Celebration and Reminder

Do you know its been almost 10 years since I started this weight loss journey? I’ll probably have more to write about that in the next few months. But for now I wanted to share something related to that.

A lot of people I know who have lost a significant amount of weight have gotten themselves a reward for that. Reward is probably not the right word. Its more of a celebration, a marker to remember a significant event in their lives. When I lost 100 pounds (now 8 years ago!) I planned to get something or other to mark that event. The thing was, I just couldn’t decide what to get.

I drive up and down Interstate 5 between my house and Oregon at least once a year (my BF lives in Oregon, and I enjoy going to Sisters also.) On my way, one of my favorite places to stop is The Websters in Ashland. They are a wonderful knitting and spinning shop, and also have wonderful handmade clothing and jewelry. I saw a necklace there, and thought that might be the thing to get. But it was expensive. I wasn’t sure I liked it that much. So I kept thinking about it. Year after year, trip after trip, I just thought about it. Sometimes I had regained a bit of weight, and thought I needed to wait until I was back to the 100 pound marker. So much time had passed that I thought it was a little silly to get anything at all.

Then one year in Sisters, I went into a jewelry store. They had the same necklace. But I still couldn’t decide…

The next year I went back to Sisters (this past summer) determined to make a decision, and finally get my 100 pound celebration! Well, I looked at the necklace again. My BF made me take it out and try it on. It looked dull next to my skin! So that was that. While my friend shopped a little more, I just browsed all the jewelry I knew I couldn’t afford. I saw a bracelet that I really loved–it was similar to one I had seen on one of the last trips I took my dad on–it was a good memory. Surprisingly, it was not any more expensive than that necklace I had been considering. Again, my friend made me take it out and try it on. Oh, and it did look good on my wrist! So there it was. This would be my 100 pound celebration bracelet–a few years and a few pounds late, but still a celebration.


I’ve been having some stressful days and nights with the construction/decisions etc. Sometimes I even feel sorry for myself. Ha! Did you know self-pity can lead to over-eating? Anyway, I decided that instead of keeping that bracelet for special occasions, I would wear it every day, as a reminder of what my life is really about. For the most part, it seems to be working. Most of the time I stick with my low fat tasty food options, and I’ve been going to the gym quite regularly, and walking Noah in between. When I eat something unplanned or a little more calorie-laden, I enjoy the deliciousness. I don’t beat myself up for not being perfect. I remember that I am in this for the duration. The bracelet is a reminder that even when I am not “perfect,” the healthy life I’ve chosen is a worthy investment of my time and energy.

Requested picture added:

Stones are larimar, blue topaz, and agate.

Stones are larimar, blue topaz, and agate.


Wow, its been a while since I posted.  I don’t know why, except that I didn’t have much to say.  My trip to Sisters is coming up this week, and I find myself obsessed about the food I am going to eat, more so than usual.  Not sure what that’s about.

I do have a general plan in mind.  I checked, and there is a Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods within a few miles of each other in Bend, which is the town right before I get to Sisters.  So I can stop there and stock up on groceries for the week.  I have a general plan to have two dinners out, and one lunch out on the way up.  The retreat serves lunch, and I usually don’t have a problem with that.  I take a protein bar with me, and if I don’t care for what they are serving, I can usually pick a bit out, and supplement with the protein bar.  So I don’t know exactly what I’m obsessed about.  Except the usual, of wanting to eat a lot because I am on vacation, and NOT wanting to eat a lot because I don’t want to gain. Oh, and then there’s that whole thing about ‘I’m not supposed to eat until I’m hungry.’

Have to be honest with you.  I am only being about 70% compliant with that now.  I’ve had a little non-specific anxiety, and just ate early.  Not bad choices or anything.  Just eating when I wasn’t hungry.  Still, I feel I have learned a lot from this experiment.  Like, I really am fine eating a little less food.  And I think it is a very good habit in general.  So I plan to continue to pay attention to that, and to try to stick with it as well as I can.

I am VERY excited about this trip.  The two teachers for the quilt workshop really do beautiful work.  I have my collection of fabrics ready to go.  Plus I have plenty of free time planned.  And after the workshop/retreat is over, my best friend is coming over to Sisters and we will just have fun hanging out for a few days.

Today was laundry day, so I brought in my suitcases, and am packing as I fold my laundry!

I want to take my bike with me, as I think it will be so fun to bike around Sisters to get some exercise in.  I hope I don’t chicken out.  Its a little nerve-wracking to think about that bike rack on the back of the car, just held on by straps.

Oh, here’s a bit of news.  I went back to my weights workouts last week.  It felt so good to get back to it.  I worked out on Friday and Sunday.  But then Monday through Wednesday my knee, and all my joints just really ached.  I don’t really think its due to the weights workout, but it did make me a little hesitant to continue.  I started a ‘knee journal,’ to monitor my pain level, what I eat, what meds I take, and what exercise I do, to see if I can figure out what makes it better or worse.  I’ve got a feeling that it is just random arthritis, and might have been exacerbated by the change in the weather.  I am also mulling over the possibility of swimming through the winter, because I do miss it already!

Layer upon Layer, A Body of Knowledge is Built

How long have I been doing this?  In January 2013, it will be 9 years since I started this last weight loss journey.  NINE YEARS!!  Nine years of reading and researching how to do it, anything and everything about food and nutrition, various types of diet theories (Weight Watchers, paleo, vegetarian, raw food, intuitive eating, low carb, calories in/calories out, whole grain, you get the picture,) the whole psychological component to weight loss, why some people succeed at maintaining weight loss and what and how they do that, oh, and exercise.  I’m sure I left something out.  But you know.  Its a LOT of information.

And the thing is…all of it is useful.  Even the stuff I have decided is not true for me.

Yes, it is frustrating that there is not more definitive information about obesity, its causes and cures, and weight loss maintenance.  But still, we have an awful lot of knowledge to draw upon.  Layer upon layer, I have added all this to the base of my eating and exercise habits.  When I decided to try The Hunger Game, I did not throw away everything I knew about good nutrition and what works in my favor.  If anything, I am using that information more than ever.

It kind of drives me nuts when people who have been doing this a long time figuratively throw their hands up in the air and act like they do not know anything.  We know a LOT.

Part of what I know is that it is hard work to maintain a lower body weight.  It is hard because as you age, something or other goes on in your body (more efficient?  slower metabolism? hormones?) and your body holds onto weight.  Helen reminded me that you don’t need to eat as much when you get older, and the next day I got an article in the mail saying that women who have gone through menopause need 200 calories LESS a day!  Oh my goodness.

It is hard work to maintain a lower body weight if you have previously been very overweight for an extended part of your life.  That is a theory I believe because of the overwhelming amount of objective information available (evidence gathered by various scientists, and also the testimony of many many people who have lost weight and maintained that loss with varying degrees of success.)

I know a LOT about food and nutrition and how the body processes food.  (Oh, side rant:  I know many of you would be more comfortable believing that the body is a machine–that you can input certain food or exercise and you will receive the same results every time.  I’m sorry, but that is simply not true.  The body is closer to a work of art than it is to a machine. Period.  end rant.)  So at my best, I am easily able to choose healthy, balanced whole foods that will keep me satiated for 3-4 hours.

I know a lot about exercise, and what part it plays in weight loss (very little) and weight loss maintenance (a lot.)  I know that the body gets accustomed to the same exercise and gets more efficient at how it processes that exercise (not fair!) so that it is good to continue to challenge your body with exercise by increasing the intensity or by changing the type of exercise periodically.  I know that it is good for your heart and your mind.  I know that it keeps me from becoming stiff as a board, so I keep doing it!

It took a while, but I do understand very well the part that the mind plays in food choices and eating.  I learned that for me, anxiety was the single largest factor in why I overate.  Just learning that was a tremendous step forward in changing my relationship with food.

So I know all this stuff.  I did not discard one bit of it when I decided to WAIT UNTIL I WAS HUNGRY to eat.  Honestly, it just makes sense to me.  Just one more piece of the puzzle.

Is Popcorn a Vegetable and Other Silly Questions

I want popcorn tonight.  I wasn’t that hungry for dinner.  So I skipped the vegetable, and just had a bowl of that cottage cheese/pineapple/walnuts that I like so much.  I usually ALWAYS have a vegetable with dinner.   Thus my wishful thinking that popcorn is a vegetable.

About that not being hungry tonight.  We had a very special moving away/retirement party for one of our pastors who is 84 years old!  Man, that kind of thing makes me a little embarrassed to be retired.  Only a little.  Anyway, quite a few little things were really bothering me before I went, and I did say to myself “I’M GONNA EAT ALL THAT FOOD.”  I pretty much knew it was only going to be desserts.  And it was.  And I did.  And since he is a most-loved pastor, everybody had outdone the other in making their most special homemade desserts.  I have not had that much dessert in a long long time.  Yumm.  (I’m sorry.)

I came home and made some of those little tasty healthy cookies (no sugar except the chocolate in them.  Remember, I use half the amount of chocolate in the recipe and it is still quite a lot.)  I had already planned on making them before the dessert debacle happened.  But they will be a good thing to have on hand, should the urge for dessert arise in the next few days.

Oh.  Popcorn.  Does anybody else do this?  I use Cammy’s paper bag method of making microwave popcorn, and then I spray the popcorn with Pam (well, the Costco brand) and salt.  Most yummy, just enough oil to make the salt stick.  And it tastes fresher than any microwave popcorn I used to have.

Handy dandy kitchen devices.

This is a little hand held mandolin.  It is super sharp, and I love the way it shreds carrots and zucchini.    And just about anything else.  It has a little plastic guard to keep it safe when you’re not using it.

I love these cups so much.   They have some kind of liquid in them that freezes and keeps your drinks super cold without diluting them.  My diet cokes (sorry) stay cold AND fizzy.  And I’ve been using them for my iced coffees too.

And my Magic Bullet.  I was kind of mean to my Magic Bullet when I first got it.  I gave it a pretty bad review.  But I’ve come to love it a lot since then.  I use the little cup and the short blade continuously as my coffee grinder!  (no more pre-ground for me, Lori!)  And I have had lots of success making smoothies.  I really like that you can make it in the cup and then drink it out of the same cup.  Cause you know what’s really really bad about cooking all your food from scratch?  DISHES.  Lately, I am SICK of washing dishes.

Well, these guys aren’t kitchen appliances.  But they both like the kitchen.  Cause that’s where their food comes from.  Which, BTW.  The queen and her lady-in-waiting had quite a tussle over ONE PIECE of kibble that fell on the floor.  The queen was almost mortally wounded.  So its nice to see them sharing Mr. Monk’s chair (don’t know what’s up with that…)

I know.  There was only one question.  Sue me.

One Good Day

Honestly, for the past few days, I’ve been thinking that I was doomed.  Doomed to gain all my weight back, I mean.  Just what I feared from the very start–that it would all disappear, and I would go back to the way (weight) I was before, just like in the movie “Awakenings.”  And I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about it.

Make no mistake about it.  I have been in a gaining trend.  And this past weekend when I was out of town, I was very unhappy with my image in the mirror.  I know.  All that stuff I’ve said about accepting my body image…  I’ve had some stressful stuff to deal with the past two weeks, and there were a couple of times I COULDN’T STOP EATING.  Believe it or not,  the stress was more about other people and things that were out of my control, instead of the anxiety that used to make me overeat.  Even when I wasn’t stressed, I was just eating a little too much.

So I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know I had one good day today.  I wrote down my four meals and one snack and stuck right to them.  (Ha–I should probably eat my last snack and go immediately to bed so the spell won’t be broken!)  I chose low calorie, nutrient dense foods so I wouldn’t get too hungry between meals.  And I even thought a little bit about ‘its okay to be hungry.’  And tonight when I was working on a new experimental low calorie recipe for dinner just because that’s what I wanted to eat, I thought, well, this isn’t the behavior of a person who has given up.  So we’ll see.

That recipe I was making?  Turned out pretty darn good!  I was inspired by Helen’s cauliflower recipe and the fact that I had a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator.  I didn’t have any of the other ingredients in her recipe though, so I tried something different.  Mexican Cauliflower Pork Casserole.  Quite yummy!  And a big serving, and when I plugged the ingredients into caloriecount, I was very happy with the stats on it.

(Honestly, sometimes I think a lot of my food pictures look like cat food, but you’ll have to take my word for it–they taste good!)

A few other good food ideas from the past week:

Pina Colada Yogurt.  Just a serving of my homemade yogurt with a teaspoon of unsweetened coconut and a little coconut extract, topped with some crushed pineapple and a sprinkle of granola.

I am in love with turkey burgers.  And honestly, I like them just as much without the bun, plus, they’re a whole lot less messy to eat.

Okay, this one veers into processed food a bit, but it sure was a tasty combo.  A serving of strawberries with a spray of reddi whip light on top, paired with a caramel rice cake (50 calories.)  Yumm yumm.

I am fascinated with the little froggies that appear at my front door.  This little guy has perched up on the door knob for the past two days.  How did he get here all by himself, and why does he like it up there?  I worry about him.

And finally, an update on the sheep rug.  I was very pleased when I took it off the frame to take these photos.  It looks better from a distance than I thought.  Still a lot to do, but I am making steady progress now.  Of course, rug camp is in 2 1/2 weeks, so I don’t think I’ll finish it.

Close-ups.  I dyed some of the wool for the grass myself, so I am very happy about how that turned out.  I used some angora sweaters, so that adds a neat texture to it.  (Rugs are traditionally hooked with plain wool.)

So that’s about it for tonight.  I have some busy, packed, slightly stressful days ahead.  I am glad I have some food pre-cooked for ready-to-eat meals.

And One More Thing…

I meant to mention in the previous post about something that has been more helpful than I previously thought.  I do think I have mentioned it before, but since I’ve been thinking about it recently, it bears mentioning again.  And that is the surprising help I got from using the workbook “Do you use food to cope?”

I grew up as the firstborn child.  And I don’t know if it was that, or just my inborn personality type, but it was important to me to be calm and in control.  When I made myself use this workbook (yes, I had to MAKE myself fill in the blanks, and think about the questions they were asking,) I realized that there were situations in my childhood that were out of my control, and made me very anxious, and that is when I turned to food.

Since then, I have said “I am anxious” more times than I ever did in my entire life before doing the workbook!  But what I have been most aware of recently is that I identify being anxious about a certain situation or event, but there is NO thought at all of wanting to eat anything.  I think that is because the eating was about denying or avoiding the anxiety.  Now that I identlfy it, there is no need to eat.  How about that?  I posted about my workbook experiences here and here.

That’s all.  Maybe along the same lines, one of our ‘own,’ a blogger, has come out with a new book where he evidently talks a lot about the mental aspect of losing weight–Transformation Road, by Sean Anderson.  Thanks for mentioning it, Jane!  I went ahead and ordered it on my Kindle and I will get it downloaded on my Starbuck’s trip this afternoon!  Loretta wrote a really good review of it here.  I am looking forward to reading it.