My Healthy Life

Hmmm. I said I’d write this post weeks ago. I have thought about it ever since then, but avoided putting it to paper. I remember when I started this blog. I couldn’t stop talking about healthy food, exercise, weight loss, weight maintenance. It was a relief to have an online group of friends who were interested in the same things. I didn’t have to worry about people rolling their eyes back in their heads as I prattled on enthusiastically about all this stuff. Well, its been twelve years since I first darkened the W.W. doorway, and ten years since I started “maintaining.” Yeah, that maintaining is in quotes, because for me maintaining has been a bit of a roller coaster. Up thirteen, back down to 100 lost. Up 25, back down to 100 lost. Now, currently, up 40. So that’s still a net loss of 60 pounds. And I tell myself that that is a lot better than almost every study I’ve read, which usually ends with the participants losing an average of 17 pounds over a year’s time. Most of those studies conclude after that one year period. Their information is basically useless for me.  If you only study what helps people to lose weight without studying what helps them to maintain that loss, you are providing false hope for so many people.

So…about what is working for me now in living the healthiest life possible at age 62. So many of the good practices and habits that I have learned about and applied over the years has stuck.

Food: From W.W. I learned about the evils of high fat foods (I don’t necessarily believe this any more.) But eating low fat is a way of life that has stuck. I enjoy the fresh taste of most foods without added fat.

From my personal trainer, Vickie, I learned about so many new healthful foods. I got a little more adventurous in my food choices. And I learned that good fats make food taste better 🙂

From friends, the internet, other bloggers, books, maybe even Dr. Phil(!) I learned lots of new ways of keeping fresh foods available, new recipes, new healthy food combos. I love to cook and experiment with food.

So now, I still shop the perimeter of the store (where all the whole foods are kept,) I almost always eat fresh vegetables and fruit. The meat I eat right now is salmon, chicken, and ground turkey. Just my current fav’s.

I try to listen to what my body is asking for. I’ve noticed that I am not as hungry in the morning as I used to be. So my breakfast is usually 2-300 calories, and that is enough to satisfy me until lunchtime.

I try to have a vegetable with every lunch. If I remember, I like roasting green beans, cauliflower, beets, rutabaga, or butternut squash. Lately, my favorite lunch is a simple strawberry smoothie. I get it ready and drink it on the way to the gym. 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup strawberries, spinach, splenda, cinnamon and vanilla. Very satisfying! Oh, that reminds me. That is one thing I have changed. For better or worse, I changed to using whole milk for my homemade yogurt. And I started using real butter sometimes. Do you want to know what I still do with that? When I put a new cube of butter in the butter dish, I mark the top in 8 even slices. That way I know how much a tablespoon is, and I can use 1/3 of that marked piece for a teaspoon.

I look forward to my afternoon coffee break every day, and I will admit that I still have a protein bar (Quest or Oh Yeah) with that coffee. These bars have 20 grams of protein in them. So that means dinner is usually simple and light. Most nights its meat and a vegetable. Most nights dinner is about 300 calories.  But who’s counting? 🙂 I am not logging my foods right now, but there is always a running total going on in my head. I am eating between 1400 and 1800 calories a day.

Lastly, I really enjoy having one diet Coke, a bowl of Skinny Pop popcorn and a small piece of chocolate after dinner.

So, you can see that although my food choices are not 100 per cent optimal, I eat a very healthy diet. I didn’t talk about grains, but I do have pasta very occasionally, granola on my yogurt sometimes, and of course, almost always breakfast includes some sort of whole grain. I don’t try to stay wheat free any more (wheat tastes good 🙂 ), and I do have sugar occasionally.

Cutting back to lose some weight would be great. But that is not happening right now. So continuing to make healthy choices every day is a good thing.

Exercise: as I’ve said before, exercise is very important to me. That said, I will admit that my knee REALLY hurts, and many other parts hurt as well. So I avoid walking, and my walks with my dogs have become shorter and shorter. All this is a good reminder to me that I really do need that knee surgery. Which is scheduled for July! I decided that I really wanted to get my baby chicks first, and they are coming in a week! I can hardly wait (for the chicks 🙂 ) This will probably turn into a chicken blog very soon.

When I take a walk and everything hurts so much, that makes me feel bad about myself. It makes me feel like I am a failure and that if I kept my weight down, I wouldn’t hurt and would be a more successful person. Intellectually I know that is not true. But that’s what it makes me feel like. So that is one reason I have had trouble writing this.

I love going to the gym and exercising hard. The bike doesn’t hurt, and running in the pool and swimming doesn’t hurt. The weight machines don’t hurt in a bad way, and I am working on increasing my upper body strength in preparation for my knee surgery. I go to the gym three days a week, and I’m thinking about increasing that to four days until I have the surgery. It just takes a big chunk of time out of the middle of my day, so that’s why I only go three days right now.

Sleep: Well, that is hit and miss. I know that my older friends (haha, I’m fast becoming one of them) cut out caffeine more and more. So far I’m not willing to give up my afternoon coffee and my evening diet Coke. But I go to bed at a normal time and wake up at a normal time. I rarely set an alarm. It seems like 7 hours is good for me. Sometimes a take a melatonin before bed if my mind is racing or I have not slept well for a few nights.

For a retired person, I think I have a fairly disciplined life. I start every day doing some sort of housework. And then I spend a large amount of time every day working on my art in my studio. When I am done in the studio, that is usually when I go to the gym or take the dogs for a walk. I spend most of the evening working on my quilted embroidery. Of course, I work a bit in the garden every day. I could do a lot more out there, but bending over… well, you know.

I hope this review is helpful for someone. I know it was helpful for me to think about all the healthy habits I have worked on and maintained over the years. I personally think that it is much healthier to eat well, exercise, and get a decent amount of sleep even if you never achieve your “ideal” weight.

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Here and There

First of all, thank you so much for all of the encouraging comments on my last post. Each success story builds my confidence and erodes some of my trepidation for my knee surgery. I do have a plan now. I am going to keep my schedule open in March and April, hoping that there will be a cancellation so that I can get in then. Otherwise, I will wait till the end of July so that I can get my chicks raised to a safe age.

After visiting one “rehab” center, which was nothing more than a nursing home (depressing) I formulated a plan to come straight home and recuperate. I would have to pay a co-pay for the nursing home, and I thought to myself, I bet my “babysitter” (takes care of the little girls when I travel) would be very willing to be on call for me for a couple of weeks. Yes, she’s very willing to do that for me. In addition, I talked to my BF, who is going to come down from Oregon to take care of me the first week. I know me, and I know I will recover much better at home than in a hospital setting. I am very exercise-motivated.

Speaking of exercise motivated… I never shared my “Christmas presents to me.” I needed new walking shoes. I looked and looked and tried on quite a few shoes. But none felt as good as the shoes I already had–Saucony Kinvara and Asics Gel Nimbus. Both are very expensive. And of course, a close second to comfort was the COLOR of the shoes. I started searching eBay. With some good tips from my brother, and knowing from Shelley that running stores sometimes take returns on barely used shoes, I got some great bargains. First, I got these Asics Gel Nimbus at less than half the price of new:

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I liked them so much that I decided I could afford to get a second pair, this time the Saucony Kinvara. I have an excuse for needing two pairs of running shoes. One of them is mostly for walking on my dirt road. And the second is just for going to the gym–no need to track my dirt into the gym 🙂 That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

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Here are pics from a couple of recent trips:

I went to Anaheim for our now-annual rug hooking retreat. My best rug hooking friend now lives in Austin, so we both flew in. Of course, this year we landed smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest rain storms in Southern California history! We drove around all day Sunday in pouring rain. We were both pleasantly surprised at how slowly the So. Ca. drivers were driving on the freeways!

Monday we took our annual trip to Crystal Cove.

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There was just enough of a break in the storm to give it a try. It was windy and cold, and there was some rain. But we enjoyed our shared breakfast of beignets and chilaquiles. And then I sat on Bette Midler’s porch and watched (Crystal Cove is where they shot part of the movie Beaches.)

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While Mary Lynn explored the beach.

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And here’s the real reason we went to Anaheim–rug hooking!

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I had a hair-brained idea that if I went to a chicken show, maybe I could find some chicken breeders that I could buy my chicks from earlier than the May 22 date that the hatchery had given me. No such luck–its just like dog shows. I think it would cost me a fortune to buy chicks that way. But here are some fun pictures of some of the breeds of chickens I plan to get:

Polish:

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Blue Cochin:

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Buff Orpington:

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And some funky little roosters (that I am NOT getting)

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And now I am home for a bit. Do you all know about the RAIN we’ve been getting out here? Its pretty crazy. After four straight days of rain, I took the dogs for a walk, and wondered, where’s that sound of running water coming from? Well, it was just a rivulet of rain running straight down the middle of our dirt/gravel road. A neighbor stopped to tell me we had gotten 10 inches of rain in four days. I live in the mountains, so am nowhere near the evacuations that are happening. But there are a lot of mudslides along the roads. We’re having a nice sunny break right now, but this weekend another big storm is expected! Hope you all are staying safe and dry!

Of Chickens and Surgery. The Connection.

Okay. Remember way back when I picked May as the month I might have knee surgery? Well, I did. There was a reason for that. One was because it seemed a long time away. I still needed to mentally prepare for this thing. The other, more important reason, is that I have planned for almost two years, to get chickens this spring. I planned to get them the first of March. It might be a little cold then, but that would be enough time to get them raised so they didn’t need constant care.

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Let me back up a bit. When J. the Contractor was working on my house, I mentioned how much I liked chickens. Years ago I had chickens for quite a while, but they were housed in a dilapidated shed/outhouse that was on my property, and had a yard that I proudly (and poorly) built myself. After a number of years, the whole thing crumbled, and that was the end of the chickens. So then J. shows me the fancy schmancy chicken house he has built for some people, and that got me dreaming. A year ago I told him to put me on the schedule for a chicken house to be built this February. Knee surgery was the farthest thing from my mind.

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After the failed attempt at the gel shots last fall, my knee seemed to be on the fast track to disintegration. I can’t walk normally, and it hurts a lot. To be fair, it doesn’t hurt to stand still, and sitting is not a problem 🙂 So now, in my mind, May couldn’t come soon enough.

Then, I decided I’d better order these baby chicks! I carefully chose all the pretty and colorful breeds that I wanted, and called the mail order chicken factory.

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The lady was so helpful, and checked, and because of some of the rare breeds that I wanted, MAY 22 would be the soonest they could get these chicks to me!!! Eek.

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This is how the mail order baby chicks arrive.

 

Plan B. I called the orthopedic nurse. Now my plan was to have surgery the first week or so of March, so I would be recovered enough to hobble out and care for my new baby chicks in May. After several calls, she told me that my doctor had agreed I needed the surgery, and we could proceed with scheduling the surgery. The soonest surgery could be scheduled was May. Eek.

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Plan C. I am dancing as fast as I can. I am leaving in an hour for the pre-surgical appointment with my PMD (why? since I just had a complete physical in November,) I have signed up for the pre-surgical information class, I have an appointment to visit the rehab hospital where I will have to spend a week after surgery (they won’t let you go home alone,) and at my appointment next week I am planning to beg my doctor to do my surgery sooner than later. Sometimes it is easier to get what you want from a doctor than a nurse…

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I imagine most of you are thinking “chickens??? Just forget about it.” But to me it has become something important. A symbol of sorts. I do a lot of things for other people. This was something I was doing just for me.

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Stay tuned. A Plan D might be in the works soon….