Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jazzed and Motivated

I've done something I swore not too long ago that I would never do again:  I went on a diet. 

Throughout my life I've been on and off diets so many times I lost count.  As everybody already knows and as I finally realized, they don't work.  Especially ones that use gimmicks. 

I don't remember just how I came across it while I was surfing the 'net one day back in June, but I got on the Duke University Medical Center Diet and Fitness Center website.  I read up on their approach and became a believer.  I signed on at dukediet.com and started a journey. 

This is a journey that you can stay on forever.  I haven't really changed my lifestyle, but I have adapted (fairly easily I'd say) to tracking my weight every day and also logging my calorie intake every day.  Believe it or not I look forward to getting up in the morning (at 6:10, mind you) and weighing myself.  (My friend Theresa pointed out that that's kind of sick and I agree.)  I know that programs like Weight Watchers and the WebMD site advocate weighing in weekly, but daily works for me. 

Counting calories is the way to go.  With Duke's online food log, it's so easy.  You can look up nutrition information for many foods on Duke's website (and if you can't find it there, look at nutritional labels on food packaging, or the WebMD site's "Food-O-Meter").  Duke's online weight tracker draws you a graph and lets you see your progress. 

One positive thing about this new (to me) way of eating is that I'm never really hungry.  I consume between 1200 and 1400 calories a day.  Sometimes I go over, but I've found that doing so occasionally reminds your metabolism that it has a job to do.  I've started eating healthier food, like more fruits and veggies, fewer white starches.  I'm allowed up to two snacks a day, but I sometimes don't have both of them.  I started out by measuring my vegetables and now I'm pretty confident that I can eyeball a half cup of food.  Duke has helpful articles and charts you can use as aids. 

I had resigned myself to accepting my body as it was, but I have high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux, and arthritis, all of which are exacerbated by weight.  I realized back in June that it was time.  I guess I could not start a diet until I had reached that realization.  My previous doctor had nagged me about losing weight and I resisted mightily.  Well, she retired, so I had to find another doctor.  He never said a word about my weight, except an occasional comment if I happened by sheer chance to lose a pound or two.  He is now thoroughly impressed.  (I'm rather impressed by the whole thing, myself.) 

 Wanna know how much is gone?  Well, I have hit my first 15-pound goal and have started on the second one.  I'm taking it 15 pounds at a stretch, because that is doable for me.  To say, "Okay, I'm going to lose 30 pounds," is a bit overwhelming, but 15 at a time is manageable.  I'll quit with the increments when I get to a point that I don't need to lose any more.  Stepping on the scale and seeing another pound gone is very motivating.  And now I'm sleeping better, the joints in my lower limbs haven't hurt in months, I haven't had heartburn in a long while, and I'll check with my doctor about the blood pressure thing when I go back the next time. 

I am excessively proud of myself.  I needed this.

Take care, everybody, and eat healthy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Things I'll Probably Never Do

1.  Enter a competitive-eating contest.  Eating that much food in such a short period of time just can't be good for you.  They hardly even chew!  And it looks kind of gross anyway.

2.  Run in a marathon.  Let's get real here.  I'm an old fart who's been essentially sedentary most of my adult life.  The farthest I've ever run is a half mile.  I have actually done active things, like playing tennis, horseback riding, hiking, building sets for plays; you know, fun stuff.  I've also had accidents and if I didn't know me better, I'd think I was clumsy, but I'm really not.  But now it's the old part that holds me back.  I know that active people older than me have trained and done it, but for me it's so far outside the realm of probability it's not even on the chart any more.

3.  Take up boxing.  Boxing involves hitting people and I almost never want to hit anyone.

4.  Win the lottery.  The odds against winning are astronomical, and no matter how many tickets you buy, the odds never get more favorable.

5.  Climb Mt. Everest.  Well, first of all, it involves climbing; then there's the freezing coldness, the wind, the fact that you have to camp in that cold, the gazillion layers of clothing you have to wear, the freezing cold, the stuff you have to carry, the cost, the freezing cold, etc.

6.  Sing in public.  I can't sing (although a friend of mine, a musician, once told me that anybody could sing; he apparently never heard me).  When I do break into song, the cats look at me as if I've gone round the bend and they look frightened.  I sing flat, off key, and I have no breath control.  It's a kindness on my part that I do not sing when other humans can hear me.

7.  Walk a tightrope or swing on a trapeze.  I don't have a death wish.

8.  Give my cat a bath.  See #7.

9.  Drive in a NASCAR race.  Aside from the occasional crash and burn, driving around in a circle could get boring.  I don't know how they do it.  It also involves a car with no functioning doors, fireproof suits, crash helmets, amazing speed, heat, noise, driving too close for comfort, and other dangerous stuff.  I'm a chicken.

10.  Own a restaurant.  I like to cook, sometimes (mostly I like to bake), but I don't have a passion for it.  I also don't have a passion for owning my own business.  The accounting part would kill me.  And then there's the fact that I have retirement in the cross-hairs.  I've been in the work force since 1967 and I'm ready to quit.

11.  Wrestle an alligator.  Alligators have teeth, and extremely strong jaws, and they live in swamps, and they're just downright scary.  I saw some testy alligators at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.  They were snapping and growling at each other.  Maybe they hadn't been fed yet.

12. Sky dive.  The idea of jumping out of an airplane, on purpose, into thin air just gives me the willies.  I'm okay with the flying part, especially in small planes, but I want to stay in the plane until after a nice safe landing. 

Okay, that's enough.  I tried to stay away from things that might be misconstrued as tempting fate.  I try never to take things for granted because I know circumstances can change without warning. 

Take care and have a good day.