Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Travel Mercies: Weight Loss, Organization, and Writing that Novel

Like most people, I set New Year’s Resolutions and then am (not) surprised when mid-year comes and I have not stuck to them. This year, I decided to phrase my resolutions as goals, even including step-by-step objectives for some of them. I have actually reached a couple of the goals I set.

I believe that part of my problem is accountability. If I hadn’t shared with you that I wasn’t moving forward, nobody (except for myself) would be the wiser. Since I really do want to accomplish my goals, and procrastination has always been a factor, I am going to use my blog as an incentive. I will report progress or lack of progress to you. You may wish to join me on my journey; you may have the same areas of your life that are challenges. If so, I welcome your comments and suggestions. I will note, before telling you about the areas that challenge me, that some may suggest that working on three at once may be too difficult, that my journey should have only one destination. My feeling is that the areas that challenge my life are interrelated and that I can journey in more than one, as long as they don’t lead me in different directions.

Weight Loss

I have been struggling with my weight for 40 years. After the birth of my first child, I retained about five pounds; with four children, I was 20 pounds overweight. That 20 pounds was not obvious, but the extra weight kept creeping up in the years that followed until I was 30 pounds overweight. My divorce gave me an incentive to lose, which I did; a happy marriage eventually led to more weight gain. I lost again by going on fen-phen (and was fortunate to not have any permanent heart damage); then gained and lost again on Weight Watchers (twice) and Nutrisystem. Sporatic attempts led to small weight losses, but a broken foot five years ago was a good excuse to cease the little exercise I was doing, and soothe myself by over-eating. So here I am, post-retirement, with a lot of weight to lose if I want to continue my life in good health. My plan is to watch calories, but emphasize eating foods that contribute to my well-being. I know, too, that it is time to build back the muscle I’ve lost and to pay attention to my body’s need for exercise. That is what I will report to you – my progress, challenges, and my (certain to happen) slip-ups.


I’ve recently had an opportunity to revisit my organization goal. An air-conditioning problem led to the carpet in our office being soaked. We had to remove all contents of the office (including emptying drawers, cabinets and bookshelves) and the office closet. I’m now replacing everything and am using the process as a weeding time as well – a jump-started decluttering. It is leading me to reconsider many of the things I am keeping. I have recently read the book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, and recognize myself in some pages. I am not a “hoarder” in the most extreme sense, but feel their pain when sorting through old photographs, school papers, and a lifetime of memorabilia. I will share some of my adventure in decluttering with you; maybe we can encourage each other as we pitch some of the photographs with decapitated subjects and decades-old coursages.

Writing My Novel

I have begun several novels and haven’t finished any. I want to try again. I don’t know what else to say about that except that I have finished short stories, essays, columns, editorials, book reviews, blog posts – you get the picture. It’s easy to say that you’re working on a novel (as I have, many times); there aren’t very many people who will corner you and ask how it’s going. (I do have a few sadistic friends and relatives who do that.) Maybe going on record here will help. Maybe you have the same problem and we can prod each other.

So that’s it – my public goal list. I’ll revisited it soon (and often) to let you know how it’s going.

Annie Joy


Mary said...

Weight loss: I am trying too work on my weight as well. The sweet husband I live with sign us up to a gym and we have been doing pretty well. I had a little hickup when he was at work the past few days, but that was because I hurt my knee. We were back at it today, and I am still feeling good. Working out isn't fun to me. And eating food is fun. I am lucky to have Adam cook yummy healthy food. And also motivate me to workout with him. I will keep you up to date if I slack off.

Organization: I am pretty organized, but in this house it is still boxed up. I can't wait to have a house that I can pull out my scrapbook stuff and be able to play with it. If you want, I can take some of those old pictures and papers from you :)

Annie Joy said...

You are doing everything I should be doing. All I can report today is that I ate five E.L. Fudge (in two sittings) instead of half of the box and had a healthy lunch. But that's progress for me!

Yes, I will let you have some of the papers, when I get them sorted. No, you can't have "If I Forget to Clean the Dog Pen" until I publish it on my blog. :)

Joanne said...

Success on your goals! This book written by Peter Walsh, called:
"It's All Too Much", has really helped me.
He shares many valuable tips and much wisdom for people like us who are not naturally prone to being organized.
Don't loose heart and keep up the good work!

Annie Joy said...

Thanks, Joanne! I will check out Peter Walsh's book. Annie

Mollianne said...

I feel your pain and share your goals. Except the novel. I know myself too well to even want to do that.

I have smaller goals. Writing stories of my youth for my children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews. Getting my recipes organized on an online site so they can be shared with family.

I am fairly well organized and usually unhappy if things are out of place. I have very small closets (circa 1964) and too much stuff, but I manage to fit our 10 pounds of mud in our 5 pound sack with as much dignity as I can. I constantly clean out in an effort to keep the clutter at bay.

Weight loss and fitness...that one bites me in the butt. My health and well being really are dependent upon taking some of the load off of my back and being stronger. So, I'm really trying. But I don't like it very much.

Will keep up with your progress and hope that you will inspire me to do what I need to do.

Annie Joy said...

Thanks, Mollianne! If it's any consolation, I hear that it's easier to lose weight at your age than at mine. One word of encouragement -- I have noticed a visible loss of muscle in the past few years -- which leads to poochy skin in places you don't want it. I can regain some muscle, but the poochy skin will continue to be with me. So take care of the muscle you have while you have it! Annie

The Empress said...

Hello, Annie Joy: SO nice to meet you. I'm glad you like the post today on "living with a blogger" series. I love lady bloggers society, I've made so many friends. Great to meet you, and thank you for clicking on me.

Annie Joy said...

Lisa, nice to meet you too! Wonderful idea for your post -- Living with a Blogger. My husband is actually a great supporter -- he has even posted on Facebook that his friends should read my blog. Looking forward to part 2 and 3!

Leanne said...

Sorry if this is a duplicate! I tried to leave a comment - but blogger gave me a hard time! Just wanted to tell yuo this was a great post and I love how you put yourself out there for us to see - so honest! This list could be my very own!!! Perhaps I could just post it on my mirror and a reminder! Love your writing, Annie!!! And I love the new blog look! Great job!

Annie Joy said...

Thanks, Leanne! I guess for me that "going public" is an incentive to do what I say I'm going to do, rather than risk the embarrassment of admitting I haven't (although I'm sure there will be times I'll have to 'fess up!) It will be good to know that others are traveling that road with me -- and we are helping each other along.

Stacey said...

You are taking on alot at one time. Sometimes it just feels like you have to take control though, and it sounds like you are there. Take baby steps and be proud of your accomplishments!!

Definitely do read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Honestly, it was one of the best books ever! I got it from the Edmond library. :)

Annie Joy said...

Stacey, you're correct and I am definitely taking baby steps. Sometimes that just means eating three cookies instead of the entire bag! :)

GrannySue said...

First, thanks for stopping by my humble blog and leaving such wonderful comments. I appreciate it. Second, you are one brave lady. I, too have struggled with weight my entire life, and I've never had any kids. I just HATE it. But what can you do. Best of luck on all your goals and I can't wait to read you novel.

Annie Joy said...

Thank you! I don't consider myself brave -- just ready to try something new and I'm finding out that I'm in good company! I look forward to letting my blogging friends know that I've actually finished my novel! Annie

Grammie said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog....and, giving me the opportunity to add you to my list of blogs that I enjoy!

I loved it....and I will be back!

Have a nice day, : )

Annie Joy said...

Thank you! By the way, you look much too young to be your age! You must be living right! Look forward to visiting you again. Annie

A Hint of Home said...

Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment.
I wish you the best in achieving your goals.

loveable_homebody said...

These are all good goals. Organizing seems to produce a lot of anxiety in a lot of people. I'm glad you're facing the problem head on. A good book about a problem is a helpful, comforting tool to help you deal with it. That's what I've found anyway.

Life and fear definitely get in the way and slows down the goal attainment process. I'm glad you're honest about this!

Joy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Yes, I do believe we have several common interests. I'll add you to my blog list and return often!

Annie Joy said...

I agree with you completely about good books being helpful. I own several on all three of my goals and continuously look for new titles to check out from the library. One of the best is Bird by Bird: Some Instructions On Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. It has good advice on goal setting as well as writing and my copy has many notes in the margins. (The title of my post is a tribute to one of her other books -- Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith.) Thank you for your encouragement! Annie

Nan said...

Well, good for you!! What's that old seventies phrase - something like today is the first day of the rest of your life? I did WW too; nine years ago and had terrific success. But then in the past few years have gained it back. Funny I read this today because yesterday both Tom and I said it is time to follow the points! We don't eat junk food at all - just too much of the good stuff! I really believe the WW points are the best way for me. I understand them. I know what and how much to eat in a day. So, I'm with you - though I'm not going to post on my blog about it. :<) I am not a hoarder; I barely keep anything. And I'll never write a novel!

Annie Joy said...

Thanks, Nan. It's good to know that others are on the same journey and I really appreciate your encouragement. (Love your blog, too!) Annie

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

Well, if you want to join Nola and I on our online Weight Watchers, we would welcome you and all participants to both hold one another accountable, and give encouragement too. Last year I got hurt and my left leg was in a steel boot for six months. I don't have to tell you that that's when the pounds came on. So nice to meet you and your blog! I'm a good cheerleader (though I wasn't one in school) and all around motivator.

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

Oh, and I grew up in Oklahoma. My grown daughters and their families live in Tulsa.

Annie Joy said...

I'll enjoy following your successes and report on my own. I understand about your leg; I broke my foot a couple of years ago and that really slowed me down. Fortunately for me, I was out of the cast after a few weeks, but I still feel little twinges now and then and try to be careful with it. Look forward to visiting you again! Annie

LBDDiaries said...

I like that you made your goal list public - I'm blogging publicly about my weight loss journey and am going to check on you to keep me going, too! Booster blog!

Annie Joy said...

I'm so sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. We had a family medical emergency and I'm just getting caught up. I enjoyed visiting your blog and am adding myself as a follower. Annie


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