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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Book, Etc.

I think I have an idea of why my weight jumped up so much.  It also may explain why my weight was better than expected when I had been eating more than I should.  I had not been taking my blood pressure medicine for quite a while, and decided I needed to do that a few weeks ago.  I still had some, so I got back into the habit of taking one every morning.  My BP medicine has a diuretic in it.  Then, about a week ago, I ran out and I still have not picked up the prescription.  I had some other left over that did not have the added diuretic, and I have been taking that until I get my other one picked up.  Water weighs a lot, and I think the whole thing has to do with fluid retention.  I bet when I get back on the other medicine, it will drop again.

But that means, I have not been making any real progress on losing fat in a few weeks.  So, it is time to buckle down.

I ate as planned last night and tracked it.  I came in at 38 points. I guess up until dinner, I had been eating foods that were less points per volume (points were 19 until dinner).  Based on that, I was afraid I was going to have trouble eating 39 points a day.  But what I ate last night was more “expensive,” so it brought the points right on up there.

I was low on groceries today (today is payday), so I had a Clif Bar this morning.  My mistake was I got a Clif Energy Bar, instead of a protein bar.  It counted 7 points, but only had 9 grams of protein.  I also had a banana, which was zero points.  32 oz. of water so far.  My goal is to drink 4 32-oz. bottles today.  I have heard/read conflicting information about how much water you should drink.  Some say you should drink half of your body weight in ounces.  Others say you do not need that much.  128 oz. is not quite half my body weight, but right on up there.  Surely that will be enough?  I am already having to…just, a minute – I’ll be right back!  Lol.

I received the book I ordered, Blood Sugar Solution.  I read just a little when I opened it and a chapter during lunch, and I can tell it will “require” pretty drastic changes.  I will have to decide if I feel able to do everything recommended.  However, given the state of my health the last few years, how can I refuse to do what I need to do to feel better?  One thing it says is to get off all sugars – natural or artificial.  The only input I have on that is that one period of my life where I was able to lose most of the weight I needed to lose and keep it off for a period of time, I quit eating sweets.  When I eat sweets, I crave sweets.  When I quit eating sweets, after a week or two, I stopped craving them.  I became accustomed to saying no and it did not bother me.  However, I did not worry about incidental sugars, like in most prepared mixes, or ketchup, or anything like that.  I just did not eat sweets.  I did drink diet drinks at the time.  I no longer drink diet drinks (except for SF Red Bulls right now, darn it).  Anyway, during this time, I lost down to 135 pounds, which for me is quite trim.  I was 5’7” tall.  My exercise was to walk, and I walked quite a bit.  So, I do know not eating sweets is a good thing.  I stayed off of sweets for three years and, like a dummy, let someone talk me into eating baked goods with honey in them.  I knew better.  And sure enough, it wasn’t long until I was addicted again.  And I slowly gained weight and got bigger and bigger.  I do seem to be able to control it better than I used to, but still, if I binge, it is always sweet.  I did notice his recipes had a little raw honey, so maybe he adds that back after you stabilize.

This book goes a lot further than no sweets.  He recommends no gluten or dairy if you find you are having a bad reaction to either.  But my health is not good.  Not only am I having the back problems, but I have chronic pain in general, and chronic fatigue.  I do not have diabetes, but I am insulin resistant and at one point was told I was pre-diabetic (my blood sugar level went back down after that).  I have high blood pressure.  As far as I know, that is the only heart-related problem I am having, but that is not good.  I believe I have chronic inflammation and I have chronic headaches.  I often have a Vitamin D deficiency and have to take a high powered supplement to get my levels back up when they fall too low.  I suspect that these things are taking a greater toll that I know and I will be having some life-threatening health issues in the near future if I do not make some changes.  So, I am going to read the book and go from there.  Until then, I will use Weight Watchers to keep what I eat under control and I will lose weight for a time.  But I feel sure I will lose to a certain point and then have difficulty.  And I am going to eat as few processed foods as I can.  He says stay away from any foods that have more than five things listed on the ingredients.

I just know I am ready to feel better.  It has been many years, if ever, since I have REALLY enjoyed life.  My weight has crippled me for 90% of my life.  That is not good.

Lunch today was a sandwich with 2 ounces of the raspberry chipotle chicken, a slice of pepper jack cheese, ¼ avocado, with spinach leaves, sliced onion and green pepper.  I put about a teaspoon of Newman’s Own Light Balsamic dressing on it.  With it I had a serving of sweet potato “fries,” and some grapes.  For snack I had some Greek yogurt (honey vanilla).

Tonight I am doing some grocery shopping, so I am not sure what it is on the menu.  Something quick, but healthy.  I need to decide on that ahead of time.  Maybe we will pick up some tacos at Chipotle.  I am going to try to buy less this time to cut down on vegetable spoilage.  We will have to go again before next paycheck, I am betting.  Next paycheck will be the last time I have to buy groceries for everyone.  :)  When I am shopping for just me, I am going to try to go more organic.  I just cannot afford to do it for all of us (more than I already do).  I feel bad about that, but it is so expensive.  It is expensive enough just buying fresh fruit and vegetables for all of us.  Anyone who says it is less expensive to eat healthy doesn’t live in my house.  Everyone is trying to trim down and be healthier.

I don’t grill much (it’s so hot!), but I would like to do more.  One thing about the loft is I will not have a patio.  The only way for me to grill is to use the cabana on the community patio.  I hope I will get out there and do that sometimes, just for me.  I guess I will have to make use of the grill pan for the most part.  I thought of that because I found a yummy sounding recipe that looks very healthy (Pork Souvlaki Salad with Black Pepper Tzatziki).  I’ll let you know how it turns out (I will make it sometime in the next few days, probably the weekend).

Off I go!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sobering Doctor's Visit

My doctor’s appointment was kind of sobering.  What did I learn?  My back is really messed up.  I knew that.  Several levels have had further narrowing (this they could tell just from the x-ray).  Not much to be done other than continue efforts to lose weight.  The surgery they would do, if they did one, is a 360 fusion, which involves going in from the front and the back.  I have too much belly fat right now.  Besides, I don’t want surgery.  All I can do for now is to continue weight loss efforts, find exercises I can do that help me lose weight and help my back.  She said yoga is great.  I am going to look into that when I move.  They have a class offered in the loft community I am moving to.  The thing is, I know from reading what can happen if there is nerve damage.  I do not want to go there.  I have to work harder.  That’s just all there is to it.  I have to go back in three months.  My goal is to have 30 more pounds off by then.  That’s a big goal, but it could be done if I stay on course.

I just joined Weight Watchers online.  The accountability will do me good.  When I get moved, I will find a meeting.  I have to do what it takes to get this done.  Period.  I tracked what I have eaten so far today. It is 5:45 p.m. and I have eaten a little less than half of the points I am allowed.  I suspected that would be the case.  It scares me a little, but I will give it a try, eating the number of points they recommend.  For the most part, I will use the weekly points allowance for my splurge meal.  I am allowed 39 daily points and 49 weekly points.  That seems like A LOT.  But I am a big girl.  We will see how this goes.

I forgot to say earlier today that the other thing I am going to really work on is pushing the water.  I am not doing very well at that and I need much more.

All for now.  Just to get this off my chest.

Reporting In

The scale still shows I am up about 5 pounds.  I have not eaten in a way that I should have gained 5 pounds, so it is a little frustrating.  However, I have not been very focused with my eating a lot of the time, and I am going to work on that.

Payday is tomorrow and I will buy the groceries I need to do that.  Today, I went with my usual breakfast, which was Greek yogurt with a little honey, Kashi GoLean Crunch and some grapes.  For lunch I am having a sandwich akin to the Subway sandwiches I used to have, but with the sandwich thins that are 100 calories, so it reduces the calories in my sandwich.  With that I will have a few sweet potato “fries” (baked) some baby carrots, and some grapes.  My plan for dinner is to have one of those chicken breasts like I made last week with the raspberry chipotle sauce.  My daughter (the one who never cooks) liked those so well, she asked me to show her how to make them and she made up another batch.  I will have some wild rice and steamed broccoli with that, along with some grilled pineapple.

I still did not work out this morning.  I asked for help on getting my pedal tightened up on my bike and my daughter tried to help me.  She got it tightened up some, but it quickly loosened.  We still did not have the right kind of tool.  I am going to have to buy the right size of socket and a wrench, if I cannot borrow one.  I had some little sockets that work with my drill (yes, I have a drill!), but they were too small.  It would be nice if I could find a bigger socket like these, but I don’t know if they make them for the drill at that size.  I still did not get out the door to walk.  I need to get all my stuff prepared to do that so I can slip out with Cassie if that is what I have to do.  I could buy a socket wrench and return it.  I would not feel too bad about that, since I really have no use for socket wrench most of the time.  I am not going to work on my own car (although one time I started out fixing my own brakes, when one of the girls’ friends helped me out and finished it; those were my poor days, and I was determined I was going to get it done).

Another problem is that my knee started really bothering me yesterday.  I was trying to decide if it was my knee or my back.  I think it is my back (pain radiates to the knee).  I am doing more lifting right now, getting ready to move, and it caused a minor flare-up.  I have a doctor’s appointment today, but nothing will be done today that will help it.  I predict she will tell me to continue what I am doing and will continue my medications.  I may ask her about an anti-inflammatory med, since I am having a lot of all-over pain.  I don’t know if she will do that, though, since she is a spine surgeon and doesn’t deal with more generalized things.  I need to have my annual check-up.  I should probably do that the week I am off while moving.

Speaking of which, my internist is a fairly new doctor to me and I started going to her because I decided I was finally going to get a doctor close to home.  I had been going to one way up in Plano, and from Midlothian, that is a long, long way.  So I found a good doctor in Midlothian.  And now I am moving.  I really want one that is not too much trouble to go to.  I may have to find one at Baylor Dallas or Southwestern.  They are both close.

We did work on the garage Saturday.  Back in April, our a/c went out for a month (that is a story in itself that I won’t go into), and we had a window unit during that time.  We turned it on in the garage (even though it wasn’t vented) and kept the door from the house to the garage open, and it stayed very bearable in the garage.  I admit that my daughter Bethany did most of it, especially the heavy lifting part.  I did a lot of sorting through little things, deciding what to keep, what to sell in the garage sale, and what to throw away.  We have things all organized now and know what will be sold in the garage sale.  Now we will have to work on getting that ready for the actual sale – pricing, displaying, etc.  It is nice to know we can use that window unit then, too, so whoever sits out in the garage a lot can sit next to it when possible.  The rest of the weekend, I worked on some packing and then trying to put the house back in order in case anyone comes to look at the house.

One goal I had was to get my Christmas decorations whittled down to two bins.  I will have very limited storage in the loft.  I gave my artificial tree to the girls, who have an outside storage closet, and I will get me a little one (either real or artificial) when the time comes.  So I won’t need as many decorations.  Maybe we will end up having Christmas at the girls’ apartment this year, since they have a two bedroom, but my loft is actually bigger than their apartment, so maybe not.  The square footage in my loft is mostly dedicated to the living space, which is what we will need the most, since all of us live in the Metroplex.  We don’t usually have extended family on Christmas Day.

So, that was my weekend.  I didn’t really want to report in, since my weight was so “bad,” but I have to work on getting back on track and hiding will not do it for me.  Have a great week everyone!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Get a WHOLE Weekend!

I got up this morning and got started on my workout and, darn!, the pedal on my recumbent bike became fairly loose.  It has been making a noise for a while, but I couldn’t see what was wrong with it.  I was afraid if I kept going, I would mess it up permanently, so I stopped.  I don’t see (to read) as well as I used to, and I can’t get down on the floor as easily as I used to, and the combination of the two made it hard to see what needed to be done.  I think I need a socket wrench of the proper size to tighten the pedal back up.  Since I do not own any socket wrenches, I couldn’t do that this morning.  A regular wrench wouldn’t work.  So I got very little workout again this morning.  :(

I got on the scale for my daily weigh-in and I was up over 280!  What is up with that?!  I have eaten in such a way this week where I should have lost some weight.  I know I am retaining water because I am puffy, plus I had already drank probably 16 ounces of water, which, if you don’t know, immediately shows up on the scale.  Plus my other – how shall we say, digestive problems? – I am sure have me weighing more right now.  I know this just goes with the territory and these fluctuations are normal, but still!

Those kinds of things don’t usually bother me, but this morning, I almost let it get to me.  I have been drinking a SF Red Bull every morning – I know that’s bad, but I am SO SLEEPY all the time – and right in front of the cooler where the Red Bulls are in the store, there is a rack with all these different kinds of candy – the kind you can buy a little bag for $.59 or 2 for $1.00.  On that rack are some “cherry slices” (like orange slices, but these are cherry).  I don’t know why, but I have a real weakness for those.  I have always preferred the pure sugar, fruit-flavored candy to chocolate (talk about a spike in blood sugar!).  I picked up a bag.  I had it in my hand.  And then I came to my senses and realized I was doing it because I was frustrated with what the scale said this morning.  So, I HUNG IT BACK UP.  Yay me!

Next week, I have to get this workout thing back in line.  I will get my pedal tightened up over the weekend, so there is no problem Monday morning.  If something happens where I can’t get it fixed, I will walk.

One reason I am looking so forward to moving is that, right now, besides my Yorkie, our two big dogs, a yellow lab and a lab/pit mix, are sleeping in crates in the living room.  It’s so hot, and they need some time to be in the cool.  But I hate leaving my bedroom in the morning before everyone else gets up because it gets them all stirred up.  It is the rule at my house that my daughters have to deal with the big dogs – they are their dogs.  It’s not that I don’t like them.  It’s just that they can be rambunctious at times, and they are so big, that can be a little overwhelming.  And they seem to just love me and fight for my attention.  And Cassie feels like I am his private property – obviously, we need to do some dog training (Cesar, can you help us?) – and so he makes a big ruckus when they are around.  This is more than I want to deal with in the early morning.  I will not have to worry about this when I move.  I can go wherever the heck I want to in my loft, anytime I want to, and the only thing I have to deal with is Cassie dogging my every step.  (I do plan to work on his training more when I move and don’t have so much other stuff to deal with.)  Taking a walk on a weekday morning doesn’t sound that attractive to me right now, for these reasons.  But I only have another month to deal with it, thank the Lord.

Speaking of which, my move-in date has moved up a day!  Yay!  I am finding out that getting a cleaning crew in on a Saturday is not that easy, especially on a holiday weekend (I am moving on Labor Day Weekend).  So I am going to get moved out on Thursday, the 30th, and the cleaning crew and the carpet cleaning crew can come in on Friday.  I hope all of this will result in my getting most of my deposit back.  I feel sure I won’t get all of it, but there is $1,750 at stake, so I should get some of it.  Plus, I just don’t need the stress of going back to the house to do the cleanup myself, so I have been saving up to do this, regardless of whether I get my deposit back.

We need to get out and work in the garage this weekend.  However, the forecast tomorrow in Dallas is 109 degrees!  I guess I could sweat off a bunch of calories that way, but I am doubtful we will be doing that on Saturday.  I could get up and do it on Sunday, when the forecast is only 99-100 degrees (funny how that seems “cool” this time of year).  We will see.  We will have to get to it soon.  We have a garage sale to get ready for.

My shoe organizer “shelves” came in and I put them together.  Isn’t it lovely?  All those shoes used to be all over the bottom of my closet.  (I think I need to start incorporating some more color into my shoe wardrobe.)

Made another pesto pizza today (as I said yesterday, I am trying to make do with the groceries I have until payday).  I decided to try some avocado on it this time.  It was good!  The only thing was, I didn’t cook it as long as I usually do (I was talking to someone in the kitchen and not paying enough attention), so my crust wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked.  Other than that, it was delicious.  I am going to try some more toppings in the future (sautéed onion and bell pepper, artichoke, etc.).  It’s a very easy meal for me to grab the ingredients, keep them in the fridge at work, and put in the toaster oven at lunchtime.  I wonder how it would taste without the cheese?  Of course, the pesto would still have the parmesan in it.
No working late tonight, since my boss is on vacation.  :)  I get a whole weekend!  Everyone make it a great one, and stay cool!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kind of a Vacation - Not

I know I already posted this morning, but that was really yesterday’s post.  This is today’s post.  :)

My boss was at meetings today and went straight to the airport from there, so essentially, he was already on vacation as far as my duties are concerned.  So, I had time to use as I saw fit.  I am working on organizing my area.  Kind of a vacation with my boss gone.

As I have mentioned, I was not born with the “organization gene”.  I am probably a bit more comfortable with clutter than a lot of people, but when a space is organized, I do enjoy it.  I just have to work at it a little more than some people.  This is a habit and trait I would like to develop.  And it always feels so good when it is done.  My problem is, you can’t just do it once; it is a day-to-day process.  And in the heat of the moment, with the constant interruptions and working right up until sometimes very late, things start to come undone.  Once I move, I plan to come to the office for an hour each weekend (it will be so easy, since it will only be a 5-minute walk), and do some maintenance tasks that I don’t always have the time to do when everyone is at the office.  And I like working in solitude.  Right now, I am trying to analyze how things get like they do and come up with a system that will help keep things a little less cluttered.  Part of it is that my boss will come in and say, here’s this and this and this and this.  Do something with those.  And then immediately call me into his office to do other things and that takes the rest of the day.  I come back to my desk at who knows what time, and there is that stuff, but it’s late and someone is picking me up, and I have to go.

I do not have problems finding things.  But my unorganized area does not inspire confidence in other people and that bothers me.  If I cannot find something that I, in fact, do not have, the person who is asking for it is always a little skeptical, thinking it is probably buried under the clutter on my desk.  So I am determined to overcome this tendency.

Lunch today was at Paradise Bakery.  I got a half California Turkey sandwich on wheat bread and a cup of Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.  They give you a free cookie with a meal (Paradise cookies are to die for!), but I said no thank you.  They asked if I would like a small portion of pasta salad or fruit salad as a substitute.  I snapped up the fresh fruit.  Yum!  I just looked at the website for nutrition information on the sandwich.  They don’t list it, and based on the ingredients, it was probably not very low calorie.  But I only got a half and I got it on wheat bread.  And it had a lot of fresh veggies on it.  The soup was advertised as low fat, so I am pretty sure it was fine.  They have a book with nutrition information in the restaurant, so next time I will have to look at it to determine the smartest choices there.  I still feel fine about my choices today, since it was very portion controlled, and I resisted the most fattening thing, the cookie.

I was just thinking.  A lot of things have changed with me over the last months.  I grew up in a large family, the youngest of five children.  I think I always grew up afraid I wouldn’t get my fair share.  And every meal was a time to make sure I did that.  I rarely have that old feeling anymore.  Usually when I am overeating, it is stress related or some type of other emotional thing.  It is much easier to portion control than it used to be.  So I don’t feel bad having a sandwich with a little of some higher calorie spread on it, as long as the bulk of it is healthy stuff and the spread is not in excess.  And the portion is controlled.  That is how many naturally thin people eat.  If everything I eat is extremely low fat and boring, I will get off track from boredom.

My groceries are limited right now and my money is short (at least the money I am “allowed” to spend), so I just had to use what I had on hand to make dinner.  I had a BLTA  with some vegetable soup.  I cooked the bacon in the oven on a rack, so the grease dripped off of it.  I put a little olive oil mayonnaise on one side and a little spicy guacamole on the other side, along with lettuce and tomato.  It was delicious.  I did feel a little hungry after that and munched on a little Kashi GoLean Crunch.  That probably was not the greatest idea, since it is pretty calorie concentrated.  But I didn’t let it get too far out of hand.

I am going to go to bed early so I can get up and get my workout done.  Hopefully I will not be so sleepy tomorrow, but I am not holding my breath.  It seems to be a part of life these days.

Good night all.

Busy Wednesday/Quiet (Hopefully) Thursday

This was my post for yesterday, which I never got posted.  I spent the last 5 hours of my work day (which ended at 11:45 p.m.) holed up in an office with my boss, and I certainly wasn’t going to get on the computer when I got home!

Wednesday:

I got up and did my workout this morning.  Honestly, I wanted to quit.  My legs felt so tired and weak.  But I put mind over feelings and got it done.

I am extremely sleepy today.  I don’t know exactly why, other than it is probably medication related.  I slept pretty well last night and went to bed at a decent hour.  I hate having to sit at the computer all day with my eyes crossing because I feel so sleepy.  I will be so happy to not have to take medication.

I am seriously considering the no dairy idea, just to see if it makes a difference.  I just wonder how long I need to do it to determine if it is helping me.  I am thinking, if I decide to do it, I will commit to doing it for two weeks to see how I do, and then possibly another two to make sure how my weight responds.  Here is a quote from the article I was reading:

The Blood Sugar Solution, who believes that cutting dairy is often key to mega weight loss, “New breeds of dairy cows produce milk with far more allergens than ever before.  And, ironically, our immune response makes us crave foods we’re allergic to.”  Cravings are only one way a dairy sensitivity can interfere with weight loss, he adds.  “Dairy promotes inflammation, which is linked to fluid retention and increased belly-fat storage.  Studies also show a 300% increase in insulin—a fat storage hormone—after eating dairy.”  Says Molly:  “Cutting out dairy was the most important thing I did for my health and my weight loss.  My hunger changed dramatically, so I was able to get down to about 1,200 calories a day with ease.  And my cravings changed, too.  I started to prefer natural foods to processed ones!”

It says later in the article that the 1,200 calorie number was at the end of her weight loss, when she was trying to get off the last few pounds.  When she was larger, she ate from 1,500-1,800 calories.  It also says she had always had “tummy troubles” when she ate dairy (which I do not), so I don’t know if it would be the same for me.

I ordered the book, The Blood Sugar Solution.  At first I didn’t want to.  I kind of wanted to bury my head in the sand, fearing it would tell me things I did not want to hear.  But I really do want to feel better and I know I have a big issue with insulin resistance and with inflammation.  If I can feel better, why wouldn’t I want to do that?  I will have to make some tough choices, but it would be worth it not to be in constant pain.

My new “cubie” at work asked me to lunch.  She was meeting some other people she used to work with, at El Fenix.  I NEVER get out for lunch.  I rarely leave my desk.  So this was kind of nice.  I was a little worried about what to eat there.  They had a “light” menu with four items on it.  I had a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup.  It was delicious, and I got out of a Mexican food restaurant for 442 calories, plus I ate probably 5 tortilla chips.  I feel good about that choice, and I will do that more often at a Mexican food restaurant if I am not having a splurge meal.  I am always remembering the Biggest Loser episode when they were showing the contestants how many calories their favorite restaurant meals had.  The girl from Frisco, Texas had Mexican food, and I want to say her calorie count was like 4,500.  Of course, that is if you eat the whole bowl of tortilla chips yourself and clean your plate, but still.  You can do some major damage at a Mexican food restaurant.  I was well satisfied with the soup.  We will see how it holds me for the afternoon.  (If I did the no dairy products thing, I would have told them “no cheese”.  I don’t think I would have missed it too much in that soup.  It was really good.)  (It held me pretty good!  I didn’t get too hungry.)

Incidentally, my “cubie,” who is tiny, tiny, thinks I “never eat.”  Not something I have ever been accused of (and not true).

I am working late tonight.  It’s the first “late” night (later than 6:30 or 7:00) in a couple of weeks.  It’s okay, I can use the extra moving money.  My boss is going on vacation beginning tomorrow afternoon, so we have to get everything done before he leaves.  Then I will have no staying late for the next week.  Famous last words.  He has been known to call in from out of town and keep me late, but not so much since he got an iPad and can deal with e-mails himself.

I just put in my formal request for days off surrounding my move date.  I will have 3 days before and 3 days after the day I move to get settled.  I move on August 31.  I am so excited!

I gave my doggie a bath this morning.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.)  He looks like a little rat when he is wet.  Poor thing shivered and shivered, but would growl when I tried to towel dry him too much, and won’t have anything to do with a hair dryer!  I couldn't get the clasp on his collar to work, so it got a bath too.  He is so soft and silky today!

For dinner I am having one of Helen’s pesto pizzas.  I brought a salad to go with it, plus some little Clementine (?) oranges.  My salad was tasting a little blah, so I added my oranges to the salad and that did the trick.  I just used the vegetables I had available, which was romaine lettuce, baby spinach, some sliced red pepper and carrots, with Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Dressing.  I have some avocado I could add, but I am thinking the fat in the pesto and the salad dressing is enough. (I ended up not getting to finish the salad because I went in my boss’ office to work for the next few hours.)

I started a new blog today.  I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I had a little today.  Jennifer talks about considering surgery vs. other measures to lose weight.  I too considered surgery.  My friend at work had bypass surgery and lost over 100 pounds.  Honestly, at one point in my life, I would have had the surgery if my insurance would have covered it or if I could have found another means to pay for it.  But it was (and is) excluded on my insurance.  I pursued it with everything I had, but excluded is excluded, no matter what the justification.  Now, I am so glad.  After I finally came to terms with the fact that insurance was not going to cover it, I buckled down and started getting to work on my weight the “old-fashioned” way – changing eating habits and exercising.  And I lost 70 pounds.  The events since that time are detailed in the beginning of my blog, but even with the difficulties I have faced, I have still come very far from the time when I was pursuing surgery.  I am not totally against the surgery.  For some people, maybe that is their only recourse.  But you still have to do other things to make the surgery work and if you can do that without the surgery, I definitely am against having it.  But, although my friend has not lost all of her weight, her diabetes is in remission.

Thursday:

That brings me to today.  I got home at 12:30 last night and did not make it out of bed in time to do a workout.  My food was very good yesterday, so I am glad for that.  I will not have to work late for the next week, anyway.  I will try to make up at least one workout on the weekend.  But I still have so much to do at home to prepare to move.

We are planning to have a garage sale a couple of weekends before the move, so we have to get ready for that.  We have basically had 3 households of stuff in my home for the last few months.  My son is moving out right now (got a new place with a friend; he had been out on his own, but his roommate/best friend was killed in a tragic accident, and it took some time for Jacob to regroup).  When his stuff gets moved out of the garage, that will give us more room to work with to arrange what will be kept and what will be sold in a garage sale.  Right now it is hard to decide what to keep.  I don’t know exactly what I will have room for, but I do know, I have way too much to go in a one-bedroom loft.  My son will take some of the leftover furniture and decorative items.  The rest I will try to sell, and then I will give what is left over to Goodwill.  It would be nice if we could make enough in the garage sale to pay for the moving truck.

The loft I am moving into will be empty after July 31, so I can go in and take measurements and get a better idea of what I need and what I need to get rid of.

My daughters have also been accumulating stuff for their new place.  They will be better set than I ever was until a long time after I was married.  We had everyone else’s giveaways for a long time.  Really, it wasn’t until after my divorce that I got my home near to what I wanted it.  God has really blessed me since my divorce.  I am so thankful He has taken such good care of me.

I am going to close this down.  I am looking forward to a quieter day, with time to work on organizing my area.  Famous last words.  It often does not work out that way, despite my good intentions.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Plugging Along

Tried a new “recipe” last night.  Actually, one I concocted.  I brined some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  (I took frozen chicken breasts and dropped them into a bowl of warm water with about a quarter cup of kosher salt, quarter cup of sugar and about a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, stirring to dissolve first.  I covered the bowl and left it in the refrigerator all day while I was at work.)  I’ve had this big bottle of raspberry chipotle sauce left over from a special occasion.  Kind of loose jelly, sort of, with a spicy twist.  I basted the brined chicken breasts in the sauce and sautéed them in a non-stick skillet.  After the first side browned, I turned them over, basted the other side, and put the skillet in the oven and cooked them another 15-20 minutes until they were done.  The chicken was so juicy, I had a hard time getting them to caramelize (maybe I should dry them in paper towels first next time), but they were really good!  Very tender and juicy, with the sweet and hot sauce on them.  Definitely not dry chicken!  I got the idea when I saw someone basting meatballs with a mixture of jelly and red pepper.  I needed some other ways to use this sauce, so I decided to try this.  Definitely worth cooking again.  I had that with some wild rice and some mixed vegetables, and watermelon for dessert.  And took leftovers for lunch today.

Incidentally, I bought the raspberry chipotle sauce to make an appetizer.  You take a block of cream cheese (reduced fat, if you like) and just pour some of the raspberry chipotle sauce on it.  Then provide wheat crackers for dipping.  Easy peasy!  And very tasty!

I had a good food day yesterday.  Actually ate a piece of whole grain bread with a little peanut butter on it in the evening because I knew I had not had enough calories for the day.  But I was satisfied all day.

I did not work out this morning.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, except I was tired and very achy and I had overslept a little, which is what happens when I take something to help me sleep.  I cannot use this excuse because I could use it on any given day.  I’m just so tired of being tired and hurting.  But I have to get my mind into gear.  I will still lose weight if I keep my food on track, but I know how important those workouts are for my overall lifestyle change.

It occurs to me that I may have to work more on pain control.  I may need to take pain meds on a more regular basis to keep things under better control, so I can better do what I need to do to permanently get better, which is lose weight.  I am finding myself struggling more consistently with pain again (with all the added activity lately).  I think for the rest of the week I will try taking my meds when it is time to take them, instead of waiting until I am hurting so much that it takes a long time for them to work.  If I can do that for a couple of weeks and really focus on getting some more pounds off, I am okay with it.  I don’t want to be dependent on meds, but right now, that is where I am.  As long as I am progressing, I can feel okay about that.  (Please understand I do not mean taking more meds than I am supposed to.  I mean taking them at the prescribed times instead of waiting until I am in a lot more pain to take them.)  I go to the doctor next Monday and I will talk to her about this and make sure we are on the same page.

I just read an article about a woman who lost 170 pounds.  For her, giving up dairy products was a big key.  Her weight really started dropping after that.  The article talked about how many people have allergies to dairy products and how this can cause cravings, as well as have a lot of negative consequences in the body, such as inflammation, packing on belly fat, insulin resistance, etc.  When I think about giving up dairy, I just don’t want to do it.  I love cheese, for one thing, and my favorite breakfast these days is Greek yogurt.  But if it brought results and made me feel better – I know inflammation is a big thing – wouldn’t it be worth it?  I will have to give it some thought and maybe give it a try for a week and see how I do.  She certainly looks good after losing 170 pounds!

Bottom line, I want to feel better.

I did okay with my food today.  I visited the candy bowl for peppermints a little more than I should have, but I think my calories were still in line with my plan.  I probably should go back to logging everything.  I just got busy and things got in the way.

Time for bed, so I am going to close.  I hope everyone’s week is going well and you are living the life you want to live.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise

I thought it was time I should update.  I’ve struggled the last few days, but I actually gave myself permission to relax a bit.  I felt so emotionally and physically drained, I didn’t feel like too much restriction was what I needed.

My eating wasn’t horrible, most of the time, and although I did not formally work out, I probably was more active than I have been in quite a while.  I have been busy sorting, packing and cleaning.  A representative from the property management company was supposed to come over Saturday to look the house over before beginning to show it to prospective renters.  I am not the best housekeeper anyway, and the last few weeks left me with no time for housework, and I didn’t feel good about people coming over.  This weekend, once I would get started cleaning, etc., I had a hard time making myself stop.  I wish I was born with the organization genes, but since I was not, I will have to satisfy myself with developing better habits, and that is what I want to do from here on out.  Maintenance is my new mantra.  If you maintain, you don’t have to do all this catch-up.

The lady from the property management company ended up not coming, and I didn’t get the message until 30 minutes after she was supposed to be there.  I was so busy cleaning, etc., I didn’t hear my cell phone ringing when she called to tell me she wasn't coming.  It was okay, I was glad for the excuse to get things done.  She is coming later today, while no one is home, so I continued on with the cleaning, etc. yesterday and the house is cleaner than it has been in a long, long time.

My eating yesterday afternoon and evening was the worst.  I don’t know why I would ever want to do that to myself, and it really wasn’t very enjoyable.  I braved the scale this morning.  Honestly, I was trying to brace myself for what was to come and I decided to set my mind that I would weigh 280 this morning, which would have been about a 5-pound gain.  I didn’t know what to expect after several days of unfocused eating, not drinking my water, etc.  My weight:  274.8.  I only gained a little.  This says two things to me.  First, I think I should probably be eating a few more calories than I have been allowing myself on a “good” day.  But I had to remind myself, although it felt like I had lost 5 pounds because of what I was expecting, I didn’t really.  I actually gained a little weight.  However, compared to what I was weighing late last week, this was a loss.  The second thing this said to me was that all the activity of the last few days probably burned a lot of calories.  I was up on my feet more than I have been in months.

Another good thing was, although I struggled with significant pain this weekend, I did not struggle with radiating pain much.  Once I got up and going, that wasn’t a big issue.  So I am hopeful that I can start doing some walking for exercise.  I want to start doing a lot of walking, once I move.  That is how I plan to get around, for the most part, when I move downtown.  So I feel somewhat optimistic that I can do that.  That being said, I still have to say, chronic pain is such a beat-down.  My body felt like I had been run over by a truck a lot of the weekend.  I'm pretty sure that's the fibromyalgia talking.

My goal this week is to lose 4.8 pounds.  I know this is a lot, and if I don’t lose it, I won’t be discouraged.  It is just a goal.  I still want to get that 40 pounds off by the time I move.  I have 5 weeks left, basically.  I hope by staying exactly on track with my eating, since I have been kind of lax the last couple of weeks, will cause me to have a good drop.  Plus drinking all my water, when I haven’t been doing that enough.  We will see.  I think I will try the week at 1600 calories per day, plus a splurge meal this weekend.  We will see how my body does with that.  I still have so much to do to get ready to move there will be plenty of activity.

I did get up and do a workout this morning.  I just did 30 minutes at a moderate resistance (5-6) at 12 mph.  I was really tired from all the activity this weekend, but got through the workout with no problems.  I really struggled last week.

I am going to go ahead and close now.  I need to get to work.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Out of Sorts

I’m feeling a little out of sorts today.  I am not sure why.  I am having more back pain than usual, but I am pretty used to that.  I think whatever is making me out of sorts makes that bother me more than it normally would.

I wanted to go downstairs to the food court and just get whatever I wanted.  I didn’t want to have to think about nutrition or weight loss or anything.  I just wanted to get something I would enjoy.  But I couldn’t do it.  The thing that sounded best was sesame chicken from the Chinese place down here, but thinking about how many calories that would have, it just wasn’t worth it.  So I got me a salad at Potbelly.  The only thing less “stringent” than normal I did is that I didn’t tell them to take the bacon pieces off.  The salad is 410 calories without dressing.  I had some Newman’s Own Light Balsamic in the fridge, so I put that on it.

I overslept this morning.  Maybe that is why I am out of sorts, because I didn’t have time for my workout this morning.  I will make that one up on Saturday.  I needed the sleep, so I didn’t feel too bummed out about it.  I have been sleeping fitfully the last few days, so it felt good to have a good, hard sleep.  I kind of remember turning off my alarm.  It wasn’t really registering as my alarm, but as “what in the heck is that noise?!”  I got rid of the noise and promptly went back to sleep.

I am engaging in more activity lately, since I am working at home when I get home from work, cleaning, packing, etc.

My daughters have been really grouchy and have been bickering a lot lately.  They need to just make up their minds to get along and quit letting all the small stuff bug them so much.  It’s not worth it.  Their bickering and complaining makes me irritable, and I don’t get irritable very easily.  That’s how my day started out.  Which is partly why I am out of sorts.  I am looking forward to not having to be around that, but I know I will be trading that for something else, so I am not thinking moving is going to be bliss.  But I am looking forward to not having to look after anyone else but myself for a while.  And my kids will still be around enough to keep me company.  Plus, I plan to find other ways to have company.

So Ferocious!
Funny story.  One of the things my daughter Bethany was grouchy about this morning was that, when the smoke detector beeped because the battery was low, my Yorkie, Cassie, went ballistic and had a barking fit, every time it beeped.  Of course, this woke my daughter up when she did not have to go in to work as early as usual.  She stomped into my room, scooped up my dog and threw him in the back yard.  I got the step ladder out and changed the batteries on two different smoke detectors and that took care of the “problem,” of course.  Seemed like a better solution to me.  :)  I cannot tell you how funny Cassie looked barking at that smoke detector and scratching at the carpet like this ferocious animal.  I thought it was hilarious.  Except for the grouchy daughter thing.

I am feeling a little sidetracked and I need to focus and get this 14 pounds off before I move.  If you are just starting my blog, this 14 pounds is only the tip of the iceberg of what I ultimately need to lose, but it would get me to my 40 pounds lost before I move goal I have been working toward.  I hope I am feeling measurably better by then.  I do feel so much better than 2-1/2 months ago when I weighed 300.  But I need to feel better than I do now to feel like getting out and being more social.  Pain still dominates my days.  I don’t know how much it will take until that is not the case.

I did well last night after the afternoon M&M’s snack.  I had a leftover pork chop and some green beans.  I left off the sweet potato “fries” to help compensate for the snack.  (One reason I choose peanut M&M’s sometimes is because it is not so high on the glycemic index as a lot of other candies.)  Even so, I left off the carbs with dinner to help compensate for the increased carbs from the sugar in the candy, not to mention the calories.  I don’t remember eating anything else last night, although if I did, it would have been some fruit.  I think I still came out fine on my calories, and I was up and active most of the time after I got home.

I found out today that my sister is moving to the area!  I am so excited.  Except for a brother I am not as close to, my siblings all live anywhere from 5-7 hours away.  Now my sister will live about an hour or so away, which, in the Metroplex, is nothing.  It’s like living in the same town.  Granted, it would be closer if I wasn’t moving, but I will trade the difference in commute every day for an extra half hour to drive to my sister’s.  She will actually be moving here (in a “temporary” fashion) before I move.  Temporary because they still have to sell their home where they live now before they buy permanent lodging in the new town.  This will also mean we will likely have more holidays in this area instead of having to always go to West Texas, which can be a pain when you work as much as I do.  I’m excited!

The girls have something to do tonight, so unless I have to work late (which is always possible), I can have the house to myself tonight.  I always enjoy a little solitude.

It seems like everyone I come across today is kind of snippy.  Makes me want to go be by myself.  I’m tired of all these negative Nellies.  Life is too short.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Too Busy to Post!


I’m not sure what my deal about posting is lately.  Someone might think it is because I am “falling off the wagon”.  No, that’s not really it.  Just busy living life instead of posting about it, I guess.  Although I did eat something “off-plan” today (some peanut M&Ms), I compensated in my calories elsewhere tonight.

I had a long post going for Sunday, talking about my day’s activities, and didn’t get it published.  I did a lot of work on the house in preparation for moving.  I went through my closet, sorting out things I did not want, putting stuff in storage bins I had bought, and got my closet reorganized.  Once my shoe organizers come in that I have ordered, and I buy a couple of more fabric storage boxes, it should be good to go.  I cannot get a good angle in a picture to give you an idea of what it looks like now, but once I move, I should be able to.  I am happy that, except for storage boxes and the shoe organizers, I was able to do it all with things I already had.

Organizing the closet provided quite a workout.  I was taking down heavy storage boxes from the closet shelf, going through them and putting stuff in the bins, etc. I bought, and lifting them back up to the top shelf.  I think it was as good a workout as working out on any Nautilus machine would have been.

I feel like I am being more of a “foodie” lately than someone on a diet.  I would rather make something with a little more pizazz and eat less of it than something extremely low fat and eat more.  It will not always be that way – sometimes I will want more volume.  Right now I am more satisfied with taste and eating less.  I made some thick-cut pork chops last night.  I had asked my daughter to buy pork tenderloin once when she went to the store for me.  She came home with a family sized package of thick cut pork chops from Costco.  She put them up for me and she put the whole package in the freezer without dividing it up.  So, when I thawed it out, I had to cook all of it.  I sprinkled them liberally with salt and pepper and put them in a hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil.  I got a really good sear on both sides and then I took them out and put some sliced onion and sliced red bell pepper on the bottom of the skillet, sprinkled a little salt on that, and then put the pork chops back on top of that.  I added a little chicken broth, covered the skillet and put it in the oven and cooked it for another 20 minutes.  They came out very flavorful and very moist.  Definitely a success!  I had another one tonight.

I had been wanting to try this “sauce” I read about.  I roasted two heads of garlic.  I squeezed the roasted garlic into the blender, added the juice of two lemons, a “bunch” of parsley, minus the stems, and some olive oil (about ½ cup).  I sprinkled in some salt and pepper (it needed more salt than I put) and then blended it until it was kind of like a pesto.  The sauce was okay.  I would like it with less lemon and more garlic.  I wanted the flavor to be predominantly roasted garlic and I tasted much more of the lemon and parsley.  I will try again.  I was using my daughter’s blender (mine broke a while back), and it did not work very well.

That’s all I got written today and now I really need to get to bed.  I have been working every night when I get home, getting the house in shape.  They are going to show the house while we are still living here.  I’m not too happy about that, but it’s in my lease and I can’t do anything about it.  I had gotten behind on a lot of things with all that has been going on the last few weeks.  I don’t care about clutter from moving sitting around so much, as long as we don’t look like filthy slobs.

I haven’t been sleeping very good the last few nights (pain issues), and I am sitting here falling asleep at my computer, so I’m going to close it and go to bed.  Just wanted to check in and say I am still on track.  Just busy.

 Have a great week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Recap, Weekend Plans and Weigh-In


I worked on a post the last couple of days, and just never found the time to get it finished up.  So I will combine it into this post.

I am so tired of being tired!  I sit at work and can hardly keep my eyes open sometimes.  I have tried to go to bed early on weeknights.  I went to bed at 9:30 Wednesday night, but woke up with pain and had a little difficulty going back to sleep because of that.  My neck and shoulders are really bothering me.  Thursday night was better.  Of course, this morning I could sleep as long as I wanted to.  I have not had to work as much this week, thank the Lord!

I had a double cervical fusion a year ago.  Before that, the nerve in my neck was so clamped off that I had pain shooting down my arm all the time.  The surgery made me feel amazingly better.  However, I have to be careful of what position I sleep in.  I almost always sleep with my cervical collar on to protect my neck and make sure I don’t unconsciously move into some position that will make it sore.  That, coupled with my lower back issues, really limit what positions I can sleep in.  The best position is on my back with enough pillows where I am halfway sitting up.  However, I have to be careful not to rest on my elbows because that tends to trigger pain in my neck and shoulders.  I wish I could buy one of those adjustable beds where the head can be raised and lowered like a hospital bed.  But I cannot afford one at this point.  I hope this is just a passing soreness and not something else brewing.  When it is enough to keep me from sleeping, it becomes more significant.  I really have to watch how I am sleeping.  I found a “bed wedge” for a reasonable price (a foam wedge that elevates your head and shoulders).  Think I am going to try that.  The dog woke me up at 6:30 this morning, after a bit I moved to my recliner and I felt so sore, it was hard to go back to sleep.  I finally did and felt better after some more sleep.

I was thinking maybe I should go to the doctor and see if there is something else making me feel so tired.  But I decided now is not a good time to judge that.  I have had a lot of reason in the last two or three weeks to be tired and sleepy.  I may just not be caught up yet.  Any suggestions on what to do?  I took my vitamins the last two days (which I am not very good about doing and haven’t in quite a while).  I am trying to get a decent amount of sleep.  I am exercising, which I know will help in the long-run.  I am eating healthy foods.  I am working on drinking more water.  I am not sure what else I can do.

I did a 30-minute “hills” workout on the recumbent bike Thursday.  This one has really gotten kind of easy for me.  I need to step it up a notch or do a different one.  Friday, I did 30 minutes at a resistance of 5 and did the arm work with 8 pounds of weights instead of 5.  It was a good workout.  I haven’t done a workout yet today.  I may, but I want to spend a lot of today working on packing, sorting, getting ready for my move.  It is creeping up on us and I have to make the most of every weekend.  I also brought home a work project, at my boss' request (for some extra money).

I have started making my list of things I need to do for my move coming up at the end of August.  I am trying to go through drawers and closets and weed out things I want to get rid of, either by throwing away or putting in a garage sale.  My daughters and I are going to have a garage sale in the next few weeks.  I hate having them, but I told my daughters if they would help, they could each keep one-third of the money raised.  I’ve got to get to work in earnest on this or I am going to have too much to do at the end.  Have I mentioned how excited I am about moving to my downtown loft?

Food Thursday was pretty good.  I had my usual Greek yogurt/Kashi GoLean for breakfast, with some grapes.  When I left for work, I had not eaten anything yet and I suddenly got so hungry I was feeling nauseous, so I pulled out some of the grapes I had brought and ate some of them while driving.  For lunch I had my usual sandwich and a fresh salad with Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.  Grapes for dessert.  For dinner I made another pizza with pesto and fresh tomatoes.  Someone had the chips and salsa out when I got home.  It looked so good and I was so hungry (my pizza was not ready yet), so I ate 9 multigrain Tostitos (that’s a serving, 150 calories) with the salsa (Costco’s salsa is soooo good!).  Then I had the pizza and more grapes for dessert.  So, really, that was not a bad day.  Friday I had my usual breakfast with an apple, a sandwich with a serving of Pop chips and some grapes for lunch, a Yasso Greek yogurt bar mid-afternoon and two tacos (corn tortillas, chicken, fajita vegetables, pico de gallo and a tablespoon of guacamole on each) from Chipotle for dinner.  I also ate two individual pieces of candy this afternoon.  I ate a few Pop chips (less than a serving) when I got home.  I worked until almost 9:00 (but that felt early compared to most Friday nights).  So my eating has been good the last couple of days (minus the candy, but at least it was only a little and in control).  Someone offered me a cookie from Paradise Bakery yesterday (those are so good), but I turned it down without a thought.

My back did not hurt much the last two days, but the radiating pain down the backs of both legs has been pretty bad.  It makes my knees feel so stiff and painful, walking around is slow and careful.  I have to be careful when I am like this, because I don’t pick up my feet as well and I have a greater tendency to trip.  I almost did that twice yesterday.  I took some ibuprofen (for its anti-inflammatory effects) and that seemed to help some.  I try not to do that too much, since I am nursing what I am pretty sure is an ulcer with some Prilosec OTC (it seems to be getting better).

That gets us to today.  I have not eaten yet today, since I slept really late.  I also have not done a workout, but it is weigh-in day.  I usually do a workout before weigh-in (it makes a substantial difference on how much a weigh – about a pound).  But I decided I am not going to pressure myself to do all those workouts on weekends for now, so this morning’s weigh-in is without working out.  All week (I weigh every day), my weight has been up above where it was last Saturday and I really thought I was going to show a gain today.  My result – 274.4 – a loss of .8.  I’ll take it.  I knew I had done what I needed to do to lose weight, so I am glad it showed at least a little on the scale.

One thing that is effecting my weight (how shall I put this delicately?) is, because of menopause and pain meds, my system has not been running very smoothly.  It got pretty bad, but I think I have developed a regimen (all pretty natural) that is helping and keeping things more like it should be. 

This weekend I am doing a splurge meal.  I am not sure what that is going to be, but we will see.  If I can pin my son down, I might take the whole family out to dinner.  I try to do that once a month, but it is hard to sync our schedules with my son's.  I am going to make some kind of dessert, I think.  I have been craving Key Lime Tarts.  I’m not sure if that is what I am going to make or not.  I want to focus my efforts on packing, cleaning, organizing, sorting, etc.  I also have a trip to the Container Store on the agenda to help with the sorting and organizing.  I wish I could buy all I want to, to make things when I move as organized as I would like (organization is NOT my strong point), but I will have to buy things little by little.  I have to maximize storage space in the loft, so that is what I will focus on to start with.  Fun, fun!

Have a great weekend everyone!