LULUBELLE65's SparkPeople Blog LULUBELLE65's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Hitting the Reset Button I struggled for most of last year with losing weight. I significantly upped my exercise, taking Zumba and swimming a mile 3-4 times a week. I felt great, and my body changed in shape, but the weight didn't come off like it should have. I adjusted my calories, fiddled with my tracker, posted queries on the message boards, but I was basically on a plateau for about six months. <BR> <BR> I was so frustrated when I went home for the summer that I basically gave up. I stopped tracking, stopp... Thu, 4 Sep 2014 00:54:00 EST The produce market in Colombo (with pictures) <img src=""> <BR> Gorgeous fruits and veggies and the market. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Everything is beautifully displayed and the vendors offer you tastes of everything. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Rambutans! <BR> <BR> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:50:29 EST Settling In So here I am in Sri Lanka. I've been here about 3 weeks at this point, the first 4 days in a swanky hotel and then in my new house. It's super humid here, and I feel like a giant sweatball all the time, but it's fascinating, and lush and green, and I think I am going to like it. <BR> <BR> I've found the wonderful produce market, and have eaten all manner of strange and exotic fruits. I have a housekeeper who also cooks for me, and while we have yet to come to an understanding of the word ... Fri, 8 Aug 2014 01:11:06 EST A couple of photos <img src=""> <BR> I am not a light packer! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> The world needs more pink money. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Obligatory Buddha. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:25:18 EST Super quick update I left Ghana, spent most of June and July in the States eating and drinking too much, somehow seem to have lost another size despite the copious amounts of food I ate, went to a nutritionist who said that my calorie goal is too low given the amount of exercise that I do (totally great experience--she hooked me up to electrodes, shot some currents through my body and was able to tell me what my body is made up of----mostly cheese and wine I think, but some muscle and water too. <em>20</em> ... Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:40:14 EST Then and Now with pics <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The week I started Spark. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Today. Fri, 16 May 2014 10:37:29 EST Big Mama So yesterday I was in the school locker room changing for the pool. There was a group of middle school girls in there, from another school, who were visiting for a soccer match with our team. I changed in one of the bathroom stalls, not out of modesty as much as out of self-preservation. Groups of middle school kids are loud and chaotic, and I was in no mood to be banged into or yelled over. <BR> <BR> As I was leaving the locker room, in my swimsuit, I heard one of the girls say matter-of... Thu, 15 May 2014 07:13:44 EST NSVs So the scale has not been my friend these past couple of months. It hasn't really been my enemy, but I have been bouncing back and forth losing the same two pounds for quite a while. So I am trying to come up with some other ways to motivate myself. <BR> <BR> 1, I can swim a mile in about 50 minutes now. That's still pretty slow, but it's faster than the hour I was swimming a few weeks ago. <BR> <BR> 2, I lost an inch in my waist and an inch in my hips this month. Plus one and a hal... Fri, 2 May 2014 18:54:29 EST Cape Town Vacation Cape Town is amazingly beautiful, as is Stellenbosch, the wine-growing town nearby. We have done a winery tour, a walking historical tour, and spent quite a bit of time wandering around on our own. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> National Flower <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Muslim quarter of Cape Town <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <B... Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:40:05 EST Fall In Love With Bordom It's easy to be motivated when you're successful, when something is new and exciting, when the scale goes down, or you cross the finish line on your first 5k, but how do you stay motivated long term? I am so tired of tracking everything I eat, of having to think about what goes in my mouth, particularly since the scale has not been as accommodating lately. Why do I keep doing it? <BR> <BR> I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I had a conversation with a former student about being... Fri, 21 Mar 2014 05:08:44 EST Interesting Article on Willpower <BR> Willpower is the ability to align yourself with the brain system that is thinking about long-term goals — that is thinking about big values rather than short-term needs or desires. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>of-willpower-kelly-mcgonigal-on-why-it<BR>s-so-dang-hard-to-stick-to-a-resolution/ </link> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 19:06:54 EST CONSTANT VIGILANCE! I posted this on a message board, but it bears repeating. <BR> <BR> CONSTANT VIGILANCE! <BR> <BR> If I do not track, I stop losing. If I do not exercise, I stop losing. Unfortunately, it is very easy to take a day or two off from tracking and then that day turns into a week, or longer. If I track every day and have one bad day, I can correct it the next day and those extra calories don't really matter in the long run; by the end of the week I have balanced that binge with several days of... Mon, 17 Mar 2014 04:51:45 EST Trying to Keep Motivated I've been wallowing about my knee since Monday, and I feel like I need to make a concerted effort to snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for myself. It's frustrating not being able to swim or go to Zumba, and my knee does hurt, but it's a minor setback really, not something like a broken leg or last year's IT band problems. <BR> <BR> Still, I know myself well enough to know that I am a creature of habit, and over the past month I had started to build up some really good habits. Spending ... Thu, 13 Mar 2014 11:35:25 EST Seven Stitches. Ugh. I wiped out today, talking a walk. Three hours in the emergency room and seven stitches later, I am home. Unable to swim, do Zumba or even stand in the shower for at least two weeks. My knee is really gross, and I am lucky that it was not worse, but I was doing so well with the exercise, and had really settled into a nice routine of dancing, walking and swimming. Now I can't really do anything. <BR> <BR> Grrrrr! Sun, 9 Mar 2014 17:57:23 EST Beer, French Fries, and a Surprising Discovery So the pool was closed today. It was closed yesterday too, so I only swam twice this week. I'm going to try to get to the university pool tomorrow afternoon, but it's a 50 meter pool, and that's pretty intimidating for us non-Olympic athletes. <BR> <BR> Since the pool was closed, I took up the offer of a free happy hour, sponsored by the organizers of the service project I worked on last weekend. I had one beer, but the beers here are 24 oz, and then my friend and I left to pick up food ... Fri, 21 Feb 2014 16:09:43 EST Back in the Pool I grew up in the water. I started swimming lessons at the age of two, and swam on teams as a child. I performed with a synchronized swim group in junior high. Water was my second home. Even though I didn't swim competitively in college, I still found time to get to the pool and swim laps 4-5 days a week. At some point though, I got lost. Swimming is an expensive sport. The cheap gyms tend not to have pools, and when I was a broke 20-year-old, even the Y was too expensive for me, so I s... Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:15:11 EST "A healthy lifestyle is a skill you work and get better at—not a thing you just get up and start doi I thought that this was a really good article from LifeHacker. The comments section is particularly interesting, with lots of ideas from fat people, and formerly fat people, on how to go about starting or maintaining an exercise program. I particularly liked one of the first threads of comments, which was pretty much exactly like what I posted about in my last blog, from someone who has decided that they hate exercise and has to shoot down any possible suggestion about how to go about exerc... Thu, 13 Feb 2014 12:47:58 EST If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. There are certain ideas that get repeated over and over again on Spark, and not just here, all over the reputable health and nutrition sites and magazines. You have to eat a variety of healthy and nutritious foods and stay within a range of calories that is less than the amount of calories you expend. You need to track what you eat in some way, either in an online format or by journaling. You need to engage in some sort of exercise. <BR> <BR> It is not rocket science, is it? <BR> <BR>... Sun, 9 Feb 2014 07:41:21 EST Vegan Banana Bread With Chocolate Chips I realized last night that I had 12 overly-ripe bananas taking up space in my freezer. Sounds like time to make banana bread, right? I actually made muffins, because they are easier to share, and there is no way that I need to have 16 servings of yummy banana bread sitting around my kitchen. <BR> <BR> The recipe is here:<BR>il.asp?recipe=2675283&ff=1 <BR> <BR> I brought some in to work today, and took them in to my friend John's classroom. Anoth... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 05:46:36 EST Vegan Potluck So I've convinced several of my colleagues to do this challenge with me, and last night we had a little potluck. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Buffalo "chicken wings" (cauliflower--really yummy), tofu ranch dressing, vegan cheese (cashew based--kind of weird) crackers, apples, hummus, pita. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Rice and chili (in the bowl), chickpea and butternut squash curry, Thai ... Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:49:49 EST Can't vs. Don't Somewhere in a post on a message board today someone made a comment that really struck me. The comment was that you can say "I can't eat that" or you can say "I don't eat that", and that those two ideas were very different. <BR> <BR> Those two statement convey a lot about the attitude and the empowerment of the speaker, don't they? If you say that you "can't" eat something, it implies that you are not allowed to. Now possibly you cannot eat something for a medical reason, but generally ... Mon, 27 Jan 2014 09:16:06 EST Stuff I've Been Eating I posted about the fries and guacamole discovery, but I thought I would share some of the stuff I have had this week doing the vegan challenge. <BR> <BR> Lentil Sloppy Joes :<BR>3/11/5/loaded-vegetarian-lentil-sloppy<BR>-joes.html <BR> <BR> These were quite good, although it took a lot longer to cook than the recipe says. I had it on bread one day, and on a baked potato the other and I liked it a lot both ways, although as the recipe says, it's gre... Sun, 26 Jan 2014 09:27:19 EST Giant Plates of Food I had forgotten how much you get to eat when you eat vegan. Meat and cheese are really dense foods, so while they are filling (and delicious) you don't really see a lot on your plate if you are being strict about portion control. So once you take them out of the picture, you really get to eat a lot of food. <BR> <BR> My calorie range is 1200-1550 and I ate 1575 today . (I also swam for 45 minutes and burnt over 1000 calories, so I would eat another snack if I felt hungry, but I don't). So... Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:36:56 EST Cooking Weekend in Preparation for Vegan Month I went to the US Commissary this morning, and the grocery store, and the produce stand. A busy morning, but if I am going to do this vegan thing, I have to have food in my house that I can actually eat, and since I have been out of town for three weeks, I really only have frozen meat and some cheese and cans of tuna, none of which are vegan. <BR> <BR> The Commissary did not have Boca Burgers, which was a small tragedy, as they are what got me through several late-from-work-and-STARVING even... Sat, 18 Jan 2014 12:04:21 EST It's time for my now annual 28-day VEGAN CHALLENGE! Anyone want to play along at home? Last year I did a post-holiday month of vegan eating. I lost about eight pounds without really trying, and I found that it made me very aware of what I was actually putting in my body. It was occasionally frustrating, and certainly difficult to eat out with friends, but it's only 28-days, and my friends are pretty understanding. <BR> <BR> So I was wondering if anyone wanted to join me? I am going to start next Monday, the 19th, which will give me time to go to the grocery store and do som... Tue, 14 Jan 2014 08:36:30 EST 375 days In one year and 10 days, I will be 50 years old. I find this hard to believe, because I don't feel 50, however 50 feels. Inside I am about 22 most days, 13 when I am insecure, which is much less often than I used to be--maybe that is what 50 feels like? <BR> <BR> I have spent about 40 years on a diet. Or if not on a diet, thinking about why I should be on a diet, or about what I should or should not be eating. I spent from the ages of 12 or 13 to about 40 reading at least a couple of f... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 23:42:06 EST Job Search One of the very stressful things about international teaching is the way you get a new job. For many people, this job is appealing because it offers you the opportunity to move periodically and experience a different part of the world. Some people find a place or a school that they love and stay put forever, but it is also common for people to move every 3-5 years. Sometimes the school isn't a great fit, sometimes it's the community, and sometimes you just get the wanderlust. <BR> <BR> Th... Thu, 21 Nov 2013 13:35:46 EST Falling off the Wagon into a Vat of Pastries~~Portugal I was in Portugal for a week. I've actually been back a few days, but caught a bad cold my last day there and took a rare day off of work to stay home and drink juice and wallow under my blankie. <BR> <BR> Lisbon was a amazing. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery. I was there chaperoning students at a Model United Nations conference, and the kids did a great job. I, on the other hand, did not do a great job, at least not as far as eating was concerned. Portuguese cuisine is heavy on... Thu, 14 Nov 2013 07:52:23 EST Check Out My Neck <img src=""> <BR> This is me the day I started Spark, a little over 30 pounds ago. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> And this is me today. <BR> <BR> It's not a great picture, but Holy Cow, look at the difference! Tue, 15 Oct 2013 10:45:59 EST Comparatively Speaking... <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The image is hard to read, so here's the link <BR> <BR> <link><BR>lr_lv4glzRqkw1r73hoto1_500_large.jpg </link> <BR> <BR> Since I started on Spark, I have lost approximately the same amount of weight as the average American consumes in cheese each year. Since August 1st, I have lost approximately the same amount of weight as 10 dozen large eggs, or slightly more than the w... Thu, 10 Oct 2013 08:39:34 EST Sometimes It's easy I stepped on the scale today and was down another three pounds. That's 14 pounds since the beginning of August. That's crazy, isn't it? And I have not been the world's most perfect dieter either. I have had birthday cake and beer and bbq and a couple of days where I drank enough wine float a boat. And still I've lost. I've been in my calorie range most weeks, but not all, and I've worked out sometimes, but not as religiously as I have in the past. <BR> <BR> I'm not sure why it's easy r... Tue, 8 Oct 2013 10:32:13 EST Shifty I wrote a blog entry last week about how even though I have not lost a significant amount of weight recently, my body has started changing. Specifically, it has started getting lumpy looking. Well, we can add the word "shifty" to my description. <BR> <BR> I've always been built like a Russian peasant woman--thick torso with a belly, big boobs, and flat butt. (No offense to the Russians, but it's kind of the stereotypical shape that you see in movies and photographs). I have never had a r... Fri, 4 Oct 2013 05:25:12 EST Six Almonds I had six almonds for a snack today. 41 calories, a little under four grams of fat, two grams of protein, about 10 % of my daily requirement for Vitamin E and Manganese, trace amounts of other nutrients. Not a bad use of 41 calories. Why six though? Why not have a full ounce, or 24 almonds? Why not have a nice round number like ten? <BR> <BR> I used to eat an ounce of nuts for a snack. That was a pretty regular snack for me. I'd bring them in a little storage container and dole them o... Thu, 3 Oct 2013 10:47:32 EST Lumpy I've lost about 10 pounds recently, after a very long yoyo/plateau period where I gained and lost the same 2-3 pounds. I'm thrilled to be finally going down again, and I can definitely see a difference in my face, which is always the first place I lose. <BR> <BR> So I caught myself in the mirror as I was walking out of the restroom at work, and realized that my body has really shifted since the last time I really looked in the mirror. (I don't have a full length mirror at home, and general... Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:54:13 EST 10,000 steps is harder than I thought it would be. I bought a Fitbit this summer. I had a pedometer a long time ago, and liked it, and I thought that if I got a new one maybe it would encourage me to walk more. I am kind of competitive, and I like gadgets, so when my friend bought one I figured I would get one too, and then I could beat her every day at walking! Ha! <BR> <BR> It's hard to get 10,000 steps. I walk to work every morning, and home in the afternoon, and I figured that right there that would get me a couple thousand steps. W... Sun, 15 Sep 2013 19:07:50 EST Picking Up Anchor This is my third school year in west Africa. It is also my last. I have enjoyed much about living here--the culture, the friends I've made, the cool travel I have been able to do--but part of the reason international teachers do what we do is the adventure, and I know that there are hundreds of interesting places out there that I would love to explore. So I've spoken to my head of school and let him know of my plans; he was wonderfully supportive, after all, he's been doing this for 30 odd... Thu, 12 Sep 2013 09:16:20 EST ZUMBA! <em>354</em> <em>355</em> <em>354</em> <em>355</em> <em>354</em> <em>355</em> <em>354</em> <em>355</em> <em>354</em> <em>355</em> <em>354</em> <BR> <BR> I love Zumba. I love the peppy music, and the silly dance moves, and the fact that in my class I am finally not the least graceful person in the room. Zumba makes me happy. Last Spring I had to give up Zumba-ing after an IT band injury. I would have to go home and ice my knee after class each time, and i... Mon, 26 Aug 2013 10:00:53 EST Gratitude I am trying to cultivate gratitude in my life. I am not a negative person, really, but it is easy to focus on the things that we don't have and to forget to be thankful for the things that are right in front of us. I am back in Africa and back at work, after a week of tearful leave-taking. It is hard to be here. I miss my family more and more with every year that I am away from home, and this time I have the added stress of having met the man who may be THE man. Only it is hard to tell w... Tue, 13 Aug 2013 15:43:24 EST Everything is Complicated I've been gone for a while. End of school, Netherlands vacation, back home in Chicago, friends, a new person of interest in my life, and my knee issues have all conspired against me. The PT has been telling me for months now that if I want my knee to get better, I really have to STOP WALKING ON IT!!!! Well, that's hard to do on vacation, although I did try to ice it and be sensible about how far I was walking. So now I am home, and of course I have a steady stream of visitors, which means... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 21:33:17 EST Knee and Nose These last couple of months have been miserable. First I developed a knee pain, which has been diagnosed as IT Band syndrome. It's a runner's injury, which is kind of hilarious, because I have not run since high school. However, any repetitive motion can trigger it, so it's probably Zumba related. As my Patrick Swayze loving coworker kept reminding me, "It'll get worse before it gets better." ( <link> </link> ) And it has, the lowest point being me s... Fri, 31 May 2013 09:22:45 EST Fat Talk There is an interesting article in the New York Times about women and the ritualistic "fat talk" that we engage in. <BR> <BR> "Over winter break, Carolyn Bates, a college senior, and a friend each picked out five pairs of jeans at a Gap store in Indianapolis and eagerly tried them on. But the growing silence in their separate fitting rooms was telling. At last, one friend called out, “Dang it, these fit everywhere but my thighs! I wish my legs weren’t so huge.” The response: “My pair is wa... Wed, 29 May 2013 13:21:58 EST Swimsuits! I swear by Lands' End suits. They are crazy expensive, and a little too "mom-ish" for me, but they are so well-made and if you're a big girl with bog boobs, they fit really well. However, I found this article today, and I may have to branch out, because all of these suits are SOOOOO cute! <link><BR>e-swimsuits-2013 </link> Tue, 21 May 2013 16:34:30 EST Because I'm Worth It. You may remember that as being the tag line to Loreal hair dye back at some point in the 70s. It cost more than the other hair dye, but that's ok, according to the spokesmodel, "Because I'm worth it." <BR> <BR> I'm thinking about that as I am eating my beautiful, but ridiculously expensive dinner of French asparagus wrapped in Jamon Iberico ham, imported to my West African home from Spain. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Pretty, huh... Wed, 15 May 2013 16:33:08 EST My Beautiful Sandwich, with pictures So, after I complained about the food options here, some people suggested that I eat the local food rather than try to live on an American diet in West Africa. In theory that is a good idea. And I do eat some local foods--chicken is a staple, pineapples, bananas. But Ghanaians pretty much live on yams, mashed into fufu, fried, etc., and rice. Both of which are hugely starchy and leave me feeling like I need a nap. And the local delicacy? <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeopl... Sun, 12 May 2013 10:26:31 EST Food Ruts I am not going to write about my knee today, although I do want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my blog or page, or who sent me emails. I really do appreciate your concern and well wishes and the occasional smack upside the head that I need to be reminded to stop whinging. So, thank you! <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> Instead I am going to talk about food ruts and bad choices. <BR> <BR> Part of the reason I did my vegan challenge was because I wanted to be mindful of what I ate, ... Thu, 9 May 2013 15:23:08 EST Another Day, Another Torture Session I went back to the physio today, after a week of doing the exercises that he gave me at our last meeting. I kind of lost it last night, on Skype with my friend. I was icing my knee after doing the exercises and I moved the wrong way and there was a stabbing pain in my knee and I just started crying. <BR> <BR> My knee has hurt for months. All. The. Time. It hurts when I walk, it hurts when I sleep, it hurts when I sit. I am so tired of it. I'm doing the exercises, I am icing, I am being... Tue, 7 May 2013 09:14:07 EST Stupid Knee So basically, I have so many knee issues right now that I feel like amputating it and starting over would not be a bad idea. Some of these are kind of pretty. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> I know, that would be terrible, despite the coolness of the floral leg, and the snake wrapped arm, but I'm just tired of hurting. I went to PT for the first time yesterday, and evidently his nickname is the "Physical Terrorist". He put me through a range of exercises desi... Wed, 1 May 2013 14:51:18 EST The Continuing Saga of a Girl and Her Knee I had another chiropractor appointment yesterday. She said my ankle was improved and that my knee was still "hot" but seemed better. It hurt still. A. Lot. But it does seem like it is more stable; I don't feel like I have to grab the arm of the couch to stand up. <BR> <BR> So she did a whole other series of tortures to my leg, including what felt like her attempting to move all of the fat out of my inner thigh by gripping my leg and pushing all of the meat/fat on it off of my leg. Oww... Thu, 25 Apr 2013 16:28:19 EST Me and My Knee So evidently my knee pain, which started a month ago and has gotten progressively worse, is not actually knee pain; it's ankle pain, and back pain, masquerading as knee pain. Who knew? Apparently I did something not nice to my ankle, maybe in Zumba, although it is hard to tell in a country where many of the roads are dirt and filled with holes and the ones that are paved are also filled with holes--I spend a lot of time accidentally stepping in holes and almost falling over. <BR> <BR> So ... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 06:13:32 EST Marketing <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I bought bananas, pineapple, avocado, coriander (that's cilantro to you in the States), tomatoes, onions (two kinds), rocket (otherwise known as arugula), lemons, limes, hot peppers, a dozen eggs, a couple of papaya (I don't like it, but the taxi driver I use all the time does, so I bought him some as a gift). <BR> <BR> About 20 dollars American for two HUGE bags. <BR> <BR> I complain about a lot of things her... Sat, 20 Apr 2013 07:51:33 EST