Home Run!

I was going to title this ‘Touchdown!’ but then I realized I don’t even understand football.  So I thought of what sports I understand, and baseball came to mind.  And home run seemed like a good analogy, except that I didn’t even know how to spell home run.  How come its not one word–homerun??

ANYWAYS, last week was a real victory for me.  Working all those days, and feeling good, enjoying the days of work for the most part, being tired on my days off, but normal tired, and still getting a bit of work done.  To me it was an experiment to see if I could keep working for a while and still live a normal life.  And I think I can.  I just need to allow myself to rest up on my days off.

I ended the week (yesterday had a six hour day) with a trip to Big 5 to get a new pair of Saucony running shoes!  Love them, and they are a half size smaller than I have gotten in the past.  My feet are finally shrinking a little bit.

That darn Noah already initiated them with a big muddy paw...

And a stop at Costco.  I stuck with my shopping list.  Scored some great fruit–strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a current favorite of mine, asian pears.

Today was a day off from my ‘Vicky food.’  And I decided to have some of my favorite foods, even if it wasn’t the most balanced menu.  I started off with protein pancakes (I just make one big one, much simpler.)  My favorite way to make these is with walnuts cooked into the pancake and mashed bananas as the ‘syrup.’  Scrumptious.

Headed off to the gym and church (after taking Noah for the prerequisite walk) and took a couple of snacks with me–my favorite apple snack (1/2 an apple smeared with one laughing cow light and some walnuts) and one lo-bar.  I started a batch of Dineen’s Roasted Tomato Soup before I left.

Had a good workout at the gym.  And took some pictures of the other kind of shoes I am so fond of–only wear them to church, and only have to stand/walk in them for a relatively short period of time hehheh!

But aren’t they pretty?  THRIFT STORE!!!  Love shoe shopping at the thrifts!  Today I wore an electric blue and black dress with those blue suede shoes–dress also from the thrift store.

It was sunny today, after two days of rain, and so Noah got a bath.  I tried to take a picture of him and Sophie on our walk, but they are really uncooperative.  This was the best shot I got, and I guess it is typical–Noah having whatever is close by in his mouth.

Back to the food.  I had some cottage cheese and grapes for lunch, and later a snack of greek yogurt and raspberries.  See?  I told you I was going to have all the food I really like.

For dinner, I had some of that roasted tomato soup, along with some roasted cauliflower a la Lynn, and a few whole grain chips from Trader Joe’s.  I saved enough calories to have a little air popped popcorn and dark chocolate for a snack tonight.  The tomato soup is really good, and is especially versatile as far as adding in other stuff.  I am going to try adding a little corn next.  But its good just as it, and only about 110 calories per cup.  If you follow Lynn’s directions for the cauliflower, it is absolutely perfect.  Has a little crispiness on the outside, and nice and soft on the inside.  Its my current favorite roasted veggie.

Hey, do you guys know about these freezer mugs?  I LOVE mine.  They have some liquid inside that freezes, and so they keep your drinks really cold without adding ice.  My diet coke stays cold AND fizzy for a long time in these mugs.  I found them at Ross–$5 for four of them.

During this past week I have had some days where I was a little too snackie, as my famous friend Lori would say.  It was pretty frustrating to me, since I am paying to have Vicky’s food, the object of which is to control and limit what I eat each day.  ‘What’s wrong with me?’ is typical of what I say to myself.  So for bedtime reading one night, I reached for my ‘The End of Overeating‘ book.  And I was pleasantly surprised to read this statement in the chapter on food rehab:

Conditioned hypereating is a biological challenge, not a character flaw.  Recovery is impossible until we stop viewing overeating as an absence of willpower.

And then this:

Lapses are to be expected.  Most of us are never fully cured of conditioned hypereating.  We remain vulnerable to the pull of old habits, although with time and the rewards that accompany success, they do lose some of their power.

There was a lot more good stuff in there, but these two statements were particularly encouraging to me, especially when found in a book titled ‘The END of overeating.’

Hope to be around a little more this week–back to more normal work weeks for a while.

Doing the Things that Scare Me

Good grief, its a long and silly list when I started thinking about it.  But  I did some of those scary things today.  And hopefully I will learn to not be so scared by these things when they come up in the future.

So yesterday I get a surprise package in the mail from my BF.  It was Microsoft Office!!!  I KNOW.  That doesn’t seem so scary, does it?  But frustrating computer stuff I just avoid like the plague.  And this is what happened.  I used to have Microsoft Office on my computer.  The main thing I loved was “Entourage” which I loved very much because it was just a neat email thingy, and especially made it easy to send pictures.  One day it just stopped working, like over a year ago.  I tried every which way to get it to start back up.  It seemed like just one cog was missing.  My BF told me I needed to just get the new edition.  Besides the cost, every time I thought about getting it, I would get a little afraid that the new one wouldn’t work either.  And I would try to resurrect the old one again.  So when I got this package, I told my friend, ‘someone sent me a very scary package in the mail!’  But today I installed it!  There were a few glitches, but overall, it was very easy.  They give you so many prompts, telling you just what key to hit or where to click.

Then, something I REALLY didn’t want to do–call my insurance company.  When I had that accident, there was a small crack in my windshield, which I was coexisting with just fine.  But when that guy hit my car the crack extended all the way across the windshield.  And when I picked the car up, the car repair guy said the insurance company had denied the windshield repair.  I told both my dad and my BF that I didn’t think it was worth fighting with my insurance company over, and they both told me I should at least call and try.  But I get so upset at insurance companies, I swear my blood pressure goes sky high.  ANYWAYS, I called them (I think the reason I did these things today was because I was too tired to do anything else…) and a very nice insurance adjuster helped me, and said she was going to speak to Mitchell the guy who had seen my car and approved the repairs.  Victory #2!!!  But wait, it gets better.  Mitchell just called and said he is going to have a windshield repair company come to my house and replace my windshield.  I didn’t have to get upset, I didn’t have to argue.  It was all so very nice and civil.

THEN…I made the leap.  I filled out the forms online, and officially opened my ‘Etsy shop.’  I don’t know why this was scary.  I was worried I would choose the wrong name.  Worried no one would look at my quilts.  Worried that I would waste my time (this is my biggest ‘fear.’)  Anyway, don’t get too excited.  I haven’t actually listed any quilts yet.  But you will be the first to know!  I have to take some good pictures of them.  And I decided I had done enough ‘work’ for the day.

I don’t have any grand conclusions for you in all this.  Just sometimes we blow things up in our mind to be much bigger or harder than they actually are.

In other news, I had a great workout with Vicky this morning.  She had planned a circuit that combined cardio and weight lifting.  I did really well, and I think that all the extra walking/running I have been doing helped make the cardio portion easier.  I was really tired before I went, and actually, I was still tired afterward, but I felt so good for going and working out that hard.

I made that Fabulous Quinoa Breakfast this morning, and I must say, it is fabulous.  But if straight quinoa is too grainy for you, you can mix it in with some oatmeal, which is what I did with two of the servings (it makes three servings.)  This recipe keeps really well in the frig, and so makes a quick and easy breakfast for work or on mornings I don’t want to cook.

Today I have been tired all day.  And I mostly just puttered–well, I guess I told you what I did.  I actually did a little house work, and I made a new batch of yogurt, which came out extra creamy–YUMM.  Back to the being tired.  This week was an experiment in work.  I worked 12 hour shifts Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday, followed by 6 hour shifts Thursday and tomorrow.  And the good thing is, I am tired, and I was tired after every day of work.  But I am not sad and depressed like I usually get after work.  So the 6 hour shifts are a really good thing.

Noah is doing really well.  Getting to be a gangly teenager now.  He is four months old today.  A friend at work got him this cute snake toy, and he was nice enough to share it with Sophie.  I wish I could have gotten some pictures of them playing tug of war–it was hilarious.

Have an excellent weekend everybody!

One Day Off

Waaaa.  Everyone else is tired of me complaining about work so you guys are all I’ve got left–hehheh.  And if I’m not careful I’ll lose you too!  Anyway, I only had today off and have to go back to work tomorrow.  I’ve got a busier than usual work week ahead and I’m tired just thinking about it.  In addition, I have all this guilt about leaving Noah for so long.  So why am I spending time writing a blog instead of spending time with Noah?  Oh, well, you know….

Don’t have that much to report.  I am enjoying eating the food Vicky provides, and I’ve been doing really well staying on the straight and narrow.  Until yesterday.  Yes, there was chocolate at work.  Yes, I ate some.  Worse yet, I came home and found some more chocolate and ate too much of that.  DARN IT!  But today I wrote out my food plan and stuck to it.  1325 calories.  That makes me very happy.  (I had to write out my food plan because Vicky got sick and I don’t have her pre-planned meals.)  I did snag some of her entrees that were still in the case at the gym.  Yummy stuff.

I took a picture of my dinner the other day.  This is pretty typical of what I like to have for dinner these days–a big plate of veggies, and a smaller serving of something or other that has protein in it.  This stuff was really good.  Vicky called it red lentil and rice salad.  I LOVE it.  But I think I love it because it has peanuts, sunflower seeds and raisins in it.  Just very flavorful and satisfying, and filling.  That little dish has about 200 calories in it.

I like finding these types of foods because they can be a starting point for all kinds of other combos.  The rice and lentils with seeds and nuts, add some veggies of choice, and a different sauce combo, and its a whole new meal.

I also like having these smaller dinners because they leave me a little wiggle room for an evening snack or ‘dessert.’  Tonight I had a bowl of yogurt with cinnamon and walnuts–yumm.  Did you guys notice I have a serious walnut affair going on?  If I overeat anything regularly these days it is probably walnuts.  I read somewhere that there was some study that might have some evidence that you don’t gain as much weight as you should from eating walnuts.  That was all I needed to hear.  They are my most favorite of all nuts all time.  I think its genetic from my English grandma.

This morning I had a most excellent breakfast–protein pancakes with sliced strawberries and some canned whipped cream on top.  I decided afterwards that I would have been much happier having some nice yogurt instead of the whipped cream on top.  Next time.  But I love those pancakes.  And you can’t fault the combination:  egg whites, cottage cheese, and oats.

I’d love to blather on for a while, but if I go to bed right now, I might actually get almost enough sleep, and I might actually not feel so terrible when I come home tomorrow night.  Have a good Monday, and I’ll check in with everyone on Tuesday!

Don’t Look Down

You know how that’s what they tell people who are afraid of heights?  DON’T LOOK DOWN.  If you look down, you will see the reality of where you are, and you will be in danger of falling.  So just don’t look down.  Well, that was the phrase that came to mind one night as I was taking my shower.  Yikes.  Its scary looking down.  ALL my extra weight is right there in the middle.  All the battle scars of being ‘morbidly obese’ for so many years.  Looking down makes me want to give up because I KNOW it won’t get any better.  It can become less volume, but it won’t get better.  So I told myself DON’T LOOK DOWN!  It actually makes me laugh every time I think of this now.  Which is basically every night in the shower.

Whew!  There’s been a ton of ‘body image’ talk out there in blogland.  I don’t know if it is spontaneously accidental, or if one blogger makes another one think about the topic.  It does seem to be somewhat spontaneous.  I actually thought about this post a long time ago, but was only motivated to write it after reading several other bloggers’ thoughts on body image.  Here are the links to their most excellent posts:

PJ talked about the strength she has developed in spite of being older than some and in spite of not losing all the weight she would like to.  The changes being made in our bodies are not all visible.  You can’t always see muscles in us women, and for sure you can’t see stronger joints, clearer blood vessels, and lower blood sugar!  But that doesn’t mean these changes are any less real or less important than the more ‘instant gratification’ of a thin toned body (available to only a very small percentage of the population.)

Lynn and Jill talked about learning to accept the ‘imperfect’ body that you have and coming to love it.  Here’s what I said about that in my comments to Lynn:

I deal with the imperfection in a couple of ways. I really do love the way I feel so good and so strong climbing up and down hills, and bringing in firewood and stuff like that. And I make myself look in the mirrors at the gym and appreciate how good I look instead of criticizing all the imperfections. And, since I am 55 years old, I make myself think about what I would have looked like at 55 had I never been overweight–it’s not that different.

But the truth is, I still don’t like the way parts of me look, especially without clothes. But as a favorite part of the Bible says, ‘isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?’ Yes it is, and I am so very grateful for that.

Here is a ‘real’ picture of me, at 55 years old, and 155 pounds.  I asked my neighbor to take a picture of me and Noah.  When I saw it I was disappointed.  I thought, ‘darn it, he concentrated more on making Noah look good than making me look good.’  And I wasn’t going to publish it.  But in the interest of continuing to learn to accept myself the way I am, I will share it with you.

BTW, Shelley, those are Coldwater Creek jeans from the thrift store, and they just happen to have just the right waistline (for me) to minimize the ‘bulge.’  Shelley talked about the problems created by the media’s artificial altering of body image and how it plays tricks with our minds, and she also talked about how choosing the right clothes for our body type can minimize the ‘imperfections’ we see.  And in regards to my ‘horror’ in LOOKING DOWN, I will say that this is something I have done very well with–trying on lots of different styles of clothes and finding what looks best on me AND makes me comfortable.  Because it doesn’t matter how many people tell me I look good if I don’t think so myself.  Most days I think I look darn good in clothing, and I am not afraid to LOOK DOWN!

Checking In

Good morning all!  Hope you are having a sunny and enjoyable President’s Day!  It is really a beautiful day here.

I caught a cold last Thursday, and it has about run its course.  It was pretty mild as far as colds go, and I have not had a cold for about three years, so I feel pretty fortunate.  I like to think that the healthy way I eat helps my immune system to fight off the normal dose of colds and flu.  I stayed home, took Noah for two walks a day, and stayed right on track with my food.  There was a day or two there where it seemed like all I did was think about food and wait for the next meal, but I did it.  It was so nice yesterday that I even gave Noah a bath.  This is him all fluffy and clean and on the couch, which he is not supposed to be on but I let him stay there long enough to take the picture because otherwise he never sits still…

And this is his ‘glamour shot.’  He is very photogenic.  In person he usually looks like a wild and crazy guy.  (scroll down for pictures.)

In Defense of Plain

Plain oatmeal, to be specific.  But as I ate my oatmeal this morning, I thought about other foods I like ‘plain.’  Now don’t get me wrong.  I like ‘fancy food’ as much as the next person.  I have truly been enjoying the food Vicky has made for me this week.  Each entree has a long list of ingredients, and each of them is a REAL food, herb, or spice.  Things like quinoa citrus something or other–quinoa with orange, lime, jalopeno, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, zucchini, and I don’t know what else.  YUMM!

But back to my original premise.  Last night I read a blogger who was talking about making steel cut oats.  And it made me hungry for oatmeal.  And honestly, every time I see oatmeal in all its glorious variations on the blogs, I want to eat it.  And I have tried a LOT of those variations–pumpkin, peanut butter and jelly, banana nut, blueberry, ‘apple pie’…you get the picture.  And every time I ate one of these I thought, I think I like plain oatmeal better.  So this morning that is what I made.  I did add some raisins, because to my mind that is plain oatmeal–what I grew up eating.

This morning I added some brown sugar, because that is also what I grew up with, and I wanted to enjoy that again.  But guess what.  It was too sweet.  Oooh, I never thought those words would come out of my mouth.  I really am trying to add less and less sweetener to my foods, and to enjoy the true flavor of the foods.  I guess its working.  Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘plain’ oatmeal this morning.  I thought about all the other foods I like ‘plain.’  I think it has to do with the food I was raised with.  I like plain vegetables (yay!)  I like plain chicken.  I love plain walnuts (I can get carried away with these…)  And of course, I like plain oatmeal.

I guess I’m talking to all those ‘picky eaters’ out there who don’t like their food touching other foods.  It is okay to enjoy the singular flavor of a plain food.  After all, that’s how God created them, right?  You don’t have to embrace all the new and unusual food/flavor combinations out there in order to lose weight.  It can be done one food at a time.  In fact, since learning to eat differently, more healthily, I think I appreciate even more the simple flavor of a single food.  Sometimes I crave a big plate of plain zucchini squash, or a really delectable apple.

Go forth and enjoy your weekend.  Eat one plain and simple food, and concentrate on really enjoying the flavor of it while you munch.

Do you have a favorite ‘plain’ food?

The Advantages of a Journal

Just a quick post with a few ideas.  First, the advantages of a journal. Now I know there are journalers and there are non-journalers.  And both sides are pretty opinionated about their way of doing things.  But if you are on the fence about this, maybe sharing some of my experience with journaling might sway you one way or the other.

I can hardly believe I have written down practically everything I have put in my mouth for FIVE YEARS!  My first week at Weight Watchers I was one of those people who said, ‘no way am I writing down everything I eat.  No way am I looking up points values and keeping track of that.’  Ha!  Little did I know.  It was just something that worked for me.  I like numbers, and I like having a plan.  I also have a bad memory.  It is so easy to forget what you have eaten if you don’t write it down.  And since some of my big problems were identifying hunger, stopping when full, and just eating for the sheer joy of eating, keeping a journal came in very handy to keep those problems at bay.

Lately, I have noticed a different reason to value my food (and exercise) journal.  When I have had a particularly ‘bad’ week, like I thought last week was, I can look at the journal and realize that I actually stayed within my calorie alotment on 3 days, I still stayed under what would be my maintenance calories on 3 days, and there was only one day that was a complete blow-out.  The same thing has happened on weeks where I thought I had really ‘failed’ on the exercise front.  I REALLY can’t remember what exercise I have done earlier in the week.  So it is always very encouraging for me to add up my exercise minutes at the end of the week.

Another thing I’ve been meaning to mention is protein pancakes–made with yogurt!  Yes, it works just fine!  One day I didn’t have any cottage cheese, so I substituted 1/3 cup of yogurt.  The batter was a little thinner, but the pancakes tasted great.  I bet if you use greek yogurt, the batter would be almost the same as the cottage cheese batter.  Better protein, too.

I have had a great day today.  I can barely believe how much I enjoy the WHOLE DAY  when I have these 6 hour shifts.  Even though the driving takes a good part of the day (commute time is even longer during these drive times) I enjoy the morning before I leave, I enjoy being at work, and I particularly enjoy how much I can do after work and how very relaxed and happy I feel.  Today after I left work, I stopped at the gym for a brief workout before coming home, and I also picked up my 3 day’s worth of food from Vicky.  I hurried home, and got here just in time to get in a little walk/run with Noah, which he really needs when I’ve been gone all day.  I had fun looking at all the food I had gotten from Vicky, and wrote out my food plans for the next three days.  I don’t always stay exactly to the plan, but it definitely gives me a framework to stay within.  It takes away a lot of the angst over deciding what to eat or cook next.

I have been thinking about chili FOR DAYS!  (I have my Cooking Light magazine opened to their article on chili, Shelley!)  So when Vicky mentioned that she was packing some chili for me, you know what I had for dinner tonight.  It was SOOOOO GOOOOOD!  And it was a small bowl, and she had included just a little container of shredded cheese and onions to top it with.  But it was so very satisfying.  And to satisfy my need for volume, I cooked up a bunch of zucchini.  I routinely have a simple dinner like this, and it is very satisfying to me.  I ended the day with a peanut oat crispy cookie–another of Vicky’s creations!

The Noah report:  he is growing by leaps and bounds–44 pounds today at 13 weeks old.  Sorry I keep posting these night time head shots–I’ll get another whole body shot eventually.  And I did try to do a video, Jill.  I am a really bad cinematographer, come to find out!  Wow, right now he is laying next to me chewing on his legitimate toy.  Of course, that is after ‘bringing’ me both of my new tennis shoes and his slicker brush.  Oops, in the minute it took to type that sentence, he got up and found a leash I had left within reach.


Ha–I’ll bet you were really surprised to check out Debby’s blog and find a post about food!  (I need to figure out how to put some of those funny faces on here that Lori uses.)

Anyways, I was just settling down to watch the movie Julie and Julia–already watched the special feature about the making of the movie–and I thought, I need to write a blog post about food.  As you all know, I have eaten a bit too much this week.  It has gotten better the past two days at work, actually, and today was a stellar day.  But there were some times in there where I really was worried that I was sliding down a very slippery slope.  I wanted to eat everything.  I didn’t particularly care if it was ‘worthy.’  On the one hand, I was upset because I knew I would gain weight, and on the other hand, I just didn’t care.  I KNOW.  It was very close.  I thought today was going to be another bad one.  But somewhere in the middle of the day, something changed.  I’m not sure what it was.  I did go to the gym after church and had a short, but intense workout.  And I had picked up one of Vicky’s excellent small meals.  At the last minute, I decided to warm it up in the microwave in the gym and eat it on the way home so I wouldn’t have to waste time cooking when I got home.  And her food is small, but very satisfying.

I started working on some quilting stuff when I got home.  Sometimes I forget about food when I am quilting (not all the time, unfortunately.  If that worked all the time I would weigh 100 pounds!)  So whatever caused the ‘click,’ I am relieved and happy about that.  Tomorrow will be my workout with Vicky, and then meeting my sister in Stockton for lunch.  I have already pre-planned what I am going to eat, so that will be okay.  And then my four week food plan with Vicky starts.  It was important to me that I had a good day on my own before being ‘forced’ to control my food choices.

Other food topics of interest.  I watched Food Inc. last week.  Very sobering views of food.  Reminded me again that I want to buy meat that is free range, grass fed–whatever I can do to make sure the animals have been treated kindly during their life.  Old habits die hard, though.  I still buy food that is a bargain at the store without thinking about where it came from.

I also read a book a while ago that I never mentioned.  This guy lost a LOT of weight eating whole local farm-fresh foods, and he did not particularly limit his fat intake.  He is where I got the idea of buying and using raw milk to make my homemade yogurt.  And interestingly enough, I first read about him on Polyface Farm’s website.  I don’t know how I first happened on their website, but they are prominently featured in the movie Food, Inc.

Back to Julie and Julia, Meryl Streep mentioned that she gained 15 pounds making the movie, and it took her a year and a half to get it off.  That made me feel good, for some reason.  And watching this movie does not particularly make me want to eat too much or the wrong food.  A movie like this just motivates me to live my best life, and to be passionate about what I am doing.  It makes me want to quilt beautiful quilts, and work out more, and travel!  Oh, and to write a better blog.  Check back tomorrow–I’ll try to do better…