SUSANNAH31's SparkPeople Blog SUSANNAH31's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community "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 Reflections on my first exercise class A very big THANKS goes to all of you who responded to my blog yesterday. Your responses were so supportive and informative -- and helpful – and I am very grateful. <BR> <BR> I was not happy with how that exercise class went for me, and in days gone by, I would not have blogged about it. (PennyAn45 was very reluctant to expose her ‘failures’ to you.) <BR> <BR> As Susannah31, however, I am telling it like it is - and I am succeeding as I do that - so I wrote about the class. <BR> <BR> I ma... Thu, 13 Feb 2014 12:34:22 EST My first exercise class This was the first time EVER that I had gone to an exercise class. <BR> (All kinds of new events occur when the ostrich takes its head out of the hole.) <BR> <BR> A slim, pretty young woman led us in a series of exercises to loud music with a rather fast tempo. She stood in front of the gym, demonstrating to the group -- about 30 of us, mostly women - all the various moves with the resistance band. <BR> This leg leans down this way while we reach over our heads, stretching our arms out, an... Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:08:56 EST The New Normal The new normal for me now is smaller portion sizes. <BR> Smaller portions of EVERYTHING. <BR> <BR> I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how my portion sizes were bigger than most others for most of my life. I'm sure that having two brothers and two sons has something to do with it. Males somehow can eat more and gain less, I have learned. <BR> (I am happy to say that none of them is overweight.) <BR> <BR> Anyway, I see now with my own eyes that the portions I have been... Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:38:42 EST More changes This weekend we had an impromptu dinner party with some family and friends. <BR> (Since we are currently in Arizona, it was a barbecue -- and I apologize for that to all my SP friends who are dealing with snowstorms.) <BR> <BR> We served steak. In days gone by, I would have served baked potatoes and a tossed green salad with that. This weekend I served the potatoes and tossed salad, but I also added in a hearts of palm salad, a broccoli salad, a black bean, corn, and red pepper salad, and ... Mon, 10 Feb 2014 09:57:02 EST Friends I have some amazing friends. <BR> <BR> The day before yesterday, I visited with an old friend of mine who lost her husband to ALS a year ago. She nursed him through his final year, with some help from her daughter. <BR> My friend had lost 40 lbs and looked very good. She lost the weight because she was told she had diabetes, and she didn't want to have that disease, so she just STOPPED eating all sugar and wheat! The diabetes is gone now. This friend is an excellent cook, and LOVES food... Sat, 8 Feb 2014 11:00:19 EST Traveling Forward These six pounds that I lost in the past month are familiar territory to me. I have put them on and taken them off several times during my experience here at Spark People. <BR> <BR> It is like a section of road that I travel forward on, then back up on -- repeatedly. <BR> <BR> In earlier times. I was usually traveling pretty fast, with my eye on the destination. <BR> Then for some reason, I would get discouraged or distracted, and start going in reverse, watching that destination recede. <... Tue, 4 Feb 2014 11:54:50 EST Little changes can make a BIG difference After one month of being 100% committed to staying within my calorie limits, and after losing six pounds, I have learned a BIG lesson: <BR> <BR> It's the LITTLE changes that make the difference. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> There is no need for a list of foods that I cannot eat. <BR> If I stay within my calorie limits for the day, I can eat anything I want. And there is NO guilt. <BR> <BR> I don't have to avoid high calorie entrees. <BR> I just have to ... Mon, 3 Feb 2014 12:04:38 EST I have new eyes "You have to be displaced from what's comfortable and routine, and then you get to see things with fresh eyes, with new eyes." <BR> Amy Tan <BR> <BR> I feel as if I have new eyes. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I wrote on my SP page status: "SUSANNAH31 used to approach any dinner party feeling she would have to abandon her diet. She was helpless to do anything about it. Not this time!!" <BR> <BR> And I wrote the truth. <BR> <BR> Today I look at that and ask myself -- why did I ever feel that I wa... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 23:29:31 EST After the party It is 12:25am, the guests left about 30 minutes ago, and my husband and I just finished cleaning up the dishes in the kitchen. <BR> <BR> I want to blog about this party because it was a new experience for me. <BR> <BR> Appetizers were the usual: fresh red peppers and carrots with hummus, cheese with crackers, chips and salsa. <BR> For the entree, I made beef bourguignon, a potato dish casserole (containing cheddar cheese & sour cream), mushrooms, peas, a tossed green salad, and bread & butt... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 02:52:20 EST My favorite dessert at my dinner party Here's a photo: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's a trifle, with layers of fresh fruit, vanilla pudding, pound cake, and whipped cream. <BR> <BR> I nibbled on the fruit while putting it together. I also had teaspoonful bites of each layer along the way. And I have tracked every bit of it. <BR> <BR> That, in fact, was lunch. <BR> <BR> Tonight at my dinner party, I will get to eat and enjoy all of my own cooking - in small po... Fri, 31 Jan 2014 18:30:18 EST Reflections on my 90-day commitment to this calorie limit This commitment that I have made - to stay within my calorie range for 90 days is helping me to learn more about myself and losing weight. <BR> <BR> There have been a number of times in the past week when I would have overeaten if it had not been for this commitment: <BR> --I would have had a bowl of chips to nibble on in the evening. <BR> --I would have joined my husband in snacking on ice cream -- again in the evening. <BR> <BR> Instead, I ate nothing. <BR> <BR> The past couple of nights... Thu, 30 Jan 2014 22:53:30 EST Hunger and Tension I am observing myself closely as I am following this 90 - day commitment to stay within my calorie range -- to better understand my behaviors and to learn how to make it easier for me. <BR> <BR> I have always known that it is easier for me to focus on weight loss when everything in my life is going okay. I know some people lose weight when they are stressed - not me, I gain weight when I am stressed. The obvious reason, of course, is stress eating. Right now everything is rather calm in my l... Wed, 29 Jan 2014 08:44:42 EST Inactivity and the Brain - A Study I found an interesting article in the NY Times: How Inactivity Changes the Brain by Gretchen Reynolds , dated Jan 22, 2014. <BR> <link><BR>ow-inactivity-changes-the-brain/?_php=<BR>true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs<BR>&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=3 </link> <BR> <BR> Below is a direct quote from that article: <BR> <BR> “A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of ne... Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:07:11 EST Returning home I just returned from a visit to my son and his family. This visit - as always - is filled with lots of activities with my grandkids, and not much control over meals. <BR> However, I did manage to stay true to my commitment to eating within my calorie limits each day. How did I do that? <BR> <BR> --One evening, after I had eaten enough all day long, I announced I was not having any dinner. I sat in the other room while the rest of the family sat to the table and ate. <BR> <BR> --Another ... Sun, 26 Jan 2014 20:03:00 EST Our core beliefs Siebold says if we change what we believe, then we can change our reaction to those beliefs. We should identify our beliefs about weight loss, so we can change them to new more positive beliefs. <BR> <BR> Here are some of my core beliefs about weight when I first began here at SP four years ago: <BR> <BR> 1. There are some people who are just naturally slim. There are also some people who can stay slim by dieting. I am not one of THEM. I am not naturally slim, and I am not able to diet... Fri, 24 Jan 2014 11:59:42 EST Beliefs determine our behaviors 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right." Henry Ford <BR> <BR> Siebold also says that our beliefs determine our actions. <BR> If we think we cannot lose weight, we won't lose weight ( because we don't try hard enough.) <BR> Why don't we try hard enough? Because we don't believe it will happen. <BR> It becomes a self-fullfiling prophecy. <BR> <BR> Successful people, says Siebold, expect to succeed. And most times they do! <BR> Their behaviors follow their beliefs... Thu, 23 Jan 2014 17:51:28 EST Habits: Googled Images <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://ph... Wed, 22 Jan 2014 17:13:47 EST Accepting Responsibility I can accept responsibility for having my excess weight, and I can accept responsibility for losing it. <BR> <BR> It is my overeating that put this weight on, and it will be my eating and exercising behaviors that will take it off again. <BR> <BR> What has been tough for me in the past is actually DOING it. My motivation has not always been strong enough for me to actually do the work to make the weight loss happen. I didn't always feel that the result was worth the sacrifices requ... Tue, 21 Jan 2014 13:57:56 EST My Mantra Watching Seibold's 'get tough' videos has helped me to see this weight loss process in a new way - to reframe it in my mind. It has made me more confident than ever that I will succeed. <BR> <BR> He recommends that we each create a mantra to repeat to ourselves that will keep our vision fresh in our minds. I have given this some thought, and have come up with one for myself. <BR> <BR> First, let me describe my new vision - which has solidified after watching Seibold's tapes. <BR> <BR> I... Fri, 17 Jan 2014 13:00:06 EST My response to Video #11 A one-sentence summary would state that Siebold's video #11 focuses again on self talk. <BR> <BR> He advocates that we repeat positive thinking statements to ourselves because research has shown that they work. Our subconscious mind will believe what we say if we say it often enough - and that will help in changing the old habits into the new habits. <BR> <BR> I'm not going to share the statements he wants us to repeat, because i am not sure I agree with all three of them. But he asked ... Thu, 16 Jan 2014 03:09:12 EST Learn to Brainwash Yourself In this 10th video, Siebold stated that achieving success in any aspect of life - including weight loss - is simple and requires only two steps: <BR> 1. Make a decision -- decide what you want, and then <BR> 2. Develop the mental toughness to stick to it. <BR> <BR> He claims that the diet gurus today do not want us to know this; rather, they exaggerate the problems involved and make weight loss seem more magical or mysterious than it really is. Why? Because weight loss and dieting is a $6... Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:42:15 EST Preparation to keep our new diet habits in place Siebold's 9th tape was all about making preparations to win. <BR> <BR> Our desire to lose weight (which is emotionally based) is now taken to the next level -- of behavior or action (which is logically based). <BR> <BR> He talked mainly about being prepared with strategies for those times when we will be most tempted to cheat: <BR> <BR> 1. parties, holidays, celebrations -- We should have a script ready for what we will say when we have food forced on us -- eg "This food looks delicious,... Tue, 14 Jan 2014 10:21:50 EST Be prepared to do whatever is necessary Prepare for the coming hurricane! <BR> <BR> That hurricane is what Siebold calls the 'season of pain' - that time when it gets harder to stay on the diet. <BR> It's the time when our emotions come to the surface - and we begin to wonder if it's all worth it. <BR> We feel the pain [of sacrifice], we forget our goals, and we get tempted to cheat. <BR> <BR> <BR> So we need to brace ourselves and solidify our goals NOW in preparation. We should tell ourselves that success in non-negotiable... Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:33:29 EST Attitude In Video #7, Siebold advises us to clarify our weight loss goals. What are they? And why do we want them? We should be very certain of these goals and revise them whenever they need updating. <BR> WHAT we want is based on logic. WHY we want it is based on emotions. We need both our logical reasoning and our emotions working for us to maintain a positive attitude toward this weight loss venture. <BR> <BR> He suggests that every day we make a list of 5 things we are grateful for. <BR> <... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 10:10:52 EST Bingo Siebold! Making Excuses: That's me all right! I am the queen of making excuses for myself when it comes to dieting. <BR> <BR> It's not that way when it comes to doing my best at: being a student, being a teacher, being a friend, being a wife, being a mom, being a grandma. I have given my very best effort to those roles; and I have not allowed myself any excuses for not doing what I think needs to be done. <BR> <BR> ~~~~~~~~~~~ <BR> <BR> I'm stopping here.... and reading over what I just wrote...... <BR> It's all true, but I never s... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 12:27:34 EST Why did I get fat? Why will I succeed now? These are the questions Siebold asked us to consider after today's video. <BR> <BR> I agree that it's helpful to know the reasons for gaining weight in the first place - because if we understand our earlier motivation, then we can more readily change our behaviors. <BR> <BR> In my case, I did turn to food for comfort in times of stress and boredom. <BR> <BR> Also, I find pleasure in food. When answering his question, I described myself as being 'greedy' with food. I don't want to stop ea... Fri, 10 Jan 2014 10:51:58 EST Viewing my Body Through a New Lens After writing in my blog yesterday about how I use imagery to help with cravings, I thought it might be beneficial for me to use some imagery to view my body through a new lens as well. <BR> <BR> A new way of viewing my body could help me to see my ‘dieting’ in a more positive way. <BR> As much as I point out that I am working toward a healthful lifestyle, rather than just dieting, my thoughts and feelings are often that I am sacrificing or giving up something (in terms of food). I am say... Thu, 9 Jan 2014 09:50:46 EST Dealing with cravings Cravings are a real challenge -- for all of us here, I'm sure. <BR> <BR> I usually only have a craving for a food that is in front of me. I see it -- and I want it (just like a little kid.) <BR> <BR> When I am feeling strong and in control, I can usually let it go and not give in to the craving. <BR> When I am tired and not feeling in control -- that's when the trouble begins. <BR> <BR> One obvious way I control cravings is to keep certain foods out of my sight. That means that I don't k... Wed, 8 Jan 2014 12:25:26 EST Kickstarting with Steve Siebold Fatloser I have taken an idea from my friend, Watermellen, and am following a 21-day Fatloser program by Steve Siebold. <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> I have bought his book on Kindle: Die Fat or Get Tough, and I see this as a great way to kickstart my renewed commitment to reaching an ideal weight -- especially after a hectic, food-filled holiday season. <BR> <BR> In his Day 2 video, Steve asked us to make a pledge to be 100% committed to this diet for the next 90 days. H... Tue, 7 Jan 2014 14:30:12 EST Moving forward in 2014 Today, in January 2014, I am a different person than I was when I first joined Spark People back in January 2010 as PennyAn45. <BR> <BR> Today, I weigh 25 lbs less than I did then. <BR> And I know that those 25 lbs are gone for good! <BR> <BR> Today, I have established many good eating habits that feel very comfortable and allow me to feel in control with food. <BR> <BR> Today, I am aware of everything that I eat. There is no more mindless eating in my life. <BR> <BR> This year, in 201... Mon, 6 Jan 2014 20:31:31 EST Will I See This Through? I am at a familiar place on my scale -- about 15 to 20 lbs above my goal weight. <BR> <BR> This is about 20 lbs below where I first started out (as PennyAn45) back in January 2010. <BR> So I do consider myself a success here. <BR> <BR> I have been as much as 7 pounds lower than this - but I have not held it there for long. <BR> <BR> It is fairly easy for me to hold my weight where it is now. I eat mostly healthful foods, with occasional treats, and I do not feel deprived. <BR> <BR> My ... Sun, 24 Nov 2013 10:26:08 EST