The first day of my third and final week at Duke. Me weight was steady over the weekend, but I need to lose almost a pound a day to make my revised goal by departure on Friday. It is going to take discipline and an increase in exercise. Although the menus are on a four-week rotation, the classes are on a two-week rotation, so the classes I went to the first week are being repeated. I missed some of them, so I'll go this time, but if you've been reading my reports so far, you'll see I have a pretty comprehensive behavioral and nutritional look at what I need to do.
This morning, as I crossed the dining room for breakfast, a woman stopped me to thank me for suggesting a hot air popcorn popper. She bought one at Target over the weekend and made her own popcorn for the movie (just like my wife and I do!). She offered to make me some. I politely declined, noting that I have an ambitious goal and am going to have to work hard to achieve it. In fact, I am kicking up the exercise from 90 minutes a day to two hours or more a day for this week only.
I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, then went to the weekend in review. We shared our experiences and tips. I suggested you take half the mashed potatoes off your plate as soon as you arrive. I also shared the therapist's insight that "standing in the bar is not the place you want to be when you're deciding whether to drink or not." Lunch, an hour of chair aerobics (aerobics done while sitting down), dinner, and then 45 on the stationary bike. And that's my Monday in a nutshell.
First day since I got here with no classes. Everuything today is a repeat of a class I had two weeks ago, and I didn't miss any of them. A leisurely walk through the News and Observer and the NY Times, Eggs Benedict (technically Egg Benedict), followed by a solid 45 on the elliptical. Back to my room for some writing. Lunch, followed by an hour of yoga/pilates fusion. A nap, dinner, and 45 on the bike. Another day down. Forgot to weigh myself today. Can't wait for the news Wednesday morning.
They test you when you come in, they test you when you leave. It seems hard to believe it has been nearly three weeks since I arrived, but Friday is my last day, my 15th program day and my 19th day here. They like you to stay four weeks, but three is the best I can do. I had to fast before having my blood drawn. Breakfast, aqua aerobics, and mindfulness over at Duke Integrative Medicine. This week it was taught by one of the founders. Everyone who leads meditation, of course, has their own style. He reminded us to be present, observant and without judgment. He said when we observe thoughts, we must neither fight them nor feed them. He quoted Buddha: "During meditation you should be like the string of a musical instrument. If the string is too loose then it will make no sound, but if the string is too tight it breaks." In other words, don't be too relaxed, don't be too tense.
There is a phrase, "monkey mind" to describe the incessant chattering of your mind that meditation seeks to calm. At one point, I envisioned shooting the monkey. That, I decided, was too tense. Now, I just pet the monkey until it quiets down. We'll see how that works.
Chair aerobics, dinner, 45 on the elliptical, and another day has been well spent at Duke.
I am definitely winding down, in terms of classes, while ramping up in terms of exercise. There is no way I am going to fit more than two hours a day of exercise into my schedule at home (I manage 90 on a good day, 60 on a bad day), but it fits quite nicely here, so I exercised at 9 (45 on the elliptical), 1 (45 on the stationery bike) and 4 (elliptical again). I burned about 1500 calories, good enough for a half pound right there.
There has been much talk of spirituality here, so I decided to get in touch with my faith tradition. There is a noon Eucharist at St. Stephens' Episcopal Church in Hope Valley. It was a very modern church and a quite lively service (the feast of St. Mary the Virgin).
There was one class today, a cooking demonstration. What I learned:
squeeze a lemon onto your food. Your taste buds will register it as salt. Find a pan spray whose first ingredient is NOT water (ie: Pam). use 1.5 T of fresh parsley in a recipe that calls for 1T of dried (dried herbs are more potent). Trader Joe carries spices in grinder packaging, including my favorite, white pepper.
My final day at Duke Diet and Fitness. I lost 15 pounds in 15 program days (and didn't gain any back in 4 weekend days). My already excellent blood work was even better at the end then when I came in. I am proud to say the doctor told me they rarely get return clients who weigh less and have better blood chemistry when they return!
I did my first step aerobics class. Now that's an hour of exercise! There were a couple of moves I couldn't do, just because I don't have the coordination, not for any other physical reason. It was exhausting.
Lunch, 30 on the elliptical machine, and an hour of gentle yoga. I ran into a fellow MIT graduate from the class of '52 (he recognized me by my brass rat--class ring). The Friday night meal, the final meal for clients, is always steak. Seared dead animal. Yum, yum. There was a chocolate/tofu parfait that was great. Then time to pack and finish up a couple of projects. I fly back to SF on Saturday. I can't say I enjoyed it (I miss my home and family), but it wasn't awful.What it was was important.