Monday, October 26, 2020

One Last Try

Years ago, I gave up trying to lose weight. Nothing seemed to work, and each time I'd lose then gain back what I lost and then some. 

I had my thyroid checked and asked my doctor to up my meds, since my numbers were creeping up. They were still in the normal zone, but my thyroid medication hadn't been adjusted in a few years. I thought I might lose a pound or two that way, but wasn't really surprised when I didn't.

I also thought I might lose a pound or two with all of the walking I was doing, but that hadn't happened, so I resigned myself to being fit/fat. I certainly don't look like I'm fit enough to do a 5k and 10k each month, but, by God, I get out there and do them. I feel so much better since I started walking. 

I had been seeing the ads for noom for a long time, but mostly blew them off. I mean, I've tried diet after diet and end up heavier than I was before. Then someone very near and dear to my heart signed up, so I followed suit the next day.

I'm not going to lie, the first few days were hard. They call it psychology. I call it a mind fuck. It's actually cognitive behavior therapy, and it seems to be working.

Food is separated into three different categories: green, yellow, and red based on caloric density. Now, I've counted calories before - who on a diet hasn't? But I've never really given any thought to caloric density. Using one of their examples, I can choose to eat 60 calories in fresh grapes, or 60 calories in raisins. The calories are the same, but because the raisins are more calorically dense, it takes more to feel full than 60 calories of grapes. You end up eating far more raisins than grapes to get the same feeling of satiety, which means you end up ingesting a ton more calories. 

Each day, there are tasks to complete in the noom app, in addition to logging every bite of food. I've done food journaling before, and hated it. I never thought that would change. Now, though, it's become something of a game to see how many greens I can eat compared to yellows and reds. Like I said, nothing is off-limits, but red category foods are ones that should be eaten with care. The bulk of the my daily calories should be greens and yellows, with a few reds. Reds are important: they're things like dried fruits, nuts, milk/cheese, but should not be the majority of the day's calories. I sometimes fail spectacularly at that.

Poor Nebalee had to listen to me whine about two days in about how calorie-restrictive noom was. It's not really that restrictive, I just had to learn to use my calorie budget wisely. In every other diet I've ever been on, especially the calorie-restrictive ones, there were foods that were forbidden. Part of the mind fuck is that I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that nothing was forbidden. I thought I'd have to give up my daily Coke and never have it again. But since I can have it if I want it, it was easy for me to stop drinking it altogether. Coke is a big ole red item and eats up most of my red calorie budget, so once I realized that, it was gone. Saturday was a "reward yourself" day, so I drank the last Coke in the fridge. I hadn't had a Coke in nine days, so I thought it would be a great reward. I loved every damn drop, but Sunday felt a craving for sugar that was hard to beat back. I'm blaming my reward Coke for that. It is comforting, though, that I can have one any time I want, that it's not off-limits.

Food journaling is only one of the daily tasks required. There are short articles to read, goals to set, and quizzes to take. It takes approximately ten minutes out of my day to complete all of the tasks in the app. Considering the amount of time I spend scrolling through FB, I was sure I could cut ten minutes from there to spend on the noom app. 

Also, each person is assigned a goal coach that checks in with them once a week. The one task that I absolutely dreaded and almost refused to do is the daily weigh-in. Fuck, I hate the scale. I cannot express how much I did not want to step on the scale, much less every day. Luckily, Jay and I left for vacation the day after I signed up for noom, and I refused to pack the scale with us. I let my goal coach know that I wouldn't be doing my daily weigh-ins while we were on our road trip. 

After the first couple of days on noom, I started to get the hang of it. Jay and I had made a goal to walk at least 1.5 miles every day while we were on the road. After all, we were headed to three different National Parks, at least there would be some beautiful places to walk. There were a couple of long driving days that we didn't quite make our 1.5 miles, but we made up for it on other days. In seven days, we walked a total of 15.87 miles, an average of 2.26 miles/day.

I began to look forward to stepping on the scale when we got home: I'd started to get a handle on my calorie budget and we'd been walking a lot. Part of me was scared, what if I stepped on the scale and nothing happened? My doc had adjusted my thyroid meds and it resulted in zero weight loss. I'd started walking pretty religiously, including virtual races each month, and that resulted in zero weight loss. I had made peace with the fact that I was going to be fit/fat. But now? I finally had hope that the scale was going to move.

In the less than two weeks I've been on noom, I'm down 9.2 pounds. I don't expect it to continue at that rate; I believe my plan has me on track to lose seven pounds a month until March, which will take me to my goal weight. They even warn you that the scale is going to be variable. Some days I'll be down, some days I'll be up. Them acknowledging that right up front, and reassuring me that it's perfectly normal, has done a lot to ease my diet and scale anxiety. Despite the scale moving in the right direction, my clothes aren't yet fitting differently, but that will come with time. (**That time came today, Monday, when I weighed in. According to the scale, I'm up a pound. Knowing that it's a normal fluctuation is helpful, but I won't lie, it's still kind of disheartening.)

Two weeks in, I know this is going to work, so then my next big question is: can I maintain it? Noom isn't a diet that you pay to be on for the rest of your life; it's training you to work within your calorie budget. I hope that in the next six months I'm able to absorb all of their "psychology" so I don't end up gaining back every pound.

Speaking of cost, one of the things that kept me from signing up in the first place is that there's no set fee scale for the program. It felt like looking at a menu with no prices listed - I just knew I wouldn't be able to afford it. It turns out, for me, it's less than a gym membership. The hard part, if you're on a budget, is that you have to pay for your entire program upfront, rather than monthly. I paid about $145 for my six month program, which works out to be about $24/month. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Virtual Races 2020

I've neglected this blog for so long, and I feel guilty for it. I probably don't have any readers left, and that's okay. Instead of writing for others, I'm using this as a journal of sorts.

Two years ago, I started Ease Into 5k (a Couch to 5k-type app). Copper became my running partner and we completed a couple of virtual races. Then the weather rolled in, and I hung it up.

In 2019, I thought it would be a good idea to do a cumulative race of 121 miles. I thought it would be something I could complete between February and my birthday in July. I was wrong. It actually took me 13 months to complete. I just couldn't force myself, even with using the Ease Into 5k app, to take up running on a regular basis.

At the beginning of the year, though, I decided to give it a try again. I was the most out-of-shape I've ever been. A flight of stairs defeated me, so I found more virtual races that looked interesting and signed up. I joined the community rec center and started walking on the treadmill. I didn't break out the training app, figuring I could do intervals all by myself and build up that way. Because I was so unhappy with my fitness level, I managed to make it to the rec center on a fairly regular basis and forced myself through run/walk intervals, either on the treadmill or on the 0.1 mile indoor track.

I lined up 5ks for the next few months and whined to Nebalee about how much I hated running. Poor thing had to hear it before and after every workout. She likes to do the BolderBoulder 10k for her birthday, and I knew if I was going to have a snowball's chance in hell of surviving, I needed to train. Except, when I "trained" in 2019 I started strong, then gave up. The 2019BB was awful and seriously gave me PTSD. To this day, whenever I'm faced with a 10k, she has to talk me down the day or two before.

In February, I committed to doing a 5k a month for the rest of the year. I had to do something about my fitness level. So, I found a few and signed up.

I've done 5ks in the past, so when I huffed and puffed my way through the Love Your Heart race and turned in a flat-out pathetic time that underscored exactly how unconditioned I was. It was disheartening. I kept at the walk/run intervals at the rec center between my first race and my second. In doing so, I was able to shave 15 minutes off my time, but I hated every damn moment of it. Not only did my mind hate it, but my body wasn't doing well. My feet and knees were giving me fits and after each of my 5ks I was lamed up for a day or two.

 Nebalee listened to me whine about it, then suggested that maybe I give up running and just walk. I thought she was out of her ever-loving mind. She asked me to try walking the April race to see what happened and she offered to join me.

I'll be damned if I didn't shave another four minutes off my 5k time at the next race, and we never went faster than a walk. I wasn't lamed up for days after the race, plus I'd cut time. I was sold!

Right after March virtual race, the world shut down, so I was forced to "train" outside. Luckily, the weather was good enough that I didn't freeze and once Nebalee proved to me that walking was better for me than running, I never had to talk myself into putting in the miles. My entire attitude about exercising improved.

Oscar's SCRAM! 5k

Since that April virtual race, Nebalee has been my constant race partner, always setting a good pace: one that is doable, but still challenging. I was beginning to think I might make it through the BolderBoulder, now re-named the VirtuALL 10k, since the world was still mostly locked down. Tens of thousands of people crowded into downtown Boulder wasn't a great idea, so they took the race virtual. 

We did one 5k in May, prior to the VirtuALL 10k, which was good. I was beginning to think I might be fit enough to do a 10k. And I was. We didn't turn in a great time, but I finished with minimal cussing and didn't even hate my sister for one moment, as I have in the past with the BolderBoulder. I was sore, but not lame, and decided that I would commit to not only one 5k a month for the rest of the year, but also a 10k.

Nebalee was doing a great job of encouraging me, and pushing me at every race, no matter the distance, and I had hopes to hit at sub-sixteen minute mile by the end of the year. Then, August happened and our state caught on fire. The air quality since has been hit or miss. Some days it's okay to be outside, some days it's not. I wasn't going to give up on my races, so bad air or not, on race day, we walked. We didn't want to push ourselves in bad air, so went from trying to cut time to just completing the miles. I'm trying not to be frustrated about being forced to slow down; seeing improvements in my time was the motivation I needed to keep going.

I've now completed six 10ks, though I get a bit of a panic attack a day or two before each, and Nebalee calms me down each time. I've decided that next year, I'm going to walk a half-marathon at least once. I've got races lined up for the rest of the year, and I no longer dread training for them.

I'll be posting race updates in the table below, just for easy reference for myself. 


2020 Date

Race name





February 29

Love Your Heart





March 18

Super Grover Red Cape




Lockdown began mid-March

April 22

Oscar’s SCRAM!




Began walking instead of running

May 4

May the Fourth





May 25





Replaced BolderBoulder after lockdown

June 12






June 24

Smokey the Bear





July 2

World UFO Day





July 17






August 18





Intentionally slow due to poor air quality

August 28

Wonder Woman





September 7

Riveter Run




Intentionally slow due to poor air quality

September 7





Intentionally slow due to poor air quality

September 25

She Believed





October 10

Stranger Distances

6.7 mi



Odd distance

October 12

Jolly Jack-O-Lantern





October 31






November 1

Day of the Dead





November 26

Thankful Turkey




December 5





New PR

December 24

Smilin’ Santa




New PR


Sunday, February 9, 2020

RIP Speed Racer

On November 24, 2014 the sweetest kitten ever was abandoned in a cardboard box in a grocery cart in the middle of an aisle in Safeway. My boss' wife saved "her" and brought the kitten to the college, where I immediately laid claim to the tiny bundle of fur.

And then we got home and the yet-to-be-named kitten decided Jay was "her" human.

A few days later, we agreed on Abby as a name. I swore it was short for Abandonded Kitty, Jay said it was short for Abigail. We didn't have to agree on what Abby stood for, we were just happy to have a name for the kitten. Fast forward a few weeks, I was laid up in bed after another dental procedure and Digger was playing with Abby. Just as I was about to nod off, he called from the living room, "Mom, I thought you said she was a girl. These are definitely balls." When I managed to crack my eyes open and focus, there they were - a pair of fuzzy black balls. I guess "Abby" was a lot younger than we thought when we brought her.. er... him home.

Abby became Speed Racer and we loved that shitten with every bit of our cold, dead hearts. He was a ... special ... cat. His elevator didn't go all the way to the top, but everyone who met him loved him.
On November 17, 2019 he went on a walk-about. We thought we lost him forever. Speed Racer *NEVER* failed to come when called. After a couple of days, we were pretty certain that he'd gone to the Heaviside Layer, though in a small part of our formerly cold, dead hearts, we both hoped he'd show up.
Pongo was really sad and moping around that Speed Racer was gone; he became incredibly needy and went back and forth between me and Jay. He was truly despondent that his brother was gone.

After a couple of weeks of Pongo being so needy, Jay decided Pongo needed a new brother, so off to the Cat Rescue we went to adopt Pongo someone to play with. I wasn't sure I was ready to move on from Speed Racer, but Pongo was driving us absolutely bat guano with his neediness, so we brought home Chief.

Elli's text on December 16, 2019 only said, "Speed Racer!". He came back! He was in really bad shape. 

You can see the tracks he left when he came up out of the cornfield.

An optimistic estimation of his body condition score put him at 1-2. I was fairly certain that he'd come home to die, but each day he got a little stronger and stronger.  By the time we left for Vegas, his body condition score was a solid 3, headed toward 4.

Chief took it upon himself to help Speed Racer heal by cuddling with him every chance he had. He took immediately to Speed Racer and when he wasn't busy terrorizing Pongo, he was cuddled up to Speed Racer, purring away.

Where Speed Racer went, Chief went. You can see how thrilled Speed Racer was.

Speed Racer has always been an anxious cat, and despite L.E. spending time and loving on him, he dropped some weight while we were gone, but he was still a solid 3.
But the last few days, he just tanked. Monday, the only thing he would eat were cat treats. Tuesday, he turned his nose up at them, so off to the vet we went. I hoped it wouldn't be a one-way trip, but in my heart I knew.

Probably liver failure, common in formerly obese cats (he was running 17#, easy, before he went on his walk-about) who lose a lot of weight rapidly.
Speed Racer, a whole lot of people loved you and prayed for you when you went missing. Even more cheered when you came home. You're going to be missed, Good Boy.
October 2014 - February 4, 2020

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My Boys

I know we've probably all seen that meme and have laughed. But when I see it, I count my lucky stars that all of the men in my life get along. I'm sure I've written about it in the past, but when I see them hanging out and having fun my cold, dead heart just swells.

L->R: Jay, Mez, me, Robbie

Robbie and Mez were among the group of shooters who immediately took me under their wings when I was a baby shooter. I've written in the past about the importance of shooting buddies over on The GunDivas, but I don't know that I've talked here about how important it is for women to be surrounded by men who believe in them.

"My boys" are every bit as important to me as "my girls", and it might have been even more important to me that they approve of, and get along with, Jay. You see, my boys helped me heal from a bad break-up, though they didn't know it. My girls helped too, but in a different way. My girls listened to the sobbing and angst that went along with having my heart broken. My boys showed me my worth and believed in me. They treated me with kindness and respect without ever knowing how damaged I was. They accepted me for who I was: a new shooter who was willing to pull her own weight and learn the ropes. There might have been some hesitation at the very beginning, simply because the majority of the (very few) women who attended the shoots were there only to appease their significant others, so they didn't know what to expect.

There are some people who say that it's impossible for people of opposite genders to be friends, but I don't believe that at all. In fact, I think it's critically important to have friends of opposite genders.

There are lots of studies out there about how important a father figure is in a child's life, or failing that, a good male role model. I want to throw it out there that it's not just children who benefit from from good male role models. Having quality men in my life as an adult showed me how I deserved to be treated. I have a great father figure in Bill, but that's not the same as having friends who showed me, through their actions, what I could and should expect.

As important as it was for my girls to approve of Jay when we started dating, it was every bit (maybe more) important for my boys to approve of him. It was equally important that Jay not be threatened by my male friends. As a society, we tend to talk about strong women, but we don't talk about strong men. Let me tell you, it takes a strong man to go into a relationship with a woman who is surrounded by men she has a history with, and who she loves in the same way she loves her girls.

Maybe that's why this picture means so much to me. I have spent a great deal of time this week counting my blessings that Jay and my boys melded so well. Every time I see them together, my heart swells. It's not just Mez and Robbie who Jay gets along with, I'm talking all of my male friends. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Family Bonding

Monster, my youngest, moved to Arizona a year or so ago. He does that, gets itchy feet and moves. He's the one of my three who just packs up and moves, always has. I'm not brave enough to do that, I'm a Colorado girl through and through and can't imagine living anywhere else (except when it's below zero, then the thought flits across my mind).

Deejo and his family moved back to Arizona a year ago, after Monster did. Now, Monster lives with Deejo's family and it seems to be working.

That was a round about way of saying that I haven't seen my brother or my son in a while. Nebalee found us cheap airfare, so we flew out to spend a few days with them.

It was so good to see my Monster (and the rest of the fam, obvs). We spent one night sitting on the couch, watching hockey. I can't remember the last time I got to hang with him and yell at the TV.

Since we had some free time and wanted to go do something, we put on our thinking caps and came up with axe throwing. I don't know who had the idea, or even where it came from, but that's what we came up with. I got on Groupon and found a place nearby that was reasonable. Nebalee and I got everything organized and the next day, off we went.

We had a 90-minute session that included some very basic instruction and practice, then we broke up into teams and competed against each other. We started with two-handed throwing, to get the hang of it, then went to one-handed. Because I like to be able to do things ambidextrously, I tried throwing both right- and left-handed. Monster and Deejo also played along with the non-dominant hand practice.

Asset, Nebalee's daughter, was apprehensive at first and didn't really want to keep going after her first couple of throws. It's deceptively harder than it looks. But then she got the hang of it. She got the hang of it so well that she was the only one on our team to put any points on the board when we were playing 21.

Team Axcellent
Team Axekickers

Check out the witty, axe-themed nicknames
I was fairly confident that our team (Axekickers) was gonna kick Axcellent's axe, but they beat us two of three games. It's all good though, we had a great time and the games helped us get out of our heads while we were throwing, and get comfortable. The last game we played was "Survivor" and it was each person for themselves. I was feeling pretty confident, as was everyone else. Holy cow! Asset started off strong and kept going. She beat three or four of us in a row before getting knocked out. Luckily, we all had two lives to lose, so she had the opportunity to come back and redeem herself.

Asset had a bit of a rough start to the day, but stuck with it and started kicking everyone's axe. Monster took to it like a duck to water. The rest of us were pretty hit or miss. She and Monster probably threw the best, each with a handful of X-ring throws in a row. If I had laid down a bet, Asset or Monster would have been the two I'd put my money on to win.

Then Nebalee stepped up. Asset had just thrown three (or was it four) bulls eyes in a row. They stepped to the line together, mother vs daughter, and Nebalee threw her axe. It wasn't a great throw, but it stuck in the 3 ring. Asset threw her axe and I don't know what the hell happened, but her axe throwing mojo completely disappeared. Like - *poof* - gone. Nebalee had successfully knocked Asset out of the competition and had to face Monster, who had also been kicking everyone's axe.

Nebalee had her best throw of the day and ended up victorious. I'm sure if I was a better writer, I could write a tear jerker of a screenplay about how the underdog came from nowhere and beat the two best throwers with the best throw of the day. Just imagine the slo-mo montage with inspirational music as we watch her axe leave her hands and rotate toward the target. The crowd erupts in cheers and the loser gives her a heartfelt congratulations. Everything is right in the world.

The whole thing was so much fun, but there was one last throw I wanted to try: two axes at a time! If throwing one axe was fun, throwing two had to be twice as fun. It was.

Now, some people might raise an eyebrow at using axe throwing as family bonding, but it was incredible! I think that this is something we'll have to do on the regular. We don't have a nearby axe bar (yet), but once it opens, I'll be taking my other heathens for some mom/heathi bonding.