Monday, May 30, 2016

Stutter Step

In all my years of hard core dieting, summer was always the time I seemed to lose weight.  I think it's because my palate really enjoys all the fresh vegetables and the simplicity of throwing something on the grill to go along with.  Don't get me wrong, I do love a good pot roast but winter food is just much heavier, starchier, and fussier.  As I am a person who loves starchy foods like potato, pasta, and rice, when it's included at every meal it was always really hard for me to not choose those things.

This year as my winter food woes dragged on into January and made me think a lot about what I want for myself in terms of health, but also size, I decided that 2016 would need to be the year I ONCE AND FOR ALL got a grip on how to eat all the things that appeal to me but not overdo it.  This was necessary because I have sworn off hard core dieting.  I figured if I lose some weight, great, but if not, I would then need to make peace once and for all with the size I was.

I began like gang busters but then things simmered down.  As I am not looking at what I'm losing or gaining each week I only have what Mr. Helen says nearly every week:  "good job - slow but steady - keep it up."  I literally have no idea if that means 1/10th of a pound or 1 pound.  It didn't matter as I had been eating what I believe to be more normal and still was losing a bit.  I got the bonus of shifting down one size in clothes and I have been feeling so much more peaceful about food.  When we are invited out or to someone's house, I don't feel panicky and the need to take my own food. That has been a wonderful side effect of this process.

Then, the calendar turned to May.

In May I had to deal with a four day anniversary celebration, Mr. Helen's three day birthday weekend, a five day visit with our kids, and National EMS week, during which my employer feeds us every single day, and my company's business after hours which is catered by my favorite caterer.

In other words, nothing was "normal" - I mean nothing:  eating, sleeping, schedules, housekeeping - nothing!

I did the best I could with all of this - I didn't gorge myself on desserts or cheese, I didn't eat the food at work every day, just a couple times when I felt I could make better choices (and I didn't miss the other food, nor care), I held the adult beverages to 1 glass of Prosecco most of the time, and at the business after hours, even with the abundance of free wine, I drank club soda. While I let the housekeeping go, I tried very hard to get enough sleep and I'd say was 90% successful with keeping up some sort of exercise.

What I learned in May was how to maintain.  Well, I'm assuming maintenance because Mr. Helen and I literally passed one five-dollar bill back and forth with two gains, two losses.

I suppose I should be proud, and I guess in a strange way I am because I lived my life and participated in all those fun events fully and I somehow managed to keep negative self talk at bay (again a promise I made that I would love and appreciate myself wherever I am).  On the other hand, I'm not quite ready to learn maintenance.  Over this last week as things have returned to "normal," I'm trying to embrace the lessons of May so that I might move along towards my ultimate size 10 goal.

Monday, May 16, 2016

An Anniversary to Remember: Cape Cod

And just like that, it has been a couple weeks since I blogged.  May is always a crazy month for us with our anniversary, Mr. Helen's birthday, and Mother's Day all mixed in the first couple of weeks. This year the crazy continues as my step-son, who we haven't seen since 2008, arrives at the end of the week for a few days.

When I last left off we were going to take our anniversary trip to Cape Cod.  I'll just start by saying we had the best time!  First of all, we had days of rain preceding the trip but on the day we left it cleared up and stayed sunny with clear blue skies while we were there.  Yes, it was cooler than usual, but we were prepared for it.

We stayed at the Anchor In, a new to us place.  Whenever you book a hotel online, especially in Cape Cod, you just never know what you'll get - we've ended up in some dives!  This time, to put it simply, it was magnificent and we left saying this will be our off-season go to place.  The Anchor In is a very pretty 42 room inn run by the same family for 3 generations.  It's right on the Hyannis Harbor and the accommodations were quiet, comfortable, and immaculately clean.  We had a King Room with a small deck that gave us a view of the pool area, fire pit, and harbor.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a mini-fridge and coffee pot in the room.  Plus they provided robes, and other amenities, such as my favorite -  the giant magnified makeup mirror in the sink area.  Friends who wear glasses can appreciate how much I enjoyed this! Our stay included also included continental breakfast.

When we arrived, we got checked in, then just like kids immediately changed into the fluffy white robes and sat around and relaxed.  We had decided to have our celebratory dinner out on Friday night as we planned to sightsee on Saturday.  Dinner was at another new to us place, Tumi , self-described Ceviche described as a Peruvian-Italian.  Sounds odd but the online reviews were great so we decided to give it a try. We shared a beet salad then Mr. Helen had a Peruvian Seafood Pasta and I had Italian Beef Braciole.  Both meals were so delicious but one thing made those meals really fantastic: they make all their pasta on-site.  I do believe the linguine that came with my braciole is the best pasta I've ever had.  Believe it or not, we were stuffed and didn't get dessert.

Saturday morning we slept in, then I took our large travel coffee cups and walked down to the library to get us some coffee - which the inn keeps brewing all day from 7:00 am to 11:00 p.m.  Isn't that a great idea?  We sipped on that while we got ready, then went down for the continental breakfast.  You can't even begin to imagine our surprise when we got down there as this is what was on it:  bagels, croissants, English muffins, muffins, cinnamon rolls, four kids of cereal, hard boiled eggs, slices of ham, yogurt, fresh fruit, cream cheese, butter, jelly and jam, coffee, tea, water, hot chocolate, cranberry juice and orange juice!  I totally splurged and had a bagel and a hard boiled egg, then went back and got us a blueberry muffin which we shared. Each guest has a choice of taking their breakfast back to their room, or sitting in the library or on the sun porch, with a view of the harbor.

After we ate, we decided to take a walk around the historic main street part of Hyannis before we took off in the car to do more sightseeing.We did a two mile loop that walked us straight down Hyannis Main Street then back around to the waterfront area to our inn. The Kennedys have always summered in the Hyannis area so there is an actual trail that you can follow to see various historical sights, such as the armory where JFK accepted the Presidential nomination. Of course there are lots of other things to see as well as cute shops and places to eat.

After we got back, we took off for our drive around to see lighthouses, one of my favorite things!  Plus, we needed a redo after our rained out visit in 2010.  We drove up the Cape to North Truro and started at the Highland Light also known as the Cape Cod Light.  This is the lighthouse featured in that photo of our previous rained out visit.  It was so nice to see it as it should be seen, though the museum part and gift shop were not open yet.

Truro is also known for it's beach dunes so we took a ride to Coast Guard Beach to see the dunes.  As you can see it was a gorgeous day, but only about 55 degrees with a stiff breeze - definitely not beach weather.  You can imagine how surprised we were to see people taking chairs and sitting out on the beach.  Too cold for us! But we had stopped at Whole Foods and picked up some food and sat in the car eating our lunch while looking out at the ocean.  That was when I decided, for sure, that the beach really IS my happy place.  I could almost feel my stresses falling away as the waves rolled in and out.

We left Truro and headed for Orleans, which is where we stayed during our fated 2010 vacation.  There we were able to see both Nauset Light and the Three Sisters. The Nauset Light had to be moved due to natural corrosion of the cliffs by the ocean.

Finally, we headed to Chatham to see the Chatham Light which is run and owned by the United States Coast Guard.  More recently Chatham has become famous for being the place on the Cape where the beaches keep getting shut down due to sharks.  There is a large seal population there and guess what sharks like to eat?  In fact, we could see seals sitting out on what is known as the Chatham Bars - which are sand bars that become quite visible when the tide is low. The tiny black dots in the background of the bottom photo here are seals on the bars.

Believe it or not, all that sightseeing took us until 4:00 p.m.!  We headed back to Hyannis and our white robes to relax.  Later on, we went out to a local pub and had a burger and pizza and listened to some real old fashioned trombone jazz.  It was a nice ending to a really great trip.

We love the Cape, and we'll go back, though I think we've decided off-season long weekends are more to our liking than trying to go and stay for a week.  As Mr. Helen said as we drove away, this was a trip to remember - and to help us forgot the rain out of 2010.