Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Last week when I was in Oregon, I had the most fantastic experience. My friend (who has a serious yarn addiction) and I were driving from Hood River to Mt. Hood and just had to detour to follow some signs for an alpaca farm with yarn for sale. We drove up to the farm and saw some people and alpacas in the barn. As we walked up we found that one of the alpacas was about to give birth. We stood amazed as first a tiny nose appeared, then very slowly, a snout. It wasn’t until the cria’s head emerged that it occurred to me to ask if I could take some pictures. The owner agreed and I ran to get my camera.
In the few short moments that it took me to retrieve it, a little hoof had appeared, then a second one.
This might have been an incredible experience for those of us watching, but mom seemed unimpressed by the business. Notice that she’s still eating!
Now mom’s getting a little assist.
It’s a girl!
Hmm… what’s this then?
Is that you, Mom?
Hey look at me – I can sit up!
Careful mom! Don’t knock me over – I’m not too good at this sitting thing yet.
My first bath.
Hey, has anybody noticed that my blanket is the wrong color?
Know what? I think I’m going to like it here!
Friday, May 30, 2014
Today marks the end of my second year on SparkPeople, and I can't believe the progress I've made! The first year I surpassed my original goal of losing 57 pounds by losing 61 instead. During my second year I lost another 11 pounds by the end of January, putting my total weight loss with Spark People at 72 lbs. I decided to stop there and instead focus on maintenance. I have to admit that maintenance has been a bit challenging. Originally, I'd envisioned my maintenance program would involve upping my calorie intake range a bit, and finding a good target somewhere in the middle. But that was before I went so far below my original target weight. Once I reached my current level, I found that my "maintenance" range does not differ one whit from the one I used to lose the weight in the first place. There goes any secret plan I may have made for Chunky Monkey sundaes.
Instead, I adjusted my daily intake from the lower level of the weight-loss range (which was 1200 - 1550 calories), to the mid to upper level, and continued with my moderate exercise program. I typically eat between 1350 - 1450 calories a day. I say typically, because it hasn't always been smooth sailing. I've taken more than my share of tumbles from the healthy eating wagon, and am currently two pounds above my lowest weight. (Hey, it was 5 pounds, so don't you "tsk tsk"¨ me ). The issue for me is to allow myself small liberties without falling head-first into an endless pasta bowl. Easier said than done. I'm slowly identifying my "trigger foods", and at least banning them from my house, if not my life. For example, I discovered that a certain diet treat manufacturer (we shall refer to them here as "Slender Bovine") makes a fabulous ice cream sandwich that combines two of my favorite flavor combinations (okay, after chocolate and peanut butter, which comes after dark chocolate and red wine), chocolate and mint (you just knew there'd be chocolate in there somewhere, right?). Well, I was ecstatic! I brought home said ice cream sandwiches and proceeded to eat one of them after my healthy dinner as one of those aforementioned small liberties. Unfortunately, it was followed by a second ice cream sandwich, and then a rampage through the kitchen cabinets. When I emerged from my food-fueled stupor about two weeks (and several pounds) later, I sadly crossed that particular product off of the small liberties list.
My reaction to the ice cream sandwiches surprised me. I had the very same reaction each time I ate one. (I'm a scientist after all, and couldn't stop with a sample size of one - repeatability is an essential part of any reasonable scientific study). However, I'd been having chocolate brownies as a treat for some time without the same disastrous result. After examining the ingredient labels for both foods I came to the conclusion that the issue was with their relative sugar content. The brownies I had eaten were delicious, but they were made with whole wheat flour, and of course, contained no ice cream. The two products have the same amount of fat and protein, but the brownies have a third fewer calories and sugar, and more than three times higher fiber of the ice cream sandwich. I don't really know if that's the answer, but I suspect that I am metabolizing the brownie more slowly and not triggering the instant sugar high (which makes me want even more), that resulted from eating the ice cream sandwich.
So, long story short, it's been a learning process so far and will probably continue that way. I just know that I feel better than I have in years (the most important benchmark), have a whole new outlook on life, and a whole (much smaller-sized) new wardrobe to boot. Not bad for an old girl. Unlike dogs, we apparently can learn new tricks.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
I had a bad night on Friday, and an even worse day on Saturday. I literally felt as though someone had pummeled me in the stomach. Because I felt so bad, I got little sleep on Friday night, and when I got up on Saturday, I had no appetite at all. Unfortunately, what I did have were house guests. Now, these are people I genuinely like, and had really been looking forward to seeing again. On Saturday morning, however, houseguests were about as welcome as the flu, which I was beginning to worry that I had. I managed to choke down a little cereal for breakfast, plaster on a phony smile, and say, “Well, what should we do today?” Sadly, my houseguests did not respond with, “Let’s all retire back to our beds, and spend the day in a stupor” which is what I would have preferred to hear. So, into the car we trooped and spent the day sightseeing. At least they saw the sights, I spent most of my day going through a mental litany of my symptoms and probable horrifying causes. “Let’s see,” I thought as a drove down the freeway, “salmonella?” “No, can’t be that,” my mental dialog continued, because I had no nausea (except when thinking about food), and none of the other equally nasty consequences of that particular microbe. “Ulcers, maybe?” wondering if one could actually develop ulcers by worrying about having them. Hmmm, none of that seemed right. “The flu?” No, my throat wasn’t sore, I had no fever, and my aches were completely centered about my middle section. “A stomach virus?” Nope! Same problem as with salmonella.
In the meantime, my friends got hungry (as normal people are wont to do), so we stopped for lunch, where I managed to eat a cup of vegetable soup and a piece of wheat toast. Big mistake – more stomach pummeling ensued. At long last we headed for home, but then there was dinner to be faced. While my friends feasted on fried oysters, wine and other lovely delicacies, I had a scrambled egg, some unbuttered grits (I managed about ¼ cup of those) and another piece of dry toast. It was about that time when I finally accepted the sad, but obvious conclusion that my predicament was entirely of my own doing. You see, I’ve been Sparking now for a year and a half, and have drastically altered my lifestyle. I now eat reasonable quantities of wholesome, healthy food (imagine!). I don’t deny myself guilty pleasures, but instead sprinkle them into my diet on occasion and in moderation. “And if Thanksgiving isn’t an occasion, what is!” my indulgent-self protested. “Yes, but remember – in moderation” my Sparked-self replied.
In reviewing my sins of the past two days, the word “moderation” was hardly applicable. First, there was the heaping plate of food of which I ate every bite on Thanksgiving. “Yes, but we didn’t eat the pumpkin cheesecake for dessert” my indulgent-self whined. “No, but you ate it for breakfast on Friday!” my Sparked-self replied. “And then there was the second glass of wine with Thanksgiving dinner, the tapas plate filled with rich cheeses and fatty meats before dinner on Friday, the pork with that rich onion fig sauce for Friday dinner, followed by the pumpkin pie, and all washed down with a few more glasses of wine. Face it, you brought this on yourself!”
Sad, but true… It seems that a year and half of a healthy lifestyle ill prepared me for a weekend of decadence. Lucky for me, the lesson was blessedly short-lived, and I’m almost back to normal today. And it was a lesson well-learned. I don’t want to live like that anymore. Yes, the pumpkin cheesecake was delicious, and there are more pumpkin cheesecakes in my future, I’m sure. But I am resolved to be responsible about the way I treat my body, and to continue down the path that Spark People has set me upon… a well-rounded healthy diet in a well-rounded healthy life. And as for the pumpkin cheesecake, sure, I’ll still have a piece now and then – just maybe not for breakfast.
Friday, September 13, 2013
A Spark friend commented the other day that she was beginning to lose her muffin top. I came to a realization today as I looked at myself in the mirror. With the natural migration of body parts southward over time (especially the wobbly bits), at my age, I no longer have a muffin top. It's more like a muffin bottom!
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