The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Through Thick or Thin(ner): Next Steps and Missteps

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One step forward, two steps back.

So far so good. My announcement earlier this week has garnered support and encouragement. Thanks, guys, you rock!

I have to admit that I’m feeling a mild panic along the lines of “Oh boy, what have I done? Couldn’t keep my mouth shut, could I?” Well, that was the point, wasn’t it: declare my intentions to eat healthy and exercise, thereby obliging myself to follow through.

Fine. What’s next?

Carrie wrote, “Starting with a few small changes often leads to noticeable results, enough that we’re motivated to keep going.”

Wow, those comments were helpful! “Small changes” has been my mantra for my community work. I never thought to apply it to my health, too! See? Already I’m reaping the benefits!

First things first: a plan. It’s in two parts: decrease intake and increase output. I intend to

  • Eat nothing after 7 PM
  • Reduce the amount of oil in my diet
  • Eliminate fries, chips, and processed food
  • Walk at least once a day for at least 30 minutes

*** …two day’s time passes… ***

And it begins: the rule breaking and excuses.

Two walks on Tuesday. Yay! That calls for a treat! An ice cream cone at 8:45 PM. Oil. Boo! After 7 PM. Boo! Hiss!

My wonky hip paid the price of those extra steps. No walk on Wednesday. Boo!

Chiropractor set me straight – yay – suggested orthotics, to the tune of $450.00 boo, hiss…

An extra-long walk on Thursday evening – wonderful trail, but my hip just about seized. [Insert you favourite cheer or jeer, here.]

Today, no walks. I need to rest my joints. But I did haul the vacuum cleaner around. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

This weekend we travel  north for mineral collecting. Five-hour drive, seated. A favourite chip wagon on the itinerary. Restaurant food. Clambering over rocks and boulders – at least I have suitable footwear for that. I’ve packed my walking cane just in case.

Not exactly a stellar start. Anyone else doing the “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Tango”?


Categories: Personal Growth


60 replies

  1. Sorry for the setbacks, but I can definitely relate on the joint issues. It is difficult to move well, and enough, when body parts don’t cooperate/and when helping those same parts involves LOTS of money. Maybe shorter walks but more often, and that idea of simply moving around the house works as well. I think the no eating after a specific time is HUGE. I have been on an eating program for 1 1/2 years that allowed me to lose 30 lbs and one of the big no-no’s was eating in the evening. When dinner is finished, you are finished. No excuses. Your body and hormones start to do some weird survival thing if you are consistently feeding yourself, even good foods, less than 2 hours prior to bedtime. Hang in there 🙂


    • Deb – you shall be my confessor: I had intended to write another bullet point: get up from the computer every 30 minutes. But didn’t. Because I figured that would be too much to ask of myself. But that’s exactly what I need to do – MOVE – anything – dust the furniture, water the garden, take a load of laundry off the line. Anything as long as I’m moving.

      Shorter walks would help too. But so would decent footwear. I have a cheap pair of sneakers that have no support. I know better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s so easy to think that you can be as you were when younger, or do as you did without thought at 25, until your body screams at you to stop…I think it sucks big time most of the time, but I try to remind myself that I just have to do things a bit differently, and maybe a bit slower, but until I grow roots I know that I have to at least try to attempt some activity. One of the perks of caring for my 3 yr old grandaughter. She keeps me moving. YOU CAN DO IT 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Has your hip been X-rayed? No one sticks with an exercise program that hurts. How about a bicycle! 🙂


    • Yes, as a matter of fact, I just had my hip X-rayed last month – no sign of arthritis, so yay for that. I am paying the price for a series of injuries from years ago, I guess.

      I may have to look into something else like a bike, but I am such a chicken sh*t when it comes to sharing the road with cars. See? Excuses!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess “Yay” but hip surgery now is successful and really does take the pain away. Some of the other hip problems are very hard to relieve. I know because they thought I had piriformis syndrome and/or bursitis and/or a torn whatever that band is called that goes over the joint on the outside of the leg. I actually do ride a stationary bike (arthritic knee) and while it’s not exactly FUN when I get into it, I like it very much and it’s made an incredible difference in my mobility and appearance. I wish I liked to swim; that would be ideal.


        • this is food for thought, regarding the stationary bike. Interesting – my dad had bursitis – I wonder if it’s hereditary? Now I’m off to google piriformis .

          Liked by 1 person

          • Stationary bike, iPod, water, followed by yoga. I’ll never be thin, but I don’t look like a short fat lady anymore. I just look like a short somewhat chubby lady and I have a lot less pain in my knees and back. If it’s bursitis, that’s a difficult thing to get rid of. Ice helps very much and your doc will tell you NOT to exercise until the inflammation goes down. I only know all this because my doctor was incompetent and didn’t order hip x-rays because I was only 52 so I was treated for bursitis first (it’s the most common cause of hip pain) and piriformis syndrome next. Piriformis syndrome is more common in athletes (and I was an athlete until 2004) but is relatively rare. It’s treated with exercise. After 18 months, he finally had my hip x-rayed. I will always hate him. 🙂 Good luck, Maggie! Hip pain is AWFUL!!!!


  3. As long as you’re motivated and honest with yourself, I think the change will happen. If it happens gradually, it will probably be sustainable. If you starve yourself, you will feel the need for a reward. Let the process be organic. Note: I am not a doctor, or a non-degreed-medical-spokesperson, nor do I play either role on TV.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m blaming YOU: Since telling yo, And I’m not joking . . ., I’m in with your plan to lose the weight I need to lose: Ate 4 cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, a full fat ice cream cone, chocolate croissant – in the last two day (and, ahem, I’m too embarrassed to tell you what else, ahem).

    I think it’s the thought that I’m going to be deeeeeeprived that set me off. I have to retune my thinking to be more positive, instead of thinking deprivation.

    Ah, feel much better now that I’ve blamed you instead of myself! Thanks, you’re the best.
    Your indebted friend,

    AND, I just came back from the doctor’s office getting cortisone injection in my foot (neuroma) that was limiting my walking and wasn’t responding to other treatments. Maybe I’ll blame you for that too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just keep trying. You become more aware over time of the food you are putting in your body and start to count calories and substitutie lower calorie items. For special occasions I go overboard! I can’t walk distances either because of neuropathy pain. I try to be active around the house and re4duce the calories even more to compensate. Just keep trying!


  6. Okay. Everybody does the one step forward two steps back thang. Try this: If you haven’t been walking regularly, start with 15 mins, not 30. Work up to 30. Instead of eliminating whole groups of foods you are accustomed to eating, cut their consumption by a 1/3 or half. When you adjust, cut again until you meet your goal. I did that with sugar in my coffee. 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp to 0 tsp. It worked. If you love fries or chips, allow yourself the occasional treat only downsize it and salt-reduce. Just a suggestion. The only thing I did cold turkey was quit smoking, but I kept 1/2 pack of cigarettes in the freezer for a year. It worked.

    Now….. keep going forward no matter what. No matter how many times you think you’ve failed. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I do pretty well with smaller snax throughout the day instead of trying to eliminate one great big group. Small snax means I’m not as hungry. As for the activity,….bicycle is my best friend. Much easier on the joints (providing you can get your leg over the seat! LOL! hardest part for me!)

    Maggie, I know we’re on here to talk about your progress, but I just have to say, I love how you wrote this up with the “boo” and “hiss”, etc. Love your attitude and I think you’re awesome just as you are!


    • Glad you like the content as well as the presentation – I appreciate that, a lot! Thank you for your kind words!

      I’ve been grazing for years – 5 or 6 smaller snacks, as you mention. When I get hungry, I feed myself.

      My biggest challenge is the inactivity. You are the second to suggest a bike. I tried that, Twice. Bought second hand and both times they ended up sitting unused. It’s not for me, I guess.

      I’m down, but not out!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sweet Magnolia – I read your other post but am hardly qualified to give advice I fail to follow 😕

    I applaud your intentions, and I’m paralleling your journey as I’m sure are many ithers. Your triumphs are ours; your failures collective.

    I will say I gleaned a kernal from reading thus – I hate to admit it, but realize niw that it’s my ‘rewards’ that are a major stumbling block. I guess doing the exercise I committed to doing should be its own reward (bleh!).

    I will add – for consideration – I went for a decade unwilling to pay $500 for custom orthotics, making do with cheapos and enduring my hip pain even when it meant I couldn’t take walks. A year ago I spent the $500 and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made for myself. It didn’t cure some knee issues but it resolved my hip/walking problem and now I can actually hike again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sammy Sweet, thanks for your words. It’s always the rewards, isn’t it? “You need to finish your plate if you want to eat dessert.” And then there’s one of my favourite mantras: “Eat dessert first”!


      But hey! Your feedback about orthotics has helped me decide. If the foot scan suggests that I need additional support, I’m going to order them.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. You get an A for effort! The two-step is a necessary dance with all changes.


  10. See? It’s that damn step 2 at work – ie undo all of the good work you did in step 1.

    I had a marvellous week … until last night … let’s just say chocolate was involved.

    I’m back on repeat again.

    Hope things improve from here going forward!!


  11. Maggie, keep “stepping.” Forward, backward, it doesn’t matter! It’s that old balance of calories in and calories out that’s important. Unfortunately inactivity doesn’t require a “brimming to the top and over plate,” or “in-between (reward) snacks.” Unfortunately that ‘s the way it is. At my age I’m on the “older than dirt” deprivations diet. I do promise myself when I’m 90, I’m heading for the nearest chocolate factory! So keep your humor about it, and never give up! We are your supporters! Christine


  12. Did you see what you did, Maggie: one step forward, two steps back–you were dancing! Forget the steps; just think of it as dancing. Or baby steps. And, please–forget eliminate. Try moderation. No sense depriving yourself; moderate yourself, instead. It is a way of life, not a die-it. It’s good your writing about. It keeps you accountable to all us Dr Kildare-types! 😀
    Oh, and remember Ben Casey??!!


  13. Over the years I’ve been fairly athletic, but also had to work through injury after injury. I’ve had quad injuries, turf toe, piriformis syndrome (painful because it pitches the sciatic nerve) and numerous running injuries. The two tools that made it possible to recover and continue exercise are the foam roller and the Thera cane. They cost in total, around $60 US dollars, yet have likely saved me hundreds in physical therapy bills.
    As far as small steps, I’ve had more success remembering that each time I do this thing or that, it’s reinforcing a particular habit. Knowing how hard habits are to break, it makes me think twice about reinforcing a habit that won’t get me to my health goal. That being said, you’ll figure out what works for you.


  14. I second that — moderation. In everything. How many runners do we know who dropped dead? There was that guy who developed the aerobic exercise program for the Air Force; he dropped dead very very early in life. I’ve heard from many that stretching and hydration are THE key for slimming/strengthening/maintaining (we are all under-hydrated) and I’d say many of us are always understretched these online days). My mom swore that just cleaning house allowed her to eat what she wanted to and still allow for chocolate every night while reading in bed. Okay, that was the obligatory helpfulness. Now, I’ll say what I really feel: We’re all gonna die, and until then, God loves us as is. On feast days, we (Catholics — including the saints) are to feast (as opposed to fast). Every Sunday is a feast day. 🙂 Last, if you’ve been sitting on a hard chair for years while online, there’s a large part of your hip problem.


  15. Boo! Hiss!

    Look out! It’s the big Excuses Monster!! He’s BEHIIIIIIND YOOOOU!!

    Shall I clap my hands to summon the Weight Loss Fairy? Clap louder, boys and girls!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Maggie, I hope you can manage the pain. I liked Martha’s suggestion of a stationary bike. We have one and it helped with several knee problems. Guiltily it sits in the shed… I liked your sensible list though! 🙂


  17. I just do the two steps back. A step forward is real progress. Keep going Maggie.


  18. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Maggie. We have spent a lifetime developing habits that no longer serve us well. I grew up with evening snacks, we had our main meal at 4 p.m. and it seemed almost necessary. That was a hard one to give up. But habits can be replaced with new ones, it just takes time, and paying attention.

    I also have hip/joint issues…it seems that a lot of injuries from the hips down have come back to haunt me. I still walk every day, some days more than others. I take aspirin before I start out…it really helps.The biggest problem, like most writers/readers, is to remind myself to get up and move around more frequently. Still working on that !

    Best of luck…you will do this. We’ll be watching ! ☺ Van


  19. Lifestyle change takes a long time, but you have started moving in a positive direction, which is the important part.


  20. Oh, Maggie, I know that two step only too well. I’ve discovered the secret for me is portion control. That way my inner eight year old can’t whine about no chocolate, no ice cream, boo hoo. It mostly works, but sometimes my eight year old gets the better of me. Drink lots of water, and keep on keeping on!


    • Thanks, Amanda – One thing that I’m good at is water intake – if it weren’t for the walks to the sink for refills and then subsequent walks to the bathroom to unfill, some days I’d have no walks at all. The portion control – ay yi yi… yeah, every day I deal with that 8 year old, too. “His slice is bigger than mine!”

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Be nice to yourself, please. Changing a lifetime of habits isn’t easy for anyone. I used to think my husband had an iron will for these things until I complimented him on it and he corrected me. He said his secret was that every time he failed he would make a conscious decision to make a fresh start. One day at a time as -they- say. Me? I remember it took me several attempts when I wanted to quit smoking and the time that worked (it has been more than 20 years since) was the time I learned to forgive my mistakes and just keep trying. I know you can do this!


  22. Maggie, you mentioned the possibility of a standing desk. I think if you have any hip issues, standing in one spot is not a good plan–at least, that is killer for my hips when they’re acting up. However, to make my daily walking less boring, I learned to read while I walk. In my last place, I did a treadmill and either read or watched a film on my laptop. Here, when it rains, I use my notebook/pad and watch a film with the earbuds in and pace–there’s no frigging room in my current place for a treadmill. It’s weird, but it gets the job done. If you’re reading or watching a video, time flies.

    Continued best!



  1. Through Thick or Thin(ner): Dedication | The Zombies Ate My Brains

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