My Weight Loss Progress

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sugar: A Cheap Substitute for Love

Sugar!  Sweetness! Treats abound around holidays.  Go to any holiday party, and I mean any, and you are bound to find sweets. Candy. Pie. Cakes. Cookies, Sodas, Lemonade, Punch.  

My church women's group gave out a little gift for Christmas. It was a candy cane with a tag on it with some nice saying about Christmas.  It's a cheap, thoughtful little thing to do, right?  Well, it occurred to me that is the reason for giving candy.  It's cheap.  It's a way to say "I'm thinking of you" and stay on a budget.  Can you think of anything else you can give as cheaply as a candy cane?  

The problem is that it's not really a good gift.  All that sugar, artificial flavor and artificial coloring is so bad for you. Half the world is on a diet anyway. Yet this is the way we show love to people?  I remember the author of "Eat and Be Lean 2000" talking about sweets in that vein.  

I don't know that there's a good answer to the dilemma of an inexpensive gift, but why is sugar the answer?  Because when they give out plants on Mother's Day people complain.  Especially if they are vegetables!  All I need is more work to have to do, and you call this a gift?  Anything that says "You need to improve" is not a good gift unless asked for.  

So what's a good alternative?  Tiny notebooks, perhaps, or dried fruit or nuts.  A batch of pretty bookmarks for our Bibles would be inexpensive and useful.  A door-hanger with a scripture or quote might be nice. 

Another time for our girls we had a variety of inexpensive prizes for an activity. Think Michael's 25-cent bins.  They are better than the bags of party favors often purchased, but not terribly expensive either.  I bought a bunch of extra things, so that each girl would get a choice of a prize.  Maybe that's a good alternative for the ladies.  Or maybe I should just be grateful they thought of doing anything at all, and keep my mouth shut.  I did murmur a polite thank you before I brought it home and refused to eat more than a tiny piece of it.  (That's for a later post.)

Chili for the Chilly: Hot but not HOT

My son is visiting from out west, and he whipped a batch of delicious, mild vegetarian chili in the crockpot.  We all cook Amelia Bedelia style, but here's the basic idea of what he did.

2 (15-oz) cans Black Beans, drained but not rinsed
2 (15-oz) cans Pinto Beans, drained but not rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes, not drained
3 (4-oz) cans diced green chilies, not drained.
Sprinkle of cumin (probably about 1/4 teaspoon
Generous sprinkle of chili powder (probably about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon)
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic, depending on your family's taste.

Stir all together in crockpot and heat for 2 hours on high; turn to low and cook 3 or more hours; stir before serving.

He sometimes adds a can or two of corn, and I think dry onions or sliced olives would also be a nice addition.

He usually uses cilantron and cinnamon instead of the cumin, but I can't eat any of those so he left them out of it for me.  He also left out the garlic because he didn't know I had any, but I think it would make his yummy chili even yummier.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nancy Reagan! Nancy Reagan!

On of our TOPS ladies was asked how she lost weight over the holidays, and she responded, "Just say no."

That was a catchphrase for Nancy Reagan, trying to teach children how to stay away from drugs.  It was short and memorable, and created a family story we laughed over for years.

First lady, Nancy Reagan
speaks at a “Just Say No” rally in
Los Angeles, California, 1987.
One day my husband was on the phone, being asked to do some activity that took away from our rare and precious family time.  The boys caught on that he was hedging and about to give in, and they started chanting, "Nancy Reagan! Nancy Reagan!"  I don't remember if he ended up agreeing to the request on the phone.  I do remember him putting it down, looking puzzled, and asking "What was that all about?"  The boys were amazed to realize that he had no idea that "Nancy Reagan!"  meant "Just say NO!"  

Notice that Nancy Reagan was also very slim.  I think she must have practiced it in relation to food too.

Just say no to extra dessert, or second helpings, or to eating when you are not really hungry.  
Just say no to the fat on the beef, the addictive caffeinated sodas, the candy in the candy bowl on your boss's desk.
Just say no to staying fat, lazy and unhealthy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Unpleasant Topics that Affect our Health, and the Effect of Magnesium

The potty chair for the constipated 
child who spends a lot of time on it.
I went to the doctor the other day and she asked me if I was still having trouble with constipation.  If this topic bothers you, go ahead and stop reading.

When I was growing up, there were certain topics that were simply not discussed publicly.  I'm not talking about the birds and the bees either, unless you're thinking about how seeds get scattered. In my family we were not even allowed to say butt, poop, or pee.  We put our little "bottoms" on the "potty" and did "number one" or "number two" aka "big job."  I am not kidding you.  Given all that, I am pretty sure my mom was never aware that I was often constipated.

Grandpa's special chocolate
One time I took Grandpa's Ex-Lax, thinking it was chocolate, and My Mom caught me red-handed.  I knew I was in big trouble, but all Mom said was that I was going to be sorry!  I kept waiting for punishment, but it never came.  I don't remember anyone ever saying another word, and I was so puzzled that I remembered it for a long time.  I lived in trepidation of "being sorry" for several days.  I think I was 15 or 16 years old before I finally made the connection between the chocolate and the consequences! I really doubt I would have been sorry at all; any consequences were probably a relief!  Maybe it's a good thing I didn't make the connection; I would have gone right out and bought my own supply of Grandpa's special chocolate.

Back to the doctor...I told her yes, I am often constipated, and she that was surprising, because with the amount of magnesium I take, I ought to have diarrhea instead.  (Yuck!  Talk about unpleasant topics!) So why don't I?  Apparently it's a matter of absorption.  She gave me a couple of samples of magnesium powder, and when I got home I got to thinking about it.  Is it the magnesium I take, or the form it is in? I take magnesium malate, which is supposed to be really good.

I took all my magnesium pills and ground them to a fine powder in my blender.  I then added some water and blended it. I stored it back in the bottle and put it in the fridge.  I tried to figure out about how much I was taking, now as a liquid amount, and twice a day I shook the bottle up and measured half that amount into cereal or juice.  It's a little chalky but it's survivable.

The end result is that it is indeed a good laxative, but not an uncomfortable one.  In fact, I have cut down to half the original dose, and may need to go down once more.  I am feeling much better now.

My conclusion is that the magnesium is fine, but apparently I was not breaking down the coating at a point it was doing me any good.  By the time it dissolves, it is being processed as waste.  All the years I've been taking that stuff, it's been money down the toilet.

This makes me want to test all my other pills and capsules to make sure they are dissolving and actually useful to my system.  I will have to do some research and devise a test of some sort.  My mom used to do one with vinegar to simulate stomach acids.

If you are grossed out, sorry, but who knows?  Maybe you are just the one who needed to read this.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Congratulations (out loud) and screaming It's not fair! (in my heart)

My husband surprised us all by not only participating in the Biggest Loser contest at work, but winning!

 I don't know how he did in national rankings, but he is the winner for our campus.  I am proud of him.  He lost 6% of his body weight.  He won $30 in the office pool, and an I-Pod Shuffle from corporate headquarters.  He even got to pick his color, but was disappointed to find they don't come in red.

However, part of me is screaming this isn't fair!

Why?  Well, what did he do?  Succeeded gloriously on his very first attempt to lose weight, that's what!

How?  He cut back on his soda; he'd been drinking a 20 oz. Dr. Pepper five days a week, and he quit.  He also started paying attention to when he was full, and quit eating at that point.  It's very smart.  And it worked!

But wait, I already do those things!  So he does them for the first time and loses weight, and I do them consistently, and here I am at a plateau.  Obviously, I need to do more.  If only I knew what more to do.  Eat less, and  I get acid reflux.  I start feeling weak.  That passes, but my stomach starts feeling like it is going to digest itself.

I do know I could be more faithful about exercise.  I am not terribly consistent there. I just can't seem to get up the determination to be diligent.  There are so many other things taking my attention, and I'm not feeling so hot most of the time.  That's a stupid excuse, because usually I feel better after some gentle exercise.  I guess the real issue is....


so what else is new?

I have to admit that I took 5th place myself; I lost 0.9% of my body weight; at least I didn't gain any.  A few people did, which must be discouraging.  Set out on a weight loss contest and eight weeks later you've gained a few pounds.  Ouch.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Today, I must give credit to my sister-in-law, Tina, for the post you are about to read.  She e-mailed this instead of using the comment form, and I thought it was worth sharing with my readers.

The Question About Overeating. 

It is easy, most of the time, to pass on foods that you know will make you instantaneously sick.  The cause and effect are clear and unmistakable.  However, eating foods that are safe are a different matter. If it is safe to eat and I can't eat the other stuff, then I can eat just a bit more of the safe food and be fine.  However, one trade like that is fine, but it is easy to do that several times, which then leads to overeating.  

With the amount of things that you successfully don't eat, it isn't a matter of will power, because you demonstrate you have plenty of that.  It often comes down to logic and mind games.
  • I can trade this for that because I can't have that.
  • Just one more won't hurt.  I don't have consequences for this.
  • I can risk this, it really won't hurt me in the long run and it is worth the risk.
I find myself doing this quite a lot.  I have a lot of things that could or might cause me problems.  If I am feeling good and breathing well, then I am invincible and feel I can run the risk of eating it for the momentary pleasure of eating it.  Sometimes I pay for it and sometimes I don't, therefore it becomes a game that I am willing to play.  The foods that cause immediate consequences are no longer a game, and I am not willing to eat them.

So the trick is to figure out how to make overeating a game you are not willing to play.  Easier said than done, but it is part of the mind game that is being played.  Can you set up a 'cost' for you that you don't like that will tip the odds for you to not be willing to play the game?  It sounds kind of mean and negative, but that is how my mind works.  What am I willing to risk and what am I not willing to risk when it comes to food?