Monday, January 30, 2012

Today's Weight - 229lbs

I'm back to 229lbs, after my "break-over". Honestly, every day can be a bit of a battle. It is the sum of all those tiny successes that add up to a big change. But we often don't give ourselves credit for those small steps. Each time we choose something healthy, we should recognize that "win". This helps to strengthen self esteem, and we need that strength when the "break-overs" come knocking on the door. Some days we let it in, but others we say "No!"

The art of saying "No" is something that I'm still learning. Anyone who knows how much volunteering I do can verify this.

So, as part of my self-imposed Challenge for this week, I will say "No" and learn to say it comfortably, to both others and myself. The more I say it and mean it, the easier it will be when it is especially hard not to say "Yes". It is so much easier to just follow every impulse, without care of the consequences. It feels good to be helpful and make people happy, and it feels good to eat in front of the TV without thinking. I need to be more willing to take a "bit of the bitter" by denying myself and others at least some of the time. We can't always get what we want, as the saying goes, and sometimes we shouldn't.

I will focus on those things that lead to more long-term happiness, such as things healthy for me, even when it means saying "No" to others.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Challenges and Sabotage

I've had some real success thus far with my participation in the 90-Day Challenge. So much so that WCHS-WVAH News wanted to interview me while eating lunch on Wednesday this week. 

I was unable to find the video clip on their website, but I did find at evening's script ( and their Food Revolution section ( So maybe it will post in a few days.

In either case, I felt great that afternoon, a combination of good sleep, a good-hair day, and finding I was up to 10lbs lost that morning. 

But, as self-sabotage often does, it was that Wednesday evening that I really "broke over", and all the next day. My Fibromyalgia symptoms were also really keeping me down for most of Thursday. Somehow, by Friday morning, I'd managed to put back on 2lbs.

So Friday I recommitted myself to keeping a better handle on my hunger, while keeping my calories low. I finished the day having only eaten about 1300 calories. This morning I was down a pound, so I'm hopeful that by Sunday morning I'll be back at where I was Wednesday morning.

Each time I hit a "set back" such as this I loose momentum and spend extra energy trying to "fix it." 

The lesson has been learned yet again: it is easier to maintain progress than it is to stop and try to catch-up. I need to think of all that extra work each time I'm tempted to eat without thinking.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Today's Weight - 230lbs

Continued success means I've now lost a total of 9 lbs since the beginning of the year. Yesterday was quite hectic, filled with caffeine, meeting after meeting, and very little time for food. I don't think I ate 1200 calories yesterday, and I neither walked nor logged my calories. Both and lived without me, but I hope to update at least one today, although it is also crammed pack with to-do list items.

Making sure to schedule time for exercise, healthy food, and rest is extremely important. In that, I've lots of room to grow. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My gratitude for today is for God. He is always there, listening to my grumbles, helping me to see past myself and to the needs of others, giving me opportunities to learn, to relearn, and for humility. And when I mess up, He's there with an offered hand to help pick me up and forgive.

Today's Weight - 231lbs

Alright! I've lost a total of 8 lbs and have improved my daily habits.

Yesterday I walked a mile, and kept my calories to 1800, which now feels like a lot of food. I was actually quite full, and had still managed to indulge myself with extra butter and honey on my corn bread.

I'm currently working on a PHP website for a Marshall University professor, and the coding means sitting on your duff for hours and hours. Last evening, that walk break felt glorious, and helped to rejuvenate my brain. I'm looking to do two walks tonight, so that I can keep up a steady progress with less hang-ups. All it takes is one misplaces ' or $ and your code will not work, so staying sharp is very important.

New Weightloss Friends

On Monday evening, even though I was feeling quite tired early in the evening, I decided that I had to attend the "Big Losers" meeting at First Baptist Kenova. This weekly support group was wonderful. First we walked for about 15 minutes, giving room for some nice introductions. Then, we did a series of 1-minute exercises, doing as many repetitions as we could muster, then switching to the next. These suicides, pushups, situps, curls, and squat throws were more of a challenge than expected, but I did pretty good. And, Tuesday's soreness told me that this modest set had given me a real workout, which also tells me that I'm out of shape.

After physical activity, we moved to the library for some spiritual and mental activity. We discussed how our choices for ourselves and our families could better reflect God's Love and His Gift, Jesus Christ. Thinking about that Divine Love or simply praying before meals can help direct us towards more healthful, healing options.

In the end, it is that unthinking, mindless eating which leads to added pounds, digestive problems, and eventually serious diseases. By being grateful for what we eat, it's nutritional value, and all the effort that went into it from seed to plate, we become more mindful of what goes into our bodies, helping us slow down and savor instead of gulping quickly.

Slower eating triggers our "full" response when we actually are, leaving us in a more satisfied state. While fast, compulsive eating may continue for 20-30 minutes after our stomach has reached capacity, leaving us swollen and achy for the rest of the evening.

It will be two weeks till I will see my new friends again, but I've joined their Facebook group, downloaded the app My Fitness Pal, and am sharing my daily calorie diary, so we can continue to help each other stay on track.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Holding fast at 232 - 7lbs lost

This last week and weekend seemed extra tough. The Fibromyalgia reared it's ugly head, I'm pretty sure we were all fighting off a bug, Jim especially, and my inner Golum kept saying "You must eats the fudge and chips, yes precious." There was lots of untracked eating, and no walking at all.

I'm grateful for my husband Jim and roommate James who have booth been supportive of my weightloss endeavors, especially when I choose healthier paths such as this year, not fads. But, James made tasty fu dge, first mint-dark-chocolate, and later orange-dark-chocolate. And, I ated it 'cuz I haz all fudge.

Tonight I plan on attending the "Big Losers" support group at Kenova First Baptist. I know I'm not the only one having difficulty staying on target, and this group seems promising.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Walking - did 1.5 miles in 33 minutes

Walked an average of 3mph for 33 minutes. The website says that equals 131 calories burned, while my treadmill displayed 150. Either way, I "traveled" about about 1.5 miles, which is pretty good for week 2 of the 90-day challenge.


Those for whom I am grateful:

- Diane Styles, Connie Berk, and all the ladies of the Cabell County Master Gardener board, who give so much of themselves each week to green projects, education and the simple joy of gardening. And, of course, all of these ladies volunteer with other organizations, too. They are a testament to how powerful one person can be at affecting their communities.

Each of us "plants seeds" in those around us. They see our joys and failures. They see our determination. They see what we care about. When we dedicate time to volunteer projects on a regular basis, we grow that perspective in others, sharing a golden harvest of compassion with the world.

Today's Weight - 232lbs

Success! I kept my calories to 1500 yesterday and drank a goodly amount of water. The result, even after a full glass of water? I was down to 232lbs, a total of 7lbs lost!

Although the Fibromyalgia was kicking my but the last couple days and I was unable to walk, I still managed to reign in my eating. Also, 14 hours of sleep does good things when you've not had enough of it for about a week.

In addition, I reduced the number of processed foods in my diet by making bread from-scratch, and it was yummy. My math breaks it down to about 115-120 calories a slice.

So far today I've had almost 800 calories, including breakfast and lunch. Fresh broccoli and carrots were on the menu, as well as tasty bread. But, lunch meat, a highly processed food, was among them. I'm still peckish, so I think I'll have a small apple, which runs around 50-70 calories.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Those for whom I am grateful:

- Melissa Stewart and Alex Goswami, for all the care and diligence they've put into this CYFAR grant process, so that we can have a great after-school gardening program :)
- Jane Wilson and Rich Sherman, for all their hard work keeping the Master Gardener program alive and thriving in Cabell County.
- Casey and Jennifer Williams, for all their "sweat equity" invested in HARC and in the beautification of Huntington.


Those that I am grateful for:

- Jim Atkinson, my wonderfully supportive and loving husband, who is always there for me.
- James Isaacs, my cantankerousness and sweet roommate, who always tells me like it is.
- Jennifer Williams, my friend, who's unabashed and welcoming joy has saved the day more times than I can count.
- Stephanie Conley, my friend, who's kindness and genuine heart has helped me to see my strengths without diminishing them.

Crashes and Eating

Yesterday around noon I felt it coming on again.That "crashy fog" spreading across my brain like mayonnaise. By the time I realized that it had been three times of me putting water on to boil for pasta, forgetting about it, coming back and having to refill the water and again wait for it to boil, my roommate took over and told me to go sit down. We laughed about it, as we do. But I also felt shaky and weak. So, after the pasta and sauce was made, I ate some for lunch. At this point my caloric intake was reasonable, about 1000 by 2pm. I decided to take a nap, thinking some rest would help. And it did, but I woke ravenous. I'm pretty sure that by 8pm my total had reached around 2800 calories, between the extra serving of pasta and the 5 slices of homemade bread. And, I did not have the energy to walk.

So, I'm choosing to not weigh myself until tomorrow, to give me the chance to refocus and remind myself why I'm taking this long healthful.

I want to feel better. I'm tired of feeling ill all the time. Yes, Fibromyalgia plays it's part. However, I'm fairly certain that all this extra weight plays the lion's share. Without all this extra weight, my joints will hurt less, my energy level will be increased, my breathing will be easier, and my self esteem will be much improved. With the exercise I can increase my stamina and overall strength, letting me do more for myself, and for others. Without all this "unhealth", I could "be there" for all the people I care about, including myself.

I want to be healthy. I want to be strong, well, fit and energized. And I'd like to get there as naturally as possible. So, a good balance of nutrition and exercise is the proper way to go. But I'm going to need help if I'm to concur these impulses that hit so hard when I'm at my weakest. It is time to have a heart-to-heart with myself, my husband and our roommate.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Weight - 234lbs

Last night I broke over big time. 

I had a very modest breakfast, a small 157cal bowl of oatmeal. Although I had fast-food for lunch, it was Taco Bell's Fresco style burritos, for a total of 700cal. A couple hours later I had a large 110cal red apple.

And then, I started to have one of my "crashes". I drank coffee, walked around, and did all the things I needed to in order to "stay awake", even  though all I wanted to do was crawl under the table and go to sleep. By the time Jim and I got home, I was ravenous. I started with a simple rye bread sandwich, then a banana. Not too bad. Well, then I ate ALL the hummus, the rest of the Melba toast, half the box of Wheat Thins, and two bowls of Rice Chex cereal in soy milk topped with sugar, all before 8pm. I ended yesterday at over 3500 calories.

I did manage to get on the treadmill, both in the morning and in the evening, walking roughly 3.5 miles and burning around 350 calories.

All that salt, fat and carbohydrates from yesterday had me feeling quite bloated. Although the walking and bath before bed did help, I still woke this morning retaining water and kind of "hung over". 

Oh, and I also discovered that I forgot to log the lunch meat in the last 3 days of sandwiches, so Saturday & Sunday's totals were under by about 200cal.

This has reminded me that measuring portions, putting way impulse foods, and resting is very important. I was also running on about 5 nights of too little sleep. These three simple things must be integrated into my healthy habit regimen. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Creating a Morning Ritual

As I begin week 2 of the Huntington Health Revolution's 90-Day Challenge, my mornings are becoming quite busy. Each morning I must take care of the pets, first thing. This prevents them from driving me crazy for the next hour. After that, everything else is a healthy habit I'm working to better integrate. Allergy medicine must be taken. I cannot tell you how many times in the past I've forgotten to do this simple thing, which has lead to more allergic reactions and worsened breathing. Next, the nasal rinse. I've had the supplies to do this this simple task for close to a year, but would consistently put it off, even though I knew it really made a difference in by breathing and helped to heal my chronically infected sinuses. After that, walking for at least a mile, which is a great way to warm yourself in this cold winter weather, especially on a treadmill inside the comfort of your home. And finally, breakfast. I've noticed that when I skip this very important meal, I'm hungry the whole day, even just after I've eaten. So if enjoying some oatmeal means I'll be less inclined to compulsively consume the kitchen, then great. It also helps to keep my energy levels from dropping just after lunch, which makes me crave sugar.

On that note, I'd like to recognize someone for whom I am quite grateful. Rose Thornburg of Faith in Action of the River Cities shared with me her morning ritual of a simple bowl of oatmeal before 10 a.m. and praised its benefits. Rose, you were right!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week 2 - 90 Day Challenge

For the week of Jan. 9th, our challenges are as follows:
  • Diet:  Daily - Subtract one processed food, then add a veg and a fruit.
  • Exercise:    Ask a trusted friend or family member to be your exercise accountability partner, sharing with them your goals.
  • Spirit:    Daily - Record one thing for which you are grateful.
In preparation for this week, we have loaded the house with oranges, apples and bananas, plus baggied vegetables for snacking. Husband Jim is already my exercise accountability partner, as are a few other friends who read my blog and Facebook page. While writing future posts, I plan to make a stronger effort to report on successes, joys and celebrations, as well as the wonderful people in my life for whom I'm so very grateful.

Caloric Success - 1/8/2012

Even with yesterday's grazing, and today's erratic food choices, I'm still managing to "win" most of the "food battles". I'm under 1900 calories by this evening, and under 2000 the night before. And, I managed to squeeze in my morning 1-mile walk on the treadmill, sinus rinse, and shower, plus was still on-time to catch a ride to Church this week. That's a definite joy I'd like to celebrate.

It may only be a 600 calorie deficit as opposed to the 1000 I'm shooting for each day, but every bit counts.

Today's Weight - 233lbs

Yesterday was a bit difficult, as I woke up late for a very early appointment. I had just enough time to dress, take my allergy meds, and leave. There was no time for a sinus rinse, a walk, or even to step on the scales. My day was filled with lots of sitting, and I never had time for my walk. As all my meals were ate in a grazing fashion, due to the potluck nature of all three, I'm quite certain I consumed around 2000 calories yesterday. This total is just an estimate based on what I could recall eating, not good measurements as had been my practice all week.

However, this morning, I had a pleasant surprise, most likely due to Friday's 3.5-4 hours of cleaning activity involving lots of stairs and the fact I ended that day having only ate around 1300 calories. At 233, I've lost 6 lbs my first week, and now need to loose 93lbs in order to reach 140lbs. Success sometimes comes in steady diligent small pieces, but this first week feels like I got an extra serving of happy cake.

I now have one hour to rinse, walk, shower and dress. Time to mold time and space to my will.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today's Weight - 234lbs

Although I'm fairly certain there has been some water-weight lost this week, I am confident there has also been real weightloss, too. As of this morning, my scales read 234lbs, meaning a total of 5lbs has been shed. And, I've one more day to go before this week is over, too. 

Today's schedule includes volunteering for Faith in Action by taking a lady grocery shopping, doing some house cleaning with the help of a neighbor, some important emails, possibly an article, picking up some vermiculite, taking it to the Marshall University greenhouse space they have graciously provide the Huntington Community Gardens, having dinner with my husband, and possibly attending a Life Writing group this evening. Another full day, but not quite as pressed for time. 

I'm off to walk. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Caloric Success - 1/5/2012

Full is how I would describe today, as in things to do, not my belly. There was simply too much to do, and I didn't have time to adequately prepare for bringing food with me. When we go grocery shopping on Saturday, good snack items will be added to the list. 

Breakfast was oatmeal at 7:15am, lunch wasn't till noon, and I was hungry again by 3pm. Realizing sweety-dog needed her evening pill, I rushed home, took care of a few important tasks, including gobbling down some leftover soup and a piece of bread, a very meager dinner. I was still hungry when I left for my 5:30 meeting.

All in all, my restraint was solid even when confronted with cheesecake at the South Side Neighborhood Organization meeting at 7pm, where I only snacked on veggies, fruit, and 5 tiny pepperoni slices. After just now finishing some lovely pomegranate-berry juice, my calories consumed for the day reached a modest 1500. And, this morning, I did indeed walk another mile, thus burning off 100 calories. Although there is room in the calorie-budget for a light snack, I'm off to bed in an hour and prefer a reflux-free sleep (I encourage you to say that fast 3 times).

This day ends with me on target, tired, and feeling accomplished. 

Today's Weight - 235lbs

Looks like more water weight came off last night, but I'm not complaining. The scale reading 235lbs this morning did help brighten my day.

And I'll need it. My schedule is fully packed till 8pm tonight. The post office, the bank, data-entry fun with Quicken, a several hour trip to the Cabell County Extension office in Ona, Create Huntington's Chat-n-Chew, and the South Side Neighborhood's monthly meeting focusing on the City of Huntington's Plan 2025 are all part of my to-do list. All this after being up with Huntington Community Gardens work till 1:30am, then getting up at 7am. To sustain my energy levels, the plan is to take an extra B12 chewable with lunch, get up and walk around as I can, and to drink lots of tea which should also help me get in my walking.

Right now, I must hurry and get in my sinus rinse and 30-min walk before taking a shower and officially hitting the list. So much to do. Here's hoping I can keep up my momentum and stay true to my calorie goals, as I will be eating out for lunch and dinner.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Caloric Success - 1/4/2012

This evening, as we have yet to hit the grocery store, we had a simple dinner made at home. We had a tad of organic white cheddar cheese left, thanks to Caspar and Tracey Harris. We also had some turkey lunch meat, some store bought bread, and Dijon mustard. Time to make a toasted sandwich or two! Not too bad for calories, came to 250 calories per sandwich. We each had two. I also performed the difficult task of adding water to two cans of vegetable soup. Then, I reheated the leftover roasted potatoes and greens. Total dinner calories came to around 650-700. Breakfast was around 650. Total calories for today, including a tasty orange, is 1579.

Also, today I did Walk My First Mile on the treadmill :)
This burned around 100 calories, which is pretty close to my daily caloric deficit goal.

By 1am, as I rolled into bed, no snacking had occurred after dinner, the antacid was taken, and there was no reflux to be had. I'm meeting my goals and feeling quite good about today's productivity.

Food choices - what's in the kitchen vs planning

Our dinner last night was based on what we had available and what needed to be cooked. Our red potatoes were starting to sprout, so we chose this as our carbohydrate. We're totally out of dinner meat, so we cooked up some eggs, shooting for a breakfasty theme. And, as I was craving leafy things, I cooked up a mix of collard, mustard and turnip greens, which amazingly complemented the main meal quite well. However, overall, the meal was not what one would call "lean". 

To cook the greens, I added about 2Tbs of vegetable oil, and 1Tbs of butter. Our high-calorie choice for carbohydrate, potato, was tossed in about 2Tbs of vegetable oil and a variety of herbs. And, our eggs were fried in about 2Tbs of vegetable oil. Although I only ate about 1/6 of the greens (I made enough to last a few days), I still consumed about 3Tbs of fat and oil, a goodly portion of which could have been avoided.

This morning, our roommate James cooked breakfast, and, well, I ate too much. As he is a a wonderful cook, it can sometimes be a problem for this recovering compulsive eater to say "no". Two buttery flakey jumbo biscuits and 2 Bob Evans sausage patties added up to over 600 calories. I think I'll eat an orange for lunch.

Husband Jim and I do need to visit the grocery store soon, so the goal is for us three to spend a bit of time planning out our dinners before we write the shopping list. This should help us choose leaner meals in the future.

It all comes down to healthier choices, and what works best for each of us. It is easier to choose a healthier option if that is what we already have in-hand, and it is easier to say "no" when the tempting foods are either not in the kitchen or not ours to eat. I may have to break out the labels and marker, just to keep my inner Gollum at bay. "Yes, my precious, you can has it. Tasty yummies belong in our belly, Smeagol."

Total Calories for 1/3 - 1808

According to my calculations using, my total caloric intake for yesterday was 1808. Plus, after entering in my 3 hours of house work yesterday, including reorganizing the basement, it estimated that I burned around 500 calories, based on their numbers for "cleaning, light activity". So, for yesterday, I was completely on target.

One great success is that I did not eat anything after dinner. No late night snacking. Although I didn't get to eat one of those lovely oranges Neal Stidham left us, I also didn't have to "enjoy" acid reflux last night either. One Ranitidine tablet at 8pm, 2 glasses of water in the evening, and the usual brushing of teeth all aided in leaving me acid free. But, due to all the dust I inhaled, I did have to add a Benadryl, and I still woke this morning to sinus "heck in a hand basket".

I've accomplished a few of my personal daily goals this morning. After the sinus rinse this morning, I'm feeling better. I've also obviously taken some time to write, and made sure to enter into my foods for last evening, and this morning.

Now, there is a new piece of machinery in the basement that needs me to put on my shoes and walk a bit.

Treadmill Installed and Today's Weight - 237lbs

Yes, there was indeed a bit of water weight that I shed overnight, and I made sure to weight myself after drinking a glass of water.

As for last night's exercise, 2.5 hours of reorganizing the basement, moving large objects to the back porch, and assembling the Treadmill provided a more than adequate workout. In fact, I'm a bit tight and sore today, not in a Fibromyalgia way, but in an "I really over did it" way.

However, the plan is still to get in some walking, at least 30 minutes. Stacey Bisker of said that my Facebook post will soon read "first mile on the Treadmill walked", and this simple thought was very encouraging. I can walk a mile today.

In February, I will begin incorporating more cycling exercise, as husband Jim purchased a stationary trainer for our bikes. But for now, I'm focusing on the simple meditative effort of walking, measuring my progress in distance, not speed.

I really am excited about this plan.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tracking Calories with

Resuming my account was pretty simple. I updated my current weight, and entered all of today's foods. My caloric intake for today is around 1200. I say "around" because I forgot to include the 1.5 strips of bacon in my pinto beans, and now is running so slow that I can't get on to update it. Everyone and their brother must be logging on right now. Oh well.

Ok, it finally loaded. I'm at 1187 for today thus far. Not too bad. The real challenge will be this evening, the time I'm most prone to compulsive eating.

Renewed Goals - 100 till 140

Well, having weighed myself under personally induces duress, I found that I now weigh 239lbs. This means I've almost 100 lbs to loose to reach my goal weight of 140lbs.

So, using the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculated in January 2010, I require approximately 1703 calories per day for my body to function properly, and a total of 2342 calories per day to maintain my current weight (239) and activity level. By limiting my food/drink to no more than 1800 calories per day, I would be running at a deficit of 500 calories. As it takes 3500 calories to make one lb, at the end of a week I should loose around 1 pound, and that's without exercise. If I want to loose 2 pounds, I need to burn at least 500 calories a day with exercise.

To loose 100 lbs in 1 year, since there are 52 weeks in a year, I need to loose around 2 pounds a week to reach my goal weight of 140lbs.

I'm at day 3 of this week already, so I'm crossing my fingers that a bit of water weight comes off by tomorrow morning ;)

Today's Weight - 239lbs

So, even though I'm sporting a serious "don't make me do it" attitude, I'm getting out the scale and recording my current weight. One moment please while I gather that piece of devil machinery...

Egads! Even taking into consideration the time month, the fact I just finished lunch and have had about 5 glasses of water and tea, my reading of 239lbs was far higher than expected. That means I've gained about 7 lbs in 3 weeks since last I saw the doctor, a total of 32 lbs gained back. Oh, how low I feel right now. It took me 8 months to loose 50, and 16 to gain 2/3's of it back.

My next goal is to always remember to weigh myself in the morning, first thing, to lessen the sting, and to record it in a daily diary. It is also time to start tracking my calories again, both consumed through food and burned through exercise.

I know I have one around here somewhere... In lieu of pencil and paper, there is an internet filled with useful websites. As referenced back in January 2010, I've already an account with, so all that needs done is resuming a healthy habit of daily recording all fitness & nutritional data in this useful web tool.

Reboot 2012 - My next attempt to reach goal weight 140lbs

The morning after raucous New Year’s toasts and yuletide celebrations, I habitually find myself making familiar resolutions involving losing weight and getting fit. And, each year, I have a bit of trouble staying focused on my goal, as most of us do. This is why we try to "reboot" our mindset on January 1st, as it is a powerful symbol of new beginnings. 

In 2010 I managed to shed 50 lbs through healthier eating and exercise, and I felt great. But over the last year I managed to gain back about 20lbs. To reach my ideal weight of 140lbs I now need to lose almost 90lbs. There are many of us who fall into this overweight category of “obese”, most of whom also suffer from health complications. But taking it one step at a time, we can each reach our goals.

This year I'm going to try to take advantage of some of the great resources available around Huntington, including the Healthy Huntington Revolution's "90 Day Challenge". The EMO Huntington Kitchen helps to host this effort, and you can download the challenge materials here. This year, their 5K run is on Saturday, April 14th. I hope to be able to run this 5k by then.

Since starting the 90 Day Challenge on January 1st, I've kept to the Diet goal by drinking only Tea (unsweetened) and Water. The other two daily goals for this week, Exercise at least 30 minutes, and 5 minutes of quiet Spiritual time, have been more difficult than anticipated. Jim and I just purchased a treadmill yesterday, so exercising should soon be easier. However, making myself set aside time to be quiet and thoughtful, not spaced-out on TV or the computer, has been a challenge. I will endeavor to start building that healthy meditative habit tonight.

Never satisfied to do things simply, I made sure to add a few more personal goals to the Challenge list. 2011 was way less healthy than 2010, with all the Bronchitis, flu's, colds, Fibromyalgia, asthma, reflux and allergy issues taking their bite out of my energy and productivity. With more "down days" than "good days", you can see why I gained weight. 

So, I've started doing some simple things to improve my overall health.
  1. For Chronic Sinusitis issues, I've started a daily saline rinse, which made a noticeable difference immediately. By rinsing once to twice a day, airflow should improve and infection should reduce, both leading to an overall improvement in health and energy, plus a reduction in headaches and Bronchitis.
  2. For Reflux, I made sure to eat nothing within 4 hours of going to bed, drinking just water, and taking a Ranitidine antacid tablet. This has helped tremendously, but it will take several weeks before my body remembers to not produce so much acid. By reducing by reflux symptoms, I should breath better at night, giving my brain and body the oxygen it needs to heal and strengthen.
  3. For brain health, I do a word game before bed. This helps "drain off" those stray stressful end-of-day thoughts so that I think of almost nothing when going to sleep, while at the same time stimulating my mind. These "work-outs" in combination with improved breathing should improve brain activity while I sleep. This should result in less "brain fog" mornings, leading to an increase in cognition and productivity. 
  4. Cooking more at home means better control over the nutrition to calories ratio in our meals, as well as things like eliminating certain preservatives and gmo ingredients. It should also save us a few dollars. Our last two dinners and today's lunch were prepared in our kitchen with simple healthy ingredients.
  5. Scheduling time for everything can be difficult, but building habits always is. When making time to cook at home, exercise, and other healthful habits, we often forget to make time for those things that bring us joy. This can "take the fun out" of our self-improvement efforts, making it harder to "stick with it". So, make time for fun the fun stuff, too. Personally, I want to make time each day for reading, learning, writing and singing. Picking the right time of day for each effort is important, too. For instance, I learn and write better in the morning, but read and sing better in the evening. 

Today I've some solid personal challenges, all involving reorganizing and cleaning. So far I've cleaned a bit in the kitchen, the living room, back porch, bedroom, and laundry room. Next is the basement office, to make room for the Treadmill we will be setting up this evening. I'm definitely getting in my 30 minutes of exercise today.