Dot’s 2021 Healthy Living Goals

Getting back into shape

My new resistance bands arrived late yesterday. Hello soreness my old friend!

It’s a new year and that means it’s time for resolutions. I’ve come to hate resolutions because I always fail at them. I’d rather set measurable goals so I can actually track my progress. After putting pen to paper, I came up with four measurable goals for a healthier 2021 for myself. Sadly, they are very similar to my goals when I started my little health journey back in 2012.

Over the last 2-½ years I’ve gained about 50 pounds. I lost my focus and fell into a funk. That means I have to drop 100 pounds to get back to my low point. Well … can’t say I don’t love a challenge.

What are my four health goals for 2021?

1. Get Healthy…Again
That doesn’t just mean fat loss. I’m including mental clarity. That means reading more, improving sleep, creating routines, practicing gratefulness, de-stressing, and de-cluttering (mess creates stress!). When I talk about “getting healthy” I mean the full package – mind, body and soul.

2. Build Strength & Stamina
I’m in my 50s. I know the road before me is shorter than the road behind me. I don’t want to spend my golden years in and out of doctor’s offices or hospitals. Building strength and cardio will keep me mobile as well as boosting my overall health and mood. That means a much better quality of life.

I’m still building my routine, but I plan to use a mix of bodyweight and resistance band exercises 2-3 days a week. As for cardio, I’m thinking more tortoise than hare. I’m starting the Mayo Clinic’s 12-week walking routine. I’m easing my hip back into a routine and the last thing I need is an injury.

3. Walk Pain Free
My body has a weight threshold. If I cross it, it lets me know with lower back pain when I walk too much. I need to loose roughly 5% of my body weight – about 15 pounds – for that pain to go away. Fingers crossed that by the end of January, I’ll fall under that threshold.

4. Stay Active
When I started my journey almost 9 years ago, staying active was really difficult for me. I’d left my job. Despite that, I still found myself sitting at a desk working on my computer.  I really needed a mental shift from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one.

That shift came after finding the keto diet and wearing a Fitbit. I went from an average of 2,300 steps in a day to 15,000-20,000 steps. But it wasn’t all power walks, 5k training, and spin classes. Nearly half those steps were from working around the house and running errands. I hated sitting for more than 30 minutes. I was bursting with energy. Sitting down wasn’t going to release that energy.

This last Thanksgiving, I found an old pedometer and gave it a whirl. In December, I averaged 4,000 steps a day. That’s much better than I thought, but it’s still a quarter of what I used to do. Frankly, I know I can do better. By year’s end I want to average 20,000/day.

Those are my four goals. To keep me honest, the plan is for regular postings here on my progress.

And yes, I’m working on new recipes.

What are your goals for a healthier you in 2021?

Our Drive For Convenience Is Killing Us

water 2

Yep, my grocery store is now selling their own water with a few slices of cucumber. Are we really that hard up for convenience? Why do we resist making things for ourselves?

I was in the grocery store the other day and something caught my eye at the checkout counter. Next to the tabloids and junk food, my store also has a few refrigerators with cans of soda and bottles of water. It was the fridge that caught my eye…or actually something floating in the bottles of water.


That’s right, my grocery store is now selling cucumber water. You can have all 12 ounces for $2 just bucks.

Cucumber water certainly is healthier and far better to drink than the store’s homemade pure fruit juices it sells (fruit juice is just sugar without the fiber).

It reminded me of the story the Washington Post ran about the reasons why millennials are not eating cereal — too much clean up.  Of course, tries to debunk this saying that people are now avoiding carbs. Yet, in the same article, they claim that pre-made breakfasts and breakfast sandwiches are all the rage (great way to avoid carbs in those breakfast delights, right?). Read More

Weekly Weigh-In: Up A Little

weight jan 30

I’m up slightly and it feels like most of that weight is in my plugged up sinuses! Yep, my bug is back with abandon. And I’m fighting it the best way I know how…lots of sleep!

Well I’m up nearly half a pound, but I don’t consider that anything serious. My guess is my returning illness has more to do with it than what I’m eating. Yep, I’m sick again (or is it still?). Two weeks ago it was painful sinuses that turned into a head cold with a chaser of a bad earache. Well that earache turned back into painful sinuses with another shot of a head cold. Ugh!

So I’m doing what I should have done the first go-around — plenty of sleep and meds.

If I’m not fully recovered by Superbowl Sunday, then I’m raising the white flag and heading to my doctor’s for something stronger.

My appetite has decreased with round 2 of this bug. However I’m now craving comfort foods. Pizza, pancakes and chips. Oh my!

I took care of the chip craving thanks to a stash of zero carb pork rinds. The beauty of pork rinds is that you need water after every big, fluffy chip.  I can only eat a handful as I’m loading up on liquids to get them down. Unlike potato chips where I can eat a whole bag in one sitting.

As for the pizza and pancakes, every time a craving kicks in I just head back to bed and slept for 4 hours.  Seems silly, but it works.

The one silver lining in all of this is that as I recover the snow is nearly all gone. Hopefully early next week the trails and sidewalks will be snow and ice free and I can go walking again.  I’m also toying with hitting our country rec club’s weight room. My resistance bands aren’t cutting it anymore.

I can’t wait to be germ free again.


Weekly Weigh In: Up A Couple

My traveling is taking a bit of a toll. I'm up a couple of pounds. Thankfully my last trip is this week. After that it should be business as usual.

My traveling is taking a bit of a toll. I’m up a couple of pounds. Thankfully my last trip is this week. After that it should be business as usual.

The good news? My weight is no longer stalled. The bad? The scale is moving in the wrong direction. Ugh! I’m up 2 pounds. No doubt my traveling is taking its toll. For the most part I’ve eaten low carb when possible. But when traveling by car for hundreds of miles, we found it difficult to find restaurants that were low carb friendly.

At that point, all I could do was make the best choice and move on.

I have one more trip left. I’m driving to Vermont to pick up my mom. Of course it means 2 back-to-back days of 10 hours driving. Not great, but I’m packing my food for this trip. I’ve got green olives, macadamia nuts, cheese and pork rinds in snack bags.

That should keep me satisfied and keep the carb cravings, which kicked into over-drive after our drive back from Florida, away.

Texans Love Coffee Creamers!

Texans love coffee creamer. Two refrigerators dedicated to just this junk.

Texans love coffee creamer. Two refrigerators dedicated to just this junk.

Wow…that’s a lot of coffee creamers!

A little photo I snapped while visiting a local Houston grocery store. I waited for about 5 minutes before snapping this photo. The constant stream of Texans picking out their favorite creamer blocked my view.  My grocery store only sells 4 creamer flavors. I don’t know what they are as I don’t use the stuff. Too much sugar for me. I prefer full-fat heavy cream for my java.

Curiosity got the better of me and I had to look. So many flavors — Coconut Creme, Creme Brulee, Extra Sweet & Creamy, Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints, Peppermint Mocha, Nestle Tollhouse Snickerdoodles, La Lechera Dulce de Leche, and so much more. Read More

Weekly Weigh In — Up 3 Pounds

I'm up 3 pounds this week. Not great, but not unexpected after eating lots of carbs while sick.

I’m up 3 pounds this week. Not great, but not unexpected after eating lots of carbs while sick.

Over the last 2 weeks I’ve gained 3 pounds. Those misgivings about eating lots of carb-laden soups and soft breads during my strep throat were well-founded. I also ate out a lot this past week — probably because I was cooped-up in the house for 7 days. While I ate the best low-carb friendly foods on the menu, I always do better on the scale when I make my own meals.

It doesn’t help that I’m sore from resuming my lower body workouts. Sore muscles mean water retention. Hopefully I’ll lose the water by next week’s weigh-in along with a few pounds.

While I’m not happy about gaining weight, I’m not freaking out either. I had a great physical and am no longer taking my blood pressure medication. I know I’m on the right path. I just have to keep chugging along.

Weight Gain Excuse #4 – Too Busy To Eat

Peekabu's upset tummy added to my already way too long To-Do list. It's still no excuse for skipping breakfast.

Peekabu’s upset tummy added to my already way too long To-Do list. Being “too busy” is  no excuse for skipping breakfast. But it is a great way to gain weight!

Well this morning I fell into a very old weight gain habit – I got so busy this morning I forgot to eat breakfast. I’ve got a lot to do before we leave for the mountains of West Virginia tomorrow morning. Why didn’t I put “Eat Breakfast” on the list?

This morning I shot out of bed and immediately started on my to-do list. Less than a minute in, Peekabu, our Old English Sheep Dog, decided it’s the perfect time to get sick. Ugh!

Twenty minutes and a clean carpet later, I’m back in business.  Then our precious, evil overlord cat decided to flip over the dogs’ water bowl, spewing water all over my hardwood floor. Then he immediately began purring and rubbing against my leg looking for praise. Not going to happen this morning.

Five minutes later the floor’s dried and I’m back to my list. It’s after 10:00 a.m. – normally the time I eat my morning snack – that my headache hits and I realize what I forgot to do.

Slow Down, Eat
I started to reach for the first thing I saw – the trail mix for the hike. Just something quick to deal with my hunger and headache. Of course, the trail mix of peanuts, M&Ms and raisins is for my hike with full backpack in the mountains…during a full body workout over 3.8 miles. I don’t eat trail mix while I’m running errands.

Thankfully I snapped out of it and thought about what to eat. I settled on an Atkins breakfast bar and shake for my late breakfast (6 carbs and 10 PointsPlus total).

Yes, I’m backpacking tomorrow, but there is nothing on the list so important that justifies skipping breakfast. I jettisoned myself out of the busy lifestyle last year when I realized it contributed to my 100+ lbs. weight gain.

In those days, I never ate breakfast at home – I was in too much of a hurry to sit in rush hour traffic.  At the office, it was either one meeting after another or the crisis of the day to manage. I’d get so hungry that I shoved in my mouth what ever was convenient – chips, sodas, candy bars.

I jumped off the merry-go-round last year and this morning stepped back on because of a to-do list. I really don’t understand what is it about being so busy that eating that goes by the wayside?  All it does is make me hungrier and increase the risk that I grab the first thing I see and eat too much of it.

Do I really worry I’ll pack on the pounds because I forgot to eat breakfast this morning? No. But I know it’s a lot easier to fall back on bad habits than create new ones.  “Too busy to eat” is an excuse. Lord knows I was the queen of that weight gain excuse. I relinquished that crown last year and I don’t want it back.

Weekly Weigh In: April 20 (a.k.a., “What the hell is wrong with that scale?!?”)

April 20 weigh inI knew I would have to pay the piper for that visit to IHOP. Oh yes, I tried to put it off with all of my strength training and daily power walks. But today the piper was determined to collect.

This week I was up 1.4 lbs.

Let’s be honest. It’s not just my trip to IHOP. I also ate delicious Indian food…and some pizza…OK a lot of pizza. Not exactly low carb fare. I tapped into both my weekly PlusPoints allowance and activity points – and then some.

Yet, I’m not panicked or upset. In fact, I’m proud of myself. Not for going off program. I’m happy I was able to face the scale knowing what I ate.

I used to be afraid of the scale. If I blew my points for the week, I would just skip my Weight Watcher’s meeting. I just couldn’t face the scale. But I found out the hard way that if you skip once it gets easier to skip another meeting…and another. Soon, I’d no longer go to the meetings and I’d be packing on the pounds.

I no longer fear the scale because I understand that it wasn’t the scale that I was afraid of. It was the self-doubt that would creep in. I’d be down 25 lbs, go up 2 and start thinking I’m a failure. Didn’t matter that I lost way more than I gained. I couldn’t see past the current reading on the scale. In any other aspect of my life, if I got knocked down, I’d get back up, dust myself off and keep moving forward. But when it came to my weight I never could see the forest through the trees. I’d just throw myself a big ol’ pity party (with lots of ice cream).

Well those days are gone. Now I’m determined to step on to the scale every week. I know I’m human. I will not always make the right food choices. And that’s OK, provided I learn from my mistakes.

So what did I learn from this week? Besides IHOP, Indian food and lots of pizza in one week isn’t smart.

1. Woohoo I’m down 66.6 lbs.
2. The scale is not my enemy.
3. I’ll have a better weigh in if I continue stay on program.

That scale is going down next Saturday!