A Great Day in Blogland

Yesterday was such a great day on the blogs.  Lots of good information, insights, and encouragement.  Add in some fantastic recipe ideas, and exercise help, and THAT is what the whole blogworld is for.  So today is mostly to link you to some of the great articles and recipes that helped me.

I also want to thank all of you for the encouragement you offered over the past few days.  My eating has been spot-on the past few days, and I am more hopeful that the only disappearing act around here will be a wee bit of weight.

So, first blog I read yesterday morning was another excellent entry by Lori explaining the difference between motivation (temporary) and dedication (long-term.)  This was so well thought out.  Many of us probably have the idea of this in our minds, but having the thoughts written out really helps.

Next I stopped in to see what Vickie was thinking about.  She was thinking about body image, and changing your perception/accepting your imperfections.  But she also had a very good P.S. regarding NOW is the time to do it.  It just gets harder and harder each decade to lose the weight.  And to that I said a hearty ‘AMEN.’  Because I lost a lot of weight when I was 24 years old, and it was a lot different than this journey of losing weight at 50 and after menopause.

Next stop, the excellent weight maintenance blog Refuse to Regain, and an entry by my favorite author, Lynn, the lady who introduced me to the whole bloggy world.  Her article Now vs. Then was so excellent for me to read, especially yesterday.  To think about and remember where I had been, what I could and couldn’t do.  This article is a MUST READ!  Here is my favorite line:

Climbing stairs, taking a bath, tying my shoes, shaving my legs, walking through snow, sitting on any available chair despite its size…these are thing that make me proud, make me cry a little inside. I don’t want to take these things for granted. 

Then I checked this site, which I don’t check every day ’cause its not so good for me to spend a lot of time looking at/reading about food.  But Kath has a lot of really great ideas, and this picture just looked good to me.  And I had noticed a recipe for Warm Corn and Zucchini salad over here that I wanted to try, and they seemed like a good combo.  I skipped the quesadilla, and just had some chicken breast over the salad, and used a little salsa for dressing.  That zuch/corn combo was FANTASTIC.  I didn’t even have the lime, and it was still good.  I highly recommend it.  I used fresh corn on the cob instead of frozen, so it was even better.  I swear the fact that it was only one point made it taste even better to me.

So keep on blogging, my dear buddies, and keep on reading.  We will all muddle through this exasperating, exhilarating, never-ending adventure, and maybe someday everything we learn will help future generations to get it right right from the start.

P.S.  Wanted to add these excellent exercise references from this mornings’ blog reading.   Of course, Miz is ALWAYS a source of great encouragement (I really don’t know how she manages to keep up with and individually encourage SO MANY people) and today she had a guest post from a physical therapist (my very favorite type of medical personnel) that is just going to be a great source of exercise info.  And she linked to another great exercise site that looks very promising.

Okay, that’s all.  No, no, that’s not a question.  Who knows what movie that is a quote from?


First of all, let me say THANK YOU for all the kind comments on my last blog entry.  I was kind of surprised.  I guess you guys know me better than I thought.  So what is happening is this, I think.  I went through my old Weight Watcher passbooks, to see how and when I lost my weight.  And I saw that I lost the majority of my weight in a year and a half, and was at 168 by June, 2006.  It took another year for me to inch my way down to 155 in June 2007 (if any of you are new to this blog, that was a total of 100 pounds lost.)  But a little weight crept back on, and by the time I started this blog in May, 2008, I was fighting the same 5 pounds, about 161-165.  THEN over Christmas and the family stress in January, that weight inched up a couple more pounds.  None of this was new to me.  It was just fresh in my mind because I had reviewed the dates in the passbooks.  But last Saturday, I weighed in at Curves because I joined a weight loss challenge they are doing (I think the challenge and accountability will be good for me.)  And it was just as I feared.  She inched that scale over the 170 mark:  170.25 pounds.  I did NOT want to see that number.

 And it just brings back the old fears in me that it is all going to disappear again, like in the movie, Awakenings.  You guys know that movie, don’t you?  Where the doctor discovers a ‘cure’ for catatonic people, and they literally come back to life, and for a brief moment in time, they experience all the joy and beauty that life holds.  But the cure doesn’t last, and slowly each person sinks back into their lifeless form.  The equivalent for us is when people lose a whole lot of weight and then gain it all back.  You know it can happen.  It happens to people all around us.  It happened to my friend, Oprah.  It happened to the woman at work who did the Atkins diet so enthusiastically.  It even happened to the friend who had gastric bypass surgery.  I commented to a friend recently that it puts a whole new spin on the meaning of the phrase “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Just when you think you have all the physical, mental, and emotional components of this weight loss/weight maintenance thing figured out, your body sends you a curve ball.

BUT, I am not giving up or giving in.  I am not even hanging on by a thread.  I am really okay, I think.  Just a little discouraged, and disappointed in myself that I can’t do better, be more disciplined, whatever miracle it was that allowed me to lose all that weight.  I likeMiz’s take on it.  I think I will write it on my frig:  I AM TRYING TO GIVE MY BODY WHAT IT IS CRAVING AND NEEDS TO RUN SMOOTHLY AND ENERGETICALLY.  And I did that again today.  Had such an excellent day of food.  Was a little off in my exercise….took the doggies out and got in about 2 1/2 miles, but it was neither fast nor energetic.  It was just done. Didn’t even make it to the mailbox to see if the Shred came.  Here, you guys can really laugh at me–it was too cold out, only about 40 degrees-LOL!

I am sure everyone has seen that movie, but if you haven’t, be sure to rent it.  One of the best!  Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

A Totally Selfish Blog Entry

I wasn’t going to post today, but I checked Roni’s blog and found she was doing this great giveaway, and I REALLY REALLY WANT A NEW FOOD SCALE!  Here is the link to the scale she is giving away:

Check out the scale giveaway on Roni’s Weight Loss Blog! I can win anAffordable Food Scale from Eat Smart and so can you! Click here for contest details!

In other news, my weight is really up, and I am really trying to hunker down and eat just exactly what I should eat:  nutritious food fuel, and not too much.  Today I really ate well.  Wrote down everything, and only ate exactly what I planned.  I even checked off everything on the bottom of the weightwatchers food journal:  3 milks, 5 fruits and veggies, and 2 proteins.  Drank plenty of water.  23 points for the day, if I don’t eat more than what’s planned for the evening dessert/snack.  BTW, this is a delicious way to have a dessert.  Take a Vitatop muffin, and crumble it in a dessert dish (1/2 point.)  Make your cook and serve SF FF pudding, and pour 1/2 cup  (1 point) over the crumbled ‘cake’ while the pudding is hot.  Mmmm Mmmm–instant pudding cake!

I didn’t exercise today, but I really got a lot of little house cleaning/organizing things done around here.  It felt like a really good day.  Oh, yeah, my BF had a sore throat this morning so didn’t feel like talking, and we are planning a big quilt project to work on together, so I made a video for her and emailed it.  She really liked it, so maybe I will get my courage up to make one for you guys pretty soon.

That’s all for now.  Maybe tomorrow I will do a more worthy post.  Hoping to get my Amazon shipment–2 exercise dvd’s, and Dietgirl’s book!

Exercise DVD’s

What do you guys think of them?  I just ordered two of them.  Jill issued a challenge to do Jillian Michael’s 30-day Shred.  What exactly does the shred refer to?  I don’t even know, but I ordered it anyways, and then I ordered another one because there was a deal at Amazon.  It was an Australian sounding very fit woman named Violet.  She seemed pleasant on the preview.

Then, I actually did Leslie Sansone’s 5 Mile Walking DVD.  I had ordered it from Netflix on Linda’s recommendation.  It seemed like a really good workout.  She said we did 3 miles and it took 40 minutes.  The part I really liked about it was that I could do it easily in my tiny space in my living room.  I think its kind of silly for me to live in a nice area where the weather is relatively mild and to not go outdoors for exercise.  But today it didn’t happen and it got dark, and since I had just eaten a cupcake (don’t ever watch an hour of Martha Stewart baking cupcakes,) I wanted to get some exercise in.  I can see where you’d get tired of her non-stop cheery banter, but they offer you the workout without the talking.  Nice feature.

Anyways, how ’bout that.  One of my shortest posts ever.  I just wanted to know what you all thought about DVD workouts vs. regular workouts.  I know the doggies have very strong opinions on this topic.

I’m off to make a new dish Chicken Salsa a l’Avocat…ah, the power of suggestion.

A Bakefest at my House

Today I was stressed.  ‘Ho hum.  What else is new Debby?’ you ask.   Well, instead of eating through my stress, I baked through it.  First I tried a recipe I had seen yesterday on Roni’s Greenlite Bites, for Banana Bundt Cake.  It has chocolate chips in it!  I followed the recipe almost exactly as is, so I will let you just follow Roni’s recipe.  I did add 1/2 cup of Splenda, because it wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting when I tasted the batter.  This was really tasty, and looked pretty enough to take to a potluck or something–mine looked just like the picture on Roni’s site.  It has CHOCOLATE CHIPS in it!  And one big slice is only 2 points.  Of course I had to have a piece ‘to make sure it was okay’ before I froze the rest of it!  Then I decided to bake a couple of loaves of zucchini bread.  I still haven’t posted this recipe on my sidebar, and it is one of my alltime favorites.  Again, a big slice for 2 points.  I only had 1/2 slice of this one.  Then I remembered a recipe that Lori had posted a while ago, and I really wanted to try it, because I wanted to try baking with the protein powder, and also because I had bought some apricots that weren’t primo, but I thought they would be good baked in something.  And oatmeal bars sounded like a good place to put apricots.  I adjusted Lori’s recipe a little, so my version of this recipe is over on my sidebar.  Man, these were REALLY tasty.  They were more–3 points, but with the addition of the protein powder, they should stick with you longer, which makes them worthy.  I had one of them for my afternoon snack with a little lite cool whip on top.  I was really excited that something baked with protein powder could be so delicious.  So, as you can see, a day a little heavy on the baked goods.  But overall, I only ate 24 points today, so that is a really good day.  And even though I had trouble concentrating, in between the baking, I actually got a lot of quilting done today.  And a little cleaning.  And I finally forced myself out the door at 5pm for a 2 mile run.  I just can’t seem to make myself go to Curves on these days that I am feeling stressed.

My Fativersary

Don’t get mad at me Pastaqueen!  Isn’t imitation the greatest flattery?  Pastaqueen coined this word, and I thought it was great, because I tend to think of this journey as something where I have never arrived.  I mean, I lost a hundred pounds, but I don’t remember the exact date that happened.  I never got to my Weight Watchers goal.  Since I started this blog I have been trying to lose a variety of weights, anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds, depending on the day.  And I have said before that I have a thought that if I can maintain the weight lost for 5 years, that will be something like being in remission from a serious chronic illness–but that time is still a little ways off.   All that leaves me feeling frustrated and even a failure at times.  

So when Pastaqueen named this as a day to celebrate, I really liked it.  January 19, 2005 is the first day I went to Weight Watchers.  I had just turned 50 the month prior to that.  I had just semi-recovered from what could have been a very serious knee injury.  I had just gone to the doctor for the first time in almost 40 years.  And, my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol were at the very high end of normal.  Things were not looking good.

And then a friend asked me if  I would go to Weight Watchers with her.  And I went.  I was SOOOOO skeptical.  No way I’m journaling.  No way I’m counting points.  No way I’m eating crappy-tasting food.  

It was depressing giving up large servings of meat.  I resented the amount of time i had to spend preparing food–my back hurt standing for that long a period of time.  And the exercise.  When I started, I would go the equivalent of 1/2 a city block and then turn around and limp home.  Various things hurt–my back, my hips, my knees, my ankles, sometimes my toes (I’m not kidding!,) and sometimes a combination of all or parts of these things hurt.  I used to say it was my D.P. walk, because there was a nice older lady in my church with a bad hip, and she had a very distinctive limp-hop kind of gait, and that was the way I would have to walk to make it home.  Fortunately I live in a remote area.

And now!  Thinking back on how real all this was in my life, I can hardly believe I had a day like today.  I decided to try a new recipe that had intrigued me.  It wasn’t a diet recipe, but I tweaked it to make it lower calorie, and then made enough to share with an elderly friend.  I tried to think of what kind of dessert I could make for him, and came up with a new FANTASTIC combination, also low calorie.  Then, because I was short on time, I leashed up the doggies and went for a run, and I not only ran down the hills, but this time I ran UP the hills.  I can hardly believe it myself.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate my ‘Fativersary.’  I’m so happy to have something to celebrate.

So, the food ideas!!!  I saw this recipe for Spaghetti with Bacon that intrigued me.  One, the picture looked delicious, two. because I hardly ever have spaghetti any more, the picture REALLY looked delicious, and three, there was MILK in the recipe.  That just sounded weird.  Let me tell you, this recipe is fantastic.  The main thing I substituted was turkey bacon.  Here’s another food I never would have tried in my old life.  It looks kind of gross in the package.  And the description was not very appetizing–something to the effect of thigh pieces reconstituted.  But really, in the end product I think I liked the meatier taste of the turkey bacon better than I would have liked the regular bacon.  And it added a delicious smokey taste to the sauce.  And, when I figured it all out, the total recipe was 14 points, and there were 12 half-cup servings, so 1-2 points for the sauce, and then serve it over the pasta of your choice.  Ronzoni Smart Taste, preferably.

The dessert was equally exciting.  I took a Vitatop double chocolate muffin, and crumbled it into a pretty glass dessert dish.  Then made some sugar free fat free COOK AND SERVE chocolate pudding, and poured a 1/2 cup serving of the hot pudding over the ‘cake.’  Two points for chocolate pudding cake!  

Man,  life is good!  NEVER GIVE UP, my friends!

Comfort Food–Then and Now

Since I seem to be in a never-ending loop of stress, I thought I would share what I’ve learned so maybe someone else will be able to handle the stress that comes along in their life.  No, I have no advice about how to help your aging parents.  But as always, I do know a thing or two about food!  Today was really stressful, and I was in the house all day.  But I noticed that I had a really good food day.  Here’s how I did it.

6am:  Raisin bran and unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, cottage cheese and grapes, and a cup of really good coffee with half & half

9am:  Felt like cooking, so tried an experiment to make Chocolate zucchini walnut cookies (1 point) and of course I had to try one, with my second cup of coffee.  Put the rest of the cookies directly in the freezer.

11:30am:  English muffin ‘pizzas, made w/lite eng. muff, 1 lite cheese stick, tomato, marinara sauce and mushrooms (thank you, Roni, for the idea,) and a pina colada smoothie (2 points).

2:30pm:  Kozy Shack SF Tapioca w/fresh pineapple, and a Fiber One Choc. Chip bar.

5:00  Tiny ice cream thing (1 point)  This was an impulse decision, not planned.

6:00  2 oz. turkey w/a little cranberry sauce, roasted zucchini, and a piece of zucchini bread (1 point)

snack:  Cherries in the Snow, 1 point dk. chocolate, and 1 point Jolly Time Kettle Corn.

So, I noticed that I ended up coming in within my points allowance, and ate relatively healthy, wasn’t really too hungry, but most of all that I was eating food I really wanted to–‘the new comfort food.’

Just for comparison, here is a sample of how I might have eaten in the past when I was having a bad day.

8am:  coffee and two donuts

10am:  Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies, and reserve a bowl of dough to eat when I was done baking the cookies.  Eat one cookie freshly baked

11am:  Eat the bowl of cookie dough

3pm:  leftover mac and cheese, chips, and a candy bar

6pm:  go to town to get a large hamburger and fries.  Chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

I don’t really think this is an exaggeration.  I actually had a hard time remembering how I did eat.  And of course, this was an example of a stress-eating day.  Some days I ate better.  But really, a lot of days I ate like this.

 So when I have a day like today, just the fact that I am able to eat relatively healthily is, in itself, a comfort to me.  Because part of the stress is seeing my parents age, and become feeble.  And at least if I continue to eat well and exercise, I will know that I have done my part to age as gracefully as possible.

Drive-by Exercise?

Oh brother!  Yesterday, (after watching Biggest Loser the night before) I planned to hit both Curves and take a walk with the dogs. A friend took me out to lunch for my birthday (a month later–FUN!) and I had the most delicious salad–WAAAY too many calories, but the combo was worth mentioning.  If you controlled the amounts of the add-ins, it would be a worthy salad.  Romaine lettuce with avocados,walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, and asian dressing.  So I took my work out clothes and planned on stopping at Curves on my way home.  I found myself brooding over the situation with my dad and his wife while in the car, and I got as far as turning into the parking lot at Curves, and driving right up to it, but I just couldn’t make myself stop and go in.  I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone.  Oh well…

But when I got home, after briefly checking the computer, I got my walking clothes on, and only took Oliver the practically perfect black Standard Poodle on purpose, because I wanted to take an extra long walk, if possible.  I also grabbed my little journal with my memory verses so I could work on that while I walked.  I find it so much better for me to work on memorizing Scripture instead of going over and over and over a problem while I walk.  So Oliver and I just walked and walked and walked.  No running, just a steady pace.  To be honest, for three-quarters of the time I really felt like going to sleep.  I thought, when I get home, I’m gonna take a bath and go to bed.  That’ll be one way to control what I eat.  But finally, the last half mile, I got a surge of energy back, and really challenged myself to pick up the pace.  We got in about 4 miles.  And, I memorized two verses!  Very calming all the way around.

Also, wanted to tell you guys about a great way to make smoothies that is really relatively low-cal!  First, you need to have frozen fruit.  You can buy that, of course.  But one of the great things I did earlier this year was to buy a whole bag of bananas that were over-ripe for a dollar!  So I brought them home, peeled and mashed them, and then portioned the mashed bananas into baggies–about one banana per baggie.  At the end of strawberry season I will do the same thing.  Although sometimes I just freeze the strawberries whole.

Anyways, I had this idea last week.  And it absolutely tastes great–just like a milkshake, if you ask me.  Pour 3/4 cup almond breeze and 1/4 cup egg beaters (6 grams protein) into the blender.  Add 3-4 ice cubes.  Add fruit as desired.  Last night I made a chocolate banana shake.  Used chocolate almond breeze and added 1 Tbsp (15 calories!) of cocoa powder to make sure it was chocolaty enough.  The chocolate almond breeze has 90 calories for 3/4 cup.  I think you could probably use the unsweetened vanilla almond breeze (30 calories for 3/4 cup) and add 2 Tbsp cocoa powder and get the same results for less calories.  I also checked my protein powder, and you could add 1/2 scoop for 50 calories, which would also add 9 grams protein.  If I have enough points, I might try a pina colada version today–I have some frozen pineapple, and then just add some coconut flavoring!  I can see where I could get addicted to this stuff in the summer time.

I also wanted to pass on that Lori has a second blog called What I’m Eating.  Lori is very creative with her recipes, and is really aware of trying to increase the protein in her snacks and her meals.  And she is a real person who likes really good food, which makes me trust her ideas more!

HABANADA, friends!  I’m hoping to have a productive AND relaxing day at home before going back to work tomorrow.