Less of an Older Me

Last Friday was my birthday.

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Me, having a birthday.

I actually spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about whether to say how old I am on this birthday. The thought of this birthday came up for me when I started this blog. Well, to be honest, before I started it. Should I put my age in my About Me? Should I include pictures in my weight loss history where it would be apparent I was a child, well, a long time ago.

“You don’t look close to 60,” said the sonographer who was doing the Doppler ultrasound to determine if I had a blood clot in my leg.

This was a few weeks ago, so I responded, “I’m not 60, not for a few more weeks anyway.”

She answered back, “I said you don’t look close to 60. You don’t look close to 59 either.”

It was the first time that someone not in my family had referred to my approaching birthday. There are some birthdays that are more momentous than others. I remember turning 18 which was surely important. I never had that birthday where you suddenly can legally drink. The law changed from 21 to 18 while I was being 19 one summer. 30 was a good birthday. 30 seemed to mark that line into real adulthood.

40 was interesting. Some see 40 as the beginning of being an older woman. 40 is certainly not old for a man, but society is a bit more cruel to women. In my case, though, 40 didn’t feel old at all. That was because I was pregnant with my first child who was due the day after my 40th birthday. I couldn’t possibly be old if I was about to give birth!

By the time I was 50, I had 3 children. That baby that had finally shown up 8 days after my 40th birthday was about to turn 10. We had adopted two more children who were soon to turn 8 and 13. So, 50 was certainly middle aged, but I didn’t really feel old either, not with kids that age. Life was busy and good. (Weight loss was, alas, not happening. I was somewhere in the 180s then). And, regardless, I still saw life as full of possibilities.

But, 60. Well, 60 is different. I don’t really feel older than I was many years ago. Yet, at 60, you realize that there are certain things you won’t ever do. There are paths that weren’t taken and never will be. While there are still many choices left in life, you become more aware that you have to make those choices carefully as you don’t have unlimited choices. Time is marching on. It isn’t that you can’t do new things. I most certainly can. It is that you feel a need to make those new things count. To make sure the choices are the right ones to make. And, to realize, that some things are just never going to happen. In general, those aren’t things I really want to happen. I’m not going to climb a mountain or sail around the world and I really don’t want to. Still.

I have this semi-joking, semi-serious debate with my son about whether I am now “old” given this most recent birthday. I see my mother who is 90 and, well, compared to her I’m not old. Not close. But compared to, say, my children…I can see the argument.

Talking about this particular birthday is really not off topic for this blog. This blog is not just about the less of me part. It is also about the part of me becoming a better me. And, part of that is realizing that this “better me” is now 60 years old.

I have one picture of me thin, when I weighed probably in the low 130s. I eventually lost down to about 117 pounds so this was not even my low weight. But, I look at this picture and like how I looked.

At about 130-135 pounds shortly before I got to my goal weight of 125 pounds.

At about 130-135 pounds shortly before I got to my goal weight of 125 pounds.

The thing is that even if I magically got to that weight tomorrow, I wouldn’t look like that picture. In that picture I was 35 years old. After I started regaining weight, I kept the thin clothes that I was wearing in that picture for years. I finally got rid of them several years later, when some part of me dimly realized that you can’t get back there again. Oh, I could lose all the weight again (I haven’t, but I know it is possible). But, I would never be that 35 year old person again.

When I hit my goal weight, or get below it, I will surely be a better me, but I won’t ever be that 35 year old me because that time is gone. And, that is really more than OK. That 35 year old was single and didn’t have children. I wasn’t even dating and had bought a book about having a baby without a man (all about single women having artificial insemination). I had basically decided that I was unlikely to ever find someone I wanted to marry, but I was well aware of that biological clock ticking away. At 35, I was an adoptee who had never laid eyes on anyone biologically related to me and I had spent years fruitlessly searching off and on for my first mother who gave birth to me.

My life is so much better and happier 25 years later. I am so glad to be the 60 year old with my husband and children. I am glad that, eventually, my search for my first mother was rewarded and I found her and my half-siblings. I wouldn’t go back to being that 35 year old even if I could. I want the me that I have now, even with another 27 pounds or so to lose. The better me really is the me that I am now and that I am becoming at every moment.

Me, on my birthday, 34 pounds thinner than my high weight.

Me, on my birthday, 34 pounds thinner than my high weight.

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Life Skills

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at this site so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Life Skills

1. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?

I do not.

2. Do you know how to jump start a car?

I used to know, but I would want to look it up before I did it.

3. Do you know how to perform CPR?

Not really.  I’ve read articles about it, but have never taken a course.

4. Do you know how to hang a picture?

Yes, as long as it isn’t one that is really heavy.

5. Do you know how to ski?

No.  I went with friends once to Colorado and spent the week taking lessons and learning.  I did not enjoy it.  I am very risk averse and that was just too risky for me.

6. Can you draw a basic map of the world?

Yes, although it wouldn’t be very artistic I would get most of it reasonably OK.

7. Can you do a decent dive into a swimming pool?

I probably could if I had to.  I really have always been afraid of diving and don’t like doing it.  But, when I took lifesaving in college I was required to learn how to dive in to try to rescue someone.  I haven’t dived into a pool in quite a while (even when we owned a pool I never did) but I think I could still do it.

8. Can you open a champagne bottle?

I don’t really drink so I don’t get called upon to do this.  But, I have done it many years ago.

9. Do you know what to do if you spill red wine on the carpet?

No clue.  Google is my friend though.

10. Do you know the proper way to fold a fitted sheet?

Hmm….I just watched a video on this.  I sort of had the idea, but mine wouldn’t have looked like the one in the video.  Doesn’t matter though since I usually wouldn’t bother to do it the proper way.

My Husband Gets to Goal!

Yesterday, my husband Charles got to goal at Weight Watchers. He lost 73.2 pounds after joining Weight Watchers. Here are before and after pictures:

Charles High Weight

Charles close to his high weight, probably 10 pounds heavier than when he joined Weight Watchers 5 years later.

Charles 4-25-2014 the day he got to goal

Charles 4-25-2014 the day he got to goal

 

When we got married Charles was just a little bit over his normal weight range:

Weighing about 148, I could barely squeeze into this dress.

After we got married he started eating the kinds of foods I was eating and he quickly lost weight. He says he got down to 182 pounds then (his current goal weight is 182.8 pounds, with a goal weight of 184 pounds):

Charles 1992

But, as time went on and we had kids and a busy life, he slowly added pounds. The before picture above was probably close to his high weight, which is probably about 10 pounds higher than he weighed when he joined Weight Watchers. There were a few things that caused him to decide to lose weight. First, he says he wanted to make sure he was around for me and he was concerned that his blood pressure was rising and medication didn’t seem to be controlling it well. At his worst he says his blood pressure was around 190/100. Then, a co-worker had a heart problem at work which shook him up and caused him to think more about health and losing weight.

Over the years, he saw me go back to Weight Watchers from time to time. I noticed that when I was losing weight, we would usually eat healthier and would go out less. As a result, he would lose some weight. And, when I would backslide, he would backslide as well.

Then, in December of 2007, because of the health concerns he had, he decided to join Weight Watchers with me when I returned to it once again. We attended for several months and he lost 24 pounds. But, then for reasons I don’t remember, we quit going. In 2009, he went back. When I quit going to meetings, I usually gain. But, in his case he had maintained a lot of his loss during that period. We went to a few meetings, but quit again due to scheduling problems. Finally, we went back again in August 2010. Again, he had maintained some of his loss but had regained about 10 pounds from his lowest weight.

By this time, he had retired and had time to spend on weight loss efforts. He did great and started losing. He got down to 194 pounds at his lowest. But, around that time, we started looking at houses and then were involved in moving. We quit going to meetings regularly and he regained some weight and got up to 201 pounds. Then we sporadically attended meetings, and by October, 2012 he got down to 188.8 pounds within 5 pounds of his goal weight of 184 pounds. But, then we quit going to Weight Watchers for a few months. When he went back in early 2013, he had gained almost 10 pounds. He bounced around for a few months as we again sporadically went to meetings. Finally, in October 2013, we went back and resolved to attend meetings regularly.

He did well. He improved the overall quality of what he was eating even at times when he was on a plateau. One thing he was really happy about was that as he lost weight his blood pressure dropped dramatically. He went from needing to be on medication to now needing no blood pressure medication. He says that at a doctor’s visit a few days ago week his blood pressure was 110/72. While I know he is glad to weigh less and look better, I think that was probably the best thing for him about losing weight.

By the end of February, he was 4.4 pounds away from his goal. But, then things seemed to stall. Over a 5 week period, he lost 1 pound. During all the time had been on Weight Watchers, he didn’t really track his points on the Weight Watchers site. He did get a Fitbit Flex and so tracked his activity, but he didn’t count calories. He did count Weight Watchers points in his head, but I don’t think he was all that precise about it. I suggested a few times that he might want to start formally tracking, but he wasn’t that interested.

He told me, though, that he really wanted to get to goal by my birthday. So, about three weeks ago, he came and asked me how to go about recording what he ate on My Fitness Pal. I told him and he started carefully tracking everything he ate. Three weigh ins later, he had lost 4.6 pounds and weighed in Friday at 1.2 pounds below his goal! His reaching goal on my birthday was really the best birthday present I could ever get.

Me and Charles Birthday

4-25-2014 – My birthday and Charles gets to goal!

Friday Birthday Weigh In

Today was my birthday, but I attended my Weight Watchers meeting in the morning. It was actually a great day. First, I weighed in at 173.4 pounds, down 1 pound since last week. This was also momentous for me because on April 27, 2012 I was at 173.2 pounds so I’ve lost back to that point. I had been at 162 pounds before we bought our current house. While we were house hunting and then moving I gained 11 pounds in 7 weeks! Sigh. I don’t think I’ll be back to 162 pounds in 7 weeks, alas. But, it is good to be getting back to where I was then.

On another note, my husband reached goal at Weight Watchers today, having lost 73.2 pounds. I’ll be doing a post tomorrow about his accomplishment.

I wanted to have a great day and eat whatever I wanted but I didn’t want to just go totally overboard either. I decided to eat what I truly wanted and not to eat anything I didn’t really want. This is the first day of my week so I have all my weekly points available.

I ate breakfast (a Kind bar) while I was at my Weight Watchers meeting. I wasn’t really hungry after that until we went for mid-afternoon lunch at Carrabba’s. We had a great meal, finishing with:

Birthday dessert

I hasten to add that the above (1185 calories!) was shared among 4 people. I had the Chicken Bryan which is one of the lower calories selections and is a favorite of mine. We shared a Roasted Tomato Bruschette and I had a cup of the Sicilian Chicken soup. I also had some of the bread and oil. I ordered the Cavatappi Amatriciana as a side. It was fine, but I didn’t totally love it so I only ate part of it. Next time I’ll probably get my usual side of grilled vegetables.

Later, after I got home I had a chocolate covered strawberry that my daughter had made for me. As I write this, it is almost 7:00 P.M. and I’m still not hungry. I’ve had 42 points plus for today (about 1550 calories). I’ll probably eat something light later on if I get hungry. I’m happy with the day’s calories though and thoroughly enjoyed it all. I didn’t have a cake because I didn’t want something I would be eating on for days. The dessert at Carrabba’s shared among 4 was perfect.

Here are a couple of pics today with two of my children (my older son had to work so he couldn’t be there) and one with my husband:

Birthday Me and Kids

Charles and Me on Birthday

Rolling with the Cat Fight at the OK Corral

Some days things just don’t go as planned and you just have to roll with it. For example, I didn’t really plan on having the Cat Fight at the OK Corral in my bed while I was reading today:

Catsa.

Yesterday, I thought I had the rest of this week planned out.  I would be at home Wednesday and would eat carefully since Friday is both my weigh in day and my birthday.  Thursday I would get hair done, but wouldn’t eat out that day either.  So, those two days would be relatively light eating days and I could walk on both days.  Well, sometimes things changed.  I found out Tuesday evening that I was going to away from home from 8:00 in the morning (I am not a morning person) to late afternoon.  Obviously, I would have to eat out on a day close to weigh in when I didn’t really plan to eat out.

Not being a morning person, I wasn’t going to get up early to eat breakfast.  I got up, filled up a water bottle with iced green tea and took a Kind Dark Chocolate Chili Almond bar with me.  My husband was driving so I tried to wake up (I went to bed around 3:00), while eating my Kind bar (200 calories, 6 Points Plus).  I had some choices of where to go for lunch.  My husband likes the Starbucks that is close to where we were going, but I don’t really love Starbucks for lunch and the choices there tend to be more difficult.  We drove over to where there were several restaurants.  We considered Red Lobster since I know I can eat there for relatively low calories, but we had eaten there last week.  I immediately rejected IHOP.  I like IHOP, but I mostly like foods that I don’t want to eat two days before weigh in.  We saw a Chili’s and immediately selected it.  I wasn’t really all that happy about needing to eat out but I wasn’t going to be out almost the entire day without eating.

I was tempted to order a combo of chicken and shrimp fajitas, but that was more points than I wanted to eat.  I finally settled on the Grilled Chicken Salad, which is 430 calories (11 Points Plus).  My husband ordered the same thing, but he ordered a bowl of the Chicken Enchilada Soup.  I like that soup but a bowl is another 11 points and since I don’t get the 32 points plus a day that he gets (men!), I elected not to get the salad.  The salad was very good and satisfying.  Best of all, when we got home in the late afternoon I had eaten only 17 points so far today.  I was aiming to eat about 30 points today so that left me 13 points for dinner and snacks, which is very doable.

In fact, later while I was reading on the bed (eating my snack of Antep pistachios), I had to also roll with the nearby cat fight. (No cats were harmed in this epic battle).

In the corner on the left, we have my husband’s 7 month old blue tortie kitten, Kat (short for Katerina). In the corner on the right, we have my 2 year old chocolate point Ragdoll, Fluffy (aka Sasha).  Despite the fierce battle to be seen, Kat and Fluffy adore one another.

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Fluffy prepared to make the first move, but Kat put up her front paws to defend herself:

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In a flash, Fluffy took action, with Kat swiftly moving to defend:

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Fluffy easily got the early upper hand, having a significant weight advantage on Kat:

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Fluffy continued to press the advantage, not giving Kat much room to maneuver:

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Finally, Fluffy backed off and seemed to be readying himself for the final blow:

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But, in a shocking reversal, Kat came through with a headlock on Fluffy!

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However, Fluffy did not let this go unanswered and soon used his greater experience to get the better of Kat:

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Kat, knowing that discretion is the better part of valor, took off from the bed.  Fluffy followed.

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The two, despite the apparent fierceness of this battle, later happily groomed each other.