Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-In: Clean Monday edition!

Well, good morning, everyone, and happy Monday! Time for another weigh-in … and as you may remember, last week I had a small GAIN. But as Homer Simpson once said, “hope springs internal,” so let’s step on the ol’ scale and see where it lands. Ready? Here goes:

206.8
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Hey, that’s great!

Nice! I think that actually takes me a little lower than I was two weeks ago, so I’m happy. I think the walking I’m doing almost every day is helping a lot – not only with weight loss but with my overall health. If you’ve got a few minutes, why not take a walk yourself, today? (But not till you finish reading my blog, of course!!)

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OK, so today is Clean Monday. In case you’re not familiar with it, that’s the first official day of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Christian world. As virtually every Eastern Orthodox (EO) will tell you, I, by virtue of being Eastern Catholic (EC), am NOT in any way, shape or form, “Orthodox.”

However, we ECs do our best to irritate both the EOs and the RCs (Roman Catholics) whenever possible. For example, we irritate the EOs by copying everything they do, like their liturgy, their prayers, their eating habits, etc. etc.

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And we irritate the RCs by insisting that we’re fully, totally, 100% as Catholic as they are, even though we don’t (officially*) do ANYTHING they like to do, like for example, Ash Wednesday. Now mind you, it’s not that we have anything against Ash Wednesday – it’s actually a lovely tradition, and it’s nice to see so many people who never ever EVER set foot in a church the rest of the year go in to get their annual reminder that they’re skating on thin ice.

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However, we have our own tradition on the first Wednesday of Lent (which we start two days earlier, nyah nyah nyah!) which involves a liturgy every Wednesday evening till Holy Week. There’s always a confused Westerner who stumbles in off the street looking for ashes, and we have to gently explain that we don’t have any, other than whatever’s out in the garden, which they’re certainly welcome to. (I’ve suggested we just keep a container of ashes by the door with a sign reading “Help yourself!” but that never seems to go over too well.)

But that’s okay, we all have our different traditions and practices and that’s what makes religion so much fun, right?

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One thing we ECs DO have in common with the RCs this year is that our Easter falls on … are you ready? … April Fool’s Day! That’s right, Easter is on April 1st, and as you can imagine, the memesters are having a field day with THAT!

And of course, Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s Day, so even though we ECs don’t join in with the ashy stuff, we can certainly commiserate about the fact that we’re BOTH supposed to abstain from CHOCOLATE on February 14 OMG why why why??? Although I’m sure St. Valentine himself isn’t too upset.

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Oh well, we’ll muddle through somehow.

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And after all, there’s more to Lent – Eastern OR Western – than just giving up stuff. As our priest pointed out yesterday, “The Great Fast isn’t about losing weight. It’s not Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. It’s about getting closer to God.”

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So whether you’re Eastern, Western, or even just an interested bystander – happy Lent to you!

Unused Pingback Word of the Day: Conjure 

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-In, Humble-bragging edition!

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Let’s be candid, shall we? I don’t always take my own advice. (Yeah, I know, shocking, right?)

For example, I’m always pushing the excellent weigh-in strategy recommended by Jay over at aworkoutroutine.com, about weighing yourself every day, then using the *average* for the week for your weekly weigh-in.

And it’s a great idea! It makes total sense. And I actually do keep a running total in an Excel document, so I’m not completing ignoring that very sensible advice.

However, for some reason, when I do these Monday weigh-ins here on the blog, I feel like I should share the actual weight from this morning, rather than the average from the previous week. The culprit, as you may have guessed from the post title, is my deplorable need to humble-brag.

Humble-bragging, in case you’re not a hep cat, up with the pop culture and the things kids say these days, is defined by that erudite source of wordology, the Urban Dictionary, as:

Subtly letting others know about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or “woe is me” gloss.

Uggggh just ate about fifteen piece of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modelling contract LOL :p #humblebrag

In my case, the humble-bragging usually consists of: “Wow, I had a donut at church, and then we had a potluck and I had to eat some of the Key Lime pie I baked, because it was so yummy! Sure hope my weight goes down anyway! Here goes!” thus virtue-signalling to you, the loyal reader, that:

  1. I went to church yesterday. I’m so good!
  2. I baked a Key Lime pie. I’m so good!
  3. I’m being totally honest about my weight, whether it’s up or down. I’m so good!

See what I mean? And not only that, I’m such a humble-braggart that I’m letting you in on the secret of what I’m doing!

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Well, all this is wasting your valuable time (I’m concerned about your time! I’m so good!), so without further ado, let’s cut to the chase and get to what you came here for: the increasingly famous Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-In! Ready? Here we go!!

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208.6
Do the Little Kicks!
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Not too shabby! See what a little humility can do for you, kids? It can LITERALLY make you lose weight! Well, okay, figuratively, then. At least, it can affect your figure. What I mean to say is–

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Oh, sorry about that, Mittens! Yeah, I’m done. Have a great week, everyone!

 

Weekly Weigh-In, and Non-Scale Benchmarks

Good morning, loyal followers! I’m happy to report this week’s weigh-in is:

224.6scales

which means the ol’ Weight Loss Train is chuggin’ along nicely! Still not seeing the measurements budge, which is weird because I’m SEEING (and FEELING) some significant differences. For example:

  • Clothes that have been uncomfortably tight for a couple of years are suddenly loose and comfy again!
  • Going up and down the choir loft stairs at church no longer involves panting, wheezing, and inability to continue singing after Communion without sucking down half a bottle of water!
  • Rising from comfy armchairs is no longer a slow, well-choreographed ballet designed specifically to avoid damaging arms of chairs (or knees of me!)!
  • Underarm “wings” still there, but no longer seem quite as aerodynamically sound!

So, in spite of the maddening refusal of the tape measure to echo my optimism, things are still looking pretty good!

What are some non-scale type benchmarks YOU look for when you’re losing weight?

50 by 60 – what it all means

Hi, everyone –

My name is Christine, and this is my new blog about why I’m determined to try to lose 50 pounds by the time I turn 60 next year. “50 by 60” – get it?

Anyway, here’s Part I of my long-winded explanation!

I’m about to turn 59 years old, an age I couldn’t even begin to imagine back in 1975, when I made my first real, serious attempt to lose weight by attending TOPS meetings in Belton, Missouri.

Being an eldest child, the awards appealed to me, and I did lose quite a bit of weight. But when I went away to college the next year, it came roaring back, “with all of its little friends,” as Flora, a Weight Watchers leader I met later in life, would describe this all-too-familiar process.

Fast-forward through the ensuing decades, during which I more or less half-heartedly continued my weight loss efforts, through a myriad of diets (all of which insist on calling themselves “lifestyle changes”) and exercise attempts, resting from time to time in the arms of the newly emerging Body Acceptance movement.

Now, here I am, almost 59 years old, living the dream in sunny Southern California, and tipping the scales at about 240 pounds – about 120 pounds heavier than when I started, all those years ago, in that dusty brick building in Belton.

I can never go back to Belton (er, well, OK, I have been back a few times, but it’s a metaphor, OK? Think “Manderly”!) – and I don’t know if I can ever get back to 120 pounds.

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But you know what? I don’t think it’s impossible. And I’ve got some encouraging recent history to back that up.

First of all, just a little over a year ago, my doctor (well, actually the nurse-practitioner – you know how HMOs are these days!) recommended that I consider getting weight loss surgery. I bristled, still brimming with ideology from the Fat Acceptance movement.

“What? ME? What’s wrong with my weight? Sure, I’m fat. I admit it. I embrace it! But I’m healthy! My blood pressure is perfect (true); my cholesterol is–well, okay, it’s a little high, but it’s GOOD cholesterol (more or less true); and I can walk anywhere I want.”

Okay — NOT true!

But I THOUGHT I could, because you see, during these past few decades, I have done quite a lot of walking, especially since moving to California. I used to work in Downtown Los Angeles, and at least two or three times a week, I’d actually walk from my apartment building to my office, four miles one way.

When the Red Line was built, I moved to the Valley and took the subway to work, but always got off a stop or two before my office building, so I could continue my morning walks.

And I loved it! I got intimately familiar with all the sidewalks, traffic lights, and public restrooms between Union Station and Bunker Hill. (I even got to see the chaos surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial, up close and personal, walking past the Hall of Justice every morning.)

Not only that, but early in my So Cal residency, I even climbed the entirety of a pretty steep switchback trail to the top of a (relatively short) mountain called Echo Mountain, north of Altadena, California. I was fascinated by the fact that there’d once been a railroad (the Mount Lowe Railway) stretching from Downtown all the way up to the top of this mountain, and made myself climb to the top to see the ruins of the old hotel

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So, walking and I – we had a history.

But by the time I saw my nurse-practitioner last year, I’d been “downsized” from my Downtown job, and was living a very sedentary life with my husband in the Valley. With no incentive to go anywhere other than the grocery store, my daily walking dwindled to once a week, if that.

Still, there was no way I was going to have weight loss surgery. I’d known people who’d had it, and had terrible health problems afterwards. Plus, there was just something inside me — maybe the spirits of my pioneer ancestors — that rebelled at the idea of taking the “easy way out.” (Before you start throwing rocks at your screen, I KNOW surgery isn’t “easy”! This was just me being overly paranoid, okay? Hang in there!)

So, no surgery for me. And yet — when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole idea of trying, yet again, to lose weight. And I realized that, in spite of all the Fat Acceptance messages I’d absorbed, I really did want to try again, one more time.

A couple of years ago, I had read a book called “The No-S Diet” by an engineer named Reinhard Engels. The basic concept is so simple that (as the author himself pointed out) you really just needed to read the subtitle on the front cover:

“No snacks, seconds, or sweets, except on days that start with S.”

In other words, three meals a day, and that’s it.

I liked the concept because it was simple and easy to remember, and had dabbled with it for a while, but lost interest one hot August weekday when I was craving a giant ice cream sandwich. (spoiler alert: foreshadowing!!)

Now I remembered it, and decided this might be the perfect plan to start a more serious weight-loss effort with. And my husband, bless his heart, agreed to go along with it and try it with me.

Here’s what really made the difference this time: being a good Catholic ( more or less ), I decided to enlisted the Lord in my efforts, making a solemn promise to Him that I would stick with this plan for AT LEAST three months before giving up and/or trying something else. I actually stood in front of the altar (when no one else was there, naturally) and raised my hand, Scarlett O’Hara-like, as I made my pledge:

“As God is my witness, I’ll never snack again, except on Saturdays, Sundays, and ‘special’ days!”

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And it worked! The weight loss was slow – maybe a pound a month, if that — but the important thing was that after years of “mindless eating,” I felt in control of what I was eating. I could see exactly what I was consuming, at every meal, and decide whether or not a particular food was worthy of a place on my plate.

Satisfied with how easy it was, I renewed my pledge to God three months later. Everything was fine — until the hot weather struck, early in the spring — and I realized I was at a fork in the road.

(To be continued!)