Mini Reese cups and new routines

Well, hello.

I’m still here. I just took a little break while I got settled into my new job at The Lane Report. I LOVE it. I am getting to do a lot of things I really enjoy AND get home in time to spend the evening with my husband and Josie, the cutest dog ever.

I’m sure you might have noticed the words ” and go to the gym” were missing from the previous paragraph. Yeah. To make matters worse, my new, wonderful co-workers have a sweet tooth (teeth?) and keep loads of candy around. Mini Reese cups, chocolate bars, tiny Snickers.

I spent about an hour today looking at photos of fat people to illustrate a story about the cost of treating chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes. And for some strange reason, that made me really want a mini Reese cup. I know. It makes no sense. I should have the opposite reaction. (Especially because, at one point, I was thinking of posing for the shot I was looking for. OK, maybe not, but you know what I mean.)

But I digress.

I did go to the gym today. I spent 45 minutes between the treadmill and the elliptical machine, while watching an episode of “Supernatural” on Netflix. It was about killer bugs, which made for a lots of scratching while I worked out. Perhaps the scratching burned some extra calories, who knows?

No matter how much I know that being healthy has to be a lifestyle change, as soon as I am on track, I so easily fall back into old habits. I get lazy. And, I turn to food for comfort. When I start feeling like I NEED some chocolate or something else sweet, I really should be assessing what is going on with me. But, personal inventory is no fun, and most times, I give in to the craving.

Why is it that I know the problem so well, but just won’t apply the solution?

One day.

Well, that’s today. I did well today. I will try again tomorrow. I need to establish the gym/exercise regimen now, while I am still getting accustomed to my new job. (And, somehow, develop an aversion to chocolate.)

Wish me luck!

A tearful goodbye

Today is my last day as editor of the Richmond Register.
With much consideration and many tears — as well as guidance from those who mentor me — I’ve decided to take on a new challenge, one that allows me a little more time to spend with my family. 
On Monday, I begin a new adventure as associate editor of the Lane Report, a renowned business magazine in Lexington.
Leaving my Register family is not a decision I took lightly.
That’s exactly what my fellow employees at the Register are to me. Family. Throughout the past seven and one-half years, I’ve spent more time with the employees of this newspaper than I have my biological family. We’ve grown to love each other, even with all our quirky faults on display every day. 
We’ve seen each other through deaths, emotional family issues and other difficult times. I can always count on someone here at the Register to make me smile, when the rest of the world makes me downright grumpy.
If something ails me, there is a large group of women I can turn to who can tell me 10 or 12 different ways to solve it. And at least two or three of them will be quite humorous.
When I have a song stuck in my head, I can always share that earworm with Ronica Shannon, who knows about as many obscure songs as I do. This week at the hair salon, I heard a song that goes, “Baby there’s a shark in the water.” That’s about all I remember of it, but it keeps running through my head. If you’ve ever heard it, maybe you’re singing it now, too.
Ronica could easily be a stand-up comedian. I love her jokes, but more than that, I love her heart. Ronica wants so much to make a difference in this world, that sometimes, I don’t think she realizes she already does. 
Ronica is a dear friend, and I will hunt her down if she does not stay in touch with me. You hear that, Ronica?
I turn to Bill Robinson when I don’t know why something is the way it is in Madison County. Bill is a walking encyclopedia, filled with useful and random facts. He’s a handy guy to keep around.
Bill has taught me a lot about what it means to be a true community journalist. He keeps me laughing, too. There is almost nothing funnier than Bill cracking up at his own joke. And, no one can eat salsa and chips like Bill. 
I am proud to announce that Bill is the new editor of this newspaper. It’s a job he held in the late 70s and early 80s, and he is prepared to continue the good work that previous editor Jim Todd started here and that as a team, we’ve continued. (Teamwork is key!)
Carrie Curry came to us from Delaware, but she was always meant for Kentucky. She might never pick up our accent, or God forbid, allow her kids to use one, but she is a Kentucky girl. Just check out her garden, or see her at Keeneland!
It feels like Carrie and I have grown up here at the Register together, even though we were more than grown when we arrived. 
I’ve learned a lot about what motherhood looks like, close up, from Carrie. She is one of the best moms I have ever seen. Her babies are No. 1, and they should be. I will miss Carrie, but I am pretty sure I’ll still be seeing her, because I am about the only person in Kentucky she lets babysit her children. Call me, Carrie.
Nancy Taggart was a mystery to me for about the first three or four years I worked here. She’s quiet most of the time, but don’t let that fool you. She is quite the jokester. 
Nancy is a very private person, so I won’t reveal too many of her secrets here. But I can tell you one thing, there is no one more dedicated to the Richmond Register than Nancy Taggart. You probably know that because you’ve seen her out at practically every event in Madison County, shooting photos.
If I am ever unsure about a news decision, I always ask Nancy what she thinks. She’s got a nose for news and is always honest. And, she’s the best darn photographer I’ve ever seen, as well as one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. 
Crystal Wylie is fairly new to our newsroom, but it feels like I’ve known her my entire life. She is one of those people you’ll never forget. She is very intelligent and organized, which is exactly what you need in a good reporter. She’s also one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met, and she draws the funny out of everyone around her. You can’t be in a room with Crystal and not have fun. I’ll miss seeing her every day, but I’m counting on still having her in my life.
I recruited Sarah Hogsed to the Richmond Register. For just under a year, I tried to get her to come to this newspaper. Finally, in January, she began working as our cops and courts reporter. Employing her was a home run. She knows her stuff, she’s professional and is excited about her work. 
When I announced my resignation, she said she felt like a ball player who had been recruited by a coach who then left the team. I’m sorry for that, Sarah, but I know you’ll continue to make a positive impact at the Register. You don’t need me to succeed, that’s for sure. 
I know I am getting long-winded here, but there are so many others I will miss. It’s hard to imagine working without Roy Varney’s jokes (hit or miss) or teasing news clerk Mary Barczak about having a crush on Crystal Wylie’s older brother (she doesn’t, but that’s what makes it even funnier). 
I just introduced publisher Nick Lewis to my mustache collection. (You know, because some people still think the editor is going to be a man, so a girl’s gotta have a go-to stick-on mustache out of a machine from the Mexican restaurant.) Where else could I walk around in a mustache, but then still be taken seriously when it comes to business?
Nick has been a top-notch boss. He offered advice when I asked for it, supported me when I made tough decisions and never questioned my ability. I’m thankful for his leadership.
The ladies in our composing department have always offered me sage advice, and I’ve been glad to have it. They’ve cheered me on, listened to my woes and been dear friends. The same goes for the ladies in classifieds and accounting, and my friends in the advertising and circulation departments. I’m beyond grateful to have had the chance to work with so many wonderful people, such as Tim Mandell and Nathan Hutchinson in our sports department, who work so well at covering sports in Madison County, I’ve never once had to worry about the sports section. Not even once.
And I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful people I’ve met in this community, and the amazing stories we’ve had the chance to tell. 
I’ve been blessed with friends almost everywhere I turned, from the circuit court clerk’s office to David and Jennifer Smith, and many of the attorneys I met while covering court stories. And I can’t forget my “little old men,” Dick Ham, Glenmore Jones and Jack Strauss. You’ve encouraged me in more ways than you know and I am changed because I know you.
Sandra Plant has been my cheerleader from Day One, and her confidence in me helped me develop more in myself. Thank you. She and Frank Kourt, with his deep knowledge of just about everything, have helped this paper be what it is today. I will miss their storytelling and their friendship.
This column would not be complete without thanking Jim Todd for hiring me in 2004, mentoring me and teaching me how to be a good boss, how to write better 
stories, how to build a team, and most of all, how to truly be a good friend. 
I will miss you all. 
Lorie Love Hailey can be reached at lorielovehailey@gmail.com. Her blog can be read at www.aweightoffmyshoulders.wordpress.com.

A joyful noise, indeed

The Bible instructs us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Growing up, I remember being told that even a poor voice singing God’s praises would make him happy.

If that’s true, God surely will be delighted Sunday when he hears the sounds of Les Jongleurs, a select choir directed by John Stegner performing in concert at First Christian Church in Richmond.

I admit, that’s a bit boastful, considering I am a member of this ensemble. To tell you the truth, I am overjoyed (and amazed) they found my voice good enough to join.

There are two things I have always done. Write and sing. For much of my life, singing was a huge part of my identity.

I sang at church, in my high school choir and in community theatre musicals. I also performed at festivals and homecoming celebrations, in weddings and, well, pretty much anywhere I could.

I will sing solos, and I have sung very many, but the art of blending my voice with someone else’s has always interested me more.

Singing harmony with my sister, for example, and somehow knowing which part to take without even speaking about it, is magical.

So, when I got the opportunity to join this 15-member choir made up of people who, like me, have been singing forever, I jumped at the chance to use the instrument God gave me.

The choir had been rehearsing for a bit when I joined, and to say it was a challenge to catch up is an understatement.

This concert features sacred music in all sorts of styles, including Renaissance, African-American spirituals, early American hymns, contemporary and gospel music.

The music is some of the most difficult I’ve ever performed, and it seemed like every week, I received a new piece of music. (I actually was just catching up!)

Our director, John Stegner, is a pro. His resume is impressive, to say the least. He knows what he is doing and our concert is sure to be a hit. When you’re singing for someone who knows what he is doing, and standing next to singers such as Toni McHugh (a Richmond woman with one of the strongest, clearest soprano voices I’ve ever heard) and one of my best friends from high school, Nicole Larkey Conyers (who should be singing professionally), you can’t help but feel confident.

Come hear me and my friends in Les Jongleurs at 3 p.m. Sunday and share in my amazement.

The concert is free.

(Just in case you’re wondering, Les Jongleurs is French for The Jugglers.)

+++

For those of you watching for an update to my blog, “A Weight Off My Shoulders,” here you go.

I’ve not been doing very well. Kind of hit or miss. I haven’t lost any more weight yet, and my weakness still seems to be sweets. But, I did run/walk a 5K on Saturday and am thinking about doing the one St. Patty’s Day 5K Thursday night at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

Good decisions — the 5K — hopefully can have as much impact as the bad ones — Panera’s double chocolate brownie. That’s my hope anyway.

My goal is not perfection. It’s just to make better decisions and be healthier.

Now, if someone could find my willpower, I’d sure like to have it back.

I should really ask Robert Clark, who works in circulation here at the Register, what his diet secret is. He has lost more than 40 pounds since Jan. 1.

Congratulations, Robert.

 

A difficult journey

I could write this update in two words: I’m struggling.

The past few weeks, it seems I have allowed myself to become distracted from my health goals by … well, life. From family dinners to late nights working, I’ve eaten badly too many days and skipped the gym on several occasions.

The truth is … I’ve been lazy.

I can see a pattern. I have met all of my goals one day, and then not met them the next. I do well for two days, and then bad for a day. Then, I get discouraged by my lack of progress.

I promised honesty. This time, it really has been difficult. My willpower is not as strong as it needs to be, and I am so tired after work that I struggle with working out.

Does this mean I am done? That I am giving up? Of course not. (If for no other reason, I can’t handle the heckling from Jimmy Dale Williams.)

But, it does mean I must make some adjustments.

One, I must go to the gym before work a few times a week, instead of waiting until after work when I am very tired from the day. I also must find alternative forms of exercise so that I do not get bored.

And, as I’ve said before, I must plan better and prepare healthy meals ahead of time.

I think the most important adjustment, however, is in my attitude. I must see my weight loss efforts as, not a race to be won, but a change in the way I view food.

I’ve used food as a warm blanket to wrap myself in when I’m upset, frustrated or tired. I am an emotional eater. I just want to feel good, and somehow, I think food can do that.

But, it never really works. I feel guilty immediately, which triggers another response: “Oh well, I am never going to be able to lose weight, I might as well eat what I want.”

Despite my lack of progress lately, I still know I can be successful. I’ve promised my father-in-law I would run a 5K in March — the same one Tinsley and I ran in 2010 — and I will not let him down. So, the first order of business is to get my feet on the pavement.

Next time you see me, ask me if I’ve been running. I’m the worst liar in the world, so I’ll  be forced to tell you the truth … good or bad. And hopefully that will be motivation enough to get me out on the road.

Lessons learned

The weight-loss journey continues, but not without some bumps in the road.

The past week was very difficult. I lost one pound, but seem to have found it again. I’m not surprised, though, because I made some poor choices and learned a few important lessons.

The first is the absolute necessity of eating at regular intervals. Extreme hunger makes my willpower weak. If I wait too long between lunch and dinner, it is a sure bet that I am going to grab something quick and easy.

Quick and easy usually means fattening.

Last Monday and Tuesday nights, I didn’t get home until later in the evening and I picked up dinner on the way home.

I worked out like a mad woman Monday night, but was so famished by the time I was done that I had to eat right then. I couldn’t wait until I got home to make something healthy.

So, from now on, I know I must eat something before working out so I am not starving when I am done.

I also did not work out as often this week because of special events that were scheduled, a newspaper awards banquet (we won third!) and a 13th birthday celebration with my cousin Maggie, which turned into two days of celebrating because she stayed the night with us after a day of shopping in Lexington.

But, these events are no excuse. I knew they were planned and could have worked harder to work around them. I could have gotten up earlier and gone to the gym before work, but I didn’t. And I didn’t get the results I wanted this week, either.

The most important lesson, however, is not giving up. It is too easy to get down on myself and throw in the towel. Instead, I am going to let this week renew my vigor. Besides, I am still down seven pounds from when I started. And I can reach my goals. I just have to learn this way of life and keep it up.

So, if you’re feeling down about messing up your “diet,” don’t. Just do better today.

As one of my friends tells me, “Remember, I think you’re fantastic.”

Low-calorie snacks and advice from Jimmy Dale

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the feedback from readers about my blog/newspaper column. It is really good to know that I am not the only one in this boat, and that you are counting on my success for inspiration.

I have received many uplifting emails and phone calls, and even had one reader bring low-calories snacks to the office.

It is odd, I confess, to publish such personal things. But, almost everywhere I go, someone thanks me for writing about my struggle to be healthy. So many have said my experience is inspiring them to tackle the issue, too.

Sharing this journey with you holds me accountable to you, which aids in my success, and it is helping others, so how can we go wrong here?

One reader said she was stunned when she read my first entry because she felt like she was reading her own story.

A coworker joined Weight Watchers and thanked me for inspiring her.

I even received some invaluable advice from Jimmy Dale Williams, a local defense attorney who has been writing me letters for the past few months about various topics. (Jimmy Dale’s letters usually are full of insults, but I don’t mind, because I’m just glad he keeps reading our newspaper.)

It seems that Jimmy Dale understands a thing or two about weight issues. I wouldn’t have guessed it.

The only thing that Jimmy Dale was wrong about in his letter is saying that I am a “Johnny Come Lately” on the fat scene.

I only wish this were a new issue for me. I’ve struggled with weight and food issues since I was young enough to count calories. Losing weight isn’t the hard part for me. It’s the keeping it off.

Jimmy Dale joked that he never would have guessed that I weighed one ounce over 201 pounds, and suggested that perhaps I am “big-boned” and carry my weight well. I got a good laugh about that, but my husband did not find it funny at all. I really thought he would.
Jimmy Dale said perhaps I have been employing the same technique he uses to create the illusion of a more “svelte” look, wearing dark clothing.

The letter made me laugh out loud.

Next time I see Jimmy Dale, I will be sure to give him an “atta boy” on his weigh loss endeavors. He tells me he has been working on his Doctor of Phatology for 13 years at Duke University’s Diet and Fitness Center.

Jokes aside, Jimmy Dale did offer some tried and true suggestions, some that I already have talked about here. Weight loss is simple, he said.

“The simple answer is living a healthy lifestyle by consuming fewer calories than you use; and the two components of that healthy lifestyle are just simply consuming nutritious foods in a modest and sensible manner, along with daily exercise,” Jimmy Dale writes. “It does not get any more simple than that; and the more you try to invent a new method by which you can see Twiggy in the mirror, the more you are destined to continue to see Fat Alberta in the mirror.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

My get-back-in-my-size-10-clothes plan

Many readers have thanked me for my candor in writing this blog. Knowing you appreciate my journey and might get some inspiration from it gives me renewed energy and a stronger drive to succeed.

Success is an odd word when we are talking about losing weight and gaining health. Success means something different to each individual.

Having walked this road many times, I have a new sense of what success means. Before, I wanted to be healthy and wanted to lose as much weight as possible. I thought, losing weight would make me happy.

It certainly made me have a little better self-image, but it did not make me happy. As I said before, I didn’t truly appreciate it. I still saw an obese person in the mirror.

Happiness is an inside job.

I believe I’ll never truly be content with what I see in the mirror as long as I am judging myself by my appearance. I have to make peace with who I am and learn to treat my body as a vessel entrusted to me to take care of.

I have to learn to deal with stress, anxiety, fear and any other uncomfortable emotion without turning to food.

This is the body I have to live in for the rest of my life. I have to take care of it. I want to take care of it.

Here is my plan. Feel free to share yours with me. Together, we can figure out the best ways to manipulate our bodies into shape and perhaps live fuller, more useful lives.

First, I am tracking every bite I take using the LoseIt app on my Android phone. If you don’t have a smart phone, that’s OK. You can simply keep a food journal where you write down your meals. I think Weight Watchers has a saying, “You bite it, you write it.” There are plenty of websites and publications where you can find the calorie content of your foods.

I have the LoseIt app set to allow for about 1,300 calories each day. That’s the target, which the application says will help me lose two pounds a week. (You put in your height and weight and it will calculate your calorie target, based on your goals.) The target number of calories will decrease as I lose weight.

If you find the target calories range to be too difficult, you can modify how many pounds you want to lose per week and get more calories. You also can eat more calories if you burn more calories.

The app has almost every food you can think of, and it has a place to enter your exercise for the day. For example, if you walk your dog for 45 minutes, you burn 143 calories. If you walk briskly for 45 minutes, you burn 379 calories. You tell the app what you did and for how long, and it will calculate it for you.

Losing weight is a simple numbers game. For example, today I ate 1,290 calories and burned an extra 683 calories, for a net of 608 calories.

I began tracking my calories and exercise on Dec. 29, when I weighed 204.5. Today, Jan. 8, I weigh 200 pounds. I am excited to see results.

The key to eating fewer calories is making smarter choices. Yes, I can have a candy bar for 280 calories, but it will not curb my hunger or provide any nutrition. Instead, I could have a cup of Greek yogurt (my favorite) for 140 calories and a handful of almonds (11 of them) for 76 calories. That’s 64 fewer calories and I am no longer hungry. (Also, candy sets off a sugar craving for me, and then I want more and more.)

At the gym, which I am going to four or five times a week, I like using the elliptical machine. I think it gives you the most bang for your buck. At a moderate pace, I can burn 333 calories in 30 minutes.

I like to do an hour or more. I know it sounds like a lot, but I watch a movie or television show on my phone, using the gym’s wireless Internet connection, and the time flies by.

I have been nervous about using the circuit training weight machines because I feel embarrassed, but I am slowly getting over that. I did a few machines today, and plan to continue on my next trip to the gym. I know cardio and strength training are both important to overall fitness.

My husband and I usually go to the gym together. I recommend finding a workout buddy. When Tinsley and I trained a few years ago to run a 5K, working out together made us more accountable. She encouraged me and I supported her. We made a commitment to work out, and we kept it. On days when I did not want to run, I knew she’d be waiting for me and that I had committed to being there. It made a huge difference.

So, that’s my plan so far. I hope you find it useful. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to stay healthy.

Thanks for all of your kind words and motivation.