Monday, December 31, 2012

Garden 2012- a look back

I could smell the flowers before I saw them!
 Here's my Garden- 2012.

  Hang tight if you visit my site for weight maintenance. I plan on doing a Whole30 in Jan 2013.

There was not much going on, I have to say. That's okay. Plants in pots were easier to manage and water. Sitting on the porch was not a priority. I was out taking photos of  "Other Peoples Gardens (OPG!)- I just made up that term!! LOL
 and walking a lot.

Goals for 2013 are to plant, grow, and actually remember to water herbs for cooking.   And to photograph the heck out of OPG!!

Edited to add baby lizard-awwww....

Baby Western Fence Lizard

Jr Family Members pot of carrots
Awaiting the blooms
Freesias are a favorite

Bella Donna Lily-green but no blooms

Awesome jumping spider.

Jr. Family member picked this color-

Anna's Humming bird, from the shrubs 
Cedar Wax-Wings in the shrubs

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Baking- kicked to the curb

What is the deal with holiday baking? Now that I'm not eating emotionally ( much anyway, I catch myself from time to time.) holiday baking really sticks out like a huge red flag  for me. For many reasons. 

Here are a few observations (my opinions only)

1. If you bake it, you are likely to eat it.
2. If you bake it and give it away, others will have to deal with it. 
3. If you're eating lots of baked goods, what aren't you eating instead?

Okay, one of the things I had do do for both weight loss and weight maintenance was to kick Holiday Baking to the curb. In a big major way. 

Here's what worked:

  1. Admitting that I was buying and baking so I could eat it.
  2. Admitting that I was enabling others to do the same. 
  3. Stopped all holiday baking and candy making and cookie parties.
  4. Put my time into meeting with friends, family, walking outdoors.
  5. Give non-food gifts except coffee. 
  6. Use spices that have a holiday flavor- but no triggers- cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves.
Here's what  did not work in the past:

  1. Baking and eating
  2. Giving baked goods to people who had diabetes/obesity issues.
  3. Cookie parties where I vowed to only have 5-6 WW points of cookies.
  4. Time spent baking (and eating, and not wanting to be with others)
  5. Saying I was going to give non-food gifts and re-gifting food to others.
  6. Eating seasonal goodies and really wanting the spice/flavor, but getting hooked on the sugar/flour.
I know some people can bake and control their eating, but I wasn't in the cards for me. Once I admitted that, it  helped me deal with weight maintenance.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Post Christmas check-in 2012

Highest Weight 187.4
Goal Weight:  115.4
Current weight 116.0

10 months in maintenance
Over weight for 40+ years
Height 5'1''  (I'm short)

Mid forties

Christmas was nice. Time with my Jr. Family member and a Christmas eve performance at church. Opening gifts, talking with friends in the Mid-west, coffee at Starbucks.

Christmas Beach walk, photo bombing lifeguards. I'm a mid-west transplant. After spending 28 years looking at corn and soybean fields, I love the ocean, tide pools, and the West. I embrace that.  I've done my time in the cold. ;)

I took an awesome beach walk and did some tide pooling in a new area. Awesomeness. I'll never tire of the stuff I can see in the tide pools.  I'll post more photos later. 

What worked:  
  1. Paleo/Primal food (no grains & dairy)  and activity (outdoors, lift heavy things) template .
  2. Weighing daily
  3. Keeping a work life balance. 
  4. Time with the family.
  5. Clear mind to deal with emotions that popped up. Mind is clear because of 1-4.
What surprised me.  Ghosts of Christmas past- I must have done a lot of emotional eating Christmas Eve in years past. I my mind kept telling me to eat sweets!!!  Especially Christmas eve while stuffing stockings & wrapping gifts. I must have numbed myself so much in the past. 

The clarity and peace of mind is worth all the hard work of maintenance.  Good to live life. Best Christmas gift, ever!!!

What hasn't worked in the past

1. Eating cookies and candy
1.5 Baking cookies for "others". So wrong!! (my next blog post)
2. Trying to out exercise the cookies and candy
3. Starting over Jan 1
4. Numbing up with food. 

I invite you to step away from the trigger foods and any foods that make you numb up. Start today. Don't wait until Jan 1. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas- 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Norad Santa tracker says that Santa will be here soon. Not a creature is stirring, not even the kitties. 

A few ghosts of Christmas past visited me tonight in the form of stress and thoughts of candy while the stockings were hung. I thought about that, drank some water, and showed those thoughts the door. 

Merry Christmas! Save travels and here's to choosing things that make us well. 

Karen P.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Medusa and my ticket off the crazy train- avoiding trigger foods

NOTE: if food descriptions are a trigger, don't read this post. You are welcome! (no food photos)

Medusa showed up in the form of a red-velvet bunt cake for a pot luck.  With Medusa style cream cheese frosting forming big snake shaped appendages coming out of the center of the cake. 

This bunt cake was huge, and had a wicked frosting ( an old trigger of mine) with smells that filled the immediate area. No, I did not have any.

Even when it showed up in the break room the next day, where the smells were even stronger. I did not have any. Not one bite. Because one bite would lead to many, especially the frosting. And, it would not stop with a few bites. The taking little 2-3 point bites and tastes would have continued to the New Year ( note: I no longer count points). Where my clothes would not fit.  That was the crazy train I used to ride. 

Conventional mantra Busting- My reality: I finished my meal and went outside for a walk. Contrary to what some people experience: It's 3 days later.  I am not binging because I "deprived myself".  That mantra kept me stuck for years. If you can eat a few bites/points and maintain your weight long term,  then good for you. I cannot. Some of my best friends can. I do what I have to do for me. 

My opinion only:
 I suspect there would be more people in long term weight maintenance without exposure to trigger foods. My opinion only. 

I'm not overeating today, because I steered clear of my trigger. So much easier.  

I've done myself a huge favor and the best gifts I've given myself to get off and stay off that crazy train. The day I put my trigger foods down, is the day I hopped down of that crazy train and onto the safe, warm, sandy beach. Life is better on safe shores. Life is not better with Medusa trigger foods and any other forms that food used to take. 

What works for me:
  1. Identifying trigger foods and stop eating them. For good. 
  2. Identifying foods that may take the form of trigger foods.
  3. Walking away from the place where the trigger foods are. 
What did not work for me...
  1. Trigger foods in moderation, especially in 2-3 point WW bites, and 100 calorie packages
  2. Not recognizing that trigger foods could be fruits or nuts or paleo-fied deserts.
  3. Keeping trigger foods around- to look, see and smell. 

I invite you to stay on track and join me on the warm, sandy, and safe shores. Leave the food triggers on the train and join me on that beach.  Don't wait until Jan 1. Hop off now.  Identify your triggers. Be boss like that. I find it powerful. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Graph- example of weight trending Dec 2012

Getting my geek on : First, check out the graphs!  I am a scientist. Its part of me. And, it's one of the most helpful tools I can use.   I embrace that 100%.

From the one month view ,things look pretty steady. From the 3 month graph, trend upwards for sure.  Only a pound or so- about one pound average over goal.

I did start to track my food again this week after 8 weeks without tracking. I'm still eating from a Paleo template, watching  my carb intake, and making an effort to get my walking in and some strength training, too.

Foods most likely to creep- fruits & nuts

I'm going to add some Tabata style sprinting several times a week. I do suspect a perfect storm of work stress, more desk work, the colder weather (note: So. Cal cold is only 50 F. I did my time in the mid-west, I remember what real cold is like. But I've adapted to warmer "cold" ) and portion creep has me a little higher weight wise.

I really think that portion creep will keep me tracking my food more often than not as I go through the years of maintenance. No matter what my eating template is, portion creep is part of my slippery slope thinking. I've got to address this, early on, and quickly.

I loved Robb Wolf's post about "low carb bypassing normal satiety mechanisms and combinations of highly palatable but low-carb foods" . The words " it's still a ticket to Fat Camp" rang true for me. Check that post out if you have some down time.

Clothes still fit. I feel great most days. Good energy. I could use a little bit more sleep.  I'm very interested to see how the sprinting, better sleep and some de-stressing will effect things.

Okay, tomorrow, a post about Medusa. And my ticket off the crazy train.
I urge you to address slippery slope thinking right here and now. Don't wait.
Now off to freak out the neighbors out with some Tabata sprinting in the side yard. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Narrow carb window in weight maintenance

The longer I spend in maintenance, the more narrow and the more aware I am of my carb window. The space between loss, maintenance, and gain is a very narrow window.  I really enjoyed this blog post from Dr. Berkeley about carbs and holiday eating. Read the article here

The good:
  • I eat from a Paleo/Primal template that is lower carb over all. It helps the most.
  • I can drop from 1 in season fruit and one serving of berries to just one serving of berries and loose weight, then sustain the loss. That's pretty awesome. (<80 to loose, 80-100 to maintain, 100+ to gain)
  • I've maintained 2 months out of 10 without tracking my food ( I track my weight and make adjustments, as needed)
  • I realize how important it is to eat whole, very little processed foods. Both for physical and emotional health.
  • I can still eat fruit, not everyone who goes through a major weight transformation can maintain eating fruit. 
  • I live in an area that has pretty tasty seasonal fruit at the farmers market. 
The downside:
  • I still have slippery slope thinking around fruit sometimes (dates, raisins, even Lara bars)
  • I've got to watch my food choices when I'm traveling. Fruit is pretty portable, so I have plan well in advance. 
  • No cooking paelo-fied deserts with dried fruit. (this is probably a good thing)
  • My carb window has changed over the 10 months. What worked in months 1-3 doesn't work in months 7-10 of weight maintenance.
  • It's pretty obvious to me now, why I re-gained the weight the other times at goal weight.
Anyhoo, just recognizing it and keeping my carbs and tools for dealing with weight maintenance is a total win in my book. 

Has anyone else noticed a change over time with carbs & fruits? I tangled with a Lara bar over the weekend ( this is good with coffee as I holiday shop late night- slippery slope and 2 pound gain!) The extra 31 grams of carbs put me over the line. I know better. Onward! Good learning, anyway.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chocolate Chili- Savory

I have to share this recipe for chocolate chili.  It's savory, rich, warming and reminds me a little of mole sauce.  (my photo)

The original recipe- From The Well Fed Cookbook (Clothes That Make the Girl web site) link is here

I modified this recipe by substituting

  • ground turkey to replace the ground beef
  • cutting the coconut oil to 1TBS from 2.
  • using chicken broth instead of beef broth
Wow!  I made this in my dutch oven on the stove top and have plenty of left overs to freeze.  Had to post this recipe. Delicious. 

10 Months Weight Maintenance update

10 Months Maintaining
Highest weight 187.5
Current weight: 114.6
Goal weight 115.4
Height 5'1" (I'm short)

Here's the last month of mostly daily weigh-ins. I maintained about a pound higher the second half of the month.

The last two months: See the sharp drop on the left of this graph. I take action if I'm in the 116's for more than 3 days in a row. Usually by removing one fruit serving and keeping my serving of raspberries or blueberries. That takes me right back to goal weight pretty fast.

I had a string of days where I forgot to put a small apple or orange in my lunch. That's how I stumbled along this fix.

Also, activity has something to do with it. I'm more sedentary during the day for the rest of the year. This means I have to bust a move to stay active during my non desk time. It's life, but I can deal.

And finally, the last 3 months of daily weigh ins. I find this graph the most helpful for looking for significant shifts and trends.  I seem to have an area right around my goal weight of 115.4 and another area about 114.6 where I tend to maintain. That's a pretty tight range.

Overall, I'm really happy about how things are going in my first year of maintenance. Pleased that I've prioritized weight maintenance. And, that I can feel comfortable tweeking my diet and exercise, knowing it's within my power to make changes and maintain control. It's all good.

 I even changed up a professional goal so that I would make cooking and exercise more of a priority this year. That's turned out okay. It feels good to put myself first. Everything falls into place and lines up that way. I can attempt the professional goal next year, and have my first year experiences to fall back on and use to keep myself healthy in the second year.  It seemed a little risky at the time, but I'm so glad that I took the chance.

I know life is dynamic and even getting my thyroid levels out of wack or getting sick could change my weight maintenance plan. But, I also know that I'll deal with it no matter what. Like a cat, I will land on my feet. Onward!

Also, I listened to a great podcast where Able James interviewed David Garcia during a long walk at the beach. I could really relate to much of what David Garcia at Keep it up David- had to say about weight maintenance.  And, I always enjoy Able James' podcasts at Fat Burning Man. Great topics great voice. Learning lots. Check out the podcasts as you go about your day. Good stuff.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Excess skin after a large weight loss

Yeah, I've got excess skin after a large ( 72 pounds on a 5'1" frame) . I lost 38-39% of my body weight in 10 months. Add in the following facts:  One C-section, mid-40's, post (or almost) menopause. Yep!!!  The skin is here to stay. I probably won't remove it, but never say never.

What it is:

Excess skin on both arms, stomach, abdomen, thighs.  Nooooo, this is not a side show. No photos. Instead, cool surfing sand dog sculptures. This photo is much more pleasant. Trust me.

I find this whole topic kind of "Ewww". But, I did promise Vickie I would post and extra skin is a fact of large weight losses.

The good:

  • I can hide the skin super well in clothing and it looks mostly okay, in most clothes.
  • Right now, I have no medical problems with the skin.
  • I accept my extra skin and it's rolling ways, most days.
  • I am sooooo much happier with extra skin vs 72 pounds overweight.
  • Strength training helps some. 
  • No surgery risks if I leave the skin alone.
  • I'm past my "beauty days" and I'm going for functional (borrowed  quote from a former supervisor)
  • I have close family members that deal with major medical problems day in and day out. This is nothing on their scale of life. I count myself lucky. Their stuff is tough, my stuff is easy. 
The not so good:
  • Sometimes, mentally, my skin does bother me. Not for long. More annoying than devastating.
  • My skin flutters when I swim in a pool . It feels weird. I boogie board and go tide pooling more than I swim these days. 
  • One arm is has more funky skin than the other. 
  • If I loose anymore weight, I will not fit into clothes so well due to the skin. 
The good list is longer than the not so good. That works for me. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My transition from weight loss to weight maintenance

Okay, a blogger friend ( Hils- thanks for waiting for this post) asked me for my story of my transition from weight loss to weight maintenance. For me, the transition was from Take Shape for Life (Medifast) to a Paleo/Primal style of diet. Both very different and both worked very well for me.

I am a hybrid weight loss to maintainer- I did not loose weight on Paleo/Primal, I don't maintain (*most of the time) with Medifast products.

I studied weight maintenance like it was a school subject. I knew how to loose, but I had to make a very structured plan that would work for me.

I was committed to keeping the weight off no matter what this time. I could really relate to the stories in the Refuse to Regain book (Barbara Berkeley, MD).

I checked out Practical Paleo (Robb Wolf) from the library over Thanksgiving 2011. Those two books really hit home with me. From my blog reading, I had started following Sarah Fragoso at Everyday Paelo. I knew I would need new recipes I could eat and Jr. Family member, too.

The Medifast Plan has a companion book called Dr. A's habits of health (Wayne Anderson, MD). I took that book, with Refuse to Regain, with Practical Paelo, and then Everyday Paleo and strung together my transition plan with things I knew that worked in the past.

Dr. A's habits of health (weight loss was the first phase  of 6 phases)
Refuse to Regain ( Rules to follow- Primarian diet, weighing in, scream weight)
Practical Paleo ( wheat caused problems- big ones- and joint pain could go away)
Everyday Paelo ( Wheat and processed sugar is no bueno, great family recipes).

Medifast transition had us bring in more vegetables on week 1. The higher carb ones were now on the list ( I omitted corn and beans). Brussels Sprouts. Very good! Never liked them before.

Next step was week  2 servings of fruits and drop 1 MF serving of food. It was awesome. Loved that part.

Next was more protein. Yes! Very good, too.  The week after, I was on a work trip the week I was supposed to transition to 2 milk servings a day. I had been lactose intolerant in the past, but could handle the whey isolate in the Medifast. There was no flipping way I was going to introduce dairy on a trip in close quarters with people I spend a lot of time with during the week. I'm sure they would thank me now, if they knew!! LOL.

 I told my coach straight out I was skipping the wheat (half cup of brown rice or half an English muffin on the last week of transition).

After that point, I was half happy & half scared. Happy I had gotten there, scared I would re-gain, but not without testing out some of the new way of eating.

The Everyday Paleo workshop that I attended really gave me the exposure to people in real life that I needed to have the confidence to go forward.

I've spent the last 10 months adding in more avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and salmon. I did it slowly because it took that long to de-program myself from the low fat ways of Weight Watchers. I had to test, and see, test again and see.

 The great thing about sticking to the Paleo/Primal template was ditching diet sodas, Equal, and sucrolose, and now for the most part soy. Once I switched over, none of that sounded good any more, so I just stopped eating it and I don't crave it. Spices taste fabulous too, in a non-triggery sort of way. Savory is from salt, curry, or meat or oils, sweet is from fruit or some 85% chocolate or cinnamon.

I tried to bring in foods very slowly, so I could figure out quickly what food triggers. I avoid that food- think almond butter, dried fruit, too much regular fruit, high glycemic fruit,  wheat or gluten of ANY kind.  Any food I just *had* to have every day was a food that I would stop having cold turkey and see. Yes I could live without it, yes, probably a trigger or potential trigger.

Add in any sort of stress and add a trigger food- it is very hard. I'm only one meal out from a total blow out snack or meal. Avoiding the triggers and dealing with stress are key. Paleo/ Primal really fits. When I eat off Paleo, it has to be with food that doesn't trigger (medifast, think thin bars, quest bars, blue cheese, fetta cheese, very small amounts of honey, maybe a teeny bit of Stevia- but rarely)

Thats my transition story. It's all good now. 10 months into weight maintenance. Lots of work to maintain, so worth it, and so much easier with the Paleo/Primal template.

Glad you asked, Hils!