Weight has a way of sneaking up on a person, just like clutter. FlyLady calls it “body clutter” and I think that is a brilliant description. I started having weight *issues* during nursing school. I was in my late 20s/early 30s, with two small children and a boatload of stress. Most of us gained weight during nursing school but I really thought that when I started working at the hospital it would come off easily. No such luck. I did manage to lose over 30 pounds while working as a hospice nurse but I did it with a dangerous combination of diet pills, diet Coke, no sleep, and constant stress. It nearly ruined my health but still, it was sure nice to be thin.
There’s a part of me that would love to take diet pills again. Not only did it help me lose weight very quickly, but I LOVED the high. I’ve never taken illicit drugs and never would but if I did, it would be speed. I got SO much done. My house was never cleaner. AND…I was very thin. But I’m older and hopefully wiser now so I won’t be going that route, even if I could find a doctor willing to prescribe diet pills. So I am left with the “eat right and exercise” thing. We have a very nice treadmill and weight machine which I am actually using almost daily. I need to lose about 30 pounds (well, probably closer to 40 but I’ll think about another 10 pounds after I lose the 30) and since that sounds overwhelming, my first goal is to lose 7 pounds by mid-June. We are going to New Orleans then for our 25th anniversary and I want to be a little thinner by then. My birthday is the end of August so I plan to lose another 8-10 pounds by then.
I plan to accomplish this by exercising regularly, drinking lots of water, taking my supplements daily, and decreasing portion size by 1/3 to 1/2. I already eat pretty healthy. There are almost no pre-packaged, preservative-laden, junk foods in my house. I serve a salad and lots of vegetables with every dinner. I make my own yogurt from organic milk. I even grind wheat and make our bread. I think my metabolism is just slowing down with age and I need to cut my food intake to accomodate that change. Which is unfortunate for me since I LOVE good food. I am trying to really concentrate on what I am eating, taking tiny bites and eating very slowly. I am also going to try to decrease the amount of tea and coffee I drink each day — not that either are bad for me (I believe the antioxidant thing is true) but I like both with 1/2 and 1/2 or cream so those calories add up.
One thing I am trying to add to my diet is a small glass of wine with dinner. We didn’t consume alcohol until fairly recently (wanted to set good example for our kids but they are grown now) but I started cooking with it a couple of years ago and we now indulge occasionally. While I may appear fairly calm and relaxed to the casual observer, the truth is that inside, I am often wound pretty tight. I tend to run a fairly high blood pressure and high pulse. I also struggle with insomnia. While in New Orleans last summer we would have a drink or two while listening to live music at night. I was amazed at how well I slept afterwards. I was able to fall asleep easily and sometimes even slept all night — something I NEVER do. So far I haven’t really developed a taste for wine, although I do like fruity, rum or vodka based drinks. But I know that there are some health benefits associated with moderate consumption of red wine so I am trying to include a bit in my diet. Since I am not crazy about the taste it isn’t difficult to sip it very slowly, which also helps slow the pace of the meal. I’m hoping that it will help me sleep better, too. Besides, French women drink a lot of wine and we all know how slim and chic most of them are. So I’m sipping wine in the evenings and channeling my inner French girl.
And that brings me to the final topic for today’s blog entry: “The Project”. This Friday is the sale at which I hope to unload the hundreds of books I have culled from my collection and have stacked all over the floor of my library. That means I have to get busy and price all these books. It will feel so good to finally get them out of the house. Little by little I have been getting rid of things throughout the house. I gave 4 carloads of stuff to my daughter for her garage sale. I have also thrown away a lot of things. Last week I tackled a lower cupboard in my kitchen. I’m blessed with a large kitchen and lots of storage space which is great, but also means it is too easy to just stuff things in a cupboard without really thinking about whether it is worth keeping. This particular cupboard contained a weird assortment of items including three boxes of coffee filters (haven’t used a drip coffee maker since we bought our French press three years ago), a large box of oatmeal with an expiration date of a couple of years ago (we now use organic oatmeal and this was Quaker), three bottles of water (can’t find an expiration date — is it still okay?), two bottles of flavored coffee syrup in flavors we didn’t like, a couple of cans of not-very-good coffee, a bag of birdseed, and assorted other items. The birdseed was about the only thing in there that we were using. I threw away most of it and my husband is going to take the coffee filters to his office. Now I have space for the case of bottled water which I used to have sitting on the counter. I am going to try to clean out one kitchen cabinet per week until they all are this nice and organized. I’m also in the process of using up my vast stores of food. I think I read too many pioneer stories but every fall I get this urge to stock up and *fill the larder*. It’s not like we even have really severe winters here in southern Oklahoma. A few days of snow or ice is about as bad as it gets. Still, it makes me feel good to know I could feed us for weeks without a trip to town. However, enough is enough. I want to make room in my freezer to put up some summer produce so we need to start eating up what’s in there. I am committed to planning our meals around what we have on hand. I still pick up fresh produce and dairy, but for the most part, I am using what we have. It does challenge my creativity a bit but so far I’ve been able to come up with good meals. I did discover that I bought way too many cans of corn and not enough green beans when I bought several cases of veggies last fall. So I guess I’ll be looking for some good corn recipes!