Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve

So we come to the close of 2009, and I have to say it has been an interesting one. Time to make "resolutions"- only in my case I never make resolutions. Life has taught me that there are too many wild cards and variables to make iron clad pronouncements about things that can get altered by things you do not foresee. Such as weight loss and my family. We have spent a year , once again, in a healthy lifestyle, but it seems no matter what we try , progress is illusive. Here are the numbers

Me
1/3/09 - 225.6 12/31/09- 237.8 ( Up 12. 2 pounds in a year)

Hubby
1/3/09- 248.8 12/31/09 262.4 (Up 13.6 pounds in a year)

Son
1/3/09 - 355.0 12/31/09 355.2 ( Up 0.2 in a year)

Yeah, I am thrilled. Am I beating myself up about it ? Nope. Lots of other things have been gained in the process, and I really like our life. The weight will come off. Low carb does not do it, low calories do not do it, Weight Watchers does not do it, exercise does not do it.Vegetarianism brought a serious weight gain and serious health problems. There is some element that we are missing, something that MUST be affordable, sustainable or it is doomed to failure. Not sure what it is, but I will find it.

Instead of resolutions, I set goals. Things that I think would benefit me. Here they are

Goals for 2010

1. Forget that I am 51. I seem to keep reminding myself of this fact often, and
I don't think there is any purpose in it. What is age after all ? It is simply a
marker of how many trips you have taken around the sun on this big rock we call
a planet. Age does not make you smarter, richer, more clever, more frail or anything
else unless your intention determines it to be so.

2. Buy a hoola hoop and use it. As a kid I could never do them, but I seemed to figure
out how to do them with the help of the Wii Fit. Something about electronics helped my
brain to see what I am doing wrong. I figure that a hoola hoop is a cheap peice of fitness
equipment that I can do at any hour of the day in here and not disturb the neighbors.
It will also greatly amuse my son to watch me do this, and in turn he will want to
steal it and take turns. Hula Hoops are darned good cardio exercise !

3. Get more involved with my Reiki practice. This one is kind of hard to define. I do
a lot of volunteer distance work , but I think I can and should do more. I have always
operated on the pay it forward principle- doing treatments for free and somehow my own
needs have always been met at the right time. I want to expand on this , just to see
what happens.


4. Move. We have simply outgrown this place, and while I hate the thought of packing everything up
and starting over, we really need more space.The goal is to move closer to my inlaws for reasons
of their health.I would love to get into a house, but .....

Tonight we will ring in the new year at home with pizza made on high fiber wraps with hummus, cheese, sausage and veggies. We will probably play a lot of Wii games and other board games, and I will say words of thanksgiving for another trip around the sun and welcome yet another chance to try and get this thing right.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Starving people

Last night I was reminded again of just how far we have come in the non scale department.

Two and a half years ago I had a son who was Autistic, weighed 420 pounds and had extreme neurological stims that involved textures. He would only eat plain white pasta ( no sauce, no butter) extra sweet cereal that became soggy in milk instantly and peanut butter on white bread that had it's crusts removed. Here is a picture of him at that time

Fast forward to last night . It was a "love dinner" ( meaning just he and I because daddy had to work) and we made our new version of macaroni and cheese. Whole wheat pasta, 3 cheeses, peas to add a little more fiber. The fact that it was whole wheat pasta was miracle enough compared to those days. Then he did something that that old child would never have done . He said "And we NEED a salad mom !" I smiled, remembering how I would have moved heaven and earth to hear those words back then. Come to think of it, I DID move heaven and earth and this was the result. Then he started begging for Brussels sprouts, and I was in a state of bliss ! Incidentally , here is a picture of this same boy taken at Halloween, weighing about 350

Still a long way to go, but we can do it. We will do it. His goal weight is 200 lbs.

I was reminded yesterday about how obesity and many other problems have a root cause in malnutrition. Sounds ironic , doesn't it ? Truth is most overweight people have diets that are lacking in several vital nutrients, and their bodies demand that they receive these so it keeps them in a constant state of hunger and they overeat. It manifests in the form of cravings at many times. Changing a diet to include more real foods close to their natural states will not only help to bring about weight loss, but improve many other health issues. The body is an amazing machine, and if treated properly , will do amazing things. I have seen it in my own life, and was brought even more aware of this through my son.

As I mentioned, he is autistic. There is a large body of thought that links autism to a form of malnutrition. Something happens in the digestive system that turns certain food substances into things that act like opiates in the body, as well as causing a condition that does not allow the total absorption of critical nutrients. By altering the diet to remove offending substances ( usually gluten and casien) the body balances out and normalcy can be archived. When the offending substances are cleared of the body , full absorption can occur. Many parents have found this to be the answer to defeating autism. For us it was a course of essential fatty acid supplements , and then a total change in diet. There are still autistic behaviors, but few and really far between. For us our goal is to play catch up from what was lost or never achieved. However, the root cause strikes me as the same as with obesity- malnutrition.

We see images of children in otehr parts of the world with swollen tummies, haunting eyes and protruding bones and label that as the face of hunger. Yet, we do not see that the same problem affects the overweight woman binge eating chips or doughnuts. Both are severely malnourished. The child suffered many health problems and is in threat of death from lack of proper nutrition, and the woman suffers many health problems and is in threat of death from lack of proper nutrition. Heart disease, arthritis, liver problems, digestive problems and much more can often be corrected through proper nutrition, as well as many other problems. While words like diet bring up all kinds of thoughts about unpleasantness, terms like a wellness campaign sound downright attractive. Thinking in terms of changing your life to fit in that little black dress sound like fun, but terms like reversing the root cause of my physical pain through lifestyle sound like miracles. Yet the same moves will bring the same results.

It's just a shift in focus.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ain't that good news !

I got a bit of wonderful ,inspiring news yesterday that gives me something new to sink my teeth into.

The holidays are not over !!!!

Crazy ? No. It is simply the way extended family schedules happen. We will be gathering with my In Laws to celebrate Christmas on January 17. My husband is the oldest of 6 children, all of whom are active, busy people with active , busy children of their own, and simply getting together is a major feat. Then add another sticky factor- my mother in law is now in a nursing home, wheel chair bound, and getting her out and about in the snow is tricky at best. So it was decided we will gather on this day at the nursing home in their multi purpose room and celebrate. This presents me with an opportunity to do a creative project- something I have been itching to do for a while now !

My mother in law is a collector of things ( camels, lighthouses, hot air balloons and flamingos). She also loves to wear sweatshirts, and collects them from all over. In her younger days he collections got to be a bit much, and space became a real problem. Her health began to decline, and she was no longer able to collect as much as she wanted. About 2 years ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Dementia, andsome odd turns of events have made it nessisary for her to live in a nursing home. Good thing is she has friends there and 24 hr a day care. Bad news is she really cannot have much in the way of her collectables there. She is also wheelchair bound. My inlaws are the type of people who have everything, so gift buying for them has always been a trick. Last night as I laid in bed I was thinking of possibilities , and it dawned on me hat I could make my mother in law a lap quilt, with two of her current passions appliqued into the design - light houses and hot air balloons ! Not only would such a thing be useful and plesant to her eye, but the two symbols are very optimistic and hopeful. She will never regain her former youthful health, but there is always something better to come along. I am really excited to make this !

In other good news, I am totally falling in love with my Pilates game and the Wii Sports Resort. My most intense love with the Sports Resort game is the canoeing feature . It is so completely true to what real canoeing feels like that it is amazing ( only difference is you get no drag from the water and you cannot back paddle). I am making a commitment to doing 30 minutes of rowing 3 times a week , and yesterday I got lost in the fun and discovered that I had been rowing for 45 minutes- and SWEATING ! This is a minor miracle for me , because I do not sweat ( it's a thing with my adrenal glands). Later in the afternoon I did 20 minutes of Pilates, which is also turning out to be a love love thing. I have lost a lot of flexibility, but slowly it is coming back. Nick really loves this one as well , and we can do the exercises together while talking about all kinds of silly stuff. Makes the time go by pretty quick !

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lazy day discovery

There is something about a heavy snow that makes you just want to find a fireplace, a good book , a blanket and a cup of tea and make the world go away. At least this seems to be the case for most adults. Yesterday Bob volunteered to do the grocery shopping so I would not have to go out in the mess and potentially break something. I am really unstable in the snow, and falling is a real possibility. So while he was gone I got in a half hour of rowing with the Wii sports resort and about 15 minutes of Pilates. I felt good. So good that I agreed to him picking up a take and bake pizza from the grocery store. They are not whole wheat, not exactly healthy, but there could be a lot worse things. It was good, and perhaps with some encouragement they will start making whole wheat offerings.

The afternoon quickly deteriorated into laziness, peppered with a few minutes of leg wrestling. That was a new dimension to our marriage ! In the 28 years we have been married, we have never leg wrestled. Of course once we did this, Nick had to get in on the game. It was spontaneously silly, and has iven me some ideas for other workouts with him. This all in all was a good thing.

Then came the bad thing. The lazy pace of the day just kind of made my brain slip into an I don't care mode, and somehow gelatto for dinner came up. No real food, just eat ice cream, and of course I said yes. Nick thought he won the lottery and Bob did not protest or complain. So Gelatto it was.

It was then that I made an interesting discovery, or re visitation about myself - sweet food makes me instantly NAUSEOUS ! I had the first spoon, which tasted wonderful, but instantly my stomach started flipping. Like a fool I tried to ignore it, but by the fourth spoonful my stomach was yelling "Stop this now or I will reverse gears on you !!!". So I stopped and decided to make a quick microwave scrambled egg for myself. And then I felt really guilty and stupid about the gelatto so I grabbed a handful of raw broccoli to go with it. After eating these I felt a lot better. I was reminded of the fact that even as a little kid, sweet things would make me very nauseous. I was never the kid to raid the cookie jar, but look out lunch meat and milk !

All I can say is "that was a stupid move", and "never do that again !"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Can I move to Arizona ????

Hello. My name is Diane, and I am a Winter Wimp !!

It never used to be like this. In my younger days I enjoyed sledding, ice skating, skiing, snow tubing and more. I would hear snow in the forecast and I would cheer ! Snow meant fun, and I could never understand why so many people complained about the weather . Snow and slipping on it was a lot of fun ! That was until I experienced a torn meniscus , and developed arthritis as a result. ( not totally a result because arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, but it did not manifest till this injury). Once this began to happen, not only snow but rain and high humidity brought a whole new meaning- pain. Snow had a special significance, as it not only brings pain , but a penetrating sort of chill that makes my joints lock up and adds a feeling of complete instability with it. Add a couple of falls that take an extremely long time to heal from, and winter means terror !

So imagine my joy at seeing this out my window

In the last day we have gotten a foot of snow. Happily it is the powdery stuff so there will be less heart attacks from shoveling, but as soon as the wind kicks up, it will be a drifting nightmare. I think I will adopt this new digs

It's a squirrels nest in the tree outside my living room window. Squirrels go into a kind of hibernation in the winter, and it strikes me as a perfectly logical thing to do. Thank goodness for the different Wii games and DVD's that we have. I can exercise inside and stick my tounge out at this nasty white stuff !

Saturday, December 26, 2009

St Stevens Day weigh in

Happy day after Christmas ! In the Roman Catholic faith this is the day that honors St Steven, he first deacon and martyr. It seems like an ironic consequence to have a post holiday weigh in on such a day, but so it is. Weight loss is a journey, and that journey involves bends, shifts and detours. Part of the maintaining phase is staying vigilant as to your weight so that you do not one day discover you cannot fit in clothes, chairs and so forth, so weigh in rituals every week are importaint.

Me- UP 0.8 ( with my own journey it seems like a normal week)
Hubby - UP 6.0 and he is really bummed and annoyed about this
Son- UP 3.2

The one thing I have noticed is that while this has been a week of eating sugar free, low carb and low fat, it has been light on veggies. Very light. While I have included raw veggies in my lunches, the guys have not and I have not made an issue of it. We also had oatmeal 2 times instead of a breakfast of flaxmeal , and have eaten eggs only once. I also made a loaf of whole wheat bread on Christmas eve and we had it for sandwiches at lunch on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. It has also been vacation and we have gone out to eat 2 timnes- both times eating responsibly, but restaurant food (especially buffet) can be high in sodium.

It was a wonderful holiday though. I got to hold 2 "evil babies" ( I call them evil because they make me think about having more)

my grand neice Jada, sporting holiday gear


me and my Nephew Elliot ( the baby who was hospitalized earlier)

Memories were made, sights were seen, family bonds we re-established and gifts were given. One of the best, most heartfelt gifts we received was from my niece Robin, who is a fitness enthusiast. She made everyone a plate of low fat brownies and mini muffins, with the calorie and fat grams for each typed on a small label ! I wanted to kiss her ! She is my new hero !

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas !

Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house
no one was mindlessly eating
not even my spouse

the nibbles were planned
with vigilant care
and exercised happened
for those who lived there

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my window to see what's the matter
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
but a thick heavy ice storm
that caused my heart fear
with a stiff northern wind
that can chill to the bone
I knew right away
best exercise at home

So I grabbed my Wii sports resort
and plugged that baby in
I could still get in exercise
and one day could be thin

Play archery, play tennis, play cycling and B Ball
Water ski, canoe , what the heck, play them all
It's moving, it's silly, it's way too much fun
and family memories are made that will follow my son

Merry Christmas to you and yours ! May you have a day of happiness, good memories and celebration!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holidays are happy things

Confession- I have been having way too much fun the last day or so to post !

Yule eve was spent eating, playing and watching the new born sun arise. Yule itself was spent playing, shopping, going out to eat ( was not planned , but a free flowing day is a ton of fun sometimes) and exercising as a family. Discovered a few things- first being my husband cannot do Pilates without intense pain. I am finding certain routines in this program bring me to the point of feeling nauseous, but I LOVE doing this. Second was getting Wii Sports resort with the motion sensor is one of the BEST investments of Wii games. Very realistic moments, and if you want to work up a decent sweat, play the canoe race game. It is every bit as real as rowing a real canoe .

Combine this with walking while shopping, a spontaneous decision to re-arrange the living room and more playing, it has just been a lot of fun. Fun leads to relaxation, relaxation leads to less pain and less pain leads to decent quality sleep. At least it does for me. Food has not been the same as normal , but not terrible. I have decided between now and December 26 I simply do not care.Not caring means I do not mentally worry abpout food groups, allowances and so forth. It also means I do not worry that certain desserts or treats will go bad so I best eat the left overs. Another thing that it means is that if I want a cookie or a piece of cake I will eat it and not beat myself up about it, which can often lead to grabbing a second one because you have already blown it.

Just going to have fun !

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New toy

Happy Yule Eve !
We are a mixed faith household, and my faith path celebrates the winter holiday as Yule/Alban Athan on the day of the Winter Solstice. Basically we celebrate this as a new solar year and the beginning of the tide of increasing light. Even though the coldest part of the winter is still to come, the days are going to get longer from this point till the Summer Solstice. More hours of daylight are a good thing ! Because Christmas involves Bob singing at several services, he is away from us from dinner time on Christmas Eve till mid day Christmas day, and then we gather with my family for extended family Christmas, we do not have a family Christmas time. Instead, we celebrate this on Solstice. Special meal, family game time, presents and goodies. You do what you have to do in this world ! We have also done away with the tradition of wrapping gifts- and the reason for that was completely out of necessity. We have one car , and at this time of year it is often gone with extra rehersals, Masses, end of the year work commitments and more. As soon as Nick was old enough to learn about Santa, we began simply shopping together instead of giving gifts. It's a lot of fun ! So yesterday was our big shopping day for us ( took care of extended family the day before) , and we all made out like bandits. One of the things I got was a whole new wardrobe ! I have been holding off buying clothes because even though the scale is not budging my clothes are getting a lot looser, and I did not want to make an investment that would last for only a few weeks. The other day I noticed that EVERYTHING I own was looking thread bare and frumpy, so I determined I needed to buy at least a top and pants for when I had to go out. Low and behold I found a bunch of things that flatter my body on sale, and I indulged. I have to admit, I do feel less frumpy now.

Another thing I got was Daisy Fuentes Pilates for the Wii. I had heard about this game a few weeks back and it looked promising. I tried it this morning and found a few problems with it. First, there is no instructions for the exercise- you simply watch and attempt to follow along with the same moves. Problem with this is you get no warning about what to avoid doing in order to avoid injury. Second problem is that it keeps having you step on the balance board and then use it for the exercises without instruction on how you should place the board. It can be very confusing ! However, with some thought you can overcome these, and then the game becomes pretty cool ! I did a half hour session, in which my thighs were informing me of how unlimber I have become and my abs felt as if they had been woken from a very long sleep. I even broke out in a sweat and started to feel somewhat nauseous from the work out- a sign that you are challenging your muscles in big ways. I plan on using this one at least a couple of times a week. I think pilates will help to build up some of the muscles that have fallen asleep, so to speak, and perhaps this will help kick the weight loss in.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Had a few spare moments

Boy, two entries in one day ! The guys are out doing some unscheduled computer shopping (one got "fried" in a power surge) , so I have a little time to do some reading. I decided to go out and see if anything has been written about inflammation and weight gain, and turns out there has. I may indeed be on to something with this. I have rhematoid Arthritis due to some old injuries, PCOS which has led to insulin resistance and adrenal stress, and I have food allergies. My son is Autistic and there has been a lot of correlation between gluten intolerance and this condition, which may be his response to a genetic pattern inherited from me. I thought I would share what I have found

How does inflammation affect your weight

Surprise cause of weight gain

Perimenopause weight gain -causes and solutions

Saturday weigh in

Another week gon. How did I fare with eating according to my instinct- which wound up eating a lot less than eating on a program ? Combined with moving more through family exercise times and walking more with shopping ? Also eating only good carbs, no sugar( outside of 2 kolachkis) and good fats ?

Me - UP 0.6 ( so much for my goal of not gaining during the holidays)
Hubby- DOWN 0.4
Son DOWN 2.2

In short, it has nothing to do with my weight loss. I did noticed something this week that may have big factor. It has been cold and snowing, which has made my arthritis flair very badly. I have been in pain almost every day- not to the point of it being debilitating, but to the point where it is preventing me from sleeping well and operating during the day without pain. I take fatty acid supplements daily as well as Vitamin D,C, Garlic, Calcium and a few others ( cannot take fish oil or Glucosamin because of a fish allergy). When the pain gets high I rely on Arnica gel, agrimony ticture or OTC pain relif products. But I am begining to wonder if these periods of arthritis flair ups make my system Waterlogged or something ? Do the flairs bring a level of fluid retention that keeps me stuck at this same weight , give or take a pound ? I have never come across anything that discusses the impact of arthritis flairs on weight- only that weight loss will supposedly help relive arthritis. ( Technically it will make for less weight on the joints and reduce the workload and pain, but arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and losing weight to cure arthritis is much like losing weight to cure an allergy to something).

If this is true, if arthritis flairs contribute to weight, then concentrating on avoiding inflametory foods would be wise. What they are might surprise you. Members of the nightshade family ( tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes), trans fatty acids, high fat meats, corn, sugar and dairy. Certain foods, such as broccoli, nuts, fish , berries and certain spices like tumeric and ginger help to reduce inflamation. I do not eat potatoes, transfats, corn , sugar at this point, but perhaps I can do better. The only oils I eat are olive, coconut or sesame and I avoid anything with transfatty acids on the label.

I don't know. All I do know is that there is some there factor that is keeping me at this point.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It begins

Let the holiday festivities begin ! Well some of them. Yesterday I told Nick he could make the gingerbread house from the kit. It's a safe thing to do now that he is convinced they become poison after sitting out for an hour or so, an I have never liked things sweet tasting unless they have nuts or chocolate . So we make these houses for the smell and the look. He did a really good job !


Later in the evening we went for a ride to go see one of the bigger light displays in the area and decided to grab some coffee at MacDonalds on the way because it was cold. Big mistake. Drinking coffee at 7 pm will assure tht you get NO sleep that night ! The lights were pretty, but every picture of the neighborhood that I took was blurred- darn it ! I did manage to catch one of a stand alone , rather extreme home that had their display synked to live music, moveable characters and more

Makes you feel really in a seasonal mood !

Today we begin holiday shopping, and so it will be a day of walking and probably eating out for lunch. Hopefully I will wake up enough to remember what gifts I need to buy, what sizes people are and other such details . Wish me luck !

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mommy regains sanity.

I have to admit- the last two days have been a lot of fun in a kind of irresponsible rebellious toddler kind of way, and I think I really needed it. Yesterday I continued with my "eat only when I am hungry " approach, and I found it a little more difficult to do with the guys both home and trying to plan an outing. They did not complain, but instead kind of looked lost and like "Mommy has slipped a gasket, so walk on eggshells". Because I have an overactive guilt gland, I decided I better rethink this whole thing. While I am an individual, I am also a mom who has been the one to do the food stuff for so long,and to stop doing it overnight is both shocking and disturbing to others. Thankfully my son did not start stimming as a result , but I have to remeber that is a real danger with a sudden shift in his routine.

Doing this eating only when hungry makes me wonder something- how do the advocates of this idea follow their advice when living with a family ? Or are they only single individuals ? Many dishes can be reheated in individual servings, but not every one. Things can get soggy, dried out and so forth. And wouldn't the process of eating only when you are hungry cause worse things to a family in the long run ? If you join the family but only have a beverage while they eat , doesn't that send a message to your children that you can eat at any time? Which is true, but with the normal child's appetite it can turn into 30 small grazing meals of dubious things within a day or two . Ever spend 200 dollars on cereal for a week ? And where exactly would you store 10 loaves of bread and a couple of vats of peanut butter ? Let's not even get into really unhealthy but kid friendly foods. If you then eat your own meal at a different time but grab a beverage to join in doesn't that kind of teach a sneak eating behavior or insure that the others in the house who are not trying to lose weight will take on extra calories grabbing a drink and most likely something else with you ? And call me silly, but there is something very unifying about eating a meal together. Actually it is not silliness- several studies have shown the importance of the family meal eaten together for the overall psychological and social health of the individuals. So how does eating according to appetite fit in with this ?

Gee, two days into the program and I am already questioning the logic ! Seems that this approach is not for me because of reasons other than the number on the scale. I need to go back to the drawing board here. At least one thing was accomplished- I remebered one very important reason why I plan meals and snacks outside of the impact on my wallet and my ability to think fast on my feet. I do it because mealtimes are things we each count on as an anchor in our day. Unless it is a very rare happening, Son and I have every breakfast, lunch and snack time together and we all have dinner together as a family every night. No matter what else is happening, we can count on those times of the day to connect with each other, and it can give us enough nourishment to get through a lot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Listening to me

Thank you guys for your support and nice comments ! While it is each of our own responsibility to preform our own actions and do our own work, it makes the world a little bit nicer and less intimidating feeling when you find someone else at least understands how your thoughts are going.

Bob ,( my husband), took Nick (our son) with him to go get the brakes worked on and then some computer shopping. Nick thinks any place that does car work is a fun place and he adores looking at computers, so the itinerary for the morning sounded kind of like Disneyland to him. Bob does not get to spend long stretches of time with Nick on his own, so it makes for a treat for him as well.Meanwhile it gave me a chance to catch my breath, think, de-pressurize and just regroup. This was MY idea of Disneyland . I started thinking about this whole weight loss journey and trying hard to listen to exactly what my body was telling me. It seems more and more that we wind up following any weight loss approach, the further and further I get from hearing what my body is trying to say. There are days that I feel like the plan or the schedule is my warden, and my own instincts are the prisoner. Many, many times I am being forced to eat because it is on the schedule and NOT because I am hungry. That is one really bad result of living on a food budget with a solid menu plan. You save money, but your instincts are told to shut up. If you feel like you only need something light like a salad or an apple , but the menu plan says chicken breast and rice, the menu wins.You don't have salad makings in the house and you ran out of apples. So you tell your body it does not know what it is doing, listen to what your brain has determined because this is what experts have advised to become healthy, wealthy and just plain good. If you just ate an apple or a salad you would be missing xyz nutrients ,123 food groups and we all know how that is going to impact global warming. Your body is just NOT to be trusted.

Oh really ? I dare to defy that logic. My body is the only one that has the real owners manual for it , and if I want to be healthy, wealthy and wise , I would do best to listen to it. So my first decision of the day was to eat only when I am HUNGRY ( not according to the time) and eat what I was hungry for. No plan to do this every day no matter what, but just for the day to see what would happen. I made a bowl of modified "notmeal" ( ground flax, almond, pecans and walnuts with boiling water and peanut butter, cinnamon and splenda) and coffee. It was very satisfying,and it really filled me up. Then I went about the business of the day, including trying to ask myself why I was feeling so frumpy of late. That is a whole other story.

For the rest of the day there were opportunities to eat, but I just did not feel hungry in the least. About noontime I got a caving for an apple, and so I had one. The guys came back after that, and we headed out grocery shopping. While there we passed the bakery case and I looked for kolachki's to show Nick the cookie. We are going to make a plate to bring to my families Christmas Gathering and they have kind of been something we have been studying in school.Kolachkis, for those who are unaware , are a Polish cookie that are made with cream cheese, butter, flour and fillings, then dusted with powdered sugar. They are DELICIOUS, and the smell made me want some. I bought two each, and we ate them in the car. We finished shopping and talked about what we should make for dinner, but that was as far as it got. The guys were having too much fun fiddling with the new computer and I just was not hungry. 7 pm rolled around and I had a taste for some yogert, so I grabbed a carton of Chiobani yogert and that was that. About 9 Bob asked me if I was going to try some dish with whipped cream ( a recipie for an instant mousse), and the thought appealed to me so I tried it. Ready whip, cocoa powder and splenda mixed- an idea that is best not tried. About 11 pm I got a craving for an apple, ate one, and that was it.

The me previous to the melt down would be worried that I did not get in x amounts of servings of you name it, neither did my son, that we would have a surplus dinner who's ingredients may not have a shelf life and what kind of horrible example am I setting to my son with not providing meals and that I was a bad wife not providing them for my husband. I told that me that it was not welcomed for this day. It felt good. And I just may put that me on an extended leave of absence.

This morning my stomach is growling, and to be honest the sound of the rumbling is making me smile. It is not painful, but instead amazing how an organ without vocal chords can make so much noise ! I am going to wait a while to eat, just to see how this hunger thing progresses. My appetite is saying it wants bacon and eggs, so that is exactly what I am going to have.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How did I become this person ???

I had a huge realization come to me this morning, and I am not very happy about it.

Hubby is on vacation, school is on vacation, we finished steam cleaning all of the carpets yesterday and the plan for today is to get the brakes done on the car , visit my MIL an the nursing home and do some grocery shopping. No time constraints, no early morning deadlines, a day of doing things on our own timetable. I was awake, hubby was awake, son was in a deep sleep, and a conversation about nothing led to a nice time of kissing, cuddling and building intensity. Then for no reason in the world, my brain screamed "WE CAN"T DO THIS !". It was as if someone tossed a cold bucket of water in the mix.Move away and catch my breath.Why did I do this ??? Why am I saying no for no reason whatsoever ? I was upset with myself for thinking in this way, and completely baffled as to why. Why did my brain decide no, this cannot happen ?

I laid there , cuddled up next to hubby, and analyzed my thoughts. Why am I saying no to something that is very pleasant, fun and a rare opportunity ( calm mornings without deadlines or child interference is about as rare as hairs on a frog). After a deep ponder , it dawned on me that it was because this was mentally striking me in the same way as the occasional ice cream or popcorn at a theater or just going out to enjoy the day and having to eat out. All are big no's because they are not on the program.Lately this thinking has been amplified at every turn by people talking about strategies to manage the holiday season. Yesterday in my email I received tips on how to create an exercise routine while shopping, and my brain considered that there are too many people running around screaming "CHRISTMAS IS CARNAGE !" , just like the duck in the movie Babe.In this whole two year journey to lose weight as a family, I have had to be the eyes, ears and brain for the whole family. I am the one who has to plan every single meal and snack for 3 people on a weight loss program, each slightly different programs, watch for potential land mines, remain vigilant to unplanned ones and come up with a contingency strategy for every possible slip up, along with homeschooling a child who has learning challenges . With Autism I have had to keep a very vigilant watch on his diet, supplements, therapies as well as helping to steer him along the weight loss journey. He has learned many very good habits, but he still does not totally "get "it enough to work his own program. Hubby tries but gets a lot of the details confused and has a ton of other things to mentally juggle. For one thing, he handles all of the financial matters because he can take them to a place where he can sit down and balance the checkbook without being told nonstop what's on TV, what games are coming out and what is the calender of events for the next week, down to the minute as well as a recitation of odd memorable events in his entire life- and they are often all mixed together . He also does not get reminded of how many minutes away it is till snack time or told that he spelled orange wrong on the menu and so forth. Reading various diet blogs, weight loss email support group correspondences and diet books just to keep up on what new has been learned about the "science" of weight loss has convinced me that EVERYTHING is carnage according to someone with evidence to support their claim. Somewhere in all of this my brain decided, as a survival mechanism, that if it is pleasant it not only will do some immediate harm but it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring back bad habits that will once again require Herculean efforts to correct and derail other good things in the process of setting them right.

And it reflects back on a consequence from my first weight loss attempt. That one was to lose enough weight to conceive. 110 pounds down, and my son was conceived, which began a high risk pregnancy and then the birth of an autistic child. Babies are blessings, and my son is indeed a blessing. But with blessings , like all good things, comes a heck of a lot of responsibility and then the eventual realization that you do not own it- instead it owns you. It has made me the responsible firstborn, tossed into hyperdrive. My son NEEDS to lose weight in order to live a healthy life without unnatural boundaries. I have needed to lose weight all my life, and hubby has gained weight because of the metabolic slow down that comes with aging ( compounded by having to wear several different hats to keep this juggling game going). If it was just me, with this revelation, I would tell myself to just put it down, step back and get some perspective. But it's not just me, and it will not be just me until my son has reached a healthy weight. So how do I stop being this person that is seriously in danger of being a control freak - and not very successful in that role ?

I am beginning to think that I may need to say yes to life a lot more than I need to say no to food for any reason. I need to stop fearing that through doing the ultimate sin of living as a normal person that I will encounter some food that some individual has determined to be evil and harmful , based on a body of scientific evidence. I need to stop believing that my body has this mystical internal scale that automatically measures calories in and calories out, and behaves accordingly. I need to stop feeling like the mere odor of sodium will make our bodies swell up like the blueberry girl in Willie Wonka so therefor do not come within a 50 mile radius of the establishment, lest Skylab will fall from the sky, block the road and force us to eat there or die.

I really need to find a way to STOP THE INSANITY

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vacation, fudge and is it hot in here ???

Most people aspire to a vacation involving someplace on a beach or poolside where they have cabana boys serving them drinks, accompanied with breathtaking sights and yummy food. Not me. If it is vacation, my thoughts turn to one challenging, stimulating, sweat producing activity- cleaning my carpet ! Sure you may laugh, but as a homeschooling mom things can get to be a little crazy around here and there will be weeks where it is a miracle that dusting happens. Forget about anything else more complicated ! So now that we are on a 3 week break from school, I can indulge in all the domestic Tomfoolery I desire. We have a tan wall to wall carpet in here that seems to be unnaturally attracted to dirt. I really HATE carpeting, but when you rent , you are kind of stuck with what is there. Hubby is off for the next 2 weeks - he plans vacation to coincide with the most busy events of the liturgical year. Christmas shopping funds have not come yet, so it is the perfect time to tackle the beast. Note on the Christmas shopping funds- this is our normal situation, and for that reason we never begin any gift buying till December 15th. This would make some people insane, but we adore it . It really makes the season of Advent come alive.

I have gotten two rooms tackled in the last two days, and we have been able to catch up on some movies that we have missed.Work a few hours on he beast and then spend some time in entertainment. So far we have gotten tosee Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince , Up and Julia and Julie. I ADORED Julia and Julie and think Merryl Streep should win an Oscar for that one. To go with the entertainment I bent one of my rules and made one holiday treat to snack on while watching the films. I was not going to , but it was one of those recipes that had me very curious to see if it would even work, and I was itching to try it out. It did work very well, and the guys told me this is one they would LOVE to have me make again. May I present to you Low Carb Fudge ( not my picture- I forgot to snap a photo!)



Low Carb Fudge

1/4 cup butter or transfat free margarine
2 squares Bakers Chocolate
2 cups Splenda
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz non fat cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a pan melt the butter and chocolate till smooth. Add the vanilla and splenda, stir to mix well. Pour in a bowl and add the cream cheese and nuts. Beat until smooth and pour into a 9x9 pan. Refrigerate till firm and cut into squares.

An excellent chocolate flavor , creamy texture and firms up just like any other fudge. Can produce something that looks like sharks in the midst of a feeding frenzy if caution is not observed.

While I was cleaning between films , I was thinking about my own weight loss journey and came to the conclusion that the low carb approach is best for my body, and that if I simply stick with that approach my body will cooperate the best it is able. Weight Watchers and strict calorie based approaches not only do not work for me , as evidenced by the last 2 years, AND make other conditions a lot worse. When I have been doing low carb the weight moves slowly but consistently , and more important is that it helps both my PCOS and arthritis become more managable. For different reasons I stop and try other methods, and I am always dissapointed with the results. Not only do I get to deal with PCOS , but I have added another wild card to my biological make up. I am 51 and fast becoming menopausal. Peri-menopause and menopause present their own challenges to the endocrine system, and the rules that always seemed to work for weight loss go right out the window for every woman at this time. So does just about everything else that seemed normal in life for that matter. You do not have the same stamina, endurance, tolerance, focus or anything else. Even sex - your desire, response, receptivity and so forth goes through great changes.It's not all in your head, but you often wonder exactly where your head is at. It becomes almost like you are an alien living in this strange land that you had only heard about but doubt it existed.I belive this is why some claim that woman has 3 lives; that of a child/maiden, mother and crone. The transition from little girl to woman is a turbulent time, much like spring storms. Then we glide smoothly until one day we discover our bodies contain a little visitor and everything about us changes once again. This time it is more subtle to our perception but obvious to the world around us. After we give birth and return to a new "normal", we swim along until one day the greatest change of them all begins to happen to us. This one is subtle on the exterior, but internally more turbulent then the spring rains and more altering than our growing bellies were. This change is one that sharpens your internal wisdom and forces your body to slow down, reflect and find the true gold in life . Suddenly things like sleeping, sitting on the floor, being in drafts and weight loss operate in a whole different way for us. In exchange we are given clarity to really see things without the distractions of our biological clocks ticking away. We trade old goals for new ones, and it really is pretty good once we accept our new reality. Rather than fight the process, I intend to swim with it. Low carb is simply going to be the most affective paddle at my disposal.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking at the big picture

Perspective is an important thing to maintain in life, and when attempting a weight loss program it can help you over those rough spots that will happen on the journey.There will be weeks of ups for different reasons, plateaus and weeks when you think you should have lost huge, but only an ounce or two is lost. I keep our weigh ins on index cards in a small box and keep another record of my own numbers along with copies of our menus and other daily information. This morning, just out of curiosity, I decided to peek at what my weight as on this day a year ago. The progress personally has been so slow and so difficult that I thought this might give me a lift.

Guess what ? After a full year of trying to lose weight, I am 10 pounds heavier. 10pounds and 2 ounces to be exact. Stimulating, isn't it ?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pre vacation weigh in

Another opening, another show....scratch that. Another Saturday, another weigh in

Me- DOWN 0.2 ( yes, a loss is a loss, but this feels like bunny fluff)
Hubby -DOWN 0.4 ( more bunny fluff)
Son- UP 0.8 ( obviously he found the bunny fluff, picked it up and is looking for a place to put it)

I am glad with the upheaval of the week that I did not gain and that my son did not have a serious gain. Hubby is on vacation this week and next, and while we have no travel plans, things can get kind of slack while you go through down time. My goal for the next three weeks is to not gain if at all possible. If there is a loss of any weight I will be very pleased.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Water, carbs and thoughts

A nice calm morning here so far. It is nice to sort of linger over a cup of coffee while my son does his school assignments and not have a constant coming and going of construction crew. It's also nice to be able to drink as much water as I desire and not have to worry about when the next potty break will be. I confess- I am a water addict. In the average day I drink a little over a gallon of the stuff because it is my beverage of choice. Just plain ole water, and for fancy occasions , water on ice. I am such a party animal ! And, consequentially, I know the location of every public rest room within a 50 mile radius of my home. It is a habit I got into with my last weight loss journey that has stuck for life. Water is so very good for your body for so many reasons ! I have noticed that if I slack off in water I become very brain foggy and just plain tired. Drinking a lot of water helps me to feel alert and focused.

And speaking of alert and focused, I am finally through with the "induction" phase of low carbing and I have been able to add a small amount of fruit and whole grains back into my intake. It does seem to make a big difference in my mental outlook if nothing else. One thing that good carbs does in our bodies is give a sense of well being and balance. Chemically it works out to something like glucose affecting serotonin or dopamine in our blood chemistry. I have often thought that this might be the reason why sweets are such a popular thing during the winter holidays , and comfort food is what we crave when we are under stress. In the winter the decreased sunlight affects our pineal glands, and our natural instinct is to curl up and take it easy. Our societal conventions defy this need, and our way of answering that challenge it through quick carb fixes like candy, cookies and sweets. Summertime comes, and we don't seem to have the same battle with the goodies. How many people eat too much Fourth of July Fudge or Father's Day cookies ??? Carbs serve a purpose in our chemical make up, and choosing healthy complex ones can be a good thing. I noticed the affect they had on my own body when I had my first piece of fruit (an apple) in two weeks. Instant mood elevation ! For what it is worth, I am following the South Beach diet at this time, and it seems to agree with my body. We shall see what the scale has to say about it tomorrow morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As the dust settles

They came, they saw, and after a lot of hard labor on their part and a temporary bathroom access for us, the bathroom work is done. One big advantage with living in a complex is that when work needs to be done, they have the materials, a crew and it gets done in a timely fashion. When you own your home or rent from an individual, available cash and other factors can cause delays. I was told on Monday they would be in here to work on Wednesday, and the job got done. Turns out the entire bathroom did not need to be gutted- only the tub enclosure and the drywall behind it. They transformed a 30 year old ratty Formica tub enclosure into this beautiful ceramic tile one. I am tickled pink !

Now that this has been accomplished, life can get back to normal ! One thing that happened while they were working was drinking almost no water during the day. If you drink, you need to run potty often, and with all the coming and going of the crew and the need to leave the door unlocked, I wanted to time our bathroom breaks with times when I knew that someone would definitely be in the apartment. I discovered that out of all things that one could eat and drink, I love water the most !!! Who cares about sweets or so forth ? I could live happily without them. Take away my water however and you kick me in the knees !!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What is and is not nessisary

Today is sort of like a mini Christmas here . I found out yesterday that the bathroom work will begin TOMORROW morning. Huzzah ! That is if the contractor can get here in the 10 inches of snowfall that is being predicted in the next 24 hours.We shall see, but at least there is a definate time frame now ,instead of a simple larval "this week or next". Let the mess begin !!!!

I was investigating holiday recipes yesterday, as the next 3 weeks see 3 holiday celebrations coming to our house. It is my firm intention to limit he treats to one per occasion, eaten only on that day and they must be things that remain true to our way of eating. Rather than turning into a narrow field, there is an explosion of possibilities. Good to know, but then I stumbeled across a recipie for something I have an absolute weakness for- Almond Joy Candy bars. It's not so much the chocolate with theses, but the combination of the coconut and nuts that makes me weak in the knees. Always have, and I speculate that it may be an indication of my need for a higher level of essential fatty acids. In either case, when I saw the recipe I was a hairs breath away from dropping everything and making a batch right now , just to see if the recipe worked. But then something made me stop and ask myself "and what would be the harm if the recipe failed ? Would bad candy mean that the Sun would not flip from decreasing light to increasing light ? Would it mean that Jesus birth would not happen if I make bad candy and there would be no celebration to commemorate it ? " It gave me a giggle, and I decided against making a batch. It can wait till the holiday.

However, it got me to thinking. How many of us who are the "holiday makers" of the family decide to test out recipes ahead of time or make things early , in the event that it may fail and therefore we have enough time to try again ? And if the batch turns out bad, might as well eat them because they don't count and it is wrong to waste food ? Or worse, the batch turned out good so we can nibble on them , then need to make more so we have it for the holidays ? I think this is one way the holiday weight creeps on. it is not so much what you eat on the day of, but what you eat in anticipation and planning. Combine that with the foods we consume as we gather with friends and associates on the days before , because the holiday is meant to spend with family and not those others.

Moderation is hard any time of year. Listening to your own body signals of hunger and satiation are even harder. Add those things to an environment of joy and indulgence because of that joy can feel like an impossible dream . However it can be done if we just stop, breathe and listen to that annoying little voice in our heads that asks those logical questions that will help us keep on track.

We can do this !

Monday, December 7, 2009

Close encounter of the Santa Kind

Sometimes you make plans and things happen to make them change. The result can be either disappointment or wonder , and happilly such came to pass yesterday and the result was wonder . We had made plans for hubby do fulfill his singing commitments, get the tires replaced on the car, go out for a late lunch/early dinner and then go see a great light display. Singing and the car went as planned, and we headed out a little earlier than planned. Son suggested we go look at the Goodwill store to see if we could find anything good. Seemed like a good idea, so we went. I was feeling a little down after writing yesterday's entry about the Santas, and perhaps looking around there would bring a smile to my face. Even though the reasons we are not putting them up this year are good ones , I still miss them. It does not feel like Christmas without them watching over us from the bookshelves.

So we strolled around, looking for things. I decided to look for a coat or other clothes, found none, and decided to stroll over to the housewares section. A nagging feeling told me to look close. There were candles, crockpots, coffee makers, dishes , and low and behold, on the back of one shelf, 15 International Santas, still in the box, waiting for someone to buy. 10 of them I did not have in my collection, 1 I had lost the box for , and so I bought 11 of them. It felt like I had won the lottery !

Wren Boy( Ireland), St Basil (Greece) Pancho Navidad ( Mexico),Father Christmas ( South Korea) and Dyed Moroz (Siberia)

The Star Man ( Poland) Santa Claus (North Pole) Mrs Father Christmas (Ireland) Jouluvana (Estonia) Santa Claus (Malaysia) and Pere Noel ( French Canada)

Because our bookcases are filled with P:ointsettias this year, I decided to place these guys on the table with our Advent Candles
The good did not end here. We headed off to the place we chose for dinner, only to find a long line waiting to be served, so we changed plans. We went to a small Mom and Pop resturant that we had not been to in a couple of years, only to discover that they now have a low carb menu . I was thrilled ! The food was good, I stayed on program , and then we headed out in search of lights. Unfortunately we were out of the area for the planned display, so we went in search of others . I am discovering my camera likes to be very finicky about night time shots, and all was able to capture without a lot of blurry edges was this house

No matter- it is still early in the season. I am still so totally jazzed that I found more Santas on St Nicholas Day and discovered a new low carb option ! I think it's a sign that the man with the red suit still delivers !

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Santa

Happy Saint Nicholas Day ! The best day of the year ! Okay, so I am not Catholic- not even Christian for that matter- and holidays are usually things that are fun but not really exciting to me. It's not that I don't care, but it's more like most holidays don't seem to have a lot of deep meaning to me. Saint Nicholas Day does, and for a very special reason. As it is part of my own ongoing weight loss journey, I will share. Miracles do happen, be they with weight loss or simply life, and this is about one of them.

When I was a little girl, our family did not have a lot of financial resources, but we had a lot of creativity and activities that built strong family bonds ( something much more important in the long run than material things). My mom would try to think of some kind of Christmas Craft for my sister and I to make each year, and one year it was Santa Faces. Take a styrofoam ball, glue some cotton balls on or a beard and hair, apply red felt triangles with straight pins for eyes, mouths and hat.Sort of like this, but ours were absolutely horrible


They were dirt cheap, easy to make with a 6 and 4 year old, but the UGLIEST things I had ever seen. I ribbed my mom about how ugly they were, and she ignored me. I told her that I never wanted to have any Santa anything in my house no matter what because Santa was stupid. Okay, those ornaments were stupid to me, but she saved them and every year she packed them up and hung them on the next years tree till they totally deteriorated.Each year Santa's beards were more frayed, had bits of old glittered pine cones on them or broken glass and were consistently losing eyes and noses. Chunks of Santa's heads were chipped away or crushed, and the affect was a tree with shrunken heads more than anything else. Every year I made sarcastic comments about them and it became sort of the family joke to put me with a Santa anything.

Fast forward about 20 years. Hubby and I were infertile for 8 years , and it was not until I discovered I had PCOS and lost 110 pounds that the condition was brought into control. I conceived, but we had a stillbirth. The Christmas after our loss was one of the lowest points in my life, and I remember staring at our tree, knowing that this should have been our son's first Christmas and having my arms ache from the emptiness. Half joking I said "Santa, I want a baby !" And on June 24 of that year, I conceived my son ( when you are dealing with infertility, conception seems to become more of a lab project than romance, and you have scientific data that can pretty much pinpoint the date). The next Christmas found me pregnant and experiencing a lot of problems. My team of Doctors seemed to be doing all they could to scare me to death with each OB appointment, and it was broken up with long periods of silence, isolation and just plain worry. So once again the Christmas tree came out and something reminded me of Saint Nicholas, who became part of our modern Santa figure , and I was reminded that he was the Patron Saint of Children. Perhaps I was out of my mind with worry, perhaps I was just suffering from pregnancy hormones, but I sat there looking at the tree and said to Saint Nicholas that if he got me and the baby through this safely , I would never mock him again . Somehow at that minute I knew that things were going to be alright. And on March 28 of that spring, I got my gift
We named him Nicholas Alexander for the Saint and the famous conqueror. And since that year, on Saint Nicholas Day, we have a little celebration. In years when Nick was young it involved a wooden shoe filled with candy and small toys, but now that he is older the celebrations are different. And the Santa appreciation did not end there. I began collecting Santa figures and most years at Christmas they come out to decorate or home. This year because things are very up in the air with the impending bathroom remodel, the move and other factors, we have not put them up. However, last year I snapped pictures of some of the more collectable ones in my collection of International Gift Giver figures

The Star man(Poland) La Befana ( Italy) two others that I cannot remember their names

A few more. I cannot recall their names , but I love them all. One day I will have space to buy a curio cabinet and store these figures in year round. They have a lot of meaning to our family. So what are we doing this year ? There is a conflict with my husband's singing schedual and some much needed car repairs that cannot be done during the week because of a very busy time due to a software change, so we are going to go out to eat and then make a tour of some spectacular neighborhood light shows. To Nick, the best part of Christmas is the lights, so there you have it.

As to me, I think I am going to speak once again to that man in the red suit and ask him to help me figure out a program hat works with my body to drop these pounds at long last. My hubby, who is a dear and wonderful man, seems to think I may have lost all the weight I can because I officially have chicken legs and a big belly that will not budge with dynamite. That , of course, kicks the part of my brain into gear that says "Oh yeah ? Watch me prove you wrong" So Santa, a little help please ? Or perhaps I should put it as one of my favorite Christmas Carols does

"Santa, remeber your part
don't break a little girls heart
just remeber this Christmas
the pretty little dolly
is the present you must leave
REMEMBER THAT FAT BOY
BRING THAT KID
if you want to see New Years Eve !"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cake and weigh in

The almond meal cake turned out terrific ! It was dense like a pound cake, but not heavy in consistency. It is really nice to know that there are alternatives to make for special occasions ! It did not ries spectacularly so I could not split it to make two layers- my cake decorating skills do not go that far. So I simply loaded the pastry bag with the frosting , a tip and in the style of Wilton cake decorating I put a ton of those little frosting blips on it. It was satisfying squeezing that bag !


It's Saturday morning,and weigh in. In spite of my best efforts, my hormones are definitely in charge and holding my weight hostage. They decided to gift me with a 1.4 lb weight gain over night, on top of the .2 weigh gain they have gifted me with all week. Should I be honored ?It also means they will be gifting me in another way within the next 5 days. Thanks. You shouldn't have. REALLY ! So the results for the week are

Me- UP 1.6 ( sponsored by estrogen- the substance that turns little girls into screaming shrews)
Hubby- DOWN 3.4
Son DOWN 1.0

You know, I can understand the entire need for this biologically based cycle when we are young and intending to have children. It is a wonderful, miraculous thing. But after a certain age and stage in life it's kind of like a really bad guest that will not leave. If you are attempting weight loss in the face of this it can make you feel like the village idiot. Guess the best thing to do is just pick myself off, dust myself off and try once again. Heck, we have only been at this for two flipping years now. What's one more week ??

Friday, December 4, 2009

Birthdays and surprises

Today is the hubby's 54th birthday, and all birthdays deserve a cake . Problem is, if you are doing low carb, birthday cake can seem like an impossibility unless you opt for a cheesecake. Enter Almond flour !! To date, it seems to be the closest in performance to wheat flour for things like muffins and cakes. I searched around and found this site that had a large collection of low carb recipes, and I decided to try this pound cake and mocha frosting to make a traditional looking birthday cake. I think baking this in a regular cake pan and applying the frosting with an icing bag can make it look every bit as good as a normal birthday cake. Granted, pound cake is not normally served with icing, but one of hubby's favorite cakes is a yellow cake with chocolate icing, so this combo wins. We are also going to have his favorite dinner in the world- meatloaf. It always makes me laugh when considering his favorite foods. He is not a steak or roast kind of guy and he does not like mashed potatoes. Give the man a meal loaf and fresh baked bread and he is a happy camper !

It is snowing here today and the plan is for a Wii fit workout . That and homeschool and STILL waiting for the staff to come in and do the bathroom remodel. I am wondering if I should make one of those paper chains to tick off the days as I wait for the blessed event ? I guess this week or next in construction speak translates into this year or sometime in the next millennium.

Had a bit of a scare yesterday . Hubby found out that there is a possibility that his singing job may end this coming June, which would kill 40 percent of our income. Very scary thought, especially considering we are planing on a move this spring. At first I kind of panicked, but I realized as the day went on that this is not very likely to happen. One big advantage to being a Church Musician is that there will always be a need for music in worship, there will always be funerals and there will most likely still be weddings. A change in management ( pastors in this case) does not mean a radical change in worship service. My husband has a very good voice, a very professional presence and a real sensitivity for the liturgy. Wherever he sings he is asked to become a regular and those who do not necessarily value music as part of the service seem to change their views when he serves. If truth be told, he should have gone full time into music ministry when he was younger, but the world being what it is and perceptions of financial security being what they are he chose business as his field. He is very good at what he does in that world, but better still in the music field.

Tomorrow is weigh in, and it will be what it will be. I have done my best, but my body has it's own ideas and it's own timetable. At least, no matter what that number might say, I know I have done my best for the week and will continue to do so the next and the next and the next until I stop breathing , celebrating birthdays and making birthday cakes for myself and the ones I love !

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Youtube discovery and NSV

Yesterday I wrote about the idea of having an aerobics DVD for the wheelchair bound, and one of my Facebook friends informed me that such a thing exists , and can be found at Amazon.com. Turns out there is a series that includes cardio, tai chi and Belly Dancing from a chair. Amazing ! So I decided to look on Youtube, because if it has been put on film someone somewhere has uploaded at least a part of it. Low and behold , I found this tape for Chair Aerobics put out by a trainer who has a Public Access cable show and happened to injure himself. Brilliant !

I am feeling a little mixed emotions this morning . Yesterday the scale took a big jump up for no reason, and while it is down this morning it is still slightly up from my weigh in last Saturday. I have learned from reading the low carb boards that this is indeed a normal thing for many people as your body adjust from burning glucose to burning fuel.I am also discovering that the deeper into a low carb lifestyle I get, the more my female hormonal cycle returns to a normal rhythm. In my own body, in younger years, I would experience a large gain 4 -5 days before ovulation and then again the week before menstruation. When you are dealing with infertility, your menstrual cycle becomes an incredibly observed thing. For the last 5 years the old patterns had disappeared, but now with the changes in diet they are returning. I have to remind myself hourly that my body is doing what it needs to on it's own time table. No matter what, seeing that number creep up when you are working hard to bring it down makes you feel like a bit of a failure. Meanwhile, the Universe sent me something as if to say No matter what the scale says you are not a failure. About 25 years ago hubby and I made a trip out to New England and one of the stops on the trip was Mark Twain's home in Hartford Connetticut. A very beautiful home, but there was a very odd feeling about it. When I walked in it felt like I was caught in some kind of revolving door, and every inch of the home felt like it was saturated with the presence of a very sad lady. I was really surprised at how intense that felt, considering the owner of the home. Last night we watched Ghost Hunters because i learned they were going to investigate that particular home. I wanted to see if they picked up anything with their equipment, and they did ! While I have no doubt about the things I experienced there , and other places in my life, it was really nice to see some kind of confirmation that could be observed by any one. It just reminded me for the millionth time that I am so much more than a number on a scale and a person struggling with weight loss. I think we should all be gifted with these little reminders on our journey !

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scents and sweat


It's a playing with food day here today ! We have decided to skip the traditional tree and so forth in our decorating this year in favor of lights, pointsettas and things that make the house smell good. Today we are making cinnamon cut out ornaments. Simple to do, smell fantastic and just a good thing. To make them, I combine 1/2 cup of applesauce ( any kind) with 1/2 cup combined powdered spices. Traditionally it is groung cinnamon, but I have found a combination of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger to simply smell better. You mix the ingredients to form a playdough consistency dough , roll out flat, cut with metal cookie cutters, poke in a hole for a string or ribbon if desired and let dry of a day or two. When dry, string and hang on the tree, on garlands or simply place in a pretty container and set on a counter.

Meanwhile, we are having fun trying to adapt workouts so that they do not involve any stomping, jumping or anything that will disturb our downstairs neighbors ( or aggrivate my knees). You would be surprized what kind of a sweat you can work up doing these ! Son is totally on board with this and is understanding how the muscles in the body work ( all those anatomy lessons are paying off) and he is coming up with some really good suggestions. It is making me think about someday creating a cardio workout that can be done by people who are wheelchair bound and such. It's easy to do cardio when you have no physical limitations, but when those enter in almost any cardio workout becomes an impossibility. Yet, people who are wheelchair bound have just as much need for these. It has to be possible. it simply requires thinking outside the box, and so far there are just to many box prisoners out there IMHO.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And then there is exercise

Happy December everyone !

No matter what program you are following for weight loss, exercise is a non negotiable part of the plan. Even if you are not on a weight loss plan, exercise will help to keep you healthy, happy and wise. Simply getting more oxygen in your blood and getting that blood pumping will go a long way to help keep your body and mind in shape.

However, here in the northern states, the colder months proves to be a big challenge ! The weather , time constraints and more often make any thoughts of getting out for a walk or hitting the gym more challenging than usual. Happily , we live in a day and age where there are more options than ever to keep on track. One that few have mentioned is Exercise TV's website, with several videos on line to watch and work out with. They have everything from yoga to dance to you name it.

Another option ,if you have Comcast on Demand , check out Sports and Fitness, then Exercise TV, and you will find a wide variety of options availble at your convenience. One of the programs currently available is something called Cardioke with Billy Blanks Jr. The son of the Tae Bo guy has a routine that combines hip hop , aerobics and kareoke. My son and I modify his routine to be apartment friendly, and it is a lot of fun !

Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Sunday and Zuchini boats

Spent a very lazy sort of day yesterday. The weather was cold and grey, the morning saw the guys off to church and me home doing coursework, which was fitting for the weather. After lunch I suggested that we go out for a walk , but no one was that ambitious. Including myself. So we wound up watching Fiddler on the Roof- a movie that I used to love and really wanted my son to see. Not a good idea it seems. Perhaps it is because I am older, perhaps it is for other reasons, but now that movie scares the heck out of me.The idea that overnight everything you hold near and dear can change within the blink of an eye is more frightening than any slasher film. As they say, there are so many worse things than death. Perhaps it is a genetic sort of memory involved here. My maternal great grandfather came from that part of the world at that time. The older I get, the more I understand.

Meanwhile, I tried another experiment in low carb cusine- Stuffed Zuchini Boats. This one seems to neded a little adjustment.


Stuffed Zucchini Boats- serves 3

3 zucchini
1 lb ground meat ( I used ground beef)
2 T italian seasoning
1 t garlic powder
1 c shredded mozzarella

Cut the zucchinis lengthwise and remove the seeds and middle with a spoon. Meanwhile , in a bowl combine all remaining ingredients except the cheese and divide evenly between the zuchini. fill the cavity with the meat mixture and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Top with the cheese and return to the oven or 10 minutes.

Next time I think I may swap out the meat for Italian sausage and perhaps add some tomato sauce to flavor the zucchini more

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday Night's alright for ....pizza !

Another Saturday night and...time to think something easy and kind of fun for dinner. A lot of times in this house , Saturday Dinner thoughts turn to pizza. With a low carb approach pizza means getting creative , and that is exactly what I did. A few weeks ago I tried a flax crust pizza, and the results were good. Tasty and the proper consistency,but something in me always asks if things could be done better, so I determined to try another alternative. This week was an almond meal crust.


Almond Meal Pizza Crust

2 cups almond flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c olive oil
1 c egg beaters
1/3 c water
1/3 c Splenda

Mix well and pour onto a large baking sheet with sides. Bake 20 minutes at 350, remove, add toppings and bake 15 minutes.

I topped ours with homemade pizza sauce( tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, dried onion, garlic , salt ) , cooked Italian sausage and mozzarella. The results were very tasty- almost like a famous chain's Chicago style deep dish pizza crust( their secret is using a lot of oil so the crust has a biscuit like consistency), but more important is what it inspired. My husband commented that if i had cooked it a little bit longer it could have been the perfect consistency to be a terrific short bread cookie. This got me to thinking that if I swapped the oil for butter and increased the splenda to a cup , this could make a great low carb cookie ! Bake it on the cookie sheet and cut into diamonds immediately upon removing from the oven. Then you could frost them with a low carb frosting ( softened cream cheese with heavy cream and splenda) and top each with a pecan half. Not an every day thing but something that would be really nice for the holiday- and most people would definitely eat this !

We went out to look at a new light display, but it seems that they are waiting a week to really fire things up. Son was a little dissapointed, and so was I. Our plan was to walk the display , and the weather was perfect for such a thing. We came back home and decided to watch Handsel and Gretel on Encore On Demand. What a great little jewel ! It is a live rendering of the classic tale with new twists. Cast included Howie Mandel, Delta Burke, Gerald McRainy and Glen Close. Its one where you can safely watch with your kids and not worry about moments that might inspire discussions you don't really wish to have. Then we watched Four Christmases, and both hubby and I thought it was a pretty badly written movie that just failed to be funny or endearing. However, while we were all watching Handsel and Gretel we studdend oranges with cloves to add to the decorations and scents of the house. It was a definite good time !

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weigh in and questions

Black Friday was honestly a lot of fun for us ! I think that the reason it was so was that we do not do any gift shopping till the week before Christmas. When you are not looking for the hottest toy or so forth, you can take advantage of the deep discounts at odd places on the day. We were on a quest for pointsettias, strings of lights, whole cloves and oranges, and so it was pretty delightful getting out and about in the energy of the day that kicks off the Christmas season. For us it is the kick off to Advent- the season of waiting in hope. The house will be decorated slowly, activities will be done a few at a time so that the whole affect will be like living one gigantic advent calendar with a new surprise behind each door. A supposedly non traditional approach to the holiday, but it works for me.

It seems non traditional works well for me in other ways. Weight loss is one. The conventional wisdom says use only healthy fats in minimal amounts, eat high fiber, restrict calories and do a lot of weight bearing and aerobic exercise. It also says that in the holiday season the average person will gain 10 lbs. Then it says weight loss is simply a mater of watching the number of calories in , expending more and the scale will move. I tried this approach for 2 years. Our diet journey began 2 years ago this weekend. It was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving that we went shopping, the bench broke and we instantly changed our lives. At first , following the conventional wisdom resulted in the scale moving, but then it stopped. For me it resulted in playing with the same 10 lbs for over a year. Then I stopped listening to the conventional wisdom and things started moving again. The guys still feel best listening to conventional wisdom, so it is a split house. This morning was our weekly weigh in- the results after Thanksgiving, following our own programs.

Me- DOWN 3.4 ( would have been more but I am experiencing a little constipation this morning)
Hubby - UP 3.6 ( followed his calorie intake, but still eats grains)
Son UP 3.4- also followed his program but is still eating grains.

I got no exercise other than moving some furniture and housekeeping. Son got in a lot of dancing and Wii fit plus. Hubby got in a lot of walking. So if it is a matter of calories in /calories out, why these results ? Or is it more a matter of eating a food substance that is naturally resistant to insect infestation and has been so genetically modified that it is now a substance that our very DNA does not know how to deal with without injury ? Is it due to a diet based on a foodstuff that has been altered to not only survive but yield 500 times more than nature ever intended it to ? I am not a scientist, but simply a mom who has listened to conventional wisdom , seen the results and is really searching for the strand of wisdom in that convention. Grains have been linked to digestive disorders, autism, arthritis, insulin resistance and more. Several have also suspected it is a major cause in obesity as well. It's these unconventional folks that my gut tells me to listen to.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Best holiday dishes

I have to say , following a low carb approach is infinitely easier than any other approach when attending my family gatherings ! I was able to stay totally on my eating program with no slip ups, had a wonderful; time catching up with my sibs and their children, and spend some time with my mom.Some of the "best dishes" of the day were the following

watching two cousin buddies strengthen bonds that will last a lifetime ( grand nephews Nick and Eric)

watching little ones find joy in the family that loves them ( my grand neice Jada)

and giving thanks for the healing of new ones ( nephew Elliot who was hospitalized after his birth and his mom Christina)

Now lets burn off those calories at the Black Friday Sales !!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More waiting, new spaces and progress perhaps

It has been a short but crazy sort of week here ! We are taking a week break from school, so the focus has been on house things and back to my own studies- or at least that was the plan. Monday evening we get a notice from the complex management that they will come around on Tuesday to put plastic weatherproofing on all the air conditioner units between 9-5 pm and you must remove everything from the wall underneath. In our case, this is a HUGE tv that is HD, but before plasma. I think it weighs about 100 lbs, and the size of it scares me for some reason. Hubby and son had a choir rehersal on Monday evening, so when they got home we had to begin moving furnature.And of course it never winds up just one thing being moved- you always wind up moving 6 other things to accommodate the new thing. However, we all worked together , and the job got done. Which is more than I can say for the management. They never showed up, and the reasons for that can be as many and varied as you could imagine. So this makes for waiting for them to come tape the AC units, PLUS still waiting for them to do the bathroom remodel. Did I mention I HATE waiting ?

The good news is that I now have a corner totally emptied in our house, and the aspiration to do some more serious parting with books.And that corner seems to be screaming for a treadmill. I mentioned this to hubby, and he said last night when he saw a commercial for Bowflex, he was kind of thinking the same thing in that corner. Only caveat he had is that whatever we get we must be willing to move in the coming year. So perhaps this annoying turn of events will work out for something very good in the long run.

In the meantime, I seem to have developed a case of "Induction flu"- something that sometimes happens to people when they switch to a low carb lifestyle ( and no, I am not doing the meat fast. Yet.) Induction flu is something that happens when your body adjusts from being fueled by carbs and starts being fueled by fat. It can be as mild as annoying nausea, but for others it can show up as more pronounced stomach upset and digestive distress.I am kind of surprised that it has taken 3 weeks for my system to switch, but I think it is simply proof of how insulin resistant my system truly is. It will pass in a day or two . Meanwhile I am noticing my stomach is getting flatter and my fore arms have developed skin that looks like it is a little too big for the arm.My pants are also looser and my bra feels like it keeps shifting whenever I turn. I peeked at the scale and is says I am down, but I am not counting it as an official loss till Saturday. My plan for Thurday is to go, have a good time and simply avoid those foods that are a problem for me. There are going to be babies to meet, family to catch up with, kareoke games to play and a lot more. Hope you all have a great holiday !

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PCOS

I don't think I ever shared this on this blog. I have PCOS, and have had it since I was 13. It is the reason for my weight problem, the cause of my infertility and numerous other health conditions. There is no cure, and only management of the symptoms is possible. I came across this video that helps to explain the disease to those whom have never heard of it.

And here is another video that describes many of the problems I have dealt with due to this disease.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Low Carb Stuffing and a question

Thanksgiving is Thursday, and we are going to my mom's for the meal. However, I cannot pass up the great deals on turkey at this time of the year ! I buy several , cook them and use the leftover meat in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken, and it makes for several healthy meals that can be made fast.

In the past I have made many healthy , whole grain stuffings involving things like wild rice, wheat berries, quinoa and so forth. Now that the approach for me is low carb, those will not work for our meal plans. So yesterday while I roasted the first turkey of the season, I invented a low carb stuffing that has a mouth feel similar to the traditional stuffing

Low Carb Suffing

9 almond meal muffins, crumbled
3 portions flax meal bread, crumbled
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 lb breakfast sausage( I used turkey)
1 cup turkey pan drippings

In a pan combine the onions, celery and pork sausage, Cook till sausage is brown, add the contents to a bowl with the crumbled breads. Place in an 9x9 pan, roast at 350 for 45 minutes

My son decided , after tasting this, that stuffing is his favorite part of Thanksgiving.

In other news, I keep reading about other low carb people who reach a stall or can't get the program going for them and they try a meat fast for 3-5 days. What you do is eat nothing but meat ( with the exception of up to 2 eggs) , drink nothing but water, and it helps to shatter any insulin resistance that you suffer with. Part of me is strongly considering trying this for myself, but the other part of me is saying that I should just sit tight, be patient and let the hormone roller coaster just run it's course. Have any of you tried this ? What was your experience ?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Into the holiday season !

Another week, and another chance to engage in scale warfare ! While my hormones may believe that have the final say in what my body type looks like,my mind is determined that it will have the final say, and I will try again. In some ways , the battle with the scale has been a life long friend. I became overweight when I was about 18 months old, and my grandmother speculated that it was because I have concrete bones. I belive that she may have been right when I was very young. I present proof through this picture, taken of me when I was 5 yrs old. According to the scale I weighed 195 lbs. ( I am on the right)

Incidentally, this was the last time I was under 200 pounds, and it is my goal to get there again .

It is thanksgiving this week, and for the day we will be heading to my mom's house to gather with family, but I cannot resist making a turkey for my own family ! Today I am going to roast one for us and make a batch of low carb stuffing to serve with it. Cranberries made with Splenda, broccoli and cauliflower to compliment and it will be like a mini feast. My son , the budding chef, is instructing me as to how I should treat the bird before roasting. It makes me chuckle to see how passionate he has become about the treatment of food !

On the exercise front I am planning on forgetting that we are STILL waiting in suspended annimation for the bathroom remodel to happen and that I am going to live my life as I desire, not simply as a person waiting for something. Walking and Wii fit will happen.This is real life- not waiting for Santa

That was my next younger sister and I, one of the last times we visited Santa and made our requests. Even after I had been told the reality of Santa, I still believed that there was a force that represented ultimate good and generosity in this world. A force that still grants the most innocent childlike wishes in our hearts simply because we were good children. At one time I felt I really needed the aid of this force, sometimes named as St Nicholas, and I made a request under the Christmas tree that he would bring me the greatest gift of my life. The man in the red suit delivers

and I named him Nicholas in his honor. So this year, as we head into the Christmas season and start making lists and wishes, I present the man in the red suit with another one. Let me get under 200 pounds and send my aggravating hormonal cycle packing ??? Pretty please ????