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Backyard birding

Monday, November 26, 2012

There was a robin convention in our yard this morning. There were easily 50 robins foraging on the ground and drinking and bathing in the bird baths. One of the guys at church made us a heated birdbath. It's very popular this time of year. Our winters are usually mild enough that some robins stay all winter, but I have never seen this many this late in the year.

In the front yard this morning there were a pair of blue birds. We saw them several times over the weekend. They seem interested in the fall decorations on the front porch. I'm not sure what all that's about.

And last, there was a bird on the bird bath with the robins this morning I had never seen before. Of course I ran and got one of the bird books. I never found a picture that looked exactly like it did. As nearly as I can tell, it's some kind of sapsucker. The picture that was the closest was the yellow bellied sapsucker, but this bird also had white stripes running down each side of its back. It had white wing bars and a red V on its neck. It acted like a young bird. He held his own against the larger and more numerous robins. I'll keep looking.

I really love being retired.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JACKIE542 11/26/2012 11:04AM

    Love bird watching. emoticon

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

I feel like I have reached my first milestone on this journey. Until the last two weeks I have felt hyperfocused on what I'm eating. Eating healthy occupied a large percentage of my brainpower. I was overwhelmed with the amount of dishwashing and kitchen cleanup there was involved in eating all our meals at home. Figuring out when to exercise each day exercised not only my body, but my problem solving skills as well.

I think, maybe, I've adapted. I did not miss the green bean casserole Thanksgiving Day. We love steamed asparagus, and that's what replaced it. We've been enjoying our 3 mile walks each day over the holiday break. (The pool is closed.) Isn't it funny? There was major effort and no small amount of stress involved in making these changes, and now it feels like life has always been this way. And....this has been the best I have done keeping up with the onslaught of holiday dishwashing.

All that said, I did gain .6 of a pound this week. The difference this year is I planned to gain a little. I didn't eat with wreckless abandon, and we went for a long walk everyday.

Today we decorate the tree. We unload the decorations and Christmas music from their storage places in the garage, and we fire up the stereo. We'll put 5 of our favorite Christmas CD's on shuffle play and put ornaments on the tree.

It just occurred to me the major reason I am enjoying this holiday break so much. I don't feel guilty about how much I'm eating. Have I FINALLY after 58 years, made peace with my appetite? I think it's too soon to declare victory in that area, but I am feeling good about what and how much I'm eating, and I'm feeling better about how I look.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FATBASTICH 11/25/2012 8:43PM

    good for you!

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LADYFROMTHEWOOD 11/24/2012 10:04PM

    Your milestone is absolutely inspiring. I'm proud of you!!! And you're right. Asparagus rocks.
~ t.

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SUNSHINEGB 11/24/2012 12:31PM

    It is great that you're adapting to this wonderful healthy lifestyle. It takes a while and I remember being overly focused on food and exercise too!
Once we relax with it, it gets much nicer and much easier.
Congrats on passing up that green bean casserole and opting for the delicious asparagus. The walks are great too.

You have a fun way of decorating your Christmas tree too! Enjoy your day!
emoticon emoticon

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BIGDOG18 11/24/2012 12:01PM


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I'm biting: part 3

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

I have decided to write this up real time, after each meal today.

Breakfast: Never in my life have I ever eaten just egg whites, so I had my first new experience right off the bat. How do you cook egg whites? I scrambled these, then I wondered if I should have let them set in the skillet and cook like a fried egg. I think scrambling them created more stringies, which I don't like, and they looked like cottage cheese setting on top of the bagel. Not very appealing.

The whole point of today is to eat the Spark Meal Plan as is, no changes, except covering for the availability issues we have in this area. (i.e. whole wheat bagels instead of oat bran)

Lunch: Surprisingly good and filling. I don't usually put cheese in my chili. That was quite a treat. Grapes were the perfect "dessert." The chili even made my nose run, like my chili does. I would rate this meal a 4.5 out of 5. I still prefer meat chili, but this is a great alternative.

Dinner: Pretty much a repeat of lunch. The surprise was the sweet potato/black bean/salsa snack. I initiated this snack with great trepidation. I was pretty sure I wouldn't like it. I was pretty hungry when I ate it. What a surprise. At first my reaction was, "Well, this is different," to, "This is pretty good." I would not think to put together something like this for a snack. When someone says, "Sweet potato," to me, my next thought is immediately, "Butter, brown sugar." Today I might have taken the first step away from that mentality.

If I were going to do this again, I would take some of the cheese from lunch and put it on top of the egg. It needs something more (like the yoke)! Fresh herbs or a little onion might give it more pizazz.

Dh gave breakfast a 3.5. I rate it a 2. I did not feel hungry. Solo egg whites are rather bland tasting and unappealing to look at on the plate. It did chap my hide to put 4 egg yokes down the drain.

I'm stuffed. I can't believe I'm on the low end of my calorie range for the day, but I measured everything and followed that dietary fiber.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I've enjoyed reading your blog!
Your idea to eat the Sparkplan for just one day a week really inspired me. I had ditched the meal plans altogether after looking through it. "Don't have that, that's not 'real' food, that one sounds like too much work, EWW, etc." However, a once-a-week approach might just be the thing to try. But, like you, it would be easier for me to take a beating than to throw out perfectly good egg yolks.
I really don't understand the movement to eat only the whites since I just read an article on SP that clearly states "dietary cholesterol is largely irrelevant to blood cholesterol". I guess I could freeze the yolks (they're good up to 3 months) and then use them to replace 1/2 the egg called for in Christmas cookies this year. I hear it's great to do with shortbread, sugar cookies, and cake recipes. I'd bet it would be good to replace in cheesecake too! Then I can serve to guests and spread the love without over-eating myself.
I look forward to reading more of you experiences on/with SP!
Best wishes,
~ t.

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SEESKO 11/7/2012 8:02AM

    I have much experience with egg whites. Here are a few things I do...though they may change your spark plan.

I have added cottage cheese to egg whites. Just a little to make them creamier. I have also added a little cream cheese that holds them together.
Salt and pepper are your friends!
i do usually scramble them. However, have put them in a circle cookie cutter to make sandwiches with. This is a trial and error thing. it took me a while to get it right.
I have baked them in muffin tins, so that I can just pull from fridge and eat. I add a little cheese, salt and pepper, and maybe turkey bacon.

They do take a while to get used to.
good luck!

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I'm biting, Part 2

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Shopping: None of the three grocery stores in town had oat bran bagels. I substituted 100 per cent wheat bagels. I was surprised. I thought oat anything would be pretty common. I guess not.

I made the chili last night because I didn't have time to do it today. Cooking tip for the chili - Start using the lid as soon as you put the onion and garlic on to saute. You will need every bit of moisture to keep the mixture from sticking. I had to pour a can of tomato sauce in. I waited to put the lid on.

I snuck a couple of bites last night (checking to see if the carrots were done). Do I like it? It's okay. Mine is spicy, which we like. It is basically carrot chili. The texture is very good. It really does look like chili without meat. Will it replace our regular chili recipes? No.

About 15 years ago we made a batch of sweet potato chili. I do like the chili I made last night better than that.

This is all about having a new experience on my weight loss journey, not finding a prize winning chili cook-off recipe.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOLPHINSINGER72 11/6/2012 6:48PM

    Hmm, I love chili. I love sweet potato and am not fond of carrots, I wonder if I would like the sweet potato chili. Do you still have the recipe for that :) I can probably find one on sparkrecipes.

Never heard of Oat Bagles. But, then again, I have never looked for them.

New recipes are always good. As long as they are somewhat tasty I call them a winner. :)

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Okay, I'm biting...

Monday, November 05, 2012

On Wednesday I have decided I am going to try to follow the Spark suggested menu all day. I made one small change. I will use a small about of real butter on my cornbread rather than spraying it with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

I've tried several of the Spark Recipes. We enjoyed them. Following the Spark Menu Wednesday helps me meet two goals I have. 1.) follow the Spark Menu for one day, 2.) eat vegetarian for one day.

...and we will find out if I can make the Spark Meal Plan fit into my least for one day.


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