Back – FINALLY!

I’ve been slacking off lately. Got back from snowboarding and dug into job hunting, spring cleaning and taxes. But slacked off mightily from exercise, eating right and taking care of myself. Why? Why do I do that to myself?

Spent some time working on it with Rebecca, my weight loss therapist. And I know you’re surprised, but turns out I had some strange and crazy things going on in my head.  I was subconsciously feeling that since my job was supposed to be taking care of myself and doing well at my job so I could take care of my family financially and since I wasn’t able to do the last, due to losing my job, then I shouldn’t be doing the first.

How lame is that? Anyway – moving on.

Got up this morning and made myself a protein drink, a batch of protein power oatmeal with apples, cranberries and cinnamon and packed up my vitamins for the week. Then I actually made it to a kickboxing class. Boy did that kick my butt. I’m gonna be hurting tomorrow. One does not skip exercise for most of the last three weeks (yes, three weeks – I told you I was slacking) and expect to skate through one of Stephen’s kickboxing classes.

59 minutes and 58 seconds later I was lying on the floor, grateful that I wasn’t dead. But also, feeling really good about getting back into the saddle again.

Later today, a bike ride with my son.

Life is good.

The Dragon’s Tail

My Weight Watcher leader, Jane Brown, has a great way to describe what just happened to me: I was prepared for the dragon that I had to fight with all the travel and the training and the vacationing. But then I came home and collapsed and the dragon’s tail got me.

Yup. Home and getting back into my routine, but three weeks of making good choices and this weekend I went off the rails big time. Ate fried ham and hashbrowns. Ate barbecue and french fries. Drank a lot of wine. The wine is probably the scariest, since I am for damnsure not going to follow the path that leads to: transference of addictions.

I had a random glass of wine while I was traveling and just loved it. I’d forgotten how much I like wine. And I drank a nightly hot chocolate with schnapps while I was vacationing at the ski resort and I really enjoyed that. But it’s been a long time since I drank to the point where I was toasted. Well, I got toasted Saturday night. Sitting at home, drinking wine, by myself.  I was drinking the Muscodo – very sweet, and goes right to my head. Also, makes me want to eat snacky, munchy stuff. Not good. Sounds like the beginning of a story that, frankly, I don’t want to know the ending, so I’m going to skip the item on my to do list that says “Buy more wine.”

So, yay! I’ve identified another land mine and I can safely remove it from my perimeter.

Also a yay! I walked almost 7 miles yesterday in under 2 hours. I think that is my best time yet. And I didn’t feel destroyed when I got home, so good progress. Next weekend I need to go for 8 miles so I can keep up with my half marathon training plan for Walk the Walk in May. I’m not making it to kickboxing class, though. I guess I just feel really worn down and walking is all I want to do. And I’ve kind of sabotaged myself by setting up early meetings all week to work with my offshore team.

Hmm. Maybe another dragon’s tail?

I’m finishing up my morning tea and my pumpkin spiced peanut butter oatmeal now. As soon as I’m done I’m going to hop on the  treadmill and finish my movie and get in a few miles before I head for work.
Have a great day everyone!

Night of Deployment (NOD)

Had to get to work by 3:00 am on Sunday morning for a software release. These nights are hard and not just because of the short sleep and stress. It’s the kindness of the management who think that filling the break rooms with free soda, cookies, cake, candy, snack food and pretzels is a good way to make to make them easier for everyone.

I did not eat one of the beautiful, perfect red devil mini-cakes with cream cheese frosting.

I did not eat one of the two bite brownies with the little crispy edges that are so perfect and so chocolately.

I did not eat a slice of the pizza. The pepperoni or the veggie or the meat lovers special or the cheese.

I did not eat the milky way bars, the m&ms or the snickers.

I did not have a soda.

I did not eat muffins.

I did not have chips, Doritos or Cheetos.

I did have one tangerine and a couple of peanuts in the shell.

I took my own snacks in – a batch of the no-bake chocolate protein peanut butter oatmeal bars (they definitely need a catchy name) which were loved by all who tried them.

I took in some almonds and an apple and an orange.

I took in some chicken and veggies and quinoa for a meal.

I took in a cold, creamy protein drink with chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, milk, ice and a piece of frozen banana.

I did bring home one tiny, miniature twix bar and I ate that after I got home and after I had lunch. I love twix bars, so if I’d had it at work, I would have just kept eating them.

I also brought home the bagels and a few of the tangerines that were left and had a half toasted bagel with my lunch.

I did use being tired as an excuse not to exercise yesterday and for sleeping in late today, so have to get onto the treadmill now.

But I think overall, I did pretty well. After working 65 hours this week, I still stuck to my plan and feel good about the exercise I did and the food choices I made. Maybe a bit more volume than I should have had – it’s hard not to compensate with food for the tiredness.  But yesterday, at the end of the long, long week and huge effort, I can say that  I ate well and didn’t use it as an excuse to snack.

Now, I’m just about finished with my first big glass of water and I’m going to whip up a protein shake to drink while I’m on the treadmill.

Ya’ll have a good time today. Have fun. Be happy. Do something that makes you smile and feel good about yourself.

Cholesterol and a new blog site

This morning I’m making up a batch of protein power oatmeal and then going for a spa pedicure with my friend.  Later today the boys and I are going on an outdoor adventure to try out my son’s new metal detector.  But first – a little bit of info I found.  I confess: I surf the web a lot.  I am always looking for inspiration, information and entertainment. Yesterday I found this site: http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/ a blog written by a medical librarian. She had a great list of information about cutting cholesterol. I realized that I was doing a lot of these things last summer, which is probably why my cholesterol was so good at my last check up. But good to be reminded, so I can incorporate back into my menu plan for the week:

Harvard Heart Letter’s Top 11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol–vol. 20(2): Oct. 2009

1.  Oats – soluble fiber

2.  Barley & other whole grains – soluble fiber

3.  Beans – soluble fiber

4.  Eggplant & Okra – soluble fiber

5.  Nuts – 2 ounces a day can lower LDLs by about 5% (based on previous research)

6.  Vegetable oils – I’m not advocating this one, but it’s on the Harvard list as a replacement for butter, lard, & shortening

7.  Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits – these fruits are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers LDL

8.  Foods fortified with sterols and stanols – 2 grams a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.  My comment:  skip the fortified margarine & juice & take them in supplement form

9. Soy – consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day (10 ounces of tofu or 3 cups of soy milk) can lower LDL by 5-6%

10.  Fatty fish – the omega-3s lower LDLs & triglycerides.  My comment: skip the fish & go for high-grade pharmaceutical quality fish oil, or the algae vegetarian equivalents.  Note: recent research by Dr. Christopher Gardner of Stanford University has shown that flax does not come anywhere close to the triglyeride-lowering effect of fish oil. Very disappointing. 

11.  Fiber supplements – the least appealing way to get soluble fiber.  2 tsp a day of psyllium, which is found in Metamucil, provides 4 grams of soluble fiber

Back to Basics

Well, yesterday was a good day. Got back to some pretty fundamental basics and it felt good. Did 45 minutes on my treadmill at 3.5-4.0 mph and a 4% incline – good, hard, sweaty walk. Then I ate well all day, though since I was paying attention I noticed a lot more snacking so it’s back to tracking today. I got in all my water and MOST of my vitamins (I remembered them pretty late).

This morning I’m sipping a fabulous coffee with chocolate protein powder. Tastes better than Starbucks and not only a heck of a lot cheaper, but healthier, too. Got my first glass of water and my vitamins handy and I’m trying to put together a menu for the week. Getting back on track after vacation is surprisingly hard. Especially since I had a great plan and stayed on track all DURING vacation.

Got a good butt kicking from my weight watcher’s leader (Thanks, Jane!) and some good advice from my online friend Teresa. I think I’ll take both and keep moving forward. My little binge and post-vacation vacation/cabin fever cost me 4 pounds but I know it will come off quickly and I’ll get back to working on my goal in a few days. I feel like a 3 Day LPT – lean protein train. That will de-carb my system and take off those 4 pounds and get me back to where I was last week. Easy-peasy. Plus, I’ve gotten really good at making protein food in the last 15 months. My menu sounds wonderful doesn’t it?

Breakfast: Cafe Brier Marvelous Mocha
Snack: Caribbean Cooler Tea
Lunch: 1/2 cup of bean, kale and sausage soup with Pure unflavored protein powder
Snack: Roadside Lemonade protein cooler and 1/4 almonds
Dinner: Going out with some friends for a birthday celebration, so I’ll take a protein bar and a shake with me in case there’s nothing on the menu that is protein friendly (rarely happens – everyone has chicken and salad!)

I’m putting all my stuff into weight watchers online tracker to see how many points that is (Probably way under, but I also need to calculate how many points those no-bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal protein bars are (they need a catchy name…).

I also need some time to work on my hair this morning. I did something I haven’t done in years which is hack at my own hair with the scissors. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would this morning, but I might need time to run by the barber shop!

Well, gotta get started and then hit the treadmill before work. Have a great day everyone and THANK YOU!

Natural Gas Remedies

My friend Gail sent me this! Loved it – had to share:

Natural Health Options for Gas

A natural way to reduce mild, occasional gas could be right in your kitchen! Cooking with a few common culinary herbs helps reduce intestinal gas by 80%. Work 1 teaspoon of the following herbs into your favorite dishes:

  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Caraway
  • Ginger
  • Cloves

Source: Woman’s World

Read past tips at Swanson Health Product’s Daily Tips Blog.

Maintenance Wrap-up Report

Successfully maintaining a 149 pound weight loss

Well, my self-imposed maintenance was officially over yesterday. I made it through the holiday season and vacation. When I stepped on the scale I was overjoyed to see that I weighed in at 172.5 pounds! That’s several pounds lighter than when I declared maintenance and only one pound heavier than my overall lowest.  Success! I’m starting to realize and to believe that the changes I’ve made are lifetime habits now, not just something I’m doing to lose weight.

Here are my measurements from October:

Weight: 175, Waist: 34 inches, Hips: 37 inches, Pants size: 12 (some 10’s); Tops: size 10/Medium

Compared to today:

Weight: 172.5, Waist: 31 inches, Hips: 39 inches, Pants size: 12 (no 10’s 😦 ); Tops: size 10/Medium

My fat percentage measured 36% – I need to look up where I was in October last year, but I think it’s a bit higher. Interesting re-distribution on the measurements: my waist is 3 inches smaller and my hips are 2 inches bigger. Whatever! My jeans are loser than when I left on vacation right after Christmas, so I know that the snowboarding must have done some good in terms of toning my waist. My hips/belly will most likely always be a problem area, so I will just have to work on cranking up the weight lifting and core work.

Overall, I feel like I’ve “reset” myself and I’m ready to tackle my next goal of losing another 5% of my body weight:  another 9  pounds.   Oh! And since my current weight is only 2.5 pounds from my  doctor’s healthy weight goal for me, then this goal will accomplish three things since it also gets me to Lifetime Member at Weight Watchers. Time for a triple celebration! After I lose this 5%, I’ll probably take another maintenance break and focus on maintaining for another month or two because I think it will take me another two 5% efforts to get to my ultimate all-time, maybe-not-that-realistic, goal of 147. Since I haven’t weighed 150 pounds since high school, not sure that I’ll ever make it.

But do I really care? It’s just a number and I hope I’m starting to realize that everyone is right – it’s not the number on the scale. It’s how I feel – which is fabulous – and what I can do with my body – which is a lot more than I could do 150 pounds ago!

Thanks for all the love and support during this first effort at maintenance. Knowing that you are out there helps keep me focused and from going too far off track.

Joe’s Bean Cake Recipe

Joe sent in this recipe, which I’m sharing. Haven’t tried it yet, but since we have a snow day today, I might get to it later today!

From: Trott, Joseph T.
Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 3:38 PM

DISCLAIMER FROM JOE: This recipe is currently under development.  It is my own creation, and has been tested once.  I have several modifications I plan to try, which I explain at the bottom, as well as why I’m going to make the changes.  After baking this cake, I myself ate five or six pieces of it that day, as well as a few more over the next few days.  I did not have any gastric distress, or other usual symptoms of bean consumption, possibly because I was very thorough in the initial preparation.

 

The following measurements are approximations.  I added increasing quantities of beans (and a little more brown sugar) to get the consistency better, and then balance it.

 

1/2 lb (before cooking) of Northern white beans.  I cooked about a pound, and used about half of that.

1-1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 eggs

1 stick butter

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

 

Prepare the beans essentially according to package directions; cover with a few extra inches of water in a large pan, heat it to near boiling, and then turn off the heat and let them soak overnight.  I understand this step in bean preparation is important to minimize the tendency of beans to produce gas.

The next morning, pour off the soak-water, rinse thoroughly, cover with plenty of water, heat to just boiling and then let simmer for two hours.  Make sure the beans have plenty of water to get as soft as possible.  Do not add salt to the water, which can make them tougher.  When the beans are finished cooking, let them cool a little and then mash them well in a bowl.

 

Preheat oven to 350.

 

In a glass mixing bowl, soften or melt the stick of butter in the microwave.  Add the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking powder, mixing all along.  Add the mashed beans, and mix into a batter.

 

Pour batter into a 9″x13″ cake pan.  Mine is non-stick, but I lightly greased it first.  Bake in oven at 350 for 30 minutes.  The cake will not rise a lot, nor will it be as “springy” as a typical cake; more like a brownie.  Remove from oven, let cool, then cut into squares.  Instead of a dessert loaded with carbs, you now have something that is high in protein and has lots of fiber too.  Enjoy it.

 

———————

 

I found the result to be a little more moist and sweet than I preferred.  I used baking powder rather than baking soda specifically to try to make it rise a little more, but I think in the next test I will increase the amount to 1-1/2 or even 2 tsp.  I am also going to use three eggs instead of two, which will also make it lighter (although despite the moisture and heavier weight, even the five squares I ate did not form a lump in my stomach).  I am also going to try unrefined sugar instead of brown sugar.  The whole point of this experiment was to create something more healthy than the typical dessert, that is nearly all processed carbohydrates.  I was actually going for more of a cookie-dough consistency, but the additional moisture in the beans produced a batter rather than a dough.  Brown sugar tends to produce moister and heavier results than white or unrefined sugar.

Raisins or other dried fruit would likely make good add-ins for this recipe.

I’ve thought about it, but I don’t think I’ll add any flour, even unbleached or whole-wheat, because replacing the carbohydrates was, as I mentioned, the whole point of this experiment.

Everyone here in my work group (except one, who is out) has had some.  No one didn’t like it, and some really liked it.  They were surprised to learn what’s in it.

 

New Support Group

Finally! An in person, real live support group that I can attend! Dr. Rick Finley’s patients meet once a month on Mondays at Emory University Midtown (aka Crawford Long if you are an old-time resident of Atlanta) at 6pm.  I’ve volunteered to help them set up an online presence so they can share info and help all Dr. Finley’s patients – even those who live hours away from Atlanta.  I’m excited!

Last night I met another Karen – the surgical nurse who helped with both my surgeries. She runs the group. We had an impressive presentation from a high school senior’s project. Interesting survey results. Then there was Stacey, who works with Dr. Finley to provide nutritional counseling, talked about basic nutrition and vitamins. She’s also a personal trainer and works extensively with the bariatric community in Lake Oconee.

I initially thought, hey, I know all that. (Ha – such a know-it-all!) But it was well put together and I DID learn something. Several things, really:

One, I have not recalculated my protein requirements since before my surgery. I am now getting almost double the protein that I really need.  Her recommendation was 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. I had to get help with the math, but 172 pounds times 2.2 conversion rate = 78 grams of protein required – NOT 128. Ooops!

Another thing she was very helpful about was the whole net carbs, absorbed carbs marketing lingo. That’s all it is – the companies invent that stuff and then lure us in with whatever they want to put on the label. Here’s her guidelines:

Count half the sugar alcohols as carbs/sugar. Some people, (moi!) must count them all, because they really have an impact on our blood sugar and cause severe digestive upsets. Translation: eat them and pay! The sugar alcohols are sorbitol, manitol, etc – all those things you find in sweets designed for diabetics. Sigh.

The other thing that got me was that I’ve always counted all the fiber in a serving and subtracted it from the carb count. Her recommendation is to only count it IF it is 5 grams or more of fiber. Dang it! No wonder my weight loss has stalled for so long. I’m DEFINITELY getting too many carbs if I change the way I’m counting them. But it’s good to know this stuff. This is a life long change – I’m not going to get it perfect right off the bat. Might take me another 50 or 60 years!

Also got to taste test the celebrate vitamins. I loved the multi-vitamin, but the calcium was big and thin, versus medium and thick like my Bariatric Advantage calcium. Plus, didn’t really like the flavor. Got a few more, including Purity, to try. Also a reminder that I’m not supposed to take my calcium at the same time as my multivitamin because of the iron in there. Dang it! I had forgotten that over the last year and I always take them in the same half hour time frame. Drat! More change! But it is so important because osteoporosis is not pretty and it could be years before I notice that I have a problem. Must be proactive on that front.

Well, gotta get some of my spiced pumpkin oatmeal going and then get on the treadmill. I feel a bit sore from yesterday, but not as much as I expected. I suspect the soreness is from trying to go too fast on my warmup. I’m going to stick to the 2.5 mile an hour warmup and crank up the speed to 4.2 as soon as I can and keep it there for the rest of the walk. That should still get me to 4 miles in 60 minutes.

It is cold today. Just want to say a big thank you to my father in law who gave me my treadmill before my surgery last year. It would not be fun to have to go outside and get in my frozen car and drive to the gym this morning. It really is the no-excuse workout!