My Eating – High School: Day 20.2

In high school, I started missing meals and binging. There always seemed to be more interesting things for us to do than eat lunch. When I got home, I would be famished and binge on anything I could get my hands on.

When I started working, I got donuts that were leftover from the morning break. I would devour these and the candy I bought myself on the way to work. At home, I would eat more than my brother. I just couldn’t get enough at night.

Later, when I started dating, my boyfriend would take me to lunch every day.  I would eat everything on my plate because I didn’t want to waste the food.  Then I’d snack my way through work.

I knew what the diets were because some of my friends were on them, but I never dieted myself. I knew that I didn’t’ need one. But I also feared that if I kept acting like I could eat anything and stay thin I would put on the weight. I thought more about balance and nutrition.  I judged my eating more.


Fall Means: Day 20.2.5

Fall means hot drinks and fuzzy blankets. Getting up in the dark. Pumpkin spice everything, Apples, fall means apples, and squash. Chili and macaroni and cheese too. All the comforts we dream of the rest of the year represents fall in such a yummy way.

But when I’m building a yard with a vegetable garden and an orchard, fall means more. It means harvesting and preserving. Apple sauce, dried fruit, spaghetti sauce, and so many other things. I’ve made enough zucchini bread for the year and still have zucchini to decide what will be next. I’m dehydrating ranch zucchini chips for my granddaughter. I have decided to make apple pie and apple sauce, so I will dehydrate apple peelings for snacking.

But, fall also means cleaning the garden, moving manure and grass clippings to trees, hauling dead plants. It means separating flowers. Laying out new flower beds. Hauling rocks.

In reality, fall at 49 means chronic back pain. Pain that gets me up out of bed before I feel ready. Pain that keeps me from completing a task. And pain that tells me when I’ve been standing too long.

This is pain I’ve delt with for many years, but each fall I can do less and the pain is more. So now, fall means heating pads and ice packs. Hot baths and showers. Pain means stretching and pain meds. It means seeing the chiropractor and physical therapist more. But, I won’t let it stop me altogether. I need to move to get my mind off it. So, I find other things to do as well.

Rattle Snake on Saturday: Day 19.2.5

My hike wasn’t usual for me today. I had no real plan when I went out to hike. I just knew that it was going to be more than a mile. I had my light hiking shoes on and a pair of pants that tend to slip down. I was in no way prepared for a true hike.

I decided to go to Rattlesnake because it is right by the grocery store. Pulling up to the hill I am buzzed by a low flying plane approaching the local runway. Though I spend time at the runway, this is the first that I get buzzed. It was a cute two seater red over white high wing airplane.

As I hike, the plane continues to make many approaches to the runway. There are high passes, low passes, and actual touchdown passes. The pilot was working the pattern practicing the different approaches to our airport. This is a great thing for them to do.

I get to enjoy watching and listening to them. There is something about the grace and hum of aircraft as they are working about the pattern. It is majestic and peaceful at the same time. It helps lift my mood.

Also to note, there was no one on the trails today. No bikes, side-by-sides, or hikers about. No volunteers walking the dogs from the dog pound.  The peacefulness maxed out.

I took a different path too. I hiked the loop trail going clockwise picking it up on the backside of the mountain. I knew that I didn’t have a lot of time, so I hiked out a mile and when I saw a dirt road along the airport, I took it back to my car. This is an area I usually don’t hike.

Very serene and enjoyable hike today.

Exercise: Day 18.2

I have had to re-think my exercise plan the last few days. I haven’t done anything I had planned on since the third or fourth day. I was going to really exercise this time instead of a few minutes with the hula hoop and a set of arm or leg exercise and ten minutes on the elliptical. But every day I leave work, I am ready for a nap and then the rest of the day seems to disappear. Last year, any movement beyond the desk counted. But this year, I wanted more from myself. I have been really feeling the guilt, but my intuitive eating program tells me not to let guilt of this level get to me. I should re-evaluate and move on. I want to exercise, but my sleep habits are really wrecking with me. I tend to go to bed at 1 or 2am and get up at 5:30am two days a week and 7:30 two days a week. I feel better on the days I get up later, obviously, but work impedes sleeping longer the two days. And on those days I do get to sleep longer, I have to go to physical therapy and drive an extra hour a day.  I have tried going to bed earlier, but I feel wide awake when I lay down. I have been taking naps. I feel much better. However, that gets in the way of me going to bed earlier. So, I spend my days after work, eating, playing on the computer, or walking around in a fog. Every day I tell myself that I will hike, and that is just a lie. On really good days, I do hike. To rethink the exercising, I have taken two days off completely. I felt guilty the first; today wasn’t too bad. I am going to shoot for hiking two days a week for now. If that works out, I will add an extra day later on.

And Food Became a Challenge: Day 17.2

In junior high, I began putting all the previous lessons together. I ate to fuel competitive activity, and I ate for familial rivalry. I distinctly remember my parents talking about how much my older brother and cousin ate and took it as admiration. What a sick mind I have. My eating increased so that my parents took notice. Overhearing them, once again, speak of how fast my brother ate, I began to eat fast too. We cleared the table by eating the leftovers. At this point, I was still active and just as slender as always. We had to customize all my clothing to make them fit. But other people noticed how I ate and what I ate and made envious comments about it: “You can eat whatever you want and never gain weight.” People asked how I did it with admiration in their voices. I took this as a compliment and challenge and set out to prove them right. People asked me how I maintained my weight, and I couldn’t answer them. This embarrassed me. I judged my food more. I needed an answer. Though I didn’t start dieting until much later, I still had dieting rules and judged my food choices.

My parents wanted to ensure we understood nutrition and were nourished thus limiting and withholding foods. We were only allowed 2 snacks a day – after school and after dinner. These snacks were supposed to be small. If we wanted sweets they were limited. This doesn’t sound bad and is what people often try for, but I was always hungry. And when I could, I would binge on sweets including cereals. When I first moved out on my own, I forced these and my own rules on my eating. Then I would binge on something weeks down the line. Being broke limited my food choices more, so I would binge when I got my hands on something I hadn’t eaten in a while. It didn’t matter what it was, I would binge on anything I thought was good. This is where the binging started. As a mother, I enforced many of my food rules and standards on my children following them myself, until after they went to bed that is. When no children were around to judge my foods, I would pull the forbidden fair out of their hiding spots promising only to take one or two but eating until I couldn’t.

But I digress. In high school everything changed. And I picked up other eating habits to be discussed later.

My Dieting History – Where It Started: Day 16.2

Part of improving or getting better is to look at what I’ve done in the past and recognizing that what once may have worked, does no longer. To give up dieting, I need to recognize and release my dieting mentality. That is to identify why I diet, how I diet, the rules I use to diet, and so on. I thought writing out my history might help me understand and remove them from my life.

I first learned about nutrition on a very basic level at seven in a 4-H cooking/nutrition club. It was more about having a balanced plate and eating variety than anything else. This has always applied to my life as my mother, then I, prepared dinners with fruits or vegetables, salad, side, and main dish. When the kids left home and I was the only one sitting down to dinner guilt struck as I moved to only fixing a main and vegetable or fruit or salad, but not all the rest. If a main had vegetable in it, it would be all I ate. But when thinking about how healthy a meal was, I’d judge it unhealthy. I still ate a variety and usually had lots of produce in my days, but it wasn’t the balance I was taught.

My first introduction to nutrition for weight loss came in 6th grade. I was skinny; I knew I was. People teased me about blowing away in the wind and hiding behind a flag pole. Weight wasn’t’ the reason for my introduction. Well, at least not my weight. I was asked to join a nutrition group at school among normal weight and overweight students to be an example or motivation of sorts. Only that is not what I took away from the program. Instead, I learned how to eat and make choices to control my weight. I learned to judge my eating. The quantity and choices I made weren’t favorable to being thin – though that is what I was. I started collecting diet papers and books and clipping healthy recipes and desserts. My mind was at war with what I was learning.

Then we were taught that we needed to walk or run for exercise and were given permission to stay in the gym at lunch instead of playing and jumping rope as we always had. I began to associate the type of physical activity as whether it was for weight management or play, and play didn’t count for weight management. I still played and ran for fun, but I didn’t’ give myself credit for just moving or even acknowledge that being active having fun as a healthy activity.

The struggled continued as I aged.

My Facts – The Lost Coast: Day 15.2

Location – Northern California Coast line where Highway 1 joins Highway 101 and moves away from the coast.

Time – Mid August

Duration – 3 Days – I prepared for 5 giving myself the benefit of the doubt, Damazon planned on 4

Distance – 25 miles

Through Hike – yes, for the northern and most popular half

Would I do it again – yes, to hike the full 50+ mile trail or if my daughter or granddaughter wanted to go

Cliffs climbed – didn’t really climb them per se, but we had to climb off the bluff twice and onto it once

Critters – 1 skunk, birds, sea lions, seals, 2 snakes, bear tracks, bear scat

People – the most was at the trail head; we all scattered out quickly for skill level

Lighthouses – 2 one at each end, both short

Private property – several in varying levels of up keep; 1 landing strip

Caught my attention – bear scat is not like in the Sierras; it is instead like a rotten log. It is big and log shaped, brown and looks like a decomposing log, it has berries and other things in it.

Would have picked up – sea urchins, star fish, jaw bones, shells, a rock with three wells in it

What was picked up – I believe in the leave no trace, so when I saw things that other hikers lost, I picked them up. I had hoped to find the owners, but that never happened. I picked up a scrunchy and a dog bootie.

Where do you go to the bathroom – number 2 must be done on the shore line as close to the water as possible. Number 1 can be anywhere as long as it is 200 yards from the creeks.

Did you – yes. Luckily no one was around. In the evening, at the creeks, when someone walks out to the ocean, the rest of us give them privacy.

Rate the trip – 10; I enjoyed it, and am now finding enthusiasm for future trips that I was lacking before.  I have satisfaction in completing a planned trip without hurting excessively or getting nauseous. In fact, I was hungry most of the time and had energy to get up and go in the mornings. I didn’t hurt for days afterwards either.

This trip was a success on many levels.

Off the Grid or Squatting, There is a Difference: Day 14.2

*** I am not making a comment on homelessness. It is a topic I am not ready to address in any manner – it is its own ball of wax with many elements rolled into it. ***

*** I hope that I don’t anger anyone. I am just throwing out food for thought. ***

Hiking one afternoon at one of my regular places, a familiar image pokes at my emotions and missus writer lady is busy clacking out thoughts in my mind. The noise overpowering any other thoughts that believed they could have had a chance that day. She doesn’t leave me alone, and I realize that this is one of those times I have to write or no other subject will come to life.

It is there tucked in under some trees hidden from the average eye, but once it is seen, it cannot be unseen. It then becomes an eyesore. The white box on wheels has been there since July. Summer is over; the long campout should be too. Enough months have gone by for it to no longer qualify as just camping; it’s now squatting. Maybe the person thinks they are living off the grid, but I don’t. I feel there is a difference between living off the grid and squatting, and it is a big difference.

Living off the grid is commendable. It is when people are trying to be self-sufficient. They raise as much of their own food as they can, pump their own water, generate their own electricity, etc. It is working with the environment in a positive manner. These people believe in bartering, trading, sharing, and even purchasing when they need to. They participate in society to the level they are comfortable, but they do participate. They own or lease their land. Taxes are paid.

Squatting has many of these same qualities. The difference I see is that they try not to participate in society. They do not own or lease the land, and they don’t pay taxes. Instead they are taking from society. No land in a country is free, someone has to pay for it in some way, and they have to do their duty towards the society as well. Squatting is not acceptable.

In this day and age, entitlement is strong. In many aspects of life and society, we see where people do something or demand something because they feel that it is owed to them, that they deserve it, that no one is using it so they might as well. Squatting is just another extension of entitlement. Maybe the person believes that they are extremely living off the grid, but they have crossed the line into squatting. They are taking advantage of those who play the game of society and pay their dues.

Though squatting disturbs me, I don’t do anything about it. That irritates me too. But, I also have a code of ethics that prohibits me from policing my fellow citizen; it is not something I am comfortable with anyone doing. Fear keeps me from confronting them directly. So, I just hope that something happens where squatters will realize that this is not tolerable and change their ways.

In the meantime, I will continue to hike on the trail and look at the little white box in the back of the lake among the trees and try to find peace in the hike. Maybe I’ll make a story out of it.

Lost Coast Part 4: Day 13.2

This last day, we awaken early to go as far as we can and wait until the tide recedes enough for us to continue on. There is a long place that we are supposed to hike in low tied and one place where a lands slide has pushed the trail out into necessitating very low tide.

We begin the hike at dawn. The grass on the bluff is damp. Fortunately, the grass is low and there are no shrubs as of yet. We hike on the bluff for as long as possible because the rest of the day will be on the beach. The bluff hiking doesn’t last long, and so we are forced downward. Here we keep watching for the possibility of an inlet and the height of the tide. As the day is beginning to warm us we pass a group of trail volunteers clearing pampas grass and they tell us the beach is good. We head out and around points on those wet slippery tide pool rocks. Balancing is tough as some move with our weight and none are dry. The bones and carcasses are thick today.

By 10 we reach a beautiful creek with a few camping spots. A couple is packing up to head out. We give them some room and sit on the opposite side of the creek resting, snacking, and cooling our feet. This is the last creek before the low tide area. We are on the up side of the tide and know we hike slowly, so we choose to stay here while the tide comes in and starts to recede. We see that the tide could possibly come in quite high, so we move over to the other side of the creek where it is higher and more likely to be dry.  We wait a few hours refilling our water, napping, eating, and exploring. On some of the boulders and logs, there are whole shells and pretty rocks. I think on this for a while and decide that they are offerings to the gods. We have spoken with them a couple of times on the trip, so I place a shell on one place and a rock on another praying for safe passage. The water doesn’t seem to raise much. In an hour, the tide should start receding. Seeing how it couldn’t possibly get high enough now to block our trail, we load up and continue on.

The day is getting hotter. So we relish the shade when we can. We walk on a bank until we get to a log laying in the shade of one of the few trees on the beach. Here we sit; the land slide should be around the corner. We could let the tide drop farther. While drinking water, we spot a seal swimming new the beach and a seagull flying just overhead. Neither stray far.

Hiking on, we go slowly not needing to rush the tide. A few miles further we turn the farthest point on this trip again risking much crossing the rocks. Damazon and I slip at the same time, but I catch myself. When I look up Damazon is down; his arm is under him and his leg is bent awkwardly. I see him struggling to get up, but I cannot help as I am too far away. By the time I reach him, he is up and walking along again with no limp. Relief.

I’m back on the bank, but I hear a raining sound. As I start to move away from the cliff, Damazon warns me that rocks are falling.  A few hit my leg, but all is good. This happens one other location. This proves the instability of the cliffs I have always been warned of. We reach the landslide area and begin walking in. There is little ground to walk on and many downed trunks to block our path, but we begin. One large pile blocks the ground, and the water is high here. We wait for the tide to go further out. While sitting and talking, we see the seal swimming back and forth in front of us. The seagull calls from above. Do we have protection? I think back to my offerings.

After what seems like hours, Damazon looks around. There is actually a path we can take behind the logs keeping us out of the water. We continue and so do our protectors. Once the seal is pushed ashore, but he doesn’t leave his post.

Miles later and tough slogging up and down the beach looking for the firmest ground, we are out of the low tide area. We rest and say goodbye to the animals. From here on out is a wide beach. We can see our destination ahead. Still we constantly search for the best hiking ground. The sun beats down on us causing us to stop often. We enjoy our view and still see the bank of clouds off to the northwest. But my thoughts turn to what I want to do when we get back.

Once when the sun has beaten us for hours, we find some drift logs to rest at. We hope for shade, but not finding any, we make some with my tarp, rope, and trekking poles. It works for a bit, but the sun is dropping and our shade shortens. My thoughts turn to what I want to do when we get back. It has become obvious that we won’t be back in time to drive to our relatives, so where we will stay is on the top of that list. A hot shower is second.

Usually on backpacking trips, I dream of a meal of veggies. This time, I have eaten at every stop, and dream of getting the stench off of me. I cannot stand the smell of myself when I stop long enough for it to penetrate the area.

We hike on with our eyes to the hill we will be climbing. When we reach the split rock, we stop this is the last possibility of shade until we are at the parking lot. We are close but the sand is getting softer. A good rest is necessary. My energy is depleted, but I feel good. My feet don’t hurt, I have hunger, and my back is fine. This is the best I have felt on any of our backpacking trips at this point.

As we walk across the last bit of beach, a family comes down from the parking lot and greets us. They ask about the trail because they wish to hike it the following year. My first reaction was that it was different. Different in scenery and in how I felt. Different in my reaction all the way. I didn’t talk about the difficulties or the scares. This was different too. I think I have reached a new level in backpacking.

The hike up the hill to the car wasn’t horrible. We load up, go to the campground, and take a shower before even setting up camp. Dinner comes next. By the time we are ready to set up camp, it is dark and windy. But, we are happy and satisfied.

Sleep is sweet until a snuffling sound wakens me. I pat at the tent hoping to scare off the dog sniffing at the corner.  The critter moves on to Damazon’s tent and he taps at it too. This time the dog doesn’t move on; instead, we hear a crunching sound. He hollers, “Get out of here.” The critter comes by and sniffs but moves on. We’re awake now. Thinking it is almost morning. I go and get dressed and packed up. Coming out of the bathroom, Damazon informs me he saw a skunk while he was waiting for me. Then I realize I hadn’t seen any dogs out when we walked to the bathrooms. We are both relieved that the skunk didn’t spray any of the times we tried to scare it off.

Bad Day: Day 12.2

I’m barely into this challenge, and I’m struggling. I have hit a low today; I didn’t write while I was fresh and had something in mind, I haven’t exercised yet, and I have eaten almost nonstop since I got home this afternoon. It is 10:47, and I have to squeeze everything in.

Why? There are many possibilities, but the truth is I don’t know. I could claim I’m too tired and that is why I have done absolutely nothing besides visit my parents. It could be because I have had a string of not so good things happening and I am feeding into the low. Or, maybe, and more likely, I didn’t have a solid plan today and a body at rest stays at rest.

Whatever it is, I’m paying for it in many ways. How am I going to fix or change this? I am going to look to the positive. Get more rest and drink more water. But I am going to start planning a bit ahead and be proactive in my activities. I love doing all the things I chose to work on in the challenge, but the spark is dim right now.

My motivation comes from feeling good about myself, making small changes, and having a fun goal at the end. No more self sabotaging. It is time to treat myself well.