What a year this past year has been. It has been a year for endings and beginnings and the rebuilding of my body and soul. At 93 and 103 my Mother and Mother-in-Law passed away. At these ages we have to accept the natural course of the events of life. While I still miss my wife, I have moved past the grief and sorrow stages to acceptance and many pleasant memories. More importantly, my children and granddaughters seem to have done the same. Those who remain have grown closer which was unexpected for an already close and loving family.
The year started with me under edict from my daughter and niece to drop 40 pounds or they would not go to space camp with me. The concept of living on portion controlled slow cooked dinners while snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables evolved into a steady routine. As the year ends, I have moved out of the coffeepot and into the fondu pot (which is rally an electric skillet) and occasionally back to the oven and stove. As my cooking became more main stream, my fan base grew and my recipe acceptance at foodpress.com became more frequent.
My health has been a year of down and up but mostly up. In April, I suffered a very minor stroke which paralyzed my left leg for about an hour. Two heart specialist said my heart was in perfect shape and that it wasn’t a Transient Incident. One neurologist didn’t diagnose much of anything and finally the chief of medicine for Largo Hospital suggested rather bluntly that event though I had lost 35 pounds I was still clinically obese from 30 years of over eating. Also, being in shape is fine but obese is still unhealthy.
During all this testing my local physician discovered a deteriorated disc which was compressing my spinal column and had to be corrected in order to not have a different and more permanent form of paralysis in the future. I needed a disc removed and everything fused in place. Now in this case being in shape physically did cut my recovery time as they expected me to be in the hospital for several days on pain killers when in fact I left the day after surgery and never took pain killers. The day after that, I started walking five miles a day with my daughter and driving without any great problems.
My weight loss has been steady except for my vacations with family. I don’t consider these lapses as failures because I plan them in advance. I know the social nature of my family and plan a 5-7 pound gain when they are here and since it is now only a temporary gain, it only takes me a week or two to get back to where I was before the clan had gathered.
I am now down to 178-182 depending on socializing which is about 65 pounds lighter than a year ago. I also walk about 2.5 to 4 miles a day at a fairly brisk pace and this has contributed to a lack of baggy skin. Just as I am proud of my family and my granddaughters and my bookends, I am also proud that I have been able to drop 10 inches off my waist. My size 36 shorts and bathing suits are now loose and I am actually in danger of losing my swim suit when diving into the pool at the Palms Hotel.
I didn’t bother making New’s Year’s resolutions last year as this had nothing to do with my resolve to improve myself but only with my resolve to make the rest of my family happy. I actually started as soon as I returned from my Christmas visit last year which was a few days before the New Year began. As this blog celebrates it’s one year anniversary, I basically intend to do the same next year as I did last year.
I intend to have close family contact, to continue my wine at the Palms before dinner, and my wine at home with dinner, to explore the foods of the world and to eat an incredible variety of meals in the coming year while posting them on my blog. Our first adventures for the year will be soaring above the rolling hills of Western New Jersey and perhaps a white water rafting trip in Pennsylvania. I have also been trying to go on a hunt for Dinosaur Bones with my Granddaughters in Laurel, Md for about two years but the weather or other adventures has kept us from the quest.
In terms of quantifiable goals, I intend to reach 165 pounds which is 100 pounds less than my peak weight by eating portion controlled meals of whatever I desire whether it’s vegan, vegetarian or Biblically unclean foods (Shrimp, Lobster and Pork products) although I find I am not eating very much in the unclean group anymore.
After that I intend to eat as necessary to hold 165-172 which has traditionally been my “ideal weight” to look good even though I would still be classified as overweight. At the start of last year I knew what my intended goals were and far surpassed them without too much “dieting pain.”
I am told by everyone who is not my family that what has worked for me over the past year is based on poor choices. However, the combination is built around my personal social and psychological needs and without too much stress I find I can:
- Eat portion controlled well balanced meals for dinner
- Every evening, I drink about one bottle of Merlot and have done this for 40 years. This includes wine at cocktail hour and wine at home.
- I skip breakfast except for green tea and 1-2 pieces of fresh fruit.
- I drink green tea when thirsty until 3 pm and water until dinner time.
- After breakfast, I snack only on foods a rabbit would eat; celery, lettuce, scallions and carrots.
- About every 2-3 weeks, I’ll get 2 candy bars and eat both.
- I never deprive myself of a treat with my grandchildren like mid-day ice cream when they are with me. (About 6 times a year.)
- While I only eat them once a month, I never deprive myself of ethnic foods or food my mother and grandmother ate because they are not good for you. I have no strict dietary selection. I only control the amount.
- I exercise vigorously for 45-75 minutes five to six times a week.
- I have no unbreakable rules except to make up by exercising harder or eating less until I recover the ground lost while socializing.
Now the only thing that can make next year perfect is if my finances and love life improve. But only another year of my life will answer those questions.
Because I am resolving nothing I simply cannot fail.