Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I am better today but not up to a full post.
I just wanted to post a quick check-in so that you didn't think that I had locked myself in the basement with a bag of oreos and a gallon of milk. LOL
Other than being sick, everything is ok. Will post more tonight or tomorrow.
Stay strong my lovelies!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Here's my Hot 100 goals and how I did since my last report:
Exercise a minimum of 5 hours per week - As I posted earlier this week, I sucked ass at logging my food and exercise this past week. I have already turned that around! I have really been enjoying the autumn walks. A combination of having lost weight coupled with the cooler temperatures makes for less sweating and makes breathing easier.
Eat foods rich in omega-3s at least 3 times a week - I nailed this one again too.
Complete all three months of the ChaLEAN Extreme fitness program: Well, this will take another 8 weeks, but so far, so good. This program guides you in using heavier weights with proper form. I LOVE THIS!
Consume at least 5 fruits and veggies per day - I did it!
Eat 5-6 small meals per day - I improved on this over last week. I was hungier for some reason so was able to do it without a prob.
I mentioned a month or so ago that I thought I needed to give up artificial sweeteners because of the symptoms I was having. Well, I was one of those people who was constantly drinking crystal light or diet coke or coffee. I ALWAYS had a can, bottle, glass or cup in my hand. Once I gave up the aspartame I became conscious of just how much I was drinking sweet-tasting stuff constantly, day and night.
On this vein--I have a small victory to report! I simply can't give up my morning cup of coffee and I tried Stevia -- quite frankly -- YUCK! It tastes bitter to me. So I decided to have one, maybe two cups of coffee per day prepared as I like it, and drink water the rest of the time.
So every morning I have one or two cups with real sugar and real cream! YES! And ya know what? Not only did it NOT affect my weight loss but I lost MORE from my waist this past month than I did previously.
So this goes to show that we can consume just about anything in moderation and still lose weight. We just have to stick to the planned amount and not go beyond that. I am so proud that I can do this in moderation! It is a huge accomplishment for me!
I work from a home office and the deadly part of that is that my kitchen is always just a short walk away. I used to drink coffee by the POT and would often make a second pot of decaf in the afternoon and down that too-- and I like it light and sweet. I bet I was consuming 1,000 calories a day just by what I put in my coffee and how much of it I drank.
Anyway, this wasn't part of the Hot 100 but it is an accomplishment I am proud of so I thought I would include it.
I am honored to have received another award for my blog. I wish to thank Helen and Sandra for this Cat's Meow award. Of course, I will pass this on! You don't have to do anything in particular when you receive this award, and of course, you can pass it on!
If I read or comment on your blog, consider this award bestowed upon your amazing self and post it on your blog with my gratitude for sharing your journey with the rest of us. But I did want to mention a few recipients by name, as with the last time, I tried to focus on people who don't already have the award so that we all feel loved. LOL
Patsy over at Musings on a 100+ Weight Loss Journey
Kiki over at Overhauling Me
Greta over at Big Bottom Blogger
Steve over at Who Ate My Blog?
Josh over at A Personal Journey of Fitness and Fat Loss
Ron over at Ron is Getting Healthy
Becca over at THE FINISH LINE
Ok, I could be here all day listing people. Spread the love my friends! Thank people for putting themselves out there and sharing the ups and downs of their journey! I realize the guys don't always like to display these awards, but, that's ok, I'm giving it to you anyway.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
When they came home, someone had broken into their home and stolen all of their pots, pans, silverware and even food. If you have any spare kitchen items to send they would certainly appreciate it.
They could also use clothes and toys for the girls-- good used stuff is fine.
Her kids are small, Kaitlin is a size 12 months and size 4 shoe. Lovetta wears a size 24 months or 2T and a size 7 shoe. Lovetta especially needs pants.
If you have anything to send and/or are willing to try to round up some stuff, let me know and I will send you their address so that you can ship directly to them.
I am swamped with urgent requests right now and thought I would put this out there and see what happens. Thanks everyone!
Well, since I started this journey back in March, things have gone pretty well. I've always known that eventually something would happen and I'd be challenged more---- that time has come.
The issue is not food or exercise but TIME MANAGEMENT and record keeping. Last week, I ate right but did a half-ass job of logging my food. Same thing with the exercise, I squeezed it in at odd times but did not record it properly.
Each year, we select three Lakota families who will be helped in the month of December. This decision is made in October, so last week I was pouring over the family info sheets and had numerous conference calls -- I think some days, between the conferenece calls and my usual calls I was on the phone 6-8 hours a day.
Another thing I noticed was an urge to OVEREAT and to eat the wrong things. I didn't binge or run out to buy candy -- but the DESIRE was there for the first time in a long time. It was easy for me to connect this to the decision about the families to help. The final decision is mine and with so many sad and difficult stories it is not an easy process.
I can delve into my memory and "see" myself in prior years, sitting at my desk with files spread out all around me EATING (ALWAYS EATING), talking on the phone, crying, etc.-- all through the decision-making process. Yikes, no wonder I put on another 20 pounds every winter.
The good news is, I came through all of this with no mindless eating and I did squeeze in exercise but recorded neither very well. Consequently--- for this past week, I am only going to log myself for two hours of exercise.
DH suggested that maybe I no longer need to log my food as I just went through a very stressful week, didn't log my food and did not binge. I still think I need to do it for awhile though. I need that accountablility or I may slowly start drifting toward larger portions.
I was given another award by two of you (thank you) and I promise to put that up and pass it along before the weekend.
I am about to go out for my walk and I WILL be recording it, as well as my food . LOL
The BIGGEST LOSER last night had one of the teams going home for the week and it was as if the episode were custom made for me and the sort of week I had. Yes, life can be stressful and BUSY. Kids and jobs can be demanding and time-consuming. But we HAVE to eat right and somehow prioritize exercise so that it gets done. And if we promised ourselves that we'd record our food and exercise, we simply have to do it.
Anyway, I was too busy yesterday to read your blogs so I will be getting caught up with that today. I hope that you're all doing well.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Last week I posted about the deplorable conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation and also touched upon some of the things that my friend and I do to make a difference.
This post will give you a basic outline of the who, what, where, how and why of what I do and will include info to help you get involved if you choose to do so. This will be a long post with a lot of photos of the kid’s craft items and of some of the families we help.
If you aren’t interested in this subject, you will find likely this post tedious and boring. If that is the case, I suggest that you skip my blog for today! But if you have interest, grab a cup of coffee or tea, pull up your chair and get comfortable, as this will be a LONG post. Get ready to learn all about the “LAKOTA CRAFTS PROJECT -- Where Gifts give twice.” which is what we named our eBay store.
We never wanted to co-mingle the kid’s craft money with our personal money, so we created a charitable trust account that has a checking account and a debit card attached to it. This is called the WHITE FEATHER CHARITABLE TRUST and is not the same thing as the non-profit we are beginning to form. The crafts project existed long before we ever thought of starting a non-profit. We may merge the two, or not. There are pros and cons in doing so and we are still thinking about it.
We’ve been selling crafts on eBay for the kids (and sometimes elders) since February 2006. Prior to that we sold the crafts at pow wows and craft fairs, and we still do this to some extent.
The name WHITE FEATHER for the trust account is in honor of the medicine man who was pouring water at the first sweat lodge that I ever attended. He is the first Lakota person whom I ever got to know and I will forever be grateful to him for many things, hence the name. Anyway, I am getting off track here already. LOL
In terms of the ebay sales, we pride ourselves on keeping our prices low and providing excellent customer service. Also, these are “spiritual” items to us and we pass them on with spiritual intent and prayers-- although the buyers on eBay are not aware of this.
Lakota people generally don’t speak publicly too much about spiritual things and also I don’t want to make our eBay listings seem hokey, so I don’t get into that aspect too much. Let’s just say that the eBay buyers receive much more than they realize. (If they only knew, LOL).
In terms of the materials used, I have spent years networking with people all over the country to get free or low cost supplies to help us keep prices low. For instance, people who keep parrots and macaws donate feathers. Men who hunt turkeys generally just throw out the wings and tail-- instead they can send them to us and the kids will use the feathers in crafts. Hence, there is a chain of generosity and good will attached to these items. Resources and efforts pass from hand-to-hand, are turned into a craft item by the kids, are sold by me and finally purchased by someone like you-- who either keeps the item to personally treasure it-- or passes it along as a gift.
Most of the craft items have a native, if not specifically Lakota theme and use natural or recycled materials. We avoid sources that are inhumane. For instance, “farms” that raise fox or other animals for their fur--we won’t buy fur from there. If someone donates craft supplies the kids will use them no matter what, but we personally do not support “fur farms.”
Feathers, deerskin, fur, bone -- these are used to make medicine bags, hair ornaments, prayer fans, jewelry and other items. When something dies-- it can either return to the earth or it (parts of it anyway) can be used to make something useful or beautiful. Thus, native crafts allow an animal or bird to continue life here in a new and beautiful form.
Traditionally, you’d treat these items with great respect, as if the animal were still alive. I could say more on this, but not today. You are all smart anyway and most of you are pretty spiritual and/or earth friendly-- so I am certain that you are getting all the layers in what I am saying here and I don’t have to write a book and spell it out for you.
Here’s a good place to share some pics of the kid's work and of some of the kids themselves:
Feather hair ties are one of our best selling items. I usually put them up in lots of five.
Artist at work
Wooden trinket box painted with hawk
other items that I cannot list there. So if you want something in particular and don't see it there, please ask me.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO: Each year, we select several Lakota families and try to make sure that they have a Christmas to remember. We also help as many as we can with heating fuel-- South Dakota winters are harsh and the people cannot afford propane every time they need it.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It's time for the monthly progress report with pics. I thought I would lose more from my neck as DH said my neck and chin looks different. But according to the tape measure, it stayed the same.
Staying on target with my food has become a routine and MOST days it is not a struggle. When I have a case of the hungries, I'll have an egg white omlette, a bowl of oatmeal or something healthy like that.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I've mentioned a connection to the Lakota people in South Dakota, and Patsy (& a few others) have asked me about that. So I am devoting today's post to something that really is my heart. To keep this from being the longest post ever written I will condense parts of the story leading up to the present.
My paternal grandma was Native American, yet because of my parent's divorce I did not grow up around that side of the family. When I got older I sought out native friends and mentors to better understand that part of myself. I ended up befriending a woman who married a Lakota man and when they needed to go out to the reservation to help with a sick relative, I went with them per their invitation.
What I saw and experienced there changed my life and continues to do so every day. I will start with the facts and finish with how I am involved and what I do to help.
The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux), is a land of contradictions, a place as poor in resources as it is rich in culture and history.
The terrain is stunning enough to bring tears to ones eyes. The sunlit prairies with their grasses and wildflowers, the mesas, the hills and cliffs, the picturesque valleys dotted with red cedar-- all of these take your breath away. Yet as one travels the Pine Ridge Reservation and meets with people there, a heart-piercing truth is revealed -- the scenic beauty of South Dakota is home to the poorest people in America.
Most of the land on Pine Ridge is rocky and the soil of poor quality. Most of the terrain is not conducive to farming, ranching or industry.
39 percent of Pine Ridge homes have no electricity. Most of the homes are of poor quality and many lack insulation, indoor plumbing, or central heat.
The average Lakota family has an annual income of under $4,000
If, like most Americans, you have been completely unaware of this, please read on and prepare for greater shocks:
Lakota people have the lowest life expectancy of any group in the Western hemisphere outside of Haiti
Lakota people have 8 times rate of diabetes (compared to the rest of the USA)
Lakota women have 5 times the rate of cervical cancer
Lakota people have twice the rate of heart disease and 8 times the rate of TB
The rate of suicide among adults is twice the national average, while their TEEN suicide rate is four times the national average
The infant mortality rate among Lakota Indians is 4 times the national average
The Pine Ridge Reservation is the size of the state of Connecticut, and yet the only Library is at Oglala College in Kyle. The reservation has no banks, no department stores, no movie theaters, etc.
You cannot take the bus and get a job at Walmart. There is no bus. There is no Walmart.
According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Indian Health Service, Native Americans have the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the world. Treating diabetes for only those Native Americans who are currently diagnosed with diabetes would amount to $1.46 billion per year, or 40% of the total budget for Native American health care.
Per capita funding for Native American healthcare is 60% less than all other Americans and 50% less than federal prisoners. In total, there is a $900 million backlog in unmet needs for American Indian health facilities.
In addition to being moved into action regarding how the elders and children live, I also fell in love with Lakota culture -- spirituality, art, music, ceremony and tradition. This is a much bigger part of my life than I can relate in this one post.
According to a report issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, one in five homes on reservations lack complete plumbing facilities and less than 50% are connected to the public sewer system. This has lead to the creation of numerous health and environmental hazards. Additionally, Over 30% of American Indian families live in overcrowded housing and 18 percent are severely overcrowded with 25-30 individuals sharing a single home. These rates are over six times the national average.
Approximately 40% of housing on reservations is inadequate according to the federal definition, compared to only 6% nationwide. American Indians have the highest rate of home loan denial of any race in the United States; nearly 25%.
Imagine being a kid and every day when you come home from school, this is where you go.
Next, I could not do this alone, so my Best Friend, Jeanne, has helped me on this path. She is not Lakota but is native and was raised in tradition. She is a light in my life, believe me-- but of course, that's yet another story.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
DH took the day off from work to give me moral support, as with my family you never know what you might be walking into. In my family, I am the "black sheep" because I am not a drug addict or a criminal. I warned DH that if I felt outnumbered or attacked in any way that I would go outside and wait. My family is not able to push his buttons, so he agreed to remain inside and find out what's going on no matter what.
First of all, only my younger brother who is my uncle's guardian and the executor of my mom's estate was there. His wife, my older brother, and the rest of the bitches and lunatics were not there. Thank heavens!
Also, there was an attorney present who seemed to be representing my uncle's interests. This made baby bro have to act civilized as everything was taking place in front of this woman and it seemed he didn't want to act like an asshole in front of her-- so that saved the day from being as hideous as it could have been.
The story I got during the hearing is that a few months ago, my uncle fell and broke his hip. While he was in the hospital for that, they discovered that he needed a quintuple by-pass AND that he had an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.
He had back-to-back surgeries, one for the quintuple by-pass and another to remove the aneurysm. Between the broken hip and the surgeries, he was bedridden for weeks and developed bed sores. To make a long story short, they now believe that one of the sores on his feet, which developed gangrene, will not heal and they may have to amputate the foot and maybe even part of the leg. This is the reason my brother wanted the probate to give permission to move my uncle to a nursing home, which the judge granted.
I actually got to see my uncle yesterday by visiting him in the nursing home where is is staying presently. Today he is going to the hospital to determine what will happen with the foot/leg. If he is in there too long, the nursing home won't hold his bed and he would end up someplace else once released from the hospital.
Although my brother was cordial in front of that attorney, if I call to find out where my uncle has been moved (should he actually be moved), I do not know if he would return my call to tell me, but that is not something I want to dwell on at this point.
I inquired after my older brother and you're not going to believe this one! He has had hepatitis C for decades and previously would not agree to treatment with interferon. This past year he developed liver cancer and was put on the list for a transplant. He has a rare blood type and no one held a lot of hope that he'd end up with a liver.
This is someone who has been a heavy smoker, active alcoholic and drug user since his teens. He had to agree to give everything up in order to be on the list for a liver. Within a month, they had a liver for him and he had transplant surgery.
According to my younger bro, the minute the older bro had the new liver he started smoking pot again. He claimed the anti-rejection drugs they gave him made him shaky and that the pot was the only thing that helped. Shortly after that, he resumed smoking cigarettes. He is not drinking again (yet) or doing any drugs again (yet) but I am betting that given time, he will.
This is a guy with an explosive temper and a lot of violent tendencies. In addition to the violence and addictions he is one of the most self-centered people I've ever seen. It's all about his own needs and his own convenience. He has harmed MANY people on many levels over the years-- and yet, he has always seemed immune to karma.
He should have served several prison sentences but always managed to get off with probation. Time and time again, he has done evil and yet everything always seemed to go his way. No matter what happens, he always seemed to land on his feet.
And here we go again. After a lifetime of self-abuse and excess, not to mention harming others, he needed a liver and got one right away, while decent people on the list won't get one and will die. Go figure!?
In any case, that's' the dysfunctional family news.
Here's my uncle-- I brought my camera with me yesterday in case I was able to see him. Here's a classic example that THIN doesn't mean healthy. He is 5'10" which for a man in our family is like being a dwarf. He never weighed more than 180-190 pounds and is obviously far less than that now. Because of the retardation, he never worked. He never got any exercise either. None. Nada. Zipadeedoodah!
But he covered everything he ate in bacon or sausage grease, ate tons of fat and sugar. Overall, his diet has always been terrible. He is thin-- but had quintuple by-pass created by his diet! Also, with the muscle atrophy from age, there's no strength in him, since he never used his body, there was no muscle to spare.
Being fat sucks, to be sure! But if it makes us aware of what we eat and how we care for ourselves it (ironically) could be what saves us in the end. I eat MUCH healthier than most of my thin friends. If I were naturally thin like my uncle, I would probably still be hosing a large pizza and a quart of beer for lunch every other day. I probably wouldn't exercise. It is the fat that started me on a healthier lifestyle and I doubt that I would have arrived here without that as a motivator.
Anyway, after probate court and visiting my uncle we came back home and decided to throw ourselves into some serious yard work. Something I'll post more about another time is the fact that we had read how lawns can be bad for the environment, so a few years ago we dug up our lawn and planted a 3-season, perennial wildlife garden. Since our house sits on a corner lot, this is some garden.
Where the side yard is I created a circular path. Perennial flowers, herbs, shrubs, and vegtables grow on either side of the path. Statues of angels, fairies, and other creatures peek out from among the plants. Tables, chairs and benches are tucked into the scene here and there.
I researched plants beloved by butterflies, bees, birds and hummingbirds and planted them in abundance. There is also a small pond and numerous bird feeders.
There's a stone retaining wall on that side of the property, so the plants on that side of the circle are the type to cascade over the wall. If I do say so myself, this creation of ours is spectacular. It is such a spectacle in the summer when everything is in bloom that people actually stop their cars to look and gawk.
Anyway, we went out there to bag up leaves and weeds, and we stayed out there until after dark! We worked for hours! I have climbing roses all over that needed to be trimmed, so I did that too. With both of us working like fiends we literally bagged up 30 of those large paper landscaping bags. Woooo-- I am sore! I will post pics of my garden one of these days.
We also dragged the Halloween decorations out of the attic and put them around the property with some pumpkins. This weekend, we hope to have time to make some ghouls to sit around on lawn furniture in front of the house. When we do this I will take pics and post them here.
Anyway, I have a busy day today and must get to it! Be good to you today!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Here's my Hot 100 goals and how I did since my last report:
Exercise a minimum of 5 hours per week - I actually got off to bad start on this earlier last week-- I was in a pissy mood because of some personal stuff--which I posted about. Yep, I was the queen of funk (and I'm not talkin' music here) for a few days, then I was able to pull myself out of it. I managed to exceed my exercise goals and do over 6 hours of exercise!
Eat foods rich in omega-3s at least 3 times a week - I nailed this one too. I'm starting to add 2-3 walnut halves to my Irish oatmeal as these are also rich in omega 3's.
Complete all three months of the ChaLEAN Extreme fitness program: Well, this will take another 8 weeks, but so far, so good. This program guides you in using heavier weights with proper form. I completed the first phase of the program last week and began the second phase this week. Each phase is 30 days. I am enjoying the program and I am glad I spent the money on it.
Consume at least 5 fruits and veggies per day - We went to the farmer's market on Saturday and got some yummy, locally grown organic stuff. A friend also gave us some apples that she picked at the orchard herself. So it was a great week for organics!
Eat fish a minimum of five times a week - Same as last week. Between the salmon and the tuna I've been having either fish or egg whites everyday. No, I'm not bored. Go figure?
Eat 5-6 small meals per day - Again - I didn't do real well on this challenge this week. When I first started this journey I was ALWAYS hungry, so gobbling down the meals and snacks was a breeze. Now I often do not want my snacks and skip them. Supposedly, eating more often will keep my metabolism more active, so I want to work on this.
Lately I've noticed that I am satisfied with a lot less food. Between meals, I don't think about food as much as I used to and I never binge. We are talking never ! Some people allow themselves a "cheat day" and in the beginning, I thought I might allow myself one every other week or so -- but I don't feel the need and never do it.
It is weird, like some invisible switch somewhere has been flipped or some faulty wiring pulled out. Let me admit right here and now that I used to have Chinese food or pizza delivered for lunch 2 or 3 days a week and I would eat a considerable amount. I haven't consumed either in months and months. I never think about it. I never feel deprived.
I am not complaining. I just don't understand this. I always loved food and ate a lot. When I wasn't eating, I was thinking about eating. In the past, when I lost weight, I recall a sense of "suffering" a lot more than I am now. I would be keenly aware of all the foods that I could not eat and felt resentful that I could not eat them.
Food obsession might be replaced by scale obsession for as long as I remained on my "diet" but the point is, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive urges were still there --- and it was a daily battle to beat them into submission. The whole thing was always so exhausting-- no wonder I always failed and would go running back to my take-out menus.
But now.......... things are quieter inside, and I do not know any other way to describe it. I wish I could understand how I arrived here so that I could draw a map for others. It is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.
I am positive that one thing that has helped is a simple, clean and wholesome diet. I honestly believe that part (certainly not all, but part) of the reason really overweight people keep eating is because their bodies are starved for proper nutrition. We aren't meant to live on pizza and brownies. We need good protein and fats, carbs that are unprocessed, etc.
I believe that some of our hunger is our body saying "Yo asshole, ever hear of a leafy green?" Buy a fucking clue and give me some real food that I can make strong healthy new cells with." Our bodies create thousands of new cells every day. What are we going to give our bodies today to fuel this process? If we feed it shit, we will feel like shit.
Anyway, I think part of the state of grace that I am in right now has to do with the accumulated effect of eating right and eating often for months and months, coupled with the fresh air, exercise and pure water. It's like the body finally got what it needed and this takes the edge off of the compulsive behavior.
Am I cured? (don't know any other way to put it) Hell no. I will never have the luxury of being mindless about what I eat and drink. I can't be on auto-pilot with the food and fitness.
I could wake up tomorrow and find myself at the mercy of some overwhelming urge to eat cake. That is my fear -- that I could wake up one day and not be in charge anymore --that old fatheaded me would be back allowing every urge and whim to dictate the actions. What a fucking nightmare.
A Lakota elder once told me that fear and anxiety are an absence of faith. Whether it is faith in ourselves or in a higher power, or both. His words helped me through some dark times. I am passing them on to you in hopes that it may help somehow
Anyway, time to get on with my day. Yeah, we overweight people can be pretty crazy, but just remember --- It's the cracked ones who let the light into the world!
Monday, October 12, 2009
The ground is carpeted with beautiful leaves this time of year. Today was perfect -- as if mother nature knew we were coming and decorated everything just for us. I also love the smells of autumn-- there is nothing like a New England forest in October -- the colors, the smells, the crunch of leaves and acorns under your feet.
So many kinds of pine trees-- OMG, the smell! I love it!