JLITT62   52,035
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Can light (or lack of) make you fat?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

There is, of course, all sorts of science about how people can suffer from depression due to lack of sunlight in the winter. Several years ago I got a Happylite, which provides you with the equivalent of sunshine if you sit bathed in its light.

I used to sit reading with it on in the mornings for about 20-30 minutes. I did feel it made a difference to my mood. This past year it broke. I haven't replaced it yet -- it's pricey (I did order replacement bulbs, but that didn't help).

We have been fighting a move to NY for several years now -- my husband has in fact been partially living in NY for the last half a year. We kept hoping something would open up down here, but it looks like that's not to be.

The original plan was for me to move up sometime this fall, but since the job is still not 100% certain, it might not be until spring. Which gives me another winter here.

Light really effects my mood. I feel so full of energy when there's a bright blue sky outside, and just want to sit inside reading or knitting when it's cloudy and gray. Despite the heat of the summers here, it's much sunnier most of the year, and I thrive on that. I hate the long, gray, cold winters in NY, where I grew up.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the move effects me. The move itself will be hard; it's hard to keep eating sensibly when you're stressed out and time's short. I'm open to any tips anyone might have! And then, of course, there's the winter. Will it be better because I'll be forced to spend time outside with the dogs?

Aside from light, sweets are my achilles' heel. I can be good about them for a while, but I always seem to backslide into wanting dessert after both lunch and dinner. I know that sweets ought to be an occasional treat -- I think I'm slowly going through some withdrawal after the cruise.

The other problem with sweets is that I truly love to bake, and I like to try new recipes all the time. I've been known to buy a cookbook on the basis of one cookie or cake recipe that sounded great. I need a plan to get a handle on my sweet tooth, too. I have quite a few nutritious, but low calorie treats that I enjoy -- I just think I enjoy them too often. I don't want to go cold turkey. Right now, I'm thinking that I need to make some poached pears and baked apples as my sweet treats for at least a few nights a week. At least they're somewhat nutritious.

Finally, I must say that I am very grateful (and surprised) to have won 25 points on my login spin not one, but two days in a row! Woohoo!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARBIE18 9/9/2008 8:20PM

    I don't know if lack of light can make you fat, but it does seem to suck the energy right out of you. Sitting continuously tends to make you fat. It sounds like you won't have to worry about the winter this year, but when you do, I'll be right there encouraging you to get your butt out of the house. I've always wanted to try one of those lights, but, as you said, they're a little pricey. But I found last year that I was able to stay ahead of the gloom as long as I exercised regularly. Were you as conscious of your habits when you lived there as you are now? If not, you may find it a little better now.

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    I hope you will enjoy another bright, sunnier winter this year before you have to move to NY in spring. I think I'm the opposite. I like the cloudy, dark fall and winter. It just gives me a sense of coziness. I know... I'm weird.

This past week I have been losing the battle with sweets. It's probably TOM, but I still should have better self-control. Therefore, all I can offer is sympathy, no useful tips. At least you are poaching and baking fruit, so that still has some redeeming value.

Let's hope we can shake the sweets soon. emoticon

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Making the choice to eat right

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I both did & didn't yesterday. I chose to go to my WW meeting -- hey, the only thing that keeps me away is no transportation and being at sea! I chose to start tracking my points again yesterday, and good thing, too, because I will admit I didn't make the healthiest choices yesterday.

We got back late Monday night; because I didn't have a car on Tuesday, I didn't go grocery shopping until Wednesday. And I spent most of the day at the cat rescue on Thursday, so I haven't had much time to prepare meals.

Thursday was pretty good -- I'd bought hummus, and I made myself a wrap with spinach, had baby carrots on the side, and cantaloupe for dessert.

Yesterday was a different story. I didn't have anything prepared. I don't have much time to make lunch on Fridays, because I often go to the bookstore after my WW meeting and don't get home til after noon. Yesterday was no exception.

I had bought an Amy's kid meal. Quesadillas, rice & beans (and a very small piece of chocolate cake, which I didn't realize). I knew it was a bit higher in calories, but I didn't think it was that bad. Until I figured out the points. 9! That's almost half my allotment for the day. Still, I ate it. And at the time, I didn't think it was all that satisfying -- and not really all that healthy for kids, either, with no veggies or fruit in sight -- not that I added any veggies. I thought about it, but didn't do it.

Oddly, though, I didn't get hungry during the afternoon. Maybe because I had such a late lunch.

My dinner wasn't that bad, but it was still a relatively high fat one -- because we had roast chicken (and yes, I do eat the skin). Rounded out with roast asparagus and roasted potatoes and cantaloupe. So not terrible, but all in all, not the greatest choices. I would have been much better off making a salad for lunch.

And I forgot to mention those dark chocolate covered almonds (which I did track).

Which is why it IS so very important to track our food. It makes us aware of what we're putting in our bodies, and it makes us accountable, too. Had I planned more carefully, too, I would have known just how many points was in that frozen entree I had for lunch, and I probably would have made better choices.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I used to eat roast chicken skin but started discarding it about a year ago. Since then I've also changed my taste from dark meat to white meat. I used to love duck, but now it tastes too gamy to me. All this sounds good, but I still can't resist junk food, especially chips!

I bought a roast turkey breast from a supermarket yesterday. I was tempted to buy two because it was on sale, but I was SO glad I didn't. It turned out to be the driest piece of meat I've seen in a LONG time. The parts not covered by the skin was like leather. emoticon

I almost forgot... Aren't those dark chocolate covered almonds evil? They're SO addictive! emoticon

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MTER67 9/6/2008 8:54AM

    Confession: I eat the skin, too. That's the best part on those roasted chickens, IMHO! It may not have been your best day ever, but overall, it wasn't so bad. You got some fruit and veggies in there, and you were cognizant of everything you ate. That's very good!

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Another month, another pound

Friday, September 05, 2008

Unfortunately, that's a pound up. I gained 1 1/2 pounds over the 2 weeks -- between being sick and being on vacation. Not quite the plan; I was planning to maintain. Still, the damage could have been worse and I'm okay with it.

While I do think I ate fairly well, I did eat a lot of high-fat meals, too -- the sorts of things I rarely have: duck, rack of lamb, escargot, eggs benedict, to name a few. With the exception of the escargot, I never ate the entire portion (okay, I admit with the escargot I even took a thin slice of bread to sop up some of the leftover butter-garlic sauce).

The bottom line, if I were to do it again, would I change the way I ate? And the answer is actually no. Yes, I could definitely have eaten better. But I thoroughly enjoyed what I did eat, and I tried to be careful about portion sizes.

I did have dessert every day. They offer cooking light desserts, and I had them a couple of times. In fact, hands down the best dessert of the cruise was the cooking light chocolate mousse cake (and I did eat all of that -- only about 200 calories, or so they said on the menu).

I did not track my food while I was away. Usually I do. I had planned to, even printed out a tracker, but I just didn't do it. That's something I will do differently the next cruise -- and there will be one, we put a deposit down on one (you get a discount if you put a deposit down while on the cruise). We probably won't take it for a couple of years; most likely for our 25th anniversary.

Of course it's a pain to lose the same weight over again. I'm so ready to be in the 140s, but that's probably another few months away -- or longer. But I will get there. One thing I know for sure is that I am not happy when I'm heavy. And I want to be happy. Happier, that is.

I am back to tracking my food today. Obviously, I went to my WW meeting this morning (and it was a great meeting, lots of laughter). The weather has turned. It's still hot, but the mornings are cooler and it's drier.

One of my friends wrote recently how TOM controls her moods. I'm lucky, I really don't think it effects my mood that much (I had TOM while on vacation, after all). But the weather does. I hate grayness. I don't like cold. I don't really like the extreme heat, either, but I can deal with that better than the cold.

So now I am pondering what I need to change to get back in the groove. What my plan needs to be. I'm not quite sure yet.

What I'm grateful for:

1. I no longer wear a size 16 (not pretty when you're 5'1")
2. My double chin is receding
3. I still live in the city I love -- for now
4. My spark buddies. You guys are definitely the best.

To the 140s, and beyond!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    A 1 1/2 pound gain coming back from a cruise is actually very good. I've heard others gaining as much as 10 pounds! I think it would have been very tough to try to track your food on a tracker on the cruise. After all, you were on vacation, so you had much better things to do.

I'm glad you enjoyed a great trip and now back to your routines like attending WW meetings. I'm sure you will be in the 140's soon!

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MTER67 9/6/2008 9:01AM

    I think if I read that you went on this amazing cruise and ate nothing but dry crackers and celery, I would be disappointed! You have to splurge a little, or what's the point!? I think you did a terrific job juggling your weight loss "plan" with all the temptations that the cruise threw at you. It's wonderful that you only gained 1 1/2 pound. You got to enjoy a few decadent dishes and desserts and you aren't far off from where you left off!

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SQUIRTZIE 9/5/2008 10:30PM

    I think you did amazingly well to only have gained 1 1/2 pounds while on a cruise. I can just imagine the choices you had to eat. Now that you are home you can get back in the groove of eating properly and exercising.

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KARBIE18 9/5/2008 10:04PM

    You wrote that you had taken this last picture, and you really didn't see much difference. I hope you don't mean much difference from your last picture. You look great! Your arms are toning up. Your tummy looks tighter. You can really tell from the side shot.

I'm glad you don't regret how you ate on vacation. You are entitled to enjoy your life, and the wise choices you made are the reason you didn't gain more. Gaining only 1 1/2 pounds on vacation is something many people would envy. Keep up the good work, and you'll get to the 140's in no time.


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Are we selfish?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I know I feel that way sometimes. Sometimes it seems the struggle to lose weight consumes my life. I know that's not quite true, but it is true that I spend more time exercising, preparing food, planning what to eat, tracking what I ate, and so on. I did most of these things before -- but not as much; it wasn't as time consuming (ordering pizzas might seem time consuming when you're debating the best deal, but laying on that couch waiting for the pizza to arrive certainly makes life easier -- or does it?).

I feel as though I don't do enough, and yet I also feel as though I don't do enough for me, still. I look at all the working women with kids who are also doing the work to lose weight, and wonder just what I have to complain about.

I got my nails done on the cruise. I haven't done that in years. I don't even shape them anymore; I let them shape themselves. I liked it. I especially liked having someone do it for me. I spent quite a few minutes at the grocery store yesterday staring at the nail polish (I had to buy nail polish remover; I don't have any anymore), but finally realized just when would I ever have the time to do my own nails & actually let them dry?

I'm actually quite content not working. That wasn't always the case, but it is at the moment. But I do have to give some things up since I don't bring in any money -- things like manicures, personal trainers, the occasional massage.

So back to my question: are we selfish? I know it isn't selfish to want to be healthy. I know that everyone, working or not, deserves some me-time. I also know that if we don't lose the weight and get healthy, our time with our loved ones could be cut short -- maybe not literally, but when we can't play with our kids because we're too tired or take care of our homes because we're too tired, our loved ones are getting short-changed.

I wish losing weight wasn't so time consuming. In the end we get more energy in return, but that takes a while. I think we are selfish, to some degree, but I also think we *have* to be selfish. Just a little.

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MTER67 9/6/2008 9:10AM

    I don't think you can call caring for yourself selfish. Or not entirely selfish anyway. When you are happy with the way you look and feel, you are a lot better at facing the other challenges and responsibilites life throws your way. You and I have talked before about how impossible it is sometimes to balance it all--but we do the best we can. I truly believe that as much time as we devote to other people and causes, we also need to devote to ourselves. Manicures, new jeans, cologne, whatever--if it makes you feel better about yourself, then it is a good investment. We only get one chance, so we need to make this life count, you know what I mean?

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KARBIE18 9/5/2008 7:43AM

    I don't think you're selfish at all. You are a very caring person. Part of the reason you don't have extra time is because you help out at an animal rescue. How selfish is that? I think there is a big difference between being selfish, and taking care of yourself. As long as you have the time to take, keep taking it. Even if you start working again, you'll find the time to take care of yourself because it's a priority - and a good one at that!

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CITABRIA 9/5/2008 12:10AM

    The time issue is part of why I didn't even try to lose weight for a long time. I knew how much time it would take, and I knew that either I didn't have it available or just wasn't willing to devote it to fitness/weight loss. It's a huge commitment and it *is* selfish -- but in a positive way. Then again, my being healthier is probably going to lead to some nice benefits for my DH and even my friends, too!

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    I am also spending a lot more time exercising than I ever did before. If I have to cut anything from my schedule, that will be the last thing I would want to cut. I know how important it is for my physical and mental well-being. We have to take care of ourselves before we can care for others, right?

Keep up your great work. You deserve some alone time, especially to exercise. It will improve both the quality and quanity of life.

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VAL503 9/4/2008 12:14PM

    Loved your blog today! I am not working right now either, and I fight with feeling guilty over doing things for me, especially things that cost money.
I thought your blog was real, honest, and as always, thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.

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RENA1965 9/4/2008 8:05AM

    It's okay to have me time, but also wise to have a job. Sometimes just sometimes our partners suddenly die or get ill. It is always good to have a plan b up ones sleeves so one can keep enjoying me time..
Me time is not selfish if one has a plan b to fall back on, sometimes fate can have warped consequences, just speaking from experience..

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What size am I?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Don't you ever wonder what size you *really* are? Since sizes aren't standardized for women, there really is no answer. A size healthy is a nice one to aspire to.

What got me thinking about sizes (yet again) were the dresses I ordered before I left. They were on sale -- a pretty good sale -- and that's why I decided to gamble. Some things I can order without trying on; others are a crap shoot (and we just won't get into jeans).

I'd been wanting one of these dresses for a couple of years, but it was way more than I'd pay. Even on sale, it was expensive, but I really liked it. They've carried it for several years, as I said, but who knows if they'll still have it next year? My husband, surprisingly, said order it.

So the next dilemma was the size. Usually I'm a medium in dresses. This is a summer dress, so if I ordered my size, I'd still get some wear out of it this year, since it's still hot. If I ordered a small, maybe I'd be able to wear it next summer. The Website said it was running small, and to order up a size. I decided on the medium. It fits, but it will look better on me next year.

The other dress was also a gamble. It was more fitted, and I wasn't sure it would look good on me. Just a casual wear-around-the house dress, but I liked the cut and color (and the sale price). Once again, what size? This one was running large, and since it was semi-fitted, I chose a medium again. This one fits greats -- and I love it!

I'm sure you're not really all that interested in my shopping habits. The moral of my story? I just feel better when I'm wearing clothes that fit me well. That's why I've continued to buy new jeans as I've gone down in size. Sure, you can get away with baggy jeans for quite some time -- but you won't even realize how good you look until you wear something that fits right. I know it's hard when money is tight, but you can always get one or two pieces that really fit well.

I still have a long way to go. While I can't say I love the photos from the cruise, I can say I didn't cringe when I saw them. The potential is there. I was a little disappointed that my relatives didn't notice my weight loss at first, but then, they have a lot going on in their lives, and I realized that while 13 pounds may seem like a lot to me -- I know all the work that went into it, after all, it's not always that easy to see.

Until the day my SIL off-handedly said "you've lost a lot of weight". Of course it felt good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CITABRIA 9/5/2008 12:07AM

    I absolutely agree about the importance of wearing clothes that fit right!

I started seriously losing weight late enough in the summer to have missed out on buying some of my favorite summer clothes (I practically live in my denim skort) in a smaller size. I hate wearing the one I have, but I can't find a replacement!

I'm glad that you decided to go ahead and buy the dresses!

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    Vanity sizing is so prevalent nowadays that we really don't know what our sizes are. I always have to try something on before buying it, especially since I haven't been shopping very often. Now that I don't mind fitting room mirrors as much, shopping has been more tolerable.

Congratulations on your progress so far. I'm glad that you bought some nice clothes!

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MTER67 9/3/2008 5:28PM

    Congrats on finally getting the dress you've been eyeing. If it is a little snug this summer, what if it is too big next summer? Tell yourself you'll have it taken in; after all it was a long-awaited splurge. I do most of my clothes shopping online and there are only a couple places I order from. Why? Because I know exactly what their sizes mean. Whether I order tops, bottoms or shoes, I know just what size to order and the things will fit b/c their sizing is so consistent. Way to go on all your progress!

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CRYSAFROG 9/3/2008 2:28PM

    The jean comment really hit home for me. I waited and waited to shop for jeans because I was too afraid of what the size might be (like it would be a discouragment). I was in an 18 after my son was born and I waited a whopping 13 months (and nearly 25 pounds) to buy new jeans. At first I pulled 16's, then 14's, then some 12's off the shelf and they fit! When I finally left the store, I bought 2 pair of 12's and a pair of 10's! I wore the 10's to "dress down" friday that week and nearly everyone in the office FINALLY noticed my 25 lb weight loss! It's amazing that just a pair of pants that fit right can really help your hard work become apparent to everyone else (and even yourself)! emoticon

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