Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Foot In Front of the Other

On my birthday a few weeks ago, from part way up our knob hill overlooking part of our farm, I greeted the dawn (which before Daylight Savings was around 8am here, believe it or not).

There is always a reason not to do something, isn't there? Like walking. I would rather stay in my head, in a book, in the kitchen, even doing laundry, than exercising. I expect most people feel that way (although I do think there is a natural "chip" some of us have that makes us want to just get up and go run for five miles without thinking about it...I lack that chip!). To me, thinking and writing has always been great mental exercise, but, the body needs a workout, too.

Since mid-May I have lost 40 pounds. This is huge for me (excuse the pun) because for a long time food has been my drug of choice and I just ignored the scale, so much so that I didn't even know what I weighed. In my family, that's not a good idea: while I come from some sturdy, often heavy, German stock with longevity genes on one hand, there is a high rate of cancer on the other (from "good" living but poor lifestyle choices, most often). My mother's Anglo side of the family is smaller and thinner but prone to things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart attacks. So I decided, even though my blood work was fine in all ways, even the sugar, that I had no more excuses not to be as healthy physically as I possibly can. I want to turn 50 in three years with a whole new established way of living and eating–and a stronger, healthier me. There is still so much that I want to do in my life, children to raise, friends and family to love and to bother, books to write. I thank God for my many blessings, and for friends and immediate family that love me unconditionally (no matter what I look like), but I am learning to "give myself oxygen first" after many years of not bothering.

So far it has been surprisingly easy taking the first chunk of weight off because I haven't deprived myself too much but just limited portions and played games with myself ("OK you can have that piece of cake today if you don't have any sweets for the rest of the week..."). I also have good friends and a husband who have been losing, too, and there is nothing more supportive or helpful. Like with everything else, I am learning to say "no"–both to myself and to others who might want to feed me. "No thank you." Inner voices can be important in this process. I've also learned that the food will always be there again–that I don't have to eat like there's no tomorrow! In the summer months with so much fresh produce it was easy but now, with winter ahead and the inclination to make heavier meals or casseroles or to just want to carbo-load, I must take renewed action.

I've been in a bit of a plateau for a few months and basically eating whatever I want, but again, in moderation. I'm kind of in maintenance when I really should still be in kick-butt mode. Now that it is cooler and the chiggers are dormant (those things are nasty and I still have wart-like welts on my legs from where they bit this summer), I have no more excuses not to take walks around our beautiful part of the world. I'd contemplated Zumba classes and signing up at our local YMCA, but that means 20 minutes each way by car, and at a busy time of the day (evenings). We have a treadmill, and weights, but they are all "in storage" and there is no point in setting those back up until they have a final resting spot.

Walking is always so connective–with ourselves, with the landscape, with each other. So to is writing, blogging, and reading. [Over at Cupcake Chronicles we've reinvigorated our little virtual book group by reading together this month, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Feel free to read along with us and to join the conversation.] Inner core and outer core work–that's what I need.

The puppies–John and Tom–came along, too. After all, they have free-range of the place and what dog doesn't love to walk alongside you?

So, because we now are so blessed to live on this beautiful farm near a hardly traveled ridge road and virtually our own lane that divides much of our property, there is no excuse not to be out there enjoying it as much as possible. We have glorious fields to walk in and woods roads around the farm. With the assurance that we will likely have a snow-less winter most of the time here in balmier Kentucky–yet still with the semblance of four seasons that I love–there is no reason I can't be out walking almost every day, even on our surrounding roads if necessary. Besides, it will help those winter time "blues" around less sunlight and this will help to reinvigorate our mutual family diet plan (we all like to eat and I like to cook!). Walking along altogether–with the puppies along, too–on a glorious autumn Sunday afternoon: well, it doesn't get much better than that!

Except, maybe, for the pork tenderloin dinner with summer corn, oven roasted potatoes and stir-fried green apples that we just ate...but at least we all had a nice long walk together, first. And Sundays are going to be our "cheat day"–not a complete pig out but a nice dinner, with a "sensible dessert" (is there such a thing?) and maybe a heartier breakfast, too. The rest of the week we will eat quite sensibly and minimally. And lots of walks. I think it will work.


Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Congratulations!! 40 lbs woohoo!! I am proud of you!!!!

I too need to suck some air in my lungs and I have the perfect back country roads to do it on but no gumption!

My daughter has been on a "new lifestyle change" and lost 10 lbs and she looks great. The two of you are now my inspiration to get off my butt and get to it!!

A big pat on the back from me!!!

Catherine said...

Thank you Rebecca! If I can do it, anyone can. The key for me has been changing how I think about food--to the point where I often DON'T think about it (and for me, that is huge). I knew if I went on "total denial and deprivation" plan that I would fail. So, I'll occasionally go for several days without flour, sugar or fat (whole grains are good) but there are also times that I have a bit of something "bad"...and I don't beat myself up about it.

I also started--and might resume--under a doctor's supervision. Now I'm adding the exercise, 6 months later, and it's about time! I also need to kick up my water consumption.

But here's "the secret": if you eat less, you'll weigh less. I'm losing it slowly, too, and after all, it came on that way for almost 20 years.

You can do it, too!

Best, Catherine

tea and cake said...

Thank you - you are an inspiration!

Mrs. P. said...

Catherine....Congratulations on the first 40! My 50th is also on the horizon (next year), I've been trying to be better at excersing. Walking is my movement of choice. You're totally right about the eating less. Each day I tell myself, just eat a little less and move a little more. It works :)


DellaRae said...

Walking in such beautiful surroundings must be a joy.

Elizabeth-Plain and Simple said...

Congratulations on your weight loss. Losing 40 pounds is something to be very proud of. I have been struggling with my weight for years and need to walk more. I actually enjoy walking but seldom make the time for it. I admit I have gotten lazy and it shows. Thanks for the inspiration. This is my first visit to your blog but I have become a follower and look forward to visiting again.
Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.