembers waking my father up at 2:00 in the morning to let him know that his cows are loose on First Street again!

(There's supposed to be a picture of two holstein cows with sunglasses and boots running in this space. I couldn't copy and paste it here for some reason.)

Now my dad farms a different patch of ground alongside his mentor, Saint Francis of Assisi.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A New Challenge

Entry #25

I've got a few minutes, so decided to write a short entry today.

I've met my treadmill goal this week and pushed a little more. While browsing other blogs this past week an exercise program called Couch to 5K caught my eye. It's a gradual training program to build strength and stamina. So, I've started adding short periods (2 to 3 minutes) of slow jogging (3.7 mph) to my time on the treadmill. These jogging times are interspersed throughout my 45 minutes on the treadmill. I was a little reluctant to do this as I was concerned about damaging my knees because of my weight. But, so far everything seems fine. I've even gone so far as to actually consider entering a 5K someday. Notice the word consider is in italics. The thought of running in front of others in public doesn't exactly appeal to me right now. If anyone is interested, the website is

Now onto the next challenge. Today there is a multi-decade high school reunion being held in my hometown of Escalon, CA. I'm looking forward to seeing many old friends and I understand there will also be some teachers in attendance. It should be a good time. My years in high school were the best of my school career. I enjoyed them more than any other time, including college. So, I'm excited about this gathering. However, there's going to be a potluck dinner where there will, no doubt, be many wonderful offerings. The plan right now is to have plenty of Diet Pepsi on hand and steer clear of the table or at least make good choices. Wish me luck!