Weekly Digest 44 5/31/19-6/6/19

It was an eventful week that featured fantastic weather!  While I was only out four times on my bike this week, I feel like I made the most of the week and stayed active and kept my diet in check.  It was a good week from that standpoint …and this time the numbers were in my favor!  I managed to lose the four pounds I gained last week and then lost two more on top of it!  That brings my total to 208 pounds lost! 

Puegot
LOOK! Puegot named a car after my winning week! Ok, not really…but it was a good try, right?

The Vegas of Weight Loss:

I seem to be in this stage of weight loss where it is getting difficult, and weight loss comes in fits and starts.  I lose a little, gain a bit back, then lose a little more.  Seesawing back and forth is hell on your ego and it take real work to say positive. This, if you’re a guy, is where you really listen closely to the things your female friends are saying.  Especially those who don’t look like they have any weight to lose.  It’s likely they have been fighting a slow battle over just a couple pounds. And when you closely witness the efforts they put in to just trim that last tiny bit, you will get a sense of the work it really takes. 

 While it’s difficult for My Fat Brain to comprehend a dire struggle over just a couple pounds, I am starting to get just a glimpse of it.  Until this point, if I followed the plan, I saw big results.  Now? My body seems to have a mind of it’s own.  Tell me, when did my body become such a smart-ass?  “Wow nice week, Ethan you’ve worked hard …but I am going to tease you by not doing what you expect!! Enjoy that week of no results, buddy! Back to the drawing board!”  

I tell ya, if smacking myself wouldn’t seem totally counter productive, I would be tempted to do just that!  However, as it is I just have to accept that sometimes the numbers just don’t work out immediately, and I have to stick to the plan and keep grinding away.   Sometimes the “house” wins, just like in Vegas. 

Churchill
Even Winston thinks this week was a winner.

The Non-Scale Victory Redux: 

These become even more important as we struggle with minimal scale results.  The body reshaping itself takes time and can even result in weight gain as you turn fat into lean muscle.  So I watch for things like my measurements decreasing, or my physical capabilities increasing. My abilities on the bike have been increasing and my confidence has been growing as I witness these jumps in performance.

The non-scale victory can be anything relevant to your lifestyle.  For instance, even just the ability to do housework for longer periods of time could qualify as a non-scale victory. So when the scale isn’t matching up with your efforts, just stay on your journey but look to other milestones as positive reinforcement that you are doing good things for your health! 

Kind of a Big Deal

The big event this week was a hospital visit with mom.  Mom undergoes a procedure regularly, so this entails several hours in a waiting room for me when I go with her. This time I was her driver. So we followed the normal routine by driving in to Methodist Hospital in St Louis Park, and I brought my ipad so I could spend some time writing with the hours I would have.   

In the meantime, other patients come and go from the waiting room.  After a while, you get a sense of the comings and going in his unit.  You even begin to discern bits and pieces of he personalities of department staff.  This department has a wonderful practice in which the department receptionist is aided by a volunteer.  I watched, as the volunteers changed shift …and the new guy coming on shift was “Frank” – a 94 year old volunteer.  Frank would make sure the coffee and condiments were stocked up and would escort patients from the waiting room to their treatment rooms.  He was a bit hard of hearing but just he sweetest old man, and the staff sure appreciated his hard work. 

Frankly, Frank…

From a purely business perspective, using volunteers in this capacity is just great.  It saves the staff time and trouble and allows for much more efficient use of the highly trained staff and nurses. Plus, when you get a real gem, like Frank, they make everyone feel at home. 

During one of the lulls in activity, Frank came up to me and asked “How are ya doing, young man?  You sure are typing away there!  Can I get ya anything?”  I replied “No thanks, Frank.  I am doing great …just waiting on mom to finish up.” He said “I could go into the back and check on her, if you’d like?”  I smiled and responded “Thank you – but there is no need to trouble yourself, sir.  She is in great hands, and having you here to make other patients smile is of far greater value.”  He grinned – he could tell that I got it.  He then clapped me on the shoulder and went back to his post by the receptionist. 

Martha & Gene:

My conversation with Frank was not the only exchange that was interesting on that day.  As I was typing, an elderly couple came in for an appointment. They moved over near me, and started talking.  Their conversation so amused me, that unbeknownst to them I started writing down what they said.

Martha and Gene sized up the waiting room and decided on a place to settle somewhat near me.  Martha surveying the coffee machine said  “Oh look Gene, they have coffee!  That’s great! I could really use some!”  Gene responded in a fun and teasing tone “Oh well, look at that Martha! Just what you need!”  Martha haughtily retorted “well do YOU want a cup, Gene?”

Then in mid sentence, as she was clearly going to lay into Gene about teasing her over coffee, she spied a basket of graham crackers.  “Oh MY! They have graham crackers too! “ Having narrowly missed a proper dressing-down, Gene changed his tone too “Oh now, that’s very thoughtful!  How pleasant!”  Martha turned back to Gene “Would you like a graham cracker?”  Gene replied “oh no, I’m just fine.” Martha refused to relent, with typical Scandinavian persistence “you sure?  It would be just the thing to settle your stomach!” 

Gene, risking the Wrath of Martha, rolled his eyes and said “Oh no, now Martha you don’t need to worry about me!” Martha, nonplussed by his eye roll, and determined to keep the upper hand in this verbal fencing match retorted “Well Gene, I’ve got nothing else to worry about …so you just hush! Gene, pressing home the attack, replied   “Oh now, don’t be silly Martha, this would free your mind so you can worry about all manner of other things.” 

Martha, Gene and a Frank Showdown:

Martha ignored Gene’s teasing and tried the coffee pot to find it empty.   “Oh no, it looks like they are out of coffee.” Volunteer Frank wanders up and said “Oh hi!  Sorry about the coffee …I could go in back and get your some!  We have a pot in back that is still full.“ Martha, turning her attention to Frank said “Ohhh…you don’t make coffee in the afternoon?” Frank responds “No, we have been trying not to …so often is just goes unused” Martha says: “Ohh yes, I can certainly see that. …but don’t worry about me, I’m really quite fine.” 

Frank, not about to let anyone out-Minnesotan him, says: “Oh but its no trouble at all …I can just run and get you both a cup …that’s not an issue.”  Martha, seeking a compromise, says “Well, how about this? ….once they open up a room and get Gene in there, I’ll take a cup?  Would that be ok?”  Frank, with a wide grin, and clearly pleased to have won this exchange says “Oh yes that would be just fine …as soon as they call you back I will being you a cup!”   Martha responds “Oh thank you! …that would be just splendid!”

Martha, Gene and The Newspaper

Now that the confrontation of Great Pleasantries had passed and Martha begins to settle in a chair, Gene says “Hey look Martha! They have a real newspaper here!  I don’t see those too much anymore.  How delightful to handle and read a genuine newspaper! Now it’s Martha’s turn to roll her eyes “The newspaper depresses me, Gene …do they have any magazine?  Gene surveys the coffee table and not missing a beat says “Ohh yah …but all I see are health magazines …so if you want to read an article about “something-o-static breast reductions” you’re in luck!” Martha blushes and, looking down, responds: “Oh Gene, don’t be silly!” Gene laughs “ well Martha, why not?  It’s not like I am running for president!” Martha smirks back at him “I said don’t be silly …not don’t be stupid” They both laugh and turn their attention to reading. 

The Smirk:

Martha and my dear friend Lani both smirk at people in that same way.  It’s a smirk that says “We’re both about to get in trouble here!…and isn’t it fun!?”  I was instantly conscious of the fact that these two were making a subtle, personal joke out of matters both serious and trivial.  I realize it was a mirror of the many conversations I have had with Lani over the years.  It makes me appreciate what a good friend means and how you can have your own language.  They were saying, in their own completely innocuous and comfortable way “I love you”. 

No matter what you are going through, more often than not, it is those closest to us that sustain us through the tough times…or, at least, are willing to get us a cup of coffee.  

Mosaic
The Mosaic

The Mosaic in the Waiting Room.  

Another great element in the waiting room was a mosaic piece of art.  I have been noticing many hospitals and clinics employ more art as a way to create a more comfortable environment for patients and staff.  Working in a medical facility these days is very difficult for staff and physicians.  So much of their work is scheduled so tightly that they often lack the latitude to just converse with patients and get to know them. To that end, art as a tool too give those who frequent the facility something other than blank walls to look at and appreciate seems to have had positive effects on he practice of medicine.

mosaic title

Art to the rescue, I say.  And in this waiting room was a lovely mosaic that I found so compelling that I stopped to take a picture and share it with you.  Well done, hospital administrators and those responsible for making this decision.  Well done, indeed. 

Intake:

This week was quite good.  My diet was pretty strict and included only 3 alcoholic beverages on the week.  The calories were in-check each day.  I was aided by the fact that I successfully completed a two-day cleanse with my Isagenix team.  Normally I am not a huge proponent of the cleanse, but I have to admit it felt good to get through it.  And it does feel good to let my system do the work of clearing out accumulated toxins just by giving my digestion a break. It’s not something I can do that often because my body does crave fuel much more than in previous years. 

Instead of a two-day cleanse, I try to opt for intermittent fasting on a more consistent basis.  If I can consume all my daily calories in an 8 or 10 hour window, that seems to give my digestive system a chance to do similar work as it does during a cleanse cycle.  Everyone has their own approach and their own keys to getting through it. But for me, when I eat stuff that is not great for me or I eat too late, I notice how my system feels like it is operating at a deficit. Take that for what it is worth.

Exercise:

This week was good! I managed to get out 4 days for biking, logging a total of 55 miles. I also did a 40 min elliptical session on a day when I had no time to bike.  On Thursday I did a ton of house cleaning and cooking prep with the second day of a 2-day cleanse, I did not feel like I was ready to add biking on top of everything else. Despite that I am really pleased with my activity levels this week.  I really felt like I crushed it!  Sadly, the weather outlook is not as good for next week…so it might be more limited. 

My take-away: 

Everything went just right this week.  I couldn’t ask for better!  And I am absolutely thrilled with my efforts AND results!  How often do I get to say THAT?!  Next week, however, I will be cooking for friends and family on a couple occasions, including our deck opening – the first happy hour on the deck for the season.  So next week will be about damage mitigation and just trying to hold on to this week’s progress.  It may be a fool’s errand to think I can do that with the events scheduled, but I shall try!  There is no question I will not be eating as cleanly …so it’s all about managing expectations and trying to be sensible.  We will see how it goes….keep your fingers crossed!  

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