The Best Sign of Progress

“Are we walking home today, daddy?” my son asked me, when I picked him up from kindergarten yesterday.

“We are,” I told him.

“Yay!” he gushed.  Then, on the way home, we chatted about anything and everything.  What happens to people when they die.  Whether a motorcycle could beat an AT-AT.  What we’re going to have for dinner, and whether or not he can play before he does his homework.  He finds “treasures” – rocks and sticks, and tried to bring them home.  And we swordfight with other branches that he picks up – when he isn’t throwing them like spears or just showing me how far he can toss them.

I love these afternoon walks with my son.  They’re a pure reminder of the fact that I’ve made a whole lot of progress, and that I’m in better shape now than I was when he was born.  I can carry him around when needed, and give him piggyback rides and wrestle with him – all things I struggled to do, two years ago when he was a lot lighter and I wasn’t.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said all of this before, in more than one post.  But I’m saying it again, because he and my wife are my reasons for keeping this up – even when I’m feeling tired, or discouraged, or frustrated by lack of progress.  Because they remind me that I’m not just doing this to lose weight.  I’m doing it to have more moments like this, and to be able to spend more time with them.

It’s a great feeling, knowing that I already can.

I’m Back. Again. For, Like, The Umpteenth Time.

Last week, clearly, was rough.  I learned (or, perhaps, realized) that I’m a stress eater.  The Tuesday after I learned about my grandmother’s death, I significantly overate.  I mean, I overate to the point that I didn’t bother tracking my calories because it would have just depressed me more.  And I didn’t bother with trying to hit my exercise goals, or walking, or anything.  The rest of the week I did better, though.  I didn’t quite hit my calorie goals until Thursday, but I hit my walking gaols every day except Tuesday.  By a significant amount, too:  I averaged 5.13 miles a day, which is pretty good for not trying on Tuesday and not holding myself to any sort of walking goal on weekends.

I lost 4.4 pounds, while I was at it.  So, again, I must have done more right than wrong.

Anyway, I’m hoping this week will be a whole lot better.  I’ve got breakfasts ready to go, and lunchmeat so that I can easily prep a lunch the night before (and easily work out the calorie count of my lunch…), and I’ve got plans to get out and walk.  Although, naturally, it’s been unseasonably cold the last few days.  Still, I’m going to go and walk anyway.  Because I’d like to see if I can manage another 4.4 pounds this week.

Not counting on that exact amount, mind.  But I definitely want to see continued progress!

My Grandmother

Monday evening, I learned that my grandmother died.  That’s why I didn’t post anything yesterday. It was hard, harder than o thought it would be. She was 92, and I thought I was ready for it to happen. She wouldn’t live forever, after all. Nobody does.

I was wrong.  Two days on, my emotions are still up and down, and a little voice in me is saying “granma can’t be dead!  She’s granma!

My Grandmother Todd is the only grandmother I remember meeting. I met my Grandmother Gant, of course. I’ve seen the photos. But I was two, I think, when she died. I have no memories of her.

We’d go visit my mom’s parents for two weeks each summer, during the years we lived in the United States. It was a 12 hour drive through the Appalachians and then along the Ohio to a little white house with a porch and a second floor my grandpa put in himself. There was a swing set in the back, and flowers with seed pods that popped and launched seeds, and an arbor with sour grapes, and odd little plastic things that my grandpa saved from the factory.

Grandma collected Avon bottles, and little statues, and displayed them in the cramped little living room. I’d spend hours staring at them, and imagining what they were. Never touching, mind. Just looking. And she had wind chimes in the living room. Sometimes, I’d just stand and brush them to make them jangle and clatter.

Grandma is the reason I know what cow heart, rabbit, and turtle taste like (beef, watery chicken, stringy chicken). I’d watch her cook sometimes, sitting on the stairs as she fried chicken. And I’d listen to her talk to my mom and dad, and to my aunts and then uncles.  Most nights, we’d gather around the table and play Hearts or Rummy.  She’d cackle with glee when she won a hand.

My dad always called her “mom”, and meant it. That always impressed me. It was the kind of relationship I decided I wanted with my in-laws, I decided, when I grew up.

I lived about an hour from her for the last 15 years, and I never got down to visit her as much as I wanted. Life got in the way, and granma would always be there for me with a hug, right?  And I always managed to get down for the important things – birthdays and holidays. The news that we were going to have a baby and our son’s first road trip so she could hold her newest great-grandchild.  And for funerals.

Now she’s gone. My sister n, when we told him, said he didn’t want her to go. That it made his heart hurt.

It makes my heart hurt, too. Because I don’t want her to go either.

What Are You Going To Do?

So, yeah.  I didn’t do so well, what with gaining 1.6 pounds last week.  I chalk it up to some bad decisions around eating, because there’s only so much you can offset with exercise before you start gaining weight.  What are you going to do?

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  That’s one of the things I write about here, after all.  And what I’m going to do is actually stick to my plan.  I hit all my walking goals last week, and most of my exercise goals.  So, clearly, that part works.  Now, I just need to hit my calorie goals this week.  Which means making sure to pack my meals every day.

I’m a little down about the weight gain (again), but I’m not beaten!

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

You take it all and then you have…  Well, if you’re my age, you have a flashback moment to an annoying sitcom from the 80s.  Which was, if you stop and think about it, thirty years ago.  Which goes to show how much television I watch these days, if a bunch of my pop culture references are three decades out of date.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the facts of life.  I’m here to reflect on my week, which is a combination of good and bad.  To the good, I’ve hit my walking goal every day so far and most of my exercise goals.  To the bad, I’ve been sort of ignoring my calorie budget.  I was good with it one day, came near it two other days, and sort of blew through it two more days.  So, I’m thinking I probably held my ground on the weight.  Which is the bad, because I really wanted to see some progress this week.  Still, life happens.

I’m not moping, though.  I’m just trying to recognize that I made some mistakes, and to figure out why.  And most of that “why” comes down to “poor planning”.  I didn’t plan out making my breakfasts and lunches in advance, so I had to eat out.  And that leads to eating more than I should.  Also, having cash or a debit card on me makes snacking easier.  And if I’m already primed by eating out, it’s a whole lot harder to discipline myself and not snack.

Long story short, I need to prep my meals in advance for next week.  Important lesson, that.

Eating Well: Peanut Butter and Jelly

I thought for sure, last night, that I’d have a new recipe to share with you today.  It seemed like it would be a win, because it was a cheeseburger macaroni casserole and I love that sort of thing.  And the calories wouldn’t even have been all that bad, really.  I did the math in advance, this time.

And then I ate it.

Well, let’s be honest here.  I ate part of it.  The first bite was just sort of, well, boring.  The second was unpleasant, and then I started getting this aftertaste.  And my son, who I’ve told time and again has to try the recipe before asking if he can have something different, gamely tried it as well.  Then, after his third bite, he looks at me.  “Dad?  This tastes funny.”

“Yeah, it does.  Doesn’t it?” I reply.

“Do I have to eat it?” he asks.

“No,” I decide, then and there.  “No, you don’t.  And I don’t either.”

So we threw it away, and we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit for dinner.  I won’t bother with the actual “recipe” for that meal, though.  Because it’s PBJ.

Man, though.  That specific cheeseburger casserole recipe was gross.


The nice thing about all the walking I do these days isn’t the opportunity for weight loss.  I mean, sure.  That’s why I started it, and that’s what I’m hoping will come out of it as I get myself back on track with my goals.  But it really isn’t the best part about walking.  Weight loss is a side effect, these days.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned the nature trails at my place of work.  They’re really quite nice, particularly when you consider that I work in a call center for a national financial firm and that they could have just set us up in a windowless concrete box somewhere.  But, instead, I can get out and wander up and down trails that lead through trees and over a (usually dry) creek bed, and that end at one point with a spectacular view of the nearby town.  And there’s a lot of flowering shrubs and trees and parasitical plants, too.  Dogwood and honeysuckle, mostly.  They beat twelve kinds of hell out of my sinuses if I don’t keep up my allergy medicine, but there’s a subtle sort of perfume that fills the trails.  Not heavy and cloying, either.  Just enough that you take a deep breath and you think to yourself “I’m glad I’m outside.”

I hit those trails on my breaks, weather permitting.  Sometimes – like now, because my legs are a little sore from the exercises I’ve been doing – I try to talk myself out of going for walks when they start.  “I’m tired,” I’ll say.  Or, “I’m sore.”  And I’m sure that I don’t want to go, and that it’s going to be a chore, and that I’ll hate doing it.  But then I get outside, and the weather is just warm enough and just cool enough to be pleasant, and the floral scents hit on a gentle breeze, and I can feel myself unwind.  I start walking, feeling the concrete sidewalks give way to the shifting gravel of the trail, and I start to relax.

Sure, I walk for exercise these days.  But also, I walk just to walk.