The Me Diet

Okay, I hope I don’t jinx myself by writing about this. You all know I’ve hinted that I am dieting. But I’ve started plenty of times in the past few years, and nothing ever stuck, so I didn’t really want to write about it again, unless I was pretty sure I was going to stick with it.

The motivation? First of all, the ortho doctor said out loud what I pretty much knew. That it would be really great if I could get down to 140 pounds. You all know that that is not a weight I have even aspired to in  forever. But the thought intrigued me. And then my lab work came back. And my cholesterol levels were elevated. Ooh, that just made me mad! Come on. Who eats healthier than I do? So I start looking up causes of increased cholesterol levels. None of the factors applied to me except the last one. Weight gain. Strike two.

Then one day shortly after that I had to do some insidious chore, making millions of stupid copies, and I couldn’t really do any chores in between, so I started looking for something to read, and I decided to go back and start reading Shelley’s archives. Shelley started her blog on the first day of her final ‘diet.’ Not too many people have done that. So I really enjoyed reading about the determination that it took in the early days, and the frustrations, and the successes. You really need to pare things down VERY CONSISTENTLY to actually lose weight.

Well, Shelley started out doing a doctor supervised ‘shake’ kind of diet. And that gave me a little idea. So I made a plan.

I didn’t want to drink shakes all day long. And I didn’t want to calorie restrict so severely that I would re-gain everything when I went off of it. And I really really did not want to eliminate any particular food or food group. I did want to include a bit more protein because experience has taught me that protein keeps me from getting hungry. But I did need some structure and some basic rules. And here’s the reason that I call it the ‘me diet.’ Because I know me, and my particular circumstances, and so while this might work for me, it isn’t for everyone.

My particular circumstances:

  • I am a ‘woman of a certain age.’
  • I am a POW (previously over-weight)–some studies indicate that a lower calorie level may be necessary for people who have previously been very overweight.
  • I have a sweet tooth.
  • I am very short. Haha. I don’t know what this has to do with it, but I feel sure that it is partly why it is so hard for me to lose weight.

So here’s what I’ve been doing for the past 3 1/2 weeks.

  • Breakfast: My choice. Try to keep it under 200 calories. I almost always have some type of grain product, like my Bare Bones Scones, or Baked Oatmeal.
  • About 11am. Protein shake 140-170 calories. I’ve told you my little experiments with this. But the rule is I can’t manipulate it to be more than 170 calories.
  • About 2pm, coffee break, and a Quest protein bar. Only Quest for now. Because they do not have sugar in them and they have 20 grams of protein. And they do not have that aftertaste that some SF protein bars have. 170 calories.
  • Dinner: My choice. Try to keep it under 300. So usually it is some kind of meat and vegetables. Everything is pretty simple. Just the veggies. And usually just the meat. But it is my choice. If I wanted I could have…well I could have anything under 300 calories. That’s just usually what I do want, because I know it will satisfy me.
  • So if I have made good breakfast and dinner choices, I still have 150-200 calories left for a snack. Totally my choice again. Usually my snack is not particularly nutritious, just enjoyable.

Don’t try to add up the calories and think that I am eating too much or too little. Like I told my BF, that is by my count. It does seem low, but by my count I did not usually lose weight on 1300 calories.

So that’s it. I don’t plan to eat this way the rest of my life. In fact I already have an outline for how I will change it up a bit, probably after I get back from Haiti. But in the meantime, I have learned that a bare bones protein shake really can keep me satisfied for quite a while. One interesting thing that I learned is that the higher calorie shake that I chose (because it came in chocolate mint) was higher in fat content, and so it keeps me satisfied a little longer.

There is no snacking in between. Oh, except baby carrots while I am cooking dinner. And I bought some tomato juice because I noticed Shelley had V8 juice for when she got too hungry. I’ve only drank it once or twice.

Probably the biggest changes are the complete lack of walnuts, and less fruit than normal for me. Again, I made no rules about eliminating these foods. It just happened that they were not the choices that I made. And the smaller breakfast, which I had thought about for quite a while, but had been unable to make myself put into practice.

The results? I’ve lost at least 7 pounds in 3 1/2 weeks. I say about because I actually didn’t weigh myself on the first day. So it might be a little more than 7 pounds, but for sure not less. Oh, and in this same time period, I had four days of celebrating my birthday, and 3 other ‘off plan’ meals at special dinners or lunches. I managed to control myself admirably at most of those meals.

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More Fun With Food

The other day I went to our Sewing Day Christmas potluck. It was quite lovely. Some of the women are health conscious, so there were some good choices. I had more of the good choices, and just a bit of the ‘bad’ choices. Which were quite good, BTW. I signed up to bring a fruit salad, and kind of forgot until the last minute, so I just made do with the fruit I had on hand. Which turned out to be a very delicious fruit salad, so I thought I’d share it here. I’m calling it a Winter Fruit Salad.

But what I really want to talk about is what to do with leftover fruit salad. It was delicious, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat all of it, and besides, it just wasn’t in my plan for the next few days. I hated for it to go to waste.

So what do you do with leftover fruit salad? Why, you make Baked Oatmeal, of course! Because you can cut baked oatmeal into serving size portions and freeze it.

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Just an idea for those creative cooking folks out there. I’m not going to give you a recipe, because every fruit salad has different ingredients.

This morning I made another batch of the Bare Bones Scones, only using raspberries instead of blueberries. Because raspberries are so festive this time of year, don’t you think? As I ate this scone, I worried about people who might taste this recipe and be disappointed. Because honestly, when they come out of the oven they look better than most bakery scones. But for 155 calories, they don’t taste like full fat scones. You just don’t get a lot of fat for that kind of calorie budget. But then I thought, they still taste WAAAAYYY better than any of the low calorie processed breakfast bars. And they are full of fresh delicious raspberries. Not 4 or 5 dried raspberries like you find in some bakery scones (not that I’m looking at you, Starbuck’s or Pete’s…) Its all a matter of perspective.

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So right now my freezer is well-stocked with low calorie tasty breakfast choices. Just the way I like it.

Did I tell you about my Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino (could they make that word a tinier bit easier to spell????) I save my leftover coffee (because I never drink a whole cup at one time) and use it the next day (my brother says gross, but go with me here–it works.) I put the coffee in a Magic Bullet cup along with 4 ice cubes and one scoop of Chocolate Mint protein powder and mix away. Voila–lunch is served!

We’ve been having a cold spell here. I know. 27 degrees is nothing to you northerners. But my hands get so cold, especially when I’m working on the computer. Last night I remembered that I had knit a pair of fingerless gloves. I found one of them, and it really helped! Now to find the other one…

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Well, we’re on the countdown for Christmas. I am having a very laid back Christmas. Minimal decorating. Not too much partying. Just the way I like it. I have a wonderful little book with an Advent reading every morning–all short devotions from the writing of Henri Nouwen. So lovely. Another book I really love at this time of year, and I usually read a bit from this before going to bed, is Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems.

Oh, one last recipe suggestion. This one is a little more decadent, and I have it bookmarked for my Christmas morning treat. It is Georgie’s Chocolate Banana Butter Crepes. I KNOW this will be a great recipe. The crepe recipe is just a version of our favorite protein pancakes, with a lot more egg white, and less oatmeal. And what’s not to like about a combination of banana, chocolate, and nut butter. Yumm. Yumm. Yumm.

 

A Bit of This ‘n That

Last night I spied the Apricot Scrub on my sink, and decided that today would be a day that I could do whatever I wanted to do. Apparently I wanted to blog, because I have written on each of my blogs this morning! A new recipe, and some newly finished quilts, and just a few new thoughts for this blog. Eventually I’ll get to that Apricot Scrub.

Yesterday was a crazy day. I had an electrician come and put in a new little wall heater. Yahoo! I have to be careful to not over-use it, because its not the most efficient way to heat the house. But on a cold morning, its a nice luxury. And, the guys came to take down some of the big trees on my property. Its quite amazing how they do this. One guy way up in the tree, lopping off one branch at a time. and then cutting it off portion by portion. The biggest pine tree was only about 12 feet from my house, and was leaning at a 60 degree angle over the house! Anyway, as you can imagine, it was quite a scene with all the dogs in the morning. I had made an appointment to board Noah for the two days of ‘tree-ing’ and so I left to take him down, as well as go to PT, the gym, and run a few errands. I got home just in time to see them working on that big pine. I guess this is why I decided I needed a day off today. The guys finished up their tree work last night, so its an extra quiet morning. I will pick up Noah from his trip to camp later this afternoon.

New recipe:  I got the original idea for this recipe here. I changed it up quite a bit (surprise!) and have enjoyed these Cranberry Lemon Protein Bars as both breakfast and a dessert treat, so thought I would share with you.

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Pretty good stats on this bar: 15 grams of protein in 185 calories. A nice sized bar too.

Here is the extent of my Christmas decorating so far:

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I brought in my big Christmas quilt, and covered the dog’s sofa with it. They seem to appreciate my effort.

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This camellia always blooms in December. It usually goes unnoticed by me. I need to move it to a better location. It always reminds me of the quote “Memory is the ability to gather roses in winter.”

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That’s all for now. I’m off to use that Apricot Scrub–its for my face, not the sink!

Single Minded

Hmmm. That’s what I thought this morning, as I started in stitching. As the day went along, I decided that wasn’t exactly true. While I have been working quite steadily on the quilts for the upcoming show (some of you asked–it is at the Art and Soul Gallery in Oak Hills Church, Folsom, CA from January 6-February 10,) I have been balancing some of those other hats I talked about the other day.

I am working on five small quilts at one time! I told myself I couldn’t start or do any more, even though I have new ideas constantly cropping up. There is beauty in God’s word, and I am constantly finding a phrase that ignites my imagination. But I need to finish up, and do some of those unpleasant chores I don’t particularly like, like labeling the quilts, cleaning up the backs, and writing descriptions of each quilt.

Here is a glimpse of the last five!

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I am holding steady on my new diet plan. Which I still don’t want to talk about very much. Except to say that that is why I have some new ‘pared down’ recipes posted. I talked about making that low calorie apple cranberry sauce the other day, and I have enjoyed it so much that I wanted to write the recipe down so I wouldn’t forget it. And BTW? It does freeze very well. I used my ice cube tray method, and I took out a couple of cranberry cubes for dinner tonight–tasted as good as fresh to me!

And then a few weeks ago, I experimented with paring down my blueberry scone recipe, thanks to Suzi, who shared her low calorie pumpkin scone recipe with me. So here is my “Bare Bones Blueberry Scone” recipe–only 155 calories per scone! They have been a very enjoyable lower calorie breakfast that holds me quite a while, thanks to the oatmeal in it I think.

Oh, and here’s a rather weird new recipe that I enjoyed today. If you use flavored protein powder, this was quite enjoyable. Just mix 3/4 of a measuring scoop of protein powder, 1/4 cup egg beaters, and 1 Tbsp oat bran. mix thoroughly and let set in fridge for 15 minutes. Makes a nice pudding, and still has 18-24g of protein (depending on the protein powder you use.

I think that’s all I’ve got in my brain for now. Off to rejuvenate the brain cells (sleep) and start all over again tomorrow!

Do These Shoes Scream Happy Birthday, or What?

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I didn’t order these shoes for my birthday, but they arrived the day before, and they were the perfect way to celebrate! (They are Saucony Kinvara 3′s. My previous pair were Kinvara 2′s, so I knew I would like them before I ordered them.)

I had a great day, starting with breakfast with a good friend. A good friend, I might add, who was willing to split a breakfast with me! Score–one way to cut the calories a bit!

Went to the gym for a really good workout. I am only doing upper body exercises on the weights, and throwing in a few ‘core’ exercises as well. And I am doing HIIT on the bike now for a better aerobic workout.

Then it was off to the movies, where I saw “Life of Pi.” I will not say much about it, except that it kept me on the edge of my seat, and I have no idea how they got some of those shots with the animals. They looked real, not computer animated, but I don’t know how they did it. Anyway, if you can’t tell, that is two big thumbs up for that movie.

So it was a great day. I ended the day with one pre-planned piece of birthday cake, most worthy.

And today I went right back to my “diet plan.” I am so pleased with that.

Taking One Hat Off, Putting the Next One On

I do feel like I’ve been wearing a few too many hats the past few weeks, or actually, wearing one hat at a time, but switching them frequently! Here’s a few of the things I’ve been working on:

The Singing at Church Lady: that’s the hat I get to hang up. I was asked to sing at the ladies’ Christmas event. It wasn’t high stress, but it does take some work and it is kind of always there in the back of your mind. The event was last night, and it was a success. And best of all, I previewed all the homemade goodies, and I didn’t take one!

The Good Patient: Going twice a week to physical therapy and doing all the new exercises he gives me every day. I do think it is starting to make a difference.

The Art Quilter: I continue to work on the quilts for my exhibit coming up in January. I set myself a goal of creating 20 quilts for this exhibit, and it looks like I will be close!

The “Healthy Quilter Blogger”:  for a little while, that was consuming me. Now that we’ve got it started, and I have posted several times during Thanksgiving week, it will just be a post once a week or so. (This is for The Quilt Show online community.)

The Executive Assistant: I tell Wendy she is the President of The Bridge, our sponsorship program for the children of Carrefour Poy, Haiti. I guess that makes me the executive assistant. Whatever. It has been a busy week for The Bridge, and has involved some meeting, consulting, and writing. We are having a shoe drive to bring nice shoes with us for the kids. It will be fun to see them piling up under the Christmas tree at church! (We are going to Haiti on January. I’m not even THINKING about that hat right now!)

The Magazine Writer:  Yes! Related to the healthy quilter blog, I was asked to write one column for each issue of The Quilt Life Magazine. They have a cooking competition in each issue, and my job is to comment on that. So they each sent me their recipes, and I wrote about my take on them. And, I had to get a high resolution picture taken–that was the most stressful part. First, as I told my neighbor, make me look 40 pounds thinner. Second, could I even get a good enough pic for the magazine with my little camera? And third, who do I know that the dogs will be calm enough around that we can get a picture? So, as I mentioned, my neighbor who babysits the dogs was the perfect solution. I wanted a picture of me with the dogs on my lap while I was quilting, which is my real life almost every evening. I set my camera on ‘L’ so it would take the picture with the most pixels. Here’s the picture we got. I was very pleased with it. That’s not how the dogs are in real life. In real life they are all sound asleep under the quilt that I am working on. But it does the job. And I was so happy when the editor said that it would work! I kinda hope she knows a trick to get rid of the ghostly doggie eyes.

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And lastly, the hat I am putting on today–The Seriously Dieting Birthday Girl! Yes, I am dieting–5 whole days-but you’ll have to wait for another post to hear about that. And today starts my birthday celebrations. But I have a definite plan food-wise for each day. If I veer off course, I will just pick up the Dieter Hat on Friday and continue on.

I think the best thing I am learning AS I AGE, when I have a lot going on, is a deeper understanding that I can only do what I can do. I don’t stress as much about ALL. THE. THINGS. I. MUST. GET. DONE. I just do them one at a time, as time allows. And I am okay with that. And you know what? Just as much, or more, gets done without the hurricane of worry and stress that we are so prone to put ourselves into.

And now, I must leave my Blogger Hat behind, put on the Birthday Girl Hat, and go out and celebrate!