Time to play the exercise card

Yeah, I’m stalled.  Joe is at a loss of 60 pounds.  He got over his latest plateau and he’s nearly under the 300 mark!  I’m so proud of him!  Jealous as hell, but proud.  He looks so good.  At this point, I’m just afraid he’ll get all slim and wonder why he’s stuck with a fat wife because this weight just ain’t shifting.

I’m trying hard.  I honestly am.  I’ve had few slips or cheats.  I’m not going to say I’ve had none because that would be a lie.  But the scale is stuck at 15 pounds.

So… tomorrow, I start on the bike.  I will start with 15 minutes in the morning.  It’s a good week to start… The Kid is at camp for the week so he won’t be trying to chat me up while I’m trying to concentrate on not dying.

Oh, The Kid had his annual checkup last week.  Last year, he was above the 99th percentile for his weight and his BMI was dismal.  Now understand, we believe the BMI is a really silly way to measure health.  It’s yet another number that the medical and workout industries can use to make you feel bad about whatever size you may be if you’re not perfect for your age, height, and weight.  But anyway, this year, he’s down to the 96th percentile for his weight and at the 98th percentile for his height.  And his BMI is right at 22 and change.  I’m very proud of him.  He hasn’t lost but 15 pounds, and that’s really OK because we just don’t want him to gain any more and let his height catch up.

The Kid and I are miserable on Atkins.  We really are.  I’ve been in tears more than a few times because I just want to eat fruit!  At this point, my body has really stopped craving bread and pasta.  To drive that point home, after we dropped The Kid off for his camp bus yesterday, we ran by the store to pick up a few essentials for the week… ham for me, roast beast for Joe.  Provolone for me, muenster for Joe.  Celery and cucumber and lettuce for me.  We decided to just have something we WANT for dinner… no restrictions.

I could have pasta, cookies, bread, cereal, sweet rolls… but what did I choose?  Cherries and peanuts.  Yup… a big bowl of cherries and a tin of peanuts that I happily snacked on all evening.  I was in heaven.  I’m tellin’ ya, those cherries have never tasted so good and the peanuts have never been so savory and crunchy.

Today, it was ham and provolone rolls for breakfast and lunch (just easy to grab while I’m working) with some iced tea.  And I spoiled myself with some Trop-A-Rocka Snapple Iced Tea… wow, that stuff is yum!  Thank you, Bret Michaels (a fellow diabetic) for working on that project to make this tasty sugar-free iced tea!  I tried the peach in May when my mom had surgery and this one is just as tasty.

Dinner was more ham and provolone.  I have never had the same thing for all 3 meals before, but it was just so darned tasty.  And without The Kid here, we decided to just munch for dinner rather than have a formal dinner table dinner.  I added some celery with Laughing Cow cheese (2 long stalks), a handful of black olives, and half a cucumber sliced up.  What a fresh, tasty dinner!

Tomorrow, Joe is going to experiment with fresh rhubarb and Carb Quick (a very low carb Bisquick clone) as well as baking Equal, to attempt a Rhubarb Crumble.  Oh yum!

Okay… just staying the course here.  No change in numbers from the last post but I’ll keep you posted.



Atkins = Wow!

Well, in case you hadn’t realized, I stopped posting.  I’m sure you know the reason… yeah, I fell of the wagon.  Again.  It all started innocently enough… a flirtation with a cookie.  A lunch date with a pizza.  Then it was a late night fling with a chocolate bar. 

You know the story, I’m sure.

So time went by.  My blood sugars were out of control.  My last HbA1c was 10.something too high, which is, in case you’re unaware, WAY too high.  If the toes on my right foot met with some type of calamity, they are unable to tell me due to nerve damage.

I spent May and part of June in California with my Mom, and my son flew down solo to join us for the last few weeks of June.  We had a blast!  The Kid and I took an overnight to San Francisco, rode the BART train for a few hours, one end to the other, and had fun at Pier 39. 

When I went down in May, Joe (the hubby) and The Kid started Atkins.  Now, we’d talked about Atkins a few times over the years, always shaking our heads at how people could do that diet, without veggies or fruits or bread or grains.  Yes, we were misinformed, but that seems to be the norm with this program.  Joe is a researcher at heart, so he bought the books, researched exhaustively to ensure the program is compatible with diabetes and to come up with foods that are interesting and fun.  He knows my love of fruits and carbs, and he knows this would be potentially horrible for me, but the reasoning is that weight is easy to drop quickly with this program and if we can get down to a modest goal weight, we can transition to Weight Watchers or some other maintenance program and use Atkins as a means to an that end.

Joe found that Atkins is great for diabetics as it eliminates the carbs that tend to raise the blood sugar.  My doctor said it is not good for diabetics as it can tax the already vulnerable kidneys.  So, massive water intake is a must to keep the kidney’s flushed.  She gave me her very tentative blessing as long as the animal fats are kept to a minimum, meaning stick to fish, chicken, and pork as much as possible.

The first several weeks they were on the program, Joe and The Kid cleaned out the freezer and pantries.  There was much to throw away and a huge amount was donated to the church food drive at my son’s school.  This way, there is nothing available to feed cravings in moments of weakness.  We have never done this before, so it was a radical step to throw away or give away that much food.

Joe has done great.  He has lost 55 pounds in 2 months (yeah, we have that and so much more to lose).  He is the type of person who can just shut off the craving center of his brain.  He has no cravings.  None.  He’s never been a craver of sweets or carbs.  Pizza, yes.  Burgers, yes.  The occasional steak, yes.  He has had to buy new pants and new belts, and he looks terrific!

The Kid’s goals with this program are different than ours.  Joe and I are in it for weight loss.  Period.  The Kid, while over the 99th percentile for his weight, is not grossly or morbidly obese.  He has 30 pounds or so to lose to get to the 50th percentile for his age and height.  He has a belly, which he never had until he turned 7.  For The Kid, the goal is to just slowly lose, ride the bike for a half-hour a day, and over a longer period of time, his weight will meet his height as he continues to grow.  Or, more simply, stop the weight gain until he gains height to make up the difference.

The Kid has done pretty good, though his cravings are massive, just like mine.  His “cravings toddler” is nearly as spoiled as mine, and while I have a little self-control that comes with adulthood, he does not.  However, we just had his annual checkup yesterday and he’s at the 96th percentile in his weight, so we are meeting his goal.  He is looking good.  His belly is slowly shrinking and we’ll be able to more easily find pants to fit him for school this year, which is a plus.

When The Kid joined me in California, we carbed out, knowing that when we got home, it would end for me and again for him.  We got home on a Sunday and Joe got us a pizza from our favorite place, which was really nice.  He got wings so to avoid the carb-filled pizza crust.

Then on Monday, it began.  And wow… shock to the system is a mild way to put it.

I love fruit.  I may not always have it, but I usually pick up at least 2 kinds of fruit at the store all the time.  Grapes and bananas usually and strawberries and cherries when in season.  I like the easy-to-grab-and-go fruits, but I also love oranges and watermelon.  So having a “diet” that has NO FRUITS in the first phase is very hard on me.

The first misunderstanding with Atkins is that you get no carbs.  Not true.  In the first phase, which is usually for 2 weeks, you are allowed 20 carbs.  So… I read labels more now.  You subtract sugar alcohol listed from the total carbs and that’s the net carbs.  There are carbs hiding in most every food. 

There are some foods I can have a lot of and not worry.  Celery, for example.  But carrots are not allowed in phase 1.  I can have all the lettuce and spinach I want, so big salads are my usual lunch.  I spend most of my carbs on the veggies that have limits and on cheese, salad dressing, and the Atkins foods.

For breakfast, I have a 1-egg scrambled or omlet with onions, spinach, bacon (the precooked pieces from Costco), peppers and cheese.  Every other day, I have an Atkins shake instead.  I may have coffee but I have to use real cream as the powder creamer that I love has too many carbs for the amount I usually use.   Breakfast is a hard meal for me because I’m so used to toast or bagels or some other carb.  Even on other diets, I would have cottage cheese and fruit with granola, all of which is off limits right now.

For lunch, I try to have a big salad with onions, peppers, a little bit of cheese, some type of meat (I have canned salmon or I use ham or whatever might be in the fridge).  I miss having crackers with my salad, but that’s not as hard.  I also might have leftovers from dinner the night before.  On weekends, Joe makes a tasty lunch, like Costco hotdogs split with cheese.  And we eat a lot of broccoli.

Dinner is the wild card.  Joe makes many very tasty meat-based dishes.  To replace our beloved pizza, he found a recipe for a “meatza.”  It is a ground beef  “crust” that is prebaked then topped like a regular pizza, with a small amount of sauce (counted toward the carbs) and TONS of veggies topped with mozzarella cheese.  A small slice of this creation is very filling and REALLY tasty.  We got some very tasty chicken burger patties at Costco and they are wonderful on their own or topped with cheese.

With the meat main dish, we usually have a salad or steamed broccoli.  Joe does a browned butter and mizithra cheese broccoli that is out of this world.  We have sausages (chicken or pork) and shrimp/lagostino with broccoli.  We have an older recipe for a cauliflower casserole that has pasta, but add chicken and delete the pasta and it’s just as good.

For snacks (we eat every 2 hours or so), I have celery with Laughing Cow cheese or homemade beef jerky or a handful of grape tomatoes (to equal 2 medium tomatoes) or a cheese stick or a few mini pickles or 6 large olives.  For the evening, we have some tasty Atkins bars.  I almost feel like I’m cheating if I have one of those because they DO taste like candy bars!

So… how am I doing on this program so far?  I started the 1st of July or thereabouts.  And as of Monday, August 1, I’ve lost 15 pounds.  Nowhere near the success of my husband, but there are reasons that it’s harder for me.  Of course, I’m a woman and it is and always will be harder for a woman to lose weight.  I’m on insulin, which is fat-binding and that makes it harder to lose weight.  I’m also much more sedentary than Joe.

I have cravings that are incredibly hard to ignore at times.  This is sometimes hard for Joe to understand because he literally has none.  I just had “that time” which triggers tremendous cravings for chocolate.  The Atkins bars filled that craving nicely.  I have had massive cravings for fruit, especially watermelon (it IS summer, afterall).

We haven’t added exercise yet.  Joe wanted to get under his initial goal before adding exercise so he wouldn’t have a heart attack, which I appreciate.  And me, well, I’m just lazy.  The Kid has been exercising on the bike, so that’s good.  🙂

Anyway, that’s the update.  I’ve been on this longer than my last attempt, so that’s something.  I’m just now finishing my Dark Chocolate Royale Shake.  Yum.

345/330/250 (start/current/initial goal)  Will change to final goal when I hit the initial goal.  🙂

Day 10 – Hanging in there…

I gave into a craving yesterday morning.  My stubborn toddler appetite wanted fast food for breakfast and I’d denied her for a few days.  See?  I was a responsible parent to my appetite a few days and she wore me down.  (Here comes the justification… wait for it…)

BUT… I got a breakfast burrito at Burger King rather than the much higher fat croissant sandwich.  It still has eggs, cheese, and sausage, but in a single, regular-size tortilla.  And when I got home, I had some fruit with it and coffee.  The rest of the day went fine as planned.   Today, my appetite didn’t make any such demands having been sated with yesterdays slip.  Usually, just one bad choice would have permanently derailed me, leading me to a fast food lunch and possibly pizza for dinner and then the next day, why bother.  But I did it.  I gave in a little and was then successful.

I’m tired these days.  The world is wearing me down, and that makes me want to gorge on my comfort foods… macaroni and cheese, cookies, chocolate, crackers.  I’m sensing a pattern here.  So I’m a stress eater.  I feel stressed and out of control because there are so many things going on in life (not directly… the family is fine) that I cannot control by even a tiny bit.  Yeah, I can write letters, get involved, carry a sign, wear a banner, vote… but honestly, I don’t see that it makes a bit of difference in how things will turn out.  That makes me very frustrated and, well, angry.

So I guess I’m an angry, stressed eater.

I slept a lot last weekend.  It’s just easier sometimes to pull up the covers and sleep.  I have my handy, dandy MP3 with some wonderful Tingstad and Rumbel on it, so it’s soothing and comforting, drifts me right off to sleep.  And sleep I did.  Joe let me, for a change.  I guess if we can’t go out for breakfast, there’s no reason to get me up early.  Perhaps I’m a tad depressed.  The antidepressants can only take care of so much.

Okay… I’m an angry, stressed, depressed eater.  There’s another pattern!

At least Joe has been happy lately.  Not because of the world of course, but because we’re actually sticking the plan.  He and Bren are doing the bike more often and have had more energy.  I’m getting a handle on the the appetite brat.  And when JOE is happy, he cooks.  He bakes.  He creates.  And then I’M happy because we can EAT tasty treats!

All right… now we’re getting somewhere I think.  I’m an angry, stressed, depressed, happy eater.

Angry + Stressed + Depressed + Happy = EMOTIONAL EATER

When I’m on spectrum of emotion, I eat.  When I’m working, I’m usually just neutral (unless I have a job from this one doctor in particular… grr…) and I don’t really want to snack much.  Well, that, and anything I eat makes noise from inside and that makes it hard to hear what the doctors are saying.

But one news story… or one problem with Brendan and the school… or thinking about the world… or enjoying an evening with my family… all peaks and valleys give me the desire to consume.

Okay… okay… this is good stuff right here.  I don’t just feed the anger or the depression… I feed the EMOTION.

So that leaves me with a few choices here… I either need a lobotomy (do they even DO those anymore?).  Or I need a hobby.   Or I need to find some type of outlet to feed the emotions other than food.  Or I need to have a food available that is healthy to have occasionally to feed the emotion.

We’ve done some really good work here, people!  Take a break and we’ll re-convene sometime in the next few days to discuss our options.  🙂

DAY 7! Made it a WEEK!

Yes, we made it a week!  Friday last week was a test for us… both Joe and I wanted to say screw it and get fast food for lunch and/or dinner.  But we didn’t.  We managed to hold off, perhaps because neither of us wanted to leave the house, but regardless, we made it.

Joe made a homemade lasagne on Sunday and it was fantastic.  He used whole grain lasagne noodles, which to me, does make a difference in the taste, but one I can live with.  He used light ricotta, fresh spinach, and our favorite jarred sauce.  Yes, jarred sauce.  He usually makes his own sauce, but this was a rush job and required immediate saucing.  Our favorite sauce:  Classico Sausage and Peppers.  It’s rich with the teeniest bite and has big chunks of green and red peppers.  (And I’m not a fan of green peppers!)  The great thing is that because we are a family of 3, this lasagne will last for several days unless we freeze it.  We are serving a 3×3 inch square piece and we had a huge salad with it, complete with romaine, tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella with light Italian.  YUM!

We decided the other day that Joe will continue to do the grocery shopping, at least for a few more weeks, if not longer.  I’ve never been a great grocery shopper when it comes to buying from a list.  Sure, I can get what’s on the list… but I ALWAYS end up with more than I find on the list, especially snack foods.  Joe is a very disciplined grocery shopper.  RARELY does he get anything not on the list, and if he does, it’s ONE loaf of bakery bread because it was freshly baked or ONE frozen meal that looked interesting and tasty or ONE cut of meat that is on sale… you get the idea.  Me, I usually get home with 2 bags of Cheetos because we haven’t had them in awhile or 2 bags of M&Ms because they’ll look good in the cut crystal candy dish or a dozen donuts because tomorrow is Friday.  Who’s with me?

I figured out one thing about myself so far.  My appetite is a spoiled toddler.  We’ve all known someone who has a toddler who is so incredibly spoiled, the parent gives in and gives her every little tiny thing she whines for just so she will STOP MAKING NOISE!  It’s just easier to give in than to deal with the main issue… saying NO and dealing with the consequences.

My appetite is that spoiled todder.  I’ve spent DECADES giving into everything she wants.  Candy?  Sure.  Donuts?  Why not.  Cookies?  They’re fresh.  Mac and cheese?  Who doesn’t like seeing a little kid enjoying their mac and cheese?  The alternative is to listen to her whine endlessly… by way of hunger pangs, headaches, shakiness and blurred vision.  Sometimes, the hunger can be like a panic attack.  There’s this feeling that if I don’t consume exactly what that damned brat wants, I’ll pass out.  So, I’ve spent many many years spoiling her and giving here whatever she wants whenever she wants it.

And Joe has been my incredibly supportive enabler, giving in to the voracious little beast… um… brat… whenever she whines to him.  He makes such wonderful cookies and breads!  He missed his calling as a baker, quite frankly.  He’s made bagels, donuts, english muffins, cheesecakes, pumpkin spice cakes, drop cookies, chocolate this and yummy, heavenly that.  Hence, my spoiled little hunger monster claps her hands with delight and devours whatever he makes.  It’s a win-win(-win) because she gets to eat, I feel satisfied because she’s not bitching at me anymore, and he gets a happy, satisfied wife.

Right now, at 8:36 at night, 2 hours post lasagne, my little food mongrel is whining.  She wants something sweeeeeettt to end the day.  I have two choices:  We have enough grapes for my breakfast so I don’t want to eat those.  So choice #1:  I can ignore her and the teeny headache I’m developing (despite pain relievers) will throb into a monster migraine-like pain.  Or choice #2:  I can grab 2 (and ONLY 2) Stickos and make them last awhile.  It is an hour after the Plan states I can have an evening snack, but a headache will only make things that much worse to the point that I give in to my toddler and give her the entire can of Stickos.  (These are cookies that are similar to Pirouette cookies by Pepperidge Farms, except the tube part is lighter and the filling is soft.  We get them at the Asian market Uwajamaya.  4 of them is a serving, so 2 is a nice snack.)

Will she EVER grow up?  Will she ever just let me eat what I need to and not DEMAND that I give in to her childish demands to run amok in the bakery or candy store?  I wish I could just stick a sock in her ever-widening mouth so she’d at least shut up and let me get on with my life.  Perhaps someday, if I’m successful with the Plan, she will finally grow up and be satisfied with what I’ve always lovingly called “adult food.” 

I am an incredibly lucky woman, though.  I was heavy when my husband fell in love with me.  We met over the computer, pre-Web, and I sent him a picture of me.  Not only did he not disappear (like a few guys I’d met online before him had), but he actually still expressed interest in meeting me!  He is notoriously anti-photo, so when we met, all I had to go on was barrel-chested, dark hair, dark eyes, and tall.  He never led me to believe he was built or handsome; he was honest, as was I.  But when he finally did lay eyes on me, he hugged me and said, “You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.”  <swoon>

Despite trying diets, surgery, and eating healthy, my weight has fluctuated tremendously.  But Joe has NEVER said a word other than he wants me to be healthy so we can be together for a long time.  He prefers a rounded woman with curves and flesh, so he’s quite happy with what he sees and feels.  <blush>  And I love him even more for accepting me for who and what I am, regardless how others might see me.  He’s working on adapting some of those tasty treats he makes to be whole grain (whole wheat is NOT good enough), low or no sugar, and low fat.  I know they are still not calorie-free, but at least my toddler will be satisfied with a touch of sweet occasionally that is otherwise mostly healthy.

Okay, enough of my philosophizing for one night.  I actually typed through my craving for something sweet!  Woohoo!

Off to bed.  Night!

Day 6 – Weekend and Weather!!

Greetings… I almost didn’t post a blog tonight because I’m just out of sorts today.  I don’t know what it is, just a general feeling of malaise.  Just a “don’t bug me” kinda mood.  BUT… it IS the weekend.  I’ll tell you all about my job sometime this week.   It’s not overly taxing physically at all.  It can be a mental challenge at times, though.  Just suffice to say I’m just brain tired.

AND we made it 1 week on the new plan!  Woot!  We’re going to get a Papa Murphy’s cheese and onion pizza tomorrow.  Their smallest size which should be more than enough.  Woot!  We had the best dinner today!  Joe got some nice big baking potatoes, and we had a variety of toppings.  And for the first time ever, the Kid ate his baked potato!  I think he’s got the clue that he either eats what we eat or he will go hungry.  He will learn to eat healthy!  So we had steamed brocolli, salt and pepper, green onions, bacon bits, cheddar cheese grated fine, and while I used cottage cheese for my dairy topping, Joe used fat free sour cream.  This was the best dinner we’ve had in a long time!  So satisfying and as long as we kept the cheese and bacon bits to a minimum (and we did), it’s pretty healthy, too.

Yes, it’s late Saturday night in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  It has been raining just about all day and WE LOVE IT!  It’s after 11 p.m. and the boys have headed off to bed.  I’m downstairs at my gaming PC with the cats.  It is so quiet… I hear our Scottish Fold cat snorting occasionally, the faint tick of the battery operated clock on the wall, occasional whirring from my desktop computer, and the click-clack of the keyboard.  Every so often, a car spashes past the house so I know it’s still raining.

THIS is why we moved to Oregon.  THIS weather.  The chilly overcast and rainy days and invigorate us so much.  We got this in the SF bay area in California over the winter, but not this early and not this calm.  EVER.  There is just something about the sun-free days that bring calm to our hearts and minds here.  I know the overwhelming majority of my reads (and my local friends) will disagree with me on this point year after year.  For some reason, most people want sunny and warm (not hot necessarily) days so they can go out and do activities with their families, but not us.  Rainy days will usually find out out driving around, finding peace and strength in the cool rain.

And being the weekend, we did some chores this morning… the Kid can now vacuum without his headphones on, Joe did some cooking, and I cleaned a bathroom.  Done.  LOL!  Then we did our favorite activities.  The Kid spent some time on his computer, working on levels on a Mario simulation program he found somewhere, and Joe and I played World of Warcraft.  Yes… I’m a gamer.  It is one of the things I find most fun in life.  Now if I could only find a way to play while on an exercise bike, I’d be beside myself with glee.

Speaking of glee, the show “Glee” will be coming back in the next few weeks and I couldn’t be happier to see a show return.  That show is so fun to watch, and we are especially happy to see Jane Lynch get recognition after so many years of loving her work.  She is priceless as Charlie’s psychiatrist on “Two and a Half Men,” but you have to catch her in some of the Christopher Guest mocumentaries to truly appreciate her talent.  I suggest “A Mighty Wind” in which she has a sizeable part.  She is amazing and very opposite of Sue Sylvester, her character in “Glee.”

Well, I’m done with WoW for the day and my eye are getting heavy-lidded, so I’m off to bed.  I hope your weekend is as fun and relaxing as mine, especially with more rain in the forecast for the next several days.  <sigh>  Life is good.

Day 4 – Another 5 Things About Me

Well, I made it to day 4… and my cravings are kicking in BIG time.  There are so many things I wish I could just scarf down right here, right now.  Crackers, pretzels, toast, popcorn (the buttery microwave kind, not that healthy wanna-be popcorn), a stack of cheese slices, and CHOCOLATE!  The only thing close to that last item in the house is a cut-glass candy jar with 3-year-old Hershey kisses that I must have purchased in the spring because they are prettily wrapped in baby blue, pink, gold, and silver.  Even *I* am not willing to even try those.  Other than that, nothing snacky in the house.  Well, we do have some of the low-salt Lay’s but those are for lunch.

I’m a prisoner to these cravings.  They overwhelm me, like those intense labor pains that mean the kid is just about to pop out.  You know if you can just hang on a few minutes longer, it will go away and you can get on with your life again.  But just like having a baby, it doesn’t end.  The cravings will be there tomorrow, like the shrieking infant you brought home and will never be satisfied.

Where the hell did THAT come from? 

Anyway, enough of the life changes for now.  I thought I’d share with you a few things you may or may not know about me.  If you’re not into that kinda thing, you should stop now.  I’m really not that interesting… but it’s late and it’s just me and the cats right now.

1… I was in band in 7th grade but never really played at any event.  I did march on the side of the road for one major parade and I ended up going up to get the trophy when we won because the rest of the band either ate something bad or suffered from heat stroke because they were all huddled up by the buses, puking their guts out.  But there I was, all uniformed up and no place to go.  The director grabbed me and took me into the auditorium where they were doing awards.  I have no memory of WHAT we won, but I remember carrying that trophy.  I played tenor sax for the marching band and was trying to learn the oboe for concert band.  It didn’t work out… while I adore music, I just wasn’t cut out to read music and play at the same time.

2… I tested into the gifted program at our elementary school when I was in the fifth grade.  In 1974 in California, they called the program MGM (Mentally Gifted Minors).  Never understood that… how the heck did they come up with that?  Anyway, that year at our school, they started having us go from room to room for classes, like in high school… except for the MGM kids.  We stayed in one classroom all day and each week we would do a report or presentation on a subject we’d vote on.  One week was weather and I did a presentation on clouds.  Another week, it was creative writing and I wrote a story about a girl dying from cancer.  It was surreal.

3… I was a wedding singer!  I spent a few years singing at weddings.  Yup, all by myself or with an accompanist… in public.  And for money, too. 

4… Once I hit 25 or so, I gave up on ever meeting Mr. Right.  And in a very sad way, if Joe’s dad hadn’t died, I might still be alone.  Why is that, I hear you wondering?  (You were, right?)  His dad died from an injury he suffered at his job as a meat cutter.  No, he didn’t cut anything off.  He had a little tussle with a forklift and the forklift won by twisting his hip.  He was in the hospital recuperating and everything was fine, but there was something else going on in the hip joint, something the doctors should have been able to easily catch, but they didn’t and he passed away.  A lawyer got involved, and long story short, his mom got a settlement and as a result, Joe got a computer.  Did I mention that Joe lived in Ohio and I was WAY OVER on the west coast, in California?  Anyway, in 1992, I took the plunge and bought my first computer, an 80386DX with 512 MB of RAM.  Can you even imagine that now?  This was still a few years from the Web being World Wide but there was a little proprietary network called The Sierra Network.  Get the software, log into a local Sprint number, and you TOO can spend $7 an hour to play graphical games online with a few hundred people.  I became a Sysop on this network and shortly thereafter, in November 1992, I met Joe who was using the computer purchased with settlement money.

5… I don’t cook.  Yeah, I know, most of you know that in some manner, but you’d be surprised to know that I’m not just being modest.  I truly DO NOT cook unless I absolutely have to.  If I concentrate very hard, I can make my mom’s Clam Chowder recipe.  And I make a mean boxed mac and cheese or pancake mix.  Just about any other recipe I’ve ever been able to make, I’ve shared with Joe… and he’s made them better.  Oatmeal cookies, chili… um… actually, that’s about it.  Joe and I approach cooking with very differing outlooks.  He LOVES to cook.  To be in a well-stocked kitchen, surrounded with his kitchen tools and the appropriate ingredients, creates a calm in him that is quite Zen.  He moves around the kitchen like a very purposeful bee, gather this ingredient here, that tool there, and VOILA, yummy tasty treats.  He made bagels and english muffins from scratch… we even made 14 dozen bagels for my work one year.  He made the most heavenly beef wellington for Chrismas one year (then the following year, he made it again for my parents).  And he found an recipe for old fashioned fruit cake… the kind that has rum in the recipe and then you put it in a sealed container and spritz it with more rum over a week.  One 1/4-inch slice of that fruit cake made my arms numb!  His lasagne would make an Italian mama cry. 

5… cont’d:  Me, on the other hand… I fall apart when faced with cooking.  More than 2 steps and I’m useless.   Some of my scrapbooking buddies can attest to that fact.  We go to a friend’s beach house a few times a year, and we each choose a meal to contribute.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with hors d’ovres… sausage cheese balls and cream cheese sausage puffs.  Mix, shape, bake.  A few ladies came into the kitchen while I was cooking to ask how it was going, and I was wild-eyed and panting heavily with anxiety.  They had the nerve to LAUGH at me.  I admit… it was probably very funny for these kitchen-savvy moms who provide well-cooked, lovingly made meals on a daily basis.  With my son, I make sandwiches with a chunk of cheese and fruit on the side.  Tomorrow morning, my loving son has requested pancakes for his Friday morning off before he gets to his chores and I go to work.  Luckily, we have some Snoqualmie Falls pancake mix up in the cupboard… water and mix, MY way of cooking.

On a side note about the pancakes… the last time I made pancakes, Bren was requesting Bisquick pancakes.  When I pulled out the much easier box of Snoqualmie Falls, he said, “No, REAL pancakes, like with BISQUICK!”  Somewhere out there, my father was spinning in his grave.  He was a wiz in the kitchen himself, my old man.  Saturday or Sunday mornings would find him in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of homemade pancakes, or more likely, waffles.  Or my other favorite:  Rice.  A bowl of the white fluffy rice with sweetener, cinnamon, raisins and a dab of butter, mixed up and a dribble of milk.  YUM!  He also made the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever had (or will again… I can’t even imagine ever eating chicken and dumplings again since he passed).

Okay, no sad thoughts here… only positive.

It’s time for bed.  I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me.  If you find some insight into my character, please share.  It can only help me on my journey.  🙂

Too Full!

Oh my… my tummy is so full!  We had the last of the leftover lasagne for lunch, about a 2″ square piece, along with steamed broccoli and I had a few spoons of cottage cheese (broccoli and cottage cheese is so YUM!). 

I could not finish that plate of food.  And I’m so full, I feel like I need to give some back.

Got work to do… and I wish it were Thursday already.  No reason, really… just wish it was solidly into the 2nd half of the week and closer to the weekend.  I LIVE for weekends!

Day 3 – How did this happen?

To paraphrase Bob and Doug McKenzie:  “And welcome to Day 3.”

So far, so good.  Same breakfast as yesterday, and last night, we had the same dinner as the night before.  Gotta love leftovers.  The kid is doing a great job… he had broccoli and half a PB&J in his lunch yesterday.  And last night, he ate half of the lasagne he was served as well as the entire salad.  Of all the carbs he loves, he’s not a fan of pasta.  Strange, that.

So I’ve been pondering the “how did I get here” question.  I’ve seen pictures of myself as a child, and I was no bigger than most kids.  I grew up in Massachusetts on an Air Force base.  There were a number of kids on our block in base housing, and most of them were my friends.  We played outside a LOT, climbing trees, playing with our Barbies and GI Joes, playing in the sandbox (when there wasn’t cat poo in it), playing tag and freeze tag.  I was quite active.  But I loved to eat.

My mom is an excellent cook.  She made homemade noodles, cobblers, and bread.  We always had dessert.  We always sampled what was cooking, tasting from the pot or bowl.  “Finish your dinner” was a standard phrase.  I can’t remember if they pulled out the “kids are starving in <3rd world nation>” or not, but it was close.  And while we were putting away leftovers, we always had those last few bites.  She also made plenty of things I didn’t like, such as liver or stuffed peppers (I don’t care what anyone says… scoop out the stuffing and it tastes like peppers!).  When she made things I didn’t like or when we had a babysitter, I’d get my favorite:  Kraft macaroni and cheese.  Yum!

When I was 10, we moved to California.  Ah, land of sunshine and fruit!  Peaches fresh off the tree!  Grapes nearly year-round!  I loved fruit… and I ate a LOT of it.  I’d have 4 peaches in a sitting… yum!  But that’s just fruit, I hear you saying.  Here is an interesting site regarding sugar in fruits: Sugar Stacks.  There is a lot of sugar in fruits.  Granted, it’s a more natural sugar than candy and there are many good things in fruits as well, but at the volume I consumed fruit and the other snacks my mom had on hand, I started to gain weight.

I was lonely.  We had moved all the way across the country.  There was no email or iPhone or internet in 1973 so I was effectively cut off from anything or anyone I had known.  I was teased at school for being a little chunky when we moved to California and it just got worse.  I made a few friends but I always felt like I was a little on the outside.  Food was my constant friend.  It didn’t tease me or say it didn’t want to go with me.  Being tested as “gifted” at age 11 didn’t help matters much either. 

Kids can be cruel.  Food is always friendly.

Exercise makes me uncomfortable.  Always has, always will.  So even as a preteen, I avoided exercise when I could.  I loved riding my bike, though I didn’t really see that as “exercise.”  It was a means of freedom.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great home life.  I just wanted to do what I wanted to do.  Maybe it’s because I was an only child.  Maybe it’s because it was the 70s.  Or maybe it was just me wanting to spread my wings.

Dad was in the Air Force and worked quite a bit.  Mom was (and still is) a church musician and choir director, and when I was in my early teens, she was also going to school at night.  Dad joined her at night classes for awhile, leaving me alone at home.  I’d make a pot of spaghetti (at least 2 servings worth), put parmesan on it, and I’d eat that while watching TV.  And this was AFTER dinner.  I think back to that and cringe.  I was obsessed with food, with feeling satisfied, with carbs.

Carbs, carbs, carbs… I’ve rarely met a carb I didn’t instantly bond with.  Cupcakes, cookies, chips, crackers… yum.  Just saltines and ice tea, a favorite snack.  Cake, bread, doughnuts, pastries, pasta.  <sigh>  I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture.  Oh, I love fruit, too… a diet of fruit and bread would be my idea of heaven.  The hell with proteins… gimme carbs!!

So I can see it goes WAY back.  I don’t remember much about my diet before the age of 10 or so.  Does that mean that food wasn’t my focus before then?  I know I ate cereal.  I told my mom when I was 3 that I didn’t need a mom because I could get my own breakfast.  Yeah, she wasn’t happy to hear that either. 

Okay, enough meandering down memory lane.  Not an entirely bad experience on the lane today, but there’s still more delving to do later.

Enjoy your day, dear reader… I’m nearly done with my breakfast and the MT plate is, indeed, empty.  C’mon people… DICTATE already!  🙂

Day 2 – Steady as we go…

So here we are in Day 2. Day 1 ended on a fairly good note. I had 4 Lorna Doone shortbread cookies while playing last night. Better than 10, right?

As we forge ahead, I’ll try to tackle my stressors… those things that cause me to want to eat without hunger. I’ll also be looking at other times that I want food but I’m not stressed. I need to figure out WHY I eat and figure out a different, more positive thing to do instead. There will always be those times when it’s okay to give in A LITTLE… 2 cookies rather than 4 or 1 piece of Dove chocolate rather than a whole bag. You get the picture. I’m worried a little about “that time of the month.” I’m a chocolate fiend for about 3 days and it’s very hard to withstand the craving. We’ll see what happens.

So here I am with my breakfast, checking out the news before I get to work (the queue is empty again… only 3 jobs yesterday!). In a huge coffee mug, I put 2/3 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1 packet of equal, a few shakes of Dean and Deluca cinnamon powder, and 2 rather small handfuls of loose granola (not the chunky kind). I mix that up nicely, then put in over a cup of grapes. The grapes are from Costco and they are HUGE, so I just topped the mug off with grapes. This is my favorite breakfast, regardless what the rest of my diet is at any given time.

What is so interesting about this particular breakfast is that when I was growing up, my mom would eat pineapple with her cottage cheese, adding a little sweetener to the cottage cheese first. I would gag when I’d see it. I mean, cottage cheese is a savory food! What’s with the sweetener!?! GROSS! Of course, I’d let her know how gross it was because the switch that tell us not to say something… well, mine is broken. But when I got older and was searching for an easy breakfast that was comprised of more than toast, I remembered my mom’s sweetened cottage cheese thing. I still don’t care for pineapple with it, but I love it with peaches, nectarines, grapes, or berries. Yum! I don’t use any citrus fruits because they seem to curdle the cottage cheese for me and apples are right out. Bananas are iffy. For me, it’s the moisture in the fruits that help make the dish.

For dinner last night, Joe made a very tasty turkey lasagne that we’d gotten from Costco. Normally, we’d eat most of it for 1 meal, but we ate the serving size indicated, along with a salad, and it was satisfying. I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, which is preferred but not always the end result. For dinner tonight, we will have leftovers and a salad.

After dinner, we played and watched TV. Joe and the Kid went to bed around 8:00 p.m. which left me to my own devices. THAT’S when the food situation gets dangerous for me. I had some peanuts by my computer but all that was left equalled roughly a small handful. No problem… nice little snack. A half-hour later, I hit the Lorna Doones. Perhaps because they were there, on the computer desk, just waiting for me… yeah, I need to NOT have food available.

As for liquids, I have 2 travel cups of coffee in the morning (nursing them all morning while I work) then at lunch, I start my iced tea period. I drink iced tea the rest of the afternoon and evening from a large insulated straw cup. I love that thing because there is no moisture to drizzle down the outside and get all over everything. I use 1 Equal in the tea.

I work upstairs in a cubicle in an office room (my WoW machine is downstairs… neither the twain shall meet!). Here at my desk, I have a jar of Emerald Dry Roasted Peanuts (YUM!) and a half-dozen Nature Valley Fruit and Nut granola bars in the drawer. In a container on the desk, I have Costco dried fruit and nut mix. If I can limit myself to a handful (modest) once a day, I should be good.

Okay… enough of this for now. There is actually work in my queue. For our non-MT visitors, I’ll tackle “What is an MT and what do you do” at some point this week. Until then, just know that I work at home and I type for a living. It’s a pretty sweet and interesting gig, even if it’s not very profitable.

Have a great day!

The Plan and The Goals

Okay, so I’m going to do this thing and if I’m going to have it out there for ALL to see, I’ve got to give it a real, true go.  So, here are “da rulz” of the new life.

First, we are a family team.  If Joe, who does the cooking, doesn’t feel like it, the Kid and I will fill in and find something tasty and healthy for us to eat.  Even better is if Joe can make some things ahead for us to heat up so it’s as if he’s cooking while he’s relaxing.  It’s only going to work if we rely on each other.  The Kid won’t ask for fast food, I won’t buy chocolate, and Joe won’t give up.  These are our promises to each other.

Second, and most simply put, I’m going to eat better, eat less, and move more.  That means no fast-food breakfasts.  As easy and yummy as they are, I will have to ignore the bright lights of the tasty places on the way home from taking the Kid to school.  What I CAN do is fix a healthier version of my favorites here at home.  The PLAN would be a healthy breakfast, a snack after a few hours, a healthy lunch, a snack a few hours later, and a healthy dinner, followed by a snack before 7:30 (probably more fruit).  This way, the metabolism continues to work efficiently all day.  The most important part is to make sure the meals are reasonable and the snacks are small.

Third, we will not eat out if we’re too tired to cook.  The Hubby does the cooking but sometimes, he’s just to tired to do so.  We should probably just leave the phone number for Bellagio’s (our favorite pizza/grinder shop) off of the phone autodial.  So he will try to pre-make meals or premake a meatball or meatloaf mix and I can just make or bake it.  Salads are my specialty, so that’s not a problem.

Fourth, we will reward ourselves with tasty treats when we’ve accomplished certain milestones.  Our first will be a grinder from Bellagio’s if we can stick to our Plan for at least 1 week.  I know it’s not a good idea to reward with food, but we’ve tried other reward systems in the past and they just don’t work for us.  The deprivation of our favorite treats, with the promise of a reward of said treat in the future, is a tantalizing prospect for us.  We can always change our minds later, but for now, this will help us get through the first several months.

Fifth, and finally, we will add exercise.  In order to not become overwhelmed with changes, we will concentrate on the food changes first.  The Kid is getting PE 4 days a week so that will help with his progress initially.  Joe will add Bowflex and bike.  If he does that along with eating better, after a week he’ll be down 10 pounds.  I hate him for that but he’s a guy, what can I do.  As for me, in a few weeks, I’ll add some Richard Simmons 80s Sweatin’ DVD action.  For some reason, when HE says I can do it, I believe him!  If Jillian told me that, I’d have a very hard time believing her. 

My goals are modest.

My short-term goal is the stick to the Plan.  It’s not just a day-to-day struggle.  I work at home, with the kitchen right downstairs, it can be  hard to not seek out something soothing when some ultrafast dictation renders my brain inactive.  The solution:  Fruits and veggies.  We will make sure to have fruit on hand for those snacks.  Luckily, I love most fruits.  Veggies are good, too… just have to work them in.  I’m open to suggestions!

My medium term goal is to get healthy… and off of insulin.  I’m diabetic and was on insulin in 1993, off when I had my surgery and lost weight from 1994 to 1999 when I had gestational diabetes then back on a few years after my son was born.  In addition, there are also the supplies for testing.  I’d like to eliminate the need for the supplies and the insulin, and to do that, I must lose weight.  If the Plan goes as planned, a loss of weight is the natural result.

Finally, my long-term goal is to see my son graduate from high school and college, and if he changes his mind, get married.  If I don’t change my ways, this will not happen.  Period.

SO… there you have it.  The Plan and the Goals.

On with the show!  Can I live with an MT plate?  We shall see.

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