The Biggest Loser

I admit it. I watch that ridiculous, irritating show, “The Biggest Loser.” I am jealous of their fantastic weight loss achievements. I feel bad that I am so weak, and I cannot even maintain the 100 pounds that I lost.

Me at my lowest weight of 155 pounds, about ten years ago.

Me at my lowest weight of 155 pounds, about ten years ago.

But then one day a few months ago, my BF sent me this old picture. I was shocked. Maybe its not so bad after all. Maybe I am a little better off than I was in those pictures.

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About 20 years ago.

Here’s another picture I found (@ Shelley–my first two dachshunds! @Lori–pre-garden re-make!)

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About 15 years ago.

I didn’t maintain all 100 lost pounds, but still I sure was a lot better off than I was back in those days. I started wondering about how many of the Biggest Losers were still maintaining their weight loss. I looked around online and couldn’t really find any definitive articles. And then my BF sent me a link to this article. Ohhhh. Wow. Not too many of them are maintaining their weight loss. And maybe there’s a reason its so very hard to keep the weight off.

So the opposite side of “fighting destiny,” and a part of how I feel every day is “I AM the Biggest Loser!” I am one million times better off now than I was in those old pictures. Even with bad knees, I can roll up my pants, take off my shoes and climb (very carefully:) ) over the rocks at Crystal Cove.

Me at my current weight.

Me at my current weight.

I refuse to feel “less than” because I am not as thin as I used to be. I will be content and happy and grateful that I have worked hard and long to learn to live and enjoy a healthier life.

Fighting Destiny

You know how some scientists and diet “experts” talk about your natural set-point? Yeah, my body’s natural set-point is 257.5 pounds. I actually was always surprised when I visited someone who kept a scale in their house, and my weight was almost always exactly 257.5 pounds. It seemed weird that I could weigh so much and yet my weight was the same to a tenth of a pound.

Eleven years ago, shortly after my 50th birthday, I started a weight loss venture that ended a year and a half later with a total loss of 100 pounds. Well, “ended” is the wrong word to use. It has not ended yet. I currently am keeping off 75 of those pounds. I have lost and regained those other 25 pounds several times in the intervening years.

So, fighting destiny seems a little overly dramatic. But it seemed like the right words for what I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it seems like I am fighting destiny, trying to maintain my weight loss. Whether it is genetic, environmental, or ENTIRELY MY FAULT, some days it just seems like its a losing battle (and here the word losing is not what we are all hoping for.)

Is it genetic? My parents used to love to tell the story of how, when I first came home from the hospital (and I was their first baby,) they would have to have a second bottle warming up. Because when the first bottle was finished, I would start screaming if there was not another one ready to pop into my mouth. Oh, and their second favorite story? It was that my first word was not daddy or mama. No, my first word was “nappo” (apple.) That does seem like there might be a little genetic component there, doesn’t it?

Is it environmental? Both of my parents enjoyed food and loved sweets. A “goodie bag” was a typical Friday night treat (my dad would get five candy bars, and we had to pick one out of the bag without looking.) We had good home-cooked meals most nights, but when we could afford it, we ordered pizza or went out for burgers. Sunday after church we’d stop for a restaurant dinner on the way home. Heck, I grew up in the era when MacDonalds was born!

Is it ENTIRELY MY FAULT? At least three times in my younger life, I lost (and then re-gained) 80-100 pounds. And then there were the innumerable times that I lost and regained 30-50 pounds. In the end, when I was about 30 years old, I said I’d never diet again. I gained from 232 up to said 257.5 pounds, and stayed there for many years. I ate whatever I wanted. I wasn’t a binger. I just ate cookies every day, had an afternoon snack of a candy bar at work, and pretty much stopped for a fast food dinner on my way home every night. I was a really good baker.

So most days now, I feel like I am fighting destiny. I usually weigh and/or measure my food. I make really healthy choices, being careful to get enough fresh veggies, fruits, and protein in. I oftentimes log my food. And I exercise six days a week, usually for 40 minutes. But many days I want A LITTLE MORE. It is not a binge. Sometimes it is even healthy food. But I want more. And therein lies the rub. You can’t keep the weight off, and you sure can’t lose if you want a little more. Ha! One article claimed that to keep from GAINING 2 pounds a year, it was only a difference in 10-20 calories a day! Their example was ONE STARBURST candy. Good grief.

This is the negative side of my daily inner thought life. Come back later in the week to read about the positive side:)

 

Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake

One morning I woke up with a lot of yogurt in the fridge, and some frozen blueberries in the freezer. And the taste of the cinnamon/brown sugar filling from my cinnamon buns in my mind. How could I combine all of these into one breakfast treat?

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Morning treats for my sewing ladies!

I can’t really remember if I looked at other recipes as a jumping off place for this recipe, but here is what I came up with. I think its tasty enough to serve to “regular people,” and yet low enough in calories that I can enjoy it any day of the week. Click here to see the recipe. 

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Favorite Food Finds

This is my favorite popcorn! Of course I like that it comes in a huge bag at Costco for almost the same price that a little bag costs at Walgreen’s. Three ingredients: popcorn, coconut oil, and sea salt. And the best is that it is 130 calories per ounce, which is a nice sized snack bowl.

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This is my favorite dark chocolate. When I first started W.W. 11(!) years ago, my sister said that I could have one of these bars for 4 points. I still think they are the best dark chocolate, but now I eat one or two little squares instead of a whole bar:)

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This is my favorite milk chocolate. Yeah, nice that it is sugar free, I guess its good that they are low carb, but I really like this milk chocolate because of its super smooth texture and excellent chocolate taste. I like to have two small squares with my bowl of popcorn.

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This is a new product at TJ’s. They have been selling the cacao nibs in small metal containers, and I really liked them. LOL, I liked them because they were 1 calorie per nib, and they had an intense chocolate flavor. Sometimes, just five nibs was all I needed.

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One more TJ’s product–fresh edamame from their produce department. I really like edamame. My former trainer used to make an edamame tofu salad that was just delicious. I made this simplified version of it, using chicken instead of the tofu. No recipe, but it has an Asian accent to it–soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper. And obviously corn.

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And then there’s Shelley’s Hippie Granola! Making a batch of this stuff makes me very happy. It smells absolutely delicious while it is baking, and tastes just as good when its done. I’ve been making more yogurt lately, so yesterday I made another batch of Shelley’s granola. Yumm. Yumm. Yummmmm.

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Before the Storm

It does seem I only write about the garden these days, doesn’t it? I still have plenty of thoughts about food and health and weight maintenance, but it takes more work to write about those things. Here, go read Charlie’s musings about attempting to get his eating under control. He says it so well:)

In the meantime, here’s the latest from the garden. This morning a big storm is blowing in, so I went outside to see if I needed to stake anything up. Here’s a few shots of what I saw:

The foxgloves and friends in front of a pink maple:

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A more composed photo:

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I got this oriental poppy at Annie’s Annuals last year, and waited impatiently all year for it to bloom. It had one giant bud for a long time, and then one day, this bloom appeared. It is ridiculously large. But it seems it might be the only bloom I get from this plant? We shall see.

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The Japanese maples are doing so well. They love this weather we are having this year. A bit warmer (but not too warm,) and a lot more rain!

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I love these cheery pink blossoms on some of the ground cover I planted last year.

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This is some kind of hardy orchid. I moved it last year, and it is doing very well in its new location.

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I am learning the value of moving plants in a garden. I’ve had this wild geranium for a LONG time. I love the blue of its blooms. But it always got too much sun, and didn’t really bloom much. So last week, I wanted to use its spot for the new rose I got. I had MLG move it to the back of the garden, where it is mostly shade. It was immediately happier!

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The geraniums and impatiens are still waiting to be planted. They look kind of pretty here! Pondering that…

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This is the last stone work we are going to do for a while. I got ONE MORE LOAD of stones on my way home from the doctor this week, and MLG is scheduled to work on placing these stones to make a path here. That is a heavenly bamboo in the foreground, and the two hydrangeas behind it. They are looking VERY good this year. I can hardly wait for them to bloom. That reminds me–I have a hard time making a decision on when/where/if to prune plants. I have started googling “when to prune _____”, and then I just go out and do it! It seems to be working very well. The plants are looking a bit healthier, and are giving me more blooms as a result.

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The front bed is ready for a few plants. Yesterday I pruned the cherry tree a bit, and the honeysuckle too, so that the bed will get more sun. That is Chloe. She never stops moving outside. She must patrol the yard. Noah doesn’t seem to notice everything that she thinks needs to be observed closely.

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Fortunately, inside she has no problem settling down. She (along with all the other dogs) are happiest when they are touching me:)

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Happy weekend, everyone! I wish for you sunny skies and cool breezes.

Garden Doings

I think I skipped a week, so I’ve got more pictures than usual in this post.

I got some plants for the birdcage. I used creeping jenny from my own yard, because it seems to be creeping everywhere. I put that in the stump slots. So far it seems to be taking off.

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I knew I needed bright flowers in here for them to show up. I got a primrose, some small bright yellow perennial, and the green plant is sweet woodruff, which I love, but which Noah also loves. I decided this was the safest place to plant that!

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The cherry tree in bloom:

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Close-up:

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The lilac bloomed well, but way up high! I have been carefully pruning it for two years, and it seems to be working.

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Close-up:

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The fringe bush is blooming. I like this plant, but it also irritates me. It seems to have a mind of its own. I foresee a serious pruning in the near future.

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For some reason it occasionally sends out white blossoms as well as the pink.

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I bought coral geraniums for the front pots this year, to match the door:)

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And I couldn’t resist this Japanese maple at the local nursery. Its shape and color called to me!

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THEN, this week I went to get another load of rocks. Hopefully, this is the last load. They have a very nice nursery at the rock place, and I saw the roses. They were beautiful plants, and about half the price that other nurseries charge. I couldn’t resist this pink one. It is exactly the same color as the paint that I had mixed for my bedroom and bathroom! Its called Lasting Peace, with the old Peace rose as one of its ancestors. Its a grandiflora, and has a beautiful smell as an added bonus. I took this picture in the car on the way home!

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The next day, MLG was here, and he got it in the ground for me. I think this will be the perfect place for it.

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On that same trip, I made a stop at Costco. This was my only impulse buy. I am hoping it will help me to keep my tools in one place. I drive myself nuts by leaving them where I am working, and then immediately forgetting where it was I left them. Also, it says you can sit on it. My back is not enjoying the weeding at all. Maybe this will help.

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And now, the cherry tree is coming to an end of its blossom. Its even fun to see the petals on the ground.

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There’s one lilac blossom low enough for me to grab and take a sniff of on my way in from the garden. Such lovely, heavy blossoms, all for the price of a little fertilizer and some water.

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We had a nice rain last night, and now we are predicted to have sun and warm for the next week. I predict I will be spending quite a bit of time outside, working in the garden and splitting logs (MLG brought his log splitter over and was kind enough to leave it for me to continue working on the log pile.)

This ‘n’ That

You know how one of the first things we learned as dieters was to READ THE LABEL!? Well, that is still good advice. It helps me to make wise decisions. Recently I made myself a strawberry protein smoothie (1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup yogurt, etc,) and I remembered I had some spinach in the freezer. I got that out and added a handful. I love to make a frozen protein smoothie for lunch so I can drink it on the way to the gym. I am all about saving time. I took a taste of it before I left, and thought “that spinach tastes like basil.” I thought about re-doing it, and leaving the spinach out, but, being all about the saving time, I took it and left. It was okay, but I made a mental note to toss that spinach when I got home. Later that night, I remembered to get the spinach out of the freezer. There was the bag, clearly marked “basil.” Read the labels!

Follow-up to the dog food discussion.  After re-doing my stats on the cost of making my home-made dog food, I discovered that it cost quite a bit more than I had figured at first. I decided to make a visit to the local “canine cafe” to see what they knew about the raw food diet. I was pretty sure it would be way more expensive than I wanted to spend. Turns out, they had it all ground up and pre-frozen for almost the same price that it was costing me to make it myself! That will save me a couple of hours each week. But there’s a lot more hand-washing going on around here. I don’t particularly like handling all that raw chicken every day. I’m still going half and half. They get the raw food in the morning, and kibble and carrots and sometimes apples at night. It didn’t seem to have any ill effects on their digestive system…

Some foodie notes: I started listening to a quilting podcast. They include a recipe each week. I noticed this one for “Mary’s Rice Pudding of Death” and noticed that it didn’t have added fat or that much sugar in it. I did the stats, and decided it would be worth a try. SOOOO delicious, and so very worthy. I did use brown rice, because that’s what I had on hand. Mine didn’t look like the picture, but it was so very tasty. Yesterday I woke up with an urge for baked oatmeal. Only I didn’t feel like making a whole recipe. I decided to try making a single serving. It was a HUGE success, at least in my mind:) Here’s how I made it. I also simplified the ingredients from what most baked oatmeals include. Last night I made Biz’s Chicken Cilantro Won Ton Soup again. I had found the chicken cilantro pot stickers at Trader Joe’s and wanted to try them out. This is such a good bowl of soup, and those pot stickers are much better than the ones I got at the local grocery store.

Here’s the final shots of the dye studio. J. the contractor came back and put the subway tile backsplash up. I actually went out there and dyed some wool this week! Very fun. I had my first dye spill on the granite, and it cleaned up well. I do envision the granite and backsplash eventually being multi-colored. We shall see.

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