Wednesday, May 7, 2014

6 Months into a Life of Healthier Eating

My 2-Day Diet Progress Week 26, May 4, 2014 
Beginning weight 11/3/13: 209 lbs.
Height 5'8" Age: 62
Goal weight: 165 lbs.
Total loss goal: 44 lbs.
Beginning waist size: 43 in.
Current waist size: 38 in.
Weight end of this week:  178 lbs.
Gain/Loss this week:  -2 lbs.
Total Gain/Loss:  -31 lbs.

Twenty-six weeks, 6 months, ½ a year. When you hear someone say, or you say yourself, “I’m going on a diet,” how long do you think that will last and what is the goal? In most cases, there’s a goal: ten, twenty, fifty pounds. Sometimes it’s for a health reason, but the words often used in that case are, “My doctor put me on a diet or I learned I have x, and now I have to change my diet." When I began thinking about doing this, literally just a few days before I started, I was just thinking about the weight loss, not the other benefits I might experience. After reading more from the 2 Day Diet book, I began to realize that it was long term commitment to healthier eating that was called for, not a quick loss plan. And my life has changed because I've taken that approach. I believed I was eating a pretty healthy diet before, but despite the fact that I ate a lot fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry rather than red meat mostly, and very few sweets, I was piling on too many carbs--even though many were whole grain. 

Changing my way of eating and getting control of hunger has empowered me, not just in relation to food, but it’s had some impact on my confidence. It’s not that I’m thinner, so I know I look better and have better “self image.” I never had a negative self image. Not really. When I looked in a mirror, I usually thought I looked pretty good, or at least I’d become pretty good at convincing myself I did—and many people have told me they never thought of me as fat, just big or overweight. I have broad shoulders, a big chest (and I had about 50 pounds of extra fat). “You carry it well,” people say. Boy, the euphemisms we use. I was obese. Strong and fit—I could ride my bike up the steepest hills in Charleston, but obese.

So it wasn’t self-image. No, there’s just something about not being addicted to carbs that has helped me think more clearly I believe. Over the decades, especially as a classroom teacher, I learned to be decisive, but I’m feeling even more so—not because I feel a need to take control of situations, but because I feel I’m seeing the intricacies in a situation more clearly and therefore able to see the solution. It is possible, I think, that a healthier diet has balanced my body chemistry.

This is going to have to be another short post, but things should slow down for me soon. Though I must say, the short post format is probably better (for the reader, too), and maybe I'll just begin making more of them. After all, I haven't managed to post my weekly post on Sunday for the past three weeks. 

I’m coming to my second retirement. When I retired from full time teaching almost two years ago, I had a part time job directing Central WV Writing Project, a teacher professional development initiative. It was a 1/3 to ½ time job, and this time of year it’s full time as I get ready for WV Young Writers Day. CWVWP runs West Virginia’s Young Writers Contest, and on Friday I’ll be running a program for over 600 students, their families and teachers with writing workshops by authors, a keynote presentation by Goldenseal editor and songwriter John Lilly, and of course an awards ceremony.

I had taken over in January of 2012 from the previous director, who had gotten ill. The Graduate College of Education and Professional Development at Marshall University South Charleston, where we have our office, wanted to shut the program down, but I volunteered to take it on. I kept it strong, wrote grants, ran summer institutes, professional development programs for teacher, young writer's camps, and the WV Young Writers contest, and now I’m turning it over Dr. Barbara O’Byrne (she’s actually been directing since January—it’s been a pretty smooth transition). I’m hopefully going to have more time for writing, singing, and the job I recently gave myself: running AWARE – Artists Working in Alliance to Restore the Environment, a project of WV Citizen Action Group to organize events to raise money for environmental orgs in WV. Hope you’ll join me in that effort, come out to hear my music with the Contrarians, the Gypsy Stars, or when I’m performing my original songs, or at least keep reading my blog (and leave a comment sometimes? J ). And if you decide to change your eating habits and need some encouragement, give me a shout. Here are a few links where you can check out the other things I do:

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