2020 Progress Report

2020 is at an end, and for me (physically speaking), it has been pretty good.

15.8 pounds lost in 2020

I am actually looking forward to what 2021’s final graphic (like the one above) will be.

Pluses for the year: weight loss, walking 2+ miles regularly, ups and downs for emotional health because of Covid, but overall, I’m in a better place both physically and emotionally.

I have established some healthy routines during 2020. I eat a mostly healthy diet without totally foregoing treats. I have a bedtime routine that helps me sleep better – I drink a cup of herbal tea late in the evening and go to bed earlier than before (still late, though). I’ve stuck with a skin care routine for several months now. In the past I’ve taken my good skin inheritance for granted. However, at 71, even great genes can’t keep away the wrinkles and dark spots forever.

I read something (don’t know where or what) about putting oneself first, which is hard for me. I’m accustomed to taking care of chores and responsibilities before doing what I know is healthy for me – like walking at the park. Now I do my walking first. Then I handle other responsibilities. That’s a definite plus. It’s important to making self-care a priority.

I also talked with my doctor in April and got a prescription for an anti-depressant. I had taken one years ago and saw no difference at all. So I stopped taking it, and I saw no difference when then either. I went about 15 years without anything. However, I now realize that I probably would have been helped if I’d requested a different anti-depressant all those years ago because I can feel a change with this one. Nothing major because I don’t need anything major. However I’m able to function in a better state of mind as opposed to a stressed state of mind.

So here’s to 2021 – may we see Covid become no big deal (ha ha!), the USA be led by the person who legitimately won (whoever that might be), may travel be safe and easily accomplished again, and may we all be healthy and grateful for our innumerable blessings.

Weekly weigh-in – 10/9/2020

Another week, and thanks to being in fairly significant pain for four of those days, I lost more weight than has been typical so far. Almost to ten pounds total.

I’m looking forward to the next week – feeling good, doing more walking, getting into my anti-gout routine, and I will also be getting into more art classes.

October Goals

September has come and gone, and a new month has begun. Here are my goals for October:

  1. Make a list of meals that work for me. I want to plan ahead so I don’t waste so much food. Those plans will be food that I like.  I started on this last night – writing out meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with snacks and desserts. I plan to convert them to pdf and post them on this website.
  2. Build on the exercise routine I started in September. That means doing circuit work in my exercise room, along with having the goal of at least 5K steps each day.
  3. Continue with self-care routines – skin care, bedtime herbal tea, prayer and meditation time each day.

I will stop there. My tendency is to go overboard on plans, but the reality is that they need to be kept small and do-able.

Weekly Weigh-In, 9/25/2020, 10 weeks

Sigh. So here’s today’s weigh-in numbers. Notice the +.  I have tracked every single bite I’ve put into my mouth since July 19th.  I have not gone over my points a single week.

I’m probably eating too much fruit – lots of watermelon and grapes the past week. Seriously, though, would watermelon and grapes cause two weeks of weight gain?

Ten weeks – that makes an average of .68 lbs. per week. STILL over 1/2 pound a week. But . . . that’s so slow . . . . Sigh.

So I will repeat the usual self-reassurances: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. Look at the big picture. Back in July, you would have been thrilled to weigh what you weigh now. And repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

What can I do differently so that next Friday I will be happy with the number on the scale? Three things:

  1. I still haven’t been exercising, and that is something I want to make a life-long thing. This week – starting TODAY – I will exercise – aerobics and strength training.  Atomic exercise habits.
  2. I will better manage my zero-point foods. They still have calories, and so limiting them to a few servings a day would be good. My goal is to get my body accustomed to less food. So I want to work on reducing the amount I eat – not just substituting healthier snacks.
  3. Drink more water.

 

Get Outside! An Atomic Habit

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by [James Clear]Sometimes we come across a book that actually changes our lives. That happened to me a couple years ago when I read a book titled Atomic Habits by James Clear.  The basic premise is that if we set big goals, we often set ourselves up for defeat since big and perfect goals take so much time and effort. However, if we work on small habits – 3 minutes of exercise each morning, cutting out one teaspoon of sugar in our coffee, writing one thank you note each week, making two business calls before lunch – then it becomes like compound interest. The benefits snowball over time.

Back in March when this pandemic isolation began, I decided that one atomic habit I wanted to develop was getting outside for just a few minutes each day.  Here is a video I made on today’s walk. Excuse the breathlessness! I had just walked up a hill. I could’ve waited till I caught my breath to start the video, but this is calling “Living Real with Carol!” and the reality was that I was a little breathless at the moment.

My mother – my role model for good health

My mother is 97 years old. She still lives on her own, although she is able to do that only because I have 3 siblings who live in her town and can check on her daily. My mother has been on her own since my father died in 1986.. Over the years she has developed some habits of good health. Here are some of them:

(1) Walk with purpose. She has always walked briskly in order to get a little more benefit for her health. Although she frequently uses a walker now, until the last few years, she was always a quick walker. How much better for our general sense of well being to walk briskly as much as possible. She still walks out to the mailbox to get her newspaper and mail each day, and she bustles around the house doing daily chores. She wears a Fitbit and keeps track of her steps.

(2) Eat an apple, a banana, and half an orange every day. She says the apple is important for regularity, the banana helps with leg cramps, and the orange is for vitamin C.

(3) Keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with foods that build health: apples, bananas, oranges, low-fat milk, cheese, eggs, whole wheat bread, carrots, potatoes, butter, honey.

(4) She doesn’t have anything against pork, but she doesn’t eat it unless there isn’t another choice. She prefers beef over chicken or turkey because she remembers the days when chickens and turkeys were sold alive, and the housewife was the one who had to dispatch it and clean it before cooking it. I recall, as a young child, watching my mother kill and clean chickens that parishioners gave our family. She eats both chicken and turkey, but she prefers beef. Of course, if she had to butcher a cow or observe one being butchered, she probably would decide she didn’t care for beef either.

(5) Natural foods are the best. She doesn’t count points. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall her ever dieting. She eats whole wheat bread only, lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and small portions of meat. She drizzles local honey on her toast at breakfast.

(6) Use very little salt or sweeteners. When my father had a heart attack, my mother stopped using salt almost entirely. I complained at the lack of flavor in many of the foods she made, and I would sneak in a few shakes of salt whenever I could. However, in terms of health, my mother was right. We should enjoy the natural flavor of foods rather than depending on so much salt. Still, I like a little salt.

(7) Probably my mother’s only “weakness” when it comes to food is ice cream. She loves it. She keeps a couple of cartons of black walnut ice cream on hand at all times.

(8) She enjoys coffee – and she seems to especially enjoy the vanilla lattes I make for her when I visit. I used to go to Starbucks each morning to get them, but now I make them myself. She always drinks every drop and talks about how good it is. When she is on her own, she usually drinks a very weak cup of coffee with milk in it. She talks about how she and my father would always end a meal by sitting at the table, sipping coffee, and talking.

(9) She keeps her mind busy. She has always read a lot. Right now she is reading through the Bible again. When I talked with her yesterday, she said she was into the Psalms. She underlines as she reads.

(10) Last of all, she drinks lots of water. She takes TWO glasses of water back to her bedroom each evening to get her through the night, and she keeps a glass of water next to her during the day. Thanks to my sister, Janice, and my niece, Amanda, for reminding me about how my mother always drinks plenty of water and encourages all of us to do likewise.

That’s about it as far as the habits that I want to emulate. Just think, though, about how we could build our own health by following the 10 guidelines above.

Small Steps – 2nd month

I started using this graphic last month to show monthly weight losses.  On the first day of each month,  I weigh myself and take photos for my own record. This is outside of any WW weigh-ins or tracking.  Looking at the tracker below, it is amazing to me that I “only” lost 2.4 lbs in August. I tracked my food every single day and stayed within the points allowed by WW. However, I did NOT do much exercise. So maybe that will be my focus in September. Keep doing what I did in July and August and add more consistent exercise.

Total weight lost: 6.2 lbs.