Friday, February 23, 2018

258 - It's a Wonderful Life

257.8 lbs (116.9 kg)
If someone says "it bears repeating," that means it's worth saying again. "It's a Wonderful Life!"

The journey towards health and happiness continues, unceasingly. Yesterday was a special treat since today is my new roommate's birthday, so she and I went to Lost Creek State Park near Anaconda. It's officially closed until the beginning of May ( but you can park your car at the locked gate and hike or ski or snowshoe in the mile-and-a-half to where the waterfall is at. That's what we did.

At the frozen waterfall in Lost Creek State Park
near Anaconda, MT
It's a gradual incline most of the way on a pretty straight path. What surprised me a little bit was just how steep the slope was going in. I didn't really notice until we were leaving. That's why it took us 58 minutes to snowshoe the 1.4 miles in but only 46 minutes (it felt like longer!) to come back out. Apparently, there are 25 campsites in the park, including some that are very close to the waterfall, which was frozen yesterday (well, it was only 14 ℉, -10 ℃). Double layers of pants and gloves, and extra layers of shirts were called for.

It's a two-hour drive to here from Missoula but would certainly be worth it when the warmer weather gets here.

Next "weekend" (my current work schedule gives me two consecutive days off on Thursdays and Fridays) I'm going to stay in a cabin at the Garnet ghost town ( 20 miles northwest of Drummond, MT. In the winter it's another place that has to be reached by foot (skiing or snowshoeing) or by snowmobile. The road from Bearmouth is shorter (I think it's about 5 miles) but steeper and with spectacular views. The Garnet Range road from Greenough (on MT-200) involves a 10-mile hike, which seems a bit daunting now, given how sore my thigh muscles are after yesterday's comparatively short jaunt.

I'm so grateful to be in a place that feels like "home". I'm enjoying my job (although I could always use more pay). I'm enjoying the location of my new apartment (fairly central in Missoula and within easy walking distance of most things for me). I'm enjoying the setup of my new place, with its own washer and dryer, and small wooden deck that faces the westward setting sun in the evening. I'm enjoying the presence of my new roommate who shares many of my ideas on diet and enjoys cooking as much as I do. I love being among such a diverse group of people, and the fact that most people here in Missoula don't care too much how you dress or who you associate with. I love that there are so many cool things to do in town. I'm looking forward to fulfilling my ambitious plans for the next year or two. It really is a wonderful life!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

259 - Enjoying cooking again

258.6 lbs (117.3 kg)
My first two weeks of living in my own apartment in Missoula have been a joyous feast of healthy home cooking. I twice made some un-potato salad (with small pieces of steamed cauliflower instead of potatoes), chicken Waldorf salad (with apples, grapes, celery and walnuts), a root vegetable beef stew (with rutabaga, turnips and parsnips). Today's lunch was BLT (with bacon and tomato on a Romaine lettuce leaf spread with mashed avocado). A few days ago I made Philly cheesesteak sandwiches with a sweet potato skin (innards scraped out) replacing the hoagie roll. It has been fun thinking of creative and tasty ways to replace the added sugar and wheat products from traditional recipes.

When I stepped on the scales this morning I had lost another fifth of a pound.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

261 - Another fantastic week

260.6 lbs (118.2 kg) today
It's been another fantastic week for me. I completed my first full week at my new job, got myself moved into a new apartment, helped my new roommate move her stuff in. Our new place is beginning to look like "home" now, and will only improve with time.

With some careful eating and a little bit of intermittent fasting, I managed to get my weight down to 260.6 lb this morning, down three pounds in the past week. For the first time in six weeks, I've been able to cook for myself which has been great.

It feels like the second half of a long journey, which started in June 2015, is beginning now. Everything is in place for an assault on the summit of the mountain. The real mountain climb (to Mount Hood in Oregon) won't happen for another year or two, and there will be many smaller, less technical peaks to be bagged on the way there. I expect this present leg of the journey to reach its conclusion at the end of 2018.

Missoula winter market every
Saturday morning from 9 am to 1 pm
This morning I went to the Missoula Valley Winter Market at the Senior Center on S Higgins St. There were some really interesting vendors there selling fresh eggs (including some duck and turkey eggs!), potatoes, onions and garlic, baked goods and jams, and other fantastic goodies. We ended up with a few tasty morsels.

My lunch today was especially enjoyable. As I reflected with gratitude upon the events of the past few weeks, and upon the friendships that had been created and strengthened, I was enjoying a scrumptious plate of shrimp with a spinach salad that had some bell peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, nuts and seeds with Annie's Goddess dressing – a creamy tahini and lemon concoction with chives and parsley. The flavors were divine.

Friday, February 02, 2018

264 - The journey continues

Today was a great day. I finally got to move into my own apartment again.

After moving to Missoula at the end of January, and living in a friend's basement for a week (thanks, Julie!) while I started a new job (technically a transfer, really, to a different grocery store but still part of the same group) I moved most of my "stuff" out of the temporary storage location not far away and into my new place. I had to buy a whole new pantry full of food (new vegetables, new condiments, new salad dressings, new protein sources - eggs and oily fish).

The only substantial thing missing for me in my apartment was a bed since I gave away the last mattress that I owned when I left Helena about 16 months ago. I have a new mattress arriving on Thursday or Friday (i.e. in a week from now).

More than halfway towards
losing the gains of 2017
When I stepped on the scales this morning I weighed in at 263.8 lbs. Thankfully, I'm WAY down from my recent high (just before Christmas) of 288 lbs. With my new work schedule (4.00 pm to midnight, five consecutive evenings a week) I've found that I'm more easily able to do the intermittent fasting thing that I've been wanting to do. I can now happily skip breakfast altogether on some days and not eat my first meal until 1 o'clock or so. My regular dinner break is at 7.00 pm. I can usually manage without having another substantial meal before going to bed between 12.30 and 1.00 am. It's a LOT easier to resist the temptations of eating carbs when carbs barely enter the apartment. For the first time in five or six weeks, I have access to a full kitchen again with all my own pots and pans and knives and other tools. Tomorrow morning I'm going to see what fresh produce is available at the Missoula Valley Winter Market.

263.8 lbs
Even if I didn't have bathroom weighing scales, I'd be able to tell that I'm losing weight again because my new pants (the ones I had to buy because the other ones couldn't accommodate my growing girth) and my old jeans are both feeling really baggy now, and I'll soon have to tighten my belt to the third hole (currently comfortably using the second hole, and the holes appear to be about an inch apart). I'll soon have to go and get another new pair of pants. The next huge milestone for me, in terms of clothing, will be when I have to swap my 2XL work shirts for just an XL size.

As part of the process of moving house, and with it all of my worldly goods, I rediscovered some old coats that I had kept but not worn in a while. Some were comically too large. I shall be disposing of them soon. I still want to go out one day to a campground somewhere and record a video of the ceremonial burning of my old 5XL clown pants. I'm NEVER going back to that size again.