Weight Loss

I have two friends who are running the Richmond Marathon.  While running in an organized race has not been something I've ever aspired to, I'm proud of my friends for their commitment to train and to race.  It is inspiring.

Our bodies were born to work.  The work of living--acquiring shelter, food--has largely been ceded to others.  My work of living is using my head, eyes and hands nestled firmly in a chair for most of the day.  Dexter has been a great incentive to be more active.  He needs play and exercise.  So do I.

This year I have lost 12 lbs.  I finally dropped below a weight level that in my late twenties and post partem was a ceiling for me.  Too easily the el-bees add up over the years.  Food + wine + inactivity does not make for good weight control.  The pounds move up at a glacier's pace.

My favorite part of my body has always been my arms.  When my arms "suddenly" lacked any definition, and I could see some subtle 'rippling' underneath the skin, it was my ENOUGH! moment.  Measuring my intake of calories, and the pitifully low expending of calories from lack of exercise was an eye opener.

Making some judicious choices (eat better, not necessary less; move more), I was able to lose weight.  My body fat scale was an invaluable aid:  first by shaming me by honestly telling me what my body fat % was; and second by inspiring me by steadily moving lower as I shed pounds--fat pounds!

And with Dexter, I'm moving more both from restraining an uber-exuber 52lb dog as well as playing with him and doing some limited running with him.   While he is too young for any systematic, repetitive exercise, a long lead allows me to slog and him to dawdle, sniff, and then burst into a run.  That's good for him, and it is good for me.  He, like my body fat scale, was a good feedback indicator on how much strength I had lost.  Though to be fair, he is very strong and quick.  I used to be too...and I may never be as strong or quick as I was a decade ago, but I and can be strong-er and quick-er than I am now.  It is all relative.  I accept that.

My stress detox has always been being outside with my dogs.  When I was trail running, Lucy, Greta and I enjoyed the outdoors, not matter what the season or the weather.  We just went out and ran.  (I was never very fast, but the fact that I was running was an anomaly for me an my non-athlete status). Staying connected to nature is important to staying grounded.  Watching the spring unfold, the brightness of the greens in the newly unfurled leaves and their deepening colors; observing the narrow slices of time in which a particular tree or flower bloomed on the trail; listening to the noises of the forest:  crows warning of our coming; turkeys startled and flying like a cannonball through the woods; hawks eerily calling; squirrels chastising us; frogs plopping into pool of water on the trail; seeing turkey feathers, deer tracks, the delicate shapes of raccoon feet, scat of all kind a reminder of the life that lives with us but so often out of our sight. 

Being on the trail with my dogs was healing.  Their unbridled joy to be moving and exploring was a marvel to watch. (Though they always had the freedom to do that, but when I accompanied them, it was joyful for them).  Moving with them, my feet and breath rhythmically linked was what I called my 'running meditation'.  Finding a quiet place to sit, and have the dogs circle back to find me and lay quietly.  They nor me had no need for conversation.

Those times were a great reminder of the healing capacity of the woods. We have been so successful in escaping the rigors of having to shelter ourselves from the harshness nature and removing ourselves from its life-giving capacity that we have created artificial lives. None more so than this venue that I occupy. 

I believe that our dogs are our intermediary to Nature.  We can learn from our dogs and their successfully being firmly planted in our world without forgetting the natural world from which they never entirely leave no matter what comforts we surround them with (at least not working dogs). 


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