Emotional Encryption

reunion4Emotions are funny things. The way we move our bodies, the way we think our thoughts, the way we see the world, all of that goes into the emotion of the moment. Dancing, for example, makes me feel good. Like a secret code, moving my body to music changes my emotions in a positive, healthy way.

Dance is the answer to my search for some kind of aerobic exercise besides boring walking. I love yoga but in order to “live long and die short” six days of exercise is a must. And some of those need to be vigorous. I’m a writer. My fingers get more exercise than any other part of my body. I also love to read, so my eyes get a work out every day, too. 

For me, enjoying what I do is key. I needed to find something I loved as much as all my sedentary pursuits like meditation and yoga and reading and writing. I loved walking the hills of Seattle but I don’t live there and I need the endorphins of aerobic exercise now. I’ve considered joining many groups and classes, like a hiking group or a Zumba class. But my schedule is very full of group things just now and I need to guard my alone time.

Something solitary, then, was needed. After my Gypsy post, I got a clue. Dance. Alone. I don’t do well to choreographed moves, and I don’t go out dancing much anymore. I miss it. So I made up a playlist and it will be my pleasure to dance alone in my living room for 20 minutes three times a week. Maybe more! 

Gonna ease in with my yoga sun salutation to “Here Comes the Sun” (The Beatles)

Then will make myself laugh and shake my behind to “Get Up Off of That Thing” (James Brown)

3. “Call Me” — St Paul & the Broken Bones

4. “Hundreds of Ways” — Conor Oberst

5. “Rimbaud Eyes” — Dum Dum Girls

6. “Stranger to my Happiness” — Sharon Jones

7. “Under the Pressure” — The War on Drugs. “Under the Pressure” is an 8 minute song that has so many great dance moments but also kind of cools down near the end like a scarf trailing off in the wind.

Aerobic exercise is the final piece of my part of the Lisa Plan puzzle. I’m so pleased with myself for finally figuring it out. For this diet to work, it has to fit my life. I had to finesse it for me. So, Lisa and I plan to incorporate my alternatives into her awesome (and easy! and it works!) plan. 

This is the final Lisa Plan post. As we write the proposal and talk with agents, we will keep the permalink public for a few more weeks. For all the Lisa Plan posts, check top menu or click here.

“Meet the Grandson” Vacation

Jess.32weeks.IMG_7400Jessica, due this week, must be looking forward to losing some weight:) Even though to me she looks absolutely beautiful, we all want to hold the baby and I will be there in Seattle this week waiting for his delivery. I don’t start fall term here in Detroit for almost a month, so I can be there until baby boy shows up:)

This is not a normal vacation, so I’m hoping I don’t gain weight. In fact I have been planning ways just so that doesn’t happen. First of all, this vacation is all about the baby, so there’s not going to be a lot of going out to dinner and drinking many glasses of wine. I will be sticking very close to Ballard, the neighborhood Mike and Jess live in. I’ve got a “mother-in-law” apartment five minutes’ walk from their place for the first several days and it has its own kitchen so I can

1. Shop for my own food and prep mini-meals. Restaurant food is loaded with fat, sugar, and sodium.

Ballard is a neighborhood in the city of Seattle, and I’ve been there a few times before. They have everything a person needs within walking distance and I’ve broken in two new pair of sneakers just so I can walk everywhere this trip. I’m probably not even going to bother renting a car. The kids’ house is five minutes from me, the hospital just a thirty minute walk. I plan to walk, walk, walk. And who knows maybe drop in on a yoga class or two or even climb a mountain. Okay, maybe not the mountain.

2. Exercise. Walk, bike, hike, climb mountains, find a yoga studio or maybe yoga on the Pacific. 

The second half of the trip may be a bit more challenging as I’ll be staying at an urban farm B&B where they are famous for their breakfasts. On the plus side, I can walk off breakfast better than I can walk off dinner. It’s just five minutes from the kids, too:)  And when eating out, one thing I have learned to do is have smaller portions. I often order an appetizer for dinner. Or fish and salad make great options too. Split a dinner between two people, but only if you really want the same thing. But as I said, lots of calories in restaurant prep. So I just eat less.

3. Split restaurant dinners or choose an appetizer instead of a meal.

I have given up sugar. I really believe that has taken hold. So I’m not worried about ice cream. I’ve had chocolate in my house for months and have not touched it except for that tiny S’more the other night and it did not trigger a full-on sugar craving. But there is the Chardonnay. Nothing like being on vacation and relaxing with a nice glass of Chard, maybe watching the sunset over the ocean. Bliss! I don’t plan to deprive myself of that pleasure. But this vacation is going to be a time when I want to take it all in, savor every moment, and so I’ll be saving the Chardonnay for a glass with dinner or over a sunset. In a word, I will not use vacation as an excuse to drink more than I know is good for me. I won’t be indulging in “daytime drinking.” Okay, possibly, when I meet Laura Zera in person for the fist time, she’s driving to lunch, so maybe we’ll have a glass of wine. I have the best reason in the world. So this will be a mostly sober vacation but for the best reason in the world.

4. Don’t drink too much alcohol.

I feel pretty confident with these cornerstones for this “Meet the Grandson” vacation.  Except for the one where I need to fit into my jeans by the end of the trip, they all come from the Lisa Plan. Find all Lisa Plan entries here.





Help for Falling Faces

coffee.meOne of the benefits of being pleasingly plump is having far fewer wrinkles than skinny girls our age. The saddest drawback to the fun of losing inches and gaining confidence is finding out that, wow, toes get wrinkled! I loved my plump little feet. Now I notice there are actual wrinkles at the tops of my toes. Really?? The indignity of it all!

Lisa and I talked about this. She said for her the arms were the worst. Oh, yeah, arms. I don’t go out in public without them covered. I looked over my wardrobe recently and thought “just donate every top without at least an elbow length arm to charity.” Well, that’s impossible as the people who design and sell clothes have not gotten the memo that we boomer women really would like a little variety here. Sure, tank tops and sleeveless dresses are perfect for summer, but not if you have to wear a sweater over everything just so your arms don’t show. On the plus side, Lisa says that the extra sag in the skin from fat loss does recede with time. Want all the Lisa Plan posts to date? Go here.

By far the most obvious of all the sags and bags and wrinkles is the falling face. I’ve seen this in so many friends, you lose weight, you  look ten years older. And yes, I’ve seen it and freaked about it in the self I formerly believed without vanity. Ha! I’ve always had wrinkles around my eyes. I smile way too much. They’ve gotten really deep. I’m talking trenches here. But I’m okay with them. They’ve always been my friends, those wrinkles. My forehead, ah, there’s always bangs. And those things on the sides of your face that make you look a little bit like a puppet, the ones from the nose to the mouth and then the second set from the mouth to chin, on either side of your face, those’ll be sagging  more too. Sad to say. Also, you know  how smokers, as they age, get the wrinkles around the mouth? Yeah, I haven’t smoked in 25 years but I can see those starting up too. Or I could until I stopped looking in the magnifying mirror.

Now here’s the good news. All kinds of help is available. I have not had Botox nor filler, neither facelift nor eye-lift. I have not had a lifestyle lift. Not that I think any of that is bad, but I don’t like the way fillers make movie stars look. You can always tell and they remind me a little bit of bunny rabbits when those folds plump out so obviously. I don’t want to inject myself with poison and I don’t want someone to cut my facial skin off, trim a few inches, and then sew it back on. It scares me. Even the lifestyle lift, which several friends have had done, sounds gruesome. I heard they take these big hooks and thread them through your skin and hook them over your ears! I don’t know if this is true or not, but rumors like that make me go “NO!!”

Serums are huge right now, but most of them contain Retin-A, which Lisa swears by, and I cannot use as my skin is too sensitive and it gives me a nasty rash. But Tera, my stylist, sells a natural product called Renique made of papaya and other enzymes that plumps the skin naturally. Because I’m sorry Oil of Olay but you just were not cutting it alone anymore. (I still use this cream on my neck and face for sunblock safety and who knows, maybe it helps the falling face a little bit too). Tera is awesome. She fixes my hair really cute too. Having a good cut and color does wonders for your face. If I had the nerve, I’d post before and after Tera pix. Oh hell, I’ll do it.

Before Tera


After Tera


And that after Tera was before I started using Renique. Let’s see if I can get a close up of what the old face looks like right now.

After Renique


I know. I feel bad about my neck, too. But I see a real difference around my eyes and those whatever they are lines around the cheeks like some kind of strange parenthesis. Whatcha gonna do? Well, there’s not much I’m willing to do. But I’ll do a few little things, just to make this fun and so people won’t ask me if I’m sick. That has happened to more than one friend of mine as they lose weight. I may not look so young anymore, but I still look healthy, and that’s really what weight loss is all about. Want to see what Tera’s place is all about? She owns Absolute Salon and Day Spa and they’ve got a website!

What’s Your Number?

scale.toes.photo Holidays have always been tough for me, and I dreaded getting on the scale this morning. But I did it, because I am no longer in denial about this little problem I have with pounds. Just like most of America, I had more calories than usual over the weekend, as my FB posts clearly show. I did manage to stay away from all desserts except a chocolate vodka. But you know, it’s vodka. Does it really count?

I wasn’t sure.

Reason it was such a big deal to me is because I had not been going down number-wise for a few weeks and I was at one of those thresholds, you know, like you were in the 120s and now you’re in the 110s. Those are not my numbers and I’m not ever telling. I have not weighed 110 since I was twelve years old. But anyway, I made a couple of adjustments and finally lowered the middle number and just would have been so sad to go up again. But I didn’t! I stayed the same:)

As they say in WW, staying the same over any holiday weekend is something to celebrate.

How I did it:

First, I knew we were going out to dinner Saturday night and that we would likely being having fried fish. So for lunch I had a huge salad. And then after dinner, I danced. A lot. When I dance, I really move. Waist, hips, legs, hands, tush. All of it is in on the action. None of this foot shuffle, wave the arms once or twice stuff. The band was playing oldies and I knew all the dances, the twist (of course), the jerk, the swim, even did some mashed potatoes just to mix it up.

Also, I didn’t eat dessert at a friends’ house party on the 4th. Someone sweetly provided me with a bowl of berries, but I would not have had the cake anyway. Also, I brought a big green salad to the house party for my plate. Heaped it high. I eat a big salad with lots of greens every single day. So whenever the “bring a dish to pass” memo goes around, everyone knows Cindy’s bringing salad. So those were the things I did right. I won’t talk about what I did that might not have been perfect. Just two tiny changes.

The other change was something I don’t even think about anymore. Instead of the usual barbecue fare, I had a yummy vegetarian burger: Portobello and blue cheese. I’ve been vegetarian for a long time, and my friends are so kind, they always do something special for me. This helps at barbecues. They had thick burgers, used to be my favorite, and also Coney dogs! I would not have had any, but the fact that they took the time to grill me that great burger made me feel special instead of maybe just a tiny bit deprived.

Yesterday, I said no to alcohol and no to all the sweets in the house and no to any carb that wasn’t 100% whole wheat. I really had a lazy day but I just didn’t eat the way I used to. Because I had two bigger mini-meals earlier in the day, I had fruit (fresh cherries, yum!) and yogurt (plain Chobani) for dinner. It was plenty. My tummy gets a little messed up from too much party food and drink and the yogurt was soothing, the cherries sweet.

Maybe not quite as sweet as when I stepped on the scale this morning.

My usual day after two days of partying would include pasta, crackers, chips, (any crunchy snack food!) chocolate, ice cream, and most likely pizza for dinner. So I made a few small changes and like the results. I always used to believe that these changes were too difficult, but they aren’t. What’s different?

I am. I was ready to make the changes I needed to, and this weekend is proof. Usually I would have gained a couple of pounds from the extra wine and the nibble of this and bite of that. But, not today. Today I stayed the same sweet number.

When I used to gain during holidays, and complain to Lisa how hard it was to stick with a plan during festive occasions, she said “It is hard. It’s really hard. You’re right about that.” I think just having her acknowledge that this weight loss business can be a struggle helped. I keep saying it’s easy but it takes awhile to get to easy. I’ve been doing this for more than a year.

Knowing before you start that there will be times when it’s really really hard, but also knowing that you can just make minor adjustments and achieve great results over time, those things are what helped me keep with it. I knew Lisa’s struggles and I see how well she’s done after her weight loss. She inspires me every day. I hope she inspires you, too. Miss any of my Lisa posts? They’re all here.

New For You

sneakersToday I added a new item to the top menu. As the “Lisa Plan” entries add up, I got to thinking (very dangerous!) and ran an idea by her. We should have a spot on the blog for interested readers who happen upon an entry, like it, want more, and have no idea where to find the other entries. So now, you can catch up. Also, coming soon, a biography (with pics! and links!) of the wonderful and inspiring Lisa:)