Oh Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble*

I love it when I’m right.  Here are some things I have been right about the past week or two:

1.  Winter starts in March.  Snow predicted for my farm and surrounding area tonight, first of this winter.

2.  Vitamin D works.  I am almost free of back and leg soreness.

3.  My current plan does not work.  I pretty much knew it wouldn’t back in February.

4.  It would take 11 hours to get my home office set up with a second computer monitor.    Proof:  I started yesterday.  And as of a few minutes ago, I have two working monitors attached to my computer.  Now I can double my work output.  Or I can keep doing the  single work output  on one screen and write for fun on the other.  Or I can write for fun on one and buy handbags on the other.  Or have the same Youtube videos going simultaneously in stereo.    An endless number of fun scenarios to keep me at the computer and away from the rest of the house, which is scaring me right now.

*(When You’re Perfect In Every Way) … Mac Davis

Step Four – Move More and Fun with Math

Math Quiz: How many wild horses does it take to drag a beached whale from its contented repose in the warmth of sunbaked sand, back out to the frigid waters of the Pacific where it is expected to join other whales on their arduous migration north, thousands of miles, to the even more frigid waters off the coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., where my fabulous friend Lynda owns a B&B?

The answer in a moment.  But it is approximately the same number as the number of wild horses it would take to drag me into a Regular Exercise Program.

Although riding my horse a few times a week is some exercise, it is not apparently not enough.  After all, I have been riding regularly for several years and look at me.  The pork packs on no matter how forcefully I am able to make assertions as to the moderate level of horse-driven physical activity I enjoy.  Or am terrorized by, depending on the kind of day Mo the horse is having.

To be fair to myself, 2011 was not a great year for riding. I sprained an ankle during a riding lesson in January. Pop-zing, a little swelling, recuperation with a few weeks.  Then in May, I sprained the same ankle again twice within a span of about 2 weeks.  Full ankle inversion with searing pain both times.  Summer spent with podiatrists, xrays, an MRI – diagnoses:  sprained ankle, torn peroneous longus tendon.  Orthotics and physical therapy for ankle instability and foot supination.  Significant decrease in the amount and difficulty of riding I could do. Getting better, slowly, I think, with the help of splints, braces, arch lifts, and heel tilts.

But I’m ambulatory, insofar as a penguin is ambulatory, so no excuses.  I must get more exercise.

Since I am forbidden from joining a gym, I take inventory of the equipment I have laying around that could be useful for my personal exercise program:

  1. Recumbent bike in my bedroom.   But I need the extra storage space for clothes that haven’t yet figured out how to put themselves on hangers and go into a closet on their own.
  2. Set of hand weights.  But it is filling in for the love seat’s missing leg.
  3. Hula hoop.  But it is busy being handlebar decoration for the recumbent bike.
  4. Yoga DVDs.  I don’t know.  Haven’t gotten past the first scene.  There was this girl, clad only in her underwear, sitting cross-legged and chanting about ohms and who knows what else.  Gave me the heebie jeebies.
  5. A large pile of oak pieces that need to be carried to the house and stacked next to the woodstove.  Again and again and again.
  6. Two dogs.  Both glued each to her own couch at this moment, but I’m thinking W-A-L-K might get me some doggie brownie points.
  7. A wheelbarrow and some horse manure begging for a ride in it.  Again and again and again.

Next I take inventory of the outfits I have for exercise.  Pajama pants to wear for yoga.  A visor for the recumbent bike.  A men’s wifebeater tee-shirt, 3 sizes too small, for the hand weights.  Leotard and leg warmers for the hula hoop.

The leotard and leg warmers are circa 1983.  Too bad my body is circa way bigger now …

Speaking of whales, the answer to the question is 160 wild horses.  I had to break the No Recreational Math rule for this one.  If the whale is a blue whale it can weigh 400,000 lbs.  A well-trained two-up team of Belgians or Shires (big draft horses) can pull over 4000 lbs.   I’m guessing that a two-up team of really wild Belgians or Shires can pull more like 5000 lbs,  just because of the adrenalin rush that horses appear to get when someone puts a harness on them while they are still wild.

Ok, now on with it already.  30 minutes per day of something, five days a week.  I promise.

Rib-eye steak topped with dark chocolate sauce and olives, and guacamole for dessert

I have decided to go with an eating plan that combines these concepts:

Low Carb:   Primarily lean protein and veggies … some complex carbs … eliminate simple carbs – sugar, white flour, etc. – for the most part.  I say for the most part because I expect a flour tortilla will sneak its way in there now and then.     Unbeknownst to me.

  • … I am reading a new book on the low-carb topic …”Why We Get Fat:  And What To Do About It”, Gary Taubes.  Thanks to my friend Laurie for the referral … Laurie has had significant success on this program so far.  Maybe she will send me pictures.  She can be the first inductee to the Fat to Fit in Our Fifties Hall of Fame.

MUFAs:  Monounsaturated fatty acids … the good fats — oils, avocados, dark chocolate, nuts.  In a nutshell, the Fat Belly, I mean Flat Belly, diet.  And this diet has my belly written all over it.  Supposedly, this diet has advanced target detection  to search out and destroy belly fat without any collateral damage to other fat, like boobs, I guess.  I hope.

6 Week Body Makeover:  6 small meals per day, primarily low carb but a bit of fruit, grains, starchy veggies, meals customized to body type to maximize metabolism, targeted exercise.  To do this I need to stock up on food on a regular basis, and then remember several times per day to eat it.  And also figure out how to use the suspiciously-deviant-looking targeted exercise device that came with the program.

Now I have enough of the general guidelines to manage writing a grocery list.  If only I had enough Xanax on hand to manage a trip to the grocery store.

My Commandments for Weight Loss Programs

Any weight-loss program on my planet must obey these Commandments to have a chance in Hell of success.

The program shall:

1.   Not require weekly purchases of freeze-dried chemical substances branded {Program} Cuisine masquerading as food.  Which are supplemented by weekly trips to the supermarket to buy actual food for actual nutrition.

2.  Not require me to purchase a membership to a gym where moms deposit SUV loads of excess mouth-breathing teenagers to pile into the weight rooms to gape at nicer-looking teenagers posing on the exercise equipment.

3.  Not include regular daily doses of fat-melting “vitamin supplement” capsules touting a secret metabolism-boosting ingredient just recently discovered deep in the remote rainforests of Costa Rica.  I have already hit the maximum number of drug and food interaction messages my pharmacist can print on one Rx label.

4.  Not include portable exercise equipment that I am free to use anytime in the comfort of my own home.  This assumes that [1] there is comfort in my own home and [2] I am free to use it at any time.   These assumptions are invalid.  I share my home with five or so outside cats,  Lily, a turbo-tailed Golden Retriever, and Lulu, an F5 tornado that resembles a bloodhound .

5.  Not have counselors who want to counsel me weekly on how to assure the program’s Maximum Effectiveness in support of my weight-loss goals.  I don’t like counseling.  It forces me  to sit and talk  to people I don’t know.  If I’m going to be forced to sit and talk to people I don’t know, I am going to do it in near proximity to a Margarita and a bartender on stand-by.

Step Three – Small Meals

3.  Eat 3 or so small meals per day (plus breakfast)

To accomplish this, I must have a Program consisting of menus made up of healthy and delicious food choices.  Perhaps recipes to build my own food choices.  Then I have to make grocery lists of ingredients.  And go to the grocery store and buy them.  And cook them.   All or any of which flies in the face of all of the Instant Gratification for which I stand.

Which program to follow?  Surely there is a magic program for me that will be easy to stick to, with decent food choices like Mexican food and croissants and linguine and sticky white rice and the occasional frosted brownie with ice cream.   Most importantly, it will feature super-fast weight loss results without any physical activity other than that required for food prep and consumption.

First, let’s refresh my memory of past pop-culture-diet experiences, so that in the future I will be able to recognize history repeating itself:

1.  Weight Watchers, 1982.

2.  Jenny Craig, early 90s.

3.  Atkins-ish low carb, 2002.

4.  Nutrisystem, 2006.

5.  Medi-Fast, 2011.

6.  Sensa, 2011.

7.  The 6-Week Body Makeover, 2011.

You can see that Year 2011, compared to prior years, was fairly productive for me  in terms of the number of different recipients of the hard-earned income I handed over in exchange for sheer crap.  In fact, it was my second best year ever.  The first best was the year that I got captured by eBay and made the prisoner of numerous amateur auctioneers trafficking in the Collectibles>Entertainment Memorabilia>Movie Memorabilia>Westerns>B-Westerns of the -30s and -40s>Singing Cowboys>Roy Rogers and Trigger category.

Next, whittle the list down to What Worked Or Is Most Likely To:

1.  Atkins-ish low carb:  A fairly easy and painless weight loss of about 20 lbs, helped along by daily gym workouts and the natural appetite-suppressing effects of domestic violence.  (more on that later)

2.  The 6-Week Body Makeover:  6 small meals per day, lean protein and green veggies, a little bit of fruit and some starchy vegetables allowed, some whole grain.  Plus a targeted exercise plan with a companion over-the-door-hanging exercise device that could double as movie prop in an S&M murder scene.  I liked this program.  The food allowed on it sounded like what I typically eat anyway.  And it came with a free toy.  So I ordered it.    And would have started it except that it conveniently arrived the week before Thanksgiving.

My analysis complete, I think I’m ready to pick my program and get going.  But I need to set some ground rules first.

Step Two – Breakfast

2.  Goal:  Eat breakfast:   This is so not in my wiring, which is ”eat only when hungry.”  Due to my nearly perpetual state of starvation, I am usually nauseous first thing in the morning.   I would rather have nausea with an empty stomach than nausea mixed with food.  I don’t have time to deal with  consequences from the latter when I am trying to get myself and the farm ready for me to go to work.

a.  Do now:    Look around at various eating programs and find breakfast menus that sound like they would be appetizing for lunch or dinner.

b.  Do now:  Change the weekday morning routine so that there is plenty of time to eat breakfast,  way way after I first get up out of bed, but in time to get to work reasonably on time after morning toiletries and farm chores.   This requires more Planning.  And Getting Up Out Of Bed Earlier.  Holy moly, changing the Do Date for this one to Do by Feb 1, 2012.

c.  Do by Jan 15, 2012:  Build the habit of eating breakfast on weekends.   It doesn’t have to be in the morning though, just eat breakfast menu items anytime of the day on Saturday and Sunday so that I can say I am eating breakfast now.

d.  Do by Feb 15, 2012:  Implement eating breakfast menus on all weekday mornings during the time that normal people eat breakfast.

Next, more on the research, contemplation and dreading of various eating plans before heading into Step 3, eat smaller meals …

Master Plan, Part Three, Step One – White Sugar

1.  Goal:  Eliminate white sugar:   Without a doubt, I am not up for cold-turkeying this one.   Keeping in mind that the only use I have for white sugar is in coffee,  I opt for a gentle weaning:

a.  Do now:  Stop buying white sugar.  Not so hard, just don’t walk down the sugar/flour/spice aisle in the grocery store anymore.  Which is also not so hard, because I am phobic about grocery shopping and carts and grocery store people,  and I am up for just about anything that reduces the time I spend in the grocery store.  Unless of course the sugar/flour/spice aisle is also the coffee aisle.  Then I’m screwed.  Until I remember that there is a Starbucks somewhere else inside the grocery store, and, mercifully, near an exit.  Phew, close one.

Aside:  Don’t worry about the storehouse of white sugar that I currently have on hand.  I will use it up, somehow.

b.  Do by Jan 20, 2012:  Replace white sugar in coffee with Splenda/Sugar mix.   This is the “Coffee B” in my Weekly Food and Activity Journal …  I discovered Splenda/Sugar recently, along with Splenda/Brown sugar.  It doesn’t have the bitter, chemical-waste taste of other artifical sweeteners and it has the texture of sugar so I can fool myself when I’m shoveling it out of the sugar bowl into the coffee mug.

c.  Do by Feb 1, 2012:  Replace the Splenda/Sugar mix with pure Splenda.  This will be yucky but not as yucky as if I had gone straight from sugar to straight artificial.  If I can without too much more psychosis than I already suffer, I will skip this and go straight to d.

d.  Do by Feb 15, 2012:  Eliminate the Splenda and drink coffee that is not sweetened at all.  This will take an Act of God.  But since I trust that He is on board with the general ideas that excess refined sugar is bad for me, and that a smaller body is good for me, He will come through.


Next up, 2.  Eat breakfast.