SUSANNAH31's SparkPeople Blog SUSANNAH31's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Avocado Toast - A favorite breakfast Just about a year ago, while visiting my son's family in California, I saw my daughter-in-law eat an interesting breakfast. <BR> <BR> She sliced up an avocado and put it on whole wheat toast. Then she squeezed the juice from a half of a lemon onto the avocado, and salted and peppered it. <BR> <BR> She offered me some, and I LOVED it. <BR> <BR> This is a particularly filling breakfast - and it keeps me feeling satisfied long into the day. The (good) fat in the avocado also stabilizes my b... Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:14:48 EST A Maintenance Frame of Mind Something has changed -- for the better. <BR> <BR> I am no longer in a fight between would I WANT to do and what I SHOULD do. <BR> <BR> It is no longer the scale against me, or the tempting food against me. <BR> <BR> In times past, when I would have indulged in some forbidden dessert or treat, I would often think, "Oh well, I've blown it now, so let me just go ahead and enjoy some other prohibited food while I'm at it." <BR> It was THE RULES against me. <BR> <BR> Today I am not fight... Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:29:53 EST Greek Cucumber Salad I love Greek tzitziki sauce, so when I saw this recipe online for a Greek cucumber salad, I knew I would love it too. <BR> <BR> GREEK CUCUMBER SALAD <BR> <BR> 1 cup Greek nonfat plain yogurt - place in a mixing bowl <BR> <BR> ADD the following to the yogurt and mix well: <BR> juice from 1/2 lemon <BR> 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped <BR> 1 clove garlic, minced <BR> 1 tsp kosher salt <BR> <BR> Then ADD the following to the yogurt mixture: <BR> 1 cucumber, thinly sliced <BR> 1/4 red onion, chop... Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:42:30 EST Delicious Turmeric Lemonade This morning my DH and I had breakfast at a new place that offers lots of interesting and healthful choices for breakfast and lunch. <BR> I saw turmeric lemonade on the menu and ordered it - having just recently heard about the health benefits of turmeric. <BR> <BR> And the lemonade was DELICIOUS! <BR> <BR> Ordinarily I don't drink a lot of lemonade because it is way too sweet for me. <BR> This one was not. <BR> <BR> I will definitely make it for myself at home. I looked online for a rec... Thu, 6 Apr 2017 19:39:55 EST When can I stop tracking my food? I always knew the tracker was a great tool. And I used it for the entire time I was losing weight. <BR> <BR> It was only afterward that I stopped tracking. <BR> <BR> This is what I told myself: <BR> I have been tracking so regularly that I now know the calorie content of my favorite foods without tracking. <BR> I have already lost the weight, and I am no longer 'dieting' so I don't need to continue tracking. <BR> I am finished with tracking; I do not want to be tied to this constant recor... Sun, 2 Apr 2017 17:34:32 EST Tracking: the best tool Tracking is the best tool there is for getting back to where I should be. <BR> <BR> Recording every bite that goes into my mouth eliminates all possible forms of self-deception. <BR> I can't forget what I ate earlier. <BR> I can't underestimate the number of calories I am taking in. <BR> I can't kid myself about how much I am eating. <BR> <BR> Tracking keeps the reality of my eating right in front of me every day. <BR> I am forced to look carefully at the portion size. <BR> I am forced to s... Thu, 30 Mar 2017 12:01:51 EST Here is my truth Here is my truth: <BR> <BR> I need to make a conscious effort to keep up my new eating habits, otherwise the old habits come back, and the old habits lead to weight gain. <BR> <BR> So it is up to me as to WHEN I make that effort. <BR> Will it be AFTER I have gained the weight back, and I am playing catch-up, trying to get it off again? <BR> Or will it be BEFORE I have gained the weight, and I am keeping it off? <BR> <BR> The timing makes a huge difference in how I feel about myself - an... Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:44:09 EST Busy, Full Days Life has been full and busy these days, and I love it. <BR> <BR> I signed up for a memoir-writing seminar, and have spent a considerable amount of time writing down events from my childhood. It was an excellent exercise, and it cleared away some unwanted old emotions that were hanging around from decades ago. <BR> <BR> I am also busy with a new photography seminar and joining a new camera club. So I'm meeting new people and getting better at my photography skills. <BR> <BR> My DH and I ... Tue, 11 Oct 2016 09:23:33 EST Out of Irons I have wind in my sails again. Thank goodness. This was a summer that I mostly spent 'in irons' as they say. I made no progress with my weight loss - and just hung around the same high number on the scale --stalled. <BR> <BR> Now, though, the wind has picked up, and I have been heading again in the right direction. And there is nothing like a little momentum to motivate me. <BR> <BR> As I begin sailing along again, I am eating less again. I have started walking again. <BR> <BR> And gu... Fri, 26 Aug 2016 17:49:03 EST Telling Myself No Again Sometimes on a Sunday morning my husband will stop off on his way home from church to get a muffin for me -- a bran muffin, my favorite. <BR> <BR> I have most likely already decided on a breakfast with more protein and less sugar - but somehow when he brings that muffin for me, I start a monologue in my head that goes something like this: <BR> <BR> "Isn't that nice that he brought me the muffin. It is my favorite kind. I was planning on eating something else that is more in keeping with m... Mon, 27 Jun 2016 14:03:48 EST Summer Coolers to Drink Drinking water is a real staple with me. And especially in summertime, I drink a lot more. <BR> Sometimes, it is fun to add some flavoring to the water, without adding a bunch of calories. <BR> <BR> I have often made a pitcher of lemon water -- just water with sliced lemons floating in it. (No sugar) That can be very thirst quenching on hot days. <BR> <BR> I also have discovered some bottled waters (some carbonated or fizzy, and some not) in the supermarket that are flavored with berries ... Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:52:04 EST Home from a holiday During these past 3 weeks, my husband and I went with another couple friend of ours on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest (pronounced, I have now learned, "Budapesht). <BR> Then we flew to Barcelona for three days before returning home again to the U.S.A. <BR> <BR> Cathedrals and beautiful architecture were the most notable sights along the way. And FOOD was a large part of each of the different cultures we visited. <BR> <BR> My memories are a swirl of delicious chocolate, hard-cr... Thu, 9 Jun 2016 11:46:17 EST A week of triggers During this past week I encountered just about all my old triggers when it came to food. <BR> And today, at the end of that week, I am happy to say that none of them caused me to overeat. <BR> <BR> First off, during the week, I was physically feeling under par. My energy level was low. <BR> Fortunately, I had no real obligations, so I was able to rest a lot during the days. <BR> <BR> (In earlier times, when I would have to perform -either at a job, or with my family - I would not have bee... Mon, 9 May 2016 09:59:23 EST Understanding Maintenance for me YO-YO DIETING: taking action when the scale gets to an unacceptable point way beyond the desired weight. Then returning to the old eating habits until it happens again. <BR> <BR> <BR> In the days before joining SP, I believed that the hardest part of weight loss was taking it off. After I had done that, I could return to my old eating habits, and, somehow, miraculously, those old habits would not bring back the old weight again. <BR> That was some pretty fuzzy thinking. <BR> And that w... Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:19:29 EST Reminding myself of a lesson learned I've been a member of SP for several years. And I've learned a thing or two about myself during that time. <BR> <BR> Avoidance behaviors are so easy to pull off: <BR> Don't step on the scale. <BR> Don't keep track of everything that goes into my mouth. <BR> Permit events to take priority over preferred eating behaviors. <BR> Allow emotions to act as an excuse for overeating. <BR> <BR> And avoidance behaviors usually work until there is a wake-up call of some sort. <BR> Usually the ... Sat, 16 Apr 2016 15:28:43 EST Writing Writing blogs here on SP has been one of the most helpful activities for me in my weight loss. The process of writing helped me to focus on both the big and the small issues that cropped up while I was trying to lose weight. I paid closer attention to my own behaviors, and I spotted patterns that had eluded me in the past. <BR> <BR> The writing also helped me to better understand my emotional reactions to food and eating. <BR> I gained insights through my writings that helped to change my b... Wed, 30 Mar 2016 13:20:58 EST A pleasant surprise Yesterday evening I was dressing for a meeting, and felt my black pants feeling just a little tight. It was discouraging, because I thought I was making more progress than that. <BR> <BR> I've been walking every day for an hour, and limiting my food intake, and the scale has reflected it. <BR> <BR> So why were these pants feeling a little tighter than usual? <BR> <BR> It wasn't until an hour later that I discovered the answer. <BR> <BR> These were not the pants I thought they were. The... Fri, 11 Mar 2016 09:00:09 EST Momentum and Commitment: Some thoughts First, I had to stop the food train that was chugging along in the wrong direction. Then, I had to turn it around to go the other way. Now it is slowly moving forward again. <BR> <BR> This was all happening during a time filled with many of life's distractions... and my priorities were often swayed to purposes other than limiting my food intake. <BR> <BR> It is my desire to continue to feel good about my physical appearance that has finally brought my focus back to where it needs to be. ... Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:13:40 EST Emerging from denial and getting back into accountability So now it is double-down time - following the holiday overeating - and also following a year of being too casual about my weight. <BR> <BR> The first order of business, here in Arizona, was to replace an inexpensive full length mirror that was way too complimentary. Actually, 'complimentary' is too kind a word. The mirror was inaccurate. My reflection was much slimmer than I was. <BR> <BR> So now I have a mirror that goes the other way. My reflection is a little wider than I am. <BR> Th... Sun, 10 Jan 2016 12:47:58 EST Beginning The New Year We had a wonderful New Year party. All of the Native American activities were done with the children in the afternoon - and then just after dark around the fire pit. They were excited about it - and had a great time. (I decided to just do the adult stuff after the kids went to bed - and that worked out really well.) <BR> <BR> What a treat to have both my sons and their families together for the week! <BR> <BR> For the two days since everyone left, I have just relaxed and napped. It w... Tue, 5 Jan 2016 19:05:41 EST Borrowing from Native Americans to celebrate the New Year This year our family will be all together to ring in the New Year, so I am working on creating a celebration that will be meaningful and fun for the adults as well as the grandkids (a boy and girl age 4, and a boy age 7). <BR> <BR> My sons and their families will be staying with us - along with one daughter-in-law's parents who will be joining us from Texas. We will also have extended family and friends joining us for the evening. <BR> <BR> We will be in Arizona - so I decided to draw from... Tue, 22 Dec 2015 09:06:11 EST Pre-party jitters Yesterday we had our annual Holiday Open House. Usually we invite all the neighbors on our street (it is a circular street 1/2 mile long) with their kids. Last year, though, there were more and more kids, and it didn't feel like the kind of party I wanted to have any more. <BR> <BR> So this year, we invited all the neighbors without their kids ("Adults Only Please"), I changed the time to a later hour, and then I invited some of my other friends from around town. <BR> <BR> In total, the... Mon, 14 Dec 2015 21:27:51 EST Inspiration from Google Images Today, as I updated my Spark Page, reflecting my regained weight and new commitment to losing and maintaining, I looked at Google Images for some inspiration for achieving my goals once again. As always, I found it - and thought I would share some here. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosa... Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:53:56 EST Breakfasts Breakfast must contain either a fat or a protein - and not a lot of carbs - if it is going to set me up properly for the day. (No fruit smoothies or pancakes for me!) <BR> <BR> Most egg dishes don't really appeal to me very much. The only way I eat eggs is if they are scrambled and well cooked. <BR> <BR> Omelets are good, though - especially those with lots of vegetables. I really like a Greek omelet with feta cheese, spinach and onions. <BR> <BR> A ricotta cheese pancake made with e... Fri, 6 Nov 2015 11:43:59 EST Vegetables: Focus for the week Yesterday, it was cod for dinner, so I made some heartier vegetables to go alongside the fish: cauliflower gratin, mushrooms, and butternut squash. The cauliflower gratin recipe, though, wound up tasting not quite as good as just plain old roasted cauliflower. <BR> <BR> I always feel so good physically - and emotionally - after eating a balanced meal. <BR> <BR> The focus this week will be on vegetables. The goal is to have three with dinner every night - other than a salad. <BR> <BR> B... Mon, 2 Nov 2015 08:37:24 EST Photos of fall I really love taking photos of those bursts of color - a few leaves that shine among all the others. So you will see I don't take many photos of whole trees. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://... Thu, 22 Oct 2015 17:06:59 EST A Good Plan for the Day This morning, after breakfast, I put together a chicken dinner in the slow cooker, so it will be all ready for us this evening. <BR> The recipe was online - and I had all the ingredients in the house: <link><BR>ghs-with-carrots-potatoes </link> <BR> <BR> Now, I'm grabbing my camera and my water bottle to head out into the woods and over to the pond. This is a glorious time of year in New England - with beautiful leaves everywhere. <BR> <BR> We'll s... Thu, 22 Oct 2015 10:20:55 EST Cooking and Cleaning Today I am cooking and cleaning. <BR> <BR> There are two soups simmering on the stove: split pea soup - and a vegetable soup. I even found a tiny cured ham that had no nitrates or nitrites, and I added some pieces to the pea soup. My husband will like that one. The vegetable soup is all MINE, with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and canned tomatoes - with some kidney beans added in too. (It's really a vegetable stew rather than soup.) I sprinkle it with grated cheese and make a mea... Tue, 20 Oct 2015 15:08:55 EST I am back. Hello to my Spark Friends. <BR> <BR> I am happy to say that my life since the summer has been very rich and full of visits with family, photography seminars and workshops, a new writing workshop, and lots of day trips with my husband. My emphasis has been on learning and living each day fully. <BR> <BR> And, while I have occasionally checked in with Spark People, I have not been tracking or blogging. My weight has stabilized at a new higher level, and I have been unwilling to take any st... Sat, 17 Oct 2015 09:43:33 EST In the interest of full disclosure... I wrote a blog yesterday about how I am relying more on the mirror instead of the scale. <BR> And I think it is only right to be completely honest here and say that these days I am not happy with what I see in the mirror. <BR> <BR> And I am working on that. <BR> <BR> What am I doing? I am following all the practices I developed here on SP: <BR> I am: <BR> --walking 3 miles a day on most days <BR> --eating smaller portions <BR> --limiting sweets and simple carbs <BR> --eating lots of ... Wed, 15 Jul 2015 10:13:00 EST Scale gives way to Mirror My scale has been declawed and defanged. It sits on the floor of my closet, an old sleeping lion. Gone are its earlier days of growling threats, roaring punishments -- or purring hard-won rewards. It has lost its power. <BR> <BR> I am no longer in a ‘race’ for weight loss and looking for signals along the way (from the scale) that the end is closer. <BR> <BR> Today I am focused more on how well I feel and how good I look. <BR> My good health, my feeling of well-being, and my physical ... Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:28:32 EST A delicious ratatouille After several years of unsuccessful attempts to make a ratatouille that looks good and tastes good, I have found a really good recipe. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> You can find that recipe at the following link: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>d-ratatouille/ </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> For those who cannot access the link, the recipe goes something like this: <BR> Saute finely choppe... Sat, 27 Jun 2015 09:49:28 EST Pre-Fourth Barbecue Tomorrow There will be ten of us at our house for a barbecue tomorrow. It's a pre-July Fourth celebration among good friends. Most of us will be spending the actual Fourth of July with family members. <BR> <BR> (One of the benefits of being senior citizens is that we are all retired and can have a barbecue on a Friday instead of on the weekend. LOL) <BR> <BR> We are grilling steaks. There will also be shrimp with cocktail sauce. <BR> <BR> I just finished making a bunch of salads. <BR> <BR> To... Thu, 25 Jun 2015 21:04:21 EST Decorating and Learning about Myself Our master bedroom is looking a little tired these days. <BR> <BR> The same draperies have been in place for 30 years now. We really need some more storage space too - for sheets and towels that were displaced when we removed the linen closet to put a tub in the master bath several years back. Also the closet feels sort of crowded - bulging with clothing from both my husband and myself. <BR> <BR> My approach, true to form, was to do a complete overhaul of the room. <BR> <BR> My first pl... Sat, 20 Jun 2015 14:42:11 EST So far so good The additional pounds are coming off again- slowly. <BR> <BR> Slowly is how they went on - so it makes sense that slowly is how they'll come off again. <BR> I am happy with that. <BR> <BR> In the meantime, I am walking again.... <BR> <BR> ...and tracking my food. <BR> I don't track every day - but I do it often enough to know when I am generally within my limits. <BR> --total calories (1200-1550) <BR> --% of calories that are carbs (40%) <BR> --calcium (100-120% RDA) <BR> --5 servings o... Sun, 31 May 2015 10:52:24 EST Being in control Being in control -- for me -- requires energy. <BR> <BR> I need energy throughout the day, without experiencing low blood sugar dips. <BR> <BR> That can usually be accomplished by eating some protein at each meal, and limiting simple carbs -- especially early in the day. If I have a sweet, it is far better to have it at the end of the day - and preferably after a meal. In the late evening, if my blood sugar dips down, it's okay, because it's nearing bedtime anyway. <BR> <BR> (My go-to pr... Wed, 27 May 2015 20:20:42 EST Thank you Returning into the fold here at SP is like coming home again. <BR> <BR> I am visiting the pages of my friends, and it feels so encouraging to have them all here - carrying the torch, working hard, and doing what needs to be done. <BR> <BR> THANK YOU to all of you who make up this supportive community and who share so much of yourselves. <BR> <BR> Without you, I would not have had my many successes. With you, I will continue to succeed. <BR> <BR> <em>247</em> <em>223</em> <em... Sun, 24 May 2015 12:28:43 EST MAINTAINING. What is it, anyway? What is this thing we call MAINTAINING? <BR> <BR> For several years, here on Spark People, I have been LOSING weight. <BR> <BR> Throughout that process, there were lots of lessons for me to learn, and lots of new habits for me to develop -- and I did it! I was successful in taking off 30+ pounds. <BR> <BR> <BR> So now that I have entered the phase of MAINTAINING that weight loss -- I can see that there are new lessons to be learned. <BR> <BR> What exactly do I have to do to maintain ... Fri, 22 May 2015 09:14:18 EST Springtime tweaking For the past two years, I have greeted Springtime with a smile - feeling good about myself and how I looked. I have felt trim, and I have especially liked how I looked in my warm weather clothing. <BR> <BR> This Springtime, those clothes are a little tighter than they were before. I am having some old (and almost forgotten) feelings of guilt about my eating. <BR> <BR> Springtime isn't as much fun this year. <BR> <BR> Also, my energy is low. <BR> (One has to wonder if the 10-lb weig... Tue, 19 May 2015 11:23:42 EST Grandkids Taking care of a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old for five days without their parents requires a real comfort level with biology -- bodily functions. <BR> A lot of time is spent feeding, toileting, cleaning, and dressing the little ones. I will forever hear the loud call of my 3-year-old granddaughter from the bathroom, announcing that she needs to be wiped (pronounce that wi - ped). <BR> <BR> Add in a pool and a hot tub, and there are even more occasions for bathing, showering, shampooing, dr... Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:09:10 EST Travel and my eating It is not a surprise that the scale is up a few pounds after that two-week tour, during which there was not a lot of control over our eating conditions. <BR> (And I was not able to walk regularly, other than the on-the-bus-off-the bus sightseeing we did. Although I did manage to sneak in a few morning walks when I felt safe in the city.) <BR> I am working on remedying all that now. - and getting back to normal. <BR> <BR> <BR> In the meantime, I learned some more about myself and eating. <B... Wed, 8 Apr 2015 11:47:02 EST South American Trip My husband and I have just returned home from a wonderful two-week tour of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. <BR> <BR> It was our first time in South America, and even though we have traveled to other countries in the past, it was also our first time as part of a tour group. <BR> <BR> The countries we visited were all in the southern part of South America, and I was surprised to learn of the strong European influence in those areas. (In my uninformed mind, I thought most of South America would ... Fri, 3 Apr 2015 15:37:41 EST Hasta el próximo mes On Monday, my husband and I are leaving for a two-week trip to South America. We will be visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile. <BR> <BR> I look forward to sharing my photos and observations with all of you when we return at the beginning of April. <BR> <BR> See you soon.... <BR> <BR> <em>247</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 19:56:21 EST A Snowy Grand Canyon Visit It was a good thing I had visited the Grand Canyon several times before, because during our trip this past weekend, there was a major snow storm - and there was little, if any, view of the canyon. <BR> These are some of the photos I took as we hiked along the south rim. (I did not carry my heavy camera with me for that hike; most of the photos were taken on my phone.) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeo... Tue, 3 Mar 2015 17:52:35 EST The Final Days 27-30 with Siebold My 30 days of compliance with Siebold will end this coming weekend. <BR> <BR> It was not a straight run - mostly because of the family visit that pleasantly interrupted my life. <BR> However, Siebold was always there on my shoulder nudging me and talking to me. <BR> I think Siebold will be a permanent fixture in my psyche. His message is a strong one and it resonates with me. Just DO it! <BR> <BR> Sometimes a softer approach can be just as effective, though. And I am a big fan of that ... Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:57:41 EST At the end of the day... At the end of the day is when the energy is drained, and the strength has waned. <BR> The physical and emotional muscles supporting commitment start to waver. <BR> <BR> The best remedies I find are: <BR> --lose myself in a good story- either in a book or a movie. <BR> --soak in a hot tub <BR> --do some Sparking <BR> --go to bed <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:25:02 EST Day 25: Comfort Clothing We are all familiar with the concept of Comfort Food. It’s that soup or stew or hot meal that fills us up and warms us. It ‘sticks to our ribs’ and makes us feel good, inside and out. <BR> <BR> Well, I am just now becoming aware of my need for Comfort Clothing. <BR> Comfort Clothing can give all the same soothing feelings of warmth and coziness – without any of the calories. <BR> <BR> Pajamas, of course, are my favorite comfort clothing – especially flannel pajamas in the wintertime. A ... Wed, 25 Feb 2015 01:01:35 EST Day 25: Photos I am feeling better today. My stomach has calmed down, and I am not so achey. <BR> I spent most of the day processing photos. Let me share some of them with you. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:39:02 EST Day 24: Monday I felt under the weather today, with stomach issues, runny nose, and achey everywhere. <BR> It is no doubt leftover from my whirlwind grandkid time. <BR> So it was a quiet day, spent reading, and putting together some photos from the visit. <BR> My food intake was limited to mild, soft foods. <BR> <BR> <BR> The scale went up one pound while my kids were here. <BR> I'm happy to say, though, that my pants were all looser - a result, I'm sure, from walking every day. <BR> Overall, a good resul... Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:56:10 EST Day 23: Family visit over - I've returned The last of my family boarded an airplane yesterday afternoon. My husband and I went to a restaurant for food, then came home and collapsed on the sofa, watching missed TV programs that we had recorded while everyone was here. <BR> <BR> And who was everyone? Two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandkids. Two grandkids were a 6-yr-old brother with his 3-yr-old sister from the west coast, and a 3-yr-old boy from the east coast. Everyone hit it off really well. <BR> <BR> Only the wes... Sun, 22 Feb 2015 12:44:12 EST