In Like a Lion

March.  Already.

This year is moving so swiftly I feel, sometimes, like I can barely keep track.

In continuing my quest toward a more healthy, fit body, I’m once again joining the Live Well Natomas group for weekly “loop the lake” walks in north Natomas – at least when I’m in town.  Today marked the first of the walks.  Because I wanted to get my dance on, I chose the latter of the two walks.  After morning Zumba, I  herded the doodles into the car and drove over to the North Natomas Public Library, where the meeting group was located to sign in for the event.  I realized once I parked that I’d left the leash at home, so had to turn around; however, I was only about 5 minutes late when I returned, leash in hand, to sign in at the desk.

We got a t-shirt for me and bandanas for the doods, then began our walk.  The weather today is so strange – chilly and overcast one moment, warm and sunny the next.  I wore layers that I was able to peel off when needed.  The dogs and I also met the creative director of N Magazine, who was working on photos for the upcoming “pets” issue.  He took a picture of the doodles before I resumed our walk.

Along the way we saw geese, sunshine on the water making the fountains golden, ducks, a hummingbird, California poppies, a butterfly, and of course, the magnificent clouds.

I know I won’t make every Saturday walk this year, but today was a great start to a wonderful community commitment to get healthy and live well!

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Measuring Progress

I do not possess an athletic build nor do I especially like winter sports (other than watching hockey).  Regardless of the politics associated with Sochi, the athletes competing in the winter olympics inspire me.  Their bodies are well-maintained machines and their commitment to their art – their sports – fills me with admiration.

My desire to return to my healthier weight and shape means that, like these amazing athletes, I need to make better, healthier choices.  Last week, following Weight Watcher’s Simple Start program, I dropped (at least according to my home scale) nearly four pounds.  This week, I hope for another loss.

Over the past week and a half, I re-calibrated my eating habits by enjoying meals high in vegetables and protein.  I removed processed foods from my caloric intake and, other than a few glasses of wine yesterday and a cocktail today, limited alcoholic beverages.

Today, after a class at the gym (I’d gone for Zumba, but the sub teaching today did cardio dance instead – fun stuff), I cleaned up and then went in search of a more artistic way to track my progress toward my weight loss goal. I saw a suggestion on Pinterest to use marbles in a jar to show how many pounds have been lost and so I’m doing a variation on that theme.

I found a large martini glass-shaped vase.  I filled it with decorative stones.  I also found some faceted rocks shaped like gems.  These represent my pounds.  For every pound I lose, I will put a sparkling stone in the martini glass.

One Big Martini

One Big Martini

Stones and "Gems"

Stones and “Gems”

So Many Sparkly Pounds to Go

So Many Sparkly Pounds to Go

While the US athletes are going for the gold, I’ll be going for diamonds.

Dance is Life

Finished listening to an Audible audiobook of Stephen King‘s “11-22-63” yesterday and I confess the two quotes from the novel that continue to haunt me are not the kind of words for which the master of horror is known.

The first is “love is a uniquely portable magic”.  The second is “dance is life”.

I think dance is among the most powerful antidepressants available.  Zumba is one of the activities I employ to return to a healthier, more fit body.  I jokingly call it my happy dance, but really, every kind of dance makes me smile.  I love the feel of my body in motion, losing myself in music and movement.

I do not have a dancer’s body – and I know that I’m not graceful or terribly coordinated.  None of this matters when the music takes me away – whether in a dance or Zumba class, or swinging to some big band tunes, or shaking it up at a concert.  It does not matter that I don’t always know the choreography or the right moves.  To use a quote from “Scent of a Woman,” “if you get tangled up, tango on”.

Isn’t that the key to happiness?  Life tangles and snarls and trips you up, but if you make the stumble and missteps part of the dance, things seem to work out in the end.

Less is More

Excited to report that I recognized a 3.9 pound loss since my previous weigh-in a week ago – at least that is what my home scale shows (I went to Zumba last night rather than attend the Weight Watchers meeting).

I think that nearly 4 pounds in one week is AMAZING.  I am pumped.  I am psyched.  I am ready and willing to welcome more losses.  I want to be a loser!

To lose the pounds, I:

  • Diligently followed the Simple Start Weight Watchers program
  • Tracked anything that was not a filling food
  • Increased my physical activity and tracked it using both my ActiveLink and FitBit Flex
  • Drank plenty of water
  • Took a daily multivitamin
  • Limited my alcohol consumption – no weeknight glasses of wine.  In fact, I treated myself to libations only on Sunday evening after Zumba and walking the dogs

Simple Start is a hybrid program during which you track only items that are not identified as Filling Foods in Weight Watchers program for two weeks (or longer, if you choose).  I am starting on my second full week of Simple Start today.

I think that shaking up my routine helped jump-start my battery, but I also believe the most important element, for me at least, is personal commitment.  I do not want to carry these extra pounds anymore.

Instead, I want to wear the sassy duds in my closets rather than wish I could fit into them.  I want to wear a bathing suit with confidence rather than self-consciousness.  I want to like my shape rather than cringe every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I want my outside to better reflect my inside – I know there is a more petite form of me just rearing to show herself!

I am thrilled with my progress this past week.  I’ve got a lot more to lose, but the only way to do so is to stay focused and committed.  Today, I’m celebrating my first significant loss in ages!

Alignment

In my Pilates class tonight, I discovered the instructor I really like will start teaching Wednesday nights again as well as Mondays.  She starts this week, so I know what my Wednesday holds.

In fact, I have my week plotted:

  • Monday – Pilates
  • Tuesday – Weight Watchers and/or Zumba
  • Wednesday – Pilates
  • Thursday – Zumba
  • Friday – maybe Zumba 🙂
  • Saturday – Zumba
  • Sunday – Zumba

I missed walking the dogs before class tonight and by the time I came home, darkness made the walk undesirable.  They do not understand my unwillingness to take them out after the sun goes down, but the parks close and  although the neighborhood is lit by streetlights, I prefer to walk safely in the daylight.

Getting the Look

Getting the Look

To successfully keep my life and home in alignment, I need to capitalize on the daylight by finishing my work day in enough time to walk the doodles before going to the gym.

Perhaps tomorrow!

Weighs and Means

My current shape is not ideal.  My current weight is unhealthy.  I am not in love with my body.

I’m 40 pounds heavier than when I moved to California nearly three years ago and I feel the gravity of every one of those pounds pulling me down both physically and emotionally.

An introvert at heart, I recharge my psychic and creative batteries by being alone.  When I am this heavy, though, I feel myself withdraw from the society of others.  I become self-conscious and nervous.  I don’t want to be around other people because my confidence and self-esteem are low.  I even find myself being self-conscious when I exercise – embarrassed by the way I must look when I am walking the dogs, dancing in Zumba, or practicing Yoga or Pilates.  I collapse into myself in ways that are truly unhealthy.

I know that I am responsible for putting on the weight – no one forced me to eat and drink my way through the stress and depression resulting from the death-throes of an affection-less marriage and pending divorce.  I did that all on my own.

Tonight, I not only did my monthly weigh-in at Weight Watchers to maintain my Lifetime Member status, but also stayed for the meeting and after to learn more about the newest program from the group leader.

It was a great meeting – just what I needed to help focus.  Small steps.  Simple goals.  Incremental rewards.  Celebrating the successes and learning from the pitfalls.  I definitely needed the message and the community.

Weighing in monthly is not helping me get back on track – I did my best when I attended regular meetings, tracked, and had a good support network.  The Simple Start program looks to be right for me, so I’m going to follow the program for the next two weeks and see what happens.  I’ve also made a connection with another person at the meeting tonight, so hopefully we can provide mutual motivation and support.  While I may not be able to meet every week, I’m ready to do the work to be in the body I loved best.

Pink and Proud

So many people I love have been or are affected by the big “C”.  My husband’s lovely cousin, my auntie, my great aunt, and two dear-to-my heart friends are among those important to me bravely battling cancer and they are all in my thoughts every day.  One of my second cousins is in remission and celebrates several cancer-free years while also carefully monitoring her health.

A challenge of living on the west coast is that I’m physically far away from all of these dear ones.  While they are all in my daily thoughts, it is hard for them to know they’re receiving every bit of healing energy I can send.

When I began seeing personalized pink bracelets posted on my husband’s cousin’s Facebook page, I asked where I could get one.  It came in the mail today.

For Sweetest Day, my mom gave me a Pandora pink leather bracelet with the “Forever Entwined” bead.  She also gave bracelets to my auntie and my sister so that we could all use them as touchstones in sending her positive energy.  I added a key and a ribbon charm to my bracelet and thought I would send my husband’s cousin a picture with both bracelets.

I’ll be wearing these bangles proudly during my upcoming travels and I hope that people will ask me about them so that I can share the stories about the brave people I know and love.  I want to do something like this for my auntie, too – she’s not on Facebook (yet), but I think it would be a happy surprise to get postcards and photos in the mail.

Every healing thought makes a difference.