Weight loss update: Week 1

By | April 14, 2019

My weight is down about 2 pounds from a week ago. Sounds good I guess, but I don’t think it’s anything to shout about. I’ve weighed myself several times this week, and I’ve seen the numbers go down a little, up a little, down again… I know that it isn’t really valuable to weigh in every day; I know that differences of a pound or two from day to day aren’t significant and that they represent the weight of water, undigested food, etc. I also know that net pounds lost only tells half the story, because a pound of muscle lost is worse than useless. I’ve got to pick up some resistance exercises to keep from losing muscle mass.

I haven’t been keeping an obsessive log of my food intake because I know that, for the most part, I eat healthy food and not to excess. Although maybe I should keep track; it’s hard to know how much over diet I go on a given day because of eating out once or getting free bagels at work. Free snacks, especially carbs (which is what most freebies are), are my weakness.

What I really need to change is my activity level. I have been trying to do that this week. Last Sunday Jay and I went for a 4-mile walk outdoors. On Monday I treadmilled for about 20 minutes. On Tuesday I rode the exercise bike for about 40. It’s hard to keep track of all these things, even with a Fitbit watch to record my activities…because for the most part, it doesn’t record them automatically. I have to stop and start the record. I nearly always forget. But I’ve started manually entering all my activities into Strava, in hopes that seeing a record of it will give me positive reinforcement. It’s been a good technique for me before.

Oh yeah, I also did a few exercises with barbells on Friday. Bicep curls, deltoid extensions. I need to get more systematic about that and add a whole range of exercises.

 

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Wherein: We Are Fat

By | April 8, 2019

Jay and I are fat.

We’re suffering from the same fate that afflicts a lot of prosperous First World people with demanding jobs and insufficient get-up-and-go: ample “padding” and clothes that don’t fit any more.

It doesn’t help that:

  1. Jay suffers from major depression
  2. I suffer from depression and a certain amount of media addiction (translation: I watch way too much TV)
  3. We both suffer from seasonal affective disorder to a certain extent — we tend to cocoon during the long dark winter months and get almost no exercise
  4. Jay travels for work and isn’t here at the end of the day to kick my ass and get me to exercise
  5. Jay travels for work and so he’s not here at the end of the day so I can kick his ass and get him to exercise
  6. We snack too much
  7. We’re both really, really, really good at making excuses

Thus, we’ve decided to take the dramatic and possibly futile step of publicly sharing our attempts at losing weight. We’re planning on posting weekly weight and exercise updates … hoping that sharing our progress with the world will keep us honest.

We have every app in the book (MyFitnessPal, MapMyWalk, Strava, Fitbit, Google Fit, MyRally, Mindbody). We have Fitbit Ionic smartwatches with GPSes. We have a smart scale that syncs our weight automatically to four of those apps. We have a treadmill. We have a stationary exercise bike. We have actual bicycles that we could, you know, use once in a while. We have kayaks for when Lake Champlain gets above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Jay has fitness centers in all the hotels he stays in. We have free weights — dumbbells and mini dumbbells in various sizes.

None of those make a bit of difference if we don’t use them.

We know diets can work if you have enough willpower. Back in 2009, Jay got … a bit zealous and dropped his weight from 238 (or so) to 178. He did this by strictly limiting his calories to about 1400 a day and spending an hour on an inclined treadmill at 4.7 miles an hour. Obviously, that’s kind of extreme. And it led, in Jay’s case, to a slow rebound back up, via various plateaus every ten pounds or so, to where he is now. Neither of us expects to repeat that kind of monastic discipline; we’re ten years older and have ten more years’ worth of bad habits. But still…

I’m not going to say what I weigh now. Let’s just call it X. My goal is to get down to X-30, ultimately. And X-10 this year, preferably by the end of the summer.

Jay told me to go ahead and share his actual weight – as of this morning he’s at 251 pounds. He’s 6’2. He wants it to be noted, furthermore, that based on his height and weight he’s got a BMI of 32.2 and that means he’s obese. If we wants to be out of the “overweight” zone on the BMI scale he’s got to get his weight down below 195. (Yes, we know the BMI concept has its flaws.) So that’s Jay’s goal long-term — to get back down south of 195. And in the short term, he wants to get back down below 220. So, a loss of 30 or so pounds for him as well.

We’re both planning on walking the 2019 Twin Cities Susan G Komen 3-Day in mid-August and we’re planning on doing as many training walks as possible. We did a four-mile walk yesterday on a chilly, but not cold, day. We’re going to increase our distance week by week until we’re doing 13 miles and 15 miles and so on. Last time we jointly did a lot of training (again, back in 2009) I got in much better shape. So that’s the ace in our sleeve – we’re going to do a crazy amount of walking.

We apologize in advance if our posts about our weight loss progress become annoying — but it seems like holding ourselves publicly accountable is the only option we have left. Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.

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Another Year, Another Marauding Antediluvian Saurian Bearing Angiosperms

By | February 14, 2019

I think Champ is really obsessed with me. He came by my office for the second year in a row to wish me Happy Valentine’s Day!

Doesn’t he look bigger than last year? The handler who brought him in, said he’d been eating a lot of hot dogs. I dunno, I heard he’s been eating a lot of kids. 😉

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Walking Sixty Miles To Fight Breast Cancer (Again, Naturally)

By | February 9, 2019

Hi, all.

I am signed up to walk in the 2019 Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day walk, a sixty-mile, three-day walk to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.

In order to take part, I have to raise a minimum of $2,300. The money raised will go to pay for research, clinical trials, education, and treatment. I wouldn’t undertake an effort like this if I didn’t think that the fight against cancer was one worth fighting for.

This will be my 11th time taking part in a 3-Day walk. I walk and crew these events not because it’s an easy way to feel like I’ve made a little bit of a difference. Walking sixty miles is no weekend-in-the-park fun run. I walk because it’s important and because it’s hard. Finding a cure for cancer is hard. Changing a diagnosis of breast cancer from a death sentence to a manageable, treatable condition … that’s hard. And we have made strides — the odds are getting better. But there’s still many a tough mile left to walk.

Will you help by sponsoring me? You can donate here:

http://www.the3day.org/goto/carole

Thank you so much!

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Te Deum

By | February 7, 2019

Hey, all. I’m going to be singing in concert with the Green Mountain Mahler Festival this Saturday at St Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont. The Green Mountain Mahler Festival doesn’t just do Mahler works — they do various readings of orchestral and choral works by all manner of composers. Sometimes we just come together and go through a work from beginning to end, but other times we rehearse all day and then do a concert for friends and family in the evening. That’s the case here. We’re going to do two Te Deums (orchestra and chorus), one by Bruckner and one by Dvorak ; the orchestra will also do the Adagio religioso from Lobgesang by Felix Mendelssohn.

It should be fun. I’ve performed with the Mahler Festival pick-up orchestra several times, sometimes playing French horn and other times as a vocalist. I’m singing alto this time around.

The concert is at Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 8:00 PM at the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel at Saint Michael’s College, in Colchester, Vermont. Admission is by free will donation; the donations will go to AgeWell. For more information visit vtmahler.org.

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Green Mountain Horn Club concert

By | February 7, 2019

The Green Mountain Horn Club — an all French horn ensemble founded in 1984 by Alan Parshley — holds concerts now and then when we can get people together. Recently we played in Lincoln, Vermont as part of their “Hill Country Holiday” celebration. The concert was held at the United Church of Lincoln and we had a pretty decent turnout.

The video, above, was shot by my husband Jay from the church balcony. The sound isn’t professional quality, obviously, but it’s not awful. There are a couple of breaks in the action when the camera chose of its own accord to just stop filming, but we only lost a couple of the spoken-word transitions between pieces that our conductor used to give our lips time to recover. All the music was recorded.

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Messiah Sing

By | December 12, 2018

The Burlington Choral Society (Carole Furr, member, usually) held an open-to-all Messiah Sing last night at the North Avenue Alliance Church. I’m sure ours was much like any other: we did about a third of the full work in about 90 minutes’ time. The soloists and accompanying pianist were first-rate.

Jay, who sings so badly that he can sterilize cattle within a five kilometer radius, came along just to listen, and happened to record a snippet from “Unto Us A Child Is Born” and, later, all of the Hallelujah Chorus. I think we sounded pretty darn good!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Carole

By | November 22, 2018


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

As usual, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving. No family visits. Just us and kitties. But I’m thankful that Jay was home. He’s been traveling an awful lot. Last weekend, he walked yet another 3-Day (Susan G. Komen event) in San Diego. Came home with horribly blistered feet and he’s been experiencing some strain in one of his legs, from favoring the blistered foot over the last twenty miles. But the blisters have healed miraculously well.

I’m thankful I got to start the day with a yoga class. That was a nice way to spend some time before the traditional Thanksgiving gorge-fest.

And I’m thankful we were blessed enough to head to a fancy Stowe resort restaurant and enjoy a lovely buffet.

I’m not thankful for the 7-degree weather today. But I do know the hidden blessing of the weather: homeless people get to sleep in beds. (The state has a priority allotment system for giving out emergency motel room vouchers, but when it’s cold enough, the priority list goes out the window and everyone gets a room.)

So, God bless us every one, and to all a good night. To mix a few quoteaphors and all that.

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NAMI Vermont MindWalk 2018

By | September 28, 2018

On Sunday I will be taking part in the NAMI Vermont MindWalk — a fundraiser to raise funds (the best kind!) for advocacy and support of the mentally ill and their families and friends here in Vermont. (NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.)

As someone who is mentally ill, I greatly appreciate the work that NAMI Vermont does to work toward creating a stigma-free society where mental illness is treated the same as any other illness, not as something to be ashamed of.

I would be grateful for any support and donations!

You can donate here. Thank you in advance for your support!

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Travel and appetite

By | August 17, 2018

Some days when I’m traveling, my appetite gets extremely erratic. I’m not sure why…my current theory is that my digestion slows to almost nothing when I have to sit for like twelve hours without moving, and it may take several days to get moving again.

Anyway, we’re in Copenhagen, and I’m having one of those days. We got up and ate at the restaurant buffet (and I ate too much, as I always do at buffets). Then we went to Tivoli Gardens, and walked around looking for something to do. Unfortunately, there were two things to do: ride carnival rides, or eat at the restaurants. And I couldn’t work up an appetite for anything.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a 7-Eleven to get some drinks. They had something under the counter called “Raw Balls” that caught our eye, so we bought 3 of those, and I ate one and a bite of another.

So that’s my total food consumption today: breakfast, and one-and-a-fraction Raw Balls.

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