Friday, November 25, 2016


I am part of a Facebook group that  started as a sort of joke after the election where people were asked to post photos of comfort food they were eating to help them cope.  But now it's already turned into a nice little group where people are sharing favorite family dishes - always nice to see.

On Thanksgiving Eve the moderator asked people to post photos of their traditional holiday foods and share the story around them, if there was one. As this is quite the diverse group it was so much fun to see what other people and cultures eat.

I shared three photos.

Ham, Cheddar, and Scallion Scones
I make some version of these each year for just my family to have as a quick breakfast.

Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole
This is one of the dishes I take to share with my extended family. This is not cooked so it looks a bit weird but I knew I'd forget to take a photo of it cooked - and I did!  That white stuff on top is a brown sugar, flour and butter topping that pretty much turns into a crunchy caramel pecan topping.  This is what my family does in place of the traditional sweet potato-marshmallow dish

And finally, the newest traditional dish, the one I wouldn't be allowed to enter the house without

The 2016 Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake

And these are just a few of the obligatory dishes of our Thanksgiving Holiday, there are many more that I don't think we'll ever change.  In fact, this year we didn't have a single new dish!

I also decided to do something else on Thanksgiving morning while I was out doing my own turkey trot.  Each year Runner's World suggests that runners try their streak, which is to run at least 1 mile per day, every day from Thanksgiving through New Years.  I've never done it before because this time of year is so busy.  But that's the whole point - don't let the seasonal business get in the way of your health and fitness.  I started thinking about it and thought the trick is not to feel obligated to run and run and run but on days when I don't feel like running, just commit to the one mile for 39 days.  Since I ran 3.3 miles yesterday, if I do no more than that one mile, I'll have 41.3 miles on New Year's Day. Not a bad obligation.

Today is black Friday but I'm not a fan.  I will just enjoy having an extra long weekend - now let me get out there for my mile!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I have been feeling a bit lost at sea with the United States election and even more so because of the aftermath.  I have actually had days when I felt like my soul was cracking because of the hatred and vitriol I've seen and heard of.

Additionally there has been some stuff going on with my extended family that is very, very hard and likely not to resolve for a while.  A bit of a double whammy if you will.

Honestly, all of it combined has been bad enough that I've literally been forcing myself to get out of bed, exercise, and go to work.  And though I know most of this stuff is temporary, I've felt like a fish out of water as I search for the path I need to take.

I'm thankful for compassionate and understanding friends, especially since one reminded me of this:

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 

by William Ernest Henley

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

And So It Goes

Eleven years ago when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, my doctor told me I might never get back to the weight I'd been pre-diagnosis.  She wasn't trying to discourage me but wanted me to have a realistic view of what it was going to be like.  While not everyone diagnosed with this has weight issues, I haven't been so lucky and as I think through these past years, I believe for about 6 months I was really, really close to a weight and size I'd like to be at but couldn't maintain it.  Now I can't even remember why or how the slow creep started because up until a couple years ago, I felt like I'd been on a constant diet.  I try not to think about it too much because it really ticks me off that she has been correct.

Last January it started cooking around in my brain that my thyroid levels had stayed consistent for a couple of years and that maybe now that I was fully menopausal, I could at least try to cut back my food a little and see if any weight loss would happen.  That's when I came up with the idea of the $5 bet with Mr. Helen.

Things were going along gangbusters and I was slowly, ever so slowly some weeks, losing a bit of weight.  I was really happy about it because I started feeling better and honestly was not dieting or depriving myself at all.

Somewhere around the end of June, Mr. Helen and I started passing the same $5 bill back and forth as one week I'd lose, the next I'd gain.  Over the summer, gains started being bigger than the losses, until finally around Labor Day I told Mr. Helen I wanted to pause the bet until after my race in October.  I was finding myself consumed with the fact that I wasn't losing weight and really just wanted to concentrate on my race.  I was truly feeling exhausted by it. This is a graph from the spreadsheet I set up for Mr. Helen to track the process.  While I had a couple ups, it pretty much was steadily heading down but look at the crazy up and down, up and down right in the middle.  That is July & August, followed by what turned out to be a steady gain in September.  Keep in mind that I hadn't changed a thing about how I was eating and was actually exercising a bit more. Blame me for taking a hiatus?

Additionally, I started not feeling well overall again - really fatigued -  but attributed that to all the running I was doing, plus at the end of August, I started a new part time job.  However, by the middle of September, I noticed my hair was coming out in handfuls and my nails kept breaking and wouldn't grow.  Also, my running pace had fallen off from what it was in May - like my legs were heavy. One night, in the middle of the night, I woke up and had the thought that maybe my thyroid was off.  So, I called the doctor and made an appointment.

While at the appointment, I told him I thought something was wrong - that I was having symptoms of hypothyroid again and asked if we could just run the tests.  Ask me how vindicated I felt when the test showed that my values jumped two whole points.  I knew it!

So now, my meds are adjusted and as soon as I get the graph back down to the lowest point, I'm restarting the $5 bet with Mr. Helen.  I know it will take a few weeks before I feel better and I'm looking forward to that.

In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about what to do if I can't get this weight loss restarted again.  So far, this is all I've come up with: