Thursday, November 17, 2016

So much has happened!

Since my first post, a lot of life has happened to all of us. A contentious election season is over, and I have been consumed by the anxiety and drama of it all. I can feel free to say here that I WAS WITH HER. Some of you may choose to leave this page right now because of my vote, and if that's what you have to do, please do. But rest assured, I had my reasons, my convictions, my (especially) personal motivations for voting for HRC and I hold fast to all of that. Still, she didn't win the election, so I am learning how to cope with disappointment, as many of us are, but also learning how to move on in positive energy and to get along with my friends who chose DT. I know they have their reasons too, which do not align with mine, but that's what makes the world go 'round, I guess. We all have to make our own choices based on the values we hold dear, and that's what I did with no apologies.

And no, this is not a political post. The above paragraph is an intro into what's taken up 98% of my mental thought processes and time over the past two weeks. I work in a museum with a gallery exhibition entitled "A More Perfect Union." This exhibition has hosted many, many events up to, including, and beyond the election. We had watch parties here for all the presidential debates. We hosted an "Election Night Extravaganza" with over 300 students and community members present, and after the election we created a pop-up class called "What Now?" for our campus community and others in the area to process the certain changes that are about to take place. So I have been kind of busy, but in a productive way.

Debate Watch Party at the Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College
Photo credit:

So there's that... now back to my life!

I wanted to wait until I had my doctor's appointment to talk more about what I have been eating, and how that has to change. I saw my GP yesterday and many of the markers indicate that better-taking-care-of-me is in order, stat. So, I will be counseled by a nutritionist and follow an American Diabetes Association diet. I will get in a half hour of exercise a day to start (still haven't started!). Tomorrow I go for a stress test because there were little blips on my EKG - nothing alarming - I just have to get the clear to exercise and at what level. This is so boring, I am sure, but ever since I had pneumonia in March I have been coughing this annoying, repetitive cough that is beginning to be a concern. Might be GERD so we're looking into that. I know, way TMI, but I want to be honest on this journey and look back to where I was when I get to where I need to be. (Yikes, so many "I" statements! Sorry!).

So food - I've been in a slowly-accepting reality phase, decreasing bread, etc. No fast food. Trying to quit diet soda which I've been sneaking now and then. Probably need a 12-step program. My drinks of choice now are unsweetened iced tea with lemon, or ice water. Love the ice. Gotta have the ice.

And my doctor says, "Jeannie, here's what you should eat: chicken, fish, vegetables, salad." He said it four times. I'm thinking, "What about beef? What about a slice of hearty whole grain bread? What about...." No, looks like it's cold turkey, and I'm not talking Thanksgiving. Maybe the nutritionist will expand my food horizons beyond the CFVS diet my doctor ordered. Hope so.  Speaking of turkey, for Thanksgiving I will of course enjoy turkey but will make a couple of sides that are diabetes-friendly, including a cauliflower stuffing from, with cooked, drained, and chopped cauliflower subbing for the bread - all the rest of the ingredients are the same. I also plan to make a big salad - for some reason we never have salad at Thanksgiving with all the other food - and baked butternut squash or sweet potatoes with cinnamon.

Here's Delish's photo of their Cauliflower Stuffing

Photo credit:

And about the scale - I hadn't weighed myself since February and nothing had changed much other than it was down about 6 lbs. from life in general. I have decided that this journey is not about THOSE numbers. The numbers I will focus on are all the markers of  health: LDL, HDL, blood sugar, blood pressure, and BMI. Mine is WAY too high right now. It'd be fine if I was 6'4" instead of 5' 3.5" (lost a half inch somewhere). But I am not 6'4" - my boyfriend Russ's height, which I love on him. And believe me, he is the picture of extreme health and though he has tried to motivate me over the years to become healthier, I have resisted (resented!) his efforts. I can't do this FOR him, I have to do it for me. I appreciate that he thinks I am beautiful, because who doesn't love hearing that, and that makes me appreciate that he loves me for who I am. Though, he would like me to be a healthier who-I-am. :)  The most significant number on my mind is the number of years I have at this end of my lifeline to be an involved grandmother with my grandchildren, who are so precious to me. I am fortunate to live very, very close to all three and I realize what a blessing that is.

My motivation, my loves
Thank you for reading and hopefully following this journey of mine. Maybe yours too. I will be finding recipes and posting them often to make this effort not only successful but delicious!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Starting is Daunting!

Thanks to all of you who have wished me well on my new journey toward a healthier future! After my blood test results yesterday, I immediately made an appointment with my primary care physician on the 16th. After the initial numbers shock,  I went on to have a nice big salad for lunch, worked the rest of the day and then stopped at Hannaford for the groceries I'll need to get off to a good start.

I bought things that are easy to prepare and easy to take to work. Because of my work schedule as well as my crazy life, my M.O. for the past year has been eating on the run with no real plan. I know from experience that a lack of planning results in my being too hungry in the moment to make good choices. So yeah, a Whopper Jr. (no onions) with a small onion ring (what?) and a small diet coke have been lunch a few too many times! Or, I go over to get lunch at work with the intention of having a salad, but I just have to check out the special of the day. Oh boy, a BLT wrap piled high with bacon -- but there is lettuce and tomato -- and a drink for $5.99? That is SUCH a bargain, and you know, I have money on my ID card and it is SO easy. And just one Lindor truffle (instead of three) is fine because it is dark chocolate and dark chocolate has antioxidants and is really actually good for me. Yes, this is how my brain works when I go over there!  OR, I choose a nice, healthy grilled chicken sandwich and "Do you want fries?" happens and I say, OK, just a few - not all of them, OK give them to me, I won't eat them all anyway, and along with three little tubs of ketchup, eat them all anyway. Yikes!

Another excuse complication is that I am living in a temporary situation with future construction pending until I have a functioning kitchen/stove/sink again. While I could use my daughter Katie's kitchen any time, once I get home and get settled in, I don't want to go upstairs to start cooking. So I bought the cutest fridge that in a photo looks like a regular stainless steel refrigerator, but it's only 3 feet tall! It has a freezer section with its own door (I am an ice fanatic) and enough refrigerator space for what I need. Last night I had a lot of rearranging to do to fit all that I bought, but I jammed it all in!

I bought:

organic sour dough bread (I heard it is one of the best breads you can eat)
spring greens
shredded cabbage for cole slaw
cherry tomatoes
fresh pineapple
grilled chicken breasts from the deli
sliced turkey breast
pure Irish butter (for just a little at a time, now and then)
gallon of spring water
cottage cheese
2 % milk
a quart of OJ - to mix with seltzer
A quart of Green Mountain Creamery vanilla yogurt - low in sugar and delish!
Four Lean Cuisine dinners

I had the Lean Cuisine Red Beans and Rice (only 250 calories) and literally scraped the very last grain of rice out of that container, it was SO good. I hope the other options are just as good. I had planned to make a salad to go along but I sat on the couch and couldn't make myself move! Low energy has been a problem and I hope to shake that!

This morning for breakfast I had cottage cheese and pineapple, and I had one of my grandson's 100% juice boxes rather than actually pour myself a glass of water or orange juice. Yes, I am pathetic!

AND I had planned to go out for a 1/2 hour walk this morning but it was pouring. So I didn't. That's how the day started, and I am on a little break at work writing this. I brought my lunch with me but now it's almost 8 pm and I can't wait to go home and have dinner - one of those grilled chicken breasts on a big salad. See, that's almost planning. It will be 9:30 by the time I get home because I have to stop at the grocery store again for the things I should have bought last night but forgot.  I have to be at work at 9 am for another long day.

So, that's day 2 of my wake up call, and I hope I didn't bore you to death!

I hope to get a walk in in the morning. Wish me luck!!!!

This is where I'll start my walk in the morning - our beautiful driveway.

Not a bad launching point...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It Starts Today!

It starts today.

If you've been a reader of my previous blog, Adirondack Baker, this may come as no surprise to you. After decades of baking, those essential ingredients of butter and flour and sugar have caught up with me.  

This morning my employer offered health testing at our annual Benefits Fair, and that's where I had the wake-up call that’s been lying dormant in my brain until solid numbers confirmed my nagging suspicion: I am unhealthy. Not just a little bit unhealthy, but really on-the-way to potentially serious illness.

I’ve had nudges before, but not enough to open my eyes wide to what I’ve been doing to myself for years, probably more than 20 years: a serious carb addiction, too few fresh fruits and vegetables, and sporadic exercise at best.  In my case, sporadic exercise means six months of committed, daily workouts followed by three years of nothing.

There have been other nagging forces on hold, especially my family's health history. While my parents and siblings were/are not overweight as I am, we have had our share of cardio-vascular disease in the form of heart disease and strokes. I've been walking this high wire of being "otherwise healthy" with borderline levels of all things that should be closely monitored. Instead, I have looked the other way feeling ignorantly secure while those numbers have been slowly making their way toward the danger zone.

And then there have been those physical clues - my eyes are not as bright, my skin tone has changed, and I FEEL like I am aging at a more rapid pace. Something in my gut (probably everything in my gut!) is telling me it's time to take much better care of myself. 

Today’s nudge was more of a pushing me toward the edge of a cliff. Not one to be overly dramatic, the numbers tell me it is time to get it, that this is dramatic. It’s about the quality of life I have in front of me, the time I have to spend with my kids and the people I love, and the absolute craving to be present for as long as possible for those three precious grandchildren. 

Please stay with me as I answer this wake up call. I'll need all the support I can muster!

I’m 62 and a half, and it’s time.

And it started with lunch today - instead of the drive-thru, I hit the salad bar.
No croutons, no Thousand Island Dressing. I can do this!