11
Dec
2017

For the past few years, I’ve eschewed setting of New Year’s Resolutions, because, quite frankly, I failed spectacularly at any sort of follow-through after about three days into the new year.   I have also learned to avoid diets because restrictive eating and rigor generally make me so miserable, I cannot get excited about the benefits they would support in my quest for a healthier lifestyle.

At the end of 2016, I was very depressed about my weight and my blood pressure and my blood work tests, etc, etc, etc.  I was looking full into another new year with no discernible change in my weight or my health, despite talking a good game.  Then, my sister asked me to join her team to walk 2017 miles in 2017.  I   figured it would at least motivate me to exercise regularly, something I very much needed to do.

Fast forward to today, nearly the end of 2017.  I stuck with it.  Now, my teammates are much more long distance than I, where they can average 5 miles in a walk, I do around three. I had worked my way up to four miles in walks, increased my endurance and stamina, then developed plantar fasciitis and sprained an ankle last spring.  It was pretty bad, hampering my walks, and I worked through it in the summer with some PT.  However, I stuck with it.  I have lost 10 pounds, my resting heart rate average is way down, and my last set of bloodwork had backed almost every reading out of the borderline/high zone.  I still need to get my good cholesterol up and my triglycerides down, but other than that, everything looked peachy!

I believe I experienced a resolution sea change this year.  Rather than making an unreasonable promise to myself (lose 50 pounds! run every day!), I have convinced myself that making a permanent change is possible.  I am committed to working a significant amount of exercise into each week.  Unfortunately, the weight loss has plateaued, but now, I truly believe, the next big change will be in my meal planning.  If I can walk 600 miles in a year, then I can stop putting fried poison into my body.

Stay tuned.  Wish me luck.  Send me recipes!

Gotta go swim.  (Yes, I know. Cold. Wet. Ick. December – but I need to condition the muscles in my upper back AND it’s cardio. Two birds and all that!)

16
Nov
2017

I have a cardiologist (because of a terrible, terrible family history and a couple of minor episodes over the past decade).  I am terrified of my cardiologist. He sounds like a KGB agent grilling you in a dark alley.   Well, last year, after a long haul with my mother and her cancer and, and, and, stuff … I gained some weight.  Mind you, the doctor was already urging me to lose weight. So when I went in for my annual in 2016, he let me know how disappointed he was that I was worse, not better.

I made a commitment at the beginning of 2017 to really follow through and develop an exercise habit.  Not a casual, hey I walked a couple of times this week and strolled through the mall, habit. But a, hey, I need to hit at least 50 miles per month and do some other odds and ends habit.  I am nearing my 600 mile target for this year.   I figured I would not try to diet.   Let’s cement this habit first.

So, the benefit of all that walking and hiking and swimming is that now my resting heart rate is around 51 bpm.  And, I lost 12 pounds this year.

I had my annual check up this week.  We talked about how much good my exercise is doing me.  So much so, that the doctor says, if I continue to gradually take off the weight next year, we can cut out a BP medication.  Yay, me!

So, this coming year’s commitment is going to have to be to continue to improve my exercise load and efficiency AND really start eating healthier.  We talked about that, he and I, and we both know that he knows I was lying when I said I ate pretty healthy.  He wants me to cut out the fast food.

I will.

But today, I celebrated with a fabulously retro lunch of Cheetos and Coke.  One step backward and all that, y’all!  Going forward tomorrow.

4
Mar
2017

After my cardiologist yelled* at me, back in late November, about gaining instead of losing excess weight, I have ramped up my exercise.  I’ve worked up to the ability to walk three miles without feeling terrible afterward. In fact, I can walk a lot longer as evidenced by the 7.5 mile trek I took with my sister a couple of weekends ago.  When that little junket was complete, my feet hurt so badly in the evening, I thought I would never walk again. However, a new pair of walking shoes has remedied that issue.  When shoes wear out, you really do feel it.

Now, for the past couple of days, I’ve had a painful sensation in my lower back.  It is more pronounced when I am sitting than standing, so I suppose I need to keep moving.  But, it feels as if I jumped out of a high window, landed on my heels, and jarred my back.  I just wish it would go away, because I want to be rewarded for improving my health, not punished!  I suppose, I am just getting older and experiencing some wear and tear.

On the positive side, though, I have met my first goal of 5% weight loss.  I am losing pounds very, very slowly, may about 1/2 pound per week, but as long as it is consistent, I am happy with that.  I looked back at my history, and I am now only 2 pounds heavier than when my mother first received her cancer diagnosis that scrambled all of our world, greatly.  I think when I hit that benchmark, then I can look forward to the next goal of getting into one of my evening gowns.   I have three evening gowns that I absolutely love, each one size bigger than the previous!  So, if I can get back into those, one at a time, over the rest of this year, I’ll be ecstatic when the time comes to really wear one again.

Happy trails, y’all. Now that the weather is warmer, I will see you outside.

*Actually, he didn’t yell at me; he was fussing at me.  But, he’s from Georgia (Eastern European State, not Eastern Atlantic State), so he has this terrifying sounding accent.  “Zhou MUST NOT Gain Ze Weight!!!”  He can say “Good Morning,” and it sounds malicious. But, he is a very nice and professional man, or I wouldn’t continue to go to his practice.

14
Jan
2017

My mother died in September, a little over a year after her Stage IV cancer diagnosis. She never came to terms with the necessity of moving into a nursing home due to her extreme physical de-conditioning and medical care needs.  Also, especially the last 6 months or so, she was exhibiting more and more cognitive impairment.  This didn’t help the fact that she couldn’t understand the situation; she was very angry with me most of the time.

Since she passed, I’ve been having occasional  nightmares about her.  Not necessarily scary dreams, but they disturb me and interrupt my sleep – I’ll be cranky and tired the next day or two, as well.

These dreams almost always take the form of being in an institutional like setting.  The most recent seemed like we were sitting in a school cafeteria, crafting, in a brightly lit area at the long tables.  In every dream, she is in her wheelchair, looking like she did soon after her diagnosis, before she became really frail.

Usually, I have a vivid feeling that she is there, and she is glaring at me with her mad face (I saw a lot of that in real life), and she is very angry with me.  She doesn’t say much to me, just pierces me with dagger eyes, until something snaps me out of it – my subconscious tells me, this isn’t real. She’s no longer here.  But, I wake up feeling sad, and terrible, and just defeated.

So, I was telling my sister about it recently.  She offered the idea that Mom was maybe in Purgatory, working through her anger and it was coming through to me.  I said, but why do I have to be there with her? Do I at least get credit when it’s my turn?

And, my sister said, oh,after this past year, you get AP credit.  You definitely get AP credit.