Sunday, July 31, 2016


Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall.

These seasons are well known--unless you live in a place, like my home, has only three seasons: hot, cold, and wind. But times are always changing. About the time you settle in to one season, on comes the next.

Life is like that.

Some people and some times fit into nice little boxes of life seasons, sort of like the game "Life": born, graduate high school or college, get married, have a baby. Other times are more fluid: break a leg, win the lottery, have a breakup. Either way, you find yourself in a comfortable spot--say, being in college--until you suddenly are tossed into another season.

Life is how we deal with the seasons.

Seasons are not weather--the temperature changes in life.Some people welcome change, others fear it. But in some ways we all fear change--those changes that we have no control over. The car accident, the unplanned pregnancy, losing a loved one.

That last change still has me wrapping my head around it.. I knew it was coming--it was a season moving in--but I didn't know what the new season would be like until it happened. You can see seasons on a calendar, but you never really know when they are going to start. Once the season really does start you are left dumbstruck at what to do. "What if there is a snowstorm," becomes, "what do I do now?"

Life is being afraid.

Once one season sets in you are afraid of moving on for fear of what the next season will bring. The thought of jumping back into life becomes terrifying; having children, starting a new relationship, or-starting a new job. You become so afraid that you hold onto the old season so tightly that you don't move on, you just stagnate.

That is where I am now. Stuck. So many things that I could be doing, yet I am frozen in place for fear of another season upsetting my already-tenuous mindset. I am holding on to the weight loss as a coping mechanism to give me something that affects me directly--it is a way to define myself. Charity and good works are great, but they don't fill in for having somewhere to belong, to hold on to.

So I sit, holding on to the past, afraid of the future, and avoiding change however possible. Healthy? Nope. I am working on that. But it is the way it is.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

First New Me

219.5 Pounds

I am starting to feel my clothes fit looser. My belt has to be tighter to hold up my pants. My shirts are starting to feel less tight. I'm still in the same size of clothes...but really I should have been wearing a size bigger when I started this journey. I was just not wanting to go out and buy more clothes and admitting to myself that I was getting bigger.

While I was at the mall waiting for my car to be repaired I had a wakeup call. I tried on clothes that I thought would be too small for me only to find that they were falling off. I'll be honest. I am wearing size 20/1X (or XXL if they are trendy) clothes right now. I can fit into 1X but not XL--tell me how that makes sense. I should have been in at least 2/3X or 22 when I started this.

Sizes are only numbers and letters, but they mean a lot to me for some reason. I had to remind myself not to buy clothes when I am losing weight--not from expensive new stores at least. I am making one exception to this rule: exercise clothing. I can't wait to get back down to below 200 pounds so I can wear some of my old clothes that fall into this category. Hell, I may even be able to get into some at 210 (okay, not just get into--wear properly)!

So where does that leave me with the Nutrisystem plan?

I found out an interesting tidbit about their program: every ten pounds you lose you get a little beanie baby bear with the pounds you lost embroidered on its chest. Cute and motivating for someone like me (remember the useless points that I talked about way back when). I am continuing to get shipments in from them, but will probably only need them every two months rather than every month. They make my life easier, especially when I don't really want to eat or cook at all. And they are healthier than my go-to food of bread and cheese--an acceptable meal once a day, not for every meal like I have a tendency to do if I don't watch myself.

We are coming up on the hardest part of the year for me, physically. Monsoon season always plays havoc with my joints no matter how well my meds are working. (I haven't figured out why except for the drastic changes in barometric pressure.) This time of year is an ultimate test of how my diet is because I am more likely to gravitate toward easier foods. Easier such as bread, cereal, eggs. All of these are perfectly fine on their own, it is all about variety. The last thing that I want to eat is a salad because that involves cutting, chopping, and preparing the ingredients (which is why I do all the prep work right when I get the produce home so that there is no excuse).

Nutrisystem should help me at least get some variety in my diet and make me more aware of my veggie intake. It also should make life easier because there is no or very little prep needed.

So there you have it, progress and future all wrapped up into one nice little package.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Let me preface this post on food stores. I am privileged. I realize this. There are many people who are food insecure or completely lacking food. This post is not about poverty, though it is rampant in this state and much of the world.

Instead, let me lead with this:

Every year my dad goes hunting. Last year was the first time that I was actually allowed to hunt on my own. We went bow hunting for white tail deer. Thanks to a previous injury combined with arthritis, I can't pull a full forty pound compound bow without my shoulder popping out of socket. Instead, I have a crossbow permit. It makes my aim much sharper at close range than with a regular bow.

Last year we went out with my uncle and traveled around the Black Hills of South Dakota--my dad and uncle's old stomping grounds. It was great! And also scary. Would I leave an animal injured instead of a quick kill? I hoped not. That is why I practiced every day for a month till I knew my effective range. I have weaponry and know how to use it. But I worry about my dad's kills because he does not practice much, but there is nothing that I can do about that. It still was a great experience. But last year the meat got stored in my formerly lightly-stocked freezer. FULL. As in, no more space.

Why is this interesting at all? Well it leads to a tendency I have. I tend to make sure that I have basic frozen food and sundries along with emergency kits on hand. Does that make me a so-called "prepper?" Nah. But there are similarities. When there are emergencies I am fine. Case in point: when the entire city is blanketed in two feet of snow and it is -18 degrees--too cold for the gas company to pump gas and water. I had wood, a stove, water from outside, and food in the house that I can cook on the wood stove. I could have used the propane stove if I wanted to brave the outside to get to my shed. Granted, had it lasted much longer my freezer goods would have been toast, but I just didn't open the doors on the fridge and freezer and all was well.

Last time I went on a spree and  I sort of went closer to the side of the "prepper." I was making sure I was ready for what I like to call "oh shit" moments. I made stores of oats, flour, sugar, and salt. I looked in to getting a well on my property for emergencies (still actually looking at that, but for garden use). I also bought specialty oh-shit gear. Boy was I surprised when some of the gear came in. I never even remembered ordering it! But I was on a roll and had a purpose--for the two to three weeks I was out of reality.

What does this all mean?

I store, but not hoard. I make sure I am safe, but don't endanger myself in the process. I am prepared, but not a "prepper."

Good, bad, or (my guess) in between, I am ready for oh-shit moments, but not for the apocalypse.

So what do you think? Any prepping tendencies out there?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Little More Magic and Some Ramblings Too

Yesterday I typed about magic. Well, today I had a major dose of it while driving.

Today I got lucky. No, not like that, you dirty minds. Today I dodged a major piece of debris on the interstate. We are talking a lane-covering bag full of dirt and trees. Of course the first thing that I did was call 911 while trying to calm down enough to remember details. Somebody or something is looking out for me. That would have been a major accident. I just hope that everyone else was able to dodge it before the cops got there to take care of it. I am still trying to calm down from it--it was about fifteen minutes ago. (I am typing from the car garage where they are fixing my baby.) While I have all this adrenaline in my system is a great time to be creative, right?

Yesterday I processed most of the cherries that my friend and I picked (from outside of a gas company to be exact). I was not looking forward to pitting all those cherries so I put it off. I cooked up most of the cherries to get the juice with the plan of using the rest as smushed up jam makings. My mom, ever the cook, figured otherwise. Overnight she pitted every single one. I have no idea how long it took her. I now have juice for drinks or jelly, pie cherries for tasty goodness, and some fresh frozen to munch out of hand.

Little things count toward a good day. My mom and her wonderful help made me smile. I knew there was no way that I could go through all of them, so her help made the haul so much better. I, of course, will be sharing the goods with her.

On a different note, I am hoping to be less manic, which might lead to less posts. I don't know yet. I am so much more creative while I have that high. But that may mean I am doing better mentally. I call that a good tradeoff.

Not being manic may also have a different effect: making my weight loss harder. I don't tend to eat as much when my mind is racing. There are just too many thoughts to bother with anything as mundane as eating. Because of that, I will be continuing the Nutrisystem for a few more months but on my schedule. I will be eating a mix of real food with their foods to supplement for when I want to avoid cooking. It also will be useful for when I am too manic and want to cook all the things that I can--normally lots of calorie laden cookies and other desserts.

I got another boost to my mental state when I went to the doctor yesterday. They weigh me before every appointment and it showed an eight pound loss (I had eaten and drank water). The first thing that the nurse said was, "Congratulations!" When my doctor saw the number she asked first how long it took to lose the weight (four weeks) and then said that it was, "Amazing to lose that much on the meds you are on." I know her comment means that future weight loss will probably be slower than I like, but she was happy with how I am doing, as am I.

However, among all this eating on Nutrisystem I have found several items that are not what I would call food. There are also several items that are basic enough that I can just substitute in real for their versions in future orders. The basic items include things like bagels and oatmeal, so long as I watch my portions. I will save the Nutrisystem foods for items that I cannot easily replicate or do not wish to replicate (lasagna--if I make it I will make enough for an army, rather than one or two servings). I do not have room in the freezer right now to make batch meals, but I am working on that. Right now the freezer is mostly full of deer meat and frozen vegetables. I need to use up the deer before I go hunting, but more on that another day.

On that note, I think that is enough rambling for one day. Have you had any close calls lately? Boosts to confidence? Or maybe even what is your freezer full of?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


What is magic?

Smoke? Rabbits? Mirrors? My husband preferred cards.

But I am not talking about slight of hand here. No, I think magic is what happens when everything falls in to place. Call it miracles, call it destiny, call it just chance.

No matter what you call it, magic is everywhere. The timing of lights when I am in a hurry. The simple smile of someone on the street when I am having a bad day. The gentle sound of rain. Good things that can make life better.

Today was full of magic. I got to my doctor appointment at what I thought was the right time--but was mistaken on the schedule. The doctor had a cancellation right when I needed it.

Once I got out of the doctor's office I went shopping at Costco--a stressful experience for me under good conditions. By the time that I got to the checkout I was shaky, anxious, and confused. The very attentive cashier caught some bad produce in my haul. Then I didn't notice that something I was purchasing came in a pack of two, not one. He offered to go get me a new pack from the far back of the store. I turned him down, but he didn't need to offer. He didn't need to be nice--that is outside of his job description--but he was.kind.

Finally, the sweet smell of cherries wafting through the house was wonderful. It was all due to a good friend who helped me pick fresh cherries yesterday. Today I started processing them; the sheer smell of them was heavenly and instantly upped my mood, which had been sagging.


It happens when you least expect it, but most need it. That is magic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Actual Progress!

I actually have lost ten pounds! Thanks to being female, I was retaining water like you would not believe. I got on the scale this morning and was a full pound and a half lighter than yesterday. 220 pounds!

Ten pounds in a month. I call that success. Yesterday I was really bummed out from the lack of progress, but today lent a whole new boost to my confidence. That is one thing about being female--you don't have steady weight loss. I was not taking that into consideration.

So, now that I have gotten to my next milestone what do I get? "The Witcher" video game! I purchased it a week ago but did not download it until I knew that I had hit my goal. I just need to make sure that playing the game does not interfere with my exercise. Next up is buying a movie (215lbs).

Mentally this gives me a kick in the rear to not give up hope. I got my second (and last) shipment of Nutrisystem food yesterday. This week I start eating real food supplemented by their food for when I don't want to cook. It is scary to go back to eating healthily without the regimented portions, but I know that I can do it, especially with the help of my handy dandy food scale. Eating out is going to be where it is hard, but I am pretty good at estimating portions.

I am not sure if I am going to keep up the six meals a day thing. I am guessing that I will reign it in to four or five meals depending on how I feel that day. Breakfast, lunch, (snack,) dinner, snack. We shall see. Since eating six meals a day involves eating mostly 200 calorie meals, with the exception of dinner which is 300 and night snack which is 100. It is easier to keep meals at around the 300 calorie mark for actual meal preparation.

220 pounds. It doesn't feel much different from 230. I picked up about ten pounds of groceries (really a gallon of milk--8.6 pounds) and felt how heavy that was in my hand. That is how much weight I have lost. That is how much weight is no longer on my knees, on my ankles, and on my mind. It really brought home the significance of what I have managed to accomplish.

I can do this. I have done this. I will do this. I can't wait till tomorrow when I step on the scale at the doctor's office and see the difference. My doc said that losing weight while on my meds was "incredibly difficult." I will show her that incredibly difficult does not mean impossible, just challenging. I can take that challenge.

220 pounds. Down from 230. Yes! Just take it a pound at a time. An inch at a time. A step at a time.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Progress...I Guess

It has been a week since I last weighed in. I am down exactly one half of a pound. Blegh. I was hoping for something more... impressive. I probably should not have expected so much given the loss previously combined with my weight-gaining meds, but still, it stinks. To know that you are doing everything right, following instructions to the letter, exercising and eating right, all for a measly half pound.

On the other hand, I could have gained that half pound, or one pound, or more. I could gain back all that I started to lose. THAT would truly stink.

I have worked out every day, no breaks, including yesterday when weather started jerking me around, since the 11th of this month. I think that may be a record for me! Now when I say "work out" I am not talking about anything more than swimming and walking, but it is a great success for me. I feel better, mentally, when I have an outlet for all the pent up energy I get--manic or not. I hope that I will continue to get out and about--even for just a few minutes at a time.

I feel wrong. I feel off. I feel fed up with this stinking roller coaster. Whine, whine, complain. Moan, groan, etc. You get the idea.

So I will take my measly little half pound and hope that the coming weeks are a bit more impressive--or at least not gains.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Dog's Day

Dear Dog,

You went out last night, right before bed. Yet, at 4am you decide you need to go out for a breath of fresh air.

It is time to get up. You lay right in the middle of the floor, begging for pettins. I try not to fall over you.

Breakfast time. You are so awake that you are positively wiggling--trying to jiggle the food off of my plate.

Nap time. The snoring is unbearable. You need a doggie c-pap machine.

Lunch time. You are soooo hungry. Starved. Pay no attention to the bowl of dog food.

Nap time. You wake yourself up barking, scaring me in the process. Thank you very much.

AWAKE! Play. And play. And play. Take a break for a drink. Play.

Snuggle time. You insist on pettins. Head under my arm. Nose on the laptop. Failing that, you lay on my feet to make darn sure that I can't get up without you noticing.

A noise! Oh no! Barking galore. You have to scare off that big old trash machine, or the truck door that closed at the neighbor's house. I have to open the door to get you to shut up and realize there is no one at the door.

Dinner. Dog food? You don't need no stinking dog food. No, you want my dinner. Only in dad's world do you get food from a dinner plate. But yet you persist.

Walk time. I start to put on shoes and you start dancing. I pick up the leash and you start prancing. Off we go and you are lovin' it. Get home, get a drink, and pass out.

Sleep time. I'm busy. But it is 10pm, and you know that is the time that we go to bed. You want to go outside. But I'm busy. But you don't care. I put down the laptop and we actually get to bed on time.

The cycle of dog continues. You keep me sane, usually. You are my buddy, my pest, my entertainment.

So, dearest dog, thank you for being you. Now could we keep the barking down a little bit?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Book. The Doubt.

I am writing a book--even have most of it written. It is a sci-fi story about a distopian near future full of cyberware, drugs, and choices. About every one to two months I pick it up and start editing, start adding to it. It's a constant process and it is about time to start again. I also have a short story that I have been working on for almost as long as the book.

It's scary.

I read some sections and think, "Holy hell, this is great!" But normally the reaction I get is, "What the hell, why would anyone want to read this?" The self doubt is crazy. Brainz (with a z) on repeat saying, "You're not good enough. It's not good enough." Okay, so that last bit it true, for now.

But how do you know when it is good enough? Good enough to share with friends? Good enough to share with others? I don't know yet. I don't know that I ever will be positive.

So what now? Keep editing. Adjusting. Fiddling. Pushing till it works as best as I can. Which leads us back to questioning what I think is the best I can do. It never will be good enough in my eyes--of that I am sure. But if it never is, then how can I try publishing it? I can't.

Fear. Doubt, Insecurity. All these things are written into the pages. It doesn't matter if it is a short work or a full book, all those things are intertwined. Now I am trying to tease apart the emotions from the stories, but that can be dangerous and leave the writing cold and wanting. I need to figure out at what point it is really good enough. Not perfect. Good enough.

Till then, till I get to "good enough," I will keep at it and adjust as needed. Anyone know how to overcome the doubt? Not the immediate doubt--the necessary doubt to fix major issues--but the permanent doubt--the doubt that paralyzes perfectly good writing.

How do I overcome that?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Getting Things Done

Yesterday was busy. As in bordering-on-full-manic busy. In addition to the watering and grocery shopping I got a lot more done in the house; a lot more.

I did remember to eat, though sometimes it was much belated because I had just forgotten to go to the fridge or the "just one more thing" phenomenon hit. It didn't help that sometime that morning, after I had come in from the garden, I had a nice strong cup of tea. Since I haven't been drinking much caffeine lately, the one glass was enough to tip me into manic mode.
I started out itching to do something and read that an uncluttered kitchen makes you less likely to snack. To the kitchen! Now the room needed some love anyway as I have been sort of ignoring the growing pile of random stuff on one of my counters, but that was not the only thing I attacked. All the surfaces, all the counters, and all the appliances--including the stove, which tends to be the last thing cleaned. I even made a shrine of tea supplies (I do enjoy my tea) where it makes sense to put it rather than jumbled down by the stove.

There. One room down.

The bathroom was still a mess from all the tar that I had to clean off of the dog's paws a few days ago. Luckily, the tar does not stick too tightly to porcelain, but the tub liner down the center was looking like someone had been throwing mud balloons at it; very sticky mud balloons. I sprayed it down with baby oil and let it sit. Came back and scrubbed and washed it off. Hmm... not quite there yet. So I repeated the process. It looks great!  Now if only I could get tar off of the rug.

Two (and a half?) rooms down.

Then there was the main living room, or what is standing in for the main room till the real living room is finished (long story). For the past few weeks I have been staying in one little area of the room where there is space to sit and park things like drinks and food. Bearing in mind that my carpet looks like someone threw four different colors of brown at the floor, lots of things can hide in it. For example: tar bits, dog nail clippings (which I added to yesterday), fur, more fur, dirt, crumbs, and yet more fur. I vacuumed it all up and did the workshop as well while I was already at it.

Three rooms down.

Then there were the tables. I was running out of room on my side table where I sit. I finally went through the mail, trash, and books on the two tables and found their surfaces (mostly). It is amazing how much can accumulate on a surface while you are too busy trying to do other things. In this case I had spent too much time in the real living room so this room became the drop station for "things I'll do later." Later finally came.

Two tables down.

Finally, I decided to take the dog for a walk once it cooled off a little. The walk was a little over a mile and a half--not much compared to some of my recent walks, but not bad either. I was amazed at how many people were gathered in one spot playing "Pokemon Go." Granted, I was one of the many who were staring at their phones, waiting for something to appear.

At least I have the dog to keep me aware of my surroundings (especially for things like skateboards, which, according to my dog, are the wheels of the devil). I also found many people with dogs who just weren't paying attention to how their pooches were behaving. There were two dogs that would have torn Link's throat out (well...they would have tried) had they gotten off leash. Others were just wandering about on a retractable leash, tripping whoever they walked up to. But I guess the owners didn't see anything wrong with the situation.

Walk down.

Finally, I forced myself to take a break and watch Netflix while I had a snack after dinner. The meds kicked in and I was no longer bouncing off the walls.

Yesterday: the day of Getting Things Done.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Looks Like Progress

I am three weeks into my weight loss journey (that's two weeks on Nutrisystem). I am at 222 pounds, eight pounds less than when I started, which isn't too shabby at all.

Apparently my clothes are fitting a little differently than before since two people have already commented that I was "looking like the weight loss is working." Now, that might have just been people being supportive, but I have started to notice a difference as well. My belly pooch is a little less pronounced. WIN!

On another note, the hypomania is still here, at least a little bit. I keep waking up before my alarm by about an hour (and actually getting up instead of laying there hoping for a few more winks). I also have been busying myself around the house and outside. I looked around my yard and noticed a few plants that were begging for water, so I turned on the hose and went at them.

The energy was not just spent on the yard. Yesterday I took an afternoon walk down on the college campus where there are trees for shade (and, let's face it, more Pokemon). Today I took a look at the kitchen and did a massive cleanup. My bathroom was a mess from when my dog got covered in tar and subsequently had to get the tar off his paws. The remaining tar got attacked with baby oil and scrubbed; twice. It now looks like nothing happened in there. (Now, if only I could fix the towels and rug that got tarred.)

On the diet end of things, hyper is good. I texted Nutrisystem that I was having trouble getting in all the food that I was supposed to be eating. They took a look at my plan and my activity level and we decided to lower the calorie count down to 1200-1499 calories per day. The customer service was excellent.

Today I went to the store to stock up on the week's veggies and dairy. For $20 I got all of the fresh stuff, and a pile of frozen stuff. Pretty easy to shop when the bulk of the food is paid for. One thing I will change when I am weaning off of the plan will be my fruit intake. Right now there are few options for carbs, outside of the prescribed meals. Once I start subbing in foods the fruits will increase considerably, as well venison. Why venison? Because my dad and I hunt so there is a freezer full of meat that needs used up by October, a.k.a hunting season. But that is for the upcoming transition.

So I can focus on eating every 2-3 hours as per the plan (and my blood sugar seems to like this as well) as well as eating lots of veggies. I am all vegged out for now--lunch had a giant three cup salad with tons of fixings.

For now I am content to sit in front of the computer and brush up on my editing work or watch Netflix. I know that a walk will happen today because I am still a little hyper, but swimming most certainly will not because I strained my shoulder cleaning the tub. But the walk will wait till it is less hot. Thanks for reading the ramblings!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Brainz vs. Brains


Definition: Noun. Derivative of "brains." Of or having to do with destructive thought patterns, i.e. "Brainz were not cooperating today; they set the same doubt on repeat."

Okay, while not an actual definition it is as close as I can come to explaining why I use the word. Right now brainz are mostly cooperating--they are back on the road to being plain ol' brains--at least somewhat. After yesterday's fun with brainz, I am piecing back together useful thoughts. Sleep is a wonderful healer.

Now that I am out of a mental high I just want to eat and sleep. So far I have managed to keep the eating under control, but the sleeping I have been giving in to--the lesser of two evils (weevils?).

One good thing was that I stepped on the scale this morning: 222. Another pound bites the dust. It was a nice little motivator for the day. Something to keep the brainz at bay.

So now what?

I eat. I sleep. I Netflix. I write.

So goes the day. It ain't great, but it sure isn't as bad as yesterday.

Moral of today: watch out for brainz--they can lead you into despair.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy Anniversary to Me

It is (would have been?) my seventh wedding anniversary today. I feel numb. I almost forgot about today being special at all. Then I got an email that reminded me of today's meaning. It stung...but was far away at the same time.

As I write this, the realization of today's meaning is finally setting in. Maybe on the side of depression. I don't know yet. I do know that it has been three years since he died. Three. Years.

I haven't done much in the past three years. I haven't actually made much money from my business. I have only lost friends, not gained any. My faith is a joke. My weight is extreme. My dog's training has fallen down.

What have I done? I got a dog. I am working on the weight. I actually got a business up and running (mostly running). I got some housework done. I have a garden. I wrote a book...sorta.

I guess that there are ups and downs to life. Most days it beats the alternative. Some days are harder than others. Some days are much harder than others.

Today started out as just another day. Another day to sit, watch the dog, watch Netflix, brush up on technical writing stuff, surf the web, and swim. Okay, I admit it, and Pokemon-ing. It ended up with me alternating staring off into space--numb--with crying, sometimes overlapping. It feels strange, yet the same.

And that whole last paragraph gets me teared up again. Dammit. I just need to keep myself busy. My near future involves listening to the dog snore, watching Netflix, and playing Pokemon Go from my chair. More walks will happen once my legs are back to being happy. Tomorrow hopefully. It has been a week of solid walks every day except when I swim.

And I am rambling again. Time to wrap this up. Moral of the story: some days are harder than others.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ramblings, Gardening, and Pokemon

The past week I have been on the hyper side of things. So now I am fighting off that restlessness with writing.  This is when I do my most prolific writing--not necessarily better, just lots of it. I have been getting things done. I got a large part of a two hundred page book. A normal writing day for me could be 1000 to 2000 words on a short story. I was writing 10000 a day. Writing is an outlet for my hyperactive tendencies.

So that leads me here, writing about nothing much at all.

I was out in the garden today, admiring the tomatoes and corn and vines. Then I saw it: the perfect tomato. It was the biggest I have ever grown in over five years of serious gardening. On the grand scheme of things it was not very big--only filling my hand--but here in the desert that is a great accomplishment. The heat shrinks the skins and makes them stunted, cracking them if the watering isn't consistent. I am proud of myself! Okay, I am also proud of my neighbor who helps me out a lot in my yard, weeding, mowing (weed whacking is more like it), and making sure everything gets watered. Yes, my water bill suffers from my gardening tendencies. I think that it is a fair trade-off for greenery that produces food at the same time as it is green in the brown of the surrounding areas.

Do I think that gardening here is water responsible? Not particularly. But do I think that it is better than a lawn? Hell yes! What is in the garden? Grapes, pomegranates, peaches, plums, and nectarines on the bush/tree front. These last four are still in the beginning stages of growing so no fruit yet. The garden has corn, watermelons, squash, and cantaloupe on one bed. The spring garden had turnips, beets, carrots, and lettuce. The last one has tomatoes, chile peppers, Thai basil, and marigolds. Lots of food to keep me busy. Would it be easier and cheaper to just buy the produce? Yes. Would I be happy with a basic brown sand garden? Hell no!

In other news, I took the walk today on the spur of the moment thanks to "Pokemon Go." I am not an addict yet, but I am solidly hooked. It makes the time pass quickly while walking and getting rewarded for something that I should be doing anyway. It gets me out and moving in routes that I normally would not take. I also get to see lots of other people who are doing the same thing. It also gets me out to longer walks to get to Pokemon landmarks. Finally, it gives me motivation to get special items and pets. Do these things make a darn difference in my life or are they just useless rewards? I am all about the useless rewards!

My last useless reward system was my Garmen VivoFit meter. It counts my steps as well as my sleep. I can look at if I met my goal and feel better or try more depending on the results. One before that was SparkPeople's Spark Points for logging food eaten and exercise. Back then the Spark Points helped me lose over 50 pounds. (Right now I am using some of the features of SparkPeople for my most recent weight loss efforts.) The points mean nothing, but they are points to earn.

The Nutrisystem tracker doesn't have as much of the point factor as the other two systems, but it does make tracking simple. I thought about just using Spark for my tracking system, but if I need assistance later through the NS help line I have all my foods logged.

So there you have it, a bit of everything.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Nutrisystem Day 9

It has been over a week now since I started this whole new food thing. So far--between my trip just prior to starting Nutrisystem and the last 9 days--I have lost about seven pounds. Not bad for two and a half weeks. Granted, most of that is water weight, which is why they can advertise their great one month totals. Still, I will take what I can get.

I have set up incentives for myself along the way. My very first "reward" was my starting gift to me of new walking shoes. I can't believe how much more comfortable walking is with properly fitted shoes! I got the first actual reward already--225 lbs. Every five pounds I have something set up. I am getting a video game for when I hit 220, I will not be able to play it till I get there. Some things on my list: movies from Amazon Prime (every ten pounds), a trip to T or C hot springs (200), real hairdo (190), mini vacation (180) , and the big one: breast reduction surgery. I have to be lower than 160 for that last one and I can't wait to get my back, chest, and shoulders in working order--something I haven't had since I was eleven.

Two things have helped me along on this journey: walking and swimming. I started swimming over the winter and have not been going nearly as often as I would like. Let's face it, it is hot and high altitude here. I have to take a bath in sunscreen every time I want to take a dip. Walking, on the other hand, I can do early in the morning or late at night without any preparation. The dog also has been enjoying the walks and has better leash manners than ever just in the last ten days.

About that walking; Pokemon Go. I started it last week and already have walked over 10km on it, and that is just the time when I have the app up and running! Nothing like an incentive to walk that is fun and entertaining! I spend about half of my time walking without it, so that is a lot of distance for me. Just last winter I was doing well to walk a half mile or a mile, and now I can do two or three without problems. It is amazing how much stamina you can gain in such a small amount of time. Now if I just get a little smaller I can try jogging again. Right now my joints have no business putting up with that type of strain, especially when my joints are already acting up.

On to the food. So far all the dinners tasted at least acceptable and could be made better by a little salt and pepper or some hot sauce. The bars for lunches are getting old. Next shipment I will switch out some of those for more food-like lunches such as the Creamy Chicken and Noodles. Breakfasts have been tasty, but once again I will switch out some of the bars for things like the almond and pistachio Biscotti Bites.

I have been using the NuMi app that is a tracker much like MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople but with less food entries. It details what type of foods to eat every day. It also lets me change a regular meal into what they call a "Flex Meal" which substitutes one of their entrees for food from a restaurant or home cooked foods. I have a little booklet that has many restaurants listed and order suggestions for Flex Meals--it is great when out an about without a lunch bar or for eating out with family.

I am in manic mode and needing less sleep than usual so I am planning out meals a little farther ahead for the day so that I remember to eat. Keeping up with the vegetables has been hard since I don't have the hunger to be munching all day. As long as I am following the plan correctly I don't get hungry or have slumps during the day.


If I know I am going to be eating out I sometimes save up a snack or two so that I can have a bigger portion for the meal. This can backfire for me by making me more hungry at the next meal or, even worse, make my blood sugar crash. I have been noticing that I have much less of a problem with hypoglycemia when I am following the plan. Now when I don't eat on time I get shaky, impulsive, angry, and frustrated (only made worse when I am hypo-manic like right now). Easy to fix--just eat--but sometimes it is inconvenient to say the least. I am not sure if I am more susceptible to the hypoglycemia now because of the reduced calories or because my body has gotten used to only going without food for a few hours.

So there you have it. Week one-and-a-smidge.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day Three of Nutrisystem

I got this far without trouble. Three whole days. Then I got to lunch today and am choking down a chocolate graham bar. I will keep with this, but I sincerely hope that other foods are not as bad as this one.

In other news, last night I only got about half the sleep I normally get. I woke up and walked just shy of two miles--pretty darn far for me--before 8am. I am sitting here and not hungry despite yesterday wanting to eat everything in sight. (I stayed true to the diet though. Lots of veggies were my friends.)
I am supposed to eat four servings of veggies per day. Yesterday I think I must have had about twelve servings because I was so hungry. Today, nada so far. No hunger, just food because it is scheduled. Maybe this is a good thing.

Last time I got on this ride of not eating I had people worried about me. It only lasted a week but I pretty much stopped eating. We are talking 400-600 calories per day. I didn't lose weight, but I did lose mental functioning. As it turns out bodies in starvation mode don't burn calories or fat. But then again, I had a focus. Don't eat, lose weight. Repeat.

This time it is different. This time I don't have a choice to eat. I follow the program and follow the rules, no cooking needed. Veggies will come later today, need them or not. Till then, I'll eat the food and hope that dinner is better than lunch.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weight Loss, a New Start

It has been three years. In that time I have gained over 90 pounds. Ninety. I have tried off and on to lose that weight over the years.

Yes, I can lose weight on my own. I lost forty pounds and got down to 150 and held it there for two years, then Jason got worse. My weight dropped even more, down to unhealthy levels for me. Then he died.

There was no one to take care of except for myself. I started eating out of stress.

On to the eating change. My plan is to do Nutrisystem for the first two to three months then wean myself off to my own food again once I am used to real portions of food. That is when I start to use SparkPeople food tracker again and monitor my food intake there.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not really happy eating pre-packaged nutri-food, but I know that it works from other people's experiences. The hard part is keeping it off after quitting. Hence, I have chosen to do this for just a few months and then go on to real food with realistic portions.

I have about 80 pounds to lose as of two weeks ago when I weighed myself. Not quite the 100 pound success stories that you hear about, but it will be a ten pound success, followed by another, then another till I get to where I want to be.

I managed to lose about five pounds during a road trip with my father. We were on a fairly regimented schedule with a lot of fruit and veggies to munch on. There was also a lot of candy and Coke, but I managed to get through with success. Far more success than I was expecting as I was just  hoping to not gain any more weight.

Fast forward to three days ago when I got my shipment of Nutrisystem. There were all sorts of options to include in the foods for the month and I also have a first week of Turbo Takeoff. The Turbo Takeoff has breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two shakes a day and I can add all the veggies I can stuff into my mouth.

I am sick of veggies.

Okay, so not really, but I am eating a ton of them every day. About the time I feel hungry I add in a giant salad with carrots and cucumbers. I do add in a little low calorie dressing, which is not in the program rules, but I like to have the veggies be absorbed by combining them with a small amount of fat. I do think that I need to subscribe to one of those boxes of produce that are available down here.

One of the things that I am not so sure about is that there are a lot of extras that need to be added in once I am in the main plan instead of the first week. It sounds a little confusing, but I think I will figure it out by week two.

To sum up: 80 pounds to lose, Nutrisystem for the first two to three months, eating well after knowing portion control (using my old pal, SparkPeople tracker).