SUSANNAH31's SparkPeople Blog SUSANNAH31's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Home again and back to our own eating habits It's good to be back home and able to follow my own eating style and meal times. <BR> My husband and I both realize that we prefer to have our main meal in the middle of the day - now that we are both retired. And we hardly ever eat anything past 5 or 6pm. <BR> <BR> With social dinners, the schedule is much later - and it just doesn't work for me. <BR> <BR> While we were in Texas, visiting with our son and his inlaws, we had two dinners that were served around 9pm. That was way too late... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:29:03 EST Childhood experiences affecting adult choices Earlier this week, I attended a panel discussion presented by a local university about media and our current culture. Frank Bruni, the op-ed writer for the NY Times was on the panel, along with Alessandra Stanley, the Times television critic. It was an interesting discussion, and i was glad to be there to see it. <BR> <BR> Equally interesting, too, was some of the personal information revealed by both of those speakers. <BR> <BR> <BR> Frank Bruni, before he became the op-ed opinion write... Sat, 11 Oct 2014 17:39:28 EST Thank you Last week, after experiencing an accumulation of discouraging moments - mostly related to my newly retired status - I wrote a blog here about it (Out of my comfort zone right now). <BR> <BR> There were two reasons for my writing about these non-food, non-diet, non-exercise issues. <BR> First, the actual process of writing about my feelings helped me to put things in a more positive perspective, and helped me to feel better right away. <BR> Second, I am being very truthful here on SP these d... Sat, 4 Oct 2014 15:58:35 EST Out of my comfort zone right now Life has changed for me this September. I have retired from teaching, and I am no longer returning to the classroom. I have moved out of the classroom --- and also out of my comfort zone too, I'm noticing. <BR> <BR> Much of my new spare time is being spent on improving my skills in photography. I have signed up for a course and I have begun participating in competitions with a camera club. <BR> <BR> The first thing I have learned is that those many photos that I have taken (on the c... Wed, 1 Oct 2014 10:02:19 EST Working on it A week ago, at a church country fair, I bought a homemade Apple Crisp. <BR> (From my point of view, any food that is homemade - and isn't made by me - is a real treat.) <BR> Every fall, Apple Crisp or Apple Pie is a special dish that my husband and I love. <BR> And we always have it with vanilla ice cream too. <BR> <BR> Did I eat it? Of course. <BR> Did I eat too much of it -- going over my calorie limits for the day? Yes. <BR> <BR> Then, the leftovers took me over the limits on and of... Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:57:40 EST Nature in the Neighborhood This week brought some of nature's dark side to our neighborhood. <BR> <BR> An attack by coyotes left a deer carcass in the far end of my back yard. I discovered it Sunday morning, in time to warn my son, who had come to visit with his family and dogs, to keep the dogs on a leash or inside the house. <BR> <BR> All week, there were visits to the carcass - by different species. I think I spotted a coyote in the middle of the day; he quickly moved away when he heard me. Wild turkeys made ... Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:34:32 EST Retirement progress report This is the first fall in 31 years that I am not returning to teach in a classroom. <BR> <BR> Instead, I am taking a class. <BR> I have signed up for a class in digital photography at the local arts center. <BR> I have also rejoined the local camera club with the intention of participating a whole lot more than I have done in the past. <BR> <BR> I have also rejoined the board of the Friends of the Library in my town. <BR> <BR> Finally, I have joined the local garden club. It is my hope ... Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:14:34 EST Buying food for the cool Fall weather I just stocked up on some satisfying foods for this cool weather that seems to have arrived today. <BR> <BR> I bought fresh produce: <BR> <BR> --squashes: butternut squash (I love to make soup) and acorn squash (which I bake and eat right out of the skin). <BR> <BR> --sweet potatoes, which can be baked/microwaved and eaten as part of a meal or as a luxuriously rich snack. <BR> <BR> --mushrooms, which I have sauteed with some olive oil and salt and pepper, and will be either eaten alone (... Sat, 13 Sep 2014 13:41:52 EST Does my stomach really shrink? How many times have I told myself that I will start to feel better on the diet once my stomach shrinks a little? <BR> <BR> And it has happened for me. After a week or two on a diet, my appetite usually calms down, and I can feel satisfaction from smaller portions of food. I feel less hunger. <BR> <BR> So does my stomach really shrink? Or is it just in my imagination? <BR> <BR> I put this question to Google, and came up with different answers -- but this one was especially interesting: <... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:08:27 EST Chopped Salad I am a big fan of the chopped salad. <BR> <BR> Some days I find myself actually craving one. <BR> <BR> The first time I ate a chopped salad was a few years ago at a diner near the community college where I taught. I liked the chopped salad there so much that I never ordered anything else. <BR> The waitress didn’t need to give me a menu –I would have the ‘usual.’ <BR> <BR> I like to make chopped salads at home too. <BR> <BR> The whole idea is to have all the ingredients chopped into ve... Tue, 9 Sep 2014 14:05:49 EST Slithery Sam I've been working at cleaning out my (unfinished) cellar these days. <BR> Items which have been sitting down there for a while - until 'some day' when they will be needed - are being donated to the local church fair to be sold at their flea market. <BR> <BR> I tend to hold onto things, so this is a bit of a change for me, and I'm happy to find that it is a liberating process. As some of these items are being given away, I am feeling lighter. And that's a good thing. <BR> <BR> Last week, h... Mon, 8 Sep 2014 08:39:24 EST High Expectations My SP friend FEEDTHEHUNGER wrote about how her own high expectations for herself caused her problems. <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5774377 </link> <BR> <BR> The topic struck a chord with me, and so I am posting my response below as a blog of my own. <BR> <BR> Assuming responsibility, setting high standards, making it happen - all true for me. <BR> <BR> Having high expectations for myself with weight loss got in the way of my being ... Sun, 7 Sep 2014 13:14:58 EST Breaking Ground My weigh-in this morning put me a half pound lower than my earlier weight loss two years ago here on SP -- the lowest weight I've been in decades. <BR> <BR> In fact, the scale went into spasms - not sure if something was broken. (Just kidding.) <BR> <BR> What was broken were many of my old eating habits. And they are broken for good. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> During the past 4 1/2 years of my belonging to this Spark community, I have made lots of changes in how I eat, how I exercise, and how ... Sat, 6 Sep 2014 11:02:54 EST The tracking habit For me, success all boils down to one habit that I must keep: tracking everything that goes into my mouth each and every day. <BR> <BR> And...I have to stay within my calorie limits for the day. <BR> <BR> I have managed to do that for about three weeks now. The more I do it, the easier it gets. <BR> <BR> This weekend at a friend's daughter's wedding, i tracked my food in my mind all day long, and finally gave up at the end of the night when I had some wedding cake. When I returned to th... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 17:47:16 EST Rehearsal Dinner Dartmouth College has a picturesque campus - just as one would imagine the ideal campus to look like. <BR> DH and I are here to attend the wedding of our friend's daughter. <BR> <BR> To the rehearsal dinner this evening (casual attire) I am wearing a pair of pants that were too tight for me at the beginning of this summer. That is making me feel very good. <BR> <BR> I have on some fun sandals- silver in color - and I am liking how I look. <BR> <BR> So far this week I have not weighed my... Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:51:36 EST Eating a $300 dollar salad for lunch I am not a successful gardener because I live in the woods and little critters come and take whatever I grow. One year, I grew tomatoes in a pot on my deck (up 6 steps), and the morning I planned to pick one of those tomatoes because it was finally ripe -- I found it already picked and sitting on the deck railing with a single bite taken out of it. LOL <BR> <BR> Once, I found deer tracks up those 6 steps and right onto the deck. So I know the deer also join the chipmunks and raccoons and ... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:31:04 EST Putting that scale away! I am someone who weighs myself every day. I need to know how I am doing with my weight loss. <BR> Ten days ago, I had to take a trip - without having any access to my scale while I was gone. <BR> I did NOT want to gain any weight during this trip; in fact, I wanted to continue to lose weight. <BR> <BR> The only way I could guarantee that would happen was to carefully watch what I ate - and to exercise regularly. So that is what I did. <BR> <BR> Today I am home again, and the scale shows t... Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:46:53 EST An earthquake and a birthday party. This morning I was awakened around 6am from the beep on my cell phone informing me that i had received a text. It was from my daughter-in-law back in New York who knew about the earthquake in Napa 60 miles north of us - and she wanted to be sure we were all okay. <BR> Very sweet of her! <BR> <BR> (What my DIL texted was, "Please check in when you get this." My husband and I had not seen the news yet, and we said to ourselves - "She's PREGNANT! and she wants to make an announcement." ) <BR... Sun, 24 Aug 2014 19:47:03 EST Walking along San Francisco's Embarcadero Today my husband and I spent three hours walking along the Embarcadero in San Francisco - all the way to Fisherman's Wharf. <BR> <BR> There were beautiful views of the bay all around. <BR> <BR> In this photo you can see the Golden Gate Bridge (which is, in fact, red). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is a view of Alcatraz Island: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The photo... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 22:57:38 EST An adult day My DH and I took a drive down the peninsula to Monterrey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. <BR> They are both scenic locations. Are there any locations on the coast of California that aren't scenic? <BR> <BR> It was typical of us that we drove most of the day, exploring. (I'm thinking that we need to change that; we have to get out of the car and spend more time on our feet walking.) <BR> <BR> In Carmel- by-the-Sea, we stopped for a late lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant: Demetra. The food w... Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:33:52 EST Last Day of Babysitting Today was the last full day of babysitting that we will do for our little GD. <BR> Tomorrow her mom will be home. Saturday her Dad will be home as well, and her big brother will return from his stay with his other grandparents in Texas. <BR> Sunday is the big party for her third birthday. <BR> On Monday my DH and I will fly home to Connecticut. <BR> <BR> <BR> This morning we took our little girl over to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, and this afternoon we returned with her to the hotel poo... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:42:06 EST Wednesday On Wednesday morning, we took my little granddaughter to Fairyland - a storyland park for toddlers. She loved making her way through a tunnel and maze, going on a pirate ship, climbing on the back of a dragon, and riding on a train -- and more. <BR> <BR> Walking through the park is all the walking I did, except for the trip I took the Barnes & Noble to buy some more story books to read to our little girl. <BR> <BR> When my DS and DIL returned home from work at 6:15. My DS and DH went off t... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:31:15 EST Walking in Berkeley CA This afternoon, while my little granddaughter napped, I left her with her grandpa and took a two-hour walk around the city of Berkeley, California. <BR> There is really nothing like walking in a town to get a good feel for it -- for the neighborhoods, the architecture, the people, and the plant life. <BR> I like Berkeley. It has a wide range of neighborhoods, lots of interesting restaurants, and an eclectic collection of retail stores featuring items from around the world. It also has a wor... Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:08:10 EST Stepping away from the scale Many of my friends here have suggested that I should not weigh myself every day. <BR> Somehow I just could not manage that one. <BR> I needed that immediate feedback offered by my scale. If I had been on track, I wanted to see the resulting loss on the scale. If I had not been on track, I wanted to see how bad the damage was. <BR> <BR> Well here I am - away from home (and my scale) for almost two weeks, so now what? <BR> <BR> Surprisingly, this is working out really well. <BR> <BR> Becau... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 01:09:08 EST Liking myself in the morning. I woke up this morning to a grumbling stomach - and it made me smile. <BR> It's that idea of liking myself in the morning -- and it feels good when I do. <BR> (I think of WATERMELLEN whenever I use the term of 'liking myself in the morning.') <BR> <BR> Yesterday I walked the 4 miles on a bright sunny day from my DS's house to the hotel - and enjoyed every bit of it. <BR> I walked through the town of Berkeley, CA, a place where lots of people are out and about, walking, running, and riding bi... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:43:51 EST Yoyo-ing If we consulted a chart, my goal weight would be in the 130s, maybe even the 120s. <BR> (Notice that i am not looking at that chart.) <BR> <BR> The goal I have set for myself right now is somewhere in the 140s. Maybe after I achieve that I will aim for the 130s. Maybe not. <BR> <BR> I am only 5'2" tall, so the 140s is still a rather high weight - but it is a realistic one for me. <BR> <BR> <BR> For the past few months I have been weighing between 154 and 150. When I reach the lower w... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 10:16:36 EST Reyes Point It was a bright sunny day at Reyes Point today, and the views along the coastline were spectacular. <BR> My dh and I walked a total of about two miles on various short trails and then I walked another mile around the neighborhood when we returned home. <BR> <BR> My computer is not functioning properly this evening so I cannot share photos. Maybe tomorrow. <BR> <BR> I watched my food intake and managed to have a small cup of butter pecan ice cream as a treat. <BR> Double Rainbow was the bran... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 01:19:03 EST Blogging so I won't lose my focus It is so easy to lose sight of my own agenda when I am visiting with my son and his family in California. My husband and I are staying at a hotel, and we are babysitting my granddaughter during the weekdays. We usually eat too much and too often during this time. Also I don't get to walk much, just because I don't make time to fit it in. We are accommodating ourselves to our son's family's schedule, and we spend the daytime mostly entertaining our little granddaughter. <BR> <BR> This tim... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 23:19:36 EST An athlete in training My SP friend--- ONEKIDSMOM, the athlete --- has inspired me again. <BR> <BR> Like her, I want to be more active and involved with an enjoyable physical activity. <BR> And wouldn't it be fun to train for a future event! <BR> <BR> However, I am ten years older than she is, and I don't wish to enter a triathlon -- or any kind of race or marathon. I am not comfortable with running, swimming, or bicycle riding in a competitive setting. In fact, I don't like most competitions. <BR> <BR> After ... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:00:38 EST Mirror vs Camera In the mirror, I think I look okay. <BR> Most of me does not look overweight to my eye, I look pretty normal. <BR> Yes, I have a few more pounds to lose, but... <BR> I feel good and I think I look pretty good too. <BR> <BR> The camera, however, tells a different story. <BR> OMG! <BR> <BR> The camera shows things just as they are. <BR> There's no hiding anything from the camera. <BR> There's no flattering me or showing only my good side. <BR> <BR> The camera gets all sides <BR> ...including... Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:44:12 EST BIG changes at the beach this year Every year our family spends time together at the beach. My older son, a high school teacher who lives on the east coast near us comes with his almost-3-year old son - - and his wife takes time off from work to join us for a portion of the time. My younger son, a radiologist, comes from California with his wife and two kids (aged almost 6 and almost 3) to stay for a week. <BR> <BR> It is always a busy time for me. I am shopping for food, preparing food, and serving food for the whole gan... Sat, 26 Jul 2014 09:08:43 EST "Being" and not "Striving" I am focused these days on just being the best i can be each day. <BR> <BR> I am close to my goal, and so I am acting as if I am there already. <BR> <BR> Instead of putting some things off until I reach my goal weight, I am doing everything I consider to be important to look and feel good TODAY. <BR> <BR> I am wearing clothes that make me feel good about how I look TODAY. <BR> I am eating foods that are healthful and that I enjoy. <BR> I am exercising regularly - and enjoying it. <BR> <BR... Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:50:35 EST Breaking Bad - Any opinions? This week my husband and I have been bingeing on Breaking Bad, the popular television show from Netflix. <BR> <BR> We recently bought a Roku gadget which enables us to watch shows on our television that originate from the internet. And then we joined Netflix. All of a sudden we had at our disposal some popular television series that we had never seen. <BR> <BR> Two weeks ago, we spent two days solid watching House of Cards with Kevin Spacey - Seasons 1 and 2. It was a total immersion e... Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:26:29 EST A delicious zucchini snack This is a recipe for a delicious zucchini snack taken from the internet. <BR> <BR> Cut raw zucchini into 1/2-inch disks and coat them in olive oil. (Place olive oil in a plastic bag and roll zucchini disks around in the bag.) <BR> Then dip the disks on both sides into a mixture of equal parts (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs -- with salt to taste. <BR> Lay the coated zucchini disks individually on a cookie tin and bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. <BR> <BR> I have made them ... Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:00:43 EST Life in the Future I am reading a fascinating book, Physics of the Future, by an American physicist, Michio Kaku, who tells us about changes we can expect to take place in our world during the next century. <BR> <BR> Actually, I am listening to the book - while I walk in the mornings. This morning I started the book and walked five miles instead of my usual three because it was so interesting. <BR> <BR> The author states that he has consulted hundreds of scientists -- all of whom are working on prototypes ... Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:55:57 EST I can lose weight without tracking if I..... Here's what I have learned about not tracking my food: <BR> <BR> I can lose weight without tracking if... <BR> > I eat the same or similar types of food each day: <BR> -- a protein serving with each meal <BR> -- lots of vegetables during the day, with some fruits <BR> -- small portions of complex carbohydrates <BR> > I limit treats to small portions once or twice during the week. <BR> ...and... <BR> > I walk 3 miles 4 or 5 days each week. <BR> <BR> If I want to eat other types of food... Fri, 6 Jun 2014 05:39:16 EST Will the scale go down if I don't track my food? I am back one hundred per cent. My energy is right up there again. <BR> <BR> I have been weighing myself every morning – and my weight has stayed the same for the past several weeks, five pounds above the lowest point reached this past winter. <BR> <BR> My eating behaviors are pretty stable. For the most part, I am still avoiding the foods that I should not be eating, and eating the foods that are good for me. <BR> <BR> Every day I drink at least 8 glasses of water. <BR> <BR> I am w... Thu, 29 May 2014 11:00:30 EST Resuming.... The small incisions from the robotic surgery are mostly healed. (Now it's just itchy everywhere. LOL) <BR> I can now move around to most any position with little or no discomfort -- even when I'm in bed. <BR> My energy has returned to close to a normal level. <BR> <BR> It's time to resume my Sparking again. <BR> <BR> Beginning today I will be tracking food and exercise every day. <BR> <BR> This morning I walked three miles with my neighbors for the first time in a while. <BR> For lunch ... Thu, 8 May 2014 14:58:46 EST Celebrating today Today was the two week mark past my surgery, and I saw the surgeon for a followup visit and to get the pathology results. <BR> <BR> He told me that the tumor was benign. <BR> <BR> it is called an oncocytoma. It was a tumor, and it was growing. It did need to be removed. <BR> But it was not cancer, was not malignant, and therefore would not metastasize. <BR> <BR> This was very good news. My husband and I are celebrating! <BR> Tue, 6 May 2014 12:46:39 EST Home again I had the tumor removed from my kidney early Tuesday morning and returned home Wednesday early afternoon. <BR> All is well. I have a feeling of stiffness in my abdomen, but have no pain. <BR> <BR> This robotic surgery is amazing. <BR> <BR> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:40:19 EST Probiotics My surgery is scheduled for this coming Tuesday the 22nd. <BR> <BR> For the past week, I was dealing with gastrointestinal issues, and feeling tired and sapped of all energy. Fortunately, that has passed and I am feeling back to normal again, thanks to probiotics -- an interesting topic I am just discovering. <BR> <BR> In the past, my doctor has recommended that I take a probiotic along with any antibiotic that I am prescribed. It helps to reduce or eliminate any intestinal problems aris... Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:40:14 EST Plans and Decisions I have a surgeon at NY Presbyterian Medical Center and a date for surgery in a little over two weeks. Pre-surgical tests have been made and I am in the process of meeting with my primary care physician and my cardiologist to get releases for the surgery. <BR> <BR> Everything is in place, and I am now just waiting. <BR> <BR> Both surgeons I spoke with continued to be optimistic and assured me that I should expect an excellent outcome. I am feeling very fortunate. <BR> <BR> <BR> This medi... Sun, 6 Apr 2014 12:24:22 EST The girl in the magazine My SP friend, IMPROVINGME shared a quote from "You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn't even look like the girl in the magazine." <BR> <BR> The following video that I discovered a couple of months ago - goes to show just how true this is. It's a real eye-opener! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>absolutely-ridiculous-standard-of-beau<BR>ty-in-just-37-seconds?g=3&c=reccon1 </link> <BR> <BR> If that link... Sun, 30 Mar 2014 12:09:38 EST Medical Update I return to the New York area within two weeks. Two days after that, I meet with one surgeon, the next day, another surgeon, and the following week is the third surgeon. <BR> <BR> The three of them represent three well-known medical centers in New York City: New York Columbia Presbyterian, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and New York University Medical Center. <BR> <BR> I have composed four pages of questions for each of the surgeons, with room to note their responses. <BR> After all the meeti... Thu, 20 Mar 2014 18:13:23 EST Life Changes This past two weeks have brought many changes. <BR> A new medical diagnosis has me returning earlier than usual back to the northeast. <BR> My west coast grandkids are here for this week, and in ten days my east coast son arrives with my youngest grandson. <BR> <BR> After that, my husband and I will return home - and I will start meeting with NYC surgeons to select one of them and to determine a course of action. <BR> <BR> I am not tracking these days, but I am monitoring what I eat. I a... Thu, 13 Mar 2014 13:15:47 EST Today Today is my 69th birthday. I am preparing to leave my 6th decade behind and begin my 7th. <BR> <BR> On this day I look back with satisfaction on life work that is completed: raising my two sons - and working for 20 years as an educator of gifted children. <BR> I am still working part time in a community college teaching writing skills to young people from a variety of cultures around the world. <BR> <BR> Today I also bask in the warm glow of loving relationships with family and friends.... Sat, 1 Mar 2014 12:49:55 EST Portion Sizes Recently, I discovered that my portion sizes were larger than those of my slim friends. What I considered to be a 'small' portion, they considered 'normal.' <BR> <BR> That was an important insight for me. <BR> By reducing my portion sizes, I have been successful in reducing my weight. <BR> <BR> <BR> There are many factors working against us here in the U.S. when it comes to knowing the correct -- or healthy --portion size. <BR> <BR> <BR> Google images show how restaurant portions a... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:24:21 EST Prescription When I saw that my symptoms were not going away on their own, I contacted my doctor, who gave me a prescription. For the past two days, I have been taking the medication and resting. Today I am beginning to improve. <BR> <BR> I did spend two days off the tracker. <BR> <BR> I am hoping that in another day or so I will be feeling back to normal and can then resume tracking again. <BR> <BR> It has been such a long time since I have dealt with this -- and I don't want it to happen again. ... Thu, 20 Feb 2014 10:01:40 EST A ground-breaking week This has been a ground - breaking week for me. <BR> <BR> Throughout the week, I dealt with periodic bouts of light headedness, low energy, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. These are all typical symptoms I have experienced in the past, and I do believe they were triggered by my abortive attempt at the exercise class last Monday. (That is, of course, on top of the dieting.) <BR> <BR> I have not experienced these symptoms for a long while. While they were relatively mild, they did ... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 12:28:34 EST It's working! Staying on track has not been difficult for me. And that is a real surprise. <BR> <BR> There have been times when I would have eaten more -- especially if I was feeling tired or physically stressed. But guess what I have learned -- those feelings go away with just plain rest. No food is necessary. (It's impossible to know that if I have always eaten food at those times.) <BR> <BR> It feels good to see the scale staying the same or going down consistently. Sometimes it will stay longer a... Sat, 15 Feb 2014 08:52:19 EST