Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week of Joy weigh in results

So how did making a conscious effort to find joy impact my weight ? I did nothing different as far as food or exercise. I did not drop carbs, increase protein, drop salt, drop proccesed foods, eat only organic or any such thing. I did not increase cardio, take up running, begin weight lifting or any such thing. I ate after 7 pm at times, I had a couple of sleepless nights AND I am PMSing. The only thing I did was to consciously include things each day that brought me joy, and therefor relived stress.

Me- DOWN 2.6
Son - DOWN 2.2
Hubby DOWN 3.2

Still think stress is not a factor ? And I think it may be even more of a factor for those whom are 40 and beyond than it is when you are in your 20's or 30's. After 40 you suddenly have your own retirement to think of, bigger bills, teens, aging parents and the reality that you are not waiting to become someone but you are all that you are going to be. You get a lot less free time and personal space to do and be who you want to be some days because y0ou are now officially mature and should act your age. You look in the mirror and you find new rays, new wrinkles and wonder about strange spots and freckles a lot. You are heading rapidly to a place in life where you are in danger of being considered outmoted, things like the music you used to love and relax to has changed, new forms of technology come along that not only don't make sense to you but you find yourself surrounded by wide eyed children who seem to have been given the owners manual through osmosis. Things that you were taught as being absolutely must have skills ( like penmanship , spelling and grammar) are obsolete -knwtImn ? ( text speak for know what I mean ) You now live in a world where pens and vowels are an endangered species.

You do not stress eat, but the food that you do eat meets with strange hormones, and food being what it is takes pity on these hormones and decides to hang around longer to see it there is anything more it can do for you, and if you are really alright. Your grandma may have fed you soup when you were young but now grandma is dead and the soup seems to think that it has to do even more for you. You try to convince it that it is not nessisary and you will be fine through exercise and portion control, but like grandma, that food will not take no for an answer. So the scale creeps up and you find you have a new thing to fear. Aging , sadly, ,is about learning to fear many things. This is why most older people do not like horror films. Life is horror enough. As was said in an episode of the Simpsons by Grandpa , if you are not afraid, your not paying attention !

My son is young and optomistic, and simply watching his caloric intake and activity will get him to lose weight. Hubby and I are older, and things are complicated. I am 51 and he will be 55 in about 6 weeks. Because we are in a loving, caring relationship we share the joys, and we manage to share the fears. At night in bed it can either be the stuff that would make most romance novels jealous or fodder for a new Stephen King novel because we spoke of our concerns. If one is happy, usually we both are happy. If one is stressed, we both get stressed.

Enough silly ramble for the day. Seriously I am going to try once again to encorporate joy in my life this week agina and see if it brings the same results . I am not totally convinced of the affectivness of any plan until it brings me positive reasults for 3 weeks in a row. So till then it's just keep on keeping on !

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weathering the storm and changing plans

Technically, we live in a part of the country that will never see a hurricane, but that is what it looks like outside tonight ! All that snow from Colorado has moved east and changed to heavy rains and blustery winds. I was awakened to the sound of rattling windows, and became fascinated watching the wind and rain dancing with the window screens. What can I say...I love stormy weather !

Emotional storms come and go across our emotional landscape, and sadly at the time they occur , they are not so much fun to watch for either the one experiencing them or those around them. They are often not as predictable as those metorological events either. Especially not those associated with grief. They are often triggered by the silliest things, blow fierce for a time and then the sun comes out again. I learned that in the counciling sessions that we attended after we lost our son. I also learned that it is not uncommon to experience odd periods of grief as far removed as 40 years after a loss . Nothing is unusual in that department, and only worrisome if the sun does not come out again after a few weeks. Happily mine have always passed within a day or so. This one was triggered by a birth experience question and the time of year. The original meaning of Halloween was to acknowledge the spirits of the dead at this time because so much in the agricultural world was dying. The harvest was in, the foliage was dying back, the animals were either migrating or preparing to winter over, and men thought it only natural that the spirits of those who left the world of the living noticed this increased activity and came around for another look see.

During our workout session ( yoga for this day ), I started to think about the custom that marks my own celebration of Halloween/Samhain; that of setting out much loved foods for my ancestors and then partaking of it for my own supper. They do not physically eat it , but absorb the gesture of respect shown. There is no inherent power in the food put out ( other than calories and nutritional value to humans consuming it), so why should I run the risk of beginning a bad chain reaction just because that is how it has always been done ? There is no law saying this must be done. The only thing close to a law says that the dead will be remembered, and death thought of as a natural part of life. I pondered this , and bounced the idea off the Hubby. He is my best friend, best adviser, and best way to help me find a grip in life. He agreed, and so I rethought my plan for the night. We also decided to head back down to the family cemetery on Sunday afternoon to take part in the All Saints Day celebration going on there. Much more figure frendly than a table filled with foods to honor the memory of the dead ! So this will be the official display of honor for this year

On the wall is some simple papel picado we made, the gingerbread house, the sugar skulls, a paper model house, a skull and numerous ceramic items made by my mother in law before she contracted Parkinsons and Dementia. Watching her struggle with the disease as well as watching my own mother battle Dementia is a whole other kind of death. You remember who they were while watching who they are slip slowly into that world of death, and they become ghosts of a different nature. Sad to watch, but it shows you how valuable those little memories they made for you have become.

So it is decided that we will have a "feast" of seasonal foods and then the next day walk the cemetary to visit the graves of our dead. While there I will place a sprig of rosemary on each, as the cemetary regulations do not allow for flowers or grave blankets to be placed in the winter. Rosemary...that's for remembrance. Just as meaningful as a plate of perogi, arrancini, barmbrak and more !

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Still finding joy...but then.....

There are jokes out there that talk about a person moving constantly so the past does not catch up with them. They usually involve some kind of guilt from the indulgence of a guilty pleasure, and are funny to think about. Then there are those ones that are poking fun at a deep down fear. Yesterday it seems I had a brush with a great big one of mine, and I realized I have been running from it for a very long time.

It started when I sat down to take a break from lesson planning to catch up with friends on Facebook. One of mine is a doula/midwife in training who blogs about birth options. She occasionally throws out questions for friends to respond to with their experiences, and such was the case of the day. Her question was "In honor of Halloween, what was your scariest moment involving birth?". I did not even ponder, but responded with "At the end of my first pregnancy my water broke, I went to the ER as it was before my due date, and was subjected to about a thousand tests. I was sent to labor and delivery, and in walked a total stranger who said "Good evening Mrs Balsamo. I am Dr ____. Your baby is dead and has been so for about a week. We are going to give you a pitocin drip, Prostaglandin 2 suppositories to bring on labor, something for the pain, and penicillin to bring down your fever which is now 106. You should deliver about 9 am and I advise that you hold the baby. I am going to go get some dinner and I will be back later to check on you." And he left, and I laid there terrified that I might die ". And with a few simple key strokes, a whole world of little horrors came out to play, once again. Not necessarily in the way you might think though.

As bad as that experience might seem , it was about mid stream of a river of self doubt, that I still do not know if it is the worst of it or not. It began when I was a young girl, and as much as I tried to rise above it , events keep rising to drag my attitude down. In adulthood it reared its head with the decision to have children right away and not conceiving for 8 years. Infertility can totally destroy your sense of self esteem. Every month you are given a biological reminder that something is wrong with you, and slowly that evolves into the belief that something has made you unworthy of the most basic biological adult function. You keep hearing reminders that babies are a blessing, and you still wait patiently to be blessed. In my case , I waited 8 years for that blessing ...but then...somehow I broke the baby. He died inside of me, and it affirmed my womb was a tomb. Talk about a kick in the gut ! That was bad enough, but then...7 months later later I developed the worst upset stomach of my life and extreme tenderness on my right side. For 2 weeks it was belived I had either the flu or a kidney infection, but then a catscan revealed two massive cysts on my right ovary. They were not sure if it was cancer or just cysts, so surgery was scheduled. Turned out not to be cancer, but was revealed that the cysts were due to tiny pieces of my son's placenta that had somehow remained in my uterus , broke free, worked themselves into my fallopian tube and ovary and my body dealt with them through forming cysts. I told myself it was a freak accident , rejoiced that I could still conceive and moved full steam ahead on baby quest. Six weeks later , I conceived my son. But then...8 weeks into the pregnancy I began to bleed, and this began a nightmare pregnancy experience that involved total bedrest, specialists, too many doctor visits and 7 months of terror. It ended with a C Section because of my son being transverse, over 10 pounds ( he was 11 lb 14 oz and 23 1/2 inches at birth), with the inability to do an epidural because I could not arch my spine with my huge belly. ( They tried 17 attempts and then opted to knock me out fully). I woke up to learn I was at long last a mother. But 7 months of age came the signs that not all was right with my little boy, and fights with our pediatrician to get to the bottom of it. That led to the eventual discovery of autism, and at that point I was too tired to fight and too shell shocked from everything to find my center.I let life bury me for a time.

I wish I could say that was the end of it, but it wasn't . Personal matters have entered into the picture that continued to make me say "but then". I thought about these yesterday after answering my friend's question, and I realized that through it all I never ate in order to isolate myself from the pain, but instead to gain strength for the fight , in agreement with a bad head tape that got installed when I was very young. I also realize that my most personal life seems to be about a continuation of but then that I neither need or want. She started dieting, lost some weight but then....

Day three of joy in the journey- looking at worry

Tuesday proved to be an interesting day on the weight loss front. I was reminded early on that the Reiki principles are something that I must remember to take to heart with my own journey. These are something that all Reiki practitioners are taught in the beginning of their studies, and it is felt that if you live these principles, your life will be balanced, blessed and a blessing to others

Just for today
Do not anger
do not worry
be grateful
work honestly
be kind to every living being

Simple words , but powerful affects, and sometimes the hardest things to do. Exercising the second principle can prove to be a mountain of goo that you keep sliding on. To not worry almost seems to say do not be an adult in the world. To not anger is an easy one for me, but to not worry seems like the impossible dream ! Yet, experience has taught me that most things I worry about are needless. Inspite of my own good efforts, things work out as perfectly as they are designed to. I may be influential in life , but there are many things that are out of my control, so worrying about them is wasted effort.

It was a good thing to remind myself of these things as we went on a nice morning walk. It was one of those mornings that was just cool enough to be brisk but not so cold as to hurt. The air smells like forest right now due to all the dropping and decaying leaves. and I was reminded of some lessons I once learned from a stream in regards to worry. A stream faces several obstacles in its course, but rather than force it's agenda and break those obsticles down, it shifts its course and creates an interesting landscape with its twists , bends and eddys. In time the obstacle is overcome by erosion, and then the stream has character and extra volume capacity. A life lived in balance will behave the same way I belive.

Once back inside we began our school day with the first opportunity of joy- the construction of a haunted gingerbread house

We have built houses in the past for Christmas, but this year we found a kit for a Halloween one. It was a little tricky to get it assembled as the icing seemed to be a little more flowing in consistancy. Perseverance paid off, and we both kept laughing at the way the icing was running and creating a somewhat melting affect in places. Looks like something a ghost would live in ! However a very good time was had, educational principles were applied and a memory was made. Considering I really don't like sweets ( I prefer protein things) and son has been told that such creations are poisonous, it was a safe thing to do .

After school I began menu planning and making the decisions for what we will serve on Halloween. Once again I was reminded not to worry, for it is not the actions that we take on hoildays that determine our life state. It is everything that we do in that great canvas of ordinary time that makes us who we are ! Holidays are to be enjoyed, but only on that day. Once celebratory meal is not going to pack on the pounds, but two weeks of cooking prep with nibbling and a weeks worth of leftovers with further nibbling will. For that reason I have decided I will buy the elements of the ancestral feast on that morning, eat it at dinner and dispose of the rest te next morning. Reason it will not be before bed is that a plate is left out in their honor.

Planning ahead allows me another opportunity to embrace the second principle in my life

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day two on the road to joy

It seems for me it takes a lot more conscious reminders to relax than it does for any of the other healthy lifestyle disciplines ! It seems if I do not stop, breath deeply and remind myself to be calm, I drop naturally into a state of high alert, and I can feel every muscle in my body tensing up in preparation to spring into action. Interestingly enough, two days into this decision to include joy in the journey, the pains i was feeling in my hips and knees have almost totally dissapeared on their own. As a result I was able to walk longer yesterday than I have been.

Yesterday also included a craft project that I was able to take a picture of to share- the painting of our sugar skulls. These are never eaten by us- thank goodness- because they are almost pure sugar. To make them you take a can of white frosting, a bag of confectioners sugar and mix to a play dough consistancy. Then you take a small ball, form an oval and then mold the eye sockets, nasal cavity and so forth. Let dry for a couple of days and then paint. Here are a few of the ones we did

As I said, these are never eaten by us. How do I get away with having such a sugary thing in the house without my son sneaking one ? I have been a bad mom and lied to him. I told him that candy that sets out without a wrapper absorbs the bacteria in the air and becomes poison. It is with that logic that we are also able to make cookie houses , which is the art project planed for today in school.

Not only did I get in our morning Wii fit work out , but I got in more walking, another session with my guitar, did homeschool, did housework and a short afternoon meditation session. I plan on making today yet another one that includes joy in the journey.It does a body good.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day one on the road to joy

Yesterday began the week of doing nothing different or weight loss but incorporating more joy into our lives. Hubby unexpectedly had to sing at all three services at church A, so it left a lot of time for me to follow my own bliss. Son and I watched some TV ( Food network , and a discussion happened about Sondra Lee) , and then I was able to sit down and devote a full HOUR to playing my guitar . I think only the musicians reading my blog will understand how relaxing and soul satisfying playing your instrument for the sake of playing it is. Afterwords I was relaxed and renewed. When hubby got back home we grabbed lunch and then headed out to the woods for a walk. The colors were at peak, and I was sorry i did not grab my camera ! The last hold outs on the color change parade have joined in the show at last, and one stiff breeze is going to clear the slate for the winter . Seems a lot of others had the same goal this day, and we had to keep getting off the road to allow cars to pass and not get run over ! Meanwhile my son discovered the fun of kicking up the leaves and making piles of them with his feet. Watching him reminded me of some of the antics of my childhood in the fall. I grew up in an inner suburb of Chicago and there were many elms and other trees. We would rake the leaves into piles and then jump into them several times before raking them to the curb where the street sweeper came along to haul them away. I loved doing that, and I remember spending hours doing so and coming home with crushed leaves matted in my hair. Autumn leaves have always had a pleasantly acrid smell to me. The scent reminds me of life and death combined for some reason.

In the evening we played Tribond while listening to a station that plays 70's music. I think the best thing about playing Tribond as a family is that if shows me just how much my son is absorbing and retaining in our homeschool adventures. A person may be able to answer a question about the material on a test within days of being presented it, but proof that it has absorbed comes when they are called upon to recall details months after the presentation in some kind of real life situation. Board games can help stress caused by wondering if they are retaining anything go way, way down !

After that we wound up watching youtube videos about Dios De Los Muertos- The Day of the Dead. We are a mixed faith household, and my faith has a similar tradition that falls on November 1. Because of this, we have discussed this holiday several times in our homeschool and I incorporate some of the crafts and so forth in my celebration with the family. Hubby appreciates these, but has never been edcucated on the meaning behind them- especially the happy skeletons positioned in assorted life situations ( as mechanics, as a bride and groom and so forth). As we watched the videos I got to explain to him that the skeletons are positioned in these roles because it affirms that death is simply a part of life, nothing to fear and that the dead are still amongst us. The colors are used to show that there is life in death. The altars to the dead are about affirming the life of your ancestors, saying that you miss them and you welcome them back for the day to celebrate one more time. It is not something he could have understood or appreciated when he was younger, but as an adult in ministry who does numerous funerals and has spent a lot of time with me and my relationship to death ( or should I say veiwpoint), he truly understands. And he also completely understands how the modern american expression of Halloween is insulting to not only the memory of the deceased, but to life itself. Always a good and relaxing thing when those you love not only accept your spiritual veiwpoints, but understand .

Today after our morning workout , first order of school is to paint this years sugar skulls. Always a fun time in this house, and fun brings joy which defeats stress.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Something's missing

When it comes to much of life, two things are clear to me. First, quitting is NOT an option ( unless it is absolutely clear that attainment is impossible) , and if at first you don't succeed, try , try again. In order to get, do , conquer anything you need the right tools, and the desire to get the job done. The desire is definitely there, the tools are there as to the physical aspects ( limit calories to a certain level according to your BMR rate AND get 30 minutes exercise at least 3 times per week ( we get this 5 x) So what is missing ? And for the record, last week not only did I gained , but the whole house gained ( son gained 3.4 lbs and hubby gained 2.8 pounds). What is it that we were doing wrong ?

I was really upset about this overall gain, and put that anger into a serious house cleaning session. The house really needed it , and we had planned to tackle it as a family on this day. Life has been pretty chaotic the last couple of weeks for many different reasons, and the simple daily chores like sweeping had gotten pushed aside. While some people are stress eaters, I am a person who gets very stressed in a jumbled environment. Hubby and son are the same way. Things like dust or things that are misplaced make us all absolutely crazy ! So as I cleaned ( which works like therapy for me ) I contemplated , analyzed and and came to a conclusion. Perhaps the thing that was sabotaging us was stress ? No one has been sleeping well here all week, and life has become a long to do list with little opportunities for joy of late. Joy is the ultimate foe of the negative forces of stress. If you love what you are doing and your body becomes stressed, the hormonal activites of adrenaline and cortizol begin to work in a positive way . If there is no joy, these two hormones wreak havoc. We needed to find more joy. More Bliss ! It is accomplished through an attitude, which is brought on through doing activities that remind you that life as you see it is worth living. Chemically this can be acchived through exercise ( the feel good endorphins get pumped into our system) , but for some people you need more. For some it means the need for hobbies, the arts , connections with friends or other such things. We have the desire, we have the physical tools, not it's time to work on the emotionally based ones.

So the goal this week is to increase our levels of joy on this journey.Cleaning the house helped to be a big destresser for us all. The guys will have to find their own paths to joy because only they know what that will truely be. For me it will be a daily dose of laughter , playing my guitar for 30 minutes 2 times a week ( or there about) , and doing something artistically creative. With Halloween coming up, this will be easy to figure out. I will let you know what develops.

Food was on track with calories for the day-1435 calories for the day. Instead of posting a picture of every single meal here ( I will be doing that on Facebook) , I am only going to post the new discoveries we have tried.

Lunch was a peanut butter waldorf spread on Arnolds Thin with celery, carrots, pudding and a 100 calorie pack. To make the spread for two people you need 1 T chopped carrots, 2 T chopped celery, 1 tsp raisins , chopped, 1 small apple chopped and 1 T peanut butter. Mix well and use as a spread. The spread comes to 30 calories per serving ( recipe makes 2) and is pretty tasty !

For dinner we tried Portabello pizzas with a tossed salad. Take a red pepper, an onion and the stems from 3 portabellos , chop and saute in a tsp olive oil. Then pile into the caps of 3 portabello mushrooms, top each with 1 T pizza sauce and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle with oregano and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 139 calories each.

Let's make it a good day , gang !

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weigh in

It seems no matter what I do , my hormones are in charge, and there is absolutely no way to break the cycle.

Weigh in - UP 1.6

If I up exercise, I gain. If I lower calories, I gain. If my hormones are at the right point in the cycle I lose no matter what I eat, how much I move or anything else. If they are at the other end of the cycle I gain no matter how much I move, how little I eat or anything else. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with attitude, behaviors, chemical ingredients, genetically modified foods, good or bad fats. For me it is determined by three tiny little glands in my body that secrete chemicals powerful enough to pull the solar system out of orbit, and until two small almond shaped ones stop functioning ( my ovaries) there is nothing I can do about it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Non scale victory

Pictures - left-son and hubby at the start
right- son today, 68 pounds lighter ( I thought it was more!)

A non scale sign of progress happened here yesterday. I went to put on one of my newer pairs of sweat pants ( yes I know, glamorous,
but I call them my everyday uniform)
only to discover that they have become clown pants on me. Sweats are big to begin with, but these suddenly fit me like a circus tent ! I guess this is proof that while the scale my not be moving at a pace I like, changes are happening in different ways. I am getting more toned I guess. This was a good thing in another way- I was noticing that son's clothes are begining to resemble circus clothes in the fit department
as well. One good thing about sweat pants is that they are pretty unisex, and I asked him if he would be interested in these now too big for me pants, and he said yes. Happily, they fit him perfectly !

These sweats are an XL, which means I can now start shopping for regular L or even medium now. But even more exciting is what this means for my son. When we began he was being crammed into a men's plus size 6x everything, and we were on the verge of it not fitting. His clothing had to be purchased from specialty stores, which as always a great hassle and expense. There was no shopping at places like Walmart or Thrift stores for his clothes. He would often comment on how he wanted different characters on his clothes but it was never to be. This was one thing that I felt very bad about- my son could never dress in the way he desired. I was a heavy kid myself, and I HATED being forced to shop in the plus sizes during grade school !In those days they were not plus sizes, but half sizes and very ugly. I hated the idea of my child being subject to the same fate, but at the same time too overwhelmed by other problems to
spring to action. That changed, slow progress has been made, and now my son has gone from a 6x to an XL. Life is good. On to the food !

Breakfast was a Thomase's Better Start with whipped cream cheese, sugar free orange marmalade and a Fiber One yogert with coffee-240 calories. After that we did our Wii work out and I decided to attempt a "stairmaster" workout with our actual hallway stairs. I managed to climb them once and my knee gave out. This may not be a good idea for me. I will try it again because if I can do it, it will sure roast the calories fast !

Lunch was turkey breast on Arnolds ( if you cut it different it looks different , and is a whole new lunch) with sliced carrot, celery , apple and Diet Soda for 290. What can I say- it's a turkey sandwich. After lunch , another Wii workout.

We finished school , and before I tackled my afternoon of printing for next week ( or as I call it being chained to the printer beast) I grabbed a snack of 1 cup nonfat plain yogert, 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds, 1 tsp flax oil and Stevia. 200 calories. Mixing it was playing with food and appealed to my inner child , who wanted to spend the afternoon doing anything other than being chained to a printer !

When the hubs got home we headed out to do grocery shopping in the nasty cold rain, and came home to a dinner of a simple marinara sauce with ground turkey in the crock pot. Served over whole wheat pasta and sliced cucumber, tomatoes and mini sweet peppers with another diet soda for 470 calories
Dinner was late and there was a rush of activity of the necessary but uninteresting kind and finally the day was done and I grabbed my evening snack of an apple and a Fiber Plus bar for 200 calories. Days total calories was 1500 on the nose !

Tomorrow morning is weigh in again, and we shall see if that digital contraption arees with the non scale progress. Which is better, really ? To have a number that only you and your Doctor sees tell you your worth or more obvious things like clothing , feeling more energetic and fitting better in the world around you ? Personally, I hold equal stock in both !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's tricky to find the right way to treat me

Yesterday I tried investigating some different exercises in an attempt to take some of the possible muscle development off my back muscles for a while. It's a tricky proposition, because of the limitations we have here. Traditional aerobics is out because of the stomping( we live on the third floor of a complex and my knee does to take well to high impact exercises). Running is completely forbidden because of the knee. I have no tread mil or other such equipment ( or space or money for one),no bike, re bounders aggravate my bladder ( you don't get far with calorie burn if you take three bounces and have to find a bathroom NOW), yoga and belly dancing aggravate the back muscles which then case pain when I lay down to sleep. It takes a lot of thinking to figure out what will get me moving, moving for a sustained enough time to get a calorie burn and will not aggravate my back or knee. The answer seems to be certain yoga postures, some walking and assorted calisthenics that do not involve impact with my knee. Squats are out but planks are okay for example. Hand weights and resistance bands are okay. Very modified crunches are also okay.It seemed to work well, and last night I got a decent nights sleep.

In other matters, my son is keeping count of the days till Halloween, and campaigning that we have a night of spooky looking food. Halloween is a pretty big deal in this house because of my faith path , because it honors the ancestors. My son knows this ( hubby and son are of an opposing faith), but still the commercial presentation of this holiday with assorted axe yielding maniacs and insane criminals seem to be everywhere. Some monster figures are okay , because they are depictions of our darker human nature or based on historical attitudes, so it's a somewhat gentle battle to reach a compromise. Thank goodness for Family for their fun, spooky and healthy food ideas !

Speaking of food

yesterday's breakfast- a large egg scrambled with a slice of provalone cheese, 3 slices of turkey bacon and a Thomases English Muffin with butter spray for 300 calories

Lunch was a grilled cheese( slice of mild cheddar) on an Arnolds Thin with celery, carrots and a sliced apple for 300

I was kind of craving something creamy at snacktime so I opted for a carton of Fiber One yogert, a 100 calorie pack of almonds and a Wasa Multigran cracker for 200 calories

Dinner had one of my new weaknesses- roast root veggies ! This mix was butternut squash, sweet potato and blue potatoes. I am a sucker for colorful food ! Served with steamed spinach and a chicken breast cooked in Fit and Active cream of mushroom soup. Really yummy at 375 calories !

We caught Glee ( I think it is the most brilliant show on this season) and I snacked on a 100 calorie pack of almonds, a Fiber Plus bar and an apple sprinkled with cinnamon ( flavor, blood sugar stabilizer and flu preventative) for 300 calories. Total calories for the day 1470.

Today will be a day of walking , and begining to assemble goodies for the trick or treaters. I decided this year to give out 100 calorie packs of cookies instead of candy. First off, why would I contribute to childhood obesity when I am working so hard to correct it ? Second, when we wind up with leftovers ( which always happens here) I ill not be scrambling to figure out what to do with them. Seems like a win win thing.

Question- what are you planning on handing out this Halloween ?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Growth is sometimes painful

Things got off to a late start yesterday. While I was unable to sleep my son seemed to be able to get enough in for both of us, and so he woke up late. Not the end of the world, but one of those inconvenient details to work through the day. It gave me some time to try to think in logical terms about my knee and hip situation. No definite conclusions, but it seems logical that while I am doing some of the yoga exercises the muscles in my torso are becoming more defined, and in that process my spine is being held slightly different . As things are shifting, when I lay down to sleep one of my discs is being relaxed just enough to make it slip into an unaligned state , and it is causing the pain in my knees and hips.Solution is going to be get a new pillow and keep doing what I am doing so the muscles get strong enough to support as they should. I have been plagued with back problems in the past, and have learned first hand what weirdness it can cause in your body. So for now it is push on, grab as many cat naps as I can and just trust in the process.

After son got up we grabbed breakfast and then tackled our first work out session. I do not work out before breakfast because years ago I found that if I exercise before eating I would get serious heartburn . The option was a fast one - 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 3/4 c Special K and 1 cup frozen blueberries for 280 calories. Fun to mix !

After a morning of chemistry, the Civil War and grammar it was lunch time

Turkey ham and cheese on Arnolds Thin, celery, carrots and a honeycrisp apple for 360 calories. There was a second session of Wii Fit Plus to help work out the tension from the morning and burn off more calories. Then back to the books to finish the day.

After school I had to work on the menu and grocery list for next week . Some times when I start thinking about what to eat in the future I get nibbly, so to prevent that from happening I grabbed my afternoon snack for 200 calories
I decided this time to try out some of the different options from, just to prevent us from getting in a nutritional rut. If you limit your dietary options for your main meals to only a certain rotation of foods, you can become nutritionally deficient, and it can lead to serious problems down the road. It is a hassle finding new things and calculating the calories, but it will help to keep you out of the doctors office in the long run. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of seasonal produce. Mixing it up is a very good idea.

Dinner was a baked turkey burger with roast Parmesan garlic zucchini, peppers and mushrooms and brown rice with a salad of romaine, cucumbers and tomatoes on the side for 341 calories . Roast veggies are sort of a natural pair with any kind of meat you roast in the oven. You can roast any veggie except lettuce I believe- though I may be overlooking some way to use lettuce !

Evening snack was 100 calories of almonds, a Fiber Plus bar and a much needed to be eaten pair for 300 calories. Day total was 1481.We settled down to an evening of tv, watching 18 Kids and counting to see the arrival of their first grandchild. Baby shows always make me think about having another one ( for a few seconds) , and affirming that if it does happen I would like to try a homebirth. It's not for everyone, and I had not learned that it was even an option till after my son was a toddler. Once I discovered it, I have not been able to get the idea out of my mind. I have had several miscarriages after my son, and with each one I considered a home birth option. What will be will be- and at 51 I seriously doubt it will be something I actually get to do !

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday brings movement

Monday means back to school, back to routines and all that jazz. Thankfully it was an uneventful day on the negative side, but filled with a lot of those little moments that will stay in your memory forever. I like those kinds of days !

We began the day with Mom Mc Muffins- 1/2 cup egg beaters , 2 oz of turkey ham and a slice of provalone with a cup of french press coffee and cream for 300 calories. I am getting addicted to fresh ground french press coffee !

We did a Wii Fit plus workout, began school and then took a break to go for a walk, in search for materials for an art project- a bare branch that looks like a tree. It will be used in our Halloween decorations later. While out and about we also decided to try to get a closer look at this squirrels nest that has been outside our window , but hidden by leaves all season

Pretty big, isn't it ? There have been several squirrels living in it for the past couple of months, but now that the leaves are gone they seem to have moved on. After we found our branch we came back to do more schoolwork till lunchtime. It was a very good morning !

Lunch was an egg salad sandwich on Arnold s, mug of alphabet soup, carrots, celery and a sliced apple for 365 calories. Something about this lunch reminds me of my own grade school days when i would come home and eat lunch while my mom did her ironing and watched soap operas.After lunch we ot back to school , and during the afternoon session we made our anual sugar skulls for decoration. We are not hispanic, but Halloween is a religious holiday to honor the departed in my faith. These traditional Mexican crafts fit in very nicely with the holiday

Right now they are blank while they dry, but next week they will be decorated with frosting, sequence and more. We do not eat these, so non food items are okay to add on.To make them our way, take a bag of powdered sugar, a can of white frosting and knead them together to form a playdough like clay. Then shape and let them dry for about a week.

After school was done we did another Wii fit workout and had a snack- 2 rice cakes with 2 T whipped strawberry cream cheese. 150 calories. When you add a big glass of water, this really stays with you !

Dinner featured an old favorite done in a new way. Citrus Ginger Dump Chicken, whole wheat couscous and roast butternut squash cubes . I peeled and cubed a butternut squash , tossed the cubes in 1 T olive oil , spread on a cookie sheet and sprinkled with cinnamon and stevia. I roasted it at 425 for 30 minutes.We all really likes it, and it seems the stevia sort of caramelizes under heat. Tomatoes and cucumbers served on the side for 496 calories

After dinner it was a family Wii workout session, and then a snack while watching Dancing with the stars - a pear and Fiber Plus bar for 200 calories. Days total calories 1501.

I am up blogging at this hour because I cannot sleep. It seems that on the nights when I do work outs I fall into a deep sleep for about an hour and then wake up with intense pain in my hips and knees that herbs or OTC pain medications will not relive. On the nights when I do not work out, I sleep deeply without pain. If I do not work out, the weight loss slows, but if I do not get enough sleep my adrenal glands start pumping high levels of cortizol and it causes numerous problems in my body ( arterial problems, throws my thyroid out of balance, sends my cholesterol levels into the dangerous range and aggravates my arthritis). I am not sure what to do about this.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday was a "stimmy" day

WARNING- the following contains content that may not be appropriate for more sensitive readers, people eating , or anyone with the ability to read between the lines. If this is you, you might want to skip down to the pictures.

Being the parent of an autistic child has some great challenges. You sometimes wind up doing things that you never visualized yourself dealing with while you wer dreaming of baby names and shopping for all those pink or blue outfits. Autism takes those dreams and gives them a whole new slant. You never considered it would have to be pink or blue AND of a texture that did not make them non communicative. You never dream of hearing them say their name ( or some other nonsense sort of detail) over and over and over again day after day because the cadence of the speech comforts them. You aspire to feed them healthy food and give them good toys, never imagining they would eat the packaging , wrappers and sometimes the toys them self. But when you have an autistic child, these things happen. Son has been making real progress, but he is still autistic. There are still some behaviors that show up , which means we still have work. He may never be free of these. The two that linger the strongest with him are repetitive speech ( recites the upcoming schedule of events over and over and over) and he eats non food things. It is not Pica ( a condition where a person craves non food things because of a deficiancy) , but instead a neurological stimming mechanism. In autistic children, a stim helps them to stay present, or acts as a comforting device.

Yesterday morning I woke up with a really stiff neck, and I tried to get a little more rest after hubby left. Son was watching a DVD and went to the bathroom. He yelled the potty was backed up and he would plunge it. Well, he does not totally understand the process, flushed again, and I was alerted to a flood in the bathroom. Gallos of water get the idea. Two rolls of paper towels, three bathtowels, rags, a sponge mop and bailing with a bowl later and the mess was cleaned. Mommy using the plunger got the glog busted. But in the process, I discovered son was once again eating non food. Wrappers, small plastic toys and more. It is a miracle this stuff passed without pain or got stuck in his appendix ! What a mess- and what a morning ! However, i did explain to son that this is one reason we do not eat non food. He helped clean the mess up every step of the way, and I hope this experience helps him to learn how to control this stim- if that is even possible.

Okay- enough about that. On with the good stuff for the day. The only exercise I got in was a short walk , but rest days are importaint. If you can call yesterday a rest day !

Breakfast was crocopot pumpkin grains. For us it was 1/3 cup whole wheat, 1/3 cup barley and 1/3 cup steel cut oats with 1 can solid packed pumpkin and 4 cups of water, 1 T cinnamon and 1 T brown sugar. Place in a crockpot at bedtime and it is ready in the morning. Top with 1 T peanut butter, 1 T Pumpkin Butter, 1 t flax oil, 2 T ground flax and t T crasins for 434 calories. This was really, really good !

Lunch ( after the flood) was a pizza made on an Aldi's original wrap ( 90 calories) topped with 1/4 cup Italian blend cheese, sliced mushrooms and bacon bits. Celery , carrots and a tomato joined in for 330 calories

Snack, after running to the library and the store for more paper towels was an apple and a Fiber Plus bar for 200 calories

Dinner was roast root veggies ( turnip, sweet potato, carrot, blue potato) topped with a turkey burger and gravy. Tossed salad ( romaine, tomato, cucumber) on the side for 347 calories

Evening snack was a sliced bartlett pear and 100 calorie pack of almonds for 170 calories. Total calorie count for the day was 1484 calories.

Here's hoping today is not another "stimmy" day !

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mausoleum 1 K day

We came, we saw, we tackled the whole thing ! I still do not know the entire distance of the floor plan of Queen of Heaven Mausoleum, but we gesstimate it is 3/4 of a mile to walk the length of all 3 floors. Based on a cemetary map, odometer, adjustments for bends and so forth it is the best we can figure. It was a great day !

The day began with pumpkin oats . Take rolled oats and cook them in a mix of water, solid pack pumpkin and cinnamon, add a little brown sugar, and cook. Then top with 2 T ground flax, 1 T almond butter, 1t flax oil, 1 T coconut, 1 T dried blueberries and 1 T crasins. A great tasting, healthy, stick to your ribs , fun to mix 400 calorie breakfast ! Then off to the mausoleum.

This is the exterior as best as I could capture it. The whole thing would not fit in a shot ! Looks massive, but inside it is a museum of peace, reverence and reflection

One of the hallways- this one is named Our Lady of the Rosary

One of the numerous alcoves- lots of beautiful stained glass windows

son and hubby in front of one of the mosaics. We walked and walked, oohed and ahhed, and when we completed the walk , it was off to Sweet Tomatoes for a healthy lunch
first plate- a great salad with romaine, baby spinach, butternut squash, red onions, raw beets garbanzo beans, black olives, feta cheese and fat free french dressing. Captured with my phone camera, which does not take the greatest pics.

Plate 2 was their signature salads for this half month- from the top clockwise Broccoli Wockoly, wild rice , taffy apple and Strawberry Fields. So good !
Then a pass at the soup and bakery station- split pea soup with ham, a piece of brushetta foccacia, roast garlic foccacia and a spiced pumpkin muffin. I was happy and full ! After lunch we stopped off at a Trader Joes on the way to stock up on some supplements and grab whatever else we found. Coffee found its way into my cart as well as hard cider.

Dinner was pork roast in the crockpot cooked with carrots( remember pigzilla ? This was one of the 11 meals it became) with roast brussel sprouts , diet soda and Hard apple cider. My hubby has never had hard cider before and it just sounded so good going with pork roast. We rarely if ever drink, and this six pack will last us for a long time. It was very tasty ! And roast Brussels sprouts are "da bomb "! You simply cut and pare them, put in a ziplock, toss with 1 T olive oil and then spread on a cookie sheet and salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400 for 25 minutes. No bitterness, just a great mild taste. The food was 311 calories, the cider was 120. Ouch !

After dinner was family boardgame night and dessert of an Aldi's Skinny cow ice cream. This time they had strawberry cheesecake flavored ones, which were pretty good- 120 calories each.

I don't know what my calorie count was for the day because of the lunch option, but I remember it was a definite good option from weight watchers point calculation, so I feel pretty safe with the day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Saturday, another weigh in. This post is going to be quick, as we are heading out for the "Mausoleum 1k- do this or reside here sooner" walk. Pictures tomorrow !

Me- DOWN 2.8 !
Hubby - DOWN 0.8
Son- DOWN 3.6

Yesterdays food log
Breakfast mess- cottage cheese, blueberries, special k cereal - 290 calories

Lunch- egg salad on Arnolds with cucumber, tomato and a bartlett pear-256 calories

Snack- a Fiber Plus bar and an apple- 200 calories

Dinner- basic mainara sauce with ground turkey in the crockpot over ronzoni whole wheat pasta with tomatoes and cucumbers-470
Snack - 2 wasa multi grain crackers, 2 Laughing cow lite and an apple-230 calories. Total calories for the day -1455. Not a lot of exercising as I had to spend a lot of time with paperwork.

Have a good one !

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grocery antics

Yesterday we went shopping, and along with coming home with perhaps more tomatoes and cucumbers than I could imagine, there was also this monstrous pork loin that jumped in the cart and followed me home. By monstrous, I mean the thing is so huge I have to fold it in half to fit it in the fridge ! My plan is to cut it up into a couple of roasts, chops and cubes and store it in the freezer for many meals to come, something that I have done many times before , but never wit one this big. Are pigs now cross breeding with elephants ?? I researched the calorie count for this cut ( 4 oz is 160 calories) , so I will be good to go with my digital scale, chefs knife and cutting board later today. One helpful thing I have found is to label freezer bags with the calorie counts for each portion when freezing so you do not wind up with mystery meals or the need to hunt down the nutritional info later.

The day began with a Thomases Better Start English muffin with whipped cream cheese and a Yoplus lite yogert for 230 calories. I always get nervous when I plan this breakfast because I keep thinking it will not be enough, but I keep the faith and it always brings me to lunchtime without the growlies.After breakfast we got in a Wii fit workout and then tackled school.

Lunch was a pizza on an Aldi's Original wrap sprinkled with 1/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese, 1 T bacon bits and 1 big mushroom, sliced. On the side was an apple and some celery and carrot sticks for 320 calories. I think this might be our favorite lunch here ! After lunch we did another workout and then finished our schoolwork for the day.

Mid afternoon I grabbed an apple and a Fiber Plus bar for 200 calories, and then set to double checking the grocery list, looking for a few more items for school next week and then finally shopping itself. Our produce market is a real explosion of so many different variety of apples now ! We bought a ton, and my house smells very apple-y. Not a bad thing !

Dinner was one of my crock pot go to meals- black bean chili with cornbread and tomatoes and cucumbers on the side for 460 calories. To make it I put a can of black beans, a pound of ground turkey and a large jar of mild salsa in my crockpot at lunchtime, and it is good to go at dinner. I served this with 2 tsp flax oil in the bowl because we have not been getting enough healthy fats, and my skin is starting to show it. Healthy fats are critical to yo0ur health, and have been know to bring dramatic changes in things you would not suspect. it was the use of flax oil and evening primrose oil that brought about the most profound improvement in my son's autism, and I will never ignore them. Since we have stopped eating oatmeal every day or boiled vegetables, I have struggled to find ways to include 2 tsp of healthy fat in our daily intake, so this was an experiment. It tasted very good !

We settled in for the evening , and later I grabbed my evening snack
2 rice cakes with whipped cream cheese for 150 calories. Sort of boring, but very satisfying !. Total calorie intake for the day was 1360- a little low, but I was not suffering. I learned in the evening that my new nephew is comming home today ! He had suffered seizures at birth and they discovered he had also had a small stroke during birth. He has been kept for observation for a week, but now he is totally stable and able to come home. I can't wait to meet this little guy soon !