Saturday, May 31, 2008

Love is in the air...

I went to a wedding rehearsal dinner last night. Not that big a deal, right? After all, it's the time of year when love blooms and weddings are a common occurrence. But this one was unusual.

The bride is a beautiful woman, physically, very fit and trim with a lovely face and an equally lovely spirit. She's quiet and a little reserved, but has a ready smile and a wonderful personality. She's never been married. The groom (although I only met him recently) seems to be a very kind, soft-spoken man, quick to make a joke and laugh. He's a widower.

They're a lovely couple. They're also 70 and 65 years old, respectively. How cool is that??

I can't imagine being 70 years old and taking the plunge into marriage for the first time. That takes a lot of courage. And a lot of love.

I'm so happy for them, and I wish them nothing but happiness and joy, and many fine years together. Today is their the big day, and it's a beautiful, clear, sunny day...a perfect wedding day. I can't wait to see the bride walk down the aisle, and I hope her day is everything she's dreamed about and more.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today's food

Okay, so here's the line-up for today:

1 1/2 cups coffee with SF Coffee Mate and Sweetzfree

1 mini-quiche "muffin" (eggs, bacon, bell pepper, and cheese)

BLT on 1/2 piece of Joseph's Lavash Bread

1 mini SF York Peppermint Pattie

roasted chicken leg/thigh, broccoli with cheese sauce, and 1/4 cup of northern beans
small bowl of Breyers Carbsmart vanilla ice cream

unsweet tea and about 4 glasses of water

And that's it. Need to get more veggies in tomorrow.

It's been a tough couple of days. I'll post more in a day or two. It's going to be a busy weekend for us -- a family wedding (rehearsal dinner tomorrow night and the wedding on Saturday) -- but I'll try to post again soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation plans

Steve and I have been married now for almost nine years. And every single one of those nine years, we have taken a vacation to the beach -- Destin, Panama City, Okaloosa Island, Gulf Shores, Navarre Beach....same beach, different condo!

So, late last summer, we are sitting on the beach, and I ask Steve, "do you think we could go somewhere besides the beach next year on our vacation?" and he says sure. And, wonders never cease...we are actually planning a vacation that doesn't include sand!

Actually, we're planning a fall vacation to the mountains of North Carolina. We're going the third week of October (prime leaf season, I hope), and we just booked a small cabin. It's remote, but close to a town, and definitely out in nature. We like to hike (okay, actually Steve loves to hike, and I ... try.) But the pictures look absolutely glorious, and we are so excited to be doing something different. There's a fireplace and a hot tub's going to be so fun!

But...October is a l-o-n-g way off, and I know we're going to be ready for a break long before that. So we're planning a fun long weekend in June with our best friends to (can you believe it?) the mountains in Northern Arkansas! When we decide to try the mountains, we try the mountains! :-)

Our friend's parents live up there, so he and his wife and son can go and stay with them. They've told us about a neat B&B, so we're going to look into staying there. Which is so cool in itself. We've never stayed at a B&B; always wanted to, though.

So I am totally excited about our two trips coming up. We don't travel often, so it's a big deal for me...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Update

It's been a few days since I've posted and I wanted to check in and be accountable. My eating has been really good the past few days. It's funny, after I had the 3.5 pound drop overnight, I've been so much more motivated to stay on the "straight-and-narrow low carb road" and not vary from it.

Been doing a lot of eggs, chicken, some red meat, lots of good veggies -- turnip greens, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, fresh spinach -- I may be turning green one of these days!

Last night we went over to our best friends' house. They grilled out steaks, and so I had a nice filet and a big plate of salad. I passed on the baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and garlic bread. However, I had to have a couple bites of the "chocolate cobbler" with ice cream. It was VERY sweet...I think it made my teeth hurt! So a couple bites was sufficient.

I want to get to Costco sometime in the next few days and get some more of their yummy marinated salmon fillets. They come six to a box, individually wrapped and frozen, so it gives us three meals. And they're a great price. They're quick and easy to fix on a weeknight, too.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. I'm really thankful for the freedoms we have and enjoy every day in this country. And I believe we are "standing on the shoulders" of countless men and women who sacrificed so much for us to be able to have the lives we do. God bless the USA!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Remembering Barbara

I've been thinking about my sister this week. Barbara's birthday was May 19th, and she died in a house fire last summer.

Barbara was special, on more than one level. She was born deaf, so that made her "different". But the most outstanding part of her was her capacity to love. She was the most loving person I've ever known. She loved everyone...literally everyone.

Barbara was a happy person for the most part. Sure, she had her moments when she would be sad, cry, get frustrated. But overwhelmingly, she was a happy person and content with her life.

Barbara was sort of our family historian. She kept up with everyone's birthdays, including how old you were! I could always count on getting a birthday card from her. After Steve and I married, he could always count on getting a birthday card from her too.

My other sister picked out Barbara's grave marker, and I think it perfectly summed up her life. Besides the name, dates of birth and death, it simply says "She loved Jesus". And she did. And I know - I firmly believe - that she's in heaven right now, and her hearing is perfect. I know I'll see her again.

Barbara, I love you and I miss you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday night...

It's been a tough few days, I gotta say...

I broke my aspartame fast. I just wasn't feeling any benefits from it, and so on day #8 I had a Coke Zero and some sugarless gum. Those are the two main things I have with aspartame anyway, so it seemed fitting to break it with those...

Work has been pretty stressful. I seem to be falling apart, physically. You've heard of "tennis elbow"? Well, apparently I have "mouse finger"...which sounds a lot more fun than it is. I think I've developed arthritis in my right index finger, and it is swollen and very painful and stiff. They've given me a different mouse to use at work, which is forcing me to use the other fingers of my hand and not just the index finger. It has slowed me down a lot, though, which is stressful in itself.

I'm on again-off again with being ultra strict on the carbs. And I know that's not the way to lose weight. Somehow I've lost a few more pounds, but I sure don't know how...just grace, I imagine.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Snow peas!

I have recently rediscovered snow peas. I love them! Today at lunch I had tuna salad/lettuce rollups and fresh veggies (red pepper strips, cucumber slices, and snow peas) with ranch dressing. Yummmmmm. The veggies were so crisp and sweet...really good.

So, the rest of today's food is:

2 cups of coffee with sf Coffee Mate and stevia

3 deviled egg halves

lunch as described above

1 Diet Coke with Splenda

2 pieces of coconut flax bread

savoy steak

1/4 cup of black-eyed peas

2 tomato slices

lots of water

Today is day #4 of freedom from aspartame. I'm almost afraid to say it, but I think I'm feeling a little better -- a little more energy and a little more clear headedness (is that a word?)

I finished the Mercola book and it was a very worthwhile read. He suggests that if you're not sure that aspartame has made you feel bad, to go off of it for an extended period of time -- say a month. Then, pick one day and add it back in a significant amount (like a Nutra-Sweetened drink, then later some sweetened food, maybe some sf gum w/aspartame) and see how you feel. So that sounds like a plan to me. I'll plan on doing that. And I'll post how I feel when I do...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Today's food's food consists of the following:

3 cups of coffee (do I even have to list this?) with sf Coffee Mate and stevia

2 deviled egg halves

a black bean burger on an oopsie roll with mayo, mustard, lettuce, spinach, tomato, and a tiny bit of onion

2 pieces of coconut flax bread

Dannon carb control yogurt (strawberry)

shrimp battered in parmesan cheese and Old Bay and fried in coconut oil
green beans almandine
a couple bites of red beans

lots of water (yay, me)

part of a Coke with Splenda (maybe half the can)

And that's it. I'm doing good on my aspartame fast. Today is day #3 without any at all. Double yay, me.

Food-wise, it's been a good day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I may be a little slow ... but eventually I get it

I've been reading, hearing, and thinking a lot the past week or two about artificial sweeteners and how they may not be as safe as we thought they were.

Of course, I have heard the rumblings through the years about aspartame and how dangerous it is ... "it causes cancer" / "no, it's safe" / "NO, it's dangerous!" (After all, I haven't been living under a rock, for Pete's sake!) But
I have to admit, I have been firmly in the camp that believed if the FDA approved it, it MUST be safe. (I know, I know ... I'm part ostrich.) After all, that's the FDA's job ... to protect the American people, right?

Wrong. I am in the middle of a book by Drs. Joseph Mercola and Kendra Pearsall called Sweet Deception. At the beginning of the book, I was just blown away by some information given about the Food & Drug Administration and their fearless leaders.

Silly me, I always thought the FDA was here to protect me, that they have my health and best interest as the foundation of all they do. Come to find out, though ... the FDA's clients are not the American people; they are the giant food processing corporations and patent medicine companies. That's who the FDA exists to protect.

Way back in 1970, the then Commissioner of the FDA, Herbert Ley was quoted in print: "People think the FDA is protecting them--it isn't. What the FDA is doing and what people think it's doing are as different as night and day."

In testimony before Congress, FDA Commissioner Charles Edwards said, "[It is] not our [FDA] policy to jeopardize the financial interests of the pharmaceutical companies."

This has just blown me away. Then, on top of that, last night I watched the documentary Sweet Misery.

Whoa!!! Talk about an eye-opening film. It is well worth an hour and a half of your time. In fact, I plan on watching it again.

You know, I am just w-a-y too naive and gullible. I still tend to believe what I see in print, say, a label on a food, for example, that makes claims of one type or another. I've got to stop that. People are sick and dying with unexplained autoimmune diseases that didn't even exist before the mid-seventies. Plus, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, autism ... how many horrible diagnoses could be truly traced back to a food additive? Something touted to be "safe", and "healthy" for us? Scary, indeed.

I've been feeling so lousy for so long, and I don't understand why. I mean, I've lost a LOT of weight in the last year ... I should be feeling way better than I do. But my energy is through the floor, my back constantly hurts, my knees are messed up, my brain feels foggy, I can't sleep without taking a sleep aid, and I'm tired all the time, every day. What the heck is up with that?

So, I'm going to try an experiment. I'm going to try to wean myself off aspartame, NutraSweet, whatever you want to call it, and just see how I feel. I'm concerned about Splenda (Sucralose) as well, but I know I can't do it all at one time, so for now I'm going to concentrate on aspartame and ridding it from my diet. I suspect it's going to be harder than I even think it will, because aspartame is in so many food items. Reading labels needs to be my new hobby. I already read them a lot -- for carb counts and such, but I'm going to get tough ... my health is worth that.

Life goes on...oh bladee, oh bladah yesterday was better. It's so funny (not really) -- but it has been many years since I have just "lost it" like I did over that bag of chips. Like my body just totally went on autopilot and my brain completely disengaged. Scary...

Yesterday I had:

3 cups of coffee with sf Coffee Mate and Sweetzfree (do you see a pattern developing here?)

Dannon Light & Fit Strawberry Yogurt (3 carbs)

Joseph's pita (4 carbs) stuffed with spinach leaves, a little shredded carrot, a few slivers of onion, thinly sliced cucumber, and a few cherry tomatoes, 3 slices of turkey, mayo and mustard.

4 celery sticks with sunflower seed butter

A "Route 44" iced tea from Sonic, sweetened with Sweetzfree.

2 cans Coke Zero

Chicken stirfry -- boneless/skinless chicken breast sauteed in coconut oil. asian stirfry veggie mix (broccoli, red pepper, snow peas, and water chestnuts), soy sauce, and about 2-3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.

Anyway, I feel alot better about the day and my choices.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I blew it today ...

Hoo has not been good. Not that it excuses anything, but I'll say up front that today has been a very stressful day. And, my hormones seem to be doing something funky...and I know, I's not an excuse. I'm just saying...

So, here's me being accountable (all of a sudden that seems like a dirty word). As you'll see, I started out fine and had every intention of doing fine all day.

3 cups of coffee with sf Coffee Mate and Sweetzfree

Strawberry Dannon Carb Control yogurt

Spinach salad with green pepper, tomato, onion, shredded carrot, and cucumber, topped with a black bean spicy burger, and oil/vinegar dressing

3 or 4 mini sf chocolates

4 cans of Coke Zero!!

1 bag of Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins "chips" == 18 CARBS IN THE BAG

1 bowl oatmeal with 3 pieces of bacon -- what can I say, I got home late and wanted something fast and figured, you know what...I've already blown it...might as well go ahead.

And that's it. (Ha...that's it, get it? As in, that's all I ate...not much at all.)

I just can't believe I did this appetite has just been ravenous. I had to work a couple hours late, and took my boxes down the FedEx dropbox in our basement, which sits - you guessed it - right next to the snack machine. Those stupid chips just screamed my name. And did I keep right on walking? Neeoouuu, I did not!

It just sucks, that's all I can say. This day in general, and my food choices for sure...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Today's food ... again

Okay, so I'm trying to be very accountable these days ... so here's the tally for today, Wednesday, May 7th:

Throughout the morning - 3 cups of coffee, with s/f Coffee Mate and stevia

9 am - sausage link w/a little cheese (less than 1 ounce)

1 pm - Wendy's Single - with cheese and everything except ketchup and bread

4 pm - 4 celery stalks (about 3" long) with peanut butter

6:30 pm - mixed greens salad with roast beef and blue cheese dressing

And that's it. And water to speak of (maybe 8 ounces) but lots of tea and one can of Coke Zero.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Today's food

Here's what I've had today:

8:00 am - cup of Hood milk (1/2 chocolate / 1/2 white)

Throughout the morning - 2 cups of coffee with s/f Coffee Mate and stevia

10:30-ish - Dannon peach yogurt (Carb Control)

1:30 - beef and shrimp fajitas with green peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, and a small amount of refried beans (no tortillas!)

6:30 - savoy steak, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce

And that's it so far...

I've also got to add a postscript...I can't get the time to show correctly on my postings. It's actually almost 8:00 pm, but the posting time says 5-something ... oh well!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Body Image

The stroll I've taken down memory lane the past several days has brought some old feelings to the surface. Looking through the old pictures to find a "before" shot was painful.

I've never enjoyed having my picture taken, especially when my weight was up. Of course, technically, my weight has always been "up", although there are degrees of obesity. I recognize that I look much better at 215 than I do at 270 ... at least on some level, that is.

However, there is a part of me that still sees the same girl as in my "before" picture when I look in the mirror. I have a boatload of problem areas that I am so not happy with -- my chin and neck, my upper arms, my stomach, my back, my butt, my chest, my upper legs -- the list goes on and on. When I look into the mirror, those areas are what I see. So it's hard.

Like many women, I can look at pictures of when I was right at 200 pounds (down 100 pounds from my heaviest) and think, you know, I looked pretty good. Of course, at the time, I was focusing on how much I still wanted to lose and those darn "problem areas". I didn't see the good when I looked in the mirror ... just the bad.

I do blame our culture for some of this. We continue to be a "thin is in" society, and fat people are one of the few groups of people who are regularly discriminated against with no or little consequence. I can remember having some anger when I lost quite a bit of weight and all of a sudden started getting attention from guys ... opening doors for me, talking to me, saying nice things to me when before they wouldn't have had the time of day. I was the same person and it made me so mad that they only saw the outside ... only cared about the outside.

But for me, I think the biggest source of my bad body image goes all the way back to when I was a little girl. Kids can be very, very cruel and I believe I bore more than my share of taunts and teasing. My parents didn't give me the affirmations that I needed ... that all little girls need. From a young child, I always felt like like there was definitely something wrong with me ... I was not like the other kids, and that was definitely not okay.

As an adult, I've been fortunate to have had counseling for a few different issues in my life, and some of it has centered around my relationship with food and my self-image as it relates to weight. I have learned a lot and I do feel better about myself than I used to. But it continues to be a struggle.

I think it would make such a difference in my life if I just felt like I was "okay" and not like there was some innate flaw in me. What would it feel like to be happy with myself as a person, happy with my appearance and with who I am and where I am? And ... why is that feeling so elusive?

Okay, I am ready to move on to other topics now! I'm not enjoying this...

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