Weighty Matters

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Moving in the Right Direction

on February 25, 2013

I’m losing weight again after a week post-vacation where I gained a few pounds and then my system shut down.  I blame “empty” carbs.  I don’t actually know if they’re the reason, but that’s what I have to work with and I’m going with it.  I remember my surgeon telling me that even a few empty carbs would slow my weight loss, so this seems to make sense.  By empty I mean bread, crackers, white potatoes, rice, etc.  I don’t count beans or bean products (like hummus) or lentils.  I also don’t count fruits as empty carbs.  As long as I don’t pig out on them, they seem to do more good than harm.

So for the last few days I’ve been careful and not eaten empty carbs.  I’ve found ways to work in more veggies and fruit along with my protein.  I haven’t indulged in chocolates and the like.   Today the scale showed that I’ve already lost a couple of the pounds that I gained.  I’m definitely back moving in the right direction.

**************Potential TMI alert***************

I also discovered the power of prunes.  Those yummy dried plums are helping my system move better too.

************TMI alert over**********************

Overall, I just feel so much better.  I’m over the jet lag.  I’m done with the nagging cough and congestion-that-didn’t-feel-like-a-cold-but-wasn’t-any-fun.  I’ve gotten more rest.  Emotionally I feel better too.  Physical-emotional-mental recovery.  It’s a total package.

I’m really pleased, psyched even, that I’ve been able to pull my act together and get back on track.  Anybody who has a compulsive disease or an addiction can probably relate to how hard it is to climb back onto the wagon after you fall off.  I have a history of screwed up diets where I’d gain all of the weight back, so this illustrates for me that I have come a long way in my recovery and ability to re-motivate.

When I prepared to post my ziplining pictures, a bunch of metaphors and comparisons ran through my head.  I feel that way again tonight as I’m ready to share more photos from the crater hike.  The unbelievably difficult, strenuous, challenging crater hike.

I might have said this before, but when we booked this particular excursion, we expected a three mile hike out to see a crater.  The description noted that we should be reasonably fit.  Given my work with Zumba, Tai Chi, water aerobics and simple walking, I knew that a three mile hike wouldn’t be too much, so I was gung ho to go on the excursion.

What we discovered was that it was going to be more like 4.5 miles with real hiking down into the crater on sometimes difficult, even treacherous ground and lava rock, across the lava bed and then back up and out of the crater.  Honestly, had we had a really clear idea of what the trip entailed, we probably wouldn’t have done it.

There were times during the three or so hours that I was near-miserable.  However, I knew that I would make it and complete the hike.  I might be slower than others in the group.  I might not be as sure-footed.  There were times when I had to stop and catch my breath, but I kept going.  I know with a rock solid certainty, I would not have been able to do this hike a year ago.  Hell, I don’t know if I could have done it last summer before I began doing Zumba every week.

Yes, I didn’t actually have a choice.  It’s not like I could stay in the crater or on the trail and nobody was going to come and carry me up the rest of the way.  I had to do it.  Step by step by step.

That’s my take away lesson.  One, that my success is up to me, choice by choice and step by step by step.  Others can support, encourage, cheer and congratulate me.  I can take hold of a helping hand now and then to steady myself, but I’m the one that has to supply the energy and determination.  I’m also the only one who can keep myself from giving up and force myself to continue moving in the right direction.

Here are some pictures from the hike that turned out to be so much more than a walk in the woods.

Looking down from the elevation more than 3874 feet.

Looking down from the elevation more than 3874 feet.

Beautiful, rocky ground.

Beautiful, rocky ground.

We made it down, then we had to hike across the crater.

We made it down, then we had to hike across the crater.

Made it!

Made it!

After we finished at the crater and Volcanoes National Park, we went to see Akaka Falls. (Another short hike.)

After we finished at the crater and Volcanoes National Park, we went to see Akaka Falls. (Another short hike.)

On the road, we stopped to admire a pretty bay.

On the road, we stopped to admire a pretty bay.

7 responses to “Moving in the Right Direction

  1. Hope says:

    Looks like an amazing hike! I love those experiences that you would have said no to if you’d known how tough they are… long after you’ve done it and you’re not miserable anymore and can feel proud of yourself. :p

  2. pinkpelican says:

    Mary, I love your take-away messages about how it’s up to you to do what needs doing. One of the most important things I’ve discovered is that losing weight isn’t a simple straightforward “do this program for 6 weeks or 6 months & then you are done)” proposition. It’s actually a side effect of living a healthier lifestyle, of changing behaviors & habits & mindsets & thinking. I think that’s why so many diets fail. Because we go into them with a short term “okay, I can eat fish & cottage cheese for 6 weeks & lose the weight & then I’ll be happy forever.” And it never works that way.

    But the decision to change your whole life, to get strong and fit and healthy and lose the weight and keep it off? That’s a long term choice, and it’s a hard one, and it requires that we be willing to change in small ways and in big ways and in ways that reverberate throughout our lives. That kind of change can be scary … it pushes us so far out of our comfort zones, and it encompasses the unknown, another scary thing. It’s a big picture and the edges are fuzzy, and no matter what route you take, you have to have some serious motivation to step off that cliff and embrace a new world.

    It’s hard to see friends, family, loved ones suffering because of their weight, or smoking, or other addictive issues, but I’ve learned that each one of us has to hit that brick wall deep down inside that makes us face where we are and shows us that change, no matter how terrifying, is better than our status quo, that the status quo is actually worse & more terrifying than the unknown and change. It has to be a choice you make for yourself.

    Once we make that choice, the support of our friends and loved ones can be critical, but ultimately, we each forge that path with our own tools and our own compass. And we’re each of us going to stumble, and each stumble will teach us something new if we’re willing to look for the lesson, and we’ll get up stronger than we were.

    Congratulations on having such a wonderful trip AND for coming back with such an awesome message.

  3. I’m with Skye on the Tai Chi. The closest class I can find is about a hour away and as much as I have wanted to do Tai Chi for years and years, I’m just not driving that far to do it.

    I’m thoroughly enjoying your retelling of your trip and your pictures. I’ve read that when we spend money on things we get and initial burst of happiness but it doesn’t last. However, when we spend money on experiences we get a much longer lasting increase in our well-being and overall happiness. Hawaii is an awesome reward for all your incredible hard work and effort!

    I have a question for you: where do you get your protein from? Mostly meat? I have slightly elevated blood sugar and the recommendation was to decrease carbs and increase protein, but I’m really not much of a meat eater.

    • pinkpelican says:


      I’m a huge carnivore, so I don’t have any direct advice for you about getting in protein, although I supplement my meat intake with things like peanut butter, nuts, cheese and eggs, beans, etc. You might look around for some vegetarian and vegan food blogs if you haven’t already. They should be able to give you some excellent ideas about protein sources that can supplement what you get from meat & fish. Best of luck!

    • Mary Stella says:

      I hate seafood so I have to look for other protein sources. If you don’t like meat or poultry, there are options. Beans and legumes, eggs or egg whites, Greek yogurt. I start most days with a protein drink made with a powder that I like and either unsweetened almond milk or skim milk. The powder alone has 20g of protein. I can also mix it into a fruit smoothie.

  4. Skye says:

    I love coming here and reading about your difficulties and your successes and how you change your thinking. It’s so inspiring to me as I struggle to change my thinking and struggle with difficulties. You make me think, and I like that.

    I’m really not sure I could handle a 4.5 mile hike on flat ground right now just because I’ve been so sedentary. When I read your blog, I want to take Zumba and Tai Chi (they have the taoist TC in Portland OR, but not one teacher/class in Seattle — can you believe that? just 3 hours away!). If I can find some cheap classes (before I find work), I will check them out. Otherwise, it will mostly be walking up and down hills (Seattle is very hilly). Hills can certainly give you a workout!

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