New Food

I was going to title this “That Darn Costco,” because most of the new foods I’ve gotten were from Costco. You know how they always have those sample carts out? Well, yes, I have to admit that I do try some of those products. Some of them are most worthy. And some are not.

A few weeks ago I was there with a friend. And there were some people there promoting their JERKY. I have never ever tried jerky. But I’d actually been wanting to try it for a few years. So I practically ran to their booth. Okay, what’s NOT to like? I think its got that combo of fat, sugar, and salt that makes cookies so enjoyable! Anyway, since I’ve never tasted other jerky, I can’t really tell you this brand was better, but I think it might be. For one thing, I think its softer than most jerkies. I bought the Teriyaki. When I went back last week, I got the lemon garlic turkey one to try–also delicious! 70 calories for one ounce, and there are 7 grams of protein in that. My BF pointed out that this could be a trigger food for me, and I think she’s right. But so far I’ve only eaten it when I planned it.

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Periodically Costco has a booth offering sugar free “belgium” chocolates. I usually try the samples and move on. The other day I decided to get a box of the individually wrapped dark chocolates. About 50 calories (SF chocolate isn’t really a calorie savings) and very enjoyable. One is definitely enough to satisfy.

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Last week when I went to Costco, there were some nice young men promoting their product–“Bolani Spinach Bread.” The label says it is an Afghanistan bread. It has a thin delicate layer of bread and quite a bit of spinach in the middle. OH MY GOSH. This stuff is unbelievably delicious. The ingredient lists are simple and straightforward. There is nothing I didn’t recognize in them. And the calorie count is really a bargain, as far as I am concerned. 103 calories for this large piece.

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Not only is the bread delicious, but the toppings they sold to go along with it are equally as good. They are all low fat. In fact, NONE of them have any added oil. So to have the bread with the three toppings on it (that’s how they served it) is about 135 calories.

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I have been thinking that these toppings would be good for other things. I had two of them on top of my baked potato the other day.

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(That’s a four ounce tilapia filet on the plate. I eat small baked potatoes.)

Sunday I finally tried rutabaga fries! Oh my goodness, I really really loved these. Their texture reminded me of sweet potato fries. When they were cooking they did have a different smell, maybe like cauliflower. They are pretty low in calories. I will definitely be having these again.

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I had them for dinner with a bowl of strawberries and cottage cheese. Perfection!

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I guess that’s about it for my new foods reviews. When you’re trying to be very careful about what you eat, its really fun to find delicious new foods that will fit into your diet plan.

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Weekend Doings

Once again, I have a yardwork report from the weekend!

Look what visited my birdbath. It seems they appreciate all the work we’ve been putting into the garden!

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And then he left, and it looked like his mate came and took a bath!

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First, here’s a view of the second bed with some of the planting I’ve done so far. Before I planted, I did a “sun chart,” where I mapped off the different areas of the yard, and ran outside once an hour to chart which areas were getting sun. This new bed was supposed to be a sun garden, but the hours of sunlight it got were a little disappointing. I’ll have to adjust my planting.

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You can see that I planted some sweet allyssum around the edge there. I re-planted it from another area that was not getting enough sun. I hope they will bloom here. And then there are some petunias behind them, with a lantana bush in the center.

On the next level I have another petunia, and some yellow-green ground cover that I hope will cascade over the stones. I have some nasturtium planted along the edge.

That plant up at the top where Bess is posing? That there is a MIRACLE plant. One of the oldest plants I had when I was doing everything in pots was a poor star jasmine. Not only was it tired of being in a pot for 25 years, but it was also in the shade all that time. This year, after all the moving around and stuff, I looked at it and saw that it had finally given up. There was not one sign of life left on it. I put it in the discard pile for MLG to dispose of. So Friday, when MLG was here, he said, “hey Debby, some plant that I threw over the hill is growing. There are a lot of new green leaves on it. I think it might be a star jasmine.” Sure enough, I went over and looked and there was that poor little plant, still trying to survive. So I am giving it another chance, in a real bed of dirt, with some real sun. Won’t that be something if it lives?

Okay, behind Bess, you might be able to see the dogwood tree that we are going to put in that space. That poor tree started growing sideways, and I just gave up trying to get it to grow upright. Clever MLG propped it up with the rake, so it is in training for its new upright position!

Here’s a wine barrel that I planted that Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick in, along with some other plants. It might go in the ground next year. I’m too tired to re-plant it this year, and it seems to be doing very well there.

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THEN, MLG started in on yet another raised bed! I wish I had taken a before picture. This is in the corner of the yard where, I am ashamed to admit, Noah chases the cars and then does a twirling dervish thing in the corner. I HATE the twirling dervish thing, but I don’t know how to stop it. In addition, when he was a puppy, he used to put everything in this corner. I told MLG that if we moved all that dirt, the fence might collapse. So he came up with the idea of making it a raised bed!

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This is the view from the outside of the fence as you drive up the road:

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While MLG was working on this bed, I moved a bunch of logs from yet another tree that we had taken down. After I finished moving all of them, I started moving the bricks from one side of the yard to the other to help MLG. Oh. my. goodness. I was about done in by the time we got that done!

After doing my “sun chart” I decided that this would be the best place for my attempt at growing tomatoes and green beans. I planted a sweet 100, an heirloom cherry tomato, and 2 brandywine tomatoes today, and in the corner I planted the pink honeysuckle vine. Tomorrow I’ll plant the green bean seeds. I got the bush type. And I’ll have to get some cages for the tomatoes. Maybe that will be enough to deter Noah from his twirling. I am hoping that he will learn to take new  paths as he patrols the yard, instead of plowing right through the beds. In the meantime, after I took these pictures, I put up quite an obstacle course to keep him from trampling the tomatoes.

I added some red flowers to my usual pink theme:

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Don’t worry. There’s still plenty of pink around!

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That’s about it for this weekend. I went to the pool yesterday, and I had THE ENTIRE POOL to myself. It was quite wonderful. I did 40 lengths. Working my way up to that 2.4 mile “Iron Man” swim. And today I did 10 miles on the bike at the gym before going to church.

No plans in particular for Memorial Day, except  maybe to rest up a bit! I hope you all are having a great weekend!

(The report of the quilting part of my vacation is up on the quilt blog if you are interested.)

Ohio Trip in Bullet Points

  • I went to Ohio to study art as it relates to quilting from Nancy Crow. I did not go to learn how to quilt. I already know how to do that!
  • Airplane travel went well both ways. There were multiple connections both ways. I saw a LOT of airports. I swear I got in a 2 mile walk/run at that crazy Detroit airport.
  • Mostly I ate food I had brought with me. In Los Angeles I spied a restaurant with Iron Chef Morimoto’s name on it.

    Fast food a la Iron Chef. VERY DISAPPOINTING!

    Fast food a la Iron Chef. VERY DISAPPOINTING!

  • And just when I needed it, a Pinkberry magically appeared right outside my connecting gate in Atlanta!

    Pinkberry did not disappoint!

    Pinkberry did not disappoint!

  • President Obama was speaking at the university in Columbus the day I arrived. It would have been cool to have seen him, but I heard there would be cops on every corner for extra security. I decided to get the hell out of Dodge LOL.
  • I visited a special textile exhibit in Lancaster. IMG_9416
  • I almost missed it, but right next door was the birthplace of General Sherman (of Civil War fame.) IMG_9417
  • I stayed at a farmhouse and enjoyed the amazing 86 year old lady who was my hostess. She was a firecracker!
  • Nancy Crow’s family farm is a beautiful beautiful property. There were fruit trees and lilacs blooming everywhere.

    The "driveway" leading to the farm.

    The “driveway” leading to the farm

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  • The “barn” where Nancy hosts her workshop retreats is an amazing structure. It is a pre-Civil War timber frame barn that they moved across several fields to their property, and then her husband and two sons spent four years reconstructing.

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  • You can still see the original timber frame on the inside of the barn.
    You can see in these pics how much room each workshop participant had!

    You can see in these pics how much room each workshop participant had!

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  • I was fascinated by the floors. They were gorgeous, and looked like a combination of three different woods. They are all sycamore. IMG_9433
  • Nancy had a LOT of exercises outlined for us to do. I have never done this before, but I (voluntarily) worked from 7am until 10pm for three of the days!

    My workstation was right by the door. This was the view I got to look at every day!

    My work station was right by the door. This was the view I got to look at every day!

  • The food was absolutely amazing. They served us lunch, dinner, and an afternoon snack at the workshop. Margaret Wolf is a gourmet cook with an eye on healthy living and cooking. I noticed right away that the meals were lighter fare, and that the portion sizes were within normal limits. I heard her say later in the week that if you ate exactly what she served, which included some amazing baked goods and desserts, it would be comparable to a 28 point W.W. day! So my eating for that part of the trip was spot on. (I had cottage cheese and fresh fruit every day at the farm house.) (bad food blogger–I took NO pictures of the food at the retreat.)
  • After the workshop was over, I headed up to Amish Country. Nancy gave me careful instructions to some of the authentic Amish places to visit. They all included food…
  • There was some gorgeous countryside up there. That was my favorite part–just driving along some of the backroads, enjoying the farm scenes. I got to see at least 3 teams of horses pulling the plows, in addition to lots and lots of the black buggies.

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  • And of course, I did get to meet Lynn in Pittsburgh. That was also a beautiful drive.
  • Oh! On my way back from Pittsburgh, I stopped in a little town. I think I was looking for coffee. Instead I found the birthplace of Clark Gable. How about that! IMG_9505
  • I went back to Columbus by way of a small town that had a special quilt exhibit in its museum. And then one more quilt exhibit at the museum in Columbus.
  • We worked fast and hard at the quilt retreat. I made two complete quilt tops while I was there. I am almost done quilting the second one. I will share more about the actual quilting and show that quilt over on my quilt blog later today or tomorrow.

Weekend Doings!

Just a bit of this and that. I’ll get around to writing about the trip eventually. I had some different meals lately, and enjoyed them very much. I finally remembered to pick up a package of spinach and have been enjoying it in various forms, both in my smoothies, and also cooked. Here it is in a breakfast scramble with some red potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Oh, and an egg and some egg beaters mixed in. Quite yummy. Adding potatoes definitely ups the allure of eggs for me (I’m not a big egg lover.)

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In the same day, I decided to make a big batch of marinara sauce because I wanted to try out the homemade noodles that the 86 year old lady whose farmhouse I stayed in in Ohio had gifted me with. You know I don’t eat pasta that often, but I had to try these. They really were very tasty noodles! And the marinara sauce was yummy. I roughly followed my directions for Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce (but started with a can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of tomato sauce) and omitted the meat so I could use it in a variety of ways. Now I have lots of marinara sauce in the freezer!

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I added some turkey burger to some of the sauce for this meal.

On Thursday, MLG (master landscaping guy) came over to start on the new raised bed. He worked for 2 1/2 hours IN THE RAIN before giving up. He came over again on Saturday morning to finish the job, and then went to the nursery to get a truckload of dirt to fill it up! I helped out by moving the dirt around as he dumped in wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of the stuff. It doesn’t look like much, but that is actually very hard work. I love the way he did it in tiers.

This picture is taken from my front door, so you can see the first bed and where it is in perspective to that. Of course, MLG pointed out that it would look super cool if we were to continue the flagstone pavers up between the two beds. And he’s right, it would. I am going to price them at Home Depot this week.

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I woke up with a very sore back on Saturday morning. Later in the afternoon, I went to the gym for a nice long swim. I don’t know if that helped it or not, but for the time I was in the pool, nothing hurt. It sure was nice.

On Sunday morning I wanted to try a new recipe. I had bookmarked this original recipe for “giant breakfast cookies.” Of course, I had to try to lighten it up a bit. Plus, I didn’t have applesauce, so I sub’d pumpkin. Did you know that applesauce and pumpkin have the same amount of calories??

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These were quite tasty (and quite gigantic!) I put it on the plate that I usually plate my scones on for comparison. I think they are the same size as my scones. And I was very pleased with how long it kept me full. To make sure they were worthy, I had another one for breakfast this morning. I’ll post my recipe later today.

Before church, I hit the gym for a fairly long session on the bikes. I don’t really know what other people do on the bikes, but my mileage/time is pretty consistent. In 45 minutes I “rode” 9 1/2 miles.

And then Sunday afternoon I went to a potluck. Oh brother. I guess in hindsight I didn’t do too badly. A few too many dessert samples were consumed. (I took my go-to potluck dish of a ton of fresh fruit and a bowl of the Creamy Fruit Dip.) It was a potluck to benefit Second Chance Dogs. This is Noah’s trainer’s project. She takes dogs from the local humane societies that often times are unadoptable and keeps them on her ranch and works with them until they are perfect canine citizens and then finds homes for them. The transformations are amazing. She has re-homed over 250 dogs in the past 10 years.

And in between, I did some quilting. Lots and lots of quilting. It was a VGW (Very Good Weekend.) Hope yours was a good one too!

First Things First

Well, here I am home again. There is always a little longer-than-I-would-like re-entry period. A time when I am unsure of the next move. Where am I going with my art? What am I going to do with my house? What possessed me to think that it would be easy to live with four dogs?

Here’s one thing I was very certain of, even before I got home. I knew for sure that I wanted to continue to eat the way I’ve learned to eat. I knew that I wanted to make exercise a part of my daily life. It was a really good feeling to be confident of that, even as I enjoyed some of the definitely-not-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious local fare.

My new mug and plate for my afternoon coffee break.

My new mug and plate for my afternoon coffee break.

The quilt workshop was more than fabulous. I am still processing all that I learned, and will share more in the days to come on my quilt blog. But here’s the first thing I want to share. After all, this IS a blog. Lynn of Lynn’s Weigh and I really did get to meet! Lynn was the very first blog I ever read. I never even knew there was such a thing as blogs until I picked up the “Half Their Size” issue of People magazine, and then read the tiny writing in the little box that said to check out Lynn’s blog. That was just about the time that I had lost most of my weight and was really looking for a place of encouragement. I found it in the blogging world, and Lynn was just the right person to introduce me to it. If she hadn’t been such a good writer, I don’t know if I would have continued to explore blogging. So THANK YOU Lynn!

Since I was in Amish country, and EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday in Amish country (oops,) I drove over to Pittsburgh to meet Lynn. We decided on a restaurant called First Watch, and using my new-fangled equipment, I googled directions on my Kindle Fire, and then wrote them out longhand to follow as I drove.

Here’s where I ended up.

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Thanks, Google Maps.

Luckily, Lynn had a garmin, so she was able to find me, and since we were nowhere near the original meeting place, we decided on “Mad Mex!” Yumm.

Its so fun to meet someone in person for the first time, and feel so comfortable. We talked like old friends. Which, in one way, I guess we are. Blogging is like that. We share very personal parts of our lives sometimes.

I can only blame my funky hair on travel conditions!

I can only blame my funky hair on travel conditions!

AIM: Through Thick and Thin

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This month we are tackling the topic of regaining weight after a large weight loss–IS IT INEVITABLE??? Well, if you look at the statistics, I guess it is. “They” say that 95% of the people who lose weight will regain all the weight they lost. But that’s not really what we’re talking about.  At least its not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk specifically about me. Isn’t that what this blog is all about? I want to talk about people who’ve lost a large amount of weight–let’s say one hundred pounds,– and then bounce back up 10-20-or 30 pounds. Is that inevitable? Is it the norm? Short answer: I don’t know. I’ve never read anything directly addressing that issue. But I do know what I have witnessed. And I know my own experience.

Eight years ago I weighed 255 pounds.

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Two years later, I had lost 100 pounds.

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(In 2009, at 155 pounds.)

 I maintained it for a while, and then over a period of about 3 years I gained back 25 pounds. Was that because life was extra stressful during those 3 years? (It was.) Was it because I ate too much? (Umm, yeah. Obviously I ate too much to maintain that weight loss.) Or was it because my body was struggling to “return to normal”?

  • My life was super stressful for those three years. I can see it better now than I did when I was in the midst of it. I don’t remember thinking specifically “Oh I can’t stand the stress. I’m going to eat whatever I want.” And the truth is, stress is just part of life. It will always be with us. It was during this time that I worked through a book on emotional eating and discovered that I ate in response to anxiety.Who knew? 
  • Obviously I ate too much. But I didn’t routinely overeat. I didn’t binge. I actually was learning that whole time about eating healthier whole foods. I explored paleo, raw, vegetarian, and even vegan diets. They all have benefits–and some really great-tasting recipes! ( I don’t follow any of those specific diets.) During this time I also explored the thought processes of Mindful Eating and HAES (Health at every size.) I don’t think that these two lines of thought were particularly helpful to me.
  • I do think that there is a huge component of your body wanting to return to homeostasis (its own version of normal.) This is not a popular view, because it means we are not exactly in complete control of what is happening to us.

Right now, here’s what I think happened to me. I lost 100 pounds. That did not even get me close to a “normal BMI” (a number I don’t pay attention to any more.) Still, it was a 40 percent reduction in what my body had come to consider normal. My life was stressful, and even though I had been maintaining a weight loss for several years, I had not truly addressed the emotional component of it. I consider this to be one of the most helpful aspects of my journey. And I believe that there was a component of my body fighting for homeostasis. That large of a weight loss was perceived as abnormal by my body. That is why there is a lot of talk about POW’s (Previously Over Weight) having to be super-vigilant about what they eat. It ISN’T the same for us. During the time I regained the 25 pounds, there were also numerous attempts to lose the weight. Obviously none were ultimately successful.

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(Last November, at 180 pounds. Notice the skillful camouflage LOL.)

I am hopeful that now my body has accepted this “new” weight as normal (after six years!) and that that is why I am currently having more success at continual weight loss than I have  in the past three years. Does that make any sense? So if I am “successful” and make it to my new low goal of 140 pounds (a 22 percent reduction in my weight,) and I am correct in my assumptions, I can also be sure that my body will fight that loss as well, and that I might have a little rebound weight.

And so it goes…

To read more about “through thick and thin,” be sure to check out my friends and maintaining experts:

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!

 

Veggies Times Two

Thought I would update you on how the diet’s going. In a word, S-L-O-W-L-Y. But I better shut up and stop complaining. Because I am losing weight, and that is more than I have done in the past few years! So far I’ve lost 20 pounds since the end of November. Yahoo!

When I came up with the idea for the “Me Diet,” I almost immediately thought, what are you going to do if this doesn’t work? What if you get too hungry or too bored, then what? So I wrote down a little plan. Which included adding in more vegetables.

So far I’m not too bored, but I am starting to get a little hungry. Not stomach growling hungry, more like “out of fuel” hungry. So I have added in more vegetables. I usually have some kind of vegetable with my protein shake. And I’ve tried upping the ante at dinner time by having at least two vegetables, or a combo of veggies. I asked about “complex” veggie recipes recently. I remembered that Georgie had quite a treasure trove of vegetable recipes. I’ve tried a couple of her combinations, and bookmarked a few more. I’ve also realized that most of the time I can’t be bothered with complex recipes. I’m perfectly happy with plain and simple.

Here are a few of my recent vegetables:

Asparagus and butternut squash. You gotta love the pre-cut veggies that are now available. I got this squash in a bag on sale for $1!IMG_9351

Brocolli Slaw! I love this stuff. I’ve had it in several different salad combos. Its also great in stir fries. This was an Asian style salad with pineapple and chicken and Paul Newman’s Sesame Ginger dressing (35 cal/serv!)

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Here I added it to some romaine lettuce and other stuff. I had a wonderful salad at a restaurant recently that had several different fruits in it, including strawberries and watermelon!

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(There’s not that many walnuts in this salad–they just all got into the picture!)

Here’s how I often have my vegetables: just boiled with some Mrs. Dash seasoning. Its quick and easy, and I cook up a big pot so I can have it warmed up for several different meals.

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I usually cook more than one serving of vegetables at a time. They keep well in the fridge, and so are available for the days I don’t feel like cooking. Fortunately I like vegetables, so it is not hard for me to eat a variety of them. They have so many nutrients. Its a good thing, as our friend MS would say.

I have also been eating potatoes a little more frequently, thanks to another sale–5 pounds of red potatoes for $1! Who could resist? I usually have a small one or half of a medium one, baked. Again, potatoes have a lot of nutrients in them. I usually have them with some spray ‘butter’ or topped with part of my dinner (meat, cottage cheese, or mushrooms and onions. Yumm.) Don’t avoid potatoes. Avoid the caloric POTATO TOPPERS.

I generally have a lot of salad fixings around. A salad is  quick to fix when you have all the ingredients ready. And it takes a long time to eat–so very enjoyable.

My favorite (and only) raw vegetable that I munch on are the baby carrots. They come in handy, especially when I am cooking dinner. Especially because I have to feed the dogs before I get to eat…

Adding in a few more vegetable servings during the day has really kept me quite full!

That’s about it for today. Don’t forget, there’ll be an new AIM (Adventures in Maintenance) post up on Monday.