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A week away, eating out frequently, including some sweets, & I didn't gain an ounce, woohoo!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I spent last week in Cambridge & Boston, staying with friends & attending a writers' workshop with them. It's a wonderful community of "socially conscious" writers, mostly poets; this was the fourth time I had attended, & the best one ever! After being exposed to some strategies for writing about very difficult, painful events/conditions, I experienced a breakthrough--I wrote a poem about an occasion of terrible violence in Colombia that I hadn't ever even tried to put into a poem before. I read it aloud in tears, & others wept too.

I came home late last night with four new poems & two translations of others' poems (I'm really interested in poetry translation, & a translation class is always included in the workshop). I'm so happy!

And this morning I weighed exactly the same as when I had left! Normally I gain a bit of weight when I travel because of meals out & more treats than usual & so on. Last week I did eat out several evenings with my friends & bought cafeteria lunches four times, & I allowed myself some sweets (I won't get my travel-savings reward this week--gotta stick to my personal rules!). So why didn't I gain anything? I think there were a couple of reasons.

1. Three of the four cafeteria lunches were from the salad bar: big green salads with other veggies, some plain tuna, some chickpeas, & just a bit of good dressing, plus water to drink.

2. Once the workshop started, there really wasn't time to get up & exercise in the morning before shower & breakfast. But during downtime in the afternoons I went out on the campus & walked around for good chunks of time. And every time except one coming home on the T (subway), I walked up the three escalators to ground level, & two of them are quite steep/long. It was very challenging & made me feel quite virtuous. emoticon

3. At a Chinese restaurant last night, there were 11 of us at one big round table & we ordered 8 different dishes & shared them. I took just a little brown rice, I think about 1/2 cup, & I ate a bit of every dish, but only about a serving spoonful of each. And my only beverage was water. So it was varied & satisfying, but not a big pile of food.

I am HUGELY motivated to make the new 5% challenge a success! If I can take 8.4 lbs off in the next 8 weeks, which seems doable with my new strategy of self-discipline & travel-savings rewards (aka caring for my inner baby), I will have reached my goal weight, yay! I will be a skinny Starfish. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/25/2012 2:56PM

    Woohoo! That is AWESOME! sounds like a great trip and it's even better than you didn't gain. I'm shooting for 10 lbs!

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SHANSHE 6/25/2012 11:12AM

    That is awesome Ruth! I am sure you will meet your goal weight! Woo HOO!

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CTEMPLE 6/25/2012 3:05AM

    Great news dear Ruth!

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LULUTU 6/24/2012 6:50PM

    What a great trip, Ruth! I used to live in both Boston and, later, just outside of Cambridge, so I know how much fun that part of the world can be.

Congratulations on both your creative breakthroughs and on your weight stability. I'm not at all certain I could keep my weight the same attending that type of conference!

Here's to hoping we're all slender Starfish soon!

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HEALTHYASHLEY 6/24/2012 4:38PM

    Sounds like a fantastic workshop. I am from Boston and love to write. I would love to hear details about it if you don't mind sharing!

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BEATLETOT 6/24/2012 4:30PM

    RUTH! You are awesome! I'm so glad you had a blast on your trip! But next time, please make sure to let us know...or let's exchange cell numbers and text or something, because I did get a bit worried!

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CLAVINOVA 6/24/2012 7:37AM

    Good for you - sounds like a very successful trip. Keep up that strong motivation and you will definitely reach your goals. Have a great week.

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HELLODANAE 6/23/2012 11:47PM

    Welcome back!!!! I would love to read your poem.

I am so happy to hear how happy you are and that you had a great time and maybe that's why everything went well because you were happy and you inner baby felt safe emoticon


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MOMFAN 6/23/2012 11:20PM


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It's working!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I got on the scale today for the first time in a few weeks, & my weight is already down a couple of pounds! I'm higher than I was at the end of the last challenge, but not much at all. Considering how badly my inner child was acting out for a while there, I'm very happy to be solidly back on track now.

Periodically I still get sweet cravings, but I just remind myself about saving for travel & it's not hard to ride them out. I have now saved two weeks' worth of vacation rewards, yay! (See my previous blog post if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) emoticon

The weather is helping me out--it's been beautiful here in Chicago & I have gotten TONS of exercise this week compared to my usual level. Today I walked nearly 4 miles on various errands. I also wrote my syllabus for the grammar/punctuation class I'll be teaching in July (whew--big relief to get that done), did all my laundry, changed my bedsheets, made a new batch of muesli, made a simple veggie pizza for supper (pretty cool that I can throw in fresh basil that I'm growing on the porch, plus dried oregano from last year's planting), & put together veggie chili using kidney beans I had cooked & frozen awhile back--that's still simmering on the stove.

Oh, & I impressed & amused myself with my final errand: I lugged a couple of bags (slung on my shoulders) from Dominick's, nearly a mile away, & they were HEAVY! When I got home I set them on the scale & learned that they added up to 27 pounds. No wonder it was a struggle! I had walked as fast as I could & passed most other people on the sidewalks. emoticon

I'm pleased to be going into the upcoming 5% challenge already on a roll! Yay emoticon emoticon emoticon!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/11/2012 6:16PM

    I love basil!! And great job with all your progress!

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CARLYG8 6/10/2012 5:04PM

    I agree about the fresh basil! I have a pretty good sized herb garden and you can really tell the difference when using fresh!
Oh...and 27 pounds?...You go girl!

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4LEEFCLOVER 6/10/2012 4:01PM

    emoticon emoticon yeah strong woman!

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RUNNERRACHEL 6/10/2012 1:07PM

    emoticon on all you got accomplished and on your loss. Staying on track with the promise of vacation is a great way to stay motivated! Keep up the great work my friend! emoticon emoticon

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BEATLETOT 6/10/2012 12:28PM

    I'm so happy for you! Sounds like lots of wonderful things are going on!

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CZARINA_TV 6/10/2012 10:29AM

    Good to hear that everything's going well!

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SHANSHE 6/10/2012 8:52AM

    GREAT job Ruth! You have found a good reward that WORKS for you! YAY!

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CTEMPLE 6/10/2012 3:04AM

    Como envidio tu entusiasmo! Felicitaciones!

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DAIZYSTARLITE 6/9/2012 11:59PM


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HELLODANAE 6/9/2012 11:53PM

    I am so happy that you are so happy!!! emoticon
lo mereces amiga!!!

Comment edited on: 6/9/2012 11:54:23 PM

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Sweet cravings

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I'm periodically craving something sweet--but as you know, my Grand Plan involves saving for travel, & I've made that dependent on mostly avoiding sugar as well as exercising & eating within my range, so I can't just indulge in sweet things when it takes my fancy.

I've discovered a substitute that serves me very well--sweet READING! Over the weekend I stumbled onto a fun book I hadn't remembered I had, & I just finished devouring it tonight. Yes, "devouring" is really the right word. It felt deliciously decadent to read this book instead of something more serious.

I am a pretty serious person & have a LONG list of Good (Serious) Books to Read. And in the past month or two I have read mostly very good, interesting novels set in wartime--various wars, various parts of the world. I'm glad I read them, but I kinda overdid the heaviness.

What book did I find sweet, you ask? It's Jane and the Man of the Cloth, by Stephanie Barron--a murder mystery starring Jane Austen, written very much in her style & set in her lifetime in parts of England where she lived or traveled. So much fun!

It's second in a series. So now I have put the first & third volumes on my library hold list. The sweet binge will continue--without messing up my calorie/carb count at all.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADAMES 6/10/2012 1:18AM

    That might be worth a try for me as well. Summer has always been the one time of year that I felt I could afford the time to read simply for pleasure. Now that I have retired from teaching, I can afford much more reading time without feeling guilty. Now to convince myself that reading pleasures can replace sweet cravings...sounds yummy!

emoticon. emoticon. emoticon

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KAREN_NY 6/6/2012 1:47PM

    Nice find!

I have to admit that when I read the title, my eyes registered Jane, Man, Cloth... and I thought "Tarzan!" LOL!!!! Jane Austen - serious indeed, but don't we love her?!

Excellent for you, staying on target!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/6/2012 1:17PM

    Ooh that sounds like a cool book! I'm reading some YA type fantastical book that is the first of a series and I feel like it is definitely a guilty pleasure... now to get my brain to replace it with sweets. hmmm!

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AMYLONGHORN 6/6/2012 11:20AM

    emoticon Very cool!! Good job staying on track with your goal of avoiding sugar and indulging in other non-food sweet treats!!

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CTEMPLE 6/6/2012 8:43AM


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BEATLETOT 6/6/2012 3:45AM

    That is AWESOME! Who'd've thought that reading could be used in place of sweet treats! I'll have to give this a whirl!

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MTULLY 6/6/2012 1:44AM

    Reading as a substitute for sweet treats - brilliant! And I did not know there was a Jane Austen murder mystery series. That definitely sounds like something I would enjoy as well. I will be adding that to my list! Thanks for sharing!

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SHANSHE 6/6/2012 12:26AM

    YAY for you! Great job Ruth!

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The child within

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My inner child, the part of me that fiercely needs pleasure & soothing & fun, has been acting out lately: too many sweets, not enough exercise, too little long-term thinking. I haven't weighed myself recently to see the results--I've been afraid to! It has been really hard to rein in the baby part of me.

But this morning I awoke in the midst of a dream in which I was helping to care for a whole slew of little kids, & (upon awaking, not in the dream) I knew it was time to care for my "inner baby." Just as my little granddaughter cries when she's denied something, but deep down feels more secure because her parents are keeping her safe, my inner child really needs limits AND comfort at the same time.

I've been thinking about my long-term dreams--my birthday is in July, & I'll be 58, only 12 years from retirement. (Yes, I'll be waiting till 70 to retire if my health permits, so as to be in a better financial position.) After I finish paying off that nasty debt X left me with (about 3.5 years from now), I want to travel overseas frequently. But even before then, by putting aside a little $$ each month, I think I can afford a special trip once a year.

So I'm going to link that to my SP goals & satisfy my inner baby (who LOVES traveling) this way:

1. No sweets beyond the honey or brown sugar on my breakfast cereal, plus fruit, 6 days a week
2. Eat within range 6 days a week
3. Exercise at least 150 minutes a week (= 30 minutes 5x, but I can do less some days & more other days to reach this total)
4. Each Saturday, IF I have met those goals, transfer $25 to savings for vacation travel!

My inner baby likes this plan! Of course sometimes she won't, when a big soft cookie is within reach & she's craving it . . . but self-reminders that I am giving her something else (travel) that she loves will soothe her. I will think of other healthy day-to-day rewards, too, anytime my inner baby seems especially vulnerable.

I think I need to make a double bar chart, one bar showing debt paydown & the other showing vacation savings. Watching the numbers growing will be fun for my inner child! And so will watching the scale numbers go DOWN. emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CZARINA_TV 6/1/2012 10:42AM

    I like hearing that you also have an inner baby. Mine kicks and screams and wants a nap an awful lot, but if I listen to myself and what's actually going on, I can often solve those problems without giving in and just giving myself a cookie. It takes effort, but I'm glad you have a plan!

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SHANSHE 5/31/2012 1:38PM

    What a great idea and great blog!!! You can DO this!

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BEATLETOT 5/31/2012 12:59AM

    Great, great idea, Ruth! You can do this!

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CHRISTYK08 5/30/2012 10:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Great plan! You have sparked my thinking about all of these areas: debt pay down, rewards, weight loss!

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CTEMPLE 5/30/2012 5:13PM

    Great plan, i wish i could do it, i reward myself no matter what.

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BABY_GIRL69 5/30/2012 1:18PM

    My inner baby is always crying for something...some times I do just let it cry but then I do enjoy my sweets.

God bless & enjoy everyday!


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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/30/2012 12:45PM

    Good goals and plan of action!

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HELLODANAE 5/30/2012 11:43AM

    you are so smart!!! I love how you protect your inner child I think is the best you can do for her...boundaries!! why did I not think about that emoticon

Yo tambien quiero viajar!!!! emoticon

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KAREN_NY 5/30/2012 11:19AM

    Love this, Ruth! Sounds like a very rewarding approach.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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The best kind of Saturday

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I started the day with my weigh-in & had lost 2 lbs, yay!

Then I took a fast walk to CVS to pick up a prescription & use a rewards coupon to buy toothpaste.

I proceeded to the home of a managing editor, a mile-plus north of CVS, to pick up a freelance assignment--a set of page proofs to proofread over the next couple of weeks. I continued walking quite fast & got home pleasantly sweaty.

I had a great high-fiber breakfast--homemade muesli, blueberries, banana, slice of 100% whole-wheat bread, skim milk. emoticon Actually I eat a high-fiber breakfast almost every day, but I can feel extra-good about it because it's our Living the Good Life challenge this week. I don't usually eat bread as well as cereal, but on Saturdays my body really prefers just two bigger meals rather than three medium ones. I've always been a "camel" like that--it's the opposite of the six small meals a day that are often advocated for weight loss (and that really work for a lot of people), but it works for me.

I logged my breakfast & exercise on SP.

Now I'm working on the proofreading in one-hour increments. The book (on Islamophobia) is really interesting, so the first hour flew by. When the kitchen timer went off, I boiled some water to pour over dried mint leaves (from my back-porch container garden!) in my teapot; I'll sip it as I continue to work.

I'm also starting a pound or two of dried chickpeas on a quick soak (boil for two minutes, then soak for one hour). I'll do my next proofreading stint now. When it's up I'll start the chickpeas cooking; they need at least an hour of simmering, so then I'll be proofreading again.

I'm going to use them to make a peanut-chickpea curry recipe I came upon recently--it looks truly wonderful. Some of that will go to church for potluck tomorrow, but some of it will definitely stay in my fridge for reheating in the coming days!

With other breaks this afternoon I'll do some cleanup & organizing. My camera got soaked in a rainstorm the other night (it was at the bottom of my backpack), so I'm recharging its battery & hoping that it will revive so I can download the photos in it.

I had all that extrovert activity last weekend, & last night I went to a large gathering, so I am really, really happy to be peaceful & productive AT HOME today. Even my quiet housemate is off at a meeting for several hours. It's a perfect day. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 5/14/2012 1:06PM

    Yay for peaceful and productive!!! AND for 2 pounds lost!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/9/2012 1:20PM

    Really does sound like one of those perfect & productive days!

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CTEMPLE 5/8/2012 6:45PM

    sounded really perfect
vivan los garbanzos en todo!

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CARLYG8 5/6/2012 4:01PM

    What a beautiful day! I love that there wasn't anything especially extraordinary about it, but your gratitude is exceptionally extraordinary!!!! Love it!

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AMYLONGHORN 5/6/2012 2:20PM

    CONGRATS on your 2 lb weightloss this week! WTG friend!

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SUZBOISANNE 5/6/2012 7:51AM

    Best way to relax is to get things done first... then it 's AHhhhhhhh!!! Good for you.

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BABY_GIRL69 5/5/2012 6:15PM

    Now that sounds like a get your errands done Saturday & enjoy a relaxing afternoon. I went to get an estimate on my truck $399 but decided to see I could get it done cheaper but of course not. So I went home made up my bed & cooked a huge breakfast for my hubs, his friend & my son. None of them need to diet but I forged ahead & made them pancakes, hash browns, scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, turkey sausage & steak. I did make huge pancakes & evenly the food. I think it was a bit much because we had a guest & I never know how to gauge another persons appetite. Oh well better luck with that next time. I sat on the couch for a few minutes to collect myself only to find myself napping. Then I got up to spark & now I AM going to get in my early morning workout NOW! I am not putting it off. My oldest son comes home from WIU on Friday so I have to drive up (in a rental of course) to pick him up. Then he is off to a prom, yep, it's true he is going on prom with a young lady from Naperville. She seems nice enough but I had to repeatedly tell my son his money he will get for his birthday is being deducted for him to go. I thought maybe she might pay his way since its her prom but my son is very generous with MY money. MEN! lol

God bless & enjoy your Saturday!


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MTULLY 5/5/2012 4:02PM

    Sounds like a very productive and enjoyable day. It doesn't get any better than that!

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/5/2012 4:02PM

    Glad to read about your wonderful day! You're having a relaxing and also productive day! Great job!

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BEATLETOT 5/5/2012 2:54PM

    Wow, it sounds like a wonderful kind of day!

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