Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Joy of Sitting - Week 20

So this is what's for dinner at our house tonight: fresh and locally-grown white corn-on-the-cob, Spooner Farms strawberries, green beans, sliced tomatoes and (California) avocado. I'll add a touch of real butter to the steamed green beans and corn, and grinders of salt and pepper will be on the table. No meat, no potatoes or rice or bread, just in-season deliciousness. I can't wait! I hope my husband will be as excited as I am. :)

I'm here today to report on my Excellent Experiment, as I'm now into Week 20. I feel kind of sheepish. I have nothing new to report as far as the scale goes ... I have been holding strong at a -30 pounds, but haven't lost a fraction of a pound since early last month. It's kind of weird, actually. I've been exercising regularly (still running and have added climbing our local Mt. Peak for cross-training, as well as a little yoga), I'm carefully watching what I'm eating at mealtimes, but if I'm being totally honest here, I guess I've had my share of the following things lately: warm and gooey and right-out-of-the-oven Texas sheet cake, dipped ice cream cones, and (my favorite) homemade, whole-wheat dark chocolate chip cookies with pecans. I give full credit to the exercise and the eating well at mealtimes for maintaining my weight, and I give full credit to the Sugar Booger for my lack o' loss.

The neat thing (and the different thing) this time around is that I still feel full of hope and motivation to continue on down the weight-loss road. I know, with the Lord's help, that I am completely capable of reaching my goals. It is just a matter of combining what I've learned through my Experiment so far with the other lessons that wait for me around the bend.

Someone asked me the other day what my best tips are for losing weight. I have thought a lot about this, and have narrowed it down to five tried-and-true basics that served as the backbone of my efforts:

1. Elimination of as many refined sugars (and other foods) from diet as possible;
2. Drink 64 ounces of water, or more, per day;
3. Exercise at least four days per week, at whatever level is a bit of a stretch;
4. Weigh every morning -- "knowledge is power";
5. (MOST IMPORTANT BY FAR) Daily spiritual preparation: following morning prayer, planning on paper what meals and exercise will look like for the day. Pray for and then expect the guidance of the Holy Ghost at each difficult moment that arises. Report back to Heavenly Father at evening prayer, and express gratitude for His help. Repeat the next morning.

Even though my total weight loss goal is only half-achieved so far, there are these wonderful little moments of pure joy that continue to catch me by surprise. They are moments where it is made very clear to my mind and my heart how truly far I have come. Let me share my two most recent little bursts of happiness with you ... they both have to do with sitting. Yep, sitting. Who knew there was any big deal about sitting??!

#1 Moment of Pure Joy: Last week, while my daughter was practicing with her soccer team on the turf, I spontaneously took a couple of mile-laps around the park. I hadn't gotten my run in that morning, and because I had thrown on my running shoes on my way out the door, the opportunity presented itself and I was ready.

As I took a cool-down walk around my daughter's field, I ended up on the shady hill behind the far goal. As I sat my sweaty self down on that hill, my mind was instantly and vividly taken back to the memory of myself attempting to sit down on that same hill two summers ago. I was in the clutches of the beginnings of rheumatoid arthritis, and I could barely get my body down to the ground. I became very aware of others around me, the fact that I had a skirt on, and the obvious difficulty my large, arthritic body was having lowering itself to simply sit on the grass. I remember wanting to cry, and feeling like a woman old far before her time.

But this time! After that great, unplanned run, there I was again on the same hill, plopping down gingerly like an normal person. I saw in that moment how very far I had come, and how much healthier all-around I am now. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

#2 Moment of Pure Joy: On Monday at noon, my husband and I found a little coveted spot on Cole Street, in the crowds of red/white/blue-dressed folks, from which to watch the hometown Fourth of July parade. My husband had slung some old beach chairs over his shoulder, and as he set them up for us on the sidewalk, I thought, "I hate those chairs". You see, they sit just about six inches from the ground, and they were always awkward for a bigger person like me to maneuver down into.

Well, that was my FORMER SELF hating on the chairs, 'cause my NEW AND IMPROVED SELF gracefully settled in to that baby. No biggie! When my mind made the connection between that smile-inducing moment and the one on the soccer hill, I just chuckled and shook my head: hard to believe that sitting down easily can make one feel so darn good.

I have learned so much lately in this journey, this Experiment of mine. Here are a few random thoughts offered up in the hopes that something here will help someone out there (maybe you?) in blog-land:

**I recently decided to get rid of all the clothes I own that are now too big. I have heard of people keeping a closet of clothes in various sizes, so just in case the weight-loss doesn't stick, they'll have their old things to wear. I have been guilty of this, too, but realized that this sends a powerful subliminal message to my brain, which doubts my resolve and my changed life. So, as clothes have become too big, I've donated them to Goodwill. Outta here, just like that. This has made for a very sparse wardrobe: right now I just have one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, and a couple pair of capris. I do have plenty of exercise clothes, though, and I'm finding that I mainly live in these during the day.

**The exception to the above point is my small collection of nice summer skirts that I wear to church. I decided to have them altered to fit my new self, because I loved them: the beautiful floral prints make me happy, they are lined and good quality, and I decided to wait to buy new Sunday clothes until I am closer to my final weight goal. I bought some inexpensive colored T-shirts at Target and a couple of good white shirts ... combined with a few great necklaces and some new flats and wedges, I'm good to go for summer Sundays.

**I have a list of "clothes to look for" when I'm out shopping, but being that I live so far out in the boonies, real shopping trips are few and far between. I have found that some of my clothes actually fit me properly now, rather than bursting at the seams or at the buttons like they used to. It almost feels like a new outfit when the jeans actually now look somewhat flattering or the shirt no longer pulls across the bosomous area!

**May I just confess right here that it is wonderful knowing that I can wear things in the regular-sized women's department now. Years of slumping over to the plus-sized section reeked havoc on my self-esteem. It's a mini-party in the dressing room each time I try on a size large that fits, rather than the old go-tos, XL or 2X. I'm all about simple pleasures ...

**If you are feeling dowdy like I was, may I suggest going to get a good haircut, and maybe even some highlights for summer?? I had been trying to grown my hair out (I forgot why), and was so proud of the fact that my hair had been its natural color for the last couple of years. But, I finally couldn't handle the total lack of style topping my head, and one day nearly flew into Janice's hair chair for a pick-me-up. She didn't disappoint ... having a good haircut and (for me) a little color has made me feel terrific.

**We have a new motto in our kitchen: "Bake and Give". Because we really do love to bake an occasional treat, we will do so on the agreement that we'll each have a serving of cake or cookies, then we'll divide the rest onto pretty plates with ribbon and deliver them to whomever comes to mind. Quickly. It has become really fun to surprise our neighbors with plates of warm goodies, because after all, who doesn't just love to be on the receiving end of that?? Then, we've gotten our "sweet fix" in an appropriate serving size, the balance has disappeared from our kitchen, and we're provided with an easy way to be friendly to our neighbors. Win-win!

I hope that your first week of July is as gorgeous as ours is here in the Seattle area. We PNWers know that we need to "seize the day" when it is presented so beautifully ... rain always seems to be around the next corner! But for now, sunshine is ours. We are climbing Mt. Peak with the youth from our ward tonight, so I'll prepare our simple, fresh dinner now, change into climbin' clothes, and go enjoy being with some of the most fabulous young people I know.

Happy week, all! I'll be back soon with the promised thoughts on homemaking.


  1. I still love your thoughts and they inspire me. But right now I think I would enjoy that recipe for the wonderful whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with pecans. :) Please keep sharing your thoughts.

  2. I love baking too, but Nate doesnt let me because he hates having the stuff around. Maybe we should try your motto of bake and share :)