Friday, January 30, 2009

A Short Friday Post

For those who care, not a single morsel crossed my lips from yesterday’s haul. And, my scale still hasn’t budged in over a couple of weeks. I hate it more than ever.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Universe, Please Don't Be So Obvious

The universe is testing me and not in a very subtle way. Just arrived via Fed-Ex for me… a big gift box of chocolates, candy covered pecans, dark chocolate covered honeycomb and white chocolate covered pretzels. Just when I thought all the bribes from the sales people were over. Under any normal circumstances I’d be doing a big fat happy dance. Today though, it’s just torture. I’ve put the treats in the kitchen and I know the piggies in this office will sniff it out within minutes, thank goodness.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More About My Crazy Experiment

This was asked of me of me by amazingly wonderful Mary Fran:

I'm curious. How far have you taken your no sugar thing? If a recipe calls for sugar (not a dessert...but a typical every day dinner/meal recipe) will you just ignore that recipe or ingredient and either not make it or skip it....or will you use it (as long as it's only a small amount)

Well, since I’ve only been at this no sugar nonsense a week, the short answer is I just haven’t been eating any desserts, no chocolate, no cookies, no treat thingys for sure. Yesterday, I did make myself some toast and I went to grab the jar of peach jam, left over from my summer crop, but then opted not to put that one. Since I made the jam myself I knew exactly how much sugar there was in it, and I’ll just say that even in low sugar jam, there still A LOT of sugar.

So, far in my meals, of which I’m making 90% of, I never add sugar. Typically, if a savory dish is calling for sugar, I’d leave it out anyway. I don’t really find adding sugar to a dish just to sweeten it a bit necessary at all. I’d rather opt to add more spice to bring out flavors, not sugar. If the recipe calls for a lot, more than a couple tablespoons, I’d probably pass on it or really cut back on the sugar.

I drink coffee but just with a touch of milk in it, I never got in the habit of sweetening my coffee.

I don’t drink sodas so I haven’t had to cut that out.

I do eat foods that have some sugar in them, for instance the cereal I had for breakfast or the 3g of sugar that’s in my cottage cheese. It would be extremely hard for me to cut all those out. But I do look carefully at sugar content and if it seems like it has a lot in it, like this yogurt, I’ll pass on it.

So, basically this little experiment of mine was a good way to cut out the desserts and snacking food that I shouldn’t have been eating anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Those 2 Bites Don't Really Count, Do They?

I have to say I am damn proud of myself. Only a couple itsy bitsy bites of that super delicious Pavlova. I easily could have had a couple of huge slices, but I wasn’t really ready to give up my no sugar streak. (I’m not *really*counting the tiny bites last night, so I’m now onto another day without sugar.) I have to say I’m feeling so much better without it. It’s kinda one of those things where you don’t know how well you really feel until you get sick. In this case I really didn’t know how poorly I was feeling until I made this shift. And if you want to know, I am not just replacing sugar with one of those nasty substitutes. I’ve just plain cut out the sweet treats. It’s hard, but I will encourage any of you crazies out there to give it a whirl. After the initial, stepping-off-the-cliff, shock of it all, you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet and Sour

On the sweet side...

I’m on day 4 of no sugar. So far so good. Yesterday I was being physically attacked by cravings, but held my ground. Tonight will be tough since I’m having some of my favorite girl friends over for a friend’s birthday celebration and there will be a Pavlova made. I may just have to bite, just one itsy bitsy bite.

On the sour side...

As an update to Friday’s post, I appreciate all the comments. My friend is super happy and I’m happy for that. She deserves to feel the bliss, the joy, that over the moon feeling. Over the past 2 years of their relationship, I’ve opted to keep my mouth shut, as much as I was able, about how I really feel. There have been a few times where I’ve said things like, “I think Mr. Wonderful seems like he would be a good partner for someone, but I’m just not sure that person is you. But, I just want you to be happy and if being with Mr. Wonderful makes you happy, that’s great.” And yes, it is hard for me to watch her go down this path, but it is her life and I’ll be there if the chips fall and she does need a friend. It’s not the right time for me to turn my head now.

In addition, the Bride, lives on the opposite side of this country and I finally spoke with her in person this morning. She asked me to be her matron of honor, and I said yes only on the condition I didn’t have to give a toast. I just don’t thing I can stand there and lie in front of that many people about how happy I am and what a wonderful partnership this is.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Knew This Was Coming...

My best friend got engaged last night. Got engaged to her creepy, over possessive boyfriend. The one that she fights with at least once a week. Fights over things she too embarrassed to tell me about because they are “so stupid.” But, fights that still leave her in tears. The one that wouldn’t “let” her join the gym she wanted to. The one that told her if she chose to go to Los Angeles for 6 weeks for work instead of someplace closer to him, he was going to break up with her. The one that has been staying at her place rent free for the last year, because his basement apartment at his parent’s house got flooded and he didn’t clean it up. The one that the first night I met him and we all had dinner together told me how much I owed for my meal.

Oh I could go on, but that would just be mean.

She seems thrilled and I’m trying to be happy for her. I want her to have a long happy partnership, but, if you ask me, the secret to a good marriage is to marry the right person. I’m just not convinced he’s the one for her.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a Start

In the words of our President, “each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.” The part about threatening our planet, the one that I will be leaving behind, is what hit a cord with me. Seems like Obama’s word also hit home with Annette. I was reading her blog from the other day and she’s making changes and I’m joining in and making some changes in our household too.

I live in a pretty earth-conscience progressive area. We have a curbside recycling program where the city gives us bins to put recyclables, cans, papers, and plastics in and a different bin to put our green waste, lawn clippings, twigs, plants, in. It’s incredibly easy to use and we are now at the point where our recycle bin is fuller than our regular trash. We’re off to a good start, but there’s more I want to do. More that I can do and more that I will do.

Conserving energy for me is something I am very accustomed to. I grew up during the “energy crisis” of the 70’s. I remember having to put a dime in a family piggy bank every time I left a room and didn’t turn off the light and watching lines, that snaked around city blocks, while people waited to buy gas on their even or odd days. I also remember going through state or city imposed water rationing where we couldn’t water lawns, and the motto for flushing toilets was, “if it’s yellow, then it’s mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

I’m not sure if I’m going to go to that extreme, but this is what I am going to try to do more of:

1. Reach for a cloth towel instead of paper towels
2. Use reusable containers instead of zippy bags
3. Reuse the zippy bags that I do use.
4. Open the curtains and shutters instead of turning on more lights
5. Turn off lights, TV’s and anything electrical we aren’t using
6. Taking fewer and shorter showers. I’ve been in the habit of taking two a day and am going to cut back to once a day
7. Wear clothes until they are dirty before I wash them. I have a tendency to wear clothes once before I dump them in the hamper. Often times they really aren’t that dirty and could be worn again. This will not only cut down on my laundry, but also lengthen the life of my garments
8. Start composting, so I’ll have my own mulch
9. Buy local organic foods when I can. No pesticides in the earth and far less transportation bi-product (carbon foot print) involved.
10. Make only enough food for what we can eat and lessen our leftovers which usually end up in the trash

This is only the beginning and I’m sure there’s a lot more I incorporate.

What are you going to do? What ideas can you give me to add to this list?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 2 Sides of Yes

Why is it so hard to say yes to exercise? And so easy to say yes to a bowl of ice cream? It’s the same monosyllabic word , I just don’t get it.

Today’s goal: say yes to the right things.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 44th

President Obama... has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Sending hope, change and strength on this historic day and always.

Yes we can!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Becoming a Mom

It was so much better than I had expected. No problems, no fussing, just a perfect angel and I can’t wait to go, somewhere, anywhere, again, just the two of us. I feel so much more connected with my daughter and much more at ease with being a mom to The Little Miss. It’s hard to believe, I had worried so much and almost didn’t go because I was afraid. Lesson to be learn: It’s OK to feel the fear, but do it anyway.

Now, back to reality and time to get back to my daily exercise. Today… no excuses.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Latest Love

Recently, I came across FitTV on my station guide and fell in love with this show.

For me it’s quick, effective and I feel really invigorated after the workout. The woman who guides you through the poses has a very calming, clear voice and the poses are kept pretty simple. Only a few times have I found myself not knowing what foot, goes where or questioning what I was suppose to be doing. My only challenge with it, is there are commercials so I DVR it and can fast forward through them.

Oh and those bodies on the women who are on the show… yummy. That’s what I’d love to look like, lean, flexible and strong. It's a great visualization goal to have when working out.

Here's a preview for you. If you get FitTV (or I'm sure there are episodes on You Tube), give it a try.

On another note, for all of you readers who are in the midst of all that bitterly cold weather, please bundle up and stay as warm as you can. It just sounds so hard to believe since we are enjoying record warm weather and I’m off today for my little mini beachside vacation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Facing My Fear

For me, motherhood does not come naturally. There’s still a lot of times where I feel a certain level of unease around The Little Miss and am still trying to find my way in the world of parenthood. Playing with her is sometimes a struggle for me. I don’t like to play pretend and make believe. I don’t like dolls and I really don’t like the whole princess phenomenon. But, I do want to foster her imagination and let her do things she wants to do, except of course, when she wants to play with matches, knives and run with scissors.

She’s an easy, loving and very bright person. She’s full of energy, imagination, and is learning to joke with us. She’s pretty sensitive and often times, when she does cry, in the middle of her fits she tells me, “I want to be happy.” At her 2 year birthday she sat in her seat and when it was time to blow out her candles she looked out to her audience and says, “we’re all friends.” She’s just sweet.

That’s not to say she isn’t a bossy creature that whines a lot and cries because I poured her milk into the wrong glass. The whining gets old quickly, so does her bossiness and so does her I can do it all-by-myself attitude. It’s all a part of learning your way in this world and growing up, I understand that, but it still wears me down.

Regardless of her mostly easy going nature, I still get a nervous when I know I’m going to be the only parent with her for long periods of time, meaning more than a day. I wonder if I’ll be able to handle everything. Will the whining finally break me? Will playing with dolls finally do me in? Will I start yelling at her when she gives me attitude? I like to know there is back up. Even if The Husband is at work and relief is still hours away.

Yesterday, I got a call from a friend of mine whose husband works for The Four Seasons. They were taking a quick trip to the San Diego area and invited our family to join them. Hotel room, free. Yes, we wanted to go, but The Husband had some commitments at work he couldn’t get out of.

So, I’m going alone. Just the two of us. There will be 10 hours total drive time in the car with The Little Miss. Then there’s the 3 days with just me. Yes, my friends will be there along with their daughter, but it’s not the same. I almost didn’t go because of my fear of being alone for that long with my own child. It sounds crazy just to say that out loud, but it’s the truth. Afraid. Scared. Fear. But, I’m feeling my fear and doing it anyway. I need to know that I can do it. It’s important to me to know that we can do things like this and that we will be ok. It's time I move on and learn more about The Little Miss and about myself. I need to push my way through this and be a better parent and person because of it.

And really, what do I have to worry about? How bad can a couple days here be?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gut Reation

This is from NPR's Morning Edition, January 8, 2009 · Interesting stuff and thought you might be interested.

The holiday season is pretty much over. But is your body over the holiday season? For many people, indulging during these food-filled celebrations can set the stage for routine overeating.
The problem, some doctors and researchers say, is that overeating causes biological changes in the body that can lead to more food cravings and cause your stomach to send mixed signals about when it's actually full. As the years go by, those holiday pounds add up.
Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at the University of California at San Francisco, says each January she sees many patients lugging around an extra five pounds. Or more.
"We'll have a very earnest talk in October about weight loss," she says, "and then the visit in January after the holidays is generally a weight gain. And I see that commonly in my patients."
Year after year, those few holiday pounds can add up to 15, 20, even 30 pounds, making it all the more difficult to lose extra weight, Redberg says. "People get discouraged when they realize year after year they've gained weight."

Overeating May Change Body Clock
In mice, studies of the biological clock — an innate mechanism that tells you when to sleep and when to eat — indicate that when they are overfed, their body clocks change and gear them toward more overeating.
"If mice eat a high-fat diet, they actually wake up during what is nighttime for them and eat," says Dr. Joe Bass, a Northwestern University endocrinologist and molecular biologist who has published numerous studies about the body clock and mice. "It would be as if you were waking up every night during holiday season and eating all the sweets in your refrigerator."
Bass found that among the mice who got fat, the weight gain resulted directly from food consumed during what would normally be their sleeping time. This suggests that people who eat less fat will sleep better, and they are not likely to engage in nighttime bingeing, he says.

A Vicious Cycle
Overeating "sets your body chemistry sort of into red alert," says Dr. Sasha Stiles, a family physician who specializes in obesity at Tufts Medical Center. "The kinds of hormone and metabolic processes that normally will try to metabolize food will go into overdrive to make sure they get rid of this huge food load," Stiles explains.
This means that much of what you eat will be stored as fat rather than converted into healthy byproducts.
Excess food can trigger an unfortunate cycle: The pancreas produces extra insulin to process the sugar load and remove it from the bloodstream. It doesn't stop producing insulin until the brain senses that blood sugar levels are safe. But by the time the brain stops insulin production, often too much sugar is removed. Low blood sugar can make you feel tired, dizzy, nauseous, even depressed — a condition often remedied by eating more sugar and more carbohydrates.
This feeling of low blood sugar sends many people after more carbohydrates, says Stiles, and they go for high-sugar foods to bring their blood sugar back up to normal and make them feel better.

Sending Mixed Messages
This cycle of overeating can lead to a yo-yo effect.
If you consistently overeat, you'll trigger changes in your stomach, the doctor says. The neurological tissue at the top of the stomach, which signals the brain that the stomach is full, starts to malfunction.
"When you overeat time and time again, this electrical conduit pathway gets tired and it doesn't tell your brain that you're full anymore," says Stiles. "It may send abnormal signals and you may not even realize you're full."
If you drink lots of icy beverages with your food, the mixed messages to your body only worsen, she says. "When you drink cold liquids, your stomach will start contracting and it will massage the food that will again quickly leave [the] stomach to the rest of the gastrointestinal track."
This means your stomach will be empty sooner than normal, and you will be hungrier sooner.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Little Red Scarf

Just something fun for all of you...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Note to Self

If you can’t stop at eating just one of those 100 Calorie Dark Chocolate Bars from Trader Joe’s, then I should just stop buying them. Eating the whole box is not good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Net Gain, 35 Pounds

I went out and bought a new scale yesterday. The one I bought last year broke. It wasn’t just the battery needed replacing or it got wet and it shorted out. No, it broke. Rather, I, yours truly, broke it. I stepped on the scale and the plastic broke. How does a scale manufacturer make a scale that a person stepping on it can break the plastic?

We still used the scale since it was practically brand new at the time of the crime. The weight still registered but recently, the crack in the plastic started getting longer and longer and the numbers on the scale started dropping in direct proportion to the length of the crack. Needless to say I know I didn’t drop 30 pounds in a week, although I really did like to see that number on the scale.

So yesterday, I bought a scale and promptly put on about 35 pounds.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting Busy

I’m not much of a resolutions kind of gal. Sadly, it seems as though it is just a way to set myself up for failure. (I know, wrong attitude, but really.) There are things however, I have in mind that I’d like to do or continue to do this year.

Clean out my pantry. I have canned goods that I must have moved from my old house over two years ago. I know for sure there’s a jar of pickles in there from The Little Miss’ 1st birthday party that never got opened, so that’s getting chucked. I also know there are things lurking in there that will be scary to uncover.

I’d also like to go through all my plastic containers and get rid of the lids without containers and containers without lids. How does that happen?

Another project is going to be switching closets around. I’m not sure how it ended up this way, but part of my things are in the guest room closet and some are in the master bedroom closet. Same with The Husband. I told him last weekend when I was a cranky bitch we needed to remedy that situation. The thing he doesn’t realize is that 85% of each of the closets are full of his things. (That’s using the nice word. I’d like to say crap or shit, but that just wouldn’t be nice.)

Besides cleaning and organizing which is an on-going project, I want to keep up with thank you cards, birthday wishes, downloading pictures, reading blogs, writing my own blog, and find a way to sell some of my jewelry I make and things I sew.

I also want to spend more time with my father, who is getting older before my eyes and who, in the past, I had a rather distant relationship with. Our time together will not be long. I’d also like to try and mend the relationship with my brother. I think that would be a huge gift I could give to my daughter.

I want to be more patient and more present with The Little Miss and also be more efficient with my time.

Also, here is the typical. Eating better, exercising more, drinking more water and losing weight. I have a number in mind and when it happens I will have lost a total of 43 pounds.

Just looking at all that stuff, looks like I’m going to have a busy year. I best take a nap. I’ll get to all my organizing and things later.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Call Me a Cranky Bitch

I’ve had lots of time off of work the past couple of weeks and so has The Husband. Now don’t get me wrong, cuz I love The Husband, but by yesterday I was done with him and done with The Little Miss who has also been out of school the past couple of weeks. I swear I was about to lose it yesterday and was a cranky bitch. Moody, snippy and just needing to have a little time to myself.

In my past life, before The Husband and before The Little Miss, I was a pretty solitary person opting a lot of time to do things by myself, not because I didn’t have the choice to include friends, but because I enjoyed my time alone and the freedom that comes along with it. Even now, given the choice, I’d rather see a movie solo rather than go with someone. I like to sit where I want to and eat my popcorn in peace. I like knowing I won’t have to discuss the film with anyone right after, rather I like having the time to absorb the moment quietly. I’ve traveled the world solo, adventured by myself, lived by myself and had many years where I was basically a solo avenger and loved it.

So, this weekend, after 5 straight days of football games, the busy toddler, laundry, dishes, entertaining some friends, babysitting a cousin and all the normal stresses of life, I was D.O.N.E. I had fantasies of renting a little studio apartment somewhere, filling it with all the things I love instead of big pink plastic toys, and leaving it all behind. I’m not that stupid, and would never do it , but it was certainly a great dream to have, even for that brief glorious moment. The simple life. No worries and no one to take care of, but me. Do what I want, when I want. That sounded so nice and so very decadent.

This weekend taught me that I need to listen to me. To set time aside for myself, without feeling guilty. I need to learn to talk to The Husband and let him know what’s going on because it is ok to feel over burdened and bunt out. It’s ok for me to take a break and it’s ok to know that I can’t do it all, all of the time. But what is not ok is to be a cranky bitch and snap at him when he has no idea what’s going on. We all deserve better behavior than that.