Charting My Weight – Gaining Perspective

A friend, Tish MacWebber, manages the blog Trust Your Gut. This past week, I have been a guest blogger and am glad to share the post HERE. Just click and have a look at “Charting my Weight – Gaining Perspective.” The post looks at my learnings from over 40 years of weight charting. All my best … Alexandra

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Check-in: mid-October

Last month I pledged to stop drinking diet cola products. I have read that diet soda may contribute to poor health by harming metabolism. They also contain acids to damage teeth and may contribute to cell damage. For a good article on this subject, see:

http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/is-diet-soda-bad-for-you

It has been harder to stop drinking these products than I thought. Although I have definitely cut way back on my drinks of diet pop, I still have moments when I am tired and drinking diet soda is an easy thing to do.

I am going to redouble my efforts, buying concentrated cranberry juice and lime juice to add to my water. Having a little flavour in my water would help make it my first choice!

I have added another pledge to my list – to measure the margarine I add to toast and other foods. It tastes good, so a slather is sometimes a good description of the amount I apply! I know I should be adding a little margarine to my food, not adding some food to my margarine!

My list of pledges to my son so far is:

  • July: I pledged to not eat French fries. French fries are not good for me and other choices are always available. In three months I have only had French fries twice.
  • August: I pledged to eat only small servings of ice cream. My son said this was not to allow me to eat ice cream every day!!! For two months, I have had only small servings of ice cream!
  • September: I pledged not to drink diet or regular cola. I have definitely cut back, but I have to re-double my efforts.
  • October: I pledge to add only measured amounts of margarine to toast or vegetables.

 

drinking water

All my best,

Alexandra

 

check-in: almost September

My first check-in on my summer 2016 program has arrived. How have I done? I have not lost any weight, but I have some progress to report:

  • I cycled on my stationary bike every second day (Phase 5 of my virtual journey along the St. John River). Days 5-1 to 5-6 took me from Edmundston to just south of Rivière Verte.
  • I did less eating in the evening after 9:00. It helps that my husband is also trying not to eat after 9 PM.
  • I have planned and started my next six days of cycling – Rivière Verte to Saint Leonard.

I also made three pledges to my son during the summer. Making a promise to my son about my diet is more likely to succeed than a pledge to any other person I know! I have chosen small changes that I feel will benefit my well-being. Also, by keeping these small promises, I give my self-esteem and confidence a boost.

  • July: I pledged to not eat French fries. French fries are not good for me and other choices are always available. In two months I have not had French fries once!
  • August: I pledged to eat only small servings of ice cream. My son said this was not to allow me to eat ice cream every day!!! Actually, I eat ice cream about once a week and a small cone is a much better choice than a large cone! For one month, I have had only small servings of ice cream!
  • September: This could be a hard one. Yesterday I pledged not to drink diet or regular cola. Often it is the easy choice, but I love water and can flavour it with a bit of lime.

I’ll do another check-in at the end of September.

All the best!

Alexandra

 

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a new goal

A year ago, I decided that losing one pound per week over the next year would be a good goal. After all, one pound per week is not so hard. Right??? Right.
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Although setting a goal was a good thing, I may have been unrealistic in my expectations. When it comes to weight loss, one year is a big chunk to tackle. I have read that aiming for a 5-10% loss of weight may be a more realistic, attainable goal.
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So, my new long term goal is to aim to lose 5% of my weight during the next three months. That would be 13 pounds.
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To do this, I will do the following:
1. reduce the amount of fat in my diet and eat more fruit and vegetables
2. keep track of my daily eating and exercise using MyFitnessPal http://www.myfitnesspal.com/
3. keep up my routine of morning stretches and stationary cycling
4. reward myself for progress
5. weigh myself once per week (Wednesday) and report my progress here (see Weight tab above)
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Best always,
Alexandra

One year later

So, my year aiming at wellness has come and gone. When I began this blog, I was convinced I had found the certain way to weight loss and a healthier me. Now, 53 weeks later, I can say … writing it down does not make it so!
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My long term goal was to lose 52 pounds. I didn’t reach my goal. This morning, I weigh exactly what I did one year ago.
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So, an evaluation of my year …

1. Although I didn’t lose any weight, I didn’t gain any either.
2. During the year, to improve my husband’s health, we went gluten-free. Although we had some challenges, we are now a gluten-free household. We have found products to substitute for our grain choices … cornmeal pasta, various crackers made by Glutino, and Domino’s gluten-free pizza. Otherwise we generally avoid gluten and my husband’s health is much improved!
3. I have continued to bike on my stationary cycle about 3 times a week.
4. I have added a set of stretches to my morning routine. After these stretches, I find I am more limber and I have avoided any new injuries to my knees.
5. Although I still face some problems keeping my blood sugars in control, I have had more glucose results in the 4 to 7 range as a result of controlling my after-supper eating. Keeping busy is the key to controlling this eating and lately I’ve been working on some quilt-making projects.
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Overall, the biggest improvement in my health has been to my overall stamina and to my knees. I can say with certainty that this has been the best ‘knee year’ in the past five!
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Best always,
Alexandra

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eating more fish – results

In January, I set a goal to include more fish in my diet …

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I did fairly well, eating fish eight times during the four weeks.  I also ordered fish when I went to a restaurant during the month.

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We tried a couple of recipes.  The Hearty Salmon Chowder is always good.  The Tuna-Kidney Bean Salad was a bit bland for my liking – good ingredients could be improved with some mayo.

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The path to wellness is never easy and I discovered that I have to modify my enthusiasm sometimes … eating more fish than usual gave me a flare-up of gout.  Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood and results in attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis.  In my case, the joints of my toes become inflamed and sore.  Sources say fish can cause a flare-up.  I also have had gout attacks from eating asparagus.

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I intend to keep eating fish, just in moderation.  From this adventure with eating fish, I have discovered:

  • a better diet begins with the grocery store
  • use ‘eating out’ as a way to make better eating choices

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Best Always, Alexandra

fish

exercise, exercise

We are well into February and it is past time to reflect on my medium term goals for January …

Medium-Term Goals (one month)

Goal #2: To bike every second day for one month (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014).

Goal #3: To do 2.5 pound arm weight sessions on days when I am not cycling (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014).

Goal #4: To go for a short 10 minute walk outside every day (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014).

So, how did I do???

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Date Cycle Weights Walk Date Cycle Weights Walk
Jan. 1 Jan. 17
Jan. 2  # Jan. 18
Jan. 3 Jan. 19
Jan. 4 Jan. 20  #
Jan. 5  # Jan. 21  #
Jan. 6  # Jan. 22
Jan. 7  # Jan. 23  #  #
Jan. 8  # Jan. 24
Jan. 9 Jan. 25  #  #
Jan. 10 Jan. 26
Jan. 11  # Jan. 27
Jan. 12 Jan. 28  #  #
Jan. 13 Jan. 29
Jan. 14  # Jan. 30  #
Jan. 15  # Jan. 31  #
Jan. 16  # Feb. 1

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Biking:  I bike on my stationary cycle.  On January 30, I celebrated the anniversary of the start of my regular cycling program.  I have been cycling approximately every third day for a year.  During the year, I biked 143 days (an average of 30 minutes on each day) and over 530 kilometers.  I am so proud of myself!!  As for January, I biked 10 times.  This is approximately once every three days, but it took me a while to get started after the Christmas lazy period.  I still have a way to go to meet my goal of biking once every two days.

Weights: I did weights only twice during the month.  This puzzles me a bit because they are easy to do while watching TV and I certainly did enough of that last month!  In order to improve my likelihood of doing my weight session, I have moved my weights up to the living room.

Walking:  I ‘walked’ 7 times this month.  Considered with my biking, that doesn’t sound too bad.  However, I only walked outside twice (the cold weather and icy conditions have been very discouraging).  Instead I began to use a piece of exercise equipment left here by my son – the Tony Little ‘Gazelle’.  It is very easy to use.  I brings my heart rate up but I am uncertain about whether it achieves the weight-bearing value of walking.  I am also cautious because I don’t want to hurt my arthritic knees – today I am recovering from a hurt ligament (from not stretching before and after using the Gazelle).

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During February, I am going to concentrate on my biking:

Goal #2: To bike every second day for one month (February 1, 2014 to March 1, 2014).

Best always, Alexandra

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eating more fish

I know from my reading – including fish in my diet would help me in my quest for wellness.  Fish is low in fat, high in protein and a source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats with many health benefits, including reducing risk of heart disease and promoting healthy brain, eye and nerve function.

At the present time, my consumption of fish is lower than ever before. To some extent this is a taste issue, but I love tuna and salmon.  Our current method of grocery shopping may be at fault – my husband only buys what’s on the list and I often keep the list short to avoid having to carry in a lot of groceries.  In any case, the key to increasing fish in our diet is simply adding fish to the grocery list.  If it’s in the cupboard or refrigerator, it will get cooked and eaten.

fish

I’d also like to use eating out as an opportunity to try new fish and fish dishes.

Goal # 10: To increase the amount of fish in my diet to (at least) two servings per week.

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The chowder recipe I’ve included in the worksheet is one I’ve tried before and liked.  I used cooked salmon, but canned salmon should work well too.  If you try it, let me know what you think.

Best always, Alexandra

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update on my long-term goal

My long-term goal is to lose 52 pounds by November 23 of this year.  One pound a week.  That didn’t sound too strenuous.

Well, after over six weeks, I have lost one pound.  One pound.  I couldn’t squeeze even another quarter pound from that highly-accurate, uncompromising scale of mine.

unhappy Alexandra

When I set my one pound per week goal, I knew it might be difficult.  It is certainly harder to lose weight at 59 than it was at 29.  I can remember losing 10 pounds in one week when I was in my 30s (mostly water, of course, and it didn’t stay gone).

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I did not gain over Christmas, in spite of the constant presence of temptation, and I did allow myself many, many, many treats (many).

So one pound isn’t so bad.  One pound down and 51 to go.

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Good grief.

Best always, Alexandra

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setting some goals – results

On November 23, 2013, I set some goals for myself.  These included three medium-term goals about exercise:

Medium Term Goal (one month)

Goal #2: My medium term, four-week goal is to bike every second day for one month (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Goal #3: My second medium term, four-week goal is to begin 2.5 pound arm weight sessions on days when I am not cycling (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to begin to go for a short 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Well, I have reached my December 23 goal date.  You can see my daily results in the table near the end of this post.  In summary, during the month:

♣  I biked on my stationary cycle 13 times.  This was fewer than the 16 times intended, but I am on my way to my goal of biking every second day!

♣  I did my weights 6 times during the month, falling short of my goal.  However, these are the first weights I have done this year and I am considering this a start in the right direction.  I have discovered that I can do weights while I am watching TV, turning an inactive time into an active one!

♣  I walked outside 11 times during the month.  I started very well, but the weather was very uncooperative and I did not achieve my goal of walking every day.  However, focussing on the positive, I am determined to continue with this goal because walking outside is so good for me, for so many reasons!

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Alexandra in the snow (an exaggeration, but almost this much, as of this morning)

Date Cycle Weights Walk Date Cycle Weights Walk
Nov. 23  #  # Dec. 9  #
Nov. 24  #  # Dec. 10
Nov. 25  #  # Dec. 11
Nov. 26  # Dec. 12  #
Nov. 27  #  # Dec. 13
Nov. 28 #  # Dec. 14
Nov. 29  # Dec. 15  #
Nov. 30  # Dec. 16  #  #
Dec. 1  # Dec. 17  #
Dec. 2  # Dec. 18
Dec. 3 Dec. 19  #
Dec. 4  # Dec. 20  #
Dec. 5  # Dec. 21  #
Dec. 6  # Dec. 22
Dec. 7  #  # Dec. 23  #
Dec. 8

So, I am going to set some new medium-term goals for myself.

Goal #2: My medium term, four-week goal is to bike every second day (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014)

Goal #3: My second medium term, four-week goal is to do 2.5 pound arm weight sessions on days when I am not cycling (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014)

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to go for a 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

I will continue to record my progress on the ‘exercise program’ tab.

Best always, Alexandra

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