Saturday, February 20, 2016

My life - in text messages (PCT d - 88)

It occurred to me recently that if I ever fell over and banged my head, losing all of my recent memories, one would easily be able to recreate my life by looking at the text messages from my phone. Unfortunately, the messages are all to different people, so no one individual gets the whole story, but between them all, they all get pieces of it. So, when I say to you, dear reader, "I can't remember if I've told you this before or not", it's true. I probably can't.

Saturday was a great day. Apart from not having to go to work (always a bonus), my English football team - Reading FC - won their FA Cup 5th Round match, which means they get to play in the next round in the second week of March. I shouldn't entrust my happiness to the fortunes of a soccer team, I know, especially a team with such crappy league form (16th out of 24 teams, having won only 9 of 31 league matches this season). But, today they beat a Premier League club by 3-1, finally reaching their full potential and playing together really well.

I had recently had success, too, with a little computing hobby thing that I was working on. At you can see the results. I bought a new Raspberry Pi recently. It's a low-powered, single-board computer for $35 that can be used for learning programming, or for cool home automation projects (which is what my first Pi is doing), or this new one is taking the transponder signals from airplanes that are flying above Helena and feeding them into a huge database (ADS-B flight tracking), so that I and others can see the call sign, origin, destination, height speed and direction of planes in our area.

Yesterday (Friday evening) I went to a Helena Bighorns ice hockey game, which was exciting (even though the team from Helena lost 2-3 in the LAST SECOND of the game). Beforehand, I had dinner at a local 24-hour restaurant (Shellie's Country Cafe) without realizing that Friday and Saturday evenings are their Prime Rib evenings. I hadn't had prime rib in ages, so I treated myself. The plate was as large as a car tire, and the steak was massive. Having, therefore, pushed the boat out so far, I figured I would treat myself and have some lemon meringue pie too. I haven't had anything like lemon meringue pie in eight months now, and it tasted pretty good, but I was WAY TOO FULL afterwards, and it was reflected on the weighing scales this morning 😢 .

Nearly 13,000 steps walked,
or 7 miles
After last Friday's successful 10 mile walk, I know I have to keep up the momentum before I go hiking 100 miles in seven days in May, so I arranged to go on a long walk with my friend Traci. I walked to her house (3 miles) then walked 3 miles more in her neighborhood. It was good, but my legs were tired after I sat down at the end of it. Also, she's a bundle of energy who is capable of walking at a much faster pace than my dawdling 2.6 miles per hour. Still, I did it. Now I just need to keep challenging myself to do more of these 5 and 6 mile walks, and eventually some more 8 and 10 mile walks, until they become almost second nature. There are 88 days until we leave for Oregon, so there's time to build up my strength and endurance.

If I walk to work and back on any given day (0.75 miles each way) and do an hour on the treadmill at the gym (2.5 miles, let's say), that's about 4 miles or so. After throwing in a mile more for other incidentals, I can sometimes manage 10,000 steps per day, but only on a couple of days per week. My objective now is to regularly exceed 12,000 steps in a day, like I did today.

It's all A LOT better than a year ago, when I was such a slug that I could barely reach the end of the driveway without being out of breath. Walking just one city block was a major ordeal at the time. I remember not wanting to go to Helena's fantastic annual Symphony Under The Stars because it involved walking a few blocks. Now, I have so much more energy.

I keep saying to myself, now that I'm getting fitter, "I wish I'd started doing something about my health sooner than I did". More than that, too, I wish I had never allowed myself to get into the shape I was in the first place. But, it is what it is. I'm doing it now - one small step at a time. I have the support and encouragement of a great team of friends who all help and support me in different ways. If you are reading this blog, there's a good chance you are one of those, and I sincerely Thank You for all that you have done.

Some of you who are reading this blog are on your own journey to better health. I salute you for grasping the nettle and doing it, even when you're tired or hungry and simply don't want to. Don't give up! It's worth it! You're worth it! It's worth the fantastic feeling that you get when you can wearing clothing that's "normal"-sized. It's worth it when you can bend over to tie your shoelaces. It's worth it when you can walk or swim or do other exercises that you haven't been able to do for years before.It's worth it when you catch yourself checking yourself out in the mirror.
Self checkout
I know that I personally still have a long journey ahead of me. I've been living this new lifestyle for eight months now, and it'll be another 16 months before the transformation is complete. I'm still morbidly obese at 324 lbs (well, 329 pounds after that pie yesterday!), but I'm definitely headed in the right direction.

Meal Measure portion control tool
My sister, living in Singapore at the moment, recently pointed out this product to me: a Meal Measure portion control tool (

Within each of the three smaller holes are graduation marks to indicate a half cup measure of food. Filling the hole up to the top is a full cup. One is designated for fruit, vegetables and starch, and the bottom, open hole is for protein, all according the USDA My Pyramid suggestions. I'm going to give it a go and see how useful it is. 

I was reminded of a blog post I'd made a few weeks ago in which I was talking about the need for cosmetic surgery after losing substantial amounts of weight, when a friend pointed out that the TLC network has a TV show called Skin Tight, that deals with exactly that (  OMG! That's some scary sh*t right there! I knew it was a real problem, and it may be one that I'll be facing, myself, in a year or two's time. Before I contemplate any kind of surgery though, I would want to prove to myself, and a potential surgeon, that I can keep the weight off for a year or more (although I'm sure some cosmetic surgeons [not all] are probably more interested in the income than in a patient's welfare). 

I had spoken in this blog before about having a couple of opportunities in April to test my hiking gear in real-world situations. One of those will be here in Montana, but our state doesn't lend itself too well to outdoor sleeping above 38 °F in April. Few other nearby states do (not Washington or Oregon or Idaho, nor Wyoming or Colorado or the Dakotas). Really, the best bet is going to be in Utah. I was e-mailing another friend recently who has been to some of the national parks in Utah, and it sounds like that might work - except for the obvious logistical problem of getting there! That might be solved now too. Since I deliberately took time off work during National Park Week ( when the usual entrance fees ($30-40) are waived, it's a great opportunity to see some spectacular countryside (iconic stone arches, for example) as well as stress test my backpack, hammock and down quilt, cooking equipment, shoes (and feet) and other clothing, and everything else that I'll be using four weeks later near Crater Lake. I haven't really looked at Arches or Canyonland National Parks fully yet, or any of the other state and national parks in southern Utah, but it'll be a great experience, I'm sure. I just hope there are places to hang a hammock! 

I'm sure there was more to tell, but that'll do for now. 

1 comment:

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