Sunday, September 29, 2013

Danger: Success + Exhaustion + No Food = Three Brownies

Post Number: 27
Days of Tracking: 1/2
Days of Points Calculated: 1/2

The variables -
     Success: Weight loss for two weeks
     Exhaustion: Pushing hard through many responsibilities with time limits, late nights and early mornings
     No Food: First food of the day was at 3:00 pm.

The setting - Finally home after a long day so far. Kids all together in the upstairs bedroom. Fresh brownies on the stove

Result - Three brownies, scarfed with much pleasure. My sincere gratitude to Asian Red fox for the kid-less kitchen and fresh brownies. From now own, brownies get baked after a meal, not before.

I may have the points to be able to eat three brownies, but it was a poor choice. I need to have ready-to-go zero point snacks (most fresh fruits and veggies are zero points). In the end, what matters most is that I acknowledge the responsibility for this mistake, skip the self-flagellation (it takes too much effort amid my current exhaustion anyway), and make the mental changes to adjust my decision making process in the right direction right this minute to put an end to the poor choices.

And I need to slow down. A seminal moment occurred in my day today that I hope will become a seminal moment in this stressful transition and prepare me for future transitions. For my church, I teach older teenagers. After class, one of the fathers of my students insisted on shaking my hand. He complimented me on my teaching effort on behalf of his son because our gospel doctrine topics discussed in class had led to discussions at home. What made it a seminal moment is that I had intended to thank him and move on. I had my own stresses to deal with that were foremost in my thoughts. But I stopped and paid much more attention to him once I realized that this was not a short compliment. I paused, took a breath, and paid attention. I did thank him. It is the sort of compliment a teacher wants to hear. It was wonderful to know that I had produced an interest in the topics I was teaching that lasted beyond the class. Had I been appreciative of the moment and the good being done on my behalf, I would have willingly waited and accepted the entire compliment from the beginning. And I hope to recognize the good surrounding me with greater appreciation for the joys that abound in my life.

Yours in the joyful life that is made for each one of us,


P.S.: For the hard-core athletes that may be reading this that are burning off calories in large quantities, I just realized something. Asian Red Fox figured out a way to burn off 3840 calories in 18 minutes. That's 213 calories per minute, or one Oreo cookie every minute. How'd she do it? We bought several Papa Murphy's pizzas a couple weeks ago and she burned the first one. It was a Gourmet Chicken Garlic.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

*CLUNK* : The sound of my jaw dropping (Evaluation: Week 5)

Last Weigh In: Saturday, 28 September 2013
Weight Information -
      Weight: 444.4 lbs
      Weight Change This Week: -6.8 lbs
      Weight Change To Date: -8.8 lbs
      Weight Gauge: *CLUNK* (See today's title)

Current Goals -
     Number Goal: 430 lbs
     Distance to Goal: 14.4 lbs
     Feel Good Goal: Not freak out over work to get out of house
     Distance to Goal:
          A little closer since the deadline was extended to October 31, 2013
          A little farther because we have yet to hear back on any rental applications
          Net Result: Feeling better about getting things done
     The Y: Go to the Y two times next week.
     Distance to Goal: It's on the calendar and MBWM will be taking a class while I swim.
     Weight Watchers:
          Use the paper tracker every day this week including calcualting points
          Make a meal plan with the PPV's worked out for two days
          Use 56 for my daily points target
          Avoid using the 49 weekly points. Daily points have 15 left over. That's 105 per week.
          Attend at least two Regular meetings this week, most likely Thursday and Saturday
     Distance to Goal: This is gonna be a great week
     Overeaters Anonymous: Attend two meetings this week
     Distance to Goal: Made 1 last week. I will make two this week.

There was much joy in Mudville today. I did not strike out. I expressed the common consent of reason yesterday when I expected to gain weight. Now I am in awe. I am charged. I will listen to my body's expressions of fullness. I will choose wisely the nutritious points. I will enjoy the food prepared for my sustenance. This willingness to charge forward is the reward that comes from having stuck to things this far. I will reward myself with non-caloric options. I may still stress in the days ahead, but I now know, by the confirmation of experience, that I can survive stress, choose well, and lose weight.

I have found the way (IV) for this last week: 
There is a poem that we use in the house, usually in reference to chores, that I think applies to this situation:
Stick to the task 'till it sticks to you,
Beginners are many but enders are few.
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will come in time to the one who stays. 
Stick to the task 'till it sticks to you,
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too.
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile,
Will come life's victory after awhile.
I have seized the road (CU) for the most part for this last week:
In this case, while I have not been as thorough as I could have been, I have been mindful for my tasks when losing weight. Looking towards the feeling of being full. Mentally measuring points, even if I don't calculate them exactly and record them. 

As for enjoying the journey (FI) for this last week:
I have only enjoyed the success at the end. Sometimes, the destination, not the journey, provides the enjoyment. Biking a steep hill, for example, is a chore that finds me joyful only in the conquering of the hill. I'll admit, for most of this week, I was whipping myself mentally for the lack of thorough follow though by calculating and tracking my points.

Post Number: 26
Days of Tracking: 1/1
Days of Points Calculated: 1/1

Good Idea: Avoid BLT's - Bites, Licks, and Tastes.
Explanation: Robin, our Weight Watchers leader said she watched a documentary that followed a woman (wife and mother) as she went through her day. She was tracking her calories and not a part of Weight Watchers. They calculated her calories she hadn't tracked from her bites, licks and tastes. They ended up totaling 3600 calories. That is the equivalent of one pound of weight. I mentioned that I have an apron that reads, "Never trust a skinny cook." But they end up that way because of the BLT's.

How 'bout that? My weight is all 4's. I look forward to reaching all 3's. And then all 2's. And then I shall be truly able to literally jump for joy. But that is the long-range goals. This week, it is simple. (The KISS technique - Keep It Simple, Sweetie.) Simple goals. Simple actions. Simple joys. I feel a song coming on:
Simple Gifts
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
     'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
     'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
     To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
     Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
But above all, I need to take to heart, take to task, and take to the mountain tops of my challenges this week, the theme of the poem, Stick to the Task. I need to be persistent, determined, and most especially focused. And continuing the idea of persistence described in the Stick to the Task poem, I add the words of determination and the pictures focus found in the Zen Pencils comic, Press On.

But the time is late and tomorrow is the most important day of the week.

Yours in the bubbly excitement of success,


Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrow; it empties today of it's strength. - Corrie ten Boom

Now, if I could believe this and live this fully, my life would become a merging of simplicity and persistence.

Point of Trivia: President Abraham Lincoln started the Secret Service on the day he was assassinated.

Weight Watchers, Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tracking helps you to lose weight, maintain weight loss, and get valuable feedback about eating patterns.

How did your lunch choices impact you this week? (Learned that this is this month's theme)
  • Lets me know what I have available in points for dinner
  • Planning gives options for tomorrow
  • Deciding is the hardest part
  • Good Health Guidelines met (Need to learn how this works within Weight Watchers. This gets back to my comments about picking foods whose point value provides the most nutrition.)
  • Good Health Guideline example: 2 teaspoons of healthy oils, such as olive, flax, canola, ...
  • Do not discount lunch
Passed around a 5 pound weight. Visualize the heft of weight loss. Visualize success.

Imagine: A camera crew secretly filmed you. 24 hours a day. Every day. For the last 12 weeks. For a documentary on food choices. Title: You are what you eat

Would your film be?
  • An Inspiring Success Story
  • A Cautionary Tale
  • A Comedy
  • Something Else
  • Comedy - especially when eating out
  • Dromedy - Choose between the fiber breakfast cereal and frosted sugar cocoa bombs. Pick the cocoa bombs. Audience is yelling, "Don't eat that" (That was MBWM's comment)
  • Mystery - The clues are there, but don't figure it out
  • Horror film
How is your tracker like your documentary on food choices?
  • It's fiction
  • It shows what I've eaten
  • What does it teach you about how, why and when you eat, and how these factors influence your choices?
  • Not just a food plan
  • Look for power foods
  • Track everything eaten (see poem below)
  • Losing weight, you're within points
  • Don't lose focus, always track, attend meetings, or weight will come back because old habits return
  • Facing a decision (like a bear claw), I don't want it. It's not worth it. 
  • Don't start with a bad decision. Once you start, one is not enough
What are you 100% committed to doing this week?
  • Pick something reasonable
  • Pick something you can do that is something you will do

If you snack it, you track it;
If you bite it, you write it;
If you nibble, you scribble;
If you take it internal, you journal;
If you drink it, you link it;
And if you hog it, you log it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Time Flies When You're . . .

Post Number: 25
Days of Tracking: 3/7
Days of Points Calculated: 3/7

The time has flown swiftly, like the book that enthralls for hours in spite of its deep or melancholic or meaningful content. If I should have success at tomorrow's weigh in, it shall be because I have learned to recognize three things at this stage:

  1. When I should be full, even if I'm not,
  2. How much to serve myself, even if it still appears small, and
  3. How many points things are likely to be worth
And while I consider these a success, I fear the weigh in tomorrow morning. I am by no means of expert or even intermediate standing, yet, when it comes to the finesse necessary for continued successful weight loss. But I do know that I have made some only-slightly-better-than-horrible decisions. While I did cut back on quantity, I fear tomorrow's weigh in because of the frequent poor choices in type of food and in not tracking. The poor choices come from giving in to emotional or stress eating. The lacking of the tracking comes from the mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. I'm trying to meet many demands, starting with my health. But numerous stressful demands prey upon me, such as the paperwork demands on MBWM forced me into tracking down documents and other needed information. Next thing we know, midnight has come and gone. And then add in the confluence of poor home design and childish habits. Right out our bedroom door is our parlor, where the kids play in the morning. They start out quiet, not wanting to wake Mom and Dad. But that lasts until the first instance of one of the kids disagreeing with another. Those of you parents out there with three or more kids: How long until that first disagreement starts?

So, with these excuses and hopes all piled up, what do I predict now what will happen tomorrow? I am going to predict a weight gain. Weight comes on easier than it comes off. And ultimately, I do not know how well I ate in relation to my points. And that will be the ultimate killer of success.

If you have been following along, I will now post my notes from my last Weight Watchers meeting. A reinforcement that will do me well.

Yours in the joy of basking in the glow of my family's love, ever cheering me onward even in their diverted attention,


P.S.: Lately, my workout consists of exercising poor judgement.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Give me a Yee! Give me a Haa! What does that spell?

Post Number: 24
Days of Tracking: 1/2
Days of Points Calculated: 1/2

I pushed through the bad ideas of yesterday and was ready to face a new day. I managed to make a series of excellent decisions until snicker doodles and brownies were placed in front of me. Fresh from the oven goodies. Now, I had plenty of points. But I still think I could have eaten less. I have been pondering two things in my weight loss today.

First of all, picking food of better nutrition for the same points. This was my primary concern at dinner. We had a favorite Chicken Taco Salad. Most of it is zero points (spinach, romaine, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions). We left out the grated cheese and tortilla chips because we were out of them. We also use corn, black beans, and grilled chicken. These aren't too high in points. The dressing is made from one part ranch to two parts salsa blended smooth in the blender. We enjoy this salad enough that we dedicated an old maple syrup bottle for the dressing. For the most part, it is wonderfully low in points, especially without the cheese. Knowing there were desserts on the way, I was grateful I had LOTS of points left. But I think I would have been better served scarfing tortilla chips for the points. More filling. Or layering more corn or beans on the salad. As it is, I'm not too worried. I have the week ahead of me to make much better decisions. We shall see how the stress and eating plays out.

Second, I remembered a goal that I hadn't written down yet. I have a very long belt. Even at my 64 inch girth, there is a foot or more of play  beyond the buckle while I'm wearing it. I want to see, if I lose enough weight, can I get the belt to wrap around me twice. That would be incredibly awesome! That would get a Yee-Haa outta me!

Well Horse and S-animal are heading home tomorrow. I'll be getting back to them.

Yours in the enjoyment of the good food,


P.S.: The only workout I got this weekend was exercising poor judgement.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Whoa! Who? Really? (Evaluation: Week 4)

Last Weigh In: Saturday, 121 September 2013
Weight Information -
      Weight: 451.2 lbs
      Weight Change This Week: -7.8 lbs
      Weight Change To Date: -2.0 lbs
      Weight Gauge: Whoa! Who? Really?

Current Goals -
     Number Goal: 430 lbs
     Distance to Goal: 21.2 lbs
     Feel Good Goal: Not freak out over work to get out of house
     Distance to Goal: Million miles
     The Y: Go to the Y two times next week.
     Distance to Goal: Half a million miles. Did not make it even once this week.
     Weight Watchers:
          Use the paper tracker every day this week including calcualting points
          Make a meal plan with the PPV's worked out for two weeks
          Use 56 for my daily points
          Avoid using 49 weekly points. Daily points have 15 available. That's 105 per week.
          Attend at least two Regular meetings this week, most likely Friday and Saturday
     Distance to Goal:
          Paper tracker used 5 of 7 days. Points calculated 5 day.
          Starting to get over annoyance of missing eTools.
          Dealing with the annoyance of having to calculate my own points.
          MBWM created an Excel version. I'll refine for use with phone.
          Meal planning during Family Council. I'll work out PPV's.
     Overeaters Anonymous: Attend two meetings this week

     Distance to Goal: Reached one meeting. Need to reach two.

This week was a shocker, but for the opposite reasons as last week. I lost 7.8 pounds. Wait? How many? I have no idea what is going on. On Thursday, I ate the Olive Garden. Granted, I ate the meal for lunch and dinner. But Friday, I did a little emotional eating. Hard to deal with the sudden, unexpected notice to vacate the premises. But the good news is that I did hold to point tracking and calculating for 5 days and met my goal of keeping 15 points available at the end of the day for those 5 days. Maybe there is a small mental change that allowed for me to think I was overeating (and I most certainly did) but I may not have overeaten as much as I would have in the past. Basically, I'm grasping at straws. 7.8 pounds? Wait? How many?

This has been the most enjoyable week in the journey because of those numbers. More than the 7.8 pounds, I am excited by the Weight Change To Date being a negative number! Negative! As is going down! I may have found the way. That is a success that must be built upon (seized). And with a little hopeful charge of excitement, I can push through and make good decision. Well, good decisions starting tomorrow. Two birthdays were celebrated today. I enjoyed the food and the cake. MBWM made an incredible decision and brought home pieces of cake from Fred Meyers rather than buying an individual cake. That way, the birthday kids were able to pick the cake each one wanted. And there was no birthday cake left over. Yeah! 

Post Number: 23
Days of Tracking: 0/1
Days of Points Calculated: 0/1

Today was lots of fun. Horse brought her beau up. Sea horse? (To go with horse.) Shrimp? (Because he isn't.) I know! Squirrel! I was able to make a breakfast for them. Then they headed off so I had a bit of a break, which I used to e-mail my father and work on resume ideas. And, in incredible news, the grandparents have a new home. I am feeling additional hope, finally, for getting out of the current situation.

Exhaustion abounds, the siren call of my bed lures me away from the shoals and out into the depths of sleep.

Yours in the joyful experience,


P.S.: A teacher is someone that talks in our sleep. - Alfred E Newman

Weight Watchers, Saturday, 9/21/2013
Know what you're having for lunch? (With this repeated so often, is lunch the most likely meal to fail? Not me, the later in the day, the more likely I am to fail.)

What do you know now that you didn't know a week ago? How strongly do you now believe you can succeed? Belief meter - invincible, strong, stead, building, fair

How does your week go when you believe in yourself?

  • Great to hear other's successes
  • Invincible -
    • Determined
    • Full of myself, in a good way
    • Talk the talk
    • Don't skip a meeting (Or in my case, attend two meetings every week)
  • Accomplish anything I set my mind to, Weight Watchers and other things
  • Meetings set focus
How much of the year account for weekends / holidays? One-third of food decisions are made on weekends

How are your food decisions different on weekend?
  • More relaxed, less structure
  • Special breakfast days
How does this impact your weight loss?
  • Free day
  • Go a little overboard
  • Worked hard all weekend, time to make up for it
  • Indulge, but in small quantities
  • Permission day
Which weekend situations make you want to hit one of these button? Pause, Panic, Off
  • Forget to eat, make split second decisions
  • Football
  • Family
  • Cooking
  • Buttons:
    • Pause, then Panic
    • Off, but still off on Sunday
  • After, feel deprived, guilty
  • Everything that hinders you is there on the weekend
  • All bad or all good! Need to pause to stay good.
  • Portion it out
  • Do I have this and feel good? Or do I eat that and feel guilty?
  • Stop before you life the fork
  • Okay to say "No" to myself like I tell the kids "No" for their best benefit (MBWM said this one! Yeah! Honey!)
  • I may have to eat those words, but they are zero points
  • Eat healthy prior to attending events at places that serve food
  • Online solution: 
    • eTools --> Spaces --> Planned
    • eTools --> Spaces --> Panic --> Example: Only fried foods? Pick bigger foods. Smaller percent of fried-ness
When you've had a bad meal, day, weekend, ..., what do you do?
  • Write it down anyway
  • Run
  • Track even at a party
Avoid bad decisions: 
  • Planning / Planning / Planning
  • Use portable foods
  • Be accountable
What is the secret to enjoying both your weekends and your weigh-ins?
  • Pre-track when you eat out
  • Come to meetings
Pick one step to have a better weekend and focus on it

What little step forward are you inspired to take this week?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Post Number: 22
Days of Tracking: 5/6
Days of Points Calculated: 5/6

Arrr... The food be bountiful at the Garden of Olives. Makes one slow in thought and deed, it does. Feasting as comes over you in such a place makes the mark of sloth come upon me. I failed at me post. But soon, there be new horizons for the likes of them that face the burden and yell once again in the charge of the war cry to beat back the black-hearted felons that keep me from me treasure and booty.

In other words... My Mom generously took my entire family out to the Olive Garden. The food lasted for two meals. That was nice. But I didn't write down my reasonable breakfast. And after the incredible pumpkin cheesecake, I'm going to chalk up today as a pass and start over tomorrow. There is work to meet the goals I have assigned myself. And to succeed I must perform the internal feat of overcoming those inclinations of mine that keep me from my success.

Yours in the juxtaposed joys of sweet shortness in failure and the shortness of sweet success, ever pushing-pulling us through the next venture,


P.S.: Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! A couple of search results for you:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stress upon Stress

Post Number: 21
Days of Tracking: 5/5
Days of Points Calculated: 5/5

Reminder: Tomorrow is "Talk Like A Pirate Day!Get your R's ready.

I am asserting rigorous effort to retain a positive attitude. Laugh in the onslaught of danger. Smile in the face of fear. March through the bogs of depression. But I have to ask the universe: Do I really need that much practice?

The consequence of the inspection is that we have received our 30 day eviction notice. We cannot seem to catch a break. But I have managed to keep tracking and calculating, though the PB&J was most certainly a high-point comfort food.

The frozen meal experience has been wonderfully enlightening. At this time, there are two key lessons. The first is that portion sizes are quite small. If you are eyeballing a portion size, make it small. And then remove some of the food to make it even smaller. Then you have a portion size. Large muffins, for example, are easily two or three servings. The second is that this light frozen meal technique is not the best short-cut out there. Too often, the small meal is still high in points. We had Orange Zest Chicken by Healthy Choice. It was 8 points for maybe a cup and a half of food. It was yummy and very high in points. The high points comes from 52 grams of carbohydrates. The large quantity of carbohydrates comes from exceptionally sweet orange sauce and high percentage of white rice. This makes the lesson that, if you are going to use frozen meals, read the labels with caution and select intelligently.

And with a heavy sigh, I remind myself, again, that the scriptures do not say, And it came to stay. They say, instead, And it came to pass. And I know, that this, too, shall pass.

Yours in the opportunity to dig deep to bring joy to the surface,


P.S.: When all has been said and done, can I take a nap?

P.P.S.: Ahoy! Ye have need, me fine heeled land lubber, of paying special heed to how ye be a-talkin' like one of me hearties. Avast! The bung be free and the courage be pourin' down our throats like Davy Jones be walkin' aboard this very night. So best ye be talkin' aright, right here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stresses and Research

Post Number: 20
Days of Tracking: 4/4
Days of Points Calculated: 4/4

WARNING: Long post. You might want to take it in stages.

We survived the inspection of the property. Not sure what the consequences are. We shall see. Hopefully, life will continue as is so I can clear a few of these stresses out of my life. Never mind that I was informed of a new stress today. One that will involve more of MBWM's time, energy, effort, and skills. And the more that MBWM is expending her energy, the less she has available for the family, and the extremely less she has for herself. And the more likely she is to work herself into a state of exhaustion. I've been trying to give her time down, but it rarely happens. As near as I can determine, the only way she gets down time is if she leaves by herself. If I leave one person, kid or grandparent here, her attention will be required.

So, to help her out, I try to make sure I am helping where I can. We started the frozen meal experiment at lunch today. With the inspection hanging over our heads, we chose the quicker avenue of cold cereal. But for our next meal, we launched the experiment at lunch. We chose Michelina's Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli. It has 250 mg of sodium. It costs 7 points. To extend the food a little, we added about 2 cups of our own broccoli and 1 cup of cauliflower. We also added 1 can of chicken, which has 320 mg of sodium and costs 1 point per person. In order to speed up the cooking process, I ended up mixing the partially cooked meal, the veggies, and chicken into one bowl. This did defeat the purpose of becoming familiar with a single serving. Which I realized (and was reminded by Asian Red Fox and MBWM) right after I had mixed all the food together. It was amazing how much food was available. MBWM ate her fill which was probably about a cup and a half. I first ate a salad (spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery {0 points to here}, ranch dressing {6 points}, and cottage cheese {2 points}). I served about 2 cups of the main dish. It was easily less than one-third of the food available in the serving bowl. Asian Red Fox ate the remaining food in two helpings. I know MBWM and I were full. I still consider this a success since I was full after an enjoyable meal that cost 16 points.

16 points would be about half my available points at my goal weight. But I am starting to see the changes in my thinking. I want to preserve 15 points every day as unused. So I pick the points I use with more care. And when I want something rather disastrous (Like an onion kaiser roll, toasted, with margarine), I have been cutting it in half. Or a bag of M&M's, I eat it in smaller stages so I can eat it over the course of an hour or more. Now, that I have seen this success, now comes the stickin' it out, the keep on keepin' on. It is still early in the mind-altering, lifestyle-changing process, but that's okay.

A few minutes ago, little Quail gave a cute, "He heeee." MBWM said, "Life is better with gummy bears." Yes, yes it is.

I received a fun and educational link from MBWM: Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

Starting with the above article, I went through another series of links with the ease ever present on the Internet. Following along in my interest in weight loss and bettering my life, I came across these articles (in order):

  • The Habits Of Supremely Happy People
    • This is an extensive list. Not short at all. Quite a few good ideas.
    • Built into it indirectly is one of my favorite quotes, "Fake it 'til you make it." Some times I push through the times I don't want to be doin' what I'm supposed to be doin'. I fake it until I make it. And before I know it, I am feeling honestly what I have been faking.
    • The habits compliment each other and can be implemented in any orders or combination.
    • A Line I Noted Well (My favorite three headers from the article):
      • They surround themselves with other happy people.
      • They make a point to listen. 
      • They get spiritual.
    • It was quite difficult to only pick three. The complete list is under the P.S. Which three would you pick? It won't be easy.
  • Why Weight Loss Depends on Your Faith
    • This attracted my attention because discussions of faith are interesting to me. This one is based more on what you believe about yourself, rather than your spiritual beliefs.
    • Since I want to research self-hypnosis (as an outcome of my free visit to Positive Changes), the section Beliefs are like a live-in hypnotist was of particular interest.
    • A Line I Noted Well: There are a lot of pieces of the weight loss puzzle and you'll need them all in place to make it work. But your faith is a big piece of the puzzle. [...] Having the right faith will open the door to them and set you on the path to their fulfillment.
  • Wisdom From the Dalai Lama: 'Keep Working on It'
    • Quite a bit of good information that fits well with my LDS faith. We believe that the trial process that is one part of this life. This is something that allows us to learn adn grow throughout this life. We will never be perfect in this life. All sentiments similar to what the Dalai Lama had to offer.
    • A Line I Noted Well: Instead of a pithy prescription that we could all record or post on our status or tweet out, what we got was acknowledgment that every day, every minute, we make a choice about whether to try to be happy or not. Choosing happiness means cultivating your compassion, your generosity, your concern for others and continuously trying to push those ahead of the negative thoughts that wander into all of our lives and constantly push into our heads.
  • There Are So Many Kinds Of Yoga. This Chart Can Help.
    • First, it's a fun chart.
    • Second, Yoga has many amazing benefits. This sparked by interest.
    • A Line I Noted Well: Selecting Yes to the Start Here question leads to the question -
      Are you overwhelmed by this chart?
      By the way, if you select Yes on the above question, it takes you straight to Hatha Yoga
    • A Line I Noted Well: There is a question near the bottom center that says -
      Do you like to go with the flow?
      If you answer No, the chart takes you to Try Pilates
  • Healthy Lifestyle Changes Might Reverse Cell Aging, Study Suggests
    • Lots of neat science, but the results are in the first paragraph (quoted below)
    • A Line I Noted Well: Eat whole foods. Exercise. Meditate. Rely on supportive family and friends. All of these things have been linked, whether independently or together, with better health. And now, a new study shows it's never too late to start reaping the benefits of changing to healthy lifestyle -- and that those changes could even reverse cell aging.

It has become the time to make the dinner. Fortunately, I have assistance from MBWM's purchases (frozen stir fry peppers for our rice dish and the frozen meals), Asian Red Fox (she's cooking the fish and green beans), and happenstance (there is leftover rice from hay stacks a couple nights ago). I am off (my rocker) and into the kitchen.

Thanks again for reading up. I cannot believe how much I wrote today. But then again, I do enjoy writing. And I'm still amazed at the 200+ page views.

Yours in the crazy, joyful insanity of doin' somethin' you enjoy,


Borrowed from MBWM: My doctor asked if any members of my family suffered from insanity. I said, "Nope, we all seem to enjoy it."

Borrowed from Asian Red Fox: Cross the Road They Said...

The headers from The Habits Of Supremely Happy People

  • They surround themselves with other happy people.
  • They smile when they mean it.
  • They cultivate resilience.
  • They try to be happy. 
  • They are mindful of the good.
  • They appreciate simple pleasures.
  • They devote some of their time to giving.
  • They let themselves lose track of time. (And sometimes they can’t help it.)
  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversation. 
  • They spend money on other people. 
  • They make a point to listen. 
  • They uphold in-person connections.
  • They look on the bright side.
  • They value a good mixtape.
  • They unplug. 
  • They get spiritual.
  • They make exercise a priority.
  • They go outside.
  • They spend some time on the pillow.
  • They LOL.
  • They walk the walk.
Can you pick your favorite three?

Monday, September 16, 2013

AAAAAAaaaaaargh!! (Evaluation of Week 3)

Last Weigh In: Saturday, 14 September 2013
Weight Information -
      Weight: 459.0 lbs
      Weight Change This Week: +4.4 lbs
      Weight Change To Date: +5.8 lbs
      Weight Gauge: *Heavier*Sigh*

Current Goals -
     Number Goal: 430 lbs
     Distance to Goal: 29.0 lbs
     Feel Good Goal: Set aside time to relax and follow through
     Distance to Goal: I've learned that there's a difference between planning
          and implementation.
     The Y: Go to the Y three time next week.
     Distance to Goal: Reached the Y once, did two laps, recovered for three days.
          Need to reach twice this week.
     Weight Watchers:
          Use the paper tracker every day this week including calcualting points
          Make a meal plan with the PPV's worked out for two weeks
          Attend at least two Regular meeting this week, most likely Friday and Saturday
     Distance to Goal:
          Paper tracker used 6 of 7 days. Points calculated 1 day.
          Starting to get over annoyance of missing eTools.
          Dealing with the annoyance of having to calculate my own points.
          MBWM created an Excel version. I'll refine for use with phone.
          Meal planning during Family Council. I'll work out PPV's.
          Two days of frozen meals arranged.
          Only made one day.
     Overeaters Anonymous: Attend two meetings this week
     Distance to Goal: Reached one meeting. Need to reach two.

This week was something of a shocker. I expected to loose only a little weight. After all, I'd only been awful one day and used up all my points on another day. And while I might be able to explain 1 pound because I was wearing my jeans to the weigh in instead of the light polyester pants I usually wear. But the other 4 and a half pounds? That was very disheartening. So I am being more vigilant in my point tracking. I am making better selections. So far this week, I have not used any of my weekly points that are available. And today, I have 15 points left that I am not going to use. I think that will be my new personal goal.

IVCUFI time:
I will keep working the work. I have plans in place (frozen meals and/or Kimkins while on Weight Watchers) once finances allow. I am doing the mental work to become comfortable and familiar with the point system. It just needs to happen. And once it does, I will lose weight. That is what I need to look forward to.

  • Pillage the time necessary to be able to relax
  • Two Weight Watchers meetings
  • Two Overeaters Anonymous meetings
  • Read the Weekly
  • Two times to the Y, once for laps
  • Record all food
  • Calculate points for all food (plus Sodium. I have been tracking sodium to keep it below 1500 mg)
  • To have 15 (or more) points left at the end of at least 3 days each week
  • Retrain the brain by spending two days on the frozen light meals program

Post Number: 19
Days of Tracking: 3/3
Days of Points Calculated: 3/3

First off: Passed 200 page views! WOW!!! Thank you for reading! I'm am still all a-twitter. And I don't even have a Twitter account.

Rough day. Plenty of work already lined up and then a nasty surprise hand delivered to the door. Property inspection. And I have a group of home schoolers that I teach science today, so I'm rather busy with my preparations. Preparations that came to a quick, if not immediate, halt. The back-story: About 2 months ago, I started de-junking the house. First step, move much of sewing room into play room. House is a mess that lends itself to additional chaos. Then my in-laws move in. My house becomes a disaster. I start working to defeat the disaster for a couple days. And barely into it, WHAMMM! ZZWAP! (to borrow from the old Batman TV show), property inspection in 24 hours. So we worked hard, and things went well until MBWM and I left. Then things became worse in the front room. I made dinner. Then sent everyone to bed to start again on the worst of the worst in the morning.

Only food splurge today: McDouble. That gets a *pat*pat*pat* on the back.

I'm looking forward to trying out the light frozen meals program Tuesday and Wednesday. I am sure it will be educational for all concerned. At first we were very concerned about the finances. We calculated $3 per meal for three people (MBWM, Asian Red Fox, and me), for 3 meals a day for 30 days is $810. We were pleasantly surprised when the prices ranged from $0.88 per meal to $2.58 per meal with the occasional one more than $3. We also enjoyed the abundance of options. One of the ones I am looking forward to is a salad topper: meat, veggies, toppings, and dressing. Just add lettuce. Or in our case, spinach. Plus, we can watch for sales and use coupons. We like the idea of taking one month to re-train ourselves on what a single portion is. But the cost thing rears its ugly head. I am hoping the $0.88 per meal items are exceptionally yummy, relatively low in points, and very low in sodium. If so, then just using them would be $247.60. But in reality, to avoid boredom, the range would be from $250 to $700. We shall see.

It's getting much too late for the very early morning I have tomorrow.

Yours in the joy of pushing forward,


To borrow from what is usually attributed to Blaise Pascal: "I'm sorry I wrote you a long letter. I didn't have time to write a shorter one."

Weight Watchers, Saturday 9/14/2013
You can succeed. How strongly do you believe this to be true?

  • Invincible
  • Strong
  • Steady
  • Building
  • Fair

(There is no option for not believing at all)

What weakens your certainty?

How are you invincible?

  • I have to do it.
  • I have to keep it off
  • I love to eat, if I can do it, anyone can do it (That was actually something of a downer to me to hear given my weigh in that day.)
  • Strong, heading to Invincible

Why does belief matter?

  • Brain is powerful (Look at the placebo or nocebo effect)
  • Whether you believe you can or can't, you're right (Borrowed from Henry Ford.)
  • No reason to even try if you don't believe it
  • People put energy into what they believe
  • All in
  • Believe it and it will happen
  • Beliefs lead to life style changes, it's a forever thing

What changes when you start to trust that success is possible?

  • Food choices change
  • Attitudes change, you learn to love veggies
  • Went on 10 day vacation, didn't eat out at fast-food once

What other say about their "believe in success" (I think of it as Believe and Succeed)

  • Good to hear others, especially their struggle. We all struggle.
  • Success means different things to different people

Question to consider:

  1. How did you feel before you joined Weight Watchers?
  2. What helped you believe you could succeed?
  3. What did you accomplish once you started believing success was possible?
  4. How do you keep nurturing that belief so it stays strong?

Some answers:

  • Successes energize you
  • Self-talk (Reminds you of points that are important)
  • Keep coming to meetings
  • Surround yourself with active people

  1. Felt out-of-control
  2. Didn't believe at first until I became hard cord. Success led to success. (I do believe hard core is a necessary concept in need of review, contemplation, and meditation.)
  3. Unintended success - Mental change: Fast food went from delicious to disgusting
  4. Once you know it, you can't un-know it. I know it works!

Write you own story to these questions. Fast-forward to the future. You've reached your goal. Write your answers to these questions.

There are words that empowered others: Worthy / Active / Healthy / Capable. What word empowers you? (MBWM chose Worthy. She feels she is Worthy of putting herself first ahead of the many, many, many, many demands on her to be able to take care of herself. I am still considering my answer to this one.)

Goals don't have to be 5 pound stars and 10% key chains. It's the attitude that matters. Change in attitude leads to change in behaviors.

What little changes are you going to make this week that you can repeat every day to build a routine?

Need to have follow-thru - read the Weekly every day. (There is a weekly pamphlet called Weekly that is handed out at each meeting. I have yet to read it outside of the meeting. Hmm....)

You can do this! (Yes, I can! Oh, wait, this isn't Bob the Builder.)

Overeaters Anonymous, Saturday 9/14/2013
The take aways from this meeting:
  • OA offers relief from food obsession
  • Keep coming back to be able to see the miracle
  • Came in to lose weight, found a way of life
OA is a wonderful 12 step program with quite a bit of assistance. Much of what I wrote has nothing to do with what I learned but reminders of the mechanics of how the program is assembled.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Research: Portion Control / Mushrooms / Teas

Post Number: 18
Days of Tracking: 1/1

Today was the weekly weigh-in and self-evaluation. That experience will have to wait until tomorrow for blogging. I had typed this up yesterday, but will be posting it today. No idea why I typed it up on my computer only to save it to my hard drive instead of the blog. What makes it even stranger is that I usually type right into the blog.


Waste not, want not.

There are three interesting articles that MBWM brought home. They are in the September 23, 2013 issue of Woman's World. It is one of those grocery store checkout counter magazines. I bought one of that style of magazine a couple weeks ago and have yet to read it. I read the one MBWM brought home because she was interested.

The first article is "Misty Lost 100 Lbs". It says she and the Woman's World testers lost 8 lbs per week on her game plan. The success comes from reducing the caloric intake. Always a good idea. But she retrained herself by starting out with frozen meals from Health Choice, Smart Ones, etc. She limited her frozen meal selection to 220 calories for breakfast and 300 calories for lunch and dinner. She supplemented her meals with veggies, especially salads, using lite dressings. Once her stomach had shrunk and she trusted herself with being able to visualize a single serving, she switched to cooking her own food.

MBWM and I like this idea. We are going to try it for two days because that's all our food budget can afford. But it will help us visualize. We are hoping to be able to make freezer meals so we can have the advantage of a good portion size along with the helping our food budget while still providing everyone with food for the meal. After all, when we eat the frozen meals, we still have to cook for the kids and grandparents in the house. Maybe in the near future, we can afford to try an extended version of the frozen meal retraining. I have to say I am thrilled with the idea.

The next article concerns mushrooms. Here is the breakdown of the health information:

  • White Hutton Mushrooms - Eat one cup daily to melt seven pounds of fat per week
  • Enokis - Eat "a handful a day" to reduce your cancer risk by 42%
  • Maitakes - Eat 2/3 cup daily to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Shiitakes - Eay 1/2 cup daily to ease arthritis pain and inflammation by 38% within 6 weeks

And to make a direct quote:
"Not a fan of mushrooms? High-quality mushroom extracts are widely available. One with five-star reviews: Jarrow Formulas' Mushroom Optimzer."
Now, I am not a fan of the mushroom. When it comes to pizza, my attitude is: No fish! No fungus! Other than that, I'll eat it. Actually, even if it has mushrooms, I'll eat it. We are talking pizza, after all. But I don't prefer to cook with them. Maybe I should develop a taste for them. I'm thinking I just may have to find some mushroom-laden recipes to try out. The article included a suggestion it called "slimming meatloaf." Add shredded mushrooms to your favorite meatloaf recipe. No harm in trying, although it may be a pain to calculate the points. That is still something of a slow-down in my tracking process. I will probably add shrooms to other, easier to point-compute recipes.

The third article concerns teas. Here is the breakdown of the health information:
  • Clovers control cholesterol
  • Cinnamon prevents diabetes
  • Black Peppercorns rev energy and fat loss
  • Cardamom prevents bad breath
  • Black tea wards of heart disease
And to make a direct quote:
Make your own chai at home!
While you can find ready-made mixes at grocery stores, "making your own at home means you can tailor it to your own taste," says personal chef Kayla Sayegh, using less or more of each spice to get the perfect flavor.
Her favorite chai recipe:
Fill a saucepan with 5 cups water, 1 tsp. each ground cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon each ground peppercorns and cloves. Bring to a boil; let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat add 4-5 bags of black tea. (More bags lead to a stronger brew.) Steep 5-10 minutes. Return to low heat; stir in 1 cup milk; simmer 1 minute. Sweeten to taste with honey, agave syrup, or brown sugar. Serves 6.  
Being LDS, I won't be using the black tea. I don't drink white, grey, or green tea either. Those are more of a personal choice in my relationship with my Father in Heaven than anything that has been taught to me. But I wonder if green tea has similar effects as black tea. You take green tea, rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, and beneficial ingredients in abundance. You put it in the sun to be beaten up by the fermentation process. You end up with black tea. I bet green tea is better than black tea to ward off heart disease, but that's just a supposition at this stage.

There are many healthful options out there. I drink a tea twice a day (when I'm on target) that includes several incredible ingredients. Cinnamon is one of them. But I get the species of cinnamon commonly known as Vietnamese Cinnamon. Not only does it have the great health benefits common to cinnamon, it has them in greater concentration. And it has them without some of the worrisome side effects of most cinnamon species, namely blood thinning. I will have to write up more about the things I use as supplements.

Today has been a good day, for the most part. I made it to Weight Watchers. I made it to Overeaters Anonymous. MBWM saved me a couple times with the Auntie Em phrase. I am so very grateful for her influence. And when I have time, I will have to type up my notes from today's meetings.

Yours in the joyful abundance that is available in this life,


P.S.: What the test should really state:
This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system. Had this been a real emergency, you would have heard lots of screaming as people ran for cover. This has only been a test.

Or, rewriting it for us dieters:
This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system. Had this been a real emergency, you would already have been pillaging your secret stash that you cleverly left hidden in plain sight at the nearest convenience store. The Hostess shelves wouldn't stand a chance. But this has only been a test. We now return you to your regularly scheduled carrot.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Post Number: 17
Days of Tracking: 4/5

As I write this, Quail is burning off some energy. MBWM (My Beloved Wife M), is whispering to him, "Where'd she go?" Referring to Asian Red Fox. He goes thump, thump, thumping across the floor out of the room. Asian Red Fox spooks Quail in the other room. He turns with a screech and charges back, his feet thumping along the floor even harder and faster on the way back in. What a joy to behold! He even gives out an additional screech when he think she's hot on his tail.

MBWM showed me something she had written: ETNTM. It refers to my idea of, "Eat This Not That Mentality." But she pronounced it very much like Auntie Em. Since we were sitting around the dinner table, we had a fun conversation about the Wizard of Oz that included several bad jokes. But it got me to thinking. She is right, that Auntie Em philosophy needs to be in my life. I didn't track today. There were two primary reasons. One, I didn't have my tracker with me while I was out with the family helping my mother. The first healthy thing I ate today was oatmeal. So the second issue comes from the fact that after the oatmeal, the next health thing I ate was, well, nothing. I didn't want to record the food and I especially didn't want to calculate the points for today. I know that points I have are exorbitant, but I suspect that I would have blown through not only my 71 daily points, but also the 49 extra weekly points. That's not to say that junk food or fast food hasn't shown in my tracker before. But this is the first day that I made an endless stream of poor choices. Poor choices that stem from not paying attention to the fact that I was in pain, hungry, angry, and quite tired (more on this in a later post). When I finally made it home, all I wanted to do was go to bed. But I need to record even this level of success and face it. And MBWM, without realizing it, gave me a smile and a simply way to look forward: Auntie Em!

So once again, I am ready to IVCUFI. I have found the way (return to tracking), I will seize the road (Auntie Em! Auntie Em!), and I will enjoy the journey (There is a wide selection of enjoyable options open to me that I would  be thrilled to track.) On that last one, just think. I can make a 100% veggie salad, which I find delectable, and put on ranch dressing. And only the ranch dressing counts! Woohoo! With the points I have, I can afford to put on an ounce or two of bacon. {Say it with me: MMMMMmmmm.... Bacon.}. Definitely a better choice than the wide ranging selection of unhealthy I ingested today.

As I finish this, Quail is in his bed. MBWM is in her bed. And with eyes barely more than slits, I head off to join her. May your day yield either successes or ways to turn things around into success.

Yours in the journey,


Ex... Er... Cise...
Ex... Ar... Size...
Eggs... Are... Sides...

For Bacon...


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No Wonder It's Easy to Avoid Getting in Shape

Post Number: 16
Days of Tracking: 4/4

I went to the YMCA yesterday. I met my goal of completing two laps. I then pushed through my chores, mostly cleaning dishes and making meals. And it was strenuous effort to push through the pain. My leg joints always hurt. But now my muscles are straining at all of my tasks, including my arm muscles. And the pain was even worse today. I keep reminding myself, "This is the way it will be while you are getting into better shape." I had hoped to go to the YMCA again tomorrow morning, but I have too much on my plate that needs me to be able to move. I am hopeful that I will be able to play with the kids at the pool. I still count that as going to the Y, but I don't feel quite so beat up afterwards. Well, not so physically beat up, anyway. Mentally and emotionally worn down by the experience. The experience that comes from the frustration of herding my zoo through preparation, transportation, changing, swimming, getting out of the pool, changing back, confirming nothing's lost (including kids), transporting back, caring for swim items, and then de-stressing while the kids rebound from their energy expenditure well ahead of me. But it always feels worth it. I look forward to it being worth it some more tomorrow. We shall see. Getting into good shape from the shape I am in is going to be a long, drawn-out experience. I hope I have the wherewithal to make it through.

I do have successes to report. There was a bag of Cheetos offered to mate. I ate about 8 - 10. And then I closed up the bag and set it aside. And I tracked what I ate today. And there were other small success that I focus on to be able to keep me going through to the next decision.

But exhaustion is overcoming me. Thanks to the miracle of modern science known as melatonin. Highly recommend it. I am glad I was able to get something into the blog before I become... Before I lose... Before I went to work last time, there was this pretty birdy painting pink swirls on my orange golf cart. ;-)

May we all survive the mountains we all have to overcome. And when we come over to the other side, may we be pleased with what we have accomplished and find happiness in what we come to find there.

Yours in the joy the arriving at the next goal,


P.S.: Melatonin - The parental sanity saver. Melatonin is non-habit forming. I even give it to my kids. When they take it, they won't find it habit forming. As a parent, you will, though.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back to Bed (I Wish)

Post Number: 15
Days of Tracking: 2/2
Goal Met: Two Laps in the pool at the Y

I adjusted upward my goal from getting to the Y three times this week to swimming two laps at the pool. When making the plans for scheduling, I wanted to pick one time slot that I could gain several advantages:
  1. Go by myself to be able to focus on exercise
  2. Be home about the time the kids were getting up to avoid complaints of not being able to go
  3. Push my wake up time earlier in the morning. I am a morning person but three years of teaching night classes at ITT has adjusted my body clock to a later range of wakefulness.
I ended up picking Tuesday at 5:00 am - 7:30 am for the launch of this endeavor. My accursed body clock woke me at 4:40 am. And in my mind, the clock was ticking. I was curious to see if it really would take 2 hours as I  planned. I allowed for an additional 30 minutes in case I misjudged the process. And 7:30 am is family scripture study, so I worked backwards from there to pick 5 am. It helps that the Y opens at 5.

At 4:40 am this morning, I was off (my rocker) and running. I made it home at 6:30 am. That means my original guesstimate of 2 hours was good. This gives me solid hour to get things prepped for the start of the morning. Plus, I can get in my blog and mentally breathe a sigh of relief at getting this task (fun though it is) off off of my mental to do list.

So, you may be wondering how it went. Well, I learned a few minor details to help with next time. I had planned very well and it all came off well. As for the exercise itself, I was worried when I arrived to see three and four people to a lane. There was no way I would be able to share a lane without being a major road block. Fortunately, at the far end of the pool, there was an empty lane. It also helped that it was the shallow lane. So I jumped in with both feet. And took off. Wow! Has my form degraded. I used to be a good swimmer. My knees didn't stay locked. I was lifting my head too far out of the water. But I was exercising. I had hopes of being able to breast stroke all the way across the pool at least once. Nope. Had to slow down to finish the first crossing and all four crossings. I also had to pause to catch my breath at the end of each crossing.

Here is the primary aspect, though: I DID IT!

I am going to hold to two laps for awhile. I had a very difficult time climbing up the pool ladder to get out of the pool. I wasn't sure I'd have the strength to drive home. Fortunately, the car does 99.9% of the work of moving my bulk homeward. I was exceptional grateful that the parking slot at the Y on the drivers side of my car was empty. It made for an easy entrance to the car to be able to make a quick egress from the Y. I walked slowly into my house and am looking forward to sitting for as long as it take me to blog.

Now, if you are looking for a gung-ho exerciser, you'll find them at the Y at 5 in the morning. There was a veritable flood of people entering into the Y. I had to park quite a ways out into the parking lot. And there were people jogging into and across the parking lot enter the Y. None of these people will be my exercise partner. I am impressed by their commitment and physique, but I need someone that works more at my speed. I can't get enthused (at least not yet) about 5:30 am step aerobic to loud, deep bass beat music.

At this stage, it is onward and upward. And the next step is: DO IT AGAIN!

Yours in the simple successes,


P.S.: Right now, I hurt. When does this start feeling good?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rise and Shine

Post Number: 14
Days of Tracking: 2/2

So I debated not making my entry today. That would throw off the correlation of no tracking/no blogging. But since it would be intentional, it wouldn't really count against the correlation. And to top it all off, today is the first day of the first week of my new life. Planned, prepared, and ready to go.

Tracking the points is always eye opening. A single graham cracker is 2 points. A seemingly small and innocent breakfast burrito, 15 points. I may have added up that second one improperly. But popcorn is reasonable (mini-bag microwave popcorn, 3 points), so I am enjoying myself there. Today's surprise, rice and raisins. The sugar brings up the point count quickly. One cup of brown rice is already 5 points. The sugar brings it up at 1 point per tablespoon. And it's all good; it's retraining the brain.

I want to give a special shout out to my GE150 - Survey of the Sciences classes, one and all. First, for donating their science books. I put them to work in an informal home teaching class today. Thank you for the resources. I'm not being paid so it's nice to be able to offer the books without putting too much of a burden on the students. They will be paying for the experiments, after all. My second thank you is for providing me the experience to be able to quickly and easily put together a curriculum. And a third thank you directed at my latest class  for the continued page views. They're still going up. Because of this support and the encouragement of others, I have really enjoyed being able to stay in teaching mode, especially within science. Who knows, maybe I can become an itinerant teacher. I hope not. That sounds very busy and rather low paid. But I am hoping this will lead to network contacts and consulting opportunities. We shall see.

Today has been a good day.

Joyfully yours,


P.S.: September 19th is quickly coming up. It is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. I need everyone to gear up for it. In honor of that preparation, I offer you this cartoon: That New Carl Smell - 9/8/13.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Background: Spiritual

Post Number: 13
Days of Tracking: 1/1

Since today is the Lord's day, I thought I'd give a little peak into my Spiritual Background. I had originally planned on providing my educational background to explain what I knew about the science of weight loss ahead of my spiritual background, but here you have it.

I am a card-carrying member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly referred to as a Mormon. But let me fill you in on a little Baptist secret I learned. There was an instructional pamphlet used to train Baptists when heading into Mormon Country to convert people to Christ. They would ask someone if they were LDS. If the person responded in the affirmative, then the pamphlet suggested they keep going. If the person responded that they were Mormon, then the pamphlet suggested that they do their best to fellowship this person into the fold of Christ.

Yup, I'm LDS. I've been rather picky about that distinction long before I learned there was any meaning outside of the LDS church.

So, what does this have to do with weight loss? Several things, actually. I feel I am held to a very high standard of behavior, responsibility, interaction, and more. I am responsible for caring for my body as a temple of the Lord. While this is a New Testament explanation for why our bodies need to be treated as sacred, there is the additional explanation of how to do that in the Word of Wisdom. This chapter of scripture comes from latter-day revelation known as the Doctrine and Covenants. So not only do I have the responsibility to care for my body, I have a road map. And what's more, the road map includes some incredible blessings (see the last four verses, 18-21).

But there is still more. Everything I have has been given as a gift to me from the Lord: MBWM, Horse, Asian Red Fox, Iguana, Jaguar, Lemur, Quail, Shrike, Shrike's passing, house, computer, wit, intelligence, weakening eyesight, love for my wife, love for my kids, love of music, love of reading, love of chemistry, propensity toward obesity, inclination for napping, everything I could possibly think of with one exception, is given to me by the Lord as a gift. There is only one gift I can give to the Lord that is truly mine to give. That is my will. When I use my will to better those things I am responsible for, including my body, I am giving to the Lord my greatest gift.

I am even more blessed in that the Gospel allows for corrections. I, of myself, am not, nor will I every be perfect. I will make mistakes and eat my baby's doughnut. That happened this morning. Don't worry. He went a fetched himself another. I will fail and feed on fast food on the way home to dinner. And here I can forgive myself, set myself back on the strait and narrow, and look forward to bigger and better successes. Feelings of regret, guilt, and defeat do not serve me or the Lord. So pushing these feelings aside, I make changes and correction, using prayer and fasting to guide me.

And so, with a prayerful song in my heart, I turn over the next day, excited by the opportunity. Stay turned. There is more to come concerning weight loss information based on science and religion.

Yours in the joyful renewal found in the Gospel,


P.S.: My mother is catholic. My father is a Jew. That makes me a cashew.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Where did Yesterday Go Again? (Evaluation: Week 2)

Last Weight In: Saturday, 7 September 2013
Weight Information -
      Weight: 454.6 lbs
      Weight Change This Week: -0.6 lbs
      Weight Change To Date: +1.4 lbs
      Weight Gauge: *Heavy*Sigh*

Current Goals -
     Number Goal: 430 lbs
     Distance to Goal: 24.6 lbs
     Feel Good Goal: Set aside time to relax
     Distance to Goal: Making this a part of Executive Council for me and MBWM
     The Y: Go to the Y three time next week.
     Distance to Goal: Calendar session of Executive Council is tomorrow
     Weight Watchers:
          Use the paper tracker every day this week
          Make a meal plan with the PPV's worked out for two weeks
          Attend at least two Regular meeting this week, most likely Friday and Saturday
     Distance to Goal:
          Paper tracker is set-up. MBWM created an Excel version. I'll refine for use with phone.
          Meal planning during Family Council. I'll work out PPV's.
          Friday is still ahead of us
     Overeaters Anonymous: Attend two meetings this week
     Distance to Goal: Calendar session of Executive Council is tomorrow

This was a better week than last week. There were places I did well but can do better. I only tracked 5 of 7 days. There are places I did poorly than I need to attend to. The primary focus of this week:

  1. Meal plans for two weeks. This will help in SO many ways. We will work in lots of fresh fruits and veggies. The 3'x5' cards thing never happened. Since there is already a pattern within my family for menu planning, we'll just stick to that.
  2. Always track what gets eaten, even if the point value is difficult to determine.
  3. Make a plan (See entry Bitter and Sweet Successes). This week had several unexpected events. That's life. I need to be ready with a go-to plan that will assist with de-stressing to avoid poor food choices.
  4. Now that ITT is behind me, I will block out time for Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and the YMCA as I would have for ITT. Fortunately, calendaring has been much more successful since MBWM and I make it a point in Executive Council to cover the next 8 days on our calendars.
  5. Page views: 149. Can I just say: WOW!! And Thank You!! I am still floored.

Additional Issues / Solutions: Record notes from meetings online for ease of access for review. Maybe convince MBWM to let me record her notes as well.

Good Idea: When going to a business lunch or similar eating-out event, read the menu online in advance and make your selection then. Calculate your points before you eat.

Post Number: 12
Days of Tracking: 5/7

Happy National Acorn Squash Day!

I hope you celebrated in the traditional way. When you figure out what that is, let me know. Just don't tell me it's baking an acorn squash with brown sugar and butter in the hole where the seeds were scooped out.

At this point in time, I now have two data points. And two points make a line. Twice this week, I didn't track and I didn't blog on the same day. I wouldn't call it a correlation, but it is suspicious. Things that make you go, hmmmm.... (Yes, a reference to Arsenio Hall and his imminent return.)

I am still having a couple of issues with the Weight Watchers system. First, I'm paying for the eTools and not able to use them. I was at a pot luck picnic in the park. It would have been nice to use the eTools on my phone to help me make decisions. I might have skipped the hot dog. After all, it was 8 points. I did carry the book with me, but it didn't refer to it while in line. Being a techno-geek, I would like to believe I would have checked the tools on the phone.

And the second issue, there is a hidden danger in having 71 daily points. So today, for breakfast, MBWM and I went to Subway for a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. Yum but a whopping 11 points. I had soup and salad for lunch. Almost as yum. Because I added tortilla chips, lunch was a hefty 18 points. We went to a home school social at Tully Park. Heading into the dinner, I had 42 points. I eased up a little on the caution. Not that I had been particularly cautious earlier in the day seeing that I had bacon and cheese for breakfast and two helpings of tortilla chips for lunch. At the pot luck, I selected some healthy choices and some not-as-healthy choices. I wasn't able to find pasta salad in the Weight Watchers book, so I guessed a 1/4 cup was 4 points. It's probably WAY off, but I had plenty of points to work with. There was also a corn casserole that was definitely not low fat. I only took 2 tablespoons, but I listed it as a 1/4 cup as well. Again, not in the Weight Watchers book, but I wasn't surprised. I listed it as 4 points. At the end of the day, I had 24 points left to work with. That's only slightly below the lowest possible value for a single day in Weight Watchers. On the way home from the pot luck I turned into Arctic Circle. I had 24 points, I can spend them on an ice cream cone. Dipped in chocolate. Fortunately, there was one car in front of me. I drove off knowing I didn't really have to use the 24 points, especially since I want to lose weight slightly faster than 2 pounds per week until I am below the 400 mark.

So I am still trying to learn my way around my food-eating-psyche. Having a budget (daily of 71 points, weekly of an additional 49 points) is wonderful. I need to find the happy medium of feeling satiated with my food intake that day and satisfied with my point usage for the day. When that happens, I think I will truly begin to feel successful. Successful because I will have not only mastered the tool that will help me lose weight, but will have adapted to my idea of success.

As a point of information, my family holds three councils every Sunday:
  1. Executive Council - Just MBWM and me. This meeting includes synchronizing calendars for the next 8 days.
  2. Board of Directors - MBWM, the teens, and me
  3. Family Council - Everyone
In these councils, we bring up concerns one-by-one, starting from youngest to oldest. That means I go last in every meeting. But that's okay. It's amazing how many issues I don't bring up because I've grown less than enthused and no longer consider it as important or someone else brought it up.

I will be bring up the fact here that I am starting to record my notes from my Weight Watchers meetings so I can have easy access to them online for review. Look for them below my sign off.

And so another long day comes to a close. I am heading to bed a little earlier than usual. Hopefully it will help me be a little less stressed tomorrow.

Yours in the joys of incremental successes,


P.S.: Weight loss mantra: In the end, there is too much.

Notes from Weight Watchers meeting today -

What motivates you to come to the meeting?
  • Harder to slip up. Easier to stay on track.
  • Routine keeps me going in the right direction.
Pay attention to the nutritional value of points. Get the most bang for the buck by:
  1. Most food for the points
  2. Most nutritional value for the points
Try to do different options. Variety is the spice of life

You can fight or embrace the characteristics of life: age, busy-ness, routine

Try one little thing that you can do every day to create a good habit. Take baby steps in creating a routine.

Make a routine of knowing what you're having for lunch.

What do you do to overcome the difficulties in establishing a routing?
  • Be in control of your environment
  • Plan for the week
  • Plan for the unplanned
    • Reduce - Use portion control - Then track it
    • Refuse - Mentally coach yourself towards success in advance
  • Know your challenges and then plan ahead
  • Use the cheat sheets in eTools (I so wish I could)
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This creates a habit.
  • Routine becomes second nature
  • Plan this week for putting things into action
  • Take baby steps
  • Have a goal that is set for a few days a week or one meal per day
There are many different levels of success. (I do believe this last one was a preview of next week's lesson)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What Happened to Yesterday?

Post Number: 11
Days of Tracking: 0
Goal Met (partially): Attended the Y, 1 of 3

So imagine my surprise when I climb into bed yesterday and I realized two things. One, I hadn't tracked a single food item. And two, I hadn't written my blog. While the latter is not very worrisome, the former must be attended to. I just wonder if they are related somehow. Maybe a psychiatrist could make the connection between those two events and not being given a puppy when I was a kid.

What made not blogging about yesterday something of a surprise was that it was a milestone. I have officially left my position at ITT as yesterday was my last day. I kept thinking I would feel some form of sadness or melancholy. But I am moving onward to a better and, hopefully, smaller life. Maybe that has buoyed my spirits.  Maybe I will have a delayed reaction. Either way, there was plenty to keep me busy. Errands to run, kids to get places, tasks to complete.

And above and beyond the scheduled events, the toilet plugging up didn't help matters. And making matters worse, the cause may have been my new roommates. And as a last step in resolving the issue, the plumbers turned on the faucet in the kids' bathroom to run water down the pipes. And when they went back in later, they discovered that trap was missing so the water was running all over the bathroom. I have to say I am rather pleased that I only got a little growl of anger escaped from among my seething thoughts. And I am also pleased that when MBWM texted to ask what I wanted from Arctic Circle, I texted back, "Sleep." The thinking process is engaged now and then. It just need to remain engaged, especially where tracking is concerned.

And so tracking needs to be an every meal, snack, or drink experience. I know it will pay off in the end. So I forgive myself this one hiccup and move on. On to my Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow. I don't expect success tomorrow. I have failed to plan. But I have a small measure of success in making it through a stress-filled, event-filled, milestone of a week and managed to track 6 out of 7 days.

Grateful for the successes on the path towards perfection,


P.S.: Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a low calorie, low fat burger as yummy as the original, and McDonald's will still be the most popular fast-food chain in the world.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fourfold Topics

Post Number: 10
Days of Tracking: 3
Goal Met: Buying a Swimsuit

I couldn't seem to decide which topic to write on today, so I will write a short paragraph on each of four thoughts from my day today.

Tough Lesson
Very busy, hectic day with an exceptionally irritating start. There is the strange design to the sewer pipes at the place we rent. Every once in awhile, water will go down the kids' toilet and come up ours. I don't know much about plumbing design, but based on science, I suspect a vacuum forms and prevents flow to the septic tank. Part of this deductions comes from the fact that I can remove the drain plug that is just outside the bathroom and, fairly quickly, water flow will be restored. The tough lesson here was I need to work more on my plans (Reminder: Plans - ideas, techniques, and methods for overcoming hurdles and barriers including forgiving myself when I make a mistake). I had quite a few feelings that let to angry expressions; expressions that need to be removed from my behavioral options. But not having the plans already in place, well, let's just say I didn't go to my happy place. This will be my focus after meal planning has been accomplished.

Major Success
A good friend of mine sent me this great link: What the Dying Want Us to Know About Living. Here is my reply:
Heya SM,
That was a great read. Thank you for sharing. But like all things, there is a time and a season. I was rather rushing this morning because water was coming up the toilet. Then, there was no time to dawdle. But I believe I do stop and spend time with my children. I take as evidence of this that all of my kids (except Asian Red Fox, because she is now too old for this kind of display), will run up and hug me in greeting, climb on me when I sit down, and tell me every tale that immediately pops into their head.
And you might notice the similarity between the article and the signature to my work e-mail that I have been using since I announced my departure.
A great read and a better reminder,
Eliot Smith – Math/Science Instructor
ITT Technical Institute - Boise, ID 046
12302 West Explorer Drive
Boise, Idaho 83713-1529
(208) 322-8844
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away 
Even this afternoon, when I went shopping for swim trunks to fit me ($45. Ouch!), MBWM brought the kids to the store to meet me there while I was on break from work. Lemur and Jaguar each grabbed a hand. Our rule: Hands in the parking lot. Iguana was denied by the girls from sharing my hands and became a barnacle at my back. Iguana insisted on joining me in the changing room. He even helped hang back up clothing weren't going to buy. Lemur and Jaguar danced around the store trying to find as many BSU items for me to try on as possible. I felt very loved by my kids. I believe they know that I love them right back. And their fronts. And their sides. And...

Minor Epiphany
After eating and tracking for a few days, I better understand now why I have 71 points at Weight Watchers. At 71 points I can eat in a similar fashion to how I was eating before I started. I frequently feel very satisfied while hitting the goal. I can pat myself on the back (or have one of my younger kids do it) while knowing I am making better and better decisions. It all feels good. But it doesn't feel good enough. Which is why...

New Directions
I have an idea for a new direction. I have been a fan of Kimkins. At its most basic explanation, it is low carb and low fat. I have lost weight like crazy on Kimkins. But I've also regained it afterwards. I believe I regained it because it doesn't really train you during how to behave after. They have a maintenance plan. It makes sense. But for me, the maintenance plan didn't work. But now, I have decided to combine Kimkins and Weight Watchers. My game plan is to track food eaten, calculate points used, measure food carefully at meals, attend meetings, and be a good little dieter. But the menu planning, for only me, will revolve around picking Kimkins friendly foods (lean meats, low carb veggies like lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). I will keep this up until I have dropped into the 300's. That was my main concern. At a maximum of 2 pounds lost per week, I will be 6 or 7 months to break into the 300's. That's too long. But, once in the 300's, I will make a 2 to 3 week transition to leave Kimkins behind and focus on Weight Watchers. I have run this by MBWM. She is in agreement. I will be running it by here again this evening to make sure she is still okay with it. But I am even more excited about the future prospects.

May your day turn problems into lessons and successes into joys,


P.S.: I'm not overweight. I am under-tall. I am the correct weight for 12' 9'.