Another Return

April 10, 2011

Any of you still reading are probably sick of my “more off than on” blogging.

Hockey season is nearing its end and has been quite busy lately. My Kings have made the playoffs, but are with out 2 of our top offensive players. Especially depending up on our matchup, it may be a short stint in the post-season.

Anyway, with up to 4 games a week and my “new” job, the thought of blogging made my eyes cross. (Now THAT may have made for some interesting posts!) So to catch you up:

New job is going very well. First two months were insanely rough and I thought I was going to be fired! Somehow, it all clicked and now I feel relatively secure.

Hockey has ruled my life since October. Here’s hoping that will continue through June – that would mean (a very unlikely) trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

One of my goals was to work on my health. I’ve made some small improvements in my dietary habits, but most notably I cancelled our gym membership. Before you wonder if I’m off my rocker, know that I bought a fancy schmancy new treadmill! It’s the Nordic Track x7i Incline trainer. You know, the one where you can have Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame “coach” you? Mostly, we got it because it has a -6% decline and 40% incline. I haven’t managed to get beyond 20% and that totally kicked my ass.

I’ve committed to a friend to do a 5k on July 4th assuming I’m in town. It’s at a beach town near LA so it shouldn’t be scorchingly hot. And I hear it’s relatively flat, so that will be good on my knees. I want to be able to run it, but right now I’m only running for 30 seconds – 2 minutes for every 5-7 minutes I walk.

Our backyard is a DISASTER. The front is looking better. I planted Calla Lily’s last weekend. They’ve been pretty hardy and don’t require maintenance. Now if only I can keep the neighborhood cats from using the planter box as a cat box… and of course that attracts neighborhood dogs looking for “snacks”… ewww!

The hubby is off tyring to sell one of his project cars he never did any work on. So that means I’m anxiously waiting by the phone for either a SOS call, or a “come pick me up” call. Here’s hoping it’s the latter!

That friend is expecting – due in mid-August. More drama there, but I’ll have to chronicle that later.

And with that disjointed update, I’m signing off. No promises on when I’ll be back. My intention with this blog has always been to simply have fun with it and use it as an outlet. 🙂


Holiday Thoughts

December 27, 2010

This year, my husband and I decided (before my grandfather’s death) that we would not be travelling for the holidays. Every year, in the 13 years we have been together, we have driven all over to please relatives. Sometimes this meant traversing both California and Nevada. Battling holiday traffic and navigating winter weather (okay, I know our weather is nothing compared to other areas of the world) and putting up with family drama is just not the kind of “relaxation” I want to do during my limited time off.

So the foot was put down, and the families dealt with it. And we did everything (mostly nothing) we wanted. We spent time with neighbors and at hockey. (And of course each other.) Just the perfect time off! Because it was just us, the pressure to participate in excess was much lower. I think we’ve started a new tradition.

And for the new year: I’ve already begun to purge! I’ve pulled two trash bags of clothing from my closet to either garage sale or donate. We spent several hours going though paperwork and magazines and tossing away! It feels so good to dump all this stuff. I want to continue working on this at least one day each week. (Not the whole day, just a little bit at the minimum.)

Also for the new year, I want to be healthier. This includes eating at home more and exercising more. It also includes keeping the house tidier and cleaner. Not that we live in a hovel… but we definitely have room to improve. And this will keep us in a better place mentally, plus it will be nice to open our home to friends. I think the focus of simplification remains… We did well with not bringing more clutter into the home in the form of Christmas gifts, so I call that a win!

The Program

July 8, 2010

*Just a note to say that I don’t get anything monetary from referrals to either the Break Free program or Saving Dinner. Just the satisfaction in knowing that it will help more people become healthier!

Okay, a few have asked about this diet program I’m on. It’s kind of a diet, but more of a “lifestyle change” – if I can say that without sounding too cliché. It’s called Break Free Boot Camp (BFBC). Some of the description sounds like a high pressure sales pitch. The only reason I trusted it is because I’ve followed Leanne Ely for years. She is the “Dinner Diva” and author of Saving Dinner among other books. She has a service where she puts together meal plans weekly, and includes recipes as well as the shopping list. I have used this service off and on for a while and 99% of the time, liked the food. I know she’s good about making healthful choices and still yummy meals.

What reeled me in was knowing I was totally addicted to certain foods. Coffeemate for example. That’s nothing but chemicals. And I used a lot of it. Wonder what that does to you over years? Eww. Also, I have been having some mild but annoying GI issues (think of the “Idiot’s Day In Church“). Okay, maybe not THAT bad! But more annoyingly, I have been having sinus/allergy issues that more often than not lead to migraines. Migraines lead to ingesting more chemicals or projectile vomiting. Sometimes both. This program (and other research I saw) says that food sensitivities can be blamed in most cases for both of my issues. Not to mention trouble sleeping and lack of energy. Plus, I knew I was eating like crap and a change had to happen. NOW. I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. I looked at weight loss as inevitable due to a change in eating (and having more energy), so that wasn’t my focus. However, it IS the most measurable result in a tangible sort of way.

BFBC is run by Leanne (who by the way is a Certified Nutritionist) and JJ Virgin, whom I’d never heard of before. It seems JJ is a celebrity nutrition expert and has worked with Gene Simmons among others. Whatever. She really knows the science behind food and how our bodies use it. She is a very good speaker and salesperson though, and just so you know, she’s got a whole store full of products she recommends. Not sure if they are HER products or what. I didn’t order anything yet, but I do have a gift certificate for signing up early. For me, the product pushing bordered on annoying. I suppose if the products are that good, then no big deal. I guess almost all of the participants bought stuff and from what I saw, everyone seemed happy with it.

Anyway, the idea is that you go through 28 days by removing gluten, eggs, dairy, soy and peanuts. This of course includes anything genetically modified and un-organic. High fructose corn syrup is the devil. The meals do tend to the spicy side, which made hubby happy and me quite sad. There is a forum (on allowing you to pose questions and converse with others in the program. Since that will be going away, we started a Facebook group so we could all stay in touch.

Following the 28 days, you re-introduce foods one at a time. For example, next week, I will reintroduce dairy. Start with a small serving (like greek yogurt) and see what happens. If nothing, continue for a few days and then leave it out for a few days. Nothing? Dairy is OK! Of course there’s more to it than this, but I can’t spill the beans for the whole program! (It wasn’t cheap, either. And hubby knew better than to ask.) And then the following week, you add another food, etc. If you find one that makes you feel explosive (in a bad way) then, Houston, we’ve got a problem. I love eggs and dairy and wheat, so I’m praying I don’t have issues with those. I could probably live without soy – or minimal soy. I don’t like any soy products like soy cheese, soy milk, soy burgers, etc. so that won’t be a problem. And peanuts – I could go either way. I guess we’ll see.

I feel like this program has been worth the money. Now, if you don’t need the classes (four total, plus other handouts) and the forum/access to wellness coaches, you can get a 28 Day Break Free menu from Leanne for under $30. I am considering doing this for my next four weeks while I add things back in. Oh, and if you don’t like chicken, prepare to learn to like it. And brace yourself for the expense in changing from conventional to organic foods. However, I compared this to my inability to get things done around the house and the expense of eating out as much as we did, and so far, it’s about a wash. The winter will be harder, because there aren’t as many veggie choices, but I am fortunate to live in SoCal where so many things are available year round. I couldn’t imagine doing this in England or something. Yuck.

I’m not going to kid you. It’s hard the first week. I had pretty bad headaches and was kind of cranky. I had some nasty cravings. I chalked it all up to detoxing, which basically it was. I have many fewer headaches now and the GI front is pretty quiet. I’ve only had one craving (thanks hormones) and that was satisfied with an ounce of dark chocolate. (Allowed, by the way.) So this program may just work!!

Soybean GMO info:

Other GMO info:

The Big 15

July 7, 2010

Yep – you guessed it! I’ve officially lost OVER 15 pounds. IN THREE WEEKS.

Before you go all “two pounds a week is the maximum amount to lose safely” on me, I can assure you, this is safe.

Since excercise wasn’t involved (um, what IS that anyway), this is all food related. Since I became jobless over nine months ago, I never realized how much I grazed. I knew I had a problem when I was buying a tub of frosting a week. No cake mix, just frosting. That was all I needed. Oh, and a spoon too. Add to that, eating out in drive throughs and pasta places and you’ve got a fat ass that’s growing.

I’ve written a bit about this diet when I first started. Unlike Weight Watchers (which I’ve done multiple times), I’m not COMPLETELY food obsessed. Just kind of. Because this program is all fresh and organic, and eliminated dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, peanuts and anything “GMO”, it’s been a challenge to find all the necessary ingredients. It’s enlightening to realize how much of our food is genetically altered and how random things can contain other random ingredients. Yellow mustard often contains gluten, as does some vinegars (red wine/balsamic).

So anyway, hubby has lost five pounds. He has not been strict on this diet (he eats whatever he wants for lunch and if we are out). And I can’t believe it, but I lost 15 FREAKING POUNDS. My energy is up, my skin looks good (thanks to this and Proactiv), my nails are growing like mad, and I’m not bloated or gassy. (You’d think gas would be an issue with all the beans and veggies, but it’s not!) We eat smoothies for breakfast (sometimes lunch too) and “square” meals for lunch & dinner. We have a “lean, clean protein”, a starch like brown rice, quinoa, lentils, etc. and tons of veggies. Thank GOD wine is allowed! The “rule” is 4 oz. per day. I call bullshit and drink what I want. It’s my only treat.

I think the lesson is moderation. That and to not use meat and starch as the main ingredient in meals. Oh, and the limits on wine – probably mostly to do with the carefree nature that comes along with drinking. I can’t believe my willpower – I haven’t cheated even ONCE. And I’ve had some of my favorite things (home-made from scratch chocolate cake, breakfast – french toast, pancakes, eggs, etc., peaches with brown sugar just asking to turn into cobbler, ice cream, freshly baked bread, and more) all tempting me – mostly from within my own kitchen.

The point of this whole excercise is not to lose weight, but that is a happy side effect. The point is to detox from the forbidden items, and then gauge reactions when they are added back in (one at a time, over the course of a week each). I’ve had some sinus/congestion issues that have been bad, along with a lack of energy and poor mood. It will be interesting to see if any of these are to blame!

We’ve eaten out a few times – especially since my kitchen was out of commission much of the holiday weekend. From Del Taco, I got three burger patties (they aren’t that big) and threw veggies on them. From Subway I got a salad. From CoCo’s I got a steak and a ton of veggies. I was the dork that brought her own dressing in her purse. I learned the importance when I was stuck in L.A. and had to use only lemons to “dress” my salad. Everything else was contraband.  While the burger patties were probably not a good choice (fried I’m sure, and too much meat) I did the best I could with the options at hand. And that’s all I can ask of myself, right?

So far, so good.

June 16, 2010

Yum, what a dinner!

We’re working on Day Three of this crazy food plan. Hubby decided he’d participate Monday morning. Gee – thanks for the head’s up, pal! I sent him off to work with the first smoothie, and I made a second for me. He calls me, not two minutes after he leaves, to ask if there was garlic in the berry smoothie. Yeah, it was pretty gnarly. But we both sucked it up, so to speak.  Lunch consisted of a huge salad and some chicken with veggies. Dinner was salmon with veggies and salad. So far, with the exception of the smoothie, the food tasted good (not crazy about the salmon but that’s because it was salmon) and I was pretty full. One of the ideas is to limit snacking so the body goes into fat burning mode. I found I wanted sweets or something crunchy mostly out of boredom.

Day two rolls around and we’re supposed to have leftovers for lunch, except when it’s fish. (Fish only every fourth day – which is great because I HATE re-heated fish.) Or a smoothie. Since it was just me for dinner, I opted to keep the leftovers from lunch yesterday for dinner and just have a smoothie. Popped that in a skillet and gather some salad and I’m good. Added some almond butter to the smoothie and blended it longer – that made a huge difference! Still not happy about my coffee situation because, basically, it tastes like a car tire. This is even with some coconut milk and xylitol for sweetener. Oh, because I had the smoothie for lunch I ate dinner early. I was dying for something to eat around 7:30 so I had a green apple with almond butter. NUMMY. That snack is a keeper no matter what.  And believe it or not, it satisfied my craving for sweet. I guess natural sugars as found in fruit are ok as long as they are in moderation and eaten along with some protein and healthy fat. BONUS: I got to have wine! Wine is allowed – but only at 4 oz a day, and not the sweet stuff. It was amazing – the wine tasted better than it ever has, and since I used a different glass, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t getting a full serving. HAPPY HAPPY

Day three and I’m ready to attack my coffee with Stevia. Made all the difference in the world! Plus I used a bit more coconut milk. And now for the smoothie, I realized I can add a tsp of local honey to help with my allergies and give it a little sweet. Add FRESH berries instead of frozen and – wahoo – I’m in business! I liked it so much that I made one for lunch too! Breakfast was raspberries and lunch was blueberries. Dinner is some sort of asian stir fry with beef. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m optimistic!

The biggest bummer is that I have a terrible headache and am very lethargic. I honestly believe this is a little bit because I didn’t have my regular two cups of coffee (it was so ick) until today and plus I’m basically going through withdrawals for white stuff like sugar and carbs. And trying to get in as much water as I can means lots of excercise to the bathroom! lol

These Shoes Are Made for Walkin’

May 3, 2010

Saturday was a catch-up day. We took my original wedding ring set to the jeweler to have it sized (up). I just can’t seem to find finger slimming exercises. So after several years of mostly not wearing any rings, I finally decided it was time to give up the illusion of losing weight in my fingers. Besides, my family suffers from arthritis and I know my knuckles are doomed to swell. We also had hubby’s ring checked out. It seems that his problem is a detergent allergy. The backside of his ring is rough and has a ton of grooves where soap & gunk can collect. The jeweler cleaned and sanitized it, and gave him instructions on how to deal with the irritation. So far, so good.

Next stop: Road Runner Sports. Neither of us had ever been there, but since I was having such a tough time finding shoes that felt good, I figured a runner’s store would be the answer. It was bustling! The fit process at this store is unique. They have some cute mascot (Road Dog?) that will “retrieve” your shoe fit for you. First you meet with a fit specialist and discuss your desired excercise type, injuries and other specifics. Then, they set you up (barefoot) on this head/weight sensor pad. It measures your balance and where you place the most pressure on your feet. I leaned more to the left and back, with the most pressure on my left heel. It also determines your arch type. I’ve been told my whole life that I have flat feet. NOT SO! I have fairly normal arches – maybe a bit on the flat side.

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Watching Weight

April 29, 2010

Ugh. Diets. Errr… “Lifestyle Changes”.

Image: The Cleaner

I’ve done Jenny Craig, Atkins, and Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig didn’t work for me because I didn’t like having to buy all that packaged food. It got expensive and I’m kinda picky so I ended up with the same few things over & over. Though I will credit that system with my discovery and resulting love for Orzo pasta. [Note: had to laugh – spell check wanted to change Orzo to “oreo”. Even technology is out to get me!]  Mmmm. That was about ten years ago and I still remember how good it was – it had a few black beans mixed in with some cheese! And the chocolate cakes. The way they were then reminds me a bit of the ones from Jack In The Box. (Yep, I know all the fast food goodies. I think my fave is the Oreo Pie from Burger King – TO DIE FOR!)  [Do you see why I’m in the mess I’m in?? Do ya?]  Anyway, so I’m not down with buying prepackaged food so NutriSystem and other similar deals are out.

Atkins – that worked out pretty well for me for a while. I dropped a ton of weight. Too bad I don’t like greasy stuff more. I have such a sweet tooth. And a carb tooth if there is such a thing. Boy did I pay if I cheated. But really, in the long run, how good for you can all that fat be? I was trying to LOSE the fat. Not ingest more of it. Besides, when someone says I can’t do or have something – I’m like so many others and immediately look for the forbidden “fruit” so to speak.

Weight Watchers. Also a bit pricey – especially when you factor in the cost of the extra “must haves” like the food scale, points calculators, food books, and so on. Thanks to the internet, and smart phones, I suppose it may be a bit easier now. I like the idea that you can have whatever food you want, and you can gain extra food points for excercise. I become RAVENOUS after workouts though. I can do a workout that will gain me 2 Activity Points, but need more than 2 points worth of food. Try 6-9. I wonder if that wears off after a while? Maybe my body is just freaking out because intense workouts are so foreign?

So what prompted all this? The other morning, hubby told me he wants to make changes in our eating habits. And it’s just that – habits. We have a habit of being lazy and eating out. Or I cook a healthy meal and either a) we eat double portions because it’s so good, b) we ruin it with dessert (Hi, Coldstone), or c) BOTH! He asked about the iPhone app for Weight Watchers. Yeah, I hear they have one, but we have Droids! I scoured around and found a couple apps for the Droid. One calculates points values for you, and the other is a list of food you scroll through. There’s no official Droid app yet.

So, our choices are to go to meetings, do it online, or both. Not sure what the meetings cost. The ability to do both is $10 more per month per person ($80 monthly investment for both of us). What I’m thinking is that maybe we sign up for a couple months (I lean toward online, but that’s just me) and see if we can lose some pounds. I have about 40 pounds to lose and so does he. I know there’s so many other people out there that have so much more to lose. We are quickly becoming those people. A couple years ago it was 20 pounds we wanted to lose. Then it became 25, 30, 35…. Give it more time and we’ll be on the Biggest Loser. Or in line for stomach surgery.

So, if that’s the plan, then I better start going through the cabinets. Good bye hot cocoa & marshmallows. Good bye cake mix & frosting. Good bye boxed mac & cheese. I had also better dig out the measuring cups, spoons and food scale. And I should find my inner zen because putting up with the over exuberant “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” mantra for a maniacal meeting leader will really push my crazy button.