Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

10.  I really, really REALLY want to like fruit more than I do.  I used to just love summer fruit but for some reason I'm struggling even with those fruits this year.  I have been making myself eat some but afterwards I always feel so disappointed and like I just wasted calories that I could have "spent" on something else.  It's sort of driving me crazy.

9.  Evidence:  3 apples that have been sitting on my desk for about 3 weeks.  The skin is starting to feel wrinkly...

8.  Chronic pain makes me want to eat.  I know I've mentioned that but it keeps echoing in my brain because I can't seem to get a grip.  Yep, that means I haven't been making very good choices lately and yep, Ima totally deserve whatever the scale says at my end of June weigh-in.  Even though my first weigh in got messed up by the scale debacle, I was still hoping to get close to my goal.  If I don't it's my own damn fault!

7.  When we went out for my sister's birthday last Saturday, I came across the best named menu item I've ever seen.  It was so well named, I ordered it: Big Honkin' Pork Chop! The actual meal was a thick cut pork chop served with sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob, and potato salad.  It was delicious!

6. One of the events we went to last weekend was my company's 40th Anniversary Party. The event was held under the tent at the marina that my boss who passed away used to own.  We had beautiful weather and it was just a very nice event.  The cakes were made to resemble our current ambulance style and a 1938 Packard ambulance that we own.  Our employees restored it some years ago.  If you've seen the movie Seabiscuit, you've seen this ambulance.

5.  Tuesday night I got to do something I hardly ever get to do:  cook dinner!  Normally I'm at a Muay Thai class but since I earned my stripe on Monday, I don't have to go back until my cycle class on Saturday morning.  I decided to do a grill meal and it came out fabulous. Yes, there's only one piece of corn there, Mr. Helen doesn't like grilled corn, only steamed.  Plus I got to use my two favorite grill gadgets: my potato 'baker' and my wok basket.  

4. You know what's one of those moments you never forget?  When a child, without prompting, expresses their feelings for you, like the first time they hug you back.  My nephew Jacob (who is almost 9) is a really good kid but sort of reserved (he's like his daddy that way).  When Mr. Helen had him this week they went to the beach and when they got back he told Mr. Helen that he needed to come say goodbye to me before he went home since he's going on vacation.  He walked into the living room and gave me the hardest hug.  I told him to have a great vacation and that we'd see him in a couple of weeks and he turned and said, "I love you Auntie Helen. Bye!" First time he's ever spontaneously said that.  I'll admit it made me all verklempt.  Sweet music to my ears.

3.  Hang Ten Toes, by China Glaze.  Love how neon the pink is! I did this myself so don't zoom otherwise you'll see the mistakes lol!

2.  We've had spectacular weather the past couple of days: 80s during the day, around 60 overnight.  I wish I could find a place where it was like this year 'round. This has also made it very hard for me not to run, although...

1. I ran slow and steady this morning, with my doc's permission.  When I met up with him last night, I copped to having done some jogging during my 7 miler last week and running on the treadmill (so I'd have a softer surface) yesterday morning.  Since I was no worse for wear - and some things have actually improved (my foot - woot!) he allowed that I could run if I promised to ice, ice, ice every couple of hours all day.  This requires me to haul ice packs to work but I don't care.  The endorphin hit I got makes it all worth it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plan of Attack

Where to begin?  I'm not even sure but I will try to make enough sense of things that when read, this can be understood.

When I went to the doctor for my evaluation appointments, he was pretty shocked at how far along my various issues were.  I explained to him that I have a pretty good tolerance for annoying pain and because I'm also aging and something always seems to be not quite right, I think I may have lost the ability to distinguish between an ache for a day and something that will become chronic.

Because chronic is where I'm at right now.  Pretty much aching all day long and by the evening I'm fairly exhuasted.

Anyway, here are the various things that are/were wrong.  Dr. Chris is pretty sure I had a chain reaction since it's mostly my left side involved but hasn't yet figured out where it all started.  I don't think that matters as long as we can resolve it.  (Lots of links here so you can click on them and read all about it if you don't already know.)

Left Foot:  Heel Pad Syndrome.  Maybe with a touch of Plantar Fasciitis.  The only reason he's not ruling out plantar fasciitis altogether is that when he did the myofascial release on the tendon, there was soreness there although I am not feeling any tugging along the arch.   Basically the treatment for this each time I go is myofascial release and then Microelectro Acupuncture.  Along with lots of stretching after I work out and icing.  I have actually brought an ice pack to work and try to ice it several times a day.  When I've been going out for any walk over 3 or 4 miles, I've also been taping it as illustrated.

My left knee is aggravated but we can't seem to pinpoint what exactly is going on there.  You'd think Runner's Knee but he is able to track and move the knee cap easily so it's possible there is some tendinitis. Right now, he is having me rub a homeopathic gel called Traumeel into the knee several times a day.  I have to say, while the relief isn't long term I do get immediate relief as soon as I rub that gel in.  I'm also rubbing it in to my foot.

My left hip flexor is bound up and the tugging that I was feeling at the top front of my leg turned out to be micro-tears in my quadricep. He has been working on the quadricep with the myofascial release because though the tugging is already gone (again I was rubbing Traumeel into the sore area) he said the whole quad in that leg is ropy and has adhesions which means it's not happy.  Believe me, neither am I when he's working on it.  Plus he yanks manipulates my hip flexor around to try to increase the range of motion.  When all is said and done, he hooks that up to the Microelectro Accupunture as well.

My left shoulder issue turned out to be an impingement of the bursa, also known as Rotator Cuff Tendinitis.  Probably caused by all the pushups and burpees I do at Muay Thai and aggravated by the teensy bit of weight lifting I was doing.  Again, I let it go too long so it's my fault.  For this he manipulates my arm around while stabilizing the rotator cuff.  Then we rub in down with Traumeel and it also gets hooked up to the Microelectro Accupunture.  I also have an exercise I've been doing on my own.  The whole point being to get the bursa freed up.  This is the one that I actually think is going to take the longest to heal.  I am considering going to an orthopedic doctor and getting a shot of cortisone if it hasn't calmed down in a couple of weeks.

Finally, my lower back is compressed. Maybe there's someone out there who would be familiar with this treatment but I'd never heard of it:  Spinal Intervertebral Decompression.  The first time I had to climb onto the table I was a little freaked out as it's a bit Frankensteinian.  Basically I lay flat on a table for about 10 minutes to relax the muscles and spine.  Then the doctor straps my feet down and with pulleys and levers he literally stretches me lengthwise.  It's almost the opposite of the neck machine I had to use last year when my nerve was pinched in my neck.  Instead of pulling my head up, it pulls on my feet and opens the spine.  I don't feel a huge improvement here yet but I'm not feeling any worse so that's good.

In addition to all that, he had me start taking some natural herbal pills that are supposed to help with inflammation, as he does not want me popping Motrin or Aleve.

Now you know why my appointments take between 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  OY.  Not that I like it but I'm going to do it for a few weeks as I'm tired of feeling hurty all the time.

Having said that, I decided last weekend that 10 days of not running was enough as I wasn't feeling any better by not running.  In fact, I think I was starting to feel worse.  While I did not outright run, I did run/walk my 7 miler last Saturday.  To be honest, not only was I no worse for wear, I think I felt better than I have over the last couple of weeks.  So I have decided I am going to throw in a couple of runs a week and the rest of the time I'll walk.  I did talk with a friend at Muay Thai who is at a doctor all the time because of her lower back and she said her doctor told her she could run but she had to wear an SI brace, so maybe I'll look into getting one of those.

There you have it - the plan of attack.  Let's just hope I win this war!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Even though I'm somewhat in weight loss mode again, I'm feeling impatient with it.  I had the opportunity to have a conversation with someone at the birthday party I attended Friday night regarding finding our happy weight.  I stated that I no longer want to weigh what I did umpteen years ago but I do want to lose 15-20 more pounds - and - and this is a BIG AND - stay there.  Being able to stay there would make me so happy.

The issue is that the impatience can make it near to impossible to get there.  For example on that same day prior to that conversation I was 'feeling' fat.  The feeling was completely ridiculous because I was wearing the very outfit that I wore on the plane to St. Martin.  That means that my weight hasn't changed enough to make a difference in my clothing yet when I went to St. Martin I felt terrific and proud and that Friday I felt 'fat.'

On Saturday morning, I came across a blog of someone who is feeling that same impatience.  Interesting to me because Karen and I do not approach weight loss in the same way.  She has worked very hard at NOT dieting and being an intuitive eater.  Good for her.  And yet, here we are, a dieter and an intuitive eater having the same feelings.

If you read that blog, you'll see that my comment to her was that I know it's important to treat our bodies with kindness as we go through the process.  I feel that way because I don't think it matters how you are getting to your happy weight, I truly believe you will get there faster if you are kind to yourself.

As I further thought about Karen's post and the conversation I had on Friday night I had sort of an *a-ha* moment.  Not only does this while process require patience, it requires consistency. Unfortunately, whether one is eating intuitively or following a structured diet plan, or even trying to maintain the weight loss achieved, you have to do it consistently, day in and day out.  And, for me that night be the hardest thing of all.

At this moment in my weight loss process, it's not just all the extra events that come this time of year, it's also what I call diet 'fatigue.'  I've mentioned it before:  while I'm not truly happy where I am, I am happy 'enough.' I'm able to wear some really pretty clothing and most of the time (Friday excepted) I like the way I look and feel. While I feel so much better when I weigh less than I do now, the fact that I feel 'good enough' makes it easy for me to justify the extra handful of this or that, the extra bite of this or that, or the extra drink of this or that.   This behavior, of course,  is the opposite of consistency, unless I am consistently trying to gain weight.

So now that I've had these moments of clarity, the real trick is going to be to put the thoughts into action.  I know I'm capable, but can I?  Will I?  I'm not actually sure what I'm going to do to be quite honest.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Ten

1. I asked, and received permission to work 4 nine-hour days and 1 four-hour day thereby being able to leave work at noon every Friday.  It's something I've wanted for a while and since I need to go for treatments every Friday, it made sense to ask.  My boss was fine with it and I'm a happy camper!  If I really like this schedule I may ask him to continue it after my treatments are finished.


2. Big excitement at the Helen household.  Remember the lilies I planted from root plants last year?  Well they came up a teeny bit but never flowered.  This year they've been growing like wild fire and as I pulled in the driveway the other day I saw this:

The first flower!  Of course I looked at all the plants and there are lots of buds.  I hope a bunch of flowers suddenly break out.  As I am not a gardener and have now had daffodils, tulips and lilies bloom, you can color me happy.


3. I have started buying my Fage yogurt in a big container then dishing it out rather than the smaller individual ones. I was buying the smaller ones when they're on sale but most of the time I have about 2 oz. or so of yogurt left over. It's annoying and ultimately too many times, a waste - picture me at the end of the week cleaning out the fridge and finding 4 or 5 containers with 2 oz. left in them.  Dumb.


4. I was officially invited to participate in the Black Belt Cycles which means I go to special classes every two weeks on Saturday mornings from 7:30-9:00 a.m. because I am now a candidate for the November/December test.  I don't feel ready at all and completely froze in class the other night when they told us to work on our combinations.  My mind went blank.  Ugh.  I think I'm panicking a little.  Of course panicking does no good at all and what I need to do is figure out how to get over the stomach rumbling stage fright I feel about this test.  I know the material, I can do it!

5. Our dojo owners finally officially recognized Mr. Helen as a Sensei.  Even though the students have called him that for years, a couple of years ago they instituted a formal recognition and had never done it with him.  The kyoshi apologized and told him it was way overdue.  (That's true.) He got a new uniform with "Sensei" embroidered right on it and they asked him to have his picture taken by a sports photographer.  It will be made into a poster and put on the dojo wall:

One of the other senseis saw the preview on the photographer's website and posted it on my Facebook wall.  People outside of the dojo who know Mr. Helen in real life keep saying to me that it doesn't look like him at all because he looks mean and he's not mean.  Oh, but I tell them, he can be mean as get out.  Just try messing with his family or someone that he really cares about.  Then you'll see mean.  I think the photo is cool even if he does look a little more stern than usual.


6. Whoooooo boy do we have a busy, busy, busy weekend ahead with an event Friday, Saturday AND Sunday: a couple birthday celebrations and my company's 40th Anniversary shindig.  Each will be nice in their own way but even Mr. Helen took one look at the calendar and said, "Promise me you won't book us for anything next weekend?"  I've just been trying to figure out how I'm going to deal with all the food as if I allow myself 3 days of indulgence that will surely put a halt to any weight loss I might otherwise get.


7. The other Tarjay sun dress.  Our temps went from 65ish to 90 overnight so I finally had the chance to break it out.  So cool and comfortable for a teeny bit of money! And look how much of my pretty St. Martin tan is lost due to no beach time yet.  Sigh.


8. Had my first appointment with the doctor who is treating my aches and pains and I was actually impressed with his treatment plan. I know some of ya'll want details so I'll do a whole separate post mmmkay? When I told him that I had done my boxing classes and had been walking he was fine with that.  He explained further, "Athletes like you [athletes like me!] are hard to stop so I generally advise no exercise and you guys generally just cut back a little which is really what I want."  OHHHHHHH reverse psychology, eh? Even when I find something disagreeable about a new doctor I always give them a few visits - sometimes first impressions are not the real deal.


9. I saw this online the other day and was tempted to find it and buy it so the next time someone asks me why I keep running when I keep having issues and when I'm not really built for it (whatever that means!) then suggests that I stop, I could just hold it up and point.  And now you all know the truth.  It's not for health. *Cue Evil Laugh*


10. Just as an FYI, due to an anonymous idiot I'm requiring people to sign in to comment again. And not that it happens all that often:  If you come on here and are mean spirited or cruel or bullying, Ima delete your comment.  It's my blog. Carry on.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Six Pounds in June: Week 2

The weekend started off with the much anticipated visit to the doctor to have my aches and pains evaluated and get a treatment plan going.  After all was said and done, he told me that I do indeed have plantar fasciitis in my left foot, I have an impingement in the bursa in my left shoulder, but the most concerning issues were what was going on in my lower back and left hip flexor.  Those two things are what is causing my entire left leg to be cranky.  Then he said, "No Muay Thai Boxing for at least a week and no running until I say so."

You can only imagine how that went over with me.  The ensuing conversation went something like this:

"As far as the Muay Thai, there is absolutely no way I am not boxing.  My husband took his first degree test with his arm in a sling after rotator cuff surgery.  In other words, we don't let things become obstacles to us.  Besides, there are many people with real disabilities who are worse off than I am right now who take those classes.  I'm boxing.  I'll modify because I don't want to hurt myself, but I'm boxing!"

He didn't look too pleased but I think he knew there was nothing he could say to make me change my mind.  Then I said, "As for the running, I'm willing to let that go for a few days but I'm trying to lose weight and I sit on my butt all day so I need to do something aerobic.  Can I walk instead of run?"  He replied, "Personally, I think you should just control your food intake instead - for example, lower your calories to 1000 per day and you'll lose weight.  But if you insist, yes you may walk. It's the pounding from the running I want you to avoid."

OK, 1000 calories a day?  Obviously said by someone who is an idiot does not do much dieting but I'll just ignore that and do my walking.

Saturday my long run was scheduled to be 6 miles to I decided I'd just go ahead and walk that and I did.  My doctor underestimates my walking ability - truthfully I'm a better walker than runner: 6.5 miles, 1:22:08, average pace 12:38 per mile.  Take that Dr. No Good News!

I asked Mr. Helen what he would like for his Father's Day meal.  Since the kids don't live around here I try to do something special for him.  I was pretty happy when he said he wanted fish - fits right in with my eating plan.  I did make him a special cake because I normally make his birthday cake and didn't this year.  I found the recipe for this cake through Pinterest of course, and it was a huge hit!  The only thing I did differently was to frost it with chocolate frosting instead of the cream cheese frosting the recipe called for.  (If I was making it for me, I would have put the cream cheese frosting on it.)  I had a sliver and let me tell you, this recipe is a keeper, not to mention it's a great way to use up overripe bananas. I made the cake on Saturday so he'd have the whole weekend to enjoy it - plus I got him to take a huge piece of it to his coworkers on Sunday.  

As for my weigh in, I have to admit I was a bit surprised.  I was ready for whatever I saw, but I just didn't 'feel' like I'd lost any weight. 

That is a loss of 2 lbs. You have permission to laugh at my mad photography skillz. Actually, this is a good representation of how the scale sort of looks to me when I don't have my glasses on lol!  However, the poor quality of this photo is due to my camera, obviously, being on the wrong setting. Good grief. I should have used the iPhone.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dribs and Drabs

Guess what?  Other than my aches and pains, the crappy weather - which is much better today and forecast to be good for the weekend though still unseasonably cool, and my boring job that still gives me a paycheck so I need to shut up, I've had a pretty good week.

Again, I feel so. much. better. when I actually stick to my planned eating.  This also means I am actually looking forward to stepping on the scale tomorrow and I can honestly say I'm ready to see anything it offers up. Well, maybe not a 22.4 pound gain, but pretty much anything else.  Hopefully no one else has stepped on it since I reset it ;)

The other day I started craving a chocolate milkshake.  Bad.  Like really, really craving it to the point where I just made up my mind I was going to drive to McDonald's and get one.  Very odd for me as I generally just don't drink calories:  I take my coffee black, my tea unsweetened or with a tiny bit of Splenda, I mostly drink water, etc.  I had to get gas in the car so I had to go out at lunch.  Danger Will Robinson!  Off I went to get the gas and decided to go into the grocery store right by the gas station to grab bananas and garlic and lettuce.  When I got done, I was going to McDonald's for sure. As I started to leave I realized this store has a Starbucks in it.  Don't buy much coffee or anything like that either but I walked over and looked at the menu and they had a Light Mocha Frappucino.  I decided it probably had less calories than a milkshake so I bought the small one with no whipped cream (or Tall  Frap, No Whip as they insisted on calling it).  It was so yummy  and completely satisfied the craving.  Got back to the office to look up nutrition:  580 calories for a small chocolate milkshake,  110 for my small frap, no whip - SCORE!


One of my coworkers has a few chickens and gets so many eggs that he brings them in to give away.  I was the lucky recipient of the last carton.  Should  have taken a photo of the whole carton because he has three different types of chickens and the eggs are three different colors.  I did take a photo of this one because A. the shell is green!  and Z. it was huge!

I used it to make this breakfast pizza: Approximately an ounce (maybe two?) of my homemade pizza dough, 1 T homemade sundried tomato pesto, 1 oz. part skim mozzarella, 2 slices nitrate free uncured Applewood smoked bacon crumbled up and of course, Mr. Green up there.  Goodness this was just a spectacular breakfast.  More than I'd normally eat but I had it Wednesday morning by which time I'd done 10 miles of running and 2 Muay Thai classes in 48 hours.  I feel so much better if I have a bigger breakfast on Wednesdays :)


A couple shots of the patio prior to the picnic for Little Helen started.  The organized planning neatnik in me likes how put together and peaceful it all looks:

Ooooh and I love those food tent thingys on the table up there.  They keep all the bugs away from the food. I got them for just a dollar and they actually fold down like an umbrella for storage.


I had an initial consultation with the new doctor I am seeing about my aches and pains. He is a certified naturopath, certified in Kinesiology, certified in Sports Medicine Therapies, AND a Chiropractor! I really like what he offers:  Integrative Medicine.  This means he goes through a biomechanical, chiropractic, neuromusculoskeletal and kinesiologic examiniation to find why the pain is there in the first place.  As he said to me, all the various issues are probably connected and will trace back to one area of my body that was injured or inflammed and then caused me to change how I walk, run, sit, exercise, etc.  Those changes in turn caused other things to flare up and now I'm just a mess. 

Once he determines the source he will come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that emphasis natural management of inflammation (no Motrin!), restoring function, balancing muscles and whatever is necessary to heal and prevent further chronic pain. I was impressed and decided to go ahead and make an appointment for a complete evaluation which I will be going to this afternoon.  To say I'm looking forward to it would be an understatement.


Last song on my iPod during my run this morning - appropriate for me I think.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: The Skinny Rules

The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to THIN by Bob Harper, with Greg Critser**

It was my love of Bob Harper that made me want to buy this book in the first place - not that I thought there would be anything at all in the book that I didn't already know after 25+ years of off and on dieting, .  That, and a I had a gift card to the book store :)

The first part of the book is The Skinny Rules and consists of 20 Rules that Harper says he insists that all his clients and his Biggest Loser contestants use.  They cover a wide range of tactics including Rule #1 Drink A Large Glass of Water - Before Every Meal - No Excuses!, Rule #7 No Carbs After Lunch and Rule #15 Eat at Least 10 Meals a Week at Home - and Cook Them Yourself.  Each of the rules is expanded on and explained, sometimes with Harper's own experiences as backup and sometimes with scientific and medical studies.

Here's the thing: I happen to agree with most of his rules, even though some of them are easy for me and some not so much.  As it happens Rule #18 Go To Bed Slightly Hungry. is one I'm working on.  This is difficult for me at best, since my 'dinner' time ranges anywhere from 6:30-8:00 and my bedtime is somewhere between 8:30-9:00.  My approach has been to cut back a bit on what I'm eating when I eat very late and the results have been that I've been waking up at 4 am already hungry!  So I guess I'm burning a lot of fats and sugars because most days I do not have time to put one bite of food into my mouth prior to about 8 am.

Bob suggests that if you can just get yourself to follow the rules for 30 days, you will see changes and have set yourself up for success.

The second part of the book is called The Skinny Way and includes a Set Yourself Up for Success chapter followed by four weeks of menu plans.  The menu plans are differentiated between gender (yep, men get more food) and are mix and match.  So on week 1 you can choose any breakfast, any snacks, any lunch, and any dinner listed.  The plans contain very 'normal' foods, i.e., normal proteins, vegetables, and grain/starch carbohydrates.  As the weeks progress, the plans change and there is a lot of variety.

The third part of the book is The Skinny Tools which is 100 pages of recipes that go with the menu plans.

In summary, I have to admit, the thing that surprised me most about the rules, being that it is Bob Harper who wrote the book, is that not one single rule pertained to exercise.  I know a lot of people in his field have come to the conclusion that while exercise is important for overall health, getting your food healthy and in correct portions is more important.  Perhaps that's where he stands on the issues.

I very much like the menu section and have been using some of his ideas in my own eating plan. It's really nice to not have to think up something to eat but rather pick the plan up and look at those ideas and choose one.  As I said before, it's all very common foods that most of us already have in our homes.  I would say if you are a person who is trying to get started losing weight, or get started again, this section of the book could be a dynamic tool in that process.  I really like that the plans are broken down by gender so that would make it terrific for couples who might want to lose some weight together.

The recipe section is terrific as well.  Not only are they quite easy recipes but most of them make only 1-4 portions so you're not going to be stuck eating the same thing 7 days in a row.  Bonus: some of the recipes really are just 'assembly' and don't require a lot of thought or ingredients.  I'm sure it was designed this way as Harper is trying to get some folks to actually follow Rule 15 and he's dealing with people who eat out a lot.

The one thing that gave me pause with the food is that Harper suggests women eat only 1200 calories per day.  Not that 1200 is bad, I'm just not sure it's enough for people who work out a lot. (Maybe that's why those people on the show lose so fast?) However, he allows what he calls "Harpersizing" of most vegetables (there is a list and very few are excluded) and when tracking you don't count those things at all.  Though I haven't personally tried it, I suppose if one was to eat according to his guidelines the 1200 calories might just work as the additional calories from the things not counted would bring the total number of calories consumed higher.

In conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  It is actually easy to read, full of very good advice, and well worth the money, especially for someone wanting a bit of structure.  Bob Harper said:

You want to keep the weight off.
You want a way that makes sense in your real-world daily life.
Something convenient and healthy.
Something you can always fall back on.
Something permanent, nonnegotiable, and simple.

I agree that this book would be a great tool to move one in that direction.

**By the way, I purchased this book and all of the opinions expressed here are my own.  Bob Harper and/or his publishers do not know I exist.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Six Pounds In June: Week 1 Check-In

As I mentioned last week, I am anxious to get the weight loss portion of my personal journey to my dream size out of the way and thus decided to set a mini-goal of losing six pounds in June.  I think that's reasonable although depending on how my thyroid is functioning I could possibly not make it.  But, thyroid or no, I think it's a good goal to shoot for.

My week of eating went really well despite the fact that I wanted to eat all the time.  What was interesting about this is that on the third day, I realized I wasn't hungry but that I was wanting to eat to alleviate the chronic and nagging aches and pains I'm having right now.  It was as if my brain was screaming for relief and of course it's been proven that when we eat certain foods, it releases endorphins in our brain which make us feel momentary relief.  I'm sure that feeling of wanting relief was exacerbated by the fact that although I am exercising I just can not exercise as intensely as I'm used to, therefore no runner's highs for me right now.

Overall I guess I'd give myself a B for behaving (for the most part).  In any case I felt confident that when I stepped on my Zero Scale there would be some downward movement.  Back to that in a minute.

Late Thursday night, Little Helen came into town to spend a couple days.  She had been at a conference in New York City all week and since that's only 2 hours from home thought that she'd make a mid-year appearance.  Once we were positive that she was coming in, we put together an impromptu picnic for family members so that everyone who was available could stop by to see her.

One of my sister-in-laws knew she couldn't be there on Saturday so she stopped by on Friday night and after weeks of rain, we got a patio night! - made extra special by the fact that Mr. Helen grilled filet mignon and lobster tails for us!

At one point SIL excused herself and when she came back she said, "Something is wrong with your scale, it says I weigh 200-something!"  (There is no way.)  Mr. Helen piped in and said, "Yeah I noticed the other day that it was acting funky, I think it needs new batteries."   (We have separate scales.) I asked her why she even weighed herself and she said she's been dieting but doesn't have a scale.  I offered to go back in and show her how to get her weight on the Zero Scale but she declined.

We had a wonderful evening - so much fun that before we knew it, it was 11:00 p.m.!  We hustled off to bed because Saturday was picnic day and we had lots of prep to do. 

As it turned out staying up until almost midnight meant I slept until 7 am, so I had a quick cup of coffee then hustled out to try to do a 5 mile run.  I say 'try' because I was a hurting puppy when I got up and I wasn't sure my left side would let me run.  Happily I managed to get one in, though I paid for it afterwards, all day long. (Doctor's appointment scheduled for Wednesday and it can't come soon enough!)

Got home and hurried to get my food prep done for the picnic and at least sweep the kitchen floor and wipe down the bathrooms.  As I got ready to get in the shower, I realized I had never weighed myself so I ran back downstairs to the Zero Scale.  Here's a secret:  I don't even wear my glasses (they might weigh 6 oz.!) so everything looks fuzzy to me.  If I want a photo, I get the camera all zoomed prior to stepping on so that I can just point and shoot - which I did.  As I looked down, I thought, "Huh, that looks like a gain.  Oh no.  How could that be?  And it looks double digits?  WHAT IS HAPPENING?"

Ran upstairs, grabbed my glasses to look at the photo and this is what I saw:

At first I was in such SHOCK at gaining 24.4 pounds in a week, that I didn't notice, it wasn't a week.  As I continued to stare at the photo and try to process what the hell was going on, I saw the "0" as in 0 days.  And that's when I realized that my SIL had stepped on the Zero Scale (not Mr. Helen's scale) and that she thought it was saying she weighed 244 pounds, and that in reality she had weighed herself from 'my' previous zero so I weigh 24.4 pounds more than she does.  GAH!

Long story short?  I have no idea how my first week of June went in terms of the scale.  I had to reset the scale and start from zero again.  And now you know why when we had the picnic on Saturday, we put the scales away LOL!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Is This the Answer?

Ya'll know I've been battling a bunch of dumb aches/pains/injuries or something.  As Shelley mentioned, I do like to move it move it so it has been quite frustrating.  But I think maybe I've found the answer, thanks to one of my Sparkfriends... I dare you to watch and not want to wiggle.  In any case it'll give your funny bone a tickle!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Back in the Kitchen

Last Saturday it rained and was supposed to be nice on Sunday so I did my weekly food prep as it poured.  In working towards my June goal of losing 6 lbs. the only way I know to do that is to set myself up for success by having lots of food ready so that I have no excuse to grab a handful of chips rather than some fruit.

After 'vacating' my usual dedication to my diet (or as Kristen calls it "Food-Style") for most of the month of May, I knew it was time to get myself back on track, for real.  I think the semi-break I took was good because I did make some decisions about my diet and how I'm going to eat.  All the time I've been doing Paleo, I have consistently missed some dairy products and beans.  I'm not much of a milk drinker but I do like to use milk in recipes.  But cheese?  That I love and I have really missed it.  I also have missed beans - especially in the form of hummus and the occasional bean I might put in a salad.  Oh, and quinoa which I have come to love.  And so, I have decided to call my diet approach Lacto-Ovo-Beano Paleo.  Which, when I think about it, is sort of a low glycemic approach to eating.

One of the things I made on Saturday was another version of a crustless quiche.  This one may be my favorite version yet - maybe because of the cheese. I've been having a piece of it for breakfast and that has been a nice change from getting up and making eggs every day, which are still my breakfast of choice.

This version comes together very quickly because there's not a lot of pre-prep.  I will say, next time I make it, I'm adding some onion - I think that would make it perfect!

Spinach, Mushroom, and Feta Crustless Quiche

10 oz. box frozen spinach,  defrosted and drained
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bella because they are firm and hearty)
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup reduced fat crumbled feta
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Egg Beaters
1 cup 1% milk
2 T Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
1/4 cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. If your frozen spinach is not already thawed, thaw it in the microwave according to package instructions. Empty the box into a colander and let it drain while you begin to prepare the rest.

Place the sliced mushrooms in a skillet coated with non-stick spray. Add the minced garlic and a little salt and pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-high and saute the mushrooms until they release all of their moisture and no more water remains on the bottom of the skillet.

Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray. Squeeze the rest of the water out of the spinach and spread it out on the bottom of the pie dish. Next add the cooked mushrooms and crumbled feta.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs until fairly smooth. Add the milk, parmesan and another small sprinkle of pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour this mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms and feta.

Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet for easy transfer into the oven. Place the quiche into the preheated oven and bake until it is golden brown on top and the center is solid. This will take between 45 minutes and an hour.

This will make 4-6 servings depending on how hungry you are and if you're serving anything else with it.  The whole quiche only has 632 calories, 25g fat, 32g carbs, 8.5g fiber and 69g protein.  I've been having 1/4 of it for breakfast because that's all I'm eating.  That serving amounts to 158 calories, 6.2g fat, 8g carbs, 2.1g fiber and 17.2g protein.  


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Size, Not A Weight & Other Things I Haven't Said

Almost two full months ago, after a good hard run, I started having a pulling sensation in my left leg high up on the outside, almost to the joint where the leg meets the hip.  I immediately started rolling it and taking some Motrin but it progressively got worse and worse - to the point where even if I didn't run, during the simple act of walking I would feel a tug, tug, tug with every step.  First thing in the morning it was pretty debilitating and I had more runs that started with trying to walk it off than I cared for.

Then one morning I got up and my lower back - on the right side - was extremely sore and fatigued and feeling like if I wasn't very careful it was going to go out.  Again, as the day would go on, I would loosen up but holy carp, the mornings were really hard and it was extremely difficult to even want to do my 4:30 am running. Oh, and my left foot started feeling like it was getting a bad case of plantar fasciitis.  This is the foot that has the neuroma so if that was flared up too you can imagine what trying to take a normal step felt like, much less running. Good grief! However, I was close to going away on vacation so I gritted it out because I knew I'd get some rest. For me, vacation has always been an exercise optional time.  There is a season for everything and that includes rest. I take one outfit but if I don't use it I don't care nor do I feel guilty.  As I've never been one to have a difficult time restarting exercise, I am perfectly fine with 'vacating' everything.

Unfortunately, after a full week of rest I came home pretty discouraged - everything was still achey and I was starting to feel like the real problem might be originating in my back - on both sides.  Gah.  Though I gave it a good try, I had a very difficult time getting back into my routine.  It's hard to get up at 4 am and be raring to go when you hurt from head to toe. After two weeks at home, I took off again to visit Little Helen and decided to once again take the time I was away as a rest period.  Mind you, we did a ton of walking while I was there and by the end of that trip the tugging in the leg was becoming less and less, though the foot issue seemed to be getting worse.

When I returned home after Memorial Day, I began my normal exercise routine and what do you know all the issues began to flair up again.  I guess I'm getting the message that the left side of my body is pretty unbalanced and I'm going to have to get with some sort of doctor.  This whole situation has been quite frustrating and discouraging!

For the time being, I am rolling, icing, and getting Mr. Helen to massage my sore foot.  I also decided to try to stick with the treadmill as much as I can to give myself a softer surface until some of this stuff calms down.  That has actually been easy as it has been grey and dreary and raining and cold.  Yep, cold.  48 degrees overnight, for example.


I am in deep love with my Zero Scale.  Never thought I'd say that about a scale but it's true.  This tool has completely kept me from worrying and agonizing about my weight.  I jump on, see progress (or don't!) and for the most part it doesn't affect my mood in regards to my weight.

Still, I haven't been using it very much as during most of the month of May as I was away on vacation and in vacation mode, which means I give myself a break from the scale and food tracking.  It doesn't mean I allow myself to go completely off the rails but I will say a little more pasta was consumed than I would normally partake of.  Delicious pasta is not Paleo or Primal or anything that should be eaten in quantity unless one is training for a marathon or some other such endurance event, which I am not.

Recently a co-worker turned to me and told me I was looking really good and wanted to know what my goal weight was, as in her opinion I must be getting close.  While I think I've always realized it, somehow her asking solidifed in my mind that I no longer have a goal weight.  I do have a goal size and to be honest I'm not exactly sure what I will weigh when I get there.  The last time I wore my goal size was 5 years ago and I distinctly remember how good I felt and how little I actually thought about weight or food.  Maybe that's why I want to get there again.

I also have a long term goal to be at that size when my friend Em gets married in October.  I think it's going to require me to lose around 15 more lbs., so really I've only gotten around halfway through the weight loss I need to get to my size goal and now it's time to get down to brass tacks.

I've always admired Lori's habit of setting monthly goals.  Somehow they seem more reasonable and reachable than trying to attack a big mountain.  As May wound down I sort of cooked up a plan and I started a personal challenge on June 1.  My goal in June is to lose 6 pounds.  That weight I want to lose already feels less overwhelming and totally doable by October... assuming I don't vacate too much between now and then!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Until We Meet Again

Day 4 and my last full day there, I slept in until 8:30.  Seriously.  I know most of my readers just fell over in shock but I swear between all the go, go, going and the good food and company and late nights my body decided that if I was going to go to bed late, it was still going to try to get it's 7-8 hours of sleep.

When I finally did wake up, Little Helen had gone out for a run so I got some coffee then jumped in the shower.  Once she was back, we decided not to go out for any major sightseeing.  I wanted to do some shopping but I didn't want to go to a mall or a department store.  The thing is most of the farmer's markets/crafty type things seem to happen on Sundays in that area - except one - Eastern Market.  Eastern Market is the DC areas oldest continually operating public food market.  Ya'll.  I was so enthralled I didn't take one single photo.  But to describe it consists of an indoor actual sort of supermarket with some pre-made foods plus a whole outside farmer's market PLUS a whole craft/flea market.  We were there for several hours.  It was so much fun.

While we were in that area Little Helen suggested that we go eat at Cava Mezze, which is a restaurant that serves Greek tapas - so the small plate theme continued for us.  Once again, I took no pictures.  Maybe I was too hungry but trust me when I say every single thing we had was delicious!

When we left there we decided we had time to do one sightseeing sort of thing so we got off the metro at the Smithsonians and went to the National Portrait Gallery.  Once there, we decided to take a tour being offered because the place is giant.  We learned some very interesting things about early American artists and saw how art progressed from the 19th century into the 20th.  If you have a chance you should definitely go to this gallery - there are actually some paintings you'll recognize!

Fran, there was a huge exhibit on loan to the museum from your country!  We got to see some of it but no photos allowed.

If you've seen the movie Glory then you'll understand what this sculpture is based on.  It is a tribute to the Civil War's first all black volunteer company and their caucasion leader Robert Gould Shaw. The original of this is on the Boston Commons.  This one has been lent by the artists family to the museum and it is spectacular in it's detail.

Thomas Jefferson!

John Quincy Adams!

Hello George!

When I say you could walk right up to these paintings and touch them, I'm not kidding.  Not that I did that or anything, I was just fascinated with the thought that I could.  So glad we decided to stop there.

We left there, metroed back to Little Helen's place, and had time to get cleaned up before we had to go meet my Spark Friends.

On our last night we usually choose a nicer restaurant or one with a great atmosphere and dress up a little.  Fun!  For this night we chose to eat at Circa.  Circa started at just one location and has branched out.  As soon as we got inside I was glad Little Helen suggested this location as the atmosphere was fabulous.  They sort of specialize in fancy cocktails so I tried a Blood Orange Martini as you know I had to stick to my Saturday night martini plan!  It may be the best martini I've ever had.  So good that I wanted another, but I refrained.  I found the food to be delicious as well though one of the girls did not like her main course, which is just a shame :(

This was my starter:  a short rib skewer with hunks of grilled polenta in between sprinkled with blue cheese.  They need to make this a main course it was so good!

 Gotta get in some greens - delicious spinach salad with all sorts of stuff in it.

I had a wild mushroom ravioli stuffed with goat cheese for my main course and once again, completely forgot to take a photo - but it was yummy! In the long run it should be all about the company anyway, right?

After a long relaxing dinner it was time to say our farewells as we were all heading our separate ways on Sunday and wouldn't have time to see each other.

I love my Spark Friends no matter how long it is between seeing them.  It's hard to explain to people how you can get so friendly and actually attached to people you've met online.  When our friend who has had the babies had her first one, the rest of us pitched in and sent a gift to her baby shower.  When she tried to explain to the people there who we were, one of them said, "It's like a grown-ass penpal!"  Yep, old fashioned penpals all grown up and modernized. Women I am glad to have in my life.

Until we meet again friends!

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Not Usually a Lush: Wine and Margaritas?

On Day 3 I slept until 7:30.  Oh my goodness I was exhausted from all that walking and touring and partying!  But soldier on I must.

Little Helen had arranged for a tasting at a Virginia winery so that meant driving instead of taking the metro for a change.  We got up and took off for Whole Foods where we bought items to take with us for a picnic lunch.  Fortunately, the direction we were driving was not the direction where all the traffic was and we got to the winery just before noon for our tasting. The drive itself is absolutely gorgeous and the word "Gentry" kept coming to mind as we went by mile after mile of rolling lawns with mansions and huge gorgeous farms.

Willowcroft Winery has been going since 1984 just outside of Leesburg, VA.  The tasting room is located in an old barn that they have renovated to include an event area.

Just beautiful!

We headed back for the DC area and once again were fortunately that now the heavy traffic was coming out of DC while we were going in.  After getting cleaned up, we headed out to meet Spark Friends for a meal at  Cactus Cantina.  The Cantina is known for not only its Tex Mex but also they create dished with a Latin flair.  We chose this because one of the Sparkers loves this sort of food while her husband does not.  It was a little bit of a pain to get to as it's outside of the metro system so we had to metro then bus, but once we got there, all was made good by a pitcher of their famous Frozen Margaritas.  I've never had anything like this Margarita and from now on will compare any other I partake of against these!

This was my meal: Carne Ranchero.  Grilled skirt steak smothered with onions, peppers, and mushrooms and melted Monterey Jack Cheese.  We got a kick out of the carrots and broccoli on the side which is sort of random lol!  This was also served with homemade warm tortillas, rice and beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo.  It was delicious but I had to give up on the extras and concentrated on the meat as it was a whole lotta food!

Another great day in the books... and a late one at that as I didn't end up getting to bed until after midnight!