BESSHAILE   51,772
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*That Number* again - additional musings about The Scale

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

So - sometimes it's that number and sometimes it's not. But for sure - all the time - it's an attitude.

Don't you doubt it - I emoticon emoticon emoticon it when I have a numerical break through. Crashing through the 160 barrier was a thrill. Watching the graph go downwards tickles me. I'm eagerly looking forward to reaching my goal weight and I am positive I'll do so this month. But the triumph isn't always numerical - sometimes it is a zipper, sometimes it's a gleam in an admiring eye, sometimes it's just a choice.

My big triumph last week was *in spite of* a number. Last week I posted a small weight gain - though I had tracked, exercised, drunk plenty of water and, unlike this week, slept soundly through the nights. I remember at the time thinking "Hmmm. Wonder what happened. Wonder if I did something wrong. Wonder if I played the fudge game." You know ... where you serve yourself a portion of something high calorie/fat/sugar and then say "oh. it's not really that bad - probably only __X___ calories/points/grams." though if you'd taken the time to look it up you'd have found out it was ___2X___ or even ___3X___ calories/points/grams. Recognize that? I thought you would.

But that's ALL I did last week. I just assessed the information from the scale and considered my recent actions and then let it go. I didn't get upset. I didn't beat myself up. I didn't feel like I might as well quit. I just acknowledged what was spread out before me and then started a new week of tracking, drinking water, exercising and making choices. Because that was what came next. That was the next Best Thing To Do. That was the *now* of last week.

And this week I posted a 3 lb loss. Hmmm. I can pretty much guarantee I didn't actually lose 3 lbs last week. I ate about exactly what I'd eaten the week before - ditto exercise and water. My guess is that at some metabolic level my body dropped 1.5 lbs each week. Who knows why it displayed things the way it did; holding on to poundage one week, releasing it the next. For the first time I could grasp the reason why so many health pundits tell you to quit being so obsessive about the scale.

Well. Hmm.

While I understand the danger of an obsession, I'm not yet ready to let go of The Scale and it's powerful, if dictatorial, rule. I can conceive of a time when I won't need it every single day of my life - when it becomes a now and then tool that helps me keep tabs on things - but right now I am enjoying the thrill it gives me when I see that needle go down - and I am also just doubtful enough of my focus to be glad of its authoritarian security.

As I said above, sometimes it's a number and sometimes it's not. It's the attitude that is constant. The acknowledgement that everything the scale tells me is about actions I've taken, in the past - not about who I am nor even about actions I will take in the future. And the future always begins now. Right here. With my next choice of a Best Thing To Do.

Keep that attitude, my friends. It's your best tool.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 8/1/2012 10:47AM

    Well done, Bess
I stopped using the scale - and lost focus - now I use it again as a hazard warning!

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MSLZZY 8/1/2012 7:30AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Yonanas!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

First off - A BIG thank you to SHAROND52 who put me on to this wonderful kitchen tool.

I may seem a little out of touch but I don't have television reception where I live so I miss out on advertisements for new gadgets. So when I read about this on Sharon's blog I just about had to pick my jaw up off the floor. You see - I am a complete and total ice cream lover. I would choose ice cream over any other sweet treat. In fact, it's one of the few non-negotiables I've held on to as I venture into this vegan diet. I just don't Not do ice cream.

Now - I have a blender and I do make smoothies - though I don't really like to drink my food. I always *feel* that if I didn't chew it I didn't eat it.


I like the plant based ice cream treats from people like Rice Dreams but they come in tee tiny little packages that cost Big Green Dollars. I'm looking for something I can have every day.

And then - there are the over ripe bananas. I buy bananas by the boat load because it's one of the few things I can count on Himself eating during the day. His preference is to eat one meal a day cooked by me at 6:30. Not healthy for anybody. Particularly unhealthy for a man with high blood sugar. And No. I do not bake banana bread more than once a year and NEVER in the hot summertime.

Anyway - I read about this on Sharond's blog and right away did a google search - watched the video demo and then read reviews on Amazon (where I purchased it). I'd been wanting to give myself a reward for losing 10% of my body weight and I figured the reward would be a $50 spin of the wheel. Besides - if it didn't work I'd just send it back.

Of course now, it leaves the kitchen over my fighting fists because it DOES work. I already had bananas in the freezer for my now-and-then smoothie fixes but I also had a little chocolate in the house and popped that in along with the fruit. I ended up with a chocolate chip banana cream that was cool, refreshing, yummy - almost a chocolate chip vanilla custard flavor. Yippeee!

I tried some slightly thawed strawberries (solo) and it made a nice sorbet textured fruit treat but the berries alone weren't sweet enough. I have a lot of frozen strawberries so next time I'll add some sugar - or splenda - or some other sweetener. Today the plan is a pineapple/coconut mix for a pina colada taste. Heck. I might dash in a bit of rum and make a grown-up version.

Here's a good blog about how easy and fun this thing is to use:

Stay cool now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 7/30/2012 7:23AM

    Never heard of it before but it looks interesting. Thanks
for sharing! HUGS!

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SHEILA1505 7/30/2012 2:59AM

    Sounds like heaven!

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HARPERLADY 7/29/2012 9:56AM

    very nice, thank you for sharing, enjoy the yummy results, lol

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Have You Ever Weighed Your Clothes?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I have a very accurate scale that weighs down to tenths of an ounce ... or grams if I switch over to that. So one recent Monday afternoon (weigh-in eve) I weighed some skirts and tops to see which one would give me that minute advantage on the scale at my WW meeting. I was amazed to see a 5 ounce spread between three sleeveless tops. Ditto the difference between my two lightest weight skirts! Put together there could be more than a half pound weight difference.

Now - Only a fellow traveler on this weight loss journey would grasp the significance of this knowledge - or care - or understand why I might be clutching such a meager straw as a 2 ounce weight differential in a blouse. Because - I have to be honest - yesterday I was clutching. And that alone is an important bit of information for me to carry into the coming weeks.

You see, there was a small weight gain yesterday at my weigh-in. The first in 10 weeks. It was only .2 lbs or 3.2 ounces - which is good news. But deep down I knew there was a weight gain. I felt it. I saw it in my bathroom scale which is a traditional dial type that really only gives you a general idea of what you weigh. But I also knew it because I *felt* it - and I felt it because this past week I had eaten some very delicious but oily portobello sandwiches on white bread buns and even some to-die-for waffle fries, along with celebration cake for a beloved friend's retirement. These were foods that I tracked, but whose true caloric/points value I had to estimate. I didn't make them myself and they were not pre-packaged foods either. I knew I had to do food math and my goodness it's difficult for me to round up when it comes to food math. And the food math I had done last week said that I was well within the calculated caloric/points limits to loose weight. But I didn't. I gained.

So, why are these measly 3.2 ounces worth blogging about? They could be water weight. They could be my clothes. They could be ....

Well, because I know they're not. If the tracking said one thing and the scale said something else - there is a problem here. I really have to ponder what I did wrong. And because I am afraid. The One Setback scares the bejeezus out of me. I know that we have a Bunch Of Food Situations coming up in the coming weeks - situations where I am NOT in charge of the cooking so anything could be in those dishes. So - there is the truth factor and the fear factor at work right now.

I know that, just 6 lbs away from my goal, I'm still learning new things about what it takes to LIVE the life of a healthy woman at the right weight for her. In some ways, these last few pounds are the hardest to drop. I don't just want to reach my goal. Heck. I've already reached my goal weight before. It's the staying there that I want to do - for the rest of my life.

It's important now that I look hard at where I went wrong last week.
It's important now that I love myself enough to acknowledge my errors but forgive me.
It's important to know that if I *feel* nervous about how much my clothes weigh - it's a warning sign that I'm not making good choices.
It's important now that I make different food choices from the ones I made last week - even though there has already been Birthday Cake.

And most of all ...

It's important now that I never quit.

So. Go weigh your clothes. emoticon But remember - clothes do not make the woman - or man, for that matter.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 7/25/2012 11:14AM

    I'm often amazed at gym when people get on the scale in shoes, wet towels around them or their heads, holding their water bottles - duhhh!

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MSLZZY 7/25/2012 10:02AM

    So true. But consider the sodium in most of those
foods could account for the slight gain. I try to be
cautious and err on the side. It may taste sweet
but sodium hides in so many corners.
Do the best you can. HUGS!

Comment edited on: 7/25/2012 10:02:47 AM

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CELIAMINER 7/25/2012 9:07AM

    Tee hee, know that feeling! When I was in the military, I used to sweat (literally) those ounces, so the allowance for clothes was important to me.

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CAM2438 7/25/2012 8:07AM

    I totally agree!!! Clothes can make a difference on the scale!

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HOPELOSE100 7/25/2012 8:01AM

    Just keep pushing forward and those last few lbs will move along. Let the "bad" food choices of last week go, and try harder for good choices this week-You can do it!!

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AZMOMXTWO 7/25/2012 7:59AM

  at least you keep track of all your food and you do not do it all the time

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JLITT62 7/25/2012 7:55AM

    .2 lbs is really nothing to worry about. I get where you're coming from, but really, it could be as simple as your clothes or some water retention.

Maintenance isn't about maintaining the exact same weight - it's about maintaining within a range that is comfortable for you - because wright WILL fluctuate.

I've gotten really good at maintaining . . . it's just those last few pounds that elude me.

Of course none of this gives you carte blanche to give in or up. A little extra vigilance isn't a bad thing; stressing over .2 lbs is.

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AJB121299 7/25/2012 7:50AM

    it is important to recognize that ones clothing adds weight, especially jeans & shoes

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More Vegan Thoughts - Strictly My Own Opinion

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thanks sweeties - for the lovely comments and encouragement and also, Thank you Trentdreamer

for your kindness. Here are some more thoughts prompted by your comments.

The book our doctor recommended to my husband (I wasn't present at this conversation so I don't know what else he said) is Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes

It is very different from the American Diabetes Diet recommendations. It's very similar to the Dean Ornish heart diet book. ZERO animal products, limited vegetable fats, and whole grains ... or in the case of Dr. Bernard, low glycemic index foods.

We all know that whole grains and the protein, vitamins, minerals fiber AND oil from vegetables are good for us. Limiting fats is good. The big claim Dr. Bernard makes is that microscopic fat deposits within cell walls ALSO interfere with insulin's ability to move sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cell. He makes a secondary claim about animal proteins but I don't exactly remember what that was so I shan't try to paraphrase it. Suffice it to say that if you HAVE health issues related to diabetes he CLAIMS - and offers studies to back up his claims in a lay-man's way - not with scholarly citations - that eliminating animal fats from your life can make a swift and great impact on your ability to process sugar.

Himself does not have sugar counts high enough to start taking medication. I wonder if that is why our doctor suggested trying a radical diet shift to see if it worked. The doc wasn't taking any risks and if it worked - he might not have to prescribe any medication either.

What I thought was ... Hey - this looks interesting. I could use some new cooking techniques and meal planning skills. And I decided to participate to see how different it made me feel - to see what difference it would make in my own numbers. I don't have high blood pressure or blood sugar but I am on Lipator and this same doc told me I'd have to get my LDL down to 61 before he'd take me off of it.

Also - if I were eating the same foods as Himself, I'd know if the stuff was any good and could figure out how to make it better.

For some reason when we decided to try this experiment, neither of us felt the grief associated with giving up favorite things. No steak? Eh. Not really in the mood for it. No Cheese? Well - it's only for a few weeks - it doesn't have to be a life sentence. Let's just explore and see what we find out.

Happily - we were both at the same place at the same time. Both curious. Both ready to give it a try. Both ready for me to make lots if disasters in the quest for more delicious meals. We aren't foodies in the blogging sense - but we both really love food and celebrate around it. We've talked a little about how we would celebrate a Vegan Thanksgiving, say, or what we'd do when oyster season comes around again - but somehow - those are far away distant things that can be addressed later. Right now; high summer, peak of the garden season, 100+ temperatures - seems like the right time to try a radical change.

So what's different after 10 days?

1. I have to THINK so durn hard when I walk into the kitchen. My usual modus operandi is to walk into the kitchen - stop - ask myself what I am in the mood for - imagine the finished meal - and then turn to. And as I said the other day - I expect to be Out Of The Kitchen in 30 minutes.
Well. Okay. I am having to work at this but I'm getting there.

2. A physical calmness within my body. well - I told you about that the other day too. But it continues - a sort of zen feeling about my innards. I'm extremely sensitive about what goes on Within - a little fey, far more touchy feeley than my husband who told me "No I don't feel any different but I don't feel hungry" Well. There. He's an Aries. emoticon

3. 2 pound weight loss with no hunger

I'm not really advocating anything - or jumping on some band wagon about the joys of the vegan life. I would never EVER suggest someone else try what I'm trying. Diet and nutrition and health are deeply personal things - especially if you have health issues. I wouldn't tell you what dress to wear either. Or car to buy or any of those other Deeply Personal Things. I'm just sharing what's going on because I always have to talk about the new things I'm doing.

Right now - it's an experiment. What it will be next month - well - we'll just have to see. In the mean time - here is a picture of last night's experiment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 7/18/2012 10:19AM

    Looks delicious! Keep experimenting and keep track
of what you like and build on that.DH would have a very
hard time giving up animal protein. If he goes without
meat for ONE day, he is a bear. Good luck! HUGS!

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My Vegan Adventure - and a recipe

Monday, July 16, 2012

Himself (my dear husband) has high blood sugar and has already had most of the complications arising from diabetes: heart attack, detached retina, kidney infection ...

He was also always a meat and potatoes man - in fact, I used to joke that I could keep him in line by tossing a pound of sausage at him. He, otoh, called anything fruit or vegetable based (unless it was vegetables cooked with ham hocks ... he IS Southern, you know) "Fat Lady Food". Both of us were teasing each other in a kind way - so if it sounds mean - it wasn't. But he was always strongly resistant to eating anything that the cook in his Aunt Mimi's kitchen didn't make and ... let's face it - she cooked the original soul food - and since I never knew her and have a non-cooking Pennsylvania Yankee Mother anyway - our food backgrounds are extremely different.

But I like cooking and I have a knack with spices. My food always tastes like me - not like anybody else. I am not very good at following recipes, except, maybe, the first time around. After that I'll start tampering with the ingredients and voila! It's something new. I am also a fast cook. I like to walk in the kitchen and call everyone to the meal 30 minutes later. And I try new cuisines all the time: Greek, Indian, Whole Grains .... I'm still flexible enough to give something a fair chance.

When Himself had a heart attack in 2005, while still grousing about things, he made some serious changes. He no longer goes all day (working at home, 20 feet from a refrigerator full of tasty stuff) without eating. He eats fruit. He eats salads. He lost 20 lbs.

He also continued to have blood sugar that flirted with being too high and he had 3 more detached retinas - and uses an eye drop that is not covered by our insurance. Ouch!

Our doctor recommended he read Dr. Neal Barnard's program for reversing diabetes and when we got a copy I was surprised and, I'll admit it, a little dismayed to find it's all about a Vegan diet.



That's a whole new way of meal planning and it's a lot of work and all the vegan food I've eaten is either sort of dough-ey from soy products or cumin filled - or even ... well... icky. What I've tried all has had a sort of *odd* taste, like I was eating in a Head Shop with incense sticks burning and sitar music in the background. In short - it was an interesting experience but it didn't taste like real food. It doesn't taste like My Cooking.

Still and all - the idea was intriguing enough to explore and this past week we've been eating a lot of new things. Some have been fun. Some have been - not so. And nothing has tasted good enough to pig out on. Not that I have to pig out on the food, but ... I want to eat food that delights me. I want to serve guests food that they'll rave about.

What I have learned so far is:

1. I am probably going t eat very little soy product. I don't like soy beans. Heck. We grow the durn things on our farm and I've made tofu from my own beans and I think they're icky. Himself likes those toasted soy bean snacks but I think they're nasty. And so far, the only thing I've found made of soy that I like is the Silk Vanilla soy milk.

2. I also LOVE other beans - almost all other beans and there are TONS of good ways to fix them. I got a recipe for "The Best Bean Burger Ever" which, before I baked it and turned it into something I did NOT like, was "The Best Black Bean Humus-type Food Ever" so - I won't fry or bake the patties but instead use the mixture in taco shells or lettuce roll ups or just in a bowl.

3. Textured Vegetable Protein needs a day to blend in with the flavorings. I made a TVP chili that was only so so the night I made it but when I had the leftovers for lunch the next day - KA POW! Delicious! Wow! That stuff has to be used in make-ahead dishes.

4. My stomach - actually my whole body - feels like it's in neutral gear. I'm never very hungry and certainly never very full while eating like this. Nothing feels like it's working too hard but there's no tiredness or lack of energy either. It's a good feeling but without either the highs or the lows that I've been used to.

All in all it's been enough of a success to keep me inspired to explore, invent, and learn more. Of course, there's the added impetus of wanting to keep somebody I love with all my heart here, healthy, a whole lot longer. If this could help his eyesight, his heart, his blood sugar - I would eschew animal products for this lifetime and the next!


And isn't there always a "but"?

I still worried a bit that I'd have to eat food that didn't taste like me. That I would have to be something or somebody else to maintain this. It was just a tee tiny worry but it was there. Till last night, when I went into the kitchen, pulled out food in the refrigerator, and stirred up something of my own that tasted like me! No weird ingredients. Nothing you have to go to a health food store to purchase. Just food. And Just delicious. So here's my first ever Vegan Recipe:

Spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes over polenta

2 Tbs. chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 Tbs of the oil the tomatoes were in
1 small onion minced
4 cloves garlic (or to taste)
1 cup slice/chopped mushrooms (those packs of mixed mushrooms are really good here but any mushroom will do)
4 cups spinach
1 can great northern beans, washed and drained
1-2 tsp McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken spice mix

In a large deep skillet or heavy saucepan:
Saute garlic, onions and mushrooms in oil
Wash spinach and chop coarsely
While still damp from wash dump in half the spinach and wilt
Sprinkle on spice mix
Add rest of the spinach and wilt (this makes half of the spinach a little more cooked than the rest)
Mix in sun dried tomatoes and beans

Serve over pasta or sliced, heated polenta.

Serves 4
11 WW points counting the pasta/polenta

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRENTDREAMER 7/17/2012 10:12PM

    Really sorry to hear about your husband's health problems.

I've not read or heard of the diet you've mentioned, but I have a hard time understanding how a vegan diet would help diabetes, There are definitely meats that should be taken in moderation, but lean baked poultry strikes me as part of a diet that could cure diabetes. Again, I don't know the diet or reasoning behind it.

Much success to you and yours on the adventure!

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MSLZZY 7/16/2012 11:57PM

    Sounds delicious! I'll have to give it a try on DH and
see what he thinks!

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JLITT62 7/16/2012 3:28PM

    Altho not even a vegetarian, I eat vegan a lot. But then I like everything (including tofu).

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NOMORESTALLING 7/16/2012 11:03AM

    Bess, I love experimenting as well!
I am not Vegan but Nutritarian and the recipes are most excellent already but like you I like to "tamper" LOL
If you go through the Optimal Health and Weightloss forum you might find you might be wanting to use the recipes I've posted! There are a good variety from breakfasts lunches dinners desserts etc! And any recipes you come up with by all means post them in the Share your recipes thread please.
I use very little soy products myself The only soy product I use is the fat free milk for my breakfasts; kick a** fruit and fiber smoothies.

And then I want you to take a look at this!

Comment edited on: 7/16/2012 11:04:46 AM

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SHEILA1505 7/16/2012 10:40AM

    Sounds tasty
I should think you could make most anything taste 'like you' if you stick to your favourite herbs and spices, Bess


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SOMKHE 7/16/2012 8:33AM

    Hope everything goes well with this new vegan adventure! emoticon

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