Weekly Digest 65 & 66

Week 1 Oct 25-31, Week 2 Nov 1 – 7

The last two weeks have been interesting.  To be blunt, it’s been a combination of working on my health, my head, and supporting my mom’s recovery from a broken hip.  It’s been a fair bit to deal with, but I am managing and my results on the scale have been equally interesting.  Let’s get to those results right away – so over the last two weeks, I have lost 5 pounds in week one, and regained 1 pound in week 2.  That puts me 222 pounds lost, total. 

Week 1’s weight loss was partially a reaction to the fluid accumulation and stress of the previous weeks when my mom broke her hip.  After gaining weight the previous week, in week 1 this week I lost that weight plus an additional 2 pounds.  Ironically, I had a couple days of high caloric intake in that week.  In week 2 I did well in adhering to my caloric intake guidelines, but I still continue to notice a trend of reaching for crackers, tortilla chips, sugary items for snacking purposes.  While I count those calories, not all calories are created equal.  These things are too calorically dense and don’t fill me up, hence they may promote me wanting to eat more – and the content of those calories, with such things as wheat and sugar, need to be limited.  I find my body reacts best when I feed it low density calories – like vegetables etc.  I may be getting ahead of myself and jumping right to my take-away, but what you can get from this is that the content of your calories are just as important as the total amount of calories. 

Numbers On A Scale: 

As I have said many times in this blog, dieting is an up and down affair.  There is a lot of give and take, and your results will vary. I weigh in every week, and the longer I am at this I have begun to suspect that even less frequent weigh-ins might be just as valid.   More frequent weigh-ins have the possibility of being disturbing and disappointing because your body WILL go up in weight some days – but it DOES teach that body weight varies daily.  Over time, you lose your inhibition of the numbers on the scale and understand that what you are seeking is a longer term overall downward trend. 

Recently I went to an event and had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Beth Westie (more later) talk.  She has suggested that because of the estrogen/progesterone cycle of the female body, and how that has varying demands based on how it processes energy and calories, that a monthly weigh-in is more appropriate for women.  While I’m certain that the specifics are subject to debate, I found her talk enlightening and very eye opening in terms of how the female body manages weight. It made me realize that weighing bi-weekly or monthly is just as valid and still illustrates that longer term trend. 

Value Beyond Trends:

When I weigh weekly, and when I write these Weekly Digests, it’s not just to share those results and try to glean some learnings that can be of value to you, the reader.  It’s also an analytical tool for me that allows the examination of the individual aspects of a healthy regimen.  My food intake, exercise, measurements, scale weight – all of these things can be analyzed to provide a picture of progress or provide feedback to aid in making fine tune adjustments.

Mom Update:

Mom doing great at the TCU!

As I mentioned previously, my mom broke her hip.  She has had surgery, which went swimmingly, and is now recovering in a Transitional Care Facility.  The anesthesia hit her hard and, combined with the pain meds, had her foggy for a few days but I am pleased to say she has recovered well from that.  Her appetite is improving and she is making great progress in healing.  At the point that I write this she has been in the TCU for just under 3 weeks and this last week the improvements have been the most dramatic.  She’s working very hard to regain her mobility and independence.

Mom has a quiet fierceness and independence to her.  Generally, easy-going, she decides what is important to her and then goes after it. Targeted efforts are really important for her considering she has a limited amount of energy due to MDS and has to choose carefully on where to spend that energy.  For me, making sure she is free to expend that energy on improving her health and maximizing her time in therapy is critical to helping her achieve an independent lifestyle. If there is one word I would use to describe how my mom approaches all of these combined conditions it would be “courage”.  Good work, mum!

All Work Makes Jack A Dull Boy:

fun with friends
Linnea and I out having fun!

So in the week 1 of this two week period, after a good deal of stress, it was time to let loose.  I did so in my favorite way – go out with my bestie, Linnea Harju and have a few adult beverages.  We went to Bellecour in Wayzata – a fantastic little French restaurant – and had a few cocktails.  I think we can all identify with the need to get out of our bubbles once in a while.  Our daily lives construct a regular routine that has us working hard on issues, one after the other.  We fall into the rhythm and pattern the soon becomes oppressive if we aren’t careful. Making sure we take care of ourselves by finding ways to break out of our routines helps keep our perspective fresh and smiles on our faces. 

Come To The Mountain:

One event I attended recently was titled “Come to the Mountain” and was hosted by Janet Anderson, a friend, and fellow member of the Isagenix 100 pound club.  Janet is also a psychologist and therapist and will hold events like this as a guided self-exploratory in healing and helping to focus our energies in a positive.  In full disclosure, that’s my summary – and Janet may describe it differently – So Janet if you are reading this, please feel free to weigh in and I will happily add your comments to the text of this story! 

me and Janet
Janet Anderson and I at her event! Thanks Janet for a great experience!

It was an incredibly valuable experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.  Thinking about myself in terms of what I want or need is not something I have ever been taught to do – it isn’t second nature at all.  So listening to Janet discuss breaking down these walls was very interesting and gets me thinking about all the changes involved in living and interacting with society now that I have lost so much weight.    

I also was pleasantly surprised by the talk given by Dr. Beth Westie at the event.  She is a chiropractor who has made a study of women’s health and dieting.  I found her talk most enlightening and it really opening my eyes to the difference between how men and women approach dieting – and how the actual biological difference affect dieting.  It makes me feel better prepared to help support the efforts of my female friends in their own quest for better health. 

Me and steph
Stephanie Houwman and I at the CTTM event!

Lastly, I was a really pleased to run into my friend Stephanie Houwman at the event!  It was great seeing her and even better to see her also seeking to expand her understanding into how we can better take care of ourselves.  It’s a battle we all wage – and learning a little more about ourselves can only help.  Stephanie has been doing some very impressive work in leveraging her own experiences to help others. It’s something we can all learn from.

Fret Edges
Truing up fret edges

Fun with Frets

fret work
Working on the end of a fret with a small fret file.

Many of you know that one of my favorite hobbies is all about guitars.  I have been building them recently and through the help of friend and schoolmate Brian Applegate, who is an amazing Luthier, I have been refining my skills and bit and pursuing higher levels of expertise. Most recently I have been focusing on my fret work and getting better at edge dressing and giving necks a truly professional feel.  This has involved truing up the edges of frets that may stick over the side of the fretboard and giving them a slight rounding.  I have starting learning in through more traditional methods like with the file pictured, and Brian has helped me refine my approach to something more consistent, repeatable and higher quality.  This kind of learning is so much fun!

Energy Drink:

BeA Nutritional Information
BeA Natural Energy Drink

I see a lot of people drinking energy drinks.  I have avoided them because I always hear a lot of bad stuff about them like they have too much sugar or caffeine or a whole host of other ingredients that just cause long term problems.  While I am sure that’s subject to interpretation, it’s been enough to make me avoid them.  However recently Isagenix has come out with their own healthy version of an energy drink called BeA that has me intrigued. I recently tried it and found it pretty good – and the contents are very clean!  It’s an excellent alternative! 


So the intake of these two weeks has been varied.  Let’s start with the numbers – in the first week I had two days over my 1400-1500 calorie range. One of those days just seemed to be hunger while the other was my night out. Week two was between 1350-1500 every day – no exceptions.  I find it ironic that on the week where I did great on my diet I also gained a pound!  

So as I alluded to earlier, let’s look at the content of those calories.  As for alcohol, only that one night out with Linnea saw any alcohol consumption.  The remainder of that two week period was good.  However, my old nemesis of peanut butter, crackers, and tortilla chips mounts a pretty consistent presence.  Although the cracker consumption was low, my recent uptick in making salsa has provided an uptick in consuming tortilla chips.  Usually it’s about 10 chips- or 140 calories, and a small bowl of salsa.  That happened several times per week.  One thing I can do here is to get in the habit of having salsa over chicken – which I used to do at one point.  It takes the tortilla chips out of the mix.  To be clear, a few chips or whatnot is not a make or break situation.  It’s the consistent intake of them. 

Stuffed peppers topped with salsa and a side salad!

Halloween is Scary!

Additionally, we just had Halloween so I have to admit to a few “fun size” Snickers bars.  For all of you who don’t know, “fun size” is industry code for “just enough to make you crave more, you poor sucker!” So I had, perhaps 8 or those small bars over the week.  Thankfully, we made the rest go away so now temptation remained here after the initial batch.  The bottom line is that I continue to work at keeping my calories as clean as possible and reducing refined sugar, other sugars, wheats and dense calories.  It’s not always easy, and not always practical, but it takes some dedicated effort. 

Other Fall Goodness:

Squash soup
Butternut Squash Soup!

A positive of the switch to fall and winter is squash. I have become a big squash fan and am really enjoying making a variety of squashes.  Perhaps my favorite is the acorn squash.  I love to cut it open and make half of one – put in a little butter or margarine, a touch of salt and pepper, or just a teaspoon or two of brown sugar. It’s delicious and filling …but watch those toppings!  They can add up! Most recently I made a great butternut squash soup …it was wonderful and so low cal!


These two weeks have not been horrible but certainly not been paragons of activity.  Here are the numbers:  Week 1:  6 miles of walking, 40 mins on the elliptical and 2 free weight workouts.  Week 2: 2hours and 45 mins on the elliptical and 2 free weight workouts. These overall numbers are broken into small segments daily.  Usually I am taking 1 day off per week of exercise.  For daily routines, where I am at right now is either 3 miles of walking at the mall, 30-40 mins on the elliptical, or 15-20 mins on the elliptical with a 20 minute free weight workout. I have switched my free weight workouts to address some weaker areas and am pushing more strength-based training over a shorter time.  I’m pretty happy with where I am, but have a sneaking suspicion that being more active would make me feel better.   

My Take-Away:

I spent a lot of time talking this week – and in previous weeks – about eating less dense calories and eating clean.  It comes up repeatedly.  Every week I make reference to it.  So understand that when this conversation is going on, it’s not just about eating better.  It’s about making the right decision and making the healthy choice in the moment.  That is momentously more difficult than simple words make it sound. It’s not just as easy as “making a decision” – its much more about battling your cravings, urges, sweet tooth, and pure desire for something calorically rich and delicious like peanut butter.  This is one of those hurdles that is an ongoing thing in a diet.  My take-away is to call out that challenge for what it is – a triumph of will.  It’s incredibly difficult to do – and something that must be accomplished repeatedly, even daily, in order to see success in a diet.  Travel safe this week, my friends!


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