Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking forward to 2012

   It's been very busy week, trying to get a bunch of catch-up things done.  I'm happy to say that my trike is now resting comfortably in the garage, and I was even able to take it out for a spin.  It's so much easier on my knees, and a bit faster than my old bike.  Plus it has a basket in front and a carrier rack in back, so I'll be able to take it on local jaunts to the CVS down the street.  Dave was then kind enough to take my old bike and put it in the basement, on a stand that allows me to use it as a stationary bike.  Now all I have to do is put Netflix on my Wii (which is also in the basement), and I'll be all ready to go!

  I've been trying to focus on my 2012 goal setting, but I'm a little farther behind on that front than I thought I'd be.   The bike/trike flexibility has allowed me to start structuring an activity plan, that I can couple with getting back to the Y on a regular basis.  Adding to that is a return to the daily exercises I learned at physical therapy to continue strengthening my knees and increasing my range of motion and flexibility.   The plan needs a little fine tuning, but the basics are strong, and I can work out the details tomorrow after WI.

  Speaking of WI, Dave and I do so on Saturday, which is the day that we use our weekly allowance (and then some, unfortunately).  We always look at Sunday as our clean start to the week.  I feel like it's really fortuitous that New Year's Day falls on a Sunday this year - it makes it easier to look at this as a whole clean start and renewal to the journey.  To that end, I shopped today for some plan friendly foods to stock the house so we are ready to hit the ground running.  One of my goals is to try at least one new WW recipe per week.  I have tons of recipe resources, so there will be no excuse!

  The next step is that I want to blog more regularly - at least once a week, getting back to my original idea of posting interesting recipes, photos of foods, general info and inspirational ideas.  I've started a binder to bring with me to WW meetings that includes a scrapbook of inspirational thoughts and pictures, a notepad to write down good stuff that I hear at my meeting, and a journal for my activity.  Some of this can translate nicely to the blog format, so I hope you don't mind reading!  No more using not doing well as an excuse to go into hiding.

  The final piece of my plan is taking a note from my former WW leader, and setting myself 6 week mini-goals.  We did that a few times at our meetings, writing it down and putting it in an envelope to be opened 6 weeks later.  Although some people didn't seem to like it, it was a great motivator for me, and I had good success with it.  I usually chose two goals for the 6 weeks - one scale related and one behavior related.  Going back to that  method is something I'm really looking forward to, and I'll be setting my first 6-week goals tomorrow.

  I'm looking forward to 2012.  My success is in my control and I intend to take hold of it.  Thank you all for reading and supporting me this year - I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking back at 2011

  I've been thinking a lot about this past year.  It feels like it's been a little wild - drastic highs and lows separated by mind-numbing ruts.  In reality, it's probably been pretty normal..  But it was full of really amazing personal experiences - mostly travel related.  In 6 months time, I had my feel in both the Atlantic and Pacific, and finally saw some of the southwest.  I went to 3 different National Parks - Redwoods National Forest., Acadia National Park and the Grand Canyon.  I also saw Red Rocks Canyon and the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.   For someone who hates to fly, that's a pretty good list!  And Acadia and Grand Canyon were bucket-list places to go for me.  I spent time in San Francisco, Boothbay Harbor, Bar Harbor and Las Vegas.  I was very fortunate to have these experiences this year.  And when I think back on this year, these will be the things that stand out the most for me.  It was a privilege to see so much of our country, and the diversity that exists within its borders.

  But this blog is mostly about my weight loss journey, and so there are things I must address along those lines that aren't as much fun to think about.  I'm going to start with the positives, though.  I started (very beginner level) hiking, and think that in it I've found an activity that marries several of my interests. I'm planning on having it factor into my 2012 plans in a larger way.  I was also  lucky enough to get an adult trike!  Because my knees are so week, riding my regular bike has become difficult - I don't feel that stable on it, and so it spent most of this year in the garage.  The structure of the trike will allow me to use it without those worries.  So that's also going to be a major player in my 2012 activity plans.

  From a weight-loss perspective, well, there's no easy way to say it.  It was a disaster.  I gained weight. too much.  I was okay in the first half of the year - sort of plateau-ing, but generally holding my course.  Once I got back from San Francisco, I just lost it.  And while I spent quite of bit of time trying to be on plan, I got very sloppy and lazy.  I allowed problems with my knees and feet to knock me off kilter, and seemed unable to rouse myself to more positive action for any significant enough amount of time to be effective.  I struggled emotionally and mentally, and ended up in a vicious cycle that many of us know all too well.  Sadness led to eating, which led to weight gain, which led to sadness.... and so on and so on.  

  The good news in all of this is that it's given me some real motivation.  I feel like I've snapped out of it (the holiday weekend notwithstanding), and am ready to move forward and make 2012 a MUCH better and more productive year.  I'm working now on setting up my goals for the year, and making sure that I build plans to achieve them.  I am in charge, and I can do better.  I will do better!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Las Vegas Wrapup!

  Suffice it to say that we had a great time.  We spent some time in Vegas, doing the casino thing (not gambling, by and large, mostly just ogling the excess).  We spent quite a bit of time at the various parks in the area - we went to Red Rock Canyon National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon, where we spent 2 days.  We saw Barry Manilow's show, and Dave ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.  We were busy bees!  Speaking of bees, we saw a warning sign at the entrance to Valley of Fire that warned that there are africanized (killer) bees in the park....I'm glad we were there during winter.

  Because it sure was winter!  Vegas was in the midst of an unseasonal cold/wind spell, so the temps rarely got over 45 degrees during the day.  And in the parks the wind was fierce!  It made it challenging to do as much hiking as we wanted to do, because we just didn't have good enough winter gear with us.  It was epic cold at Grand Canyon - snow on the ground, and ice on the roads and paths, daytime temps in the high 20s.  I'm really glad that we got to see it like that, though - I think the snow made it even more beautiful that normal.  We took a lot of pictures, which I will probably post to Facebook, but at some point it seemed futile.  Without the right equipment and some training as a photographer, there's just no way to capture the grandeur.  You're better off looking at professionally done pictures, and even they won't do it justice.

  One thing I learned is that altitude is no joke!  When we were at the Canyon, there were times when I was literally gasping for breath, even on short walks up very mild inclines.  At first I felt kind of bad about it, thinking that my backsliding over the summer had taken a greater toll than I had imagined.  I couldn't believe I was that out of shape.  Then my husband reminded me that we were at an altitude of over 7000 feet - well over a mile in the air.  Even he had some trouble catching his breath after walking back up some of the paths.

   Food wise, it was strange.  We went shopping and had our room stocked with healthy breakfast and snack options.  And besides breakfast and a snack, we only ate one other meal a day.  Some were on the healthy side, and some were not.  But some of the food we had was truly outstanding - very different from our norm, and things we couldn't get or make at home.  I anticipate a weight gain this week, even after being able to spend this week on plan.  The food choices were challenging, we didn't get in as much activity as I had planned (although we did quite a bit), and I injured my foot when I misstepped on a's still a bunch of cool colors!  It is what it is, and I accept it!

   I loved the trip, and I would tell anyone who goes out there to definitely plan a day at Red Rocks (there's a convenient 13-mile one way loop to drive that contains lots of places to park and get pictures, or pick up hiking trails).  It's a 25 minute drive outside of Vegas and truly spectacular.  And most definitely worth going up to the Valley of Fire - it's about an hour drive, but the sites there are stunning.  Both parks provide some much needed peace and quiet and open space - a nice alternative from the bustle of the Strip.

  So that's the Vegas wrapup!  Now I need to get started on the holidays....