A beautiful storm

We went north for the weekend. My grandma lives in Mendocino County which is a few hours north of San Francisco. Yesterday after work we drove up. The rain and fog were intense, but at least we drove slow enough that I didn’t get car sick.
My grandma has no idea what kind of diet I’m following. She did bake some russet and sweet potatoes for us, but was totally at a loss for a “complete” meal. She pulled out salad stuff with blue cheese dressing! When I asked for frozen veggies she got a pack that was so freezer burnt I am not sure they were good to eat.
But the point is that she tried. She made the effort to feed me what I could eat. That was very nice.
Today we walked to the end of the road. I remember when that distance was so far for me. I remember when I couldn’t go that far and how great it felt the first time I did. Today it was like nothing.
We met a beautiful horse. I called to it and he came right up to us with his face over the fence. He was very sweet. He even touched noses with the dog!
When it was time to leave the rain was intense. It hailed while I dashed out to the truck!
Living in California has shaped how I see rain. Even though it was heavy and cold, it was so beautiful to see how green everything was and how full the waterways were. The last time we were at my grandma’s the creek was almost dry. Now it is several feet higher.
I loved everything about our weekend in wine country. And I love how easy this lifestyle is making the rest of my life.

Looking good?

I know this is a recurring theme with me, but M told me that I look smaller today. I understand that I have lost a significant amount of weight. I also understand that I am going to lose more weight. But what does looking smaller mean? I asked if I look good. He said yes. I said than say that! So he told me that smaller looks good. Good grief!

I want to be smaller. I want to lose the excess weight that I have carried for far too long. But I don’t think that that affects my beauty in any way. However beautiful I ever am I always am.

So what should we say to people who lose a large amount of weight? Maybe we can ask if they have lost any and how they are feeling. Maybe we can notice things like their improved energy level or self-confidence. Maybe we can simply realize that someone else’s weight is not really any of our business and leave their health concerns between them and their medical professional.

I just wish people would see me as a person instead of a fat person. I’m sure that will happen soon enough, but will I have to go out and meet all new people?

In other news, we went to the gym today. I had planned on going swimming at a local pool, but with the current storm and chill in the air (leave me alone about being in the 50s, okay? I know I’m a baby!) neither of us really wanted to go swimming. So we took the dog for a walk in a downpour then came home, changed and hit the gym. I did a little more than 3 miles on a stationary bike and almost a mile on a treadmill then thoroughly stretched. It felt great. I was very tired when I finished. And hungry!!!

When we got home I ate a burrito bowl: rice, “refried” beans, cucumber, shredded carrots, and lettuce. I put some sweet chili sauce on it and 20151201_203753.jpgchowed down! Delicious!!! If you have never had sweet chili sauce, I highly recommend it. We are about halfway through a large bottle I bought on Monday! And it tastes great on just about everything. Seriously, try it. AMAZING!!!

Tonight’s dinner is not quite figured out, but I have a head of cabbage, 3 leeks, and some mushrooms in the fridge. I started some rice and split peas soaking. Have you ever added split peas to your brown rice? The texture is fantastic! I did 2 cups rice with 1 cup of mixed green and yellow split peas. I’ll cook it in the rice cooker tonight and probably sauté the vegetables or maybe make a soup. In any case, I’m sure it will be a warm and tasty dinner. 🙂

How is December going for you? Are you ready for 2016? Any challenges in the coming weeks? How do you plan to deal with them?

A wonderful Sunday

 

45 lbs WW.jpg

This past weekend I received my 45 lbs award at Weight Watchers. It feels unreal to me that I have lost that much weight. I have never before lost this much weight at one time, doing anything! And I still don’t feel like I am on a diet.

As of my Sunday morning weigh in, I have lost a total of 46.2 lbs. I have regained a fairly normal menstrual cycle including symptoms of ovulation. I can measure my walks in miles now instead of blocks. For the most part my acne is clearing up. I still have a few breakouts throughout the month, but there are far fewer cysts to deal with. My complexion looks healthier. My skin has a natural glow now whereas before I had such a dull complexion. I have so much energy! I love to get up and take the dog for a walk, just because it feels good.

I still have issues with compliments. Yesterday and today friends told me how great I look. I still see the same body when I look in the mirror, so that is hard for me since I think I look the same. But it’s nice to get recognized. 🙂

My mother-in-law and I went for a walk on part of the SF Bay Trail. We started over where we could find parking and walked to the start of the bike bridge. It was over 3 miles each way! I was very tired when we got home, but still had enough energy for a Target run. Obviously!

While we were talking I thought about a book I recently started about a woman who did a triathlon in her 40s. She is very funny and I have been seriously thinking about doing one. I talked to a man in my meeting who does them regularly. He mentioned a series over the summer called “Tri for Fun” that is open to all levels and ages. Today I looked them up. And I’m in.

I’m going to do a triathlon next summer.

I have already found a place to practice swimming. I am not a strong swimmer. Let’s be honest here. I’m not a strong swimmer or bicycle rider and I don’t run! But I am going to train, and complete, the whole thing!

This is the gorgeous view I had on our way home last night. Love the Bay!SF Sunset 11-22-2015

Kitchen clean out plus stuffing/dressing debate

Yesterday we had to go to the store for some groceries. We both had the day off work so I was planning a special dinner – stuffed acorn squash with mashed potatoes. More on that later. One thing we tend to do is just wander the aisles of the store aimlessly looking at what sounds good in the moment, often forgetting key ingredients or purchasing duplicates of what we have at home. So M decided to make a list. More than that, he cleaned out the fridge. He started looking at all of the weird things we have been saving – carefully collected bacon drippings, tofu that was so old it was turning red, vegetables that were reaching liquefaction. It was pretty nasty. 🙂 Good thing he took that task on! Haha!

Next he turned to the cupboards. He actually went through all the odds and ends that I have been shoving in for the past two years that we’ve lived here and looking at what actually is okay following the dietary guidelines with which we are currently living. He even started a care bag for his parents of tuna for their cat (ours won’t touch seafood) and other new boxes of mixes that do not support our health and no longer part of what we consider food.

It was liberating and daunting all at once!

I took to two shelves where I have been stashing baking tools to make elegant cakes and other goodies, but never have. I finally let it all go. We ended up with a huge black trash bag full of stuff! Normally we carefully sort our recycling and compostable scraps out but yesterday was a trash day! I wish I had taken a picture.

Our next mission as part of Project Kitchen Clean up was to get a metal shelving rack. We have been talking about getting one for over a year and yesterday we finally had enough “extra” after paying all the bills to find it a worthy purchase. We got it home, set it up*, and filled it. We moved the microwave from the corned of the counter to the rack and moved all the spices over to the corner. It opened up a ton of space and feels so much better than the pile of stuff that had been there before. The pile included our Crock Pot, rice cooker, old water bottles, a large basket we store sweet potatoes and onions in, and more. Plus the chest freezer was totally covered in more stuff like the dog’s food and treats, the fruit bowl, and the salad spinner. Now we have a place for everything and everything is finally in its place!

*We have never successfully assembled anything together before. Usually our DIY projects start with one of us having a bright idea (more often than not me) and the other trying to help but in actuality taking the project over (M does this). There is a fight involved as the originator realizes s/he is no longer a part of the project. Mean things are said, feelings are hurt, projects are finished but don’t always resemble the initial idea, and both of us sulk. Yesterday, though, we were able to work together to assemble the shelving unit with no harsh words, no bickering, no nothing! There were a few tense moments in the beginning as we figured out how to do it without it falling apart, but we got it. By the last shelf it was smooth as silk. A major first for us! 🙂 Love that guy!!!

After we finished the kitchen, I needed a nap! M went to visit a friend down from Washington State. When I was rested I started on dinner.

Months ago I bought an acorn squash with the noble idea of baking it with cinnamon and salt, and even a little butter. This was before I went to a starch based diet. I never made it, though. Eventually it went from green with an orange spot to all orange. By the time I fished it out of the fruit bowl yesterday it was starting to look a little deflated. Oops. I love acorn squash, but firmly recommend eating them when they are still firm!

My plan was to make stuffed acorn squash with mashed potatoes and parsnips. Even with our good intentioned list I still forgot to buy the parsnips. Oh well. I cubed about 1/3 a

croutons
Vegan, oil-free, homemade croutons. YUM!!!

loaf of bread into 1/2″ cubes. I spread them on a rimmed baking sheet then sprayed lightly with Bragg’s and seasoned with a bit of poultry seasoning and garlic powder. I baked at 300 degrees (F) for 30 minutes stirring about halfway through. They turned into the best homemade croutons I have ever had! Granted, I have never had homemade croutons before, but they were delicious anyway!

 

While those were cooling, I got started on the rest. No matter what I am cooking, I love to start with an onion. I understand no everyone likes onions as much as I do. Feel free to use less! The nice thing is that I cook them enough to sweeten them and cook out all of the sharpness. They add such a wonderful flavor to the food and the house smells amazing as

vegetable goodness
Can’t you just smell it?

they sizzle on the stove. I heated a large, heavy, non-stick pan with a bit of water and thinly sliced an onion. I threw the slices in and let them work their magic while I chopped three celery ribs into small pieces. That went in on top of the onions. I then took the stems off of three large white mushrooms (the caps were about 3″ across!), cut off the dirty end, and chopped them finely. The stems are pretty woody when the caps get that big so I added them next so they would soften. Next I chopped the caps and added those. Periodically I added more water and stirred every so often to let everything cook evenly. When all the vegetables were nice and soft I added Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and a bit of salt. Then I chopped an apple into it and threw in a handful of currants, just for good measure.

 

I put the croutons in a mixing bowl and poured the vegetables over them. I stirred it all together adding vegetable broth until everything was moist. I let that sit while I prepared the squash:
– Chop the squash in half using the stem as the midpoint.
– Scoop out all the seeds and strings.
– Question the safety of eating this very old squash.
– Rinse if needed.

I put the squash on my cutting board to hopefully keep things tidy as I stuffed. Then I just heaped spoonfuls of stuffing in and pressed them in tightly with my hands and the spoon. When they were both as full as I could get them I put them into a glass loaf pan. There was still quite a bit of stuffing left over so that went into a baking dish!

Recently we had a conversation at work about stuffing vs. dressing. Which is which? We could not determine to our satisfaction the correct answer so asked Google. It turns out there is not really a difference, it’s mostly just where you’re

before baking
Stuffing or dressing? Why not both?!

from and which tradition you follow. I personally like the idea that stuffing goes into something and dressing is cooked in a pan, but it’s just semantics at that point.

 

They were covered with foil and baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes then uncovered and baked another 30 minutes. Two things that would have improved it at this point:
1. Adding some water to the squash pan would have prevented the scorching that affected the bottom of the squash. It probably would have made the squash more tender, as well.
2. Lining the baking dish with parchment paper or a very light coating of grease would have helped it release more easily. I had a few croutons that were pretty stuck to the bottom!

I also realized that I had no desire to wash the big pot to boil potatoes. Luckily for me, M had baked some sweet potatoes a few days ago and there was one left. I skinned it and heated it with some plain, unsweetened oat milk, mashing with a spoon as it cooked. I added a splash of maple syrup, a nice sprinkle of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. It turned into the most amazing sweet potato mash ever!

Dinner turned out pretty good. I was quite pleased with myself, obviously. And I am so happy that I figured out how

plate of stuffed squash dressing and sweet potatoes
I ate some of the squash before I remembered to take a picture. 🙂 It was that good of a dinner!

to make amazing croutons! Here is the finished dinner. If you feel so inclined, give one of these ideas a try for Thanksgiving!

 

Whatever you make, however you celebrate, I hope this is a time of happiness and love for everyone!

Living on a plateau

I can see the edge. On one side of me it slopes up, fairly steeply, to my starting weight. On the other side is an abyss of the unknown. That side is where my end is, far out of sight, at this point a mere illusion. Somewhere down there beneath the fog surrounding this precipice is true health and my end weight. It’s still a blur since I don’t have a weight I am getting back to, like my wedding weight or high school weight that is a healthy end goal. I am venturing into a realm I have never existed in before.

When I first started this journey I was losing weight very quickly. The first week I lost over 5 lbs. There are still times when the weight comes off so quickly it scares me a little. And there are a lot of emotions that come up as the weight comes off. When it is too rapid I get uneasy and feel like I’m in a bit of a free fall. So hitting a plateau or even a slight gain helps me regain my footing a bit.

I think that is what has been going on. I lost a lot of weight very quickly, 40 lbs in less than 4 months. That left me unsure of where I am at and where I am going. I also have a lot of emotional knots around Thanksgiving.

My sister recently visited from Europe with her baby which was amazing. During that time we had a family/friend party that brought up a lot of the same dysfunctional family dynamics that make November such a difficult month. There was a very tense moment between my mom and grandma that left everyone else uncomfortable. The party was open-house style on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night after we finished cleaning up I was so unhappy that as I sat at the kitchen table crying I told my mom that I wanted to eat until I couldn’t feel anything anymore. It was the first time in my life that I have ever acknowledged that tendency out loud in the moment of crisis. I did not binge. Instead I went to bed with the ball of misery sitting on my chest. Sunday morning I was up early with my nieces who had spent the night. We watched a few cartoons, then I was out the door to Weight Watchers. It was a great meeting and a wonderful celebration for my 40 lbs award. As soon as I got back to the house, though, the mayhem continued. After the first few people arrived I excused myself and took my time styling my hair and putting on some makeup. I was having a hard time since every few minutes I would burst into tears. But I eventually put on a cute dress, hardened a smile onto my face, and went out to spend time with the growing crowd.

The next morning we had a visit from another friend. She arrived while I was eating breakfast, still in my pjs. She and my mom got into it over how things had been handled with my grandma. Since this was about a month before everyone was supposed to go back to my mom’s for Thanksgiving I tried to steer the conversation toward a resolution. What’s done is done. How can we move forward in a way that makes gatherings better for everyone? This resulted in a conversation that lasted hours during which we voiced hurts that have been haunting us for years. My mom has traumas she has been carrying around since childhood. I have traumas I have been carrying around since childhood. My sister has traumas she has been carrying around since childhood. I cannot even recall most of what came out that day. I just remember sitting at the dining table with tears streaming down my face and my sister sitting across from me staring at me with such intensity whispering that she can see how much I am suffering. I felt visible for the first time ever. It was very intense.

I am not sure what that conversation accomplished. It left me feeling so ragged. I will say that my sister was amazing. The way she looked at me and hugged me when I needed it, I don’t even have words for. I was able to say some things that had been festering inside for years. It was such a relief to get them out. Like lancing an abscess. But what now? How do encourage healing? How do I move forward with the rest of my life? How do I let those old hurts go?

I am not sure of what the answers are for any of those questions. I do know that I am not going to the family Thanksgiving this year. While that is a huge weight off of my shoulders, I am sad that I am going to miss seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles, and everyone else. But I am very glad that I get to avoid the negativity that surrounds my experience of every Thanksgiving with my grandma.

With all of this bubbling up to the surface lately I am not surprised that I haven’t lost any weight since my sister left. This year I miss her more than I have in a long time.

I am trying to deal with all of these emotions and release the ones that are no longer helping me. It is not an easy task. I do know that this is a huge part of the plateau. When I am able to get past the emotional stuff I will move past this weight. I think patience is one of the hardest parts of losing weight. Sometimes, though, there is nothing I can do to speed it up and this is just one of those times.

In the meantime, I changed work locations so I no longer have a 2 to 3 hour commute. I have been taking the bus which requires a moderate amount of brisk walking on top of the dog walking I usually do. It feels so good to start my day by getting my blood flowing! I arrive to work early (most days) with a gorgeous flush that looks like what professional makeup artists use a ton of blush to achieve. It also makes me feel very accomplished to hit my step goal so early in the day. I do think it’s time to up my goal, though. 🙂

For now, I am just going to live on this plateau. I will walk around the edges, look up at where I came from, look down at where I’m going, and enjoy the view. I feel so much better physically than I have in such a long time. I love having the energy to go walking as often as I do. I love feeling pretty with no makeup and seeing my skin continue to improve every month. So why not enjoy where I am at this point in my journey? Sure I wish the scale was moving down again, but maybe I just need to take this time to see why my heart is so heavy before my body will release any more weight. That is my focus for now.

Enjoy your fall! I hope everyone has a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving with people you love. I also hope Halloween was great for you. 🙂 Here is my makeup for the work costume contest. I had skeleton arm warmers, too. Fun!Halloween 15

4 months as a McDougaller

As of today I have been following the McDougall Program for 4 months. In that time I have lost more than 40 lbs. I have also regulated my periods. My skin looks amazing. I have digestive regularity. I eat whenever I am hungry (when I have food). And I never restrict anything I truly want. The funny thing is, though, since I switched to this way of eating I haven’t wanted anything off plan except pumpkin pie with my sister. So I had a piece. It took two days to eat it. And it was worth every bite. I tell people about my diet, but I am definitely not on a Diet. I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life. And I love it!

So what does this look like in a day? I almost always eat oatmeal for breakfast. I learned a great trick which is to put quick-cooking oats in a bowl and pour boiling water over them then cover for 10 minutes. Perfect! I usually just eyeball it to about half a bowl of oats, then add dried or freeze dried fruit like currants, blueberries, strawberries, or apples. I add enough water to fill the bowl then cover with a plate. While it steeps I do my hair and makeup for work or watch tv or take the dog for a walk. When I’m ready to eat I add a little brown sugar and sometimes cinnamon then stir it up and enjoy! I actually like to make it on the thicker side so I can eat it on my way to work. 🙂 What else are red lights for?

Lunch is often leftovers from dinner. I have also been enjoying Dr. McDougall’s soup cups. The chicken ramen is my favorite. I also went through a period where I ate a bag of frozen corn and a bag of mixed vegetables. Sometimes I bring plain potatoes and make sandwiches with some ketchup and a sprinkle of salt. Now there are brands of frozen steamed rice. Occasionally I’ll go out to eat. I like sushi (all vegetables) or pizza with no cheese or meat and lots of veggies.

I snack a lot during the day. I eat bread right out of the bag – usually Alvarado Street Bakery. Sometimes I treat myself to a loaf of sourdough bread, though, when I’m feeling indulgent. I also have been known to buy Red Vines. Once I even got some sugar snap peas and baby carrots! I also like the applesauce pouches for when my blood sugar feels very low.

Dinner is usually where I put the most effort. I like to cook with a range of flavors. I love Mexican because salsa adds so much flavor without much fat. I like to make other ethnic foods as well like the Kenyan food and fried rice I made awhile back. Ethnic foods are so great since they have so much flavor. Standard American fare tends to focus on meats and cheese-heavy dishes. So the variety of flavor offered from cuisines around the world is refreshing and, quite literally, enlightening. The biggest point I can make for dinner is to eat food that fills you up in a way that makes you feel healthy. That is my priority. I like to be filled up comfortably with warm food that fuels my life.

I also walk everyday with my dog and sometimes my husband. I wear a pedometer with a goal of 6000 steps a day. Most days I meet it, some days I far exceed it. I have discovered recently that I am taking fewer steps on the same walk. So the dog and I are going for longer and longer walks. He loves it! He knows when we are doing a longer walk based on which way we go at an intersection. I love how enthusiastic he is about our walks, too. Last weekend we went to a park I went to for day camp as a kid. We walked about 3 miles in a light drizzle. It was such a great walk! But we never push past where I am comfortable. I do not force myself to exercise when I don’t feel like it, unless I am home alone and the dog needs a walk. But then he is very understanding. 🙂 What a good boy! I love that I enjoy my daily walks and actually feel it in my legs when I am too sedentary. I used to be able to ignore the feeling and just keep sitting but now I get up and go for a quick stroll. At work I walk around the building, go to another business nearby for something, or just stand and work for a bit. At home I strap on the leash and we hit the pavement. Even 20 minutes refreshes me. The best part, though, is how good it feels. I WANT to walk.

Happy dog
Happy dog

It is not all sugar and spice, though. I am struggling with how I look. I don’t see any change in the size of my belly. I understand that I have lost some size since I had to buy smaller pants, but what I see when I look down is the same that it has always been. That is a challenge. I also am having an issue with feeling vulnerable without the buffer of fat. I still have plenty, but almost everyone who hasn’t seen me in awhile tells me how great I look. It makes me feel very uncomfortable since I don’t think I look that different and I don’t think I looked that bad. Or maybe I never think I look that good. It’s hard to say which. In any case, I am not quite sure how to respond. I usually try to focus on how I feel and my health improvements instead of how I look.

I am also having a major struggle with the idea of conception. I am terrified to get pregnant right now since I am still so far from healthy. But I also am terrified about waiting any longer since I am now 33 1/2. What if I lose all the weight to get to a healthy BMI and still can’t get pregnant? What if there is some residual damage from being so obese for so much of my life? What if I am totally fertile and still can’t get pregnant? These thoughts are circling my consciousness these days. I want so much to go through the process of having a baby and raising my child. But what if it never happens? Will I always have this gnawing feeling? Will it always make me feel so left out when my friends talk about their kids? Will I ever accept that this could be it for me? I don’t know.

I will say that my PCOS is much better on this starch-based diet than it ever has been before. My periods used to be so painful I would have to take 800 mg of ibuprofen at a time to feel any relief at all. I also was glued to my heating pad and constantly shifting positions to keep the pain at bay enough that I wasn’t in tears. It didn’t always work. Now I often go through whole days with no medication at all. When I do need it, 200 to 400 mg is sufficient to manage my cramping. The improvement in my cystic acne is amazing as well! I currently get a few small pimples here and there and usually one cyst near my chin, but I don’t have a rash of pustules anymore! I can leave the house without any foundation and still feel okay about how I look. That is HUGE for me!

Obviously I am still a work in progress. But I’m okay with that. I just want to be the best me that I can be. As long as I continue to improve I am happy. And every day I continue to make choices that benefit me in the long run. So I’m doing well. All in all, I am confident in the fact that this is how I will be eating and exercising for a long time to come. 🙂

Moving moving moving

Life is very busy right now. I am so thrilled that last week on Tuesday I got to meet my nephew for the very first time. He is such a smooshy-face! He is charming and inquisitive and absolutely adorable. I know I’m biased, but he is a darned cute kid!

When they first arrived my brother-in-law was craving a milkshake so we walked to an ice cream parlor that was a few blocks away. I think it may be about a half mile or so. I was holding the baby – L – and my sister pulled out the carrier. I am still well over 300 lbs and much larger than I am truly comfortable being so I was very nervous that the belt wouldn’t reach around me. But it fit! And not even at the loosest setting! So I got to walk with the baby strapped to me. I loved the extra cuddle time and held his feet the whole way. He did great until he finally got so tired he let Momma carry him again while she worked to soothe him and get him ready for a nap.

That day between the walking around and the “baby bounce” I did more than 12,000 steps! I was so proud of myself.

Yesterday’s WW meeting topic was ways to fit fitness in. Lots of people talked about their structured workouts, which are great. I talked about that little love bug who kept me moving for hours! After the meeting I took a nap then took the dog for a walk. I had taken him on a shorter than normal walk before the meeting (since I go at 730 am) so I took him on a longer one for the afternoon. Right when we got home my mother-in-law invited me for a walk with her. I should have known that she would push me much further than I really wanted to go, but I did it anyway. We did about 5 miles in the Oakland Hills on some beautiful trails. I was huffing and puffing (and I will definitely be digging out my inhaler for future hikes), but I made up and down all of it. It was about 2 hours total. And I made it to over 16,000 steps yesterday!!!

I am working as hard as I can to feel strong in my body and this helps for sure. It is an amazing feeling to look down a steep hill and see the trail I just made it up. I didn’t take any pictures, but the views were amazing. And now I know that I CAN do that kind of trail. I am looking forward to the day that that is easy for me.

I also have been cooking up a bunch of new recipes. I found another great website for inspiration: http://fatfreevegan.com/

My father-in-law is so impressed with how much weight we have lost that he has decided to try it out for a week to see how he feels. I am going to print all of the McDougall info and possibly a few other recipe ideas for him. He enjoys cooking very much so I am curious to see how the transition to fat free cooking goes. But I am just happy that he sees something positive in us and wants to make a healthy change himself.

Check out the great recipes there! One that I made over the weekend was the Melty Pizza Cheese variation. I poured it over plain pasta at my company party and added sweet potatoes I brought with me. It was a little weird to bust out my little containers of food, but so nice to not be sick to my stomach in the morning! And the cheese sauce tasted great! I ate some more with left over sweet potatoes and green beans. An interesting blend of foods, but quite tasty.

One other thing that is challenging for me right now is my mom. She has a very bad back and was hoping to have a small fusion surgery this fall. When we went to the doctor for a consultation last week he made it clear that what she thought would help would probably not help and would most likely end up hurting her more. We were both devastated and sat in the car crying for about 10 minutes after the appointment. One thing he made clear was that her weight will hinder any recovery. I am planning on spending a week at her house with my sister and her family and asked if my mom would commit to following the McDougall program since I’ll be there cooking for myself anyway. She agreed. She has been increasing her starch consumption but still has dairy, eggs, and oils as a regular part of her diet. So for a week she’ll switch to tea for her caffeine and go strictly starch based for the rest! If she notices a difference in her arthritis, blood sugar, or weight and feels better then she can continue if she wants. I hope she does.

So that’s me for now. I am trying so hard to see the positive in myself. And I am doing all I can do right now. And I just keep moving.

Small signs of big changes

I work inside a grocery store. I am currently not eating probably 90% of the foods sold in this store. There is a deli that serves hot foods and a soup bar, both of which are very fragrant. When I go to the bakery section I have to walk past these plus the cheese cooler. You know the cheese cooler. It is full of every imaginable kind of cheese from all over the world. I love(d) cheese. So it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to be comfortable with my current eating program with all of these “bad” foods around me. Not that they are bad for everyone. Or maybe they are. It’s not my place to make dietary decisions for the world at large. I can say with certainty that fats and animal foods are bad for my body. Since cutting them out a month ago I have lost over 10 lbs. I have less acne. I am experiencing less hormonal disruptions with my cycle. I have been reading about diet and hormones and firmly believe that everything I have done in the past to “get healthy” ended up hurting me even more. So I am delighted to finally feel good!

Back to my original idea, I just took a walk around the store since it’s a bit chilly in here and I wanted to warm up. I walked past all kinds of things that in the past have felt like they were calling out to me. Today they just sat there quietly. I felt great but a little leery as I rounded the last corner toward the deli and cheese section. I got hit with the cheese smell first and was pleasantly disgusted. It smelled like soured milk! Which is what it is, but the deliciousness was no longer there. That’s amazing! Then the hot foods smell. That didn’t smell good either! I have loved chicken strips for most of my life. Today they smelled greasy and old. Not at all appealing. Wow!!! For me this is huge!

I have a dinner date with a friend later this week. We’re going to a sushi place near our work. She’s not a huge fan of sushi and I’ve never tried the restaurant before, but I already scoped the menu and feel like there are enough choices I’ll be okay. I’m just happy that I don’t need to worry about “temptations” like I have in the past. They just don’t tempt me right now. That said, I did eat quite a few Red Vines last night. They have no fat and are not a regular part of my diet so I think they are totally acceptable. We also went to a block party last night as part of the National Night Out. I brought a veggie tray and snacked on my way home. I was not at all hungry when we got there. M didn’t want to eat anything since he’s actually been pretty careful with his food choices lately, too. But after probably 20 minutes of talking he was finally hungry. I think he ate two or three plates of food. It all looked great and I was pleased to see him choosing more starches and veggies than meat dishes. He also passed on the cookies and brownies since he filled up on those on Sunday at another party. Silly guy! Everything smelled great but I didn’t have any desire to eat the foods there. Afterward, we walked our dog then I had rice and veggies leftover from my lunch. Simple, easy, and tasty.

I am also noticing that my clothes are starting to fit differently. I have a pair of black pants I wear quite often. They ride up a lot and I constantly have to rub my legs to pull them down. Yesterday I noticed that they aren’t riding up much anymore. I am also wearing a peasant style blouse today that often shows my belly due to it’s bright solid color. Today I noticed that my belly doesn’t stick out as much. These are small changes, for sure. But I am feeling great from it. I love that food is not in control of me. And I don’t have to be in control of it, either. I just eat foods that are not hurting me and when I’m full I stop. I have a ton of containers in varying sizes so nothing goes to waste. I just pack it up and eat it later. There is so much freedom in this. I have been looking for a way to create a healthy relationship with food for most of my life. Who knew all it took was cutting out added fats and animal foods?

Did you participate in National Night Out? Have you even heard of it? You can find more info here. Basically it’s a chance for neighbors to meet and get to know each other to build community and strengthen the neighborhood watch. It’s nice to get to know the people I say hi to when walking the dog. And it’s also good to know who you can turn to if you ever need help. So make sure you find out about your local block party for next year and get to know your neighbors!

A beautiful day

I went for a walk today with my husband M and our dog Sammy. We went to a park near our house and walked along the Sunset Trail for maybe an hour and a half. There were a few times when my lungs lost their air (I have asthma that is brought on by physical exertion) but I was able to do some breathing exercises and did not need my inhaler. Sammy lost patience when I started taking baby steps on inclines so M took him and I caught up. It was a great walk though.

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On our way out I felt like my legs were jelly. I definitely got a good workout on this walk! It felt so nice outside. The weather was perfect with a gentle breeze and lots of shade.

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We talked about how I am changing since I have been the McDougall guidelines. One major change I have noticed in myself is that I want to go for walks like this. When I get home from work I want to walk the dog and have a few minutes of conversation with M before we zone out to the TV. I have even been walking Sammy in the morning most days. It’s not a huge amount of exercise, but it’s way more then what I was doing. And it feels great!

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M told me that he is looking forward to not smoking cigarettes anymore. He has a doctor appointment this month and will be getting a prescription to help him quit. I cannot wait for him to be able to go a day without a cigarette. I am so happy he wants to regain his health, too.

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All in all, it was a wonderful day. Tonight we might go out to dinner. We don’t do many dates or spend the whole day together like this so it is great to get to connect like this. I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend, too! Enjoy the gorgeous weather!

Braids, sweat, and tears

This past weekend I went to a music festival in Grass Valley, CA to braid hair with a friend of mine. I have never been to a festival quite like this before. It was celebrating music from all over the world and it was amazing! I even got to indulge in some delicious Caribbean/Jamaican style vegan food. I say indulge because fried gingered plantains were definitely a treat! I have been on such a low fat diet since I started this blog that I ate less than what I would have eaten in years past and still felt a little sick from the oil. But it was so worth it! 🙂

I am not used to so much heat either. Both Saturday and Sunday I was thirsty enough to drink over a gallon of water. Saturday I ate a whole jar of mini dill pickles! I stayed true to myself and ate the gold and sweet potatoes I brought with me for most of my food. I felt in control and prepared, both of which I often don’t feel. It is great to see myself and my health as a priority worth planning for.

While the festival was not as busy as I had hoped in terms of what I was offering, it was still a lot of fun to get out there. I was also able to bring home a few very unique items that I cannot get anywhere else. And I made a few new friends while getting to reconnect with an old one. We shared some sweetly sentimental moments that had both of us in tears. But in the happiest way possible! These all made going out into that heat more than worth it.

I had to be back at work Monday due to an unanticipated staffing change. I had been planning on going to my mom’s Sunday night and then Weight Watchers in the morning. That wasn’t going to happen, though, so I had to improvise. Surprisingly, it is hard to find an early week meeting in my area. But I still had to go get my dog from my mom’s house so I found one on the way our to her on Tuesday morning. I wasn’t expecting too much from my weigh in. Eating a whole jar of pickles puts a lot of salt in the system! Also, I tend to be sensitive to environmental stressors like excess heat! Plus I had all those delicious plantains. So I was prepared to see a gain. But I actually lost over 3 lbs!!! That means in the two weeks that I have been following Dr. McDougall’s plan I have lost 8.8 lbs. That’s a lot!!! I am so excited by that! I must say that this is by far the easiest “diet” I’ve ever done. I get to eat as much as I am hungry for of foods I love. And I never have to be hungry, except at work when I don’t have time to get a snack. 🙂 But that’s more a scheduling thing than a diet thing.

I am still struggling with my mom, though. Yesterday we were at her house for a bit. I brought some brown rice cakes, a banana, and a microwavable package of black rice (if you haven’t had it, it is so good!). I ate all the rice cakes that were left and the rice. I was still hungry. My mom started listing things that she thought I could eat. I am not eating any of them. She then tried to justify why she thought I should eat them. I told her to Google “dr mcdougall maximum weight loss” to see what I am doing. I doubt she will. I wish she would because it is important to me that she knows why I say no to the things she is eating. It is an easy way for her to support me. But I am not holding my breath. I love my mom dearly and I know she loves me, too. She does not understand how to support me in the way I need to be supported, though. So I will take what I can get and make sure I keep prioritizing myself and celebrating my fantastic progress toward health. I think tonight calls for fresh strawberries!