I HAVE MOVED! My main blog as of Sept of 2010 is TWO YEARS TO HAPPY WEIGHT AFTER. Visit me there. My post links in the updates below will link up to the new blog. THANKS for reading!

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Great "Practical" Post from Diet Blog

Ah, just read it. Even if you only apply one or two of the tips, it's gonna help, right?

Mal's Cobb Salad Has Me Salivating

Ack, I ate crap today. Been craving salty crap, sweet crap, crap.

So, I went browsing to find healthy food ideas to get my mind out of the crapper. :)

Tina of CarrotsnCake.com left a comment, so I dropped by. (Hey, congrats on the upcoming nuptials!) At her site, I came across a recipe for Mal's Cobb Salad.

Oooh. Now, I have a craving! MMMmmmmm. Some of my fave fats and proteins--egg, chicken breast, avocado, bacon. (I really like the Applegate Farms Sunday Pork Bacon, though I keep it to a rare treat, given it's, well, BACON!) I guess I'll get the fixings this weekend and make some.

So, for those of you who like Cobb salads, too--and why wouldn't you? Nummy!-- drop by and get the low-down on how to make your own, including the dressing recipe. This is low-carb friendly, even!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Healthful Foods are in Season?


Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocado, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Chicory, Chives, Citrus Fruits, Collards, Fennel, Green Beans, Greens, Horseradish, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, New Potatoes, Peas, Radishes, Rhubarb, Scallions, Shallots, Spinach, Strawberries, Turnips, Watercress

And if you want to maximize your shopping bucks while minimizing your exposure to pesticides, take a look at THIS LIST. Save money and buy conventional onions, kiwi bananas, pineapple, frozen corn, frozen peas, cabbage, broccoli, and mangoes. Spend extra for organic peaches, nectarines, bell peppers, cherries, raspberries, grapes, potatoes, celery, apples, greens.

hat tip to Cheap Healthy Good blog's sidebar

Dragonfire Factoid: Ditching the Bottle

In reality, bottled water is just water. That fact isn't stopping people from buying a lot of it. Estimates variously place worldwide bottled water sales at between $50 and $100 billion each year, with the market expanding at the startling annual rate of 7 percent.

Bottled water is big business. But in terms of sustainability, bottled water is a dry well. It's costly, wasteful, and distracts from the brass ring of public health: the construction and maintenance of safe municipal water systems.
--from "5 Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Frugal Dieting

I was reading a blog on the housing crisis where the blogger broke down a California family of four's budget to show why expensive housing puts a family making 100K in a bind. Yes, 100K. What most would consider a really, really nice family income doesn't go as far when buying a house means paying 500K to be in a decent neighborhood. One really harsh commenter mentioned how she and her family ate on 200 dollars a month. She said she kept to a size 0 by eating small, and that saved money. Basically, she told the family of four to cut back on food and stop being "blimps."

How nice. The tyranny of the skinny chick on display.

And yet, there is something there. Not in the pride and harsh attitude of the small eater, but in the idea that if we cut back on junk, we can maximize our dollars on good food.

Soda, fancy-schmancy energy drinks, packaged convenience snacks, worthless candy. Preservatives. Sugar. Junk. Fake colors. We don't need them. That's wasted money which could have been better spent on fruit and vegetables and "clean" protein-sources and, in terms of sweets, an antioxidant rich dark chocolate.

Dieting can often be expensive in America, whether it's diet systems like Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem or Diet-To-Go or Bistro MD or The Zone Delivery or the Frankenfood type diets dependent on protein shakes and protein bars and other non-food foods. Any time someone cooks for you, portions for you, weighs for you, and wraps food for you in plastic or foil or paper--you pay more. Yes, it's easier. But it's costlier. And it's not always more healthful if it's loaded with fake nutrition and salt and fillers.

Let's face it. Those of us who are stay-at-home wives and/or moms have no excuse. We have the time to prepare fresh, wholesome meals from scratch. We don't need the convenience stuff, though we may have come to rely on them.

I think convenience plans have their place--say, you're in a stressful job and on deadline and having food delivered, ready-to-heat, let's you have more time doing what's needed beyond grocery shopping and cooking.

In general, making your own breakfasts of eggs and whole grain toast, or oatmeal and fruit, or leftovers and veggies in a whole grain wrap--instead of danishes or sugary cereals or oversized bagels at some take-away place--are gonna help you get your nutrition and fiber and keep the calorie levels under control. Taking a brown bag or bento lunch is going to help you watch what you eat and keep your dollars IN your wallet.

But what about those of us already eating breakfast before heading out, already making low-calorie lunches for work, already planning healthful dinners to cook at home? How can we save even more?

Prices for homes are coming down, but food prices are going up. So, somehow, cutting back is in order for many of us, even those of us wanting to keep to fresh and healthful organic fare.

What are you doing to save on groceries but not skimp on nutrition?

You may want to get inspired by the thrifty cooks involved in the Frugal Cooking Carnival. Maybe you can get an idea for how to tweak their offerings to make low-cost, diet-friendly fare.

One of the participants cooks vegetarian and healthfully, and her menu looks scrumptious.The three-day menu below came out to $7.35 per person. My hubby would hate it, but I grew up eating legumes every day, and I think it looks fabulous. Hey, maybe it will work for you:

Day 1
Breakfast: Oatmeal with apples, raisins, cinnamon, and pecans
Lunch: Black Bean Soup with blue corn tortilla chips
Dinner: Red Lentil Curry with brown rice
Snacks: Oranges, apples, sweet potato, raw carrots.

Day 2
Breakfast: Whole grain pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup
Lunch: Red Lentil Curry with brown rice (leftover)
Dinner: Split Pea Soup with homemade whole wheat bread
Snacks: Hot air popped popcorn, celery, pancakes w/syrup

Day 3
Breakfast: Oatmeal with three berries and flax
Lunch: Split Pea Soup with homemade whole wheat bread
Dinner: Red Lentil Curry with brown rice
Snacks: Sweet Potato, oranges, bread with applesauce

Anyone could lose weight on that high-fiber, vegetarian menu, I think, if the portions weren't binge-worthy.

I know I made some lima bean soup at home where my cost per two-cup serving came out to far, far less than what I'd pay in a restaurant, and I made it all organic, in the slow cooker. Today, I'm gonna make an organic vegetarian lasagna with the veggies I have on hand in the fridge. But I still need to examine where I can cut back here and there to maximize what we enjoy. Meatless, we cannot go. I could, but hubby is not a veggie-fied type, and he's got lactose issues. He won't eat tofu or beans; eggs don't agree with him. That leaves me having to get chicken, pork, beef (what he likes). I buy lean (tenderloin, breast) and that's expensive when bought organic. (I wish the man would eat beans!)

How do you stretch meat in dishes that are low-cal and high-nutrient?

If you have suggestions, let me know.

Onward and DOWNward!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Odd Comfort of Statistics...and of Good Company

It will soon be a year since I started this blog. My initial weigh-in was 289. That was after already losing 10 pounds from my 299 high. (I probably did go over 300, but since I was avoiding the scale some weeks, can't confirm this. I did weigh over 300 at the doctor's twice, but with clothes and shoes on, well, that 303 was probably 299. Hah.)

Since May 9 of 2007, I've lost 20.2 pounds.

Not a whole lot measured against a year.

It's a lot measured against previous efforts.

Normally, I'd lose a bit, dieting for 3 months, then I'd have regained it by the end of 8 or 12 months.

I may have only lost a total of 20 in the last year, but I haven't regained it in that year. And that makes me feel good. I have a long way to go, but if I lose 20 pounds a year, I'll be at goal weight in 5.5 years. I see that as something positive, not negative. A year of loss, instead of a year of gain.

I got a critical comment some months back about my statistics box in the sidebar. I considered whether it was a good thing or a bad one. Today, looking at it, I find it comforting. I really do. It shows how I made progress, had setbacks, made progress, had setbacks, but ultimately ended up consistently making progress, no matter how slowly.

I read the story once of a woman who reached her goal weight from obesity. It took her a long time, losing at a rate of roughly 6 pounds a year. SIX. A year. But that snail's pace of hers added up. The time it took allowed her to gain new habits in eating and exercise, and ingrain them. (It probably allowed her skin time to adapt, rather than a zooming fast weight loss leaving a bunch of saggy skin, too.) She was mighty patient, but it worked.

Maybe I'm not a rabbit. Maybe I'm a tortoise. It'll take me a while to shed some really bad habits and gain new healthy ones (I'm still avoiding exercise, which is nuts, I know, but I'm slothful when it comes to the sweaty stuff.)

But I'm keeping my stats sidebar. It shows me that progress is not impossible, even for someone with decades of bad habits to shed. And if putting up your own stats bar helps you, don't let naysayers stop you. I find it's an accountability thing. When I don't want to post numbers, I know I'm doing badly, want to hide. Simple as that. A little alarm. (Lately, I just haven't been around, but I had some good days and didn't post.)

Posting the good and the bad are part of seeing my path and facing up to my weaknesses. So, I do it. I leave it there, to the left, for all to see where I moved forward and lost my way and regained for whatever reason (salt bloat, overeating, PMS).

Use the tools that help you. And keep at it. Find new tools as you need them.

It's like getting a degree. We just keep reading, trying, working. I see that learning process in some of your blogs--how you're dealing with buried emotions, with problem foods, with childhood traumas, with learning to cook, with learning to exercise, with friends and family who set landmines in our dieting fields, with adapting to changes in diet and in one's own body shape. A lot of things come into play when we face up to where we've gone wrong, and how to get it right.

For those who are zoom-losers, I do envy you a bit, but I'm just not one of you. I wish I was. To those who are snails like me, let's keep at it. We'll take longer, but we can get there. Whether it's 2 years, four, five, ten. If we keep at it, don't give up, keep open to learning and changing, we can do it.

And if blogging is a tool you can use, use it. Really. It's free.

If other bloggers inspire you, take advantage of their wisdom, their stories, their successes, even their setbacks. We need one another. It's hard. It's worth the effort, but it's damn hard.

But it's possible. The bloggers making great progress prove it. Case studies, right there, taking our questions, offering us wisdom. We can do it. Look at all the successes lighting the path before us.

For those of us with a lot of weight to lose--forty pounds, 100, 200, 300, more--it's a daunting marathon ahead. Gosh, some days, it's enought to make a gal weep.

The Bible talks about the life of a disciple as a race--we run to win, to achieve our purpose, our mission, and give glory to God in doing so. We want the winner's crown, the proof we completed our work.

The benefits of winning the weight loss race are many: becoming healthier, looking better in clothes, gaining mobility, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving diabetes, improving our chances of a good job, diminishing the social stigma we deal with, improving our social life, saving money on food and medicines, living longer with better quality of life, etc. So many reasons to run the race.

Mostly, though, I think it's about finding our best selves. It's about becoming who we are, really are, who we're meant to be when not trapped in adipose tissue, that fat that hinders our ability to do what we need to daily, yearly, in a lifetime. Yes it's a long, long race. A marathon.

With all the blogs around us, those fatfighter blogs, we can start our journey like this:

Lots of company. Lots of excitement at the start of the race. All spiffy and motivated.

But we know that doesn't (usually) last. We get tired. We get injured. This is why I refuse to ditch the blog, because, sometimes, I need the support of other fatfighters, like Heather, Lyn, ScaleJunkie, Honi, Grumpy, CCC, Teale, Lady, T, CC, and others. I need to be in the company of folks who know what I'm going through. Because, sometimes, we're like this:

While each runner is at times uniquely alone in the struggle towards their prize, and can even enjoy days of being someplace quiet and fine and full of peace of mind and deep breaths...

It's good to know that a fellow runner is right at hand when needed.

That's why I blog. That's why I have tools here. Why I keep my sidebar. Why I had a total loss, not gain, for the last year. I'm not doing it alone.

There's good company on the internet.

Thank you. God bless you all.

Onward and downward.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Been THAT Long?

To all those who dropped me a comment in the last month (and yeah, it's been just over a month since I've posted), thanks!

Life sort of intruded, and ALL my blogs--this one, the writing one--not to mention other online activity has suffered.

The week after my last post, hubby got his lay-off notice. So, since then, it's been a bit tense. He's got work until the end of May, then he needs to start something new. Fortunately, we have a cushion in the severance and health insurance through the end of the year.

Looks like, barring some nice divine intervention--which I never rule out--we may need to relocate to another state. This has been the number one source of stress for me. All my family (except the ones in Cuba) are here in Florida. I am emotionally conflicted.

Plus, with the housing woes in the US, trying to sell our house now is a nightmare. And if we relocate, we pretty much have to do something! Sell--while Miami is the WORST city for sales at the moment. Or rent--and try to keep up with stuff from across a continent. Sigh.

But, I have also been preparing--researching housing and other costs in the states we might end up in. Considering how to start going through our 25 years of amassed stuff (since we can't move it all!)

There's also the matter of making repairs and renovations in order to be able to sell. The money is staggering.

I want to stay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, whine done.

Fortunately, I've not veered too far off in my eating plan. Maintaining has been my mantra (in other words, not stuff my face to comfort myself emotionally and regain), rather than losing.

But I have lost. Hurrah.

Today, I weighed in at 268.8. The last few days I was at 269.0. Sunday, I got as low as 268.4.

So, I am in a slightly lower range, and what I had regained previously is gone.

I've lurked the last week at some old haunts--Chubby Chick's and Lyn of "Escape from Obesity" mainly, just to not lose total touch. I want to congratulate Lyn on her amazing progress, her steadfast commitment to change, her behavioral modifications, and just having lost a honking lot of weight. Her posts are fabulous.

I think she should eventually write a book about it. Really.

Now you know where I've gotten off to. Dealing with life. Trying not to backslide and regain. Still working on bad habits. Still believing I can overcome the fat obstacle...and now the economic obstacle.

Yeah, I really do have faith I can. We can.

For now, I leave you with this blog's mantra...

Onward and DOWNWARD!