Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The rest of the story ...

Since the time I slipped under 200 pounds for my "15 minutes" back in 1995, I have never weighed in the "100's" in my adult life. I will be very, very happy to see the 100's again, but some days it feels like I'll never get there. I am very good at sabotaging myself when I am close to a goal.

I've been "talking" with my e-mail buddy, Vikki, the past few days about my unhealthy dependence on -- and unhealthy relationship with -- food. As I told her, food still is just w-a-y too important to me. I use it to comfort myself, console myself, reward myself, rejuvenate myself ... you name an emotion and I use food to highlight it or block it.

Since my surgery, my weight has vacillated anywhere from 200 to 265 pounds. When Steve and I started dating in 1997, I was near the upper end of that range. I white-knuckled my way down to about 220 by the time we got married. I've been up and down since then.

Steve is such a wonderful guy ... he has never put me down because of my weight. He loves me for me, and not for a number on the scale. He has talked about wanting me (both of us, actually) to be healthy, so we'll be around for awhile. To the extent that weight affects my longevity, he wants me to lose weight. But, having said that ... I know he's proud of me for losing and wants me to keep on with it.

So, the struggle continues. And yes, it is a struggle ...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Part 3 - photos

So I decided to post a couple pictures relating to what I've written the last couple days.

First, here's one when I was maybe 6 years old, circa 1966.

And here's one from 1987-ish. Weight just keeps going up, and like I said, the pictures just don't lie...I have no idea what I weighed in this picture.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Part 2

Okay, so I "left off" at Christmas 1980 and just over 200 pounds, or thereabout. Needless to say, I did not go back on my "diet" when January rolled around. I was still feeling good about losing 45 pounds.

I wonder how long it was before I got on the scale again? I couldn't say. But I just took a nice long boat trip down that famous Egyptian river "Denial". Graduated college in 1982, moved to Northern California to take a teaching job, and started my adult life.

Always, food ruled me. Ruled me with an iron fist. I have zero willpower, you see. So all through the 80's and well into the 90's I ate whatever I wanted to eat ... whenever I wanted to eat it.

There would, of course, be brief forays into this diet or that one. Weight Watchers, Doctors and Nurses Weight Loss Center, Phen-Fen, Metabolite, cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, TOPS, Overeaters Anonymous, and more. None of them were very effective. Truth be told, I never started any of those diets with very high hopes. I felt totally and completely defeated by food. Totally and completely powerless over food.

I have wondered why I never "did Atkins" again in that laundry list of diets I tried. I knew it worked, because I'd been so successful at losing in college. It was like my brain just wouldn't go there...I just never went back to it. Of course, the behavioral therapy I have had would lead me to say that I was very busy sabotaging myself in so many different ways ... but especially in the weight department.

At some point in the early 90's I started thinking about bariatric surgery. My weight just kept going up. I don't think I even owned a scale, so I conveniently didn't know how much I weighed. But the clothes in my closet kept getting bigger. And the know, the pictures just don't lie, do they?

So anyway, in 1994 I jumped through all the hoops to get it approved by my insurance company, went through the psychological counseling and extensive medical testing, and in December of that year, I had a gastroplasty (stomach stapling) done. When I went in the morning of the surgery, I weighed 299 pounds. I absolutely believed I had no other options and no other recourse.

I lost a lot of weight quickly. Within the next year I lost right at 100 pounds. Again, at about 200 pounds, I felt great and felt like I looked good.

I always say that I weighed under 200 pounds for about 15 minutes. Then, the moment was over. I had some medical issues resulting from the surgery, and gained some of the weight back over the next year, had a gastric bypass conversion surgery in 1996, which helped resolve those issues, and lost back down to maybe around 220.

I'm going to look for a picture to show what I looked like pre-surgery, and if I find one, I'll post it.

And, I'll continue my saga later...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The weight ... part 1

I decided it would be good to share my story, as it pertains to my struggles with weight. Of course, it's a rather lengthy and detailed saga, and I suspect it may take awhile. So ... this may well be "part one".

When I was six years old, I was the cutest little girl ... really. Long blond hair, slim, big smile. My 1st grade picture and the ones taken before that showed a slim and trim little girl.

My 2nd grade picture showed a different child. Markedly overweight, short hair, definite double chin, still a smile, but not the same at all. Rather than going into the reasons behind the big change, I will just say that it (the excess weight) has been a part of my life since I was seven years old.

I remember, as a child, sitting at the table and absolutely stuffing my face with food. I remember feeling "numb" and just eating and eating until things faded away. Not a good memory, but there it is.

In 6th grade, we had to all get weighed. In front of the class. One person (my male teacher) weighed the kids, and called out the weight to someone else, who wrote it down. I still remember my weight. 168. More than any other child in the room. Mortifying.

High school was torture. By the 11th grade, I had found my little niche and my days were at least tolerable. But it was still bad.

I felt powerless to lose weight. Really and truly powerless. Food meant far too much to me; it was comfort and friendship and happiness and peace. It made life better; bad days were not so bad when I could eat until I was full. Although looking back, I don't remember being full ... I never felt full.

At the beginning of my second year in college (Fall 1980) I had an "encounter" with one of my teachers. He was actually the Dean of the School of Music, and to this day I consider him my "second dad". Anyway, he called me into his office and talked to me about my weight. He wanted to help me and he told me about Atkins. I'll always be thankful to him for that. No one had ever talked to me like that, like I mattered and was valuable and was worth the trouble...

At that point, I weighed 248 pounds. I started eating low carb, based on what he told me I could and could not eat. I remember eating meat, veggies, salad with blue cheese dressing, and pork rinds -- no potatoes, no bread, no sweets, and no fruit. I didn't read a book or anything ... just ate what I was told to eat. I definitely considered it "a diet" and thought of it as a temporary part of my life.

I was very successful at losing weight that fall. By Christmas I had lost about 45 pounds. I felt great and felt like I looked so much better. But then Christmas came, and I remember deciding I would go off my "diet" for the holidays.

To be continued...

My weekend

Steve and I are members of a large church in the area. Because it's such a big church, it's important for us to have a "sub-group" that we belong to -- where we know people and people know us. We have that in our Sunday School class. We've made some wonderful friendships and have grown to really value and cherish the relationships we have developed within our class.

Anyway, the ladies of our class had a mother-daughter luncheon yesterday. Those of us who don't have daughters or mothers to take just went anyway...everyone was welcome. I was asked to sing.

A little background -- I've been "musical" pretty much all my life. I majored in music in college and after graduation, taught music at a private Christian school in Northern California for a couple years. I've been Minister of Music in several different churches and have belonged to or led countless singing groups through the years. I love singing and am constantly singing or humming around the house.

So, I chose a song yesterday called "Prayer Warrior". Here are the words to some of it:

You may see her in the grocery with her children
Or in the city nine to five each working day
She's a mother or a teacher or a woman all alone
But she's someone else entirely when she prays

She's a prayer warrior down on her knees
Wrestling with powers and principalities
Standing in the gap for others - for her sisters and her brothers
Reaching heaven with her heart...prayer warrior

It's a song I love, and I think the ladies enjoyed it. Then we had a speaker who spoke about prayer as well (which was cool, because I did not know know the topic she would be speaking on before I chose the song). I love it when things work out like that!

I also took a bunch of my clothes and shoes to a consignment shop yesterday afternoon. I had some very nice things that are just too big, and I hate to throw them out when I need to buy new things and the money from selling them will help.

I'm trying to get motivated this afternoon to get in the kitchen and make some stuff for lunches next week. My energy is still so low, though, and I don't know if I'll get it done today or not.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another half pound?

You know, sometimes, just when we need it ... God allows some "extra" grace into our lives. Like today, for example.

I felt really bad from yesterday. Eating all those strawberries and all that chocolate. I actually had a hypoglycemic episode last night before bed from all that sugar. So ... I woke up this morning feeling guilty and sort of "blah" ... you know what I mean?

I can't imagine what possessed me to do it, but I stepped on the scale. (Maybe I wanted to see the damage with my own two eyes.) Anyway, I was down a half a pound! What? I stepped off, reset the scale, and stepped back on. Yep. Half a pound.

All of a sudden, it was like, "okay ... so, I had a bad night last night, but it's okay. It will be okay!" It was like a weight lifted. (Maybe a half pound weight?)

My food today has been good. I had scrambled egg, cheese, and ham on an oopsie roll for breakfast. Lunch was a spinach salad with grilled chicken. Dinner was beef brisket, green beans and cucumber salad.

I changed my "ticker" to reflect another half pound loss. I'm claiming it, baby! Hopefully, more will follow in short order!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Hump Day...harrumph!

Middle of the week ... as Steve says, "It's better than Monday, but not as good as Friday."

It has not been a good day.

I hurt my back this morning. It was feeling better until today. This morning I needed to stop at Kroger on the way to work, to pick up some sugar-free liquid Coffee Mate, because I use it in my coffee at work instead of the powdered stuff they provide (which tastes fine, but is filled with high fructose corn syrup...therefore, is EVIL).

So, I'm hurrying through Kroger and ... I truly don't know what I did. Apparently, I moved the wrong way, though. Immediately I felt it spasm and thought, "uh oh!" So all day it's been "twingey". I took three Advil as soon as I got to the office, and I put ice on it a couple times for 15-20 minutes. It still hurts tonight.

Today is "Administrative Professional Day", formerly known as Secretary's Day. We always get something at the Firm; this year it was an "edible arrangement" of chocolate covered strawberries. Great...just great. I mean, it's a nice gesture, but give me a break... (Need I say, I love chocolate covered strawberries?)

I brought the arrangement home, intending to give it to Steve and not have any. But did that happen? Nooooooooooo, it did not! I ate several of them ... I would think about a DOZEN in total. <SIGH>

So I'll say it again ... it has not been a good day. However, as my favorite Scarlett O'Hara line says, "Tomorrow is another day!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The "Free Day" Verdict...

Okay, so I weighed this morning and the verdict is: 2.5 pounds lost since Sunday morning (4 days). I'm very happy with these results after doing the free day on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday I was strict with the carbs, sticking to around 25 carbs/day. Yesterday and today I had more, probably 30-35 carbs. So I'm pleased with the weigh-in and the verdict is positive. My plan is to do one free day a month following the same basic principles.

Today was a good day; work was busy but not insanely so. We're expanding our office into another part of the building, and I walked through the build-out area today with a couple of my bosses. Saw where our offices will be (since we'll be moving to the new area). Pretty cool...

The back is still hurting. Grrr! I walked yesterday for 15 minutes at lunch. It was glorious out...a beautiful spring day with a light breeze and the temp right at 70 degrees. I forgot my shoes today, so I didn't walk, but I'm going to get on the exercise bike for a few minutes in a little while.

I finished the Karen Kingsbury novel I was reading, Dandelion Dust. It was so good...I love her books.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My other "fur baby"

So...I realized that I had bragged on one of my fur babies in my first post, but neglected to show my other one. So, here is Boots, my sweet kitty.

He's very shy, but very sweet. He's a "rescue kitty" from a cat foster home, and it has taken quite awhile for him to settle in and really feel at home. But I think he has and he does now.

I have a new couch, so I need to take some new pictures! Plus, I need to take some, because I want to get a tile made of Boots like I had done of Chance. There's a local artist who does the most wonderful things. Anyway, she did a photo tile of Chance, and it's now on her website ( I want to get one done of Boots, but I want to have a really good picture first.

My "free day"

Okay, so I've been eating low carb since the last week of May 2007. Other than a few planned indulgences, I have kept pretty closely to a low carb eating plan that I can live with. I've lost 54 pounds, but over the past couple months I've been basically "stuck" -- no weight loss; no weight gain (thank God); just ... stuck.

My motivation has dwindled, as well, with the weight loss. I'm not "cheating," per se, but I've let a certain amount of "carb creep" come in, by allowing myself sugar-free ice cream, sugar-free chocolates, etc.

So I've been reading about "re-feeds" or "free days" as they're sometimes called. Some people use them as a part of their low carb lifestyle on a regular basis, whether one day every two weeks, or every month, or whatever. The research that I've done indicates that there are some important keys to ensure success in a free day.

First and foremost, it's not a license to "go crazy" and eat anything and everything you want. It's a tool which, if done correctly, can sort of jumpstart your weight loss again. Theoretically. One key is to eat higher carb, lower fat, food, with the bulk of it coming from complex carbs -- pasta, rice, oatmeal, whole grains, etc. The simple carbs should be eaten later in the day, the later the better, so that the resulting drop in blood sugar will occur after you're asleep.

So, I guess I should point out that I am not diabetic. If I was, I don't think I would ever consider doing this. Anyway, I did a "free day" yesterday. I think it went well; I made a plan and stuck to it for the most part, although I ended up having to work in the office for six hours.

But overall, I am pleased with the day I had, and I hope the weight moves! I had weighed yesterday morning, and I'll weigh again in a few days. (They say not to weigh right after the re-feed; instead, wait a few days for the weight to come off.) I'll report back. Depending on the results, I may make this a part of my low-carb lifestyle. The jury is still out...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mi Vida Loca

Things have, indeed, been crazy the past few days...

First, an exercise update, since I promised it. I've done well. Wednesday I was able to walk during lunch, for about 20 minutes and felt pretty good doing it. Thursday it was rainy, so no walking. But I rode the exercise bike for about 10 minutes, which was all my back could tolerate. Yesterday, my back was really messed up, and I ended up working for over 15 hours, so ... no exercise. I walked around Wal-Mart at lunch; think that counts? :-)

Now to work and the absolutely frustrating day I had. We had about 140 training books we had to put together. The materials (9 different "chapters" of about 200 pages for each book) did not go to Kinko's for copying until almost 4 p.m. (Is that insanely at the last minute, or what? But that's a whole other can of worms I'm not going to touch today...)

So, two of us (and later a third person) worked steadily from 5:30 -- prepping the binders, organizing the tabs that went between each chapter, then eventually, when we finally got the copies, separating out the chapters and assembling the training books. We had what we thought was a midnight deadline to get the books to the FedEx Distribution Center location out by the Memphis Airport. (Since we're the hub city for FedEx, there are late drop-offs, but this was the latest.) So we are working like mad women, right up until about 11:15. Then boxing up, taping up, making FedEx labels, etc. until about 11:30. My co-worker throws all nine boxes into her SUV and heads for FedEx.

At midnight, I'm pulling into my drive when my cell rings, and it's my co-worker. She is almost crying. Says the deadline was 11:30 p.m., not midnight. My stomach felt like I had been sucker-punched. Oh, s**t. Apparently the cut-off time has changed.'s job is to try to figure out how in the world we're going to get NINE HEAVY BOXES from Memphis to the Northeastern Seaboard by 7:00 a.m. Monday. I don't know if the guy from our office who's flying there Sunday afternoon can schlep NINE HEAVY BOXES with him on the plane...not sure how that's going to work. He'll love that, I'm sure...

On a lighter note, we did order in last night (from Olive Garden). I had the stuffed mushrooms and the mussels in a lemon-wine sauce. Super good and pretty darn low carb! No breadsticks and no pasta...yay!

Gotta work tomorrow (Sunday) so I am going to do my best to try to relax and unwind!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Walking Update

Okay, so the other day I talked about a goal to start moving. Walking, to be specific. With my back issues, it's probably the best exercise that I can do right now. So the update is ... great news!

Steve and I took a walk Sunday afternoon. It was a leisurely, gentle pace that worked for me and my back. Steve is so great when it comes to that kind of thing; am I lucky, or what? Anyway, I digress...

Okay, so Monday (yesterday) I walked during lunch, for about 12 minutes, just around the parking lot and, again, a slow, steady pace. My back was protesting by the time I finished, so I didn't push it.

Today, I did it again! Woo hoo! (You may be rolling your eyes about now, but this is a big deal for me!) Again, I walked during my lunch break, and for 20 minutes. And guess what? My back is feeling a little better!

I feel a real sense of accomplishment about all this. I'm a little concerned, because I really want to keep this up, but rain is in the forecast, starting tonight I think, and for the next several days. I don't want it to stop my good start, but I'm not too sure what to do about it. We have an exercise bike at home that has the handlebars that move back and forward while you ride. It's not nearly as easy on my back, but I may try it at a slow, steady pace for a few minutes, anyway, if I can't walk tomorrow.

Anyway, I'm really trying to be accountable, and I'll report back in a few days about my progress.

38-2 ... not too shabby

My Memphis Tigers did not win last night. They were so close. Ten seconds before the buzzer they were 3 points ahead. But a lot can happen in ten seconds. In overtime, they lost to Kansas...a disappointment, to be sure.

But you know, I'm just not that depressed about it. Those guys had an unbelievable season. 38 wins and 2 losses. That breaks a record right there. Both games that they lost were so close. They really are a "dream team" as Coach Cal has said repeatedly. And I'm proud of them.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Books I'm reading, books I love...

I'm a voracious reader...always have been. I love nothing better than to find a great book or series of books, and just let myself get lost in them. I have definite ideas about what I like and don't, though, so there have been many times that I've started a book and not gotten very far in, put it down, and never gone back.

Canceled due to lack of interest.

But, once I'm hooked, then I'm in, and it's full steam ahead to the end. I just finished a great little series that I enjoyed, called the Sister Circle Series by Vonette Bright and Nancy Moser. It was four books, and they were gentle, sweet stories that provided a nice, light, diversion to life's stresses.

I like Christian fiction, but also Nora Roberts (but only her suspense/drama books like Blue Smoke or Northern Lights -- not her sci fi and not her romance ones) and J.K. Rowling (I own every single Harry Potter book -- loved them). I also love Jan Karon and own every single book she's written (I tell hubby I want to live in Mitford).

I guess my favorite book of all time is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's a period novel set in the early 1900s out west. Which incidentally, is not my usual reading fare. So go figure. But this book is so awesomely written, IMHO. It's a 20th century take on the biblical story of Hosea.

Do you remember Hosea? He's the Old Testament prophet that God told to go marry a prostitute (her name was Gomer, which if that was my name, maybe I'd run into the arms of strange men, too...) But I digress. So anyway, Hosea took Gomer as his wife. Then, to add insult to injury, after he'd married her -- she'd had children by him, they'd built a life together -- she left him again and went back to her life of prostitution. So God tells Hosea, "Go get her."

Hosea's like, "Are you kidding me?! Don't you see what she's done to me? Everyone around here knows she's the preacher's wife and she gone back to her whoring ways! I can't go crawling back to her." But God was showing an example of how the people of Israel had treated Him through the years, and His faithfulness to them in spite of their wandering ways.

So anyway, Hosea did go after Gomer, bought and paid for her freedom from the guy who had her, and they went back to their life.

Okay, so that's our Bible story for the week. But, back to Redeeming Love, the story is about a (you guessed it) prostitute working in a brothel in the Wild West, and a Christian young man who meets her, is at first intrigued by her, and falls in love with her and -- yep -- eventually redeems her. This is a love story, which I am not overly fond of in general, because they are usually w-a-y too predictable. However, this book is an exceptionally terrific read.

As for what I'm reading now...hmm...I just finished a book called Sudden Sea by R.A. Scotti about the massive hurricane that hit and decimated Rhode Island and that area in 1938. I'm almost finished with The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife. I've been anxiously waiting to buy the latest installment of the "Miss Julia" books by Ann B. Ross. I think the new one is called Miss Julia Paints the Town and it went on sale on April 3rd. I've got Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, but haven't started it yet. I've also got a novel by Karen Kingsbury that's calling my name. It's called Like Dandelion Dust. I love her books; her characters are so real.

Okay, well, I guess that's enough rambling about books for now...although I could go on. I'll definitely add more about this big part of my life!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Shirataki noodles...yummy AND low carb!

Shirataki noodles are a great way to get fiber and no or very few carbs into your diet. I buy shirataki noodles at my local Asian grocery store. They have to be refrigerated. This is a casserole I have made several times using these noodles. The inspiration for this dish came from my friend, Vikki, who has posted countless recipes on my favorite low-carb forum at

Beefy Shirataki Noodles with Spinach

Preheat oven to 350.

2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 lb. ground chuck
1 cup green, red, and/or yellow bell peppers, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pkg. shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained well
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup shredded colby/jack (or your choice) cheese, divided

Melt coconut oil in large skillet, add peppers and onion and cook 3-5 minutes on medium heat (until partially cooked). (I have used a frozen mix of peppers and onion for this step, as well.) Add ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned.

Drain beef mixture well. Chop up shirataki noodles into small pieces. (I use a blender or kitchen shears for this.) Mix noodles, egg, sour cream, spinach, 1/2 cup cheese and another dash of salt, together with the beef mixture.

Put it into a sprayed casserole dish. Spread the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until "gbd" (golden, brown, and delicious).

This is a hearty, filling dish. My husband likes it, so it's a winner.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

We're floating away!

It has been raining for days and days, and our backyard is a virtual pond. UGH! Chance goes outside, and he's just drenched! We dry him off as soon as he comes in, but right now my house smells like eau de wet dog...not a pleasant aroma. The Mississippi River is well above flood stage and the ground is just completely saturated. I need the sun to come out!

Didn't feel like cooking tonight, so I stopped and got KFC with green beans. I had a couple pieces without the crust, and had them with green beans...pretty good.

I need to make some more coconut flax bread (compliments of Vikki), but I'm feeling pretty wiped out tonight, so maybe tomorrow night or Saturday.

I don't know a lot about this blogging business, and my life seems a bit too hum drum to put in writing. Oh well...even if no one else ever reads it, I'll keep it least for awhile!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My eating today...

Okay, here's what I had today:

2 deviled eggs
2 pieces coconut flax bread
Whopper with cheese - no ketchup, no bread - on an Oopsie roll (I didn't finish all of this but came close)
Dannon Light & Fit Carb Control Yogurt (Peaches & Cream)
Low carb chicken enchiladas
Spinach salad -- with tomato, cucumber, green bell pepper, and a little carrot
Blue cheese dressing
Carbsmart almond ice cream bar

And that's it. Much better than yesterday.

I need to somehow get exercise into my daily routine. My back is still hurting, but it's a tad bit better. I need to at least get some walking into each day. So, that's my goal -- to get moving, even if it's just a little.

Low Carb Hot Cereal

One night I had a craving for oatmeal. However, oatmeal is higher in carbs than I want to go these days. So, here's my take on a low carb hot cereal.

3 tbsp. almond meal
3 tbsp. flax seed meal
3 tbsp. protein powder
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
chopped nuts of your choice (I use walnuts or pecans)
2 tbsp. sugar-free vanilla syrup (I use DaVinci's)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl*. Add the syrup and enough water to cover. Microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes.

*Note: This mixture rises a lot in the microwave, so use a bowl that's plenty big enough.

This makes a good and satisfying bowl of hot cereal.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Just another ordinary day...

So, is it just me, or is anyone else getting sick to death of politics? It just seems like this presidential election has been going on for YEARS, and it's still seven months until the vote!

Now, I consider myself a flag-waving, true-blue American who firmly believes in the hard-fought liberties we enjoy in our country. Which includes the right to fully support (or not!) the candidate of your choice. It's just that all of this just goes on and on and on, and the tone just gets uglier. Ah well.......nuff said!

Hubby had to work late tonight, so I did not cook. I did really well with the eating until just a few minutes ago (darn!) -- So far today I've had 2 deviled eggs, 2 pieces of Vikki's coconut flax bread, a spinach salad, 2 Morning Star Farms Spicy Black Bean patties (8 carbs), some turkey lunchmeat, a couple pieces of cheese, and 2 kosher dill spears. Okay, that brought me up to about an hour ago. At which point, I opened a box of Sugar-Free Carmel Nips and proceeded to eat the WHOLE THING.

As Scarlett said, "I can't think about that right now; I'll think about it tomorrow...after all, tomorrow is another day."

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */