Refocusing — week 6

It’s been another week of not-too-many updates, but I’m not really beating myself up too much over that. I’ve been busy with appointments, errands, holiday shopping–it’s kinda been one of those months already.

Whatever. I’m hitting the important, “Refocusing“-related posts, and that’s enough for me. And speaking of, how’d I do this week?

Progress report — week 6

(I notice now that in my copy/paste frenzy, last week’s “Progress report” heading said it was still week four. Oh well.)

As always, I’ll give each of my goals a grade separately, then catalog my results below.

I will spend one hour a day exercising and stretching.

Okay, this one’s still a pain in my ass, but I’m doing better. I continue to stretch every day, and I went for a walk five days out of the seven. I’m not yet exercising every single day, and I’m not hitting the one hour goal when I do, but I’m improving. In fact, I think I might even be starting to enjoy walking outside in the cold. I can’t explain it, but that appears to be what’s happening.

I’m giving myself a C for this goal. I’m making progress, but I definitely need to do better.

I will use a meal planner to eat healthier.

What’s that sound? Is it me nailing this goal over and over again? Why, yes. Yes it is.

Another A+.

I will spend one hour a day on meditation and related practices.

Ditto with this one. This goal’s practically a lay up.


I will spend one hour a day with my family members.

This one, too. Totally nailing it.


I will create something every day.

This goal, though, not so much. As with my exercise goal, I’ve made progress, but I’m not quite where I need to be. What’s more, I don’t really know how to “fix” this. Doing better, though, so there’s that.

Giving myself another B- here.


It’s been another great week. I’m feeling awesome, lost another three pounds, and continue to be very happy–both with my “Refocusing” and in general.

How are you doing?

Refocusing – week 5

Another week of Refocusing has come and gone. This one was a bit wonky on account of the holiday weekend, but I think I did alright. If you’re keeping score at home, though, you’ll notice that I didn’t post anything here Wednesday or Friday. I’d tell you it’s because I was too busy doing other sexy, awesome things, but I’d be lying if I did. I pretty much just blew off the blog last week. I’m trying not to feel bad about that, and so far that’s going quite well.

Anyway, how I’d do?

Progress report — week 4

As per tradition, I’m going to give myself a grade on each of my five goals, then write up my overall results.

I will spend one hour a day exercising and stretching.

I’m still not doing so hot on this one. The stretching? I’m doing that every day without fail. In fact, it’s become such an integral part of my daily routine, so relaxing and invigorating, it’s kind of silly that it was so hard to get started at the beginning.

But as for actual exercise? That’s been a challenge. I am a major, irredeemable wimp when it comes to the cold, and since it’s cold and windy where I live, and since walking is kind of my whole exercise plan at this point, I haven’t done hardly any at all. That said, I did manage to get outside a bit more than I did last week, but I’m still not where I need to be.

I’m giving myself a C- here, instead of last week’s D, because while I have a long way to go, I did improve a little.

I will use a meal planner to eat healthier.

Nailing it. Even with Thanksgiving thrown in the mix, I’ve kept my calorie count down and continue to eat much healthier food.

A solid A+ again.

I will spend one hour a day on meditation and related practices.

Ditto on this. Haven’t diverged an inch from my plan and am just killing this goal with a consistence I never really thought possible.

Another A+.

I will spend one hour a day with my family members.

Nailed it, crushed it, killed it–I need another term to mean “I’m totally kicking this goal’s ass beyond all reasonable belief.” Seriously, it’s almost a gimme at this point, and I’m really happy about that.

An A+ like burning.

I will create something every day.

Alas, we once again come upon a goal I’m not doing so well at. The creative juices are pretty hard to squeeze out these days, but (as with my exercise goal) I did a little better this week than I did last week.

So, that’s a B- because of the improvement, but I really need to get my act together here.


I’m tempted to just copy and past last week’s Results in this spot, because the trend of total awesomeness just keeps going. Energy, patience, lack of anxiety–it’s all there. I did have a rough, semi-sleepless night on Saturday, which was weird, but that’s about it. Sleep’s been great otherwise.

Oh, and I lost another three pounds, putting me at 233. Admittedly, I still have a lot of weight to lose, but my pants are getting looser and I’ve had to use holes on my belt which have never before been penetrated.

That seems kinda obscene now that I’ve written it.


How’ve you been doing?

Refocusing – week 3

It’s now been three weeks since my “Refocusing,” and this one’s been complicated. First by the lack of a well-formed, fifth goal, and second…well, let’s just say that trip to the hospital disrupted things just a bit.

But how’d I actually do?

Progress report – week 3

As always, I’m going to go through my goals one by one, give myself a grade in each, then wrap it all up with an overall assessment of how I fell.

I will spend one hour a day exercising and stretching.

Yeah, I sucked at this one. I stretched every day, and even walked home from the hospital on Tuesday, but I basically just slacked off. It’s the cold, mostly. And the wind. I’m a major league wimp when it comes to going out in the cold, and I really have to get past that.

Still, I’m giving myself a C here, instead of a D. Why? Because I frickin’ walked home from the hospital!

I will use a meal planner to eat healthier.

This goal? I’m still kicking its butt all over the place, though not quite as much as I have been. I babied my stomach for most of the week, and that meant dialing down the amount of veggies I consumed. I subbed in things like brown rice and tofu (yes, really), but my body’s really been feeling the lack of green goodness. Still, I held to my calorie count and what I did eat wasn’t unhealthy by any means.

Solid A, here.

I will spend one hour a day on meditation and related practices.

I didn’t meditate either Tuesday or Wednesday. Tuesday because I was in the ER, and Wednesday because my stomach was still hurting bad enough that I didn’t think it was possible to get anything at all out of meditation. I held to those “related practices,” though. Not quite as successfully as the previous two weeks, but I did what I needed to do.

I’m giving myself an A- for this one. Yes, I can be excused for the mid-week distraction, but a slip’s a slip and it deserves some recognition.

I will spend one hour a day with my family members.

I am totally crushing this goal. I’m spending a lot more time with my family members and having more fun doing it. For example, Alex and I spent much of this last weekend playing Magic: The Gathering and watching Stranger Things.

This is an A+ all around.

I will spend one hour a day on photography.

I will create something every day.

I’m officially dinging the “photography” goal in favor of a new, “create something” goal. So, what’s this new goal about?

In order to earn a grade here, I need to create something each day. That could be taking photographs, drawing, writing a poem–it literally does not matter what form the “something” takes, just that I apply my creative energies to something specific, in a tangible, measurable way each and every day.

Since I’m trading out a goal here, I’m not giving myself a grade for the “five-slot” this week. I am giving myself a great big F in following my instincts, though, because I knew the vagueness in my original goal was going to be a problem and I could have saved myself a lot of mental grief if I’d just trusted my gut.


Between the time change and the stomach stuff, this was a rough week for sleep. Add in the lack of veggies and this is the tiredest I’ve been since I started all this. I’ve been a bit slower to get started in the mornings, and there were a couple of days when I really wanted to take a nap. That said, it’s perfectly understandable that I’d feel this way, and I’m still nowhere near as tired as I was before.

Still, this bit of tiredness has made it somewhat difficult to accurately judge things like my mood, level of stress/anxiety, or overall happiness. I feel pretty good, but I think everyone gets a little “worse for wear” when they’re not sleeping properly. There have a been a couple of times this week when my patience has felt a bit thin, but fortunately those times were brief. And let’s be honest, here: it is (once again) perfectly understandable that I’d be a little “off” given the week I’ve had.

As for my weight? I lost another three pounds this week. That brings me down to 241, ten pounds lighter than when I started. I still have a long way to go, but I have absolutely no doubt that I’ll make it to my “primary target” weight of 180.

So, yeah. Still hanging in there and basically loving it. If I can up my veggies, get some more exercise, and adjust to the existential horror of the time change, I should be pretty good next week!

How are you doing?

Refocusing – week two

Well, the second week of my Refocusing (as I’m calling it) has come and gone. Let’s see how I did.

Progress report – week 2

Once again, I’ll break down my progress goal-by-goal, then write about my overall results and feelings.

I will spend one hour a day exercising and stretching.

This went much better than last week. I stretched every day, and got out for a “power” walk five out of the seven days. The weather was still a factor, but I’m working on getting over that.

I’m giving myself a B- here. If I don’t get out for a walk, I could at least stretch again. And I haven’t consistently hit a full hour yet.

I will use a meal planner to eat healthier.

Rocking this one harder than last week! Didn’t go over my calorie count even once, and I added a daily multi-vitamin to the mix. I’ve also taken steps to diversify my diet a bit more, so I don’t get into a boring rut that feels like punishment.

This is A+ territory. I really don’t think I can do much better.

I will spend one hour a day on meditation and related practices.

Totally nailed this one again. In fact, I can probably afford to spend a little less time and energy on this, and use those savings on other goals.

That makes this another A+.

I will spend one hour a day with my family members.

Doing great here, as well. I’m taking the earbuds out more often, and interacting with everyone. I still see some room for improvement, but I’m generally happy with how this is going.

Let’s call it an A.

I will spend one hour a day on photography.

This one is a bummer. The point of this goal was to get me creating something every day. Instead, as I mentioned last week, I left it open and vague enough that I can spend my time doing everything but creating something and still call it good.

For example, I’ve been spending about half an hour on Instagram every day. That time totally counts as far as this goal is concerned, but apart from “popularity,” it’s really contributing nothing to my art. I have thousands of followers, get hundreds of likes on every photo I share from my archives, but haven’t actually taken more than half a dozen photos in the last couple of weeks.

That’s, you know, not good.

But that’s not all! Despite my best intentions, I’ve somehow managed to mentally box myself in as a “nature photographer,” and now that the flowers are dead and the leaves are off the trees, I’m having a hard time finding any sort of creative spark for photography. I really just don’t feel like pulling out my camera at all.

That’s, you know, really not good.

So, I’m coming back to this goal with a hatchet and a bad attitude. I need to scrap this vague-ass permission slip, and give myself a specific commandment. Right now, I’m thinking: “I will spend one hour a day creating something.” This puts the focus on doing actual, creative work, but also relaxes the photography restriction. I could write, draw, or craft for instance, and get credit for it.

Not sure yet. But since I started the week with the goal in bold up above, let’s grade myself.

Going by the letter, I have to give myself an A. But if I went by the actual spirit of the goal, this is as solid an F as they come.


Once again, I’ve been in a great mood. I feel awesome, both physically and mentally, and lost another two pounds.

The time change is throwing me off a bit, though. I’ve been tired yesterday and today, but I’m not too concerned about that, as you can probably guess. I’ll adjust.

Likewise, my stress and anxiety is basically non-existent at this point. When I feel either begin to rise up, I’m able to quickly recognize it, and just as quickly adjust my thinking.

I can’t stress enough that I never for a second thought this Refocusing would have this kind of pronounced, instant positive effect on me. And while I realize I still have a long way to go before I’m where I want to ultimately be physically (specifically, I have another 64 pounds to go), I have no doubt that I’ll get there, and much sooner than I would have hoped.

How are you doing?

Plague and smart-ass-ness

Yesterday was Halloween, which is always fun and always a bit of a madhouse in my neighborhood. We get hundreds of kids at the door, and hundreds of houses to siege down for their sweet, sweet candy.

Alex the Plague Doctor.

Alex loves it, and I kind of love it too. I’d love it more if I wasn’t forty years old, 65 pounds overweight, and a maker of bad decisions when it comes to how many layers of warm clothing I need to keep out the chill. Still, this year I found it all especially awesome because I was in a great mood and not exhausted. That’s novel.

She went as a plague doctor this year, and her costume was a solid hit. At the end of her own trick-or-treating expedition, she hung out on the porch in costume to hand out candy for the last half-hour, and had one small child steadfastly refuse to approach her.

If that’s not a good review, I don’t know what is.

My daughter’s awesome. Also? Kind of a smart-ass.

She asked me to order a book for her, the sequel to one she’s already read, and I asked her to write a note with as much information she could give me, so’s I’d be able to find it on Amazon.

This is what she wrote:

"The Giver (Probably should look it up with the keyword 'book')"
“The Giver (Probably should look it up with the keyword ‘book’)”

Part of me says I ought to try to get her to curb this tendency, but mostly I find it hilarious.