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Friday, May 18, 2018

So Much Change

Well this blog was on hiatus for a long time. I’m bringing it back to life to record my life and my travels. Because blogging is my way to make sense of this world.

The story of the last 2 years is that hubby of 36 years died on November 17th, 2017 of esophageal cancer. He fought the good fight and we thought it was beat. But cancer has a mind of its own. He was so healthy and physically fit. By that I mean he was a 5th degree black belt in karate, ran 10 km, 3-4 times a week, biked 50 km the other days and did amazing weight lifting and spartan races.

Cancer takes. And those that remain live a new normal. It sucks. Really sucks. That the man I was to be with for the rest of our days is gone. We had the best of the best and I miss him most ardently.

So now it is “The Rest of My Days”



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Friday, August 9, 2013

Healthy Years

I was scrolling through some blogs today and this one caught my eye: Life Expectancy at Age 65

Now I am not 65. But it’s only a few years away so this was rather interesting. I took the map and added where I live up here in Canada (red arrow) and extrapolated the light green colour from the Northeast States (you know Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and a couple of those little states!) and decided I must be in the green zone too.


(I couldn’t find the original map on the CDC siteso used the one the blogger posted. Thanks!)

This map wasn’t about how long you are going to live but the expected “Healthy Years” remaining past age 65.

In my case—green zone—just over 14 healthy years. Which means I should be healthy til I’m 79. Then after that its downhill.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation have launched the coolest commercials called Make Health Last. In the video they say that the majority of older people today will live their last 10 years in sickness. The video is split screen showing the same man living in health on the left and living in sickness on the right. It really is powerful.

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Qo6QNU8kHxI

As I work through planning retirement in a few years, all my hopes and dreams will be overshadowed by my “health”. 

Not just as a statistic but in the healthy lifestyle I’m following. Well 90% of the time anyway. Eating well to control my weight, being active, lowering stress, having lots of friends and family around. 

Right now I feel I’m good. I just need to keep it that way.

Cause I still have lots to see and do!

Sandy


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hiking


A few years ago I bought hiking shoes. They were hard and unforgiving but did work great on rocky surfaces. I used them on a trip to Australia and New Zealand where I hiked up to the melting glacier beside Mount Cook. And yes those hikers were heavy. We had to scrub them clean in order to get back into Australia so we didn't bring dirt in from a foreign country.
Hooker Glacier, Mount Cook, New Zealand. February 2009
Over the past couple of years I have mostly been walking on paved pathways, but since taking up Nordic walking with my poles am trying out rougher ground. My poles collapse so I'll be packing them for our trip. They give an amazing upper body workout by pushing off while hiking. Great workout for the triceps.

With lots of hiking, walking, trekking planned for our upcoming trip to Ireland, I splurged on new hiking shoes. And what a difference a few years make. They are so lightweight. Lighter than my runners. They might look like runners but the sole is quite firm.
MERRELL AVIAN LIGHT LEATHER

NORDIC POLES WITH TINY LITTLE BOOTS












If only the weather didn't suck so much. We've had almost continuous rain and severe thunderstorms making it is hard to find an hour or so to actually get outside. But there are lots of mountains and glaciers and rocky paths to conquer. 

I'm on a mission! Onward.

Sandy



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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Keep Calm & Carry On

2012 was a great year. And I expect 2013 to be the same. And this title. Well, a new song called Carry On by Fun was playing as I drove home. Which reminded me of the British stiff upper lip at all times. The chorus goes like this

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

So here's a small toast to everyone. That 2013 be your best year. That you "Carry On" and remain positive no matter what.
Cheers to a Happy, Healthy 2013!
This picture was taken at our post-wedding brunch last October 7th. No makeup. Relaxed and happy. Wedding hair intact. My SIL calls it that. Hair that doesn't move when you sleep in it!

I did a lot of partying over Christmas. I bought a lovely lace top and it was well used for almost every event. My weight stayed the same. I didn't wander in a sugar haze as in past years and actually enjoyed the fresh food and treats.

The only downside was an infected tooth which will require a root canal next week. The positive side is that antibiotics cleared it up initially but the only cure is a root canal. Another downer: while having a sip of wine last week, one of my new veneers fell off. I have it safely wrapped in a Kleenex, a $1000 piece of porcelain, ready to be re-glued back onto the tooth underneath next week while having the root canal. The positive side of this was that I didn't swallow said expensive cap and I have to be at the dentist anyway next week so will be able to kill two birds with one stone. I do have a funny looking smile with a missing tooth in front (no photos will be posted!).

Christmas was a whirlwind.
  • Dec 1st was a party with friends
  • Dec 7th was a party in Montreal.
  • Dec 15-17th was a weekend with my BFF in Hamilton and 4 different parties.
  • Christmas dinner at my daughter’s house. Hosting a Boxing Day buffet dinner for my hubby’s family (20 in various sizes and ages). Forgot to take pictures.
  • A spontaneous trip to Toronto to visit my brother and his family for a couple of days. Snowshoeing was involved (lots of fun) as well as a couple of bottles of wine, where said tooth fell out. Again, forgot to take pictures.
  • Watching all 6 episodes of Star Wars, a gift my son gave me for Christmas. From Jar Jar Binks, to the transformation of Anakin to Darth Vader, to Yoda, Princess Leia, Luke and Hans Solo defeating the Emperor. And good overcoming evil. Don’t you just love a marathon! 
  • New Years Eve was quiet. Just hubs and I, some movies, a dip in the hot tub and into bed by 11:00. Just no desire to see 12:00 flashing on my clock radio (or is it 00:00).
  • New Years Day. A bit non-traditional. No big dinner or brunch. We were off to my daughter’s house to paint the baby’s room. That was our Christmas present to them, to paint the room. She decided to choose TWO colours—a pale green and a pale mauve. It took longer than planned but it is done with a couple of touch-ups and ready for baby girl to make her entrance.

Time is closing in on me being a Gram—baby girl is due on February 12th.

Which is a tiny bit exciting.

It is colder than all get out this week and lots and lots of snow. Which is only good for my snowshoeing group which starts a week Saturday. Looking forward to getting out and enjoying the white stuff and not sitting inside moping.
First snowfall-Dec 21st. Another foot came a week later.
So what will 2013 bring? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball so will take one day at a time and try to keep a positive frame of mind. It is weird how far down we can be sucked if we let others continue being negative. And how much better we are when we stop and tell them "positive talk" only or just walk away. I do now.

I believe we get back what we give out into the universe. My goal is to send out happy, positive thoughts and actions and hope that the same is returned to me. No New Year's Resolutions for me but wishing you a wonderful and positive year.
2013.

Bring it on!
Sandy

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Diets Do Work—It’s Maintenance Where We Fail

A few months ago, I spent a weekend with some of my weightloss buddies. We got together to celebrate a birthday. It was a perfect storm of get-togetherness.

So what is with this title. 

Well, I have maintained my weight loss for two years. My dream weight is still 10-15 pounds away but maybe that will always be. I think I realized I was in maintenance when I was with these other girls who I cherish. I met them through blogging and can't believe the friendships we have formed. We are all at different points in this “weight” journey but we're there for each other. 

One comment stuck that weekend as I stared puzzled into the pool. “I don’t compare myself to anyone. We are all different”. 
My dream number!

I felt guilty that I had struggled mightily to lose 40 pounds when some of you were hitting 100 pound or more losses. I have so wanted to post the picture I have of “50”. It was my dream. I did reach 49 pounds down 18 months ago but couldn't keep there. Those 5 pounds came back and have decided they kind of like living around my waist. My ticker sits at 44 pounds down and has for months. 

But it shouldn’t matter how big our losses are. We really are different. 

The big question is can we keep the weight off. 

I did. Or I have. But it's still one day at a time. 

Some of you may think—look at her—she hardly had any weight to lose. I know the catty thoughts that circulate. I can be catty myself. But constant weight cycling for more than 45 years was killing me. 

And guess what. Maintaining weight is different than losing weight. Yup, it finally hit me. I had been struggling to figure out why I wasn’t losing weight. I realized I had lost sight of the fact that I hadn’t gained any weight


I came across this quote by some doctor about Weight Loss vs Weight Maintenance which really said it all: 

“It seems somewhat similar to love and marriage. What gets you to the altar is likely to be quite different than what keeps you married in the long-term.

 [And] not recognizing this transition and adapting with different practices will also get you in trouble.”



Almost any diet out there—Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, Biggest Loser, drugs, bulimia, WLS—will help a person lose weight. 

But maintaining is different.

So what's the difference between maintaining and losing weight, even if you are not at that magic number you want as your “goal”? 

Dieting down to an ideal weight is work. You can't just quit doing all the things that got you there. I'm here to tell you and research backs me up that staying at a healthy weight requires effort, exercise and a long-term focus. But
  • You do not have to exercise 2 hours a day. Unless you want to. 
  • You do not have to count calories or track every morsel that passes through your mouth. Unless you want to. 
  • You do not have to “think” about food all the time. Unless you want to. 
  • You do have to figure out what works for you. 
If you don't change those new habits you won't keep the weight off—they take time but eventually it becomes a way of life. This chart I found says it all. 

What’s the difference? 
Goal
Weight loss
Weight maintenance
Duration
Temporary; short term
Life-long
Speed
Ranges from slow and steady or rapid.
What speed? I’m already here! The time is now!
Amount of change
Small to large changes. May “fall off the wagon” bigtime and backslide significantly.
Very small changes; awareness of slight fluctuations in weight from day to day. Quickly responds to very small deviations; gets back on track rapidly with little harm done.
Potential mindset
Learn new habits. “Get ‘er done”. Deprivation, limiting options.
Stick with good habits already learned. Patience. Persistence. Continuous adjustment. Flexibility within reason.
Composition of diet
Can range dramatically: low fat, low carb, Mediterranean, etc. Often a focus on strictly eliminating or limiting a certain macronutrient, or eating “special foods” (e.g. grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet).
Some variation, but most importantly, all involve careful monitoring and self-awareness.
Must be an eating pattern that can be sustained for life.
Typical   actions
Regular observation and monitoring. Regular exercise. Focus on food choices.
Daily observation and monitoring—including weigh-ins. Regular exercise. Ongoing, habitual healthy food choices

And one more finding: 62% of successful weight maintainers watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. Turn off the TV!

I'm in Maintenance and damn proud of it.

And maybe one day, I'll tweak some of the habits I've learned and lose those last 10 pounds.

Sandy

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When One Door Closes Another Door Opens



I found this picture a few weeks ago, printed it off and hung it in my cubicle. I just believe it is true in so many ways. We just have to be open to looking for that next door and not living so much in the past, reliving what was behind those old doors.

I sometimes think about the what-ifs. What if I had chosen:
  • A different University to attend: Would I have another BFF?
  • A different husband: Would my kids (if I had even had then!) be as great as the ones I have?
  • A different house when I moved to this city: Would I have met the same friends, neighbours…?
  • A different job: Would I be retired by now?
  • Not losing weight. Would I be depressed and hopeless about being fat?
  • To leave the house a few seconds earlier or a few seconds later this morning: Would I have been in an accident or missed an accident?
Yup, I sometimes think of these profound thoughts when I'm sitting on a teleconference staring at my photo and where I really don't care what the others are saying.

I'm always looking for those open doors. Hope you do to.

Sandy


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Only As Old As You Feel


It's been a bit busy for me over the last few weeks. At the end of June I visited my BFF in Hamilton and we spent a few days tearing down her above ground pool.

It was hard work but the best was realizing we really weren’t a couple of old ladies sitting around knitting. BFF had done the majority of work before I got there— draining the pool and starting to tear down the sides.

When I arrived we finished pulling it all down, cutting up the metal sides, loading up my SUV for the dump runs.

Taking off the Liner
That's how we get inside!

Screws out, knock it down.
Tin snips to cut 'er up.

I need a little break. It's getting dark.
No rest for the weary.

Recycling the aluminum.
Last load of garbage. Pool be gone!

All in all we were exhausted but thrilled that it was done. She had an estimate for someone to come do the work—$1900.

Stunning. 

When she added up the actual cost it came to under $30 for some garbage bags and the cost to dump two loads of garbage. Add to that a nice lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake to thank me and we felt like Rocky running up that set of steps with the music blaring.

Victory!
I am woman, hear me roar.

A well earned lunch at the beach.
Notice my brand new teeth.
Now I will say if I still had the 45 pounds hanging around my body, it would not have been easy. BFF too had lost about the same amount of weight. We work at it. We always will. 

Being in maintenance is a lot different from losing weight. I may never go lower but I’m good with that. I am rarely hungry but do eat well. My habits have changed. Small portions of good food, interspersed with some outrageously good “bad” foods. If I want something, I have it. 

Just not all the time.

I resisted for weeks making the Brownie in a Cup which is all over Pinterest. It takes 75 seconds to make a molten chocolate brownie. But I broke down and made it. Added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and OMG, heaven in a cup! 

I won’t hang my head low like I would have in the past. No more beating myself up. I have come to realize there are no “bad” foods or food that is off limits. But there is a Freak Out weight that Amy mentioned in a post. A weight that would make you sit up and stop gaining. Mine was 178. In February just before my Gallbladder surgery. 

And I did Freak Out. 

Blamed everything and anything except me. Talked myself into thinking I was a failure. 

So I gave myself a slap and am comfortably back to my low 170’s. It seems to be my set point—for now. There is no finish line, just a lot of reflection. No more beating myself up with negative thoughts. I’m not finished. I never will be. 

I feel refreshed. Empowered with being physical. No I’m not at the gym. But I am walking with my poles, working hard in my garden and if needed, I tear down pools for a lunch at the beach!


Next up, getting ready for my daughter's wedding. If we don't kill each other first.

Sandy

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