I’m On My Way!

On Tuesday, I began something new. I started a truly serious weight loss program. One that costs me lots of money, but that I am confident will work for me. It’s an investment in me. Medically-supervised with a once a week check-in and, for the near future, “food” that comes in an envelope or in bar form. I don’t have to even think or take time to cook. Right now, that’s kinda nice. And convenient. At this time of year, the less I have to think (be it about planning menus, shopping lists, or what to use from the pantry) the better. And that jump start is working.

This morning’s weigh-in tells me I am down 7.3 so far. Whoo hoo! I also know that I probably can’t expect this rapid loss to continue, though it would be cool. But holy cow!

I am learning to be more mindful. As I start my journey, I feel hungry a lot, and I recognize that (I literally think to myself, “I am hungry. This is what hunger feels like. And it’s okay to feel this way, because I am going to feel like this for a while.”).

I also was super hungry and very tired yesterday, making me plenty grumpy. I would get made at any and everything, it seemed. At one point, I just said to myself, “I am so mad.” Then I teased apart why I was mad, and realized it was because I was hungry and tired and frustrated by both of those things. I also realized this is just one stage in a long journey. And, somehow, that helped dissolve my anger. I love mindfulness! But that is also a work in progress. I think this is going to be a good way to use it to help myself improve and stay strong.

My dear Ed is also being very supportive. Last night, after some tears and a little yelling, he held me and said, “It will all be okay. You are doing great and sometimes you might need a hug.” Love him. We also realized that I’m probably going through the DTs, only for food and, primarily, for sugar.

I’d been good for three whole days. But last night, I had my first slip. But, as slips go, I didn’t think it was too bad. Ed was having steak for supper, and it smelled soooo good. So I had him give me one bite. Only one. And it was protein. And I savored that one bite. I ate so mindfully you wouldn’t believe it. One bite was all. No more. But it was enough. This really made me realize that I need to think more about what I eat when I eat it. No more reading a book or watching tv while I eat. Just eating and paying attention to how good my food tastes, one bite at a time.

After being in touch with my counselor (not sure if that is the right term or not, but for lack of another title), she says that what I felt yesterday is totally normal, and that by day 4 or 5 my body will hit the ketosis point where it will tap into those nasty fat reserves to feed itself and I will be a happier camper.

Today, it’s day four, and I feel good. I’m still hungry, but the crankiness level has dropped dramatically, thank heavens. I also am staying out of the lounge, because the ice cream and treat day I thought was yesterday is actually today. Even though I think I could resist, it’s never good to court temptation. So here I am instead.

My weight loss so far is very helpful, and I am starting to feel different; better about myself already. I’ll take it, because I know that, the way my brain works, every day won’t be like this. So I have to take the good ones and put them in the bank for those days when I really struggle.

But I’m on my way. And I’m feeling good about it.





T-Minus One Day

So, a week or so since I’ve been here. And I’ve been busy.

Last Sunday, I stepped on my scale. I didn’t quite gasp, but I could have. It really took the wind out of my sails, and the rest of the day I walked around in a daze. The moment had arrived. The moment of (sad) truth, and the moment I realized that something had to be done. And it couldn’t be done by me.

I always want to do everything by myself. I don’t like to rely on other people. Not quite sure why that is. Maybe because I’m kind of a loner (despite any and all outward appearances at times). Preferring to draw into my shell and stay home and never go out, I often would rather sit on my porch with a book or crossword. Staying in is fine with me. Spending a day pulling weeds and wearing myself out, also fine. Going to church is drawing me out some, which is fine, too. It’s not as scary as I thought it might be. I’m enjoying meeting new people and starting up some friendships, even though they are just of the occasional chatting variety. But I feel like I belong there, so that’s dandy.

But I didn’t go last Sunday. I couldn’t. I had to think. And think I did. Finally, I came to the realization that I had to reach out for help on this one. I can’t lose this weight on my own this time. I needed to call in the big guns, with a safety net and a team of people to help me who really know what they are doing.

So Monday I called my ob/gyn office, because a couple years ago, they started a weight management program.  I like the term – “management” not “loss.” In my head there is a difference, even though loss is really part of the whole deal. They have nutritionists and a personal trainer on staff to help you get started, make good choices, and build skills to keep you where you need to be. There is a once a week support group, if that’s your thing. Not sure it’s my thing or not, but I’ll probably give it a whirl. Plus I have a friend who successfully used this program. She is on their website as one of their success stories. Boy, does she look awesome! And inspirational!

Fortunately, I was able to meet with the program director last Monday. I had to get blood work and an EKG before I could start. I like that this is medically based. It’s not a “diet” program, but a life program. So I took my last personal day and got my lab work done, then spent some time doing the thing I love, and need, to do this time of year: yard work. We also went to see Ed’s sister in Iowa City and had lunch.

And the eating. Since I knew I would be starting, it’s been like the Last Supper, but almost every day. I’ve eaten junk I shouldn’t eat, but I also know I will be cutting that garbage out of my life, hopefully for good, though I wouldn’t rule out, waaaaay down the road, the occasional guilty bite here and there.

But I suspect once I get rolling and get things on track, I may not even want some of those things anymore. Of course, the occasional bit of chocolate will sneak in there. And a G&T now and then, or wine. But I suspect that once I am able to start wearing cute clothes again (so looking forward to shopping for cute clothes and purging my closet of everything else) it will be easier to stay on track.

And then I can start running, really running, and weight lifting. Apparently with this plan, I will temporarily have to curtail big workouts. But I am sure I’ll have an alternative. I know this will not last forever, so I will get back to pump class, which I really do love. Truly, I want to get the guns my instructors have. I would love to put on a tank top and show off some great shoulders and arms. And I will get there. I will. I know it!

So, even though my diet is going to change dramatically in the next month, I know my body will, too. And even though I’m a little scared, I’m also excited. Because the me I know I can be is ready to shed this body I’m wearing. And it all starts tomorrow! Let’s hear it for Tuesday!



Okay, so not the actual heaven. Just a day off school, which is pretty close. We had a snow day make up which we didn’t have to use, so here I am, reveling in the off-ness at my favorite coffee shop. My friend Brent just left for work and I have a little time before I leave to go to church to finish some plantings I started on Wednesday, so here I blog. (Note: I’m writing this at 7:30 or so, and we had our coffee date at 6:30. I know you think it’s crazy to get up so early on a day when I didn’t have to, but getting up early when I don’t have to be at school doesn’t feel like getting up early – it feels like getting up to enjoy the day off just a little more.)

Ah, what to do on a free day? Garden and yard work, of course. Especially since winter is FINALLY gone and spring does seem to be here for real now. No more snow although as crazy as the weather has been, I am actually crossing my fingers on this one). It’s been in the 60s and 70s. I have been to get plants three times and have potted up most of them. The rest will be nestled into their new spots after I get home. I have been happily on my hands and knees weeding the iris bed in the ditch a couple days this week, and I will happily do more of that later today. I have made the executive decision to plan absolutely nothing for the next three days (well, except for the volunteer work for a couple hours tomorrow that I promised last Sunday).

I will, however, relax on the deck later today, perhaps with a glass of wine or a G&T and survey our lovely yard. Ed retrieved my pickup (Old Yeller – the 1963 Chevy) from the farm and picked up a load of mulch and mulched the trees/hosta rings in the back yard yesterday. It looks lovely. There’s more to do, but the truck got a flat tire, so that’s on the agenda for today. We also need to get a new tire for the wheelbarrow.  Clearly the fun never stops at the Broders’ house.

But what about a nap, you say? Well, okay. If I must, I must. Especially if you insist. I imagine the cats will really need me to help them nap at some time today. They can be pretty insistent on the nap thing. And I am one tired puppy. I have kicked the working out into gear, with spin class on Mondays and body pump on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It feels good to get back into a more consistent workout routine, but right now I am pooped. But in a good way.

So, although this may be the most boring blog ever, I’m not going to worry about it. Part of this is just therapy for me. If you are reading this, thanks for reading, and I’ll see if I can’t get you something more interesting the next time. Maybe I’ll even get some pictures of the garden as it starts to pop. Not the front yard for a while, though. The basement people come in a couple weeks to straighten our foundation, so I don’t want to do a whole lot of work there yet. But at least we’ll have a good foundation. Which could be the start of a lot of more blogs, and maybe it will be. But not today. Today, I’m just going to enjoy heaven.



You Know You Have a Great Husband When….

Where can I start? Well, why not with the most obvious — the cat box corner.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I needed to put mopping cat box corner on my “to do” list. This is a job I abhor. About four times a year, I break down and take all the cat boxes out of their spot under the stairs. I vacuum scattered cat litter out of every crevice. Then, I mop. Ugh. And I wash cat boxes. Double ugh! One night we were going to leave for somewhere or other, and Ed said something about if I had time for it.

I whined. I complained that it would probably take me about an hour, or at least 45 minutes, to complete this Herculean, Dante’s Inferno, 13th level of Hell task. And as we did not have that kind of time, I did not. The end.

A few days later, I said something about having the time so I would gird my loins and go take care of the cat box corner. Then my darling said, “It’s already done.” My eyes were probably the size of saucers, and my heart grew ten sizes that day. “You did?” “I did.” I then got the rundown of what a pain it was and how he had to wash the boxes and this and that. And I listened with rapt attention worthy of an acolyte. Because I knew of whence he spoke. And my gratitude was great and overwhelming. And I think he finally understood why I whine.

So, at least for this quarter of the year, I don’t have to whine. All I have to do is be thankful for having the greatest husband. Lucky, lucky! That’s me.


Feels Like Home

I finally get that Bonnie Raitt song. Because this morning I woke up feeling changed.

Last night, I attended an evening of faith discussion (the topic was actually faith and wellness), and the keynote was Krista Tippett, host and producer/creator of the program On Being. I had listened to her from time to time, but was never a regular. I think that has now changed. She gave me a lot to think about.

In this world which feels so troubled, and which has made me feel so troubled, she provides an anchor to keep my boat from drifting. An island in a sea of troubles, as it were. It’s hard to explain how her words touched me, but I was scribbling things down like mad.

When she talks about faith, it’s not like some talk about faith. It’s not trying to force things down your throat for you own good (or someone else’s). It’s not in-your-face faith. It’s quiet and earnest and kind. It’s opening your hand and seeing a lovely flower blossom inside. It’s opening a box to find the swirling universe of stars. It’s beauty. It’s hospitality. It’s peace.

It’s home.

Over the years, I church shopped. I was never sure what I was looking for, exactly. I only know I hadn’t found it. I’d been to Trinity Cathedral a few times here and there, but it was never quite the place. Until now. When Ed got recruited for the choir, I became a Sunday regular. I’d always hesitated and held back from weekly church. I felt like I didn’t really need another commitment, another pull on my time. Yet despite church now filling in a spot of my weekend, it feels more like nestling into a place that’s been kept for me. It feels like home.

I am enjoying the people, the sermons, the rite and ritual, but most of all the sense of feeling like I belong. Even as I write this, I feel like weeping at how much I finally feel like I belong somewhere, because, for whatever reason, I don’t know that I have ever felt this so strongly, at least not that I can truly remember. I’ve been at my “job” (I enjoy what I do, so I never really think of it as a job, it’s just “school”) for over 24 years, yet I’ve never truly felt that I belonged there. Yes, I have friends from school, some very close friends, but having friends and feeling a sense of belonging are different things, at least to me.

After listening to Krista’s talk, which was a revelation on many levels, I feel lighter, somehow, even as I also want to plumb more deeply into what faith means for me. I feel like I’ve gotten over a speed bump that has been preventing me from moving forward. I’ve been given something to cut away the ropes that have bound me in a place I really don’t want to be. But it’s also that I have been given the awareness that I had that something to cut those ties for a long time, but never recognized that I had the power to make those cuts.

I know this all may sound a little odd to anyone reading this, but that’s okay. Because I confess this really isn’t for you so much as it is for me. My catharsis. My rebirth. My renaissance.

Even though others, like my dear husband, may not believe in this, I believe I was brought to this moment. Krista mentioned an Irish priest and philosopher John O’Donohue. I jotted his name down because I want to listen to one of her podcasts with him. And this morning, as I work my way through a book loaned to me by a church friend, whose name do I see? John O’Donohue. And now I have something I simply must listen to and someone I must read. He died in 2008, but the website is there and in reading just a little, I am pulled away from my writing to read his.

So, I must leave you now. I’m not sure I said all that I wanted or meant to, but I think this is  a start of more thoughts to come, on faith, on myself, on my life’s journey, on healing myself, which, again, makes me feel those pinpricks behind my eyes as I think about the whole idea of becoming whole, of finally being able to find who I am, which is what I’ve been trying to do all along.

Feels like home to me.


Getting Organized


So, what’s the deal with making great strides towards being organized, thinking I have it nailed, and then circling the drain, organizationally (as well as all other areas of my life, I might add)?

Had a chat with my therapist yesterday about my wondering why I can get on a good path toward self improvement, realize I’m doing well, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, I wake up one morning with no desire to do anything positive or no apparent will to stick to a plan that has been working for a month or more. Huh.

Of course, we start digging around in my head, trying to figure out why things went well and then explore those cobwebby corners of my psyche to see what we can find in there. Naturally, we have to go back in the mental time machine of my life to figure out where this all started.  Still working on that one.  Came up with a few possibilities, and hope that maybe I can ruminate on some of those.

But now it’s Tuesday, the weather outside is still relatively cold and crappy for nearly the middle of April, and I can’t help but wonder how much of this is SAD. I do have a light for just such an occasion, but I haven’t been using it. Maybe that’s part of the problem. But another part is the fact that even though the sun may be out after school, and it stays light so much longer, it doesn’t get warmer than 30-some degrees, so it doesn’t seem to help much. I’d rather bundle up and crawl into bed, which seems like all I’ve been doing lately.

However, on a more positive note, tonight is body pump class, which I love. And it feels like my tendon is recovering pretty well, so I’d like to start ramping up my steps and maybe start a little (teeny bit) of, dare I even dream it, jogging. I’d rather say running, because jogging sounds so 1970s and wimpy, but that’s how I’d better approach it in the beginning, especially until about 10 pounds come off. I don’t want to screw up any recovery I’ve had, tendon-wise. It will be much better to try this outside, but today is not the day for that. Maybe tomorrow? But tomorrow is….(drumroll, please)….

…New Couch Day! Ed and our friend Randy are going to travel to beautiful downtown Clinton to pick up our new sofa and loveseat. And I will finally have some nice, matching furniture that I didn’t have to buy at Habitat Restore. Imagine! Furniture I like that didn’t previously belong to someone else.

Oh Happy Day! Plus, it’s supposed to get into the 50s tomorrow! And Thursday! And Friday! Maybe we’re turning a corner here? Oh, wait. It’s supposed to be in the 40s on Sunday with maybe a little rain/snow combo. Well, I guess you can’t have the whole world on a platter. But I’d at least like a little sample of spring, which I guess I’m getting tomorrow.

So, I’ll take what I can get. And I’ll reflect on my last therapy session and sit down and work, once again, on getting organized and creating a plan for self-improvement. Keep your fingers crossed. I know I will.


The Writing Life

When last I wrote you, it was the eve of the big interview with Michael Perry, Wisconsin writer. Usually when we do these things, we talk to our interviewee via phone. Much to my surprise and subsequent panic, Mike actually came to the studio. And there I was with my stack of five of his books, acting like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers and looking for all the world like a stalker. Jeesh!

But it was fun to get to actually talk with him live in the studio. Studio shows are always better because there aren’t any phone issues to muddle things up. And Mike is such a pro because he’s done this so often that once  you toss him a question, you just sit back and let him tell great stories.

Turns out his oldest daughter was looking at a college visit here in our fine state, so his wife and both daughters were outside while he spoke with us. I asked after if I could meet his wife and thank her for sharing him with us, but he explained there was a kind of boundary he didn’t like to cross between public and private life. I totally got it and kind of felt embarrassed and a little stalker-like for even asking. But I imagine he gets that a lot, which is why he was able to handle it so gracefully.

Oddly enough, I actually did meet them the next night, rather by accident.

He was doing a reading at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, and Ed and I went up. I even got my mom to go along. I thought she might enjoy it because Mike does such a wonderful job of mixing humor and writing. He is a good speaker and has an easy going manner, just like his writing, so it feels like you are just chatting with a neighbor (although, in this case, he is doing all the chatting and you are being a good listener).

When Ed dropped Mom and me at the door so he could park the car, we walked up the stairs behind a woman and her daughters. I thought, “Hmmmm. I wonder if…” And when we got upstairs, I saw the little girl walk over to Mike, who was standing off by himself, getting himself prepped mentally, I suppose. When she turned around, she looked so like him in miniature. I walked over and gave him our thank you gift from the radio show and then took my seat.

After he began, I looked for Ed and saw him in the back, leaning on a bookcase. Afterward, Mom and I walked back to him and he was sitting there talking with Mike’s wife and daughter (of course). Turns out his younger daughter asked Ed if he’d like her chair. What lovely manners. So they were talking about ducks and chickens. And when we walked up, she said she liked my black cat earrings.

I did not ask anyone’s name, because I didn’t want to cross that anonymity line, but I did learn they were staying with friends from Scattergood, the Quaker boarding school in West Branch, so they wouldn’t have to drive the five hours back that night. I told her that years ago we used to attend some of their Friday night dances which, sadly, are no more. I still miss those dances.

All in all, the two days were a wonderful memory for me. And another inspirational shot in the arm, though, I confess, I have had a hard time trying to find some time to write since then. But hearing an author I so admire brought me such joy that I hope to harness that inspiration and really do something with it. In fact, I’m starting to get an idea for some writing even now. So I guess I’ll sign off here and sign in on my laptop. I’ll keep you posted.