Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

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On January 8, 2017, I made the decision to change my lifestyle. No, this isn’t some coming out notice or anything along those lines. The lifestyle change I am referring to is weight loss and weight loss maintenance. When I stepped on the scale the morning of January 8 and read the numbers “167.5”, I had the realization that 170 was becoming a future reality for me. I did not want that reality, and I made the decision to get as far away from 170 as possible. I immediately set a goal: I will get to 155.0 by March 1.

The first step I took was not eating past 7pm. In fact, I made sure I brushed my teeth between 7:00 and 7:30 to ensure I didn’t eat. I realize that may sound odd, but for me, once I brush my teeth, my desire to eat diminishes.

The second step I took, simultaneously with step 1, was weighing myself every day at the same time of day (morning) and writing the weight on the mirror (every day). Seeing the number kept me focused and motivated – even when the weight didn’t drop and/or increased a bit.

The third step I took came into play after my husband, Rob, had to go on meds to address his high blood pressure. In an effort to help the meds better improve a change in his blood pressure, we decided to join a gym and exercise on a regular basis. Around February 11th, we joined Anytime Fitness.

I had not exercised for years. Someone once told me they were on an exercise hiatus. I thought that was hysterical, and I started telling people the same thing.

Since joining Anytime Fitness in February, Rob and I have been exercising regularly – at least six days a week, and with my hard work and commitment, I made my goal on March 1st, weighing in at 155.0.

Once I hit 155, I wondered if I could drop to 150.

I decided to extend my workout a little longer and push a little harder, to continue weighing myself daily and writing down the number, and to continue eating a healthy diet. By the middle of April my weight was 147.0, and this morning – my weight was 145.5.

Today I had my annual physical, and for the first time in over 15yrs, the doctor’s scale was below 150. I was elated. In fact, I was beyond elated, because the scale showed a weight of 147, and I was fully dressed, with shoes, and it was 1:15 pm in the afternoon.

But “weight” there’s more.

Last year, my doctor wanted me to take an iron and a vitamin D supplement, because I was anemic and had low vitamin D levels. I did as I was told for a few weeks, but I slowly got out of the habit. However, when I began this lifestyle change, I started taking a Flintstones chew-able multivitamin. (Yep, Flintstones. Yep, the same multivitamin my boys take.) I wasn’t 100% certain the multi-vitamin would have enough iron and vitamin D for me, but I figured it was better than nothing. Plus, it’s way more fun to hang out with the Flintstones than it is to hang out with One-A-Day.

Today, along with being elated about my weight, I was elated to find out my blood-work was excellent. The results of the blood-work impressed my doctor greatly, and she said it’s the best numbers she’s seen [in all her patients] in years. My iron and vitamin D levels are smack-dab in the middle of normal. And my normally low blood pressure? It’s lower, too at 102/60. (Previous normal low was @ 110/70.)

I am pleased with myself. I started this new lifestyle, and I set it up in a way that I know I can continue living it. I’m making this lifestyle a priority in my life, and I make sure there is time for it. It’s not always easy, and I don’t always look forward to going to the gym, but the positive results I’ve gained continue to motivate me. I look good. I feel good. And, I am stronger. Plus, like many of you, I kept my old clothes, hoping to fit in them again one day. Well, 15yrs and 20 lbs later, that “one day” is here! And, lucky for me, my fashion sense has always been lacking, so my lack of style 15yrs ago is still as [not] happening as it was then. #winning

As they say, “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!” I made a lifestyle change, and I am happily living it out. Good job, Lenore. Well done!

Lenore and Claire

My 48yr old self with my 24yr old friend/coworker. We look like we just walked off a college campus, right? Well, one of us does.

.::.

Afterward
I was losing weight without exercising, by simply not eating after 7pm. The weight-loss was slow but steady. When I added the exercise, the pace of the weight-loss increased, but it was still a seemingly slow process. Being patient and letting the weight come off gradually was hard, but I kept going, because I wanted to meet the goal. One doesn’t gain weight overnight – so one can’t expect to lose weight overnight.

I am married, have two kids, two dogs, and two cats. Both my husband and I work full-time. We pay a total of $60 a month for our gym membership. Monday – Friday, Rob and I typically go to the gym after dinner. On Saturdays and Sundays, Rob and I will go to the gym in the morning. Adding a structured exercise program doesn’t make it an easy lifestyle for us, but the benefits outweigh the challenges.
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Respect: Have it. Use it.

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I haven’t written in weeks, perhaps months. I fear if I take my time and really think this through, my life will pull me away from the post, and it will remain (like so many others) in draft form. So I am sharing a stream of conscious with you. While I will try to write correctly and coherently, I am not trying to win any grammar awards or accolades with this post. In advance, I extend my apologies to the grammar police.

My name is Lenore, and I watch Big Brother. That fact is tough to admit, because my husband despises reality television – and when he finds me watching Big Brother (or Survivor), he expresses his displeasure with my choice of shows to watch, over and over again.

I’m not here to defend the time I waste spend watching Big Brother, instead I am here to applaud the producers/editors of Big Brother for showing what appears to be more complete conversations between the houseguests vs. the typical sound bites shared in the show. Plus, I am here to share my thoughts regarding racism and general lack of respect.

Surely you are in the know, right? Surely you are aware of the fact that there is at least one houseguest within the Big Brother house unafraid to share her feelings about the people around her. Specifically, this houseguest will openly disrespect her black and gay co-houseguests.

(Side note: Am I the only person to find sick irony/coincidence with the fact that this houseguest’s name is Aaryn? Her name is so very close to “Aryan”, as in the Aryan Nation.)

My friends will tell you – my black friends, Indian friends, Armenian friends, Jewish friends, white friends, etc. – I like to be of the opinion that racism does not exist. I like to be of the opinion that we all get along far better than the media implies. Alas, Aaryn’s behavior has made it difficult for me to “unsee” the truth that exists.

So, in addition to admitting I watch Big Brother, I will also admit that racism exists. HOWEVER, the bigger issue, in my humble opinion, is a lack of respect. Regardless of your race, religion, creed, nationality, stature, weight, hair color, etc., individuals seem to spew disrespect towards anyone that is different and/or disagrees with whatever is being said or done. Outward differences seem more easily overlooked when folks are in agreement with one another.

###

Ducking to avoid all that will be tossed my way, I ask: Isn’t calling someone a dumb blonde similar to stereotyping a redneck or black person?  Easy. Easy. Yes, I understand – the history that exists between whites, blacks, slavery, and segregation makes the disrespect deeply personal and more hurtful. I get it, and I agree completely.

But…

At one point, Aaryn dismissed her lack of respect by saying her housemates call her a dumb blonde and judge her by her looks all the time.

Okaaay. So that makes it right? Heck no. HECK no.

But…

When we peel away the layers, isn’t it within our nature to pick on those different from us? Isn’t it within our nature to pull from stereotypes?

I realize the above statement may sound like I am defending Aaryn. I am not defending her. I am suggesting we are becoming desensitized to the lack of respect that is spreading like a bad rash.

The line between being funny and being hurtful is blurred and growing wider until – BAM – we are hit in the face with something that seemingly caught us off guard.

We are becoming more and more disrespectful as the years go by.  And, as my friends probably expect me to say- I blame part of this on social media and the no-filter and knee-jerk responses that fill Facebook and Twitter.

I won’t discuss the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman story, except to say that Trayvon’s friend who testified at the trial made me cringe when she used the word “cracker”. That word disgusts me, because it reminds me of the horrific treatment of the slaves. I am not a “cracker”, but because I am white and living in the South – it is a word someone could call me if they were mad or looking to hurt me. Dare I say, for those whites born after slavery, the word is as hurtful to us as the “n” word is to blacks. Both words conjure up an awful piece of history. Both words should be buried once and for all. As long as both words exist and are used in hate or in play (between people of the same race), an ongoing division will continue as a side-effect.

Can we get rid of “bitch”, too? I cannot stand how freely that word is used.

Folks, we lack respect for history, respect for elders, respect for families, respect for people, etc. We lack respect. Period.

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To the producers/editors of Big Brother I say “Thank you.” Thank you for bringing the reality of racism and disrespect into the homes of millions of viewers. May we walk away from this with a greater awareness of the need for respect, and may we provide the respect all people deserve.

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This morning during breakfast, my 8yr old asked me a question. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his question, but I do remember the dialogue that it sparked.

“You know, Joe. There was a time when blacks and whites
were forced to – “

“I know. I know. Blacks couldn’t do the same things whites could. I know this already.”
“Okay. Well, sadly there are some people that still have those ideas.
And –“

“Stop, Mom. You’re embarrassing me. I know all this.”
“Just promise me you will never treat someone differently because they look one way or another.”
“Mom! You know I won’t.”

I’ll make sure to continue to embarrass Joe (and Charlie) as they get older. Their embarrassment with my reminders is a small price to pay to know they will not judge a person’s outer-appearance. After all, they always show me respect, and I wear socks with sandals and flip-flops.

Shoes

Project 366: Day 266 First Love

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Please note: today is day 266 of Project 366. Only 100 days left in the year, folks. Can you believe it? I cannot.

This afternoon, we took the boys to a park to meet a friend from school. While waiting for the friend to arrive, Joe seemed to make a new friend. They chatted and played together for a long time. And, like any good paparazzi mother, I was there lurking in the distance making sure my son was safe.

Her name is Danielle, and Joe talked about her at dinner. I asked if he thought he’d ever see her again. “I don’t know,” he said. “Probably.” We don’t go to that particular park too often, so I’m not so sure. We’ll see what fate has in store.

Continue reading

In the blink of an eye

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There I was – walking up the driveway after a morning walk. Suddenly, a huge bird flew in low and perched itself on a tree in our backyard.

I approached the backyard gate with excitement and anticipation. I was ready to see a red tail hawk, the type of bird seen throughout our neighborhood, but my sight locked eyes with a different feathered friend. Our backyard visitor was an owl. Continue reading

Untitled.

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I’m lying alone “with my head on the phone, thinking of you till it hurts. I know you hurt too, but –”

Oh sorry. I got carried away with an Air Supply song. I hate it when that happens.

I am lying alone in bed and looking out the bedroom window. The sun shining on the green leaves lifts my mood, and I make an effort to give thanks for the beauty that surrounds our house. But, the pain is strong, and it tries hard to overpower any perks in my mood or sparkle in my eyes.

The pain starts in the knees. I easily envision tiny monsters gnawing away on my joints and cartilage. The pain is dull, raw, and constant. I try to rub away the pain in the knees, but the rubbing creates a different kind of pain.

Within minutes the pain creeps up into my back and slowly works its way down to my elbows, wrists and fingers.

As I lie in bed, I rock back and forth, trying to rock away the pain. I curl up into a fetal position, wishing I was still that child that was soothed by her Mom’s touch. I see myself sitting on the couch with the boys when they are sick, my fingers running through their hair. Oh, how I wish my Mom could sit beside me and run her fingers through my hair, like she did when I was young.

Rob enters the bedroom, “Can I get you anything?” He asks.

“Will you rub my back, please?” I whine.

He sits next to me and starts rubbing my back. His touch causes me to wince in pain, but the pain of his touch seems to overpower the rawness. The tiny monsters seem scatter with the rubbing, only to return when the rubbing stops.

.:.

This came on suddenly. Monday I felt fine. Tuesday I hit a wall, and I hit the wall hard. The hypochondriac in me took to Google to find the cause of the horrid aching I was feeling without having a fever. The pain I felt was how I perceived the pain attributed to Fibromyalgia. Was I battling Fibromyalgia? WebMD and Wikipedia lead me to believe I was the newest member of the Fibro-group.

When I went to the doctor, she smiled and nodded at my Fibromyalgia knowledge, but she also clarified the fact that Fibromyalgia progresses over time. You don’t go to bed one night, and wake up the next morning aching horrifically from head to toe.

Thankfully, she ruled out Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Mono, and various other illnesses. She also ruled out an ear infection, strep, and sinusitis. She was good at ruling out infections, just not too good in pinning down the infection I was battling.

She told me there was a chance I came in to the office before the virus really took hold, hence aches and pains but no fever. Blood was taken, and I was told to rest and take ibuprofen for pain.

.:.

The fever arrives. Just like the overachieving little monsters eating my joints, this fever starts in overdrive. My temperature skyrockets, and the chills settle in for a bit of added fun.

I take two ibuprofen pills, drink a large glass of water, and lie in bed. I want to cry. Moaning and rocking seems to help ease the pain a bit, so I moan and rock while looking out the window.

Thoughts start circulating throughout my mind: The green leaves are so pretty. I love the view from my bed. I wish I felt better. I need to go for a walk. I need to write. I miss writing. I miss walking. Why do I always get the Fs and Ks, when I play Words with Friends? If the rabbit poops on Rob’s laptop, does that make the laptop a compoop’er?

After a while, I notice the pain in my back starts to lessen. My moans become whimpers, and my rocking stops. Gradually, the pain eases in the elbows, wrists, and fingers. The vicious monsters eating away at my joints are muffled by the medication. Finally, I notice my knees aren’t aching.

I smile slightly, breathing in the welcomed respite from the pain. I consider sitting up and grabbing my laptop. I consider putting together a lame pictorial post about my boys watching the coffee maker make coffee. I consider getting up and getting a bite to eat. I consider getting up and checking on the kids, dogs, and bunny. Still smiling, I look out the window and drift off to sleep.

.:.