Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week 14 Review: Limping along, but still losing!

So this week, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I lost another 1.5 lbs this week! (Cue crowd cheering and fanfare.) The bad news is that my feet are not happy and I'm limping even worse than I was a couple of weeks ago.

I went to the podiatrist for a follow up on Monday, and they made me another pair of temporary supports, only this time, instead of making a removable half sandal that I could slip on and off, the doc's assistant attached the neuroma padding and arch supports directly into the insole on my sneakers. Seems like a good idea, right? Unfortunately, the arch supports are a little too high, and it was making my foot roll to the outside when I walked,  which has caused me additional soreness and really pissed off my left ankle (where I have a sprain/strain in addition to neuromas and plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and metatarsalgia which is in both feet. Apparently, I also have bone spurs in both heels according to the doc's dictation notes from my last visit.)  I spent about three or four hours on my feet while window shopping Saturday, and I'm really paying for it today. (Whaaa whaaa... whine...okay, I'll stop. But it really sucks and I'm tired of being in pain with every step I take.)

What it comes down to, is that I need really good orthotic inserts to wear while things are healing up and recovering. I have really high arches, and none of the pre-fabricated inserts have a high enough arch to be beneficial to me, so they're going to cast my feet in plaster and create custom orthotics just as soon as I get the go-ahead from my insurance. Have I mentioned that this has been an expensive process? *sigh* I just hope they can fix me up. As long as the treatments work, it will have been worth it.

I really like this one, and it's "Make Every Day
Count" Can-Do attitude.
In happier news, I was able to get to the gym twice this week, and I'm having pretty good results on the bike. I also have a new addiction: Pinterest. Have you been on pinterest yet? It's sort of a virtual memo board where you can create collections virtual memo boards of pictures, links, blogs, as well as browse through other people's topic boards, and add the ones that strike your fancy to your own collection. It's been both a boone and a curse for me, because I have found so many amazing recipes, nerdy humor things, art, decorating and gardening ideas... the list goes on and on. The downside is, it's super easy to waste vast amounts of time perusing the goodies. The good part is that they have an iphone app, and I've been spending my gym time on the bike finding some really great recipes and "fitspiration" photos, which I've been adding to my personal motivation board.

You can see what I have so far here, if you like:
Overall, I've found some great stuff, and I figure every little bit of motivation and support that helps me stay on track is a good thing.

As for fun stuff this week, on Friday night, I went to see Titanic in 3D with good friends, and for three hours, I was 17 again. Saturday, I ventured out to Town Square to meet a friend for traditional tea at English's "Quintessentially British" gastropub. It was a fun experience! We were seated on the patio on the second floor of the building with a view of a sort of village green where there was an Easter egg hunt going on. It was a fun to watch the kids go wild while we enjoyed a variety of scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets. With the exception of the little strawberry, chocolate, and tiramisu bites on the top tier of the tray which were AMAZING, the food didn't blow my mind, but it was tasty, resonably priced, and the day was beautiful. I'll likely be back, if I can get down there again before the summer heat really kicks in.

Later that afternoon we ventured downstairs to Double Helix for more outdoor patio fun. My friend had some lovely wines (I was being good and stuck to water) and eventually, we ordered a charcuterie platter with a couple of different kinds of sausage, duck, gruyere, brie, truffled goat cheese, fresh fruit and quince preserves. After all the carbs at tea, we skipped the bread. Beyond that, all I can say is YUM! I'll definitely be back to try them again sometime!

I did pretty well at staying on track with points, tracking, and excercise, and I've lost another 1.5 lbs to prove it. (Yay!) I was able to budget for the weekend's indulgences (Everything from movie popcorn to the tea, and all the rest) by saving up all of my weekly points and the activity points I earned at the gym for the weekend. I'll be sticking to my points this week, and taking the foot stuff day by day. I'm hoping that I'll feel up to riding the bike in another day or two, but I'll have to see how things go.. I suspect that returning to an excercise routine is what's gotten my weight loss in gear again, and I don't want to mess up my mojo in that department.

I'm SO CLOSE to my 20lb mark that I can taste it, and I'm really ready to be out of the 260's. Only a little farther to go!  There are eight months to go in 2012, and I have just over 40 lbs to lose in order to meet my goal for the year. I'm hoping to catch up to my 2012 1 lb a week minimum goal within the next few weeks.

Weeks down: 14
Weeks to go: 38
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 262 lbs
This week's loss 1.5 lbs
2012 weight loss: 9.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 38.7

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs
Total loss: 19.5 lbs

Monday, April 2, 2012

A quick bit of pasta and veggie goodness

photo borrowed from:
A little something I whipped up on my lunch hour that turned out REALLY well. Thought I'd share. =)

2 oz Whole Wheat pasta (5 points)
1/2 cup serving marinara (2 points)
4 meatballs (Target Market pantry brand), Sliced, 5 points
2 handfulls of baby orange and yellow bell peppers, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach
1 Tbsp basalmic vinegar
garlic powder
1 small handful fresh basil, finely chopped
A couple of squirts of sriracha
1 TBSP parmesean (1 point)

Lightly Sautee bell peppers and spinach in a small pan while pasta cooks. Add sauce, garlic, sritacha, and meatballs. Toss with pasta and fresh basil. Top with a little parmesean.

12 points of pure crunchy, basily, spicy, meaty, carby yumminess, and hearty enough to see you through the rest of your work day!

Let me know what you think, and enjoy!

Food for Thought: Study links Junk food with Depression

Reposting from Huffington Post.

This is nuts! I'm so glad that I've cut most of this crap out of my diet. I didn't actually take blood tests before I turned over my new leaf back in November, but I'm positive that my cholesterol and blood pressure numbers are way better than they were. I was eating a ton of butter and salt, and comparatively use very little now.

Check out the video at the Huff Post link below too! 

A new study shows that junk food may have effects beyond expanding your waistline and upping your sodium levels -- it might also be sabotaging your mental health.
A new study in the journal Public Health Nutrition shows that regularly eating commercial baked goods -- including doughnuts and croissants -- as well as fast food -- pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs -- is linked with an increased depression risk.
Researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada found that the people who regularly eat these foods are also more likely to be more sedentary, smoke, eat other not-so-nutritious foods and work 45 or more hours a week.
"Although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being," study researcher Almudena Sánchez-Villegas said in a statement.
The study included 8,964 people who didn't have depression (and weren't taking any antidepressant drugs) at the start of the study. Their depression statuses and diets were tracked for an average of six months.
At the end of the study period, 493 people were depressed or were taking antidepressants. The researchers found that the ones who ate the most junk food were 51 percent more likely to develop depression, compared with people who ate the least of these foods.
The Mayo Clinic reported on a previous study also showing a similar link. That study showed that people whose diets are high in fried foods, processed meats, desserts and high-fat dairy had an increased risk of depression symptoms, compared with people who eat lots of fruits, veggies and fish.
And earlier this year, a study in the journal PLoS ONE showed that there may be a link between eating trans fats -- common in a lot of junk foods -- and being irritable and aggressive.
The researchers of that study, from the University of California, San Diego, found that greater trans fats intake seemed to predict whether a person was more aggressive. The finding held true even after taking into account factors like sex, age and ethnicity.

Week 13 update: I broke my plateau!

Tasty eats at Hachi
Amen and Hallelujah! I FINALLY broke through my plateau and lost 2.5 lbs this week. I attribute that success in part to getting back to the gym. I've been doing the recumbant bike, which seemed the safest way to get some cardio in without pissing off my feet. The temporary inserts the foot doc gave me have really been helping, and I've finally got hope that we might be able to get things in that department under control soon.

This week saw me staying close to home, with the exception of getting to the gym a few times, and an excursion out for dinner and a movie on Wednesday. We hit up Hachi at Red Rock for some pre-Hunger Games sushi, and appetizers,  which were tasty, though a bit overpriced for my tastes. (Have I mentioned I absolutely live for a bargain, and knowing good places to score cheap eats is something I take pride in. Still, the atmoshere was fun, and the service was attentive but not overbearing.

Coconut ginger curry soup... OMG!

After the movie, which was EPIC AWESOME, we decided to continue the Japanese theme and hit up Ichiza in China Town. The service was bad and we waited for a table forever. Still, their food is fun, with lots of variety, and tons of off-menu specialty items printed on cards which cover the walls. Many of them aren't even in English. We joked that the chef was in the back indulging in various substances to come up with some of the seriously off the wall creations. For instance, for desert, we ordered one of their house specialties which is simply called "Honey butter." Which was basicly half a loaf of freshly baked bread which had been partially hollowed out, drizzled with honey and butter, and then topped with a big gob of ice cream. It was... an experience. Good, but I don't feel the need for an  encore. (and before you think that I completely blew out my diet on this thing, between three of us, we ate maybe half of it.

"Honey Butter" after we killed it.
I took the day off work on Friday so that I could attend a friend's wedding, and consequently, I was able to check out an aqua-aerobics class at the gym which turned out to be super fun. I can't say that I feel like I got a real cardio workout, but it got me moving, and my body felt great after: relaxed and loose. If there were classes at times that I could actually attend, I'd definitely go more often. Unfortunately, most of them are mid day during the week (when I'm at work) or very early on Saturdays (which isn't happening.)

The wedding was fun, and I'm proud of myself for staying away from the buffet table all together. It was a dry wedding, so not having cocktails to contend with also made staying on track easy.

When it comes down to it, I actually went over my points for the week, which I Never do, but it was only by 15 points (which is maybe 400-600 calories) and I still lost 2.5 lbs. All's well that ends well, right?

So once again, goals for this week are to actually stay within my points, go to the gym if my feet continue to cooperate, and hopefully continue the downward trend on the scale. See ya next time!

Weeks down: 13
Weeks to go: 39
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 263.5 lbs
This week's loss 2.5 lbs
2012 weight loss: 8 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 38.9

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs
Total loss: 18 lbs

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 12: Foot Doc and WTF?

I had a serious WTF moment when I stepped on the scale this week and saw that I'd gained ANOTHER half pound. Okay. So I know half a pound isn't a huge deal, but when I can honestly say that I'm on program, it really pisses me off to see a gain on the scale. I'd be lying if I said that it didn't ruin my day, but I really kind of allowed it to. I've got to keep faith that if I keep doing things right, that things will start moving in the right direction again, and for what it's worth, I am staying on track. I'm tracking everything, and I'm absolutely on target with the diet portion of my program. I can only think that my lack of progress is due to the fact that I haven't been getting any cardio. Something I hope to change very soon.
In other news, I went to the podiatrist on Wednesday, finally, and after an exam and x-rays, the doc announced that I have "everything wrong with my feet that everyone has wrong with their feet: metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, neuroma, you just have all of it happening in BOTH feet."
Yay. Lucky me.  
I've also got one foot that's a little longer than the other which is making me walk a little bit funny, and putting strain on a ligament or tendon or something on the outside of my left foot, which explains the pain there.  
Gimpy feet!
The good news is that it's all most likely pretty treatable. The doc's assistant created some temporary orthotics out of foam and padding, to support my arches, and take the pressure off of the neuromas in the balls of both feet, and also gave me a little wedge to put in my right shoe to even out the leg length and take the pressure off the pissed off and strained ligament or tendon (or whatever it is) that's had me limping on my left foot for weeks. I'll be wearing these bad boys for about ten days or so, and then go back for a follow up to see how things are progressing.
The bad news is that I'm already out of pocket $180 bucks for a pile of foam and medical tape, and it turns out I have a $500 deductable on my health insurance when I see a specialist. Serious suckage. Don't get me wrong... I'm VERY glad I have insurance, but I was really hoping to save my pennies for a trip out to NYC and Boston this summer, and my little adventures in podiatry may put those plans on hold.
Sad Panda.
C'est la vie, right?  
Yes, I posted a foot pic.
Deal with it! LOL!
The doc sent me off with instructions to go forth and be rowdy on my feet. Go to the gym. Wear heels. Knock myself out. The point is, she wants to see how much, or if the orthotics help, presumably to see whether I'd benefit from more permanent inserts. So far, they do seem to be helping, and I went to the gym three times this week. I've been taking it a little slower, just recumbant bike for now, but it feels good to be moving. For once, my back is more sore than  my feet! (Yay...? LOL!) I go back in another week for a follow up. I just hope that I can get this resolved, and get back to 100%. I may be a big girl, but I've never been lazy, and I hate the way this injury has slowed me down.

My pretties, all ready for planting.
After all of that, today I'm so sore I can hardly move! Oof!
I spent a couple of hours Saturday afternoon at a plant nursery picking out herbs and a few flowers, and several hours yesterday potting my treasures, and playing in the dirt in a major way: digging, scooping, amending and reconstituting potting soil. So far, I have rosemary, lemon thyme, sage, marjoram, catnip, chocolate mint, three kinds of basil: boxwood, purple opal, and Thai, all in pots of various sizes. Some two or three to a large pot. They smell fantastic, and I feel like I did a good job of combining the plants in a way that will be a beautiful and visually pleasing addition to the garden, in addition to their kitchen yumminess. For ornamental stuff, I planted a couple of good sized cape plumbagos with pretty little periwinkle flowers all over them, a whole mess of petunias, and also transferred a large geranium from a hanging basket into a flower bed. I've also got a ton of marigold, burgundy mexican amaranth, and four o'clocks sprouting up from last year's scattered seeds.
My bratty Daisy cat only had eyes for the catnip. Typical!
No formal recipes this week, but I did discover a surprisingly tasty and easy meal: diced jalapeno, onion, and a couple of handfuls of frozen sweet corn, all sauteed with a little non stick spray, which I then tossed with a serving of egg noodles, 1/3 cup of alfredo sauce, and a little cilantro. Easy peasy, and so tasty I made it for lunch two days in a row. (It runs about 12 ww points, but 4 of that was from the corn.)

My goal this week is to get to the gym at least three days and try to get my momentum back. I'm really ready to see a lower number on the scale!
Weeks down: 12
Weeks to go: 40
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 266 lbs
This week's GAIN .5 lbs
2012 weight loss: 5.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.2

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs
Total loss: 14.5 lbs

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 11 review, and Roasted tomatillo and chipotle chili!

Well, I gained half a pound this week. I'm not sure why, but I'm not stressing about it. We're talking 8oz here, which is not much to speak of. I'm not really surprised to see a bit of fluctuation when it comes down to it though: it happens. I lost a total of 5lbs in the previous two weeks.  I've stayed on track with my diet, and I'm getting excercise in where I can, so hopefully it will average out in the end if I just keep doing what I should be doing.  
I go to see the podiatrist about my feet on Wednesday, so hopefully that will give me some answers, and she can give me some guidance as to what sorts of excercise I can safely do.

I'm trying to get back into the habit of cooking a new recipe each week. This week we hit a cold snap here in Vegas, and I decided to try my hand at a Roasted tomatillo and chipotle chile. I cobbled it together from a few different recipes I found. I'm considering it a work in progress, but it came out pretty tasty! I think next time I may add some roasted corn just before serving.

Weeks down: 11
Weeks to go: 41
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 265.5 lbs
This week's GAIN .5 lbs
2012 weight loss: 6 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.2

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 16 lbs

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week 10: Breaking Even

Good news! Somehow, I lost another three pounds this week! That means I've managed to lose the last of the 5 lbs I gained on vacation. It felt good to see that number on the scale!

I say that I don't know how I lost three pounds in a week, because I didn't even attempt to go to the gym this week, but I stayed on target with my WW tracking. I actually came in under my points this week, and way under my daily points yesterday, due to what I would like to say was due to a stomach bug, but in reality was really a nasty hangover. Oops.

Bad mermaid.

Note to self: when attending a dinner party, eating sparsely throughout the day, and like a bird at said dinner party does not mean it's a good idea to drink the rest of your daily points and then some. I thought if I went easy on the food and saved my points for drinks that I'd be good, but I got sick. Horribly horribly sick. Yes, I mixed. Yes, I failed to drink water. Yes, I failed to eat. Yes, I probably had a bottle of red all to myself throughout the course of the evening. Yes, I ate the vodka soaked gummy bears and behaved scandalously. (No, I won't be thrilling you with the details!) And, yes, I know better... but I did it anyway, and I paid for it. Believe me, I paid for it with one of the worst hangovers I've ever had. We've all been there, right?

I'm not trying to visit that awful place anytime again soon, trust me. ***TMI ALERT*** If you've ever considered getting lap-band, let me tell you something they will never mention in a seminar. Once you get it, even if you have it unfilled like me, you will never again be able to throw up like a normal person. It just doesn't work. It's pretty much a one way street. When you're sick and your body says it's time to get rid of something, it's going to keep trying to get rid of it whether you're able to bring up anything or not. It's really really difficult to get it all out of your system. You will be very, very sore for days. And you will have horrible hiccups because you've irritated the tissues in the area. Hiccups with a headache and nausea absolutely suck.  I still only feel like I'm at about 85% today (Monday) and the craziness went down on Saturday night. ***This concludes the TMI portion of this week's blog post. You're welcome.***

As for the rest of the week, I actually spent most of it actually at the office. I get to work from home most of the time, but the fan went out in my laptop and I had to commute while it was being repaired. (I know, poor baby!) That meant getting up an hour and a half earlier than normal every day, packing a lunch, and staying on program with all the usual free goodies around. I'm proud to say that I was able to enjoy the goodies in moderation (one of my company's partners delivered a stack of pizzas for the office on Wednesday, another delivered chocolate chip cookies on Thursday, and a third delivered a huge bowl of chocolate candies that I had to walk past every time I left my desk.)

I also went out to sushi with a good friend that I hadn't seen in almost four years on Thursday. We had a fantastic time catching up and feasting on all sorts of wonderful little fishies.

I'm sure I've said it before, but one of the things about Weight Watchers that really works for me is that I can budget my points to allow myself indulgences like going out for sushi, and I still know where I stand. Any time I tried to diet on my own, or do more restrictive programs, sushi would have felt like an enormous cheat, but not on WW. I was tightfisted with my points throughout the week so that I could do sushi on Thursday, and my friend's epic and notorious dinner party on Saturday. I've done really well at staying within my points, but if I do have a day where I fall off track, it's easy to pick it up again anew the next day and start fresh.

This week I plan to stick to my guns, stay on target, and try to get in more activity even if I'm not doing it at the gym. I'm very happy that I ditched the vacay weight, but I'm also behind on my goal for the year at this point. I'd hoped to lose at least one pound a week, and as of now, I'm down 6.5 lbs for the year, and we're ten weeks in. I've got some catching up to do! Hopefully by this time next week I'll have more good news to report.

Weeks down: 10
Weeks to go: 42
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 265 lbs
This week's loss 3 lbs
2012 weight loss: 6.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.1

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 16.5 lbs

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 9: Unofficially Gimpy

Well kids, I officially screwed up my feet. Or at least as officially as my primary care doc can say. I've got a referral to see a podiatrist at the end of the month. After listening to my symptoms, and administering a few pokes, prods, and not-so-gentle squeezes my doc pronounced her verdict: I've probably got neuromas growing on both feet, metatarsalgia, and possibly some plantar fasciitis going on as well. The one that weirds me out is the neuroma, which is basicly a benign tumor or growth on the nerve. It's just creepy. She did a simple test: squeezing the sides of my feet together, right across the widest part of the foot, just below the toes, and YEOWCH! On both feet. No bueno, my friends.

I likely ended up in this pickle due to the following factors: I'm about 100 lbs overweight, (duh), overuse (i.e. going from zero to gym bunny in a short period of time,) and wearing improper shoes. This means no heels in my wardrobe for the foreseeable future, as they will only exacerbate the problem. Most sandals are also a bad idea, unless they have good arch supports. I'm going to go see a podiatrist just to make sure what I'm dealing with, but my doc tells me the treatment is pretty similar whatever the exact problem turns out to be: I've got a prescription for anti-inflammatories which will hopefully help the pain and swelling to chill out.  I need shoes that provide good shock absorbtion, and have a decent amount of padding across the pad of the foot. I need to wear good shoes with proper arch support all the time. Even in the house. Apparently, going barefoot on hard surfaces is a bad thing, and my whole house is tile.

So... that means shoe shopping, right? Yay!!!

"Shoes.... OMG! Shoes..." 

Not so much. Have you seen orthotic shoes? Most of them are not cute, and they come with a higher price tag than I'm used to seeing on my shoes. I picked up a pair of Merril sandals for $35, which was half off the regular price, but still pretty pricy for what amounts to a pair of glorified flip flops. I think for the time being, I'll stick to my tennis shoes and Teva sandals until I see what the podiatrist recommends.

My doctor gave me the go-ahead to go back to the gym, as long as I stay away from weight bearing excercise. I'm good to go with the eliptical and stationary or recumbant bike, but I'm forbidden to set foot on the treadmill. Yay...? So, off I went that very night, determined to get cracking and get the vacay weight off. I did 20 minutes on the eliptical, and 25 on the recumbant bike. Great workout! I got this! No problem... until I stepped off the bike and had to limp my way out of the gym. *sigh* I think I'm going to have to give it more time. I really don't want to slack off, but I'm also tired of being in pain. Meh!

Now for the good news: I lost two pounds this week! That's even with a happy hour cocktail party on Tuesday, a happy hour work function Wednesday, and dinner out on Friday to celebrate my roommate's birthday. I BARELY stayed within my points for the week, but I did it. Down to the last activity point!

And I lost two pounds. Maybe I should eat all of my points more often...? Nah!

Just three more pounds to go to get back to my pre-vacay weight. I know it's a lot to expect to do it in just one week, but I'd really like to get back to 265 by my next weight in. That will mean that the month of February 7- March 7 was a wash, but then I can get on with my progress, instead of just making up lost ground.

Weeks down: 9
Weeks to go: 43
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 268 lbs
This week's loss 2 lbs
2012 weight loss: 3.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.6

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 13.5 lbs

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 8: Vacation's Over! Back on the Wagon!

This week was boring! LOL! Okay, maybe not boring, but certainly sedate after last week. I'm back on track with my diet, and stayed on program all week. Still dealing with the consequences of my indulgences though. As of Thursday's weigh in, I was up another three pounds, which means I gained a total of 5 lbs while I was on vacation. It's hard to believe that it took me three weeks to lose three pounds, and only ten days to gain 5. It just doesn't seem fair! As friends have reminded me though, alcohol is the diet killer, and while I didn't go on any crazy benders, there were a quite a few happy hour evenings, combined with tasty eats. Oh well. For better of for worse, it's done and it's time for me to get to work taking it back off.
My feet are still bothering me, and I've decided to stay away from doing any sort of gym activity that involves me putting pressure on my feet until I've been to the doctor this coming Monday. This week was all about getting back on track, so I wanted to at least TRY to get some exercise. I went to the gym one night this evening and gave the arm bike a try. The arm bike is just what it sounds like. You sit down as you would at a recumbant bike, but instead of pedals for your feet, you have pedals with hand grips. It moves the muscles in your arms and shoulders and gets your blood moving. From what I understand, it's primarily used by people who can't do excercises which involve the larger muscles of the legs (which burn WAY more calories, btw...) whether due to foot or leg injuries, or because of excessive weight. If you've ever watched a TV show about super morbidly obese people who are trying to lose weight, they usually put them on arm bikes because it's one of the only cardio excercises they can do, because they're often too heavy to walk on a treadmill or use other cardio machines like stationary bikes and elipticals. It's also a good machine to use for five minutes or so to get warmed up before lifting weights.
I wanted the arm bike to work out, but It's just not my thing. After just one 40 minute workout,  my wrists and hands were sore, and I'm not looking to mess them up too. Plus, it really doesn't burn very many calories.  I decided to just take it easy until I can get to the doc, and get my activity points doing housework and gardening. I spent a large chunk of my weekend working on tidying up the garden. I've got my two largest beds cleaned out, pulled out all of the dead and dying annual vegetation like giant zinnias, moonflower vines, and marigolds, plus a small mountain of weeds. It was quite the workout, as my legs, back, and arms were quick to remind me come Monday morning.
This time next week I hope to have some answers from the doc, a game plan, and hopefully a weight loss to report!
Weeks down: 8
Weeks to go: 44
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 270 lbs
This week's GAIN: 3 lbs
2012 weight loss: 1.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.4

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 14.5 lbs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Check in: Week 7 and Staycation

This week was not a good week in terms of progress towards my weight loss goals. I took the week off work and planned to make a little staycation out of it for myself. Coming on the heels of the previous indulgent weekend, instead of climbing back on the wagon like a good monkey, I thumbed my nose at the caravan and cavorted my merry way into a 2 lb gain.  I went out almost every day this week, including an evening out with my ladies on Valentine's Day, a catered open bar employee appreciation event for work, plus several happy hour evenings out. (Including my first visit to a British themed gastropub!) Then, over the weekend, I went out of town to a convention in San Jose, CA and hung out with some good friends that I haven't seen in over a year.
I can honestly say that I only remember cooking one real meal all week. The rest was meals out, or fast food. I'll tell you straight up that I was a bad little monkey, and I didn't even try to track my intake this week. I relaxed, spent time with friends, stayed out til all hours, and slept in every day. I didn't go to the gym once, but that was only partially due to laziness. The main reason I didn't go was the growing realization that I've done something really bad to my feet. I took the week off from the gym to see if the break would help my foot problems, but little luck there.
The pain has been getting steadily worse over the past few weeks, and by Saturday evening there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I'd be seeing a doctor about it. I've had pain in my arches and heels on both feet. On the right foot, I'm getting charlie horses across the pad of my foot when I flex my toes, and once in a while I get a spasm down the length of the arch that feels like my foot is splitting open. In the left foot, I've got pain and visible swelling on the top of the foot, just in front of the ankle. The pain is the worst in the morning when I first step out of bed. Based on my symptoms, it sounds like possible plantar fasciitis in both feet, or even a stress fracture in the left foot. I'm no doctor, but I have an appointment on the 27th. In the meantime, I plan to stay off my feet as much as possible, keep the left foot braced (when I immobilize my ankle, I get less strain on the top of the foot) and stay away from heels and shoes without arch support. I'm also stretching and massaging, but it's not getting much better. I spent most of Sunday walking around the convention barefoot because the sneakers I brought gave me blisters, and the wedge sandals were making the cramps worse. No one seemed to notice or care about my bare feet, but I'm sure it didn't help my feet any.
I flew home today, ending the great staycation adventure, with all of it's debauchery and multitude of culinary and alcoholic indulgences. I expect I may be dealing with some additional weigh in consequences, as my most recent weigh in only brought me through Thursday. As of tomorrow, I'm back on the wagon.
Weeks down: 7
Weeks to go: 45
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 267 lbs
This week's GAIN: 2 lbs
2012 weight loss: 4.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.4

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 14.5 lbs

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly Check in: Week 6

I lost one more pound this week, so I must be doing something right! Still at it at the gym, and staying on point with my food tracking, during the week that is. I had a really big weekend with friends who came to town from the East Coast to celebrate my friend Amanda's Dirty Thirty. I tried not to go overboard, but honestly, I didn't even try to track my points this weekend. There were food and cocktails a-plenty and while I was conscious about what I was eating, I fully enjoyed myself! I saved all of my weekly points, and stashed away my activity points in preparation for the weekend... something told me I was going to need them!
We're talking dinner out on Friday night at the Grand Lux Cafe at Palazzo (Their tuna tartare salad is killer!) followed by red velvet birthday cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. After that we headed out to Frankie's Tiki Room which is always a dimly lit scene of scandalous, rum fueled unrepentant debauchery! I only had two tiki drinks... but then there was a late night snack at Herbs and Rye with my friend Gemini after the East Coasters went back to their hotel to pass out. Herbs and Rye is a fun little spot with great food and drinks, and a number of tasty happy hour specials. It was also the scene of my introduction to the glories of carpaccio (or as I like to call it: cow sushi! Haha!) Shrimp cocktails, bacon topped mac and cheese... and no more drinks for the mermaid. Not until the next afternoon anyway... when I hit the champagne brunch at the Bellagio with my East Coasters. I kid you not when I say that our party of 7 held down the table for a full five hours. We hit up the buffet line for all manner of tasty things, but it was the champagne that really fueled the afternoon's shenanigans! We had such a great time laughing and telling stories. I kept expecting our servers to gently (or not so gently) suggest that we'd more than had our money's worth, but they just kept refilling our glasses! 
Saturday evening was another night out on the always fabulous Las Vegas Strip, and another meal out at the PBR Rock Bar at Planet Hollywood. I tried to be good and ordered a turkey sandwich on whole weat, but it was no good, so I picked at a pile of fries instead. Probably the worst empty food decision of the weekend. At least the rest of the indulgences were worth it. I only had one beer plus a shot of Jack when a cute rugby player bought a round for all of us girls. All in all, not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Sunday was tame in the grand scheme of things, with dinner out at a Mexican restaurant just before dropping my friends off at the airport. Unfortunately, the food was not so good. My entree was anything but light... but I ate less than half of it. I more than made up for it with tortilla chips, I'm afraid... which was probably the tastiest part of the meal.
After the weekend's indulgences, I'm going to be happy if I even break even on my next weigh in. I weigh in on Thursdays, so this week's weigh in took place before the indulgences of the weekend. I've taken the upcoming week off work for a little staycation. I'd like to think that I'll be a good monkey, but we'll see what happens.
Weeks down: 6
Weeks to go: 46
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 265 lbs
This week's loss: 1 lbs
2012 weight loss: 6.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.1

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 16.5 lbs

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Queen of the Night: In Memorium

I have a very distinct memory of the first time I heard Whitney Houston.  I was five years old, living in Pocatello, Idaho where my mom and stepdad were college students. It was the music video for "The Greatest Love of All." What I remember is seeing this beautiful lady, singing this pretty song, and she was singing about me! I felt special. At the age of 5, most of the meaning of the song went over my head. I didn't understand the chorus, but I remember hearing these lyrics, and even then, they stuck with me:

"I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...

...I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity..."

When I was about 12 years old, "The Bodyguard" came out, and my mom bought the soundtrack on cassette tape. I'm surprised I didn't wear it out. I was a latchkey kid and usually spent a couple of hours home alone after school, doing my chores before my parents got home. I remember playing this album LOUD on the stereo in our living room so many times, belting along with Whitney while I did the dishes, and cleaned the house. I knew every note, and in my head, I sounded just like her.

loved her music, and she was so pretty. So classy. Statuesque. Elegent. I idolized her just a little bit.

I remember so many mornings and afternoons riding the school bus, with all of us kids singing along to singles from "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale." I remember listening to her Mariah Carey duet "When you Believe" with my best friend, talking about both Whitney and Mariah's voices, and discussing their vocals and technique. At 17, we were vocal majors at a performing arts magnet, thought we knew it all, and took such discussions very seriously.

She was a pervasive musical presence all throughout my childhood and teen years.

Watching her decline and spiral into addiction over the next decade was a sad thing. She lost it, and eventually her drug abuse trashed her voice. When she did try to make a comeback in 2009, it became clear that she just didn't have the goods the way she used to. I always hoped that somehow she would clean herself up, and show us the Whitney that I loved growing up. The Whitney who's powerhouse rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Suberbowl still gives me chills.

I've heard a lot of people say a lot of harsh things in the past day since the news of her death broke. "She squandered her God given talent." "One more dead drug addict." "She cared more about getting high than she did about being a mother" "One less crackhead in the world." "She might have been talented once, but she was washed up... who cares?"

I do.

Hearing these flip, harsh and hard hearted comments makes my chest hurt.

Yes, she made a lot of bad choices. She was a drug addict, and her addictions ruined her instrument and her ability to do what I believe she was on this earth to do. She was a train wreck and a hot mess. She went from being an icon of grace, beauty, and enormous talent to one more sad cautionary tale of the way that drug use and addiction can destroy a life like a cancer.

None of that takes away the fact that she was one of the greatest singers we've ever had.

As a singer, your voice is so much a part of your identity. It's like a limb. Losing the magical spark that sets you apart, that is so much a part of who you are and your self worth is absolutely devastating. It's paralyzing and terrifying. I can only imagine how Whitney must have felt to know that she had thrown away what was undoubtedly one of the best parts of her life. How she must have felt to be the butt of so many cruel jokes, and to know that on some level they were true. I'm sure the knowledge of how she'd screwed up and knowing what she'd lost contributed to the darkness inside of her.

I can have compassion for her without condoning her bad behaviour. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

I believe that a person's legacy is more than the sum of their worst parts. Her music inspired people and touched countless lives, including mine.

Today, my heart is broken for her, for her family and friends, and for the millions of people around the world who loved her music as I did.

Whitney, I will always love you.

Rest in peace.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 5 Check in

This week flew by before I knew it, and I'm late getting my update in! Oh noes! Not the end of the world actually, though I would like to get better about posting on time. I've been spending about three hours per post getting everything together, including the pics. It doesn't seem like it should take that long, but I'm picky about my writing. I like to entertain people, whether that's singing, crracking jokes, or writing this little blog. Hopefully, I'm doing my job reasonably well, and you keep coming back. I'll keep writing either way, but it's always nice to get a little feedback to know that somebody out there is following my posts. =)

I lost one more pound, (slow AGAIN, but progress) and I feel like I'm starting to get back into my routine. I did not do well at all on my sleep goal, however. Seems like I just couldn't get myself to bed at a reasonable hour, and when I did, the sleep I did manage to get was poor quality. Weird upsetting dreams and waking with headaches. Not so fun. I'm going to try to do better this week. 

I got to the gym  four days this week, and Friday night I got my best workout stats yet. It may not seem like much, but I'm pretty proud of it. When I first went back to the gym in December, this is what my stats looked like:

That's a 30 minute mile, and a low incline.

After two months, and a hard push Friday night to see what I could do, I did this:

That's almost a 20 minute mile, and I climed 4x as many feet.
I may not exactly be a star athlete, but that's better than I've done in a long time. It feels good to be making progress, and I've been increasing my intensity gradually. I learned my lesson about what happens when you push too hard too fast on more than one occasion, and I'm not looking for a repeat. Unfortunately, I've still got a fair amount of foot pain after my workouts, which isn't a problem I've had in the past, and it doesn't seem to matter which pair of sneakers I wear. I'm keeping an eye on it, and stretching throughout the day.

I think now that I've gotten my cardiovascular fitness up a few notches I'll start incorporating the eliptical crosstrainer. I've read that if you do the same workout all the time, your weight loss progress can slow because your muscles get too used to the activity. So, this week I've made a point to up my intensity on both the speed and the incline. I'm going to shoot for at least one day a week on the eliptical, even if it's not the full hour I do on the treadmill. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet!

Eventually I'll need to start adding some weights, but to be honest... I hate weight training. I know it's good for me, helps create more lean muscle mass, helps boost your metabolism, blah blah blah... but I hate it. No two ways about it. Part of that is that I'm a little bit intimidated by the weight machines, but more than that, I just hate the activity. When I'm doing cardio, I can get in my zone, hit a stride and just GO. You can't do that with weights. Or at least I can't. It feels difficult and unnatural. So for now, I'm pretending that I don't know I should also be weight training. It can be our little secret... right? 

Weeks down: 5
Weeks to go: 47
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 266 lbs
This week's loss: 1 lbs
2012 weight loss: 5.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.3

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 15.5 lbs

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Check in: Week 4: Cheese and Stroganoff!

Four weeks down. I lost another pound this week, so that puts me at 4.5 lbs lost in 2012. On one hand, that's YAY! on another, I'm feeling a little UGH. It's been two months since I got back on the wagon, and I'm down a total of 14.5 lbs. I'm working out. I'm more fit than I was. These are all good things, and yet, today I'm feeling very impatient. I know that when you lose weight in healthy ways it doesn't happen overnight. I know this is going to take a long time. As much as I like the changes in my body, and the changes I see in the mirror, I wish it were happening faster. I feel like after two months, I should be a little farther along than I am.

10 years ago, I hopped myself up on Metabolife (before they removed the ephedra) and for three months I was on an uber strict diet and hit the gym 5-6 times a week, doing an hour of cardio plus weights every day. I dropped 30 lbs in 90 days, going from about 275 lbs to 245 lbs. I looked fantastic. I was also cracked out and crazy bitchy.

I know I should know better, but there's a part of me that feels like I should be losing as fast as I did that time around. Nevermind that I was working out more, eating less, taking what amounted to legal speed, and let's face it, I was ten years younger than I am now. (*sniffle*)

I also burned out, stopped taking the pills, and eventually the weight crept back on. I KNOW BETTER than to expect overnight results. It doesn't work that way, but that's where I am right now. I'm staying on program, going to the gym (three times this week, like a good monkey) and keeping up with my commitments to myself regarding this blog, healthy weekly recipes, and sleeping more. I have every intention of continuing to do those things. I'm just feeling crabby about the pace of my progress. I know that realisticly, I can expect to lose 1-2 lbs per week. I just REALLY want to keep it closer to 2. I don't want the 52 lbs to take all year. I plan to stick with it either way... blah. I'll stop complaining now.

In other news, two different people this week on two different days commented on how great my butt is looking. The words "exceptionally perky" were used.

If that isn't a great incentive to keep pounding out the high incline on the treadmill, I don't know what is!

In this week's culinary adventures, I went out for Korean BBQ with friends, and it was fantastic. I'd only had Korean once before, and I have to ask myself why the hell I waited so long to go back. I need more meat in my life. <3 We had so many tasty things, and I couldn't tell you what they were. Lots of sides and kimchee. There was some kind of soup with tofu, crab stuffed leeks, short ribs, steak, and marinated pork. Lots of spice. (I'm waiting for my Beef Stroganoff to finish cooking as I write this, and my mouth is watering! LOL!)

More of this, please!

I also travelled to the great city of Beaver, Utah to meet up with my mom and return her parrot to her. Beaver is a tiny town of 6,000 that has three things going for it: the best tasting tap water in the rural United States (2006),

An unfortunate name that brings LOTS of revenue in souvenir merchandise to an enterprising gas station owner: 

Best of all, in my expert opinion: they're home to a Cache Valley Cheese dairy and distribution center.  

That means fresh curds at the Chevron.
Squeeky Cheese!!!!

And then there was this.

The cheese of my people.

I had a cheese-gasm.

Now, I should tell you a little bit about why this is special. See, I was born in Cache Valley, which is about 70 miles north of Salt Lake City, and spent most of my summers in the country there as a kid. Beaver is their most southern distribution point. I can't get this stuff in Vegas. Even as a kid, I remember stopping in Beaver with my mom to pick up cheese curds at the gas station on the way back to Vegas. I remember going to Gossner's Dairy in Logan with my grandma as a kid for cheese and fresh ice cream. So for me, this is like a little piece of cheesy, homespun, food nostalgia.

 I'm on a diet after all, and I was a good monkey. I came out of there with just one bag of cheese curd, a block of bacon cheddar, and a small jar of chokecherry jelly. I'm really looking forward to cracking the jelly open. It reminds me of Saturday morning pancakes as a kid at my grandparents house. Mickey mouse shaped pancakes served by my papa hot off the griddle, smothered in homemade chokecherry syrup: my favorite breakfast. Mmmmm... memories. =)

As for my culinary exploits closer to home this week, I prepared a Beef Stroganoff which I adapted from a recipe found in "Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery" by Patt Levine and Michele Bontempo-Saray. It's a great little cookbook full of low fat/high protein recipes.

*Please note, I am not a chef. That being said, I love to cook, and more often than not, my food tastes pretty awesome. Do what works for you.  =)

Beef Stroganoff

Cooking spray
1 head of garlic, minced
2 1/2 lb lean eye of round roast, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes.
3 6 oz cans of Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cup dry, red wine
5 cups sliced mushrooms
4 bay leaves
1 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spray a large non stick skillet (with lid) with Pam or other cooking spray. Sautee garlic about 1 minute, then add meat,  and cook about three minutes on medium high heat, stirring frequently.

Remember, you're not trying to cook these through, just brown them a bit.
They'll be simmering for about 90 minutes.

2. Add tomato sauce, wine, mushrooms, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Cover pan with lid and simmer on low heat for about 90 minutes. (The longer you let it simmer, the more tender your beef will become.)

Aren't the colors pretty?

3. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Season with additional salt or pepper as needed.

Serving suggestion, aprox. 12 points.

Makes about 8 cups.
Aprox 6-7 points per cup

Serve over No-Yolks egg noodles 
(2 oz dry noodles= 5 points)


Notes: I'd made this recipe once about three years ago, and loved it. This was tasty but not exactly what I expected. The original recipe called for 1 lb of lean eye round, and the only cut I could find was a 2.5 lb roast, so I upped my proportions about 2.5x. It was a little soupier than I expected, but had a wonderful flavor. I used a fat free sour cream from Trader Joe's. The flavor was okay, but it was a little grainy in the pan, and never integrated the way a higher fat cream would have. I think next time I will use a low fat version instead of fat free. I also may use a little flour to thicken up the sauce next time. Still, it was YUMMY,very hearty, and there will definitely be a next time.

And yes, I used an entire head of garlic. It was scrumptious.

Based on the nutrition data in the original recipe, this recipe would be about 4 points per serving.

With the modifications I made, I'm estimating my version at about 6 or 7 points per cup, plus the egg noodles.

As always, if you try one of my recipes let me know what you think, what works for you, and what doesn't.


So, that's about it for this week. I got my car back from the shop Wednesday morning, and I'm working to get back in the swing of things with my gym routine. I've been making a point of eating dinner after work, but before going to the gym. That means I run the risk of slacking off and not going with my belly full of dinner, but I think it's a better choice than working out first, then eating a huge dinner close to bedtime. I'm still working to find a balance with it.

My goal this week is to keep on keeping on. I've got this. Just have to keep at it, slow progress or no.

Weeks down: 4
Weeks to go: 48
Starting weight: 271.5 lbs
Current weight: 267 lbs
This week's loss: 1 lbs
2012 weight loss: 4.5 lb
2012 goal: 219.5 lbs
Starting BMI 40.00
Current BMI 39.4

Started WW on 11/28, @ 281.5 lbs 
Total loss: 14.5 lbs