Hoping 2021 is Worth the Weight

Happy New Year to you all as I wrap up my Twelve Days of Blogging. When last I checked my weight in an act of public self-shaming, I had gained 2 pounds back from my summer & fall 17 pound weight loss. I hatched a crazy plan to gain less than 5 pounds per month during the 3 winter months, and I would then start Spring 2021 weighing less than last year. Even nuttier is that’s the plan I’ve decided to follow – weight gain. It’s the only plan I have. Winter weight gain is inevitable for me. The best I can do is minimize it.

I knew December would be hard. By the end of the month, my diet had turned almost exclusively to a focus on the 4 holiday food groups of cookies, chocolate, caramel, and eggnog. My workouts had faded as Christmas activities and a bathroom renovation took precedence over self-care. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie …

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Weighting Out Winter

The last time I updated you on my efforts to reach my weight loss goal of 20 pounds (for those of you still living in medieval times, that comes out to 1.43 stones), I had fallen short in September. I was stuck at 17 pounds at the end of September after really working out hard that month. With cooler weather coming, I faced the prospect of no more swimming workouts in the convenience of our backyard pool. I am simply not up for a nice winter swim as some are.

Canadians, eh? And I cannot handle this exercise below freezing …

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Take a Walk

It was an odd Thanksgiving Day yesterday with 3 of our 5 kids staying remote due to COVID concerns. We did a Zoom meeting with the remote kids, which seemed more normal than I expected. But before that, I took a walk with Lola the dog to the neighborhood creek.

She loved it. I liked it. I would have loved it had she not pooped 3 times on the walk. How is that even possible? It’s not like she was eating along the way. Well, we had a mostly enjoyable walk, minus the ubiquitous pooping, and I was bemused seeing these trees along the way to the creek …

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Cancer 1 – Jim 1

Well, it turns out I do have skin cancer … again. But it’s the least dangerous type, and my dermatologist thinks she scooped most of it out when she took the biopsies. So I get to use this nasty cream for 6 weeks to kill any remaining cancer.

Yes, yes, we all see the reference to genital warts. I can hear your tittering, which has grown louder since I used the word “tittering.” Hey, genital warts are serious or so I’ve heard from “a friend.” If you’ve never seen one, here’s an example of a very dangerous combination cancerous genital wart …
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Help Yourself

In the days leading up to the election, I didn’t do much self-care. Throw Halloween in the mix, and I was subsisting on chocolate and anxiety for over a week. I was just a bit on edge. When I lost a 7 team college football parlay because the overwhelmingly prohibitive favorite Penn State that I knew would win actually lost badly, this was the result …

I loved that hot tub, but the heater was shot and we can’t sell our house with a 20 year old hot or cold tub sitting out back. I can’t stay mad too much longer at Penn State, because Pennsylvania actually delivered the election victory to Joe Biden. Anyway, that demolition was a good way to help myself alleviate stress, which I needed since there was even more stress to come.

As the cherry on top, my dear friend and brother from another mother was diagnosed with colon cancer which he WILL easily beat if he knows what’s good for him. Okay, that didn’t make sense, but he’ll know what I mean.

With the election over and democracy having won, a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I can’t make my friend’s cancer disappear, but I can get checked myself. You see, I have also been lax about a colonoscopy. I am way overdue. Fortunately, our healthcare provider just coincidentally emailed me about getting a colon cancer check by mail for FREE. I immediately signed up, and received the stool sample kit this past weekend. However, there was a problem with the collection vial they sent me …

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In Through the Out Door

I have a dear friend getting a colonoscopy and endoscopy this week on the same day. I’m concerned that they may do both scopes from opposite ends at the same time. What if the two scopes meet in the middle? What if the scopes meet and get tangled? What if my friend then has to have surgery to get the scopes untangled? What if the scopes meet, fall in love, and elope together to the gall bladder? I need answers to these questions, please. I am literally asking for a friend.

Trump COVID Plan

Finally, after all these months of anxiously waiting, we get Trump’s COVID plan. Honestly, I never thought we would get a comprehensive plan from the Trump administration to battle this deadly virus. Sometimes it seemed like they didn’t even take it seriously, like when Trump and his surrogates called it a hoax. Or when they hold super-spreader campaign rallies across the county. But it’s all good because … there’s finally a plan!

Go to https://trumpcovidplan.com/ Make sure to click on the Learn More link on the page to, well, learn more, duh!

Motivation Recalibration

I had slipped into a summer exercise routine that felt as comfortable as my fat pants with the stretch waistband after about 20 wearings without a washing. I would get up early and take a long solo walk or bike ride. Most days I would stop at one of the many wild berry patches I had scouted and pick fresh mulberries, raspberries, or blackberries for my consumption that day. After work, I would walk the dog and swim some laps in our little pool. Then the weather started to change. We had a stretch of rain and cold. No cycling for a week. I took down the pool before it turned into an above ground ice skating rink. So much for my swimming workouts. I immediately started to gain back the weight I had lost. My quest for a 20 lb. weight loss seemed unattainable.

But then, one man inspired and motivated me to try and make that weight loss happen. Who, you ask? I’m pretty sure I heard someone ask. Come on, raise your hand if it was you asking. Nobody, huh? Regardless, that man is …

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My Winter Weather Weight War

One week ago, I was on the brink of having lost 19 pounds toward my goal of 20. And then, the weather turned ugly along with my disposition. Unseasonably cooler temperatures moved in along with rain every single day of the week. Literally overnight, I gained 2 pounds. My body reacts to the cold by packing on winter weight, possibly so I can live off my blubber in case I am ever lost in the Arctic or Chicago in January. I’m not sure which is colder. I fought back by getting depressed and eating everything in sight. Turns out, that didn’t help. I gained another pound.

I could no longer get in a daily swim since the pool was overflowing with cold water. I could no longer get in a daily bike ride due to all the rain. I changed my tack and established an indoor routine of daily walking on the treadmill, elliptical work, and some interval training including crunches (not Nestle’s, although that would be my preference), push-ups, and light weight work.

Success! I’ve banished 1 of the 3 pounds I added. I was even able to get back in the pool yesterday as warmer temps have returned for a few days. We’ll see how sunny and warm these next couple days get as we are now experiencing a smoky haze from the west coast of the USA that is burning out of control. I always thought California would fall into the Pacific due to an earthquake. I never expected it would burn into oblivion.

The bottom line for me is that we are halfway through the month, and I still have 3 pounds to lose to reach 20. I am not confident, but I will try like hell to get there by the end of September. I know October will bring colder weather and that means a fatter, but not jollier, Jim.

Go For 20!

Back when I started my career, I worked for a company that ran a “Go For 10!” promotion. They were a smaller company in their industry, and they wanted to push sales to get into the top 10. So, Go For 10! They failed. In fact, they may have fallen further down the ranks, and I was a part of it. Great story, right?

I’m running my own personal “Go For 20” promotion, but not to get into the top 20 of human beings. I don’t have a chance of getting there, especially when I publish a series of blog posts titled “Am I a Bad Guy?”

But I do have a chance to lose 20 pounds! I’m going for 20 pounds lost! By the end of August, I had officially lost 17 pounds of winter tubbiness and am currently trending toward 18 lost pounds of lard. How? COVID lead to underemployment which lead to less money which lead to me to walking and biking while contemplating my dilemma which lead me to notice things growing which lead me to eating those growing things. Here’s my harvest of European plums today …

They kind of look like sweet, juicy red seedless grapes. They’re not. NOT AT ALL. They taste nothing like grapes. They are edible but tart. I will eat them, but it’s not like there’s a chance I’m going to overeat. The real key to the weight loss has been in taking steps to better health, literally. Take a look at this pic.

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Free Food Top 10 List

Being underemployed this COVID season caused me to look more to the Earth for food.

No, I didn’t eat actual earth, but ate from the Earth. I foraged a lot this summer. I’m not sure why. Sure, we saved a few bucks on food, but I think I enjoyed most the discovery of new foods to forage from the land.

As I made my Top 10 list of foraged foods, I realized just how many foods I have picked, eaten, and hated this year. I’ve left those off the list like dandelions. Did you know that you could eat the dandelion flower? Did you know that you may want to spit it right out?

Along with my failed foraging attempts, I also didn’t include apples. I did forage some, but I went too late. The one apple tree in the woods was already spent except for a few small, mealy, gross ones. I used the non-gross parts of the few apples I foraged in some smoothies. My fault, so I don’t want to disparage the apple for my tardiness.

Let’s get started on the list with #10 …

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Slow Down

I needed a break this morning. I have been cycling hard every morning to get in shape so I can deliver to my precinct via bike the Democratic voting guides once they get printed. Democratic leadership wanted to wait to print the guides until after Biden picked a VP. They really could have printed them months earlier. The ticket could have been Biden & ‘A Bit of Moss on the Side of a Tree in the Depths of a Forest’ and Democrats would still have voted for him. I do like the addition of Senator Kamala Harris as VP. Speaking of addition, I think Biden + Harris = 93. See what I did there?

Back to cycling, I felt I needed a day off. I decided to take a shorter, slower cycle to check on a blackberry patch that should have been just about spent. It was, although by slowing down I was able to spot a few stragglers that I picked for the freezer. It’s been a good berry-picking season.

I cycled a bit further and came upon a field of these beauties …

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The Big Chill

I was happy to return home last night after a quick business trip involving driving 600+ miles and staying overnight in a place where someone hung themselves. More on that tomorrow. I was eager to jump into our little pool and cool off a bit. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. Instead, I jumped onto our couch for some TV watching.

But this morning, oh, that was going to be a different story. I was up early and ready to swim. I love those cool late summer mornings when steam rises from warmer lakes, ponds, and pools.

pool steam

The air was a crisp 62F (16.7C) this morning, so I found it odd that I didn’t see that steam rising from our little pool. I wasn’t sure why … until I got in.

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My Pool, Me, & OCD

I am of the belief that we all have some mental illness of some sort. Think about it. What mental illness affects you? Depression? Mood swings? An unhealthy obsession with the lady next door that looks like a young Audrey Hepburn?

For me, it’s OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’ve never blogged about it. I am only starting to discuss it with family and friends, because it turns out they find it charming, quirky, and fascinating. Okay, so they also find it somewhat disturbing. But I can live with that as long as it makes me appear more interesting. Hmm, I may need to add narcissism to my list.

My OCD really came into focus when I messed up my pool liner order, and had to reduce my pool from 16 feet across to 15.

Pool 15 foot

I guess the picture doesn’t really help you understand my OCD. I’ll try to explain.

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Slowing My Roll to a Stroll

Shortly after I was crowing in a post about losing weight through diet & exercise (who knew that would work?), I encountered a setback this weekend. While taking a stupid walk, my stupid dog lunged at at a stupid chunk of asphalt in the stupid road that she mistook for a stupid animal, unexpectedly jerking the stupid leash that I stupidly held, and my stupid knee was reinjured. Back to the knee brace for me …

Knee brace on

I’m not happy about it, and my knee brace also looked displeased …

Knee brace frown

I haven’t stopped exercising, but my walks have become strolls, and my bike rides have become leisurely sightseeing excursions. That does have some advantages. Just this morning, I encountered this photogenic family while biking …

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My COVID Diet

I’ve delayed writing this post for a month now. I know what you’re thinking … I should have made it 2 months. But I finally feel comfortable writing it now for reasons I will soon disclose.

But first, even though most of my blog posts are considered uproariously hilarious by the general public, and members of General Public, I want to make it perfectly clear that I take the COVID-19 coronavirus seriously. I got tested after participating in BLM marches. I social distance. I WEAR A FREAKIN’ MASK. You should, too. COVID-19 goes hand-in-hand with Donald Trump as the scourge of my lifetime.

But thanks to COVID-19, I have lost weight. I’ll explain …

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Ranking the Friendliness of My Fellow Exercisers

Ever since I hung up my running shoes earlier this year and settled on walking and biking (once I fixed my bike) as my exercises for the future, I have noticed my fellow exercisers more. I no longer have to try and avoid people as I run so they don’t see my jiggling fat. I walk. I wave. I engage them in conversation … well, some of them. Here’s how I rank them from unfriendly to the friendliest.

#10 – Serious Cyclists

They are the absolute worst, wearing their fancy cycling clothes and teardrop-shaped aerodynamic bike helmets. There’s me with my teardrop-shaped body trying to give them a wave or nod, but they are always too busy going 100 miles per hour to acknowledge me back. Oh, was that a tree branch I accidentally left on the path?

Bike Flip

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Blood is Thicker Than Smoothies

I’m not sure my morning smoothie should look like this …

Blood smoothie

… unless I’m a vampire. It does seem sort of bright outside this morning. I’m feeling like I should close the blinds and go back to bed.

Anyway, the ingredients follow:

  • Raspberry yogurt
  • Black raspberries (foraged)
  • Mock strawberries (foraged)
  • Red Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • 2 ounces of Type O+

Enjoy the smoothie … mere mortal.

Well, Mock My Berries

Doesn’t that title sound like a catchphrase from a bad TV show? It’s not, but we do have these mock berries growing all over our property. I have eaten them regularly for years without knowing for sure exactly what they are.

Mock Strawberry

I’ve always called them wild strawberries. But it turns out, they are not strawberries. They are called a mock strawberry and are the fruit of an invasive weed. As soon as my wife heard they were a weed, she threatened to remove them from the yard. But not so fast! They are healthy.

They are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytosterols. Is that last one good? I looked it up, did some research, and still don’t know. What if I suffer from lack of phytosterols in my diet and my wife gets rid of the mock strawberries? I guess I could get regular strawberries and mock them myself.

The bottom line for a fruit is taste. Sweet, juicy watermelon. Crisp, tart apples. Mmmm. One website accurately, in my opinion, describes the mock strawberry’s taste as “dry and insipid and are tasteless.” I find it interesting that both the mock strawberry and this blog can be described in exactly the same way.