My Weight Loss Progress

Friday, December 20, 2013

DROP50

License plate seen on a car yesterday.  Is it a sports metaphor or a weight-loss motivation?  We see Sports stuff all the time around here; our University fans are quite enthusiastic about personalized license plates in the school colors.  But DROP50?  What does that mean?

Well, that's a good plan for the year. Drop 50.  A pound a week...well, I lost 2 pounds in 4 weeks, so I guess that's a start.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Carrot Bread

I made my favorite pumpkin bread for our church harvest party yesterday, and won third place in the bread category!


Third Place Winner


I label my bread, Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, and I'm afraid people will see that and think it's some kind of weird health food thing, but it flies off the plate anyway. I've had the same thing happen with corn bread, brownies and chili that I have taken. It's pretty awesome.

A couple of people asked me for the recipe, so I am posting it here.

Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Preheat oven to 350.

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin*
2 cups sugar*
1.5 cups salad oil
4 eggs
4 cups GF flour*
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground allspice*
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp orange peel*
1 tsp. rum flavoring
2 cups finely grated raw carrots*
1 cup nuts (optional)*

Combine flour and other dry ingredients in smaller bowl.
Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes. 
Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
Stir in rum flavor, carrots and nuts.

Bake
Muffins: 20 minutes
Small Loaves: 35 minutes
Large Breads 55-65 minutes.

*Make sure you get the pumpkin, not the pre-spiced pumpkin pie filling. If you use that, you can leave out the spices or cut them in half. It's not the same flavor, but it works. Or you can use 2 cups of home-cooked pumpkin if you wring it through a cheesecloth to get out all the extra moisture. 
*I used about 1 cup and a half of natural cane sugar, and a half cup of brown sugar because I ran out of the cane sugar.
*I used about 2 cups of Domata Living Flour, and about 2 cups of another brand, I think it's Better Batter. 
*If it's easier you can just throw in a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon. I like the mixture for flavor and because cinnamon is also on my food sensitivities list. 
*Orange peel is the dried kind in the jar, but I'm sure fresh would be good too. It adds a little zing. 
*I like baby carrots for their tenderness and sweetness, but regular carrots can be used, or even dried carrots if they are properly soaked first.
*I leave out the nuts for church parties for a certain little girl I know can't eat them. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bye-bye Chocolate! It was nice knowing you, but our relationship was just not healthy.

I started noticing that I would get a headache shortly after eating chocolate, so I decided to have a two-week no-chocolate trial. I just finished a grueling 5-day trip, attending a funeral and then spending time with several family members, often several at once. I loved the time and all the visits, but I get so tired!

This trip I went the whole time without taking a single headache pill. I did get a couple of headaches, from fatigue or hunger, but not so bad that a little time out didn't get rid of them. I don't know if it's all chocolate, or just that made with cocoa, but I think it's pretty much all chocolate.

So there goes another yummy food, but it's worth it to feel better.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

One Man's Disgusting Food is Another Man's Delicacy

In a class I am taking, the instructor invited us to tell the most disgusting food we have ever eaten.  The responses were interesting and enlightening.  I've just got to share!

Dog Head Soup:  Do not Google images of this one if you have a delicate constitution or if you just love Fido.

Goat with the skin on: Ghana, Africa.  Does this include the hair?  There's a dish called "smiley" that is a roasted goat head, and the lips pull back into a smile.  "Hello, I'm so happy to be your dinner tonight."

Haggis (recipes linked to the captions)
 

Looks tasty like this--but this is not a true haggis! It's a vegetarian copy. 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Does not look so tasty like this 
Seal Meat (only legal in US if accidentally caught in fishing nets) It was quite greasy.

Cricket (She found it frozen in her garage. Sounds risky to me.)
insect food, vietnam, bee, larva, aunt
Dinner, anyone? 

Guinea Pig (Guatemala? or maybe it was Guam?) It's a delicacy in the country she found it in.

Grad Student Gumbo--a combination of white rice, chicken noodle soup, and Ramen.  Might have gone down easier if they cooked them separately.

Anchovy Pizza.  He'd never had it before, and he got a little worried when he overheard the employees talk about how bad the anchovy smelled. 

Cajun Crawfish

This picture would not sell me on crawfish, but if you just have to have it, there are sources

Cajun-Crawfish-Pasta-Recipe-2
Might not be so bad if you hide it in enough pasta.

Sheep's Feet. (Sort of like Pickled Pigs' Feet?) 
QUALITY SHEEP FEET READY FOR SUPPLY
Want some to cook for dinner?  

They don't look much better cooked. 
Anything she had to cook for herself. I've made a few cooking mistakes, but I can safely say most of my food is not disgusting or even unusual. 

Spicy Italian Vegetable Dish.  May I suspect Okra as a culprit? 

Periwinkles. The snail, not the flower. 
The snail. 
Perennials Image Gallery
The flower, also called Myrtle.



Pate. The French kind. Goose Liver.  

Swedish dish that is kind of like a fish aspic, from her description.  
File:Miskolc Kocsonyafesztival 10.jpg
This one is apparently Hungarian, but it fits the concept.

Undercooked hamburger, courtesy of an American fast food place.

Escargot--mostly tastes like butter and garlic. 

Venison Heart--a little chewy, but tasty!  Somehow just the idea that it was the heart bothered her.

Cow's Tongue--It's not the flavor, it's the texture. And the fact that you know it's the tongue.  In fact, I grew up eating cow tongue and deer tongue, and the way you cook them makes a big difference.  They boil out most of the flavor and get kind of mushy, but roasting them leaves them too tough. The answer:  use a pressure cooker.  And peel off the white outside skin before you bring it to the table. Then it looks much like a roast beef and is very tender.  Eat it hot, though; it's kind of greasy when it gets cold.

Deep Fried Rice Cakes--which might not have been so bad but she fried them after the entire high school wrestling team had deep-fried all the weird things they could think of.  She said it was terrible and made her not want to eat again for a while. 

But one lady said a weird food that turned out delicious was Maple Bacon Funnel Cakes. Sounds yummy to me! 
Unfortunately, there's no recipe at the site I found this...

 

AARP Q&A on Water

Q. Do I really need to drink eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy?  I just can't seem to drink that much water!

A. No. There's no scientific evidence to support this often repeated advice. The institute of Medicine's food and Nutrition Board, which develops dietary guidelines, concluded that most healthy people can meet their need for water by letting thirst be their guide. You can get fluids from a variety of sources, including fruits, vegetables, juice, milk, coffee, soda and even beer. But if you're over age 65, you exercise strenuously, you live in a hot climate or you find yourself sweltering in the middle of a heat wave, try to drink extra fluids. --Nissa Simon  (AARP Bulletin, June 203, Vol. 54 No. 5)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How did my friend lose 50 pounds in eight months and is this a real picture?


This is my friend's before and after picture. Yes, it's real. Admittedly she is posing and has her hair styled for the second picture, but it's still a striking difference.  I saw her at the halfway point and the difference was noticeable then.  She says now she is the same size she was in tenth grade!  Talk about inspiration!

Last summer I borrowed a little jacket for my son's wedding. She says she doesn't want it back because it no longer fits her.  So yea, I look more like her before picture.

This has been inspiring me all week!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kate Middleton: Beautiful Mother



They said it best:

http://www.emilywierenga.com/2013/07/a-letter-to-kate-middleton-on.html


“The media’s neuroticism over Kate’s post-pregnant looks is brainwashing women into thinking that they will constantly be judged and criticized unless they meet the new standard – unattainable perfection,” human behavior expert Patrick Wanis PhD, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “The obsession with the perfect female body is spiraling out of control.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/07/26/is-kate-middeton-mummy-tummy-coverage-bad-for-women/#ixzz2agMnsF2h


I suppose I am adding to the "media frenzy" but I just want to say I think she is beautiful and I am glad she didn't hide out for weeks or lash herself into a painful girdle after the birth of her baby.  So she's not skinny yet? So What?  I was amazed that she is up, dressed, and has her makeup on.


I don't suppose the public persona of royal life is terribly easy, and so far she is pulling it off with grace and confidence.  And what could be more beautiful?

In one picture from the Fox News site, she is looking a little fake, but who can blame her? She's probably just wishing she could go back to bed and sleep with nobody around but Will and the baby.  This
can't be easy!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Allergic to Air

All I need is the air that I breathe, just to.....

get sick.  

I've had a sore throat for weeks, months, years.  After my CT test came out clear, my chest x-ray was perfect, acid reflux pills didn't make a difference, and my tonsils are normal,  it was attributed to post-nasal drip.

Which is where most doctors in the past have left it, with a shrug of the shoulders and advice to use a Neti Pot or Flo-Nase.  Gee, thanks, Doc, take away any hope I'll ever get well.

My new ENT decided on allergy testing, with startling results.  I am allergic to 33/38 common allergens. I don't sneeze, I get sore eyes and internalize it; post-nasal drip, sore throat, sore under-arms (immune reaction, maybe?) My voice is lower than it used to be; I can sing tenor if I pay attention. I wonder if it's even part of my sleep apnea. Being swollen and clogged up probably contributes to sleep apnea too. I also have a deviated septum, which complicates the issue but doesn't cause it.


This explains a lot of things.  Like why my eyes burn in church--the lights aggravate my already sensitive eyes just from walking out to the car and into the church.  It explains why I get tired after exercise--breathing harder makes me absorb more allergens--and exposes me to them, whether it's dust mites from the carpet or plants and more outdoors.  It explains why I can be so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open, and then go to bed and toss and turn.  My whole body isn't tired, and my brain is wide awake, but my eyes burn from allergies.

I already knew I had trouble with dust, cats, and a few specific plants, but 33 common things?  It's not just seasonal; it's year-round.

The question now is whether treatment will help.  I'm scheduled to start allergy shots on Tuesday.  My sister-in-law also recommended a nutritionist and muscle testing as it has helped her a lot.  If I can get on top of this thing I will enjoy life a lot more.  It may even make a difference to my whole body.  After the testing, I gained three pounds overnight.  Two days later, I had an allergic reaction to something at a horse show, and got a splitting headache so I took three Tylenol (an anti-inflammatory drug) and went to bed earlier than usual.  12 hours of rest later I got up and guess what?  I lost three pounds overnight!

This makes me wonder how often a sudden inflammation that I think is water retention, is actually an allergic response.  I can go all week and do well, and then weigh in on Thursday and be heavier, and feel the swelling all over my body.  Well, on Wednesdays I am out and about a lot more, so maybe I swell up on Thursdays.   I'll update you on this adventure as time goes by.





Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Day, Another Park

We've enjoyed walking outdoors lately. Today we went back to a park we first discovered three years ago. It has a one-mile path, which is just about what I felt up to after going to the dentist for three fillings.

It rained during the night, so much that the creek through the park had overflowed.  The weather sites say it was only an inch or two of rain, but I think it came down all at once. The grass was all matted down for several feet on each side of the creek. The gravel path was dotted with puddles, occasionally wide enough to cover the whole path.

We saw a lady out walking her dog, and warned her about the wet spots. She said she knew, and wasn't going to walk very far. We chuckled when we were leaving to see her pick up her little dog and carry him over a puddle.  I guess that's easier than giving  him a bath, or dealing with  muddy dog in the car.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bird, Bird, Goose?

Yesterday the sky poured buckets, so we walked at the mall. It was too muddy today for our forest walk, so we went on one of our favorite paved trails, a 1.8 mile walk around a fishing hatchery pond.  We backtracked part of it, bringing it up to two miles.  

Though surrounded by forest, there is also the pond, where we saw geese, saw a few people fishing, and heard a splash which we think might have been a fish jumping.  My husband saw a turtle slip off a log into the water, but I missed that one. 

I saw a bird no bigger than a monarch butterfly (I think it might have been a juvenile tree swallow.)
http://www.cindymcintyre.com/birds/Green%20Cay/Green%20Cay.htm

We saw some redwing blackbirds.


Best of all, I saw a large white goose herding a clutch of half-grown wild geese.  Or maybe they were half-wild geese.  I wonder how they will fare when they try to mingle in a larger gaggle. Will they be accepted?  Is the white goose accepted and does it fly south with the others?  There is so much I don't know about nature. 

I think the ones I saw had a longer neck than this one. 
The geese I saw seemed darker than the one  below, more like the colors of Canada Geese, but not the black heads of Canada geese, but I don't know for sure. I only got a quick glimpse and didn't have my camera with me. 

http://vancouverislandbirds.com/Journal228.html

Geese mate for life, so if the white one isn't accepted, will its wild mate stay behind with it?  If so, will it survive?  Is the white one an albino or a domesticated goose gone wild?  So many questions are raised by one simple walk around the pond.  I found a great website that tells a lot about the behavior of geese. I hope they won't mind if I borrow a few quotes from them.

It is the female who chooses her mate based on his displays of behaviors and how well he demonstrates he can protect her.

Well, this raises a few questions. If the white one was female, how did the brown male feel about being chosen?  Was he thrilled that this exotic larger goose chose him, or was he feeling angst, knowing he would be ostracized?  If the white one was male, how did it demonstrate to the wild female that it could protect her?  How did her parents feel about her mating outside the gaggle?  Or do they even care?  

There seems to be mixed opinions about the viability of hybrid geese. One site I found shows a hybrid Canada/Greylag Goose--With feet that look like ducks!  

The eggs hatch at about the same time, and usually hatch early morning. The young goslings are brooded (kept warm and protected from predators) by the female for several hours following birth and at night for several days. Their parents are highly protective of them and the female will often lift her wing slightly and let them gather under her wing for warmth and security. They go under her wings to seek shelter from the storm, and they rest there at night. She covers them to keep them safe for predators. With a gentle sound from her, the goslings know they are being called to safety, and all scurry under her wings where it is safe. The gander, the father of the goslings, stands watch over the little ones and his mate, very proudly, his strong neck raised high and looking about in all directions, guarding and protecting them all.

I want my mama and daddy!  Sometimes it's just exhausting being all grown up, you know?  I want someone to call me to safety and give me a place to rest. 

Well, there's a possibility my "hybrid" goose is just a snow goose, as they do come in different colors.  If that's the case though, these geese should be in Northern Canada about now, according to National Geographic.

Snow geese are known for their white plumage, but many of them are actually darker, gray-brown birds known as blue geese. These birds were once though to be two separate species, but they have recently been found to be merely two different color morphs of the same bird. A single gene controls the color difference.


On the day after they hatch, both the goose (female) and gander (male) take the goslings to the brood rearing area. Both parents share the responsibility of actively protecting and caring for the young; Canada geese need both parents to raise the goslings. Several family groups rear broods in the same locality. The brood flocks consisting of several families are called crèches. Young geese have flight feathers at about 16 weeks old. All groups of geese families teach the young geese to fly, and they all work together to do this. The parents and young geese start at the top of a hill, run down into the water many times with their wings stretched out. Parents also have the young geese to “run” back and forth in the water with wings stretched out, to practice flying skills. 

I guess it takes a village to raise a gosling!




Friday, June 21, 2013

New Shoes! Happy feet?

My podiatrist recommended a particular brand of shoes to help with my plantar fasciitis.  He also formed insoles for me, but they are not working out too well. I still ache a lot!

My husband called around for me today until he found a store that had the shoes in my size.  I put them on and they have enough arch support and I don't have to wear the insoles.  They are super cushy inside, which gives me happy feet.

She also told me some good toe stretches to do before I get out of bed in the morning, and sold me on a special compression sock that is supposed to help.  For $25 for one sock, it better!  So far tonight my foot hurts less than it has, but we'll see how it all works out.  The foot without the special sock is hurting almost as much as the other one does, so I think I might need one for each foot. Maybe my feet are just tired, though, as we did another 3 mile walk today, and then did laundry and shoe shopping.

The shoes recommended are Brooks Ariel.  Kind of pricey, but if they help my foot heal, they'll be well worth it.  The sock is made by Feetures!  

I was happy with this shoe store, because the shoes were the same price as on Zappos.com or Brooks' own site.  Often shoes cost more locally.  The owner seemed very knowledgeable, which made it worth the extra cost of the sales tax I ended up paying, and the drive down there.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Long Road Home

Have I mentioned that we have a lovely little wooded area just about a quarter mile from our apartment?  Hardly anyone ever goes in there except bicycles on weekends.  The trails are build with interesting curves and jumps for bikes, along with markers about how difficult each trail is. That's helpful for walking.

A bicycle waits near the trail.  If you look ahead you can see that the center of
the trail is a long skinny "balance beam" made of railroad ties.  
Yesterday, we ended up on the "road"  through the outskirts of the forest.  It has two ruts instead of one!  Someone mows the trails, or we would be walking through chest-high prairie grass in the hilly areas.

This entire experience makes me think of the pioneers who crossed through the Midwest on their way to Oregon, California, Utah and Wyoming.  I wondered how a child could get lost on flat land, which is recorded as happening.  First let me say that the plains are not flat land.  They are full of rolling hills and shallow valleys.  When the grass is chest-high on adults, it would be over the heads of children.  This is not a nicely mowed lawn.Yet still there is no shade for adults--and, for the pioneers, no one to mow the trail.


I think the mothers must have looked forward to the occasional shaded area near a river or creek, while at the same time dreading the increasing dangers for their children.  Creeks and rivers and trees to wander in, shadows to hide them, wild animals...all must have been scary for those who came from cities to try to make a new life for themselves.

We find areas where deer have lain; the grass is temporarily matted down in large areas, yet there is very little sign of entry.  A child could easily wander through grass and be lost.

On the bright side, there are many beautiful grasses, trees, wildflowers, moss, ferns, mushrooms...birds singing, signs of other small animals but I probably talk too much and scare them away.  We saw actual deer once, though.


Anyway, back to yesterday...we found ourselves at the end of this forest road, and it came out on a paved road, so we decided to walk a little way and figure out where we were and where it went.  Next time I'll just come home and use the internet maps!  We had walked 1.3 miles, according to my pedometer, and by the time we were done, we had walked 3.2 miles!  That means we walked 1.9 miles along a paved road.

A close-up view of part of the woods. Courtesy maps.google.com. 
I walked enough later to make up 4.75 miles for the whole day!  That's only 600 steps short of the 10,000 steps recommended by whomever recommends those things.  How do people really walk that far on an average day?

The nice thing is that I can do it!  I was tired, and we did a 10-minute yoga session to stretch out after our little hike, but I did it!  And I only hurt a little bit today.

We took it easy today, though, only a quick 1.2 miles around in the mall.  If that sounds to you like it's not easy--because don't you hate it when someone walks an "easy" walk and it sounds like it would kill you--don't chastise yourself.  You can only start where you are.  When we moved here a year ago it was hard for me to walk the quarter mile to work.  And look at me now!  Climbing around on bike trails and taking the long road home!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We shouldn't base our opinion of ourselves on others' opinions, but....

When you get two compliments in a couple of weeks, you know you're making progress. One of my TOPS ladies commented that I am getting a nice waistline.

Today a friend of mine complimented me on a new outfit and then said "You're getting slimmer."  I laughed and said I really like this outfit now!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yikes! A BIG regain!

Alas, the scale showed a 3 pound gain overnight!  In one night! How can this be?  It's not just my scale either. The scale at TOPS showed the same gain.  What a tragedy--and a mystery.

The only way I can explain it is that I have been having a big fibro flare this week.  This means I have a lot of inflammation, and that means extra weight in the tissues. Still, I apparently swelled up overnight

The sad thing is, it's all my own fault.  I have been eating more sugar than usual, which always causes a problem.  I made a special dessert for some dinner guests, and I've been snacking on the leftovers all week.  Maybe it was worth it, just once in a while.  Or so I thought, until I started feeling the pain. And then the scale revealed the truth. It wasn't worth it.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Did you notice a little change over there on the right?

I finished up the word COMMITMENT!  Hurray!

This links back to an earlier post. 

I haven't posted a lot lately because I've been exhausted ever since our trip, but I did keep walking and managed to complete both the N and the T.  I am proud of myself for keeping that commitment.

No luck on the job front yet, but I've been too tired to go to work anyway.  When the time is right, it will all work out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hurrah! I finally lost ten pounds! Also the TOP hatS won our team contest!

40 Miles! And an E!

We took a trip to Utah to see some of our family. While traveling, I wore a pedometer every day.  In five days we walked 20 miles.  Add it to what I had before, and one mile when we got home, and I reached my 40 mile goal! I also got to fill in an E and part of the next N.

In Utah we hiked up a very steep mountain.  "About 40 minutes each way," my son said.  Well, after about an hour, we were about halfway, and I decided I could go no more.

Near the beginning of the hike, J and K walk along. 

I think this is going uphill.
I wouldn't swear to anything.

One of the steep parts. I think this is looking
downhill. It's hard to see how steep it really was.

My husband wouldn't leave me behind, when I stopped to rest, so it was up to my son and his girlfriend to finish the hike. Off they went, and we made our way downhill, very slowly, taking pictures as we went.  Near the bottom we found a little stream, and I sat right down and put my feet in it. It was very cold, and several dips in it took the swelling right out of my feet.  We were still sitting there when the younger two came down. 

Cute little flower along the path. The spiky leaves belong to it.

Same type of flowers, I think. The lighting is different.
More little flowers along the path.

My calves hurt for three days, but it was worth it--not just for the view, but for the experience.  I caught myself saying "I'm sorry," and "I'm such a wuss." I felt bad for letting J down on the hike, and for making him feel bad that it was so hard for me.

View of Salt Lake City from above.

Wait a minute!  I went more than halfway up a very steep mountain.  I challenged myself and tried something very difficult. I did not finish, but I did way more than start.  And that in itself is an achievement.  So, J, I am so glad I went!  Maybe next year I can go to the top.


Number of steps when I started coming down the path.
Number of steps back at the car.  It looks as though I went
 about 2200 steps each way--probably about a mile.

We also walked around at our library, for a total of about 5 miles that day.  


I am playing with Photoshop while I relax at
home after our vacation.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

One of the biggest blessings of my life was the day my kind-hearted husband quietly said, "Honey, I hate to tell you this, but....
you snore.

That man can sleep through anything!  I'd probably been snoring, loudly, for years.  Now I was working night shift for three months, and he woke up while I was at snore stage.  Poor guy. I am so glad he decided to tell me.

The kind of snoring I was doing was the sleep apnea kind.  Soon I found myself on a CPAP machine at night, and begin to get some actual rest.  Here I am, four or five years later, and I recently got the pressure changed and a brand new mask.  What a difference it has made to my energy levels!  I'm still tired a lot, but not dragged-out, can't-possibly-move-any-more exhausted like I was.



By the way, Pat, if you're reading this, I took your advice and went to a podiatrist. Came home with shoe inserts and recommendations for good shoes, which I hope to find on a trip to a bigger city.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Yoga

You're almost there! Tomorrow is Z!

As  much as I love Leslie Sansone videos, she usually doesn't do enough stretching at the end.  At the gym I used to go to, one of the trainers told us that we should stretch for at least ten minutes after aerobic exercise. I try to do that, but it gets pretty boring, just standing or sitting there, stretching and counting.

That's where yoga comes in.  I have a DVD called "The Ten-Minute Solution: Yoga" (for beginners.)  There are five different segments in it, so after a good aerobic walk, we just pop in a segment and stretch with Angie Stewart.  Each one has a little different focus--energy, balance, etc., but each one is a pretty thorough whole-body stretch.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X

X is the letter that comes, sometimes in multiples, in front of the letters L (large) and S (small) on our clothing.  Usually only once before the S, but up to three or four in front of the L. It gets to the point they have to write it as 4X because they run out of room on the label.

When it comes to the L in our clothes, we want as few of those X's as possible.  The world's a funny place. When it comes to food, fast food especially, we want the L or XL, but we can't get away with that and stay with the S or XS in our clothes.  So that's a good rule of thumb for ordering meals.  Order the size you want your clothing size to be.  Or at least in the direction your want it to go.

So, if I am an XL, and want to go back down to L or M (medium), I should keep ordering S foods until I get there. 

W is for Water

Water...a necessity of life. 

But let's use our common sense about it.

Myth:
Adults need to drink at least 8 ounces of water a day.

This one may be a good rule of thumb, but it actually defies logic.  Does a 5-foot woman need as much water as a 6-foot man?

Doesn't it depend on diet also?  Someone who eats a lot of soup, fruit, and vegetables, is not going to need as much water as someone who eats a meat and starch diet, because they get it naturally.

Myth:
Soda water (soft drinks, cola, pop, whatever you call it in your area of the world) dehydrates you more than the water in it hydrates you.

Think about it. Yes, the small amounts of carbon and caffeine may be a tiny bit dehydrating, but there is so much higher percentage of water that it does not dehydrate you. It may not hydrate you as well as plain water, but it does not make you dehydrated.

Unsupported statement:
By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Well, yeah, but is it a bad thing?  Nature has wonderful ways to tell you that your body is out of balance, and thirst is one of them.  You start to feel a bit thirsty, so you get a drink. Voila, balance restored!  I am not a doctor, but I think if you are force-feeding yourself water, you are just as likely, if not more so, to get out of balance.  You may be flushing out nutrients and things that you need.

Unsupported statement with unsupported reasoning:
Drinking water during meals interferes with digestion.

My opinion: It waters down the stomach acids, but they rebound quickly.  Meanwhile, the extra fluid helps the food keep moving smoothly through your system, possibly preventing constipation and its related problems.  If you shouldn't drink water with meals, then people shouldn't eat soup either.

However, if I drink a lot of water on top of a heavy meal, it may make me burp a bit of it up because my stomach ran out of room. When I drink water, or any other drink, along with a meal, it doesn't bother me at all.

Myth: 
Drinking water at certain times of the day will cure or prevent diseases.

Water is water. Why should the time of day matter? Your organs sit there during the night and do their jobs while you rest.  They don't need "wakening" or "settling down" for the night.  They do need water, but they don't have a clock ticking in there with little alarms going off to give you a disease if you happen to miss a watering.

Myth: 
Drinking cold water causes cancer.

No, it just refreshes you.  Your body has marvelous mechanisms for regulating temperature. If cold water caused cancer, then so would anything else cold, including fruit salad and ice cream. They may have their own problems, but cancer from cold is not one of them.

What I think about water: it's a marvelous thing. I feel a bit droopy or get a slight headache and a glass of water can perk me right up. Ice water is nice on occasion, especially if your water doesn't taste good, because the cold numbs the taste buds a bit.  Some things just taste better cold, like soda and root beer floats!    But if I'm hungry, a glass of water doesn't make me less hungry.  It does make me less thirsty.

Sources:
Snopes.com: Water Works
Snopes.com: Water Weal
Snopes.com: Cold Comford

Friday, April 26, 2013

V is for Vitamins and Vegetables

One of the things Leslie Sansone recommends in her book is taking a daily vitamin.  If we are working harder and eating a little less, our bodies just might need a bit of extra nutrition.

Some of the "health nut" people claim that fruits and vegetables don't have as  many vitamins as they used to, due to soil depletion, modern farming, etc.  I don't know about that.  I just take the multivitamin pill  my doctor recommends and hope it does me some good.

I was not allowed to have vegetables for four days this week due to a medical test I was preparing to undergo, and I missed them a little.  I also had no fresh fruit, only canned fruit, and I missed that a lot.  I think I'll go make a salad!


U is for...

The Ugly Truth.

The Ugly Truth is that when women gain weight, we forget to see ourselves as the beautiful, divine creations we really are.  We look in the mirror and our image gets distorted by fat. I don't think men do that as much.

I used to look in a mirror, and ask myself if my clothes matched, if I looked put together for my role that day, whether it was student, mother, teacher's aide, club member, going to the gym...

Now I look in the mirror to see if my clothes make me look a teeny bit slimmer or make my fat places look even fatter.  That's the Ugly Truth.

Another truth is that no matter how much I tell myself I am mainly trying to take care of my health, I still want it to come with a skinnier body!  I still judge fat people, yet really I've taken care of myself pretty well for years and I am still a fat woman.

A beautiful truth is that I don't see myself as a fat woman, until I see a mirror.  I'm still me, still pursuing life, personality much the same as ever.  The question I have is whether others see that, or if they see me first as a fat woman and forget to look for what's inside.  And that's the Ugly Truth.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Travel

How do you stay fit while traveling? 

Some helpful things I've found:

If you usually work out in a gym, look for hotels with a fitness room. It's usually small but better than nothing.
Courtyard by Marriott, San Diego, California

I always look for a hotel with a pool that is open.  Swimming and water aerobics are a great way to unwind at the end of a long day on planes or in the car.  Of course, this means planning to get there, or stop, early enough to use the pool. And don't forget your swimsuit!

Comfort Suites, Cary, North Carolina

Walk.  Walk around the block at a gas stop. Walk in the airport instead of using a motorized cart.  Pull your luggage or carry it.  But don't overload so you hurt yourself. Using a cart saves your back and that's worth it. 


Sightseeing.  Tours usually involve a certain amount of walking, maybe even some hiking or climbing. If you're on a cruise ship, the tours provide a good way to get off and do some real walking, hiking, or other exercise.  I even went tubing in Jamaica! It's a nice gentle river--not wild like the western United States river rafting trips--a great beginner trip.  Cruises also have pools and fitness equipment, even classes if you're willing to get up early. 

Photo from: http://insidejamaica.weebly.com/ocho-rios.html

Take a bike tour if you like to ride. 

sweetclipart.com

Drink plenty of water.  You'll need plenty of bathroom stops, but you'll feel better.

Take your own pillow if you are driving.  Sleeping on unfamiliar pillows can be uncomfortable.  It's nice to have one in the car while you are a passenger, too.

Take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators, when it's possible. Stop and do a good heel stretch whenever you find yourself on stairs or an escalator.

Last--but not least--watch what you eat.  Don't use travel as an excuse to overeat or eat really rich or fattening foods.  Getting sick or uncomfortable is not worth what it costs in terms of sightseeing or feeling good and enjoying your travel adventure. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sabbath

In my church, we treat Sunday as a Sabbath Day.  What does this mean?

The purpose of the Sabbath is to draw closer to God.  It is a time for worship. It's a time for quiet, pondering, dwelling in God's word through scripture study and prayer.  It is also a time for church, for family, and for rest from worldly cares.

Washington Road Chapel, Evening
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Magna Utah

A lot of people think it stands for all the "don'ts".  Don't work, don't shop, don't eat out, don't go to basketball games or play sports or have friends over, don't exercise (I like that one!) ...the list of "don'ts" varies from family to family.


The reason for all the don'ts is simply to keep us away from the worldly cares so we can center our lives by centering our focus on the Lord.  In the Bible, our Heavenly Father tells us to do our labors in six days, and rest on the seventh.  Maybe it's resting to eat out, but then someone else is required to work on our behalf, and the Bible does say:  But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.  (Exodus 20:10)   

 It's a personal decision how to keep the Sabbath.  I prefer to keep meals simple, keeping work at a minimum for all of us.  On a side note, we do have people and animals to feed, so that must be done, but we don't have to "work" them that day.  Even horses and dogs and donkeys will benefit from a day to rest now and then. 

I once heard a speaker talk about Sabbath Mondays.  She said that if they treated Sunday as a true Sabbath, Monday always went better.  She said things ran more smoothly, the children were more cooperative, and she had more energy than any other day of the week. 

By that logic, perhaps we should have a Sabbath every other day.  I think that would be going overboard, disobeying "six days shalt thou labor."  However, it's something to think about.  On the six other days of the week, part of that labor should still be maintaining our scripture study, and laboring in prayer for ourselves and our loved ones.  We should always work at our relationships, serving others, and getting closer to God, not just be "Sunday Saints."  

Some things are everyday things, but Sundays are special. If we make keeping the Sabbath a regular part of our routine, it makes Sunday a day to look forward to, a day to enjoy, rather than just another weekend "get everything done" day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q and R are for Quiet Reflection

To keep my life balanced, I need a regular time of quiet reflection.  Some people call it meditating, or pondering.  Whatever it is, is is more than worry.  It is a time of quiet, sometimes of prayer, a time of opening up my mind and new ideas come in.

One place I find that is in the shower.  As I take a leisurely shower, thoughts flow into my mind regarding whatever I'm working on at the moment. I get all sorts of ideas that I can either reject or follow up on later. 

Another place I find it is in the car.  I pay attention while I drive, but if I leave the radio off, a part of my mind wanders free and sorts things out.

Walking can be a good time to do this as well.  Since I usually walk with a partner, we think out loud as we go.  We've sorted out all sorts of issues and generated lots of ideas as we bounce thoughts off of each other. Many of them are rejected but it's fun to see what pops out of our psyches.  

Sometimes thoughts directly related to the day come in during that morning "just woke up, not ready to get up" period.  I don't usually have to wake to an alarm, so that's a good time for me.

I guess the whole point is to slow down.  Our frequent hurry-up pace can crowd out the chance to pause, to reflect, and to leave our minds open.  Got some waiting time?  Find that peaceful mind place and let it go to town.  You might solve a big problem or mentally plan a meeting while waiting for the carpool.  You might change the course of your whole life while standing in the shower.  You might peacefully find that you are on exactly the right track at the moment.  

We often consider open-mindedness as being open to new information and other people's ideas.  I invite you to open your mind to what's inside it and see if great ideas come out that will help you grow and learn from what you already know or have done.  

One caution:  if you do this when you are angry or resentful, the ideas that come out may not be the most sane. Examine them carefully!  Fear can do it too. Even in peaceful times, not everything that comes into mind is helpful.  We have the freedom to keep what to choose and what to dismiss.  Also, headache or pain can block the mind opening if we are focused on it. Maybe that's why the shower is good--it provides temporary relief from those. 



P is for Procrastination...

Like, isn't today supposed to be Q?  Where did yesterday go?

I hadn't decided what to use for P. I was thinking of Plan, but that would be like the diet post, and next thing I knew it was today.

Have a great weekend!  Don't put off something you really need or want to do, okay?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Olive Oil

A somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at this miracle substance.

It's supposed to be one of the most healthy natural oils.  Did you know you can also use it for a  hair treatment?  And you can buy olive oil cooking spray.  You can get mayonnaise made with it. You can shine your sink with it.  In a pinch, you can use it for lip balm or to soften your feet at night.

You can buy it in Virgin, or even Extra Virgin.  Just in case you need a virgin around for a rainy day.

The difference between "OO" "VOO" and "EVOO" is....found at WebMd .  Apparently you have to be careful to read labels, because much of what is sold as EVOO is not as pure as it should be. That's probably the stuff I buy, because I don't like the super expensive kind. It kind of hurts the pocketbook.

There's even light olive oil. I always wondered about that.   It's oil, how can it be lighter than oil?  Well, it turns out it is simply filtered more thoroughly, so that it is a lighter color.  Who'd-a-thunk?

Look for where it comes from, not where it is bottled. It could have been grown anyplace, then sent to France or Spain to bottle it so it looks more  Mediterranean.   Ooh-la-la.

You also have to watch for when it was bottled, and if you must keep it in food storage, be sure to rotate it through. It does go rancid after a year or more in storage.  I think the solution is to buy what you can use in a few months, and use it freely, so you always have a fresh supply.  In some countries they actually dip their bread in it instead of using butter.  It's quite tasty--as long as you are absolutely sure it isn't rancid. You can buy it with herbs in it for extra flavor, or soak your own herbs in it for a while and achieve the same thing.

If something says it has olive oil in it, read the label there too. Some things say "Olive Oil" and it's in there, about three ingredients down from canola or soy oil.

Some people keep olive oil in the fridge where it gets partly solid, to delay spoilage.  I figure if I have to heat it to use it, why bother?  Doesn't that make it spoil faster anyhow?  I just get smaller bottles and use it up!  I guess if you want to buy the mega-size bottle and keep just a small portion in the cupboard at a time, that could work too.  Depends which is more important to you, the hassle or the money.  And how many rug-rats you're feeding it to.  A small bottle will last me for months in  my empty nest, but we'd have gone through it in a  minute when I had four teenage sons at home.


An olive branch is a symbol of peace. To "hold out the olive branch" indicates asking for forgiveness, truce, or resolution.

But olive branches woven into a wreath, like laurels in a wreath, denotes victory or a champion.


Olive oil, the new breakfast of champions?



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Nothing



That's about what's on my mind tonight.

I do want to look into the New American Diet, which I found at AARP, but I haven't had time to research it yet.  My taxes took forever.