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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Well, folks, I EXCEEDED my 5% goal for December-January! I lost a total of 9.4 pounds!

I also lost 4 inches in the various measurements I take. I haven't been very systematic about taking them, but since the last time I measured my waist it has shrunk 1.5 inches! And 1 inch came off my upper thigh.

I'm going to think about how to reward myself. It's difficult because--sigh--I'm seriously behind on a project at my regular job, & I need to put in lots of hours with a freelance project too. Any ideas?

(No big purchases to reward myself, because yesterday I bought my airline tickets to fly to Colombia in July--& paid cash (debit)! It felt SO good not to be putting it on a credit card. And my sister, who'll be flying from L.A., will meet me in Miami & we'll take the same flight from there. Because we made the purchase this early, we were able to get seats next to each other for the Miami-Medellin flight. emoticon)

Thanks, emoticon emoticon emoticon & other emoticon emoticon emoticon, for all the support & cheers! You make it fun to be a loser!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSACAIA 2/15/2011 10:14AM

    Congrats! Wonderful job!! You rock, my fellow emoticon!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHANSHE 2/8/2011 5:23PM

    AWESOME job, sooo happy for you!

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PJBOKC 2/1/2011 8:08PM

    emoticon emoticon

IMPRESSIVE RUTH!! Makes me think I should set my goal a little higher than 8 pounds in Feb.

Looking forward to teaming up with you again!

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CHICKPEA23 1/31/2011 8:28PM

    Congratulations on surpassing your goal! I agree, it's tough to choose a reward when money and time are in short supply - I wonder if you can schedule yourself some pampering or relaxation time to look forward to in a few days? And don't forget to enjoy the feeling of success!

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TINKMCD 1/30/2011 1:28PM

    Woo-hoo! Look at you go!

I'm so impressed, and looking forward to my first 5% challenge. (Not that I'm going to set a goal of losing 5% of my current weight over the 8 weeks of the challenge. That'd be a bit fast for me. But maybe I can go for 5% of what remains to be lost, or some other attainable goal.)

Meanwhile, yay you!


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BEATLETOT 1/30/2011 9:07AM

    Hooray, Ruth! I am SO HAPPY for you and excited to get to know you even better in the next challenge! =)

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CZARINA_TV 1/30/2011 9:03AM

    That's amazing! Congrats...

Maybe your reward should be free time for yourself. Carve out a bit out of that busy schedule and sleep in or spend a few extra hours writing... It's too easy to indulge in ways that are ultimately bad for us (pints of ice cream! TV all day!), but there's got to be something that you would rather have that's good for you.

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MORRIS1989 1/29/2011 11:09PM

    emoticon You deserved it I am so happy for you! You almost had me in tears that is some good news. Plus your trip how exciting! I just wish nothing but, the best for you. emoticon

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CTEMPLE 1/29/2011 8:13PM

    Great news dear Ruthie congratulations both on the weight loss and the money side! Yes, it's hard to think of rewards when money is sparse and you have a lot of work to do.

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Papaya tips

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Though papaya is available in US grocery stories much more than it used to be, a lot of folks I know aren't used to choosing & preparing it. So I'm going to offer some tips!

READINESS/RIPENESS: Usually the whole papayas in the store are still not quite ripe. I normally let one sit for two to four days in a basket atop my fridge before cutting it open. You want it to be getting yellow/orange on the outside (but some green is OK) & softening just a bit. But if you want to buy one for tonight's dinner, see if your market sells half-papayas wrapped in plastic wrap. These are ready to eat right away! A store employee has probably cut away some overripe part & left the good stuff. I bought two halves the other day, & they were perfect for immediate eating.

PREPARING: Cut the papaya in half lengthwise if you didn't buy it as a half. Then cut each half in half crosswise. Next, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Scrape out the bits of fibrous pulp too. Then stand the quarter-papaya on its cut end & peel it with a sharp knife. The peel is very thin--you're getting a lot of fruit & little waste.

STORING: I like to cut each quarter into strips or chunks, lay them in a flat large plastic container, & sprinkle a tablespoon or two of lime juice on them. The papaya will stay good quite awhile in the fridge--I always snarf mine within a week, though, so I haven't had a chance to see how long they can actually go without spoiling.

NUTRITIONAL VALUES: Papaya is a superfood & it's also yummy. A whole cup has just 55 calories but 360g potassium, 31% of daily vit. A, 144% of daily vit. C, 13% of daily folate, & traces of nearly everything else that our nutrition tracker lists. In Colombia, where I grew up, it's known to be helpful for digestive problems.

EATING: You can eat it by itself. You can cut it up smaller & mix it into a fruit salad. You can add it to smoothies. Honestly, I hardly ever do anything except chunk it & add the lime juice & eat it.

If you have never bought a papaya, try it! (P.S. Nobody is paying me for this endorsement, nor did anyone even suggest I do it. Heehee!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CFMOSS 8/23/2012 12:54PM

    thanks for the cutting tips - we have one and didn't know how to start.

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ALASKASKY 2/16/2011 12:02PM

    emoticon I just bought one for the first time. So this really helps me. I got your page fro Wolfkitty. emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/16/2011 12:03:33 PM

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MORRIS1989 1/29/2011 1:09AM

    I like your blog I am going have to try a papaya. I have never eaten one before.

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SHANSHE 1/28/2011 9:38PM

    Thanks for the tips, I do not think I have ever eaten a papaya...

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CZARINA_TV 1/28/2011 8:32AM

    That sounds delicious!

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CTEMPLE 1/27/2011 11:47PM

    I can eat pawpaw ( as they call it here ) every day.
PS I didn't know that you grew up in Colombia: complex...

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GO-LOEW 1/27/2011 10:58PM

    I learned to love papaya in Mexico where it is juicy and sweet. We eat it all the time as you described. Yummmm

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 1/27/2011 9:56PM

    Thanks! I do love papaya but I will probably eat it more now that I have these helpful tips!

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Who says I don't lose weight fast?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I said that myself in my last post--but my scale said otherwise this morning! I lost almost 3 lbs this week. Now I have just 0.8 lb to make it to my 5% goal by next Saturday! Quite doable.

I almost feel guilty, as several of my friends are feeling stuck. But you know I'm not gloating--I know how stuckness feels, & I'm rooting for you to fall gracefully off that plateau & start losing again. You will! emoticon

Today I DID NOT DO ANY FREELANCE WORK. Instead I exercised, washed up a bunch of dishes, made baked beans from scratch (which kept my house smelling wonderful for hours), & devoted myself to writing long e-mails to family & a couple of good friends, online chatting with my dear friend in Bolivia, a catchup phone chat with a poet friend, & making veggie stir-fry to eat with beans for supper. What a wonderful day!

NOTE: My eyes don't like spicy food. I included a diced jalapeņo pepper (seeds removed) in the stir-fry, which gave it a nice edge. But later as I was sitting at the computer I rubbed my right eye & it immediately started burning. I hadn't realized that I hadn't washed my hands well after chopping. Rinsing with water made it feel better eventually, & it's fine now. I'll be more careful in future! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSACAIA 1/26/2011 3:58PM

    Congrats! You rock, Ruth!! I'm just glad that SOMEONE might make the Starfish challenge!! emoticon

I'm curious to hear more about your baked beans... I was just thinking about trying that this weekend.. it's something I've never done but I think I'd really enjoy!

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CZARINA_TV 1/26/2011 1:07PM

    Crossing my fingers you lose! 13 ounces -- that's not so tough, right?

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SHANSHE 1/24/2011 12:59PM

    OUCH on the eye and yay on the weightloss! Sooo happy for you! It sounds like you hadm a really nice, relaxing day, YAY for you!

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MORRIS1989 1/23/2011 6:53PM

    Hope your eye is better. emoticon On your weight-loss!! Have a blessed week.

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CTEMPLE 1/23/2011 2:10AM

    Great Ruthie congrats!
I've done that with the chilli fingers many times!

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Going downhill

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's always fun to turn the common sayings on their heads--in terms of health, for me it's good to be a loser, to go downhill . . . in WEIGHT. 6.2 lbs down since early December! I feel great about that. I still have 2.4 lbs to go for the 5% goal, & completing that challenge within the deadline is iffy because as of tomorrow (official weigh-in day) there's only one week left. Because I'm already within healthy BMI, I don't lose very quickly, so I may not make it. But I will definitely make it soon!

I went out for dinner with friends twice this week, yet I still lost weight! My strategy was simple: minimize the carbs. One of the restaurants was Caribbean, the other Persian, & both entrees I ordered came with tons of rice. I get plenty of carbs in my normal eating, so eating only a little of the rice served me very well--my focus was the meat & veggies (& delicious herbs at the Persian). And of course no alcohol because of my medication.

One of the dinner meetings was to talk about an exciting project! It would involve a trip to Colombia for an African American public radio journalist & me. We would visit Afro-Colombian communities & folks who are fighting racial discrimination in the country. I would help to make those connections, interpret, work on poems, & make art while the journalist worked on a radio documentary. And upon our return, all of this would be brought together in a major exhibit that might even travel.

Basically, the producer who is envisioning this is offering to be my patron (the journalist already has a promise of funding). He would raise the $$ from donors to the station & organize the exhibit. I have never before had someone propose getting $$ to allow me to travel, write, paint, & work for social justice! It basically blew my socks off. This guy is a longtime friend & it's clear that he's very serious about this. To start, he had me write up a two-paragraph bio that he's presenting to someone who runs a foundation, to get her on board.

Two interesting things that have happened since my marriage fell apart:
1. My friendships (NONromantic!) with guys have really deepened; there are now three dear male friends I keep in touch with regularly.
2. I have seen some serious success in both my editing work & my poetry! The good things just keep coming.

I'm so thankful.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORRIS1989 1/23/2011 6:59PM

    Praying that nothing but the best happens to you. This will be your year. I am so happy for you! About your project that is really some good news GOD is really gonna bless you. You are such a nice person, I am blessed to come in contact with you!!

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CZARINA_TV 1/22/2011 9:16AM

    Hey, downhill is easier! I'm glad that you've turned a corner and are moving forward. Keep it up Ruth!

I'm crossing my fingers that that opportunity comes through -- it sounds amazing...

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 1/21/2011 10:24PM

    You are awesome, emoticon!
You are doing so well in the challenge... I am jealous (in a good way!) of your success!
I'm so glad to read your blog because when I read "going downhill" I got worried!
Good luck on all your projects!

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SHANSHE 1/21/2011 5:22PM

    There is awesome news all through this blog! Sooo glad to hear it Ruthie! That trip sounds like an amazing thing for you and you are losing weight too and have deepening friendships and creativity oozing out of you, how awesome!

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CTEMPLE 1/21/2011 4:17PM

    Ah!! Rear Ruthie so many reasons to be happy! Hope the project goes ahead.
Congratulations on your weight loss, it's a journey not a race and you will make it to your goal in no time.
The rels leave today from Sydney to Buenos Aires, so very happy the farher the better.
I quit the fags yesterday so a few days of craving in front of me, but life is good.
Claudia emoticon

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Planning for me time

Saturday, January 08, 2011

In this week's 5% Challenge assignment, we are to take at least 15 minutes each day as "me time," focusing on resting, learning, or enjoying something. It will be hard for me! Especially in times of slogging through freelance projects & having to postpone the deadline (as I have twice with my current project), I tend to feel guilty or otherwise conflicted if I take a little time for myself.

But hey, it's an assignment & I'll be letting down my team if I don't participate, right? So earlier this evening I took the time . . . I ate my last cinnamon roll (part of a Christmas box from one of my sisters) & listened to an NPR interview with an author I admire, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She'll be the next judge of a "three-minute fiction" contest--stories of 600 words or less sent in by listeners. I started dreaming of writing a story & entering it! Being a poet, I'm used to writing in very compressed forms & working hard to find just the right words, as every one has to count. The deadline is a couple of weeks from now . . . I'm definitely going to keep thinking about it.

Here are some ideas for more me time in the coming week:

* work on that story!
* work on poems
* read more in my current book (Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-63), which is really fascinating
* light a candle in the evening & just sit in quietness for a while
* make some tea & put on a CD & just listen to it, instead of multitasking as I usually do
* take out my Prismacolor pencils & draw something

It's going to be a good week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORRIS1989 1/11/2011 11:49PM

    Seems like you have everything planned out which is good. Wishing you nothing but the best always!

Comment edited on: 1/13/2011 1:48:31 AM

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CTEMPLE 1/9/2011 9:50PM

    Hi Ruthie they certainly are challenges but why not try.
I read her book about the Biafra War and although the writing was just OK, the story (history really) was powerful.

Comment edited on: 1/9/2011 10:40:48 PM

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LINDY2202 1/9/2011 7:03PM

    I love these ideas. I have such a hard time settling down. I am usually cleaning or running errands or something, by the time bedtime rolls around I feel like I should have spent more time doing things I enjoy, therefore I stay up too late reading or something and am really tired the next day. Then the cycle starts over again.

What I meant to say before I started rambling was...I love your goals and I need to try to incorporate relaxing into my busy day as well. Thank you for all the comments on my blogs, I notice them and they make my day a little brighter.

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SHANSHE 1/9/2011 6:35PM

    This sounds like a GREAT assignment for you and your ideas are GREAT! Enjoy your "me" time and don't feel guilty at all!

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CZARINA_TV 1/9/2011 11:27AM

    Sometimes it's hard to just sit down and not do anything "productive" for a bit, but look at the good things that came out of those 15 mintues. I'm glad you are being forced to do this! Don't let your teammates down!

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