GAILRUU's SparkPeople Blog GAILRUU's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Winter Doldrums Spring is nearly here according to the calendar but in northern Minnesota that is often just an illusion. We are having warmer temperatures but still it freezes hard at night. I am torn between wanting to be outdoors and being wary about icy conditions from the nightly freezes which might mean a nasty fall. I do have some indoor options for exercise, but for the most part they are a bit boring and harder on my knees than walking on the road. <BR> I am tempted to eat more than I need an... Thu, 8 Mar 2018 12:54:27 EST Good By to an Old Friend My DH left a while ago to take our old Gordon Setter to the vet to be put down. He is only ten years old but has developed a seizure disorder related to a pancreatic tumor and the time has come to let him go. <img src=""> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:43:15 EST Danger Signals! I suspect is is the time of year and being confined to the house during cold and icy weather conditions, but I am really fighting the urge to overindulge in snack foods. I know that returning to my previous way of eating will result in gaining weight and that is not what I want to do! It took me 17 months to lose enough weight to get to my WW goal and I don't want to jeopardize that. <BR> Right now I am feeling a little stressed with some family situations, a DIL with knee replacement w... Wed, 15 Feb 2017 09:32:37 EST Sandwich Generation I think I am a little old at 74 to be in the sandwich generation but that is where I am finding myself. I am one of two sisters making sure our 94 year old step father is taken care of. I don't do the daily care, but I do pills, bills, and shopping for him and sometimes shoveling the sidewalk. My sister has taken care of the clinic visits which is nice but her health is not good and I don't know how much longer she will be able to help with that. Right now step dad is in a rehab facility ... Sat, 4 Feb 2017 23:19:15 EST Post Election I have been reading messages all day from people who are distressed over the results. Half of us are happy and the other half are depressed with what happened. Most of us on Spark are US citizens and we need to find a way to work together. I feel blessed to be an American and free to vote for the candidate I want. Wed, 9 Nov 2016 18:11:45 EST Keep on Tracking I do Weight Watchers and track on line. I also have a small notebook and each morning track my weight and whatever i eat during the day. For a while I tracked here on Spark to compare calories to points. I found I was eating 1200 or so calories a day which is fine and decided to just do the points and may at times track here to be sure of where I am with my calories. It is nice to have options. <BR> I am at my goal weight although I have plans to lose a few more to be safely under whe... Wed, 12 Oct 2016 20:38:21 EST Back on Track I had a mini near catastrophe a bit over a week ago. I was afraid I was losing control and would eat myself back to obesity again but I am finding some coping mechanisms to manage that. Frankly I love to cook new things and I have been finding lots of new recipes that are weight loss friendly as well as delicious. Exercise isn't quite as vigorous as it was but I am working in the garden and that is burning calories that don't register on my Fitbit but help my waistline! <BR> I am worki... Mon, 3 Oct 2016 22:36:40 EST Tricked Myself! I had not two, but 3 days of eating far more than I should. Today I am back on track. I sat down last night and made a brief meal plan and then, since I had also been slacking on exercise, I decided that I would not eat breakfast until I had 1000 steps on my Fitbit. Then I decided that I would not eat lunch until I reached 3000 steps and no afternoon snack until i hit 5000. By that time it was time for dinner and I just finished getting in my 10,000 steps for the day! I am back! Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:06:12 EST Two Days? Yesterday I had a binge which is something that has not happened to me for over a month. I have to be ultra careful this time of year when the days are getting shorter since that seems to trigger the need to eat and sleep. I used to call it the bear syndrome until I learned it actually has a name, SAD, seasonal affective disorder. Whatever it is called it does affect me and until the days start to get longer again I really have to be cautious that it doesn't get me on a roll of binge after... Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:13:14 EST I Hope I Learned Something! It would be so easy to fall back into those old habits and regain all the weight it took me nearly a year and a half to lose. Weight loss is not nearly as easy at my age as it was when I was a young mother with small children to keep me busy. My average weight loss per week was .7 pound! Gaining back 10 pounds would take me several months to lose again so I really don't want to take the chance and succumb to the temptations that seem to be waiting to trap me again. I won't say I will neve... Tue, 20 Sep 2016 22:12:14 EST Cupcake Challenge Today was my turn to provide something to go with coffee after church. My daughter and granddaughter helped by making me dozens of elaborately decorated cupcakes. Think chocolate with fudge filling topped with Cookie Monster with a real cookie in his mouth, red velvet with raspberry filling topped with cream cheese frosting and decorated with pearls and flowers, yellow cake with a birds nest and little birds surrounded by grass and more that looked like an ice cream sundae with sprinkles, c... Sun, 18 Sep 2016 20:15:03 EST And Goal! I reached my goal at WW today! I was extra careful this week and weighed and measured everything and it finally paid off. I will keep on sticking with my lower points until I have a safe distance to my goal so I don't go over that and have to pay a weekly fee again. I became a life member 40 years ago and that means I don't have to do the 8 week probationary period again. The cost of the meetings was in incentive for me to keep on track. I lose slowly and patience is not always my strong... Tue, 6 Sep 2016 22:30:51 EST Heading Down! I lost another pound at my WW weigh in yesterday. I was hoping to get to my goal by the end of this month but I suspect it will be a few more weeks to get rid of 2 pounds for me. It has taken me 3 months to get rid of just over 5 pounds. I admit to a little lapse during camping although it wasn't horrible but took me 2 weeks to recover at weigh in and then had a mini plateau for a few weeks. I have been ultra careful this last week, weighing and measuring everything and making a point of ... Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:09:35 EST The Long Wait! I am so close to goal that I can taste it but the scale is not cooperating! I have increased my exercise, track, weigh and measure diligently and pray for patience! I expect that I will see a nice loss at some time since I am burning more calories than I am eating. The body is a funny thing sometimes. <BR> My goal is generous for my height but it should be one I can maintain without feeling deprived and just because I get there doesn't mean that I won't keep trying to get out of the ov... Sat, 20 Aug 2016 23:20:14 EST Bobbing Up and Down Those 10 pound marks are really difficult for me to get past. I am not sure if it is physiological or psychological. I am very close to my goal weight at WW and can't seem to get past that last little hurdle and be eligible for free meetings and internet access. It has also happened to me at other 10 pound marks, getting past 190, 180, 170, etc. I am eating fairly well, although once in a while I fall off the diet wagon, exercising at the gym and working in the garden plus some walking al... Thu, 4 Aug 2016 10:10:19 EST The Last Day of July Tomorrow is weigh in day at WW and I am hoping to be back to my pre camping trip weight. My goal for August will be to get to my goal and back to Lifetime status again. This time I intend to meet those monthly weigh in's and to keep tracking here on Spark. I honestly think tracking and, for me weighing each morning, is the only way I will be able to keep my weight under control. <BR> A non scale victory this morning was when I was holding a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt pants that I had inte... Sun, 31 Jul 2016 10:07:43 EST Post Camping Recovery I didn't do as well as I had hoped controlling my food intake at camp. It could have been worse though and the few pounds I saw on the scale are disappearing. It will take a few more days to get back to where I was and with any luck, make some progress. <BR> My plan to get in some walking at camp didn't work as well as i had hoped. Today I am back on track and went to the gym and I am near 8000 steps for the day. It is hot and humid outdoors so I will probably not make my 10,000 but d... Wed, 20 Jul 2016 21:43:28 EST One Last Obstacle I am within 4 pounds of reaching my weight goal and this week is going to be a doozy as far as staying on track. <BR> First of all, I am going camping. I will be tempted by foods I love and try to avoid every day for 4 days. Solution: I have a lot of fruit to bring with plus fresh veggies and my own low fat hot dogs and sausages for the campfire. <BR> Second, I will not have internet access. I changed my plan to a WiFi setup at home which is not portable. I have been tracking on pape... Mon, 11 Jul 2016 21:48:34 EST Determination and Patience My husband and son suspect I am not a patient person at heart although I do try my best to control that. I like things done "yesterday" and on my schedule. Losing the last few pounds is a real test for me. My clothes fit again for the most part and I feel good but reaching that final goal is important to me. Frankly, I didn't set it all that low and really want to keep going once I reach it so I have enough leeway to stay under my Weight Watchers goal. I have found a few favorite recipes... Fri, 8 Jul 2016 21:17:55 EST Kale Konundrum (I know you don't spell it that way!) A 10 pack of kale was an impulse buy this spring and it looked so healthy in the store that I brought it home to plant in my garden, Never mind that my first experience with kale was to discover that it does get those little green cabbage worms. Now I didn't notice that until I was eating my second helping so it was a bit of a turn off in spite of the jokes that it was just extra protein. I tried growing it one more time after that and it didn't taste as good that time. Maybe it was all i... Sun, 26 Jun 2016 14:36:32 EST Before the Rain Rain was predicted for today so I got up and was out in the garden by 6:30. I did some weeding and mulching and after a short light rain, went back out again for several more hours and got a lot accomplished. I wear a Fitbit and frankly, gardening doesn't register all that high on it but I do enter it separately. I know it doesn't usually get my heart rate up unless I am hoeing or hauling carts full but it really does burn calories. Yesterday I got nearly 2 pounds of asparagus and 2 quart... Sat, 25 Jun 2016 20:19:58 EST Never Enough Time I would spend the entire day outdoors if I could. Today started out as a perfect day with a light breeze, sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. I did get a few things done indoors and even got in some steps on my Fitbit and then headed out to do what I really wanted. I charged up the batteries for my grass whip and cleaned up around my vegetable garden and some highbush cranberry bushes which were fighting tall grass. Then off to the U of MN experimental station to work with the Master Ga... Wed, 22 Jun 2016 21:12:16 EST The Stress Eater In Me! As much as I love my grandkids, a day with a pair of active boys trapped indoors because of a thunderstorm does send me into a stress mode and from that to the cookie jar. Of course, i don't usually have cookies in the house considering I can't leave them alone, but the 6 year old asked if I could bake some and since I do need them for Sunday at Church I got busy and made chocolate chip cookies. And yes, I did eat some. The good thing is that I was able to stop before I did too much damage... Fri, 17 Jun 2016 23:40:42 EST Those Dreaded Pot Lucks It is really difficult to resist the food at a pot luck. The ladies at our church are very good cooks and bring their best efforts to the monthly pot luck. I always have a bit of a difficult time resisting eating too much. My plan for today at our monthly meeting is to limit myself to 15 Smart Points (I follow the WW plan) and eat a light breakfast (2 SP). Since WW gives most fruit a zero point value I did eat an apple a bit ago so I won't be starving when I get there in about half an hou... Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:16:40 EST It's the Small Things! I have discovered a number of ways to eat less and burn a few calories. <BR> Park away from the store. It adds more steps and usually means your car won't get all those door dings from careless people parking next to you. <BR> Put your cart back in the cart corral when you have unloaded it. Besides there is nothing more irritating than a cart blocking access to a parking spot or bumping a parked car. <BR> Grow your own food if possible! It is great exercise and will provide healthy... Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:07:51 EST The Vegetable Garden is Planted! It has been a busy month with lots of meetings, events and the yard and garden. Today I finally finished planting my garden. <BR> I have 6 kinds of potatoes, Yukon Gold, All Blue, Norkota, Russett, Norland and Fingerling. I have 3 kinds of peppers, 5 each of Green Chili and Jalapeno and about 30 Corno Di Toro peppers which I grow instead of bell peppers since they do better for me. I have 20 cabbage plants, mostly Savoy, 10 Brussels Sprouts, 8 kale, 6 hills squash, Acorn and buttercup, S... Sun, 29 May 2016 20:14:20 EST Garden Fever I headed out to the garden the first thing this morning and got the whole thing tilled twice. Then I planted my seed potatoes, 4 varieties not counting a few Russets I had under the sink that were starting to sprout. I planted Fingerling (a yellow type), Yukon Gold, Norland (red) and a white variety for which I neglected to write down the name. It took me several hours to get them done since I had to dig trenches, scatter organic fertilizer along the sides, rake it in and then scatter lea... Thu, 5 May 2016 17:36:03 EST Goodbye to an Old Friend Today was a sad one in our house. Our fifteen year old Shih Tzu has been having seizures and today was so lethargic we made the decision to have her put down. I suspect she was having little strokes. In addition, over the last year her eyesight had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer see much except for dark and light. We will miss her very much. Wed, 27 Apr 2016 20:55:32 EST Am I The Only One? Yesterday I went to a workshop on gardening. It was fun and informative which is not the point of this blog. The question I have is "Am I the only one who hates wraps?" I have been to several occasions where lunch was provided and it turned out to be wraps. I knew that is what they were serving and ordered a veggie wrap thinking it would be a better filling than the chicken and bacon. Okay, the filling was fine if not spectacular, but I don't see the point of rolling it all up in a gummy... Sun, 24 Apr 2016 08:26:17 EST Spring Clean Up One of my most satisfying exercises is to clean up my local rural roadside. This morning I walked half a mile and picked up winter trash from along the road. It actually wasn't too bad this year since I only got two bags full. Half of it can be recycled and the rest will have to go to the landfill. I actually don't mind doing it and will do more in the next week or so and I have the added benefit of all the walking, bending and stretching to reach the debris. <BR> My young neighbor is... Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:55:13 EST And Ten to Go! I officially have 10 more pounds to go to get to my Weight Watchers goal. It has taken me nearly a year to get this far with a 37 plus pound loss. My average weight loss has been only .7 pound per week but without WW I doubt I would have lost much at all. Frankly, it is the money that motivates me. I am looking forward to not having to pay for meetings any longer. I have increased my losses a bit by increasing my exercise. In the next few weeks I should be really busy with gardening whi... Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:09:12 EST The Birds are Singing, Flowers Blooming! I love spring. I love gardening which is one reason and I enjoy walking along the road and through the woods to see what is happening. My day is now busy from morning to night with activities outside and the scale is reflecting that. <BR> My project for the last few days has been getting the greenhouse up and running and turning my compost pile. I live in the far northern part of Minnesota and this year I did manage to keep adding to the pile all winter. It didn't actually heat up but... Sat, 16 Apr 2016 09:50:22 EST Slow but Progress Anyway I weighed in at Weight Watchers today and got back to my lowest weight that I have reached there during this last 11 months with the program. The month of March was not a particularly good month for weight loss for me but I hope I learned something and at least I managed to maintain my weight which is also a goal for me. I am hoping that when warmer weather finally reaches the northland I will be motivated to walk outdoors. In the meantime I am using my Wii and going to the gym. Mon, 4 Apr 2016 21:18:09 EST Determination After my disheartening weigh in last week when I had a 4 pound weight gain, today was really encouraging. I not only lost that 4 pounds but another 1.6 pound for a total of 5.6 pounds this week. I know it had a lot to do with sodium so I was careful about that and kept up my exercise. I have been able to get to 10,000 steps every day which is good. <BR> I have also reached some milestones at the gym with the weight machines. I have increased my weight on the leg press 15 pounds and ca... Mon, 21 Mar 2016 19:39:03 EST Rocky Week I have been fighting a binge mentality all week. Today and yesterday have been fine so I am hoping that I have worked past it. I try to find something to keep me occupied when I am tempted to raid the pantry and exercise and hobbies do help. Sat, 19 Mar 2016 21:40:44 EST Getting Back On Track This last weekend was not a good one for my diet. I did track what I ate but had some lapses in good judgement and indulged a bit too much and with too much salt. Today I weighed in at Weight Watchers with a 4 pound gain. Logically, I know that to gain that much in actual fat I would have had to have eaten 14,000 more in calories than I burned but that isn't what happened and my body has a tendency to react to salty foods by retaining fluids. I knew when I went to my weigh in what to expe... Mon, 14 Mar 2016 23:15:10 EST A Few Compliments! Today at church two people commented on how much weight I have lost, particularly in my face (although that wasn't the area I was concerned about <em>20</em> ). It was very nice to hear. My weight loss after regaining all I had lost several years ago has been very slow but steady. I have been diligent about tracking my food and recently began exercising again. That really has helped increase my weight loss to at least double what was occurring before. The other benefit is that I should ... Sun, 6 Mar 2016 14:37:01 EST End of Winter Doldrums I am doing my best to keep busy indoors and spend less time on the computer and more moving around. Last year I sat far too much and along with gaining weight, managed to have a pulmonary embolism! I am lucky to have survived that and I am now on a medicine to keep that from happening again. I also have lost 34 pounds in that time and I am exercising every day. I feel so much better when I can keep active. <BR> Yesterday I went to my first political caucus. It was very interesting and ... Wed, 2 Mar 2016 09:18:21 EST Another Good Week I did a little cooking this week. I bought some Wonton skins and decided to experiment and see what i could do with them. I found one recipe for bacon and onion and egg substitute used as a filling in mini muffin cups. If I ever make it again I will spray the muffing cups first! I got a few out without damage but most stuck to the pan. What a pain! The other recipe was one I had to improvise to make. I saw a recipe and didn't print it and couldn't find it again. I sprayed a cookie shee... Sun, 28 Feb 2016 20:49:33 EST I Can't Remember How Long It Has Been I quit tracking my food and exercise several years ago and of course the predictable outcome occurred. I gained all my weight back again. Forward to last May and I joined Weight Watchers and have slowly been losing weight again. I still have another nearly 20 pounds left to go but I am feeling much better and really have had no problem following the plan. I decided to come back to Spark and double track my eating out of curiosity to see just how many calories I have been eating. Since WW... Thu, 25 Feb 2016 16:46:39 EST Got My Exercise! It took about an hour for me to find my little dog who got off her leash this morning. I live in a rural neighborhood along a lake and she managed to get nearly a half mile away and got stuck in a swamp! A neighbor saw her and heard her barking. She was stuck in the water in the middle of a patch of reeds and cattails and I had to wade in after her. I am so relieved to find her. She had a bath and is sleeping on a cushion right now. Cute, friendly and has a brain the size of a pea! Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:21:10 EST Busy Days of Summer I got through 2 days of being back on track. That is a biggie for me. Yesterday was a busy one with quilting at church followed by a tour of a beautiful garden belonging to one of the Master Gardeners. She had snacks available including an assortment of some very nice raw vegetables from her garden. Today I can finally stay home and do some catching up in my own garden since I have been away from home for several days with meetings and friends. <BR> Jerry is going to the lake to sta... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:46:08 EST Starting Over I should have titled this starting WAY OVER since I have regained all I lost plus a little more. I got on the scale this morning and started using the meal tracker here at Spark again so I am off to a good start. <BR> I have discovered that the more social I am, the more obstacles I find to eating. I just have to be careful and avoid too many treats. At least I don't have them at home to tempt me. Mon, 11 Aug 2014 09:18:31 EST Duh! It Works! I was very successful at losing weight a few years ago by tracking my food and exercising every day. My NY resolution was to exercise at least 6 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes and track all my food on paper since my old computer is a bit balky on Spark. I have been doing that actually since just before the new year and it is working! I am already down over 5 pounds which is something I have not been able to accomplish for the last year and a half. My third resolution was to eat o... Tue, 7 Jan 2014 08:36:48 EST Practicing! It isn't quite the new year yet, but I have been trying to stick to my resolutions. I have been using my Wii or going to Curves every day, attempting to eat only in the kitchen and sadly, not writing everything down. My old computer is so pokey that using the Spark Tracker is way to slow although I may try that anyway. I can keep a little notebook next to the computer and write it down. <BR> I had been lax in my exercise and eating too much so the results were obviously not going to be... Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:35:39 EST Starting Over I was shocked when I got on the scale again this morning. I have been steadily gaining weight for the last two years and I am almost back to the weight I was at when I joined TOPS! I have been eating far too much and exercising very little so I can only blame myself. <BR> Christmas baking has been hard on my resolve to stay away from sweets. I packed up trays of cookies for my neighbors so once they are delivered I will not have that to tempt me although my DIL did send a few treats my... Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:37:00 EST Checking In Once I reached level 20 I did cut back on my Spark time. I have learned to include exercise in my daily activities and to track my food but my computer is getting a little old and for some reason Spark is difficult for my poor old laptop to navigate through. I particularly have trouble with My Favorites in the food tracker and getting into recipes. I am not sure why. <BR> We are getting into the time of the year where the garden will be producing a huge amount of fruits and vegetables.... Tue, 9 Jul 2013 08:28:50 EST With This Post I Hit Level 20! Hooray! I decided to use this blog to reach the top of the hill points wise. I can still accumulate more but I will be wearing my gold crown! <BR> 1 Thu, 13 Jun 2013 07:20:18 EST The Great Outdoors I can't ever remember a spring that arrived so late. We had a snow storm about a month ago, even before all the winter accumulation had not melted. It delayed planting my vegetable garden until last Saturday for the final things that needed to go in and even today I added some shallots, Pak Choy and popped a few Connecticut Field Pumpkin seeds into my pile of rotted horse and cow manure. I got out my little tiller and got through the entire vegetable garden, a task that used to take me 3 d... Wed, 12 Jun 2013 20:09:51 EST I Should Have Saved My Money While wandering through Target yesterday I saw a display of Starbucks coffee and decided that since I have heard so much about how good it is, I thought I would try some. I must say I was quite disappointed. I think that the best tasting coffee is Folger's although I have gone to the store brand from Walmart in the last few years due to cost, and actually that is not too bad either. <BR> The closest I can come to comparing the Starbucks coffee to is the coffee supplied by the local hosp... Thu, 6 Jun 2013 08:24:46 EST