Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just say NO…

Tomorrow is September 1st. Although summer doesn’t technically end for about 3 weeks, I think that September 1 always seems like the symbolic end of summer.

I am frustrated. I really and truly believed that it was the winter that killed me as far as my weight goes. Summer was going to be my saving grace. And? Not so much. I am just as porked up as I was mid winter.

To make matters worse, I told you guys about the nutso thing in my head regarding my running? Well Monday night I was exactly 3.15 miles into my treadmill run when the sucker just turned off. Gave up. Said NO MORE.

Marc tried troubleshooting it with no luck. It’s probably just a faulty electronic part or a transformer. It has around 4200 miles on it and is 6 years old. When I bought it, I never imagined the amount of use it would get. It was not a cheapo model, but it also wasn’t really designed for 2 full sized humans and 2 dogs to use all the time. So we could have had someone come out and look at it, but decided it probably wasn’t worth it.

So the INTELLIGENT thing to do would be for me to get my ass OUTSIDE and run. But nooooo.... instead I spent time Monday night exhaustively researching the best bang for the buck in the world of treadmills and found myself not exercising but instead at Dick’s during my lunch hour yesterday trying out some treadmills. And then, after work, going to buy one.

Which is why we ended up eating dinner at 7:30 PM and was also why I found myself - exhausted and pissy - lifting weights while watching America’s Got Talent at 9:00 PM.

So I’m not making much progress, am I? White knuckling it is what they say in Alcoholics Anonymous.


The good in my life? Chakotay is still hanging in there. The prednisone is keeping the cancer mostly at bay. We are on borrowed and precious time and I feel that we have been luckier than most - statistically speaking. That is truly a blessing.

And today? Well, in the world of this fat chick, a small miracle. It was a co-worker’s birthday and I stuck my head in her office to wish her happy birthday and there was - lo and behold - CAKE. Store bought cake, but CAAAAKKKKEEE. She asked me if I wanted a piece and I hesitated only about 4 seconds before saying no. And I found that I actually didn’t want a piece. Ok, well I’m a fat girl and I wanted a piece, but I didn’t really WANT a piece.

Does that make any sense? I didn’t feel deprived or sorry for myself or resentful, I just didn’t want a piece. For most normal humans declining a piece of cake and actually not wanting one is NOT a big fucking deal at all. But for ME??? Well, no pigs flew by my windows this afternoon but it was CLOSE.


So there you go. I’m hanging in there. It might be by my fingertips but I am. I won’t fool myself into thinking “OH! IT’S FALL that will save me.” It doesn’t matter the day of the week, the time of year, what stress I have, whether there is a treadmill in my basement, whether the Dolphins win or lose, or anything else other than me making a CHOICE to stop eating so much. Period. Funny how that works, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I scream you scream…

Earlier this year I won tickets on the local radio station for a boat cruise around the 1000 Islands.  Since I grew up in this area, I’ve been on this tour many times and Marc I considered just not using the tickets or giving them away.  But then we thought that we could use them to spend the day with our nephews and enjoy a couple of hours out on the beautiful St. Lawrence River.

Friday I took the day off so we could do that.  The day was beautiful – hot and sunny.  We picked the boys up and I decided instead of going to a restaurant, we would stop at a grocery store and everyone could pick out their lunch and then we would eat on a picnic table in a park on a small island near where the tour started.

Go me, right?  I could choose something healthy.  Which I did.

The day was perfect – we had our picnic and after the boat tour we headed back to our house and I told the nephews that we would pick up Chakotay and Archer and we would all go out for ice cream.

Chakotay has gained so much weight and really doesn’t need more food, but I can’t resist spoiling him for the time he has left.

So we went to the ice cream shop who gave the dogs a bowl of ice cream and stuck a crunchy treat in the middle.











I got the nephews settled with their ice cream and went back for mine and Marc’s.  Guess who else has gained a bunch of weight and definitely didn’t need any ice cream – ME!

Ice cream is one of THOSE foods for me.  As I’ve mentioned here before, soda – specifically Mountain Dew – was something I never thought I’d be able to give up.  But once I stopped drinking it, it really hasn’t been that hard to stay away from.  I know other people who have such a hard time staying away from candy bars.  But those weren’t even a “thing” for me when I was fat.  Since losing the weight I think I’ve eaten a full sized candy bar twice and had a mini one maybe 3-4 times?

But ice cream?  Oh boy – for sure that is a weakness of mine.  I have had ice cream a couple of times this summer.  The problem is that if it is in the house – I freaking obsess about it being there.  And I can’t just have a little – I must eat a GIANORMOUS bowl full!

And there’s just something about soft serve ice cream.  I have had it only once this summer. 

There’s nothing wrong with having a treat once and a while.  And it would have been fine for me to get a small cone and eat it.

But NOOOOOO.  I had to get a cone so large I practically had to SCALE it to get to the top.


And you know that I absolutely ate every last bit.

The nephews then played for a while with the dogs – Chakotay gets tired easily but is still a sweet boy and tolerated the repeated hugs from our one nephew who is incredibly sensitive.  He knows about Chakotay’s cancer and each time he sees him knows that it might be for the last time.

We got them hope late.  It was a very fun day.

But you know me – the guilt from having eaten that ice cream…

So as I sit here late tonight, I went on a 40 mile bike ride this morning.  And then went for a short walk.  THEN I ran 4 miles on the treadmill.  Trying to undo the damage.  Which is utterly and completely useless and ridiculous.  I know this, and did it anyway.

What would have made more sense would have been to eat the small cone and do a little bit of extra movement today.  Which is what I’ll tell myself next time.  I’ll tell myself this, but I’m probably do exactly what I did yesterday!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Evolving concept of beauty…

Last night I was watching American Ninja Warrior which I am just slightly obsessed with. I’ve talked about the show in this blog before and it keeps getting more popular. Last night 4 women were featured who all had made it to what is basically the semi-finals.

Just a couple years ago ANY woman making it that far was basically unheard of. But now women are getting into lots of activities that were previously almost exclusive to men and require a lot of strength and stamina.

I was tweeting during the show and as one woman made her run I tweeted that “Strong is the new sexy!’ One of my twitter followers who, incidentally, has been incredibly supportive to me and my struggles on this blog wrote “New?”

Of course there have always been strong women and many people who find that attractive. But I don’t think that this has been the norm.

I WISH that I was immune to society’s opinions about what women “should” look like. I have no problem whatsoever at not behaving like a traditional lady, but I freely acknowledge that one of the reasons I am so self-critical is because I don’t - and never have - looked like what an attractive woman “should” look like.

In the 80's, the fashion was the soft looking big boobed women like Pamela Anderson and Cindy Crawford. No doubt they were beautiful, but they were not muscular or overly fit.  And I was never going to look like them. Then the 90's came and for a while the “heroin sheik” was in. Extremely skinny, pale, with almost no muscle tone. Well shit, I looked even LESS like that.

In the last few years, I think that FIT has started to take it’s place. Suddenly women having muscles is a good thing in the mainstream. Being strong and fit has replaced striving for thin.


Besides just being in shape, the very definition of “fit” has been challenged. I mean Serena Williams is a phenomenal athlete, but with her big boobs and butt, she isn’t what we have traditionally thought of as a superior athlete. And take Michelle Carter who just won an Olympic Gold medal for Shot Put.


She also doesn’t look like your stereotype of an Olympian. I’m guessing neither of them go into Old Navy and buy a size 2. Guess what?  They are both muscular, beautiful and, at least from what I have read, confident.

Just last week I was ready about how women getting huge boob implants is “out”. Women are still getting boob jobs, but unlike 20 years ago when everyone wanted to be a DD, women are instead opting for the more subdued full B or small C. According to a plastic surgeon who was interviewed, for many women this is at least in part because they still want to work out hard and huge boobies get in the way.

In my opinion this is great news for women. Because being fit is being healthy. And if we change our definition of what attractive looks like and open it up to women of all shapes and sizes - well, maybe young girls out there won’t grow up to be head cases like me.

I continue to admire women who lead the way on body confidence and defining beauty outside the lines - women like Jennifer Lawrence, Meghan Trainor and Kate Winslet.

Who are some of your body confidence heroes?

Monday, August 22, 2016

A tepid try…

It’s hard to believe that I ran my very first mile outside in 2011. In terms of my entire life, that is a very short time ago. But for a period of time running became such an integral part of who I am, it felt like I had always been a runner. For many months, I relished running. The feeling of accomplishment after a good run - of challenging myself.

Then I fell out of love with running. I had some injuries and running became almost an enemy. I lost the motivation to run at all, but I felt like I had to, no matter what. And so I did.

In the last year or so I’ve gone back and forth. I don’t know that I’ve ever LOVED running - not like some people do. I have a Facebook friend who is a streak runner - she’s got like 1300 + days now! She just completed her first ultra - a 50 mile race. And she posts things about running and it is clear how much she just LOVES it. I envy her. I have had periods where I really enjoy getting out there and times when it feels like work.

The last couple months my running has taken a very weird turn. I don’t know how to explain this, but I am almost... afraid... to run outside. I’m not scared of getting hurt or attacked. Even though I have had injuries and my foot is still not healed I’m not really worried about hurting myself, either. It’s just this weird anxiety provoking fear when I think of running outside - like I won’t be able to do it or something. It’s not fear of being out in the world - not like I’m becoming agoraphobic - because I have no issue with biking long miles away from home.

So running and I have developed this tentative truce of sorts. I run on the treadmill at a slow pace. I burn calories and I’m technically “running”, but I don’t think that it’s the same as being outside and being a “runner”. My distances have been short - typically 6-7 miles. Long gone are the days of the “long run”.

This turn has filled me with incredible guilt and anxiety. Why? It’s not like I am required to run outside OR inside. It’s not my job. But I still feel that way - that somehow I am failing. That I am letting other people and myself down.

This weekend the forecast was for a beautiful Saturday followed by downpours and thunderstorms all day Sunday. So before we took the dogs to the beach on Saturday, I went out for a 40 mile bike ride knowing that this would be the only chance I would get to ride for the weekend. I would run, I promised me, on Sunday.

Sunday dawned and, as predicted, it was pouring. So I knew I needed to head to the basement to run. I tried to make excuses not to - to swear to myself I would run later in the day, knowing damn well that I wouldn’t. I managed to force myself into the basement wondering why I am in this rut and if there is any way out.

I told myself I could stop at 4 in order to get myself going. I was watching a movie and 4 became 6, 6 became 8 and then finally, 10. I won’t pretend that 10 miles is a big deal. Running 10 on a treadmill at a slow pace isn’t nearly the same as the days I would run 13-16 outside on a Sunday. But it is a longer jaunt than I have been running. I was happy that I got in the miles, but it didn’t renew any love of running and didn’t make me want to run outside.

Between the stress of Chakotay’s illness, my pathetic weight gain and my falling out of “like” with running, I’m feeling pretty lost right now.

Oh, course, ultimately, this is just more of my drama-queeness. Either do it or don’t, right? It’s just running for fuck’s sake. The weight of the free world is NOT on my shoulders.  The worls, as a matter of fact, doesn’t give a shit about my running – or my weight for that matter! 

i hate running

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sucking at keeping up!!

I know, I know – I suck, right?  I haven’t been posting at all. 

I am trying to cram 28 hours worth of living into 24 hour days and I’m not having much luck. 

I refuse to sacrifice sleep – although that would be the easy out – for a short time until I went completely nuts.

It was one week ago when we woke up and found Chakotay in a terrible state.  I was so sure that we were at the end.

I am thrilled to say that after a week of antibiotics, leg massage and lots and lots of hugs and kisses, he is doing really well.

The leg is almost normal.  He is eating well and appears to feel good.  In fact today he felt so good that we took him on a short hike to the water because he absolutely loves swimming.


















He floated around in the water for a while and swam to get his toys a few times and then relaxed while watching Archer play.


He was really tired on the way back and walked VERY slowly.  Marc and I wondered if we had made a mistake by taking him because we weren’t sure he could make it to the car.  But he ended up being fine as long as we walked slow,

What caused the rebound?  Was it the meds or the leg massaging?   Remember when I talked about magical thinking?  Well, I know that this is what it is, but no one can convince me that you guys and everyone else who has sent positive vibes his way hasn’t made a difference.

tumblr_nun5ltm3Qy1r12tq8o1_500 I don’t think that we have many good days left, but we are trying to enjoy them

I wish that I could tell you guys that this week’s rebound by Chakotay has allowed me to get my shit together, but it hasn’t.  I am still struggling terribly with my eating.  And the motivation to exercise?  It takes just about all of my energy to force myself to move. 

I have not stepped on the scale – the mirror is telling me enough.

So please my friends, PLEASE continue to send positive thoughts to Chakotay.  And if you have a few left, maybe you could send some vibes to me to get me to put down the FORK!!!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Compared to whom?

When I lost weight and began exercising and eating right for the first time in my life it was kind of like entering a world that I never knew existed. I began meeting other people who were slightly obsessed like I was and it was like joining a special club.

This club was pretty cool and one that I never ever expected to be welcomed into. In high school I would see the bond between people who were on teams together - the football guys and the volleyball girls. Those of us who were in the music and drama departments, we had our own bond, but it wasn’t the same as the jocks.

So I dipped my toe into this world and was shocked at how supportive it was – since the jocks in high school weren’t exactly pals with me!! People giving advice and talking techniques without making fun of one another. This world has its own language of sorts even. With talk of macros and fartleks and leg day. I now know the difference between chin-ups and pullups. I can talk intelligently about over-pronation, 10K training runs, kettlebell swings, Zottman curls, and what the best exercises are to grow your lats. I have argued over whether or not clipless pedals are worth it and whether to do cardio before strength or vice versa.

I have given advice on rehabbing a bad IT band problem and have had people come to me asking me the best way to improve their running speed. I have given advice on resistance bands and what stretching needs to be done to cure planter fascitis. I have hugged people who have finished their first 5K and celebrated someone deadlifting their body weight for the first time.  I have laughed as only other people who are in the know have laughed when someone talked about the misery of attempting to sit on the toilet 2 days after leg day.  And have commiserated with those side lined with an injury who are unable to run.

There is no way for me to explain how bizarre it is to me sometimes to know these things and be able to talk about them actually knowing what I am talking about. And when people ask for my advice?? Well that’s even more strange. NO ONE comes to Jen for fitness advice! I sometimes think “Why are they asking me??”

For support and to keep me accountable, I am a member of a number of fitness oriented sites, like,, and  I keep stats and talk with other fitness minded people.  Which is gret in many ways.

On the other hand, this also skews my perspective.  Because I always see the stats or talk with people that – in my mind – are better than I am.  People that are faster, who run more miles, who lift heavier weights, who eat totally clean and have impossible flat stomachs and incredibly defined biceps. 

I have come to believe that everyone is like this.  Everyone works out, everyone lifts weights and runs and keeps in shape and never cheats in their food intake.  Everyone looks fantastic in a bikini and doesn’t worry about flappy “bat-wings” or muffin tops.

Nope – I am the only one who has those defects.  I am the inferior one who has flab and isn’t running enough and was so lazy that I only lifted weights for an hour.  I SUCK compared to everyone else.

Now, intellectually, I know that this is ridiculous.  And I know that comparing yourself to others is most definitely a fools errand.  Because no matter how good you are, there is always someone faster, prettier, smarter, stronger. 

And yet, I can’t get away from believing it.  I wonder if some of the reason I can’t be happy with where I’m at is because I can’t and don’t celebrate the good things, I only lament my perceived faults.

Anyone else in that same boat?


Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Twilight Zone…

This is NOT how I wanted to be spending my weekend.

The last part of last week, I really felt that I was starting to get my mojo back.  I was exercising faithfully and my eating was actually mostly in check.  I kind of felt some hope that I maybe I could do this.

I woke up Saturday with a plan – after weeks of being in drought conditions we we going to get rain.  So I was going to run on the treadmill and then clean the house some.

That’s what I get for having a plan.

We got up yesterday and Chakotay was limping horribly.  I looked down and his right front leg was HUGELY swollen and he couldn’t put hardly any weight on it.  I called the vet’s office who wanted him brought right in.

A quick exam pretty much ruled out a traumatic injury.  The vet told us that this was likely the lymphoma and it was not a good sign.  Just in case there was an infection – even though we saw no sign of a bite or cut, she prescribed a broad spectrum anti-biotic.  But she gently told us that we are nearing the end.

We got him home and tried to make him comfortable.  But with the clouds moving out, it became blisteringly hot outside and not much better inside.

And what did I do?  Nothing.  I felt paralyzed.  I literally couldn’t make myself do anything but sit.  And sit.  Oh yeah – and eat. 

So I wasted the entire day doing nothing except worrying, feeling sick, crying and trying to distract myself by multiple trips to the kitchen – HATING myself  but unable to do anything about it.

Chakotay seemed to get progressively worse.  By night, his leg was actually grotesquely swollen and HOT.  We had to lift him up to get him outside where he was able to limp around to pee.  We laid him in front of the fan and retired to our bedroom to watch some tv.

I checked on him after the show ended at about 11:30PM and he would  barely lift his head to see me.  I went back to bed and cried – I knew that we would, in all likelihood – have to take him in this morning for his final journey.

I hardly slept at all – tossing and turning.  I dozed off and at 4AM I heard some noises outside the bedroom.  Chakotay was at his dishes drinking water.

I got up and he actually wagged his nub seeing me.  I let him outside and noticed that while his leg was still very swollen, it had gone down some and he was able to walk better.

Relieved, I went back to bed and was able to fall asleep.

We got up just an hour ago and he is okay.  My boy is, most definitely, a fighter.  I gave him his pills – with some peanut butter to wash them down and he scarfed them up.

Chakotay is like his mommy apparently – we can and do eat through pretty much anything.

So today, I have to not sit around like some pathetic cow – you know – I have to be someone other than ME.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Let the flab fly!

It has been HOT here. I love the heat, but it has been HOT and HUMID.

Since it has been so hot, I’ve been reading lately some articles lately and the ongoing debate about women running in - GASP - sports bras only - without covering up with a t-shirt. Some women are just not comfortable running in only a sports bra. Some are physically not comfortable and some are just too self-conscious.  And that’s their choice.

But I’ve been a little surprised at the judgment of other women about women who choose to run in only sports bras. Some have made pretty nasty - in my opinion - judgments about women who do that. It’s especially surprising to me because a sports bra often covers more - MUCH MORE - than what a lot of women wear to the beach. And you rarely hear women going off about women and bikinis....

So today I packed my bike up intending to ride during my lunch hour.  When I opened my bag I realized that rushing around this morning I had forgotten to put in a tank.  I had running shorts, regular shorts, bike shorts, 2 pairs of socks and 2 different style sports bras but no tank or t shirt.

So I swore at myself and decided riding was out.

But then I thought – what if I rode in my bike shorts and sports bra only.

No, I couldn’t do that, could I?

I have – very rarely – ran in a sports bra only.  I once ran a sweltering 10K race in one.  But that was 3 years ago when I was my lowest weight and wasn’t concerned about all the fat bouncing around.  And ladies, the position on a road bike isn’t the most flattering for a big tummy.

And then I said FUCK IT.

I put on the sports bra and bike shorts and went out and got on my bike. 

The first couple of miles I was VERY self-conscious.  I was sure that everyone going by noticed the fat rolls overhanging my shorts.  But I also noticed how cool the breeze felt on my midsection.

So I rode.  Here’s what DIDN’T happen.  No one yelled anything insulting to me.  I didn’t get pulled over for RWB (Riding with Blubber).  No one drove past me and had to pull over to vomit.

Towards the end of my ride I saw a guy walking down the road with his shirt tucked into his back pocket.  His jeans didn’t fit terrible well and I could see the top of his ass crack.  And I noticed he had some belly flab.  I guessed that he probably didn’t think anything about walking down the road without his shirt on.  He probably didn’t wonder if other people were staring at his shirtless self.

So I don’t think that I’ll make a practice of riding or running with just the sports bra.  But there was something freeing about it.  And I think that women shouldn’t judge other women for whatever they choose to wear.

What say you?  Sports bras ok or cover yourself up??

Monday, August 8, 2016

Price of Perfection…


Are you guys watching the Olympics? I am following them loosely. It’s amazing to see these athletes and what they can accomplish! I feel so horrible though when someone screws up or gets injured - I mean they spend their whole life preparing and their dream can be GONE in just a split second...

I happened to run across an article today about the work it takes to become an Olympian and the sacrifices made to reach that level of greatness. You know, it’s funny, I just talked in yesterdays post about people thinking that it is easy for me. And as I read this article I realized that I make some of the same assumptions about people that have reached that point of utter amazingness, when really it’s about incredible hard work and tons and tons of sacrifice.

Now obviously to get to the point of Olympic greatness you have to have been born with some innate ability. For example, Michael Phelps’ body was just designed for swimming with the unusually long arms (proportionally to the rest of his body) and huge flipper like hands. But it’s more than that. He started competitive swimming at 7. 7 years old. The gymnast Gabby Douglas moved out of her house and was sheltered from the “real world” in order to make her into this outstanding, larger than life athlete.

It takes working tirelessly - hours per day every day of training. Not seeing your family. Not having real life friends. Eating for fuel and only eating the “right” foods. Pushing your body to the absolute limit - through injuries even. And for many of these Olympians - both in the US and other countries - enduring abuse (physical, mental and even sexual) by coaches and other people who take over the often young child’s life.

All to reach that one goal.

Is it worth it?

You see them standing up there on the podium with huge grins and I can only imagine that unbelievable sense of accomplishment.

But it doesn’t come without a price. Michael Phelps has had 2 DWI arrests and a stint in rehab. He has hinted that he was suicidal. Other former Olympians have talked about the adjustment of no longer being an Olympian. Of eating disorders, physical health problems and lacking social skills because they never developed any.

What’s the point of all this? I think about my own journey which is a small FRACTION of what these men and women have gone through. To make a huge life change has and will continue to require sacrifice. Time sacrifice, relationship sacrifices - doing what you need to do rather than what you want to do. There is NO WAY around that.

The question for each of you reading this is how “perfect” do you want to get? Because the more .lofty your goals, the more sacrifices you will have to make. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to make big sacrifices. If you want to lose 100 pounds it’s going to take an incredible amount of effort. So do you set your goals lower? Settle for “this is good enough” instead of “I have to reach this goal”. You might not get where you ideally want to be, but maybe you value your time and, frankly, your mental health more than you want that ideal.

This is the spot I stand in right now. Am I “good enough”. And is “good enough” actually good enough??

I know some people who lost enough weight to improve their health. They have made efforts to “move more”. They are still “technically” overweight and are perfectly fine with this. They are happier and more confident. One woman told me “Look, I’m never going to get down to where the doctor says I should be, that’s just a fact”. And she is a-okay with this. I admit that I talk to people like this sometimes and am envious that they can be content being perfectly imperfect...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fooled ya!

Last week was an incredibly chaotic week at work.  If you aren't in the field that I work in, maybe you aren't aware.  But heroin use in this country, especially in the northeast right now, has just exploded.  And it's more deadly than it has ever been.  People are dying by the DOZENS.  It so scary and discouraging.  What we're seeing, which is unexpected for a lot of people, is kids from very good families, typically upper-middle class, getting into this drug and before you know it they are addicted, arrested, or dead.  

At any rate, this has led, not surprisingly, to my workload.

Wednesday was just nuts and a guy that I started working with recently dragged himself into my office and said that he desperately needed his lunch break.  He mentioned that he was heading over to the Farmer's Market which they hold locally on Wednesdays.  Another co-worker said "Oh yeah!  I forgot that was today!  I'm heading over too!'

They both looked and me and I said "Hell NO!  I don't go anywhere near the Farmer's Market." 

The guy looked at me quizzically and said "What?  Why not?  There's all kinds of fresh veggies and stuff like that - I thought that you would be on that!'

To which I said "Yes, and there's also fried dough and Whoopie pies and tons of other things that I can't eat.  The smell itself is like a torture chamber for me!!"

The guy just stared at me for a minute and said "Huh.  You know, you have such a strong personality I sometimes forget that you have you own demons you face."

It's funny how other people perceive me.  I think that I walk around and pretty much have a lighted sign on me saying "THIS CHICK IS TOTALLY FUCKED IN THE HEAD!"  Seriously, I think that everyone can clearly see how screwed up I am.  And yet, here is this guy saying that he forgets that I have any "demons".  This happened to be just 2 days after someone else said to me something about how it's like "nothing" for me to get out and run 5 miles.  I suppose I should be flattered that people think that it is a cakewalk for me.  But sometimes I hate that people don't notice my struggle.  Maybe what I should wish for is to somehow find the strength that people believe I have!

In other news, Chakotay has been on Prednisone now for a couple of weeks.  This drug is usually helpful - on a temporary basis - for Lymphoma.  But it doesn't always work, and with T-cell Lymphoma which he has, the chances of it NOT working are even higher.  But happily the lymph nodes have shrunk remarkably and he is still eating well and appears to feel pretty good.

A not uncommon side effect of Prednisone - as most of you probably know - is behavioral changes, including aggression.  We have not seen even a bit of this.  However, yesterday we had the party at our house to celebrate Marc's father's b-day and just have a summer get together with his family.  I have to admit, I was nervous how Chakotay would be with all the commotion - and was really worried about how he might act around our young nephews and the German Shepherd that I expected to come.

Fortunately, he acted pretty much his normal, laid-back mellow self.  He was great around the boys, the other people, and the dog.  He got a lot of extra loving from Marc's family - who are all animal lovers - who knew that might be the last time they see him.  He also got to eat a hotdog.  We rarely give our dogs "people food" but he's going to get many previously off-limits food choices he wants.

And you guys know what I'm going to say.  I was a complete disaster yesterday food wise.  I have fallen so far I feel like I have dug a hole for myself that I can never ever get out of.  I know that it is never too far or too late, but nothing - NOTHING - no strategy that I have employed has even had the remotest effect.    It's a constant 1 step forward, two steps back process.  

So apparently I have at least some other people fooled, that this is easy.  Now I just have to fool myself!!     

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Skinny Pop Popcorn

Popcorn is one of my favorite go-to snacks, particularly at night. 

Popcorn is low calorie and high in fiber.  It is a whole grain food and contains about as much antioxidant benefits as many fruits and vegetables.

So it is a perfect food to grab as a snack when someone is trying to lose weight!  I make raw kernels in a popper machine, but I have to admit that sometimes it gets a bit bland.  On the other hand I’m certainly not going to add butter or other additives that increase the fat and calorie count.

SkinnyPop has a line of popcorn flavors – from dark chocolate to jalapeno to white cheddar – all tapping in at around 40-45 calories per serving.  So you can have this treat with additional flavors without loading up on fat and calories!  The wide assortment of choices make it perfect to grab as a snack and fulfill whatever craving you are having.

Apparently pairing wine with popcorn has gotten pretty popular – a way to unwind and treat yourself at the end of a long day.

You guys know that I don’t drink, so I can’t particularly recommend any wines that pair with popcorn.

But SkinnyPop has created this graphic showing which flavors pair the best with various types of wines.

SkinnyPop Wine 

So the next time you want to have a night in and relax without the guilt of having downed an entire pint (or more - been there done that!) of high calorie ice cream or something equally bad for you, instead you can have some healthy flavorful popcorn without the guilt!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Putting on some weight!

If you are anything like me, you are always looking to burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time. I really enjoy taking walks with the dogs. In super-hot weather like we’ve been having there is just no way for me to run on my lunch hour for any amount of time and get cleaned up enough to be presentable the rest of the day, so I find myself doing power walks at lunch instead.

And walking is SO good for you! You get to burn calories without the impact stress of running, it strengthens your hips and glutes, which is especially needed for people who work a desk job, and is great for  your heart. In addition, studies have shown that it reduces stress and helps people work on internal issues almost as well as mediating.

The only problem for me, is that even a fast walk doesn’t burn the calories that I would like to. So I started researching ways to increase the benefit of a walk. They used to sell weighted hand and ankle weights for walking. However, research started showing that walking with these weights - especially ankle weights - was causing joint damage. So most experts don’t recommend walking with them. I have carried 5 LB dumbbells with me for a walk, but they are cumbersome and place a lot of stress on the arms, which is not where I want to focus.

Taking a cue from the military, “rucking” has come into fashion. Using a large backpack filled up has a ton of physical benefits. But I didn’t see myself hauling a backpack to work and throwing it on to walk at lunch.

And then I found a weighted vest. I started researching and discovered that weighted vests provide extreme benefits in multiple areas. I put one on my Amazon “wish list” and was thrilled when Marc got it for me for Xmas last year.


I have been using it to power walk, and what a great workout it is! Mine is a 12 lb. vest but you can get lighter or heavier versions. First off, wearing the weighted vest to walk strengthens your core. This vest, as you can see, straps on similar to a backpack. It sits right between your shoulder blades. Wearing the weight there, forces you to hold your body straight. While the vest does not move around at all, your body still needs to compensate for the weight there and uses core muscles to accomplish this. This not only strengthens your core, but improves your posture - something I need desperately. I have always had bad posture, but the skin removal surgery made me hunched for a while until the skin stretched, and my posture remains a challenge.








In addition, having the weighted vest on strengthens your shoulder muscles and leg muscles as there is simply more weight to propel forward when you walk. It also increases the cardio benefits of a walk, because having more weight to haul around is harder work.








If you are a runner, studies have shown that those runners who wear weighted vest while walking run faster without that weight on them. Your body apparently gets used to carrying the extra weight and once it is off, you are freed up and run faster. Some people use vest when they do sprints, but I wouldn’t advocate that for us mere mortals. That is for very strong and very advanced runners.

Here what I also love about the weighted vest. It’s not just for walking. I wear it to add some difficulty to other exercises. For example, I wear it doing P90X Kempo, which increases the cardio and strength benefits. Try doing a few push ups or planks or squats in that sucker - you will know it!!

And guess what? It doesn’t have to just be for advanced exercising. Wearing a weighted vest while doing simple household chores will increase our calorie burn. You can wear it while vacuuming, dusting or anything else that you are doing where you are looking to make it a little more challenging.

Some cautions – you want to start with a lower weight depending on your fitness level.  You can buy adjustable vests where you can add or remove weights, but of course they cost more. 

If you have back or neck problems, this might not be something that you want to invest in, because it does put quite a load on your back. 

If your not sure the weight or if it will aggravate any issues, try on a backpack first and see what weight feels right.

But if you are looking to add a little challenge to your walk, this might fit the bill as it does for me!

Monday, August 1, 2016

New month, same me…

Today is August 1st. We are now way past halfway into 2016. Needless to say that this is not the year that I wanted to have so far.

When 2015 came to a close, I was bound and determined to get my shit together for the new year. I was so sure that I had it in me to get back on track. But it hasn’t happened. I cannot find the inner strength or will or whatever to focus long enough to make any progress.

I am trying so hard to stay in the here and now and live each day gratefully, but that is just not in my nature. Fortunately, at least so far, neither is giving up.

Speaking of bright spots, Marc’s father’s birthday was Saturday - he turned 98. 98 years old!! Because we were in the bike race we didn’t do much for or with him, but we are hosting the annual family get together next weekend and will celebrate with him and the rest of the fam dam then.

We did make some time to go visit him. Recently he has been somewhat focused on getting his house cleaned up so that the family won’t have a lot to do when he is gone. I don’t know why he is suddenly focused on this, but I guess when you’re that age you worry about things like that a lot.

Anyway, as we were talking he asked me to wait and he made his way over to a bookcase in the living room, got down on his hands and knees and started rummaging around. He pulled out this large hardcover book.

He held it out towards me and asked if I remembered it. I stared at it - it was one of those books in the Time-Life series and it was “Pictures of the Century” or something like that. It had each decade and lots of pictures of what was going on then in pop culture and the world in general.

I then remember that one of the first years that Marc and I were dating I had bought that for him for Xmas, because he LOVES reminiscing and seeing pictures of things from the past.

He told me that he wanted me to have it “when the time comes” and asked if I “could possibly make room for it” in my house because he thought it should be returned to me. According to him, he had been very worried about this and by me agreeing to take it, it set his mind at ease.

Now setting aside that he was worried about who would get this book after he is gone - he is 98 years old. Marc and I started dating in 1989. So I probably bought it for him in 1990 or 1991. And he remembers me buying that for him all that time ago!

I typically can’t remember what I did 2 DAYS ago, let alone what someone bought me for Xmas years and years ago!! It’s pretty amazing, right?

Marc - and I - are pretty lucky to still have him in our lives.

So each day I am trying to be grateful for things like that. That Chakotay is still here. That I can ride 50 miles in a bike race and wake up the next day and do 25 as a “recovery ride”. That each day I come to a job that is incredibly challenging and so heartbreaking and frustrating at times, but that maybe, just maybe, I help make someone’s life better.

And would things in my life be remarkably better if I could just find the strength to lose 40 pounds? Well, that is the battle that rages in my head.

The rest of 2016 will hold some challenges for me. I can’t say right now how well I’ll handle them.