Monday, December 31, 2007
It's been quite a little while since I've posted but I am still here. Still plodding along, having "good" days and "bad" days. While I'm not making any "resolutions" for 2008, I do have some goals I am setting for myself.
The holidays have been lovely and yes, I have eaten way too much, just as many of you probably have. The new year is going to be exciting for me. Next Monday, I begin a new job. I've been looking forward to this for a long time and am certain that 2008 is going to be a much better year for me than 2007 was.
In my old job, I was over worked, stressed out, and generally not very happy. I expect that the new job will be busy but I know that the workload is more manageable and the team I'm joining is amazing. With work sorted out, I expect that I'll be able to focus on the rest of the my life. I feel that I have neglected many things over the past 18 months.
One of the goals I have set for myself is to post here more regularly, even when I feel that I don't have much to say, at least twice a week. I'll write more about my goals later this week for now, I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy new year and to say that I'm back!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
We've been very restrained this weekend. Ordinarily, I think I'd be doing a lot more snacking while I'm home. Home is a dangerous place for me. When I am outside of the house, I can be as good as gold. I make good choices, I control my portions.
Absent minded eating, or eating because I'm bored, is something that is easy to do while I'm home. Fortunately, this weekend, I've found myself being somewhat restrained.
Activity has improved too this weekend. I've been getting projects done around the house that have been put off for far too long. We got out and did some errands and took a drive and a bit of a walk earlier today. This is really the first weekend that I've felt I've been able to enjoy the beauty of fall.
My hope is that I'm back on the right track again. It's a small amount of progress for me but it's progress nonetheless.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Remember the episode where Homer had his jaw wired shut? he wrote a note to Mr Burns which read, "so hungry." Mr Burns replied (I'm paraphrasing), "why yes, this music is from Southern Hungary. Good ear!"
Well, I'm south Hungary today. I don't know whether it's because I went back to work today instead of staying in bed an extra day or because I'm really being careful about my food intake. Right now though, my stomach thinks my throat's been cut. Really.
Last night, I watched the first 2 Biggest Loser episodes (I'd DVR'd them but not watched them yet) and boy, nothing kills a craving for a snack like watching that!!
Well, I guess we need to figure out which combination of turkey & veg we're having for dinner tonight.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Having said that, I'm home today, sick with a cold. I didn't sleep at all last night but I managed to get a little this morning.
The upside of this cold is that I either don't feel like eating or I'm on the soup. Thank goodness for small favours huh?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
October 17, 2007
Serving Pasta? Forget What You Learned
By MARK BITTMAN
LET me propose that you start cooking pasta in a way that might make you the laughingstock of your foodie friends: make more sauce, and serve it on top of less pasta. Do exactly what you’ve learned not to do.
Instead of a pound of pasta for two to four people, make a half, or even a third of a pound. Instead of a cup or two of sauce, make it four cups, or more. Turn the proportions around.
What do you wind up with? Pasta more or less overwhelmed by sauce, which you can view as a cardinal sin or as a moist, flavorful one-dish meal of vegetables with the distinctive, lovable chewiness of pasta. (There is, of course, a tradition of this kind of pasta dish in Italy, but it falls more under the category of minestre, which is closer to soup.) It’s also an easy way to significantly increase your intake of vegetables without adding too many refined carbohydrates, and may, if you’ve abandoned it, get you back into pasta again.
Obviously this won’t work with every sauce — you don’t want to pull this trick with creamy or cheesy ones, or those based on meat — but it works with just about every vegetable you can think of, and with many fish preparations as well.
To understand why this may get you branded as a heretic, think back to the 1970s, when Americans needed even more help cooking than we do now.
Thanks to Marcella Hazan, Giuliano Bugialli and others, we discovered how to cook Italian food at home. And for the first time, many of us were venturing to Italy in search not only of Renaissance art and medieval villages but of the incredible cuisine.
What we found was exactly what Ms. Hazan had been telling us: Americans, even Italian-Americans, drowned their pasta. We poured on ladlefuls of thick tomato sauce and tossed two or three quarter-pound meatballs on top for good measure. We made the pasta itself irrelevant.
We also learned we overcooked it, undersalted the water and often used the wrong shape. But as much as I owe Ms. Hazan and her peers, for the first 20 years that I cooked pasta, I always felt as if I was about to be arrested for violating some canonical law.
In the old country, the sauce was used to barely moisten and flavor the pasta. There are a couple of possible explanations for this. One is that Italians were neat. “For centuries, most people ate pasta with their hands,” said Kevin Wells, who translated and annotated the 1570 cookbook “Opera dell’arte del cucinare” by Bartolomeo Scappi. Little or no sauce, he said, was “a matter of decorum.”
Another is that there were not always other options. “Poor people dressed pasta with little or nothing,” said Andrea Graziosi, a University of Naples professor. “The legend says they used to hang a herring, and each member of the family would rub his or her slices of bread on it to get flavor.”
When some of those Italians immigrated to the United States they found a continent that was producing food like no continent before. And, said Mr. Graziosi, “they overused what they found both because they felt richer and could not use what they had at home.”
“The consequences are the incredible distortions — to the Italian eye — of Italian-American cuisine,” he said. You want meat sauce, with meat on top? You’ve got it, in spades.
As the years went by, though, a kind of “if it’s Italian, it must be good” mentality developed here, and home cooks began enjoying pasta with a minimum of sauce. (We also began undercooking it, just to show that we could take al dente one ridiculous step further.)
But today, barely moistened pasta often doesn’t make sense. Even setting aside the extreme recommendations of the Atkins diet, it’s widely agreed that highly refined grains — a group that includes the semolina flour from which the best-tasting dry pasta is made — do us little nutritional good. From the point of view of the body, there’s little difference between pasta and white bread (and, for that matter, biscotti); neither has much in the way of protein, vitamins, micronutrients or fiber, and all are digested quickly and may ultimately be stored as fat.
I am not suggesting that we return to oversauced baked ziti with sausages, mozzarella-laden lasagna or spaghetti under three handball-size meatballs. Rather, I’m recommending that we exploit our astonishing supply of vegetables (still evident at this time of year), augmented if you like with a bit of meat for seasoning.
There are recipes here, but many people won’t need them. The other day, I arrived at a friend’s house in time to cook lunch. We had chickpeas, broccoli rabe and garden tomatoes. I parboiled the broccoli rabe, just until it became bright green; I then chopped and sautéed it in olive oil with garlic, dried chili flakes and a couple of cups of chickpeas. I added two or three chopped tomatoes. Meanwhile, I half-cooked about a third of a box of farfalle (undoubtedly a more legitimate cook would tell me I was using the “wrong” shape) in the water I had used for the greens.
When the tomatoes broke down and the broccoli rabe was tender, I dumped in the drained pasta, after saving some cooking water. I added a little of the liquid and simmered the mixture until the pasta was done. I garnished it with basil and a little more olive oil. Although it was not soupy, we used spoons because the broth was so good. Total working time was about half an hour, and a better one-dish lunch I could not imagine.
I’ve been playing with this style of pasta for months: a load of briefly sautéed spinach with garlic, raisins, pine nuts and a bit of stock; well-roasted mixed vegetables, mashed or puréed, with lots of olive oil; braised endive and onion; bok choy with black beans and soy sauce (with fresh Chinese egg noodles, naturally). The list is long.
Give it a shot. There is no downside — except maybe a bit of mockery from the pasta police (who I’m sure will arrive, in my case, later this morning).
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
August 20, 2007
Six Killers | Diabetes
Looking Past Blood Sugar to Survive With Diabetes
By GINA KOLATA
Dave Smith found out he had Type 2 diabetes by accident, after a urine test.
“Whoa, look at the sugar in here,” his doctor told him. Mr. Smith’s blood sugar level was sky high and glucose was spilling into his urine.
That was about nine years ago, and from then on Mr. Smith, like so many with diabetes, became fixated on his blood sugar. His doctor warned him to control it or the consequences could be dire — he could end up blind or lose a leg. His kidneys could fail.
Mr. Smith, a 43-year-old pastor in Fairmont, Minn., tried hard. When dieting did not work, he began counting carbohydrates, taking pills to lower his blood sugar and pricking his finger several times a day to measure his sugar levels. They remained high, so he agreed to add insulin to his already complicated regimen. Blood sugar was always on his mind.
But in focusing entirely on blood sugar, Mr. Smith ended up neglecting the most important treatment for saving lives — lowering the cholesterol level. That protects against heart disease, which eventually kills nearly everyone with diabetes.
He also was missing a second treatment that protects diabetes patients from heart attacks — controlling blood pressure. Mr. Smith assumed everything would be taken care of if he could just lower his blood sugar level.
Blood sugar control is important in diabetes, specialists say. It can help prevent dreaded complications like blindness, amputations and kidney failure. But controlling blood sugar is not enough.
Nearly 73,000 Americans die from diabetes annually, more than from any disease except heart disease, cancer, stroke and pulmonary disease.
Yet, largely because of a misunderstanding of the proper treatment, most patients are not doing even close to what they should to protect themselves. In fact, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 7 percent are getting all the treatments they need.
“That, to me, is mind-boggling,” said Dr. Michael Brownlee, director of the JDRF International Center for Diabetic Complications Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “It makes me ask, What is going on? I can only conclude that people are not aware of their risks and what could be done about them.”
In part, the fault for the missed opportunities to prevent complications and deaths lies with the medical system. Most people who have diabetes are treated by primary care doctors who had just a few hours of instruction on diabetes, while they were in medical school. Then the doctors typically spend just 10 minutes with diabetes patients, far too little for such a complex disease, specialists say.
In part it is the fault of proliferating advertisements for diabetes drugs that emphasize blood sugar control, which is difficult and expensive and has not been proven to save lives.
And in part it is the fault of public health campaigns that give the impression that diabetes is a matter of an out-of-control diet and sedentary lifestyle and the most important way to deal with it is to lose weight.
Most diabetes patients try hard but are unable to control their disease in this way, and most of the time it progresses as years go by, no matter what patients do.
Mr. Smith, like 90 percent of diabetes patients, has Type 2 diabetes, the form that usually arises in adulthood when the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas cannot keep up with the body’s demand for the hormone. The other form of diabetes, Type 1, is far less common and usually arises in childhood or adolescence when insulin-secreting pancreas cells die.
And, like many diabetes patients, Mr. Smith ended up paying the price for his misconceptions about diabetes. Last year, he had a life-threatening heart attack.
The Heart Disease
Just after returning from church last October, Mr. Smith had a discomforting sensation. Deciding to focus on something else, he went to a local newspaper office where he was weekend editor. But the strange feeling persisted and intensified.
“I felt a pain in my chest,” Mr. Smith recalled. “It wasn’t sharp — it was more of a kind of pressure, a feeling like something is contracting.”
The pain spread, to his neck, along his shoulder, down to his biceps. Mr. Smith, alone and frightened, looked up heart attack symptoms on the American Heart Association’s Web site. They were exactly what he was experiencing.
An hour later, Mr. Smith was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in the throes of a major heart attack, transported by helicopter while his wife and two young sons frantically drove two and a half hours to be with him. A main artery to his heart was 90 percent blocked. If he had waited to seek help or if his local hospital and doctor had not acted quickly and sent him to the Mayo Clinic, he probably would have died.
Mr. Smith thought his biggest risk from diabetes was blindness or amputations. He never thought about heart disease and had no idea how important it was to control cholesterol levels and blood pressure. He said his doctor had not advised him to take a cholesterol-lowering or blood pressure drug and he did not think he needed them.
Most people with diabetes are equally unaware of the danger that heart disease poses for them.
A recent survey by the American Diabetes Association conducted by RoperASW found that only 18 percent of people with diabetes believed that they were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Yet, said Dr. David Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, “when you think about it, it’s not the diabetes that kills you, it’s the diabetes causing cardiovascular disease that kills you.”
Dr. Brownlee said he was stunned by the results of the diabetes association poll. “If you are one of those 82 percent who don’t think you are at increased risk,” he said, “finding out that you are and that you can decrease that risk substantially could literally change your life.”
The science is clear on the huge benefits for people with diabetes of lowering cholesterol and controlling blood pressure. After multiple studies, costing hundreds of millions of dollars and involving tens of thousands of subjects, national guidelines were rewritten to reflect the new data, and professional organizations issued recommendations for diabetes care.
With cholesterol, the guidelines say that levels of LDL cholesterol, the form that increases heart disease risk, should be below 100 milligrams per deciliter and, if possible, 70 to 80. Yet, Dr. Brownlee said, diabetes patients with LDL cholesterol levels of 100 to 139 often are told that their levels — ideal for a healthy person without diabetes — are terrific.
“Many practicing doctors just don’t know that an LDL cholesterol number that is normal for someone without diabetes is not normal for someone with diabetes,” he said.
Mr. Smith found all that out too late. The heart attack, he said, “really blindsided me.”
He also did not know the other measures proven to prevent complications in diabetes. He was correct that high blood sugar is dangerous. It can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes, leading to blindness; the nerves in the feet, leading to amputations; and the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
But no matter how carefully patients try to control their blood sugar, they can never get it perfect — no drugs can substitute for the body’s normal sugar regulation. So while controlling blood sugar can be important, other measures also are needed to prevent blindness, amputations, kidney failure and stroke. Mr. Smith was doing none of them.
He also made the common assumption that Type 2 diabetes is simply a consequence of being fat. And that losing weight will help cure it.
Obesity does increase the risk of developing diabetes, but the disease involves more than being obese. Only 5 percent to 10 percent of obese people have diabetes, and many with diabetes are not obese. To a large extent, Type 2 diabetes is genetically determined — if one identical twin has it, the other has an 80 percent chance of having it too. In many cases, weight loss can help, but, as Mr. Smith has learned, most who lose weight are not cured of the disease. He lost 40 pounds but still has diabetes.
“Everybody in the act of losing weight will have a pretty dramatic improvement pretty quickly,” said Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, a diabetes researcher and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Blood sugar levels drop precipitously and the disease seems to be under control. But that is because the metabolic process of weight loss lessens diabetes. Once weight is lost, he added, and people stabilize at a lower weight, their diabetes may remain.
When it comes to weight loss, Dr. Kahn said, “there is a range of susceptibilities in how people react.”
Before he left the hospital, Mr. Smith’s doctors told him about his new diabetes regimen: a statin to drive his cholesterol level very low, two drugs to lower his blood pressure, an aspirin, insulin and two drugs to reduce his blood sugar levels. That new list of drugs was what he should have been taking all along.
Mr. Smith is taking them now, terrified that his heart disease will progress.
“I’ll never be out of the woods,” he said. “I’ve got to face that.”
Diabetes researchers say stories like Mr. Smith’s are all too familiar.
The statistics are grim: A quarter to a third of all heart attack patients have diabetes, even though diabetes patients constitute just 9.3 percent of the population. Another 25 percent of heart attack patients are verging on diabetes with abnormally high blood sugar levels.
Most worrisome are diabetes patients who already have symptoms of heart disease, like chest pains or a previous heart attack. “That is a terrible situation,” said Dr. James Cleeman, coordinator of the National Cholesterol Education Program at the National Institutes of Health. Those patients, Dr. Cleeman said, are set up for a fatal heart attack and should be stringently controlling their cholesterol and blood pressure.
And it is not just that many diabetes patients are overweight, as people with Type 1 diabetes, who often are thin, also have a high risk of heart disease. There is something about diabetes itself, researchers say, that leads to high levels of LDL cholesterol and a form of LDL cholesterol particles that is particularly dangerous. Diabetes also leads to increased levels of triglycerides, which are fats in the blood that increase heart disease risk, and in diabetes is linked to high blood pressure.
Being obese or overweight, in contrast, are “weak contributors to heart attack risk,” Dr. Nathan said.
Type 2 diabetes “does not exist in isolation,” Dr. Nathan said. “Underlying diabetes are all these cardiovascular risk factors.”
Somehow, though, it has taken quite a while for the alarm bells to go off.
One reason might be that it was heart disease researchers, not diabetes researchers, who conducted the seminal studies.
The key to saving lives is to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol to below 100 and also control other risk factors like blood pressure and smoking. The cholesterol reduction alone can reduce the very high risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes by 30 percent to 40 percent, Dr. Cleeman said. And clinical trials have found that LDL levels of 70 to 80 are even better for people with diabetes who already have overt heart disease.
Studies of blood sugar control have been more problematic than those of cholesterol lowering.
In Type 2 diabetes, the most ambitious effort was a huge study in Britain. It found that rigorous blood sugar control could lower the risk of complications that involved damage to small blood vessels, a list that includes blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage. But there was no effect on the overall death rate. There was a small decrease in the number of heart attacks but it was not statistically significant, meaning it could have occurred by chance.
The National Institutes of Health is trying again, with a larger study of blood sugar control that includes enough patients to detect more subtle effects on the heart attack rate if they exist. For now, though, the answer simply is not known.
In Type 1 diabetes, a large federal study did find evidence that rigorous blood sugar control could reduce heart disease risk. But the effect emerged 12 years after the study ended and most of the patients, in those years, had not been able to sustain the blood sugar control that they had had during the study. Did the short period of rigorous control exert a delayed effect on heart disease or was the effect caused by some other factor during the study or afterward, some asked? While most think it was caused by blood sugar control, it is impossible to know for sure.
The result, notes Dr. John Buse, president-elect for science and medicine at the American Diabetes Association, is that for people with Type 1 and, especially, for those with Type 2 diabetes, there are still questions about whether and to what extent blood sugar control protects against heart disease and saves lives.
That leaves cholesterol lowering, for patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as the most effective and easiest way by far to reduce the risk of heart disease and the only treatment proven to save lives. But doctors say achieving the recommended cholesterol levels usually means taking a statin. Some patients resist, wary of intense drug company marketing to patients and afraid of side effects like muscle or liver damage which, although extremely rare, have frightened many away from the drugs, Dr. Brownlee and other diabetes specialists said. (Dr. Brownlee said he had no financial ties to statin makers.)
Others point to drug company advertising itself.
Statin advertising, said Dr. Irl B. Hirsch, a professor of medicine and director of the diabetes clinic at the University of Washington, is all about heart disease, and the advertisements do not mention diabetes. The diabetes advertisements are all about blood sugar. Dr. Hirsch has seen few that put the two together.
Yet lowering cholesterol with statins, Dr. Hirsch and others said, is much simpler than anything else diabetes patients are asked to do. And, he added, the drugs are among the best studied and the safest on the market. (Dr. Hirsch said he had no financial ties to statin makers.)
Dr. Hirsch has a message for diabetes patients: If he had to rate the different regimens for a typical middle-age person with Type 2 diabetes, the first priority would be to take a statin and lower the LDL cholesterol level.
Dr. Brownlee agreed, but added that the two other measures to protect against heart disease, blood pressure control and taking an aspirin to prevent blood clots, should not be neglected.
“Right now, without waiting for lots of exciting things that are almost in the pipeline or in the pipeline, starting tomorrow, if everyone did these things — taking a statin, taking a blood pressure medication, and maybe taking an aspirin — you would reduce the heart attack rate by half.”
Even when patients do take the right steps to control diabetes, the grueling process can simply wear them down.
Virgil Umbarger learned that he had Type 2 diabetes when he was 39 and had a medical exam for a life insurance policy.
That was 25 years ago, and the start of a journey that diabetes specialists say ends up fundamentally changing a person’s world. Unlike Mr. Smith, who has just awakened to the danger he is in, Mr. Umbarger, a funeral director in Yakima, Wash., has lived with diabetes and its increasingly complex regimen for decades. And, as happens with most diabetes patients eventually, he feels he is reaching a point where he just cannot continue to do all that he should to protect his health.
In a sense, Mr. Umbarger said, he was not completely surprised when he learned he had diabetes, because it runs in his family. But he never thought it would happen to him. At 6 feet tall and 195 pounds, he was not heavy.
Still, Mr. Umbarger’s first thought was to lose weight. “I starved myself,” he said, and lost 15 pounds. But he still had diabetes and the pounds crept back on.
Dr. Buse said his patients knew how important it was to diet and exercise, but most could not do it enough to make a difference, and some were also thwarted by medications to control blood sugar that make patients gain weight.
In the end, Mr. Umbarger decided to seek care from a diabetes specialist. He chose Dr. Hirsch, even though it meant driving nearly three hours each way for an office visit. There was no one nearby with that kind of expertise, Mr. Umbarger said.
On his first visit, Dr. Hirsch gave him a fistful of prescriptions, including a statin, blood pressure medications and one for the drug Mr. Umbarger dreaded — insulin. He also told Mr. Umbarger to have regular checks for eye, nerve and kidney damage. And he has to watch what he eats and count carbohydrates.
Dr. Hirsch and other diabetes specialists say they are well aware of how daunting the program can be.
“Many come here once or twice and walk away saying, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ ” Dr. Hirsch said.
Not Mr. Umbarger. For years, he tried to do all that was required. He can cope with the medications and the long drives to see Dr. Hirsch. The problem for him, as for most diabetes patients eventually, is the blood sugar monitoring. He is supposed to prick his finger six or more times a day to measure his glucose levels and adjust his insulin dose accordingly.
Every time he checks his blood sugar is like getting a report card — was he eating too many carbohydrates? Did he get the insulin dose right?
“I don’t want to look,” he said.
“Pricking your finger, seeing that number day after day, it wears on you,” Mr. Umbarger said. “It’s like a ball and chain.” He confesses that he has only been checking his blood sugar once or twice a day, guessing at many of his insulin doses. His blood sugar levels have been rising and guilt hangs over him.
Meanwhile, no matter what they do, most people with Type 2 diabetes get worse as the years go by. Patients make less and less insulin and their cells become less and less able to use the insulin they do produce.
“That is why it is not uncommon to start initially with diet therapy, then after a few years we need to add a drug that improves insulin sensitivity,” Dr. Kahn said. “Then when that drug isn’t enough, we add a second drug that improves insulin sensitivity by a different mechanism. Then we add a drug that stimulates that pancreas to make more insulin.”
Then, he added, patients with Type 2 diabetes may need insulin itself, but when that happens they have to take even more than a person with Type 1 diabetes — two or even three times as much — because their cells no longer respond adequately to the hormone.
While it is not easy to re-energize burned-out patients, Dr. Hirsch said, at the very least, doctors and patients should know what is important.
“We already have the miracle pills” — statins and blood pressure medications, he said. And they are available for pennies a day, as generics.
“We need patient education and physician training that this stuff is out there and this is what we should be focusing on to make a difference in lives.”
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
By MONICA DAVEY
INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 17 — The deep-fried Combo Plate may be a little more healthful this year at the Great Indiana State Fair. So say the fair’s leaders, who, taking a step rarely seen in the realm of corn dogs and fried pickles, have banned oils with trans fats from all the fryers that line the grounds here.
The change is only the latest in a string of bans on artificial trans fats. Tied to health problems including heart disease, they have been banished by national restaurant chains, snack brands and New York City, which forbids restaurants to use them in food preparation.
But this is perhaps the most unlikely locale yet: the nation’s classic summer fair, long seen as one final safe haven from the health police.
Along the steamy thoroughfare here, where only sensitive palates can distinguish among the various cuts of potato (curly fries, ribbon fries and the old standby, French), fairgoers seemed pleased with the switch. The food tasted the same, they said happily. And if this meant they could indulge without guilt or have one more helping, so much the better.
“This is a slice of heaven,” said Ryan Howell, 31, as he cradled his Combo Plate, which, for the record, consists of one battered Snickers bar, two battered Oreos and a battered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — all deep-fried in oil that is trans-fat free, thank goodness.
“This was an issue we wanted to tackle,” said Cindy Hoye, executive director of the fair, which spent the winter months testing various oils and, despite the fears of some concessionaires about possible changes to taste or costs or tradition, concluded that trans-fat-free oils created what Ms. Hoye called a better product.
National fair officials say Indiana and at least one other fair, the Western Washington, have led the way on a health issue that is only now creating a buzz in the fair industry. During a national convention of fair officials in Las Vegas this November, Indiana representatives are to offer a workshop, “Going Trans-Fat Free,” which, the convention program promises, will answer the question “What is all the craze about?”
Some concessionaires here said trans-fat-free oils seemed to leave “less of a varnish buildup” on their French fry baskets and corn dog equipment. But Chris Coffman, who helps his brother, Sam, operate a stand that sells the fried-dough snack called elephant ears, was none too pleased with the new ways.
The oil they are now using has to be changed more often, Mr. Coffman said (although some other concessionaires said their new oils in fact required less changing). And he worried, briefly, that the ban might also apply to the margarine that the Coffmans use to make cinnamon sugar stick to their doughy confections; it does not, fair officials ruled.
And that, Mr. Coffman said, is the silly part of the whole ban: it will barely skim the surface of fair food’s inherently — and proudly — unhealthful nature, he said.
“It’s craziness,” said Mr. Coffman, 45, who says he eats fair food every day but who appears surprisingly trim. “They’re using this for a marketing ploy. It’s a way to convince people that they can eat more — that somehow all of this is safe now and you can eat all you want — when we all know that’s not true.”
The calorie count? The state fair does not require vendors to provide those numbers, and no one here would venture any guesses. But figures from the Web site Calorie King.com suggest that a Combo Plate, for instance, comes to well over 700 calories. That is more than a third of the entire daily caloric intake recommended by the Department of Agriculture for a 30-year-old woman who is 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds and who exercises less than 30 minutes a day.
Ms. Hoye, the fair’s executive director, pointed out some healthful (if, judging from the customer lines, less popular) offerings of salads and tomato juice here. But she was quick to acknowledge that trans-fat-free oils will not turn standard state fair cuisine into health food.
“When you are having fair food, you are having fun,” she said. “You’re probably still going to use some calories out here. Look, we can’t control what goes in an Oreo, but we can say what goes in our fryers out here.”
Jeremy Orme, who runs Fried Creations, the home of the Combo Plate, introduced a new item at this year’s fair: deep-fried Pepsi. He rolls out his Pepsi-based dough, dips it in a batter made with Pepsi and deep-fries it for 90 seconds. His oil, made of soybeans, is trans-fat free as required, and on the front of his booth he has posted a local newspaper’s account about the fair’s trans-fat ban.
But inside the booth, where the air is dense with oil, workers chuckle about the whole concept. And Mr. Orme himself rarely eats what he cooks here.
“I stay away from fried foods,” he said.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The muddling on continues without a lot of posting. Over the summer I have not yet lost an ounce. I haven't gained anything either so it's not as bad as it could be.
A more serious effort is being made this week. Eating is getting better. Even when I'm "being bad" these days, I cannot eat anywhere close to what I once could.
that can't be bad I suppose.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Over the weekend, particularly on Saturday morning when a combination of PMS and allergies was driving me insane, I know I was a raging bitch. I'm not normally like this so I know that the allergies had a huge part to play in it.
We snacked on fresh fruit all weekend even though, in the back of my head, someone was screaming for chocolate. I made a banana bread, figuring that the sweet bread would curb that chocolate craving. It did not (although it was delicious - is delicious, we actually still have some left and I made it on Saturday).
All day today, chocolate. I want it but I know that I don't need it.
I'm at home right now, without easy access to the delicious brown stuff. I do have cocoa, and chocolate chips and could bake something but that smacks of effort.
I'll try not to bite my nails or scream. I'll ride this out but I am hating my hormones, hating PMS and am not particularly fond of whoever it was that discovered chocolate candy.
Friday, July 20, 2007
1. Tomatoes, 2 kinds (plum and grape)
4. Baby Carrots
Things we didn't buy:
3. Members of the Ice Cream Family
4. Anything with chocolate on it or in it
I have been really struggling with my food choices recently and I don't like the way I feel right now. My hunny is feeling the same way.
There really is no excuse for how we've been eating just lately, or how much exercise we have not been doing. Unfortunately, we've been able to come up with just about a million excuses for being little piggies and indulging ourselves. I try to make more good than bad choices but seriously, it's not enough.
The house has been purged of crap. We are truly supporting each other in this from this moment forward.
The fight on fat is on!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Well, I know that June was insanely busy at work so that explains my not being here up until around the 29th! Last week, we were booked off on a little mini-vacation (went to Montreal, had a fab time, you can read about it here). I've actually been posting pretty regularly over there because I'm doing some "sponsored blogging" and have been making a little bit of extra cash that way.
I've thought about everyone a lot and have been trying to get myself back on track over the past week or so. When work gets really busy, it's like I give myself permission to not care about stuff. I don't like that about myself and it's something that I'm working on.
It's been ridiculously hot here over the past few days which has contributed to a malaise which keeps me from exercising. I'm heading into the pool in a few minutes but that's not really exercise (not in our little pool anyway).
Overall, I feel kinda extra fat right now but I've been making pretty good food choices since we got back from Montreal so I know that I'll stop feeling that way soon. Always, with me, baby steps. It's boring to say but I keep saying it to myself and I know that by the time the fall rolls around, those pants will fit me better. In the meantime, I can honestly say that I still have not given in to the temptation which is that huge ass bag of Costco M&M's.
how are you doing?
Monday, June 11, 2007
Yesterday afternoon though, for some unknown to me reason, I starting jonesing for M&M peanut candies. Not just a little bag, I wanted that jumbo sized party bag from Costco. The one that costs $10. I kept thinking about driving out there (it's no where close to my home) and having them to eat while we watched the Sopranos finale.
Fortunately, I was able to talk myself out it and when I knew that the store was closed, I knew I'd won. It wasn't easy but I did it. I still can't figure out why I wanted them. Could be hormonal I guess, or nothing at all. It did pass though, thank goodness. Curse you yellow bag of candy goodness!!
Friday, June 08, 2007
Honestly, a good chunk of yesterday was spent sleeping because we got home in the middle of the night after the show. Today was also kind of lazy (although my hunny went back to work today) for me.
I've noticed that since I've been off from work this week, I've thought a lot less about what I am eating and when I am eating. The first two days of the break, I actually ate very little, only one meal yesterday any only really two on Wednesday. Now, yesterday's meal was very large and it happened in the late afternoon but still, it was definitely less than I would normally consume. Normally, when I'm out of my work routine, it seems like I eat constantly. The past couple of days though, I've not really thought about eating and have only done so when I'm hungry.
I know that normal sized folks probably do this all the time, eat when hungry and not at other times. For me, a fat girl, this is something I'd love to do on a regular basis, listen to my whole body and not just my head. I'm hoping that this has been the start of something new and cool for me. It may not last for long or it may be the start of a new habit. I'm hoping for the habit thing because it actually feels pretty good right now.
Monday, June 04, 2007
I got into the pool before my hunny did and was floating around on the raft thing we have when I noticed him taking the lens cover off the camera. Slightly horrified, I tried not to freak out when I realized he was taking photos of the backyard, the pool and me. A sudden, serious storm blew in and the photos were forgotten while we hustled about, covering the pool and putting stuff away. Last night, I took the photos off the camera and saw the few he took with me in them. It was shocking. I was shocked anyway. It was upsetting too. I mean, I know what I look like, I see myself in the mirror every day. Hell, we have mirrored closet doors in our bedroom so I see myself naked in the mirror every day too. Something about seeing a photograph is different though. I looked way bigger than I imagine that I am. Don't get me wrong, I know how big I am but those photos, laying down, on the water, in a swimsuit, pale and white from the winter, it was all a bit much.
Last night, I didn't sleep well. That was more about getting too much sun yesterday than the photos. In between not sleeping, I had some weird dreams and one of them was about my weight. I guess the photos got to me more than I realized. Hopefully, this is a good slap in the face for me and I'll be able to pull up my socks and get my shit together.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Of the holy trinity of weight loss (healthy eating, regular exercise and lots of water), I am usually able to accomplish 1 or 2 at a time but rarely 3. This past week has found me enjoying a larger than normal (and definitely good) amount of water in my routine. I guess it's partly the warmer temperatures but I've become very aware of how important the water is for me, for a lot of reasons. Two really obvious ones are my skin and my digestion. Both are improving dramatically since I've stopped borderline dehydrating myself.
Exercise has been a little better over the past week or so as well. I'm definitely walking more so that's good. Eating is a struggle though. Meals are okay, I'm doing well with my portion sizes for the most part. The snacks kill me though. On the weekend, I devoured an entire back of salt and vinegar kettle chips in an afternoon. Did I need them? no. Did I enjoy them? I wish I could say no but yes, I really did.
Of course, the remorse set it later...too much fat, too much salt, not enough good stuff in my diet that day.
I guess I'll blame it on my hormones because I think TOM actually started today, on time. I say "I think" because last month of was a bunch of false starts that gave me my period, off and on, for about 2 weeks. It feels more like a normal cycle this month so I'm going with it.
Since the weekend, I've been working on the eating too. Again, always, baby steps right? I'll master the three things yet. It's just going to take me a while.
Friday, May 18, 2007
This weekend is a long one here in Canada. Monday is Victoria. Smack in the middle of this weekend we will travel to Toronto and participate in an unveiling for LOG. It's the last "official" thing we have to do for him and it's a little bit sad.
Beyond that, there is not much to report. We had another successful event last night and even though I'm operating on about 3 hours sleep today, I don't feel bad.
For the record, I tried on "those" pants the other night. I pulled them and walked around and they felt okay. When I did the "sit test" on the end of the bed. I laughed and knew that there was no way I could sit through a dinner in them. Back into the closet they went. Next year! Without a doubt. Hell, we have another one of these fancy events in September, I'll be wearing them by then, comfortably, while sitting!!
Happy weekend everyone and again, thanks!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
It weighed three pounds and was full of white chocolate, peanut butter and cream cheese. He actually made it with lower fat cream cheese and margarine instead of butter but goodness, it was decadent. I had a piece and a half on my birthday and a piece tonight. The rest of it went to the office, to friends, to some ladies my hunny knows. It's all gone. It was amazing but it was a birthday thing. It's over.
And now I'm 40. It's not as bad I once imagined it would be. Of course, the bad imagining happened in my teens. I'm a little more realistic about things now. I'm feeling good about the age thing and about myself. I had a little talk with myself and convinced myself that I'm not a bad person because I'm now 40 and still fat. By convetional standards, no matter how much weight I eventually lose, I'll likely still be considered fat. I'm not bothered by that. I just want to be healthy. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it.
One day at a time, I'm taking care of myself. Seriously. I mean it this time, I'm gonna do it!! Watch me!!!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I wish I could say that during my absence, I have magically lost 100 pounds have had to run out and get a whole new wardrobe. Alas, I haven't even stepped on a scale and I know that my pants aren't falling off of me so I can safely assume that the status quo remains.
Sadly, this means that my short term, more comfortable pants goal of March has not been met. If I'm honest, part of me is disappointed with myself and part of mine is so exhausted from work (it's been insanely busy since the beginning of March) and I don't care. I mean, I care. I'll care on Thursday night when I'm sitting at a fancy dinner in tight pants but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
Mostly, I'm not beating myself up because it's my birthday tomorrow. Today is the last day of my 30's and so far I've been spending it in my jammies, playing with the camera my hunny bought me for my birthday. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a white chocolate cheesecake in my near future too.
I've got other stuff to write about but it'll have to wait. The shower is calling my name and I want to get outside into the fresh air, with my new camera!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Speaking of dealing with stress, traditionally, I've turned to food as a coping mechanism. Of course, I also turn to food when I'm celebrating or sad or tired. Tonight, after dinner, I sat on the sofa, while we watched TV, and all I could think of was Mars bars...and timbits. Sad isn't it? I have this huge, strong chocolate craving and it's really bugging my ass. I know that usually, cravings fade after a short while but it's going on 3 hours now and I can't stop thinking about chocolate. Of course, I won't give into it, mostly because we don't have any real chocolate in the house and I'd have to go. Still, I've entertained going out in the rain and finding a huge bag of Mars bars to dive into.
It's a sickness, I think. It feels like that right now anyway.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I need to work on my excitement factor. It needs to be increased, without a doubt.
The weather has been reasonable here lately. Nice, spring weather. This weekend, I think we'll get back out in the yard and do some cardio gardening / raking. I like that kind of a workout. Sometimes, I actually miss shovelling, sick huh?
My eating has been up and down this week. There was the cake the other day, I had lunch out yesterday and again, had dessert. It was a trio of truffles, can you blame me!!? It did come with fresh berries too so that's okay right? Fruit with chocolate cancels out the fat? No!? Oh well. TOM is knocking on the door so I blame it on hormones. I actually thought that it started several times over the past few days but it hasn't actually. I think it's just stress, messing with my cycle. That happens to me every once in a while.
So, as long as the hormones rage, I'm still in dangerous territory. We're barbecuing tonight though, turkey sausage and lots of peppers. We're going to make wraps with them. It should be good and not too calorically crazy. As I feel like I'm always saying, usually, these days, I'm making more good choices than bad and that's good. I just have to get to a point where there are almost no bad choices. And I need to be more exciting. Good and exciting, easy peasy, right?
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Last night, I was really glad that I did. I did them a lot more than normal. I realized in the doing of them, how out of shape I truly am. Today, I didn't do them as many time as yesterday (partly because I was out of the office for 1/2 the day on a training course). Honestly though, had I been in the office all day, I'm not sure how I would have managed. I kind of hurt myself yesterday. The hurt is in a completely good way though, I can feel the extra effort in my thighs. I'll definitely continue this stair stuff again tomorrow. I can feel how good it is for me. Today I did get a bit of extra walking in, and that was good too. I am noticing though, that since my last bad-back episode, I'm a little tender at times in the sore spot and have to slow myself down a bit while I'm walking. It's not bad enough to make me stop though, just enough to remind me that it happened.
Eating continues to be pretty good. Yesterday was perfectly on plan. Today was not because we had birthday cake with my parents (but it was a coffee cake with not much icing). It's okay though, that's life, right? I cannot and will not hide from cake for the rest of my life. I may do a few extra flights of stairs tomorrow though!!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I won't get sick!!!
Other than the "am I sick or do I have allergies" thing and being busy at work, the rest of the week is going okay. How's by you?
I feel like in a bit of a boring routine and that's okay for me. It keeps me steady and on track. Unfortunately, it makes for really pathetic posts. I apologize.
I also apologize to myself for having some white chocolate and blood orange cheese cake at lunch today. It was tasty, I shared it, didn't finish it and almost never do this (it was an office luncheon out in a restaurant). My mantra lately seems to be "it could have been worse."
Hey, it could have been!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Due to some birthday festivities, the weekend really slid away from me. I completely forgot (really) to weigh-in on Saturday and I know that I ate too much. Overall though, recently, I feel like I'm making better choices all of the time. I can't remember the last time I indulged in sweets or treats at work. I've completely stopped evening snacking. This is good right?
Fortunately, I felt much better on the weekend (and since) than I had in a couple of weeks. The weather has been crap here so I haven't been getting out to walk like I'd hoped and I'm finding it really tough to get up early enough to exercise before work but, except for the previously mentioned weekend splurge I think my eating is getting better. This weekend, I think I'm going to try the "goal pants" on and see how that is going. That will show me for sure if my eating is really better or if I'm just fooling myself. We'll see.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Seriously though, last weekend, my long weekend, started out so full of promise and sunshine and rainbows. It ended up being full of heating pads, pills, movies, my sofa, snow flurries and the stomach flu.
That's right, I was sick, all weekend. I shouldn't say that, I was fine on Friday. Saturday though, I slept in too late, slept too hard, with the window open and my back did that thing it hasn't done since last September. It betrayed me and caused me walk completely crooked. The only place I went all weekend was to folks on Sunday for Easter lunch.
Finally, on Monday night, as my weekend was ending, I started to feel better and of course, as luck would have it, I woke up in the night with a stomach bug. The upside of this was a complete lack of appetite and a loss of anything I'd eaten in the previous couple of days. Gross huh??
I ended up being home from work on Tuesday, the next three days were spent scrambling at work. Fortunately, my appetite never did come back to normal until today so I didn't eat too much this week. I also didn't exercise much because until today, my back was still dicey.
Not impressed? Neither was I. Oh well, this weekend should be much better. We had pizza for dinner tonight but I didn't overeat. We literally have no food in the house (except for left-over pizza) so we have to stock up on healthy snacks tomorrow. I'm not expecting the weekend to be too problematic. We'll see what the scale has to say tomorrow. Overall, backache and flu aside, the week wasn't completely horrible. I'm hoping for a good weekend for me and for you too.
happy weekend kiddos!
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I had fully intended to start the month of April with a post, on the first day of the month, and then continue to post every day. Alas, it's now the 3rd already and here's my first post.
Due to the fact that I don't have anything inspiring or fun to write about, I didn't bother posting the past couple of days.
I can report that things have been boring. I've been sticking to the eating plan pretty much (I ate a little too much on the weekend - I can't seem to break that weekend snacking habit), exercise continues to be elusive. Most likely I've been avoiding it because TOM has kicked my ass. I've been sleeping late and running out the door in the mornings so I haven't been hitting the bike. Tonight, something I ate for dinner didn't agree with me so I've been a little upset about that and haven't felt like I could confidently ride a bike for long (sorry if that's TMI).
Oh well, tomorrow's another day and I'll see what it brings. Happily, the food thing (during the week anyway) has been less of a white-knuckle experience and it's feeling more like habit again. Thank goodness for small favours huh?
Saturday, March 31, 2007
I stepped on the scale this morning and again, for the second week in a row, no movement. No up (good) and no down. I'm not surprised entirely but honestly, I'm a little disappointed.
Exercise is something I need to focus more on. The little bits of walking here and there that I'm doing isn't enough and I realize this. I have a recumbent bike, DVDs, weights, bands, a mat....I need to get my rear end moving and I know it. I will definitely get myself into a proper exercise routine. Most likely, I won't start back at it today but I'm going to start moving again tomorrow!
Friday, March 30, 2007
Overall, the working week went much better for me this week than it did last. The only slip up in the grand plan was last night. My hunny had an injured arm he was resting and we were running late so we had pizza for dinner. Now, we didn't have one of this really meat laden, cheesey specials delivered to us (although my mouth is watering a little bit thinking about that idea), we had a frozen pizza. Well, it wasn't frozen, we heated it up (ba-dum-bum!) and I enjoyed it but it wasn't as "calorie friendly" a meal as it could have been.
I'm not sure what the weigh-in will show tomorrow. I definitely feel good about resisting the urge to give into foil-wrapped chocolate mini-eggs this week. Particularly the way my hormones have been raging. I'm hoping that I'll show a loss. Bloated and crampy as I feel though, I am not getting my hopes up.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
TOM is going to start soon, I can tell. This makes me feel slightly crampy and uncomfortable.
Given though, that I've been eating a crap-free diet for a few days now, I'm sure that will help TOM be more manageable. It's been kind of hard on me the past few cycles. I suggest to myself that it's because I'm getting older and will probably be crashing into menopause in the not too distant future. Of course, this is bullshit. I mean, I am getting older and I think about menopause now and then. Too much salt and caffeine is more likely to be the cause of my monthly woes.
Tonight, for dinner, we had a lovely veggie & tofu curry with rice. It was delicious and filling and for about 10 seconds after dinner, I had a craving for those foil wrapped chocolate easter eggs. Fortunately, that craving passed and I forgot all about it until I just typed about it. Nice.
Fortunately, we go to bed pretty early so I shouldn't be tempted by anything too bad for the rest of the evening. I feel like I'm still taking baby steps but so far this week, I haven't stumbled and banged my head on the coffee table. It's a start, right?
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
today my eating has been 100%, totally on track so far.
tonight we are dining at home so I suspect that I should able to finish the day as it started.
I actually got outside for a little walk today. The weather has turned suddenly gorgeous so it felt particularly good to get out and into the fresh air.
that's really it. on track, staying the course, being a good girl.
with luck and a little determination, by the weekend, I'll be a slightly smaller girl!
Monday, March 26, 2007
I wasn't entirely surprised by this, I wasn't entirely sad. Maintaining a loss is good. I didn't gain back my two pounds. I should have done more in terms of intentional exercise and I should have made more consistent food choices.
I did not do these things and as a result, I did not lose any weight this week.
Over the weekend, I ate too much to compensate. Not smart, I know. But there you go. Blame it on PMS.
By the way, those little mini easter eggs should be outlawed.
Friday, March 23, 2007
What a week!!
I managed to survive. Actually, I did more than survive. I didn't feel too overwhelmed despite the pace. Since Tuesday, we have executed three events. Only once, at the last one of this week, this afternoon, did I feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this was caused by a technical glitch that could have been prevented if I'd brought my own laptop to it instead of using someone else's. Fortunately, it was one of those things that only the folks who are working at the event notice and none of the guests were aware that it had happened.
The first few days of the week I was not sleeping well. The lack of sleep made me more determined to eat during the day because I knew that I needed proper fuel and not sugar or crap, if I was going to get through it all and accomplish what I needed to do. Now, having said that, we did have one dinner out (the buffet on Monday) and I had a lovely, albeit large, lunch on Wednesday (I wasn't supposed to eat at the event but they needed folks to fill a table because a number of guests did not arrive and we had a fully set table sitting empty!). I also had a Dairy Queen blizzard. Most of the time though, I was pretty good. Definitely much better than I have been over the past several weeks. I also spent a lot of time on my feet and did a fair amount of walking, outside in the fresh air. It didn't kill me do this either. Weird huh??
All of these events meant that I had to dress up a little more than I normally do. For two of the three days, this meant wearing dress pants that are definitely too snug around the waist. I'm okay with wearing uncomfortable clothes right now though because they will definitely help me stay on track. So yesterday, when I pulled the one pair out of the closet and slipped them on, I was happy when I didn't have as much of a struggle as I normally do, sliding them over my hips. They aren't loose by any definition but they definitely felt better so I must be heading in the right direction.
Tomorrow I'll weigh in again and I'll see if the chinese / dairy queen hurt me. Right now, I know that I'm in the middle of PMS because my hands feel really swollen and I'm tired and crabby. If I don't show a loss tomorrow, I'll blame it on hormones, if I do show a loss, you'll be the first to hear about it!!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
So this morning, I was working at a breakfast event. It was a buffet meal and they were serving bacon, sausage, eggs (scrambled), eggs benedict, waffles, home fries, etc. All things I love (well I would have avoided the eggs benedict because you know that that hollandaise is from a packet and I live with a French chef who can make the real deal anytime I decide that I'd like to increase my cholesterol that much!). Anyway folks, I chose to have fresh fruit, fat free yogurt and a bran muffin. Aren't I a good girl??
Last night was another story. We are still sticking to our "one meal out a week" thing but last night, we ended up at the Chinese buffet. I did start with a salad and did not have dessert but I know I ate way too much. When we got there, I was starving and I way more than I should have. I know I did because I felt uncomfortable for the rest of the evening.
Today will be much better, it is already actually. I had the good breakfast, I'm currently eating (and chewing carefully) my packed lunch and dinner will be prepared and eaten at home tonight. Control is important for me right now. Really important. I want those pants to be comfortable again!!
Monday, March 19, 2007
On Saturday afternoon, I ended up taking some tylenol and retreating to the bedroom to watch some tv. I put in a Family Guy DVD and I think I fell asleep about 10 minutes into an episode. I dozed in and out of about 3 after that so I think I slept for over an hour. When I finally sat up in bed, my headache was gone and my appetite had returned. The appetite was hit and miss all weekend, which again, is very odd for me. Yesterday, I didn't eat lunch. Strange.
It wasn't really until after dinner last night that I felt hungry (figures huh??). It was the first time in several days where I'd actually had pangs of hunger. While I was doing our taxes yesterday (and sorting through a mound of un-filed papers) I found $10 in amongst the Canadian Tire money. After dinner, all I could think about was taking that $10 to the DQ and having a blizzard. I was able to talk myself out of it but not before I had talked myself into making some brownies. See, a while ago, I bought a box of brownie mix at Costco. The giant box had 4 pouches of mix. The last pouch was in the pantry, calling my name. Eventually, I gave in and made the damned brownies. At least there are no more pouches in the cupboard and I will not make the mistake of buying them, they are too good, if you know what I mean. For pete's sake, they are made with Ghirardelli chocolate. Anyway, I didn't have ice cream but I did have a couple of brownies last night. I'm not proud of it but at least I didn't spend any money.
Today so far I've eaten almost entirely raw food. Lots of veggies, much fruit. If I keep this up and chuck the brownies tonight, I should be able to show another loss this week. Here's hoping, anyway.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
It's a good thing that I like shoveling snow huh?
The past few days have literally flown by because of household illness (not mine) and work busy stuff. I work on a team of events planners and we have 6 events scheduled for the next two weeks. Ordinarily, we don't have this many things happening all at once so it's been hectic.
My hunny had a touch of that nasty stomach bug that is going around. Our local hospital has had an outbreak of it too so it's literally everywhere. I was lucky enough to avoid it all week. This morning though, I feel like I may have a touch of what he had. Last night, for the first time in I don't know how long, I didn't eat dinner. I had an appetite but the idea of actually preparing and eating something made me feel nauseous. At the time I just chalked it up to being overtired (we were out of almost everything so we went out right after work on a 2-hour, four store shopping marathon). Just before bed, I toasted an english muffin and proceeded to sleep for 10 hours. I never sleep this long. We went to bed shortly after 9 p.m. and I slept until around 7:30 a.m.!! This morning I've been a little achy and cold and have had a bit of dodgy tummy too. I may go lay down for a bit if I don't feel better soon.
This morning, I decided to weigh-in. I did last Saturday too and I think that will be my new weigh-in day. It worked for me before, Saturday weigh-ins, because knowing I would weigh-in on Saturday made me avoid the "hey, it's Friday night - let's have a treat" thing. I'm happy to report that I'm down 2 whole pounds this week.
I feel really good about this and my short-term goal right now is to lose 15-20 pounds by mid-May. I don't think that this is unreasonable considering how much I have to lose overall. I have many reasons for wanting to lose weight, most of them are related to general health and longevity. In addition to these reasons, I really want to wear smaller clothes...to feel better in the clothes I have, to be able to find clothes easier. Also, toward the end of May, there is an event I'm working at and I'd really like to be able to comfortably wear these gorgeous pants to it. I wore them to the same event last year and I remember being really uncomfortable throughout dinner. They were just too tight and I remember when I bought them, they were actually loose on me. They are black, crepe-y, flowy pants with lovely lining and they look like a gorgeous long skirt instead of pants. I know that I can do this and I will!!
I think that this is a great carrot to dangle in front of myself and, as I already said, it's realistic. I'm feeling inspired by the 2 pounds. It's a small step but it's something I feel good about. I haven't felt good about much weight-loss related in a while so I'm taking what I can get. We also stocked the kitchen with tonnes of fresh fruit and veg last night. We've got whole grains galore and other good stuff so that should make things easier.
The snow may have dampened my spring spirit for a couple of days but I'm feeling good about myself again and that's way more important than the weather!!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
For the rest of that day (Thursday), I was really stiff and sore. I was pissed too because my knee had started to feel better, I'd actually worked out a couple of mornings this week, and I all I could think about was how I'd now re-injured myself. Fortunately, this seems not to be the case. When I got up yesterday, I was a little stiff but much much much better. Today I feel almost 100%. The cold is almost gone, TOM has passed and I think my injuries are almost all mended.
It's a weird feeling, normal, after a few weeks of feeling like crap. Oh, injuries and illness aside, I seem to be doing pretty well with my eating. I know that I'm definitely not eating as much as I was a few weeks ago. My portion size had dramatically reduced and I'm not feeling hungry. In fact, I'm feeling really hungry at meals and then I don't seem to need nearly as much food as I once did, to feel satisfied. I'm really hoping that this is something which will stick with me because portion control has always been a challenge for me. Even when eating healthy food, I know that I just plain old eat too much.
Of course, the big test is the weekend, right? So far so good today. Hopefully, the rest of the weekend will be as good as last week. I'd love to see a drop on the scale sometime soon!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
actually, saturday and sunday were pretty uneventful but yesterday was awesome. for most of the weekend, I felt like totally hammered crap. tom was incredibly gross and painful and I was still having yucky cold symptoms which were interfering with my ability to get a decent night's rest.
sunday night, probably because of the huge amount of TOM related pain killers I'd ingested during the day, I slept like the a log. yesterday, I got up when my hunny got up (4:30 a.m.) got my laundry done early, baked some gorgeous banana muffins, watched some movies, cleaned up one of the drives on my computer, prepped dinner (my hunny is a chef so I almost never cook dinner - I did last night though because I'd been off). I never left the house and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very relaxing and I felt better yesterday than I had in a week.
today was back to work and by mid-afternoon my cold was starting annoy me again. I could feel my head starting to fill up, mid-meeting. nice huh?? I'm planning an early to bed night tonight. I realize that I need a lot more rest right now, while I'm recovering from this bug, than I normally do. happily, the cold is still making me want to eat less. my appetite is significantly decreased and I'm not unhappy about that. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to keep this eating less thing up when I'm all better.
in other good news, Taylore's back and she's sick with the cold so pop by and say hello and send her lots of feel good soon vibes.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I took some time to sort through my blog roll list and catch up a little on who's still writing. I was a little surprised at the number of folks who have stopped journaling. I guess it gets hard to keep writing if you feel like you're just saying the same stuff over and over again, I know that this is an easy trap to fall into, I do it myself.
My feeling though, is that if I keep writing, even not regularly, it's good for me. I'll see where I'm doing "okay" and "not so well" and hopefully I'll see patterns emerge and try to work around them.
Being sick this week has been good for me in a way. With the increased mucous production my body has been doing, my appetite has decreased. This almost never happens to me. Twice over the past few days, I've not been able to finish my meal. This is good, I think. Eating less, for me, is always good.
Rather than focus on good or bad, I'm trying to keep my mind on being healthy. If I keep my mind on eating healthy stuff, good fuel for my body, nutritious stuff that will help battle the cold and make me strong, I think that's good. I've been trying to do that for the past couple of weeks and it's going okay.
The other day, Wednesday I think, I stayed home from work (I hadn't slept at all the night before and could almost not breathe). At some point during that day, my foot started to hurt. It was a muscle ache, like I'd stretched something in an odd way, or slept on it in a weird angle. By Friday night, it was really killing me. Once I would be up and moving around, it was okay but if I sat down for any length of time, it would stiffen up and I had a hard time putting weight on it. It really didn't help that I was working at an event on Friday night and stood on a concrete floor, in my winter boots, for 2.5 hours. Anyway, it kind of kicked my plan for a Saturday winter hike in the nuts. Today though, I'm feeling much better. Not quite 100% normal but definitely improved. I might try to get outside for a walk around the neighborhood and see how that feels. Honestly, between my knee the other week (which is fine now!) and now this foot thing, I feel like I'm falling apart.
Tomorrow, I've booked a day off for myself. I don't really have anything planned, just hanging around the house, getting a few things done, maybe read a book, just have a day for me. Goodness knows, between the cold, TOM and the foot thing, an extra day off will do me a world a good right now.
Friday, March 02, 2007
for a while, I was in the habit of posting at lunchtime, while I was at work. that's not happened recently because I've been kind of busy at work. lucky for me, we've hired a new admin person and so far (it's only been 3 days) it's making my life much easier. she's a dream and I feel very positive about the whole thing.
this week, I've had a wicked headcold. the first really bad cold of the season so I shouldn't complain. I think I picked it up in the grocery store on Sunday (from the buggy handle - gross). we've been sleeping well and eating well and generally taking good care of ourselves so that's the only thing I can think of it that would have exposed me to the germs. this morning I'm feeling marginally better although my nose feels like it looks like raw hamburger from blowing it so much.
to add insult to all of that nose-blowing, tom started this morning. fun times huh?? oh well, at least it's freezing rain outside right now so getting to work should be tough. I'm not complaining, really...just saying. it's almost the weekend and I've booked Monday off for no particular reason so that's good. I'm just really looking forward to breathing and sleeping again. I miss those activities, a lot.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Primarily, I wanted to report on my sore knee. Today it was not so sore and the weather was quite damp. I know now that it wasn't the weather that was making it act up. I'm still 100% convinced that it was my seating arrangement at my desk that caused the initial discomfort. I'm also 100% convinced that exercise helps it! This morning, I got my big fat ass back on that recumbent bike and I rode it. When I got into the office and started up the stairs to my office (1 1/2 flights), I felt almost no pain. I'm not running up them yet but I'm almost running down them. A couple of weeks ago, it was super painful going up or down.
Oh, yeah, Friday NSV...went to a office party this afternoon, a going away thing for a lovely colleague who I'll miss a bunch. They had ordered the most beautiful looking carrot cake, with decadent cream cheese icing (one of my favourites) and I didn't have any!! Yay me!!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Yesterday, in addition to my recumbent riding, I shovelled twice. This morning, my back and legs were a little sore so I skipped my ride. I shovelled again tonight (snow that had been blown into the yard by the fierce winds). I missed my ride. I won't skip it tomorrow. I don't know if it was physical or psychological but my knee hurt like hell on the stairs today at work and I blame it on the non-riding morning. I'm not sure if that makes any sense at all. It could just have been sore from too much stuff yesterday but I don't want to miss a morning again anytime soon. If nothing else, it'll help warm me up before I have to go out and face the minus 30+ wind chills.
Is it spring yet?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
So, both yesterday and today, I rode my recumbent bike!! Baby steps right? Two days in a row of intentional exercise is good I think. It's definitely a good start for me. I feel better for it already. I know that this feeling is more in my head than in my body but I like it. I can also feel my knee improving. It's still sore when I'm going up and down stairs but I'm pushing myself to go a little faster and I think that is helping. After riding this morning, I also got some shovelling in (we had a huge drift across our porch and walkway) so I feel extra good about stuff.
What a difference a couple of days can make huh??
Monday, February 12, 2007
That said, I stepped on the scale this morning. It hadn't moved. Not up. Not down. This is good I suppose, static is always better than up, right? Of course, down would have been good but it would also been a fucking miracle. My knee has been giving me some bother (it's work related - I'm getting a new chair which should help) so I've found that my normal exercise type stuff is not easy or comfortable to do. It feels better today than it has in a while though so I should be able to groove back into that exercise mode again tomorrow.
Eating has been touch and go. We've been doing very well as far as eating at home goes. I think we've only eaten out 4 times since the beginning of the year. This is a massive accomplishment for us and I can see the difference in our bank balance. We were spending way too much money on food that was not always that good for us. Eating at home has been challenging too. I'm baking more (bread, muffins, cookies) with healthy ingredients so we have something to spice up our snacks with. I don't have any guilt whatsoever about this because I'm practising moderation with those. What I do feel badly about is the brownies. Yeah, I made brownies in a weak moment and basically demolished them. I've also been eating too much microwave popcorn. It's the "smart pop" stuff so it's not like extra buttery/chemically/whatevery but I sure didn't need to munch on two bags of the stuff over the course of Sunday afternoon. Touch and go...see?
Reading that over, I see why I'm not that inspired to write recently. I feel like I'm making the same posts over and over again "I did okay for a few days...then I blew it so I'm being good again" gets boring for me after a while, I can't imagine how boring it is for you! I guess it's my job to stop dicking around and start doing it again. It'll make me feel better about writing and it'll give you something inspiring to read about (and I won't have to mention the "b" word here). We'll see, huh?
Thursday, February 01, 2007
last week, when i was on the brink of TOM starting, I was ravenously hungry. all I wanted to do was eat, all I could think about was snacking...and I was home sick with a weird cold so it made it all the easier to snack.
this week, I'm back at work and feeling better and in the middle of TOM and don't seem to have that problem. for the past 3 days, I've forgotten that I even brought a mid-morning snack with me (nevermind actually eating it).
it's good I suppose. I just wish it would be consistent.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Again, it's been over a week since I've put in an appearance here. I have excuses though, LOTS of them. Here's how my week went:
Wednesday, January 24 - went home from work midday, sick as a dog, fever, dizzy, achey. Not good!
Thursday, January 25 - still sick (just typed "stick" - wishful thinking huh?). stayed home and slept the day away.
Friday, January 26 - woke up still feeling like crap on toast but forced self to go to work anyway. realized that the motherboard on my home computer was pooched beyond repair.
Saturday, January 27 - after working all day Friday (and then doing errands after work), felt tremendously craptacular when I woke up. dragged ass out of bed and cleaned bathrooms and baked muffins (not at same time) in anticipation of a long-ago-made coffee date with a friend I had gone way too long without seeing. after a nice visit, I went back to bed, still feeling like hammered poop - computer still dead but my hunny was working on it.
Sunday, January 28 - still no computer but feeling better!! went outside into the cold morning air and shovelled snow.
Monday, January 29 - computer still wonky (well not the computer but the router). it's been too busy to post from work.
Tuesday, January 30 - got depressed watching "i eat 33000 calories a day" or something similarly titled that I'd DVR'd from TLC.
I'm back kids!!
My machine at home is for the most part working well, I'm feeling better and have been really trying to control my portion size. What I'm eating isn't all that per se, it's just how much of it I eat is a little crazy at times. Watching that TLC program made me realize that even though I still have a really long way to go with my weight-loss, I can't imagine that I'd ever get to the point the four folks in that show were at. As big as I am and as much as I eat, I have never, in my life, gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to snack.
Watching it was good for me, no matter how difficult it was. It was like a slap in the face and I needed that. I hadn't bitch slapped myself in a while and it was good. I re-evaluated what I have been doing, what I haven't been doing, what I should be doing... I got back on the recumbent bike this week for the first time in goodness only knows how long. My only goal right now is not so much about numbers on the scale as it is about pants. I really want to feel comfortable in my pants again because right now, I'm just not. This is a reasonable, short-term goal I think. By the end of February, I'd like my "yuck these make me hurt" pants to feel a lot less hurty. Maybe by summer, I can squeeze my fat ass into a smaller size but for now, I'd settle for feeling better in the pants hanging in my closet right now.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I can report that PMS is getting the better of me right now. Over the weekend, I indulged in some ketchup chips. Last night, a large caramilk bar. It's not good kids, it's bad. I mean, overall, we're doing good, sticking to our "one meal out per week" thing, I'm not drinking any carbonated beverages, getting lots of water, sleep and vitamins. I'm still continuing with my baking. We've not bought any bread in 2007 and I even baked some whole wheat applesauce muffins on the weekend. I am not sure why I can't be stronger with the chocolate/salt cravings. I guess it could have been worse but that's no excuse.
We finally got our exercise room sorted out again over the weekend. I saw "we" but really, it was my hunny, he did it all. We have several piles of boxes to sort through now but he's done the bulk of the work. The basement is completely covered in really nice panelling now. We may paint later on but right now it looks fine. It also needs trim but it's a huge job to accomplish what he's done so far. The main thing is that our recumbent bike is ready to ride in a dust free room! Whoot!
Before I go, I wanted to leave you with a link. I dearly love Kevin Smith and laughed out loud (and empathized a great deal) when I read his blog post from Monday. Here it is. I am always inspired when men talk about weight issues because, so often, it feels like it's a woman's issue when really, it's not, it's a general health issue.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
how are you doing?
I'm doing much better tonight than I was last night. I've had a weird couple of days. On Monday, someone sprayed hair spray in our office (there are five of us in one room) and it took my breath away, made my eyes water, I was choking and had to leave the room. For the rest of the day, I had a small headache and a raw throat.
On Monday afternoon, I shoveled a bit (we finally had some snow on Monday), just the porch and path and part of the driveway...it felt so good to be getting some really cold, crisp air into my lungs! The next morning, there was a little more shoveling to do so I got bundled up and did it before I left for the office. Again, I felt invigorated and healthy. My lungs were full of cold Canadian air, magnificent clean air!! I got to work, walked into the building and again, burning eyes, choking...someone else had just sprayed a lot of perfume in the washroom (right beside the door). I never used to react like this but I feel like with the building being closed up in the cold weather, I've developed some kind of weird building allergy. Not fun.
So last night, we decided to go out for our proper night out (the hot dog cannot count!!) and we went to the Chinese Buffet. I made careful selections and really enjoyed the meal. It was really good actually. After dinner, I needed a couple of things at the grocery store so we stopped off on the way home. I started to feel a little wonky but it wasn't anything I could put my finger on. When I got home, I had horrible stomach cramps and spent the best part of an hour in the washroom. I was all clammy and nauseous and I think it must have been some MSG in something. That was the only thing I could think of that would cause such a fast reaction. Fortunately, I went to bed and woke up feeling fine but it was really unpleasant.
Today, I felt pretty normal, no choking, no headache or sore throat. Honestly, the world around me literally makes me sick sometimes. No wonder I've become such a homebody this winter. Why would I want to go out for long when it just makes me sick!!
In other news, I lost 2 pounds this week. I'm not sure from where but I feel pretty good (allergies and MSG related horrible sickness aside) about that.
Monday, January 15, 2007
So, the weekend. It was weird. We had planned to use our "one meal a week out" for a lunch over the weekend but we ended up not doing that. In the middle of shopping on Friday night (we wanted to get all of our errands done after work on Friday instead of spreading them out over the weekend), we had a hot dog and diet cola at Costco. My hunny had LBS and I was feeling wonky so the break and some food sounded like a good idea. Unfortunately, it didn't sit well with me and I felt nauseous all day Saturday. I'm not sure if the two were related, or if I had already picked up a touch of a bug and the hot dog just made it worse (I've eaten costco dogs before and this one tasted just fine). In any event, it was a huge effort to just do laundry on Saturday so I didn't do much else.
Oh, but I baked a loaf of bread. Well, threw stuff in the machine. That was Saturday. Sunday I felt a little better, made another loaf of bread... loafed around a lot too. Generally I felt much better.
While we were out shopping on Friday, I'm happy to report, aside from the hot dog, we only bought good stuff. I went to the bulk barn and did not buy chocolate. This is huge for me, I did buy wheat germ, oat bran, dates, walnuts, coconut, cookie ingredients basically, but no chocolate.
Not bad huh?? Unfortunately, I did break down and buy some chocolate later in the weekend, but that's another story... I can smell my dinner calling my name.
Happy Monday kiddos!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
today, I was much better. I was also away from my desk a lot and did a little bit of walking from building to building, outside in the wind. it felt pretty good, the walking did. I'm wondering now if the hunger yesterday wasn't a by-product of my body adjusting to a sudden drop in temperature that we've experienced around these parts over the past couple of days.
whatever it was, hopefully it's over now. my eating today was much more reasonable, my hunger became less urgent and persistent. if I didn't know better, I'd have sworn that yesterday was about PMS but I know where I am in my cycle and that's not the case. oh well, as long it's over, I'm happy!!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
why did I have splitting headache for most of the day?
the sun was shining, it was a lovely day, and yet my head was pounding and my stomach was screaming at me all day.
I feel better now. after lunch, I broke down and took a Tylenol and eventually my headache went away. it was very odd.
this morning, I decided to wear a pair of black dress pants which, last time I wore them, cut into my waist all day and made me feel really uncomfortable. I also chose a pair of shoes, which I love, but which pinched my heel the last time I wore them. I did this because I wanted something to remind me all day, of why I should keep on track with what I'm doing. I wanted to get annoyed at the discomfort, instead, I was inspired!! I know that I've not lost any weight (not according to the scale anyway) but I must have lost some fluid/bloat because, while the pants are still too tight to wear with a tucked in shirt (I wore a sweater over them), they didn't cut me at all and my shoes were actually comfortable too.
it definitely feels like I'm on the right track with my resolutions. the pantometer is always a better measurement of progress for me than the scale is!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
as far as my skin goes, I think it's detoxing from the great holiday spinach dip incident of 2006. post TOM, I've developed a couple of spots (spots, at 39, shocking isn't it!!) that I think are a result of the crap clearing out of my system.
it's good though, I mean the spots are kinds pink and gross and of course I'd rather not have them but at the same time, I know it's for the best. I've really increased my water intake as well. I'd let that fall off a bit while I was on vacation (too easy access to the coffee pot here at home was the reason). of course, there is the peeing, not so much that I feel like I'm depleting all of my minerals and stuff, but enough, again, to know that I'm doing good stuff.
other than feeling like the new routine is starting to gel, there isn't anything exciting to report. eating well, taking vitamins, journalling, it's all kind of boring but it's necessary and right now, I feel good about being boring!