Category Archives: Exercise

Get moving

Observations From the Waiting Room

I did no cardio yesterday. Yesterday was just an endurance test in existing.

I left work at midnight Thursday morning and left town at 0200 to drive to Memphis to meet my father and sister at the hospital where my father was to undergo excision of a malignant melanoma. We did the day surgery admissions song and dance from about 0715 to around 1000 when they finally took him back to surgery. My sister Chele and I were both starving so we hit the cafeteria before moving to the waiting room where a caught a few Zzzzzs. The surgery went fine and he was sprung at around 1730. Stopping for dinner and gasoline put me home at somewhere around 2240 – one tired human. Sleep, however, eluded me until after 0100.  I was awake again at 0330. Oh, for pity’s sake!

Fit cardio in there? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Didn’t happen and, frankly, it’s probably not going to happen today, either.

hospital waiting roomI tell you all of that to set the stage for these observations:

  1. (This one might tick some of you off) Obese doctors and nurses carry about the same amount of authority with me as a nun does as a sex education teacher.
  2. Hospital vending machines should offer healthier choices.
  3. Hospital CAFETERIAS should offer healthier choices!
  4. Waiting room chairs are not designed to sleep in.
  5. As a society we need to regain respect for each other in shared areas, i.e. no loud conversations (either in person or on phones), nail clipping or, um, organ adjustments in public spaces.
  6. For the little amount of quality content available, we have too many ways to see it with televisions every. where.
  7. It’s okay to not have background music or television noise all the time.
  8. Fatigue makes you REALLY hungry for any calorie dense thing in the world.
  9. Apples do really perk you up when you’re tired.
  10. If you drink a cup of caffeinated coffee after 11 months of abstinence from caffeinated beverages, it will keep you awake to finish your drive home. And then some.
  11. And, finally, this math equation:

(1)sister + (1)live trap + (1)feral kitty colony = (1)adorable kitten for me to socialize, foster and rehome.

Dad’s surgery went well. We’ll get the node biopsies back in about 10 days. Positive thoughts and prayers on his behalf are appreciated. As I’ve told you many times, I adore that man. We all do.

And, hey! Anybody want a kitten?



Trash-Talking Easter Peep Cardio

trash-talking peepsYesterday morning I went on my first really good walk/run in….well, I just don’t know how long. I stayed in my neighborhood and went around the same block four times. Dressed in lilac calf-length Danskin exercise pants, magenta Danskin sleeveless top, and pink and silver running shoes, I was a deranged Easter Peep mash-up as I lumbered walked about two-thirds of the time and ran a third. I mention my clothes because at my age and condition, they are very important.

I still have quite a bit of extra skin from my obese life in the Before. If my muscles are ballet – controlled and strong, my skin is the Alvin Ailey dance company – fluid and organic (doesn’t that sound so much better than floppy?). The Danskin clothes compress everything to decrease my chances of tissue syncopation and self-induced whiplash. I’m sure the outfit doesn’t look either as good as I hope or as bad as I fear. In either case, I really don’t care because: 1) I don’t have to look at it, and 2) it does what I need it to. So there.

The block I circled is a rectangle with two sides being longer than the other two. I walked the long sides and ran the short ones. I started out on one of the long sides – walking. When I got to the first turn and began running, the Couch Potato in my head began finding reasons to stop. “I have to use the bathroom.” “My legs are too weak.” “I’m running out of energy.” “I’m sucking air! For the love of all that’s holy – stop!” These are all things I’ve heard in my head before. As I did before, I trash-talked my way through it. “I went to the bathroom before I left the house.” “They’ll never get stronger if you wimp out.” “There’s plenty of energy stored up in that keister. Move it!” “Suck it up, buttercup.” Sometimes keeping my eye on the prize isn’t enough. Sometimes I have to be my own drill sergeant.

As I ran the first of the short sides, I looked back on the first time I ever ran that. It was late one night and I went with my son, Jaegar – son of Brodin, god of Swole. I remember REALLY sucking air on that run. I mean, I ended up with pebbles in my teeth I was gasping so hard. On that run and during the whole Great Reduction, my son was my biggest cheerleader. There was no trash-talk from his sector. He encouraged me the whole time, telling me that I was almost there, it was just a little further, I could do it. Along with my own trash-talk, I heard his encouragement even though he is thousands of miles and two time zones away. That encouragement was integral to my success the first time and it will be no less important this time.

I was a little worried about my right knee – the one that stopped my running to begin with; however, I finished the distance I set out to complete and my knee felt GREAT! It wasn’t that it just didn’t hurt, it was that it felt perfectly healthy. I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am about that.

By the time I finished my walk/run, my apoplectic red face was split ear to ear with a giant smile. I did it! This is the start of some really good things.


Giving Myself the Run Around

So, I went for a little run on Sunday. (Okay, what actually happened was that I left my billfold in the car when I was in Kroger and I had to run to the car and back so that I could pay for my groceries. Still, I ran. That’s the point.) It felt good to run. Well, at least it did until my legs started to feel like noodles. I covered the modest distance and was still able to thank the cashier for his patience when I got back.

The run made me think more about my goal of adding cardio this week. It’s now Wednesday morning and I have to admit that I haven’t done it. I had intentions to, sure. But I didn’t follow through for many excuses, but no good reasons.

dog chasing tail

I don’t know why I’m resisting this so much. I’m not just resisting it, either. I’m actively resisting it. I know that it’s good for me. I know that I will have to add structured exercise to my daily routine for the success of Project 40. I know that I will eventually enjoy the exercise. So, what’s the hold up?

That, I don’t know.

The Other Rebellion

couch potato catYesterday, I said that when the Sugar Monster slumbers again, all would be peaceful in the kingdom – kinda. The “kinda” refers to the Couch Potato Resistance. That battle is going to be a long one, I fear.

As I’ve told you, I don’t like to get sweaty. I don’t mind being sweaty, it’s just those moments between dry-and-comfy and wet-and-what-the-hell that I really hate. I hate that sticky, itchy feeling that lives in that transition. Silly, right? It’s not like that sensation lasts all that long; but, I just hate it! However, muscling through that sensation on a daily basis is going to have to happen if I’m going to return to feeling strong in the way that I like.

For a few days early in the year, I went to the gym after work and rode the recumbent bike. I didn’t do any strength training because I didn’t have a plan and, for me, a plan is crucial. I’m a creature of habit and I like for my workout routines to be, well, routine. I like to know what exercises I’m going to do. If I don’t have that plan and don’t know what I’m going to do, I don’t do anything. The Couch Potato Resistance wins.

For Project 40, I have come up with workout routines to get my strength training on track. I have two routines each for legs, core, and arms, chest and back (I always work those three groups on the same day). In addition, I have four different cardio exercises to do. This way, my workouts will be familiar; but, they won’t be the same each day. Therefore, my muscles won’t get used to any given routine and stop progressing. At some point, I’m sure I’ll change this up, as well, to add new exercises to hit the muscle groups from different directions. But let’s get real here, that’s not going to be for awhile yet. I haven’t had a really good structured workout in probably two years or, at least since right after my knee surgery. I know that for the first few times, I’ll hate it. I’ll want to wimp out, get in the car, go home and eat some popcorn or, really, a Magnum ice cream bar (320 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, 29 grams of sugar). I’ll have to trash talk myself through those times to get to the times when I really look forward to working out. As I recall, those days did come.

Just after my knee surgery, I was having some serious professional issues. I remember thinking that I would feel so much better if I could just go for a run. Before surgery, I was able to run about three miles and felt awesome afterwards! After surgery, I wasn’t allowed to even walk for exercise for six months. During that time, I allowed myself to lose momentum, finally arriving at today, with me having the couch fabric impressed into the skin of my posterior.

As I begin my workouts, you’ll see all of the routines listed on my Project 40 worksheets. If you have routines that work for you or ideas on ways to make my routines more effective, I’d love to hear from you!

So This Happened……

When my friend Rebecca first suggested I write this blog, it was with the idea of sharing how I had lost 94 pounds and how I maintained that loss. Except that I haven’t. Maintained the loss, that is.

As I’ve told you, it all started last Fall when I got that Depro Provera shot. I started gaining weight; but, it didn’t end there. Now, here we are, eight months later. As a contraceptive, the shot worked great! I don’t have a human baby growing inside my belly; however, I’ve got a gigantic food baby growing everywhere! I see this 40-pound monster on my forearms, my thighs, my ankles and, of course, in my mid-section.


That’s right. I’ve gained 40 pounds – the weight of a full water cooler bottle. Ugh. BUT! This morning is the dawn of a new day. I decided yesterday that today would be the day I took control again. And here we are.

I have set up a new goal in my Lose It! account. This goal is to lose 1.5 pounds per week until this 40.8 pounds is gone. The app estimates that I will reach my goal by December 30th and has given me a daily calorie budget that will let me achieve this. Of course, I’ll be tracking all of my food and exercise on that site; however, if you look at the top of this page, you’ll see a new section called 2015 Project 40. Under that section, I will post my daily logs. I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my estimated calorie intake and calorie burn. You’ll be able to see at a glance what my menus are and what my workout routines are. (I’ll try to link items in the spreadsheet with items in the menu section; however, that may be beyond my technical skill. We’ll see.)

My regular posts will continue to be about food and whatever else I feel the need to talk about; so, I will likely not address that whole endeavour here often. However, the Project 40 section will always have updated sheets allowing you to track my progress and to help you with your own! If you want a copy of the spreadsheet to use for yourself, just email me at the Contact the Goddess link above and I’ll be thrilled to send one to you!

Here we go, friends!

Watch That Second Step!

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles beings with one step.” Her Dotyness says, “You only need AAA if you take a second one.” (Feel free to embroider that on a throw pillow.)

At the urging of my hairdresser Marla, I went for a tour of a local gym. At her insistence, I joined it. That was two weeks ago and I still haven’t left one drop of sweat in the building.  I took the first step; but, my AAA card is still dusty.

The truth is that I hate getting sweaty – I don’t mind being sweaty, I just hate getting sweaty. If I could workout and not sweat, I’d be far more likely to do it – well, at least until I had a heatstroke. I hate feeling hot, but not hot enough. I hate that itchy, sticky feeling. Once I’m sweaty, it’s no different from being wet any other way; so, I’m fine. In fact, I actually like the idea that my body is throwing off waste and cleaning itself. So, why do I avoid it so much? I really don’t know.

I’ve been on countless diets over the course of my life and I’ve said several times that I truly don’t know what made The Big Reduction different from all other previous attempts. I’ve said that and it’s the gospel truth. For if I knew what made that effort so different, I’d be able to tap into it now and get these side effect pounds off.

I mean, I know what to do: eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less starch, drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest and get some exercise every day. Of course, all of those items have their own little sublists to make them easier; but, as they stand, they’re hardly rocket science, right? Still, here I sit in my sweat pants because my other pants don’t fit. What I have to tap into again is the right motivation.

My motivation for The Big Reduction was my grandchildren. I don’t have any yet (and am in no particular hurry, son of mine); but, I would like to be around to meet them someday. With my work-stressed life fueled by the hideous Standard American Diet, my life Before truly was SAD. As it stands now, I’m still work stressed and while I am no longer fueled by SAD, I’m a long way from being healthy. I’m a long way from being that grandmother who plays tag with her grandchildren. And that’s the grandmother I want to be.

I want to be the one who goes rock climbing with them, bakes cookies with them, goes hiking, camping (well, maybe not camping – too many bugs), and canoeing with them. I want to be Adventure Gram!

So. How do I hold that vision in place to be a constant motivator? How does Adventure Gram begin to push my big, ole hams out the door to the gym? How does she curb compulsive eating and bingeing?

I don’t know. I’m still standing on that first step.


Two Days Later….

Well, good morning, friends! It’s two days since I truly recommitted myself to taking care of my nutritional needs. As a by-product, of course, I’ll be shedding these pesky 20 pounds; but, the main goal here is to get back to eating healthfully, in a way that gives my body what it needs to be its best.

Using my old profile, I have started a new program on LoseIt! and it tells me that I should reach my goal in the middle of June – perfect for bathing suit weather! I entered my current weight into the program, along with my goal weight and the amount of weight I want to lose each week. It gave me a calorie budget to get to that goal. Right now, that budget is 1350 calories per day. However, as I lose weight, that number will decrease to keep me on track. Here’s the thing I have to remember, though: although my daily calorie budget will eventually be under 1200, I must eat at least that many calories each day to allow my body to function properly. If I dip below that, weight loss will slow. I will feel tired all the time. I will feel cold all that time. This is the voice of experience saying that weight loss dieters need to eat those 1200 to stay healthy. As I get further into the program and my calorie budget drops, I will have to ensure that I am exercising enough to stay within it.

For the last two days, I’ve been within that budget – yesterday, well within it. There are several different tasks I may be assigned any given night at work. Last night, I was given the most physically taxing one. I calculate that I walked anywhere from 13 to 15 miles over the course of my ten-hour shift. (And, honey, my bones are feeling every. single. step. right now.) Like exercise does, my long walk has left me hungry this morning. So, when I got home, I had a little 100 calorie snack because I don’t want to eat anything super caloric right before I go to bed.

Okay, scratch that.

I do want to eat something super caloric – like, say, oh a few chocolate glazed doughnuts from The Doughnut Palace – but, I’m not going to do that. So, yeah, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said that I’m not willing to sell a kidney for pastries right now. Indulging myself just wouldn’t be the smart thing for me to do since all of those calories would immediately go into storage. Likely on my thighs. And I’m into cleaning that storage unit out, not adding to it!

So, I’m going to drink a nice cup of herbal tea, brush my teeth and go give my body the rest that it needs.

(Psst! If you’re O+ and need a kidney, call me later!)

If You’re Going to Live the Next Six Months Anyway

As I mentioned yesterday, I was over in West Tennessee this weekend at my father’s. My sister was also there. I haven’t seen her since Leah’s funeral in July; and, I was both surprised and delighted at the physical changes caused by her commitment to herself.

She is more solidly in Onederland than she has been in something like 23 years. (We counted.) She hasn’t taken one of her arthritis pain meds in three weeks AND HASN’T NEEDED IT! Her pants look like a family has moved out of the seat of them prompting even the Barn Goddess herself to say that she needed to get some smaller pants! 🙂

She has lost 30 pounds, removing a combined total of 240 pounds of pressure off of her painful knees. WOW! That’s insane, right?! And it’s really hard to even conceptualize when you’re at the start of your journey – or it was for me.

Now, it just blows my mind when I carry in a 50-pound bag of the food I buy for my dogs. Carrying one from the car to the house, I acutely feel the pressure on the soles of my feet, in my knees and lower legs. Every minute of every hour in my life Before, I carried nearly two of those bags everywhere I went. While it was hard to conceptualize how much better I was going to feel when I was still in the Before, it’s a little hard to believe that my body withstood that pressure now that I’m in the After.

firehydrant1Sitting there at my father’s table, we added up the total weight the three of us have lost and kept off. 170 pounds. One hundred seventy pounds. We have lost between a fire hydrant (150 lbs) and a street drop-off mailbox (180 lbs). Using the Happy Body Ideal Body Weight Index (for whatever that’s worth) we have lost a man who is 5’10” tall. (I say “for whatever that’s worth” because I have no idea how that index was derived. According to it, I should weigh 125 pounds. Friends, if I weighed that, I would be skeletal. No thanks.) Lemme tell you: math has never been as much fun as it was Saturday afternoon!

That exercise alone was good for motivation for all three of us. Another good motivator is having clothes that fit. As I said, the Barn Goddess is even feeling it. I honestly think that if you removed all of the physical vanity from my sister’s body, you’d have room left over in the thimble you were storing it in. She is in no way vain about her appearance, yet, she recognizes the need to feel good about how she looks in her clothes. Plus, it’s just a super feeling to go shopping and have to buy a size smaller! (Clothing sizes are just a number. Yeah. Right.)

Chele’s progress has been at a pace that works for her. She started out with some small changes and just kept adding to them until, when taken as a whole, they became big changes – big changes that have yielded big benefits. As a doctor (whose advice I did not take) asked me years ago, “If you plan on living the next six months anyway, why not get healthier while you do it?”

If small changes make big ones, why not, indeed?

A Committed Five Minutes

Yesterday, my sister told me about a coworker of hers who is so overweight that the weight is really beginning to affect her health. Her health issues have gotten the lady’s attention and she’s ready to make some changes. She has a stationary bike and has committed to ride it for five minutes in the evenings.

Just five minutes.

bike wheel clockIt’s easy to discount that as “no more than five minutes,” but, if you are or have ever been profoundly overweight, you know that it means “I can make it for five minutes. I can do this.” And that is truly how it starts. I’ve said it before (but I think it bears repeating) that many of us think that we have to start an exercise program going all out. I’ve got to run a marathon within the week, after all, no pain no gain, right?


To begin with, I really did just walk my dogs. I added little accidental exercises throughout the day like parking further from the door or taking my shopping cart all the way back inside the store. Pennies make dollars. Steps make miles and ounces make pounds. The longest journey really does begin with a single step, or, in this case, five minutes on the bike. I am so excited for this lady! She will begin adding minutes before she knows it. She’ll start pushing herself as she sees that it takes longer for her to be out of breath. She’ll celebrate every additional second that she is able to last on the bike.

She’s also beginning to look at her food a different way. After lunch one day, my sister commented to the lady – we’ll call her Willa (like I willa do it) – about her lunch. Willa had eaten a grilled cheese sandwich and french fries. My sister pointed out that while the meal had been filling, there hadn’t been much nutritional substance to it. Willa had fed her body oils and carbohydrates with just the teensiest bit of calcium and protein hidden away in there. They started talking about nutritionally dense options, which makes “dieting”so much easier. At least my sister and I think so, meaning that 100% of Doty girls surveyed agreed – a HUGE margin!

It’s just like when I was a lifeguard. We were taught that after blowing the whistle to get a swimmer’s attention, give them a positive action since they typically hear only the last word you say. For instance, if a kid was running, rather than shouting “don’t run!” I yelled “walk!” The word told them what they could do rather than what they couldn’t. It seemed to work well with the water-logged kiddies and it works just as well with sugar-addicted goddesses.

So, join me in celebrating Willa’s baby steps towards better health and let’s stop focusing on restrictions that make us feel deprived and, instead, focus on freedoms that make us feel more empowered.

Wet Hair Doesn’t Cause Diabetes

“Get in here and get dried off before you catch your death of a cold!”

How many times did you hear that growing up? Luckily, my mother didn’t cut short my playtime in the rain with that silly sentiment. Playing in the rain or going outside with wet hair does not give you a cold. Contact with several viral bodies of a rhinovirus does.  Playing in the rain or going out with wet hair may lower your body’s ability to ward off infection, which would make you more susceptible to the virus, increasing your risk of developing a cold.

The actions still didn’t “make” you get a cold any more than eating fast food “makes” you get diabetes.

diabetes memeNow, hold on there, sister! Haven’t you been spouting for months and months that the unhealthy American diet causes diabetes and heart disease?

Well, without rereading every single post, I can’t say that I didn’t phrase it that way; however, if I did, I misspoke (or miswrote, whatever). I was reminded of that this weekend when a childhood friend shared the meme you see here.  There are several different types of diabetes; but there are two main types that we’ll talk about now – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes because its onset normally occurs before age 30. For whatever reason, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. My great-grandmother had this type of diabetes and my friend’s son has it.  They both drew the short straw on this one. They were going to become diabetic regardless of what they ate or did. According to the Mayo Clinic, somewhere between 5 and 10% of diabetics have this type.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes and I’ll give you one guess to figure out why. This is the kind that I’m normally talking about when I refer to the effects of obesity. Roughly 90% of diabetics have this type. Of those, about 80% are obese. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, obesity is a factor that increases the risk of diabetes; but, it’s only one of several risk factors. None of them cause diabetes, per se, but they significantly increase the risk a person has of developing the disease. Wait a minute! What about that other 20%? The ones who are not obese? Like my great-grandmother, those diabetics drew the short straw, too. Either they were exposed to some other factor or they were going to become diabetic regardless of what they did.

The human body is a ridiculously complex organism and our environments are no less complex. How our environments and behaviors affect our bodies is, well, it’s frankly too much for me to consider this time of day. My mind is boggled at the mere notion. While we like to think that we are smart enough to know all of the answers, the billions of dollars that are spent each year in disease cause and cure research remind us that we’re not as smart as we think we are. We are still figuring the relationships between genes, environment, disease and organism. We don’t know exactly how they all fit together and, it’s my belief, that we never will.

Just as non-smokers develop lung cancer and teetotalers develop cirrhosis of the liver, people with healthy lifestyles develop diabetes. It just happens that way sometimes. Those people were either genetically predisposed for it or were affected by some other environmental factor. Have you been affected by a factor like that? Have I? There’s really no way for us to know until we develop the disease or we don’t. That’s out of our control.

So, the smart move here is to control those things that we can control, like the risk factors related to lifestyle. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat them in a more natural state. Exercise often.

And, for goodness sake, before you catch your death of a cold, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Here’s a tissue.