Today’s Thoughts

Thanks for all the congratulations!  I was pretty happy all day about my weight loss.  Here are some of the thoughts I had today:

The scale is not the only  ‘inanimate enemy’ to weight loss.  Gym mirrors.  Horrors.  They about did me in today.  I know they are there so you can check your form.  But couldn’t they make them carnival mirrors that make you look young and slim or something?  I was doing some bench push-ups and dips in Vicky’s studio area, and when I stopped for a rest on the bench I glanced in the mirror.  Not only did I look like a middle-aged frump with two spare tires around the middle, but my neck…my poor saggy grandma-like old neck.  Oh, well.  Continuing on….

MyPictureThere.  I feel better now, shallow person that I am.  I took a night time picture with my computer that makes my neck look better.  Maybe they just need mood lighting in the gym.

Tabata intervals.  Vickie asked some questions about the tabata intervals, which led me to try to get better information about them for myself as well as for you.  I thought this article did a good job of explaining the science behind them, as well as giving examples of how you can do them.  It says that it was proven to raise your metabolic rate.  It also gives examples of quite a few different exercises that will work.  But the main point is that you are supposed to work at maximum intensity for that 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds, and repeat X8.  The idea of the 10 second rest is that it allows your muscles to recover, BUT NOT COMPLETELY.  So the next set (20 seconds) is actually harder than if you didn’t rest at all.  I think I fall a little short on the maximum intensity sometimes, so I am glad I reviewed this.  I have done them on the stairs at work, running or sprinting outside, with push-ups, squat/shoulder press combo, step-ups, and wall squats.  I try to be accurate on the running and stairs, but of course I don’t have a clock in front of me so the 20 second/10 second intervals are approximate.  When I review an article like this, I don’t know why I don’t do them every day.  Except that they are hard.

Fruits and veggies. I am still surprised sometimes at my new found love for fruits and veggies.  I really didn’t need to go to the grocery store, but I thought I might have an overwhelming urge for broccoli (thanks,Lori!)when I got home, so stopped at the store, and ended up getting a few other fruits and veggies.  Never left the produce department!  Then I spotted the little Mexican guy on the corner selling strawberries!  I can’t resist these guys.  The strawberries have been consistently great, and I can’t believe they travel over an hour from the valley just to sell strawberries in Pine Grove!  Anyways, what a pleasure to have great tasting ripe strawberries almost in October!

Running.  Yup.  I’m running again.  Its amazing what a difference that few pounds can make.  I am really enjoying these short runs with the dogs.  And plan on increasing the distance, especially with the cooler fall weather finally starting to appear.  It was only 63 degrees today, and I just couldn’t make myself get in the pool, even though it looked extremely peaceful with just one lap swimmer in there today.  I might indulge in some of those Kuru shoes that Miz talked about today.  They sound like they provide amazing support.

Thoughts on ‘rest days.’ Remember a few weeks ago I started taking a’Sabbath rest’ day on Mondays.  Then last Monday, I didn’t take it because…I can’t remember why.  Anyway, I guess that habit was not ingrained in me because I didn’t even think about taking a rest day yesterday, and had planned quite a few necessary chores for the day.  But when I got up yesterday, I remembered and I decided to go ahead and take a day of rest.  I decided I would try to do all the chores I had planned for Monday and Tuesday all on Tuesday.  Monday was a wonderful day.  Plenty of time reading some very inspirational books (more on them in another post,) listened to a great sermon online, sat outside in the sun, praying and thinking about all I am thankful for, took TWO short runs with the doggies, and got in quite a bit of quilting, as evidenced by the pics I shared yesterday.  And today I had no trouble getting all the chores done that I had planned for the two days!  My thought is this:  I know that an entire day is a luxury that not everyone can afford.  But by taking that time to refresh my soul, I was able to make better decisions about what was really important and what could be let go.  I would urge all of you to try and fit some quiet hours somewhere in your week just to refresh and renew your mind and your soul.

Habanada!  Rest, run, skip the scale and the mirror, eat some fruit and veggies, and try a tabata interval!


Woo!  I’m more excited than I ever thought I could be at 6am!  Last Tuesday I had kind of despaired of making it to this goal of 100 pounds lost because I still needed to lose 1.1 pounds, and I have only been losing an average of 0.4 pounds each week.  So when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw 155.4, well, I was pretty surprised, and VERY happy.

In reviewing my week, I’m not sure exactly what did the trick.  I did do ONE tabata interval (4 minutes of intensive all body exercise) almost every day.  I had added that goal last week because Vicky (personal trainer) says that they can help your metabolism.  And I did try to stay within my calorie goal each day, but like I said yesterday, most days I went over.  And I did keep track of my fiber intake and I tried to get more than 30 grams of fiber each day.  Its not particularly hard to eat like this, but it is hard to plan for it because a lot of good foods that you can choose are relatively low in fiber.  If you haven’ t tried counting fiber in your diet you should give it a try.  I really wanted to keep the fiber intake up because I don’t get as hungry if I eat that way.  And the last thing I did was to really try to eliminate trigger foods, especially anything with sugar.

For me, making a plan of what I am going to eat for the day is very important.  And it is something I actually enjoy.  Part of that finding new ways to enjoy food.  Trying new foods, and new food combos has also helped.  Its just been recently that I’ve started really enjoying BIG meal salads at home.  I used to reject salads because they had too many calories and ‘wouldn’t hold you.’  But I found that if I allowed the salad to be more calories, I could put a little bit of all my favorite ingredients it it, and then it WOULD hold me for about 4 hours!  Yesterday I added the ‘hearts of palm’ to my salad (thanks for the tip, Lynn!) in addition to baby lettuce, shredded carrots and squash, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, mushrooms, pineapple, avocado, and tomatoes.  Had my new favorite dressing on it–one tsp. each of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and honey with a bit of salt and pepper.  Now that’s a great salad!

Here’s another new combo that I think is worthy.  I had a really light dinner on purpose last night, and planned this nutritious snack as ‘dessert.’  About a cup of fresh raspberries, 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, and 1/4 cup of Bob’s muesli.  Very tasty, and very filling. This would also make a good breakfast combo.  Oh, come to think of it, that’s where I got the idea.  I’ve had the same thing for breakfast, except I had peaches then.  I think the part that was new was accepting this as a dessert option.

Anyway, you all know I could go on forever about food.  But back to the future.  I said yesterday that I didn’t want this to just be a blip that was celebrated with food, but rather just a number on the way down.  And I think Vicky is pretty wise, because when I told her about this goal, she gave me another goal to reach 155.5 on her scale, which weighs about 2-3 pounds heavier than mine because I weigh later in the day and fully clothed.  That means I still have to lose a couple of pounds by October 8.  So I can’t really let up.  This week will also have to include some careful planning because my brother is coming out for a visit, so my normal exercise routine will probably be interrupted, and there will be eating out.  Fortunately, my brother is the exercise fanatic, and he is also trying to drop a few pounds right now.  We already talked about taking a hike at Lake Tahoe if we can fit it in.

I guess I’ll end by saying a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have been so encouraging to me, and have held me accountable, and have inspired me over the last year or so.  My life has been enriched by your friendship.  It has been fun to share my struggles and my victories with all of you.  A special thank you to Lori, who offered this ‘open challenge.’  I really relate to Lori’s journey, and felt that it would be okay to put this seemingly small goal out there (but  which seemed like an insurmountable goal to me!)

I’m off to work tomorrow, so I am actually relieved to have reached this goal today.  I don’t like weighing in the middle of the night when I have to get up for work (well, 4 am…)

Almost forgot–thought I’d share some ‘eye candy’ with you.  I finished 2 quilt tops yesterday (they were mostly finished, just put the borders on them,) and then started a little ‘art quilt’ with the scraps from the first quilt.






The Countdown

September 28.  I have 3 days to try to eat on the straight and narrow to achieve my September challenge goal of getting back to my original 100 pound weight loss.  Most times during this journey I didn’t think ‘it counted’ if you re-lost weight that had already previously been lost.  But honestly, re-losing the 13 pounds that I regained has sometimes seemed like more of a struggle than it was to lose the entire 100 pounds.  Like I have said many times, its not like I’m suffering, or going hungry.  It is a combination mind AND body struggle, I think.  I sure know what to do and how to eat.  Most days I make REALLY healthy choices all day long.  But most days I just eat a little more than I planned.  Like lately when I get home from work exhausted, and I should just take a shower and go straight to bed, I sit and look at blogs, and then go to get a little treat, which lately is a medjool date with 4 walnut halves.  Yummmmmm!!!  But not exactly calorie-free, and I am not exactly hungry, so not exactly being used for fuel.  Just for enjoyment.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Except that it conflicts with something else that I really want for enjoyment, and that is a body carrying around less weight.  (Did you notice I did not say ‘a thinner body?’  Because, really, the true pleasure will be ‘carrying around less weight.’  It is already a pleasure, just having lost this 11 1/2 pounds in the last few months.)

And, with apologies to Miz and other like-minded folks for my ‘obsession’ with a number, you have to admit that ‘100 pounds’ has such a nice ring to it.  I know that my favorite OCD detective, Monk, would really appreciate it.  What I really meant to say is that I hope reaching that 100 pound loss is just a small blip on the way to continuing a losing trend.  I really don’t want to reach this goal and then go crazy ‘celebrating’ with food.  (More of the mind/body talk.)

On the newsy food side of things I have gotten some new things to try.  I am working really hard (inside my head) to NOT try all of them in the next 3 days LOL!  I got some coconut oil (Lori’s recommendation) from the health food store.  Then at Trader Joe’s last night after work I found ‘hearts of palm’ (Lynn’s recommendation.)  I bought some goat milk yogurt on Vicky’s recommendation (since I have failed at least 3 times at making my own goat milk yogurt.)  I also got some candied ginger, which is one of the ingredients in the best granola I have ever had.  I think I can get this recipe from Vicky, and if I do, I will share it with you.  My favorite ‘Sweet Nantes Carrots’ were back in stock at Trader Joe’s.  And various other VERY HEALTHY food items that will make for enjoyable eating in the weeks ahead.

Busy, busy

Boy, the last 3 days have really been full days.  And now its back to work for a couple of days.  But I just wanted to check in.  I had another good workout with Vicky this morning.  Last night at her exercise class, I did 3 sets of 4 ‘explosive pushups’–you know those ones where you push up and clap in between!  I couldn’t believe I could do them.  I actually didn’t want to try.  And yes, they were still knee pushups.  But I am getting better at pushups by doing all different types of them.  Most of the rest of my days were filled with lots of regular stuff–quilting, reading, lunch with friends, laundry and a little cleaning.  I am starting to run a little bit more, which I am excited about.  But the darn deer flys are as bad as I have ever seen them, and it is unseasonably warm around here (96 degrees today.)  I am looking forward to more running when fall really arrives.  I did move some of my big japanese maple pots around–really, I think that one weighed at least 200 pounds, and repotted two of them into bigger containers.  This is when I am happiest about the hard exercise and weight lifting that I am doing–when I have the strength for practical tasks around the house.  Vicky told me today that I was quite a bit firmer, and asked if I thought that I was.  And I said yes, as long as I wasn’t looking in the mirror.  Man, those things are brutal at the gym.  They keep me humble.

My weight was down another 0.4 pounds this week (can you believe it?)  I have to lose 1.1 pounds in 8 days to meet my September challenge on Lori’s blog!  This is going to be a hard week!  I think I might make a sub-goal to do at least one tabata interval every day and see if that makes a difference.  They are supposed to really crank your metabolism.

I am off to shower and then have my first bowl of pumpkin custard in honor of the first(?) day of fall.  I guess I’ll have to sit in front of the air conditioner that is still running at 8pm to pretend its fall!

Not Quite Raw

One of the blogs I like to read is The Fitnesstista.  She is perky, enjoys food, and puts lots of pictures on her blog.  The past few weeks have been really interesting because she is taking a cooking class at 105 Degrees, which is a fancy shmancy raw food restaurant.  Some of the food looks absolutely fabulous.  Anyway, Gina’s blog probably led me to this blog, which I also really enjoy.  Gena is more of a raw food eater than Gina.  But what I like about both is that they don’t try to force their way of eating on you.  They just make it seem so great that you WANT to try it.  In fact, this Gena had a recipe on there last night that was cooked and I tried it–fabulous.  Why haven’t I tried roasting carrots before?  I had actually thought of it, but I liked her idea of cutting them up like ‘fries.’  What can I say, old habits die hard!  (BTW, if you are completely confused, just visit both blogs.  They are worthy.)

Anyway, I was really attracted to this Gena’s recipe for ‘Raw Tortilla Soup.’ Now, I know I was attracted to it because she had a great picture on there, and also because that used to be one of my most favorite soups to eat at a restaurant that I don’t go to anymore.  But I was also REALLY attracted to the idea of just throwing a bunch of stuff in my blender and making soup.  (I know, this is nothing new, I guess.  I’m just slow coming to the soup party.)  So last night, even though I was done eating, I felt like doing this.  And of course, I had to make a few minor substitutions because I didn’t have everything.  It tasted okay, but well, um, raw.  There was also something missing, which I couldn’t figure out.  So I just threw the whole batch in a pan in the frig. and thought I would cook it and doctor it a bit today.

It was delicious!… I added quite a bit more cumin, a little chili powder, and then in looking at the recipe again, realized I had left the garlic out.  So I added some of that.  I really didn’t cook it that long.  Brought it to simmer, and probably kept it at simmer for 5-10 minutes while I adjusted the ingredients.  I also realized that the tortilla soup I loved so much was Chicken tortilla, so I thawed a bit of cooked chicken and added it to the bowl I was going to eat.  I thought this made 4 servings of a little more than 1 cup each.  I didn’t add chicken to the other 3 servings, so I can have them however I want.  I might use chicken broth instead of water the next time I make it.  I also noticed there was no onion in the recipe.  Don’t know if this was on purpose or because Gena does not eat onion.  The other substitutions I made were 2 fresh tomatoes for the sundried tomatoes, and summer squash for the celery.

THEN, I tried to make my own tortilla strips to put on top of the soup.  EXCELLENT, if I do say so myself.  I found some new tortillas at Trader Joe’s that were whole wheat/corn, and had 5 grams of fiber per tortilla.  I don’t really like the flavor of those La Tortilla Factory very high fiber tortillas, so I was hoping the addition of corn would be what I was looking for.  YES!  I just sprayed oil on each side of the tortilla, added sea salt to one side, and baked for 5 minutes at 425 degrees.  Yummy!  40 calories for 1/4 of the tortilla, which was just the right amount for this bowl of soup.  Topped with the tortilla strips, avocado, and a few tomato chunks.  I barely remembered to snap a photo before digging in to it!


kelp noodles

Vickie asked a question about the kelp noodles in the last post, which led me to an obsessed search for more information about these ‘noodles.’  When I ate them the other night, I thought to myself ‘I wish they wouldn’t call these noodles.  It sets you up to expect regular noodles, and then you are a little disappointed.’  They are really just like another vegetable.  And I just presumed (not sure why) that you couldn’t cook them.  So this site tells you to just cook them for 10 minutes to make them more like regular spaghetti.


And this is a ‘raw cooking’ website, but she has great pictures of the noodles, and some ‘raw soup’ recipes that look interesting.

I’m not sure where to find them, but I think I’d like to try cooking them to see just what the texture is like.  I had a chicken teriyaki soup once that was just delicious, and they would probably be really good in that.  And it would be worth a try to see if they work as a substitute for spaghetti–for 12 calories, definitely worth a try!

Foodie News

Just a short post with a little foodie news.  Today I made a batch of yogurt, and it came out perfect.  But something made me want to try to strain it and see if I could get ‘Greek yogurt.’  I used the paper towel method (yes, coffee filters would be easier, but I don’t have any big coffee filters.)  I lined my colander with 2 paper towels (not a double layer, just 2 so that it would hang over the edge of the colander.)  And placed the colander on top of a bowl, and poured the yogurt in.  I placed this whole contraption in the refrigerator, and left it to drain for a few hours, and when I came back from the gym, there was the most beautiful creamy yogurt I have ever made.  It is not as thick as Fage, but it is VERY creamy and rich tasting (I only use 1% milk.)  The only thing I don’t know is the calorie count.  It was almost 1/2 the volume, so would that make it twice the calories?  Or does the liquid that drained out have some of the calories?  Fage greek yogurt is not that high in calories, even though they claim they use 4 quarts of milk to make 1 quart of yogurt.  Anyway, this stuff was so delicious, and  not very tart.  Almost like cream cheese!  Definitely can be used for some dessert recipes.  I had it tonight with some really good strawberries.  Can you believe they can make strawberries grow in September?  Used to be you could only get them in the late spring!


For dinner, I had an idea to try.  I wanted to try that peanut sauce I got the other day.  And I had some ‘kelp noodles’ in the refrigerator that I had gotten from Vicky.  I didn’t quite trust them, but then the Fitnessista talked about how much she loved them.  These things are amazing–only 12 calories per serving.  So I used my mandolin to shred some summer squash and a carrot, and cut up a few green onions, and added 4 large shrimp cut into little bite size pieces (I only had 4  shrimp or I probably would have added more.)  I added 2 servings worth of the kelp noodles.  Then I mixed in a little of that peanut sauce, and it made 2 big servings which were about 60 calories each!!!  But when I ate it, I added a few pine nuts (didn’t have any peanuts in the house) and a little more sauce, bringing the total calories for this big bowl to 125.  It was quite delicious, refreshing, and very filling.  The kelp noodles didn’t really have any flavor, just quite a crunch.  They would take on the flavor of anything you added to them, I imagine.  



When I got up this morning, I wanted a green smoothie AND a skillet scramble…so I finally decided on the smoothie for breakfast and the skillet scramble for lunch.  Both of those meals really held me well, and I only needed mini-snacks to get through the day.

It was a jam-packed day, very satisfying.  Now to work again, and I’ll check in with you Sunday!

Seize Your Life

182937“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.  Seize your life.”

I picked up this little lady on one of my trips because I just loved the saying on it.  I have a pretty big collection of Japanese maples, and a few other trees as well.  And if you know anything about Japanese maples, some of the most outstanding ones are hundreds of years old.  It would have been real easy to think, what’s the use?  I’ll never live to see them at their peak.  But its been a little over 20 years since I started collecting them, and I am so glad I did.  I enjoy looking at them every day, and some of them have really developed into beautiful trees.


Lace-leaf maple, about 25 years old

Lace-leaf maple, about 25 years old



I think you can see the correlation into anything we might want to start–a new hobby, a new occupation, a new exercise regime, or a new way of eating.  Its so easy to think ‘its too late,’ or ‘what’s the point?’ or ‘its too hard’ or a myriad of other reasons to not start.  But those excuses are false narratives–stories we tell ourselves that just aren’t true.  But if we say them too often, those false narratives become the truth for our life.

For 20 years, I said things like ‘I can’t eat that way,’ and ‘I can’t live without chocolate chip cookies.’  And now, some days, it is easy to think, ‘I’m 55 years old, what’s the point?  I’ll never have that 25 year old body again.  No matter how much I lose, or how toned I get, there will still be wrinkles.’  But those statements, on both sides of my weight loss journey, are false narratives.  ‘I can eat that way,’ and ‘I can live without chocolate chip cookies.’  And the real truth is, I don’t have to live entirely without chocolate chip cookies.  But I do it by choice, because life is easier that way.  And while I won’t have a 25 year old body, I can have a very fit 55 year old body, and my posture is better than it has been in years, and I can stack a mean cord of firewood and not get tired, and I never get short of breath any more.  All because I made a decision to ‘seize my life,’ even if it was the second best time.


My first Japanese maple, about 26 years old.

My first Japanese maple, about 26 years old.

And look what happens if you are patient enough:


'Baby' Japanese maple

'Baby' Japanese maple

Seedlings from my oldest tree occasionally sprout.  I dig them up and cultivate them for a few years (water them in a pot!) and then am able to give them as gifts to others.