Middle-Age Memoirs : Dealing with a future empty nest

 

My youngest son is graduating from high school in two weeks. I’ve been working on a photo slideshow for his graduation party, which is part of the reason this memoir entry is late coming out. 

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PHOTO: LONDON

As I look back at the photos and memories of the past 18 years with that wonderful, funny, unique, intelligent and special soul, I am both proud and sad. Proud of the life we’ve lived. We’ve had a wonderful life together, as we travelled the world, lived over seas and experienced life together. I look back at the child he was, and look at the man he is becoming and am so proud. I also look back at the child he was, and the man he is becoming and am sad that he will be spreading his wings and leaving the nest. The thought terrifies me. But I know we raised him well. He is a good person, with a calm demeanor. He doesn’t get riled easily, and will do wonderfully with everything challenge he is handed.

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PHOTO: LOCH NESS

It’s time to brag a bit. He will be graduating with honors, and as part of 5 different honor societies. He is looking to major in oceanography/marine  biology and ocean engineering. He has loved everything about the ocean for as long as I can remember. It was always a given that he would do something with water or sea life.

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  • PHOTO: GREECE (2005)

He will be attending Old Dominion University in the fall, where he will begin working toward his engineering and marine science degrees. His ultimate goal is ocean engineering, so he will need to transfer at some point. There are only a handful of schools in the country with ocean engineering, that also have oceanography and marine biology and all are quite pricey.

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Photo: Chaco Canyon National Park (2012)

Closing thoughts

Yes, I will be an empty nester soon. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I didn’t handle it well when my oldest son moved out. I was in a deep funk for weeks. I’m a Mom, it’s who I am, and what I’ve been for more than 20 years. I love and care for the people in my life. I’m not sure how I’ll handle being an empty nester. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn to focus on and care for myself instead?

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Photo: Miami

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Middle-Age Memoirs : Welcome to my new monthly journal!

Don’t worry, I haven’t given up my quest for health or weight loss. I am just changing the journal away from the single topic of weight-loss and more toward the life experiences of a middle-age wellness enthusiast.  This is a journal I will be able to continue indefinitely, well beyond my 50th birthday.

My journey toward fitness by my 50th birthday has been a very bumpy one to say the least. As time continued, it has become very clear that I won’t come remotely close to achieving my goal by my birthday. I know that wellness can’t happen over a matter of weeks, or months, but is an ongoing, life-long journey.  That’s why I decided to start this new journal.

6 dimensions of holistic wellness

This journal will cover all aspects of my wellness journey, all six. My goal will be to establish a new wellness-plan. I will re-evaluate where I stand in all 6 areas of wellness. and then develop a plan to improve each area. My ultimate goal will be the same, to reach my dream, goal weight.  That said, it has become clear, in order to do that, I need to address each area of wellness.

I’m not giving up my journey, I simply decided to take a different route.

Over the past few months, I’ve become very frustrated and disillusioned. I feel as though I’m treading water, and barely keeping my head above water. I take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Because my progress has been so minimal, simply the act of writing the “Fit by 50” journal became a source of stress. What was I suppose to tell you guys if I didn’t lose any weight or even gained weight? That’s why I decided to change course on the journal.

Closing thoughts

Here is where I’ll come to vent about my failures, or tout my success. I’ll write about my adventures with food and cooking. Here is where I’ll reveal the good, the bad and the ugly about my journey toward wellness. Here you’ll get nothing but all out honesty. Overall, this will be my online diary. Instead of a SOURCE of stress, this journal will help me RELIEVE stress.

What would you like to see me write here each month? Let me know your thoughts! Love you all! Stay tuned!

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 20: New territory & the cyclical ketogenic diet

I lost 1.8 pounds this week, and 1.25 inches since March 14, which is great, however, there’s a down side. My progress this week was a mixed bag, some pounds and inches lost, but part of the weight loss was lean tissue. I also lost 2.5 inches, in some areas however that was canceled out by 1.25 inch gain in other areas, leaving me with a 1.25 inch loss overall. I didn’t take measurements last week, so below are my

Weigh in day! (3)

But progress is still progress. On the bright side, I’ve moved into new territory. I’m at my lowest weight since starting this journey in August, 2018. I’ve lost 17.6 pounds since December 31. So, it seems, despite slow progress and a backwards start, I’m slowly on my way. If you don’t quit, you can’t fail.

The cyclical ketogenic diet

You know me and research…I love me some good research! Well, as I continue to research the keto diet, many experts on the keto diet advocate switching to the cyclical ketogenic diet, after being on a strict keto diet of up to 6 weeks.

More research still needs to be done on the long term effects of the ketogenic diet, however, many in the holistic health world are beginning to see some negative effects of a strict, long term keto diet. This is a controversial topic in the world of keto. One of the experts I often turn to for keto advice, Dr. Berg, is against the cyclical keto diet. However, other experts I follow, such as Dr. Mercola, Dr. Jockers and Dr. Axe, all advocate carb cycling with the ketogenic diet….for SOME people, and this is key.

According to Dr. Jockers, doing the cyclical ketogenic diet gives us the best of both feasting and fasting, similar to the eating patterns of our hunter/gatherer ancestors. When you combine intermittent fasting, with a ketogenic diet, your brain interprets the lack of carbohydrates as a famine state and switches to alternative sources of fuel, namely ketones. The famine state does the following:

  • boosts immunity
  • Improves gut health (the lack of food during intermittent fasting gives the body time to repair the gut-something it can’t do if it is constantly digesting food)
  • Genetic repair
  • Improved insulin sensitivy
  • Cellular Autophagy (this is when the body breaks down and gets rid of old, dead and dying cells and recycles them for energy- leaving younger, healthier, more efficient cells behind)

The feasting phase, known in the nutrition and fitness world as “refeeding”, is when you build up the stores of glycogen in your body by eating carbohydrates. Now the question many ask is why, after working so hard to get into ketosis, would anyone want to “refeed”. Here’s what many experts are finding… hormone, thyroid and adrenal issues during prolonged fasting and/or strict ketogenic diet (1).

During times of prolonged famine (aka: lack of carbohydrates) the brain, which runs mainly on glucose, takes energy away from areas of the body not critical for “immediate survival”. This means reduction in sex hormones and a slower metabolism. (1)

When you consume carbs, in a planned, strategic way, you send a signal to your brain that you are not in a famine state, therefore avoiding the negative consequences to your adrenals and thyroid glands.

It is recommended that cyclical keto be introduced AFTER nutritional ketosis has been established, approximately 6 weeks.  I would actually go longer, more like 2 or 3 months. Then, introducing cyclical keto establishes a state of “metabolic flexibility,” meaning the body is now capable of switching fuel sources (sugar and fat).

Below are the a few recommended ways Dr. Jockers recommends following the cyclical ketogenic diet.

BEGINNER

Beginner-Phase

INTERMEDIATE

Int-Phase

ADVANCED

Adv-Phase

Closing thoughts

I’ve decided to give the cyclical keto diet a try. I would never recommend anything to anyone without trying it myself first. I think it will be a bit easier to follow, allowing for the occasional higher carb meal, while still benefiting from the amazing energy the ketogenic diet provides. I’ll let you know in future posts how it goes.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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SOURCE:

How To Follow A Cyclic Ketogenic Diet

Fit by 50 – Week 21: 1.2 pounds lost this week! “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”…Theodore Roosevelt

Good morning everyone! I’m taking a break from measuring this week and instead focusing on inspiration. Although, I did step on the scale and, I am down 1.2 pounds! YEAH!

From the video: 1 Year 100 lb Weight Loss – Mind & Body Transformation

There is always doubt that I will ever reach my goal, so this week, I’ve decided I need some inspiration. I need to see other people, like me, my age, losing weight and getting in shape. So, I turned to youtube for inspiring weight loss transformations, as well as inspiring individuals. Here’s what I found.

Take a look at these transformations:

And then, there’s ERNESTINE!

Closing thoughts

My daily inspiration!

I urge everyone to find something or someone that inspires you. Ernestine is my inspiration. I have this image on my refrigerator as a constant reminder of what is possible. What’s in my future? Where do I want to be in 30 years? On the left, is the possibility of a healthy life, filled with wonder, adventure and excitement. On the right, is a future filled with sickness, aches, pain, and depression. What’s in your future?

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 22: Grateful for my tape measure this week!

I was extremely disappointed when I stepped on the scale this morning. Last week, I was close to moving into “unknown” territory. and thought I’d move further down the path toward my goal, meaning I thought my weight had finally move beyond my weight on August 23, 2018.

Inspirational Quotes About Weight Loss. QuotesGram

You see, I began my journey on August 9, 2018, 2 weeks after my 49th birthday. I dropped 4 pounds during the first 2 weeks of my journey, when I weighed on August 23, my lowest weight of the year. For the next 5 months, my weight fluctuated, until I finally gained 16.2 pounds as of December 31.

Motivational quotes about fitness and dieting : 24 ...

Last week I had officially lost 16 pounds since December 31 and I was within 0.2 pounds of meeting the August 23 weight. This week, I was excited to step on the scale because I thought I was finally going to move into unknown territory. Boy was I wrong! I was crushed when I stepped on the scale to see a 1.4 pound WEIGHT GAIN!

Enter my trusty tape measure. Boy am I glad I take weekly measurements or I’d be going out of my mind right now. As you can see by the measurements, the reason I gained weight is because I gained 1.5 pounds of lean tissue! I also lost 0.31% body fat. That means, since December 31, I’ve gained 5.78 pounds of lean tissue and lost 8.35% body fat.

45 Weight Loss Motivation Quotes for Living a Healthy ...

When I began my Ketogenic diet journey on December 31, I changed my goal losing weight to losing fat. My goal changed from losing 50 pounds WEIGHT to losing 19.38% body FAT. As of today, I have 11.03% more to lose to reach my goal. (24.6 more pounds according to my tracking app)

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Closing thoughts

Today is a good reminder that I’m still focusing too much on what the scale says. I must remember I’m trying to get FIT. I’m NOT trying to get SKINNY. I’m trying to lose FAT NOT WEIGHT. Being skinny doesn’t equate to being healthy. I wrote a Facebook note about this earlier this week. You can find it the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/purple-almond-wellness/lose-fatnot-weight/1225590664266081/

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 23 to 25: My Keto Journey…Progress Since the Beginning

Hello everyone! This one will be very brief, as I have some final homework for my last course.  I’m back after some time away, not only from my blog, but from a brief break from Keto. I took some time off two weeks ago to celebrate my better half’s 50th birthday. Then, I was under the weather last weekend. I was briefly kicked out of ketosis, but am clawing my way back. As you might imagine, my progress over the past couple of weeks has been a bit slow. I had a brief weight gain, and actually lost 4.6 pounds in the past week. Unfortunately, 1/3 of a pound of that was lean tissue. I’ve been slack on my HIIT exercising. Since February 14, 2019, I’ve actually lost a pound of lean tissue. This reminded me of the importance of strength bearing exercise, and I’ve reasserted myself in this area.

Here’s where I stand since February 21, 2019

 

Weigh in day! (1)

My progress since my Keto journey began on December 31, 2018

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To inspire me to continue, I’ve decided to take a look back at where I stand after 9 weeks on the Keto diet. It’s good to look at where I started, to remind myself how far I’ve come in such a short time. It’s proof that it can be done and inspires me to continue. In the past 9 weeks I’ve lost over 20 pounds of fat and 19 inches around my body, including over 5 inches around my waist. My body fat percent has dropped 8 points. Also, despite losing a pound of lean tissue over the past three weeks, I’ve still GAINED 4.28 pounds of lean tissue since December 31, 2018.

Weigh in day! (1).jpg

 

Closing thoughts

This look back has been a great reminder and very inspiring. As discouraging as the last few weeks have been, knowing I’ve already come a long way helps tremendously. Going off Keto briefly also reminded me how truly awful I feel when I eat a high carb diet. I feel absolutely amazing on the Keto diet, and will probably continue with it in some respect, even after I reach my goal body fat percentage.

You've come a long way!! | Quotes | Pinterest

With more than half the year gone, I still have a long way to go. If I’ve made it this far, I can go all the way!

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 26: I lost 2 pounds and 3.5 inches this week…focusing on the positive, halfway through my year.

I am extremely happy with my weight and inches lost this week. I can say, somewhat hesitantly, that I seem to have found my footing…FINALLY!

Weigh in day!.jpg

When I began this journey in July, 2018, I had set, what I thought would be, a simple goal….lose 1 pound a week for 50 weeks. I thought it would be easy to lose 1 pound a week. Boy was I wrong! But, All I can do now is look back at how wrong I actually was and just laugh.

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As a middle-age, post-menopausal woman, it can be almost impossible to lose weight. Your hormones are out of wack. Your metabolism slows to a crawl. You suddenly feel like someone threw you in a furnace. You snap at people for no reason. You always feel like sleeping. You forget why you walked into a room. It’s lots of fun!

Maxine on the 7 stages of Menopause

Yep, the first half of my year long project was awful. I continually tried different eating plans in an effort to find just the right one. Meanwhile, I took a cruise…gained weight…Christmas came…I gained more weight. The scale was going in the wrong direction. On December 31, I suddenly found myself needing to lose 64.8 pounds instead of 50! But…I digress…let’s change focus!

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I could look at things one of two ways. I could focus on the problems, the negative side, and be depressed at the fact that I’m halfway through my year, and still have 50 pounds to lose. OR I could look the positive…the fact that I’ve lost 14.4 pounds in 6 weeks, an average of 2.4 pounds a week…and the fact that, in 6 weeks, I’ve gone from needing to lose 64.8 pounds on December 31, 2018, to needing to lose 50.4 pounds today.

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I choose to focus on the positive. The important thing isn’t my struggles for the past 6 months. The important thing is that I didn’t give up. I kept going, I kept looking until I found what worked for me.  I have made progress over the 6 weeks. I am absolutely confident that I will make my goal weight/body fat percentage. Will it happen by my 50th birthday? I hope so. It’s still possible.

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Closing thoughts

While we shouldn’t focus on the past, we should learn from it. Even though I didn’t lose any weight between July and December, gaining weight instead, I did learn a lot. I learned what worked for me. I didn’t fail, I just found many different ways that didn’t work. As Thomas Edison said when inventing the light bulb ” I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 27 : 2.5 inches lost and how I cured my insomnia

FIRST THINGS FIRST – THIS WEEK’S PROGRESS

Thursday’s are my weigh in/measuring day. I was disappointed when I got on the scale this morning and discovered I had gained a pound over the last week. Now, I’m recovering from a bad cold and haven’t measured my ketones/glucose for over a week. After I got off the scale this morning, I got out my ketone/glucose blood meter and was a bit shocked to see my ketones were only at 0.8, which is barely in ketosis. (They are normally around 2- which is optimal – see the chart below)

Nutritional Ketosis Ketone Levels | All Articles about ...

I haven’t changed my diet, so I decided that the cold had affected the numbers and did some research. While I didn’t find anything directly saying a cold can kick you out of ketosis, I was reminded that STRESS can! I have been under a lot of stress this past few weeks, when you account for not only my cold, but my insomnia as well.

Here are 7 things that can kick you out of ketosis.

As Dr. Berg explains in the above video, stress activates the hormone cortisol, which helps us adapt to stressful situations. It’s the “fight or flight” hormone that tells your body its in danger, and prepares for you to “fight or run”. This is done by telling the body to release glucose for energy – thus kicking you out of ketosis with the flood of glucose in your system. Remember, your body doesn’t know the difference between the stress of a cold and the stress of a lion chasing it. All it knows is the body is in danger and acts accordingly.

The stress of my cold on top of my insomnia, evidently kicked me slightly out of ketosis. The fact that my ketones were at 0.8 means I’ve worked my way back, but I still have a ways to go. In fact, I probably got my cold in the first place, because my immune system was compromised from lack of sleep.

I’m so glad I’ve been measuring my body fat % and inches lost as well as weight loss. Otherwise I’d be very frustrated right now. Because, despite the fact that I gained a pound this week, I still lost 0.8 pounds over the last two weeks, AND 2.5 inches around my body (0.75 inches just on my waist) AND 1.89 pounds of fat lost over the last 2 weeks. (Remember, I didn’t take measurements last week.)

Weigh in day! (1).png

How I cured my insomnia and backwards body clock

Things were getting out of control. Either I would only sleep an hour or two, or I fell asleep at 4 o’clock AM, and slept until noon. My internal clock was completely off, probably from the all-nighters I pulled for my classes. It was similar to jet lag, when your body is set to a different time zone.

So, what did I do? I did what people do when they travel, I stayed up and adjusted to the correct time zone. Last Friday night, February 1, I stayed up all night and all through the day Saturday, then went to bed at my new bedtime – 11:00 pm. It wasn’t fun for me, (or anyone around me 🤣), but it worked. I’ll adjust this to 10:00 in the future, but for now this is a huge improvement.

I also stared a new bedtime routine. I turn off all electronics at 10:00, do 30 minutes of evening yoga, followed by 30 minute of meditation. For the first few nights, I used the herbal supplement “valarian root” to promote relaxation, but was able to fall asleep last night without it.

Closing thoughts

There you have it…my progress for the last week. I learned a lot about how daily living, and not just food, affects ketosis. I now know what’s wrong and am on my way to fixing it. The old me would’ve given up, but I know the journey won’t always be smooth. While I’m disappointed with the lack of weight loss, I did make progress toward my goal through loss of body fat % as well as inches lost.  AND, with my insomnia cured, I also feel amazing, and that’s what counts.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 28: 1.8 pound Weight loss …but sleep suffers

My weight loss this week was 1.8 pounds, however, I didn’t do any other measurements because, quite frankly, I’m exhausted. I’m currently suffering from a severe case of insomnia, made worse by a lingering cough from a recent cold. I’ll make sure and do my measurements next week, because they are what’s keeping me going.

As far as sleep goes, I finally fell asleep for a couple of hours around 4 a.m., and woke up wide awake, as if I’d had a full night”s sleep. So, I decided to do some homework, got drowsy around 11:00 and woke up just prior to writing this. Needless to say, my schedule is completely off and getting worse by the day.

 

Quotes about Insomnia

I did do a small amount of research into insomnia, and discovered that people new to keto can suffer insomnia. Initially, I thought that was the explanation. But, since my body has now fully adjusted, I no longer agree with that hypothesis. Any other research I’ve done was for tips on curing insomnia, which I’ve been sharing with you this week. Once I’m better rested, I’ll dive deeper into the cause, for now, I’ll implement some of the tips I’ve found.

Over the next week, I’ll be setting up a strict bedtime routine, as well as daily yoga and meditation. I’ll be implementing many of the tips I’ve shared with you this week.

Closing thoughts

I’ve had trouble falling asleep in the past, but I’ve never had full blown insomnia. Something must be done, I can’t continue like this. My homework and household are suffering from my backward schedule. Hopefully, things will get better this week, I’ll let you know.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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Fit by 50 – Week 29 : The progress continues – 3 pounds and 3.5 inches lost!

I have an assignment due tomorrow night, so this will be quick. I just wanted to share my success this week with you. It seems that the keto diet continues to work, as I’ve lost not only inches this week, but pounds as well.

weigh in day!

 

I am consistently logging my meals into carbmanager.com, which I absolutely love. It’s perfect for the Keto diet, telling me how many carbs I have left for each day as I go along. It tracks ketones and glucose as well. One fabulous feature is the recipe “import” feature. I can log in a website and the app will import the recipe from that site. This saves from having to log the recipe in by hand.

I’m also consistently exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, sometimes 60 minutes. I do 30 minutes of HIIT 3 days a week and 60 minutes of aerobic/walking the other days.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, so I need to figure that out.  I would also like to work in meditation and yoga everyday. So, those are my next goals: proper sleep, daily meditation and daily yoga.

Closing thoughts

I am excited by this week’s progress, and continue to be cautiously optimistic. I am within 10% points of my fat % goal. I have a long way to go for the weight goal. I’ll see where I am when I hit my fat % goal and go from there. I may not need to lose as many pounds as I originally thought. My goal weight may not be realistic, we’ll see.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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