Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 163: 24-Update Friday ( # 7 )

Here is it, the last 24-Update of 2010.

Yes, it is once again time for 24-Update Friday, my biweekly attempt to squeeze into the like-new size-24 jeans, which have taunted me for years from the back of my closet.

I've been tracking, these last three months, my weight loss progress measured against these old (though like-new) jeans. They are light tan, perfect for summer wear, but as I stated months ago, I'm wearing them whenever I happen to fit into them properly.

To review:
My first attempt to try on my old size-24 jeans was on October 7, 2010, the unofficial 24-Update # 1.

The jeans were, literally, a second skin on me, and couldn't be zipped, never mind buttoned. My panties were substituting for jean material across my abs. Not exactly the look I was going for, you know? I could move, but only in a weird little half shuffle, because I had no leg movement (or feeling, for that matter). Hey, I was at least celebrating I could get them over my thighs, even if just barely.  I actually thought at one point I'd have to be CUT out of the jeans.  Pretty funny, looking back on it now, for those who care to read it in archives.

It was Sharon who suggested I may want to try on the jeans periodically, as I continued to lose weight.  What a great idea!  That is how the 24-Update (short for size 24 jeans update) was officially born. (Thanks, Sharon!) I would recommend this to EVERYBODY. We sometimes overlook our progress, and looking back makes me appreciate the progress I've made thus far.

Update # 2 saw me get the jeans over my legs with ease. It took only two weeks to go from second-skin to comfortable on my legs. I was thrilled with that! They weren't baggy, but also not a second skin. The progress wasn't so great above the thighs though. The jeans were so tight on the hips, and the button and buttonhole had a good 4" gap between them, maybe a little more. I still relied on the "panty panel" making up the gap of the gaping front.

Update # 3 was on November 5, almost a month after my first attempt to wear the old size-24 jeans. The legs were no longer an issue. The hips remained tight, but the distance between the button / hole had gone down to about a 3" gap, while the zipper still was not remotely close to closing. The two zipper halves, however, could at least "see each other now, from a distance."

Update # 4 saw the zipper go up about 1/4 of the way - and boy, was I excited about that! The button / hole had about 2.5" left to meet, but the gap was definitely shrinking. If I worked hard (HARD), I could barely just get the waistband fabric to touch - not buttoned, definitely not zipped, but edging closer.

Update # 5, major progress (albeit for only about 30 seconds). I zipped and buttoned the jeans! I couldn't breathe, and had to do a LOT of sucking-it-up. In fact, I struggled for several minutes, but I managed it. I couldn't bend or move, but I was elated! The jeans, across the abs and waist, were like a super-tight second skin, and my biggest fear was for the middle of the zipper, and the screaming button, that was just dying to fling itself off and imbed into the wall opposite me. Looking back, I think "my poor internal organs." The zippered moment lasted all of 30 seconds, for fear I'd split the zipper (literally). I actually had no business forcing it to that extreme, and am lucky I didn't ruin the jeans.

Update # 6 was mid-December. The waist buttoned easily, with just a minor sucking-in of the stomach. Like the legs, the waist was no longer an issue. Now, it was all about the hips and abs. I didn't push the zipper, after the previous attempt, but it was good for about 1/2 of the way. I was hoping I could "easily zipper up" the old 24s by Update # 7 ...

So?

Update # 7:

The leg material is comfortably loose, and the old 24s fit perfectly on the legs.

The waist - buttoned with ease. I didn't even have to suck in the tummy!

The hips / abs ... remain my nemesis. But yes, even there I saw progress. I sucked in my tummy, just a little, and could zipper up without too much thought.

Today, I could (for the first time) actually wear the jeans if I needed to, as long as I remained standing. They were too tight across the abs/hips area, and the fabric pulled there, but wearing a shirt untucked would take care of hiding that. I could walk around with ease and not a thought in the world about the jeans, but I wouldn't try sitting in them just yet. I'm so close!!

I went out earlier this week, and bought a new size 24 jeans. These old 24s (above) are truly old, by more than 15 years. The sizing of 24 back then, versus today's vanity-sizing, is quite a bit different. I tried on the new (black) size 24s, and

THEY FIT !!!!

They are not too loose, or too tight, but just right.

So, perhaps the old 24s are like today's 22s? I don't know, but I will continue into 2011 with my 24-Updates, on a biweekly, Friday, basis. I hope I will be comfortably wearing them by Valentine's Day! It really won't be long. I have to get rid of the stomach pooch (you know what I'm talking about) ... and since I'll be starting routine and regular exercise next week (walking?), I hope my pooch will shrink like crazy in January, allowing me to get into the old 24 jeans soon. Time will tell.

I'm so very close ...

The old 24s - light tan in color - have a month or so to go (at my current pace).  The new 24s, however, fit right now!   (They are black.)  What a GREAT ending to a fabulous second half of 2010!

My next post needs to focus on my goals for the new year.  Have you started thinking about 2011?  What goals and / or resolutions do you have for 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Decision Time

I was thrown a dieting curve ball yesterday, with a simple emailed notice from our favorite local restaurateur. 

We have a very unique local neighborhood restaurant, that grills everything over hickory wood.  No fryers, no oven (except the wood-burning pizza oven) ... the food is delicious and fresh.  The chef is a master at making unique combinations and the food is savory and mouth-watering. 

The owner made the announcment yesterday (my curve ball), that they are going to close down after Friday night's service. 

We're devastated.  Even "modified" - for my diet - the dishes there are fantastic, and there is so much I can eat on plan.  Mostly, though, it is home to my all-time favorite sandwich on earth.  It is a vegetable concoction, with peppered goat cheese and balsamic vinegar ... it is just a big plate of love - and all for just over 400 calories, if I go for the wrap version (without the cheese, of course).

The sandwich, as it was intended (with crumbled peppered goat cheese) is my ideal sandwich.  I've been having the modified version of it, knowing I can always have the full monty - as a treat - once in a great while (eventually).  Well, that is, as long as the restaurant remained in business. 

That is my curve ball.  We plan to dine there this evening, a chance to say good-bye to people who have become friends, and half the neighborhood will be there today and tomorrow. 

So, what do I choose to do?  Do I have my modified sandwich, as usual, or do I order it full monty, the way it was originally created - for one last taste of my all-time favorite sandwich? 

The question I am asking myself today is this:  Do I indulge in my favorite sandwich, with cheese, knowing I can't have it again?  Or do I remember the higher priority of my health, and have the modified version? 

Not so easy to answer, knowing how long forever is, and that this is just one single meal and a one-shot deal.  How will I feel afterwards?  Food is never that important, after the fact.  That bears keeping in mind.  Still, no slam dunk resolve is forthcoming.  Forever is a long time, to never enjoy a favorite anything.

So, I turn to math.  There simply isn't much goat cheese used in the wrap.  Less, in fact, than an inch-cube, crumbled into the masterpiece.  I looked up what a 1" cube of goat cheese has for nutritional value, just to be conservative.  Perhaps I can compensate elsewhere for the added calories ...

I am on a low-fat diet, so I know the added bit of fat won't be bothersome.  I remain way below the maximum allowed of fats on my plan.  The calories are, conservatively, 100, but even if I double that number, I can compensate for that readily.  No issues there. 

The bigger picture will be, can I handle introducing my beloved cheese back into my diet?  In other words, will just one visit to Cheese Land do it for me?    I don't need a taste sending me to Cheese R Us tomorrow, to stock up my arteries.

How well do I know myself?  No BS, no justifications.  I'm sitting here, deciding how to handle this little test.  I think my resolve is quite strong.  It is actually getting easier, as time goes by, to pass on certain things.  I got past my birthday without my favorite (off-plan) birthday meal.  I didn't even have a sip of wine on our anniversary.  (I toasted with water, what else?)  I didn't have a single bite of candy during Halloween weekend, despite the perfume of chocolate filling the air at every place we went.  I did have traditional Thanksgiving food, but in a much more health manner - still lost weight that week too.  I  even passed on the fattening food and traditional treats of Christmas, with a meal of homemade vegetable soup.  Healthy won again!  But this?  This is forever.  This is a one-shot, do-I-do-this thing. 

I believe I can manage it, objectively.  I know it won't derail my week, diet-wise.  And I have only consumed 470 calories today so far - plenty left for tonight's meal, whichever way I go.

In the end, I decided to get my favorite sandwich full monty tonight (that means, with cheese).  We'll dine earlier than usual, I'll keep calorie counts in close check, and that will be that.  I'll savor my last taste of my favorite sandwich, and it will be gone - just like some of the beloved family recipes that died with the passing of my grandmother.  I'm confident it won't lead to any off-plan behaviors, and that is the key for me.  I don't use food rewards, and this isn't some compensation or rationalization for my diet.

When you are eating healthy foods, in correct proportions, consistently and persistently, these types of opportunities can be enjoyed.  If I had indulged in other areas throughout the week, this opportunity wouldn't even be an option for me.  As it is, I have 730 calories to play with, in a sandwich plate that will probably barely kiss 600 calories.  The math was my friend today.  So, I get to send my tastebuds one last heavenly tasting sandwich.  I hope they appreciate it.  LOL

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Harry's Lesson

We're coming up on a rather sad one-year anniversary, the death of our dear friend, Harry. 

I don't want to write about it on that day - which is sad enough - but I wanted to mention his story.  I'm not going to hold onto this anniversary, but I didn't want this first one to pass by unmentioned, since something may be learned by it.  (Personally, we much prefer to celebrate birthdays, than to remember sad occasions.) 

I could go on and on about what an amazing person Harry was.  My husband and I were so very lucky to have known him for so many years.  Harry was a kind, intelligent gentleman, with a heart of gold and a face a sculptor would envy.  He was quite tall, dark-haired and uncommonly handsome - happily married, the father of two, and best friend to his faithful dog.  His laugh was infectious.  His spirit, patient and gentle.  His humor, legendary among those who knew him.  Harry was fiercly loyal to those he loved.  And, yes, his full head of thick hair was the envy of every male friend over 40. 

Harry was also morbidly obese, majorly morbidly obese, at just over 500 lbs. (at his heaviest). 

He had some relatively minor mobility issues from time to time, but still got around.  He easily side-stepped every little health issue that came his way.  Life was good.  His heart was strong.  His constitution, ironclad.

Then, it got even better.

Harry found the strength to lose weight.  He was a "slow loser," but over the previous three years, managed to shave more than one hundred pounds off his body!  He did it thoughtfully, carefully, although inconsistently. 

After all, old habits are hard to break - as we all know. And Harry loved a good restaurant meal.  Who doesn't?!  Harry used the "slow loser" mantra often, and seemed perfectly fine with the pace at which he was losing weight.  As he often pointed out, at least he is losing!  And he "has to live, after all."  It sounded fine to us.

Harry looked amazing, and was enjoying life more than ever, as he continued to gain flexibility, easier breathing, and all the rest that goes along with losing weight.  Harry was active and happy and so very talented. 

That all came to an end, overnight - literally. 

Without any warning whatsoever, our healthier Harry (who just had a check-up a few weeks earlier), passed away.  He was only in his 50s.  Everyone who knew him was completely stunned by the news.

His beloved wife and precious children were devastated.  No one had a chance to even say good-bye.  We were told his blood pressure destabilized, and the heart soon followed.  The doctors couldn't save him.

Apparently, from what the doctors said, Harry was indeed healthier ...

but not yet healthy.   Harry was still morbidly obese. 

I can absolutely guarantee one thing to you:  Harry didn't want to die. 

Had he a glimpse into his future, his "slow loser" excuses would no doubt have ended, as he truly got serious and focused more on what needed to be done.  But, since he was well on his way to a healthier Harry, he thought he had bought himself time.  And maybe he did, just not as much as he thought. 

The routine doctor appointments and test results gave no warning.  Sure, he was obese and was cautioned to lose the weight - but haven't we all been likewise cautioned?  And Harry was doing that, albeit slowly.  

Harry didn't get to start the new year with his wife, and celebrate 2010 with their children and grandchildren. 

It turns out, Harry's lesson is that the journey alone won't necessarily protect everyone from devastating results. 

Procrastination, and excuses can hurt us, perhaps not necessarily so, but the possibility exists.  And routine scans and blood draws don't always show what is about to happen.  Not every decline is slow and with warning.  I don't like to think about that.  Who does?  But the possibility has to be acknowledged.

No one - no - one - saw this coming, not even his ever-vigilant and amazing doctor.

I learned, it isn't enough to just be on the journey with good intentions of eventually getting there, making a little progress every few months.  We have to work to reach those goals.  We have to be honest - with ourselves, at least, if with no one else. 

Today, Harry's family is doing great!  And his precious grandchildren are getting so big!  It is a shame they are too young to remember him.  They were everything to that man - the future - and cherished like none other.  He doted on them and was so proud.  I think he'd have given up his favorite foods in a heartbeat, if he knew he'd never live long enough, otherwise, for his grandchildren to even remember him.  The truth?

Harry could have done better.

This week I am asking myself, "Can I?" 

I've done well with my dieting, but could I have done better?  I'm not perfect (who is?), but there was definitely room in my diet and (so far) almost non-existent exercising for improvement. 

So, in 2011, my daily question to myself will be:  Can I do better?

I'm (barely) no longer morbidly obese, but I am severely obese.  I am attacking my mini-goals.  I am still not out of the woods, but for every 5% I lose, I gain ground on getting healthy. 

I am certainly much healthier than I was last year at this time, but, as the doctor said about Harry, I'm not yet healthy.   

That is the ultimate goal - good health.  And no matter how good or how poorly I do on this journey to get there, certain facts do not change.  Being obese (whatever the category) is not healthy.  Being overweight is not healthy.  Lack of routine exercise is not healthy. 

I'm improving all the time, but the journey is not over until I reach the destination.

CAN I do better?  You better believe it.  I can do better.  And I will.

Conspiring For My Success? Phase IV Preparations ...

Hello, ex-Couch Potato here.  I'm fighting my natural tendency to shun all things exercise.  Part of preparing for my new year's resolution (embracing regular exercise), is getting my mind in its proper place.  Where the mind goes, the body follows.  So, I'm taking this last week of the Phase III challenge (SSDDDY) to also prepare properly for next week.  Part of that preparation is to take an objective look at my attitude, and make some healthy changes, and healthier choices.

It all comes down to choices, after all.  String enough good choices together, and we get improvement.  Don't, and we go nowhere - fast.

So, my self-assessment was not too pretty.  I've caught myself slipping into that self-destructive mindset of "enjoying this last week" of relaxation, before the real work begins.  That's lazy (or crazy) thought for "I don't want to change.  I just want the results without the effort."  Wah, wah, wah ....

That IS crazy-thought.  I can't have positive results without positive change, after all.  Yet, here I sit, thinking up a big-person's common excuse of "I'll do it later, better get in the good stuff while I can."  That is a losing mindset, and I won't have it anylonger.

Then, as if nature itself is conspiring for my success, this upcoming weekend is going to be GORGEOUS ... just perfect for outdoor exercise (aka, walking).  The "it is too cold" excuse door has been slammed shut for me.  Heck, it is even being slammed shut for the Northeasterners - because all that snowfall will be melted like magic over the next few days. 

No couch-potato-ways in the days leading up to the new year! 

I am going to end this year on a positive note, with healthy changes and increased efforts.  Why wait until next year?  The calendar flip excuse is only delaying health.  I can be reactive or proactive ... proactive gets to the goal line.  Reactive gets, at best, treading water.  Delaying things (diet, exercise, etc.) is a fat person's fall-back position.  I've used the "I'll start on Monday" tactic before.  It just doesn't get me to the results I want.

Which am I going to be?  Proactive in adapting changes to improve my health and well-being?  Or reactive, in putting forth partial effort for so-so results?  Please, the answer is obvious!  This is hard work, and I don't want to revisit territory twice.  Let's get it done already! 

THIS IS THE YEAR.  This is the week.  Today is the day! 

I bought new walking shoes, which I will break in this week, wearing them around the house, etc.  And I also bought a better all-weather jacket, for walking outdoors.  I'm taking away excuses, you see.  I am preparing myself for success.  How many people prepare themselves for failure?  Or put another way, fail to prepare for success?  I have, in the past. 

Now?  I'm eliminating those larger clothing sizes from my closet.  I used to be afraid to go there (because I may need them again) -- See?  That is preparing for failure. 

And just today, I found myself thinking (albeit, momenarily), "I better enjoy this week of doing nothing while I can.  I deserve it, after all."  Scary.  I deserve to respect myself enough to do what I need to, in order to get healthy.  Don't we all deserve a fit life?  A LONG fit life? 

So, the ice is melting, the roads are already mostly dry, and it is obvious that nature is conspiring for my success, and I need to get on board and conspire for my own success too.  I am still a very big gal, so I know not to expect athlete performances right out of the gate.  Slow and steady progress, a can-do (WILL-do) attitude, and a rock-solid committment to improving my health  will be the foundation of a wonderful 2011. 

Preparations are starting now.  I'm getting ready.  I'm excited, because I know I am taking another step closer to having one of my healthiest years ever!  I did well in the 5.5 months I worked it in 2010, so it will be FUN to see what I can do with 12 full months of the 2011 calendar.  Persistence, not perfection, but a solid and straightforward effort.  I'm all over this ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Sights

I've read (somewhere) women should have waist measurements below 30".

Today, I measured in at 40", so just ten more to hit that target.  I'm hoping the exercise component I will be adding next week will help get me there a little faster.  I'm still a long way from the 28" is used to be in my healthy days, but I'm also not 20-something anymore.

I'm very excited that my hips dropped in size this week.  It will make the next attempt at wearing the old size 24s a little easier.  The waist and legs are fine.  It is the hip measurement that is making the jeans not yet wearable.  Will this next attempt be "the one?!"  (Wouldn't THAT be exciting?!)  Maybe not this next attempt, but soon ...

Lots to do today, and I'll be heading out the door shortly.  I have a lot of blog reading catching up to do !!  Thank you to all who've left comments, suggestions and messages over the last week.  I've read them all by this posting.  I'm looking forward to reading your blogs.  It is great that we can all support each other.  I know the holidays were tough for everyone, but the season is behind us now!!  Time to refocus and look toward the new year, right? 

2011 is going to be the best - let's all apply ourselves, give our best efforts, and slide into summer at our healthiest yet!!  We CAN do this!! 

Onward and downward ...

Day 159 - Weigh-in Results: 245 lbs.

Up 2 lbs. from last week's weigh-in.  (WHAT??!!)  Hey, no worries.  I did very well this week, staying on-plan through every festivity and drinking plenty ... of WATER.  Okay, with the occasional diet cola tossed in there too.  I treated myself to a diet Pepsi here and there ... zero calories, etc.  Hey, it was Christmas.

Why am I not dejected over giving up two pounds? 

1. I stayed on plan.
2. Female stuff.
and ...

3. I'VE LOST MORE INCHES!

That's right.  The scale may have gone up a little on water-retention (female stuff), but that doesn't mean my progress cannot be tracked.  I've lost some girth from both my waist and hips this week!

YAY!!  Actually, DOUBLE YAY, because the hips actually lost more than the waist this past week, and any time my hips give up any fraction of an inch, it is a good day for me!

Did I mention I even got in some exercise?  We had a rare Christmas snowfall here, and yesterday we arrived at church a bit early, to discover hazardous walkways.  I grabbed a shovel and helped clear the main entryway of the heavy, wet snow.   

So, how did everyone do on their diets over Christmas week/end?  Are you kicking yourself?  I hope not!  This is, for me, the first Christmas in a long time where I stuck to healthy everything, and that sense of power felt great!  It wasn't always easy, but I'm having none of the post-Christmas regrets (as in "why did I eat that?!!")  - life is good.

I'm lookimg forward to the beginning of a new year, and all the promise that brings with it. 

Day 159 (already!!), and moving forward ...

ADDENDUM:  Dad spent a good portion of the weekend in the ER for his antibiotic infusions.  The infusion center couldn't get the bag in properly, and we were directed to the ER on Christmas.  You can't skip antibiotic treatment when you are fighting sepsis.  Dad's treatment continues, but the remaining week's daily infusions should be easily handled by the doctor's office.  Keeping our fingers crossed on that one ...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Festivities Over

Well, it is after 10 pm on Christmas Eve, and we are home from the family festivities.  (Everyone goes early, because the host family this year has youngsters who are excitedly awaiting Santa's arrival.)  The parents, of course, still have things to do - after the kids were off to bed - to ready the place for the Big Guy's slide down the chimney. 

We'll be heading out in a few hours for midnight church service. 

So, how did I do?  Excellent!  I had ONE BOWL of vegetable soup, and some banana/pineapple for dessert, water, pomegranate juice, and a very fresh date stuffed with a pecan (YUM)!  Oh, and I had a thimble-sized bite of a sugarplum (yes, they are real). 

I did well!  But tomorrow is another story. 

One of my in-laws gave me a glorious box of Bateel Dates, straight from Dubai.  Folks, these are dates like you've never had them before.  They taste so fresh, as if picked off the tree yesterday!  They are sitting in my house now, eight wonderful dates, calling to me from their little box.  Aaaaaannnnnnn, oh, Annnnnnnnnn ....

I'm going to enjoy 3-4 tomorrow (I think), but first I need to check on the nutrition information of dates.  I think they are either the Naboot Seif or Sukari (variety) dates, but I need to double-check that.  Hey, at least they aren't chocolate-covered!  If you've never had truly fresh dates, like those from the Bateel company, you have no clue what they are supposed to taste like.  If I ever visit California, I'm including a visit to a date farm, just to shop some freshly picked dates!

Well, the family went CRAZY when they saw me!  Some haven't seen me in 4 months, so it was a shock I think, to see me about 50 lbs lighter.  It was great fun, but then got a little embarrassing, because it went on and on and on ... and of course the dreaded camera came out and the room was awash in flash bulbs. 

I'm not sure what to make of this one, but one of my sisters-in-law (who KNOWS I've been dieting), gave me two huge "organic" milk chocolate almond bars.  (HUGE candy bars, like 760 calories each or something insane like that.) That isn't even something I'd normally eat, before dieting.  She knows I like chocolate though. 

Why buy a dieter something like that?!  You think she would know better, because she is the family glamour girl, for heaven's sake. 

I'll pass the love on to someone who appreciates it more, before I am tempted to tear into one.  She also gave me a gift certificate to Starbucks "for lattes."  I plan on using it to buy a few water bottles or mugs or something.  No lattes for this dieter!

In all these years (decades), I've never had food-related gifts like I've had this year.  Sheesh!  It figures, right?

Tomorrow, we're eating at Dad's home.  Nothing special planned for the day (hanging out at Dad's).  It will basically be a day of noshing as the mood hits us, and lots of reading and/or TV.  That is, after taking Dad for his morning antibiotic infusion.  Yes, even on Christmas.

Allan dropped a comment, asking if I'm ready for the next phase of the challenge.  (Phase IV begins in January.)  The answer is NO. 

I am doing very well with the dieting thing, but exercise is a much, much tougher thing for me to master. 

I wish it wasn't so, but my past experiences with exercise were not good.  I've never warmed to it.  I've never been any good at it.  I've not even particularly gotten any joy out of it.  Well, that isn't entirely true.  I actually don't enjoy participating in it, but I'll watch an athlete with rapt attention and admiration.  Stick me in a football stadium, and I'm a happy camper. 

I don't think I'll ever be truly ready for exercise, but I am doing my very best to get my attitude properly adjusted for this challenge.  And I WILL give it 100% ... I'm determined to, actually. 

I know exercise is so important for good and sustained health.  It is a necessity, and I have to just make up my mind to embrace it and enjoy it.  Someone told me the key is to find something I enjoy.  I've been thinking about that.  I enjoy genealogy research.  I enjoy photography.  I enjoy reading.  I enjoy the occasional game of croquet (though not in winter).  These are not "activities" that are particularly active.  Therein lies my problem.  I do enjoy walking, but by that I mean strolling.  That doesn't cut it for cardiovascular health.  So, I am actually very much looking forward to this challenge. It will be the hardest (yet) for me.  I know this going in, but I am also determined (just as I've been with my diet), to make this work for me.  I'm going to apply the same level of attention to this challenge, but for the first time, I'm more than a little concerned about my basic ability.

We all have to start somewhere, right?  So, 2011 (Phase IV challenge) will be the start of my love affair with exercise. 

Attitude is everything, and I'm bringing my can-do best game to Phase IV.  You won't know, unless you try, right?  I'm really looking forward to finally dropping my couch potato ways.  I'm just not sure how to safely go about that, so I'm looking at this next challenge as an opportunity to learn to do just that.

While my doctor said moving would be a GOOD thing, his only advice on the exercise front has been to "start slow" and work my way into it.  (Whatever that means ...) 

I see the shaking weight stick things on TV, the ab sliding thing you are supposed to kneel on (can't do that with my not-so-good knee), and a thing with bows (like crossbows) all over it, wires everywhere ... everyone seems to know what these things do and how they work and how great they are, but it is all alien to me.  (I keep thinking, instead of buying a weight thingy that shakes, can't I just grab a can of crushed pineapple and shake away?)   I'm just not getting it.  I hope Allan's challenge, and his exercise consultant, can help me improve that neglected area of health - exercise!

Well, time to check out the postings out here in Blogland, before heading for church.  Merry Christmas! 

Must ... Fight ... Craving ... Must ... Be ... Strong ...

Well, I awoke in a mood this morning.  I'm feeling rather peckish, and there is no reason for it.  Hubby is blissfully sleeping (as I should be), and I've started the vegetable chopping for the hearty vegetable soup I'll be bringing to the Christmas feast.  There will be lots of yummy, not-on-my-diet things to tempt me this evening, but I'm sticking to my diet.  If nothing else is available, I know I can at least enjoy this vegetable soup.  So, my plan is in place and I'm working it.

We had another Christmas gathering to attend yesterday.  It was at a fabulous restaurant ...

Restaurants, at Christmastime, go all-out.   -- sigh --  And the host knows the restaurant owner, and so you can imagine the table of food that was comped.  The kitchen sent over all sorts of fabulous things to nibble on, and even tossed in some wine !!

It was just incredible-looking.  But, I was good.  I had a portabello mushroom sandwich, minus the cheese, with a side of roasted new potatoes, naked, and no dessert.  I drank water, and had one diet coke.  I enjoyed the company and had a great time!  Hubby even got in on the act, and ordered a tuna burger!  I was impressed. 

I passed on the appetizers, but it was hard.  A cheesy, mayonnaise artichoke concoction called out to me in particular, to no avail.  I watched everyone else going to town on it though.  It looked soooooo good!  No pity parties here.  I've had more than my fill in years' past, or I'd not be 243 today.  It isn't such a sacrifice to pass on some of the less healthy things this one year.  It is the price I pay for overindulging over many, many years.

Today, I have a taste for Carrabbas' Chicken Bryan - the dish was custom made for my tastebuds.  It is like the perfect food to me.  If we can have only one dish in Heaven, this would be mine.  Maybe that is why I am peckish this morning.  I want what I can't have, and today (Christmas Eve), I'm irritated with myself.  I make a fabulous vegetable soup, but it is no Chicken Bryan.  And, of all days, why get a craving TODAY?  Grrrrrrrrrr ...

This too shall pass, but if I just learned to say no more often, years ago, perhaps I'd be able to enjoy a little taste of CB today.  So, whose fault it this?  MINE.  Can't even enjoy my favorite food on Christmas Eve Day ... wah, wah, wah ... I know, whiny baby that I am today.  But, no pity parties here!  I'm filling the house with the wonderful scent of a healthy soup, and have Christmas music playing in the background.  Hubby should be up soon, and I have to starting packing up the Christmas presents for the kids, so there'll be lots of distractions from this rich food craving I'm having. 

Time to read up on what those who are around are posting out in Blogville today.  Happy Christmas Eve!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On The Eve of Christmas Eve

How is your diet going?

I told Katie this morning to keep that resolve going, and remember, naughty or nice - it is onward and downward post-Christmas. I think the new year will boost a lot of sagging motivations. We ALL fight that battle this time of year!


I'm not cooking this year - too much going on between Dad and hubby (medically speaking).  The big Christmas get-together is tomorrow evening (Christmas Eve).  For my part, I'm bringing a hearty homemade soup to Christmas dinner this year, and plenty of it.  My thinking is that no matter what is served, I have something yummy, filling and on plan to eat.

The plethora of homemade baked goodies are going to be another issue, but I fight those battles one at a time.
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We had dinner out with friends last night.  The other couple doesn't know I am dieting, but they haven't seen me in almost 1.5 months and nearly fell out of their chairs when we arrived at the restaurant.  Fun!  hehehe   I think I can safely say the weight loss is FINALLY starting to show, even to those who don't normally pay attention to those sorts of things.  It will be interesting to see the relatives' reactions tomorrow, as there will be a good many out-of-towners there. 

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The rare (medically necessary - ahem) cheese I had yestderday did the trick this morning, for this lactose intolerant gal.  I feel SO much better.  I think I've been a little too efficient in reducing fat from the diet.  All things in moderation, right?  Balance is important.

Today, I crave NO cheese, and there is none in the house at this point, so I'm good. 

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We have LOTS to do today, including shopping for the soup ingredients.  Dad has another infusion, but so far his body is responding to the antibiotics, which is a good thing.  We thought, for a while, that the two of us would be spending Christmas in the hospital (Dad admitted for sepsis, and me to keep him company bedsoide).  We hope the infection will soon be cleared enough to resume cancer treatment.

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Enjoy the day, and have a happy holiday weekend!  It looks like I'll be posting again tomorrow morning, but I know a lot of you are signing off for the weekend today.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Just Sayin' ...

I'm hoping for a drama-less day today!  Dad has a now-routine doctor appointment this afternoon, for his antibiotic infusion, but hubby is free of medical stuff today, and we are both off through the holiday weekend!  Hooray!!

Speaking of drama-less:

Just because someone may look indestructable, doesn't make it so.   And even the most positive person has a down day. 

My friend, Allan, has had the wind temporarily knocked out of his sails, by perhaps well-meaning posts (and some not-so-well-meaning posts).  He's received lots of pep-talk commentary from everyone, including myself, but the bottom line is that he was knocked down.  I have no doubt he'll be just fine, but everyone must remember, what he does and what he says, is out of kindness and concern for others.  This is a man who finds it helps himself to help others.  You may not like his style, but you have to respect a guy who'll tell it like he sees it, and who will put himself out there for the benefit of all. 

Perspective is an important thing too.   No one on the weight loss Blogosphere needs the added pressure of being hero-worshipped, well-intended though it may be. 

Admire someone, be inspired certainly, but remember, we are (all of us) just regular folks trying to break old habits and get healthy, sharing the ride with others.  Every circumstance is different (not better or worse, just different), and we hope to end up in the same place at the end of it all.  Some will make it, some won't, but in the end, we're all on the same playing field. 

I'm not saying anyone did any of these things, of course, but the perception was there (for Allan).  Let's not forget, he is a big guy, trying to became a less big guy - just like the rest of us.  He has been more successful, sooner (and has been willing to share that), but in the end, we need to care for him like we do for everyone else on this journey.  No pedestals, no gutter-kicking either.  Enjoy Allan for the precious gift he is, just as we would any of the bloggers we follow.  We all have "stuff" we're dealing with, aside (and as part of) this weight loss journey. 

Let's be thoughtful of one another. 

Okay, YES ... I'll have weight stuff to blog about later, but I need to get showered and dressed first, and get some breakfast into me.  It is important, to start the metabolism going.

Enjoy the day!  More later ...
 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday, all day today

Well, I think I've gotten too good at reducing fat from my diet.  I'm in need of introducing some today ... we'll leave it at that.  Hmmmm .... this lactose-intolerant gal can have cheese for medical purposes today!! hehehe

I'm going to pick up my old size-24 jeans from the alerations place this afternoon (having the pants hemmed, for when I can actually wear them).  Someone asked why I call them "old" when they are like-new.  Well, for two reasons:

1. I've had them for over 15 years, though practically unworn; and
2. They are the old standard size 24s, not the vain-sizing of today's "roomier" 24s.

Sharon had SUCH a great idea, when she suggested I keep trying them on, and logging my progress.  (Thanks, Sharon!! xx)  Instead of feeling like these things STILL don't fit, I can actually look back and see the progress.  I sometimes forget where I've been.

It is fun looking back, as a reminder, as long as there has been progress!  (How depressing would it be, to look back and find nothing much has changed over a long period of time?!)

Our temps are finally starting to climb back into more normal ranges.  We were so cold here, so early, that I thought I'd impose on Anne soon, to get the guest room ready.  They were warm, when the rest of us were freezing!  (Yes, I was jealous, cold and jealous!)  Okay, and I wanted to shop at that awesome international store too. hehehe

Dad is continuing to get a daily dose of IV antibiotics.  The doctor did a blood draw yesterday, so we're hoping to hear Dad has turned the corner on the sepsis.  It is a serious infection.

I'm having trouble locating a place that will sell (new stock) of the Lunt Silversmith's Bel Chateau pattern spoons.  That is my incentive for this current mini-goal - I'll take either a teaspoon or soup spoon.  I can find them at Replacements, but I would rather have new stock than gently used, if I can find new.  The Lunt website doesn't sell directly.  I guess the hunt is on.  I have to know I can buy the incentive, before I make it one. LOL

Lest I forget ...

This last salad in the series is wonderful.  If you've never worked with tofu, or star anise, this is the dish to try!  Learn something new, and be amazed at the flavor.  I mix up the marinade and put the tofu/marinade in the refrigerator, before heading out for the day.  It is ready, that evening, for a quick and flavorful dinner.  It is also fun to serve this for company, as the salad course - just be sure they like mushrooms!   

12 DAYS OF SALADS

Day 12:

MUSHROOM & TOFU SALAD

8 oz. firm tofu
1 lb. mushrooms (mix the variety)

1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 " fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced
5 TB soy sauce, low sodium
1 TB mirin
2 TB sweet chili sauce
1.5 TB seasame oil

2 star anise

5 scallions, finely sliced
2 TB toasted seasme seeds


Mix the second set of ingredients together for the marinade.  Add the star anise.  Put the tofu in a NONmetallic dish, pour over the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

Cut all mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and saute in a hot saucepan for one minute.  Cut the marinated tofu into 1/2"- 3/4" squares, mix with the mushrooms and pour over the remaining marinade. 

Garnish with the scallions and sesame seeds.  Eat immediately.  Serves 4

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Merry Christmas, for those signing off for the holidays today!!  I'm good for at least two more days.  I'll be signing off for the holiday though, either on Thursday or Friday.  I'll post that, before signing off.  I will be back to my usual posting on Monday, in either case.

Good-bye! It was a pleasure to get to know you in this Diet Journey. Thank you!!

I've been reading a lot of blogs this week, not commenting as often, but reading ...

Half of Blogland, it seems, is taking a break from dieting this next week. 

I get it, I do.  I've done that myself, almost every single diet past - as if I am incapable of enjoying Christmas without unhealthy eating.  Nothing says "celebrate" like a cheese log, auntie's fudge and the family's gooey cookies! 

I've tried the "taking a break" route.  It has never (ever) worked for me.  It sounds good, heck, even logical, but in practice, it usually doesn't work.  In my case, I open the door to long-standing habits, and it is doubly difficult to close it again.  Actually, closing that door isn't difficult, but making up my mind to DO so is nearly impossible.  So, this year, I decided to try something different, and stick with my diet right through the holiday season.  I proved to myself (at Thanksgiving), it is possible.  So I am confident I can do it again.

But, I wonder how many of my favorite bloggers (who are taking a "break") are even going to make it back in January.  It is a little sad, like learning someone has passed away, and not being able to say good-bye.  Everyone jumps on to comment, when they announce their intentions, and people say such supportive and understanding things.  I kick myself, because the best I can muster is to say I'll see you in January (then hope like crazy it is true). 

I'm just a little worried, not uncaring or unsympathetic. 

I've really enjoyed getting to know these bloggers, and am invested in seeing them achieve their goals.  Hey, it helps ME too, when others inspire me.  So, knowing how I've personally handled "taking a break," in the past, I'm a bit worried.  Yes, I know my experience isn't necessarily anyone else's experience (and I hope it ISN'T), but experience is what forms our opinions.  I just can't help it.  This, then, is my opinion:

I think "taking a break" (while understandable) is a major, major diet misstep. 

I'm not judging the "breakers" - I'm just being completely selfish here, because I want them all to return!  I think we all give each other strength, and this will be - for some - the break-up of the support system that is my favorite blogger list.  Some just won't make it, despite their best intentions.  That has been my own personal experience.   So ...

For those leaving their diets with the full intention of making it "temporary," I just want to say thank you for sharing your struggles and successes, the highs and lows of your diet journey.  Successful, or less so, you've helped me, encouraged me, educated me, and mostly, inspired me!  I know you don't intend for this break to be a good-bye, but "just in case" please allow me to say:

THANK YOU!  It was a true pleasure to get to know you in this diet journey!!  I hope our paths cross again one day, but if not, I want to let you know, you made a difference to me!  You helped me.  And I hope one day someone can do for you, what you've done for me (so far).   My heartfelt wishes for a long and happy life, and the warmest of good-byes.  I'm going to miss you!

You made a difference, to me.  We may never communicate again, but I just don't want this chance to pass by without letting you know it.

So long and best of warm wishes!

xxox

Monday, December 20, 2010

Plan for Success

I have, sitting on the shelf above my computer, a trio (family) of small-scale model horses.  I've had the family for 38 years now.  They haven't been played with in over 30 years, but they remain a reminder of fond memories, of good times with long-gone cherished family members.  Silly, I know.

I remember playing with the horses on the floor of my great grandmother's dining room.  I can smell the food, hear the adults (most of whom have passed away years and years ago), still picture the antique furnishings of a dwelling long gone.  I can still see the old, oriental carpet of the dining room, in my mind.  Those are the sorts of memories my little horse family bring back to me, details that would otherwise be lost, never having been recorded by photograph.

Food, the taste, the scent, the look ... they also trigger memories.  That is perhaps why I have had (in years past) a difficult time sticking with a diet.  I like the food I grew up with, or developed a taste for, in part because of my history with it.  So many of our family gatherings centered around food.  Traditions were passed down, techniques taught, love communicated ... all through food.  It took me a long time to learn to loosen my grip on that particular aspect of food.  I don't have to give up those things forever, but they have to become rare treats, not weekly habits.  And, in shifting them to "occasional" status, they become even more precious to me!  I learned it wasn't about giving up those triggers for fond memories, but placing them where they become more special and less damaging to me in the long-term.

We're creatures of habit, and changing habits can be tough.  It isn't always a pleasant or easy process, but we learn something from it, don't we?  So, for this Christmas weekend, I'm going to pick one traditional treat, have a taste of it (not go crazy ... a TASTE of it), and really relish all that it brings to me in flavor and texture and memories too.  Then, I return from that momentary deviation, to what I've adopted as my regular diet.  Oh yes, accounting for the calories, for sure, and adjusting for them!  It is about working what we love most into a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  I'm thinking, small taste, limited quantity, short duration.  This is what my plan is for Christmas. The rest, as they say, is gravy! 

Today will be loaded with doctor appointments for Dad and hubby (post-op stuff).  I wanted to be sure to post the salad, before the day got away from me. 

As more and more people bow out for the Christmas holiday (fast-approaching!!), I wanted to wish ALL a Merry Christmas!  I'll be signing off (probably) sometime on Thursday or early Friday, and will be back online on Monday.  (And yes, I've already made arrangements with Allan about the weigh-in.) 

It has been a pleasure to share the diet journey with this group of fellow-bloggers these last 5 months, and I look forward to a very successful 2011 for us all.  The promise of a fresh start in a new year is just around the corner.  Let's make it our best year and make those goal weight wishes a reality! 

The salad today is called "high end" salad, because it tastes rich.  It has all the decadence of flavor, without all the added calories.  This is a good "Sunday brunch" style of salad.  The play of tarragon, egg, leeks and capers are amazing together. 

12 DAYS OF SALADS

Day 11:

HIGH-END SALAD

4 eggs, hard-boiled but not overcooked (no green around the yolks, folks)
10 oz. broccoli
2 small leeks, about 10 oz. total
tarragon sprigs, for garnish

4 TB lemon juice
2 TB olive oil
2 tsp. honey (or other appropriate sweetening agent)
1 TB capers, drained
2 TB tarragon, chopped

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cut broccoli into florets and thickly slice the stems.  Trim, slit and wash the leeks and cut them into thick slices.  Cook broccoli for 2 minutes, add the leeks, and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.  Drain.  (Do NOT overcook.)

Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing together all the sescond list of ingredients in a big salad bowl.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cool the eggs for proper handling (in a cold water bath).  Remove, take off the shells and rough-chop the eggs.

Add the broccoli and leeks to the dressing bowl, toss.  Then, add the chopped eggs.  Garnish with sprigs of tarragon and serve warm (traditionally with thick artisian bread).  Serves 4.

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Thanks for the SSDDDY Rockin' Award, Allan!  I've added this (below) to my Awards page ...  Congrats to all the gals who "rocked the scale" (so far) in Phase III of the SSDDDY Challenge!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Assessment

Assessment is my motivational word for today.  Assessment:  The act of evaluation.

I am two weeks into my month, and I'm on target to having my best month ever for weight loss, even surpassing my very first start-up month.   Awesome!  I think it is my body adjusting to the new, tighter, calorie restrictions and the added water.  It is treating this change, in essence, as a new start-up.  

I've read it is important to keep the body guessing, and perhaps this is proof of that.  Keeping the body guessing, from all I've read, helps keep the metabolism in higher gear (well that, and staying properly hydrated). 

December has traditionally been one of those months (in diets past) I'd "take a break" from dieting ... aka I'd quit.  For, while I had every intention of going back on the diet, I never really got back into it.  Or I would, but had gained so much over the holidays, I'd kick myself for undoing so much previous hard work and progress. 

So, it is especially amazing to me to be at year's end and still steadfast in my commitment.  I was stronger than I gave myself credit for being, OR, I just know myself so well by now, I am anticipating my usual reactions and am circumventing them - for instance, by doing a tougher challenge in December.  I picked something to force me to focus more intently.  So far, it seems to be working.

I know the body will eventually adjust to this regimen too.  But, I feel I have a very good handle now on proper portion sizes, proper hydration, proper foods. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm well on the path I need to be on.

I am going to turn my attention now to something that is (for me) an even greater challenge - exercise. 

It is necessary for good balanced health, and it is something I've NEVER (not even when thin, not even as a child) warmed up to.  I think exercise comes naturally to many people, but not to all of us - not to ME.  I recognize, for the sake of good and sustained health, it is vital  to incorporate regular exercise into my routine.  This is why I've made it a resolution this year. 

Yes, something I've always avoided, I am going to learn to love and embrace.

I did well in my walking earlier this fall, but typical for me, the downturn in weather was the very excuse I needed to stop doing it.  I read with envy Clyde, Patrick and Christina and others, who RUN in all sorts of weather, setting personal bests and enjoying the movement of their bodies and the challenge of it all.  I love reading those posts, actually.  It is like watching the Olympics.  I may never engage in that activity, but it is a beautiful thing to behold.  LOL  My knee won't allow me to run, but that doesn't mean I can't do something. 

Well, I was delighted when Allan announced Phase IV will be a focus on exercise.  I'm committed and looking forward to changing my fitness level.  You know, over Thanksgiving, I got on a treadmill thing at the local hotel, where some of the overflow guests stayed.  It had all sorts of buttons and gadgets, but I eventually figured out how to punch in the fitness test. 

The machine starts up, and I begin walking ... at a good clip.  It wasn't long before I had to breathe through my mouth, sucking in air.  Well, you hold onto bars that measure your heart rate, etc.  And, after a 5 minute workout, where I actually broke a sweat, the machine read: 

Very low 

And here I thought I did well just to make it to the end of the 5 minute fitness test without passing out.   So, my fitness level is pretty much not there.  And that is why I'm shifting my focus to something I've always avoided.  I'm jumping in where I traditionally avoid most, feet first, no net.

I probably should be scared, but I'm so uneducated on anything remotely fitness related, that I don't have the common sense to be.  I don't even know what, if any, effect regular exercise will have on my appetite.  I'm an exercise infant ... a great BIG exercise infant.  LOL

I'm ending 2010 more than 80 lighter than this time last year.  And I am so pleased!  If I do that again, in 2011, I'd be very near normal (healthy) weight range next December!  Awesome ...

Wee Hour Meanderings

My winter coat is too big for me.  It isn't even effective in keeping out the cold anylonger, there is so much loose fabric to funnel the cold air right to my body.  LOL  Well, I hunted online and found the same exact coat, so I just ordered it THREE sizes smaller!  Last winter, it was actually borderline too small - couldn't snap the last button closed.  Now?  It is ridiculously large on me.  How neat is that? 

Here is another NSV ... I felt my sternum for the first time in over a decade.  It took me a little while to figure out what it was, but location-location-location.  hehehe  Honestly, every other shower seems to be an adventure in rediscovery.  I'm lathering up and thinking, "what is that" and "this wasn't there before" ... Dah.  LOL

Well, I just heard a very excellent reason for losing weight slowly (1-2 lbs/week) ... the pace allows the skin to keep up with the loss, so less likely to have sagging issues and a need for future surgery.  I've not heard that one before, so I guess I need to hunt down more information on the Internet. I have no idea if that is accurate information or not.

One of my relatives married a Greek national, and this is a type of salad (below) his mother made.  I'm not sure what to call it, because it isn't a standard "Greek salad" made with lettuce, so I'll just call it "Opa Salad."  I'm sure it has a name, but it is all Greek to me ... (Sorry, couldn't resist)

12 DAYS OF SALADS

Day 10: 

OPA SALAD

1 lb. cucumbers*
2.5 lbs. tomatoes, cut into 1" pieces (get a variety of color, for more interesting salad) 
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/8-1/4 cup loostly packed fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chooped and loosely packed
1/2-2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 TB fresh lemon juice, and rind of 1/4 lemon
1 TB olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

*Note: using peeler, remove 4 evenly spaced lengthwise strips of peel from each cucumber (creating stripes), then cut each cucumber lengthwise into quarters.  THEN cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces.

In a large bowl, whip lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper until well blended, and mix in grated lemon rind.
Add cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, olives and dill and toss until everything is coated with the dressing.  Lastly, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top. 
__________________________________

Dad is seriously ill with a blood infection, and will be undergoing IV antibiotic treatment over the next several weeks.  He is as cranky as can be, tired (he says) of being a pin cushion.  His normal humor has abandoned him, understandably.  It has been a tough month so far, poor guy!!  Still, we're lucky it was caught in time (the doc thinks). 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 150 - Weigh-in Results: 243 lbs. (Revised)

This weekend's results show 6 lbs lost since last weekend!  Fantastic!  I've lost 10+ points off my BMI, just since late July -- 15+ points since December 17, 2009!!

Those who've stopped by earlier this week, know I reached my major milestone mini-goal (weighing 247 lbs), dropping me out of morbid obesity!  I'm now working toward reaching a target of 230 lbs.

I confess to weighing myself Thursday, so I knew to expect more loss, but it is official today (Saturday).

This also marks another milestone of sorts.  I now (officially) have less than 100 lbs to lose, in order to reach my goal weight!  I probably shouldn't be too excited about that, but in late July, I was looking at 162 lbs to lose ... progress!

I am now just 10 lbs. away from hitting the target in the "Lose 60 lbs in one year" challenge.  My progress in this challenge is noted after my signature, and the blue box (right sidebar) counts down how many days are left in the challenge.  This is an important challenge to me, because it allows me to prove to myself that I have the ability to stick with something longer-term.

I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading.  Did everyone see who is helping Allan (HERE) for phase IV (the exercise emphasis phase) of the Double Dog Dare You challenge series?!  Talk about motivational ...

The new challenge begins after New Year's Day, so sign up while there are still slots available!  This couch potato is excited to become a hot potato in 2011, that is, to become active in the new year!



12 DAYS OF SALADS

Day 9:

Spaghetti Salad

1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti*
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cucumber, seeded & diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 small Vidalia onion, diced

1  8-oz. bottle Italian-style dressing of your choice
2 TB grated parmesan cheese
1.5 tsp. sesame seeds
1.5 tsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. celery seed

Cook spaghetti per package directions; drain.  Rinse in cold water; drain.  Place in large bowl. 

Add all diced vegetables.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour over salad and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.  Serves 16.

*Note: Broken in half, with apologies to Italians everywhere.
_____________________________________

ADDENDUM: Dad is fighting sepsis, and is getting IV Vanco (a serious antibiotic) to help fight off the infection, which was the result of the infected port site.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 149: 24-Update Friday ( # 6 )

Yes, it is once again time for 24-Update Friday, my biweekly attempt to squeeze into the like-new size-24 jeans, which have taunted me for years from the back of my closet. These jeans pre-date the new "relaxed fit" and revised sizing of today's jeans,.


So, for today's attempt ...

24-Update # 6:

The jeans had more than enough leg room (a good thing), and the waist now buttons easily, with just a minor sucking-in of the stomach. (Last time, it required MAJOR effort to get the pants buttoned.)

Today, it is solely the hips/abs area that causes the misfit. Everything else seems just fine. I only hope I didn't do damage to the zipper when I forced the issue last time! I'm hoping that in two weeks, I'll be able to easily zipper up the 24s !! Time will tell.

Anyway, the size-24 jeans are once again neatly folded and back in the drawer, awaiting the next biweekly attempt.

Join me again in two weeks to see how it goes.


Why is this salad (below) called "Yankee Doodle" Salad? It uses macaroni, of course!

12 DAYS OF SALADS
Day 8:

Yankee Doodle Salad

1 cup vinegar
1.5 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
0.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder (or garlic salt)

1 cucumber, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced

1 (1-lb) box macaroni, cooked & drained

Combine pasta and vegetables in a 2-qt salad bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients (first set of ingredients) and pour over cooked pasta & veggie salad. Refrigerate overnight or longer (covered).

Note: Coat the pasta with a little of the salad dressing before you toss pasta with the vegetables, and then add remaining dressing mixture. The longer this salad marinates, the better the flavor.

_______________________________


Day 149 and getting ready to take those size 24 jeans to the alterations place for hemming!!  (Inching closer to being able to actually wear them!)

ADDENDUM:  Dad did not get his last treatment yesterday.  His port developed an infection (under the bandages), and they have removed the device and are treating it.  We're not sure (yet) what, if any, effect the delay will have on Dad's chances of success.  They cannot give him the last treatment until the blood work comes back cleared of the infection, so likely after the holidays.  While Dad is thrilled to have the port finally removed, he is a bit depressed that yet another glitch has been thrown into the mix. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You Leaving? (148)

I stepped on the scale today, to see if the slight extra calories from that hot cocoa impacted my progress.  The answer would be NO, and, in fact, I'm down more, so I am firmly in the Severe Obese category.  I'm no longer teetering on the edge of Morbid Obesity. 

I would like to be down to, at least, 237 by my mid-January doctor appointment - 10 lbs below morbid obesity.  His nurse told me not to "worry" if I gained a few pounds by the next (January) appointment.  The doctor never sees patient weights (voluntarily) go down at January appointments, from where they were earlier in the previous year, having gained weight over the holidays, etc.  Won't they both be surprised?  I weighed 271 at my October appt.  hehehe

I would dearly love to have my other meds reduced, if not eliminated.  I have already had the cholesterol medication discontinued!  A reduction or elimination of medication is the surest sign that the body is improving in health, and recovering from years of poor eating habits.  I am dieting, after all, primarily to improve my health!  My eating habits are changing, and even my taste has shifted to a more healthy palatte.

Speaking of food ...

In the northern regions of Europe, traditional salads are not leafy or green, the way we think of them.  They are usually more hardy vegetables, with vinegar or cream/mayo-based dressings. 

I grew up with some of those Old World style salads, and one of my favorites is still red cabbage based.  I love red cabbage braised, but this dish (below) is not the traditional red cabbage side vegetable.  It is, instead, a traditional salad commonly found in old German Prussia (today, northern Germany and Poland).  This is Grandma's simplified version.

12 Days of Salads

Day 7:

Grandma's Old World Red Cabbage Salad

half-pound red cabbage, grated
1 medium granny smith apple, cored and grated
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 TB vinegar
1-2 TB oil
several hard boiled eggs (opt)

Toss all ingredients together, except eggs, until well blended.  Peel and cut eggs into wedges, and garnish the cabbage with them (parsley too, if desired).  Serves 4 (or Ann)  hehehe

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Today is Dad's last cancer treatment.  The infusion will be this afternoon.  Then, they will remove the port next week, and that will be that.  Dad is looking forward to the holidays without doctor and/or hospital visits.  He has been a real trooper!  xxox

According to the Spawn Challenge predictions, if I stick true to the plan I'm on, I could reach my goal weight by mid-June  ... just in time for the likely family reunion!  And here I was thinking I'd just be THRILLED to have the number one as a first digit.  It tickles me to think I could actually pull off a healthy, normal range weight by then.  It will be up to me to see how close I can get, right?  Reunion photos, in particular, are forever (like wedding photos). 

Tomorrow is the 24-Update report, where I see how close I'm coming to actually fitting into the old size 24 jeans I've had in the back of my closet for years.  I try them on every other Friday, and note the progress I'm making, in an attempt to get back into them.  They are like new, they've probably only been worn a few times, while on my way UP the scale.  I hope to get more use out of them on the way down!  I've talked to the alterations place.  If I bring the jeans in tomorrow before noon, they can have them back to me by Tuesday or Wednesday.  There is no rush, because I don't think I'll be in them comfortably until after the holidays, but it will be nice to have them ready for when that special day comes!

Gosh, the last weekend before Christmas is almost upon us!  The month is flying by, just as November has.  It will be a new year before we know it.  Merry Christmas to all the bloggers who will be leaving us this weekend, until after the holidays!  I'll probably be on another week, before taking off for Christmas/weekend, but I know quite a few are leaving today and tomorrow, for a hiatus of a week or two.  To those, I'd like to say:  Merry Christmas!!  And a Happy and more successful New Year!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Allan's 12 Days of Christmas

Yes, I know he is Jewish.  Work with me here.

Princess did a spoof to the tune 12 Days of Christmas about Allan's latest challenge in the Double Dog Dare You series.  Fun!  It was very cute, and I thought I would do my own version.  So, here it is ... Ann's SPAWN SONG (last verse only):

ALLAN'S 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Allan gave to us:

Twelve morning emails

Eleven Band blog shout outs

Ten sample menus

Nine bathroom photos

Eight meal descriptions

Seven wife Sue mentions

Six weight loss graphics

FIVE GOLDEN RULES !!!!!

Four puppy pictures

Three medic helpers

Two interventions

And a date each of us will hit Goooaaallllll ...

Planning Ahead (147)

It is time.  I think I am going to take my old size-24 jeans to the alterations place, after Friday's attempt to try them on.  I'm sure it won't fit yet, but I know they need hemming.  I'm going to take them in, in anticipation of wearing them within the next 3-4 weeks.  (Watch me not lose for the next month now.  Ha!)  The pants I'm now wearing are on the baggy side of comfortable, so it can't be much longer.  Maybe by the new year?!!

We're expecting winter weather sometime this evening.  We have a planned dinner out with friends tonight, but that may be put on hold.  It all depends upon the approaching storm system.  No one wants to drive in ice conditions.  So, I'm not quite sure how to approach my lunch today.  Normally, I (now) scale back lunch to allow for restaurant dining.  I guess I should do that anyway.  Then, if we eat at home, I have calories to play with, if I choose.

The couple we're supposed to dine with this evening is great fun!  The husband was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, and was instructed to lose weight.  He has completely altered his diet, and is already down 35 lbs (in something like 2.5 months).  He chose a low carb diet, and is really enjoying it.  The hardest part for him has been to give up those carbs (he misses breads and fruits mostly).  I'm eating a heart-healthy low fat diet, so we drool over what the other gets to eat.  LOL  I miss cheese.

I messed up late last night on my plan.  I was feeling a little ... um ... "backed up" shall we say?  I decided to have a small cup of hot chocolate to help move things along.  That usually does the trick (and it did).  But, I failed to account for the calories in the cocoa.  I was already at 1172 for the day, so that late-night cocoa pushed me over my calories yesterday.  I was still well below my goal calories (1595), but I've been diligent about working the 1200 calorie plan for this challenge.  The goof won't cost me pounds, but it was a lesson to pay attention ALL THE WAY, even if it is late at night.  If it goes past the teeth, it needs to be recorded, tired or not, right?  So, that was another weakness I uncovered, that needs to be fixed.   No excuses! 

I'm in the "take no prisoners" mode of my journey.  I'm not beating myself up, but nor am I giving myself a pass with excuses or rationalizations.  Tired and constipated are explanations, but they don't get me off the hook (to myself).  I'm taking the lesson from that, and making sure I pay more attention next time.  Any hot liquid would've worked, so when I'm that close to calorie limits, I need to make better choices.  Period.

On that note, I'm heading out to get errands done.  Enjoy the afternoon!  And smart choices to all! 


12 Days of Salads

This easy salad has primary ingredients from vines, thus the name.  It serves 12.

Day 6:

VINE SALAD

2 large shallots, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 TB Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1.5 lbs. thin green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup basil, finely shredded (use fresh basil only)
3 pints red, yellow and orange pear or plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise (can substitute halved cherry tomatoes)

In a medium bowl, cover shallots with vinegar and let marinate for 2-3 hours or overnight.  Whisk ln mustard, salt and pepper.  Gradually whisk in olive oil. 

In large pot of boiling water, cook green beans until tender, but still firm to bite (this is approx. 2 minutes after the water returns to a boil, after adding the beans in.)    Drain.

Rinse beans under cold water, and drain this well. 

Stir basil into dressing.

In a bowl, toss the beans with half of the dressing.  Arrange on a platter.  Toss tomatoes with the other half of the dressing, and mound next to the beans. 
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Day 147 and compensating for last night's decision, which needed more effort behind it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Practical Tips - 101: GOT TIP ?

Okay, I've mentioned my ring came flying off - twice - this week.  NOT cool.  I've been trying to decide whether to resize just yet, when I read a comment by Princess , whose rings keep flying off in public bathrooms, whenever she washes her hands (which, by the way, I hope is EVERY time)!  Hand-washing, that is, not ring-flying ... LOL

Anyway, her comment caused others to comment on their loose rings too.  And I realize there is a need for some practical tips out here in Weight Loss Blogland.  If YOU have a practical tip, please PLEASE post it in the commentary below! 

When I said I was deciding whether to resize my ring just yet, it wasn't a question of whether I'd put up with a flying ring or not.  I, of course, will make sure it is properly secure on my hand, regardless of whether it makes it in to a jeweler this month or not.  How?  Well, here is my practical tip:

I simply put a RING GUARD on it (sometimes called a "Sizing Ring Guard").  It is a little device that attaches to the underside / palmside of the band, and "sizes," temporarily, the ring to your finger.  In fact, I decided to use that, since I am still losing weight, rather than go through the expense this time of year, of having it done permanently. 

Ring guards are LESS than $10, and are largely undetectable to the casual observer.  More importantly, it saves the ring from possible damage.  They can be found almost anywhere, and can be used on any size ring.  It beats tape or yarn! 

So, to all the women who, like me, are finding their fingers a little less pudgy these days, save your rings and still enjoy them, by purchasing a simple ring guard.  You'll be so glad you did!

Tip # 1:  Use ring guards when rings become too loose to stay on the hand!

What other tips do you have?  Share with the rest of us, because we don't (any of us) know it all ... and experience is a great teacher.  Share yours and help your fellow weight loss bloggers!!

12 Days of Salad: Day 5

You didn't think I'd forget to post today's salad, did you?

If you have a salad recipe you'd like to share, feel free to post in comments.  The holidays don't have to be ALL about cookies, right?!  So, here is a fruit-based salad that is sweet enough to be used as a dessert too - a double-duty recipe in time for the holidays, and a way to get more fruit into the diet..

12 DAYS OF SALADS

Day 5:

Winter Frozen Fruit Salad

1 can crushed pineapple, partially drained
2 large bananas, mashed
2 TB chopped cherries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substititue)
2 cups sour cream (or appropriate substitute)

Mix all ingredients except pecans.  Let stand for a few minutes, then stir in the nuts.  Pour into a 9 x 13 Pryex dish and freeze. 

Remove from freezer 20-30 minutes before serving, to make it easier to cut.

TREMENDOUS MILESTONE - SO LONG, MORBID OBESITY !!!

I DID IT !!!!  I've left morbid obesity behind, FOREVER !!!!

This morning, I hopped on the scale, and discovered I weigh 247 lbs.  That brings my BMI down to 39.9

I am officially no longer morbidly obese.  Wow.  It has been many, many, many years - too many.

What a year this has been, and most of it due to getting serious about my dietary requirements.  Most of this came about just since the third week in July.  On January 1st of this year, my BMI was 54.5 and I started the year weighing nearly 330 lbs.  Today, December 14th, my BMI is 39.9 and I weigh 247.  It is amazing what consistently applying good choices can do.  Perseverence pays.  On December 17th, it will have been one year exactly, since I reached my highest weight officially - for at that doctor appointment, the scale read 327 lbs.   327 lbs was 80 POUNDS AGO.

So, as of this morning, I am Severely Obese.  Yes, still way too heavy and way too unhealthy, but improving.

Just by leaving morbid obesity, I significantly improved my health.  That is the main reason for me doing this.  I am aging, and I need to do a better job of being able to enjoy a retirement in relatively good health one day.  Shoot, I just want to make it to retirement!

Morbid obesity means being twice as likely to die prematurely as someone of a healthy weight.  Not great odds.  Twice as likely to die prematurely.  I don't want to die prematurely, never mind being twice as likely to do so. 

I also, by leaving MO behind, have reduced my risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease, heart issues, diminished immune responsiveness, impaired respiratory function, infections, back and joint pain, liver issues, pancreatitis, urinary incontinence and a whole host of other things, brought on (or made worse) by morbid obesity.  Oh, and can't forget about type II diabetes either.

I'm improving my odds, with every pound I lose, and gaining a better life in the process.  And so, with that in mind, I set my sights on my next (newest) mini-goal.  I am looking forward to losing the next 17 lbs, bringing my weight down to 230. 

I can't wait for Friday, and my next chance to try on the old size 24 jeans! 

Onward and downward !!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Update - Monday

Hubby is back home, resting comfortably.  The opeation went well.  Thank you for all your kind thoughts, prayers and emails !!

We'll know more tomorrow, at the surgeon follow-up visit, how well my husband is healing.  For now, all looks good.  We hope half his vision will have been restored, when the bandages come off.

We had an unplanned stop, on the way home, for some food.  (Hubby was starving, not having eaten for about 16 hours.)  Being an unanticipated stop, I had to make some healthy choices and do some quick calculations.  I did well.  My lunch calories came to 320.  Excellent!  It was a good test of how well I've been learning my lessons.  Also, I have a taste for a bean burrito (no cheese) for dinner tonight, and I wanted to save some calories for that treat.

Someone also was kind to email and ask after Dad. 

He is doing well.  The last blood transfusion seemed to give him a much-needed boost to his energy! 

His very last cancer treatment will be next week.  Then, we enjoy Christmas and our time together, and basically wait to see what, if anything, happens.  We are hoping, of course, the cancer will be put into remission, but it will be entirely in God's hands.  (God's Will be done, right?) 

There is, we're told, a 25% chance that the treatments will have had no affect whatsoever.  Regardless, Dad fought hard and nothing more can be done, after next week's treatment.  We'll just live the best life possible, either way, grateful for the time we have together, regardless of length.

That's it for the updates.  Time to check on the newest patient!  I'm reading (though not commenting much) blogs this afternoon.  Lots of cold winter-weary bloggers today ... between th weather and Monday ... fun, fun, fun!

Another Day Closer to Christmas (145)

Yes, I weighed myself this morning, as I will daily until I reach my mini-goal.  And, yes, I am still morbidly obese, for at least another day.  (sigh)  And yes, I know I'm obsessing, but I've been looking forward to not being morbidly obese so much, you have no idea.

Under the "My Progress" tab (top of page), you will find the BMI chart for me.  When I reach 247 pounds (my mini-goal), I will officially be classified at "Severely Obese" (a category that, for me, covers 217 lbs to 247 lbs).  That means my BMI will have dropped below 40.0, the minimum threshhold for morbid obesity classification. 

Severe obesity is classified as a BMI of 35 - 39.9.  Still a long way to go, but making progress.

I'm reading a lot in Blogland about the duldrums.  People are feeling discouraged or bored out there.  We ALL go through those cycles.  It isn't fun, is it?  And the temptations out there, this time of year in particular, make it so much harder to stick to individual plans. 

A new year, and fresh start, may be just around the corner, but remember too, that it will take extra time to undo whatever is done to the diet over these next few weeks.  I am keeping that in mind, as we attend parties and social gatherings this season.

I think the DDD challenge series came along at exactly the right time, and I'm thankful for that, because this time of year has often killed my diet attempts before.  I would get back on the ball in January, kicking myself.  And those cookies and rich yummy things I enjoyed eating over the holidays?  Not even a strong memory by January 10th, but the pounds remained behind as evidence of yet another year of overindulgence.  I'm determined to not let that happen this year. 

My other duldrum period usually hit in early spring (March/April).  That has always been the other diet gaunlet for me.  In that case, it wasn't the holiday food of the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, but rather, boredom.  The "fresh start" mentality wanes by then, but I'm still too far from summer to feel the urgency of doing something. 

I'm aware of those vulnerable spots in the calendar for me, and so I am actively seeking out extra motivations (as in this case, the DDD challenge series) to help motivate me through my own doldrums.  I'm not sure what I'll do by March/April, but I will do SOMETHING.  I get motivation from all sorts of sources, as I've often said before.  I'm not waiting until I start feeling the old familiar "diet ho-hum" ... I'm always looking for the next thing to propel me forward.  I'm fighting myself, in essence.  Honestly, some days it feels like I'm trying to entertain a 2 year old.  Do you know what their attention span is like?  LOL  It is a full-time job these days, to stick with it.  And this diet journey, for me, is more mental.  I'm my own worst enemy.

I've decided to give myself a year - 2011, essentially.  One year, out of all these many years, I am dedicating to me, and this diet, in order to get to a healthier place.  So, now, I think to myself, "it is only one year out of my life."  Sometimes, I think "it is only one day" or "it is only one meal" (yes, it occasionally gets that tight). 

I had an unbelievable loss of weight this last weigh-in.  Those are numbers I normally see when I first start a diet (like the very first week).  I KNOW this is not sustainable.  But, it shows me that mixing it up, tightening my diet, applying a little more discipline than I have been, actually works.  So, I'm going to keep this experience in the back of my mind.  When the body slows, I need to change it up, keep it guessing, keep the body on its toes.  That is, apparently, how my body works.  I'm learning ... and that is what diets are, a learning process.

Self-analysis is important, but only if it leads to proactive changes - actions.  Knowing what I should do, but not doing it, gets me nowhere.  There are plenty of very nice people out there, who are full of amazing insights and revelations, but who don't actually do anything with that information, except talk about it.  Or worse, rationalize and come up with all sorts of excuses - some even pretty good ones - for why they aren't doing something.  Heck, I'VE done that in diets past, so I recognize it right away when I see it, often when the blogger doesn't even realize it (yet).  Keep in mind, most of us blog as a form of journaling.  We do it for ourselves.  I am supposed to learn something from this process.  So ratinalizing and excusing is just, to me, simply lying to myself.  How can I improve, if I can't be honest with myself, right?   It is one thing to try and fail, it is another to merely talk the talk, and risk nothing. So, when one thing doesn't work, I look for the whys, and try to do something about it.

I don't want to end up with a few years of journal blog entries, looking back and seeing the same exact struggles, repeated over and over again.  I realize it takes time, often, for a lesson to sink in, but I also want to know I attempted corrections (at minimu, that I at least tried and failed).  So, to my friends, please don't hesitate to kindly call me on something, if you see a pattern I need to do something about, but haven't.  I really need to replace old bad habits with new patterns and healthier habits.

I'm giving myself a year, dedicated to my health.  I don't want to revisit this territory (morbid obesity) ever, ever, again.   

The new water requirements for The Spawn challenge have been emailed, and it looks like mine stays the same.  I am spending the morning at the hospital (hubby is having eye surgery this morning), so I will start the major portion of hydration this afternoon, rather than knock out a few liters this morning, as is my habit.  No problem.   

12 Days of Salads

This is a fantastic summertime salad, light and refreshing!  Easy to prepare.  Even easier to eat!  As with all recipes, play with this to meet your specific taste.

Day 4:

Classic Watermelon Salad

1 lb. seedless watermelon, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes (roughly)
6 oz. feta cheese, diced smaller
1 lb. arugula, approximate
mint and parsley, chopped

1 TB seasame seeds, heated (dry) first, until aromatic
6 TB olive oil
1 TB water
1 tsp pomegranate syrup (opt)
1.5 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp. superfine sugar
salt & pepper

Toss together the watermelon and feta, with arugula and herbs.

Separately, combine all remaining ingredients, except sesame seeds, using salt and pepper last to season dressing to taste.  Drizzle over the salad, and arrange salad on plates.  Lastly, sprinkle with the sesame seeds (use black seeds, rather than white, for a wonderful visual affect against the watermelon).    For a slightly healthier version:

Replace the feta cheese with a medium, diced red onion.  And dress the salad, instead, with some unseasoned rice vinegar and freshly ground pepper.

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Day 145, and thanks for all your inspiration and assistance on this weight loss journey.  Blogland has made a difference to me, and I appreciate every single one of you.  God bless ...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Looking Forward, With Confidence

I just squeaked past 250 lbs. this weekend, and am confident in my ability to break through the morbid obesity floor soon.  I confess, I am now (for the first time) going to weigh myself daily.  I want to know the very day I kiss MO good-bye forever.  It is a major, major milestone. 

Looking forward, I set my next mini-goal at 230 lbs., which means I'll be focusing on losing the next 17 lbs.

There is no particular reason for picking that weight as my next goal.  I wanted something other than a 30-lb target (this time), just to make it interesting, and 230 is a nice round number.  The last time I weighed 230 was in 1990 - two decades ago. 

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I received two awards, both of which can be found on my "Awards and Rewards" tab. 

The first is "Cherry On Top" from a new follower, Kati - Thanks, Kati !! 

The second is "Honest Scrap" from one of my favorite bloggers, Katie - Thanks, Katie !!

Honest Scrap includes a requirement to share 10 honest things about myself and pass it on.  So here it goes:

1. I admire people with artistic talents.

2. I'm afraid I am going to lose another parent in 2011, realistically, but I try not to think about it, so I put on an optimistic front while praying for the best.

3. I have absolute confidence I will (finally) succeed at reaching my goal weight.  That is, as long as I can avoid bus paths and meteorites.

4. I cry near the conclusion of Born Free.

5. I procrastinate more than I should.

6. I give everyone the benefit of a doubt, and I feel hurt when they don't reciprocate in kind.

7. I unabashedly love dogs. 

8. I am not too crazy about flying these days, if my only choices are to have naked pictures taken of me, or be groped by strangers.  I understand the need for security in the air, I do, but there isn't a better way?  Seriously?  Of course, I've been asking myself the same questions over mam'grams.  Seriously, there isn't a better way?  I don't see men's testicles put into vice grips.  Hey, we put men on the moon, people.

9. My eyes now need readers.  I know I should go and have them examined, but I'm putting it off, with the intention of going sometime in April. 

10. I enjoy beaches, sunsets, warm rain, breezy summer days, still starry evenings, the scent of lilacs and the beauty of peonies, enthusiastic puppies, comfortable armchairs, good music, and even James Bond flicks.  (Cue the music.  You know the tune ...)

I'm to pass the Honest Scrap award along to someone.  While there are MANY worthy bloggers, I'm giving it to Sheilah (aka Mensa), and to Princess Dieter ... both for being so open and honest in sharing their weight loss journeys - and taking responsibility, rather than making excuses or rationalizations!  They are wonderful, and if you haven't visited their blogs, do so.  You'll see it all, the good, bad and in-between!
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Things I've noticed today, just mentioning to record here in my journal for possible future reference.  Look away for a minute:

My middle torso, which has always been firm (fat, but firm) is now squishy, like a soft pillow.  What's with that??  Should that be happening?  I've never (even in thin days) had a squishy torso.

My upper arms ... let's just say, flying squirrels have nothing on me.  Guess it wasn't all muscle.  Umpf.  (Yes, I know it wasn't really muscle, sadly.)  No surprises there.  But here was one today ...

Can inner thighs sag?  I'm watching that, because it looks like it may want to, and that would be SO not cool.

I'm hoping the skin recovers, much like lungs do, after someone quits smoking. 

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I'm weighing in tomorrow, but won't post until I hit (or pass) that magic mini-goal number: 247 lbs.!!

Stay strong and follow your path ...

Day 144 - Weigh-in Results: 249

It is official, for purposes of The Spawn challenge - Sunday weigh-in = 249 (see yesterday's post for details).  I see a Kate Spade tote in my future!  (See Rewards tab)

12 Days of Salads

This is a salad recipe from Austria (brought back by my husband, who lived there once upon a time).  He kindly translated for me.  Keep in mind, as with many older European recipes, things are made "to taste" and no (or few) specific measurements are given!  Recipes are often "approximations" ... have fun with it.  And remember, this is a salad - not soup! 

Day 3:

Tiroler Lindensalat  (Tirolean Lentil Salad)

30 dkg lentils, soaked overnight in cold water.  Drain the water.  Then, with fresh water, cover lentils to about a finger's thickness of water.  Bring to a simmer over low heat.   Add a small ham bone and salt. 

Do NOT let the lentils overcook.  You want them soft, but not falling apart.  While still soft, but firm, take off heat and let the lentils cool in the water/pot.

Mix a part of the lentil juice with vinegar (add vinegar to taste, to acceptable sourness).  The rest of the lentil juice should be drained from the lentils and disgarded.  [presume, of course, the vinegar juice is then returned to the lentils, just enough to flavor the dish]

Mix drained lentils, a small bit of milled pepper, salt, sugar, finely cut onions and 20 dkg of lean roast, cut into small noodle-like pieces. [think "julienne" when doing this, then cut crosswise into smaller pieces]

Mix salad well, sprinkle with 3-4 TB oil and finely cut chives. 

Serves 4.  If using as a main dish, top with quartered hard boiled egg and serve with roasted potato slices.

Note for Americans:  1 dkg = 10 grams = 0.3527 ounces

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More later ...