Healthy

Posted in health, weight loss with tags , on August 23, 2019 by jefferyrn


New doctor, fresh start. My partner didn’t like my doctor, therefore, I had to get a new one. The old one was technically not a doctor but a APRN. Basically, he was a fancy nurse with doctor like capabilities. I was okay with him but he did seem to be a little disinterested and not very engaging.

My new doctor is a woman. I tend to prefer a female doctor. Call me sexist but they seem to be more nurturing. We had our first visit this week. I think she is a keeper. She check me out and went over my records and scheduled me for a complete physical with blood work and all the trimmings. She is a bit young, but at least maybe she will outlast me. My favorite doctor, Dr. “O”, died of cancer. I have elevated her to greatness beyond compare. So, Dr. “Q” has a lot to live up to, but so far she has met the challenge. For starters I didn’t have to tell her everything about me, she asked the questions based on what she observed. What a novel approach. I like her. She is in the same office as my partner’s doctor so that’s a plus too. (His doctor wasn’t accepting new patients.)

I mentioned in my last post that I had completed the healthy tracks evaluation. If you are not familiar with this program it is designed to give employees with good health a discount on their insurance. It is supposed to help encourage a healthy life style. Some people find it discriminatory but so far is has held up in court.

All of my results came in this week. I made the “Gold” level discount. There are two levels. “Purple” level is given to everyone who participates in the evaluation and gets their flu shots. “Gold” requires 3 positive outcomes out of 4, or you can take counseling and earn the discount that way. The 4 outcomes are Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Glucose levels, and BMI or fat percentages.

I am on blood pressure meds so that is a given. I am also on Cholesterol medication but I missed the ratio, HDL over total. This is a hard one for diabetics because diabetes cause higher triglycerides. I did make the glucose level. The amazing thing to me was that I made the BMI.

BMI used to be determined by your height/weight ratio. The number needed to be ideal or show a 5 percent improvement. Well, I actually gained weight since last time. But now they use this thing that looks like an Atari game controller. You squeeze the handles and it tell you what your body fat % is, and mine improved 10% over last year. That means that even though the scales are not my friend, I have more muscle mass then last year and qualify for the discount. Look out Arnold her I come.

So what I have learned here is that you need to look at the total picture to measure success. Whether it be your choice of doctors, your health, or your work (which by the way I got my annual review and my scores were excellent).

I will be 59 in a couple of weeks. I think I am dreading 60 more than I did 50. But thank goodness I am healthy.

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Eat just enough

Posted in random with tags , on August 20, 2019 by jefferyrn

It is healthy tracks time again. I completed my surveys and had my biometric assessment done yesterday. It is confirmed. I am obese.

Here is the advice they gave me. Thought I would share as misery does love company.

You’re probably laughing out loud right now thinking, “Eat just enough? I wish it were that simple.” Obviously, it’s not. For most people, eating just enough food is their biggest struggle with wellness, not whether they exercise enough. A half-hour workout (300 calories) can quickly be erased by a burger (500 calories), fries (400 calories), and drink (200 calories). Also, with exercise, you only need to make one decision each day. With food, you need to makedozens of decisions throughout the day.

Even though it’s tough, not overeating is extremely important since obesity rivals smoking for the highest cause of premature deaths. Don’t despair. Just focus on one habit at a time, and you will get there.

Here are the recommendations:

Weigh yourself monthly. Track your weight (or body measurements) like the stock market. Expect ups and downs but see what the overall picture is telling you.

Eat slowly. Take the time to savor your food and the company of those around you. This gives your stomach the 15-20 minutes it needs to tell your brain it’s full.

Dine. Eat at the dining table. When you eat in front of the television, your desk, or on the go, it is far too easy to overeat because you are not focused on the fact that you’re eating.

Skip seconds. Serve yourself reasonable portions, and then don’t go back for more. Put food away and out of sight after serving to help avoid the temptation.

Split a meal. When dining out, split a meal with a friend or put half of the meal in a to-go container before you start to eat.

Close the kitchen. After dinner, clean up the kitchen, turn out the lights, and don’t go back in for the rest of the evening.

Don’t eat out of the bag. Instead of eating out of the bag or box, pour some in a bowl so you know how much you are eating.

I am still laughing at the title of this piece. If only….lol.

Conference call

Posted in family, friends, Work with tags , on August 6, 2019 by jefferyrn

I am here listening to music waiting for another conference call to start. Snow Patrol is playing on Pandora, Chasing Cars. I want to opt out of this meeting and do what the song says, “Lay here and forget the world.” Of course I am sitting and at work so that is not possible. Queue meeting. Music off.

This is my Tuesday, one meeting after another straight through lunch. Literally through lunch. It is late lunch day to compensate for a noon meeting. I don’t take much about work but today I need to ask a question of the universe. Is depression contagious?

I know that sad people can make you feel sad too. My director has been going through some things with her job, her family, and life in general. She confides in me. She makes me sad. But we talk about her problems and I try to listen. There is a tendency to want to solve her problems, which of course I cannot do unless they are work related. So I listen. At times I share similar stories trying to relate to her and let her know she is not alone. It has gotten so bad that she is going to see a counselor this afternoon. Bad may not be the right word. I think everyone should seek help with no stigma attached. But I get the feeling she feels like she is failing or somehow lost control. I am hoping this professional will lead her through this difficult time in her life.

So it makes me sad because she is the rock that holds this department together and yet her life seems to be falling apart. Without going into detail, her issues are really quite normal. Problems with her children growing up and testing their limits. Having devoted most of her non-working hours to her kids she is finding herself alone with her husband and not knowing how to relate to him and be a couple again. She is blaming him for the problems and at the same time telling me how great he is to her.

Here is the number one issue that came up yesterday. She wants to have weight loss surgery and her husband is against it. “You can do it without surgery, with diet and exercise,” is his response. I can relate to this because my partner tells me the same thing. But weight loss is not the real issue here. She is not happy with herself. She is questioning her life choices.

It is funny because she usually has all the answers. I think she knows the answers here too. She is just reluctant to except the changes in her life.

Sometimes we really don’t have any freedom of choice, because choices have outcomes and responsibility.

For me for example, what if I lost weight and I still wasn’t happy with myself, which would likely be the case. I think happiness is the key. So I try to divorce myself from her problems and find my own happiness and share that with her, rather than dwelling on the sadness. I share baby pictures. We talk about food. (I know that sounds counterproductive, but we both love food.) We talk about vacations. We talk about our dreams. It is a much more positive approach. And we talk about work of course.

Hey my conference call is over and now I am listening to Keith Urban, ‘You’ll Think Of Me.”

Struggling

Posted in family, human rights, love, weight loss with tags on July 23, 2019 by jefferyrn

I am struggling. So much is happening and yet nothing is happening. There are waves of joy and waves of sadness, often overlapping and about the same thing. I might be suffering from depression, but I feel like I have things under control. And at the same time everything is a mess.

This is my mind trying to compartmentalize my experiences. But they just don’t want to be filed away without cross-references. I picture a card catalogue. I am sure many of you don’t even know. When I worked as an intern years ago, part of my job was to file articles in the card catalogue. Every article had 3 cards. One was by Author, one was by Title, and the third one was by content which was basically an abstract of what the article was about. Everything was filed by date too. So I guess we had 4 cards now that I think about it.

The struggle with this card catalogue of my mind is that abstract. The keywords change with every recollection. Was it a happy time? Was it a sad time? Did I learning anything? Was it a turning point or just mundane routine? It is this narrative that seems to be constantly changing.

What brings me here is a lot of traumatic events. It is also a lot of celebratory times too. We celebrated our 20th year as a couple. I am happy and this has been the best years of my life. And yet…..

And yet, I have my childhood memories with my father. They are of course clouded by his passing as all wonderful and happy. I helped my mother clear out his office. I found things in his filing cabinet that made me proud. He had his Navy memories. Pictures of his crew, awards he had received. His college certificates for programs he had completed and degrees he had received were all in these drawers. These are all memories from before me.

Then I found it. A cigar box that said on the outside “it’s a boy”. And inside this box were cards and letters of congratulations for having a son. It made me cry to think he hung on to these things. But did I live up to those expectations? I think I did. I really didn’t want to write another sad piece. So let’s move on.

So back to this card catalogue. I need to do a lot of cross referencing to get things back into working order. Food for me has always been associated with a good time. I need to associate the good time with something else that was also happening. I need to refocus that energy where it belongs. The happiness was being with friends and family and enjoying each other’s company, not the food.

Rick and I have made a plan for our future. When he retired we moved here to Reno. We have not made a lot of friends although I am thankful for the ones we have. Now that I am close to retirement we are going to move some place warm. We are moving back to California. More specifically we want to live in Palm Springs. (I know it is terribly hot there in the summer! But there is air conditioning.)

After cleaning out my dad’s office we went to Palm Springs for a few days and scouted out the possibilities. We also did a little socializing at the local bars. I am certain now that Palm Springs is where all gay men go to die. And it’s not a bad thing. These old guys are healthy, as opposed to the ones here in Reno who drag around oxygen tanks and ride those damn motor scooters. I think we will fit in. I think we will make friends. I think we will live in a safe environment. And no more damn snow and ice.

My pal?

Posted in health, random, weight loss with tags , on July 1, 2019 by jefferyrn

I have been logging my food now for 28 days in MyFitnessPal.

The reports of this system show what my down falls are in my eating habits. It shows that I consume 20% of my calories at breakfast, 31% at lunch and 37% at dinner. The remaining 12% is snacks. It also shows that I do my best at staying on track Monday through Wednesday and my worst day appears to be Sunday but the whole weekend is a disaster in general.

What does this all mean? It means when I have having fun I like to eat and eat badly. Of course sometimes this is drinks, but mostly it is bad choices like ice cream, deserts, and snacking. Don’t get me started on those chips and salsa. So basically my weight lost is stalled by the weekends. On the plus side I am not gaining weight, but I am not achieving my goal either.

So basically my weight lost is stalled by the weekends. On the plus side I am not gaining weight, but I am not achieving my goal either.

I think this is a physiological problem as much as anything. I am not eating because I am hungry. I am eating because it makes me feel good. But whatever happiness I am getting from these eating extravaganzas it’s depressing me on the Monday morning scale.

This weekend I tried to be good. I had a normal breakfast like I do during the week. No French toast, pancakes, nothing sweet except maybe a little marmalade on my toast. But then things went a rye in the afternoon. It was warm. Dairy Queen was calling my name. That 700 calorie blizzard was not so satisfying. Had I stopped with that and called it lunch I would have been fine.

This is not the actual sandwich but it does look yummy.

But no, next stop is the deli and we are splitting a corn beef sandwich. I only had half right? But this is not a homemade sandwich. This is a gigantic Peppermill sports deli sandwich. At least another 700 calories. So now what? Skip dinner?

No way Jose. We went to Panda Express…. Needless to say I went way over on my calories for the day.

So I know what the problem is now I just need to find a solution.

Bonus dads

Posted in family, friends, love with tags , on June 17, 2019 by jefferyrn

We were invited to tag along on a father’s day dinner with some friends last night. It turned out to be a wonderful evening that may become a tradition. We went to an Italian restaurant we had been to before to celebrate someone birthday. They have a crooner there that thinks he is Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin with a touch of Tony Bennett. He is actually quite annoying but our hosts enjoyed it and have been coming there for years. When we were there for the birthday party we sat a little too close to the entertainer and he picked on me to help him sing a song. They all thought that was hysterical. This time we were in the back, thank God. I told them if he touched me this time I might have to kill him, to which the daughter replied, “I have a gun in my purse.” Nevada humor, this wouldn’t have played well in California. The waiter went along with the gag and pretended to be afraid of her.

Here is the part that touched my heart. The two daughter got Rick and me Father’s Day cards. They were so sweet and humorous and yet you could tell they had put a lot of thought into them. There were personal notes to us as well. They call us their Bonus dad’s. And the touching part continued with their real parents toasting us and telling us how thankful they were that we were a part of their daughter’s lives. They said we had made a positive influence and changed them for the better. They welcomed us into the family. Nice people, not sure how we found this family but I am glad we did.

They have invited us to other family occasions. We have gone to their house for Thanksgiving three years running. But this was different. This was much more personal. Just the six of us listening to stories I am sure they have told a thousand times and including us in their lives. They knew I had lost my father last month and they had kind words at the time. But this was the birth of something new. We didn’t go there. I had a ring on my finger that was my fathers, but I didn’t tell any stories about it, and they didn’t ask. This was about our new family and the future.

Of course, we have our own families. But they have their own lives in California. I used to make an effort to see my father sometime around Father’s Day or at least call and talk to him. Now that is done and these friends, this bonus family has helped me heal.

One footnote, we have known these girls for over 15 years. They are now in their 30s. It has only been the last 4 years that our friendship has blossomed. We love the whole family.

The girls, Ricky, me and the real dad

Pillow talk

Posted in health with tags on June 12, 2019 by jefferyrn

New pillows help me sleep better at night. I got two new pillows on Sunday. The first night it was great. No soring. The second night I got a stiff neck. These pillows have quite a bit more loft then my old ones. Last night I threw one on the floor and wrapped my arm around the other one to crush its spirit. It will take a few weeks to get these puppies to behave the way I want them. The stand so high the bedspread barely covers them and the headboard all but disappears behind.

They have something called cool touch, but apparently Martha was too cheap to put this fabric on both sides of the pillow. Once I have it in the pillow protector and a pillow case I am not sure which side is the cool touch or if it even works through all those layers. But the pillow is nice and firm.

I am a side sleeper and I need two pillows most of the time to stop my snoring and acid reflux. But until I break this mountain down I will probably only need one for now.

Pillows are always a problem for me when we travel. If we go by car, I can bring mine alone from home, but on an airplane that is not practical. They would need their own bag and that’s a 35 dollar charge at least. I could buy pillows when I get there for that much money. Thankfully, most hotels have extra pillows in the closet. I use them all. I build a pillow mountain that smashes down because they are usually not firm. I hate foam pillows.

You have probably seen commercials for those special pillows that are supposed to be the best ever. Or when you go to a craft fair or farmers market they often have someone peddling them. Don’t waste your money. I got two at a craft fair. They collapse down into a small little bag. They were made of bamboo, though I suspect that was just the outer casing. The inside was crushed foam rubber. They were crap. I gave them to charity.

You may have also seen those memory foam contoured pillows. My son bought them. I don’t know who they are contoured for but I hate them too. I bring my own pillow to his house.

Remember when pillows were either down or polyester fiber fill? Mom used to pick them up at the A and P and we never threw them out. They turned yellow and disgusting. She washed them. I probably had the same pillow for 18 years.

I am not sure when it started but hotels in Palm Springs actually have pillow menus to select the firmness among other features. The older I get the more I appreciate a good pillow and a good night’s sleep.

Now if that damn bird would stop chirping at 4 am all would be good. Seems he doesn’t know when morning starts. Maybe some stray cat will do him in…