Showing posts with label Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spirit. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

If these people regain, what chance do I have?

We all hear the stories. People lose huge amounts of weight, and then slowly gain it back. It's commonplace, actually. It happens to people who we perceive as having "the means" to keep it off, like Oprah, or those that had the chance to work with trainers on The Biggest Loser, and it's so tempting to think, if these people can't keep the weight off, what chance do I have?

I know lots of Biggest Loser contestants regained, but I didn't know Ali Vincent had. Ali was the first female Biggest Loser winner, and she looked amazing. Sadly, she's regained almost all of her weight as well. At first I watched this feeling hopeless, but then she really made me feel for her in the end with the positive comments she's getting from people. Yes, it's about trying to get healthy, not skinny, and most importantly learning to love yourself at any size. That's all true. I do believe that. But I don't want to use that as an excuse to let myself give up on my goals and regain, either. What's the point of all this? Were's that fine line? I don't know. I don't have any answers right now.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Here's to reaching goal and having more joy in 2015!

On 14th December I was at a new low weight, 80.2kg (176.81 lb). By 25th December it was 85.6 kg (188.72 lb). Today, happily, I am back to 82.2 kg (181.22 lb). Now half of that was likely monthly weight gain which, as I approach the menopausal years, has increased ... both in amount and the number of days it hangs around. But the rest is because I gave in to holiday indulgences. One person said, "come on, it's Christmas," and I allowed myself a few treats. I reasoned as I get closer to goal I will have to deal with real life and the occasional off-plan food. But I didn't realise how quickly sugar could reignite cravings, and one day turned into five. It's over, it's history, and I won't be doing that again.

My holiday leave is nearly over, too. Being off work has never made staying on track easier for me, but one thing I am proud of is I have continued to exercise throughout my time off, whether walking with hubby and the dog, working on home renovation projects or hopping on my new treadmill. I've done several HIIT treadmill workouts, and I do definitely feel a difference between using the treadmill and running outside. It took a bit to get comfortable enough to let go of the handles and swing my arms whether walking or running. I have done my own intervals and I've used the stored programs. One ran 36 minutes and included 18 minutes of running at different speeds.

When I used the apps to track my running outside I was averaging about 7.8 km/hr, and occasionally just above 8. This program was in three minute intervals starting with walking 5 km/hr, then running at 7, then 9, then 7 again before dropping back down to 5 twice, then repeating the 7/9/7/5 again. It finishes with walking at 1 km/hr which feels like you're not even moving at that point. It was definitely a challenge to run at 9 for three minutes straight - twice! I am certain I would never have run that fast outside. There was a moment I worried I couldn't keep it up and nearly grabbed onto the handrails for a second but quickly stopped myself and kept going. I could see the timer had less than a minute left and I kept telling myself, 'you can do this,' and so I did. So increased speed is definitely a treadmill advantage ... it is easy to just run slower outside. I also liked not worrying about trip hazards.

I found room in the spare room for the treadmill and even carved out a small nook for some relaxation and meditation as well. I am not setting any resolutions as I don't believe in them. But I still have goals for the coming year. Reaching my goal weight is of course still top priority. In one year I lost 100 pounds. In the next four months I mostly stalled but slowly dropped another ten. I may have to re-lose a few of those now but I am determined to reach my goal ... preferably in the next four months, but definitely by my next birthday. The plan is to use the treadmill to do HIIT intervals either using the built in programs or my own. I have downloaded a running scenery app so I have something interesting to look at, and I can use that with the C25K app... that way it can tell me when to change so I don't have to watch the timer, and instead of walk/jog I can do jog/run intervals to create my own high intensity interval program. Getting in regular walks/runs (outdoors or on the treadmill) as well as strength training and Callanetics is the plan. Finding time to meditate is also important to me, and of course so is singing.

This year I will find a way to sing. I was recently approached by a guy I used to gig with to fill in for him a couple of times over the holiday season, but that's not what I'm after. I want to sing just to feel good, just to feel ME. Hubby has the equipment so I want to set up a microphone and amp and practice at home, in my spare room. If I find it leads to something more, great - but the most important reason for me to sing is that it brings me joy. We could all use more joy. So maybe that's the basic goal - to do more things that bring me joy in 2015.  Why not? I hope you will, too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

106.5 pounds gone in under 14 months

I'm still losing very slowly, getting 'monthly drops' rather than weekly like I used to, but I'm doing my best not to let that frustrate me. I've been mixing things up - lot of walking, sometimes jogging, strength training with FitnessBlender and recently added Callanetics into the mix. That, and of course making sure my eating is always on track. I still tend to do a bit of intermittent fasting on the weekends. I'm hoping that winter had something to do with the slow progress and things might pick up speed now that warmer weather is here, but if it doesn't I can assure you I will not use this as an excuse to throw in the towel. Those days are over. I've come way too far to let frustration send me back up the scale again. Nope, I'm going to let my body do its thing and go at its own pace.

Having said that I did get a nice drop as expected this week, weighing in at 82.0 kg (180.78 lb) which is a drop of .7 kg (1.54 lb) from last week and brings my total to 48.3 kg (106.48 lb). Now I'll probably start the roller coaster ride again, as my weight goes up and down a kilo or two from week to week until I get another drop in a few weeks time. That seems to be the way of it these days.  The frustration now is that I need to drop less than 400 grams (.88 lb) to get to 179.9 pounds - getting into the 170s will be wonderful. At 175 pounds I'll officially be just overweight rather than obese so I'm really looking forward to that day. I'll get there.

I really enjoyed adding Callanetics this week - I haven't really done it since the 90s and I really enjoyed it. I remember in the 90s taking progress photos from one week to the next and you could really see a difference in just a few weeks.  So even if the weight doesn't drop dramatically, hopefully things will tighten and lift in any case.  I definitely felt it the next day, too, it's a workout that really delivers, though it's very slow, relaxing and almost meditative while you do it. I like that, as I rarely find the time to actually meditate, much as I enjoy it, and this is an evolution in body, mind and spirit after all.  Anyway, have a lovely weekend everyone and I'll check back in again soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learning to Grieve

So the next chapter of "A Life Complete" by Sallirae Henderson deals with Learning to Grieve. This chapter resonated with me on a few levels. Firstly, she discussed grieving the loss of the familiar. I went through that when I first moved to Australia, and the first couple years were difficult for me. In all the big ways, life here isn't all that different than it was in America. I still have a home, a car, a job, friends and family, etc. But in a thousand small ways it's really different and there was an adjustment period. I missed finding my favourite products in the stores, or celebrating holidays they don't have here. Christmas is in summer, my birthday is now in winter, we drive on the left, and in some ways I even had to learn a new language. Australian English really can be quite unique, with a whole new set of slang words and expressions! There are so many little differences that initially I went through a bit of mourning for the familiar.  I've been here ten years and for the most part I've adjusted fine. I've learned to substitute or do without some things, and for other things there are now import shops and/or online shopping.

Nowadays what I miss most is people with whom I spent my youth and years of shared memories and traditions. I have friends here, but no one who has known me all my life -- no one who remembers all the crazy things we did when we were young. I can share stories with people, but it's not the same as having lived through it with me. I imagine that's kind of what it's like when you get older and most of your friends and family have passed before you. I stay in touch with people from home via phone when I can, but most are not online so that's all I can do, really. I definitely grieve for those I can no longer call, having lost both parents and all grandparents.

Next she discusses how we might grieve our lost youth. We may feel bad about ourselves as we age due to all the advertisements on TV, radio, billboards and magazines featuring products to make us look younger and sexier, with 24-hour 800 numbers so you can buy their products right now (suggesting you don't want to spend another minute succumbing to the effects of age). "How can we feel good about our ageing selves when we're made to feel we must nip in the bud immediately?" The models in those ads seem younger every year and it can be hard to relate.  Suffering from PCOS brings enough symptoms that make me feel unfeminine, so adding loose skin and an ageing appearance as I lose weight can really do a number on my self esteem if I let it. I try not to - I don't spend a lot of time focusing on the negative things, but neither do I feel happy and positive with what I see in the mirror most days. It's not how I expected to feel having lost nearly 100 pounds, so I truly wish I had done it sooner.

Sallirae says that periods of 'time out' to allow the processing of small losses may be necessary, or it may take a year or longer to recover from a major loss of the loved and familiar. Allowing ourselves this time to grieve may save us from the awful devastation of having it all crash down on us in our last years. I do try to find ways to stay in a good headspace most days and I don't really want to spend time grieving a youth I can never revisit. I continue to focus on facing fears, trying new things, and learning new skills to keep my mind sharp (I'm learning to write code). Hopefully I'll start singing again as that's always brought me joy. I've got strong spiritual beliefs. I meditate, but not as often as I'd like - I would like to find time to do more of that, as it helps me find peace within myself.

As far as friends and family, I am planning a trip home to the States next year. By then I should be at a healthy weight and hopefully far enough into maintenance that the familiar foods from home aren't a major temptation. There are a few people I can't wait to see again, as I haven't been home since 2006. And if I've reached my goal and am looking and feeling my best, that would be nice.

How about you? Those of you who are at or approaching middle age, do you find yourself missing who you once were or things you once did that maybe you don't or can't do anymore? If you got to your goal weight later in life, did you find it wasn't all you hoped it would be? What things do you grieve?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fasting Day, and Befriending Yourself

Today is the day before my colonoscopy, meaning it's a fasting day. I've had nothing to eat since last night, other than a bit of sugar-free green jelly (jello), and lots of water, tea and of course the nasty drink the hospital gave me.  I've always had my procedures in the morning before, which was nice - but this time I don't go in until 4:30 pm tomorrow. So it will be all day today and most of tomorrow that I'm fasting.  Surprisingly I've not been hungry, just empty really - so before the PicoPrep kicks in I thought I'd come and share some of what I gained from the first chapter in "A Life Complete" by Sallirae Henderson - a book I mentioned recently on this blog, which you're meant to read in mid-life to help prepare you so your later years are more fulfilling.

The first chapter is called Befriending Yourself, and she gives examples of people who found their later years alone less than fulfilling for various reasons. In one case a woman "had lived her life by her intellect, ignoring her emotions. Widowed fifteen years earlier, she spent sleepless nights alone in bed with a person she didn't know - herself. She had no experience or language for knowing what she needed, much less what she wanted. She was a shell of mute despair."

Another woman, Eunice, had outlived every person she knew of her generation - family, friends, even acquaintances. Her family encouraged her to make new friends but how could she convey to strangers her 88-year history? She grieved the loss of old friends and no longer had any peer with whom she could share personal memories. The book says many new friendships made in later life are kept on a fairly superficial level as there's just too much history for each person to share, and no way to convey adequately the personal impact of important events.

Eunice's story made me think about the difficulties I had relocating to Australia.  I've been here ten years, and while I do have several good friends, they're not the same as the friends I had back home, who have known me for many years. We shared our youth and did crazy things together, so they know me in ways no one else ever will. I could recant stories to people today but it's not the same as having lived through those times. My best friends from home are more like family to me than friends, and I miss them dearly. Most are not computer-users so occasional phone calls and letters are how we stay in touch now.  The book reminded me that "long-term, close relationships always involve some maintenance, such as making sure not too much time passes from one visit or call to the next."

Being a best friend to yourself is very important. Sallirae says that includes paying attention to "the warning that applies to every part of our body, spirit and mind, which is, if we don't use it, we lose it. When you are old, don't expect to be in top form sexually if you've been celibate for many years. If you haven't exercised your spirit much, it's not going to be strong enough to support you. If you haven't pushed yourself to think and feel more deeply about life, including your own, or to nurture your curiosity and learn new things, then those facilities will be rusted shut by the time you reach old age. Your muscles will deteriorate if you don't use them; without exercise and calcium your bones will become brittle. The disabling weakness that is the result of a non-exercised body is a common cause for admission into a nursing home. Being a couch-potato - even when we're old - carries a high price of serious deterioration that could have been prevented. If we take care of our whole selves, we can reach old age and even chronic illness with some - or much - vitality left to us."

This part really resonated with me. I'm so glad I'm taking better care of my health and as hard as it is, that I started running recently.  I'm still waiting for any indication that I'll love it and that may never come - that's OK. For now it counts as both exercise and as 'curiosity and learning new things' which is equally important. There are other things I'd love to learn to do, such as using power tools (I'm a big Halloween buff and have annual parties but props are harder to come by here and very expensive if you can find them, so I'd love to make my own). And of course I want to focus on singing again, as I've mentioned before, even if just for pleasure. I would like to meditate more - I do on occasion but not as much as I'd like. I do feel it's important to keep learning and growing throughout life, and that this will help me greatly in my later years.

Lastly, this chapter reminded me that "treating ourselves as a best friend is an important factor in the quality of our current living and will be crucial in our late years. Being familiar with - and able to articulate - our wants and needs gives us some control over our lives, and is absolutely essential when we are old and may have to rely on others to do what we can no longer do for ourselves.

"In late life, knowing yourself well enough to know what you need is the only way you will be able to hold your ground in the face of hierarchical care-providing systems. There are medical personnel who are exceptions of course, but ... a majority of professionals hold the firm belief that they know what's right for you, regardless of what you think. If we can not clearly state our preferences and needs and negotiate our situation - standing our ground with emotional strength - the likelihood is that others will make the decisions that affect us. And even the care providers who are compassionate and caring by nature often find it hard to appreciate the nuances of being old and tired. They tend to be younger, and often they have been better trained at 'doing' than at 'listening.' While they may mean well, their agenda will not always be the same as ours. If we cannot speak for ourselves in the face of their power, we will lose our own."

That is perhaps something I won't need to worry about, being as my husband is 8 years younger than me. But there are no guarantees in life. I could wind up alone and in a nursing home one day, and I hope that I'll be able to live my life graciously and not be bitter and unhappy, but also be able to ensure my needs are met and my wishes considered in all aspects of my care. Naturally I'd prefer to stay healthy throughout my life and never have those nursing home years, but as I said, there are no guarantees in life.

So being my own best friend truly is important for so many reasons. Since I don't have my best friends from home here with me every day it's even more important that I take the best possible care of myself, love myself, support myself and be my own best friend.  It's also wonderful that I have a loving, caring and supportive husband.  Anyway, that's what I took from Chapter 1.  I'll be heading into Chapter 2 tomorrow, since they advised me to bring 'reading material' so I suspect I'll need to kill time until I get to come home and can eat solid food again. I sure hope this experience pays off on the scale! :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter weigh-in, Stuffed Pepper Soup with Cauliflower Rice, and Spiritual Evolution

Happy Easter everyone! We've been to the in-laws for morning tea, came back home and had some lunch.  I had leftover Stuffed Pepper Soup, which was really tasty! Basically all the things you'd stuff in a bell pepper (capsicum) but in soup form, with shredded cauliflower standing in for the rice. Trust me, this was yummy.  I put a bit of shredded low-fat cheese on top and stirred that in before serving.



3 cups cauliflower rice (grate or shred 1/2 medium size cauliflower to resemble rice)
1 lb (500g) 95% lean ground (minced) beef
1/2 green bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
1 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz / 400g) diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce*
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt and fresh pepper to taste

*Note that what Aussies call tomato sauce is basically ketchup. The closest thing I've found here to American tomato sauce is crushed tomatoes or passata. But if you're not following Dr Poon you could even use tomato soup.

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown meat on medium-high heat and season with salt. Drain fat if any, reduce heat to medium-low, then add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, then add the riced cauliflower and simmer 10 minutes more on low.


Before I get to the weigh-in, you may notice I've changed the look of the blog. The old format didn't always display well on mobile devices, and this one suits me heaps better. What do you all think? Plus I can have more menu items at the top, so I've given Photos their own page. I'll be adding new progress photos soon - having started at 287 pounds, I took pictures at 253 and again at 225, so now I'm hoping to get below 200 pounds for the next ones.

After weighing in at 93.0 kg (205.03 lb) last week I went back up to 93.5 kg (206.13 lb) and stayed there pretty much all week! Even after all the running and walking I've done, I didn't get a drop, and it was frustrating I must say. I wasn't expecting the monthly gain for another week, but then mother nature has been messing with me more frequently these days. Still, I am happy to report I have dropped this morning to 92.9 kg (204.81 lb). It's really not much of a loss at all from last week - 0.1kg (0.22 lb) to be exact. However, I have lost fat and gained water, so I'm guessing I'll soon have better results.  My loss to date is 37.4 kg (82.45 lb).

Having spent the last eight months working towards improving my health and fitness (evolution of body) and recently tackling some of my fears and the belief that I could never run (evolution of mind), I would like to focus on my spiritual evolution as well.  No, I'm not going to get all religious on you! Organised religion is so not me.  But if you've browsed my Shelfari bookshelf in the lower right of my blog, you'll notice that I'm interested in spiritual matters, it's just not been the focus of my blog. And I'm not saying it's going to become the focus, so don't worry if that's not your thing! LOL But I did title my blog "An Evolution in Body,  Mind and Spirit" because I'd like to experience self-improvement in all three areas.

Currently I've been drawn back to a book I've had for years. It's called "A Life Complete" - Emotional and Spiritual Growth for Midlife and Beyond - by Sallirae Henderson. I started reading it a few years ago, and found it interesting then, but now that I'm 50 the topic is even more meaningful to me. The Shelfari description reads:
"Once we reach middle age, the harder questions about how it actually feels to grow older -- and closer to the end of life -- begin to surface. Difficult as these questions may be, Sallirae Henderson assures us that our desire to find the answers is both a mark of maturity and an opportunity for growth. A Life Complete envisions midlife as a rich, reflective period that gives us the chance to begin a process of discovery. With Henderson's sensitive and knowing advice, we learn how to make emotional and spiritual choices that can help us confront the past and welcome what the future holds. A Life Complete offers six simple skills that guide us through this period of change and inspire feelings of satisfaction and joy: Befriending Yourself, Learning to Grieve, Recognizing that You Always make a Difference, Maintaining a Sense of Personal Evolution, Finding a Larger Context for Your Life, and Accepting the Help of Others. Remarkably wise and thoughtful, A Life Complete is an inspiring reflection on what may be the most meaningful period of our adult lives."
And an excerpt from inside the jacket: This book explains how the choices we make in midlife can become distilled and irreversible by the time we reach our last years. It offers a practical plan for healing in middle age so we can avoid elderly regret, unexpressed grief, and unresolved spiritual issues before it's too late. In a culture that ranks the fear of living in a nursing home above the fear of death, this book serves as a reminder that the end of life is also an organic part of life. It is an indispensable guide for those seeking to grow old gracefully, with a sense of meaning and purpose.

As I've said before, longevity is not something my family members have enjoyed by and large - and though I'm doing my best to improve my health, if I only have another 20 years or so on this planet, I'd like to ensure they are both happy and healthy - in body, mind and spirit.