Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Good and the Bad....

Two things yesterday on different spectrums.

The bad thing is - I didn't walk yesterday. The good thing is - it bothers me. A lot. I started an evening class last night that will meet twice a week for all of next month. So when I got home from school yesterday (as the teacher) it was about 3:45. I had to leave at 4:15 in order to get to my next school (as the student). I just couldn't fathom trying to walk (in the heat) in the brief 30 minutes I had between coming and going. And it would be too late (as in dark) when I got home (9:30).

So all the way to my class I obsessed. There was no way I was going to NOT walk for 2 days a week all month and break my momentum (especially when I read on my real age tip for the day that skipping walking was like skipping sleeping!) How was I going to do this?

Then - BINGO! The teacher tells us that she would like to start class at 5:00 from now on. Which means if I bug out of school at the end of the day I can make it home by 3:15 - be done walking by 4:00 and have time for a quick shower and be back out the door by 4:30.'ll be tight. But it's only 8 nights. And I've come so far!

I guess what's really making me giddy about all of this is that I was upset about not being able to walk. There was a time (not all that long ago) that I'd have welcomed any excuse NOT to walk. Like my socks were the wrong color or my favorie commercial was on TV.... So perhaps this is one of those "life-style" changes I've been waiting for that's finally becoming ingrained.

On a sour note - I went to bed late last night. I stopped by the other homestead to admire progress on our "hole". The gravel is in and the foundation blocks are starting to go up. I didn't get to bed until almost 11:30. And I woke up at 4:00 and couldn't fall back asleep. So no walking AND no sleep yesterday. I'm dragging today. Big time!

I need a salad!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two Year Olds and Ear Plugs!

So after the Doctor put the tubes in my grandson's ears, he gave us these waxy type ear plug things and said to use them when he takes a bath. (Grandson and oldest daughter live with us....) Up until now we've been doing sponge baths because we've been a little confused on the whole issue of the ear plugs. But it was time to wash that mop! Sounds like a simple feat - but hardly so. Last night we tried.

The instructions say to roll the wax wads into a ball. Okay. Did that. The finished spheres were each about the size of a grape. Then they say to gently put them in the ear - but not actually in the ear. Do not insert into ear canal. Mold to ear and use outside. Huh?

So we molded and tried to just make them "sit" in the ear. Right! Then we attempted to make them go in the ear hole just a tad so they'd hold. Nope. We spent the greater portion of the bath fishing around in the water for the fallen ear plugs. We'd dry 'em off and try again. All the while trying to tell this two year old bundle of energy who just loves his bath - to sit still and not splash.

Yeah. So I finally figured out that whoever invented the damn things never actually tried them out to see if they'd work. So we tried to wash his hair without getting his ears wet. All the while I'm thinking "And HOW long do we have to do this?"

There's got to be a better way. Have any of you ever had to contend with this dilemma?

And on the diet front - did my walk....attempted some push-ups (girlie style) and did well with my eating! The scale is sitting firm at 175 but my clothes are feeling looser so I think we've got some muscle going on here.

I rolled up some deli turkey and lettuce in a whole wheat pita for lunch today. Added a slice of Swiss cheese just because I love cheese and I've been depriving myself. It's the whole good food vs. bad food mindset I'm fighting. It's all about moderation.

Now...does wrestling with a two year old in the bathtub count as any kind of exercise?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Upward and Onward!

So the weekend is behind me and it's onward to another week of good eating habits and daily walking. It won't be the same as walking the lake - but I know it'll be a better workout. I tend to "amble" when I tread the old dirt road that hugs our lake.

One thing I did this weekend that I'm really proud of ~ I continued to journal everything I ate! Normally I would've tossed in the towel on that one by now. but I've recognized how accountable it's kept me and how much it's revealed about my eating patterns. And it shows me how easy it is to get back on track. Right when you're sure you've blown it (like when I ate those 4 chocolate chip cookies in a row...they were small...but still!) I glanced back at what I'd eaten earlier that day and realized that I hadn't really blown it at all. I'd eaten a healthy breakfast and lunch and those cookies - while not the best for me - weren't enough to sabotage my efforts.

I noticed something else too. Sunday night I went across the lake to join some old friends for a campfire. When we walked back home...I was the only one not huffing and puffing. That was kind of neat!

Another plus of this healthier eating is that the whole grains have really helped put the brakes on my carb cravings. I'm tending to reach for a healthier snack if I'm hungry and that's something new for me.

I know now that it's time to get back to my strength training. I've put that on hold for too long now. Carmen has given her new Monday challenge and it's to do push ups. I'm not so good in the upper arm strength area. I'm rather wimpy. But I'm going to try. There's a good work out routine in my You-On A Diet book that I'm going to ease myself into. But it's the little baby steps that we incorporate into our at a time until they feel like they belong - that truly make a difference.

My slacks are fitting very nicely this morning. There are slight hollows in my checks and I think just jowls are a little smaller! (Darn I hate those things!)

I wish I could fast forward a few months and be where I wish I was now. But for now I'll be patient. Things are happening!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Taste of Summer....

Summer has officially begun in our neck of the woods! Memorial Day Weekend heralds the start of an all too short season in Upstate New York. Ahhh...but what a way to start the show!

The weather was awesome and it felt so-oo good to be at the lake! There's something magical about cottages. It's like they freeze frame moments in time and re-play them for you over and over again each time you arrive. That musty smell...that captures every summer you've ever been there. The feel of the worn sheets on lumpy beds. The momento's of last summer that you forgot about.....the driftwood that floated up on shore after that one storm...the hydrangeas you picked last fall to dry in a vase. And all I have to do is pop in my Benny Goodman CD and I'm back to a time when the girls were young...first hubby was still alive...and dreams of the future were plentiful and almost plausible.

Now - I'm older. The girls are older. The dreams are older. And yet...the cottage is still the same. It waits for us each year. It doesn't care if the dreams have changed or we've changed. All that matters is that we're all there again.

It was so good to be there this weekend. It was so hard to leave.

And in spite of all the pull of past summers....I did okay with my eating. Sure there were times when I felt like I should fix up a tray of something and bring it out on the dock along with a pitcherful of some frozen concoction to help us hang on... but instead I grabbed a handful of nuts and turned up Benny Goodman.

Was I perfect this weekend? Absolutely not! Did I blow it? Not on your life! I made small changes that I will practice as the summer unfolds. And yes... I had bacon one morning. And I ate some of those chocolate chip cookies my middle daughter made. And I even had some macaroni salad. But I controlled my portions....kept myself moving....and feel pretty good right now.

Except for one thing. I wish I was there and not here!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Off to the Lake!

I'm heading off to the lake today to spend the next 3 days focusing on some serious R&R. My youngest daughter and her hubby have been there to open things up for us already so it will be a blissful turn-key arrival....lawn mowed, deck furniture out, boat in the water and ready to go, fridge stocked with staples, and heck - they even planted some flowers!

Exercise will not be a challenge this weekend. I love to walk around the lake and granted - many times I stop to chat with fellow cottagers who have just arrived for the season too - but I take SO many walks while I'm there that I know I'll get way more than my daily quota in.

Food, on the other hand will be a challenge. What's Memorial Day without the traditional hot dogs, burgers and macaroni salads? But I'm vowing to at least give it my best shot. I'm bringing lots of fruit & veggies and I've planned some alternative meals ideas that I hope my kids will "appreciate". Of course I can't be sure of what they'll bring (they've been blessed with being thin and able to eat about anything) so there may be some slips.

This is the deal though. I'm going to allow myself to not be perfect. I tend to be an "all or nothing" sort. As in - "Oh crap, I ate a cookie...I've blown it...might as well scrap this day & start again tomorrow..." Anybody out there like that? (I can hear the collective nodding of heads!) So I''m going to focus on the positive changes I've made. The extra good for you foods that I've incorporated into my diet (which in turn keep me from filling up on the not so good foods). Yes, maybe...probably...okay - I'm going to eat a burger. It's Memorial Day Weekend for gosh sakes! But instead of the mac salad one daughter is bringing, I'm grilling up some fresh veggies. And I'm bringing some nuts and dried cranberries to munch on if I get famished. I'll eat more than I have been the past week - but on the same token - I'll eat far less than I usually do. So it won't be a wash. If I can keep that mindset - I won't give in and give up.

So here's to long walks around the lake in the cool of the evening....lazy afternoons on the dock with a good book....laughter around the campfire with good friends who have been hiding all winter....the smell of pines.....the warmth of the sun....ooooh I can't wait!

So I'm checking off until Monday night. Y'all have a great holiday weekend and remember - it's all in the mindset. Focus on what you're doing right and you can't go wrong!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mind Over Matter

When I got home yesterday I absolutely DID NOT want to walk. I was super tired from staying up late standing in our hole last night (lol) and the subsequent campfire that followed. This body of mine has grown accustomed to 7-8 hours of sleep and I really felt it yesterday. I was dragging all day!

But....I've realized it's mind over matter here and I had a little conversation with myself on the drive home from work that went something like this:

"I'm soooooo tired. I should probably skip walking today."

"No! You know how you are. If you skip today , you'll skip tomorrow."

"Why would I skip tomorrow?"

"Because that's how you are. You're an "all or nothing".

"But I need a nap. Maybe just a little nap and then I'll walk."

"You know you'll feel LESS like walking after a nap. Who are you kidding."

"But it probably wouldn't be good for me to overexert myself and walk when I'm this tired."

"Oh, pleeeeeas! Like carrying around 40 pounds of excess weight is good for you? Just put your sneakers on the minute you get home and do it."

"Okay, okay. I'll do it"

And that last line is where the mind played over the will. When I decided to just do it. And guess what? I did it! And I actually felt good while I was doing it. After about 15 minutes the endorphins kick in and everything starts to feel good. (Even my little broken toe felt good!)

And because I walked, I had the reserve to eat well yet once again. For dinner I covered a skinless chicken thigh with some diced fresh tomatoes, onions, a few calamata olives and some fresh basil - wrapped it in foil and baked it. It was so good! I had a side of some fresh asparagus that I rolled around in 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil, some course salt , basil, oregano, thyme and pepper that I baked in the oven along with the chicken. It was filling and satisfying!

I've discovered the key to eating fewer portions (is to make what you've got more interesting.) Add more color, more texture and of course - taste!) The calalmata olives did the trick!

I've been running circles around the fruits and veggies too. Including some with every meal. And this morning - I actually had some color in my cheeks BEFORE I put my blush on. As in...I think I'm getting healthier!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We Have a Hole!

Well yesterday was an exciting day! And not just because I reached my first 10 pound goal or that my pants are feeling looser either... Yesterday we officially started our new addition. There's a prologue to this story that bears mentioning.

As most of you know, I lost my first husband to cancer and re-married several years ago. New hubby was a bachelor for over 20 years and lived in an itsy bitsy house that Realtors like to describe cunningly as a "bungalow". It's actually smaller than your average one bedroom apartment. We're talking micro-small here! But it rests peacefully on 4 magnificent acres that he has sculpted into a beautiful park. Really! It's like a park. There is a large pavilion that holds 6 picnic tables, an outdoor kitchen area with a freezer, microwave, sink and fridge, an outhouse with two rooms - one for the guys complete with sink, flush toilet and urinal, and another connecting for the gals - also complete with sink, flush toilet and shower. And then there's the 2 story water slide he & his dad built. There are trails and gardens and it's just wonderful!

But we don't live there.

He moved to my house (10 minutes away) when we got married. Because I had the kids (3 girls) and the bigger house. (He never had any children). We've maintained 2 houses for three years with the dream of adding on to his (obviously because of the wonderful yard). So finally, after 3 years of sketching our dreams on paper and watching them transform into blueprints, then contracts - we've begun! Yesterday they dug the hole for the basement. There is dirt everywhere ! But we don't care! We just stood there in our 24 x 26 x 12 feet deep hole, imagining where we would put the furniture when the first floor is built and reveling in the fact that after 3 long years- it was finally happening! We called family members from our cell phones and said "Come see our hole!" And they came, and we all stood in the hole and toasted our new dream together.

2007 seems to be the year of major changes and seeing dreams fulfilled. I'm excited!

And little Austin came through his ear "surgery" just fine. The Dr. said he's never seen such a good little boy. He actually smiled as they put the mask over his face to send him off into la-la land.

Things are good. Very, very good!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ten Pounds!

Finally! After what's seemed like an eternity (mainly because I now realize all the things I've been doing wrong) I've reached my first 10 pound goal! In Weight Watchers I'd have gotten a red ribbon. So...I'm posting my first red ribbon!

I said at the start I'd do this in 10 pound increments. So here's to the first ten! Only four to go!

The amazing part is - the scale has not budged - I mean BUDGED! in weeks. And I start this new eating plan - where I'm actually eating more and I lose! Awesome! If there's any one thing I can tell you (besides reading You On A Diet ) it's to load up on the fruits and veggies. They makes the meal seem bigger, it's much more satisfying, and you'll feel better too. Also - make taking a 30 minute walk as much of a routine in your day as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. As the Nike commercial says - Just Do It! I make my mind up mentally on the drive home from work. Then as soon as I walk in the door - I change my clothes and look for my sneakers. It takes me about 35 minutes to walk two miles. I always feel better when I'm done and I just know I'm going to reap the benefits.

On a side note:

My little grandson (only 2 years old) is at the hospital having tubes put in his ears as I write this. I know it's supposed to be a simple procedure - yet still I worry. Say a prayer for the little guy. Thanks :-)

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm Fiber-ful!

This fiber thing works! We're always told to eat more fiber - but I for one, always ignored that recommendation. I remember on Weight Watchers, there was a section where you tracked your fiber in addition to the other food categories. Ha! The way I figured, if I was going to have to divvy up my precious points, it wasn't gonna' be on fiber! Like, I wasn't going to go out of my way to include it. If it happened to be in my Weight Watcher's Frozen Eclair, then great. If not - oh well.....

But reading up on how important it is, not only in the digestive process itself, but in other areas got me thinking. It lowers cholesterol, decreases the risk of cancer and heart attacks and makes us feel fuller sooner (and longer) as in - we eat less! All of those things are important to me.

So last night I made a veggie pizza. I started with a 100% whole wheat crust, added some tomato sauce, topped it with some stir fry veggies that I sauteed first in cooking spray and topped it with some part- skim mozzarella cheese. The recipe also called for some sun-dried tomato bits and some olive tapenade. (Unfortunately my tapenade had gone bad and I didn't have the sun-dried tomatoes). But it was good just the same. I baked it till the cheese melted and it was just right! I ate 2 slices and I was full throughout the rest of the evening! Really! I was going to treat myself to some fruit before bed but I was still full!

There's a difference between feeling "fiber" full and just plain stuffed full. It's a different feeling. A good feeling! So this morning I made a bowl of oatmeal and threw in a handful of blueberries I 'd picked and frozen this summer from the bushes at the edge of our property. I have to say...I missed the sugar. But I pretended I was on one of those survivor shows and that it was all I had to eat and I gobbled it down. It was really quite satisfying. I'm curious to see if my tummy's rumbling at lunch time today.

I also packed a snack recipe I gleaned from the book . 1/2 cup cheerios, 1/4 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 almonds. I tried it yesterday and it was awesome! And the amount was just right! I've got a pre-made baggie-ful in my car for the ride home. I've also got a stash of grapes in case I do get hungry this morning. The interesting thing about this new way of eating is that I feel like I'm eating so much. I know...I've heard people say that before but I never believed them. But I swear - it's true! Eating lots of fiber (found not only in whole wheat items but fruits & veggies as well, really fills you up. And Dr. Oz says that you should always feel somewhat "full" throughout the day and not to let yourself get that gnawing hungry feeling. ( Because that's when we tend to go overboard and binge.) I always equated that hungry sensation with success. You know...if you feel like you're starving then you must be doing something right. Wrong! That just means your blood sugar level has taken a dive and you're setting yourself up for some major overeating.

You want to know what else? I slept great last night. No night sweats, no tossing and turning, just peaceful slumber. (Until the alarm went off at 5 am....)

Oh and by the way - I saved the rest of the veggie pizza for hubby and he loved it!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's All About Whole Wheat, Baby!

We all know by now that whole wheat is the best way to go as far as our weight and our health are concerned. Problem is - many don't know why and most don't know how to tell the difference.

A little mini lesson on whole grains here: Whole grains are just that. Whole! They still have their 3 original components - the outer shell (bran) which has all the fiber and B vitamins - the germ, which has more B vitamins and also phytochemicals (they protect us against disease) - and the endosperm, which has carbs and protein. When a product is refined - the bran & germ are stripped away and you're left with the carbs & protein. They threw all the good stuff out in the trash!

Here's the scoop though. Most of us (myself in included) figured I knew how to spot a whole grain product. Brown bread instead of white right? Wrong. A product labeled 100% Wheat? Wrong again. (that just means it could have some, a lot or NO whole wheat). Multi-grain? Nope. You still don't know if the grains are still whole or refined. Even f it says "An excellent source of whole grain" - that only means it has 16 grams per serving (which is about 27%) -not really an excellent source in my opinion. So what DO you look for? The label must say 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat. Anything else isn't the real deal.

There are lots of replacements you can start making right now besides just whole wheat bread. They make WW english muffins, WW pitas, WW pizza crusts, WW rolls, WW tortilla shells, WW pasta.... Just remember to look for the 100%!

Eating the whole grain has several benefits. It's good for you (we women need those B vitamins), it has antioxidants (in those phytochemicals) and....drum roll fills you up with all that fiber and keeps you fuller longer. Make sure you get a whole grain product in your tummy each morning. Studies show that those who do - eat less through out the rest of the day.

So there you have it. Something I learned from Dr. Oz .

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Blogger Bug looks like blogger has a little bug. The "comments" link on many blogger's posts won't show. It could be related to the new "auto save" feature they installed. From what I can see (meandering through the e-mails that many have left at the help site) it's happening to a lot of people and yep - it happened to me. I'm hoping they get it fixed soon! Just wanted y'all to know I haven't stopped taking comments - just can't at this time. Ahhh technology. Gotta' love it.
And of course as I just published this here - I see I can take comments once again. Yippee!Still can't on the last two posts....Darn!

It's Market Day....

I just got back from a trip to my local Wegman's (anybody that doesn't live near a Wegman's is really missing out - it's such a great store!) Anyhoo....I bought a whole bunch of stuff that my book recommended, to get me healthy. Wow - it brought back memories from when I used to get all hepped up after my weight watcher's meetings and hit the grocery store to stock up. Only this time - it was strangely different. I wasn't buying "diet" stuff as in all the glitzy lo-cal, no-fat, buy this it'll make you skinny crapola. I was filling my cart with a whole bunch of natural, non-processed foods. I was getting a healthy high just looking at the contents of my cart! I smugly walked feeling like such a good girl!

And I began to notice something. There were certain aisles that I didn't even go down. Like the cookie aisle, the snack aisle, the pop aisle (yeah, we say "pop" in these parts - not "soda") and the part of the frozen food section that houses all the really bad stuff - like fried chicken...mozzarella sticks....pocket sandwiches.... I noticed the people dropping those items in their carts. Most of them were ...ahem...a tad overweight. Wow - light bulb going off here (!) but then, I already knew that.

I noticed something else. The people in the fresh food section (not the ones tossing a bunch of bananas in their carts and moving along) but the ones who were lingering, and filling their carts up with all kinds of healthy fare - well, they looked healthy! (and were a tad bit thinner than their counterparts.)

Long story short - I stocked up my cupboards with a week's worth of foods and plan to venture out on a new way of eating. There really wasn't much to buy that was out of the ordinary. Most of it was fresh fruits & veggies, a variety of different nuts and lots of whole wheat stuff. The only thing I bought that I never had before was fresh ginger root.

I'm anxious to try some new recipes which will be real interesting on the home front as my hubby is a GREAT cook and lives to emulate Emeril . He likes to do the cooking. Sounds like a dream, huh? But he doesn't get home from work till at least 8:00 most nights and we don't often eat much before 9:oo at which time I dash off to bed. So my habit was to "snack" until he got home and inadvertently eat the equivalent of two dinners every night. And I've got the hips to prove it!

My late husband (who died much too young) was a meat & potatoes man. Put it on the table at 5:00 and he was happy as can be. Hubby number 2 would balk at a simple meal. Everything is an ordeal when he cooks. (but it always taste so friggin' good!) And hence - since we wed 3 years ago - I've out on 25 pounds! On top of the 25 or 30 I put on during my stay-at-home mommy years. Yeesh!

So........I'm telling him straight up - this is what I'm making.....I'll save some for you when you get home or you can cook for yourself. He'll be supportive. He knows how badly I want to lose weight (and he's seen pictures of me in my younger years - he wants to meet that woman!)

I'll post some of the recipes and let you know how things go. Now I've got to get back to that book!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Makin' Changes!

I'm on a roll here (and I'm not talking about my stomach!) I started going over the recommendations on my "real-age" report and already I've made several positive changes that were relatively painless! I stopped by Wegman's on my way home from work and perused the vitamin aisle. According to Dr. Oz, I need to take a multi-vitamin, 400 IU of folic acid, 700 mcg of folic acid and 1200 mg of vitamin c each day. It set me back about$20. I used to drop that much in a week at the Golden Arches! So I didn't care too much.

I also realized by looking at my journal, that I tend to monge on the way home with whatever I have available in my book bag. Lately it's been rice cakes (not so bad) but other times it's been candy bars or fattening chocolate pretzel mix. If I don't have anything on hand - I tend to want to visit a drive-thru.... So, on the advice of Carmen , in one of her earlier posts - I'm going to stash some good-for-me foods in the car that I can eat when the munchies hit on that 25 mile commute home.

Last night I kept reading more in my wonderful book by Dr. Oz and am amazed at how little I really knew about our digestive systems. As I learn more I'm better able to understand what triggers my appetite - how to subdue it with the right foods - and why I should not starve myself.

As soon as I got home last night I donned my sneakers and some loose clothing and took to the street. I walked for 35 minutes at a brisk pace and felt great when I was done! I could record once again in my journal that I did it!

I'm shooting to up my daily water intake (I've always know that was good for me) but *sigh* was pretty lax on making it happen. I'm highlighting the water intake in blue. So let's see....I've got yellow for my fruits & for my "bad for you foods" ....and blue for the H2O. With all the colors it's easy to leaf through the journal and see how I'm doing. I'm a visual person. Think it's the Art Teacher in me?

Well, the weekend looms ahead and with it - eating challenges of course. The weather is supposed to be less than lovely but I plan to get outside and FINALLY get the yard spruced up. I'm still gonna' walk and watch what I eat. I'm going shopping tomorrow to re-stock the fridge & pantry with user-friendly foods. Tonight we're grilling wild salmon with dill, with a side of rice and something green from the "supermarket" garden.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I want Healthy!

I've noticed something lately since I began journaling. And it's not just that I'm more aware about what I eat - but also about what I don't eat! I have been pretty darn bad about getting in my fruits and veggies for a long time. It's become almost as much about eating healthy now, as it has about losing weight.

I'm concerned as I crest this proverbial hill in my life (you know...the one that picks up speed at an amazing rate once we get to the top?) Heart disease runs in my family as well as cancer. Both are intricately connected to your diet. I want to live a long, healthy, active life! (can anyone say midlife crisis could possibly be rearing its ugly head?) So for me, the term "diet" has taken on a whole new meaning. I'm not looking at it as a temporary fix anymore. It's got to be a way of life.

So anyway.....the other day I was watching Oprah and this Dr. Oz was on. Ever head of him? He had all this cool information about our bodies and how they work. I was impressed. Then while surfing the Internet I came across the book You - On A Diet . And Guess who co-authored it? Yep. Dr. Oz. Next thing I know, I'm shopping at K-Mart for some black yarn for my weaving students and I see the book! So of course I buy it. And it's AWESOME! He's humorous and speaks in terms you can understand. And it's packed with tons of info about our bodies that really sheds some light on this whole dieting issue. I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about dieting and my body but I was wrong.

Anyway - the story gets better. If you haven't already clicked on the link above - do so after you finish here. I found this incredibly awesome website by Dr. Oz that is chock full of information. You can answer a questionnaire and get a detailed report about your current health status in terms of "real age" which when all is said and done - is the age your body is at right now - health wise - which doesn't always match up to what your birthdays tell you.

I was in for an eye-opener! I'm currently 49.0 years old. In "real-age" I'm 61.9! Yikes! So the site pops out this 13 page report (and it's all free!) that tells me what I need to do to make myself healthier and get back to my actual age. Some of the things are easy. Like take a multi-vitamin. Others are common sense - like don't talk on my cell-phone while driving. Most are bout what I eat and how little I exercise. Some are really crazy ( like...get a dog.) I guess pets are proven stress relievers.

Anyway - all told - this site is truly amazing and it will be a great accompaniment to the book. I have reached a new milestone. I want HEALTHY!! Yes, I still want to weigh less. But that will end up being a perk when I get myself back on track. I used to be the active one. The cheerleader. The one in the athletic clubs in school. The one who backpacked with my kids and climbed mountains in the Adirondacks and even some in the Rockies and the one who took week long canoe trips in the Algonquin wilderness (and that last item was not that long ago - like in 2000!) So - I want to be that person again. Before it's too late. And it's not too late. I'm only 49 for gosh sakes! (That may seem old to some of my younger blog pals. But it's not. ) You'll all be there before you know it.

So - check out the website. Let me know what you think! (But for the record - I am NOT getting a dog.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Check Out "Hungry Girl"

Last night was fun at my girlfriend's house. She looks great minus her 25 pounds! She has 25 more to go. She told me her goal was "50 by 50". hmmm....sounds strangely familiar - that was my goal too! We dined a a homemade veggie pizza made on a wholewheat crust and noshed on a few carrot sticks and scoop type chips with salsa while it was baking. I came home feeling satisfied and full - yet not guilty because I ate well (as in healthy!) I even managed to get a walk in before I went. Only 30 minutes -but better than nothing!

One thing my friend is doing different than me is she's into buying all the specialty low-fat diet type foods. Not bad on the surface - but it's expensive and it's something that usually falls by the wayside. Don't get me wrong - there are certain things that work for me - like the fat-free mayo. I honestly can't tell the difference so why not use it! But the diet bread...the individually packed 100 calorie snacks....a waste of money in my opinion. Her 100 calorie cookie serving pack....well, there's a ton of cookies out there - if you just eat 2 - you've had 100 calories and saved a bundle on the diet gimmicky thing. But I didn't tell her that. Whatever she's doing - it's working for her and I'm happy for her. My "vast" knowledge of the tricks of the trade comes from years of dieting. This is her first time!

She e-mailedme a pretty neat web-site this morning. It's called Hungry Girl and I like it! It's not a blog per say - but a cool site that answers lots of dieting questions and gives you tips for the long haul. You can subscribe and receive it daily. kiddos will be entering the classroom en masse in a few moments. So I'll sign off now. And by the way - I'm STILL journaling faithfully and eating much better! Thanks Carmen!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Fruits & Veggies!

Well, I'm doing okay with this journaling thing! Knowing I have to write it down is making me think before I put something in my mouth. At the end of the day I use a bright yellow marker to highlight the fruits and veggies I've eaten. Also anytime I've used a whole grain product instead of a refined one. I highlight the bad stuff in pink. (I know - we're not supposed to look at food as "good" or "bad") but for my purposes here - I want to get a grip on exactly what my daily intake looks like. I KNOW I need improvements!

At the bottom of each page I write: Exercise.... and I promise as soon as I do some I'll write it down! Seeing it blank makes me feel more motivated to do it! My toe is feeling better. The swelling & bruising have subsided so I feel up to taking a walk after work today.

Tonight one of my old high school pals has invited me over for dinner. Her hubby is away on business and I haven't seen her in probably 6 months. Not to worry - she's fixing us a weight watcher's meal. After 20 some odd years she has finally joined the big WW and she tells me she's lost 25 pounds! I can't wait to see her. I won't be jealous at all! Because I know how she's hidden herself away all these years embarrassed about her weight and she's finally feeling better about how she looks! And...whenever I see someone who's lost a lot of weight (25 pounds is a good amount for her- she's only 5' tall and probably is down to about 140 now) I get inspired! You know...the "If they can do it - I can do it mentality!" Don't get me wrong...I'm going to feel very self-consciously fat tonight. But the tables have been turned before and she owes me this one! I'll let her gloat!

Monday, May 14, 2007

No More Duckies....

Oh, it's a sad day in the woods....I went back to the duck's nest, camera in tow, hoping to snap some pics of the ducklings. I was sure they'd be hatched by now....(there was a nest just outside my classroom window that hatched last weekend with the cutest 11 little puff balls you ever saw.) But alas, when I got to the fallen tree that momma duck had her nest built under, there were no duckings. Just broken shells. And not like in - they hatched. I'm sure some raccoon or coyote stumbled across them and had themselves a feast. The eggs were strewn all over - many feet from the nest. Momma was nowhere to be found either.

It's so sad - she sat tenderly on those 10 eggs every day and then wham! Some predator comes along and all is for naught. I know God has a plan in the vast scope of nature - but I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes it just doesn't make sense.

It makes me wonder too - why did the momma duck make her nest on the ground? Why didn't she hide it better? Didn't she know the trouble she was asking for - making her nest right out in the open like that? Didn't she know there were hungry predators prowling around - just waiting for a find like that? (maybe that's where the term "sitting duck" comes from...) And then I started thinking - aren't WE like that too? With the best of intentions we set ourselves up for failure? By building our "nests" too close to danger...not taking precautions to avoid the snares and temptations that are out there waiting to foil our diets?

We need a little planning. Some forethought. Like...don't drive by McDonald's when you're hungry. Or don't accept an invitation to dinner with your friends if you know it's going to be at that place that serves those awesome wings that you can't resist. Don't meander over to the fridge just before your favorite TV show comes on. Just like that momma duck - there's so much we could do to avoid the pitfalls. I guess it takes planning. This dieting/new way of life thing isn't something we can just wing. We can't just start building our "nests" wherever the whim strikes unless we give it a lot of thought first.

Which has me thinking - this whole journal thing - it's a great idea. And I'm gonna' keep it up. But instead of just winging it everyday - I'm going to sit down and make some meal plans. Have some snack -attack food all planned. I don't want to end up like that poor momma duck with my dreams strewn all over the place. That's happened too many times before.....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is somewhat melancholy today.....I'm sitting here in a warm haze of memories and wondering just where did the time go and when was it that they actually grew up? It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that their dad and I would lay in bed and listen to the three little girls scurrying around downstairs in the kitchen - preparing a mother's day feast that they would serve me in bed, lovingly on a tray. One would usually go outside and find some flowers somewhere to pick and stick in a bud vase to accompany the meal. More often than not -it was a bunch of dandelions!

Although I never knew exactly what I'd be dining on- I could always count on the coffee being good! I'd taught them at a tender young age how to load the coffee maker when they got up before me. I remember one morning when my middle daughter came running into the room saying "How many "leaping" teaspoons of coffee again, mommy?"

The meals got better as they got older. Their very first attempt - I got a fried egg that was black on the bottom yet still raw (I'm still not sure how they managed that one.) Another time I got pancakes with a heart made out of chocolate chips on top. The gifts that accompanied the breakfast were even better! One year the youngest made her own perfume for me. She found all the flowers she could outside and threw a little grass in too - then mashed everything all up and let it soak in water overnight. She made me try it on. She made me put more on before we left for church. I'm sure she thought she had the best smelling mommy in the whole place! I'm not sure how those who sat in our vicinity felt.

As the teenage years arrived their dad joined in and I was told to stay in bed and "relax" while they fixed breakfast. I would relax as best as one can - knowing her kitchen is being methodically destroyed by a barrage of well intended cooks who did not know the meaning of "clean up after yourselves..." The food was always good though!

The 2 younger daughters were married last summer. The oldest is a mother herself - although her 2 year old isn't old enough to prepare breakfasts yet... I'm up alone here at the computer sipping a cup of coffee that I brewed myself (4 leaping teaspoons....) After church we'll head over to the middle daughter's house for brunch. Though things have changed - yet still, they remain the same. All three girls have been conferring all week about the joint brunch they will prepare for me and hubby today. The gifts will be more refined. No more homemade perfume.... No more fistfuls of dandelions.... No more hand prints in plaster....

But I know that as I look across the table at each one of them today - their faces will still be beaming just like they did when they were little. They are still my precious little girls - now grown into beautiful young women. The more things change...the more they stay the same.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Walk in The Woods....

Just in case anyone is wondering what some of the benefits of walking may be besides weight loss.... Yesterday I took a walk in the woods at the back of our property and look what I found! A duck's nest! She flew away as I approached and kept a safe distance while I snapped a few pictures. There are 10 eggs in all. I'll try to keep a watch on them and hopefully get a few pics of the ducklings when they hatch.

The Journaling Continues...

Welp...I did the first 3 day challenge and now I'm on to another 3 days. Only this time - I can't give in to my "let's throw caution to the wind - the diet starts tomorrow" mentality. I've been dragging my feet for too long now. The motivation seemed to wane but I'm ready to kick back into gear again.

So for the next 3 days I will continue to keep my journal. But I'm told to pay special attention to the food categories. To see if I'm lacking in any of those necessary things (like fruits and veggies!) And I also have to look to see if there's a pattern...a certain time of day or occurrence that causes me to nosh absent-mindedly. And~~I have to cut out one fattening thing~~~AND~~~I have to get a little exercise in there.

So as soon as I submit this post I'm going to get my weights and do some lifting. I can't walk because drat! I honest-to-God-really-truly DID break my toe last night! I slammed it into a door and I'm all black and blue and hobbling today. But it was my baby toe so I think it will mend soon.

So what's gonna' be different this time you ask me. Well, I''m asking myself the same question. All I can say is this. I'm committing to writing down every morsel I eat. No matter what. This forced bit of introspection has to do some good. Why else would keeping a food journal one of the most common factors among most all people who have successfully lost weight?
Anybody care/dare to join me? You can visit Carmen's website for more details!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Truth Revealed.... I did my 3 days of brutally, honest journaling about what I ate. Without the aid of a calorie counter - I "ball parked" my intake. I think I was pretty accurate but I plan to double check tonight by actually looking up everything. Here's what I managed to stuff in my pie hole in the last 3 days... Monday: 2,398 calories. Tuesday: 2,455 calories and Wednesday: 1760 calories. That's a grand total of 7,484 calories. At 15oo per day (which is do-able) I should've consumed 4,500. I over shot that by 2,984! Yikes! No wonder I'm at a standoff with the scale!

I don't know what Carmen will have to say about all this. But I'm betting she has some good advice.

Now as far as the food groups...let's see. In three days I ate one fruit, and six veggies (and I'm pushing it here on the in potato salad, vegetable soup, some peppers & onions on my sausage and some peas. Dairy/ 3 days I got in 3 cups of milk, some cheese slices, some hot dogs, polish sausage, chicken (fried of course) some turkey and hmmm... I guess that's it. Okay - grains. I ate 5 rolls, 4 slices of bread, 2 waffles, 2 servings of cereal, stuffing & 14 crackers. Now let's talk the junk! (as if there isn't enough junk in the above items already!) French fries, peanut m&m's (a WHOLE jumbo bag over 3 days), chicken tenders, chicken sandwich from Wendy's, a candy bar, several glasses of beer...need I go on?

I eat like crap! Granted - I gave myself free rein to not do any dieting these past 3 days. But I didn't eat anymore than I normally always did. So I guess I know where the 50 pounds came from. I can't even imagine the trans fats in all of that garbage! Truly! The only non-processed natural food I ate in 3 days was an apple, a serving of peas and some vegetable soup. Gheesh!

All of a sudden it's not just about the weight anymore. Heart disease runs in my family. And my cholesterol is borderline. So what the heck am I doing to myself?

Healthy choices, Lora! I NEED to learn to make HEALTHY CHOICES!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Food Journals - How Unique!

I visited one of my favorite blogs - The Elff Diet a few days ago and decided to take her "Monday Mission". It wasn't anything new or unique - not something none of us hasn't heard a thousand times before....but since she put a different slant on it - by reducing it to only 3 days - I decided to give it a shot. The mission? To write down every single bit of food and liquid that crossed my lips for the next 3 days. As a 3X Weight Watcher alumnus - I've done the food journals before. Countless times. (The keyword here being countless because that's what I'd do - count LESS - than I actually ate! You see, in my warped way of thinking (which is quite common for us fatties) was that if I didn't write it down - then I didn't really eat it! Denial is a big factor for us chubalubs.

So this time I decided to go for broke. No one was going to be reading it and judging me - except me. So I started scribbling everything I ate or drank. I still have 7 1/2 hours to go before my 3 days is officially up. And let me tell you - I've eaten a lot! Perhaps I gave myself license to...because she said to be brutally honest and eat like a normal day. And while I AM trying to cut down and have been somewhat successful - the weight tracker at the top of my page tells me that maybe I haven't been all that honest with myself. So far, this whole experience has been a real eye opener! Carmen (the author of the blog) says she'll tell us Thursday what we need to do with this list. (I'll croak is she says show it to someone!) The point of all this is - really, truly writing EVERYTHING down probably IS the key to making a change. Just like they've been telling us all along. Duh!

Tonight before I go to bed I'm tallying everything up as best as I can. Not just calories, but also in food groups - as she know....fruits, veggies, proteins, grains.... Yikes, I'm scared to do this! But just maybe I'll see that with just a few small changes to start, I can get a handle on this whole thing called eating.

I'll let 'cha know.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Farewell to Scott.....

Last night I dreamt that I won the lottery. Quite amusing since I've never purchased a lottery ticket in my life! Once, when we were newlyweds, my husband bought one. But we forgot to watch for the numbers to see if we won. I don't know what it's like in your parts - but in New York state - we fund some of our education through the purchase of lottery tickets. Supposedly. And it seem EVERYONE is obsessed with hitting the big jackpot.

Anyway - I had this dream that I won10 million dollars! Can you imagine? And the weird part was - I wasn't planning on all these elaborate changes I'd make to my life. Instead I was doing math in my dream. (Me - the art teacher - doing math!) Everyone knows that art teachers are allergic to math! But the point is - I was figuring in my head how much I could give to each one of my relatives. I was thinking...5 thousand to each cousin....maybe 50 thousand to each sibling...(sounds like I was being selfish - I mean 10 million! But once Uncle Sam gets his cut there isn't as much as it sounds left over.) Point is - I was proud of myself! In my deepest subconscious I was thinking how I could share my wealth! Too bad it was all a dream. Alas, this morning I am no richer than I was when I went to bed last night. At least not monetarily.

But I'm alive and have my health and my family. And that makes one rich, doesn't it? I guess I'm in this kind of pseudo-philosophical melancholy mood today because I found out a guy I went to school with passed away suddenly yesterday. I'd known him since the 7th grade and he was my first real crush. The last time we talked was at our last class reunion 2 years ago. It's weird when someone your own age dies. You start questioning your own mortality and realizing that each day we wake up - could be our last. So tonight I'm going to bed thankful that the Lord has given me another day. I hope I've used it well. This weight thing - it's important to me. But not the foundation of my life. Sometimes I make it that. Sorry, God. Forgive me for obsessing a tad bit more than I should. Take care of Scott. Tell him I'll see him on the other side one of these days....

Sunday, May 6, 2007

On Pounds and Pine Trees....

What a wonderful weekend so far! The summer-like weather has been so long in getting here! My only regret is that we haven't been able to spend any time at our cottage. We've been so busy with the plans for the new addition that we can't justify the "get-away" time. (Or at least hubby can't - I'm always willing to kick back and enjoy!)

In preparation for the addition we've taken the two GIANT pine trees down (it was hard to do - they were at least 75 years old according to the rings) but we had no choice. We couldn't really build around them! Though there is a cottage on Keuka Lake with a big tree growing right through part of it.... I guess we weren't that attached to ours. But we're having the wood cut into lumber to use on another project and the scraps will be taken to the cottage for some nice campfires - if we ever get down there!
The place looks different now - with those two towering giants gone. It's funny, how when you take something away everything changes. And it's not just that the pines are gone - but the house looks different. Smaller for one. And the sun hits it in a different way now. It's best features are no longer hidden.

It's kind of like that when we lose weight. People will say "You look different..." And usually follow it by "Did you lose weight?" Dropping some excess poundage shows off parts we used to keep hidden - like flabby arms and ripply thighs. Maybe the sun doesn't hit us quite in a different way - but the days certainly do seem sunnier! Although I'm not quite ready to bare all my limbs yet - I do see the road ahead and the analogy of my fallen pines works well to keep my sights focused on the horizon. I wish I could drop the weight as easily as my hubby dropped those trees, but then again - I guess it wasn't so easy when you think about it. He had to climb up there and cut branches one by one as far up as he could in order to balance the trees so they dropped in the right direction (ie. not on the house!) And so it is with us. We lose a pound at a time until we can finally drop the word "fat" from our list of self-adjectives.

Happy pruning!

Friday, May 4, 2007


It's Friday! The weekend is supposed to be wonderful - weather wise - and I've lost another pound! I'm officially even with my tracking scale again. Whew...I was getting worried. So that means I have 1 pound to go before I reach my first 10 pound loss. It seems like it's taken for...ever! But usually by now I'd have given up and lost myself in a Big Mac! (I still have to see that movie Super-size Me) that Kelly mentioned.) She says I'll never, ever want fast food again!

Anyway - I'm on track. Not as far along as I wanted to be, but I've come to realize that when I make goals for myself with deadlines, I tend to give up when the deadline passes. So my super-duper mini goal for right this very minute is to lose one more pound! Which will bring to my first little goal of 10 pounds! Then....I'll start over again and shoot for another 10 pounds. I can do that. Yep. And when I reach THAT goal - I'll have lost 20 pounds! And so the story goes. I don't know when it will happen. But it's gonna' happen! At first I was determined to lose 50 by 50! (as in 50 pounds by my 50th birthday.) But realizing what I mentioned above - it's now 50 by whenever. But 5o none the less. That little black dress still beckons!

So happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Staff Lounge Once Again.....

A while back I posted about the eating habits in the Staff Lounge. And yes, I have been eating in there! It forces me to pack a healthy lunch instead of buzzing to Mickey D's or stuffing my face at my desk where no one can see. And yesterday I was once again befuddled at the incongruity of the eating habits of me fellow colleagues.

Here is what the woman next to me was eating (this is not a lie!) A baggie full of raw green beans, another baggie full of sliced raw peppers and carrots and a small non-fat yogurt. She is the most over-weight one of us all and to my knowledge she is NOT dieting! Across from her sits the skinniest, miniest of us all. (So thin that her eyes are sunken in and she looks like she's half dead.) Her lunch? A super large container of something saucy & noodley that had to be last night's left overs, a slice of white bread, a large regular yogurt and a cookie bar (not the diet kind.) What gives?? And the next skinniest one ordered the school lunch and gave herself a double serving of popcorn chicken nuggets and macaroni salad. It's a paradox! Like I'm thinking maybe the calories transfer themselves across the table and Miss Heavyweight inhales what Miss Skin & Bones is eating and vice-versa. It just doesn't make sense!

As for me - I'm not really succumbing to the designer lunch theory. I don't care if anyone judges what I eat because #1 - I'm eating reasonable amounts, #2 - I won't eat crap I don't like just to look good, and #3 - no one's looking at what I eat anyway! (My lunches are too normal !)

Oh well - just my 2 cents for the day.