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Stepping Stones and Milestones

Day two of the detox went great again. Part of me thinks I should keep going with what is essentially the “full liquid” program that the doctor put me on for two weeks prior to my weight loss surgery. Then part of me says, “You’re honeymooning the detox because you had two great days. Let’s no go overboard.” That second part of me is so sensible.

This is coming down to weight loss. I’m 13 pounds away from my next big milestone – reaching what others on this journey refer to as “One-derland”. It means getting to a weight lower than 200 pounds. I have an appointment with my surgeon on December 13th. It would make me incredibly happy to lose 13 pounds in that time, but at this stage of the game, it is unrealistic to set my sights on that rapid a weight loss in two weeks. I’d have to go on a complete hunger strike which would be neither sustainable nor healthy.

I don’t even know that I can set this as the goal for the end of the year. Well, I could set it. I could set anything, but going by the number does not mean that I’m setting myself up for success. In fact, I know that it would set me up for stress, frustration and, possibly, failure. As much as I want to get there right now, I need to trust that the process and my efforts will get me to my destination.

Everything that I say or do needs to be a stepping stone to continued success and eventually reaching my goal. Think about what stepping stones do for us. They define the path and, when the ground beneath our feet is unstable, marshy or otherwise difficult to travel, they support our steps and keep us going forward on the journey.

I think I’m a little road weary but at the same time committed to continuing on. Sticking to the food plan, working hard on my exercise, attending to all of the little things adds up to achieving the big things. The stepping stones lead to milestones.

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Days Off and Getting Things Done

I’ve really enjoyed not getting up at 6 a.m. for the last two days. Not that I haven’t embraced purposely setting my alarm earlier than I did for years just so that I can exercise, but having two days off where I can sleep in even a little longer is nice. I’ve taken full advantage, even if that’s changed a bit over the years. These days, sleeping in means staying in bed until at least 7:30 a.m. Going further into the morning is better, but I’ll take what I can get.

I told you about yesterday on the previous blog post. Tonight, as I look back at the day I’m sort of impressed that I both relaxed and was still productive. I also had fun. Today I started my second annual post-Thanksgiving three-day detox. You might remember that this time last year I tried a detox promoted by Dr. Oz. I drank fruit and vegetable smoothies, four a day, for three days, plus drank green tea and took a hot bath every night. My body felt great through it all and I lost seven pounds.

This year, it just felt like a good time to do another three day detox of some sort. Okay, I mostly didn’t want to do the one drink that Dr. Oz included that had cucumber as an ingredient. I don’t like raw cucumber unless it’s in tzatziki sauce. Even for the sake of a detox, I couldn’t stomach it. So, I changed up the program a little, adding in some different ingredients. Dr. Oz might have had some magic combo, but I don’t think my alterations are taking me too far off of the charted course. I have healthy fruits, some veggies, including super greens, unsweetened almond milk, the occasional tablespoon of almond butter — you get the idea. I’m also incorporating some protein powder so that my muscles have enough protein for support.

For some reason, these efforts are easier to stick to when I’m not at work. I have no idea why, but I was successful last year and figured that I’d go with what worked. One day down, two to go.

The dogs and I began the day with a good walk. I thought about a bike ride but the wind was blowing pretty hard. When we got back, I worked on a package project and loaded my car with some boxes that I needed to ship. I then headed out to take care of a few errands. The pet supply store and the health food store are in the same small shopping plaza. After I picked up some dog food and put it in the car, I walked across toward the health food store, but my attention was caught by a rack of clothing outside the woman’s clothing store.

I have only been in that clothing store once before and it might have been 20 or more years ago. Even then I only went in because my mother was shopping. The clothing sizes didn’t go up to anything that I could wear. Today I thought that might be different, so I went in and browsed. I’m in sort of a funny size place right now. There are polo shirts I can wear in a men’s medium. In Women’s sizes that are more generously cut, I can wear a 16W pant or a Large shirt. I figured that I had nothing to lose by just trying different things. I discovered that a regular 18 pant zipped up just fine. For tops, it depending on the style whether I could wear a regular large or needed an XL. Whatever the case, I found exactly what I needed — black capris and khaki capris. These are basics that will get me through and the ones that I have are too big and can now be donated.

I also found a long sleeve red knit with a little sparkling detail that will be good for a holiday party next week, a cute aqua top and a periwinkle nubby knit zip up sweater. Believe it or not, it occasionally gets cool enough down here that I need a sweater. You know what made all of these even more fun, besides the fact that I could shop locally? Four of the six things I bought were already marked down and then they took an additional 40% off at the register. Score!

When I got home after the errands and impromptu shopping trip, I experienced a surge of energy. Earlier in the day, I’d entered my Room of Doom, aka the third bedroom which is supposed to function as an office. Instead, it is so loaded with clutter that it would qualify me for one of those shows where professional organizers are needed. I’ve said for a few years now that I would tackle the mess and yet, somehow, I always manage to fill my life doing other things. I believe I might even have stated on this blog sometime earlier (way earlier) this year that I was going to clean up that room before the end of the year.

Have you looked at a calendar? The end of the year is a month away. Tick tock, Mary, I said to myself.

Well, I took the bull by the horns, which is to say that I picked up the shredder and carried it out to the dining room table. I then grabbed several piles of unsorted papers and documents and buckled down. I believe I attacked the task for a full two hours. I can actually see a few square feet of the floor in that room. I have a lonnnggg way and many, many more hours to go, but at least I made a positive start.

I was so pleased with myself that I was even more energized. It appeared that the wind had died down somewhat, so I strapped on my bike helmet and went for a ride.

That whole “wind had died down” bit was an illusion. Heading into the wind, I was okay as long as I rode opposite some buildings. I had to pump, but that felt kind of good and challenging. I got some respite when I looped around to the path that runs around the golf course and headed west. However, eventually the path led me back in the other direction and this time there was no break. Holy wow, the wind was fierce! I had to dial down to one of the easiest gears! Thank goodness this only lasted about another mile before the golf course loop was complete. Pretty soon I was on my way home with the wind at my back which made it all much easier.

I guess that energy feeds energy. When I got back to the house I still wasn’t ready to call it quits so I leashed up Nat and Pyxi for another walk. I figure that three quarter mile stroll served to stretch out my muscles after the challenge of the bike ride.

When we got home, I mixed up the evening smoothie and chilled out for awhile. Everything I did today must have stimulated plenty of endorphins. I feel terrific — mentally, emotionally, and physically. There’s a lot to be said for taking a day off and getting things done.

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Giving Thanks

It’s early afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. A cold spell arrived in the Keys yesterday. Now, this is all relative because what’s cold to us isn’t to most of the country, but it’s chilly enough that I’m about to either put on socks or slippers.

I’m spending this holiday exactly as I choose. About a month ago I looked into getting a flight to Atlanta where one of my nephews was suddenly transferred but I couldn’t find one that wouldn’t cost me an arm, leg, and a few other needed body parts. Several friends invited me to join them for dinner today. I graciously declined, at least I hope they thought I was gracious. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate it and I’m not a hermit, by any means. It’s just that for last year and this one, I didn’t have the urge to be part of a feast. I know, I know, it’s all about being with friends and/or family. I love my friends and enjoy spending time with them but I see them all of the time and this particular holiday really does focus so much on food and feasting. I wanted to focus on relaxing, enjoying some me-time, and not get caught up in a food frenzy.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t eat. I bought some turkey tenderloins that are brining as we speak. At least, that’s what I believe they’re doing. I plunked them in a pan full of water and added different seasonings a few hours ago. I’ve never actually brined anything before but it seems like a simple concept. I have some crisp green beans to cook later and a little bit of stuffing to which I’ll add some chestnuts that I roasted earlier today. I’m sure that everything will be delicious when I cook it in a few hours.

I thought I’d sleep in this morning, but my body’s grown accustomed to waking up around 6. I stretched it to 7 and then rolled out, dressed and took the dogs for a mile and a half walk. I came home and puttered around the house for a few hours and then called up a friend to see if she wanted to join me on another walk. She lives near the closest beach so I loaded Nat and Pyxi into the car and met her at her house. It was a nice stroll down to the beach, around the little park and then back to her house. My dogs probably wonder what they did to deserve the extra exercise. They’re napping now. Little do they know they’re going out again later this afternoon. It’s my holiday and if taking walks is how I want to spend it, then that’s how it’s going to be. 🙂

Today, on the day of giving thanks, I am grateful for so many different things. My friends and family for the love we share. My job that fulfills, challenges, and energizes me. All of you in the Weighty Matters blog community who offer support, encouragement, and so often come here and share of yourselves too. I give thanks for the health and fitness that enable me to enjoy all of the other great things.

Today I am also grateful for the clarity of mind and calmness of spirit that hold me in a good, steady balance. I am so blessed.

Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving.

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Positively Healthy

I started to write a blog post about this topic last night but I was so tired, that my brain began to shut down. I’d look at a sentence I’d just typed and it was disjointed nonsense. This was a good sign that I needed to shut myself down and go to bed. Much better to start on the topic again today.

All month long, I’ve thought about things that I’m grateful for, and there are a lot of them. Today I’m musing about how good it’s been for me to pay attention to this things, to let myself really feel them and also to take the time to acknowledge them. Just like it has helped me recently to say the words out loud that I choose recovery each day, the daily expressions of gratitude are good for me.

I believe that this fosters a positive attitude. Often the bad things that happen, or the situations that upset us, clamor more loudly for attention. They stay more in the forefront. Dwelling in the negative brings us down mentally, emotionally and, I think, physically. I’d rather live in the house of happy.

It’s good to reinforce a positive attitude and approach. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a cheerleader for ourselves in our own lives. We can set our intention and speak our choices aloud. Will there be days that the best intention of maintaining a positive attitude isn’t strong enough to withstand some crap that might get flung in our general direction? Sure. This is life, after all, which is far from always perfect. However, if we start out by trying to boost the positive, we have a better shot at staying ahead of, or being strong than, the negative.

I know for a fact that if I wake up thinking that the day is going to suck, I’ve set myself up for self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d rather concentrate on manifesting good and let that be the self-fulfilling path for the day. This approach makes me stronger and happier. It leads to greater success with my food plan and exercise commitment, helps me rock my job and other commitments. I’m sure it makes me a better friend and family member and overall just a more pleasant person to be around.

All in all, I feel positively healthy and you can bet I’m grateful for that every single day.

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Food Diary

A long time and many posts ago I shared that dislike keeping a food diary. I recognize that it is an important tool in my recovery but that doesn’t mean I joyfully embrace the practice of logging my food. This is a long standing dislike from way back in the days before there were smart phones with apps where we could input our daily food electronically. Hell, it goes back to the days before personal computers.

I’m not sure why I dislike it now, but I’ve figured out why I was always resistant before. Denial. Putting anything down on paper makes it all black and white. I understand now that a lot of my eating was unconscious. Okay, I wasn’t actually, physically unconscious when I ate, as in eyes closed, lights out. However, in the throes of a binge, I could eat and eat and eat and not be logically, completely aware of the foods. I was completely overwhelmed by the behavior. It was hard, difficult, uncomfortable, and stressful to face the truth.

When I started going to a real therapist in 1991 and she told me I had an eating disorder, it was a big deal. Oh, I should point out here that I’d had the eating disorder for years but didn’t know it. You see, I thought there were only two eating disorders — anorexia and bulimia. Since I wasn’t starving or purging, I was completely in the, “I’m just a weak-willed slob who can’t control her eating” state of mind and emotion.

Anyway, in the early days of our work and my infancy in OA, the therapist helped me structure my abstinence. She told me that I needed to commit to a food plan and every morning I needed to write down what foods I would eat and how much. At that point in time, we focused on adjusting the behavior and not so much on the quantity. This meant that if I wrote down in the morning that I was going to have six pieces of pizza for dinner and that’s what I ate, that was okay. I’d committed and adhered to the abstinence I’d defined. However, if I wrote down that I was going to have two pieces of pizza for dinner and then I ate three or four or five, I was not being abstinent.

Sounds a little wacky, but it worked. It helped. The first few months of doing it this way, going to meetings and continuing with therapy got me on track and in recovery.

I did it, including keeping the food diary, because I wanted to recover and was willing to go to any lengths. Even so, I never grew to love logging my food.

I still don’t like it, but I do it, now using MyFitnessPal as an app on my phone. I’ve discovered an important correlation. When I don’t log my food for a few days, I come close to falling off of the wagon. That alone is enough reason to keep logging.

A couple good friends use MyFitnessPal and we all also have FitBits. We’ve “friended” each other on FitBit so we can see each other’s daily progress, cheer each other on in our physical activity, etc. I don’t use the food diary on that program. These friends each recently sent me invitations to friend them on MyFitnessPal, too. I thought about it and then wrote to each of them. I asked them to please not be offended but MFP is where I log my food and I don’t want to share that diary. It has nothing to do with them, it’s all me not being comfortable putting that info out for anyone to see but me.

I’ve had to do a little soul-searching to see why sharing my food diary is out of my comfort zone. At first I worried that it could be a case of fostering sickness in the secretiveness. Tonight I really pondered and meditated on it and had some strong realizations. I spent many years with other people judging my food and what I ate and their disapproval or worry exacerbated my stress and my shame. At a young age I became a skilled stealth eater. My food diary needs to be a place where I can be completely honest about what I’m eating — even if I don’t have a good day and eat off of my food plan.

I can’t do that if what I log on there can be read by other people. I will incessantly worry about what other people think and how they’ll react to the point where I won’t be honest. If I am not honest on my food diary it ceases to be a viable tool in my recovery.

To be clear, these are not judgmental friends. This is all about my old tapes, previous experiences, and personal issues. That said, it is not possible for me at this time to give up the reluctance and make my food diary readable to anyone but myself. My choice to not share is about me protecting the role that keeping a food diary has in my recovery. I don’t have to like doing it, but I need to keep doing it and I can’t afford to let anything interfere with me maintaining this practice with integrity.

My friends were cool and told me they understood. We’ll continue to encourage each other via FitBit and in person. We’re good.

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Not Focused on Feasting

We’re heading into Thanksgiving week. I’m grateful for so much I’d run short of numbers of I tried to count all of my blessings.

Last year, I don’t remember if I connected with anyone for Thanksgiving. I know that on the day after I started a three day Dr. Oz detox. I worked very hard to not focus on food. I was afraid that I would feel all resentful and deprived because I couldn’t feast like I once had and send myself into a food coma. This year, I am again not focusing on Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to overeat. I have no plans for a big dinner fest. Instead, a friend and I are going to do something — depending on the weather. Right now I’m hoping for a great boating day.

I was thinking about the family Thanksgiving dinners we had over the years. We were nothing if not generous with the amount of food and variety of dishes that we prepared, put on the table, and then scooped onto our plates. I was just remembering one in particular when my brother came home from college. When he went away to school he became a non-meat eater and committed to a much healthier way of eating that he’s maintained for 42 years. He was pretty opinionated about it when he first came home. I remember him making his own yogurt and granola too. That one Thanksgiving, he looked at the table with the perfectly browned humongous turkey and plethora of side dishes and proclaimed some obnoxious comment about the carbohydrate binge.

You know what? He was right. Accompanying the turkey, we had chestnut stuffing, mashed white potatoes and candied sweet potatoes plus “traditional” green bean casserole complete with the fried onion ring things on top, and mashed rutabagas, which most people considered turnips. I think there was usually a big bowl of homemade cole slaw too and dinner rolls, plus cranberry sauce or cranberry relish. That was all before the pies were served for dessert — pumpkin and apple for sure.

It was all homemade and incredibly delicious! We’d go back for seconds, or even thirds, on our favorites.

If I went to that kind of feast now, even if I took the smallest dab of each of those dishes, I’d be full to the point of it coming back up again before I got past the third choice.

Wow. For the sake of my health and well-being, I am thankful that I am not motivated to eat like that any longer, and that my surgically-altered stomach prevents me from doing so if I’m tempted. However, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t have a few nostalgic yearnings for some of those foods. Without even thinking about it, I’ve come up with a plan.

At the store yesterday, I bought a single rutabaga, a white sweet potato, and some green beans. Over the next week, I’m going to make these and eat them at different meals. I’m also going to buy a small package of chestnuts, roast them and eat them plain without adding them to any bread stuffing.

I never studied the nutritional breakdown of a rutabaga before but I looked it up today. A cup has around 7 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber. I know that the sweet potato and chestnuts have significantly more carbs but I’m not planning to overeat on any of them so I am confident that I can work them into a healthy eating plan.

By spreading out these dishes over several days and meals, I can enjoy the flavor favorites of the holidays and not engage in unhealthy gorging. (Gorging is all relative after weight-loss surgery, but you get the idea.) I think that I will savor and enjoy them all the more for choosing to consume them within the guidelines of healthier eating.

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Pushing Through

I have to admit that I really needed to dig deep inside to find my motivation today and then push myself to follow through. Not to whine (too much) but I swear that everything hurts more the day after a mishap. I woke up this morning earlier than I needed to because I ached. I took it easy for a little while this morning, debating whether I should go to Tai Chi class. I walked the dogs and, at first, my muscles said, “No, No, No, No, No.”

I pushed myself to walk a little more and gradually my body loosened up. I came home and enjoyed my breakfast smoothie and hot tea and decided to go to class. On my bike.

I’m glad that I did. Sure, some of the moves challenged muscles that were sore, but the repetition slowly warmed and stretched things out and I ended up feeling much stronger than when we began. Strong enough to set out on the bike after class and do some errands. I stopped and bought the fresh cut flowers that I’d promised myself — white hydrangeas — and then cycled over to Office Depot for some envelopes that I needed before heading home. Maybe I didn’t attack the route flat out or rack up as much distance as I did all this week, but I still totaled up 5 miles plus the hour long Tai Chi class. Not bad, considering the aches and soreness.

Came home and took it easy for a few hours which included taking a short nap. Then I drove up for the real treat of the day, the massage. Have I mentioned before that the massage therapist is amazing? My shoulders and arms took the worst of the fall yesterday and she worked on them a lot. She identified a couple of muscles I’ve never heard of, but I could feel the benefits when she got the ones under my scapula to loosen up. When she finished I had better range of motion with less stiffness and pain.

I felt so much better that after a quick bit of grocery shopping I came home and took the dogs out for a long walk. They needed the mental stimulation and we all needed the exercise. I was at only about 6200 steps on my FitBit. The long walk boosted me to more than 9000 steps and I knew I could make up the rest tonight.

Tonight, I still have the residual soreness from the impact and bruising, but it’s so much less than it would have been if I still had the locked up muscles too. Hurrah for the healing touch.

I think it’s a positive sign that I looked for ways to take care of myself after yesterday’s tumble that didn’t involve binge eating. Had I not pushed through, I could easily have sat home, totally focused on the soreness and fallen into the old bad habit of feeding my pain. It feels great to have chosen a different, more beneficial and less destructive, set of behaviors.

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Slightly Damaged but Undeterred

It was bound to happen. Sooner or later I was going to take a spill off the bike. That happened this morning.

I’m not seriously hurt, thank goodness. Here’s what happened. I was on the bike by 6:15 this morning, merrily pedaling away on one of my favorite routes down the boulevard to the beach. According to the tracker on MapMyFitness, it is exactly four miles from my house to the end of the beach. I reached the circle/rotary at the end of the road, cycled round and, since I was now heading into the slight wind, pumped the pedals even harder to work up the cardio.

I veered up a driveway to go back onto the bike path but I was going a little too fast to straighten my direction enough. I tried to brake and veer but I had too much momentum. With a strong mental “Uh Oh”, I ran right off the path, through some ornamental tall grasses and then the bike and I tumbled off kilter down a three foot embankment onto someone’s lawn. (Someone who must be a snowbird because their hurricane shutters were still installed and no cars or grills were outside, thank goodness.)

For about 30 seconds, I just lay there on top of my bike waiting to feel any sharp, acute pain. When none stabbed me anywhere on my body, I untangled myself and stood up. Nope, no blood. Another good sign. I had plenty of sticky seed pods stuck on my clothes and sneaks. I picked up the bike and checked it out. Aside from my pretty white metal basket no longer being perfectly straight on all sides, my ride was okay too. I drank some water, took a deep breath, walked the bike back up the embankment and started riding again. I’ll admit I was a little shaken up, so I didn’t push the speed for the four miles home. I felt soreness in my right shoulder, stiffness in my left shoulder blade and a few assorted aches but, all in all, it could have been a helluva lot worse.

Got home and walked the dogs, feeling a bit proud of myself that even with the spill I logged my eight mile morning ride. I then walked in the door, swallowed the prescription-strength equivalent of ibuprofen and decided to spend a little longer amount of time under a hot shower.

I anticipated that I would grow more sore throughout the day. Thankfully, it wasn’t as extreme as I feared, but when I got home I stiffened up. I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner, but once I got home, I dreaded going out again. I took another dose of pain relievers and texted my friend. She completely understood, thank goodness. I hate when practicing self-care disappoints a friend. Still, I was a little down in the dumps. That’s dangerous because when I’m down, junk carbs begin speaking to me. “It won’t hurt. Come on. We’ll make you feel better. Eat us. You’ll be happy.”

Junk carbs lie. Even knowing this doesn’t mean I can always resist the lure.

Then I checked my FitBit and saw that I was only at 8300 steps for the day. It was rainy out and I was stiff and sore, all of which gave me more than enough justifiable reason to call it quits for the day. Darn it all, I wanted my 10,000 steps! Now I was in a full fledged whinefest. (Pity party of one, your table is ready.)

Luckily the rain stopped and I just couldn’t accept not making my step goal for the day so I put on the sneaks, ignoring a few remaining sticky seed pods, leashed the dogs and went out for a short walk before it began to storm again. Now up to 9500 steps, I was sooo close to the goal. I popped in the in-home walking program DVD for the one mile routine. That extra 15 minutes of exercise benefitted me mentally as well as physically. I went over 11,000 steps and, best of all, calmed the carb craving.

Now I’m going to soak in the tub before bed. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I don’t have to get up before dawn to log in my 45 minutes. I can do it any time. If the weather’s okay, I’ll ride my bike to Tai Chi class in the morning and ride around taking care of some other errands. I’ve booked a session with the massage therapist for the afternoon too. I’ll get in my cardio and my 10,000 plus steps before the end of the day and I pledge to stay on my food plan.

I am slightly damaged but definitely undeterred!

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Assessing Hunger after Exercise

I woke up a few minutes before 6 a.m. today. Since the day was a bit windier than it had been the previous days this week, I decided to change up my exercise routine and do my in-home walking program. I opted for the brisk 3-Mile program which kept me at a good cardio pace for about 45 minutes, working legs mostly but with arm exercising too. I then took the dogs for a walk before showering and getting ready for work. I made and drank a yummy fruit smoothie with protein powder while I packed my snacks and lunch.

Normally I eat something six times a day. I time the mid-morning snack for 10 a.m. It’s usually something light with protein — a small handful of nuts, a cheese wedge, a little bit of hummus with some veggies. You get the idea. This schedule has worked well since I went back onto food after surgery.

For the last couple of days, I’ve gotten hit by hunger at least 30-45 minutes earlier than my scheduled snack. I couldn’t figure it out and had to do a gut check to make sure that it was legitimate physical hunger and not emotional or mental issues trying to make me think I was hungry. I sat with the feeling for a little bit but all my gut said was, “Yes. You really are hungry. Feed me, now!” I ate my peanuts slowly, literally nut by nut and thought about it some more.

I wondered if the more intense activity in the morning was boosting my hunger intensity. I always thought that exercise decreased hunger. I went online to look at the subject and found conflicting, or at least, confusing ideas and studies. My boss is a runner and used to compete in triathlons. She said that after an intense workout she’d get ravenous.

I’m sort of latching onto one thing I read today. Checking in with myself before I ate was, apparently, a good idea. Our mind can play tricks on us from making us think we’re hungry when we aren’t to telling us that we deserve the reward of more food because we worked out and burned off calories.

When all was said, done, and consumed, at least I did not eat more than I’d planned. I just ate it earlier than the time to which I’m normally accustomed. So, I still had a good recovery day. I decided that even if I might not understand what’s going on with my body and hunger triggers around the early morning exercising, it’s good for me to stay aware. That way, regardless of what triggers the hunger, I won’t compulsively eat in a way that doesn’t follow my plan.

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Setting Goals, Earning Rewards

I set short term goals before the weekend ended. Along with pledging to wake up each day and choose to live the day in recovery and adhere to my food plan, I also set workout goals. I changed my wake up time on my clock radio to 6:00 a.m. from 6:45, determined to get up and do at least 45 minutes of exercise each morning before work. I also promised myself that I would rack up a minimum of 10,000 steps each day on my Fitbit. In addition to this, I’m mindful of the need to stay hydrated. I’m aiming for 100 ounces of fluids (water or green tea) per day.

Wednesday is winding down. All three days I’ve met the goal of adhering to my food plan and staying in recovery. I’ve taken long bike rides the last three mornings, pedaling 8 miles, 10 miles and 8 1/2 miles respectively.

Cycling confused my FitBit a little, I think. I put the gadget on my shorts leg so that it counts my pedaling as steps, otherwise I don’t get credit for the exercise. However, even though it adds up the steps, although I doubt it’s 100% accurate, it doesn’t track the miles anywhere close to correctly. If it had a brain it would be puzzled as to how I logged a couple of thousand steps in less than a mile.

Tonight I forgot to move the gadget to my pant leg for Tai Chi class, so I didn’t get an accurate accounting of my steps. This meant that when I got home after class, my daily total was less than 9500 steps! This would never do! I’d set a goal, I tell you. 🙂

I could have taken the dogs for another walk. My neighborhood is safe enough to do so, even after dark. However, several of my neighbors go to bed really early. There are also a lot of other dogs in homes up and down the street. It’s nearly impossible for us to walk around without setting off a chain of barking dogs. In the interest of preserving the peaceful evening, I decided to get those last 500 or so steps at home.

There was a movie on that I wanted to watch, so instead of turning on the in-home walking program DVD, I got creative. At every commercial break, I stood up and walked around or practiced some Tai Chi moves. I even jogged around a little. I also laughed at myself in the process — but I made my 10,000 step goal! Booyah!

I have a large remaining weight loss goal. 45 pounds to go. I am not, however, saying 45 pounds by a certain date. If the last few months of slowwwww creep down the scale is any indication, my body is not making this last push easy. I don’t want to frustrate myself any longer, or risk the emotional disappointment if I say I want to lose XX number of pounds by a particular date and then don’t accomplish it. That kind of numbers game can really mess with my mind and serenity. The most important thing is not how fast I lose it, but that I lose it eventually.

I’m sticking with the daily goals — abstinent with food, 10,000 steps a day (factoring in the equivalent if it’s a bike riding day). This week, I want to get a good push going so I’m sticking with the 45 minutes of cardio for seven days in a row. I think my metabolism needs revving. The combination of goals should help. At least that’s what I hope.

Once could say that the physical benefits are reward enough and they are, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t treat myself with something extra. I like fresh cut flowers. I believe that I will reward myself with a gorgeous bouquet. As soon as my massage therapist returns from her trip, I’m scheduling another massage too. I’m working hard and deserve to treat myself well as a reward.

Are you goal-oriented? Got any that you’re working on that you’d like to share? How do you reward yourself?

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