I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bridging the seasons

Foot bridge
September is the month that bridges the gap between seasons, to me at least. It can be blustery and rainy, or it can be gloriously sunny and bright. We had one of each of those days on our last two Thursday hikes. I took this picture on the overcast day; pictures often turn out better for me when clouds are present. Fall colors also provide a chance to get creative with my camera; the brilliant hues of fall are just now beginning to show up in the High Country and on the streets in town.

Here I sit on a Sunday morning, with my laptop and cup of tea beside me, wondering what I'm going to write about. I don't have anything scheduled to do today, since my friend Linnie is not able to skydive and the weather isn't all that wonderful anyway. I'll probably end up going to the gym and using the treadmill for 40 minutes or so and listen to a podcast to pass the time as I burn calories.

I have been able to maintain the fifteen-pound weight loss that I struggled to rid myself of two years ago, partly because of the iPhone app "Lose It" that I use to keep track of the calories I ingest daily, and partly because I really don't want to get back into my old eating habits. But it's that time of year when I struggle not to overeat. Over the summer I've also let some ice cream and pizza (and even the occasional beer) slip back into my diet. I love those foods and figure if I count them honestly I can afford to stop being quite so strict on myself.

But. Now I want more of them. I find myself thinking about pizza laden with cheese, even when I'm not hungry at all. When I don't eat those foods, I gradually forget about them and avoid them, but when I indulge occasionally, I begin to hear their siren song in my mind. And it's that time of year when I think my body wants to bulk up anyway, getting ready for the coming winter, maybe. Well, I'm just NOT going to let that happen. I've been avoiding the scales and realize the first step is to get on them.

Okay. I just did it, and I've gained a little weight back, which I already knew and was the reason I didn't want to step on the scales. Fortunately it's not a lot, two pounds, but just acknowledging that I'm going the wrong direction will help me resist what I think of as inappropriate foods. The truth of it is that I feel so much better when I'm not carrying around the extra weight; I like the way my clothes fit me, and my blood pressure stays under control. Those are the reasons I struggle with my weight. It's maintenance that I find so difficult, as it's easy to indulge and gain weight or restrict my dietary intake and lose it (when I'm in the right mindset, anyway).

I know that inherited tendencies towards thinness or overweight make a difference in body size and shape. We are all "apples" in my family, with excess weight being deposited in our middles rather than around the hips (the "pear"), which I've learned is indicative of a tendency towards heart disease. Well, that figures, since both Mama and Daddy died of it, as well as my son Chris. Every one of my siblings takes a statin drug because we also inherited high cholesterol. It's probably the only reason why none of us, except for my sister PJ, has yet had a heart attack. PJ is diabetic and had bypass surgery long ago.

So there are plenty of reasons for me to keep my weight under control. Do you have the feeling I'm giving myself a pep talk here? Yes, you would be right. Whatever I need to do to maintain my hard-won weight loss during this season is fair game, even if I have to bore my readers. I know that many of us struggle with this same issue. We are inundated with pictures of food on television, in magazine ads, and several of my favorite bloggers post pictures of their meals to share with me. I often stare at those pictures and imagine the taste on my tongue. Yes, I would enjoy it, but I sure don't want to WEAR it. My dad once said to me, when I was getting ready to eat some potato chips, that they would be a minute in my mouth, an hour in my stomach, and a lifetime on my hips!

As I get older, I realize that short-term satisfaction, like eating potato chips, can be resisted. It's been ages since I've even eaten one, but then again that combination of salt and grease is present in plenty of other foods that I do eat. Plus, potato chips lend themselves to what I've learned is mindless eating, where you just nibble away without thinking. Mindful eating is much more satisfying in the long run.

Actually, this season is my favorite. Fall is the time when I begin to turn inward, spending more time with indoor pursuits. Although every single Thursday is reserved for my time with the Trailblazers, all year long, the rest of the time I find I'm drawn to knitting or reading. Even though I have all the iPad apps for reading without books, the feeling of a real book in my hands is one of my favorite activities. It's just not the same with a screen, which I spend enough time in front of already. I love my blogging friends and look forward to the fall season with your stories and pictures, your lives as you are living them. What a different world we live in today! I can feel your presence in my life, even though we will probably never meet in the flesh.

Which reminds me: next month I will spend a weekend retreat on Vashon Island with five other bloggers, who have become "skin friends" as well as blogging buddies. We got together last October and after next month, it may become a bonafide tradition. Until next week, my dear friends, stay safe and I'll catch up with you in the blogosphere!


Anonymous said...

What a nice custom to have, DJan. I enjoyed your last post about the bloggers retreat.

There is no autumn in Hawaii. Trees remain green throughout the year, unless they are blooming with colorful flowers.

As for weight control, more power to you. I take meds that lead to considerable weight gain. To offset it, Doctor told me to exercise. So I now take hula classes and try to do strenuous housework on a daily basis. A win-win situation. Lol.

Have a great Sunday!

Jackie said...

I'm doing a genealogy search.
We MUST be sisters!!
I, too, have liost 15 pounds (since January.)
I have gained 4 pounds of it back since summer began. I must get it off. And those potato chips I ate last evening are haunting me now
So, yes, you are a cheerleader, and I thank you for that. I have high blood pressure, and additional weight is not good for me. I thank you for the gentle reminder that I need to get back with the program. NO more chips for me. (I gave up carbonated beverages on January 1. I haven't had one since. I can do the same with chips!)
Have I mentioned how much your friendship means to me!
Enjoy the upcoming reunion with your "skin friends. " I know you all will have a splendid time. I remember the last reunion you wrote about, and I can't wait to hear about this one.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I love your self talk as you share it with us. And yes keeping pounds off is an endless battle for many of us. We never talk about the fact that our good fortune plays a roll and that we live in times where abundance leads to over use.
Bread and pizza dough has a way of creeping back and can be controlling.

Deb Shucka said...

Your words about weight and eating are truth personified. It's the little permissions that get me, too, until one morning I wake up and see muffins poking over my pants.

During these hard days back at school, I'm looking to our Vashon adventure eagerly. I can hardly wait to see you sitting in the glow chair.

Linda Reeder said...

Well, this is a timely post for me right now. I am struggling with weight issues, and I'm having huge cravings for non-healthy foods. I've gained up to the limit that is my maximum allowable before turning it around again. My clothes are tight and I don't like it. Each day I say this is the day to start saying "no" to snacking, and then it isn't. Maybe today.
I was planning to get out for a walk this morning, but then a thunder storm moved in, and it is foggy and rainy at the same time. I'll have to check weather underground and see if I have a window. I feel sluggish and lazy, and that needs to be overcome. It's a common feeling I get in this 'tween season time, like letting the last days of summer dwindle away. I hate to let any days dwindle.
I read almost exclusively on my Kindle Paperwhite now. I can read in any light, including on a dark deck as night falls in Whidbey Island. and my arthritic hands don't like holding books any more. I've been reading Ken Follet's latest two books, each over 800 pages long, so it's taking me quite a while, since I don't read that much in any one day. Before that I finally got back to Follet's "World without End", which was about 900 pages. That has been my summer reading.
Now to do something active, and not eat! I think there is some housework that needs doing, as always.

amanda said...

While you were giving yourself a pep talk here, you gave me one too!
It is a challenge.. I'm currently trying to shed some weight, and getting more serious about it. I want to like how my clothes fit, and be taking the best care of my health that I can.

Your weekend retreat sounds lovely!
Fall is such a reflective time of year. I enjoy your reflections, DJan. (And that footbridge!)

Gigi said...

The weight issues are a common one for all of us, I think. Currently, I'm at my "I'm ok" weight - but I know my eating habits aren't the best and that weighs on me - as I know high cholesterol runs in the family - so I need to start making smart choices now - and will hopefully use this post to kickstart those smart choices. Have a wonderful week, DJan!!

Sandi said...

Hi DJan! Well, it seems your "pep talk" has struck all of us, in one way or another! I am forever fighting the battle of the bulge, and I have been allowing myself a few tortilla chips lately. Not a good idea!! I can live without potato chips, but corn chips are my weakness!

We do have our Vashon trip to look forward to! I can hardly wait!

Thanks for this very appropriate post, reminding me that I want to eat healthily because it's good for me!

Cyber hugs back at you until October!

Linda Myers said...

Tis the season when I crave carbs. I'm glad I'm not alone. Over the summer I got in the habit of getting a mocha most days on my neighborhood walk or right after my water aerobics. This week we had coffee at home instead. Not as fun, but skinnier.

We can all support each other in our efforts to stay healthy. Yay, support!

Rita said...

That was a good pep talk! :)
Oh, another blogger vacation with the girls! It was such fun to see it last time! Lots of pics and details, please. ;)

Arkansas Patti said...

Thanks, I needed that pep talk also. I too can resist temptation easily but then when I convince my self that just one episode of fat and grease won't hurt, it sets me off on a frenzy feed of the forbidden foods. Rats.

CiCi said...

It still astounds me to hear you so casually say things like "the weather isn't so nice anyway" and your friend is busy so you won't be skydiving. Most people don't skydive or even go for a walk. You are amazing.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I so appreciate what you have said here about health and weight and about those cravings. In the past year, I lost 21 pounds through Weight Watchers. Now I'm a lifetime member, which means I must go and weigh in at least once a month.

If I keep my weight within two pounds of my goal/lifetime weight, then I don't have to pay for the meeting. So that's an incentive not to gain. Also, I try not to bring food into the house that I know I'll start craving once I eat a little.

But at least once a week, I do let myself buy something that looks tempting. For me, that's usually potato salad from the deli or a canister of original Pringles. Peace.

Stella Jones said...

Is it really a year since you went on that weekend visit? Seems unbelievable. I hope you have a great time and share some more pictures with us.

marlu said...

I choose to ignore your pep talk because at 82, I figure, why not eat and be merry?

Lovely bridge photo!!!

Friko said...

Autumn is here and I spend more time sitting indoors instead of walking and gardening and, as you say, sitting is the very devil for nibbling at something. I don’t eat potato chips but I love chocolate. I swear it’s like a drug for me.

So there is an app to count calories, is there? I know there is an exercise and calorie using app. (I haven’t used it yet)

I should lose ten pounds and I’d feel not only better but also happier. I have a wardrobe full of good clothes which are just that little bit to tight.

I wish I could still read easily but I find that ipad reading makes such light work of it. When I’ve had a cataract op I’ll probably get back to paper books.

Mel said...

An interesting post, one I can relate to right now. It takes vigilance after a certain age to keep the pounds from piling up, and so much hard work losing them when they do.
Like you, I crave in the fall and winter, comfort foods, lots of calories, and always pizza.

Lately I've been trying to slow down more when I eat and savor the flavor and texture, and keep asking myself if it's worth the calories it's costing.

Good days and bad days. Thanks for the hint about the app, I'm looking for the right tool for the job. I do better when I keep track.

Thanks for the pep talk and the lovely photo. Your upcoming trip sounds wonderful!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I have found that when I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day - grazing, I guess - my energy level is higher. I don't gain weight.

Shelly said...

This is my first time to visit your vibrant and wise blog, although I see we often comment on some of the same blogs.

I'm delighted to have found yours, and will become your newest follower~