Total Pageviews

Monday, July 27, 2015

Long Walks

Yesterday a friend of mine and myself headed of to the Salamonie State Park to walk the 13 mile Bloodroot Trail. The park is about an hours drive south of Fort Wayne and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. As we headed off towards the interstate exit my gas light came on, no biggie, there will surely be a gas station on the exit. We headed onto the exit ramp and I looked at my phone to see  which way to go, turn right, so off we went, in doing this I failed to notice the gas station across the road on the left. We drove a few miles, then turned left, my phone told us to go 9 miles, a sign said Mt. Etna was in 8 miles, good surely there will be a gas station there.  No gas station. We drove another mile, then left for 2 miles, then left for half a mile and turning into a small parking lot to find we had arrived at our destination, it simply provided access to the trail. Yikes, we were now really low on gas and other than trees, a red tailed hawk and a wild turkey we seemed to be on our own. We decided to find a gas station so that we would not be worried about the situation during the hike. So out of the parking and back to the main road, across the main road to the park office, it was closed, then we saw the main park entrance so pulled up the entrance booth. A nice young man told us that a lot of the park was still flooded from the excessive rain that fell throughout June and early July, he said he would not charge us to enter the park, we asked him where the closest gas was located, he told us 9 miles away in Andrews and gave us directions. On gas fumes and prayer we headed off to Andrews, and I am pleased to report that we made it, filled up the van and headed back to the park.

It became apparent on our search for a bathroom that the park was badly flooded. We headed towards the Salamonie Reservoir, signs in the road warned that the road ended in the water, picnic tables were stacked up everywhere, the campground was closed, the beach was closed. Under part of Salamonie Reservoir there are the remains of a small town, a few years ago there was a drought and the water receded to the point that people could walk around the remains, it was a first since the reservoir was built in 1966. This year there is no chance of seeing the remains as the Reservoir is so full and flooded onto surrounding land.

After a little drive around the park we found the Interpretive Center building, it was closed, and just across from it we found the trail head for the Bloodroot Trail. Yea, we were finally starting our hike. Back packs on, hats on, a spray down with insect repellant, (the mosquitos are intense this year after all of the rain), and we were off. The trail was wet with dew and grass long, very quickly our feet were soaked, oh well, this is part of hiking. We came across wild blackberries and enjoyed several of the lovely ripe berries and on we went for about half a mile and that was it, the trail was flooded, and I don't mean just a bit flooded, there was simply a vast expanse of water and it was deep and seemed to be everywhere, so we turned around and headed back to the van. We removed our shoes and socks and place our socks on the dash board in the hopes they would dry out a bit in the sunshine on the way back to Fort Wayne.

Now we know how to get to the park, we know where the trail head is and we hope to return in September to hike the trail, we assume in six weeks time, barring any torrential, ongoing rainfall, the trail should be dried out. Plus I like hiking in September, less humidity, less mosquitos, brilliant sunshiny days, and summer is in its complete last hurrah, it is one of my most favorite months of the year.

My friend and I still wanted to hike, so headed back to Fort Wayne and on the way decided that we would walk the River Greenway Paths in Fort Wayne. I drove us to Sweeney Park and parked the van, we put our damp socks and shoes back on, donned our backpacks, headed to the bathroom and then hit the greenway trail. Good we were off on a walk and planned to take the path all the way to Johnny Appleseed Park, about six miles away. The Greenway was heavily flooded a few weeks ago, although the water has receded there is a lot of debris and mud left in some areas, we got rather muddy and slipped around a bit in the early part of the walk. A walking bridge over the river was barricaded, but we needed to cross so we climbed the barricade and went on our way. It was a great walk, there were many people enjoying the greenway on bike, but very few walkers. We changed our route slightly on the way back, still enjoying the greenway, but avoiding the very muddy areas we encountered early on along with the barricaded walking bridge. When we returned to the van my Map My Walk app said we had walked 11.84 miles in three hours and fifty two minutes, it was an enjoyable walk done at an easy pace with a friend for company. I hope to plan out a good long walk once per month, preferably at one of the state parks as the trails are a little more challenging with lots of hills and that up and down walking is a good work out.

If you have an opportunity to get out and hike, go for it. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Lease on Life

Losing weight is one of the best things I have ever done for myself, it has truly given me a new lease on life. I have now lost 90lbs, slowly, slowly since last September, averaging about 2lbs/week. I have gone from being extremely sedentary and fat,  to quite active and slim. My daily diet has drastically changed, lots of vegetables, fiber, protein, some fruit, a little fat, and really no added sugar. I run/jog most days of the week and find 3 miles to be an easy workout, but do five or six miles a couple of days a week. I make sure I get exercise every day. My blood pressure is now very good, always quite a bit below 120/80. My cholesterol is excellent, I am curious to see how low it will go. I sleep very well at night, I feel good, I feel energetic, I feel twenty years younger.

I am a fifty-one year old female and if I was to believe all that I read I would assume it is impossible to lose weight at my age, that I am past my peak, that jogging is bad for me, that I should accept high blood pressure and high cholesterol as normal and be a good girl and take my meds. I should continue on the path of poor diet, because at my age there is no hope, and probably go on to develop diabetes II, because of course there are meds to take for that too. Oh, and I am allowed to blame my lack of motivation, depressed state, and general poor health on any number of things, genetics, old age, menopause, just to name a few. Each of us has the power to unlock optimum health we just have to want to do it, and it can be done and all you have to do is start right now.

I am here to say there is hope if you track your calories, take some exercise, a walk each day is an excellent start, and begin to weed out the poor food choices in your daily diet. Make small changes, if you have a lot of weight to lose simply reducing the number of calories you eat each day will cause the weight to come off. Remember to be honest, and better to over estimate the calories in something rather than underestimate. As weight comes off you start feeling better and your body starts craving more activity and walking becomes enjoyable, something you look forward to. As weight comes off you begin to appreciate your body and realize that you need to treat it better and fuel it correctly, so slowly but surely you adjust your diet so that the food you eat is good for you and offers benefit and quality nutrition. Your entire outlook on life changes, poor food choices become just that and the lure of cakes, pies, sweets go away, in fact on the rare occasion you might have a dessert you become shocked at how exceedingly sweet it is, really sickly sweet. And when you think about it "sickly sweet" is kind of an ironic description isn't it, because all of that sugar really is sickly and will damage your body in the long run.

Today I urge you to review your daily diet, your daily activity level and make one small, manageable healthy change, and continue to do this every day and you will find you change your behavior and begin to reap the benefits. When you want to snack, ask yourself why, and then have a drink of water if you realize you are bored rather than hungry. Enjoy an apple instead of a donut, eat a serving of nuts (preferably unsalted, raw) instead of chips. If you want something sweet eat a fiber bar instead of a candy bar. There are always good fuel foods to replace foods that offer little nutritional value. Make sure you eat good, lean protein with each meal, and plenty of fiber. Fiber not only helps you feel full, it will keep you regular as clockwork paired with daily exercise.

Excuses will pop up, I don't have time to plan my daily diet, I don't have time to exercise, I am not ready to do this. Well yes you do have time, you already plan your daily diet if you think about what you are going to have for dinner, you will instead think about what good fuel foods you can have for dinner.  Exercise, just start with twenty minutes, most people can find twenty minutes in their day. When you go to the store, park as far away as possible. Look for opportunities to add steps into your day, you will be surprised at all of the opportunities you have to do this. And the last excuse, I am not ready to do this, so when will you be ready? When you have a stroke? When you end up in the hospital with a heart attack or problems caused by diabetes? Don't fool yourself into thinking that it doesn't matter because you can take drugs to address your current health issues, wouldn't you rather control you habits and be rewarded with a healthier body that is not dependent upon drugs to make it function in way that causes you less harm?  Are the immediate rewards of a large piece of cake really worth the long term problems this type of non-nutritious food causes, spikes in blood sugar, inflammation, weight gain?  Immediate gratification is WAY overrated, sticking to a plan, seeing things through, focusing on the long term brings such immense gratification and reward. Nothing worth having comes easily in life, hard work and effort bring such good rewards to the body, mind, and soul.

Sometimes a day will pass where you don't exercise, or you make poor choices, evaluate the day, ask why, and then develop a game plan to avoid the pitfall in the future. I read an article a week or so ago and it said if you were on a road trip and took a wrong turn you would not say, oh boy, this trip is ruined and keep going the wrong way, no you would turn around at the first opportunity and get back on track. Making healthy living choices is the same, you will have days where you "take a wrong turn", forgive yourself, smile, and confidently get back on track. As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, the weight keeps coming off, your body becomes toned and fit, you will find that you rarely "take a wrong turn" because your new lifestyle habits have taken over.

With a 90lb weight loss I am fast approaching the end of weight loss and the beginning of maintaining my weight for the rest of my life. I weigh 150lbs now, a good weigh for my height of 5' 10". Weight is still coming off but I assume it will stop, or slow down soon, I weigh less than I did in high school, it is very strange. I catch glimpses of myself reflected in a glass door as I enter a store and sometimes take a double take as it seems unbelievable that the tall thin lady reflected back at me is me. I am buying medium in clothing sizes, a far cry from the 2X I used to buy. I got rid of all of my fat clothes, I am NEVER going back to that size because I was miserable and I didn't even realize I was so far overweight, I was in denial and could always find an excuse to eat more. Worse still I didn't realize that there was an energetic, fit and slim person in me that was simply buried in fat, what a tragedy if I had never discovered this fact! I am so glad I made lifestyle changes before I had any major health issues, and I continue to be amazed at just how forgiving our bodies are if we begin to treat them properly, it is truly miraculous.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Little Blessings

Yesterday evening our daughter Emily and her fiancĂ© Skylar welcomed their first child into this world. Little Masen arrived four weeks early, weighing in at six pounds, eleven ounces, he is our seventh grand child. Welcoming grand babies into the family never gets old.