Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Intuitive Eating...

So June has been an interesting month, diet-wise. I've celebrated my birthday, our anniversary, Jeff's birthday, had houseguests for a week - oh, and dealt with a pesky gallbladder.

Early on in the month, I had to let go of being so stringent on tallying my daily calories...I mean, it's not exactly like I could figure out how many calories were in three bottles of banana-flavored barium! I was busy doing things with Barbara and Theresa, and while we cooked most of our meals, we did eat out for several breakfasts and lunches at a local healthy cafe, where I tried to make good choices. I was motivated by two things - eating well so I could continue to lose weight, and eating well so I would hopefully avoid triggering another gallbladder attack.

I wasn't measuring exact amounts of most foods - in fact, I think the only things I consciously measured were salad dressing, almonds, and Kashi Golean Crunch cereal. I ate a ton of fruit - cherries, mangoes, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries...it was great to feel free to eat fruit when I wanted to, as opposed to last summer, when my doctor recommended that I didn't eat "juicy" fruits due to their sugar content.

Even though I recently discovered that I am now in size 12 pants, I really didn't have any idea of where I stood, weight-wise. Today I hooked up the Wii Fit to do my weigh-in for Ang's Get Fit After 40 summer challenge, and to my utter shock, discovered that I have lost nine - yes, nine - pounds for the month of June! Not only am I really, really happy, but I'm relieved to realize that I have learned WHAT to eat and HOW MUCH to feed myself! This gives me such hope for the future when I will be maintaining my weight loss - I think I'm *getting* it, this whole "healthy-eating-and-portion-control" thing!

Several of you asked what was in my strawberry/walnut salad - I made it again tonight (and took a better picture of it with my new camera):
Strawberry/Walnut Salad
Romaine lettuce
Mushrooms, thinly sliced
Strawberries, thinly sliced
Green onions
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Avocado, cubed
Walnuts, toasted
Gorgonzola cheese
Chicken breast, thinly sliced
Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (this is the BEST dressing!!!)

Seriously, I didn't measure anything except the dressing (2 Tbsp. = 45 calories). I just sprinkled on everything until it looked good. As an FYI, I was really hungry when I made the salad pictured on the plate so of course it's huge...and I stopped eating about 2/3 of the way through. Don't worry, nothing went to waste, as my human garbage disposal husband was there to finish it.

Don't forget to enter my Oh! Nuts giveaway - you have until Thursday to leave me a comment on this post! Good luck to everyone who has entered so far!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh! Nuts Review and Giveaway

Dried papaya, raw almonds and light raw walnuts

I am so excited to have my first giveaway! You may remember my 25th anniversary post - well, in it I mentioned Jordan almonds, and somehow the folks at Oh! Nuts read it and contacted me...long story short, they very kindly let me choose some items to taste-test AND have offered a giveaway for one lucky reader!

Oh! Nuts is a New York-based business that was started in 1992 by the husband and wife team of Yehuda and Ity Klein. They have four locations, carry everything from bulk nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, candy and coffee to gift baskets, are all Kosher and best of all, have a great website for those of us who do not live in the NYC area!

After a lot of deliberating - truly, there was so much that looked great - I chose raw almonds, light raw walnuts and, to mix things up a bit, dried papaya. Now I'll be honest here - I love raw almonds. But sometimes, in buying them in the bulk section at my local grocery store, I've gotten some that were almost rancid. So I was really pleased by the fresh taste of the Oh! Nuts raw almonds - they were crisp, crunchy and oh so good! I parceled them out into snack-sized Ziploc bags for some handy grab-and-go snacks - great protein and a healthy fat.

As you may have heard, walnuts are the new "super food" - so I have been trying to incorporate them into my meals more often. The light raw walnuts are great! I toasted them in a non-stick pan on my stove top and have made some yummy meals with them - the first was a gorgeous strawberry/walnut salad...and the next was Patti's Quinoa Walnut Cranberry Salad! Both were great, and it was so handy to have a pound of walnuts shelled and ready to use!

Lastly, the dried papaya - oh man, is it ever good! I got it intending to chop it up and toss it into salads, but so far all I've done is nibble on a spear (or two). Yum times eleventy-billion!

And now, it's your turn! One lucky reader will win the bulk item of their choice, courtesy of Oh! Nuts - all you have to do is go drool over peruse their website, pick one item that you would like to win, and tell me which item in my comments. Contest ends Thursday - I'll choose a winner and post it on Friday. Good luck and go nuts!

Friday, June 26, 2009


  • It's Friday, and I have made it through another week without a gallbladder attack - YAY!
  • Although I do periodically get sharp, stabbing pains in my stomach, which is a result of the nasty gallstones - BOO!
  • Apparently all the surgeons at my clinic are on vacation so I can't get an appointment until July 7 - BOO!
  • There are a lot of foods that I'm afraid to eat right now for fear of causing another attack, so I'm bound to be losing weight - YAY!
  • Which should help me lost my half-a-pound for Jack Sh*t's Kick Ass Challenge - YAY!
  • It was 103 degrees here yesterday and seriously, I wasn't all that bothered - score one for weighing less during a heatwave - YAY!
  • Thanks to all of your comments - really, y'all should become Lifecoaches - I am going to buy a sleeveless top and start wearing it around the house - YAY!
  • Check back on Monday, when I will have a very nutty post and giveaway - YAY!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Size and a Reality Check

Have you ever been eating your beloved Fage/strawberry/Kashi Golean Crunch combination and wondered to yourself "How old is this yogurt?" And then kept on eating it? No? Just me, then? Hmmm. Must start checking expiration dates more often.

Annnnnd in other news...last week, while Barbara and I were shopping, I took a pair of size 12 jeans to try on for shiggles. (My son Max's term...combination of sh*ts and g*ggles - cracks me up, juvenile that I am!) Anyway, I did not think I could fit into them, but whatever, we were having fun, trying on crazy things. Yeah, so they fit. What?!? Of course, you know I had to go out and find more size 12 pants - capris, actually - and they all fit! When did this happen??? Needless to say, there was much joy in the Kohls dressing room! (You knew I just had to introduce Barbara to the wonder that is Kohls...she was all "this is great, and there is a Kohls near my Mom's house - I'll have to shop there" so Kohls, if you're listening, you owe me one!)

Back to the story...I know, you're thinking that this is worse than a Paul Harvey story...fun times ensued with me realizing that I really wear size 12 now - and am truly in size large tops - the XL's all hang off of me now. I bought a pair of black bermuda shorts (which actually look like capris on my short body) and a cute purple t-shirt and felt positively tiny!

And then reality hit, when I decided to try on some sleeveless workout tops - it has been so freaking hot here lately, I figured that I would get over my embarrassment about my still-flabby upper arms in the name of coolness. I had forgotten - possibly because I don't go sleeveless and therefore don't see it - that years ago, when I was in my early thirties, I had been very sick with pseutotumor cerebri, and was placed on a horrendously high dosage of prednisone, and ended up with these weird, wide, jagged stretch marks that look like scars in my underarm area. Ugh - it was so ugly to see, and brought me back down to earth fast...there is no way I can ever expose my arms to the world when they look like that!

It was pretty depressing, and I had to face the fact that while there are tons of cute sleeveless tops and sundresses in the stores, for me, no matter how thin I get,or how high the temperature rises, won't be ending up in my closet. Oh reality, you can be so mean sometimes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm Back! With Health Update and More...

Health Update: So after a plethora of tests, including a scary initial blood panel that showed elevated liver enzymes, what it comes down to is...gall stones! Which, although I would rather not have, is a better option than the other scarier options that were looked into by my doctor. I have a referral in for a surgeon, and hopefully will get the blasted thing removed pretty soon so I can move on with my life. I just hope that I don't have any more attacks before the surgery.

I'm a little concerned about how much ground I will lose by not being able to workout after the surgery, and am actually kind of mad about having this "kink" thrown into my progress. Why couldn't this have happened last summer, when I was only riding my bike and doing the Wii Fit?!? Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot I can do to change the situation, so I need to work on my acceptance. Grr.

I do appreciate all of your concern and caring comments - our little slice of blogland is full of wonderful people, and it means a lot to me to read such nice things. So thank you, and you, and especially YOU!


Life is getting back to normal after last week's visit from my best friend, Barbara, and her daughter, Theresa. It was so fun to see them and man, were we busy! As always, the week flew by, but boy did we cram a lot into it! The pics below are just a small sampling of what we did:
We went here...
Where we had a nice chat with George.Theresa held a press conference...Then we crashed the Oval Office!
Trying on our traditional "matching shirts" - these were cute, but at $29 too spendy!
Um, a little too much cleavage came with these shirts!
The six-pack of rainbow socks proved to be irresistible!
Fun with icing!
Even Theresa thought this was too much icing!Theresa with Paco the Wonder Dog, making him *wait* for his cookie.I miss her already!

And, as a point of reference, a picture from our last visit - two years ago.


It's not pretty.

But I'm keeping it real, to show how much a person can change, if they work hard enough.
Barbara and me, April 2007.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're SILVER, Baby!

With our penguin cake topper, made by Jeff's grandma, our Jordan almond/satin flower centerpiece made by my mom's cousin Sharon, Bride Belle and Groom Snoopy, the beautiful anniversary card made by my mom, and our pretty anniversary cake all done up in peach icing, which was our wedding color, in case you couldn't tell!

Whew, we made it - June 16, 1984 marked the beginning of our journey together, and tonight we celebrated 25 years! And what made it all the more fun was that my maid of honor, Barbara, was here to celebrate and reminisce with us! We cooked a nice dinner - pork tenderloin, thin, tender asparagus, roasted red potatoes w/herbs, and a mango/orange pepper/avocado/cilantro chutney (made by Barbara - so good!). Theresa, Barbara's daughter was also with us - we ate well and then had the lovely cake - chocolate with chocolate mousse filling. Can you believe that cake was supposed to serve six? Needless to say, there was a lot leftover...but YUM, it was tasty!

Jeff gave me a cute dangly pair of sterling silver heart earrings, and I gave him a silver Camelbak water bottle and holder for his bicycle. Casual are we! Actually, we were given a very generous check from my parents - and we are planning a trip to Hawaii (!!!) this Fall. Can.not.wait.

Obviously from my lack of posts, I've been busy with Barbara and Theresa. We are having a blast - shopping, taking in some local culture, cooking from the Hungry Girl books and of course, taking lots of pictures! I've managed to keep up with my workouts and also fit in the medical tests and doctor appointments - plus had six vials of blood taken today. My ultrasound is scheduled for Friday morning and hopefully I will have a diagnosis on Monday. So far, no additional attacks - crossing my fingers that it stays that way!

I'm looking forward to catching up on all y'alls blogs this weekend - hope everyone is doing well!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Things That Make You Go Huh!

I've had a crazy week and have had to "let go" of being so stringent on my calorie intake...I mean, when you have to down three bottles of banana-flavored barium, it's not like you can track those calories in your food journal! On a side note, is it weird that the first thing I wondered when I was handed the drinks was "how many calories are in these"? But I digress.

Between all of that, and my long, long day on Thursday, I just stopped worrying about "how much" and concentrated on "what" I was putting in my body. I ended up eating a couple of pieces of cheese at the reception, plus a few whole wheat crackers, and a few stuffed mushrooms (which had an olive tapenade-like filling - spicy and good!), and later on half of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat (I left off part of the bun). It was a long day and I was hungry and needed fuel to keep going.

Then Friday was kind of crazy, what with driving two hours to Austin to pick up Barbara and Theresa - I had my usual Fage/Strawberries/Kashi Cereal breakfast, and ate a protein bar on the drive, but because their plane was delayed three hours (gotta love Texas weather), we didn't end up eating until 8:45 that night - hit a Chili's on the way back home where I had a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat with Buffalo sauce and steamed broccoli. I was starving and was the first one finished, which is unusual for me!

So anyway, even though I try to just weigh in once a month, I was feeling like things have been a little out-of-control for the past week, which drove me to drag out Mary Lou and check out the damage...can you believe I heard cheers and applause from her?!? Not only had I LOST weight, but the platform reset itself (it does this for every 10 pounds you lose)! Naturally, I then had to go hook up my Wii Fit (I don't make it easy to weigh myself...for my own good) and holy moly I was down over 5 pounds since June 1st!!! Sometimes (ok, most of the time) I just don't understand dieting and how the body works...this is definitely one of those times! But hey - I'll take it!

Also, I had an awesome NSV yesterday...while waiting for the plane, we went to the super-fancy ultra-nice Barton Creek Square mall in Austin, where I shopped for new bras (sadly, by myself, as there won't be time to get back to Austin with Barbara for shopping) at Soma Intimates - my mother had recently shopped at their store in Portland, and loved their bras, so I wanted to try them. I knew I needed a smaller size, but wow - I am now wearing a 36DD, down from a 40DD (that I bought last October). That, my friends, is the result of working out...I swear, I have no back-fat anymore. Now if I could just get my belly and thighs to emulate my back, I'd be looking fiiiine!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3...

Crazy times, people - crazy times. Still don't have a diagnosis, but I did have an abdominal CT scan (with barium! and iodine!) this morning. Also had some blood work done on Monday. At this point there are way more questions than answers, and it looks like more tests (ultrasound and endoscopy) in my very near future. Plus more bloodletting! Good news is that the doctor gave me some Darvocet to have on hand if the pain returns...and advice to avoid anything greasy - not a problem, believe me. I do not want to have that kind of pain if I can help it!

I'm just hoping I can sleep a little better tonight - the last couple of nights I have tossed and turned. What a pain when your brain knows it shouldn't worry over something you have no control over, but your subconscious still thinks it needs to worry. Settle down, you silly subconscious!

I've kept up with my workouts - even did a make up session this afternoon since I missed my normal morning session due to the CT, but I felt like I had lead in my legs and was just not at my best. Probably due to the lack of sleep. Whatever, I'm glad I still went - 3/4 of a workout is better than nothing.

And speaking of sleep, I need to go cut up strawberries and pack my food for a lovely eleven-hour day at work tomorrow - seriously, why do we need two receptions? Oh well...like I said, crazy times.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Update...Of Sorts

Wow, I didn't realize how common gallbladder problems were - thank you all for the helpful and kind comments! I have an appointment today at 4:00 pm so hopefully I can get a proper diagnosis and get this taken care of. Naturally, my doctor left earlier this month to take a position in Germany for a year, so I'll be starting over with a new doc - hopefully she and I will "gel" well.

Sunday was a better day for me - felt like I'd been kicked in both the stomach and the back, but by midday I was feeling decent enough to get some work done around the house...which is good, because my best friend and her 7 year old daughter are flying in from California on Friday for a visit. I am so excited to see them and I really hope I don't have an attack while they are here. Since I don't have much else to say at the moment, I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of my guest rooms - all ready for Barbara and Theresa!
I call this my "pretty" room - as the mother of two sons, I finally got to do my guest room all feminine and such. The bed, bedding and nightstands are our old set - we upgraded to a king-sized bed a few years ago. I sewed antique handkerchiefs (that belonged to my Great Aunt Shirley) onto a sheer curtain panel - love the look!

The antique baby gowns belonged to my Grandmother and great uncles, and the quilt that is hanging from the armoire (formerly my entertainment center) was from that side of the family as well. It has a lot of damage due to moths, but I love to see it displayed.

This is my newest guest room, now that Max is living year-round in Denton. It's still a work in progress - walls are freshly painted and the blind is new (Max destroyed the old one). I have been planning this room for over a decade...see the gorgeous quilt? I won it in 1992 at a local craft fair and knew that someday it would be perfect for my "Texas"room. I want to get an old, weathered headboard - I think that it will look so cute with the quilt. The flag chest is from my family room (I am big on rearranging furniture - new looks without spending money!), and the painting was done by a local artist - it has barbed wire and rusted metal stars wrapped around the canvas and little words that say "Waltz across Texas" - love her work!

Note the floor situation - I need to get a room-sized carpet remnant, but a huge car repair two weeks ago put a stop to any extra spending. The dresser is from when Max was a baby, and the wall items are from his "cowboy room" when he was five. I need to dig out both boys' first cowboy boots and will accessorize with them and more Texas stuff...once I find everything. I also have Max's size 4T denim jacket hanging on the closet door handle - awww!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Awesome Bike Ride, Followed By An Absolutely Miserable Night

Felt great on Friday - worked all day, then we went to Art Step in our little downtown area and walked around there for about an hour seeing some great art exhibits by people I actually know - a nice perk of where I work is getting to know the local artists.

Came home with plenty of daylight left to go bike riding - we rode for 45 minutes - a total of 5 1/2 miles! It was really fun to build on our time and mileage - the weather was warm, but the humidity was low, which made the bike ride all that more enjoyable.

Woke up around 2:00 am with the same sharp stomach pains that I experienced two weeks ago, which very quickly traveled to upper back. This time, I had no "bad" food to blame it on. The pain was horrendous - I could not get comfortable in bed and eventually got up so I could twist and basically writhe around without waking Jeff. Got on the computer, where Google led me to gallbladder attack. I had pretty much all of the symptoms, and in looking back two weeks ago, that episode fit these symptoms as well. (Yes, you can call me "Dr. Shelley" - who needs a medical diploma when you have Google at your fingertips?!?)

The pain lasted a long time - in fact, nearly 3 hours into it I finally took one of Jeff's leftover Vicodin from when he had a root canal. Didn't really help, so 45 minutes later I took another...which might have been a mistake. Finally slept for a couple of hours, but then I got cold sweats and started throwing up, probably the Vicodin? I don't know. What I do know is that this has got to stop, pronto. I will be calling the doctor Monday morning to get to the bottom of this pain, because it's no way to live.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday Workout Update and BodyBugg Review!

But first, let me thank all y'all for the sweet birthday wishes...you guys are the best and made me feel really special!!!

Now, onto the workouts...I swear, I think both Brad and Linda are trying to kill me! They have definitely stepped it up several notches. It's been wild and I've been pushed like crazy - and while I haven't always enjoyed every second, I have to note two things: One, yesterday in the gym while doing some sort of bicep presses with dumbbells, I caught a glimpse of my arms in the mirror and could see the muscle!!! Woohoo, that spurred me on to keep going! Afterward, my arms felt tighter - the muscles are finally fighting through the flab and are beginning to be noticeable. I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger for a moment!

The other cool thing to note is that this morning, on what is normally my hardest day to workout since I also workout on Tuesdays at 4:00 pm, I RAN on the treadmill for five minutes at the very end of my hour-long session. This was after a killer, seemingly never-ending Tabata in the gym, and then doing the stepper forever in the cardio room. I was amazed that I could do a run at the end. My endurance has improved, big time! I'm sure my awesome new running shoes helped, too.

Oh, and while I've been biking every evening, I wasn't planning on it last night, having just worked out. But Paco the Wonder Dog started "talking" to me and jumping all around - you see, he gets to go with me when I ride, and apparently he didn't care that I was a bit fatigued. So I leashed up my spoiled dog and took him for a short bike ride...geez, the things I do for that dog!

And now, onto the BodyBugg. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Linda very kindly offered the use of her BodyBugg to me. I've been wearing it for a while now, and even had a 45-minute phone coaching session (which comes with the online subscription). One cool thing I discovered via the coach was that the BB counts your steps - and no, I've never reached 10,000 in one day, although I was darn close a couple of busy work days when we had receptions.

The most important information that the BB is giving me is that I'm not burning a lot of calories, even on my workout days. For the hour-long workout, the BB tells me that I burn between 250 - 290 calories, which is much less than when I add up what the stepper, rower and treadmill tell me that I've burned. Brad is pretty good about getting our heartrates up during strength training, so I know I'm burning some decent calories there. So this is why I decided to ramp up my exercise by going for a good, long bike ride just about every evening.

How many calories does the BB say I'm burning? Well, I'm around 2100 every day. Keep in mind that it's 92% accurate, so this isn't an exact science. But it has shown me that I need to move more if I want to lose weight at a reasonable speed. And it also serves as a reminder to me that working out is not an excuse for overeating - not if you're trying to lose weight, anyway.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

...They Say It's Your Birthday!

Yeppers, today is my birthday - I am now 46 years old...and if this is what 46 feels like, then I'll take it. Because I feel pretty damn good, actually! I cannot believe the energy that I have. Not that I always use it - believe me, I still like to park myself on the couch with a good book, but more and more I am actually getting out for a bike ride...even if I've worked out earlier in the day! I know, what is the world coming to?!?

On Sunday night we went out to Carinos for an early birthday dinner because the boys were still home. I behaved myself with sensible portions of the Rosemary Lemon Chicken, pasta (1/2 cup) and Italian green beans, and then I finally broke my "no baked goods" policy and had their Italian Chocolate Cake - oh my, it was so good! But you know what? I really didn't want much of it - I knew that after not eating that type of food for so long that it would affect me (and it did - I felt kind of nauseous on Monday morning while working out). But the good news is that after we came home from dinner, Jeff and I went on a bike ride around our neighborhood, and although he was ready to stop after just two miles (I have an odometer on my bike, so I can keep track of how far we go), I wanted to keep going, so we did - for a total of 4.5 miles. And it was easy! I couldn't have done this a year ago - a few laps around my street just about did me in.

This ability to DO is still kind of shocking to me. I had so many years where I was worn out - it's hard to want to be physically active when you are overweight. But today, even though I've not lost all the weight I need to, I have lost enough to enjoy moving again. What's weird, is that I do enjoy it...I always thought that I was sedentary because I just wasn't into the outdoors and sports and stuff. Turns out I *may* have been wrong. So now I'm wondering what this, my year of being 46 will bring. Can't wait to find out!