May 31, 2017

Blessings and More

Happy Hump Day! Yes, it is mid-week, and it is a good day here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. The sun is shining, and the air temperature is mild right now. I think our high today will be in the low 100s, but still, it seems mighty fine outside right now.

I slept fitfully again last night. I am sure it is menopause doing its “nasty thing,” but truthfully, I am getting really tired of waking up tired! Ugh! My prayer is that today I can rest more, just relax, and then hopefully be able to sleep better tonight.

I was up late last night grading student essays, so I am sure that activity played a part in my overall fatigue. Plus, I started a Keto Diet yesterday, full bore, I mean, and I think I am suffering from the lows that are associated with a major diet change. You know, headache, icky feeling, just foggy brained. Hopefully, this too shall pass, as they say.
Diet and Lifestyle

I made the decision over the weekend to get serious about my lifestyle, and the first thing I wanted to change was my diet. I’ve blogged before that I need to lose 20 pounds, and that I have struggled to do so since my mid-40s. The weight has just glued itself to me, especially after my monthly cycle ended. I cannot shift my weight 1-2 pounds, and it is really frustrating to me. So, I decided to get serious, and that meant, really educating myself about my body, my eating habits, and how better food choices could help me to lose weight, but also help me to feel better (overall). I read about the Ketogenic diet online, and while I am no stranger to Atkins, I simply fail on the diet after about two days. I decided the problem was that Atkins, while a ketogenic diet, is very strict, and frankly, I don’t need strict in my life right now.

Diet Plan

I found this website, Tasteaholics, and I downloaded their free 14-day meal plan. I really like the options for meals, and I think most are doable. Part of my issue with diets, in general, is that the food plans are so hard to make. I don’t eat all organic, and I don’t choose “froo-froo” food to consume. Plus, I don’t have the money to eat gourmet all the time. I really need practical, and I like that these plans offer normal foods (things I might eat normally), but with substitutions that are low-carb.

I took some time yesterday to run my macro nutrient numbers. I read that it is important to know what those numbers are so you can be sure you are hitting your target each day. I used this calculator to help me figure out my target zone, and then I am using Atkins carb-counter to track how much I eat each day. I am also using to track my weight and my activity level.

In order for me to lose 1 pounds per week, I need to consume 1442 calories per day. I do plan to workout, so some of my calorie burn will come from exercise. But dietary changes will help, so I need to watch my fat, protein, and carbohydrate levels to ensure a proper balance. For me, this works out to be:

30g carbs per meal (90 total)
54g protein per meal (165 total)
16g fat per meal (48 total)

Of course, with moderate exercise (3-5 times per week), I will need to eat more calories to off-set the burning of fuel. My numbers will change once I am working out regularly. For starters, though, I am shooting to keep my total carbs under 100g per day. Experts say that 50g per day will kick you into ketosis or fat-burning mode. Right now, with the diet I have scheduled to stick to for the next two weeks, my daily carb count is really low, at 25g. This is pretty much Atkins Induction, but I figure if I can jumpstart my weight loss with Atkins like I did before, I can potentially lose 10 pounds in about 15 days. Mostly water, like I mentioned above, but some fat as well. I cannot stay on induction long term because I freak after a while, so I will moderate my diet to a long term ketogenic based plan where I can enjoy fruit as well as some other yummy items to satisfy my need for chocolate and creamy deserts (LOL!)

After reading through their website, I realized that I can do a ketogenic diet and maintain this lifestyle. I am willing to give it a try, and to see if I can shed the excess weight. Mostly, like I said, I want to feel better — be more healthy. My brother has switched to a mostly paleo diet and he looks great for his age. My SIL has also followed a similar health/lifestyle plan, and well, she looks amazing at 60. So, I have testimony all around me, and I know I need to do something, and ketogenic seems to be calling my name.

Fitness Plan

I’ve tried numerous plans before, but I am committed to doing something different this time around. I believe I can do it, I just need some discipline and self-control to experience it. My goal is to lose 20 pounds (minimum), and to follow a very basic weight training and cardio workout (more on this later). Last summer, I went all hog over Julian Michaels’ workout DVDs. I still have them, but I hurt myself early on doing pushups, and well, I just lost my ability to focus afterward. My plan today is to follow this website, Nerd Fitness, which I think offers a simplified weight training routine that I can do here at home — without having to watch a DVD. I watched the beginning video and it looks pretty easy to do. I don’t plan to go to a gym for a while, but I think I can do this workout at home and be ready to join a gym soon (by fall, perhaps).

For cardio workout, I am going to walk away the pounds with Leslie Sansone. I have her 4-mile walk, and I read online that you can burn up to 400 calories with it. I plan to walk everyday except for Sundays with Leslie (from home), and then use the beginner workout for strength training 3-days a week (MWF). In all, with a ketogenic diet, walking and strength training for calorie burn, I really think I can drop the weight and get myself into better shape and health over the summer.

Between now and June 12 (when I go to Indiana), my hope is to lose a couple pounds. I should be able to drop about 5-6 pounds total (water plus 3 pounds of fat) if I stay on the diet (closely on it). With a good 3-pound fat loss, my summer clothes should fit me better. I am not hoping for a major change, just a little extra room in the hip/thigh area. Right now, my summer wardrobe fits me, but I feel snug in things. I would like to be less self-conscious about how things looks from the backside (if you get my point), and feel free to move about since we will be doing some walking and trekking. By summer’s end, I hope to be down a whole size (hooray!) so that I can wear my smaller sized wardrobe, which hasn’t fit for over a year.

I normally take pictures of myself (selfies) in either clothing or face profiles. I keep these on my computer so I can go back and see how I looked 3-4-5 years ago. In truth, I was at my target weight of 145-48 in 2014. I had lost about 10 pounds on Atkins that previous spring, and by the time I went to residency at Regent, I was wearing a size 6-8 jean. I managed to keep the weight off for a whole year, so that by summer of 2015, I still looked pretty good and could wear the same clothes. Then 2016 hit, and I had to study for exams and work on my dissertation. I also started menopause, and well, I gained 15 pounds in about a year’s time. I look at those pictures and I can really see the weight in my face and upper body (typical for menopausal women - we gain around the middle).

I am not hoping to get myself back to my pre-pregnancy shape (low 130s), but I would be really happy to bust the 160 mark and land somewhere in the low 150s this summer. Long term, I hope to get back to the low 140s eventually. I would be really happy at this weight, and I think I could maintain that weight indefinitely.
More Blessing to Be Had

With all the talk of diet and fitness, I am starting to look to my life to see how things might change for me down the road. My Dad just popped in to remind me that he doesn’t want me to sit at the computer all day long. I laughed because THIS IS MY LIFE now and I love every single aspect of it. He wants me to get out, to enjoy life, and not just sit at the computer. I thanked him for his concern, but frankly, I think he wants me to be social and outgoing. I simply am a computer nerd, geek — professor — and like I said “I love my life!” I do recognize that I need some social, some outside time, and I am trying to incorporate that into my daily schedule. However, teaching online is something that requires I be at the computer, and with more than one class in process, I get really busy doing teaching work.

The funny thing, as in curious, is that for 9-months of the year, I teach at GCU on campus. You cannot get more social than teaching at a major university, in classes that reach upwards of 100 students, and be a wall flower! He just sees me at the computer all the time, and well, that bothers him. I would like to remind him that he and my Mom live in 3/4 of this home. He has his hobbies in the garage, his den, and my Mom reads and watches TV almost all day long. I live in my room simply because it is quiet, and it is my space. If I had my own home, I would probably do more things in my home, but for now, this is what I have to do to remain engaged with my work, and to have that quiet time I so desperately crave as an INTJ personality type.

However, in other news, I received my contracts for my next two summer classes. Right now, one of them only has 7 students. I need 10 to make the class and get paid a full-amount. The other class is almost full (1 spot left). I am praying this smaller class fills so I can count on that income right at the end of August (before fall begins). Whew! I would be in good shape with that extra paycheck at my normally lowest point of the summer.

My prayer for fall is as follows:

  1. Four teaching contracts from Regent University
  2. Two teaching contracts from ASU
  3. Three teaching contracts from GCU
  4. Additional contracts from Grantham or another school
With this combination of contracts, I should be well-set for fall. I will be slamming busy again, but like I have said, I really do like to be super busy. Of course, should the Lord open a door for one full-time position then this whole plan is “out the winder” as they say. I am holding open hope for one faculty position to be offered to me, but until I receive word on that line, I am sticking to what I currently have in place, which will be:
  • Three 15-week classes on MWF at GCU from 12:30 to 4:20
  • Two online 8-week classes at Regent
  • One online 7.5 week class at ASU
  • Any other classes as they are available
My max load is to teach 8 classes in a semester. I pushed myself at 6, but I was also writing my dissertation, so I really think 6-7 or 8 is doable with no other distractions. My classes at GCU are the same course, just 3 sections. I have taught this class 10 times so far, and really, I can teach it blind. Plus, with 3 essays spread over 5 weeks, the class is so easy to do. I really do think I can teach online with a full-load of 4-5 classes. Lord willing, I should say. Lord willing.

My blessing has come to me, and my basket it full. I have received what Deuteronomy 28 has promised — no lack. Now I must remember to keep my side of the covenant. I must obey the word of the Lord, and I must remember to be faithful to Him. He is my provider, and as such, I owe everything to Him, to His mercy, care, and grace. Yes, I give all praise, honor, and glory to God above. Selah!
In Closing

As I close this blog post, I am reminded that the Lord is a gracious God. He provides rich reward to those who seek Him diligently, and to those who listen and obey, He blesses with blessings from His storehouse in heaven. Today, I am the recipient of those sweet blessings — I have a good life, I have my health, and I have a planned, purposed, and prosperous future. I am in this very good place, and today, I give Him my adoration and my praise.

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