It's a long road, but I'm taking it one step at a time...

My Mini-Goal

8/08/10 to 8/31/10-to lose 6 lbs this month

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blessed Lughnasadh

Whew, I had a rough couple of days... I am at that PMS/hormonal stage that comes a few days before my period... and not too gross, but have you ever heard the expression, "shit, or get off the pot?" Well, I haven't been able to get off that pot.

I have lost weight but mostly from dehydration and not eating much from 2 days of a seriously upset stomach and major back cramps... which don't mix well with my lower spine injury from the accident a few years ago... and I haven't even been to the gym because at this point my stomach is so sore it's just recouperating.

I have also been working... working... working.

I've had to pick up a lot of work for this month because

1) It's anniversary/birthday month... in August, my son turns 12, I turn 41, my husband turns 40 and it's our wedding anniversary.

2) I need a new bed, like seriously. It's long been killing my back, but it's now starting to creak. I want a platform bed with drawers underneath. And of course a really good mattress

3) My husband wants to start trade school at either the end of August classes or the beginning of November classes... depending on if he is ready for his entrance test... and if it's August we will need to put some fees up front.

So I'm starting to feel better but I am going to take a break from blogging for a few more days because I have to work like crazy this weekend so I can take a couple days off for my holiday.

Monday/Tuesday (sunset to sunset) is a holiday in our religion: Lughnasadh. We're having it at my house. We've got some friends coming in and my daughter is supposed to come in.

So aside from work we also have to clean the house this weekend, prepare for guests, decorate for the holiday, get the altar set up, do some shopping/cooking, baking, etc.

Here are my digital scrapbook pages I did for Lughnasadh last year-- which ended up just being us, and I think the kids were sick and my daughter was in the midsts of moving out so we were moving furniture around and painting, so everything was a bit of a mess and we just had a very casual indoor celebration:

But as you can see from the photos, Lughnasadh is one of those holidays that is all about the food.

It marks the beginning of fall (in our Pagan tradition, the calender is different. While on the secular calender the solstices and equinoxes are considered the beginnings of the new season, in our Pagan tradition, it marks the zenith of the season-- so Autumn begins with the harvest season in August, the high point is the equinox on circa Sept 21st, and the end of the season is the end of October, Samhain).

It is the first of 3 harvest festivals for the year so we are thankful for Mother Earth and her bounty. One tradition in our house is baking bread in the shape of the dying Sun God, and sacrificing the "head" of the bread man as a symbolic gesture for giving back to the land/earth to bring back the return of the Sun God and bring back the return of the grain next year.

We honor the God, Lugh, who is the man-skilled God by piling our tools for the year (or representations of the, such as a pen for  my writing or a school book for the kids studies) and ask Lugh for blessings on them and for a fruitful year.

We write down on paper the things we want to "get rid of," like bad habits or negative emotions that have been overwhelming us, and we ask for strength and guidance in letting them go at this time.

It's also traditionally a time to celebrate games and feats of strength, enjoying the last of the hazy-lazy days of Summer, and it's always fun to do seasonal enactments of myths and stories fitting of this time of year.

So, we've decided to allow ourselves a little leeway on the food because it is a holiday, but we are keeping white carbs off the table, uI have found a 100% whole wheat/whole grain bread recipe. se sparkling water with splashes of fruit juice instead of alcoholic beverages or soda, and lots and lots of grilled veggies. So while I will not overdo it, I'll enjoy myself, and it will be low-cal or healthy foods anyway ;-)

And I usually bake pie for dessert, but instead I think I'm going to make a low-fat grilled peach crisp (sprinkle halved peaches with a bit of brown sugar, some cinnamon & spices, and a sprinkling of oatmeal for crispness and broil them), a recipe from one of my Cook Yourself Thin books and put it out with vanilla ice cream.

And, to celebrate the "games"-- we've decided to go outside in the afternoon and combine an American tradition with this holiday-- a bit of baseball. We dug out some old gloves and we're just going to go out and play a game before the rituals and prayers and feasting... and then probably do some swimming...  and in the evening after ritual and feast, I'll tell the story of the God Lugh approaching the Feast of Tara from Celtic mythology and we'll just chill out. Then Tuesday morning, we're planning to go to a nature preserve that is not far from our house and has hiking trails and we'll go hike through and come home and have some leftover roasted/grilled veggies for lunch, in tortilla wraps with hummus.

Wednesday morning I'll probably have a lot of cleaning to do and I know I have to take my boys for their homeschooling evaluation, however I will try to get on Wednesday night, Thursday morning at the very latest, ready to post the photo of the month. 

Happy Lughnasadh to all my Pagan friends, and to the rest of you just enjoy your weekend! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Order vs. Chaos

My plans got sidetracked today. I don’t even know if I am going to make it to the gym so I might just go swimming or do some stepping for a half hour tonight, but I must admit I have gotten a bit of a workout.

They screwed up my kitchen. Not only did they not do their chores last night and clean it up after dinner, but they made more of a mess this morning with whatever the heck they did in there.

By “them” I mean my boys... all of them; the big one included.

I am not a neat freak by any definition.

There are four of us and we rent a 1000 square foot apartment. I work at home, the kids homeschool, now my husband is home a lot studying for his test, and there are always some kinds of arts & craft projects going on... so I am realistic. Homework gets left on my big coffee table for a few days, books get left on side tables, the buffet table sometimes houses an ongoing science project. Sometimes I have my PC and a stack of books set up around me on the dining room table for a day or two in the middle of researching an article. I am constantly battling the toys getting left around in the boy’s room.

I like things clean, though. A place for everything, and everything in it’s place... Even if there might be some things left out, everything has a Rubbermaid box, or spot on the shelf, or place in a drawer just waiting for it. I keep my closets and cabinets and drawers well organized and labeled so when it’s time to put stuff away, it’s pretty easy. I make good use of space, too, with organizers, to maximize it to it’s fullest potential. I have my system, I strive for maximum convenience first, then figure out a way to make it look pretty.

A little clutter is one thing... dirt is quite another. This is Florida and I live in an apartment complex. I have to worry about bugs & other pests, mold, mildew and other allergens, etc... the warmth and humidity here make it harder to battle these things, and it’s even worse when you live in a complex like this, where some neighbors are perfectly fine but some are just slobs and don’t give a damn or aren’t able to upkeep so well. So, preventative is the best measure.

But when it comes to my kitchen, I am probably cross that line into the fanatical.

I like– no, I need– it to be spic & span, organized, spotless and disinfected. So I kind of blew my stack this morning when I went in and found drips down cabinet fronts, fingerprints all over appliances, the refrigerator in complete disarray with things just stuffed anywhere in there, crumbs and dried food on the counter, dirty pans on the stove, dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher and piled on the chest freezer because they can’t go away because the cabinet that holds them has things all in the wrong place... dirty, crumby floor... disorganized pantry... ugh it was horrible.

I mean, I knew it was about due for a good cleaning when I was in it cooking last night– but crap, what the hell did they do to it?!! It wasn’t nearly that bad!

So I lit a candle to Hestia and prayed and got to work. Bending, stretching, sweating, etc., and with every minor accomplishment feeling better. And I got to thinking about a correlation:

order in my environment = order in my head

chaos in my environment = chaos in my head

It’s more than just unpleasant when things are dirty and messy... it’s like there is a weight– like negative energy is just lingering and collecting and clinging to it.

It’s kind of like that with food, too.

Good, healthful, well-prepared, good quality ingredients, attractively presented food... no matter what it is, it seems lighter, more pleasant, more ordered, and in turn I feel good after eating it. I feel as though I have consumed the beauty of that which is natural and earthy combined with the care that went into the preparation and presentation.

Food that is just plain slop, slapped on a plate, full of chemicals and poor quality ingredients... no matter what it is, it seems heavier, more chaotic, impure, there is something of a twisted satisfaction in eating it but it’s not really pleasant, and after eating it I feel bogged down, as if I consumed all the negativity with it, all the mal intentions of making it cheaper and cutting costs and just getting it together so the customer ordering it will get out of your face.

Order in all things seems to bring the balance, the peace, the harmony that ultimately makes it easier to make better choices, to feel better about myself. Whether I am cleaning my house, or eating cleaner, or purifying myself of toxins by showering, exercising, meditating, etc... it makes me feel lighter– not just on a physical, but on an emotional, mental and spiritual level.

It gives me a different kind of high than the binging and laying around used to give me, one that really lifts me up overall, and it’s like it can reach out to all aspects of my life and, like some Midas touch, make my life better. It’s like the law of attraction... what I put out in the world, what I put into my self, I invite better things into my life.


No gym today. I'll do some step exercises later.

Breakfast: 137 cal/ 1.5 g fat/ 54.8 g carbs

1 cup cornflakes
½ cup skim milk
1 medium banana

Lunch: 156 cal/ 5.6 g fat/ 11 g carbs
Omelet (2 egg whites + 1 whole egg, made w/ nonstick butter flavor spray)
Stuffed w/ 1 cup roasted, seasoned thai veggie mix

Dinner: 590 cal/ 16.2 g fat/ 88.2 g carbs
Lean Cuisine Spinach & Mushroom Pizza
garden salad w/ fat free ranch dressing
Coffee w/equal & half & half

Dessert: 130 cal/ 2 g. fat/ 23 g carbs
½ cup fat free vanilla ice cream
Whipped topping light
1 tsp sugar free chocolate syrup

Totals: 1154 calories / 24.5 g. fat / 183 g. carbs
Percents: 63% carbs/20% fat/ 17% Protien

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Food & I are becoming friends again...

I had wanted to blog earlier but got sidetracked with that cool award thing.

Then I remembered after dinner what I wanted to say... that I am falling in love with food again.

If anyone read any of my posts about 3 or 4 months ago, you can see how insane I was becoming, ranting about food being the enemy and destroying my life.

I realize now I sounded like some disgruntled woman who hated all men because the few losers she picked up screwed her over.

I have always loved to cook, and loved to eat, and now that my body seems to be cleansed of many of the toxins it was once harboring and running on much better quality fuel, I am starting to enjoy, even get excited, about eating again.

Today I had barely eaten... well, I shouldn't say barely; I woke up and had a 3-egg white omelet positively stuffed with seasoned roasted veggies. But that filled me up so I got busy, went to the gym, started doing things and forgot about lunch.

So I made this huge dinner, a little more calories than I like, which made me feel guilty at first... but then, oh, the nutritional value and the size of the meal for the calories I got was just amazing, it was incredibly delicious, I am totally stuffed, and I still came in at about 1200 calories today when I have my sugar free chocolate pudding pie.

It was so nice I had to take a photo of it. Actually, if I had realized it was going to look so good and thought I would be taking a photo of it I would have put it on a real plate, lol. Now let me tell you what I got going on here...

 A quarter-pound burger made of lean turkey meat. In the meat I mixed a spoonful of diced red roasted peppers, some garlic powder, some poultry seasoning mix an salt & pepper. It is on a toasted 100% whole wheat bun (no white flour added, no high fructose corn syrup). I added a slice of canned cranberry jelly as a condiment for flavor and topped it with a few spinach leaves, slice of tomato and slice of red onion. On the side, I have baked sweet potato fries, skin on, seasoned with garlic powder, chili powder, salt & pepper. I used just a tbsp of olive oil to toss all three potatoes I prepared before seasoning them and baking them. My serving is one whole medium sweet potato. I dipped the unfried fries in fat free ranch dressing. Behind the fries you can see my mountain of steamed broccoli. I made 2 pounds of broccoli with 2 tbsp of butter, a splash of skim milk and 2 1/2 oz of cheese, salt, pepper & garlic powder to season the whole two pounds. I have 1 cup of it on my plate, so I got less than 1/2 tsp of butter and less than 1/2 oz cheese in my serving. You may notice, to the left, my glass, which has about 1/4 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice with sugar free sparkling water for a refreshing virgin "spritzer."

This meal rang in at around 800 calories... which is one of my bigger meals, as usually my dinners are 400 to 600 calories. It felt like I was totally cheating... a total feast.

Out of curiosity I looked it up... a McDonald's Big Mac large meal comes in at 1350 calories, and a Burger King Double Whopper meal is around 1800!

And not for nothing-- the nutrition in this meal with the broccoli, sweet potatoes & the bit of veggies on my burger is pretty good... I mean, this is not empty calories! It is packed with lean protien, vitamins, minerals and fiber!


I am totally stuffed though. Next time I do this I might have to make smaller portions. I was so hungry after skipping lunch, I overdid it. I need to take this as a learning experience... I don't have the appetite I used to have.

But then I got to thinking how I would sit there and eat that McDonald's Big Mac meal, or that Burger King Double-Whopper meal, and suck down a refill of soda, and want (and sometimes get) another sandwich! And if I didn't get one, I'd walk away wanting one.

My Goddess, how did I eat the quantity of food I ate just a few short months ago?

But the best part is, I can eat like this, and feel satisfied, and not overdo it, and I no longer toss and turn and fidget thinking about stuffing more food into my gut...

I read somewhere that your stomach has sensors for nutrition... and it registers as "full" not when it is actually stuffed full with food, but when the sensors detect that you have consumed the adequate nutrients. If that's the case, it is totally clear why when I was eating empty calories I couldn't seem to stop eating, shoving more and more food into my mouth even though i felt like I could bust a gut...  but now that I am eating nutrient rich food I am getting totally satisfied on much less food.

Even my husband was totally satisfied with one burger, and one potato worth of fries... he used to eat like two (or more), topped with cheese and bacon, and I used to make at least 2 white potatoes per person, or a whole ton of frozen fries. Oh my Goddess, how sick is that? 

Anyway, food is starting to make me smile again, and it feels good.

Shockingly, I Won and Award... Wow

I was completely suprised to log on today to find myself the winner of this award:

So, the rules of the award are simple:

1) Thank the person who gave it to you. Well that's easy.

I must say, I am touched, not just for recieving it, but that Leeanne, who awarded me with it, says I motivate her... and that makes me feel really good. For anyone that might pass by who has not seen Leeanne's blog, Can We Have a New Witch, Our's Melted you must go check it out if you appreciate a smart sense of humor. Just the images alone of her "flying monkeys' when I open it is enough to bring a smile to my face. It's one of those blogs you look forward to when you log on because you know it's going to brighten your day.

I thank you sweetie, for the award and for following my blog and offering your advice and support on my journey. You are a peach. 

2) Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, experience, using 10 words. Now that's tough. 

I guess I never saw myself as a blogger... I'm on a journey, it's a tough one. I chose to blog as a sort of journal, hoping I could catch a few readers and get some input, but I never really anticipated how big a part of this journey the blogging would become. I needed to get out a lot of very personal stuff and deal with some difficult issues. I needed to be accountable to something, if not someone, to keep me on track so I couldn't fool myself anymore. I needed other people to hear me, and I needed to hear them.... even though people may not relate to some of my specific methods, like Witchcraft, I think anyone who is concerned about their health can relate to my blog and the journey I am taking.

So, 10 words-- to blog is to reach out, and find others reaching back.

3) To pass on the award to 10 more bloggers. That is easy, too:

A 252 Pound Journey to Being Free by Scarlet Simple was one of the first blogs I ever started following, and I found so many wise words and things I can relate to in her entries. Her success was very motivating to me. I cannot-- cannot-- cannot!!!-- express how important this blog was to my life. Scarlet was the first person who made me believe I could do this. I mean it... I was skeptical about my chances, till I began reading of her success, her continued devotion and efforts. Thank you Scarlet, you so deserve this award.

Likewise, Loretta's Journey from 460 to 199 One Good Choice at a Time is another blog I find full of wisdom, inspiration, and reading it is just uplifting. Loretta is such a great person, I feel lucky that there is such a thing as an internet and blogs so I can get a chance to know her at all.

Sean, of The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser, is someone I owe soooo much to... not just because of how much his posts have meant to me, but because my husband, once over 400 lbs, has been motivated by him! My husband relates to the "old Sean's" way of thinki9ng and is starting to learn to think like the "new Sean." Seeing Sean's photos and reading how he's making good choices, reading back from when he started at over 500 lbs and seeing him approach his goal weight, it is just a blessing that he shares that good attitude.

Donovan Baldwin of the blog 65 Year Old Looks at Fitness After 40 does a public service, as far as I'm concerned, and should have a syndicated article in newspapers coast to coast. Every topic is something I find I am shaking my head or learning something. It feels good to have his advice to look to in my 40th year so that I can hopefully reach 65!

Losing Weight after 45 is a Bitch is also a great blog that brings up many things it's just so good to know, and with a very entertaining writing style and no-nonsense voice. 

I love the style and info I get at the blog  A Herbal Journey.... it hasn't been updated in a bit, but I've enjoyed reading the back entries and hope it hasn't been abandoned because for herb lovers like myself it is really good.

Tavin is just so candid in sharing her journey at Lumoava: My Personal Journey in Becoming a Witch, it is a beautiful thing to read. Her artwork and creativity are incredible. Tavin, you are so talented, and with twins I don't know how you do it. I am impressed.

Life's Accidental Journey has been a great source of info and ideas for healthy eating, and is one of the blogs that made me realize there is no reason on earth to feed my kids crap as I learn to eat healthier foods. They're just going to have the same problems I am.

I was first drawn to the blog, Dreaming of Rosemary, because of the name. Georgina has a poetic style of writing and every entry is almost like sitting down for a good cup of tea or piece of chocolate-- just a little moment of joy in the day. She's very knowledgeable on so many topics.

Last but certainly not least is One Witch's Journey... one of the latest blogs I have found... and I find it just a pleasure to read. I just feel like I can relate to her way of thinking, Sydnii has a good attitude and is very creative. Her blog is just a great little gold nugget I'm glad I found.

So, I guess I will notify the winners. I also have to do a little work on my blog, not changing the look entirely but I do want to add a place for your buttons and some other stuff.

So some quick reports and I will get back tomorrow--

Went to the gym today, did the usual routine, except I am walking about 5% further this week on the treadmill than last week. Keeping on with the eliptical, too.


Barely figured that out today, but essentially yesterday's dinner was a bust. One kid was invited to a friends house and one kid wanted to go to grandmas and my husband had to go run do some errands for one of his odd jobs and said not to bother cooking. So yesterday, I had a black bean wrap w/ff sour cream and I was starving so I had a huge salad and even picked on some more veggies like celery & carrot sticks.

Tonight I am making the turkey burgers & sweet potato fries. And probably chocolate pudding pie. 

I had a 3-egg white omelet stuffed with my new favorite thing-- Bird's Eye Thai Stir Fry Vegetable Blend. I roasted about 1 cup of it and threw it in the omelet and-- yum! OMG! I don't even use the little sauce packet it came with... just the blend of mushrooms, onions, peppers, carrots, soy beans, pea pods, baby corn, etc. is such a great blend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So where do you find balance

So first order of business-- I am better, but due to sleeping almost 2 days, my days and nights are screwed up again, so I am going to try to get to bed early tonight. I was up tossing all last night because frankly I'd slept too much in the day, and by the time I  had fallen asleep, it was 8:30 am, and I woke up at 2 pm.

I know!

So meanwhile, I've got to get to the gym and get to work today so I can get to bed within reason.

But I got to thinking today about how easy it is to talk yourself out of things; to make excuses to do what you know is not the best to do.

Going back to the Charge of the Goddess,  which I mentioned yesterday, there is a another part I find inspiring that goes:

Let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion,
honor and humility,
mirth and reverence within you.

For me, Wicca is largely about balance. In so many aspects of it, it is the union of opposites where you can take the best of both and put them together and find a new, stronger, better whole: God/Goddess, Yin/Yang, Light/Dark, Construction/Destruction-- like the positive/negative charge of a battery, you need both for things to work.

And this part of the Charge illustrates that beautifully-- beauty AND strength; power AND compassion; honor AND humilit; mirth AND reverence-- all within.

All the teachings of Wicca throughout the years just continue to whisper to me, find the balance, find the harmony, find the most productive, the most beneficial combination... find the secret formula, find the perfect blend.

And I was wondering, in my weight loss journey, where that plays in with being realistic and making excuses.

I got to telling myself yesterday that I didn't want to go to the gym... I had been sick; no more fever, and it was low grade, but still run down and felt the need to sleep even though I slept so much the day & night before.

Then I woke up and felt guilty-- the little voices having the conversation in my head:

should I go to the gym?
No, don't push yourself. Let your body recouperate.
Is this just another excuse? Am I psychologically psyching myself out again?
No, not this time, you really didn't feel good. You'll make yourself feel worse if you push.
But aren't I supposed to push myself?
Yes, but you're also supposed to know when to pull back.
But how do I know when I'm pulling back and when I'm making excuses?
I don't know.

And I realize, I've still got work to do on that balance thing. I spent so many years of my life justifying my actions with excuses that somewhere along the line I've lost the ability to discern, when it comes to my weight and health, when an excuse is a legitimate reason to heed and when it is just another case of procrastination, denial, ducking responsibility, etc.

I've realized I have to be completely honest with myself, about all of my choices, but I've got to learn to distinguish between those times when pushing is warrented and when easing up is the best course of action. Reminds me of one time, years ago, I joined a gym, after having my first baby. I was all gung-ho, but the first day, the personal trainer pushed me and pushed me on some machines, even though I said I was having trouble and feeling pain, and I ended up spraining my arm so bad I couldn't move it and the doctor told me not to work out for 6 weeks. I was all ready to start, but I didn't listen to my body, so my body brought me to a screeching halt, whether I wanted it or not. I don't want to do that to myself again. I want to learn to listen to my body, but not let myself get away with things-- make sense?

Today I'm lighting a candle at the altar with a petition to Hestia to help me learn the difference.

Meanwhile-- Reports

I am on my way to the gym-- 1 hr treadmill, weight training as usual, and plan to continue doing 1 1/2 minutes on the eliptical, twice each day, for a week to get used to it and then up it to 1:40.


Green Smoothie (collard greens, kale, orange juice, frozen mixed fruit, stevia leaves, lemon balm).

Lunch (planned snack, since it's so late already):
Home-made low fat humus
Raw veggies-- carrots, celery, bell peppers

Turkey burger on 100% whole wheat bun
Smeared with cranberry sauce, added lettuce & tomato
Baked seasoned sweet potato fries
Big mixed salad w/fat free 1000 Island dressing

Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding pie made with skim milk & low fat whipped topping

Total for the day:
1,227 calories/ 32.4 g fat/ 179.0 g carbs

Oh... also, another realization I made-- I have a high carb diet; at first I thought I was going to try to control my carbs better, and I tried to keep them low, but fact is I can't... but it's because I eat so many veggies, legumes & fruits in a day... I eat very little grains, and 90% of the grains I consume are whole grains, so I'm just going to go with it. I know carbs have been my enemy in the past but it doesn't seem like I can compare the white carbs and all the bread and rice to the fresh raw veggie smoothies and salads and beans I eat now.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Diet Industry

Well, I'm sick. I think I have a UTI. I had a low-grade fever and burning when I pee, so I chugged some cranberry juice and slept most of the day away. I am feeling better now, and woke up hungry so I made a delicious pot of black beans for dinner.

I was paging through some magazines my mother gave me when I was laying there and the thing on my mind today is the diet industry.

I just think it is so.... sad.

Not that I am against making money-- by all means, I am all for capitalism-- however, I think the diet industry should be held more accountable for their advertising and marketing. They make promises, they mislead, they prey on people who have a serious problem and try to sell them magic beans.

When I was in my early 20's, after having my daughter, I was shopping in this mall and saw a Jenny Craig office. I stopped in to ask for some literature. They asked me to sit and watch a video. I played with my daughter and watched the video, and they offered to weigh me and give me some profile and tour the facility, which I did.

Then they told me the price, which was about $70 per week for food-- just for me. I said thanks, no thanks, and tried to leave. The girl kept telling me how I have to buy food anyway, but I told her I didn't spend anywhere near $70 per week. So she called in another girl and left, the other girl asked if I had a problem with the first girl. I was taken aback, said no, it was just out of my price range.

They then proceeded to pull a pitch on me that to this day I find insulting. They kept telling me how important my weight and health is, don't I know someone I can borrow the money from. Asked me why not borrow from my parents, didn't they want me healthy? I said they didn't have that kind of money and this wasn't something I was going into debt for... she puts the phone in front of me.  "Here. Call them. I'll leave, you talk in private. It doesn't hurt to ask. I'm sure they want you to be happy and healthy." I refused and tried to leave, they proceeded to, "Do you have a boyfriend? Don't you want to meet someone special?"

I pretty much stormed out of there.

The secret to their "brilliant" diet is this: eating a low-cal balanced diet and exercising.

Like I need to pay them to do that. Like I need to pay them for pre-packaged microwavable foods to do that.

How embarrassing... for them. They were like freaking sharks. So basically Jenny Craig isn't anything special, diet-wise, they're just good at milking people out of money to sell them overpriced frozen foods, to keep people dependent on those foods so they can keep selling them.

Look at Kirstie Alley now... for whom I have lost all respect for. Not because her weight goes up and down, but because she's decided she is going to prey on people as desperate as she is.

First off, her website is insulting. Stupid little cartoon of her and other people drinking some of her drink and then becoming skinny. Yeah, like that's truth in advertising.

Next, she tries to sell you supplements for like $140 a month and won't tell you what's in them. I did some digging and basically they are vitamin supplements that you can get anywhere for less than half the price. None of these particular vitamins are actually helpful in weight loss.

Then you pay $10 per month or $89 a year for her website so you can find support (there are thousands of free weight loss support  board groups) find stores that sell organic foods (you can find that with google, or an old-fashioned phone book) or look up the calories of what you're eating (like you can't do that on your computer or get a little book?).

There is no emphasis on exercise. There is no actual diet except to say you should eat organic (well, basically, anyone who eats veggies and lean meats and whole grains, organic or not, will lose weight).

But the kicker is this... the testimonials on the website are from her friends and people who work for the company. They had images of people that were supposed success stories that were discovered to come from stock photos they paid for. And here is Kirsty Alley hocking the secret to weight loss when apparently she can't lose and keep off weight. She's had access to this product for at least a year, it apparently has not worked for her yet, why should anyone believe her?

Don't even get me started on the companies that sell pills, drinks and other meal replacement products. As if eating something full of chemicals from a jar is ever going to solve someone's food issues.

Now some do have it right... Richard Simmons products that help you track what you eat or help you burn off calories is really good, and he is big on the motivation and support. Marilu Henner's diet books that advocate an organic vegetarian diet of healthy foods-- sure, good plan. Can't lose if you eat right.  Weight Watchers, despite the fact that it tries to hawk products, really is at the core just about making sensible choices & finding a healthy balance (though frankly I think one could do as well as to go with the The American Diabetes Association free website & publications; In my opinion, a great free resource for a healthy diet even if you don't have diabetes). WW gives you a lot of support, though, and that's a huge factor in this struggle, which is why it has long been one of the best plans out there. And you know... I just love my "Cook Yourself Thin" recipe books, which don't tell me how to live or what to eat or that I must sell my soul to them to be billed monthly on my Visa card, but offer me some great tasting low-cal, low-fat recipes. 

So I'm not saying all weight loss products and plans are bad.

But basically the best products are the ones that don't claim to do the work for you... the ones that acknowledge that it is hard, and that it requires a lifelong change, and that it pays to have some kind of plan for a healthier lifestyle. The ones that help you formulate that plan without making it out as though you completely dependent upon them alone for your success. The ones that teach you about nutrition rather than hand you blind supplements to swallow at exorbitant costs. The ones that help you figure out how to fit exercise into your life instead of the ones that tell you you don't really need it.

If you go into any weight loss maintenance board and look for people who lost a significant amount of weight (without surgery) and kept it off for 2+ years, you will not find people wasting a lot of time endorsing products or talking about supplements... you will mostly find people who said something inside of them changed, they started thinking differently, they changed their lifestyle permanently and continue to work at it. Even if they found some product helpful, they will usually say that the product simply was convenient for them, but that it was the changes and efforts that resulted in success, not the product.

Fact is, just about any of those products will work if you change your eating habits and exercise and stick to it... and none of those products will work if you don't change.

People waste a lifetime of frustration looking for that holy grail that will do it for them, and in the process they do all sorts of awful things to their bodies, when the answer is there all the time-- just eat healthy and exercise. Is this answer easy? No. Fast? No. Will it give you the body of a Victoria Secrets model? Probably not. But it is the only real solution to the problem.

One woman came out with a book about how her faith as a Christian helped her to achieve her weight loss goals... that in wanting to be a better Christian and closer to God, she made better choices and found the inspiration to help her succeed.

Even though i am a different religion, I can realte to her. It's the same thing with my religion. Frankly I feel like I am so falling short of the teachings of my religion if I keep abusing my body and stay stuck in problems without seeking solutions. It's like I am dishonoring the very gift of life itself if I don't do everything in my power to make the most of it.

Wicca teaches me to strive for balance, to improve myself, to take responsibility for my life and the direction I want it to take. My relationship with God and Goddess are endless sources of strength, courage, comfort and wisdom there for me to take when I need it. The practice of the Craft, which is rooted in nature and psychology, is a spiritual practice; it is a means of my helping myself in every way possible to reach my goal.

My faith has helped transform so much in my life, if it can't help me with this, I don't know what can... but at the same time, I realize that, while my faith is a powerful force in my life, when it comes down to it, the solution is within me. The Charge of the Goddess says, "for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without." And while this is just liturgy, it's true... I am part of God/dess, God/dess is part of me, the macrocosm is in the microcosm... it is all connected, so everything I need resides inside of me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daily Devotionals & Balance

I have a busy day planned. I woke up and immediately felt the urge to wing it. I am such a "winging it" kind of person. My husband has been hired for some odd jobs at his lodge this summer and the boys went with him so my head, spinning with so many things to do today, just wanted to say, "Go!" this morning.

But I had to slow down and remind myself the benefits of some semblance of a routine, which I am trying to develop so my days can be more productive. The regiment we tried out was great for a couple of weeks; really great. We all wouldn't mind doing it for another couple of weeks. But we all realize that such a strict regiment like that is not realistic for our lifestyle. Definitely too strict for us to live by, but everyone liked having a more regimented day, so I have to come up with another one that might actually work for us.

It's hard for me, always has been, to keep a routine. Partly because I just like to move to whatever activity needs my attention most, or what inspires me... other part because I like to procrastinate and get lazy.

We homeschool, and after years of having co-ops, classes, play dates and all kinds of planned activities, this January, I pretty much dropped them. I felt like our schedule had grown into a monster that had been taking over our lives. Because the kids studies/classes/activities can change every few months, so can our schedules.

I work from home, which can be absolutely great with the freedom & flexibility I have, but can be disasterous if I don't keep on track. Sometimes it seems the more free time I have, the less I get done.

Now hubby-- who had always had a regular office job/schedule--  is now working sporadically and planning on going to a trade school this fall and starting a new career path. He had always been at least our one anchor to a regular routine, getting up, kissing him good-bye, getting dinner ready for when dad comes home, planning family nights or his days off-- now he spends a good deal of time home wandering about the house.

Our car is gone; it died and it was over 10 years old and not worth $7,000+ dollars to ressurect, so we are walking/bussing, and it is Florida-- so let's face it, it's too damn hot to make many plans outside the neighborhood, but being home with little to do seems to be a big part of the problem right now.

So today I wanted to skip breakfast and just start running, and I had to say, "Wait."

So I did my daily devotionals. My devotionals I do on most days consist of going to my shrine, lighting a candle & incense, saying a prayer to Goddess and God and making an offering (some herbs, a flower, milk, honey, etc. in a little bowl). Then I meditate for about 10 minutes or so feeling the strength of the Divine Powers radiating within me, filling me with the strength and joy and peace I need to get through the day.

I also do a minor devotional to the elements, which in my path are the sacred essences of life. I step out on the screen porch, do some stretching, then greet and draw upon the energies of the Air (wisdom), Earth (stability), Fire (courage) and Water (compassion) to help me in my day.

Then, I sat and ate some breakfast and planned my food for the day. I didn't sit there and calculate calories/fat/carbs, but I did at least decide on a track I was going to take. 

I got some chores done and am now off to the gym, then coming home to get some work done, cook dinner, make up a list of other things to do for the week, hang a shelf, and back to work.

I don't know why it is so hard to get through my thick skull and remind myself running off half-cocked usually accomplishes less than stopping, centering myself, and formulating a plan... then approaching my day with calm deliberation.

Little issue though... seems the scale is stuck again; for almost 2 months I seem to be having this plateau, and now that I've been counting everything I know I am not overdoing it, so in some reseaarch I am learning maybe I am underdoing it. A lot of people advise that, when you are having a stubborn plateau, you should shake things up and do them differently. If you're on low carb, go high carb; if you're on high carbs, go low carb. Change exercises. Eat more, instead of less.

So.... my plan is to keep up the gym (since I just started that, it's new), and do an extra set everyday. Also, to increase my calories for a few days to see what happens, then decrease my carbs way low to only veggies & fruit for a few days & stay away from grains.

Lets see if that shakes things up.

Best part is, though, it's not discouraging. Just par for the course. This is, after all, about life, and life-long habits, not numbers on the scale. No matter what I weigh, I have to keep doing the right thing.

EDIT- Hold on, scratch that... I just remembered a couple of weeks ago I switched to a new, better scale and it was registering me at 2 1/2 pounds higher, so I adjusted my ticker. So I have been losing this  month, I just forgot about the adjustment.


Gym-- heading there now for 3 sets of each machine & 1 hour on the treadmill.

Going to attempt 1 min. 30 seconds on the elpitical, twice, somewhere within all that.


Oatmeal w/1 tsp brown sugar, cinnamon & 1/2 apple
tea w/sweetener

lowfat yogurt
green smoothie
celery w/peanut butter
pork chop (broiled)
butternut squash (roasted)
garden salad w/ fat free ranch dressing
air popped popcorn, no fat/butter

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going good & Family Meeting

Good Morning!

Yes, morning! I had another rough night of insomnia but am very happy to be up... actually I stirred in my sleep at 6 AM and saw a bug on the wall and had to call hubby to get it and I didn't bother going back to sleep. But that's good... I'll get to the gym early, the kids are going out with their friends, hubby is going to do some odd job work, and I am going to have peace to work all afternoon. Hopefully I'll get a lot done, settle down after dinner with a movie and go to bed early.

Well, I was trying to make up excuses not to go to the gym yesterday, so I went and I spent 1 hour on the treadmill... I usually only walk/swim/step for 30 minutes, so nice.

Plus, as you may recall, my first day I did exactly 1 minute on the eliptical. Yesterday I did ---(wait for it)--- 1 minute and 10 seconds! And... and... I did it twice!!! Huzzah! Progress! Every little bit counts!

And... what do I do while I work out? LOL... watch the Food Network.

We don't have cable. I did used to like to cook though and the Food Network was one of my favorite things to watch. For a long time I didn't even want to think of food as pleasurable because I was mad at it and it frightened me that I would become hooked again, but lately  I have been enjoying getting into cooking healthier meals and watching Food TV was kind of fun again... and not tempting. Some things looked good and I realized, "hey, I could make that, I could lower the fat," etc. but some things I was like, "Mmmm, looks good, I doubt I would ever eat that-- too many calories."

It's been nice to look at food that way again.

So we held a family meeting.

Our holiday is coming up-- Lughnasadh, the first of 3 harvest festivals. It's a major sabbat. It'll probably just be us but I'm hoping at least my daughter will come over, but we don't have any plans to meet with other Pagans.

Usually we have a big celebration all day for Lughnasadh, bake, feast, and of course prayers/ritual observance.

Well, we just can't eat most of the crap we traditionally would make, which includes really rich herbal white flour breads. We thought of making an exception for the holiday only, but then decided we weren't ready to face white bread again-- especially not home-baked white bread. We are afraid of the cravings that it might bring.

We decided on turkey meatloaf & root veggies, some seasonal fruit for dessert, a veggie appetizer, and I'm going to look up whole wheat bread recipes. I don't have a bread machine or food processor, though, but hopefully I'll find something to bake that we can enjoy without causing any issues.

If anyone knows any good whole wheat bread recipes or websites let me know.


Gym-- on my way soon.

Breakfast: 140 cal/ 2.2 g fat/ 20 g carbs

2 slices 100% whole wheat bread
1 tbsp sugar free peach preserves
1 plum
Tea w/equal

Lunch (planned): 114 cal/ 3.8 g fat/24 g carbs
Green Smoothie
Snack (planned): 165 cal/6.4 g fat/20 g carbs
Celery stalks (about 3)
Home made humus (no oil)
Dinner (planned): 377 cal/ 8.3 g fat/ 53.3 g carbs
Big garden salad w/spinach, basil, lettuce, shredded carrots, cukes, toms, peps, onion, fresh herbs
2 tbsp ranch dressing, fat free
3 oz canned chicken breast
Snack (planned): 12 calories/0 fat/2.8 carbs/Sugar Free ice pop

TOTAL: 808 cal/ 19.7 g fat/ 132.7 carbs

Which is low, so I will probably throw something else in tonight like air-popped popcorn or another piece of fruit... or maybe I'm make myself a big thing of steamed broccoli to have with dinner.

I don't know, it just seems like soooo muuuuuch fooooood. The green smoothies are thick and about 16 oz so they are really filling.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Petition Magic

Hey, check it out... I've got a button.

If my journey has at all inspired you or interested you, please feel free to put it on your blog or web page.

And if you want me to put yours here, I'm will make a space below for just that purpose. So many blogs here have been helping me get through the last few months, either making me laugh or serving as inspiration or giving me some fabulous information I didn't think of before, it's kind of cool just being part of it all.

So, back to the topic of today...

One of my favorite types of magic for those bigger issues in life employ prayer.

This type of magic is known as petition magic. In petition magic, you petition a God or Goddess to help you with a big task.

I am performing petition magic today to Hestia, my patron Goddess to whom I turn for all things ruling over domestic life. For me she is the ultimate "Kitchen Witch's" Goddess... a Hearth Goddess, She rules over the hearthfire. In ancient Greece it was said that, while humans give thanks to the Gods before they sit down to eat, the other Gods give thanks to Hestia. Her Roman counterpart was Vesta, and you may have heard of the Vestal Virgins that served at Her temple, tending Her sacred fire to keep it eternally lit.

I need help getting back in a groove... seems that everyone really liked the regiment, but as we drifted out of it, and my husband got busy with some things and the kids' friends have been home for the summer and keep knocking on the door at all hours of the day, and with my work and sleep schedule now being completely screwed up and ass backwards I just don't feel like I am being productive enough.

I keep a small altar to Hestia in my kitchen and I plan to go to it with a piece of paper that I've written on a symbol for order in the household to see if she can help me.

I actually don't like begging the Gods to do everything for me-- makes me feel like a whiney child. I feel like they have given me so much to work with-- my brains, a health body, and I feel it is my responsibility to make good choices and live with consequences when I don't.

So I don't like to pray, "Goddess, fix this for me," or "God, give me this thing I need." Instead, I prefer to pray for Them to lend Their strength and guidance and comfort to me as I tackle life's challenges, both big and small. Today I am asking Hestia to help me, guide me, give me the fortitude to get back into a productive home regiment that will benefit myself and my family.



I meant to go to bed early & wake up early today. Instead I was up half the night having a hard time sleeping and then everyone woke up late today and didn't wake me. I have to work, I have to cook, I have to do chores and help the kids get things done.

So I figured I could skip the gym.

But then I realized I was being lazy again and I am going right after I post this entry.


Breakfast: 130 cal/ 5.3 g fat/ 5.9 g carbs
Egg white omelet w/spinach & a light sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
Tea w/Equal

Lunch (planned): 114 cal/ 2.8 g fat/ 24 g carbs
Green Smoothie (kale, turnip greens, oj, frzn fruit, splenda)
Dinner (planned): 519 cal/ 7.7 g fat/ 105.4 g carbs
Cook Yourself Thin Orange Beef w/1 cup brown rice
Thai veggies marinated in sesame vinaigrette & roasted
Crystal Lite

Snack (planned): 270 cal/ 9 g. fat/ 28 g. carbs
Sugar Free chocolate pudding pie in graham cracker crust
with sugar free Cool Whip

Totals: 1033 calories/ 25.4 g fat/ 163 g carbs

Water Goal: 64 oz

Monday, July 19, 2010

Banishing 1 pound at a time...

I feel better now, "lighter" (mood-wise) than I did a few days ago, thanks to that big emotional dump I have taken. It's a good feeling.

I follow this really great blog, Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, and today's topic was banishings. Mrs. B. lists a number of different ways that can be used for banishing.

One way was particularly interesting to me, writing the thing you want to banish on a piece of toilet paper and flusing it away.

I have banished a lot of things in my life: depression, illness, negative emotions & feelings, bad memories, bad habits, personality traits I didn't like, etc. Banishing can be a great way to help get rid of things you don't want.

I'm ready to get down to the skinny and banish more fat.

One of the ways Mrs. B. mentioned was writing something on a piece of toilet paper and and flushing it down the toilet. Many years ago when I was training in Wicca, my High Priest gave us a meditation for getting rid of undesired thoughts by dumping  them down a well. Having grown up in New York City, I couldn't relate, so I would envision dumping things down the toilet, flushing, closing the lid and putting one of those child toilet seat locks on it if I didn't want it to come back.

I'm thinking this might be a simple technique to apply to fat.

Now my philosophy of magic, as you may have guessed, is something I think of as the "log cabin" philosophy.

The premise is that, if you wanted to move a log cabin, it would take an awful lot of energy at one time to pick it up and move it all at once. Sometimes that big a job can be too big for one person. You can try, but most likely, even the most skilled people with the right tools for the job will be unsuccessful most of the time.

This is like magic, when people want these huge instant changes, they are trying to move a log cabin by picking it up, often without the proper tools and training and understanding, and they become discouraged when it doesn't budge-- or worse, when it falls down in a pile.

On the other hand, that one person can move the entire log cabin if they have patience and do it one log at a time. One piece at a time, take it one moment at a time. You can lift each one of those logs and easily drag them along to exactly where you want it.

Same thing with magic... break down the goal to smaller goals and focus your energy like a laser, one at a time. 

This is why so many people looking for magic to be instant gratification don't get anywhere. They want a "Powerful Magickal Wiccan Weight Loss Spell that Really Works!!!" They want it to make them thin... quickly... and without the effort.

Even further, you can extend that to non-magical folks, who, instead of looking for a spell, look for the miracle product that will do it for them.

The desire for fast and easy with complex issues like your health is just a pipe dream, including magic, and no one gets anywhere until they are ready to abandon this notion and get in it for the long haul, are ready to take on the job piece by piece.

So... I think the "toilet paper banishings" are a great idea... one pound of fat at a time until it is gone.

And of course, like electricity, you have to provide magic with a conduit to work... the energy needs a channel to travel or it just scatters. The more defined and well constructed the conduit, the better the energy works to help you along with your goal... so that channel is exercise and eating right.

My whole biological clock is messed up now, day & nights are reversed; I was up all night again and woke up after noon. I only got 6 hrs of sleep. Too little sleep for two days in a row. This will never do. Tonight I have to work but I am stoppping at 9 pm no matter what... if I sit on the sofa to watch TV I will fall asleep I am sure and will start at a reasonable hour in the morning.

Treadmill, 30 minutes starting at 1 MPH on 0 incline, up to 3 MPH on 2 incline then back down.
Weight Machines did them all, 2 sets of 10, 20 lbs on arm machines, 30 lbs on leg machines

Someone was on the eliptical... I didn't want to wait just to do my 1 minute. Tomorrow.

Breakfast: 166 cal/ 4.8 g fat/ 38.0 carbs
Green Smoothie w/ kale, turnip greens, frozen mixed fruit, banana, OJ, water

Snack: 78 / 2.4 g fat/ 1.4 carbs
1 oz leftover skinnless chicken breast
1 boild egg white
Celery sticks
(I just needed more protien today)

Dinner (Planned): 561 cal/ 16.6 g fat/ 79.5 g carbs
Cook Yourself Thin Veggie Lasagna
Big "Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" salad w/lite raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing
Crystal lite

Snack (Planned): 220/ 4.5 g fat/ 41 g carbs
CYT Vanilla Cupcake

Water goal: 64 oz (about 30 down already)

Not the best choices today; Only 1027 calories overall, but I woke late and am going to bed early so I really cannot stuff myself any more. Tomorrow I will get up and have a nice big high-protien, low-fat 3 egg white omelet.

Imbalanced; protien too low (6%), carbs too high (68%) and fat too high (27%) but at least I am staying under calories & getting rid of the leftovers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I had an epiphany, reached a milestone, and a meltdown in one night

Last night. After I posted. Big melt down.

If anyone read my post a few days ago "Mama Done Me Wrong," it chronicals life with my twisted mother, and how from the age of 12 or 13 and throughout my teens she had me convinced I was pretty much on the virge of morbid obesity. In between the crap she fed me, she'd always be telling me how big I was getting with these "oh my God" type stares, shaking her head in dismay, telling me how all the family and neighbors were telling her I was getting so big and it was such a shame. She was always putting me on (or encouraging me to go on) extreme diets that involved not eating, wolfing down supplements, and any other crazy idea...

I was telling my husband about how I thought I was morbidly obese from about the age 13... how I was ashamed of myself, hated myself, would cry because eating was weakness... how I thought everyone was always staring at me like the fat lady at the circus, how I thought I was so big I was embarrased to go places like the beach with my normal-sized friends...

Up until a couple of days ago, I would have said, "well, I was chubby, but I wasn't as all bad as my mother convinced me I was. I looked worse to myself than I really was..."

So I pulled out these photos of me at age 13 (right) and 17 (left)... and I really really looked at them, and showed my husband:

Notice how, at 13, my clothes are tight... that's because as I was growing up and getting curves, my mother would get mad at me when my size went up so I'd squeeze myself into the smallest size I could.

Notice how, at 17, I resigned, and just began wearing baggy clothes to cover myself up. I wouldn't go out without something long enough to cover my butt, hips & thighs because I thought I was huge.

And for the first time in my life... for the first time I really saw myself.

And there was nothing wrong with me. I was completely normal.

I spent half my childhood disgusted with myself and I even went on till almost 41 years old remembering myself as the fat kid on the block... even up until now, decades after moving out of my mothers house, growing up, going to college, getting married, having kids, having real weight and food problems... even up until now, when I looked at the few childhood pictures of me that I still have (hidden away deep in a closet I might add), I remember myself as fat. I saw myself as fat.

I didn't even believe it at first... I kept going through my pictures looking for some evidence of this fat kid I was so sure I was, but sure enough, every photo I found (many of them, I noticed, hiding my body behind a throw pillow, stuffed animal or another person), all the same... no evidence of a fat kid.

When I think about all the things I must have done to permanently screw up my metabolism because of how fat I though I was.

I have been in a bit of a daze since I pulled out those pictures the other day when I went through the photos, like, "Holy crap... all this time, I've been seeing things so wrong..." and it all hit me when I showed my husband last night, and I broke down and I cried for a long time over it... and I sat up all night shaking off the shock.

Goddess bless that husband of mine, I love him so much. As usual, he was there for me and said all the right things about putting the past behind us, how when he looks at me he sees nothing but beauty, and how things are changing for the better.

The healing spell I did is probably a major factor in this ephiphany... and tears are cleansing, and I guess you can't move forward very well when you have old baggage like that to drag and you have to look through it thoroughly and decide to just let go of what you don't need anymore.

Last night I feel like I unloaded a lot.

So today, both my husband (voluntarily) and I went to the gym!!!


Looking back I realized I've posted about 80 posts now... in almost 7 months. Even barring the 6 weeks I had no computer... that's kind of pitiful.

So I am going to account more for what I'm doing by trying to post every day.

And maybe I should add my food & exercise reports, too. So here goes:


(the goal for the day was to ease in without overdoing it)

Started with some stretching.

30 minutes on the treadmill... a little quicker pace than I would normally walk, just to keep things pumping but not to kill myself the first day.

I did the weight equipment, I know how to do them properly as I used to have a gym membership with a trainer as a teen... I did 2 sets of 10 for each one at a weight that just gave me some resistance, but no strain.

 I tried the eliptical. I thought it was going to kill me. I hung in for 1 minute... so that's where I've set the bar. I'm not giving up on that.

(Since I didn't lay my weary head down till 7:30 am, and woke up around 1 pm, I did not have a normal day)

Breakfast: 135 calories/ 6.2 g fat/ 13 g carbs
1 slice 100% whole wheat toast w/ 1 tsp all-natural peanut butter
Tea w/equal

After Gym Snack:   135 cal/ .6 g fat/35 g carbs
Fresh Mango   

Dinner (planned): 732 cal/ 26.5 g fat/ 53.5 g carbs
Big roasted chicken breast w/skin
Roasted sweet potato & acorn squash quarter w/light brush of olive oil
Sprinkled w/ my home-grown herbs & lemon
Crystal Lite Peach Iced Tea

Snack (planned): 228 cal/ 5.5 g fat/ 50.5 g carbs
Air popped popcorn, no fat, 2 cups
16 oz Green Smoothie (turnip greens, spinach, kale, orange juice, mixed frozen fruit, banana & splendor)

Water goal-- 64 oz minimum

Grand totals: 1,227 calories (good); 38.7 g fat (a little high); 152.7 g carbs (slightly low but good carbs)
I strive for 50% carbs, 30% protien, 20% fat; I'm at 47%/ 26%/ 28%

Feast, famine, happy mediums & my dirty little secret.

Seems to me, at least in my world, it is either hard to stop eating... or hard to eat enough.

Seems like ages ago when I would just sit down and eat and not be able to stop eating, loading up my plate with seconds and thirds, when I had to have that second Big Mac or that 4th slice of pizza.

It's been almost 7 months getting over that feeling that I needed more and more and more food to be happy and satisfied.

And even though I fear I could easily, if I let my guard down, slip into those bad habits again all too quickly... but it's strange how the tables have turned.

At first I did not keep track of actual calories. I tried to be vigilant about my portions, balance my food groups, and just keep things with too many unhealthy ingredients at bay. I think I did do fine. But once I had stalled for a month on that plateau, I began measuring and counting more carefully these last couple of weeks.

What I am discovering by this careful counting is-- it's really hard to eat enough in the day!

I have been trying to eat about 1400 calories per day... fairly low (especially for someone my size) but still enough to give me the nourishment that I need so I have energy.

By all recommendations I can find, 1200 is probably the lowest I should go... maybe someone smaller than I am can get away with it, but at 5'8" and over 330 lbs, 1200 calories a day is less than I expend just breathing.

Here is an example of my day. This is today but it is pretty typical:

Omelet: 170 calories
3 eggs (1 whole, two whites), used nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup of mixed veggies, roasted w/1 tsp of olive oil
Tea w/ equal
16 oz Green Smoothie: 114 calories
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup water
some stevia leaves (fresh herbal sweetener I grow)
some lemon balm
about 1/2 cup of kale
about 1 cup turnip greens
1 cup frozen mixed fruit (strawberries, mango, peaches, pineapple)

Salad: 65 calories
Baby spinach
Mixed salad bag
Fresh basil
Shredded carrot
sliced red pepper
about 2 tbsps lite walnut raspberry vinegrette dressing

Vegetarian lasagna: 405 calories
Had all the good stuff-- ricotta & mozzarella cheese
Loads of spinach & mushrooms
Fresh herbs from my screen porch
Even made my own home-made sauce for it, way better than jar stuff.

Vanilla cupcakes w/merengue icing (Cook Yourself Thin recipe): 205 calories
These are good, they are made with zucchini to keep them moist, no fat except for the egg yolk.

I'm pretty stuffed, but that's a grand total of..... 959

Serious! 959!!!

In some ways, that is great... because I am stuffed on 959, very satisfied, and very much enjoyed everything I put in my mouth today. There was absolutely no deprivation. I mean, considering it all, that is a lot of food.

I actually treated myself to an 80 calorie cup of coffee tonight just because I came in so under. And I'm going to be up working for a couple of hours so maybe I will have a piece of fruit later before I go to bed... I got some fresh mangos on sale the other day and they are just... yum.

I find it pretty incredible that I am now sitting here trying to ensure I get close to 1200 calories today to ensure I don't make myself fatigued or my blood sugar to drop or cause my metabolism to shut down or anything.

Makes me wonder... I feel like I ate so much today, and really I did, how the hell did I scarf down the quantity of crap that I used to? I mean, how did I ram that much food down my throat???

And now... onto a more pressing matter.... my dirty little secret.

I have been getting exercise... or at least trying to stay active. I do stepping in my living room while I watch tv, or walk, or swim, and occasionally yoga though I haven't gotten as regular in that as I intended to.

But the thing is... apartment complex... has a gym.

Free for residents.

State of the art equipment.

And I have not been there yet.

I don't think I even mentioned it. In fact, I've tried not to think about it.

I'm looking at some of the flab thinking I need to get on top of things here... I need more than just aerobics... I need muscles, I need shaping and toning or I am going to end up looking like a lumpy sack of potatoes.

Mind you, I've already got the belly "apron of flesh" courtesy of 3 C-sections and having stretched out my stomach so much.

I mean-- what the hell am I doing acting like I don't need to get my tail there? It's been almost 7 months!

This is where I have to step outside of myself for a moment and say to myself:

Wait a minute... you have a beautiful, clean, air-conditioned gym less than 100 yards from your front door... free for you to use... and you work at home and set your own schedule... and you need to lose a couple hundred pounds... and you haven't been there yet...!???

You dumbass."

This is the kind of thing that deserves a clunk on the head. What did I think I was getting away with? This is the kind of denial and ignoring and pretending that got me where I am.

Feel free to throw things at me now, I deserve it.

I guess getting up to get into a regular exercise routine is going to be another big challenge, for me one of the bigger ones.

So I am making a promise to myself... and since I am telling you I can't pretend that I didn't or talk myself out of it... but I am going to the gym tomorrow and starting on a more proper work out program.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Broccoli Soup Raving and other Food thoughts

Sometimes I feel like food is the enemy... and sometimes I feel like it is a loved one I have a strained relationship with and I want us to get along better.

I've been cooking a lot of recipes out of the Cook Yourself Thin books, and I have to say I really like some of their stuff. I recommend their books to anyone looking to cut a few calories out of some favorite meals.

You have to be careful with it though-- I think some of it is simply low cal because it's such small portions. Still, the CYT their veggie lasagna, crispy chicken, fish & chips and low cal fudgy brownies are a lot lower in cal that most recipes would be, but on the down side sometimes they are so damned good that one tiny little serving leaves me wanting more... but 2 servings would be too much.

One of my own favorite recipes that I have been making for what seems like forever is for a Cream of Broccoli Soup. I made it and realize

1) how freaking simple it really is

2) how I can make a huge pot of it and refrigerate or freeze leftovers for other meals (I like that)

3) How good-- creamy, warm and thick-- it is, like comfort food.  

4) Oh My Goddess how low-cal, low-fat, low-carb it really is!!! It's practically all-you-can-eat!!!

I ate with it some whole wheat toast-- 100% whole wheat, no corn starch no sugar added. No butter or anything, just tear the toast and dip it into the bread. Normally I wouldn't eat 2 slices in a sitting but I had skipped lunch that day and could spare the carbs.

I took a pic of it; Check it out:

I make 6 qts (actually, almost 7) in one shot. Here's how.

Put a big soup pot on medium-high. Add 2 tbsps (or less if you like) of olive oil.

Open 2 big 2 lb bags of cut plain frozen broccoli. Pick out the nice flourettes and set them aside in a bowl. Throw the rest into the pot and stir.

Give 3 cloves of garlic a "pop" with the flat side of your knife and peel off the paper. Throw it in. You don't have to bother chopping/mincing it because it's going to be pureed.

Throw in a small handful (about 2 to 3 tbsps) of uncooked white rice. Stir it up till the rice & garlic just start browning.

Pour in 2 quarts of 99% fat free chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit.

Use a stick blender to puree it-- or pour it into a regular blender (in portions if necessary) until it is pureed.

Basically,. that is where it gets it's creamy consistency... the puree broccoli & that little tiny bit of rice starch... no cream, no milk, no cornstarch. If it's too thick, just thin it with water until it is the consistency you like.

So put the heat back on and dump in the bowl of flourets you set aside. Salt & pepper to taste. Bring it to a simmer and it's ready.

I calculate the stats like this for all the ingredients:

4 lbs broccoli: --------617 calories-------------6.7 g fat-------------120.5 g carbs
2 qt. ff chick broth------  77 cal       -----------3.3 g fat-------------2.7 g carbs
2 tbsp olive oil---------- 239 cal --------------27 g fat--------------0 carbs
2 oz white rice---------- 74 cal --------------- 0.2 g fat-------------16 carbs
3 cloves garlic---------- 13 cal----------------0 fat----------------- 3 carbs

So the whole 6.5 quarts comes out to:

Calories: 1019 ------------  37.2 g of fat---------------- 142.1 g of carbs

There are 26 cups in 6 1/2 quarts... so 1 full cup of this lucious, creamy soup is:

39 calories -------------  1.4 g of fat ------------------ 5.46 g carbs

So you can literally eat 2, 3 even a whole quart of this soup in a sitting if you want. It's practically all broccoli.

But wait! Want to cut things even further?-- just cut the olive oil down to 1 tbsp; use veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and if you thin it out a little with water it can stretch to 7 or even 8 quarts, which will further reduce the cal/fat/carbs in each serving.

But wait! Wanna be bad?-- If you can afford the extra, have it with the toast like I did, or crackers, or throw a 1/4 cup cooked pasta in it. Throw in 1 oz of shredded cheddar cheese into your hot bowl of soup, or sprinkle with some Romano or parmasean. Add some cooked chopped chicken. 

I've actually turned this into a "sauce" for chicken or potatoes by just using less liquid and making it really, really thick when I puree it-- and add a bit more garlic & spices to it like some thyme or basil.

Of course, I don't have to tell you of how high Broccoli is in just about everything good for us-- calcium, vitamin C, copper, etc... but also it has long been used in folk medicine in anti-aging concoctions and garlic is a healing/protection herb, so if you are into magic, go ahead and give this soup a little bit of enchantment when you are cooking it.

I think I am going to make this soup my new "mac & cheese"... freezes & reheats beautifully, too.

Today we are getting our rugs cleaned, I'm waiting on the guy right now... so all the furniture is in disarray and the coffee table is in my small kitchen, the kids are sleeping over grandma's house and my husband and I are going to treat ourselves to a couple of Lean Cuisine microwavable pizza and leftover salad from last night's dinner. I think I got some sugar free jello or ice pops or something in there, too, for a little snack.

Between that and the leftover broccoli soup lunch (no bread this time), it's almost like "cheating."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mama just done me wrong.

I visited my mother. Damn is it stressful. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to but me and my family are literally all she has in life, she's 80, and I am trying to remain patient so she doesn't have to live out the rest of her years completely alone.

She knows I am trying to lose weight and change my lifestyle. She compliments me that I am looking good.
Then she proceeds to offer me soda, cake and hero sandwiches. She proceeds to give me cupcakes, lollypops and other stuff that she thinks I'll take home with me to keep in my fridge. Why the hell does she buy this stuff if she doesn't eat it and she almost never has visitors and she knows I don't eat it?
My mother has tried to sabbotage me and screw me up with weight and food since I was a kid, and I just don't get her motivation behind it.

I know that sounds horribly paranoid-- but wait. Pour yourself a beverage, settle down and read this. I garauntee you will be shaking your head:

First thing you have to know about her is she is a stick. She is 5' 2" and about 90 pounds. When she was younger she was up to 130, and she almost killed herself drinking vinegar to lose it and has been a rail ever since. She has an eating disorder-- she barely eats. When she does, she eats a little bit and walks away. She lives on coffee, drinks almost a pot per day. This eating disorder has never been diagnosed and she would never believe it of herself.

I was adopted, I don't have her genes. She had a number of miscarriages; I'm willing to bet her undiagnosed eating disorder has something to do with it, but the point is, I don't share her genes. So my shape, size & body type are different, as well as how food effects me.

This goes a lot deeper than my mother having no concept of what is healthy and what is crap to eat. When I was young, far back as I remember, she just fed me crap. Constantly offered me crap and if I wanted more crap she gave it to me. If I wanted cookies or cake for breakfast, I got it.

She bought me sugary cereals, gave me 2 or 3 bowls if I wanted. Every night she believed in a "midnight snack" before bed, and would give me big portions of things like cake or oreos. I remember by the time I was about 6 or 7 I could eat a whole sleeve of Oreos in one sitting-- what's that, like 20 cookies? By the time I was 8 or 9, I could eat two of them. Or an entire box of Grahm Cracker cookies. And I was allowed to do this... every day... for a meal replacement or just as a snack.

In the house, I drank soda... all day. Or sugary iced tea powdered mixes. Or chocolate milk. When I ate, plates were piled on, mostly carbs and protien laden with butter or breaded & fried. I was encouraged to finish it all. I was encouraged to have 2nds. If there was a serving or less of food left on the table, I was encouraged to eat it because "why bother saving it"?
Believe it or not... I was a thin child... until puberty. I started putting on curves. I wasn't even really fat, but definitely getting curvy.

Then the insults began. She called me fat. She said I was getting huge. I could walk in a room and my mother would be like, "Oh my God you are getting so big." I'd get dressed to go out with friends and come out of my room to be greeted with a comment like, "you're going to wear that? Makes you look heavy."

She would tell me that people were always talking about my weight. Come home and say things like, "Oh, I saw John, our old neighbor today. He told me he ran into you last week at the grocery store. He said he couldn't believe how big you got. He said you were always such a pretty girl, it's such a shame." She'd feed me and make fun of me while I was eating. My self esteem, already fragile, just chipped away to nothing.

I remember how mad she would get at me when I went up a size, even though I was still growing. I hated shopping with her because she picked things out. I hated when she brought stuff home for me to try on... because if it didn't fit, if it was tight, I'd get the looks and the comments... the ones that implied I was becoming a total house. I remember when I was about 16, I was 5'8" tall, and she dragged me shopping and sent me in the dressing room with a bunch of size 10 jeans and I was panicking because I couldn't zipper them. I was hysterical in that little dressing room because I just didn't want to hear what she was going to say if I came out and size 10 didn't fit me. I was not abnormal weight... I might have stood to lose about 10 or 15 pounds, but I was very curvy and fairly tall, certainly nothing to have fussed about so much... but she had me believing I was completely abnormal, totally disgusting, as if I was going to come out of that dressing room and everyone in the store would be looking at me shaking their heads in dismay and disgust. I tried so long and so hard and broke the zipper

By the time I was about 14 or 15, she'd startedwith the diets. Trying to get me on diets that her friends had been on or that she heard of. One friend gave her this "formula diet" that she told me to follow, and of course I was eager to lose weight so I jumped on it. You had to eat certain things to the letter for 3 days (beets, tuna no mayo, black coffee, etc.) and this perfectly balanced "formula" was supposed to help you burn fat (it's bull, of course). Then the rest of the week I was just supposed to eat a sensible meal-- but of course, in my house, we had no idea of what a sensible meal was. I couldn't get down the beets or black coffee, so I was seen as not caring about myself at all.

Then "diet food" was celery, carrots, and baked chicken with just a little salt sprinkled on it, and a glass of water. And if you couldn't commit to three meager, boring meals like that every day, well you just weren't trying. I was labeled pathetic.

She applauded me when I would tell her I didn't eat... there was something noble to her about suffering and resisting food. The woman honestly believes things like eating and sleeping are vices and likes to pretend she doesn't really need to do either of them. So if I told her I went all day without eating, she'd say, "good."

Then her friend started selling Herba-Life supplements. I was about 16 and my mother bought hundreds of dollars worth of supplements. Basically, the diet is this: practically don't eat. You take vitamins and drink meal replacement shakes all day, and have that sensible baked chicken dinner at night. I did this for a while... but eventually I couldn't stand it any more. I started eating. I started binging.... and I was deemed a total failure by my very angry mother who was out about $500 and still had a fat daughter.

"The thing is," she would tell me, in all the wisdom she thought she possessed, "you just have to make up your mind." When someone lost weight, she'd tell me they just finally "made up their mind." I could not figure out what the heck was wrong with me... I knew how badly I wanted to lose weight. I thought I was huge compared to my friends (now looking back at old photos, I was actually thinner than some of them). I thought everyone was just amazed and disgusted by me, from disappointed family members to strangers on the street. I had made up my mind... so why couldn't I do it?

There are not a lot of photos of me as a teen... partially because of basement floods and moves with some old boxes getting lost, but also because during those ages I was ashamed of my body so much I avoided photos.

Most of them are buried in my closet and I have to go through them, but I dug out a couple.

This is me at age 13 (left) and at age 17 (right)... this is what I looked like when I thought I was morbidly obese. This is what I looked like when my mother encouraged me to believe that I was "getting as big as a house":

I shit you not..... her reactions to me at these ages convinced me I was alarmingly overweight.

Now-- here is where it gets ***really*** twisted--

By the time I was a teen, my dad had split. She was working and didn't bother to come home and cook anymore. I started working at 14 and was mostly fending for myself. She barely ate so she didn't usually care about what kind of food was in the house anymore unless company was coming.

But whenever I would diet, she would bring food into the house.

Ice cream. Cake. Soda. Cookies. All the things she pretty much didn't eat.

And I would tell her how tempting they are, and she'd tell me about "you just have to make up your mind." And I would cry. Eventually I would usually cave and binge or start to pick until it was gone, and she would go bullistic about how I ate all her food and "glommed it all up" and how unbelievable I was, I was a a hog and how she knew I couldn't do it.

And I would beg and plead and cry with her, telling her how that stuff just tempts me and is too hard to live with. And she'd tell me I just didn't "make up my mind."

"Why do you always bring home so much of this stuff when I am on a diet?" I asked once.

"Because you can't hog it all up so I can have it in the house," she said.

So it was some kind of game in her warped mind... she didn't really want me to lose weight; she wanted me to be in a perpetual state of suffering-- either skinny or deprived or fat and humiliated. She's always been like this with me-- trying to prove some crazy notion to me about suffering and grinning and bearing it that I still haven't figured out.

But the thing is, if I managed to stay strong and resist it, she would offer it to me and tell me to eat it before it went bad or something!!! She'd say, "Just have some-- it's not going to kill you. Just eat a normal amount."

My mother was fucked up. Literally. Now she had me believing my dad left because he couldn't stand me and my drama anymore. She had me believing everyone would talk to her about me and agree with her that I was a spoiled, selifsh, stupid, horrible person... as if everyone just sympathized with this poor woman and the job she took on in raising me. She had me convinced that I was basically too stupid and pathetic to live and that without her I would never make it in life. She had me believe that because I didn't like to do things her way, I was totally wrong and just rebellious. I remember when I was really little, a couple of times, to punish me, she'd play dead. Everything that was wrong withour lives and our house and the world was somehow directly my fault-- if she sent me to the store to buy her a pack of cigarettes and they didn't have her brand, it was my fault.

When I was about 7 and confided that an older female cousin had been doing sexual things to me when she babysat, she said she would take care of it but did nothing. When I told her again, she said "not to do that." When I had an older male cousin who was molesting me, I didn't tell her because I was afraid she would tell me it was my fault. When I was 12, her brother, who lived near by, got drunk when she was out one night. He came in our house and attacked me when I was in the shower (he had a key). I was hysterical. I got away, but I told her and she told me flat out I was lying (she idolized her brother; but I personally think, with her family's completely unhealthy attitudes about sex, I suspect molestation was a dirty family secret that was pretty common). But yes, she was totally fucked up.

And once I left school and got out into the world on my own and was no longer living in the sick and distorted world that she had created for me, and could see life straight, and made real friends and I discovered Wicca and with strength in my faith I learned that it was she who was so fucked up, not me, a lot of things in my life got back on track.

Except food. For some reason, my relationship and issues with food just continued to spin and spiral out of control until this year.

I can't blame her for the mistakes and choices I made after I was 20 and going out on my own. She felt vindicated of course, in her world it proved her "right about me all along" but leaving her and going on my own, my weight practically skyrocketed.

So after I left there yesterday, upset, even wanting to eat, I realized just how much pain remains from growing  up with my mother... how many scars there are... and how I have managed to heal almost all of those wounds except for the food. Maybe because the food issues played directly into my self image and how the world percieved me. I don't know why it has been the hardest thing to get over.

So the magical workings for this moon phase.... healing. Closing wounds. Healing scars. Putting the past behind me.

I feel a little shakey, like I have just vomited words and feelings that have been sitting badly in my stomach for decades.

More tomorrow.

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