Monday, September 29, 2014

On A Somewhat Lighter Note

Regular readers often ask me questions via social media. Two recently were requests for elaboration on two essays I posted over the summer.

The first inquiry was regarding lifestyle changes I was making and the second asked what works to get “centered” other than reading from those I have long-used and noted in an essay on reflection and renewal.

Well by August I lost 25 pounds and have maintained it.

No, I’m not one of those skinny old men.  I’m still 10-15 lbs. over what I weighed in 1972 when I graduated from college or as I started my career in community marketing the year my daughter was born more than four decades ago.

But I’m back to what I weighed when I arrived in Durham more than twenty-five years ago and considerable lighter than when a tummy role was memorialized nearly five years ago when I retired (smile.)

I was already low carb so the secret for me was finding my equilibrium was 1500 calories a day not 2,000 and identifying some items in my diet, such as mixed nuts, that were disproportionately high.

I thought it wouldn’t be noticeable, but my daughter’s reaction when she saw me at the lake tells me that extra weight is obviously first apparent in my face.  That gives me an easy place to audit each morning as I shave…okay maybe every other morning (smile.)

My goal after the weight loss was to get my body mass index down below 19% which it has been this month.  My new dietary pattern was so agreeable, it has become the new norm with a steak night once each week.

The app My Fitness Pal helped me calibrate to exactly the number of calories per day where I maintain and feel best and my partner and I are continuing to walk briskly each morning for at least 30-40 minutes or about 2 miles.

Keeping up that diary of what I eat is now part of my daily routine and the app automatically incorporates reading from my scale and exercise tracker.

So, “drum roll,” did all of this change achieve the objective?  Yes, triglyceride levels are normal as is blood pressure and cholesterol and I’ve reduced the pressure on my knees by 100 lbs.

Observations along the way?  Jeez people eat—and restaurants serve—an immense amount of starch and low grade carbohydrates.  My favorite restaurant now kids me when I substitute what I call the “Golden Corral set-up,” (three types of different vegetables…chef’s choice.)

As for alternatives to the books I read a page or two from each morning to get “centered,” a habit I formed when I was 20 years old, here are some other alternatives I also use.

I also use a flip comment a friend of mine made in front a group with which I had been enthusiastically sharing a recent finding while waiting for others to arrive.

“Ok, now that we all know how smart you are.”  It wasn’t my intent, and he was kidding, but it crosses my mind often as I begin writing each day, a reality check on my motives.

“All mindfulness is” as blogger David Roberts described it recently to USA Today, is the ability to intercede in your own life.”  It is also what I mean by getting “centered.”

But in addition to the books I mentioned which all relate to ethics, I also rotate in some songs including hymns sung when I was a kid such as Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing (pardon the annoying and misleading ad running by a North Carolina politician.)

Another song that centers me is one that first hit the air waves a month or two after I was drawn to Durham 25 years ago.  Ironically its singer-songwriter had a hard time finding a co-writer who understood what he wanted to convey.

The song, If Tomorrow Never Comes, is a reminder that whatever comes our way, every moment must be treasured as if the last.

As a wise and mindful old woman told me when I wondered if my visits to my daughter when she was very young were intrusive, “she can’t have too many people in her life who truly love her.”

1 comment:

Devra Thomas said...

This is lovely! I adore how prominent your daughter is in this post. Making healthy decisions (weight, mindfulness) in order to be more present in our kids lives is always a good choice.