On the Wagon but Off the Mat

I drive myself crazy sometimes…you know?  I just wish I would learn to give myself a break and learn some PATIENCE.  Over the years (and with the help of some really good meds) I’ve developed patience for the world and its people that has seen me through some trying times.  Not much ruffles my feathers anymore.  Most things are just not worth getting all bent out of shape over.  I like to cultivate a Zen existence.

But when it comes to me.  Ha!  I have no patience.  I want what I want and I want it now and if I can’t make it happen then I’m a total and complete failure to myself and society on the whole.  My latest “issue” with myself is my yoga and meditation practice…or lack thereof.  For most of the last 90+ days or so, I’ve only been on the mat maybe once or twice.  I moved out of my meditation/yoga room downstairs and returned it to the hubs for his office (which is good because instead of going upstairs to his desk, he was using my kitchen counter as an office).  I moved my mat, altar and lifeboard to the nook in our master bedroom.  I thought the change in venue might spur some action on my part.

Not so much.  About all its done is made me feel guilty about NOT doing it every time I look at it…sitting there…getting dusty.  Sigh…

I have a million excuses.  It’s been too hot (it has).  I’m working crazy hours and am constantly tired (that was true until my first Whole30…now I have energy to spare).  I should spend the few hours that I have walking the dogs instead of on the mat (they DO need walking – but…um…I’m not getting that done either).  I’ll do it after vacation.  I’ll start Monday.  Blah, blah freaking blah.

Why is it that the things that are GOOD for us we put off doing?  Why do we make it so hard?  The bad stuff we jump right into with gusto.  Yeah!  Give me another glass of wine!  I’m not driving!  Har har har.  Sure, I’ll have another piece of cake!  YOLO!  Let me try some of that fried cheese…it’s the fair after all!  Mmmmm….pizza…I’m on VACATION!

No problem at all.

But let me think about doing something that I know, for a fact, will reset my hormones, recharge my batteries, bring me closer to God and make me a more centered human and all of a sudden I’m the busiest woman on the planet and there is just no time.

Once again…I’m gonna have to call bullshit on myself.  And hit the mat.  TONIGHT.


PS – Any Whole30 updates out there?  How are you guys doing?  Any stories to share?  I feel fantastic (well…except for the whole yoga/meditation thing).

Sunday’s With Jenny

Ahem…drum roll please….

3.6 pounds!

Finally!  A real week of real weight loss!  I am right on track with where I wanted to be after four weeks on the program.  I am down almost nine pounds.  Just a kiss over two pounds per week.  Slow, healthy, right on track.

I was prepared to give it up and stop wasting my money.  I had decided that if, after six weeks (because you have to give any new fitness plan/healthy eating plan at least six weeks) I was still losing only one pound per week, that I was going to give up on Jenny.

The primary catalyst for this is that I am not very comfortable ingesting all of these chemicals and sodium.  Prepackaged food of any kind is chock full of this crap no matter how you slice it.  However, I knew I needed someone else to be in control for at least a little while because I have this little problem with moderation.  I also knew I needed to go on “auto-pilot” in order to stop obsessing about food the way I used to obsess about wine. 

You know how it goes…”What do I eat when?”  “What’s a real portion size?”  “How many calories in THAT?”  “How much cardio do I need to burn that?”  Ugh!  That’s the obsessive thinking that put food first and foremost in my head and, no matter what, I knew for a fact that it had to stop.

The plan was, and still is, to get this weight off by any means necessary because that’s going to do more good for my health than the chemicals and sodium will do bad in the short term.  That’s the plan anyway.  For now I’m still giving it six weeks and then we’ll reevaluate.

But today…I’m very, very happy.

My counselor was surprised and a little suspicious (she reminds me of a drug and alcohol counselor because they too have a bullshit meter that is very sensitive).  She asked me if I did anything differently this week to which I replied no.  Which was the truth…kinda sorta.

Something did change last week but it’s not really easy to explain.  Last week I didn’t have food on my mind except at mealtimes (which I’ve heard is how normal people behave).  I also ate only the Jenny food.  I didn’t supplement or add anything extra with the exception of a banana or apple here and there.  The program did exactly what I wanted it to do – it made eating boring (for the most part) and so it stopped being an “event”.  I also stopped “planning” every meal and just grabbed what I felt like eating in the moment.  That also took the focus away from food and placed it on sustenance.

On that front…mission accomplished.  We’ll see how I feel about all of this in the coming week.  I’m taking this sucker not one day at a time but one week at a time (because I only weigh myself at my Jenny appointments – my scale and I are not only separated, the divorce is final).

Now, to my wonderful and supportive friends and colleagues who read this blog and know me in real life. Put this out of your mind and relax.  Win or lose – I got this.


Make Way…It’s a New Day

Dump Cake

I am so much better today than I was Saturday evening or yesterday morning.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment and provide encouragement in the midst of my temper tantrum.  I really do appreciate them all.  It feels so good to have support (from people you have never even met but feel like you know…intimately) and it does make a difference in this journey – whether it’s through recovery or weight loss. 

The weather has been glorius since yesterday morning and that has helped to heal my mood as well.  As soon as I got out of bed yesterday, I opened ALL of the windows in my house.  I ignored the cobwebs behind my curtains that had take up residence because my windows haven’t been opened since early May.  The fresh air circulated through my house and, when coupled with the sunshine and a long walk with the dogs and one of my boys, I was me again by afternoon.

I did eat real food yesterday though…the lingering remnants of my tantrum demanded it.  We cooked on the grill so I had a hamburger on a real bun with ketchup and sweet relish and a side of cucumber salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, vinegar and water – no mayo).  Not too bad, right?  Wrong – I ate a huge portion of my friend’s “dump cake”.  It was good but I overstuffed my stomach and was up most of the night with reflux.  That’s what I get for cheating so bad.

Here’s the thing.  I behaved the same way I would have when I was drinking or smoking.  There is no moderation for me when it comes to things that are “bad” for me.  I had already had several bites of the cake while we were waiting for dinner (she wanted us to taste it after all) so when it was time for dessert, I should have passed.  But see, the monster had already been awakened by then and, as usual, she was still hungry so I had more and made myself miserable in the process.

This is a familiar place for me…miserable because of something I regret doing. 

What I need to do is what I used to do before I lost “control”.  Just stay the hell away from that stuff.  I know it’s possible because I spent all of my twenties and thirties doing it.  Of course I was still smoking and drinking then so I guess the willpower was going to food instead.  Now I don’t have either of those – this is my final frontier.

Beam me up Scotty.


Sundays With Jenny

I know she gained it back but I don’t care…I love Kirstie.

I am pissed and pouting.  In spite of walking 7 days last week for a minimum of 30 minutes at a minimum of 3 mph (not including warm up and cool down) and watching my calories very closely, I only lost 1.2 pounds this week.  This is my lowest weight loss yet.  It’s lower than the weeks I didn’t exercise (besides yoga).  So yes…I…am…pissed.

So I’m pouting.  And crying…a little.

It’s just so damn frustrating!!!

And before you say, “But you’re still losing!” or “Just stick with it!” or whatever platitudes people offer when faced with an irrational, bitchy woman who is not making any sense; let me save you the time.  I’ve forgotten more of those pep talks than you’ll ever know.  I’ve not only said them to other people but I’ve said them to myself so many times just hearing them makes me want to stick a fork in my eye.

I could tell my counselor didn’t believe I had stayed on plan.  She kept saying, “You’re almost too easy.  Don’t you face any challenges?”

Of course I face challenges you ninny!  Like a dumbass I baked brownies for the kids this week.  I added chocolate chips…and Heath Bar Toffee Chips.  And then I looked at them the rest of the week not taking one bite.  Yeah…I faced challenges.

The hubs brought home Chex Mix and left it on the freaking counter instead of storing it in the pantry.  So I measured it out and substituted it for my snack.  Let me just say that 1/2 cup of Chex Mix ain’t shit.

Like I said…challenges.

And I walked.  I walked every freaking day in the 100% humidity (thank God there was no sun) where I couldn’t breathe.  I walked with my app that averages 3 mph (told you it was too slow) for 30 minutes and 45 minutes on Friday.  Do you know how difficult it’s going to be for me not to kick up my workout and overdo it?  To continue with this slow as molasses program that makes me feel like a Benny Hill grandma?  Well I’ll tell you!  It’s going to be HARD.

Sigh…stupid menopause.

So I’ll keep going because I have a strong will and I’m stubborn.  I am going to find the key to this and then I’m going to get on with it.


Well…as soon as I’m done pouting that is…

Namaste…I guess.

“What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that’s another matter.”
~ Peter F. Drucker

Oh shut up.

Learning to Listen and Taking It Slow

As I age, my listening skills are improving.  As I am slowing down so is my brain and that is a blessing.  I’m taking more time to stop and listen as someone speaks before formulating a response.  It’s not easy but I’m making progress.

This goes for my Jenny counselor as well.  Any other time I’ve tried a program like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig that has support available, I’ve always dismissed their advice because, “I already know what you are going to say and…”  Oh yeah Sherry…how’s that working for ya?

There was a time that I could have counseled others on fitness and nutrition.  I was a fitness freak and a voracious learner when it came to how the body worked and whether or not the latest fitness “craze” was healthy or not.  I could also explain to you how your body processed food and why some calories are better than others and how fitness is a necessary component of any healthy lifestyle.

Okay – I still have all that stuff in my head but I’m not exactly a shining example of how that works now am I?  Clearly I’m not listening to myself either.

So this time I’ve decided to shut the fuck up and do everything Faith tells me to do.  This week she mentioned that I should try and walk so I can get that 1.6 up to 2.0 pounds per week.  And that this is a marathon not a sprint (much like recovery).  As the old saying goes, I didn’t put it on in a week and I won’t take it off that fast either.  (But why does it always come on so much faster than it leaves?)

Which brings me to my next step in the listening and slowing down process.  My approach to exercise.

In the past when I’ve tried to return to exercise, let’s use yoga as an example, I’ve tried to jump in to the place I used to be…not where I am now.  That usually resulted in frustration and injury and giving up.  This time when I came back to yoga, I entered the process from a mindful place.  Slowly and deliberately.  Guess what?  It’s working and I’ve never been more centered.  In addition, I’m getting stronger every day and I love that.

Exercise (cardio or weight training) has been the same.  I’d grab a dvd (usually an intermediate to advanced one) and I’d jump into it, pushing myself so hard that I’d feel like I was going to pass out or puke.  Then I’d wonder why I dreaded going back the next day. 

I swear I’m not really this stupid.

I have also downloaded a number of exercise apps on my phone.  First and foremost, they are targeted to the 20-35 year old demographic and since I don’t see myself as 51 and out of shape, I just jump right in and do the same thing described in the above paragraph.

You know the definition of crazy right?

So forget the dvd’s and the apps for 20 year olds…walking is the best way to get this party started right?  Yes…unless you’re me.  See, back in the day, I was a fitness walker.  I usually clocked between 45 and 60 minutes at 4 mph 3-4 times a week.  So guess where I tried to go everytime I’ve tried to get back into shape.  Uh…yeah…once again – crazy.

But not this time.  I have this wonderful app on my iPhone called Lolo Treadmill.  It has all these wonderful settings and lets you decide your level of fitness, whether or not your walking outside or on a treadmill, and how long you want to walk.  It then plays music (you can use your own if you want) so you walk at the correct pace in time with the music.  All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.  Easy peasy.

This time I’m starting at the beginner level and when it tells me to walk at a level two (which is very, very slow…ugh) I DO IT.  I do the intervals as described.  I keep the pace as described in the app and guess what?  I end my walk feeling refreshed and fantastic as opposed to tired and ready for a nap.

Hmmm…maybe there is something to this “listening to the experts” and “taking it slow”.

I swear I’m not really this stupid.


“No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you absolutely, positively do have the power to change.”
~ Bill Phillips

Sunday’s With Jenny

Don’t ‘ya just love Valerie?

Down another 1.6.  It’s “okay”.  I know I should be pleased with anything between the one and two pound range, but I was really hoping to be closer to the two pounds.  My counselor (Faith…how perfect is that) and I decided that I needed to bump up my activity to get this thing jump started.  Since there’s no way I’m giving up my daily yoga practice, I’m going to start walking the dogs in the mornings.  They’ll be thrilled and I’ll get some more activity.

Who needs sleep right?

As I was driving around yesterday doing my normal Saturday thing, I began thinking about what makes this time different than the other dozen or so times I’ve tried to get my healthy body back since I quit drinking.  I came up with a few possible reason…

First, I’m ready.  Just like I had to be ready to quit smoking and I had to be ready to quit drinking, I had to be ready to really commit and make this happen.  I’ve been through a lot of emotional highs and lows since I set down my wine glass and I guess I’m a “one commitment at a time” kind of gal (just ask the hubs).  I have to put my whole heart and soul into something to make it work and I can only do that for one life event at time.

The second reason is that I’ve done a lot of soul searching when it comes to my body, its size and my health.  I had to let go of the notion that my weight in any way, defines who I am.  It does not.  I am more than a number on a little white box and since I’ve stopped worrying about that little white box and what it has to say to me, my attitude about losing weight and being healthy has changed completely.

For example, I have not once in the last two weeks stepped on our home scale.  (In spite of my pleas it remains in our bathroom – but I put it in the water closet with the toilet.  That’s where it belongs.)  What’s more, I haven’t even been tempted.  I simply do not care.  I weigh each week at Jenny in the event that my diet has to be changed to keep me on track but the actual number means nothing to me…and that, my friends, is truly miracle.  I am interested in how I look in my clothes and how I feel and that is directly related to the number on the scale – but I no longer allow it to dictate my mood from day to day.  What a relief!

In addition, because my meals are planned down to the last calorie, I don’t have to think about food.  There’s no obsession with calories vs. activity.  There’s no worry about what this or that will do to my diet.  There’s no excuse not to pack lunch because all I have to do is grab a meal and go!  It takes food out of my head and puts it where it belongs, in my digestive system.

This freedom has enabled me to focus on mindful eating.  My mantras during the last two weeks have been, “It’s only food,” “Think about why you want to eat,” and “What, exactly, will that do to your body?”  It’s been very helpful and I can prove it.

My favorite all time food is pizza.  Any kind of pizza any where.  I like NY Style pizza as much as I like Chuck E Cheese pizza.  I eat frozen pizza and I make my own from time to time.  I am an equal opportunity pizza freak.  On Friday I had to cater in lunch and my boss wanted pizza.  It arrived and smelled heavenly.  Now if I told you that I didn’t want that pizza I would expect you to call bullshit on me because it would be a load of bullshit.  Of course I wanted some of that pizza – I’d have to be dead not to have wanted some of it.

But I didn’t even think about actually eating it.

That’s the revelation.  I went and got my Jenny pizza (yep…I planned for it and it worked) and I ate my salad while everyone else scarfed down their lunch.  I didn’t begrudge them their pizza and I didn’t dwell on the fact that I couldn’t have any.  I just acknowledged it and moved the hell on.

Cue the choir of angels…that’s another freaking miracle.

So week three begins and I’m still on the Jenny train and lighter by 3.4 pounds.  Works for me!


Yoga and the…um…Not Skinny Woman

One of the reasons I gave up yoga in the dark days was because of my weight gain.  When you’re used to doing a fairly advanced level of yoga and you step away, you expect to come back tight and needing to ease back into your practice.  What I didn’t anticipate was the affect gaining weight would have on me both mentally and physically.

Age, weight, and time have all created the need for me to go back to a beginner level, complete with blocks, bolsters, blankets and straps.  My weight prevents me from getting into the poses no matter how flexible I become.  I can’t lay my body on my legs when my stomach is in the way.  Worst of all, if I push too hard it impacts my ability to breathe properly and that’s what the practice is all about.  I will also develop cramps if I try positions I have no business being in.  (Wow – two sentences that ended in a preposition…I’m slipping.)

Anyway, after I began to really move through recovery, I decided to ignore the above obstacles (in spite of the prepositions) and just jump back into the practice.  I’m very glad I did.  Even though I have to fight off self-defeating thoughts and images of myself, far larger than I actually am, moving through space I keep going.  It’s been worth every minute and I love waking early or getting home at night to practice.  Throw in a little meditation and it’s all good.

Now I have another challenge.  Practicing outside of my home.  Let’s ignore the fact that yoga is expensive when done in a studio.  Let’s just focus on the fact that there are other people in the room and none of them look like me.  Nor are they all thin, fit yogi’s but I have yet to run into one that is as large as I am.  It makes me self-conscious during my practice and makes it difficult to get out of my own head.

But I keep trying.  Thanks to a Groupon I have 10 sessions at a studio close to my home.  It’s a good studio and even though I’ve only been to three sessions so far, everyone has been wonderful.  The instructors are what instructors should be, concerned with where you are in your practice, not where you (or anyone else) thinks you ought to be.  They are focused on the breath.  They help you find the light.  They are not the problem.

As usual…I am.

But I’m going to a deep stretch tonight and I’m going to try and get out of my own head because the fact is that I learn so much when I do a session with a real, live teacher and I want to make the most of my Groupon.  Plus, I need to learn to find comfort somewhere other than a bottle of wine and I’ll never find it if I don’t get uncomfortable from time to time.


“To the degree we’re not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.”
~Peter McWilliams

Back To One

I am shutting down my other blog.  I thought I could handle two blogs and posting to each about different subjects but I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  Face palm wrong.

My brain just doesn’t operate that way.  My thoughts flow fast and furious and, right now, everything is so interconnected that it’s hard to separate, categorize, sort and then write.  Plus, my recovery from alcoholism is also about everything else in my life and so I have to be able to write freely about all of it and let the consciousness flow naturally.

That sounds way more deep than it really is.

In addition, I’m not an expert at anything.  Some say I should write a blog about raising kids because mine turned out so well.  Yeah…that’s the ticket.  A recovering alcoholic who is 51 years old and is just getting her shit together???  Oh yeah…that works.  My kids are the way they are because I put them first above everything else in my life, they have an amazing, not-screwed-up dad, and we are lucky

That’s not to say that they don’t turn up in this blog from time to time because they do – but I would never put myself out there as any kind of expert on raising them and would never violate their privacy by talking about things best left at home.  For example, “There was this time when the twins went running through the house naked….”  Um…not so much.  Besides, I’m saving those stories (and the pictures) for their graduation parties and the toasts at their weddings.  I don’t want to use up all the good stuff before it’s time.  Heh heh heh. 

So for now I’m going to stick to writing here…about everything and anything.  I hope people keep reading and commenting (I love comments.)  When I get an email with one I get all warm and fuzzy and excited.  I don’t even mind the spam and trolls.  (Is that wrong?)

So if you read this blog, thank you so much.  If you were a fan of the other one, thanks for reading and I hope you follow me here.