Things They are A-Changin’

Yes Sirree.  Something’s happening here.  

Okay, enough of the stupid phrases that I’m not sure of.  I’m just enthused this morning because I hopped on the scale (remember, I don’t weigh myself after two days of work because my weight is always up, but I felt lucky.  I did really well yesterday.)  And I was down ONE WHOLE POUND!!

So here’s a brief report on yesterday’s happenings.  I had looked at my ‘Vicky food’ the night before and decided I just did not want to eat a ‘salmon snack’ that she had prepared.  It looked and tasted delicious except for the MAYONNAISE.  I have an aversion to mayonnaise.  I can smell it a mile away, and the taste makes me nauseous.  So that left me with 250 calories, and I tried to fill it with something nutritious, so I made a ‘breakfast cookie.’  Of course, I like these because they are called cookies.  But I think they are fairly nutritious (whole grains, protein, good fats,) and I think I like the process of making them.  I almost decided to take them out of my repertoire because they are fairly ‘pricy’ (250 calories for the base cookie without add-ins) but I noticed on the few days I have had them that I have eaten less the rest of the day.

The rest of the day I ate my ‘Vicky food.’  Again, some excellent stuff.  Edamame and tofu salad (I had to call someone to ask if I should eat it hot or cold,) soba spring rolls with ginger-lime sauce, yogurt with 3 kinds of fruit and a little granola topping, and the chicken chutney roll-ups for the drive home, along with one of the ‘nutty nibby cookies’ she had given me.  These were so good, and such a treat.  Full of good stuff:  whole wheat flour, oat flour, ground walnuts, ground flax, cocoa nibs, one or two dark chocolate chips (really) and real butter that I could actually taste.  Not because there was so much butter, but I think because it stood out better between all those coarser grains maybe.

And all day I paid attention to ‘the pause.’  I ended up leaving a bit of all the dishes, and I told myself that if I didn’t eat them by the time I got home (eating them out of boredom rather than hunger) that I could have a few cherries as a treat.  And that’s what I did!  Five cherries never tasted so good!

I actually started my day with a 4 minute Tabata interval before I left for work.  It is really a mental struggle to make myself exercise in the morning.  These things really are intensive.  I am breathing hard halfway through, and can barely raise the weights in the last set.  But I felt so good for having done that to start the day.  Work was a pretty light day, and in the afternoon, I remembered some of the exercises that Vicky told me I could ‘do anywhere’ and did them, along with some lunges, and wall squats.

This prepared food thing is very interesting.  No decisions to make.  You can see why it is so successful for some people.  But I am wary, because for most of those people, it is not long-term success.  Instead, I am trying really hard to learn things from this adventure.  One of the big things is that it doesn’t take a large volume of food to fuel your body well for the day.  Another is ‘the pause.’  But it is a lot easier to stop eating when it is not food that you are in love with.  I think maybe when I am eating ‘my own food,’ it would be better for me to start out with a smaller volume, with permission to get more if I am still hungry.  If I just remember I can eat again in 2 or 3 hours, it really doesn’t take a large volume of food to fuel me for that amount of time, and even if I get hungry, it is not that long to be hungry.  And I am going to have to be a little hungry if I want to lose weight.

The Pause

Hey, I’m at work but I wanted to tell you guys about something I read in my 100 Days of Weight Loss book a while ago.  She said that everyone has a natural pause in their eating, and it comes along when you are satiated.  Us foodies pay no attention to it, and continue on eating because it tastes good, or we just enjoy eating, or to clean our plate or whatever.  She said that if you observed other people closely that you could see when it happens, and if you will really pay attention to yourself, you can start to recognize it, and you can train yourself to stop eating then.

I have been paying attention to this off and on for the last month, and I think it really is true.  And sure enough, I do have a hard time stopping, especially if I am enjoying the food (And let’s be real here.  There are very few times in this life when I am NOT enjoying the food.)  But lately I have been a little more successful at stopping.  Sometimes I tell myself I can eat it later if I get hungry.  And other times it makes sense to me because even though I have carefully figured out the calorie count on some meal, it seems like a better deal than it should be, calorie-wise.

Anyway, this seems like it might be a very important cue to me.  Its a little more subtle than just recognizing when you are full.  It worked yesterday when I was eating all those beans and I decided I was too full for the yogurt and cherries.  And the other night when I had made a delicious stir-fry of fresh corn, onion, peas, rice, and pork, and decided that I was full 2/3 of the way through the meal.  So I just put the rest back, and adjusted the calorie count on my daily intake.  And today, when I was eating the lunch Vicky prepared for me–shrimp kabobs and rice, and I was thinking it was a tiny meal, but I noticed the pause when I was 3/4 through, so I put the rest away for a snack later in the day.

So for those of you keeping track, so far so good on the Vicky food at work.  I was a little worried this morning when the lunch bag looked a lot smaller than my norm.  But so far, so good.  I actually think I might have a little food left over at the end of the day.  The smoothie was good, and actually pretty filling.  There was a ‘salad’ of millet, apple and chicken which I really like.  Has some celery and currants in there too.  I think she likes curry flavoring a LOT more than me, but I can forsee incorporating some of these food combos into my menu plan but just changing the flavorings–like sesame or something.

More Adventures with Food, and Some Miscellaneous News

Let’s see how fast I can post an entry.  Since its 7:17pm and I haven’t exercised.  And I’m supposed to go to bed at 8pm the night before work…

But I had to share a few things with you all.  First, I actually ordered my sewing table!  I am so excited.  I had a few questions, so I called their 800 number.  And I actually got to talk to the guy who designed it!  So if I have any problems there is an actual english-speaking person I can talk to about it!  Plus its made in the USA.  That’s kind of nice these days.

Next, I actually got a good part of the rug drawn on the canvas.  You guys don’t know what a victory this is for me.  The main reason i procrastinated so long is because I really didn’t think I could do it.  But this morning (after my good cry,) I wrote a list of the things I wanted to get done today, and I got every single one done, except exercise.  Tabata intervals, here I come…along with maybe a few pushups etc.

The last thing I wanted to share with you was a new food adventure I am starting.  Vicky offered to fix my food for me for 5 days, to see if it would make a difference in my weight.  She has a little healthy gourmet food business at the gym.  The food seems like ‘California Cuisine’ maybe.  I agreed to it not so much to see if I would lose weight, but because it would force me to try some new adventurous foods that I haven’t tried yet.  She worked it out so I can get the food on the days I work (I am working 5 out of the next 7 days, yuck) which will give me 2 days off inbetween to get a fix of my own regulars, like my beloved cottage cheese and fresh fruit and my homemade yogurt.  But I am looking forward to this.  She has fixed things like chicken chutney roll-ups, edemame, a millet salad with chicken and apple, soba spring rolls with ginger-lime dip, a blueberry smoothie, and lots of other goodies.  It all looks good to me, just not my usual fare.

Except for not doing so well in fitting my exercise in these past 2 days, my food intake has been amazingly under control.  Even with the added stress, I really didn’t think about eating to relieve it.  Maybe some things are changing…Oh, yeah, I wanted to tell you about my lunch.  I roasted a bunch of green beans (probably a pound) and piled them on a plate, and I was thinking, that is ridiculous to have such a large serving.  And then I thought, in the olden days you would think nothing of having a pile of french fries that size.  So I went ahead and took them to eat, along with 1/2 cup of my homemade yogurt and some cherries, and  I ended up munching down all the beans, and was too full for most of the yogurt and cherries, so I saved them for a snack in the afternoon.

I probably won’t get to post for a while.  Be good boys and girls while I am gone.

God is Good

“God is good, memsahib.”  That is a line from ‘Out of Africa,’ another of my favorite movies.  Really, I don’t like ALL sad movies!  (Although ‘The Elephant Man’ is another favorite.  So sad I can’t watch it too often…)  Anyway, if you remember that line, it is uttered by a little boy at one of the seemingly lowest points of Karen Blixen’s life–her husband has cheated on her and left, her lover has died, and now she has lost her farm in Africa.

Don’t be alarmed–NOTHING LIKE THAT has happened to me.  I just liked the juxtaposition of a seemingly low point in a person’s life and the thought that ‘God is good.’  And that is what I thought when I read your comments this morning to my ‘dark thoughts’ post and I burst into tears.  Wailing, weeping, even.  I just needed a good cry and I didn’t even know it.  I am so grateful to the support you all provide in this blog world! 

Those dark thoughts were encased in more ‘dad and his wife’ drama and angst, which I didn’t mention.  Trying to do the best for your dad whom you love and have relied on, and having that role-reversal thing going on is STRESSFUL!  Add to that the stress that evil insurance companies continually put you through, and there you have it.  I needed a good cry and I didn’t even know it.  That must be why I felt compelled to post that.  God is good, indeed.

All this ties together a little bit.  Lynn’s comment is right on.  I just can’t be like my dad when I grow older.  He is so brilliant and mentally strong, but his body is feeble.  Much more feeble than most 82 year olds.  I am single, and I want to be independent as long as possible, and that is really why I want to develop muscles and balance (Vicky identified right away that that would be important for me and adds a lot of balance exercises in for me.)  And lose weight.  Thinner old people have an easier time in this world, in general.  Vickie the blogger added those thoughts while I was writing this!  And Jill hit the nail on the head, too.  I realized last night when I was trying to recall when those thoughts happened, that both times they were after work, when I am completely drained, and much more vulnerable to negative thoughts.

Just so you know, I am generally a very optimistic person.  Even when I have those dark thoughts, they generally just can’t last too long.  And I am grateful for that.  Having them makes me more sympathetic to people who can’t get rid of them, and that is a good thing too.  I agree with Lori, its best if you can focus on the positive stuff.  

God is good, memsahib.

And now for some comic relief.  Jill asked if there was anything I wasn’t good at.  As much ‘creative’ stuff that I do, I am not good at drawing.  And that is complicated by my own voice saying for 30 years, ‘I am not good at drawing.’  But rug hooking requires that I draw.  And since rug hooking can sometimes be rustic, I am brave enough to try drawing.  I had a little sketch drawn months ago, but of course I procrastinated until there was NO TIME left, so yesterday I spent hours working on this silly drawing of the rug I am going to start at rug camp in a couple of weeks.  Now I have to draw it BIG on the rug fabric.  In my next life I’ll work on my problem of procrastination!

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Thoughts

Yesterday was a fabulous day!  My weight was down, of course.  My workout with Vicky was really great.  She challenged me with some increased weights, and noticed that my squat form was much improved.  I have been working on that more than anything, probably.  She is very encouraging, but also doesn’t really allow for excuses.  If I say something is hard, or I couldn’t/didn’t do such and such this week, she always has another suggestion about how it could be done differently, or how its really not that much time.  For me, this was a really great investment.  To add to this, my food has been spot-on for several days.  VERY encouraging.

But I wanted to write about some of the dark thoughts I’ve had in just the last week.  When I came back from that trip and had eaten too much of the wrong thing, I had the ‘Awakenings’ thought again–that everything I was going to go back to the way it was before–morbidly obese and sedentary.  I was thinking, what’s the use, working out so hard.  Its embarrassing to fail week after week.  But then I thought about that movie, and how the Robin Williams doctor character kept working frantically to find a cure for the people.  So I translated that to me and Vicky working furiously to try to find a ‘cure’ for what ails me.  (BTW, if you haven’t watched this movie, you must.  Its really a great movie.)

Then, just Monday night, on my way out to the car after work, I had a thought that was more than a thought–it was like a deep feeling, if you know what I mean.  And it was, ‘who do you think you are?  you are a 54 year OLD woman.  its ridiculous for you to be trying to work out and build muscles.  you will never look like those young firm girls.  you look like a fool.’  Lots of times I refer to myself as older, and talk about being older, but when I do that, its usually just an intellectual reminder to myself, because most of the time I just don’t think of myself as being old.  But this was different.

I don’t know why I want to mention those bad thoughts.  Mostly, I guess, for myself.  To remind me that they come along, and yet I am still here.  Trying to eat better, trying to fit exercise into my day.  (I just did 2 tabata intervals because the day was busy and hot and I didn’t get any exercise in before 7pm.) Really, for the most part, having more successful days than ‘bad’ days.

Inspiration

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That Mizfit is something else!  Thursday morning she challenged us with the question, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”  

I was surprised at how quickly I answered that question.  My answer was, “I would quit my job and become an art quilter.”  I read that blog post before I left for work on Thursday morning at 5am, and I thought about it all the was to work .  I kept thinking about it during the day periodically.  

And what I thought was this.  I am not really 100% ready to quit my job yet.  But what is keeping me from working more consistently on my art quilting NOW?  And I knew right away that there were two things I could change.  First, I could clean up my work area, and keep it cleaned up.  Having it cluttered keeps me from working when I have bits and pieces of time.  I have read several articles on this recently in art quilter magazines.  How artists tend to be messy and unorganized, but if you will take the little bit of time to keep an area clean and organized, you actually can get a lot more accomplished and actually be more creative.  

The second was this, and it is a biggie.  I need a table that the sewing machine can set down into, that is the correct height for a short person like myself.  The truth is that it is very uncomfortable for me to quilt for any period of time at all, and so I just don’t do it.  I can sew just fine, but the quilting is a pain, literally.  I have toyed with this idea for years.  And I actually had a custom cabinet being built when the guy decided he didn’t have time to finish the job.  ANYWAYS, because of Miz’s question, I looked around on the internet again, and I am ordering a table!  I am so excited.  

Have you all been keeping up with Pastaqueen’s travel blog?  LOVE IT!  She also has inspired me to take some more concrete steps towards travel in my future.  Of course the fact that she ate all that great food AND lost 4 pounds is a motivating factor–haha!  But this morning she mentioned something that resounds with me, and I think I will make a move to cut back again on my work hours–she and a friend talked about “the French philosophy of working to live, not living to work.”  I would still make plenty of money for my simple needs, and it might give me a little more time for my quilting.  I might also not feel quite so pressured when I am needed to help out my dad and his wife in the Bay Area.  Maybe I might even live in a tidier house, and be able to rake the yard once in a while…

On the weight/food/workout front, I am happy this morning.  I worked out with Vicky on Thursday (because of being gone on vacation) and if you will recall, my weight was up 3 pounds that day.  I have been diligent with my food since then, and worked out on Sunday even though it was my only day off, and my weight is back down 3 pounds this morning.  I am happy and hopeful once again.

Thought I’d better share a little quilting in this post about inspiration.  The top piece is a close-up of a quilt I shared before, so you can see the threadwork I do.  It is of my little place in the woods with the stream and waterfall.  The small quilt below is just something I like to do–the same fabric grouping that I used for the other quilt, but just an abstract set into a beautiful print.

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Dread

That’s not a very nice title for the end of a great little vacation trip, is it?  But now I am home and I have to   get to go see Vicky, which means weighing in.  I really am dreading it.  Even though I already know what the scale will say–3 pounds up.  I just don’t know what Vicky will say.  She is very kind and encouraging usually.  I guess I am afraid she will give up on me as hopeless.  I guess that is really how I feel about myself this morning.  Why didn’t I feel that way when I was eating all that food while I was driving for 7 hours yesterday.  Oh well, onward and upwards  (oops, I guess upwards is a poor choice of words  in this instance.)

The trip was great.  My best friend and I are quilters, so we wanted to find a place big enough to set up our sewing machines.  I started out looking for hotel rooms that were considered ‘suites’ and something made me type in vacation rentals.  And lo and behold, there is a whole world of houses to rent out there.  And usually for the same price as a hotel room!  So we ended up in the nicest 2 bedroom-2 bath house, with a living room, dining room table for our sewing machines, and a big kitchen.  It was in a nice older neighborhood, with a little shopping area nearby.  We mostly cooked our own food, which was great.  One day we went to a little drive-in which is famous for its garlic fries.  I had eaten at this place when I was just a kid, and I never forgot their fries.  Which means it was a 40 year old memory!  And the fries lived up to the memory!  That was fun.  We laughed and talked and sewed and watched movies and Dancing with the Stars, and ate popcorn.  It really was a great trip.  I even brought two sets of weights, and exercised each morning, as well as got in a good walk a couple of days.  So really, it was only 2 days of over-eating,  and 2 days of traveling in the car.  Okay, I feel a little better about this weight gain…