Thursday, November 5, 2015

NaNoWriMo and a Busy Woman

My daughter participates in an annual event called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo (na-no-rye-mo, if that makes it easier to pronounce). She has encouraged me to participate also, and some years I have, most years I haven't. November is a busy month preparing for me what with preparing for winter and for upcoming holidays and such. I wasn't going to this year but as I woke up Sunday morning a thought flickered through my brain and took hold. I pondered it all day Sunday and by Monday I decided to give it a go.

This year I'm not writing a novel or work of fiction, but am doing a "memoir" of my efforts to change habits and lose weight and become physically fit. I began a day late but have managed to catch up to where I should be, word-count wise, to finish by the end of the month.

Yes, I'm still busy,but having a deadline is actually helping me to focus and get more done. I decided to share what I'm writing here so you can enjoy, get a laugh out of, or be disgusted, as the case may be, with my efforts.

The Light of a New Day
A Journal of Change and Discovery

Chapter One
The Beginning, A Very Good Place to Start

I read somewhere that those persons who are most successful at losing weight are alike in one important thing; that thing being a firm commitment to change no matter what.

I have tried numerous times to change habits and lose weight but have not been successful. Perhaps if I keep a journal of my journey in excruciating detail I will have a better chance of keeping my commitment to change eating habits and patterns, and adding regular exercise to my days in the form of cardio, strength training, and flexibility or stretching.

I know basically what to do, it is a matter of choosing to do it consistently, regularly, dependably, and whatever other adverb works in this context.

Yesterday was the first of November and I had moments of doing well and moments of doing poorly. I started the day fasting as it was the first Sunday of the month. I have not participated in a true fast for a long time and was not prepared to do so yesterday so I just skipped breakfast, but did take my aspirin, garlic and Omegas in the morning. After church I opted to have a “cutie” Clementine as a snack while preparing lunch. That felt pretty good. Lunch was leftover roast, boiled red potatoes, with gravy, and steamed broccoli. At least half of my plate was the broccoli so I did well there except I drizzled gravy on it instead of eating it plain. It was a little undercooked for my taste, but Steve likes vegetables crisp rather than soft.

After lunch I fell off the wagon and ate three double stuffed Oreos, left by James; and over the course of the day and evening a whole bunch (I did not count them) of mini boxes of Milk Duds left over from Halloween. Along the way I also scarfed down a bowl of chocolate ice cream, while sitting on the couch watching the movie, The Ultimate Gift. So much for exercise, my elbows sure got a work out, but nothing else.

Of course, it was Sunday and I do not usually exercise on the Sabbath, except perhaps a short walk with Steve occasionally. The weather was beautiful, but he had gone to school to work on some projects there.

One of the difficulties I regularly encounter is the difference in needs, tastes, and desires for food between Steve and I, and our children. Steve is not interested in eating less meat, and more vegetables. He will not eat lentils, or plain beans. His plate is two thirds meat and potatoes, and less than one third vegetables. So I either have to make two meals or adjust the serving portions to suit my needs. Neither option is optimal. Making two meals is more work; adjusting portions is more temptation. I have yet to find a balance point between those two options.

Other than the one meal all I ate yesterday was sweet carbohydrates. Not the optimal choices.

The other factor in my desire to change is the desire to be frugal. This morning for breakfast I served the rest of the bagels and cream cheese in an effort to use them up before they go bad. I cooked the last two slices of bacon and served them to Steve and Dan. But I had a whole bagel instead of just a half. I peeled and served a cutie to both Steve and I for a small serving of fruit with breakfast.

I had purchased bananas last week for Dan to eat, as it is one of the few fruits that he likes, but he has not eaten any and I will have to use them up in banana bread this week which means more temptation for me unless I give it all away.

On a positive note I have not bought any chips, either potato or corn or tortilla. When they are in the house they are a constant temptation to me because they are fast and easy to grab and eat. I need to concentrate on preparing vegetables and salads to eat rather than relying on fast junk food. When I do take the time to make a salad I am rewarded with great taste, texture and fullness without the calories.

I know I need to make a meal plan and stick to it. Planning meals in advance takes time initially, but uses less time because I do not have to think about what to fix when it is time to prepare a meal. I can simply look at the menu plan and get to work. Sticking to it is a bit more difficult as my emotions ebb towards the end of the day and I do not “feel” like putting in a lot of effort. However, I must remember that I want to save money as well as lose weight to be healthy. Planning meals and sticking to the plan will go a long way to achieving my goals.

Yesterday I weighed in at one hundred, ninety-eight pounds. YUCK! That is seventy-three pounds more than I weighed on my wedding day. And sixty pounds heavier than I was at my slimmest after all my children were born. I am ashamed to say that it is more than I ever weighed during any of my five pregnancies. I am not meant to be this heavy. It is uncomfortable; I do not fit my clothes; I do not look attractive; I am not fit and healthy. I must change if I am to reach my goal of being an attractive, fit and healthy woman, wife, mother, and grandmother. (Not that I am a grandmother yet, but I want to be ready.)

Last month I attempted to change habits but was not successful. I want to make another attempt this month and document, in excruciating detail, my efforts.

This morning I threw away the last of the Milk Duds; in the large trash can on the back porch where they will stay until taken away on Wednesday.

My plan for exercising today is to rake leaves this afternoon. That should be a good workout for my shoulders, arms, pectorals, as well as my back and waist.

When I return from my errand to Des Moines I will make a menu plan for the week, including lunches for me. I will make a brief mental inventory of the available foods in the freezer, pantry and fridge, then choose the meals based on what we have in the house. My other goal this month is to be frugal, and provident by using what I have available without going to the store.

Later –
I agonized for a few moments other whether to take something with me to eat or to buy something while out and about. Goal keeping won out and I took an apple sliced, six Ritz crackers, with six slices of hot pepper jack cheese, plus two bottles of water. It was plenty and I stuck to both of my goals.

However, I was so tired upon arrival at home that I chose to use the emergency pizza in the freezer for dinner for Steve and me. It was a supreme pizza anyway, which no one else eats, without picking things off of it.

I can say also that driving long distances gives the illusion of activity, but simply sitting in a car is not exercise. And the few trips carrying groceries in from the car to the kitchen does not exactly qualify as vigorous exercise either, although it is better than nothing, just barely. I used my tiredness as an excuse to not get outside and rake the leaves, however, tomorrow is forecast to be another gorgeous autumn day so I can get out there and do it.

After I took Dan to work I sat at the computer catching up on emails and such eating a handful of Sunsweet Prunes. These satisfy my sweet tooth while giving me some nutrition and fiber. I enjoy them!

I have a vision in my mind of what I want to look like. My arms hang straight at my sides, my waist is smooth and visible, while my hips are not wider than my shoulders.  My upper arms are firm and tapering from shoulder to elbow; my thighs do not rub, and my knees and ankles are trim and shapely. My behind is not a shelf and clothes hang neatly from shoulder to hemline. I have energy and endurance. I can rise from sitting without assistance or grunting. I can kneel gracefully for prayer. I can bend at the waist to tie my shoes without feeling squashed or my head denied of blood. Necklaces hang gracefully around my neck, my face is sculpted and youthful. I do not mind looking my age as long as I look fit and healthy. I know my skin will not look like it did during my twenties, but I have taken fairly good care of it and many people think I am younger than my age.

I have a wonderful wardrobe of gorgeous clothes just waiting for me to slim down and get into them. Many of these lovelies are linen, my favorite fabric; several are corduroy, a favorite of mine for winter. I will not have to buy new clothes if I can be faithful and diligent in eating healthfully and exercising regularly. I want to get back into my beautiful temple dress. The polyester muumuu I was given is serviceable but ugly. My cotton embroidered dress is lovely and I want to wear it again.

Each day is a new day. Each day I can do better than the day before. Each day I WILL do better than the day before. My patriarchal blessing admonishes me to keep the Word of Wisdom. I will endeavor to do so by increasing my intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, while decreasing or limiting my intake of meats. I will measure portions, eliminate sugary treats, eat mindfully and exercise regularly.

Sunday morning I woke up to sunshine through the window, and the phrase “the light of a new day” in my mind. I thought about the appropriateness of a new month, the change back to standard time, and another chance to begin again. What a blessing to be able to repent of past mistakes, and move forward with a clean slate.

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