Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ninth Monthly Assessment - September 30th

Well, I certainly haven't lost any weight this month - still at 130, with an occasional sighting of 131 on the scale.  Aaarrrgh!  I see one has to be always vigilant, even when one thinks one has made new better eating habits. We have been so busy having fun that we've had more restaurant food and camping food, and less super-healthy Dr. Wahls and Dr. Rosedale food.  We are coming up on some more travel, so this situation will get more dangerous before it gets better!

January 31st
September 26th

January 31st
September 26th

Forgive my bragging, but this is the first time I've ever had a detectable arm muscle  : )

Some things that are going well:

  • I still feel strong!  Carried my backpack, full canteen and bear canister 3 miles each way without difficulty.  (And so did Stan, who carried the tent - heavy! Not something every 75-year-old can do!)
  • We've been very faithful about going to the gym twice a week, and we've been walking our favorite 3-mile trail as a warm up, instead of 10 minutes on the treadmill.
  • I went from September 1st to September 19th with zero wine or other alcohol.  Had a glass at our favorite neighborhood pub when we got back from camping, and I see I can still easily fall back into having some every day.  I may have to admit it's easier to have none than have it only once in a while  : (
  • Slept on the ground two nights without hip pain - amazing and great!
  • We really are having a lot of fun.  Travel, hiking, involvement in our investment club, and I took a class on how to use the long-arm quilting machine at a quilt shop in Issaquah.  I learned some cool stuff and now I can rent it by the hour, although it is a bit expensive so I won't be doing it for every quilt I make.

Need work on:

  • Stopping the little items that have snuck back into my diet:  glutinous crackers with cheese, the occasional slice of toast, wine, cocoa (leftover from camping), and Starbucks frappuccinos! Those are about as habit-forming as wine!
  • Sleep!  I had thought when I wasn't having any alcohol I would sleep better.  There was perhaps a bit of improvement, but I still spend time at night tossing and turning and unable to turn off my thoughts.  Lately I'm falling into a second sleep around 5 or 6 AM and feeling groggy when I want to wake up. 
  • I still want to lose some more weight, or actually, lose some more belly fat.  When I went out this morning to get more melatonin and other supplements, I found a book by the Paleo Diet founder called The Paleo Answer.  Of course I know I have to actually eat the right stuff, not just read the book, but I'm hoping it will help with motivation.

Here are some photos to show how my appearance has changed since a year ago - last year on the left, this year on the right:

I do know that my actual appearance is not as important as how I feel about it.  I look okay in all the photos, but I am much happier with the later ones.  In some, you can't even notice the weight loss, but my face is thinner, posture better, hair blonder and smile bigger.  I feel better and more energetic.  That's what's important!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Happy Campers

Stan and I just got back from a 3-day backpacking trip to Sand Point at Lake Ozette on the Olympic Peninsula.  We hiked that lower black dotted line from Ozette to Sand Point on the coast.   We seem to have just missed the good summer weather and had a pretty rainy time.  I'm glad we went, but now I am ready to retire from backpacking.

We had done this trip before, and when I looked for the photos I was amazed to find it was in 2008 - seven years ago!  I was hoping to show the difference between my 2008 photo and this year when I am 15 pounds lighter and feeling a lot stronger.  Oh well, my weight loss is covered up with 4 layers of clothing, including cargo shorts under my waterproof pants.  Below is the comparison.  (Note the blue jar in the background above - that is a bear-proof canister, required of all campers in the area.  We had to keep all our food and food-related garbage locked in the canister whenever we weren't actually cooking.)


The hike is three miles through the woods, over dirt trail and a boardwalk that spans marshy areas.  You can't tell in the photos, but it rained the entire time we walked both in and out.  On the middle day, it was dry, warm and even a bit sunny at times.  On that day we walked along the beach for awhile, then over the 3 miles to the car to swap out garbage for more food and water, and back the 3 miles to the campsite.  Just a small day pack on that day, so it was easier going and a pleasant walk.

We had a lovely campsite just off the beach - perfect except that the "restroom", and I use the term loosely, was about 1/8 mile away.  That was an extra quarter mile through the woods for every trip, of which I made many!  Stan went with me the first few times until I felt safe enough going by myself.  Believe me, the weather was so bad I figured the bears and other wildlife were probably curled up in their dens!

Our ponchos get MVP as far as outdoor attire goes!  I found two of these folded in little packets with our camping supplies and I threw them in, never planning to actually use them.  They were great!  By the time we got to the campsite the first day two-thirds of my planned layer-able clothing was soaked.  The poncho kept my remaining sweater dry and made a little tent of warm air around me.  Wool hat and wool socks kept me warm.

For food we bought ready-to-eat camping meals at REI for dinners, had meat and cheese rollups (for me) and meat and cheese sandwiches (for Stan) for lunch, and Stan cooked nice breakfasts.  I was surprised to find neither of us was as hungry as I had thought we would be, and we wound up bringing food home.

Coffee first in morning!
My token veggies
Yummy camp dinner
Stan is a great camp cook, even with a very minimal amount of equipment.  Here he is cooking breakfast, 7 years ago and today.



Walking along single file we didn't talk much and I had plenty of time to think.  Often I thought of the refugees in the news, and how they have to get along without state-of-the-art camping equipment and a car conveniently parked with extra food and water.  Even worse, they don't have the security of knowing they're going home in two days, back to their regular life.  It must be terribly scary and sad.

I also thought about my own life, and realized I don't have to go backpacking again if I don't want to.  I wanted to do it this summer because Stan has many happy memories with his kids at Lake Ozette and it meant a lot to him to do it one more time.  I actually felt pretty strong carrying my pack and walked the distance without a problem.  (We weighed our packs when we got home - 23 lbs. for mine and 30-something for Stan's, without the sleeping pads and canteens.)  The bad part was at night.  It's a bit lonely to be awake and unable to sleep when one's companion is snoozing away, and for me, knowing I would have to leave the tent once or twice per night was a bummer.  It felt like a relief to me to know I would not be sleeping out there on the ground again.

Carrying that thought one step further, I realized I don't have to do anything I don't want to, or prove anything to myself or anyone else.  I have been thinking of taking a long walk - to my friend Mary's house in Tacoma for starters - which would require walking 19 miles per day to make it in two days.  I have a route all mapped out with a Comfort Inn at the halfway point, and all the Starbucks noted, but I'm not really sure I can walk that far.  I think I would feel satisfied after doing it, but I'm not sure it would be fun.  I love to read about people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail or the Camino Real in Spain, but perhaps I don't have to do those things myself.  Perhaps I will just enjoy taking shorter walks for exercise and to enjoy the nice weather. 

On the note of having to leave the tent in the night, have you heard of GoGirl??  This is a device that lets a woman pee standing up - great invention!  I used it at night in the woods with pretty good, not perfect, results.

Finally, I sure am glad to be home, and I'm grateful I live in this time and place of comfort and convenience!

Wet and tired, just one mile to go

What a handsome hiker!  (Photo taken on the dry day)

We deserved this lovely rainbow

We sat on a log at our campsite and watched the sun set - very peaceful

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Eighth Monthly Assessment - August 31st

I usually hate to see the summer end, but this year it has been so much warmer than usual, I'm ready for some crisp fall days.  This month I continued to hover at 129/130 pounds.  I'm hoping it's just a plateau as my body gets used to its new smaller size and I get used to my new smaller appetite.  (Not!)  My waist is 31 inches.  I see the last time I measured was for the June assessment and my waist was 31 1/2...  I wonder if I'm holding the tape tighter, or could I actually have lost some fat and gained muscle??

Here I am in my new Stitch Fix skinny jeans.  I'm having a tough time getting used to the low rise in today's stylish pants.  (That means they don't come up to my waist - just barely over the hips.  It puts the button and zipper right at an unflattering point on my tummy and feels like they could fall down any minute.)

January 31st
August 31st

January 31st
August 31st

What went right this month?
  • Actually, I'm feeling Strong!  Here's what I notice:
    • I hiked uphill on Mt. Rainier without a problem, and down without knee pain
    • Getting up, getting out of the car and going upstairs I have my core tightened without a conscious effort to remember
    • At the gym I've increased the weights on the machines
    • I'm getting nice arm muscles and the batwings are going down
    • When I lift and carry something heavy, I am using my arm muscles and my core is tightened
  • I'm eating a lot of vegetables and enjoying them.  My breakfast stir fries and lunch salads are my usual food now and what I want.  They keep me going for a long time, too.

What needs to be improved?
  • I'd like to lose more weight.  I can tell I haven't reached my ideal weight yet because I still have plenty of flab in my belly area.

    So what is my ideal weight?  I checked my BMI and it is 23.8.  On the chart, a BMI of 25 is the first step of being overweight.  I remembered that because for the last 20 years or so, mine has been 26.  I'm happy to see it lower now!

    BMI is Body Mass Index, the relation between a person's weight and height.  So, apparently I weigh 23.8 kilograms per square meter.  The calculator says "About 42 percent of women at the age of 68 are below and 58 percent are above this value."

    While Googling around to find a BMI chart, I learned a few things about this measurement.  While some years ago it was considered a good way to assess your degree of under- or over-weight, it is not currently regarded as so important.  There are other methods, like waist-to-hip ratio or percentage of body fat, that take into consideration your level of fitness and whether you are large-boned or small-boned.

    I found a waist-to-hip-ratio calculator, and tried that out, too. Here's the result:

    You have a waist to hip ratio of 0.79. The information you entered: Sex = Female, waist = 31 inches and hip = 39 inches.
    Your shape puts you at reduced risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Frequently referred to as pear shape, you tend to keep fat off your midsection and more on your hips. Your body does not convert this lower body fat as readily as midsection fat, which keeps cholesterol down.
    All this time I thought I was an apple, due to my belly.  I know it's healthier to be a pear.  That same site has a body fat calculator, so for a few more minutes of measuring I got the following result - less complimentary and healthy-sounding than my waist-to-hip calculation:
    According to your measurements of a 31 inches waist and height of 5' 2" your body fat percentage is estimated to be 32.92 %. This method is not as accurate as a water displacement test, but is usually within 1-3%.
    The average body fat percentage for U.S. females is around 32%, with the ideal at 22%. Athletic females should be around 15-20%. You could have an eating disorder if you are below 10%. Remember these are guidelines; your physician should help you determine the ideal weight and body fat for you. 
    Aarrrgh!  I am still one-third fat!

    The advice I liked best is on Dr. Hall M.D.'s site.  About the BMI, he says:
    Women tend to believe they look their best at values between 20 to 22 and men are usually satisfied with a BMI of 23 to 25. If your BMI is between 17 to 22, your life expectancy is longer than average. You don't need to lose weight.
    If your BMI is between 23 and 25, you are not considered overweight by most people.
    But if your BMI is 26 or more, that's not good. But you knew that already.
    Above all, Don't Worry, Be Happy. It's unhealthy to have anxiety over a less-than-perfect body image. And, if this calculator's description of your body seems wrong for you, just trust your own judgment. A healthy mental attitude is just as important as physical fitness.

    Contributing to my healthy mental attitude was a visit from my granddaughter, Mira.  Stan and I took her to our par 3 golf course and played Best Ball.  Quite a few times Mira's was the best ball!  She did great!  I made a "Stitch Fix" for her with some cute clothes from Lands' End and she liked them  : )

      When Mira's here, it's tempting to throw caution (and diet) to the winds and eat whatever food I think she will like.  (She actually likes pretty much everything, so we eat lots of healthy food, but some treats as well.)  Here's our lunch, and how I tried to keep mine under control.  That's mine, on the right.  I enjoyed some mac 'n cheese, but finished the salad first.  We had fun!