Friday, December 20, 2013

Weight Loss Update

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Since I've shared my weight loss journey, I thought I would share my most recent photo collage of my progress.

To date I've lost a total of 147 lbs.  Yay!!!  I can't tell you how much more energy I have and how much better I feel.  I'm thoroughly enjoying being more active with my kids, and that little grandson of mine.

I hope you all have a Happy, Healthy, Holiday.
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama

In my last two posts I explained why and how I started my journey toward better health, which by necessity included weight loss.  Now I'd like to share what I've been doing for the last 10 months.

Trim Healthy Mama was written by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, two of Nancy Campbell's (Above Rubies magazine) daughters. It was written over the course of about 5 years by these two amazingly dedicated ladies.  They've been through many eating lifestyles themselves and developed this approach, which is basically a controlled glycemic way of eating, when the others failed to keep them and their families in really good health.  Some of the things they've done in the past are vegetarianism, veganism, low fat, and raw food.  They've spent years learning how the body processes food and now we get the benefit of all their hard work.  The book is a little pricey (about $35.00), but it's been self published so that's to be expected and it's well worth the price. 
Simply put, they advocate eating fats and carbs separately since the body uses both as fuel, but won't use the fat if the carbs are present.  Unlike many other "diet" plans, they do not exclude entire food groups, citing biblical examples for the inclusion of these foods.  Personally, I like that their plan is balanced and looks toward God's word in support of their choices.  Though it is a bit of a lengthy read, about a third of the book is dedicated to recipes.  I will have to say that though I've tried many of the recipes, what was even more important was that by learning the plan and reading through many of the recipes, I was able to learn how to adapt family favorites to make them plan approved.  Also, in addition to the book, they have a website, forum, and facebook group that all help you along.  The forum is good for getting questions answered, but the facebook group will also address questions and offers up way more recipe options as the ladies on the group are constantly sharing new things they've tried. 

I've lost 89 lbs. since starting THM last December (bringing my total to date to 139 lbs.) and I can honestly say that I can, and do expect to eat this way for the rest of my life.   With all the delicious options I rarely feel tempted to eat something that wouldn't be plan approved, and if I decide to, it's not really that I've "fallen off the wagon", I've just decided to eat what they call a crossover (a meal that includes fat and carbs) and can switch back to a single fuel at my next meal. 

The only thing that I do a bit differently is that I do not eat very many E meals (energizing meals - they contain carbs), and when I do, they don't usually have anywhere near the allowable limit for an E meal.  Because of a three hour glucose test I've had, I know that I produce a lot of insulin in response to sugar in my blood stream so I take that into account and try to restrict my carbs a bit more.  I do listen to my body though and when I'm feeling tired or unable to concentrate as well, I know it's time to eat a few more carbs.  And since I do allow myself some non-plan approved food on occasion, I feel it probably all works out. 

The book doesn't just stop at explaining the plan and sharing recipes, they go on to explain the most beneficial exercise routines and they have an entire section on hormones, their function and what may be going on with your body if they're out of whack. 

To help me along the way, I've also started compiling an entire repertoire of recipes that I've hunted around for, and found online.  Many are low carb, gluten free (but only the type of gluten free that doesn't include rice flour), sugar free recipes.  I do not use Splenda, but I will adapt a recipe that calls for Splenda by using a plan approved sweetener.  I also use many Paleo recipes, adapting them as necessary to make them plan approved. 

As you can tell, I heartily endorse trying out the book and plan, but I do plan on having future posts dedicated to sharing plan approved, and family taste-tested and approved recipes.  I just won't share recipes in the book as they are copyrighted (but you really should try the Special Agent Brownie Cake - pg. 382).  And for the record, no, I received nothing in return for endorsing the book.

I will add a final note here that the plan can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you do get the book and decide to give it a go, just take it slowly.  Change one meal at a time instead of plunging in head first and trying to change everything you do and eat all at once.  It's a change in your lifestyle that will bring about good health, not a quick fix to get you "bikini ready" in 6 weeks.  Those things don't give you the lifetime changes that will keep you trim and healthy anyway, but changing to a healthier lifestyle will. 

What do you have to lose?  I had about 190 lbs. to lose, and I'm very nearly 3/4ths of the way there.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

So, how did I lose 130 lbs in 14 months?

Well, as I said in my last post, it wasn't by magic, pills, powders or any other trick.  There was no weird grapefruit, tuna, cottage cheese, kale chips, or drink all your food diet plan.  There also wasn't an enormous amount of exercising, though there certainly was some. 

We'll start with how I changed my eating.  When I started, it was just by watching my quantities, drinking a large glass of water with every meal and trying to cut down on "easy" carbs - white potatoes, white bread, pasta, and rice.  That is all I did for the first two weeks.  Then I started looking into calorie content, hidden calories, and which foods offered up the best nutrition for the calories I was eating.  Thankfully, I don't count calories anymore, though I did do a bit of that in the beginning.  I'll get into what I do now, and have done since last Dec. later, but I did want to be honest about the process.

When it looked like all the food changes wasn't going to kill me, and in fact, I felt like I was doing pretty well, I decided to add in a bit of exercise - and I do mean a bit.  I literally spent about 5 minutes doing any move that wasn't something I would ordinarily do.  Nothing much; raising up on my tip-toes 10 times, 10 knee lifts, alternating knees, 10 arm raises, also alternating arms for about 5 minutes.  That's all it took when I first started, but, I didn't stop there.  I gradually increased the time, occasionally adding in an additional moves, like a Charleston type move, until I was consistently doing some kind of additional movement for 20 minutes every day.  I took about a month to get to 20 minutes a day of exercise.  While I was working on that I also purposed to increase my incidental moving during the course of each day.  I would go get something myself instead of asking a kid. I would go get the mail or find reasons to go upstairs.  I also starting parking further away from stores or other businesses.  I found ways to make myself get up and move often throughout the day.  Believe it or not, these incidental movements are very important to overall health.  Lots of little bouts of moving throughout the day can be just as important as a regular workout in keeping your metabolism up.

All of the preceding changes took place over a 6 week period from mid-July to the end of August, 2012.  Up to that point, I had not bothered stepping on a scale, mostly because I didn't want to discourage myself if my weight loss was slow.  I had gotten on a scale shortly before Ri's wedding, so I knew about what I weighed, and I had measured my hips when I was making my dress for her wedding, so I also had at least that measurement to go off of.  By the first Monday in Sept, 2012 I felt I was doing well enough to start keeping track of my weight loss.  I had so much weight to lose I had already decided to break the total amount up into smaller, mini-goals so that I wouldn't be overwhelmed by how much I had to lose altogether.  As I stepped on the scale I was telling myself that my first goal would be to reach 330 lbs., because I had not been that weight consistently since T. had been born.  I was ecstatic when I looked down and the scale already read 330 lbs.  I was instantly motivated to up the ante with regard to my exercise routine and eating habits.  I was less inclined to "cheat" since I was already doing so well, and I began strictly limiting the easy carbs and anything with sugar.

I lost weight pretty quickly for awhile, but part of that was because I was so overweight that I was literally burning calories at twice the rate of a "normal" size person for every single thing I did.  It was faster than Dr's. suggest, but I was eating well, and not strenuously exercising so I wasn't really worried.  It seemed logical that I would lose quickly at that point.  I did track my food intake and exercise for a little while with My Fitness Pal, but thankfully, that's not what I'm doing now.

Although I was happy with with the weight I was losing, I felt that there had to be more to it all, and there had to be an explanation for why I would sometimes see a good amount of weight loss when I felt as though I had not been eating as well, and there would be no weight loss at times that I felt I was being "good" with my eating.   So I started reading more and more about health, and how our bodies utilize nutrients.  About that time one of the ladies at church brought in a copy of the book, Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene Allison, and Pearl Barrett.  After browsing through it, I decided to purchase my own copy.   I got it in November, 2012, and by December, 2012, I was ready to start implementing the Trim Healthy Mama style of eating.  In addition, I also got a copy of the book, Why We Get Fat, and What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes.  While I don't completely agree with his "diet", I found the information in it helpful in further explaining how our bodies process foods and in my opinion, it went along well with the Trim Healthy Mama eating style.

I had lost 50 lbs. from mid-July to November of 2012, and have lost more than 80 lbs. since starting Trim Healthy Mama in December, 2012.  I'll go a bit more into Trim Healthy Mama, and the tweaks I've personally made in my next post.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

General Happenings

Whew!!  This year has absolutely flow by.  I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything that's been going on, and quite frankly, have felt as though I've not been particularly productive, even though I've been busier than ever.

The garden was a little neglected this year.  It shouldn't have been because the weather has been unseasonably cool, making it much easier to work in,  but partly due to all the rain, which meant we didn't have to water, we just haven't been out there very much.  We harvested a good deal of sweet peas, a fair amount of green beans, quite a few cucumbers, and a lot of zucchini earlier on, but other things didn't not perform particularly well.  The garlic and onions did not do well at all because of the cold winter, and very cool, wet spring and early summer.  Because it has never gotten very hot, having had very few days that even reached 90 this summer, and extremely wet, our peppers have been limping along, not producing very well.  Our melons have also done badly.  On the upside, though we've not had a bumper crop of tomatoes, we are getting a fair amount of them on a regular basis.  Every year there are successes and failures in the garden, and every year we manage to eat from it, so it all works out.

I've not done much in the sewing room since I finished all the baby sewing in the spring, but I did get back in there and make myself a new purse last week so I'm now inspired to start (or finish) a few projects.

The younger girls and I have already started back with school, albeit slowly.  We have a lot to cover this year, so we'll need the extra time.  I hope to be a bit more diligent than I was last year.  Some things I had wanted to do last year just didn't get done and I don't want to repeat that this year, so I think the schedule will be a bit more rigid.  I don't think they'll like it all that much, but they will certainly survive. :)

We haven't done nearly as much food preserving this year, but we've been busy in the kitchen with other things.  I plan to tell you more about it in a future post, but suffice it to say that we're trying to improve our health and that has required a big change in the food we eat.  We are currently working on changing many of our family favorites in order to make them better for us.  We hope to share some of our new recipes in the future.

Of course, the new grandbaby has been a delightful distraction around here.  We are really enjoying every moment we have with him.  He gets passed around quite a bit between me and his aunts.  I'm pretty sure most days he enjoys all the attention.  Here's a contented little man, with a full belly.  He looks like this a lot. :D, but we still enjoy just holding him.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Here he is!

All 9 lbs, 8 oz, and 22 1/2 inches of him.

He's so precious!!

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

He's here!!

After 2 days of labor, Ri and her hubby finally had their son very late on Saturday the 8th, missing my birthday by a mere 9 minutes.  He's 9 lbs. 8 oz. and 22 1/2 inches long.

Hands down, the best birthday gift ever.

Pictures coming soon!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Update on kitchen scrap gardening.

Last year I made a few posts about gardening with kitchen scraps.  I had read about it somewhere on the web and wanted to try it for myself.  You can read those posts here, here, and here if you like.  I had great success with the green onions, but at the time, was not as pleased with the celery.  I'm happy to report that the celery ended up doing quite well.  We harvested stalks off of it several times last year, leaving a few on it each time.  At the end of fall it still looked fairly healthy, so I decided to leave it alone and see what it would do.
Here it is.  It's looking pretty good so far this year.  This picture was taken about 2 weeks ago.  It's much bigger now, and starting to go to seed.  If I end up with a dead spot or two in the garden this year, (and I may if whatever creature it is doesn't stop digging up my plants) I may put a couple more celery bases out to grow.  Although we didn't tie up the stalks last year in order to blanch them, I may give that a try this time around.  We just used them as is in stock a few times last year.  Since failing to blanch them produces much more celery flavor, it didn't take very many stalks to lend a good amount of flavor to the stock.  

I've linked this post with the "From the Farm" blog hop over at Fresh Eggs Daily.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

No baby yet.

Much to her chagrin, the last 48 hours worth of contractions have yielded little results.  The contractions were the long, slow, unproductive kind, and now they have stopped.  At least she can get some sleep now.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

And, we wait.

I am presently killing time by downloading the most recent pictures that we have taken.  Some of them are from this year's garden; taken because I intended to write a post about it.  That will have to wait, unless...
You see, I'm currently awaiting a call from my daughter to tell me whether or not the midwife has decided that she is in labor and that I'm to head on up there.  I'm about an hour and a half away, so I'm really hoping she doesn't go too quickly, if indeed this is the real thing.  She's had lots of bouts of contractions in the past week or so, so we're just not sure.  I'd be nice if this is the real thing, and I'll let you know if it was as soon as I can.  If it's not labor, I may just get around to that gardening post tomorrow today.  After sleeping in late, because it's already past 1 am.
Until then, here are a couple of the most recent shots of her.

She looks about done - wouldn't you say?
*I should add a note in here that I'm not worried she'll have an unusually quick delivery (though my mother was certainly the queen of that) it's just that they had timed the contractions for 4 hours before they called me and the midwife, then it will take them almost 2 hours to get to the clinic, and after they receive a verdict, it will take me another hour and a half.  Plenty of babies have been born in 6-8 hours, so we shall see.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Shower

It's a very busy time of year.  What with Mother's Day, and all the graduation services we've been invited to, we've certainly had a lot to do, but our chief concern was Ri's baby shower.  It wasn't exactly a typical baby shower, but that's just how we do things.  Dr. Seuss was the theme for our party, and all family members (as opposed to just women and girls) were welcome. 
The street sign from "The Lorax" welcomed everyone at the corner of the sidewalk and the driveway.
And the Onc-ler's sign greeted them at the front door.
We had to clear out the garage in order to set up extra tables for the food and all the guests, but brown Bar-ba-loots graced the door that led into the garage.
The Onc-ler himself hung above the freezer in the garage, where we served the food.
And Truffula trees, along with Swomee Swans, decorated the wall behind the cake table.
Now don't go thinking we only used "The Lorax" for our inspiration.
What Dr. Seuss party would be complete without the Cat in the Hat?
From "There's a Wocket in my Pocket", we had Nupboards for the cupboards,
and we found ways to incorporate many of the other books as well.
The napkins had the Cat's hat, and the plates were, of course, from "One Fish, Two Fish".
Instead of the normal baby shower games, we had things like Dr. Seuss trivia, which included questions from many of the books, a two legged, Thing One and Thing Two race (only the children volunteered for this one), and an observation game where folks had to locate all the Sneetches' beach balls that were placed around the house and garage.
Food included things like, (from "The Grinch")Rare Who Roast Beast (roast beef - we had cheese and rolls too, so everyone could make their own sandwich), Grin-itch Spinach dip ("What Was I Scared Of?"), Truffula fruit salad ("The Lorax), Truffula seeds (candy coated, chocolate covered, sunflower seeds), Who pudding ("The Grinch"), and of course...
Green Eggs, and Ham.
(BTW, please excuse the dirty wall - it is a garage.)
Moose juice and Goose juice ("The Sleep Book") were lime sherbert punch, and pinapple/apple/orange juice punch.
The cake incorporated elements from "One Fish, Two Fish", "The Sneetches", and "The Cat in the Hat".
Many, many, many thanks go out to my sweet Bre because she painted every one of the decorations.  Isn't she just incredible?
She even made all the decorations for the cake.  I just baked and iced it.  All the detail work was solely due to her talent.
Decor and food were not all that screamed Dr. Seuss.  Although you can't see it well, Ri's shirt reads, "Future Thing" with an arrow pointing to her belly, and she got a couple of little onsies with "Cutest little Thing on Earth" on them.
Can you tell we really like Dr. Seuss?
She received a lot of wonderful gifts and everyone had a great time.  Now we're just anxiously awaing the arrival.  Signs are good that we shouldn't have to wait much longer.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day!!!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Preparing for Baby

My baby has been busy getting ready for her baby.  You can see the new baby's room here.  We had her baby shower on Saturday and she's finishing her shopping for the last few things that she didn't get.  She'll be all set very soon. 
I'll make another post detailing the shower, but for now I thought I'd let you see the gifts I made her.  When she was preparing to get married I had an overwhelming desire to make gifts for her; to somehow extend my love for her into her new home.  A cross stitched towel in the bathroom, a quilt in the bedroom, hanging towels and knitted washcloths in the kitchen and a cross stitched breadcloth in the dining room.   Little touches that I hoped would help it seem more like home for her.  Once she let us know she was expecting a baby, I was again moved to make gifts.  Little bits of grandma's love to wrap around the baby.  I'm not quite sure why it's been so important to me, but it has, and making it all was very therapeutic.  You'll just have to trust me on that.
The very first thing I made for her was this knitted blanket.  I really liked the pale green, which will be fine if she has a little girl later on, and the yarn was so soft.
This was a quilt kit she saw one day when we were in Joann's.  She thought it was so cute, so I picked it up and made it for her.  She loved the elephant (she likes those anyway), and she thought the turtle was adorable.
I made this two sided, fleece blanket based on a pattern that can be found on the Martha Stewart website.  Instead of using one of the applique patterns (for ducks, or hearts) offered with the blanket instructions, I traced the turtle from her quilt kit, then used my printer to reduce the size.
I found some variegated yarn at Michael's that went along with the color scheme so well I couldn't resist knitting her another blanket.  I know, I know - lots of blankets.  But their house is on the cool side, and you never know how often a baby will spit up and need a clean blanket. 
I found the pattern for this online for free.  There are several sites that offer up free baby afgan patterns.  Though you can't see it well from the photo, there are knitted lines running the length of this blanket.  I thought the pattern needed to be simple given the variegation in the yarn.
The same manufacturer of the quilt kit had a kit for a shopping buggy cover,
and offered laminated fabric that I was able to make into a wet bag.  Now she'll have a place for any soiled clothes or spit cloths so they won't dirty other things in the diaper bag.
I also cross stitched a bib,
and a hooded baby towel.  I had a knitted washcloth that happened to be in a blue varigated yarn so I decided to give that to her, and I used a little of the extra toweling material to make a couple more washcloths.
And finally, I made her a diaper bag.  This is actually a pattern for a picnic tote, but it's the one she liked.  It has a draw-string top that will allow for a lot of stuff to be put inside if needed.  There are plenty of pockets around the outside and a few inside as well.  I took her shopping to pick out the fabric, and though you can't see it well from this shot, the uppermost fabric is a nursery print that has elephants on it.  It's really cute.
So you see?  I have been very busy - hence the neglect of my blog.  I'll try to be better now that all that work is out of the way. :)
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Time Sure Flies


I can't believe it's almost May.  And I haven't posted in months!  I've been so busy.  Just one of those seasons in life.  I'm trying to refocus our schooling, I've been working on getting healthier, which includes exercising and losing weight, we've been gardening (of course), and with my first little grand baby due very soon, I've been working away on several baby projects.

The biggest change has been with my health, and it's been one of the things keeping me so busy.  I had to reshuffle my entire day to fit in the exercising so I don't have as much time on the computer anymore.  But, being healthy is way more important than managing time for the computer.  I just hope to eventually balance everything a bit better.  It's all a work in progress. :)  On the up side, I have lost a lot of weight and generally feel so much better.  Who knows - I may be able to keep up with that grand baby!  I sure can't wait to try.

I hope to be back soon with lots of pictures of everything, from the garden (I can't wait for the peas and lettuces), to the baby gifts, and the baby shower.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Drum roll please.....




So unless the ultrasound tech is mistaken, I'll have a little grandson in a few months.  I know, Ri doesn't even look pregnant in this shot.  But, it is her first, and she was little to begin with.  She actually does have a nice, little round tummy, but it's still small enough to stay hidden on occasion.  That's okay - she and baby are doing well and that's all that matters.
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coming Up...

We will find out tomorrow what the gender of our first grandchild is to be.  Ri and her hubby had the ultrasound on Monday.  The baby is healthy and growing well, and it's momma is feeling pretty good now.  They asked the ultrasound tech to slip a note with the baby's gender in an envelope and seal it.  Then they took it to the bakery to have a cake made that has been dyed either blue or pink.  After church we'll have everyone gather around while Ri cuts the cake and we all get to find out if it's a boy or a girl at the same time.  I'm so excited, and so is everyone else.

I'll be back soon to let you all know!
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hi everyone - I'm back.

I took a little hiatus from blogging for several reasons.  It wasn't a planned break.  It started when we all got sick, but with everything that was going on right after that, it was just too much to stay on top of it all and blog at the same time.  I'm sure you all understand.
The good news is that all is still well in our little corner of the world.  Ri and the new little one that's on the way are progressing well.  She has had some uncomfortable symptoms (including, but not limited to morning sickness) and has been sick a couple of times, but over all, she and the baby are doing well.  We look forward to finding out what gender this new little person is in a couple of weeks.  They will have the ultrasound next week and will do a cake reveal of it the following Sunday at church, so we'll all find out at the same time.  I can't wait!
Kay is currently house sitting for some friends, and taking care of all their animals while they are away.  She is such an animal person she is loving it.
Bre, Beenie, and T.Lynn are also doing fine.  They are all quite busy with their own interests and our homeschool.  Though they would much prefer to just be busy with their own interests.
I hope to be able to post again regularly, but we'll have to see how that goes.  We've got a lot going on, and it gets a little hectic from time to time.
I hope all is well with your families and that you all have exciting things to look forward to this year.

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