Home Sweet Home

Check in

Current weight: 161.5

Since last check-in : 3 lbs.

Total weight lost:  47 lbs.

Christmas Tree

And it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …

I’ve been home for five days and am adequately acclimatized to reflect on the inevitable adjustments. Today is Tuesday and I will not be heading off to a weekly Weight Watchers Meeting. I’m a wee bit sad on that score. I enjoyed the accountability of the weigh-in, the weekly discussion topics and the opportunity to be part of a group of people who were all dedicated to the same goal – weight loss.

Coping method: I will stay in touch with group members through Facebook and will keep on the program using the online version. I will use my FitBit Aria II scale to weigh-in. It’s connected to my W.W. app, so all will be recorded as it was when I attended the meetings. Not the same but that’s the best I can do for now.

I won’t be doing my run/fast-walk hour at the local indoor track. I loved that daily workout with music playing through my ear buds as I moved quickly around the track in what, over time, became an easy jog.

Coping method: I’ve figured out how much I have to pick up the pace on my wilderness walking circuit to get a similar workout. Tracking my heart rate zones while on the stationary bike has been eye-opening. When I turned the tension dial up a notch and picked up my speed, I could get over half my forty-five minute workout in cardio and half in peak! So, weather dependent – it’s pouring rain here today – I do an hour long fast-walk or a ride on the stationary bike. Every day – one or the other!

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For meditation, I’ve been using the Headspace App. Great options and cool graphics. One of my choices has been a 3-level program (each level consisting of 10 meditations to be done over that many days) on mindful eating. These meditations are super helpful. No problem with finding quiet time at home to meditate. I do have some issues with this app, though. Love the content but it is so glitchy, paying for it seems like madness. I have to uninstall and reinstall every two days to get the silly thing to work. Oh well, I do love what is on offer, so will go the extra mile and hope that at some point the powers that be get the bugs out of the app.

The journey continues and I am thrilled to be losing weight again. I am determined – 2020 is the year I reach and maintain my ideal weight of 140 lbs.

Me in workout modeThat’s me, last week, in my workout gear all ready to head to the indoor track. Good times.

The trick in life is to bloom wherever you end up planted. I had a phenomenal time trying out new things while away from home. But home is a great place, too.

Here’s to blooming Smile

Final History Chapter–Back to the Future

Tyrion quote

What a journey. Today’s post marks the end of my mid-week strolls down memory lane. Have you enjoyed the story so far? As Tyrion says, “There is nothing in the world more powerful than a story.” So, let’s catch up to the now.

In 2017, my daughter gave me her old FitBit. I fell in love with the little gadget. I started tracking and though I wasn’t seeing a big change in my weight, I was aware of my activity level like I’d never been before. This was the beginning of the final stage of preparation for serious weight loss. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was establishing baseline data and charting future action.

I started 2018 with a commitment to daily meditations and journal reflections using Daily Om online courses. I focused on topics such as clearing what is hold you back, Buddhist communication and letting go of weight. I stuck with this routine for months. I upped my activity level, walking a minimum of 5K every day. My weight fluctuated from a low of 208 lbs. to a high of 212 lbs. Despite the lack of weight loss, I had a wonderful year. I got totally off my blood pressure meds. I continued to use the FitBit and the FitBit app for my phone. I was getting prepared for a more active stage of change.

For Christmas, I requested the Aria2 FitBit scale. Someone asked my husband, “Did your wife ask for this scale specifically because if not, women don’t necessarily appreciate getting a scale as a gift. Sort of sends a message, you know?” Too true. I can imagine other years when I would have been outraged to receive such a ‘gift’.

On Jan. 3, 2019, I began my weight lose journey. And there you have it – you’ve come with me on quite a trip over the last weeks. From the little girl hiding a box of tapioca pudding under my bed to the almost 62 year-old me starting yet another weight loss attempt.

If the retelling of my history of weight loss and gain has shown me anything, it is this – I need accountability to succeed. This blog, the FitBit, the FitBit app, the Aria2 scale, friends and family who know how much sticking with my plan means to me – all these things call me to be true to my dreams.

On the lake

Accountability = Awareness Smile

Eagle on snag

Change takes time and many of the stages of change are about getting ready. I see my entire weight loss history as the necessary time it took to be ready for what is happening to me now.

So, one journey comes to an end and another begins. Next week, I am off on holidays to visit family and friends. And from now on, you will only hear from me once a week when I do my weight check-in post.

Many, many thanks to anyone out there in the blogosphere we took the time to read my posts. Everyday is precious, every moment matters. Why me, why now? Why not?

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The Right Doctor Makes All the Difference

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In 2011, feeling desperate at 215 lbs. and having to be medicated for high blood pressure, I tried a new doctor. She was a wonderful breath of fresh air. In my 54 years of life (at that point in time), I had yet to meet a doctor I liked. This woman took the time to get to know me.

Something else was also happening. I was at a point in life where I allowed myself to be known. On my first visit, I explained openly that weight and weight loss were hugely triggering issues for me. And miracle of miracles, this doctor respected and heard what I had to say.

She knew not to push the weight loss agenda too hard. She’d introduce ideas and I’d go off and think about what she said. She asked me to consider a lifestyle plan where I would gradually cut the dosage of my BP meds. I agreed to try. I lost about 7 lbs. by changing my eating patterns and being slightly more active. I banned the salt shaker from the table. By the fall, I had managed to get the dosage of my meds cut in half. But no more weight came off. There I sat and there I stayed at 208 lbs.

In 2014, I mounted a serious attempt to lose weight. I was back up to 215 lbs. I had overcome some major barriers in my life and had managed to write and self-publish two novels. (By now, I’m up to 4 books in the series and going strong on the 5th.)

Crater Lake Series Banner

It felt like I had found a new outlet for my talents and that there would be life after the not-quite-completed PhD. I had two beautiful granddaughters and I wanted to be healthier for their sake. I wanted to be a fun and active grandma.

Aug 2014 Brit& Emma

I buckled down and lost to within sight of one-der-land – the promised weight loss land of the 100’s. But I got completely derailed at 202 lbs. I was stopped in my tracks. Life hit me full force in the teeth and eating to relieve the stress was survival 101. The time had no yet come for me to enter one-der-land.

Despite the set-back, over the next couple of years, I still managed to have the dosage of my blood pressure meds cut in half again and my wonderful doctor, sympathetic and caring, never judged me. She suggested a recumbent, stationary bicycle. I got one, set it outside on my covered deck and started riding. I self-published another two novels. My life was moving even if my weight was as stuck as that bike on the deck.

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The Bike                                                                           The View from the Bike

Heads up – next Wednesday will be my last weight-loss story post. You will be caught up to the present with my life. Yippee! What a journey this blog has taken us on.

Escape from the Ivory Tower

McLaurin Pyramid 

Where did I leave off? Hmm … right … me in the Ivory Tower – the university years. Between 2005 and 2009, I maintained a weight of 205 lbs. I never went up and I never went down but life went on!

Both my kids got married.

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I became a grandma Smile  

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I stopped being a vegetarian. I defended my thesis, finished my master’s degree and worked on my PhD methodology.

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My husband and I did a lot of travelling – something we’d never had the time or money to do before.

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I taught upper level undergrad classes, I was employed on several major research projects as well as managing a busy research office. I worked as a trauma counsellor. It was a busy and exciting life, but it was also a continually fat and stress-filled life.

Fran at Linda's     Fran at Starbucks

In the summer of 2009, my dad informed us that his cancer had returned with a vengeance and he had only six months to live. His wish was that my brother and I would help him stay in his home and die there with his little dog, Sam, beside him. I left all that I was doing at the university to help my dad.

Dad & Sam on deck

I must add that life in the Ivory Tower had, by this time, lost its lustre. I had spent a lot of time on so many diverse and exciting pursuits that I hadn’t got my own dissertation work done. I couldn’t seem to choose a topic that my supervisor and I could agree upon. I was being hassled over having to get extensions. And while I had thought the PhD was going to broaden my horizons, it turned out that I was moving further and further down a path where I would have to bust my butt and compete for a faculty position at some far away university. There was the distinct possibility that I would never go home. That bothered my husband and it bothered me, too. I loved my home.

Life had become one big stress on stress sandwich. I don’t want to say my dad’s illness came at a good time, but I did need to back up and reassess my educational path. The months staying with him allowed me to do that.

After my dad’s death, I never returned to the academic life. I went home and the stress of seeing a parent through the end of life continued as I worked to settle my father’s estate. Some families do well with death, but I suspect most struggle. Below, a pic of me and my grandmother. We do have this family resemblance.

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When all was said and done, I weighed 215 lbs. and felt mighty desperate. I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was on medication, which I hated. Even so, I didn’t have the nerve to mount another foray into weight loss.

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Gardening Joy

Check in

Current weight: 170

Lost this week: 2 lbs.

Total weight lost:  38.5 lbs.

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Above photo … our spring green bed. It’s overflowing with chard, spinach and beet tops. We’ve chowed down on huge salads out of this bed every single night for almost two months!

One of my motivations for losing weight was my desire to be a more active in our garden. I often joked to others – I don’t like gardening, I like being in the garden, though. Sad, really – that is what overweight and lack of energy brought me to. A garden is something that demands active involvement. Gardening is not a participant sport! To only be in the garden without being active is to only be partially alive.

Bean seedlings

So, now, I am not only a lover of the gardener. I am a gardener, too. I plant, nurture, weed, harvest and preserve. I’m currently babying along over 200 pole bean plants – first sprouting the seeds, then planting the sprouts into dirt in small containers and eventually they will be out to our garden. I’ve been actively involved in filling our greenhouse with plants grown from seed for our vegetable and flower gardens.

Greenhouse bedding plants

More of my babied beans, bush beans this time, in their own little bean crib are loving the sunny weather this week.

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Raspberry plants in the background and another raised bed with tons of yummy radishes ready to pick, along with rows of carrots.

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Having the energy to be an active participant in gardening is pure joy Smile

Grad School Ups and Downs

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I’m sharing this pic because I am seriously considering bike riding again – this time with my granddaughters. Strange about old pictures. I still remember how much I loved that white dress with the big double scoop ice cream cone on the front. Part of my weight loss journey is about recapturing something of the girl in that picture – carefree bike rider in a pretty white dress.

The weight-loss saga continues …

Remember that doctor I spoke of last week? She was condescending in her admonition to keep the weight off, but I do wish I had been able to heed her words.

I came out of the hospital after my gallbladder ordeal in early Feb. of the year 2000. By that summer, I was still under 150 lbs., but barely. I began a recurring cycle. I would start each Sept. weighing 150 – go through the school year and by June, I would weight 170 lbs. Though I had moved on from my first paying-my-dues position to another school, my lack of seniority (which I had hoped to balance by being over-qualified) created job insecurity. I was often stressed about that! And being over-qualified had its own drawbacks. Because I was qualified, I often took on more than required and I managed to stress over that, too.

Once the summer months came with sun and time off at the cabin, I would lose 20 lbs. and be ready to start the cycle all over again in September. As you can imagine, that wasn’t a fun way to live.

On the third round of my 20 lbs. on and 20 lbs. off regime, in Sept. 2003, I moved away to a bigger center to attend a ‘real’ university for what was to be a two-year master’s degree in counselling psychology. I had spent what seemed like forever taking prerequisite courses and going through an arduous application process while working full time. When I was accepted it was like something out of a fairy tale. Over so many years, all I had wanted (besides to lose weight) was to have letters after my name. Having done my undergrad through distant education, I felt my achievement second class. (The old what is real thing was at play in my mind again.)

Fran smiling

So, I got my chance to be on campus at a real university and in so many ways it was everything I had dreamed of. But, whew, let’s talk about stress, baby. Those days were filled with a special type of anxiety from the moment I got out of bed until the moment I threw myself back into the bed at night. I loved every moment of it, but I was weighing 170 lbs. by the summer of my first year and there was no idyllic break by the lake when I would relax and take that weight off. I stayed on campus to work and do extra courses. By Sept. of 2004, I was 180 lbs. The next summer, I was 205.

Sometimes, I try to imagine what classmates and instructors who had seen me start grad school weighing 150 lbs. thought of the me who had ballooned up to 205. They had no way of knowing I had been up and down all my life. For them, I was a totally new (fat) me. Putting on 55 lbs. makes a difference in how people view you. How could it not?

Meanwhile, the two-year program I had originally signed up had morphed into a three-year MA with a smooth transition into a PhD program that saw me teaching undergrad courses, taking on several research positions and running a busy research office.

Going home started to seem more and more like a far-off fantasy. I had some letters after my name – dream come true – but losing weight was not on the table at all.

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An ‘Undeserved’ Weight Loss

google imageStep back in time with me to 1999. The hit songs of the year bring back a lot of memories.

I had achieved one of my pressing goals – a posting as a special education worker. But it wasn’t all good news. The job was high stress; one few others wanted. I took it gladly. I was all about paying my dues. In retrospect, it may have been better described as me having a martyr complex. But a job is a job.

A cascade of events occurred. My husband was doing apprenticeship training in the city. On my own in our remote home, I had to manage a challenging commute (picture a narrow gravel road with oncoming, fully-loaded logging trucks), a dog that had to travel with me because he couldn’t be left alone, truck problems and a difficult new job. When I say managed that should translate to barely managed. I was having trouble keeping my head above the waterline.

Then, out of the blue, I developed some strange physical symptoms – severe pain waking me up in the middle of the night. The first time the pain occurred, I honestly thought someone had broken into the house and was stabbing me in the back.

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I’ve never been one to run to the doctor and I didn’t for these random attacks. I self-diagnosed myself. My mom, my grandmother and my mother-in-law had all suffered such attacks. My mother-in-law used to call herself the woman who walks at night because of the timing of the pain. One night, as I walked the floor, I knew what was wrong with me – these were gallbladder attacks. I did a bit of research and concluded that I could control the illness with diet. I cut back and cut back until finally a cup of tea and a soda cracker would bring on an attack. Not going to the doctor earlier was a mistake. Things in the rear-view mirror of life are always crystal clear.

I got very ill and was in and out of the hospital with one procedure after another for months. I had gallstones that kept bringing on pancreatitis. It was all very unpleasant and resulted in an enflamed gallbladder that couldn’t be removed for what seemed like forever. When the gallbladder finally came out, due to a number of factors, I couldn’t have the easy-breezy laparoscopic surgery. No, no … I had to have the whole nine yards surgery. And even then, I wasn’t out of the woods. A subsequent infection and further surgery followed. When it was all said and done, I was sent home to recover, weighing 140 lbs. It is not a method of weight loss I would recommend.

In my after care, I recall one doctor saying to me – now that you’ve lost the weight, don’t put it back on. Her tone was so condescending and threatening that I felt like a creepy bug she would happily, without a second thought, squish under her shoe. The message was subtle but, to me, obvious. This wasn’t a ‘real’ weight loss. I did nothing to deserve this windfall and I had damn well better make myself  worthy.

She also suggested I have something done about my hideous scar. I recall staring at her like she had sprouted devil horns. Another surgery? My voice was filled with disbelief at her recommendation. As if I would consider such torture. I had been to hell and back. I had been in and out of hospital for over four months. There was no way I would ever voluntarily put myself in such a position again.Me at 140 (2)