What’s a Girl to Do?

Well, today I told several people I AM GOING FOR A WALK.  Since the long hot dusty summer has hit, and since Tigerlily’s walking challenge ended, and since I joined Curves, I have really not walked nearly as much as I should.  BTW, TL is starting a new walking challenge.  This is such fun.  Come join us!

So I set out this morning (good for me, I usually can’t get myself to go before 4pm) and told Oliver (the practically perfect black Standard Poodle) that, ‘I know, we’ll walk down to the creek and our little waterfall.’  That is a 3 mile round trip walk, and a nice cool treat in the middle, because it was already hot.

We weren’t too far when a neighbor came out to tell me “be careful where you walk, yesterday a mountain lion came and took one of my sheep away…”  Well, on further talking, it was a lamb, and he didn’t actually see the mountain lion.  I think a good sized coyote (which we have plenty of) could have taken a lamb.  I am not scared of coyotes, but I have a healthy fear of mountain lions.  Nevertheless, there are plenty of ‘mountain lion sightings’ on our road, and it is pretty frustrating.  What is the point in living in a beautiful rural area if you are supposed to be afraid to take a walk?  But the creek and a couple of other pretty secluded places where I walk are always areas that I think I might be more likely to encounter a mountain lion or bear, and so sometimes I just don’t go there.  But other times, I do.  These are really the best places to walk.  But I don’t like being nervous–kinda takes the pure joy out of the experience.

So today, we didn’t go to the creek.  Since I hadn’t walked for a while, one mile was good enough for me.  I do feel pretty safe with a big dog.  Although Oliver is one of the most laid back big dogs I have ever had.  I did think about asking my Dad for one of his knives to walk with.  I am really NOT a person who wants to carry a weapon of any sort.  I don’t even like killing bugs…and in an emergency, I just don’t know if I would have the guts or the quick-thinking necessary to use it.

In the meantime, I will do my 100 Push-up Challenge, and go to Curves later this afternoon.  Here’s a picture of the little waterfall we didn’t get to.  There is a little spring that feeds it, so no matter how dry it gets here, the waterfall is always there.

Stimulus Narrowing

On the excellent website Refuse to Regain Dr Barbara Berkeley and Lynn Haraldson-Bering have written a couple of articles about this ‘stimulus narrowing’ that are very interesting to me.  This is what Dr. Barbara says about it:  “… I’ve learned during five years of maintenance: the less involvement I have with food the better. Science has a name for this approach. It’s called “stimulus narrowing.” Many researchers have noted that too much choice and exposure is overstimulating and can even cause us to become anxious.”

I have been thinking about the stimulus narrowing since Barbara wrote about it also. Well, actually I think about it a lot, but I didn’t know it had a name. And also I thought I was kind of defective because I had to do this in order to lose or even maintain weight. So I was really glad to read that it was a bona fide technique that real normal people use. For me, the main thing I have to avoid now is eating out in restaurants too often. I know there are healthy choices, but when I get there, that is not what I want. So I just don’t go out to eat that often. I know that I can have so much more food (I won’t be hungry) by cooking the foods I love that are low fat at home. One good thing that has happened is that I don’t even think about going to fast food restaurants any more, and I used to go there several times a week!

At home, I keep a lot of food, and even some foods that would be considered ‘junk food.’  But it seems as long as they are in the cupboard or the freezer, I can control myself.  I do think that keeping too much food around, even the good kind, kind of puts a pressure on me to eat more than I need to.  Like when I go and buy so much fruit that I have to eat 5 or 6 servings in one day just so it won’t go bad.  That is self-defeating and something I am working on now.  Just keeping less food in my house.  There is only one of me, and if I run out, disaster will not strike.  The closest store is actually within walking distance (4 miles) in case I run out of gas and food at the same time–haha!

Since I mentioned eating out, and how I am still attracted to the wrong foods in the restaurants, I am going to try to add a long article that a friend sent me on ‘The 20 Worst Foods in America.”  This kind of information is really good for me to look at once in a while, because even though I know it in my brain, seeing it somehow reinforces it for me and then I don’t want to eat those things so much!  top_20_worst_foe280a6america11  Okay, this looks weird, because I guess I didn’t type a title or something, but if you click on it you should get to this list (it has pictures of food, people!)


Hi, just wanted to note that I had recommended the wrong book a few posts back.  The book I like is ‘Thin for Life.’  I corrected it on the original blog, but thought I’d better let you know just in case anyone was interested in ordering it.


Well, I haven’t posted since last Friday because I couldn’t think of anything grand and glorious to say, and didn’t really want to spend the time thinking about it.  So decided it was okay to just ‘ramble’ like my friend Laura did today, and just report on the events of the past few days.

So, first of all, those of you who check my weigh in page, I know you think:  1)  Debby is a big fat liar, or 2)  Debby needs a new scale.  Can you even believe my weight has stayed exactly the same for 4 weeks??  My scale is actually new and very accurate.  Does it count when I tell you it did register 167.6 on Sunday morning after my two dinners out Friday and Saturday?  So it actually does have different numbers in it besides 163.2.  

So that leads to the dinners out.  First of all, NO MORE BUFFETS.  I really wanted to go out for a really good Chinese dinner.  But my Mom likes the Chinese buffet, and it is not bad, but also not that good, so to make up for it, I end up eating WAY too much.  I just don’t have that much control around food.  I think that’s okay.  I just have to recognize it and accept it as the truth of the situation.  For a while more, or maybe for the rest of my life, I will have to control my food environment as much as possible.  The steak dinner was absolutely delicious.  I didn’t control myself much there either, but it was definitely worthy.

But here is my final thoughts about eating like this after getting home.  I was trying to not have regrets and guilt about eating this way.  After all, I did control everything else–brought lunch and breakfast and snack foods with me.  But the truth is, if I really want to lose weight, I cannot eat like this.  I will have to take a hard line again on eating out for a while.  Obviously, I know this will work okay for maintenance (163.2!)  But not so much for weight loss.  And reading all my friends’ blogs, I think this is the norm, not just peculiar to me.

So, home again.  I LOVE where I live.  I don’t always notice it as much, I take for granted my beautiful surroundings, but this time the stark contrast between the city and the country really hit me.  I am very thankful that I ended up here.


   The last three days have been absolutely filled with just chores and stuff.  Catch-up.  I can spend all day cleaning my house, and even get some significant organizing done, and it still looks like a cyclone hit my house.  Well, not exactly, but kinda.  I am always working on being content with my house being ‘clean enough.’  I am pretty convinced that you can’t pursue ‘art’ and have a really really clean house at the same time.  Add in a serious exercise commitment, a generous amount of time for good food preparation, a lot of reading, WAY TOO MUCH TIME reading blogs and looking at stuff online, and FOUR DOGS (what was I thinking?) and oh yeah, I still have to go to work a couple days a week (I work 12 hour shifts, 2 days one week, and 3 days the next week.)

So, all in all, I am happy that I could come home from a weekend and pretty much get back to ‘eating right,’ and getting my exercise in.  100 Pushup Challenge update:  MY GOSH is that hard!  I finished week 2, and had to re-test myself.  Now I can do 13 consecutive pushups without stopping, but that still means I had to repeat week 2 (at a higher level.)

Thought I would share pictures of some of the things that preoccupied my time this week:  rug hooking project, reading, quilt project, washing all four dogs.

Just Stop and Think

Well, today’s post is not about weight loss.  It’s about that other topic up there on my header:  life.  I just watched an amazing video and thought, who can I share this with?  I thought of a couple people I could tell, but then I thought, Oh yeah, I’ll tell my bloggy friends.  I KNOW they love looking at things on the computer.  So this is a beautifully done video/movie (15 minutes) called “Just Stop and Think”.  I hope you guys will check it out.  This guy talks about what I believe, but he is so much more eloquent than I am.

Okay, just a little bit about weight/diet/maintenance/whatever.  I am off to the Bay Area to visit my Mom and Dad, which involves 2 dinners out.  I will bring my food for the other meals, so shouldn’t be too bad.  I am actually looking forward to eating out–Chinese tonight and Steak tomorrow–Yumm!

Hope you all have a good weekend and will report in on Monday.

“Fixing the Full Button”

I am a fan of the book “Thin for Life” that Vickie mentioned in her blog a week or two ago.  I bought it several years ago, and would read it for encouragement.  Lots of times I used it for my ‘bedtime story.’  It really had a lot of helpful advice in regards to losing weight and keeping it off (maintenance) with lots of profiles of people who had been successful long-term.  One of the guys who was featured was Don Mauer, who I think was a well-known columnist.  He lost a tremendous amount of weight and kept it off.  He also wrote a cookbook called ‘Lean and Loving It’ which has some delicious recipes in it.  Both of these books are a little dated, because they concentrate on very low fat but ignore high fiber.  But I have been able to use many of the recipes very successfully, and adapt them to be high fiber.  Both of these books can be bought very reasonably on Half.com.  I

Anyways, one of the points in the book is to recognize when you are full, and stop eating.  Don Mauer said that his full button was broken, and that this was the problem with many overweight people.  That  REALLY rang a bell with me.  Even though I really don’t stuff myself anymore, it is very hard for me to stop eating if there is still food in front of me.  And I don’t like to be hungry.  That is why it has worked for me to count points, and to use weighing/measuring/portion control.  Because once its there, I’m gonna eat it.

So this is something I’ve thought about seriously ever since starting to be accountable to you guys.  I’ve tried to wait a little longer to eat a scheduled meal or snack.  I’ve tried to be a little hungry for a while before allowing myself to eat.  But just this past week I’ve noticed that I was able to NOT eat scheduled and counted food.  I actually didn’t finish my dinner last night.  And even though by my careful counting I still had 2 points left for the day, I didn’t eat them because I WAS FULL!  YAHOO!  Three and a half years later, and maybe the full button is starting to work.  YAHOO!  Can you guys tell what a big deal this is for me?

Changing My Mind

So, regarding my last post about ‘A Walk at the Lake,’ Vickie asked a question that reminded me of something I thought about when I was at Tahoe, and have thought about a great deal since that day.  Thought I would share those thoughts with you, starting with Vickie’s question, and my reply to her (in case you missed it in the comments section.)

Vickie:  “It sounds lovely. do you find yourself thinking about how far you have come to be able to do this? or is this something you would have done ‘before’???”

Debby:  “Yes, Vickie. I thought about two things up at Tahoe. First I thought about ALL the ‘treats’ we used to eat when we went up there as kids. It seems that sweets were such a big part of travel anywhere for me. So its still a danger in one way for me to travel. But I am getting so much better. I had packed my own food for the day, including special snacks in case I needed them. I did allow myself to get a soft-serve cone after the walk.”

“Then I thought about the many times I would come up here as an overweight adult, and basically I would just come and sit on a bench by the lake, with long pants on, and never get near the lake, and then get in the car and go home. So I sure did think about the fact that I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and that I went specifically to get a lot of exercise. It really did feel great. I hope I will make more time to do that kind of thing this summer.”

So, what I have thought about so much since then, is ALL THIS THINKING I HAVE TO DO!  But at the end of the thinking about the thinking (can you tell I live alone and have entirely too much time to myself) this was my conclusion:  Really, it is a 40 year habit you are trying to break, so there is going to be a lot of thinking and ‘acting on the thinking’ involved in changing the 40 year habit.  And one day, maybe it will be a new habit, and  the new way of doing things will come naturally.  But in the meantime, the way I feel really is worth all the thinking I have to do.

I had a couple of interesting conversations about this.  In talking to my sister, I told her about going to Lake Tahoe, and of course she completely knew what I was talking about when I talked about all the treats and food associated with a trip to Tahoe.  But her reaction really encouraged me.  She said incredulously, “So, you really went to Lake Tahoe just to take a walk??”  And I thought, Yah, I really am making some serious changes around here.

Then, in talking to my best friend about this, and explaining all the above, she commented, “yeah, I remember when we went to Eureka for that quilting retreat [about 4 years ago] that you remembered a restaurant that you had eaten at when you visited there as a kid.  That was really very different.”  So she just confirmed to me how very much enjoying food had been a major part of travel for me.  And to be fair to my  parents, there were LOTS of other happy memories associated with our family vacations that didn’t have anything to do with food.  But we were a food-lovin’ bunch of people!  (BTW, I still think about that place in Eureka, and I WILL get their garlic fries the next time I go through there!)

Here’s a quote that I just loved, and it applied to this topic, so thought I’d share it with you.  By way of Roni’s website, and quoted by Pastaqueen!  A quote from Henry Ford:  “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

A Walk at the Lake

Reporting in on Tuesday’s post.  Just now I have done day 2 of the 100 Pushup Challenge and I actually can’t believe I can do this many pushups.  I was always just terrible at them.  I did 16!  

And, yesterday I did head up to Tahoe for my long walk.  It was really a lovely day overall.  It was still a little hot up there (80-90 degrees) but there was the breeze blowing and then there was the beautiful lake.  The biggest problem was that where I chose to walk was mostly in the sun, and my black poodle was VERY hot.  I gave him more water than I drank myself.  So I cut the walk short (only 2 hours) and made him go in the lake.  Which meant I went in the lake too.  Fun! 

So we headed home, but I decided to stop at Silver Lake, which is also a beautiful lake, and we had a really good hike around the lake there, mostly in the shade, for another hour.  So, not quite my goal of 4 hours, but all in all a very wonderful beautiful day.  I’m really sorry I forgot my camera.  I would have loved to share the day with you.  However, I think I will be doing this again before the summer is over!