SARA.SUNHOUSE's SparkPeople Blog SARA.SUNHOUSE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Sometimes you just have to eat what's available Last night I spent the night with my daughter-in-law and son at the maternity hospital where I was privileged to be at the birth of our first local grandchild – a beautiful little girl. We went to the hospital at around 10:30 at night, and she was born just before 6 in the morning. Mama and baby are doing well. Grandma doesn't do so well on no sleep, but the energy of childbirth carried me through until I got home around 10 this morning. I was too busy and didn't take enough food with me,... Sun, 27 Jan 2013 10:46:56 EST Hanging in there I've been following my program for nearly two months now, being really careful about tracking, and motivating myself to get out and walking every day that it's possible. I'm not looking for fast weight loss, but for moving in the right direction. After all, I didn't gain the weight in a couple of days and I'm not going to lose it that fast. Besides, I want to make sure I know what I need to know to maintain my weight loss over the long haul. The very long haul, as in the rest of my life. ... Mon, 21 Jan 2013 06:55:58 EST Planning Baby Steps Works! Last night I planned what I would eat and drink when we went to our favorite restaurant/pub for New Year's Eve. A glass of red wine at first, then something small to eat (turned out to be half of a foccacia with spinach and mozzarella, then mulled cider (non-alcoholic) until the midnight champagne (I had one tiny sip). The planning paid off! I did exactly what I had decided to do, and this morning my weight is nearly the same as yesterday! Way to go! I'm looking forward to walking and en... Tue, 1 Jan 2013 03:45:08 EST Tracking is working I've been serious about tracking my food and exercise for a couple of weeks now, and I'm seeing results on the scale. Not particularly dramatic, but then I don't have much to lose at this point. I'm down half a kilo and that's after the rain last week that kept me indoors when I wanted to be out and walking. Tracking works to keep me focused on what I'm actually eating. When I eat something and I track it, I can see what it does to my daily total. Then I tend to think twice before eating... Mon, 24 Dec 2012 08:09:31 EST Small steps for the second week back on track It's been almost a week since I weighed myself and said that I'd be careful about tracking all the food I eat. I've done that every day except Shabbat, when we went out to friends, and I know I went over my calorie range. The good news is that I didn't take any seconds, and I didn't drink as much wine as I usually do. And today when I weighed myself, I was still down from my first weigh-in last week. Today I have a Pilates class, and I have recommitted myself to tracking what I eat. I'm ... Sun, 16 Dec 2012 02:43:21 EST I finally weighed myself Well, I've taken the plunge and weighed myself. The damage is 3.6 kilos that I want to lose, actually closer to 4, because I weigh 68.6 and I want to be between 64 and 65 kilos. Yesterday I made a commitment to tracking everything I eat. If it's something that I can't calculate, I'll guess. I did really well yesterday, and managed to track all my food, even though I made some wild guesses, based on other people's recipes and commercial food that I hope is vaguely close to what I eat. I'm... Wed, 12 Dec 2012 01:55:26 EST A new approach I haven't weighed myself in a long time. Months, I think. About a year ago I decided that I wanted to get rid of those couple of kilos that I'd added since I'd lost and maintained my weight for 5 years. I had a pretty good idea of where those kilos were coming from, and I didn't seem to be gaining. But my half-hearted attempts to get back into losing mode weren't resulting in more satisfying numbers of the scale, and I finally gave up. <BR> <BR> Two weeks ago I accidentally signed up for... Tue, 9 Oct 2012 03:05:26 EST Turning 65 It's my birthday today, and I'm actually very glad to be 65, because it means that I've lived longer than my mother. Another three years and I will have lived longer than my father. Since I turned 60, I've had in mind that if I can just get through this decade, I'll be able to live as long as I want to, without looking over my shoulder at my genes. <BR> <BR> The truth is that I'm actually healthier now than I was at 60. I feel great! My walking is still not normal, but I cornered my phys... Sun, 28 Aug 2011 13:49:08 EST Getting serious I’m getting serious about losing these kilos that have been creeping up. I tried “watching what I eat,” and it didn’t help. I tried using the nutrition tracker, and found the learning curve to be daunting, so finally last week I rejoined Weight Watchers online, which is how I lost most of my weight in the first place. I love the SparkPeople community, but I’m familiar with the Weight Watchers point system, and find it easier to track my food that way. Here with SparkPeople, I find the exe... Tue, 10 May 2011 23:59:38 EST Finding new friends This morning I am going to walk with a woman I met last week to the formal gardens that are in the middle of a large nature preserve which is very close to our house. She volunteers at the gardens, and I want to get to know her. I don’t think I want to volunteer at the gardens. I just don’t have the time right now. But making friends here in the new town is very important to me. I think this woman is about my age, which is new for me. Where we lived before, nearly all of my friends were ... Mon, 27 Dec 2010 14:26:21 EST Three weeks and still counting As of today I have managed a three week streak of logging in to Sparkpeople every day. This is an achievement, because it means that every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, I’m reminding myself of all the healthy habits I want to maintain for the rest of my life. It’s especially important for me during this stressful period of my life, when it seems hard to maintain any sort of routine. If I can keep my program together now, it’ll be great practice for the future. <BR> <BR> They... Thu, 9 Dec 2010 23:54:44 EST End of a streak -- a new beginning I’m disappointed. On Friday when I checked in to SparkPeople, it made a 60 day streak. I wanted to write about proud I was of coming here every day, even when I didn’t have time to do much more than that. But this evening when I went to check in, my streak said “0 days.” What happened? Maybe I only thought I checked in on Friday? Whatever happened, I’m finding myself back at square one, and wondering what the message is to me. Not to be so attached to external measurements? Not everyt... Sat, 20 Nov 2010 13:04:34 EST Just doing one small thing This morning I logged in 30 consecutive days of logging in to SparkPeople. Now that may not seem like such a big deal. It’s not as if I stuck to my eating plan for 30 days, or did 30 days on my exercise bike, but I really believe that even very small steps can lead to big changes. For me, coming to this site every day for a month means that every day I am focusing on making positive changes to become a healthier person. For the past week I’ve been logging my exercise, and it’s made a diff... Wed, 20 Oct 2010 01:03:29 EST Starting again one more time Last week was a boon for my weight loss, but a disaster for everything else in my life -- I had stomach flu. I lost a kilo, which I hope will stay off, but I also lost a week of working up my exercise routine, ckecking in daily with SparkPeople, and getting more organized in our new house. <BR> <BR> This morning I feel a lot better, so I'm hoping to start a new SparkStreak for checking in and coming to read things on the site. I'm hoping that my stomach is finally back to eating salad (a... Sun, 26 Sep 2010 00:26:15 EST Spark Streaks Work! Since we've come home I've been checking into SparkPeople daily. I find that watching the number of days I've been checking in go up motivates me to keep coming back. I have made sure to go on the internet after Shabbat to make sure I don't miss a day. But now with Rosh Hashana, I'll lose my streak! Sigh. But the good thing about life is that you can always start over. So after Shabbat I'll be back here, checking on my SparkFriends and the Teams. <BR> <BR> Go SparkPeople! Tue, 7 Sep 2010 22:56:17 EST Checking the scale again Well, yesterday morning I weighed myself for the first time in months. And the news was not good. But getting the bad news is very good, because it tells me where I am in my maintenance journey. Right now I have three kilos to lose, and I will do it. I'm not in any rush, because this is for the long haul. I know what happened -- we went back to Canada to visit family and I didn't have control over my food choices and exercise. Now I'm back where I'm in charge, and I have put in two days... Mon, 6 Sep 2010 04:01:50 EST Getting back to normal The past two months have been hectic and stressful. After moving into our new house, hosting our foster daughter and her husband and 5 kids for two weeks, and flying to Canada to visit family there, we are finally home and ready to get into a "normal" routine. For me, this means going back to cooking healthy meals, and getting back into exercise routines that will get be back into the shape I want to be in. Since I want to develop routines that will stick, I plan to start small and build u... Sat, 4 Sep 2010 15:52:55 EST It's taking a long time Last week we moved to our new town, but not to our new house. The house isn’t ready yet, and won’t be for at least another week and a half. We are living in a basement apartment, and going over to the new house regularly to watch the progress. As of this morning we have a front door and a back door, which is progress. The sliding glass window to the side yard still has to be fixed, but we can close it. The kitchen cabinets are partly in, and the bathroom cabinets will be installed on Su... Fri, 18 Jun 2010 07:25:28 EST Ups as well as downs Not a good week weight-wise, but a good week in terms of getting a lot done. We are well on our way to being packed for the move, and the house is in complete turmoil. I have great hopes of actually having everything ready for the movers on Thursday. But my weight went up instead of down this week. I’m not very upset, although I would have been delighted if it had gone down again. I haven’t been lax in my food choices or in the times I’ve been eating, and I know that weight fluctuates. ... Sun, 30 May 2010 14:28:33 EST Something is working I weighed myself this morning and was surprised to see that I've lost nearly another kilo. Another week like this and I will be back in my "orange zone." Two more weeks like this and I'll be back in my "green zone." <BR> <BR> I'm still not counting on losing this quickly. I imagine that the next kilo will come off much more slowly, and the final half kilo will take even longer. Then I'll be back in the range that I've managed to maintain for 6 years. <BR> <BR> All this despite eatin... Sun, 23 May 2010 00:30:45 EST Losing already -- now to keep it up It’s been more than a week since I started blogging as often as I can sit down to the computer, and I’ve lost nearly a kilo since my first weigh-in. That’s a lot better than I expected. I am not allowing this to raise my hopes (much), because I know there are a lot of stresses that will be coming up over the next month. My hope is to reach my goal weight by the end of August, and I think it’s possible. I’m happy to go slowly, but I can’t pretend not to be happy to see the scale moving in ... Sun, 16 May 2010 00:32:22 EST A good ending to an exhausting day Today was another exhausting, draining day of driving around and making decisions about our house renovation. We came home tired and depressed. But today I had promised that I would make a big salad for dinner, and make muffins in the evening so we will have healthy snacks to take with us on our searches during the rest of the week. And I did that! But even better, I talked myself into going on the exercise bike. Even though I was tired, I did, and I am proud of myself for doing it. Now... Mon, 10 May 2010 14:34:46 EST Hopeful scale news and goals for the day I weighed myself this morning, and I was down – from 68.1 k to 67.6 k. I didn’t expect such a dramatic loss, and certainly not after a Shabbat spent with the kids where I ate pretty much what I was given. Well, I did restrain myself and focus on salads, and we did go for long walks, but still, I was expecting a gain and not a loss. <BR> <BR> My next challenge will be to maintain a positive attitude no matter what the scale says tomorrow and the next day. A part of me wants to wait a week... Sun, 9 May 2010 00:56:29 EST Checking in after visiting the kids Yesterday we were at our son and daughter-in-law’s from Friday evening until now (Saturday night). I was the first time we were there for the whole of Shabbat, and it was wonderful. They (of course) went out of their way to prepare lots of food. I ate more than I had planned to, but I focused on salad rather than bread. We also walked, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Even more important, I slept a lot, which I’m hoping will give me lots of energy tomorrow morning when I w... Sat, 8 May 2010 15:22:26 EST Getting back on track In the midst of all the insanity involved in renovating a house and moving, both my DH and I realized that we are not taking care of our health. Both of us have gained weight – as a result of eating irregular meals, many at restaurants, and not exercising the way we are used to. So despite the difficulties, I have decided that I am going to begin weighing myself again, paying closer attention to good food, and at the very least, starting every day with some yoga and Pilates. So far, so goo... Fri, 7 May 2010 00:52:31 EST Dealing with overcommitment -- planning and a little help from my friends I’ve been overcommitted for months now. In December we bought a new house in a different town. In February we married off our youngest son. We had overseas guests arrive to stay with us during the most hectic time of the year, and we will be starting renovations on the new house this week, with the goal of moving in at the end of May. I am craving “normal” life right now. But it doesn’t seem too likely that I’ll see such a thing for several more months. And in the meantime I want to ma... Sat, 10 Apr 2010 15:38:41 EST Dealing with setbacks Last November I was ecstatic to realize that my balance problems were going away, and that things I had assumed about my health were no longer true. I can walk now without a cane and without my trusty walking sticks – though I'm keeping them for hikes – and I can move easily through a crowd without feeling as though I could be pushed over any minute. Part of that ecstasy came from realizing that after years of being very much stuck on the ground, I can now run and skip and jump. And I did.... Mon, 25 Jan 2010 00:03:52 EST The Miracle Continues! I am getting muscle strength back in my legs. Yesterday my husband asked me if I could jump, and I tried, but I couldn't get off the ground. Today we were out walking and he asked me again, and I tried, and I did it! And I tried again just now, and I really did lift off – twice! So I tried skipping. I can't get off the ground, but I can scoot along a bit on the foot on the ground. This is amazing progress! I have been practicing going up stairs with just the front part of my foot on ea... Tue, 1 Dec 2009 10:47:40 EST A Miracle! For any of you who have been reading my blogs, you will see that I have had balance problems for some time – actually for ten years – but getting worse a couple of years ago. Not quite a year ago I started on a series of tests that led me do physiotherapy for vestibular problems that affected my balance. This in addition to the plasmapheresis treatments that I've been undergoing for nine years to address the neurological problems I have with my feet. I have had peripheral neuropathy, with ... Sun, 15 Nov 2009 02:41:41 EST My first 5 K, well, almost Friday was the annual community run/walk to raise money for a local organization that helps kids with different kinds of disabilities. I've never done anything like this before, and I figured that I could manage 5 kilometers. DH and I registered, and got to the starting point with hundreds of others people, including families with kids in strollers, dogs, and just about everybody. I was there with my walking sticks. I've never done anything like this before, so I had no idea what to do, a... Sun, 8 Nov 2009 02:50:19 EST Balance, revisited Yesterday I had a physiotherapy appointment after months of not going and not doing my vestibular therapy exercises. The physiotherapist wanted to see if the exercises I did all last spring had made a permanent difference. And they had! Tests that I failed miserably last winter, I passed with flying colors this fall. I have managed to retrain my brain to interpret signals from my eyes, ears and feet to make it possible for me to balance much better than I've been able to do for years. My... Wed, 4 Nov 2009 23:27:09 EST Losing a friend and companion <img src="">Our beloved dog, Alfie, died last week. He got sick earlier in the week, and went downhill very quickly. The vet still doesn't know what caused his problems, but he had multiple blood clots, kidney failure and high blood pressure. We took him to the veterinary hospital Wednesday afternoon, and it was clear in the morning that he wasn't going to recover. While we're still very sad, we want to remember all the good times we had... Sun, 1 Nov 2009 08:44:38 EST Maintaining my weight loss -- Zones It’s impossible to stay at a particular weight. Weight fluctuates during the day and from day to day. I have found that weighing myself every day helps me to keep that fact in perspective and at the same time helps me head off any upward creep in my weight by catching it early. I have worked out weight ranges that help me decide when to change what I’m doing – eat less, exercise more, change the kinds of foods I’m eating – in order to keep my weight within the range that feels good to me. ... Tue, 18 Aug 2009 02:51:11 EST Food and fun I’m thinking about food and fun. I was wondering what it would be like to make a point once a week (or as often as I can get around to it) of doing something fun with food. Whether it’s trying a new recipe, or going out for coffee and a wonderful dessert, or (gasp!) playing with food, I’d like to experiment just for the fun of it. I don’t do it enough. For me, trying to think of new things to make for lunch or dinner is often a chore and not an adventure. I’d like to find a way to use fo... Mon, 17 Aug 2009 02:05:05 EST The Writing Diet -- thoughts on Julia Cameron's book I have been reading reviews for Julia Cameron’s book “The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size.” I’ve long been an advocate of The Artist’s Way, and I must have said many times that I write every morning (not always the recommended three pages, and not always first thing in the morning, and not every single day, but I do it). While it’s impossible for me to credit the book with the changes in my life that have happened since I started writing every morning, it is true that I’ve made some... Mon, 3 Aug 2009 07:19:46 EST Some habits that work for me Here are some of the habits I’ve internalized pretty well: <BR> • I don’t eat food I don’t like (unless I’m really, really stuck and have NO other option) <BR> • I get any tempting food out of the house as fast as possible (I’m lucky here, as the only really tempting thing for me these days is probably cheesecake, and nobody but me likes it, so we haven’t had it for over a year!) <BR> • I eat until I’m satisfied, and I stop before I’m full (Sometimes I blow this one, and when I realize I’m fu... Tue, 2 Jun 2009 03:11:28 EST Habits and The Path of Least Resistance I’m thinking today about habits again, and wondering why it’s so difficult for me to develop certain habits, and how it is that others seem to catch on and stick. I’ve been thinking about what worked with respect to food, and what is working in other areas of my life. <BR> <BR> With food, I think that the idea of creating a “path of least resistance” that supports the way I want to eat has worked well. I’ve surrounded myself with foods that are easy to eat or prepare and that are healthy. ... Tue, 5 May 2009 10:02:22 EST Getting myself to do the things I want to do These days I have exercises I’m supposed to be doing to improve my balance. I’m supposed to do them four times a day. Probably more would be better. The exercises take four minutes to do. Now, you would think that I would be able to fit them in with no problem, but I’m having a lot of trouble. I keep forgetting to do them. Or I’ll think “as soon as I finish this one thing, then I’ll do them.” But somehow I forget. <BR> <BR> I want to find a way to get myself to be strict about doing t... Sun, 19 Apr 2009 02:19:46 EST Friends When I started to lose weight this time, I went to Weight Watchers and joined as an on-line member, as I don’t live in a place where meetings are accessible to me. On their website, there were message boards that are like our SparkPeople teams. I found one that seemed appropriate for me and started asking questions there and posting regularly. It was one of the things that helped me stay on track. I could ask questions any hour of the day or night, and didn’t have to wait for a once-a-wee... Tue, 7 Apr 2009 12:20:46 EST Tests show I have balance problems!! I’ve now completed all the tests that can be done to pinpoint the cause of balance problems. There are three systems that affect a person’s balance: visual, vestibular (inner ear) and proprioceptive (nerves, muscles, bones, skin that let you know where your body is in space). I have known for years that I have problems with my feet (peripheral neuropathy), but now it’s been confirmed that I have problems in the other two systems as well! This morning the ear-nose-throat doctor who ordered ... Sun, 29 Mar 2009 04:18:38 EST Even more on balance! I haven’t written a blog in a while. I’ve had occasional health issues over the past two months (jet lag that dragged on in early January, a cold that was more debilitating than I expected, a cut on my left index finger that needed four stitches) that have interfered with my exercise routines. And yes, my balance problems are partially caused by inner ear problems, so I’m doing physiotherapy exercises three times a day to see if that will help. In two weeks I have an appointment with a doc... Fri, 13 Mar 2009 00:08:52 EST More on balance I saw my neurologist this week, who says that my balance issues cannot be explained solely by the problems with the nerves in my feet. He’s sending me for vestibular testing to see if there are problems with my inner ear. The test is scheduled for Jan 20, and it takes one and a half hours. The technician told me to have someone drive me, because I’ll be very dizzy afterwards. I’m hoping that any problem they find is something that can be corrected. I’m still doing Pilates and yoga and go... Wed, 24 Dec 2008 06:30:50 EST Clothes size? I live in a place where clothing sizes aren't standard at all, so I don't think about it much. I just get stuff that fits and looks good, and I certainly don't care what somebody thinks the size of the skirt or dress is. Wed, 24 Dec 2008 02:15:05 EST Doing well, feeling good! I didn't break my hip after all -- I had a bone scan a week after I fell, and while there was no damage to my hip, it turns out that I broke 4 ribs in September, and not just the one that was evident in the xray. I have got to get out of this bad habit of falling! <BR> <BR> The good news is that I am back in the gym, doing my strength training exercises, and I got a fantastic compliment from a trainer there -- she told a friend of mine that she wants to be like me when she gets to my age, t... Mon, 1 Dec 2008 10:36:39 EST Fell again! Last Thursday I fell again -- slipped at the local health clinic and landed on my right hip! Because of my history of a broken hip that wasn't diagnosed for 3 weeks because it didn't show on the x-ray, my doctor sent me straight to the ER. The x-ray there didn't show anything, but I have a bone scan scheduled for Tuesday which will show if there is a problem. In the meantime, I'm mostly resting and not walking very much. Going up stairs is painful, so I'm doing less of that. <BR> <BR> ... Sun, 9 Nov 2008 07:57:49 EST Back to the gym, and feeling good! Today was my first day back to the gym in two weeks. I spent 40 minutes on the treadmill and went through the machines I use for upper body workouts but with minimum weight. It felt so good to be back in action! I hope to move steadily upward in my workouts, and maybe in a couple of weeks I can go back to Pilates and yoga classes. Muscles want to be used! <BR> <BR> Thank you to all of you who have stopped by to encourage me while I was feeling down! Good health to all of you! Sun, 5 Oct 2008 08:18:12 EST Back to the gym, and feeling good! Today was my first day back to the gym in two weeks. I spent 40 minutes on the treadmill and went through the machines I use for upper body workouts but with minimum weight. It felt so good to be back in action! I hope to move steadily upward in my workouts, and maybe in a couple of weeks I can go back to Pilates and yoga classes. Muscles want to be used! <BR> <BR> Thank you to all of you who have stopped by to encourage me while I was feeling down! Good health to all of you! Sun, 5 Oct 2008 08:18:10 EST Recovering It’s been a week and a half since I broke my rib. I’m pretty much off of painkillers, but I still don’t feel very good. I’ve gone to the gym a few times to walk on the treadmill, and I got an exercise from my Pilates teacher, but mostly I’ve decided that resting is the best thing to do for the next couple of weeks. I can get caught up on reading, plan good, healthy meals, and make phone calls to friends I’ve been neglecting. So far in the weight department, I’m pretty much where I want to... Mon, 22 Sep 2008 04:22:20 EST Dealing with injury Last week I fell and broke a rib. This has put a wrench in my strength training program, which I only started a couple of weeks ago. I am glad that I've been working out and taking classes in yoga and Pilates, because I'm sure this will make my recovery faster and easier. My doctor says to take it easy for the next couple of weeks. I'm allowed to walk -- leisurely. I will talk to my yoga and Pilates teachers about what I can do to maintain my level of fitness without interfering with my... Sun, 14 Sep 2008 05:49:01 EST