Saturday, May 31, 2014

Drum roll please.....

Twelve point one pounds.  Yep.  12.1 lbs lost for the month of May.  That is freaking unbelievable.  Now... I think part of it was that I was on that blood pressure medicine that was making me hold water, but also.... A calorie is not a calorie to my body. I swear my body is an expert at converting sugars to fat on my body, but prefers to burn consumed fats especially, and protein.  I have not been very hungry, but I eat and I eat wisely for my body. I have tons of energy, and I have been consistently losing the pounds.  Most days for the last few weeks being daily drops on the scale - the most I have ever seen in my entire life.   It is truly remarkable.  That means I am 22.7 pounds down since April 3rd.  That's about 7 more pounds than I even Dreamed of reaching.

And my first real non scale victory. The shorts I bought for yard work to make it through the summer?  I can pull them down easily without undoing the button or zipper.  I'll keep them and belt them for gardening, but I just got those 4 weeks ago! If I have time, tomorrow I'll take measurements, but I might not have time until Wednesday as I teach tomorrow morning and the Monday and Tuesday my son has college orientation.

Friday, May 30, 2014

I can't think of a darn thing I want to say that I haven't already said?

Yep... here we are at 5 pm and I have nothing to say. Me? I always have something to say! Always!

It's boring to say again, "The scale is down again today." It's true though. I stepped on the scale this morning I thought it read that I had a slight gain, but turns out it was .7 loss! But... it's not the end of the month (yet) so I can't make it my monthly tally AND I don't want to take measurements, because it's not the end of the month, so I wait... and hope the scale stays the same weight (or lower) tomorrow.

Home is 'home'. I'm avoiding doing housework because I HATE IT and I'm just not in the mood for it.

It's just a blah Friday. How's that for a boring update?

I do have a peeve though... why do those little frozen burgers you can grill have so many calories? How come beef and lamb in GENERAL have so many calories? They don't make me any fuller than fish or chicken, yet have double the calories for the same size of meat? Tonight I am grilling burgers. A SINGLE patty with a slice of cheese and half a burger bun is 500 calories. That burgers gets to be the size of half the burger bun - like 2.5" diameter and skinny. Where are the 285 calories in that? It's a bummer! SERIOUSLY!

But that's all I got folks! Waiting for tomorrow!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Satisfying hunger - why are we all so different?

I'm in an interesting discussion about satisfying hunger, essentially and what it boils down to, we are all different. It takes a LOT OF FOOD to make me feel satisfied and not hungry. Takes hardly any food at all for my teenaged son. He is one of those people who don't eat much until after noon and then snacks on and off all the rest of the day.  My husband eats so differently from me too. He eats a moderate breakfast, small lunch, usually a big dinner and then an evening snack. I could eat and did eat neck and neck with my husband  and I didn't feel as satisfied as he does. I still needed more food to feel satisfied. So either my hunger button is sticky and I don't know when I'm full or I really do have a bigger appetite for food and my body just prefers to store fat. Who knows.

But, what I do know is that I feel much happier with eating that allows me to have big meals over small meals. I am LOVING having huge dinners. Now... it's still moderate compared to how much I would LIKE to eat... I never, ever eat as much as I want to eat, but I at least feel like I'm eating something substantial.

So that means, for me, right now, I prefer barely eating all day, so that I can enjoy a very hearty dinner.  So, I'm practicing a type of intermittent fasting. It feels so great to just eat portion sizes I've eaten almost my entire adult life (minus the starchy foods).

A typical day has come down to coffee with half and half in the morning and I might have 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter for lunch and then a dinner of about 800 calories of meat and veggies with olive oil or avocado, etc for fats. Almost every night I could eat more meat or more salad than I allow myself as I really could eat a TON of food if I eat freely - easily 5000 calories a day, but I get so much enjoyment of a big plate of food every night - when I have family around me to eat with me. I can only do that, if I eat very little the rest of the day and so far that has been easy enough to do.

I do get thrown off on days my family is around more - especially my husband. I have my usual half caffeinated coffee with half and half in the morning, but then I have lunch with him (bigger with him around than by myself) and then I have an iced coffee (with whole milk) later in the day and so by dinner time I've already consumed a big chunk of calories for the day which leaves me much less left over for dinner.  BUT... I still feel as hungry as if I hadn't consumed more during the day. I still want to eat that huge dinner, but don't really have the calorie budget to do it! Well, I could do it, but then that would slow down the weight loss. And right now? It's all about getting the weight down quickly. I have the motivation and desire to get out of this dreaded state I'm in as quickly as possible. I got here quickly. I want to leave "here" quickly.

And I'm really beginning to see it. I don't think I look OBESE any more, but just significantly overweight. Or, it's that I just feel better and more energetic so that I don't feel obese. Whatever it is, I'm feeling better and better, but I still enjoy big meals! A small meal is just depressing to me. When I eat, I want to EAT!

And with that said, the scale went down again this morning. That must mean that ovulation is going to be delayed as this is NOT my usual pattern. I'll take it though - 222.1, so 10.9 pounds for the month (so far). Let's see if I can squeeze any more out of this month or not!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation day and a record month!

Well, today was the day.  My teenage son graduated from high school!  My younger son said about halfway through the ceremony, "this is boring". And, at about 3/4s of the way through the graduate's names, "I'm going to die" (much to the amusement of the adults all around him who were probably thinking the same thing, but don't dare say it). We survived.... No tears or sadness, but happy to see it done.  It's been a rough 13 years of school for this very smart, very thoughtful, but very disorganized young man.

I told my husband that it doesn't feel weird to think of him graduating high school, but it is still weird to me he has to shave already! (And he's been shaving for a couple years now).  And, so, the obligatory graduation photos.  After seeing these I realized I'm the only one in the immediate family without red hair somewhere.  My boys have red hair and my husband has a red beard - all the same shade.  Maybe I need to dye my hair?

And,  today I did something I've never done.  I lost 10 pounds in a month.  Scale today read 222.4, so that is 10.6 pounds since May 1st. Yay me!

But to the graduating senior!

Only 9 more years to go until our second child graduates high school! Eek! Class of 2023? Does that sound like the far future to anyone else but me?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In fall and winter I want to EAT and in spring and summer - who cares about food!

Yesterday and today it is getting hot and because of that, I have NO interest in food at all. I almost think we should keep the air conditioning really at minimum so that I stay a little hot so that I'm not hungry!  Seriously, it is 2:25 pm and all I've had to do is my coffee in the morning with half and half and I am so not hungry and when I think about food the only thing that sounds good is a cold salad.

I've been that way for as long as I can remember. When the warm weather rolls around I think about grilled meats with lots and lots and lots of salads. I think about strawberries, watermelon, peaches and maybe ice cream, light food.

Come fall and winter, I'm thinking roasted meats with brussel sprouts and beets and potatoes. I want hearty soups, gravies and cakes and cookies - heavy food.

I know I'm not alone in this and it almost certainly has some evolutionary basis (bulk up in fall for the lean, hard winter) and eat the fresh foods you couldn't have gotten in 'olden times' during spring and summer. Salad in winter? Barely ever interested. Soups in summer? NO WAY - unless it's a chilled soup.

So, it's making weight loss efforts easier as the foods I want to eat are lighter and when I'm hot, the appetite turns OFF. I'm much more interested in a tall, cold herbal (nonsweetened) iced tea! Ahhh!!!

When you think about it, even the party/celebration foods for spring/summer is lighter and different. For Memorial Day and July 4th it's all about grilled foods and salads (though for many it's those awful potato salads - ick!). It's corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, etc. In the cooler months it's roast turkey and all the trimmings, baked ham,  potatoes and cookies. It's a lot easier to eat better for the summer parties than winter ones, at least it is for me.

We didn't do anything big for the memorial day weekend - we spent a lot of time on the deck and just relaxed now that my son is done with school. Eating was easy and clean - no high calorie days.

Weight is going up though as it seems with my thyroid coming back in line, my menstrual cycle is regulating. So, today is day 9 and like clock work (for me) the scale is up .7 I'll probably see steady gains for the next week and then I'll start this month's "whoosh". Hoping to get into the 2-teens by mid June!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I feel like I indulged so much

...but I really didn't!  This morning I had my normal coffee with half and half for breakfast and a sampling of the chocolate butter cream I was using to ice cupcakes.  Then, we had a reception after our usual Sunday meeting and I had a bit of cheese and homemade crackers and one tiny mini cupcake I made for the event.

When I got home, husband wanted iced coffee, so I had some with him. Plus, the Oreos were just calling me.  I had 2 and as I was hungry, a tablespoon and half of peanut butter.  Dinner rolled around and I had a nice salad and a good helping of grilled pork. And, as I have had almost every night a square of dark chocolate for dessert.

I had sweets, I had snacks and my calories for today came in at 1500. That is my target top limit for most days. So even on this special occasion day I managed to stay within the caloric budget and felt I really indulged.

How can my perspective change so much?  7 weeks ago I was gobbling 3000-4000 calories a day!  Now a 1500 calorie day feels indulgent? And I'm not saying I feel guilty for eating what I ate or feeling out of control and just wanting to eat junk.  No. I made choices today and I'm ok with those choices. I feel like I had good meals and treats and feel fully satisfied. Oh how I wish I could keep this feeling always versus falling into that abyss I was in for months. I don't ever want to go back there again.

We spent hours on the deck yesterday and today and that outdoor time, at home, just makes my mood soar.  I cannot explain it.  Gardening itself is a mood lifter, but this gorgeous weather and a shaded deck with beautiful nature and flowers around me? It just takes me over the top.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Twenty pounds down since April 3nd

April 1st I stepped on the scale at home. It read 241.6. April 2nd AND April 3rd (so it couldn't be a fluke) it read 243.6. Today I reached exactly, to the ounce 20 pounds since April 3rd. That is 20 pounds in 7 weeks and 2 days. That is remarkable fast. But I also gained that 20 pounds remarkably fast - I think I gained in it about 2 months too.

Things I'm doing differently this time, versus last time is that I'm being more 'free' with what I eat and I've switched to a type of intermittent fasting. It jives much better with family eating and I feel less hungry overall.

So, for breakfast I have half caff. coffee with a half cup of half and half. It's a luxuriously wonderful coffee. The fat in that coffee keeps me satisfied until 1 pm-ish. I then eat a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, maybe an apple with it too - depending on how famished I feel.

That keeps me satisfied until 6:30 pm when we have dinner. Then, because I've only eaten 300-400 calories so far for the day, I can eat as much as I want of dinner (minus the startchy carb). I can have a big piece of meat, tons of veggies, etc. Our dinners are always the most varied meal of the day, so I get to truly enjoy it. Like, last night we had scrambled eggs (made with butter) with a red pepper, purple onion and avocado salad. It was delicious!

What I'm also doing differently is that if I really want a sweet or starchy treat, I allow it - in small doses. Like, after gardening for 7 plus hours the other day, I let myself have an ice cream sandwich (180 calories). Last night at dinner I also made homemade garlic bread (italian bread smothered in chopped garlic and butter). I let myself have two thin, small slices of that for about 300 calories.  I keep those in check, but I won't deny myself them.

Mostly, I think allowing a really nice, scrumptious BIG dinner where I actually feel full has been wonderful. And for whatever reason, I am able to manage hunger during the day with a bit of fat. That leaves me with 700-900 calories for dinner at night! Yay!

I'm also not killing myself with exercise. I AM exercising and getting faster, but I'm keeping it at walking for now. I should be able to walk my entire life and some of the healthiest people I know are walkers. So.... I walk and I am already getting faster. On a walk with my husband and older son the other day they said, "Why are you running?" TWICE. I hadn't even realized I had picked up my pace that much.

And, about yesterday's post. The skies didn't fall in. I didn't die. AND, I did it!

Plan for the day is mowing and gardening and cooking. Love this time of year!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Two things in the last 24 hours about loving our bodies

I didn't go searching for this video and article, but one was shared on Facebook and another was shared on a weight loss forum.  Check them out:

Ten Reasons I Love My Ugly Body

and this video:

Body Image Movement

That then led me to search for her blog. Now people? How can she hate her body? She still looks pretty darn good to me!

About Taryn Brumfitt Blog

Both of these things hit on how hard we are on our bodies. Howe we simply are so unaccepting of the bodies we have.  Under the video I watched on Facebook, there were several comments blaming men for how we hate our bodies, but really? It's the men who expect perfection? Think back to your childhood women... how many young boys ridiculed your body? How many girls? How about your dad? Your mom? WHERE did you hear the negative talk? Was it anyone? Or is it our own self talk based on what we see in the media?

As a kid, I would say it was equal between boys and girls with negative talk: "You walk like a duck." "Why do you have so many freckles? Yuck!" Stuff like that.

But mostly, no one said much about my looks in a negative way. Sure, I heard some things, but when I think on it, I heard as many (if not more - well for sure more) positive comments too. Like, "You have beautiful hair." And "When you wear makeup you have one of the prettiest faces I've ever seen." "You are beautiful."  Even TYPING that has me feeling squeamish! WHY? Why is it OK to bash how we look? "I have wobbly thighs." "I have have a really squishy, flabby stomach". I have no weird feelings about saying that! That is WRONG!!!

I think I thought I was imperfect because I didn't have a magazine or Hollywood body. No one told me, I just saw for myself what a body should look like and then saw how mine didn't measure up. It's those images of perfect that we see and nothing else. We need to start seeing more "reality". Heck, even Shape magazine didn't want to show a "real" body recently.

My Body is Real and I Won't be Made to Feel Ashamed...

And all this time while I have been talking very honestly about how I feel about my body and my thoughts, I have never shared a photo of me in a vulnerable way. I showed in progress photos, and "before" photos well after I had gotten better, so I somewhat disassociated myself from "that" Melissa. Why? Because, I cannot say I love my body. I do not love it's wobbles and imperfections.

I am adding to the problem of only showing perfection by hiding myself as I really look. Why? Because I'm embarrassed by my imperfections.

Heck, even when I was a teen and my body was as close to perfect it would ever be, I hated my body. I had boobs that pointed south and were too big. I had a rounded abdomen (rock hard, but not flat). I had freckles. I was built big, not cute and petite. When I look back now, I realize dang! I was crazy for thinking that!

So... it's time for me to start loving my body and showing my body. My body has put up with my abuses with no sign of long term health damage. It has given birth naturally to two huge, healthy babies (10 lbs 9 ozs and 11 lbs 14 ozs). It has laughed thousands of times, cried hundreds of times. It's lost and gained hundreds of pounds. It's been through a lot. But it's all I have and I need to come to love it for I will not get another one.

My husband loves my body when I take care of it. He doesn't mind the scars and loose skin. He can see the healthy, active me. He can do something I have not been able to do.  So, it's time for me to get there too.

I am not mentally ready to share any photos of me "now" in the near buff (but I took some just now), as well, it's even hard for me to look at myself let alone share it to the masses

I had this all written up and was ready to hit "publish" when I realized, "I'm still hiding". "I'm still not being real." "Melissa, this is what this post is all about!" "You have to show the you now and start accept the you now!"  "What are you really hiding from? THIS IS REALITY."

So.... here I go... being brave. This is me at 223.7 pounds - 52 pounds from my top weight, and 20 pounds lighter than I was 7 weeks ago.

I compare that to the two I took as I was really close to goal two years ago - it's about as perfect as this once weighed 275 pounds, 42 year old body, was going to get. This is me at 170 pounds, 105 less than my top weight - with 18 months of dieting and exercise. I wanted to wear a bikini when I got to goal as that was the best I would ever get to - with aging it would just continue to get worse. After trying on a bikini for these shots, I decided I don't have a bikini body and never will. So, I gave up that idea. I was too imperfect and I swore no one would ever see these photos.

But this is my body at its best two years ago and since then I've abused it more by adding more weight. Should I go on hating it and mistreating it or should I come to peace with it and realize that it is what it is and I need to love the body I have, thus treating it better by exercising and losing weight? I cannot change my body for another one. And I am the one who abused it and I probably did abuse it because I didn't care about it. I didn't care about ME. That's so wrong! I have to love my body to care about taking care of it!

I will truly try to start to love and care for my body. It will probably take the next 44 years to undo the first 44 years of loathing. But I need to start on that path!

Now I will cringe as I hit "publish".  Being "real" is hard.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Restless legs and trends I notice

I started to have problems with restless legs (RLS) just after my oldest son was born. I couldn't sleep because my legs were sooooo restless. It was so awful, but it went away.  I didn't experience it again until about halfway through the pregnancy with my second son. I was miserable and there was nothing I could do about it, or so I thought - no medication, anyway.

This time it didn't go away. I still had bouts of it. Things that tended to make it flare up was lack of sleep and sitting too much. Things got a bit worse as I got heavier.

Just after we moved to this new house, I started to have serious problems with it. I was having horrible sleep night after night. I learned a few yoga poses that helped (see here), but I was beginning to go crazy with it. But then when I started getting my fitness and weight in order, it disappeared except for rare occasions. I would only get it when I was super sleep deprived or I had way too much physical activity in the day.

With my regain, I've had some more problems, but nothing terrible. Two nights ago being the exception. I was waking up for what seemed constantly with restless legs. So, I did some looking. It seems to be random when I get the symptoms again, but now when I think about it more, there are triggers.

See here about some things you can/should change to help with RLS:

8 Lifestyle Tweaks for Restless Legs Syndrome

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

1. Get hot and cold.

Take a warm bath or shower before you go bed to relax, says Jessica Vensel Rundo, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. She also recommends using cold or warm compresses on your legs. The temperature of the compress may also distract your muscles if you’re feeling the tingly sensations of RLS.

2. Move and massage.

Janis Lopes, 73, learned she had RLS more than 25 years ago. Lopes, who runs an RLS support group in southern California, says she finds relief from restless legs by getting up and moving.
  • Stretch your legs before bedtime. For instance, flex your ankles to stretch your calf muscles.
  • Choose an aisle seat on a plane or in a theater. And then take advantage of it -- get up and move around.
  • Massage your legs. It's a kind of "counter-stimulation" to the sensations of RLS, Vensel Rundo says.

3. Review your medications.

With your doctor, go over all the medications you take, including even those that don't need a prescription. 
Some allergy and cold medications, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, and anti-nausea drugs, for instance, may worsen RLS symptoms. There are often other options that you could try in their place.

4. Be active, but don't overdo it.

You need to be active, just like everyone else, for your best health. With RLS, you should avoid sudden changes in your activity level, such as suddenly starting to train for a marathon or quitting your usual routine. 
"People who have RLS function best with the same amount of activity daily," Asher says. Doing a lot more or less than that might worsen your RLS symptoms. 

5. Back off of caffeine.

Giving up coffee, chocolate, caffeinated sodas, and other caffeine-containing foods may help you wind down for better sleep. 
''If somebody is having bad symptoms of RLS, getting rid of caffeine isn't going to solve their problem," says neurologist Irving Asher, MD, of the University of Missouri Health System. "But if the case is mild, it may make a significant difference.''

6. Avoid alcohol.

It might help you fall asleep, but alcohol will also wake you up in the middle of the night. When that happens, Asher says, your restless legs may bother you even more.

7. Eat a healthy diet.

Everyone needs to do this, and if you have RLS, it's even more important. 
Some cases of RLS are linked to not having enough iron. Supplementing with iron may help. 
Magnesium supplements might also be a good idea, though it's not clear how it helps, Vensel Rundo says. Talk to your doctor before starting magnesium supplements, and about what dose, since too much magnesium can cause diarrhea.  
While you're at it, get all of your supplements on your medical record, even if products are natural and don't need a prescription. That way, your records are up to date and your doctor can watch out for any side effects.

8. Upgrade your sleep habits.

Check that you're doing everything you can to make your sleep the best it can be, starting tonight. 
  • Go to bed at the same time each night. 
  • Get up at the same time every day. 
  • Finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime, so you have time to digest. 
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and primed for sleep.
The times I have noticed recently that I have problems are when I'm seriously sleep deprived, too hot in bed, too active during the day, and drinking alcohol.

The other day I was gardening for 7 hours (at least). And at other times I was making lunch and dinner for the family. I was on my feet all day long. I should have slept great, but I didn't. Take a look:

I was up for an hour in the middle of the night and then sporadically later in the night. When I woke up I felt unrested and after such a long day on my feet working! It made no sense.

Yesterday I took it easier as I had several appointments to take my son and last night I crashed and slept great.

Notice the difference? And I only woke up around 2 am because my husband was coming to bed which disturbed me slightly for a few minutes.

So, I need to remember that exercise is good, very good for controlling restless legs, but TOO much is bad, bad, bad. Not that there's much I can do about it, but at least I can be aware of the consequences.

I hate RLS, but like most things we ail from as a society, I think it's mostly self-inflicted.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gardening is great for the aesthetics, soul, and waistline

Yesterday I finally got around to planting.  I had gotten the plants a week before, but just didn't feel like planting. I looked at the forecast and our schedule and realized I needed to do it now as the rains were coming and I would prefer the plants to get a good soaking in the ground than in their little pots. So, I set to work yesterday.

First, I had to weed. I barely had any weeds in the front garden, but had tons in the side and back gardens. After weeding everything, I started planting in the front yard, moved to do the two side yard flower beds, and finished in the two back yard flower beds. Near dusk I planted the 11 deck planters, the two raised herb planters and all the pots and baskets in the front yard (10 of them).  I finished the day by walking around collecting all the now empty plastic pots. That's all I had the energy or the time for yesterday. I was SPENT. I spent at least 7 hours on gardening and yard work yesterday and I felt great about it.

When I woke up today, I was so sore, but also the scale gave me a big present. I was down 1.4 pounds from yesterday. When I tabulated my food and exercise from yesterday, it predicted I lost half a pound with just gardening for exercise and that was way underestimating how much I did.

I have a couple appointments today, but between them, I did some minor gardening. Last year I got a toad house and made it into a gnome garden.  This year I found a second smaller house and expanded the gnome garden.  Last year on a huge clearance sale I got stuff to make a fairy garden, but never got around to it. I started on that today. It's going to be so cute! I am making one pot the fairy home, but then throughout the container garden on the deck I will make little vignettes in the plants showing other fairy hiding spots.  I can't wait to get it all set up!

So, the gardening was definitely good for the waist line!  But as I look around my yard, I realize it makes our home look better, and getting out and digging in the dirt is just good for the soul.  There is something deeply satisfying about gardening. I only wish I could grow food! Our 4 figs in enormous pots all died this winter as it got toooooo cold. Though, one of them has sprouted at the roots, so it didn't completely die, but it's starting over.  Also, of the things I planted yesterday, I planted perilla, which is great for salad, sushi, using like grape leaves too for things like dolmades. I am seriously hoping the rabbits, deer, and groundhogs have no interest in it!

And, while all the gardening and planting is not all done, here are several photos of the cute stuff - the gnome garden and the beginnings of the fairy sanctuary. First photo is the path leading from the driveway to our front door. My husband and I put that in two years ago. Last year I made a gnome garden. This is how it looked a few days ago before I added the second house and more little perennials around it. It gives you an idea of scale:

Now how it looks with more things added to it:

Then, the container garden will become the fairy sanctuary. I haven't gotten the plants into the pots or made the little vignettes yet, but I think it will be darling. Here's the start of it. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to put in the glass house. Right now I have some mini fountains and pots and a bench, but those will probably get spread around to other pots nearby for other "park like" spots for a fairy to visit. I like the start though!

And here is how it looks if you step back (without the plants in their pots yet):

And all the rest of the fairy stuff I have to put around yet! I am not loving all the different colors - black, white, sage, brown... I might spray paint it all one color so the look like they belong together as a group.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Prom, Pomp, and Progress

This past weekend was my older son's HS prom. His school only does senior prom and he wasn't sure he was going to go, but a group of his friends talked him into it. They all went as a group, though they were loosely paired up (some as friends, some as actual couples).

This was a big to-do for us as my 17 year old son had NO formal attire. We looked at the price of rental tuxes and decided it made more sense to buy a suit and the rest than to spend almost half as much for a one day rental as he will wear the suit again in the next few years.

So, a couple weeks ago we went shopping for shoes, socks, suit, dress shirt, tie, and cuff links. We got a couple ties and a couple shirts as he has graduation the following week and they need to wear a light/white shirt and dark based tie.

I never went to prom. No one asked me and I was too chicken to ask anyone else. My husband, being from Europe, never had prom, so this was a whole new things for us. But it was good. My son is an extremely logically based, non-extravagant kind of person, so it wasn't an overly expensive adventure, especially when you consider it was entertainment for 12 hours - 4:30 pm to 4:30 am, but even for him he had to weigh the, "how much am I paying to go to this thing and is it worth it?"

He looked so sharp. His grandmother was smothering him (and driving him nuts), but she still had a quibble, "If only you had a masculine haircut." Dude, he has GORGEOUS, super thick, copper colored wavy hair that all the girls (and some guys) can't keep their hands out of and are so jealous of. And he always wears it pulled back so it almost looks as if he has short hair. Plus, really? It's 2014.... why do men STILL need to wear their hair short but some ridiculous standards and WHY does it matter? There are so many ways kids can try to stand out. I'm happy he chose to grow his hair versus wanting tattoos or piercings!

Anyway, here he is:

Everyone says he looks like his dad, which he does, but he truly is a good mix of the two of us. He has my husband's build and height, eyes and eyebrows, but he has a lot of my features too, like hairline, smile, and smaller, finer details. Basically yes, he has two parents and he's not a clone of either of us.

Now is his last week of classes. Then next week it's graduation. We aren't doing anything big for graduation. He barely decided to even attend his graduation, but he finally admitted he might miss seeing all his friends.  As you can see, we aren't big into pomp and circumstance and big "to-dos" in this family.

And now that I'm touched on prom and pomp, let me talk about progress.  On Friday when the kids were getting their photos taken for prom a lot of the parents were there. I was the heaviest mom by far. NONE of the other moms were overweight. I'm always extremely aware of that. I hate being the fattest in a group!

But progress is happening. I went down a bit more. I'm now at 225.4. I can definitely see it in my face and I can feel it in my knees and tailbone that I'm carrying much less weight. The other sign or progress that I'm getting smaller is the skirt I bought to "get by" this spring is fitting much looser. I broke down and bought a size 16 skirt with a bit of stretch. I have been wearing it every week to teach Sunday school for the last 2.5 months - just changing the top week to week. Well, when I bought the skirt, it wasn't tight, but it "fit". Now, it can spin around me as I don't stretch the material at all. I probably have 3-4 weeks left to wear it at all and then it will be unwearable.

I'm not quite sure what to do with fat clothes. I have NO PLAN to ever regain, but I felt that way last time too. Part of me feels I should keep a few "what if" basics - like this basic skirt. But I don't know how I really feel about it.

I also just inherited 3 pairs of pants from my mother in law who has dropped 11 pounds the past few months. She was wearing size 14s (and some 12s depending on the brand) and so she can't wear them any more. They fit me perfectly, so I have, for now, a few pairs of jeans if I need them. However, with summer being here soon, I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of them before needing to donate them.

She is now solidly in size 12s. I also know she weighs 157 pounds. Man, how differently we are built. I wore 10s at 170-180 pounds and at 165 I was starting to wear 8s. She was 169-172 when she wore those 14s. I am 225. Weird, isn't it? And I DO NOT have small hips!

OK, I should be gardening before all the plants in pots croak. Ugh... no desire to dig in the dirt today!

Friday, May 16, 2014

How accurate are gizmos for counting calories and predicting weight loss?

I'm going to keep checking on this as I go, month by month, but my impression is, they are wildly inaccurate. So far, I have been tracking my daily caloric intake on Mynetdiary (though I don't always include my exercise for the day, so if anything, they will be under counting how much of a caloric deficit I have). And I track my activity and enter my caloric intake on bodymedia fit for the gizmo, bodymedia fit core.

I don't have records for a full month yet as I was only sporadically counting calories at the end of the day in mid-April and didn't start wearing my gizmo full time until the end of April as I needed to larger armband, but they do figure in averages of what they "think" I would burn in a day (bodymedia), or exclude those days for figuring (mynetdiary).

What both come up with is that I'm burning "around" 1200-1250 extra calories a day more than I am actually consuming.

Here is the info from Mynetdiary which does weekly reports (as always click on the picture/chart to make larger):

I don't have any data for the first week, but let's "say" it's a 1200 average daily deficit, which is about right as I was on target every day - even the day I went to the baby shower and had a piece of cake, I ate within the normal calorie limit for the day. So, week one is 1200, week two is 1179, week three is 1285 and week four is 1255. that equals a four week average daily caloric deficit of 1230.

Now let's look at bodymedia fit's info for the last 21 days:

This information has all my sleep, step count and entered calories eaten for most of the 3 week period. I didn't wear the gizmo the first few days as I was waiting for the larger arm band. So, for the first 5 days, it's giving me less activity time than I usually do, so again, if anything, it's under counting caloric deficit for that time period.  So, according to this report, I am burning an extra 1239 calories a day.

One calculator says 1230, another says 1239. That's pretty close. So, let's take the average of those two and that makes it 1235. What does that then translate into a prediction of weight lost during that time? Well, 1243 times 28 days equals 34,580 calories. Divide that by 3500 (which is the number of calories in a pound) and that gives you losing 9.88 pounds in 28 days, or 10.5 pounds in a month (30 days).

Of course, it's not that simple. Even notice how a pound equals 3500 calories is a bit too precise? Well, it isn't 3500 calories precisely, of course and it's difficult to find the 'real' numbers. There are several things that talk about it, but what you learn is that the 3500 is an estimation.  Here is this from

1lb does not equal 3,500 calories

One of the most commonly held diet myths is “To lose one pound of fat you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories”. This is wrong at every level. First of all, one pound does not equal 3,500 calories. You will see this formula in government literature, in just about every diet book, in private health booklets and all over the internet. The next time you see it, or hear it, ask where it comes from. You will not get an answer. (I asked the following seven UK organisations: the National Health Service (NHS); the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE); the Department of Health; the National Obesity Forum; the Association for the Study of Obesity; the British Dietetic Association and Dieticians in Obesity Management and five of these have no idea where it even comes from. The two that tried to prove it failed by a factor of about ten.)
The first part of the calorie formula is the assertion that one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. You will struggle to find anyone who can demonstrate the precise calculation behind this, so I’ll offer this as a suggestion:
1)    One pound equals 454 grams (decimal places aside, this is a fact);
2)    Fat has nine calories per gram (this is the universally accepted conversion, but it is an estimate and significantly rounded down from even the original estimate);
3)    Human fat tissue is approximately 87% lipid (this is a widely accepted conversion, but it is also an estimate).
Putting these together, we can derive the sum that 454 grams of body fat tissue has approximately the calorific energy of 395 grams of pure fat (454 grams x 87%), that is 3,555 calories (395 grams x 9).
3,555 is close enough to 3,500 you may think, until you see the absurdity of how precisely the formula is applied. According to those who believe this formula, this difference of 55 calories (in this case from the calculation being approximate) would make five to six pounds difference a year. The National Obesity Forum web site states “one less (sic) 50 calorie plain biscuit per day could help you lose 5lbs (2.3kg) in a year – and one extra biscuit means you could gain that in a year!” (Ref 2) No it won’t. I can’t even get an estimate of the formula to closer than 55 calories ‘out’. Even if the 3,555 were correct (and it isn’t), this would mean we all need a 55 calorie biscuit, no fewer, every day or we will be five pounds lighter in a year anyway. Every person who didn’t have that biscuit every day should have lost 141 pounds over the past 25 years.
With little effort I can find evidence in obesity journals that fat has anywhere between 8.7 and 9.5 calories per gram. The same (1911) obesity journal that says that human fat tissue can be 87% lipid also says that it may be 72% lipid.
Taking the extremes of these, we can establish a range whereby one pound of fat could contain anywhere between 2,843 and 3,752 calories. Given that it is currently held that one pound is 3,500 calories we could (according to this formula) inadvertently gain six stone every year at the low end of the calculation and lose almost two stone in the same year if one pound is 3,752 calories. Don’t worry about any of this – because the formula doesn’t hold at any other level either.
But there is even more. Heavier people lose more weight and more quickly. I think everyone has either witnessed it or experienced it. Weight loss slows as you go along. And why is that? Well, there's lots of reasons and I wont detail them all. 
  1. Your metabolism slows as you go along and your body adapts to this new caloric deficit
  2. Some people get more lax with their plan as they progress as they get more satisfied with how they look and/or feel. Or perhaps even find it more difficult to stick to the plan with sustained lower calorie diets.
  3. You burn less calories as you get thinner because it takes less calories to move a thinner body.
  4. And more...

In my last foray with weight loss I lost about 8-9 pounds per month the first few months and then it dropped little by little. By the end, I was happy to see a 3 pound loss for the month and I was working WAY harder to see that 3 pound loss too. The gizmos do change their formula a bit as you get thinner and a bit when you get older, but not enough usually as they don't figure in how long you've been at the diet - so they don't figure in any metabolic slow down you might have experienced - which ISN'T huge I want to say. You do not slow it down by more than 10% and it will usually recover when you've been maintaining for awhile.

So, back to what these gizmos predicted for me to lose and that was with under counting my activity level for both the mynetdiay calculator and the bodymedia fit calculator. According to them I should have lost 10.5 pounds in the last month. What I actually lost was exactly 9 pounds. Now, I think that is really, really good, but what if I had actually added in all my activity? It probably would say I should have lost 11.5 pounds for the month. That's a 20% inaccuracy!

But even all this that I have laid out is still inaccurate. I didn't lose just fat, but also lean mass and water. I didn't burn precisely 3500 calories to lose each pound and each of my meals were not those exact calories either. My fuji apple could have been anywhere between 90-150 calories, that piece of pork could have had more or less fat on it than an average piece and so on. These are ALLLLL estimates, but I wanted to get a baseline to show how it looks "now" and how it will compare to future months when everything slows down, yet the gizmos will keep telling me I "should" be losing at a much faster rate.

Even though I know the gizmos are highly inaccurate, I still find them fun and motivational and anything that keeps me on target for longer is good! I won't get discouraged when it tells me I should have lost 8 pounds and only lost 3 in a month when I get close to goal. I promise?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Today I noticed a physical difference and a food difference

Today I went shopping for something silly, but necessary. I needed jeans or jean shorts so that I can do some gardening and other grub work. Since I have SOOOOO few clothes that fit me right now, I only have a couple "good" things for teaching/working and then a couple fitness skirts and fitness tops. That material is more sensitive to snags and staining and I DO NOT want to snag and stain those as I should be able to wear them through the summer as they are stretchy and have a lot of give to them - getting more bang for the buck, but I know me, I will not wear stained or ruined clothes, especially in public!

I first went to Goodwill. Man is it hard to find stuff at Goodwill. I ended up at TJMaxx and got a pair there for $10 - the same price as at Goodwill! They fit now and probably not for long, but I truly need gardening clothes and when I garden? I get DIRTY!!!!! Nothing but jeans material will work - no way.

But, while at TJMaxx I tried on a couple things. I hate that I'm still so big, but I could see in their awful mirrors that I am deflating. Mostly, I'm noticing my gut is deflating. It's where I got the biggest and it's where it is coming off the fastest, thank goodness. 

My husband remarked on it the last time I lost weight and it's true this time too. I don't get much narrower side to side (though I do, of course), but I get less wide front to back. So, today when I was standing at a mirror, I could see I was less wide. I didn't looks "as" fat. Fat, yes, but not as fat as I was 6 weeks ago.

And today with the scale I am down a bit more. here's what it looks like right now:

I have no idea what that top pink line represents. I need to do some searching, but the lower dotted line is the weight loss since I started April 1st. Mostly downward trend, but a few bobbles up. My first month goal was 10 pounds. I got to 9 pounds lost. This second month I hoped for 7 pounds lost. So far I am .4 away from that. That is 16 pounds down in 6.5 weeks.  Oh, if only it stayed that easy and weight kept dropping at that rate! I KNOW that it will just keep slowing down as I get closer and closer to goal, but this quick beginning at least helps keep the head in the game.

And I am finding it quite easy to stick to it. Today I bought donuts for an occasion. I even moved them from the box to a plate - not even tempted to eat one.

I'm finding in general it's much easier to eat less and to have less cravings for sweets and I think I'm beginning to figure out why. This time I am keeping my carbohydrate overall numbers and percentage even lower than last time. I just did a nutritional analysis and it looks like this:

This is still not very accurate, as I don't always put the foods in the right meals, and don't care to get the overall composition of foods right, but calorie number right instead when I input foods (like an entry for taco salad will include more carbs that I eat as I don't eat it with taco shells, for instance).  With that said, it's 'fairly' accurate picture of what I eat. It's proteins and carbs are about equal and fats a bit more. It doesn't like that I eat eggs, full fat dairy, and meat. Notice though, there's more fat from the avocados, olive oils and nuts as I eat more of those than the other.

Anyway, on average I'm eating 87 carbs a day. And that INCLUDES days that I had a big piece of cake, and Easter weekend and Mother's Day. Those were much higher carb days. When I look day by day excluding holidays/special events, it's more like 60 grams of carbs a day. The last time I did this? I was averaging 110 - 120. It's  HALF of what I did before and... I'm less hungry and have less cravings. I thought I had the cravings under control before... no... not as well as this time.

Last time I relied heavily on high protein nutrition bars for snacks and sometimes meals. I ate one every day for breakfast and oftentimes a second one as a snack. That alone was 40-50 grams of carbs right there - those two low carb protein bars! Then, I would eat an apple for lunch and that large apple is about 30 grams of carbs. Now I'm up to 70-80 grams and I haven't even had dinner yet!

So, this time, I'm not eating protein bars. I am finding that for breakfast I'm good to go with just a decaf coffee with a half cup of half and half. I drink that at 7:30 am and then I don't need to eat until noon. At noon I eat an apple with peanut butter (3 tbsp of peanut butter!) or I make 2 eggs with a tablespoon of butter and a sausage patty. That keeps me full until dinner at 6:30 pm. At dinner I then eat a HUGE helping of non starchy vegetables. Like HUGE helpings of veggies, with a 6-8ozs piece of meat.  And then I'm full for the rest of the day. Well... full isn't the right word. I don't stay full, but I don't get hungry!

Lower carb is the way to go for me. Even lower than I thought I needed to go last time. Or, it at least seems that way for now!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Changes in my attitude

The last time I lost weight, I had all these little rewards along the way.  I took photos every 20 pounds, etc. I was discovering a me I hadn't seen in many, many years.  After awhile, where I had never been as an adult!

This time, I just want to get to where I was. I have no desire to take photos after 20 pounds, 10 pounds, nothing.  I know what I'll look like.  I looked like that just two years ago.  I'll take measurements if and when I deal with stalls or feel things aren't moving in the right direction, but I don't even feel a need to do that as regularly.

Also, there is no allure of shopping for clothes. I have a closet full of clothes waiting for me. I bought a few clothes that will hopefully transition until I can get into the smaller sizes.

The only thing that I am looking at right now is 200 pounds.  I want to be under that.  I want to never go over it again.  This time for real! It's like I can't get there fast enough. And while I have a lot to lose after getting to 200 pounds, that will at least get me in the same hundreds!  I have no desire to get to 160 like I was hoping to get to before. That super ambitiousness has left me.  But I do want to get to 175 and stay there. Mostly though, I want to be able to keep my eating forever in check. I don't like the feeling of being out of control.

Everything is already done... Gizmos, clothes, workout material,etc.  I just need to get there!

(Edited for ghastly typos that always happen when I post from my iPad).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Things I noticed with the rapid weight gain

As I've said, and as you have seen in real life, I gained a lot of weight, really quickly. I was able to see where the weight went and I was able to see how it affected me physically.

First, I could see that my skin filled out. All that loose skin I had never really shrunk up, it had just gotten defatted. I watched it balloon back up and already I'm seeing it beginning to deflate slightly again.

Second, my tail bone started bothering me again and probably because of all the extra weight I had on it quite quickly. I find it terribly uncomfortable to sit in certain positions for very long. I hadn't noticed problems with that for years! It got broken during the birth of my second son who was not only heavy at 11 lbs 14 ozs, but was also broad and big. Notice his head is not cone shaped and the nurse midwife was shocked how he came out both shoulders at the same time (versus slipping out one followed by the other) My tailbone was in his way for exiting, I guess, and he wanted to make a BIG entrance for sure. My tail bone has never been the same since, but it definitely aches a LOT more with more pressure/weight on it.

And mostly, my knees hurt every time I went to sit down or stand up? Why... I had lost strength in my legs and then was asking them to lift 50 plus pounds than it had to lift just a few months before with each sitting and standing. Already I'm noticing that is getting better and that makes sense as I'm asking my body to lift 15 less pounds each time I sit and stand too. I am even noticing I'm able to run up the stairs now too. The weight was a huge burden on the knees.

Of course, there were things beyond physical changes. I felt less confident in myself. I felt (and was) less attractive. My husband was less attracted to me (for physical and mental reasons). And the weight gain (and carb heavy diet) made me feel lethargic.

It's funny, I'm eating much fewer calories and much fewer quick energy foods (simple carbs), but I have twice the energy I had before and that is not even related to my thyroid as I feel the sluggishness while on thyroid meds and too many carbs too.

I need to remember this feeling of how bad the weight feels for me physically and mentally. It just wears me out in all ways.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Crafts, gardening, and carb sensivity hodge podge

So, let's start with crafts. For Sunday as part of my job as Director of Ethical Education I do a service project with the kids for Mother's Day. This year's project was twofold, one was for Mother's Day, the other a start on the Father's Day project. I really only have 45-50 minutes with the kids, so that isn't enough time for them to cut apart egg cartons, paint, let them dry and then assemble, so I had to cut them apart (getting a blister in the process) and paint them. I then organized all the materials so that on Sunday the kids (ages ranging from 3 to 11) could assemble them. This took up a big chunk of Saturday, and any of the time I was going to devote to gardening. I was "gardening" in a different way!

This fit in perfectly with our curriculum on reusing/recycling/being good to the earth. All materials for the projects except for the ribbon were leftovers from other projects, and egg cartons, of course.

They turned out so cute and I think the kids had fun making them. We'll finish the Father's Day "owls" soon. (As always, you can click on a photo to make it larger).


Next, gardening. I need to do a lot of it and I "sort" of love it. I get a bit overwhelmed when I look at the big picture though. We inherited a mostly blank slate of a yard with the exception of some overgrown bushes.  Here are the masses of flowers and plants I need to get into the various spots in the yard:

My front yard is actually taking shape. We put in this stone path two years ago and a lot of the perennials have come back and are filling out a bit. And when I saw "we" put it in. We put it in. I dug up the sod with a manual sod cutter and then my husband and I laid the stones and then I planted.

Two of the three peonies in the front yard have gotten quite big and beautiful. For some reason, one, that I planted a year later than the rest isn't filling out - same with the ones I planted in the back yard too. All three "newly" planted ones have just 1 stalk. This one and another are only one year old, which is typical for a first year, but one is two years old and it's still like that. Weird.
I do have some naked spots though where the perennials didn't make it. AND I need to get the front step pots filled and organized and the area surrounding it weeded.

A problem area I have in the yard is this side yard. It is COVERED in sweet gum balls and it is either WET or DRY and doesn't get a lot of sun. So, I have tried planting several things back there now and nothing likes to grow there except the crepe myrtle and the Viburnum tree. I have ordered a few things to go there - some giant astible and red hydrangeas

 This side flower bed is a pain in the butt too. It is FREAKING HUGE and was a huge mulch pit with layers of that weed prevention cloth - FIVE layers. I took that out two years ago and 'some' areas have filled in, but others not. What grows really well there are thistles. I have TONS of thistles I need to dig up.  It's a combo area of shade and partial sun.

We also have a rock garden. And it gets SOOOOOOO weedy in the front with those false strawberries. Ugh! But the one peony is HUGE. It's almost up to my shoulder!

While in the back yard, we took out all that overgrown forsythia. That one patch is HUGE. The other got wide at the bottom of the property:

A big bummer was that ALLLLLLL the figs I had in ginormous pots died! The winter was just too harsh for them this year. Now I have to decide if I want to try again or just plant one in the yard - like back where that huge forsythia was.

And, our deck needs a lot of attention. I have a ton of pots on the deck, planters around the deck (10 of them) and then the raised planters to plant the herbs (out of rabbits reach).

Lastly, I have to plant a tree in the front yard. Hopefully third time is the charm. I first transplanted a tulip tree there and it took, but then I read that those were "discouraged" because they tend to splinter. So, I planted an ornamental I ordered, but it never took. This time I bought a native pink dogwood. Let's hope.

One of the 'fun' spots in my yard is the gnome garden. I am so happy to see the perennials I planted around it mostly came back (and are still filling in).

And lastly, carb sensitivity. This weekend, being it was Mother's Day, I treated myself to rhubarb pie and homemade ice cream. I had one slice and one scoop and it was GREAT.  However, because of that indulgence despite my caloric intake only being 1800 and I took over 10,000 steps yesterday, I gained 1.4 pounds. According to my gizmo (and calculators), I should have been at a huge deficit for the day, but those carbs? Nope... they make me hold water like crazy!  It's water weight and it will come off, but I think it shows how extremely sensitive I am to carbs if a single dessert on an otherwise spot on day can do that to me.

Phew... I think that's all in this very picture heavy post.  As you can see, my yard will keep me busy. We have 1/3 of an acre, but it sure does feel HUGE at times.